Sunday, April 27, 2008

Totally un-professional softball

This spring, I've joined a softball team with some friends.  We played our first game yesterday; it was a typically cold and windy day in Chicago, on some softball fields right by Lake Michigan in Old Town.  
Now, I haven't played softball, or anything like it, since I was on my school's team in 7th grade.  I remember two things from that experience:
1. playing right field, and making one catch, when the ball was hit right to me, and all I had to do was reach right out in front of me and catch the waist-high ball.  My coach later told me that it was "a lucky catch."  I replied that "I live on luck."  and
2.  the only time I ever got on base, when I was hit by a pitch.  A normal person could have probably jumped back and avoided contact with the ball, but not me.  I saw the ball coming, froze, and got hit in the side.  I doubt that I ever made it past first base.  
Well, my experience yesterday was surprisingly better than that of 13 years ago.  I should mention that I requested number 19 on my jersey, in honor of my beloved Matt Murton (see my last post).  Like him, I played right field and made one almost-catch, where I managed to run to where the ball was in time, get it into my glove, then have it hop right back out.  I had 2 at-bats, and grounded out both times (in true Matt Murton fashion, at least so far this season).  I consider this a small victory, since it does mean that my bat made contact with the ball both of my at-bats.  It was a short game, however, ending after 5 innings, as the other team had beaten us 15 to 4, or something like that (it was really hard to keep track).  
Looks like it's time for some batting practice!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Zooming in on the Cubs

Last week I got to go to my 2 first Cubs games of the season.  I have discovered upper deck seats as a great, cheap way to have a good view of the entire game.  I wasted so much time the first few seasons I was here in lower level seating, where you can't see the scoreboard because you're under the upper deck (unless you've paid an arm and a leg to sit down near the field).  
A friend of mine, who was going to the 2nd game with me, mentioned early in the week that she couldn't wait to see Fukudome in action.  Now, no matter how good of a view we have in the upper deck, it's not like you can really see the players, so I joked that in order to really see him we'd have to bring some binoculars to the game.  
In the middle of the week I was up in the suburbs doing a few errands before teaching for the afternoon and there was a spy store in the shopping plaza.  I figured if anyone would have binoculars, they would, so I went right in and bought myself a pretty nice pair for about $30.  As I was checking out, the guy who had helped me said that he had lost the bet.  Apparently, when he and his coworker saw me walking toward the store, they figured I must be lost and would only come into the shop to ask for directions.  The only other customer in there happened to be a middle-aged, slightly sketchy looking guy.  And I had to sign a waiver in order to buy the binoculars, promising not to do anything illegal with them.
So now I got to zoom in on my favorite players.  I'm looking forward to using them all season.  Hopefully I will get to view this guy more often: Matt Murton, my favorite red-headed player who is in and out (mostly out) of the Cubs lineup this season.  Bear with me; I'm trying to get a grip on photo-shopping.  

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Holy Moly, Guacamole

Everyone has heard that the way to man's heart is through his stomach, but did you know the same is actually true of his family?  During Nate's family's recent visit, I made my signature guacamole in the morning, on the last full day of their visit, and put it in the refrigerator for later.  That night, they came home at 11 from seeing a musical, and called while they were on their way to say they were buying chips and beer because they've been wanting to eat my guacamole all day.  
The very first time I visited their home in Buffalo, I made this guacamole which, at the time, was about the only thing that I knew how to "cook."  At a time when the whole family took little notice of me, and still possibly carried a torch for Nate's ex, I managed to solidify a spot in their lives by way of my guacamole.  And this did 2 things: 
1. showed that I know my way around a kitchen (or created the illusion that I did - I have since figured out how to cook many more foods).  and
2. established me in their minds as the "guacamole girl."  While this may not sound all that appealing of a title, it did the trick.  Before long, there were avocados waiting for me when I got to their house.  The first christmas that Nate and I were together, Nate's mom gave me some kind of kitchen tool used to remove the insides of an avocado from the skin.  
The moral of the story is: to make a great impression, learn to cook one thing well.  Even if it's the only thing you know how to do, it will pave the way for a relationship with a boy and his family.  

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Well, my chair and rug have both arrived and been arranged artfully in my family room.  The chair only took 2 of the 4-6 expected weeks to deliver (which was quite impressive) and therefore arrived just in time for some surprise houseguests - my boyfriend's family!  
So now I have a "completed" room.  At least I had told myself that when I had that chair and that rug my room would be finished.  The thing is, the cluttered life I lead may never allow for me to be fully satisfied with something like a room arrangement.  This is what I need to keep in mind: comfort is more important than perfection.  
This is also a good message for me to keep in mind as I prepare my students for their next recital at the end of May (and as I prepare my own piece to play in the recital).  There will always be elements of all of our pieces that we could improve on, but there comes a time when we have to say "this is how it's going to be," and then be comfortable with it.  
Of course, I love my chair.  And that rug really ties the room together.