Thursday, October 30, 2008


I must admit, i am not a huge baseball fan--or a fan of Philadelphia sports-- but now having lived here in a subset of this great city for more than 10 years and married to a man whom i believe is one of THE biggest Philadelphia sports fans, I have to say that I actually understand how big this World Series win is for Philadelphia. This was realized after looking into the glistening eyes of my husband as he watched game five, part two and the final swing and miss that lead to Philadelphia winning the 2008 World Series, ending a 28 year drought.

Andy retraced his steps to me noting that his move to Philadelphia happened just months before the city won its last world championship in 1980. It truly is a once in a lifetime experience, and proudly we can say that our Philadelphia born children can share in this celebration. And for that I, too, am proud!

Congratulations, Philadelphia!
Phillies end championship drought with Game 5 defeat of Rays
Philadelphia Daily News
IT ENDED as it should have, with a perfect closer dropping to his knees and lifting his arms to the heavens, with a bat making contact with nothing but air, with 46,000 people waving and jumping and screaming in front of seats they never had a chance to use.
It ended after 25 years, plus 48 hours, at 9:58 on a frigid October evening.
It ended with camera bulbs popping and police lights flashing and all of it melting into a beautiful technicolor bliss as a sea of white jerseys spilled out of the dugout and onto the mound.
A sentence that has been 28 years in the making can now be written.
The Phillies are world champions.

"It's not easy in Philadelphia," veteran lefthander Jamie Moyer said as the Phillies celebrated a 4-3 victory over Tampa Bay that gave the city its first major sports championship in 25 years. "But when you win, it makes it that much sweeter."

It came at the end of one of the most calamitous 48-hour periods in the history of the World Series, one in which Game 5 was suspended in the middle of the sixth inning Monday night during a downpour. But it could not have finished more appropriately, with a double by 9-year veteran Pat Burrell setting up the winning run in the seventh and closer Brad Lidge shutting down the ninth to record his 48th consecutive save of the season.

The final out came at just before 10, on a slider that has carried Lidge to greatness, one that Rays hitter Eric Hinske did not come close to hitting.

"It's honestly very hard to control my emotions right now," said Lidge, who saved his seventh game of the postseason. "This is so incredible. I'm so happy to be here. I thank God, Jesus Christ, my family. These fans are amazing. I couldn't be happier right now."
Said backup catcher Chris Coste: "You couldn't write it up much better."

The previous 24 hours had been a study in patience, one last unforseen challenge for a team that has spent all season overcoming them. When they took the field late Monday afternoon for what was supposed to be the crowning moment of their careers, destiny seemed at hand. They had won their first two games at home, taking a 3-1 lead and putting themselves in position to become just the second team in the wild-card era to win the World Series while going undefeated at home. The only other squad in their company was the Yankees, an organization with a history far different than the one the Phillies were trying to erase. Their ace lefthander was on the mound, a 24-year-old superstar with a chance to set a postseason record for wins.

Then came the wind, and then the rain, and then the tarp, and then the sudden realization that if they were indeed to take the final step to championdom, they would do so in a fashion never before seen.

But by the time the Phillies took the field last night and the crowd took their seats and Geoff Jenkins led off the game (er, sixth inning) with a monster pinch-hit double off the wall in centerfield, all the events of the previous 2 days - and, for that matter, the previous 2 1/2 decades - faded into the background.

The wind chill in the 30s, the upstart Rays, the 2-day layoff between innings - gone.
"It was so cold, and once we got out here, we didn't feel cold anymore," Coste said. "It was like the energy of the stadium brought it from feeling like the 30s to feeling like it was 75. That's what it felt like when we got out here. It was incredible. Our crowd basically warmed us up."
Even after Rays outfielder Rocco Baldelli negated the run Jenkins ultimately scored with a solo home run in the top of the seventh, the emotion refused to run dry.

Burrell, whose performance and imperfections have cemented himself into Philadelphia lore, led off the seventh with a double to the deepest part of the ballpark. After exiting the game for pinch-runner Eric Bruntlett, who later scored the winning run on Pedro Feliz' single, he was met with a thunderous roar.

"To be able to help this team and to give this championship to this city, this is a dream come true," said Burrell, who first broke into the big leagues as a 23-year-old outfielder playing for a Phillies team that finished 69-93. "I don't have the words to express it."
Afterward, they partied. Bill Giles, the Phillies' longtime chairman. David Montgomery, the team's longtime president. As beers popped and champagne flowed in the clubhouse afterward, Burrell stood in the middle of it all, gazing at nothing in particular with a towel covering his mouth.

The journey that started in 1980 came to its much-anticipated conclusion last night. It did so thanks to a cast of homegrown talent and castoffs. Bruntlett, the "other guy" in the trade that brought Lidge to Philadelphia in the offseason, scored the winning run. Outfielder Jayson Werth, signed as a little-known free agent in 2007 coming off a potentially career-ending wrist injury, hit .444 for the series.

And then there was Cole Hamels, the young lefthander, the one-time top prospect, who earned the series MVP despite watching his stellar, six-inning outing cut short due to Monday's rain.
"We're losers no more," first baseman Ryan Howard said. "The organziation, we're winners. Nobody can take that away from the city of Philadelphia, and nobody can take that away from us."

High above it all, the wind still blowing, the city lights still shining in the background, a solitary red banner hovered silently, enjoying its final few moments alone.



"This is for Philadelphia," Charlie Manuel said as he was presented with the Commissioner's Trophy.

Never before has a manager been so right. *

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Mother's Right to Ask Questions Creates the End to a Friendship

I have experienced a whirlwind of emotions these past couple of weeks. For starters, our nanny, who I will call B, is newly pregnant, which we are thrilled about. She will make an amazing mother. She has loved our children as if they were her own for nearly two years now. She has always come up with terrific new and exciting games, spoke to them in a soft voice, instilled in them manners and independence, letters, numbers and how to care for others. She greatly helped potty train Alexandra. She was an amazing nanny, and a terrific friend. I use "was" because she’s decided to quit—with no notice which has since sent our lives into a tailspin. Not because of any inconvenience, but because of the snapped friendship now in disrepair.

B announced her pregnancy to me on a Tuesday as she knew we were having our kitchen remodeled and so there are quite a few chemical fumes from the various projects being performed and didn’t want to jeopardize her health and that of the baby, which I completely understand. She asked if she could keep the kids at her house while the work is being done. Fine, not a problem. So Wednesday was the first day this would occur and she would collect the children in the morning and take them to her house for the day. I would get them in the afternoon.

When she arrived that morning she informed me that she also was concerned about the cats that we have and the possibility that she could be exposed to toxicities that some cats carry as well as her asthma. Again, I thought this was fair even if it wasn’t my ideal situation. I would be concerned as well and would in no way want to jeopardize the life of myself or especially my unborn. She noted that she was having some tests performed by her doctor and that if they showed that she should steer clear that she would have to either keep the kids at her house until I find someone else to replace her or that I would have to replace her immediately. I agreed although I haven’t ever been to her home and thus I don’t know what kind of conditions they will be in though I trust B, I mean she’s been with us for a long time. She says this might all be of no concern and that she would let me know when her doctors calls sometime that day or the day following.

So, I pick the kids up in the afternoon from her house and for the first time have an opportunity to view her home’s interior. This is, after all, the place where they may be playing, sleeping, and eating for the time being until I can find a replacement. I have expressed my concerns about how I feel homes should have gates on their stairs to minimize any possibility of a toddler t take a tumble and asked if she needed any gates and that I have plenty for her to borrow while the kids are in her care under her roof. She assured me that she had plenty and that it was of no concern. So when I get to her house there is not a gate in place. There are no toys shown. I asked where the kids play and she tells me “right here in the family room” and the basement, which I did not see. So I ask where Annika will sleep. She says her spare room. Again, I have not seen this room. I did, however spot a plateful of coins in her kitchen on a low lying shelf which was in clear sight of my toddler. I was sort of speechless and felt terribly uncomfortable at that moment. The only comment I made was to remark on a beautiful oversized coffee table that she has. She noted that it was selected because of its soft edges.

So we work our way to the car and I place the kids in their seats. As I am ready to leave she tells me that her doctor has in fact advised her not to be in the house with the cats and would I be ok with the kids coming to her house until I find a replacement, which I will have to anyway because she’s pregnant and I will not have her forever anyway, right?

We have this back and forth about how it would be beneficial for me to find someone new but she agreed to watch the kids until then and for however long it took. I then express my concerns with how I didn’t see any toys, or the spaces where the kids would be playing (basement) or where they would be sleeping (spare room) and that she didn’t have any gates. Her reply was that the gates were not up because she was “one foot away from Annika” and that the toys were already put away in the giant coffee table which I had commented on. At no time, however, had she mentioned that while we were in the house. To this she says, “ now it sounds like you don’t trust me.” To that I replied that if these were her kids she would be asking the same questions. I just know she would. What mother in her right mind would not??

Needless to say the rest of the conversation was awkward but I reluctantly agreed to the kids going to her house Friday though I left crying to my friend Usha on the phone noting my concerns.

No more than three hours later, I get a phone call-- from B’s HUSBAND telling me that he’s concerned with her health and the current state of her pregnancy and that we should sever our ties effective immediately. He’d personally deliver my car seats and house key in the coming days. B couldn’t even call me herself, and worse, she didn’t say goodbye to my children whom she cared about so dearly.

I feel terrible. I feel hurt, sad. I resent her for leaving me in a lurch, and for caring so little for the friendship we forged over the past year and a half, and for my children. I feel like the bad guy. But why??

As a mother I am entitled (do you hear me? ENTITLED) to ask as many questions about the care my children are receiving, where they are to play, with what toys, in what rooms, etc, etc, etc, and that in no way should I make any excuses for doing so. These are my kids!!! I also have the right to call however many times I want, and to ask where my kids are throughout the day. I also have the right to know exactly what they ate, what time they slept, what game and toys they played with, when the took a poop, EVERYTHING!

I attribute her naïveté to her not having any children of her own just yet and KNOW that she will feel very differently when she has her own. I, too, thought I knew everything there was to know about kids before I had my own...

Maybe my strong feelings for my children were too much for her. Maybe I was too forward. Whatever the reason I'm not sure I ever will understand what happened and why. What i do know is that I never will compromise the health, safety, happiness and well being of my children. Never.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Friday, October 3, 2008

What An Outrage: Tainted Candy and Infant Formula. You wont believe how it got there!

Can someone tell me why we even do business with China???

With Halloween fast approaching it sickens me to think that once again we’re faced with having to dodge purchasing items for our children because of the negligence of certain government agencies to keep tabs on the manufacturing of consumer goods within their counties and others. This time it’s candy manufactured in China.

Wasn’t it nearly a year ago that we were having yet this same conversation about the toy industry and the lead that was coating the surfaces of hundreds of thousands of toys manufactured in, you guessed it, China that were eventually pulled from the market? At that time, parents all over the country were turning in now recalled toys and refraining from purchasing anything for their kids at the holidays.

This time the culprit is a chemical substance called melamine which is high in nitrogen, is used to make plastics and fertilizers and experts say some amount of the chemical may be transferred from the environment during food processing. But in China's case, suppliers trying to boost output are believed to have diluted their milk, adding melamine because its nitrogen content can fool tests aimed at verifying protein.

Melamine has been associated with contaminated infant formula and other Chinese products containing milk protein. INFANT FORMULA! This is a complete outrage! How can they do this!!
The contamination has been blamed for the deaths of four children and kidney ailments among 54,000 others. More than 13,000 children have been hospitalized and 27 people arrested in connection with the tainting.

Melamine can cause kidney stones, leading to kidney failure. Infants are particularly vulnerable.
On Wednesday, the Chinese government identified 15 more Chinese dairy companies as producing milk products contaminated with melamine, bringing the total to 20 companies. At least 100 batches of milk powder have been found to contain the chemical, according to data on the food safety administration's website.

Last week, California health officials announced it discovered traces of melamine in White Rabbit candy it tested. Queensway Foods Company Inc. of California distributed the candy and says it is recalling it.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is working with state and local governments to check for and test products that could possibly be contaminated with melamine. Last Friday, the FDA warned consumers not to consume White Rabbit Candy and Mr. Brown coffee products because of possible melamine contamination.

The vanilla-flavored candy has also been pulled from shelves in Hawaii, Asia and Britain, and tests in Singapore and New Zealand last week found White Rabbit sweets tainted with melamine. The Shanghai-based maker of the candy, Guan Sheng Yuan Co., said last week it was halting production of the sticky, taffy-like confection, an iconic brand beloved by generations of Chinese.

The candy is sold in more than 50 countries throughout Asia and the world, including most of the Chinatowns in the United States. Overseas sales have reached $160 million over the past five years.