Bleacher Bum Wannabe

I watched a Chicago Cubs baseball game last night.

I don’t do this often.  In fact, Steph mentioned to me that the only time I watch baseball is when I’m back home in Dubuque visiting the ‘Rents.  For that, I place the blame squarely on Bill Ross.  He was our neighbor for many, many years until he moved into his ‘dream house’ about three houses further down the street.

This man, however, is a fanatical Cubs fan.  He instilled that in us Hughes’ boys.  That’s stuck with us to this day.  Heck, even my older brother, Greg, wouldn’t let his daughter name her new cat with four white paws ‘White Socks’.  Greg let it be named Socks.

I remember going to Mr. Ross’ house for parties as a kid.  If the Cubs were playing, it was on the TV in the den.  Even if he wasn’t in there all the time, he’d make sure to pass through.  Now, for us kids who didn’t really enjoy adult parties, we hung out in the den.  It had a patchwork couch on one side and a recliner on the other.  Cubs memorabilia was the decor of choice.  Pictures of players and Wrigley Field.  I remember a framed line-up of a team, but I can’t remember which year it was.  There was a gumball machine that dispensed peanuts.  When Mr. Ross thought about it, there were M&Ms in a bowl.  Those never lasted after one of our visits. 

On one wall hung The Dugout by Norman Rockwell.  I like this painting.  It’s the quintessential image for the Cubbies.  I do hope that some day they’ll win the World Series again.  And I truly do hope that it happens before Mr. Ross is no longer with us.  He deserves that much.

Some of the enthusiasm for baseball faded as I got older.  I think it was the strike of 1994 that did it.  I miss players like Ryne Sandberg, Andre Dawson, and Mark Grace.  Yet anytime I turn on a game, it’s got to be a Cubs game.  Because that’s the way it is.

And that game I watched?  Cubs won in the bottom of the 13th off a Grand Slam.

Go Cubbies.


Nordic Fest 2009 is drawing to a close.  It was a strange one this year, mostly because the highs were in the low 70s.  It’s the first time I can remember actually being cold at a Nordic Fest but it made it really nice and more enjoyable. The highlights:

  • Elveløpet 5K Road Race – 24th overall, 3rd in my age group.  Only people who beat me were younger than me.  My pace was a steady 6:33 per mile.  Extremely pleased.
  • Watched the parade with Steph and afterward, had a nice lunch on the lawn of the courthouse.
  • Discovered that Ligonberry Juice is really darn good.
  • Met one of the other folks who will be attending Viable Paradise.

Normally, we go back on Saturday night to do the dancing (it’s the one time of year I dance) but Steph was pretty beat.  She did the Elveløpet 15K.  Finished strong, but running 9.3 miles in under an hour and a half is bound to wipe anyone out.  So she came home and made black raspberry syrup and jam and froze a bundle of blueberries.

Yeah … we’re still working on that whole ‘relaxing’ thing with her 🙂

Fairy Dust

My mom is going in for surgery next week to repair a fracture in her leg.  The doctors are going to remove a portion of the bone and replace it with an iron rod.  They’ll also put a bit of ‘cadaver dust’ in there to help the bone and rod fuse together.

Predictiably, this leads to a conversation.

Steph : Cadaver dust?  Is that like fairy dust?

Me : I think so.

Steph : So they get it from dead fairies?

Me : I don’t believe in fairies!

Gak, thud.

*grind grind grind*

Speed Reader …

… I am not.

This is a rather sad fact when you consider my grand desire to be a writer and all.

Plain and simple, I’m a slow reader when it comes to books.  I’ve been reading Snow Crash for the past two weeks.  Only half way through.  Elizabeth Bear’s Carnival is sitting on my desk waiting to be read.  If I want to get through the other instructors from VP, I’d better get a moving.

Thankfully I’ve had a friend in Mother Nature who has given us a weird July.  Normally we avoid going outside this time of year because we’ll melt.  The past week or so, I’ve been packing a jacket to take to work because it’s a tad bit chilly outside.  It has made it nice to sit out on the porch though.

Over lunch, I head out there and get a chapter or two read.  If the cat lets me that is.  He sleeps on the chair so I sit on the bench.  Then he decides the bench looks comfy and heads on over to stretch out.  So I sit on the chair.  Now he thinks the chair looks good …

Hey, wait a second.  Maybe I’m not a slow reader.  It’s that darn cat!  It’s his fault!

Ah, cats.  Is there anything you can’t blame on them?

Are We There Yet?

87 days, 2088 hours, 125,280 minutes, 7,516,600 seconds until Viable Paradise.  Not that I’m counting or anything:)

It’s made it difficult to concentrate at work lately.  I’ve been reading up on everything Viable Paradise related – podcast, blog entries, diaries, videos, etc.  My writing has been going exceptionally well.  I guess it’s been a big confidence booster.

I also decided that in order to not look like an ass, I should read up on some of the instructors whom I haven’t read before.  Working at Luther helps with that.  Interlibrary Loan to the rescue.  I’ve got two books so far – Elizabeth Bear’s Carnival and Laura Mixon’s Burning the Ice.  Thankfully, I’ve already read something from James MacDonald (Apocalypse Door and his Writing with Uncle Jim thread on Absolute Write) and John Scalzi (Old Man’s War, Ghost Brigade, Agent to the Stars, and his blog at Whatever).  Not that it relieves any pressure on me.  There’s quite a bit more reading to do.

And for a person who is going to miss out on Martha’s Vineyard at the height of its beauty, Steph is remarkably upbeat.  Last night she found a way to save a few hundred bucks on the flight.  And she hasn’t stopped telling me how proud she is.  That makes me feel downright giddy:)

Paradise Mine

On June 24th, I submitted an application to Viable Paradise, the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Writers Workshop in Martha’s Vineyard.  Shortly after that, I started thinking of what I would do should I be accepted. Maybe make a post with the definitions of Viable and Paradise and work that into some witty essay.  Dance a little jig.  Go out for dinner.  Faint.

Yeah, so none of that happened.  Wanna know what happened?

6:03am – check e-mail

6:04am -“HOLY SHIT!

Why yes, I’ve been accepted to Viable Paradise:)

Hosomaki-zushi Anyone?

Or in English, Sushi anyone?  Spinach and Pine Nut Rolls (Hosomaki-zushi)

Last time we were in Florida, I picked up a Vegetarian Sushi book.  Steph and I both like Sushi and I’ve been aching to try this out.  One problem – it’s kind of hard to find a bamboo sushi mat here in Decorah.  Luckily, Steph found one weekend when she was up in Minneapolis with a friend. I had the day off and decided to give it a whirl.  Turned out great and taste even better.

Next up – Asparagus and Sweet Red Pepper (Hosomaki-zushi) or Vegetarian California Rolls.