Posted tagged ‘spring training’

“I once spent a year in Philadelphia, I think it was on a Sunday.”

January 27, 2019

It’s cold but it is winter after all. The sun was bright earlier this morning, but clouds are in and out, white clouds, though, which don’t hide the light. Snow has a remote chance later in the morning.

I’m watching the send-off for the Patriots. Thirty Five Thousand people are in Gillette Stadium. Most of them are wearing Patriot’s gear. Send-offs aren’t unusual around here. Crowds even gather to send off the Red Sox equipment trucks to spring training. Even more than robins, those trucks are a sign that spring is coming.

When I was a kid, Sunday was a boring day, the most boring day of all. Nothing was opened. We had to stay around the house. My father monopolized the TV to watch football. None us watched with him. He was always a screamer and sometimes rose out of his chair to yell at the team as if they could hear him. When I was older, my mother and I would sit at the kitchen table and play word games. We didn’t need to watch the TV to follow the game play. We just listened to my father.

My mother cooked my favorite Sunday dinner on Saturday, the day before I left for Peace Corps training. She served roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy and baby peas. We didn’t talk all that much. My parents were sort of still in shock that I was leaving for two years, and I was going to Africa, a totally unknown place to all of us. That scared them. I was more excited than scared. My parents drove me to Logan Airport. My father had purchased a plane ticket for me. Peace Corps had sent a bus ticket to Philadelphia, and my father said no way. We walked together to the gate where my parents and I said goodbye. I looked back once and waved. My mother was crying. I know I’ve told this story before, but it is a favorite of mine. I found my seat and started to put all my carry-ons away. There were so many my seat mate asked me if I was running away from home. I told him I was headed to Peace Corps training in Africa. He bought me a couple of drinks. That memory always gives me a chuckle.

“Birds are the eyes of heaven, and flies are the spies of hell.”

March 26, 2017

Okay, I am confessing that I watched shark movies yesterday. The worst, by far, was Avalanche Sharks. Supernatural sharks materialized in the snow after an avalanche. Their fins skimmed the snow as if they were in water. The victims knew what was coming. The sharks were drawn, I suppose, to the Bikini Snow Day contest. Even sharks couldn’t resist those bikini-clad coeds. The sharks, from under the snow, fed on the skiers. Many shots were of skiers screaming as the shark munched on the lower parts of their bodies. I was rooting for the sharks.  One line was so horrific I wrote it down. The speaker was describing the death of his former girlfriend, “There wasn’t enough of her to make a sloppy Joe.”

The morning was sunny and warmish at 44˚, but since then clouds have covered the sky. Rain is predicted for tomorrow; of course, it is. Tomorrow looks to be the warmest day in a while.

I’m so eager for baseball to start, I’ve been watching Red Sox spring training games. Yesterday I was thrilled to hear Jerry Remy back in the booth. He and Don Orsillo, the former play by play announcer, were amazing together. They called a great game though they did tend to go off topic if the Sox were winning in a rout or losing by the same. The pizza slice video was my favorite. I don’t remember why the two men in the stands started at each other, but it culminated in a pizza slice being thrown. Don and Jerry were laughing so hard they could barely talk. They showed that video several times. They always laughed. Don left the Red Sox as his contract wasn’t renewed. He went to San Diego. I still miss him.

Tonight is game night. We always have something easy to hold for dinner as we play through. This week I am the dessert bringer or rather the dessert buyer.

The first fly of the season is in the house. It is probably enjoying the heat. I usually chase flies with a rolled-up magazine, hoping to swat them to oblivion. This fly looks little, a small target. I’ll have to hope my skills didn’t rust over the winter. That fly is mine!!

“I dont hate it he thought, panting in the cold air, the iron New England dark; I dont. I dont! I dont hate it! I dont hate it!”

January 10, 2017

Last night was bitterly cold. It was 7˚. Everything which had melted froze again. My front step was so icy I was afraid to walk on it. I thought it was an accident waiting to happen, but it didn’t. I got in and out of the house without incident. Gracie slides on the last couple of deck steps. They have been de-iced several times as have the front steps. Today is currently 36˚, the predicted low. The high temperature will be 40˚. Tomorrow could hit 50˚. My whole world will melt.

My outside Christmas lights are still connected and glow every night. They are beautiful under the layer of snow. The star on the fence is my favorite. It doesn’t matter if there are clouds, a bright star always shines. When I went out last night early in the evening, I saw many houses still had their nights lit. They looked beautiful.

We have added over 20 minutes of light since the Winter Solstice. Red Sox pitchers and catchers report to spring training on February 12th; the rest of the team reports February 16th. Despite snow and cold, the signs are evident. We will have a spring!!

When I was a kid, I never really took notice of the seasons as much as the events of each season. This stretch from New Year’s Day to February vacation seemed to take forever. Nothing happened. It was as close to a rut as any kid gets. If we wanted to play outside after school, we’d have maybe an hour, maybe less, before it got dark. Putting on layers, boots, hats and mittens seemed far too much work for such a short time. If there was no snow, I’d haul my bike out of the cellar then put it back when I had to go inside the house. That was a lot of work for a short time as it took some wrangling to get the bike out of the cellar because of the concrete wall right across from the cellar door. I had to put the bike on end to get it out of the cellar. In summer I’d leave the bike in the yard, but in winter it went back inside.

My mother used to have to reach up into the arms of our winter coats to pull down our shirtsleeves by the cuffs. She was thrilled when we finally learned to hold on to our cuffs when she’d put on our coats. I was watching TV the other day, and I saw a character hold on to his cuffs when he put on his topcoat. I had to chuckle. His mother must have been thrilled.

It is sad. Tonight President Obama is making his farewell address. I will miss him.

“Baking is like washing–the results are equally temporary.”

February 15, 2014

Batten down the hatches! A storm is a comin’, and the Cape is going to get walloped, all the weathermen agree. They just can’t agree on how much snow. The estimates range from 8″ to a foot or more. It is supposed to start this afternoon which gives me time for storm prep. I filled the feeders earlier then made a shopping list. After I finish here, Gracie and I will head to the dump on a most non-traditional day then on to the grocery store. I need bread, one of those must get before the storm comes items, but such of the rest of the list is good for the soul, not so much the body. Chocolate is on the list as is coconut ice cream. If I can’t be in the tropics, I can taste the tropics and imagine palm trees and soft breezes.

The morning was sunny and warm. Since then, the sky has become that funny whitish grey color I always associate with a storm. It’s a still day. The dead leaves on the branches just hang without even a flutter. Even the birds have disappeared, probably somewhere sheltered jockeying for space. Snow, even yet to fall snow, makes the day quiet.

My house is clean, and I have no laundry to do. I can spend my day reading or watching movies or baking. That’s right. I said baking. I am a good cook and I am not being boastful, only truthful. I used to have dinner parties all the time and serve elaborate meals. Choosing a theme was first. Mostly we visited other countries, and my table decorating matched our destinations. I even made papier mâché buildings which I painted true to color. My onion domed Russian churches were the stuff of legends. The piñatas were colorful and covered in layers of tissue paper. For every meal I made a flow chart and followed it religiously. It began with the recipes I’d chosen and the ingredients listed aisle by aisle in the supermarket. Then came the two-day preparation. I started most of the dishes and stopped at a step which I would continue the day of the dinner. The last list on the flow chart was what cooked at which temperature for how long. Today, though, I will not be as ambitious. I’m thinking plain old cupcakes without fanfare.

Spring training begins today for pitchers and catchers. There will be a summer. I have hope. 

“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”

January 31, 2014

The day isn’t pretty, but it’s warmer than it has been so I’ll take it. Icicles are dripping and falling off the eaves. Gracie barks at the sound of them falling thinking we have an intruder. The snow is melting off the roof to the deck and sounds like rain. Miss Gracie has been in and out all morning, another sign of a warmer day. Her paw prints cover the kitchen’s tile floor. Maddie the cat, on the other hand, sits with her head inside the lamp shade close to the bulb. I’m thinking it is her way of fighting seasonal affective disorder. The light isn’t needed for reading any more but I’m leaving it on for Maddie.

I am bored with winter. I am sick of staying inside and tired of being cold. I want the snow gone. I want spring. This weariness, this languor, isn’t unexpected. It happens the same time every winter, at the beginning of February, two weeks from pitchers and catchers and three weeks from position players reporting for spring training. My mind gets filled with images and sounds. I can see the grassy, plush outfields and hear the crack of the bat hitting the ball. I think about watching the ball arc and sail over the wall followed by shouts and cheers. I can’t wait for baseball to start. I check the sports pages every day for even the smallest tidbit about the Sox. Forget the Celtics, easy to do this year, and the Bruins. Bring on my Red Sox.

My sister gave me a Red Sox sweatshirt for Christmas. I now have three: a blue World Series 2007, a green one with Red Sox across the front and now the new red one with Boston emblazoned on it for all to see. No one will doubt my allegiance.

I’m more than ready to hear Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to Fenway Park.

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant.”

February 6, 2012

Okay, I am now looking forward to spring training. On February 19th, pitchers and catchers report, and opening day isn’t all that far away. Last year my Red Sox shot themselves in the feet; I have higher hopes for this year. Someone has to win something.

I have news. My trip to Ghana last year strengthened my love for that country. When I was leaving, I was upset that I had been there for only two weeks, and I swore I’d go back at least one more time. That one more time is in August. I am booked to leave August 24th arriving in Ghana on August 25th and then leaving September 17th and arriving home on the 18th. I found a ticket only $100.00 more than last year, and it includes the roundtrip flights between Boston and Washington and the flights to and from Accra, first class both ways. I get my sleeping pod.

Francisca, my student who is in Ohio and came to visit me here, will be back in Ghana by then and will pick me up at the airport and drive me to Bolga after we visit a few tourist spots. The list includes  Cape Coast, the canopy walk and Elmina. We’ll then backtrack to the Volta Region for the ride north. That is the only region I haven’t seen. I’ll stay with Francisca in her village. It will be rooster alarm clock and bucket bath time again. After my last trip. I’m back to being a bucket bath expert. I hope to bring school supplies with me for the village school. Francisca will make a list of needs, and I’ll try my best to fill them.

Today is a beautiful day, sunny and warm. It is 42° and feels a little like an early spring day when it’s still cold but the air has a hint of what’s to come. I know this is only early February and snow is still a possibility, but I’m thinking spring. My daffodil bud is even more pronounced than it was a few days ago, and there are shoots all over the front garden. I know it’s winter but my hearts sings of spring.