Wednesday, June 27, 2007

8 Random Facts About RP

So, I've been tagged by Epimenides to provide 8 random facts. Since both Epimenides and Foul Bastard are such witty writers, I feel a bit intimidated.....but here it goes.

1. Timeliness. I am obsessively punctual. I hate being late, I hate when someone else is late. Just bad form, in my opinion. I know that makes me sound uptight, but really, I'm not...only about this.

2. The Whole Age Thing. Upon approaching, turning, and passing 40 years of age, life really changed. I started writing, stopped smoking, lost weight and began enjoying myself. Quite a relief, since I was a complete nerd in high school and college :)

3. Balance. For the most part, I am an optimist. Things will always get better. There is always something good to come out of every bad thing. That said, I also believe that everything in life is a trade off. In every bit of joy, there is either a titch of pain, or there will be. Must be my pagan tendencies.

4. My Aching Feet. I have NEVER worn a pair of shoes that didn't give me huge blisters the first time I wore them. Ever. Including today, when I was going to wear a stunning pair to an interview lunch. I wore them around the house, the shoe store, etc., and all was well. Wore them to work today, and blisters!!! Glad I had the sense to bring a back up pair! OUCH, dammit!!!

5. Work/Life. I work because I have to. No overarching passion to do what I do, or anything else for that matter, just recognition that I need to have an income to get along...I ditch work at every possible opportunity. I NEVER stay past 5pm, unless I am meeting someone after work to do something fun--gym, belly dance class, yoga, kid's ballgame, upper East Side pub get the idea.

6. Winning attitude. I am, I have discovered, one hell of a competitor. Had I a healthy self esteem as a kid, I would have gone out for sports, but I was afraid of failing. I like to compete physically and/or vicariously through others. So, I will play with all I've got, and root for my team with all I've got. My neighbors have definitely heard me screaming at my TV when watching a Mets game. Or an Ohio State game. Or a Jets game. Or the Olympics. There is usually swearing involved.

7. Mmmmm Chrome. I really, really like big trucks. I have been known to really dig Trick My Truck on CMT. Love 'em. Peterbilts are my favorite. And I like motorcycles (won't ride, just drool). You gotta know that Harley'd be my fave...

8. Loves Music, Loves to Dance. I am not a club chick at all!! I like shit kickin' cowboy bars or Irish pubs with kick ass jukeboxes. Play me some rock-n-roll, old disco, or a little country, and I'm gonna dance. How can you keep still listening to the Talking Heads? Why would you want to????? Love my husband, but if he won't dance, I will find me someone who will. He, thankfully, understands, and is happy to be excused. One of the freest forms of self expression is to just get out there and shamelessly shake your moneymaker. Love it. Someone, get me a Jamies rocks while I put another dime in the jukebox, baybay.

There it is folks...8 random facts.


Friday, June 22, 2007

There is No Joy in Astoria...

...For the mighty Orioles have been eliminated from the playoffs.


Monday, June 18, 2007

Great Night for Baseball!

Post season little league ROCKS! Christopher's team, the Orioles, won their first round game. It is a single elimination tournament, so it's win or go home. They beat the Yankees 3-2. Chris struck out twice, but took a sweet swing. Timing and mechanics all good--he just missed. He got a slew of hits during practice though, so he knows he can do it. All our big hitters came through, and the kids turned in some defensive gems.

Since it is a win or go home situation, I think it puts a lot of stress on some of these kids. Our third baseman, a wiry kid named Keith had a Yankee caught in a rundown between home and third. Now, the longer these things go on, the greater the probability it won't end well. It didn't. Keith made an errant throw, the tying run scored. He came back to the dugout crushed. The O's came up to bat, staged a rally, and got a run across. 2 out. Keith comes up to bat. Struck out. That poor kid was devastated. Just in tears. Our coaches are great guys, and did all they could to build this kid back up. He got back out on the field, played a mean rest of the game.

Next round is Thursday against the ICYP Mets. I am so proud of every one of these kids.

Oh, and the New York Mets won tonight. I went out to Shea after Chris' game with a girlfriend of mine. They kicked the snot out of the Twins.


A Shared Birthday

Saturday was my son's 11th birthday. We had breakfast, and gave Chris his presents and card. Then we got right down to business with readying the house for an onslaught of 11 year-olds. It took a couple of hours to get the house and party food ready. It took 5 kids all of 5 seconds to completely decimate it!

Since it was also MY birthday, once all the kids arrived, I had my husband take them to the park for a much anticipated water balloon/water gun fight. They came home soaked, filthy and hungry. Except my husband who came home perfectly dry--he was armed to the teeth, should anyone think of dousing him. Change of clothes, food, and cake all around. It was a hoot! Parents came around 7 to collect their children.

Now, it's time for Mommy's party :) I donned my little party dress, turned up the music, and had at it! We had some unexpected guests, LOTS of really good wine and great laughs. Gotta tell you, I love dancing around my living room with good friends. Chris visited with the adults for a while, and happily played video games until he fell asleep.

We have finally learned how to share this day well. For years, I felt like I had to cede my birthday to my son, and he happily let me. Now that he is older, he makes it as special for me as I try to for him. I know that in a few years, it will just be a phone call that connects us on this day of days. I am very, very happy we have some time before then to fully enjoy the strange coincidence of our birthday.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

They Won!

Christopher's final make up game was tonight. It was a quick game. His team, The Orioles, beat the Reds in convincing fashion--7-2. Chris played right field. He struck out looking twice. The umpire was a crotchety old fart. C'est les vie. Coaches bought victory hot dogs at the field house. Playoffs begin either Monday or Tuesday, they'll let us know. He can now savor his end of school and birthday parties.


The Past 36 hours...

...have sucked!! Just ass kicking in every conceivable way.

Yesterday was going along swimmingly. I was in a great mood. Called my husband to see when he'd like to meet to take Chris to his therapist appointment. The rant began...He wasn't yelling at me, just to me. I tell you, it was like being hit by a truck! So we figured out what the problem was, I gave suggestions. He seemed comforted. OK. Breathe...

Get to the school, pick up said child, no husband. He's running late, and irritated about it.

Get to the therapist's office. Chris goes in, meets with his talking doctor, and his boss. Then it's our turn. They say well, maybe he has a learning disability, and maybe that is why he a: hates school, b: failed math. A WHAT?!??! While my husband and I have both heard throughout our academic careers "he/she doesn't perform up to his/her potential," it never occurred to me that he could have a learning problem. For me it was a motivational issue, and I thought that is what it was for Chris. So they will perform some testing through the summer. Oh, and he's depressed. So THIS is what getting hit by a truck feels like. Got it.

We're home now. It's late. In the mail are two birthday cards--one for Chris and one for me...from my father's widow. Wasn't expecting THAT. A momentary wave of grief..."mom, what's the matter? Don't cry." Sorry, honey, just miss my dad. "oh, I'm sorry, mom."

My husband's sister called. She wanted to catch up, and wish us a happy birthday (Chris was born on my 30th birthday :)) Turns out she just had a miscarriage a week ago.

Any body get the number of the damned convoy that just ground me into the pavement? That bottle of Petite Syrah is going down...right after Christopher's ballgame.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Rained Out!

Last night was my son's final (barring post season) baseball game. They HAD to win in order to advance to the playoffs--the 11 year old boy equivalent of the promised land. The stage was set: they were to play the Reds, their teammates in the All Star game, their opponents twice before. They had a 1 and 1 record, so this was the rubber game. Did I mention that I love baseball?

Yesterday, the weather report called for scattered showers, high of 82 degrees. We reached the day's high pretty early, and by 3:30 the thunder storms started popping up over Westchester, the Bronx, Jersey, Staten Island, Brooklyn and Manhattan. Miraculously Queens in general, and the ICYP fields in particular stayed dry. I called the field house, and was told they would play. I headed to the ballpark directly from work.

Game gets under way. We scored 2 in the first, and 1 in the second. We kept the Reds scoreless through 3. All we needed was to get to the end of the 4th inning for the game to be official. Everyone had their eye to the increasingly threatening sky. Few drops in the top of the 4th--eh, who cares--we played on. Chris struck out looking, as did Daniel. A scoreless fourth. Umbrellas started popping up in the bleachers.

Bottom of the 4th. Reds up to bat. John walks 1, stolen base, 1 out. Reds definitely threatening. Rained a little harder, Orioles fans hoping it'll pass over, Reds fans praying for a rain out. The deluge began and play was suspended. Five minutes later, lightening, game called. Kids, parents, coaches, umpire all scatter from the far back field to the shelter of either their cars or the field house. We drove a dejected teammate and his mom home. Before we got there, the rain stopped, the skies began to clear. And we have to play FROM SCRATCH on Thursday. ARGH!!!!


Monday, June 11, 2007

Summer School!

We just learned that our son must attend summer school. He has been flirting with flunking math all year. He might not actually fail, but he is borderline enough that he has to take and pass 5th grade math in summer school before he can enter 6th grade. As is par for the course, Mom and Dad have very different approaches to this, and very different backgrounds.

As a life long A/B student (unless you count all the classes I cut in high school and college), I can't imagine coming close to failing a subject in grammar or middle school. It would never have been tolerated by my family (my mother having been a valedictorian). Part of me wants to scream, "where is your motivation?!?" Another part of me sees that he really didn't think this would be the consequence of his mediocre effort, and maybe this in and of itself will be punishment enough.

My husband, who I am convinced is smarter than I am by a mile, was definitely NOT the student I was. He was also not encumbered with the expectations that I was. What he is reacting to, as much as the poor performance, is the expense and scheduling hassles. Since Christopher attends Catholic school, summer school is not free, unless you enroll in a public school program in MAY, before you actually know you will NEED summer school.

What is ironic is that while I was brought up to be a high achiever, as an adult I am not nearly as ambitious as you'd think. From a young age, I knew that I would never live up to my mother's expectations. Sometime around 10th grade, I stopped trying. I decided to live up to my own expectations. When my mother asked me in complete frustration what I wanted out of life, I told her I wanted to be happy. She asked me if that was enough. I told her it was more that I could hope for. And in my angst ridden teenage years, that was absolutely no exaggeration. As an adult, I am fine--I am a professional woman, and support my family.

So, how to approach my beloved son. This is a child that I absolutely adore. I don't mean to be trite. Of course I love him, but more importantly, I LIKE him. This is a person I want to hang out with. Such a wonderful spirit. Honest heart. He is kind, sensitive, loving, smart, sarcastic and funny. And completely un-freaking-motivated when it comes to school, or many other things that take actual effort. Do I accept this trait, and trust that down the line, a switch will be thrown, and he will begin to see that effort is both required and rewarded? Do I try every motivational trick in the book, and invent a few, in the hope that something will take root and grow?

I don't want to harangue or belittle him. I don't want him saddled with my disapproval, or set off in him a disastrous strain of self loathing. He hated failing math tests. Maybe I should have gotten a tutor earlier. Getting him to study is pulling teeth, even when he sees the fruits of his labor. English, vocabulary, reading, no problem! Social studies, he can also perform well, when he pays attention. Science is ok for now, but math, not so much. Ok I guess that is perspective.

So, for the month of July, we found Christopher an accredited math tutor. He will have one-on-one sessions, and hopefully benefit both academically and emotionally. Maybe it will be just the boost in self esteem he needs to tackle 6th grade, and beat it into submission.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Crone

One of my closest friends went to Ireland about a year or two ago, and brought me back a wonderful triskel pendant (similar, but not identical, to the one pictured here). I wear it almost like a talisman. At the time, I had just finished reading Princes of Ireland, by Edward Rutherfurd. This is a wonderful book about Ireland from the time of the Celts. The more I read of pagan peoples, the more I come to think they get it mostly right. There seems to be more balance in that world.

(An aside: Please don't think I overlook or romanticize the brutality present in Celtic Ireland. There were blood sacrifices and the like. But, really, was brutality quelled in any way by the introduction of a monotheistic religion? Then as now, blood is shed in the name of god and gods. Only now is Christianity beginning to respect the environment, but I suspect that is for political gain, at least in the US.)

Take, for example the triskel. It is a three pronged conjoined spiral, that is, according to Celtic lore a symbol of the female divinity. It represents her three stages of being: Maiden, Motherhood and Crone. At the age of 40, nearly 41, I have been the Maiden, I am the Mother, and will be the Crone. What I find most interesting is that there doesn't seem to be a particular stage that is more revered than any other. It also seems to me that the final stage, the crone, is really the hardest to fully realize.

The word Crone connotates a shriveled old woman, hooked nosed and mean. When I was young, my mind's eye conjured up the evil old woman in the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale. But really, a Crone is a post-menopausal woman full of wisdom, and willing to impart it. A fully self-realized woman. She is wise in the ways of the world, at peace with it, and herself. Able to teach without bitterness. I strive to be this woman. To shed the failings of my youth, find contentedness, and show, if only by example, how to reach it.


Monday, June 04, 2007

I Got Hosed

My son just lost 2 teeth recently--bottom canine and first bicuspid. For the most part Daddy plays the tooth fairy, since he is generally up later than I am. Last night, he forgot. When my son got up this morning, he came to our room and said, "guess what I got from the tooth fairy?"

Knowing he gets a buck or two for incisors, and a few more for a molar, I jokingly said, "what? A quarter?"




"Well, what?"

With a look of complete disbelief he said, "Hosed, I got hosed." Then he turned on his heel and went into the shower. His delivery was spectacular. Jaded. Funny. The look I shot my husband should have left him dead in his tracks.