Monday, June 28, 2010

Baby Oxford Story.

My mom got a new kitten this weekend. Meet Ms. Dolly Madison:

I know that you all just oohed and ahhed over her cuteness. She's really too much, isn't she?

This sweet little face got me thinking about when I first got MY little fella. Of course, he gets a blog about once a month, and I realize he's already gotten his blog for June, but what the heck. I recalled a memorable incident with him when he was just a wee thing.

My first apartment by myself in the city was a tiny little studio. Well, scratch that, by studio standards, it was decently-sized with an excellent closet. The kitchen, however, was the smallest kitchen that I've ever seen. Since it was a student's apartment, it was furnished almost entirely of hand-me-down furniture. Mom and Dad's old love seat here, bed from an estate sale over get the idea.

I think the bed was the worst piece of furniture I had. Granted, I am grateful that I got a free bed on which to sleep while in law school, but face it, springs in your side is never a great way to spent your beauty slumber. The bed was very old and so was the box spring. Since it had clearly been moved several times, the fabric on the bottom of the bed spring had torn. Not a problem for me, I bed-skirted it and called it a day. No torn fabric here!

Fast forward to the fall of 2003. Oxford was only a few months old and I always felt guilty about leaving him. I was careful to not let him sneak out as I left so that he would not get out the door. (Ever since he was little, he has never liked to see me go and almost always follows me to the door.) One day, I got home and he was not waiting for me as he usually did. I called for him.


No response. I called his name again.

"Oxxxforrrrrd, where are you?"

No response again. This was rather peculiar, as he usually ran to the door when he heard my key in the lock. I looked in my walk-in closet thinking that perhaps he'd crawled up on my laundry pile to sleep. He wasn't in there. Anyone who has ever lived in a studio knows that it's challenging to hide anything out of sight, aside from any closet space. Come on, don't tell me you never tried a hide-and-seek in a studio. Trust me, if you can hide successfully in a studio apartment, clearly, you excel at the game.

I began to get a little worried. This was not like him, he clearly was no where to be found in my bed. I looked under the bed, in all of my lower cupboards in my kitchen, in the bathtub. I opened my door and walked up and down the hallways. My worry turn to a full-blown panic attack. I called my building maintenance man to see if maybe he'd gotten out. He hadn't seen him. I called my boyfriend at the time in tears. I had no idea what to do. Obviously, Oxford had escaped and I had no idea how to process this fact. In hysterics, I cried, "How could this happen? Whyyyyy?"

I literally was sitting on my floor, having hung up on the boyfriend in a fit of raging panic, crying when I heard a teeny little mew. My heart skipped a beat. I held my breath for what seemed like an eternity and just listened. I heard the mew again. It was coming from underneath my bed.

But I had checked under my bed. He wasn't there. I was certain. But sure enough, it was coming from under my bed. Turns out, the little guy had crawled up into my box spring via the torn fabric and been unable to get himself out. I had to rip more of the fabric to rescue him from the box spring because my arms were not long or slim enough to get him from the little hole he'd used to get up there.

I had never been so relieved in my 22 years. I'm sure he was pretty relieved as well.

The one thing I learned from this mess: The baby kitty will always win a game of hide and seek. Always.

Now scroll back up and look at Dolly again. I know you can't resist.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Boys versus girls.

Our season is winding down, with only two games left, and we had our last little league softball practice this evening. On Tuesday evening, after our game, we reminded all the girls (all nine of the girls) that we would be having practice at 4:00 p.m. that Friday.

Guess how many showed up? Four. Ugh. We weren't particularly surprised, yet these are the same girls that show up at every practice. The ones that truly needed to be there just don't show up. We knew that.

To make matters worse, our usual practice fields were taken over by the boys. (I know, ewwww,  boys, right?)

We relocated to a nearby field where our friendly little league boys baseball coaches were having their practice to snag a free diamond. I mean, we can't really have a practice without a "throw it to first" session. Not that the "throw it to first" makes too much a difference in the middle of the game. That translates into "not catching the ball, so I'll take my glove off and throw it." So we have some bad attitudes. What of it? You point out any girl aged eleven to thirteen that doesn't have a bad attitude. (Can't think of any, can you?)

We had our practice in the hot late afternoon sun when the boys' coach suggested that we have a friendly match against each other. Boys versus girls. Since the girls only had four players, the coaches would play with the girls' team. Oh, and we would use the softball, not the baseball.

Those little sassy boys sauntered over to our diamond, prepared to teach the girls a lesson. You know what happened? The girls kicked their butts. Granted, we did have the coaches on our team, which may have helped to some extent. But at one point, I looked to the infield when girls/coaches were up to bat and witnessed the boys taking off their gloves and throwing them at each other.
Baseball gloves.
At each other.

Well, that helped the girls out as well. So, the ladies were victorious for the evening. I mean, everyone knows that girls rule and boys drool, right?

Until you turn fourteen. Then perhaps the boys don't seem quite so bad.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Best. Bus Ride. Ever.

Every morning, I shuffle the two quick blocks to my stop to await the inevitably crowded bus. Sadly, I have become used to the steamy, crowded rides ever since the service cuts several months back. And, because I am a particularly conscientious person, I know to go alllll the way to the back of the bus when I board.

This morning, I did just that. There were no seats, so I stood all the way in the back of the bus. Had I moved back any further, I would have had to perch myself on the laps of those lucky folks who snagged a seat. I was at the rear, for sure. Of course, when the bus gets this crowded, the bus driver often starts yelling, "Move to the rear." I figured out that this was what was happening on this particular morning because people started looking back towards me. However, as I had mentioned, I was all the way at the rear. Nowhere for me to move.

At some point, after we'd been on the bus for ten minutes or so, a lady started yelling. I could only hear her part of the encounter, but it was enough to send me into fits of giggles and make my morning absolutely fantastic.

Lawyer lady on the bus (LL): They are moving back, but why can't you say "Please." They have umbrellas and what not.

Busdriver (BD): ::inaudible shouting::

LL: Lady, I am a lawyer. I am going to start taking down people's names and numbers. You are being so rude.

BD: ::inaudible shouting::

LL: You are a bus driver, and we deserve to be treated with some respect.

BD: ::inaudible shouting::

LL: My name is M.C. I am a lawyer.

BD: ::inaudible shouting::

LL: My name is M.C. Why won't you say your name? Are you embarrassed by your behavior?

At this point, I could not stop laughing. There were similar chuckles around me, but no one was having the hysterics I was having to suppress.

This morning, I boarded the bus and hilarity truly ensued. So. Happy.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Poodles, Grizzly Bears and New Yorkers...

Another weekend in Manhattan and Brooklyn has cemented my love for this glorious city. Obviously. While I love Chicago and it has grown to be home in so many ways, New York is just such. a. city. I have so much to say about my trip and my observations on a rather leisurely and less-touristy trip, but for now, some random observations.

-Poodle party. Since last year, P.I.C. and I had a rain-soaked weekend in NYC and saw a decent chunk of Central Park under umbrellas, we wanted to revisit it this year. Rather than walk around much, we chose to get some seriously good bagels (oh, pumpernickel, you are so underrated) and coffees and sit on a bench and watch people. Little did we know that we were invaded on a Poodle Party. Seriously. There were probably fifteen people seated on benches nearby where we had perched with poodles. Rowdy, full-sized poodles. The poodle owners gabbed, the poodles played. It was so bizarre. At one point, one of the poodles was literally jumping over the other dogs. It was like a three-ring circus consisting entirely of poodles. It was insane, yet absolutely hilarious.

-Nice people. On our way to Brooklyn via subway, I was attempting to heave my suitcase over the turnstile when I dropped my MetroCard. Rookie mistake, I know. The train was coming, my bag was heavy and I got anxious. I was able to snag my card just in time to swipe it and find that there wasn't enough money on it. Bullocks! The train was in the station. P.I.C. was on the other side of the turnstiles looking impatient. Suddenly, a young man walks up and says to P.I.C. "You get over to the train and hold the door. You don't pay, I got you." He swiped his MetroCard for me and I got through. Sadly, the train was packed and P.I.C. and I did not make it on the train. However the memory of that nice guy remained. How nice was he?!

-Waterfront concert. On Sunday night, we had the privilege to go to a concert featuring two bands: Grizzly Bear and Band of Horses. Williamsburg Waterfront is a space right on the water with a gorgeous backdrop of the Manhattan skyline. Imagine that gorgeous skyline behind you as the sun sets with live music, grooving bodies and clouds of illicit smoke rising surround you. Truly, this is summer. We danced right into it on the day before the summer solstice in Brooklyn, New York. I couldn't be happier about this evening.

So much to say about our trip, so little organization in my mind right now. Rest assured, there will be more tales of wayward airlines, private tour guides and delicious foods ahead. For now, I must rest my summer worn body before it is back to the real world.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Trying on clothes and dancing in front of the mirror is how everyone packs, right?

So, on the eve of my second trip to New York to hang with one of my oldest gal pals, I have begun to pack. By "eve" I mean morning and by pack, I mean try on all of my clothes and leave them in a rejected pile on a heap in various rooms of my apartment. (Another bonus point to living along, folks.)

I have a tradition for packing, though. I am incapable of putting something in my suitcase unless it has been tried on, wiggled around to whatever music might be playing on the radio (or P.I.C.'s old ipod, thanks, Diddy!) for moveability purposes. It's just how I roll. Of course, I invariably forget something critical and end up having to go shopping, but that's neither here nor there.

I recall one such packing episode. I was at my last apartment that had walls of paper. Literally, I felt like I was a part of my neighbors sex acts sometimes, the walls were truly that thin. Well, I had just moved in and was getting ready to go visit another gal pal in Florida. I had my music on, my wardrobe out, and believe I in the process of testing the comfort and moveability of the outfits in front of my mirror when and having quite the time of it when I heard the pounding on my door. Unfortunately, my mirror was right behind my front door and I was mid-wardrobe change. Alright, I was dancing in my underwear. And my neighbor was piiiiissssssed.

So I eeked out a "Just a minute" and ran for a t-shirt to cover up.

N: "You know that your music is really very loud."

FA: "Ummm, I'm so sorry. I'll turn it down."

N: "Just so you know, I'd appreciate it if you'd watch the volume."

FA: "Sure." (Shut the door, then flip her the bird. Jeerrrrrk.)

It's really hard to continue a dancing in the mirror packing party when you know your neighbor is judging. I'm sorry Madonna wasn't your thing, neighbor, but Vogue almost always start plays spontaneously when I pull my suitcase out. I don't know how to control that. Madonna trumps your personal comfort, you old stodgy jerk. (For what it's worth, she was a young-ish girl who always had a frown. Not surprising we never got to know each other.)

My neighbors now are way more tolerant. That and I am packing to WGN morning news. I'm really getting old. However a brief perusal of my apartment insists that some things will never change.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Annoyed on the CTA...

Perhaps you read my blog and think to yourself, "This girl is an irritable piece of work."

You may be right. But the fact remains, people are damn inconsiderate. Nearly every day, I encounter fully jerk-worthy people on the subway and the bus. Here is some of the appalling behavior displayed.

-A person walks up to a bus stop where there are thirty people or so waiting to board a bus that has yet to materialize. Rather than go toward the back of the area of the bus stop, this person goes right to the front, effectively "budging" a huge line of people. You suck, bus-budger. You may make me the angriest of all.

-When the bus gets crowded, some people choose to not move all the way to the back of the bus. Suck it up and move back, nerds.

-On a similar note, some people choose to wait in the exit to get out of the way. That's all well and good until someone needs to get off. Move your lazy ass out of my way. It's your fault, lady, that my bag ripped and the doors got stuck, fatty. Had you kindly moved out of the exit, I would have had no difficulty in getting off the bus.

-Unaware backpack riders. Anyone who's taken an over-stuffed backpack to the face knows what I'm saying here. Take them off and hold them by your feet, dude. You're knocking old ladies (and ME) over.

-The people who are too lazy to take their fare cards (our fancy "Chicago cards") out of their bag/wallet and hold up a huge line of people as they attempt to touch the fare box over and over again. Take it out of your bag, idiot. It's not working through the eight layers of pleather. Clearly.

-Girl, I'm sure it was sunny when you got on the el. But we are underground. Take your damn sunglasses off. You look ridiculous.

-People who refuse to hold the poles. This applies equally to the bus and el. I want to hold onto the pole to stay upright. I don't want to touch your entire body as it rests up against the pole. Man up and buy some Purel, sissy.

I know I have plenty more irritations based solely on public transportation. Anyone who lacks a car and relies on a woefully underfunded and poorly run system probably has similar gripes. I suppose I should just feel grateful that no one has shown me their genitalia on the train.

Hey, the day is still young! Lots of public transportation to go. I will update accordingly.

Enjoy the sunshine, y'all. But rest assured, my sunglasses will be off when I go underground.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Fabulously Awkward...Feline?

It's only natural that I, the self-proclaimed Queen of "All Things Awkward Yet I Try to Pretend I Am Fabulous" have a cat that is equally fabulously awkward, right?

I have had my cat since he was a wee kitten. I named him after returning from a short stint at Oxford University, deciding that he looked rather regal with his little lion's mane and the way he would lift both of his front legs up before diving off my parents fireplace hearth. He has always been a very odd cat though. Whether it was sneak-biting of the toes, an activity that he would do to any foot that dared dangle out from the covers in the middle of the night, or shoving his whole body into a Cheese Its box, my little muffin had his quirks.

Of course, as kittens become cats, their playful behavior subsides to some extent and they stop playing all day and all night long. (All night.) My little Ox is no exception. However, from time to time, he will tear though my apartment like he's being chased and then like he is chasing someone. He runs from room to room, on the bed, then off, up and down from various parts of the furniture, usually ending up in his favorite chair on his quilt with his ears back, challenging you to pet him. (Spoiler alert: He WILL bite you.)

Having wood floors, his wild runs provide endless entertainment for me because he nearly always crashes into something. It's hilarious. This morning was another wild one, with him tearing through my apartment with an even more excited pace. I was sitting on my couch, enjoying my morning coffee when I see him run past me into the kitchen. I heard him tearing through the spare bedroom, then back into the kitchen and through the living room, past me again. He goes flying up onto my window sill in my living room, but in so doing, face plants the window. Fully. He literally jumped face first into the window. You'd think he'd be stunned from that. Nope. He continues onto the back of the chair, then the arm of the chair, then in front of me and bounds onto my bed in my bedroom.

I mean, a face plant into a window? That's pretty awkward. But running it out after such a face plant? That's just fabulous.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sometimes, it's kinda cool being a grown-up.

This weekend was not filled with nights out with friends, fancy dinner dates with the P.I.C., nor any exciting travel. Nope. This weekend was a grown-up kind of weekend.

Friday night consisted of breaking into Season two of the The Wire (if you don't watch this show, you must, if not for the interesting plot, then just for Idris Elba) and going to bed early. Saturday was softball day. Despite the early rain, we still played. Only five girls actually showed up, but we played anyhow. Oh yeah, and I went for a run before that. Suck on that, thunder thighs. P.I.C. is waist-deep in World Cup action so he spent the day at the pub with his mates (how British am I?) getting pissed. Yeah. I convinced him that because I had a day that wasn't as fun as his that he should take me out for dinner. You know, for agreeing to let him be completely obsessive about football for the next month.

Sunday I did laundry (four loads, yikes!) knowing that I need to pack for New York and can't possibly do that without having all of my options available. Very mature, right? Then I hung with the little sister, who informed me that while she cannot eat her beloved Thai food any longer due to a disorder she was diagnosed with, and that she needs to cut back on very sugary things, a Toaster Strudel was her breakfast of choice. I don't get that one either. (Oh, Chinese food is OK and so is pizza. Figure that one out.) Then I went to Target and bought ammonia on my mom's instruction that it would remove the grease from my stove top. The rest of my day was spent in fumes in my apartment scrubbing years of gunk off my burners.

Now, as I sit here on Monday morning, I feel pretty good. I have closets full of clean clothes, a shiny stove, and a four-day work week ahead of me. Despite not having a weekend full of raging good times and debauchery, I accomplished quite a bit. Sometimes it takes a weekend of chores and errands to remind me that I am indeed an adult, and a rather self-sufficient one at that.

Now, let's just see if I can get packed before the midnight hour on Thursday. Oh, and that reply that's due tomorrow? That needs to get done last Friday. Oops.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Yay for Chicago!

I have made it quite apparent that I don't get hockey. It's really not my fault. I didn't grow up with it, so I never learned the rules. Makes sense, right? Well, of course, hockey has taken Chicago by storm thanks to the Blackhawks. Yep. 2010 Stanley Cup Champs.

Honestly, I got swept up in the excitement in the past month or so. Chicago being good at a sport is something new to me. Us Chicagoans are used to our sports teams, for lack of a better term, shitting the bed. We all tend to have a pessimistic attitude. It's quite sad.

I was lamenting this to one of my friends today telling her, "God, I just wanted them to win so people would stop bitching. Chicago is a town of whiners and complainers."

Shortly thereafter, I realized that I was whining and complaining about our city doing the same.

I guess I fit in just fine here.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Shopping is my achilles heel.

You know that scene from Sex and the City (the series) when Carrie and Aiden break up for the second time and he sends her the thirty-day notice that she can purchase the apartment or vacate? She's walking around a shoe store with Miranda, who is very pregnant and looking for comfortable shoes, and laments, "Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink."*

That is how I feel when I go shopping these days. I love shopping. That much is very clear. However, having recently taken a pay decrease, and realizing the full ramifications of my decision, I cannot shop as I used to do. The "but it was on sale" adage no longer really applies. Unless I have holes in my clothes or rips in my shirt seams, I have no business buying anything else. Oh, right. I do break that rule. But I feel way more guilty nowadays. Honestly, I don't buy as much.

Case in point: lunch today. Having been cooped up in court and then the office all morning, I needed to get out. There isn't much to do in the loop aside from eat or shop. Being as I had just eaten my packed lunch (frugal, right?), I decided to shop. My rule was this: Unless it's a complete steal, I cannot buy it. Five stores, four items tried on, three items in hand later put down, I walked away with nothing.

Not the cute pair of shorts I found (they were only $10) nor the darling mug from Anthropologie (It was ON SALE. For $4.) Not my favorite $3 earrings from H&M that I rarely resist. Not. A. Thing. Perhaps I should feel victorious. Instead I feel a little down and out.

There was water everywhere, and lots of drops for me to drink, but I chose to make myself thirsty. High five?

* I am fully aware that not everyone in life has seen the entire Sex and the City series thirty-eight times from start to finish. I am further aware that my acknowledgement of having seen the series that many times makes me lame. Ah well. What can I say, I love it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Personal space is muy importante to me.

Last night, P.I.C. and I had a lovely date night at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Every summer, they have free concerts on Monday nights. Free! Of course, you have to get there ridiculously early if someone popular is playing. Last night was a good example as to how our arrival over an hour before the concert was not nearly early enough.

We arrived at 5:20 p.m. and found not a single spot of grass on the lawn in the pavilion for us to plop our picnic blanket for two. Boo. Lucky for us, we were early to snag a spot on a grassy knoll on the other side of the gate, still within earshot of Zooey Deschanel's husky and lovely voice. That spot wasn't crowded from the get-go. We ate our sandwiches, lamented my knife wound, drank our wine discreetly (seeing that we were outside the "alcohol permitted area") and enjoyed the lovely evening for a bit. We had a nice view of people pouring in, attempting to do the same as we were. Of course, those people pouring through the gates were all eyeballing any available patch of grass. Even the area that was barely big enough for one person was later claimed. This, of course, led to serious infractions of my own rule of personal body space.

I don't care where we are, people always find it necessary to get in my personal space. At the Death Cab for Cutie show at Aragon, I had a lovely bubble around me, listening and appreciating the live music. Within a half an hour, there was a girl who, despite the large area in front of me, found it necessary to dance right up on my toes. I hadn't moved. She invaded my personal space.

I. hate. that. I will shoot death looks at the back of your head if you choose to invade my space when there is adequate space around. I likely will not say anything, given my passive-aggressive nature. But let me tell you, I will be saying things to whomever is accompanying me at the moment.

Of course, a pack of girls decided to cram right into our space. As in, put their feet on my blanket and have their loud, annoying conversations within two feet of my head. My reaction? Spread my business out. I really hoped that she stepped on my fingers so that I could give a faux scream that would impress a terrible two-having toddler. She would then learn her lesson.

Oh, perhaps it was rude of me to position my body so that people would STOP. STEPPING. ON. MY. BLANKET. and using it as a walkway. Perhaps it is rude of me to maximize my space so that others don't share my blanket or my own space. However, I believe that if I arrive early enough to stake out my area, I am entitled to a little personal space. And unless I know you or invite you to share in my space, I don't want to know you, comprendo? That's just how I roll.

What can I say? I like my personal space. And trust me, if you invade it, you will be privy to a barrage of insults and mean looks. Only the insults will be in my head.

Monday, June 7, 2010

My first (real) knife wound.

This morning, I awoke, saw my mom off back home, then crawled back in bed for another hour. When I woke for the second time, I began my usual morning routine.

(1) Make coffee. Put the 8,000 pieces that compose a Cuisinart Grind 'n Brew together, fill the water area with water, and put in the appropriate amount of beans.
(2) Sit on couch and wait for coffee to beep. Oftentimes, I consider this to be the best part of my day. That little sweet three-part beep letting me know my sweet caffeinated nectar is ready.
(3) Watch WGN Morning News. (P.S. If you don't watch this and live in their viewing area, you are definitely missing out.)

Rather than making breakfast and my lunch, I decided to get dinner ready. You see, P.I.C. and I have a picnic date tonight at Millennium Park. Lucky for us, his sisters had given us "party sub sandwich" leftovers and there was little to do aside from cut them into more manageable pieces. So I got out my bread knife (party subs are big, you need a big knife) and proceeded to cut them. I had cut the ham sandwich in half when a clumsy moment of my own knocked the bread knife onto the floor. That sucker bounced back up and caught me in my lower leg, right above the angle. I looked down, and noticed a little white scrape about an inch long. That scrape then began to turn bright red with blood. It was not just a superficial scrape, this was a bona fide actual cut.

I immediately marched myself to the bathroom, cleaned the bloody cut, put some ointment on it and bandaged it with sterile gauze and first aid tape. I then walked to my bedroom, grabbed my phone and sent a calm text message to P.I.C. "I  may have to go to the er for stitches. I dropped the knife and it sliced my leg pretty good. I got it bandaged up, so hopefully it'll stop bleeding."

One minute later, he calls. Of course, he was worried, but knowing me, if it was truly serious, he would have gotten a hysterical phone call and not a rather calm text. I promised that I would check it before I left for work and if it looked bad, I would go to the emergency room or an immediate care clinic to get a couple of stitches. It looked alright, so to work I went.

I cleaned the area and changed the bandage once. All looks well down there, despite a small gash in my leg that wasn't there when I woke up this morning.

It is quite amazing that something like this hasn't happened sooner. I have small counters and no chopping skills. I quite frequently take a whack at any one of my fingers as I attempt to chop vegetables and the like. Lucky for me (not so much for the vegetables, or those for whom I make food), my knives are dull with a capital "D." Usually I just take off my nail polish with the chop. But today, on a sunny, lovely Monday, I scored my first real knife wound. On my leg. While making a sandwich. At above waist level.

Only me.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hockey Schmockey: I have to learn another sport?!

Last night I was bribed with the promise of food and a few beers to go watch the Blackhawks in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

I am not a hockey fan. I didn't grow up with it. My high school didn't have a team, and none of my family followed hockey. So this whole "Chicago is a hockey city" is a new concept to me. However, the Chicago Blackhawk's success and their presence in the Stanley Cup Finals has created quite the buzz in a town that is divided by north and south sides. Honestly, it is refreshing to see Chicagoans bond together and cheer for the same team. There is just one problem: I don't get hockey.

Don't get me wrong, I am learning more about hockey, and finding it much more exciting than I did at first. So last night as we cozied into our highly sought after booth at our favorite bar, I began the questioning P.I.C. about hockey:

Q: Why does it take twenty minutes between periods?
A: So the zamboni has time to clear the ice.
Follow-up Q: Why does that take twenty minutes?
A: Because it has to freeze ice and it goes very slowly.
Yet another follow-up Q: Why can't they crank up the speed on it?

No answer.

Q: Why can't they make the hockey puck a bright color or put a laser streak on it so I can follow it. I can't see the damn thing.
A: They did do that, awhile back. It looked ridiculous.


Q: What does a power play mean?

And so the night wore on.

This is not the first time I played Twenty Questions to learn about a sport. When I was a freshman in high school and became a cheerleader, I realized I had to learn about football. I mean, you can't call for a "First and Ten" cheer if you don't know what a first down is, right? So I would sit with my dad and watch football and pepper him with questions to learn the sport on the weekends.

I might think this exercise is cute. I think the truth is that I have been blessed with extraordinarily patient men in my life.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Shut your face, Dad.

Yep, we have a new player on the team as of Saturday. She is quite good, albeit the tiniest player we've got. Oh, and did I mention that we only have about three weeks left? Yeah, she's a little late to the team. This player has a dad who decided to come to the game last night.

Oh. No. My dad had warned me when I told him I was coaching that the worst thing about coaching was the parents. It hadn't been a problem for us because the most of our team's parents do not attend the games. Yes, it is sad, but it makes our job easier when there aren't 86 voices yelling at the girls. They listen to us. Well, they kind of listen to us.

Until last night.

According to the teacher who has organized the league, new parent is (was?) a high school baseball coach. So he (thinks he) knows what is up with the game. Unfortunately, this translates into yelling the entire game. He first positioned himself outside the fence along the third base line. I couldn't hear him over there, but C told me he was running his mouth the entire time. Sad for us, he moved right by our dugout. Sure enough, that man is incapable of shutting up.

While I appreciate parents that want to support our team, and I am certain he means well with his constant words, he is making our job terrible. The girls have a hard enough time staying focused and listening to US, their coaches. Now they have a third adult voice talking to them, sometimes telling them very unhelpful things. Come on, dude, I had to explain one of the girls that we only get a run when we cross home plate, not when we get strikes. We are still working on the basics. Furthermore, our main problem is there attitudes. And that problem is not cured by you screaming at a girl for not catching a ball that she made a valiant effort to catch, yet was just unreachable. That problem is not cured when you then shout at them repeatedly, "Have fun out there!" when they start freaking out from your previous words.

Did I mention that he has offered his services for practice on Fridays?

Ugh. Despite me being extraordinarily passive aggressive, I feel that words may be exchanged at some point. C and I have been spending quite a bit of time (volunteer time, I add) with these girls since the end of April. This man is not about to "start coaching" with us and step on our toes. Nope. If he decides to tell us that we are doing things wrong, he is bound to get the business from yours truly.

Things are going to get awkward, I know it. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tips for a successful Memorial Day BBQ.

This weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a stellar barbecue. Here are some tips that I decided will make YOUR barbecue successful:

1. Have more than one keg, and make keg stands an activity for later in the evening. The masses love this.
2. Make sure you invite at least one person who will take their shirt off at a moment's notice. Hilarity will ensue.
3. Surround yourself with people who love really good food. Korean short ribs, cevapcici, pasta salad from the Barefoot Contessa, basil potato salad and a spicy roasted corn dish were only a few of the culinary delights we enjoyed. (Cheeseburgers were the late-night snack. Amazing, right?)
3a. Similarly, surround yourself with people who understand that BYOB means bring something to the party. (The "booze" table was bounteous.)
4. The music playlist is critical. Designate this role carefully and your party will succeed.
5. Yoga moves are a certain way to bring a ohmgee-ness to the festivities.
6. Surround yourself with some of your favorite people and take lots of silly photographs.
7. Champagne. Sangria.

Follow these suggestions and everyone is sure to have a good time. I speak from personal experience.