32 Saves

Are you here today for yet another hockey post?  I hope so, because that is what I am serving up this morning.

Over the weekend, my Tampa Bay Lightning (still miraculously ranked #1) played the Winnipeg Jets, who used to be ranked #2.  I was worried my Lightning couldn’t pull off a win against such a strong team, and it was a tense game (i.e., there was a lot of yelling and cussing from my general direction), but in the end, Tampa won in overtime, 4-3.

Yesterday, the Lightning played the St. Louis Blues, who had moved up to the #2 spot when the Jets dropped.  My team rose to the occasion, and then some, with a hard-fought win of 3-0.  Don’t let the score fool you: it was not an easy win.  But we had good ol’ Vasilevskiy (our goalie) in our arsenal.  I mean, check this guy out:

He made 32 saves during that game, including a breakaway.  Did you know he leads the NHL in wins, with 20?  Or that he is only the sixth goalie in NHL history to reach a 20-win mark in his first 25 appearances in a season?  Aren’t you glad you read my blog to learn these things?

I’m trying not to get too excited here.  It’s not unheard of for my team to suddenly develop amnesia and start playing like they have never heard of hockey.  Inconsistency is their middle name.  But maybe that’s changing.  Maybe this is their year.  If they keep playing like they played last night (and that’s a big “if”), then they sure as hell have a shot.

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Posted in Andrei Vasilevskiy, hockey, I love hockey, Tampa Bay Lightning | Leave a comment

Fireplace

20160824__SJM-FIREPLACE-08241When we first started looking at houses a few years ago, my list of must-haves included practical features like a recent roof, relatively new air conditioning unit, a safe neighborhood, windowsills wide enough for my fat cats, you know, typical things like that.

Every now and then we’d walk through a house with a fireplace, and I’d shrug.  Who cares?  Just something else to clean.  I figured even if we ended up with a house with a fireplace, it would be a nice place to decorate, but we’d never actually use it.

The house I grew up in didn’t have a fireplace.  My parents had to get mighty creative when a too-curious, inquisitive young me asked how Santa Claus got into our house, but beyond that, I don’t recall feeling like I missed anything crucial in life by not having a fireplace.

Then we walked into this house for the first time.  The fireplace is gorgeous, no doubt about that.  It’s definitely the first thing I noticed when I strolled through the door.  Stone up to the ceiling, thick wood mantel, very striking.  We fell in love with the house and the yard, and that fireplace came along for the ride as the house became ours.

Gary was much more excited about the fireplace than I was.  He had the fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected so we would be good to go for a roaring fire, the first chance we got.

*Yawn.*  I still didn’t see what the big deal was all about.

We finally had a cold night, and Sunflower helped Gary light a fire in the fireplace.  And I had to admit, it was beautiful, and relaxing, and peaceful, the glow of the fire, the crackling of the burning wood, the hypnotic dancing of the flames.  I was hooked.  I ended up taking pictures of our fireplace, like a complete dork.  And I learned, at last, just what all the hype is about.

Now I can’t imagine living in a house without a fireplace.  The kids love it.  Even when it’s 90 degrees outside, they start dropping hints about being chilly and needing a fire.  They’ve even suggested turning up the a/c so we can build a fire.  (Okay, I considered it, but having to keep up appearances of being practical and sensible adults, we reluctantly had to nix that idea.)

I’m not at all into wanna-be fireplaces, though. Give me a real fire, with wood, and actual flames.  Not a gas pretender, or worst of all, a fake, plug-in “fireplace heater” that is little more than a TV broadcast of a fire in the shape of a fireplace.  Ummm, just no.  May as well just go with this lovely contraption:

DIY-Cardboard-Fireplace

Fake fireplace, anyone?  Not me!

Then again, if fake fireplaces are truly your thing, don’t worry, I will hook you up, my friend.  Don’t say I never gave you anything!  For behold, here is an article complete with full instructions on building your very own cardboard fireplace: 12 Tutorials to Make a Cardboard Fireplace.

Of course, if you build one, I want to see pictures, please!

Posted in fireplace, home, house shopping, our home, our house | 3 Comments

Dare I Say It?

LightningOkay, lean in.  Closer.  A little closer, please.  I’m almost afraid to say this in anything but the faintest of whispers.

Could this be the year…just possibly…just maybe…that my Lightning clinch another Stanley Cup?

Stamkos is finally healthy and back on the ice.  Kucherov is on fire, a scoring machine.  We finally have a consistent goalie in Vasilevskiy.  Are things finally lined up just right for my team to not only make a rare appearance in the play-offs, but win the whole darn thing?

They haven’t won since 2004.  That’s before I even met Gary or knew he existed on this Earth.  I was living in Tampa at the time and wasn’t at the final Stanley Cup game, but any living creature with functional ear drums in a one-mile radius of my apartment that night had no doubt as to the outcome of that game.  (Or else they just thought someone was being murdered in my place, due to the blood-curdling screams and mostly unintelligible shouting at the top of my lungs).

I don’t want to jinx us.  I have loved and hated, cheered with and hollered at, my Lightning long before they even had a Stanley Cup under their belts.  I have cursed them and called them creative, fiendish names during the bad seasons (of which there have been many), and I have talked the ears off of anyone I can capture during the good seasons about hockey, about my team, about their chances of going all the way.

This one is shaping up to be a good one.  A damn good one.  I don’t want to get too excited just yet, but…damn, too late.  I am already clearing a space in my closet for a championship t-shirt, hockey jersey, hat, maybe even some Tampa Bay Lightning underwear.  Did you know that even existed? Well, now you do.  You can thank me while you search for your credit card to order some of your own!

Posted in hockey, I love hockey, Stanley Cup, Tampa Bay Lightning | Leave a comment

LOOK!

Hey!  Hey, you!  Over here!  Come quick!  Take a look at this!  Hurry! *waving at you frantically*

Screenshot 2017-12-01 12.00.04

What is that, you ask?  Seriously?  What does it look like?  Oh yeah, not everyone is a hockey fan.  (How do you live, exactly?)

Well, behold the wonder and spectacle before you, and bask in its fantastic and joyous grace: my team, my Tampa Bay Lightning, is currently #1 in the entire National Hockey League!

It won’t last long, so take a quick peek while you can.  I caught part of that game against Boston, and it was tear-inducing.  I can still barely speak about it above a whisper and a choked sob.

But for now, for right now, my team is #1.  I am going to enjoy it while I can!

Posted in hockey, I love hockey, Tampa Bay Lightning | 1 Comment

Is She Proud?

After being a part of the kids’ lives for over 11 years, they are bound to pick up at least some of my habits, mannerisms, and ways of doing things.  Sometimes it’s completely awesome (like Sunflower organizing her dresser drawers by color), and sometimes just hilarious, like the kids playing along with certain jokes, taking things 100% literally, hopping out of a room like a bunny rabbit when Gary asks them to hop out for a minute.  (This is always followed by Gary’s deep, exasperated sigh and a dirty look shot in my general direction, while the kids and I laugh).

Sometimes I hear them talking in another room, and I catch a pet phrase and have to smile a little, because it’s like listening to them read straight from the Book of Smirking Cat.  Occasionally it’s even delivered in the same tone of voice.

I feel happy and proud when they imitate me or repeat something I’ve said or retell a joke I’ve shared.  I find myself doing the same, picking up on certain jokes or turns of phrase or specific gestures.  It’s like we share pieces of each other, in some small way.

That makes me wonder how Crow feels when one of the kids tells a lie, or takes something that isn’t theirs, or shrugs their shoulders flippantly and demands a hand-out they didn’t earn yet still expect.  I know these things happen, because they tell us about them, usually tattling on each other, and not surprisingly, they happen almost exclusively in Hickville, surrounded by the in-bred gaggle of sanity-challenged nitwits they are forced to live among there.

Is she one proud egg donor when one of the kids emulate her and lie straight to her wrinkled face?  Does she burst with joy when she recognizes petty and selfish actions birthed from her own filth?  Or does she get pissed off that the shitty behavior she has taught them over the years is getting turned around and used on her?

I’m guessing the last option.  Crow believes that being an insufferable asshole is her exclusive right, no matter how unoriginal or trite her tactics may be.

I’ve always believed the kids are better than her.  We most certainly teach them better than that.  It’s hard to accept that it’s largely out of our hands, though.  They are either going to open their eyes to what she really is, and decide that they want rise above that, or they are going keep their eyes squeezed tightly shut and blindly follow the same polluted path to being a liar, a cheat, a thief, a coward.  Just like her.

Posted in bad mother, better than her, disgusting, kids deserve better, liars, lying | 2 Comments

Ten Years

Out of curiosity, I scrolled back to see when I wrote the first post on this blog. Well, hey!  It just happened to be in October of 2007.  Wow, my first post here was 10 years ago.

Most of the people who commented on my blog, and who I followed, from back then are no longer active.  Their pages stand in memorial, with post dates from 2014 or even older, untouched.

What made me even look to see how long ago I started this virtual chicken scratch?  I haven’t written here terribly consistently for quite some time, but if anyone from way back when is still around, I figured an update was long overdue.

When I first started this blog, my older stepson, Wolverine, was 7 years old.  He loved to draw, loved comic books, and would barely wait for me to sit down before he climbed into my lap, chatting non-stop.

I always thought of Wolverine as having nerve endings on the outside of his body, and feelers a mile long.  Even as a small child, he was always scanning people for their moods, painfully sensitive to anything out of whack.  That particular trait has been used against him, over and over again, through the years.  Instead of celebrating his gentleness and ability to immediately pick up on people’s feelings, he’s been manipulated, twisted, frozen out emotionally until he bends to Crow’s will.  His own heart has been used against him for so long that I don’t even know if he realizes it’s happening.

It’s occurred to me, more than once, that the kids are willing to throw us under the bus in order to maintain peace and “love” from Crow because they know, in their hearts, that Gary and I will never turn our backs on them out of anger.  They also know the same is far from true about Crow.  If they are not kowtowing to her wants and demands, she will shut them out.  If they are not performing for her, following her script, she doesn’t love them, doesn’t have a use for them.  It’s become easier to make her happy by shitting on us.  The path of least resistance.  I don’t agree with it, and I don’t condone it, but I sort of understand where it’s coming from.

Their personalities are very different from mine.  If there is anything I could change about the kids, it would be removing some of their intense, needless caring about what other people think.  I would love to give them just a bit of my don’t-give-a-shit-ness.  The freezing out, silent treatment, I-won’t-love-you crap wouldn’t work with me, because I would shrug and go about my business.  Their painful sensitivity to whether their mother is happy with them or not has been bred, reinforced, beaten into them.

Next week, Wolverine leaves for boot camp.  I have mixed feelings about it.  I’m excited for him, eager for him to get away from the toxicity of his mother and her stranglehold.  I am also worried about the other 3 kids, because Crow’s focus has typically been Wolverine.  Once he’s gone, she will need to single out one of the younger kids to twist even more than she already has, to shove around, to interrogate, to rage to, to force into her demented corner.

This could be a new start for Wolverine, a chance to get out of the cage and see what he can do on his own.  I hope to god he takes it.  I hope he walks away and never looks back.

Posted in blog, crazy bitch, kids, updated, Wolverine | 1 Comment

Father’s Day Gifts

Last month, as Mother’s Day approached, TV was saturated with pink-hued commercials about how mothers are angelic, other-worldly beings, how they selflessly take care of everyone, how indescribably wonderful they are, how they give and give until there’s nothing left, how we owe them everything (or at least whatever the company is selling on their commercial).  Department stores featured t-shirts with “Super Mom” and jewelry with children’s birthstones, and florists stood at the ready, hands out for the fists full of cash for overpriced roses and flowers, because how can you possibly think about the price tag when it comes to your mother, for pete’s sake?

Now, as Father’s Day is coming up, I can’t help but notice the drastic difference in advertising, presentation, and gift ideas for fathers.  I was flipping through t-shirts, looking for a gift for Gary, and all I could find were jokes about beer drinking, hoarding the remote control, and “go ask your mother”.  Needless to say, I didn’t waste my money on this crap.

Gary is not a beer-guzzling, TV-bingeing caveman with no clue what goes on in our household.  I find it hard to believe he’s a rare exception to this stereotype.  Gary cooks, reads to the kids, plays Barbies, plays hide-and-seek and Nerf guns, works hard, gets up in the middle of the night when one of the kids is sick, doctors scrapes and cuts and bruises, and ignores his own exhaustion if one of the kids wants to sit on his lap, play, tickle, or tell him an endless story with no plot.

And we’re supposed to honor him with a t-shirt bragging about his beer-chugging skills? Seriously, how far behind the times are these idiots crafting these lame gift ideas?  Many Father’s Day gifts, cards, and commercials are either thinly-veiled insults, or straight-up, blatant slaps to dads’ faces.  We’re supposed to laugh whimsically at commercials about dear old Dad’s incompetence, stumbling foolishness, gas issues, and cluelessness about taking care of children, a home, or anything, really, besides a cold six-pack.

I can’t understand why more men aren’t angry about this.  I can’t understand why more women aren’t angry, either.  Mom-as-martyr and Dad-as-jackass stereotypes don’t help anyone.  How about parents acting as partners?  How about respecting both roles and not placing one on a pedestal and one in the toilet for giggles and kicks?

I think Gary is going to really like his Father’s Day gift this year.  He told us not to get him a gift, like he does every year, but Sunflower came to me with an idea, all her own, and I know she’s excited to give this present to him.  Rest assured, it’s most definitely not a shirt about his alcohol consumption, and it does not use the ridiculous phrase “man cave”. Believe it or not, gifts without that garbage do exist, if you look hard enough.  I just think it’s sad we have to look so hard.

Posted in Father's Day, fathers, get real, insulting, sexist | 1 Comment