You’ve Been Schooled

School's OpenJakob has really taken to his new school very quickly. It’s amazing to see how excited he is to go and play with his little friends. So far, he’s brought home more than a few art projects and the refridgerator is getting crowded. Of course, the few hours that he’s away from home gives Tiffany a little time to get some work done around the house that’s nearly impossible to handle when he and Lea are both bouncing off the walls.

Lea is doing well, too. After the excitement of turning one, she is really getting around the house with ease. It’s amazing how quickly she can go from one room to another just on her hands and knees (apparently there is no incentive to starting walking yet and that’s fine with us). She’s also learned to go up and down the stairs on her own, making sure to carefully back down the stairs one step at a time, though Mommy and Daddy have to be sure to be close by in case she loses her balance.

This past weekend, we had the chance to visit Tiffany’s family out in New York and had a great time. Already the leaves are turning and it was great driving down the MA Turnpike and NY Thruway and watching the display unfold through the Berkshires and well past Albany. It’s also interesting to see our nieces and nephews get a little older each time we get the chance to visit with them. It’s hard to believe that these are the same kids who were once as old as our kids are now, but now they are well on their way to adulthood. It sends shivers down your spine – the good kind, of course!

Well, happy autumn, everyone!

Never Forget

Peter GayThis post is dedicated to our friend, Peter Gay, one of the victims of September 11th who was flying on American Airlines Flight 11 and died at 54 years young that day along with the many other innocents whose lives were taken by a cowardly terrorist act. We love him and miss him. Wherever you are today, please take a moment to pause and reflect on what happened that day and how important it is that we carry on the legacy of the people that we loved. We shall never forget…

American Flag

It Don’t Look Good

The Red Sox come unraveled.... from MacGregor's Red Sox cartoons

Did a little research this morning on the state of the Red Sox, who lost 21 of 29 in August… entering the last game of the current series with the White Sox, the club is eight back of the Yanks in the East division and six back of the Twins for the wild card spot.

In reality, the Sox not only need to start winning but the Twins, Yanks, and White Sox need to fall into a funk similar to what Boston experienced in August and I just don’t see that happening. If New York plays .500 ball for the rest of the season (13-12), Boston would need to win 21 of their last 23 to win the division outright — New York has already won the season series. Plus, the last weekend of the season has the Twinks and the Pale Hose squaring off for three games, so Boston really needs to get ahead of those two teams before then to have a realistic chance to earn the wild card, and they have just three weeks and 20 games to do that.

After 2004, I’m sure anything is possible but, with just one starter still in the rotation from the first week of the season (Josh Beckett) and the closer (Jonathan Papelbon) shelved for possibly the rest of the year, can the Sox pull off the near-impossible? To me, shipping David Wells to San Diego pretty much told me that the Sox were raising the white flag on the season. But, we shall see…

If the Sox are eliminated, I’m going to root for the Tigers if they can hang on and win the division (four games up on Minnesota right now). After years of futility — 12 straight losing seasons dating back to 1994 — it would be nice to see them go the distance. Jim Leyland is severely underrated as a head coach and, IMO, more than deserves his second Manager of the Year award.

You Make The Call

Tilley - chocolate-point Siamese

Here is the latest close-up of Jeff’s parents’ four-month-old (or roughly thereabout) Siamese cat that they named Tilley. When they got her as a kitten, it was unclear whether she would be a blue point or a chocolate point, but it seems clear now that she is the latter. Her and Tonka, our cat that we gave to Jeff’s parents shortly after Jakob was born when he was a couple of years old, have become great friends. Life is very good for these cats…

Leaves That Are Green

Leaves Over Rushing RiverIt’s hard to believe that September is right around the corner; where did the summer go? For most of July and August, we had hot and humid weather, but now the temperatures in the morning hover around 60 and it’s been raining on and off for the past week. Sooner than we know, we’ll be raking up leaves in the yard and, shortly after that, pulling out the snowblower to clear the driveway – yikes!

We had a nice visit on Sunday from Jeff’s mother and his uncle Marshall, who hails from West Palm Beach, FL. We realized that we hadn’t seen him in nearly three years; we missed him two years ago when he made his annual late-summer excursion north and last year he stayed home to care for Jeff’s aunt Amy, who had surgery to correct a problem with her back. Not surprisingly, he looked good and really enjoyed seeing his great niece Lea for the first time as well as his great nephew Jakob, who was just an infant when last we saw him. Hopefully we will see him again sooner than three years from now and, if we’re lucky, perhaps we’ll catch him down in Florida where we can enjoy some fun in the sun!

On the Sox front – well, August has been absolutely dreadful for Boston. Did I say dreadul? It’s been disasterous! As of this morning, they are 8-19 and have been swept three times, including a five-game sweep at the hands of the Yankees at Fenway Park. The bottom line is that the Sox have fallen far out of first place (seven back) and chances do not look good for our boys to make the playoffs this year. It’s easy to see why; several of the veterans and every-day players like Jason Varitek, Trot Nixon, Alex Gonzalez, Manny Ramirez, and Tim Wakefield are either out or hampered with injury and it’s an assortment of who’s who out there (quick, who’s Dustin Pedroia?).

"Big Papi" David Ortiz

The news this morning gets even worse; Big Papi, David Ortiz, was flown home from Oakland last night because of an irregular heartbeat and it’s unclear if he will be shelved for the rest of his season – hell, for the rest of his career. This is the man who, right now, is the heart and soul of this team and is in line for possible MVP consideration. That matters not a bit right now, though; the important thing is not to have another Reggie Lewis tragedy. Winning should be secondary when the health of any player is on the line and you have to respect the organization for putting aside concerns for the direction of this team to care for one of its own.

Get better soon, Big Papi, and GO SOX!!! We still believe…

Arbitrary Post To Appear Alive

Again with the long delay between posts! Well, nothing to write here at the moment but check out this great clip from last night’s Red Sox game. Even though they lost, there was a great exchange in the Red Sox broadcast booth that involved Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy, the usual suspects, and Denis Leary and Lenny Clarke, two very funny comedians. If you aren’t laughing at this, you are either asleep or dead.

Go Sox! We still believe…

Rats In The Cellar

Rats In The CellarWe are so very close to finally having the cellar project completed. I installed cabinets for the wet bar and we’ve had measurements taken for the countertop, which hopefully will be installed by early August. The carpet was also installed in late June and we picked up our new sofa with the dual recliners along with a solo recliner shortly after that. I also finally hung the flat screen that we purchased in January on the wall and I’ve hooked up some of the new components to it so that we can watch DVDs and TV and surf the web with the computer (something that we’ve done very little of in recent weeks, judging again by the length of time between posts here).

We still need to have the plumber return to hook up the new toilet and sink in the bathroom but that should happen very soon, so hopefully we will have it ready to use full-time very soon. The trick is to make sure that what we don’t finish just yet will not pose a hazard to the kids. For instance, the fireplace that we have no plans to use does not have a door on it and it’s not quite the season to pick those up at Home Depot, in light of the recent heat wave that saw temperatures near 100°F this week. We also need to find a new home for the litter box so that Lea isn’t looking to try out those apples. This weekend, we should get some doors installed so that we can also close off areas like the laundry room, the workshop, and the utility closet.

In other recent news, we finally caught a Red Sox win in person! This season, Boston was 0-for-3 in games that we had attended but Curt Schilling and the offense finally caught fire last Saturday and shut out Oakland, 7-0, which coincidently was the first shutout pitched by the Sox this season. Boston had been as much as four games ahead of New York in the standings entering the All-Star break but some tough losses combined with a hot Yankees club has seen the lead drop to a half-game. It’s no surprise with these two teams again with strong rosters but the challenge this season may be to get that division title, as the Central looks like a better candidate to produce the wild card, with the defending World Series champion Chicago White Sox battling with an upstart Detroit Tigers club.

All is still well with the family. Jakob is “being three” and Lea continues to surprise us every day with something new. The cats are also doing their best to get those necessary 18 hours of sleep per day; it’s not easy with those mini-humans running around the house, shrieking with excitement. Mommy and Daddy just do what it takes.

…and We All Shine On

We apologize for the infrequent posts. It seems to be that, between work, the kids, and everything else, it’s tough to remember that there are those readers (all three of you) that hang on our every word.

St. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club BandPaul McCartney turned 64 this past weekend, giving more meaning to Track #9 from the Beatles’ St. Pepper album. My mother still has the vinyl in its original sleeve but she wouldn’t trade it for the world, being that she was in college when the 1960’s “British Wave” was hitting the American shores.

Congratulations are also in order for Tiffany’s nephew and godchild, Andrew, who graduates Friday evening from high school. He’ll be attending Clarkson this fall, which is just a little out of laundry range from where Tiffany’s brother and his family live.

The cellar project took a huge turn today when the tile was laid out on the floor in the entryway and the bathroom. Next week, the same people should be returning to lay down the carpet and then we plan to pick up our new couch. This past weekend, Jeff and his mother installed an A/C unit which should keep matters cool down there. With any luck, we can start using the place early next month!

Oh, and the Sox are riding a six-game winning streak and sitting pretty in first place in the East, two games in front of New York. Of course, championships aren’t won in June but it’s still nice to say “first-place Sox.”

That’s all for now, folks! A belated happy summer solstice as well…

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Mercy Rule

Softball Catcher's Mask

So our softball season finally got underway yesterday to a not-so-successful beginning. It was a tough one-run loss – they scored 23, we scored just one (ouch!). Perhaps it was the fact that our team had far more grey hairs than the 20-somethings that filled the roster of the other team. Maybe it was the fact that we hadn’t practiced and were entering the game cold. Or… maybe it didn’t matter because we’re playing in a fun league and it’s more about the socializing than the winning. Yeah, I’m going to keep telling myself that one.

I apologize to those of you that have been wondering when we’ve been; I guess that we’ve just not had time to even say hello lately. The basement project is still a work-in-progress; right now, we are having tile and carpet laid down and I have some clean-up left to do for that to proceed. The kids are both doing well; Lea has master crawling and is now pulling herself to standing while Jakob is getting into the routine of asking to use the potty. We’re also still keeping track of our beloved Sox, who are a half-game back of first behind New York to start the night and, coincidently, are at Yankee Stadium playing a four-game series with the bombers.

Also, big news out of Virginia: my brother, Greg, has just made Petty officer First Class rate (E-6) so that will mean a senior position in the Navy. He also just got his papers to begin shore duty starting in November in Chesapeake, VA; that means that he’ll be working a normal 9-to-5 job and getting to come home on evenings and weekends to see his family instead of spending day after day after day in the bowels of the USS Vella Gulf. He also recently participated in a daring rescue out at sea, which made an otherwise uninteresting two-month voyage a little more exciting. I guess it’s true that good things come in threes.