Thursday, March 29, 2007

Thirteen Ways that I am like Lois…

  1. I am a smartass
  2. No woman will ever be good enough for my son
  3. My husband and I still have very passionate intimacy
  4. My in-laws sometimes make me feel inadequate
  5. I believe in snooping
  6. I yell
  7. I can dish out pretty nasty or unconventional punishments
  8. I hate to lose an argument
  9. My kids are all vastly different from each other
  10. My two biggest buttons are injustice and hypocrisy
  11. My housekeeping could use some improvement
  12. My clothes are frumpy
  13. We are both Polish

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Graduating at Red Rocks Ampitheatre

It sounds simple enough, and perhaps boring to those of you who DID NOT graduate at Red Rocks. For those of you who did graduate from Red Rocks, or perhaps even for those who have attended a graduation ceremony there, it is altogether different. Red Rocks is a Denver Park – surrounded by Jefferson County – and therefore most Jefferson County residents pretty much consider it “theirs”. I grew up very close to Red Rocks – in fact, I have even walked from my parents house to the park (not often, it is several miles) and almost everyone I knew growing up graduated there – even if they didn’t go to the same High School as me. All of the area High Schools held their graduations there – unless of course they were rained out (hazard of an outdoor venue). My husband went to the next High School over and they were rained out – they had to graduate in their HS gym in shifts. One of his classmates was the son of the Administrator in charge of graduation when I graduated, perhaps that is what motivated him to tell us – plan to graduate regardless of weather – the only reason we will use our rain location is if the park will not allow us in their parking lots… and it rained on my graduation. NO ONE CARED! Not even my grandmother – it is that special, it is absolutely worth sitting in the rain for. It also rained on my sisters graduation (May is rainy in Colorado – or at least as rainy as it gets here, which isn’t nearly as rainy as other places) – NO ONE CARED! I have sat through several graduations there, most in the evening, most evening ceremonies at least sprinkled. A few in the morning – none of those were anything but gorgeous Colorado Sunshine.

~~Reason Number One to Choose a Different Venue – Rain~~

Red Rocks is a large outdoor venue – it seats 9450 people. When I graduated, and I’m certain I will be corrected on this but… I believe our graduating class was just shy of 400 people – like maybe 385 ish? That leaves a heck of a lot of extra seating for moms, dads, sisters, brothers, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, neighbors, etc. – and I have heard people say… who wants to graduate in a half-empty stadium… I DO! It rocks, you don’t care, everyone moves sort of down to the front, it is inconsequential that there are empty seats. So what is the difference between 400 and 100 if there are still going to be around 9000 seats available to guests… I say NOT MUCH, when you start rounding it doesn’t amount to much at all. And let me tell you, for those kids that have 1 brother and 2 parents and that’s it – well gee they only need to worry about getting three or four bodies into the ceremony, so a smaller venue where each graduate is only allowed a certain number of tickets doesn’t affect them much – but a kid from a family of nine kids, umpteen bazillion cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc… well we like having all 84 of them turn out and scream and yell and carry on like fools and make a lot of noise for us as we cross the stage. There are no limits on tickets at Red Rocks… which actually makes money for the announcement printers, because kids will send more announcements maybe… hmmm there’s a left handed gift, supporting the economy.

~~Reason Number Two to Choose a Different Venue – Size~~

Then of course there is the tradition – and this may be just exactly the point I’m trying to make… it is tradition for my family to graduate there. It is tradition for my husband’s family to graduate there. It is tradition for Jefferson County area schools to graduate there. So… my kids, that are part of my family, part of my husbands family and attend a school that is conceivably walking distance from the park (again, it would take awhile, but it could be done) should by all traditions – graduate there. There is of course this one little issue, since this particular school has existed they have always graduated at a different venue – something about rain and size and now that they have been using this other venue (which is nice, but it’s inside, you have to park downtown, you have to walk in, blah blah blah – no Colorado Sunshine, no perfect acoustics, no unbelievable walk down those stairs in your gown…

~~Reason Number Three to Choose Another Venue – Tradition~~

I am going to attempt to paint a picture for you – and unless you’ve been there you won’t get it – but I will try anyhow.

You have this amazing geographical area – the huge red colored rocks jutting up from the green landscape – perched on the side of the hill – you can see over the rock formations, over the hogback, to the city of Denver rising from the plains. In the morning, things are brightly lit with the morning sun and the air is fresh and cool, on a sunny day the sky here is the most amazing color of blue. In the evening, the sky might be streaked with the beautiful pinks and oranges of the Rocky Mountain Sunset, the rocks and the hogback catching bits of sun while the other lower features begin to fall into the evening shade – the cities lights are beginning to be visible and as the night darkens they become more visible and the geography around casts wonderful shadows. Music plays and the perfect acoustics of the ampitheatre allow you to easily enjoy light conversation with those around you while still others can enjoy the music. People are coming into the ampitheatre, some from the top, walking down the long stairs to find seats, most from the bottom – some up the stairs at stage left, others up the ramp that wraps around the rocks and up the last few stairs at stage right – and a few others… just so everyone is aware, are trickling in from the elevator at stage right – reserved for those who cannot traverse the ramps and stairs. The graduates are nowhere to be seen, but the stage is set with chairs for guest speakers and honored graduates. There are risers for the choir and the orchestra is set – they are usually performing some nice music. At the appointed time the usual Pomp and Circumstance begins to play and you turn behind you to see the wonder of the faculty and graduates – all in their robes, billowing in the breeze, the beautiful background of this very Colorado scenery behind them… making their way down the ampitheatre – I am crying now thinking of how wonderous that scene is to me everytime some special young person makes that walk. The begin taking their seats on the stage and in the first several rows which have been reserved for them. Guests look down at the growing sea of mortarboards and tassels that are filling those seats. The ceremony follows the ordinary course of a graduation, speakers encouraging the new adults on their future paths, some music that inspires an emotional response in the guests and/or graduates, and then of course the part we all wait for the most. The graduates begin to make their way across the stage, shaking the hands of the faculty and guests who are to present them with diplomas, and listening to the amazing cheers of the crowd, congratulating them on their accomplishment and their new life – picture flashes popping to capture the special moment and the special scene.

As a graduate – you generally arrive early, waiting at the top for the ampitheatre to fill with guests, waiting for your chance to be on that stage, that once in a lifetime opportunity to stand where so many of your musical idols have stood, where your brothers and sisters and parents have walked to accept their diplomas… mingling among your friends, hugging friends, promising to keep in touch, taking pictures, planning which parties to attend, (and in our case – because the drinking age was younger then – toasting each other with gusto) – then finding your place in line near those people that you have spent so many different days sitting near because of your alphabetical proximity to each other… a tie that never guarantees friendship, but yet you know that person better than some of the others. The music begins and you wind your way toward the top of the stairs, when you reach your turn to come around the corner and see the ampitheatre stretched out before you, and the anxious faces lining the stairs and looking up from the seats, and you think “holy shit it’s a long way down…” then you take those first steps, unsteady because of emotion (and the aforementioned alcohol), and your stupid awkward high heels that look so great with your dress that no one can see because you are covered in cap and gown. You begin the walk down the steps, which awkwardly are not exactly one step… the width giving you more steady footing than you anticipated, but occasionally requiring that you step twice on a step because your legs just won’t stretch that far for that many stairs. Staring at the body ahead of you, lest you tumble down this huge expanse of stairs, and still looking around for your mom or friends to be at the stairs cheering you on and trying to capture that snapshot that they aren’t supposed to take, that you have been told time and again not to stop on the stairs for. You find yourself at last walking into the row you have been assigned, so anxious for the upcoming ceremony that you can hardly stand to wait for the rest of your fellow graduates to complete their walk down to the bottom. Finally, when all have made their way down both sides of the ampitheatre, the proceedings on the stage begin – and you are deeply moved and touched by the speakers (hopefully) and the music makes you want to hug your friends or tear up or maybe just hope that a beach ball will come your way and you can send it on its way again toward someone else (also forbidden, also always a part of the event). Eventually the time comes when your row stands, your escorts guide the row down behind the last row and you wait to hear your name, you take that walk across that very long expanse of stage, shaking hands, accepting your diploma (or the empty folder) and then shake a few more hands… some may stop to respond to the cheers with a fist in the air or a wave to mom and dad… then back up the other side to a new row and a new seat, waiting again for your friends to complete their walk. At last, everyone has their diplomas, and you all stand… looking out across the beauty of the nature around you, and then, you get to move your tassel. You are now a new kind of adult you haven’t been before – and you get to remember every special moment of it with visions of the spectacle that G-d’s hand has put in this very spot.

Then of course – you party.

One day, after marriage and children, you find yourself in/near Morrison with your kids. You don’t have to point Red Rocks out to them, because they will see it, and they will say “WOW, Mom what’s that?” – and you can say “Oh that’s Red Rocks, that’s where Mommy graduated from High School” and drive them in, through the park, up to the ampitheatre and walk with them from the parking lot into the ampitheatre – and they will gasp – even little kids are amazed at this place – and they will run up and down and they will ask where you sat, and how many stairs are there, and can they graduate there – and then you will have another special memory. And then one day, they will tell their little brothers and sisters, see that place, that’s Red Rocks, Mommy graduated there.

So… if you recall how cool that U2 video is – if you can picture the beauty of a graduation occurring right where Bono stood and sang his heart out – you have a tiny idea. If you have watched a graduation there, you get some of the majesty. And if you graduated there, then remember, those of us who have that memory are tied forever to this wonderful place, and hope for your children they can have that same special memory.

For those of you who graduated in your high school gym, I hope your memories are sweet too… but don’t hold back from absolutely supporting any young persons opportunity to have more than that.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thirteen things I would rather be doing than work:

  1. watching a baseball game
  2. drinking beer in the park and playing Frisbee with Dix
  3. going out for breakfast with my friends
  4. cleaning up my flower beds
  5. leaving on a vacation to San Diego
  6. watching a maid clean my house
  7. sitting in a cantina in Spain, eating tapas, drinking beer and watching the bullfights
  8. sitting in a café in France laughing with Titine
  9. sitting at a blackjack table in Las Vegas – and winning of course
  10. drinking Manhattans with my mom at some luxury hotel and watching the people
  11. drinking beers with my dad at some hole in the wall bar and watching the people
  12. floating the river
  13. fishing off the dock at Grand Lake

Okay I read this other blog... and they had this Thursday Thirteen - really it was cool, you make a list of thirteen things, then you tell all the other thirteeners and they tell you about their lists and you all link and hop and look at each other's blogs...

The thing is, I went to the Thursday Thirteen site, and well it sounds like a gob of work... so I'm just gonna start small with a list of thirteen things, and may next thursday I will do it again, and after I master that small step, then maybe I will look at doing it officially and correctly.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Downtown Denver Evangelism

I worked downtown for a long time - at an uppity women owned lawfirm actually, with a snazzy address - and we would all comment that even on the 16th floor, we could hear 'yelling guy' - and evangelist of sorts that walks around downtown Denver, and has for as long as anyone can remember, carrying signs and encouraging anyone within hearing distance (about 1 mile I would guess... this is one of the loudest people I have ever heard) to accept Jesus as their saviour because the end of world is around the corner. Let's just say that 'yelling guy' has a very distinctive appearance also, and so there is no way that I was mistaken the other day when I was downtown, pulling out of an underground parking lot and he went by - with a sign, and silent. I don't know if he finally lost his voice, if he doesn't yell in upper downtown - or what could possibly be the explanation for his silence - but his sign (I tried to get a picture with my cell phone, but I couldn't manage it with the traffic and the glare off of my rearview mirror getting caught in the frame) was priceless - it read:

I'm quite unsure what that means - but I laughed my ass off anyhow - my friend that I was on the phone with (and also has worked downtown since G-d was a boy) thought maybe he wanted her fish... I was more along the lines of shoes/feet.

The Life of a Baseball Player's Mom

~~was cleaning out some email this morning and ran across this from my mom around last Mother's Day - there are so many I could add~~

I used to have a normal life. (Actually, my friends and family say the sentence should say, "I used to have a life, period".) It doesn't really seem all that long ago...Then I became the mother of two baseball players.

I used to think anything over $40 was an exorbitant price for a baseball bat and say things like, "I'm never paying that much for a glove!" Now the contents of my son's equipment bag are worth more than everything else in the house.

I used to work 8-5 and think I was over-worked and under-paid. Then I quit work so my children could have a full time maid, nanny, and chauffer and now I often think 8-5 wasn't so bad. Now my husband is the sole bread winner in the family. (You have to keep a good paycheck coming in if you want to support a baseball habit!)

I used to look for little restaraunts that served seafood fresh off the boat. Now I'm a connoisseur of nachos and hot dogs and rate a city by the quality of their baseball fields' concession stand!

Sunflower seeds used to be something I would see at a store and think "Who eats those things?" Now I know who eats them because they're everywhere! In every pants pocket, in the washing machine, all over the car.....

My lawn used to be like carpet. I had plants and pretty flowers in the yard and in pots. The grass was green and mowed. Now I have bare spots 50 feet apart, artificial plants and flowers, and dents in every thing around the house that can't move out of the way of a fastball!!

My car used to draw admiring looks. It was clean, waxed, and shiny. Now it only draws attention when it wins the "dirtiest car" prize and the kids write "Wash Me" in the rear glass. After we load the bat bag, the lawn chairs, the umbrellas (just in case it rains), the blankets (it gets cool when the sun goes down), the coolers, and the water bottles, there's barely room for us.

I used to have a 2-car garage. Now I have a covered batting area, poles to wrap the hit-away around, and I'm lucky if I can fit the front of my Odyssey in at least far enough to keep the front seat in the shade or me from getting wet when I get out. If I can get out, I get to climb over whatever ball equipment, hitting machine, ball bag, and/or cleats are stored in the garage to keep them from getting wet.

My friends and I used to spend time talking about the new outfit we bought or movie we had just seen. Now I bore them to death with detailed play-by-play descriptions of five or six ball games.

My summer wardrobe used to consist of breezy little sun dresses in bright colors, strappy little sandals, and the occasional frilly shirt. Now I have a closet full of the coolest, thinnest shirts I can wear without being arrested, the most comfortable shoes I can find, and T-shirts that have baseball team names on the front.

We used to spend our summer vacation relaxing on the beach. Now I have no vacation. We hit the road with other parents in a caravan that could rival some small town parades.

I used to be concerned that I would fall into the trap of living my life through my children. Now I know that I'm priveleged to live my life WITH my children. Yes, I'm a Baseball Mom and I wouldn't trade it for anything! Of course in July when it's 100 degrees in the shade, REMIND ME OF THAT!!

Here's to our kids and baseball!!

Saturday, March 17, 2007


The title is intended to mean that I have a whole bunch of short thoughts running around in my brain this morning – we’ll see how short I keep them, eh?

My friend, not knowing that I have written a big nasty terrible rant about school administrators and police – made the most profound comment to me yesterday. It isn’t our job to protect our children from everything; it is to prepare our children to be adults. OMG WOW! She is so absolutely correct, I’m going to use that all the time now – It absolutely conveys my feelings, I just never knew the words before.

If you haven’t been back to the hotty list at Very Soxy – you really must visit again, she has it updated and damn, what a way to take the morning coffee out of the equation for a nice wake up.

I like Mary Roach – she writes a short little humorous (usually humorous) article for Reader’s Digest every month. She’s sort of a modern day Erma Bombeck, and I like her self-deprecating (and hubby deprecating – can you deprecate someone else?) style. Well today I got to her article in this months edition (okay… it might be this month’s, it might be last month’s, it might be next month’s – it’s the one on the back of the toilet in our house for the current month) and it was a tremendous let down. It wasn’t funny, had a lot of potential, some good jumping off places – but no follow through. And she totally left me hanging – it was like a dropped cell phone call… I flipped furiously through the following 14 pages of pharmaceutical ad and all the fine print that goes with to confirm that the little red box at the end really did indicate that she left me hanging.

Being Orange in a green world – yes today is the wearin o’ the green – and Denver has one of the biggest celebrations around – which usually inspires me to a silly display of greenness and a fake brogue for the entire day – but I ALWAYS wear a bit of orange to honor my Irish relatives (who did NOT absolutely did NOT celebrate this Catholic holiday). They were Orangemen, and I always feel the need to wear orange just to make it clear to ME that I am not betraying my heritage or something. They probably would still see drinking green beer and running around saying Top O’ the Mornin’ to Ya’ as a betrayal, but I do my part.

Speaking of Green – (and I hesitate to do this, lest there be a shortage – it has happened before believe me) – March is fabulous, and you know why – because there are Shamrock Shakes! Let me wander around and preface and frame and all that I do to make a short short comment into a big long story – because this is my blog, and that’s me –so pffft! When we moved to our current home, my husband loved to tell people that we were within 15 minutes of 9 (I think it was nine, and I don’t feel like counting) golf courses (ha! They also have green, weird irony there). Well for purposes of this story let me tell you that we are also within 15 minutes of at least 11 McDonald’s – not ordinarily something anyone in their right mind would give a damn about, but… when they begin to run dry of Shamrock Shake syrup, or their shake machines break down, it becomes critical. And we have driven a full 30 minutes away to find a shamrock shake on the 17th, because it is that important. We begin (the kids and I, hubby still prefers chocolate, poor misguided man) on about February 25th to seek them, we drop by McD’s and ask if they’ve got them yet – then we have them oh a couple times a week all month – eventually some of the McD’s in our area run out of the syrup or whatever it is that makes this heavenly concoction – we obviously believe that it is all due to our compulsive addiction. We will continue to try to run them dry into April, though the last two years we have had difficulty finding them anywhere even during that last week of March.

Please, if you are in our area, confine your consumption to the ordinary flavors, we cannot afford for you to use any of our syrup!

Erin Go Bragh!

~~update... upon a google search of 'shamrock shake', I find that there are markets that are without them... this is hideously unfortunate and we should all write to our congressmen to ask them to force the now trans fat free restaurants to correct this atrocity~~

Thursday, March 15, 2007


I really wanted to say something passionately today. Something that has irritated me for several years now – irritated being the nice word. So… I typed my whole blog entry without even logging in – without checking any other blogs. And low and behold – Baseball Mom gave me a plug – called me Hellafunny. Bless her, she’s been reading longer than the last two days of ranting about things. So the folks that might wander over on her suggestion are going to find my most profane and most bitchy blog of all time probably. I would like to think I am funny some of the time, and I try to be funny a lot of the time. So… if you came here for funny, skip the next post and head right to some of the older posts…. Maybe Graham Cracker Moms or Why Must the Dog Watch Me Take a Shit? Also, keep in mind that while profanity is an enormous part of my life – I am an admitted big ole potty mouth – I don’t usually use the F word over and over in a blog entry – it is supposed to be for emphasis after all.

Speaking of the F word – why does chili always explode when you try to reheat it in the microwave? Is it the beans? Because I never find what looks like bean shrapnel in my chili or the top of the microwave. I popped a little container of leftover chili in the microwave and sat down to read some blogs. KABOOM – you know it was exploding. Took it out, stirred it, and wondered why does it blow up but gravy doesn’t? Now I have to clean that mess up – and I had covered the stupid chili with the lid upside down (you know so it couldn’t accidentally reseal itself) –but that blew off in the ensuing explosion.

Well the chili is done – and I would rather read than type while I eat. So – Au Revoir.

Can kids be kids?

“It takes a village” – apparently those in charge actually thought that meant that someone needed to step up and be the village idiot – so they all stepped up (okay nearly all).

It does take a village – let me illustrate.

Remember when you were in 5th grade (make appropriate changes to reflect your personal experience) and you stole some Benson & Hedges from your mom (maybe even bleah menthol) and snuck off to the park with friends to test them out??? Remember how none of you could even get them lit for the longest time? Between trying to light matches in the breeze/wind, which none of us were very expert at anyhow (in spite of scouts), and trying to inhale hard enough to light them, that took a good bit of time anyhow. Did you stand in the middle of the street and do this in front of G-d and every neighbor driving by on their way to the grocery store – OH HELL NO! You hid in the best place you could think of – for us it was a big drainage pipe that ran under the road to the church – we called it “the tunnel” (this was also the first place I ever got kissed – because again, we weren’t going to risk the neighbors ratting us out to our parents). Why did we hide? Because we were afraid of getting caught – you bet your ass we were. Because we knew that any adult (even a stranger) who saw us would rat us out – you bet your ass we did. Because our parents would kick our butts (figuratively) when that happened – you bet your ass they would.

Have you ratted on a neighbor kid? Have you grabbed a kid and dragged his butt home for bad behaviour and confronted his parent? I have. It ended badly. The parent was offended, they didn’t care what their kid had done, they totally took their kids side against me ‘the enemy’. It had absolutely NOTHING to do with what I was saying or my motivation for doing so. There was no way in this world that dad was going to do a damn thing about it – since I, a total stranger, was somehow implying that he should – which is apparently some sort of insult to his parenting. Was my dad insulted when the neighbor dragged my brothers home after they caught them doing something – NO – my dad probably offered Mr. Baker a beer, went to the basement with the boys, came back and had another beer with Mr. Baker and was grateful that Mr. Baker took the time to care about his boys. Did knowing that Mr. Baker had ratted on my brothers prevent me from egging his next door neighbors house (The Wells’ brothers) after they terrorized me after a football game by telling me a dead rabbit they had was my pet rabbit – YEAP. I knew Mr. Baker had good hearing and would totally drag my ass home for something like that. Did I still want to egg the Wells’ house – oh yeah.

I also remember when some girls picked a fight with my cousin when she was in Jr. High. About twenty kids showed up at my aunts door to tell on them, and since no adults were home (and I was the oldest person there), I took on the responsibility of breaking up the fight. I wasn’t very good at breaking up fights however and I pushed this girl Princess (I swear that was her name!) into a batch of cactus to get her off of my cousin. Then it was that I, a senior high student, had fought with a Jr. High student – but that wasn’t my intention and when my aunt and my mom got the story – they listened to my side also and I didn’t get in too much trouble – but I still got in some trouble, for making a bad choice.

Now let me tell you something – something I don’t want you to forget while I rant after this about what a bunch of fucking morons those in charge of kids are.


I live in the same county as Columbine High school. We knew families who had children in the school that day, kids who saw things that will haunt them for the rest of their lives. We knew teachers in that building that day – teachers who were confused and thrown into a situation they never could have planned for that did everything they could to protect the students around them. This did not happen thousands of miles away from me; this did not happen to total strangers. My little brother lost friends. My minister’s son was in the cafeteria that day.

Our Sheriff’s actions and decisions were brought under such absurd scrutiny and criticism that EVERY single Police/Sheriff officer in this county is completely devoid of logic now. They have no room for judgment in any action they consider – just absolute, cut and dried, black and white rules. The same is completely true of our school district.

This reaction is NOT THE RESULT of the events of 4/20/1999. This reaction is the result of too many people wanting to blame the ‘authorities’ after 4/21/1999. Sometimes it’s no one’s fault – and Americans are totally blind to that. Sometimes it’s just a lesson. Occasionally a very profound lesson – one that we all must learn from. Should the Sheriff’s office have a plan for a school terrorism event – Damn straight. Did this plan possibly save lives in Pine last year – I would like to think so. Should the school district enact drills and teach faculty how to handle a terrorism situation – hell yeah. Have they – yes. Should the Police/Sheriff pay closer attention to kids that have the potential to commit a hideous heinous crime – maybe. (Oh your screaming at me now aren’t you – that of course they should – but… it depends, and ‘it depends’ is always the right answer). Should the schools be more alert to threats – clearly they should. Should kids who make a movie about killing fellow students be scrutinized – clearly they should. Should every student who makes a negative comment about another student or their school be suspended, reported to the police, and made to feel like Gary Gilmore. FUCK NO! Go back, read my question – “Should the Police/Sheriff pay closer attention to kids that have the potential to commit a hideous heinous crime?” Let me stress the word ‘potential’. Who determines what quantifies ‘potential’ – because apparently in Jefferson County Colorado – it’s whoever in the county has the biggest straightest firmest stick up their ass. According to school authorities – and I shit you not, this is a factual story – a student, after having served a suspension that he felt was unfair – approached the teachers who reported his behaviour and confronted them with their written statements and asked them to explain. He did this as respectfully as a 14 year-old who feels unjustly treated could do. He now faces expulsion from the entire district. You heard me, he was suspended (for not behaving maturely enough) and these geniuses (read with very heavy sarcasm) have determined that by exercising a mature approach to attempting to understand is now under even more fire. Are they trying to mold young adults who will contribute to society or are they just interested in flexing their muscles and preventing even the smallest conflict that they might be questioned about? You see growing up is full of conflicts – its absolutely normal and necessary for kids to experience conflict in order to grow up. Are fist fights okay – no. Should a normal school yard scrap be handled by the police – FUCK NO. I am very passionate about this in case you haven’t guessed. I had six brothers, none of them would be the men they are if they hadn’t had a scrape or two. Fist fights are a normal part of male development – by preventing them we are creating a monster that we won’t know what to do with. Should a fist fight be disciplined – yes. Should they be eliminated from the school yard – no. Do I encourage fighting – oh G-d no. Would I have liked for my son to kick the asses of the boys that did something awful (really really awful) in front of my daughter and her friend – oh yes, yes I would have.

Now – and you can answer in your head – how many of you played doctor? How many played doctor with a relative (cousin, sibling, etc.)? How many of you were sexually aroused by the experience? Here’s my guess on what they answers are. Everyone played doctor – a huge percentage played with a cousin/sibling. Practically none were sexually aroused. It isn’t about sex, it’s about curiosity. It isn’t about attraction – it’s about opportunity. Would anyone want to have a sexual relationship with that person – not very damn likely. Is the person you played doctor with a pervert now? A sexual predator? Are you a pervert now? A sexual predator? Again not very likely (I’m sure that if you were any of those things you would have somewhere else to surf beside my little boring corner of the blog-world). My mother was telling me about how a young man that played doctor with his foster sister (he was 14, she was 12) – just touching, nothing more – is now in prison. He was tried as an adult, he will have to register for the rest of his life, he can have no contact (for the rest of his life) with any of his female siblings. He was an eagle scout, a good student, and a good young man. Did the system fuck this up – well it certainly sounds like it.

So – it does take a village – but I sure prefer the logical/rational/reasonable 1977 village to todays bunch of overzealous, lega-phobic (my own word, read as overly afraid of lawsuits), village idiots.

Remember – Discipline comes from the latin root for ‘Teach’. Punitive comes from the latin root for ‘cause pain’. Do you think we should be teaching our youngsters or causing them pain?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

First Game - etc.

Well yesterday was the first game of the season. (Guess What, Hubby got the book from the coach for me YIPPEE). It was against my High School – so when I walked up to the field I almost sat on the wrong side – heck when I went to school there, there weren’t any bleachers on the visitors side so it really was a natural to just aim for the Home side. My son started at pitcher – you pitchers moms will understand, I was a little nervous for him, I’m not nearly as bad as some mom’s, but I’ve always kept score, and I think that gives me something to do besides fret about whether or not he has his stuff. He did, or at least he seemed to be doing alright, but… the strike zone (and I’m not just saying this cuz I’m the pitcher’s mommy) was about half the size it should have been, honestly anything within two inches of the edge of the plate, all white or not, he called a Ball… and this particular school is 5A and our school is actually 3A, but we play 4A so… they have 4 baseball teams (Varsity, JV, Sophomore, and Level III); we have two – they had only maybe 2 freshman on this JV team and they had 3 seniors – playing JV!!! – anyhow, these boys teed off on my kid a few times (I think there were 3 Grand Slams) – ouch. He threw 93 pitches right at 50% strikes – then he got pulled after he started walking some kids – I totally understand, I would have pulled him a lot sooner. The replacement, also a Freshman, didn’t fare all that much better – in fact worse – my kid allowed 1 Grand Slam, 12 runs, and I’m not sure how many hits / walks. The poor second kid threw 57 pitches (in less than a half inning), allowed two Grand Slams, and 16 runs – I don’t think he hit anyone though, and my kid hit at least two batters, maybe three – but these kids actually crowded the plate so tight that a couple of them had their toes touching it. My kid did hit a double, stole third, and scored one of the only two runs that his team scored. To top things off, after the game, they boys walked out and watched their bus being towed. My son says that gives a whole new meaning to “Warm up the Bus” after a butt-kicking like that.

On a sad note, I watched the news last night (and again this morning) – another kid died in a hideous car accident – right there by my old High School. One dead, six injured. I’m feeling really selfish about this, but I’ve buried enough kids lately – I hope to G-d it’s no one we know – I can’t bear another young persons funeral. We do know a lot of families up there, my daughters best friend lives up there (and is the same age as the dead girl, but we know it’s not her), we grew up there, we have a lot of family that still lives up there, friends that moved back and are raising their families there. My mom heard already this morning (from the guy at the gas station) that the kids were playing ‘chicken’ – how I hope that isn’t true, that would be so hard for the families to reconcile.

Hubby had to have a tooth pulled this morning – kept him up all night and when he went in the Dr. said that it was a cavity that had gone so deep it exposed the root, but the tooth was also a bit loose so not a good candidate for root canal. Will need to get a bridge later, but at least it’s not one that shows when he smiles.

Another baseball game this afternoon, against a rival school… I’m wondering about how the pitching will look. This school always fields four softball teams, so I’m supposing they will have a boatload of baseball as well.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Grandpa Henry #2 (this is actually about Grandpa Henry -I hope)

WOW! Imagine, you are sitting at a baseball field, boys are warming up, it’s a bit chilly because it’s early in the season (March in Colorado) but the sun is shining and you can smell the freshly groomed infield dirt and a bit of green things beginning to pop out of the ground around you. Setting up the chair (this is an art, different to each mom/dad, but very specific –for grins I’ll give you my routine), set the ‘snack bag’ on the bleachers, G-d forbid it is on the ground, get out the chair, near the dugout, but not too close (parents shouldn’t talk to kids in the dugout, they are there to play ball and should not be distracted by Mom), walk the fence to find that spot where you can see the plate, and all the bags and most of the outfield without obstruction from the posts that hold the screen up, set up the chair, put the bag on the ground and retrieve snack bag and purse from bleachers, set on chair bag. Tie umbrella to the side of chair with bungee cords, put cell phone, stop watch, eraser and two pencils in cup holder on left side of chair, put bottle of whatever is to drink in right hand cup holder, set coffee cup down on ground on right side (my coffee cup is one that is really really fat on bottom and then tapers up – they are for the car). Take score book from snack bag and set on seat of chair and then begin wandering around socializing and observing warm-ups. I’m new to the team, and haven’t been at many practices as husband is assistant coach on this team and there is no need for me to drive to practice as he is there anyhow. Oh look another person on our side of the fence, I think I’ll say hello. She looks like a Grandma, pull out the really nice etiquette. “Hi I’m Amy, I’m #41’s mom” – then she says “Oh hello, nice to meet you, I’m Madonna (I swear that’s not even made up to protect identity) and I’m number 7’s grandma and this is my husband (I do not even remember his name actually so let’s call him Henry)” We chatted a bit, they were doing their chair routine, directly behind the plate, not uncommon, a lot of people like to sit back there to see the pitches. I find that while I am keeping the book the coaches like me a little closer to the dugout so they can get to me more easily during the game to ask about things like pitch count or tendencies. Then some others showed up, I felt inclined to introduce myself to them also, since I hadn’t been at practices. So the game begins, gpa henry and Madonna are behind the plate, I’m in my chair on the third base side, near the dugout, and this other very cute sweet mom was next to me – she wanted me to teach her to keep score, which was sort of silly as she already had the basics, but she had heard that I kept a very detailed book and wanted some tips. Okay so I digress – big shock there.

The boys are on the field, play is going, first game of the year, there are some cobwebs to work out – for the boys, for the coaches, (for the scorekeeper), an for the umpires. Well apparently not for Gpa Henry. Grandpa Henry is back there coaching every boy on where they should be in the box, back in the box, up in the box, choke up a little, watch for the curve here, etc. AND he’s questioning the ‘blue’ on every third call or so – “Geez blue that was right at his hands” or “What do you mean strike?- that was way outside”. Questioning the blue is bad, and it sets a terrible example for the boys, and it can turn the blue against your team in a close call, etc. But the coaching the boys blew my mind, of course I’ve said things to my own kid, or even a kid that has a chronic problem late in the season – like “don’t forget to load” – or “don’t swing at the high cheese” – but usually I talk to them while they are on deck, and then only rarely. This guy was saying stuff to kids he barely knew at the first game of the year – and giving really specific advice! “Throwing heat every first pitch” stuff like that. Now top it off with the fact that he was often totally incorrect – not just his opinion was different than mine – but totally incorrect. The ball may have been a bit outside, but it’s a strike cuz the kid swung. And the pitcher has only brought heat twice the whole half inning, not every first pitch.

~~~Edited the boring part for your reading pleasure~~~

So the coach’s (I don’t know what they were thinking) gave Gpa Henry a special award at the team banquet – seriously they did. The other mom (also team mom and put the banquet together) just about lost her teeth. “Most Dedicated Fan” – to Grandpa Henry.

So I wrote a page and a half more – trying to describe Gpa Henry – and guess what – it sucked, it sucked so bad in fact that I edited myself. You had to be there is all I can say.

Grandpa Henry

My son plays competitive baseball – er that is played, I mean he still plays, and he’s still competitive – but now he plays High School ball. “Competitive Baseball” (really another stupid label that could easily be misunderstood by those ‘not in the know’) actually specifically refers to a system of grouping the varying degrees of ability of players on teams so that players play with and against other players who play at a similar level of ability.

Briefly (haha, like I’m ever brief) the lowest levels of ball are ‘Rec Leagues’ (recreational ball) – these are NOT competitive, that does not mean that the boys/(girls) that play on these teams are not competitive, that they don’t want to win, that they are lazy or otherwise sub-something or other – but recreational ball is not considered a part of ‘competitive baseball’ [this also applies to softball]. These teams are for kids to try out the sport to see if they have any aptititude or interest, they are for the kids who are busy with other stuff also and don’t have the time to commit to competitive ball, they are for the kids who need to run around, hit things with sticks, get some social interaction, maybe have an organized summer activity (and also unfortunately for a few, a place to dump kids for a quick babysit in the afternoon or the “only team I could find” for the parent who doesn’t know any better but her kid could be the next Cal Ripken).

Then there are the ‘competitive teams’ – these are split into levels – aka ‘flights’. Third Flight – usually the lowest level at which a league fields teams (in our area) is really just recreational ball with a few more tournament availabilities – in our area it isn’t even really developmental for the upper flights – actually I think it’s a way for some dad to say “my kid plays competitive ball” even though if they told his kid to ‘run home’ he might turn and leave the field and head for his own house. Second Flight, a little better, is actually in our area kind of a developmental level, kids with some potential, but not quite good enough for the top two teams play here – or some kids ‘play up’ at second flight – so if they are 10, they will play on an 11 year old second flight team, and get more playing time than they would on the first flight 10 year old team. Second flight is respectable baseball around here, often they are good games, most of the kids are really committed to improving, etc. First flight – (some parents will take advantage of the fact that you the baseball ignorant know nothing and allow you to think that ‘first’ means best – it doesn’t – this is actually the number two team) these kids are either playing first flight because their team did so poorly in Zero Flight that they moved down (like division 1 and division 2 in football) or they don’t want to play in the upper tiers at some of the tournaments cuz they always get their asses handed to them in tournaments, or their area has so many talented players that they already have one or two Zero Flight teams and these boys are almost that good but not quite. A LOT of First flight players are AS GOOD OR BETTER than Zero Flight players. Zero Flight – this is the top squad, the kids who really eat-breathe-poop baseball, and their parents do too – I have a sign in my living room – “This Family Stops for Baseball”. My son has played as many as 78 games in a single season, they have traveled all over to play, they practice as often as every day at 8 years old. The decision to put your son/daughter on a Zero Flight baseball team is a huge family decision – it should not be taken lightly it is an enormous time commitment as well as a financial decision that will affect every other child in the house. 8 year olds are known as Roberto Clemente – instead of Zero Flight – but Roberto Clemente baseball = Zero Flight. My son made the Roberto Clemente team and never looked back – there were a couple of years where we discussed that he might get a little more time on the field if he were playing first flight, but we ‘loved’ the coach, respected the coach, and my son really thought that the other players were some of his closest friends.

**wow page two and I haven’t even gotten to Gpa Henry yet**

So, my kid played Zero Flight ball for five years for the coach that we really thought a lot of – he also played 4 years of football for the same coach. AND WE LOVED THE FAMILIES ON THAT TEAM, THEY ARE SOME OF OUR CLOSEST FRIENDS. But as time went by, the team evolved, the coach didn’t – so while he was a pretty decent coach when the boys were 8 and 9 and maybe 10, he began making some pretty unpleasant decisions and really truly playing favorites, or rather favorite boys to pick on – and that translated to the dugout, where if you were one of the boys that the coach picked on, you were one of the boys that the boys picked on – or maybe it went from the dugout to the coach, its hard to say – suffice it to say that my son was one that got picked on. The first year we told him to wear a thick skin and not be a weenie and don’t give them any reason to pick on you, improve your game, etc. The second year we told him, its because you are smarter than the coach and he’s intimidated by your intelligence (which was true btw) and you need to learn to shut up and do it his way even when he’s wrong or you disagree for some reason. The third year we said, hey do you want to think about changing teams next year? So… we rented a player for an out of town tournament (in New York) and the husband and I really got along well with this boys dad and mom, especially the dad, who was a coach in our area (we were actually playing out of area all those years). So that dad asked our son to play on his fall ball team, and during that time, husband became comfortable enough with him to discuss how we had been unhappy for awhile on the other team. That coach invited our son to play on his team. Then this guy, that we really liked, that our son particularly liked, had an opportunity for a HUGE promotion at work, but it would require a lot of travel and he wouldn’t have the time to coach the team – so he gave the team up to his assistant coach – just to be very clear, now that we are on coach number 3 – lets call him asswipe. So coach number two really liked our son, liked his pitching, liked his arm from the outfield (at twelve he could throw a runner out at home with a throw from right field!) etc. Asswipe never pitched him, sat him a lot, never encouraged him, talked to him like he sucked (wait isn’t this why we left that other team – the one where we actually liked the families???), played these two other kids, in fact started them, that sucked badly and were OMG so lazy – this kid that always started at first base (he was tall – not that it mattered he never even extended his elbow to reach let alone his body) would actually walk – when I say walk, I really mean, meander or wander over to the bag from the dugout – ARGH. Okay so asswipe was a disaster – it was awful – and the parents were such a bunch of arrogant stuck up snotty assed totally exclusive group – we liked TWO of them, one mom (a single mom with a really cool kid) and a dad (well his wife was okay too) of a kid that we thought we liked, but as time went on found out he was a little prick too – yes I called a kid a name, I have some choice ones for some of the other boys who picked on my kid in the dugout on team #1 also! This group of ‘christians’ barely greeted me at games, would not sit near me, to the point where if I came in and set up near them, they would get up and leave! I cuss a little under my breath at games (maybe an ‘oh shit’ for a dropped ball), I occasionally refer to how nice a beer would taste given the hot weather (rarely though, at least among this group) and I did still smoke then, so I would get up go way far from the parents and smoke (there was another couple of parents that smoked and I would try to time it so that we were smoking together, somehow it felt less obnoxious not to be alone in my dirty habit). The former team did not care if I cussed, we all drank beer together, and they forgave me my smoking because I was courteous and did it far from them. Anyhow asswipes wife and her cronies were total snots to me – let me give an example. My mother had 5 bypass surgery, during which she had ‘multiple massive bilateral strokes’ – that’s fancy talk for starving both sides of her brain of oxygen for long enough to cause severe permanent damage (oh by the way the idiot neurologist was wrong – but that’s another post). I was at the hospital day and night for quite some time – I missed 5 consecutive games – during this time people from Team number 1 were calling me ‘hows your mom’ some of them sent her cards and flowers, they were bringing food, you know – NORMAL people. When I finally dragged my ass to a game, straight from the hospital, short on rest, shorter on nutrition, and absolutely frazzled – not one of those snotty bitches said one single comforting word – again they barely acknowledged my presence. I did not go to the baseball game for comfort, or for their words – but… it stood out as a reflection of their character and made it quite easy to say to our son… hey how about a new team. Well by this time – coach #2 was unhappy with asswipe also, and his kid had been invited by coach #1 to play on their team, but coach #2 felt really badly sticking our kid with asswipe so he arranged for another coach that he had a lot of respect for to take a look at our kid. Well coach number 4 – lets call him Tony – because that’s easy to remember – Tony came and looked at our kid and he loved our kids arm, and he loved our kids height, and he loved our kids heart and dedication and he offered us a very coveted spot on his team. If only we could have played for Tony all 7 years wow that would have been such a gift to our son. Tony pitched our kid, a lot, he developed him as a corner infielder, he really gave him some great baseball lessons and training.

So today is the opening game for my son’s high school… and he is the starting pitcher. Put that in your pipe and smoke it coach #1 (who called him wild thing and wouldn’t develop his pitching), and Asswipe (who wouldn’t pitch him even though he actually knew he could pitch well).

I think I’ll tell husband to call Tony and invite him to the game. Also, the families were not the same as team number 1, but they were nice, and friendly, and we traveled together well, and some of them even drank beer! And we keep in touch, so that’s nice. (flipping the finger to asswipes wife and her cronie stuck up bitch friends)

And they were entertaining – especially Grandpa Henry.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I never owned a minivan, but...

If I did, I'm sure this would be very accurate.

hot baseball players, who can resist

Well I found a blog to check back at a few times during this coming spring, and then maybe more


Road Work. Interstate, main artery, on the drive to school, road work. You just cringed even more didn’t you. Well… we have these terrifically well thought out, fantastically useful, wonderful state-mandated assessment tests (read all of that with HUGE sarcasm, because they are actually NONE of the above, except state-mandated) called the CSAP. Juniors and Seniors don’t have to take them, apparently the State doesn’t give a damn if they are doing well in school or not because it’s too late to teach them the stupid ridiculous useless test anyhow.

So our school, the only closed public campus in our county, has always made the Juniors/Seniors sit around and read for hours during testing days, while the other high schools (open campuses) allow them to wander in half way through the day after the underclassmen have had their joyous appointments with their number two pencils. Well under the wisdom and guidance of some new administrators, our school determined that is was no big hackykacky if the Juniors/Seniors came to school late, like every other kid in the county – so starting this year, they get to go to school in the middle of the day on T-W-Th of this week and next. This however presents the challenge of getting my Junior, who does not yet have a drivers license, to school in the middle of the day about 20 miles away, which takes about 25 minutes one way. We have worked it out, splitting it up (though I’ve done all the driving thus far) – and then to throw a wrinkle in it – apparently Freshman also require less testing, and so they also get Thur morning off. That’s today, so I had both of the little darlings in the car with me, we allowed 30 minutes to get to school – well actually more like about 28, and we found the Road work. It took over an hour, in fact 1:05 to get to school. I love road work, I like nice roads, I think road work should be done in the middle of the day – the middle of the night is way too popular (those workers get 2.5 times pay I’ve heard) and should be reserved only for the very very very main roads – in our case I-25 right through the middle of Denver. But… on a three lane interstate, I find it a bit ludicrous that they close ALL THREE Fucking lanes of traffic at lunch time and move thousands of cars into one lane on the skinny shoulder!!! The kids of course were delighted, seems today’s schedule starts with third hour, and neither of them were at all distressed about missing part of their third hour class. So my little hour trip that I was squeezing into the middle of my work day took me nearly 1:45 – not to mention all the interruptions to my work while the darlings were home this morning bugging me – not a particularly productive day so far… so I guess I will blog – HA! Then I will work all night, ha ha.

As for CSAP’s – if a car is driving westbound at 70mph (in a 65mph zone) and it comes across a road crew moving eastbound in the westbound lanes at 2mph should they –
a. drive right off the shoulder toward the nearest bar
b. exit at the nearest exit and drive toward the nearest bar
c. drop by Chipotle and the beer store and head for the park
d. wave to all the other people in the traffic jam and accrue points for those that wave back, and stay the course until you can get to school, voice your concern over a state mandated test that accomplishes nothing but a huge bill for the school system and lost time at work for thousands of parents who have to ferry their children to a learning institution that is focused on teaching how to excel at an assessment test that determines funding for the following year which is really ironic since the schools that actually need more funding might be those that are doing poorly
Oh and just for the record – in any learned persons opinion is there anyway to objectively and equally assess essay answers?

My favorite though – when my daughter had her 8th grade assessment – she was asked this “what will schools be like in 20 years?” – she answered – “Hopefully they won’t have to take this stupid test.”

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

First Ladybug

I saw the first ladybug today. Surprisingly, it was a very large lady bug – I should really go and get a digital camera and take a picture – but we all know as soon as I do that my day will be shot with trying to edit the picture to make it look just right, that after I try downloading it, and then uploading to this site – It will be four o’clock and I will have written a blog entry that I can’t post cuz the pic isn’t done yet – and I won’t have tackled the rest of my list – which is monstrously long.

So back to the ladybug, it is just wonderful, it made my day so much brighter! The poor thing was actually drowning in the dog water outside, and I happened to let the dogs in at that moment, it was still trying to swim it’s way out – so I threw it a life preserver in the form of my index finger, and then looked around for something green to put it on – of course there was a weed in the nearby flowerbed that was green already – isn’t that nice. I had to force it off of my finger onto the ‘plant’ and then I smiled and came back inside, but I opened up all the doors and windows, and though the early ‘spring’ breeze is a bit chilly, it smells SO wonderful.

Ironically, I talked with my sister-in-law today, she told me she has a fever, I was very concerned – until she explained it was Spring Fever (clever isn’t she).

My mom and I went to Oklahoma this weekend for a family funeral, the bulbs are up and blooming there – we really enjoyed seeing them after our harsh winter here – it was also a bit nice reminiscing about my Grandfather’s widow’s letters – she would always write a very newsy letter, but it had that growing up on a farm touch with comments on the weather and what was blooming when – since two of my “grandmothers” (I say that for simplicity, not accuracy) wrote letters with that sort of information, I enjoy a letter like that – I should transcribe one sometime, people would get a real kick out of it, old fashioned letter writing – actually somewhat of an art, maybe even a lost art in these days of quicky little emails.

The funeral was very very strange for me. I lost my uncle, my mom’s baby brother. I never knew him well, not like the uncle that lives here in Colorado, but I will miss him – as my Aunt (mom’s sister) said ‘[He] was a never ending source of entertainment’ – and he truly was, he had a very easy way about him, a great contagious laugh, a wonderful warm inviting smile, and this body language that I’m not sure I can describe in words – it was precisely like my grandfather, they just sort of hung in the room like a comfortable sweater, they were loose and relaxed and it made you want to be near them, talking with them, laughing with them. What was strange for me, was that there is no one left in Oklahoma now – I didn’t realize what a silly strange connection I had with a place I’ve only been a few times in my life – and not for nearly 30 years before this weekend. I totally connected it with my grandfather, really my only grandparent that ever acted anything like a grandparent, and not at all as other peoples’ grandparents. I was cursed/blessed with a bizarre flock of eccentrics for grandparents. It occurred to me that I put a lot more stock in the relationship with those relatives than they did with me – and it occurred to me that I miss the connection that I felt, that never fully existed as much as I miss any person. Don’t misunderstand, they are kind and affectionate, but they are a ‘step’ family – my grandparents divorced, and grandpa remarried and had two more children – so it was my mother’s half-brother that passed away, and her half-sister that somewhat hostessed us all weekend. Grandpa’s widow, who I called ‘Grandma’ when I was very young, on my last visit to Oklahoma – told me that I could continue calling her ‘Grandma’ if I never started smoking. I was twelve. I told her ‘Mary, I will never smoke, but I will never call you Grandma again.’ Amazingly, I spend the first few days feeling very numb (and completely shocked) about my Uncles death, and of course feeling very sad for his daughters (which are basically the same ages as my daughters) and very sad for my mother. Then it hit me that I was very sad for me, it was like I lost my grandpa again, I know that sounds crazy, but I was ten when he died, and because of a bunch of bizarre circumstances I didn’t really get to grieve for him, I didn’t know how, and no one much paid attention to my sadness, they were busy with their own. I’m very sad about my uncle also, and very sad about how disconnected I felt from my aunt, and my cousins are so much younger, we are an entirely different generation – and that was strange – they aren’t cute little kids anymore, and they aren’t my peers, and there wasn’t much of a connection there. My uncle from Colorado – mom’s full brother – was there too, for the service anyhow – but he made a bit of an ass of himself, he usually does at funerals – lots of leftover baggage from a crappy childhood spent yearning for a mom instead of a colorful eccentric woman that didn’t like kids but happened to give birth to two of them. I can’t quit crying when I think about it, I cried very hard as the plane left the Oklahoma airport – I’m pretty sure that I will never go back, unless it’s for something totally unrelated to them. I suppose there is the chance that I would be invited and able and willing to attend my cousin’s weddings someday – but more likely that I will send a gift and card.

So that first ladybug, the smile, the reminder that spring is renewal, that was very special to me today – I needed the reminder that spring is here and it’s time for lots of newness.