Category Archives: Entries

Happy Easter!

(The Easter season lasts 50 days– so I can still say it.)

My kids had off last week, and I’m off this week (I’ve mentioned that I’m working again, right?) MONDAY: Well, the kids were off that day, too, so that doesn’t really count. TUESDAY: The Hubs reminded me my car registration was expired, so I headed to the MVC to get that fixed. That and a little shoe shopping and I was pretty much done for the day because I had to get the kids from school. WEDNESDAY: School trip with Toughie! Went to see the new musical “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” 


It was quite good. Only slightly traumatizing. Like the movie. But I liked it, and so did Toughie, who does enjoy Roald Dahl’s books. 

So today is Thursday. I’m going to plan my landscaping (because I actually have land to scape!) And write out my plans for the rest of the year for my classes.

And keep looking for a new job. Because I need a new challenge. I need to find and follow my bliss. I’m still on that first part: finding my bliss. I just don’t know exactly what that is. Maybe it’s writing..?

Here’s to everyone finding their bliss.

It’s time to give up again!

Yeah, Lent. What did you think I meant?

Today’s sermon, while generally speaking about the value of mortification at the center of “giving something up for Lent,” spoke to me very pointedly regarding the Internet. If you read this blog, you know I’m a big fan of social media. I’ve made great connections with other people and have had wonderful real life experiences as a result. But I’m well aware there are better ways to spend my time.

When we spend 15 minutes on Facebook, we miss out on the time needed to say a rosary.

When we scroll endlessly through Twitter and Instagram, we lose out on time to read the Bible or a book on spirituality. 

When we argue with strangers on tumblr or in the comments section of online forums, we allow humanity to die a million times over. 

Okay, that last one was a bit heavy-handed. But I feel pretty justified saying that. A lot easier to ditch social media now people are so very ugly.

But I will not abandon social media altogether. I cannot, I will not. Instead, I’ll maintain my positivity and hopefully it will rub off on others.

Here’s to another productive Lent. 

Soccer Mom Sunday 2017, #1

Happy new year, everybody in blog-land!

As usual, I allowed life to come between me and my online journal. So, what better way to get back into the blogging groove than revitalizing the only feature I ever chose to create? You’re welcome.

Just because I haven’t been writing about soccer doesn’t mean I’ve had nothing to do with soccer. The boys finished their seasons…all less than stellar. But it’s our local club, and they all still learned and had fun, which is most important. Toughie is doing a special camp for NJ Youth Soccer, which is the precursor for their Olympic Development program (or ODP, which Eric Wynalda says also stands for “Over-Determined Parent.”) The other boys will probably do a different camp, and then back to the season with their teams.

I watch soccer like it’s going out of style: Premier League, Bundesliga, MLS Cup. I’m starting to follow RB Leipzig, who was just promoted to the Bundesliga this season. They’re owned by the same company as the New York Red Bulls, but they can’t use the company name because of Bundesliga regulations. The team gets protested against and attacked. And that makes me kinda like them more. Because when you watch them, you know the skill is solid. So while I will enjoy any fixture, there’s a special place in my heart for Die Roten Bullen.

I’m not really good at New Year’s resolutions (sure sounds to me like no one is), but I decided to get myself out more, and that includes soccer. I have met some really nice people who have gifted me some tickets, but even if I’m just at a bar watching a game with other fans, that’s more than I’m doing now. It’s supposed to be fun to be a fan, so let’s have some fun this year!

Have a great 2017, and play on!

And they’re off!

All of them.
The whole summer.

It’s that time of year again, when pajamas are the outfit of the day and there are no definite plans for the VAST majority of the week.

Soccer here and there, play dates, vacation activities. And of course “summer slide” prevention in the form of reading and math packets. But mostly….down time. Lots of down time.

But you know what? I’m taking a slightly different approach this time. I’m going to focus more on myself than the kids. They are welcome to come to me for ideas on what to do, but I hope to inspire them to keep busy by keeping myself busy. I have a lot of little projects that need to be finished (and some big ones, too), and I need to make plans for the weeks and months to come. Time management is the name of the game. I’ll schedule in some time to keep you posted on my progress over the summer. (I’m most likely going to keep the Soccer Mom Sunday posts going along with a weekly update. My Twitter feed, which is available on my blog page, will have daily updates.)

So, if you’ll excuse me… it’s time to get started.
Here’s to finishing what you start, from building a deck to emptying that bottle of wine. I won’t judge.

I happened upon a can of worms…

…and quickly ran to get my can opener.

http://www.star-telegram.com/sports/college/big-12/baylor-bears/article80032437.html

5-cent version: coach who ignored allegations of sexual assault by players fired for ignoring allegations of SEXUAL ASSAULT BY PLAYERS.

This is… just… ugh- I’m speechless.

No, I’m not.

ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!?!? You can’t look up from your playbook for five seconds and see that you have players who feel so entitled to everything that they helped themselves to unwilling women? That it’s not your place to discipline them when you talk a huge game about your team being ‘your boys’? Are you more beholden to the guys who make the books on the weekend or the alumni who buy season tickets than to any woman who is attacked? (Because– no lie– one of the headlines I saw was about the team’s odds for winning the National Championship dropping as as result of this firing. That’s what’s important, after all.)

I just listened to an interview of a World Cup USMNT coach (because, let’s face it, soccer is my wheelhouse) who led a disastrous campaign. In the build-up to the World Cup, he was informed of a player who was up to no good (in more ways than one). Dismissing that player was a factor in subsequent poor performance on the part of the team. But the coach stands by the decision, despite wishing he had never been informed of the misconduct and knowing that he should have been more upfront with team leadership about why the player was dismissed.

So I’ve been thinking about that a bit over the past few days. What is the place of a coach when it comes to player conduct? Is it different based on the institution they represent? Does the coach have an obligation to be transparent about his/her decisions and what factors make up those decisions?

But it goes even deeper than that to me, as a parent. Do I trust the people who are in charge of my sons right now when they are playing a sport? Will I always be able to trust them? And what will I do if I cannot?

Here’s to truth, because it will out, as the old saying goes.

Soccer Mom Sunday #4

“Can I sit with you?”

Look in the stands of most any sport. You see the same thing: one guy in the away team’s jersey, alone in a sea of home team fans. Sometimes he’s even there with his friend who is actually a fan of the home team but took pity on his buddy and got him a seat to the game.

And then there’s soccer.

There’s just something really cool about seeing a stadium filled to the brim with blue and white with the exception of a substantial mass of red and yellow. All together. Singing and cheering when the rest of the place isn’t quite as enthused. And if the away team scores?? Woah. Makes it worth the hours on the bus to and from the game.

In my vast and detailed research for this post (otherwise known as a super-hasty Googling and the Twitter equivalent of interrogation at gunpoint), I looked into how and why away supporter sections are a thing. It would seem that in England, it was a way to keep fights from breaking out in the stands. They’re not the best seats in the house. And it’s downright comical how many security stewards are stationed around them (or better yet, the astounding number of seats blocked out to keep them separate from the home supporters).

The Supporter Group culture is growing in America, and most visible during MLS games with banners, scarves, tailgate parties, and tifos (look it up- it’s a thing of beauty). So when you go to tons of home games together, you stay at the same hotel, and you take a bus to the arena, it would make no sense to sit on the other side of the stadium from fellow supporters.

Why can’t more sports do that? How awesome would it be to have a huge swath of Rangers fans sitting together at a Devils game? What if a whole section of bleachers at Yankee Stadium was clearly set apart for the Red Sox fans? You kinda dropped the ball, other sports.

Play on, everyone. And please, play nice.

Hasty Googling results:
http://forums.bigsoccer.com/threads/seating-for-away-supporters-in-the-epl.1331198/

Away Supporters Restricted in MLS

Twitter Interrogation target:
https://twitter.com/Russ_McKenzie

 

No one “must see” this

NOTE: I found this in my ‘Drafts’ folder and thought I’d publish it.

I honestly lament most things about television these days.

I won’t rehash the many lamentations over reality TV– I’m sure you’ve seen that plenty. When I was a teacher, I encouraged my students to watch real dramas and sitcoms, because they tell stories that are made by a room full of writers, while Reality TV is told by stories created by a room full of editors. But that’s all I’ll say about it. [Editor’s note: I’m teaching now, but TV doesn’t come into our conversations much.]

What I’m talking about is the ridiculousness that gets put on the air these days. Is it just me, or are TV shows still pandering to stereotypes about racial minorities, women, and gays? For example, I tried watching Fran Drescher’s “Happily Divorced” which is based on her own real life experience. Yah–no. It centered around the running gag of, “Really? How did you not know he was gay?” Perhaps that would be because gay stereotypes are not a source of humor?

What also bothers me is the lack of a real start and end to the TV watching seasons. I remember being a kid and buying ONE issue of TV Guide: the one that listed the Primetime TV schedules for the major TV networks. I would look over the list, choose the shows I wanted to watch, clear it with my mom, and make sure my homework was done so that I could watch what I really loved. They all started in early- to mid-September, took a break during the Holidays, came back in January and lasted until late May. I had places to be           over the summer anyway, so TV reruns weren’t my thing (unless they were shows that ran before I was a TV watcher– Remington Steele, It’s a Living, Silver Spoons… If you recognize those titles, you might be old). Now, it takes nearly 2 months for all the shows to premiere,  they take random breaks, air only every other week, get replaced by another show that’s being “tested out,” come back for another couple weeks, and are over before you know it.

By the way, what is up with the random release dates?? “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” is one thing: people who were watching Leno live or DVRing it (like the Hubs and myself) were either up that late anyway, or they were willing to give Jimmy a try, and it didn’t really matter when he started up. It happened to be during the last week of the Olympics, anyway.  But then other shows were premiered during the Olympics, too! Why stay up to see “About a Boy” when that pilot is going to be replayed another time?

I’m looking at the list of TV shows that have been most recently cancelled (to be fair, “About a Boy” is not on the list) and it kills me. People really like these shows! (Nothing I watch has been cancelled so far *knocks wood* but I have been a victim of those Nielsen people in the past.) They have decent ratings, they have good acting, and they’d be even better if they were given a real chance to continue. Many shows now considered classics (MASH, Cheers, Seinfeld) were on the network chopping block after their first season. They’d never make it today.

Here’s to quality television. Maybe we’ll actually have some on the regular.

 

Twitter Cred

As the Hubs could tell you , I spend a lot of time on Twitter.

Like, a lot.

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My HS bestie/sister-in-law prefers Snapchat. I’m forever tagging her in things on Twitter, maybe because I’m trying to convince her to get more into it. She’d probably do the same to me if I signed up for Snapchat…maybe. (She doesn’t need me to be her friend– she has plenty of her own.) But I just love it. It’s fast, it’s witty, it covers all sorts of topics and you can choose your #SomethingTwitter easily (I’m a #SoccerTwitter, #CatholicTwitter and #PoliticsTwitter person myself). I can interact with people I consider celebrities or experts and very often they interact right back. I even have my Twitter feed here on my blog. (NOTE: my last name on my Twitter ID isn’t real. It’s the name of the character I was asked to develop when I was doing Improv for a Renaissance Faire and my officially registered Wench name with the International Wenches Guild. I only say this because I’ve had a couple things mailed to me as “Sylvana Cymballine” and I think it’s funny as hell.)

Last night I joked that I need to monetize my Twitter game, especially the way I use .gifs in my replies. I’m not the only person to do it, mind you; in fact, there may be others who do it even better than me. But I remember when YouTube was created and no one seemed to have imagined how that has been monetized since then. I’ve seen the occasional sponsored ad, the hashtag #ad on a tweet here and there…. but what if I could get a weekly sponsor for my whole feed? Who would take me on? A soccer team? A political website? Cleaning products? (I barely typed that last one with a straight face: No one is looking to me as an example of clean living…)

But it would be pretty cool to get paid for all the time I spend on Twitter. Even though the Hubs doesn’t mind altogether much, he’d be much more amenable to it.

Here’s to finding ways to follow your bliss.

Back in the Saddle

I had to read through some of my old posts to figure out what to put in a new post (something NOT related to soccer for once! I might even skip Soccer Mom Sunday this week).

I realized that I forgot to share some interesting news with you: I got a permanent teaching gig! The school that hired me as a substitute for weeks at a time found themselves in need of a Computer teacher. It’s 2 days a week, and I could honestly use the pay. The kids are good (had to find kids that aren’t), if a little rambunctious at times. I love that they get excited about their typing speed or that they are figuring out how to code. It’s everything I missed about teaching, with some of the things that I didn’t miss (hey– gotta be honest).

Here’s to using the right fingers on the keyboard, making decent slide presentations, and guest blogging on the school website. It’s a technological world out there: be prepared.

Soccer Mom Sundays #3

I did a thing.

A soccer thing.

A few weeks ago, I was on Twitter (like I am, a lot) and saw that there was going to be a panel discussion on the Cultural Resonance of Soccer in America. Sounds fancy, doesn’t it? There were several folks connected to soccer media together on the panel, and it was moderated by a professor of Sports Management at NYU. The discussion was followed by a brief Q&A and the whole thing was streamed on Periscope.

I think I’ve gone into NYC more in the past 6 months than I have in the past 6 years. And all of them have been sports-related. And I’ve really enjoyed every event, so I hopped on a bus to Port Authority and took a subway train to the Village. I got to the city early enough to visit my old college roommate at the school where she works. Roomie and I had an early dinner together, and she walked me to the event before doing her regular commute home.

Soon after I sat down, a few familiar faces appeared– other Red Bulls fans with whom I interact on Twitter. We spent a few minutes chatting before the event began. One of the panelists came over to us to say hello: Scott Sandalow, who works for the New York Red Bulls. I’ve come to learn (shockingly, through Twitter) that Scott is a bit of a connoisseur of all things peanut butter and jelly, so I took it upon myself to provide him with a carrot cake jelly roll that was stuffed with peanut butter and jelly. I think he appreciated the gift…

But I digress…. on to a taste of the actual discussion:

The central question was essentially, “Has soccer arrived in America?” And it seemed to be the answer was “kinda, but we can’t stop now.” Within that question, the panelists discussed the role of social media in the soccer experience and what supporter culture looks like because of millenials. One of the panelists referred to soccer as an ‘alt-sport’ and likened it to ’90s grunge. The same way hard rock was suddenly allowed to be more emotional, sports aren’t just for the big bulky jocks. The discussion also touched on the superiority of the soccer arena experience– which is absolutely true: if you don’t think you like soccer, try going to a game. It just might change your mind.

The event was fantastic. And I was back in Jersey and home by my usual bedtime. Since I’m now saving my pennies to buy a house with the Hubs, I probably won’t be gallivanting to Manhattan for a while. But I have to say this constituted going out with a bang.

Play on, my friends!