Where have I been

Sunday, August 14, 2011 at 7:15 pm

It’s been a while, dear blog, since we’ve spoken. I’ve been busy, you know, on a new adventure. And the interesting thing, dear blog, is not the subject of that adventure but the fact that at my ripe old age of 47 that I’m doing something a year ago I never would have imagined. Every time I think I understand myself, I do something totally unexpected. Maybe it’s my personality, or a genetic defect, but whatever it is, I feel so sorry for those who don’t suffer from it too. How interesting life can be when you don’t know what you have in store for yourself!

I have missed you, blog, and intend to be more dutiful about spending quality time with you. And blog, if something interesting crosses your path, I understand. I hope you consider the possibilities…you just never know where that road may lead.

Categories: Overview of the Book and Me

Early spring and the diamond will be rough

Saturday, February 12, 2011 at 10:07 am

It’s too early for sping, but the weather here in Florida this week is, well, more representative of how the weather SHOULD be in Florida. And with the onset of warmth in the air comes clay on the cleat. Major league spring training starts in the next few days, but for my boys, after six weeks of practice, their season is about to start.

I always start the season with joy and optimism. It is, after all, maybe my most favorite pasttime. Love grey double knit pants, long socks and worn red seams. Love watching those “are you kidding me” plays that you have the rare pleasure of seeing from time to time. And for months, I’ve loved hearing how my sons talk about the great pitches or timely hits, even if they’re not their own. But starting today, I get to be a witness to all the talk. It’s just a scrimmage, I know, but we go in with high ideals and hopeful swings. We, the parents, coaches and the 14-year old players, get to see just how they perform in the presence of strangers. I expect glimmers of greatness scattered among errors and miscues. It’s early, and they’re just beginning. And just like spring, their roots are strengthening for the powerful blooms lurking just beneath the soon-to-be green grass.

Categories: Overview of the Book and Me

The art of letting go

Sunday, January 30, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Talking to a friend of mine, I felt like I was talking to myself, four years ago. Worried that the demands of school were too difficult for my elementary school-aged son, I stepped in, drilled him, bugged him, checked him, admonished him…we had a long year at school. Notice the word “we.” “We” got A’s and B’s. “We” had a decent year. But at some point near the end of the school year, it occurred to me that “we” were exhausted, and this was only elementary school. The years to come would be more demanding. And just like a smoker ready to quit, I stopped helping cold turkey. “Youngest son, I have to stop helping you so that you can learn to help yourself. I can’t keep doing this for you. Your work is now your own. Good luck, soldier.”

And so I cut him loose, and responded by showing me all those hours of hovering over him were wasted. The only one with something to learn was me.

Someone once wisely told me that I should never start something with my children that I wasn’t prepared to continue forever. I should have listened. Our kids need us, for guidance, not for hand holding. There’s beauty in letting go…

Categories: Overview of the Book and Me

Technical fouls and holding firm

Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 8:15 pm

Readers of my blog know how much I enjoy watching sports of all kinds, but in particular those in which my sons play. As the oldest recovers from his football injury, the almost 13-year-old has picked up the mantle of live entertainment, and in this case, basketball.

In some ways I think basketball is Connor’s best sport. He’s a defensive octopus on the court…arms, legs, heels flying trying to get that ball. In his last game, he had several traveling calls, but not for not dribbling. Going up awkwardly for the rebound, three separate times he lost his footing clutching the ball, hit the court and slid mere inches on his rear. Whistle blow. Travel. On the third such call, my baby, my mellow fellow, slammed the ball onto the court. High bounce. Whistle blow. Technical. The game was tied at that point. I saw Connor standing in the midst of his team at half court watching one free throw drop in. Out on that court I could see his chest rising and falling in barely under-control anger.

I’m worried, now, about how he’ll conduct himself in these last minutes. I am relieved to see something I’ve never seen in him. Let’s call it focused determination. A teammate brought us ahead by one, and the other team drove down and took a shot. Miss. Connor rebounds. Arms encircle the ball; he, on sturdy legs. Whistle blows. Game us.

Categories: Overview of the Book and Me

The Tragedy of Boise State’s Kyle Brotzman; no – the Tragedy of Kyle Brotzman’s Boise

Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at 8:03 am

I heard on the news today that the kicker for Boise State was getting death threats for the field goals he missed against Nevada. It’s shocking. Maligned online, this young man who has been so clutch for Boise is now a target of wrath. But we both know, it’s never the last point. It’s not the last volley in the net, not the missed free throw, not the missed play at home plate. The successor in sports is the one who accumulates the most points. Accumulate – to gather or collect, often in gradual degrees. I’ve been the one to strike the ball into the net, the final point of a match. I’ve seen my sons strike out looking with the winning runner on third. As much as we believe at that moment that the loss is our fault, it is only one point in a game of many points.

Kyle Brotzman didn’t lose the game for Boise State. Boise State lost the game for Boise. And anyone who thinks differently has never competed, or if they have, forgotten that success in sport is an accumulation of successes.

Categories: Overview of the Book and Me

The Hill Country and rocky roads

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Packed to the rear window, we’re heading over four states and nine hours from Florida to Austin to visit with family for Thanksgiving. From closely cropped St. Augustine to wind-danced rye, we’ve seen some changes along the way. From rural to industrial to modern, from snapper to Dickies Pralines and corn nuts, the contrasts have been great.

Thinking back to our forefathers, the original Thanksgivingers, how this country must have been so different from that which they left behind. We have our destination; we know with whom we’ll be and how the weather will be while we visit; we packed accordingly, and if we forgot something, we can go get it.

This Thanksgiving, in addition to thanking God for our many blessings, let’s remember those who battled the unknown to settle for us a country where we can express ourselves, explore our way of life, and have chance to pursue happiness when so many of this world can’t.

Categories: Overview of the Book and Me

The dichotomy of giving thanks

Monday, November 22, 2010 at 11:28 am

I admit it. We’ve had a rough fourth quarter. Broken bones, a blood clot, bank seizure, disagreeable loan refinance terms, witnessing a decline in my dad’s health, all of which happened within the span of two months. I’ve been troubled with sleepless nights and nightmares, that is, until my sister reminded me of something: that this world is a battleground; it’s not heaven. Grief touches us all. I had forgotten that in my happy, dumb existence. And when I look at other days of this long year, so many good things have happened. Quick healing of my children’s bones, book awards, speeches, book signings, time with friends, making enough to pay the bills and then some, a loving and generous family, the opportunity to play tennis. I guess what gets you is when it involves your kids. It’s hard to take their pain and suffering. You want to take it away, but you can’t.

So this Thanksgiving, I will thank God for the blessings he’s given us, and there have been many. I will also ask him to bless us further by keeping us and everyone safe and healthy, but if lightning strikes you in the metaphorical sense, remember that none of us was promised a rose garden.

Categories: Overview of the Book and Me

At a loss for words

Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 4:20 pm

It’s an odd feeling for a writer to lose interest in writing. Give me joy, I can write. Give me saddness, I can write. But give me angst, and I’m just speechless. Days after my son’s football injury, he had a seizure in front of my husband and me and passed out. After another trip to the ER, they discovered my 13-year-old had a blood clot. Back in the hospital, blood thinners, nightmares, growth plate damage?, sleeplessness…we’ll it’s enough to make this writer put the pen aside. But I’m back. Some of that angst is leaving my heavy soul. Now it’s just worry. I can live with that.

Watching my 12-year-old take to the field after all this, my anxiety was great. I think his was, too. And when I heard the helmet-to-helmet crack, my knees went weak. But watching my phoenix rise from the ashes with a shake of his head and brushing off grass, well, it was then that I accepted that life does go on.

Categories: Overview of the Book and Me

And if that weren’t enough

Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 7:59 am

four days later, my oldest son suffered a catastrophic injury on the football field, a femur fracture. Funny how that makes you forget about the overhead…

Too many times, we forget that our lives can change in a nanosecond…accidents can rock our world. My 13-year-old who’s reaching for independence is now as dependent as anyone can be. He can’t move without help. He can’t go to the bathroom, bathe, walk, crawl…it’s awful to watch. And coming on the heels of my youngest son’s recovery from his fractured humerus pitching a baseball, I have to say that 2010 has been a difficult year for our family.

The obvious solution is to say we’re through with sports, but that’s just not how we’re built. We love to run, challenge, jump, throw harder, catch, hit the ball, tackle, and I’m so grateful. Those who plant themselves on the couch miss out on so much. Sure, they may be safe, but I’d rather get hurt doing something I love than sit on the sideline any day. And my 13-year-old? He’s already said he can’t wait to play high school football. He should. He’s good, and he loves it.

Categories: Overview of the Book and Me

Beware: tennis is a contact sport

Friday, October 8, 2010 at 12:17 pm

and if you doubt me, take a look at my face. My partner and I were playing people we didn’t know from another state, and in the second game of the match, while both of us were up at net, one of our opponents hit an overhead squarely at my face. I said overhead, not volley, meaning striking downward on the ball with force for a putaway. Well, she put it away all right. My visor and sunglasses flew off. The impact drove my glasses into my cheekbone and here, three days later, I still have an ugly cut and swollen, not-quite-black eye. Hmmm.

Earlier this week, my son showed me his side after football practice. He had been cleated and had a nasty little cut. I called him “Pierce” the rest of the week. But I get that in football. It’s a collision of arms, legs, helmets, and you never know what’s going to happen. But tennis? There’s time for pre-planning in that sport. And I feel she was sending me a message.

There’s only one other time I’ve ever been hit in the face, and that’s when I was a cop. My partner and I cornered this suspect next to a building. At 5’3″, I was the easiest door to get through. He ran me over, and in the process hit my face. But I get that in the hunt for criminals. But tennis? Really?

Categories: On the Job, Overview of the Book and Me