Thursday, October 31, 2013

George Hamilton, ftw!

Hello from the baseball off-season. In my last post, I promised an answer to the Trivial Pursuit question that won it all:

While we're talking about me, let's continue. I WENT TO THE WORLD SERIES. I saw two of the weirdest endings ever. True, the outcome was not good, but bitterness makes the sweet times sweeter. (WHAT!? Baseball being used a metaphor for life?).

A major thank you to Sarah for watching the boys for 5 days, my ma for buying game tickets, and my sister for having the idea and hooking me up with frequent flyer miles.


What does defeat feel like? DRY, that's what

Game 3. Nothing obstructed the sunset. Gorgeous night for a ball game.

Our view for Game 4, during warmups. 

THANK YOU MOM. Love, your kids

Never realized how they keep the foul lines clean. Truly, a timeless technology.

In the spirit of positivity, here are some moments I savor during the dark times:

2011: Down to our last strike twice, we rally for the win behind David Freese's triple and homer, and Lance Berkman's single up the middle.

2006: Rookie Anthony Reyes sets down 17 Tigers in a row as he wins Game 1 and sets up a dominating Series win.

1982: Willie McGee dominates Game 3 by hitting 2 homers and robbing Milwaukee of another with a leaping catch in the bottom of the ninth. Go on to win the Series in 7, dad let me stay up late to watch, and I ran around the house yelling.

Love those baby blue unis

And, not that I remember it, but...

1926: Cardinals win their first World Series when Babe Ruth is tagged out by Rogers Hornsby while trying to steal second with 2 outs in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7. And you thought the obstruction call last week was weird! BTW, all 3 Cardinal runs were unearned, and the Yankees had more errors than runs.


We are ready for trick or treating, and I hope the weather isn't too bad here in MN. Pics to follow, but for now, here is a blast from the past.

2009, to be exact.

Past vs. Future in an intergalactic showdown

We have been doing more homeschooling lately, including lots of math, but Desi also went in to school for a day. He shadowed Max through a day of fifth grade (see previous post for Desi's take on it). Tomorrow, Emmett will check out third grade with Sam.

The Anoka Halloween parade was last weekend. No photos, but I hear it was cold and there were plenty of marching bands. Not to mention loads of candy being hucked at the kids.

Getting back on the road soon. Seeing David Sedaris in Minneapolis, then eastward to Wisconsin and down to Chicago. Hope that heading south warms us up. You know it is chilly when you're going to Chicago to warm up.

Before I go, here are some videos that somehow never got posted. Emmett's hard hitting journalism starts us off:

Up next, LIVE from the Corn Palace, in otherwise unremarkable Mitchell, South's


Last but not least, we were just driving along in South Dakota, minding our own business, when ...!!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Mom is typing an overdue update from Emm and Des.  

Emmett: right now, I am eating a plum. It's very tasty.  I'm at the Teffs house in Ramsey, Minnesota.  The Teffs are Lynn, Charlie, Max, Sam and Ellie, and Zelda and Rocky, their kitties.  I LOVE the people, the food, and their kitties.  

Emmy highlights at the Teffs: I went to the Mall of America and went on a bunch of rollercoasters!  They were really fun, and fast, and surprising, and you never know where you're going to go.  Two times there were really fast rollercoasters, and the bottoms of my eyes were going down.  My favorite ride was Rock Bottom Plunge (a Sponge Bob ride) because it was so loopy; you went upside down and sideways and diagonal upside down.  

Another highlight...the kitties are so cuddly!  They also have a pinball machine, and THE PEOPLE ARE VERY FUN!

Emmy cuddling Zelda

Different levels of excitement on display

Desi's favorite ride, the Brain Surge.  

Can you see the boys on the atomic collider?

And a mellow end on the carousel goat...
Desi: My favorite ride was the Brain Surge because you could do front flips and back flips.  I did it about 7-8 times.  

My highlights here in Ramsey are the dinners and the food, because it's fun to be with people and the food is great.  I like swimming at the Y because there are water slides and features, and I can use the machines.  I like listening to music and having a dance party with all of the kids.  

One of my other favorite things is football.  I like both playing and watching (except for the Vikings...they are having a rebuilding year, let's just say that).  I like having a lot of free time.  Another highlight is shadowing Max (my friend here) at school for a day.  I got to play football at recess and meet his friends and see what an American school is like.  Dad and I gave a presentation to Max's social studies class on what it's like to live in China.  When I described my life, the kids all said "lucky." Even the teacher was surprised about how many people live in Shanghai (it's 60 Minneapolises!)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Shutdown gets Shut Up, and Pumpkins get Carved Up

Gary here. In the basement of Lynn and Charlie Teff in chilly Minnesota. So many feelings this week!


1. Taken care of.
Kristina Anderson (a fellow ex-SAS person) took us in after a rainy drive from South Dakota. Here was the best shot we could get of the welcome to MN sign:

The first one we have seen in the shape of the state. A harbinger of good things to come.
She and Aaron let us take over their (newly redone) house. She was a great tour guide and directed us to the sculpture garden downtown. Our takes on the famous cherry:

Kristina also took us out for a fun afternoon at Wild Rumpus Books and lunch at Tilia. Great books and great food, too.

2. Happy. Thrilled, in fact, for all the tourists that the national parks are open. We are on a break from such places for a while, but it's mildly reassuring that Congress opted to do its job without further tantrums. Let's hope it doesn't replay the madness in January.

3. Playful. Wow, our hosts have a lot of games. So far we have played spades, Settlers of Catan, Trivial Pursuit (winning question: Who played Zorro in "Zorro, the Gay Blade"? Answer will appear in next post), backgammon (Lynn had never played and she beat me all 3 games), and Ticket to Ride. Plus darts, foosball, and touch football (Sarah lasered the game winning touchdown to me on a post pattern. I looked up and the ball was _there_. EPIC.) Still more to play, including Racko.

4. Excited. Seeing Tyler Rebman, my freshman year roommate at NU, tomorrow night for dinner. Get to meet his wife and kids.

5. Proud. Go Cards!

Here is the schedule, to help you not miss a pitch:

6. Grateful. After my sister's epiphany ("Why am I not going to the World Series?") and my decision to join her, my mom told us she's buying the tickets. Seriously generous. Thanks mom! Dad would have loved to join us, I know.

Thanks also to Sarah for solo parenting while I am in St. Louis. And Lois for helping watch the kids this weekend.

Look for us on TV!

(Bringing my mitt. 
Let's hope for lots of homers)

7. The last feeling on the list is slimy. From carving pumpkins, natch. One of the events we were most excited about as we planned this Phield Trip is Halloween. This part of the world does it right. Lots of houses are decorated, the leaves are turning, and we are getting into the spirit of things. 

We hit a corn maze and shot a corn cannon and flopped around in a corn pit.

We're still finding corn in our clothes, 3 days later.

Here's D with the corn cannon:

So long for now. I am off to help Desi present about China to Max's 5th grade class. I wonder what the kids will say they know about China, when I ask!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Posting in the Post Season

Since the Cardinals are in the Post Season, Sarah is going to be in charge of posting for a while...and since there is a gigantic TV here in Aaron Sakaria's man cave, I shall multitask and upload the rest of our adventures to date.  

We did take your friendly suggestions, and stopped at Wall Drug, the Badlands, and the Corn Palace.  It took some serious miles in the car, as we were navigating between storms.  Nice that South Dakota opened Mt. Rushmore the day after we vacated, but we weren't about to turn around with another snow storm on the horizon!  
Emm on the jackalope
Wall Drug is an amazing story of American ingenuity, as far as G and I are concerned.  (Maybe because it got us to stop as well?)  You have to fill up your tank somewhere, right?  Why not create a gigantic tourist trap with all kinds of silly stuff to look at while you stretch your legs?
this one's for you, Kris Sheehan.  Take that as you will :)

Des, a less willing photo participant...

Em said "ok, I'm sitting right next to an old guy, and that's weird."

Cool pano by G
The road was open halfway through the park, so we gave ourselves a little tour.  We debated if it looked more like we envisioned Mars, Tatooine, or the Moon.  It was a tossup.

G claims he's been waiting 20 odd years to get here...

We were hoping to stop at the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, especially because our college buddy Gretchen Heefner wrote an amazing book about the Minuteman missiles in her first book.  When you click on the link, please note all of the stars by the recommendations.  We have long known of her brilliance; you should get to know it as well!

But alas, we could not go.  For the reasons below. Write your congressperson! 

Our last stop in South Dakota was the famous Corn Palace.  It was so corny, from top to bottom, that though we only visited for an hour in the pouring rain, we felt it deserved several pictures.  For all the punsters we know and love....

this one's for grandpa Lar...this is how the boys envision farming!

Gary was wondering, but now understands!  Go corn!

Not only do the Mitchell Kernels get to play here, but Kenny Rogers is coming at Christmas!  I know when to run!

Gar did his best to capture the outside...the rain was coming down sideways!

who's corny?  

Minnesota musings

Important message...from the IGA in Buffalo, WY...
We're back in the land of comfort and wifi...our dear friends, Aaron and Kristina Sakaria's, basement in Minneapolis.  We gave it our best shot, seeing the parks and monuments of Wyoming and South Dakota, and met limited success.  Much beauty, some frustration, and unseasonably cold weather.  Just missed 3 feet of snow in Rapid City, and decided that 40 degrees is the lowest we want to go, and rain isn't much fun in a tent.  Luckily, Des and Emm are about the most adaptable, forgiving, fun kids we know, and they make plotting a change in plans much more enjoyable.

After giving up on Yellowstone, we headed east to Buffalo, Wyoming.  Why leaf peep in the Northeast, when Wyoming offers such beauty?  We dunno, so we didn't.  Emms has decided the bridges are one of his favorite forms of transport; bridges and tunnels.   A cute story about this bridge in the following picture....

Buffalo also gets best slides we've encountered.  Look at this beauty!  It goes up three levels!  Much fun was had by all, even after a disappointing family meeting.  Gar and I have a goal of reinvigorating our children's desire to learn, be curious, and explore, to seek out knowledge for the sake of it.  After many years of trying to get our kids to comply, with both us and the teachers in their lives, we're asking them to wonder, as a habit.  They're not quite there.  Hence the frustrating meeting. We were all pretty excited to come across these slides.
Des showing his approval...Kazak!!
Gary thought this was one of the funniest things he'd seen in a while...please take it all in!

And from Buffalo, along to our newest state, and Custer State Park for three days.  And two Cardinals wins, I believe.

Gary stayed by his phone, listening to 11 of the 12 innings on our first night, freezing and cursing and worrying and wondering.  How excited he was the next day to find out the outcome.  And how excited am I to constantly hear, discuss, and contemplate the next baseball game! (Yes, as Emmett would say, I am using sarcasm).

Our first outing was to the Crazy Horse Memorial, which was open (since it doesn't take federal or state funding).  I had no idea about this place; of course Gary did.  The picture below is for posterity...we all wondered...will it be finished in our lifetime?  The boys can come back in 20 years and see how far the statue has come.  And so we explained the proud history of broken treaties and mass murder of Native Americans.
Here's what the Crazy Horse Memorial is to look like once completed

Pearlz family randomness
Custer State Park did have a beautiful Wildlife loop; can you see all of the buffalo behind my mighty hunter?
Pronghorn white bootie

Emm named this guy Friendly Bill

Emm holding Friendly Bill and displaying perspective at the Custer State Visitor Center

 We went on a beautiful hike, the Lover's Leap loop.  Who knew South Dakota would provide some of the most beautiful fall foliage we've seen?  And we've seen some beautiful s@#t!!

Gar pondering at the apex of the leap...right before realizing Des was nowhere to be found and racing after him for 30+ minutes

that's a turkey people

breakfast in our cabin

beautiful fall river on our way out of the park

a little Pavement shoutout...Emmy spotted it!

this one's for you, Jeremy FiveCrows!

A little Mt Rushmore where's Waldo...see it?

They can close our parks, but they can't close our highways!  What more could we have really gotten out of the park, really?  I think this pic Gary took wins best shot of South Dakota.  But the pics from the Corn Palace from Mitchell haven't been loaded yet, so....