Thursday, September 30, 2010

Grab bag of stuff

My packed weekend segued straight into a packed week.

Good stuff abounds. but township soccer has me disgusted, since they put all the experienced kids together (it seems) and put all the newbies together, therefore my poor little team keeps getting pounded. Seriously, I thought we were there to have fun, yet these little grunts are out there to win win win! (Note, we are not supposed to be keeping score, but that the other team does and the score is always 6-0 should tell you something).

Yet we went to TOPSoccer, and Nic has been playing with the same kids every session, and they are out there playing, the way the game should be played, and have a great time (G is also on an independent field, but he was doing his sprints. And then he wandered off and for 10 minutes we had no idea where he was. Turns out he absent mindedly wandered off and followed some one to their car instead of heading up for snacks. I think he thought that was where he was going.)

That won't happen again.

And then there was the popcorn sale for scouts. Both my boys are enrolled this year. Nic doesn't care what anyone thinks and was quite the little sales guy. I think that was really apparent when we were selling popcorn. Just about everyone who passed us as we sold outside our local supermarket somehow knew Nic.

But G was too cute in his Tiger uniform--all he had to do was open his mouth and money flew out of wallets. Between them they raised $450 in four hours. They did awesome.

And a funny development. Some of the kids who harassed Nic earlier on in his elementary career are now palling around with him. Why? Because Nic's friends are girls. My boy, the babe magnet :P

So, school is going well for both so far, and I took them out for haircuts and dinner before the pack meeting last night. I'm trying to figure out how to deal with an ongoing situation between Nic and another kid who obsesses on the fact that Nic doesn't want to be his friend.

My work sitch is good, and I am happy with it. I finally had enough hair to donate, so had it all cut off last night. Nic tells me I look like Sabine from Mr Bean's Holiday; hubby says I look like my sister.

Headed for root canal this am. Meh. I don't care, I just want it done.

Friday, September 24, 2010

No Drama Zone

Hubby says I overcommit. And that yes is my favorite word.

He might be right. But the only way I can get buy-in from my kids to do their various activities is that if I participate on some level. So I coach soccer and teach prep, and serve as swim coach as needed, when needed.

Doing these things bothers me not; dealing with some parents and the drama that involves does. It literally sucks the joy out of any kind of involvement I have.

As I look forward to this weekend of coaching that begins with border-collie-ing my family out of the house, I feel dread.

I need to reset, put my game face on, grit my teeth, and just plow.....

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Stepping Outside My Box

Hubby steered me into walking my walk last night.

It all begins and ends with the ladies' neighborhood organization. When we first moved here 8 years ago, I waited for an invite that never came. By the time it came, I had found other things to do.

That is, until yesterday. Two of my neighbors extracted a promise from me on the bus stop on Monday that I would be there. I responded that hubby was my limiting factor; if he made it home, I would certainly be there.

Remarkably, hubby walked in a half hour before it started. And as we sat at the dining room table, I ticked off all the reasons I shouldn't go, ending with "and people will look at me and say, 'So, you're *their* mom'."

Shouldn't have gone there. Hubby smiled knowingly and said, "Well, then, that's your mission, isn't it?"

*sigh* I put on my game face and shoes and headed across the street.

I felt oddly like I was infiltrating enemy territory.

Taken for what it was, it was a nice evening; my neighbors genuinely seemed happy that I showed up, one caught me up with gossip from school (I told her she ought to be thankful she had a kid that talked about these things lol), and I established my territory in a corner of the room near the food to ensure I had a constant stream of people with whom to chitchat (that strategy worked well lol).

B's mom was there, to my surprise. Not to my surprise, she ignored me, but I pretended I didn't see her, either, and that worked out fine. I sneaked out early with two other neighbors, since we all had to be up working early, and we chatted a few more minutes before heading to our respective homes.

So, I'll sign up for this year, and see where it takes me. I think if nothing else it might strengthen a few ties I already have. There is much to be said for stepping outside of one's area of comfort, and just looking around the room last night, I am reminded how much the outlier I am--in so many ways.

In other parts of the forest, I am absolutely thrilled with Nic's teacher this year. She *gets* it. Priceless.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Just got back from an overnight with my sister in law, who is the most awesome person on the planet. Can't say we did more than walk, talk, eat and sleep, but what an amazing time doing these things, catching up, taking in the sights and sounds of the shore, and looking ahead.

Talking through the past and present has an amazing way of putting the future in clear relief. Even mass in another parish was enlightening, although I miss Fr M and look forward being back in my own run and congregation next week.

Sitting in the backyard, trimming a bamboo shoot with thoughts of cane rods for both boys, SIL laughed at me while she tried to start her lawn mower. Fate decreed that she would do a quick and dirty once-over with the weed whacker. Simple joys in good company.

On to another week....and what a fun-filled, action-packed week it will be.....

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thought for the Day

This is the true joy in life - being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. ~George Bernard Shaw

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Picture the Mind Takes

I read a column by Anna Quindlen years ago, years before my own kids were born, about the dangers of seeing life through a camera lens--video or static, at that time. The message--to see with your own eyes those special moments when your kids are young to better engrave those memories in your heart--resonated.

Hubby documents our lives copiously via visual technology, in much the way I explore the emotional and spiritual geography of our lives via the written word. Between us, we cover a lot of ground. He natters at me sometimes for not taking more pictures and video, and I natter back at him for not living enough in the moment.

But there is a moment I captured with my eyes--and heart--about a year and a half ago. The boys and I had visited their doctor--I believe it was a well visit for one or the other of them--and at the end of the visit, she pulled out a bag of lollipops and offered for them to each take one.

*Click* I see it front of me as clearly as I see this screen. Dr. R holding open the bag in front of the door that leads up into her house. She is smiling, looking down at Nic (has to be two years ago, since now he is nearly her height) and G while they fish around the bag for the flavors they like best.

I remember my breath catching in my throat at that moment, because the lighting in the room was such that everything had a sepia cast, including my kids and Dr R. Like I was framing a moment that would be lost forever, and understanding in that moment, that sooner or later, Dr. R would be part of our past.

And so. That moment came yesterday, as I picked up my boys' records. Dr. R is retiring, bringing another chapter of our lives to a close. And I took a picture of them for posterity....but it will not be the picture I think of.

The real picture for posterity is the one I took with my eyes that afternoon a couple years back.

I cry, but I'm not sure why. We've had our differences, and God knows we've raised our voices at one another more than once in the last eight years. But be that as it may, she was a very important part of our lives.

I'll miss her.

Monday, September 13, 2010

This Wide World

I feel as though I have taken a can opener to my perspective.

We had a rough start to aftercare--Nic did, at any rate. On Tuesday, I told him if he gave me a better day Wednesday, we would go back to my old neighborhood for elevator adventures.

It's amazing how little it takes to get good behavior.

The original hegira I planned was simple; Toys R Us (because that's what G wanted to do) Sears, and the library. That is, until Nic noticed the top of the Macy's across a sea of one-story buildings.

"That's an outdoor mall, Nic," I told him, thinking that would be the end of it.

"An outdoor mall, cool!" Nic replied. "I've never seen that, before."

So we explored. It's easily been 20 something years since I've set foot in it. I pointed out some of the things that used to be there, things that have changed, but very little has stayed the same outside of the physical layout of the mall. I regaled both boys with stories about how I used to go the library on my own when I was Nic's age, as well as coming to the mall.

Nic looked at me doubtfully. "Grandmom lives a half mile down that road," I told him, pointing. "I used to walk and ride my bike up here all the time."

We walked along in silence. Then Nic asked. "Why don't we live in the city."

"Because the schools don't have what you need," I answered. "The schools where we live do."

He sighed. "Where we live is boring."

I have to agree.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


So from one end of the day to the other today, we had

1) The neighbors invite our kids over to play. First time in 8 years. And they played an hour and a half.

Which in it of itself is pretty amazing, awesome and wonderful. But then you chase it with

2) Nic riding over to the library on his own

3) A great soccer practice that Nic helped coach and ride herd on the little kids and

4) An impromptu dinner with friends that was good for all--moms and kids.

It was a pretty freaking cool miraculous day. :)

You read it and it sounds so mundane, so normal.

This is how far we've come. We really are just like anyone else.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Bouncing off that wall into a new week

Just got back from CampEmerge (Year 5) and think this was the best year ever. G had an awesome volunteer working with him, Nic was off riding his bike, climbing the rock wall, playing billiards and shuffleboard, and dad and I got to fish (although he made fun of my rig, which consisted of a spinning reel, bobber, swivel and a fly, it was effective: I caught three bass--two of them about 15 inches--and a pan-fish-sized pumpkin seed sunny).

I spent maybe a half hour after the group pic sitting on a swinging bench overlooking the pond when I saw a very big bird come gliding toward me over the pond. As it approached, I saw it was a red tail hawk and that it was going to glide right past me. And it did, passing less than 20 feet from where I sat, apparently unaware of me.

What a gorgeous bird. And a good omen for what's ahead.

I have to buckle down and write today, and finish up paperwork for the boys, and figure out the rest of this week, which is going to be crazy on a few levels.

For right now, I have to get the chicken finger production line going. The rest will sort itself out.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Fully loaded week. The short list

Monday-NYC with my team for an agency visit
Tuesday-had dinner with friends
Wednesday-Fr Mike and one of my good friends came for dinner
Thursday-visit to see new teachers; team lunch; work; coached my first soccer practice; picked up uniforms
Friday-Exhaling. Grilling. Some imbibing.

I blew a deadline, but I'll make the time up over the weekend, get the article written and out as I usually do. I pissed off a family member. Had the best visit ever with Fr. Mike. Made a decision with regard to aftercare and G's bus. I found out to what degree that Nic was tormented on school property by that bully--with no consequences. Jesus, no WONDER that went on as long as it did. It's a good thing that principal is gone, or I would have been in her office, reading her the riot act, as to HOW she failed my kid because there were NO consequences--this kid was given tacit permission BY THE SCHOOL to torment my kid.

I am hot. Thank God I have a long weekend to cool down.

Other news: Fr M's visit was the best of the bunch, very relaxed, and mellow, and he was really himself with us in a way he's never been. He and my friend C connected in an awesome way, good to see when people 'get' one another. Ah, it was nice.

Got to bond with a couple of my coworkers this week, one on the train ride to NYC and another over lunch. That is just such a good sitch on so many levels, I am too grateful for words. And I am having another lunch this coming week to figure out what I'm doing in a new opportunity. Again, one won't interfere with he other, and I figure both situations will ultimately benefit from what I learn.

So instead of a heavy week, it's been light, as has been my heart. I had three six-year-olds run me all over the field at soccer practice last night, and another friend contacted me to train for next triathalon season.

So despite my intermittent vertigo, I am pressing forward, doing new things, and having a great time.

It's a good life, even with the challenges. Because overcoming the challenges makes it truly awesome.

Both my boys are ready for the new year. And so am I.

Bring it.