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?


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


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."