Memorial Day Weekend Was Memorable!

Do you  find it odd that while one is home for two days sick in bed with a stomach virus that one does not update one’s blog?  You would think with all the time spent watching Real Housewives of New York City and You’ve Been Cut Off, one might pull oneself away from the television and actually post something?  You might think that sitting in bed, one might take the laptop and actually do something productive, instead of playing online Sudoku or trolling Facebook for past friends.

Yeah, I thought so too.  But I just couldn’t get up the gumption to actually post something during the last two days.  My stomach was making sickly noises and I felt like I got kicked in the gut by a mule.  At one point, before I got up this morning, my stomach actually growled “ZOOL.”  Zool?  Will I start levitating?  I looked over at MR to see if it woke him up.  Nope.  I’ll have to battle the gatekeeper on my own.

I did take advantage of this down time to go through the 700 plus pictures I took at the soccer tournament we went to over Memorial Day weekend.  One of the reasons I bought my Canon Rebel was the “sports” mode of shooting.  I needed that to catch the action on the field.  I end up taking way too many photos and have to weed them out before posting them to Weplay or Facebook.  So I was doing this for a good part of the afternoon when I was inspired to write about our Memorial Day weekend in Hampden, PA.

One of the advantages of being on the travel team is you get to travel.  Our weekly games don’t go so far out on Long Island, so when the chance of an invitation to play in another state, and be able to go to Hershey Park as part of the package came up, the coach accepted.  I was excited just to watch our girls play soccer and spend a few nights in a hotel bed.  Mmmm.

Of course with everything, there was conflict.  With all organized sports there is backbiting, sniping, complaining and espionage.  “Who picked the hotel?”  When will we go to Hershey park?”  “Why does it cost so much to play?”  “Who are these ‘guest’ players?”  Blah, blah, blah.  And then all the other parents chimed in….

No, only kidding.   My only complaint was that we weren’t given a choice of hotels.  We were told, by the coach, where we were staying.  Some of us are accustomed to 5-star hotels, and some of us (me) are content to go camping.  But after the fact, I’m glad we stayed where we did.  The Hampton Inn in Mechanicsburg was awesome.  Heated pool, patio with tables and umbrellas, lush landscaping, great rooms, wonderful staff, lounge with large screen TV, couch, nice breakfast, computer access and CLEAN!  I’m not sure all Hampton Inns are like this, but this one was very thoughtful -free chips in the lounge and coffee all day.  Chicken soup when it got chilly.  It really felt like I was staying with relatives instead of a chain hotel.

I’ve always liked details.  As an architect, I guess I appreciate them more than most.  The Hampton Inn, which is a Hilton family chain, was full of details.  There were black and white photographs on all the door numbers (we had a tractor).  The clock radio (which you can purchase on their hampton HOME collection) had b & w photos for each of the preset music stations a rock for Rock, soda pop for Pop, etc.  Their coffee urns had old gas pump photographs on each- “High Test” for the robust coffee, “Unleaded” for the decaf.  Just everywhere you looked you saw a lot of thought put into their presentation.  I like that.

We were the first ones to arrive on Friday, so of course Z-girl spent the rest of the afternoon in the pool.  It was a little weird seeing all the parents, grandparents and girls in a setting other than the soccer field.  Soon the whole pool was filled with splashing, shrieking 11-year olds.  All shapes, colors and sizes- all getting along and having a great time.  OFF the soccer field.  I think this epitomized the true meaning of the word TEAM.

And the parents?  I consider myself lucky to be associated with this bunch.  I’ve made some lifelong, strong friendships with most of these people.  How often can you go away with twenty-eight parents, fourteen athletes, a few handfuls of siblings, a sprinkling of grandparents, a smattering of extended family and come out of the weekend exclaiming it was one of the nicest weekends you’ve ever had?  I don’t think the girls realize what they have, but I’ve spoken to the parents afterwards and they all agree- we’ve got something special and unique in our group.

So how did our girls do?  We played two games on Saturday- won one, tied another.  We played the elimination game Sunday morning and won, putting us in the championship, where we lost, finishing up the tournament in second place!  The girls played superbly!  There was a little drama (isn’t there always?) during the last game- a case of mistaken identity.  One of our other town teams, the older girls, pulled out of the tournament in the middle of the game because the other team was being uneccessarily rough and the referee wasn’t calling any fouls.  One of their coaches, in the heat of passion, cursed out the referee.  I think pulling the team is admiral- no trophy is worth the girls getting hurt. Anyway, one of our dads was mistaken for one of their coaches and was asked to leave the field.  Things were said, game was delayed, tempers flared, apologies were made, but I think it hurt our momentum a little and we lost the game.   It was okay- both teams took pictures together on the field and all the parents congratulated each other.  I organized (at the coach’s request) a victory tunnel with the parents (facing each other hands up and touching?) for the kids to go through because we were so proud of them! “2-4-6-8 Who do we appreciate? Panthers, Panthers, go Panthers!”  As the kids came out of the tunnel, they formed their own tunnel and started shouting, “2-4-6-8 Who do we appreciate? Parents! Parents, go Parents”.

Yeah, I’m tearing up as I’m writing it down.

It was my first time through a victory tunnel!  I, of course, cried on exiting.  One of the other town team parents congratulated the coach on winning.  She had walked over to see what all the yelling and celebrating was about.  Our coach said thanks, but we came in second.  It’s this team spirit- and it starts from the coaches on down to us, the parents- that makes it so much fun to be a soccer mom.

Coming in second didn’t put a damper on the weekend because all the girls knew that “We’re going to Hershey Park!”  We visited the park on Sunday night on a twilight pass then again on Monday.  I was a little leary going to an amusement park on a holiday weekend, but either the heat or the fact that it was the last day of the weekend kept the crowds away.  The kids were able to go on the rides over and over without a wait.  They dragged me on some roller coaster rides that freaked me out (The Wild Mouse) and I dragged Zombiegirl on her first looping coaster! (Sidewinder)  I fear she’s hooked!  The little thrill seeker is already planning on riding the Great Bear next year!

Unfortunately, due to the drama with the older girls, I don’t know if our team will be invited back next year.  I’m hoping we are.  Even though it was REALLY hot, we had a great time at the hotel, on the field and in the park with all our soccer peeps!

Monday Tidbits

It’s crunch time. The craft sale is one week away and I’ve been sewing, gluing, tying, and cutting like crazy to get things done. Not only am I working on my stuff for my table, I’m also organizing and finishing the crafts for Zombiegirl’s soccer team.

I had this bright idea for the girls to get together and make crafts for St. Andrew’s Holiday Fair. They have a bunch of tournaments coming up. We can offset the cost of the tourneys by raising some money by selling our crafts. Bright idea, right?

Next time I have a bright idea like this, someone smack me.

Mistake number one- trying to teach fourteen non-crafty girls to make things that are nice enough to sell. Girls who are growing up in the video age. Girls who can’t sit still long enough to even listen to instructions- they are athletes, after all. Girls who think snacking is more important than doing the work. Some of them get it, and others…need more time. And… I’ll admit it… I don’t have the patience I used to have when I was a Girl Scout leader/Sunday School Teacher. But we’re having fun though. I think what’s most important is not only raising money for the team but the camaraderie the girls are sharing. They’re going to be on the same team for the next few years- they have to get along off the field as well as on the field. So sitting around a table tying pillows while gabbing is a good thing.

If I don’t have to do the pillows over…BECAUSE they’re gabbing.

These are some of the things we’ve/I’ve/Ronnie’s made so far…

  • Fleece hats for kids. With fringe and without. Some with scarves.
  • Christmas wreath pins (lace and beads)
  • Candy cane ornaments (lace and beads)
  • Ribbon angel pins
  • God’s eyes ornaments/gift trim
  • Clothespin reindeer ornaments/gift trim
  • Fleece accent pillows in a soccer print
  • Chocolate lollipops
  • Cookie jar mixes
  • Mesh ribbon boxes
  • Christmas CD’s

On Thursday, the moms are going to get together and make Oreo Turkeys. Yes, wine will be served, thankfully. My dad also donated the Christmas earrings that Mom made as well as the plastic tablecloth hairbows she used to sell. The lace and bead stuff she donated to the Girl Scouts, but Ronnie donated them back. So we should have a pretty full table.

I just hope they sell something.

I spent almost seven hours finishing off fleece hats on Saturday night. I never want to see another hat again.

Mistake number two? Thinking I’d actually get some cooperation from the families. I totally understand that the girls have so much to do besides school, but we tried to make it easy and have the crafting sessions after right after practice. I understand that the kids have other weekly commitments. But some of the other excuses we’ve gotten are unbelievable! We have 28 parents involved with the team, AND various grandparents (thanks Stan, Jeannette and Bob!) I like the majority of these parents and consider alot of them friends. But the same parents help out week after week.

So where is everyone else?

We’re not asking for EVERYONE to show up each and every week. We craft for an hour/hour and a half each week and occasionally when the girls have a day off. Jodi’s next door neighbor has shown up to help out more than some of these parents. MR even stayed yesterday and tied pillows with us. I just don’t get it. We’re trying to put money into these families pockets so they don’t have to pay out for tournaments and trainings. Some parents are there EVERY WEEK and then there are some parents that we haven’t seen yet. WTF?

And if I hear one more time “But I work full time!” I’m going to puke.

Still, it’s not as bad as when I was a Girl Scout leader. Those parents never did shit.

Okay, enough ranting. I’m not going to change people’s nature. I know what I do and I can go to sleep at night knowing I did everything possible for my daughter and her team. I don’t know why I get so enraged. I suppose it could be worse, right?

So…mistake number three? Waiting until the last minute (week) to finish up MY stuff. Why do I procrastinate? I know I work better under pressure, but why do I do this to myself? My sewing room is a mess so I’m tempted to organize my fabric, or pull out all the lace. I have to stop myself and concentrate on finishing up stuff for my table.

Some stuff I’m selling?

  • Tutus
  • Princess wands
  • Princess crowns
  • Key chain wristlets
  • Felt fruit and vegetables
  • Tote bags
  • Angel magnetic cards
  • Dishtowel angels

Add to that MR’s wood cut outs and we should also have a pretty full table, too.

I just hope I sell something!

And yes, I did all this with a full-on migraine on Saturday. When it finally broke Saturday night it was like the weight of the world lifted off my head. I had a headache Sunday morning (missed church) but I took a cat nap and it went away…

What else happened this weekend?

  • The Panthers lost 3-2 in the rain and wind we had Saturday. My Uggs are ruined.
  • I followed Flylady’s method of cleaning the kitchen. Got most of it done except the floors. I need to get one of those floor cleaning things. Um…what is it called? Oh. A mop.
  • Zombiegirl and I made pumpkin pies. She had a craving. If I can get her to eat it, it’ll be the first thing in days practically. She has no appetite. I’m guessing it’s from the flu, but if she doesn’t start eating it’s back to the doctor.
  • I watched part of my first non-professional hockey game. Fifteen year old boys. And it was just as exciting as an Islander game. Thanks Hailey, Kathy and Brandon!
  • I made apple butter in the crock pot. And applesauce. With black chai tea flavor. Oooh. Yummy.
  • I cleaned out my produce drawer and stir fried everything. I used the Vanilla Fig Balsamic Vinegar we bought at the summer craft sale in East Quogue. More yummy. I froze individual portions so I can take it to work.

All in all, it was a productive yet infuriating weekend. And exhausting. I can’t wait to get back to work…

Monday Tidbits

A very exciting recap of my weekend….

1. Watching Hedwig and the Angry Inch, I forgot how much I loved this movie and how much I liked John Cameron Mitchell’s voice. I looked him up on IMDB and he was born on my birthday. Year AND day.

2. Zombiegirl’s team lost to Auburndale 5-2. The other team was really good. Quote during the game- Stan G (Hale’s Grandpa) asked if the other team were all going back to home to Nicaragua after the game. Bad grandpa.

3. Z-girl has a better social life than me. AND her sisters. This kid averages two birthday parties a weekend lately. And I’m really proud of her- they are all different circles of friends. She’s not confining herself (like her older sister(s)) to one or two friends. Very few of her friends bisect her circles, either. And I’m going broke buying birthday gifts.

4. Reading Dan Brown is like getting a history lesson in under five minutes.

5. I’m slowly getting rid of the crap in my life. To clarify, it’s getting harder to find stuff to sell at yard sales. This very well may be my last one. If only it doesn’t rain, again.

6. I have way too many crafts started and not enough finished. I booked three craft sales before Christmas, so I have to get a move on.

7. September flew by WAAY too fast. But I’m looking forward to all the things I have to do in October.

8. Mr. and I were talking about Anna Farris last night while watching Family Guy. House Bunny is on tonight. Synchronicity?

9. I need to see Dr. Heredia more often. My migraines are back with a vengance.

10. I now know why my mom’s hand were so soft all the time. Frosting made of shortening will make your hands soft and smooth. My cake decorating exploits will be chronicled here shortly.

11. I wish my life would Flashforward six months. Will I be watching Flashforward?

12. It’s very hard for someone to say no to 12 girls in soccer uniforms. The guy in the yoga place is a hard-hearted man. A yoga gift certificate would have been wonderful for our raffle basket. His loss. Thanks to the Barber shop, The Witches Brew, Phoenix Chiropractic, Aroma Nails, Gina at Mandee, GNC, Beena, Dad and Rob for their donations to our baskets.

Another exciting weekend. A little cleaning, a little laundry, a little soccer, a little cake. A few crafts and some TV.

And…I want cerviche.

Monday Tidbits

Instead of boring you with a play-by-play of my kids soccer games, or the most exciting things I do on the weekend, (laundry, dishes, soccer games) I think I’ll feed you tidbits of some of the events and musings of the weekend.

Tidbit 1- Zombiegirl’s team won their first Travel game of the season, 3-1 against Valley Stream. Off to a good start!

Tidbit 2- I convinced small children that a) the people in the low flying planes that flew over our soccer field can see us and were waving. At one point there were eight people waving at planes and not watching the game. B) If you spin around really, really fast, you’ll lift off the ground, c) if you flip your hands up at a 90 degree angle when you’re running you WILL slow down and d) that my house is haunted.

Tidbit 3- My husband is a much better cook than I am. This is evident by his meatballs. Which I HAD to taste.

Tidbit 4- Apocalypse Now (director’s cut) is NOT my favorite movie.

Tidbit 5- Strange people use the laundromat. And it’s expensive to wash a comforter.

Tidbit 6- I now know how to kill a maenad. I just have to change into a bull and convince her to marry me.

Tidbit 7- Time truly flies when you watch end-to-end episodes of the third season of Dexter. Which I DO love.

Tidbit 8- After 12 years of marriage, I would do it all over again with my hubby.

Tidbit 9- If I hear one more of my friends/acquaintances back out of doing something because “I work…” I will have to bitch slap them. I’ve been working full-time for 24 years and I have managed to: get married twice, have three kids, own a home, car and pets, have numerous yard sales, run two businesses, be a Girl Scout Leader, Sunday School Teacher, Soccer Mom and Class Parent many times over, write a blog, take pretty damn good care of my family and house AND go to the gym. Yes, I have flexibility at my job and a good support system at home. That does help. But I am just really SO very tired of the Primadonnas making excuses.

Tidbit 10- I am secretly married to Dan. My Facebook friend told me so.

That was my weekend in a nutshell. Comment if you’re interested in any of the backstories!

Labor Day Weekend 2009

Oh! The intrigue. The backbiting. The alliances. The lies. The gossip. The scandals. The slander. The suspicion. The tyranny.

No, it’s not another episode of Survivor.

It’s kids soccer. And it’s not the kids acting this way. Well, mostly not. It’s the parents.

There’s always one (or two or three) rabble rouser/trouble maker. The one (or two or three) that takes everything as an affront and tries to stir up discord. The one (or two or three) that irritates unneccesarily and causes grief for the rest of us.

Can’t we just watch our kids play? They play so well we should be rejoicing in their talent, not on the sidelines plotting and scheming. I’m not saying I’m innocent in this, either. I get caught up in the bullshit very easily. But from here on in I’m going with the flow and I’m just going to be there for my kid. She deserves my full attention and support. So if you get in my face again, I’m stepping aside and ignoring you and cheering for my kid and her team. Go take your chicanery somewhere else.

(I’ve found Wondrous, isn’t it? See? I didn’t use the word awesome!)

So “Zombie #6” and her team played four games over Saturday and Sunday. 2 wins, 1 loss and 1 tie, which put them into 3rd place. This is the first time these girls have played together as a team since being picked for Travel. They were all wondrous but our new defensive player really stood out as the most exceptional. Pooda Girl #8 blew us away. Congrats, Nat! Keep up the good work!

We went out to the beach house after the games on Sunday. My in-laws and the kids were all there- the first time in years all the siblings (MR and his sisters) and their families have been out to the beach house. It was great spending time with the nephcies (nieces and nephew) at the beach. This is what went on while I was in bed with a migraine…

That’s a bluefish. The blue Uncle Ray caught was even bigger.

After the beach Zombiegirl and I went to the outlets to pick up a few outfits for school. Tanger Outlet is 10 minutes from the beach house. It took two hours for us to hit two stores- parking was crazy, the customers were crazy and no one spoke english. But thanks to the cute boy in Justice for helping us find Z-girl’s sweater. Next time we don’t wait for the last minute.

All in all, it was a great weekend despite the bickering, the migraine and the crazy foreigners at the outlets. I got sunburned while at the soccer tourney, and when I got to the beach house, I noticed that my little frowny lines between my brows were white- I was scowling all day and sunburned that way. Lovely. Those kind of tan lines I don’t want…

Happily Booked My Weekends

My weekends, starting this fall, have pretty much been booked up solid. No, I didn’t get a part-time job. No, I’m not going away every weekend (although I would love to…) I will happily be giving up my weekends to stand on the sides of a soccer field cheering on my baby.

Zombiegirl made the town’s Travel Team. What, you didn’t hear the screams from there? I answered the phone from work and she screamed so loud I was a little deaf for about an hour. To say she was excited would be an understatement. This is the kid that breathes soccer. No more Intramural League. And for the soccer-impaired, Intramural is where the town divvies up the girls and lets them play against each other. I personally think it’s hard for the girls to play Intramural. They play against their classmates and friends. I myself have witnessed girls holding back scoring against their friends. But at that level it’s supposed to be fun and a learning experience.

So the Travel Team plays other teams in the county. They’ll start off in Division 5, which is the lowest division. They don’t have a record yet so it’s good that they will be in a lower division. The coach already picked their name. It’s the “Panthers.” Um…yes. Ten and eleven year old girls. Roar. Snarl. The town’s soccer league is the “Chiefs” and I can understand why they can’t use “Seminoles” or “Cherokees”- just not politically correct. So they’re the Panthers. Zombiegirl wanted, of course, THE ZOMBIES, but that just didn’t have the killer connotation associated with a sports team. I had to remind her that zombies were slow and not very bright. She countered back that zombies are vicious and eat their victims brains. We settled for her being a zombie soccer player for Halloween. She also picked ZOMBIE for the back of her practice jersey. Lovely little girl…

So this fall, and for the next six or seven years, I will be on my best soccer mom behavior. They red-card the parents in these games! It will be VERY hard to keep my mouth shut and not yell at the other team. I’ll be posting the results of the games here- not for you, my loyal readers- but for me to keep a record for all of eternity.

I’m also the team’s fundraising guru. If you (my loyal readers-all two of you) have any ideas for fundraisers, let me know! If not- buy a candy bar to support The Panthers!