Today’s interruption is brought to you by baseball and childhood.

Many many years ago in a land far far away, I got to go to a baseball game. Not just any baseball game, but a game with my heros! This story involves my childhood, so it was MANY years ago, a different century and millennium, and any trip over 50 miles was far far away to me. As it was we were traveling to New York to see my grandparents. Travel in those days was not easy as my dad usually had to take us to a train depot, or an airport far from home to make connections.

So we had taken part of the trip in the car to Kansas City. We visited some friends of my parents and while there we went to a baseball game. At that time the A’s were in Kansas City (1955-1968) which is a fact that only matters because I was able to go and see them play the YANKEES, which were in the Bronx, and continue to be in the Bronx.

The YANKEES were THE team. Every kid in America loved them, including me, and this was a time frame when they were powerful. I think I knew every player, at least the ones that counted: Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Whitey Ford, Moose Skowron. I was about to go and see them all. It was a day I’ll never forget. Actually I didn’t get to see them all. One of the M’s didn’t play but I can’t remember if it was Mantle or Maris, so I have chosen to remember that I saw them all.

Fast forward to December 2007. We took a trip to NYC to see my daughter. Boy did we see NYC and had a blast, but the highlight of the trip for me was a surprise that Jennifer and Gene cooked up. A birthday present I think. They had planned a tour of Yankees stadium!! WOW!!

bridgeIt was a Sunday as I remember and the day was gray and windy. We decided to drive and took the Throg’s Neck bridge. We could see the white caps on the water and there were spots where the water had splashed onto the highway. But nothing was going to dampen my enthusiasm. I was only worried that we would get lost. I had always hoped to go to a ballgame at Yankee Stadium and this was as close as I was ever going to get.

subwayWe did arrive safely and decided we had enough time to grab some lunch before the tour. I think it was a McDonald’s or a chain fast food place at least. As we came out of the restaurant fast food place we could see the subway sign and my heart started beating a little faster. The stadium was right there in the background, but it was so large I didn’t actually notice it. Not only one stadium, but two. The new one was being built right across the street from the old one.

gene-dugoutWe made it to the tour. We were inside that historic stadium and I was soaking it all in. Photos everywhere in the halls. All the greats. The pressbox where we could see all the field, covered with snow I might add. The clubhouse where we couldn’t take pictures because it is being used by the players. I could see some stuff left during the off-season, and smells, just like any locker room.

fieldAnd then …….. We were there, in the dugout!! All I could do was stutter: Babe Ruth sat here, Mickey Mantle sat here, and I continued to utter names that I knew. It was a minor point that none of those players had actually sat in that dugout since they did major renovations in the 1970’s. It just didn’t matter to me one little bit. Next thing I knew I was walking up the steps and touching the field. I really wanted to go out onto that field, but my desire to not be arrested took control. (I actually did step out onto the field later on, but there is no evidence, and I’ll deny it.) As a sidenote I could mention that my daughter has been to several games in this very stadium, but for now I again choose to ignore certain facts. She wants me to be jealous and I’m not going to do that.

So now it is October 2009. World Series time. The Yankees are once again playing in the Series. (I am going to totally ignore that they are one game behind the Phillies because a lot can change.) They are now playing in their new stadium and possibly someday I will take a tour of it also. I never grew out of loving them! And for now I’ll just enjoy my memories as they warm my heart on this cold snowy day.

Did I say snow? Of course I did, and let me just share the latest forecast on Day Two of this autumn storm we are having. This is not a good start for what is going to come when winter actually arrives.

Today:
Snow. Blowing snow. Snow accumulation around 2 inches. Highs 30 to 35. North winds 20 to 25 mph with gusts to 35 mph. Chance of snow near 100 percent.

Tonight:
Areas of blowing snow in the evening. Cloudy with snow likely. Colder. Snow accumulation around 2 inches. Lows 15 to 20. Northwest winds 10 to 20 mph with gusts to 30 mph. Chance of snow 70 percent. Wind chill readings zero to 10 above zero.

Today’s interruption is keeping me warm. Go Yankees!

 

Today’s interruption is brought to you by the weather and sadness.

I looked at the calendar earlier this week, right after I looked at the weather forecast which was predicting 10-20 inches of snow. SNOW!! again. I don’t think it is necessary to add the rest of this post which will describe my opinion of said forecast, but you have nothing better to do than read my opinion, and I have nothing better to do that give it.

It is autumn people! In fact, when I looked at the calendar I confirmed that we are only slightly over 1/3 of the way through autumn. Autumn: the season when leaves fall from the trees. I see nothing about snow in that definition. Let me repeat that: I see NOTHING about snow in that definition!!

snow1Now let’s talk for just a minute about that weather forecast. Originally it said we were in a “winter storm watch” and of course it now says “winter storm warning”. It says nothing about “autumn storm watch or warning”. Further, it says this warning continues until 6pm on Thursday. Today is the first day of this snow, and in a few hours we’ll add some nice wind to blow the snow around. I can hardly wait!

snow2As you can see by the photos, the leaves have not completely fallen off the chokecherry tree in our backyard, although they seem to be mostly off the other trees in the neighborhood. This is thanks to the snow we had a couple of weeks ago. The top of the privacy fence seems to have 3-4 inches of snow, and I took this photo at about 8am. Not that I am usually up at that time, but today was supposed to be a special day.

Special, but yet part of my usual routine. Not an interruption to it. It is quilting day – my once a month all day 10am-10pm sewing day working on just whatever projects I want, but mostly UFO’s (un-finished objects) which also could be called PIGS (projects in grocery bags). So there is sadness that I don’t get to go. Yes, quilting day is in that town 60 miles away. Sixty miles of snow-covered highway that will be full of drifts later today after the wind starts up. Sixty miles of winter weather that should be autumn weather!

Oh, and on one final note: the electricity is not co-operating, so I’m not sure I’ll even get to sew at home. We were without electricity at 5am this morning for a couple of hours, but it came back on before I got too cold. Since then it has been flickering a bit. I have the pellet stove cranked up and hopefully the city can control eliminate the outages.

This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.

Yes, there are much worse things that could interrupt my life.

 

Today’s interruption is brought to you by Crisco or whatever other brands of shortening are out there.

This was a couple of months ago.

Ring Ring or more like Doo-dah-DEE-duh Are you hearing the Halluliah chorus ringtone? Nothing as ordinary as ring ring for me.

Hello. Dessert is served in five minutes. WOW! Be right there. The conversation was short, very short. I think they hung up right after I said WOW and just assumed we would be there. And we were.

Our friends had invited us over to enjoy a freshly baked peach pie. Lois had gone to her son’s house to check on things and water the plants, and there right in front of her eyes was a pie. It had been a surprise gift for their son and new wife, but since they were off traveling for their honeymoon, Lois didn’t want to just leave it on their porch for another week. The fact that the pie was sitting on top of the freezer was just not an important point to her. Who would think of putting it in the freezer to await their return? Certainly not me, and obviously not Lois either. Thus, we got the phone call. When something good happens, share the news, or the pie, whichever the case may be.

We enjoyed! We raved! Especially about the crust! It had been forever since any of us had tasted crust so yummy and flaky and so homemade. If a pie is cut into 8 pieces, and there are 4 people, simple math tells you we got to bring some home.

Not long after, I got to meet the pie maker. Meredith makes lots of pies every week and she made it sound so easy. I just figured I would probably never learn the secret.

Yesterday, I headed out the door to go and have coffee with Lois. This is not an interruption in my daily, or at least weekly routine. We like to get together and catch up on news or plan what things are coming up in the way of quilting classes we might be taking.

As I walked in the door, there was Meredith, the pie maker. She has become a friend of Lois since the wedding and I just figured our coffee time would be a threesome, which always is fun.

We’re going to learn to make pie crust Lois announced, as she asked me if I wanted flavored coffee or regular. I chose flavored since it was already made and we could get to the pie making faster.

Get to the pie making? How exciting! I was going to learn how from a pro! I was going to become a pro, which was even more exciting! No more cooking shows on TV for me. I was going to be the star!

So Meredith started putting flour in the bowl. “How much” I asked. hmmm Meredith replied. “You’ll have to sort of guess. It depends on how many pies you are making” It looked to be about 4 cups of flour to make enough for 2 pies, with both a bottom and top crust. Next was the Crisco, and again with the “have to guess” method. Again, I guessed it to be about a cup and half.

This was not going to be easy at all. It seemed like I was never going to be a pie maker. Goodbye stardom. Goodbye TV show. Hello again Mrs Smith my old friend.

Throughout the next hour we watched; we learned. About the texture of the dough, the temperature of the dough, when to add a little more shortening, when to add a dribble more of water, how to flour the counter and then roll out the dough, as well as some other neat tricks and helpful hints. Yes, Virginia, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Now I just have to be brave and try it, or go and study all the step-by-step pictures at Pioneer Woman. She has a totally different recipe but it does have actual measurements if you’d prefer not to guess.

And speaking of Pioneer Woman, did you notice her site is in my favorites in the column over on the right hand side? And did you know she is coming out with a cookbook, with LOTS of living color pictures? And did you know it is the only thing on my Christmas list? (so far)

Happy Pie Crust making to everyone. What a pleasant interruption to an otherwise ordinary Wednesday afternoon. Next time I’ll take pictures.

 

Today’s interruption is brought to you by the Union Pacific Railroad and the Nebraska State Patrol.

Okay this isn’t starting out as likely to have a happy ending, but, trust me, it does. Of course it does; I’m writing it aren’t I, and I can do anything I want with my story.

Yesterday I had a meeting in a neighboring town about an hour away from home. (Yes, when a person lives in the wide-open-spaces, “neighboring” can mean distances of 60 miles or more, with not much but space in between.) I already knew when I left home that the meeting was going to last a couple of hours, but I didn’t think more than that. *sigh* Yes, the meeting lasted until 5:30. Could it have gotten over earlier? Yes it could have, but that is a story for another day.

I had wanted to get home by 6 for several reasons, with the weather being a huge concern. For the last several days we had been having winter weather. Not the once in a while fall snowfall we can get, but real honest-to-goodness winter weather. Winter weather, horrible weather, what the heck is happening weather Where is global warming weather. We’d had days of snow, and freezing cold, as in the teens and twenties, and now it was expected to start raining or more accurately rain turning to snow. Life just doesn’t get any better than this!

Another reason to get home by dark is the deer. Deer don’t like to follow the rules you know. They don’t stay away from the highways and leave the cars alone. Why do we have fences then, you ask. “Obviously, they are only for cows,” say the deer.

I had decided to take the route that follows the river on the south side. There is a much prettier view, and far less traffic this time of year. It is beet season here. Sugar beets, for those of you who don’t realize that not all sugar comes from cane. During beet harvest there are numerous semi’s loaded with beets heading to the factory, which is located on the north side of the highway. And due to the weather (see above) they were out in full force. I wouldn’t mind the trucks and I do think the drivers are competent, but every once in a while a beet decides to jump out of the trailer and onto the windshield of an oncoming car. The beets seem to be in cahoots with the deer.

Shortly after I started out on the highway, going down the south side, enjoying the view, watching out for deer, I realized I was following a state trooper. Not to worry as I had no plans to exceed the speed limit, but the trooper seemed to have no plans for at least going the speed limit. Nope, he was going about 15mph slower. What to do? Not having total confidence that the speedometer in the car is accurate, I decided not to pass. I would follow until the “cut across” to the north side and take whichever way he or her didn’t. Yep, mind is made up.

At the cut across he/she went straight, so I decided to cut across to the north side. I was so focused on not following the trooper that I neglected to see the train beside me. I slowed, I turned, I stopped right behind a car that was stopped at the railroad crossing for the train that was just starting to move. A coal train! An 872 car coal train! Maybe even more. Okay maybe not that many cars, but the most they are allowed if there is a law. Here in western Nebraska we get to experience at least 100 coal trains a day coming out of Wyoming. Suddenly I realized that as soon as I crossed the river I would be in BNSF Railroad territory doing the same thing: moving that coal to power plants on the east coast, so that all people living in metropolitan areas instead of wide-open-spaces can have electricity to power their computers to read my blog.

The force was with me! I reached the north side and no trains were coming. I pulled out onto the 4-lane, full of beet trucks going and coming from the factory and continued on my way. No more troopers; no more trains; only 50 (of the total 60) miles to travel home, and 10 minutes to get there before dark! All the time watching for deer who think they are in charge of the traffic flow.

Freezing rain, fog, and more traffic all greeted me as I traveled onward. I should be working for the post office. But I knew what awaited me at home: a warm house with the pellet stove going, and supper ready to be served. That Gene! He is so good to me!

 

Trust me on the sunscreen

This is another article I came across on the internet – actually I think it was some sort of slideshow or video at youtube that had some very nice background music and this text overlaid onto some pictures. I did the usual search on some of the text and discovered where the text had originated. Enjoy!

Mary¬† Schmich is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune.¬† Schmich’s June 1, 1997 column began with the injunction to wear sunscreen, and continued with advice for living without regret. In her introduction to the column, she described it as the commencement address she would give if she were asked to give one.

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’97:

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine. Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum.

The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blind side you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Sing.

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Floss.

Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw your old bank statements.

Stretch.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t know.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave it before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.

Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess around too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.