Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Crazy Psycho Stalker?

Lately, I just can't stop staring at Corey. Last night, I sat in our bedroom for a long time watching him fold laundry. I am just so fascinated by him and I think he's so hot that I can't stop staring. Plus, everything he does is strange and interesting. Like the way he holds his laundry in place against his chest with his chin while he folds. Or the way he turns the tap water to a gentle trickle and SLLLLLLLOOOOOOWWWLLLYYYY scours the dishes. Or best of all, the way he smiles in his sleep (even when sleeping on the love seat).

I like when he's working on a bicycle and will stop amid the process and stand up, hands on hips, and ponder his work. His brow wrinkles, he is deep in thought, and I just stare and smile. I like watching him be and thinking "This interesting creature is all mine."

Why do I stare at him like this? Am I a psychopath or weirdo? Last night, during the laundry watching, Corey said it was rude to sit there and do nothing and not help. But I wasn't "doing nothing;" I was staring and contemplating this person with whom I have decided to share my life.

I feel like he understands me so well. He always knows why I do things and gets my strange processes and tics. Then I feel like I don't understand him well enough. So I have to watch and study and learn what he is all about. Maybe if I study him carefully, I will someday pinpoint exactly what it is that makes him tick and then I will know why I love him so much.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Great Debate: AC or Fan?

I hate air conditioning. It's noisy and makes my nose feel stuffy. And I just somehow feel like it's cheating or wimpy or just...not right somehow. Corey, on the other hand, loves air conditioning. He will stand in front of the air conditioner like a frost-bitten person warms before the fire, cooling his back side and then spinning around and rubbing his hands together in front of the chilly breeze. I like the fan. We have a powerful, silent oscillating fan. It's very tall and white and nice. The five seconds when it blows past you and pauses before turning the other way are wonderful. Sleeping with the fan blowing is like lounging by a breezy lake. I think fans are just fine for cooling the air.

Yesterday, we had our annual air conditioning argument. And yesterday, like always, I succumbed. It was blistering hot in Pittsburgh. Summer in her muggy mood has arrived. My ears got sunburned waiting for the bus. The air was so wet with humidity I couldn't get my elbow pits dry. I lay down on the floor in the living room with the fan oscillating, miserable as I ate nachos and watched a workout video. Corey staggered in the door from his 25-mile bike ride and dripped a puddle of sweat. "Katy, we have to get the air conditioner."

It actually wasn't even much of an argument. I silently followed him to the basement and helped to heave and hoist the beast up the stairs. We plugged it in and looked at each other as the chilly goodness blew on our faces.

"Well..." I said, "This isn't too bad. We can leave it on."

Friday, May 26, 2006

Bus Etiquette

I am going to post about the bus again. People on the bus irritate me so much I sometimes growl when I get off. I feel as though bus riders should do one of two things: buy a bus pass or know the fare before they get on the bus. It's not so hard. If you are uncertain of the fare, ask someone at your stop! They will tell you.

I ride such a crowded bus. On a holiday weekend, when there is construction on fifth avenue, I don't want my bus ride to take a collective ten minutes longer because people are bartering with the driver on their way out of the bus. Have your fare in your hand as you walk down the aisle! I don't want to sit there while you dig in your wallet for a dollar bill. I don't care WHY you need a transfer or where you are going. Pay your fare and get off the bus so we can all get home.

On rainy days such as this, when the bus is particularly crowded, I also get angry at people for their parcels. Take off your freaking enormous backpack if you are standing in the aisle. Yes, it does bother me when it hits me in the head with each jerking stop of the bus. Yes, I mind getting dripped on by your collapsed umbrella. There are many, many other people on the bus. We don't have room for your LL Bean backpack and your golf umbrella and your briefcase.

There is even less room on the bus because of the enormous fat people who take up more than their allotted seat section. These people, who do not pay for two fares even though airplanes require such things, are taking up our bus room so we must all unshoulder our burdens and hold them below seat level.

I like riding the bus. I do! I enjoy sitting in my seat and reading my book and supporting public transportation and boycotting the waste of fossil fuels. We have our own lane on the bus. We allow people to go to bars and imbibe in alchohol safely. We allow the city to build new green parks out of former scary parking lots! If people would just silence their damn cell phone walkie talkies and put down their big bags and have their money ready at the right time, the bus would be a perfect place. Do your part! Stop hogging our time and space!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Wait...this isn't cheese?

Even though I told Corey I was cooking vegan food this week, he still couldn't believe me that the lasagna had no cheese in it. The tofu (plus ten thousand spices and Spanish olive oil) really became the same thing as ricotta cheese. Honestly! In addition to 4 cups of gooey ricotta-esque goodness, my pan of lasagna invovled delicious spring vegetables and an entire bulb of garlic. Thankfully, I don't have to tutor any more this week. That would have been embarassing.

I'm even learning to trim time off of my real food recipes. I made the tofu mixture this morning before I left for work and I made the marinara really fast and let it simmer while I worked out this afternoon. Dinner would have been done in 1.5 hours if I hadn't gotten visitors who stopped to smell the fabulous aromas wafting around the apartment building. I find it strange how satisfied I am when people gush about my cooking. It makes me feel powerful. Why is this?

My lactard love was so satisfied with this dinner he made me want to cook such masterpieces for him every single day. He is so happy right now I bet I could even get him to scrub the toilet! He gushed about the awesomeness of the cheeseless meal. No lactaid pills? No problems at my house! Today, for the first time, I made a delicious lasagna and will not have to spend the night in a Dutch oven. I might be sold on vegan food after all.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A morning in the life of...

Corey slept on the loveseat again last night. He fell asleep with a bag of Doritos on his stomach, his long legs stretched straight up the wall, and the remote wedged between his back and the seat cushion. When I woke up this morning, the faith healers were working magic on Pittsburgh's public access channel. He had the closed captions on. I cannot imagine what he had been watching the night before when he turned to that chanell originally.

"Were you watching the faith healers?" I asked, to wake him up.

"Of course not. I was resting." How he managed to not only sleep through the night with a light shining in his eyes and his legs straight up the wall but also keep sleeping through the morning sunlight streaming into his face from the kitchen window will never cease to amaze me.

By the time I got out of the shower, he was sitting up in bed staring into space. "Decompressing," he told me. He was mentally preparing to get up and be functional. I ate breakfast, packed my lunch and kissed him goodbye, wondering how he can be so gosh darn cute and so freaking weird all at one time. I wouldn't have him any other way.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


So the enchilada experiment went all right. The entire prep and process today only took 1.5 hours, so 3 hours total for the meal. Luckily, there is so much left over that I will certainly eat enough beans and rice to make it worth the time. My current fear is that I will not be able to eat the black beans before they mold and rot in the fridge.

I think my perception of vegan food was way off. When I started eating, I assumed since there were no animal products, the food would not only taste weird but also not be satisfying. I heaped an enormous mountain of food on my plate and only made it through a small sliver before I wanted to explode. Obviously the beans and rice were delicious. How could a person mess up beans and rice? But what shocked me was the enchiladas. They were amazing! The flavors exploded in my mouth and the seitan really felt like chicken when I chewed it up. I'm a believer! (I'm still not giving up on meat, please understand. This is only for fun.)

Five recipes into this cook book and I am excited. I don't know if I can spend three hours on a meal more than once a week, especially when classes start again. On the other hand, despite the sting of JalapeƱo peppers in my cuticles and the dense lump in the pit of my overfull stomach, this meal was one of the best I've had in eons.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Real Food Daily

My sister got me a vegan cookbook for my birthday, the cookbook by the lady who made the walnut-lentil pate. I decided that anyone who designs something so powerfully delicious must really know what she is talking about. And so, I now embark on an adventure in "real food" cooking. This week, I decided to start with two of the dinners from the cookbook: enchiladas and spinach lasagna. Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong!

Cooking with real food involves making everything from scratch. Everything. So the quick little recipe for enchiladas is actually long and complex, involving stops at 4 different markets in The Strip. After spending ten minutes failing miserably at parallel parking, the owner of a little deli had to come out and help me manuever the Maxima into the tiny space I found on 19th street. Not fun. They made so much freaking fun of me I almost didn't go into Penn Mac. But I needed Spanish olive oil.

I relaxed my nerves by eating fresh cheese and bread samples as I worked my way through the store, bottling the olive oil, weighing the garlic. I bartered a little bit about cilantro bunches. I smelled the fresh basil and reminded myself how amazing my home would smell through the week with the basil and cilantro breathing in the kitchen. Real food was going to be fragrant and delicious!

On to the Asian market I stumbled with 20 pounds of produce for two meals. To my horror, the dirty employees inside were smoking cigarettes and handling the tofu with their bare, dirty hands. The only helpful and clean person in the store was a little old lady who had never heard of kombu. "But it's a sea vegetable!" I yelled at her, despairing. I hadn't even made one recipe yet and I was losing my cool. We decided I could do without the sea vegetables when soaking my beans and she found me some cleanish tofu.

Luckily, the Mexican market was entirely clean, smoke free, and friendly. I bought 2 pounds of tomatillos for the salsa verde I have to make a day in advance and went home to discover how sticky and grimy tomatillos are inside their husks. Gross! My kitchen now does in fact smell lovely, but is covered in tomatillo seeds, cilantro bits, and chunks of homemade seitan. Two hours of cooking and two hours of shopping later, I have finished step one of the preparation necessary for one batch of enchiladas! I see why so many people give up entirely on animal by-products. It's so simple and fast to make yummy foods from scratch!

Hopefully I will have forgotten this struggle by tomorrow evening when I have a gluten flour enchilada drizzled with salsa verde in my mouth. Perhaps I can start making my own wine at home so I can at least be drunk while I am cooking my vegan delicacies. Seriously, though, at least this cooking experiment is healthier than my stint with Julia Child.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

My Best Friend's Wedding

Yesterday, I watched my Adam get married. It was a very strange and emotional weekend, to be sure. It's certainly been a very long ten years of friendship. I couldn't believe I was sitting there watching Adam take Shanna to be his wedded wife. My friend, who dyed my hair orange in his father's bathtub and vomited oreos at my parents' house when we drank too much secret alcohol in high school. We are not silly kids driving in convertibles in winter time any more. He was the same Adam--same goofy smile, same strange giggle at inappropriate times--but he was a grown up man taking vows of marriage. All I could think about was that I, too, would be doing such a grown up thing soon.

Somewhere in between watching him smash cake in his bride's face and hugging him goodbye, it occurred to me that he was an incredibly happy, married man. I can't decide which idea is more difficult to adjust friend being married or my friend being a man now.

I sure hope this does not mean he will stop calling me in the middle of the night to describe fantastic hot dogs, even if he does tell his wife about them first.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Big Sad Love

I was talking to my friend Anthony about last Sunday's episode of Big Love. We were both totally sad that Ben lost his virginity to that ho-bag girl. That was the saddest sex scene I have ever watched on TV. What 15 year old girl would be such a yatch to her super sweet boyfriend who wants to appreciate her for her inside? She pressured him into wilting his flower!

What was extra disturbing for us was the fact that they were in her bedroom with her mom home when they had sex. Now, Ninny would never have allowed that to happen. She would never even let boys upstairs. Even to use the bathroom. Even if it were an emergency and my grandma had staked out the downstairs bathroom for ten hours. As she saw it, there was no reason for boys to be upstairs when I was in high school.

(Now everything is different, but I'm a grown up. And plus Corey is going to marry me....not leave me on the floor on a pile of pillows with no blanket like a Utah ho-bag)

And where was the condom? Ben is probably going to catch crotch rot from that girl. I just feel so enormously sad for him. I would want to give him a hug and tell him that a real woman would never pressure him like that. And besides, it's not even like that could have felt in any way good for either of them. What a tragedy! Such sadness! Parents need to be more vigilant with boys-in-the-room rules, no matter how angry it makes their teenagers.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Rain

I now know what people mean when they refer to Pittsburgh weather. This is terrible. It's ruining my whole mood. If I have to look at one more rainy, dreary day I might just jump into a river. Any river. They're all brown and overflowing and frothy with rain water.

We can't camp this weekend, either, because of the rains tormenting New England. Rain is washing away my fun activities this week. Boo.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Camel Pac

I got a Camel Pac from Corey for my birthday! It's the best invention ever. (I'm wearing it right now.) No matter where I go, I can have hands-free hydration. It's comfortable and reflective and has lots of storage.

Already, I've used my new Camel Pac to hydrate while running lines at the men's rugby game yesterday. And then I used it to keep hydrated at the party after my own rugby game. Which was good, since there were other activities that quite dehydrated me at that shin dig!

And now, I'm using the Camel Pac to whet my whistle while I do telephone interviews. Who knew hydration was so simple? Today, I wore it for several hours while lounging on the sofa watching a Little People, Big World marathon on TLC. With a Camel Pac, you can just lay down with a tank strapped to your back and a hose in your mouth. It's like having an IV drip all day. Laziness redefined! My dad needs one of these for his beer in the evenings, I think.

My pack has lumbar and shoulder straps, plus a hidden pocket for keys and wallets and things. I think it's just about the best birthday present ever. I'll have to really try it out this weekend when we are camping in Maine. Perhaps I'll even wear the Camel Pac during Adam's wedding. The colors do, after all, match my dress.

If a wedding is being held at a campground in Maine, is it wrong to wear a Camel Pac during the reception?

Friday, May 12, 2006

Rotten, Stinky Timing

Today, three weeks after accepting an unpaid (though fascinating and worthwhile) internship for the summer, I got the call of a lifetime. USA Rugby rang my mobile (as the British rugby gurus would say) and asked me if I was interested in working as a communications consultant for them this summer. Was I, for example, interested in travling to British Columbia for a 12-day, all expense paid trip to write about the men's national team? Was I interested in popping to San Francisco for most of July to write about an international match tour?

Was I interested???? YESS!!!!! YES I WAS!!!!!! But I cannot do it. I cannot leave my three part time jobs and my partial grad assistantship that pays my health insurance and paid my tuition this past year. I had to turn down a rugby writing job. WHO DOES THAT??? How many times in your life are you one of only three people in the nation qualified to do a job? And then how many times in your life do you have to flipping say no to the dangling fish on the hook?

Oh, I am worked up. I need to eat chcolate immediately. My Pirates tickets had better keep me close to the beer stand. I need to not think about my actions for awhile until I am ready to deal with my feelings of shock and horror at my rotten timing.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Magical Land?

Last night, Corey and I trekked to Shop N Save and boy did we save! We hadn't been shopping in two weeks. We were down to a box of raisins and some barbeque sauce with onion skin stuck to it. So we filled up the cart.

I cleaned the shelves of Pasta Roni. I loaded up on nuts and dried fruit in preparation for our camping trip. We bought meat. Pounds of meat. So many pounds of meat it filled and overflowed the front-of-cart shelf section.

I also bought the fancy bread and fixins for mountain pie pizzas. There was cheese, fruit, pounds of produce. We even bought NAME BRAND animal crackers. (Although we cancelled that out with generic pasta and cereal and granola bars) I steeled myself for a big number. I closed my eyes. I breathed deeply. "It's ok, Katy. This is food for two weeks. It will be ok. You like eating steak. This will be ok." I opened my eyes: $140.35.

I almost tipped over. That's so cheap! Our cart was overflowing. You couldn't have squeezed one more thing in that buggy. It took many trips into the house up the fire escape to unload. We still haven't bagged and frozen all the meat. $140!!! That comes down to $5 per day per person.

I've had shopping trips where we bought way less and spent way more. I've decided to frame this shopping list and repeat it as often as possible. $5 a day! You can't beat that with a stick! Take that, Giant Eagle!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Rugby practice has been moved to Hazlewood these past few weeks. I'm still not that familiar with a lot of the Pittsburgh neighborhoods, but evidently this is not a good one. Last night at practice, we had to kick out some kids who were playing football and goofing around on the field.

So what did they do? First, they huddled on the sidelines yelling rude things to us. "Run, girls! Run!" Some of them even trailed behind us as we ran 200-meter sprints, yelling things at us. That made me angry of course.

Then, out of nowhere, the men's team went tearing down the street screaming. I thought they were just doing some new sort of drill, but no. They were chasing down thieves. The ratty imps were stealing our balls. Who the heck knows what else they stole from us. At the end of practice, they stole some more balls and the team had to sprint off after them again.

The whole thing made me really, really sad. My heart is sad for kids who grow up with no other models of how to behave. How can we change the world? How can we raise our children to be respectful? Why weren't those kids playing for a neighborhood soccer team or hanging out under supervision at a youth center? Because there are no organized activities for them and there is no youth center. Sometimes I think we should just drop all funding for projects dealing with kids over 10 and just focus on saving them while they are young. Oh, what I wouldn't give to save the world.

Monday, May 08, 2006


We went to the Aviary yesterday with Corey's parents. I loved it there...until it was time for the feeding in the Tropical Rainforest. There were Cub Scouts and screaming children and thousands of toddlers pushing and shoving against me, diving for grubs and worms and grapes to feed the birds.

Andy the Handler was getting upset because people wouldn't get away from the auto-sensor on the door and the birds were escaping. Then nobody would back away from him and the birds were squwaking. I had a mild panic attack and had to force my way out of the rainforest.

Later, when the excitement died down and I could return to the abandoned forest in peace, we noticed that Ellen was covered in tropical bird poop. She really got bombed. Not to worry, though! They give you a pin commemorating your crappy experience at the Aviary.

I think I'll go back there another time, during the week, when there isn't as much excitement so I can sit on the bench in the forest and let colorful birds swarm around my head. That would be delightful.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Fresh Grapes

I feel better today. As "anonymous" pointed out, it is important to keep things in perspective and remember our blessings. I still feel entitled to be bitter for one day when I don't get jobs I'm qualified for because of crappy reasons. But anyway, I had my day of bitterness about it and feel much happier today.

I owe the easing away of the bitterness to the many episodes of Deadwood I watched on my day off yesterday. HBO makes the best flipping shows ever. I get sucked into them all and totally addicted. Nothing beats a day on the love seat in your pajamas with beer and pie.

I also feel unbitter because my professor is reading her book tonight at the Waterfront. I do so love a good book reading. If I had gotten the diagnostic essay reading job, I would be doing that tonight instead of attending the book reading. So see? Many reasons to be unbitter today!

The last (and best) reason to be unbitter is that I get to anticipate a super fun weekend with my future Team. Corey's parents arrive tomorrow. We are doing a Pittsburgh Fun-o-Rama, including trips to the zoo, several museums, the aviary, many restaurants, and a visit to Trek of Pittsburgh (home of the cutest bike salesman ever). Hurrah for family visits!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Sour Grapes

Today I feel bitter. And angry. But mostly bitter. Pitt only gives teaching assistantships to two MFAs per genre per year. So that means out of the fifteen nonfiction people, only six are "allowed" to teach at Pitt. I like to call them the chosen ones. There's no application process and the spots are handed out by the rotating professor who is in charge of admissions the year students apply. I am not a chosen one.

I've found ways around it. I tutor. I teach community writing classes. I'm teaching kids this summer. But then I get really angry when the students who do teach get extra bonus opportunities.

For example, the folks who teach are allowed to get $18/hr this summer to read college placement essays and recommend appropriate English classes. I applied to do this. I tutor the very same writers. I know the difference between the remedial writing and the standard freshman comp. class writing. I know just as intimately and probably more, since I've worked with writers from both groups unlike the chosen ones.

But today I got an email saying I am not allowed to do this job and they have given all the spaces to students with "teaching experience for the English department." Screw them and their haughty tone! Screw those chosen ones and their free pizza every Monday and Thursday evening as they read essays and assign kids into random classes. I'll be spending four hours a week with each of those kids next year, huddled in the writing center. What I really want is for someone at this university other than the writing center director to acknowledge that what I do is challenging and difficult and that I am good at it. Even if I'm not a chosen one.

Bitter!!! Bitter!!! Bitter! I am bitter today.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

My Ending

My mother, godmother, grandmother, bridesmaid and I went on a dress mission last weekend. We trouped into the bridal shop and took up every chair while I tried on more dresses in one day than I've ever donned in my life.

As a newbie to dress wearing, I needed extra help actually getting into the contraptions. After loudly exclaiming that one of my favorite choices wouldn't fit over my a$$, I learned that in fancy bridal shops, we don't say a$$. We refer to that part of the body as an "ending." As in "Ohh! That dress makes your ending look so tiny!" or "No, the lace on that one is too clingy over your ending."

We suffered through corporate incompetency in David's Bridal, the Wal-Mart of wedding gowns, and my mother even managed to illegally photograph me in a few of the dresses. The salesperson with the weepy sores on her bosom was easily duped into leaving the room to find headpieces and Nance whipped out the camera phone. I don't feel ready to share photos of myself in wedding dresses yes, though. I'm just not ready.

I do think we found a winner. Obviously, it was the very first dress I tried on. It's strapless (a good cut for "strong" shoulders) and white with beads at the top, to draw the eye away from my ending and toward my ample bosom. The a-line skirt is made of flowy material and it only has a small train--perfect for an outside wedding. I could probably make an entire other dress out of the material they'll have to trim off to make it short enough for me. The best part is that I won't have to wear a slip with crinoline and I will be able to use the bathroom all by myself. That's a huge plus for me, because every other wedding I've been in has involved me under a frilly skirt with some toilet paper aimed toward someone else's ending.

Monday, May 01, 2006


It's hard to be sad when spring is so beautiful. I'm doing much better. I only feel heavy and sad when I look at Max's photo, but I think it helps me to look and move on.

I had a really wonderful weekend visiting my family. We tried on wedding dresses, ate chicken, watched/played rugby. It was really good to see them again. I hadn't been home since Christmas! I was so caught up in how beautiful Pittsburgh is in the springtime that I forgot how beautiful Lebanon can be in the same season.

For the first time in 24 years, my parents' lilac bush bloomed. A neighbor planted a bush across the street and now our lilac grew flowers. I guess our bush just needed a boyfriend to make lilac babies. It was so beautiful and smelled amazing. I'm very jealous of my mother and her productive lilac bush. When I get a house with a yard, I'll have to take a piece of their bush to grow.

Max's mom is planting lilacs in a memorial Max garden in the back yard. Hopefully, future generations of doggies will enjoy sniffing those flowers and circling around and around and around them, looking for the perfect spot on which to pee. I think Max would like that.