Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bad Chemistry

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 15:  James Loney #7(RC...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

It started last October in the first round of the baseball playoffs with a grand slam home run by James Loney of the Dodgers. Before that swing the dreams of the Cubs Nation were still alive. The Cubs had won 97 games, the best in the National League, and had easily won the Central Division Championship. Maybe, just maybe, it was finally going to happen. Then, suddenly, with that home run every true Cubs fan knew deep down that it was over, and it was, as the Dodgers easily went on to sweep the series.

The one thing all Cubs fans have, besides a lot of scar tissue, is hope. OK, so this was not "the year," just bring everybody back, and with all this talent we are sure to get it done next year.
DENVER - APRIL 23:  Kerry Wood #34 of the Chic...
The winter progressed, and things began to come apart. First they failed to sign Kerry Wood, the player that most personified the Cubs, and then they traded, for almost next to nothing, Mark DeRosa, the team leader and fan favorite. With out these strong personalities and their great work ethic what would the clubhouse be like?

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 30:   (FILE PHOTO) Milton...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Then subtraction by addition. The team signed Milton Bradley. He had been trouble where ever he played, and in a clubhouse that needed leadership and direction this was the wrong move.

Almost everyone picked the Cubs to win the division, and many had them going to the world series. No question the talent was there. I, like all Cubs fans, wanted to believe, but the doubt was also there. This team should have lapped the Cardinals, and be winning the division easily, but instead they languish around a .500 winning percentage and trail the Cards by 9 games.CHICAGO - OCTOBER 06:  Aramis Rameriez #16 of ...

Yes, there were a lot of injuries, and some very strange occurrences, but chalk this season up to bad chemistry, not bad luck. It

HOUSTON - APRIL 06:  Milton Bradley #21 of the...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

is time to make some changes. We need players with the right attitude. They may not be as talented, but ones who play the game right. And, while they are at it, bring in Ryne Sandberg to be the manager.

Ryne Sandberg's plaque, Hall of FameImage by Cyberlemur via Flickr

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Intergenerational Transference

We recently watched our kids prepare for and take a backpacking trip, and it brought to my attention another aspect of parenthood that brings pleasure. That is, seeing your children develop interests in activities that you have chosen and enjoyed in your own life.

San Diego City College Learing Recource City r...Image via Wikipedia

Run freeImage by Today is a good day via Flickr

Such things as travel, books, running, a love of learning, nature, caring about the environment, competing in athletics, history, and the enjoyment of being outdoors.

Aerial view of Everest. Picture taken by the a...Image via Wikipedia

Then there is the passing on the love of baseball from father to daughter to grandson.
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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Beauty and Isolation

View of Copper Harbor, Michigan, Lake Superior...Image by jenniferrt66 via Flickr

Some reflections on our recent trip to the Keweenaw Peninsula and Copper Harbor.

Foremost was the wild and rugged feel that it had. Our senses kept saying "Rocky Mountains." I think it was the feel of the air coming off Brockway Mountain and Lake Superior.

It had its own special beauty where the rocks meet the lake. There was a wildness and freedom that seemed unique to that spot.

We were constantly wondering what the peninsula must be like in the winter. The sense of isolation must be overwhelming. The potential difficulty of travel, and literally being stuck there, are not part of the average Americans everyday life. My curiousity led me read a short book by Mac Frimodig, who wintered over at Fort Wilkins, and he talks about the "Copper Harbor Stare," that one develops after about a month of winter there.

I am always hesitant when the words "mountain" and "drive" are put together, but the trip up and over Brockway Mountain was great, and the views of the Keweenaw and Lake Superior were special.

What could be better for coffee lovers than staying in a coffee shop? We spent the night in the Brockway Inn which is Michigan's northernmost coffee shop with 3 motel rooms on each side of it, and all the free coffee you can drink.

We walked along Hunters Point. The north side open to Lake Superior, and the south side along the protected harbor. This is where we got some of those wild and rugged sensations, and you realized you were someplace special.

Fort Wilkins is one of the best restorations of a historical site that I have visited. They did a truly wonderful job of making one feel what it would have been like to be stationed there in the mid 1800's. It is one mile east of Copper harbor.

We always look for freighters. Off Copper Harbor, we actually saw some.

We hope to return one day. As it always has, Isle Royale beckons us.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

First Baseball Card

Ryan recently completed his first baseball season. It was called T-Tots, and this was the first year that T-ball was offered to the 3 year old sub culture.

The rules were kept simple: there was no keeping score, the parents could go around the bases with the players, and be with them when they were in the field, and the only defensive play was at first base. When everyone had been up to bat the teams switched sides. The games were limited to one hour in length.

It was fun to watch. Once a ball was hit everyone went after it, including the batter. A lot of shouting, and encouragement eventually got the batter to first base. When a train went by the game just stopped, as it held much more interest to the players than the contest. The most enthusiasm seemed to be generated by the treats at the end of the game.

Overall, I think it was a positive experience for Ryan. It planted the idea that baseball and sports are fun.

Did you notice that he was on the Cubs? How cool is that?
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Friday, August 14, 2009

Estivant Pines

One of the highlights of our visit to the Keweenaw Peninsula was our excursion to the Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary. It is located down 3 bumpy forest trail miles from Copper Harbor.

The Estivant Pines Sanctuary is truly a natural wonder that has become the “jewel” of the Keweenaw. Five hundred eight acres of virgin northern hardwoods, interspersed with groves of eastern white pine, give the visitor a glimpse of Michigan before man changed most of our natural ecosystems.

Three trail loop combination's give the hiker a choice of 1 mile, 1.2 mile, or 2.5 mile loops over rugged terrain. The trails are some of the best in Keweenaw with most of the wet areas covered with boardwalks.

The Cathedral Grove Loop is a one mile trail where you will gaze in awe at the old giants, and imagine how Michigan once appeared. Only a fraction of the big pine can be seen from the trails as most are tucked away in hard to reach places.

The Cathedral Grove holds some of the biggest and oldest pine, measuring over four feet in diameter, they are 125 feet tall and 500 years old. All sizes of pine are present, from tiny seedlings to aboriginal giants.

The Memorial Grove Loop is 1.2 miles long and takes you through a large grove of younger, 200 year old pine which was seeded in after a hot fire cleared the competing hardwoods and exposed the thin mineral soil. Along this trail you will pass red oak over 40 inches in diameter. Yellow birch up to 48 inches in diameter are also found in this region.

The Estivant Pines got their name from their pioneer owner Edward A. J. Estivant of Paris, France. Mssr. Estivant bought 2,400 acres south of Copper Harbor in 1861, during the boom days of early copper mining in the region. The land remained in the Estivant family until 1947 when it was purchased by Calumet and Hecla Mining Co.

By 1900 only 750 acres of virgin Estivant timber remained. But in 1970, over 300 acres were cut by the new owners, Universal Oil Co. A movement by local citizens, backed by the Michigan Nature Association, to save the remaining virgin remnant was successful in stopping the cutting. After a three year fund drive, raising $57,000 from all parts of Michigan, a 160 acre sanctuary was established.

Again in 1987 loggers encroached on the sanctuary and cut 24 big trees. This trespass helped the local Estivant Pines organization realize how important it is to have a protective buffer of acreage around the old growth stand. Adjourning landowners manage their land as commercial forest. This fact requires that the MNA continues to purchase land around the old growth tract to protect it.

It was amazing to be among the giants with the impressive canopy over our heads. We are so fortunate that this piece of Michigan forest has been saved. A large thank you should go to: Michigan Nature Association: P.O. Box 102, Avoca, MI 48006 or go to:

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Advice From A Tree

Copper HarborImage via Wikipedia

When we were in a gift store in Copper Harbor, Michigan called the Laughing Loon, I noticed a poster with advice from a tree. Normally I walk right by this kind of stuff, but it kept my attention, and my thoughts have gone back to it since we have arrived home, and I thought I would share it with you.

Wood Notes: Advice From a Tree

Advice from a Tree
By Ilan Shamir

Dear Friend,

Stand Tall and Proud
Sink your roots deeply into the Earth
Reflect the light of a greater source
Think long term
Go out on a limb
Remember your place among all living beings
Embrace with joy the changing seasons
For each yields its own abundance
The Energy and Birth of Spring
The Growth and Contentment of Summer
The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall
The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter

Feel the wind and the sun
And delight in their presence
Look up at the moon that shines down upon you
And the mystery of the stars at night.
Seek nourishment from the good things in life
Simple pleasures
Earth, fresh air, light

Be content with your natural beauty
Drink plenty of water
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes
Be flexible
Remember your roots

Enjoy the view!

Copyright 1993-2003 Your True Nature, Inc. For Advice from a Tree books, journals, posters and other nature products, visit or call 800-992-4769

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