Category Archives: sports

SoCal Mini Break: Venice Beach Boardwalk

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Venice Beach Boardwalk Skate Park

I can’t make a stop in LA without a pass through Venice.  When I was a Los Angeles resident, Venice was always a great place to be for the day, with all its color and life!

Luckily, this time, it was only a short walk away from my bungalow in Marina Del Rey to the Venice Boardwalk…

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Close enough to take in the art…

 

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And the people…

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Do a little shopping…

 

 

Take in the local flavor…

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And catch some major skill at the skatepark…

Processed with Snapseed.Processed with Snapseed.Processed with Snapseed. Processed with VSCO with acg presetBut, as I have experienced time and again in My California, I can never get enough…

photo-oct-12-1-34-56-pm…so, I will continue to return.

SoCal Mini Break: Beach Time

For more Sweet Spot Travels: Go Here

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Live From the Polar Vortex

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polar vortex

Yesterday, I went to the bank.  Exciting, I know.  But, I made a crucial discovery in the process.  You see, as I dumped into the teller’s space my unfinished deposit items, I expressed apologies for my inability to perform the simplest of math required to complete the deposit slip.  “That’s ok” she generously replied, “It’s too cold to think”.  In the words of Pre-Teen, who immortalized the phrase in our family after discovering a London street we had inadvertently walked down late one night was the “gay party street”…

”That explains a lot!!!”.

Too cold to think!  Of course! Suddenly all was explainable.  It explained why I can’t seem to write a blog to save my life (which aside from my recent run-in with a barbed wire fence hasn’t really been necessary), why I have been driving in circles on country roads in the quest to deliver my sons to sporting events (because how else to explain that after 12 years, I still have not mastered country-style direction following), and why I can’t seem to put two words together or remember anyone’s name (cause, like, in no way could that be age or anything).

Honestly, the whole Polar Vortex thing is getting on my nerves.  Aside from the “too cold to think” phenomenon (which, seriously, is the last thing I need as my thinking abilities are challenged under the warmest of conditions), and the fact that I can’t leave the house without cursing at the wind like a crazy lady, and those weather-chicken school officials who keep making my kids stay home with me, stuck in the house being bored, instead of in school annoying the teachers, (don’t they know waiting at the bus stop in sub-zero weather builds character?),  there are the questions.

For example, my husband, asking me every single morning – like my uterus is somehow hard wired into the Doppler radar – “What is the weather forecast for today?” (um cold, freezing or excuse-me-while-I-scream-in-agony-cold?).  Or from friends and family smugly living in my native California – like they don’t recall that anything under 60 degrees qualifies as “cold” in Cali (yeah, you know who you are) – “Is it cold there?”  (um, yeah, cold, freezing, and excuse-me-while-I-scream-in-agony cold).  Or from Teen and Pre-Teen who I suspect secretly just want me out of the way so they can watch a cagillioneth episode of Family Guy “Why are you watching Dexter…again!?” – (because the Miami setting makes me feel warm and I have a soft spot for a cute sociopath with heart, if you must know).

I can at least appreciate the question from friends who, like me once basked in the glory of a sunshine state but have now unwittingly found themselves relocated in a polar vortex – “Are you surviving the cold”  (since I wear gloves to grocery shop, I would have to say “No”).

One thing is for certain.  My cat, Lulubelle, doesn’t seem to have trouble thinking in the cold and has in fact figured out a way to survive and keep warm, which makes her the smartest member of our family.

You don't mind a few, or say hundreds of white hairs on your clean laundry, right?

You don’t mind a few, or say hundreds of white hairs on your clean laundry, right?

Yep, things are that bleak.

So for now,

I am coming to you live from the Polar Vortex…

But, only barely.

Resolutions for 2013 – Sweet Spot Style

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Yes, it is that time again – Resolution time.  Truthfully, I hold with the Non-Resolution style of ringing in the New Year.  That being said, there is always something of value to be learned from history – ones own adventures and, well, misadventures.

Thus this year, I decided to scour the Sweet Spot Archives of 2012 in search of some well earned Resolutions for 2013.
I think I found some pretty powerful nuggets of advice for the New Year…

1.  I will be sure to check my pants zipper (Life, the Ego-Sucking Siege) before entering any and all public establishments.

2. I will struggle on in my war against electronics (I Am Woman – Ode to Chris the Caveman) in the never ending battle for influence over my kids’ brain.

3.  I will try to have a kindler, gentler approach to my vacuum (The Day I Killed the Vacuum) and well, for that matter all machines in general (Woman vs. Machine).

4.  I will try to take Teens advice to drink water and recycle – preferably at the same time – (Teen Talk: Episode #3) and, of course, Pre-Teens advice to Never Sit on a Couch at a Nudest Colony.

5.  I swear never to utter the chant “Party at home plate” at my kids’ baseball games (Take Us To Warp Speed, Scotty), or do any of those other things that would qualify me for “bulldog” status as a  Sports Mom (Bulldogs Don’t Wear Lipstick).

6.  I promise, for Teen and Pre-Teen’s sake, to work in the words “Balls”  (Word-Up: We’ve Got Big Balls) and “Weenus” (Word-Up: Show Me Your Weenus) into every conversation where possible but not necessarily appropriate.

7.  In true Mid-West fashion, I promise to generously give the “no problem” wave, the “thanks for not honking at me even though I deserve it” wave, and possibly throw in the “I’m cool” head wave.  (You Deserve the Wave Today).

8.  I will seek out adventure every chance I get (Sweet Spot Travels), even the scary kind (Today’s Best Moment Thursday April 5.)

9.  I will try to make someones day as often as possible  simply by donning a pen and piece of rainbow stationary. (Go Ahead, Make My Day).

10.  I will be sure to have plenty of stockings/pantyhose and pet hair removal devices on hand for whatever occasion may arise. (Bag Lady Goes a Job Hunting).

11.  I will try to never, ever forget how good it feels to laugh (Destroy This Note After Reading).

And lastly, two lessons –  clearly resolution worthy – from some recent experiences:

I will try to not take as a personal commentary the worker-monogrammed cups received at Starbucks:

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And, I will remember to pee prior to attending a D-Box movie.

Happy New Year from Looking for the Sweet Spot.

Go get ’em!

Word-Up: We’ve Got Big Balls

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As a Mom I am ready to embrace the teen years, more to the point, the boy-teen years.  Heck, I was born ready.  Well, not really.  Actually I was born pink & squishy…and bald.  Be that as it may,  growing up with three teenage brothers must have had some lasting effect – or damage.

So, here is what I have discovered recently.  Apparently, part of being baptized into male teen-dom involves the embracing and appreciation for all humor involving anatomical innuendo (honestly, for me this is not such a hardship).  At the current stage of development, we are heavily into Balls – sport balls, that is, and all implied.  Recently, I was schooled in the infinite innuendo possibilities for the word Balls.

I believe the introductory lesson went something like this:

Mom, you know, the word ball can be pretty funny.

Oh, really, how so?

Well, at baseball practice, say we are going out to warm up and one of the guys asks me “Do you have a ball?” and I will answer, “Yeah, I have two.”

And because the mind is a terrible thing to waste – well that and never being one to leave a good innuendo well enough alone -we brainstormed some more.

Try these on for size, no pun intended (ah, what the heck),  pun intended!.

Does anyone have a ballYeah, big ones

Does anyone have a ballWhat? You don’t?

Hey, grab a ball while you are over there. You’re sick!

Always keep your eye on the ball. aaawkwaaaabrd

Basketball players have big, orange balls.

Soccer players like to kick balls.

Football players have oddly shaped balls.

Baseball players have a lot of balls.

Golfers have little tiny balls.  (sorry golfers,  just  could not resist that one).

It is not a sport without any balls.

Can someone get me some balls, I don’t have any.

And lastly,

In sports, you have to get the balls a little sweaty.

Here I thought Poop would always be the funniest word in the English Language.  I guess I should have known the shift was coming, what with the whole Weenus debacle and all.

And, don’t even get us started on the word,  Nuts.

For more word abuse, check out these earlier posts!

Word-Up: Show Me Your Weenus

Word-Up:  Poop

Word-Up: Opus Anyone?

Word-Up: Get a Yob!

Today’s Best Moment: Friday 7/20

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Being a baseball parent can be rough, let me tell you.

The endless season, the stress and worry, the out-of-hand sports parents, the small town tournaments, the bad hotels,the can-never-please parents attacking coach husband, the countless hours washing and washing and washing uniforms, the  multitude of practices, the driving, the hot sun, the heartbreaking losses, and the list goes on.

But every once in a while something happens.

A bright spot.

And I am not talking about wins or successes (although clearly, those are good, too).

No, this is an event infinitely more powerful.

When  least expected, I get to see my husband do something like  this:

And suddenly, in that moment, I know it is all worth it.

Take Us to Warp Speed, Scotty

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I love baseball. However, baseball can be a difficult sport to watch your kids play.  Why?  Because, duh, it is so stinking slow!  As you sit in the stands, it can be like slowly ripping-off-your-fingernails type torture anticipating how your kid will hit, field, pitch, catch, throw etc.  When games are fast paced, such as soccer or basketball, my ability to follow and efficiently understand what is going on takes an extended vacation. Thus, the torture-fest factor is severely reduced. In fact, I am thoroughly convinced if the speed of a kid’s baseball game could be increased oh, say tenfold, all my problems would be solved (Take us to warp speed, Scotty!).

Every season when I can no longer take the gut wrenching apprehension, I call the one person I can count on to tell me I am being ridiculous, my Dad.  I mean really, who better to tell you how stupid you are being and give advice than Dad – it’s in the job description, right there along with “remind kids to get their car oil changed”.

After many a baseball season, my Dad is ready when my yearly call arrives.  His effective responses usually go something like this:  “It’s just a game”, “calm down”, “you worry too much”, “Baseball is full of ups and downs”, “Baseball is slow” (got that one figured out) “Keep saying to yourself ‘Relax and Enjoy’”.

“Got it, Ok Dad, I’ll try”, I answer.

Relax and Enjoy.

I repeated this phrase as I drove to my son’s baseball game that very night.

Relax and Enjoy.

At the game, in the stands, I chanted it repetitively (to myself, of course, so no one near me would think I had finally gone all bag lady or something).

Relax and Enjoy.

The game was a close.

Relax and Enjoy.

My son’s team began to slip behind.

Relax and Enjoy.

My son struggled at bat.

Relax and Enjoy.

Then, my new found meditative repose was challenged when a particularly, shall we say “prolific”, opposing team Dad began to bellow, in as loud a voice as you can possibly imagine (think Quidditch announcer in Harry Potter),

“PARTY AT HOME PLATE BOYS, PARTY AT HOME PLATE”

Over and over and yep, over again.

“PARTY AT HOME PLATE BOYS, PARTY AT HOME PLATE!!”

In fairness, parents of both teams were cringing and pretending he was some stranger who just happened to stop by on his way to catch the Crazy Train.

“PARTY AT HOME PLATE BOYS, PARTY AT HOME PLATE!!”

My stress level began to rise. I could just feel the belly fat taking hold (for clarification on that, Go here). My mind began to race…

Could anyone possibly have a straight jacket in their car, handy for just such a situation?

“PARTY AT HOME PLATE BOYS, PARTY AT HOME PLATE!!”

Muzzle?

PARTY AT HOME PLATE BOYS, PARTY AT HOME PLATE!!”

Tranquilizer gun? (Honestly, where I live I might have had luck with this one!)

PARTY AT HOME PLATE BOYS, PARTY AT HOME PLATE!!”

Moms unite – I think we can take him!

“PARTY AT HOME PLATE BOYS, PARTY AT HOME PLATE!!”

And then in a shining moment, my son, like a little lightning-fast,  blond headed Yadier Molina, tagged out a runner trying to “join the party”, making the final out of the inning.

I turned to fellow team parents next to me.

“Party Cancelled”, I mumbled.

They laughed, and I laughed.  In fact, it still makes me laugh thinking about it.

My son’s team didn’t win the game. But it was ok.

And even though I am not giving up hope on the whole Warp Speed idea (where is Scotty when you need him?), I think I will survive if I can just remember to – Relax and Enjoy, and of course, Laugh.

Are You One of “Those” Parents?

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Yes, it is that time of the week, again.  Time to stroll on over to ParentSociety.com and check out my latest article “I Just Don’t Need My Kids to be Phenomenal” (if you would be so kind).  You might say it is a continuation, or short conclusion to my last venture “6 Kinds of Sports Parent: Which are you?”.  Ok, ok, here is the teaser…

Why must our kids be phenomenal?

Don’t get me wrong: My kids are amazing! From the moment they made their first spit bubble, everything they did, said, accomplished, or pooped out was remarkable … to me. And this, in my opinion, is exactly as it should be.

But sometimes…

Go here to read the rest.  Did I mention it is short? I just had to get in the last word.  That is so like me…

What Kind of Sports Parent Are You?

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Do you have kids in sports.  Do you know parents who have kids in sports?  Do you plan to someday have kids in sports? Or, do you just like to laugh at parents who have kids in sports?

Well then, you should read my latest article on ParentSociety.com,  called “6 Kinds of Sports Parents. Which are you?
and take my Sports Parent Quiz.

Now, some of you may be familiar with the post I wrote  at the start of my kids’ baseball season “Bulldogs Don’t Wear Lipstick” where I vowed to be a good better Sport Mom. But recently, I have had the desire to really examine the sports parent phenomenon – what makes a good sports parent, and what makes a nightmare one.

The article starts with the study that initially intrigued me:

I read a study recently where hundreds of college athletes, over 30 years time, were polled with the question: “What is your worst memory from playing youth and high school sports?”

The overwhelming answer was: “The ride home from the games with my parents.”

Those same college athletes were also asked what gave them joy and made them feel good during or after a game. The most common answer was their parents saying…

Ha – cliffhanger!  You will  have to go  HERE to find out the answer and hopefully, take my quiz.

Are you scared?  Don’t worry.  It will be fun.  I have always found it is good to laugh at yourself…this way, the people laughing at you have company.

Oh, and be sure to come back here and tell me how you scored! Pretty please with sugar,  chocolate and peanut butter on top?

Bulldogs Don’t Wear Lipstick

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A special time of year is quickly approaching.  It is the time, each year, when I transform from your typical mild mannered Mom (did I hear someone snicker?) into something scary and not a little bit dangerous…the Sport-Mom.

You see, very soon, it will begin to warm up, the grass will turn green and my two boys will be heading out of doors with their bat, ball, and glove to “take the field”.  And I, being the devoted Sport-Mom, will be right there with them. I will sit in the stands, with all the other Sport-Moms doing what  Sport-Moms do in such circumstances: guide in all sporting skills, guard against sport pitfalls, protect from  lurking evil sport entities, and provide snacks.

Now let me say, it has taken some time for me to become the full-fledged proficient Sport-Mom you see before you today.  There were those novice days when I unknowing purchased football cleats for my son to wear for an entire baseball season. The time I actually calmly watched as my son took the mound for the first time – frivolously unaware of the high stakes of Little League Baseball.  Oh, and the worst – the time I forgot the snacks.

But now, I come to play – bring my A game, as it were.  I try to be good, I really do. But it is a struggle. Let’s face it, whoever decided it was a good idea to meld the Mama-Bear mentality with kids sports had to know trouble was on the horizon.   I fear the day I could morph into that Sport-Mom who runs to the dugout to chew out her son for a mistake made on the field because she thinks the coach isn’t doing an adequate job of it.  Or, the Sport-Mom who corners the coach after the game with notes on what he needs to change – which usually includes her little dickens starting in pretty much every position.  Or, the Sport-Mom who wears sexy, tight and inappropriate outfits to the game in an attempt to distract the opposing team’s coaches (ok, I might do this one if I was blessed with the goods).

Therefore, as the time approaches, even though there is no denying my ability to coach from the bleachers is, well, beyond impressive, I will head into the season with a fresh approach. Strict directives- some self-imposed and some “suggested”- to keep from getting too out of hand.

For example:

I will (per request) make every effort to restrain from screaming out those annoyingly obvious instructions such as “Throw strikes” “Hit the ball!”  “Make good throws” “Keep your eye on the ball”  “Just play pitch and catch” “You gotta want the ball” “Bat to ball”

and my favorite “See ball…Hit ball” (I definitely won’t say that one because someone might mistake me for an idiot).

I will squelch the impulse to hurl chunks or obsessively pace every time one of my boys comes up to bat – takes the mound – squats behind the plate… ah heck, takes the field in general.

I will resist the urge to go Spider Monkey on the Sport-Mom who is convinced her kid is getting drafted into the Majors straight out of Little League…or the Umpire who doesn’t know the rule book…or the coach who takes advantage of the Ump who doesn’t know the rule book – I will send my friend Nikki to do it.

Lastly, I will not, under any circumstances whatsoever, tell my kid (or anyone else’s) “Get your head out of your butt and get in the game”, unless, of course, it is, and in that case we are probably headed for the hospital.

I will, however, cheer until I am hoarse, gives high fives & hugs when they win, give high fives & hugs when they lose,  tell them they are awesome…always, eat the teams combined weight in Good n Plenty, wear my sunscreen, and quietly kvetch with empathetic fellow Sport-Moms.  All the while, keeping in mind there is undeniably, only one true answer to the question:

What is the difference between a Bulldog and a Sport-Mom?

Bulldogs don’t wear lipstick.