Saturday, March 31, 2018

Baseball Facts & Favorite Moments Review

Image Source: Pixabay
Hello once again from the Baseball Contributor here on Review This!  It's Springtime, which means the thoughts of baseball fans everywhere turn to the start of the new MLB season.

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE baseball. It consumes my time from Opening Day to the last moment of the final game of the World Series every year.  During the season, the first thing I do every morning is check the baseball listings on TV ~ then plan my day around the times the game(s) are broadcast. I am a died-in-the-wool FANatic, and proud of it. 

In the winter I 'pine' for baseball season and spend my free time reading baseball books and watching baseball movies

My very favorite quote is by Bill Veeck:

There are only two seasons – winter and BASEBALL

Therefore, as we enjoy Opening Day and all the baseball games this year, I'll share some baseball moments and a few baseball facts to get you in the mood for the Major League Baseball season and any Minor League games you might be fortunate enough to be able to attend.


Baseball Honors Number 42 on Jackie Robinson Day


Jackie Robinson (Wikimedia)
April 15th is known as 'Jackie Robinson Day' throughout baseball, celebrating the life of Jackie Robinson and the retiring of his number 42. April 15, 1947 was the date of his MLB debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

In 1997, the 50 year anniversary of Robinson's debut, his No. 42 was retired across all of Major League Baseball. Only one player at the time was wearing that number (Mariano Rivera) and he was 'grandfathered' in and was the only active player allowed to wear No. 42 until his retirement in 2015.  Since then, no other active player will ever again be assigned number 42.  Instead, on April 15 each year, all players and teams throughout baseball wear number 42 on their uniform honoring Jackie's major contribution to baseball, which was that of breaking the color barrier.  In addition to the honor, celebrations are planned at many stadiums.

Jackie's 'legacy' lives on through 'Jackie Robinson Day' each April 15. Number 42 was special. 


The Shift – in Baseball


Normal baseball positioning
I've been watching baseball games all my life, yet there are still terms I haven't heard and/or don't know what they mean.  Most baseball terms have been coined over the years by sports writers and announcers as they reported the action on the field or the results of the game.

Baseball has its own ever-changing language, so its not surprising that even long-term baseball fans still have to look things up in order to understand what the broadcaster said.

The term 'shift' has been part of baseball terminology for many years, yet I can't recall it being used as often as it has in most recent years of baseball.  “The Shift is on”, the sportscaster tells us.  All of a sudden it seemed to me as if it was happening in every game I watch.  Finally I got out my trusty Baseball Dictionary and looked it up!


The 'Shift' means “to change fielding position;' to move defensive players from their traditional positions in the field to defend against a particular batters' way of hitting, or to be in a better position for a double play.”

All individual players move left or right to step into the path of the ball for fielding, But the shift in most recent years seems to involve half the players on the field moving to another position all at the same time before the batter even hits. I've begun paying closer attention to this move now that I know what they are talking about. My baseball education continues..... 


Doubled Off First Base


I watch a lot of baseball, following the games and players and listening to the announcer's descriptions of the action on a regular basis.


Derek Jeter at Bat  (Wikimedia)
On a Saturday afternoon in August 2014 I was watching the Red Sox-Yankees game being played at Fenway Park. Derek Jeter was on first base and took off for 2nd base when Jacoby Ellbury hit the ball into the outfield.  Unfortunately, the ball was caught and Derek was too far off base to get back safely.

The announcer stated that Jeter had been 'Doubled-Off'.  I basically knew what it meant, but even though I've heard the term often, I never really thought about the definition.  Suddenly quite curious, I got out my Baseball Dictionary to look up the exact meaning.  


To be 'doubled-off' means 'caught off base and put out before tagging up after the batter has flied out, resulting in a Double Play!'   


This 'doubled-off' double play was a most unusual happening for Derek Jeter.  Not to worry, his two-run double in the third inning sparked a 4-run inning, and the New York Yankees won the game 6-4.


Minor League Memories


Rochester Redwings Frontier Statium (c) Personal Photo

My family are fans of the Rochester Redwings, the top Triple A minor league baseball team for the Minnesota Twins located in Rochester, NY, and we go to their games often.  A long ball was hit one night directly toward where my family was sitting.  Everyone is jumping up & down hollering "I've got it, I've got it", except my mother who remained sitting down.  Like a 'heat-seeking' missile, that ball headed straight for my mom and hit her right over the heart. She wasn't badly injured, but had a huge bruise for weeks.  My brother really wanted to have the baseball, but mom wouldn't give it to him, saying she had the badge of honor proving she'd caught it.



Source: Pixabay

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Friday, March 30, 2018

KitchenAid Pizza Wheel Review

KitchenAid Pizza Wheel Review
To be honest, I take my KitchenAid pizza wheel for granted these days. Until recently, I had totally forgotten my search for a good pizza cutter.  My sister was visiting and I pulled out my trusty KitchenAid pizza wheel.  When she exclaimed "where did you get that pizza wheel!", I momentarily stopped cutting the pizza and glanced down at the utensil I was using.  The memories of old wobbly pizza wheels filled my mind.  The years of having to roll the wheel back and forth a dozen times on each cut resurfaced.  I instantly appreciated the wonderful pizza wheel I was holding.

KitchenAid has become a name we can trust to make sturdy, serviceable kitchen utensils.  The pizza wheel is truly among my favorites, along with the previously reviewed ice cream scoop.  The designers at KitchenAid clearly understand what a cook needs in the kitchen.  They make durable kitchen utensils that are strong enough to hold up under daily use.


The KitchenAid Pizza Wheel


A KitchenAid pizza wheel is not what I would call sharp when compared to my chef knife, but it will easily cut pizza crust.  Unless I have burned the pizza crust, the pizza wheel will cut in one smooth stroke.  Frankly, I don't want an extremely sharp pizza wheel since my pizza pan is not self-healing. 

The blade wheel does not wobble, which is a huge improvement over previously owned pizza wheels.  It is made of stainless steel, therefore will never rust.

The handle is hefty and easy to grip.  Plus, the KitchenAid pizza wheel is dishwasher safe.

I would like to address comments about the center metal bolt rusting.  By simply rinsing the pizza wheel after each use, before I put it in the dishwasher, I have avoided any rust issue.  If you do see rust, clean it off with salt and lemon.  Simply coat the bolt with salt, squeeze lemon juice over the salt and let it sit for a few hours.  Then, wipe it clean.  Be sure to rinse with clear water after you have wiped it clean.  That will remove rust when it first starts and you will avoid having to replace your pizza wheel due to a rusty bolt. 

Every home should have at least one reliable, sturdy pizza wheel.   Now that I know my own sister doesn't have one, I'm sure you can guess what she will be receiving for the next gift giving occasion.    


Another KitchenAid Pizza Wheel


While writing this article, I noticed there is another Kitchenaid pizza cutter available that I have never seen before.  This one clearly has a sharper blade.  It comes with a blade protector for safer storage.  It does cost about twice as much as my pizza wheel featured above.


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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Embark Dog DNA Test Review

Embark Dog DNA Test Kit

Dogs are such wondrous mysteries.  When we adopt a rescue animal, there is this vast unknown.  It is only natural to have a desire to discover as much as possible about a new family member.  In the quest to uncover a newly adopted fur baby’s history, more and more pet parents are choosing to explore their dog’s breed mix, heritage, and health profiles through DNA analysis.  This is where the Embark Dog DNA Test comes into play.

Finn's Disability is Congenital
I have had so many questions about my newest dog, Finn.  Because he was rescued from a situation of extreme neglect, and because Finn has a congenital condition (Medial Patella Luxation), it seemed especially critical to know more about potential health issues.  Of course, like most people who choose to have their dogs tested, I was also excited to gain a greater insight into Finn’s family tree.  One of my biggest questions, with regard to Finn being rescued with a group of dogs (a hoarding case), has centered on what his relationship might be to the other dogs that were trapped in the same household with him.

My decision to send Finn’s DNA to Embark’s veterinary geneticists came about when a fellow adopter of one of the dogs saved with Finn spoke to me about Clark’s DNA results.  I suspected that Finn and Clark might share a Border collie ancestor.  Curiosity led me to go online and order my Embark Dog DNA Test so I could compare Clark and Finn’s results.  Amazingly, my test kit arrived within three business days. 

Finn's DNA Sample
Collecting Finn’s DNA sample took just 30 seconds.  Using the swab in the kit, I soaked up a small amount of saliva and secured the sample in the vial provided for preservation.  Mailing the vial could not have been easier.  A postage paid label and box were provided.

Embark is exceptional when it comes to communication.  At every step along the way, I was notified by email and text message about what was happening with Finn’s DNA sample.  For instance, I knew when it was in the centrifuge, when it was being purified, when the DNA was being replicated (one million copies!), and when the geneticists were beginning to build Finn’s profile chromosome by chromosome. 
Finn's Health Summary
First, I received Finn’s health summary.  I was relieved to see that he is clear of each of the common genetic conditions identified for his breed mix.  Competitors charge extra for each test.  I appreciated the advantage of having all of these genetic disease tests included in the price of the Embark test kit.  As a bonus, a custom report was provided for Finn’s vet.  



Finn's Breed Mix
Next, the greatly anticipated breed mix report arrived through my online portal.  Wow!  I was expecting Finn to be part poodle and part Border collie.  That was confirmed.  What I didn’t anticipate were all of the other interesting breed mixes and percentages.  

Finn's Family Tree

There are other advanced features and analyses too involved to cover in this review.  One thing I will mention is that Finn now has the opportunity to contribute to cutting-edge research.  When I chose the Embark Dog DNA Test, one of the factors that appealed to me most was that of the ongoing research which would provide me with continual updates. 

Though there are less expensive DNA tests, with faster results, I am completely sold on Embark's comprehensive package.  I feel the cost was reasonable for what I gained in terms of knowledge about Finn, reassurance about his genetic disease risk, and the fascinating details about canine genes.  I highly recommend Embark's Dog DNA Test.










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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Paths of Glory Book Review

Jeffrey Archer Paths of Glory Book Review
My first Jeffrey Archer novel, Paths of Glory, came highly recommended recently by my husband.  I asked him for a good book to read and he presented me with five or six choices from his own collection and this is the one that I chose. 

Interestingly, this book recommendation came as I was working my way through my next book club assignment, Travels by Michael Crichton, which also includes a great deal of adventure travel and mountain climbing. Unfortunately, I was struggling with Travels, which though interesting is less of a novel and more of a series of short stories, so I set it aside and picked up Paths of Glory.

Paths of Glory turned out to be a real page turner. Set in the early 1900s in England and on various mountains, it details the life of George Mallory who was born to climb. From the youngest age, he climbed everything that he possibly could including a few things that he should not and it was also at a young age that he set his sights on conquering Mount Everest, an obsession that he lived with throughout his life and that eventually would cost him his life.

The story is a novel but is based on the true story of Mallory's life and his two loves, his wife Ruth and Mount Everest. A period drama, it is interesting and intriguing and of interest to even those of us who have no aspirations to climb a mountain.

George Mallory was a smart student though perhaps not studious. He studied history, served in World War 1 and eventually became a school teacher though he never gave up his obsession with mountain climbing. He was born in 1886 and lived until 1924 when he perished on Mount Everest.  It is still unclear whether he actually accomplished his goal and made it to the top and therefore, whether it is he or Sir Edmund Hillary who was the first to conquer Mount Everest. According to Wikipedia, this book was  or is somewhat controversial because of the fact that it challenges who conquered Mount Everest first and because of some factual errors.

Here's a short video clip of author Jeffrey Archer discussing the book:


I believe that Paths of Glory is a great read for anyone who likes a well done adventure story. A mystery story. A period drama. For world travellers who like adventure or for armchair travellers, who just like to read of adventures set in other parts of the world.

Yes, Paths of Glory is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me.  You can order your copy of the book in various formats from Amazon here.  I think the book begs to be made into a movie. However, according to Life Spectator, this book was being turned into a movie until another movie called Everest emerged and this one was shelved.

Have you read Paths of Glory? Are you interested? Would you like to climb a mountain or maybe you already have?

See you at the 
top of the mountain!
(Well, maybe not but
definitely at the book store.)

Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

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Monday, March 26, 2018

No Fourth River Book Review

No Fourth River book review.
I just finished reading No Fourth River by Christine Clayfield. As soon as I read the final word, I turned to my laptop to begin writing this review. Christine has shared her life with us - from her very painful beginnings to the moment she took control of her own life and beyond. She shows us how she created safety, happiness, love, and success and assures us that we can do the same. 

Christine was born into a family in which her father's parenting style was over-the-top abusive. At the tender age of 5 (just old enough for kindergarten in the US), she was sent to a boarding school with nuns who not only shamed and tormented Christine but encouraged the other students to do the same. So it is no surprise that Christine turned to sex and alcohol as a teen. Then things turned really bad. 


No Fourth River by Christine Clayfield


Set in Belgium and the UK, Christine describes her life from age 5 to 58. She describes how the actions and inaction of others leave scars - physical and emotional. 


No Fourth River's Cast of Characters



Christine's Father - Christine's father is a wealthy businessman and well-known in their village. We are given the impression that he's ruthless in business and clearly he's ruthless in his expectations for his wife and children. 

Christine's Mother - Christine's mother conspires with the children to have happier times, to hide some things from their father, and provide for their material needs. And yet she is unable or unwilling to stop the abuse.


"Mum regularly got the worst of my father, and she never seemed to be able to please him for long, although she never gave up trying"
"I remember my mother telling me once, in later life, that she stayed in the relationship because of my father's money."

Christine's Brothers - Of the 5 children in the family, all are boys except Christine. The children take their roles in the family. Kane takes the role of being most able to meet dad's expectations and avoids some of the physical punishments. However, it is clear that even he has not escaped unscathed.

Christine's Husband - After Christine leaves home and is living independently, yet constantly in the realm of poor choices, she marries her 1st husband.  During that marriage she is nearly murdered. She decides "enough is enough". Christine finds her voice, and the trajectory of her life changes. 

Shame & Doubt - Shame and Doubt are so tangible in this story that it as though they become part of the list of main characters. Humans make decisions, usually horrible decisions, based on Shame and Doubt. Christine was not immune to this. Through the story she describes how shame and self-doubt initially controlled her but then how she learned to take control of herself and her life - relegating shame and doubt to the shadows. 

Well-meaning friends and miscellaneous onlookers - I have learned in my experiences at work and in life that it often seems easier to take the physical abuse from the abuser than the hurtful things they say. And sometimes, even more hurtful, are the reactions (real or imagined) of friends or onlookers.


"I felt their eyes on me and their pity and anger. It felt terrible to be so exposed like this, for people to see how my husband treated me."

There are many other very important characters in this story, but I don't want to risk any spoilers. I want you to discover these important people naturally as the story unfolds. To learn how Christine finds her true self and not only survives but launches into a life of her creation.



This book begins with the harsh realities of child abuse, teen rebellion, and domestic violence. The subject matter is TOUGH. There are no gratuitously violent scenes in the book. However, there are many violent scenes described. I felt nothing was told in a shocking manner just for the shock value and to sell the story. But the truth of this subject matter cannot be told without exposing the cruelty that occurs when people choose to abuse. The lessons can't be learned without honesty - even if that honesty is what nightmares are sometimes made of.

Christine Clayton describes the transition from the abuse and turmoil to her life as a happily married wife, successful business woman, public speaker and advocate. She ends the book with an afterword that includes some of her philosophy, why she doesn't blame her abusers, the reality of some of her health issues as a result of the abuse, and 12 valuable messages meant to help others.

Christine writes: 
"If I can change one person's life who will read this book, I will have achieved my goal. I have shared my life experiences and hope to make a difference in someone else's life" 

Having worked in the field of social work for over 20 years, I am quite sure that her story, her style of telling it, and her sharing of the lessons learned will help many people in a variety of ways. I highly recommend No Fourth River. This is the most important story I've read in quite some time.


Note: I received a copy of this book from the author for review. However, all comments are mine and based on my honest reaction to the book.


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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Five Easter Home Decor Ideas

Easter Home Décor Product Items Here - by Funkthishouse.com
Decorating for Easter can be as simple as changing the centerpiece on the table, to a more dramatic change, such as changing out the art on the wall with a seasonal Easter/Spring piece.

Let's review five Easter home décor ideas that are both traditional and unconventional.

1. Be Unconventional and Decorate a Dollhouse for Easter

Heads-up Grandparents, this is for you! Mom and Dad too of course. It's a great idea for parents (Grand and all) who don't have time to decorate the 'real' house for Easter.

Get a dollhouse and decorate it, it gives the kids something to play with and something to decorate.

Place the dollhouse in a central location, perhaps on a table in the foyer, and decorate it with Easter related characters, eggs, fun dollhouse lights, or have the kids make items for it. Get Easter cut-out books for the kids to decorate with, or just make décor items from scratch.

2. Decorate the Table for Easter

Our dining room table or kitchen table sits ready to be used as the focal point for the special occasions yet we tend to avoid using it.

The problem with using a table to decorate is ensuring it's still usable for eating. But hey, no problem, just keep it simple.

Cover your table(s) with an Easter themed tablecloth or Easter placemats and feature a lovely Easter centerpiece.
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3. Place Easter Bouquets or Easter Ornaments in the Main Rooms - Add an Easter Wreath

The easiest way to add a touch of Easter, is to include a bouquet or ornament in the room. You don't have to go with a standard flower bouquet (although that's always lovely) ... try an Easter egg tree or a lighted Easter display ornament.

Add an Easter wreath to the front door or add several inside the house. Place one or two in the foyer and of course find a place for one in the living or dining rooms. Again be sure to scroll down and view some examples.

4. Easter Wall Art - Add Fun Creative Pieces to the Wall for Spring

The nice thing about Easter wall art is that it works for both spring and summer. Get a piece or two and put it up in the foyer, living room or dining room for both seasons. You'll have Easter covered and the fun continues through all the warm weather.

5. Easter Pillows and Throw Blankets

The standard décor pieces for a seasonal change are pillows and blankets. They're easy to display and easy to put away. If you have pillow covers, you can just cover your existing pillows. That's a particularly popular way to change out pillows, as pillow liners are easy to store.

Changing your throws and pillows to pastels or soft tones also helps to lighten up a room giving it that fresh, airy appeal.

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Happy Easter :)



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Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
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