Haley Scott DeMaria

Archive for July, 2013

40 to 40 #5

Football

Oh how I love football! I have been a fan my entire life: attending Arizona State games as a young girl, running plays with my dad, and our annual Thanksgiving Day touch football game in our front yard. I remember the excitement of attending the 1987 Rose Bowl to watch ASU beat Michigan. Michigan’s quarterback in the game, Jim Harbaugh, would go on to coach the San Francisco 49ers, the team our Baltimore Ravens beat in this year’s Super Bowl. It’s a small football world.

I grew up watching both college and NFL games. But since Arizona did not have an NFL team until the late-80s, I was a Dallas Cowboys’ fan. Why the Cowboys? Because when you are six-years-old and the Dallas Cowboys’ cheerleaders are on your favorite tv show, “The Love Boat,” you become a fan of the team. That’s just how it works when you are six. Later on when Charles Haley played for the Cowboys, I had a jersey with “Haley” on the back (in the days before you could order any jersey with any name on the back). I thought that was cool.

When I was looking at colleges, I knew I wanted to attend a school with a strong football program. I went to Notre Dame because of the swim team and its coach, but it helped that they had a good football team as well. I have been a die-hard and loyal fan ever since…over 20 years and six coaches and more heart-stopping thrills than are healthy. We are ND.

Football is an important part of our family’s fall. My son started playing fantasy football two years ago. He’s addicted. As he moves into middle school (and away from thinking his parents are cool), I know what topic to discuss if I want to enjoy a robust conversation with him: my fantasy team. Yes, I play too. If my boys were going to play, I was too. Actually, their league needed another team. So my girlfriend and I joined forces and played against our 10-year-olds last year. They usually won.

Saturdays are spent watching my boys play flag football in the morning and attending Navy games in the afternoon. Actually, our afternoons are spent tailgating at the Navy games (we do have tickets, and we usually make it into the game at some point). We also have a small tv that allows us to follow that other blue and gold team that kicks off at the same time on NBC. Unless of course it is one of those few lucky weekends when we get to watch the Irish play live. There is nothing better on a fall afternoon.

Sundays revolve around our Ravens. If there is a home game, two of us will go. If they are away, we meet friends at a local restaurant to follow our fantasy teams. We wear our jerseys, we dress in purple, we are all-in, hey-hon Baltimore.

From a football perspective, it would be hard to top the fall we had in 2012: Notre Dame went undefeated in the regular season and played in the national championship game. The Ravens won the Superbowl. I still have purple confetti in my family room.

Go Irish! Go Ravens! Go Navy! Beat Army!

 

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  • 40 to 40 #6

    Community

    This afternoon I spent a couple of hours with the Head of School at my boys’ school. Our conversation spanned many topics, but it reminded me how lucky I am – and how important it is – to be part of a community.

    I am not sure the importance of community was actually articulated to me as a child. We belonged to a church (and then several), and my mom built a strong community at the preschool she directed. But as with many communities (and things in general) I didn’t know it was there until we needed it.

    The first time I remember experiencing a sense of community was when my mom had back surgery. She couldn’t get out of bed for several months, during which teachers and staff from my mom’s preschool (and friends and parents from the school) took turns making dinner for us. Casseroles, pasta, unrecognizable meals…it was all very generous and very kind and very much appreciated. It is what you do for those in your community. But still, I am not sure the value of community was articulated during this time.

    When I was in the hospital, I was embraced by many communities: Notre Dame, South Bend, Xavier, my dad’s law firm, the swimming community, and again, my mom’s preschool. These communities sustained my entire family during a time when we couldn’t sustain anything on our own. And we knew it. And we talked about it. And we were grateful. For whatever reason, perhaps because these communities were so life-affirming and hopeful during a very dark time, we talked about how important it was to be part of a community.

    Today, this is a very real way I life my life: to make sure we are part of communities that will sustain us when we need them. But before we need them, we must give to them and we must nurture them. Many of these communities are the same: Notre Dame, Xavier, the swimming community. And some are new: the Naval Academy and St. Anne’s School of Annapolis, our boys’ school. Spending the afternoon with St. Anne’s Head of School affirmed everything I already knew: my children are not only at an amazing educational institution, where their academic, social and emotional needs are met by unbelievable teachers, but I know they will also learn – and talk about – the importance of community. And that lesson is priceless.

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  • 40 to 40 #7

    New Car Smell

    Today I pay homage to my husband.

    There are a million reasons why I love him, why he’s the perfect match for me, why only he could be married to me, blah blah blah. I really won’t bore you with the details (many of which you wouldn’t want to hear anyway). But I can tell you this: he likes a clean car.

    While those who work with him (or even better, for him) might disagree, he really is an easy-going guy. He’s pretty laid-back, he doesn’t get upset easily, he doesn’t mind a messy house (or office, for sure), he’s not particular about what I or the kids wear (have you seen his wardrobe?). He’s happy to let me run the show…most of the time – and when he suggests something different, it’s usually because I didn’t think it through. But don’t mess with his car.

    He doesn’t like to find the lids from ice cream containers which I have eaten and left in his car. Just like he doesn’t like to find the empty frozen yogurt cup (which means I have gone without him). And he really doesn’t like it when he finds pieces of candy corn, that have fallen in the cracks and melted under the seat (because of course I was eating in his car again).

    While you might think the common theme here is “eating,” it is actually acceptance. My husband accepts what I do no matter how baffled my actions make him (“Really, candy corn for breakfast?”) or how amusing he finds me to be (“I know you hide the ice cream so you don’t have to share!”) And no matter how hard I try to mess up his car (and I tried really hard this weekend), he just laughs and smiles and takes it back to the car wash, or to be detailed when necessary.

    It would be nice if all of life’s problems could be sorted out at the car wash. Maybe my husband just needs a little bit of our life that is his and his alone (because it’s certainly not anywhere in our house). But whatever it is, whatever it represents, I have a rock star husband. Or maybe he just really likes that new car smell.

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  • 40 to 40 #8

    Old Friends

    Just as I celebrated my birthday this past weekend with my Annapolis friends, it has been important for me to celebrate with my “old” friends as well. And by old, of course, I mean known-for-a-long-time.

    Over the past 30+ days, I have traveled to visit my sister and three dear friends: one in North Carolina, one who was visiting Rehoboth Beach, and a third in Buffalo, NY. It was important for me to touch base with each of these friends during my birthday countdown. I spent hours at the pool, the beach, the water park, Niagara Falls…just walking, sitting, talking and taking the time to connect.

    While my Annapolis friends know so much of my day-to-day life: the saga of baseball tryouts, Jamie’s travel schedule, my travel schedule, who the teachers are for this school year, etc… It is important to keep in touch with those friends would love to know the ins-and-outs of our lives, but just don’t live close enough to do so. While social media is great for this (see #40 – even when it’s TMI) it’s not the same as catching up in carline, or spending hours talking during a long baseball game or swim practice.

    But there are some friends who will always be a part of your life, no matter where they live, how long it’s been since you’ve seen them, or even how long it has been since you’ve talked to them. They are the friends with whom you share a past that has put you on the path to your present.

    It wouldn’t be a 40th celebration without paying homage to all my friends. They say one is silver and the other is gold; but I think both are platinum. It was important for me to celebrate with “old” friends, just as it was important for me to celebrate with my Annapolis friends. Just like, ultimately, I will celebrate with my family.

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  • 40 to 40 #9

    Annapolis

    Last night exemplifies everything I love about our life in Annapolis. Yes, it is a neat town. It has a great downtown area, with water views walking down Main Street, mom and pop shops, good restaurants and cobblestone streets. For many people, Annapolis is a vacation spot – a destination. For the past nine years, it has been home.

    I have always considered myself an Arizona girl. I am and always will be. But my children are Annapolitans; when asked where they are from, they’ll say, “Annapolis.”

    And while the town is quaint, on the water, charming, etc… that’s not what I love about Annapolis. What I love about Annapolis is the life we have built here and the friends we have made. Friends who make me laugh; friends who help me raise my kids; friends whose children I love as my own; friends to walk with, friends to meet for lunch (not that we ever do). Friends who knew exactly how I would want to celebrate my birthday.

    As I move into the final week of my birthday countdown, it’s hard not to get emotional or grateful for the numerous blessings in my life. I didn’t want this list to be too sappy, but I really can’t imagine life any better than it is right now. And the friends I celebrated with last night have so much to do with that. (So does my husband, who let me sleep all day…)

    I guess I didn’t want a big party because I didn’t want to limit the celebration: to one night, to one location, and to the friends who could attend. I want to celebrate with everyone who has made me who I am at age 40 (or at least as many as possible).

    My Annapolis friends have done just that: helped make me who I am. They traveled the journey of writing my book (and it was a journey!) and they continue to traverse the ups and downs of making the movie (looking more “up” than down these days…) They celebrated with me the day my book went to print, the day the first box of books arrived, and visited me at my first book signing at City Dock in Downtown Annapolis (which, after living here for 9 years, I just learned is called DTA). They have supported me through this professional journey down a path I didn’t seek, but was easier because of their support. And I am grateful.

    They have been cheerleaders, they have been a listening ear, they have been parents to my children. But most of all, they are some of the most amazing people I am blessed to call friend.

    Tonight, I toast (with limoncello) Annapolis: our life here and my friends who rock.

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  • 40 to 40 #10

    Puzzles

    I just sat down for a late lunch, opened the newspaper and read through to the puzzles page. I have done this since I was in middle school. Back then, it was Jumble, Scrabble and the crossword puzzle. Today, it’s mainly Sudoku and an occasional crossword puzzle (but only because my mother told me the two puzzles balance and exercise both sides of my brain).

    I have only – ever – finished one crossword puzzle entirely on my own. That’s not saying much, I know. I am definitely more of a Sudoku fan, which I complete entirely in pen. I actually prefer to do crossword puzzles in pen as well, but I make too many mistakes. I am a horrible speller, which does not bode well for completing a crossword correctly.

    When I board an airplane, the first thing I do is look at the Sudoku puzzles in the back of the airline magazine. If they are done, I switch magazines with the seat next to me. For these, I have to carry a thin-point Sharpie, as ballpoint or other pens tend to smudge. Yes, I actually think through this when I am packing. (“Compulsive” is probably another word I could put on my 40 to 40 list!)

    I find the crossword puzzles in the airline magazines to be too difficult, especially because the “easier” questions are usually already filled in.

    Jumble and Scrabble are still in our daily newspaper, but I have moved my Scrabble games online with Words With Friends and Scramble With Friends. I am hit or miss with WWF. My cousin and I have been playing for over a year, and I have won probably 15% of our matches (that percentage might be high). But I love it. She lives in La Jolla, CA, so our games keep us connected throughout the year. Another benefit of puzzles, when internet (or smartphone) based.

    I play Scramble With Friends with my sister, who lives in Florida. Again, she almost always beats me, but it keeps us in touch daily. These games may be the only activities in which I repeated lose, and still happily keep playing.

    But in our house, whoever has the most fun, wins. So, with puzzles – electronic or paper – I often have the most fun!

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  • 40 to 40 #11

    Skiing                                          

    A friend of mine’s father passed away this week. As I was searching for old photographs of him, I came across a number of pictures of my boys skiing. It reminded me how much I love to ski, and how happy I am on the slopes with my boys. While my 40 to 40 posts have been inspired by events of the day, I can’t neglect the wintry-fun! (Or wintery-fun…apparently both are correct!)

    I didn’t grow up with snow days or snow. I didn’t grow up skiing (except that one spring break when we skied Heavenly Valley, Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley…HELLO! I had no idea how cool that was!) But when I went to high school, all my friends skied…so I adopted the sport. But I wanted my children to learn to ski at an earlier age – so they have been on the slopes since they were four.

    And we’ve had a ball. Many times it’s just the three of us; other times, we ski with friends. Both are wonderful. Often times I’ll ride up the ski lift, flocked on either side by my boys and just smile. Smile that I am skiing with them; smiling that I can ski with them; smiling because they are at an age where we enjoy the same activities. And skiing is top of the list!
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  • 40 to 40 #12

    Lists

    I just saw a commercial for a movie called, The To Do List. It’s about a girl who graduates from high school in 1993 (I graduated in 1991). The trailer (and the fashion) made me laugh.

    But it inspired today’s post: I LOVE to make lists! I make them every day, for everyone in my house (except the dog). I have lists on my phone, on scraps of paper, on my computer and on my desk. I have short term (daily) to do lists and long term (house project) to do lists. I have lists of emails I need to send and letters I need to write. I have a list of books I want to read. If I need to do something, it’s on a list. If I have recently done it, it’s checked off a list.

    When I leave the kids with a babysitter (“Mom, we aren’t babies!”) I leave the boys to do lists: eat dinner, brush your teeth, put PJs on, go to bed. I would like to think that I do this to help them take ownership over their actions, but I write these lists mostly for myself. In the morning, they wake up to a list of work they need to do that day. The boys have packing lists when we go on trips, so they can pack their own clothes. (Warning: if you let your kids pack on their own, you have to let them wear whatever they pack.)

    Of course I have the required grocery list, which I begin when I have more than three items I need to purchase (two items I can remember; three is borderline; more than three and I have to write it down).

    I am sure there is a study one could do on a chronic list-maker like myself: on why I make them and why I enjoy checking off the completed items (and even better: why I add already-done items to a list, just so I can check them off…I’m not the only one who does this, by the way). But for now, I am content to believe that I am just organized…if not somewhat forgetful.

    I also just realized that my 40 to 40 countdown is a list. Ha!

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  • 40 to 40 #13

    Forgiveness

    Thank goodness for forgiveness! I am so grateful to the friends and family members in my life who are gracious in their forgiveness. I too strive to be forgiving, accepting of others’ faults and flaws, and understanding of others when they make mistakes. Sometimes I do a better job at this than at other times. But the one person I tend to not forgive easily is myself. Even when others have forgiven me, I struggle to do so.

    Forgiveness is a very powerful gift; to give and to receive. Give and accept freely.

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  • 40 to 40 #14

    Texting

    Let me start off by saying that nothing beats a visit from friends and family, or a girls night out, or a day at the beach with a friend, or a phone conversation to catch up with a loved one. All of these are great. But while some believe that social media, the internet and smart phones leave us disconnected, I find that I am actually more connected because I can text.

    Today my cousin texted me to share the news that a royal baby was soon to be born, and ended the text with, “We should be together.” She lives in California, and we woke up early in 1981 to watch Lady Diana wed Prince Charles. We were also together the weekend Diana died. So yes, we should have been together. But we were thousands of miles apart, and yet – because of a quick text – we were experiencing the news together. I quickly texted my mom to share the update with her; and 20 minutes later my husband texted me, “It’s a boy!” Which led to another flurry of texts.

    Once, before my mom started texting, I was riding in the car sending my husband a quick text, when she (somewhat exasperated) asked, “Now, what are you texting him that you couldn’t pick up the phone to call and tell him?” Who knows? It wasn’t a major life event; for that, I would have definitely called. It was a simple story, or a funny thing one of the kids said, or a reminder; nothing worth interrupting his day at work, but something worth sharing with him nonetheless. Whatever it was, I wouldn’t have called to tell him, but because I could text him, he was able to stay connected with us and our day.

    These are the moments when texting is brilliant. I don’t want to hear major life news via text (unless it’s about the royal family); for that you can call me. But I love texting to share the simple moments, the funny moments, the day to day moments that build relationships and capture who we really are. Even my mom has come around and embraced the art of texting…for she knows she’ll hear from us more, and share more with her children (and grandchildren) via text. It doesn’t replace the phone calls; it adds to the love.

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