Seven Quick Takes, Friday, October 10

1. This week has been a lot about food. Saturday had a frost advisory, so we did a rapid harvest of the garden, and we got a pretty good load of stuff:

The frost never came, and did not until last night. However, we have accomplished so much with our garden stuff by now, that I am not really wanting to go back.

2. First, we pickled 10 pounds of cucumbers, using this tutorial. M and I canned 9 pounds in our boiling water canner after bedtime one night, and then the girls and I did the rest in the fridge for our science experiment of the week. Beforehand, I ran out to the store to find dill seed for the pickling as well as cider vinegar. The cashier, who was about 7 months pregnant, immediately asked if I was making pickles. I should have offered her a jar. I really should have.

I really hope that they taste better than they look. Here we have a quart of slices and nine pints of spears.
The lighting worked better for these ones. We have 11 half pints.

Another experiment we did was pickling green tomatoes. I have no idea if they will be good, but we did them in dill. I am thinking we will have a dinner of chicken Kiev, pickled tomatoes, and…

3. Red cabbage sauerkraut next month. I have never fermented vegetables before, but here we are giving it a try. I will let you know how it goes. We used this recipe. 

On the first day.

4. There were a lot of cute food rosary pictures online on Tuesday for Our Lady of the Rosary, including our cupcake one from a few years ago. This year we were a little more focused on the Battle of Lepanto in which a small Christian fleet defeated a larger Ottoman fleet through the intercession of Our Lady. The pope asked everyone to pray the rosary for victory. The traditional name of the feast is Our Lady of Victory (there is a beautiful basilica in Buffalo, NY named for the feast). We did not do a lot of rosary explaining, but did describe to the girls how a battle would take place between ships. I even made “Lepanto Pot Pie”, inspired by the St. Francis Day Pot Pie Soup on Catholic Cuisine. I could not resist the imagery of floating things in liquid…

Here we have St. Michael interceding, the Christian fleet, and the parsley symbolizes the graces sprinkled on the Christians that day.

5. That is about it for food these quick takes. I am looking forward to listening to more baseball this weekend. I have been spending a lot of my normal writing time reading articles on the Cardinals and watching highlights. We only have October once a year, so why not savor it all. Go Cards!

6. We had another home school co-op today. F decided to be her clingy self, and I did not get to leave her alone in the nursery. As it was, she was quiet in the mom’s discussion time, and then spent the rest of the time playing happily on the floor in the nursery (on my lap). It was still restful given that I sat around with her all morning instead of doing my normal morning chores and teaching. Next co-op is on All Hallow’s Eve, and there is talk of a pizza party at co-op. However, we are planning on doing the All Saint’s day pizza costume party at St. Agnes in the evening. Is pizza for lunch and dinner too much? Maybe if I only allow them to eat fruit and vegetables the rest of the day it will be okay. (How did I get back on food again?)

7. I decided to reread the first book of C.S. Lewis’ space trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet, and it happened to be in conjunction with my listening to H.G. Well’s War of the Worlds during my jogging/walking (I am still building up from my broken toe running hiatus). It was a little bit mind boggling to have humans bent on taking over the peaceful Mars (eventually, it is more like scouting out the planet in the book) contrasted with violent Martians bent on taking over not-so-peaceful Earth. In Lewis we had non-fallen rational animal Martians, and in Wells we have purely rational, survival absorbed, violent, blood drinking, rational animal Martians. It is quite a different view of the world. Lewis, however, uses the medieval understanding of space as his back drop for his story, and Wells is purely scientific. Anyway, if you want to make you mind a little crazy, try reading both at the same time…

Linking up once again with Jen at Conversion Diary!

Baseball and Writing

It dawned on me yesterday, as I reflected on the Cardinals being tied 1-1 with the Dodgers in the NLDS that, while I loved writing beforehand, when I read the daily column of the sports columnist Bernie Mikalsz in high school, I first had the desire to become a sports journalist. The practicability of doing this was definitely an issue for me since I knew it would involve mush travel and I was hoping then to have a family. Further, I was not really interested in writing about sports beyond baseball.

That dream was not meant to be, but it does not take away from the effect that Mikalsz’s writing has had on me. It is articles like the one he wrote in the wee hours of Friday night/Saturday morning that increase my love of baseball and the St. Louis Cardinals:

“This is what the Cardinals take pride in. No matter how many times the power goes out, and this erratic offense crashes, the relentlessly upbeat manager and his bullheaded players still maintain hope. They keep yapping about stringing together quality at-bats and sticking with the process until success eventually clicks in. Game 1 was only the latest example.
“The guys stuck with it,” manager Mike Matheny said. “They believed in themselves, and each other. And even up until that seventh inning, you could still feel that guys were fighting.”
And on Friday night, the result was a berserk uprising that no one outside of the St. Louis dugout saw coming.
By the seventh inning the sun was fading, and the sky turned into an orange-pink canopy. With darkness on the edge of town, the Cardinals began lining base hits all over the yard, putting divots in the immaculate grass at Dodger Stadium, and trying to put a few more dents in Kershaw’s postseason rep. This was almost surreal.”

I mean, how could you not love the Cardinals or baseball when you read writing like that? Well, I suppose it is not the same for everyone. Mikalsz is clearly writing from his love of the team and sport, and has been doing so for years. He also freely criticizes the team and the managerial decisions when needed, which seems to be a couple of times a week.

I think a lot of my style comes from his style, but maybe that is just my imagining?

And if you have made it this far in my little Ode to Mikalsz, I definitely credit him as part of my inspiration in my latest reprint on Church POP, The Beautiful Liturgy of Baseball.

As for this week, I am going to listen on edge to the next two games of the NLDS. My traditionalism also permeates my baseball fandom. I much prefer the radio play by play to the televised game. I think it is a more beautiful art form to describe every detail of the game to the waiting imaginations than to comment on the outfit of whatever fan the camera man has picked out. Seriously, what a difference.  One thing that helps me stand true to these values is the lack of television in my house.

Anyway that is enough about baseball.

Here is a photo I once took of the Old Busch Stadium from the top of the Arch.

At the Old Ball Game: Our Annual Visit to Busch

Two summers ago at a sweltering 97°F day game.

M and I went to our annual home St. Louis Cardinal game last night. It was an exciting game (for Cardinal fans), with an early lead in the third and great pitching by Lance Lynn of the Cardinals. M and I managed to do our whole date for less than $50 including two tickets, parking, two Goosehead IPAs, and Ted Drewes at the original S Grand location after the game.

Our adventure at the ballpark began that morning when we drove out to the stadium at 9AM (after Low Mass at the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales) to get our KMOX First Pitch tickets. You pay $11.20 for a voucher for two tickets and find out 15 minutes before game time if you have seats from anywhere in the infield boxes to standing room.

We left for the 6:15pm game at 5:20pm, parked, and began walking by 5:40pm. After circumventing the stadium, and eying the new Ballpark Village, we were admitted into the stadium, and upon receiving our surprise tickets headed over to our left field bleacher seats. We stopped along the way to purchase our over priced beer. It was my first beer at a ball game. You see, since I turned 21, I have only been to a handful of baseball games, most of them while pregnant. And last year we gawked at the price. This year we decided to go for it. It was an enjoyable experience to sit out in the bleachers, keep score, and sip a beer that was rapidly turning from cool and fresh to warm and warmer. So, in the end it was like drinking beer at a cricket match.

As for the game, it was exciting, thrilling, and we even had a lovely light show given to us by nature, herself. We watched the lightning to the South of the Stadium beginning in the bottom of the fifth, and the roar of the crowd overpowered the thunder in the sky as the Cardinals milked three more runs out of Johnny Cueto of the Reds. Fans checked the radar on their phones, and we knew that the thunderstorm was unavoidable. The cloud crept over the stadium and darkened the sky around us. we stood to sing “Take me Out to the Ballgame” while the thunder rumbled. Then as the Cardinals finished batting, up 5-0, at the bottom of the 7th the grounds crew came running out to roll out the tarp. M and I left our seats behind to find shelter and were safely undercover when the rain came pouring down. Huge, heavy drops drenched the field and fans who did not make it to cover in time. Lightning lit up the sky. It was glorious.

After a half an hour of pouring the rain let up and the crew went out to prep the field for the resuming of play. M and I found some dry seats as the Cards scored two more runs in the 8th, and became slightly anxious when the Reds scored three and had the bases loaded with two outs. Mike Matheny was forced to bring out Trevor Rosenthal. He was able to get the last two outs, but only with the help of the fans who had outlasted the storm clapping and cheering through every pitch.

I then realized that part of the thrill of going to the game is getting caught up in the cheering of the crowd. Everyone is your friend when you are rooting for the home team. We give high fives all around and join in with the cheering. We even did the wave. It is a wonderful feeling to be united as a fan with fellow fans.

After we made it safely back to our car (my poor injured toe managing the whole way), we went over to the original Ted Drewes to have the smoothest, tastiest frozen custard ever. My late grandmother always said the original machines made the best Ted Drewes and she is right.

Seven Quick Takes on Anniversaries and Fathers

1. It is not too late to write my quick takes! We had a busy, fun week. My parents came up for a visit, which is pretty incredible in itself considering that my dad just had a major surgery after the most catastrophic thing a body can do to itself (aortal dissection). Most people do not even make it into surgery, let alone out of it… We are so thankful that we have however many more months and years with him on Earth, and I will cherish every moment that I get with him.

2. Friday, the 13th was my parents 34th wedding anniversary. M took this lovely shot of them while I was following F (19 months) down the path and keeping her our of streets.

Dad is still tired a lot, and we wonder if he will ever have the same energy that he had before, but then I know that this recovery cannot be rushed.

3. This has definitely been a very trying year for my mom and dad. Dad has been looking for a regular position since he lost what was his dream job when the website he worked for got shut down. Then he had his surgery. My mother has been tirelessly taking care of his health needs, working her job as a nurse, and starting up her prayer ministry for priests. She is truly and amazing woman, and we are all blessed by her in our lives. I pray that God blesses their marriage abundantly in the next year and beyond, and that Dad finds a new dream job for his last years of working.

4. M and I took our anniversary date on Tuesday (READ: FREE BABYSITTING), even though our six year anniversary was not until yesterday. We went to a Russian restaurant in St. Paul, and discovered that dill is a major Russian spice. M got his favorite martini with horseradish infused vodka and I went for a girly coconut-citrus flavored one.

My chicken kiev came with this little crown and dill garnish.

These chocolate truffles and butterfly cookie were soooo worth the price.
“Susanna, put away your embarrassing phone!” Yep, everyone else had a smart one. Hey, look, the moon!

Afterwards, we headed over to the St. Paul Saints baseball game, and watched a crushing, come from behind defeat. It was a lot of fun, and we are planning on taking the kids with us to a day game later this summer. 

5. Our actual anniversary day, we celebrated by sleeping in until 7, letting my mom take the big kids to Mass while we ate a leisurely breakfast, doing chores. M cleaned out the garage and vacuumed out my van. We made a dinner of broiled kabobs (too rainy to grill) and the driest wine Trader Joe’s stocks.

6. Happy Father’s Day to my amazing husband, who does things like wash dishes and put kids down for naps, even though it is Father’s Day. He is even going to cook dinner on the grill tonight, during which we plan to leave him alone with his thoughts and his beer. Thank you dear for everything you do!

7. Last one, if you want to read something less academic by M, read him over on Public Discourse where he explains that “taking philosophy and theology as the foundation of our knowledge elevates and unifies scientific and humanistic inquiry.”

Seven Quick Takes: St. Louis, Louis Edition

1. It is Spring in St. Louis, where we are visiting my family. Everyday has gotten above 40, and the daffodils are beginning to bloom. There is absolutely no snow on the ground, and it is just lovely. We even had a thunder storm last night! I know that it is wishful thinking for me to hope for Spring in St. Paul when we get back, but next week there does not look sooo bad:

At least it is not single digits with a negative windchill. I could go for a little more sunshine, but then it is almost Spring there so precipitation is to be expected.

2. Dad Update: Our main reason for coming to St. Louis for Spring Break was because my parents could not make their annual March visit to us. Dad is still recovering from his emergency surgery which repaired an aortic dissection. He has some nerve damage, which they think was caused by the dissection itself, which is affecting his ability to use his hands, specifically his left hand. He is still experiencing a lot of pain, which really affects his ability to function. The thing about his surgery is that there is not a lot of precedence of people who have had the exact surgery and recovered from it, so it is all very open-ended as to when he is going to feel all the way healed, or if it will ever be complete. We can only pray, wait, and be thankful that my dad is still with us. He is having good days and worse days. Sometimes, all he is able to do is sleep for a whole day, and other days he goes for long walks. I am convinced more and more that being around happy little kids is the best medicine for him. 🙂 Please continue to keep him and our family in your prayers.

3. We had dinner guests yesterday, and after dessert we started talking about music. Then my parents started singing songs from their charismatic community days, and then Dad got up went to the piano and played a whole concert for us of all the songs he had written, many of them based on scripture. I suggested to him that he make a video that could go viral, and then he could become a famous musician. Who knows? But it was a lot of fun to hear all the songs he played when I was a child growing up.

Photo by yours truly.

4. We have been going all over St. Louis this visit, and it has been fun to see all the sites. We went to Mass near my elementary school, and showed the kids my school on the way home. We went down to the Arch, parked along the river front, and climbed the stairs. The kids were a little afraid that the Arch would fall over on them because the moving clouds in the sky made it look as if the Arch were moving. We did not go up in the Arch, because F is at that age where she does not last anywhere for very long. Instead we went into the Museum of Westward Expansion. The older two loved it, especially when they got to see the covered wagon “like Laura and Mary” rode in from the Laura Ingalls Wilder books.  M took the kids to the free St. Louis Zoo alone, while my dad and I went to get haircuts. I think they had a lot of fun together, and everyone survived.

5. Today we went to the Art Museum and saw the Impressionist France exhibit. It was good, except I really wanted it to be all huge colorful paintings, and those were about a third of the exhibit. It is free on Fridays, so we only paid to reserve our tickets in advance. That turned out to be a good idea, since we would have had to wait an hour to get in if we had not done so. Our older kids really liked the paintings, but F fussed the whole time because she wanted to be let loose out of the sling. Though one man told M that he enjoyed looking at him and the girls more than he enjoyed the art! They also had some early French photography taken on negatives of glass, paper, and waxed paper. It is pretty cool how they were able to take the earliest images. Tonight we are going to get our last Ted Drewes frozen custard until our next visit. I am pretty sure they do not open early enough for us to get some on our way out of town.

6. It is fortunate that the Cardinals are opening the season Monday in Cincinnati and not at home. If they were, it would be a huge sacrifice for me to leave so close to opening day. As it is, I will be able to tear myself away, and M will not have to cancel class next week for my love of baseball. Dad and I once went to a home opener when I was in high school. It was on Easter Monday that year, and we had a lot of fun. St. Louis has such a rich baseball tradition, that I am glad I was raised in. It is almost as cool as being raised Catholic. 😉 I got a chance to see the new “Ballpark Village” when we were leaving downtown after visiting the Arch. It looks pretty nice, I wonder how it will help downtown in the off season.

7. And last of all, we had another basement water issue a couple of weeks ago when the snow started to melt. Then we realized that there is a drainage system in place on our back patio to prevent such a problem which was covered in snow still. We spent a whole day fixing the problem, and knew exactly what to do to get the basement dry quickly. A friend mentioned something that their realtor told them: “There are two kinds of basements: those that leak and those that will.” Oh, home ownership…

Head on over to Jen’s Conversion Diary to read more Quick Takes!

Seven Quick Takes, Friday, Nov. 8

1. With the basement finished (my post with pictures is here), I am not sure what else to look forward to, but then I have nothing to complain about either. I guess we can start living in our home unhindered by workmen, their schedules, and daytime drilling and hammering. I want to talk about a few things besides the basement and all of that.

2. M went to a philosophy conference last weekend, and there saw a lot of colleagues that he knows from graduate school, previous conferences, and even former professors. He saw one of my favorite philosophy professors from my undergraduate studies who asked about me and said that he remembered me fondly from being in his classes. That really made my day. For some reason I am always a bit surprised when people, who are not my closest friends and relatives, remember me or are even interested in how I am doing. I just don’t really think of myself a a particularly memorable person. I am thankful to this professor for the beginnings of my formation in more serious, intellectual thought. While I am not doing it professionally, I do enjoy it an aside to the rest of my life.

3. I am also feeling thankful to my mother who came and stayed with us for eight days to help me with the kids while M was away (he was only gone two nights) and celebrate F’s birthday. It is always nice to have house guests who help so much with dishes and cooking that they make it easier to run the house. My father was able to fit a visit in between his church music obligations, and it was great to see him. He took some beautiful shots of our family and of the baby, so if you are on our Christmas card list or a Facebook friend, you will get to see them!

4. After a week of having my mom around at lunch time, I went to make lunch for the kids and had no motivation to do so, especially because they were playing happily in the basement. Even my own empty stomach was ignored to peruse the internet for about 10 minutes before I reasoned to myself that if I just went through the hour process of making lunch, eating, and getting the kids down for naps/quiet time, I could have a quiet time of my own to do nothing (or blog).

5. Question about Minnesota life: If it snows before you rake all of your leaves, what are you supposed to do? Can we count on the snow melting before it really freezes up for the Winter? Further, I wasn’t finished “Winterizing” my garden. Please tell me that there will be a thaw. I will be hiding in my warm, cozy soft basement until then.

6. I have been following a this blog called Blossoming Joy by a Catholic, homeschooling mom since August. There is something about it that I find sweet, and I really enjoy her thoughts and the way she raised her children. Further, I am pretty sure my husband was just like her teenage son when he was a teenager.

7. This is the obligatory comment on my blog about the World Series not turning out as I had hoped. A brilliant author once penned: “Baseball is a cruel, but beautiful game, played in the shape of a diamond.” Let’s all think about that for awhile…


Photo by Canadian Veggie.

For more Quick Takes head on over to Jen!

Seven Quick Takes, Oct. 18

This is my second post of the day after a weeks hiatus. Let’s just say that mothering three children does not always allow for blogging…

1. For number one, I want to thank Fr. Z for turning my latest Truth and Charity post into a “Guest Post” on his blog. I really appreciate that he read my email and took time to read my post. Thanks, Father!

2. The Saga of the Leaky Pipe Continues… Here is the current look of our basement:

This one is not quite current, the ceiling in this family room is mostly put up.

The laundry room is painted.

Spare Oom. Maybe we should skip carpet and go for a marbled cement look?

While entertained hopes of the basement being finished by next week, the carpet is not due to be manufactured for two more weeks and the ceiling is slow in going up…

3. I was trying to convince L (2.75) to go outside today by telling her that it was going to be cold soon. Her response: “When it gets cold out then it will snow and then we can go ice skating!” She has no clue what ice skating it like… though maybe we need to look into taking her sometime this winter…

4. I bought a large squash at the farmer’s market this morning. The farmer told me that it would be good for pie. He cut one open to show the inside. It looked orangey-red and fleshy. I think it will be good. Last year we tried out the blue hubbard squash, and it made delicious pies and breads.

I am not sure what kind of squash it is, but it looks like a pretty close relative of the pumpkin.

5. I first read Dostoyevsky while in college, starting with The Brothers Karamazov. It took me a really long time to read the book. Until now I thought it was because it was a long book, but now I am realizing that it probably was because whenever I read Dostoyevsky I get so caught up in the story and the characters that I lose track of myself. I started Crime and Punishment a couple of weeks ago, and am only about 70 pages into it. Wednesday I spent about 30 minutes of naptime reading it, and got caught up so much in Raskolnikov and his emotions, thoughts, and actions it took me about 10 minutes to realize that I had not just committed an awful crime for which I was probably going to get caught for… Dostoyevsky, yeah… read him.

6. I am currently watching Game 6 of the NLCS with my MLB app.  It is possibly the last baseball game I will watch this season because of our voluntary lack of television. If the Cardinals hold onto their 9-0 lead then I will have to listen to the KMOX broadcast of the World Series games.

7. And I leave you with Carly Simon singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” And the video I want won’t imbed so you have to go there.

Head on over to Jen’s for more Quick Takes!

Seven Quick Takes, Oct. 11

1. Today I am pretty sure I hit the ultimate level of mom-coolness. Well, probably not, but I felt pretty cool cruising home from our home school gym co-op in our Honda Odyssey with all the windows down including the sun roof with three little girls giggling and shrieking about the wind on this gorgeous, warmish Autumn afternoon.

Photo from The Adventures of Kristin and Adam.

And then we got to the High Bridge. I sped across with Mumford & Sons blaring, and the fall colors blazing. It was a truly fun drive. Okay, I am done, and now you all know that we are slightly obsessed with Mumford & Sons in our home. I am not even sure what the social stigma is that comes with that, but there it is…

2. Saga of the Leaky Pipe Update: Do you smell that? That is the smell of latex paint coming from my basement. The sheetrock is up and the mudding is complete. I directed the proper paint cans to the right rooms this morning and the painting has begun. Tomorrow is supposed to be trimming and ceiling day. Then all we will have left is lighting and outlets, and our flooring. Maybe it will be done before the end of the month! Next week I will post some pictures for sure.

3. L’s head: The poor girl was really feeling her concussion for ten days, like the doctor said she might. I think she is finally recovered now that she is up to mischief again, as opposed to lying on the couch with a headache all day. Yesterday she dumped milk out of the jug all over the table and floor. This is a good sign that she is healed.

4. Cardinals v. Tigers in the World Series? They both still have to win their pennants… M and I being in a relationship has really boded well for both teams. The Cardinals have gone to the playoffs five times since M and I started dating eight years ago. Plus, they have won the World Series twice (which they had not done since 1982). The Tigers have been to the playoffs four times in the past eight years and won two pennants. I think this is clear evidence that the Tigers and the Cardinals will both be winning teams until death do us part…

5. We have my dear friend C visiting us this weekend. She ranks pretty high on my kids list of favorite people. L (2.75) ranks her visit as highly as she does the next snowfall: “Tomorrow Miss C is coming and it will snow! Then I will eat the snow up and jump in it and play in it forever and ever.”

6. I discovered that our library has picture books with audio recordings. I have been allowing G (4.5) to listen to them during her quiet time with my old stereo that I have had since middle school. It does keep her happy for awhile, but I am wondering if it is stifling her ability to imagine on her own during quiet time. “I’m bored!” she just told me, but she is also going through a phase where she does not want to take things out because she does not want to have to clean them up…

7. We have been going to the 7:30 AM Extraordinary Form Low Mass at our parish St. Agnes. I wrote a piece on it for Truth and Charity this week: “The Holy Quiet of the Low Mass”. Even with three little children, the low Mass is a very moving experience.

Head on over to Jen’s Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes.

Seven Quick Takes, October 4

1. It has been a busy, busy week for us, beginning with our 12 hours in the car on Sunday and ending, who knows how? In between, we watched kids for friends and then had dinner with them, went to the ER for the first time, canned 19 quarts of applesauce, hosted play group, and then went to the doctor again for L. She was having more symptoms of her head being bumped, which leads me to believe that she really did have a mild concussion. Poor sweetie. Though I now know that it is normal to have headaches and sleepiness and even vomiting for 10 days after a concussion.

2. I have discovered that my two oldest behave better in public if they are not with each other. When I took L to the doctor today I dropped G off with an awesome homeschooling family. She has a blast with their only daughter and L was mild mannered and sweet while at the doctor. The same thing happened with L when I took her to the store with me two weeks ago. If G is there, L spends the whole shopping trip running away or trying to escape the cart. When I have her alone, she sits still and talks to me. I wonder if there is a trick to getting them to behave together. 

3. Saga of the Leaky Pipe Update: Last week we were told there would be drywall installed while we were gone. When we arrived home, nothing had been done. Tuesday and Thursday we were told to expect the crew; they arrived this morning and the drywall is going up! We picked out flooring for the bathroom and laundry room. And now I was told today that we need to pick out paint for both rooms as well! Now I really have to get thinking again. Maybe I will do a yellow room after all. I backed out of it for the main family room (I am going to use the color we have in the upstairs living room since I love it so much). The spare room is getting a nice seafoam like green. Maybe I should continue my pastel look…

4. I sat behind homeplate with my iPad for the Cards game this afternoon. I am really loving my MLB At Bat app this year. They should give me a free subscription for the .TV next year and I will review it on my blog. It includes all the camera angles for the playoffs through the NLCS, but not the actual edited broadcast. It is kind of weird, but I guess it is the only way they can provide video without violating their contract with TBS. If we get to the World Series then I will just have to use the radio feature. Or I could find a TV to borrow from a friend or something.

5. We had a sad day in our home this week. M and I finished all eight seasons of Monk. I always feel at a loss when we finish a great series. Eight seasons is a big commitment. On top of that, Netflix took it down while we were in Buffalo so we had pay Amazon for the last two episodes. What would we do without the internet? We might cave and buy a TV, or rely on the library for our viewing pleasures.

6. Speaking of viewing pleasures, we watched the movie Fargo by the Coen brothers for the first time yesterday. It gave me a greater understanding of Minnesotans, their accent, and “Minnesota Nice”. However, it would not have made as much sense to me a year ago. A years experience in the state then watching the movie, have helped me understand why the contractor for our basement has made so many promises about our basement being done and only kept about 10% of them.

7. Today is the Feast of St. Francis, which always reminds me of Franciscan University’s homecoming weekend. They have a pretty neat renaissance fest, good food, and a big gathering of students, families, and alumni. We went the first Fall after graduation, but have not been back since. If we really do go to Buffalo again in the Autumn we should include Steubenville’s homecoming in the trip.

That’s all this time. Head on over to Jen’s Conversion Diary to read her anniversary quick takes!

The Tragic Side of Baseball

The best view we had of the girls’ favorite Cardinal: Fredbird.

I made it to my annual St. Louis Cardinal’s home game last Wednesday with my dear husband, while my wonderful parents were so kind as to put our three little kids to bed. It was a perfectly St. Louis summer evening with the temperature dropping from a humid 97°F to the upper 80s over the course of the game. We actually did not spend very much on our second date this summer since we had free family sitting, paid $11.20 for our pair of tickets to wherever in the stadium, $11 parking, and $6.75 for nachos. If the stadium had decent beer we probably would have split one of those as well, but there does not seem to be anything resembling good beer at Busch Stadium (at least in the bleachers).

The game began in the worst way possible, from the point of view of the fans of the home team. Take a look for yourself:

Six runs in ten batters, and even the pitcher got an RBI single. Then to rub it in, the bad guys scored three more runs in the second inning.  Who was pitching, you ask? Adam Wainwright. Who seemed to anticipate his every pitch? The Cincinnati Reds. Who crushed him again yesterday? The Reds. 
As we sat in the bleachers, soaking in the heat, humidity, and disappointment at the start of the game, M mentioned something about the tragic nature of baseball. Yes, indeed, there is that tragic element of baseball. And as a Cardinal fan my whole life, the tragedy of failing in baseball has not been very prominent. This game reminded me again, that we can’t always win, even the one home game for which I am in town. Maybe I should have expected it in a summer like this one. I have seen some pretty incredible wins in St. Louis, but this time I saw a crushing defeat. 
Baseball is a cruel, but beautiful game, played in the shape of a diamond. Every pitch, every play leads to tragedy for someone. Someone is always on the losing end of things. Though it is most tragic to see a great player or great team fall apart, and that is what we saw on Wednesday night. I think everyone in the ballpark sensed it. From that first single, there was a general feeling of dread, the dread of the awful. It reminded me of the 2000 NLCD, when Rick Ankiel fell apart and could never really pitch again. Wainwright’s back to back losses make me wonder if he can overcome this. Maybe, just maybe, a statement like this is not the right attitude for him to have: “The best thing is to throw it away and just realize I’m a very good pitcher and I’ll be ready for the next start. (from” Maybe there is something more serious than one bad night, but maybe it really is just two bad nights with no real explanation. Or maybe the Reds are not being entirely honest in their play.

I am glad I went to the game, even though not many others seemed to, as most of them left by the seventh inning. I enjoyed the halfhearted wave in the middle of the eighth, and the enthusiastic cheering when the Cardinals finally got to third with two outs in the ninth. The comebacks of the past few years came to mind, but they were not to be. The Cardinals and their fans were on the receiving end of baseball tragedy that night.