?`s and ANNEswers

Ten minutes to write. Less time to read.

Cubs Lose

The Chicago Cubs opened the 2017 season on the road last night and lost to their nemesis, the St. Louis Cardinals.  The score was 4-3. Last year, they opened their World Series winning season by beating the Los Angeles Angels 9-0. Which shows that winning by one run is just as effective as winning by nine.

Except the wrong team won last night.

I don’t know much about baseball, but I do know hopes are high in the Windy City for another stab at another World Series. I also know baseball is about statistics, so I’m sure there is someone somewhere who has analyzed the chances of a team losing its first game and winning the whole tamale.

My favorite baseball season was the one where my son Kevin played first base for the Arlington Heights Bees.  That was forty years ago, and I still remember sitting in the stands at the local park screaming my lungs out with the other parents.

I screamed at the television the same way when I learned the Cubs had won after a 108-year drought. And I’ll scream again, given the opportunity.  Still . . .  I’m not counting on it because the Cubs are 0-1 right now.

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Several weeks ago I received an offer I couldn’t resist. It was to have the Sunday New York Times delivered to my door for twenty percent less than it costs me to purchase at a newsstand. When the per copy price hovers at six dollars and I can have it delivered for $4.80, what’s not to like?

I told a friend about this “deal,” and she said she’d tried it a while back. But her delivery person wasn’t reliable and the paper didn’t always show up; so she canceled her subscription. I decided to try it anyway and went online to review the offer’s fine print.

You had to sign up for a year, and you had to pay each month in advance on a credit card; but you could cancel if you were dissatisfied. I clicked the button and became a Sunday only subscriber.

So far I’m thrilled. My paper arrives before I get up, and it is always securely wrapped in plastic. Someone called to make sure I’m happy and left a telephone number in case I’m not.

The NYT has a definite political bent, and many people disparage it for that. I understand. At the same time, there is so much other information about science, government, the arts, history, fashion, education, space, weddings, and funerals that even if you are a diehard conservative I believe you can find much of interest. Besides, the writing is top notch.

I used to buy the Chicago Tribune on Sundays at five dollars a pop. Believe me, the NYT – even at full newsstand price – far outshines the Windy City’s version of important news.

I’ve forsaken Chicago, where I lived many years, and have embraced New York . . . at least on the newspaper level. And I’m happy as a clam.

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No April Fool’s Joke

I suspended blogging on this site in early December because I wanted to focus on my new publishing company, Spectacled Bear. In truth, I was also so disappointed in the presidential election that all I wanted to blog about was critical and negative. It seemed best not to blog at all.

I’m still disappointed in Spectacled Bear’s financials and in 45’s performance, but I’ve moved on from focusing solely on them. So it seems appropriate to pick up the creative pen (in the form of a keyboard and a website) once again.  In fact, I’m looking forward to it.

Maybe I’ll blog about how my 200 tulips survived winter and March, and are now about to bloom.  But, given Nature’s fickleness, I imagine they’ll be in full blossom the week I’m in Boston MA watching my son run the Marathon.

Maybe I’ll blog about my new trainer, the one who replaced my favorite trainer ever.  We’d still be working out together, except that he moved from the area. Or maybe I’ll blog about my year working on my publishing venture.  It’s been a challenge, and – truthfully – even though it’s not working out as planned, I’d do it again.

I started blogging in 2004 as a way of keeping my writing skills up-to-date.  I’d resigned all my freelance writing accounts and vowed I just wanted to write for me. Turns out I’ve come full circle.

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Visit Spectacled Bear…

While I’m not blogging on this site for a while, you can still follow what I’m up to by visiting Spectacled Bear Publishing, a project that’s very near and dear to my heart.

Spectacled Bear is a new company I founded that’s committed to publishing gentle books for children. Our first one, Philip & Phoebe, recently hit stores, the internet, and Amazon. Currently we’re considering our second offering.

Visit the site and learn about the SB team. Meet S. Bear, who sends a weekly blog from the Andes. You’d be surprised what this bear knows. See the roll call of children who’ve given Philip & Phoebe a thumbs up. Discover that there really is a spectacled bear in the animal kingdom. And be the first to learn how Spectacled Bear is saving gentle reads from extinction one book and one reader at a time. xo, Anne

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Dorping Out

No that’s not a typo; I’m inventing a new word that means “taking a break to ponder what to do next.”

Three weeks ago the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years. It was euphoric. Two weeks ago, Donald Trump won the Presidency of the United States. It wasn’t euphoric . . . at least for me. I went from the heights to the depths. And I suspect many others, regardless of who they voted for, did too.

The news since then hasn’t been better. In fact, because of where I live – all local offices, for instance, found Republicans running unopposed — it’s made me cautious with whom I speak. It’s a new wariness for me, and I don’t like it. Which is why I’m dorping out.

I shall not be posting any more this year, nor shall I allow my posts after this one to be followed on Facebook or Twitter or anyplace else. I do not want to add to the anger that’s “out there.” I don’t want to debate with friends nor do I want to offend them. So I submit we all dorp out and make it a time for reflection as we near the year’s end.

We might want to review the Peace Prayer of St. Francis too.

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Tenth Man

It’s been two days since the Chicago Cubs won the World Series after a 108 year drought. Chicago is going crazy, although in a good way; and today the parade winds through the city.

I’ve pondered what I could add to the celebration. Sport columnists are paid to dissect the game. Newscasts are on the scene. And almost everyone knows someone who’s passed on without enjoying this singular moment.

My husband talked about his Dad, who never saw a championship. One of the last photos of my Mother, the one that was displayed at her wake, is of her and her husband at Wrigley Field. And don’t forget Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, and Harry Carey.

The only thing I haven’t seen elsewhere (and perhaps I’ve just missed it) is the seventeen minute rain delay.  I’ve heard that the Cubs huddled in a meeting to focus on who they were, how far they’d come. And when the rain stopped, they went out and broke the Billy goat curse.  I believe Ben Zobrist deserves the MVP for the series, but the rain deserves the title of Tenth Man on the Field that night.

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Had breakfast with a good friend this morning; and, as is often the case, we got around to discussing grammar. It wasn’t as serious as defending the Oxford comma, but it was just significant. It was about the word ‘soon.’ And we decided that it’s an expandable term.  As in, my ‘soon’ might not be the same as someone else’s ‘soon’.

Case in point: I have a gardener who’s helped me with my flower beds for fifteen years. When I need him, I call.  And he says, “I’ll be there soon.”  The thing is, I’ve learned that when he uses that word, he means sometime this week.  But when I hear it, I imagine that he’s on his way. This has caused more than one disappointment.

Somewhere in those fifteen years, I learned to say, “What day of the week is Soon?” And he would be more specific. The disappointments diminished once the word was clarified.

Another case in point: Yesterday I returned from Albany, NY, via American Airlines.  As we were descending into O’Hare Airport, the attendant gave the usual disclaimer: “Tray tops and seat backs must be returned to their original positions because we will (Even though ‘shall’ is the correct word) be landing soon.  I suggest the flight attendant put a period after positions, because it’s possible everyone on that plane had a different definition for ‘soon’. Given what you’ve already read, mine was “We’re landing now.”

But I’ve flown enough to know that isn’t what the pilot means.  He’s really saying, “Flight attendants, do your job before we go into final approach.” I adjust the tray table and my seat back and have learned to wait.

Tomorrow, I’ll share what I did this afternoon. It wasn’t over soon enough.

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Too Much Time

Two months from yesterday is Christmas; a week after is New Year’s. Are you ready? No, neither am I. And four weeks from tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  I’m not ready for that either. In fact, I’m not even ready for Halloween.

It used to be that each of these events had its turn in the calendar without being infringed upon by the next event. For example, once upon a time Christmas decorations and parties and gift buying didn’t begin until the day after Thanksgiving. And frozen turkeys didn’t go on sale until the last Trick or Treater was tucked in bed. But no longer.

No wonder it feels as if time is speeding up.  Stores display their fall merchandise as children get out for summer vacation and decorate for Christmas the end of September. Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and Easter often trip over each other.

I used to think it was a function of age; the older I became the faster each season passed.  But I think it’s exacerbated by the whirlwind that is retail and the pressure to keep that bottom line black.  Santa might like red, but it’s not a good thing for business.

Still, all this marketing is having the opposite effect on me.  I am not more prepared because there is more time given to each of these things.  If anything, I’m more saturated; and I’m opting out of making most holidays a big thing. In fact, I don’t even plan to be home for Halloween.

If that makes me a curmudgeon, so be it.

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It’s the day after the Chicago Cubs clinched the National League Championship. They are now on the way to their first World Series in over seventy years.  Let it be noted that they lost that one.  In fact, the Cubs last won the World Series in 1908.

Generations of Chicagoans have come and gone and never seen their beloved team play in this fall classic. Now that the Cubs are competing against the Cleveland Indians this coming Tuesday, many fans don’t know how to react. They’re so used to seeing the hapless home team lose.

Where were you when Kennedy was shot? When the Challenger exploded? When Bin Laden was killed? When Sandy Hook happened? Perhaps someday people, especially in and around Chicago, will ask: “Where were you when the Cubs won their first World Series in one hundred eight years.”

It’s four wins away.

So let me share where I was when the Cubs won the right to appear in the World Series last night.  Earl and I were in Indianapolis with his family, many of whom are die-hard Cubbies.  Those who weren’t played along.

We’d created a viewing area in Alex’s garage, complete with TV, munchies, beer, and an extremely effective heater.  Every lawn chair in grabbing distance was commandeered for the event. Every jacket was too.

As the game wore on, comments on the price of tickets for the World Series abounded. So did wishes that we could all be at Wrigley Field. Together.

But, honestly, even if we all could afford the mega-price tickets, it would never be as much fun as being together with family in a garage in Indianapolis, drinking beer and vodka (although not at the same time) and finally beating the Billy goat’s curse.  If you don’t know what that is, you’re not a diehard Cub fan.

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Will of the People

Last night’s final presidential debate for this election held about fifteen minutes of my attention before I returned to watching the Chicago Cubs work their way toward the World Series. But I heard Trump’s comments on supporting Hillary Clinton if she wins the election.

Basically, for anyone living on an ice floe in the Arctic and not privy to television or a smart phone, Trump wouldn’t say what he’d do, preferring to leave us in “suspense.”

It is tradition – no, it’s what our country is based on — that the defeated candidate accepts the vote and makes a statement that he or she will get behind the winner for the sake of the country. Think of Al Gore when he lost because of hanging chads. He did not keep us in suspense once the final tally was done. Mitt Romney didn’t either. More recently, think of Bernie Sanders who said he would support Hillary Clinton if she got the nomination.  He didn’t keep us in suspense either. What would be the point?

Donald Trump won the GOP nomination because he won more votes in the primaries than his opponents. Granted, there was talk of placing someone else’s name in play at the convention; but in the end a popular vote worked in Trump’s favor.

If it works against him now, there will be no suspense.  There will simply be a poor loser and greater rancor across the land.

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