Habit

Posted January 11, 2013 by ryterrytes
Categories: Uncategorized

Once upon a time I was a writer.  I woke up early every morning and wrote for 30 minutes.  Every day.  Sometimes it was writing for this blog.  Sometimes for a school project….a fan fiction…an ongoing novel….another ongoing novel…..a play I have mulling over for two years…..a letter to someone…..emails.  I wrote SOMEthing for 30 minutes.  Every day.

And this writing habit continued for several years.

I felt productive when I was writing.  I felt full of creative juices and ideas oozed out in every direction.  Sometimes they were good ideas and sometimes not.  But they were ideas.

Then along came conversation with the hubby who had been laid off from his job for an extended period.  He couldn’t understand the need to write.  He wanted to talk in the morning.  So we did. 

And then he went back to work.  Whew.

Along came AOL…..or whatever internet  news page we have up on the computer.  I am a news ‘junkie’ and could cruise and read there all day long.  If I didn’t have to get to a job every morning.

Along came Facebook.  I have managed to connect with elementary school friends, high school friends, college friends, former students, parents of former students and new friends.  Keeping up with all of them takes time and effort and a fair amount of cruising. 

Along came Pinterest….the holy grail of mindless time sucking activity.  I love it and have been rigidly successful to confine my cruising and ‘pinning’ to just 15 minutes a day…..or five pins…whichever comes first.  And I mean rigidly successful.  It’s almost a game I play with myself whenever I am there.

Along came more sleep.  The hubby wakes me up at 4:30 am.  These days – in my encroaching old age – it’s much more appealing to set my own alarm, roll over and doze for another hour.  Some times.  Okay…more than some times.

At any rate, all of these things have encroached on my writing time in the morning.

And I miss it.

And I feel a little lost.

And I decided that my New Year’s resolution would be to get back into the writing ‘habit.’

So here it is…ten….days later and I am still reading, cruising, pinning and…dozing.

But I will get there.

Eventually.

After all, I am a writer.

 And I need to write.

The End

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The New Year….again

Posted January 4, 2013 by ryterrytes
Categories: Uncategorized

Amazing.  It has been over a year since I have updated this blog.

One. Solid. Year.

I am not really sure why this has happened…or how.  In anticipation of this posting, I have gone back and read some of the blogs I posted in the five years prior to this last one.  What an incredible collection of thoughts on raising a family, adoption, developing relationships, teaching, activities and world events!  And all of that is missing from 2012.  It’s not like 2012 wasn’t a momentous year for my family and I….because it was.  SO. MANY. THINGS. happened that I needed to share…..should have shared….and still might share eventually.  So many things.

So this is how 2012 shaped up in the end.

My Father died. Period.

My daughter made a choice last spring that affected the way people looked at and trusted her, and very nearly took soccer out of the equation of her life.  It was a choice that had us reeling as parents….and kind of left us floating on a raft all alone….not quite knowing how to get things back on an even keel.  We are proud of her and the way she handled herself….even if we are still out of kilter at times.

My son graduated from high school and successfully navigated his way through his first semester away at college.  And learned how to take care of himself through his first bout of flu.  Away from home.  Away from Mom and Dad. Sniff.

My Mother, who lives with my sister and her family several states away, spent a huge chunk of time in our home last summer.  We found ourselves revisiting things we had done as I was growing up.  We were knitting.  Making baskets.  Playing Scrabble.  Visiting with distant family members.  Sitting in the sun and gossiping.  Playing more Scrabble.  It was a nice summer for me and difficult to give up.

Her extended holiday visit has been another ‘adventure’ that is a tale in it’s own.  Heh.

My job is still to teach computer skills to third, fourth and fifth graders.  In my district, that means that I service three elementary buildings…… 33 teachers and 783 students…for 45 minutes a week…..every week.    This year I have returned to a building I have been gone from for two years….and another where I have been gone for nine years.  Old friends.  New students.   New ‘old’ students who are much taller….and have bigger teeth.

Nearly a year has gone by since my father’s death.  We have made it through every ‘first holiday without him.’   It has been rough at times.  Rougher still given the distance and differences between family.  But we have muddled through it.

But that’s what life is all about, I guess.  What 2012 has taught me the most.  Riding the waves and getting through.

Here’s to 2013.

Ready…..or not.

I am back.

The Year Begins…..five years later

Posted January 2, 2012 by ryterrytes
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , ,

This blog entered the world on January 2nd, 2007. Its amazing how things have changed….or not.

There are many thoughts on my mind as the year 2012 begins. It’s January 2, 2012 and 9:13 am. My teenagers are still sleeping in their rooms and will probably not emerge until noon. What project should I start the new school semester with. Is Dad eating and drinking today. Osama Bin Laden is dead. The war lingers but our troops are heading home….from Iraq. The fact that we still have troops in other locations troubles me tremendously. Australia. Really? I should probably finish this last fanfiction soon. Is Dad eating and drinking today. Distance sucks. Is there bacon in the freezer. Should I put another new book on my Kindle. How long will it take to put the Christmas decorations away. Why did Hersey have to invent the Cherry Cordial Kiss. Are we really ready to be hit with the pendng college registration fees. Is Dad eating and drinking today. Should I tell anyone that its venison in the crockpot. Do we seriously need three laptops. Will she be ready to actually play in her soccer game. Is there any money in my checking account. How many loads of laundry will I have to do. Is Dad eating and drinking today. Is it ever going to actually snow around here. So many movies….so little desire. Back to school tomorrow. Sigh. Petty and important stuff from my world to yours. Happy New Year.

The Fine Art of Christmas Carding

Posted December 7, 2011 by ryterrytes
Categories: Uncategorized

I got my first one just last week. A web friend in Minnesota posted it on Face book. The accompanying message said that although she ordered them every year they very rarely got mailed so she was posting it there as ‘insurance.’ Our second one came in the mailbox the very next day. It was from the family of a former Kindergarten student – who is now married and in medical school…gads! – and included a cheery note and snapshot of their very grown up family inside. I loved them both. I can’t help it. I confess. I am coming out of the mistletoe closet.

My name is Lynda and I am a Christmas Card-a-holic.

I absolutely love going through the daily mail and finding them. I Iove studying the pictures and the messages and wondering just what it was that drew the sender to that particular card. I especially love getting the added bonus of those ‘family letters’ inside. You know the ones. The longer versions of a personal message that generically bring you up to date about Little Joe’s achievements in baseball and Mandy’s adventures with her competitive dance team, the problems with the newest car and the gall bladder and the family sojourns on this cruise and that vacation. I love it all so bring it on.

I am not sure where this addiction came from. Christmas carding in my family has been sporadic at best. My parents usually had a box handy in order to send one when one was received. Christmas cards were taped to our closet door in the living room and added to the festive decorations. Sometimes they were saved after the holidays but usually not. Sometimes the pictures were cut off and given to our Sunday School to use for future projects. Most of the time those bits of news and good wishes ended up in the trash.

When I got married, the need to send my own became much stronger. My family and friend base had enlarged and I had actual people to send them to. I searched and searched to find the ‘perfect’ card. I made the hubby and the stepdaughters sign them after one late November dinner, enveloped them, stamped them and sent them off on the first of December. As the years went by and our lives got busier, I have to admit that Christmas cards took a lower stance on the priority list. Choosing the ‘right’ card became just grabbing one that was the ‘right’ price. When my son came along, it was easier to choose a favorite snapshot and order photo cards to send off. IF I sent them off. My favorite photo card was sent after that arrival of our daughter from Russia in 2000. He was in Santa gear and she was an elf.  Side by side faces.

Classic.

And then I started adding our own ‘family letter.’ It’s just a newsy note about D&N’s soccer accomplishments, the steps and the grandbabies, the new truck, the job changes, the kidney stones and this vacation and that.
I skipped a few years here and there. I had a telling conversation with a friend who confessed a dislike for ‘those’ letters. She felt like they were just ‘braggetty brag brag’ with no real information about what was actually going on with families. And then she, very tactfully, chipped in…’but not yours of course.’ I stopped sending the letters. And actual cards.

The next year I sent off e-cards from an internet service called ‘Jib Jab.’ Friends and families were treated to a short video with our faces on the bodies of dancing, guitar strumming Mexican elves singing ‘Feliz Navidad.’

It wasn’t the same.

The year after that I created a computer power point with pictures of the kids through the year set to ‘Jingle Bell Rock.’ I dutifully copied it, boxed them and sent them off to a select…very select and small….group of family and friends. It was very cool. And costly.

It wasn’t the same…..especially when I started getting emails about how recipients weren’t able to open the power point to watch it. Computer glitch on my part. Ugh.

So I went back to cards. Heavy duty, specially selected, card stock cards with an added ‘letter.’ Except this time, instead of a ‘braggety brag brag’ narrative, I used an online puzzle making program and created a crossword puzzle about our yearly antics. I rimmed the sheet with pictures of the kids and printed them at home. Classic.

However, when you are an elementary teacher, cards tend to be on the low end of the priority list. You are so busy with projects and school events that time slips away. One year, I sent them as New Year greetings and they were mailed after Christmas. Last year, the cards were a big deal because we had moved into a new home and needed to send our new address to friends and family. I sent them EARLY. This year….because the season has collided with the end of the semester grading process and my commitment to try and include a comment on every report card….I am just sending a snapshot card again. Sigh.

I have come to the conclusion that Christmas carding is a fine art. You have to find the ‘right’ card….even in the ½ off bin. You have to find your address book. You have to find the time in a busy schedule to address envelopes. You have to purchase stamps….and that’s a huge deal in these economic times. If you take the time to hand make your cards – as my talented stamper sister in law does – it is even more involved. If you write and print a letter, it takes more than a moment of your time. And that’s what it is…..time.

I think that I am a Christmas card-a-holic because I absolutely love the fact that someone, somewhere, took the time….a mere moment of their time considering ours was probably one of a stack…..to think about my family and to want to share the season’s greetings with us.

So we may not have a Christmas tree this year and the lights have not been hung on the garage, but I am sending my cards.

From our home – and heart – to yours….wherever it is.

Passages

Posted November 23, 2011 by ryterrytes
Categories: Uncategorized

When my sister was growing up, her toys of choice were Match Box cars, Johnny West ‘action figures’ and GI Joes. My world centered around the words that swirled from books into my head and the dolls that could recreate their stories. My Barbies headed west in shoebox Conestoga wagons and escaped from the Nazis in cake pan boats. They ‘worked’ alongside Sister Kenny treating polio with cardboard and Scotch tape splints and delivered messages as couriers for the French Resistance.

While my sister busied herself and her neighborhood friends digging roads for Hot Wheel traffic, making rivers and dams in mud puddles and setting up battles for her GI Joes and little green army men, I was stitching dresses and pinafores for my dolls and doing their hair with satin ribbons and taking them on adventures of a different sort. I remember making a sled for one particular doll and taking her out to play during a blustery snow storm one winter when I was about ten. Together we struggled to ‘build’ shelter in the cold wind, battling to ‘survive’ on the ‘steppes of Siberia.’ Yes. I was a strange child.

But on the plus side, my sister now says that she learned more about history playing with me than she ever did from a book. Hee.

And when our girls were younger, we often wondered how we ended up with the daughter the other one probably should have had.
My niece was the sort of child who preferred hair bows, dresses and lace on her shorts. My daughter, on the other hand, was happiest when she was decked out in her brother’s hand me down jeans and tee shirts. The more worn the better.

My niece was a doll lover from the get go, pure and simple. She carried a ratty little Cabbage Patch – aptly named ‘Libby Kitty’ – everywhere when she was younger, graduated to American Girl dolls and then trucked a vinyl life size baby doll everywhere….for years. My daughter, on the other hand, stuffed the Barbies she was given as gifts when she arrived from Russia, under her bed and upon entering the American Girl store in Chicago when she was seven, screeched ‘Get me out of here! This place is freaking me out!” Dolls, it seemed, scare her because they are always staring.

My niece played softball one season and was overheard complaining that her ‘hair bows hurt her head’ when she wore the batting helmet and ran the bases. My daughter, on the other hand, has limbs that are covered with bruises and scratches and sweat irritated scabs from her shin guards when she is playing soccer….which is pretty much 11 months out of the year. Hair bows? Fergit that.

My niece received a costume box collection from us one Christmas. It had a cheerleader skirt, feather boas, plastic high heels, a Red Riding Hood cape, a pink tutu, sparkly little mini dress, sun glasses, tiara, a faux buckskin painted Indian dress, and more. In short, everything an imaginative little girl needed for pretending. Most of the items were handmade by me. My daughter, on the other hand, wanted nothing but the ‘haunted pirate’ costume she found – and begged for – in the drug store aisle when she was eight. She wore it for three Halloweens in a row.

A thirteen hour drive and some 800 miles have separated me from my niece and my daughter from her aunt. Always. And distance stinks. There have been times when my sister and I have exchanged conversations about just ‘not getting’ our daughters….and knowing the person on the other end of the line totally did.

Because of distance, I think we have missed out on a lot, my sister and I. The years have passed and we have missed out on sister stuff and mothers/daughters stuff and auntie/niece stuff that would have made our lives all the richer. We never really had the opportunity for ‘quanity time’ together…. girly stuff like shopping or movies or just hanging out together and visiting. And given the area in which she has been raised my niece had an adorable very Southern accent that made it impossible to understand a word she was saying over the telephone when she was growing up. Face to face communication was better, but our physical contact with one another was destined to be an occasional holiday, spring vacation or special family event. News was exchanged via telephone, letters and then email and now Face Book.

My niece – and her older brother – very literally grew up overnight. Every time we saw them, there were tremendous developmental changes. The baby I saw at Christmas was a walking, talking toddler by the time I saw her again. It seemed like the round, little third grader was in middle school when I blinked . She graduated from high school…and then college. And several weeks ago we traveled south to share in momentous moment of another kind. It appears that I blinked again.

A wedding dress

Sigh.

But I think times will change for my sister and I. Given the generational issues that we have experienced thus far, my niece is likely to have a little girl who will love the Match box cars and Johnny Wests of her generation. My sister will love that.  My daughter, on the other hand, will likely produce a little girl who loves bows and books and dolls and pretend and……er….um……

Naw. Fergit that.

A Letter to My Son

Posted October 22, 2011 by ryterrytes
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,

Dear Daniel

It’s over. It was a heartbreaking loss in that second playoff round. You had some pretty awesome saves in that game. But it still didn’t lessen the fact that you were hoping for a different outcome for your senior soccer season in high school. Watching you stand at the goal when the buzzer sounded the end of the second ten minute over time, and knowing how you were feeling was the hardest thing I have had to watch since you first started playing the game. And soccer is a game that you have come to love with a passion.

You were just five when we signed you up to play in a 3 on 3 learning league. We commiserated with other parents about having to fit your first game schedule around the Saturday morning Kindergarten Round Up program. You loved the cleats, your coach, your jersey and socks and your team mates. You weren’t too crazy about that first pair of shin guards however. You were very excited about your very first real honest to goodness grass stain. And true to your pre-Kindergarten self, the best part of the 30 minute practice/30 minute game process was the snacks.

The following year we were in the midst of dealing with the massive paperwork process to complete your sister’s international adoption. When we didn’t hear from a coach about the start of your 5 on 5 learning league, I surmised that I might have not sent in the paperwork like I thought I had. I scrambled to find a place for you to play and you ended up on a YMCA team. You were one of two boys and a gaggle of girls. Your coaches loved you and your fierce kick. The entire team loved the game as much as you did. And after your first YMCA practice I got a call from your coach with the other program. Oops. I had sent the paperwork in after all. But, since they were two different programs with two different styles of training, we decided to let you play both of them for a while and let you decide which one you wanted to stay with.

Oy.

We should have known then what your future would hold. You stuck with practices or a game every single night of the week that spring and played for both teams without a single complaint. And you were only six.

From that point on our family life revolved around soccer. Soccer shorts. Soccer cleats. Soccer socks. Soccer jerseys. Soccer shin guards. Outdoor practice. Outdoor games….in the heat, in the rain, in the sleet and in the snow. Indoor practice. Indoor games….at varying times between 5 am and 11:30 pm. Ice packs. Ibuprofen. Heat packs. Ice packs. Athletic wrap. Athletic tape. Bio Freeze. On and on and on.

For the next twelve years.

From a parent stand point, the logistics of this passion of yours has been very frustrating. This was especially true after your sister decided that soccer was her game as well. Carting two of you here and there, using vacation times and vacation money for out of town tournaments, stopping for quick ‘fast food’ meals to and from practice sessions, dealing with stinky, sweat soaked shoes/socks/jerseys locked in our car all weekend, sitting on the sidelines watching practices, sitting on more sidelines watching games, critiquing coaches and referees and keeping our mouths shut – or open – as the situation called for it. Soccer parenting is not for the faint of heart. I don’t think ANY kind of sport parenting is.

And what do your Dad and I want you to take away from all of these years?

Mostly we want you to take away the memories. Memories of team mates that provided you with camaraderie like no other. Memories of times when you succeeded when you thought you couldn’t….and failed when you thought you shouldn’t. Memories of hot summer days when sweat poured from your body and yet you pushed forward. Memories of cold freezing days that energized you even more. And of course….the snacks.

And we also want you to take away respect. Respect for the coaches you have had that have shared their gifts with you. Respect for the coaches you have had that taught you to be the best that you can be. Respect for the coaches that have believed in you and stood up for you. Respect for all of the opponents that challenged you to give it your all. Respect for the team mates that have trusted you….and that you have given your trust.

We hope that you have learned that soccer – like life – is not a ‘blame game.’ That you will not always be able to achieve what you want or expect to – but that there is a certain fulfillment in knowing that you have given it your best shot. That when that buzzer sounds at the end of a game – or a day in your life – you can always say, ‘I did my very best.’ We hope that you have learned that you will need all kinds of people on your ‘team.’ We hope that have learned to value each of them for what they bring to the ‘game.‘ We hope that you have learned that everyone plays a part in your successes and shares in the disappointment of your losses.

We want you to take away a sense of self and self-esteem for what you have accomplished as a player….and as a person. You are someone with skills. You are someone that can be counted on. You are someone that expects the best in others because you know you will be giving the best that you have. You are someone that enjoys a good laugh….and a heart to heart talk.

And we sincerely hope that you find a way to continue with this game that you have grown to love – as a player or as a trainer or as a coach or as an official…..or as a parent. And if that day ever comes, we have some good, solid sideline chairs and an umbrella you can borrow.

We love you, son. You have made us very proud.

Mom and Dad

Side Tackle at age 6

Posted October 22, 2011 by ryterrytes
Categories: Uncategorized

Side Tackle at age 6