Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hot Yoga - An Update

Yeah. I still haven’t done it yet. I can’t mentally get past the fact that I’ll have to be in hot room with a bunch of lithe young yoga moms while sweating.

The certificate expires in June. I’m contemplating how attached I am to the $30.

Right now I’m not feeling so attached.

I know.

I’m pathetic.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Saying Thank You

Recently, my son was diagnosed with Little League Shoulder which you can read about by clicking on the link.

My son made an appointment to chat with his baseball coach about his arm, his ability to try out or not try out and potential involvement in the 2012 JV Baseball Team. I give the kid major snaps for being proactive to have this discussion. At 15, I preferred to deal with difficult situations by mostly feeling sorry for myself, crying a lot and avoiding all manner of adult interaction.

It was a good conversation. He was reassured that even if he can’t play, he can still be involved on the team. Keep book. Do stats. Lead in other ways. I could see the relief wash over his face when he shared the news of his meeting. I’m also sure the relief washed over mine. I’m pretty sure I’m taking this whole shoulder setback harder than he is.

In addition to feeling huge quantities of mama duck pride, I was just so very grateful to his coach/teacher for taking the time to meet with him. I totally get that this is a part of his job and that he should be meeting with kids; but we all know that some teachers just don’t get it. And this one does. And I am appreciative. That should be acknowledged.

I really wrangled with sending his coach an email. (I fully admit I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth here since I just blogged about the value of hand-written notes, but I think we can all agree, email probably was appropriate in this situation).

I don’t want to be one of “those mothers” who inserts herself their kid’s athletic scenarios. I’ve witnessed those mothers. There are unpleasant people and I have no desire to model myself after the athletic version of the stage mother demanding more playing time for their kid. But as a tax-paying parent of the MMSD, I wanted his coach to know that a.) I am aware of the discussion and b.) thankful of his time to meet with my kid on this issue and reassure him of his value to the baseball program.

And so I did just that. And I’m glad I did. He was appreciative of my appreciation. Clearly we could have formed a mutual admiration society. But I do think it’s important to acknowledge the things that people do for us day in and day out, even if they are part of the job expectation. I don’t think we do that enough. I know I am guilty of taking these types of gestures for granted, albeit unwillingly.

The human animal needs a pat on the head for a job well done. And I was happy to give it.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Rejected

I received my first art show rejection today for the Spring Green art show.

Bastards.

I shouldn’t be too upset. Of all the shows I’ve applied to over the years, I’ve only been rejected by two. My odds are actually pretty good. Unfortunately I was really hoping to get into this one. Better luck next year I guess.

After the great Kohler debacle of 2011, I’ve decided to take a slightly different approach to the whole art fair thing. Mostly I’m focusing on outdoor shows and fattening up my consignment opportunities. If I can give someone my stuff to sell… they haul it, set it up, sell it and pay the sales tax for modest commission, seems like a win-win to me.

But who are we kidding. Art Show Rejection is the equivalent of “your baby is ugly”. And my baby isn’t ugly. My baby is darn cute actually.

Art show snobs.

Sigh.

Monday, March 12, 2012

"Can I call you Stef?"

No. No you can’t, with few exceptions which I will comment on shortly.

Stef is informal. It implies a certain level of familiarity. In the professional world, you may not call me Stef. I will correct you. And if you do it again, I will deliver a succinct, yet terse, reminder. It doesn’t matter that I’ve worked for the same company for 20+ years. It doesn’t matter how many projects we’ve been on together. It doesn’t matter if you’re my favorite barista at Starbucks. If our relationship is strictly professional, meaning we’ve never traded hat sizes over a martini, you’re not “Stef” worthy. Sorry. Don’t take it personal. I simply prefer Stefanie.

Exceptions to the Stef rule.

  1. You are a blood relative. Blood. Not marriage. An in-law can acquire Stef privileges but only if you can prove you know the correct spelling of my name. Hint. There is no “ph”.
  2. You are my legalized spouse.
  3. I’ve known you for a ridiculous number of years, which means we’re besties or pretty good friends. (Kel, Carlson, Carol, Janet, Tam, Jacquie, Cindy, Lisa, Graz, Scott, Kev). It probably also means we have traded hat sizes, sipped a few drinks (maybe a few too many), shopped, cried, laughed until we almost peed our pants (maybe we did, I won’t say), gave honest feedback about each other’s bad fashion choices, shopped for shoes, swimsuits, lingerie, watched movies, cooked, baked, helped each other out of tough spot and know each other’s secrets.
You get the idea. If you don’t fall into one of the three categories, “Stef” is like nails on a chalkboard. I start to twitch and the hair on the back of my neck stands at attention. If you do you fall in the aforementioned categories and you call me Stef, I don’t even notice. It’s all good.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Air Travel Sucks Rocks

I travel very infrequently. In my youth, I had dreams of jetting about the globe.

I think jetting about the globe was significantly more sexy 20 years ago. The hard cold reality is flying is not nearly as glamorous as portrayed in Pan-Am, the short-lived blatant TV series rip-off of Mad Men. Mad Men is the bomb.  But that’s another blog entry for another time.

In this global society, the airlines can stick it to the consumer in the shorts and we are a powerless lot.

We are being nickel and dimed to death. $25 to check a bag. Really? All that does is encourage an entire plane full of people to bring a too big carry-on and jam it into the overhead bin. Then when it doesn’t fit, they can get the pink tag and have it checked under the plane…but without the $25. Bastards.

And then…there are the actual seats on the plane. Never have I paid so much to be so uncomfortable. Somewhere there is a group of masochists who work for their respective airline figuring out how many seats can be squeezed into a plan. Torture. Plain and simple. On my most recent flight I had an older lady with a very robust smoker’s cough practically sitting in my lap. I kept digging in my purse for my bottle of hand sanitizer. If only I had a plastic bubble, or a bottle of Lysol. Or both.

I’m not even going to comment on the food, drinks or the fake stewardesses.

Security procedures are an unavoidable annoyance. Now some airports have the new “body scanners”. I’ll admit. Not a fan. I felt uncomfortable being body scanned. Check your privacy at the door if you want to fly from coast to coast.

Any inclination I had about globe-trotting is officially squelched.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Lifes Curveballs

My son plays baseball. It’s his thing. And because it’s his thing. It’s my thing. It gives me joy to watch him play. I’m his biggest fan. Which I tell him often and I’m sure causes the internal eye roll.

From t-ball to present we’ve spent every summer at the ballpark. He is a skilled player, excellent command of the game and great defensive skills. He doesn’t have the biggest bat in the line-up but he consistently executes. He’s practices hard and has earned his way onto all-star teams for being a solid versatile player. He has never hit a home run. He doesn’t pitch with the same velocity as a kid who has 6 inches and 30lbs on him. When other boys were growing 4-5 inches in a summer and smacking the ball out of the park, he was consistently one of the smaller players on the team. He’s had to work a little harder than some of the bigger boys to be noticed and hone his skills.

Baseball has provided many life lessons. As clich├ęd as it sounds baseball has taught the value of teamwork.

How to lead by example.

How to not be “that kid” that throws his bat or argues with the umpire.

How to be a gracious winner and a gracious loser.

How to hold your head up after taking a pounding on the field.

How to shake off hitting a batter, a strike out or multiple strike outs.

How to savor the moment of batting in the winning run during a district game or experiencing a hitting streak.

The good with bad. The sweet and the bittersweet. The wins and the losses.

All good life lessons.

In the big picture of life he has an awesome youth baseball experience. His hard work has paid off. He has been privileged to play on an All-Star team every year since he was 10. He has been on a district winning team and a state winning team. He represented his state in the Regional tournament. All things being equal – baseball has been more fair, than unfair, to my son.

Until this year.

One of the challenges of growing body, is it’s growing. Youth athletes are not fully matured physically, yet they are put through their paces. Injuries are bound to occur.

At age 13 it was “Little League Elbow” – kind of fancy name for growth plate irritation and overuse; which made sense. That was “the summer” of non-stop baseball; games, practices and lots of throwing. His body sent a warning signal. Please stop. Rest. Heal. And he did. He worked hard. He did physical therapy. He built muscle mass. He refined his technique.

At age 14 he battled some bicep tendonitis. He rested. He iced and continued physical therapy. He did everything he was supposed to do. He had a good season.  He continued his PT through the winter.

At age 15, a mere four weeks into open gym conditioning for the spring season there is shoulder pain. Not soreness. But pain. Now in all fairness, the season hasn’t really started, so overuse can’t really be an issue here. But it causes concern so we trot off to Sports Medicine where we are delivered a nice curveball…. Little League Shoulder – another fancy name for growth plate irritation. LLS is normally caused by overuse (which doesn’t apply here) so it basically boils down to bad luck. He just has one of those bodies that have sensitive growth plates.

6 weeks rest. No throwing. No batting.

Tryouts are for the spring seasons are in 4 weeks.

Now as a parent I am the first one to say, life isn’t fair. It isn’t. But this is doubly unfair. It sucks actually. It’s a mammoth disappoint for a 15 year old to be faced with the possibility of missing the entire season just because his growth plates are sensitive. It is taking all of my parental acumen to look at the big picture and not break down into a puddle of tears.

It could be worse and it’s not. It’s fixable. It doesn’t require surgery. It isn’t a career ending injury.

It will force some challenging conversations with coaches, which is good experience. It will require honest self-assessment. It may mean he has to work doubly hard to make the team next year, if he misses the season. It will force showing up for open gym and participating in what he can, if only for political posturing. It will help him develop tenacity.

I have mixed feelings about a 15-year old being put into a position to have those conversations, but I am confident in the long run it will make him stronger, more confident and earn respect from his peers and coaches for facing a very difficult situation with grace and class.

I have confidence in his ability to weather the disappointment, if it comes to that. To come out the other side stronger. That all said, I would gladly take on this disappointment for him if I could.

In a heartbeat.

Handwritten Notes – A dying art form

I have a love affair with period drama. You know, Sense and Sensibility, Howards End and most recently Downton Abby. (If you’ve not heard of Downton Abby – rent Season One from Netflix. You’ll be glad you did. And Season 2 is currently being shown on PBS on Sunday nights and it was just released on DVD, so there is plenty of time to catch up).

There is a lot of letter writing in period dramas, lovely handwritten notes, eloquently articulated, on creamy thick paper before being precisely folded and sealed with wax. The letters are delivered on silver trays by the footman, while the recipient drinks tea and eats little cakes.

I have come full circle with my appreciation for hand-written notes. But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to conclude that hand-written notes are a rarity in contemporary society. The explosion of social media has all but eradicated hand-written notes from the norms of our culture. I get it. I do. Email is fast. It’s quick. It’s easy. It doesn’t require a note card or a stamp much less remembering to get the note to the mailbox in a timely fashion. Let’s face it. Our lives don’t include the footman making deliveries on silver platters.

There are two events that have stirred my fondness for handwritten notes.

  1. My disdain of “thank you notes” via facebook which you can read about here.
  2. I received one, an honest to goodness handwritten note. An actual thank you that someone wrote on a paper card and mailed to me. And gee, it was nice to get something in mail that wasn’t a bill. I was touched the sender would take the time to write me something. And then mail it. With a stamp. Maybe it’s because I do know we all lead busier, more hectic lives and she didn’t take the easier way out.
So my goal for this year (notice how I’m not calling it a resolution since resolutions are dumb and almost always fail) is to write more handwritten notes. Because notes are nice and significantly more personal than an email typed in Arial 12pt font. Maybe it will prompt a resurgence of footman and tea drinking.

One can hope.