New neighbors

I was at the kitchen sink when I was distracted by movement outside the window. (My attention span is extremely short for domestic chores!) I stood captivated for several minutes, watching these two young deer in my backyard.

Next thing you know, I'll be bird-watching.


Guard dog

My dear friend Leah loves ugly things. A few years ago, she found a heavy stone poodle at a flea market and decided that I needed to have it. I have stubbed my toe on the zombie poodle a few times, but couldn't bring myself to get rid of the dog. With the help of Leah's incorrigible mother, the poodle now has an outfit for every season.

Now, things have come full circle. My nieces and nephews come to visit me and one of their favorite activities is to dress the dog. I heard one of them last week: "I want a puppy just like this." I guess this is just further proof of the old adage: beauty is in the eye of the beholder.


The Sears Tower

Traveling with my father on a road trip was always an adventure. I'm sure it was a cacophony of noise and questions for my parents. As we drove through Chicago fairly frequently, one of the things we always wanted to see was the Sears Tower (recently renamed Willis Tower). We were captivated by the idea of the tallest building in the world. My father's favorite joke on the road was to point out the window on the Skyway at this building. "Look, girls! It's the Sears Tower!" You would think that we would not fall for this trick more than once, but we did. So it was with a small smile and a heaping helping of nostalgia, that I pointed out the building to my nieces on the recent road trip. "Look, girls! It's the Sears Tower!"


Game 8: Flooded fields

Missing key players and having had a week off, the Tiefel Tigers were unsure what to expect in the 7:00 game against Trinity Equestrian Center last Thursday, July 7. Clouds were rolling in and a storm appeared on the horizon. Jill Tiefel started as pitcher, with Gretchen Tiefel subbing as catcher. Elizabeth Plath took first base, Tim Burns filled in at second base, while Mark Tiefel covered third base. Jer Gurgel handled his usual position at shortstop. The outfield was comprised of Paul Tiefel III, Rebekah Carstensen, Jarrod Lentz and Emily Tiefel.

As the visiting team, the Tigers struck first by scoring five runs in the first inning. Light sprinkles turned into steady showers as spectators scurried for cover during the second inning. At the end of the second inning, the sky opened up and a fierce downpour caused the game to be halted. After the rain abated and the field drained, the Tigers continued the game. The final score was 12-1.

Noteworthy on the night:
  • Bek Carstensen would like it duly noted for the record: She was on base all four times she batted. 
  • Mark's comment summed up the evening's playing conditions. "This may be the only time my armpits have been the driest part of my body." 
  • This was Gretchen's first game of the season, as she subbed for Joelle, sidelined with a shoulder injury from a tubing accident.

BOX SCORE: Mark Tiefel (2B, 2 1B), Elizabeth Plath (BB), Jer Gurgel (2B), Jill Tiefel (1B, BB), Jarrod Lentz (2 1B), Rebekah Carstensen (3 1B), Tim Burns (2 1B), Emily Tiefel (BB), Paul Tiefel III (2B, 1B)


Library of Congress

Dear readers...you know I have an affinity for libraries. So you can imagine how I felt as I stepped into the largest library in the world, the Library of Congress.

The Library of Congress was established in 1800. Thomas Jefferson sold his personal library (over 6000 volumes) to the Library of Congress after the war of 1812 destroyed most of the original collection. Many of these books were destroyed in 1851 by another fire, but the remaining books are still on display. I was misty-eyed as I viewed those books in person. And seeing the Gutenberg Bible was astounding.

The size of the library is mind-boggling. About 10,000 items a day are added to the collection. Thirty-two million books are in the catalog. Three buildings make up the library: the Jefferson (seen below), the Madison and the Adams.


For a bibliophile such as myself, it was a near-spiritual experience.  I only had 40 minutes, but it was a great 40 minutes. Beautiful.


Game 7: Slugging out a tough win

The Tiefel Tigers ate a big portion of humble pie in week 6 as nothing seemed to go right. Despite fielding gaffes, bad base-running and mediocre batting, the team won 6-5.

BOX SCORE: Paul Tiefel III (2 1B), Elizabeth Plath (1B), Jer Gurgel (3B, 1B), Hannah Tiefel (1B), Jarrod Lentz (1B), Jill Tiefel (2 1B, BB), Tim Burns (2 1B), Joelle Noeldner (BB), Rebekah Carstensen (1B)


Toy sword

At Ford's Theater, my sister pointed out this toy sword that was owned by Tad Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln's son. I was amazed. Can you imagine this sword being sold as a "toy" nowadays? If my nephews used this sword, I'm sure there would be some serious repercussions. :)


The cost of freedom

For me, Sept. 11, 2001 dawned like any other day, but by the time the sun set, the world was changed for millions of Americans, including myself. I remember the incredulous horror, the suspended disbelief and the subsequent confusion in the days following 9-11.

Recently, I had the privilege of going to the temporary Flight 93 Memorial near Somerset, Pennsylvania. As I listened to Wendy, the National Park Service ranger on duty, somberly and respectfully recount the timeline of the day, I was moved anew. We are blessed to live in a country where ordinary citizens stand up for our nation and for each other.

The permanent memorial is under construction and will be dedicated on the ten year anniversary. I hope see the finished project one day, but in the meantime, if you can see the temporary memorial, do so. It's worth the trip. Sometimes, the word "history" conjures up thoughts of ancient Rome or the Revolutionary War: events that happened long before we took our first steps. This memorial reminded me that each of us is part of history. We're shaping it one day at a time.


The importance of punctuation

I saw this sign on a restaurant register last week. Apparently, there is a statute of limitations on apologies. But don't worry. The management will let us know when it ends.