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Today, and Every Day, Thankful for Baseball November 28, 2013

Posted by Christine Coleman in Baseball.
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NOTE: This is a repost from today at my Cardinals blog, Aaron Miles’ Fastball.

I’m not sure where my life would be without baseball.

baseballheartI realized this yesterday, when thinking about Thanksgiving and the multitude of blessings I am so grateful for: my family, friends, good health (even though I now can’t eat or drink everything I used to enjoy without getting sick), a good job where I can see the end result of my efforts every February, money for food and clothing and shelter … the list could go on and on. It also includes the chance to do something I’ve been compelled to do since I was a kid — write — and know that people read and even react to it.

Much of the writing, obviously, is here and about the Cardinals and baseball. I don’t remember when I first started watching baseball — it was a very, very long time ago. Baseball became a daily part of my summers back when my brother turned 8 and started playing and my Dad was his coach. In high school, when my family got cable TV, the magic fact we received WGN and the Cubs played in the afternoon is part of the reason I first followed them. (The cuteness of Jody Davis was the other.) In college, my daily routine of listening or watching every Cubs game led to an internship with the team — and afterward a 10-year baseball break that lasted until Harry Caray died in 1998. That year’s Cubs team brought me back to baseball, yet Mark McGwire made me notice the Cardinals. It took a couple years, and a typical Cubs season in 1999 following the gloriousness of 1998, to finally bring me to where I am today: on the right, and red, side of the rivalry since 2000.

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An Unexpected November Sunrise November 20, 2013

Posted by Christine Coleman in 2013, Outdoors.
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11-20-13

With today’s weather forecast calling for rain all day, I was a little surprised to look out and see this sunrise begin to unfold a few minutes ago. As I stepped out onto the deck to take the picture, I was even more surprised to hear birds chirping.

The sunrise was a nice, albeit brief, gift as there already are just grayish-blue skies off to the east right now. And the heavenly quality to the clouds was an appropriate sight for today — it would have been my Dad’s 74th birthday.

Happy birthday, Dad.

It’s a Cold November Morning … November 19, 2013

Posted by Christine Coleman in 2013, Outdoors.
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11-19-13

The sun doesn’t rise until after 6:30 a.m., there’s frost everywhere — but at least there is sun. So much better than clouds, so much better than darkness.

Just trying to find the bright side … literally and figuratively.

A New Appreciation of Baseball’s Family Ties November 18, 2013

Posted by Christine Coleman in Baseball.
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NOTE: This is a repost from today at my Cardinals blog, Aaron Miles’ Fastball.

Most of us love baseball because of a family connection — our dad, mom, grandpa, grandma, uncle, aunt or cousin sparked our interest in the game as kids in some way, then that interest took hold and grew. For me, there are several family members: my Grandpa who taught me to play catch, my Dad who taught me to keep score and, later, my Uncle Jim who taught me about the Cardinals and their history.

For Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins, it was his grandma.

jose fernandezI will readily admit to not knowing much beyond the basics about Fernandez — his terrific stats during this rookie season, sure (especially since I picked him up for my fantasy baseball team early on), his age and that he’s Cuban. Plus I knew how he did against the Cardinals this season: he won one game (the first of the Marlins three-game June sweep in Miami) where he struck out 10, and lost at Busch Stadium as Matt Holliday homered and stole second in a rundown as Carlos Beltran stole home. Beyond that, though, there is only so much baseball I have time to keep up with, and the Cardinals rookie pitchers were my priority.

So, last week, when I heard the story of Fernandez’s surprise reunion with his grandma the day before he was named National League Rookie of the Year, I was incredibly touched. Take a look at the photo above — even that tells you at least part of the story.

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Ah, Well, No 30 Blogs in 30 Days November 17, 2013

Posted by Christine Coleman in 2013, Goals, Writing.
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It sounded easy on Nov. 1: just post something, anything, every day for the month of November and participate in National Blog Posting Month. And for 14 straight days, I did.

That’s longer than I’ve ever posted anything on my baseball blog. It is an accomplishment!

bloggingBut Friday the 15th was busy, as two of my nieces were over to spend the night, so I didn’t post anything. Yesterday I intended to catch up and post two things … and did not. So here we are.

I do enjoy the chance to just write whatever here, or find a photo I’ve taken and use that along with a little description. I will continue to do that more often than I had been. Just not daily. Although the November blogging month thing definitely made me write more regularly — and was an incentive on quite a few of the first 14 days to actually write something on nights when I just wanted to go to bed instead.

For tonight, that’s all. A busy weekend, once again with too little accomplished from the very long list I’d hoped to get done.

Maybe some weekend I’ll actually feel the opposite on a Sunday night!

Of Springtime and a Heart Balloon November 14, 2013

Posted by Christine Coleman in Outdoors, Writing.
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This is a Throwback Thursday post of sorts — throwing all the way back to May 9 of this year. It was a cloudy and at times rainy spring day and, late in afternoon at work, I happened to look out the window and see this.

balloon heart

Yes, a heart-shaped balloon. And it was in the puddles outside the dock door, of all places. The rain and May breeze had obviously knocked down many blossoms from the bushes that line the edge of the parking lot to add to the scene.

An unexpected sight, for sure, yet also striking as you can see — the contrast of the red with the gray, the reflections in the puddles, the pink petals scattered all around.

Where the balloon came from, who knows? And it wasn’t there long before blowing over by the dumpster — and then I left work for the day.

Seeing the picture again, it seems like there could be a interesting story written about it. Maybe the balloon was intentionally let go, over some ill-advised comment from a boyfriend to a girlfriend after giving her a heart-shaped balloon …

For tonight, though, that’s all. More to ponder, and to write, another time — when I feel like dreaming of springtime and blossoms.

One Holiday At a Time, Please November 13, 2013

Posted by Christine Coleman in Goals, Outdoors.
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The first “it’s WAY too early for that” moment for this fall was on Nov. 1 as I was driving home from work. A few blocks from home, I turned the corner and there it was — an entire yard glowing with holiday figurines ranging from various snowmen to penguins and Santa, the house and trees festooned with a variety of lights.

All on the day after Halloween.

Can we wait until after Thanksgiving, please?

Can we wait until after Thanksgiving, please?

Very early last Friday morning came the second such moment. My clock radio was set for 5 a.m. But instead of the ’80s or ’90s or current song playing to awaken me, instead it was Bing Crosby. Nine minutes later, after hitting the snooze, the radio popped on again. Mariah Carey, “All I Want for Christmas is You.”

Reminder: last Friday was Nov. 8. We don’t need a station with all Christmas, all the time, starting on Nov. 8.

Now, I’m not a Scrooge by any means. I love Christmas. I decorate each year, and I do love listening to Christmas music. But at the appropriate time — which to me is after Thanksgiving.

Once upon a time (sure, why not use fairy tale language and hearken back to the old days when I was a child?) Christmas music really was special. You would hear it on the radio nonstop on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, perhaps a song here and there after Thanksgiving leading up to the holiday. But not 20 different versions throughout a day of this pop starlet or that wannabe diva pouring way, way too much over-the-top vocal theatrics into “O Holy Night.” Even the songs I really love — like “Do They Know It’s Christmas” from back in my day or Bruce Springsteen’s “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” lose their specialness when you hear them on the radio multiple times a day weeks before Thanksgiving.

And the lights and decorations and even people with trees up already — yeah, I get that Christmas is awesome and decorating is fun and all. But for eight weeks?

Time goes by quickly enough (which I said a little something about yesterday) plus Thanksgiving gets totally overlooked anymore. Too many skip straight from Halloween to Christmas, ignoring the time to stop and reflect and give thanks for all that we have.

Bravo to the neighbor just down the street from the house with its Christmas decorations and lights ablazing already. They have an honest-to-goodness Thanksgiving display in their yard right now. No, not some neon turkey glowing in the window or an inflatable one blowing around their yard. It’s a hay bale, with several pumpkins (uncarved, not just Halloween leftovers), cornstalks and artificial leaves and flowers surrounding them — all lit with two spotlights on the ground in front of the hay bale. It’s the one and only Thanksgiving display in my neighborhood, and bravo to them.

Let’s just enjoy and appreciate one season before moving on to the next. That way, we really can appreciate and enjoy.

Where Does the Time Go? November 12, 2013

Posted by Christine Coleman in Exercise, Goals, Weight loss, Writing.
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Every day seems to go by so quickly, and every week too. The months, the years — all of it, here and gone.

clocksSo many things I want to do, all those things I intend to get to — ideas here, gone, unfulfilled.

Or started, stalled, stopped.

The novel I’ve written, rewritten and rewritten yet again that still needs work. Those other novels from past National Novel Writing Months that I wanted to get back to and revise.

Losing more weight, staying active, getting back to running.

Book after book after book after book I want to read — so many already owned, sitting on my nightstand or bookshelves or piled on a shelf in the closet.

I could go on …

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More Wise Words November 11, 2013

Posted by Christine Coleman in Goals.
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This isn’t the post I’d thought about writing tonight but with my Internet out and the moment and me typing this on my phone, I’m sticking with another short one.

This is a picture I took last year of a picture on the wall of a coffee shop in the Village of East Davenport in Davenport, Iowa. I loved it then (thus, why I took a picture) and I still do now. Wise words.

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Valuable Words for a Sunday Night November 10, 2013

Posted by Christine Coleman in Goals.
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As the weekend draws to a close and a new week is on the horizon, good words to remember.

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