Boom! Astros Win! #HoustonStrong

We clinched it a day after Halloween, but these pumpkins are perfect predictors of the #HoustonStrong baseball victory.

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Photo (and carving) credits to my friend and colleague Adrian V., and a shout-out to all of my colleagues who were in this World Series for Our Town journey together for the last several weeks at work.  We wrung our hands and fantasized together, every day. One said, “I’m not really superstitious, but I sure hope the series is over soon so I can change my underwear.” 🙂

The Astros were launched in 1962, and this is our first World Series win. As the Tom Petty song goes, “The Waiting is the Hardest Part”. But now, as Queen said, “We Are the Champions”.  Woohoo!!!

After all of the trials, tribulation, trauma and troubles from Hurricane Harvey, this victory is really sweet for H-Town. #HoustonStrong, indeed!!!!!

But here’s a shoutout to L.A. – your team was awesome and a formidable opponent. #Respect

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Watching Game 7 of the World Series; Sharing Astros Mementos and Family Memories

My son and I did some reorganization of his room a couple of weekends ago, a natural progression as he moves through his sophomore year in college. At this stage,  just as many items go into the giveaway pile as the “must keep memories” box in the attic.

We did find some treasures, though, as we processed a whole chest of drawers bulging with the history of his childhood, the objects providing a physical testimony about his youthful interests and experiences.

There were signed baseballs from his Little League days, those times when he earned the game ball from his coaches, men who seemed like titans to us at the time but were simply eager Dads looking to provide a good experience for their sons. Unbeknown to us, our little one was a “late bloomer” in Little League. The coach called me one spring night back in 2004 to tell me he had drafted Thomas onto his team, and asked me about his experience.

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8 years old, with his award-winning anti-bullying poem right before a baseball game

“Experience?” I was confused.

“Yes, what positions has he played?”

“None, this is his first season.”

“Really? He hasn’t played before? He doesn’t know anything about the game?”

“He’s only 6 years old?!” I was still confused.

“My son started just shy of his 4th birthday. We even have pictures of him playing catch in his diapers as a toddler.”

This is going to be a challenge, I realized. Only 6 years old and he’s already behind. 

Despite this inauspicious start, Thomas acquitted himself admirably in his 8 years in Little League. A lefty, he became a dependable and sometimes awesome pitcher, and a capable hitter, delivering mostly singles and doubles. He never really mastered the art of stealing bases or sliding, which told us to focus our college scholarship hopes and dreams in other areas. This is why we call him our Musical Millennial rather than our Pitching Prodigy.

We had some really good times during the Little League days. Championships won and lost, good-natured rivalries with his classmates on other teams, frenzied times between the pickup at after-school day care and the 6 p.m. warmup on the baseball field when dinner was a 30-second microwaved “quesadilla” (really just a flour tortilla fold-over with grated cheddar cheese thrown in) eaten in 60 seconds. During the off-season, our backyard was the sandlot, with girls and boys from all over the neighborhood passionately playing their positions and breaking a window or two, just like it would have happened in the movies.

Good times. But I digress. Tonight, we’re watching Game 7 of the World Series, Astros vs. Dodgers. Go Astros!

exxon_tigerBack to the treasures. Among all the game balls my son earned in his days as a player, we found other baseball mementos. Two “signed balls” from the Astros, those give-aways with the facsimile signatures stamped on them that you get for being one of the first 5,000 fans at an important game. They’re from the 1997 – 2005 period; the signatures include Larry Dierker (manager), Billy Wagner (pitcher), Matt Galante (coach), Craig Biggio (catcher, 2nd base and outfield) and Jeff Bagwell (1st base).  Good times.

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There was also a super-special memento from my Dad. He was a junior executive for Exxon in his early 30s, and snagged this commemorative bat back then. It was before the merger with Mobil changed the company name to ExxonMobil, and back in the days when the tiger was the mascot. I loved watching baseball with my Dad. And that carried forward to watching baseball with my son. Memories and mementos…

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Good times.

As I write, it’s the top of the 7th in the 7th game of the 2017 World Series matchup between the Astros and the Dodgers. Of course, I’m rooting for my hometown ‘Stros, but whatever happens, it has been a great ride. Baseball really is the national pastime.

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

 

 

 

 

 

Found Recipe: Fabio Viviani’s Short Rib Lasagne

One reason I love to travel is the exposure to different foods, cultures, ideas and people.  A case in point is the food discovery from last night at a business dinner in Chicago:  short rib lasagne.  Wow!  It was a blustery, windy, rainy night, and the sadly, the Cubs didn’t win, place or even show in their first World Series appearance in a zillion years, but the kitchen at Bar Siena on Chicago’s near west side was on its A-Game.

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It’s a hip and trendy atmosphere at Bar Siena, and the food is as rockin’ as the decor

fullsizeoutput_c7Let’s set the stage – the big ballgame was on, the place was packed with hungry and loud Cubs fans, and my dinner hosts were foodies.  We ordered a selection of cicchetti (Italian for “little bites” meant for sharing).  While the octopus with a chili vinaigrette and grilled shrimp with artichokes were wonderful, the short rib lasagne adorned with roasted garlic béchamel and taleggio cheese was the meal’s most valuable player.

This dish is now pretty high on my Must-Learn-How-to-Make List, and I found the recipe on the first page of Google search results.  The owner of Bar Siena is Fabio Viviani from Top Chef, and he shared his recipe with the world on Rachel Ray’s show.

With the windy weather and the World Series, autumn was in full swing last night in Chicago – and this dish really hit the spot.  We’re not quite there yet here in Southeast Texas, but once the chill sets in, I’ll be making this “warm up your bones” dish.  If you get to it first, please share the results!

Links:

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The lasagna before we attacked it

 

 

Haiku for Game 2 – Let’s Go, Cubs!

one game down is not
the end of the world (series).
lose the blues, Cubbies!

In 1984, the Chicago Cubs made it into the postseason for the first time since 1945, climbing as far as the National League Championship Series before losing their chance to go to the World Series to the San Diego Padres. It seemed like the whole nation was rooting for the Cubs that year. During the post-game TV wrap-up after the Padres had clinched it, an tear-streaked elderly woman bedecked with Cubs gear from head to toe summed it up for all of us, saying:

They wouldn’t be our Cubbies if they didn’t break our hearts.

That’s bittersweet fan loyalty at its best!  But this is a different year.  Shake it off, Cubbies!

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Signs like this are all over the Windy City

Note:  the references to the lyrics of Chicago, immortalized by Frank Sinatra’s version, are for my Dad.

Copyright 2016, Glover Gardens Cookbook