Sunday, March 27, 2011

it dawned clear & cold this morning, much better than yesterday which was very cold, blustery, rainy, almost freezing, a martyr-day special on the soccer field. my wife called it that because she was out of town and i was left with the two games, which took place in the morning, in blustery cold wind; parents froze on the sidelines, and kids tried to run around, sometimes with their hands in their pockets; they were the lucky ones, because they could keep moving. the second game featured the older boy, and these teams really ran around the field, but again the parents about froze, and rain came, and then got stronger, and then lightning and thunder came, and they called it, gratefully, toward the end of the second half.

this was not how i would have liked to spend my saturday morning, though i normally like soccer, and don't mind watching the boys running around doing their best. i hsve noticed that the more i care, the more my younger son chases butterflies; he can't handle the pressure, and gets more involved in personal relations with other players than in actually chasing or kicking a ball. but other parents are worse; they have so much invested in their kids, that if there isn't a goal as outcome, the poor kids suffer double, not only running around in the cold, but also somehow having disappointed the father. i have vowed not to be a parent like this, and have commended my son for getting in there and trying even when he somewhat lackadasically lets the ball get by him for another of the opponent's scores. they were winning something like 7-0 (though we aren't to mention scores at the game) when they lent us a player and we finally got one, but, the fever didn't catch, and that one was all we got for the rest of the game. at the older boys' game, which was really much more of a game, with real soccer being played, we are actually lucky to be on a pretty good team this year, which actually wins often, if not every time. but all that good soccer was superceded by cold, and rain, and bleak weather, which left our toes numb and our cheeks permanently red.

upon coming home i engaged in my addiction, which is online boggle, in which you get three minutes to make as many words as you can out of a 4 X 4 square of letters; it goes 24 hours a day; it offers support for addicts which i decline; it is highly competitive; but, the good news is, i occasionally see my brother and sister on there, so we compete together (team leverett) and, if we play well, can often win or at least place in the top ten. by myself i rarely place in the top half, but i've gotten better and can do that once in a while; my sister, who is well aware of the addictive nature of it, says getting better at it is a bad sign. my older brother, who has been seen playing, and winning, by himself, in the middle of the week, during working hours, can often place in the top five or ten even by himself, in the evening, when we play (when it's much more competitive); he could probably tell you the good points of long-term addiction. less likelihood of early dementia, maybe, since it's like sudoku, it activates the brain. the problem for me is that it's a perfect balance for a week in which i deal with students who can listen and speak, and hassle me, but can't read a single word well, and spell words poorly, so that boggle is like restoring order in a chaotic life, silent, restorative, like gardening is to my wife only without the fresh air.

the competition these days goes by names such as onion dip (long-time competitor), left nut, jack grace, team axolotl, team join me, and others. one becomes more aware of whether certain combinations are words, words such as gim, gip, rup, fug, lan, pag, etc. i'm not sure whether this is really important, in the big picture.

so today, fresh blue skies, spring peeking out and green, the colors and the trees, the red, the salmon bushes, the pears, seem to have survived the bluster (though it was a blizzard in st. louis, my wife says, and was supposed to snow here also)...it seems as if spring is finally on its way. time to plant the garden, and get outside for a change, get the bicycle tires filled up with air, and get control of this addiction. life is too short. the other thing we've been doing is watching this one television show, icarly, which is very entertaining, and gives me something to do with the littlest, that we both do, and do together, perhaps too much. but addiction is a sneaky thing. i pull myself off the bog, go back and be with him watching the television, which is not as good as, say, building a tree house, or playing baseball, but is still with him, unlike the bog, where we are all in our own separate worlds (i'll bog, and they'll both play their ds, involved in games like mario, and pokemon, and whatever, and we'll criticize their addiction, yet have no basis for criticism, being too busy, or too addicted, in my case, and content to let them have theirs while i have mine). it's a terrible situation, and it sucks up hours, the prime ones sometimes, and parts of weekends, sometimes major parts. sure, they both have friends; friends come over, and they show them the ds, and then everyone plays. i'm watching them, distracted often, unable to get involved in a larger project, so i bog, hoping to relax for a few minutes at a time and thus willing and set up to be interrupted. a cruel vicious cycle.

with spring, the prospect of mud, a shovel, seeds, fresh dirt, the sun shining finally, and green things coming up slowly. the landscape has become colorful as the turning of buds from orange through rust and salmon, into green, has begun. soon it will be too hot, and we'll go inside for the summer, so it's important now to remember: in spite of the papers, the twenty hours a week, the endless complaints and weekend grading, it's my mandate to get out in the sun. plant. put my feet on the earth. quick, before it's too late! pictures coming, i hope.

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