Something to Love

For a few years now, my husband and I have been putting our son in activities with the hopes of him actually enjoying them. There was soccer, when he was 4, but the kids – including him – were more interested in pulling at clovers on the ground than kicking the ball. Then there was skating. I really hoped this would be something he would take to, because our town is a big hockey town. Most kids play it, and so if you don’t you are the odd man out. You miss out on the recess play, and you miss out on the weekend socializing. And it starts with skating. If you can’t even skate, you miss out on many of the birthday parties. Not wanting him to be left out, we made him go twice a week – I know, how could we? – for 6 months. We were so proud of him for sticking it out – even though he kept saying he hated it – and for becoming a pretty darn good skater. But we couldn’t coax him into doing it again last year, and honestly I didn’t want to force him to do it when he didn’t enjoy it at all. That may be a mistake, because many parents have said you just MAKE them do it and eventually they’ll enjoy it. Perhaps Wayne Gretzky hated skating at first too?? Maybe Tiger Woods wasn’t keen on playing golf for awhile?? Six months was a pretty good indication to me, and so that was it.

Last year we didn’t have him in anything, and so this year it was time to try something new. But what? As luck would have it, I was a parent volunteer at an event a few weeks ago, and while waiting for the kids, I got talking to another mom. Her son had decided to stop playing hockey – his dad nearly had a breakdown apparently – and he wanted to do Tae Kwon Do. Hmmmm…? I started asking questions. This could be it. This could be something that Zander might like. A few days later he went to a trial lesson…and really liked it. Three weeks later he is LOVING it!!

Tonight when he got home he wanted to show me and his dad some moves, he couldn’t stop talking about it, and, most importantly, he was smiling and happy. That makes me so happy. Especially because he has said some things that make me and my hubby think he is very unhappy in general. He is not the same social little guy he was up until senior kindergarten. He will do anything not to have to go to school. And he told me a few months ago that “friends are nothing but trouble”. That’s from a 7 year old. So he needs something that makes him excited and happy, other than playing Minecraft and reading alone. I am really hoping this love of Tae Kwon Do – which he says he wants to do forever! – will continue, and that he has found “his thing”. Plus, he looks super-cute in his uniform!

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So Long…For Now (for Ketchup With Us)

I, too, like so many in the blogosphere, am incredibly sad that this is the last blog hop for Ketchup With Us…at least for awhile.  Hosted by Michele at ODNT and Mel at According to Mags, this blog hop was the very first one I participated in, and it is one of only a few I have contributed to in the last 8 months that I have been writing.  I truly hope that the ladies will be back in their Ketchup suits in the near future.

Before I knew anything about Ketchup With Us, I would see that some of my Twitter friends were taking part in it, and that the names ODNT and According to Mags were attached to it.  I looked them up.  I found their posts interesting and entertaining to read, and I couldn’t help but be curious about them.  However, not having written anything but a work blog – that was largely short “bits” I had discussed on the radio briefly, and very little about me – I thought there was no way I could join in on the fun that was Ketchup With Us.

It was not until January, when I saw Michele’s Twitter post about the latest blog hop about goals for the new year, that I decided to jump in.  It was the best thing I could ever do for my writing.  Both Michele and Mel were encouraging and enthusiastic, and they’ve been exactly that ever since.  To have these two immensely talented writers cheer me – a blogger just starting out – on as I found my voice was a confidence-building experience.

And that first blog about goals for the new year also pushed me to do things I might not have done, including self-publishing a children’s book in February, with another almost ready to hit the Blurb website right now, and a third to be done before the end of the year.  If I hadn’t written, in that first blog, that I wanted to do things that I am passionate about, I very likely wouldn’t have written anything, especially a children’s book, or even started a blog.  I had specifically listed recording a CD as the thing I was passionate about and going to do before the end of the year, and that hasn’t happened yet, but I still have a few months left, right?!  The blog hop made me make a promise to myself that I was going to make the most of 2014 and my time off from a very demanding (time consuming) career of teaching high school English.  I have Ketchup With Us, and specifically Mel and Michele, to thank for the things I have accomplished this year.

I also have them to thank for the bloggers I have been introduced to through the blog hop, whose work I always look forward to reading, and who, too, have been encouraging and supportive.  The Ketchup With Us blog hop has been a place where I have felt comfortable and welcome.  It is an inviting community of bloggers.  That’s because of the hosts, Mel and Michele.

Mel and Michele, thank you again, and I hope you understand how AWESOME you are.

 

A Challenge (for Ketchup With Us)

I always thought I was a feminist.  That’s what you call girls and women who believe that men and women are equal right?  I even took a Women’s Studies course in university, thinking it would be sooooooo much easier than the Politics course I had originally signed up for.  I assumed that taking the Women’s Studies course would be a brilliant idea.  It would make my average higher.  But when I got to the class I was in for a surprise.  One of the first classes was about the movie “Cliffhanger” and the symbolism within.  I’d never seen “Cliffhanger”, and so I was lost in terms of being able to discuss the symbolism.  Did YOU know that Sylvester Stallone is hanging on a wire attached to a helicopter, and at one point he cuts the wire, which symbolizes him detaching himself from female influence and giving birth to himself??????  Huh?????  The discussion about such things continued in my lab after class, where I increasingly felt as if I was NOT a feminist and had no business being in such a class.  I ended up with the worst grade I’d ever gotten before (thankfully I never got another grade like that again), and cursed myself for the dumb decision to drop what I thought would be a difficult course for what I thought would be a “bird course”.  In later years I took a Politics course and aced it by the way.  Geez.

Though that class shook my belief that I was a feminist, I realized that I was just not a radical feminist.  I was a liberal feminist by definition.  And I feel like I’m pretty strong in many ways.  I speak my mind, I stand up for what I believe is just, I make my own money and have my own bank accounts, and I feel I am very much equal to my husband.  That is, however, not completely the case.  Until last night I had not done something at our new house – which we moved into six years ago – that makes me seem like I wasn’t capable of taking on a role I would’ve assumed I’d easily adopt years ago.

Here it is.  I cut the lawn.  I know, I know, that sounds ridiculous.  As an adolescent, it was my job specifically to cut the lawn at our farm.  I spent every single Saturday doing it…all day long…and I actually enjoyed it.  But fast forward several decades, and here I am doing the inside housework and here my husband is doing the cutting of the yard.  However, it’s not what it seems.  I haven’t been avoiding it because it’s more like a guy thing to do (feminists are cringing right now).  I’ve been avoiding it because THIS is my yard:

giant hills

Okay, that’s not really my yard, but it’s close…kind of…This is my actual yard:

front yard back yard

The pictures don’t do it justice, and they definitely don’t adequately show you how many levels there are and how steep some parts are.  It’s not an easy task to push that lawnmower up and down those levels.  There were a few times I thought, “One of my neighbours is going to see me struggling and help out.  Or surely [my hubby] Scott will check on me and see that I can’t do it.”  Nope.  No one was helping this damsel in distress, even though I was taking a running start in several spots.  And that’s a good thing, because even though I think I pulled some muscles (!), I also HAD to follow through and finish.  You’re probably now wondering, How much of a wimp IS this woman if she was having trouble cutting the lawn?  Well, I’m ashamed to show you, but THESE are my pipes:

arm

Yep, big wimp!  Despite my plans years ago to get stronger, my legs and arms have always been little sticks.  But feeling as helpless as I did last night while pushing that too damn heavy lawnmower makes me want to follow through with that plan.  I really do want to know (not just think) that I can do anything I need to, mentally, emotionally, AND physically, and that I don’t have to rely on anyone else to do anything for me.  That feminist in me is screaming out!!

And I think I might take my neighbour’s advice and buy a self-propelled lawnmower…