Riggins and ‘Ritas

Three friends living in three different parts of the country decided that too much time had passed since they last got together and laughed themselves incontinent.  It took only one conference call (masterfully scheduled between school drop offs and naptime) for these friends to track down cheap flights, a hotel deal and a plan.  The unsuspecting folks in Dallas had no idea what was coming.

There was a pool.  And a pool boy.  There were gossip magazines, spa treatments, midday naps and late night gab fests that ended in drunken hugs and misty-eyed declarations of BFF love.  There were three separate hotel rooms because everyone wanted the chance to stretch out — blissfully alone in a king-sized bed — and sleep past 6 a.m.

If margaritas are the lifeblood of a girls’ weekend, these three friends were well nourished.  After one particularly margarita-y evening, the friends tumbled into a cab to head back to the hotel.  “Where to, ladies?” asked the driver.

“Can you take us to Dillon, Texas?   I need to get me some Tim Riggins!” declared one of the friends.

Ok, it was me.

Unfortunately, the driver was not a Friday Night Lights fan and did not find the outburst nearly as amusing as I did.   But it did feel good to give a shout out to Riggins and his little football show that never got the attention it deserved.

I’m telling this story for two reasons: first, the three friends need another weekend away and this will hopefully get the ball rolling; and second, now that you know about my fascination with Tim Riggins, I’m hoping you can answer a question for me.

It’s about this shirt.  As soon as I saw it, I knew I needed to have it.  The problem is that it breaks one of my ironclad fashion rules.  Much like flouncy sundresses and short shorts, novelty T-shirts have been retired from my wardrobe for quite some time.  “I heart cupcakes” is fine on my daughter’s shirt, but not on someone who is thisclose to 40.  My chest is no longer a billboard for hipster graphic designs, team logos or snarky social observations.

But it’s Riggins.  And I love him.  So can I wear this shirt out of the house?  It’s kind of loose and slouchy and looks pretty good with just the front part barely tucked into jeans (like Jennifer Aniston does to prove she’s not prego when the paparazzi are out).  So what do you think?

On Being a Rookie in a Town of Experts…

I live in a town where swimming is kind of a big deal, the same way high school football in Texas is kind of a big deal.  It seems like everyone around here is a swimmer: you can’t snap a pool towel without hitting at least one Olympian, probably three.

I, on the other hand, am decidedly not a swimmer.  Sure, I can get across the pool but I’m not a swimmer swimmer — the kind of person who has an effortless butterfly stroke and can execute a flip turn all while managing to somehow not look goofy in a swim cap.  Yet despite being a rookie in a town of experts, I recently joined a masters swim team.

After my first practice, I attempted to describe my complete lack of skills to my mom, who — always the mom, always the optimist, (moptomist?) — said, “I’m sure you’re great.”  No.  Objectively, I’m awful.  If I manage not to crash into anyone while doing backstroke, it’s only because I’m tangled in the lane line like a dolphin in a tuna net.  While the rest of the swimmers cut gracefully through the water, I flail for an hour until practice is over and then drag myself out of the pool; nauseous from all the water I accidentally swallowed, wobbly with exhaustion and happy.  Very, very happy.

Happy because I can’t remember the last time I learned a new skill.  Happy because my brain is lit up with all the new things to think about.  Happy because for the first time in quite a while, I’m able to check my ego at the door and not care about how ridiculous I look while attempting something new.

I’m reading an insightful book by Brené Brown called Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead.  She reminds us we can’t wait until we’re perfect or bulletproof before finally putting ourselves out there.  I’ve missed a lot of opportunities while waiting for my ducks to get into a neat little row.  Inevitably, there’s one stubborn duck not willing to line up.  I’ll never be perfect.  I’ll never be bulletproof.  Meanwhile, life, and the opportunities it offers, marches on. Swimmers are swimming.  Writers are writing.  It’s better to join them and see what happens instead of watching from a safe but boring distance.

So I walk around in a bathing suit without the security of a cover up.  I squeeze into a swim cap that makes me look, oddly enough, like a penis. I put on goggles that make my eyes bug out, changing my look to a surprised penis.  And then I swim.  It’s not pretty, but I’m out there, splashing around with my one stubborn unaligned duck, happy in the effort of daring greatly.

The Power of Two

I hate Fantasy Football.  Hate it with a white-hot passion that I normally reserve for the Kardashians and use of the word “invaluable.”  Really, really hate it.

There is no faster way to ruin a football game than by watching it with someone who has a Fantasy Football team.  “Who do you hope wins” becomes a loaded question and the answer is something like, “Well, Tom Brady is my quarterback but this other guy on the other team (sorry, the only player I know by name is Tom Brady) is my tight end, so on this play I want…..  My eyes glaze over and I stay focused on Tom, hoping he leads his team to victory and celebrates by ripping off his shirt à la Brandi Chastain in the ’99 World Cup soccer game.  But I digress.  We were talking about how much I detest Fantasy Football.

Therefore, given my feelings on the subject, imagine my reaction when my husband told me that he wanted to join a father/kid Fantasy Football league with our seven-year-old son this year.

I said go for it — because as much as I hate Fantasy Football, I love the idea of our son having a special thing to do with dad.

It is so easy to fall into the trap of parenting both kids as one unit.  Sports, playdates, even some Christmas gifts are all easier to manage if the kids are doing the same thing.  But every once in a while it is important, not to mention fun, to take the time to enjoy each kid as an individual.

So when my husband and son set up the computer in the living room and scattered pages upon pages of scouting reports over our glass coffee table in preparation for selecting their team, I ignored the chaos and reminded myself that they were bonding.  And when they made Michael Vick their starting quarterback, rejecting my suggestion of not drafting anyone who has either spent time in jail or beaten up a ladyfriend, I simply shrugged and walked away.

In fact, I walked straight into the kitchen where I enjoyed a little culinary bonding with my daughter by making a peach pie together.  We followed Deb’s recipe at Smitten Kitchen and it turned out pretty awesome for a first attempt.  We talked, laughed and made a huge mess, while in the next room the guys talked, laughed and made a medium mess.  The time we spent split into pairs doing our special projects was – dare I say – invaluable. Nope, I may be softening on Fantasy Football, but I still hate that word.  Baby steps…