When you're a 40 something single mother of a teen with lots of ambition, you find yourself in all kinds of interesting adventures and situations. Come back to laugh at us any time you feel the need, heaven knows where we'll be doing what next. Here you can expect a few words, a lot of images and hopefully ideas on what you can do for your next adventure.

If you're looking for something specific that we've done or a place that we've been, use the Search Box feature to search our blog.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The tribulations of a first time soccer coach

I signed my son up for soccer this fall knowing that it keeps him healthy, tired and out of trouble. It's also a good chance for him to hang with his friends, make new ones and to get into the community. This is his third year playing for our local recreation department.



Monkey scores a goal in last year's season - I haven't had a chance to get pics this year.... yet.

I received a somewhat desperate call in early September from the rec department manager asking if I would coach the monkey's team. Once I heard some of the player's names and realized I knew over half the team I readily agreed to take the position. Mind you - I know nothing of coaching a team of my own (but I was team mom for baseball) and didn't play soccer in school (I played field hockey instead) so I'm winging this for sure. I've watched other parents take on the responsibility and thought that it didn't look all that bad.

Holy crap - what was I thinking?

We played a double-header yesterday morning and 8 of the 10 children showed up for the first game (we play 6 children on the field - 3 offense, 2 defense and the goalkeeper) so I had two subs, which was better than last week's game where we only had one. The opposing coach introduced himself as 'Tim' and we talked about who would play what role in the game - he took referee and I took timekeep. Note to self - be careful when the opposing team offers to take the ref role right away.

Tim turned out to be one of those coaches who doesn't like his team beaten up by anyone but himself and wants his team to win, win, WIN. He called every push, shove, trip and bump by my boys - every one was unintentional. His team however was allowed to basically do whatever it took. My kids know how to play the game so I'm teaching them basic skills - stay in your position, don't cross in front of the net with the ball, defensive play - and they did exactly what they needed to and played a very good game - I was proud. I am very verbal while they play, but it's not obnoxious. He was literally yelling at his kids and his assistant coaches and so help me, if he had raised his voice at me he was all done. He screamed at his assistant at one point and told him that he wasn't keeping up with subs and to do a better job. Mind you - his assistant looked like his 10 year old son. I had a parent come to me and rant about how she didn't like him yelling at her kid and I told her I'd talk to him but it's a good thing that didn't happen - I'm not sure how I would have handled it. We tied 2-2 and as he rounded his kids up he was chastising them for not hustling to make that last goal, while I was praising my boys for hanging in there and playing a great game. They did, I was proud. We shook hands and I checked the schedule to make sure we weren't playing THEM again.

We had an hour overlay between games so I got my chair and plunked down to watch the 'in between' game. The team all sat with me - which I thought was adorable - and they took turns sharing their Gameboys/DS's and stories. I turned to them and said "make sure your parents know where you are so they don't worry" and two of them piped up and said "Oh, they left and said they would be right back - they had to blah blah blah". Oh sweet, now I'm a babysitter too! I had brought extra water and a few snacks knowing that someone would be hungry, and sure enough the next thing I hear is "I'm starving / I'm thirsty". "Did mom/dad bring anything for your to eat/drink?" "Nope". I handed out the goodies, it's obvious that I'm a mom.

Game two was much better coach-wise, it was a sister team to ours from our rec department. The young man coaching that team helps out our after-care program and is really, really nice. I lost my two subs and only had the 6 players AND I was ref for this game (only one with a whistle) so I was juggling trying to make sure my boys weren't going to pass out on the field. When they looked tired I moved them back to defense - goalkeep if they look really exhausted - then move my defense up to offense to wear them out for a few minutes. I just rotate them out and they all work really hard no matter where I put them. By the middle of this game, they were just dragging themselves around the field. The other coach suggested we shorten the game up by ten minutes and I almost hugged him!

We finished the game with a score of 2-1, it was hard fought and our first real loss and the boys took it hard (current standings - 1 win, 1 tie, 1 loss). I gave them the pep talk and reminded them that it had been a long hard morning but that I was so proud of how well they played. And I am. Those kids are fantastic and I really have alot of potential high school athletes playing for me right now. They've already asked if I'm helping with baseball in the spring and if I'm coaching next year, I must be doing something right.

Let me tell you folks - this coaching thing needs to have a few clauses with it:
  • You will be a coach and teach them how to play the game
  • You will learn how to be a referee
  • You will learn how to be a timekeeper
  • You will learn how to rotate 10 kids through all the positions and have them play 50% of the game in between play stops
  • You will learn how to ignore the crying, whining and plea-barganing of kids trying to play the position they want to play, not the one you choose for them
  • You will learn how to ignore the crying, whining and yelling by the parents of your team during the game and when they think their child is being treated unfairly
  • You will be a ringleader and try to keep the circus under control
  • You will be a refridgerator and keep them hydrated and fed
  • You will be a babysitter because some parents are too busy to hang around
  • You will be a registered RN by the time you're done evaluating everyone's bumps, scrapes and bruises
  • You will be exhausted at the end of every practice and game from thinking, running and yelling
  • You will be proud of your little brood no matter what the outcome is
  • You will be respected by those little munchkins, no matter what they say or do.
When I think about it, I probably will do it again next year. Call me crazy, but it sure beats hanging on the sidelines gossiping with the other parents or trying to make nice.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Adding to the park pass - Two Lights and Crescent Beach State Parks

In an attempt to try to get my money's worth out of the Maien State Park Pass I purchased earlier this spring, the monkey and I headed out on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon in September on a mission. First stop was Two Lights State Park. I laughed as we drove through the entrance and no one was manning the booth, but a green collection can was set up with the list of fees: $1.50 per person but with a pass - free. I drove on through and thought to myself 'only in Maine would we set up a green collection can and expect people to use it'.

We started off by playing on the playground (it's a kid thing) then headed down one of the million paths they have snaking throughout the park. First thing monkey found were the remains of the Work War II battery bunker, rusted and decomposing in the salt air the doorways are locked with no admittance. He was afraid to walk right up to the bunker, making me go first in case there might be something 'wrong'. We peered through the crack and were met with cold, damp smelling air. It was yucky, as the monkey put it.
From there we moved along the trail to the open, rugged coastline. We found an area where we could traverse down to a nice, flat area (without my fear of the monkey falling down!) and we made camp to watch the waves crashing along the rocks. It was interim tide, on it's way in, so the water was slowing moving it's way towards us making each wave crash harder and larger, the salt spray lingering in the air.
Monkey squints in the late day sun
He thinks he's found something in the rocks...
lookout!
We have to have one from each place we go!
The surf was fantastic!
I love this...
We spent a few hours at Two Lights enjoying the scenery and walking the trails, then decided to stroll Crescent Beach, which is right around the corner. Again, my State Park pass got us in the gate for which there was no guard - just another green can. We parked in the pretty much empty parking lot and high-tailed it for the beach. First we walked toward the Scarborough end, navigating our way through the seaweed, small polished pebbles and shore birds that little beach is famous for. I made monkey promise not to get wet or all sandy (he was in regular shorts and a short sleeved shirt) but within the first 5 minutes he was soaked.
Once we got to the rocks, we turned and headed back toward the Cape Elizabeth end of the beach. As we passed the main entrance the beach flattened out and was more sand than jetsom and rocks. Monkey found a small football in what little debris there was and used that to help him along up the beach after I forced him to stay out of the water to dry off some. This only created a sandy mess, which I need not elaborate more on since I'm sure you can visualize on your own. We walked up past the Inn by the Sea, which was about to host a wedding right there in the sand. I hurried the monkey along, thinking they surely didn't need him in the background of their nuptial photographs!
Crescent Beach walkway
Chasing the gulls..
I love shorebirds
Did I expect anything different?

Needless to say, it was a great afternoon that caused my housework, but not the two of us, to suffer tremendously. Considering it was the off season, the prices were reduced so in all between the two trysts it added $6.00 to my Park Pass total, bringing it up to $32.50 - half of what I paid for it. I still say if the summer hadn't been as rainy, I would have far surpassed that. Besides, we need to hike up Bradbury Mountian still - that will add more to it. As such, I believe I will renew my pass for next year. I think it's worth it.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

News laws list in Maine - Boston.com

News laws list in Maine - Boston.com

Posted using ShareThis

Some funny, some not, some sad. It's a rainy Saturday and I found these interesting.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Friendship

"Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It's not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything." ~ Muhammad Ali


"What I expect from my male friends is that they are polite and clean. What I expect from my female friends is unconditional love, the ability to finish my sentences for me when I am sobbing, a complete and total willingness to pour out their hearts to me, and the ability to tell me why the meat thermometer isn't supposed to touch the bone."
~ Anna Quindlen


"Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common demoninator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh." ~ W. H. Auden

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Thoughts of fall

With the onslaught of cool evening weather, it’s obvious that fall is right around the corner. It seems like just a week ago we hit 90-something degrees and were all dying of the heat. It’s Maine, we could very easily have a few more scorchers but for the most part I believe we’re toast. The official date/timestamp is on the 22nd at 5:20 pm, but it feels like it’s already here.

I noticed the sign at Randall’s Orchard had changed to ‘Open’, which means that freshly picked, bright red juicy apple time is close by. I took the kiddie pool down yesterday knowing that it just won’t be used anymore, it was a little on the green side anyway. Leaves are already starting their annual vibrant display of color and the acorns are sacrificing themselves to the squirrels, throwing themselves from the trees. The birds are cleaning out my feeders faster than I can fill them. My house is a perpetual hairball, thanks to my shedding horse of a dog. Baseball is turning to football, soccer starts this week and tickets to the Red Claws are on sale. My lawn has stopped growing two inches a week, I still don’t ‘have’ to mow but could if I felt up to it. Allergies are running rampant in my house and tissues are flying.

Fall is definitely in the air.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sea Dogs in September - Field of Dreams


I bought my tickets months ago - in May to be exact. The Portland Sea Dogs vs. the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. I got tickets for Section 502, row A, seats 9, 10 and 11. For those of you unaware of where those tickets are, they are the equivalent to Boston's Green monster but sitting in right field instead of left. It provides a set of seats high above the field, right next to the Dog's bullpen, directly above the Dog's locker room and within full view of everything. I pick row A because... well.... it's special. That row of seats sits right on the wall and if you lean over, you look straight down on the field. I bought those same tickets for my birthday last spring and will never go back to general seating. I think the pictures will explain why.

My seat


In heaven
 Slugger racing with kids
The weather was warm today - warmer than I had thought it was going to be - and the sun was bright and beautiful. I brought the monkey and his little buddy along for the ride and we started off with popcorn, a seadog biscuit and a few drinks. We were plenty early, an hour to be exact. That time just melts away as you start to absorb everything going on around you. The boys were in awe as they watched the players come out on the field to warm up and stretch and goof off. After warmups were done, Yamaico Navarro tossed a practice ball up to the monkey. He was beside himself with glee and giggled like a schoolgirl. Today's theme for the ballpark was 'Field of Dreams' and they had brilliantly placed a row of cornstalks in center field and when it came time to announce the team, they came out just as the ball players had in the movie - it was really cool. They wore replicas of the jerseys worn by the Portland Eskimos in the 1920's.
Field of Dreams or Children of the Corn?
See the man in the middle? That's Yamaico Navarro holding the ball he tossed up to the Monkey!
Luis Exposito - #23
Starting pitcher Ryne Lawson, #34
It was officially fan appreciation day so the players entered the stands to thank us for our support throughout the year. We were lucky enough to have Lars Anderson - a 21 year old protege that was brought in to be the next big Sox snag - to come and visit our section. The boys were nervous to have him near them, it was adorable to watch. I managed to snap a picture of the boys with Lars, but of course, blinkage. We did better when Slugger came around, we love Slugger!


Lars Anderson
Blinkers!
We ♥ Slugger
The game started and was a slow starter with the first few innings ending quickly. Then the Cats snagged a two run home run with a high riser that came right at us. The ball came up and over our wall, beamed the galvenized steps behind us and popped right back over our heads and back out on the field. I laughed, I had a glove and could have caught it but had a 'duh' moment. The Dogs answered back with a bark of their own, but the game ended on a bad note with the Fisher Cats taking the Dogs 8-3. The boys didn't care, they had a great day. The children were allowed to go and run the bases at the end of the game, Monkey was interested but the Bubster wasn't. I took their picture under the scoreboard and we ambled on out of there and headed for the homestead.
The Bullpen
Can't go to a game without getting a biscuit!
Watching the pitching squad
So proud of themselves
On the field under the scoreboard. Do they look tired to you?
A little sunburnt and very tired, I will admit that it was a fantastic day. Tickets for 2010 go on sale November 7th, I think I need to start saving some money now to make sure I get our favorite seats.

Labor Day photo shoots

Being a photographer is a pretty cool job.

Yesterday was busy but fun! I started my day going to Erin's to take pictures of her daughters and a few family shots as well. Her oldest is around two and let me tell you, she's all of two. She copped an attitude and that was just about the end of that. I did get some great shots though, was worth it for me!

(in this pic, she's throwing her lolipop stick in anger ♥)

So my morning went quickly, and I headed to visit Trevor for his senior portraits. He's a handsome young man with a nice, bright smile. I was in and out of there in 1/2 an hour, and got some great shots!

I love my job. I think it's great that I get to do something I enjoy so much and I enjoy meeting new people and making them look good!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Recipe of the week - September 2 - SBSPS

It's almost fall, and I'm really looking forward to cooking up some yummy heart warming comfort food. Instead of cooking (because it's too early), I'll write up the recipes instead! Enjoy my Recipe of the Week:

SBSPS (Sausage Beans Spinach Pasta stew)

2 tsp Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion, chopped
2 stalks Celery, chopped
2 cloves Garlic
1 lb Turkey Sausage, sliced or crumbled (be brave and go for the hot sausage!)
2 14.5 oz cans Chicken Broth + 2 cans water
28 oz Crushed Tomatoes with juice
30 oz Canneli or Light Red Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp Salt
1/4 Pepper
1 tbsp Dried Basil
1 tsp All Purpose Seasoning (like Mrs. Dash)
1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1 bag Frozen Spinach

2 cups Hearty dry pasta, like Medium Shells
Grated parmesan or romano cheese

In a large pot or dutch oven, cook the onion, celery and garlic in oil until softened, about 4 minutes. Add sausage, saute until cooked through. Add broth and water, tomatoes with juice and drained, rinsed beans. Add salt, pepper, all purpose seasoning and crushed red pepper then simmer 20 minutes. Add frozen spinach and simmer 20 minutes more or until almost boiling. Add pasta, stir well then cover and let simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water if needed. Turn off burner and let stand 15 minutes. Serve with grated cheese on top. No calories, all comfort.

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