Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Missed Opportunity...

moving on to Regionals, 2011-Recreational Track and Field

Let me clarify this letter prior to your reading…it was written (and sent) to the coaches of the middle school (7th and 8th graders) track team to which my son didn’t make the team.  Although I risk being viewed as a disgruntled parent, I’m not. I’m more upset with the principle that these coaches missed a gigantic opportunity to send a message to invite all kids, regardless of talent, to get up off the couch, get active and to start young in developing a healthy lifestyle. Instead, it appears the coaches persisted to send a ‘win at all costs’ message that society continues to perpetuate.
Dear Coaches,
As a parent of a child who did not make this year’s middle school track team, I felt a strong need to question and understand your objectives and goals for such a sport. As in most sports at the middle school level, coaches have an unenviable position of having 50-plus students try out for a single team and then whittling those names to a roster to 12-20 kids. Granted, these teams; soccer, baseball, football and basketball are definite sports of skill and ability. Most likely, the kids who make these teams have been in the sport for a good part of their lives in order to develop these skills.
So while Nicholas did try out for basketball and soccer, we feel he probably knew as well as we did that there was little chance he would make the team.

However, in trying out for the track team and the perceptions toward such a sport I thought might be a bit different as running is a unique kind of sport. If the correct goals and objectives are in place at a middle school level as well as the desires of coaches, track can have the irreplaceable benefit of developing youngsters into their abilities as well as evolving kids into a positive and healthy lifestyle.
I’m finding it difficult to understand how in a sport where numerous runners can be placed into most given events (multiple heats) that you would have a rooster of only 15 or so students? Track is the ideal environment to get many students involved not only during practice but giving many a chance to compete in at least one event.  What considerations have you given to injuries or kids that drop out?

Having been a track coach (my husband) that qualified athletes for the state finals I was able to grow my program by encouraging every student that wanted to be a part of the team to come out.  Needless to say I was never surprised by a student who matured into a competitive athlete. But perhaps the most rewarding part was having the knowledge that each student felt a part of the TEAM.  So despite wanting to build a team that was competitive I did not do this with a win at all cost mentality. Nonetheless it appears obvious your interests lie elsewhere.
Allow me to share with you the link to USA Today where a school in your own backyard, Green Hope High School has developed an outstanding cross country program dedicated to students for the joy of running and the desire to be part of something bigger than them; wouldn’t our middle school children be so lucky to have such an outlook? Other schools are showcased in the article as well and granted they are speaking of students at a high school level, but I can assure you many of these runners developed as middle school students who were given an opportunity to participate, belong and advance whatever abilities they encompassed.

In researching records set by 2011 North Carolina Middle School runners; the very individuals you are coaching, a fourteen year old youngster ran the mile in 4:58-Very Impressive! A seventh grade student ran and won a meet with a 5:29; again, good for them!-however those students are few and far between since many other North Carolina Middle School runners completed events and placed in the top twenty with times over 8 minutes.  While they were not in the medals they came away with something even more valuable, again they competed as a member of a TEAM. 

The point is that while winning is the reason we keep score much more can be gained by any kid that has a strong desire to be part of something.  I’m convinced they had dedicated and caring coaches to foster, nurture and encourage them and their love of running. I only wish Nicholas would have been afforded that same chance!
the Spaine's

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Infinite possibilities are born of faith…
Faith…its very definition from the Merriam Dictionary speaks of a belief and loyalty as well as a trust in God-

There is a love-hate relationship with that word in our lives, or at least in mine. Let’s face it; when life is going well, having faith is effortless and painless like summer breezes.  On the flip side, when times are tumultuous and tiresome we or shall I say, I find it problematic to dig deep and find faith that my existence will ever be effortless again.

I spent a great deal of my younger years wanting to believe that the troubled times in my childhood held a purpose. I begged God to permit life be simpler for me as I’d bargain with God to convey harmony rather than manage barriers with every turn. I must admit, these similar views plague me in adulthood as well, in fact in this very moment.

As life would have it, new opportunities present themselves that have life altering possibilities; hopes are at the height of the Heavens, then come plummeting down like a crystal vase into a thousand minuscule shards scattering over lands of self-esteem, doubt and questions of purpose in life.

As coincidences often transpire, this sign was posted on a friend’s facebook page: God’s 3 answers to your prayers: 1.) Yes! 2.) Not Yet! …and 3.) I have something better in mind.

My first thought is: what can God have better in mind then what I’ve already planned out and organized neatly into my life? Far be it for me to dispute God, but I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t, so I do~

But at this time of an abundance of doubt and uncertainty I’ll refer back to faith- and try to remember…

"As your faith is strengthened you will find that there is no longer the need to have a sense of control, that things will flow as they will, and that you will flow with them, to your great delight and benefit." 
By Emmanuel Teney

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Facts of Angel-Kitty!

If you are reading my Nee Nee’s blog for the first time let me explain Facts of Five. It was a concept she used when she taught students with special needs in a self-contained classroom. She presented a category such as ‘five cartoons’ or ‘five items to eat on your pizza’ and the students had to consider an idea that fit the group. She said it was fun, yet thought generating and in the meantime, she was able to get to know what was important to her students.
So I decided to use idea but shhhh, don’t tell her! Okay everyone, our category for today is five Joys of my Life! And I’ll begin…
1.)    Nap time is plentiful…just search for a willing participant, lie on top of willing participant,  get real cozy then close eyes and doze away.

2.) The computer is always available…well, not always since I have to share with my Nee Nee, but the box is there for the taking when she’s not around. At this time, I can read and catch up with friends at the touch of a button.  Truth be told, I also like when that little line moves across the page. I just can never quite make it stop...

3.) On Sunday, the newspaper comes and I get to help the parents peruse the ads. This is not an easy task as I have to climb under and over the sheets of print, hide out under the pages and then pounce on the wiggling pieces when Nee Nee uses those sharp things to cut out c’pons. I have to be very careful not to slice my paw. I know, this is tough work, but as they say, someone has to do it!

4.)  Did you know some of my friends are famous movie stars? I know they would be devastated if I didn’t keep up with their shows so I sit front and center and tune in to the ‘tube.

5.)  Exercise is a must if a girl wants to keep her lovely figure. I read what Hurricane said about me getting a little pudgy in the middle and while I was highly offended, he just might be right. Sometimes Nee Nee has to help me up on the washer just to have my breakfast. It IS a tad embarrassing! So I stick to do my daily workout of finding things that belong to my humans, make them my play toys and then hide them under the fridge. Is it my fault if they can't find them?

6.)  Oopppss, I forgot how to count! I said five, didn’t I? Well, the final joy of my list (although I do have plenty more…) is I get to hang out and be cute. Does that sound self-centered? Far be it for me to be egotistical, but well, It IS all about me, you know!

and you thought the only thing I do in life is torment my brother; HAH! ...fooled you~

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day~

On this day of I’m reminded that love can be portrayed in diverse ways; admiration, courtship, commitment, sharing or even the hope of love.
Likewise, I’m prompted to recall that friendships can be packaged and parceled in the most obscure and opaque ways.

Knowingly or unknowingly, as a younger version of myself I had criteria and a checklist of qualities and merits a person must possess in order to pursue a friendship as well as an agenda of dos and don’ts the individual revealed. As an example, a person couldn’t be a smoker, or they mustn’t swear, they had to enjoy children. Blah, blah, blah…narrow-minded indeed!

While many reasons can be attributed (immaturity, stupidity, futility…), the most fundamental and straightforward one is we fear what we don’t understand. I don’t beat myself up because I believe in the saying, ‘when we know better, we do better!
At this stage in life, I adore and admire each and every individual from mere acquaintances, ones I’ve never met but shared words via blogs to close friends to significant loved ones. Regardless of the distinct role each of you embodies or signifies for me, I am thankful and filled with much love and gratitude.
"Much of the vitality in a friendship lies in the honoring of differences, not simply in the enjoyment of similarities."

Happy Valentine’s Day~

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

He Said...She Said~

You know, since the publication of my book, Life through the Eyes of a Hurricane: Doggie-Dog!  Nee Nee hasn’t even asked me to write on her blog. My feelings are so hurt and I’ve felt so dejected so I’ve been pouting.  I realize it’s been a long time, perhaps a couple months? I hope you didn’t forget about me.
Anyway, after the time that has passed, you can imagine my dismay, my horror to get on here and read that Angel-Kitty, my very own sister has thrown me under the bus.  She has made ME out to be the villain -the wicked guy in this family!

Do you believe all the fibs she has told about me?  I am appalled! I am shocked!
Just look at this photo and you will see how warm and wonderful I am to my little sis…I share my bed with her, I keep her safe by setting off the alarm system, and I provide her with daily exercise by chasing her around the house.
SHHHhhhh, don’t tell her I told you this but she is getting a little pudgy around the middle. In fact, the humans put her food bowl on top of the washer when its super-duper supper time just so I won’t consume her meal; even though I just want a little nibble…anyway, she hurdles with difficulty and has to be hoisted like a rickety car onto a tow truck just to eat…HEE, HEE! …but I’ll deny it if you tell her I said that!

And she has the audacity to say the things she does about me? She utters I shut her in the closet? Did she happen to convey to you that when MY sister accidently on-purpose got closed in the wardrobe box that I positioned myself outside the door to keep her company? I did not once leave the room! Well, that was until Big Daddy arrived home! Then I raced to the door to communicate to him to release her. Was it my fault he wanted to take me for my walk around the ‘hood and I forgot to pass on the news?
Geez Louise…last time I try to be a good brother to her! Next time she’s cold see if I huddle up with her to keep her warm.  And when she bites my ear to get me to play with her, instead of being tolerant, I’ll just lean over and bite her tail! That’ll teach her…she’d look funny with a miniature stub of a tail.

Sisters….anyone want one?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Winds of Change...

I settle into the midst
alongside the mass of
sand and shell fragments
waiting for hopes to select me
or cast me aside.  
The particles of debris shift beneath me
 as waves pass
and I linger holding fused visions
of realignment and change.
Every now and then
the winds of transformation
generate a positive resolve
between dreams and reality.

"The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live."

by Flora Whittemore

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Hey, it's Me, Angel-Kitty!

Far be it for me to be crabby and ill-tempered, but I thought it necessary to point out some upsetting occurrences in this house in which I live. NOT that I’m complaining or anything since the folks and the kid are real nice to me but I must say, “THAT DOG!”

But really, who does he think he is anyway? You’d think he wrote this great book that was published about him or something. I get treated like a second class citizen among these walls in which I exist.

For instance, when it’s nap time, I scamper to Big D and Nee Nee’s bed. I turn ‘round and ‘round in a circle to find the perfect place, plop down on the blanket and pull the covers up close around me. I tuck my nose inside my front paws to count mice before I drift off to sleep and THUMP!

CRIPES… Hurricane, do you have to be such a lug? I mean, Geez Louise, there is an entire bed in which to sprawl your enormous body out and you lay right on top of me? UGH!!!!

Something else- I like to disappear into my favorite hiding place which is in the bathroom on top of the towels on the shelf, but shhhh, don’t tell anyone! Saturday I am minding my own business taking a snooze when Hurricane trounces into the room and lured into the tub. Big Baby…doesn’t even like a bath.

So he whimpers and cries and BOO-HOO’s then gazes at me with those sad puppy dog eyes and out of the blue. He shakes…and SHUDDERS! And all this spray goes airborne covering me with mist. I may as well have taken a bath myself~

Oh, and another thing since Hurricane’s such an ogre! You will never believe this….he hogs the sunbeams. Yep, right there when the front door is open and the warm rays are shining upon the floorboards Hurricane collapses and steals all the heat. Can you believe that? How dare he be so wicked!

I will just have to reprimand him by cuddling and curling up next to him---the ol’ tyrant! …brothers, anyone want one?

Ahh, I think I asked that question already and there were no takers; CRAP! I guess I'll have to keep him!