Monday, November 11, 2019

Shooting on Goal

Over the weekend, I had the wonderful chance to watch my youngest play futsal. Futsal, or futbol de sala, is soccer played in a gym. It is not, however, indoor soccer. The rules are slightly different and the ball is heavier. It's a fast paced game that prioritizes foot skills and quick decision making.

In the video, he is #16.

"At the beginning of the play, I was thinking I was going to cross it into someone. I mostly look for people to pass to. I knew I had two other teammates nearby. I knew there were three people back, it was 3 on 3, so I was kinda sure. I was thinking they might get it and attack. We just started trying to get the ball and trying to shoot and score.  
I decided to shoot when I had opening. I just try to put it on target. No, I don't try to go for a top corner. I just try to put it somewhere. I went high instead of low because the goal keeper was small. I thought if I put it up there, I might be able to have a chance to score. No, I didn't know it was going to go in. When the ball went in the net, I thought "yay!" I wanted to celebrate. I wanted to hit the whoa. I didn't, though, because it would be like meanish to the other team.  
I felt bad for the other team. [They lost something like 12-0.] I was proud of my goals. I wanted to take more shots. I kinda held back because we were winning so much."

I love futsal. It's fast and there's a lot of scoring. It's a lot different from outdoor soccer. Sometimes, when it's a close game, the parents can get very loud. Those voice echo in those small gyms. I wonder if the kids hear us, or just block us out and play the game.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Fall Running is Here

Fall running is here in Pittsburgh, PA. Leaves cover the ground, but it's still been quite warm outside. Six years ago, snow covered the ground today. But I'll probably do my workout in a tank top today.

Even though leaves cover the ground, I'm thinking spring when I run. This will be my 10th Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run. After I run in 2020, I'll be in the 100 Mile Club!

The lottery for the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run opens in December, and you don't want to miss it! Sign up to be notified. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

What Do Hawks Eat for Dinner?

If you've ever wondered what hawks eat for dinner, here's a photo. These two hawks perched in a tree across the street from my house. One has a nice, juicy squirrel clutched in its claws.

I assume these are red-tailed hawks until I know otherwise. Lately, I've been looking up more and noticing a lot more hawks in the neighborhood. We spotted one on the roof of a nearby restaurant. Driving home I saw one at the top of a pine tree. My oldest was looking at one through my binoculars and saw it screech.

This is all a great build up for our upcoming trip to Hawk Mountain Sanctuary.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Bird-watching at 44

I turned 44 last month! I love celebrating my birthday and I think it's weird I didn't remember to put up a post about what a great birthday I had.

We went to dinner, I got wonderful cards with beautiful messages and some perfect gifts. I was really excited about the new pair of binoculars. I enjoy bird-watching and never really did it in any formal way. But during our recent Colorado vacation I had fun identifying some new Western birds and decided I wanted to keep going with this hobby back home.

I took them right outside and scouted around Tyler Park. While I was out there - and on the phone talking to my brother, niece, and nephew about domesticated versus wild butts - I saw a hawk land in a nearby tree with a small mouse or chipmunk or animal in its claws! Then the hawk dropped the animal, then hunted and captured it again out in the open field, all while I was watching!

It was quite a gift. Thank you, hawk.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

I'm so excited to announce you can now get your copy of my new book So You Want to Be President of the United States!


   ... and Hardcover/Library Binding!

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Try It: Making Gnocchi

One of my goals this year was to bake something new. I've always wanted to try making gnocchi because my oldest son loves it. It seemed simple when I read the instructions on the website, but like everything new, we had a lot to learn.

Grating the potatoes was probably the most difficult part. 

The dough was a lot larger in size than I thought it would be. It was fairly hard to work with, and I think maybe I used too many potatoes. 

We had several sheet pans of gnocchi, which meant we were cooking for a long time. 

I was not prepared to cook the finished gnocchi in the sauce right away, so I had to call in another chef (my husband) to help make a flavorful sauce ...from scratch. We didn't have any jarred sauce. 

All in all, it was an edible meal. It was way more work than I had hoped. I can't say the finished product was more enjoyable than store bought. I would *maybe* try it again, but not anytime soon.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Cause and Effect in Nature

At first there was only one.

Just one groundhog living under our deck.

Then on my wedding anniversary there were two. It was romantic.
Then a third moved in very soon, and I'm not quite sure where it fit in.

They aren't aggressive or harmful, really. In fact they have entertained us somewhat.

But they can shift a lot of dirt. We read they can move as much as 700 lbs.

We are worried they could undermine the ground under the deck.

I called a pest control company, and they said I could trap them (they wouldn't), or shoot them (I wouldn't).

I did some reading online and learned that basically none of the chemical repellants work. So I looked for a natural solution.

And I was delighted to learn that attracting a hawk would encourage the hogs to move to a new home.

But how do you attract a hawk?

By attracting their prey. Songbirds.

So I hung lots of bird feeders, including regular house-shaped ones, and some unique finch socks.

The squirrels loved the one finch sock I hung in a bush at the back of the house. But they didn't both the one I hung in a smoke bush on the edge of our yard.

I didn't see any finches there for a long time. Then we saw one.

Then we saw lots. We saw them every day. So I hung two more finch socks in that same bush.

But the finches only went for the first one, the one hanging over the grass. Gradually, they have eaten almost all of the seeds out of that one and left the other two alone.

The first finch sock, the one in the photo above, is almost empty! I pointed this out to my family.

"I wonder why," I mused.

"Maybe they like the shade more,'' suggested my oldest.



I was amazed. I had never thought of bird feeders in the sun or the shade being more appealing. But his casual comment had me looking at the bird feeders in my yard - and the birds I see in our neighborhood - in a whole new light. And shadow.

I still don't know why the squirrels won't bother the socks hanging in the smoke bush. They certainly loved it in the other bush.

Thinking of the impact of sun and shade, of attracting prey to draw in predators, of attracting a predator to repel a minor pest, of how squirrels love a feeder in one bush but not another, are all elements of scientific thinking. This thinking comes from observation and questioning. It helps us observe and experience and understand the world around us.

Perhaps the groundhog isn't only one shifting things around here.