Category Archives: video

This is brilliant

Elizabeth Gilbert gave a talk on the pressures writers and creatives put on themselves, as well as what they gather from expectations from the world. In today’s theme of shitty first drafts, this was just the video I needed to view today. It’s long, but well worth a 20 minute moment of inspiration, or at least a 20 minute hug that everything is going to be ok.

Baseball reject to homerun king

This past February, the Taz tried out for the Little League Majors. He caught every ball, throwing it back with precision. And when he was up to bat, he nailed the heck out of each ball that came his way. Basically, he nailed it. And since he was already 11 and one of the biggest kids trying out, my only question wasn’t about whether he’d make Majors or not, but which coach was fighting over his massive skill for their team.

So imagine my surprise when one of the Minors coaches called me to let me know he was on their team.

The news was all bad. I hadn’t been prepared for this, and had been building up the Majors to Taz since he’d shown nervousness over joining the older league. So when I had to break it to him that he was staying on the younger team, he was totally crushed. Throwing salt in the wound was the fact that all his friends had moved up and were now needling him for being in the “baby league”. Even worse, some of the kids who made it through totally blew their tryouts.

I’m not going to lie. I was pissed. I was starting to feel like this particular Little League had some sort of vendetta against our family.

Last year they put us on a team that had no coach. None. Like, if you want your kid to play baseball, someone better step up to the plate. It meant that none of the coaches deemed our kids worthy enough for their team, so we were stuck on a team of leftovers. Thankfully it turned out better than we could have anticipated since a great coach stepped up and guided our boys to 4th place in the League.

But this year? My son had done excellent at tryouts, better than most of the kids there, and he was left behind yet again.

First day on the field, Taz was a full head taller than everyone on his team. I couldn’t help but feel bad for him, surrounded by 9 year olds who had just moved up from the Rookies.

“This is stupid,” he muttered. And his attitude followed him out on the field, affecting his performance completely. It had been my hope that at the very least, Taz could outshine all his teammates and show his coaches the mistake that had been made. But I had to eat a bit of crow as I watched the boys lap him on the baseball diamond, my own son lumbering behind them at a much slower pace.

Ah, running. So not the Taz’ strong suit. The kid can throw. He can pitch. He can catch. And he can hit the stuffing out of a baseball. But he cannot run fast, even if his life depends on it. Even though my ego was still sore from him not getting picked, I was starting to understand that there may have been a reason, and perhaps this was it.

The coaches worked closely with the kids, and soon Taz’ speed was picking up. He would never be as fast as the littler kids on his team, but he was moving with a bit more agility than the first practice. And something else was different this year too. In previous years, the kids were just plain mean. My sensitive boy couldn’t just let insults slide off, but would carry the weight of them on his shoulders. But being the older kid this year, the younger players looked up to him. He became the leader of the pack. And it was a major ego booster.

This last weekend he attended practice. And as they worked on batting, he nailed it and sent it flying over the fence. That one play had the whole team rooting for him, and Taz promised he would do it again at the game.

There were limited coaches at the game this last Tuesday, so the coach made Taz his base coach.

“If it looks good, send them,” the coach said. And I marveled at how the Taz straightened up with a bit of responsibility placed on his shoulders. He paid attention to the game, offering support and advice to the players at bat. In the dugout, he shared a game rule a new player didn’t know about yet. And when it was his turn at bat, he lined himself up at the plate and looked the pitcher dead in the eye. The first pitch was too low. The second, a strike.

“You’ve seen what it looks like,” his coach called out. “Swing when the monster in your belly tells you to.”

Taz took a few practice swings, and then toed the plate. The pitch was thrown and he swung easily at the ball. There was a very distinct crack of the bat, and ball went sailing. Taz didn’t even run right away, watching it as it sailed up into the air and then over the fence. And the whole crowd cheered as he made his way around the bases, a huge grin on his face. His team gave him high fives, patting him on the back. And Taz glowed in the glory.

And I’m guessing that it was no coincidence that we received a call this morning that the Taz was being drafted up to the Majors.

There’s mixed feelings with this one. We love our Minor team’s coaches and team. It’s been such a great experience for Taz to be someone looked up to rather than someone made fun of. And the Majors is a lot faster and more experienced than the Minor League. I told the person on the phone that we had to think about it and I’d let her know.

“I hate to put it this way,” she told me, “but no matter what, he’s going to have to trade teams. If Taz doesn’t go to the Majors, he’ll have to take the place of the kid who does move.”

So we’re now a part of the Majors.

Taz got one last stint with his Minor League team today at their annual bat-a-thon. He ended up hitting one against the fence, a couple pop flies, and two over the fence homeruns.

Not bad for a Minor League reject. Right?

Stray Cat Strut

You can’t see it in this picture, but just outside the door is a little paper towel with a tiny scoop of cat food on it and a couple sacrificed pieces of the leftover lunch meat – a product of my kids’ sneakiness when I wasn’t looking. What you do see is Lucci, looking back at me with pleading eyes after having spent most of the night at the sliding glass door. He’s not after the food, he could care less about that. What he cares about is the purpose behind that paper towel and kitty morsels – to feed the stray cat that has been frequenting our backyard.

I’ve seen this cat hanging out in the neighborhood for a little while. We seem to have a wave of young cats that circulate the apartments – no doubt the product of some strutting stray cat who is sowing his wild oats among any of the available females and creating a little haven of rugrats who are now hungrily peeking in backyards to see who will be suckered into giving them a few scraps – and possibly a home.

It was how we got Lucci. He was this tiny little furball, crying pitifully in my backyard for anyone to hear him. And when I opened the door he marched right in like he owned the place, sending me love through a series of loud purrs and squeaky meows. And despite my stance to avoid anything alive other than my children (I don’t exactly have the best track record. It’s a wonder my kids are still breathing…), I fell head over heels for this cuddly creature. And he gained his place as an honorary member of our family.

And he lost his manhood in the process, ensuring there would be no more little Luccis running around.

But still, the stray cat epidemic is causing a bit of a problem over at the complex I live in. One cat has even been routinely spraying my front porch with his musky scent, marking his territory even though I’m the one who’s paying rent here. I finally had to scrub down the whole area with bleach and spray it with some “Boundary” to deter the little pisser. So far, so good. But I keep expecting to smell that awful scent again.  And if I do, I’m totally peeing on my porch.

And then there’s this new stray cat. He’s orange striped and you can see the bones sticking out underneath his fur, he’s so skinny. And it’s true, he’s kind of cute. But I’ve been trying not to look too closely. I already have a cat, and am not in the market for any more. When Mr. W and I shack up next month, we’ll have a grand total of three cats. The last thing we need is a fourth.

Besides that, Lucci is up in arms. He sees this cat as a major threat. When he’s not looking at me piteously (like in the picture), he’s running at the glass door full force, trying to slam through it to get to that cat and teach it a lesson for being in HIS backyard. He’s scratching at the door, his nails doing their best to pierce the glass so he can give that kitty something to remember him by, or at least run up the glass at neck breaking speeds. He’s so worked up that his amount of monthly catballs has increased to the point that he’s yakking on our carpet on a daily basis.

But the kids are going behind our backs and feeding the damn cat – as evidenced by the paper towel that appeared overnight in our backyard with a few scraps of food.

I will not own another kitty. I will not own another kitty. I will not own another kitty.

At any rate, here’s how Lucci feels about this little intruder.

Final Text Message

In 2008, California went hands free while driving.  In 2009, this law was revised to include texting while driving as well as talking on the phone while driving.  And yet go for a drive, and I guarantee that you’ll see at least one driver using their phone to type out a message while maneuvering their car down the roadway.

Perhaps it is you.  Perhaps it is your teen.  Perhaps you are willing to dismiss the dangers associated with being distracted by your phone while operating a piece of machinery that can KILL or MAIM others…even yourself. 

Perhaps you have completely ignored the loss one RP family is going through as they mourn their deceased toddler daughter, and go through the painful steps of the mother’s rehabilitation – all the result of a teenage driver (allegedly) looking at her cell phone while driving, and failing to see the victims in the crosswalk in front of her.

AT&T has put together a video called “Your Final Text Message”.  Have you seen it circulating the web?  If you’re like me, you’ve avoided watching it because you knew the message was going to hurt.  Well, I watched it.  And I strongly urge you to watch it.  And I urge you to invite your teen into the room and have them watch it with you.  If anything, send it to them and let them watch it on their own.  It’s 10 minutes long, but incredibly powerful.

“If someone were to ask me to drive down the road and close your eyes for 5 seconds, 6 seconds, I would never even do that.  But if someone asks ‘read this text and respond to that’, in about the same length of time, well that would be no problem.”

“I sent one meaningless text – LOL – and killed a man.”

“People will tell you over and over again it’s not your fault.  But knowing that you were the person she was talking to when she was killed… Just having the patrol officer write in a report that a text message sent at 12:05 is the reason that she is dead is not something that will ever go away.”

“Four letters.  That’s what killed her.”


You are 23 times more likely to be in a car accident if you are texting than if you are not, according to a study done by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute in 2009.  And while you most people wouldn’t drink and drive, a shocking study done by Car and Driver Magazine proved that you are a worse driver when distracted by texting and driving than someone who is driving drunk.

After the news broke about Calli, the RP toddler who lost her life, I took extra care to make sure my phone was out of reach, on vibrate, and out of sight so that I’m not even tempted to look at it while my car’s in motion.  Losing my life is not worth it.  Losing my children’s lives is not worth it.  Killing another motorist or pedestrian is not worth it.  Whatever I need to say to someone, it can wait.

Whatever YOU need to say to someone – IT CAN WAIT.

If you are guilty of texting while driving, please stop.  Let your last text message be a PLANNED final text while driving.  Talk with your kids about the dangers, and make them stop.  Treat it seriously.  If they are caught texting while driving, pull out some ultra serious consequences.  Take the phone away. Take the car away.  Take their freedom away. 

Better an angry teen than a dead teen. 

And if you see someone texting and driving and are safely able to take down their vehicle information, report them for reckless driving by calling 9-1-1 (once safely parked, of course).  There doesn’t seem to be any other number to report them, and let’s face it, texting while driving is reckless.

Are you texting while driving?  Have you been in a car with someone who has texted while driving?  Do you see other drivers texting while driving?  Share your story in the comments.

Anonymous comments are welcome.

Deadbeat dads get a dose of reality

It is a sad reality that some fathers have decided to abandon their roles as dad a little too easily. I have heard several different stories from single mothers who have been raising their children alone since before the birth of their baby, or shortly after. And as common as the situation is, it always amazes me that some fathers don’t understand that they actually have an important role to play in a child’s life. A father who is there for their child can help positively shape their child’s life to come. And on the same page, a father who isn’t there will be shaping their child’s life too – except in the negative.

VH1 is starting a new show on Monday called “Dad Camp”, a reality show based on helping young fathers-to-be step up to the plate and be a real father. The targeted dads are young men who are under the impression that the parenting role falls on the woman’s shoulders, and that their lives don’t have to change at all. The first episode shows 6 immature men and their expecting girlfriends. In this show, these dads will be changing real-life poopy diapers, simulating what it feels like to be pregnant, and given the opportunity to break the cycle they may have been taught from their own fathers and learn how to be a dad.

These are all great things for a father to learn. And by the preview video of the show (which you can take a peek at over in the forums), it looks like there are some hard discussions put forth that promote deeper thinking towards parenthood.

But I think they’re missing a few things….

I’d like to see a Dads (or Moms – let’s face it, moms abandon their kids too) Camp for those parents who have left the picture already and abandoned their kids in the process. I’d like to see those deadbeat parents survive for a month on a single paycheck with no child support or county aid, pay the bills and rent on time, provide food for the family, and still have enough money left over for all of the kids’ extra “wants” (like birthday party presents or the latest toy). I’d love to see them explain to their children why they can’t afford some luxuries, and why the other parent is missing.  In that month, they should have to tackle each child’s different sports and after school schedule, homework, dinners, bagged lunches, and doctor appointments with only one pair of hands. And I’d love to see them manage to have the energy to work full time, manage the kids, keep up the household, and maintain a positive attitude while never getting a break. 

Single mamas and papas who are single parenting it without help – what kinds of programs do you think a Dad or Mom Camp should have to reform your child’s deadbeat parent?

Taming the Green Eyed Monster

This is part three of a short relationship series.  If you haven’t already, read part 1, and part 2. 

So imagine this. You’re out to eat with your boyfriend. The two of you are enjoying the spring weather at an outside table, sharing the dessert from one bowl as you gaze into each other’s eyes. You’ve just said something witty and start to laugh, when you realize he isn’t laughing with you. His attention is elsewhere for a second before he turns back to you.

“Hmm?” he asks, realizing that he’d missed something.

He may have missed something, but you sure didn’t. A quick glance over your shoulder and you see exactly what caught his attention – a girl walking by on the street in her little short spring dress, walking her tiny rat of a dog and smiling in the direction of your man.

Jealousy. It’s rampant in relationships. From the tiniest twinge over a night out with the boys leaving you at home alone, to the myriad of texts your girl might be receiving and you have no idea who they’re from. Some experts claim that twinges of jealousy might make things a little more exciting in a relationship. I’m not so sure about that, however. But what I do agree with is that jealousy exists in every relationship out there, whether it’s just the little twinges, to something that is way more consuming and causes loss of sleep (or loss of control over resulting actions…)

So what is jealousy? It’s when the overactive imagination starts playing the “What If” game. What if he is really out with another girl when he’s saying that he has to work late? What if she is thinking of her ex while she’s kissing me? Thing is, the “What If” game is a dangerous pastime, and too much dappling in this game can actually make things happen that may not necessarily happen. Huh? Bear with me here. If you are playing the “What If” game, you are creating a belief in yourself that they are guilty of doing something that you have no proof of (if you do have proof, that’s another story). What used to be a whim in your mind that was along the line of “perhaps” becomes cemented inside of you as gospel truth. With this thought process going on in your mind, you will act differently towards them. Instead of being confident and secure, you become accusatory, jealous, clingy, and insecure. And the funny thing is, they may not have done anything to deserve this treatment.

So how do you overcome the little green-eyed monster that has the ability to eat your soul?

First of all, you need to know yourself. What are your triggers? Does it make you jealous to know that your girl is still friends with her ex? Does it bother you when your man appears to be too friendly with the waitress taking your order? Do you feel a sense of rage when your girlfriend likes to hang out with the guys at work? Is it a certain behavior your SO exhibits around the opposite sex or when another person seems to be checking out your SO? Or is it something that no one is doing but still has you feeling jealousy? Figure out everything that triggers your jealousy, and then WRITE THEM DOWN. Don’t only write them down, but write down WHY they make you jealous.

Next, you need to be open and honest with your SO. Tell him that you are feeling jealous, and share why. Don’t accuse them of doing anything wrong, but explain that these jealous feelings are inside of you and you would like help in conquering them. “I felt really jealous when I heard that you went to coffee with your ex. I know you’re with me, and that if you wanted to be with her, you would be. But I can’t help feeling really put off knowing that you are spending alone time with someone you were once intimate with.” This is a perfect time to share expectations in your relationship. Truth is, this conversation should be had around the time that the two of you first decide to be committed to only each other. But it is never too late to discuss and negotiate ground rules in your commitment that allow the two of you to feel safe and secure. This might mean letting personal history remain untouched until the two of you are more comfortable and secure in your relationship to discuss those kinds of things. Or maybe it’s guidelines for dealing with ex-partners or friends of the opposite sex. Whatever it is, these are things that are important to you or your SO, and must be agreed upon together. There may be some things that you will have to give in a little about, such as deciding that being Facebook friends with an ex is ok, but having lunch with them is not. It’s not your favorite solution, but it’s one you can live with, and so can your SO. Come up with a plan together on ways to avoid these triggers. If her flirtiness is causing jealousy in you, it needs to be addressed. If he is being texted at all times of the day and you are feeling put off, guidelines need to be discussed.

The thing to remember about jealousy is that it more likely than not has something to do with YOU and not with your SO. Perhaps you were abandoned as a child by a parent. Or maybe you’ve been cheated on in the past. Maybe you weren’t included with a group of friends in high school or have been rejected time and again in your life’s opportunities. Being rejected or abandoned or lied to in the past has the capability to leave marks of insecurity lingering in your identity. Your SO doesn’t even have to do anything to have you feeling possessive over them if you have allowed these insecure feelings to take their toll on you. If you are feeling consumed with jealousy to the point of rage or doing something irrational, get help immediately.

If it is your SO that is feeling jealous, be understanding of the situation. Are you doing something that might be provoking his jealousy? Be aware of your actions and change those things that might not be sitting well with your SO. If it’s honestly nothing that you are doing, don’t be afraid to bring it up with them. Ensure your SO of your devotion to him by letting him know you are thinking of him. Perhaps a hidden note in his car, or a random text, or maybe even a spontaneous date that you have set up for the two of you. Take the extra bit of effort to ensure them that you love him and want to be with only him. And while I don’t advocate with supplying your SO with every single second of your day, be transparent with them about what you are up to during the day so that they aren’t left in a dangerous guessing game with your whereabouts. And, of course, if your SO’s behavior is feeling dangerous or overly possessive, it’s time to seek out counseling – or just get the heck out of there. Many cases that involve domestic violence or murder stemmed from feelings of intense jealousy. If your SO has already gone too far in his jealous impulses, please involve the police and LEAVE.

A lot of what I have learned about jealousy shared by several different experts, such as Dr. Pamela Varaday, and by Roger S. Gil, MAFMT, who has an Internet TV show called Last year Gil did an amazing talk on jealousy that I want to share with you.  The guy is funny, and he’s real.  And he has a way with talking about difficult subjects by laying them out in real scenarios and still have you chuckling in the end.  Check it out:

Baseball tryouts

Just like all 9 year old baseball players and older, the Taz had baseball tryouts this past weekend. Graduating from the Rookies to be a part of the Minors, this was our first year ever to have to tryout before being placed on a team. Ours were held in the gym over at Elsie Allen High School – which was pretty cool because there is no chance of it being rained out. The kids were tested on their catching and throwing skills, and their batting skills.

But rather than describe it, here is a short clip of the Taz during his tryouts.

In the car on the way home, the Taz did a commentary on his performance. Note: he held the video camera (i.e. iPhone) the whole time, as I was driving.

(of course, there were the outtakes…..)

Anyone else do tryouts yesterday?
Have any links to photos or videos you want to share to showcase your talented son or daughter?
Leave it in the comments!