Exhilarating!

Women’s Whitewater Kayaking – Vail 2017

I dove head first into the photo archives and fetched out this photo from 2017, our first post-retirement road trip out west. We only went as far west as Utah and Arizona on this sally and on our way west, we overnighted in Vail, which initially was somewhat disappointing, it being in the middle of one of its shoulder seasons. But we did manage to catch a series of wonderful whitewater races there. They raced, kayaks, rubber rafts and paddle boards. There were both men’s and women’s heats, usually with three racers. The object of each race was to paddle downstream on the creek that ran through town, at the finish was a suspended pole that must first be circled and then out-of-frame to the left was a bell to be rung to win. As in this race the leader (orange kayak, green jacket) is almost around the pole when the other competitors arrive and block any further progress with the ensuing melee. The other orange kayak is the lifeguard.

I picked this picture in honor of the Winter Olympics, which are winding down this weekend. Even though the photo was shot in June, the icy waters of Gore Creek seemed to make it more reminiscent of a winter than summer sport. Yesterday, we got an ice storm. It started off as rain, tuned to sleet and then snow. Afterwards the bottom dropped out with the temperature and what was slush turned to ice. Today, I began digging us out. Really, all I did was sweep away the loose snow on top, lowering the albedo of the walks and the car. Today, is a bright sunny day and is forecasted to hit forty for a high this afternoon. I figure that by then, most of the ice will have melted and that that hasn’t would be much easier to remove then. I plan on refraining from egregiously idling to defrost the RAV4 and hopefully avoid another rodent infestation too. This activity will have to suffice for today’s exercise, even if it is not quite up to Olympic caliber, because it is still too icy to go walk about.

Orange White Barrel Season

Orange White Barrel Season

We walked yesterday and the roads are much improved from the day before, mostly bare pavement. The weather was generally much better than it had been also. The schools relented too, instead of another day of remote learning, the kids got a snow day. It’s not like we get snows like this very much anymore and giving the children a chance to enjoy the snow seemed like a good thing. 2019 was the last time we got this much snow, so three years. Pictured are the results of one enterprising snow shoveler’s effort. The sidewalk in front of this hose had been cleared, by first shoveling the snow into a plastic garbage barrel, packing it down, then dumping the barrel upside-down and then repeat.

Last year, we signed up for Direct TV, originally so Anne could watch TV even when the weather was not good. It turns out that one of the many channels that it provides is an Olympics channel. This allows us to watch the games 24/7 commercials free. Lots of curling on so far. I’ve noticed that except for the racecourses there isn’t any snow there. The winter Olympics may someday cease to be feasible anymore. That would be a shame. 

Baseball Suite in a Major Key

Carl with His Program Cover Quilts

A little late for Christmas, but worth the wait. Last night, Carl received his belated X-mas present. Anne has been working on this project pretty much since Dave and Maren’s wedding. She finished them this week and mailed them off before the storm hit town. The following is Carl’s lovely thank you:

At about 8:00 last night, one piece of mail fell through the slot. The postal service is hurting. I made sure there was nothing else and opened the door. Oh Boy, a package! And WHAT a package! These Cub Scorecard Quilted Blocks are FABULOUS. Thank you. With baseball in limbo right now, this really helped my feelings for the game. The artist is Otis Shepard. He and his wife, Dorothy, were accomplished graphic artists from the 1930’s through 1969 (when Otis died), in Billboards. I have a very interesting book about their lives, and it’s loaded with their work. I kind of fell back in love with Otis’ scorecards when I found a 1965 scorecard, scored by my dad, and it was a No-Hitter! I found it when they were moving from Illinois to Colorado. He had no memory of the game, being a Hard drinking Cubs fan, but it got me looking at the older Otis designed scorecards. From 1970 through the early 1980’s they did some knockoffs of his work. They were good, but as I found out, not nearly as good as Otis’. Then about 15 years ago I ran into a fellow baseball enthusiast at a Card shop. I told him about my love of the old Cubs and White Sox scorecards, and he said he had a bunch of both. I traded him some cards he needed, and I had all the Cub scorecards from 1954 through 1969, except 1955 and 1958, my birth year. Another X-mas a few years back you got me the 1958. But these quilted versions are priceless and with your choices of baseball quotes and phrasing on the backs, you’ve hit a GRAND SLAM Home Run. Doff your cap, Babe. (I’m not flirting; I’m using a phrase to conjure up Babe Ruth).

Below are the five quilt-lets side-by-side with the original Cubs program covers that inspired them. The captions below each pair appear on the back of each quilt. I think that Anne did a great job on this project and I’m glad that it was so well received. She is already hard at work on the first of three baby quilts.

Baseball Suite in a Major Key—For Carl, a Fantastic Fan!

It might be… it could be… IT IS! A Homerun! —Harry Carey

Chicago …Stormy, husky, brawling, City of Big Shoulders… —Carl Sandburg

He goes back, back to the wall. He jumps and… He makes the catch! He robs the homerun!

Son, what kind of pitch would you like to miss? —Dizzy Dean

The Big Game

Sombre Helmet with Horses, Donald Robertson, 1952

This afternoon, the Michigan Wolverines, ranked 6th in the nation, came to East Lansing to face the Michigan State Spartans, ranked 8th. Both teams entered the game with identical, perfect 7-0 records for the season. Both teams entered the stadium undefeated, only one will leave like that. The game was broadcasted on Fox, which we could have watched over the air, but whether it was terrestrial weather or that G3 geomagnetic storm that is supposed to generate the aurora borealis tonight, maybe even far enough south for us to see here in Saint Louis, but the Fox broadcast was coming in all pixilated. Not to worry though, because we now have Direct-TV, which came in crystal clear over our Wi-Fi. The first quarter was all Michigan, aided by two State turnovers, for a 10-0 score. In the second quarter, the Spartans came back to take the lead, briefly, before falling back behind 23-14 at the half, but it could have been much, much worse. The second half was a see-saw battle, with the lead changing hands back-and-forth. In the end though the Spartans were victorious, 37-33. Go Green! Go White!