The End of a Season

Volleyball is over for the season, ending with an “away” tournament up north, in Duluth. It was rainy, cold and windy, preventing a visit to the shores of Lake Superior. Another time.

The girls showed up with a vengeance for their last tournament and played out of their minds. It was a long day, and fatigue was beginning to set in by the time they played (and lost) their last match. They came in fourth place, but left the court with smiles on their faces.

For me, the best part was watching my girl play and revel in a sport she truly loves. Have I ever mentioned she was team captain this year? It was a well-deserved honor. She is dedicated, a team player, and encouraging of her team mates. I am so proud of her.

She plans to play on the school volleyball team in the fall, but then she will be done. This team is not coming back together for another year, for various reasons. She’s not sad about it, but I know she’ll miss the game and playing it with these girls.

What are we going to do now? Oh, don’t worry. We surely won’t be bored. The school softball season is already well under way, and the summer team is already in the works as well!

"You'll miss this when it's over…"

“…and you and your husband will sit and stare at each other and wonder, ‘What are we supposed to do now?’”

These are the words of wisdom that were offered to me by another parent as I sat at Kacey’s softball game yesterday, complaining that we had softball games and a volleyball tournament all in the same weekend.

And I suppose he might be right…

…but it was fun

It’s been a hectic weekend, but it was fun.

Kacey hitched a ride with a team-mate to catch the bus for her softball team’s crack-of-dawn softball scrimmage on Saturday. Mark and I showed up at a more respectable hour, around 8:00. The scrimmage was held in one of those sports domes. Besides the softball scrimmage, there were also some soccer and lacrosse teams there practicing. As I sat on the side of the dome, I watched the young athletes coming and going. A dad walked in with his son, who appeared to be about 12 or 13 years old. The dad looked vaguely familiar but I couldn’t place him. Then I saw a few more parents and kids who also looked familiar. It hit me then. These were all parents and kids that I knew in my previous work-life when I was employed at the elementary school. All the cute little kindergarten kids I knew back then have grown up and are becoming teenagers. That is a weird feeling.

After the scrimmage, we took off for another one of Kacey’s volleyball tournaments. As I’ve mentioned before, there is a lot of down-time at these tournaments, when the team is either refereeing another team’s games, or just sitting until it’s time for another game of their own. Some of us parents took advantage of the down-time and found a cheap little Chinese buffet. The food wasn’t great, but the price was cheap and the company was fun. Five of us had piled into Mike’s extended-cab pick-up truck to go to lunch there. Mike is a big, big guy and he’s quite a comedian. After lunch, we stopped at a Subway Sandwich drive-through to pick up a half a sandwich to bring back for the daughter of one of the guys who was with us. As the big truck pulled around to the pick-up window, there sat five adults, staring intently at the sales girl as she handed off the little sandwich. Mike looked at her, in all seriousness and asked, “Do you think you can cut that sandwich into five portions?”

The girl looked skeptical and replied, “I don’t know. It’s only a six-inch sub. I can maybe cut it into three pieces.”

“Nah. Don’t worry about it,” Mike replied. “We’ll just take turns taking bites.”

We all cracked up as he pulled away.

Before going back to the tournament, Mike gave us a “tour” of the small town we were in. He pointed out what he insisted was the town prostitute, who was wearing a mini-skirt and high-heeled boots while walking down the street in the rain. He also drove us past a house that was going up in flames. It was a training burn, one of the local firefighters explained, after Mike rolled down his window and asked if he knew there was a house on fire.

After the tournament, Mark and I went to bowling. We didn’t bowl great, but we won, because our opponents failed to show up. Since we had no one to bowl against, we finished up early and went to watch some of the other teams bowl. We cheered them on and socialized and Paul got me in trouble because he told Steve that I said, “If Steve got a flat-top, he’d look just like Drew Carey.” After telling him, Paul came back to me, smiling and said, “I told Steve what you said.” I looked at Steve and he was pointing at me, with a mock-menacing look on his face and yelled over, “DREW CAREY???”

I said, “Thanks a LOT, Paul.” He just smiled and said, “You’re welcome.”

I made it all better with Steve when I told him that all the women think Drew Carey is hot. He forgave me by sandwiching me into a bear hug between himself and his buddy, Dan. I think I cracked a rib in the process. But it was fun.

Sunday was catch-up-on-chores-around-the-house-day. Now I’m ready to go back to work.

Life is Good – March 12, 2010

Good stuff this week…

Brad is coming home for a week-long break from school and he arrives tonight! I’m so happy! He’s bringing the dog, Dacotah with him. Girlfriend Heather will be joining us on Wednesday. My kitchen is a wreck. It’s going to be chaos around here and I don’t care! My boy is coming home.

At work, there was some rearranging of things,  thus making my little corner of the office a much less high-traffic area. This makes me happy. I like people but when they are constantly stopping to ask questions just because you are the person in closest proximity, it can get annoying.

We have a volleyball-free weekend! I am SO tired of sitting in gyms all day long watching game after game after game. I love to watch my girl play, and she loves the game, but we parents need a break every now and then.

Jake was on spring break this week and therefore, he was relaxed and happy. Thursday morning, we played Name that Tune (and artist for bonus points) with our iTunes playlists. Jake has a love of music and his tastes are wide and varied. We have that in common. He’s got everything in his playlist from the current typical teenage pop stuff to Country, AC/DC to The Eagles to Steppenwolf to The Beatles to Rupert Holmes.

What?

You do TOO know who Rupert Holmes is. I was surprised Jake had this one:

Funny how much this song illustrates how drastically times have changed. Anyway, we had fun and laughed a ton playing this game.

Bring on the weekend!

The Kitchen – before pictures

I spent all day in a noisy volleyball warehouse that was severely lacking in any kind of sound-proofing. (Imagine approximately 16 teams of teenage girls screaming, spectators shouting, all of it echoing.) I think my ears are still ringing.

The girls took second place in their bracket. All-in-all not a bad day. I thought Kacey had some excellent plays today. She had several beautiful blocks and lots of great hits and serves. But I am burned out on volleyball and was glad to see the day come to an end. Now we have two beautiful volleyball-free weekends ahead!

And you know what that probably means, don’t you? That’s right…

KITCHEN DEMOLITION!

I figured I’d better get some “before” shots while the kitchen was semi-clean. Here it is. This is where the magic happens. La cocina de Terri:

We’ve not done a whole lot with this kitchen in 22 years. Sure, it’s seen some wall paper and paint changes. The original linoleum floor was replaced with hardwood. It’s seen its share of dishwashers and microwaves, but the stove is original. It is time to bring this room up to date. The in-between stage should prove interesting, but I know it will be worth it in the end.  I’ve heard horror stories from others who have been down this road, including tales of washing dishes in the bathtub. I guess I could tolerate that for a short while. I might have to increase my wine supply to keep my sanity though.

Life is Good – March 5, 2010

The morning moon has been so bright and beautiful this week. I first noticed it on Monday morning as I was leaving for work. It was huge and glowing in the western sky. I wanted so badly to go back for my camera, and take some time to photograph it, but I simply didn’t have the time.

With each day that passed, there was the moon in the morning sky, bold and bright, but seeming a little smaller each day. I was determined to make time to photograph it, so on Thursday, my day off, I set my alarm clock for 6:15 a.m.  when I knew the sky would still be a bit dark, but with enough signs of the morning light that I could get some good shots. I was lucky that the skies were clear and I could frame the moon behind the branches of the winter trees.

I’m fascinated by the moon when it is so bright and striking as it was this week. It kept reminding me of a favorite book from my childhood, Amos and the Moon by Jan Balet. I loved that book. I think I still have it around here somewhere. I’ll have to dig it up, as it is apparently quite rare, according to the blog Today’s Inspiration, which has a series of posts highlighting illustrations from the book and excerpts from the story.

Ahhh… good memories…

In other news, the kitchen remodel is about to begin and I’m getting excited! The new stove and refrigerator have been purchased. The new cabinets are almost finished and are ready for staining. I still have to pick out a sink and counter-top, but soon, the transformation will be complete and I’ll be all too willing to play June Cleaver. At least until the novelty wears off.

Remember me mentioning that I was getting my head examined by the doctor this week? Well, I did and the news was good. I’m not dying or anything. I’ve had some cysts on my scalp for a while now. Well, actually, more than a while. I’ve had one of them for years. Of course, no one really knew I had this lump on my head. It’s buried under my hair. Then over the past year, a couple more developed. They’re not painful, but once in a while, a couple of them get a little uncomfortable. I was feeling a distinct ache last week and it caused me enough concern to finally call the doctor. I did some research online and was pretty sure it was nothing to worry about, but you just never know. As it turns out, they are sebaceous cysts and harmless. But, since they bother me, I’m getting them removed. So later this month, I’m getting my head cut open, cysts removed and head stitched back up again. That sounds fun, doesn’t it? Of course, you know I asked if they’d have to shave my head in those spots and I was assured that is not necessary, which is great news. That would have been a deal breaker.

On the work front, I had some fun this week. There was a big meeting on Wednesday in which I had to present my ideas to a group of web developers. I had spent the past couple of weeks working on writing user stories, which are basically, individual descriptions of each capability I would like to have available on the website. After I presented each story, the developers would vote on them and would agree to a number that would be assigned to that story. Each number indicates the level of effort required to design that capability. The whole process will help decide what can be done first if a first release of the site doesn’t include all of the functions.

So, in this meeting, I was sitting next to a coworker with whom I’ve been working closely. At one point, after a vote, all the developers began joking about something in the technological realm of which I had no understanding whatsoever. They were laughing heartily, and I turned to my coworker and whispered, “I don’t get their humor.” This in turn, caused her to start giggling and pretty soon the two of us were laughing as well. All too soon, though, we realized all the developers were staring at us curiously, waiting for us to stop laughing and for me to present the next story. Can you say embarrassing? Oh well. No harm done and we all got a little stress break for a moment.

Brad celebrated his 21st birthday on Wednesday! According to him, he didn’t really celebrate it as he had mid-terms on Thursday. I’m not completely sure I believe there was no celebration. Who doesn’t celebrate their 21st birthday? He’s legal now! His spring break begins the 15th and he’ll be home for the week. I’m so looking forward to seeing him again since the last time he was home was for Christmas break.

This weekend, I have a free Saturday and then another day of volleyball on Sunday. I’m tempted to complain about having a fourth tournament in four weekends, but I know all too soon, these days will be forever behind me. So I’m going to enjoy it.

Life is good.

What are your weekend plans?

This weekend…

I slept for fourteen and a half hours between Friday night and Saturday morning. I actually did wake up at a decent hour and contemplated getting up and starting my day. But Mark had vacated the bed by this point and it was calling me back, to stretch out across the middle of it, to use all of its pillows and to burrow under its covers without another body to do the tuck-and-roll maneuver which always robs me of all covers and warmth. How could I resist such a call, I ask you? Resistance, as it turns out, is futile! I went back and slept until 11:30. And I was NOT sorry! Ha!

I learned a new phrase, “B. T. dubbs.” As in, “B.T. dubbs, Mom, if I decide to take that A.P. English exam, it will cost thirty dollars.” Or, loosely translated, “Oh, by the way, dear mother, did I mention that if I choose to take the Advanced Placement English exam, the passing of which will earn me a college credit, it will cost thirty dollars?”

Luckily, since I share living accommodations with a sixteen year old and her frequent abbreviations, I was able to figure that out all by myself!

I did some butt-kicking bowling, followed by some almost-but-not-quite butt-kicking bowling, followed by some purely pathetic bowling. Yes, our Saturday night couples team remains somewhere near the bottom of the rankings. I blame it on Mark because he choked when we needed him most. And Jim. It’s Jim’s fault too. Because Jim bowled on the wrong lane one frame and everything went downhill from there.

I decided I am sick of volleyball. We went to another tournament for the third weekend in a row and I was kicking myself all day because I should have stayed home and made Mark take Kacey to this one by himself. Because I had to take her to last weekend’s tournament by myself. And next weekend, I’ll have to take her by myself again too. Granted, if he’s not attending a tournament, it’s because he’s working. But that didn’t stop me from being crabby about being there when I had an opportunity to stay home and try to catch up on my chores which are eternally going unfinished. Yes, I was just crabby today. I blame it on too much sleep.

And the post-Olympic blues are setting in already. I’ll probably have to combat those with more bowling. And running, which I did none of this weekend. Bad me. I’m sure it’s only because I spent  too much time sleeping. And I’m still not sorry.

Fun with Crab Legs

I feel like I’m falling behind on everything lately. I spent the day cleaning house, doing laundry, and grocery shopping. Everything needed to get done today because Kacey’s volleyball team has a tournament in St. Cloud tomorrow. (Drive time is well over an hour.) And we have to leave home by 5:45 am. It will probably be another all day event. We spent the entire weekend last week at a tournament, and now another one, so soon. We usually get a weekend off between. I am not so happy about this one.

I thought a nice run might ease the sense of frustration I’ve been feeling, but it didn’t, probably because the run didn’t go well. I had no stamina and ended up doing a combination of walking and running. And besides, my knee has been bugging me a little bit. At first it was just a feeling of a little pressure on the inside of my right knee. Today it started hurting a bit. Ugh.

I needed some humor today before I really started getting cranky. Lucky for me, my nephews were here. They had spent the night and for the most part, Kacey entertained them today while I got chores done. Danny, a sixth grader, wanted to show me some of his favorite Youtube videos. Apparently there are some talented kids out there with an over-abundance of Legos. This made me laugh until I cried:

Later on after the boys went home, I dragged Kacey with me to the grocery store. Grocery shopping on a Saturday is enough to drive me over the edge and I knew I needed to ease the tension. So while strolling through the meat section, I picked up a long package of crab legs, poked them toward Kacey and said, “RAWWWWRRRRR!”

Two seconds too late, I realized there was a woman walking right behind me. Kacey shot me an embarrassed eye-roll, grabbed me by the arm and said, “Do we need to get you a leash?”

I tossed the crab legs back in the freezer and carried on with our shopping, laughing until we were well out of the meat section. Kacey continued shaking her head and trying not to smile, all the while pretending to be disgusted with my behavior.

She loves me though, even though I embarrass her. I know she does. She has to. Who else is going to drive her to a volleyball tournament at god-awful-thirty on a Sunday morning? She’s just going to have to put up with my antics until she moves out.

Life is Good – February 19, 2010

My friend, Jane sent me this picture. These are the tracks from a wild turkey taking flight. Pretty cool, huh? (Click on the picture to see the larger version.)

This week has flown by! The new venture at work is progressing nicely, and while I can’t say we are working like a well-oiled machine just yet, we’re getting things figured out and working out the kinks. In addition to the usual stuff, the website project is looking to keep me busy for a long while and I’m really enjoying it. I feel capable and productive again and it is such a good feeling. Not being challenged is boring and depressing. We’ve got a white board in the office where everyone checks in for the day. Just before our “go-live” date, someone had written on it, “Adapt to change or become roadkill.” We all laughed about it for a few days until someone made a passing comment that we needed something more inspiring and upbeat. I’ve been finding motivational messages online since then and writing something on the board every day. I like the one I left there for Thursday…

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

George Bernard Shaw

Other than that, things have been pretty mellow. I’ve been getting to the gym pretty regularly and I can feel the difference when I run. I’m going longer, gaining stamina and feeling that high that people talk about when I think I’m losing steam and then all of a sudden the afterburners kick in. I love it! It does wonders for my mood. And I just got a strap for the new Ipod so I can strap that baby on my arm and listen while I run!

Are you watching the Olympics? I love to watch the snowboarders. I was watching the women’s half-pipe event last night and it just amazes me. I wish I were younger. I’d give snowboarding a shot!  I don’t like watching figure skating anymore though. I’m tired of Scott Hamilton announcing every move before it’s made.

This weekend promises to be a full one again. I’ve got a couple of nephews overnight tonight while my sister and brother-in-law go to Chicago for the weekend. Sunday brings another volleyball tournament that requires us to be on the road at the crack of dawn. I’m not thrilled, but after last weekend’s tournament, Kacey felt compelled to do all of the laundry so maybe this one will work in my favor as well.

I need a long weekend with a complete lack of obligations. Anyone know where I might buy one of those?

What day is this?

I seem to have lost a few days. Last I checked it was Thursday and now here it is Tuesday of the next week already!

And you thought I’d been eaten by an alligator or something tragic like that! Nope. Just busy.

Last Friday we got back to work at work after spending over 18 months in very uncertain territory. But we survived it and are back in business once again. I’ve been hair-on-fire busy there and LUH-UH-UH-VIN it! I’m heavily involved in a few things, one being a major project that involves website stuff. I get to envision this site (along with a few others) and then see if the great techie minds of the company can make it reality. I get to do things like reach into the depths of my brain and say, “Hey! It would be REALLY cool if we could make this a capability!” And then, if I’m lucky, the smart people go, “Yeah. We can do that!”  I love this stuff. Sometimes I’m such a geek.

So there’s that. And then there was a weekend. At least I’m pretty sure there was a weekend. Kinda hard to tell because it doesn’t feel like I really had a weekend. Kacey’s team played in the annual Presidents’ Day volleyball tournament. We were gone most of the day Saturday and all day Sunday, then drove home in some crazy weather on some treacherous roads and got home in time to hit the sack. (Resisting the urge to complain about winter and the weather here!) I got nothing done at home, but the girls came home with medals, so it was worth it.

Oh! And something really cool happened on Saturday night! I gotta give my husband kudos for this one. He did good!!! Saturday evening, I walked into the family room and there was a Valentine’s Day gift sitting on my chair. Mark said, “It’s not much.” And I said, that’s okay. All I got you was a card! So I opened the box and inside was a heart-shaped tin of Dove chocolates. Mark said, “It’s just chocolate.” And I said, “That’s okay! I love chocolate!” And inside my head I was thinking, “And besides, I only got you a card.” So I opened the tin and inside I found the candies, but ALSO… AN IPOD TOUCH! I gasped when I saw it! I have been wanting one, but just couldn’t justify the expense, but my hubby knew how much I wanted one so he got it for me! Is he great or what? So now when I find myself in the midst of another weekend, stuck at a volleyball tournament, I can find myself some wi-fi and play with my new toy! WOOT!

For those of you following my reading pursuits, I just finished The Help by Kathryn Stockett. The setting is Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960′s and the civil rights movement. I’m not going to try to review it. You can click on the link if you want to know more, but suffice it to say, I loved it and highly recommend it.

I’ve now moved on to The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. After hearing at least four people say this was the best book they’ve ever read, I couldn’t resist. It’s a biggie, and not typical of the type of books I normally read, but already just a few chapters in, I’ve cried and regained hope and been amazed and think I’m going to love it. But at the rate things are going, it could be months before I finish it.