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


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


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.