Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Waiting... and reading

This weekend, my sweet girl went out on a limb and auditioned for summer ballet programs.  While she is a good dancer, she is not the "it" girl, not the type that people trip over themselves to train, it is a 50/50 shot at best.   Maybe they see potential in her.  Maybe they don't. Not a darn thing I can do about it but be proud of her efforts and trust in God's plan.  Easy enough....(insert eye roll here).
She also has sent a painting off to an art contest with the guidance and encouragement of her art teacher. So what I am saying is that while life marches on, little bits of my baby are roaming out in the world awaiting, well, JUDGEMENT.  Such a heavy word.  It makes me a wreck.  I love her whether she paints like Picasso or a preschooler.  I love her whether she dances like a dream or like Elaine on Seinfeld.   Click it! Click it!  Still the same, I am waiting..... So to silence the ifs, what ifs, and if onlys, I am trying to check things off my to do list and get extra book time in.
I have 2 books to share with you.

1) One Shot at Forever by Chris Ballard.  It is the story of a small tiny town baseball team and their run for the state championship. At the time, there weren't divisions, so it is a David and Goliath story. Their coach was unorthodox as coaches go.  He thought baseball should be....wait for it......fun.
"Many high school coaches try to imitate Lombardi.  After all, winning is just as important on the prep level.  Unfortunately, it is win or look for another job in most cases. I've often thought that prep athletics are being spoiled by this must win approach.  Ruined because the fun of competing is being squeezed out of existence, replaced by relentless pressure to succeed.  Then along comes L.C. Sweet, and his team without coaching, without haranguing, without discipline, is successful.   Most of the coaching fraternity regard Sweet as a freak,  But there is no denying that the Macon players are relaxed, having fun, having a ball instead of being uptight about losing."   (Remind you that this was written in the 1970's before youth baseball and youth sports really went off the reservation with travel teams and clubs and specializing and conditioning and strength training programs for your 7 year old.)

I argue with the no coaching portion of this statement, as Sweet proved to give the boys plenty of coaching, just not baseball coaching.  His ultimate message,"Treat people well, believe in them, entrust them with responsibility, lift them up."

The book gives great game summaries and delivered me to the ball park over and over in the depth of winter.  It also talks about the players, their families, school politics and life in the small town.  While at times, I just wanted to get back to the baseball,  knowing the kids, the parents, the stories and backgrounds made the games so much more real.

It went on to discuss the boys when they were grown.   How the season was carried with them for the rest of their lives.  

Bottom Line: If you are a baseball lover or just love a true story,  do yourself a favor and read this before Opening Day.

2) Big, Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
This book is a murder mystery.  Lame, right?  NOT AT ALL!  I loved this book.  I loved it more than Gone Girl, but that isn't saying much, because I hated that book.  What makes Big, Little Lies so great?  The cover!  That shattered lollipop is genius.  I am almost sad to have read it on my kind to the eyes kindle because that cover is cool!   Then you start the book, smack dab in the middle of a murder investigation.  Right away you begin getting police statements from all these people you don't even know, so pay attention.  Then you roll back in time to the start of the story, which centers around the real kind of crazy people that you encounter every day....school parents.  Catty, witchy, bullying, pot stirrers and all this bad behavior leads up to a murder being investigated at a school fundraiser.  It is rich.  In fact, with all that,  I think it falls firmly into realistic fiction as well as mystery.  I loved that I could, without much work, put a face to the characters.  I felt it a tad slow at first and kept wondering when is something going to happen.  And then it did.  And then something else, and something else and next thing, I am leaving dishes in the sink so I can read.  (Oh wait, I do that anyway).   In the end, I didn't love this book because of the cover or the great story, I loved it because it finished up.  Things weren't left hanging.  Little Bee anyone?  Ugggh.   She wrote a complete story that answered questions that I asked myself, that offered twists that I didn't see coming, made me laugh, made me wonder, and kept my interest all the way.

Favorite Smart Lines:  On pasts colliding:  "On one hand there was far too much to say, and on the other, there was nothing."
On conversation with your Ex's new wife:  "The pain could always get much, much, worse."
On the noble aspirations of teenagers:  "It's just that fourteen year old girls are stupid"
On champagne:  "Champagne is never a mistake."
On using literature to escape:  "Reading a novel was like returning to a once beloved holiday destination"
On Parenting; " If parents had children who were good sleepers, they assumed this was due to their good parenting, not good luck."
On insecurity: "Some people were so unacceptably, hurtfully beautiful it made you feel ashamed.  Your inferiority was right there on display for the world to see."
On things spinning out of control:  "Oh Calamity!"   I am going to work this into my vocabulary.

 Bottom Line: Good Read.  Life Changing, No.   Worth it, for sure!   I hope they make a movie.

And now back to waiting.........and maybe some baking.


.....Elizabeth..... Polka Dot Skies said...

This is a great post! Not sure how I missed it! I might try the mystery book! And I love that you just love your girl, no matter what! She is such a wonderful young lady...you are a good mama:)

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