Friday, August 26, 2011

My un-American attitude about sports

I’m just going to come right out and say it. I hate all sports. Even the ones I sometimes like. Now this is, of course, downright un-American of me and I may even be kicked out of my own family so I’m going to try to defend my position.

For most people in our society, talking sports is as basic and natural a transaction as watching TV, tossing back something to drink or going to the toilet. It's a universally understood way for strangers to structure interactions; for friends and family to build bonds. As young Americans, playing on some little league team or school sports seemes to be the only way to survive in little budding social circles.

First of all, you need to know that I am not opposed to physical activity. And I am no athlete.  I’m a work in progress when it comes to fitness . I go for walks pretty regularly and take the stairs instead of the elevator most of the time. So this isn’t about me feeling all threatened by people with hard bodies. I’ve come to grips that I possess a soft body. God made all kinds of bodies. Mine is perpetually soft... really soft.

What I hate most of all is the brittle rhetoric that surrounds almost all sporting endeavor. The crap about “teamwork” and “sportsmanship” and “giving it your best”. Everybody knows that sport is all about winning. Even when they say, “it’s not about winning” it’s about winning. The forum I in which I resent this rhetoric the most is children’s sports.

Today I came to the conclusion that I blame sports. I blame sports for my complete lack of interest in having a hard body.

I played sports. I was never good at them. It’s not like I didn’t try. I did. I paid the same money as everyone else. I went to every practice. I lifted weights. I ran stairs. I went to daily triples. I sat on the bench and never played a game throughout junior high and high school. My junior year I woke up and said, “That’s it! I’m done. This is not worth the aggregation, embarrassment, frustration and sweat!” Junior year was my last year to play sports. I was done.

Today was a painful reminder of why I hate sports and I watched my son, whom I’ve been struggling with anyway, stand on the sideline at a football scrimmage; a scrimmage he didn’t tell me about because he doesn’t want people to see that he is the only junior on the JV team that doesn’t get to swing up to varsity. Painful.

It's like this.  Imagine, if you will, an eight-year-old who reads poorly. Nothing stupid about her: just a combination of sluggish genetics or maybe indifferent parents, and she’s behind the rest of the class. Now, let’s give her a book and make her read in front of the whole school. “Come on,” they’ll say, “give it try. It’s not about being the best.” Her vision tunnels, her ears start to ring, she struggles through aware everyone is looking at her. How do you think she’d feel? I tend to think her self-esteem would be crushed and she’d probably develop hard feelings towards reading for life.

So why the heck do we make children who aren’t naturally good at sport race their classmates in front of huge audiences? “It’s not whether you win or lose,” they say. But it is. Because the kid who comes last, she doesn’t get a trophy or a parade, she sits in the great silent stillness of the non-winner. Because she lost and everyone saw it. And if she’s the best reader in her class, there’s no trophy.

(Luckily, though, there’s the wonderful consolation of a lifetime of books).

The extent to which sports mean nothing to me measures my alienation from my family and my culture, but I can't help it; when talk turns to the most fundamental bond of our society, my overwhelming response is tedium and sometimes even anger.

Don't get me wrong. I'm don't feel the need to express disdain for all sports. When I can, I pretend knowledgeability to head off embarrassing silences and spare others discomfort. When that fails, I diffidently explain that I don't follow the activity under examination.

And if pressed, I point out that it's not the playing that bothers me.  I have on an occasion, played a sport for fun.  I go to football games... for the 30 seconds my kid hits the field.  After all, and if necessary, I can even admire the athletes' prowess in the final minutes of a football game.

The problem is the baggage that has long since smothered the play. Call me stubborn in my refusal to get interested, but I have better things to do with my leisure than surrender it to the commercialized, banally competitive, jargon-ridden, overexposed, overbearing domination that sports exercises over our culture.

I do resent people who look down on me for not liking sports. I do resents that sports take a front seat to education in American society. I do resent that a high school students worth revolves around how they handle a ball. I do resent it that so much of my society's time, money and attention is consumed by something I don't care about. I do resent it that even close friends and family become droning pod people when sports comes up. I do resent it that sports talk serves as such a casual superstructure of exclusion for so social events… Even Sacrament Meeting!

Thank God there are some avenues to learn how to get along with other, to work as a team, etc. That don’t compete. If I practice with the choir, I sing in the concert. If I attend dance class, I dance at the recital.   If I get cast in the play and attend practice, I can depend on performing opening night.   If I learn to read I can depend on a lifetime of learning.

Exercise is cool, as is running around and playing ball with your friends, for fun. Trouble is… competitive sports suck all the fun out playing and our of life.

I've Been Hacked! Please Help Me Find and Kill Those Responsible

Okay, just kidding, I don't mean kill, but maybe hurt badly, or at least tied to a chair and forced to watch old reruns of golf tournaments... with loud obnoxious music in the background. Someone has used my msn email address to send a whole bunch of spam, some of which you may have received.

As much as I'd like to help you get a great deal on Viagra and/or mail-order brides from Thailand, I had nothing to do with these emails, and have taken measures to insure this doesn’t happen again.

In fact, I had to start completely start over. I was completely frozen out of my old account. Changing passwords and running McKafee and Spybot didn’t seem to stop it. Thus, MSN stopped it for me.

I now have a new e-mail address. I have lost most of my contacts. If you feel like you need to contact me and get my new e-mail, you will need to respond to this blog or my Facebook page. I will then contact you.

Speaking of which, besides changing my mail account password(s) on every account I have, starting a new e-mail, and doing a virus cleaning on my computer, should I be doing anything else?

Sorry, and thanks!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sting like a Bee... the epic story

I must admit, it may have been a little on the overboard side treatment, but it is true. I pants-ed myself in the peach orchard on Friday.

The thing is… I allergic to be stings and it’s been a few years (more like 10 years) since I had a current epee pen.

It’s the traditional time of year to can peaches. Unfortunately, the weather this past spring was not kind to the peach orchards in the Willamette valley. Peaches are my family’s favorite canned fruit. I decided to do what I could to can some peaches this year, despite my crazy summer schedule.

We went out to the peach orchard, but there wasn’t much on the trees. We had surveyed the rows of trees. Nothing. We had given up and were heading down the hill when I was struck!

Ok… I was talking with my hands and my waving hand collided with a flying bee. I screamed. This was bad and started down the hill faster. The bees CHASED me! I even got stung on the butt!

I was feeling a little panicked. We were miles from a town and I didn’t even have Benadryl in the car.

When we got to the car, the bees has left me alone, but I was beginning to wheeze. And yes… I dropped the pants… just a little, mind you, to show McKay my insulted injury and to be sure there were no more bees. I think it shocked the kids.

I started toward town and called John.

“I got stung by a bee while looking for peaches,” I tell John as we flew down the country road.

“Not good. Aren’t you allergic?” He asked.

“Yes. I think I’d better pull over and let McKay drive. I’m getting dizzy due to the lack of oxygen,” I say as I hang up.

McKay pulled into Wal-Mart and I wandered into the store looking for Benadryl. I just ripped open the box and started drinking the medicine. I told the lady at the checkout that it was ok. I had opened it.

When we got home, I slept for hours. McKay kept checking in on me. I was still a bit groggy the next day.

It is time for a new epee pen.

Pretty annoying for a measly 9 pounds of peaches. At least they were tasty.

A few summer adventures

We have had a few fun summer adventures in the past couple of weeks.

First, Hannah and I went on a road trip to Centrialia Washington to my cousin's Daughter's wedding.  It was at a cute barn and had a Western theme.  The food was great and the company was even better.  It was so fun to catch up with family we haven't seen in a very long time.  I really need to do a better job of making family connections and keeping in touch with aunts, uncles, cousins, and siblings.  Life really is all about the family connections we make.  Those connections are what makes life worth living.

The following week, my brother David stopped by from Australia.  He and his family live in Perth.  He came to the states to attend a friend's wedding and decided to make a whirl wind tour of all his siblings homes.  We were his first stop.  The poor guy had jet lag most of the time he visited for two days.  Still, he kept him extremely busy.  We drug him around to all our activities.  We took him to Brigadoon rehearsal.  We took him to the county fair were he promptly got himself a corn dog of all things.  They don't have corn dogs in Australia.  They don't have corn on the cob either.  I'm surprised that he wasn't sick from all the "American" junk food that he consumed.  He did eat some foods that were good for him too.  He enjoyed walking out to the garden and picking veggies and eating them... dirt and all.  LOL.  He said his kids would never believe that he could walk out and get raspberries or pea and eat them right off the vine.  He also treated us to what he called an "Australian Omelet."  It was more like scrambled eggs with stuff in it, but it was tasty.

One of the biggest adventures of the past two weeks was the performances of Hannah, Chad and McKay at the county fair.  The local newspaper even wrote a story about their experience.  The Itemizer published the story and printed a picture.  They didn't make the top 3, but the all made it to the top 10.  We all were a little disappointed.  They did an excellent job!  The top 3 were not from our county and the number one placement declined to represent our county at the State Fair.  Our friends seemed disappointed that people that don't live in our county can have the honor of representing the county.  I guess we feel the same, at the risk of sounding like sour grapes. 

My friend did record their performances.  She posted them on Facebook.  I can't figure out how to save them to my own computer, so I don't know how to post them on my blog.  I guess I will try to link them to Facebook.  Sure hope it works and you can all see their fantastic performances! 

Here isMcKay singing "Joey is a Punk Rocker"... and Chad and Hannah performing "Jar of Hearts".

We also enjoyed Raspberry Treat day.  I made a Cream Cheese Raspberry Braid.

I didn't get to eat it myself... but everyone said it was tasty.  I even got to use raspberries from my garden.

McKay and I also helped at the local High School registration for three days.  I do find that a little ironic, since we are mainly a home school family.  McKay has moved on and is planning on working this fall and starting massage school in January.  Chad only has choir, math, and a weight class at the school.  None of my other kids go to school.  How did we get so involved in the school system.  Oh well.  At least we are contributing to the community and doing what we can to make our community a better place to live.
Thanks to Dairy Queen, we celebrated National Soft Ice Cream day.  The kids are really liking the fact that I found "National... whatever day."  Even the missionaries are enjoying the fun.  We got a voice message the other day from the missionaries telling us that it was National Leave Ice Cream on the Missionaries doorstep Day."  Funny guys.

Lillian spent a week at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  I don't have any pictures of her adventures, but she did have fun.  She went swimming with the neighbors... played with cousins... and even went to Crater Lake.  Luck girl.  Meanwhile, at home, Chad goes to football and more football.  This week is daily doubles.  He is going to be one tired boy.  That's a good thing.  Maybe it will change his sleep schedule to something we can all live with during the school year.  Hannah and I go to a ton of play rehearsal  Brigadoon opens this week.  Her picture and a story were published in the paper.  She is the dancer on the far right.  It opens this week.

McKay has had the most adventures.  Nearly all of them are with the singles ward.  Weird to think of her as a singles ward kind of girl.  She's gone water skiing, white water rafting, camping and hiking, said goodbye to a friend heading to Sweden for the year and swimming along side a friend's pool.  Ah, to have McKay's life.
Well... that about sums up the adventure of the past couple of weeks.  Everything, with the exception of the bee... that will need to be a whole different blog.

Salad Day 128-143

Well it's been a couple weeks since I've posted my salads.  Don't worry.  I've kept up with my goal.  I just have been having trouble finding the time to post all the pictures.

So... here it goes.

August 6

This salad I ate at my cousin's daughter's wedding.  There was so many good things to choose from!

August 7

Home again...  I'm really enjoying hummus as a salad dressing.

August 8

More hummus and garden veggies.  This salad had my first tomato and snow peas from my own garden.

August 9

I made a Couscous salad with quinua.  It turned out real good!

August 10

I went to a friend's house for a BBQ.  She made a yummy potato salad.

August 11

Taco salad for lunch.  It really is a quick and yummy lunch.  I haven't got tired for taco salad.

August 12

We went to the county fair.  My husband was able to find a chicken taco salad... hold the cheese please.  It hit the spot.

August 13

Made a Cobb salad for lunch this day.

August 14

I'm beginning to get more baby greens, zucchini, and carrots from my garden.  Yum!

August 15

This salad was inspired by Hawaiian Haystacks.  Pineapple is Delicious in a salad.

August 16

Just look at these yummy cucumbers and tomatoes from the garden!

August 17

Back to a tuna salad.  A good old stand by.

August 18

It was a busy day so I got a salad on the go.  This one came from Dairy Queen.  It had chicken, bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, carrots, and honey mustard dressing.

August 19

My husband was kind enough to make me this veggie salad with a little feta and honey mustard dressing.

August 20

Another busy day.  This salad had to come from Subway.

August 21

This is a family favorite.  Chinese Chicken Salad.

 Ok... So, I'm all updated.  I am still crazy busy for a couple more weeks.  This week Brigadoon opens and and next week I begin rehearsals for Wait Until Dark.  Meanwhile, I I am still prepping for Seminary for the coming year, school for the kids, and trying to get a little canning done.  Talk about a crazy life!  Until the next report...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I'm still here

I'm still moving forward.  I still have a salad a day.  I've been crazy busy with my regular life and now trying to get Brigadoon ready to open that I haven't had time to load all my pictures of salads into the computer.

I've also kept the summer fun moving along too.  Last week, Lilli went to granda's house.  Meanwhile, we here at home made a fun rasp[berry twist bread for raspberry bombe day.  I have now idea what that is, so we did the twist thing instead.  And we had a visit from Uncle Dave, in from Australia.  The kids also competed in the county fair.  I'm hoping to be able to load that video on to the blog, but I'm not sure how to get it off Facebook.  I celebrated National Left hander's day working on the set for Brigadoon.

This week looks just as busy.  The ironic thing is I'm  busy with registration at the high school.  Who would have thought that school officials would call the home schooling mom for help.  LOL.  Maybe my friend is right.  "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer."  I wonder which one am I.

I will do my best to load up my progress.

Friday, August 5, 2011

A little music, fun treats, and an awe inspiring show

Last Saturday I made the cool mom list... at least for a few hours. The son of a friend of mine, organised a music day at a local shop.  I dragged the kids to see the bands.  Our favorite was a Reggae band called Sol Seed.  They are from Eugene.  We loved them!  They play in Salem again this month at the Peace Festival.  Hopefully, we will find the time to go that weekend and hear them again.

Really... it's not often I can make all the kids happy with one activity.  This one was a winner.  We even had dinner at the cafe while we listened.

McKay and her friend Delia were excited to get a picture with the "hot" band members.  It was good for McKay.  Not sure way, but she has been moping around for the last couple of days.  These men brought a smile to her face.

Tuesday was National Ice Cream sandwich day.  It was also Chad's birthday AND we had the missionaries over for dinner.  I decided to mix it all up... HOME MADE ice cream sandwiches.  First I made the outside by putting cake batter in the waffle maker.

Then we put cookies and cream ice cream between two pieces of "waffle"...

... and enjoyed!

The missionaries gave the experiment two thumbs up!

Wednesday was National Watermelon Day.  We've had lots of watermelon lately and I wanted to try something new... So I made a watermelon treat!

Hannah helped me.  First we made a batch of rice crispy treats and mixed in two packages green Kool-aid and we pressed it into one of my large silver mixing bowls.  Then we made a second batch of rice crisp treat and mixed in two red packages of Kool-aid before we pressed it into the center of the mixing bowl.  After it cooled and set we turned it over onto the cutting board.

It wasn't much to look at, but...

It was yummy!!!!

Last night John took me to see Les Mis for the second time.

Since the theater doesn't allow cameras, we didn't bring one this time.  I love the music and the story of how light can triumph in a dark world.  The production was good, but I liked the first production I saw 20 years ago.  Between the staging being different and a little more risque, and the whole mood being so much "darker" I began to really miss the original.  I did love the leads... except one.  Still it was so worth it.  Even if it wasn't my favorite, it was a fantastic show.

Salad Day 123, 124, 125, 126, and 127

Sunday I madeWild Rice Chicken Salad.  It is one of my favorites, but for some reason I haven't made it recently.  The whole family enjoyed it... so much they helped eat the whole huge bowl of it.

Monday I had a Greek type salad.  I used spinach, tomatoes, feta cheese, olives, and honey mustard dressing.

Wednesday, I ate hummus and veggies.  I'm counting it as salad.

Thursady I had a Tuna Salad with spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, grren peas, my home canned tuna, and pepper mayo. mmmm.

Friday I had a Subway salad.  John and I went to Protland to see Les Mis.  We had to eat out and we had to eat on the run.  Subway was my best option.

fading scars

I have scars all over my body.

I have one scar on my left knee from a needle. I was crawling under a quilt my mother was working on and found the needle she had lost. It broke off. Years later, when my knee was x-rayed after a slide into home plate at a softball game, you could still see the eye of that needle floating somewhere behind my knee cap.

I have a scar on my left foot from a rusty nail I stepped on as a child. I remember crawling home from the creek with a board nailed to my foot. I remember the ER doctor had to irrigate the wound because the nail was so scaly with rusty. I remember I didn’t like that. Not one bit. I remember the shot I had to get because of it. That was almost worse!

I have one on my left index finger from a nasty cut I got on the slicer at work my junior year in high school. I worked as the head meat slicer in a sandwich deli. It was a particularly busy day because there was a festival at the park, as well as the demands of the store to meet. I had just finished for the day and had taken the guard off the blade to wash it all down, when I slipped on the water my co-worker left on the floor. I still remember the thud my finger made as it hit the blade. I still remember my co-0worker passing out. I still remember thinking “what would my dad do right now?” I remember grabbing the cleanest towel in the kitchen, wrapping it around my hand, stuffing my hand into a Big Gulp cup full of ice, chasing the lunch crowd out of the store, and driving myself to the ER with my co-work passed out on the seat next to me. I remember the doctor’s face when I checked in… and I remember loosing it when he pulled back the skin to look at the damage.

I have a scar on my belly from two c-sections, and I can feel it every time I lean over the bathroom counter to look closely in the mirror at something. For some reason when I feel that scar I remember a nurse who looked at my incision in the hospital and told me how lucky I was that the doctor had done such a good job closing me up, because it was going to heal really nicely and I’d still be able to wear a bikini. As if!

I have a set of scares from my gall bladder surgery. My #3 child was only 10 months old. The recovery seemed more difficult than other injuries resulting in scars. I had a hard time waking from the anesthetic. My husband said they nearly had to fillet me because the knick something and couldn’t find it to stop the bleeding. Thankfully, they found it before I had even longer scars.

I have the scars of nicks and cuts and splatters all over my body from kitchen mishaps, bike accidents, tripping, knocks, and bumps. Seriously, I am a klutz and I have the scars to prove it.

It’s funny, the way all those little marks hold such memories. Things that would have been forgotten long ago had they not stayed on my skin. Some of my scars hold no memories. I can’t even remember how I got hurt in the first place. At first, it seemed that it would take forever for bruises, scratches, burns, or cuts to heal.

Scars are reminders of where we’ve been.

I think my “inside” scars are my greatest reminders… and the hardest ones to heal; scars for disappointment, betrayal, and hurt feelings.

I guess some people might call these “inside” scars a grudge. I don’t. To me, a grudge is lack of peace, something immovable or unchanging. Scars evolve. Wounds bleed, then itch, then dry up, and then turn to marks that may fade with time.

Maybe it’s like this: inside scars are the lessons we’ve learned after the healing power of the Savior has helped the bleeding end, and the wound seal over, nearly as good as new.

Most days these scars don’t make a difference in my daily activity. Sometimes they ache. This week they ached a bit as I listened to others who ache. I don’t know exactly how to make things better… but I want to.

Although it might sound odd, but I know time heals everything and scars fade.

And I’m okay with that.

Scars are a reminder of where we've been; good thing they don't have to lead us where we are going!