Sunday, June 27, 2010

The pain of beIng an England fan

I think it's hard to relate to an American how hard it is be an England football (soccer) fan. The exception is probably a Red Sox fan and fortunately I'm married to one.

Maria has known me long enough to live through two World Cups and an aborted European Championship that England failed to qualify for. She has seen me get deliriously excited only to have my hopes dashed upon the rocks.

All too often those rocks have been on German shores. And unsurprisingly to any lifelong England fan, after failing to secure the group in this year's World Cup, England found themselves once again facing "the old enemy". Germany were touted as a young team and unlikely to fare well. They had struggled against Ghana but convincingly beaten Australia. England who were unbeaten in all their qualifying matches had had an indifferent start to their campaign but were coming off the back of fairly resounding win over Slovenia. It was "The Three Lions" against "The Young Lions".

As always the UK press went into overdrive. Three of England's (supposed) stars were portrayed on the cover of a national tabloid as lions, complete with fangs and all. How could England fail? Their tails were up and they were playing a young and naive team. What everybody seemed to forget was that we were playing Germany, a team that England had failed to beat in a World Cup game since 1966 and if you don't know what happened in that game then get googling. Coupled with this was the fact that England had failed to set the World Cup 2010 alight. I had witnessed the worst England performance ever in their game against Algeria. How could a team that could not beat Algeria beat a German team no matter how inexperienced that team may be?

So today at 9pm in the evening (EST) we all know what happened - England's "Three Lions" were mauled by "The Young Lions". The English press will all cry that had Lampard's (legitimate) goal been allowed the game would have played out differently. Not true. Germany outplayed England at every level. They exposed England's non-existent midfield and ripped through their shaky back four. As for our goalkeeper, he seemed superglued to his line and would surely have stopped at least two goals had he come out to challenge the German forwards.

It was truly a dismal performance by England and a fantastic performance by the Germans.

Yes, I'm praising 'The Old Enemy'. Not something I do lightly as I have seen England fall to Germany so many times now. My hatred for the German football team has reached unhealthy heights in the past. The difference before is that England have gone down fighting. They have had that 'never say die' attitude displayed so well by this year's US team. This year they just rolled over.

They showed up at this year's competition, unbeaten and with a sense of entitlement that was practically palpable. When England's group was drawn, the English press announced 'EASY' which stood for 'England, Algeria, Slovenia, Yanks'. It was practically guaranteed that England would sail through the group phase. Arrogant idiots!

So today England disappointed me so much that I find myself feeling something I've never felt before as an England fan - shame. I really am ashamed to call myself an England supporter. Today I pretty much stayed in the house, afraid that I might bump into my Algerian neighbor. Not because he will make fun of me, he's too polite and respectful for that. I am ashamed to talk to him. I didn't even watch the end of the game (I've never failed to see a game out). And frankly if I was in the stands at that stadium I would have booed my team. Right now I'd even buy a German fan a beer.

Congratulations Germany. I would cheer you against your next opponents Argentina if it weren't for the fact that I had money on the South Americans.

Sean 'The Dad'.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lucy and the Gorilla

We took Lucy to the Franklin Park Zoo on Father's Day. We saw lemurs, zebras, giraffes, some ugly ass camels, a tortoise, a big old lion, a little hippo, some crazy birds and gorillas.

The gorillas live in a glassed in pit....I think there were four or five of them. So we're standing there watching the gorillas roll around on the floor  when all of a sudden, the biggest gorilla, who had been all the way on the other side of the pit, got up and started walking towards us. More specifically, he was lumbering straight towards Lucy....keeping his eyes on her the whole time.

As he was approaching Lucy, she started to take small steps backwards......And then, while still staring her down, he plopped his ass down on the ground right in front of her!!! Poor Boo took three big 1 year old steps back and cried out for Daddy!

After a bit of coaxing, we slowly approached the window and Lucy and the Gorilla made eyes at each other for the next ten minutes! He finally got bored and meandered back to the other side of the pit but we spent at least another 10-15 minutes staring through the window as Lucy laughed, pointed and screeched at the gorillas trying to get their attention. At one point, she had her face pressed up against the glass and was banging her little hand on the window trying to get the little gorilla in front of us to give her a high five.

We finally convinced Lucy it was time to leave.....but not before she turned and gave one last wave to all the gorillas giving the big old Gorilla a special shout out by pointing her pudgy little finger at him and screaming extra loud!

Maria, the Mum

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lucy is the Class Bully

Every Friday, when I pick Lucy up from Puddle Duck, I also bring home with me a blue notebook in which one of her teachers has taken the time to write us a note about Lucy's week. And then we write back to them in the notebook letting them know how Lucy's weekend was, address any questions/issues they may have brought know, parent teacher conference without even having to talk!

Usually, I read it the minute I walk in the door on Friday (sometimes I read it at the red light on the way home!) I truly look forward to it.....but not anymore.

This past Friday, I did not read it straight away - Melissa came down after work and we ended up outside talking to the neighbors and then took a walk for ice cream so I just never got around to reading the book.

Saturday morning, we had our community yard sale. Sean and I thought we could unload a bunch-o-crap and make a little money....we unloaded maybe 12 things (including a pair of Crocs, two scarecrows and a spike tool to tighten cleats on your golf shoes...people buy the weirdest shit but the yard sale is another blog...) and made $25.25.

Anyway, Sean was outside manning the yard sale and Lucy and I were hanging out in the house. She had breakfast, a bath and then we made faces at Daddy though the front door. We had a snack and Lucy was pushing Baby Doll around the house in her stroller...soI decide to read Lucy's Blue Book from Puddle Duck: Lucy had a good week, loved playing outside and has become fast friends with the new girl who just started. They noticed, as we have, that Lucy moans quite a bit in her sleep but does not seem to be waking up....then I read this:

We have noticed a behavior in Lucy the past couple weeks and we were wondering if you've noticed it at home.......we've noticed that Lucy will go over and take a toy away from one of the little babies and then sort of knocks them over (and they list the names of the babies she's knocked over)....and that if one of the other kids comes over to Lucy while she's playing with a toy, she kind of head butts the other child and sometimes, this makes them cry (and again, they list the names of the kids she's head butting). We tell Lucy "no" that hurts her friends and we move her to another area of the room. Have you noticed this at home?


I look over at my little daughter who is snuggling her Winkel elephant on her left, clutching Baby Doll in her right hand all while looking at her array of stuffed animals and giggling at them. She looks at me with such love and admiration, tilts her chin into her shoulder and comes rushing over to where I'm sitting throwing her arms around my legs and laying her head in my lap. How can this be the class bully? How can this sweet little blond hair blue eyed girl who just threw baby doll on the floor, stepped on her head, tossed her safari animals across the room after kicking Pooh Bear out of her way, be the class bully?!?

Sean, Lucy is the class bully!

What, what are you talking about?

I read him the passage from the book...I may have added a bit of a dramatic flair to it.....

He do our neighbors Pat and Dave

Its not funny I say, what if they kick her out? What of she doesn't grow out of it? What if she hurts someone? Why are kids trying to take toys away from her? Should I apologize to the other parents? Especially the ones we're meeting up with this afternoon to go to the Strawberry Festival with...who are then coming back to our house with their son who was one of the babies listed in the "knocks them over" category.......

I cam laugh about this now but I will admit for about a two hour time frame, I was a bit out of might say upset, about the new behavior of my I'm thinking of responding like this:

Dear Teachers

I am so sorry that Lucy has been behaving in a less than desirable manner.
I cannot say I have noticed this behavior at home but then again, I do not have any babies hanging around playing with toys Lucy may or may not want nor are there any walking babies (pre toddlers if you will) invading Lucy's space when she's playing with something. I have, however, noticed that when Sean and I play with her toys and do not put them back where we found them, she likes to wake us up 2-4 times a night as retribution. I understand and support the tactics you are using to discipline Lucy and would also suggest a water bottle and two quick squirts between the eyes...we've found two to be more effective than one and three is really just overkill. We worked with Lucy all day Sunday snatching toys from her and then ducking when she tried to head butt us - I think we may have broken her of head butting but please be aware that she has good aim and a pretty strong right arm.

Have a great week!

Maria, the Mum

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Random Thoughts and Musings

Got a phone call a few weeks ago from a guy I went to high school with...he was calling about our 20th class reunion. First I was pissed because he somehow tracked me down (though mother and sisters all denied giving up my number)
Then, I was even more pissed when I realized it was my 20th reunion....

LUCY IS WALKING!!!! At times, she's running as much as her little one year old legs will carry her. Cool thing is she can now play with and keep up with the kids in the neighborhood.......well, sort of keep up with them!

Been sick since Easter. Have had this horrible cough, been terribly congested and just plain old tired. Then it would clear up for a few days but would always come the middle of this I caught the stomach bug that was going around Lucy's day care....everyone else had it for 12-24 hours....I had for 48! Anyway, finally broke down and went to Doctor last week as I was just so damn tired. Turns out I had a bit of pneumonia and a respiratory inhaler and rounds of antibiotics later am feeling much better.

We had a great Memorial Day Weekend - Friday night we got home from work/day care and played with the neighborhood kids for a couple hours. They were so good with Lucy letting her chase them all around the yard....then chasing her around the yard! Cousin Laura and Adam stopped by...they're getting married this weekend and Sean made their Church Programs for them so they stopped by to pick them up.

Saturday was a bit hectic as we ran a few errands.....we were in Harvard Square and Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream has a booth set up and they were giving away free ice cream. We did not get any ice cream but we spent 20 minutes at their booth as their big plastic cows caught Lucy's eye! She laughed, squealed and screeched at them much to the delight of many passer bys!

Sunday was sunny with enough of a breeze to keep you cool.....We slept in and spent the morning playing out in the yard. Some friends came by in the afternoon....good food, good company, good conversation and lots of laughs is a great way to spend the day. They left, we played some more and then had a great night's sleep.

Monday, we hung out in the yard ALL DAY LONG!!! It was perfect. Lucy ran around with Ollie and Ebony (the two puppy dogs who live next door) We took a couple wagon rides around the neighborhood, lunch on the deck and then a walk to the ice cream stand in the afternoon. We took the long way home to work off the ice cream. Lucy fell asleep and Sean and I kicked around the soccer ball while she napped.......fell asleep with huge grins on our faces last night! I love having a family..........

Hopefully will get together with my sister Mikel in the next week or so for dinner - we've been trying for a few weeks now but I was always sick....

Let's see what else. Sean has been busy at home working on some free lance work - aside from the programs for Laura's wedding (which by the way are beautiful) he has been working on some ads for my company along with redesigning our Company website - just so everyone knows, I have a very talented husband! I really am quite proud of the work he does.

He's also still plugging away at various home improvement projects. Next, he's replacing our kitchen faucet and then, though he doesn't know it yet, he's tackling the linen closet upstairs....good job he has the Reader's Digest Home Improvement book for reference.

Sean got Lucy a bird feeder for her birthday and has it hanging in the tree in the backyard. We have lots of chickadees that visit us and Lucy loves pointing them out - and they don't seem to mind when she stands underneath the feeder pointing and laughing at them! We also have this gorgeous red cardinal that frequents the feeder...his partner, though not as pretty, also stops by now and then. We have a couple blue jays that also visit and though blue jays can be aggressive, so far they've been pretty tame. I'm not sure what the yellow bids are that stop by - I think they're finches but I'm not 100% sure.....I may be investing in a bird book this weekend.

Community Yard Sale on June 12....hopefully we'll unload a bunch more crap and make money doing so!

All for now...well, actually I'm just getting tired....

Maria, the Mum