It was all a blur

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It happened so fast didn’t it? First it’s August 2004 and the first day of pop warner practice, then you blink, and it’s Dec 2013 and the night of his final football banquet.

The banquet day itself was a double blur. Last minute flurries of emails and running out to buy supplies and charging camera batteries and collecting checks and responding to more changes in attendance (yes, even on the day of!).

The tables were set:

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The posters were on display:

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The seniors were seated at their places of honor

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The liaisons got up and thanked the players, coaches & parents for a great year:

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I passed on the coveted Falcon Parent Pep Rally Award bullhorn to our excellent social media volunteer (who I know will carry on the legacy since he has a junior & freshman in the program) I swear he’s firing off a tweet as he walks back to his table!

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The boys then thanked their moms – mine thanked me for making sure my first question to the doctors any time he was hurt was always “So, how soon can we get him cleared to play?”

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One by one they received their varsity letters – or, in #18’s case, his 2nd year bar to add to his letterman jacket – then they wrapped up with individual players awards as voted on by the entire team. Not something the coaches picked out, but something their peers chose to recognize them for their efforts.

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Introducing the 2013 Scout Team Player of the Year – #18:

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And that was that – a few more quick photos with my guy and my co-liaison who I now call a true friend:

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And the night was done.

Of course, I still have helmets in my garage. And a couple more checks to collect & then drop off to the foundation. And I need to find a place to hang the fabulous framed team photo signed by all the players for me. And then Sarah and I have to plan when we will go to the spa for a massage and facial since enough money was collected from the parents for us to go enjoy a day of pampering (sweet!). But…..for now…I will stare at his well earned award (we kept him healthy for a full season!!) and this photo of all these great kids and wipe away a few tears as I think back on the last 9 years, the last season, that last night and thank each and every one of them for allowing me to go on this tremendous ride with them.

 

 

Home stretch

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I feel like my whole life this last 10 days has been hyper focused on getting me to tomorrow. Tonight, 17 & I went shopping for shirt/tie/dress pants for him. I am happy to report that he is not afraid of color! Also happy to report that after he was set free to meet his dad for dinner, I found a new top for me to wear tomorrow night that will not clash with the colors he chose when we are photographed together 🙂
Mostly I’m happy to report that the jersey repairs are done. My last preparation task is to pick up a gold marker to write in the name of the next Parent Spirit Award recipient on the bullhorn.
Also happy that I had some time to snuggle with cats before bed:

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It’s a Hard Knock (Volunteers’) Life

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For the new visitors who don’t know me, I have an insane habit of raising my hand to volunteer to help out my son’s sports teams/leagues even though I happen to already have a full time job and run a house with 2 cats & 2 sons all by myself.

My hand seems to go up without checking in with my brain when people ask “Can anyone help out with….?”

THIS though – this has to be the last year, right? Senior in high school – final football season and all that. I knew when I volunteered to be a co-parent liaison that it would take up most  all of my spare time.

And now the season is over, and there is just the year end dinner to coordinate. That did fall most heavily on me since the lead liaison had to travel for work this week. Fine – I knew what it entailed, and I was absolutely OK to juggle it all. I have spent quite a bit of time even at work exchanging emails with people and trying to get RSVP’s to the dinner and collect payments. 17 has been a huge help in collecting money from other players each day at school. We called him the Swedish Mafia Collection Agency 🙂 At this point all of the families know that I backup the other liaison when she is out of town, and I’ve done that 4-5 times now since June.

And yet….

This morning, I receive an email from someone asking me if a) I was already planning on getting the other liaison a gift and arranging with the coach for her to be recognized and then b) if not, could I please send out a message to the other families (minus the main liaison of course) asking for $10 to be handed in on the night of the dinner and then c) could I go out and buy a gift card or a nice card with the (anticipated) money collected?

(blink)

(blink)

Um, yes, I know this sounds petty and small, but…WHAT ABOUT ME?!!!

Did you not notice that I have been the one bombarding your inbox with updates on the dinner? Did you never pay attention to the other weeks when I was the one emailing team updates and asking for game day volunteers and soliciting donations for the team? Do you not remember that I have been listed as co-liaison all freaking year in every email sent out??!!

How about the other 55 families? None of you can lift a finger to figure out how to thank BOTH of us on your own?!!

Steam….out…my…EARS.

But…I took a deep breath, then politely replied that No, I had not had a chance to think of that, and yes, that is a great idea, but hey – since I’ve been covering for her all week could you PLEASE PLEASE handle the task of thanking her? I’ve still got to send in a final head count to the hotel with payment for the event after contacting the last 4 families who have been AWOL. Then I have to secure a place for Monday night for the senior moms to build shadow boxes for their players, then I have to finish gluing back on the missing letters on jerseys, then I have to log all the checks I’ve collected, then I have to pick up spirit wear from another mom to put together gift baskets for team support staff and coaches gifts, then I have to buy a fancy gold pen to write in the name of the next recipient of the Spirit Award bull horn that’s been in my house all year (gotta admit I’m gonna miss that thing!), then I have to take my player to buy a button down shirt and tie for the event….so NO, I cannot take on even ONE MORE task even one as important as thanking our liaison. Who DOES deserve all our thanks because after just this one week in her shoes (forget the other times I filled in), I am in AWE of her skills!!

PHEW!

OTOH, I have absolutely perfected my begging/pleading/cajoling/harassing skills via email, text and phone this week. Got *every* damn family to at least reply about attendance, secured payment from all but three families as of tonight but with arrangements made to get those tomorrow AND I got us a house for the Monday night gathering. SCORE!

Moving on….here’s a photo I had to take tonight of the teen for his official rugby ID:

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Tomorrow I get to watch his first match. At the edge of Ocean Beach. In the cold. And wind. And rain. Yippee…new sport?!!

NO – I wont be volunteering for anything more than helping to setup the field before home games!!

It’s quite the thankless job…good thing I do it for the boys, not the parents.

Priorities

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I didn’t join the usual group on a long trail run today. The IT band on my left knee has been barking way too much, and since I don’t have any specific goals to run a long distance anytime soon, I thought it best to just start taking it easy with shorter (4.5 miles) less technically challenging trails like the 56 near my house. What I love about that trail is that you really CAN zone out mentally and since I was by myself that is exactly what I did.

And it was good.

OK, so my knee wasn’t so good – it started tightening up as usual around the 2 mile mark despite the easy footing and relatively level ground and mellow pace. That probably means I should stay off of it entirely, but…I need to at least run a little bit!!

Anyway, it was good because I needed that zone out time.

It’s been a little crazy around here.

Por ejemplo – here’s the calendar on the ‘fridge for the next few weeks (mind you, this is after crossing off a week of items from last week)

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It occurred to me as I was running and thinking about how I am only writing in here once a week and feeling guilty – hey it’s a miracle it happens once a week! So, guilt has been released 🙂

Here’s what I know is going to have to be my priorities for the rest of 2013:

  1. Daily house/cat/kid upkeep
  2. Day job
  3. Football liaison tasks
  4. Blogmutt writing
  5. Running
  6. Everything/everyone else!

Numbers 4 and 5 might swap around depending on how much extra cash I need in a given week. So far, I’m earning between $48-$72/week or, as I like to call it “gas money” 🙂 My goal is to AT LEAST sell 5 posts per week which means writing  5-6 per week (given that about 10% get rejected no matter how well you write). I’ve got 6 in the queue for this coming Thursday, then 4 each week after for the next 3 weeks. That means I really don’t NEED to write 5 new ones this week  or the next which is probably just as well looking at that schedule up there!

The point is that I think I needed that time on the trail to just let my brain settle on this ranking.

That list doesn’t even include the new task I inherited for the football team – website mistress…err..webmistress..er…webmaster….err….crazy person who never learns to stop saying “I can do that?” Yeah..so that was four hours today learning how to use the software and switching every page at all levels to have 2013 information.

Also – yes! 16 is now wearing contact lenses! And I will have “driving glasses”. My near-sightedness has returned somewhat. Just enough that I will feel better having some cheap frames to wear while I drive and watching football games at night. I don’t – and won’t need anything for reading despite my age since the lasik surgery back in 2006 will keep that issue at bay for a quite a bit longer.

Oh, but you should have seen the poor boy learning how to put in those daily wear contacts! He is lucky that his prescription is the same in each eye so we wont have to keep track of leftie and rightie. And the folks at the Optometrist were SO good and patient with him showing how to put them in and take them out. I, of course, was the usual supportive mom sitting and giggling at his red red eyes with the tears flowing out of them 🙂

Hah – I did the math and I’ve run 143 miles this year! Maybe my knee is right to be cranky and demand some rest. Perhaps I’ll listen to it and go enjoy some quality sofa time now. As you can see, that is a rarity!

 

Ever pack 3 days into one?

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I’m pretty sure I did that on Thursday and again today.

Today I had 8 things on my To DO list – some fun, some chores, some money making blog work. I did 5 so that’s not too bad when you consider I also spent time with the boyfriend.

Anyway – my whole money saving goal was a) blown out of the water this week and b) a life saver when I needed cash and had to shut down my bank accounts on a Friday night! (possibly to be explained later, but everything is OK now).

So yeah, I’m at $3  in coins right now, but it will all be replenished if not next week, then by 4/15 for sure (and then some, there’s another teaser that I cannot explain just yet either!)

Exercise mid week went MUCH better! You saw the routine that I posted – I did that VERY diligently for the first hour & a half of Biggest Loser and that ended up being more than 30 minutes of course (damn commercials!) I did the same routine again while watching TV Wednesday night though not quite as long. Still, my abs HURT after two nights of all that!

I’ve begun the last step in my volunteering journey. Going out in a blaze a glory as a co-parent liaison for the varsity football program at the high school. We met Thursday with the coach and outgoing liaison and I have another meeting tomorrow morning because we have to launch right into planning for the first spirit wear website setup and sales and the budget for next year. That’s my main role – finances – which is right up my alley of course.

Speaking of football – so remember that 16 had a bum knee last summer? Well, let’s be honest – not just last summer – pretty much since he was 11 or so only it was never bad enough, long enough for him to complain and request a doctor visit. Last winter/spring he finally did and went through an MRI and then physical therapy and a regimen of icing/ibuprofren and continued stretches to try and get the knee cap to get back on track without surgery. A year of that which included the two months of complete rest with the concussion and there is still no change.

Tuesday, he has arthroscopic surgery. Two small incisions and they will look around to see if the MRI missed anything and also check to see if there is anything physically keeping the knee cap from resting in the right groove. If so, they will clean that up. They may also perform a lateral pressure release which…I cannot entirely remember! Anyway, just 45 minutes supposedly though he will be under anesthesia and he will end up with a pretty painful and swollen knee for a few weeks. BUT – once that heals, the ortho is saying he will be good to go and play football one last year. And that’s the whole goal isn’t it? As I said when we were there for a visit in early Feb – “Doc, bottom line, he has one more year to play football. Senior year. He can start if he’s healthy.  This is what he has been dreaming about for his whole life – to play varsity football for the Falcons. What can we do to have him ready to play flag football with the team in May, get back to weight training and be full speed in the summer?”

Check in time is 6:30am – umm..say what? Is there a bed for me to sleep on? 🙂

Oh! I’ve picked up a writing gig to hone my skills and earn a wee bit of cash (for the play money fund most likely) $8 per purchased blog post. You search through the client list and find keywords and craft a 300 or so word post. If the client likes it and buys it – $8! I sold one this week and have 6 in the queue. 3 have been reviewed and are scheduled to be bought 3/21 – they get pulled every Thursday. It’s a fun challenge! You can either pick keywords that you know like the back of your hand such as the two I wrote last night on sports blogging and excel 2010, or you can try something totally different and take some time to research it a bit. I’m really loving it so far. I wont make Big Money with this company, but I will learn a TON. It is almost like landing an internship in copy writing/content writing. You have to cater to different companies across a vast spectrum of topics and style types. One company my LOVE your stuff and one might reject it. What I’ve learned from chatting in the forum with other writers is that once you find clients who like you and build up a rapport, you can almost count on them giving your posts 5 stars and moving them up in line to be purchased next.

First though, I need to have more than an hour at the end of every day to focus on it. In fact, I was supposed to block out some time today to do that, but it fell off the list. And now it is late….heck..really it is TOO LATE because we Spring Forward tonight! Yipes! That’s good though – it means I can run after work again instead of just on the weekends. Speaking of which, since I have a coffee meeting for football tomorrow I wont be joining Renee for the 3+ hour marathon. So instead, I joined her today out at Lake Hodges for a mere 90 minutes and 7 miles. Running out there the day after rain? AMAZING!

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Book 11 of 52 – Back in the saddle again!

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Why Obama Won: The Making of a President 2008 Why Obama Won: The Making of a President 2008 by Greg Mitchell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A pretty cool compilation of editorials written during the 2008 Presidential campaign. Gives a fascinating glimpse into the reactions of the political right and left leaning media to the unfolding events. Naturally the articles on Sarah Palin are the best 🙂 Watching the evolution of some of the conservative journalists switch from support to “what the hell was John McCain thinking?” is pretty fun.

Mitchell also tracked newspaper endorsements throughout the year and provides some stats from prior elections when Editor & Publisher kept count and then how the results panned out comparatively.

Of course, I enjoyed it because I am a total geek for these things, but it is pretty dry and certainly not for just anyone to read.

View all my reviews >>

No, it didn’t take me 3 weeks to read this book 🙂 It DID take me three weeks to write a review! However, I do admit to falling of the reading wagon for a bit thanks to the Olympics and then the writing I had to do. Also, this was my last Obama book, I promise! I’m going to be hitting the fiction pretty heavy for awhile since that’s the bulk of the pile on the dresser. Do you have any idea how hard it is to ignore new books that come out though? I mean, just flat out ignore them? Even when I wasn’t reading regularly, I would buy interesting books as they came out – that’s why the pile got so high originally. Now with Jacqueline’s books though – I have to shut down ANY new acquisitions. That’s hard! I’m trying to at least mark them on my To Read list on Goodreads so I don’t forget about anything I know I would enjoy for next year.

Seems weird to be March & I’m not posting at least something now & then about American Idol eh? Is anyone watching it? I tried. I really did. Waited until they were live in Hollywood with the top 24 and it was AWFUL!! I love Ellen, but she’s no Paula. Paula brought the crazy man. You just *never* knew what she would say, how loopy she would be,  what she would wear, or what kind of spat she and Simon would get into. It was unpredictable & fun and saved the show if the contestants were bad. And really – man, how GOOD did we have it last year with the contestants? Not just Adam, but really that whole top 10 is better than anyone on there this year!! Jeebus, you know Michael Sarver is looking at this group thinking “Dammit! I could take any of them with one vocal chord tied behind my back!” Let’s be real – the only reason to tune in any further is simply to make fun of them & to pass the time until Glee returns. With that, I *might* give it one more shot next week. Simply FOR the mocking factor. We’ll see. All depends on how much I am into whatever book I’m reading really.

Meanwhile, can someone please explain to me why Sportsboy & are spending tomorrow at Pop Warner football registration?? As volunteers?? I mean, besides that we’re nuts and gluttons for punishment and such. Ah hell, SB isn’t even being *dragged* there for duty – he WANTS to go! As soon as I mentioned that I had offered to fill in for the new treasurer who cannot be there tomorrow he started trying to figure out how he could at least drop by for a bit with me (he’s supposed to be with his dad this weekend). THEN we both remembered that he is with me tomorrow since his dad had to go out of town & also that the wrestling is now on Sundays so he’s free tomorrow to help me ALL DAY. Turns out he wants to see all the people who will be there. His coaches, old teammates, heck even some of the Board members he got to know from previous days he’s helped out. Turns out – I do to! So yeah, it’s a little bit crazy, but we are both excited about being around the football peeps again.

If I do any more than a day here or there though, please feel free to reach through your monitor and smack me 🙂

Holiday Magic for Kids

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Forgive the crappy photos, but of course I only had my iPhone with me:

Toys ready to be handed out

Volunteers ready to hand out toys

Waiting to get their toys

Over 5900 kids were pre-registered for the toy giveaway event. I got there mid-morning to help with some wrapping first, then I was placed at a table as a “giver” with a matching “runner” to grab the toys which were sorted according to gender and age. Apparently the families started lining up outside the venue at 9am! Many families did come in carrying folded up lawn chairs & soft sided coolers! We started handing out toys at 1pm & I swear that snaking line you see up there looked like that for the next 3 hours solid. But it was well run in terms of keeping people moving & in order. There was a military unit & a couple of scout troops running crowd control pretty effectively. I only saw one tantruming toddler which is pretty darn good considering how long they were most likely waiting outside before they got into the main hall. There was also entertainment to keep them distracted. And Santa of course!

Yes, naturally, in a crowd of that many needy families, there were some crabby ones. The gentleman sitting next to me said this was his 5th straight year of volunteering, that the prior year they had only 2200 families yet ran out of toys! He also said kids would open the gift on the spot and then negotiate for trades. With so many people this year we really could not even play that game & I was actually asked to trade about 5 times which was not too bad. And two of them were legitimate as the toys must have been mis-labeled – clearly a 1 year old wouldn’t like chapter books!! Anyway, despite my cynical neighbor’s warnings, it really was largely a crowd of grateful families and kids. The night before over 3000 pretty darn nice plush Shrek stuffed toys were dropped off & we were able to toss those to the kids as ‘extras’ (it was one gift per child) and they were thrilled! Their smiles (many with missing front teeth!) & gratitude made the day.

No worries about running of toys either! Since I was just sitting in front of one section of gifts, I didn’t realize just how many we had. All those families later and there were still a LOT left over. The San Diego Padres had sent over not just a ton of their leftover kids giveaways from the prior season, but also employees to wrap in the morning and then the Pad Squad crew to help out as runners in the afternoon. I stayed for about an hour after the giveaway was done to load the excess toys for transportation to local churches & shelters.

While the need was more than double last year which was to be expected these days, it was truly fabulous to see that the generosity of others more than matched that increased need.

This event is going to become a regular part of the holiday season for me. I’ve never said Merry Christmas that much and it felt GOOD 🙂