Tag Archives: making the days count

What I love about baseball

I am not exactly sure how my baseball bucket list adventures began, but I can backtrack the trail to Homer Bailey’s second no hitter on July 2, 2013.

I am sure you are wondering,

“How in the world can he be certain?”

Well, it started with Maribel, my late mother-in-law. She was up at the lake, and she wanted to listen the Cincinnati Reds game. Unfortunately, neither the Reds radio network nor the Reds television broadcast served norther lower Michigan. That area was Detroit Tigers territory. She was a Reds fan and she watched or listened to the Reds ballgames at home in southwestern Ohio.

 I signed up for MLB TV and we watched and listened to the ballgame using my computer in her bedroom. That night I signed up three times for MLB TV and I didn’t catch my mistake until my credit card billing statement arrived the following month. Thankfully, MLB TV was understanding and cancelled the two additional accounts. I’ve been renewing the package ever since.

About that time, my favorite team, the Houston Astros began to play better and since, I’ve been paying more attention since. Thank you, Maribel.

Since last summer, I’ve travelled to twelve cities and thirteen new ball parks in addition to the two ballparks in Chicago. I’ve met many people in my travels. I’ve attended all but one of those games by myself and each time I sit down to watch the game, I meet new people.

What I love about baseball is that I realize that it is truly America’s game. By attendance it is the most popular sport, but the baseball season is 162 games long and each team plays half of their games at home and the other half on the road. In 2022, over 64 million people watched a major league baseball game in person, attendance is down almost 10% compared to 2018.

the crowd in St. Louis with the Gateway Arch in the background

This past year MLB made rule changes to the game to speed up play and make the game more exciting. At first, I was apprehensive, but with four months (and seven games in a ballpark) into the season I agree. The game is more exciting and on average a ballgame is almost thirty minutes shorter this year compared to previous seasons. This season’s average is 2 hours and 39 minutes compared with the 2022 season average game length of 3 hours and 6 minutes. Continue reading What I love about baseball

W^2 – bite

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, July 19, 2023

It is Wednesday, again. I am in Denver, Colorado for another baseball game. Last night’s game didn’t turn out well for my team, but they play 162 games in a season for a reason.

I arrived yesterday morning and had a full day planned, capped with walking to and from the ballpark.

goofing around at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Denver, Colorado July 18, 2023 10:51 MDT

My plan was to visit the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, lunch with a blogger, then the game. Sometimes things don’t go your way or lot of other people have the same idea. It turned out that I was not the only person who wanted to get a jump start on their day and when I arrived at the car rental facility I was well back in the line. The line moved smoothly and did get my car, but I was more than an hour behind schedule. Continue reading W^2 – bite

W^2 – colorful

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, July 12, 2023

For this week’s Wordless Wednesday, I have a closeup of one of our hummingbird feeders and a bonus, a reverse view with a hummingbird.

a hummingbird feeder from inside the house, Wheaton, IL Wednesday July 12, 2023 7:56 AM

Today is the thirty-seventh day of summer break, almost to the halfway mark. Earlier this morning storms rolled through with lightning, thunder, and heavy rain. We need the rain after a very dry spring. The flowers came despite the lack of April showers.

The birds came, too.

Several years ago, I added a few bird feeders to our backyard. It was the summer of ’18 and I was recovering, or rehabilitating, from my first knee replacement surgery. I had been reading the a book Where the Poppies Grow by British author John Lewis-Stempel. I learned about the book while reading a blog post at From Pyrenees to Pennines in one of Margaret’s many blogposts about reading.

Both changed my life. The book and thus the bird feeders and the knee surgeries, in December ’18 I had the other knee replaced. I’ve never looked back. Continue reading W^2 – colorful

a foggy Sunday dozen

This morning I awoke to a fog enshrouded lake, yesterday it was rainy.  Later today, it will be sunny. We get it all here.

in homage to the last two blogposts, black and white with a pinch of color…

This morning when I first looked out, I could see as far as the speedboat – about a hundred yards, but a couple of hours later we could make out the opposite shore, barely.

I walked to the end of the dock and captured a few images, a dozen or so, before the fog lifted. I’ll let the images tell the story. Continue reading a foggy Sunday dozen

reprise, black and white

In response to yesterday’s post W^2 – black and white, a reprise of sorts.

In hindsight, yesterday was a million and six times better than the day before.

Our nephew arrived with his wife and young children just as the storms began to roll across the lake. A few minutes later his brother, another nephew arrived. It was wonderful to see them. Since my wife’s parents died, our paths only cross for weddings, funerals, and graduations.

The kids were reluctant to get out of the car, but slowly warmed and by the end of their visit they were playing in the water, exploring the lake, toys, and all that our lake home has to offer.

It was delightful to visit, to catch up, and share our home with them.

Then storms rolled across the lake, one after another, and we stayed off the lake and out of the boats. More than once, we waded out to the boats, turning back when we saw lightning until we decided that we would get wet regardless of whether it was raining or not.

looking west northwest, as rain falls gently

While they boated, Fern and I stayed ashore. I waded into the lake and took the photos for this post. By the end of their visit every single beach towel was soaked, and the kids (and adults) were spent.

clouds over the lake, looking west north west in portrait mode

Yesterday WAS a million and six times better than the day before with family – our nephews and their kids bringing color to the lakeshore on a stormy day.

This morning began with steady rain, but the sun is breaking through and sunshine is on the way. Today is going to be an amazing day, it could be a million and six times better than yesterday. So, I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the days Count, one day at a time, black and white or in color.

Is it black, white, or colorful where you are?

W^2 – black and white

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, July 5, 2023

For this week’s Wordless Wednesday post I have the early morning moon setting as the sun rises.

moon setting over Lake Margrethe, Grayling, Michigan. July 5, 2023, 6:45 AM

Today is Day 30 of summer break. Time is flying and I am missing my routine. I am an early riser, so I often have the morning to myself to do or not to do. This morning, I was reading other blogs and I was inspired to post a black and white photo from my blogging friend Dawn at Change is Hard.

Life isn’t black and white as it was in The Giver, there is color and vibrancy. But a black and white photo tells a story, too. This morning’s photo tells of winds from the southwest blowing in making waves. Making waves on the lake and pushing storm clouds later this afternoon forecast bringing much needed rain and cooler temperatures for the remainder of the week.

Our nephew and his family are visiting later today. They visited us ten years ago and we had a wonderful time with them, this visit they’ll be bringing their kids. This place hasn’t seen little kids since my kids were little. It should be fun.

Today is going to be an amazing day, it could be a million and six times better than yesterday. So, I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day and ready our place for the visit. Making the days Count, one day at a time, looking at life through a black and white lens or making waves.

I do both, which do you do? Black and white or a wave maker?

W^2 – peanut

W^2, W2, or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Today is Day 23 and yesterday, I took the train from Chicagoland all the way to St. Louis. It was my first real train ride in the United States. Trains in the US were once a BIG deal, but with the advent of the car, a national road system, and air travel trains declined in my lifetime. I don’t recall ever riding a train to go anywhere until my brothers and I visited my father in Europe after my parents divorced. My first rail trip was to Glasgow from London on British Rail. We have a commuter rail system in Chicagoland, but I don’t use it often. However, I did take commuter rail into Union Station yesterday morning.

For this week’s Wordless Wednesday, I have a new peanut image from Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri.

Last night I added to my list of cities where Major League Baseball is played, twenty-three. Every game reminds me of how baseball is an integral part of our culture. I could say sport, but I don’t get this feeling with football, basketball, or other sports and I don’t know why. But last night I sat amongst St. Louis Cardinal fans whom I’d never met and had a great talking baseball and life.

Last night’s seats were the best seats I have ever had for a baseball game. I decided to splurge on these seats when I was planning my trip. To my right were two couples out for the ballgame and to my left was a group of friends, and in front of me were a father and son. None of us were regulars in these seats. The woman to my right was a mom whose thins were headed off to college this fall, JP to right was a graphic artist, and the young man in front of me reminded me who was winning the game – the Cardinals. It was a great night at the ballpark.

I have seven cities left on my list: Denver, Phoenix, Tampa Bay, Miami, Baltimore, Boston, and Toronto.

Today, I have a visit to the Gateway Arch, another baseball game tonight, and a train ride home tomorrow.

Today is going to be an amazing day, it could be a million and six times better than yesterday. So, I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the days Count, one day at a time, watching a baseball game, or enjoying the sights and sounds of a new city.

What will you explore today?

Wordle, is it a game or a challenge?

It’s Monday, Day 21 and I wasted yesterday. Really wasted it. I spent the entire afternoon on things unimportant and certainly not urgent.

One day summer won’t be summer break, it will be life in retirement. I’ve often told folks who marvel my summer break (envy) that I think of summer break as an audition for retirement. If so, I am not going to get a call back.

In my last post I referenced the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I was replying to a comment and I found a great resource from the folks at FranklinCovey, it’s an overview of the 7 Habits – click if you like. I’ve been using their products for over twenty years to plan my day and organize my daily and weekly tasks. Every year I get a little better at it learning from my failures and successes.

my stats as of Monday, June 26, 2023

One of the parts of my daily routine playing the New York Times Wordle. I don’t remember how I started, but I did. It could’ve been my daughter, or the buzz on social media as folks posted their solution to the day’s Wordle. If you haven’t played it, it is a simple game. You have six guesses to guess the day’s word. The word is five letters long and with each guess you get feedback.

  • Green squares mean that the letter you guessed is in the correct position in the day’s word.
  • Yellow squares mean the letter you guessed is in the word day’s but not in that space.
  • Gray squares mean that the letter you guessed is not in that day’s word.

According to an article in The Ledger, there over 158,000 five-letter words in the English language, but the Official Scrabble Dictionary puts the number at about 9,000 words. Somewhere I read the Wordle game has a dictionary at just over 2,300 words and doesn’t use plurals as solutions.

I find Wordle challenging, and I find it frustrating, too. Most mornings, playing the day’s Wordle is the last thing I do before getting started on the day – showering and heading off to school. But in the summer, I have more time and less urgency (and thus more time to write and dream).

Some days, the puzzle takes five to ten minutes or as quickly as two minutes like it was this morning. And there are days when I can’t see a solution and come back later.

Last summer, I began to track my daily results and approach playing the game as a scientist. At the point, it took an average of 4.46 attempts to solve the puzzle. Since then, my average slowly declined and is currently 4.05 attempts to solve the puzzle, though the month of June has been awful with a miss and several five and six attempt days and a monthly average of 4.23. Continue reading Wordle, is it a game or a challenge?

Day 18 – Friday, not just another day?

This morning as I stumbled through my morning routine, I noted in my reflection and gratitude app that it was Friday. Normally Friday would bring joy and be amazing, but during the summer when it is summer break, Friday is simply another day.

Thursday evening’s sunset

Fridays during the school year bring joy and anticipation of weekend plans and a less structured day. During summer break, almost every day is less structured! I try to keep that in mind as I plan and execute my day and my week. As the summer winds down, structure is what I look forward to about returning to school.

Years ago, I read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Reading the book was difficult. It was full of ideas about personal management and was more of a textbook for life. I finished it and every so often, I open it, and re-read or leaf through the pages. The habit I rely on most during the unstructured summer is Habit 3: Put First Things First. Reading that book, changed my life. Continue reading Day 18 – Friday, not just another day?

W^2 – summer

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, June 21, 2023

For this week’s Wordless Wednesday, I have two, errr three, images of summer captured in the spring. I chode baseball, but I could choose just about anything as an image of summer.

It is summer, officially at 10:57 AM CDT, but it’s felt like summer since school let the kiddos free June 2ndand me free the following Monday, the fifth.

a summer game played in the three seasons – April 6 at Target Field Minneapolis, Minnesota. Game time time temp low fifties. Beautiful day and great game Astros 2, Twins 3 in 10 innings

Today is Day 16 and it is a very different day than my first Day 16 post on MtDC:  Day 15 and 16: Takeoff and Landing – Day 1 in Paris. I look at those photos and remember each moment.

Last summer I got serious about my bucket list goal of visiting every major league baseball stadium with a seven day, seven game, six city, and ten baseball team trip beginning in New York City winding west finishing in Cleveland before driving home to Chicagoland. In all last year, I attended ten ballgames and watched one half of the teams in the MLB. I finished the 2022 season having seen 20 of the 30 present day ballparks.

T-Mobile Park in Seattle, Washington. Looking to left field. May 6th, Astros 5 Mariners 7.

This season, Continue reading W^2 – summer