Sunday, August 31, 2014

Guest Writer

Elizabeth brought home a writing assignment that she worked on at school. The sixth graders had to write an essay about someone they admire, and she wrote about GiGi, her great-grandmother. She emptied her backpack on Friday afternoon, I read her essay at 3:10, and by 3:20 I was driving to the school to make copies to give to GiGi, Brian's mom, and my parents. Elizabeth read her essay to GiGi this evening, and GiGi was very touched that Elizabeth thought to write about her. She was moved by her words and, before we left, I noticed GiGi was reading it again under her magnifying glass. I have a feeling she'll read it over and over and over.

I'm going to share Elizabeth's essay here exactly as she wrote it. I should mention that Brian's mother is a nurse in a hospital outside of Atlanta, and GiGi knits and donates small blankets and hats for the babies who, tragically, are born much too soon. That is what Elizabeth refers to.


GiGi

Have you ever had someone in your life that you admire? Have they taught you all about life and told you so many wonderful stories? Well, I do. I call her GiGi. She is one of the most awesome people in the world.

GiGi has the best stories in the entire world! She tells my brother and I how she cooked delicious food on the huge, smelly farm. When she told us how to make butter, I was glad I can get it from the store. You make butter by putting all the fresh ingredients in the butter churn. There is a stick in the top of the butter churn. You would simply take the stick and pound all the ingredients together. It took a long time and sounded like a painstaking task. She also told us about the disgusting outhouses. That is a toilet that is not connected to the house. They sound extremely gross. In her neiborhood there are cute bunnies and tiny, baby quails that live there. She puts little pieces of bread outside and they come to eat. When we come to her house on Sunday, she tells us marvelous stories about what they did with the food. Some of her stories are life lessons.

GiGi is extremely good with giving back and thinking of other people. Sometimes when I'm at school I feel invisible, but when I go to her house she makes me feel speacial. She is generous and funny. Sometimes when people have babies they don't come out like babies should. They are sometimes too small or don't look quite like babies. GiGi makes little blankets and beanies for them so the baby's parents can take a cute picture with the baby. When Grandma N comes I sleep at GiGi's house with her and Grandma. She is very nice to let us do that.

Once again she is one of the people I love the most. She teaches me about life on the farm and she tells me wonderful stories. I have so much fun with GiGi.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Supporting the ALS Association

I was in the dark longer than most about the ice bucket challenge because I've shunned social media. (Blogs don't count. You're here because you want to be. I'm not forcing anything into your feed or down your throat.) However, I still managed to be called out in an ice bucket challenge after my parents sent me a video of them doing it. I had to find out what it was all about after that, but I got conflicting reports.

"If you're challenged, you have 24 hours to either donate $100 to the ALS Association or pour ice water over yourself." Well then why are people dumping buckets on themselves? Are they not donating? How is this helping? "You donate and pour ice water over your head." Well that's better, but what does the ice symbolize? Does the disease make you feel like that? I still didn't get it, so I decided to ignore it. Although I am normally one to support a worthy cause, I'm not one for shenanigans and that's what this was looking like to me. Why so jaded, Sara? I'm not really sure.

Well I recently crossed paths with this seven-minute video explaining how the whole thing started. I cried, and I changed my mind about it. Pete Frates inspired me to donate to the ALS Association, and there was no need to bother with the ice. If you watch this with your heart, you'll want to help with your wallet.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Things Are Looking Up

Yesterday, my chiropractor gave me the good news that I can run this weekend. It was like I heard angels singing. No wait. It was just Jason Mraz.



So I'm looking forward to tomorrow morning! I don't expect it will be a particularly good run--it could be pretty ugly--but it's a run and I'll take it. My friend Aimee says to embrace the ugliness. I plan to, if needed. There's always the possibility that it could go awesome; that would be a most pleasant surprise.

Now I'm playing and enjoying Jason Mraz obsessively. My attempts to win tickets to his concert on Sunday night have come up empty so far, but maybe things are looking up in that regard, too. :)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Play Ball!

Matthew got a new book from the book fair this week.


I've mentioned Pete before. We love Pete. This is a cute story about cool cat Pete playing baseball. The Rocks play the Rolls, and his team wins. However, Pete isn't the hero of the game. In fact, he strikes out. He misses a fly ball. He gets a walk, but then he's out at home plate. He does his best so he's not sad about it. It's quite an inspiring and refreshing children's book, mainly because he tries and he fails but he's okay with it. Pete really does rock because when I was in his shoes, I did not feel that way about my similar failure.

When Elizabeth was a baby, Brian played on a co-ed softball team with some friends. They were short a female one night, so Brian told them I'd play. I didn't want to; team sports were never, ever, ever my thing. Team sports are still not my thing. But the team was (obviously) very desperate so they stuck a helmet on my head and sent me to the plate. I struck out. Four times. On my last at-bat, they told me not to swing, and darned if the pitcher didn't send me three strikes in a row that time. I had five strikeouts in one night, and my fielding was no better. I was the catcher and with every throw I made back to the pitcher, the ball bounced before it got to him. Well that's no glory day. At least they never asked me to play again.

The point is, I was humiliated the entire night. I felt awful on that dusty field under those glaring lights, knowing the other team and everyone in the stands was probably laughing at me. My teammates pitied me. Then they started complimenting me on my golf swing and, I tell ya, I just wanted the game to end so I could go home. I really was doing my best, but it turns out that my best at softball is pretty terrible. I didn't have Pete's easygoing and nonchalant attitude, but I should have because, hey, co-ed city recreation league softball is not life-or-death and is supposed to be fun. Go Pete! Go Rocks!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Adapting

I haven't run for weeks. About two days into the hiatus, I wanted to scream and cry because I was angry and sad. The chiropractor told me not to run, but she said I could bike. She also suggested yoga. I've been doing a lot of both those activities lately. I've also added some light strength training, too. I do miss running; there's nothing easier than getting dressed, tying your shoes, and running out the front door. However, not running has rekindled my love of biking. I was riding the other day thinking, This is nice. I have a good bike, and I have this perfect place to ride it in such pleasant weather right now. And maybe I wouldn't be acknowledging this without having done all that peaceful yoga lately. 

Sometimes everything ties together really neatly and makes sense. I don't need to run to be me. There's way more to me than being a runner. I'm flexible. I can adapt. And I have.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

More Funny People

As I sat at a red light this afternoon, I noticed a bicycle coming towards me. The weird thing was no one was riding it. I assumed my eyes were deceiving me (you know, because bikes don't ride themselves), so I decided to hold it in my gaze for as long as it would take for me to figure out what was really happening. It took a few seconds before it was close enough for me to realize someone was holding and steering the bike from inside a BMW. What I'm saying is a person was hanging out the window supporting this bike as it moved alongside the car at 45 MPH. Seeing as I was safely stopped at a red light I, naturally, took a photo of this madness. So see for yourself.


Hmmm. Doesn't it seem like there could have been a better way? Even if they can't completely close it, I think it would have been better to put the bike in the trunk. Or the backseat. Or maybe they should have just ridden the bike to wherever they needed to take it because I don't imagine they could go very far doing this. At least I hope they weren't planning to go far.

The whole situation reminded me of the best quote (according to Elizabeth and me) from The Lego Movie:



I wonder how far they got before they said the second best quote from that movie: "Darn, darn, darn, darny, daaaarn!"

Monday, August 25, 2014

Music Makes the People Come Together

Four of our troop's girl scouts have chosen to become Junior Museum Guides at the Musical Instrument Museum in north Phoenix. In order to earn this prestigious designation, they must attend classes on four consecutive Saturday afternoons to learn about the museum, its mission, its collection, and how to properly and effectively give tours. On the fifth Saturday, they will put their knowledge into action by assisting younger girl scouts who are attending a Day at the MIM program.

Two of our girls were very excited to do this, but the moms of the other two girls made them sign up. Either way, they all had a good time on Saturday. Well, one forgot about it so she wasn't there, but I knew Elizabeth and Lauren would really enjoy this. I was relieved that Sophia ended up having a good time, too.


This week the focus was on the museum as a whole and the different categories of instruments that can be found there. They also went on a tour of the Asia Gallery (instruments are grouped by continents), and learned how to lead young children through the galleries effectively. They participated in a drum circle and also learned how to lead a drum circle. They wrapped up by creating their own drums to take home.

As much as I would have loved to stay for the program, I'm too old to become a Junior Museum guide. The only time I saw them was when they were finishing up their drums at the very end.


While they were in class, I hung around as best I could because I didn't feel I'd be there long enough to pay for an admission ticket. So I sat on the sectional couch in the gorgeous lobby and listened to museum guests who played the inviting Steinway that was there for that purpose. I wished I was brave enough to sit down and play something but, alas, there were too many eyes and ears all around, and I am no performer. I am a most excellent audience member, however, so I enjoyed the performances.


After the opera singer who showed us her stuff, though, I walked to the cafe patio and talked on the phone to my mother. Though I found a pleasant and shady niche, I still got warm after awhile and had to go back inside.



I took advantage of the lobby's guitar exhibit and intently looked at every single guitar and read every single word of every single plaque in that display. Go ahead. Ask me anything about it.


I then browsed in the museum shop and listened to some more courageous amateur pianists. I decided I could practice at home this week and then maybe play something next Saturday. Maybe.

Except for that last part, I think we're all looking forward to going back next weekend!