Victory Was Snatched From the Team's Hands......

And dealt Brian's Baseball team another loss......

Fall Baseball started 3 weeks ago, and I am only now starting to feel like we are "in the groove". I think that is because I have only attended two games, though.

The Fall season lasts for 5 weeks, much shorter than the Spring season, and the level of play is more advanced - for Brian's age group, the teams play utilizing a combination of "kid pitch" and "coach pitch". Brian is on the Sun Devils and (unfortunately) the team has yet to win a game.

Last night, there was a ray of hope - in the 3rd inning, Brian hit into the outfield and ran for a triple! Here he is on third base.



He eventually scored the team's 2nd run of the night, and by the end of the 3rd inning the Sun Devils were LEADING over their opponent, by a score of 4-2. At the top of the last inning, we were leading by a score of 5-2. We could smell a victory at hand.....

But alas, fate would deliver another loss, as the opposing team scored 5 runs. The kids were disappointed. BUT - we saw improvement in all of players, and they are starting to gel together as a team. They will continue to progress and most importantly, HAVE FUN while playing.

Here is a picture of the team:



And the kids having FUN:


Brian's individual shot:


Another one of the mothers has stepped in as "team photographer", so I cannot claim any credit in these pictures. It's been kind of nice not having that responsibility this go around. And I can feel good because she is using the same camera I have.....

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End of Summer Fling - Kayaking and Tubing Excursion

Tomorrow, the kids go back to school.

Today, we ended summer break with an excursion to Kickapoo State Park, where we kayaked on Clear Lake and floated down Middle Fork on inner tubes.

Brian was the most experienced in our group, and he opted for a single kayak, but after 40 minutes he swapped with Mommy to ride with Daddy (and gave Mommy the chance to take pictures). Erica and Kathleen shared a double kayak.

Shenanigans at the end of the lake:


Scott and Brian break away from the girls:


Brian gives me the "evil eye" or "evil paddle":


Erica and Kathleen coordinate their paddles:


Single and Double Kayaks


Yellow Swallow Butterfly:


I didn't take the camera on our Tubing ride (too much potential for water), but the river level was so low that the trip was pretty slow. We sped things up by paddling along. I can tell my arms are going to be sore tomorrow.

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Full Moon


Scott called me out of the depths of the basement this evening to inform me of a photo op - the full moon.

So I pulled out my tripod to shoot the moon.
20 minutes, a lens change and 25 shots later, I settled on the shot above.

It always reminds me of the song, Shoot the Moon, performed by Norah Jones:

The summer days are gone too soon
You shoot the moon
And miss completely
And now you're left to face the gloom
The empty room that once smelled sweetly
Of all the flowers you plucked if only
You knew the reason
Why you had to each be lonely
Was it just the season?

Now the fall is here again
You can't begin to give in
It's all over

When the snows come rolling through
You're rolling too with some new lover
Will you think of times you've told me
That you knew the reason
Why we had to each be lonely
It was just the season


Some truth in the first verse - the kids go back to school next week.... the days are getting shorter....summer days are indeed almost gone.

Tech details ('cause I might need to refer back some day!):
Nikon D70
Lens: 70-300mm F4.5/5.6 G VR (VR turned off)
Focal Length: 300mm
Manual Exposure: F/10, 1/160 sec
Tripod is a must, I also set the self timer to reduce camera shake

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Random Stuff - Little Things

I must be on a roll, because this is my third blog entry in a row.

I got a pedicure today - it was my 2nd pedicure ever - the first one was about three years ago. I'm not that big on these sorts of things that I consider to be non-essential to my existence, but I'd say once every three years is OK.

The best thing about the pedicure? I splurged an extra $5 to have little flowers painted on my big toes. This seems to be the big trend in pedicures - most of the others getting their feet done at the nail place chose the flower adornment for their big toes. I had noticed my neighbor's toes sporting cute little flowers all summer long. Every nail technician creates a different flower design. So this was the "little thing" that made me happy today.

The other "little thing" was finding these Rescue Scouring Pads for my sister at the grocery store:

A remnant from our childhood, my mother used these sponges to clean the pots and pans. Teresa is very disappointed that the brand is being discontinued and has recruited me to find every last package and ship them to her. I wasn't successful until today (I had checked several other stores prior to the grocery store next to the nail place). I found 6 packages for her and, yes, they were on clearance - a discounted price of $0.99, but they rang up for $0.59 / pack.

Last random thought - remember my comment about the women's beach volleyball uniforms? Apparently, I'm not the only one who wonders why they are in bikini's and the men are wearing tank tops - this article, titled "The Great Bikini Debate - The Olympic men's beach volleyball teams are showing less skin than their female counterparts" was featured in Yahoo! this afternoon, which I now quote from:


2004 Olympic bronze medalist Holly McPeak digs up an answer to the question: Why do the men wear shirts while women compete in bikinis?
  • "Women choose to wear a two piece bathing suit because it is the least restrictive uniform possible."
  • "Not only are you battling the heat of the sun, but you are diving around in the sand."
  • "Imagine the feel of sand inside your clothes combined with sweat. I can't think of anything worse."
  • "I prefer to see the men play without shirts. When male players train they traditionally choose to wear a longer boardshort to their knees."
  • "But the governing international body for the sport prefers a cleaner look with their country, names and numbers on their shirts."


Hey, I can agree with McPeak on point number 4 - I, too, would prefer to watch men play without shirts....

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12 on August 12th

12 pictures that represent our 12th of August:

Middle August - great temperatures for my morning runs, but it's noticeably dark when I start out. The sun was barely coming up when I finished 4 miles today, but the pink clouds had already dissipated by the time I was able to grab my camera. I biked down to the local slough for this picture:



This morning's kitchen picture is courtesy of our refrigerator door. Yes, we collect magnets - we have so many, they are starting to migrate to the sides of the fridge. But we love them all, and it is one of the reasons we will probably never go to a stainless fridge.



We haven't had much rain recently, and the grass is looking a little crispy, so I watered a little this morning:



The kids are at the YMCA daycamp - I dropped them off just before 8am:




I see these wildflowers along the roads - they emerge in June and last until September. I have no idea what they are, but they add a nice purple-blue punch of color.


The corn has grown to its peak height, has tassled and the ears have emerged. Now the green stalks will turn golden.


After work, the kids played with the water hose.




I practiced violin, in preparation for my lesson - I am working on a Bach Partita, which is an unaccompanied violin piece (no piano - just plain violin). Tonight is my first lesson since the middle of June.


Some of the books we have borrowed from the library to read. Yeah, I check out various cookbook and then decide if I will spend the money on them. The Rachel Ray book on the bottom seems to have a decent selection of recipes.
I am now on the 3rd book of the Twilight Series. The books have gotten better through the series.


Erica and Hannah!


My regular violin teacher, Ms Kim, is pregnant with twins and she is currently on bedrest, so she has arranged for a substitute, Beth. Like many recent graduates, Beth lives in an apartment close to campus, in the older part of town. The street is paved with brick and home to many old trees. As I leave, the streetlight catches my eye.


Lastly, we are watching Women's gymnastics right now as I finish this up.

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Random Thoughts - Cat escapades and the Olympics

I haven't felt much like blogging recently. Seems as if things are pretty hum drum around these parts. Maybe I am just tired of summer. Maybe I need a day off by myself - the drone of every day life seems to be wearing on me.

Except for tonight - I spent a good hour this evening chasing Erica's cat, Hannah, around and underneath the neighbor's deck. And amongst their assortment of oak leaf hydrangea, hostas, black eyed susans and rose bushes. I think we provided our neighbor with some entertainment as we scurried from one end of the deck to the other, peering underneath the deck, then checking around the landscaping. Maybe we were more entertaining than the synchronized diving that was being shown on NBC's Olympic coverage. I guess I would have prefered to watch the Olympic coverage - chasing a lithe cat just isn't my idea of a relaxing evening.

How did she get loose? Well, we own a contraption called a cat harness. Basically, it's useless - Hannah knows how to break free of it - she just slips out of it. Of course, she did this while I was in charge of monitoring her, so I am obligated to get her back safe. If Erica wasn't going to totally lose it emotionally, I would have just let Hannah stay outside all night. But any remote chance of her "baby" getting lost is too much for Erica to bear. I am happy to report that Hannah is safe and sound in her room and she won't be going outside with me as her chaperone anytime soon.

Random thoughts on the Olympics:
Why do the women beach volleyball players wear next to nothing and the men's beach volleyball players are out there in tank tops and long shorts? Even Brian, a mere 8 years old, keenly observed Saturday night during coverage of women's beach V-ball that the players were "playing outside in their underwear! Mom, Dad - look - those girls are hardly wearing anything!". Yeah. I don't think it gives them a competitive advantage.

Then there is the men's swimteam and their suits. But I won't write anything about that, 'cause I might be called a hypocrite for admonishing Misty May's and Kerri Walsh's attire (insert winking smiley here).

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Signs of Fall


The first Fall Catalog from Lands End showed up in my mailbox yesterday, adorned with cozy jackets, sweaters and hats!
My favorite season, it seems, is just around the corner and I can't wait to experience some crisp, 50 degree days with some jeans and a sweater.

Another sign - school registration time - I registered the kids for school yesterday - Brian for 3rd grade and Erica for 6th grade. I can feel the anticipation to start the new school year, especially for Erica who will be starting Middle school (gasp! How can my little girl be old enough to be in Middle School??). She received her school binder yesterday, along with official PE uniforms (really ugly T- shirt and shorts, a sign that PE uniforms haven't changed from the time I was in Middle school). Her school's mascot is the Jaguar:


School does start a week earlier this year, but I know they are anxious to get back to seeing their classmates and all that makes school fun (even the learning part). I am glad that once they are in school, I won't have to make cold lunches every day....

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Countdown To Breaking Dawn


Disclaimer:
I am posting this because Erica is such a Twilight Series Fan, and while I did read the first book, I'm really sort of 'meh' with the whole hype. But, hey, a little hype now and then is quite fun.


5.5 hours until the Premiere party at the local book store, and Erica has holed herself up in her room, reading Eclipse (again! I think she has all three books memorized by now). The party runs from 11pm until midnight and she will be attending with her BFF, Kathleen. (I'll be there, too, keeping my distance, because, both girls would be "totally embarrassed" to be seen with their mother). I just hope I don't fall asleep in one of the reading chairs.

Erica won't actually purchase the book tonight, because Auntie Michele pre-ordered the book through Amazon a couple of months ago as a birthday present. I assume it will arrive Saturday morning and then she will be out of commission until she devours the book.

I, personally, will be finishing up Scott Westerfield's 3rd book in the Uglies series, Specials. I can't convince Erica or Kathleen that they would enjoy these books. Oh, well. Maybe one of their teachers or other friends will recommend the books and they'll listen.

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