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Since this is the first day off that I've had at least a couple of months, I was hoping I could go to the beach, but in fact today it is cloudy and rainy so no go :( I had actually had tentative plans with my neighbor Maria to go to Brighton Beach–– she is Russian and I thought I could've practiced my Russian down there. (I love that about BB, that I can actually read the signs по русски and practice.) Maria is pretty cool--I met her and her mother when we all moved into the building 3 years ago, and there was a big meet-and-greet on the terrace in August. We hung out for drinks with her brother (who also lives in the building) two weeks ago--she asked me to meet her up at her apartment which she said was 1004. I go up there and knock, several times, and there's no answer. I text her "где ты? я здесь в 1004." {Where are you? I am here at 1004.) She gave me the wrong number--she lives the floor above. But look me at, texting full sentences and question in Cyrillic!!!!!

The heat came on this past week bigtime, which means another summer like that year. When you work outside, global warming becomes very personal--last summer was really, really hard on me. From July through to the end of August--every day I worked outside, drinking as much water as I could, and trudging home to try to cool down before trudging off again to my evenning job. I couldn't WAIT for September, and December's very warm spell was terrifying to me. I really, really hope the conservative shitheads in Congress who are reflexively blocking any kind of measure on climate change just to say fuck you to Obama live by the water, so their houses will be the first to wash into the ocean when the waters rise. I am honestly terrified at the change.

And speaking of politics, some of these Bernie fans need to step away from the Kool-Aid. Look, I have no problem with Bernie Sanders (although he isn't my choice) and if he got the nomination, of course I would vote for him. What the fuck is wrong with so many of his supporters (NOT ALL, many of perfectly reasonable, please do not NOT ALL MEN my post) that they would rather burn the whole building down than vote for a viable candidate who is LEAPS AND BOUNDS better than the Republican clown? I look at them and they all seem to be white, straight, cisgenerdered men--who really have little to fear from a Trump administration. They can afford to be pie-in-the-sky about politics. Rachel posted somehting a few days ago that brought out the Bernie nuts, and one of them actually said ""If we can't win, at least we can make the re-election an impassible road for whomever wins!" Like, WHAT THE FUCK. What a completely stupid, stupid, self-absorbed, dumbass thing to say. It's as though this is some sort of freshman year class in political theory. Four years of living under Trump policy and rhetoric would actually affect some people's lives, you fucking toddler.

In better news, my Sunday classes are growing by leaps and bounds. They added me to these classes 6 weeks ago--3 in a row in Hell's Kitchen. At first each class had literally one kid each and then they started growing. I thought little of it until one of the mothers buttonholed me after a lesson, saying "your company is new to this neighborhood, right?" I said I didn't know but these were my first classes here in Hell's Kitchen. She said you don't advertise here--I never see fliers or anything like that but all your business is growing by word-of-mouth. All of us parents go home and tell the parents of our children's friends that they should sign up. (Which obviously means they like my classes!*) She said you should advertise more--you only have one competitor (she named the company, I didn't recognize it but I could tell by the name they didn't specialize in soccer) and this neighborhood is filling up with families.

Now, I used to live in Hell's Kitchen and know and love the area quite well. I said I would pass this on to the head of marketing who was THRILLED to read all this.

And then yesterday one of the kids gave me the cutest offering. I called him a little rosencavalier (but seriously, what kind of flower is that? It's not a rose). Isn't that adorbs?

*Also on this day, one of my kids' grandparents were there to drop off/pick up the kid, and they stayed and watched. Afterward they were just aglow--the grandmother was marveling at how good I was with the kids and I said well, it's a good job for me because I like kids, I like soccer and I like to perform. And the grandfather shook his head and said "they're lucky to have you." What a nice compliment! That was a good day :)
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 Have had an utterly shit weekend, all things considered—and the gift just keeps on giving today.
It started with my corporate game Friday night. None of the guys on the team responded or came so I had to dig up a bunch of subs just so we could have a game. One of my friends, who monitors a soccer email group, sent out an email for me saying I needed subs and a goalie. Several guys responded, including one guy who was the first to get to the field house. He was an older player and I could tell right off the bat he wasn’t very good (just generally not very coordinated, kind of awkward and flail-y). Angela (my friend) was also asking guys at the field house if they wanted to play and quite a few said yes. So we had a team and lots of subs, which was obviously good. Older Guy asks me “do you actually need subs?” I thought he was asking if I needed HIM, like if we didn’t really need him, he could leave or do something else or whatever. I shrugged and said “well, we did—we are pretty full right now though” and he starts yelling at me, saying “why did you send out that email then? I thought you needed players, I came a long way for this!” Like, back the fuck UP. I don’t care how far away you came, that’s on you.  I said “Angela sent out the email and a lot of people responded but they didn’t show up until just before the game and she knew I was still worried, so she recruited even more players.” He’s like “well, do you need me or not?” I said “what do YOU want to do? Do you want to play? THEN PLAY. No one’s kicking you out! And get off my case!” I really wanted to say “you are not good enough to cop this kind of attitude and the pickup community is small—you <b>will</b> be remembered if you act obnoxiously.” It really upset me at the beginning of the game—dude, I don’t even know you, calm down. I absolutely detest it when older men act like that. After the game (he wasn’t terrible but he was far and away the weakest and slowest player out there) he tried to make nice with me but man, never again. If he responds to another mass email seeking subs, I’m ignoring it.
So then Saturday after my classes, I was walking through Harlem on my way back to my apartment, and going up Frederick Douglass Boulevard. FDB was really blossomed in the past 5 years or so—tons of great new restaurants and lounges, all different types. I text Ryan “hey, it’s a gorgeous day—wanna meet for lunch?” So we decide to meet at 116 and FDB. I get there and Ryan comes up to me—he says he was waiting for me and a guy came up to him, coming on to him, and was asking him to get a drink. Ryan said he was waiting for a friend and the guy said bring your friend, I’ll buy them a drink as well. Said he was in town for a wedding and he hated to drink alone. Ryan said to me we don’t have to if you’d rather not but I thought, why not? We all sit down together and the guy was staring at me, absolutely hung on my every word. But he said he was gay and I thought he was trying to impress Ryan and pick him up. The guy orders another round of drinks and then Ryan and I decide why not, we’ll eat here. It seemed like a good conversation. Then the guy goes over to the waitress and when he comes back, he’s slipping a receipt into his pocket—trying to look like he was being discreet but I sensed he wanted me to notice. Then the food arrives and a few minutes later he wants to go out front for a cigarette and asks Ryan to join him.
I wait FOREVER for them to come back—at least 15-20 minutes. Finally Ryan comes back—alone. He says the guy told him he had paid for the bill with his “corporate card” but he had to meet his “weed dealer” and asked Ryan to pay for our portions, in cash. He asked for $70 and Ryan immediately balked. Ryan said oh no, you ordered those rounds of drinks, not us. We’ll pay for our food and that’s it. Ryan said he would give him $40 but he didn’t have cash—the guy said there’s an ATM machine a few blocks away. (This, I think, is when I might have figured it out [I say might because someone tried to scam me like this once and as soon as they mentioned the phrase ”ATM machine” something clicked and it felt wrong somehow. Like, you should not be directing me to an ATM]. But Ryan had a lot of information to process, I don’t blame him for not picking up on this.) The guy was talkingtalkingtalking the entire way, Ryan gets him $40 and the guy says he’ll be right back.
I sat there, processing this, and said “What do we do now?” Ryan said he’ll be back and I thought about it. I said “Ryan, I don’t think he’s going to come back—that’s a pretty egregious etiquette breach, asking for cash like that, even if he did foot the bill. I think he might be embarrassed.” Then it occurred to me if he doesn’t come back, he might’ve stiffed the waitress so I call her over and ask if he tipped her. She looks startled and says: he didn’t pay the bill at all.
Ryan and I sit there, stunned. The waitress is very concerned and asks us what’s the deal, and we explain to her what happened. She goes to get the manager and I tell Ryan the fairest thing would be for them to take off his portion and we just pay for our meals, but we shouldn’t count on that. Manager comes, we tell her everything and she decides to take off one round of drinks and his meal. The bill comes to $70-something and I put on a whopping tip (on the original amount, not the adjusted total) which the waitress had to clarify “are you sure?” I said you’ve been so helpful and I’m not going to stiff you on the service you provided to him, even if he is a thief, that’s not your fault. We went to police to file a report but the guy to whom we spoke was utterly unhelpful (if polite) and was very discouraging, saying the guy hadn’t used force, it wasn’t a crime, a judge wouldn’t do anything. I said who cares about a judge? We know we’re not going to see Ryan’s money again—but what about informing the community that a scammer is running around? The cop was saying to Ryan, well you gave him that money, he didn’t actually rob you. I said--then why did you go after the squeegee guys in the '90s? Why do you go after the costumed people in Times Square? It’s not a crime to ask for a tip—why would you come down hard on them but you don’t care about scammers who actually lie? It's a quality of life issue, which is exactly what the broken windows theory is designed to address--that little crimes turn into bigger ones. In the end the cop refused to do anything so as we walked out I loudly remarked about how he didn’t want to do his job, even though crime is so low they have nothing else to do except escort 12 year old boys in handcuffs (which we saw when we first entered). Hey, I might as well use white privilege (I knew the cop wouldn’t come down on me for that remark) for good.
Then yesterday. Here’s the context: I went away for Thanksgiving and as usual, Michael fed the babies. When I came back I noticed Tatia was hardly moving—for two days (Monday and Tuesday) she literally barely stirred from my pillow. I had to shove food under her nose to get her to eat anything. Very concerned, I made an appointment at the vet for her. My current vet is on Lex and 94th—they’re great but they’re expensive, $97 per visit. I first took the babies there in fall of ’13 and it was obviously a bit of a hit, especially because they were recommending blood tests for Tatia ($200+) and tooth extraction (much more $$$). At that time I flat-out could not afford that, whatsoever. (I'm doing better now but this is still ending up to be quite a lot for me.)

So since then I haven’t taken them back for a checkup, thinking hey, they’re indoor cats, it’s not like they’ll get hit by a car.  So anyway, as this past week progressed, Tatia was doing better—moving around, climbing into my lap. But I kept the appointment, which was yesterday.  They did a regular checkup and then recommended blood work and a fluid injection (she was dehydrated). I nixed the fluid injection (the least important thing—she wasn't terribly dehydrated) but okayed the blood work, so the bill was $327 (checkup, bloodwork, plus 2 cans of AD, a special super-fattening and irresistible wet food for cats who have gone off their food).
The vet called today. Lambkin has kidney disease and a bladder infection, so I have to bring her in tomorrow for an antibiotic. Plus they wanted to “do a culture” on her to make sure they were getting her the right antibiotic (the one tomorrow is a general one—she needs one pretty badly). The culture is $160, plus $50 for the first antibiotic. I thought about it and decided to go ahead and get the culture (that was optional--the doctor was very respectful of my financial concerns--but recommended). In for a penny, in for a metric fuckton, right?
The kicker is—I have insurance for them. But it’s contingent upon their receiving a yearly checkup, so they have a baseline of health for the animal. Which I skipped last year, because I couldn’t afford it. (And I’d forgotten about that insurance requirement.) My options are not good—I can either ask the vet to back me up if I say I took Tatia for her annual exam which they might refuse (and which they would be entirely in the right to do so.  That’s a lot to ask). Or I throw myself on the mercy of my insurance company, and I don’t expect them to give in. (Although if they do I’ll just go ahead and cancel her policy—not out of spite but I might as well save myself that monthly expense.)  $500+ in one week for Tatia. Plus the restaurant thing. Jesus.

But at least Lambkin is doing better. She's eating, she's moving around, she's cuddling, and she's doing one of my favorite stunts--when I'm in bed but awake (like when I first wake up, or first lie down), she loves to walk over to the pillow and stand with front and back paws on opposite sides of my face, essentially straddling my face. What kills me is how she pulls this off--she kind of looks around, like she's considering something, like hmm, what to do, what to do, decisions, decisions. Meanwhile her BELLY FULL OF FUR is hanging right in my face, smothering me. And Tatia just pretends she doesn't even notice.  This sadistic game of hers is how I know she's doing a little better. When your elderly cat stops trying to kill you, that's when you know they're in trouble.


Nov. 18th, 2015 12:30 am
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 So, the rest of the weekend. I had two soccer games on Friday. The first game was for my corporate team--we were playing the last place team so we should've won easily. Except that a couple of people who were supposed to show up, who were confirmed to show up, did not so we ended up playing the entire game with just five players––i.e., no subs. I have been in this situation before and it is infuriating and depressing. You literally feel abandoned by your teammates. This was the last place team and we should've been crushing them but we were down by one or two goals at halftime, at which point I sent off a blistering email to everybody on the email distribution list plaintively asking where the hell are you guys?! I get that the analysts on our team are constantly called in at the last minute to do work but the big guy who bailed on us was not an analyst, he's an associate--he should've been there. On the other hand, perhaps it's better he wasn't there. He has an annoying way of trying to take on every single person on the other team and score like that and he never, ever, ever, ever seems to see me for any other player waiting on the sidelines by the goal, available to score. He just wants to score all the goals himself. 

At any rate we ended up winning 10-7, And I scored five of our 10 goals. I don't know, I seemed to get a groove Friday night--even the other team was commenting on it. So as I said before, after the game I grabbed my phone and was checking up on what happened in the last hour in Paris and was asked if I could step in to play as a female since our league dictates that two women must be on the field entire game. I said sure, I'm happy to get more playing time. This is a very very good team, better than ours quite frankly. They had a lot of set pieces and obviously have worked together a lot and finally they started feeding the ball to me. The first few times I was messing up––my touches are not always that great–– but eventually I started putting the ball in the goal and they started noticing. And I could see the looks of growing respect on their faces after every goal. I ended up being the high score in that game as well, which was certainly gratifying.

I remember having a conversation with one of the guys on our team who was complimenting me and I said you know, my form is not that great and there're a lot of things I can't do on the field but when I <iu>can</u> do is convert. I am ALWAYS looking for a shot, always trying to score and I never let the galie relax. One goal of which I am MOST proud was when a bunch of us were clustered around the goal and the goalie grabbed the ball. We all started to jog back and I snuck a glance over my shoulder--I am not sure how but somehow he let go of the ball and dribbled out of his hand so I pounced on it and to shot which on in. I was very proud of that.
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 So Wednesday I was assisting a coach in a class of 2-3 year olds. This coach is older, from Italy, and we have some awesome discussions. And he knows I’m a huge history nerd. So he was teaching the kids, and as the lesson progressed we ended up with a floor of big cones with smaller cones on top of them, and he wants the kids to knock them down. So he says “thees is lahk Rome and…”—looks questioningly at me—“…the Phoenicians?” I laughed and said “the Carthaginians, actually, although they spoke Phoenician.” So then I start getting into it and I’m encouraging the kids to “sack Carthage, we have to sack Carthage! Make sure they never invade our peninsula again!” Now I’m trying to figure out how I can come up with a lesson that incorporates Roman history—I have two kids (not even related!) in my Saturday class of 4-5 years olds whose names are Cassius and Livia and I love to call her Empress. My Saturday classes are outdoors and there’s a slope nearby—I can possibly recreate Hannibal’s passage through the Alps. The sack of soccer balls could be the elephants…
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So I've been having fun lately coming up with all sorts of awesome and exciting exercises for my kids. I have been so, so upset about the murder of Cecil the Lion and it occurred to me that I actually have a kind of platform with my classes so I came up with a lesson involving various exotic animals from Africa. At first they were going to be in the zoo but I was talking with a fellow coach about the lesson and he is a very passionate and committed animal rights activist. I am not where he is and perhaps never will be as far as veganism and vegetarianism but I have great respect for his views. At any rate he took me out for vegan ice cream cones a couple of weeks ago and I was telling him about this lesson--originally it was going to be a zoo theme but he gently suggested that zoos were exploitative. I'm not sure I agree entirely with that--I think there's a conservation purpose with zoos--but at any rate he suggested sanctuaries as an alternative to zoos. At the same time my lessons are for very young kids--2, 3, 4-5 years old. Eventually I decided I could talk to the kids about the African veldt--they wouldn't get the whole idea but they would pick up the salient points--the grassy fields, all the different kinds of beautiful animals, it's far away and awesome, etc.. So that's what I did--a lesson where I separated the four nets and they would feed various foods to the animals--the lions were fed "lion cookies" (the small cones), the rhinoceri (and I taught them that word, along with veldt) "rhinoceros ice cream cones," the zebras "zebra scones" (the small black-and-white squishy balls) and the elephants "elephant cakes (the regular-size silver soccer balls). For our main drill, we have to add pressure of some kind--either through obstacles or by shortening the time somehow and I said "the poacher is trying to steal the elephant cakes from the elephants!" and I had the assistant stand in front of the nets so the kids would "feed" the elephants by kicking their balls between his legs. It's a small thing but maybe that will contribute to some good in the world.

But I also came up with a fun warm-up exercise for this. Warm-up exercises are supposed to be free and easy for the kids, just something to get them on their feet. So I told them: you are gazelles--gazelles are kind of like deer--and you are hanging out on the veldt. So you're walking around with your soccer ball and you're going to the watering hole and you're high-hooving each other with your big thick hooves but here's the deal– the lion is in the middle of you guys and the lion is sleeping because that's what lions do it sometime. (Which is true--lions sleep a ridiculous amount of the day. I actually did a lot of research for this lesson!) Lions and gazelles are not exactly friends (I left out that lions actually eat gazelles!) so when the lion starts to wake up and ROAR you have to be absolutely still. (I also went over with them how to stop the ball--put your foot on top.)   So then I, as the lion, pretended to sleep as my kids dribbled the ball around me...and then I'd stir and say "oh, the lion is waking up now" and then I'd ROAR. And then I'd walk around as my kids would freeze, with the most hilarious expressions--I'd get right up in their face and say "man, I can't see any gazelles here today. Guess I'll go back to sleep." The kids LOVED it. I actually had kids this week requesting to play that again. 3-4 year olds LOVE to be scared. So much fun!
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 I am in fucking agony right now. Got home from dinner with Lori and iced my knees--no good. Am currently combining tequila with Alleve to numb myself. I can hardly walk. I am not sure if I will be able to get to my classes tomorrow. Hopefully new sneakers plus double layers of socks plus topical glucosomine will do the trick.

I can't believe two full shots of cortisone to the knees lasted only 6 weeks. I am fucking YOUNG, for God's sake. But I am lurching about my apartment like I'm 80. I am starting to wonder if maybe I need to think about surgery for my knees--and I already MUST have surgery for my bunions.

The weird thing is as painful as it is to walk, my classes are still mostly fine and when I play in an actual game, that's fine as well. It's not the adrenaline, it's the way I use my feet.
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 So as I said a lot has been going on. Another really exciting thing, perhaps the most exciting thing besides our saving Sweet Briar, has been that I have been promoted to Head Coach! I didn't expect this until the fall and winter possibly next spring. This past spring they had scheduled me for quite a lot of classes--it was actually a very difficult schedule to maintain. But I suppose I was doing so and I know that I was getting very good feedback. They had observed several of my classes and gave me excellent reviews based on that. And then I taught a couple of classes at a Catholic school downtown and the class coordinator in the administration really liked me. She sent an email about me to our office, praising me and they told me that that particular school had been an on-again, off-again customer but that they'd specifically said they wanted to do classes in the fall and that they "can only hope they get Coach Clara again." Obviously this made me feel fantastic! So I think the fact that I actually created business for them is part of why I got the promotion. 

It's also interesting to note that my promotion has leapfrogged over that of some other coaches. Like any company I suppose, there are some excellent coaches here and then there are some hacks. There was a coach I worked with last summer who was a nice enough guy but was very--how can I put this?--inauthentic when dealing with the kids. He just seemed very fake in his enthusiasm and as a result the kids really didn't listen to him. I actually had to teach a class with him this spring--one of the ones at the aforementioned Catholic school. The kids at that school are great kids but they're very high-energy and you definitely needed to as, I put it, blow the whistle with them. And he didn't do it--he would ineffectively cajole them and explain to them and they just ignored him. Until finally I pulled out my whistle, blew the heck out of it, and informed the kids they WOULD sit down, be quiet and listen to the coach. (Understand for this class he was the head coach, the one officially in charge, and I was the assistant.)  Then when the class was over he kind of wandered off after saying goodbye and never signed out the kids which is a big no-no. I ended up running after the kids and their parents to sign them out officially, and then going up to the office and apologizing. I said to the coordinator "I don't know what happened here--it is officially his class and he was the one responsible but I apologize. And I will personally make sure for the rest of the classes that I have the kids signed out properly." I think it was the this that that got the corner later on my side and why she eventually sent the email to the office about me. Like, you just can't DO that, you can't just leave these kids, you have to make sure that they end up where they're supposed to be! As I said some of these coaches are hacks. I know that one of the other coaches who also got promoted to head coach as well--I'm not sure if they've ever observed his classes, they must have, but I've worked with him. He's a nice enough guy but he never plans his classes, he just shows up and improvises. And maybe this wouldn't be so bad (some coaches are excellent improvisors) except he tends to throw the ball at YOU, as it were. Like, I'm not going to help you plan your class, that's your job, that's why you're listed as the head coach for this class. Every class of ever worked with him, he flails around and asks if I can think of anything--well again, that's your job. It's very frustrating. I put a lot of thought into my classes, the exercises and their ages, etc. and it's annoying when I have to cover for someone who can't be bothered to put in the preparation.

Anyway so it's all been very exciting. Also exciting is that--and I may have mentioned this already--but they have opened up offices internationally. They just opened their first office in London a few months ago. They have all-company meetings before every new season, so roughly 4 times a year. And at the most recent meeting I introduced myself to the London contact and talked to him about possibly going over there to help. Especially because I know that they want to build the girl market internationally and that is something at which I could be very good.
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 An hilarious thing happened a few weeks ago.  I was in the middle of a class that I lead.  Part of the routine is that,, when we're finished with an exercise or warmup or whatever, we ask the kids to help us "clean up, clean up" (I had to ask Lori to teach me that song, I'd never heard it before I started with Soccer Company).  So for this particular exercise we'd used various types of equipment--little soccer balls (we use fist-sized soccer balls to teach control and for the little ones), big soccer balls, small cones, big cones. etc.).  So I tell the kids "bring all the small cones and the big cones to Coach Chris, and bring me all the big soccer balls."  So I pick up a red mesh bag to collect the soccer balls and then I start walking around calling out for them.  You know, like you do--with kids you have to remind kids what you're asking of them, make a game of it.  So there I am, wandering around a gym filled with three- to five-year olds loudly singsonging "I want big balls..."  I must have said this at least 4-5 times times before I heard what was coming out of my mouth and immediately had to stifle giggles.  I still laugh every time I think about it.

Catching Up

Feb. 4th, 2015 10:31 pm
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Damn, I wish L***** would stop blocking this site. That's where I like to update--no access means fewer pearls I share about my fascinating life ;) I'M JUST SAYING

So I'm heading a class on Wednesdays--last fall I was the assistant for this class, now I'm heading it. It's a class with a lot of challenges. 1) The space is small and weirdly-shaped. 2) The age is disparity is huge--we have several 3 year olds, a few 4 year olds and several 5 year olds, including one big boy who is nearly 6.  Big Boy is named Vicente and we had him last fall--he likes to KICK, which is a problem when you have several 3 year olds toddling around, barely able to connect their foot to the ball with any consistency.  So I've been trying to figure out appropriate, fun lessons that are more than just daycare, that actually teach soccer, but that won't either: knock down the babies or: bore the older ones.  To make it more challenging, two of the girls just DO NOT WANT to engage.  One is 3 and she basically just doesn't want to do it.  (And it looks as though she's not coming back--she's a sweet kid but this is for the best.)  The other is 5 and she's more frustrating.  Because she doesn't just not want to engage.  What she really wants is for us to make a fuss over her.  I've told her if she doesn't want to play, she can watch from the sidelines, but she doesn't just withdraw--she crawls all over the floor, she sticks her legs out, she does everything she can to pull the attention onto her and away from either the lesson or the game.  And if I had just one more coach, we could indulge her drama queen antics.  But we don't--there are only two of us leading this class.  I've tried talking to her, trying to convince her, trying to sell her on the game but she just doesn't want to be there.  Two weeks ago the class literally STOPPED--we'd started the Big Game and she kept wandering through it, dragging on our hands.  Wouldn't sit down, wouldn't play.  Very, very frustrating.  But last week's class and today's actually went very well.  I talked to my assistant and put him in charge of her--I said we're not going to fuss over her too much as long as she's out of the way.  She didn't like that too much, as we weren't fawning over her, but the other kids in the class had a good time and they learned about (last week) Offense v. Defense and (this week) Passing.

So I had a long talk with the after school coordinator today saying I didn't think little girl should be in the class as it wasn't fair to the rest of the kids.  She agreed.  Who knows what will happen but the last two classes really have gone well, and I feel good about them. 

Now, for recent news...

A month ago, pretty much everyone who reads this blog knows what happened:  the apartment where D***** lived was completely devastated by fire.  We all found out via FB, and D***** posted that it had started in A*****'s room.  For those who aren;t aware, I know A*****.  A***** was the director of the Scottish Play in 2010/11--he asked me to be on his team "in any capacity you like."  I said sure, I'd like to be dramaturg.  He then asked if I would also be assistant director.  And he proceeded to fuck up the entire production to the point where he got FIRED.  And then begged me not to accept the job if it was offered to me.  Another A story--he wanted to read for the Nurse when Jason and I were casting Romeo and Juliet.  I allowed him to read but there was no way in holy hell I was going to take away that great role from a woman and give it to a man.  (He actually wasn't bad but the concept itself is so effing campy and cringe-inducing.)  After the audition he said he wanted to work on the production anyway, and asked to design costumes.  Thereafter, for about a week, followed a shitton of emails from him. Like, 405 emails a day about costumes.  I kept saying "please keep it simple, this is outdoor drama in the park."  And then I got this stupid dramatic email from him saying he had to drop out, he couldn't do costumes, he was going to have to move back to Baltimore.  Then the kicker--unless I could lend him [I can't remember the exact figure but it was well over $1000--I think it was over $2000, in fact] so he could avoid eviction.  I was so disgusted.  I mean, really, absolutely disgusted.  How completely classless, to put me on the spot like that.  I wasn't a good friend, I wasn't family, I hardly knew him.  GROSS.

So I have no great opinion of A*****.  Everything seems to overwhelm him, he's always so aggrieved and beset and there's always some basic living skill he can't seem to accomplish.  Working on Macbeth was annoying as hell--he tried to pick my brain for ideas, "how would you direct this scene?  This bit?""  Fucking do your own work, A*****!  YOU'RE the director, come up with your own ideas!  Stop trying to mine mine, I might get the chance to direct it myself someday.  As it was he lifted the entire concept of his show from the BAM production.  Classy.

So when D***** said the fire had started in A's room, my hackles rose.  Then someone started a Go Fund Me for A, because he'd incurred injuries fighting the fire--and of course, of course, OF FUCKING COURSE he did not have insurance, even though he was required by law.  (Apparently he's lost his job--yes, that does suck but there are affordable options now.  The ACA is specifically addressing that.  There are solutions--even if they're expensive, it's a hell of a lot more expensive to go to the hospital without insurance.)  And the language on the Go Fund Me was weird--it vaguely blamed "a faulty space heater."  Then later that day (or the next day), similar Go Fund Mes were set up for D and the third roommate, K**.  D's took off right away, and even surpassed A's.  By the end of Thursday (the day after the fire) both were up to nearly $7,000 and people were planning a joint fundraiser for the three of them.

Thursday night I met D at Marie's.  After quite a few drinks I pulled him into the staircase and spoke plainly to him.  I said first--DO NOT commingle your funds with his.  Maintain your fund separately, get your own account, because if this fundraiser happens, people are going to be giving money to all three of you and I think that's a bad idea.  Second, everyone is talking as though you are all going to move in together--PLEASE tell me you are not going to live with him again.  (Duncan shook his head violently at that point.)  I said I'd been thinking about this--the fire started in his room, right?  A "faulty space heater"?  Unless the thing spontaneously burst into flames and immediately incinerated his room, he is to blame.  Space heaters are notoriously top heavy and dangerous, which is why many leases prohibit them.  But it's not like they're an open flame--if they're knocked over you have at least 30 seconds to pick them up.  So somehow he wasn't paying attention to the heater.  Either he was out of the room (D said he was naked when the EMTs came--the mind reels but he may have been in the shower) or he was incapacitated.  And somehow it was knocked over and started a horrific fire that destroyed most of their belongings, rendered them homeless and killed their cat.

Yep, that's right. He fucking murdered an animal.  Why?  Because he's an epic fuckup.  And yet in all this time he hasn't give out his story of what happened, hasn't taken responsibility, hasn't said ANYTHING to the roommates whose home he destroyed.  (I know he hasn't said anything to D & K because I asked D.)

And he's had all this money given to him, money that very generous and thoughtful people have given him, and I promise you he will fuck that up.  He will forget that he owes all the huge medical bills and will blow the money on stupid stuff.  And then he'll freak out about that, and then even more when the landlord sues him, as he will almost certainly do when he finds out A has all this money.  So he'll be sued by the hospital, sued by the landlord and probably declare bankruptcy in a year or two.

And even worse--K, the third roommate, received overall (after one month) some $3800.  Do you know how much A got in his Go Fund Me?  The last time I checked nearly $18,000.  Eighteen fucking thousand dollars for the fuck up who was stupid enough to leave a space heater unattended and who killed a cat and destroyed his roommates' lives.  If he had an ounce, one goddam ounce, of human decency he would give some of that money to Kim.  I just feel sick about the whole thing.

For the record I gave money to both K and D (equal amounts actually) but nothing for A.

ceebeegee: (Red Heather)
Sorry I haven't updated in so long--my work network decided to block blogging sites so I can update there now, which is where I usually had the leisure. SIGH.

Anyway, so today after classes I had picked up a Meetup soccer game with a group with whom I've played before. But not in a while--I think the last time I played with them was sometime last spring. Between classes and my league team, just haven't had the time (and frankly, until mid-November or so, didn't really have the discretionary income. But now things are much better financially).

So the game was down in the Bowery at one of the worst fields in the city, cement covered with a thin coating of turk with big patches in place. But whatever, it was great just playing. However it had started to snow about an hour before the game, and the snow, alternating with freezing rain, continued throughout the whole game. So--challenging, cold, but fun. We ended up playing full field and I acquitted myself fairly decently. No goals (I was really inhibited under those conditions--I'm terrified of getting hurt again) so my touches weren't that great but neither were anyone else's. I did have several solid, pretty assists so I was happy--one of my assists had like five guys, including several on the other team, complimenting me. I'll take it :)

Afterward we all went to a nearby bar to quaff beers. I had an awesome time shooting the breeze with a bunch of guys, about "where are you from" and "you're a SOCCER COACH, that's awesome!" and Peruvian cuisine and whatnot. One of the guys even asked me if I wanted to go dancing with him (I'd been talking about my club days in DC--oh the memories!--and how much I loved dancing) and another at one point said to the group about me "she's beautiful, she's intelligent, she's got good soccer skills..." and then another guy said something to him in Spanish which made the guys smile. Anyw, lots of fun. Now here's where it got--annoying. There's a girl who's attached to this group--she's listed in the meetup as "assistant organizer" and I've seen her at pretty much all the games. I'm not sure how she got attached because she's not a good soccer player, but you know, sometimes you just like hanging out with a group. That's fine. What's weird is how...hostile she always seems to be toward me and, as far as I can recall, other women who've shown up for these games. (There aren't many, I'm one of the few. In fact today there were only two of us amongst 18 guys.) She's always been cold, unfriendly and as I realized this, I just gave her a wide berth. Today we get to the bar and she's already there--she left halfway through the game because of the weather. We sit down and there's a menu in front of her. After a few minutes I ask her if she's still looking at the menu (because I'm hungry and would like to look it over). Remember, she's already been there at least 20 minutes, with a menu. She says to me curtly "yes. I am." Okay, whatever--you could've been friendlier about that but I'm not going to go out of my way to take offense.

But a little while later the guys and I are talking about religion--most of them (being South American) are Roman Catholic and we start discussing the difference between Roman Catholicism and Episcopalianism. I start saying "well, the main difference is political--we do not follow the Pope, we're part of a different power structure and have our own head.. But the structure of the mass is essentially the same and we have very similar styles..." She cuts me off "they're not similar, we don't talk about the Virgin Mary at all."

Okay, an academic aside here. Not having the Hail Mary as part of your Mass vs. "not talking about the Virgin Mary" are two different things. For one thing, I don't think the Catholics say Hail Marys during the Mass, I think that's a private--albeit very common--prayer, said as a penance after confession. Second, we DO "talk about Mary" in other ways. She shows up frequently in the Gospels, and the Magnificat--Mary's response to the Annunciation ("My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior....")--has been set to music many, many times in the Anglican tradition. I could sing a whole setting to you right now that I learned as a child, I remember it so well. For that matter, the Hail Mary has also been set to music many times in the Anglican tradition, the Bach/Gounod setting being one of the most well-known. Mary is certainly not ignored in the Episcopal church, although she is given more prominence within the Catholic church.

Anyway. I responded "what? Yes, we do--some parishes do at any rate." She took umbrage at this and started "I'm a lifelong confirmed Episcopalian--" Me: "As am I." "And I'm telling you we don't talk about the Virgin Mary!" I paused and said carefully "Well, it sounds like your parish does not. But Episcopal styles of worship vary greatly across the US--some are low church and some are high church, it's not as uniform as Roman Catholic services are. Very high church parishes often DO talk about Mary more because those types of parishes prefer the Catholic style even if they don't want to be part of the Catholic structure--" She got REALLY annoyed at this and kept trying to impress me with her "lifelong Episcopal" street cred. I got so annoyed, I was tempted to say "Yes, and my step-grandfather was an Episcopal priest who founded St. Andrew's school in Boca Raton. And my cousin was the Dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, who also baptized me--AT the Cathedral. You want pictures?" Luckily I resisted that urge because argument by authority is weak. You're not right because you have a degree in a subject or because of your personal background--you're right because your argument makes sense or your facts are correct.

It just...really pissed me off, I have to say. It was so pointlessly antagonistic. First, her jumping in to correct me like that, then to try to shut me up by citing her "lifelong" status. Stow it, girl. You have no idea who you're talking to, and you're inarticulate. Because I thought about it and a big part of the problem (besides her rudeness) was her wording--"we don't talk about the Virgin Mary at all." She should've said "we tend not to have the Marian emphasis that Roman Catholic churches do, although that varies by parish and region." THAT would've been nuanced, would've opened up the conversation in a new direction, would've been respectful.

So, because I was SO annoyed, I started explaining to the rest of the table what I just said above in my little academic aside. I talked about the Magnificat, about low church versus high church, about the similarities between RC masses and Episcopal masses [certain prayers MUST be said or sung, in a certain order--the Kyrie, Gloria Patri, the Agnus Dei, the Sanctus/Benedictus, etc.--if you've ever seen Agnes of God, they sprinkle the prayers throughout the script in the proper order]--plus you have the sacrament of Communion (with the elevation of the host), the lighting of the candles--in order for it to be a proper mass, both churches have these structural similarities. THEN I started talking about the difference between transubstantiation (Catholics believe during the elevation of the host an actual, literal miracle happens--the bread is turned into the flesh of Christ) whereas Episcopalians believe something happens, Christ's presence is in the Host, we're just not sure exactly how.

THEN I talked about St. Mary's in Times Square, the church I used to attend, which is ridiculously high church. I was explaining how during the Adoration of the Cross you actually kiss it, which is so Catholic I felt uncomfortable. I mean, I'm pretty high church but the next step after that is kissing the Pope's ring! I said how they frequently featured Marian tradition within their services.

So basically I opened up the floodgates and vomited all this onto the table and directed it all to the guys with a sweet Southern smile on my face. And mission accomplished because it SHUT HER THE FUCK UP. There was nothing she could say to that, I too obviously knew my stuff. And I hope she felt stupid and I don't feel bad. If she hadn't been so obnoxious and rude I probably would've made it more of a conversation as opposed to an impromptu lecture but...ugh, I was just so annoyed!

And what it really comes down to is territoriality and...well, I'm going to come right out and say it, only because at my age I've seen this enough times that modesty be damned. She's jealous. She's not a good soccer player, she's not attractive and a lot of these guys were being friendly to me. She could've been cool--most of these soccer groups are super cool--but no, she had to try to make me feel unwelcome, like I was intruding. And honey, that will backfire. I know exactly how to treat women like you. I become even nicer, smile even more, ignore your rudeness and chat the guys up even more. (THEY were friendly as hell to me--THEY were nice.) Women like that absolutely HATE it when you refuse to play on their terms, because it makes them look petty. Kill 'em with kindness, that's the Southern way. Honey, you've just triggered the heat-seeking missiles ;)
ceebeegee: (Digitized Pumpkin)
It's been awhile since I've written, mainly because I've been absolutely absorbed in my classes and in a couple of projects coming up. Classes were a little tough at first--I've had very little training for how to structure a class and they evaluated me almost immediately (on my third class--guys, can you let me get used to things first?) and that was a little frustrating. But now I think the classes I teach are going very well. I'm still nervous about them--I structure the HELL out of my classes--but I am seeing genuine improvement and actually enjoying myself as well. Yesterday I structured a lesson wherein I taught the first (5-7 yo) and second (7-9 yo) classes the dragback (a defensive maneuver in soccer). I really put a lot of thought into how to reinforce teaching them and even made up my own drill. (They gave us a manual but it's less helpful than I thought it would be. For one thing a lot of the drills are hard to understand on the page, and also I think some of them are a little too advanced for my first class.) Also there is a kid in that first class who was a bit of a pain--kind of a showoff and also a complainer. I finally figured out how to "tame" him--I'd use him as my demonstrator, which appeals to his pride in his abilities, and I also "discussed" with him whether he thought the "give and go" (basic passing play) was too advanced for the rest of the class. Now he loves class, because he's like my little assistant.) Then when we had The Big Game I encouraged the kids to use the skills they just learned by valuating them--I said anyone who successfully executed a dragback or a give and go in the game would earn an extra point. Only a few kids did the give and go but even that was more than I expected--getting the kids to play smart, to strategize and not just run after the ball, is a huge accomplishment. (For comparison *I* have a hard time playing smart!) And lots of them did the dragback in the game! It's really very exciting to see kids learning and to know that you made that happen.

So a few days ago Ryan asked me if I wanted a comp to the opening of a musical he's in--Liberty, down at Theater 80 in the East Village. Liberty is actually a heavily reworked version of a musical called Lady of Copper I did back in '01-'02. When Ryan texted me I thought long and hard about it, because my experience with this show was not one of unmitigated joy. I auditioned in fall of '01 and I could tell at the auditions they were singing me for Emma Lazarus, the ingénue. They even joked about how unsuited I was for Moskovitz (the character role, a comic shtetl-type) so when they offered me Moskovitz I was surprised but took it. We did a couple of performances up in Washington Heights that were filmed, and apparently this producer dude, whose parents were VERY well-connected (they founded one of the very well-known actors studios in the city) saw it and wanted to take over and take this thing to Broad-way! So they allowed it and this guy just ran roughshod over the show and me in particular. They immediately switched me to playing Emma, which was fine by me, and then booked us at the Cherry Lane. (Again, fine by me.) But this guy was a TERRIBLE director--I mean, truly a joke. Absolutely terrible direction, and he insulted us, and really seemed to have a problem with the questions I would ask him to try to understand what he wanted me to do. (At one point I remember asking him how do I justify that Emma walks up to a complete stranger and initiates a conversation when it's been established how shy she is? And he got upset and was like well YOU wouldn't do that, but SHE would. Like he didn't understand at ALL what I was saying.) Everyone detested him. It got so bad the rest of the cast started sticking up for me, both privately and to his face. It was fun working at the Cherry Lane though.

Then they had me doing a bunch of the school tours which were ROUGH. The audiences were fine but I had to get up BEFORE the crack of dawn to get into Brooklyn by 6 am, load in, and then drive to wherever we were performing. I bonded quite a bit with my Lady Liberty who was awesome and funny--she was a former Miss Kentucky and Miss America contestant so she had the dish. We had similar senses of humor :) At one point the people who'd written and composed the show sat us down and told us they were hoping to take the show to Broad-way but they couldn't promise us anything casting-wise but we would get our Equity cards out of it. Needless to say none of this happened. But imagine my frustration years later when I discovered they'd ended up doing EQUITY TYA TOURS UP AND DOWN THE EAST FUCKING COAST. Where was *I* when you were doing this? Why didn't you call me so I could at least get a goddamn Equity card to make up for the shit I suffered under Avram and the incredibly hard work I did in the local school tours?? I was, and remain, genuinely pissed off about that.

So I wasn't sure if I wanted to go but in the end I said yes. And I'm really glad I did. The brother and sister writer-lyricist-composer team, Dana and Jon, saw me and actively sought me out and were extremely gracious toward me. Dana was reminiscing about my audition and just raving about my voice. "That gorgeous soprano voice! I knew right away she was our Emma." (It got a little awkward when I reminded her they'd originally cast me as Moskovitz :) She did not remember!) And Jon was VERY nice to me (I always thought he had a tiny crush on me, not enough to act on but he always seemed to respond to what I was saying or doing. Just a hunch :)

They've retooled the show into something entirely different and...I'm not sure it works, exactly. It's definitely less of a children's show but it's not quite a nuanced enough show to engage adults. I think it wears its heart on its sleeve--nothing wrong with that but it still has a junior-ish feel to it. And I think recasting Liberty as a young girl, instead of a woman, emasculates the give and take even more. Now the villain, Commissioner Walker, literally towers over this girl and looks like even more of a bully--there's no subtlety to his portrayal. It's an interesting idea but I don't think it quite works.
ceebeegee: (Default)
First off, my league team had a game and I scored TWICE. I've never scored twice in a Dolphman game before, so that was obviously very exciting. Against a good team too, they were a bunch of assholes who played very aggressively. I bet it frosted them that a GIRL scored both goals (final score was 2-2). By and large most of the players in this league are cool, but there are a few jerks. A few weeks ago we played against a team and smoked them, 4-0. There was a guy on the team who I guess was pretty frustrated and at one point was really getting very physical with me (as in full-on slamming me from behind). He was trying to take away the ball from me, and I got off the pass to a teammate and said to him sarcastically "nice try." Dude then immediately started saying "you have a penis, right? You're really a guy" and calling me tranny! I couldn't quite make it out at first and then when I realized what he was saying I was kind of shocked. Like dude, I'm sorry you're losing so badly--and I'm really sorry your ego can't handle being scored on by a girl (I'd scored one of the 4)--but that is part of the game. I ended up going after him and pretty much landing on him (no worries, he was much bigger than me, I certainly couldn't have hurt him) and getting called by the ref and threw up my hands in the air in a gesture of obviously mock-innocence and saying sweetly "just going after the ball." Two of my male teammates were asking me about it afterward, including Alec (who is huge) saying nicely "you know I'M the enforcer, right? Do I need to go after someone?" Chris was asking me what had happened and when I repeated what the guy had said he was horrified. "He said THAT?!" Ugh, so many jerks on the field sometimes--which makes it oh-so-satisfying when I score on them ;) But it was also sweet to have my male teammates looking out for me.

Anyway so during the game on Wednesday I was nervously doing vocal warmups which one of my teammates asked me about--this then led to our discussing voice lessons. My teammate Adam wants to take voice lessons from me! So we worked out a fair price, $30 per lesson--I think most voice teachers are outrageously overpriced, it's ridiculous you can take a dance class for a third of what you'd pay for a voice lesson. But that'll be fun! And extra dinero :)

Also my Mom is visiting starting on Monday!

And the best news of all--I'm being promoted! Yay! When I was first hired they'd told me that the first promotion comes pretty quickly, within 4-6 weeks but they actually were a bit slack on this. Some of the other coaches told me to push for it, that the office needed to be reminded that I hadn't made taken the next step yet, so I emailed them and got bumped up (with an accompanying ride in pay grade) to Junior Coach. This was back in August and I honestly thought that the next promotion would take much more time. But yesterday I got a notification that I'd been staffed to additional classes--and I noticed that I was listed as the Head and only coach on the classes. I emailed for clarification and was told that they'd received "great feedback" and they thought I was ready to lead my own classes now. And of course I'm paid more for these classes! *And* I get to invoice additional money for picking up and dropping off the equipment! So it's all pretty exciting stuff. I spoke to the guy on the phone today and we went over stuff and he reiterated he'd been hearing really good feedback about me. I will say, I get along great with kids and am very good with them. One of my classes on Saturday is just jam-packed with cuties who want to sit in my lap, including this one little boy who is--I don't want to say challenging because he's not, he's just a little bit less-behaved than the others, Just a bit. So I figured the best way to tame him was to sit down and pat next to me, like "come sit with the coach." And he decided he wanted to cuddle and then the others wanted in, and I ended up with three kids on me! One in my lap and one on each knee. And two more on each side. TOO CUTE. I was saying "Am I a wedding cake? I thought I was a person when I woke up this morning, but I guess I'm a wedding cake...it's kind of hard to kick the ball when you're a wedding cake but I'll do my best."

In addition to the fact that I genuinely enjoy working with kids and of course I love soccer, there's kind of a--shall we say, a corporate element to the job that I think is working out for me. For one thing, I'm not just good with kids, I'm a female who is also good at soccer. You'd be surprised at how many of the coaches here don't really play the game. This is why they staffed me for so many of the Premier clinics this summer, because I can work with the select players and actually improve them. And my being a woman is a rare commodity--the vast majority of the Premier coaches were guys, and they have to have at least one female there to escort the girls to the bathroom. The Premier clinics are for the summer and those same coaches then go on to coach the travel teams for the fall. They wanted to staff me for one of the travel teams but the practice slots interfere with my evening work at L***** so I had to turn them down. HOWEVER--the games are on the weekends and the head of the Premier division encourages us to attend the games (even if we're not staffed for them). I interpreted this as "make an appearance at the company holiday party" kind of thing, so I walked over to Randall's Island on Sunday to watch a game or two--and of course to have it noticed I was there. And I was noticed :) And now I'm wondering if that impressed them enough that they decided to fast-forward my promotion to Head Coach? There is a corporate/political element in nearly every workplace environment, nothing wrong with playing the game. (Oh, I can be so Slytherin sometimes!)
ceebeegee: (Default)
So Saturday was a full day. I had two classes in the morning in Morningside Park and then wandered through a nearby farmer's market. The first class was chock full of cuteness--5 girls and 1 boy, and the girls got very territorial about who was going to sit in Coach Clara's lap and who was going to sit next to her. They started side-eyeing each other like I KNOW you don't think you're going to sit there when I JUST left her lap. SO CUTE.

In the afternoon I crossed the bridge to Randall's Island and FINALLY got a chance to ride again! The lesson, which was in the ring, went FANTASTICALLY. They gave me a quirky little mare named Rosie who was docile enough on walk and trot but took some convincing to bump up to canter. The instructor, a Barnard student named Christina, was terrific, giving me a lot of specific instruction on how to get her to canter and finally we did it 4-5 times, yes I canteredcanteredcantered. SO AWESOME. Christina told me the first time she'd ridden Rosie she had not been able to get her to canter so that made me feel even better.

After I dismounted Anna told me that DB had said if I wanted, I could ride another horse (Magic, I've ridden him before) out of the ring, in the small patch of grass and trees near the gate. Naturally I said yes! So Magic and I had a nice little 20 minutes or so which was a lovely end to the afternoon. Afterward DB and I talked--he said if I liked I could take Magic out into the big pasture next time and work him there (much more room). And said that any time I liked I could come over and work the horses for free. FOR FREE AAAAAAUAGH Riding is so expensive, the phrase "for free" is never heard. And the honor of being asked to work the horses! It really is an honor and I am so excited.

Me on Magic


Aug. 14th, 2014 12:09 pm
ceebeegee: (Default)
So soccer this week was AWESOME. One of my rugrats, this precious little 5 year old with adorable blonde braids named Anna, drew a little offering for me:

HOW CUTE IS THIS It is seriously cute, that's how cute. I had a lot of fun with them last week, I felt as though I were getting into a good groove. The most important thing is to connect with them so they enjoy it but this is sometimes difficult when little kids, 5 and 6 years old, are at camp for 6 hours. That's a long time for a little kid to be doing the same thing, essentially, so the more they connect with you, the more they'll like it. But at the same time they are there for a specific purpose, to become better soccer players, so you can't neglect the skills and the drills. The funny thing is, I'M becoming better as well--I instituted a new practice wherein every time they go to the bathroom (it's a five minute walk away), they have to dribble a ball so they can get more touches on the ball. I try to take them as often as possible, and when I do, I will practice various kinds of dribbling--pullbacks, rollovers, tick tock, etc. It's important to practice skills like this so it gets into your body, becomes part of your body vocabulary.

One of the kids last week was awesome--this skinny little black kid who was far and away the best all around player I had all week. (And yet not at all arrogant or showoff-y, he had a terrific attitude as well.) I had to choose teams very carefully because whichever team got him automatically had a huge advantage. The Big Game (every afternoon we had The Big Game after lunch) would start and he would go to town. Not only did he have phenomenal ball skills, he had an amazing shot--his favorite move was to take the ball, work it around behind the other players to his right, and then BAM--his right foot would strike. His team would rack up a 4-5 goal differential so then I'd have to step in as goalie for the other team (whenever I played I made it so that I couldn't score, I could only defend). So THEN it became this mano a mana situation, where the kid's taking shot after shot after shot and it's only because I'm obviously much bigger, older and more experienced that I'm blocking them! He would nail this amazing shot and I would grab it but was he disappointed or angry? Nope, he would just grin and say "Clara stops it AGAIN." Just a great example for the other kids. (I talk about that from time to time, how one of the best ways to learn is to watch those who are better and model yourself.) At one point I pulled him aside and said when you get a chance, start developing your left foot--you're obviously an amazing right wing but at this point I know what you'll do every time you get the ball. Become ambidextrous and then you're a bigger threat and less predictable. (Which is what I did in my teens--I trained my left foot and now I usually play left wing.)

Since the premiere clinics are on Randall's Island, all this summer I've been meaning to stop by the barn and reintroduce myself to the Blairs. DB is pretty old (84) although he looks much younger, so I was hoping they'd remember me. I didn't get a chance to walk over until last Thursday when during lunch I told one of my rugrats, this 6 yo girl named Lucy who followed me around like a puppy :) that I was running an errand, if the other coaches didn't mind if I stepped away. She asked what kind of errand so I explained it to her. She then asked if she could tell the others and I said "don't say anything until you actually see me walking across the other field--that way you'll know the other coaches don't mind my stepping out." Anyway, so the other coaches were cool and I jogged over to say hello. DB remembered me right away--he said "who could forget Clara! Now when are you coming over to ride?" We set up a time for Saturday and I jogged back to THE cutest thing ever--lunch had just ended and my kids were running across the field to me, arms flung wide, and when they got to me I was surrounded by moppets hugging me, all asking me "Did he REMEMBER you? Are you going to RIDE again? What HAPPENED?" It was like the soccer Family Von Trapp.
ceebeegee: (Default)
So maybe I spoke a little too soon about adjusting to the constant work--between the two jobs (soccer and L***** (office job)) I have been working literally every day for weeks now (not 8 hours a day necessarily--weekends are maybe 3-4 hours a day) and it hit me this week. I started sounding hoarse Monday day--things deteriorated rapidly that night and I sent an email to soccer people saying tomorrow might not happen but I would show up anyway* and we could decide what to do. I woke up Tuesday completely unable to talk and walked over fully expecting to have to come right home. But on the way some remnants of my voice came back and I croaked my way through a conversation with the English dude who runs the program and they REALLY needed me. I said I could help out but someone else would have to run the kids' classes and I could silently assist. So this went on all week and I'm still sick, though not as bad as Monday/Tuesday.

But I am enjoying the classes more and more--for one thing the kids are really warming up to me. No greater feeling for a coach than when a parent says "are you Coach Clara? Anna can't stop talking about you at home." AWWWWWW. (Anna is my personal challenge, she has an amazing foot but doesn't really have a game face, just kind of spaces out in the scrimmages. But one on one she's great. I want to teach her aggressiveness.) I love all my precious lambkins. And when the super shy kid who sits out most of the classes finally decides he likes you and follows you around. There's another kid too who has his good side and his bad side--he is a bit of an antagonist (not quite a bully but he can't seem to stop singling out one of the other kids for attention). But he is also super helpful setting up the goals and picking up at the end of the day. He pranked me the other day, stuck a FIFA World Cup player sticker on my back. So I vowed to tickle him as punishment and now that's our "thing" and he giggles like crazy when I chase him.

I am good with kids. I may have a learning curve for the nuts and bolts of coaching, but at least I've got the kids down.

*I have this weird need to prove how sick I really am if I ever have to call in sick. I rarely do anyway, I have many faults but I do have a strong work ethic. But it's also--this is going to sound weird but I have this worry they won't believe me, they'll assume I'm faking it. Sorry to say, this goes back to my dad and stepmom who were great in many ways but did a number on us that way. They were always trying to test us and trick us in weird ways and the assumption was that we were always lying. I remember when I was 7, someone had broken or stolen something (can't remember what the misdeed was) and none of us owned up. (Realistically it was probably the middle brother who was ALWAYS the one who pulled crap like that.) My dad called the three of us (my youngest brother was an infant at this time) up to the bedroom on the second floor and pointed to the window and told us we had to jump out the window, and whichever of us broke our leg, that was the one who was lying. I was horrified--I remember protesting we're ALL going to break our legs, what does THAT prove?! (Even as a kid I was logical.) This terrified me--are you kidding, I'm going to have a broken leg AND be blamed for something I didn't do!!

The worst "we assume you're lying" incident was later on in 7th grade. Some guy I didn't know in my grade called me up and wanted to talk to me and I'd told him I had a sort-of boyfriend. For some reason he looked up the phone of that SOBF in the phone book, called the house, SOBF's mother called and I guess he used a lot of foul language on her and then named me. SOBF's mom called my parents who confronted me. I had no idea what they were talking about and said so. To this day I remember my stepmother saying "why should we believe you?" To this day.

I should've said "because I'm not a liar and you should know that. Because I would never misbehave like that. I don't steal, I don't bully, I don't damage the neighbors' property--I don't do really bad things. In fact whenever I have messed up in a major way, I would go to them and tell them myself. Acting in such a sly, creepy way would be completely out of character for me. And you should know that."
ceebeegee: (Default)
Also, have been working like CRAZY the past two weeks--all my regular classes plus a bunch of the premier clinics on Randall's Island. The money is terrific--my paycheck next month (we get paid mid-month) is going to be monster but the pace is a little crazy. I get up before 7, walk over to the office on the Upper West Side to help load the bus and corral rugrats, ride with everybody over to Randall's Island, coach the little ones (5-6-7 yo) for 6 hours including a lunch break and a snack break), ride back and hurry home as quickly as possible because I have to clean up and change for my office job. Still though. MONEY.

But I'm actually adjusting to the pace rather well. My feet don't hurt so much at night and I've been sleeping almost enough. (ALMOST. Last night I fell asleep unexpectedly before 10:00 and then woke up at 3 am.) And I think I'm doing a decent job with the little ones. When I first started with the clinics I was assisting one of the other coaches but last week they just handed the little ones over to me. I was flailing a bit at first but started coming up with drills and exercises and fun games that also taught skills. The website for the coaches lists articles that teach coaching skills but when I checked them out, the links were expired so I mentioned it to the head of the premiere division. He said they were having a coaches' camp in late August and he'd make sure I'd get invited to that. I also asked them for a premiere tee-shirt so I didn't have to wear the regular one--I wanted this for several reasons. 1) I already stand out--I'm the smallest coach and the only female, and I don't want to wear what the kids might think of as the uniform for the "baby" classes. 2) The regular shirt is REALLY getting worn a lot, I've had to hand wash it several times already! Anyway, got my premiere tee-shirt and it's too big but still--I don't stand out, yay! I can shrink it anyway :)

Also when I was speaking to the head coach, I saw him typing up some kind of list of names of all the coaches in the premiere division and their responsibilities and I saw my name. Yay, I've proven myself! I really do love this job (exhausted as I frequently am!).
ceebeegee: (Tulips!)
Had an absolutely exhausting week last week. Soccer company scheduled me for three days in a row out on Randall's doing the select clinics, the first time I'd ever done that many days doing those clinics in a row. The money's great because you're racking up the hours but last week there was some sort of problem with the permit. Normally we do the clinics at the fields directly under the Triborough Bridge but someone else had the permit last week so we had to move to different fields. Which were NOT under the bridge in the shade, but out in the 80+-degree sun.

I had brought water of course but I've never spent that much time outside in the sun and really did not realize how much more water you needed to drink when you are directly in the sun. By Tuesday night I had a raging headache that simply would not go away. I realized I was technically overdosing on ibuprofen since I'd taken more than the recommended 6 tablets per diem regimen. And the headache wouldn't stop. I was weak and trembly and confused and just EXHAUSTED every night (like seriously, I had to nap before I went to bed, if that makes sense) and honestly wondering if I shouldn't go to the ER. Finally Thursday morning I started woozily thinking about it and it occurred to me I'd hardly gone to the bathroom at all out on the island, despite the water I was drinking. And how when I got my motorcycle license, the instructor (who spent all day out on the course) guzzled water--whole cups of water--every chance he got. Then it hit me--I think this is severe dehydration. So I tripled my water intake and just kept drinking throughout the day, every chance I got. I didn't really recover until Friday or so and the headache crept back a bit but today I didn't feel it at all. Yay! Lesson learned.


Jun. 16th, 2014 06:17 pm
ceebeegee: (Tulips!)
Oh yeah. Speaking of soccer we had our final this week--we'd been undefeated in the regular season, and only conceded ONE goal (we'd scored something like 15 or 16). I'd scored quite a few of those--in fact I was tied with Zach as the highest scorer on the team. And I am still basically the only female scorer--Lindsay has scored one all year (last summer) and the others haven't scored at all. Nikki plays back so she never gets near the goal but Alyssa plays up--she could score if she had more of a killer instinct. She has to WANT it. I find myself mulling over this a lot, why good players don't score even though they'd like to. I personally think Lindsay is a better player than I, her ball skills are far superior. Why doesn't she score? She admits that she gets flustered and freezes up when she's near the goal. One of our guys, Chris, is the same way--killer dribbler and passer but doesn't shoot and he said it's because he freezes up. Fascinating.

Anyway. So since last summer (a year) I have been scoring 3 goals per season. So I expanded my personal ambitions to achieve one of 3 things--to score 4 goals per season, 2 goals in one game or score in the post-season. I achieved the latter two in the final, where we tied 1-1--I was our one and was bear-hugged when I gasped my way off the field after the score. (Scoring does take a lot out of me, I tend to come off right afterwards. Lot of concentrated energy.) Getting back to the theme of "wanting it," all game long whenever the other goalie would make a save, I would be right there as he bounced or dribbled the ball--I wouldn't just let him have his space. Finally he started getting annoyed but tried to cover it up. Him: "Ha ha, you sure are persistent, ha ha!" Me: "That's right." Him: "Ha ha, I just don't want to hit you when I kick the ball!" Me: "You let me worry about that." A few minutes later Sam shoots the ball, goalie saves it but it squirts out of his hand and I pounced upon it like a cat on the hunt. GOAL. Sweet, sweet satisfaction. It ain't pretty but it counts :) You can't EVER let them relax.

So we went to overtime--still a tie. Then it went to penalty kicks. Lindsay was sort of talked into doing the PKs (at least one kicker must be a girl) and in retrospect, I probably should've done it. I don't like doing them--too much pressure--but she didn't know how to shoot a PK so I quietly coached her (choose a corner and shoot for that, and keep it low). She ended up kicking it over the goal so it didn't go in. Now obviously I might've done that as well, anyone can make a mistake but I've trained them before. Ah well. A second place medal is nothing to sneeze at and we had a great season anyway, it's all good.
ceebeegee: (Default)
Ryan came over yesterday and we did brunch al fresco. Mmmm, mimosa-hybrids (orange/mango/peach juice) and omelets with onions and avocados and provolone cheese YUM.

Afterward we went to Central park to kick the soccer ball around a bit. Ryan wants to get back into the sport and I of course am encouraging him! We worked a few drills--one-touches, give and go, trapping, etc.--and had a great time. (Last night Ryan sent me the cutest text: "Today was so much fun! Thank you!!!") This was actually good practice for me because...

I have a new job! Up til a week ago my assignment at Lazard was actually three assignments and one of them (two days a week) ended because the woman retired. So I had to make up those extra hours. Originally I was going to send out my resume--and I did spruce it up and write some killer cover letters--but one of the other people I work with her suggested to me that I apply at a company where her daughter takes soccer classes. I applied, went through several rounds of interviews and observing classes (and being observed) and such and well, got the job! I was very worried about the age factor but it doesn't seem to bother them--heck, maybe they think I'm more mature :) So I'll be working with kids anywhere from ages 2 or so up to young teens, teaching them soccer skills and basically encouraging them and indoctrinating them in the love of the game. Doesn't that sound perfect for me? I'm going to give them a shot for a season or so and see if I like it and want to stay on. If all goes well shortly I should be making even more money than I do at Lazard--most of which will go to my Roth-IRA, my savings and my mortgage, in that order :)


May. 5th, 2014 06:58 pm
ceebeegee: (Default)
Had a fun weekend, filled with sports. Friday night my Dolphman team had a game and I got there super-early. I figured I'd either catnap or get picked up for a game and either would energize me for my game. The latter happened--in fact two teams were short their required number of female players so they both approached me. Yay, got to pick up an extra game! Then it was time for my own team's game which we won quite handily, 4-0. I scored the first goal, quite inelegantly (Brian threw in the ball and the goalie was out of position--the ball was bouncing kind of high so I just kind of...walked through it. Inelegant but it still counts :) Then I assisted on the next goal--Zach and I were driving toward the goal, I passed it to him, he scored. Nice and easy. Loving it because this is our best season ever--we're undefeated with a huge goal differential--after our worst season which was this past winter. Not sure why since we have basically the same players but there it is!

It's a good thing that game went so well because I had another one Saturday morning for a team that needs females and offered me a shirt. This team--oh my Lord. We were SLAUGHTERED. Absolutely horrible. 13-1. We have some decent players but, unusually for this league, some genuinely terrible ones. There's one girl who just does not belong on a soccer field. And there's one guy who's pretty awful as well. Just cannot kick the ball. I relieved some of my frustration by throwing body checks all over the place but frankly I'd rather we not lose so badly!

Saturday afternoon I played softball, and then I had another game yesterday evening. Oh, and Saturday evening I went down to a place way downtown called Whiskey Tavern to cheer on California Chrome for the Kentucky Derby. Lots of sports!


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