Long Day

Today was a long day! Goalielocks and I left the house at 6:30 am, so we’d get to Kendall for practice before 8:45. As it happened, traffic was great and we got there forty five minutes early. Of course if we had left any later, we would have been incredibly late.

This morning’s practice was two hours on ice. Goalielocks got worked hard! He played well and was engaged all practice long. If you’re a goalie parent, I know how much you’d appreciate your goalie being engaged the entire practice. We’ve had past seasons where the goalies were left to their own devices at the opposite end of the rink.

Practice was great. Afterwards Goalielocks headed to lunch to celebrate’s a friends birthday. Fortunately, he was able to shower and borrow some clothes from a friend. He and his boys then headed to Texas De Brazil for a nice lunch. The moms, meanwhile, headed to Cheesecake factory for our lunch.

One of the best parts of hockey is the relationships that are formed and grown season after season. People often think we’re crazy for the amount of time we put in to travel hockey. While we may he crazy for other reasons, this isn’t one of them. I’ve been able to share so many experiences with my kids and my hockey family that are priceless. I have an incredible built in support system, which with recent life changes means everything.

The day will soon come when will hang up the travel hockey parent moniker. Incredibly that day is now nearer than farther. We’ve been in the game for nearly a decade and are grateful for the people and the lessons the sport has taught us. Hopefully, in the far term future we’ll return to travel hockey with the travel hockey grandparent moniker.

Speaking of hockey family, my youngest is back home after a nice sojourn with the K’s. The Outback Bowl was Goalielocks’ Christmas present, but we did give the Mayor and option to stay with his friend. After some deliberation, he decided to stay local. They kindly picked him up Monday night, so we didn’t have to drive South before heading North.

I’m glad to have him home. Truly, I’m incredibly grateful for our hockey family for their generous hospitality and loving our kid. We’re lucky people! Now after a long day on the road, I’m home and able to breathe and relax.

Please keep the airmen, sailors, soldiers and their families as they face deployment.

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Today Was A Dream

Today was a dream of a day. Since I’ve left the corporate life behind me, I’ve been enjoying my time with the kiddos and family. It’s been amazing to be able to spend time with my family without worrying about professional repercussions.

Today was a dream day that started like most others: my yummy Dunkin in my hand and some quality time with Jake and the puppies. Ordinarily, I’d go for a run or rollerblading in the morning, but there was not time for that today. Plus my legs were sore from running two miles yesterday for the first time in months.

The weather was absolutely dreamy. Chilly in the morning and absolutely perfect, with almost no clouds in the sky, the rest of the day. It was the perfect day for lunch along the intracoastal waterway in Fort Lauderdale. One of my favorite hockey moms lives in Miami, so this was the perfect meeting place.

I hadn’t been to Blue Moon Seafood Co in ages, but it was just a good as I remembered. We started with some wine, baked brie and calamari. The baked brie was served like a cream puff on a pool of coconut cream and apple chutney. It was simply amazing! The calamari was just as good.

Our main courses, were just as scrumptious as the appetizers, but I forgot to take a picture before I started eating. Since I’m trying to minimize my gluten intake, I opted for the spinach and blackened shrimp salad. I’m not quite sure what happens in their kitchen, but it might be wizardry as that was the best salad I’ve ever had. Meanwhile, Jodi was enjoying their mahi mahi entree. Honestly, it almost felt like a crime for food this good to be but one get one free. Thankfully, it is two for one special, so I can afford to go back more often.

After lunch, we stopped at Dunkin to grab some coffee and talk shop. My girl has been using Melaleuca products for awhile and invited me to join. As many of you know, the past year has been a struggle as I’ve dealt with autoimmune thyroid disease. I’ve found that my body has grown increasingly sensitive to certain food and chemicals. I’ve been looking for a good option to replace some the products in my house and this was the perfect opportunity.

I actually placed my first order this evening and can’t wait for it to arrive. I’m hopeful that these beauty and household products won’t send my body into autoimmune hell. Standby for the product reviews.

Unfortunately, we had to cut coffee short as my parents plane was landing early – like way early. The jet stream was clearly in their favor today. Picking them up was quick albeit it took me awhile to find them. Usually they wait inside for us, but they decided to wait outside. My mom definitely made up for the airport snafu with the tumblers she picked up for as a Caribou. As you can imagine, anyway my parents come to town is a dream day.

Thankfully since their plane was early, I was able to make it home in time to make my 4:00 yoga class. I just joined Open Heart Yoga Studio in Boynton and it’s absolutely amazing. Wednesday’s class is all about loosening muscles and improving strength and mobility. If ever there was a class designed for me, it is this one. I simply love it. Fortunately, I was able to share the experience with my mom today. I knew it would be the perfect anecdote to the stiffness that comes with flying.

Our night ended with Sal’s pizza and family time. That’s right not only do I have my parents in town, I also had all three of my boys home tonight. It’s like a lunar eclipse of a blood moon it happens every 3,543 years. I’m just happy to have the family home especially since Jake leaves on 20 days for the Air Force. We even hit a landmark as the Mayor is finally taller than his Grandma. All in all, in the immortal words of Sponge Bob, “It was the best day ever!”

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Corporate Run

Last Thursday was the annual Mercedes Benz Corporate Run in Fort Lauderdale. I was excited to participate for my third running. This year was a bit different though since I haven’t run a 5k in over a year. Unfortunately, after tearing a tendon and a subsequent diagnosis of Graves’ disease, I was sidelined for what feels like forever!

Thankfully, my doctor was able to clear me for exercise once my thyroid finally stopped functioning in February. Yay! Nonetheless, a 5k was a tall order. I trained as much as I could, but with a hypoactive thyroid my energy is nonexistent. Meaning, instead of a normal, rigorous training schedule, my body needed 2-3 day breaks in between workouts. This itself represented a massive departure from my grandiose expectations for my recovery.

I was back at my doctor’s office early last week for my six-week check-in. She made some adjustments to my medication, which should help immensely. Honestly, the effortless weight gain, the absolutely no energy, the absolute exhaustion and the absolute inability to sleep properly have gotten old. On a positive note, my blood work supports my symptoms, which in my doc’s words “means we can fix it!”  My doc is a rock star and is taking good care of me through out my treatment. Unfortunately, it’s just part of the process as we figure out the right Synthroid dosing.

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She did reiterate my ability to work out, but added a caveat about common sense. Clearly, she doesn’t know me. I did ask about the 5k, to which she responded “I hope you lose – meaning I hope you walk.” As I got up to leave, we compromised on a solid effort in the first mile with common sense dictating mile two and three.

In the end, I was nervous and excited for my first 5K in over a year. I went into the race with reasonable expectations and the hope that I’d finish somewhat respectably. As the race neared, we entered the start corral, which was huge. The corporate run had over 9,000 participants this race. Fortunately, it was a chip to chip race.  Consequently, my time was not negatively impacted by being encumbered by mobs of people behind the start line. img_0615

It felt amazing to be racing again! The first mile went pretty smooth and I felt pretty good. As I promised my doctor, I was conservative over the remainder of my race. In the end, with my foot asleep and pride swelling in my heart, I crossed the finish line. While my heart was swelling with pride, my right foot was coming back to life, after falling asleep on mile 2, as I waited patiently for my post race free beer.

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My time this race was the slowest I’ve ever logged at a 5k, but it will forever be the one that gives me the most pride. After a torn tendon, a diagnosis of Graves’ disease, subsequent treatment and no exercise for nine months, my time of 37:23 is pretty damn good! Moral of the story, winning isn’t always about getting a PR every race. Sometimes winning is not being afraid to show up and do your best no matter what cards you’ve been dealt. 

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Lastly, I had to share this photo from last year’s race as it included Paul.   My associate director Paul was someone who embodied perseverance.  While he wasn’t with us this year physically, he was definitely therein spirit.  We miss you Paul!

Peewee Quebec Day 4

Peewee Quebec Day 4 was full of hockey and Canadian whiskey. Officially, our boys went 1-1 today in their exhibition games. In their first game versus LSA France, they lost a tough one. It wasn’t even close.

The second game, they played a French team and won handily. It really was the first time this trip, they were able to get their offense going. Of course, my updates ceased in the second period, but that’s a whole different story my Hubby probably doesn’t remember. I love the team picture from the second game. My Mayor has his arm around one of the French players like they’ve been friends for years. This is why Peewee Quebec is the best experience for these kids.

Now back to my Hubby and the lack of updates in game two. One of the beauties of Peewee Quebec is that the kids are with the coach from morning tonight, so the parents are free to do as they please. This is even true if it includes drinking copious amounts of Canadian whiskey early in the morning.

Today has been bizarre. The moon is full and the weirdos have come out of the woodwork. I should have know how the day would track when leaving Dunkin’ this morning there was a man out of his gourd high. I mean, high! He was talking to himself like he was in the midst of a video game and acting it out. It was surreal. It reminded me of my childhood neighbor, who when he was five would pretend to be Yoshi from Mario Kart. Only difference is about 30 years and total lack of sobriety. This man was so out of it, he didn’t even notice me or the other customers leaving the store.

The day’s trajectory continued upon this bizarro path. When I didn’t think anything else could go sideways, I got a call from my friend in Quebec. My first reaction was panicked as I thought maybe one of my boys got hurt. Alas, my Mayor was fine and my Hubby has passed out after a tangle with Canadian whiskey. Oh boy….. In case you’re wondering the final score on that fight: Canadian Whiskey 1 Hockey Dads 0

To be clear, the caller was also far from sober. My friend was insistent that I give him the hubby’s phone code, so he could update his lock screen to gay porn. At 5:30 in the afternoon, this was just the call I needed. I asked if Hubby was okay and positioned, so he wouldn’t aspirate his vomit. To which my friend responded, I put him face down, you’re missing the point I need to update his lock screen. When I suggested he used My Hubby’s finger to open up the phone, I could literally hear the lightbulb going off in his head.

Shortly thereafter, I ended up speaking with his wife and my dear friend. She’s clearly a saint for a number of reasons (including last night’s recreation photo,) it today for checking in on my hubby while babysitting her’s. I’m pretty sure that’s not how she envisioned her Peewee Quebec trip. Nonetheless, she kept a watchful eye on my hubby and got some golden pictures. As for me, I was laughing so hard I was crying and that was exactly what I needed today.

Tonight My Mayor is taking in the QMJHL Ramparts game with his team at the Videotron Center. Meanwhile, back at the hotel my Hubby is “undrinking” the whiskey. Once my Mayor is back to the hotel, he’ll call home. He’ll tell me he had a fun day, but wants to go to bed and I’m preventing him from doing that. Tomorrow brings the second game of the tournament and a must win game. Perhaps I’ll even get updates through all three periods tomorrow.

Busy Bees

We were busy bees this weekend.  As I write this (while watching Rent Live), my hubby and Goalielocks are on their way home from Kissimmee after two hockey games.  The squad did great today winning both of their games.  On doctor’s orders, I’m doing my best to take it easier than usual, so the Mayor and I skipped the trip.  We were out and about all day yesterday, so I definitely needed to rest today.

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As for yesterday, it was phenomenal.  We were invited to share in one of the Mayor’s teammates Bar Mitzvah’s.  The morning started at the temple at 10:00 am.  This was the hubby and my first experience with the Bar Mitzvah ceremony.  While it was long, we really enjoyed it.  Honestly, we were pretty stoked when we were able to follow along with the Hebrew even if we didn’t understand what was being said.  The rabbi did a great job explaining the different parts of the ceremony and tradition, so the uninitiated like us could understand it better.  It was a beautiful and moving service that we were proud to be a part of.

After the ceremony, we headed over to the Parkland Golf and Tennis Club for the party.  It started with a cocktail hour that featured hors d’oeuvres, a fried rice and stir fry bar to go along with the soda bar for the kids and an open bar for the adults.  #winning The food was amazing, but knowing that a dinner was coming we tried to pace ourselves.  While we enjoyed the hors d’oeuvres, the boys played outside looking for golf balls.

Shortly after the boys headed outside, we had to corral them back in and into the main dinner and party.  The room was beautifully decorated with a hockey and music theme and a blue glow.  Wisely, they sat us unruly hockey parents in the back at the section 8 table.  Fortunately, this table put us right next to the open bar!  Again we were winning!

The party got started the minute we walked into the room with a DJ, a MC and dancers.  Our boys were quickly dancing on the stage with the boy of the hour along with the dancers and MC.   They were having a blast!  Since we had just eaten the yummy fried rice, they didn’t serve us dinner right away.  First, we danced. Then out came the salad or the adults and an amazing buffet for the kids.

Our table had a blast celebrating.  I often found myself on the dance floor, which felt amazing.  I’m sure my doctor would feel differently, but oh well.  I had a blast with my fellow hockey moms dancing away our fried rice.   The entertainment company had two dancers that choreographed the dance floor, which made it a lot of fun.

Eventually, I made my way back to the table when I saw the main course was being brought out.  While the kids ate macaroni and cheese, pizza and sliders, the parents ate filet mignon with demi glace and chicken breast.  The presentation reminded me of the black and white that I order at Egon in Norway.  It was composed of steak au poivre and pork tenderloin with bernaise sauce.  We loved it because you got the best of both worlds just like our meal on Saturday.

In anticipation of dessert, I headed back to the dance floor with my fellow hockey moms. We danced to some great classic rock and some greats hits from today.  When they were ready to serve us dessert, they switched the music to rap.  I was then greeted at my table by a beautiful chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream, fudge sauce and strawberries.  Yummy!  I was filled to the gills with good food and vodka soda.

Naturally, we headed back to the dance floor.   It was then I came across a magical dessert tray.  A unicorn if you will.  I had to stop and take a picture of the waiter.  He was carrying a tray of snack cakes with shot glasses filled with milk.  Yep, it was as amazing as it sounded.  I should say that while we had delicious chocolate cakes and snack cakes, the boys enjoyed cotton candy, ice cream bar and popcorn.  The party was simply amazing!

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By the time we left the party, it was 5:00 pm and we were ready for bed.  As soon as we got home, the hubby and I both took a nap.   Afterwards, we watched Abdul and Victoria which was amazing.  Dame Judi Dench was, as always, marvelous.  I ended my day with a chapter of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time.

Today the Mayor and I hung out at home and had a productive day.  I caught up on laundry, so I’ll savor the fact that at least for a couple of hours.  I also got all the grocery shopping done (thank you Shipt – save $50 on the annual membership with code mFNjp) baked muffins, got a massage, organized my closet and made chili this evening.  It was exactly the kind of productive, low-key day I needed. Now it’s time to relax and enjoy Rent Live before heading back to Proust.

Why I Stride

Since today is World Pancreatic Cancer Awareness day, I thought I’d write about why I stride.  Stride of course refers to Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s annual 5k called Purple Stride.  This Sunday, as we’ve done since 2015, Team Deb Force Five will be off to the races at the Broward-Palm Beach Purple Stride.  While it will be my first as part of the event team, it will also be our second Purple Stride without Debbie, which brings me to why I stride.

I remember the day clearly.  I had travelled with work to Orlando to present for the first time as part of our Military Roadshow. It was a pretty big deal and I was super excited.  We were driving up as a group and heading back that evening.  The presentation went swimmingly, so I spent my afternoon getting caught up on work.   And then my husband called, hysterical..   I was convinced something had happened to one of our kiddos.  When he finally calmed down, he told me the devastating news that Debbie had been diagnosed with stage iv cancer.  Instantly, my knees went week and I started to slide down the wall as I too started to cry.   At that point, the origin of the cancer was unknown, but the prognosis was dire.

At the time of her diagnosis Debbie was 40 years old.  She wasn’t a smoker, she ate exceedingly healthy and was an avid runner.  She didn’t fit the profile for a pancreatic cancer patient, but I think that’s the message.   According to a a recent study, pancreatic cancer will be the 2nd deadliest cancer by 2020.  Lung cancer is projected to remain the deadliest cancer.  While other cancers have seen a decrease in mortality rates, pancreatic cancer has not.  Researchers pointed to a combination of factors as to why mortality rates for pancreatic cancer have not declined.   Risk factors including an aging population, the relative growth of high-risk minority populations (African Americans and Ashkenazi Jews) and the underfunding of pancreatic cancer research.

Debbie was committed to finding a cure and research for better patient outcomes.  She was an avid supporter of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and the work they do to drive pancreatic cancer research.  Unfortunately, this can’t be done without money.   Pancreatic cancer patients and their families, like Debbie and her family, deserve better outcomes.  They deserve a survival rate well over 9%.

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We lost Debbie almost two years ago, but some days it feels like it was yesterday while others it feels like it’s been years.   Even still Goalielocks asks why they couldn’t do more for her.  I stride because I’m committed to ensuring that pancreatic cancer patients and their families have better outcomes.  I’m committed to helping drive research forward.  This disease has stolen so much from so many.  It certainly has from me.

You can support PanCan and Team Deb Force Five in Debbie’s honor: http://support.pancan.org/site/TR/PurpleStride/PurpleStride?team_id=14831&pg=team&fr_id=1573

Difficult Day

It was a difficult day.  Sadly, today marks the year anniversary of Debbie’s passing.  I’ve written before about how grief alters how we experience time.  Truly, time is on a weird continuum when you’re dealing with grief and loss.  It feels like both a day ago and a decade ago since Debbie left us.  I remember waking up the morning after she had passed and thinking how cruel it was that the world kept going as if nothing had happened.  Meanwhile, for all of us that loved Debbie and held her dear, our world was completely devastated.  I sat in my car lamenting this fact when a beautiful cardinal flew next to my car window, stayed there for a bit and then quickly flew off.  It was an amazing moment.

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Grief is an interesting animal itself.  Its sneaks up on you and catches you unexpectedly.   Today brought back a flood of memories both good and bad.  I was at work when I first heard she was going into hospice.  My amazing friends and co-workers comforted and supported me.  Moreover, I was reminded of how much we all miss her.  Needless to say, it wasn’t an easy day.

As I ruminated over my day (typical Monday) and our dear friend Debbie, I quickly realized how lucky I am to be aggravated by inane emails or missed meetings.  At the end of the day, life is a gift that some times includes more than your average dose of aggravation.  The truth is without life’s lows or aggravations we wouldn’t fully appreciate life’s highs and truly happy moments.  So today, in the face of aggravation and insipidness, I chose to live like Debbie.  In fact, I even got in a nice run tonight.  She’d definitely be quite proud of me for continuing to run and not giving it up after the ankle injury.   Life may give us lemons, but that’s nothing some ice cubes, Grey Goose and sugar can’t solve.  #carpediem

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Debbie was diagnosed in 2015 with Stage IV pancreatic cancer after ending up in an ER with severe back pain.  The 5 year survival rate for this diagnosis is 1%, which is unacceptable.  Even in the midst of her battle against this disease, Debbie stood as a beacon of hope.  In fact, she served as the key note speaker at the 2016 Purple Stride Event in Boca Raton.  In her honor, please consider donating to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.  No family should have to endure the pain of losing their loved one to this insidious disease.  You can donate here: Pancreatic Action Network

Made It Home

We made it home from Boston and I couldn’t be more grateful. Yesterday it looked like we were going to be in Bean Town thru Thursday! If I’m being honest, even though I was stoked he was cleared to fly, I was still very nervous.

This anxiety of course carried into both flights, but the first one especially. I could see him wincing in pain as we took off from Boston. At that point, he finally acquiesced and took a Tylenol. Meanwhile, I was a mess the whole flight.

I’m incredibly grateful to the great Delta flight attendants that brokered a seat swap, so I could sit next to him. In addition, to the seat swap, they gave him free earbuds and some nice treats from first class. They also checked on him quite regularly. I’m so thankful for them!

We made it home and he’s fast asleep. As expected, the flight made his headache somewhat worse. Fortunately, it seems the nausea has improved. He’s hoping to get back to school tomorrow, but it will really depend on how he’s feeling in the morning.

Expectedly, we’re both completely exhausted physically, emotionally and mentally. I haven’t quite processed the last 48 hours fully, but I’m sure in the coming days I’ll work through it. Plus, now I’m back home so I can go in my yoga silk and unwind. Thanks for all the support and your continued prayers and well wishes.

Unimaginable Horror

This afternoon an unimaginable horror began to unfold.  As I walked past the break room, I saw the devastating news that there was an active shooter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland.  This high school is less than 30 minutes from our house and closer to my work.  Moreover, many of the kids we know through hockey attend this school.

Immediately, my stomach sank as I thought of the parents whose children attend this school.  While I was at work watching the events unfold, their worst nightmare was unfolding.  It seems that the accused shooter made many suspicious statements and his Instagram was clearly unhinged.  In fact, the PBSO bomb squad is at a home in Lantana as a consequence of today’s events.  He deserves to meet a slow and torturous fate.

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By 4:30 videos had started to emerge via social media of the day’s events.  When I tell you that they are beyond horrific, I would be lying because they’re much worse than that.  Unfortunately, these are videos we can’t un-see.  Experiences for these students they can’t ever forget.

I don’t have the answers that’s for damn sure, but tonight isn’t about answers.  Tonight’s blog is about the families whose world was shattered today.  The parents who spent their afternoon painfully awaiting the word their child was safe.  Their anguish, their anxiety had to be unimaginable.  Tonight we pray for these families.  We pray for our  extended hockey family as many of hockey players attend school there.  We hold close in prayer the hockey player that was shot during today’s events.  Moreover, we pray for those presently in the hospital and for their doctors.  Finally, our prayers go out to the families who are still looking for their loved one and to those that lost a child today.

Today’s events hit far too close for many of us in South Florida.  Undoubtedly, I’ll be holding my kids doubling tight tonight.  If you live in South Florida and have O negative blood, please consider donating blood as it is in short supply.  If you’re older than 16 and more than 110 lbs, you can set up a donation appointment here.

Tonight’s song performed by Disturbed is “Sound of Silence.”  It’s is a haunting and beautiful song.  This song is the perfect to listen to as you stop and reflect on life.

31 Days

Wow, just like that we are 31 days into 2018.  It seems like just yesterday we were ringing in the New Year.  The days and weeks have passed as if they were on an unending conveyor belt.  Now here we are peering into February, girl scout cookies in hand, battling to keep hold of our new year’s resolutions.  Oh, we are fighting the good fight, but those damn Thin Mints are so amazing!  Nevertheless, we fight on!

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My resolution to hit the gym early has hit a snag with the sinus infection and illness in the house.  There are so many people around us that have the flu, so we’re doing everything we can to avoid it.  Unfortunately, this means foregoing the morning workout for additional sleep.  Once I kick this sinus infection, you can bet that I’ll be back.

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As I drove home tonight, my mind was a conveyor belt of thoughts.  I know, I know a blonde thinking.  You’re probably imaging steam coming out of my ears and  you’d be right. I played sports growing up in multiple organizations as did my brothers.  I can’t say that our sports careers were perfect or picturesque, but I would say that the leagues and organizations we were part of actually followed the rules.

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In contrast, my kids experience is wildly different.  In fact, once they’ve aged out, I’ll write a book about it.  Of course, I’ll have to label it carefully as non-fiction because people won’t believe the stories and anecdotes I have to share.  Here’s my biggest frustration.  If you have rules as a league, why aren’t they enforced.  More to the point, why are they selectively enforced?

I can’t for the life of me understand how our league works here.  Truly, it is diametrically opposed to what I grew up with.  Moreover, when we’re back in Minny and we speak to Goalielocks’ coaches or are friends whose kids play hockey, they look at us sideways.  They can’t believe the stories we’ve shared.  It’s the same sport, but wow what a difference.

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I guess it goes back to the sliding scale of accountability, which drives me bat shit crazy.  If you have rules, you should equally enforce them across organizations, teams, and players.  If you sit one player for being late, you should sit them all.  Its no different than how you would/should operate in a corporate environment – everyone is subject to the same rules regardless of who they are or how they perform.  I know, I know, common sense or at least I thought.

Anyway, this aggravating conveyor belt of thoughts is driving me to Samoas, so I’m going to cut my losses and go hang around for a bit in my silk.  Tonight’s song performed by CNCO ft. Little Mix is “Reggaeton Lento.”