Tuesday, February 27, 2007

JI Basketball News

The City of Charleston's Youth Basketball Season ends with a STING!!!

Mary began playing basketball on a City of Charleston team since the age of six. This year her team was "The Sting" and they came in first place with a 10-0 record. Not bad considering the team only has 6 players and the league plays 3 on 3. The coaches went out of their way to make certain that skill levels and age groups were evenly divided so that everyone gets the opportunity to improve their skills.

The biggest problem in Charleston Youth Sports is getting girls interested in sports. The second biggest problem is getting parents to participate. Many of the coaches become coaches out of necessity. Most of the coaches move up and around the leagues with their children. Mary's coach handled three teams himself. How admirable considering the enormous amount of time he gives for these kids. Does he get a break now? No way! Softball combines begin tonight.

Mary finding a way to get by.....

The Generals charge through the seen Victorious!!

Miles began his basketball career at the age of five. Admittedly, he was a little to young for the sport then. Much to my chagrin, many of the other parents looked on him as comic relief. Yes, he really climbed the back wall during a game, and the other kids mimicked him and he could provoke an on court dog pile. One time a young referee carried him down the court to get him in position more quickly - after which he purposely modified his antics to get that repeated. His favorite thing was to pull his shorts up past his underwear and spin in circles until he would fall down.

Thankfully he is older and clowns around much less. He does like to be the one with the ball as opposed to the alternative.

One thing I do like about the younger leagues as that when one team scores, both teams score. This is supposed to keep the competitive spirit down so the kids can have fun while they learn the game. Secretly, though, all the kids are keeping score over who made which baskets.

As soon as it comes down, that ball is mine!

Did someone say a trophy party?!

Mary on Mary

Mary just completed her report on Mary Harris "Mother" Jones. Mother Jones was initially chosen because Mary found her name while skimming through the index of her social studies book for an idea. She liked the fact that Mother Jones referred to herself as a hell raiser. Mary's teacher confided that this was the first time any student has chosen Mother Jones as a famous American topic.

Along with the written and oral report, Mary had to depict her famous American using a paper doll. I was reading through her note cards and noticed that she mentioned that her doll is how she imagined Mother Jones looked in her 40's when she began wearing velvet and lace. I asked whether the doll really looked like any woman in her 40's. Mary replied, "Sure, why not?" I then asked her whether the doll looked older or younger than her teacher and suggested that her oral grade would be much improved if she aged the doll by another 20 years.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ben Franklin by Miles

Both of my children have famous American Projects due this month, which partially involved making paper doll depictions. My six year old decided his project would be on Ben Franklin. He has to write a short paper, read it out loud to the class, and present his doll.

What you can't see is that there is more clay than just the hands, feet and nose. My son decided it would be more interesting to have a clay body to fill out the clothes. Only the face was left from this folly. The result is his doll does not lay flat. It's hard to tell in this photo until you notice that the hands do cast a shadow.

Next, as soon as she finishes, will be Mary on Mary Harris Jones. My daughter is very proud of this choice and she seems to be developing quite an activist spirit.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

On Being Alive & Falling in Love

Tonight I went to happy hour with four coworkers & Mom after work. A few weeks ago my office of twelve decided that we would meet together regularly on Thursdays. It's not required, just a time to get to know one another informally. Anyone can join us, so Mom eagerly looks forward to Thursdays so that she can have an hour or two with me to herself. We seem to migrate toward Fatz in North Charleston where Pat, the bartender, can be heavy handed with his pours He is also friendly, easy to talk to, and is ready to assist any whim of trivia. Mom said if she were just forty years younger she would be all over him.....good gracious!

Anyway, tonight I was talking to a colleague who is one of two cancer survivors in the office. He was telling me about how he constantly hears people moaning and groaning about trivial matters. He is good with pep talks and turning negative moods around. His approach is that life is hard, and he feels that what irks many people is irrelevant when you look at the full spectrum of possibility. If you wake up alive, it is a good day.

Yeah, I know there are bad things out in the world. If it bothers you enough to complain, then act! If you do not like the politics of the day, then vote, get involved, run for office, but don't complain and do nothing. OK, I have already gotten WAYYY off my intent in writing this post. The intent is I am alive. It is a good day. In general I am a positive thinking person. Talking to another with a positive attitude made me consider everything I have for which I am very thankful.

In a nutshell I am a positive person because I have the most wonderful family in the whole world. On a daily basis I vividly recall the summer I fell in love with Papa Bear. I worked with him for a year at the Mills House before we dated. He ran the Best Friend Lounge and I handled the Front Desk and weekend Night Audit. We both worked late and were serenaded most nights by Carroll Brown.

I remember our first date was the summer of 1992. We met at AC's after work, and then went to Frankie's diner. It was the first time I had ever had a beer with French toast. I remember receiving a kiss as a test to see if I was OK to drive. The second date was over a bottle of champagne that we shared while watching the sunrise at Diago Park on Folly Beach. Diago Park is near the old Coast Guard Station...where recent complaints of erosion have been made by new residents who are in denial about what beaches do....prior to their building a house past the dunes, there was a sign in the parking lot leading to their house that once read "Diagonal Parking". For years this sign was faded and torn in half leaving only the words "Diago Park".

Oour third date that continues to make me smile. We met at Marianne's and spent hours staring into each others eyes while talking silly love struck talk where pasts, present and futures merged together in a queasy blur. We moved over to the Best Friend Lounge to listen to Carroll and ignored all of the raised eyebrows of wonder regarding the hows and whys of our being there together. Then we walked and walked all over downtown. We admired and critiqued the window displays of every antique and art dealer we passed. When we turned onto King Street, I dragged him giggling (err, I was giggling) over to the old Woolworth's building to show him my brick. Back in the mid-80's, Mom bought me a brick for Christmas. It has my name on it and was on a far end lined up with the second "W" in Woolworth....when Woolworth's was still there. Because it was on an end where tires often run over it, the top surface was becoming smooth. You could still just make out my name. Papa Bear got down on his knees and kissed that brick. OMG! How can you not love someone who kisses your brick?

The only time he ever topped this was about five months before we were married. He stopped and bought me flowers from one of the lady's near the market. He asked her if a love spell could be put on those flowers. The flower lady laid hands and words on those flowers, then looked at him real serious like and told him to be careful - for whoever he gives those flowers to would have no choice but to love him forever. I tell you that I love Papa Bear because he is the most wonderful, handsome and considerate man I have ever met - now you can believe it is a magical love spell if you want. I would stake that it is partially the magic of falling in love in Charleston and partially a sense of finding exactly that person you never imagined you'd find.