Friday, October 06, 2017

It's a Scary, Big World Out There

Looks like I may get to see some of it, too...

Way back when I started this blog, I was a Realtor. Then I sold computers. Then I trained people on how to sell computers. Then I planned all the logistics so others could train people on how to sell computers. Now I manage a global team of people who plan all the logistics so others can train people on how to sell computers.

In a nutshell, that is what I do.

I may, possibly, very likely get to visit some of my team. To be clear, only one person on my team lives within an hour's drive. My team is scattered from the west coast to the east coast of the US, down to Central America, across to the UK, and way over to India. 

I work with people across the globe... US, Latin America, Europe, India, China...

The idea that I could actually meet some of these people face to face is indeed extremely exciting AND scary at the same time...

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Thoughts on the Life of a Youth Athlete

I blogged regularly throughout my son's very young years. And then I stopped. It wasn't even a gradual shut down. One day I was blogging and the next? I just wasn't. I popped in every now and then, usually to write a birthday letter or get my New Year's Resolutions down in print. 

I realized a while ago that something was missing in my life. Namely, the outlet here. A place to spill my guts and thoughts without the threat of jeopardizing some relationships. I'm not kidding when I say that Facebook, Twitter, and really the entire "social" media realm are cesspools of the id. I join in. I'm just as guilty as the next party.

Where was I? Oh yes. Youth athletes. So my son is now fourteen years old. He plays baseball, runs cross country, and is a 3rd degree black belt in taekwondo. 14 year old baseball is quite different than 4 year old t-ball. My dad used to say that one of the hardest parts of his job as a 5A high school baseball coach was making the game fun. Making practices fun. 

If you want to be good or even excel at anything in life, you have to use your skill. You must practice. You must do some rote things over and over and over again. And then do those things some more. It can be boring and monotonous. Now add to that coaches and parents who expect the very best. Who expect serious, "get to work" attitude 100% of the time. 

Baseball has become painful to me. I wear workout clothes to practice so I can get a few miles of walking in while Boy Pop practices. Some other moms do that, too. We are there for 2+ hours, so might as well make good use of that time.

But not everyone goes walking. Dads and some moms sit and watch the entire practice. Sometimes they are talking to one another and socializing, but often they have eyes like a hawk... Watching their player. Listening for critiques or praise from the coaches. Looking for things that they, then can critique or praise on the way home. 

We grew up in "Daddy Ball." If you're not familiar with the term, it means that you are coached by a dad or few. I hate it. Dads with very little to no experience with the sport, teaching your son how to hit, catch, pitch, and throw. Showing favoritism. It's brutal. Our team now has a mix of dads and paid coaches. There's a lot of yelling. There is very little goofing off. 

At the end of the day, they have a goal... They want each player to make it onto a high school team and maybe college. I get it. If that is the goal, then you want to be working with coaches who have that same goal. But it's a lot...

Here's my son's schedule today...
7:10 - Wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, comb hair, get shoes on, grab backpack, and head to the car to drive to school. If he's lucky, he gets a little screen time during all this.
7:45 - Out the door to drive to school
3:45 - Get picked up from school
4:00 - 4:30 - Eat a snack, do some homework
5:00 - Hitting lesson
6:30 - Taekwondo
7:30 - Dinner, shower, more homework
10:15 - Brush teeth and go read
10:45 - Lights out

He's been averaging around one and a half to two hours of homework per night. This is just one day in the life. I don't work nearly as hard as he does! I have a really hard time being hard on him when it comes to extra practice and extra work on sports stuff. The kid has made straight A's now for the 13th consecutive 6-weeks grading period. He's obviously doing something right. Will he be a professional baseball player? I don't know. I don't know if he will play high school ball, to tell you the truth. This year might very well be his last year to play, after playing from the time he was four years old. The thought is simultaneously heartbreaking and a relief. I want him to do what he has a passion for. I want him to have some down time. But most of all, I want him to choose something because HE wants it, not because he thinks we want him to do it.

Right now, I don't know if he wants to play because we want him to play and put pressure on him to do it, or because he actually loves it and has a passion for it. He tells us he wants to and loves it. But is he only telling us what he thinks we want to hear?

This shit is tough, y'all. Sorry for rambling.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Two Posts in One Day!

I vowed after the last neighborhood garage sale I joined that I would prefer to donate my stuff to charity before ever again trying to sell my stuff to greedy thieves...

That being said, I just found out that our next neighborhood garage sale is THIS Saturday. I have recently become overwhelmed by the amount of junk in our home. We moved into a much larger house almost three and a half years ago and have filled every single nook and cranny with so much junk that I can't take it anymore.

Every day, I try to find a few things I can toss out or donate. Every single day. And Every single day, I open cabinets or drawers and want to cry with the mess.

I have found that when the space around me is tidy and neat (and I don't mean hiding behind doors), I am a much calmer and happier individual. Therefore, I have just decreed to my husband that this year, we WILL participate. Now I need to find the time to get cracking and clearing out.

Tap Tap Tap

[Blows dust off this space] Hi! Long time, no blog. I guess Facebook has done a good deal in destroying blogging for me. Actually, Facebook and my iPhone have gone a long way in destroying a lot of things for me... Faith in humanity, love of reading, etc. So late last night, a heavily armed shooter took aim from his 32nd floor window at the Mandalay Bay resort and casino in Las Vegas and started firing, killing 50 and injuring 400+ before taking his own life. What did I see on Facebook first thing? It's time to have a gun control discussion. Never let a good tragedy go to waste, eh? Y'all. Gun control would not have helped. Has anyone even bothered to look at the gun violence statistics? How many of the firearms used in gun violence are owned legally? It's not a gun control issue. It's a 24/7, in-your-face, everyone has an opinion to be shared immediately, fed up, PC-police state issue. It's the fact that we elected someone to the highest office who had the most vitriolic Twitter account in known existence. People are fed the hell up and I'm included. I'm fed up with career politicians. I'm fed up with personal agendas. I'm fed the HELL up with people not taking the running of our country more seriously than the running of their own egos. There is no common sense anymore. Only anger and outrage so blinding that no one is willing to extend a hand to have a conversation about the real threats to our society as a whole, and a media so emboldened and embedded in ratings and advertising dollars that they only pour gasoline on the fire instead of stay unbiased. I'm 43 years old and not going to be silent anymore.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


“Daddy! A Rubik’s Cube DOES help you get girls!” – Joey Daniel, September 23, 2015

Dear Joey,
Tomorrow, you will turn twelve years old. I need to pause here and let that sink in. Twelve. I spent part of the day today finding the past letters I’ve written you. It is easy to get lost in them. In the memories. It is so easy to become wistful and nostalgic, thinking back on the milestones and the lifetime we’ve shared with you up to this point. I used to post these letters to my blog, and go month by month, listing out all the things we did. It is nice to remember.

Each year seems to go by at a faster and faster pace. Maybe it is because we are all getting older. Maybe it is because we are so busy. Maybe it is a combination of both. It hardly seems possible that in a year, you will officially be a teenager.

This last year has probably been your busiest and most challenging year yet, but you managed to handle all the school work and all the extracurricular activities and shine the entire way. Fifth grade had its tough moments for sure. There was a lot of homework, you had multiple teachers, many projects, and even learned firsthand about different methods of conflict resolution. In November, you performed again in the school’s annual program (this year, it was the 80s- Totally O’Rama – and you belted out a line from Livin’ on a Prayer! It was awesome!). You competed in the Science Fair in January and the first elementary academic UIL competition in the spring! You also managed to earn straight A’s yet again to close out your elementary school career.

Let’s talk about baseball for a bit, shall we? You are still on the Round Rock Vipers Select Baseball Team. If my calculations are correct, your team played and practiced together for nine out of the past twelve months. That adds up to a whole lot of baseball! To be honest, you have had some ups and downs. You have gone through a hitting slump or two and have had games where you were just, for lack of a better word, off. You love your team, though. And baby, when you are on? You are ON. I don’t know how you do it, either. You have this drive and perseverance that never ceases to amaze me. You work your way up and out of the rough days and they become fewer and fewer as you get better and better. Your attitude and determination shine through both during the games and during practices. And your perseverance pays off. You did not end the spring season with a hitting slump. Instead, you hit a walk off triple to win one of our World Series games in July! What a moment! And then you got an entire month off only to start again, this time in 12U. Our team has such a good record for the spring season that the powers that be moved us up into a more difficult division. Your team is in development mode this season, and you are getting an opportunity to play some different positions. First base is still your favorite, but you love the outfield and getting those opportunities to make the big plays. You also enjoy pitching, but don’t do it that often. We play our second tournament this weekend. I love to watch you play.

In addition to baseball, you are still lighting it up at Taekwondo. You are actively pursuing your third degree black belt. That belt takes a while. Six mid-term tests, one test for recommended, and one test for decided, in fact. You have successfully passed three of your six midterm tests. I don’t have the opportunity to come watch your classes as much, but I have not missed a test. And every time I see you in your gear or completing one of your complicated forms, I am blown away. You are precise and sharp and have memorized so many moves. You make it look easy when I know it is not. It took hours and hours of practice to get it right.

This year, we also did some traveling and had quite a bit of fun. We went skiing in Beaver Creek in December with your Nana and Granddad. For Christmas, for the first time ever, we stayed at home. Good thing, too, because on Christmas Eve we got a puppy! Our very own little Alaskan Husky. You named her Loki and she is true to her name (the chaos-maker). She is a constant source of entertainment and dog hair. Your father and I also took you to Playa del Carmen for both Spring Break and an end of summer vacation. Spring Break was a little rough. You hurt your knee right before our trip and also got a respiratory virus. The virus wasn’t so hard on you, but then you shared it with me and your father and it took us out. You did get to hang out and just relax and play on your iPad quite a bit that week, though. We also went to League City, TX with the team to play in a baseball tournament and go to a Houston Astros game. That was such a great weekend!

In May, we also started talking about summer vacation plans and ideas. You really, REALLY wanted to go on an RV road trip. Some of your friends have gone on these trips and made them sound like a lot of fun. After some digging on my part, you confessed that they sounded fun because your friends also went to amusement parks and rode roller coasters. Your voice broke a little as you said, “And I’ve never ridden a real roller coaster!” Well, we did something about that! We had a family weekend in San Antonio and you got to bring a friend along. We stayed at the Hyatt Hill Country, and your grandparents and uncle also came! You and Anthony had a blast at the pool and y’all even got to surf! The next day, after a very intense but short rainstorm threatened to ruin our day, we headed to Six Flags Fiesta Texas. We were some of the first people to ride their newest roller coaster, the Batman ride. I believe you were able to get your fill of roller coasters that day.

Baseball pretty much consumed the first 7 weeks of summer, not really leaving much time to plan a family vacation. Your grandparents took you to Universal Orlando in June (during a non-tournament week) and you had an absolutely amazing time! Your Nana hired a guide for one of the days in the park and you got to go to the front of every line. While at the hotel pool one day, you also competed in a hula hoop contest. I believe you came in second place. When July rolled around, we realized that we had not planned anything for just US. After some consideration (and lack of planning time), we decided to have a do-over in Playa. It did not disappoint! It also just so happened that you had friends staying just down the beach! Having someone to hang out with makes all the difference! We did all the usual things, too… Exploring in town, lots of beach time, pool time, and we even did the night time Xplor zip lines.

We got home from Mexico and you had two weeks until middle school started. Middle school. I was a teacher at that school the very first year it opened. It never once crossed my mind so long ago that I would actually have my own child walk through those same doors as a student. Yet here we are. You are a month into school and have straight A’s so far, yet again. You come home from school and go right to work! You’re very busy and you somehow manage to get it all done.

You are such a unique young man. You are an aspiring YouTube sensation. You could spend hours recording Minecraft sessions (and sometimes do just that because everyone needs a little downtime). You are recently obsessed with Rubik's Cubes and can shock and amaze people with how quickly you can solve the two by two. You love hanging out with your friends when you get a chance, which admittedly is not often. You also just started cotillion classes very much against your will. You fought it tooth and nail, actually. Still, you put on dress pants, dress shoes, and a button-down shirt and went. An hour and a half later, we picked you up and you said you had an awesome time.
We rang in your Birthday Week with a Van Halen concert and we will be ending it with your first ever school dance, a party, and some baseball. I cannot wait to see what this year will bring for you!

Love, Mom(my) and Dad(dy)