February 27, 2023

stacking cups, pong balls: what exactly is Mini studying?

What a weekend. We visited Mini at Notre Dame for her dorm's 'parent weekend'. We met the her group of friends at a bar Friday night. The parents were so nice and a ton of fun. There are 13 girls total in Mini's group. 5 - Chicago. 5 - New York /New Jersey. 2 - Philadelphia. And 1- Kansas City. 

We were surprised they let
 us walk on the field
even with a layer of
snow as a buffer.
Tailgate season looks promising with these new friends. A bunch of us hope to align our schedules and attend the same game(s). I've already accepted that I will probably not be in town for the high school homecoming dance again. The key to our tailgate success will be to buy tickets in the same lot and drive into said lot together so we can park near one another. Or, we can get one parking pass and I can collect everyone in the cover of darkness at a pre-determined meeting spot and pick them all up in the Great White. 

Here come the Irish. 
A bit much for me, and I'm not
 just referring to the price.

I debriefed a few people on my tailgate companion - Gumby, my willingness to drive over people who try to save spots with folding chairs, and my ability to keep chili warm for several hours in a cold car, so they are all up to speed and excited. 
More my speed. But I
 bought nothing.

Saturday morning there was a tour of the football stadium. They basically unlocked a gate and let us walk around. Afterwards, Mini showed Coach and I around the inside of the library which was much cooler than the inside of a snowy, chilly football stadium. 

We looked at the over-priced merch in the bookstore and took Mini to lunch before Coach and I both napped at the hotel. Napping is key for older folks like us who hope to hang with the college crowd. If you haven't hit this stage yet, my advice to you:  DON'T TRY TO BE A HERO. TAKE THE NAP. 

Hogwarts vibe?
Saturday evening, after the catered dinner- in the dining hall that resembles the mess hall in Harry Potter, we all went to a bar called Corby's. I heard one girl ask another girl, "Are we really going to a bar in our sweaters and jeans?" Imagine.

We played a stack-the-cup drinking game. I don't understood the rules, but when people pointed at the cups in
the middle of the table and hollered at me - I drank, damn it. I drank my fair share of the high noons, but one cup I picked up was actual water. The next time I had to drink, it was high noon again. I heard a mom assure everyone that I was just drinking water. I stopped and looked at her:  I DON'T KNOW WHAT KIND OF WATER YOU KEEP IN YOUR HOUSE, BUT THIS AIN'T WATER.

Other parents complimented Mini's extraordinary talent at bouncing ping pong balls into cups. Needless to say, Coach and I are so proud.

Hanging with Mini
 at a bar that I frequented
 in my college days was surreal.
Fun fact, I believe they built this
 bar to use when filming Rudy and
then it continued to be a regular joint. 


Coach admitted on Sunday that we stayed out 1.5 hour longer than he preferred, but he hung in like a trooper till 11 pm. 6 other parents couldn't find an Uber XL Sat night to go to the Linebacker, which is my fav old haunt. We agreed to drop them off in the minivan when we left Corby's. This was the funniest 5 minute car ride. One guy was in the back with two ladies, neither was his wife. Another guy just kept shouting from the middle row:  KEEP YOUR HANDS WHERE WE CAN SEE 'EM. I later heard that the 'Backer was quite tame, and I was glad I hadn't been there to witness that disgrace. 

Sunday marked a year since sweet
 3 year old Violet passed away after
 her 4 month battle with a
DIPG tumor. We stopped
 at the grotto and lit a
candle in her memory.

People, remember how difficult a transition it was for Mini at the start? She is SO happy now, surrounded by great people. She's having an amazing time. She asked which was better:  mom's with Ed, or parent weekend with her, or parent weekend at Tank's in Sept. 


Do you have a hard time resisting merch at your fav college/other haunts? Do you feel nostalgic going back to college bars/other places years later? How many cars do you predict we will park together in our joint fall tailgate? Anyone good at these ping-pong beer drinking games?  Funnyiestcar ride?

February 23, 2023

earbud fail, stir fry, fanny-pack-comeback, & a kangaroo facial pouch

Don't mind me. I'm normal. I drove with another mom to mom's weekend. Remember Ed's friend, Ry?

Some people have work calls, others of
us build forts and rearrange
furniture in the process.
Ry's mom is very nice, but I don't know her REALLY well. She had to take a few work calls in the car. I'd planned to get caught up with a few friends via Bluetooth on the drive, but with my passenger that wasn't going to happen.

Coach lent me his earbuds, saying I could use them if I wanted to while she was on her calls. I decided I'd listen to my rosary podcast. 

How I became an SNL skit:  The put-together mom sat in the passenger seat making work-related calls. I fumbled around in my purse while keeping my eyes on the road. I found the earbuds, put them in, and plugged them into my phone. 

I pulled up my podcast. It wouldn't play. No clue why. Wifi? I was now driving with earbuds in for no apparent reason and I felt silly. I texted  Mini to see if she could chat. I thought I could talk softly into my phone and listen to her in my earbuds. Look at me, I'm a fully functional person with technological know-how, or not. 

Mini called. Her voice boomed over Bluetooth. Oops, my passenger was making official calls. Coach had told me that plugging the headset in would override Bluetooth. Did I insert it into the wrong hole? (That's what he said. - couldn't resist). 

I told Mini to hang on. I fumbled around a bit more. I turned off Bluetooth and hit speaker on my phone. Then her voice exploded over my phone while I sat with headphones in. I tried taking it off speaker. Unplugging my phone from the charging cord connected to the car. Mini was getting impatient and I was feeling like Mr. Bean alongside my corporate friend. The radio might have blared for a moment. I don't remember. Flustered, I was. 

I tried not to display any facial twitches, but I'm programmed to use Google Maps and now with Bluetooth off I had no visible map on my spoiled-by-all-the-advances minivan screen. 

I tried to talk to Mini but she couldn't hear me. At last, I yanked out the earbuds, disconnected them from the phone, and held the phone to my ear not utilizing speaker phone, which is probably illegal. Mini and I had a short conversation the old fashioned way.

Best time to take a tumble is when padded, literally:  Last time I was on Ed's campus prior to the mom's weekend was for the 0600-departure-day for the basketball game following the night of my pouty, un-birthday meal.

My girls own purses, but don't use them. How? For the basketball game, I agreed to stuff their pads into my coat pockets. My kids need to start coming equipped with their own necessities. At church someone almost always asks me for Kleenex. I've resorted to eye-rolling and mouthing:  WHERE IS YOUR KLEENEX? 

We were in the nosebleed section at the b-ball game, and I was a touch dizzy. Tired? If I fell down the stairs, I would've bounced along, protected by the plethora of pads lining the insides of my coat. 

I told the girls:  That's it. From now on, carry your own supplies. 

Perhaps they'll go the fanny pack route. Have you noticed, fanny packs are making a comeback. Who'd've thunk a handy item worn by moms in the early 90s would emerge as a popular accessory to hip young girls in 2023? Not me, friends - NOT me. They wear them over a shoulder or something, and hey - they are handy. 

I feel seen.  Tuesday I was at the grocery shopping for veggies to make a meatless stir fry to serve with quinoa for the protein on Ash Wednesday. *I'm channeling my inner Nicole. (Hi NICOLE

I might've overcooked the
 veggies, but we all enjoyed it.

Delilah (Hi DELILAH) called me and we got caught up. She got a good giggle when I misplaced my cart for 4 minutes. I was loading my groceries into my car and we were still talking. OK, so mostly - I was talking. If you know, you know. 

Diane asked me if I was still at the store. She was pulling in the parking lot as I was leaving. She spotted me in the Great White and I felt seen. 

I don't think I've ever told you about how our calls are sometimes stolen . . . moving that to my next post because I've got to tell you about my face. 

Kangaroo. I have a slight cold - not a feel-lousy ordeal, just blowing my nose a little. I can't remember when it started because it's been so mild. Germs are my occupational hazard. I manage to dodge them a lot, or I've already had everything.

My throat hurt Friday evening while visiting Ed, and it kept me awake. The next day was better. It was strange though, because it wasn't the start of the mild cold - it was like the middle, maybe? Or was this a new cold?

Tuesday my face looked funny. Maybe I was in weekend-recovery mode, or perhaps a semi drove over my face while I slept. A few hours later, my eye started to weep, then ooze mucus. I don't think it's pink eye:  no pain/sensitivity to light. It's the same side where my nose gets stuffed during the night. The doc said it could be overflow from my sinuses. So my eye is acting like a nose then? Lovely. 

Did I need a content warning for this?
 It's my face, people. Don't be alarmed.
She called me in ointment, saying it doesn't hurt to treat it as pink eye. Plus Flonase and an antibiotic in case I have a sinus infection. Can a sinus infection be non-painful? No head ache? I don't want to get worse while visiting Mini, so I can't decide if I should take the antibiotic or skip it.

This morning the eye wasn't as red. Still woke up to drainage and then this:  A


Do you know how to work your Bluetooth or earbuds, or are you gifted enough to mange both? Have you held onto something, like a fanny pack, in hopes that it would make a comeback? Do you vote that I start the antibiotic or hold off? Have you had an inconvenient ailment/facial-pouch before a fun weekend? 


February 20, 2023

mom's weekend with Ed, Airbnb, busy times, & a THANKS FOR THE TANK

I spent the weekend visiting Ed for his fraternity's mom's weekend. (Is it plural? Is it possessive? I'm not sure. Well, I'm a mom and I OWNED the weekend. Kidding,  . . . we all did. So plural possessive?)

A few moms dying a little
when her hot dog arrived - this
was 2020. We were
wild and crazy back then.
Ed's freshman year mom's weekend was the last thing I did before shutdown. I remember it SO well. While that March 2020 weekend was fun, the music was so loud at the frat house that I mostly mimed conversations to the other moms. Not a great way to become acquainted with people. 

'Mom's' was cancelled sophomore year- pandemic. Then Ed was in Budapest last year. So, senior year . . . swansong . . .  all-kinds-o-fun. We hung out at their various houses chatting (music wasn't TOO loud), watching the b-ball team WIN, and drinking. A handful of us ate dinner out with a small group Friday night, ate a catered meal Sat night, and went to the bars both Friday and Saturday. 

Guess which mom stayed at the bar the latest? I left the bar after 2:00 am. Who even am I? I will tell you who I was not - I was NOT tipsy. It's a beer-drinker's world, friends - especially at a college bar. Since that's off limits for my celiac-self, I drank cans of High Noon. I think we can all thank our lucky stars that they weren't serving Mike's Hard Lemonade, or the weekend might've ended quite differently. 

I met some wonderful moms and was delighted that Ed has made so many amazing friends. A number of guys told me how much they look up to Ed and what a great guy he is. Super proud. 

My Airbnb was the coolest. Walking distance to EVERYTHING. Wish I'd found it years ago. (it's booked for graduation, sadly) Now I need an excuse to go back for another visit before graduation, which promises to be SUCH A BLAST. I came home and made a cheat sheet of all the moms' names, so I can refresh my memory before graduation weekend.

I was excited to wear my new, hip shirt. I texted a picture of myself to Mini when I was getting ready to go out. Check out the Airbnb in the background. It's above a French restaurant. The woman brought me up a GF omelet and a breakfast for Ed as well, since the price included two breakfasts. 

She used to own a record store so there were shelves of vinyl records. Ed and I marveled at how trusting she was. People could easily walk away with a bit of her record collection and she wouldn't know it. She was from Italy, schooled in Paris and followed her boyfriend to Bloomington, Indiana where they run/ran the restaurant. She was warm and sweet. Ed didn't stay with me, but he helped me bring my bags up and he, too, was very taken with her. 


Next weekend Coach and I visit Mini for her dorm's parents' weekend. How boring will life be when February is over? Ed agreed with me, there is zero chance that Coach will want to stay out till 2 am. Still, I'm looking forward to that and now it's right around the corner. 

When I'm not finding awesome new shirts and partying like I'm a college kid, I've been busy . . . .

1. Planning the Ireland trip for Mini, Ed, & friends. College kids are busy. I've become a part-time travel agent in my spare time. I really do have to start mapping out what Coach and I do when we visit Tank on March 22nd. 

2. While grieving is necessary, it also makes accomplishing things challenging. I decided to let myself off the hook last week when some things were just not getting accomplished  . . . Long, painfully sad story, but my cousin (year younger than me) died last week. She lived in Texas with my uncle. He's now all alone, having lost a teenage son 33 years ago and his wife about 5 years ago. He's lived in Texas forever, and is uninterested in moving here where he has a brother (my dad) and regular/great nieces and nephews. 

A few of my sibs flew down with my dad mid week and I spent some time with my mom, checking on her. I got her some groceries Friday before I drove to see Ed. I have one weekend in March (the 1st weekend) when I can possibly visit Uncle/bring my dad back if he wants to go back. I think the plan is (if I'm reading the texts right) that we're all gonna take turns visiting him/getting him set up in retirement community, since he can't drive. 

Family dynamics being what they are, this awful situation has an added unpleasant layer  . . . but I'm doing my best to focus on what matters. Not gonna lie, having the distraction of hanging with Ed for the weekend helped. 

3. I've been logging some SERIOUS hours on the phone with insurance/the hospital. It's a post that's begging to be written. Basically:  insurance can fight me. They're saying that we hadn't met our deductible when I was in the ER on 10/31. Come again? Reg's epilepsy expenses cost us a small fortune, like over $13K, so how? I told Coach it's time to move to Canada. Health insurance in the US is criminal.


Last week, I received an unexpected surprise in the mail. Colleen Martin, my lovely and thoughtful blog-friend, ordered me a tank top from Macys after my 'what's your fav tank top' post. Plus a Bluey game for my small charges. A big thank you to Colleen for being so kind and generous. Note to self:  next time, ask what kind of car people like to drive. Bah ha ha. 

Do you remember what the last big/fun thing was that you did before lockdown? Anything soaking up more of your time than you were prepared for? Anyone delighted by a surprise recently? Anyone want to take bets on how late Coach stays out next weekend?  Do you stay an Airbnbs?  Have an amazing experience?

February 15, 2023

coaching, part III: vote on an option & give me a voice, please

*If this Wednesday post confused you, well - it confused me too. I was surprised to see that I'd scheduled this to post today instead of my usual Thursday. Must've been on autopilot.  Glad you're here - you're not late. I was early. 

What to do, if anything? (part 1 & part 2)

1.  Transfer. I told Coach that if Reg wants to transfer to the local Catholic high school where his cousins go for his senior year, I'm not gonna stop him. Not the far-away all boys' school that we prefer, so I don't think he'd need a waiver to play there. 

The coach at that school has a son on Reg's AU team and I'm not really impressed with this guy. My nephew, Alan, Reg's best bud -made the basketball team there, but that coach was horrible to him. Alan has asthma. Essentially the guy told him that kids with asthma can't play basketball. Um, come again? Both of my brothers played basketball at ND and Pat is a severe asthmatic. My brother, Mike (Alan's dad), sat behind the bench to get a feel for how this guy coaches and he was disturbed. The coach was not encouraging. A screamer. Mike has coached travel ball. He coached Reg one year. He's a level-headed, guy. I don't think Reg will go this route. 

thanks GIFHY.COM

2.  Sit down with the athletic director and explain what has gone on. This is the most logical, direct route, but also the most risky. It doesn't feel like an option. The athletic director is buddies with Ego. Note that there was no interview process when he hired Ego. I don't trust that he can handle our concerns in a professional fashion. 

3.  Safety in numbers. Gather up other upset parents and make a case. (Parents of a  sophomore named 'Anthony', a starter, want Ego gone. Their son pukes before all of the games now. A new development). This is a challenge because no one wants their kid to deal with Ego's repercussions in the classroom. Plus, if the ousting doesn't happen and he still gets to coach - it could be ugly. 

A kid named Jay is a sophomore. He starts. He's very good, but not as big as Reg. He is a great 3-point shooter, but he's had games when he misses 8 threes, or 3 or 4. It happens. Does Ego tell Jay to stop shooting? No, he does not. He's also not as effective under the basket, because he doesn't have a lot of bulk to him. Ego made Jay a team captain along with a senior - sort of a slap in the face to Reg, who started every game last year and is the only returning all-conference player. The other one graduated. I don't think it had much to do with leadership, since this quiet sophomore is not exactly a team leader. 

At any rate, Jay's parents don't see Ego's issues. Ego doesn't mistreat Jay, he designs plays so that Jay can shoot and then tells Reg:  WE'VE GOT TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET YOU TO SCORE MORE. Finally, there are a number of kids on the team whose parents aren't involved/don't attend games, etc. 

*editing to add:  Ego did tell Jay in Sat. night's game to stop shooting. Hmm. The plot thickens. 

4.  Ask the AD to get feedback from the kids on the team, since I now realize that many of them recognize the nonsense. The seniors might not care. Ego is pretty popular with the student body. He's off-color in the classroom, inappropriate even - so high school boys often think he's funny. 

5. Ask the principal to replace the coach, or to step in. We got a new principal this year. He's not receptive. Unapproachable and has a weird agenda. He opened the school year with an assembly and launched into a description of how he woke up as a kid to his dad beating his mom. Totally irrelevant in a 'let's have a great school year' address, right? He then talked about how he'd seen some kids not adhering to the dress code. (necklines that were too revealing, etc.). He actually said (and this was quoted in a local online newspaper):  I'M NOT A PEDIFILE. DON'T MAKE ME ONE. 

thanks GIFHY.COM

What.On.Earth? My sweet, little freshman daughter told me she was shocked, appalled, and disturbed. 

6. Reach out to our former principal. The principal, who left our school to go to our cross-town rival district, was nothing short of amazing. It's a stretch, but I've seriously considered reaching out to her. She was engaging, invested, approachable. Her decision to leave honestly played a role in our consideration to leave the school last year. I was hopeful that we'd get a decent replacement, but I've been incredibly disappointed. I'd love to see if she has a creative approach to our situation, but I'm sure she's also very busy. 

7.  Ask the athletic director at the high school in our split district to plead our case/give us guidance. There are two high schools in our district. The other school's AD is about to retire. He's well liked and seasoned. The issue with this option is that it would be almost impossible for him to explain what has gone on without making it clear that we are the family most upset - but there are other frustrated families and maybe they'd be more comfortable speaking up if anonymity was an option. Also, he might just be a good source of YOUR BEST BET IS TO . . . 

8.  Reg's guidance counselor. I already reached out to the guidance counselor to see if she had any suggestions after the day when I feared Reg might have a seizure. She knows me well and gets that I'm not a nut job. Well, mostly anyway. She listened and was very apologetic. She looked into it, but ultimately said I'd have to go through the AD. She also suggested that I contact the chair of the history department to address the classroom issues. I do have Reg's tale and twin 'C's as well. I trust the history chair, because she's a woman and not part of the 'ole boys' network like the AD. Can I get an AMEN? 

thanks GIFHY.COM

9. Suck-it-up-buttercup.  This is my least favorite option, but I recognize that it might be the route we accept (kicking and screaming). I know we can't control everything, but HEY HIGH SCHOOL, DO YOU WANNA REIMBURSE US FOR THE PSYCH BILLS? Untie my hands, damn it. 

Anthony (the kid who pukes before games) - his mom texted me this week:  I JUST DON'T THINK IT'S A WINNABLE BATTLE. That put me in a bad mood all day. 

As a kid, I was often told to stop being dramatic when I claimed things weren't fair (um, they weren't), or I was glossed over, or Pat's antics targeting me were treated as entertainment vs mean spirited bull shit. 

In other words, I don't like to feel like I don't have a voice. Been there, done that. Reg might not be perfect, but when it comes to basketball he's committed, hard working, and driven. He's a team player. 

Please tell me what you think we should do, if anything. Or do you have a more creative solution? Please share. Thanks for hanging in to hear the whole story. Much appreciated. 

February 13, 2023

coaching, part II: a threat, classroom crap & 35 POINTS

(con't from Thursday's post):  recap - our high school coach 'Ego' and his sidekick 'Pinhead' suck. 

After he told Reg to talk to himself more quietly . . .  Ego lost his shit with the team. Hollering something about how he knows everything and he's been coaching for 20 years, yadda, yadda. Then he unleashed on Reg, targeting him when it wasn't a Reg-specific issue. 

Thanks GIPHY

Hold on there, mister . . . did you just threaten my kid? For what, exactly? I told Coach (my husband - not to be confused with the lunkheads), I'd like to meet this loser in a dark alley. I would literally pound him. 

Reg said the odd thing was at the start of that practice Ego had pulled him aside saying he was playing relaxed and looking good. 


5. Not being over-sensitive:  A few days later I hosted a last minute pasta party. The guys were joking around, imitating Ego's bark, "I KNOW EVERYTHING THERE IS TO KNOW ABOUT BASEKTBALL." 

One kid asked Reg what Ego's deal is, because "DUDE, HE'S ALWAYS SHOUTING AT YOU FOR LIKE NOTHING. IT'S SO WEIRD." The rest of the guys agreed. 

Coach and I had wondered if Reg was exaggerating or being over-sensitive. This was eye-opening. 

6. Don't drag it into the classroom, leave it on the court:  (I almost shortened this in my title to NO BALLS IN THE CLASSROOM, then I thought it thru). The next day in Ego's history class, Ego blasted his class:  YOU NEED TO LISTEN TO ME, I KNOW EVERYTHING THERE IS TO KNOW ABOUT HISTORY. (then turning to face Reg) RIGHT, REG? PLUS I KNOW EVERYTHING THERE IS TO KNOW ABOUT BASKETBALL, RIGHT? 

Thanks GIPHY

When the twins' mom died a few weeks, the dad was overwhelmed. He didn't call the school to alert them of the situation before the kids returned. Ego teaches C's freshman history class. Ego made the class repeat a word, like DICTATORSHIP. He didn't feel like C had repeated the word. He made him say it solo, but still sensed he was giving him attitude. In reality he was just being quiet. 

*C is an honor student, good grades, and zero attitude problem. He starts on the freshman boys' basketball team.


After class, C broke down and told Ego his mom had just died suddenly. Ego was like WELL, WE HAVE TO LET THE SOCIAL WORKERS KNOW.

The high school teacher I sit for told me that no teacher should ever single out a kid in class, if it looks like they're having a bad day. 

I'm at a loss for how/why this guy brings coaching stuff into the classroom. I find it completely unacceptable. My hope is that C won't have Ego as a varsity coach one day. Fingers crossed he is replaced by then.


Thanks GIPHY
A memorable game:  The game after my last minute pasta party was against the 1st
place team. The last time we played them, we lost by 20. Feb. 3rd, we came SO CLOSE. The teams were tied or up a point here and there, but eventually we lost by 6. Reg had 35 of our team's 64 points. He was on fire. I wept a little when he reached 30 points. 22 had been his record. He refused to be excited about how he played because he was so upset that we'd come
Thanks GIPHY
so close but still lost - we'd been up by 4 with like 3 minutes left. 

My poor budget:  In late November, Reg started seeing a sport psychologist. We'd noticed that he was struggling with anxiety surrounding basketball even during his travel season/AU. The high school season has been challenging mentally. I begged him to just quit the team mid-season. Just focus on the AU team in the off-season. He wouldn't hear of it. The tab for this sport doc is INCREDIBLY pricey. 

Health concern:  After the practice when Ego threatened to kick Reg off the team, I called the epilepsy doctor. We decided to layer on a new drug, because Reg's 'deja vous' feelings had ramped up - seems to Coach and I that this happens more often before or during a game. Is stress a factor? Reg insists that it happens at other times. Maybe he only mentions the basketball episodes because he's worried that he'll mess up in his game and it's therefore more concerning to him. The new med happens to include a bit of a mood stabilizer. 

Ego has it all wrong - Reg is a good kid:  Remember the special man who befriended our family a few years ago? He comes to most of Reg's games with his dad. They sit with us in the stands. Reg always seeks Michael out in the bleachers after his game to thank Michael for coming. Additionally, he responds to all of Michael's texts during the week, like 'happy hump day'. Reg poses for photos with him. When Reg comes to Curly's games, Michael waves, "I saved a seat for you." Reg sometimes bypasses sitting with his peers at the girls' games in order to sit with Michael, knowing it's a big deal to him. Reg isn't cocky or arrogant and doesn't have an attitude. What is the deal? 

I always thank Michael's dad for taking such an interest and attending the kids' games. The dad looked at me:  OH, TRUST ME. YOUR FAMILY IS LIKE A MILLION DOLLARS TO US. THE WAY YOU TREAT MICHAEL MEAN MORE THAN I CAN TELL YOU. 

Other people who see it:  A mom 'Kate' with a sophomore son who played for Ego as a freshman told me recently that Ego attended part of the sophomore practice (her son is very good, but isn't on varsity) and Ego yelled at him:  WHAT ARE YOU DOING? PLAYING LIKE REG? THAT'S ALL WE NEED, ANOTHER REG. 

He said these words OUT LOUD, people. Um, Reg just scored 35 points in a game, helping you to almost topple the #1 team. You shut, shut your mouth. 

Thanks GIPHY

Kate's daughter played travel with Curly and this woman is VERY even-keeled. She knows basketball. She looked at me, confused. WHAT WOULD BE WRONG WITH HAVING ANOTHER REG? 

She also told me that every parent/player from last year's freshman team (current sophomores) is unhappy that Ego is coaching varsity. She thinks Ego just dislikes a few kids and her kid and mine are two of them. BUT, when Ego caught wind last year of Reg almost leaving the school, he begged him to stay.

Ego:  DUDE, WHY ARE YOU THINKNG OF LEAVING? I MEAN. I KNOW IT ISN'T ME. WE'RE GOOD. I KNOW YOU KNOW I CAN COACH. IS IT YOUR PARENTS THAT WANT CATHOLIC SCHOOL? (Reg told him it was social- which was part of it, but Reg was secretly like you're gonna be a terrible coach). 

I honestly didn't think the season would be THIS bad. I thought Ego's shortcomings would be limited to his inability to design plays, etc. Nope. His level of ridiculous knows no bounds.

I know this is basketball heavy, but please come back next time so you can weigh in on what, if anything, we should do. 

In other news:  On Wed. I slipped on ice. To be clear - it was a bit of an ICE CUBE. In my kitchen. I transformed briefly into a cartoon character, hooking my arm on a bar stool at the island. The stool went down, softly because my winter coat hung on the back of it. I wrenched my back. I felt like I need a good physical therapist. wink, wink. The PT I keep on the payroll said I was just sore. Sunday morning I woke up feeling less like my spine would forever be shaped like an S. Grateful that no one caught my grace-less moment on video. 

Glad my kids are athletic and coordinated enough to play basketball. They don't take after me. As my gym teacher used to say:  Ernie can't chew gum and walk at the same time. 

Anyone else struggle with an in-home hazard?

February 9, 2023

coaching, part 1: the cast of characters, stop shooting, & who's all conference?

Good gravy, my patience has worn thin with high school coaches. 

Remember how we almost sent the kids to Catholic high school this year? Part of it was Reg's class' social atmosphere. The other was the b-ball coach.

Ed's old varsity coach. Mr. NOW-I'M-A-DAD (NIAD) was excellent, but with youngsters at home - he stopped coaching after Reg's freshman year, so he never coached Reg. Reg made varsity as a sophomore, and the new coach, Mr. New, was fine. He was let go after one season. Huh?

Mr. New played in the NBA, so he understood the game. Reg had no problems with him. I'm unaware of other parent complaints. Mr. Ego and Mr. Pinhead, last year's freshman A & B team basketball coaches, conspired to write up several complaints about Mr. New. Then, magically, they assumed the varsity and assistant varsity coaching positions. No interview process. The athletic director appointed Ego and Pinhead after dismissing the Mr. New. Very political. 

A high school teacher I sit for informed me that teachers sometimes take on coaching roles just before they retire to beef up their pensions. 

Mr. Ego, who teaches history at the high school, is missing a chip. Understatement. He has tenure, but I'm still amazed that he has a job. His idea of 'funny' is often inappropriate. I believe he once had a kid with an (insert ethnicity here) last name, go sit under that corresponding ethnic flag in his classroom from that country. Maybe Russian? Not sure. You can't do stuff like that. Turn the page, dude, it's 2023. 

Last night, I brought my folks some of the pot
 roast I made in my crockpot. I brought my laptop
 and showed them a recent game of Reg's that
 they regrettably missed. It was THE BEST.
More to come on that. 
From a basketball standpoint, he has NO basketball experience that translates to the varsity level. He coached the freshmen boy B team. Since I could coach that level, I don't count that as legitimate experience. 

Mr. Pinhead played varsity basketball on a team with Ed. He's a current college student - not playing in college. 

Let's just say, I've assigned each of them very appropriate blog names.   

Our complaints don't even touch on the basic high school coaching necessities, such as, an inbounds play. A way to break the press. The knowledge to switch to man to man from a zone defense as needed. Any useful feedback, guidance, or input to improve a team's performance. 

Instead the most objectionable issues are the way the man treats our son. 

1. injured kid:  Reg had to sit out for several weeks with tendinopathy in his knee. Coach urged him to sit out as long as possible, to get the best chance of making a solid recovery. The injury stems from over-use. Reg skipped the Thanksgiving tournie at the start of the season. It wasn't part of conference. 

Mr. Pinhead:  YOU DON'T REALLY WANT TO PLAY, DO YOU? YOU'RE GONNA END UP JUST SITTING OUT THE WHOLE SEASON. *Why? Just why? Clearly the kid is b-ball obsessed, why would you say this? 

Mr. Ego:  WHY DON'T YOU JUST GET A CORTIZONE SHOT? *Oops, Reg's dad is a PT. Please share a copy of your medical credentials.

2. stop shooting:  In Reg's first game back, he put up maybe 5 three pointers. He missed all of them. It was gut wrenching. He was beside himself. New here? Reg qualified to go down state last year as a sophomore to compete in the 3 point contest. 


Real coaches don't tell a 3-point shooter to stop shooting. All of his shots looked good. They just didn't go thru the hoop, which I get is sort of the point. B-ball is not a game of perfection.

Throughout the season there have been other variations of this. Like THAT'S NOT THE SHOT WE WANT. 

*sidenote:  Mr. NIAD watched Reg's game via livestream during the holiday tournament. He texted Ed and told him to tell Reg to stop taking a bunny hop before his 3 point shot. Wow, actual constructive feedback. Amazing. 

Reg admitted that he'd changed up his 3 point shot because of feedback from his travel coach and because of knee pain.


He's made adjustments and has been finding more success. 

3. interesting choice? & how do you define a good shot? Reg scored 21 points in a game a few weeks ago. We won that very exciting game. 

The next day at practice, Pinhead named two guys to be captains to split the team into a scrimmage. The first guy chose Reg first. 



What even was that? Why can't we say something encouraging? I suggest:  GREAT GAME, REG. KEEP IT UP.

After the scrimmage, Ego gathered the team and had them go around in a circle and talk about what they think they bring to the team.

Reg:  I TAKE GOOD SHOTS, MY DEFENSE IS GOOD . . . (Ego interrupts him here)


When Reg told me this story, I told him:  I HOPE TO GOT YOU SAID ANY SHOT I PUT UP IS A GOOD SHOT, YOU   #$&*%@#    ^%$&*%@&*-ER.

4.  talk to yourself more quietly:  The next week Reg came home from practice visibly shaken. He was days away from being able to drive and I thought he was going to have another seizure. 

Ego had them do a drill, but forbid certain shots, like 3 pointers? (eventually even Pinhead said JUST COME OUT AND GUARD HIM, BECAUSE THIS ISN'T VERY REALISITC). 

Reg eventually put up a shot and Ego yelled:  DON'T SHOOT THAT. Then he made the team run suicides. While running, Reg mumbled under his breath:  I'M ALWAYS GONNA SHOOT THAT. 

Pinhead:  (insert 4 year-old child voice) HE SAID SOMETHING!!!

Ego shouted at Reg and Reg said he was just talking to himself, which he does while he's playing. 

Ego:  WELL, TALK TO YOURSELF MORE QUIETLY. *I want this on a t-shirt with credit going to Mr. Ego. 

(There's more . . . )


My Monday:  I brought 8 littles to the zoo, solo.
So much fun.
I considered cutting this down, but I feel like you won't really get it, if you don't hear the whole story. I've broken it down into 3 posts. I know, I know. The last post is where you vote for what you think, if anything, we should do about the situation. I hope you'll stick around to read all the posts. Do I need to insert a cute Irish dancing story to keep you interested? Let me know. 

On a slightly more stressful note, I had my doc follow up today. I've lost 4 more pounds. Now both the doctor and I are concerned. I've been eating more, really. I also have to go on a cholesterol drug. 

In exciting news, Curly found out tonight that she was voted all conference for basketball. To quote the student section when she hits a 3:  SHE'S A FRESHMAN! (see what I did there, ended on a happy note)

February 6, 2023

not my speed: a take-1-for-the-team retro Irish dancing tale

When I was an Irish dancer, I wasn't very good - particularly as I grew into a very tall pre-teen/teenager. I looked like a newborn colt. All legs - legs that were difficult to control. In Irish dancing controlling legs is paramount to success. (cue the WAH-WAH-wah - letdown music).

Almost all competitions were held outdoors. Sometimes the stage was VERY hot and my feet burned through my ghillies (soft traditional Irish dancing shoes).

The horn pipe, a hard shoe dance, in particular proved challenging, for me anyway. I struggled to stay on time to the music. Dancing off time promised major point deductions. 

I was on stage at a competition somewhere in Ohio. I think it was Cleveland. Definitely not Columbus. Oh, maybe it was Dayton. Anyway, I lined up on stage with the other girls. Back then, we danced one at a time. *when my kids danced it was 2 or 3 at a time. 

There was a live musician, in this case it was Jimmy something-or-other playing the accordion. A judge sat at a long table in front of the stage. My sister, Marie - who was the best dancer of the three sisters, stood behind the judge's table with Mom. Mom needed Marie to give her a clue as to whether or not I was on time or properly executing my steps, etc.  

If my sister wasn't dancing on her own stage, that was protocol. Come watch me and provide me with pointers afterward and assess how I did in addition to tipping Mom off regarding whether or not I'd done well. Mom drove us, without my dad, to this feis (Irish dancing competition, but different than a HUGE competition such as the regional championships or worlds. My kids attended a million feis as kids and also the biggies. I qualified once, maybe twice, for a regional - never worlds. Sweet mother, NEVER WORLDS - if you watch this 45 second video from a competition when I was younger you will understand why). 

We often invited our close friends to drive with us in our car. That was by far my favorite part of the weekend. As in GETTING THERE IS HALF THE FUN - to me, goofing around in the car with my Irish dancing girlfriends WAS the bomb. So, so many stories. That family consisted of 7 girls, many with red hair. Both parents were off the boat from Ireland and spoke with a thick brogue. The identical twins were 10 months older than me, and another sister was 11 months younger than me. It was a perfect friend sandwich. To this day, I don't think I've met another family blessed with such a quick wit and hilarious sense of humor. The twins and I competed in the same competition. There was zero animosity though. Our moms cared more than we did.

(this video demonstrates how Irish dancing is MEANT to be done. Curly '21 - retirement performance, 3rd place in regional Oireachtas)

That day waiting in my heavy, bulky, rose colored costume with navy cape in the sweltering heat with the gift of a little shade on our stage, I waited in line with one of the twins, Kathy. She and I aligned with subpar dancing as opposed to her twin, Karen, who typically danced better than us. We watched the girls ahead of us. As we stood side stage, we ran through our steps in our head - often using our fingers to 'dance' the steps out on our thumb. This might help with timing. Unless you were me, in which case there was no help.

This might have been the exact competition I'm referring to. It was definitely on this stage. I remember it like it was yesterday. One of the twins, Karen, is in the green dress in the background. *Not editing my face out, because I don't think ANYONE would recognize me today.
Each dancer was allowed to listen to one bar of music before starting. During that bar, the dancer could signal the musician to increase or decrease the music with a wave of her hand. From my position on the grass next to the stage, I noticed that the music was speeding up DURING the dance. I looked over at Jimmy (I know his name because we were also involved in the Irish music scene - Pat and Marie played tin whistle and fiddle respectively. I could write a post about how badly I wanted to trade my dancing shoes in for an instrument, but I wasn't allowed. Have I mentioned I'm a middle child and I have issues?). Jimmy was leaning over his accordion, his head bowed. The tempo sped up as he played. 

Would you believe that Jimmy was terribly hung over, or perhaps even still wasted from partying into the wee hours of the morning? As he played, he sort of drifted off to sleep and failed to keep the music at a consistent pace. Once the line of girls finished their one-after-the-other row, they bowed and filed off the stage, walking past me. They were all grumbling to one another. 

"Did you hear the music? I couldn't dance to that speed. He paid no attention to the speed I requested."

They were frustrated. Kathy and I exchanged an 'OH-CRAP' look as we filed on stage. As I waited for my turn, I eyed my mom positioned under the tree. She nodded an encouraging 'COME ON, ERNIE. YOU'VE GOT THIS' - complete with a signal to pull my shoulders back. Nervous energy caused her to squeeze her neck muscles, roll her lips inside of her mouth, protrude her chin, and quickly run her index finger under her nose. 

Keep in mind the stage was 12 feet by 12 feet at most, so this was a far cry from a Broadway production. Several stages dotted the grounds surrounding a building, maybe a school. Throughout the day, we bopped around to various stages depending on where our dances were scheduled to compete.

Standing there, I turned my attention away from my twitchy mom and noted the continued issue with the music. My competitors were rolling their eyes and shaking their heads after their turn as they marched back to the line, facing away from the judge. 

When it was my turn, I stepped forward and listened to my bar of music. I signaled with a wave of my hand to slow the music down. I began to dance. The music sped up gradually, as anticipated. I couldn't keep up while stomping, trebling and clicking through my step. I stood no chance of winning this competition, so I stuck my hand out from behind my dress and AGAIN motioned for drunk Jimmy to slow-the-hell down. My hand motion was aggressive and unprecedented. Dancers weren't allowed to adjust music WHILE dancing. That ship had theoretically sailed. 

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Marie shake her head and whisper an OH NO - SHE'S BLOWN HER CHANCES to Mom. Mom's posture, like a deflated balloon, reflected her disappointment. I wanted to shout HEY YOU TWO, I'M DANCING HERE. TRYING ANYWAY. CAN YOU NOT BE SO OBVIOUS IN YOUR DISGUST? I was terribly off the music, but even if Jimmy had avoided the pubs the night before - I would've struggled to keep the beat anyway. 

I bowed to the judge, and then to the idiot musician, as is customary. When I turned to walk back to the line, the other dancers' faces were wide-eyed. Before the next dancer danced, the judge held up his hand - freezing the competition. He hopped up and approached Juiced Jimmy. The competition paused while Jimmy got some coffee or something. I don't remember. All I know is that when we filed off the stage the next line of girls waiting to dance patted my arm and thanked me profusely. I'd taken one for the team, so to speak, and they were relieved that I'd in a sense alerted the authorities. 

Mom and Marie weren't so congratulatory, and the world of Irish dancing isn't so forgiving - the judge, in case you are wondering, did NOT grant me sympathy points or give me a participation medal. After the verbal backlash from Mom, it wasn't severe - it was like WHY?, I raced off to change out of my dress and hang out with my red headed besties for the rest of the afternoon before we piled into the red '76 Chevy Impala station wagon, driving 6 or 7 hours straight home. That was part of the method to our family madness:  refuse to pay to stay in the hotel a 2nd night. 

I know some of you miss Irish dancing stories - hope you enjoyed this retro tale. I thought of it, because of a coaching issue that we're dealing with currently. I'm torn about whether or not to wave my hand mid-dance, so to speak, in hopes that the situation improves for the rest of the players. More on that mess later. 

Any former Irish dancers out there - if so, did the horn pipe torment you too? Did you do lessons of some kind that you disliked? Did you have a sibling who ratted you out when you screwed up? Were you involved in something that you weren't good at, but the fun with friends was worth it?

February 2, 2023

mood update & favorite things: old/new wardrobe pieces & shoes

*editing to add Wed. night:  Dang - this was a short-ish post until I decided to describe my mood . . . I've been a little upset today . . somewhere between sad and frustrated - leaning more towards frustrated. There is a basketball coaching ordeal which I'll detail in another post. The trouble is I do not feel heard/there's no way for me to be heard - and I detest that feeling.

On top of that, Curly is managing, but the greif she's coping with looms large and weighty. She's taken to coming home and curling up on the floor with/on Finnegan for long stretches. Our hugs feel cozy but they linger and I wish I could just take the pain away. Oh, this is funny. My mom met C, the boy twin, after Reg's game the other night. She is a chatter box, always was, but moreso now that she has Alzheimer's. She kept laying her hand on his cheek while she spoke to him. He just smiled. She put her arm around him and asked him how he was. C:  FINE, HOW ARE YOU? I don't think he thought this little old woman had any idea that his mother had just died suddenly. He's a sweet kid and my heart is breaking for both of them. 

The school stepped in it with me and gave Curly a detention despite the fact that it was bad timing and just dumb. 

Coach came home early so that I could go to Costco, because I decided (after Reg sort of wondered if anyone else was doing a pasta party) to host another pasta party tomorrow night. Cue the music:  SO, YOU THINK I'M CRRRAY-ZEEE. I whimpered a bit to Coach about the coaching stuff and then I told him:  AND I'M HUNGRY. I JUST WANNA EAT LIKE A BAG OF POPCORN OR SOME SNACK LIKE A GF PIZZA. I knew I had one in the freezer, but I didn't have time to make it, and I don't eat popcorn anymore. I ate my daily afternoon apple and drove to Costco where I got the first parking spot and THEN feasted on none other than GF pizza that was offered as a sample. 

Yes, I did go back three times. No one was waiting for a sample, so I decided I wasn't being rude. Disagree? Fight me. Kidding. Have I mentioned I've got some anger brewing, but really nothing a little GF pizza can't cure. 

I then came home and went to the regular grocery store where I once again got the first parking space. All this to say, apparently things are looking up. 


I do own other pants, but I took
most of these pics on the
same night and kept
on my new fav cords.

OLD TANK TOP:  My sister, Ann, bought me something years ago when we used to exchange. It was something I wouldn't wear, or was most likely not my size. Ann is very short - I'm tall, although I'm shrinking. Ann has always bought me size large, assuming I need a large for my height, I guess. I wear a size small shirt. 

Anyway, I took the gift back to the boutique where she bought it and chose a sweater. Plus, I bought this stretchy tank top? Cami? Layer? 

I've had this blueish one forEVER. 
Also stretchy and silky fabric.
Look how cute it is when
I wear it with this top.
It's one of my favorite wardrobe pieces. It isn't the kind of tank one would wear on its own. I wear it under things that are sheer, or low cut, or lightweight - when I want an added bit of warmth or something. I love the smooth, stretchy fabric. It must've had an itchy tag that I ripped out, because it's now tagless. This is a bummer, because I want to buy another, or a dozen more.

Last year, I bought tank tops from Lands End. They're boxy, not fitted - so they add bulk. Not my fav fabric. I don't like a tank top with a shelf bra necessarily, although I'm not opposed. I have one for summer that I love. I dislike having a thin strap dig into my shoulder. I don't have much to 'shelve' so to speak, so there should be no reason for a strap to behave as if it's carrying the weight of the world. I'm here to tell you, lightweight load. LIGHTWEIGHT.  

Does anyone have any suggestions for where to shop or what to google to find something similar? Oh, and I should mention, it isn't shapewear. 

It hangs on a
hook in my
waiting to serve
Fun fact:  when I was a kid, we wore undershirts. Always. When baby Lad outgrew onesies, I was at a loss. It was hard to find little boy undershirts. I found some a JC Penny, but I discovered that very few people dressed their kids in undershirts in the winter. In the winter, when babies show up I am amazed at times they they do NOT have a onesie on under their clothing. Is it me? 

I find the added layer of a tank top to be the perfect piece in winter. Maybe it's a comfort from my younger days. 

Weird, selfie angle of my belt.
OLD BELT:  For my mom's 70th, my sisters and my SILs and I treated her to a Boston girls' weekend. We shopped at a ton of little boutiques. I bought a Suzi Roher belt (I have no idea if that is a fancy brand. I just noticed the brand when I took a pic of it) that was on sale for $60. My sisters made their Drizella and Anastasia faces at me, and shook their heads:  WHO SPENDS THAT MUCH ON A BELT?

I do. I mean, I never had before - but first time for everything. 

I flipping love that belt. I've worn it SO much in the 11 years since that trip. Lately, it doesn't fit me as well as it once did. Perhaps because I've shed some pounds, or maybe it's stretched out with age. 

Olive green sweater
with squirrel arms.

NEW:  I love my new corduroys. They're crazy-long, and soft. 

I'm also thrilled with new green sweater. I think I'm 'doing it wrong', because it's a size XS and I imagine it's supposed to be baggier on me than it is. I don't mind - it was on sale and it was the only size left. 

I also love this soft, wool, black sweater that I bought on sale a few years ago. 

Most of the time, I wear workout pants or jeans and a sweatshirt, because I work with messy, snotty babies and tots. 

SHOES:  I love require comfortable, supportive shoes. I watch for my fav brands to go on sale. I got lucky recently and bought these Fly Londons when they were marked down. Comfy and stylish. 

I was so excited that I wore them to Costco one afternoon when it was barely snowing. BARELY. The shoes are suede and I hadn't treated them. 

I'm a clueless knucklehead. 

If you look closely, you'll
see the tiny water stains.
To self:  this is why you
 can't have nice things. 

I went to the shoe repair guy the next day because I was sick about the little water stains. He told me to wet them, brush them, let them dry and use a protective spray. I haven't done it yet, because I found out that Lisa died the next day and my priorities shifted. I haven't worn them again, because I've needed to wear snow boots. 

I'm probably the only one who would ever notice the water dots, BUT I know they're there. Has anyone done something similar? Did you do the get suede wet, brush them thing? I'm nervous that I'll make it worse. 


What wardrobe piece did you question, but you've  used it a million times?  Winter people:  did you wear undershirts? Did you dress your kids in them?