Friday, September 26, 2014

Where I have been...

I have been considering abandoning this blog.  I know it looks as if I already have since I haven't posted for a while, but summer was crazy and it doesn't look like it is going to slow down for about 10 years.

Things that have happened since I last posted:

1.  My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  It was an intimate gathering of the family that was there for them when they got married; the family they created in the 4 kids, 4 sons-in-law, and 10 grand kids; and the family they chose in the friends they have made along the way.  There was good food, good company, and I am so happy to be a part of their world.

2.  Laura was home for a whole month.  OK, not necessarily home, but in the area, so it felt like we got to spend time with her family for a whole month.

3.  Ryan has been playing flag football.  I was against this from the beginning as we all know that I am afraid that he is going to get hurt.  Let's face it, 9 year old boys have a very hard time not tackling when they are flinging themselves at each other trying to pull a flag, and I have seen my fair share of underwear when they grab the pants instead of the flag.  There is no safely equipment except for a mouth guard.  I think they should at least have a helmet for crying out loud.  Dave will never hear the end of it if something happens to him.

4.  Colin is in high school now and is in the marching band.  In our school this is a big deal as there are 240 or so kids in the band.  I have so much respect for these kids.  If someone told me that I would have to play an instrument and walk, sometimes backwards, I would tell them they are nuts. Colin plays the mellaphone which is a huge trumpet and he can't even see where he is going as the bell is too big to see around, and he has to march with his head up.  I am ridiculously proud of this kid.    

5.  School has started.  In fact, we are 1/2 way done with the first grading period already.  Once again, third grade math is bringing me to my knees.  I remember this with Colin as well.  Can someone please explain to me why we have to learn how to subtract using FOUR different methods? Is one not bad enough?  There has been a few nights of tear and gnashing of teeth, and it is not always Ryan with the issue.  One night I had to call my friend who teaches 2nd grade and have her translate for me.  I had never heard of a Landmark Number.  If he would have called it estimating, I would have understood.  Thanks Cindy!

It seems like I spend an inordinate amount of time in the car, and we are keeping Moe's Southwest Grill in business.  I had a bit of a panic attack when I realized that there was no more saying, "if we can just get through September things will calm down."  When band ends, swim team begins.  When flag football ends, basketball begins, and so on, and so on.  I have decided to just buckle up and enjoy the ride. People keep telling me it will be over before I know it anyway.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

LeBron's Decision Part II

For the past week, it seemed like we had been held hostage by LeBron James as we waited for him to decide where he would take his talents. We have been down this road before when four years ago, he crushed Northeastern Ohio's collective hearts when he took them to South Beach.   I believed that our hometown boy was going to do right by us and stay to bring us the championship that he had promised.  He was hailed as the best basketball player that had ever lived and I bought into the hype.  This time I refused to open myself up again for the rejection.

Cleveland has suffered rejection before.  Let us not forget Carlos Boozer convincing Gordon Gund, the former owner of the Cavs, a blind man no less, to let him out of his contract with only his word that he would sign a new long term contract.  He then went and signed a multi-year contract with Utah. Most people don't even remember that.  It was not that James left, it was the way he did it.   We don't begrudge people the opportunity to take the best path in life.  To see what life is like somewhere else.  Heck, who hasn't wanted to go away for college or live on the beach?  The difference here is that most people don't hold an hour long press conference on prime time television to stick it to the place that has shown so much passion and respect.

I am happy that the decisions that I made when I was 25 didn't effect the economy of an entire region.  When I was 25 I made the biggest decision of my life when I married Dave. Aside from the 198 people that attended the wedding, nobody even cared.  (I assure you that those 198 people enjoyed a spectacular evening.)  LeBron was 25 when he made his decision to go to Miami.  For the previous five years, he and his family had every whim and wish catered to.  In short, he was a spoiled brat.  I am glad that people can't remember what a brat I was when I was at that age.

LeBron has grown up.  He is a father of two with one on the way.  He has had four years (the equivalent of a standard college education) to experience life away from home.  He has had four years to recover from the backlash of the Decision part I.  I am not sure that he was expecting us to react so strongly since he had never been shown anything but love.  Cleveland was justifiably upset by the betrayal and I think it took all of us time to recover.  That time is now.

I don't think people outside of this area fully understand what LeBron brings to us.  Cav's season tickets sold out in eight hours.  That means that all of the home games will be sold out bringing people downtown to eat and shop.  The city of Cleveland is electric.  There is true joy in the air.  In the past week, Cleveland has landed the Republican National Convention and the prodigal son is coming home.  Perhaps this will show people that Cleveland has come a long way from being the "Mistake on the Lake." Just like LeBron should not be judged for his youthful mistakes, Cleveland should be judged on what it is now not 40 years ago.

LeBron is coming home.  He finally understands what this area has to offer, not only for himself,  but for his family as well. I think he finally understands that nobody will love him like we do.  He understands that when he is here, we are all better.  I think he understands that he can make a big difference in the lives of the people that live here.   He understands that this is a great place to raise a family and most importantly, he understands that there really is no place like home.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Fourth of July Round-up

The Fourth of July is always a busy time for my family.  Dave and I got married 18 years ago on Sunday.  It is still the happiest day of my life, and the best decision I ever made.  The weekend included a surprise (at least to me) visit from Laura, the neighborhood breakfast, a trip to Medina for the parade, an Artfest followed by dinner with Dave, and ended with fireworks.

I am focusing on the fireworks for several reasons.
1.  Dave loves fireworks.  I am indifferent.  He will seek them out, and I am content to go along for the ride.
2.  There is generally great people watching at fireworks.  I LOVE to people watch.  It is a true study in human behavior, and this year did not disappoint.

We intentionally arrived way early to the festivities so we could get a good seat.  We had a spot scoped out from last year, so we wanted to make sure we could sit there again.  We were some of the first people to arrive, so any spot on the lawn was ours for the taking.  We very carefully selected our spot on top of the hill so we would not have any trees in our way.  We laid out our blankets and set up our chairs and the boys started to play catch and play with sparklers.  We had two hours worth of snacks and entertainment spread out before us and were having a great time.  It was small time Americana at it's best.

About 40 minutes into our experience, a man came and sat upwind from us and lit a stogie.  Who does that? I realize we were at an outdoor event, but COME ON, did he really not think that the 50 or so people around him wouldn't notice!  Colin is very sensitive to this kind of thing and my options were to call this guy out, or to move.  The guy was kind of scary looking, and we all know that I avoid confrontation with strangers like the plague, so we moved our two blankets, seven chairs, 1 cooler and 4 bags of stuff.  We were no longer sitting on top of the hill with no trees in our way.Putting that behind us, the fireworks were really good and the kids had a good time.  We were all in a really good mood, and I, in particular, was feeling quite patriotic as we started the long trek back to our car.

Did I mention that we arrived two hours early?  When we got there the parking lot was empty.  We carefully chose our parking place so we were facing the exit and were at the end of the row so we could just pull forward.  We were following  traffic jam etiquette by letting one person in front of us per row.  Apparently the lady in the Ford Expedition did not understand or follow the common traffic jam etiquette, and when we got to her row and let the person in front of us out, she expected the same for her.  Dave proceeded to move forward and the lady drove as close to us as possible without t-boning me and then turned her bright lights on right next to my face.

I could understand her desire to get out of the parking lot as she had two spawns of Satan kids in her back seat. Perhaps she had to go to the bathroom, and I would never fault someone for not wanting to use a port a potty.  Perhaps she was sharing her car with Smelly Stogie Man, but for crying out loud, WHO DOES THIS?   I can't say as I have ever had such a thing happen before.

The bottom line is that we had a lovely evening with family and one of Will's friends.  They were so sweet to Ryan playing catch with him, helping him with the sparklers, and he even sat between them for the show.  He will carry this memory forever.  These are the kind of days that recharge my soul and keep me going.  These people are the reason that I stay in Ohio even though we had one of the worst winters on record.   Days like this are the reason that this will always be my home.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Parenting 101

I think it goes without saying that I have never said, nor will I ever say that I am a perfect parent.  I am far from it.  I consider it a successful day when my kids are clean, fed and safe.  It can go either way on the clean and/or the fed, but I have been accused, more than once, of being overprotective.  It is a true case of "if keeping my kids safe is wrong, I don't ever want to be right."

Currently Ryan is mad at me because I won't let him play flag football.  To me, it is the gateway sport to tackle football.  There is no doubt in my mind that he would make an excellent player, and that is part of the problem.  He will really like playing, and catch the attention of some coach that will want him to go to the next level.  He is big, and kind of fast, and very enthusiastic.  How do I say no then?  It is hard enough for me to watch him playing baseball after the unfortunate incident last year.  Can we just take a moment to imagine how bad it would be for all of us if he got hurt playing football?

Enough about that.  Here is where I was really going with this post.  Over the weekend I was working a trade show booth in a very popular, open-to-the-public area attraction.  I was in a conference room that held five or six booths.  I had been working about 45 minutes when this small child walked into the conference room.  There had been a lot of kids with parents walking through all day, so I didn't think too much about it.  After a few minutes all the other visitors walked out and this child was still there as more people came in.  I kept my eye on him until he wandered over my way.  I asked him where his parents were and he said that his mom was out in the hallway, leading me to believe that he walked ahead of her and she would be coming in a few moments.  I told him to hang out with me until she got there, and I gave him my phone to play with until we found her.  Fifteen minutes later there was still no sign of her, so the lady from the booth next to mine went to find her.  Meanwhile this child had built something on Minecraft and had mastered Ham on the Run.  (Go on, I dare you not to sing "Band on the Run.  I know, it is impossible.)

It turns out that his mother was out in the hallway where there were other vendors.  I understand how hard it is to get a babysitter, not to mention how expensive it can be, but this child had been with me for TWENTY MINUTES and she had not missed him.  How could she have possibly expected this baby to stay with her for hours on end unsupervised.  There were over 3000 people attending this Expo, not to mention the regular people that would have been there for the actual attraction.  This kid was very willing to talk to me and also very willing to play with my phone and eat the candy that was on my table.  The only thing I was missing was the puppy and I could have had the kidnapper's hat trick of cliches.  It was a disaster waiting to happen. Over the course of the next few hours he wandered in four or five more times.

I really try to mind my own business and not to judge other people's parenting styles because, as Robin Robert's mother says, Everybody's Got Something.  Lord knows I have no right to cast the first stone.   I don't know this family's story, and frankly it is none of my business. I am sure this child is rambunctious and ornery and pushes his mom to her very limit, much like Ryan does to me.   I am just sending up some thanks to this child's guardian angel and hoping she sticks close, because that family is going to need it.

Now if mine can help me with this flag football problem and convince Dave and Ryan to pursue a less dangerous hobby, I would really appreciate it.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Top 10 Things I Thought About While Driving 32 Hours Round Trip on Vacation

1.  Upon leaving, I thought it would have been nice if I didn't see my life flash before my eyes as we barely missed a 10 car pile-up caused by a freak white-out snow storm less than 20 minutes from my house.  Uncle Joe deserves a shout out for keeping us safe guardian angel style.

2.  I wished that said accident was not a metaphor for what this whole vacation would be, and that we would not have to face an hour long traffic jam less than 20 minutes from my house, making this a 17 hour car ride before we made our first pit stop.

3.  Thank you Sweet Baby Jesus for the invention of 3DS's, iPod's, iPads, and headphones.  This managed to keep the boys from fighting and me from losing my ever loving mind.

4.  It is really nice to see licence plates from other states, states you are aiming to drive through, indicating that you have made progress on this literal journey, not the metaphorical journey seen on various reality shows.

5.  Turning the page in an atlas is a very satisfying task.

6.  Dave is never allowed to make hotel reservations for us again.  Can you explain to me why someone would make said reservation at a hotel 45 minutes out of the way to save $50?  Have I mentioned that in a straight line, it is a 16 hour drive?   I consider this to be a shenanigan of epic proportions that I am sure will not be repeated.  

7.  Cracker Barrels have pretty descent food when you are really hungry, and the store is a pleasant distraction from the thought of having to get in the car again for another five hours.

8.  Dave should know that it is a good idea to fill up the car with gas when we stop at a gas station for a pit stop/food break.  The no-man's-land between Cincinnati and Columbus is not the best place to see how far we can make it with the gas light on.  Another shenanigan that I don't think we will be repeating.

9.  The beach refreshes my soul and I should not let three years go by without seeing it.  The drive was totally worth it.

10.  I really love my boring little life in Ohio and there is absolutely no place like home.  Thanks Dave for making my life so rewarding and fun.  We have created an amazing little family that I do not take for granted I will take you for my husband every day of the week and twice on Sunday even with your shenanigans.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Olympic Controversy

Colin, my 14 year old son, does not like the Olympics.  How is this possible?   Some of my fondest memories revolve around the Olympics. They signify strength, determination and patriotism.  I just can't believe that something I really look forward to holds no interest from my own child.

One of my earliest memories is sitting at my Nana’s house watching the compulsories for Ice Dancing.  We watched couples do the same exact routine, even making the same marks in the ice.  I was fascinated that people from all over the world learned the exact same dance, right down to the exact position on the ice.  Apparently they don’t do that anymore because it does not make compelling television for the average viewer. 

Who doesn't remember the Miracle on Ice?  It was on a Sunday.  I remember because we prayed for the team at church.  Some friends came to our house afterward to watch the game.  Nine people were jammed into a room that could comfortably fit four.  I didn't know anything about hockey, but I had never felt more patriotic in my young life.    

It is not so much the sports that draws me to the games, but the human interest stories.  It is the sacrifices the families made so the kids could excel.  How much work must be put into making it to the games?  What motivates some kids to want this when other kids are not interested at all?  How do I motivate my child to be so passionate about life?  How do parents watch as their kids fling themselves off a hill wearing only skis just to see how far they can go?  What made someone think that was a good idea in the first place.   How come each sport is more dangerous that the previous one?

Colin thinks that once you have seen one person do the half-pipe, you have seen it all.  He refuses to believe that Ice Dancing is a sport.  (I am sure the mothers of Meryl Davis and Charlie White will beg to differ.) He has no interest in the human interest stories.  Because he has never had to pay for a lesson or drive someone to and from, he can’t appreciate the struggle to allow your kids to reach for their dreams.  Maybe this is just another one of those things he will enjoy as he gets older.  I am really starting to look forward to 2022.  That might give him just enough time to catch up.

 moonshine  <a href=""><img src=""></a>

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Symmetry and the Subway Sandwich Artists

I don’t deny that the older I get the worse my idiosyncrasies get.  I still won’t eat ketchup or mustard. Mayonnaise?  Forget about it.  My food issues are well documented, but my other issue is that things need to be symmetrical.  Balance is very important in both appearance and weight.  For instance, there is a house in my neighborhood that is a colonial, but it has more windows on the right than the left.  Every single time we walk by it, I have to tell Dave how much it bothers me.  After 12 years, it is really starting to bother him, too.  If you are wearing a shirt with a pattern and it doesn't match up at the buttons, don't be surprised when I look over your shoulder when talking to you, because looking at it straight on will set me teeth on edge.  When you combine my food issues with symmetry issues, things get a little crazy. 

I order a veggie delight sandwich with double American cheese.  The American cheese comes in triangles. Triangles. Do you see where this is going?  I ask you, if you are trying to cover the bread, why would you arrange the cheese in a mountain formation instead of inverting every other triangle to make rectangles?  Am I the only one that thinks this should be basic common sense?   When you combine that with the fact that I like double cheese, half my sandwich is quadruple cheesy where the cheese overlaps, whereas the other half has no cheese at all. My kids won’t let me say anything; I already embarrass them enough. 

On top of the double cheese, I ask for a little bit of spinach, tomatoes that are ripe and don’t have a big hole in the middle (indicative of the removal of a hard, white, tasteless core), and one piece of onion to cover the entire length of the sandwich. (I don’t want to have onion breath the rest of the day.)  And to finish it off, just a light sprinkle of salt and pepper.  They already think I am crazy, and I am sure they would have spit on it if they didn’t make it right in front of me.  I know they want to roll their eyes when they see me coming, and I have seen them race to the back so they don’t have to deal with me. Could it really be a coincidence that all the supplies are empty and need refilling just as I walk in.  Why not just ask them to turn the triangle over, you ask? Apparently vocalizing that request is just too much for my children to bare.  

For now, at least I have all the ingredients, albeit disorganized.  I guess I will have to be content with reconstructing my sandwich the way Euclid, the father of geometry, would have intended.  Not only do I get cheese in every bite, but I can be relaxed while eating it.

<a href=""><img src=""></a>


Thursday, January 30, 2014

How the Wheels Fell Off the Exercise Wagon

Before I captivate you with the story on how I sabotaged my own exercise plan, I am asking a favor.  I have joined a writing community called Yeah Write.  My posts will be judged by perfect strangers and I am a bit nervous to pull the trigger on it.  Can you please tell me what you think about this post and how I can make it better?  I would rather hear it from people that know me and kind of like me than from an editor that doesn't understand my fragile ego. 

Now, without further ado, I bring you "How the Wheels Fell Off the Exercise Wagon."

For 20 weeks last year, through the hottest of hot and the coldest of cold that Northeastern Ohio has to offer, I schlepped across campus for my exercise class.  I put my sedentary body through previously unimaginable exercises and became a lean, mean exercising machine.  I liked it so much that I actually recruited new members for our class.  Granted, at the beginning it was so I would not be the only person who couldn’t do a proper push-up, but by the end of the winter semester I was loving how I looked and felt.   

I was sure that a little thing like a five week break in the class and the Christmas/New Year’s holiday would not break my stride.  Oliver had taught me all I needed to know to carry on by myself.  In the past five weeks I only proved to myself that I cannot be trusted to my own devices.  My warm bed, comfy couch and a hectic holiday season were my downfall.  Who was I trying to kid?  My Kindle full of books and DVR full of shows was a much bigger draw than planks and weights. 

I started this program because I knew that I needed to take care of myself.  Now that I am working in an office instead of from home, I sit at my desk all day, with the only activity being to walk to the restroom.  Most days I didn’t even leave for lunch.  Something had to be done.  When the university offered a class designed specifically for couch potatoes, I jumped at the chance. 

It started in the summer.  The hot, hot summer.  I was in the worst shape of my life and was embarrassed that I would be the most pathetic participant.  I quickly found out that not only was I not pathetic, but I was firmly in the upper middle of the pack.  I gained a little confidence and a few muscles and made a few friends.  I started to look forward to exercising.  For the first time since I had kids I was taking care of me.  

We went all summer and into the fall without stopping.  That was the key, we didn’t stop.  Fall turned to winter and what I now refer to as THE BREAK.  Nobody was watching for me or e-mailing me when I didn’t go.  Nobody cared how many movements I had on my MOVBAND.  There were no rewards for fighting the good fight.  There were holiday cookies to eat, smut romance novels to read and 27 back episodes of NCIS on my DVR.  I had kids to entertain and laundry to fold.  There was no such thing as lunch time, let alone “me” time. 

Monday starts the new class and I will be back on the straight and narrow.  I am looking forward to seeing my old workout friends and making some new ones.  I can’t wait to tell the new people that it is going to be okay and they are doing a great thing that is going to change the quality of their lives.  I am excited to lose the sluggish cloud that has followed me for the last five weeks.   In 12 weeks I will once again be a lean, mean exercising machine.  Until then, you can find me on my couch reading “Orange is the New Black” on my kindle and binge watching it on Netflix before they release season two!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Round Up of Sorts

I have a lot of half posts roaming in my head.  I thought I would just get them out as a round-up and see where we are.  If there is interest, I can expand, but I doubt that will be  the case.

  • Yesterday was the 21st anniversary of my first date with Dave.  I should say the first time we went out.  I didn't know it was a date.  If you want to know when we went out when we both knew it was a date, that would be the 15th. 
  • I took my contacts out at work today because my eyes are very dry and itchy.  I learned that even if you know you have a pair of glasses in your desk drawer, it would be a good idea to find them before you take out your contacts.  It is slightly embarrassing to have to ask your student assistant to find them for you. 
  • We watched the Kevin James movie, "Here Comes the Boom" yesterday because the kids were still off for the holiday.  It was way better than I thought it would be. 
  • When your kids are off for an extra three days from a two week holiday, you do things you don't think you will do.  Namely watch the Kevin James film, "Here Comes the Boom".
  • Ryan does not do well when cooped up in the house for 2.5 weeks.  I do not do well being cooped up in the house with Ryan for the same length of time.   
  • Diesel fuel turns to sludge in -20 degree weather.  When this happens you get yet ANOTHER day off of school when the buses don't start. 
  • If you don't want your kids to tell you they are bored, tell them they will have to clean their disgusting bathroom if they mention it.  They will come up with creative ways to get the point across, so make sure they understand that you do not want to know that they are less than fully engaged in activities that you do not have to come up with or participate in unless it is of your doing. 
  • Even if you manage to get all of the laundry done, including mating socks and getting it put away, if you turn your back, even for a minute, it will explode again and morph all over your house. 
  • I read a good book when I was on Christmas break.  It was called "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed.  I have since found out that it is going to be turned into a movie with Reece Witherspoon in the lead role.  She would not have been my first pick to be in the lead, but we will have to wait and see how she does.  I would have picked somone like Sandra Bullock, or maybe the girl who played Hermione in Harry Potter.  Can't think of her name right now. 
  • I still don't like winter. 
  • This will cover it for now.  I hope this post finds you all warm and happy in this new year!