Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Seen Today

I'm teaching a college admissions essay class from 5 to 7 pm, so I've been taking Spike to the dog park in the morning. My pleasure in watching Spike run across fields, explore scents and savor dog park grass, outweighs the annoyance of mosquitoes biting me and pollen threatening to close my breathing passages.

This morning I saw a white heron in the tidal pond. I wrote about one last summer http://lynnecoll.blogspot.com/2010/07/another-dog-park-morning.html  and like to think it's the same bird. Too late, I remembered that my new cell phone has a camera.

Later today,as I walked Spike down Prospect Street, I saw a woman walking a cat on a leash. If that wasn't odd enough, the woman was also reading a book.

Two Grand Slams? Who are these guys?

On Monday night I wrote (but didn't publish) this:

The good thing about an off day after a big win is the opportunity to relish the win. To many, a .500 record is nothing to celebrate, but hey--I'm a Mets fan. This is the first milestone; the Mets  need to build on this.

Dillon Gee got his eighth win without having his best stuff. The Mets rebounded from a horrible Friday night 8-1 loss to the Texas Rangers and won the series against the reigning American League champions.

Let's go Mets!


Tonight the Mets are in Detroit. As I write this in the middle of the 9th, they are up 14-3. This was the Mets' second 14 run offense in the last three games. After 299 games without a grand slam, the Mets hit two (Jason Bay and Carlos Beltran).

Dare I believe?

Friday, June 24, 2011

One Cool Point for Me

I visited jezebel.com the other day and saw this: "The New Trendy Drink Everyone But You Already Knows About."
I clicked on the headline, expecting a cocktail invented by a celebrity bartender that's the toast of the town.

Instead the story was about tea http://jezebel.com/5814198/the-new-trendy-drink-everyone-but-you-already-knows-about. Specifically Rooiboos tea.

At least there's one trend I'm in on. I just made a pitcher of iced Rooiboos yesterday.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Last Morning of Spring

Summer began at 1:15 Tuesday afternoon (how do they get it so precisely?)

Spike and I spent the last spring morning at Taylor Farm dog park--unsure if the first summer afternoon--the solstice--would usher in high humidity and thunderstorms.

Enjoyed Harry Smith's comment that the beginning is also the end of summer.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hovering Around .500

For a brief moment, the Mets were a .500 ball club.

Last week I was psyched to watch Tyler Gee get his eighth straight win; unfortunately that didn't happen. Two rain delays combined to knock Gee out without five innings to secure a win. He would have been the Mets' fourth pitcher in franchise history to start a season 8-0. At least the Mets prevailed 4-0 over the Atlanta Braves and made it back to .500.

.500: the start to respectability.

But then the  Braves beat the Mets the following night. I was happy to salvage a Mets' series win but damn, the loss also dropped the Mets back below the line of respectability. And what a way to lose. Frankie Rodriguez blew his first save in months and then the Mets lost on a balk by DJ Carrasco in the 10th inning.

It hasn't been easy to be a Mets fan over the last few years.

In 2006, we got close but fell short. 2007 and 2008 brought devastating season-ending collapses. 2008 was especially painful as the Mets last loss was also the end of baseball at Shea Stadium and dampened post game honors and celebrations.

In 2009, Citi Field opened. That didn't give the Mets the fresh start they needed. A season that began with high hopes ended with a 70-92 record. 2010 was better, but a 79-83 record stings.

On Opening Day, everyone begins with a clean slate. While some pre-season favorites will prevail, we'll also see upsets. A team may leap from worst to first. Miracles happen. But the Mets started the season under dual clouds: doubts about team performance and doubts about ownership finances. I don't expect miracles this year.

2011 has a  few silver linings: Reyes is playing the best baseball of his life; Turner and Tejada have impressed. And I already mentioned Gee.

I'll keep watching.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Divine Discontent

"There was always a kind of divine discontent within him." Patrice Wymore Flynn on Errol Flynn (thanks to TCM Word of Mouth.)

"Divine discontent" is such an incredible phrase that I had to post it. I'd love to take it for a title if I could write a story behind it.

Thanks Patrice.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tech Troubles

Thursday morning when I tried to go online, I couldn't. I worked through the onscreen suggestions--the usual turn-off and unplug variety. Then I called my Internet provider and spent about 30 minutes working through an automated help process. Most of that time I was saying, "continue" or "I need more time." My land line (same provider) wasn't working when I first called. My ancient cell phone was dying: I made the call on it, tethered by a charger to outlets while moving from room-to-room to unplug the modem or turn the computer on and off. The next day I had to borrow a friend's cell phone when mine could not store enough battery charge to power on.

These mishaps made me think about how dependent I've become on computer and phone technology. I was one of the last cell-phone adopters. I wasn't comfortable with being always reachable by phone. I hated to see a parade of people walking down the street on their cellphones. Even worse was seeing a similar parade of drivers.

Within days of getting my cellphone, I got stuck in a traffic jam due to construction on I-95. I was relieved that I could call Jeff to let him know why I would be late. I soon got used to that kind of convenience.

I was also slow to get used to writing on the monitor screen. In the olden days, we used to write out things longhand before typing them up. Pen and paper seemed more creative somehow. Now I realize how much easier it is to write directly onto a word document.

Then there's the Internet: research reference, phone directory, repository of records, entertainment center, point of contact.

Sometimes I wonder what it was like to live without electricity. Obviously, electricity is not a necessity; people lived without it for millennia. I romanticized about living in accordance with daily rhythms--working in the daylight, going to bed with the dark, enjoying live concerts and plays instead of listening to CD's and watching TV and movies.

But now...I don't know. I can't romanticize living without the Internet. Barring some catastrophe, I won't have to worry about it.

Back to the cell phone situation. On Sunday, Jeff and I decided enough is enough and ditched our old cell phones for 4G Droids. Now I just have to learn to use them.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dog Park Mornings

I recently heard a doctor on one of the morning shows say that pollen is worse in the morning than later in the day. So I've avoided morning visits to the dog park. But yesterday and this morning, I decided to risk pollen rather than deal with temps in middle-to-high 90's.

We arrived each morning around 6:45--a relatively quiet time between the 6 o'clock and 8 am regulars. I felt peaceful as we walked through the shade of the woods, listening to birds and inhaling sweet scents of honeysuckle and mountain laurel.

Yesterday as we walked across the field, I saw a pair of mallards--a male and a female--emerge from the bushes. Spike was intrigued; he moved slowly towards them. Then the female squawked a warning and the two flew off. I wondered about their mating habits and whether they were protecting a nest. It occurred to me that I had never seen ducks at Taylor Farm park before--at least not in the bushes.

Sometimes it's the small things that leave a big impression.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Review of the Writing Retreat

At Saturday lunch, I told everyone that I had written four stories that morning. It sounded impressive until I added that the four were six-word stories. I did more writing that afternoon--nothing that I was ready to share--but it was a start.

A presenter at an International Women's Writer Guild retreat once said that retreats aren't about the writing but are about the camaraderie.I disagree; both are important. Getting uninterrupted time to write is a gift.Often writers have to squeeze their writing into spare moments here and there.

I don't mean to dismiss the camaraderie. There's something about being with other writers who understand what you are trying to do and the challenges you face--people who won't be offended when you don't socialize because you need to hide yourself away somewhere to write.

I hope I can get to another retreat before next year.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Not Writing at the Writing Retreat

I've been here at Wisdom House wisdom house litchfield ct since Thursday night and have done virtually no writing. To be precise, I've written my usual morning pages--big deal. I've also written six stories--that may sound impressive until I tell you that these were six-word-stories.

I'm usually fairly productive at these retreats. I relish the opportunity to write without the everyday distractions of chores, errands and other obligations. I show up at appointed times for meals and the rest of my time is my own.

So what's my problem anyway?

I spent about three hours yesterday working on my ACT manual (only to find out last night that the training  may be postponed until mid-July.) I've also spent time socializing and attending workshops.

I fail at finding justifiable excuses.

I still have all day today and a few hours tomorrow to make up for my current lack of production. But willing myself to write because I have to write this weekend is like willing myself to sleep when I have only a few hours until I have to get up. It just makes things harder.

So, I'll try not to pressure myself--just open a notebook or new Word doc and see where I go from there.

Hey, can I count this post as writing?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Time Mis-management

I had planned to spend most of the weekend prepping for ACT training. I want to add ACT students to my tutoring clients.

But it was Monday morning before I finished a practice test. 

I had gone to a craft show Saturday, had brunch with my mother Sunday and there were other diversions and distractions.

On Monday, I realized how much work I had to do.

Since then, I've watched several training videos and worked on my official practice test and manual. Tomorrow I'll hand in the test  before I head to Wisdom House for a writing retreat.
I need to do some ACT work this weekend.

It's not that big a deal--I got a lot done Monday and Tuesday: I have plenty of time next week--but it's a reminder of something I could have done better.