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.

Seven Quick Takes-Friday, Aug 23 (Caution! Scary Basement Pictures!)

1. I write these quick takes as I listen to my first St. Louis Cardinals game this season. It is almost September. I feel like an awful fan. I am really sorry about this guys. I have been checking the standings all season and reading my St. Louis Post Dispatch baseball app occasionally. I am not sure what happened this summer, maybe we moved and then the basement was chaotic. Listening to games reminds me of when I was in high school and would listen to every single game playing solitaire the whole time, or keeping score on my homemade scorecards. Before the games I always listened to “Sports Open Live” on KMOX. I even called in a few times. I was pretty obsessed with baseball. I am trying to convince M to let me display my Mike Matheny bobble-head when the basement is finished. I am thinking he won’t go for it…

2. Tomorrow is my mom’s birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!! You are a wonderful and holy woman. Thank you for your example of a beautiful life!

3. I harvested my first tomato from the garden today. I think maybe that I am not watering the plants enough, but it was pretty good anyway. I am going to wait until it is a little redder next time:

4.  Saga of the Leaky Pipe Update:  We first found the leak on June 29. This week was demolition week. A demolition team came out and spent two days riping out knotty pine paneling and the drop ceiling. The basement looked worse than ever with piles of rubble on the middle of it. I did not take a picture of it since it was painful. Today they surprised us and sent out a carpenter to do the framing for the drywall including that for our spare room (egress window to be put in at a future date). I think I am going to call it “the sewing room” in hopes that I actually sew something. And now I am going to treat you with some pictures.

The “Sewing Room” framing. One day this might have two bunk beds and teenage girls in it…      
The laundry room through the “sewing room” wall.
The family room, stairs, and door for M’s study.

5. Soon we will have to decide on wall and carpet colors. We are getting the same carpet in the study, stairs, family room, and sewing room. The question is, what style would be good for all four places and what color. I really want the basement to be a happy, cheery, warm place to be, but I want a carpet style and color that won’t look outdated in a few years. I feel like the choices are a beige color or maybe gray. Would grayish carpet be too gloomy in a basement? As for walls I really want a nice soft yellow color.

I found this palette on Pinterest.

Any thoughts on using the yellow for the walls and the gray or cream for carpet? Will this look totally outdated in a few years?

6. M’s summer night class that he has been teaching is over. I have learned a lot about my vocation having to put all three kids to bed two nights a week. I am not sure I want to go into detail right now, but I think I am closer to the kids because of it and have more confidence in my ability to care for the children at bedtime alone…

7. I feel like I need to make a big deal about our first day of home school preschool for G. I am feeling a little left out with all these “first day of school” photos on Facebook. But you see in Minnesota, I have heard it is not acceptable to start school before the end of the State Fair which ends on Labor Day. I think this is reasonable, since in Minnesota Winter is so long and Spring comes so late. It is good to give the kids a few more weeks to run around outside before they are cooped up for 6+ hours a day (another great reason to home school). If you are my Facebook friend, we are still having summer here, so look for the first day of school photos after Labor Day.

For more Quick Takes head on over to Jen’s Conversion Diary.

Seven Quick Takes-Saturday, August 3

1. I have no excuse for not writing these yesterday, except that I wanted to sit and read Sense and Sensibility during naptime. I am on a rereading kick this summer, and Jane Austen has been come to again. It is also in research for a writing piece I am mentally working on which I hope will be written eventually. It is taking more thought that I expected.

2. M and I both have finished rereading The Lord of the Rings, and so we decided to re-watch the movies. The Hobbits just made it to Rivendell and well we decided we cannot watch anymore. Peter Jackson did not get Tolkien and I am pretty sure that he did not actually read the books, because his way of telling the story is so different from the book that it is not even the same story. I really need to stop watching movie versions of books that I think are great and that I love… don’t even get me started on how the movie of The Last of the Mohicans totally got Natty Bumpo’s character wrong…

3. House update: The asbestos should be removed early next week as long as the contractors and the insurance company keep things moving, and the main basement room is going to get a total redo so that it all matches. Hopefully we will get to go over the details of what will be done this week, ie. redo knotty pine paneling or switch to dry wall, carpet style and color, etc…

4.  G (4) picks up on random phrases from books and nursery rhymes (which is what makes reading them to her so great). This week her phrase has been “I don’t think I can bear it!” or a toy will “not be able to bear” something. It is pretty cool to hear her explore language and use new phrases without any hesitation.

5. G and L (2.5) like to act out the stories we read to them. I overheard them playing the other day and L was pretending to be “Baby Carrie” from the picture book based on Little House in the Big Woods. I asked G who she was pretending to be, and she explained that she was pretending to be one of her friends (who happens to be the daughter of T).

6. Since he does not have his own blog, my last two quick takes are one’s inspired by M. He has been into Leonard Cohen this week and he shared Cohen’s song “Suzanne” with me. Now he really wants me to feed him tea and oranges from China (picking at my dislike of people forgetting that my name is not Suzanne, but Susanna, as in “O, Susanna”). M has decided that Cohen’s way of combining sexual and theological references is very incarnational and makes him think of the Theology of the Body.

7. This song just came into M’s head. And I reminded him that it was one of my theme song the summer and autumn that we were broken up while he was discerning his vocation.

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

Seven Quick Takes: Five Years (and Counting) with Lady Philosophy

“[I]t seemed to me that there appeared above my head a woman of a countenance exceeding venerable. Her eyes were bright as fire, and of a more than human keenness; her complexion was lively, her vigour showed no trace of enfeeblement; and yet her years were right full, and she plainly seemed not of our age and time. […]
Even so the clouds of my melancholy were broken up. I saw the clear sky, and regained the power to recognise the face of my physician. Accordingly, when I had lifted my eyes and fixed my gaze upon her, I beheld my nurse, Philosophy, whose halls I had frequented from my youth up.” –Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy
When M and I were married five years ago today, we joked that he would always have a mistress and that her name was Lady Philosophy. Above is a passage by Boethius where he describes her; many of the virtues and subjects were personified in ancient times, and since we are so into tradition, it was natural to think of M’s area of study as his “mistress.” The great thing about Lady Philosophy is that she encourages my husband to know truth and to be virtuous. And she is really knowledgeable whenever we want to know if some random act is moral or need to figure out what category various  substances belong in.

Us as newlyweds! Photo by Jen Pagano

And now that I have rambled a bit I give you for my quick takes, great things about being married to my philosopher:
1. If he is in the other room for longer than I expected, he is usually perusing St. Thomas or any other text he happens to be reading. I love that I have a husband who gets distracted by books about being and substances.
2.  He always has something to talk about and keeps my mind off things besides diapers, cooking, and whether or not the baby has napped. I confess I will get distracted by the mundane, daily tasks at hand, but he is always encouraging me to think about and discuss ideas.

3. He has been taking out the trash, washing the dishes, cleaning the bathrooms, and doing the laundry (even diapers!) the entirety of our marriage. We divided the household chores between us, since we cannot afford to pay a staff, and I am so thankful for it. M is better at his chores than I am, though he often talks about the time when the kids will take them over so that he can read more books.

4. He keeps his commitments and does his work well. Not many people spend only four years working on their doctorate and then land a tenure track position right away. But my amazing husband did. He wrote a paper the week after our first G was born, read countless articles with her on his lap, researched and wrote his 400+ page dissertation in our living room with head phones in while two girls under two played behind him (and a wife tried really hard not to talk to him constantly). He takes his work seriously and he always does what he promises he will do. I am so blessed to be loved by such a responsible man.

5. He is a great father. He is always willing to help with diaper changes, read stories, and have a family bedtime routine. He also dresses the kids and makes them breakfast most mornings. If he is working at home and the kids are napping, he does not mind if I run out to the store (alone!) or go for a run for exercise.

6. He loves me. And I love him. I do not normally get mushy on the internet, but it is our five year anniversary, so there it is.

7. He loves God.  We pray together everyday, with our kids, for our kids, and silent prayer when the kids are in bed. We take our kids to daily Mass, and most days pray a family rosary. God has been the center of our marriage and family life, and because of this we have grown in love of Him, each other, and our children daily.

Happy Anniversary to my dear husband!

(Head over to Jen’s Conversion Diary for more quick takes.)

Phenomenological Evidence that I am from the South

Happy April 18th everyone! Today it is snowing in Minnesota. They predict 4-8 inches. Maybe my “Northern-Mid-Western-Michigander” husband has been right all along and I am really from the South. I never thought of St. Louis as in the South but look at this weather they have there:

That looks like Spring to me. 64 and raining is better any day than this:

And Buffalo, NY (which most of the country believes to be East Coast but is actually 8 hours of road West of the coast) where we lived the four previous years is having some nice Summer weather today:

I am pretty sure Minnesota should change its name to Siberia, and then maybe I would be more able to handle this weather. But that is probably not true and what is true is that Missouri is really and truly a Southern state.
So here is my phenomenological evidence: I have been doing some self-sensing and some sensing of the world around me (my environment). Mostly I have been sensing cold. For the past six months I have been sensing cold. And I have been seeing a lot of white outside and sensing cold white things on my nose and eyelashes. That is all fine when we are getting ready for Christmas, and maybe I can tolerate a bit of it during Lent when it is supposed to be a penitential season anyway, but my senses are giving me evidence that I am not from around here and I am actually a Southerner. St. Louis is in the South and not in the North or the Mid-west. And Buffalo is just a bit quirky when it comes to weather.

The Metaphysics of Waffle Makers

I made waffles the other night for dinner in honor of the Feast of the Annunciation. M is wonderful and does the dishes every night. When he got to the waffle maker we had the following conversation:

M: How should I wash the waffle maker?
S: Just wipe it down with a paper towel.
M: Should I immerse it in hot, soapy water?
S: Well, that would break it. Would it even be a waffle maker then?
M: If it did not function as a waffle maker would it still be one?
S: I don’t think it would be. Maybe we could put it in a 20 lb bag of rice for a week and then it would work again.
M: What if I completely rewired it, would it still be the same waffle maker or a new one?
S: It would be the same one, I think.
M: Do waffle makers persist through part replacement?

Thought of His Thoughts

M after reading a text for an hour: “I should have written my dissertation on ________! He is awesome!”

He goes on describing how this philosopher says all the things that another philosopher said, but way earlier. He quotes me a few lines.

Me: “Do you feel like you are Adam finding your Eve? ‘At last this is experience of my experience, thought of my thoughts?'”

That is what is is like to live with a philosopher. In case you did not know.