Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Doodle, A Story and Something to Help the Animals

If you like kids or animals, keep reading. If you don't, keep reading anyway. You're here, you might as well see what's up.

Earlier this year, a writer friend of mine, Jim Wood and his friend Michele Quinn, wrote and illustrated a children's book. It was called "Doodle" and is a children's story about a girl and her dog and their journey exploring the world around them. At the time, the daughter of a dear friend of Michele's was fighting for her life. Jim and Michele decided at that point to donate all royalties from the book to a fund to help defray the cost of Ashley's medical care. Nice people doing a nice thing. And it worked.

Well, now Jim and Michele are at it again. Doodle the dog is about to return in the next installment titled "Doodle Meets the Pound Pup." Once again they have decided to donate profits, this time to an animal shelter, and they need our help. If you know of an Animal Shelter or Rescue Organization you feel needs and deserves to be the recipient of this donation, check out Jim's website, for all the info.

If you don't know of an organization to nominate, please share or link this post, or Jim's website to someone who might.

Like I said before, nice people doing a nice thing. Least we can do is give them a hand.

I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop

Friday, September 27, 2013

Off To Never Neverland

There is crying in baseball.

Contrary to the famous line by the Tom Hanks character in A League of Their Own, last night proved once again that sometimes the moment can break even the toughest. Last night the home crowd said goodbye to their hero. Last night at Yankee Stadium, Mariano Rivera threw his last pitch in the city he has spent his entire first ballot Hall of Fame career.

The season did not go as planned, the Yankees were eliminated from post-season play, and really, the fact they still had an outside shot of making it until this week, is a testament to manager Joe Girardi. The injuries were insurmountable. With the exception of second baseman Robinson Cano, the entire infield was out most of the season. Jeter, Teixeria, ARod, all out. A rotating catcher position of non-starters, Granderson, Gardner, all out for long periods. And let's not talk about the pitching.

But through it all, they held their own. And through it all, there was Mariano. Still the best, though a bit more fallible this year. As we were programmed to expect near perfection from #42, the few times he blew a save caused the stadium and us fans at home to audibly gasp.

Last night, with one out in the eighth inning and the Yankees down 4-0, Girardi walked to the mound and made the sign everyone knew would come. One last time to pay homage to the best that ever was, and the best that will ever be. One last time to see a humble man take his place on the field to the sound of Metallica's "Enter Sandman." One last time as the entire stadium, and every Yankee and Tampa Bay player stood and applauded. One last time.

Mo did what he almost always did, got out of the inning with no runs and no hits. The YES Network did not break away for a commercial, but stayed focused on the face of Rivera. What he was thinking, we could only imagine. He walked onto the field for the ninth and retired the first two batters.

As Mariano concentrated on the upcoming batter, Derek Jeter and Andy Pettite, walked out of the dugout to take the ball from Rivera, in what can only be describes as a Moment. Seeing his two friends walk out to him, Mo smiled as Jeter said "It's time to go." Pettite embraced his teammate and it seemed the emotion finally hit the man with ice water in his veins. It hit all of us too.

It was over. A career they will talk about for a hundred years. A night we will never forget. A man we will always remember. It's been a great ride, and a privilege to have watched him all these years.

Simply, the best. Thanks Mo.

"Exit light 
Enter night 
Take my hand 
We're off to never never-land" 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

True Colors Shining Through

Yes, it's been a while.

I've been writing... a lot. Here, and here, and here. And in some places that are not visible yet. Just not here.

Honestly, I've been so busy writing that I haven't done anything worth writing about. But seeing as that hasn't stopped me before, I thought I'd put down a few words today.

We came up to the weekend house last night and will stay through Sunday. That my friends, is a very good thing. While there's always stuff to do, the atmosphere is so relaxing, and beautiful... especially at this time of year. Somehow between catching up on computer tasks and starting to get a few things in order for the approaching cold weather, the day flew by. I did manage to get in a walk around the lake though, and things are changing.

The critters are active. Squirrels and chipmunks are darting everywhere. They are looking very busy and that makes me very nervous. Last winter wasn't half bad and I am hoping for the same this year.

With a few exceptions, like the big red oak in the backyard, the trees are just beginning their color dance. For the most part just the yellows are showing. The ground cover of ferns, wildflowers, and cattails used to blend as a green blanket, but now are each taking on their own hues.

Bad Mushroom
While I was walking, I was also on a hunt. According to Big George the Mushroom Man, this is the time of year for the prized Hen of the Woods to appear. Now in order to find these, you need A) to know what you are looking for because bringing the wrong ones home could mean a trip to the ER and/or morgue. B) the right weather, which we haven't had just yet and C) the right tree that they grow on. It seems they prefer dead oak. I prefer my wine to be fermented in dead oak, but I digress.

There were no mushrooms, no cars and no people. Just a nice and peaceful 45 minutes. It started with Bruce singing "Human Touch" and ended with some blues from Beth Hart. I could not have planned it better.

And tomorrow I get to do it again.

Monday, September 2, 2013


A little over a year ago, I wrote a post about dreams and goals. It centered on the beginning of a dream and possibly coming to the realization that your dream may never come true. The latter part of that statement was written about long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad, after she ended her fourth attempt at swimming from Cuba to Key West.

As I write this, Diana Nyad, in her fifth and final attempt, is only ten miles away from achieving her goal. Only ten miles... after swimming for 44 hours. I hope she makes it.

Here's a repost of the story from last year

August 22, 2012

Dreams and Determination

In "The River," Bruce Springsteen wrote
 "Is a dream a lie if it don't come true, or is it something worse?" 

Today, I'm looking at both sides of a dream. The promise of what might be, and the realization that the dream is not to be.

This afternoon, I will talk with a musician whose band is on the edge of making their dream come true. Their first CD was released on Monday; now the real work begins. While it's always about the music, creativity is only one piece of the puzzle in this day and age. Gone are the days when record companies offer big contracts and promote your product in every way possible. Now, it is up to the band to do it all. The work is endless: interviews, touring, appearances and the most recent networking. Having a dream is one thing...having the determination to see it through is another. Breathe deeply, remember what is important, and take that leap of faith.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, we look at a dream unfulfilled. For a good portion of my life, Diana Nyad has pushed the envelope in endurance swimming. While at first I thought she was, well a little nuts, I later came to appreciate and admire her mission. In 1975, she swam around the island of Manhattan in under 8 hours. Now, I've lived close to New York City my entire life...there would have been nothing on the face of the earth to get me into those waters in 1975, before they cleaned up the rivers surrounding it.

Her greatest completed endurance swim began on her 30th birthday when she covered the distance of 102 miles from North Bimini Island, Bahamas to Juno Beach, Florida in 27 1/2 hours. Just think about that for a minute. Is there anything in your life you can do for 27 1/2 hours straight...even sleep? No. And yet she completed this amazing feat while battling currents, weather and jellyfish.

Her lasting dream was to swim from Cuba to Florida, but it was not to be. At the age of 62, her fourth attempt will most likely be her last. After swimming for sixty (yes, 60) hours she was pulled from the water, when the battle with the jellyfish and mother nature became too serious of an issue.

Failure? I think not. To have the dream and not make the attempt would be failure. Giving your all and coming up a bit short is an incentive to take what you have learned, and use it to create a new dream.

As Diana moves forward toward a new goal, Lucas and Chuck have many steps before they achieve theirs. Reach with both arms outstretched, but enjoy the small steps. Chances are, they will be the ones worth remembering.

Think them, See them. Close your eyes and jump.