Friday, December 29, 2006

My Corky's Wedding Yarmulke

Look at this. He has to have it.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Best Present Ever!

I might wave it around while I work out watching Rocky II. Thanks, Mom!!!

Monday, December 25, 2006

New Knitting Project

My Aunt Jane was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and will soon be losing her hair to chemo. So my Christmas gift to her is a hat--a very special hat for which I found the pattern at Knitty. This hat serves several purposes. It will keep her head warm in this "winter" weather. (I know it will dip below freezing at some point. I just know it) But this extra special hat will also give her the appearance of having hair. Look at it! Look at this hat! Have you ever seen such a thing??



Let me tell you how fun it wasn't to knit the curlers into the hat. My fingers are aching, but it was totally worth it. Hopefully, I will get some photos of her actually wearing the hat. My other aunt thinks Jane will never wear this green lovely. I think she's cool enough. I think this will be the warmest, flyest lid on the street. I'd wear one myself if it wasn't so challenging to construct.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Satisfied

Shelbie and I went to see Rocky Balboa. She was initially reluctant, not thinking the flick could be any good at all. That changed about 18 seconds into the opening credits. I'll tell you what. That Sylvester can still write up a tear jerker. I can't decide if I am more enamored by Rocky's undying love for his wife or his never-give-up competitive spirit. What an athlete! Though he would never say things in such improperly phrased English, Pete would love Rocky's "I didn't hear no bell" attitude. I can definitely see this movie (or really any from the series) as a pump up movie before a rugby match. I mean, look what the soundtrack has done for warmup cds.

So anyway, the sixth film was all I could have hoped it would be. I was pleasantly surprised. After Tommy Gunn, I was a little scared this one would be cheesy. But my official opinion is that it was better than Rocky II, not quite as good as Rocky I, and worlds better than III, IV, or V. And yes, I think almost anything at all is better than Rocky IV even though he trains in Siberia. I'm sorry, but chopping wood is nothing compared to one-armed pushups on a basketball when you are 60 years old. Rocky/Sylvester kicks ass.

The best part was getting to gush over it with Shelbie, whose heart was quite won over. I bet she is sitting at home right now watching the others On Demand and exercising in her living room. I know I will be in a few minutes...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Cup da Balls

Today is the day. It's Rocky Day. I desperately wanted to go yesterday to see the film on opening night, but my dad was not returning from his business trip and I couldn't convince any cousins or sisters or friends to go along. So today my dad is home but won't come with me because it's Pizza Night. I am not waiting until Friday. That's just too much. I'm going tonight.

But, to assuage my desperate longing to see the film yesterday I read a fantastic article in Philadelphia magazine written by Andrew Corsello. It's probably one of the best pieces of writing I've read all year. Mr. Corsello seems to incessantly mock Sly, and that's ok, because he does it with such style and grace.

Some of the highlights from the article, for me, are when he quotes Sly giving commands in his trailer years ago. He's getting a bj from a groupie and telling her to "Work da shaft" and "Cup da balls." The dialogue is placed next to a photo of Sly wearing a tweed suit, 70's hair flowing into the photo frame. Irreconcilable images. I freaking love it.

Several paragraphs later, Corsello writes of a prolonged pause, "and in that pause the ramps and levers of that huge mouth begin to move, as slowly and inexorably as those of a drawbridge."

He says Stallone has "mammoth and leathery tonsils" and eyes that are "as large, wet, and uncomprehending as a cow's."

If I ever get to use the phrase "leathery tonsils" in my career as a writer, I will feel enormously fulfilled. Andrew Corsello has mocked my childhood nurturer, but has done it so well that I find myself running around the house screaming "Cup da balls!!!" at my mom and wishing I were the one to have written that honest and wonderful article about the film that is sure to be fabulous, despite negative reviews. Rocky Balboa, here I come.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Fish Monger

Yesterday, Jennylui and I went to the seafood market to investigate the strange things we found inside the lobsters. Tricia discovered a long skinny thing that resembled sliced red pepper. She and J-Lui each ate some and I abstained. When we got to the market, we learned the following things from the delightful Chinese man working at the counter:
1. Lobsters pee out of their faces
2. The red stuff was "delicious roe" and should be eaten
3. All the other stuff in there was "shit" (a word the man used liberally) and lobsters have shit in their heads.
4. According to Chinese legend, lobsters have shit in their heads because the waves of the ocean tumble them upside down and shove the shit into their heads
5. All of the stuff in the head is ok to eat as long as you boil the lobster long enough. We will probably all abstain from eating the things inside the lobster head next time regardless of its safety.

Can you imagine how weird it would be to pee from your face? The pee comes out right above the lobster mouth. The whole demonstration was very strange. The man walked us over to the tank and pulled out some lobsters. He took us on a little anatomical tour of the lobster body. Best trip to the Strip ever.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Lobsters Are Delicious

After my friends Diana and K-bod documented their lobster feast on Facebook, I decided I needed to steam and consume lobsters. I decided that Jennylui's visit to Pittsburgh would be an ideal time to steam lobster with other Penn State rugby people. I went to the market and purchased two little critters, who proceeded to LOOK at me in the kitchen while I waited for Kelly E and Tricia and Jennylui to show up.

Kelly said she would happily plunge the lobsters into the pot of water (head first, as the Joy of Cooking suggests) so I hid my face and she dropped them in. Only then, Jenny freaked out because we hadn't killed them humanely so she extracted the crustaceans from the boiling water and stabbed them in the brain with a butcher knife before sticking them back in the pot. At this point I was beside myself and shrieking like a baby while Tricia took photos and Kelly just giggled. At least we didn't have to listen to them scream.

It was very interesting to sit down to dinner at a table set with butcher knives, hammers, mallets, meat forks, and melted butter atop a cloth of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Friday edition).

I think I decided that the meal, while delicious, was more work than it was worth. The killing of the lobsters was far too traumatic for my weak stomach. I wonder if this makes me some sort of hypocrite? Should I force myself into vegetarianism because of my inability to kill my own food? As KK's son James reminded me, 15-year-old boys are more than willing to trek into the woods and shoot food for me. Maybe Jennylui and James would move in with me and just take care of that for me. I don't know what to do, but those lobsters sure were good.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Yo, Adrian

I love Sylvester Stallone movies. I blame this on my father, but perhaps blame is too strong a word as I am happy with my fascination. I attribute this to my father, who would let my sister and I stay up entirely too late while my mom was at work. We would sit with him on the sofa and watch in fascination as this stubborn underdog would repeatedly defeat everything in his way while crowds of people cheered in horror and disbelief.

Right now, I am on a Rocky kick. I'm watching all 5 of the movies on demand right now. I watch them one after the other. Rocky IV is on in the background right now. He's training to fight the Russian. My heart is all aflutter. Just as Corey watches great cycling races while he trains indoors, I watch the Italian Stallion train as I work out in the afternoons. We do pushups together and I know that one day soon, I will do the one armed, legs spread pushups that he flies through with ease.

Some of the articles I have to read for my literature class attempt to deconstruct the masculinity in the Rocky movies, which I find distressing. Once I start thinking about them in analytical terms I can't stop. I start to wonder why Adrian ever fell for him in the first place, when his big pickup line was "Come up stairs and I'll clear you a place to sit on my sofa." I get worried that she stops wearing her glasses when he tells her she is pretty. How does she see? I freak out that the doctor tells Rocky Adrian is in a coma because she worked during her pregnancy and I get disturbed that Paulie is allowed to talk to her so harshly.

I don't want to analyze Rocky Balboa. I just want to watch him win despite all odds and march around my house dooting the theme song while I do dishes. I can't wait for Wednesday. Even if I have to go to the movies alone, I'm gonna be there when he defeats Mason "the line" Dixon.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Progress



I'm doing pretty well with the mittens. I got darned cocky with this project and it turned out to be much more difficult than I thought. I keep having to make adjustments to the pattern. It looks like an ant herd is crawling all over it. I just hope I can read it when I go to make the left mitten. Sheesh! Who knew it was hard to design things!

The shocking part for me is that the intarsia part (the skull and crossbones) is actually the easiest. Perhaps because I designed this in Excel and it's pretty faultless? I don't know. But it shocks me that the wrist and hand of the mitten is giving me such grief. I've knitted a thousand mittens. I do socks for heaven's sake! Why is this Jolly Jordie so damn hard?

I will beat you, design process. I will beat you and all your intricacies and I will knit the best mitten ever!! Mwahahahahahahahaha.

(Most of my students are done with finals, so I have a lot of down time in the writing center this week)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Woohoo! Weddings!

I think all weddings should be dominated by rugby playing guests of all genders. That way, there would always be lineouts for the bouquet and garter as well as the best car decorations ever:


Don't rugby people clean up nice? You would never know by looking at us that two months ago, we were all covered in bruises and lots of mud. It's really nice to take a look at us off the pitch sometimes.



Thursday, December 07, 2006

Icy Ramblings

I can't decide what thrills me more: the prospect of a three-day mini vacation from the football fellas or the Morris Rugby reunion that is the cause of my respite.

Either way, tomorrow instead of picking through garbage or learning fun pranking ideas I will be on an airplane headed to the Best Wedding Ever with my old teammates. I am taking a notebook and pencil to the reception to make note of things I like and do not like. I am very much anticipating the decor because the bride will be paying homage to UVA. I love people with team spirit. Corey is trying to object to the idea of walking into our reception to the Penn State fight song. He's crazy.

Today I had a lot of time to think about random thoughts as they popped into my head. My normally 15-minute ride on the 71A got stretched into a 1.5 hour death march due to the unsalted roads and home Steelers game. Had I not been wearing my Birkenstock clogs, I would have walked the 3 miles home and saved a half hour of torment. I just couldn't risk slipping and falling down or, worse, getting the suede wet in the snow puddles.

I just parked myself in the front of the bus, clinging to the pole through my mittens, and let my brain wander all around. Perhaps the most enjoyable images I thought up were of Student D and what he might have been eating this evening in the writing lab without me there to watch. I envision him sitting there with breadsticks and garlic butter, periodically munching sunflower seeds from his pocket.

What does it mean when I spend more free time daydreaming about my students than I spend working on my manuscript? It means I am in serious need of a rugby party.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My Morning at Work

Katy (on cell phone with student A): Why did you throw all your papers in the garbage can?
Student A: I hate that class
Katy: But you have to turn them all in with your portfolio to pass it. You don't want to take it again.
Student A: Shit. Fuck. Can you get them out of the trashcan for me?
Katy: No. Come back here and do it yourself.
Student A: (Long pause, deep sigh) It wasn't such a bad class.

Katy (on cell phone with student B): Are you coming for your appointment today?
Student B: Shit! Is it 9am already?
Katy: It's 930.
Student B: Oh. Well. I am in the middle of something and I'll be right there. (Whacking sound. Muffled voices.)
Student B (talking to someone else): Knock it off, douchebag. I'm talkin' to my tutor.
Katy: What are you doing?
Student B: We're having a Gold Bond war right now. I just hit Student C in the face with a sock full of powder. I'll be there in ten minutes. I gotta take a shower.

Katy: Student D, do you have a pencil I can borrow?
Student D: Yeah, sure. Here you go.
(Student D hands me a pencil covered in sticky goop. It is disgusting. I don't take it from him)
Katy: What is on your pencil, Student D?
Student D: (contemplates pencil for a long time) I think it is pear juice. Would you like a pear?
Katy: No, thank you.

Student D proceeds to bite into a pear and pulls sausage links from his backpack. Not from a bag or other food container made of paper, cardboard, or plastic. Loose sausage links floating around in his bag among his pencils and pens and notebooks. Student D is from an Eastern European country where, perhaps, it is normal to carry loose sausage in one's backpack. I am too overwhelmed with the desire to laugh hysterically that I need to leave the room and take a small walk. When I return, he is eating a banana.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Fungus Friends

One of my students, a wrestler this time, has ringworm. I noticed it on his wrist and proceeded to tell him my horror story of catching the little fungus on the rugby pitch last August. He plans to go home and pour bleach on it so he can still compete for the rest of the semester. Evidently, they quarantine fungal wrestlers so it doesn't spread to the whole team. My student is filled with rage that whomever gave him the fungus didn't stop wrestling, so he's doing the same thing.

I just want this poor boy to not pour bleach on his skin. I also want him to not have fungus for four months like I did. I really want to give him my leftover steroid antifungal creams and shampoos, but it's an NCAA violation to give him anything, even a pencil.

I am sitting in my kitchen filled with worry that he will show up for his appointment tonight with bleach burns all over his body and need skin graphs. Why is tinea such a persistent pesky pain? This is upsetting. Upsetting!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Clean my Mac

Does anyone know how to care for a MacBook? My white beauty is dingy gray on the keyboard section. Apparently, white computers gather any imaginable filth that lingers on my finger and hands. The woes of being left handed leave my keyboard even more filthy as the graphite from a thousand comments on student papers is now wiped off on my a,s,d,f, keys and the space bar.

Also, the monitor is dirty and I don't know how to clean it. I tried different sorts of wipes with paper products. Now I mostly use spit and my filthy finger to get the big spots off it.

How the heck are you supposed to keep a computer clean? Why didn't I order the black one? This is going to plague and bother me for years until the entire machine is a solid shade of gray and I stop noticing. I'm gross...

Friday, December 01, 2006

Good Day

Today is a great day for a number of reasons. To start with, it is no longer 70 degrees outside. Thank Jesus! I was terrified of apocalypse when I was walking around after midnight last night, December 1, and I was pitting out and sweating my brains off. I actually jogged to Helen's car in a tank top with my pant legs rolled up to fight the heat. A good old winter storm is rolling in as we speak, and I am once more calm. I just feel like global warming and disaster are eminent when it's this freaking hot in the winter time.

Today is also great because I had fabulous tutoring sessions this morning. I worked mainly with two football fellas. One was writing about professional wrestling. More specifically he was writing about my childhood hero the JYD. I told him all about my JYD action figure and how I used to chew on my Hulk Hogan doll's head while I watched WWF on Saturday mornings. He wrote a really fantastic revision and his teammate wrote a kick-ass revision of his analysis of a T.S. Elliot essay. I love it when I get to spend time with really motivated students who want to improve. It makes my whole week.

The final reason for the greatness of today is the fun party I'm having this evening! 40 rugby players and writers are coming to my house to buy products from Pure Romance. It's like a tupperware party for sex toys! Everyone will leave with a free penis pen and I'm sure it will be the funniest thing I've seen in years. I'm a bit nervous that my writing and rugby worlds will collide, but I think I'll make it out ok.

So here's to Friday, the best day ever.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Knitting Season

Jordie has opened up whole new worlds for me and my knitting. He placed a request for very special mittens and I was unable to find a suitable pattern anywhere I looked. So I had no choice but to pull out both volumes of Stitch N Bitch and teach myself to design a pattern! I first needed to make a pattern to fit my size four DPNs and the worsted yarn I have for the mittens themselves.

THEN I needed to make a skull and crossbones to go on the back of those mittens. I did it all with Excel! It's filling my heart with joy. I think the design is a bit small right now, so I will spend today obsessing over how I can stretch it across 17 stitches and 15 rows instead of 13x11 like it is now.

But this new obsession with designing has filled whatever empty or angry spaces there were in my head. I am almost late for work right now and I don't even care! Knitting is amazing!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Filled with rage and hatred of men right now

I defer you to Blondie's blog, where you will read a letter from a man who makes me so angry I do not have words.

I then refer you to an email he wrote Emily in response to her anger at his words. I just don't know how to deal with a person who thinks this way.

Dear Emily,

Thank you for your reply. Sorry for any offense my letter may have caused you, but it does represent my true feelings in this matter.

Do I think women should play rugby? No.

Do I think women have a right to play rugby? Yes.

Having said this, perhaps now you may be willing to understand where I'm coming from.

Rugby Magazine's adoption of women's rugby is a relatively recent occurrence. It was only in the mid or late 80's that the periodical took on women's coverage, and there was an immediate percentage of readers like myself who did not care for this. I don't know if you are aware of this, but there are certain things that men like to do in the company of men alone. Sports have always been a venue for this primal need to 'rough-house' it away from the women folk. For me, in my life, being a rugby player has always been a sacred testament to things masculine...and so...women's rugby is a affront to what I hold most dear about the game. Does this mean women have no right to play it? Of course not. But does your right to play it mean I don't have a right ignore it? Again, of course not.

I would be very pleased if I could completely ignore the entire phenomenon of women's rugby. This however is hard to do when your once favorite periodical is devoting ever increasing coverage. My appeal to Mr. Haggarty was not for the abolition of women's rugby, but rather to create, if possible a separate periodical devoted entirely to the women's game, and keep such coverage out of the current product. Then perhaps everybody is happy. You've got your own magazine, and no longer have to put up with the ranting of traditionalists like me. Me and my ilk will be happy for the obvious reasons. The more liberal minded can get a subscription to both.

Do you think separate rugby magazines would be a bad thing?

Sincerely,

Eric L. Seiler

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Bus Woes Again

Last night I sneaked out of work a tad early because it was ten till 9 and I wasn't about to get started with a student who might walk in the door at that time. I was jazzed to catch the earlier bus and get myself home before 930. The 500 rattled up the bus lane, I climbed inside the nearly empty bus and hurdled the giant homeless man snoring and taking up the whole front of the bus.

It became very clear very quickly that this man had severe sleep apnea and wasn't about to leave the bus any time soon. The driver started shouting "Hey! Buddy! You said Oakland. Where you gettin off?"

Now this homeless man was huge. He could have played second row for the All Blacks if he were in shape. He was snoring so loudly and so violently, I felt totally confident letting a few cabbage farts sneak out. Nobody was going to hear them above his racket.

The driver got concerned, pulled over in front of the Cathedral, and called the police to come remove the fellow. We were stuck there for awhile. Several things went through my mind during this period, including:
1. Why must I get home late because a vagrant passed out on the bus?
2. What's the big deal if he is passed out on the bus?
3. Shouldn't someone at least try to shake his arm rather than call the police first?
4. Are we parked close enough to the Cathedral so that the wireless internet will work?

Sure enough, we were. I could google things at will while waiting for help to arrive. I discovered this wonderful fact: Cabbage is useful for nursing mothers. I think I shall just freeze what's left of my cabbage cache and wait until I have some kids to wean. Or perhaps I could mail it all to my sister.

I finally got sick of waiting and climbed out to find the 71A. So I don't know what happened to the big snoring guy and I discovered, yet again, that my trusty 71A will always get me home eventually, despite strange encounters it finds along the way.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Slave to The Knot

The Knot wedding planner guide has a checklist all built in so you know when to order things and plan things and generally know when to expect things to happen. And thank God, because I have no freaking clue when to do what. Some of the things, I had no idea I even had to do, so I feel thankful that I get a little chart each month with my tasks. The best is when you complete a task because you can check off that box and it goes away. You don't even have to look at it any more! If you want to feel good about yourself, you can go to another page where it lists your completed tasks by category.

The bad thing is, if you don't get a task done on time, it flashes at you. With exclamation points. I would never not complete a task on time. Who are we kidding? I'm the queen nerd of the world, anal retentive freakazoid who considers herself late when she doesn't submit things early. The problem is, I am marrying Corey. Corey is a late person.

I can't decide if he thinks I have given him pretend deadline for things, if he just doesn't care about deadline templates, or if he likes doing things at the last minute just to torment me. Either way, he is making me crazy and we have six months left to go on this journey.

He's supposed to plan the honeymoon. Why won't he get started? That's supposed to be fun. Certainly more fun than standing in the linens section for hours while I rub sheets on my face to test softness. Here is a sample conversation we have been having since the exclamation point started flashing at me in October:
Katy: Did you start looking into locations yet?
Corey: No
K: Did you renew your passport yet?
C: No
K: Did you pick a hemisphere you would like to visit?
C: I'm going to look into it
K: When?
C: This weekend. I promise. Just shut the eff up and let me watch this PBS documentary about wolves.
(I might have added that last bit of emotional outbreak. Corey isn't given to multi-syllabic responses)

I have decided that if he doesn't plan the trip within one month of the Knot deadline, if I have to look at the flashing exclamation point for more than thirty days, I am going to secretly plan the honeymoon for him. The next time I ask, the conversation will go this way:
Katy: Did you renew your passport yet?
Corey: No
K: But we leave for Greece soon
C: What are you talking about?
K: Greece! You booked our trip to Greece. Look, it's right on our Knot planner
C: I don't see anything
K: You must have done it last weekend while I was away at rugby. Here's our itinerary
C: I don't know what you're talking about
K: Were you drinking PBR in your computer room again? You silly goose!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

What a project

The other day my mom called and said "Katy! Guess what KK got for you!?!?!??!" I drew a blank. What could be so exciting? I had no idea.

"Fabric swatches to match your bridesmaids dresses!!" This is something I know so little about, I hadn't thought to want to obtain something like that, let alone think to be gracious about it. Of course, upon finding out the difficulty and expense of obtaining such a thing, I feel immense grattitude. Yay swatches! I now know, as a proper woman should, that I can carry these little bits of fabric around with me when I visit photographers and caterers and florists so they can all look at them and say "oh! I have just the thing to match that."

I also got a phone call informing me that my wedding dress is in. My first reaction? Let's go pick that sucker up and walk around in it for a few months! Again, ignorant. They keep it there for you. In a bag. So your neighbors don't smoke cigarettes and make it stinky or so your apartment doesn't burn down a few weeks before your wedding. (Not like that happened to anyone I know...)

As if that weren't bad enough, Corey and I spent 6 hours registering for gifts yesterday. Six hours!!!! Shopping! I was very excited going into this excursion. I thought I would run through the aisles and scan things and just have billions of exciting gifts waiitng for people to buy me online. It turns out I just am not that hype about sheets and bath towels. Nothing seemed to match exactly, so I was obsessing that one company's misty blue was a totally different color family from another company's misty blue. Corey freaked out that a bath sheet was so much larger and more expensive than a bath towel. He refused to let me pick out a vacuum until he did more research. I can see already that purchasing anything with a cord will take longer than getting the new car, which was a six month process of master's level research and calculations.

So we ditched the frou-frou store and went to REI, where 4 of the 6 hours were spent climbing, hoisting, lounging, and building camping gear. Our REI helper turned out to be a cyclist and some sort of race promoter, so Corey said more words in one hour than I have heard him say in 5 years while I discovered to my shock that I am an extra small internal frame backpack wearer! Extra small! Additionally, though Corey is one foot taller than me, it turns out this is all due to his abnormally long legs. His torso is one inch longer than mine. I am a 16-inch torso, he is a 17-inch. He has a freakishly short torso and monkey legs, just as I suspected. This will make tuxedo searching more fun than fabric swatching.

I sometimes hate that he is so practical. I got to hold the bar-code zapper at REI and ran around scanning everything in sight. $249 snow shoes? No problem! $149 treking poles? Be still my heart! At every extravagant item, he would stop me and say "No, those are too expensive," as if WE were buying the stove or the sleeping pads. These are presents! People can buy them if they want, or look in horror at our list and want to murder us with their eyeballs. Someday, we will have $500 to spend on one item of camping gear and when that day comes, we will have the brand and size we want organized in a specific area, all because we put in 4 hours of hard work registering for presents. I think, for future reference, it was time well spent.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Cabbage, Feet

So last night I discovered the best part of the Cuisinart: The shredding disk.

I set up my station on the counter (by the only outlet in the kitchen) and the contraption was too tall for me to reach. So I stood on a decoupaged stool from Aunt Judy in my "cooking clothes" with a grocery bag of carrots around my neck. I stuffed vegetables one after the other into the feeding hole on the Cuisinart and clapped my hands as they all became cute little shreds of things, perfectly uniform!

I shredded every carrot in the house in preparation for baking carrot cake this weekend. Then, I shredded all the squashes to make pumpkin pie (which will really be squash pie, but I am assuming it will still taste yummy?). I topped off the whole adventure by shredding 3 pounds of the cabbage. This did not go as well. I assumed it would make cute little cabbage sticks, like the shredded carrots. Instead, it made a pulverized dish of mush. By the time I looked down and saw the mush I had already shredded half a cabbage head, so I kept going.

Instead of having some spare cabbage to make things I like to eat, I now have a three-pound dish of something good for nothing but pepper cabbage, which I made. I think of Nanny with each bite, but know I won't get through it all. I'm going to take it to Lebanon for Thanksgiving. Perhaps I'll feed it to my students? "Here's a nice PA Dutch treat for ya! Fart at will!"

On a totally unrelated note, I saw the cutest thing at the bus stop this morning. This dad was walking his daughter across the street and she said "Carry me! My feet hurt!" (She was like 4 or 5)

The dad said "You sound like a little old lady! Feet hurt?! Girl, stop whining or I'll make you walk to Alaska and back on them feet."

The girl was quiet for a minute, thinking, and then said "Is Alaska further than the bus stop?"

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Update: Time Filled

I just got my last batch of produce for the winter. I now have ten pounds of red and green cabbage, 4 pounds of squash, and a bushel of carrots. So far, I have decided to dedicate Sunday to making and freezing pumpkin and carrot bread, but what do I do with the cabbage? Any suggestions? I wanted to make my own sauerkraut until I just discovered that takes one month. I can't have a stinky crock in my kitchen for a month. Soup? Freeze some shreds? What should I make? I have nothing but time this weekend...

My Empty Hole

What am I going to do tonight? This weekend? I have no more practice, no more games. The short answer is that I will catch up on my grad school work, but who am I kidding? I've done okay with the added pressure of rugby in my life. Without that metronome, I am going to sit on my sofa and watch dvds. I just checked two seasons of The Office out of the library.

Rugby is done. So now I will watch television and ooze into the cracks between my sofa cushions as my thighs swell in sloth. Because I hurt my thumb in Columbus, I cancelled the first session of winter rowing meant to keep me in shape. Right this second, I could be on campus in the gym doing some working out. Instead, I am wearing my pajamas and writing about golf, trying really hard not to jump up and push play on the dvd.

What do non-rugby people do with their evenings and weekends? Is that why they all hang out with their families so much? Do people shop and go to the dentist and look at houses? Perhaps go on dates? After approximately four days of not playing rugby, I think I'll take my old life back, please. Because right now I have a huge hole in front of me and there are no immediate prospects to fill it.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A long Sunday

So the pounding rain in Raleigh woke me up at 1am Sunday morning. I knew that I would hate my face all day. It was freaking freezing and raining the whole time, which would be all right if it hadn't been 70+ and sunny the day before. It was very strange. Also, I was grouchy because I had REMOVED all my cold weather gear from my bag before leaving.

So we suffered through a long, tough match against the Menagerie. Those ladies hit hard, I'll tell you what. I kind of wish we would play them more frequently throughout the year because it was a mighty good game to end the nationals tournament with. By the end of the game, we were caked in mud, Traci was in the ER, and we had one garden hose between us and a clean bus ride home.

The Raleigh people were like "you want to use the HOSE???? It's freezing outside!" I wanted to say "Do you want to sit in a bus with 25 women caked in mud for 10 hours? Do you know what that would smell like? Give me the hose!" In fact, I did say that. So we all stripped down in the icy weather while Jenny O sprayed us. Which took forever, but that was ok because the whole bus had to wait while Traci's knee got examined.

I always wondered what happened to the team who has to wait while someone is in the hospital. The answer is this: the team goes to Sam's club and fills a shopping cart with 40s and gets back in the bus. Merriment is made. Rugby songs are sung. The bus driver shivers at the repeated use of sexual euphamisms. When the wounded soldier finally crutches backward up the steps to the bus, the drunken teammates explode with joy and the drunk bus heads on the highway for home.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Nationals

Well, it's all over. I will not play any sort of rugby until February when we start indoor stuff. We came in fourth at Nationals, so I am not quite through being disappointed yet. In a few weeks, I will reflect and think about how wonderful it is to be the fourth-best team in the whole country.

I must say that I was thoroughly impressed with the tournament in Raleigh this year. From the moment we stepped off the bus at the Raleigh Rugby complex, I was in heaven. For starters, it was 70 degrees and sunny. Raleigh has two amazing pitches back in a little wooded area with scoreboards, wooden dugouts, sponsor banners, the works. They had a Godek trailer full of rugby gear, excellent sausage sandwiches with onion sauce (among other things to eat...but who are we kidding? Nothing is better than a sausage sandwich with grilled onions after a rugby game. The pitches were in such excellent condition that it was for sure a speedy-back-boots sort of day.

I didn't get to watch many of the matches I wasn't playing in, so I don't have anything to say about them, but I was so proud of how the Angels played in all of our games. We came out so strong against Seacoast and scored in the opening minutes of the match. We lost our intensity a bit in the middle of the game, but for the most part stuck to our game plan and our backs went for some nice runs all day long. My favorite part of the match was the moment I found myself somehow in close support of Dr. Parker on the wing and she popped the ball to me when she got tackled. How the heck did I get out there? Why wasn't I in the middle of the field in a ruck? I don't know, but it was awesome.

The Albany game was so sad for me. We came out so strong and made a really hard statement right away. We drove them back in the scrums and were really quick on defense and had nice continuity on offense. I was, of course, excited to tackle Claudia Braymer, both because I played with her at Penn State and also because she is an Eagle. We had watched a bit of the Albany game from earlier and I knew we had to be up quick on the fringe to catch that sneaky little scrumhalf. It was 3-0 after we slotted a penalty goal early in the match and stayed that way until the end, when Albany won two well-fought tries to take the game and make their way to the final. I felt exactly like I felt my junior year when we lost to Air Force in the semifinals 8-10. We tried so hard, played our best, brought our A game, and we just didn't finish on top. It gives me so much fire for next year, I'll tell you what.

I'll post about Sunday later, because our bus didn't get in until 230 in the morning and I just had to drag my sleepy bag to work and run a reading comprehension session with a student who didn't understand the "lie" behind a fake orgasm. I can't even imagine what I told that student about society's expectations on women...never tutor while tired!

Friday, November 10, 2006

What the EFF?

Last night after practice, my team went to work at the March of Dimes where our number 8 is holed up preparing for a charity auction. If she didn't finish making gift baskets, she can't come to nationals without getting fired from her job. She supplied food, so it really wasn't any different from our rugby bar and who doesn't like making baskets with friends? Anyway, we were all driving through the Liberty Tunnels, sticking our heads out the windows and playing silly games with our cars when we saw a PERSON WALKING IN THE TUNNEL! What could she have been thinking?

For those not familiar with Pittsburgh, I will explain that the roads through the tunnels are highways, where people drive fast. Like over 50 mph unless there's traffic. I would say they are far more dangerous than the Lincoln Tunnel in NYC because there is never not traffic in that one and cars aren't going as fast. So there is this girl, not looking drunk, not looking deranged, not looking homeless. She looked pissed and was meandering her way toward traffic whizzing past at 50mph. (The worst part is she wasn't even jogging or apparently hurrying. Just walking at a normal pace! As if to say "I'm in no hurry. Don't mind me!)

There are only 2 ways she could have gotten INTO the tunnel to start with:1) she somehow accessed 279 or 380 and walked across Liberty Bridge first, another highway. 2) She walked up East Carson street in the South Side, walked along the exit ramp for the highway, and then made her way into the tunnel. But where was she going to go when she got out of the tunnel? Along 51S? The road just feeds into more highways. All I wanted was to slam on my breaks and drag her into the car to remove her from harm. For heaven's sake, she could have paid $1.75 and taken the T or a bus. Anything has to be better than walking through the Liberty Tunnel.

I couldn't stop thinking about it. Tricia and I were trying to decide what we would do if we had been in the left lane where she was walking. Would we jerk the wheel and swerve to avoid her, potentially causing a multi-car pileup and potentially killing multiple people or would we pick off the crazy girl as we slowly came to a stop, contained in our own lane? I have to go with the latter on this one.

I'm having a flashback right now just thinking of her face as the black Eclipse to my left drove by her so fast she had to press against the tunnel wall. Obviously I am a bit jealous because I have always wanted to walk through a tunnel, but I was saving my shot for the 5 borough bike tour in NYC where they actually close them to traffic.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Our Shot

We leave tomorrow for nationals. Twenty-nine more hours until the bus pulls out to take us to Raleigh. I can't concentrate on anything this week. My stomach is in knots. I feel so confident but am trying not to look past our opponents. I feel like I have this one chance this weekend to do something amazing. The Angels could have the perfect season. We could go undefeated. This one is for all the marbles.

I never thought I would feel this level of competition pressure after college. Penn State Rugby is such an alternate world, a place where you are expected to be perfect because you are year after year after year. Not that we get there lightly. I can't imagine what would happen to me now if I entered into a Penn State workout again. (Although after taking my little sister to an Angels practice and seeing her unable to move for three days afterward, perhaps I am underestimating the torture Brian puts us through) At any rate, as one of the All Blues once told me, when you come from a program with a tradition of dominance, you step on the field with an automatic ten mental points against the other team (unless, of course, that team is Stanford or Air Force).

The Angels don't yet have that tradition. We are building it on our own. It's been so amazing for me to be on this journey with this team. When we beat Detroit I knew we would go to Nationals. I knew it. I just can't express how enormously important it is for people, especially women, to have opportunities such as this throughout life. If I can prepare for a national championship competition, what can't I do?

Until Sunday at 2:30 PM, my mind will be unable to focus on anything except visualizing good tackles and throwing the ball in straight. This is it! I can't believe how much I'm vibrating with anticipation! Agh! We're gonna win!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Wooohoooo Democracy!

I just voted for the first time in an actual voting center. All the other times up till now have been absentee ballots because I either was actually at college (or living in England) or camped out in NJ where my democratic vote didn't matter as much as it did in PA.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I got there because I normally ignore all the flyers I get in the mail explaining the voting procedure. I felt prepared for the men in suits sucking down cigarettes outside yelling in chorus for me to vote straight democrat and straight republican. I was ready for the metal detectors at the door. It's an elementary school, after all. But I was shocked when ten thousand volunteers swarmed around me to help me get to the right place. Where were the lines? I brought a book along expecting the voting place to be similar to the post office at the very least.

I like to think that by arriving at 915 I just missed the crowds because everyone is at work. I want to hope so. I live in a pretty densely populated area. I know there are people here who are 18 or older. Seeing the empty gym really made me want to volunteer in some sort of get out and vote program next year. I have a few hours to help with that, even if I have to miss rugby.

I feel like I should pin my voting receipt to my jacket today like a corsage. "This person helped defeat republicans" it would tell the world. They would all be extremely jealous and rush to the gymnasium. I think I feel depressed that more people weren't in there.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Strange Costumes We Wear

Today I was tutoring the football guys, who are writing an essay about empowerment/disempowerment as shown in the movie HOTEL RWANDA. During silent moments, when I would sit back and let them ruminate or peck out an idea, I stared at them incredulously and thought about how very strange it was for us to be in that room, playing the roles we are.

On the streets, these guys are the definition of machismo, "cool pose." They wear unlaced Timbs with sweatpants, have upper and lower grills and their necks, fingers, and earlobes drip with diamonds and shiny chains. When they come to the writing center, they slip out their gold grills and place them over their ears, as one might tuck a mouthguard or pair of glasses for safe keeping. They literally tuck in their jewelry (most likely so it doesn't clink off the keyboards when they lean forward to type, but I still find it interesting) and sit before me tender and emotionally naked as they ask for help with their school work. I look at the molded teeth behind their ears and think how tough the world perceives them to be. I wonder which is the act: the vulnerable boys with whom I discuss racism and power trips or the explosive angry men who fit in with their fake gold teeth.

I type these thoughts from the comfort of my apartment, where I have strewn off my "teacher clothes" and slapped my hair in a ponytail. I'm wearing my very favorite blue slippers and mesh shorts with a rugby hoodie. I look so similar to my students right now I almost feel behind my ear for my false teeth.

I find it so interesting to think about the different people we become through the different facets of our lives. I wonder how they intersect. I wonder, if we all could see one another in our true comfort zones and then out of them if we would then realize people aren't all that different from one another. I wonder if the football guys would respect me more if they knew that I, too, prefer bumming around in sweats to talking about English papers on a Sunday afternoon.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Victory is Mine!!!

Corey left yesterday for SanFrancisco. I am missing a super fun family vacation for a Bat Mitzvah, but had to sacrifice since I went to Canada for so long. I feel ok about it because I THREW HIS DUMPSTER SHOES IN THE TRASH!!!! As soon as I got up yesterday, I took the white shoes and just hurled them in the garbage. It felt so amazing. I have secured victory over the dumpster by returning to it what was lost.

I even planned the whole thing out with his mom so she will take him to the Nike store this morning and buy him shoes from a store. New shoes, that haven't been rejected by Goodwill or worn by an old man to go jogging. I can barely contain my joy that Corey's feet will not only not smell like swamp anymore but will also look good and be less likely to grow fungus.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Bringing the Classroom to my Blog

We're reading about Female Masculinity in my women's studies class. I really applaud much of the readings we are doing because they give voice and power to many women who do not fit traditional female roles and gender stereotypes. My big problem comes in when the scholars we read all seem to code certain behaviors as "masculine" or "feminine" and do not extract them from male or female. My books all seem to say that the characteristics I and my teammates express are masculine, manly. I hate that.

Why can't strength and confidence, drive, competitiveness, strategy, toughness be HUMAN traits? Why must they be mascunline, to imply that a woman who exhibits them is less of a real woman and more of a masculine one? It makes me upset. Shari Dworkin succinctly sums up my thoughts when she says the following on page 72 of BUILT TO WIN. (The chapter is called "A New Look at Female Athletes and Masculinity"):

"Not real. Not a real woman. Real women aren't that strong. Don't train that hard. Don't study that hard. Don't know strategy or competition so well. Are more obsequious, don't have so much to say, don't climb for or hunger for the top so profoundly. Real women don't sound so confident in job interviews or at conferences. Real women wear tutus and dance. Play with Barbie. Don't threaten anyone. If that's the definition of 'women,' then we are both real men, I suppose."

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Wasted Day?

Here is what I did today:
1. Spent 6 hours writing and distributing press releases for the Angels and their journey to Raleigh
2. Created a myspace page for the Pittsburgh Angels
3. Made butternut squash soup. Yum!
4. Didn't brush my teeth
5. Didn't get dressed
6. Watched hours of Real World/Road Rules Challenge episodes on mtv.com
7. Moved the pile of my homework from the office table to the sofa next to me to the floor as a foot rest
8. Finally took a shower at 430 PM
9. Sent out the flipping Save the Date for my wedding! Hurrah!
10. Began to panic at the thought of having a wedding and a national championship and decided to get a little bit drunk on red wine

Now I'm off to tutor! Won't that be productive? (Don't worry. I'll brush my teeth on the way out the door and consider putting on pants)

Monday, October 30, 2006

More from the Weekend

My thumb is not broken. Just sprained tendons, which is excellent because it can be treated with "pain management" rather than splints or casts that render me unplayable at nationals. Excellent.

I couldn't sleep last night. I kept replaying the weekend again in my head. For every awesome thing that happened, I did a ridiculous idiotic thing to counter it. Perhaps I suffered a head injury?

While dressed as Super Mario, I challenged a 14-year-old girl to a DDR bout at the bowling alley. She was there in mesh shorts and a tank top, clearly not a novice. I thought I could take her or at least keep up. She slugged in the tokens and went right for the "heavy" level. In front of 30 teammates and supporters, I made an enormous ass of myself. Later, Lori and Lemme tried to make me feel better by pointing out that she plays DDR like I play rugby. This only made me want to practice harder.

Then, I discovered that a rather uncouth expulsion of air from my body was loudly picked up on the dvd of the men's playoff game against Buffalo, along with everyone on my team loudly discussing its disgustingness. Everyone knows! I'm so full of shame.

THEN, for reasons known only to Satan, I phoned the tight five room and implied that they were all big fatties. Why? Why did I do this?

There we were, surrounded by people who subsidize our bowling excursions and stand in the freezing cold to cheer for us. People who drove 190 miles to stand guard over our Steinlager tent only to lose it to a wind gust anyway. We get texts and supportive messages from other teams in our league who root for us and yet I cannot stop being an idiot. Are we all idiots? Is rugby a big conglomerate of idiots who manage to hide their idiocy for 80 minutes each weekend (or, on some weekends, 160 minutes)?

Perhaps it is just me and my teammates put up with me because that is the rugby way: to love our players because of their oddities and not despite them.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Raleigh Bound

We won the Midwest Championship!!! My team is going to nationals in Raleigh in two weeks. This feels enormous. My team went to nationals every year in college. Penn State is a perennial top dawg in college rugby. The thing is, I wasn't a starter until my senior year and I didn't feel as much a part of those victories. Now, I feel so actively involved in our success. I wear each game on the marks on my legs and, now, the sprained tendons in my thumb.

I was so unbelievably angry yesterday. I did a "shopping cart" move and went into contact upright with my hands out, as if to push away the defense with the pads of my thumbs. I heard loud popping and felt enormous pain and had to come out of the game. I cried like a baby because I was angry, angry, angry to be hurt doing something so stupid. Luckily, we have enormous depth and we went on to beat Detroit soundly to secure a berth in the national championship. I taped that sucker up and played today against the corn-fed, enormously strong Minnesota Menagerie.

This post is turning into a big litany of things I am excited about for Pittsburgh rugby, but whatever. This weekend was idylic. A bunch of members of the men's team drove out to Columbus to support us. AND they knew about the team bonding costumed sober bowling trip later in the evening. We had Mr. Incredible, Mario, a can of red bull, and a Mexican dude show up in support. Their presence meant so much to me. This weekend was the first time I really knew I have a family here in Pittsburgh. It was remarkable.

The last thing that was amazing was that 25 players traveled with us. 25 ladies Cipped and eligible to play, who have been to practice consistently through disastrous weather and tortuous sprinting sessions. We came this far as a family, our women's and men's team, all together. It sounds so mushy, but it's true. I am on top of the world right now. I heart rugby!

PS--due to the numerous doctors and nurses on my team I scored a 9am doctor's appointment for x-rays, etc. for the thumb!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Communal Laundry

I think the neighbors know it's me who fills the washing machine with mud each Thursday night. I got caught last week. It was our muddiest practice yet and Landis and I ended the whole thing with a few lovely belly slides through the mud, me with my arms tucked in and head held high like a seal. Every single thing I had on my body was disgusting, and it was cold out so there were lots of things.

As I often do, I tried to rinse everything in the laundry sink before washing. This time, the drain was clogged before I got through one cleat. Soon, I was up to my elbows in brown water with pieces of clover floating around me. I just gave up and threw it all in the washer, ran it through twice, and tried to sneak out of the laundry room but GOT CAUGHT! Late at night, I figured I was safe from the other tenants. But no, I had to pretend I was just going upstairs for some Drano and the plunger and then I had to offer up four replacement quarters to Suzanne when she had to run the washer empty to rinse it out. As if I wanted to spend twenty minutes plunging a sink drain!

The moment I felt myself having those thoughts, I felt so elitist and pathetic. Why the hell shouldn't I plunge my mud mess? I guess maybe because I rent? When Corey and I had our own, quarter-free washing machine in Jersey I would just run it a few times and be done with it, clean my own mess because I knew there was nobody else to do it. I've become lazy and mean since moving into a multi-unit building. I am a sinner. I leave rugby mess for others to deal with and I do it DELIBERATELY.

I think I take sick pleasure in being irresponsible for a second, just one second, each week. I like thinking someone else out there has to be the grown-up and I leave my mud behind so I can sit on the sofa and drink beer. Or maybe I'm just an asshole.

For some reason, I find it incredibly cute that Corey was that someone last night. He stayed up until 4am doing laundry. This is because he waits to do laundry until there isn't another possible thing from eighth grade he could wear and has 10+ loads. He becomes a machine, folding his items more carefully than I used to fold the kids' tees at K-mart. I wake up to stations spaced around the apartment with neatly folded piles of things, faintly ringed with silty rings from the scuz I leave behind from practice gear.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Wooden Shoe People

Because I use a Mac, for some reason the hyperlink function is not available to me. So I can't link you to my friend Seriouslyemily.blogspot.com's page when I say she has inspired this morning's post. Poor Emily suffers from what I call Wooden Shoe neighbors. I coined this term my junior year of college, when the people who lived upstairs could not have possibly worn anything but that clunky Dutch footwear to stomp around their apartment.

I used to lie away in bed, elbowing Corey in the ribs to see if he could hear the stomping, the noise, the screaming. They were so effing loud just remembering it makes me upset. I was certain they were moving furniture up there all the time. I passive-aggressively suffered through the noise for months until one night before a rugby game. Don't EVEN keep me up late the night before a rugby game when I am trying to mentally prepare and get enough rest. I have called the police on prank phone callers who disturb me after 9pm.

So the WSP were just getting going around that time. I lay awake, certain they were kidding and would eventually stop. It got louder and louder. There were no explanations for what they could be doing. I boiled in rage and threw on a bathrobe. I marched up the stairs and pounded on their door. They knocked back at me. This made me so much more angry I couldn't see.

I pounded. They pounded. Giggling. They opened the door and everything became immediately clear to me. I stopped hating and started laughing, though I still wished they would stop.

They had removed all the furniture from their living room (Perhaps dragged it down the hallway?) and constructed a skateboard halfpipe. They were skateboarders. Banned from the sidewalks and bus stops outside, they were doing flips and tricks in the living room. No wooden shoes. Hard rubber wheels.

I asked them nicely if they could just be a little more quiet. They offered me a joint. I scuttled back downstairs to laugh miserably in bed while the skating continued above me until I moved out.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Burny Smells

When I baked the pumpkin pies last weekend (and devoured them both basically on my own) I spilled a little filling in the oven. The apartment has been smelling grossly of burnt pumpkin ever since. So I was really excited to come home from my field trip to smell burning olive oil and chicken parts. Corey tried to make himself chicken parm while I was away. Isn't that cute? He pulled out his "romantic meal" for himself while I was away, only he used Pasta Roni as sauce and had a bit of a disaster with the hot oil.

I was ok sitting in the living room with the stink. Sort of. But when I climbed into my bed and my pillow smelled like smokey diner, I got upset.

So how do I detox the house? How can it smell nice in here again? I have been burning a pumpkin spice candle simultaneously with the blueberry candle. It just smells like a diner that's baking pies. It's too cold to open the windows. Something must be done in here or I am going to cry.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Tamagachi

I am re-reading Fast Food Nation for class. I'm on chapter one, where Schlosser analyzes marketing technigques targeted at children. He mentioned Tamagachis in Happy Meals and BOY! did that take me back.

My sister Betsy had a Tamagachi. On the outside, I relentlessly chided her for the ridiculous pink dog that pooped and barked but never grew. I told her repeatedly how stupid she was for liking that thing. Inside, I longed for one of my own. I wanted to be cool enough that I didn't have to feel uncool for wanting something my kid sister had.

When Betsy went to the beach or camp or some other thing forcing her to be away from the pink electronic dog, she left it in my care. It beeped. I fed it. I played with it. I cleaned up its electronic poop. Bliss! I took it with me to work at K-mart, lodged happily in my red vest pocket with the box cutter. On one woeful Saturday, my line was long and cranky. I had no opportunity to stop and feed the little guy. I did not clean up his poop. He passed away into the afterlife of electronic puppy heaven.

Betsy didn't speak to me for a long time. She thought I killed her dog on purpose, given my yatchy behavior toward her and my outward disapproval of its existence. Where is that Tamagachi now, I wonder? Does it survive in the mess of clothing and makeup in her room? Has she hidden it in a shoebox on a closet shelf with her other treasures? On Thanksgiving break, I would love to crack that sucker open and see how long it will take us to kill it again.

TV Star?

Here is what I wore: Cute cropped pants that were peach and browny-green striped with a white cami and a peach v-neck three-quarter length sleeved shirt and an orange necklace and mascara.

The television people were 45 minutes late to interview me, which anyone who knows me at all knows made me livid and freak-outy. I was rocking my brains off when they showed up. I didn't really feel like expanding much on anything.

Then I rowed in sweatpants for EVER while they got lots of shots. Which was good because I needed a nice workout to get over the stress of waiting 45 minutes. All in all, I would say I don't need a big television career. Not an A+ experience one bit.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

My Big Debut

I'm going to be filmed for tv tomorrow. Fancy, huh? Here's what happened: a woman I freelanced an article for is friends with a television producer-type person who was in need of a college or graduate student with lots of loan debt and consolidation savvy. That's me! So the news people are setting up a segment tomorrow afternoon to quiz me about interest rates and how it is that I am comfortable having a loan repayment program that extends into the time period when my children will most likely be starting college. (I never thought of it that way until they asked the question...)

After they rack my brains about debt, they are going to film me working out on the erg. They wanted to film me at work, but everyone decided it was for the best if we don't a) disrupt the athletes while I am trying to tutor them and b) show them on television being tutored. Hence, the rowing.

My big problem right now is what to wear. I don't own any makeup and it's been a million years since I got my eyebrows waxed. I got all prepped for autumn weather and tomorrow is supposed to be in the high sixties. I'm thinking of going with hair down, a cute skirt and a brightly colored top (since I look nice in bright colors). But the worst part is what do I wear during the rowing?? Dare I show my thighs on television? I certainly can't wear spandex pants and long baggy pants will get caught in the runners on the seat and be generally in the way. An obvious solution is to do some other sort of working out...but that would be untrue to me. Can't they just come to rugby practice? I'm ok in shorts paired with tall socks. I'm comfortable on the rugby pitch. I glide like a duck in water (if ducks were to thunder around hitting people and bellowing). It's everywhere else on the planet that I don't seem to be able to move or dress appropriately.

How un-feminist is it of me to worry about my appearance for my tv spot? Clearly I should be more concerned with the brilliance of my discussion. But no. That which is unconfident bubbles to the surface and I am dwelling only on my lumpy white thighs. Perhaps it would be better for them to film me at work after all...

Monday, October 16, 2006

Pumpkin Pie

I just wrote a whole post about pumpkin pie and autumn and how I ate a whole pie yesterday and blogger did something and it went away. So now, since I've been tutoring forms today, I will write pumpkin haikus instead.

Libby's canned pumpkin
Orange joy cold and chewy fresh
enough for two pies

Pumpkin Pie Blizzards
numbing my hands post rugby
a perfect cool-down

Oh! That yummy squash
Stuck to corners of my mouth
I love to indulge

Crispy leaves and co-
zy autumn clothing be damned
just give me pumpkin

Sunday, October 15, 2006

mmmmmmm fun weekend

I ate the most delicious food in the entire world on Friday night. Corey and Leeann and I went to Spice Island and pigged out. (Thank heaven I took some good food advice from Eastside Girl!) We had three courses and drank more wine than was appropriate. The best part is that we somehow ended up with all the leftovers. There is nothing wrong with eating satay and curry for breakfast! Especially when it comes from that place. Mmmmmm mmmmm. I can't decide if the evening was super fun because we got to see Leeann and then later Brian and Freya or because that restaurant has such nice ambiance and amazing food. Either way, we had an inexpensive and delicious time. I feel like I am somehow writing an advertisement for the restaurant, but it was seriously amazing. Plus our waitress was really fun and friendly. I wanted to offer her some of our wine since she was so quick with everything.

I love it when a meal is so good you have no choice afterward but to return to your apartment and lay on the futon with your pants unzippered, desperately trying to convince yourself that it is NOT a good idea to dig into the leftovers until you become less full.

Later in the weekend, I convinced Corey to come to the rugby bar and he joined the men's team for a game of flip cup. It was so funny to watch them all discover Corey. "Dude! This guy is ALL BUSINESS!!!!" they were screaming. Sometimes people aren't prepared for Corey, who can only focus on one thing at a time and thus does not engage in conversation or waste motions when playing games of skill. He sat on his stool until his turn, downed the beer in one sip and flipped the cup with one hand, one finger, one motion. Then he returned to his stool. I love it. Everyone loves it! In no time at all, KJ had everyone singing "He's a Core Man" to the Soul Man tune. He's a hit!

Weekends like this one are how weekends are supposed to be. I feel totally refreshed! I can forget for a small moment that I have to write a thesis and plan a wedding and tutor stressful students. God bless Asian cuisine and flip cup!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Woo Hoo?

The Pittsburgh Angels are league champions. We are 6-0 and one game away from a national championship tournament. So why does this victory feel so empty? The team in our way this weekend was supposed to be Rochester. We had one game left, one more chance to prove ourselves after all the freaking hard work we've done since August. But they forfeited. As they always do. As I suspected they would.

We were most likely going to obliterate them anyway if we played. Last time, we traveled there with only 12 of 15 players and beat them by nearly 100 points. It would probably have been a similar outcome this weekend. There is just something to be said for actually proving your strength. Are you really a good team if you win by default?

Obviously I understand that beating Detroit was the real championship, the real achievement for my team. But now we have a major competition in two weeks and no game to keep us limber, to keep our heads in battle mode. I hate winning by default more than I hate losing.

A few weeks ago at practice I showed up ready to work my ass off. I was so excited to be opposite my friend PH for 2v1s because I know she is damn near impossible to tackle. In the drill, I laid her out, smashed her out of bounds and everyone cheered. The intensity was turned on for the drill. Woo. Great. But she wasn't concentrating on running hard. She was focused on the pass and that's why I tackled her. I have not tackled PH for real, so I don't feel excited about it.

That is how I feel right now about our "win" this weekend. Until we do it for real, I can't get happy about it. I need to store up this frustration for a few more weeks until we go to Columbus. When we win there, I will feel as though we have earned it. Right now I'm disappointed.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

More Problems All Around

I think a lot every day about what the proactive solution is to the problems I see in my job. I don't feel ready to go to the mattresses about it, mostly because it would put the facility where I work under scruntiny. And the academic counselors at the University are not the problem. In the academic support services, I think we try our best to solve these problems. The students show up here with attitudes and lack of preparedness. Whether they belong in college, whether they are prepared for college is irrelevant to us. They are here and we have to help them.

I spend 20 hours every week walking these students through assignments that take the typical freshman under 15 minutes. Extra credit worksheets, film reviews, free-verse poems...these all take my students multiple hours of intense concentration. The problem starts not with the NCAA but far earlier, when these folks are crammed into 35+ student classrooms where teachers replace education with behavior management.

I watched this season's THE WIRE in its entirety and it made me physically sick. The athletically gifted students I work with on a daily basis are fortunate in that they have individual tutoring to catch them up. For each one of my students, 1,000 students with the same lack of educational foundation lingers behind to follow a perpetual circle of poor education leading to crappy jobs leading to low-income poverty conditions which create home environments unproductive for their children's education. I don't even know what to do.

I wrote several papers about my work last year but have been reticent to submit them to journals or publications. After I read "The Ballad of Big Mike" in the New York Times two weeks ago, I was irate. The story of Mike is the story of each of my students. The New York Times dropped the tale when Mike arrives at Ole Miss, places him in the hands of tutors like me and leads the public to believe he is ok now because he is in college. Perhaps after graduation I will pick up the story of Big Mike and follow him around to math class and show how decidedly not ok he is once he hits the world of higher education.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Problems All Around

I have said before that I think the system of education is in need of reform in this country. I have said before that I think it is wrong to transform scholastic athletes into idols and prevent them from learning or developing their minds. I was reminded last night how desperately criminal the situation has become.

Imagine a math class with 30 students. Eighteen of those students are prominent athletes on a very prominent sports team at the school. The 18 students continually disrupt class, preventing learning from occurring in any capacity. Are so disruptive in fact that the teacher nearly called the police to intervene. This is a college math class with adult students over the age of 18. Things in the class worsen every day until the coach of the team is berated at an academic function. He promises to speak to the team and does and things do not improve. A proctor is hired to sit in on the class, to babysit. Things do not improve. This teacher would ordinarily eject the students from class and fail them for the semester. But these particular students must carry 12 credits to remain eligible to play their sport. So, buckling under enormous pressure to keep her position with the university, the teacher must bravely face every day in an unteachable environment, controlled by the good old boys.

These same students then politely come to the center for help with papers. We sit. For three hours we struggle through a paper one sentence at a time, desperately pulling for any remembered tidbit from class, for new ways to phrase ideas for which the students lack a lexicon.

Functional literacy. Intellectual curiosity. Analytical skills. These three skills should be honed in middle or high school to allow for higher development in college. Unfortunately, because of the scholastic athletic machine that drives through our nation, certain students are gathered up to run the treadmill powering the machine. They are used and abused, denied an opportunity to learn, given a glimpse over the top of the hill and then ejected from the ride when we have no further use for their bodies. They have the arrogant attitudes we taught them, fit bodies, and no education to speak of. Something is wrong. Something is very wrong and it needs to be fixed.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Susan Orlean

Susan Orlean came to Pittsburgh last night and I met her! The woman who describes men by comparing them to sides of beef and who can add the word cracker and sparkle to any description, who traveled the world writing about female bull fighters and child beauty queens came to Pittsburgh! I bought Corey and I tickets for the event very early and we made a whole date out of it.

Corey drove the car (retrieved from the mechanic for only $350...with some lingering problems...) to Oakland and we planned to have a nice dinner at LuLu's noodles before walking over to the lecture. Only I got very nervous about time and being late and started to rock before they even brought us our water. My anal retentive need to be ten minutes early totally ruined dinner to the point where I was standing above him wearing my backpack as he crammed moo shoo pork in his mouth and glared at me. I was like a 5 year old child anxious about starting kindergarten. Only I was carrying a backpack full of books to sign and threatening to go in without him, taking the tickets with me. And we weren't even running late! Just not early. I was excited.

So then we found our seats and Susan started talking and everything was great. I had my perfect question all prepared for Q&A time: what was your first national publication and how did you pitch the editor of that publication?" Isn't that a good question? She didn't call on me! She took stupid, useless questions like "When did you know you were going to be a writer?" She even went over that in her talk. I was livid at the waste of question time. I had nothing to do but force my way to the front of the signing line and ask her myself. Out of turn!

Things were going well until there was a gas leak in the lecture hall and they moved Susan into the art museum. The neatly controlled line was released helter skelter into the masses who cut in line and herded toward her new post. I had to work very hard to regain my position. By this time two of my classmates were near me and (I think) slightly amazed (horrified?) at my frenzy to ask Susan Orlean a question. I finally got up to the front, holding my Post-It that Susan's aide wrote my name on to verify spelling and lack of personal interaction. I slid the book across the desk and smiled at her and froze! I almost dropped the ball, standing there speechless as she read from the Post-It. I started to back away, desperate, and finally blurted out my question all in one breath.

She laughed and told me the answer: A concert review for Rolling Stone. She kind of knew the editor and he called her for the piece. So there was her break. A concert review. I need to stop going to see writers and start paying attention to the music scene.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Perfect Weekend

This weekend was the best one I've had in eons. Which surprises me because it was chock full and should have been stressful in terms of getting work and chores done.

For starters, Pittsburgh beat Detroit in rugby for the first time. The game felt phenomenal. I don't know whether I had a great game or not, but it felt like the best I've played in years. I was focused and felt proud of myself for my decisions and support. I even carried the ball a few times. There is nothing like coming together with 14 other women to pull out an important victory. We played as a TEAM, united and it was awesome. I just sat on the grass afterward staring at everyone and trying to identify why it was I loved them all so much. Why do I do this thing that breaks my toes and hurts? Why is this game so amazing? I don't know, but I love my teammates and play for them and it was awesome to win with them this weekend.

Which led me to go to the rugby bar to celebrate and Corey agreed to go with me! It was so exciting for him to come out and make an effort to socialize. I love when he's a social butterfly. When I got home from Detroit, he was wearing the "My Girl Plays Rugby" shirt I bought him. How cute is that? He's such a supporter. I made him flash his t-shirt for all the husbands at the bar. He was a hit. I think even better than having a passion for a sport such as I do is having a partner who supports my passion such as he does. Where would I be if I couldn't find a mate who understood why I had to leave him all weekend to be in Detroit freaking Michigan playing rugby on 8 Mile (literally on 8 mile! I'm so cool!)? Knowing that he loves my rugby passion makes me love him even more.

So that was my weekend. I exercised my passion and Corey is currently exercising his on a little night ride. And we support each other's loves and love each other because of our loves. This makes us mushy and disgusting. But it's just so darn comforting to know I have found someone who loves me because of my rugby fever and not despite it.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Car

I am trying very hard to be a supportive partner. To love Corey and respect things he does and appreciate him, etc. Where would I be without him to deal with car problems? Stranded on the road. That's where I'd be. So I appreciate him. I really do. I just have noticed a pattern with him and car repair. I don't know if it's because he is from New Jersey or because I am cursed or what. But every time we take the Maxima for work, whichever state we live in, the person Corey selects to repair the car keeps it for more than three weeks.

I don't even want to relive the past car problems. I'm not even quite sure what is wrong this time. I know that when I went to Canada and said "How was your day? What did you do today?" he said "Oh. I took the car to the shop." The shop in Monroeville that his friend suggested. Monroeville that's a half hour away. (This is going to quickly get whiney. I need it.)

Now, weeks later, we still have no estimate of costs. (Apparently they just work away without calling for permission or verifying said procedures? Not sure about car etiquette, but that feels wrong and scary) We (meaning me) have to rearrange our schedules to somehow get to Monroeville during business hours but not when I am working or in class so we can retrieve the damn car. But we don't know when it will be done or what is even wrong with it or what it will cost to get back and why has he done this?? Why!

I feel like this is the most concrete example of the difference in Corey's and my background. Where I come from, you take cars to the guy your dad knows. He fixes them in his driveway in about a day or so and calls you to say what he's doing. You go get the car and stand in the driveway and look at it while drinking beer, resting assured that the friend has done a good and timely repair of your trusty vehicle. I have decided right now that we are not going forward with our relationship until we make friends with a mechanic located within 15 minutes of our apartment.

If you (or someone you know) are a mechanic living within 15 minutes of my apartment, please come over for dinner and begin being my friend. Then, go to Monroeville and get our damn car. Then, I can relax and stop exasperating at Corey.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

DDR photos

At long last:

THE PHOTO: http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k206/jlandis_2006/ddr.jpg

Monday, October 02, 2006

Wedding Weekend

I shouldn't be allowed to attend weddings between now and my own shindig. I went to my cousin's wedding this weekend and spent every second thinking either "Well, I'm not doing THAT at mine!" or "Hmm, that's pretty. I should think about that." There were no tears when I saw the bride. No feelings of love or excitedness for the couple. I was devoid of all emotion, simply taking note of all the things on my The Knot checklist and making comparisons.

The only moment of the whole day where I felt a twinge of feeling was during the mother/son dance when my Aunt and cousin danced to James Taylor's You Got A Friend. That was sweet. How could I be so heartless? At Adam's wedding, I cried my way through a box of tissues. Now, 200 days away from my big day, when I should be building up all these feelings and contemplating a unified life, etc, all I can think about is white tulle or ivory?

I'm such a consumer! I'm so selfish! Don't invite me to any joyous occasions for the next few months, because I won't appreciate them properly. This is not to say I won't enjoy the open bar and eat heartily of the appetizers. Just know that every second I am gazing, apparently awestruck, across the dancefloor I am really judging your centerpieces and wondering if my DJ will be more or less cheesy.

Friday, September 29, 2006

My Students are Smarter Than Me

Today was my first class teaching the gifted kiddos from Allegheny County. I can now absolutely understand why my beloved Mr. Shank once told me he much prefers working with at-risk (read "naughty") kids than the gifted kids. Here's why: gifted kids are SMART! They know things!

There I was, with my loosely assembled lesson plan for the afternoon and my small list of topics to discuss in the essay I gave them. As soon as I gave them the chance, they steam-rolled right through all the big topics we hit in my GRADUATE workshop and took the whole analysis to a new level. I found myself taking notes. Not teaching notes. Reading notes. I was taking notes based on my students' comments. Kids are too damn smart.

This made me decide one very important thing: Next time, there will be no discussion of already published authors. I'm moving right in to making them talk about their own work. Which is mostly why they signed up for the course anyway. At the end of class, they asked me to bring them something of mine to read. No freaking way! Are they crazy?? They'll eat me alive!

I told them to googol me, so now I have to go change my name and scour the web for all references to me so they can't see what a miserable failure I am. If they can reach right into the heart of established genie (that's jean-ye, plural genius) like Mary Roach and Gretchen likelier, they would walk all over a newcomer like me.

What seems even more disturbing to me than their knowing more than me is the fact that they are paying to be in the class. Someone decided THEY should pay ME to guide them. I am going to take my paycheck for this month's session and spend it on a guidebook of lesson plans to stimulate absurdly intelligent people. And hope that one of my students didn't write said book.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

My Last Day on Earth

I am dying. I have decided this will be the last day I live because I can surely never recover from this head cold. Yesterday, a woman sat on me on the 71A. Sat ON me. I was in the long row seats which face the aisle and the passengers opposite you. I was in the corner one near the rear of the bus, with three other seats to my right. Open seats. A very enormously fat woman sauntered down the aisle, clinging those hanging straps like they were parachute rip cords. I knew what was going to happen. I saw her not notice me.

So she waddled on to the back, heaved a mighty sigh. I sucked in my breath, clutched my bag to my chest and hoped my sunglasses weren't inside. And then she sat. On me. I would say on my lap only she so far surpassed the size of my body that it was as if I were sitting in her ass rather than her sitting on me.

She must have felt me. Or seen my little legs kicking out in between hers. "Oh! I'm so sorry. I didn't see you there!" She leaned off me and scooched to the right, just barely making it into the empty seats. Her thigh still touched my thigh the whole way to campus. And this is how I got ill. I'm sure of it.

When the bus stopped, I had to use the left arm rest of the seat AND the strap to hoist myself up from my smashed position. I touched the germy places where sty guy had been. Did I wash my hands when I got to work? No! I ate my chicken sandwich and infected myself with death.

And now I am being punished. As God as my witness, I will never sit on the bus again. I will wear an oven mitt and stand near the front, swaying in the surf as I dangle from the too-short strap.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Retina Burners

They dilated my pupils. I thought eye doctors stopped doing that! Why did they do this to me?? I had to wear the orthopedic old lady sunglasses that come rolled in a carton to drive home. I'm actually still wearing them now as I sit in my dark living room with the blinds drawn. I'm turned away from the kitchen where the morning sun is pouring in, threatening to blind me through my enormous pupils. I'm actually dizzy and having some balance troubles, but I could be projecting this because I am so grouchy about my eyeballs. Here is what they look like right now:


(Note that they are that large AFTER the flash has gone off on the webcam!)

These large pupils are forcing a break from work into what was scheduled to be a hectic and productive day. I wanted to use these few hours to prepare the damn save the date letter I need to send about the wedding. It's good I can't see well enough to do so because I don't actually know the address of the farm where the wedding is. I need to get on top of that. As my Knot checklist tells me every day in flashing exclamation points (that look even scarier when your pupils are enormous) we have just over 200 days to go. 200 days to claw my way through the mounting pile of tasks involved in planning a wedding 350 miles from where I live. It might as well be across the world for how easy it is to get there for appointments. I'm whining now. This no longer has anything to do with my dilated pupils.

The one saving grace of the pupil experience is that as Dr. Steinberg walked me to the sunlight-filled waiting room, he said "Judy, take care of Katy. She's dilating right now."

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Bad Choice

My car stopped at a rest stop at 11:00 en route to our 2pm game at Buffalo. We had two hours, we decided. Why not pig out? So we ordered pizza. Big slices of rest stop pizza that don't even taste good. And we ate them. Followed by McFlurries. M&M McFlurries. And then we drove to Buffalo and then we started to warm up to play.

My guts felt tight and heavy. The entire freaking game, I was miserable. I hated myself and my choices and spent the entire game not focused on my self, my actions, my rugby. Instead, I doubled over at every opportunity and tried to keep my lunch. It was torture. Bad choices. Horrible decision.

So then we went to the social. There were cookies, there were chips and homemade salsa. It was delicious. And then they carried in the main course: pizza. Big greasy disgusting thick crust pizza. I passed.

Friday, September 22, 2006

What are you?

This week, I decided to try something new. I've been taking the 500 instead of the 71A. The 500, instead of being stuffed with crazy people, brims with children and young parents. I suspect this is because the bus goes to the zoo, but who knows why there are so many all the time. Not only are there tons of kiddos on the bus, they swarm around it when you get off at my stop. Highland Park seems to have lots of young kids. And I like that.

Yesterday, I got off the bus from class wearing my new IRB backpack. I sauntered down the road with both hands holding the fine black straps when a little boy on a pink bicycle skidded to a halt in front of me. He said, "Hey! Are you a grown up or a kid?"

I was taken aback. I ask myself this question almost daily. Here I am supposed to be an adult and I obsess over Corey's garbage shoes and tattle to his mommy like a middle-schooler. I sort of want to live like an adult, but my greatest joy is chasing my friends around rugby practice and sneaking in an ass punch when they aren't expecting it. Could this child on a bicycle see right through my facade? How did he know to ask this question? I had to choose.

"I'm a grown up. For sure."

He didn't seem convinced. He looked at me a bit longer, rode the bike around me in a tight circle. I think he needed to process this news. Back pack, yet grown up. Short person, yet adult. Crazy, immature brain yet claims to side with the grownups. He stopped the bike again and stared me down.

"Well, do you want to come inside for a piece of cake?"

Heck yes I did! Nothing sounded more delicious in the world. I hoped it was chocolate cake. But I had already chosen sides. Grownups can't go into strange children's houses for cake. I had to tell him no, thank you and skip on home to my house, where there is no cake. Only generic cheerios.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

What has become of us?

I walked down the hall last night, following Corey as he headed toward the shower. As usual, I tripped over giant boat sneakers outside his office. I bent down to throw them back inside the room, expecting the gray Nikes with stylish green and orange accents. I saw old man shoes. White, enormous old man sneakers with awful piping.

"Where did you get these shoes?" I said, fearing the answer. It took me years to convince him to part with money to purchase a new pair when his college sneakers smelled like swamp. I held my breath and repeated the question, knowing the reluctance to answer confirmed my suspicions.

"Justin gave them to me."

"Where did Justin get them?"

"The Goodwill dumpster."

Horror, fungus, corns, bunions, warts, staph....the shoes were not good enough for Goodwill. He is wearing garbage shoes. Disease shoes. And now he is at work and I am at home and I can't decide if I should remove the shoes from our home or just hang my head in shame that my man is such a dumpster diver. This makes me never, ever want to scrounge for free things again. This serves me right for encouraging such behavior.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Has Anyone seen Corey?

Before I left for Canada, there was a messy, grumpy elfen man on my sofa. He didn't really shave very often and left trails of dust and piles of garbage in his wake when on the move. When I came back, my kitchen smelled like 409 and shone in the setting sunlight through the open blinds. Someone cleaned up all the messes and emptied the dishwasher and put all the vegetables in the fridge.

Where is Corey and who brought me this new person? Will all this eagerness to make things germ-free disappear by this weekend when he stops missing me as much? Or are these pre-emptive strikes against the nagging beast I become when I'm stressed out? Perhaps chillaxing with awesome ladies from other lands has put things into perspective. The kitchen is not actually cleaner, the mess just bothers me less. Possible?

Who has gone away--messy Corey or nasty Katy?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Decompressing

It feels very strange to be back. After having been a guest for over a week, it is weird to comfortably walk through my own home, to pour cereal without guilt and drink apple cider from the container. I've been hurtling my bag all day, reluctant to unpack it because I am so happy to have it with me. I had to go to work last night right from the airport and didn't want to take my bags with me. Corey couldn't get out of work early to take me home, but met me at the bus stop to take my bags from me. It was very weird leaning out the bus door, requesting a stop just to hand off luggage. I had to explain the situation to numerous passengers who asked me what was going on. I was just relieved not to have to drag my bags up the hill to the office.

The very nicest thing was coming out of work late and tired to have my cookie pick me up and take me for Boston Market (his version of a home cooked meal for me). Today I have to get back to the business of resetting my life. I am meeting with professors, working out, writing papers. Through it all it's difficult to release the experience I've just had and carry on with my little life.

I still can't believe I was at the World Cup. People in Samoa know me now. People in Kazakhstan recognize my face. I have sat with South Africans and listened to their struggles to, as females, play a contact sport in a nation that won't accept what they are doing. I feel so much more worldly, so much more aware of things after being immersed in so many varied cultures. I am so grateful I have rugby in my life to link me to this experience. I'm just going to sigh happily and reflect for the rest of the day, I think. Meetings can wait until tomorrow.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Day 7 addendum

My links are up:

http://www.rwcwomens.com/EN/News/match_28.htm
http://www.rwcwomens.com/EN/News/match_29.htm
http://www.rwcwomens.com/EN/News/match_30.htm

Rugby Reporter: Day 7

THE FINALS!!!

I'm sitting indoors today, in the glass press box above the 50 meter line. Right now the US team is taking the field to walk the pitch, get familiar with the physical ground. I can't really describe what it means for me to sit here, at the World Cup, in the media room and watch these international matches.

Last night at the bar, I met up with some other random US supporters and we partied with the Australians and the Irish. Seriously fun girls, both teams. I discovered the Irish captain is 25. My age. And she has 50 caps! She has played in 50 matches, represented her country 50 times. Astonishing. I gave her a beer.

I'm not doing match reports today, just doing the post-match interviews. This part always makes me nervous. I feel like someone has made an error in giving me this job. After the whole shebang today there is a fancy party at the tournament hotel. Lucky for me I brought my lovely summary dress. It's not snowing yet, but surely will be by the time I leave the house with no pantyhose.

The IRB officials are watching the US warm up. I like hearing them compliment our ability to move the ball, to avoid contact. I like to hear rugby powerhouse nations describe the US as smart rugby players. I better sign off before I explode with excitement. I need to stock up on energy so I can deal with flying home tomorrow.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Rugby Reporter: Day 6

it's too cold today to use complete sentences or captials. freezing rains all day. wind. miserable. three great matches, though. i did a lot better on the writeups, though had to kick some refs out of my media box when they got in my sightline of the field. here are the links:

http://www.rwcwomens.com/EN/News/match_26.htm
http://www.rwcwomens.com/EN/News/match_27.htm
http://www.rwcwomens.com/EN/News/match_28.htm

can't decide if i have the energy to do a pub crawl with spain and south africa. especially since they want to go line dancing. i need to get up early tomorrow and am too cold. but do i just want to go to bed? maybe nerdy? i'll see what my house is doing.

also, my publication is finally up on the new yinzer. though the cartoon is ghoulish. check out "Saturday's a Rugby Day" at http://www.newyinzer.com

ok. fingers cold. time to eat.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Rugby Reporter: Day 6

I don't know why, but my blog was down for a bunch of hours. I have no idea what happened. Today is a gross day. It's really cold and raining. My hosts took me around the great city of Edmonton today, so it was more of a tourism day than a rugby reporter day. I had no interviews and didn't see the Eagles at all, just wrote about them in the morning and explored the 48-block mall.

Here are some interesting factoids about Canadians:
They pay $10 Canadian for a box of cereal, such as Golden Grahams
They pronounce the clear sticky window decorations as "deckle"
They make fabulous beefy products with cheese inside. Mmm
They are all amazingly nice and considerate, the way humanity should be.

Tonight was are going to a Canadian restaurant for pasta (pronounced the way a British person would say it) and drinking some Labatt's. I will unfortunately miss my exhibition match with a motley American side as I will be working the Cup on Saturday. The match was supposed to be on Thursday, but got rescheduled due to people working. It's really a bummer to miss it because the American reserves are going to join in.

I shall now rest my bulging belly and watch some Canadian talk shows. Nice.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Rugby Reporter: Day 5

Even though there was 100% chance of rain today, I predicted it would not do so. I was right! Ha! It drizzled a bit in the morning, but has been otherwise very ok outside, if cold.

I spent a lot of time today eating Cadbury chocolate, which can be sold here. I have missed it so much since leaving England. Mmmmm diary milk bars! They were 2 for a dollar at the Max, which is their Sheetz.

Next on my agenda was a huge interview with the US strength and conditioning team and medical staff. They are using a revolutionary approach to keep the US Women healthy, combining accupuncture, osteopathic medicine, and herbs and yoga with rehab programs and then keeping the specific health and positoinal needs of each athlete in mind when designing workouts. Very fascinating. One hundred percent interesting. It inspired me to email my sister and tell her to focus on sports medicine, because I think this approach will be the next hot thing in the States.

Tonight, my hosts are going to watch their collegiate team play in a tournament. I'm pretty jazzed to go with them and see the level of play Canadian universities exhibit. Perhaps I can scout study abroad students for Penn State, or at least encourage some transfers.

Tomorrow will be my first day with actually nothing to do. I would take myself to a movie, only it costs $13 to see movies here. Crap!

I very badly wish I were at practice tonight with the Angels. I am beginning to feel like a lump hanging out with these elite athletes and not exercising anything except my hand muscles.