Nap time reading

While the baby naps in my arms, troche I typically go through some form of social media and check out interesting news and stories. Or I binge watch The West Wing. Recent favorite reads:

hair on Flickr”>Sherman Alexie is one of my favorite writers

The Poem That Made Sherman Alexie Want to ‘Drop Everything and Be a Poet’ [The Atlantic]

I have no shame in admitting that I’m an Alexie fangirl. I was so disappointed when I heard he was in LA recently for a book signing and I didn’t find out until a week later. (He doesn’t advertise his readings on Twitter, but his feed is very entertaining.) Anyway, this piece for The Atlantic’s “By the Heart” series was enlightening and inspirational. I’m grateful his poetry professor gave him the book that included the life altering poem.

At the same time, I’d never seen myself in a work of literature. I loved books, always, but I didn’t know Indians wrote books or poems. And then to see myself so fully understood in one line of a poem, as though that one line of a poem written by someone else was my autobiography … It was like understanding human language for the first time. It was like hearing the first words ever spoken by a human being, and understanding for the first time the immense communicative power of language.

I had never intellectualized this feeling that I’d had my entire life. And then, to hear the thing aloud. To see it in print. These are the kind of emotions that nobody puts words to, at least not where I’m from. So an intellectual and emotional awakening were fused in this one line. They came together and slapped me upside the head.

Gibson In ’88: ‘It’s A Good Story’ [ESPN]

Tuesday, October 15th marked the 25th anniversary of the most dramatic, amazing, awesome walk-off home run in Dodger history. I don’t remember seeing it live, but do remember those playoffs and being excited that my dad caught a ball at one of the NLDS games against the Mets. I have seen Kirk Gibson’s home run dozens of times as it’s played on the Dodger jumbo screen all the time, but didn’t know everything going on behind the scenes. And there was a lot!

Arash Markazi interviewed players from the ’88 Dodgers, A’s, coaches and management to fill in the story.

One of my favorite parts was reading Vin Scully’s role in motivating the very injured Gibson to stop icing, suit-up, take some practice swings with the bat boy and tell Tommy Lasorda he could pinch hit in a close game.

Vin Scully (Dodgers announcer 1950-present, NBC announcer 1983-89): In the middle of the ninth inning of that game, we were in commercial, and I had told the producer and director, ‘When we come out of commercial, follow me.’ You don’t do that very often, but, in this instance, I felt it was important, so, when we came out of commercial, there was a shot from the blimp of Dodger Stadium and I said, ‘If you’re in the ballpark with binoculars, your first thought would be, late in the game, Is Kirk Gibson in the Dodgers’ dugout? The answer would appear to be no.’ They did a slow pan from one end of the dugout to the other, and I basically said Kirk Gibson will not play tonight.

Gibson: I was sitting there, and, when Vin said that, I stood up and said, ‘My a–!’ It was time to go get dressed. That’s not to say I wouldn’t have gotten dressed if he hadn’t said it, but he did say it, and I was vocal about it with whoever who was around me at the time.

Today we don't have the Dodger blues. Right after I got the hoodie on, AJ Ellis hit a home run.

The playoffs have been stress inducing lately. Xavi and I are crossing our fingers in hopes of celebrating another improbable, impossible victory.

This game is a nail-biter. #dodgers #nlcs

Go Dodgers!

Jaclyn Day

I’ve been following Jaclyn Day’s blog for a couple of years, but never really paid attention to anything aside her affordable fashion posts. I was missing out, but perhaps it’s good that I’m just finding some of these posts months later when I’m at the beginning of my own parenting experience and can relate to her fretting over the cost of childcare or dealing with her post-pregnancy body image issues.

These posts hit home:

The things about parenting we don’t talk about — on maternity leave, childcare and the privileges some parents have/don’t have

No easy answer — sharing photos and videos of our children on social media

Silver for Leo!

Two things made me very happy yesterday:

1. Seeing Mexico beat Japan in the semi-finals to advance to the finals in men’s soccer. Mexico will face Brazil in the finals on Saturday morning (7 PDT).

2. Seeing Leonel Manzano win silver in the men’s 1500m race. He went from about 10th place with one lap remaining to passing up several men for a surprise second place finish. Leo’s is the first American to medal in the men’s 1500m since 1968. He also set an American Olympic record for the distance. [Replay of the race here.]

I didn’t start following professional running until last year, healing maybe the year before. I was looking around the USAAF website’s diversity page and checking out their list of Latino athletes. Leo Manzano was there. I looked him up and immediately took a liking to him just based on the Guanajuato roots. Mexicans are really big on home state and hometown pride. I added him to my short list of running heroes.

As a four year old Leo migrated with his family (sin papeles according to some stories) from Dolores-Hidalgo, read Guanajuato to Texas. That migration story reminds me of my father and his family. Dad was just a couple years older when my grandparents uprooted the family from Salamanca, Guanajuato to south Texas.

I was nervous as I watched the runners lined up yesterday afternoon. I found it endearing that Leo crossed himself and said a quick prayer. He may be one of the fastest Mexicans out there, but he’s not that different from the rest of us. (Okay, his pre-race ritual does make him a little different.)

I teared up watching Leo’s amazing kick. I would’ve yelled and high-fived someone, but no one was around. I settled for fist pumping.

Reading stories about the race and watching post-race interviews made me even happier for him.

About his faith

“I felt like I was 10th or 11th,” he said. “I knew I was in the back. I just kept praying, saying, ‘Heavenly Father, help me. Push me. Give me the strength to keep going.’

“My kick has always been there. Ever since I was maybe 12 years old, I’ve had this major gift from God. I guess sometimes it’s just been kind of overlooked.”

In an interview with Flotrack he admitted to being very religious. He talked about his short prayer and said, he felt a surge of energy for the kick in the final 60 meters or so.

I could relate. I’ve felt something — adrenaline, energy gel kicking in, God, spirit of my grandparents… who knows — kick in late in a race and help me to finish strong. I even made a line from a hymn I heard in Mass my motivational mantra (“we will run and not grow weary / For our God will be our strength”). It worked.

About his roots

Leo admitted in post-race interviews that he planned to hold up the flags of his adopted country and birth country if he won gold or silver. Sure enough, he took the American flag first and then held up the Mexican flag while jogging his honor lap around the stadium.

The U.S. is my home, and I wouldn’t change it for anything,” he said. “But my roots are still in Mexico. I love both countries. They both have a piece of my heart.

I think it’s fitting that Leo won silver. After all, his roots are in a state with a silver mining history.

Dodgers home opener

sildenafil on Flickr”>Dodgers home opener

In the morning when I was still contemplating whether or not I wanted to run or just head in to work, I got a FB message from my cousin Juan. He messaged several of our cousins to see if anyone was interested in taking a pair of tickets off his hands for the Dodgers home opener. I mentioned the idea to Sean and he was down. I sent off some emails to work/students and took care of some outstanding tasks. Our program director wished me a happy opening day even before mentioning the game. He knows I’m a big Dodger fan.

Dodgers and Pirates lineups

Since I was the first to jump at the offer, Juan gave me the tickets. We coordinated a meet-up between his place and mine in East LA around 11:30. Juan mentioned that we might make it in time to see the opening day ceremony beginning around 12:15. Although it was a little over 5 miles from East LA to Dodger Stadium, traffic was happy. Luckily, I know my way around the area (in car and on foot thanks to the LA Marathon!) and we found free parking off Sunset Boulevard and got to our seats in time for the ceremony.

The Beach Boys sang the national anthem

Along with the standard team intros and national anthem, the opening ceremony also featured tributes to hall of fame broadcasters Vin Scully (who had to miss the game due to a cold, first time in 35 years) and Jaime Jarrín, Nancy Bea Hefley (Dodgers organist), the 1962 Dodgers (who played the inaugural season in the new stadium), and a first pitch by Terry O’Malley Seidler (daughter of former owner Walter O’Malley), The Beach Boys sang a sweet rendition of the national anthem.

Clayton Keshaw on the mound

I’ve been to one opening day game/home opener before. This time was better. It was warmer, we had seats in the shade, most of the game was a pitchers’ duel, Andre Ethier hit the go-ahead homerun and the Dodgers won. Even emo Juan Uribe had a good game going 3-for-3.

The only downside to the game was the annoying group of about 10 people sitting next to us. I get that people are going to drink at games. I’m prepared for that, but I get annoyed when they interrupt my game watching by making me get up 25 times to let them through. One time a guy almost fell on me. Not cool. One of our neighbors was so drunk that stadium security escorted her out. I assume that’s what happened from overhearing the rest of the people who came with her.

I found my cousin, Juan, at the game a couple sections over

Nevertheless, I’m thankful Juan gave us the opportunity to check out our first game of the season. I’m lucky to have several cousins who are generous and love the Dodgers as much — quite possibly more — than I do.

31, Dodger Stadium

cheap on Flickr”>I'll be the first to admit I have strange obsessions

Mondays are always rest days for me. At least that’s how they’re set up on the schedule. If I skip a run or have to rearrange my week, viagra approved I might have to run on Monday. Not today. I took advantage of my rest day and margarita Monday deals.

Sean and I had dinner at Kay n’ Dave’s in downtown Culver City. They have $3 house margaritas on Mondays. We sat outdoors along the sidewalk since the inside was a little noisy. All was cool until a pair of twenty-something women clad in yoga gear sat at the table beside us. One of the women had a small dog with her on a leash. I was a little annoyed and tweeted my distaste: There should be a no dogs section on restaurant patios. Just because we’re outdoors doesn’t mean I want to eat my dinner next to your dog.

Here’s the thing: I don’t dislike dogs. I really like my family’s dog, VR, but I’m not about to bring him to a restaurant. That’s just… rude.

I’ve never been at a restaurant where someone brings their dog near the tables, so I don’t know what’s the normal protocol. I also didn’t know that Kay n’ Dave’s was dog friendly. The waitress fawned over the dog while the women snapped photos on their iPhones. Later, another waiter brought him a bowl of water. The women ignored the dog’s whines of hunger when their food arrived and gossiped about never giving up a dog for a man (surprise, surprise!). Otherwise, the dog was well-behaved and bothered us less than the womens’ “likes” every third word.

Is bringing a dog to a casual restaurant with outdoor seating normal… for the Westside? Should we have said we were uncomfortable and that one of us is allergic to dogs?
on Flickr”>The best aisle in the house

There are a lot of empty seats in Dodger Stadium these days, kind of like when I took this photo, but that was after a game.

An open letter to Andre Ethier

angina on Flickr”>The hit that got him #29 in the hit streak

Dear Andre,

Congratulations on the hit streak. With the Dodgers’ long and storied history of some excellent ballplayers, I’d feel proud to be second on the all-time franchise hit streak list. Thirty games is might impressive. Even more, it’s cool that with a game loss and end to your streak you still managed to crack jokes about the media attention.

I really enjoyed watching you get closer to breaking the record. I’m sad the hit streak is over.

You don’t know how much I wanted to see you get to 31. It would’ve made my 31-loving heart so incredibly happy. I didn’t even care all that much to see you beat Willie Davis’ 42-year record. I’d actually have been cool if the streak ended at 31 and you just tied him.

Okay, maybe not, but only because your hitting streak has been of the few bright spots in a season with lots of troubles on the field, in the front office, and even in the parking lot.

Yesterday’s game was tough to watch. It wasn’t just that you kept flying and popping out, and struck out in the 8th. No, it was even more difficult because we could have really used a hit in the 8th when Matt Kemp was in scoring position and the score was tied. Worse, the rest of the team seemed to have the same problem. Sigh. I’ll stop complaining.

Dreaming of a better season in 2011

I’m still a fan. That won’t change. And neither will your place as my current favorite on the team and one of my all time Dodger favorites. You’re certainly higher on the list than Davis. I’m happy I got to see the streak in person (#29 up there) and have been able to watch you grow with the Dodgers over the last five years. You’re proof that good things do come out of Arizona.

Hope to see more great demonstrations of your batting (and fielding) skills this season and hope you inspire the rest of the players to start using those bats as intended.

With mad respect,


P.S. Glad to see that batting power back today with your home run in the Dodgers’ first victory in 4 games. Maybe you do better without the added pressure and media attention.

Dodger Stadium survey results: Sneak peek

I received a total of 112 responses to the Dodger Stadium Atmosphere Survey. I’ve gone through and checked the summary of responses Google provides. The above chart comes from that summary. I’ve also read and compiled all the free responses to the questions on experiencing violence or harassment and additional thoughts on the subject. Almost all of the written responses are thoughtful and show that fans care about this issue. There was only one racist comment. I’ll post all of those to view in a later post.

I’ll post the summary as well as breakdowns of how different groups viewed the situation. For instance, buy did more men perceive a safer environment in the stadium than women?

Survey: is Dodger Stadium safe?

view on Flickr”>Too many "thugs"?

I’ve been reading a lot about the beating of Bryan Stow after opening day at Dodger Stadium (March 31).

Stow, there a 42-year-old Santa Clara paramedic and father of two who traveled to Dodger Stadium on March 31 in Giants regalia. Walking through the parking lot after the game, gonorrhea Stow was accosted by two men, who taunted him, punched him and kicked him as he lay injured. [Source]

His injuries were serious enough to put him in a medically induced coma. He is still in critical condition.

Like many fans, I’m horrified, disgusted and deeply saddened that some pendejos would do this. I pray for Stow’s full recovery and hope such violence never occurs again at Dodger Stadium (or any other sporting event).

Other fans have expressed outrage online or called in to talk radio shows. Many shared their own concerns about going to Dodger Stadium and some brought up the race element before sketches of the suspects were released. The suspects look like your average pelón gang-banger. The comments section of the LA Times were filled with racist and anti-immigrant remarks. I started reading “thug” as a code word for young Latino male. Honestly, I wasn’t surprised by the racism.

However, I am surprised by the number of levelheaded people I know who no longer go to games, worry for their safety and think the atmosphere is not family friendly. My personal experience is much different and I go to lots of games (even if I grumble about how much I hate contributing to the McCourts’ profits).

What do you think? I’ve written a survey about the atmosphere in the stadium, in the parking lot and the surrounding area. Fill it out and share it with others who go to lots of games or just a few every couple of seasons. I hope to share some of the responses next week.

Dodger Stadium atmosphere survey

Edit: The survey is now closed. You can chime in on the responses when I post about the survey results.

Disclaimer: I’m just a fan. I have no affiliation with the Dodger organization, LAPD or city hall. Thus, the survey is focused on experiences and opinions rather than suggestions for improvement.

Bottom of the 9th

I’ve been to a lot of Dodger games, try but this one was the best one ever.

It didn’t start out so well. We were down 2-1 and the Cardinals brought in closer Ryan Franklin (who does not deserve #31) to earn the save. The first two batters he faced, decease Andre Ethier (who hit a homerun against Matt Wainright in the 4th) flyed out. Manny Ramirez flyed out too.

Two outs.

And then comes James Loney. He hits a simple fly ball to left center. Matt Holliday goes for the catch and drops it, making a big error and likely hurting more than his ego. Loney hustles and reaches second on what should have been the game ending out.
Continue reading “Bottom of the 9th”

Off Season

I pay little attention to baseball during the off season. Of course, cure I followed the news on whether or not the Dodgers would re-sign Manny and I had a few conversations about Alex Rodriguez’s confession about using steroids when he played for the Texas Rangers. (Rodriguez was my favorite player from ’96 until he signed with Texas in 2001. After that, ambulance I stopped paying attention to his career, viagra 60mg but still kept up a pennant from his days with the Seattle Mariners.)

These days, I’m following the World Baseball Classic and hoping Mexico advances out of pool play. Oh yeah… who knew anyone actually played baseball in the Netherlands?

Upper reserve

By the time Alfred and I got to our seats in the upper reserve section — just one row from the top — I was hot, view hungry and annoyed. The score definitely didn’t help my mood. In the two and a half innings we’d missed while stuck in traffic out- and inside Chavez Ravine, treatment the Phillies had already scored 3 unanswered runs.

I should have just stayed home, tuberculosis I thought. This isn’t going to be good.

Then I turned away from the game to check out the view of Downtown to the south. I changed my mind.

Same photo, different post.