I have been off work nearly all week suffering from pneumonia. Given that I have to take breathing treatments numerous times per day, I have been working from home. With all of the medication, I find myself drifting in and out of consciousness. My sleep patterns have been disrupted to the point that I have difficulty setting my biological clock to coincide with day and night. All of this has been bizarre enough but I have found my thought processes have also been disrupted. For example, for the past several days, I have found myself drawn to Mister Rogers Neighborhood as I followed the happenings in the neighborhood of make believe. From the moment that the red trolley makes its journey into the kingdom I have followed along. It seems King Friday has decided the Neighborhood of Make-Believe is in need of a swimming pool. The kingdom residents are very excited at the idea of having a pool so close to home. Problems have arose though after a site inspection found the ground to be a hard dig and excavation would be much more expensive than originally planned. The residents thought they would be able to dig the pool on their own thereby reducing the cost of the project but there was infighting among the commoners which led to the project nearly being scratched. Finally today, a resident from an adjacent kingdom offered to help by placing the pool between the two kingdoms, the other kingdom would cover the cost of excavation while the Kingdom of Make-Believe would cover the remaining construction costs. I was relieved that this problem had been worked out so that everyone could enjoy the pool. Trina happened to come in as I was watching and gave me a puzzled look. I explained what had happened and she had one comment, “You really need to get back to work.” Maybe she’s right. It didn’t really seem like such a beautiful day in the neighborhood anyway.


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Off-Season Rumors

Word coming out of the Diamondbacks organization was that they would not be very involved this off-season with free agent signings. The team would like to reduce payroll while maintaining the core of their team intact. That is why the Mark Grace deal makes so little sense. With the Diamondbacks already having an abundance of first basemen on the roster, adding a 36 year old veteran seems questionable.


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Brace Yourselves

It has been quite a day around our house, especially for Tiffany. A few weeks ago Tiffany was involved in an accident at gymnastics where several of her teeth were knocked out. This has led to multiple dental appointments with several different dentists and specialists. Today was another day in that saga. Tiffany had to go in to be fitted for braces and a spacer. I had not anticipated having her in braces this young but the doctor felt it necessary if we are to move the teeth around that were dislodged in the accident. At first, Tiffany was less than thrilled with the thought of having braces on her teeth. After much coaxing by her sisters she has at least come to grips with the idea. It is interesting how braces have changed since I was a child. I remember seeing other children getting braces when I was a kid. Their mouth looked like some sort of metal recycling center as they had all sorts of silver metallic surfaces throughout their mouth. You definitely did not want to introduce a magnet anywhere near their vacinity for fear of what would happen. Today’s braces tend to be clear or in many cases different colors. The kids are allowed to change the colors regularly at scheduled intervals. This morning before her appointment, she was busy going through the color charts trying to decide which color of braces she should get. Trina suggested green and red to celebrate the Christmas season. Dakota suggested black and blue to match his cool bruise he had on his leg. Whitney wanted her to get pink since she was a girl. I of course suggested she get purple and teal. After all, what would be better than to show team spirit through your teeth? In the end, she decided for yellow and orange in honor of Ashley being a senior at Corona del Sol. I was disappointed that she took family over the Diamondbacks but she assured me that she would get teal and purple to celebrate opening day in April. Now I have two things to look forward to when the season begins.


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After the fiasco that has been going on in Florida for the past three weeks, it is hard to get excited about democracy or voting. But today’s news of another upcoming election was welcomed. During the dark months of winter, there is little for the baseball fan to get excited about unless it is the endless dollars being thrown at free agents by the big market teams. That is, until this week. Around the country, ballots are being sent out to baseball writers to vote for inductees to the baseball Hall of Fame. It always interesting to see how the writers vote. Of course there will be the yearly controversy over whether Pete Rose should be included in the Hall of Fame despite his lifetime ban. There will also be those players who have been perennially on the ballot that will be overlooked again despite their accomplishments. Personally, I will again be looking to see if Dale Murphy gets any closer to induction. Murphy holds a special place in my heart. He was a gentleman who played the game as a fierce competitor. His back-to-back Most Valuable Player awards were unheard of at the time and he lacked only 1 home run of finishing his career with an even 500. Still, Murphy and his boy-next-door looks will probably again be overlooked and passed over. With all of the press that is garnered for the bad boy attitude that is displayed by the players of today, it would be refreshing to see someone rewarded for being a positive role model not only to the fans but also to his peers. I have never heard anyone, press nor teammate, express an unkind word about Murphy and the way he conducted himself. Instead, we will most likely hear about Dave Winfield, Don Mattingly and Kerby Puckett in their first year of eligibility and their accomplishments. Well, they may be deserving of praise but I for one will be rooting for Dale Murphy and all those like him who were a positive influence to me while I was growing up and in need of someone to look up to.


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I returned to work after time off from the Thanksgiving holiday to find that I had a message waiting on my voice mail. I retrieved the message to find that the Arizona Diamondbacks had called last week about ticket relocation. My heart raced. Would this be the year that I would finally move from section 133 row 16 seat 13-14 to somewhere else? Would my prayers be answered and I would be sitting above the Diamondbacks dugout? The different scenarios raced through my head. I quickly went to the Arizona Diamondbacks web site and retrieved all of the seating maps I could find. I then dialed the number to the Diamondbacks customer service department. The first two call attempts were met with a busy signal. I hung up and frantically dialed again trying to get through. I hadn’t felt this much anxiety since I tried to call into the radio station to win some extra Diamondbacks tickets. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I got through. William answered the phone and asked how he could help me. I told him I was returning a call and he asked if I happened to know my priority numbers. What a silly question, I know my Diamondbacks priority number better than I know my social security number. After being on hold for a few minutes, William returned to explain that the relocation process had not yet started but they hoped to be done by the week of Christmas. What? How could they build my hopes up then dash them by telling me nothing would happen for a month? For the remainder of the day, I began a countdown on my whiteboard to remind myself of when I would hear from the Diamondbacks. I can see right now, it is going to be a long month.


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Leftovers

It is interesting how the Thanksgiving holiday progresses. For weeks before, everyone is excited for Thanksgiving to arrive. Each of the children make requests to their mother to include their favorite food as part of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Trina diligently listens to each of them and tries to incorporate the various requests into a single meal. The week before Thanksgiving is filled with the bustle of food preparation to try and spread the work out over several days rather than have to prepare everything at once. Vegetibles are cut up, pies are cooked, supplies are purchased and assignments are made. On the morning of Thanksgiving, Trina is up at the crack of dawn preparing the massive feast for this growing family of seven. By late afternoon, we all sit down to partake of this bounty and give thanks for all that we have.


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I had one of the dumbest ideas I have had in a long time today. After a rather restful morning, I decided we needed a little bit of excitement in our lives. The kids were restless having been around the house for a few days they were looking for a chance to get out. Ashley and Mallorie had plans and headed out the door. Tiffany, Whitney and Dakota of course wanted to do something too leaving Trina and I with a choice. We could either listen to them whine for several hours driving both us and them crazy or we could take them somewhere. This is where the dumb idea came in. I suggested we go to the Fiesta Mall and see Santa Claus. What in the world was I thinking? The first Saturday shopping day of the Christmas season and I just suggested that we take a 10 year-old, a six year-old and a three year-old to a crowded mall to stand in line and see Santa. The look of horror on Trina’s face told the whole story. As soon as those words had been uttered, I knew it was to late to take them back. So off to the mall we went. When we got there, it was just us and 22,000 of our closest friends wandering the hallways trying to get near Santa Claus. We were relatively lucky, the line only stretched half way down the mall. I stood there trying to corral my kids and keep them in line. While waiting, I quizzed each of them to determine what they were going to ask Santa for. Without a doubt, they each were asking for toys. I tried to explain to them that there were more important things than just toys and perhaps they should look at the bigger picture and ask Santa for something more meaningful. As we talked, they began to understand. When it was finally their turn, they took their place on Santa’s lap and whispered into his ear what they wanted for Christmas. When they were through, Santa looked bewildered but handed them a candy cane and told them that he would do what he could. As we were leaving, I asked each of them what they told Santa. Together they explained that they asked for the Diamondbacks to find a right-fielder who could hit 30 home runs and drive in 100 RBIs. They also asked for a fifth starter that could throw 200 innings a year with an ERA under 4.00. Finally, they asked for the Diamondbacks to stay healthy and bring the team batting average up to .270. I looked at each of them and had to wipe a tear from my eyes. I was so proud of them.


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