Much Appreciated

I’ve had a good time working my way through all of these challenges.  Obviously, some are more fun than others.  If you’ve ever sewn on a button you know that it’s not for entertainment. But, I have to say this challenge was the best.  I’m not exaggerating when I say we have been a Marine Corps family for a long time.  Other than the occasional reduced hotel rate, we don’t really take advantage of a lot of the available military discounts.  Then we discovered, after attending a Military Appreciation Day hosted by the Carolina Hurricanes, that they are not exaggerating about their military discount.  This time last year I sat in the best seats I’ve ever had at a professional sporting event. I spent more the year before for seats that were so high up we had to wear an extra layer of clothing. As I called my hockey-loving brother, Daryle, from PNC Arena to wish him a happy birthday I just knew that he had to come with me the next year for his birthday.  Fast forward 365-ish days and here we are.

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Happy birthday, Daryle!
As an adult, I’ve never lived close enough to a professional sports team to be able to attend regularly and become one of the local fans.  I’m hoping that if someday I do have a local home team that it still generates the same feeling.  There’s nothing like entering a stadium or arena for a sporting event.  The excitement feels electric.  I particularly love it when the players enter.  The music, the introductions, the spectacle. It’s awesome.  This particular game was especially exciting because not only did I get to share it with my brother and my kids but we had really great seats!

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View of the ice from our seats!
You know you are in for something special when the guy who looks at your tickets to tell you where your seats are located says, “You’ve got great seats.” When I bought our tickets I wanted to get something up close, center ice.  Well, I succeeded.  We were on the second row behind the opposing team’s bench.   If I had it to do again I’d buy seats a few more rows back.  The seats I purchased were row D which to me equated to the fourth row, not the second.  But, no one was complaining. It was pretty awe-inspiring to be so close.

So, there you have it.  The best challenge yet.  Impressive athletic feats, rockin’ songs to get you pumped up, t-shirts floated down in parachutes from the rafters and a brother who traveled half-way across the country to share it with me.  I realized that, all of the excitement aside, what makes these events even more memorable is that I always get to enjoy them with the people who I love most in the world.  Building relationships and making memories.  I think that’s what this life is really all about.

Before you go…even though we had a great time we did not get to celebrate a Hurricanes victory.  The defeat did not discourage the usual heckling idiot fans. And, don’t think just because we had great seats that we weren’t going to have to listen to it.  I’m never a fan of the loud-mouth who yells during the game but occasionally you’ll find one that, while annoying, is at least begrudgingly funny.  Our trio of fools couldn’t even come up with a good taunt.  On the upside, they did not curse.  But, on the downside, repeatedly yelling, “You’re the worst!”, with an intermittent “You’re literally the worst!” thrown in for emphasis is just embarrassing.  I’m not trying to encourage more negativity in the world but study up on your insults if you are going to try to insert yourself into the game.

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Do You Believe in Miracles?!

With this challenge we are moving from learning a solid life skill to more of a life-expanding experience.  ATTEND A PROFESSIONAL SPORTING EVENT.  I have attended many professional sporting events in my life.  I grew up watching the local minor-league hockey  and baseball teams in Oklahoma City. Heck, I even watched the National Finals Rodeo a couple of times before Las Vegas stole it from us in 1978.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have watched games in each of the four major professional sports in the US.  I’m super excited about this challenge.

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Family affair: son, brother, nephew.  Jacksonville Jaguars vs Minnesota Vikings. Dec 11, 2016.
I’ve liked watching sports for as long as I can remember.  In elementary school, I spent many summer Friday nights with my brother, Daryle, at the OKC Fairgrounds watching Sprint cars race around the dirt track.  I’m embarrassed to admit that in the 6th grade when my classmates were probably writing about the Iran Hostage Crisis or tornados I wrote my term paper about hockey.  In my defense, it was the time of the “miracle on ice”  and the medal-round victory of the US Olympic hockey team over the Soviet Union.  For a brief period of time during my first semester of college I even thought I wanted to be a radio sports broadcaster. My first and only journalism class cured me of that notion.

For about ten years now I’ve been the administrator of the Candy Bar Football League in which a small, ever-changing group of family and friends pick the winners of the NFL games each week every fall.  It’s high stakes. At the end of the season the winner gets a candy bar.  We started when Andrew first became an obsessive Philadelphia Eagles fan following a viewing of the Mark Wahlberg movie Invincible.  I’m also a part of the Pick-One-Fool Fantasy Football league.  If you don’t play Fantasy Football you can’t understand how you could find yourself watching some random NFL game just because DeAndre Hopkins is on your fantasy team.  That said, there’s nothing like watching a sporting event in person.

So, are you a sports fan?  Even if you aren’t I think there is definitely something about seeing a live sporting event.  Do I only think that because I am a sports fan?  Do you have access to professional sports where you live or do you have to travel, like I do?  Did you get to watch a professional sporting event as a kid?  If you are guessing that I’ve got a game in my near future, you’d be correct.  I’ll check back in with you next week.  In the mean time, if you have a favorite professional sport you like to watch, live or otherwise, I’d love to hear about it! Or, if you’d rather wash dishes than go to a sporting event I’d like to hear why??!

Before you go…although my kids aren’t professional athletes, they all played sports and it was pretty moving at times to watch them play.  In November, Rachel finished her Senior season playing volleyball for Greensboro College.  Getting to watch her play with heart and determination as a leader who left nothing on the court will always be better than watching any professional sporting event past or future.

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It’s my blog… I can brag if I want.

Needles, Shanks & Irrational Fears

This challenge brought up a bit of an irrational fear of mine.  I don’t like needles.  Not in the I’m afraid of shots way, although I don’t love those either, but more in the I’m going to step on a needle! way.  I don’t think I’ve ever stepped on a needle before but apparently it’s a real concern in my deep dark subconscious.  It could be related to listening to multiple tellings of Lee’s childhood story of getting a thumbtack stuck between his toes.  I understand a thumbtack is not the same thing as a needle but the pointy end makes them close cousins. I also have some vague memory of my Mom getting a needle stuck in her foot.  Not even sure if that’s a fact or an alternative  fact but it’s in my brain anyway. Whenever my kids wanted to do some kind of craft that required pins or needles I was probably not very encouraging.  I was pretty sure that some carelessly supervised pin or needle was going to slide itself comfortably into the fibers of our carpet and lie in wait for it’s unsuspecting victim.

In addition to my needle issue, I did have a couple of other challenges to overcome.  I could not find a garment that needed a button replaced.  I also could not find a sewing kit (possibly linked to the previously stated needle phobia).  However, I did persevere.  After clearing a couple of initial hurdles, I am now fully licensed in the state of North Carolina to sew a two-hole button- at least onto a scrap of fabric. I’m also the proud owner of a new sewing kit.

The 100 Things You Need to Do Before You Grow Up book sometimes offers additional information to help the reader.  I decided that even though this wasn’t going to be my first button I might want to follow their ten helpful steps.button-titlejpg

Everything was moving along nicely.  Each step was concise and easy to follow.  Until I got to Step 8 which I could not comprehend.  Maybe Step 8 is the litmus test for full acceptance into the Button-Sewing Club.  If so, I failed.  However, I did not leave my button unsecured.  I just chose to use the method I’ve used before.

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I was unfamiliar with the term shank in reference to sewing.  If you watch shows about crime or prison you might be similarly confused. I did, however, google it and it does make sense.  It allows for space between the button and the fabric when the garment is buttoned.  My method allows for the same thing, I just didn’t realize what I was doing…or why.

I now have a sewing kit so I am prepared for any future button-sewing.  Plus, this summer I’ll be in California with my own personal button-sewer who can then take ownership of said sewing kit. I’m assuming most of you have sewn a button on before.  If so, were you aware you were creating a shank?  Do you worry about your needles getting away from you and making a new home in your carpet?  Do you ask yourself why you keep reading this?

Before you go…I would like you to know that when sewing my button onto my scrap of fabric I did take the time to cut a buttonhole ensuring that my button is functional and not just decorative. Thanks for reading along.

 

Buttons Are Gross

The latest challenge appears simple on the surface and could easily be dismissed. LEARN HOW TO SEW ON A BUTTON.  I’ve sewn a button or two in my time.  I don’t sew, so any button-sewing for me is strictly in repair mode.  I used to be one of those people who saved those replacement buttons that come with shirts, jackets and sweaters, but after moving several times with a jewelry box compartment filled with buttons for apparel I no longer owned, I stopped.  Maybe I just get rid of clothing before the buttons fall off or possibly when the buttons DO fall off.  (Now, I’m picturing landfills filled with perfectly good shirts just missing one button and feeling a bit of guilt.)

In reality, I don’t wear a ton a clothes that have buttons.  From 2 1/2 until approximately 7 years of age my daughter, Elisabeth, actively disliked buttons.  Functional or decorative.  She wouldn’t wear them, didn’t like it if I wore them, even disliked pillows that had them.  Buttons were “gross”.  Searching for clothing without decorative buttons: easy.  Searching for clothing without functional buttons in reality means your child wears a lot of t-shirts. Not a lot of button-sewing going on at our house during that period of time.  I didn’t stop wearing clothing with buttons to appease my four-year-old but if I didn’t love it, I didn’t wear it.  It wasn’t worth it.  When you have little kids, who has time to button up a shirt anyway! Plus, shirts with buttons also tend to be shirts that require ironing.  I’m not usually organized enough to have a shirt ironed and ready to wear. Lee has always been the chief ironer in our house and ,now that I think about it, he’s probably the primary button-sewer, too.  The Marine Corps prepared him well for a lot of things including button-sewing and ironing.

What about you? Are you someone who saves those replacement buttons and actually uses them?  Are you the person people seek out when they’ve lost a button?  When is the last time you sewed on a button? Any tips for me as I proceed?   I’m off to find a button that needs replacing!  Failing that, I’ll just do some practice button-sewing so that I’m prepared for the future.  I do think this is a good skill for kids to learn.  Maybe I’ll make Andrew sew on a button, too.

Before you go…I’m feeling the need to explain that when I do get rid of clothing, I donate it to the local Goodwill or some other charity organization. I’m not marching to save the trees everyday but I’m not as callous about the environment as it may appear.  Also, today, I’m exactly one month from my 49th birthday and feeling pretty good about the challenges I’ve completed so far.  Thanks for taking this journey with me!  It wouldn’t be the same without you.