Thursday, April 27, 2006


Max was run over by a car and killed yesterday. I can't even talk about it.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


I never even knew about DHL until recently. I thought FedEx and UPS were the only choices for package delivery. Now it seems uses DHL to cause trouble when sending my books. They used to send things with the postal service. I know because I would sit on my stoop on Harry Potter day to watch the mailman stagger up the driveway with his bulging sack of HP books.

Now, all I want to do is read the new book by my professor. Jeanne Marie Laskas has released her latest book, Growing Girls. I know that DHL tried to deliver it at 730pm last night. Who delivers at 730 pm? I knew the package was coming and made a point to be home during business hours yesterday. I thought packages come during the day time!

I have to leave the house today at 2pm. I feel very nervous that DHL won't deliver my package before then. I just want my books! If I had known about this drama, I would have driven to the DHL place and picked it up myself. How is a girl supposed to receive a package these days?? What do I do???

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Team Raven

I have finished a year of graduate school. Holy crap! I did it! Yesterday I got all teary when my mom said how proud she was. She thinks I could have gone to graduate school when I was three years old. I think all mothers think that, but it's nice to hear.

I celebrated my night of completion by watching Rambo, First Blood. Just like I watched countless times with my father when I was a young girl. I got to thinking during the horribly written dialogue scenes that perhaps First Blood is the reason I am a writer. Perhaps my father made me watch this movie again and again to demonstrate horrible, crappy writing.

It is now my lot in life to entertain people through words so they can stop playing First Blood on AMC. I should really be thanking my dad for this wonderful drive, pushing me through my first scary year toward my MFA. Johnny Rambo, I salute you.

Saturday, April 22, 2006


I'm obsessed. I started doing a Sodoku puzzle during work the other day and now I can't stop. I realized my mom bought Corey a box of Sodoku puzzles for Christmas and then it was all over. Instead of doing interesting or exciting things on a Friday night, we sat around in sweat pants racing each other at Sodoku puzzles. We took turns tracing the puzzles onto scrap paper so we were both working on the same one at the same time.

At about 1030 we realized we were huge nerds and tried to leave for some ice cream. But obviously ice cream places are all closed at 1030 at night. So, a quick trip to Six N Slice made Sodoku into a fun drinking game with Old Milwaukee.

I started getting all cocky, talking to the photo of Neal McCoy on my beer can. "Yeah, Neal. I'm the Sodoku goddess!" I lost my concentration. Despite a beautiful, 4 puzzle winning streak, Corey came back to beat me on the last puzzle. He blew me away, finishing the whole thing before I even got ten squares filled in.

We will now be spending the weekend in isolation, practicing for a rematch in the Sodoku wars.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Pittsburgh is So Awesome

Every day I live here, I am more glad I made the move. Not only is every tree in the city brilliant with pink, purple, and white blossoms, but there is a carnival in town! Carnegie Mellon is having some sort of carnival. I don't know about the occasion and I don't really care too much. All I know is they brought funnel cake.

Right down the street from the art museum, across from the building where Apple and Intel and Google are housed, is a street carnival. I'm not sure what was there before the carnival. Can't remember if it was a parking lot or what, but now it's full of crazy college kids and crazy actual kids and families and dragon rides and funnel cake.

After rugby practice last night, I caught a ride home with Laura and she took me there to show off her alma mater. She showed me the beautiful stone mansions converted to dorms with French doors and balconies. We looked at the little shops owned by funky artists who work with wire and beads and hammered copper. And then we talked about funnel cake.

I got to thinking that I should serve funnel cake at my wedding. Maybe instead of real cake. But wouldn't that be fun for an outdoor picnic wedding? Funnel cake! Just like they make in Pittsburgh, my home.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


I was talking about Big Love on the bus home tonight. I was chatting with LeeAnn and Patsy about my fascination with the show and how abominable I think it is that Nikki is cheating to get extra sex out of Bill. This skinny boy with an ugly lamp and a shiny shirt glared at me! Actually turned his head to glare at my conversation. Was he angry that I hate Nikki? Was he insulted in my inability to understand polygamy? Was he hurt that I revealed a plot detail? Or did he think I was talking about REAL people having polygamous sex in REAL life? (Which we moved on to do, since LeeAnn knows some people! Holy wow!) Anyway, angry bus man, you are on my angry list this week.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Big Love

Who watches it? What do you all think? I can't get enough of this show. I'm totally fascinated. I have decided I am hooked because I can't figure out the attraction/benefit of the situation for the women. Nikki and Margy seem miserable. Barb seems sad. The kids seem weirded out by it. Bill, obviously, benefits from tons of sex from many partners. But why do the women buy into it? I watch every week, riveted.

So far, I predict Margy and the son (Billy?) will get into some sort of romantic trouble. That's my big prediction for this season.

I've been reading up on plural marriage online. I haven't really learned a lot that made it make sense, but my friend Laura shared an interesting factoid. Apparently, plural marriage used to be popular in countries that went to war a lot. In those cases, there simply weren't as many men as women. I can see why it makes sense biologically and otherwise in those cases. But on Big Love, the women just seem miserable. Maybe I'll go back and rewatch a few episodes to see if I still think so.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Tough Things

Today was the day I had to tell Sally I am leaving the gerontology journal to tutor the athletes next year full time. I hate having to tell nice bosses that I am leaving. I dawdled forever telling the folks at Rugby magazine. I actually broke out in a rash before quitting my corporate publishing gig. And today I had to tell a sweet little old lady that I couldn't work for her anymore. Last night I pepped myself up because I knew she would be happy for me and excited that I am getting full tuition and health benefits and a hearty stipend. And so, I came into work early and pitted out waiting with coffee in hand for her to arrive.

Obviously she started the day by giving me a gift from her canyon hike in Utah and asking me all about taking my cousins to the zoo. Obviously she had to sit down in her chair and say "oooooooooooohhhhhh dear" when I blurted out my news. She wanted to actually retire next year, not just pretend retire like she did five years ago before she founded the journal. Only now she feels nervous about a new person learning the ropes well enough to keep the journal going and she is scared she can't get a grant for a new person where it would be easy to get one for a continuing person. There was no hug. There was no congratulations. Just plopping into a chair, heart clutching, and "oooooooooohhhhhhhh dear."

This is a terrible day. I have made an old lady sad for the sake of my financial sanity. Instead of being overjoyed that I will now earn more than I ever earned in the working world for doing only 20 hours of work per week AND have insurance, I'm just sad. At least I've already told her and don't have to dread that anymore. Maybe I'll sleep tonight.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Pre-Dawn Park

I was jogging in Highland Park today at 615am. It's so nice there before all the people arrive! The only people in there are resevoir walkers wearing reflective gear. Everyone is friendly. People with dogs are chatty. There was only one crazy person, an old man wearing a ski cap singing the "Here we go, Steelers" song really loud. The cherry blossoms and dogwoods are blooming. The Victorian Houses are lovely in the sunrise. Life is good in Pittsburgh.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Adventures in East Liberty

As I waited for more than 45 minutes in the Good Friday nail salon rush to get my "facial wax," it occurred to me that I'm not really cut out to be feminine. There were many, many places I would rather have been than perched upon a crooked wicker chair watching fat ladies get their callouses filed while I waited my turn. The dainty wax artist said "oh my! You have lots of hair!" as she reached for extra white fabric strips and a spare wax dipper.

I looked down at my scabby knuckles and ruined fingernails, stared at the bite scare on my right hand from a rugby match years ago and wondered why people think I'm such a masochist as a complete stranger ripped half the skin off my upper lip. All around me, women were getting their cuticles trimmed, men shoved sharp objects down inside people's toenails, and were spreading melted wax on people's faces. The only difference between Happy Nails and a rugby field is the red liquid ends up on your nails, not your jersey.

"You look much better now!" my wax artist told me, then giggled as my skin flared red immediately. She disposed of my eyebrows and rubbed baby oil on my face before sending me on my way. I had to trudge a mile home through the Rainbow and Rue21 shoppers with a screaming red face, very obviously leaving a facial wax session. The hot dog guy on Penn Avenue felt bad for me. I know it. I can't decide if it's better to present myself to Corey's family this weekend with a hairless face I paid dearly for in wait time and blood money or a black eye I earned enjoying myself in Boyce Park.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Food Gods

Well it happened. Tobias Wolff has come to Pittsburgh. Being carless, I missed my chance to gather him at the airport but that is ok because I went to a reading and a panel discussion led by him yesterday. This is what I learned: When famous people come to Pittsburgh, the University provides delicious free food for all.

The student union was overflowing with a free bounty. There were vegetarian mushroom wraps. Fried chicken. Salads. Grapes. Other fruits. Chips. A muffin sculpture. Juice bottles. Cookies. That's about all I could fit in my bag before Toby started talking.

It made me realize that I could probably wander around that union building any day of the week and gather up free goodies from panel discussions. Every day that place is full of speakers. It might even be worth five minutes just walking around looking for snacks. That mushroom wrap was de-freaking-licious. I've had better muffins, but I didn't expect them to be soft when they were stacked and arranged in the shape of a flower.

My cousins are sleeping on my futon right now. They are here for a college tour. Perhaps when I am in charge of them later this afternoon, I shall walk them into the studnt union and show them how to really eat well in college. I think Toby left town yesterday, but surely someone else special is around to talk about Holy Week.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I have one thing to say

about Ace's disgusting rape of Queen last night on American Idol, which my Corey finally remembered to record: vinyl pants should NOT be baggy.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Pizza Vacuum

After my team lost our playoff match when Detroit scored in the last instant of the game yesterday, we rushed our dejected, sweaty, bloody, stinky, muddy bodies to the Milwaukee airport and checked in 30 minutes before our flight departed, several of us still wearing our rugby clothes. I, the smart member of the team, had a Subway sub from earlier in the day to cram in my mouth before the flight. But by the time we landed, all I wanted was a pizza. Nothing in the universe apart from a piece of pizza.

I called my Corey, tore him away from bike racing, and commanded him to collect me at the airport. We set off in search of pizza. In Highland Park, there are 4 pizza places within 18 inches of one another. Do any of them have a heated oven prepared for making pizza on a Sunday evening at 7pm? No. No they do not. What I wouldn't give for one of those pizza joints to be a Ray's. We drove home, defeated yet again.

So I sat at home with my sadness and ate Pasta Roni. A pathetic substitute for cheesy goodness. What a crappy day.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


I have got to come to terms with the fact that I am busy on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. I cannot participate in American Idol this season. Each week, I forget to set up the VCR Tuesday morning and then feel grumpy all day about it. I rush home from tutoring Wednesday nights so I can catch a glimpse of the results show and wonder why, why am I doing this? I hate the freaking results show. In what reality do we need to spend an entire half hour watching a moron shuffle people into groups? But I tune in if I make it home. I certainly do.

And then I stand there in shock over the bottom three as if I've watched a single episode since the auditions. Not Mandisa! Not her! But who the heck knows? She could be sucking it up each week. I feel like I need Ace to leave because I can't stand looking at his bulgy eyes and his fake expressions. If he puts his hands in prayer pose and bows one more time, I might give up on the show for good. But he might be awesome! I have no idea!

This all started when Corey was supposed to tape it 2 Tuesdays in a row. Once you miss 2, you tell yourself it's ok to miss four. You're still involved! you think. But no. I am busy on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. I am not a part of this show. I can't walk around and hate Paula Abdul this year. I can't wish the earth would swallow Ryan Seacrest. I can't even shake my angry fist at the incessant commercial breaks and call my mom to bitch about them. Because I am uninvolved this season.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


My teammate Jess E and I have decided not to wash our rugby things before we leave for our playoff games this weekend. We played on Saturday at Carrick High School and it was kind of cold and not really muddy. It's just not worth it for me to do a load of laundry so I'll have clean shorts and socks for Milwaukee. If anyone asks us, we'll just say we're superstitious and can't bear to wash the gear we wore to win against NOVA. I normally have a spare pair of shorts, but Colorado Sarah has no shorts and I gave her my extras. And I haven't taken the plunge to buy spare game socks yet.

I think if baseball players are allowed to be superstitious about their gear, I can be, too. And how gross is it really? They're just socks and shorts. Plenty of people wear jeans for a whole week without washing them. Is it more gross to wear jeans for one week or shorts for 80 minutes without washing? The best part is that my mouthguard will already be in my left pocket when I take the field and there is no way in the world for me to forget to bring it along.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Burgh Fun

Today was quite the productive day for me in the Burgh. First, I played rugby at Carrick High School after the Carrick HS girls played. It was really awesome to go there and support the young girls and ALL of them stayed for our match. They were so cool and told us they want to be like us when they grow up. Now THAT felt good.

Then, after failing terribly at navigating my way through Polish Hill and various routes up Mt. Washington giving teammates rides and collecting perogies, I finally left to go to the North Side for the launch party of thinktank, a space for creative people to rent cubicles and have offices away from home among other creative folks. I networked a little...actually met an old rugby dude who writes for the Post Gazette and a cool lady who needs people to work layouts for a new community newsletter she's writing.

Then, finally, to top off the evening of Pittsburgh fun, I went to the Brillo Box in Bloomfield. It was my friend's birthday and she was totally drunk and belligerent. She actually told another birthday girl to go f*@k herself for trying to steal the birthday attention. It got kind of ugly. Luckily, the bar was cool enough to distract people from the fighting birthday princesses.

I feel like I now thoroughly understand how Bloomfiend is situated between the major highways of Pittsburgh and I can even drive on the scary, windy, 15mph hills that look like deadly alleys but are really main roads. I might just be finding a home here at last!

Boiled Bliss

All my writer friends just left my potluck dinner party. It was so successful that I can almost stop feeling nervous about throwing parties now. Maybe I CAN throw fun parties after all. I never get over that paranoid feeling that nobody will come and, if they do come, that everyone will have a terrible time. I suppose the adult difference in this scenario is alchohol and roasted turkey.

Some people mocked my decision to roast turkeys all day on this, the first 75 degree day of the year in Pittsburgh. But when everyone arrived to my boiling hot kitchen and tasted the citrusy, garlicy heaven that was the bird, they all shut up real fast. As soon as they begged me to open the windows.

I loved lounging around on the opened futon gabbing about writing and writers and eating turkey with our fingers and drinking dessert sherry. I wish we could have parties more often. Except then I would have mounds of dishes to do all the time. And that's almost less fun than doing laundry.