Baseball, Oh, Baseball

I never thought I would be a person who loved baseball. Sure, its fun to go to the park with friends and hang out in the stands with some peanuts and beer. But the actual game? I just never really got it. When my son started playing baseball, there were so many moments of my heart in my throat--if he hit a ball, would he make it to first base? Would he catch that flyball headed right for him? And so on.

And then my husband started coaching. And he needed someone to keep score. Can I just tell you how terrifying it is to keep score when you really only know the bare basics of the game? But I did it. For him. And then the next year, I knew a lot more about the game. And I read the rule book (CRAZY! I know!). And then I agreed to join the Little League Board.

And then it all went wrong.

I do love baseball. I have fully embraced the Little League Mission statement:
Little League Baseball, Incorporated is a non-profit organization whose mission is to "to promote, develop, supervise, and voluntarily assist in all lawful ways, the interest of those who will participate in Little League Baseball and Softball."

Through proper guidance and exemplary leadership, the Little League program assists youth in developing the qualities of citizenship, discipline, teamwork and physical well-being. By espousing the virtues of character, courage and loyalty,(emphasis is mine) the Little League Baseball and Softball program is designed to develop superior citizens rather than superior athletes.
But today I am wondering about several of the people who serve on the local Little League Board. They seem to be blinded by the overwhelming desire to win, at any cost. Instead of following Little League rules, an "exhibition" team has been developed, with all of the presumed All-Star players (whom some on the board know, but officially--they aren't supposed to be announced until June 15). They are practicing already, even though the coaches of the other teams had no say whatsoever in the choice of these "exhibition" players. Note: Each coach was supposed to choose 4 players from their own teams to play on the exhibition team. When I asked about what was going on, I was told that this is "how Vegas does it--we have to be competitive." I'm sorry--WHAT!!!??? I don't care how another League does it--I care about how we do it. What are we teaching these boys when we tell them it is ok to cheat and lie to get what we want? How does that help them at all?

I am so very angry about what has happened. We have a board meeting on Tuesday. I suspect that there will be yelling on my part. I only hope that we can come together and do what is RIGHT for these boys. I can only hope that we do what is FAIR for these boys. I can only hope that we turn this around and make it ABOUT these boys, because right now it isn't.

I have a really good idea now who ends up making the Derby Cars for the various Pinewood Derbies held in our town, and for sure--it isn't the boys...
“There’s a feeling that if this can happen, anything can happen,” said the opposition leader Halifah Sallah, the minority leader in Parliament from 2002 to 2007, who has himself been arrested four times, most recently for speaking out against the witch hunts.

Witch Hunts...No, Really!

Are there still witch hunts in the world? I mean real witch hunts--hunting for witches to root out evil in our midst. Apparently so. According to the New York Times, the President of Gambia has sent out men in red tunics to all the villages searching for witches. An unknown number of men were taken from their villages and forced to drink a foul concoction which induced hallucinations, caused vomiting, and in some cases, even death.

It is frustrating to me that one man can cause such heartache in his country, where people are not free to object to such outlandish treatment. It seems like a ploy to place blame for what is wrong with the country on its people, rather than those who caused the problems--the leaders. I am sickened.

It's time to call the witch doctor.

Mt. St. Helens

On May 18, 1980, the Mount St. Helens volcano in Washington state exploded, leaving 57 people dead or missing.

Summer Plan

School is almost out and we are starting to think about summer here. One of the most important things for me is that my son keeps reading over the summer, and until this year, he hasn't really been much of a reader. I've already told him that once school is out we will have reading time for an hour first thing in the morning. We're also looking forward to all the fun-looking movies coming out this summer. So--we're working on a plan. He's 12, so right there in between being a little boy and a teen A tween, if you will. So far, this is what it looks like (and of course, it is always subject to change!):

Every day: Reading, Water the garden

Monday: TBA
Tuesday: Food Creation (ice cream, jam making, pickle making, etc)
Wednesday: Movie Day
Thursday: Field Trip
Friday: Library

Possible Summer Movies:
Battle for Terra
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Star Trek (we've actually already seen it!)
Terminator Salvation
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
Land of the Lost
Imagine That
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
G Force
Aliens in the Attic
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
The Time Traveler's Wife

Ten Weeks of Summer Fun
101 Things for Teens to Do this Summer
12 Weeks of Summer Activities for Teens
2009 Movie Releases
Cooking with Kids: Strawberry Jam
The Slow Cook: Pickled Green Tomatoes
I Love Pickles

Menu Plan Monday (ummm, Tuesday)


Well, it's been that kind of a day. Yesterday, that is. I woke up not feeling very good, then spent the entire day backing up my computer so I could take it in and get it cleaned up. And I was cranky. Very cranky. Darn computer. Anyway, there is a menu...

Monday: BLT Layered Salad
Tuesday: Tequila Lime Chicken (dinner swap meal)
Wednesday: Jamaican Sea Bass w/Mango and Black Bean Salad
Thursday: Grilled Bruschetta Chicken
Friday: Shrimp and Black Bean Pasta
Saturday: Beyond Basic Burgers
Sunday: Citrus Butter Shrimp Toss

The salad was really good. Is really good. There is a lot leftover--warning--the salad is HUGE!!! But tasty...

What Did I Do?

Hmmm...what have I done all week? I don't really remember, except the part about feeling sorry for myself. I do know that I ended up with one heck of a migraine earlier in the week, and I have been a bit swamped with work. But whatever...I'm back now!

Yesterday my daughter took me out to celebrate a late Mother's Day (and it wasn't even guilt on her part!). We went out to dinner and got pedicures. She offered to take me to a Writer's Workshop that she is joining, but the pedicures ran late so we didn't make it.

Since I've changed my attitude about my writing, that is going much smoother as well. Although I am not making a ton of money from my articles, I am actually getting writing jobs--which is certainly an improvement!

Apparently we all just need to have an attitude adjustment every now and again. Like regular maintenance on cars or computers. And speaking of computer maintenance...I think I am going to give in and take my computer in to be cleaned up. It is running sooooooo slowly, and I don't think I can take it anymore.

Luckily there are no less than 3 (three!) laptops in this house so I will still have computer access.

Whew. Well, that's all folks. Just a reminder to maintain yourself and make sure you get an attitude adjustment monthly. It really makes a difference.

Outlook + Twitter = OutTwit

Ah ha! My newest favorite app is OutTwit. This sweet little app allows me to actually keep track of all those cool people I'm following by sorting them into their own folders in Outlook. It also lets me tweet right from Outlook, which--as a freelancer--is always open on my computer. I can send a quick tweet without having Twitter opened up in one of my precious tabs (and I always seem to have a lot of them open--at this very second I have eight of them), and it automatically updates my Facebook page.

Whoops! Now my secret is out! You all now know that I don't really Facebook all day long.

Yep, it's true...I log into Facebook maybe once a week.

The best part of OutTwit is really the sorting of my friends' tweets, though. So many of those I choose to follow are writers themselves, and they tweet such awesome information.

Some of the jewels:
@AnneWayman Stop Censoring Yourself! Videos About Writing http://bit.ly/TTK1X

blog__tips Your Blog vs. The World: 7 Steps To Winning The War for Attention http://bit.ly/qolUf

DebNg Better Paying Opportunities for Bloggers? http://bit.ly/5tPzk

FreelanceWJ New Blog Post: Are You Passionate About Your Writing Career? http://tinyurl.com/on3jk7

jssicadavis Glossary for Writers – Writing an Article: Writing Terminology ...: Slant, Byline, Hook, Lede, Nut Graph, Body, .. http://tinyurl.com/orsnj7

problogger quick tip: use the word 'Discover' rather than'Learn' in your titles: learn sounds like work, discover sounds easy/fun

Menu Plan Monday 5/11


Well, its a new week and a clean slate. Which is good because this was not the best weekend ever. We ended up spending almost the entire day at the ball fields (with the temperature hanging around 100°) because of games starting late. And I'm not talking about a little bit late, but almost an hour late for the first game, which caused the second game to be delayed. Because our first game started so late, the team we were supposed to play second thought they would have enough time to go grab lunch--which caused our second game--already late--to be started even later. We were exhausted.

Luckily, the church called to remind me to pick up my sweet corn tamales (which in the back of my mind I knew I had to pick up, but I was so tired from baseball that I spaced it), which means we have dessert for the week.

Last week's menu was quite tasty. The grilled fish tacos were to die for! That recipe is definitely a keeper--head over to NVScrapper to pick up a recipe card for it--they are absolutely awesome!

And now, for the menu.

Monday: Marinated Grilled Chicken w/Dilled Potato Salad
Tuesday: Jamaican Sea Bass with Mango & Black Bean Salad (see below)
Wednesday: Italian Mozzarella Meatloaf (from last week's menu)
Thursday: Enchiladas with Fresh Mango Salsa (vegetarian)
Friday: Blackberry Glazed Salmon w/Avocado Citrus Salad
Saturday: Grilled Caesar Salad (vegetarian)
Sunday: Gouda & Spinach Stuffed Chicken (see below) w/Summer Spinach Salad

Jamaican Sea Bass with Mango & Black Bean Salad
Marinade and Sea Bass:
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 4 tbsp Jamaican Jerk rub (use your favorite--I'm using this)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 6 boneless, skinless sea bass fillets

Black Bean Salad
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 large mangoes
  • 4 medium green onions with tops
  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Lime wedges
  1. Prepare grill for direct cooking over medium high heat. For marinade, whisk together lime juice, rub, oil, and garlic in a medium mixing bowl. Place sea bass into ziploc bag; add half of marinade. Seal bag; turn to coat and refrigerate no longer than 30 minutes.
  2. For salad, cut off sides from bell pepper to create large flat pieces. Peel mango; cut flesh from both sides of flat pit, forming two halves. Thinly slice green onions. Add beans and half of the green onions to remaining marinade in mixing bowl; set aside.
  3. Grill sea bass, bell pepper, and mango, covered, 3 minutes or until grill marks appear. Turn. Grill 4-5 more minutes or until mango and bell pepper are charred and crisp-tender and fillets measure 140° with a meat thermometer.
  4. Chop red bell pepper and mango. Add to remaining marinade in mixing bowl. Toss to coat.
  5. To serve, divide salad among serving plates; top with sea bass fillets. Garnish with remaining green onions and lime wedges.

Gouda & Spinach Stuffed Chicken (adapted from a recipe found here)

  • 6 boneless chicken breast halves, pounded to 1/4" thick
  • 12 slices smoked Gouda cheese
  • 10 oz fresh spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1/3 cup horseradish mustard
  • 1 1/4 cup panko crumbs or breadcrumbs
  • Creole-style seasoning to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Coat a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. On each chicken breast, layer 2 slices of gouda, 2 slices of cheese, and 1/6 of the spinach. Roll up the chicken breast and secure with a toothpick.
  3. Brush each chicken roll with mustard and roll in panko or breadcrumbs. Arrange rolls in prepared baking dish; sprinkle with Creole seasoning.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until brown and crispy.

6 Reasons to Hate Mother's Day

from StrollerDerby.com

  1. It was originally an antiwar holiday, but was defanged and corrupted to be about cards and flowers and brunch.
  2. It was originally an antiwar holiday, meaning you should be vigiling or writing letters to Congress when all you want is to sleep in and have brunch.
  3. The hoopla over it as compared to Father's Day just proves how society still expects moms to do most of the parenting.
  4. The one time someone takes you to brunch, everyone else is doing it and there's a 45 minute wait.
  5. Someone will always bring up the false idea that Mother's Day is a top suicide day, in case you felt like forgetting to mail the cards in time or not arranging your day to plump the self-esteem of every mother in your extended family was forgivable just this once.
  6. All the attention is not about you anyway, it's just about the part of you people have been overemphasizing since your first kid was born anyway.
And the reasons that I hate Mother's Day:
  1. I obviously expect way too much. A "Happy Mother's Day" statement from my kids (which I got) should be enough.
  2. The lame joke I get from my husband every year--"You're not my mother."
  3. Because I foolishly expect that if I ask someone to do something on this particular day, it might actually get done, when, in reality, I should know that this day is NO DIFFERENT than any other day.
  4. Because I always end up crying.
Random Thoughts:
  1. Breakfast in bed is over-rated.
  2. Crying gives me a headache.
  3. My dogs love me.
  4. I wish my house was painted and my mortgage was paid.

Government Aid

This actually makes me want to cry:

"The system for helping Americans in need is very fragmented, and it confuses everyone. Some people are covered and some people are not, even though they look like they’re in very similar circumstances."
~THEDA SKOCPOL, a political scientist at Harvard, on government aid.

Socialism vs. Conservatism

We have among us a class of mammon worshippers, whose one test of conservatism or radicalism is the attitude one takes with respect to accumulated wealth. Whatever tends to preserve the wealth of the wealthy is called conservatism, and whatever favors anything else, no matter what is called socialism.
~Richard T. Ely

Going Dutch

Excellent article in the NY Times today about the Dutch government and its "socialist" tendencies. I am on the more liberal side of the democratic party (as you may or may not have guessed from reading my blog), and so this article really struck a chord with me.

I have read a bit of Marx, and one thing that really struck me is not so much his ideas of communism, but really--how the capitalist system as it is today is doomed to failure. The idea that capitalism will evolve into something closer to socialism--and work--is something that resonates with me, because I just don't get the idea of capitalism in America. I believe that if you work hard for something you can achieve it, but I have a problem with the idea of not helping others if you are able to.

One of the things I really like about the Dutch system is that it seems like there is a balanced mix of socialism and capitalism. I really don't think that if we have universal health care in America that all people are going to suddenly feel "entitled" to things beyond their means. I actually think our current "capitalist" American society has done that. We have spent the last couple of decades fooling everyone into thinking that we are "entitled" to have nice cars, big houses, easy money. Where has that gotten us? Into a very extreme, economic downturn.

One of the things that Shorto points out in his article is that the Dutch form of "the socialist state" is that it is not really based on Marxism, but rather, St. Francis of Assisi. At this point, there is not a perfect system in the world. But I truly believe that parts of the American system are broken. We need to change, especially if we want to keep our status in the world. And for a country bent on being different from our forefathers' country--we really seem to be afraid of change.

Suck it up, people...it's not going to kill us to try something different.


I downloaded this new app last week called Cozi. It is a pretty cool online organizer that includes a customizable shopping list, a family calendar--complete with text or email reminders to any or all family members, a screensaver, a family journal, and more. I've been using it for a week, and I have decided that I absolutely love it. I love the fact that I can set reminders for events way in advance, and that those reminders are sent to everyone's phones. I love the shopping list, that if I forget it--I can call an 800# and have it sent to my phone. Awesome.

Anyway, I wanted to share.

*Disclaimer--I am not affiliated with Cozi in any way, shape, or form other than the fact that I use it.

Shari Barr on life...

Expecting life to treat you well because you are a good person is like expecting an angry bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian.

Menu Plan Monday

Menu Planning is something I used to do on a regular basis, but during the past couple of years it has been hit and miss. Part of that is because I was going to school to get my degree and didn't have time to cook (my lovely daughter took care of that--her and Dream Dinners), and part of it is because when I was working as a professional baker, I came home exhausted (not just from the hours--during that time I became extremely anemic) from the hours, the stress, and the anemia. If I didn't get something in the crockpot as soon as I got home--NO one got dinner. I generally did my shopping just as I got off work (the bonus about working in a grocery store).

Now, though, since I am a self-employed writer, just building my business, and struggling with paying the bills (right now--I have faith this will work out!), menu planning needs to come to the forefront again as it is an excellent way to save money!

Organizing Junkie has a Menu Planning Monday challenge on her site, which I am hoping will help keep me motivated. I suspect my menus will be a mix of my freezer swap meals, quick meals, and my own OAMC meals.

And I will probably link to my scrapping site, where I have posted recipe cards of some of my recipes (oh, along with this AWESOME weekly menu for the refrigerator!--and cuz I'm such a scrapping junkie, there will probably be all kinds of versions of menu boards to download).

Anyway--onto this week's menu:

Monday: Chicken Paprika (dinner swap meal) with a green salad
Tuesday: Grilled Fish Tacos with Mango Avocado Relish with Apple-Walnut Spinach Salad
Wednesday: Chicken Pot Pie Lasagna (from Mega Menu Mailer vol 3 at SavingDinner.com)
Thursday: Summer in Tuscany Steak Salad
Friday: Salmon Burgers with Grilled Potato Salad
Saturday: Citrus Ginger Chicken with Corn Salad
Sunday: Italian Mozzarella Meatloaf (dinner swap meal) with Roasted Veggies

It's gonna be a yummy week!


Conspiracy Theory...

Yesterday my daughter informs me (are you ready for this "my boyfriend's sister's best friend's hairstylist's cousin" scenario???) that a friend of hers who happens to be in the military police told her that the swine flu that is going around was created from some missing vials of viruses originating from some super-secret virus test lab somewhere in the United States. In her defense, she probably told me where the super-secret lab was...She also told me that the reason Gov. Arnold (R) Cal., declared a state of emergency in California is because there are 40 confirmed (by the military, but not by the press)/unconfirmed deaths from the swine flu in California.

I'm a bit skeptical.

Although I did just get over the flu...

I may be naive, but I generally believe what the news is telling me, and rarely believe that there is any kind of conspiracy going on. However, I am interested in what you think as well...I promise if you tell me, I won't tell anyone what a crackpot I think you are (just kidding!).

I'm waiting for her theory to show up on her blog...and in the meantime, I will keep reading the news.