If the first week of January was any indication of how the next 51 are going to go, 2015 is gonna be a pretty eventful year.
It started out with Robbie and me arriving home from our Chicago visit, accompanied by her dad, Frank. He is going to be staying with us for, as we told him, "a few weeks." Now, I'm not saying yet that he'll never go back to Chicago to live by himself, but let's put it this way: We had his mail forwarded to us here in N.C., we turned off his cable service, we cleaned all the expired foodstuffs out of his fridge and cabinets (meaning pretty much nothing is left), etc, etc. You get the idea.
Frank is almost 89 years old and is in amazing physical health, but he no longer can live by himself. So it's either us or an assisted-care facility, and we're trying to make this work for at least a spell. We'll see how it goes.
By the way, I'm not too worried about him reading this given that he has never used a computer.
Last Saturday, my new(ish) hometown faves, the Carolina Panthers, scored a resounding playoff victory over the Arizona Cardinals. We went to a sports bar to take in the game with like-minded fans and it was a lot of fun watching Thomas Davis, Luke Kuechly and the rest of our boyz hold the Cardinals to the lowest yardage total in NFL postseason history.
It should be a similarly festive scene this Saturday night when the Panthers take on the Seahawks ... although I'd like "our" chances a lot better if the defending champs would play their third-string QB the way Arizona had to!
Seriously, though, the Seahawks and Panthers tend to play close, low-scoring games, so an upset isn't out of the question if Cam Newton takes care of the football and the D bottles up Russell Wilson.
Two pretty big ifs, I admit.
Meanwhile, my Scholars Academy Eagles went directly from Xmas break to a game on the very first day back to school. We started horribly, fell behind St. Anne's immediately and still trailed 21-10 early in the fourth quarter.
For those unfamiliar with middle-school girls basketball, an 11-point lead with a few minutes to go is the equivalent of a 30-point lead in men's college basketball. In other words, it usually is money in the bank. The girls stayed after it, though, and we whittled into the lead. We turned up the heat on our press, and the shots we had been missing all game suddenly started falling. A layup from Margaret here, a short jumper from Sienna there, a 3-pointer from Ritika here, two free throws from Ruta there. All of a sudden, it's a 2-point game and there's still 2 minutes on the clock.
The St. Anne's coach called time-out and I spent the minute reminding our girls to stay calm and to just keep playing the great basketball they'd been playing the previous several minutes. And how 'bout this for crazy ... they actually listened!
It was 23-23 with 15 seconds left when Olivia, Margaret and Sienna teamed to break St. Anne's press. Eventually, we got the ball to Ruta for the winning layup with 3 seconds to go. Wow! It was the best quarter of basketball in my 2 years as coach, and it couldn't have come at a better time.
The next day, we played again. This time, we rolled to a 51-6 victory in a game we could have won by 100 if I hadn't called off our press in the second quarter. Hey, I'm nothing if not compassionate.
We're now 8-1 at the season's midway point, and that's one more win than we had all last year.
Pretty exciting stuff for a school with zero basketball tradition -- other than the tradition we're building right now!
I also had my 50th personal finance article published on Seeking Alpha.
My previous piece has garnerned more than 54,000 pageviews and 900 comments. To provide a little perspective, anything receiving more than 10,000 views is pretty darn good, and 100 comments is a lot. That article and a few other popular pieces before it helped me to my best quarter of freelance earnings since I started with Seeking Alpha about 2 1/2 years ago.
I didn't expect my latest article to approach that level ... and it hasn't. But it did give me the opportunity to unveil the new logo I designed, so check it out!
Oh, and here's one other cool thing: Robbie was the featured employee on the Levine Children's Hospital Facebook page this week.
So now she's famous for something other than being my Sugar Mama!