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amalah
Washington, DC
Recent Activity
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Late last summer, I discovered dozens of wild raspberry bushes in the woods behind our fence in the backyard. There were only a few stray berries left by that point, but Ezra and I did our best to harvest every last one we could. And I promised him that we'd pay better attention this year and maybe we'd get a few more. We started out picking just what we could reach through or over our fence, since we were a little wary of all the bugs and thorny things back there. (Of course we collected them in half of a Lego Star Wars planet. WTF else would you use?) Then one day, after watching Ezra pine for the dozens and dozens of bright red berries just beyond our reach, I said screw it, and hoisted him (and then my own ass) up and over the fence. Turns out, it's magic back there. Yes, there are thorns and mosquitoes and uneven rock paths. There are prickly vines to duck under, that catch and snag your hair and clothing and refuse to let go. There's a small stream that fills your shoes with muddy water, if you take a bad step on... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at amalah . com
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This post is sponsored by PURA D'OR and 2MinuteClub. After my last sponsored post on 2MinuteClub's skin products (which I am still using, still loving, BTW), a wholllllllle bunch of people asked me if I'd tried their best-selling Facebook-famous shampoo and conditioner. I said that I had not, but really wanted to, and...well. Mayyyyyyyybe if they were happy with the skincare post they'd let me try the hair care line next. BOO YAH. First, here's what I'm dealing with: Super duper fine hair. I have a ton of it growing out from my oily-as-anything scalp, but thanks to the aforementioned fineness, plus coloring and heat styling, it gets increasingly dry and brittle as it grows out. Which means lots of breakage and fly-aways and split ends that require regular trims. Which also means I have been trying to grow my hair out to my Goal Length (of just below boob level) for approximately 700 years. I'm still several inches short, since I eventually end up having to cut back most (if not all) of the growth progress thanks to the dryness and breakage. Now I know I could stop 1) coloring and 2) heat styling, but y'all. Come on. Frizzy,... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at amalah . com
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From The Complete Poems of Robert Frost 1949 When I see birches bend to left and right Across the lines of straighter darker trees, I like to think some boy's been swinging them. But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay As ice-storms do. Often you must have seen them Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning After a rain. They click upon themselves As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel. Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust— Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen. They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load, And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed So low for long, they never right themselves: You may see their trunks arching in the woods Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair Before them over their heads to dry in the sun. But I was going to say when Truth broke in With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm I should prefer to have some... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at amalah . com
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On the very same day we got a new dog, Jason found a wee little frog in the garden. The kids (who just got a new dog) asked if we could keep it as a pet. I said no, we just got a new dog. Like literally an hour ago. The kids (who just got a new dog), said awwww, that's mean. That frog was our best friend. We had the world's shortest IEP meeting yesterday for Ike's lisping issue. Surprise surprise, he does indeed officially qualify as having a moderate speech impairment and will be getting 30 minutes a week of individual or small group speech therapy, combined with additional support in the general education classroom. He has exactly ONE PAGE of goals (basically all the sounds he can't produce correctly divided into four groups), which -- as mah fellow IEP peeps can testify to -- is goddamn ADORABLE. It's the cutest, tiniest IEP in the world. (And yet the entire thing is still 25+ pages long printed out. I feel like maybe this is the real education scandal Betsy DeVos should look into: America's freeloading special education students are destroying America's trees!!1!) The meeting lasted barely 15 minutes.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 12, 2017 at amalah . com
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WHY HELLO BELLY So it appears the Popsters has always been a tad...um...rotund around the middle, which has already changed dramatically after just one week with us and all our assorted insanity. She's actually shaped more like a dog than a barrel on legs. In her mind, though, she's still the same size as in her puppy pics. We really aren't doing anything to dispel that illusion for her, to be honest. Poppy's first week really couldn't have gone any better. She's learning our routine and following Beau's lead, sleeping beautifully (and silently!) in her crate, going potty outside, unless we space out on the need for more puppy-frequent breaks. Or if it's raining. (Beau's like: HA HA SAME LOOK AT WHAT LITTLE PRINCESSES WE ARE.) Beau's already a lot less jealous/defensive over toys and attention and really, REALLY loves their near-constant playtime. They play play play then sleep sleep sleep until one of them wakes up and starts it all up again. They both seem really happy. The boys were originally not super stoked about getting a "big" dog. They were thrilled to hear we were considering a puppy but wanted a super tiny one. But it didn't take... Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2017 at amalah . com
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Let's be honest. Is anyone here for anything other than dog photos? Most certainly not. We've decided to stick with Poppy, but are changing the spelling because random i-for-y swaps in names makes my eyelid twitch. It's been her name since puppyhood, she responds really well to it, and honestly, it just kinda suits her. It's also an EXCELLENT jumping off point for all sorts of ridiculous nicknames. Poppy Pie. Popsters. Popsicle. Popscotch. Poppins. Popparoni. (A friend who was lobbying for keeping the name sent me like a dozen separate texts yesterday of increasingly ridiculous nicknames and I have to say, she laid out a compelling argument. Especially when she started changing "pop" to "poop.") Beau is loving his playmate, but will let you know the second you are giving her too much attention. Usually by just climbing on top of her head and being like, "What other dog? Is just me here, sittin' on a dog-shaped pillow." To which Poppy responds: "This is fine. Everything that happens is fine." They play and play and play and then sleep and sleep and sleep. (I feel like Poppy's presence really brings out the Ewok resemblance in Beau for some reason.) Okay,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2017 at amalah . com
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LOOKIT. LOOKIT OUR NEW BABEH GIRL. WHO IS A VERY VERY GOOD GIRL. This is Poppi! (That's her rescue name that may or may not stick; we've yet to come to a consensus on any other one suggestion.) She's a teeny tiny little five-month-old puppy baby who already has 20 pounds on Beau. She's going to be a bit...uh, bigger than the hamsters and ferrets we like to pass off as dogs around here. We knew She Was It probably 30 seconds after meeting her. We've introduced Beau to a LOT of adoptable dogs over the past month -- we never met one who was his instant BFF like this girl. They were off leash together in our backyard after 10 minutes or so and were clearly perfect playmates for each other. She's a pittie mix...our guess is either Dalmatian or Labrador, but who knows, who really cares. She is sweet as a pie that you take one bite of and then say, "this pie is way too damn sweet, like dial it back on the sweet, PIE." She's been in foster care since she was around eight weeks old (was a shelter puppy before that). She lived with multiple... Continue reading
Posted Jul 5, 2017 at amalah . com
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Amy's Brain: dog dog dog doggie doggo dog dog to dog or not to dog hello yes this is dog and look this is another dog too many dogs dog dog dog Amy's Blog: no dog yet but look Jason got a new tattoo and is now contemplating a half sleeve because I am a corrupting influence I love it. The kids are big fans too, because look! It's them! On Dad! They're like, famous or something. We're probably corrupting them too. I was supposed to get my cover-up work done last week but the appointment had to get pushed back to this Sunday. Then on Tuesday we're having a home visit with a PUPPY (still a pittie rescue) because we all know I said NO PUPPIES and that basically means I will 100% cave and do exactly the opposite of that. (See: NO MORE DOGS! And also: OKAY ONE DOG BUT NO MORE CATS!) (Speaking of corruption, Noah has now taken to peppering his speech with appropriately-placed BEEPS. Like, not actually swearing; he's literally going around muttering things like "What the BEEP? Holy BEEP! MotherBEEEEEEEP!" Ezra, meanwhile, is SCANDALIZED that there are kids in his YMCA camp who say... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2017 at amalah . com
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Our weekend was almost 100% consumed by the search for America's Next Top Dog, and unfortunately we have nothing to show for it. In a fit of what was probably massive overconfidence on our part, we decided to go look at some shelter pit bull mixes and fell in love with a sweet little female on Saturday. Everybody got super excited. Photos were texted, names were discussed, a list of necessary and not-so-necessary supplies was drawn up. We put her on hold so we could arrange a dog-meet-dog testing thing with Beau, which...did not go well. At all. Beau reacted just fine, but the other dog went from "hmmm not so sure about this" to super-aggressive hackles-raised "LET ME GO SO I CAN EAT HIM RAWR RWAR" in under five minutes and the shelter employees called the whole thing off. She'd ignored every other dog in the vicinity the day before, but alas, there was something about being up close with Beau that she just did. Not. Like. Disappointed but determined, we repeated the whole process with a second pittie, which did go better (but not 100% "oh yes this will all be fine" confidence inspiring). But then there's still... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2017 at amalah . com
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(Mah Innernetz went down on Tuesday morning and was finally restored late last night. No work, no play, just futile router rebooting every hour on the hour and racking up massive data overages from Verizon Mobile while waiting on Verizon FIOS to get its shit together, trapped in a super frustrating ouroboros of corporate bullshit.) First of all, happy birthday to this guy: Here he is with his birthday present, which I 100% had nothing to do with: In addition to Friday night soccer*, Jason's newfound return to outdoorsy-sportsy-ness now includes bike riding. Like on trails and dirt and stuff. He is currently scouring Craigslist for a bike for me, which is adorably misguided. To give you an idea of the last time I rode a bike, please consult this terrible blog post from 2003, only the fourth post ever published on this site, back when I had no clue what I was doing and wrote a lot of angry Open Letters to strangers and stores and the Oxygen Network. I do not particularly want a new bike. I'd really rather get a new dishwasher, as our current one is barely functioning and I am like five minutes away from... Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2017 at amalah . com
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Jason and I took a little getaway to D.C. this weekend in honor of Father's Day and his upcoming birthday (Thursday, somebody remind me). We got all dressed up for a fancy dinner and an evening at the theeeeeatah. (In the full series of selfies, you can actually SEE the curls withering from my hair from the good ol' D.C. humidity in real time.) The show was WONDERFUL, although the guy sitting next to me appeared to disagree, as he refused to applaud and then muttered "What the fuck was that?" to his wife as we exited our row at the end. I did not hear her answer. The Sound of Music was playing in the other auditorium, so maybe that would've been more his speed than a genderqueer punk rock drag show about a botched sex change operation and a Greek mythology-fueled mental breakdown. Maybe try Google next time, sir? Anyway, we loved it and happily made our way back to our hotel, looking forward to sleeping like the dead for as many hours as we desired. We had an overnight sitter and there would be no small nightmare-having children or head-jumping cats all night. That was technically true,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2017 at amalah . com
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It's been two full days since school ended approximately 84 years ago. Getting work done has been...challenging. Every morning I lay out a schedule for everyone -- exactly what chores need done, spaced in between blocks of outside time, reading/writing time, instrument practice -- that must be completed before I will even consider any screen time requests. Then I head to my office and close my door, hunker down on a task for exactly 30 seconds before the someone barges in to tattle on someone else or ask where something from the dishwasher goes. (IT'S A SPOON, CHILD.) Also, can I go on my screen? Mom? Mooooom. Mooooommmmmmm. I feel like I've been snappy and scoldy and super easily annoyed; even perfectly valid questions and complaints are being met with a built-in WHAT NOWWWWW level of irritation. Camps start up next week, which no one is all that excited about, but I'm sending them anyway because I believe it will be a enriching and positive experience for my children to be around adults who aren't ready to bite their heads off in a Pavlovian reaction to the sound of a door opening. I was writing a column for AlphaMom this... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2017 at amalah . com
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It's the last day of school! You're mere hours away from summer vacation! Now line up outside so I can take one of a photo and do that "look how you've grown/changed" comparison thing. Look excited, or something. Wow. Tough crowd. (According to MY compare/contrast thing, Ike's hair is longer and he's wearing shoes he outgrew in January, Ezra's legs have grown approximately 25 inches, and Noah's been wearing the same dang shirt since August. Sounds about right.) Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2017 at amalah . com
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It's been a momentous couple of days around here, starting with Noah's elementary school graduation on Friday. Which...okay, we all showed up dressed for that "casual classroom party" vibe and instead discovered that OH NO THIS SHIT IS FULL ON SERIOUS POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCES. Girls were decked out in fancy dresses; some of the boys were in suits and ties. The mom next to me was all dressed up and brought balloons and roses. I wore workout clothes and brought my phone. Thankfully Noah spent most of the ceremony in the last row so no one could judge his shorts and Minecraft t-shirt...at least not until the super fomal certificate processional at the end. D'oh. The best part -- BEST -- was when the principal announced he'd received a very important letter for the graduates and read some kind of form letter about dreams and accomplishments and America blah blah blah. "Sincerely," he read, and then paused dramatically, "Donald Trump." Dead fucking silence. A few people rolled their heads back to suppress laughter and everybody else stared at the floor. I glanced at my forearm and swallowed an obnoxious snort. The graduates were not impressed. It was fairly delicious. Noah... Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2017 at amalah . com
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This morning was Ike's kindergarten graduation "concert," an adorable yet tuneless affair, made slightly more memorable by the speedy and efficient mass exodus at the end by parents rushing out to get to a TV or computer to watch the Comey hearing, which started right around the time Ike's class was singing The World Is a Rainbow. (I'm watching it now, knowing full well that it's infinitely more interesting than anything I could post here.) Tomorrow is Noah's 5th grade graduation. Perhaps we'll linger a bit longer afterwards. Meanwhile, perhaps we've maybe, possibly, finally found our TBD. Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2017 at amalah . com
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As someone born two days after Christmas, I always thought Ike had it made with his June birthday. Unfortunately, I've realized that although he's not competing with a major holiday, his birthday does tend to get a bit lost in a flurry of end-of-school-year and sibling activities. On his actual birthday, we had to rush through presents and his birthday dinner in order to get Noah to his band concert on time. (Ezra wrapped up a semi-deflated ball that Ike likes to steal from his room, along with a handmade card. Noah stuck around to confirm a lack of Minecraft/FNAF-related presents and then kinda wandered off.) Thanks to a Woody costume and an ice cream sundae (complete with a candle and singing waitstaff), he didn't seem to mind the day's crowded schedule that much. (Also a bulk package of composition notebooks helped. They fill these up by the dozens.) Saturday was pretty booked up too, with music lessons and an end-of-year picnic at school, which they were all clearly thrilled about attending. But hey! Pizza for the MILLIONTH MEAL IN A ROW. (Ezra's Hobbes is literally disintegrating, guys, and I fear his days are numbered. If anyone sees a similar... Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2017 at amalah . com
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Six years ago today, our family was officially made complete. Six years ago today, we welcomed the funniest, sunniest little boy on the planet into our lives. Today I sent him off to his almost-last day of kindergarten with a hastily put together "special birthday snack" to share with his friends. It is, embarrassingly, just 22 plastic sandwich bags with only five or six Doritos each, because that was the only store-bought, nut-free snack we had on hand that was both unopened and non-stale. Because I completely forgot about the special birthday snack. Until Ike reminded me last night, and I watched his face fall as he recognized the signature OH SHIT expression on mine. It's hard to be the Baby Ike, sometimes. He was actually thrilled about the Doritos, since I think he's only ever had them at parties, or perhaps as someone else's special birthday snack. "My friends are going to LOVE these chips," he declared confidently as we packed them up. (It came out more as my fwends are going to WUV deez chips, which of course we're working on, but dang it the lisp just makes everything he says sound even cuter.) He's much better about... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2017 at amalah . com
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Last year, around this time, I decided to get Jason a smoker for his birthday/Father's Day. He'd had one on his Amazon wish list for ages so I figured that's the one he wanted. (I did not know anything about smokers, except that you use them to smoke meat things, and every time we go to someone's house and Jason sees they have a smoker he's like the kids encountering someone else's epic Lego stash.) But when I went to actually check his list, he'd added several different models. And then I began to learn that the world of smokers and smoker accessories is very contentious and complicated. Do you go electric? Charcoal? Propane? Wood pellet? Digital bells and whistles? Super old-school and basic? The internet is full of people with VERY STRONG OPINIONS yelling at each other over this issue. Just Google "what kind of smoker is best" and they'll probably show up at your house to yell at you in person. I tried to feel Jason out on his opinion, only to learn that he didn't really have one. He "needed to do more research." Oh, lands, save yourself! I tried to drop hints that maaaaaybe he could... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2017 at amalah . com
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Judges: Good morning, and welcome to this session of Simulated Congressional Hearings. You have been brought here as constitutional expert witnesses to answer the question "Why did we go to war?" in regards to the American Revolution. Before we begin, please introduce yourselves, and tell us what you hope to be when you grow up and why. The Rest of the Group: Veterinarian, teacher, doctor, etc. Because they love animals/school/helping people, etc. Noah: I want to be a time traveler because I love the movie Back to the Future. *** The presentation begins. Kid #1: BOOM. Kid #2: KAPOW! Noah: What's that? Kid #4: That's the SOUND of WAR. Judges: Dammmmn that's good. *** Judges, during follow-up questions: So Noah, you mentioned really liking Back to the Future. What do you think it would be like to take the Delorean back in time to the Boston Tea Party? Noah: That would be pretty cool. I'd join and help the patriots. Of course if any British soldiers started firing at us I'd be wearing a bullet-proof vest from modern times. To, you know, avoid death. Judges: Probably a good idea. We appreciated your obvious passion about your subject matter today. Noah:... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2017 at amalah . com
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So this happened. Ike's getting an IEP. Welcome to the club, kid. But he's getting it for the least dramatic reason possible, at least by our household's standards: He has a pretty bad lisp. He needs some speech therapy. Okay. I asked his preschool teachers about the lisp last year -- they weren't too concerned, given his age. He was likely outgrow it on his own. (I looked into speech therapy anyway last summer, only to learn that articulation disorders aren't covered under our insurance and the cost would be YIKES.) The elementary school, on the other hand, absolutely provides services for articulation disorders, so I flagged it as a potential concern on every piece of enrollment paperwork that I possibly could. I asked his kindergarten teacher about the lisp at our first parent-teacher conference -- she'd noticed it, yes. She also wasn't too concerned, given his age, but agreed to have the school's speech pathologist stop by and speak with him. She did, and blah blah blah not too concerned, given his age, blah blah let's wait and see. And so we've waited. AND GUESS WHAT. He hasn't outgrown it. At all. Not even a little bit. He can't... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2017 at amalah . com
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Noah likes to take a pre-dinner bike ride around the neighborhood. It's part of his routine whenever the weather is nice: come home, snack, homework, load the dishwasher, ride his bike around the same set loop two times, maybe three, then back for dinner. I've encouraged him to explore the neighborhood a little more, but he got a little lost doing that not long after we moved so now he prefers to stick to the same path. It takes him around to the street directly behind our house, and he likes to wave at me if I'm outside or at the kitchen window. I wave back. The other night, I missed the wave. I was at the stove making dinner. Ezra and Ike came in from playing on the swingset and set the table. I put dinner out and realized Noah wasn't back yet. Which, okay, that's fine, he'll probably be back in a few minutes. He wasn't. I checked the garage for his bike, scanned the street out back, then the front. I went to his room on the off-chance he'd come back and retreated there to play without anyone noticing (his stealth move to get out of further... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2017 at amalah . com
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This post is sponsored by thredUP. I've mentioned once or 100 times that I'm not a big fan of clothes shopping. I'm very impatient and get discouraged too easily -- I don't like the first thing I tried on! These dressing room lights are killing my self-esteem! This is boring and my feet hurt! -- and I also don't have that awesome "shopper's eye" that translate how something looks on the hanger with how it will look on my actual body. Obviously I love online shopping but I still get really indecisive and unsure about clothing. I am an e-commerce cart-abandoning nightmare. Jason, on the other hand, totally has the shopper's eye. He also finds shopping fun, and even relaxing, both online and in person. I know. He's either a gem or an insane person. As a result, I'd say he easily buys about 80% of my wardrobe these days. Which is admittedly awesome and convenient. So...shine on, you crazy diamond, I guess! So when thredUP expressed interest in a second sponsored post (along with a tempting $150 shopping credit), I knew I wanted to outsource the grunt work this time around, and I set Jason loose on the site... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2017 at amalah . com
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I had a consult with a tattoo artist to finally, FINALLY get some cover-up work done on the truly terrible, highly regrettable J-A-S-O-N ink on my back left hip. Remember that? If not, yeah. I got my boyfriend's name tattoo'ed offset tramp-stamp style when I was 19 years old. Classaaaayyyyy. While I still like the guy very much, I really hate the tattoo. It was poorly done, embarrassing almost immediately (I mean, WHO DOES THAT? Besides impulsive and slightly tipsy 19-year-old girls away at college whose roommate is getting a daisy on her ankle oh wait okay never mind), and now it's 20 years old and completely warped and faded -- and annoyingly visible enough over my pants' waistline and two-piece bathing suits. I thought about just getting it removed, but always decided against that. It was a stupid thing to get done, but just like getting married less than a year later at 20 years old was ALSO not typically considered the greatest of ideas...we did defy a whole heapload of odds to remain married and happy this many years later. The tattoo has always felt kind of tied to that, and "erasing" it just never appealed to me.... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2017 at amalah . com
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You know what my kids love? Stickers! Do you know what they don't love? Sticker books. Or paper of any kind. Please do not send them any more stickers. I feel like they have enough. Go ahead and bookmark this for any upcoming Gift Guides For Parents You Secretly Hate, though. Wait, didn't I scrape you off already? Are you respawning? Shit. The weirdest thing about stickers is even after you've gotten rid of all the stickers, kids will always -- always -- find more stickers. TRULY. LIFE FINDS A WAY. (One time Ike ran out of stickers and decided to cover the entire bottom half of his door strips of Scotch Tape, which I guess was a little worse than stickers.) (Still, though. Please no more stickers. I could use more Scotch Tape, but only if it comes in a locked safe of some kind.) Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2017 at amalah . com
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Jason recently started attending pick-up games at a local indoor soccer place. It's been something he's been talking about doing for ages, but considering the last time he played any "serious" soccer was at least 20 years ago, he was understandably a little nervous about it. Finally he just accepted that he might very well be the worst player there, but dammit, he was going to show up and play. His first time out, he scored three goals. He came home exhausted and sore and completely ecstatic. He missed playing even more than he realized, he said, and it was thrilling how the skills he assumed were completely dormant after all that time just...started coming back. He wasn't the worst player there, but that didn't even matter. Because dammit, that person still decided to show up and play, and had a great time doing it. The next day we got to talking about it, about why he never did join a league or find a pick-up game -- our old place in Bethesda was literally a block away from a public field. Sure, some of it was the typical "what if I suck now/can't keep up" worries as middle age... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2017 at amalah . com
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