Tag Archives: Cubs

His and Her To-Do Lists

Should I bother with a spring to-do list?

Image by Michéle from Pixabay.

This past winter, I could have scraped old wallpaper in three rooms. Instead, I read books. Enriching my mind inspires me so much more. Hubby’s enriched his mind too, finishing a thousand-page book on American history.

We’ve enriched our minds so much we’ve lost them — when recalling winter to-do lists. But a little repression never hurt anyone.

Besides, it’s spring. Why waste time indoors when we can stay outdoors?

Between snowstorms and tornadoes, I mean.

The only problem: our enriched minds cannot agree on priorities.

Items on his spring to-do list:

Clean the camper versus clean the garage? On Hubby’s list, the camper wins every time.
  • Conducting intense research on camping gear.
  • Buying lots of it.
  • Arguing with umpires and Cubs podcasts while cleaning our camper.
  • Arguing with mice that established winter quarters in the camper.
  • Tilling and planting the garden he knows deer will eat.
Image by Teodor Buhl from Pixabay.
  • Negotiating with dandelion and violet armies determined to conquer our yard.
  • Coaxing the mower into eating grass, despite its lack of appetite.
Image by forstephany from Pixabay.

My list:

  • Conducting intense research on spring shoes.
  • Buying lots of them.
  • Arguing with The Weather Channel.
  • Arguing with ants demanding the deed to our house.
  • Buying enough plants to create a second Eden.
  • Planting maybe four I know the deer will eat.
  • Applying fertilizers only weeds like.
We should move spring walks on Taylor University’s campus to the top of our lists.

Do Hubby and I share any common items on our to-do lists? A few:

  • Taking hand-in-hand walks, spotting new blossoms on Taylor University’s campus.
  • Pretending we’re students again.
  • Glorying in growing old like two aging maples sporting rings of experience, yet plenty of new buds.

Maybe we should put these — and, of course, enriching our minds — at the top of our spring to-do lists.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s on your list?

Being There

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay.

These small words elicit king-sized effects.

My first cranky thought, another songwriter has run out of originality, as in:

Being there (ooh, baby)
Being there (ooh, baby)
Being there is like … 
Being there (ooooh, BABY!)

Okay, I need a second cup of coffee today. With double cream.

Much better.

Now I recall that being there when airline personnel solicit volunteers to take a different flight, I might land a free future trip.

Image by Andy Leung from Pixabay.

Being in the right checkout line can mean the difference between three Tylenol® and only one.

Fifty years ago, my being there to observe this cute boy from a library’s balcony changed our lives.

Being there at a library during a 1970 Christmas break placed me near the railing of a second-story atrium, eyeing my future husband below. Thus, I ensured he wasn’t with a girl and could “accidentally” run into him. (He still calls this stalking, but that’s because he hasn’t yet drunk his morning tea.)

Being there at a gas station when someone, perched on a ladder, is changing prices can mean a savings of 11 whole cents per gallon. Although, if the price is upped 11 whole cents, you’ve picked the perfect time and place to ruin your morning.

Though that timing isn’t as bad as certain shoplifters’ when, according to Reader’s Digest, they attempted major heists on Shop-with-a-Cop Day.

Being there can get complicated. Still, we want others to be there for us.

My mother refined this into an art form. One joyful day, when I learned I was ranked 10th in my high school class, I arrived home to the fragrance of muffins fresh from the oven. She’d baked them either to celebrate or console. Whatever happened, they were there for me.

Image by Robert Owen-Wahl from Pixabay.

So was Mom.

However, she also was there to enslave me with chores, require church attendance, and stare through my dates and me with righteous black eyes.

Years later, I appreciated her when I, too, baked after-school treats, mini-vanned my kids everywhere, and wandered into the den to “get stamps” from my desk while they were entertaining dates.

Being there can be threatening, wonderful, scary, tedious, triumphant, smelly, or comforting, but rarely boring. And lots better than not being there.

The ice cream being there is good too.

Sometimes, it’s just plain cuddly.

Tonight, Hubby and I are watching a Cubs game. We don’t make brilliant conversation. We don’t have to make conversation at all.

We simply savor being there.

Ooooh, baby.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Who’s been there for you?

T-Ball Time Again

T-ball, the kiddie variation of baseball, didn’t exist when my husband and I were kids. Instead, we played neighborhood softball. I discovered my talent for missing flies. Hubby learned to hit the ball — when new eyeglasses revealed its existence.

Thank goodness, our five-year-old started his baseball career with T-ball and a caring coach.

Most of the team managed to hit the ball, yet challenges abounded. Four-year-olds who had not learned to count demanded seven strikes. Batters chopped as if cutting wood. The tee, instead of the ball, flew into the air. Confused fielders stared. Were they were supposed to catch and throw this thing to first base? Napping outfielders found a hurtling ball a nuisance. One future ballerina at shortstop practiced pliés as it whizzed past.

Though everyone wanted to tag the batter out. Can you say, “gang tackle”?

Eventually, our son left T-ball behind for competition in which nobody took naps. Nobody practiced pliés.

Where was the fun in that? While I celebrated his Little League team’s championship, I missed T-ball’s creativity.

Fast-forward three decades. Again ripe with sunblock, bug spray and pride, I anticipated another T-ball game.

Our grandson’s.

Image by Chris Pastrick from Pixabay.

He joined a flock of pint-sized ballplayers wearing shirts that reached their knees, shorts that reached ankles, and hats that reached noses. Fielders lifted mitts half their body weights. Our son, the assistant coach (aka crowd-controller) walked players to positions, as some might get lost. He and the head coach demonstrated catching, throwing and hitting.

T-ball, like everything else, had become educational. That’s good.

My heart warmed, though, when an outfielder picked daisies. This pitcher jitterbugged rather than doing pliés, consumed with the joy of playing. The brave assistant coach refereed fielder pileups.

Having inherited his father’s early baseball passion, our grandson had been smacking it off a tee since he learned to walk.

“He’s a better player than I was,” our son admitted during a family Zoom session.

Three generations of Cubs fans on their way to a game.

“A great trend,” his grandfather said. “Your dad was better than I. You were a better player than he. Now, your son’s even better.”

“Someday,” I interjected, “I’ll look down from heaven and watch our descendant in a Cubs uniform.”

Fun to project our dreams on future descendants.

But do such extravagant visions rival T-ball’s fun?

Nah.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Have you attended a T-ball game lately?

End-of-Summer Reflections

Do you like that word, “reflections”? When young, I identified it with the forced reading of smarmy poetry, staring at my navel, and/or listening to some windbag.

I will never inflict such harm on my readers. I keep my lousy poetry to myself. I never coerce anyone into studying her belly button. As for my being a windbag — perish the thought!

Having dispelled these unfortunate associations, let us return to my profound end-of-summer reflections:

  • Regardless of propaganda touting it as the ingredient for pizza, smoothies and cheesecakes, nobody likes kale.
  • My husband’s “short” bike rides require a passport.
  • Grandbabies’ discriminating palates prefer four summer food groups: sand, mud, gravel and sticks.
  • My palate also dictates four summer food groups: butter pecan, salted caramel fudge, chocolate almond, and Moose Tracks.
  • A related reflection: Skinny, beautiful people on TV drool over yogurt, but they never, ever will convince us it can replace ice cream.
  • I sleep with only a sheet, but still need a quilt on my feet.
  • If we water gardens to induce rain, the clouds know.
  • Also, the probability of rain is in direct proportion to the amount we spent on Cubs tickets.
  • If not for relatives’ summer visits, would the carpet get swept from June through September?
  • Nobody really likes an ecologically diverse yard. Or wants me to preserve the prairie.
  • Morning glories I plant always shrivel as if my trellis were radioactive. Yet a thousand healthy, nasty lovelies strangle my cucumbers.
  • Deer who scavenge neighborhoods never eat crabgrass.
  • Scratching sounds in an attic mean raccoons have started a summer obstetric ward there — or mosquitoes have grown bigger than I expected.
  • While rainy days ruin human vacations, my fern, Carolyn, considers steamy conditions a five-star experience.
  • If you live by a lake, visit kin who live by a different lake. Hurry, because it’s almost fall, and that’s the only way you’ll get a free vacation, too.
  • I and other Stain Queens should be forbidden by law to wear white pants.
  • People who grill only vegetables are not to be trusted.
  • If a certain age, never shop the weekend before school starts. You will park in a different zip code. You also will return home with 143 15-cent notebooks.
  • Ferris wheels at county fairs still fill me with six-year-old wow.
  • After a lifetime of watching people voluntarily buying cotton candy, I still haven’t figured out why.
  • Finally, when police know campers next to your site on a first-name basis, pitch a tent in your backyard instead.

Yes, summer will fade, but never fear. I soon will supply my readers with a whole new set of reflections — autumn reflections.

Not that I’m a windbag, or anything. …

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What end-of-summer musings fill your mind?

Spring Stuff

Most people stay far too busy during spring to pause and practice their God-given powers of observation. Although I, too, keep an encyclopedia-sized to-do list, I decided to sacrifice the time, pour myself a cup of coffee and ponder spring stuff:

  • Spring is when we rid our yards of pretty dandelions and violets and instead, try to grow plants whose native habitat is the Amazon River Basin.
  • Some high-fashion people wear flip-flops when it’s sleeting. Other divas wear boots during heat waves. Moral of the story: Spring footwear has nothing to do with feet. Though I feel the mad urge to wear white shoes.
  • Storing one’s winter woolies at the spring equinox can prove almost as dangerous as selling a crib at a spring garage sale. (Blizzard or baby, you pick.)
  • A sadistic burglar obviously replaced my spring clothes with an identical wardrobe two sizes too small.
  • Prom dresses currently bloom throughout area stores. Either that, or lots of people are going to Vegas.
  • I may never have looked like Debbie Reynolds, but I’m a Singin’-in-the-Rain kind of girl. You?
  • I can’t wait to clear out clutter, watch the Cubs and make my mother’s potato salad.
  • During early spring, strawberries taste more like medicine than a fruit. Still, I buy them.
  • Doesn’t it seem sacrilegious to celebrate the Resurrection at the same time we will have to pay the IRS?
  • After spring break, an epidemic sweeps our nation’s campuses, victimizing students, professors and administration alike. The name of this menace? The College Crankies. A large migration of university spouses has been noted to take place at this time.
  • Have you ever noticed that spring soccer fields smell like wild onions?
  • My scudsy, corroded car, whose unfortunate state hasn’t bothered me all winter, now bothers me.
  • Ditto for my house’s dirty windows. And my dirty carpets. And my furniture. And. …
  • Gangway! The golfers are loose!
  • Now that spring has arrived, my husband no longer gripes about my sleeping with the window open. An added bonus: a nearby frog choir provides a nightly lullaby to ease us into Dreamland.
  • No five-star restaurant’s swanky French dessert menu could hope to rival the first luscious, drippy ice cream cone of spring.

Perhaps it’s time to rouse myself from my profound cogitations and determine if this year’s cone will uphold the standard.

No weightier spring pursuit than that.

What’s your favorite spring stuff?

 

 

 

 

Learning to Win (We Hope)

“Cubs win!”

Only two words. But they set off fireworks in Chicago Cub baseball fans. We hug and kiss perfect strangers, whether at the ballpark or the grocery store. When police arrive at the latter, we embrace the officers — and our subsequent cellmates.

Why does a win excite Cub fans so much?

For decades, they have been professional baseball’s “lovable losers.”

billy-goat-1569283_640The Cubs last won a World Series in 1908. Has any other losing team been immortalized by Norman Rockwell on The Saturday Evening Post’s cover? No other team is cursed by a billy goat named Murphy.

Still, Cub fans often outnumber their competitors in their own ballparks.

Typical American sympathy for the underdog? Mass psychosis?

Hubby and I support the Cubs for a better reason. Our friend, Joleen.

For 40 years, Joleen never missed a single, freezing Opening Day at Wrigley. No matter how lousy the Cubs played, Joleen believed.

Diagnosed with cancer, she finally missed Opening Day. But she cheered the Cubs until the day she died, happy because they won a double header. Joleen was buried wearing Cubs earrings.

In her honor, I will always be a Cubs fan.

Yet by now, even Joleen might have wearied of their losses.

Viewing/listening gratis was bad enough. But of the six games Hubby and I attended, the Cubs won … zero.

With their improvement last year, we took our son, his wife, and Baby Jonathan — oh, so cute in his little Cubs shirt and cap — to Wrigley.

They lost again.

steverachaelwrigley-iiThis year, Hubby wanted to buy tickets. I found myself at Wrigley once more.

Unbelievably, Hubby told a nearby couple we’d never seen the Cubs win. They stared as if we’d grown goat horns. “Your name’s not Murphy, is it?”

The Cubs fell behind.

I avoided eye contact with our neighbors.

Amazingly, the Cubs pulled ahed.

Hubby cheered, “They’re going to win!”

 “Right.” I rolled my eyes. “And I’m going to win Miss America.”

“You’d better practice your walkway wave, because they will do it!”

The last strikeout!

“Cubs win!” The cry echoed from Chicago to Lake Michigan. “Cubs win!”

Our neighbors hugged us. W flags bloomed. The happy PA system launched “Go, Cubs, Go,” and thousands joined in, dancing in the seats.

I see what you mean, Joleen.

 Unfortunately, the Cubs lost six out of their next eight games. But after subsisting on the baseball equivalent of bread and water, I have tasted my first whipped cream.

I want more!

I imagine the Cubs do, too.

Do you think they’ll win the Series this year?

 

 

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer

Three generations of Cub fans

Three generations of Cub fans

O my God, how do You handle ballgame prayers? — the crazy mishmash of petitions by opposing players, managers, and fans? Plus umpires’ prayers this game would finish soon! Far greater theological mysteries should occupy me. Nevertheless — OMG, thank You that the Cubs are in the World Series!