Thursday, February 28, 2013


The NCW and I had tickets for today's Twins spring training game in Fort Myers against the Orioles. We got there about two hours before the game started so that we could see some batting practice and some of the more informal parts of spring training. The problem was that the batting practice was mainly Orioles and no Twins were around at all. Still it is February and this is baseball. It was still fun and nice to be outside in 70+ degree weather.

I don't have a great defining shot for the day's activities, but it was a pretty good game. The Twins hit the cover off the ball and won going away 7-1. This photo was taken from our seats, eight rows back of the Orioles dugout down the first base line. The Twins catcher, Joe Mauer, is just about to catch a pitch getting by Alexi Casilla, a former Twin now playing shortstop for the O's.


The scoreboard after the first two innings showed the Twins lead and an ad for Mauer Chevrolet.  Joe's been having a pretty good week, now batting .375 for the spring training season.  He went two for two today in about five innings of work before the minor leaguers took over in their respective quests to make the Big Show.


Justin Morneau had a pretty good day at the plate.  He's now batting .467, after going two for three and collecting three RBIs.

Hammond Field is a decent place to watch baseball. The field is well manicured and there are plenty of seats for the mostly retired fans to watch major leaguers get ready for another season in the sun.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Some tennis for old times sake

The NCW and I, both members of the same high school class from a small northern Minnesota school district, took a drive north to visit my high school tennis coach, now retired in Florida, north of Tampa. And his wife. Paul promised me some competitive tennis and a chance to play outside on clay courts (actually called hartru) after several months restricted to hard courts inside inflatable tennis bubbles and high ceilinged buildings. He, himself, is currently having shoulder problems, so he wasn't able to participate, except as cheerleader, coach, and commentator for NCW's benefit. The tennis was played in the afternoon on a private court nestled in an orange orchard, and unfortunately for NCW, infested with biting no-see-ums. Dan was my partner, and we played against Dave and O.T. The tennis was fun and competitive as promised and the guys sociable. I'd play again with any of them in a heartbeat. From left to right: Dave, Dan, Paul, me, O.T.


One of numerous action shots taken by NCW during the tennis action. I was serving, but close inspection reveals that I foot faulted on the serve. No one noticed and play continued. I thought I was more careful than that, but it was a friendly contest and, I guess, of small consequence in the grand scheme of things. We played three sets over two plus hours. 6-3, 7-6, 6-2. Pretty good tennis and a good way to spend an afternoon in Spring Hill.


 Our host and hostess at their home after the tennis was done and a hearty dinner consumed at the country club at their retirement community. We spent quite a while remembering Greenway High School and the folk who peopled it in the early 1960's, including teachers, coaches and students. When Paul asked the North Country Woman (NCW) what was the worst thing she did in high school, NCW had a hilarious story about Latin Class. One should ask her to repeat the story, but it's best not to repeat the story to her children or grandchildren.


 On the way back from Spring Hill we drove through Tampa and St Pete so that we could take the Skyway Bridge across Tampa Bay on US 275. We stopped at the rest area almost to Bradenton where we were able to get some guy named Bob to take our photo with the bridge in the background. In exchange for which we took a photo of him.

In an interesting aside, Paul my high school tennis coach, just recently reconnected with his high school tennis coach who is in his 80's and still living in Maine. Paul was only 23 when he took on the coaching job at Greenway, and apparently his high school coach was also a youngster when Paul took up the game back in the 1950's or so.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Oscar night

The Oscar's are tonight and for a change, I've seen many of the films that may be the best picture. Last night we went to "Zero Dark Thirty," one of the last of the nominees we hadn't seen. Other than the fact that it was a war/CIA movie and thus full of violence and the killing of quite a few people, it was just a bit too long for my taste - two hours and 45 minutes. Too much of it focused on torture. Anyhow, I'm hoping that "Silver Linings Playbook" is the best picture, and Robert DeNiro is best supporter. Otherwise, I don't care very much.

 We iChatted with Unky Herb and the Prairie Princess this afternoon. It was a three way connection (St Paul, Oslo, Port Charlotte) totaling 10,481 miles. I love the internet. You can find out almost anything.  The temperature in St Paul and Oslo were very nearly the same (35º F.), but 85º here.

We fixed spaghetti and zucchini, with a spinach salad for dinner. Santini said it was one of the top ten dinners that she could remember.

The sunset at the end of the day was semi-tropical and quite attractive.


 Santini's local pet blue heron dropped by while I was taking sunset photos and I was able to get a profile while he perched on the dock.


 Not too much excitement, but a nice day in this part of the USA.

Friday, February 22, 2013


We took photos today to send to the Prairie Princess so that she'd have someone with whom to drink a glass of wine. These are the two best. IMHO. They were taken as the sun began to set. So which is the best? In the end I sent them both. This is photo number one.


 This is photo number two. Just a bit of a costume change. I must admit that the wine in the glass was really just grape juice.

 Life is good.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Inside Outside

This winter differs greatly from 2012's mild near-winter. Mostly, I've been inside most of the time - home or a tennis court, and on occasion the Conservatory at Como. The spring flower show has begun and is pretty popular with the color deprived natives who have to deal with wind chill. I like it myself.


 And this what it looks like outside in this tundra infested territory. This photo is my St. Paul street, that on occasion gets plowed, but not so that you'd notice.


 At least on a day when the temperature dips into the negative Fahrenheit numbers, the sun usually shines brightly and bravely.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


The weather bureau, or someone official (officious?) has decided to begin naming blizzards. I wasn't aware of this until the big storm this week in New York and New England was christened "Nemo." Today I found out that the current storm that is blasting through Minnesota has been named "Orko." Today I was pressed into shoveling service again. It's part of my exercise program apparently. I had plenty of help from Unky Herb, and it was only about 5 inches or so, but it was frozen solid at the bottom and very caky. It required a variety of shovels to get the job done, but I'm a veteran of the shoveling wars and my tools were ready. The pots that I used to grow veggies last summer sit idly in the backyard accumulating snow, but they added color and an indication of the depth of the snow.


The view out the back door before the shoveling began. Rest assured that the sidewalk is currently free of the majority of the crusty snow. I think more is coming later, but I'll deal with that later. With Herb's help.

Not much else to say. It's February and baseball's spring training opens in Florida very soon.

Friday, February 1, 2013


Umbrellas are the theme for February. As I may have implied yesterday, umbrellas are pretty rare in the Saintly City in February. There's not much need for them. But I have archives. I try not to repeat posting photos already posted, but I have published one pretty similar to this one in a post done during a memorable trip to Paris and the French Open Tennis Tournament in May, 2010.  There was a tennis match scheduled but the rains came, and stayed quite a while, and out came this colorful array of umbrellas.  Also known as bumbershoots in parts of England.  Tennis did commence sometime later in the afternoon.

Here's a domestic umbrella shot. This was taken by Unky Herb in Janesville, Wisconsin in 2011 when he and I were visiting the Prairie Princess where she was working at the time. I haven't previously posted this one either.

I actually like this next photo quite a bit. It's another one taken by Unky Herb. I actually enlarged it, framed it and put it up on one of my walls. It's also not included in any previous blog entry.  But there is a post from the same day in Janesville.

It seems odd to be posting summer photos on a day when the temperature stayed below zero until at least three o'clock in the afternoon and many schools in the state closed or started a couple of hours late because of the extreme wind chill. But it's Minnesota and we have to live through this stuff.  I went to Fort Snelling Tennis Center at one and played a set of tennis with the geezers. We had to fall back to cut throat tennis (two against one) because of an injury on the court (not me), but it was a pretty normal Friday all in all.