Wednesday, October 31, 2007

SO good SO good SO good

Okay, so I'm back from poring over everything I can read on the Sox. Time to get ready for trick or treat. My friend Jill let her Sox Roctober spirit carry over into her jack o lantern artistry. No trick, we're all TREATIN' this year...Manny says there's a party at his house...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Love That Dirty Water

You gotta admit, the entertainment person for the Red Sox has done a bang up job with the music. Loved John Williams the other night, but my heart belongs to James Taylor. MLB has a nice write up on him, as well as a good story on Megan Kaiser, the music programmer at Fenway.

Fenway has plenty of musical tradition. Some of it makes sense, like the Standell's Dirty Water, which has been played after every win since 1997 (I think that first rip would be a great ringtone). Some doesn't but is fun anyway, like the 8th inning Sweet Caroline sing a long. There is nothing like sitting in a crowd of 34,000 waiting for the PA to go quiet for the 'bom bom bom…good times never seemed so good, so good so good' part. I love it and I sing it at the top of my lungs every time I go, which isn't often enough. Reminds me of college days way back in the early 70's when we would do the same thing with this song during weekend parties. I also sing Take Me Out to the Ball Game at the top of my lungs during the 7th inning stretch. I'll probably get hate mail, but I'm not so fond of the God Bless America moment that seems to have become standard after the 6th inning. It's a nice song, but I feel like we get the patriotism acknowledged from the get go with the Star Spangled Banner, as we should. But that's just me. I guess it gives another performer a chance to sing during the game.

Then there are the songs they play for certain players when they come in. Like Wild Thing for Jonathan Papelbon, coming in from the bull pen to do what he does so well. And his Riverdance performances have got to make you smile. This guy with the deadly stare knows how to stay loose.

Along with Dirty Water, Kaiser plays Three Dog Night's Joy to the World and the Drop Kick Murphys' Tessie after every win. The Drop Kick Murphys played Game 7 of the ALCS, with the step dancers on the warning track. Their rousing rendition of Tessie is the Sox good luck charm. The history goes back to the 1903 World Series, when the Broadway tune was used as a rally song. Down 3-1 to the Pirates in the best of nine series, a group of local crazies who called themselves the Royal Rooters tried to rally their team with every song they could think of. The Pirates apparently were most annoyed by 'Tessie' so the Rooters stuck with it. Must have special power, because Boston went on to win the next 4 games and the series.

Interestingly, the Royal Rooters stopped singing in 1918, and the Sox didn't win another series for 86 years. In 2004, 'Tessie' was back, performed by the local Drop Kick Murphys. The new lyrics were a collaboration among the band, Sox players Johnny (aka the Traitor) Damon, Bronson Arroyo and Lenny DiNardo, the Sox VP of public affairs Charles Steinberg, and a Boston Herald sports writer, Jeff Horrigan. I'd say the new version had the power, as well.

"Boston, you know we love you madly

Hear the crowd roar to your sound

Don't blame us if we ever doubt you

You know we couldn't live without you

Red Sox, you are the only only only"

'Nuf Ced...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Must Be Something in the Water

Has the MDC been slipping something into the reservoirs, or is it a strange and powerful alignment of the planets? Boston sports teams are playing out of their minds.

Last night I was busy with the recall button on the remote. The BC-VT game started at 4:30 (lovely Pacific time) and the Sox were on at 5. Thank goodness for long Fox commercials. I was rooting for a mere score for BC, so they wouldn't be totally blanked in Blacksburg. Ryan must have been drinking Tom Brady water, because his two touchdown passes in the last couple of minutes of the game were unbelievable. I hope all the kids back in Chestnut Hill were watching. Hell is having midterms during the World Series home games and the first big conference challenge on national TV.

Then back to the nail biter at Fenway. What a night for pitchers! The Rockies are most certainly ready to move the show west. Let's see what happens in the Rocky Mountain High. Did anyone else just love the dancing Papelbon figure in the stands? And the Beckkkkkkkket sign the night before? No hankies for the Fenway crowd. They make cool signs.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Back in Paradise

Whew! What a wild ride the last few days have been. You don't even have to go to the Pahk to feel the excitement in the old hometown. After a long swim meet at BC followed by a team and parents dinner, we drove along Comm Ave to the Marriott to watch the game and drink the wine we would have loved with our dinner (swim events don't have tailgate parties...yet...wait til NEXT year's parents weekend...).

There was not a soul on the road at 9 pm. All of the Boston area was inside, watching the game. Lady luck was with us, and we scored the only empty table in the bar, right by the TV. And there we stayed until the last out.

Sunday morning we barely made it for the start of the meet. And another long night of intense ball, until the poor Indians imploded. It was 12:30 before we went to bed, with a 5:15 am taxi arriving to take us to Logan for the flight home. Yes, the taxi driver had stayed up, too. A sleepy MLB photographer was on our plane. He had gotten no sleep, staying to cover all the post game interviews and celebrating, but didn't get to partake. He was actually a little cranky, complaining about how the Indians players would do interviews but the Sox players were not cooperative. There were plenty of nice stories in the Globe the next day about players spending time entertaining the fans who had stayed late...I'd rather do that than pointless interviews, myself...heck, all the viewers had work the next day or things to do...they went to bed after Coco Crisp crashed into the wall to make the last out.

So now I'll look forward to Wed night, when I'll be able to watch on PACIFIC Time! GO SOX!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

NOT so far from the Pahk

About 8 miles, actually. Fenway Fran will be on a short hiatus to the home turf, closer to family in this stressful time. How quickly we know how the Yankees felt a few weeks ago. Come on guys, PLEASE bring it home to Boston so we don't have to listen to that guy pound the big drum any more. It's a TEAM sport. We need to see more TEAM. One pitcher and a couple of long ball hitters can't carry you through playoffs. I hope to see the TEAM out there tonight, playing like it IS the end of the world...even though Manny's right, it's a game, someone wins, someone loses, and if you lose, you come back and try again next year. Red Sox fans for generations know the mantra...wait til next year...
Footnote to the media and those who are so easily offended: Manny Is Just Being Manny.
And how come one player (former-some would argues should be still with us- awesome Sox outfielder Trot Nixon) is LAUDED in the press for trying to keep things light to reduce stress for Cleveland, and another's attempts at same are used for negative drama? It's easy to twist and take advantage of people's words, especially someone whose first language is not English. He's not running for public office, he hits baseballs for a living (pretty darn well, too). Get over it.
Are there any other baseball fans out there who think that we are being given way too much information, that coaches and players should not be miked during games? Even the post game coach interviews are overly intrusive and uncomfortable. As my brother says, Stop Yourselves.

Monday, October 15, 2007

More Harvest Day Fun

Here's part two of the Harvest Day expedition.

They've got quite an efficient little system at Wind River Cellars...
After we grunts cut and haul the grapes to the big wooden bins, a tractor arrives to take them to the winery. The big box of grapes is emptied into the top of the contraption that looks like it belongs in a a game of Mouse Trap:
Then the grapes slide down and the good stuff is separated from the bad, just like my handy dandy Kitchenaid tool I use on apples. Here are some nice Riesling grapes ready to go! When they've gone through the 'mill', they go into the press, that reddish machine you can see in the background of the first picture. And that, my friends, was as far as I got before I was waylayed by some potent Tempranillo...the impaired photographer could not be corrected by the autofocus...

We're starting to feel like locals….

It was a beautiful sunny fall Saturday in The Gorge. We put on our work boots and headed out to Wind River Cellars for the annual Harvest Day. A motley crew of volunteers, armed with cool blue handled knives and yellow plastic bins, headed for the vineyards to cut luscious Riesling grapes from the vines. For six hours we filled our bins, hiked down to dump them in the bigger boxes, then hiked back up to find a new spot. There was so much sugar on my fingers, I almost hesitated to use my camera! There were even PRIZES hidden in the vineyard, little plastic wrapped paper strips that entitled the finder to something wonderful, like a bottle of wine, or a WRC Tshirt (which I was lucky enough to find on my LAST vine!). After we'd completed our task, we were treated to a fabulous prime rib dinner. I have never seen such a huge piece of beef! And of course, lots of Wind River Cellars vino. Unfortunately for me, all I'd consumed since my bowl of oatmeal at 8:30 am was water and the occasional grape, so I was dispatched to an altered state very quickly. Had to eat a second helping of Kris' awesome potatoes to keep an even keel. On the plus side, it did numb the pain of the Sox game...Full bins 'heading' to the boxes
The long hike down to the 'grape dump'

I'll upload a few more operational photos for the next post...

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Out With the Old, In With the New

I've spent a lot of time with my new old stove since moving in. All I can ask is, Did ANY of our renters COOK? The first tenants were the sellers renting back, so I can understand them not complaining about the stove. The next year's tenants never complained about ANYTHING after we installed AC during a particularly hot summer, God Love 'Em. Round three made up for rounds one and two, but never mentioned the stove. Last year's renters were mercifully quiet from our perspective, but I can't speak for the neighbors. Sixteen year old stoves need more help than it's worth giving them. The burners were a bit unstable, but they could boil water and jam, which is what I've been doing lately. The oven was another story. Any baking at all, no matter how low the temp, would set off an unceasing beep not unlike Sputnik, and flash a digital (must have been an early digital stove) F-2 error. We loved it so much we started calling it the F-U error. One (extended middle?) finger on the cancel button at all times to try and shut it up. The roast leg of lamb ended up in the gas grill outside. The blackberry pie was ALMOST done, so I just kept the door closed. My patient husband tried the physical approach, but it would not be beaten into submission. So this week, the old gray (black) Hotpoint was replaced with a sleek new filly, a Kitchen Aid smooth topped beauty with a convection oven. My heart be still.

Of course the replacing was not without a bit of drama. The Old was a drop in. The New is freestanding. So that meant pulling Old out, wiring in a box for the plug, and cutting the counter top and baseboard to exactly 30" of space to slide NEW in. They only deliver twice a week out here to the boonies. We had time, right? NO. It'll come the next day. By noon. But my darling is great with a saw and wires, so we were just about ready when the truck came. Good thing they got lost first.

So here she is, New, in all her glory. We'll plan the remodel around her. Some things just can't wait!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Game Two

Getting all my chores done so I can watch teevee this afternoon. It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, with a fresh blanket of snow on Mt. Hood. Will download a pic later for your viewing pleasure, and to make all my TX friends feel cooler.

I think my friend J's Bosox Shrine put the hex on the Yankees last night. Every post season, J lovingly displays her shrine on her mantle. It includes her Impossible Dream album, a '67 World Series ticket and scoah cahd, a BOS bumpah stickah, a signed Bobby Doerr bat, and my contribution, a giant Charlie Brown pez head with a B cap that plays Take Me Out to the Ball Game when you extract a pez. In the past few post seasons, we'd meet at the shrine, open a bottle of pinot grigio, and watch a game or two. We have to do it long distance now. My wine is chillin' and my cell phone is charged. Meet you at the game, J!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Take Me Out to the Bill Game

Not to get heavy twice in one day, but we have a president who just vetoed a bill to provide health care to children. A bill that was passed by both houses. We the People through our elected representatives wanted this bill. But the pres said no. The pres wants much more $$$ though, from We the People, to fund his war, to continue killing and maiming soldiers and civilians, ours and theirs. How 'bout giving a little bit here, W? We the People need an override.

Now I'm going to watch the game...then make my sweetheart an excellent 26th anniversary dinner! We'll eat out tomorrow, when the Yankees play...

RIP Lovelle Svart

A local story has me thinking about compassion…and where the heck our humanity has gone. It's been a while since I read anything that packed such a punch. It was an incredible piece in the Oregonian on Sunday about Lovelle Svart, who had been documenting her battle with terminal lung cancer, ending with her decision to take advantage of Oregon's Death with Dignity law. You can read about her here. I dare anyone with a heart to read this story, and not feel touched by it. Oregon is the ONLY state where people can ask their doctors for life ending medication. It is not an easy process. It involves multiple steps, coordinated with your doctor, and is not taken lightly. Yet there were 'letters to the editor' beginning on Monday morning, decrying the paper's decision to run such a story on the front pages of the paper, GASP! The ABOMINATION of it all. GLORIFYING SUICIDE! Hardly. One person even pointed out that we know the law exists, we don't need to read about it like this, it should be kept quiet. Oregonians are the lucky ones. They have the law. No one else does. And people DO keep it quiet in 49 states because it is ILLEGAL to put yourself out of your misery in a humane way.

Then it got me thinking that even though we celebrate Freedom of Speech, last time I looked, people want to SPEAK but they don't want to listen, share, empathize, FEEL what someone else does. It's not only the right to die issue, it's any 'moral' issue (aren't they all?) like abortion/right to life, gay marriage, public health and education, ANYTHING that involves people and the decisions they have to make about their lives. Has the world gone crazy and no one can put themselves in another person's shoes for just a minute? Is it touching too much of a nerve for someone who sees things in black and white, only right and wrong, with no shades of gray, to put a name and a face and a story with the issue? Why is it that if my way isn't your way, then it must be wrong? Just because a law allows a person to do something you may not agree with doesn't mean YOU have to do it yourself. I can tell stories about people I know that should make any human being agree that a person with a terminal illness should have the right to die with dignity, that women of childbearing age have a right to contraception, and to make decisions about their health and welfare, that gay couples should have equal rights, including adopting children, that all children should to educated and protected. But there are too many simple answers these days. It's right, it's wrong. Lovelle was brave enough to put her name and face on this particular issue. Good for her. Now if only people could really hear what she said.