It’s going away, isn’t it?

My friend. My companion. That comfort at the end of a long day’s work, driving home, watching the sun go down, laughing, cheering, listening. It’s leaving me again, just as the world turns cold. It always leaves me just when the sun starts setting sooner, when the chill rolls in, when the leaves turn. Just when I need it the most, it’s gone.

My old friend and joy, baseball, is leaving me again this weekend.

The San Francisco Giants played their last home game of 2007 last night, made all the more bittersweet as, after fifteen crazy years, it was the last game Barry Bonds will play in a Giants uniform.

It was year of agony and ecstasy.

Ecstasy: The San Jose Giants, the Minor League Single A affiliate, and a group of young ‘uns near and dear to my heart performed a miracle. Coming on strong in the first half and falling off hard in the second half, they still earned their way into the playoffs and prevailed. They are the 2007 California League Champions. They played an amazing post season and just brutalized Lake Elsinore in game 5, the deciding game. I get goose bumps just thinking about it. This was a hard working team of guys who learned how to win, and a tip of the cap to manager Lenn Sakata for taking yet another team to the post season.

Agony: Their big brothers to the North, however, didn’t fare so well. With three games left, they’ve lost 89 games and are a gut-turning 18.5 games out of first place.

This was the season that Bonds broke the all-time homerun record, walloping 756 over the walls and into the history books. But all the media glare, both positive and negative, had an impact on the other 24 guys on the roster. Starting pitching was ok (I won’t “go there” about the pitiful year Barry Zito had…I just…can’t…), the bullpen was ridiculous and hitting was lame. They went up there with sad and tired bats. And our star catcher bitched about it to the press.

It was not a glorious year. It’s the latest in all the depressing seasons we’ve endured after the joys (and pain) of the 2002 World Series.

Ownership says 2008 is a “rebuilding” year. That means some young kids, some no names, and no hope of a post season for at least a couple more years.

But even in the agony of this terrible season, it was there. Baseball was on the radio every night, 162 games a year. The bases were still 90 feet apart and it was still 60 feet, six inches from mound to plate. The Umps still missed calls, players were plunked, miracles were performed and for me, all was all right with the world.

I had a day yesterday for the record books, and as I drove home, looking into the setting sun, sad, mad, exhausted, apathetic, beat down, and depressed as hell, I reached out and touched the “power” button on my radio, and suddenly Jon Miller’s voice boomed out from my radio speakers, “a called strike one!” and I left behind my troubles. My sorrow. My bone wearying exhaustion and I listened to the game. Smiling at strikes, frowning at balls and batting my hand on the steering wheel when the boys in orange and black got a hit and cheering loudly in my car.

I don’t give a rip about any of the teams in the post-season, although I may watch a few games. It’s not the same when it isn’t your team fighting it out.

*sigh* Now what? My baseball friend becomes a hockey fan in the off-season. I like hockey, but not with that fever reserved for baseball.

Guess instead, it’s time to start thinking about what in the hell I’m going to write 50,000 words about for the annual NaNoWriMo.

Heh…three years ago I wrote a baseball book……

Happy Anniversary!

It was one short month ago today that I began this blogtastic journey.

I can’t believe it’s *just* a month because it seems like much, much longer.

It all began on St. Paddy’s Day, March 17th with this post.

What have I learned in my 30 days as a blogger?

1) Blogging every single dingle day is a LOT harder than it looks

2) There is a great community out there of bloggers and some wildly smart people blogging some fantastically smart, wry, witty stuff. I am humbled by what’s out there.

3) I have a LOT to learn about the blogosphere, blogging and all the associated technologies. RSS feeds, vlogs and Flicker, OH MY!

4) There is such a thing as the blogger state of mind. Natalie on her kick ass blog Petroglyph Paradox nailed in perfectly in her April 14 post “Perceptions”:

“Sometimes, I wonder about the lives of my blogger buddies. I wonder how someone actually lives beyond the anecdotal words of their blog. I wonder if they experience the same smelly, downtime or wake up with a story in their head or if they too, drive down the road, see something, and then say to themselves, ‘I’m gonna blog about that.’ “

I do this all the time. See something and then think what angle I can take to blog about it. I have a tiny notebook in my purse crammed with snippets of thoughts. Many of which have made their way to these pages.

5) I have learned that I am a chicken. Only a few folks in my life know about this blog. I know soon I need to come out of the closet, so to speak, and tell my unsupportive family that despite my Clark Kent-ish day job…in reality, I’m a writer, I have a book on Amazon and I’m a blogger….and then deal with the consequences.

Baby steps.

6) My blog is just as valuable as anyone else’s blog. What I have to say matters. Even if only to me. And having the courage to put it out there actually does take courage.

7) Blogging is good therapy. Boy can I get some stuff off my chest!

8) The feeling of elation I get after completing the post for the day is as addictive (more so, actually) as any drug or drink I’ve ever known. That satisfied feeling is something I crave. (addiction number 2 is looking at the webtraffic statistics)

9) I’ve always said I work best under deadlines. Doing this every day and only missing one day which was then properly made up for and backdated has proven this to me. I thrive when I have a deadline. I do some amazing work. It’s why I kick butt at National Novel Writing Month.

10) When I set my mind to something…look out. It took mere days from deciding I wanted to do this to execution. It’s a fact of my personality I actually admire. Should serve me well in my continuing quest to be a writer that people actually pay to write.

So today is a day of celebration for me. I’ll blow out the candle on a celebratory cupcake and go nuts.

Thanks to all readers, your webtraffic brings me joy.

The sound of crickets chirping…

In my head. Oh god, all day long when I ponder what will be my blog entry for today, all I hear are crickets. (Go here if you are aurally challenged and need help imagining the sound. I did.)

It is day nine of blogdom for me and I’m more than embarrassed to admit I don’t have any good ideas for a post today. So I’ll post about my lack of post, how’s that?

When I set out (just over a week ago) the ideas flowed easily. I’m not ashamed to admit I’m pretty proud about how things are going so far. As I mentioned in the beginning, this blog starts out as a source of good discipline for me as a writer. And today I’m up against one of my demons as a writer. “Eh, I don’t have a good idea, so I’ll not bother to even write.”

This is bad. It victimizes great writers every day.

For the past few years I’ve participated in National Novel Writing Month, an exercise in which you force yourself to write 50,000 words in thirty days for the sheer challenge of doing so. I’ve done it twice and won both times. Mainly because I learned this about myself: I work great under a tight deadline. When the race is on and there’s “something in it”, I’m all over it.

But my momentum tends to lag when there isn’t a carrot out there that I’m running toward.

That’s the discipline I’m working on. I’m an amateur writer working on growing my chops. I see how far I’ve come in the almost ten years since I set out to honestly focus on writing, and I can sure see how far I’ve yet to grow.

They say, “write what you know” and writing about New Mexico fits that bill. So far I’m having a good time with this. I hope over time I can get some eyes here that aren’t just family and friends (though I’m incredibly grateful to any family member or friend who is giving me a glance).

I love writing, I really do, and this blog, I’ve discovered, is actually harder to do than it seems. Not complaining. It was just surprising to me. I have some favorite bloggers that I’ve read over the years who complain about how much time a blog takes. I always thought, “pish posh, get with the posting!” Now I know better.

I’m having a fun time…despite the ever increasing volume of crickets in the noggin today.

I suppose I could blame the ABQjournal for having a slow Sunday, or New Mexico Magazine for having a slow month (the “home edition” always leaves me cold, I flipped through it in record time today). But that’s just all excuses. And the time has come to stop making excuses.

Today, I write. Look at that….you can squeeze a whole post outta nothing to write about!