National Public Lands Day

Today was rare rewarding day at work, the kind I am in this profession for but rarely have any more. It’s National Public Lands Day, a national one-day volunteer effort to help in public lands. About 20 volunteers came out for perfect weather, and despite it being Homecoming Weekend at the University of Iowa. They worked in the prairie with me and another ranger, pulling out shrubs and planting native prairie seeds. Lots of fun and lots of hard work. Walking around in that tall grass can be pretty grueling.

The strange case of Tampa Bay baseball

I’ve seen some of the last few Yankees games in Tampa Bay. It’s funny because when the Yankees are in town, the Devil Rays are almost a visiting team. A-Rod gets a hit and everyone goes nuts. That area was Yankees country before they put a big league team there and probably will be until Tampa Bay fields a decent team.

Little art snob

A five or six year old child was drawing on the ground with chalk. He was working on an abstract drawing that occupied the intersection of two sidewalks at the corner. I walked around it so as not to step on his artwork, but I did put one foot inside one of his lines. Without looking up or stopping he let out a shriek. What a little freak child.

Yet another nail-biter at Fenway

Mariano Rivera had a bad case of John Wetteland’s Disease tonight. In other words he loaded the bases in the ninth with the tying run on third before getting the best clutch hitter in baseball to pop up.

I was disturbed by yesterday’s loss, though. It wasn’t even close. Joe Torre brought in a bunch of minor leaguers to pitch, and they let the game get way out of reach. He didn’t bring in a single one of his better relievers. I understand that he has to manage his bullpen so they don’t get exhausted, but what on earth is he saving them for? If they’re not available to pitch against the first place team in a pennant race, when are they available? Let them rest against Baltimore next week. The Yankees needed to win that game, but two out of three in Boston is acceptable.

The game

Iowa City has emptied out for “the game”, that is, the University of Iowa versus Iowa State University football game. The yahoos all went to Ames for this year’s contest.

Where I’m from, “the game” is the New York Yankees versus Boston Red Sox baseball game, today at about 3 p.m. That’s what I will be watching.

Big Papi

I watched the Yankees beat Toronto tonight and win their sixth straight. Good stuff, Boston was losing to Tampa Bay 4-3, so when the Yanks were finished I switched over to the watch that. The Sox lose, the Yanks are 4 out with a series in Boston this weekend.

But no. With a runner on and one out in the bottom of the ninth, that bad man Big Papi puts one in the seats and the Sox win. How many times has he done that? The guy is amazing and I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up.

Remembering again

There seems to be a lot more “remembrance” of the September 11th terrorist attacks this year. I’m not sure why. Maybe I’m just noticing it more, but I find myself thinking about things I haven’t thought much about in a few years. When I moved away from New York, I didn’t have to think about it all the time, because I had escaped what had become inescapable there. It wasn’t in the news all the time. I didn’t have to look across the harbor to the broken skyline, and I didn’t have to worry about that jet flying over The Narrows. Working on an island in the Gulf of Mexico for three and half years helped. And two years ago, Hurricane Katrina gave me a new disaster to ruminate over.

One of a co-workers found a copy of a slick government booklet, The National Park Service: responding to the September 11 terrorist attacks. I looked through part of it and thought, “I remember all that.”

I remember mostly the fear, because everything after the attacks was colored or motivated by it. People on the Gulf Coast or in Iowa don’t live with the same kind of fear, or they don’t have fear of the same things, though they act like it some times. For all I know people in New York don’t anymore either. I’ve been back many times, but I always did familiar things with familiar people and it was hard to get a sense of it.

There was a special on Iowa Public Television about the World Trade Center reconstruction. I had no idea it was so far along. Building 7 has been rebuilt. It looks nice and shiny. People are still wrangling over the nature of the memorial. The idea seems tasteful enough but some of the people who think they own this tragedy object. I’m tempted to chalk it up to sentimentality or irrationality, but then this is an emotional issue. I read a column in the newspaper that pretty much says it for me. When I find a link to it I’ll post it.

Last night’s dinner

Last night’s dinner: gnocchi in homemade sauce (tomatoes, onions, garlic, bell peppers, celery, and fresh basil) served with bruschetta and salad (spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, pecans, and kalamata olives).The toast for the bruschetta was slightly burnt but everything else was great. We added almost no salt to either the gnocchi or the sauce so we were able to taste the actual ingredients of our meal.

Iowa City living

It’s a nice weekend and I’m doing a little Iowa City living. Yesterday evening we went to the local high school football game. You actually have to pay $6.00 to watch this team play. And they were out of popcorn. People take high school sports way too seriously here.

Today I rode my bike down the farmers market and bought some fresh organic basil. I like the way it makes my apartment smell. Combined with tomatoes from Susan’s garden we’re going to make a nice dinner tonight.