Friday, December 28, 2012

Play like a girl?

After a week of experiencing an extreme case of nerves and agonizing cuts, my son made his high school’s sophomore basketball team last November. It was a great accomplishment. However, we have quickly learned that being on the team has its share of disappointments as well.  My son is incredibly nice and very obedient. And those traits don’t mix well with high school hoops. My son believes that everyone should play by the rules. I agree with him. Unfortunately, holding jerseys, standing on another player’s foot, staring down a player you have knocked to the ground, throwing elbows, pushing and shoving when the official isn’t looking, and taking any advantage over another player seems to be necessary to secure a win. And the objective isn’t just to win but to demoralize your opponent in the process.

I love the game of basketball, and I love to watch my son play, but I realize that in order for him to play at this level, he might have to change who he is, and I don’t think that is who I want him to be. His coach says that he needs to toughen up. He is probably right. Staring down a player he has knocked down is not in my son’s nature. He would prefer offering a hand to help him up. The concept of holding another player’s jersey when it is against the rules goes against my son’s moral compass. If cheating is part of the game, I am not so sure I want my son to be comfortable with that aspect. Yes, there are a lot of good men who understand it is part of the game to play a certain way on the court and then choose complete integrity in all other aspects of their life. For some – like Tiger Woods – the line becomes blurred and cheating – as long as you don’t get caught – becomes acceptable no matter the venue. 

And then there is all the swearing and yelling from his coaches and mentors. I think that I might have yelled at my son possibly twice in his lifetime. And I have never uttered a swear word at him. I am not a saint. My children have heard me yell. However, this fine young man simply chooses to do the right things – no yelling is ever required. It breaks my heart to see his dejected face after his coach has publicly humiliated him. In my experience with him, a simple pointing out of his mistake is really the only correction my son needs to do things differently in the future, but I think his coaches must assume the yelling will add to his toughening process. They are probably right. I just worry that this type of development will change the kind, sweet, honest, and compassionate son whom I absolutely adore. And then again, he may not change and our basketball journey may simply come to a quick end. And quite frankly, if I have to lose his goodness to toughen him up, I will gladly cheer for him at a swim meet instead.

In a world filled with self-absorbed, take advantage any way you can, tough and hardened men, a kind, honest, thoughtful, and compassionate young man is indeed a rarity. It seems rather odd – and incredibly foolish – that we would want to change him to be like everyone else simply to be successful at a possibly inconsequential and frivolous game. It would make more sense to change the way sports are played instead. But I think I would definitely be called a “girl” or probably worse for expressing that particular sentiment.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Oh, Baby!

While recently stumping for President Obama, Bill Clinton announced his plans for celebrating his 37th wedding anniversary and received a round of enthusiastic applause from the audience. With his infidelity being so rampant in his marriage, should he really be receiving any credit for the longevity of the union? 

Monica Lewinsky is finally writing a book about the affair. I always found it odd that she had not cashed in on that experience earlier. Maybe she truly did want to put it all behind her, but the public would not let her. I guess no matter what her accomplishments, she will always be known as “that woman.”

Poor Hillary looks exhausted. It could be the anticipation of the tell-all book, her hectic schedule as Secretary of State, or simply being married to Bill. With all she has been through, I would think a divorce would give her more peace and respite than retirement. 

With her recent trip to the Middle East, it seems Kim Kardashian is hoping to be considered to replace Mrs. Clinton. Maybe she actually believes the rumors that President Obama is going Hollywood. And for her boyfriend Kanye – with all his people skills – she probably believes he is being considered as the new CIA Director. Yes, their egos are that big.

It seems the rumors of a love baby between Kimye are not true just yet. But now that there is a royal baby in the near future, I am sure they won’t want Will and Kate getting all the attention. 

Tears of joy from the commoners could be seen all throughout England with the announcement of Kate’s much anticipated pregnancy. And now the baby bump watching begins. Oh, poor Kate. She thought the topless photographs were intrusive. I think she will be amazed at the angles in which the paparazzi will photograph her expanding tummy. 

As much as I hate the term, I wish that I had not only invented but trademarked “baby bump.” If I only had a nickel for every time it was said during Beyonce’s pregnancy, I could pay off the national debt. Well, I guess there are worse things. They could be saying something silly like infantile incubation increase. Now, doesn’t that just immediately make you feel better about hearing baby bump for the next 9 months?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Must Have Items!

The holiday give me buzz now begins even before the giving of thanks ends. It starts earlier every year. Retailers can no longer wait until Friday at 5am to start collecting our Christmas cash and are now open on Thanksgiving. Some are incredibly thoughtful and do not open their doors until midnight. How kind of them to wait. I am sure their employees appreciate that gesture. I guess a big chunk of the blame has to be placed on the consumer who willingly spends their day of thanks strategically planning their score of the must have items. Gratitude, thoughtfulness, and family are thrown aside for the selfish pursuit of the latest and greatest gadgets at the lowest price of the season.

What are your “must have” items? There might have been a time in my life when it included the state of the art video game Pong or Barry Manilow’s album featuring the hit song Mandy – and now you know how old I am – but thankfully I have grown up. My wish list can’t be purchased. Some of it may not even be attainable but that doesn’t stop it from being included in my daily prayers. 

First on my list would be to open my door and find my prodigal had returned home. 

I would want for the health of my dad – who loves to piddle in his yard – to be restored and for him to be able to enjoy cutting his lawn again.

For my son whose “happily ever after” ended heartbreakingly, I would want him to be able to trust when love came knocking at his door again. 

For my generous and giving daughter who is just the cutest mom to my adorable grandson, I wish for her to be blessed with another child. (And for the record, her hubby is a pretty cute dad as well!) 

I would love for my daughter who would never ever want to hurt anyone’s feelings to find a mate that would deserve her kindness – without ever having to go on another blind date!

For my 6’2” son who would love to grow to be 6’8” and have a career in the NBA, I hope he will be perfectly content with the life God wants him to have.

For those whose list include a big screen television or the iPhone (insert current number), I am not sure if I envy or pity those people. Maybe they have been fortunate and have escaped the kind of heartache that causes deep reflection about the priorities of their life. And yet isn’t that what makes us kind and compassionate human beings. I will gladly take the sorrow that accompanies my “grown-up” wish list because I would much rather be surrounded by family than amongst a group of strangers fighting over a PlayStation 3 at Wal-Mart any day of the week. Health, happiness, family, faith, and love should be everyone’s must have items this and every holiday season.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Kick the Can :)

I grew up living on a cul-de-sac. I think if every house was on one, we would have less people joining gangs and serving time in jail. There just is something about being able to walk out your front door and have your very own baseball field on your street. The kids in my neighborhood would gather in the middle of our circle and organize kick soccer, hide-n-seek, and red rover all without ever having to send a single text. My absolute favorite game to play was kick the can. We would play it for hours on a long summer night. My parents did not really need to worry about our safety, and we enjoyed doing what kids should be doing – running around outside.  

Today I am offering a suggestion to kick the can for the environment and quite possibly your waist line too. If you have ever opened a can of Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup and wished you had a less fatty alternative, well I have it and am willing to share. 

Cream of Chicken Soup Base

2 2/3 cups nonfat powdered milk
1 1/2 cups flour
6 Tablespoons chicken soup base
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 cup butter

Mix all dry ingredients with a wire whisk. Cut in butter with a pastry blender. Store in refrigerator.
Mix 3/4 cup soup base with 1 1/2 cups water. Cook over medium heat until thickened.
Use in place of a can of cream of chicken soup in your favorite recipes.

Author’s Note: Being as this blog was not created with political intentions, and since too many posts have been directly related to politics recently, I was writing simply about a recipe to improve health and the environment. However, when I typed “kick the can” into Google search today, in order to find a cute illustration to accompany my post, the result offered some rather funny political cartoons, and because I am weak, I just could not resist. So, if you are tired of politics, you have my permission to skip the following cartoon. And we will still be friends. :)