Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Merry

Despite how they look in this photo, The cheer is flowing over here. We're ready for the big day. 

How do I know? 

Well, we've engaged in the usual traditions:
  • We put up the tree and all of the ornaments. All of them. Even though every year I remind the family that we don't need every single one. "We do," they say, even though there aren't enough spaces and not all of them are very attractive.
  • We planned a holiday outing. However talented the dancers in The Nutcracker undoubtedly were, it was not particularly enjoyable, as you can see above. All tippy-toes; no talking. Lots of leaps; loose storyline. I don't know. It just wasn't for us. Dan liked it okay.
  • I finished my shopping at the last minute, visiting the Mall of America, Target, and Dick's Sporting Goods on Christmas Eve Eve. I didn't even hyperventilate at any of these locations.
  • We baked cookies and decorated them. They taste good, and I ate lots of dough and broken pieces.
  • Teddy, for his part, ate 8 oz of dark chocolate and cheerfully vomited in the back room of the emergency vet's office to the tune of 227 dollars. He's so dumb, but it looks like he'll live for another Nativity.
Let's do this. I suggest we keep our expectations low, and then we can all exceed them.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Goalie Parenting

I just did a quick search, and it turns have written before about being the parent of a hockey goalie, but not lately.

If you're curious, this fact remains: of all of my identities -- teacher, reader, runner, writer, minivan driver, etc. -- hockey goalie parent may be my least favorite one. Mac is the hockey goalie, and I am his parent.

What happens when I'm watching is this: First, I try to convince myself up to be normal and calm during the hockey game. This is difficult given my naturally high-strung temperament. I'm like a Border Collie in mundane situations, so you can imagine what I'm like under stress.

Still, sometimes, I can remain calm for an entire period of hockey. It helps if the period lasts fewer than 15 minutes and if there are fewer than ten shots during the period. It also helps if I'm chit-chatting with someone or engaged in texting. But, sometimes, instead of remaining calm, tension starts to paralyze my limbs, filling them as if they were PVC pipes. The pucks start sailing at Mac, and suddenly I'm hyperventilating.

Later, I get up a lot to walk laps of the arena or get a drink or visit the bathroom even though I don't have to go. These are coping strategies, and other parents seem to understand. They understand even though Dan is able to watch the whole games like a normal person. Of course in real life, he's like a Great Dane, a couch dog with boundless objectivity and powers of reason. I'm the Border Collie, remember? The one who needs ten hours of exercise and a shock collar?

My ability to sit still dissipates depending on the frequency of the hockey games. If I have at least 48 hours between games to reset and refuel, there's a good chance I can endure in the stands for another full period of hockey. If it's been, say, a tournament weekend with four games in 36 hours, I'm back to pacing and visiting the concession stand within seconds of the puck drop and with increasing frequency in direct proportion to the number of shots on goal.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Pre-Holiday Status Report

How are things going? Well, let's take stock:

Clean Eating: Oh, as if. It's December. Report cards are due, holiday shopping has barely begun, the faculty lounge, which is perpetually stocked with baked goods, is mere steps from my classroom. In fact, there is literally not a closer classroom to the fully-stocked faculty lounge than mine. Plus, I'm just not really trying that hard. Bring on the toffee!

Exercise: An eyebrow raise seems appropriate here. I'm hanging on to fitness like a mom hangs onto a wild toddler in Disney World. That's the best synonym I can think of at this very moment. Still, I ran a 5k yesterday. To be honest, if I didn't have a date with a friend at that 5k, I totally would have bailed.

Report Cards: This isn't easy, people. The report cards are massively time-consuming. I'm trying my best to have the report cards accurately reflect each child's progress, as well as my adoration for each child. That's a tall order. I'll probably get it done by the deadline because, for better or for worse, meeting deadlines is how I roll. However, there might be some crying on the way. Sadly, crying is also how I roll.

Christmas Cheer: Believe it or not, I'd give myself a 5 on a scale of 10 for Christmas cheer. That's high for me, as I'm certifiably Grinchy. But, self-improvement is a worthy aim, and I'm nothing if not a life-long learner.

That's how things are going. And that's five weeks in a row of weekly blog posts. #goldstar

Sunday, December 2, 2018

A Story about Quarter-Zip Pull-Overs

Here's an unfortunate fact about me: I'm not a very good gift-giver. Every once in a while, I'll straight-up steal a half-decent idea from someone else about what to buy for someone I dearly love. Most of the time, though, I walk into one of the same half-dozen stores I always go to and pick something that the recipient might think is just fine. Just fine, but not usually delightful.

I wish I were better at this, but I'm just not.

This year, Dan has some specific requests for Christmas gifts. One of them is a quarter-zip pull-over. Before I go any further, I want you to know that Dan has about fourteen quarter-zip pullovers already in his closet. I pointed this out.

"I'd like one that isn't blue," he said. It's true that at least six of the pull-overs--the only ones he actually wears--are blue.

"But I've purchased you purple and green ones, and you never wear them," I argued.

"On the green one, the sleeves are too short."

"What about the purple one?"

Dan went to his closet and pulled out the purple. "Well, the collar is just outrageous. It's too tall! And, plus, it's boxy." I asked for proof of these assertions, so he modeled the sweater for me. To be honest, I could see what he was saying, but I disagreed that those two points made the sweater unwearable.

"It's okay if you can't find the perfect quarter-zip," Dan said. I think he began to realize that he was sounding a little Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally. "I could also use some, like, regular sweaters. Maybe a cable knit."

First of all, I don't think he has any idea what cable-knit is. He definitely doesn't like it. He only likes tight stitches.

"I liked those v-necks you got me that one year," he went on, "but, I didn't like how deep the Vs were. Like, I don't like it when any part of the second button of my shirt shows in the V."

I raised my eyebrow here, I'm pretty sure, and Dan started to look sheepish. He might have giggled. "And also," he added, "those were a little too short." There's another black quarter-zip that he has, incidentally, that's a little too long.

 I think all readers can see my predicament.

"Just get me a sweater," Dan said, finally.

I wrote this directive down in my bullet journal. "I'll do my best to get you a sweater. But not a crew neck, not a deep V, and if it's a quarter-zip, I'll be sure it's neither too short, too long, and also doesn't have a tall collar or a boxy fit."

Should be easy. Luckily I'm such a good gift-giver.