One of my very first memories of childhood involves the Flyers. It it just a snapshot–a flash. But I remember it clear as day. I remember sitting in our family room, I couldn’t have been more than 3 or 4. Our neighbor’s son was there. He was 9. We were watching hockey. And I was thrilled.

My mother was a Philadelphia fan. We lived in South Jersey. Everyone was. It was an exciting time for Philadelphia hockey, the 1970s. At least that is what I am told. What I know was that it was an exciting time for us.

I loved watching the skating back and forth. The movement of the puck across the ice. To me it looked like the players were dancing.

But as the years went on, watching Philadelphia hockey also made me feel yucky. They were so mean. They were called Bullies. They pushed and the shoved and they hurt people. I couldn’t cheer for that, even though I enjoyed the game. When I was 5 or maybe 6, I remember watching our Flyers hoist the Stanley Cup over their heads and I remember not being entirely thrilled about it. I think it was the first time I realized that not everything in life is simple–that joy can come at great expense. That sometimes winning means playing dirty. And I didn’t like it. I just didn’t like it at all. Life suddenly felt complicated.

As the years went on I lost interest in the NHL. It could have been that we no longer lived in the Philadelphia area and noone we knew got excited about the New York teams. It could have been that I grew up into dolls and books and art projects and dancing. It could have been the icky feeling I got about cheering for bullies.

But whatever it was, I still loved hockey. I watched the big kids play pick-up hockey on the pond, street hockey at the bus stop. In middle school and high school we hung out at the rink, watching our friends and dreamy older boys play high school and club hockey. When I found myself in love with a hockey player I actually learned something about the game, the strategy, what went wrong, what went right. I could recognize good players. I could appreciate how hard it was. In college, our team was not elite but I watched each game with interest.

But I could never get into the NHL. To me it seemed brutal and horrible and bloody and not interesting. I could sit in the stands watching college puck with interest but when the pros came on TV I stood up and left the room. I couldn’t even watch in solidarity with my close guy friends. Sportsman ship, treating people with respect, love for each other these things are important to me and somehow my early experience with the Broad Street Bullies just soured me on the game.

For a variety of reasons this year, having to do with magic and friendship, we have rediscovered hockey at our house. It has been hard not to get swept away by the story of the Washington Caps this year. I actually find myself reading the sports page of the Washington Post. I find myself worrying about the defensive lineup. I am in love with their coach–or at least his story.

For those who don’t care a bit about hockey (are you even still reading this post?? have I lost all readers?) tonight is the first game of the playoff series between the Capitals and (gulp) the Flyers. And I am a bundle of nerves, conflicted and a little bit sick. Not because I am a fan, but because I can’t stand not to watch. After watching every minute of the last two games I am hooked on the Caps, their young fast team and their story. And I am sick thinking about the new Broad Street Bullies and their mean mean play. And I am wondering how I will feel watching this series play out. Will I be 6 all over again? I wish I could just look away. But I want to see the Caps win. And I want to believe that my (new) team will win–playing fair and clean. And I want the bullies to go home, scorned. Because if that happens, maybe I can believe again that the world is fair.

I have a friend who is a big fan. He is serious about his Caps and hockey but I think he thinks that I, with my nervous stomach, am a bit crazy. After all its just a game. Sure it would be nice for the hometown to win, but does it have to be so complicated. When is a hockey game just that…a hockey game? Why does it all have to be fraught with meaning?

But it is. And while it might seem nutty its an opportunity. To watch what comes up for me. To observe. To see.

And maybe just to watch, cheer and enjoy.

We’ll see.

Wish me luck. Its gonna be a long week.

Update: I am glad I watched. It was an amazing game–Twists, turns, drama. Physical yes, but hockey at it’s prettiest. I cheered for the Red team, the home team and didn’t feel I was betraying my past. The bullies had their moment but in the end the Capital triumphed. Better yet, I just had fun–me, Max, pizza and the TV. Big fat sigh of relief.

I want to take a break from my discussions about now, and life and magic and parenting and soul sisters and all that to simply say: These guys rock.

Awww…yeah…I’m so smitten with my community, is it true. I couldn’t help myself. Had to post about ’em. But…aren’t they good y’all, these friends of mine? They are so talented but more than that–they are so damn fun.

I love that I have friends that sing and play for me. I love that I get to hear these guys around a campfire, in my living room and around the corner on a regular basis. I love that music, played joyfully is a part of every day in our life in one way or another.

I am a lucky girl.

And did I say it already…these guys– they really do rock.

 

I am sore today.  My lower back, my hips, my abdomen.  They are all tight.  Not from yoga, but from this.  This hoola hoop.  This wonderful and magical hoola hoop.

Yesterday afternoon felt like early spring.  Jackie and I took the boys to get haircuts and then ended up at her house with another friend.  It was a beautiful day and there was only one thing to do–hang out on the porch, and watch the neighbors float by.  As we watched the kids play, and talked, I picked up one of Jackie’s daughter’s hoola hoops.  “I remember these,” I thought.  “Its just like riding a bike.  I bet I can still do it.”…Yeah…right.

An hour later I was still at it–trying to keep that hoop up that is.  Eric and our friend’s husband came out and took all the kids to the park, but we were too deeply engaged in play to go with them.  We were giggling and cheering each other on, fully absorbed in the games of our youth.

There is no better way to spend a Sunday afternoon with your middle aged girl friends than hoola hoopin’ and jump roping.  

 When it was finally time for us to leave, Max and I headed right for our neighborhood hardware and garden store to pick up–hoola hoops.  Several of them.  One for me, for one Max, one for our housemate…and yes a guest hoop because you never can have too many and you never know when someone is going to stop by to play.

After dinner last night, my housemate and I stayed up giggling trying to keep it going.  You would think with all the dancing we do we would have no problem but no such luck.  I think the best I did was 8 or maybe 10 rounds before the hoop would start to drop.  Tonight after watching us struggle for too long Max finally got up with authority to school us on proper hoola hoop technique.

Its going to be a marvelous spring, my friends. 

Please come over and play. 

Today Juan and Max were sitting at the kitchen table playing a board game.  Juan is attempting to spend more time with Max, something that makes us all very very happy.  I sat on the couch and practiced my guitar some, but after awhile my hand cramped up.  I needed a new diversion.

Last week, late one night I made a splurge on-line purchase.  I ordered myself not one but two fancy party dresses, the kind I could wear to a cocktail party if I had one on my social calendar, the kind I could wear to a Bat Mitzvah. (I do have that on my calendar). 

I ordered them against my better judgement.  But I ordered them anyway because the last time I purchased something fun, beautiful and decadent was for a wedding over 5 years ago.  I was married back then and the dress, while still in fashion says “elegant married lady”.  Don’t get me wrong, I like my elegant look.  But I wanted something a bit more…flirty. 

I wanted something new to wear to Christmas parties and New Years balls.  I wanted something to throw on just in case someone called me up and invited me to put on 3 inch heels and drink fancy fancy drinks.

The dresses arrived yesterday and sat in a box on the couch.  I was having instant buyer’s remorse.  Afterall, the only holiday party I am sure I am going to is for work.  Oh, yeah and I am pretty certain we will go to Jackie’s   neighborhood party.  Last year I wore jeans to that one.  I almost sent the dresses back, sight unseen immediately, disgusted that I wasted money on something I clearly did not need.

But Max was occupied, dinner was done and I was bored.   I decided to try them on before sending them back.  Decided I would do it so that I would feel better when I returned them.  I was certain I would hate the way I looked and that would make me feel so much better about letting them go. 

I slipped the first dress over my head.  Just at that moment, my dear dear housemate who had done a load of laundry and was bringing me some clothes walked in.  I jumped up on the bed so as to better view myself in the mirror.  She immediately “oohed and aahed”  as if on cue.  Women housemates are worth their weight in gold just for their uncanny ability to “ooh and ahh” just when you need it most.  I spun around and shimmied just for good measure.  Yes…I thought.  This dress is good.  I am not certain I will send it back.

I stripped and put on the second.  There was more oohing and aahing …But I wasn’t convinced.  I wasn’t sure how I felt about the plunging neckline, the fitted waist, the bold red color and black polka dots.  Did I look flirty or did I look like a woman trying to be a girl?

I took off the dress and put on the first.  Back and forth we went, scrutinizing each dress…Did it fit properly?  Did it make me look curvy or fat?  How would it look with this bra?  These shoes?   I put on my very best underwear just to see how it changed things.  Everyone knows that dresses always look their best with good underwear.

I paraded into the kitchen in the first dress.  There was consensus all around that the beautiful black dress was a keeper.  It was ideal for the Bat Mizvah.  It was elegant and really only a little bit flirty. 

But the red dress…I just wasn’t sure.  I brought it out on a hanger.  Juan looked at me skeptically.  Max said he loved it and begged me to try it on.  I asked Juan if he had a minute.  Juan was always my personal shopper when we were married.  He knew exactly what looked good on me.  I trust his opinion.  After all, he once thought I was hot.

I ran into the bedroom like a little girl playing dressup.  I threw on the dress and came out.  Max told me I looked like a princess.  “You look awesome mommy” he said.  “Please keep it.  And please wear it everyday to work!” 

But the real judge was the guy in the coat, on his way out the door.  “Wow” he said.  I looked at him with a little smile and said, “I am not sure your opinion counts…You married me once.  Pretend you never married me.  What would you say if you saw me in this dress? Like for the first time.

“Its a beautiful Meg…Just beautiful.  I think I would say–wow”. 

I am keeping them both.  At least I think I am.  Juan left after that and I had to get on with my evening.  I kept the dress on.  I put on a pair of three inch heels and emptied the dishwasher. 

There is nothing like making your own party.

After the series of heavy posts over here at Bamboo Journal, I feel it the need to lighten it up around here.  So here goes…

If you’re American when you go into the bathroom…

And you’re American when you come out of the bathroom…

What are you when you are in the bathroom?

Give up?

European (get it:  You’re-a-pee’in!)

This is the of our favorites at our house.  Such is life with a 6 year old.  Its all potty humor and silly puns.    I wish I had something better in my back pocket.

But in all seriousness I have done a bit of laughing around here, despite the momentous place that I am in.  Laughter is a sport I excel at.  I really do like it all, the silly, the ironic, the over-the-top, the sarcastic, and yes the potty humor too.   And I love the crazy place of laughing so hard that you start laughing because of the laughing.  So I have been thankful for all the laughter this past week–and for those who made me laugh with their clever wit and bad jokes.   

Some other things to be thankful for?  Camping.  I am hitting the woods with a chunk of my tribe again this coming weekend.  I can already smell the campfire and hear the music.  No matter that the last few weeks have been kind of heavy…after sitting around the great outdoors with dear dear friends, a glass of wine and the blues in the air I will be blissed out for weeks to come.  Lighter than air…

So as not to hit you with two bad jokes I will leave you on this note (pun absolutely intended).  This little song has had me singing at the top of my lungs all week.  Its crept into my head and has had me twirling. 

May joy bubble up through your heaviest moments this week

These are the flowers that sat on my table last week.  Every morning I wake up at 6 am to write.  These flowers were my partners–keeping me going inspiring me.  They are gone now and only clutter and bills and lots of mess in preparation for the upcoming journey to Ireland sit on my table.  But the memory lingers.  

Flowers in the morning

Flowers in the morning