The annual Halloween album is over there on the right! 🎃———>
Since hell has frozen over and TWO CLEVELAND TEAMS have continued into a post-season in 2016, it's probably high-time I wrote about my beloved Cleveland Caveliers. Especially since Game 2 of the ALDS starts shortly. (!!!)(Go wINDIANS!)
Somewhere in this house is my charter member card to Richfield Coliseum, which I earned for attending the first game played by the Cavaliers there in 1974. (It is currently in a "safe place" but I intend to tear things apart this winter until I locate it again). Needless to say, I was raised a Cavs fan: Richfield Coliseum isn't even standing anymore but my love of the team is. My list of favorite players through the years is long—though Mark Price, Larry Nance, Hot Rod Williams, Craig Ehlo, Brad Daugherty are all favorites from another era. I went through a terrible breakup with LeBron when he unceremoniously left for Miami, just like so many other fans did, and he had to earn his way back into my heart (which he did when I got all weepy after watching this—OK, OK, I still get weepy watching it—and decided to forgive him his trespasses, for he was young and foolish in 2007). I am forever indebted to the current crew for bringing so much happiness to northeast Ohio. I totally get why there will no doubt be a whole bunch of babies born this year named Kyrie.
We didn't miss a single playoff game despite gymnastics, final school projects, or moving prep while living in Alabama in 2015. The girls caught the basketball bug and could talk Cleveland Cavs with anyone, so we were all understandably heartbroken when the curse kicked in yet again and Cleveland came up empty-handed in the post-season. But any true Cleveland fan knows: water under the bridge. We return, wide-eyed, open-hearted and hopeful despite the scar tissue caused by so many years of heartbreak. So when the NBA season kicked off again last fall, we once again made a point to watch every game we could that aired on TV, and even some on Apple TV. Note: watching a game on Apple TV is a totally different experience, because they leave the cameras running the entire time so you can see all the weird and wonderful stuff that happens during halftime. Ha. I believe it was in March or April that I experienced my first true pangs of anxiety about the playoffs—like, we actually have a chance here. But I mostly kept my mouth shut, because, experience.
And then there was no denying it: the Cavs were on the playoff path once again. It took a thousand planets to align to watch the games because of gymnastics, work, travel, Matt's two month head start to Cheyenne last spring, and moving prep. We phone-called through a few games but no one missed one. My nagging pangs of playoff anxiety turned into full-fledged panic, but the kind of panic that comes from riding a wild, nearly out-of-control roller coaster. The good parts. Down with Detroit! Down with Atlanta! Down with Toronto! With every game, we were more on edge. Well, Matt was way more zen about things somehow—I suspect it is because he is not a charter member of the Richfield Coiliseum, and only came to be a Cavs fan in the mid-1980s. But I was an absolute basket case.
Moving during the NBA Playoffs presented a huge problem, but we solved it by keeping one of our two TVs out of the moving truck. HALLELUJAH, because our things did not arrive when they were supposed to arrive but we could watch no matter what. The problem of what to do if the series extended into Matt's three week trip to Alabama (which I was to attend the second week of) was looming. The girls were headed to the Karahalises for a week, who promised that while not NBA fans, would guarantee access to a TV and an empty schedule in case of a game 7. Which, in all honesty, was not looking promising at the beginning of June:
Game 1: Golden State wins.
Game 2: Golden State wins.
Game 3: Cavs TROUNCE Golden State. (whew!)
Game 4: Golden State wins.
No team had ever dug themselves out of a 3-1 deficit in the playoffs before. While my hope was tested, it was not lost.
Game 5: Cleveland wins.
Game 6: Cleveland wins.
OH MY GOSH. YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME. Game 7 will be watched in Colorado Springs, CO and Montgomery, AL.
Game 7: My flight was scheduled to land just before the game was set to begin. Matt picked me up, we skipped dinner and screeched into the hotel parking lot just in time to catch most of the first quarter. I was nearly sick with nerves. SICK.
Here is where I will note that I have never really understand the charm of watching old professional sports games on TV. I could care less about watching the Superbowl from 1975, or even worse, highlight reels from The Drive, The Fumble, The 9th Inning of the 1997 World Series, or The Shot. (You can look those up if you want, though if you're a Cleveland fan, you won't need to). I apologize, for now I get it. I could watch Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Championships every week for the rest of my life and never get sick of it. It's a wonder we didn't get kicked out of the Maxwell AFB visiting quarters, because, well, it was an angst-ridden and then rowdy party we threw that night. It was hard to focus on what had happened—because I was bawling. I will admit it: I bawled about basketball, friends. 93-89 bawling. UGLY bawling.
Deb sent me this photo, taken at the moment I burst into tears of joy. There were some very excited Dillow girls on the other side of the country. Even Deb and Greg got into the game, because who couldn't? It was the greatest game in basketball history. HA! We called my parents, the girls, had another friend from New Mexico call, texted furiously with friends, lit up Facebook with friends who were equally shocked and joyous... it was a good night that I will never, ever, ever forget. LeBron was undone, and so was I.
Anything is possible. 123—hard work. 456—together.
I lost my words these past few months. It isn't that there haven't been stories to tell, but for many reasons both serious and ridiculous, I haven't been telling them.
And I miss it.
Blogs are dead, people say. Maybe so.
Matt tells me to just tell a story, any story—in the tradition of the old days of Simple, it doesn't matter where it lands on the timeline. Chronology is for other people, right?
So. In an attempt to find my words... at least a few of them... here is a random PSA. The closer you live to Hatch, NM or Pueblo, CO, the more useful it is. But it's still worth remembering no matter where you are.
A few months ago I was hurriedly making dinner in the 45 minutes between Bee gym pickup and M & G gym pickup—I don't remember what I was making, but it had green chiles in it. I was chopping them up, being very careful not to slice my fingers off in our poorly lit Albuquerque kitchen. Bee was starting homework, Matt wasn't home from work yet. And then somehow MY EYE CAUGHT FIRE. Like, I was immediately blinded, shrieking in pain, waggling a knife around trying to find the counter. I know through an unfortunate experience with Slap Ya Mama in Louisiana that pepper residue in one's eyeball is painful, but this? This was 8000 times worse. Maybe even 27,000 times worse. All I could think was "but I always buy mild peppers!!!" (which, by the way, was completely irrelevant since by that point I'm pretty sure both my eyes had caught fire).
Bridget was properly freaked out, especially since chile pepper oil is invisible.
And just at that moment, Matt walked in about 7:35 pm from a long day at work and an hour commute to discover me writhing around trying to put water in my eyes without actually touching them.
Sometimes it pays (ok, usually) to be married to the Sunbeam of Knowledge, or at least someone who is good at googling things fast. He went to work and found that milk! Milk in my eyes would cure me. He grabbed the milk and a dish towel and tried to make me a milk compress. I grabbed the milk and just poured it on my face. And because of the miracle of science, my eyes stopped being on fire. JUST LIKE THAT. Like, instantaneous relief. You know how when you stub your toe you feel it for an hour after the initial pain? None of that. Just, fixed. I would tell you to try it out, but I think that would fall into the category of a Very Bad Idea. I was shaky in general from the whole hoopla, but my eyes were fine. I went to get the girls and marveled at my non-fiery sight the entire way.
It's possible that everyone in the world knows that pouring milk on one's face will cure pepper-related disasters, but just in case you didn't know... now you do.
from In Summer
by Paul Laurence Dunbar, 1872-1906
You can read the entire poem here.
p.s. giveaway for a copy of Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal is still open!
Amy Krouse Rosenthal has a new book out this month and to celebrate the beginning of the school year, I'm giving two copies away!
But first, a little information: It is probably widely known that I am an Amy Krouse Rosenthal superfan; when she announced she was searching for some people to be part of her latest book promotion team I applied that same day. Her last book for grownups, Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, is one of my all-time favorites (along with pretty much every single one of her children's books). There's something so... hygge about everything she writes. (I was reading this interview in the Chicago Tribune* about the book, where she references the Danish word "hygge" and I did some more reading about it, and that is absolutely how I would describe the experience of reading her books. Perfect!).
I read my advance copy on my flights from Denver to Montgomery in June—this was both perfect and problematic. Perfect because it is the right length of book to read on a flight. Problematic because of the format: this is a book to read when you actually have cell service or wifi, because it's interactive. I had no idea how impatient I would be to land so I could get my text sent to get started on the process of being able to submit things or request things, depending on the part of the book I was reading. I took paper notes on everything so I could start during my layover in Dallas. This format? Really, really fun, and completely different from anything I've ever read before. I think that was the point—this is the first interactive book of this kind published.
I did rip the page out as I was instructed to do so I could give it to the lady sitting next to me (after working up the nerve and waiting until the last minute before we deboarded). I may have startled her at first, but she seemed genuinely touched that I ripped a page out of my book to give to her. Heh. Related: don't tell the girls I ripped a page out of my book. They still haven't recovered from the projects I did for Ella Publishing Co.'s Book Crafting.
An important piece of magic to report: one of the things I did while waiting for my second flight from Dallas to Montgomery was the part about sharing messages of good luck for her safekeeping. It feels too private to tell you exactly what I texted, but I will tell you it had to do with Cleveland. Who went on to WIN THE NBA CHAMPIONSHIP A FEW DAYS LATER**. You be the judge.
Another favorite opportunity for interaction: submitting to the Live Rainbow Feed. I was anxious to spot a rainbow so I could do this one, and I finally spotted one a few weeks ago and immediately texted the photo.
I think this style of book appeals to me not because it's particularly challenging in length or content, but because it stays with me. Just like Encylopedia of an Ordinary Life, this book is all about the author's experiences—but not just the author's experiences, because it so seamlessly draws in the reader and his or her experiences, too. It is no secret that I also love things written into a familiar format: lists, the almanac format I used for The Scrapbooker's Almanac, an encylopedia, a textbook. And the fact that this one is participatory makes an already good reading experience into a shared one. Hygge for sure.
I want to share Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal with you, too! There is a pre-assessment in the introduction, and you can answer one of those questions as your official entry:
In Group Discussions
a.) I truly want to hear what others have to say and enjoy listening.
b.) I theoretically want to hear what others have to say, yet I find myself doing most of the talking.
c.) I want others to hear what I have to say, but I seem to have difficulty inserting/asserting myself.
d.) I want others to hear what I have to say and have no problem whatsoever making that happen.
You can just tell me which one, or you can elaborate : )
I will draw two winners based on the age-old blog giveaway rules here: giveaway will remain open until it's closed. So don't delay!
*Speaking of people I am on book promotion teams for that have recently appeared in The Chicago Tribune, here's another one. 🎉
**I have SO MUCH MORE TO SAY about the Cavs, and as I address the sad backlog of blog posts from this summer, I intend to do so. Obnoxiously. Hee.
This week marks the fourth first day of school in a row in a different school/state for these girls—but it's also the least "new kid" first day of school any of them have ever had. Between teachers that know them, friends they met during the summer, friends they're back in class with, or being the younger sibilings of older sibilngs who know each other, this has been a pretty easy transition back to school in Cheyenne. HALLELUJAH.
First up: Maddie!
Maddie who is starting HIGH SCHOOL. (For nostalgia's sake, I looked up first day of school posts in my archives and got all weepy from this one.) There are still teachers and one administrator who remember when I was teaching and pregnant with her at this school, and it freaked them all right out when she showed up. It also freaked out a whole bunch of Montana-born millennials when they had to come to terms with the fact that their old childless high school teacher now has a freshmen in high school. Maddie has a few old friends to spot in classes/lunch/hallways, which makes everything just a tiny bit less intimidating. She lucked out and gets to be in a morning carpool, and didn't have a single bad thing to say about any of her teachers after the first day. I think that's a victory.
Gracie lucked out because she gets to spend an extra year in elementary school, which was a big relief to her—the last three places we've lived have sixth graders in middle school. We made the difficult decision not to send her back to her old elementary school here, but instead to the school where Maddie went for four years; it's a good fit for her and will be just the thing she needs before starting 7th grade. She sits across from an old preschool classmate, which is funny to us. They are both alphas and haven't changed a bit. They were good friends back then with only occasional outbursts of annoyance with each other, and hopefully they'll strike a good balance again this year : )
Bridget has had the hardest time over the last three years of bouncing from school to school, with only 1/3 of those school years working well for her. But this year... this year she has our Fairy Godteacher, same as Maddie had in third and fourth grades and we couldn't be more excited. My mama has always said my third grade teacher was "good for me" (hmph)(my third grade teacher was a structured, organized, rigid woman) but without a doubt, Mrs. Dixon will be good for Bridget. It is possible that Bridget takes after her mama and needs some structure and organization... heh. Good thing Mrs. Dixon is also lovely, patient, and kind. Miss Payerle may have been many things, but I struggle to remember lovely, patient, and kind. I may have been too distracted by the effort it took me to be less flaky and scatter-brained, though : ) Aside: Bridget wins the award for Most Changed since last year.
Ellie was ready to go upon my return from the bus stop. The first day of school is Dog New Year to her, and she and her bad heart were very ready to go on the first proper long walk of the school year. She is the best dog.
I spent yesterday drawing up a list of All the Things That Will Be Done this school year and it is giant. Wish us all good luck!
This is Miss Vi.
She is an expert horsewoman and a true cowgirl.
She was inducted into the Cheyenne Frontier Days Hall of Fame in 2013.
She is 81 years old, and had an elbow replacement not long ago so is taking the season off from barrel racing. She'll be back next year.
On July 3, she was assigned the task of teaching Matt how to ride a horse so he could survive a month of horseback riding (beginning on July 4 in the Greeley Stampede parade) without incident or injury. When he showed up for his first concentrated lesson, she told him she wasn't going to take any of his colonel #%*! and that he had better pay attention to her because she knew what she was talking about. Matt was all ears, obviously, and by the end of the lesson she gave him an A. I have seen her around many times through the years but had never met her until this weekend. She is awesome, is all one can say.
If you see her around say hi and thank you for her service to Cheyenne, the rodeo, and horse-ignorant military types everywhere.