Thursday, 30 March 2017

Birth of Basketball Mom

She has been gone for 48 hours and I feel like dribbling the basketball outside just to feel normal.

Not that I ever pick up a basketball. Or shoot or alley-oop or whatever you do with a basketball. There was that time at the park where she and I threw the ball, counting the consecutive hoops made by each of us.  If I recall correctly we didn’t get past four.

That was a year ago, before middle school, before Cutiepie made the school team and before she was recruited to play on the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) recreation league. Today, as the champion team of the 6th grade league, holding second in the CYO, and covered with bruises that come with playing Center position, Cutiepie skips the hoops while she bunks at Outdoor School for the week and, we, her loudest cheerleaders, get time out.

Basketball began as a surprise with team tryouts; having never played the game, she didn’t expect to make the team. DH and I were overjoyed for her, although neither of us at the time would be able to name a position or spot a foul. So it began as our 5’ 9” 12 year old learned to assist and paint (take a shot from inside position), and so have we learned.

Soon her team climbed to the Final Championships with lopsided scores that were proof enough that our kid had become a great defender in the game.  34 to 4; 29 to 2; 32 to 2  With the help of other moms and dads, we became versed in basketball moves and tactics. I’m a yeller and despite DH’s looks of embarrassment, I cheer loudly and proudly.  D-Fence! Be tall! Rebound!  It usually takes DH a few games to get warmed up before he chimes in. De-Fence! Take a Shot!!!

At the last game, the opposing point guard (the person running with the ball toward the basket) went thundering to the floor with a thud.

“Did she just run into a tree? She hit that branch and went down!”  said a spectator in the stands. My daughter was the tree that she spoke of.

Cutiepie stood frozen, roots firmly planted and quickly disputed the resulting foul, “she ran into me!”  Showing our naivete in the game, DH and I still debate the foul: I think Cutiepie needed to move and yet still fend off the point guard, to be seen as "in" the game.  Not so much as like a tree with branches but like a gust of wind shielding the basket? DH, on the other hand, thinks Cutiepie must have made a slight motion with her arm constituting the foul. As if she smacked her opponent with her branch-like arm?

And with that force of nature, the school basketball team finishes its season as the champion.  

You’ll never guess who made the school volleyball team?

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

A Matter of Time

I have held contract positions with financial companies and technology companies since returning from Europe. More than not, my workload is aligned with project roadmaps and timelines that invariably do not go as planned or go better than planned.

Fortunately for me, this timing tends to build an excess of time rather than a shortage of time into my days. Essentially, the good news is I’m rarely stressed to meet a deadline; I can be readily available for any lunch, happy hour, or coffee meetup. The bad news is I am frequently idle or bored waiting for a project jumpstart.

I am THAT friend:

Endlessly listlessness in work discussions
While I do enjoy a good dish up on someone else’s workplace trials and tribulations or achievement and accolades, I, myself, have nothing to offer but my presence and a wishful work project calendar.

Always eager to meet up early; never in a rush
Long lunch or early happy hour?  I’m there!  Light workload means I’m cruising home by 4p.m.; the creep up to 5:30 p.m.--awaiting friends finishing late-breaking tasks--can be excruciating, mentally and physically. Nevertheless, I’m bored and desperate for human interaction--anything that might resemble a busy work life--so I’ll stick around. I’ve become an expert in killing time.

Guaranteed to rapidly respond to emails
My email inboxes have no cobwebs.  I live for the You’ve Got Email [ping] notification and it’s not at all for the romance. You want that recipe? Our kids practice schedule? Organize the next family reunion? Your email has landed on target. I respond to emails and decipher keep/delete junk emails in nanoseconds. I have managed to snag soon-to-be-soldout tickets immediately at promotion and online shopping discount gifts for the next several birthdays.

Woefully disenchanted with ‘free time”’
If I had a dime for each time someone has said to me, “careful what you wish for”, I would be rich.  No doubt, in a future busy work life, I will look back on this lull time with wistfulness.

Up to date on news and politics
You know that warm-up audience guy, who livens the crowd with endless stories and jokes? That’s me. I’m the conversant at happy hour who says, Did you read about that guy….? Did you hear the latest survey results… Did you see that story on Facebook?…  If you want to know something about current affairs, pop culture or the general news of the day, ask me. Chances are I read it somewhere and if not, you can bet I’ll be googling it the moment I return to my desk.
Overly concerned with the human interaction of others
In my free time, I have developed an annoying trait of obsessing why a random person in my path does this or does that. Like, why is that guy using the treadmill in our basement when it is 70° and beautiful outside? Is he allergic to light? Does his training require treadmill running? Does he not like running outside?  And then I ask, is that really any of my business?  I fault the part of my brain ordinarily reserved for work thoughts; it’s just plain bored.

Caught up on all projects
Ha, this last one is a complete joke and if you who know me, you’ll see right through it! Sure, we had our taxes done by February this year. :) Yes, our household budget is forecast into Fall 2017.  And yes, my calendar is up to date with sports, dance and holidays. Alas, I am not on top of everything.

My greatest desires for my time are sewing/quilting and writing.  I’m on track with the latter, but until I have momentum--a month's worth of posting--I’ll not declare it done. Sewing not only requires my head space, but actual logistical space.  I’m working on it.

Meanwhile, having burned an hour writing, I still have 5.5 hours of the day left to kill. After I send a few emails reminding colleagues that I’m still ready and still open for business, I think I’ll go for a run. Outside.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

It's Over. Again.

I went through a breakup this weekend.
It has been bittersweet and nerve wracking. But it is for the best. When something better is for offer and you know leaving is for the best, you can’t really worry about others’ feelings. I was told this process would be hard when we returned to the States last summer. I never imagined how hard and draining it really is.
The thought of moving on goes against the grain for me. I want roots and a permanence that makes one feel valued and supported for the long term. And yet, I’m in a perpetual motion looking for the next great relationship.
So when my recent contract expired with “DealPower”, and although a brief short new contract was extended, I was still interested in others who could provide me more stability. For two weeks I courted new prospects.  One day, my dance card was filled from 10-4 with as many as 11 suitors testing and auditioning me. It can be best described as speed dating without alcohol. I do not recommend it.
Sure, I’m flattered and grateful for all the attention. However, when each and every one of them asks the same question, “what makes you want to work for us?” it is tiring. At about the fifth repeat, I bite my tongue, avoiding the real and frank, “location and money.” Never mind how impressed I am with the company (I’m infatuated easily) or how talented and skillful I am (um, duh?). But I know all too well, bold sassiness always attracts the bad boys, not the nice guys you want to take home to meet the parents.
There were several prospects I eliminated immediately. Like the manager who completed our meeting with his ultimate goal, “Really, I want someone I can have lunch with every day.”  (Thanks for being so honest. I think.)  Or, the team whose computer wouldn’t work and when asked the greatest challenge said, “Beyond the never-ending technology glitches, it would be working til 10pm most nights.”
Some people don’t really know how to show their best side. Fortunately I have had plenty of practice. Again and again and again.
So now I have the butterflies and nerves that come with a new relationship. What shall I wear? How do I look? Will it be the right fit?  Yes, I’m officially off the market again.
I’m hoping it will be beginning of a really long romance.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014


My friend Lynda says she can’t imagine how anyone living in California can ever be sad. What, with the sunshine and all? 
While no one plans on being sad, low emotions do happen in the rain and the sun.  As we plan our move back to California, I frequently reflect on Lynda’s assumption. I have even made myself a promise to call her on sunny and rainy days. Let her be the judge.

Much like the Irish weather, one day my marriage is bright with satisfying skies; then on other days, it’s covered with clouds, or worse, tense with raging storms overhead. Since we’ve put our livelihood under a microscope this time last year-- DH headed overseas and wee girls stayed in Ireland to tend to ourselves—there has been less lightning and thunder and more layers of fog.  Finally, we have reached a life decision coated in thought and worry and overcast with the weight of unknowing, yet the skies are filled with anticipation and excitement.

It has taken some time for me to get from the last post to this new forecast. At this point of my life, my marriage is synonymous with family. Despite what I’m saying here and now, couples need definition outside of their children. And so, I reread the DeJa Vu post. I can only attempt to defend myself.

I picked him. And I’m not ready to unpick anything.

So here we go uprooting and planting new seeds, as a family. Happily, the soil in California is filled nutrients and warmth.  Among the unknowns of this renewed territory are family and friends full of support.  I can’t wait.

And if Lynda is any bit right about the sunshine,  we’ll be ok.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Guess Who's Coming Back?

The man of the house returns tomorrow morning and everyone is excited.  
Cutiepie's been most excited lately. She said, “finally, someone to hang out outside with me. I’ll have someone to walk the dog with me and practice camogie and football!” We all have our places I suppose. Nevermind that I’m sporting hot pink nail polish of her doing and just yesterday, I drove to three petrol stations before I found her a slushi.
Last month when Babydoll had an exploratory procedure and needed anaesthetics, I naturally treated it as very routine, as it was. Not so for our loopy 11-year-old emerging from induced sleep. Immediately with uncertainty in her eyes and pained certainty in her voice, she said, “can I call Daddy?”  She looked up at me and lifted her hand and gestured two little fingers to less than that of an inch, and said, “sorry, but Daddy, gives just this much more assurance.” 
We have a lot of changes ahead of us, so I guess it is only fair we all cherish our own needs and desires. For the last two weeks we’ve been reprogramming this all girls house. The girls are sulking their way back to their own bed at bedtime. HIS barca lounger is back in its resident corner.  Groceries were beefed up, with, well, more beef.   
It’s like if my girls went to University and I unfolded my sewing in their bedroom in their absence. Of course, I’d gladly pack it all up in anticipation of their return.  I think the daily struggles and life’s plans make us absent minded of all the little details that help to show what we mean to one another.
And discoveries can be surprising, even to some. Yesterday Roisin opened the fridge and gasped loudly. It was just the day before that Babydoll upended a golden syrup container across two pantry shelves, multiple cans, jars with sticky strewn past the washing machine to the floor. So what could it be now in the fridge?  With big eyes, Cutiepie looked at me.  “Wow. Why do we have that in the fridge? We never have beer!”
Because,  I remember the details, that’s why.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Freeing the Minds of LiLo and Me

I knew what I needed to do the day I discovered Sad Desk Lunch and Pooping on Bluebonnets.

These websites are for killing some serious time. I am not proud of my time management (or waste). In fairness, I was merely linking from Huffington Post's inside information, Sites You Should Be Wasting Time on Right Now.  (Careful with your time, HP frequently prints a new list, pulling more readers into the black abyss.)

What I need to do is write. Clearly I have found time to waste in my days' routine. In the hours and minutes I spend surfing the internet in a week, there is no doubt several blog posts and even a chapter or two left untouched.

Yesterday I heard Lindsay Lohan say "I'm constantly thinking. My mind does not shut off."  I can totally relate. A mind that never turns off, I'm like her. Minus Oprah and the drama. Well, most of the drama. I've yet to leave my sex list in a conveniently-found location.

My mind overflows with thoughts. With DH overseas and my off-work time filling four-hour commutes and teaching razor care to ever-developing tweens, I'm alone with my thoughts and at times, COMPLETELY overwhelmed. An astute boss taught me long ago to write down these thoughts. He infers it's important to realise we do this not to remember these items, but rather to free our mind of the space occupied by the thought.

I yearn for an audience, someone to listen, someone to react and at times, someone to silence me an equal dose of thoughts, intellectual or nonsensical. Both within reason. For now, writing is my escape and without a doubt, my mind will thank me.

My words may never be a featured blog post on Huffington Post, but I plan to put them out there somewhere. Stay tuned.

Maybe LiLo should consider writing as therapy...for all we know, a blog by her just might end up on the next HP list.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Friends to the Finish

My friend Maria and I have so many unfinished projects, I suggested we help one another out. Her daughter Anna just had a baby, just over a month ago and Maria brought me this quilt center for finishing.

I think Maria expected some quilting and binding but I found myself adding a border and replicating some insect characters in thread art and applique.

Finally, I finished it off with a scalloped and scrappy binding. This week I finished the hand binding on the bus. The colours are sweet and I hope she likes it. I mimicked the ladybug, butterfly and bee with applique patches for body, but the heads and details are free form thread stitching. There is minimal quilting on the white border except to see some bug trails and bee spiral paths.

Modeled as usual by Babydoll.