Write this one down… for posterity

Throughout the blogs I read, there can be found all kinds of cute-kid stories. Babies are rolling over and smiling for the first time. Toddlers are displaying an amazing grasp of the world as they comprehend it. Preschoolers are having insightful conversations that make you wonder how in the world they became so entertaining and smart. They make you want to squish their chubby cheeks and hug them tight for all of their adorableness.

Me? I have teenagers. The conversations in the teenage years are either non-existent or consist of a few grunts while they pretend to hear you as they are busy text messaging on their cell phones.

Last night, while driving home from softball, there seemed to be a number of other drivers whose fingers seem to be preoccupied with their noses. It became somewhat of a joke as Mark began to observe every driver at every stoplight. Despite the lack of an intelligent topic, it DID spur some actual conversation in the car.

Mark would be sure to direct our attention to the offending driver each time he suspected a nose-picking in progress.

Mark: Look at that one! Is she picking her nose?

Me: No, Mark. She’s just got her hand over her mouth.

Mark: THERE! That one! SHE’S picking her nose.

Me: (Insert eyeroll here.) No, Mark. She’s just chewing her fingernail.

Kacey: Dad! Gross! I DON’T want to see anyone picking their nose!

Mark: Kace, everyone picks their nose.

Kacey: Not ME!

Mark: Kace! EVERYONE picks their nose!

Kacey: I DON’T!

Me: So, Kace, what do you do when you’ve got a dry booger in your nose that’s just driving you nuts and you’ve gotta get it out?

Kacey: I twist up a Kleenex and rub it around in there until I get it out.

Me: Ok. Then what do you do when you’ve got a “bat in the cave” and you feel like everyone’s staring and laughing at you?

Kacey: I just do a little fly-by with the palm of my hand until it’s gone!

Definitely one for the memory books! Sigh!

*For the record, a doctor treating one of the kids for impetigo years ago, explained that the condition is a result of bacteria from the nose getting into an open sore. How do you think the bacteria gets there? As she explained it, EVERYONE PICKS THEIR NOSE! It’s just that no one is willing to admit it.

I made someone's day!

My friend, Kiki graced me with this sweet award:

I love Kiki because she has a kind and generous heart.  She’s a deep thinker and someone who sees the good in everyone. She made me speechless when she described me as having “the heart of a writer.” It’s high praise and I’m not sure I deserve it, but I am honored that she thinks so.

One of the many things I love about Kiki’s blog is her regular Friday feature, “Fashionable Fridays.” Kiki makes her living as a manager at Gap and shares her knowlege and expertise with her readers. Fridays are always a day to look forward to at Kiki’s place! Look, Kiki… your advice paid off and I went to work today fully clothed in Gap apparel. What do you think?

I’m passing on this award to some of the many people who regularly make my day with their writing:

AbbyNormal who has a great sense of humor and finds the funny in geekiness and everyday life with a hubby and three boys.

Ajoojah who I recently discovered and had me so hooked on his blog I was reading through months of his archives. He’s head-over-heels in love with his wife, which he mentions quite regularly and often in great detail. On one particularly descriptive post, I commented that she must be an extremely forgiving woman!

Darrin at Dad’s Dish shares his love of food, life and the joys of parenting.

Blessed1 has become a true and close friend. Her Daily Blessings blog reminds me to focus on all the gifts in my life and she welcomed me as one of her co-writers at Real Women…Real Life, challenging me to grow in my faith while sharing it with those who care to read this blog. She’s a go-getter, full of energy, as evidenced by the fact that she also writes about her personal life on Worn Out Woman.

Jeni at Down River Drivel has probably already received this award, but I can’t resist letting her know that she makes my day every day. Jeni tells the most fun stories about her adorable grandchildren, Maya and Kurtis and often posts pictures of them as well as the many animals that make themselves at home at her house.

Joe at Harmless Ranting keeps me entertained with tales of his kids, and his adventures with his lovely fiance, K. He’s written some real nail biters involving events in which his ex-wife and K had the chance to talk with each other while he was otherwise occupied coaching a soccer game, while he nervously watched out of the corner of his eye wondering what secrets the two women might be exchanging. (Don’t worry, all seems well as K is still obviously committed to going through with the impending nuptials.)

Hidden Mahala should go on the road as a stand-up comic. She could make a living with her stories about her annoying coworker, Bubbles and her annoying gum-snapping, flirtatious encouters with PG (I think it stands for “Purchasing Guy,”) and her Bubba-Hubby.

I Eat Snowman Poop has gone from tough chick to devoted mommy (still managing to maintain her tough chick attitude) and has the cutest baby EVER!

Reggie at I’m Always Mentally on Vacation won’t do this meme, but I’m letting him know he makes my day anyway, because he’s a professional vacationer and one of these days I’m going to the Island of St. Croix with him and the lovely Gigi.

Ali at Idiosyncracies of a Gemini Mind also has the cutest baby EVER and she’s the other pea in my pod. I love her silly sense of humor and the way she experiences every emotion to the max, just like me.

More than an Electrician at N*ked on the Roof tries to pretend he’s a tough guy, but his love for his family and pride in his work shows through, even though he’s constantly pretending that the wife makes him sleep on the couch.

Irene at Our Little Piece of the World juggles being a stay-at-home-mom to three adorable little girls and takes some of the most beautiful pictures I’ve ever seen. I’m constantly stopping by to see what new photography tricks she’s discovered and taking my cues from her knowledge.

These are just a few of the bloggers that make my day, every day. You all make it hard for me to stay away from blogland for any length of time!

Pass this award on, if you’re so inclined, but if not that’s o.k. too. The original rules ask that you tag ten bloggers, but as usual, I’ve bent the rules just a little!

I love Rick

I do. I love him. And I have for a very long time. (Oh, don’t worry. The hubby’s ok with this. We have an understanding about Rick.)

But it’s an unrequited love. He’s spending the evening with another woman.

You’re breaking my heart, Rick!

I thought I was over it, but when I got a phone call from a close friend tonight, telling me she would be going to see Rick this evening, I was filled with jealousy. How could she? How could HE? Did he forget the last time we saw each other? It was four long years ago. We spent such an exciting night together. It was incredible. We were both sweating and exhausted when it was over. Yes, Rick is THAT good. I have pictures to prove it.

Damn! He still looks SO good, doesn’t he?

Look at those cute dimples!

He was singing to me. I know he was.

See? I told you. SWEATY!

Yep. We had a great time that night. Sadly, Rick ditched me right after the show. I did, however, end up riding in an elevator with a couple of his band members. One of them, the drummer…. ummmm….. farted. In the elevator. It was nasty. But it didn’t diminish my feelings for Rick. In fact, I love him so much that I just want him to be happy. So I hope my friend has a GREAT time tonight and I hope she remembers to say hi for me when she gets to GO BACKSTAGE and MEET Rick in person!

And Rick? Maybe you could think about heading back to Minnesota some time soon? Really, I’ll forgive you for spending time with another woman.

Nostalgia

I’ve always longed to be more familiar with my family heritage. Unfortunately, my parents and grandparents weren’t “talkers.” My siblings and I weren’t often privy to fond memories woven into tales of the days gone by. But once in a while, if the right question were asked, my dad or my grandma would offer a small glimpse into our family history.

My dad’s stories were usually tales of mischief. I asked him once if he went trick-or-treating when he was young. I felt sorry for him when he said that he didn’t, but he didn’t seem to feel he was deprived. It seems that soaping windows and trolley tracks were equally as fun as collecting pillow cases full of candy.

My dad grew up on the East Side of St. Paul, near Lake Phalen, in the vicinity of St. Casimir’s church, which was and still is to some extent, a largely Polish community. I’ve often heard it said that the Catholics distinguished themselves by the churches they attended. It’s true. It used to be the norm to be asked a question such as, “Do you know the Kowalskis?” To which you would respond, “Kowalskis? You mean the St. Casimir’s Kowalskis?”

As a young child, my grandma would take my sister and me to the Polish American Club in December to visit Santa Claus. After sitting on his lap, he would send us on our way with assurances that our Christmas wishes would come true, and with sacks filled with apples, oranges, peanuts and popcorn balls. That same club was host to hundreds of wedding receptions and celebrations over the years.

A few miles away was the massive Hamm’s Brewery where my grandpa and many of the people of the neighborhood earned their living.

(more history here)

The homes in the neighborhoods of the East Side were built extremely close together. You can almost imagine neighbors leaning out their kitchen windows to exchange a borrowed cup of sugar. Some of the homes are that close to each other. Most have front porches that have been enclosed since those early days. My dad once told me that many years ago, the porches were all open. Families would spend their evenings sitting on those porches, talking with other neighbors as they strolled up and down the street. These were the homes of the working class. Even as a child, I was jealous of what was obviously a more innocent time; a time when people weren’t in such a rush and family and friends were priority. It makes me sad to look at the homes now, most of them having been divided into duplexes by now. They are simply rental properties falling into decline.

The homes that surrounded Lake Phalen belonged to the more privileged families. The porches wrapped around the much larger homes. The yards were huge, with long winding driveways. Even today, they are beautiful and well cared for in striking contrast to the decay that has spread in the surrounding areas.

Growing up, there were countless visits to my grandparents’ house on Sherwood Avenue. The house was merely a few blocks from a park and from Lake Phalen. My siblings, cousins and I would venture down the street as often as we were allowed so that we might explore the park, run the baselines on the ballfields or walk barefoot on the beach. I never failed to imagine my dad in these very same places in his younger days.

On the same piece of land as the park sat, were several old, abandoned buildings. My dad had explained that years ago, these buildings comprised the Home for Crippled Children, later to become the Gillette Childrens’ Hospital. It was the place where children were treated for orthopedic diseases such as polio before the facilities were moved to a more state of the art location. I was fascinated by these old buildings and I would walk along them, trying to peek into the windows and imagine what life was like in a time when such a disease struck so much fear into people’s hearts.

(Click here for more history.)

Over the years, the park was renovated. A new rec center was constructed. The ball fields were relocated and a new hockey rink was installed. Most of the Gillette buildings were torn down, except for one. A senior living center replaced those that were demolished and this is where my grandma spent the last years of her life, just blocks away from where she had spent so many happy years, but still within walking distance of St. Casimir’s Catholic Church. Her new apartment overlooked the one remaining building of the Gillette Hospital. That building had been the Michael Dowling Memorial Hall, which was built in 1924 as a schoolhouse for the children at the hospital.

Last weekend, Kacey had a softball tournament at the very park where I used to play when visiting my grandparents. Driving back to the East Side, it saddened me to see so much decay in the old neighborhoods. But there is evidence of rejuvenation too. The homes surrounding the lake are a site to see. They are well kept and the landscaping is beautiful. The path that surrounds the lake was filled with walkers and runners, and people strolling with children. The most exciting thing for me to see was that the old school building is no longer vacant. It has since become the Minnesota Humanities Center. I took a walk to take a closer look at the building and was happy to see that much of the original architecture has been preserved.

This piece in particular, brought back memories. I used to stare at this as a child, with haunting thoughts of the disabled children who spent time at the hospital.

“Ne Cede Malis” means “Yield not to evils.” I find it so fitting that this piece was preserved as a testament that the old neighborhood will not succumb.

Getting back to normal

Thank you so much to everyone who left prayers and words of encouragement and support in response to my post about the car accident. That event was easily the most terrifying moment in my life as a parent. Thankfully, all of the boys are in good shape. They are a little scratched and bruised. There were a few stitches, but I imagine the worst scars are the memories they are left with. I know they are struggling with whether or not they did the right thing. Was there anything else they could have done that would have made the accident less severe? They had split seconds to react and did the best they could. The police, EMTs and  hospital staff reassured them that they handled it rationally and should be proud of themselves, yet the doubts remain. I hope that in time, more and more days will pass when they don’t replay those horrifying scenes in their heads.

Yesterday, Mark and I took all three boys to the impound lot to collect whatever was left of their belongings. Amazingly, almost everything was intact. There were a couple of broken fishing poles which have already been replaced, but everything else was there and in one piece. Justin was sure his glasses would have to be replaced, but he actually found them in perfect condition in the bed of the truck.

The boys seemed almost normal on the ride to the impound lot. They were joking with each other and laughing. They debated the course of events and described their reactions. Brad said the rollover felt like it happened in slow motion. Joe, on the other hand, remembers covering his head with his arms one second and landing upright on the cement barrier the next. He vividly remembers crawling out the window and across the front of the truck, while Brad knows that he came through a window but he’s not sure how. He only remembers falling on the cement barrier when his foot got hung up on the door of the truck. Justin remembers little until he was in the emergency room, although he was conscious and talking, even joking with the other two boys in the back of the ambulance. Both Brad and Joe remember the countless onlookers whose jaws dropped at the sight of two boys actually crawling out of the wreckage. They were amazed at the number of people who stopped to offer help and Brad regrets not getting any names or having the chance to thank any of them. I assured him those people understood.

It was noticeably quieter on the drive back home, especially as we passed the scene of the accident. I had a vague idea of where the accident occurred, but when it was pointed out to me I felt a knot in my stomach. The barrier on which the truck landed was at a point on the highway that began an incline. Below that barrier is another highway which runs downhill in contrast to that location. A few hundred feet more and the truck very likely would not have stopped on the barrier, but tumbled over and over down a steep hill and onto the other highway.

Seeing the truck up close was a sobering experience. It looked much, much worse than it did in the first picture we saw. Being able to examine the condition of the truck as it sat in the lot reinforced to me that a true miracle occurred when the boys walked away from the accident. I am finding myself slowing down in everything I do. Not only am I slowing my speeds as I drive, I am stopping to hug and kiss my kids more often and tell them I love them. I am reminded that nothing in life is certain and I need to appreciate all the gifts I’ve been given.

The boys survived this accident without serious injury, but it didn’t leave them unchanged. I never had any doubt that the friendship between these three has always been something special. But as they hung out in our family room last night I could hear them bantering back and forth. The words I heard held expressions of love in that macho, teasing way that boys tend to have. There is now a certainty among them that no matter where their lives may take them, they will always stay connected.

(Sorry about the dead birds. It’s what they do….)

Scared to death and eternally grateful

He’s sleeping soundly on the couch right now, my oldest son. I keep glancing over to be sure that he’s still o.k. And he is. Thank God, he is.

Sitting in a canvas chair this afternoon, watching the end of my daughter’s second softball game of the day, I could hear my cell phone ringing. I dug around in my purse and fished it out, just as the call went to voicemail. The Caller-ID showed that I had just missed Brad’s call. He was probably calling to tell me he was home, or almost home. He had spent the weekend with his two best friends, Justin and Joe at Justin’s dad’s house about an hour or so from home. The boys had been fishing and when I had called Brad earlier in the day, he had said they were just getting ready to start the drive back.

After the missed call, I quickly called him back and when he answered, I said, “Hey Bud. Sorry I missed your call. I picked up just as it went to voicemail.”

“Mom,” he said. “We were in a car accident. We’re in an ambulance and on our way to the hospital.”

It was the call that every parent fears. My mind began to race and I heard Brad say, “I’m ok. We’re all ok. But we’re going to the hospital.”

I was panicking. “What happened? Are you hurt? Is anyone hurt? What hospital?”

“We’re on our way to Regions. Justin  was driving and had a seizure. I was in the backseat, asleep. I heard Joe shouting to Justin asking what he was doing. Joe was trying to steer….” His voice was breaking. He told me again he was ok but I could tell he couldn’t continue to talk. I had caught Mark’s attention at this point. He was hanging on every word as were several others within earshot.

“We’re coming!” I told him. “We’ll meet you there.” Mark called Joe’s parents and gave them the frightening news.

The next few minutes were a blur. Mark and I were gathering our chairs and grabbing our belongings in a frenzy while several other parents were telling us to go and that they would take care of Kacey for us. I caught up with Kacey long enough to explain and assure her that her brother was ok. Mark and I took off running for the car.

Luckily, the softball tournament was being held within minutes of the hospital and we made it there quickly. It’s a busy, downtown hospital and we had to park in a ramp. We got caught in a crawl behind several cars searching for a parking spot and it seemed to take us forever to find one ourselves. We finally found one and hurried to the hospital entrance where we were shown the way to the emergency room.

I saw my son standing with Joe and his parents and grandparents. Justin was already in an exam room being taken care of. I looked around to see that everyone had tears in their eyes but the boys really were ok. Justin’s parents were making their way to the hospital from their cabin a few hours north, and his grandparents arrived not long after we did.

In an instant Brad had me wrapped in a bear hug. I squeezed him back as tight as I dared, worried about cuts or bruises.

Brad was crying as he told us how Joe’s shouting had awakened him and one glance at Justin told him that Justin was experiencing a seizure. Joe was in the front seat, trying to steer the truck as they traveled down a busy highway. Brad remembered Justin showing him the emegency brake in the truck a while back. Most vehicles have a pedal to the left of the gas and brake pedals. Justin’s truck had a different style; one that sits to the right of the steering wheel and is pulled in the event of an emergency. Brad said he was shouting to Joe that they had to pull the emergency brake and he leaned forward and was able to grab on and pull. The truck’s wheels froze as the vehicle bounced off the guardrail and then rolled over, landing upright again, balanced on top of the cement guardrail with the front and back tires on each side of it. One of the paramedics took a picture with his cell phone and sent it to Justin later on.

Joe scrambled out the window of the truck and Brad followed quickly behind. Traffic had come to a halt in the wake of the accident and the two boys screamed for onlookers to call 911. Justin was still in the truck and not yet conscious. A good samaritan who had been right behind and witnessed the events stopped to offer help. Brad says there were so many people who stopped to help and he didn’t get any names or have a chance to thank any of them. The ambulance arrived within minutes and the firefighters not long afterwards at which point Justin was pulled from the truck. The paramedics told the boys they had only been four blocks away when they got the call. They also told the boys they had never seen anyone come out of a rollover accident as “well” as these three boys did.

Brad walked away with only a few cuts and scratches, which he’s sure happened as he fell out the truck window. Joe sustained a cut to his arm and had to have some bits of broken glass removed and a couple stitches. Justin had a dislocated shoulder, a few cuts to the head and some bruising on his face. All three boys were released from the hospital and allowed to go home.

It’s been an extremely emotional day. Brad is struggling to come to terms with why this happened. Justin feels guilty and responsible and neither Brad nor Joe want him to feel that way. The doctor who evaluated Brad told him Justin probably won’t be driving again soon. As I sat with Brad in the exam room, waiting for his discharge papers, he was asking me why. Why did this happen to Justin? Why today? Why?

I told him they were extremely lucky. I told him Someone was looking out for them today. I reminded him that one or more of them could have wound up dead, but they didn’t. They were able to walk away, relatively unharmed. They were smart. They were all wearing seatbelts and have the bruises to prove it. I told him that he and Joe had the presence of mind to get that truck stopped.

Now that we are home, I am trying to keep myself from hovering and constantly asking if there’s anything he wants or needs. He keeps insisting he is ok, just a little sore. I can’t help myself and I have to keep checking and he continues to refuse any pampering. It could have been so much worse, but by some miracle, it was not. They will be sore tomorrow and for a few days afterwards, but they are ok. They lived to tell about it and I am thanking God today for watching over my son and his friends.

Idiocy… it runs in the family

It was a dark and stormy afternoon. The natives were getting restless. Only hours after completing the last day within their educational confines, they had exhausted of playing video games, dancing in the living room and trying to blind each other with million candle-power flashlights.

Boredom had struck. Suddenly, an idea began to take shape. From the depths of the closet, the Gorton’s Fisherman rain suit was recovered, an old remnant from the days of school trips to environmental camp. With camera in hand, they ventured out into storm…

 

That’s Natalie, running the camera. She’s a bossy one, is she not?

And my daughter? Is definitely her mother’s child. I SWEAR she’s a straight “A” student, despite the fact that she appears quite the opposite in this little video.

(I secretly wish I had thought of this first…)

Maybe next time I'll try the blue mohawk

I had my hair cut and colored last night. I asked for “the usual” color, mocha with some highlights and planned on pretty much the same cut as always, with just a little modification.

Last time I got my hair cut, I asked my stylist, Patti to trim the front part of my hair so that it hung down to the tip of my nose. I always brush this off to the side, but since the time of that haircut I have had trouble keeping my hair out of my face without applying enough hair spray to make my head a fire hazard. I asked her to cut some layers into the sides of my hair so that the front stuff would have something to grab on to instead of hanging in my eyes.

Patti trimmed away at my hair, chatting away like she always does. When she turned me around to show me what she had done, I got a big surprise. She had cut the front part of my hair to just below my eyes! Way, way, WAY shorter than I had planned on.

But I kind of liked it.

And when I blow dried this morning and realized I didn’t have to mess with curling irons or straighteners or dangerous amounts of hair spray, I liked it even more.

And when I got to work and was overwhelmed with compliments, I was feeling REALLY great about my new do.

I didn’t think it was that drastic of a change, but the girls I work with all stopped and marvelled over my hair. (You know women. We always have to gush over each other when a new style enters the picture.)

I was told, “Your hair is SO CUUUTE!” and “That style is SO YOU!” and “It’s really SASSY!”

“Sassy!” I like that one.

And then there was, “The color’s great, but…. can I give you a ‘but?’ ………It kind of looks like a mullet.”

Yes, one of my coworkers told me my new do looked like a mullet. I think she felt a little bad for me, walking around all outdated and eighties and what not. I know she was just trying to be a good friend, but I was left a little speechless.  I just went back to my desk and had a good laugh.

I’ve never been one to wear my hair a certain way because it’s the fashion. When I like how it looks, that’s how I wear it. I guess even if that means I’m sporting a mullet.

What do ya think? Am I ready to break into Achy Breaky Heart?

(And why is this picture so damn big? Is there a simple way to resize photos in wordpress?)

These Days

Life is moving so fast these days.

Brad has been home from college for almost a month now! I still complain that I don’t see him often enough. He got a GREAT summer job. Where Mark works, there is a program for high school and college students whose parents work there. The waiting list of kids who applied was huge! About eleven kids made the cut and Brad was one of them. He’s making an hourly wage that I would never have dreamed of at nineteen years old. The down side is he is working full time. He’s been on the day shift through his training period but will soon be working everyday from 1:30 – 9:30 pm. There might be some optional overtime too where he could earn time and a half or double time. But he had to give up one of his biggest loves… baseball. This would have been his last year to play 19U baseball and he had to give it up to earn the big bucks. It’s good to know though, that he’s got his priorities in order. Next year at school he’ll be living in a house with four other guys, instead of living in the dorm. He’s bound and determined to cover all of his rent, his portion of tuition and expenses with some extra money to spare. And of course, when he’s not working, he’s socializing, so I get what’s left over, which is just the way it is, I guess. I’d worry if at nineteen, he wanted to spend more time with me than with his friends.

Jake has made it through the school year with very respectable grades. He was very motivated to avoid summer school this year and it looks like he did it! There are only two more days of school and he will be FREE! Jake ran track this spring and had some excellent times in the 200 meter dash, broke his own long jump record by four feet and also did well in the high jump. He’s looking forward to a summer that includes lots of fishing. Mom says he needs to find a part time job too, but he’s very selective. He only wants to work at Gander Mountain or Sportsman’s Warehouse, even though I keep telling him he has to be eighteen to work at either of those stores because they sell firearms. He says he’s willing to wait! I say Target is just around the corner and always in need of kids to gather carts from the parking lot.

Kacey is nearing the end of her freshman year of high school and proved to be a stellar student. She has been recommended for two advanced courses next year in English and Math. She’s taking the English course but passed on the Math class because, as she explains it, she’s not interested in going into a field of study that’s heavy on math requirements. I didn’t push her. She’s earning excellent grades in all of her classes and she doesn’t want to be overwhelmed in her studies. She truly enjoys school, especially the social aspect. She was captain of the freshman volleyball team and also made the freshman softball team. And as you know, she’s now knee deep into her summer softball season and loving every minute of it. Her cell phone is constantly buzzing with text messages as she’s my little social butterfly. Today I signed her up for Drivers’ Ed classes which will start in a couple of weeks. HOLY CRAP! My baby is going to be driving! Look out! 

A while ago, Logziella asked if there’s any news on my dad’s kidney transplant. This is the only part of life that seems to be moving too slowly right now. My dad has been seeing all of his specialists and getting prepared for the transplant. At first, it looked like it could take place in early July, but then he found out that he might need to get a defibrillator because his heart was pumping to slow and that might make it difficult for him to withstand the surgery. I’m still waiting to hear if and when he will get that, but I got a call last week from the transplant coordinator and she is going to schedule an appointment for me to come into the transplant clinic for a physical, bloodwork and kidney scan, so it still looks promising. I think it’s just a question of when.

Other than that, for Mark and I, it’s the usual… work, taking care of the house and yard, a few projects and a couple of graduation parties here and there. We’re hoping to squeeze in a few days at his parents cabin this summer. The kids love it there and we haven’t been there for THREE years! I just want to enjoy every day we have before winter strikes again. The last one was way, way, way too long.

(P.S. Please go say hi to my new friend, Faith. She’s fifteen, very cool and a great writer!)

Rosemount Tournament

Our entire weekend was spent away from home at the softball tournament. The housework and laundry suffered but we had a great time.

The tournament was about a 35 to 40 minute drive from home. The girls played three bracketed games on Saturday and three on Sunday. There was a lot of down time between games, but gas prices being what they are, we chose to hang out at the fields between games, sitting in the shade, talking, eating concession food, napping or reading. (The discussions about the currently high gas prices made me wonder why the team from Winnipeg would choose to drive 8 hours to attend this tournament!)

The girls won every single one of their games! We were amazed! Some of the wins were due to the fact that the opposing teams were simply less experienced. But in some of the games, our girls showed ‘em what they had! The championship is where the team found their best competition and they just gave it everything they had and pulled out the win.

Kacey wanted me to take pictures and I took a few, including these …

But after a while, I got tired of hauling the camera out of the bag, switching lenses and finding a good position to get the shots. It was just too hot and dirty on the field.

Tommy, the eleven year old brother of one of the players, asked if he could see my camera during the championship game. He is an incredibly polite and sweet kid with wonderful parents. I trusted him, so I let him put the strap around his neck and he looked through the view finder while his mom warned him to be careful. I showed him how to use a few of the simpler features and encouraged him to take a few pictures. Pretty soon he was hooked and I told him to take as many as he wanted. He was so cute, snapping a few shots, then running over to show me how excited he was about his pictures.

At one point, he was all crouched down behind the fence, holding the camera, waiting for a great photo opp, when he turned to me and asked, “Terri? Is this how a proper photographer holds the camera?”

I had to admit, “I don’t know, honey. I’m not a proper photographer!”

He did a great job of framing the pictures and getting some action shots. I told Tommy’s parents I saw a camera in his near future. Maybe Santa will bring him one!

For the most part, these pictures are unedited, except for a little color adjustment and some trimming. Isn’t he talented?