Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thankful for Long Weekends

I've been blogging at much slower pace as of late and I'm okay with that.  I hope my readers are as well, because I've found a groove again and I don't think the rate of change is going to pick up much in the near future.

My wife and had five consecutive days off around Thanksgiving, which in itself is somewhat of a small miracle. Even on her day off she often attends meetings at work and my schedule can get quite clogged with coaching responsibilities.

We had planned to take off Wednesday for Starved Rock and do some serious hiking, but the combination of rain and a sick cat (Gus) nixed that idea. Instead we left early Thanksgiving morning, did some hiking, had lunch with my in-laws at the state park, and then hiked some more. It was peaceful on the trails ... waterfalls ... canyons ... bald eagles.  It was a pretty cool way to spend the holiday.
Mom-in-law and Laura behind a water fall.

That evening we drove north to a suburb of Chicago and stayed at a hotel. Laura and I were both needing a little dinner, but nothing too crazy after enjoying the buffet at Starved Rock. (They had biscuits and gravy on the buffet. How awesome is that!)  Because most of the restaurants were closed I volunteered to walk to the Walmart about a quarter mile of a way to pick up some microwaveable soup. I left at 5:30pm and got out of there at 5:58pm. Did you know that Black Friday starts at 6:00pm Thursday evening? Talk about a scene . . . people everywhere counting down the seconds so they get their special deal. Wow.
On Friday Laura and I spent the morning at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago. My wife absolutely adores plants, and I love her, so this was a fun time for us both.  She took me out to Lulu's for lunch, which was a place I walk to for lunch when she was still in grad school. I feel head-over-heals for their jalapeno cheeseburger back in the day . . . so good!  I tried it again, thirteen years later, and it wasn't quite the same. Such is life.
Found this T-Rex celebrating in the conservatory!

That afternoon I dropped Laura off at King Spa, which is place where you walk around naked, hopping in and out of cold and hot pools, while naked, with other people around. Yeah, I love my wife, but I'm doing that. Nope.

I went to two card shops, one in Buffalo Grove and another in Palatine. I found a nickel box at the first store and I WENT TO TOWN! Man, you Chicago folk don't know how good you have it! The main beneficiary will be my BWTP Secret Santa recipient. You, my card loving friend, will be very happy. The second card shop in Palatine didn't have much I really liked, but I did find this Kosuke Fukudome Red Hot Rookies card for a buck and some BOGO card supplies.

After the two stores I found a Barnes & Noble and picked up some more Cubs reading material and got a small percentage off for using my teacher's discount card. We don't get many perks, but I'm pretty happy when I get to cash in. The trip to the two card shops and one book store, with driving, took nearly four hours, which was just about how long my wife wanted at King Spa. Being naked around strangers for 3+ hours...  or baseball cards?  Yeah, I made the right decision.
Black Friday . . . 50% off!  Woot!

Saturday, after a walking through the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Lincoln Park Conservatory and along Lake Michigan we headed home. Chicago, even when it's around 45 degrees, is a pretty fun town.
Floating XMas Trees at the Lincoln Park Conservatory

It was a really nice trip overall. We enjoyed each other's company, some neat restaurants, and with all the walking and hiking I don't feel like I gained too much weight over the holiday weekend.

Even better, I kind of feel out of my "The Cubs won, so now what?" funk. I think the long weekend was just what I needed.

Thanks for stopping by and belated Happy Turkey Day to you all.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Making Some Completely Arbitrary Decisions

I stopped by my parents' place this afternoon and my mom asked me, "So now what?"
She's right. Completely spot on. That's the feeling I've been dealing with since the Cubs World Series victory finally registered internally. I've been cheering for this team for as long as I can remember, they finally reach the top of the mountain, and . . . now what?
I've made some complete arbitrary decisions on what to do now.  I've started exercising more, which I suppose is a nice outlet.

On days I don't meet up with my new workout partner I've been trying to go on walks, because my knee doesn't like to run on pavement anymore. I was introduced to the Effectively Wild podcast and walk the neighborhood until I complete the latest episode. I enjoy some educated baseball talk. 

I fired up my OOTP game again and I'm currently in the middle of creating a fictional world. I used to take the GM position for the Cubs and play until I won the World Series. That idea seems a little fruitless now. I'm going to manage the Rockhampton Pikelets! I just created the team's logo and it's a short stack of pancakes. Should be a fun time!

I still find I have a little free time to mess around with now that I'm not reading every article on the interwebs about the Cubs.

And please don't judge me, but I began watching episodes of the A-Team on Netflix in the evenings instead of reading about prospects. It's a predictable, but fun show that guarantees at least one chase scene and one explosion per episode. What's not to like?
 Know what I still like even though the Cubs accomplished their goal?

Yeah, Cubs on cardboard. I'm fairly predictable, I know.
This package is from Brian, of Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary, and it's got a great assortment: a first pitch card, Schwarber and Russell rookies, Shiny Slammin' Sammy, a parallel of Rizzo, Sandbergs for my PC, Cubs in other uniforms, and a freakin' ROCK SHOULDERS autograph.
 Oh, but there's more!  Nelson Perez was a fun guy to cheer for when he played in P-Town. And the Mark Grace card, above, is from a late 80s Peoria Chiefs minor league set. I actually have that card autographed, but now I have one to go back in the the binder!
Billy? Yeah, he's here too! . . . One green cracked ice parallel and Wrigley Field insert sporting a picture I haven't seen used before.
 Speaking of the Wrigley Field 100 Years insert set, I'm slowly getting closer to completion! Only sixteen more to go!

So yeah, this winter is going to be long and undoubtedly bone-chillin, but it'll be nice to redirect some of my time to new endeavors and hopefully hang out with my friends and family a little bit more as well. Friends and family are kind of like vintage Cubs cardboard . . .
1950 Bowman card of Johnny Schmitz

Both have been around a while and both are certain to make you smile.

Brian, thanks for a super package! 👍
(Edit: Brian included two card to fill holes in my Cubs FrankenSet!  You da man!)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

First Cardboard Post as Eamus Catuli!

I logged 955 posts under the "Waiting 'til Next Year..." heading, and this is my first post about cards as the new Eamus Catuli!  Thank you to all for the positive feedback about the name change, but it still feels really weird.

David, from Alaska, sent me a PWE out of the blue the other day . . . and it was simply fantastic.

There is little more I love in this cardboard collecting world than adding a shiny, new Cubs card to one of my player collections.
 The card you see above is a 2016 Donruss Optic Masters of the Game card of Ryne Sandberg numbered 005/149. It's the 818th different card of Ryno I've been able to add to my collection, and what a fine addition it is!

Next up is a custom card from David that made me a little sad.
 See what I mean? 😢 Doesn't the Vogelmonster look sad in that picture? Could it be because he's no longer in the Cubs organization?  Or maybe it's because he didn't fair so well in his first taste of the big leagues?  I should be happy, because this is my first card of the Vogelmonster in a Mariners uniform, and Dan gets a fair shot at a legitimate career with the change of scenery, but instead it's very bittersweet.

Why bittersweet? The VOGELMONSTER was/is my guy!  But then the Cubs traded Vogelbach to Seattle for Mike Montgomery, who earned his first career save by sercuring the final out of the World Series. It was well documented during in late October how Joe Maddon lost faith in all bullpen arms except those attached to Aroldis Chapman, Carl Edwards Jr. and Mike Montgomery.

Montgomery seems like a guy who might catch on with the Cubs for the long haul as either a high leverage arm out of the bullpen OR as the #5 starter. I think he'll take Travis Wood's spot in the pen in 2017 and spot start from time-to-time, but we'll have to wait and see.

I picked up this 2008 Razor auto, numbered 25/25, of Mike Montgomery from Ebay for about $7 shipped. That's not a bad price considering what Cubs stuff is going for these days. I like it because it doesn't mention the Royals or Kansas City anywhere on the card, and with all the blue it might as well be a Cubs card. For the record, I'm not starting a Montgomery PC, but it is a nice addition to my Cubs box.

David, thanks for the surprise PWE! I really appreciate it!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Changing the Name of the Blog

I guess I'm a little slow getting around to the name change thing:
 "Waiting 'til Next Year..." is something I've been doing since I became a baseball fan, which makes this a tough transition.

 Honestly, I didn't think the Cubs would ever tip the scales during the lifetime of my blog. When I started blogging in 2011 they had already logged more than a century's worth of futility. I chose a blog name that I thought had tremendous staying power, but I couldn't be happier to say I was wrong. 
It's taken some time, but I think I finally came up with something that I'll enjoy writing on notes of trade packages to my fellow bloggers.

On Sheffield Avenue, behind the right field bleachers of Wrigley Field is the Lakeview Baseball Club building. For the last twenty years the facade of the building has sported the "Eamus Catuli!" sign with numbers.

"Eamus Catuli!" can loosely be translated to "Let's Go Cubs!" This is obviously a saying that I can get behind.

The "AC" stands for "Anno Catulorum," which again is another Latin translation for "Year of the Cubs."

The numbers to the right should really be separated somehow, because they are pretty confusing otherwise. The first two show how long it has been since the Cubs won a division crown. The second pair of numbers reflect the quantity of years since the Cubs captured the pennant, and the last three in the photo above... well... I think you get the idea.

The picture above was from the 2012 season, thus four years since they won the NL Central in 2008, 67 years since they were crowned NL Champions in 1945, and 104 years since they won the World Series.

 The sign gets changed after every season and now shows nothing but zeros. Very nice!
After the 2008 season the sign had to be expanded to allow for a 100 to fit on the far right, which upped the total to seven places for numbers. Rumor has it the sign has been shortened back down to six numerical place holders again, but I can't find photo evidence. I guess the owners figure if it takes another century to win the World Series that it won't be their problem to fix the sign!

So, there you go. New name, but the same blog with baseball cards, and the same intermittently random material sprinkled in for good measure.

Thanks for stopping by and for pushing me to make a change. It was needed and it still makes me smile.

Eamus Catuli!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Collective Mind

Just a quick trade post as I had a nice package from Greg, of The Collective Mind, arrive today. My mind is tinkering with the idea of changing my blog's name, but I haven't come up with anything interesting enough to share. Since the Cubs won the World Series, which is really weird to type, I've been really apathetic about cards. I'm sure it's just a phase, as I have material to post, but I'm just not feeling it right now.

I always like to thank those who have taken the time and effort to complete a trade with a trade post, so here we go!

 First up we have two new Kerry Wood cards for my player collection, which now stands at 479.

I like how Greg used masking tape to secure the pile of cards AND added a note. That's mind kind of blogging trader!

I'm still confused by these 1972 Topps In Action cards.  The fronts are nice enough, and this Billy Williams is a sweet addition to my collection, but . . . 
Why is J.R. Richard on the back?  So very confused.

I never got to see Dave Kingman play, but I think I would have been a fan of his.
 I think the front picture is from a celebrity softball game, because the bat he is holding looks a little off.
 He hit a home run in all four divisions in one season?  Now, that's pretty cool!

These 1981 Topps Coca Cola cards were a late addition to the trade. Old school odd balls for the win!
 I love the powder blue away jerseys, but I don't ever want to see the Cubs play in those again.  They resemble pajamas too closely for my tastes.

Here are the cards which started our trade discussions:
Thirty-one Conlon cards from Greg puts me at 60% completed threshold for the entire 1,430 card set. Slowly, but surely, I'm getting there.
Most of the cards I need are from the last two editions and I might just see if I can track down a box to break.  That would be fun!

Thanks for the trade, Greg.  It was a lot of fun thumbing through my cards trying track down items from your want list!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

It's Finally Sinking In

It's Saturday evening, some 60+ hours removed from the last out of the World Series, and I am still emotionally drained. The playoff games did not mesh well with my sleep schedule, which did not help my state of mind. Couple that with my predisposition for Rom-Coms, feel good stories, and all things sentimental and I was pretty much a hot mess the past two days.
I enjoy a good cry when they come around and I think I've already met my quota for the next few years. I keep watching highlight reels, interviews with the players, parade and rally footage and somehow even the seemingly benign anecdotal stories just overwhelm me... it all started with local boy, Ben Zobrist, knocking in the go ahead run in the tenth inning:
I had to teach the next morning so I went to bed happy after a couple of post game interviews and didn't stay up for the MVP selection. Ben grew up in a town thirty minutes east of P-town, the same town I went to college in. I've met Ben on a couple of separate occasions and he truly is one of the good guys on this earth. When I tried to describe his at-bat to my wife the next morning and how he had won the MVP trophy I couldn't get through my story without getting choked up.

I saw this picture of Theo (below), wearing a Cub mascot head, obviously living it up and having the time of his life, and I realized I'm not really wired that way.
I didn't go buy a World Series Champion shirt at Dick's Sporting Goods at one in the morning like a good percentage of P-town did.
 I didn't take the day off from work to travel to Chicago to watch the parade...
and I was okay with catching the rally in Grant Park on the internet the next day.

And, I'm certainly not the guy who goes on a bender.

I'm the guy who sits comfortably on the couch, as the hour approaches midnight on an early November night, and tells his fifteen year-old cat that THIS GAME was the reason we've watched so many Cubs games together.  Poor Gus... he's watched a lot of bad Cubs baseball, but at least he's had a warm lap to sit on through it all.

I'm the guy in the school building everyone wanted to say "Congratulations" to the next morning. Did they care that I was in the middle of explaining how to implicitly differentiate and equation to a class full of seniors at 7:30a.m.?  No.  Did I mind? Nope, I didn't much mind either and I think all my seniors understood how a big a day it was for me as well.
The morning before Game 7.
I think I may be the last Cubs-centric baseball card blog to comment on the World Series win. That's fine. I've taken the time soak the victory in and really enjoyed all the emotions. I've read many good posts from all over the "cardsphere" but I think my favorite came from Can't Have Too Many Cards. This one struck me a chord with me:
"At some point rooting for a team is like love. You give your heart and you're sometimes rewarded with joy. Sometimes your heart gets broken."

I think it's all the heartbreak in the past that has made this World Series Championship so joyful. So many good people, family, friends, and players have come and gone without celebrating a championship on the north side of Chicago. Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, and Harry Caray come to mind.
 I like to think they're all celebrating with us in some fashion.

There have been so many excellent story lines for the team I love to follow, but I'll just mention one, because this post is already getting longer than I intended . . .

 The Grandpa Rossy #yearlongretirementparty was so much fun to watch unfold this season. I scratched my head, like so many other Cub fans, when he signed as a free agent, but his persona and leadership skills won me over. His throwing error in Game 7 was so out of character for him, but likewise was his homer, which made me pause during the game . . . Was this really happening?
The above card, the lone one in his post, will hopefully arrive in my mailbox within the month and it'll easily be one of my Top 5 favorite cards in my collection. Yep, Topps Now finally sucked me in.

As I wait for my Grandpa Rossy auto I'll continue to soak it in.
I'll watch the Cubs on SNL tonight (edit: link updated) and play Eddie Vedder's "All The Way" video, and read all the Cubs-centered material I can find on the interwebs. 

And yes, I'll probably shed a few more tears as I continue to digest it all . . . but make no mistake about it, they are tears of joy.

Thank you for reading and thank you to the Chicago Cubs for making me an emotional wreck.