Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Wednesday, September 17, 2008 7:14 pm

Well, now I’ve gone and done it

Filed under: Fun,Victoria — Lex @ 7:14 pm
Tags: , ,

Victoria: Daddy, who are you voting for?

Daddy: I’m not saying.

Victoria: Why not?

Daddy: Because voting is a sacred right, and it’s private.

Victoria: Well, we’re studying the Constitution in school, and it doesn’t say that. Hmm. What to do, what to do?

Daddy: Well —

Victoria: I’m going to be a lawyer and argue about the Constitution.

Daddy: Oh, dear.

Victoria: That’s right, you’re raising a lawyer. Hmm, what to do, what to do?

(For the record, my objections have nothing to do with the profession and everything to do with the cost of law school.)

Saturday, September 13, 2008 8:00 pm

Buttercups 4, Sharks 3

Filed under: Victoria — Lex @ 8:00 pm
Tags: ,

First, the important news: The Buttercups’ new jerseys are yellow, meaning that the team cheer, “Yellow, white, Buttercups fight!” isn’t totally incongruous anymore (last year’s jerseys were green). But they’re trimmed with black. I suggested changing the cheer to “Yellow, black, Buttercups attack!” but didn’t get any takers.

The Buttercups have added Victoria’s longtime friend A. to their roster after A.’s team broke up. A. wasted no time making an impact, scoring three of the ‘Cups’ four goals. V. left the game early after taking a poke in the eye so bad that we took her to the pediatrician. Good news: It was only a poke. The cornea was uninjured.

For those of you keeping score at home, yes, we did play the Sharks two weeks in a row. We’ll play them a third time, too. There are only four teams left in the rec-league girls under-11 league, so we’ll play two teams three times each and the third team twice.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008 9:21 pm

Because nothing says “fun” like a really big fish

Filed under: Victoria — Lex @ 9:21 pm
Tags: ,

Just because I hadn’t posted any photos in a while …

Victoria, Granny and catfish

Victoria and Granny pose with a catfish she caught out at Lake Brandt back during June during Grandparents’ Camp. The pond they let the kids fish in is so small it’s almost literally like shooting fish in a barrel, but V. had fun and that’s what counts.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008 9:57 pm

Well, um, yeah; your point being?

Filed under: Fun,Hooper,Victoria — Lex @ 9:57 pm
Tags: , , , ,

(as the curtain opens, we join a battle of wills between father and son that has been going on for 30 minutes already)

Daddy: Spell “list.”

Hooper: No! No, no, no, no, no, no, no! Daddy, I just want to go ride my two-wheeler in the cul-de-sac!

Daddy: We’re going to sit right here at this table until you have spelled your spelling words. Spell “list.”

Hooper: No!

Daddy: Spell “list.”

Hooper: You are. Such. A. Downloader.

Daddy: A what?

Hooper: A downloader! You know, somebody who does too much!

(the father prevails after about another 15 minutes, but we’ll spare you that)

* * *

On a lighter note, Victoria got the new Jonas Brothers CD tonight. All is right with her world.

And because Mommy took Victoria to see the Jonas Brothers last month, Daddy gets to take Hooper to see The Wiggles. This is not quite one of those gnaw-off-your-own-arm-to-escape deals, but, geez, it ain’t good. And they’re performing in the Greensboro Coliseum, which, last I checked, is a 23,000-seat arena, give or take. Assuming somewhere between 30 and 50 percent of attendees to be parents/guardians/babysitters, we’re still talking about more than 10,000 screaming kids in one room.  I’m just gonna go ahead and get my doctor to prescribe me something for a migraine now so I can beat the rush.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008 9:23 pm

I believe the lawyers call this “arguing in the alternative” …

Filed under: Fun,Hooper,Victoria — Lex @ 9:23 pm
Tags: ,

Victoria: Hooper, get your stuff out of my room!

Hooper: Stay out of your business!

Victoria: What’s in my room is my business!

Hooper: Well, stay out of my business, then!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008 8:15 pm

Champions

Filed under: Buttercups,Victoria — Lex @ 8:15 pm
Tags: , ,

I missed it because I had to work, but Victoria’s Buttercups soccer team won out last night to close the season undefeated at 7-0-1. They won 4-2 against the team they tied earlier. V. didn’t score but was very happy with her play.

Up next: Wrangler-McDonald’s. And then a well-deserved summer rest.

Friday, April 18, 2008 6:50 am

Grasp on reality: tenuous

Filed under: Fun,Hooper,Victoria — Lex @ 6:50 am
Tags: ,

Hooper: I didn’t throw the hula hoops in the trees!

Victoria: Oh, right. And Spongebob Squarepants is real.

Hooper (stunned): Spongebob is real?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008 10:05 pm

Buttercups 4, Shakers 1

Filed under: Buttercups,Victoria — Lex @ 10:05 pm
Tags: , ,

The Buttercups stayed undefeated, beating the Shakers tonight in a game that had been postponed from two Tuesdays ago because of rain. (Last night’s game was postponed as well. At this rate, the season might not end until July, but, hey, we need the rain.)

The ‘Cups got two quick ones to start the game, then settled down to a lot of ball control, most of it on the Shakers’ end of the field. They got their third goal early in the second half. Victoria spent a lengthy but uneventful chunk of the second half in goal, after which she played striker. The last goal came on a penalty kick by Victoria’s teammate S., who uncorked a beauty, waist-high and just to the keeper’s right.

I could tell you when the Buttercups’ next game is, but the rain would probably make me a liar, so I won’t. I will say that with rain in the forecast for Saturday (i.e., the field wouldn’t be playable for at least two days), the team is looking at indoor practice for a second straight Sunday. But the important thing is that halfway through the season, at least in terms of number of games played, the Buttercups are 3-0-1.

Sunday, March 30, 2008 8:58 pm

Good thing they struck loans from their financial-aid packages

Filed under: Victoria,Wildcats — Lex @ 8:58 pm
Tags: ,

Victoria now says she wants to go to Davidson.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008 8:57 pm

Catching up, and blowing away

Filed under: Buttercups,Victoria — Lex @ 8:57 pm
Tags: , ,

It’s Buttercups soccer time again, and I’ve been remiss because the games have fallen opposite Hooper’s Cub Scouts or other scheduling issues. The first game was actually the second, the real first game having been postponed by rain. (We’re in a drought, but we’ve had a game postponed and two practices canceled by rain.)

I forget which was which, but the ‘Cups won one of the first two games 3-0 and tied the other one 3-3. Then, earlier tonight, they took on the Red Hot Chili Peppers, a team that in the past has given them fits, and blew them away, 8-0. Victoria spent most of an uneventful second half in goal before scoring the final goal on a sliding kick. She also had an assist earlier in the game.

The midseason break comes a week early because Easter is early this year, so the Buttercups head into the break 2-0-1.

Monday, March 17, 2008 7:52 am

Carolina girls: hot to trot, or, Why we need a new state song

Filed under: Fun,Victoria — Lex @ 7:52 am
Tags: , , ,

Victoria has been wrestling with an assignment to memorize the lyrics to North Carolina’s state song, “The Old North State.” For the record, I can hardly think of a bigger waste of a fourth-grader’s time. I vaguely recall being briefly exposed to this song in junior high, and it sucked. The language was archaic (“witlings”??), the syntax was tortured, it barely scanned in some places and the melody sounded like a drinking song (similar to our national anthem, whose melody really was taken from an old drinking song).

But in going over the lyrics repeatedly with Victoria, I had the chance to delve a bit into the subtext. And, y’all? It’s kind of disturbing.

“Who can yield to just rule a more loyal submission?” suggests blind loyalty. I don’t care how just a rule might be, you never, ever offer that. Sometimes the greatest loyalty lies in vigorous dissent.

The verse about the state’s sons says, in effect, yeah, they’re not real bright, but they’re good people — hardly a ringing endorsement.

And the verse about the state’s daughters, while granting their comely appearance, also says, well, they might not look all that promiscuous, but just get ’em started — ask anyone who ever has. As the father of a girl, I think this is the state-song equivalent of writing a girl’s name and number on the bathroom wall.

So I’m thinking it’s time we got us a new state song. I’m not wild about James Taylor’s, so I’m opening up the floor to nominations.

Saturday, March 1, 2008 12:32 pm

Random acts of screaming and senseless ululation

Filed under: Fun,Victoria — Lex @ 12:32 pm

So I took Victoria to her first Big Social Event last night, the school’s fourth-grade dance. She and her friend A., who used to go to the same school but no longer does, spent the first several minutes renewing old acquaintanceships. One boy, B., was so happy to see A. that he bumped into her and stepped on her foot, on purpose.

I’d thought perhaps there might be an opportunity for a little daddy-daughter time, but once we got into the cafeteria, V. gave me my marching, or sitting orders: Sit right there and don’t go anywhere. So that’s what I did, except for the part where she dragged me onto the floor to join her in the cha-cha slide, or whatever it’s called. (“Let’s stomp! Left foot! Let’s stomp! Right foot!”)

There was lots of screaming that appeared prompted by nothing in particular, although the fog machine was a big hit, as were the strobe lights.

The DJ was Victoria’s teacher, a former dance instructor. Between the heavy dose of Radio Disney staples and the heavy dose of ’70s disco staples, I recognized about 95% of the music. The irony of dancing to music recorded before some of these kids’ parents were born struck me. So did the irony of elementary-age kids’ dancing to “YMCA,” a song about gay cruising down at the gym. But hey, that song has long since been shorn of its original edge. They do it at baseball games, for crying out loud. Also, he slipped up and played the real version of “Suicidal” instead of the Disney version, which substitutes “in denial.”

The dancing was mostly hopping around, although there were some rudimentary efforts toward break dancing and a number of the kids were intent on showing off their mad floor-slidin’ skillz. Some parents did the Twist when Chubby Checker was played. Although Elvis had been promised, none was delivered.

On the drive home, A. filled me in on “Pimp My Ride.” She seemed more interested in, and sympathetic toward, the lousy original condition of the rides in question than what ultimately was done to them, although the veggie freak who got a veggie juicer installed in the back seat of her car did impress her somewhat. “One girl, her car had no door,” A. said, “and it had mice.”

The girls also talked about a friend whose erstwhile boyfriend was now “dating” someone else. “He wouldn’t even talk to her,” Victoria said. “Boys can be stupid that way,” I said. V. agreed and added, “That whole dating thing is just … eww.” I pumped my fist and silently mouthed, “YES!”

Tuesday, February 26, 2008 7:07 pm

Overheard while walking the dog

Filed under: Victoria — Lex @ 7:07 pm

“Hooper, you little miscreant! Daddy, he’s tailing me!”

Friday, February 15, 2008 7:29 pm

Yeah, she’s ready

Filed under: Victoria — Lex @ 7:29 pm

Victoria, being a North Carolina public-school fourth-grader, has a state writing test coming up in a couple of weeks. She generally doesn’t sweat testing of any sort too much, even when, as now, teachers are making a big deal about it. And this became clear when she brought home the results of a recent practice test.

The tests are graded 1 to 4 by two different readers, 4 being highest. Victoria’s test was, if I recall correctly, to write about a real or fictional journey. She wrote a story about a magic ring that let her travel to any three places she wanted to go. I forget where one of the places was, but the other two were backstage with Miley Cyrus and in a soccer game with Mia Hamm. One reader gave her a 4. The other gave her only a 3 and said she should have explained more fully who Cyrus and Ham were.

I thought V. might be a little down about that. Instead, she said something like, “Has this person never heard of CONTEXT CLUES? Hel-LO! Backstage? Performer? Hel-LO! Soccer field? Soccer game? Soccer PLAYER? Hel-LO! CONTEXT CLUES! Hel-LO!”

I’d say it’s game on.

Monday, February 11, 2008 8:02 pm

Victoria amazes, cont.

Filed under: Victoria — Lex @ 8:02 pm

During Sunday school yesterday, the elementary kids made Valentines for shut-ins and then were given addresses to which to deliver them. So Victoria and her friend Abby made the Valentines and then we drove over to a local retirement home to deliver them.

Victoria’s reaction afterward: “This made me feel really good. I’m going to keep the addresses so we can take them something for St. Patrick’s Day.”

Sunday, February 3, 2008 2:11 pm

Sister Victoria explains it all

Filed under: Hooper,Victoria — Lex @ 2:11 pm
Tags: ,

Hooper: There’s [name of his school]!

Victoria: No, buddy, that’s [name of high school]. And over there is [name of middle school they will attend].

Hooper: I’m worried about going to [name of middle school].

Victoria: Don’t worry, buddy. I’ll tell you everything about it. EV-erything.

Monday, January 14, 2008 7:39 pm

That’s my girl

Filed under: Victoria — Lex @ 7:39 pm

Victoria: Daddy, can I watch football tonight?

Me: No, sweetie, there aren’t any games on tonight.

Victoria: But the Giants won and the — who was it? — the Chargers won. Don’t they get to keep playing?

Me: Yeah, but they don’t play until Sunday.

Victoria: ‘Til Sunday? Aw, man. Who do I talk to about that?

Friday, January 11, 2008 8:38 pm

Road trip

Filed under: Victoria — Lex @ 8:38 pm

Back today from accompanying Victoria’s fourth grade on an overnight field trip to Raleigh. Yesterday was a full day: the legislative building, the Capitol, the N.C. History Museum, the science museum and a brisk walk to take in the exterior of the governor’s mansion before hopping the buses back to Marble Kids Museum. After dinner there (pizza!), the kids had some programs (and a vigorous session on the karaoke machine) before trooping over to the adjacent Imax theater to see “The Polar Express” in 3-D. That was some seriously good 3-D, too, the best I’ve ever seen.

We spent the night in the museum, which, between a headache, a backache from all the walking, the hard floor and the lack of my sleep machine, was not the most comfortable night I’ve ever spent. Then this morning we had a quick snack at the museum before hopping the buses. We stopped in Haw River for breakfast before returning to school just in time to sign Victoria out for the day without penalty. Then it was home for some real sleep — at least a couple of hours’ worth.

Ann accompanied V’s class on a 3-day trip several months ago. I sympathized with her at the time. I really sympathize with her now — and am blown away yet again by the dedication of the teachers who concoct and lead these trips. I enjoyed the sights and the time with Victoria, and she really wants to go back to Marbles again, this time with her cousins. I think that’s a great idea. But the next time I accompany a child on an overnight class trip, then by hook or crook I’m bringing an air mattress.

Saturday, June 30, 2007 3:00 am

Nine tonight

Filed under: Victoria — Lex @ 3:00 am

Happy birthday, Victoria!

Sunday, December 31, 2006 5:52 pm

Things you don’t want to hear your kids saying

Victoria: “Daddy, we’re playing reporter! See how curly my hair is?”

Sunday, November 26, 2006 10:06 pm

Halloween 2006

Filed under: Hooper,Victoria — Lex @ 10:06 pm

Victoria and Hooper, Halloween 2006

Victoria (Snow Princess) and Hooper (Mr. Incredible) before heading out to shake down the neighbors. (Just got around to dumping my SD card into the PC.)

Medium: Original photograph
Platform: Konica/Minolta DiMage Z-10
Settings: ISO100, F3.3 @ 1/60 sec. with flash, red-eye reduction
Date: 10/31/2006

Monday, November 13, 2006 6:40 pm

CSI: Greensboro

Hooper: Daddy, I didn’t mean to bite her!

Victoria: Well, then, how do you explain these teeth marks!?!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006 9:10 am

What’s going on at our house

Filed under: Fun,Victoria — Lex @ 9:10 am

These signs are taped up to doors and walls all over the house:

Victoria’s dragon-drawing contest

I’m going to enter. This is one contest I could actually win.

Sunday, October 29, 2006 1:35 pm

I don’t want to brag but …

Filed under: Victoria — Lex @ 1:35 pm

Victoria’s mad football skillz
… oh, whom am I kidding? I do too want to brag.

This is the card Victoria brought home from her physical-education teacher the other day. It said that Victoria’s mad football skillz had made her a role model for her classmates, all but one of whom is taller than she.

Her jumping ability made up for her lack of height in catching passes. And she apparently was one of the few kids in the class able to throw a straight, accurate spiral pass more than about 3 feet.

This does not mean she’ll be challenging Jake Delhomme for the starting job anytime soon, of course. But in a world that is stacked against little girls in so many ways, it’s delightful to see her kicking the boys’ butts on their own turf.

Sunday, October 22, 2006 9:41 pm

Tigers 3, Ladybugs 4

Filed under: Tigers,Victoria — Lex @ 9:41 pm

It was a beautiful day for a soccer game:

Bryan Park soccer complex, Field 8

In addition to Hooper, Victoria also had her Uncle Frank and his three daughters cheering for her. Here they are with Hooper:

Hooper and the cousins
The Tigers jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, then gave up a quick own-goal, then kind of broke down until the fourth quarter. At that point, excellent pass routes and ball handling enabled the Tigers to pull to within 1, but time ran out before they could tie it up.

By the fourth quarter, the team was playing offense better than it has all year. Most importantly, instead of clustering around the ball, the girls were getting into position for passes, and regardless of who had the ball at any given time, that person was looking for someone in a good position to receive a pass. It worked well … almost well enough to give the Tigers a shot at a win.

Victoria had another great game on defense. Here’s an example:

Victoria on defense

See the smile on her face? This is her favorite part of the game: booming the ball well back into her opponent’s territory.

But she likes keeping goal almost as much. She had quite the busy time of it in the third quarter, too. I got pictures of nine saves, and there were at least four others I didn’t catch with the camera. (She gave up one long goal after she lost a footrace to the ball in the corner of the box.) This was probably her best save:

Victoria prevents a score

She was pretty unhappy about the loss, which was understandable, and about her own play, which was less so. The Tigers found their mojo in the fourth quarter; let’s hope they can hang onto it for the final two games of the season.

Monday, September 25, 2006 8:08 am

Tigers 3, Lady Lumberjacks 6

Filed under: Tigers,Victoria — Lex @ 8:08 am

Sigh.

Well, once again we had a little trouble getting it together, particularly on the offensive end; one of the Tigers three scores was an own-goal. (Erika and Zoe got the other two.) Everyone seemed to have had trouble getting open for passes and tended to cluster around the ball. Standing behind the bench taking photos, I sensed some frustration (to put it politely).

Must run to work; hope to write more about this game (and the perhaps-unintended implications of the opponents’ team name) later.

Saturday, September 16, 2006 1:22 pm

Tigers 3, Shooting Stars 2

Filed under: Tigers,Victoria — Lex @ 1:22 pm

Victoria passes to a teammate in Saturday’s game. Photo by Herb Everett.

I was right — the Tigers did play better fundamental soccer today. That let them get their first win, over a team against which they were more evenly matched, from the standpoint of pure athleticism, than last week’s opponent. In fact, the Stars’ ball-handling skills were a little better than ours, but a win is a win.

Zoe was the MVP, mixing two goals with a stellar turn in goal. Mary got the other goal. Victoria gave up a goal in the fourth quarter to let the Stars tie, but she redeemed herself a few minutes later, when a wide-open Star attempted a goal shot just as Victoria was going down to smother the ball. It looked from the sidelines as if the ball got her squarely between the eyes, but in fact it hit her nose and mouth. (No blood, amazingly.) She had to come out for the rest of the game — two minutes or so — but the block inspired the team and Zoe got the winning goal moments later.

Our strikers still tended to cluster a bit and didn’t get forward quickly enough in the transition game — too often, a Tiger would be in Star territory facing a couple of defenders with no one to pass to. But the problem was nowhere near as bad as last week; what they’ve learned is starting to come back.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006 9:17 pm

It’s like this

I told Victoria last night that she needs to stop using the word “like” inappropriately and that if she didn’t, I was going to start fining her a penny for each offense and that would be the money I would retire on. She didn’t believe me until I, like, totally took a penny away from her after she said it again.

Saturday, September 9, 2006 5:27 pm

Tigers 1, Pink Panthers 8

Filed under: Victoria — Lex @ 5:27 pm

Ouch.

Unlike a lot of team’s in Victoria’s league, the Tigers have no real stars. What they do have, and what has enabled them to beat better teams quite often, is a level of teamwork that most other teams in the league don’t approach. They have become able to anticipate one another’s passes and breaks, as well as those of their opponents.

Problem is, every offseason they forget almost everything they’ve learned. And so it was in today’s fall season opener, in which they played the Pink Panthers, pretty consistently the league’s best team. In addition to a couple of true stars, the PPs are, player for player, at least one step quicker than the Tigers at every position. Even when they’ve been playing at their best, the Tigers haven’t done well against them. And because this was a season opener, the Tigers definitely weren’t at their best today.
They gave up four quick goals in the first quarter, primarily because no one on defense was going to the ball. On offense, instead of breaking open for passes, they clustered around the ball. Victoria played right forward in the second quarter, and it was uncanny how often she would make a blind pass when the teammate who would have been right there to receive it last spring was, this time, about three inches off her left heel.

V’s friend Ally, new to the team but a friend since they were 1 (they share a birthday and spent five years together in day care), did well in goal in the third quarter. She gave up one goal, but this was the first time she’d ever played organized soccer, let alone kept goal, and she got no specific instructions beforehand. Under those circumstances, I thought she played outstandingly.

V. played defense the entire second half, and the level of guts she had to display to do so was astonishing. Ragweed has hit her very hard despite all her medications — she was up twice during the night breathing steam in our bathroom so that she could stop coughing long enough to sleep — and yet she gutted it out, playing excellent defense. The Tigers gave up only two goals in the second half, both times when the keeper got caught out of position. V. even took a kick to the head that brought tears briefly to her eyes, waved her hand to come out of the game, then thought better of it and stayed in. She was hacking like a vomiting dog at the end of the game, but you would never have known it to watch her challenge the Pink Panthers’ forwards and send the ball booming back toward their goal.

And toward the end of the game, tired as they were from the heat and the humidity and the wider field that the under-9s play on, the Tigers started to get their teamwork back. I suspect they’re going to do much better next week.

Friday, August 18, 2006 6:26 am

Tigerin’ up

Filed under: Victoria — Lex @ 6:26 am

Victoria’s soccer team, the Tigers, held its first practice of the fall season Wednesday. Now that they’ve moved up into the under-9s, there’ll be nine players on a team (up from eight) with six playing at a time (up from five). The team has lost two members, including one of its better shooters, but gained three, two of whom are girls Victoria spent four years in day care with, so she’s pretty happy about that (although, with most schools not yet reopened, both were on vacation with their families this week and missed the practice). The third new girl is new to town but has played plenty of soccer before, and her mom says she loves to shoot, so we may be OK on that front.

Coach put the girls through some pretty high-energy ball-handling drills and also had them doing some wind sprints and jogging, which is the first sustained attention he has paid in practice to general conditioning. V. would have been fine if Hooper hadn’t drunk all her water when she wasn’t looking.

As she was getting into the car after practice, V. somehow managed to slam the car door on her left arm above the elbow, leaving a bad bruise on the top of her upper arm and a REALLY bad bruise on the underside, over her triceps. She was in a good deal of pain, but she was able to lift a ketchup bottle later with that arm so I’m pretty sure nothing’s broken. We kept a bunch of ice on it and she reported having slept well yesterday morning.

The first game isn’t until after Labor Day.

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