secret clubhouse

I told my little brothers last night that they should appreciate me because I have to work so hard to get into their secret clubhouse.

I stared at them, trying to be serious, detailing the years of things they’ve been involved in together that I’ve had to learn in order to be able to talk to them. And I said…”and think about how much my feelings have been hurt.”

Then, they both doubled over in laughter, and I fell out of their Evil Baseball Chair (their words not mine).

So, we’re doing fantasy baseball together. And I really need to get it together this year because as I was sitting there, they both rattled off the day’s stats for all of their starters on their respective teams.

As the littlest one always tells me: Go big or go home. (And, I guess–get out of the secret clubhouse.)

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your soul is showing

Last Sunday, I had dinner at my parents house. I left later than I usually do on Sunday nights, coming up with three different plots to not have to go to work the next day.

When I finally got home, I realized that my line of thinking was going to make my week entirely miserable. Since I knew going in that there was going to be a minimal amount of sleep involved in my week, I figured that I would be doubly miserable about Wednesday when the exhaustion hit me.

So, I said to myself that it is all positive. Every single bit of it. Continue reading

The Little One

I received a text message today from my young brother who is a senior in high school. He was preparing for a debate in his U.S. Government class tomorrow.

“I told [my teacher] that if I had to be a Republican, I would just mock myself.”

I couldn’t help but laugh because sometimes when I talk to him, I want to apologize to my parents. Not for him, but for me. And I would except for the fact that I’m sure they were as tickled by my opinions as I am in my brother’s.

He went on to describe the entire project. They were supposed to write bills that they would present to Congress. He described his classmates’ bills: vegetarianism for all, handguns for all, and other similar mandates. I had to nod because he is in the same grade as my students, and I’m sure the bills would be similar if I gave the assignment.

My brother?

A tiered tax plan that would, in essence, raise taxes for the richest Americans. He had an added provision that the added tax revenue could not be used for the military. His argument? A historical look at taxes starting with Reagan. In his words: “I’m just going to talk about how Reagan ruined everything.”

It made me think of a conversation we had in the car about a month ago. “Don’t tell, but I think our parents made me a hippie.”

“Umm,” I replied. “I think they know, and I think that’s what they were trying to do.”

“Oh, and I think they were trying to make you a Socialist.”

Joy.

1 Month + 17 Days

It’s been that long since I “turned off” off this blog.

I needed a little space. Some privacy for my thoughts. Some breathing room for my goals. I need a fresh start in a lot of ways. I started an alternate blog http://asoultwist.wordpress.com that I didn’t update quite as frequently. Why?

Because it wasn’t The Watchtower.

“A Soul Twist” is one of my favorite songs ever. I love it because it doesn’t say anything so I am always free to interpret it for myself. It’s always exactly what I’m feeling.

But “Watchtower,” it is my first love. It says who I am. It shows what I mean. It tells how I dream.

I’ve cleaned up a lot. I’ve thrown things away. I’ve cut people out. I’m healthier. I’m stronger. I have time to write. I’ve started teaching again. I’m in love with my students. I’m in love with writing.

And I’m thoroughly engrossed by October baseball. I am so unbelievably in love with baseball right now. And it’s funny because I reopen this blog on the night of the my biggest heartbreak of the 2009 season. The Dodgers lost in the bottom of the 9th to the Phillies, setting them behind in the NLCS 1 game to 3.

I’m not going to lie. I cried. I couldn’t help it.

This started so long ago in spring training. Actually, it started in January when we decided to make the trip out to Phoenix. It was furthered when I declared my unwavering support for Clayton Kershaw a couple weeks before we set out because I thought he’d need it (and in the past week, boy did he). It’s been months and months of games. Forty-one times I walked into Dodger Stadium this year and watched a  ball game. I was able to do that with the people I love the most. I discovered that I can walk to the Stadium from my house. I spent beautiful summer afternoons staring at the wonderfully manicured grass. I watched my team play an amazing first half. I was in the stadium when they clinched the division.

All of that, and the true reason that I’m so enthralled by the game right now is because for the first time in 12 years, it’s meant exactly what it meant to me as a teenager. It’s reminded me that I have these amazing, amazing best friends. My brothers and I have shared an incredible season. We’ve shared the beginning of this postseason through games and emails and text messages. We’ve shared it through phone calls and memories and lucky socks.

And every single time we talk about the game or a game in our past, I can’t help but feel so deeply blessed to have brothers who share this with me, who have made me the fan that I am.

So, on this night of my tears and my cursing at the television, I reopen “Watchtower.”

“No reason to get excited….”

Coming Full Circle

I was thinking about this yesterday. I glanced up from the raking that I was doing to see my youngest brother shoveling out dead grass. Across the yard, the oldest of my brothers was lugging a trash bag to the side of his home.

We grew up being “forced” to do this. We would have epic yard cleaning sessions in the home I grew up in. Everyone had to be out there for tree trimming and hedging and weed pulling. We had a yearly battle with this vine that grew along the back fence of our home. It was years before we were able to full disentangle and remove it.

I wouldn’t say we hated it back then, but we certainly complained. Now, here we all were voluntarily  doing the exact same things, rubbing our hands raw on gardening tools and “accidentally” getting mud all over ourselves.

Somewhere about hour 8 on Saturday, it was just me, my brother and sister-in-law left surveying the damage. My brother and I were raking up dead grass, when all of a sudden he says, “Hey Jannnaaaa!!”

“What’s up?” I am always a little overwhelmed by his limitless energy.

“Just trying to make conversation,” he said. “When you’re doing manual labor, it shouldn’t be quiet. We should be talking about something…”

“Did you know Clayton Kershaw had an 0.71 ERA in July?” I asked….

And from there we went into a good 20 minute discussion on baseball and pitching prospects. Coming to  a complete full circle. Just like it’s always been….

Step Two: The Brothers

Well, some of them. When I was driving home yesterday, I thought to myself (again!) how lucky I am to have brothers who will hang out with me. Part of me thought that I should stop feeling lucky. But then I stopped myself, and I thought I should feel lucky. It’s such a nice feeling!

So, I took the younger two to San Diego to complete my two-day tour of the southern coast of California. We went down to the see the Dodgers play the Padres. It was a beautiful, beautiful day and I thoroughly enjoyed the drive and the wonderful conversation. It’s funny how even though I “forget” how old my little brothers are, I simultaneously take full advantage of it. Our conversations are pretty amazing, and I’ve come to genuinely treasure them.

Our shaded seats made for a freezing 9 innings, but we withstood it right up until the end when I insisted on moving to the sun. If it weren’t for our “Beat LA” towels, I probably would have given up in the 3rd inning.

About 5 miles out of San Diego, I veered off the 5 just for entertainment purposes. My brothers were pretty quiet for awhile before I got the exclamation “Where the heck are we?!” We made our way through Del Mar and Solana Beach, and basically stared in silence and the sun had begun to set over the ocean.

It was another gorgeous day spent with wonderful people.

From San Diego
From San Diego
From San Diego
From San Diego
From San Diego