Take Me Out to the Ballgame! (with an interlude at the Musical Instrument Museum)
People seem surprised to find out I like going to baseball games. I wouldn’t say I am necessarily a baseball fan. I don’t really watch games on television or follow scores or statistics. But I love to go to the ballpark to see a game. There is something special about it that’s hard to describe.
Plus I love a good costume, and now I have a whole collection of Giants attire. Because I do root for the San Francisco Giants (and sometimes the Atlanta Braves, if they aren’t playing the Giants).
And I get an excuse to sing the Journey song Don’t Stop Believin’ at the top of my lungs without people thinking I am crazy.
For the third time since Bob and I have been together, we made it to the San Francisco Giants spring training in Scottsdale, Arizona this year. It was a short trip–we flew to Phoenix Monday morning, went to an afternoon game, out to dinner, Tuesday morning at the Musical Instrument Museum, an afternoon game, and home Tuesday night. But what it lacked in time it made up for in fun and sun.
Our day 1 game was at Camelback Ranch, ballpark for the Chicago White Sox. Who actually wear black socks. I felt cheated. (Which leads to the question, are you a fan of high socks with the uniform? I am.)
It’s really hot in March in Arizona. Really hot. Siri said so.
Vegans and teetotalers can have a hard time at the ballpark. In the heat, while most everyone else was drinking beer, I really wanted a shaved ice. This is what I ended up with. I realize it is not a color known in nature. It was supposed to be cherry. I think it was sugar and red dye number whatever. But it was cold and I ate it anyway.
After the game, we checked into the Hilton Scottsdale Resort & Villas, a splurge but oh so nice! Thank you Bob for the indulgence!
The first thing I saw in the lobby when we checked in was the ice-cold fruit-infused water. This is one of my new obsessions. I drank about 4 glasses of the concoction while we checked in. Baseball is thirsty work.
Our villa suite was amazing. There was even a washer/dryer and a dishwasher! We didn’t stay long enough to enjoy all of the amenities, but it was quite relaxing and comfortable, to say the least.
Next day, we hit the Musical Instrument Museum before settling in for the Giants v Padres at the Scottsdale Stadium. As I might have said, when a museum nerd (me) and a music nerd (Bob) travel together, this is where they go.
I was thinking it would be a small, homey, do-it-yourself place. One of those old-guy-with-a-collection opens his garage kind of things. Was I wrong! This is a beautiful, world-class museum and collection. It is well worth a day or two of wandering and wondering. Athough I was a bit alarmed and amused at the no weapons sign. I’ve never been to a museum that specified this. I didn’t think they needed to.
Just a few highlights:
The Johnny Cash tribute.
One day, I will be that lady banjo player.
The 60s. Suit worn by Roger Daltry of The Who. Jimi Hendrix on the monitor.
Just another visitor trying out the piano in the lobby.
I have a whole novel centered around the Apollonia worked up in my head, and it would make a great movie, too. I’ll fill you in in a future blogpost.
Don’t forget to exit through the gift shop!
Back to baseball! On to the Scottsdale Stadium, where our seats were a little more in the shade but a lot more behind really tall people. It Genevieve’s Law: the tallest adults at the ballpark (movie, concert, whatever), will have tickets for the seats directly in front of the shortest adult at the ballpark (movie, concert, whatever).
The Giants win again! Then a short trip into old town Scottsdale before heading to the airport.
I bought a beautiful ring at one of the nicer stores there on a previous visit. But I am clumsy and sometimes forgetful, so I managed to lose the ring. I was hoping to find the same store; they have less-touristy merchandise and less, shall we say, ostentatious designs. Bob was on the case, and lo and behold, the first store he suggested turned out to be the right one! If you are in Scottsdale, check out Scottsdale Jewels on N. Brown Avenue. Don’t be alarmed by the taxidermied bear (okay, be alarmed, but it’s still a nice jewelry store and they aren’t pushy like in the other stores).
A quick flight home, and back to life as usual. Which is a good life all in all.
Baseball season 2017 opening day is Sunday, April 2. I’m not sure when I will get to a game, but I hope to see you there! Go Giants! Peace and hugs from this Giants Girl.
P.S. Another obsession: I saw this dress in the Southwest Airline inflight magazine. I want it. I must have it. I can’t afford it, but maybe I can put my sewing skills to the test and make my own knock-off. Fashion detectives, if you can lead me to any information about this dress, I will be forever indebted.
Why We Won’t Be Keeping Chiclet (meant to convince myself more than anyone else)
Now that we are all in love with our current foster kitten Chiclet, here’s why this won’t be a foster fail. If you believe all of this, great! I’m trying. I haven’t been quite this attached to a foster since I’ve been fostering for the East Bay SPCA.
Last night, Bob broached the conversation of keeping her. Not because he thinks we should, but because he knows I want to. This was such a sweet gesture, and he firmly keeps the World’s Best Boyfriend crown on his head.
Of course I wanted to squeal in delight and jump up and down, but I was trying to be sensible. Silly me!
Here’s the rundown:
- She is highly adoptable. The minute she’s available, there will be people falling in love with her and wanting to give her a loving home. If I am going to foster fail again, I’d rather save my Keep the Cat card for one who is going to have a harder time. You know, that 3-legged, 1-eyed, snaggle-toothed one with a personality disorder. Who won’t have everyone oohing and aahing and filling out adoption paperwork at blink of a kitten eye.
2. We have 3 cats and a dog living with us already. I don’t want to be a hoarder.
3. Sara is going to be 19 this summer. Does she really want another kitten in the house? We recently added Marble, aka the Tasmanian Devil, to the lineup. Maybe Sara would like some peace and quiet in her twilight years.
4. Poor Einstein can’t catch a break. He’s a very patient dog, but will another cat be the last straw? And he’d like some time and attention, too! Walkies!!!
4. The aforementioned Tasmanian Devil.
Marble isn’t a year old yet and is a handful! When we tried introducing him to previous foster kitten Pepper, he grabbed her by the throat. Not good. If I have to spend my time making sure one cat doesn’t kill the other, I will not be happy or pleasant to be around.
5. Misty. When we adopted Misty, she was considered “unadoptable” because she really doesn’t like people. Can’t blame her. She was treated roughly during the 4 years before she came to us. She’s slowly coming around, but VERY slowly. She’s great with Marble, and might be fine with Chiclet, but like Einstein, she could use some more special time and attention.
6. The family just waiting to meet Chiclet. It would be selfish of me to keep her. I imagine the 8 or 9 year old me meeting Chiclet and falling in love. How can I stand in the way of another child’s destiny??? Those moments at the animal shelter when I hear a child say, “Mom, I NEED this cat!” are why I work there.
7. We aren’t getting any younger. If Marble lives to be 20 (perfectly possible), I will be 75 and Bob will be 81. Should we really keep getting kittens? Maybe we should adopt older cats when we adopt more. Senior cats need homes too, and what better match than a senior with a senior?
8. When I take Chiclet and her mother Sugar Cube back to the East Bay SPCA, I make room in our home for another foster family, helping to continue the cycle of saving lives. Isn’t that the point? We have fostered 32 cats for the East Bay SPCA since we started back with Abracadabra in 2015.
This count does not include Marble, who was a rescue of a different sort (that might or might not have been entirely legal but it was definitely in his best interest).
Will it be hard taking her back to the shelter? Yes. Will I be sad? Yes. Will I sing sad songs? Undoubtedly. I’ve already got one picked out, Irving Berlin’s What’ll I Do? as sung by Rosemary Clooney.
But I’ll get up, dust myself off, and find out who my next foster family is. I’ll fall in love again. Life goes on.
Up next: Take Me Out to the Ball Game!, in which there will be no mention of cats but lots of baseball, the Arizona desert, and a side trip to the Musical Instrument Museum. Stay tuned!
Once upon a time…
Ah, another sleepless night. Hello insomnia, my old friend. Often when I can’t sleep, my brain takes a nostalgic turn, so here I am listening to the dog snore and dredging up childhood memories again (see Be It Ever So Humble…). This happens more often than I’d like these days. Is this what my golden years are going to be like? And by golden years, I mean the “I am getting old” kind, not the cool David Bowie song kind.
This isn’t really a new phenomenon in my life. I remember lots of sleepless nights. Often I would lie awake in the dark on the nights before a big day at school: the first day of the new school year, the day I had to do anything in front of the class (my biggest dread), if I had a really awesome new outfit to wear or new haircut, if I thought I might see whichever cute boy I had a crush on, all kinds of triggers.
It goes back even earlier. When I was a little one at Bassett Kindergarten in Decatur, Georgia, there was the worst time of the day–nap time. We’d roll out our mats, the teacher would turn out the lights, and while all the other kids drifted off to sleep, I’d lie there in the darkened room wishing it would be over or that I could have a book to look at. I do not nap.
Sleeplessness didn’t look so bad on me then. Now, I can use some beauty sleep.
Sometimes I think I was a cat in a previous life. I like curling up in sunny spots, I prefer to be alone, I hate the wind and dislike riding in cars. But there are 2 ways I could never be a cat–I don’t eat meat and I have trouble sleeping. Cats don’t have trouble sleeping.
Some of my sleepless childhood nights have a soundtrack. I was afraid to sleep in my own room. There was a weird gleam off of the fence post outside of my window that made me think of eyes watching me. Even with the shade pulled down, I knew it was out there. So I sometimes acted true to the pesky baby sister stereotype and camped in my teenaged sisters’ bedroom, which in my mind was huge and fun and full of cool things (a television, a phone, inscrutable hair and make-up products, high school text books). They had a record player, and often put a stack of albums on to play through the night to lull them to sleep. So dark sleepless nights came with the sounds of their favorite music: Carole King, Barbra Streisand, popular movie soundtracks.
Maybe to get me to sleep in my own room, I was given my own record player, a cute little portable in a red box.
I got to pick out my own records! I loved playing my mother’s old 45 of the Mills Brothers singing Glow Worm (1957).
Like my sisters, I loved a good movie soundtrack, but in my case, it was mostly a Disney-leaning collection.
My first attempt at coolness was when I bought the 45 of Dobie Gray’s Drift Away in 1973, leaving Disney behind. Here is a 1992 performance:
We also had a record player (aka, a turntable) in the den. I have so many memories of that room! Mostly around either reading in the green arm chair or watching the miracle of color television (we had color, but this was before remotes or cable, children). I was not an active child, clearly. I seem to remember a Danish Modern stereo cabinet with a vertical filing section for the albums.
But I don’t remember what records were stored in there! I know my mother loved the singer John Gary, so I’m sure there were a few of his albums. And I know we had the Andy Williams Christmas album, a classic and well-loved in the Cottraux home.
John Gary (1932-1998) is probably someone not many people are familiar with anymore, but he was quite popular in the 1960s, known for songs like Catch a Falling Star and So Tenderly.
The song I remember is Once Upon a Time, written by Charles Strouse (music) and Lee Adams (lyrics), from the 1962 musical All American.
It was performed by many artists, including Tony Bennett, Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams, and apparently, Tom Jones (if you trust Wikipedia). I have to find this recording, if it exists; I love Tom Jones! I did find a version of Bob Dylan singing it at a Tony Bennett 90th birthday tribute.
But the version I know is John Gary’s. And it’s beautiful. And I will always think of my mother when I hear it.
In my imagination, then and now, it was my late father, who died young and tragically in 1962, singing to my mother from heaven (see Nancy and Pete: A Love Story). I was a romantic even then.
As I write this, I wonder how accurate my childhood memories mwight be. According to some scientists, not very! Our brains are susceptible to false childhood memories. I’m not sure I want to know, but if you do, read this! Yes, human memory is fallible. But I like the bubble I live in just fine.
When my mother got her first and only CD player, my sister Cathy sent her a CD of John Gary songs. I thought maybe I had it in my CD cabinet, but if I do, I couldn’t find it. I might have a degree in library and information science, but I can never find anything on my book or music shelves. Like the cobbler’s children have no shoes, the librarian’s books have no order.
I think I’ll add home library organization of things to do in my golden years. Unless I am too busy catching up on my sleep.
Peace and hugs. And sweet dreams.
ObamaCare = RomneyCare; TrumpCare = NoCare; The Humane Party DOES Care
Fracking Our Farmlands
Source: Fracking Our Farmlands
I don’t know about you, but I find punctuality to be overrated
Remember Andy Rooney, the crusty old guy who did the final segment on the television show 60 Minutes from 1978 to 2011? Sometimes I feel like I am turning into him, even getting old man eyebrows. Thank goodness for scissors!
Not to be confused with Mickey Rooney, the much-married song and dance man of the stage and screen. Although he might have been cranky and opinionated, too.
I’m in an Andy Rooney kind of mood. You know, the “I don’t know about you but such and such really annoys me” kind of mood. Here’s a classic Andy Rooney rant, this one about public “art”.
I’m feeling feisty on the subject on punctuality today. I used to be a very punctual person. Really. To the point of always being early for everything. Not too early to the point of seeming crazy. If I was really too early for something, I’d wait outside or in my car until I could walk in just early enough to show I was paying attention to the clock. I got a lot of reading done in my car in those days. Or if it was for a job interview, pep talk time and reminders to breath. The other advantage of being early in the case of something like a job interview, you can squeeze in a trip to the restroom just so you feel that much better before you go in.
But I’ve decided punctuality is an overrated concept. Maybe I’m finally defeating my OCD tendencies!
I had an employer once who had the supposedly brilliant idea that for employee evaluations he would issue old-fashioned report cards with grades in various categories. I always got an A+ in punctuality. Mostly because I liked to get there before anyone else so I could make the coffee. No one else made it strong enough,so my motives were selfish, but it got me brownie points.
But the reality is that my good grade in punctuality was meaningless when it came to actually getting the job done. If I had been 10 minutes late every day, like the office manager was, I’d still have gotten my work done. She got C’s in punctuality but A’s in everything else, and everyone loved her. I was a younger, moodier, more anxious me then, and didn’t particularly play well with others, so low marks for me in attitude. I was oddly proud of that, too!
Needless to say, the office manager stayed on with bonuses and promotions, and I left by mutual agreement with the boss and went to graduate school (the first time). My philosophy–if life gives you lemons, go back to school and learn how to make the best lemonade ever!
I love to watch competition cooking shows, but I always wonder why the insistence on the time clock down to the last second. Would another 5 seconds hurt? If you are eating at a restaurant, wouldn’t you rather have the dish that the chef finished the way s/he wanted rather than the one rushed to beat the clock? It shouldn’t be all about the clock, but all about the food. Within reason, of course.
When adorable Cydney Sherman on Masterchef Junior dropped her vegan burger on the floor and there were only 60 seconds left on the clock, would it have killed Gordon Ramsay to give her a few extra seconds to wipe her tears and cook another one? (But I am glad there was a vegan challenge, and she didn’t go home as a couple of other junior chefs made bigger mistakes than she did.) Masterchef Junior makes me cry every week!
In my school program this time around (remind when I finish the Ph.D. to stop going back to school, unless it’s vegan cooking school or sewing school), we submit all of our assignments online. The due dates are listed with whatever is due being due at 11:59 p.m. on the day. Really? If I turn it in at midnight, that not’s good enough? Will my coach turn into a pumpkin while I lose my glass slipper?
Being on time really doesn’t equate to doing a good job. Yes, I understand deadlines are important. Without them I’d never get anything done! And I do still aim for punctuality on things like doctor appointments and show start times. Some places won’t let you in until intermission if you miss the start of the show. Dinner reservations are important to honor; I’d rather give the chef extra time to cook than hold up service from my end!
One of my professors this semester has the wonderful approach that assignment due dates are guidelines, not ultimatums. Thank you, Dr. P.! I am a busy person. We are all busy people. Let’s cut each other some slack when it’s not a life and death situation.
I keep a calendar, color coded with my class assignments and due dates. I was taking 4 classes this time around, but one class in particular was totally stressing me out. I had little blue post-its everywhere on my calendar! My old OCD self would have done everything to make it work, but maybe not doing as good a job on things in service to the deadlines. I made a decision that would have been unthinkable to me in the not-so-distant past. I dropped a class 8 weeks into the semester. And it feels so good!
I feel much more relaxed and only slightly defeated. That will go away. It’s like not finishing book you’ve started and aren’t enjoying. There’s a small sense of defeat, but you forget about it. Or not.
And now I have 6 glorious days before my next assignment is due! At 11:59 p.m. on March 12. The clock is ticking.
Death by Plastic
The North Pacific Gyre is an area twice the size of the state of Texas where marine debris—human-generated litter and garbage—stretches from the West Coast of North America to Japan. Plastic debri…
Source: Death by Plastic
Banning Fur in Berkeley
On March 14, 2017, the Berkeley City Council will discuss a proposal to ban the sale of fur in the city. The proposal is the result of a petition started by the group Berkeley Coalition for Animal…
Source: Banning Fur in Berkeley