Football Season

November 7, 2008

One of my favorite things about fall is football.  Didn’t peg me as a football fan?  Four years of being forced to attend every single high school football game for your school (yes, I’m a confessed band nerd) will convert you.

The last years of college and early teaching years found me following professional football closely.  I had an uncanny knack for being able to predict any match-up.  Too bad I didn’t know about fantasy football at the time; I would have been unbeatable.  I actually had other teachers–male teachers–at the school where I taught come to me to do their weekly picks for them.  I bet they never told any of their macho friends that they had a tiny, blonde, very girly co-worker lead them to such success.

Now I’m much more interested in college football.  I married a guy who went to college in the same town I did, and as our tiny private school didn’t have a football team, I’m a fan of his school’s team instead.  Every week we watch the game if it’s televised and keep up with it online if it’s not.  This year is the best year our team has ever had, and we have a real shot at a BCS bowl.  It’s been really awesome to watch.

I still don’t think I’d be as interested in football, though, if I hadn’t played it myself.  I was in my Christian school’s version of a sorority all through college.  One of the group’s activities was participation in intramural sports, and we were required to at least attend all the games if not partipate.

Our sorority was notoriously awful at every single sport.  We had one girl who was athletic and talented and a few others who could sort of hold their own, but most of us were clumsy and slow.  They needed every person they could get to play just so we wouldn’t forfeit the game, even though it was a foregone conclusion that we would lose anyway.

It didn’t take long for them to realize that it was not a good idea to require that I participate in these sports, though.  My one softball game found me sitting on the sidelines after my first time at bat because of a likely sprained ankle.  When I attended one basketball game, I managed to get hit in the head with the ball while sitting in the stands, proving to them that this is a real problem I have.

I’d told them before that it doesn’t matter how far I am from the ball, it will come straight at my head at some point during the game.  I gave them the example of a volleyball tournament I attended with my roommate where I was in the far corner of the stands.  The only time the ball made it past the first row or two was to bounce off my head.  I avoid sporting events to avoid the head trauma that will surely result.  After that first basketball game, they started to believe me.

That didn’t keep me from playing flag football, though.  After the first game that I was guilted into attending, even if I just sat in the stands, I discovered I loved it, even when we lost.  Another few games in, I found that I didn’t just like it, I was good at it.  I’m too clumsy to be a ball-handler, so we pretty much let our all-star take care of all our scoring, but I could be an awesome lineman, particularly on defense.

If you’ve paid attention to football at all, you know that defensive lineman tend to be giants, the largest guys on the field.  How did a tiny thing like me succeed at a job the biggest people usually do?  By playing smart and taking advantage of my opponent.  Remember this was a Christian school.  On the first play of the game, I would let the huge girl I’d positioned myself in front of knock me to the ground.  I’d get up slowly, as though I was assessing whether I’d been hurt, smile bravely as I took the offered hand to help get up, brush myself off, and get right in front of the same girl again.  Do you think she wants to hit the poor, fragile thing as hard the next time?  She doesn’t want to hurt me after all.

From there I would use my finely-honed dodging skills I learned in the crowded high school halls and get right around the big girl and rush the quarterback.  My favorite moment was when I overheard the other team’s quarterback in a huddle before the next play insisting that they double cover “that little one.”  It didn’t make that much of a difference.  It was probably the lowest score we’d been beat by ever.

My stint playing football came to an abrupt end one evening, though.  I was playing offensive lineman this time and we were trying out someone different as quarterback.  I was paying attention to blocking their defense from our very green quarterback when all of a sudden I found myself on the ground with a pounding headache.

I pieced together what happened over the next few hours when my clear thinking returned.  The quarterback threw a ball to our all-star, who was playing receiver this time, but the ball never made it.  It was a little low and of course barreled right into the back of my head.  I’ll be the first to admit that our quarterback at least has quite a strong throw, even if she needs a little work on her aim.

But that just proved my theory about my curse true.  When the other girls in the sorority heard about what happened (and the pre-med students determined I’d probably gotten a concussion from it), they never again asked me to show up to a game.  I didn’t argue.  I kind of like my brain cells where they are.

I’m thankful that this year I can return to my love of football, thanks to my favorite talented college team, even if it’s only through the tv screen.

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Blast from the Past

November 6, 2008

So today I logged into Facebook first thing in the morning to discover I had a friend request.  It was an acquaintance from college, like many of my Facebook friends, but I had to hesitate to add her.  You see, she ended up marrying my first love.

I’ve kept up with Cowboy on and off since the break-up, and in the weeks before his marriage to her, he asked if I would take him back if he left her.  Something similar happened shortly before the birth of their daughter.  He told me that if he’d known where in the city I lived, he would have just shown up at my door.  He only went back to her (he was halfway here) because he didn’t know where to find me.

I thought it was for the best when I moved and never told him my new phone number, and never signed into AIM again.

So as you can imagine, it’s a little creepy having his wife on my friends list now.  From the way he tells it, she was always incredibly jealous of me because of his attachment to me.  I have to wonder if she added me to keep an eye on me or something.  I am one of two friends from college on her friends list (yes, I looked), and she had a crush on the other one back then.

Or I’m just being paranoid.  After all, I only know his side of the story there, and he was never the most emotionally stable guy.  He had a probably with lying pathologically too.  I’m guessing I never should have believed a word he said.

Either way, it was an interesting way to catch up a little on his life through her profile.  They have three kids now.  It looks like things are going well for them.  I’m curious to know more, but it’s probably best if I leave it at that.  If any of what he has told me in the past is true, I’m better off not pushing to know more about their lives over the past four or five years.

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Lately I’ve been bothered by how outdated my blogroll is again already.  I have lots of blogs I skip over because they’re dead blogs or haven’t been updated in months (or over a year for one).  People have changed addresses and titles, and I haven’t fixed that here.

So I’m overhauling my blogroll in the next few days.  Please keep an eye on my link to yours in the side to make sure I change it to the right address and have the right title and all that.  Make sure I don’t accidentally delete it too, please.  And of course, I’m always eager to find new blogs to read, so if you read here, let me know and send me the link to your blog so I can add it too.


Not About September 11th

September 11, 2008

I know today is a day for reflecting on patriotism and all that so many have sacrificed for our country, but for some reason I’m just not thinking much about that today.  In fact, it was only a few minutes ago that I realized the date.

Something has been far overshadowing this event around here, to the point that it hasn’t even been mentioned on the news today.  What’s that, you ask?  His name is Ike.

Aha.  Now you know my super-secret undisclosed location.  As if I hadn’t already given you enough hints…

Anyway, Ike is all you hear from everyone right now.  The entire area is preparing to either get the heck out of dodge or hunker down to ride through the worst he can send us.  M and I have been struggling with the decision of what to do and are still hesitant to make either choice.

You see, three years ago when another major hurricane had us in her sights, we did what the rest of the city (and the refugees from New Orleans) chose to do–we took off.  The drive out wasn’t too awful, just slow for the first little while.  We managed to spend the first night a bit farther inland with M’s brother and then sat in traffic for another couple of hours the next morning as we left for M’s parents’ place in the middle of nowhere west Texas.  Really, our trip went exceedingly well compared to the horror stories I heard from others.

It was the trip back that was horrific.  I was six months (or so) pregnant with PJ.  Everybody else had chosen the same time to head back into town, and most of them took the same route.  The main freeway was a parking lot for over 200 miles.  The cops had closed off almost every entrance or exit, so once you were on, you were stuck.  If you ran out of gas, tough luck.  Gotta pee?  Hope you like the side of the road.

We got lucky and made it off one exit so M could be sick.  The cops closed it while we were sitting on the side of the road just a few yards up.  Every entrance from there on was closed as well.  We were stuck on the access road, which was probably a blessing because it was moving.

The problem was that, like you’d expect from a pregnant woman, I had to pee.  I was also prone to bladder infections and really didn’t need to be holding my pee for long, but there was no way I was peeing on the side of the road.  We couldn’t find one stupid gas station or anything where we could stop and pee.  It was probably four hours before we found a place that was open.

Less than two weeks later, PJ was born.  You know the story about how he was early, blah blah blah.  Did the stress of the awful evacuation contribute?  Did I get a bladder infection that led to pre-term labor?  I’ll never know, but I have to wonder if the stupid hurricane (that ended up missing us, by the way) has some relationship to  PJ’s early birth.  Regardless, the two are connected in my mind.

As a result, I’m hesitant to put myself and my family through that kind of stress again.  We live pretty far inland and are not even being advised to think about evacuating.  The area school districts are still having school tomorrow, when the hurricane is scheduled to hit.  None of the area businesses are closing down, which also means that M will still have to work and won’t be able to evacuate with us if we choose to do so.

All of that also helps to convince me that perhaps the wiser choice this time is to stay put.  We’ll do what we can to prepare and then pray for peace with our decision.  It makes more sense to me than having me leave by myself with two fussy kids and a whiny dog to go sit on the freeways for endless hours while worrying about my husband who is stuck at home riding out a hurricane.  At least we’ll all be together riding out the hurricane.  Besides, I’ll be one of those “native” residents of coastal areas who brags about the time they rode out Hurricane Ike.

Of course, our plans are subject to change at any moment.  Should the schools close and M’s work advise evacuation (and give him tomorrow off), we’ll pack up and leave.  So if you don’t hear from me over the next few days, we’ve either lost power or are stuck on a freeway somewhere in Texas.  I’ll let you know how things go the first chance I get.  Oh, and if you’re the praying type, send a few prayers down here, will you?


A Meme Repeat

February 7, 2008

I had a frustrating night and morning, so be glad that Erica tagged me for a meme that will keep you from having to hear all the wonderful details.  I think I’ve done this one before, but I can always come up with more random things about myself, so it’s good for a repeat.

The rules are:
1. Link to the person that tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Share six non-important things/habits/or quirks about yourself.
4. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
5. Let each random person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their site.
Six very random things about me……

1. I am very petite, 5 feet tall and 115-ish pounds.  I didn’t break 105 until long after leaving college.

2. Despite my small size, I am the least athletic person you will ever meet.  I have a natural metabolism that tends to make people jealous.

3. I also have absolutely no coordination when it comes to things athletic, and I have exercise- (and allergy-) induced asthma.

4. Despite all these limitations, I played intramural football in college.  I was the best offensive lineman on the team (not that that’s saying much).  I’ll have to give you the full story later, but I’ll leave you duly impressed for the moment.

5. I was also a huge social butterfly in college, with several circles of friends.  I had no hint of the social anxiety I have now.

6. I met my first real boyfriend when I was in college, and he happens to have the same last name as the last boyfriend I ever had–my husband.  I get asked by people who knew me back then and haven’t talked to me since whether I ended up marrying him and that’s how I got my new last name.

I’m not going to tag people because I’m quite sure that most of you have already done this one, probably several times.  But if you’re in a blogging slump like I am, this is a good way to blog something with absolutely no substance.


Memories

February 4, 2008

Have you ever had nostalgia so overwhelming it made you nauseous?  There’s something about the temp in the house or something that is making me super nostalgic this morning.  It’s kind of hard to identify what it’s reminding me of, but my best guess explains the nausea.  I keep going back to this time last year, when I was early pregnant with BabyN.  And if you remember, it was about the time the morning sickness got severe.  Despite that, the nostalgia I’m feeling is still more sweet than anything.  Not that I want to be sick like that again, though.  The feeling from the nostalgia is so intense that if I weren’t nearly positive it was just nostalgia, I’d go take a pregnancy test.  The fact that it’s just about impossible for me to be pregnant right now also keeps me from doing something so wasteful.

In other news, it’s been two nights since BabyN has had a full night’s sleep.  Saturday night he woke me up three times to eat, with 3-4 hours between each feeding.  Last night he started off at 2-hour intervals (!) and finally worked his way up to four hours by morning.  This is getting ridiculous.  I’m hoping it’s either a growth spurt or that I’m producing less milk at the moment because of hormones or something.  Either would at least be a temporary problem.  If it goes on for long, though, I guess I’ll have to give in and start him on solids.  I’ve been reluctant to start them too early because I remember how annoying it was to feed PJ after the first few tries.  Talk about a tedious task!  Besides, I feel like we started PJ on solids too early and I don’t want to make the same mistake.  Also, that’s a big milestone that moves my baby towards independence, and I’m really not emotionally ready for that yet.  But I’ll get ready awfully fast after another couple of nights like last night.


Tim the Firefighter

January 21, 2008

I can’t believe I haven’t told you this story yet.  It’s one of the more amusing ones from my many years on the dating scene.  You may remember that I met M through a popular dating website (the one that matches you up to compatible matches based on 29 dimensions of your personality, if you were curious).  He was the first I was extremely interested in, but I knew it was best to play the odds.  Before “meeting” him online, I’d communicated with any matches that I found remotely interesting.  You never know when your first impression could be wrong, right?

One of my most memorable matches was Tim.  He was a firefighter–as his picture in front of a fire truck would attest–from a suburb on the other side of the city from where I lived.  Coincidentally enough, now I live in that suburb.  I was hesitant about setting my hopes on this one because of how far away he was.  Still, from what I could see of him in his picture, he wasn’t bad-looking, and his values were very similar to my own.

I suspected our relationship would never get off the ground, though, when I got my first message from him.  Now, it’s important for you to realize that I taught English at the time and highlighted that fact on my profile several times.  I don’t expect perfect grammar from anyone, including myself, but I would at least hope that someone trying to impress me would at least make an effort.  Not so much with Tim the Firefighter.  The most careless of my freshmen students put him to shame.  I think my favorite word was his attempt to spell “principal;” it came out more like “prencipiale.”  I could barely interpret what he was trying to say.  Talk about distracting from forming a meaningful relationship.

Before you say it, yes, I have considered that he was dyslexic or had some other kind of disability that prevented him from being able to spell appropriately.  If he had mentioned that up front, I might have given him more of a chance than I did.  But it was the fact that it came across like he didn’t care that bothered me most.  M, when he saw I taught English, made sure he typed up his messages in Word first so that he could spell- and grammar-check them first.  (Impressive, no?)  If Tim the Firefighter had done so, I may be married to him now and have two of his children instead.  The way things happened, though, I ended communication with him after four or five messages.  We never communicated outside the site at all.

Oh, but that’s not where the story ends.  A good friend of mine decided to sign up for the same site the week I met M after she saw our immediate connection.  One day we were hanging out, chatting about how things were going for her on the site, when she mentioned one match she thought was particularly funny.  “He has the worst grammar.  I can barely figure out what he’s trying to say!”  She has pretty bad grammar herself, so it’s saying something that even she noticed how horrendous his was.  Immediately I had to ask: “No way!  Is it Tim the Firefighter?”  We both laughed hilariously when we realized we’d both been paired with the same guy–and that he obviously hadn’t found the love of his life yet.

By the way, the friend did indeed meet the love of hers through the site, and they’ve been together for two-and-a-half years now and are talking marriage.

But the point is that first impressions are important.  I’m sure Tim the Firefighter is a nice guy, but nobody will ever get to know him because of how his spelling and grammar make him look.  It’s hard to overlook something like that.  So even more than trying to live up to my own standards, I attempt to write grammatically correctly so that all of you who read me will be able to make an opinion of me based on my words, not my failings in the English language.


Never Say Never

December 5, 2007

When I was a carefree college girl, I went through my share of boyfriends.  Or as M seems to think sometimes, more than my fair share.  But one stands out above and beyond all the others.  Although the length of the relationship was on the shorter side, it was fast and furious and it took me years to get over him.  Alex (not his real name) called me to break the news of his engagement just days after I realized M was the one.  Had it happened even weeks earlier, I’m not sure I could have handled the news so well.

During our relationship, Alex confessed to me that because of an unusual condition, it was unlikely he would ever have children naturally.  I took the news well, sure that our undying love would endure such an ordeal and that I would be fine with adoption when we decided to have children.  I’m glad now that I wasn’t put through that trial, but I think the thought of not conceiving children was a relief for Alex.  He confessed as much to me once during the “friendship” period of our relationship (call it friends with benefits), after dating but before we met the lucky people who became our spouses.  He never saw himself as the married, father type.

So I was surprised enough when he called to say he’d finally found the woman who could convert him into the married type after all.  But he stuck to his guns about the father idea.  He could tell I was thrilled to have kids when I did but was firm in his assertion that kids were not for him.  I shrugged every time he repeated that, relieved that I hadn’t committed my life to him when it turns out I was so eager to have kids.

We still keep in contact with short e-mails a couple of times a week, mostly sharing pretty mundane details about what’s going on with us or our families.  He gripes about being busy at work–or not busy enough–and I whine about the toddler throwing a tantrum on the floor.  (Yes, M knows about the e-mails and our former relationship.  He says that if I’m comfortable with it, so is he.  Have I found a keeper or what?)

Today, though, that all changed.  I got two short e-mails from him.  The first was one of disbelief.  It said simply, “My wife’s period is three weeks late…”  The next came a few hours later confirming what we’d all suspected.  Alex is going to be a father.  The man who never thought he could naturally conceive children is now forced with accepting the fact, due to a faulty condom.  And he sounds upbeat about it, as though this new twist in his life is something to anticipate after all.

And I cannot begin to sort through my emotions.  Why should I even have emotions at an announcement like that?  That worries me more than anything else.  I feel something that reeks of jealousy.  Is it because she’s pregnant, or that she’s pregnant with Alex’s child?  At the same time, I feel excitement for him.  I think he’s going to find that he really likes being a father–anytime the child isn’t screaming, that is.  I’m excited to see how fatherhood changes him, hopefully mellows him.  I’m worried for both of them, that this pregnancy will go smoothly and they won’t have to feel the devastation of a pregnancy gone wrong.

I guess most of all I can’t decide whether I’m disappointed I was never that woman who could change his mind about marriage and parenthood or thrilled that he found the woman who could.  If I didn’t have M around, it would be the first.  But my marriage to M has matured me enough to recognize that I’m feeling some emotions from my many years of obsession with Alex.  These are only habitual emotions, and when I evaluate them, I can see them for what they are.  And in the end, I can be truly happy for the life changes ahead for my good friend, Alex.