Month: March 2011

At Bat

Oh glorious day. It’s the opening day of the 2011 Baseball season – yay.

What!? Baseball, but I thought you were British? I am. But, get this, we love baseball. Weird as it may be.

It all began in 2005 when Gav and I took our first trip across the pond to NYC. I bought us a couple of baseball tickets and as the Yankees were playing on the road that day we ended up going to see the Mets. How lucky we were. The Mets are definitely the real NYC team (don’t throw stuff – it’s just my opinion) I would liken the difference between the supporters of the Yankees and the Mets to that of Man Utd and Man City.

So we watched the Mets at Shea Stadium.

And I remember so well getting off the subway and walking down the steps, seeing this picture in front of us. It was everything I had imagined with the floodlights and the crowd. They won the game and a new love affair was born.

That’s the thing about a love affair isn’t it. You may be miles apart but the moment you see each other again it’s like time stood still and you are deeply in love again.

So when we went back to NYC in 2008, (we had been in 2007 but that was a January visit = no baseball as the regular season runs from April to September) we got tickets again for the Mets and saw them win again against the Cubs.

And this was the last season at Shea as the club was moving into a new ground at Citi Field.

During the trip in 2008 we were stateside for just over two weeks and watched lots of different games on TV. The love affair was blossoming.

But again we came home and were miles from our love. Then one day in the summer of 2009 I was mindlessly surfing channels through the cable box and found ESPN America and right there in front of my very eyes was a honest to goodness baseball game. All summer long we watched and even looked the rules up online and actually began to understand what the heck was going on.

We were still Mets fans but they were not having much luck and finished really low down that season. Nevertheless we waited eagerly for the start of the 2010 season and again watched with glee.

So when ‘the big trip’ was being planned I once again sorted out Mets tickets. And while I was online doing that the game on the TV was the Giants. Oh, their in San Francisco. Maybe we could go to two live games since we are also going to San Francisco. And the ground at A T & T Park is so pretty!

So I booked Giants tix aswell. Two baseball games, live, in two weeks. 

We saw the Giants lose against the Brewers,  

and the Mets lose against the Brewers!

But we loved both games especially the Giants as it was a sell out crowd, they had given 5,000 Buster Posey shirts away so the ground was awash with orange and because they were doing really well in their ‘division’.

And do you know what happened in the World Series last year.

Oh yeah baby. The Giants won. The players we had sat and watched in awe at the beautiful ground in San Francisco went on to win against the Yankees in the World Series. It was like our baseball story had come full circle.

So we come to this year and because of some upgrade Gav sorted out with the cable company the ESPN America channel is not part of the package we get now………………… Bum.

But all is not lost in these days of the internet and we have signed up to MLB TV. And tonight is the first game of the season. We think we’ll watch the Yankees or maybe the Braves, or maybe both because you can split the TV screen apparently!

I cannot wait. Three hours to go.

Lets go Mets. Lets go Giants. Lets GO.

log burning stove

About a year ago we had a log buring stove fitted.

I was an expensive little number mainly because it was okay to burn wood in smoke controlled areas  and it’s a clean burn stove, something about burning the wood then the exhaust gas from the wood?! Anyway, we love it. It has the odd temperamental moment and when you open the door to throw another log on the smoke and fumes are a little pungent but that’s the price for an efficient stove.

So I lit the stove at 4.30 the other evening. It felt a little cold out and I was in need of added warmth from living flames. Lucky for me the wood, which Gav gets from someone at work, read – let’s hope it’s sustainable! – was really wet but I managed to grab a few dry timbers and get the fire roaring. Gav was off to a football match so I had no worries when the temperature gauge hit 24 degrees, and I was still covered over with a fleecy throw. Buddy passed out for a while with pure delight at being that cosy.

Normally, if Gav had been in the house, a running battle would have commenced about the temperature in the room, doors would have been thrown open and arguments started and even, no don’t even go there, he’d have threatened the removal of the trousers! Imagine.

But he wasn’t here so I watched with glee as the temperature rose a bit more. An all time record 25 degrees. It’s a shame the warm weather is coming. I’ll miss those glowing embers.

Until October little stove, until October……

On the subject of books

There is the most wonderful second hand bookshop in Alnwick, Northumberland.

Barter Books. It is in the old railway station and is always busy and always a joy to go into. At the front of the shop is an open fire with tea and coffee and biscuits offered on an honesty system. There is a huge squishy sofa and a couple of arm chairs set out there too just like you own living room, amid stacks and racks of paperbacks. Through the doorway and above your head runs a miniature railway. Obviously tribute to the building the shop is in. It, apparently, was the first place to publish the old Keep Calm and Carry on posters having found an original way back 2000 at the bottom of a box full of books they had bought. The other thing they say is that they are one of the biggest second hand bookshops in Britain which makes me want to find out where the others are.

I had a little list with me as last time we came I just wandered around in awe rather than hunting for specifics. I bought another ‘The TV Book club’ recommendation from a series a few years back. ‘P.S, I Love You’ by Cecilia Ahern. I also bought ‘The House at Riverton’ by Kate Morton although after I read the blurb again I’m not sure it is my thing.

Gav bought ‘Juliet Naked’ by Nick Hornby, ‘The Astronomy Encyclopaedia’ and ‘So long and thanks for all the fish’ by Douglas Adams. And a Wainwright walking book. And that little lot only came to 25 quid. Talk about bargains.

So my stash of books is growing nicely and that order I placed at Amazon has arrived too.

I have nearly got a pile of 26 to go at all this year.


A job! and meditation

I went to my local craft shop the other week and on my way out, purchases in hand, I spotted an ad for casual staff on the notice board. I stood and stared. Work. Um…..

So, I did the right thing and turned on my heel and went back up to the counter ( I know incredible I should have just legged it) and gave my name and details and that I would yes, be interested in casual work.

On the ride home I was actually quite pleased with myself having fought the urge to remain workless for ever. When I told Gav he did a little dance – at the prospect of getting me back into work which he was beginning to panic about – and then said ‘It’s like the mother ship is calling you home.’ And that’s exactly what it’s like. I mean working with all those lovely supplies of paper, card, scissors and a vast assortment of other goodies.

Anyway they didn’t ring and off we went on hols and I thought hey ho it was a nice idea but never mind.  Then last week I needed something crafty and went back to the shop. The manager recognised me as registering my interest before about the casual work and said something might be coming up. Gulp.

Then she rang last Saturday to say could I go in on Monday! (yesterday) oh, and do a couple of hours till training tomorrow (Sunday) Gulp, gulp. Um……. till training. I’d forgotten about tills. I haven’t used a till for twenty years. But I panicked a bit then got a grip and did it. And then yesterday did a whole days work. My feet ache! My brain aches!

So who knows what will happen now. Hopefully a day or so a week which will give us the extra cash and get my mind working again and maybe increase my motivation.

And talking of motivation I did go and buy a book following that last post. I decided to go with the meditation thing. And after pouring over descriptions on Amazon and then in the book shop too I decided to take the easy option and went for…..

I have started it but what with working for a living again well, I might just be too busy for this life altering stuff.

Just kidding.

No really.


More books

I finished The Vanished Man by Jeffery Deaver. I liked it. Not really annoying at the end, although he had me going for half a page or so with all those twists and turns. But that’s why I read him right? I will be going back to Rhyme and Sachs later this year.

I then started Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, a bigger contrast I don’t think you could find.

Little Women has been on my list since before I even had a list. I grew up loving the 1949 film version with June Allyson and Elizabeth Taylor and wanted to read the novel. But never got round to it although I have had a copy for about ten years. As I read I can picture the film characters which at the moment is a good thing. So far it seems to be mirroring the story.

I had a little break from the little women though while on holiday. My sister bought me Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert for Christmas.

(I would usually insert a photo of the book but have already leant it to my sister so I can’t!And am not a whizz with the blog to get one of the internet either…….)

I had mentioned it when we’d been wandering round a bookshop back in November 2010 and although I was thinking of getting it for her, she ended up buying it for me and I have been keeping it for the holiday. My sister had also gave the book to my older niece for Christmas tooand she read it back in January and demanded I read asap because it was brilliant. So I dived in.

My niece was right. Oh boy. It was so thought provoking and well written and I feel weird saying this, but it’s made me want to find God. And go back to Rome and actually embrace it like Elizabeth did. The book wasn’t perfect. But then why should it be. This is her story , her journey and she told it very well. But I found myself skipping parts of Indonesia to get to the love story bit. However I did go back and read the parts I’d missed. And although not everything resonated with me that won’t put me off passing it on to friends and getting them to read it.

It has got my mind working and thinking and seeing possibilities. Things I want to alter. Things I want to try. I won’t be running off to the local church or running away from home but I see in her words and the experience she shared the possibility of growing, changing, finding a little variations to the path I’m on.  

It could be my latest phase, yes of course it could. It could be simply that I have no job at the moment and need to channel my energies (if I, in fact have any energy) into ‘something’.

But I’m okay with that. I just adore the fact that a book can do this to you.

Go now and read it.

Looking beyond the end of my nose

A year ago Gav, Lew and I took our annual trip to the coast of Northumberland for my birthday. We have been going to the same cottage for about 8 years and still love every second we are there. I thought it would be good for my observation skills and for remembering more of what was around me if I honed in on five things I noticed when I went out for a walk each day. As Lewis wasn’t too well I was out walking alone.

I jotted down the time, weather, sun or moon position and then the five things I saw while wandering along the windswept beach and coastline. This simple exercise captured things that I would never have remembered if I had not written them down. And looking back at what I wrote makes me so glad that I did write them down.  

We spend to much of our lives rushing from task to task or place to place that we don’t ‘see’ the world around us. And I’m as guilty as the next person for doing this. In fact sometimes when I’m so busy getting that perfect photograph I miss ordinary life happening right there in the frame.

We have just returned from this years trip. We introduced Buddy to the beach and missed Lew so much. I had every intention of doing the same challenge this year. But it didn’t work out that way. First I was walking with Buddy or Gav and Buddy and we were very focussed (forgive the pun) on the new camera. But I did keep looking beyond, looking for little things to make me remember what it was like there this year.

Here are a few glimpses of this wonderful place.

Amazing sunset using the tripod.



Amazing beach huts nestled in the dunes.

Hello buoy.

Flying pooch.

Almost getting our feet wet.

My niece getting her feet wet and Buddy steering clear of the waves.

Walking on the dunes with a regal chap.

All of the pictures are straight out of the camera. No messing with anything in photoshop. Yes, the sky was really that blue…..

Moody Tuesday

I’m in one of those moods.

(The creme eggs have nothing to do with my mood….or maybe they have? Oh that’s deep! Just wanted to post a picture.) 

Nothing is right. I’m sitting in front of the computer trying to learn about wordpress so I can make this blog pretty and better looking generally and I do not understand anything about stupid HTML or CSS even though I have the Dummies book. And the WordPress book, oh and a husband who actually understands all of this cr*p because he is a software developer and writes this stuff for a living. But he thinks I should learn for myself…….grrrr.

Ah, it feels good to get it off my chest. Still doesn’t make this blog pretty but I feel better.

Kal has a great post up about ugly truths. It’s good to read that we are all not perfect and do things we are not proud of. We’re human after all.  

The other thing that isn’t right is that I’m wasting my life. I have said it before but since I made that comment at the beginning of the year I haven’t done much that’s positive. I have applied for the census collector jobs and applied for another job but heard nothing as yet. I still have oodles of things I could do but never get them done. Like learning about wordpress.

Oh, we have come full circle. Time to shut up I feel.

Around here

1. Recording one day in my life.

As part of the class I’m taking over at Big Picture Classes I’m doing a scrap book layout of a day in my life. Just an ordinary day. Ali, in her video presentation discussed the idea of past perspective again. What details about the past would I like to know and how that shapes the journaling I write down today. I am making notes about the details, the nitty gritty of my day, taking some pictures and getting it all down on one sheet of 12×12 cardstock.

2. Mega amazon order placed.

In the quest for reading 26 books this year I have been watching and catching up with past episodes of the TV book club on More 4. I have also been watching the great series on BBC2 My life in Books. And am really looking forward to World Book Night, even though I have no intention of reading any of the ones that are being given away. Remember I’m way picky. But because of these two TV shows I have added to my amazon order and stepping timidly out of my comfort zone.

The My Life in Books has also got the brain whirring about what books I’d pick if I had to choose five books to sum up my own life in books. Might think a bit more about that and come back to it later. In the meantime here is my latest.

The Vanished Man. Not an award winner but it grips.

3. Extra Buddy walks.

The nights are getting lighter and what a joy that is. Yesterday I decided to take Bud to the park at 5pm for a second walk. Lucky pooch. This was partly to do with the lighter nights but also in the quest to get that little dog more used to the car. Here are two pictures from the two trips we made to the park today.

 4. First veg seeds sown.

The sunny day today encouraged me outside to ponder the state of the garden and greenhouse. While I was despairing at the state of it all I threw a few salad seeds into a pot and tucked it on a sunny shelf in the greenhouse. There is something rather wonderful about that little process.

5. True Grit.

Gav and I went to see the film the other night. It was good. Not brilliant but okay. Now there is a review! The young actress was amazing though. Makes me want to either read the book or see the original again just to compare.

A small snapshot of life around here recently.