Life With A Good Pair of Socks

dad's work

So much can be said for a good pair of socks. Like people, they come in so many varieties. All the colors of the world. Short, tall, and every size in between. Some are fuzzy. Some aren’t. Some are thick and some are thin. There are thermal socks to keep you warm and barely there socks to keep you cool. There are even socks with capes.

Anyone who knows me even a little bit, knows I love socks. I’ve never met a pair socks I won’t wear. Stripes or polka dots. Adorned with candy canes or cows. Toe socks that fit like a glove. To me, there is no such thing as an ugly pair of socks.

They are down there tucked into shoes and covered by the legs of jeans and yoga pants minding their own business. They keep us from getting blisters. They sacrifice themselves all in the name of our health. Sometimes they get holes. Sometimes they stink.

Many times they lose their mate in the wash. Poor things with no sole mate. It’s heartbreaking. However, if you enjoy mismatched socks, your socks are never without a mate. There’s someone for everyone.

Sometimes a pair of socks comes into your life and you just know they are going to be in your life for a long time. They are strong socks. They feel good in your hands and even better on your feet. They are like the comfort of a best friend.

If you caught my post last year, Life’s Too Short to Waste Time Matching Socks, you know that I don’t believe in matching socks. A sock company from Sweden found that post and sent me a pair of their socks. They asked me if they could send me socks! For free! (if I wrote about them). The only thing better than socks are free socks.

I must say I was a bit skeptical at first. However, they shipped right away and ten days later I had my first pair of socks from Sockamore. After browsing their colorful website, I was expecting something funky. Especially, since the post they saw had me wearing knee high mismatched socks – one striped, one polka dotted. The socks they sent were of your basic variety. Black with some multi-colored stripes. I can dress them up. I can dress them down. What caught my attention (and DW’s) was the feel of them. They feel well made. I highly doubt I’ll wear through them any time soon. It’s a great way to add a little bit of flair to an outfit. Check out Socamore, they amore socks way amore than me. Pick out a couple pair while you’re there so you can mismatch them. Life’s too short to spend time matching socks.

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What I Learned While Coaching Baseball

We played nine games and ended up with a 4-5 record. Almost 500. We didn’t make the playoffs, the end-of-the-year tournament. That was for the top 8 teams. We were 9th. It was a really fun season, though.

Here’s what I know now that I didn’t know then…

Take that chance

Kids want to have fun. Winning is fun. Do you play the kids where they CAN play in order to win or where they WANT to play in order to have the maximum amount of fun? Try to find that middle ground. I think I managed. We had fun. Okay, we didn’t win more than we lost. But this is “just house league” baseball. Everyone plays. No one doesn’t make a team. So let them play. One kid asked to pitch but I didn’t think the kid was capable. I found out later they were more than capable. I didn’t know what that player was really capable of doing because I didn’t take that chance.

Don’t lose your ducks

Get your ducks in a line before they all start telling you where to put them on the field. They all want to pitch and play 1st base. When you have a dozen players you can’t have 6 pitchers and 6 first basemen. Someone has to play the outfield. In house league baseball only one in a thousand hits makes it to the outfield. It’s as boring as watching the outfield grass grow. So get organized before it all falls apart and you’re scrambling not get your ducks in line, but scambling just to find your ducks.

There’s always the next inning

Patience. Baseball is already a game of patience, but if you’re not patient with the kids, you’ve already destroyed the first rule – to have fun. So your team is having an off day at the plate or your pitchers are having an off day on the mound. Off days happen. Mama said there’d be days like this. Take a deep breath, shout a few words of encouragement, and move on to the next inning. Turn your hat around, kick some dust, do the hokey pokey. That’s what it’s all about.

One inning at a time

Sometimes things work out – you tie the game at a crucial point. Sometimes they don’t – you give up the winning run in the last inning. Sometimes there will be surprises (when the new kid hits a double). But no matter what, you gotta roll with it. Take the ups, the downs, the four run innings. In the game of baseball, as in the game of life, there will be good times, rough times, and times that take you completely by surprise. Enjoy every minute of it. Except the bad times. You can laugh at those later. You just have to take it one inning at a time.

Make it happen

You have more power, strength, and lucky than you think. You can make a strike out feel like a home run because at least the kid was swinging and not running from the ball. Or you can make a single feel like slap in the face because an experienced player swung at a wild pitch. You can make a team work together. Or you can let them fight over positions. You can make an out seem like a miracle. But you will never make outfield the place everyone wants to play. With a little ingenuity and the right words you can make anything happen. Make someone’s day or ruin it. Make your own day and not let anyone ruin it.

P is for…

You’re sitting the front car, a dozen more are behind you. All is quiet except the familiar click click click of a chain slowly pulling your coaster to the top of a very high hill. For just a split second you hang motionless staring down the near vertical drop. Then the chain lets go…

According to there are 22,046 words that start with the letter P. This is exact number of time I’ve told the boys to clean up their toys in the basement.

The possibilities are endless.

This is a house of mostly boys. Therefore, P could be for penispee peepisser, or pecker. I’ll refrain from talking about our private parts.

This space is generally about being a dad. Hence,

P will be for parenthood. One of life’s greatest accomplishments is to raise self-sufficient, happy, healthy, educated offspring. There is also nothing else more frustrating. Except for maybe that last piece of leftover pizza disappearing from the fridge.

Are we ever prepared for this journey? Oh sure, we buy the book about what to expect. That’s like me describing what the roller coaster The Super Duper Looper felt like. Until you ride it for yourself, you’ll never really understand that first drop and the feeling of your stomach in your throat. Isn’t that kinda what parenting feels like? You climb that hill, anxiously waiting for the ride to really begin just as mom’s belly grows and grows (you might even call her your punch buggy). Suddenly, life is flashing by at 65 mph and the best you can do hang on and scream. But, my God, it’s fun!

Like I wrote in Life Before and After Kids, our lives change drastically. No longer can we do what we want when we want how want where we want. We suddenly have this little ball of squishy, adorable, Jell-O tagging along.

matilda-honeyI always thought I’d be a parent like Ms. Honey from Matilda, was a teacher. I would kindly ask in my sweetest voice for something to be done and the kids would scurry to get it done. They would answer my questions in complete sentences and dazzle me with their brilliance. Turns out my parenting style feels more like Ms. Trunchbull.


So whether you have 1 kid or, like Mr. and Mrs. Vassilyev you have 69 children, do what you gotta do to get it done. Books, TV, other parents, non-parents, and “experts” will try to tell you the best way to do it. Sometimes they’ll be right. Sometimes they won’t. Sometimes you’ll get it right, sometimes you won’t.



The past is just a memory. The future is unforseeable. All we have is right here, right now. 

This very moment. 

I’m hearing stories of my father-in-law. 

Of how he grew up with a twin sister and they were the second youngest of 17 kids. 

Of how his first job working at gas station, he made $25 a week and would give most of it away to kids for new shoes, or to go to the circus, or for fries and drink, or to go to the movies. 

Of how much he loved kids, particularly his grandkids. He would walk for hours to get a granddaughter to sleep when her father just couldn’t do it. He always had a joke or would act a clown to make them laugh. He would pass them his spare change. He always had a treat for them.

Of how he knew so many people and touched so many lives in big ways and small. Whether through an act of kindness, the giving of a nickname, or just talking their ears off, he was an influence far and wide. 

Of his use of the English language. There were no swear words in his vocabulary, though he swore enough to make a sailor blush. To him they were just verbs, adverbs, and adjectives. 

Of his days working as a welder.  I’m told that whatever job he was on he was always one of the best. Though that doesn’t surprise me because he always took pride in his work. 

Of how he loved company. He truly believed the more the merrier. He’d invite friends and tell them to bring their friends. It wasn’t uncommon for friends to arrive with their friend’s friends. Then he would start up the BBQ and feed you. 

Of how some animals liked his home better than their owners’ home so they’d come live with him instead. He adopted stray cats. He adopted a bearded dragon that couldn’t travel with his granddaughter. 

Of how he would bail kids out of trouble. He would give them a place to sleep when they were tired. He would feed them when they were hungry. 

Of how much he gave. His money. His time. His tools. His Jeep. A listening ear or an earful. His home. 

He gave me his greatest treasure… His daughter and his family. For that I’m forever grateful. 

His memorial service was Saturday. There was food and a few swear words, the place was packed, memories shared and laughter rang through the tears. 

Sunday Share

Can you believe there’s only 3 more weeks until Christmas morning? 21 days.

A lot can happen between now and then. A lot will happen between now and then. I have so much I want to write! It’s going to be a busy week on the blog. Lots of drama. Some comedy. I’m praying for no tragedy.

So while you sit and relax this lovely Sunday, here are a few good posts that I enjoyed so much I though you should read them, too. Happy Reading!

Coach Daddy
Some good, really short stories (6 words short!)

The best summary I’ve seen of what Nova Scotia classrooms are like and why there is a teacher strike

True North Nomad
This looks like a good place to escape to should I need place to escape to.

Not theAverage Mama and Making Time For Me
All that can happen in a few days?

Lisa Pomerantzster
The power of a good pair of shoes

The sunset from the roof of my house…


At Day’s End

I’m posting this one at sunset. It is the end of the alphabet – the letter Z. Zee. Zed. Either way you say, it’s still at the end. I find it fitting to post the end of the alphabet at the end of the day. The symbolism gets me. I get the symbolism.

And it’s at the end of the day we look back and can see how our whole day played out. It seemed just as the sun rose this morning we were infants. New to the world. Innocent and pure as newly fallen snow upon the forest floor. We had the whole day before us to use however we wished.

This afternoon we learned not just walking and talking, but everything else we needed to survive. We found ourselves out on our own in the big wide world. We became whatever it was we wanted to become. Perhaps we had some kids. Some pets. We made a life and the river of life carried us along to sunset.

Now we lie in bed ready for sleep because it’s been a good day. A great day. We’re tired. We’re happy. So we sleep.

Z is for sleep. Zzz.  But this sleep lasts longer than 8 hours. It lasts forever. This is the end, isn’t it? The end of the alphabet, the end of the day, the end of life. We experienced this end first hand yesterday. Our sweet, baby boy Dozer left us yesterday for the big Ball In The Sky. To say the least, we were devastated. Crash took it pretty hard, as could be expected. It was really hard to look at his empty cage. The mention of his name would bring tears to eyes.

His sun has set and now he sleeps. Sweet dreams our little hamster friend. You will be missed…


R is for … #atozchallenge


is for realize. I realized this morning that today is not “V” day. It’s “U” day. But I already wrote “U” last Saturday. I didn’t do two letters in a day, yet I’m a letter ahead.

I realized this morning that I skipped the letter R. When I should have been writing about R, I wrote about S. It was that stupid slither game that threw me off.

Not only did I realize I skipped R, but thanks to The Coach Daddy, I also realized the lines and splotches decorating my face each have a story. Laughter.  Like when Bang poked his finger in his mother’s belly button (which she hates). After a slight pause, he smells his finger. Maybe you had to be there, but we were dying with laughter. Naturally, this caused him to do over and over. “It’s making you laugh, mom!”

I realized those lines are from stress. Perhaps my O’s lost their lead. Perhaps they’re staging a late game comeback. Perhaps from a few white knuckle, white out drives. Some are from a certain someone who had open heart surgery when he was 5 days old.

I realized those lines are from stupidity. An invincible adolescent who was too cool for sunscreen. I worked every summer, nearly every day, outside wandering through corn fields, pea fields, potato fields looking for bugs. I loved that job. If I wasn’t in a cornfield I was on the ball field. I was too cool for sunscreen. Even in the 115F heat waves. But I would tan and they’d call me José.

I have also realized I’m happier when I run regularly. I haven’t been. I’ve been finding excuses easier than finding the time. I realize this needs to be remedied.

I just now realized our refrigerator is as much a story teller as I am. It’s adorned with magnets collected from around the US and Canada and a Save the Date for a wedding invite from 3 years ago. It’s decorated with a picture of a creeper and R2-D2, a stop light made in kindergarten and a flower colored on primary practice day (colored by the same child). It’s covered with calendars, sight words for reading, and an EKG print-out. It’s a literal snapshot of our life right now.



Does your fridge tell any stories?

Coasting Through Life


There is a hill in town that is famous for being THE hill for coasting, aka sledding. Last Satuday was nice day, if one degree can be considered “nice”. But the sun was shining and the wind was calm. So that definitely counts as nice. Crash asked “Can we go sledding at Prince St?”

I hmed.
I hawed.

“Sure. Load up the sleds.” Three sleds, a snowboard, and helmet on board off we went. Two minutes later we were standing at the top of Prince Street Hill. The biggest sledding hill in town.

Standing a the top looking down, we had that nervous excitement settle in. It made us giddy and giggly and trying to figure out who was going to be the first one down. Big, brave Bang won the toss.

Fearless. He attacked that hill head on. Laying on his belly on his penguin sled with me holding the sled so it wouldn’t leave without him he was set for launch.

“3…2…1… GO!” he hollers.

He’s racing down the hill picking up speed. Then he hits a bump. The sled turns sideways and off he rolls at the bottom of the hill. He was not impressed. That ride was NOT was he was expecting.

So Crash and I jump on the remaining two sleds, zoom down the hill hittting the same bumps Bang banged over. Now I know why he wasn’t impressed. It wasn’t the smooth ride it usually is. He was okay, of course. It just wasn’t a fun ride for him. Now the three of us were sitting at the bottom looking up.

This hill isn’t just coasting hill. It’s the hill of life. There we were standing at the top, barely knowing what to expect. Just as if we were anticipating a big move, a new job, a baby-to-be. We had an idea what was coming. But not really.

Then came the trip down. We knew others had been down this path before. They left their trails for us to follow. We didn’t take the path less travelled. It was thrilling. Exciting. Wind in our face making our eyes water. Time travelled faster for the one zooming down the hill than it did for those watching from the bottom. Exactly in the same way time passes faster when you are watching your kids grow up. And what life isn’t complete without a few bumps? As always, we made it through over with a little bit of careful steering.

Then we rested, looking back up that monster of a hill. We laughed. We talked. We reminised about the grand time we had flying down that slope. We looked back, even if it was only 30 seconds back. From the bottom, that hill looks SO much bigger. We found ourselves amazed at what we had just done. No, we weren’t the first. But we did it.

But to get that thrill again, we had to make the climb back up. A hill that steep isn’t easy to get back up. We slip. We fall. We take five steps up and slip back two. Much like when your potty trained toddler has an accident. Much like when you have car touble on a thousand mile (or even just 10) trip. But we’re tenacious (a fancy word for stubborn). We get our footing back and continue up the hill. We know it’ll be worth it.

This hill has other aspects that resemble life as we know it, too. It’s social media, IRL. In Real. Life. It brings people together, planned or not. You’re bound to make at least one new friend when you come here. You’re more likely to make more than one. Just like life, sledding better with your buddies.

If you time it just right, you can have the hill completely to yourself. No waiting for others to get out of the way. No waiting for others to have their turn. Plus there’s peace and quiet, with the exception of your own screaming self coming down the hill. Perfect for the introverted adventure seeker.
This isn’t just a hill. It’s an adventure. It’s also a great source of fresh air, sunshine, a bit of exercise. I know my fitbit loved climbing back up. I made it up 70 flights of stairs that day. Crash made it more since he climbed up more than I did. Bang was content to slide down on his bum or belly sans sled after his wild first slide down on the sled. Lesson learned. See? That was life lesson right there!

Life Happens

Have you ever had the best plan ever, then something unforeseen happens. Or perhaps just normal, every day routine happens. But your best plan ever never happens. Life happens.

Back in January, I set a goal for myself. I wanted to run a thousand miles this year. It’s the second year in a row I’ve set this goal. It’s the second year in a row I’ve failed. Perhaps three’s the charm? Anyway, I just looked at my running log. It’s been 57 days since I ran last. Really? Yep, on October 15th I ran 10k. Haven’t run since.

Thanks life.

I’ve been trying to figure out when I can get my runs in. I could go early in the morning. However, I can’t justify getting up at 5 am for a run. Plus, the kids are light sleepers in the mornings. Our squeaky floors would surely wake them. I could go right after school. However, that’s play time with the kids for an hour before it’s time to get supper on the go. Until Crash starts getting homework. Once that happens, homework will come first, then play.

I could go after the kids are in bed. That’s when I used to go most often. I don’t mind running in the dark. Actually, I used to look forward to it if it was snowing. The silence that comes with newly fallen snow is incredible. Pair that with the darkness and the Earth becomes a magical wonderland. However, the evenings have become us time for DW and I. The kids are in bed and all is quiet. So we watch a couple shows on TV. Do I give up time with the kids to go running? Do I give up time with DW to go running? Ain’t no way in hell I can make that decision.

But, I will get back into it. All that endorphin and “me time” is a needed factor in every life. Thanks to a post and a small discussion with Dave over at Runs Wit Faust, I will indeed be getting back on the road. Back on the trail, too. Running in the woods is even better. But I can’t go there after dark. I’m lucky I don’t get lost during the day let alone at night. Plus there are things that might eat me at night. I’d rather have supper than be supper.

Prior to this break from running, I would run for nearly an hour. Perhaps if I shorten my runs to a half hour (for now) I can make the time to go running. Something has got to be better than nothing, right? And perhaps I can rotate when I go – sometimes after school, sometimes after the kids go to bed. Or perhaps life will find something else for me to do.

But I hope not, because I like running and running likes me. And my poor running shoes miss me dearly.