Taking Back Old Glory on the Fourth of July

Happy Birthday, America!!

As the sun rose this morning, I thought about how divided our nation is and how some will celebrate today with a nationalistic fervor disguised as patriotism, some will celebrate with true patriotism, some will see nothing to celebrate and choose to sit this one out, and some will even celebrate without thought as to why they are celebrating, just another long weekend in the summer.  And frankly, that is their right as Americans to believe and express themselves freely whether you or I agree with them or not.  Generations of young men and women have fought to preserve those freedoms. Continue reading

Summer Ends at Fenway

Summer ended abruptly shortly before 5 p.m. on this sunny Sunday evening with the temperature soaring in the 80s and a RBI infield single and the Yankees’ 9-5 victory over the Red Sox ending Derek Jeter’s career and less than luster filled seasons for the rival teams.

For many, summer begins and ends with Memorial Day and Labor Day. For others, summer directly aligns with the summer solstice and autumnal equinox.  For me and many other Fenway Faithful, summer begins and ends with the crack of a bat.  Summer begins with the first crack of a bat in April at Fenway Park on Opening Day and ends with the silence that soon follows the last crack of a bat come October in the years the Red Sox advance to the post season or in September when the season and summer end all too soon.

This summer there was a drought at Fenway Park and Red Sox Nation was left feeling like we had not experienced much of a summer at all.   Last summer with our beloved Red Sox going from worst to first, we let ourselves believe that this was going to be another memorable season.  Some, including myself, even dared to think that we could win back to back World Series.

At times, this summer was so painful I couldn’t bear to watch. What happened to our team that made baseball history and helped heal a grieving city after the Boston Marathon bombings?   What happened to our team that united its reeling city and answered Big Papi’s rallying call when he proclaimed last April to a cheering crowd at the first game at Fenway after the bombings, “This is our fucking city!  And nobody is going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong.”

Ironically all through the summer of 2013, the Fenway Faithful watched on in awe and amazement waiting for the other baseball cleat to drop. And through the summer of 2014, we watched on in despair and disbelief waiting for the season to turn around.  It never did.

It was incomprehensible that we could start a season with essentially the same World Series winning roster and perform so badly. Losing only outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury to the evil empire also known as New York Yankees and infielder Stephen Drew to free agency for just over a month at the start of the season should not have impacted the team. Neither player could be considered the glue that held the 2013 team together.  Essentially our 2013 Boys of Summer were seemingly unscathed but appeared not to show up to play in 2014.

Then, we stood by in shock as management cleaned house at July’s trade deadline. By the time July was over, gone were Peavy, Lester, Gomes, Lackey, Miller, Drew and Doubront.  The fans, Big Papi and what remained of the 2013 roster looked around the dugout and said “Where the heck did everybody go and who the F are you?”

There were good moments. The ring ceremony was definitely the highlight. Ortiz hit his 400th home run as a Red Sox player on August 16th.   But, this season was not meant to be so the Fenway Faithful patiently and sometimes not so patiently waited for the season and our collective suffering to end.

All season long I kept thinking of the Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore movie, Fever Pitch when Uncle Carl says to young Ben who started to like the Red Sox after his first game, “Careful, kid. They’ll break your heart.”  And that they did this year.  I like so many Red Sox faithful couldn’t wait for the season to end and just stop the bleeding.

So on this last day of summer, the Red Sox and the Yankees gathered at Fenway’s Cathedral to play one last game and send the Captain off in style.

And as the season ended the team and fans turned their attention to next summer, opening day is only 189 days away and our beloved Red Sox have a lot of work to do this off season.

And as we are known to say in Red Sox Nation, wait until next year!

Blogging 101: Be a Good Neighbor

Blogging 101: Be a Good Neighbor

Get out your calling cards, and leave comments on at least four blogs that you’ve never commented on before.

For this assignment, albeit a couple days late and crunched for time, I decided to use the topics in my reader and scan until I landed on the first four posts that caught my eye. Here they are in no particular order except that in which my eyes landed on them.

Moving Upward, Forward and Onward

Under the topic Racism in America, I found Moving Upward, Forward and Onward, written by a college age woman named Sabrina.  Her posts are written from her refreshing perspective and in a fashion as she says in her tagline the Ramblings of a College Age Woman.

In Hello Friends I come to you with more on Racism she discusses the responsibilities white America in particular should take for the existence of racism in America.  She in a rambling fashion with posts published in between homework and whatever else is going on in her life that day tackles some serious topics such as sexism and racism in our society.  And I believe she is on point in her discussion of microaggressions (jokes, stereotypes, etc.)  feeding racism in America.

The Dad Letters

Under loss, I came across The Dad Letters, written by a group of five dads who record their impressions on life’s journey in letters to their children.  I found one of the Dads, Ralph Amsden, under loss in my reader.  In a letter to his sons, Ralph discusses the loss of his mother at a young age in Would Have Been

His words are eloquent and in Would Have Been and the previous posts he links to regarding his mother he made me smile, cry and laugh.  In one post he shares his mother’s words “I hope I can pass my knowledge, patience, love and everything else that grows in me from the seeds my parents planted, on to my son to help him grow as a person also.”

In the short time his mother shared with him on this earth it appears that she succeeded in fulfilling her hope and Ralph is now passing the “knowledge, patience, love and everything else that grows in me from the seeds my parents planted” on to his sons.

I took a few moments to look around The Dad Letters and discovered that the Dads share an array of topics with their children, lessons on life and love, what it means to be a Dad, and difficult topics such as sexual abuse and domestic violence and everything in between. Daniel talks about sexuality and sexual abuse in To My Son #YesAllWomen and Christian talks to about domestic violence in a letter to his daughter.

Hope, Fireflies and Fairytales

Under Family in my reader I came across Hope, Fireflies and Fairytales written by Jenifer, a newly divorced, single mom of three.  In what appears to be her inaugural post, Fairytales and Fireflies, she proclaims how she still believes in fairytales even after a difficult year.  Looking forward to more posts as she searches for her happy in between and ever after.

The Boston Sports Fan

And under baseball, I found The Boston Sports Fan a new blog written by in their words “a small group of post-graduate, mid-twenties degenerate gamblers Boston sports fanatics who have been living the dream ever since Drew Bledsoe got impaled by Mo Lewis in Week 2 of the 2001 NFL season.”

In their second post they discuss the end to a horrible season and whether Derek Jeter will grace the Fenway Faithful with his presence on the field in the final Boston-New York series of the miserable 2014 season.  As a member of Red Sox Nation, all I have to say is let Jeter show up at the cathedral for a Boston farewell and just wait until next year.

Until 2015 opening day, I am looking forward to more posts by the Boston Sports Fan on Tommy, the Patriots, Bruins and Celtics.

Grampy’s Red Sox and cheap Irish skin

To get started, let’s loosen up. Let’s unlock the mind. Today, take twenty minutes to free write. And don’t think about what you’ll write. Just write.

Keep typing (or scribbling, if you prefer to handwrite for this exercise) until your twenty minutes are up. It doesn’t matter if what you write is incomplete, or nonsense, or not worthy of the “Publish” button.

And for your first twist? Publish this stream-of-consciousness post on your blog.

Generally, I hate timed free writing assignments.  It reminds me of being back in school – not that school was bad.  It’s just I always find that timed writing prompts were painful.  Sometimes I would sit paralyzed – pen frozen in my hand.  Words unable to escape.  My face becoming first pink, then red as I was sure that everyone could see the empty page in front of me or worse yet my incomprehensible scribbling on the page in front of me.

My free writing by hand

My free writing by hand

Even when I free write in the privacy of my home, I feel vulnerable as though my other half can see what I am writing.  The color of my cheeks rises on my cheap Irish skin that I inherited from my grandfather.  Why I lament did I not get the olive toned Italian skin of my grandmother’s side of the family that my sisters are blessed with?  Instead I inherited my grandfather’s cheap Irish skin – prone to rises in color and sunburn.  Why, I didn’t inherit his metabolism – he was always able to eat anything he wanted and never gain any weight.  Unfortunately his metabolism gene skipped a generation or something like that as none of my sisters or I am blessed with his ability to eat cake and ice cream and not gain any weight.

In addition to his cheap Irish skin, I did inherit my grandfather’s deep abiding love for his Red Sox.  As a child, I did not much appreciate Grampy’s Red Sox – which had less to do with the Red Sox and more to do with the fact that when we visited Nana and Grampy’s house, Grampy controlled the TV and there were only three choices – Lawrence Welk, Candlepins for Cash, and the Red Sox. And watching baseball on TV was about as exciting as watching paint dry.

Today, however, I am part of the Fenway Faithful, a card carrying member of Red Sox Nation. Admittedly, I tend to do most of my sports following via the internet – checking on scores periodically throughout a game. As an adult, however, I have developed the ability to watch a full Red Sox game on TV and not complain; unless the Sox are losing then I will be throwing things, cursing and yelling at the TV as though the ump or my beloved Red Sox can hear me. I am not sure where or when I developed this habit of talking to the players, but, it is something I definitely do. I have had more than one conversation from the comfort of my living room with Big Papa as he is up to bat, coaching and cajoling him to hit one out of the park.


One Boston Fan’s Superstitions

East Entrance to the Gahden

East Entrance to the Gahden

Continue reading

Thankful Thursday

Several Thursdays ago, I was too busy to respond to a challenge from Iyanla Vanzant that a friend posted on Facebook. Ms. Vanzant challenged her twitter and Facebook followers to come up with 101 things that they are grateful for in 90 minutes and tweet or post them. I would’ve found it hard to express that much gratitude in 140 characters or less on my twitter account.

Since I believe that for gratitude to be sincere it cannot be overly excessive, I have stopped at roughly 25 random thoughts of things, people and places that I am grateful for in my life.  So here is my attempt at a gratitude list, posted on what social media types have labeled Thankful Thursday.

I am grateful:

  • that my parents raised me up right with equal amounts of love and discipline.
  • that it is Octember and the Red Sox are still playing baseball.
  • for my three sisters, though we may argue, fuss and fight at the end of the day we always have each other’s backs.
  • for my curly hair.
  • for my brat pack, my five youngest nieces, who bring laughter and joy into our family.  They get very upset by the nickname, brat pack, “We’re not brats, auntie,” they protest, which just makes me laugh louder.
  • I have known the love of a good man.
  • for walks on the beach.
  • that my mom instilled in me a strong belief that I can handle anything that life sends my way. God will not give you more than you can handle was one of her mantras.
  • for the love and friendship of my sister-friends.
  • that the Red Sox have a healthy chance of going all the way this year.
  • for my blue eyes.
  • that I believe in an on time God.
  • that I wear my heart on my sleeve.
  • for my nephews, even when they are challenging.
  • for the first snowfall of the year.
  • for my relatively good health.
  • that I have learned to be thankful for what it is, because it could be a whole lot worse.
  • that one of my best friends double dared me to get off my duff and start writing by blogging.
  • that she sees something in my writing that I am often blinded from seeing.
  • that my sisters and I weren’t raised to believe that girls can’t _____.
  • that I live in New England and enjoy real change of seasons (although I do wish summer was longer)!
  • for my belief that summer is more than a season that it is a state of mind and in my mind it generally corresponds with the cracking of bats at Fenway Park from April until September/October.
  • that Amtrak runs from Boston to Maine, a service I should use more often to visit friends and family in the state that boasts it’s the way life should be.
  • for the feel of warm rain on my face.
  • for the magic of Christmas.
  • that New Year’s offers each and every one of us a clean slate and a chance to start over again.
  • for the vibrant colors of leaves in Octember.
  • for the sound of the ocean in sea shells and the feelings and memories that sound can evoke in me.

The First of Octember

The first of Octember is here. A cause for celebration in my world. Octember, or October as most people refer to it, is one of my favorite months.

Continue reading