Programming Alert

Boston Red Sox logoNeed we remind you that the Red Sox and the Twins will play tonight to open Grapefruit League action? If you can, tune into NESN at 7:00 PM to watch Curt Schilling and his boyz take on Johan Santana and mighty Minnesota as the annual battle for the Mayor’s Cup begins between the two teams that call Fort Myers “home away from home.” Plus, at the moment, NESN and ESPN plan to broadcast 12 more games this spring, so no matter what the weather is outside your window, there’s plenty of pre-season baseball action to get you looking forward to 02 April and the opener in Kansas City against the Royals.

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This Before…

BewildermentOur apologies to those of you who expect us to frequent the pages of this blog more often. Jeff’s been trying to keep up with everything at FenwayFanatics.com, with spring training finally in full swing and the first Grapefruit League action taking place Wednesday night against Minnesota. Curt Schilling will get the start that night and Daisuke Matsuzaka will take the hill on Friday night against Boston College, though none of the starters for the first few weeks are expected to pitch more than a couple of innings as the club takes a closer look at the minor leaguers and the possible future in Boston.

Of course, the family has been the real center of attention, with Jakob, who will be four in April, going to school now five days a week and Lea, just shy of 18 months, getting smarter by the second (yesterday, she pointed at the sky and clearly spoke the word: “airplane!”). Mom and Dad just try to take it all in and remember that the kids will only be young once. One note of interest lately is that Jakob is finally getting toilet-trained; he’s been able to use the potty for a long time but it’s only recently that he’s finally decided that he’s a big boy now. Of course, as parents usually do, we try to make a big deal out of it every time that he successfully keeps his pants clean and uses the toilet; we even have a potty song that seems to help enforce the idea since he loves to sing songs all day.

Weekends have been all about the family, too, as we’ve decided to save a few bucks on work around the house in favor of getting out of the house more when Dad’s home for the weekend. The weather has been pretty cold as of late, so we might make a trip to the local playspace or walk around the mall. We had a nice snowfall a couple of weeks ago and have had a few additional snow storms since then so, as the weather warmed late last week and into the weekend, we had some fun in the backyard making a snowman and pulling the kids around on their sleds. Lea’s still not sure that she is a fan of the white stuff yet, but Jakob would play all day out there if Mom and Dad had that kind of energy to keep up with him!

That’s about all from here; the truth is, the weather isn’t going to get much warmer for another month, so we’re doing everything that we can to avoid cabin fever. It won’t be long now, though, before the tulips and the daffodils make their annual appearance, the lawn mower comes out of the shed, and Red Sox baseball returns to the television every night for six months.

No Love From Google

Google me!I don’t know what we did to deserve a demotion but our Google PageRank just dropped the other day to 4 after holding at 5 for what seemed like forever. Of course, this was at one point our web page design business site, which then morphed into the Moon Family homepage. Either we don’t have enough incoming links from other sites, we don’t update the site often enough to satisfy the ranking algorithm, or… wait! Does it even matter? Really, this is more for fits and giggles so… what-EVER!!!

It seems like the holidays are but a distant memory as January nears to an end and we are less than two months from the official start of spring. We’ve actually had some snowfall in recent days and the weather was terribly cold this past week but it really hasn’t been that bad here. Of course, we’ve been using the new basement room quite a lot – the kids really enjoy having their own space and the adults have been able to reclaim the living room for themselves – well, almost.

Actually, we have a few movie recommendations to pass along to those of you who love to curl up with a good DVD on those cold winter nights. Thanks to the wonder of Netflix, here are some recent films we’ve watched that you should add to your movie queue:

  • The Usual Suspects
  • Marathon Man
  • Vertigo
  • The Producers (1968)
  • Sideways
  • Bend It Like Beckham
  • Man On Fire (2004)
  • Rocky Balboa

The last one actually is still in theaters but only for another week or two at best. If you only rent one of these in the next six months, our top recommendation is The Usual Suspects. It has to be one of the top films ever made in motion picture history.

…oh, and Grapefruit League action starts for the Red Sox in exactly one month against Minnesota. I can smell the pine tar!

Thus Spake Zarathustra

2001: A Space OdysseyFor those of you that are unaware of the meaning of this post’s title, go rent 2001: A Space Odyssey today…

Like the movie, the news has been sparse in these parts lately but that doesn’t mean that we have not been busy. Jakob started at a new pre-kindergarten school this past week and he really enjoys being with all new friends. Lea is actively running around the house, literally, and has started to parrot everything that we say. Plus, with the cold weather finally here, we’ve managed to tackle some projects around the house that we’ve been meaning to do, including some of the finish work in the basement. We were fortunate not to get hit with the ice storm that parts north of us received that caused considerable damange.

In Red Sox news, the biggest story today is that one of Boston’s original Dirt Dogs, Trot Nixon, signed a free agent deal with Cleveland yesterday. Though it wasn’t much of a surprise, with the Red Sox failing to offer him arbitration at the deadline in December, Nixon had been with Boston since signing out of high school in 1993 and was the longest-active member of the club (Tim Wakefield now holds that distinction). Trot, we thank you for your years of service and wish you nothing but the best with the Indians.

Oh, and the Patriots are just one win away from the Super Bowl, if they can get by old friend Adam Vinateri and old foe Peyton Manning tomorrow night in Indianapolis. Stay tuned!

Here Comes 2007!

Happy New Year 2007!Another year is in the books and, just as it ends, we get our first significant snowfall – we had an inch fall yesterday afternoon! Good thing for us that we had already returned from another visit to New York so all we had to deal with was shoveling the driveway. The kids also had a great time playing in the white stuff out in the backyard and we burned off some Christmas calories pulling them around in their sleds.

Our best to everyone in the new year!!!

‘Tis The Season

Frosty the Snowman?Happy Winter Solstice, everyone! Of course, no one here truly believes that winter is here, judging by the fact that we have had only one “snow day,” and even that was a laugh because we barely had enough to define as a dusting. Jeff hasn’t even bothered to put the usual sand bags in the bed of the pickup since the roads are bone dry and traction is a non-issue these days. However, we know from past experience that the weather around here can change pretty suddenly, so it might be a whole ‘nother story in a week or two.

Yesterday, we had a nice visit from Jeff’s brother and his family here at our home in Massachusetts and, with his parents also in attendance, we enjoyed a nice, early Christmas dinner of lasagna, salad, and Texas toast! The cousins really enjoyed each other’s company and had a great time opening presents later in the evening that Santa brought us the other day (you know, to get a head start on his deliveries). Next week, we plan to make a trip out to New York for a visit with Tiffany’s family for a few days since Jeff will have the week off; otherwise, we plan to keep things low-key while we enjoy the waning moments of 2006!

Back on the Red Sox front, Boston finally got its man last week – Daisuke Matsuzaka, the Japanese pitching phenom whom Red Sox Nation has already dubbed “Dice-K” and whom expect to continue in the tradition of Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez before him. Six years, $52 million with options that might bring the final value of the contract up to $60 million. Boston also picked up a few other players in recent weeks – shortstop Julio Lugo, reliever Brendan Donnelly, and outfielder J.D. Drew, though Drew’s contract has still not been finalized to this point. Two years after bringing a championship to Boston, the look of the Red Sox is getting to be less and less like it did in 2004. Still, Matsuzaka’s signing has got the hot stove fired up once again, even with the Patriots one win away from another division title and a playoff spot. Spring training officially begins on 16 February when pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Fort Myers, so mark your calendars!

Well, we wish everyone a Merry Christmas and, to our Jewish friends, a belated Happy Hanukkah! May the spirit of the season keep your warm and merry!

Funky Things with Bubble Wrap

Someone sent me a link to this YouTube video recently that features “Weird Al” Yankovic singing White and Nerdy, which is a parody of Ridin’ by Chamillionaire featuring Krayzie Bone – we honestly don’t know who the latter artist is but Weird Al is well-known for presenting an alternate, often satirical view of contemporary culture. We believe that’s John “Bermuda” Schwartz in the background showing off his mad skills on the dance floor and there’s even a quick appearance by Seth Green. You’ll be ROTFLOL after watching this clip – classic!

“Weird Al” Yankovic – White and Nerdy

Would you believe that Christmas is less than three weeks from today? Making a list, checking it twice… The tree is up and decorated in the basement and, of course, the cats and the kids can’t get enough of the sparkling ornaments and lights. Plus, temperatures outside have finally dipped to where we would expect them to be at this time of year. It’s only 27°F right now but on Friday it was about 72°F!

… and we want to give a shout out to our buddies Ben and Alex who were in town visiting from NYC this past weekend; it was great to see you guys! Best of luck to Deron as well who is moving to San Francisco this month.

Hot Stove

Well, it’s been an interesting off-season thus far for Sox fans. By the end of this week, Manny Ramirez might be playing elsewhere next season while free agent J.D. Drew might be wearing a Boston uniform. Also rumor has it that Julio Lugo may finally be positioned at short for the home team at Fenway Park next season, as the front office has been high on him since… well, forever, it seems. Of course, the biggest news has been that the Sox plopped down $51 million just for the rights to talk with Japanese star right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka and there is a lot of excitement about the possibility of this youngster being the next Pedro Martinez. Soon enough, the team that won it all in 2004 might be a distant memory, especially with a guy like the original dirt dog, Trot Nixon, leaving town for sure if Drew is brought on board.

What off-season?

Spooky

Pumpkin PatchYes, again we’ve been MIA in terms of posting in recent weeks but not for any reason other than we didn’t really have a heck of a lot to report over that time. It seems that life has fallen into a routine for us. It’s not necessarily a bad thing but it seems ridiculous to just post: “Today, for dinner, we had pork chops and apple sauce.”

Well, news that is fit to print is that Lea has finally started taking a few steps in the past couple of days. In fact, her first steps came on Halloween, which is odd in that Jakob started walking to almost the exact day after he was born. By the end of this weekend, we wouldn’t be surprised if she’s running from room to room, chasing the cats or her brother. She is doing a lot of climbing, too: up onto the dining room chairs, the dining room table, the bathroom sink, and a few other places. Speaking of Halloween, in case you’re curious, we dressed the kids as M&Ms. Both of them love trick-or-treating; in fact, Jakob practiced all day Tuesday saying “trick or treat.”

All that remains is some of the latest news from the Red Sox, who have picked up Tim Wakefield‘s option for 2007 and signed Mike Timlin to another one-year contract. Both of these guys will 40-plus this coming season but they are still considered key contributors, Wakey in the rotation and Timlin in the ‘pen. Looking from the outside in are, among others, free agents Trot Nixon, Gabe Kapler, Mark Loretta, and Alex Gonzalez. Personally, we’d like to see all of them return, especially Trot, who is currently the longest-tenured player in the Red Sox organization (since 1993 – signed by Lou Gorman of all people) and one of the original “dirt dogs,” but the business of baseball doesn’t always consider those factors.

St. Louis Cardinals - 2006 World Series ChampionsAt least recent negotiations between the players and owners resulted in a labor deal that will keep peace in Major League Baseball for the next five years. Congratulations are also in order for the St. Louis Cardinals, who won the World Series in five games over Detroit last week, albeit the fact that they had fewer wins than Boston did this past season (86 wins for the Sox versus 83 for the Red Birds). In fact, St. Louis has the distinction of having the fewest regular season wins ever posted by an eventual World Series winner for that same season. Red Sox and Yankee fans take little comfort in that.

All’s Fair

Moo cowHey, we’re back after Jeff took the past week off from work. Fall is actually a great time to take a vacation in New England because there are several fairs that take place in late September and early October around here.

Early last week, we went to the Fryeburg Fair in Maine, just over the border from East Conway, NH. Fryebrug, of course, is derived from the German expression: “Have you ever seen so much traffic?” The fair itself was great but, coming from Conway, we got stuck in a three-mile backup that took – no kidding – ninety minutes to get through to where we parked. Nevertheless, it was great! We had Jeff’s parents with us and Jakob and Bumpa, of course, could not get enough of the antique tractors on display. We also got our fill of livestock: horses, cows, oxen, pigs, goats, sheep, and almost any other farm animal you can imagine. Tiffany kept her distance due to her allergies, which makes you wonder how she survived growing up on a farm! We also sampled the usual county fair diet, which included corn dogs and soft serve ice cream.

We also went to a nice little street festival yesterday in nearby Newburyport, a nice artisan’s town on the North Shore of Massachusetts one town removed from the New Hampshire border. Again, we just walked around and checked out the different vendors and watched a nice half-hour performance by a yo-yo expert. He did just about every yo-yo trick in the book (walking the dog, around the world, rock the cradle, etc.) but had some others that were way more advanced and, of course, threw in lots of humor to keep the audience captured for the entire performance.

We also finished a few more items in the basement. At this point, we are done per se except for some minor details that we would call finish work, like installing baseboard and door trim, applying some paint, etc. Already, we have the kids down there to play, although they are still under adult supervision to make sure that they stay out of trouble. Lea is very close to taking those first steps but even so, as we reported in our last post, she moves fast. Jakob, of course, can’t keep himself out of those places that we ask him not to go so it remains that we must keep an eye on the two of them for a while longer down there.

Well, unfortunately, the Red Sox finished well out of contention for the baseball playoffs this season but the good news is that the Yankees got bounced in the first round by the Detroit Tigers (ha-ha!). So neither of us have anything to celebrate and only the future to contemplate until the 2007 season begins. It will be an interesting off-season as usual with several key players from Boston up for free agency and some hard decisions to make by the front office. In the meantime… go Patriots!