BRANDING THE AMERICAN PASTIME – Marilyn Armstrong

In just about a month, baseball’s “spring training” begins for 2019. It’s earlier than usual this year. Garry explained that the Red Sox were playing the Yankees in London, so the season was starting early.

What? They are doing what and where? So, in honor of the upcoming season, a little remembrance of baseball seasons past.


“It’s an exciting afternoon here at Petco,” the announcer says. The Padres are playing the Mets. At Petco Park. The mental image this formed in my head were utterly un-baseball, totally non-sporting. This whole branding thing is out of hand.

I looked up from the computer, wondering if we needed more dog food and biscuits. We’re forever running short.

Petco Park, San Diego,, CA

But next, the announcer points out the pitcher has been, so far, throwing a no-hitter. Never, in Padre history has any pitcher thrown a no-hitter, so this should have been riveting baseball. Except the announcers couldn’t seem to focus on the game and instead, were busy talking all kinds of nonsense while showing clips of everything but the game in progress. Ultimately, I suppose it didn’t matter since the pitcher gave up three hits but still, they might have at least given the kid his time in the sun.

Finally, they pointed out the right-hander “… has a great, boring fastball.”

padre player uniformThis made me wonder if they should be playing any kind of game at Petco, especially if the pitcher’s fastball is boring. I understand they are actually saying something technical about the pitch. Nonetheless, words matter.

Boring has multiple meanings, the most common being dull. So how boring was that fastball? And doesn’t Petco Park sound like a dog park to you?

Someone once told me I was “branding” my photographs by signing them. No, I’m not. I sign my art because I’m proud of it. Branding would be if I sold my blog to Costco, after which this was no longer Serendipity, but Costco Web Thoughts — but I still did the writing and photography while they paid to put their corporate name on my work.

That would be branding.

Garry points out the Padres not only have a crappy team and awful branding — Petco really doesn’t work as a stadium name — but they wear ugly uniforms. From Garry, that is complete condemnation.

Whatever else is wrong with the Red Sox, at least they have not turned Fenway into Burger King Stadium. Or Walmart Watcharama. And, to the best of my knowledge, the pitchers throw highly entertaining fastballs.

GOOD MORNING – MEMORIAL DAY IN THE U.S. – Marilyn Armstrong

Unlike most other American holidays, we retain a bit of respect for a day that honors veterans of our many wars. The cemeteries will be full of flags and visitors.

Otherwise, this is “grill your meat” day. It is the official opening of summer. Everything closed all winter opens on Memorial Day.

Macro Begonia

I have a problem with grilling insofar as we don’t own a grill. Well, we do, sort of. A tiny hibachi which uses charcoal. The amount of labor required to cook two hamburgers on a hibachi exceeds any joy we might get from eating them, so I think I’ll cook normally. Finally, I understand why gas grills have become so popular.

Flick, it’s on. No lighting the charcoal and waiting until it finally gets to the right color … and then waiting for it all to chill down so you can figure out what to do with the ashes. (Answer? Put them in the garden; they make a pretty good fertilizer.)

Tomorrow isn’t supposed to be a nice day. Grey and chilly like today, though we might get a little bit of sunshine. Hard to know. By Wednesday, summer will make another appearance.

We used to give barbecues in the summer. When we were younger. When I could still get from the deck to the lawn without a chair lift. For that matter, when Garry could get from the lawn to the deck on those long, steep stairs.

If the sun comes out, maybe I’ll take some pictures. Otherwise … it’s will be another Monday. Holidays don’t pack the same oomph they had when we were working.

When every day is a “day off,” a three-day holiday is another day off, but with a lot more traffic.

AS DOES THE GARDEN GROW – Marilyn Armstrong

The columbine are starting to bloom and I got pictures, but they aren’t fully open yet. After yesterday’s rain, everything is covered with drops of rain. And it’s pretty muddy.

Bunches more wild strawberries popping up everywhere and the rhododendrons look happy and healthy.

After cutting back the roses, the rhododendrons are looking very happy. It’s amazing how fast everything is growing right now.

Dryopteris filix – Common fern
Lilacs and there are more, but … it’s raining
Flowering cherry near the dam in town

And a few not fully opened Columbine (just a few more days and they will be amazing).

And of course, the deck …

Geranium
Begonia

Flowers of my week

QUESTION FOR THE SHARING WORLD – Marilyn Armstrong

Share Your World – May 7, 2018

If you were given $22 million tax-free dollars (any currency), what is the first thing you would do? 

Same as last time. Pay off the house. Possibly knock it down and build one more suitable to our needs.

Home, now

Help out my friends and family who need it. Take a really lovely vacation for which someone other than me makes ALL the arrangements.

Hire a cook and people to clean the house. Get my hair cut by someone who won’t scalp me. Get more Bomba socks!

In what do you find the simplest of joys?

Pretty much all my joys are simple. I’m not sure what a complicated joy would be.

I’m just happy when all the bills are paid and nothing is broken or breaking down.

What would be your ideal birthday present, and why?

I want that vacation, but I want someone else to take care of it. ALL of it. Reservations. Tickets.

Literally everything from leaving home to returning. I don’t want to worry about money or travel connections or whether or not they will let me have a bottle of shampoo on my flight.

Spring dog with window
Spring window, with dog

Usually, when all is said and done, this means staying home.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week? 

This was not a very smiley week. I was grateful to finally have normal weather and some sunshine.

A flower or two would have been grand, but the leaves are coming out, so if we aren’t bright with color, at least we are green. Each time I look out the window, I see the leaves have gotten bigger. Spring is happening in a huge hurry, trying I think to make up for all that lost time!

Happy birthday, Owen!

SLEEVES, SHOES, AND BELTANE – Marilyn Armstrong

SLEEVES, SHOES, AND BELTANE

We are in a hurry. For us. Doctor appointment in a couple of hours. On days like this, I have trouble getting dressed. I try to put on a tee-shirt and I can only find one sleeve. The other seems to be missing. I can see it. It’s there. But for some reason, my left arm absolutely won’t find it and when finally, my shirt is ON my body, the shirt feels funny. Because it’s backwards.

The pants were new. Rather than trying to find a pair in my chest of drawers — so over-packed with stuff for every season  (because I can’t climb up to the attic anymore), I went for the new ones. I could find them AND I knew they probably were not covered with dog hair.

Everything else is covered with Duke’s fur. The Scotties don’t shed much. They stink (they need grooming, but I need $100 or is it $110?) to get it done, but at least they don’t shed. Much. Duke’s long white hair, on the other hand, has a positive sticking power that’s right in there with tape.

Tape. That’s the stuff that sticks to every except the package you are trying to attach it to. It writhes around your fingers. When you give it a tug, it splits four ways to Sunday and there you are, trying with your stubby little fingernails to get it even so you can use it.

It wouldn’t be that hard except when Duke was just a little younger, he gave it a few hefty chomps. Thanks, Duke! You’re our guy.

Finally, I could only find one shoe.

I am certain I went into the bedroom wearing both. I can’t imagine I limped down the hallway a clog on one foot, the other in a sock . Since I’d found one shoe, surely the other was nearby. But time was short.

Wildflowers in an empty field in upstate New York

Eventually, I put on an old pair of L.L.Bean shoes I bought in Freeport, Maine maybe 15 years ago. They still fit find and look pretty good — if you don’t look too closely. Somehow, Tinker missed finishing them off in her years of determined effort to chew every shoe I owned.

I’m dressed. Black yoga pants. Serendipity tee-shit. Black sweatshirt. Half socks — it’s going to be warm. And I have coffee. Meanwhile, WordPress would like to know how they did “fixing” my computer. I told them. “Pathetic, useless. Out of touch with your customers. I did it myself but you are taking credit when in fact, you actually did NOTHING.”

I wanted to wear sandals, but this is the first warm day this year. I need a week of warmth to feel ready for sandals. I don’t want my feet to be disappointed if I have to return to real shoes.

My day has begun.

Today is Beltane. I remember, back in elementary school, for the first four years we celebrated Beltane with a little festival and a genuine (built ourselves) Maypole. The girls danced, but only the sixth graders. I was too little and too young.

By the time I was old enough to participate, the school had transitioned into some meaningless modern event — and no Maypole. No more Beltane. I have yet to do my Maypole dance. Probably not this lifetime.

Happy Beltane to you all! May your day be filled with joy and sunlight and flowers and hopes for a brighter summer and warm, flowery days to come.

ASTONISHED? MORE LIKE DISAPPOINTED – Marilyn Armstrong

ASTONISH

We had one beautiful day on Saturday. It rained on Sunday and through last night and this morning, it’s cold, dark, and grey again. Not only that, but neither of us feels well.

It was actually snowing a bit north of here yesterday. It wasn’t sticking, but there was quite a lot of it and while not sticking to the road, it managed to do some accumulating on grass and gardens.

I’ve noticed that the meteorologists are getting careful and sometimes, downright apologetic about the weather. The usual glee they show when bad weather is coming has been muffled by explaining that “Really, it’s going to be lovely — soon — we promise,” and some of them act as if it must be a personal thing, the continued lousy weather.

Obviously, it’s no single individual’s fault, though collectively we may have a lot to answer for. I have posts from last year dealing with April snow. But tomorrow, it’s May and I don’t have anything about snow in May. Not that it has never happened … but it is rare and I think we’ve all pretty much had it with the cold and hale and sleet and general bad weather.

C’est la vie, eh?

By the end of the week, they are talking about temperatures in the 80s. That’s a hard thing to imagine at the moment. I shall try and keep the faith, which is an even harder thing.

A FRIGID DAY FOR THE SEASON OPENER?

COLD. NOT FRIGID. IT IS SPRING IN NEW ENGLAND.

It has been a cold spring. This is not, despite all the complaining, particularly unusual. Spring weather in New England is notoriously unstable and it’s not unusual for the weather to also be surprisingly cold. We’ve had a few very warm springs too.

It will stay cold and cold and cold and we’ll get a little snow here and there — which will melt off almost immediately — and then, suddenly, in about three weeks, it will turn into a perfect spring.

Perfect spring will last about 4 hours, after which, it’s time to install your air conditioners because suddenly, it’s summer.

It’s like this most years, except when it’s exactly the opposite. Spring weather is erratic. Why is everyone making such a fuss about it? I too would like to see some lovely spring flowers but spring isn’t a real “season” in this region. Mostly, it’s a few hours between winter and summer.

Fellow New Englanders! Give us a break! It would have been nice to have the baseball spring opening day a little less chilly, but it is what it is.

Get used to it already. Sheesh!