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Sunday 17th Dec 2017

I am fickle about the seasons.

I love being inside in the winter when it is pouring rain outside, with a fire going. I like to cook--and am actually pretty good at it--so making a big pot of chowder with some fresh bread on such a day is so luxurious. Especially if it is Sunday, and the day is peppered with football and old movies.

But, I like the spring too, for the sun starts showing itself a little more, and the walnut and cherry trees in my back yard bloom a beautiful medley of pink and white petals which shine against the powdery sky and wisps of clouds that pass by each day. Plus, the spring means baseball is back.

Summer brings the sun. And, that gaseous mass is my favorite in space because, well, warm is good. At least for me. Summer also means lots of baseball. It means our annual trip to Twain Harte with friends, and it means a week at performing arts camp.  For the last few years it meant fun cross country trips from Chicago, but since Diane got into Davis this fall, she is now a Californian. With a driver's license and everything. But, irrespective, summer means some adventure.

There is something, however, about the autumn. In the bay area, this is when we get our best weather, for during ten-and-a-half months of the year there is fog that hovers, slowly burning off somewhere between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m, only to return somewhere between 4 and 7 p.m. For a spell from early September to mid-October, the fog stays away and every day is around 75 degrees with the sun proudly showing off the entirety of daytime.

And, it is not like I did not love working the World Series last year, but, by the end of baseball season I do get tired. I think during baseball, I work and average of about 65 hours a week, and though I love everything I do, by now I am ready for a break.  Or, at least maybe just a 50-hour work week.

This, for example, is my first free weekend since March (well, not counting two weekends when Diane and I were on vacation). No games to work Friday, or Saturday, or Sunday. I have this column, and Monday I will have my KFFL piece due, but the Hotpage goes into off-season mode, and I get some weeks off from the USA Today (till I go to the Fall League in early November).

I know Ben-Hur is on TCM tomorrow, and though I have seen it too many times to count, in fact we own the DVD, I will watch because I just cannot resist. But, for the weekend, baseball and football are surely the focal point of the menu.

There is a really good book--"A Fine Balance," by Rohinton Mistry I have been reading that has sucked me in--so that will get some attention. And both the Biletones and Strictly Olga have gigs coming up, so the music room will get a workout.

I am looking forward to tracking the Giants and Rays and Cards as they try to limp in the post season.

But, it is the afternoon match-up between the Bears and the Packers that is really the event I am anticipating.

Of course, I now resent the fact that I actually "have" a team, for if the Ravens or Steelers defense is playing Chicago, I want the points, but even more I want Jay Cutler and his mates to do well. Sigh.

And, since Diane lives here now, there is no travelling to Chicago during the fall to visit. That means I lose the brilliant trees as they transform color and then shed their leaves. In fact I miss the smell of burning leaves, something common in Algonquin where Di lived, but strictly verboten in the air conscious east bay (I am not complaining since I like to breathe, but the smell is great).

This also means no Sundays at Buffalo Wild Wings with Mike Dudek and Dean Peterson and Al Koman and all my Windy City mates with whom I have been able to deepen friendships over the past four years.

Which means I will have to watch the Bears with the dogs, while Diane is studying, probably bugging her with incessent pleas of "watch this play."

I could do worse.

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