Two Week List

Unfortunately, I've waited two weeks now to post a blog entry. Consequently, the material that needs mention is a bit overwhelming so I'm going to kind of put it out there and then tackle the juicy bits in depth over the next couple of posts. How about a list: the last two weeks in ascending order of noteworthiness, one to ten.

1. The Mets: already a headache. There must be some guys out there who can't hit the ball as far but don't mentally crumble with a guy on second in a close game. I'd like some of those guys in our lineup please.

2. Bathroom: it's great. We love it. We needed to get a piece of glass cut to dimension for an added shelf in our medicine cabinet. I called a guy on 23rd st in Manhattan, and the next morning he showed up at my door holding the glass. No packaging, no extra charge for delivery, just a guy with a piece of glass, 15-11/16"x3-3/16", in his hand, for 35 dollars. I will definitely miss this New York someday.

3. We found 3 ticks on Maggie's neck and chin after we returned from New England. Gross. Seriously. Removing ticks is officially Becky's job. They're almost an Ugly Sight but not really because they are a singular thing that is in-and-of-itself, repulsive. I'm well aware of the fragility of the ecosystem, but I say let's get rid of ticks, mosquitoes and Yellow Jackets, and just deal with adverse effect it has on nature. Deal? I mean, we've almost gotten rid of Polar Bears and we weren't even trying! How hard could it be if we really put our thumbs and cerebral cortexes to this task.

4. Cousin Ethan and Billy Huling were in town so Bec and I had people over for a dinner for the first time in a long while. I made calzones, veggie and meaty, from scratch. They were delicious but oh goodness the trouble and mess they were. We've since decided that all family dinner gatherings will just be solved with a lasagna. Heyyyy come on over, we'll pop a lasagna in the oven!

5. I was walking the dogs on the sidewalk and a minivan pulled over and came to an abrupt stop next to me. Two Hasidim asked me how much my dogs weigh. They wanted to know what's a 25lb. dog. What do you mean? Well, they say, we don't know about dogs. I say a spaniel of sorts weights around 25. They say they don't know dogs. If they don't know a spaniel then why are they asking. One says, a Poodle? Sure, I said. Thank you! And that was it. I think they either wanted to convert me, or eat Maggie.

6. Tree flowers are blooming all over Brooklyn which means a month or so of beautiful walks outside, after which it will be too hot for me and I'll wish I lived in Nova Scotia. For now, there Callery Pear outside or building, along with weeping cherries, magnolias and some yellow stuff I don't know the name of and maybe a Dogwood and lots of tulips - all along a 15 minute dog walk. It's pretty awesome. I think it would be rad to someday have a long gravel driveway lined with Callery Pears. The sight of a bunch of them in a row, all covered in white blossoms - it's great stuff.

7. Portland, Maine: we drove up, left the dogs at McCarthy Kennels and spent 2 nights in the Portland Oregon of the East Coast. Along the way we settled the argument that the Clam Chowder standard contains bacon [it does]. Several points of interest in Portland hadn't opened for the season yet, but we did get a nice sense of the downtown, which is quaint yet operational. Did a lot of looky-looing at shops and buildings and such. The Museum was cute, but it seemed a bit all-over in its collection, but the highlights were a badass U.S.Grant statue and a restored 18th century Georgian mansion that had incredibly cool carpet reproductions. We had a really delicious dinner at The Front Room with Rob, a fantasy football compadre, and his wife Maureen - both enthusiastic dog people like us. We swam in the hotel pool and ate a slew of delicious breads at the Standard Bakery down by the water. We stopped at Portland Head Light lighthouse on the way out of town - a beautiful classic that looked very well maintained (still operational) and sits on some prime coastline.

8. On the way up to Portland, Becky asked me why I hadn't considered teaching as a career. I have considered it at different times, but not lately and not outside of the arts umbrella like I did the several days following her suggestion. It is sounding very appealing right now and it feels good to have a notion that seems like a nice fit. Much more to come on this, hopefully.

9. Becky got accepted to NYU's nursing program! We came home from running errands together, and I was putting stuff away in our apartment while Bec hung back in the foyer to sort through the building's mail. A couple minutes later she came upstairs and said, "honey look!" She was holding her acceptance letter in front of her and I can say it was the happiest I've ever been for another person. I knew she could do it but the wait and worry had become trying. We're very excited to have some blanks filled in for the next year or two!

10. And most importantly: I asked Becky to marry me and she said yes. She actually said "YES!YES!YES! EEEE!!" I had been tiptoeing around in attempt to have a ring made by my friend Mandy, a jewelry maker, so I could pull the classic surprise-out-of-nowhere proposal, but as it turns out once you're sure you want to be with someone for the rest of your life, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible(thank you Billy Crystal). We were in Lexington and I'd just realized that with the lighthouse, I'd totally blown a great location to ask - rrrgh. I scrambled into town while I was doing some errands without Bec, stopped at a bead store and had the woman there make a wire and stone ring to present as a place holder for the real deal. We went for a walk at Estabrook Woods with the dogs - it was a spectacular afternoon with dappled light and still ponds - I got down on the knee and asked her if she would be my wife and we could grow old together. The dogs were very happy for us.



Can the Mets break hearts a fourth year in a row? I've had several months of not entertaining this question, but now with these first semi-expected-miserable April days, it's the beginning again. I will say two things. First, is that I wasn't heartbroken at the end of last season, since I was telling my dad and Bec that the Mets "definitely have something wrong" about a third of the way through the season. Becky would now assert that I thought all the pieces were in place when they signed Johan, which I can't utterly deny, but that was before the season began and for the most part, a feckless assessment. Bottom line: it wasn't surprising they crapped the bed in the face of the Phillies chase, just sort of impressive that they were able to so thoroughly execute the chokejob we were all afraid of. Not winning the Endy-Catch Game 7 (which I was at, mind you) was horrible. Watching the next season's collapse and attending 2 of the final 3 games including THE Tom Glavine 1st inning implosion game...well that was also horrible but in a new, more nauseating way than the prior horrible. Becky said it best, after attending far more games in one season than I'm sure she would've preferred (thank you, babe): "Baseball seems really depressing - everyone gets their hopes up and then they get disappointed, over and over.*" I guess she's been paying attention.

Here we are though. A new season. A few million have landed us one of the best closers in baseball[Frankie Rodriguez], a potential lockdown setup guy [Putz], a great bit of platoon/pinch-hitting pop in the bottom of the order[Sheff]. Dan Murphy and Big Pelf are looking really solid, and Oliver Perez has to get less crazy at some point, right? Aside from Luis Castillo, I really really like the team this year. I think we're going to the Series. Unfortunately I think the affection-holding Sox might be too, which is a pickle I will have to cross when I count my gift nickles, as they say.

Yesterday I left the house to get a couple of groceries around the 5th inning with a Met lead of 1-0. How could I leave, you might ask. Easy. First of all: I knew the score would be 2-1 Mets in the 8th when I got back, which it was. Secondly, I had the comfort of knowing that there will be baseball for the next 7 months, laconically moseying into the fall with a gradual acceleration of intensity barely perceptible as it's happening, but boiling the frog by the end of September. I love that with baseball (and DVR), I can leave the room and come back. I love that in New York, yesterday's game results track me down even if I've missed them. I'm pleased that despite the big signings, there's a core of guys that really feel like Mets to me. I'm thrilled to watch some games at the new park, even though it's got a paid-for name and ugly brick that undercuts the really nice arch and metal work. I'm psyched that I can see the Mets doing really well, but personally I'd rather lose with a team I like, than win with one I don't.

*Try Pittsburgh, says a smirking Ron Schmal.