Thursday Thoughts

Family Ties
Yesterday’s post about my parents generated quite a few comments, especially from some of my cousins. They spoke highly of my parents and indicated they were role models to them as they grew up. It pleased me to no end to read their comments, but I wasn’t surprised. For one thing, since my mother was the youngest of very many children, some of her nieces and nephews were actually the same age – or close to it – of my parents. And while I have talked about what good parents they were, I haven’t really mentioned how much fun they would be as friends. They loved to gather as family and they always had a good time. Lots of food. Lots of beer. Lots of laughing. I hope that someday when my nieces and nephews are asked about their old Aunt Kris, they will speak as highly of me as do my parents’ nieces and nephews. And their kids will say, “Really? Crabby Aunt Kris used to be fun?”

Dirty Knees
And speaking of nephews, my great-nephew Austin made me laugh Tuesday night. Bill and I stopped by to watch a little bit of his baseball game because it was close to our house. He is 5, and whatever league he’s in (pee wee? Little League?) gives each child so many swings before they’re called out. It’s more than three, but fewer than 10. I wasn’t counting. At any rate, after four or five swings, Austin got a hit. A nice one that went straight down the middle of the field into the outfield. Now, if you’ve ever watched 5-year-olds play baseball, you know that if the ball makes it even a foot past second base, it theoretically could be a home run for all of the fielding the little ones are able to do. In this league, the player can only run one base. So off Austin went, towards first base. He made it too, of course, and in grand style. Because even though the ball was on the other side of the field while three or four of the kids were trying to pick it up, Austin did a perfect SLIDE INTO FIRST BASE. It’s all about getting your baseball pants dirty. Ask the big leaguers.

Pinterest and Me
If you peruse Pinterest, you know that every day Pinterest sends you “pins” in which it thinks you might be interested. Particularly, when you “pin” something, Pinterest then begins sending you pin after pin after pin related to whatever you originally pinned. If I pin a recipe for pot roast, I understand why Pinterest begins suggesting a variety of pot roast recipes. But I never fail to be amused at the items that Pinterest decides I like. For example, for reasons I can’t quite understand, Pinterest has decided that I like coconut cream pie, and as such, posts every recipe known to man for coconut cream pie. I, in fact, don’t like coconut cream pie. I recently started a folder in which I put low fiber food recipes since I am now limiting the amount of fiber I eat to attempt to prevent bowel obstructions. Pinterest has decided that I am interested in health food, and every day I wake up to find pins on vegetable smoothies and paleo meals and organic gardening. They encourage me to eat Brussel sprouts in every way imaginable, and particularly seem to be promoting blueberry anything. Nothing low fiber, I might add, since they undoubtedly think no one in their right mind would eat low fiber. They might be right.

Goodbye Arizona
We are mostly packed up and will leave for Denver tomorrow. First stop, Flagstaff, where we will watch our niece Jessie present her Capstone project, the last stop before graduation. We will leave Saturday morning for Denver and Rocky Mountain high snow….


Take Me Out to Spring Training

I’ve only attended a handful of spring training games in my life. Well, to be perfectly frank, depending on your definition of handful, I have perhaps only attended a handful of professional baseball games of any type in my life.

My brother is grown up now, shown here with his youngest grandbaby Kelsie. He would undoubtedly take a swing today.

My brother is grown up now, shown here with his youngest grandbaby Kelsie. He would undoubtedly take a swing today.

Nebraska wasn’t big on baseball when I grew up. At least not Columbus, Nebraska. The only baseball games I attended when growing up in Columbus were those in which my brother played. For the record, during the course of his Little League baseball career, he didn’t take a single swing at a ball. Not one. I vividly recall my father BEGGING him to take a swing. We don’t care if you miss, my dad told him again and again. We don’t care if you strike out, he would add. Just take a swing. But here’s how my brother’s 6- or 7-year-old brain apparently rationalized his strategy. If I swing, I will likely strike out and humiliate myself. If I get on base via walks, I am fast enough that it is likely I will score. There you have it. It’s simple, really.

The Cactus League, of course, is located in Arizona. In fact, eight different communities in the Phoenix metro area have a baseball park devoted to one or two different teams from around the west and midwest. The teams include the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Chicago Cubs, the Chicago White Sox, the Cincinnati Reds, the Cleveland Indians, the Colorado Rockies, the Kansas City Royals, the LA Angels, the LA Dodgers, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Oakland A’s, the San Diego Padres, the San Francisco Giants, the Seattle Mariners, and the Texas Rangers. A few teams share a ball park – Arizona and Colorado, the White Sox and the Dodgers, the Indians and the Reds, and the Royals and the Rangers. The others have their own. As you can imagine, the teams and their followers provide quite a boost to the cities’ economies.

This year Bill and I attended the opening Cubs game at Sloan Park in Mesa. As you can imagine, the fans were in a downright FRENZY of ADORATION for their beloved Cubbies who came thiiiiiiis close to going to the World Series. The stadium was packed, and if you didn’t get your tickets weeks in advance (which we did), you were out of luck. I don’t even remember who won the game (or even who they played), but it was a lot of fun.

Yesterday we attended what will be one of the final spring games for the Colorado Rockies at Salt River Field in Scottsdale. They played the White Sox, and unlike the Cubs’ game, the stands were far from full. Having not attended another Rockies game this spring, I don’t know if that is typical, or if the fans have simply run out of steam. The weather was overcast and delightfully cool. But given the weather and the only halfway-full park, the beer venders were begging for sales. Even the man with the hat that makes it look like there’s an arrow going through his head and wearing peanut earrings was desperate to sell a beer or two.

I noticed that there were a variety of fans representing many teams in attendance. Of course there were Rockies and White Sox hats and shirts. I also saw a lot of people wearing shirts with Diamondbacks, Cubs, and Angels logos. And, of course, very many Giants hats and shirts. 2015 World Champions and all….

It is fun to see the kids before the game lined up by the fence looking for autographs. Thespring training 3.28.16 players yesterday were happy to oblige.

They were also happy to hit home runs too. In fact, I quit counting after a total of seven home runs. Three were hit by Rockies players, and they were one after another – three in a row. Imagine the pressure on the fourth man up. He handled it like my brother. He didn’t take a swing and managed a walk. That’s one way to beat the pressure.

Maybe 10 minutes before the National Anthem, I noticed some hubbub down on the field near the Rockies dugout. There was a man spraying what appeared to be bug spray into the corner near where the man who would sing the National Anthem would soon sit. The apparent bug-sprayer man seemed to be quite concerned, and several other Rockies officials also came to check out how things were going. I never was able to figure out what it was they were spraying, and frankly, don’t want to think about it too hard, it being the Arizona desert and all.

And Bill said to me after the game – as he does after every game – we should go to more baseball games this year.

We’ll see.