Monday, April 21, 2008

Let the Games Begin!

The ICYP baseball season has begun! Opening day ceremonies were Saturday morning, and included a parade through the neighborhood that started and ended at the playing field. Last year we had a marching band leading the throng, and keeping some semblance of time. This year, due to some changes in the league administration, we did not. We had these instead:

Back on the field, we were led in the Pledge of Allegiance and Stars Spangled Banner by the commissioner. Local politicians speechified. Sponsors gave their commercial messages and encouragement. First pitches were thrown out. The smell of hot dogs filled the air.

It was a gorgeous day to play baseball! Not a cloud in the sky, temperatures in the mid 70s. Perfect. There were a total of 3 games going at noontime on Saturday. Most other teams begin either midweek or next Saturday. Chris was one of the lucky ones. His team, the Cardinals, played the Mets to a 11-2 victory.

In his season debut, Christopher struck out twice and drew a walk. He also was a pinch runner, coming home on a huge base hit. No one made any really awful plays on the field, and there were a couple of real gems. The rust will be completely off in the next couple of weeks. There are around 14 kids on the roster, so outfield positions, especially, are rotated throughout the game. Chris played right for the first 2 innings.

Christopher joined the team a little late this year, participating in his first practice Friday afternoon. The rest of the team had practiced about 3 times before. One of Christopher's old school buddies, Teddy, is on the team this year, and his dad, a friend of ours, is one of the coaches. He will take Christopher under his wing, and get him up to speed in a hurry. He is a middle school teacher, and loves working with this age group. We played against Ted a couple of times last year. He plays on the CYO baseball and basketball leagues as well. Needless to say, he is pretty good! His dad signed him up for pitching lessons this year.

Christopher's next game is next Saturday. I need to make a note to remember sunscreen. I remembered water, and bubble gum for the dugout Saturday, but not sunscreen. Since were were out doors from around 9:15am until around 3ish, we we all pretty red by Saturday evening, but a decent shade of tan by Sunday morning. I have a farmer tan, dammit. Now my shoulders will never catch up! Sigh.

Yep, once again, Mom's an eeejit.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A New Job, Schedule Changes, Yoga and Baseball

Brian started his new job Monday. He is an assistant cook for a senior citizens group run by the Hellenic Association. Originally, he was to start on April 7th. Sometime in late March, that was changed to April 21st. Last Wednesday he received a call in which the HR person said, "See you Monday." Now, I, being ever so quick on the uptake, didn't process that to mean Monday the 14th. I thought they meant Monday the 21st. Well, guess again. Ideally, I like to have a little time to process the ramifications of a change. What time do we all need to get up? What time will I need to leave the house? What time will I get to work? When will I get my yoga classes in? I had about 4 hours to figure this out on Sunday night when it hit me that Yes, Rebecca, Monday starts the new schedule.

Normally, I left the house at either 6am for yoga or 7am for work, and Brian took Christopher to school. Now, the whole house is up by 6am. Brian's work hours are 7am to 2pm. Chris school bell rings at 8:05. There is a before school program that begins at 7:30. Brian leaves the house at 6:50 to walk across the street and down the block to his new gig. Chris and I leave the house at 7:10 so that I can walk him to school while grabbing a cup of piping hot coffee from Starbucks. We then proceed another block and a half, where I get my kiss good-bye on an otherwise deserted block, and Chris goes the other half a block while I watch until the door of the school closes behind him. I then get on the train to work. I really think this walk will be a good thing for us over the long haul. We talk and laugh and occasionally complain. It may only be fifteen to twenty minutes, but as they say, quality, not quantity, and it definitely seems like quality time for us.

This is only the third day of this new schedule, but all seems to be going fairly well. I was expecting some entropy last night, as I had to switch to evening yoga, and didn't get home until around 8:15. That is normal for Monday and Friday nights, but not Tuesdays and Thursdays. But again, all was well. Brian made me a supper of chicken breast and salad that was really good. I cleaned up the dishes, Chris got in the shower. Lights out at Chez Rebecca at 10:30. Huh. THAT never happens!!

Now, a word or two about evening yoga. HOLY SHIT. Same instructor. Same studio. That's where the similarities begin and end. Morning classes are an hour and fifteen. Since I want the same instructor, I now attend the 6pm class, which is an hour and a half. The extra fifteen minutes MATTER. Just when you're ready for closing series and savasana, another whole new series of poses is struck. When the lights do go down for savasana, and the sun is on the descent, it is entirely possible to just drift off to sleep! In the morning class there were a couple of students who I thought were amazing. There were two women in the 6pm class that moved in ways I didn't think humanly possible. What is really surprising is that I didn't feel my usual sense of inferiority creep in to steal my confidence. That is huge for me. My confidence was bolstered by the fact that I accomplished two different versions of arm stand, without my shoulders sinking to the point that my head hit the ground. And I accomplished the crow pose, and nearly held the flying crow pose. So the chick with her knee behind her shoulder didn't bother me one bit :) We did joke that our husbands would enjoy a web cam of the event (my heel was behind my head at the time). And I'm two months shy of my 42nd birthday, people!! HA!! Take THAT, birthday!

Last night we got a call from the ICYP coach. We were late in registering Chris for baseball this year, and were worried that he might not be able to play. Brian told me not to worry, as he knows the commissioner, and sure enough, Chris has a spot. He begins practice on Friday, and probably has a game on Saturday. The coach wanted to talk to Brian about Christopher's strengths and weaknesses, what position he played last year and with which team/coach. Guess we are going to have to move his Saturday therapist appointment, but we don't yet know when we can schedule it. We need the rest of his practice and game schedule to make that decision. Sheesh, we don't even know which team he's on this year! Guess that will be revealed on Friday. From the sounds of it though, this team, or at least the coach, might be more competitive than that which he had last year.

I am repeatedly reminded that the only thing constant in this world is change. Thank goodness these changes are positive thus far.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Springtime Splendor

Saturday was our first 70 degree day since October of last year. Christopher was up at West Point with the Boy Scouts for some orienteering training.

Brian and I decided to go to The Central Park Conservatory Gardens to see what was in bloom. If you ever find yourself in Manhattan in Spring or Summertime, it is a place you should not miss. The main gate is on Fifth Avenue at around 103rd Street. Before our rather impromptu wedding at City Hall, we planned to wed here. In fact, we saw a bridal party having their pictures taken.

The forcythia was in a shadier spot, so while it should bloom first, it lagged a little behind.

The magnolias were in full glory, filling the air with their heady fragrance.

This white tree was also in full bloom. I don't know what it is. Its fragrance is much more subtle.

All manner of bulb and small flowers were up. We plan to go back next weekend with Chris. By then the azaleas should be in bloom, as well as some of the other flowering trees.

We traveled downtown to the east village for Indian foods, and a walk along St. Marks Place. We walked up to Union Square to walk off a delicious dinner to find the farmer's market closing up shop. Chris came home around the same time we did. We had a wonderful evening exchanging stories of our adventures.


Friday, April 11, 2008


Remembering. Waiting. Anticipating. None of these allow a person to be fully present for the moment in which they are living. But like any habit or behavior pattern, it is damned hard to break.

I've never been one to spend much time tromping down memory lane. I didn't have one of those childhoods that one wants to run back to. I spent that time just waiting. Waiting for it to be over. Waiting to be an adult. Waiting to be the one in control. That changed somewhat when I had my son. Over the last eleven and a half years, when I see either an expectant mother or an infant, and I remember the feeling of expecting my son, and then pride and joy borne of bringing forth this miraculous new life. I remember every expression on his tiny face, every change in breath, every stage and accomplishment. I mentally send new mothers the message not to wish time away. Trace Adkins just released a single that expresses it well:

You're gonna' miss this
You're gonna' want this back
You're gonna' wish these days
Hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna' miss this

It is a good reminder to live in the moment. To drink it all in, and be fully present. (And yes, I do like sappy songs.)

I admit I am not good at it. I am a waiter. An anticipater. My brain figures that if I wait long enough, what I want will happen. Or things will change. I hardly ever give up the wait, as I am convinced that if I walk away, I will have missed it. Or given up. And Lord knows I can't give up. When I first met my husband, he would go to the comic book store or where ever, and I would wait for him. And wait. And wait, long past what would be considered reasonable (or good manners, for that matter). I thought that if I didn't wait, he would walk away from me. I also thought that the moment I abandoned the wait would be the moment he showed up. So what’s 5 more minutes? 10? Maybe I also thought that he would see some virtue in me for waiting, not matter how long. Yes, I was guilty of a little bit of martyrdom, saving the reproach for some time later. What I didn't see at the time was how it devalued me. I didn’t see the part of me that I was giving up.

That is not to imply waiting it is an entirely passive thing. Seems to me there are at least two kinds of waiting. There is the waiting that is just biding one's time. I did that through my adolescence. I knew there would be a day when my sentence would be served. Nothing to be done for it but wait it out. In this form of waiting, you know the endpoint. Then there is the kind of waiting that is borne of hoping something will happen. Waiting/hoping for parental approval. Waiting/hoping that certain someone will notice you. Or miss you enough to reach out. Or remember that you are waiting for him to finish up in the comic book store. With this, you don't have any knowledge or control of the end point. This is an active kind of waiting. One can spend a lifetime in this wait. I very nearly have.

In some ways this waiting thing I do distracts me from what is happening in the now nearly to the point of not really being able to remember what happened in that moment. There is no recall because I wasn't paying enough attention. You can tell me I did or said something, and I have no memory of it at all because, at that time, I was waiting, or maybe hoping for something else. There are things for which I have waited that did happen. Those are the things I remember most vividly. When I was accepted into the college of my choice, graduated high school, left home, had my son. The first time I truly tasted desire, and had it matched. Ah, but that doesn’t count. It left me wanting and waiting for more, and that is forbidden.

There are things for which I have learned not to wait, and frankly it took a lot to get there. I used to want my husband to do things with me, and wait for him to do so. If he didn’t want to, he didn’t. Period. I remember warning him that there would come a day when I wouldn’t wait for him, or ask him along. I remember seeing that as a form of disengagement that I found frightening. Now, I do things on my own, that I wouldn’t have 15 or 20 years ago. I go to the gym or track or to see friends. Things I wanted to do with Brian years ago, but in which he had no interest, and no desire to feign it no matter how many times I went to the comic book store and waited. I still see this is a form of disengagement that scares me. I see a part of me looking for an active partner; someone with whom to share interest and excitement and ideas.

There is a certain amount of chick and egg syndrome inherent in this. Does the waiting fuel the dissatisfaction, or does the dissatisfaction fuel the waiting. That is the rub. Once I identify the origin of the cycle, maybe I can break it. But I imagine some fairly uncomfortable truths would have to rise to the surface, faced and vanquished one way or the other. What’s ironic is that I never make people wait for me, in terms of time, anyway. I’m never late. It, I have come to learn, is both because I a: respect the other person’s time, and b: somehow never feel I am worthy of the wait. But, I have made Brian wait for me to let down my defenses. While I don't spend much time remembering my past, I am bound by it. He waits. For me to let him in. And I am sure it is just as cold where he waits as where I have waited. Ah, the impasse. Maybe we are just waiting each other out. Maybe that is the uncomfortable, unspoken truth.


Monday, April 07, 2008

Long Talks, Good Books and Dim Sum

These are just a few of my favorite things!

Friday afternoon, I snuck out of the office a few minutes early to get to the gym. I wanted to get a full work out in before starting the evening. Then I realized that it really didn't matter--Christopher would be at Youth night at school until 9pm, and my body was determined to undermine my good intentions. Oh well, can't win them all. Still got out of work early, and that is good enough for me.

On my way home I called an old friend, with whom I hadn't connected all week. It is highly unusual for us not to talk or email at least once a week, so I wanted to make sure all was well. I had last seen him the prior Saturday at a friends bon voyage party. For the first time in years, I became that person engrossed in conversation walking down the street, then paying for a bottle of wine, etc. I don't think I have ever done that before, but I wanted some one on one time, uninterrupted by family demands. I wound up having a 3+ hour conversation. Food for the soul, I tell you!

Saturdays we take Christopher to his therapist, and afterwards, tromp around Barnes & Noble for a while. I love Saturday afternoons in the book store. Last week, I picked up my Yoga magazines. This week, a copy of Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri. I saw that it had really good reviews, so thought I'd give it a read. Christopher caught up on his graphic novel reads, and Brian held a tutorial for older kids on comic book history and lore. We grabbed some lunch, and enjoyed a nice afternoon.

Saturday night I had the unexpected pleasure of seeing someone other than the person I set out to see. We were invited to a birthday celebration for a girlfriend of ours. We decided that I'd go, and Brian would stay home with Chris. At the appointed hour, I headed to Bleecker Bar, took a look around, and not seeing the guest of honor, went back outside to call her and wait a few minutes. Much to my surprise, I see another of our friends, went back inside, had a drink as his buddies began to arrive. These people are all anywhere from 5 to 12 years younger than I. We were talking about Facebook, and what the point of the whole thing is, admitting that, yes, we both have an account with them, but still. I told him I felt sure that I was beyond the upper demographic they were trying to reach. He said, no way, I'm older than you. I laughed, and asked his age. He said he just turned 37, and was truly surprised when I told him I was about to turn 42. When I finished my drink and said my goodbyes, he said, I still think you look 35. I was tickled!!

Sunday all three of us had a dim sum brunch in Flushing in celebration of another buddy's 42nd birthday. I haven't had dim sum in ages, and forgot just how much fun it is. It was an endless parade of small yummy Chinese goodies. Dumplings of every description. Noodles. Greens I'd not heard of. And a table full of old dear friends, and a couple of new ones. I am looking forward to seeing those photos. This one was from the review on Christopher and Connor sat together and kept each other entertained without requiring too much adult intervention. Chris then went over to his friend's house, allowing us to run errands, shop and do laundry. All in all it was a very nice weekend.

The forcythia is blooming with a vengeance. Some of the fruit bearing trees are bursting as well. Spring really is my favorite time of year. Watching the earth slowly rouse itself from its long slumber renews my soul. It seems every day there is something new to see or smell. Like a bride on her receiving line, nature presents us with these gifts. It is for this reason that I do not begrudge the winter. Without it, I would be the poorer. Spring reminds me of hope, of potential, of life. So all through this muddy, changeable season, you will find me smiling.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

My Boy is Growing Up

I knew the day would come. It was inevitable, the boy's nearly 12, after all. Monday, I walked Christopher to school because my husband had to drive Nikko to the airport. We enjoyed a pretty easy morning, and the started out the door early enough that we would not be pressed for time.

Once we got to the corner of his school, Christopher said to me, "Mom, I'm going to go on up ahead."

"Well, ok, here, give me a kiss goodbye," I said, and he did. On the lips. In public. I smiled broadly inside.

"Do you want me to come to the school yard, or just leave you here?" I asked, thinking hmmm.

"Just leave me here, mom, your train is closer here than the school yard!" He started off at a quicker pace.

"OK." So, I waited until I saw him make the turn into the school yard, and went on my way to Starbucks and the train station.

Beginning on the 21st, I will take him to school every morning to the before school program. I guess I'll be leaving him at the corner, watching to see him go in the door. Fine. As long as I get my kiss.