Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fun at the New Ballyard

Still recovering from a great weekend. Drove up to the "Cities" to visit new grandkid, Eddie. Upon arriving Grandma Jo immediately took over "tending to Eddie" responsibilities. And I took over the responsibility of taste testing a flourless chocolate cake Summer had prepared. Actually the cake was supposed to be my prize for winning the "Guess the Baby Stuff" contest which I did in fact win with no public recognition or fanfare whatsoever. Saturday was a day of rest for me. I restricted myself to limited activities. In the morning, on a trip to the Richfield Farmers' Market, I limited my activity to arguing with a couple of "Master Gardener" ladies about the identification of a branch from a Mulberry tree in the kids' backyard. This allowed me to spend the remainder of the day gloating over my correct assessment. (Reid looked it up on the internet, of course) The women shopped and Reid went over hang out with some buddies while I prepared for a second round with that chocolate treat. As the evening went on we were bombarded with storm warnings, storm watches, tornado warnings and tornado watches. How harrowing! Jo and Summer tried to decide whether to wake Eddie and head for the safety of the basement while I made plans for a safe haven for the cake. The storms passed, Eddie and the cake both survived and Reid made it home intact.
Now the highlight of the weekend. (and the secondary reason for us being there) Off to Target Field, the newly constructed home of the Minnesota Twins. This would be Eddie's first baseball game (he had already attended a Viking's game shortly after birth) and the Twins were playnig the much hated (at least by me) White Sox. I've always said that I would rather see the Sox lose than the Cubs win. Yep that's what I always said. After explaining to Reid, an avid soccer player and fan, that when a foul ball comes your way, "don't try to hit it with your forehead". Fortunately there were no head shots AND the Twins managed to pull out a victory in the bottom of the ninth. One side note about the new stadium, there was weird stuff going on, something you don't see down at Wrigley (or even Sox park) the vendors were putting red stuff on the hot dogs. I believe they called it catsoup or cat something. Oh well, folks up here go ice fishing, kill the fish, soak them in lye and eat them. Probably just trying to get that catsup taste out of their mouths. A couple more bites of that chocolate cake and it was back home just in time to greet Jo's niece and four of her kids who came up to spend a few days in our neck of the woods. On their last visit they checked out the arm and shoulder of the woods.
Did I mention that the Sox lost?

Grandpa explains the finer points of soccer with Eddie.

"Dad! Dad! Dad!"

Monday, July 12, 2010


The World Cup Extravaganza is over and I have found a new appreciation of the sport. Up until yesterday I had never watched, played or, if possible not talked about, soccer. It was right near the top of my"List" along with hockey and liver. But yesterday, while visiting my sports expert son, I caught the final moments of "extra time". I guess I never really understood the nuances of the game before. I'm so impressed with these guys as kickers. Man, they are so accurate that almost every time they kick the ball far down the field, (or it may be called the pasture) they manage to hit one of the other guys in head with the ball. Sometimes they'll hit him in the chest but most of the time it's right on the old bean. No wonder so many soccer players become field goal kickers for the NFL. Luckily they can kick because they could never play any other position because if some one brushes against them they fall down and lay there until, either the games over or a referee gives them a note for their coach. An interesting thing that I noticed was the notes that the refs hand out. I'm not sure of the reason for writing little colored notes instead of using flags like in auto racing of nice hankies like the football (the real football) refs and umps use. Well maybe if they used those hankies, which are weighted they would probably hit some guy writhing around on the ground causing them more agony making it necessary to lay there even longer. After I realized that almost everyone at the game (match?) was from some other country I surmised this reason for the yellow and red notes (those are the only two colors I saw. Don't know if they come in different colors for different occasions or to match the uniforms being worn for that particular game) These notes are like citations and depending on the severity of the infraction, your note can send you home, have you stand front of a guy who's going kick the ball at you at close range, or, the most serious infraction (I guess a red card) you get sent to Arizona with only a sweaty jersey and a can of refried beans. Even though I came away with a whole new appreciation of soccer, it's still not coming off my "List". As I said I am no expert but I have a son, a couple of grandsons, a granddaughter and a son-in-law who are authentic soccer persons and will probably send me little red notes for my birthday. But, for real poop on the sport and most others, I have still another son who has most of the answers (and opinions). See - http://www.cubbiedoc.com/

A soccer guy about to take a direct hit by a ball that some one a quarter of a mile away just kicked at him. The other guy seems a little quicker and manages to get out of the way in time.

One of the most prestigious kicks in all of soccerdom, a doubleheader. Unlike baseball, it's still only one game but it can have extra time. Right after this kick the guy on the far right fell down and layed there until he got a colored card to take home to the wife. (it was a Hallmark) I think the kicker got a special lime seafoam green card for the two beaner.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Sound of Square Music

In my blog last year (July 23 - The Tip of a Hat) I talked about a Madison, Wisconsin event. Quote - "On Wednesdays during the Summer, hundreds (maybe thousands or millions) of music lovers, picnicers, patrons of the arts and a few winos gather on the lawn around the State Capital building . . . "The Square" to listen to a performance of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. You can pack a picnic basket with your dinner or purchase pretty good food from vendors in little tents around the venue OR if your among the privileged you get to sit at fancy table set up along the main sidewalk that leads to the Capital steps and have a fine dinner, complete with wine served by a formally dressed wait staff. These are reserved for sponsors, their friends, family, employees and anyone else that can come up with millions of dollars for dinner." This past Thursday, due to some really bad weather on Wednesday, seats at one of these tables (bought and paid for) were raffled off. Lo and behold, Mrs. Blume was the proud winner of two seats at a fairly far, upfront table for that nights concert. Food would be provided as long as we were acceptable to dinning on whatever the previous owner had ordered. We were joined by five other winners and settled in for an evening of food and music. Fortunately the "pre-picked" menu was quite tasty and went perfectly with the bottle of $2.79 Pinot Grigio that we brought from home. Last year I made note of the various head wear around the square and even took some photos of them. This year, being much more sophisticated, I left my camera in the car and only mentally analyzed the crowd around me. There were the tables with bosses treating some deserving employees, salespeople treating customers (or prospective customers), Moms and Dads trying to instill culture in their children, husbands showing their wives a good time and those folks that NEED to be there because that's where you NEED to be. I even saw, if there ever is such a show, candidates for "The Real Housewives of Madison". Time to time the "Table People" would acknowledge the "Lawn People" by casting a sorta smug smile their way. Some "Lawn People" would reply with a signal, that I think, meant "First Time?" The weather was beautiful and the music was a collection of patriotic tunes starting with the Star Spangled Banner and ending with a rousing version (is there any other kind of version?) of the 1812 Overture complete with the blasts from sixteen canons. The canon fire came from a rooftop across the street from the capitol and to make it more authentic, pre-selected "Lawn People" fell over as though they had been hit. What a great ending. In payment for their performances, the "canon fodder" were allowed to occupy seats at vacated tables as waiters and busboys cleaned up. All in all a very pleasant evening spoiled only by listening to the broadcast of another Cub's loss on the way home. As I said I left my camera in the car BUT...in two weeks we are returning as "Lawn People". (Lands' End is a sponsor that night so we get to sit in a reserved "Lawn People" section close to the "Table People") In the mean time I'm practicing my "First Time?" signal. Hopefully I will get some photos of both the "Lawn" and Table People" that I can add some smartassed captions to.
Oops, did I mention the chocolate cake with raspberry sauce dessert?

Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra Music Director Andrew Sewell
doing that voodoo that he do sewell!

"Lawn People

"Table People"

These photos are only a poor representation of the real thing. I pulled these off other less created sites and will try to give you a more accurate depiction of "Concerts on the Square" in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned.

Friday, July 2, 2010