Category Archives: baseball

Something Special for a Decade?

I was asked earlier in the week if I was doing anything special for my anniversary on Friday. Oh that’s right, it is Friday, isn’t it. My favorite number next to 3 is 424. My sobriety anniversary is the most important anniversary in my life since there’s no way I’d have the life I have today without my sobriety. No way.

Unfortunately the universe decided to make things easy for me and help me remember the date I went blind by letting that happen on my three year sobriety anniversary. I swear, I have bad luck with double anniversaries.

Of course I knew my ten year sobriety date was this month. Of course I know today is special. It just snuck up on me, what can I say? It’s been a great book month, with two books out by two of my favorite authors, the baseball season began, Josh Groban has a new album out next week along with another book by an author I just discovered, my friends got two new snakes, B and I celebrated eight years together, see how easy it was for today to sneak up on me?

I thought about my friend asking if I was doing anything special so to days ago I went looking on Amazon at sobriety medallions since I no longer attend meetings and I’m not gonna be one of “those people” who show up just for the free medallion and cheers and claps on the back and hugs. Do I miss those things? Sure. do I feel the guilt I felt when I first stopped going to meetings and showing the newcomer sobriety is possible? Nope. Ha!

That’s called growth my friends. There are plenty of people able to be constantly available to show the newcomer sobriety is possible. It’s not up to just me to save the world and I can’t be one. And that’s ok. It’s been proven to me time and time again that my life has meaning, my story has meaning, and my friends prove that to me, so much so they made me cry this morning. Ya’ll know who you are, *cough* Twitter people. Twitter people who have become my friends and constant support, who make me laugh harder than anything else ever does, who understand that going blind is not the same as breaking one’s foot.

Oh but back to Amazon. I did buy myself a trinket for today that unfortunately won’t get here until next week since today snuck up on me. It’s a dog tag necklace with, 10 Years and, One Day at a Time on it. Simple, twelve bucks, and I can’t wait to get it. Dog tag necklaces are cool!

A few hours ago I was debating writing a post today since all I’ve done over the last several months is write about my life in that memoir. Would I do anything special today? My washer just beeped. It’s never beeped before. Odd.

So no, I’m not doing anything special today. I’m washing sheets. Josh Groban is singing from the bedroom. I listened to audio this morning of my friends feeding their snakes. I laughed and smiled, and then I cried after feeling a sudden bout of melancholy, thinking over the last ten years. Maybe writing would help, as a friend pointed out. I’ll write a post and title it, A Decade in Review. I’ll write about funny memories, touching memories, I’ll cry and laugh and hope you laugh and cry too. I had a good sob when the feelings of gratitude over my friends overwhelmed me, listened to my book while I ate my cereal and the urge to write a decade in review post fled. That story is in the memoir, not yet complete, not yet close to complete, but it will be there all the same.

Instead, today is a day of reflection and memory and grateful tears, all of which are personal to me on this day of double anniversary.

I’ll do my usual Friday thing, chores and reading and Twittering and I’ll think about the past absolutely insane decade of my life at times, but then I’ll stare into space and listen to the birds and be in today and just feel.

Oh and anxiously await the male and see what my friend sent. I guess I am doing something special. *Happy giggle*

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Filed under anniversary, Audio books, baseball, fellowship, gratitude, laundry, misty eyes, music, sobriety, treat for me, twitter me this

March’s Audio books

*Eleven books this month*

I did not keep track of books very well this month beyond keeping a list. I must remember next month that unless I want hours of work at the end of April I must write as I go.

I’m pretty much calling the month of March a wash anyway since tons of medical appointments got me out of my good writing habits. How easy it is to have plans derail. since I’m on that MS drug Gilenya, I had to have several medical appointments plus it was time for my yearly check-up with my doc as well as Jayden’s health and wellness visit. My stupid blood came back not happy (thyroid and anemia) and Jayden is having pain in his neck. His pain has been the worst part of this month though it’s getting under control. The vet checked his blood and he’s not anemic like I am. We’re still waiting on the result of the valley fever test the vet ran. His pain could just be a pulled muscle for all we know and hope.

I’m up to nearly forty-five thousand words on the memoir. Last month’s post tells me I was at twenty-five thousand so I made some progress even with the stress of this month. I wrote a little fiction last week for something different and I submitted an essay on my life with MS after a friend on Twitter alerted me to a call for submissions but I never heard anything on it.

Anyway, on with Marche’s books. Oh, this time last year I was in St. Pete. hard to believe it’s been a year since #RoToTrop. Speaking of baseball, B and I went to Phoenix a few weeks ago for a spring training game between the Cubs and Brewers. Two of his co-workers met us there along with one of the co-workers seven year-old son for his first ever baseball game. Within five minutes of sitting down, the seven year-old got a foul ball a spectator caught and gave to him. How freaking cool is that? Oh, the kid also brought me a randy Johnson baseball card which was doubly cool since he’s one of two baseball players I can remember from my sighted days. Any guesses as to the other? Ok, now really on to March’s books.

34. “The Stranger” by Harlan Coben – narrated by George Newbern

finished March 30

Classic Coben, to be sure. However, I think this audio book proves that a narrator can really give a book that final push to greatness. I’m so used to Coben books being narrated by Scott Brick that I was truly disappointed this one had a different narrator. Newbern wasn’t terrible by any means but c’mon, you can’t compare anyone to Scott Brick.

Harlan Coben books have a wonderful sarcastic style perfect for Scott Brick. He drops the lines so flawlessly as to be constantly laugh-out-loud funny. I chuckled a few times while listening to ‘Stranger’ but I didn’t get the hours of enjoyment I’ve gotten with past Brick narrated Coben books. I found the book dragging for quite awhile until the mystery began to unravel and then I couldn’t stop. This book packed a gut punch I certainly was not expecting. Good book but not one of his best. I honestly don’t think i would have said that if Scott Brick had narrated.

33. “Without Fail” (Jack Reacher book 6) by Lee Child – narrated by Dick Hill

Finished March 28

I was reading “Gulliver’s Travels”, trying hard to get through it, when I just gave up one night and frantically began scrolling through books to find something I could get lost in when I scrolled to this one and thought, Jack Reacher to the rescue! Oh wow I just looked up the series to find which number book this was and I have the next book too! I do not remember starting to collect Jack Reacher books but that makes me happy haha. Man, it’s going to be hard to finish the American history book I’m reading knowing I have another jack Reacher…

Reacher books are just plain fun reads. Mystery, action, romance, dead-pan comedy, the whole nine yards. I get a kick out of an American series being written by a Brit. It works, that’s for sure. This one was just as good as all the others, if I’m remembering right. I read a lot. Oh hi there, Captain Obvious.

32. “gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift – narrated by David thorn

Gave up halfway through on March 24

This had been a daily deal that grabbed my attention and based on the publisher’s summary and reviews I picked it up. I found it so incredibly boring though. Ok yeah fantastical stories of his travels, first he’s a giant, then he’s tiny and by the time we got to the third story I just wanted a nice concrete story with constant characters with back stories and a beginning, middle, and end. This book reminded me of “A Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy” which I enjoyed though still had the same sense of ok yada yada let’s move on. I just couldn’t finish this book and that is really rare for me because I hate abandoning a book.

31. “Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials that Shape our Man-Made World” by Mark Miodownik – narrated by Michael Page

finished March 22

So, if I ever get the opportunity to hold aerogel, it’ll be one of the most fascinating days of my life. Yeah because commoners like me often get to hold a piece of awesome material that looks like sky. Yep. Happens every day.

This book was soooooo fun! Do you ever wonder why something is the way it is? Do you ever run to Google to ask? Then this book is for you. Absolutely fascinating stories of different materials and how they work the way they do. I worn you though, the chapter on chocolate is pure torture if you don’t have a chocolate bar so do yourself a favor and pick one up before reading this. That is however, unless you’re one of those rare people who don’t like chocolate.

Oh! Forgot I had jotted down this note while reading because I was so excited to have a chapter on pool, which was begun with a cute little screen play. I’m telling you, this book was just plain entertaining. Ok, my note: Billiard balls, sticks made with leather tips and covered with chalk to control the spin of the balls, brought to the west by the English, hence, putting English on the ball.

30. “The Woods” by Harlan Coben – narrated by Scott Brick

Finished March 21

I am so grateful I didn’t read this right before “The Stranger” because then it would have been even more difficult to go from Scott Brick to that other guy.

This book was freaking awesome. A twenty year-old murder, a lost first love, an eccentric hippy, a court drama and just when you think those are all the details to wrap your head around, Cold War Russia decides to make an appearance. What! Yep. And all read for you by the incomparable Scott Brick. Highly, highly recommend.

29. “Involuntary Witness” (Guido Guerrieri book 1) by Gianrico Carofiglio – narrated by Sean Barrett

Finished March 18

The things you learn when you get the links to books you’ve read. This book is the first in a series and I had no idea! There are four books out and I will definitely be checking them out. This must have been a daily deal that caught my attention though in the publisher’s summary it mentions the series. I blame subsequent brain fogs for forgetting that. Also, it’s not mentioned anywhere on the Audible page but announced at the beginning of the book that it was translated from Italian to English.

I really enjoyed a murder mystery set in a different country with different laws and different courts. Guido is a lawyer set to the task of defending a “non-European” (black) man accused of murdering a child. Having no faith in the Italian courts thanks to the Amanda Knox case, which coincidentally was back in the news just weeks after this book reminded me of it, I thought would take magic for guido to succeed. It truly is a seemingly hopeless case, if you believe in his clients innocence that is.

The book is a perfect mix of serious and humor and Guido is a relatable character battling past demons and what is quite possibly a mental illness. I’m glad to know there are more books!

I only wish they had gotten an Italian narrator. Barrett’s slight English accent is pleasant but not at all Italian sounding.

28. “The Weight of Silence” by Heather Gudenkauf – narrated by Jim Colby, eliza Foss, Cassandra Morris, andy Paris, Therese Plummer and Tony Ward

Finished March 16

As I was reading this I had to wonder if it was the author’s first book. Not because it was bad, just the opposite, but it just felt like a first novel. Was it the shifting points of view from first to third and even second which I’ve just never seen that gave me that impression? I’ve done that with my short stories but never would have dreamed of experimenting with all three in a novel. It works in this book though, it really does. Just now when I grabbed the link to the book page I discovered that this was indeed her debut novel.

There is such a large cast of characters in a relatively short novel that I can see why she wrote this the way she did. The delineation between all the characters was very well done and helped keep the story moving. Where are the girls? I mean where are they!

It reminded me a little of a gillian Flynn novel but with even more subtle darkness. I definitely enjoyed this book and will be reading more of Gudenkauf’s stuff.

27. “Tandia” by Bryce Courtenay – narrated by Humphrey Bower

Finished March 13

I don’t remember when I first began reading this book but it must have been last year. Actually yes, I think I remember making an egg salad sandwich while listening and that kick was sometime towards the end of last year. Anyway, I had to stop. the beginning of this book is just plain brutal as Tandia, a beautiful Indian/African has her first run-in with the South African police. What happens sets up her character and the police officer for what follows in the book as she becomes a freedom fighter of sorts during the days of Apartheid.

I decided to return to the book after my friend Ricardo, who also had to stop during the first reading, returned to the book and said it was really good. I’m glad I trusted him and returned and I’m also glad the Audible app keeps position because I was able to pick up where I left off.

Bryce Courtenay books are awesome and Humphrey bower is the perfect narrator for them. If I meet Courtenay in the afterlife I’m going to ask him what his deal was with incredibly obese women and prostitutes.

26. “Razorhurst” by Justine Larbalestier – narrated by Rebekka rimmington, Fiona Hardingham and David Ligudzinsi

Finished March 8

I was sooooo disappointed with this book. I had high expectations after reading Larbalestier’s tweets as she researched and wrote this book. I don’t know what went wrong. It had so much potential. I jotted some notes while reading:

The narrator that reads the Kelpie chapters sounds like she’s reading a Shell Silverstein book to kindergardners and is not enjoying it. I don’t understand the separate narrators.

The other female narrator sounds like she’s running out of air. And it sounds like there are commas in really odd places.

There was no description of 1930’s anything. No description of clothing. I’m shocked after all the research she did and movies she watched.

I just didn’t like it. It was neither an adult book nor a young adult book to me. It didn’t ahve the fun feeling I get when I read YA. I just didn’t like it.

End notes. Referring to the multiple narrators, I don’t understand why there was more than one narrator needed. the book shifts between two character’s points of views so that explains the female narrators I suppose but the chapters the man read were back story chapters. The book was just sort of a clustermug, to use a Stephen King word. I was so let down that’s why I ran to Bryce Courtenay.

25. “Seven for a Secret” (Timothy Wilde Book 2) by Lyndsay Faye – narrated by Steven Boyer

Finished March 5

I love Lyndsay Faye! I love these books, I love this narrator. Faye better write these books until she just can’t write any more haha. Beautifully written, intricate mysteries, fun and relatable characters, Faye has quickly become one of my new favorite authors. She’s on Twitter too, @LyndsayFaye, so I definitely won’t miss new books.

Timothy Wilde is a great guy but of course I’ve got a crush on his drug addicted, alcoholic, womanizing firefighter and politician brother Val. wow, after writing those words together I see just what a complex character Val is haha! No wonder I like him.

24.“Falling Glass” by Adrian McKinty – narrated by Gerard Doyle

finished March 2

I just read the Audible page and apparently McKinty is a fairly well known author of Irish mysteries. I love the authors I discover thanks to Audible daily deals.

This book was really good. It’s about a hitman who comes out of retirement to track down some rich guy’s ex-wife who has disappeared with the two kids. Sounds simple enough of a story line right? Oh there’s just so much more. Very good, wonderful narrator, funny and witty.

Here’s a note I jotted down:

Sudden inexplicable switch to second person narration that made no sense. A few words that sounded like maybe n editor’s note. Very odd.

Odd indeed, but great book.

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Filed under 2015 Monthly Audio Book Lists, Audio books, baseball, doc, fellowship, in the news, Jayden, twitter me this, vet visit, writing

At one point he peaked through the hedge at the field behind his and there stood Michael Jordan!

You know, I could go for steroid infusions every day. There is something comforting about other chronically ill patients and the nurses who care for us. We’re all a rather kooky lot. Everyone at treatment the last two days have been in good spirits. They all laugh easily and share stories openly. My nurse is a riot and is very helpful when my treatment is done, helping Jayden and I get outside to his relieving spot and getting me settled to wait for my ride. It’s been beautiful the last two days so Jayden and I get a good hour of fresh air and he bathes in the sun.

When we got to the hospital, we went to the volunteer desk like yesterday to grab help to the infusion center. An older gentleman exlaimed, “I’ll take her! What’s Sparky’s name?” I could hear a female volunteer asking the man if he was sure he knew where he was going and he assured her he did. As we walked he explained that he used to come do some sort of charity work for the patients at the hospital and it had been awhile since he had done it. He said it felt nice to be helping someone again. We walked passed infusion and he read a sign that said imaging.

“Oh imaging, that’s the same,” he said uncertainly.

“I don’t think they’re quite the same,” I said, hiding a smile. He turned us around. He had passed infusion. When we walked into the right place he said, “Is this the veterinary clinic?”

Haha! That was a good one. the nurses took me to my same chair. My steroids had already arrived from the pharmacy so they went right to work. Another nurse besides Christy started my IV. Neither of them hurt at all.

As I got settled in, the daughter of another patient was going to get coffee. I said I didn’t have enough coffee in my bloodstream yet and she asked if I’d like coffee. I hesitated, having limited my fluids like I did with Jayden, but then she said the magic word, Starbucks. I checked to make sure I had some cash and then asked for a pumpkin spice latte.

There was something oddly vacation like to reclining in a chair, dog at my feet, friendly conversation around me, sipping a pumpkin spice latte.

I don’t know how conversation turned to baseball but it was the best baseball talk I’ve had since I was in St. Pete. The man to my left told us that he retired for a senior baseball league here in Arizona about five years ago. He played center field. He had never gone out for baseball professionally because when he graduated high school in the seventies, he was only five foot six, one hundred twenty pounds. So he played soccer and joined this senior baseball league in his thirties. He said he played with several retired major leaguers. The rule for the senior league is that one must be retired from MLB for three years. I was just riveted, on the edge of my seat listening to his stories.

One story was about a game he was playing on a practice field in Phoenix years ago and minor league guys were on the field behind his playing winter ball. At one point he peaked through the hedge at the field behind his and there stood Michael Jordan!

I got around to talking about my St. Pete trip and when I told him I threw out a first pitch he exlaimed, “presidents do that!” He said he was going to tell all his friends he was at treatment with a girl who threw out a first pitch haha!

We got around to talking about writing and among his many jobs over the years he taught english composition. We laughed about the good old five paragraph essay since I credit all my writing experience to Mr. Heintz and the five paragraph essay we worked so hard for me to perfect so I could win a medal in the essay competition in Academic Decathlon. I placed fourth. fourth! No medal.

Anyway, when I told him I hope to publish he said don’t think about publishing, just write something every day, let it flow from the heart. He gave me his email addres so I can pick his brain about where he lives east of Tucson since I want to drop my fictional town out that way. He also wants a sample of my writing. I’m just trying to decide what to send. My first few chapters of the YA novel, one of my short stories I’ve published here?

Treatment was entirely too much fun, I gotta tell ya. The other patient who was there and sleeping through most of it was ninety-nine years ol! he perked right up when we talked baseball though.

Too much fun! I can’t wait to go back tomorrow haha! Two down, two to go. I feel fantastic today! I got home and decided I wanted clean sheets on the bed so I switched them out and decided I want to order another set of percale sheets. Those were the clean set and I just love the feel of them over my microfiber set. I can’t wait to go to bed tonight. The day isn’t over though, I’m going out for Pho for dinner! In fact I don’t have too much time before my friend gets here so I’m not going to edit, just post. Life is good!

Oh I almost forgot something cute I wanted to write down. While I was waiting for my ride home, I heard a mom and kid walking up towards the hospital, the kid saying something about an alligator. The mom said, “yes, we’ll ride the elevator.”then the kid made up an elevator song. How adorable is that? I then wondered if the little song would become a memory device for reminding the kid what the elevator is called. Not alligator haha. I love it!

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Filed under baseball, fellowship, gratitude, Jayden, NaBloPoMo 2014, spoons, wow, writing

“Mr. Mercedes: A Novel” by Stephen King – narrated by Will Patton – A Health Update and Dark Mood Lifted

It pleases me that the book I’m up to on the list is a book I hated because I’m in a dark mood. I’ll go in to that in the life part of the post.

This book sucked. Or rather it sucked as a Stephen King book. It just wasn’t a Stephen King book. It was a Michael Connelly book with maybe some more violence and blood, but it was not a Stephen King book with some scary town like Derry or a clown or a haunted hotel or a Yellow Card Man.

It was a detective novel. A detective novel with no mystery at that. You know who the bad guy is because there are chapters written from his point of view. There was literally no mystery, not for the reader anyway. Connelly has written from the bad guy’s point of view before too but I don’t remember feeling like there wasn’t any mystery left for me.

This book started with so much promise! I remember being riveted from the first but then it just went on and on and on and was boring. If Will Patton hadn’t been the narrator, I don’t think I would have finished it. I returned it to Audible. That’s how much I didn’t like the book.

I had jotted a note for myself that read: Blatant, not subtle, foreshadowing that goes nowhere. Lexapro. I remember the foreshadowing bit, thinking that was my mystery but no. I don’t remember what it was that I thought was foreshadowing, just that it went nowhere. I don’t really remember the Lexapro part of my note to myself. Thinking back to the character that might have applied to, I’m guessing my thought had been that Lexapro wasn’t used correctly or something. I can’t remember.

I think the story had merit. I just wish he had published it under his old pseudonym so I didn’t go into it expecting a Stephen King novel.

Rating: Meh

“Mr. Mercedes” at Audible

Now for my dark mood. I shouldn’t say it’s dark as in depressed dark, just dark as in crap that thing I was worried about actually happened. usually when I worry myself to death over something, it never comes to pass. I shouldn’t even say I was worrying to death because I really don’t do that these days being on the aforementioned Lexapro.

I was worried about my MRI results though, and that worry turned out not to be for nothing. My new neuro was point blank in telling me I have four active lesions on my brain which means the MS is active and we need to act now. As he was talking I could feel my eyes getting wider and wider. Four active lesions? How did I not have any symptoms? How had I not lost the use of a limb? My hearing? My ability to breathe?

He said sometimes there are no symptoms. Since I’ve been home with time to think though, there have been symptoms, just small ones. My last two MS attacks were kind of huge, losing the vision in both eyes, so little symptoms like fatigue lasting for days, right foot cramping, joints hurting to touch, I just wrote off as getting older and having a chronic illness.

Four active brain lesions. He was able to see my old lesions from the MRI without contrast, the MRI with contrast lighting up the new ones. Unfortunately he doesn’t have my old MRI’s to compare to be able to tell how old these new lesions might be. That doesn’t really matter, the point is now.

I’m going to start IV steroids on Monday to “calm the brain down” as he put it. While I’m not looking forward to spending hours at the hospital and dealing with paratransit, yay steroids! Steroids kill all my pain! Yes, they suck too because they make you really hungry and give you hot flashes but no pain you guys! No pain!

Me and my silver linings.

I see Dr. V again next week and he’ll have the results of the blood test that got drawn today. I was so afraid he would push the old interferon injections on me like my last neuro but no! He said there are much better drugs now. The one we’re hoping I can take is a pill but I was tested for some virus that fifty percent of Americans have and if I have it, I can’t have the pill. I’ll find out more about this mystery virus but for now, I can’t remember what he called it.

If I can’t have the pill, the next one he would want me to do is a once monthly infusion of some drug. Again, I was in such shock from the MRI results I didn’t think to jot down the names of this stuff. I think from here on out I’ll be doing voice memos of my doctor appointments haha! I don’t think I’d mind even the once monthly infusion of a drug as long as it doesn’t kill my quality of life like the interferon injections did. And I wouldn’t have to give myself a shot every other day.

Ok so wow, my mood doesn’t feel so dark after writing that. I’m just really grateful I decided to get back under a neurologist’s care when I did and so grateful my Rays Twitter Family friend found me this neurology clinic all the way from florida. Thank you, Nurse K!

I do need to own the fact that I have neglected my health as far as the MS goes since 2008 because of my resentment at the MS itself and the doctors and the medications that didn’t keep me from going blind. My stubbornness is the reason for these four active lesions. I had no idea B was worried until I heard the relief in his voice when he asked what the next step was and I said treatment.

I won’t neglect the MS again. That’s my solemn vow.

I wonder what next week will be like. I’m looking at it as an adventure for Jayden and me. And no pain next week! Weeeee! Oh speaking of pain, I got a prescription for ibuprofin since I take so much of it it was breaking the bank haha!

Oh, please cross your fingers that my insurance will pay for the steroid infusions I need. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little worried about that.

Jayden was just barking in his sleep. I’m glad he’s good an relaxed. He was off at the neuro this morning and I think it was because he could feel my tension. I’ll make next week fun for him even if it’s not fun for me haha.

Oh, when B asked if there was anything he could do, I told him chocolate would be happy making. I expected a Hershey’s Bar or something. He got me a box of Whitman’s! Such a good boyfriend.

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Filed under 2014 Book List, Audio books, baseball, doc, fellowship, gratitude, humor as coping skill, Jayden, mental health, NaBloPoMo 2014, spoons, twitter me this

“Tom Clancy Presents: Act of Valor” by Dick Couch and George Galdorisi – narrated by Steven Weber

This book was freaking amazing. It was like Joe Ledger without the monsters. It was like any story about family and friendship without a normal office job. This book took men and women we can all relate to and put them in situations we can’t. This story tested the bonds of love and friendship and struck the chords of my heart strings. This book shows how we, as American citizens are kept safe. If one doesn’t support our troops, one should be forced to read this book.

I marvel at the fact that I’m up to this book on my list the day before Veteran’s Day. While the story is fiction, the authors have an incredible grasp of military life, not that I would know how close they are to accuracy but the forward by Tom Clancy makes it pretty clear these guys know their stuff.

Warning: Get the tissues handy.

Rating: Marriage Material

“Act of Valer” at Audible

I was on a streaming radio show last night talking about my trip to meet the Rays. There will be a podcast of it up later in the week and I’ll provide the information when available.

Today was a good writing day. I got my fifth chapter written. I’m learning what sort of writer I am as I go along and while I wrote nearly this entire novel several years ago during NaNoWriMo, I’m finding I am not the kind of writer who writes that way. I like going chapter by chapter, refining as I go. The first four chapters I pasted a lot of from the rough draft and then added and subtracted. Today’s chapter was completely new material and I really feel like my characters are taking shape and beginning to guide the story. I have a good feeling about this novel you guys!

I also successfully scheduled two doctor appointments for this week. This week! Same week appointments? Wow. I see the neurologist Wednesday to go over my MRI and discuss treatment. I see my PCP Friday to discuss the allergies I’m suffering from since moving into this house. It’s a good feeling to take charge of my medical care once more, now that I have the energy to deal with the transportation aspect of it haha! I love winter! Winter is coming. Sorry, but Farseer dragons are so much cooler. What is she talking about? I don’t know.

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Filed under 2014 Book List, Audio books, baseball, doc, misty eyes, NaBloPoMo 2014, writing

‘Fall of Giants’ and ‘Winter of the World’ by Ken Follett – narrated by John Lee – A Character Name Revealed

These books were freaking fabulous! I have Ricardo to thank yet again for the recommendation that I read ‘Fall of Giants’. We are both huge fans of historical fiction and this book introduces the reader to five families before World War One and the Russian Revolution and we see that history through their eyes and lives. Go down into the mines with thirteen year-old Billy as he becomes a man and descends for the first time. He introduces us to the Welsh characters and begins the book, hooking you instantly with his youthful optimism and pride. As characters from the other of the five families are introduced we feel as though we are shaking the hands of real people. John Lee’s narration lends the right amount of accent to each person be they Welsh, Russian, German, English or American. It always cracks me up when the majority of a book is done in accents other than American when the first American character is introduced. I always think, do we really sound like that?

The second book in the trilogy follows our families into the harrows of the Nazi Regime and the dawn of the atomic age. While the events of the first world war were terrible, what follows in ‘Winter of the World’ was nauseous making. The extermination by the Nazis of the elderly and disabled…I’ll admit my ignorance and say I had to look that up because I wasn’t sure if what I was reading was just embellishments on history by the author. It was too much to hope for poetic license however. Is this why I was never taught the truth about history in school? Do they wish to protect young minds? I knew how terrible the Nazis and Hitler were. You can’t ignore the fact that concentration camps existed, though I know there are those who believe the Holocaust was made up. When you read about these events while walking beside characters who are likable and human, the result is truth mixed with fictional humanity, the only saving grace of which is knowing that what happened to the daughter of a character from the first book didn’t actually happen because that daughter didn’t exist. It is when you remind yourself that women like her did exist that you feel a piece of your heart break.

Sitting here thinking about those people I spent so much time with during these two books is making a lump form in my throat. I don’t question where Follett gets these ideas, like the dogs, oh the dogs, like I do of say, Stephen King or Gillian Flynn, because Follett wrote these books straight out of history. That makes it all equal parts horrible and page turning. In complaining to Ricardo just now about the subject matter being rough, he reminded me, “but there is something of overcoming adversity to be found.”

I don’t know what else to say about this trilogy except when I had begun the second book and found out the third wasn’t out yet, I wanted to throw something. People who begin this trilogy now are lucky it’s complete. Oh, I had jotted a note on my book list, the note simply reading: Sears and Roebuck catalogue. There was a hilarious scene where a Russian just back from America is showing his girlfriend the catalogue. While it was funny, it was also a bit embarrassing. the woman couldn’t believe all the things one could buy in America. Like a tractor. A tractor! In the same catalogue as pajamas. We really do love our capitalism.

When I was getting the link to the first book at Audible, I luckily noticed a free interview for members with Ken Follett and John Lee about ‘Fall of Giants’. It was wonderful! I will now be checking out Follett’s Pillars of the Earth Series. The link to the interview is below the links for the books.

‘Fall of Giants’ at Audible
‘Winter of the World’ at Audible
Link to interview with Ken Follett and John Lee

Wow, so bad writing days happen even when you’re just writing a blog post haha. That was like pulling teeth to write. Yesterday I watched a webinar with Scott Westerfeld that filled me with love and optimism for my novel, maybe that’s why writing a post about something other than my fictional world was hard? Haha! I was seriously so happy after I finished the webinar yesterday. According to Scott’s definition, I am most definitely a writer even though I haven’t yet been published. I eat sleep and breathe my characters, I can’t sleep when I wake in the middle of the night in their world, I think about writing all the time, so yeah, I’m a writer according to him. Squeee!

I am also incredibly grateful he told the story of walking down the street with his wife, novelist Justine Larbalestier, talking about the novel he was working on, ‘Extras’ the fourth book in the Uglies trilogy, and he thought out loud that maybe he should write the book from the little sister’s point of view and Justine said, “oh my God you have to!” Unfortunately he had written almost the entire novel so he went back and completely changed the point of view from one character to another, not just from third to first. Oh wow.

So, I immediately made a decision about my own novel, luckily nowhere near completion, having changed my female protagonist’s POV from third to first a few weeks ago and writing my male protag in the third person. While I liked the concept, feeling more like her POV was closer since it was in first, I wasn’t soled on the idea so after hearing Scott’s story, I went and changed her back to third. My friend Davis made a funny joke on Twitter about that:

@newspaper_manbaserunning mistakes will doom you.

Baseball is life. The rest is just details.

After reading that little story to myself, I feel it’s time I reveal my female protag’s name, because I mentioned the book ‘Extras’. I named my girl long before I read ‘Extras’. She was actually a completely different character I made up when I took the F2K fiction writing course. I named her Ren for that course. I have since morphed Ren from an FBI Agent to a fifteen year-old high school sophomore. There is a character named Ren in ‘Extras’ but I swear I didn’t name her after him! He’s awesome though. I think the two Ren’s would get along well.

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Filed under 2014 Book List, Audio books, baseball, fellowship, gratitude, misty eyes, NaBloPoMo 2014, twitter me this, writing

“Ragtime” by E. L. Doctorow – narrated by E. L. Doctorow (Welcome to NaBloPoMo) & words from Ricardo)

(Wow that subject ended up all rhyming eh?)It’s November, so that means it’s NaBloPoMo time here at the Roof. I’ve written a post of some sorts every single day all through the month of November since I began this blog back in 2009. Since I began writing my book posts, I’ve tried really hard not to just use those as an easy topic each day for NaBloPoMo since that feels like cheating but oh my am I behind on book posts! I’m so behind that even writing a post a day for thirty days will not catch me up.

So, here’s what I think I’m going to do. I’m going to throw life details even more into these book posts for this month. I’ve really needed to come up with some way of not getting so behind on book posts since I devour books like an addict. I’ve also left out fun life stuff I’d like to look back on in five or ten years since I’m not blogging regularly.

So, my goal for NaBloPoMo 2014 is not only to write every day and put a dent in my book posts, but also to force myself into the habit of writing every day period. I have two novels marinating in my head that need to get written and I’m hoping NaBloPoMo will finally give me the shove I need to create a writing routine.

Want to come with me on this adventure this month? I hope so!

Alright, so we begin with ‘Ragtime’, which my friend Ricardo and I have been referring to as THE book because neither of us can ever remember the title. to give you an idea of how behind I am on book posts, we read this book back in in April. April! I mean, that was when the 2014 baseball season was new and full of promise and I had just met my Rays and all my Twitter family friends in Florida and life was good, before David Price got traded to the Tigers…before Andrew friedman left to go be general manager of the Dodgers…before Joe Maddon left to manage the Cubs, before my heart was split apart and the pieces were tossed away and discarded like the piece of a fingernail that breaks off unexpectedly and I need to stop thinking about my Rays and get back to this horrible book my friend and I read.

My friend Ricardo and I are avid audio book listeners, often turning each other on to books and authors the other had never heard of. I’m currently reading a trilogy I absolutely adore thanks to him. When Audible had ‘Ragtime’ as a daily deal, I read the publisher’s summary and thought wow, that’s right up Ricardo’s alley. I told him about it and he picked it up to. We really thought it was going too be a fun bit of alternate history and the reviews at Audible raved about it and come on, it’s a classic.

I couldn’t even finish it. I think I got close to finishing it and if I remember right, I fell asleep at the end and missed the last nearly three hours. That happens sometimes when I’m reading at night in bed and usually I back up and find my place the next day. With this book I didn’t even bother. I just didn’t care. I didn’t give a lick about any of the characters. I couldn’t even follow the plot or even figure out what the plot was supposed to be and the author narrated the book which is rarely ever good. He sounded like that kid the teacher calls on in social studies to read the next few paragraphs of a really boring textbook.

That’s all I’ve got on this book. Ricardo wrote his opinion for me too so please give a warm round of applause to my friend Ricardo!

First, I can count on one hand the times I haven’t finished an audiobook. Usually, I can fight through confusing plots, bad narration, penny-novel imagery, and tough vocabulary. But all in one book? This is asking way, way, too much for a person not getting paid to endure the madness. Ragtime was written in the 1970’s and takes place in the earlyparts of the 20th century. I love me some historical fiction so was excited when Ro pointed this book out to me. And it got some really good reviews which help fan the flames of my curiosity about the book. After the first 3 chapters of Ragtime, I kept wondering if I bought the wrong book. The author jumped from scene to scene with what in my opinion, was for no rhyme or reason. I kept thinking, Maybe I need to go back and start again. I did, and was just as lost and confused. I have no idea what those reviewers saw in this book. Mid way through, I gave up. Instead of entertaining me, the book was frustrating me like a particularly troublesome math problem. Thank goodness Audible has a refund program.

Thanks so much for that, Ricardo. I need to get your thoughts on a book we both enjoyed, agreed?

Rating: Dismal

That rating is for the book, not Ricardo’s review. A dismal rating is my equivalent of a one out of five stars rating. Yikes.

“Ragtime” at Audible

That was the twenty-eighth book of the year. I might write more than one post a day, but only one will get the NaBloPoMo label and only those posts will have life stuff attached to the book post. Sound like a plan, Stan?

the next book on the list is ‘Love Life’ by Rob Lowe. It was definitely not written by creepy Rob Lowe, though the Mansion pool scene was slightly creepy.

So, I was able to add the NaBloPoMo 2014 tag to this post since it’s a new one, but something has happened with WordPress and I can’t add any of my other labels since the checkboxes aren’t labeled. I recently updated to Yosemite and it has horrible issues with Voiceover. Blarf.

WordPress app to the rescue! Seriously, iThings are becoming more and more preferable to my Mac.

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Filed under 2014 Book List, Audio books, baseball, fellowship, guest blogger, NaBloPoMo 2014, writing

Tampa Bay Trip – Day Six: Pho and a Record Tieing Homer

Thursday was the day before I was flying back to Tucson. Professor Twain and I had planned to go out for lunch on this day way back before I left home. We had discussed the kinds of food I like and I mentioned that I like everything and love to try different types of ethnic foods. We had originally leaned towards Ethiopian but somehow we decided to go out for Pho since David Price is always talking about it.

After the excitement of the week I was really looking forward to hanging out with the Professor and his wife. (I love saying that) They picked me up at my hotel in the early afternoon and we went on an adventure! Well it was more like a long drive but for me it was an adventure. Their favorite Pho restaurant is Pho Quyen Vietnamese Restaurant in north Tampa. As we drove, Mrs. T described things we passed and we all talked happily. I was so excited to try some different food!

When we walked in the smell made my stomach rumble. It was such a delicious smell, the kind of scent that fills only ethnic food places. Sure it smells nice in say, Ruby Tuesdays, especially when you’re hungry but this, oh no there goes my stomach! I should have written this just after lunch.

They had told me about the different types of Pho before we got to the restaurant so I already knew I wanted the shaved beef. This beef is sliced paper thin and put into the hot soup rare so as it cooks it soaks up all the Flavor. I couldn’t wait!

We ordered fresh rolls. How did the Professor describe it? it was veggies wrapped in a transparent dough and not fried. They came with this peanut dipping sauce that I taste in my dreams.

I ordered a cup of coffee but this was no ordinary coffee. It was a mini French press they bring to your table. The cup had sweetened condensed milk in the bottom and you brew the coffee right over the cup. I had forgotten that the waiter had said to stir the coffee. I took a sip and savored the dark necter. It was the richest coffee I have ever had! I remembered to stir the second cup haha! Oh man that was good coffee.

When the Pho arrived the aroma wafting from the bowl was enough for the hunger to raise up a notch. Along with the bowl of Pho came fresh basil and bean sprouts you added to the bowl to taste. I had never had fresh basil and it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. It has an almost sweet taste, like annis. There was also a bottle of sauce that added some salty flavor. Not soy sauce. I don’t know what it was called.

The soup has long thin noodles like Ramen noodles. I ate and ate and ate and ate some more. It was such an amazing feeling to have an appetite again now that all the nerves were gone! I didn’t quite finish the bowl but came dang close.

It was a wonderful dining experience. It wasn’t quick. There was plenty of time to talk and tell stories and savor the food. I am absolutely going back there next time I’m in the Tampa Bay area, no doubt!

We stopped at the restroom and the only reason I’m bringing this up is because they have something really cool in Florida restrooms. Mrs. T was telling me how common they are getting. The handicapped stalls have sinks in the stall! Mrs. T was telling me how convenient that was when she was in a wheelchair once. It was incredibly nice for me since bathroom sinks are always a pain in the arse. There’s no standard for sinks so I constantly have to feel around for the soap and paper towels and such. It was nice to do that in private. So cool!

I needed more coffee so we stopped at a drive-thru Starbucks and I got my mocha and then we enjoyed the drive back to Treasure Island. What an absolutely lovely day! Thank you Professor and Mrs. Twain! Never forget the Pho phone!

Not too much later, Davis, Tina and Butch picked me up for our fourth game in a row. We wouldn’t be in the suite that night. We were just regular fans haah. I was recognized though, or rather Jayden was, several times. It was so weird to feel like a celebrity! Davis had called his ticket rep and got us four seats in the outfield disabled seating. All that means is you get comfy folding chairs in front of a rail. I like those kind of seats! You aren’t cluttered in close with other people and you have plenty of room. I liked the outfield seats better than the suite actually. Since it was open, I could hear everything much more clearly and the radio came in much clearer. I wouldn’t turn down a night in the suite though, that’s for sure.

Not long ago B and I went to a DBacks game and sat in a suite he’d gotten tickets for through work. The only thing nicer than the Trop’s suite was a private bathroom in the suite. There weren’t walls on the sides, so it wasn’t a private suite at all. The Trop is better. Perhaps I’m biased. *Smiling face with smiling eyes emoji*

I was hungry again even though I had stuffed myself full of Pho! Hello appetite, glad to have you back. We went down to the pasta bar yummmm. I dream about that pasta. You customize it. I got bow tie pasta with alfredo sauce, pesto and veggies. I can’t remember which veggies. Soooo goooood! Man, this is the hungry making post. Oh and Dr. Pepper! The suite had only had Pepsi products. Except they didn’t give me Dr. pepper. Tina ran back down and switched it out. So sweet!

I met the Rays Whiteboard guy. He’s a legend of sorts. He hangs out in the outfield writing things on a big whiteboard for the ahem, benefit of the opposing players in the outfield. It was a blast, hanging out like every other fan! It makes it really really hard not to live there, let me tell ya. Julie came and sat with us for awhile too. We had put out on Twitter where we’d be in case anyone wanted to come by. The cat only dragged in Julie though. Tee hee! She’s my baking buddy. Mmm her chocolate cookies!

At one point a man walked up to me, handed me a hat in a plastic bag, said every girl should have a pretty hat, and walked away. I was astounded haha! Tina got excited because she has the same hat. It’s blue but with a purpleish tinge and all the writing on the cap is in sparkly silver. Pretty! I wore it the rest of the game and all the next day as I did something you’ll find out about in the next post. I wore the hat all the way home to tucson.

Was the homer before or after the hat? I guess you’ll find out when you watch the video, sightlings. Am I wearing the hat? Evan Longoria hit a three run homer, tying the franchise record for the most homers by a single player. Tina just happened to start to video right as he hit it out. I debated hard whether to share this, but what the heck hahaha! Enjoy the laugh.


Direct youtube link

The Rays won that night so my record in games I’ve attended stands at 2-5. Not a great record. I need to get up to at least 500. One win at a time. Hey, I’m 500 at home though!

As we were getting ready to depart our seats, Andrew Found us, so I met one more person I’ve talked to on Twitter before leaving, yay!
It was sad leaving the Trop for the last time on that trip. We took some pictures before getting into the car. Butch got a picture with Jayden. Those two were buddies! The picture was on a TV broadcast recently. I think it’s called Friend of Rays? Something like that. If you use a certain hash tag with a picture, it might get featured and Butch and Jayden were featured! yay!

I would be leaving the next day. Butch said he’d try and get to the airport and we tearfully said goodbye. I’m tearing up again now, remembering it. The trip was almost over. There would be no more games, no more cowbell, no more cheering. I had one thing left to do, and it would happen the next day.

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Filed under #RoToTrop, accessibility, baseball, coffeeholic, evan longoria, fellowship, gratitude, Jayden, misty eyes, num num food, silly girl, twitter me this, video, wow, youtube

Tampa Bay Trip – Day Five: Ducky’s , Field passes and TV oh my!

*Just previewed this post and there are mucho mistakes but I’m tired so I’m not fixing them.*

I certainly didn’t mean to take a few days to get back to the trip posts but life doesn’t care about your plans eh? Anyway, onward we go to day five.

Knowing what was going to happen on this day was a big part of all the nerves I was feeling. It was April 2 and I knew I would be going on the field for batting practice. I knew I would be meeting players and I knew I needed to tell Evan Longoria that he saved my life. I had one chance and if I chickened out and didn’t tell him, I might not ever get the chance again. Just think back and pick out a certain athlete or musician or whatever it may be that was a part of your life during a huge turning point. Now imagine you knew there was a really good chance you would meet them. Imagine the fear that you wouldn’t, like when it could have happened the year before but didn’t, that fear mixed with excitement. No wonder I had a hard time eating haha!

Oh yeah, and before all this I was going to Evan Longoria’s restaurant, Ducky’s. Man who gave me baseball and saved my life, dream maybe coming true later, going to his restaurant which was HIS dream come true, where he had his engagement party, going to his space, are you getting a taste of the level of my nerves? Am I doing a good job of describing it? My hands are shaking as I type the memories.

Dave Haller had told me to be at Tropicana Field at 4:30 for batting practice Ducky’s is in Tampa so Davis came to pick me up with Manda And butch at 1:00. How on earth did I kill time? I can’t remember. That whole day is a blur. Luckily the really awesome parts stand out in high definition.

We drove to Tampa and when we arrived at Ducky’s I felt so happy. I checked in on Foursquare. Coolest checkin next to the Trop? Probably haha. Some other friends were meeting us there so we sat at a big round table. The walls were nothing but big TVs. I got a Dr. Pepper and it came in a Rays glass. How cool! Davis said there wasn’t Rays memorabilia everywhere. The glasses were a nice touch. I pictured it very understated. It was quiet but I’m sure when people gather to watch games it’s loud. It was elegant though. Chic. I asked everyone if Longoria mentions a favorite food there. Manda named a few things and the pickled crab cakes stuck out so that’s what I ordered. I wondered if I’d even be able to eat.

while we were waiting for our food we wandered over to the mini bowling. Way back on Twitter when the trip was just a dream, someone (Professor Twain?) said I should try the bowling. There was no way I wouldn’t try it! The balls you roll are like Skeeball balls. Someone put the bumpers up and you can here me whine, “noo!” Hahaha. Hear me? Oh yeah, there’s video. We each had two turns.

My first turn didn’t start out so well.

Direct youtube link

My second turn was much better.

Direct youtube link

We didn’t finish our whole game since our food came out and friends got there. The pickled wait not pickled. Deviled? I can’t remember, crab. Crab cakes haha. they were so good! Can’t beat crab in a coastal town. I managed to eat them all and try a piece of Manda’s candied bacon. Oh my yum! I had some of Davis’ fries too. They remind me of In and Out fries. I wondered if Evan did that on purpose with the fries since he’s from California. I took a souvenir from Ducky’s – Evan’s sauce.

There was a monkey dish of spicy sauce on my plate and right as we were nearing the end of our visit to Ducky’s I knocked the dish off and spilled it on my pants, purse and #ROTOTROP jersey. Before I could even think, the girls at the table jumped up, stripped the jersey off me and ran away. Davis was at work getting the sauce off my purse and all I could do was laugh. I had Evan’s sauce on me. Too perfect. the girls got the stain off the white jersey like living Tide stain sticks. Yay!

I visited the restroom before we left and was even impressed by that. The stalls are completely enclosed. No gaps in the doors or doors that didn’t lock. They were like little closets with glass doors. Very nice. We took Jayden to pee in the grass and then headed back to St. Pete. Oh my! Would I meet Evan?

Tina was going to meet us at the Trop since she had to work and missed out on Duckeyss. We got to the Trop early and waited around outside the gate. When it was time to go in, there was a surprise. Everyone got to go on the field with me! Originally there were only supposed to be two passes but Davis had asked Dave Haller if everyone could come inside to kill time before gates actually opened. He wasn’t expecting everyone to be allowed on the field but Dave worked his magic again so Davis, Tina and butch came with Manda and me on the field! I was so happy they could all be there!

We walked into the Trop and it was pretty cool to be the only fans inside. It was just us and the team! Oh yeah, and the bluejays haha. We were led down a ramp and passed the Rays clubhouse! We passed Alex Cobb! Alex freaking Cobb! We said hi as we passed and I was told he waved. I love Alex Cobb! Too bad he didn’t stop to chat haha.

And then we were on the field! As soon as I felt the turf under my feet I hit my needs and ran my hands over the fake grass. It felt like real grass! It was short and tight and I could feel the filler they put in. I was touching the Tropicana Field grass! We were in the area behind home plate. We weren’t alowed to go very far. There was a rope set up like they have to form lines at the bank. There was no music on yet.I started a voice note on my phone and kept my phone in my pocket. I hoped to record everything that happened down there for my memories.The place was so quiet! When you stand on the field in a dome like that you can really feel the enormity of the place. I remember noticing that at Chase Field last year.

Eventually the players started coming out for batting practice and I started meeting them! They all asked Jayden’s name and gave him love. Jayden was in puppy heaven! I think Wil Myers wanted to take him home. Manda was telling me who the guys were as they came up. I got hugs from all of them! Wil Myers, Sean Rodriguez, James Loney, Matt Joyce, Yunel Escobar, Ben Zobrist, Desmond Jennings, Jose Molina, and Logan Forsyth. Logan was the last one for me to meet that would round out the starting lineup for that night’s game. I also met reliever Joel Peralta. At one point a ball from batting practice rolled over and I had it in my hands when I met Loney and Forsyth so they both offered to sign it. Steve Carney came over and I asked for a real hug since we had only met briefly in the radio booth the night before.

Who am I forgetting? I’m forgetting someone. Tee heeeee heeeeee YES I MET EVAN LONGORIA! Video or it didn’t happen right?


Direct youtube link

What Davis didn’t capture and I’m glad is me hitting my knees as Evan walked away and crying. He said he’d come back! I didn’t want him to walk away. I wanted to talk to him forever, to tell him that baseball saved my life and he started it and I wanted to ask him about Elle and tell him about Jayden and just talk and he walked away but I hugged him I hugged Evan Longoria!

Jayden licked my tears from my face and I stood up, pulled myself together and met more people. Players and coaches and media guys Marc topkin, Joe Smith, Roger Mooney, Todd Kalas, Dave and Andy again and Neil Solondz came over and I finally got to meet him. He also dropped a surprise on me. He wanted to interview me later for that Sunday’s episode of This Week In Rays Baseball!Whaaaaaat? Wow. Oh that wasn’t the only surprise for that day. Dave Haller had emailed me that morning to let me know to be back on the field at 6:30 for a surprise. Hmmm. I was already going to be back on the field at 6:00 because Kelly nash wanted to talk to me for TV. Neil was trying to pin me down for an interview, I had met Evan longoria, wow wow wow! Evan was supposed to come back, would he come back?


Direct youtube link

I did get to tell him he saved my life! the picture that was taken of us was for the Times. Evan put his left arm around my shoulders and my right arm went around his waist. Luckiest girl ever! Well except maybe jaime. Jayden was on my left and that picture was in the paper. Davis cropped it for me so I could make it my Twitter profile picture. I’m told we both have big genuine smiles and look very happy. that picture captured my utter happiness. I’ll never change it!

I haven’t yet uploaded all the videos with the players but I uploaded to more two share in this post. First is my meeting with Ben Zobrist.


Direct youtube link

He is so tall! I didn’t know that until I hugged him. He was so fun to talk to. My face hurts from grinning as I listened to that just now. What a great guy!

And my face hurts again from grinning as I listened to this next video.

Direct youtube link

Longoria, Zobrist and Maddon were all apart of that magical 2008 season that saved my life. I got to tell Joe too! How many people from Tucson can say they stood on a major league field and talked to Joe Maddon about scouting and Mexican food? I must be the only one right? Wow. You can here how happy I was to meet Joe. What a dream! I’m so grateful there’s video or I might not believe this all happened!

Oh yay, time for lunch and a break.

I remembered while I was eating to explain why I wrote a few posts ago that on the jersey the hashtag was in all caps, #ROToTrop. I showed the jersey to Marc topkin on the field and he pronounced the hash tag so it sounded like Robocop. It was funny but maybe you had to be there.

When the Rays were done with batting practice the Jays were coming out on the field. We started discussing whether to stay on the field when someone, I can’t remember who, said we could go check out the new 360 walkway before gates opened. We did talk to one Bluejay though, Jose Bautista. He strolled over to say hi and I asked for a picture since B is a blueJays fan.

We left the field and took a walk around the Trop. They opened up the walkway so you can walk around the whole place now. It was cool to still be the only fans inside. I could hear the Jays taking BP below us. Davis pointed things out like the gong and the TV area and stuff. We ran into Enrique Oliu again. He was talking with Orestes Destrade so I got to meet him too. Sweet!

Davis and I both walk really fast so before I knew it everyone else was left behind. We ran into someone from Twitter who works at the Trop and then Tina was there. We used the ladies and then went over to see the Ray tank. I was getting a little stressed about time since I had to be back on the field to talk to Kelly Nash. The visit to the tank was a quick one. They told me to put my hand in the water straight down and the ray would graze my fingers. When it happened I jumped and squealed since I couldn’t see it swim towards me haha! There was a sink to wash hands and then we were off again, hoffing it back to the field. I had wanted to swing by the suite for some water but there wasn’t time. We were getting in the elevator and Suddenly Manda was there. Butch was off to start letting people in since we had the tickets. We walked to the edge of the barrier again and Kelly Nash came over. it was wonderful to meet her! I exclaimed at how tiny she is. She might be tiny, but she’s a force! She prepped me on the interview we would do. she asked the questions so I could start thinking about them. Then it was time to head over to the dugout. wow! Manda came with us and I was sat in a chair facing the dugout with the field behind me. Kelly sat next to us and Jayden lay down between us. Kelly started prepping me again and then Manda was there with cold water. Oh sweet relief! At one point Kelly said Matt Moore walked behind us. matt Moore! He was starting that night.

We sat for awhile and then it was time for the interview. This was live TV! kelly let me know they were talking to her through her ear piece and then she was talking to me. It was over pretty fast. It’s cool to see how that stuff works behind the scenes! When I stood, Dave Haller was there and told me I’d be throwing out the first pitch! Wow! I had wondered if maybe that was what the surprise was since the timing was right. Beyond the first pitch though, I was to be inducted into the Super Fan Hall of Fame! Dave walked Jayden and me over to two other fans who were also getting inducted and handed me a ball. I remembered my pitching lesson with Adam Pendleton the day before and gripped the ball to throw a four seamer haha! They told me I’d be throwing the ball to Raymond, the Rays mascot. I could hear that the Trop was filling in and then the PA guy, I’m sure it was rusty, introduced each of us and told a little of our stories. There had been no preparation in my head for this haha! Cheers and cowbells rained down on us and we threw our pitches. Raymond missed the ball haha. I can’t remember who was there to tell me. Dave Haller? manda? Raymond came up to me and I think they got a picture of us. Talk about a blur! Jayden was like what is that thing and why is it hugging you? Then we were leaving the field. “Bye Field,” I said wistfully.

I was oh so ready to sit down in the suite and drink some water. It wasn’t over yet though. As we approached the suite, Neil Solondz was there ready to do my interview. We stood in the hall outside the suite as the game was starting. After the interview I mentioned having told Dave and Andy I’d stop by and bring cookies and Neil walked me to the booth. I had the first pitch ball with me and decided I would have everyone sign it. Dave and Andy were happy to see me again and during a break they wanted pictures. I asked them to sign the ball. I think I had Dave Haller sign it there too. It was tough to leave the booth again. the emotions of the day started welling big time and leaving Dave and andy was the cincher. I could feel tears spring to my eyes.

We were walking towards the suite and I was trying not to cry. I had a whole new group of people to meet that night and I was excited. Someone said my name and it was Professor Twain! That was it. I started bawling. Great way to meet someone for the first time eh? I through myself into his arms and my tears soaked his Tampa Smokies Jersey. Mrs. T was there too and we decided to take Jayden out for a potty break. He’d done a lot too! We almost lost Mrs. T coming back inside. Security stopped her. What? We called back to them that she was with us and they let her go. Crazy.

Finally we made it up and into the suite and I got to meet the others. Ed and his wife are from England and they brought me a bunch of British goodies! Not just for me either, goodies for Jayden, too! ed’s wife was telling me what everything was and I got a kick out of her saying “biscuits”. She’s so very British! That was a little later in the evening after I’d rested from the day and chugged water. I also desperately needed coffee which the suite didn’t have, so Ed ran out and got me a cup. Yay, friends!

I didn’t even use my radio during this game. Professor Twain sat next to me doing play-by-play. It was awesome! We thought we were going to be on the jumbotron for the seventh inning stretch but since I wasn’t with the other super fan hall of fame people, we weren’t. that was fine by me! There had been so much excitement that day, I’m not sure I could have handled more.

Mrs. T and I went and checked out the team store on the suite fllor. We had our own freaking team store! Butch came with us to by a hat. Mrs. T bought me a Longo shirt and a baseball bracelet! I swear I hardly spent any of my own money on that trip. While we were in the store I heard Metallica playing and knew that would be Grant Balfour coming into the game. Darnit, I was bummed to miss him. The Rays lost that night but they got him in for some work.

I was sad to leave the suite. It had been home for three games. They even let us keep stuff in there, like Jayden’s mat and stuff. A lot of pictures were taken with me and friends and Jayden and then it was time to go. “Bye suite, “I said wistfully.

What an amazing day! I’d be back the next day as a normal fan, sitting in normal seats. That hadn’t been the original plan, but I couldn’t be in St. Pete while the Rays were playing and not be at the Trop. So it was bye field and bye suite, but not bye Trop yet!

When I got back to my room I called B and got ready to pass out.

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Tampa Bay Trip – Day Four: Ferg’s and the Radio Booth

First let me thank Josh Groban for “cleansing my pallet” (my listening pallet?) so I could focus on happy memories. I’m currently reading the new Stephen King book and I had let it sour my mood. Music saved the day this morning, yay!

So Tuesday April 1, 2014. This day ranks right on top of all of the days. A bunch of us met at Ferg’s Sports Bar before the game. One can’t visit from away and not do the Ferg’s thing. I had been looking forward to it for months! Our group even had our own section reserved! The red carpet treatment was everywhere! I am just me, right?

I had slept great the night before thank goodness. So I was well rested and fresh. It was awesome to experience Ferg’s, a place I had heard so much about. It’s really cool. There’s different levels and wood floors that sound cool to walk on. There’s plenty of outdoor seating and that’s where our section was. The actual bar area is where the music is so it was quieter outside. I hear it gets pretty crazy at night after games so I was glad we went beforehand.

I was craving a burger with fries and an iced tea. I can’t remember what it was called, but I got a burger with blue cheese and bacon. It reminded me of a burger I used to get at The Diner, before it closed. It tasted similar too! Unfortunately I couldn’t eat it all. Nerves! I mean really?

Hanging out at Ferg’s was so relaxing. Hearing happy voices around me, music, fellow Rays fans, it was the best!

One of the people who was there was Adam Pendleton. He had been signed by the Rays and reported to Spring Training and was so interesting to talk to! It was like an inside look at Spring Training! I don’t remember how we got on the subject of pitching grips but if I had been anticipating what would happen next, my nerves would have ratcheted up even more!


Direct youtube link

Thanks Davis for taking the video and having a spare baseball in the car! Adam signed the ball for me and it is now in a protective display box. That experience was going to be hard to top! The video didn’t capture Adam explaining the two and four seem fastballs but those were the easiest pitches to remember haha.

I had an idea about how a split finger was held thanks to Dave and Andy a few years back describing it on air and explaining how that can be tender around the elbow joint. I remember trying it, without a baseball, just spreading my index and middle fingers apart as far as they would go and it definitely hurt.

I remember asking B what a knuckleball was when I was first starting to study baseball and he showed me with a tennis ball. Those were my two experiences with pitching grips before I met Adam. Thanks to my Twitter friend Eric, for bringing your awesome son!

the food came after that and I was midway through when my friend Kaitlyn arrived. Did we scream? I can’t remember. She is my YOUNGIFIER on Twitter and that translated perfectly in person. She is like the sister I never had and I adore her!!!

After we settled up at Ferg’s, we were set to walk to the park. Ferg’s is across the street from Tropicana Field and there is a walkway under the street. So cool! It goes right up to the main gate.

I had Jayden’s dinner with me and Manda, Kaitlyn and I stopped along the way to feed and relieve the boy. I was giving everyone human guide lessons and today was kaitlyn’s turn haha. We met up with her mom outside the gate, went through security and into the main gate. I got a little panicky in there because there were tons of echoes. Echoes mess with my hearing which messes with my spatial reasoning. At the blind center here, they have foam “art” that gets rid of echoes. I don’t like echoes haha. Kaitlyn and I hustled it to the elevator. There was a picture of Jeremy Hellickson in the elevator and Kaitlyn is the biggest Helli fan alive. It was too funny!

Dave Haller had let me know that one of the Spanish radio broadcasters, Enrique Oliu, and his wife Debbie would be waiting for me in the suite. As soon as we walked in, he was there! Enrique is also blind . He’s got a great story! It was great to talk with him. When I said I would be visiting Dave and Andy during the game, he told me to be sure to stop by the Spanish booth.

Oh did I forget to mention that? Yep, I was scheduled to visit Dave {Wills} and Andy {Freed} in the radio booth during the third inning! I met them in Arizona last year when the Rays played the DBacks, but I was so excited to see them again and be in the booth!

We settled in to get ready for the game. Kaitlyn was on my right and I have to wonder if people thought we were a bit crazy hehehe. We had so much fun together! She truly is my YOUNGIFIER. I got to be my unbridled silly self with her. I tend to tone my silliness down. Most adults tone their silliness down. I guess I’m Peter Pan at heart.

She kept gazing at Hellickson in the Rays dugout haha. It was just too awesome. Oh and guess who else came by the suite? Tiffany! She’s the woman who keeps David Price in line. I’ve talked to her quite a bit on Twitter and it was so wonderful to meet her! I’m so glad she came by!

Dave Haller came to take me to the radio booth. Excited! Davis came with to get pictures and video. the radio booth was on the same floor as the suite and not far away. We got there and I could hear them talking as we stood outside the door to the booth. I had just been listening to them on my littler radio and there they were, in front of me! We stood silent until the second inning ended and as soon as they went to commercial they got up and came over to hug me. Happy reunion! There were two steps down to their desk and they were both very helpful helping me get to the seat they rolled over between them for me to sit. I got Jayden settled between them and Dave stuck a set of headphones on my head. I could hear the commercials. Dave was on my left, Andy on my right and I told them that’s how I always imagined them. I asked if they had ever mentioned that but they didn’t know. Later I figured out that the reason I probably always pictured them that way is because Dave is a lefty.

The top of the third inning started and I heard Dave and Andy in my headphones as I sat between them. What. An. Experience! Rays Radio emailed me a copy and told me I could share it, so so click to listen if you like. During the commercial break we talked and I met Steve Carney finally, getting an awkward hug.

I had forgotten to bring the cookies I was going to bring to the booth so they told me to come back the next day. Yes please! There were hugs all around and then I stopped by next door to listen to the Spanish broadcast. I don’t speak Spanish but I was pretty sure I heard “bonita” and “perro”. So I think they were saying I had a pretty dog haha. I recognize some words. Sometimes if the 620 WDAE feed is having problems in Gameday audio, I’ll tune into the Spanish broadcast just to keep an idea of what’s going on. Even when you only know one percent of the Spanish language, it’s amazing what you can pick up when you are a dedicated student of the game.

It was awesome to talk to Adam during the game and ask him what he thought was wrong with Alex Cobb. Cobb just wasn’t sharp on the second game of the season. It was too cool to talk the game with someone who had seriously played it. The rest of the game I was silly with Kaitlyn, mingled with my other friends and cheered the Rays to their first loss of the season. I definitely enjoyed the experience, if not the outcome.

I feel like I’m missing something. Wednesday was the truly crazy day so maybe my mind is already focusing on that haha! I might take a break and finish this trip remembrance Monday and give my arms a break. Though I don’t want to lose the momentum, so we shall see.

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