Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Cards

I love this time of year and really hate the fact that it has to be stressful. It all makes me so cynical, and I don't want to be cynical. Last year for a number of reasons I didn't send out postcards, and I vowed to get it done this year. Of course, since Christmas seemed to come out of nowhere (Christmas does kind of come out of nowhere when you really get down to it), I am way behind the curve. That means I'm a little stressed out about something I'm only doing because I enjoy it. How does life get to be so paradoxical?

Whatever be the case, like all things in life, whining about it doesn't make it happen. I'm in the process of getting it done and I should be able to pull it off, but the clock is ticking, and Christmas is on the horizon. Life would be so much simpler if I didn't have all those "other" things to deal with, not that I'm whining, of course.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Anastasia Wahalantantiri for the pic.

Christmas Tree

I realize it's Christmas Eve and this post is a little late, I've been swamped and little overwhelmed, but no whining, right? For the record, we got our tree about a week and a half ago.

This was a little on the late side, and there was some question as to whether or not we were going to pull it off. We had the usual busy weekend with hockey and traveling, but at some point during the prior week we had decided the time had come. We agreed on a day and went and did it.

Christmas really seemed to sneak up on us this year, because we are way behind the curve on a lot of things, including our tree. When we arrived at our usual tree vendor, the guy was sold out. Actually, he had two trees left flanking his big "Sold Out" sign. We were surprised, to say the least, but the two trees left were pretty nice, albeit small. We ended up choosing one and were happy with our selection, and he was happy to sell the last of his trees. He mentioned he had done an extra load this year and they sold out quickly. I noticed that there were plenty of trees leading up to the weekend, and then almost overnight, they were all gone.

We brought the tree home, R brought down the decorations, and the kids powered through getting the tree all set up. They did a beautiful job, and now the holiday spirit is finally starting to come to life, at least for me. Somehow I just wasn't feeling it until the tree went up.

Oh well, that's the holidays for you. You just never know what's in store. At least we're all set on the tree front.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Vivienne Gucwa or the pic.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Back Again

So how is this for bad luck? I was walking out to the car two days ago and slipped on the steps and landed on my back. Not just on my back, however - I landed in a way so that my back hit the corner of the step, and believe me when I tell you, it was a free fall. Talk about brutal. I was holding a sandwich, water, and cup of coffee, and just like you'd see in a movie, my feet came out from under me and I slammed the ground, with my food flying off in all directions.

I was laying in the snow in extreme pain, wondering if I'd broken something, and managed to get on my feet and stumble back into the house. The bummer was that I was on my way into work, so I had to get a grip and drive over to the big city, and then run practice at the arena. This was my turn to come up with the practice plan and run the show, so I couldn't bail out. To add to the misery, two of the other coaches couldn't make it, and the third almost didn't show up, though he did make it as he said he would. Thanks to DW for that one.

I ended up skating with the players but suffice it to say that I was morbidly afraid of falling on the ice, which is a pretty realistic possibility given the nature of the game. Some of the players rallied and said they'd help run the practice, which was nice of them, and once DW showed up, my spirits lifted. I made it through and so far I've been reasonably functional, though in constant pain. Having hurt my back in the past, I was not looking forward to dealing with life with more back pain, but so far I've managed. Hopefully things will only get better from here.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Ms Kat for the pic.

The Search Continues

A weekend or two back we bore down and addressed several winter gear needs that I had failed to fulfill over the summer. Granted, I was looking for bargains, which always seems to complicate things. Had I been willing to pay top dollar for everything, then all of my problems would have been solved. The kids had several winter gear needs, some of them essential, others not so much. Then again, the fun ones are essential in their eyes, right?

A needed a new winter clothes, she'd outgrown her old stuff, and being the hipster that she is, certain elements of style needed to be considered, which I totally get. The only thing is, her tastes for a particular item ran into the realm of being pricier than I was willing to entertain. It's not easy being a hipster. I realize there are people who don't blink an eye at paying $400 for a jacket, but I am not such a person, so the search has been a drawn out process. She also needed new snow pants, ski boots, as well as Nordic and Alpine skis. Is that crazy, or what?

N is growing, as well. I needed to find him new snowboard boots (not that he's ever snowboarded, but this will be the year), skis, and Nordic boots. Over the summer I managed to score a new winter coat and skis, so he's set in those areas. With this in mind, we set out on a quest, managing to avoid Black Friday madness, and succeeded in answering several needs over the past few days. I think the only thing left to get is Nordic boots for A. We even managed to score a snowboard jacket for her, which for the record, we had to buy new because you just can't find bionic bargains for really stylish and hip clothes. Kind of a bummer, but what are you going to do? Kids need to look good.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Jeffrey Beall for the pic.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Cold Outside

We've been getting the kind of weather lately that on the one hand is not unusual, but on the other, sort of makes you scratch your head. One would expect cold temps during this time of year, but it has been really cold, I'm talking arctic tundra cold. Definitely too cold for this time of year, save it for February. We also got some early snow, which was nice, but then it warmed up, rained, then froze again, which is a nightmare combination. Toss in some frozen rain, and you are pretty much homebound for the duration. Of course, I was busy with hockey all weekend so I couldn't deal with domestic duties, and am now suffering because of it.

Even if you aren't going anywhere in your car, there are certain things that need snow-clearing around the house, especially when you heat with wood. The path leading to the wood and compost bin get ice and chunky, making it hard to push a wheelbarrow full of wood through, so after everything melted and froze again, I had to go through and break up the ice with a shovel then clear the chunks. Even then it's difficult to get everything. You really have to get on it when it first falls and is soft. Oh well, nobody said life in New England was easy.

When the rains came and turned our driveway into slush, it made driving a little tricky, and I got stuck in the muck. I was leaving to meet A at the Dartmouth hockey game and I tried to drive over the small embankment at the end of the road and slid backward. When I tried to get out of that, I kept sliding back, making it worse. I ended up shoveling the slush away and then laying down sand in front of the tires, which BTW were not snow tires. Our neighbor M was walking by and offered to help, and at some point R realized I hadn't made it out and she, too came out to help. With two of us pushing and R at the wheel, we managed to get on the road, which was all I needed. I got the game really late, but it was nice seeing A hanging with her friends. I have to confess, I wasn't as enthralled with the Dartmouth game and could be in the throes of major hockey fatigue.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Doug Brown for the pic.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Doing the Right Thing

While I'm not a believer in karma, I do think we've experienced an interesting turn of events by doing the right thing. Over the past year or so we've been pretty into disc golf, and one of the unfortunate consequences of throwing a frisbee disc in a heavily wooded or bushy area is that they often get lost. We've yet to lose a disc, though we've spent many hours searching and finding them. For some people, taking that much time to find it isn't an option, and they end up going home without their discs. We've discovered a few, and they're kind of fun to find.

Of course, the right thing to do is return them. Almost all of them have a name and phone number written on the bottom, so after we'd gathered about a half of a dozen of them, we decided it was time to make the calls. Interestingly enough, we called all of them repeatedly, and only one person returned our call. He lived nearby and appreciated us contacting him. He gave us his address but indicated that if he didn't get it back, it was not a big deal. We are frequently in his neck of the woods, so I went by there and left it on his porch.

As for the others, still no word, which I find strange. Whatever be the case, we're still in possession of the discs, so our collection, or should I say N's collection, is pretty nice. Even with the newfound discs, he favors the ones he got for his birthday. It's good to have backups since, as every disc golfer knows, those things get lost all the time.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Humboldt State University for the pic.

Weekend in Springfield

Last weekend we yet another hockey-filled excursion, the second weekend in a row. Now I know hockey on the weekends is a normal thing for us, but between two kids playing and two consecutive tournaments, it gets crazy, especially when it involves overnight stays. We traveled to Springfield MA to play in N's tournament, which required a two night stay at a budget motel, which for the record was a complete disappointment because their pool was closed. How's that for an unfortunate coincidence? We travel to Ohio and the pool is closed, then we travel to Massachusetts and the pool is closed. Bummer. It just wasn't meant to be.

The tournament was fun, with all the socializing and of course, hockey. N had a blast, how could he not? Staying at a hotel with 15 of this friends, eating out every meal and getting waffles for breakfast every morning is living the good life.

I enjoy the company of the other parents, they're all very nice people, but I do find big group events to be exhausting and I always end up spending more money than I want to on dinner. It happened both nights, though one night was due to bad planning. You'd think I'd have learned the drill by now. For whatever reason, N's game was the very last game of the tournament, so we had to stay until Sunday night at 5:00PM, then drive home. The drive itself was not that bad, but it was a taxing weekend, and long drives at night when you're tired can be challenging.

It's always nice to get home, and I, for one, am looking forward to a little break from hockey, which of course I will not get. Oh well, such is the life of a hockey parent.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Bruce McKay for the pic.