Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Fight Gone Bad Part Deux

Today was Fight Gone Bad at CrossFit for the WOD. I have managed to finagle my training sessions so that I conveniently miss Fight Gone Bad ever since the first time I did it in June. I must say I'm glad I finally went back for more. Despite having a baby inside, I still lifted more weight than when I first began CrossFit and got a way better score. Last time: 215. This time: 247.

I remember when I began CrossFit I couldn't even shoulder press the 30# bar, had to use little dumbells. Now it feels like torture to only use that bar, when I know I can do so much more. I of course am aware that I am scaling down the weights to protect the tiny baby growing inside me, just waiting to out-thrust me and beat me in deadlifts, but that doesn't make it easier to lift what my rugby-brain tells me are whimpy weights while the rest of the athletes to "real work." Each day I add to my mental list of the things I'll do in August (climb a rope to the top, deadlift my body weight, shoulder press 100#...) and these thoughts get me through the light lifts.

I'm pretty proud of the progress I've made in 6 months. It's pretty wild that my pregnant body is stronger than my flubbery pre-CrossFit self. I love the added motivation my pregnancy gives me to stay fit, like I know that each healthy heart beat helps deliver more oxygenated blood to my womb and sets a precedent for my wee one to lead an active life. Maybe I'll be like Carla Overbeck and have a baby so addicted to working out, I'll have to bring him or her to the gym for naptimes, where the sounds and rhythms of the workouts lull the baby to sleep instead of a singing glow worm.

I'm currently experiencing the euphoria I only get when I've improved myself, met and surpassed a challenge. I hope the baby is enjoying this rush along with me. Today, the Fight went well.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Benjamin Button

** Spoiler Warning **

I hated Benjamin Button. Hated it. And Corey did, too. We feel ok about this even though everyone else we know loved it. But we do feel a little judgey, like we might need to get new friends and family members who also hated the movie.

I thought the idea for the story was a really unique one and that it was pretty well executed. A man aging in reverse. It was really neat to me. And there were some really interesting complications, like wanting playmates or the strange relationship Benjamin develops with his own deadbeat father and being unable to have age-appropriate friends until he was in his 20s, that made the story really well rounded. However, none of these positives were stronger than the major negative plot point: Benjamin Button abandons his baby to go gallivanting in India.

To me, this is a selfish and unforgivable action. Babies need parents. They just do. The other people who watched the movie with us think he was being all noble in freeing up his lady-friend to go marry someone else while she was still young and hot. That's bullshit, too. Daisy didn't seem to really love that dude. She needed Benjamin. He had at least 20 years in him that he could parent his child and be a partner to his Daisy. By the time Caroline was 20, Daisy wouldn't have "needed" to go off and find another man to be Caroline's father. Plus, Daisy ended up diapering her lover in the end anyway so his big old "sacrifice" didn't really get him very far.

I don't know if Corey and I felt so strongly about this move because we have a baby coming or because it really is such an awful thing, but the idea that Benjamin's leaving was noble makes our blood boil. We think he's a deadbeat dad, even if he did leave them millions of dollars on the bureau.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bladder Olympics

I haven't really had trouble with overactive bladder thus far in my pregnancy. I've been drinking my midwife-recommended 80 oz of water each day to even out with my activity level, but I've been peeing what I consider to be a normal amount. Until today.

I went into New York City with my mother-in-law and Corey's cousins. We stopped first at a fantastically wonderful chocolate shop for hot cocoa. And I saw they had a bathroom. I used it twice during our half hour visit. Then we met the owner and learned all about how she silk screens her designs using cocoa butter and go to talking and soon enough I had to go again! But we were already on the move.

I tried to breathe deeply and pray for McDonalds, then sneaked into Giggle as a diversion. I thought I could look at frog shoes and hippo onesies and not concentrate on my exploding bladder. And then a door opened, right by the bath toy scoopers, and a golden light as if from heaven shone down upon a toilet! Right there in a cute little Manhattan boutique. It occurred to me that stores catering to babies and moms must ALL have bathrooms. I think that might have been the best pee of my life. You know how when you have to go super bad, like so bad you think you'll burst, and then you finally pee and it feels so wonderful? That was this pee in this baby store. It made me want to buy something. I think when the baby comes along I actually will buy many of the things in there in gratitude.

Finally, we made our way to the Pearl River Market and tried to ogle the three floors of cheap, Asian-themed stuff. I was halfway through the aisles of chopsticks when I had to pee. Again. Now, I never imagined there would be a restroom on the premisis. This was, after all, a super crowded store packed with cheap, cheap, cheap goods. But Ellen asked a little man carving narcissus bulbs and they indeed had a bathroom! For a store with a slight film of crud, the bathroom was actually quite excellent. There were even three stalls in there, so many people could pee at once. Best bathroom of the day for me.

We ended the evening at a restaurant, where I only had to use the bathroom once. I would say that my bladder is slowing down and returning to normal again, but as I type this I feel the urge to empty it again. Luckily I am not crammed into the sidewalks of Canal Street and the bathroom is just a few steps away. This is only going to get more pathetic as the months go on.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Most Beautiful Sight in the World

We had our ultrasound today! It was such a relief for me to see our tiny baby alive and well and hiccupping all over the place. I had myself convinced last week that I had somehow killed the baby. This is mostly because of, where all the mothers have some sort of catastrophe and don't like me because I spoke negatively about Suzie from Survivor.

(I should know better than to lurk around a place that disapproves of people speaking their minds about television characters)

Anyway, as soon as the technician put the wand to my belly, we could see a fully formed human lurking inside there. With ears. And little arms that he or she waved around like mad. I never felt anything so powerful in my life as I did looking at that screen. There's a person. Inside me. For real. This is really happening.

Of course I knew all of this before, but looking at the baby move around really solidified everything. There's a baby in there, and I love that baby so much, so fiercely that I feel completely empowered.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Phone's Ringin', Dude

Corey and I got Vonage shortly after we moved to Pittsburgh, predominantly because I was eating up our shared cell phone minutes doing phone interviews for articles. We initially just used a free Conair corded telephone that came with a hairdryer I found at Big Lots. Both the phone and hairdryer soon petered out.

In order to still have a phone in my office, we needed a quick solution (we never bothered to replace the hair dryer). I had been spending the weekend at my parents' house and just stole an old, old, old cordless phone. Like Zack Morris old. It worked in a pinch and was only supposed to tide us over til we remembered to go to Best Buy.

The phone was terrible. For starters, the 3 didn't work. Whenever I had to initiate a phone interview, I'd cringe and fear lateness if the number contained a 3. I'd grunt and press with all my might and eventually have to jab a knitting needle repeatedly into the key pad to make it dial. By 2008, four years into our temporary phone, the disfunction spread to the 6 and the 0 key. Also? The phone only held a charge for a few hours. Lucky for me, I'm terribly forgetful and consistently neglected to put it back on the charger.

I'll never forget the first time I spoke with the coach of the women's national rugby team (15s)--a hard interview to secure due to busy-ness and schedule complications on both sides--and I had to say, "Can I call you back from another phone in a second? This one's about to die..." (She also had some 3's in her number...)

The worst part about this ancient phone was the way its frequency interfered with the wireless internet. We were unable to be online and on the phone at the same time. This was a terribly misfortune for Corey in particular. I'd pick up the phone to call one of our moms and hear him grunting from the basement, his many hours of online South Park viewing interrupted.

Something had to give.

On Wednesday, Corey said something so wonderful I added another column to the reasons I married him. He looked at me, smiled, and said, "You know, I found 2 old Best Buy gift cards. We should used them to get a new phone."

It was like he was a prophet. Of course that was the solution! I stopped in and bought one en route to the eye doctor. Nothing could have been simpler. He hooked it up for me. The 3 works. And the 6. And! It has an advanced signal that doesn't interfere with our wi-fi. It's like I live in a real house with real technological features. I'm on the internet AND listening to voicemail right now. On my speaker phone. From the second headset that came with the phone, so we have one for upstairs and one for downstairs to eliminate the liklihood of my forgetting to charge it.

Now that we have a functional telephone, I can't believe we soldiered on so long with the piece of crap we were using. I wish I could express the magnitude of difference this one small change has made in my life in just a few days. It's like we knew the whole time how badly we needed to make a change, but just didn't have the impetus to do it. Something buzzed in Corey's bonnet this week to spur some change, and I feel stupendously grateful for that.

Call me!

Friday, December 19, 2008


Yesterday, my stylist Jessica gave me this trendy, asymmetrical haircut (still a bit wet from the shower):
Along the way, she told me how she was watching an infomercial the other day and remains convinced she needs the Toby steamer. She hates ironing desperately but has to do it every day. She thinks this Toby steamer would really change her life for the better.

I told her about my infomercial experience with the Cricut and we both agreed it would be life altering to create animal shapes out of, say, leather.

"Maybe you should ask Santa for the Toby," I told her, thinking she could just ask her husband and he'd feel super relieved to have an idea.

"Man!" she yelled. "Wouldn't it be great if Santa were real? Like for real you could just ask this man for presents and he'd get them for you if you were nice?"

I thought about this a lot since then. Santa. He seems a bit like a genie in a bottle, only with material possessions instead of more abstract wish-granting like riches or happiness or love.

If there were an honest-to-goodness present giving Santa, I think I would ask him not for a Cricut but for a new Mac. Perhaps one with a functional optical drive, but at least one that is shiny and environmentally friendly and better than the one JennyLui has.

Then, if I were still allowed to ask for more things, I'd ask for the expensive hair wax Jessica used on my coif so it wouldn't look like I just got out of the shower and shook my head and called that a hairstyle.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Receipt free at last!

A few months ago, PNC took away the option to not get a receipt. They just took it away. One day you could opt out and the next? If you used the ATM you had to get that little piece of paper. It drove me mad. It infuriated me. I saw them blowing around the ground surrounding the ATMs. I saw them billowing out of the trash cans, people's personal banking information taking to the breeze like so many feathers.

(Note: this made me more angry than wasters who get receipts only to look at them briefly, crumple them up, and throw them on the ground. Not sure why that is less annoying than having no choice...this is litter after all)

Anyway, two weeks ago when I went to the ATM, I got asked the magic question: Would you like a receipt with your transaction?

No! No I would most certainly not like you to chop down a tree for a weird, hard to read, temporal record of my transaction.

Thank you, PNC, for returning to the level of conservation you had before. I will not, however, feel at ease until I understand the two-month hiatus of non-wasting options. Why would you have done that to start with? I think you need to plant a bamboo field somewhere troical to offset your customers' receipt usage.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wrapping Paper

I am torn about paper this year. On one hand, I have justified my lack of sending holiday cards with the environment. Why waste the paper and envelopes and fuel delivering the cards, I said. On this same hand, I've bought a few gifts that come with secret magical packaging that is very environmentally friendly and I for sure won't add additional trimmings to these gifts out of respect for the people who invented the packaging.

(I don't want to give details because the recipients read this blog...)

But then there's my other hand and my other pile of gifts. I want to just put a bow or a tag on them or use newspaper to wrap them, but I just can't bring myself to do it. I have my mom for a mom, after all. She has such ornate wrapping devices and accouterments. She has this machine to cut ribbon into a million tiny pieces of ribbon that curl like permed hair. She has a bag of bows and more cute tags than you could ever use. She doesn't just have one roll of wrapping paper somewhere in the house like we do. She has a collection. There's paper for all holidays and occasions. She'd never wrap someone's birthday gift in Santa paper. She's probably embarrassed that I put the paper Santa-side in and give people white-wrapped gifts at non-Christmas events.

Sometimes I feel like my genetics are stronger than my desire to not be wasteful. I went to the store and bought a roll of wrapping paper yesterday. I haven't opened it yet or gotten rid of the receipt, but I'm thinking I might cave and wrap my presents with this beautiful, blue shiny paper. Some of the presents...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Practice Makes Perfect

We had houseguests this weekend who brought their delicious baby Sergio to play with us. Apart from a 6 hour timeout Corey took to ride bikes in the mud on Sunday, the two of us basically spent the whole weekend holding, smelling, feeding, and napping with Serge. It was wonderful.

Friday, December 12, 2008


So my students mostly use the new Word to write all their papers. I find this annoying only because I have a 2004 version of Office and must, thus, convert all the files using this easy but bothersome conversion program. It drives me nuts.

I asked my friend to loan me her CD of the 2008 Office for Mac and she graciously agreed. So I hauled into campus to run some errands and acquire it. Well she forgot it. No sweat. She would deliver it to my friend Sam, whose children I would be babysitting while he read aloud from his new and fabulous book.

She went to the reading, delivered the CD, and Sam put it in his pocket to take home. When he got home, the millions of children he produced starting running around and clapping and singing and jumping and we all jumped and ran and sang and clapped. And we all forgot about the CD. No sweat. He would just take it BACK to campus and put it in my mailbox, where I would acquire it on my next journey to do errands.

I went into campus today during a blizzard, made some copies, returned library books, and got the CD. I was cold, miserable, had parallel parked poorly, and got home ready to install some new software.

Then I remembered. I don't have a functional disk drive on my computer. The genius told me it was broken. So, after all that, here I sit with a new version of Word and no way to install it. Life laughs at me sometimes, just to see if I still think things are funny.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I Dream of...

I keep having the weirdest dreams! And since I can't seem to sleep beyond 5:45 anymore, I usually have lots of time before daylight to ponder their meaning.

Last night there were two odd ones. In the first, I was 15 minutes late for my ultrasound appointment and they wouldn't see me. Odder than the notion that I would be late for anything at all, let alone NOT ten minutes early, was the fact that as I was walking through Oakland (in the dream) for the appointment, I was drinking a beer! I hid the beer in the trash can in the lobby of the ultrasound place, which was in the back of a book store, then fought with the lady at reception about why I couldn't get my procedure. Open containers, tardiness--it's like the world was inside out and I became some sort of lax rule breaker.

Dream two had me back at church as an acolyte again. This one was just a sort of nostalgic dream that made me remember all the drama of acolyte culture. There you are, 13 years old, standing in front of the whole church with a fire stick. You are terrified, not of messing up and losing God's favor, but of clanking the brass lighter on the brass candlestick such that the hatted old biddies will complain about your lack of skills.

Each week in the basement, as we all donned our gowns and rope belts, our troop leader would report on who had been clanky the week before. I was determined to not be gossiped about. I didn't wear sandals like my sister or jeans like my cousins, so I was already safe in one regard. I wasn't about to lose everything and make a timid noise unto the Lord.

In the dream, everything happened in slow motion and I could actually feel the heat of the candles as I worked painfully slowly to light and extinguish each one in a heavenly, silent way. I was jolted awake from this dream by Corey's broken alarm clock, which flashed 2 am and beeped even though the real time was 5:45 and neither of us needed to be up for another hour or so.

Tonight, I'll probably dream of smashing the alarm clock over his head. Because that might have actually happened...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Proposition Hate

Today is the "Day without a Gay" protest. The idea is to call in "gay" from work, and use your time instead to volunteer. The message is two-fold: there are dramatically more gay people than we think helping our world to function and these neighbors, during their protest, are moved to do good in the world rather than divisive, anger-driven legislating.

I am self employed and am unable to support this protest. (Though I am taking time to babysit for my friend Sam so his wife can hear him read from his newly released book!) (Also, I sort of question its eventual usefulness, but I digress)

My brother-in-law showed me a blog post today that fully exemplifies why I feel legislation denying civil rights is wrong. This man has humbled me. He makes me feel sad that Corey and I are automatically given rights and privileges my gay friends have to pay and work hard to obtain (if they can ever get them). It just feels wrong.

Monday, December 08, 2008

And Then God Made This:

Behold this photo:

Forgive its poor quality, having been taken with a camera phone and all. Gaze upon the wonder of that product. Dark Chocolate Dreams. That's right. I'll type it again. Dark Chocolate Dreams.

What you are looking at is a combination of dark chocolate and peanut butter. It's all stirred together for you already, all right there in the jar ready for you to scrape into your mouth in the middle of the grocery store. The jar is even plastic, so when you drop it because you've had an attack of joy, it won't break and you won't lose any of your Dark Chocolate Dreams.

I found out this product existed yesterday. I was buying peanut butter for Corey. He's a peanut butter snob, you see. Won't eat anything but the peanut butter from Peanut Butter & Co. Usually he'll only eat Crunch Time. And who could blame him? The only ingredients are peanuts and salt. It's pretty much the best thing compared to sticking peanuts and salt in your Cuisinart and making it yourself. But really, who has time? And there's always a line for the machine to do that at Whole Foods.

So there I was, crouched down in the hippie food section of Giant Eagle and reaching for his peanut butter, when I saw the Dreams. It was wedged in the back, sort of near the Bulgar wheat. Like some other woman had hidden it for later in an attempt to prevent me from buying the last jar. Screw you, lady. I got it. And I spread it on my muffin this morning. And then I ate some with my fingers on my way to putting it away in the pantry.

I see from this company's website that they sell many different heavenly products. I somehow doubt any can come close to the magical combination that is bitter dark chocolate plus smooth peanut butter. I use to think I needed Nutella to survive. In the summer, I go nuts for peanut butter, Nutella, and banana sandwiches.

Who needs hazelnut now, when I can have just pure dark chocolate with my peanut butter? I might eat the whole jar today. Corey might come home from work to find me in a food coma on the kitchen floor, resting my head on the plastic jar for a pillow and murmuring my thanks to the nut mavens and their ingenious invention.

Sunday, December 07, 2008


OMG I have a problem. I got home from the grocery store (an absolute zoo in the hours before the Steelers game) and settled into the couch with some Pirate Booty. My intention was to watch some downhill skiing, maybe even a made for TV movie on the Jesus channel. Something where a man considers an affair but then reconsiders, not because he loves his wife but because Jesus wouldn't approve of such behavior.

Anyway, I did not watch either of those things because I got sucked in by an informercial for Cricut Expressions. Here is a machine--the Bedazzler of card stock--that allows you to cut out any shape in the world on basically any surface. I must confess that I am a girl with poor cutting skills. I'm left handed, you see, and those rusty green scissors were never as sharp or accurate as the silver beauties my classmates got to use in school. My creations were always raggedy and pathetic compared to the Edward Scissorhands-worthy stylings of, say, Shelbie.

Imagine my daydreams upon gazing at the Cricut! Here was a woman with perfect, manicured nails telling me I could etch glass or make stencils or fabricate delicate, perfect greeting cards using adhesive dots and a machine that will cut complicated scrolls onto a Kleenex if I program it carefully. I sat in my living room agreeing with the ladies that my walls ARE bland and boring and that I certainly do need to cut produce out of fabric and decoupage it to my home. I also need to go on the deck and burn words in the wood, paint flowers on the pavement, and make a scrap book. Then? When the baby's born? I need to make a mobile with card stock spiders and start helping him or her get ready for science fair projects.

(Don't get me started on science fair projects. Mine always looked like a serial killer put them together with glue and human skin)

This product offered me a way into a world that is gentile and courteous and crafty. Who cares if I can knit? With Cricut I can cut out wooden eyeballs or plastic teeth and knit crocodile puppets! Better, right? I need Cricut, I think. If only to feel for one small moment that, should I ever again need a lesbian wedding card, I can make something beautiful and appropriate in the privacy of my living room.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Green Again!

I had another article go live today, this time about John Hardy jewelry.

There's something about the immediacy of online publishing that just tickles my fancy way more than waiting six months for a print article to appear...

Fruit Salad

Each week, I check various websites and books to read about what's going on inside my body, how big the baby is and what he or she has grown recently. This week, my baby is the size of a grape, has some teeth and a face, and his or her heart is divided into four chambers. Last week, the baby was the size of a kidney bean (or on some sites a raspberry). Before that a blueberry. Next up? Kumquat.

I believe they use fruit comparisons for several reasons. First to give moms and dads something readily identifiable. We have grapes in our fridge. We just have to open the door and look at one and know that's how big our offspring is right now.

But I think the second message is more of a subliminal reminder that moms need to eat lots of fruit. Because otherwise we won't poop for nine months.

I feel quite lucky to have had a nausea free experience so far. Apart from that one day where I exploded in the yard, I have felt awesome. Cranky, a little weepy sometimes, but generally awesome. Except I can't poop.

I force myself to eat prunes and apricots each morning, drink hot tea, only buy fibrous cereals and sprouted wheat bread. I put leafy greens in everything and work out regularly. That little grape has me backed up beyond belief. I learned that this is due to increased levels of progesterone in my body and not yet because the uterus is in the way of the exit (That happens when we're dealing with more of a peach sized baby).

Perhaps the only silver lining in this fruit bowl is that I am now without question the best gas passer in my household. Corey can't hold a candle to what I've got going on. If he did, he'd wind up blown out into the street with his beard gone missing.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


I just checked my Good Reads book list and I've read 22 books since May. At first I resisted joining Good Reads because it sounded annoying, but now I'm glad I did. That's a lot of books! I was so greatly anticipating the conclusion of graduate school because I wanted to read books again. I feel like for three years I didn't read anything. I mean I used to be a book a week girl. It looks like I'm getting right back near that pace, which is awesome.

Granted, some of the books were young adult literature and some (Harry Potter 7) I'd read before, but I was reading for pleasure! Sometimes fiction! It feels like I am slowly but surely creeping back toward my old self. I might even learn to relax soon. I'm getting closer to being used to eating dinner in an actual chair, not out of the microwave standing by the photocopier in 517...

I am mid-way through two more books and want to push myself to read a third before New Year's so I can say I hit 25 books in the last 7 months of the year. I think that's a good goal. I suppose if you count the substantial portions of What to Expect While You're Expecting, I will have ingested 26 books! I'm just so expanded, horizon-wise.

I am having a bit book anxiety right now. I am hosting a book club meeting on Tuesday to talk about Waiter Rant, which I loved. I just found out my friend hated it. Super hated it. I am scared that everyone else hated it and they will all resent me for picking such a book. And then they'll all judge me based on my book taste! And then I won't be able to be friends with them anymore because they'll wonder how they could like me if I loved a book they hated so thoroughly. How does this happen? My heart rate is going up. It feels better to share.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


I just checked the website and I'll be doing freaking Fran tonight at Crossfit. For those unfamiliar with Fran, here is a video that should explain my feelings of apprehension:

Now, I assure you I will take longer than 2:48 to complete this workout. That woman is a beastly, amazing superhero. I will also not be doing 85# for my thrusters and, most likely, I'll have to do jumping pullups. Basically, I will cower in the shadow of her wonderousness. I'll update later with my time and weight. If I live...

**Update: I did Fran in 5:15 using 40# weight for the thrusters...which isn't too terrible considering I was wrong about the prescribed weight for women. 65#. Not too far time I know I can crack 5 minutes.


Something happens to me in the wintertime and I retreat back to my youth. I re-read all the books I used to pore over when I was actually young and then watch the films made from those books. Probably the first set of movies to not disappointment me is the current Narnia endeavor. How great are those movies so far?

Last night I watched Caspian. The little dude from The Station Agent plays Trumpkin (or D.L.F. for those in the know) and, again due to pregnancy-induced hormone swings, I sat on my couch transfixed and weeping as he fought his way through the Telmarines. Every part of that movie is exactly as I imagined it in my head as a wee girl. Then, when I went back and read the book (it's only like 100 pages and doesn't take more than an hour or so) I was just so happy with how closely the director stuck to the plot.

Except for one small thing: they sold out Susan. It's bad enough C.S. Lewis kicks Susan out of Narnia for liking pantyhose and lipstick. This film director gets her kicked out for falling in love with Caspian. Where does that come from? In the book, nobody has time for budding romance. They're all busy fighting off catapults and evil Spanish-sounding men. Even in the movie, Susan is out on the battlefield slinging arrows in exactly the right spot to pierce a warrior's armor. Why do they have to incorporate a love story? I disapprove. Didn't Lewis create enough action and drama and excitement without having makeout scene?

Some day I'm going to write a fairytale in which the heroine is concerned only with saving the world. If people fall in love with her, she will be oblivious because she'll be so driven and satisfied with her righteous endeavors she won't have time. Like Alice Paul. Maybe I should just watch Iron Jawed Angels all the time and stop viewing other movies...

Let's just hope that the Voyage of the Dawn Treader doesn't have Lucy falling in love with Eustice, because that would be truly disappointing. Does anyone else predict Eustice and Jill will end up with a love scene when they get to The Silver Chair?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Phone Books

We don't have real phone service. We have an internet line we established initially for my business use so I wouldn't rack up huge phone bills doing telephone interviews. It comes in handy when I have to call people in Europe. Or even just during the day time. But the line is through the internet and, thus, we aren't listed in the phone book or really on Verizon's radar.

Yet we get phone books! I feel like twice a year we get a phone book. I don't want this paper waster. What on earth do I need with a phone book? You might think I would need it to look up a telephone number provided the power/internet was out. Should this occur, I would have no phone, either! Or, I would just text the establishment name to GOOGL and my favorite website (love you, Google!) would text me back the address and phone number. For free.

Each time a phone book gets delivered, I leave it on my porch for a week in hopes that the delivery person will come back and collect it. Take it back again. Then Corey tells me I'm a useless dreamer and I take it to Construction Junction with the other recycling.

Not anymore, though. I just learned of a new and fantastic website: Yellow Pages Goes Green. I went there and learned some facts and clicked to opt out of phone book delivery. I will let you know in a few months whether this endeavor was successful. I sure hope so! What a great Christmas present to myself. No more phone books clogging up the porch...

Monday, December 01, 2008

Nerd Alert!

I am the match secretary for the Angels, which means I am working diligently to create our schedule for this spring. During one of my bouts of pregnancy-induced insomnia, I decided I wanted there to be a map showing the women's rugby teams so I could judge how far away they all were. But there isn't really such a map. So I fiddled around in google maps and made one! Behold:

View Larger Map

Now please know it's just a rough draft, but how cool is that? I can click on the pins and see how far away the teams are and get driving directions. Or I can color code based on D1, D2, College, etc. I think those are my future plans for the map. I can also add notes to keep track of who owes whom an away game/home game for future reference, keep track of scores.

I think technology is just absolutely swell. God bless insomnia! God bless Google!

If you think your rugby team is within 6 hours' driving of Pittsburgh and want me to add you to my map, you should tell me and I will!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Series of Updates

1. We took the bed off the risers and then discovered the frame was also unstable and took it off, too. Sleeping was MUCH better last night. This made my mom kind of upset, though, because she thinks (and Corey and I tend to agree) that it looks sort of trashy to just have a box spring and mattress sitting on the floor in the bedroom--even if I did sort of rig on the bedskirt. But I just can't think of another solution other than welding a sturdier frame. I hope to make her feel better with a promise of buying her a dream mansion here in Pittsburgh someday when I am extraordinarily wealthy.

2. I am not a pack rat. The first chance I got to go back to my parents' house I gave a trunk full of books to the library, shoveled out that closet, and whittled down the possessions in the whole dwelling. Two boxes of books, a small box of random in the basement, and a keyboard are super different from my sister who has two entire bedrooms of possessions there. I'm just saying. We also condensed so much stuff here in Pittsburgh we actually have like visible space on our surfaces. I have room to put down a hot dish of food on the buffet in the dining room if I wanted. Or a space to put a glass of cocoa on the table in the living room. It's so completely crazy.

3. Corey wants me to say that I plunged the drain in the tub and it flows better, even with the crud catcher/sieve in place. I still am allowed to hate the crud catcher despite the improved drain because the crud catcher still leaves balls of goo and soap scum all throughout the tub. Plus it's large and unsightly and just plain gross. I want to buy a grate thingy with holes in it to catch hair and allow other items to flow through the drain. Like a normal person would have. I don't want large plastic machinery in my tub. But in the interest of full disclosure, plunging the drain was a great compromise and likely the drain was a huge culprit in the problem. As soon as I get my friends over here with a drain snake and really go to town in there, I might take a shower and see my feet for the first time since we moved in. No more combo tub/showers!

4. Watching South Park online (thanks to my cousin Peacelovemath) has changed Corey's life. I don't have to talk to him or look at him anymore. He's always down in his man cave watching South Park on the internet. In fact, this very second he is bellowing that I need to get down there and join him. But I want to re-watch Anne of Green Gables. And I probably will. Life is really good right now.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Lost at Sea

I am exhausted, dizzy, and seasick this morning after what is easily the worst night's sleep of my life. This includes all the times I've drunkenly slept on floors or been camping on a rocky slope. The cause of my misery? Corey, obviously.

We are in my childhood room, in my childhood bed, which my mother has since placed on risers to help store the ever-expanding pile of my sister's possessions that get to live in all of the bedrooms at Martin Drive. (Even though she moved out. Pack rat!) So anyway, what happens when you take a bed on wheels and put each wheel in a flat, smooth little cup? It rolls. It slides. The bed sways like a hammock at sea.

This is usually only a problem when you first mount the bed. Then, for a minute or so, you sway with the breeze and you fall asleep and it's fine. Only last night, Corey thrashed with the force of a goat hitting a barn wall. He didn't roll. He shot himself into the air, like Shamu, in order to flip and land with a splash. He kicked like Daniel Sepulveda on 4th and long. He rocked this damn boat as if we were Forrest Gump out to sea during a hurricane in the bayou. My resulting nausea has nothing to do with the blueberry in my uterus.

Then? This morning? He tried to cuddle and hug me.

Now I'll admit I've been experiencing what you might call hormone-induced mood swings and bursts of temper. But I am pretty sure my anger this morning was entirely justified. I am not sleeping in this hammock with him again. We're either taking it off the risers or he is sleeping in one of my other sisters' rooms tonight. Or else I'm giving him a sleeping pill so he stays put.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Conversation at 530 AM

Me: I can't sleep
Corey: Ungh
Me: Do you know how to make eggs?
(Corey hates eating eggs because he doesn't like how they feel in his mouth)
Me: I think you should know how to make eggs in case our kids want to eat eggs someday
Corey: Aren't girls born knowing how to make eggs already?
Me: We should go downstairs and make eggs
Corey: I can make scrambled eggs. You just crack them in the pan and stir it up, right?

And then, pacified, I was able to go back to sleep.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Pies!

My refrigerator currently contains two pumpkin pies, baked by me last night. The story of the pies is sort of pathetic. I was going to purchase pre-baked pies, but had a hissy fit on discovering these cost $9 each. I stomped through the store finding ingredients--not an easy task in the Giant Eagle Market District because they constantly rearrange the shelves and keep things in a nonsensical organization in order to get customers to buy more crap. It worked! I got a dark chocolate bar I hadn't counted on buying!

Anyway, I bought all these things and came home to bake only to discover we had no sugar. What family has no sugar? None! No sugar. I had to go ask the neighbors, who were also out of sugar except the little bit they put in their morning coffee. I took their coffee sugar. Why? Because I already steal their herbs and wreck their oregano. I might as well take their coffee sugar! (Actually, they assured me they were going shopping later)

So now I have these delicious, perfect pies. And I can't eat them! And with my super-sonic pregnancy sense of smell, I can smell them at all times. Even with the fridge closed. Even upstairs. I smell them and I know they're in there. What would happen if I just ate one? Would my family rebel and never speak to me again or would they forgive me one silken, gingery pie...

How will I make it until after dinner tomorrow knowing these pies exist?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Eat My Words

For the past week or so since I got my cold, I've been walking around saying, "I'd rather be nauseous every day than feel congested like this."

And everyone, wisely, said, "You're wrong. You'll see!"

Today, on my way home from CrossFit, I knew I was going to vomit. I told myself you wait until you get home. You must not barf while driving and you are NOT pulling over to barf in a stranger's yard. I just about made it, too.

I parked so crookedly it looks like a drunk driver ran up on my curb. As soon as I was out of the car I was losing myself all over the flowers, the walk, the driveway, the door.

In my hat and gloves, I paraded down to the Pittsburgh Potty making a disaster of my house and clothes. This is a nightmare. I'm sitting on the kitchen floor right now eating pretzels and wishing for congestion. Hopefully, Corey will come home for his lunch break and clean it all up so I can continue sitting on the floor eating pretzels.


When I have a lot of things to do, I can't sleep the night before. I wake up in a panic, all sweaty, often having strange dreams. Like last night I dreamt about when I used to work for the evil book publisher and my asshole co-workers wrote mean crap about me on Friendster for all the world to see. This really happened in real life and I'm not sure why I would dream about it now, four years later, the night before a busy day.

So I woke up at 7 and immediately began working. That's one of the problems of working from home. You're always at work. Work is right there, next to your cereal bowl in the living room where you huddle in your pajamas before the sun's even up.

But wouldn't you know it, with just a few hours of concentrated panic, I knocked like 5 things off my to-do list for the next few days. That feels so much better! It's like all I need is a block of uninterrupted time and I can get things done like nobody's business. I just wish my sub-conscious would trust that and let me sleep. At least I won't feel as badly taking a nap later when I'm super tired at three in the afternoon.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Transit Woes

Either something is wrong with Google or the Port Authority decided to strike early. I need to get to CMU campus for a meeting at 11 this morning. In a perfect world, I was supposed to leave my house at 9. That didn't happen. I'm now trying to figure out which bus to take to get to campus today, 11/24, by like 1045 or so.

Google transit suggested I get on the bus 11/22 at 9:45pm to arrive there at 11:58pm 11/22. What? Again. What?

Do you know what this forces me to do? I have to rely on the printed bus schedule, the one released by the Port Authority, to figure out what time the bus comes. This will not end well.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Elephant Babies!

My friend Shelbie is in town visiting this weekend and she wanted to go to the zoo after my suggestion to visit the elephant babies. What a great idea that was! The helpful old man volunteer, Frank, was in the elephant house telling us all sorts of facts about the 500 pound, 4 month old baby elephant, her mom, her brother, and her dad. We spent about an hour in there just watching the family hang out.

Frank let us hold a piece of tusk that broke off Jack the bull elephant 9 years ago. He showed us his green apron, which once hung between the cages filled with carrots. One of the elephants smelled the carrots, snagged the apron with her trunk, ate it, and pooped it out again. Frank says he washed the apron 4 times after recovering it from the pile of poop. I think it's amazing that an elephant colon is so large it has space for an entire green apron.

Frank kept pulling the most amazing things from that apron. A piece of skin the baby elephant had shed (sooooooo soft), teeth from the other elephants, more of the tusk. We learned that humans are elephants only predators and that evil, evil demon humans poach them for ivory that brings in $350 a pound. I think Frank said something like 18,000 elephants die every year for their tusks.

These are highly intelligent beings, whose eyes look at you knowingly and smartly. These are creatures that bury their dead for heaven's sake, and people kill them for their teeth! It made me ill, especially watching the little baby Victoria hop around chewing on a chain because, Frank said, it felt good on her growing teeth and gums.

We smelled a bit like elephant poop when we left there, but I suggest only going to the zoo on days when Frank is going to be in the elephant house. Because we learned so much about those amazing creatures. Worth every penny of the exhorbitant $12 "winter rate."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Out with the Old

We (mostly just me...) are in the process of getting rid of our possessions. Big time. Like going through every drawer and box and just dumping, vetting, eliminating crap. The goal of this is to empty one entire room for future use by a new person, making one of the other rooms pull double duty.

The whole idea of streamlining my endless ocean of crap is so therapeutic for me. I find I love getting rid of stuff. I free-cycled a bunch of junk online, gave some bookshelves to friends. Corey installed the new shelves I bought at Ikea and they just look so amazing there, brimming with my knitting and books and files.

The other day, I unearthed my old laptop, my PC Dell I got as a college graduation gift. It's full of music and photos I haven't seen in 2.5 years. I have been spending the majority of my time transferring these files to my external hard drive. The process takes so long with my dinosaur computer that I question whether it's worth it. Hopefully, the joy I get donating a piece of junk laptop to a needy organization will more than make up for the time I'm spending juggling flash drives and USB cables.

At least I'll have a few more square feet of storage in my house.


I saw the movie last night. I ended up laughing a places that weren't supposed to be funny. If I had to classify the film, I think I'd say it was camp. Unintentional camp. BUT I was pretty happy that the filmic version was much less misogynistic than the book. Without the "benefit" of knowing Bella's thought processes, we just see her actions, and those are sort of ok.

I really liked the actors they had portraying the Cullen family, but thought they made Carlisle look a little...weird.

My reactions to the film are mixed. I liked the bit with Victoria and I liked that she and James were barefoot, which I hadn't thought about during the book.

I like the dude they have playing Jacob.

I'm hopeful that a sequel would be directed better so that people aren't bursting out laughing during the romantic or intense portions of the movie.

This isn't the best thought out post of my life. NaBloPoMo is almost over, which I feel will help my writing in that it will rescue me from writing a bunch of garbage in the morning just to get something up online. Anyway, it was a good thing I think for me to see the film because it helped me sort through some of the complex thoughts I am trapped having about that series. I probably won't pay $10 to see it again, though. Sorry, cousins.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Crud Catcher

Corey has these strange ideas about the way things need to work in bathrooms. Mostly I don't care, but I hate his crud catchers. I hate them. He buys these devices meant to catch things (hair, mostly) to prevent draig clogs. I guess that's fine. But these things he buys get stopped up with soap AND hair and the result is me showering in 6 inches of disgusting water.

Sometimes I just freak out and throw the crud catchers away and then he yells that we have crud going down our drain. So what would happen? Cloggy drains and showers in ankle deep water? Doing that already!

Anyway, the current crud catcher looks like a colander. It's about as large as one, too. It sticks up out of the drain, a giant plastic, prongy crud catcher. It's impossible to clean because the zillions of prongs, adept at catching the smallest of hairs, cling to the hairs like Seran Wrap to warm Corningware. So then a soapy film builds over the layer of hair. Corey says the hippie soap I buy is to blame and that it's preferable to wash petroleum products down the drain as they don't stick to the crud catcher so much.

By the time a shower is over and the water eventually all drains down, there are tracks of gray globs throughout the tub. They are, like, disgusting soapy scum balls. Every day my shower looks like a mold man lives inside. I find it impossible to believe that Corey and I are this filthy. I clean the bathroom once a week. This entire problem is due to his crud catcher.

Well I'm going to boycott it. I'm not going to use it when I shower. I'm going to take a shower where all the water goes down the drain and if a little hair goes down there? I'm going to trust my pipes to handle it and buy a drain snake. Corey his crud catcher can take their grody showers together without me.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Anne of Green Gables

I heart Anne. I heart her so much I might explode. I thought for a long time that I preferred Emily, the other L.M. Montgomery girl series heroine, but really it's all about Anne.

I mean Emily has a lot to love. She's a writer. She's really determined to be successful sort of independently of her love interests. She's clairvoyant.

But Anne! When I last went home to reclaim my childhood books I tried to reassemble my Anne series and could not. Something had happened to both Rilla of Ingleside and Anne of Green Gables. You can imagine how devastating this is for me. Sure, I could replace the two books, but then the covers won't match! I'll have a mismatched series. Like some jerk who doesn't care about book covers. No. I want my Anne. My version of the book where I first met this stubborn person who'd walk a roof pole or rather drown in the shimmering lake than get in a rowboat with a boy who called her "carrots."

Now here are some books that women can read and feel good about! I mean, in the days when women didn't really get to do things, Anne was smashing slates on people's heads and going to college and then giving up college to help maintain a farm. What I love about Anne is that, while she and Gilbert have a true and lasting lifelong love, this love is not the center of the book. At least not the first one. It's all about Anne and her wants and needs. I love that! I would certainly list Anne and Gilbert's among the great loves of the ages and Gilbert never even had to kidnap Anne to prevent her from visiting...I fail to think of another boy's name from the series, but if Anne wanted to visit him she would. And if Gilbert tried to stop her? She'd probably kick him in the balls. And then not talk to him for six years as punishment. There is a woman to emulate.

Much to Corey's chagrin I added the Anne miniseries to our Netflix queue. It's going to be a solid week of Anne Shirley at my house and I couldn't be happier!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Gross, I know

I haven't showered yet today. I just can't work up the nerve to undress in the cold house. I know the actual shower will be toasty warm, but the nanosecond where I'll be out of my robe and flannel pj's is just too much for me to bear right now.

Corey and I made the executive decision to turn the heat up to 65 this winter. I know! Huge changes from our usual 62. It feels warmer than I remember, I guess, but still a bit drafty. Like too drafty to possibly move from my throw-blanket shroud and into the shower.

But I'm starting to get worried because if I wait much longer, my hair will still be wet when I have to leave to go into campus later. And that will make me even colder!

So I'm going to count to five hundred and then suck it up and get in the shower. Be a big girl, Katy. Just do it.

Got My Knit On

I haven't really been knitting much since we moved into our house. Something about the combination of nesting and finishing graduate school and the insufferable heat of summertime kept me away. Heck, I don't even think I bought any yarn in twelve months. That's crazy! No yarn?!?

When Corey's dad got sick, I whipped out my yarn for some nervous knitting and made myself a really nice hat that I'm pretty proud of. Then I bought new shelving supplies and went through all my possessions to take inventory and touched my yarn stash, and, well, that just opened up my veins. I'm in. I'm back. I'm knitting until the wool gives me a finger rash again.

I have all these projects lined up on the floor in my office, waiting. I have these grand plans to crochet 8 washcloths by next Friday. Ha! I have buttons and accents sitting around to attach to completed projects.

It's almost as if I had forgotten this crazed part of my personality, the part that can talk and watch movies and generally operate as normal with a string constantly weaving through her fingers and the tiny little clicks of bamboo needles.

Some of my undergrad students told me they would love to learn to knit. I invited them to my office to learn how. I have these grand visions that we'll all sit in there and chat and knit things. It probably won't happen. Why? Because they're ten years younger than me and have cooler people to knit with. Oh, and I'm their teacher.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Last night I dreamt the following dream:

Corey and I played football together, for the same team. We were on defense, perhaps special teams. He recovered the ball from an onsides kick and I ran in front of him, blocking, as he scored a touchdown. The crowd went wild, and we bumped chests in the end zone. It was awesome.

Why would I dream that? What does it mean? I wasn't even watching football yesterday. And why would my dream, my fantasy, involve him scoring and not me? And why wouldn't I dream about rugby instead?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Craving #1

Katy: I have a craving. It's very distinct. I want Burger King onion rings. With ketchup
Corey: gross.
Katy: I know. But I can't help it. This is a very specific need I'm feeling.
Katy: Where is there a Burger King?
Corey: I don't know.
Katy: I love that we don't even know where the fast food places are located!
Corey: I think there's a Wendy's near Baum
Katy: Do they sell onion rings?

In the end, we went home and I had salad and mushroom turnovers from Trader Joe's. I think everyone was better off.

Operation Recovery: Fail

Today is day 5 of my illness. Other than a 2-hour trip (including drive time) to Ikea, I haven't been off the couch since Thursday. I guess I went to Brewfest for a few hours Friday, which Corey says was a terrible idea (though he certainly appreciated the DD for the ride home!). But for real, other than that I've been trying to recover.

This is really, really hard. If it were just me, I'd say eff you to my illness and go to CrossFit, especially since the workout today was just 3 rounds for time of 400m run, 21 kettlebell swings, and pullups. Fun, right? I even suggested this to Corey, who nearly exploded. I fear he might tie me to the couch after work so I don't sneak off and try to work out later. It just sucks that I am really getting a good fitness base and working out and eating sensibly and something comes along again to get in my way. It's like the world doesn't WANT me to be buff and svelte.

I have a silver gleaming ray of hope as reward at the end of the week that is getting me through this: the Twilight movie opens soon.

I know that A) it really opens Thursday at midnight and B) I promised all my cousins I'd go with them at Thanksgiving, but I have to go this Friday. I can't stay up late enough anymore to make a midnight showing and if I thought my cousins really thought I'd wait a whole week to see the movie, well that would be silly. (I don't think they're going to wait, either)

Plus we can all go see it AGAIN on actual Thanksgiving with greater insight only gained through a second viewing. Or we can talk during it since we'll all have already seen it.

Anyway, I'm going on Friday and it's going to probably be awesome. I don't care if I have tuberculosis by then, I'm going.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Ohmygosh, I did it. I bought things for nesting. Once I convince Corey to help me assemble the things, I will, more or less, feel a wave of satisfaction and accomplishment. I think. Sometimes consuming is rewarding.

I secured these bookshelves. I also got 5 boxes to fit into the shelves to store my knitting stuff, and my work crap. In the process of going through these items, I found piles and heaps of crap to freecycle AND added a yaffa block and filing cabinet to the furniture I'm going to put up on craigslist. I can feel the floorboards breathing a sigh of relief at the prospect of so much less stuff in the house.

I bought this lamp for the dining room and a rug to go under the table. I can already see the day when I get to throw that brass atrocity on the sidewalk for bulk trash day. I might just smash it with my foot, triumphantly. I'll probably donate it to Construction Junction in reality. But in my fantasy, I'll drop kick it (with spiral!) from the porch to the curb.

I did not find a coffee table with storage, which makes me upset. Why don't they make coffee tables with enclosed shelves? They all have these open shelves. If my family (read COREY) were capable of piling things neatly and organizing stuff, I wouldn't need to place objects on open shelves. I'd just keep them where they are. But we aren't like that, so we need cupboards or drawers to hide our mess from the world. I fear I might have to put this fantasy on hold until I invent something that meets my very specific vision for a coffee table.

My goal this week is to prod Corey toward shelf assembly and light fixture installation. I would assemble the shelves myself, but he gets snappy when I put together the Ikea furniture and I'm far too impatient to wait for things like glue drying or instructions. It's better if he does it, since he doesn't use swear words. Instead, I'll supervise and work hard at growing a baby, which is fast becoming my excuse for why I don't have to do things around the house.

In other news, I did something at Ikea that I've never done in my recent memory. I asked the store people to help me get the bookshelves into the car. That was probably the hardest thing I ever had to do. I know I could have lifted the box, and I know that I did lift it from the shelf into the cart, but when I went to maneuver my load into the trunk, something just told me I was trying too much. It felt very strange, and I kept feeling as though I had to apologize or somehow indicate that I'm not normally the sort of person not strong enough to heft particle board from the cart to the car. I almost feel like I should make a donation to the women's olympic weightlifting team to counter-balance my helplessness today. This is going to get very difficult for my stubborn refusal to be seen as a weak person.

Storage Solutions

Today's mission (I've had it on my to-do list for a week) is to obtain storage solutions for our house. Of all the things to love about old houses (high ceilings! wood floors! yards!) lack of closet space might just cancel many of them out some days. Since Corey and I will be adding another person along with his or her possessions to the household, I'm going to buy us some shelving/basket combinations to get our crap up off the floor and out of sight.

My grand vision is to find these things used and cheap at Construction Junction. Though I'm not sure how I'll get them in the car if I do...but I am fantasizing right now about the coffee table I'll find, complete with a drawer to hide board games and puzzles. Failing those discoveries, I'm off to Ikea (by way of Garden Ridge).

I think I'm feeling well enough to carry out this mission. Perhaps my will to get our crap off the floor will overpower my desire to sit on the couch with a pillow over my eyes this afternoon.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dear Baby

I'm afraid I'm not doing a very good job growing you so far. I've been flat on my back with this illness and, frankly, it's the most painful thing I've ever encountered. I said yesterday that I'd rather have nine months of nausea than this pressure and congestion. Maybe that's not so smart, but right now it sounds more exciting.

I haven't really had any symptoms of being pregnant. You haven't made me ill really. Just a little sleepier than usual, but I like going to bed at 9pm. Sometimes I'm scared there's something wrong because I feel sooooooo completely normal. Before I had any idea you existed, I evidently played 2 rugby games even.

So you, baby, have been victorious against Cleveland and Harrisburg already. I think you're going to be a flyhalf. I can tell already.

But anyway, this head cold is rough. I am having no difficulty giving up alcohol or even bad-for-us foods because all I have to do is think of you and your little developing arms and fingers and the decision to only put good things inside me is an easy one. I'm not supposed to give you Sudafed, though, and after three days only sleeping in 2-hour bursts, having used every tissue in our whole house and sleeping with a roll of toilet paper on my stomach...well it's getting harder to not medicate myself in some way.

I need to get better at perspective. I have a head cold. This is not a complication and, to my knowledge, isn't putting you at risk or in danger. This will go away by Monday (fingers crossed!) and I will enter the rest of my incubation of you energized and feeling like a trooper.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ah, Decongestants

How I miss you, Sudafed. There has been only one other instance in my life where I've been denied your fast-acting powers. This occurred when I went to visit my hippie sister in Phoenix and suffered a severe allergic reaction to the desert. She tried to unblock my head with tea and concoctions based in nature, but to no avail. After two days of misery, I drove myself to Safeway and cracked open the drugs right there in the aisle. The relief was instantaneous and mind-blowing.

If only I could do the same right now. If only the mint tea I've been drinking or eucalyptus snorts did anything real to dry out my head. Why did nobody warn me that I would have to forgo decongestants if I wanted to reproduce? I am starting to wonder, in the depths of my sinus pressure, if it's even a fair trade. That's a horrible thing to say. But my cheeks are pounding against my glasses. I haven't had a lick of morning sickness or any nausea to speak of. I've been basically symptom free. And then I got this cold.

Someone come over here and puncture my face so all this crap drains out of it and I can think clearly. I don't even get ill. I haven't been ill in eons. I really can't remember the last time. I get a cold every now and then, but I just take some Sudafed and I'm good to go. Do you think I am being punished for my fear of flu shots?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Baghdad Burning

So as I lay in bed convalescing, I am coming to appreciate how blessed I am to have a job that lets me work from home. I can be ill, in my pajamas, and doing just as much work as I ordinarily would today. My plan was to prepare for class Monday by reading the work I've assigned my students. Though I'm teaching the department syllabus, I was allowed to select the reading for the final third of the course.

I chose a blog I read for a grad school course called Baghdad Burning. I just want to take a moment to gush about the way Riverbend is able to write in such a way that makes me simultaneously question my role as an American and appreciate her life as an Iraqi. The way she works details into her posts, the way she has captured American English idioms and sarcasm...I just can't believe how talented she is.

The post that moves me most this morning is this one. What must it be like to have to develop such a talent? To one day work as a computer programmer in a rather modern city and the next be sleeping on the roof, able to recognize various types of gunfire? My brain is somewhere far away today. I feel really grateful that I found this website and that I'm aware of the insider's perspective of this "war on terror." It feels really important to me to have read this.


I woke up with a cold today. Definitely congested and scratchy-throated. Apparently, gestating women can't take cold medicine. That means I'm relegated to my bed with some tea I'm convincing Corey to make me. Mmmmmmmm tea.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Story of Yesterday Morning

Corey and I drove to Magee Women's Hospital, nearly clipping my rugby teammate in the parking lot (she uses it as a short cut to class for law school). We parked, found our way upstairs to the Women Care Associates offices, and waited in the lobby with another young couple.

When they called my name, I got weighed and sent into a bathroom to give a urine sample. I noticed another urine sample on the counter and recognized that it belonged to the other woman from the waiting room. Because I am competitive and possibly crazy, my first thought was to out-pee that woman. Hers was but a trickle of dark urine. I filled that cup until it overflowed. Why am I like that? Why did I have to beat the other woman from the waiting room?

I went to join Corey in the examination room, where we noticed that the gyno staff never took the stickers off the "hamper with flip lid," clearly from Target. We also discovered I had holes in my socks. We debated whether it was worse to get an exam with hairy legs or holey socks and decided the socks weren't so bad after all. There I sat in my mustard-colored tube socks that, when I wear them to rugby practice, my teammates call support hose.

And then Samantha came in. She congratulated us and confirmed our suspicions: we have produced a baby. Or at least a baby in progress.

We answered questions, talked with her for nearly an hour, and Corey was given the chance to ask any nagging questions he had left. Corey, who still felt weary of the results after 12 days of no period and four positive tests, after one hour discussing pregnancy with a midwife, asked, "When will we know the results of the pregnancy test?"

We all laughed. Samantha looked at him and said, "It was positive. You're definitely going to have a baby."

I went home and ordered him a book: The Caveman's Pregnancy Companion.

And then I waited as a million emotions took me everywhere imagineable.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Time Out

Did anyone see the NYTimes crossword yesterday? It was all crazy horizontal, with weird circles in it. You can't do that to me on a Monday! I mean, the Monday NYTimes crossword puzzle is perhaps the most amazing thing in the universe. Never too challenging, just perfect for after work when you have little patience, little time, and lots of sitting around to do.

But this one was all weird and strange with answers longer than 3 letters, some even longer than 8 letters! Don't do this to me on a Monday. I can expect these things on a Wednesday or Thursday...well actually I can't ever remember seeing a crossword in the NYTimes that wasn't perfectly square and all even and just perfect. This oddly shaped craziness threw off my whole afternoon. Can't deal! I didn't even finish it. Which is almost more infuriating than its being weird in the first place.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fat Talk

My friend Lady Pilot had an amazing video on her blog today that has inspired me to post about fat talk as well.

Fat talk is perhaps the number one reason I think rugby is good for women, because when rugby players talk about there being a place for every body, they aren't just saying that. Rugby demands differently sized bodies, and many times really, really big ones. (Though we also need tiny little scrumhalves or wings to squirt through holes and score)

I think because of this need for such varied bodies, the sport makes all of us feel better about ourselves. I have great, big thighs. It's not really debatable. But I need them; they are functional. They serve a purpose. I'm encouraged to squat giant silver sandbags in order to make them firmer and stronger. As a front-row forward, I need to be sturdy or our team is going to have a tough time being successful. It's great!

I draw a lot of inspiration from Leslie Heywood, who wrote the amazing memoir Pretty Good for a Girl. In it, she talks about all the women around her trying desperately to shrink, to disappear, to fade into nonexistence. This habit transcends just weight and body size, but applies to the way many women try to not be in the room. Not only seen but not heard, but not even really seen and, thus, not noticed or judged.

As rugby players, we constantly attempt to make ourselves larger, more intimidating, an imposing threat to the other side. These are practices that we carry with us off the field and into life, where we don't really engage in much fat talk and speak about getting in shape rather than going on diets.

After watching that video clip, I feel once again grateful that I found this sport. Each time I pause to think about it, rugby seems more and more like a passport into a space where things are less challenging for women. If not a passport, a gateway at least.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


Some may argue the meaningfulness of this post in terms of my commitment to NaBloPoMo, but I must say it's challenging to think of something earth shattering every morning. Instead, I want to write about what's shattering my earth this morning.

Mint tea. More specifically, mint tea with rosemary.

Several weeks ago, I began chronicling my adventures with mint I stole from the neighbors' garden. My own little cutting is starting to thrive and I have no doubt that, come spring, I'll have plenty of mint for myself. For now, I'm still trekking over to their herb bed in my slippers (actually I'm wearing Corey's slippers because mine are broken) to harvest mint.

I learned just last week that mint tea? It's just hot water poured over mint. I thought for some reason that to become tea, something had to be processed or something. Manipulated in some way. Turns out I am totally wrong!

So in the mornings, when the mint oil is the strongest, I snip off a few branches and stick them in my teapot. Pour on the hot water and a dab of honey, and suddenly I'm escaping to a place that is calm and relaxing and warm instead of the 57 degree house filled with anxiety I currently inhabit.

There is just something about autumn and hot tea that makes me feel amazing. I love how when my family gets together, all of us sit around with hot mugs of tea and just chat. I loved this even more when 11 of my relatives descended upon my house last January and we sat around my very dining room table, just clutching mugs and sipping goodness.

The fact that I am making the tea myself, snagging the ingredients from my own (and my neighbors'...) yard seems to tighten the circle of life and make me feel more grounded. More in control of the space around me. The more things I create from scratch, the more I come to appreciate things--all things--and feel more mindful.

So when I walk out back and clip some rosemary or lemon mint or maybe even some lavender and boil it on my own stove, I'm doing more than just quench my thirst and freshen my palate. I think I'm getting a better idea of my place in the world.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Unexpected Networking

I did something unusual for me last night: I left my house and went to a space filled with other writers. Not only fellow graduate students learning to get their act together, but actual writers who do it for a living. Can I just say what a great idea that was?

In the space of 2 hours, I learned of several potential blogging opportunities, social media events, and networking groups I'm going to join. I had gone to this event on assignment, planning to sit sort of in the back and observe and take notes on things--like the lady who brought a wreathe instead of a food offering to the potluck, or the man who asked to borrow my pen so he could get someone's autograph. This while I was interviewing said person for the article! And then? I lent him my pen! Why did I do that? I wanted to stab him with it and instead, I let him borrow it and interrupt my interview to talk about his stupid vacation home in Belize.

Anyway, I was totally in article mode and not personal mode until I saw someone I knew and began talking to her. This opened a torrent of introductions, business card exchanges, and genuinely friendly advice-giving. Whoah!

Later, I was talking to a photographer friend who told me he has tons of great shots and story ideas and wants to pair with a writer to do pitches as a team, to put articles together as a unit. Not sure how that would work financially, but can you imagine my excitement when I learned this was a person who wanted to collaborate with me?

I was completely blown away by how much more excited I was to be a writer when I left that room than when I entered. This has created a new goal for me in addition to NaBloPoMo: I will leave my house 2 times each month to attend events where other writers will be in droves.

Two times. Every month. At least.

Friday, November 07, 2008


Two things happened this week, amid all my hope, to make me sad. First, Proposition 8 and similar referendums in several other states were passed to remove and limit the rights of my fellow country-persons who happen to also share a different sexuality from me. This makes me sad because I don't understand at all how such a thing can even be happening in this country.

If we remove religious objections to homosexuality, what other grounds are there preventing two adults from marrying one another and sharing the legal and tax benefits Corey and I enjoy? Since we have separation of church and state in our country, how are we letting religious interpretations of a marriage affect our legal interpretations of the same institution? There are a lot of things, legal things, that go against my spiritual views and there are also a lot of religions practicing in our nation that hold views very contrary to mine. And that's all ok, because we have separation of church and state and these things don't affect my tax bracket or the cost of my car insurance.

I wonder if we're letting vocabulary get in our way? Would it make people feel better if we referred to all legal unions (those performed not by clergy but by judges and things) as civil unions...even those unions of one man and one woman? I just feel so sad about the whole situation.

The other great sadness of my week is the return of cigarette smoking to the rugby bar. They filed for and obtained an exemption to the Clean Air Act, so the little divey bar is now a smoke den again. I hear that the bar has lost great amounts of business from regular customers who now go elsewhere to sit and drink over a nice, smelly cigarette. I know that the team does not make up the bulk of the clientele and that we have to think first of keeping the bar profitable. But now that it's smokey again I can't really go there and enjoy myself. I just can't go back to that. So I feel like that's a second hole in my heart this week.

Perhaps something fantastic will happen and our president elect will enact a sweeping, nationwide civil rights law allowing all persons to wed whomever they love and banning smoke from all places where humans have to breathe inside closed Great Britain! I love how Elton John is allowed to be married to his husband and not have to worry that his sequin pants will get stinky if they pop to the pub for some mushy peas after a long day at the piano.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

In Other News...

Speaking of hope, I've been having a rough time finding it lately. I've been in a dry spell in terms of work and lots of things have been falling through. Yada, yada, right?

Most freelancers I talk to tell me to be prepared for the ups and downs, and I've written numerous times about my impatience in dealing with those. Well, here comes an up!

Many months ago, I sort of secured a gig as a contributing writer for a new green and sustainability website called The Green Connoisseur. Not much really happened. For a long time...

Until yesterday! The site went live and features two of my articles: this one and this one! Plus there's a section of the website where my bio is all up in the air for people to admire.

I was really glad to get that email about the site going live, I'll tell you what. As often happens, that email started a wee wave of incoming work. All it takes is one shift in my energy and things start moving in the right direction.

**I'm sure it's not actually my energy but rather my diligent dedication to networking myself and the dogged follow-up and countless hours I spend putting together pitches about my ideas. Sometimes it's just easier to think of this work as 'energy.'**

Why Hope Matters

I've spent a long time thinking about P's comment on yesterday's post I wrote about hope. I don't really have any response to her comments about economic policy and the other very smart things she said. As P suggested, I am one of the voters who thinks more about issues that seem pressing than about those matters. Which seems silly, because the structure of the country's economy is what allows my daily issues to seem important. The structure of life as I know and enjoy it comes from our economy and our ability to relate with foreign nations. I know all that.

But I also know that strangers said hello to me on the street today. And yesterday. And that my 18-year-old students felt energized and excited and paid attention to things going on in the world around them. My brother-in-law said that Barack Obama's election was exactly like the opposite of September 11. I think he's right.

I experienced that event very differently from most people I know because I was living abroad when it happened. But I do know that even on my return there was a sense of togetherness enveloped in our fear. I know that I stood stock still with about 165 strangers watching on tv as the last beam was removed from the pit at Ground Zero.

I feel a hopeful unity with my country-persons right now that is the same, but different from that unity of 7 years ago. I feel an energy and an awareness and a life force pulsing through everyone. I feel right now what it must have felt like during the Revolutionary War or WWII when people came together with victory gardens and whatnot. I feel a sense of purpose to make things...better.

I do not know how to improve our economy or our many problems and I do know that eloquent speech will not solve them. As K-train points out, our president-elect has gotten us really revved up and ready to go and will have to deliver something big to meet our expectations. But what I think is so important, what seems crucial to me is that we are ready to receive the delivery. I just feel a sense of togetherness and life and caring that made my day today better than any day for a long time.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I wanted to write this morning about feeling irritated. There were these jerky girls who were being divisive at CrossFit last night and I wanted to rant about them. But it all seems insignificant in light of last night's election events.

My God, there were some good speeches last night. The way John McCain applauded President-elect Obama's ability to get involved those people who "mistakenly felt they had no voice" in the election was truly inspiring and for real gracious. That speech was the most genuine and the most human I felt he's been the entire race.

And then Barack Obama spoke! That man can speak like nobody I've ever, ever heard. The most moving moments of the speech for me were the way he referenced the young people (me!) who rejected the myth of our generation's apathy and when he inserted the "Yes we can" refrain into his story. He made the whole speech like a call-and-response oral history of the nation from a Civil Rights perspective.

I think the beauty of his campaign lies not only in the freshness of his promises, but in his ability to energize a nation. When I was working the phone banks in Homewood yesterday, I was initially afraid. I didn't want to ride my BICYCLE through HOMEWOOD. And when I first crossed onto Frankstown Ave, I saw the broken glass in the streets, the litter on the sidewalk, and I felt afraid of poverty and crime.

But then there were old ladies out picking up trash. And old men barbequeing chicken...not for sale but for any passersby who wanted a snack on the way to voting. And every public surface had a Barack Obama sign plastered to it and the streets slowly began to fill with cheerful people voting for the first time. Feeling involved in a nation that has allowed them to be swept to the margins of affluent society. I talked to them on the phone as they waited in line at the polls to cast their vote, and I felt hope.

You know how on Christmas morning the world just seems to feel hopeful for some reason? Or how everyone gets this little flutter of hopeful joy on the morning of a big snowfall? I feel all those things right now. All this anticipation for the next 8 years and I am really, really glad to be American today.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Every time there's an election, I try to re-watch Iron Jawed Angels, the HBO suffrage movie starring Hillary Swank (love her!). I find it impossible to watch that woman being force fed in prison, not even allowed to hunger strike for suffrage, and not weep.

This past summer I also read Coming of Age in Mississippi, by Anne Moody. I have never, ever read such a stunning memoir that so perfectly and believably captured the thought processes of youth. To read that book is to really enter the space of the deep South during the Civil Rights movement, to be sitting beside Moody at the Woolworth's counter while she and her fellow protestors were beaten for being Black and wanting a hamburger. Moody writes many chapters about the perils of trying to vote as a Black person, of the beatings and imprisonments and murders for exercising legal writes of citizenship. She doesn't mince words and the scenes are graphicly haunting.

I keep these two literary works in mind today as I head to the polls. I wish everyone would. When I hear my students or friends complain about long lines at the polls, suggesting they might not vote because of them, I want to shake them. I mean, my great-grandmother Nana was born and lived a long time while women were not legally allowed to vote. I imagine she came of age for the first election where she could indeed cast a ballot as a full fledged citizen.

For my Nana, for Anne Moody and for Alice Paul, Inez Milholland, and Lucy Burns, I will vote today no matter how long the line is. And when I'm done, I'll feel really good about it.

Monday, November 03, 2008

NaBloPoMo: Muscles

Well I have been challenged! Until this morning I had never heard of something called NaBloPoMo (or National Blog Posting Month for those of us living in the dark). This NaBloPoMo asks us each to post at least once a day for a month and PghRugbyAngel has challenged me to post meaningfully.

So here goes.

I am going to start with muscles. I have them. Big ones. They may have an ever-growing layer of padding outside them, but I have muscles I grew on purpose for rugby. They are large, bulge out of clothing in the trendy sections of stores, consume lots of fuel, and have been used to physically hit other human beings again and again and again.

If I have learned one thing since 1999 when I began playing rugby it's that the human body is amazingly strong and durable. I have been railed by other people's muscles and not suffered real damage. Just last weekend, I got punched in the face--literally punched by accident in a scrum (flanking) and I didn't even get a black eye. Muscles can do amazing things.

But there is so much pressure all around us for women to not have these muscles. Starting with the clothes available for us to cover our bodies and continuing through men who refuse to believe that we have them, we women are still incredulously envisioned as dainty and soft.

I'm still not sure how much I'm allowed to write about working on the EMHE construction site, but I will say the experience showed me that feminism still has a very, very long way to go if those hundreds of men are ever going to make space in the world for strong women. I really wish I had kept an actual talley of the times men said to me, "Are you ok with that?" "Careful with that, sweetie. It's heavy." "Whoah, honey! That door's a big one!"

Some of the objects were heavy. The doors I lugged up stairs all night long? They weighed a ton and my arms were sore the next day. But if I couldn't safely carry it up the stairs, I would have asked for assistance. I felt so belittled and infantized by that group of men. Nothing has made me that angry for many years. It was no secret that we were the rugby players, that the 20 or so volunteers Tuesday night came from the rugby team. We had muscles and were there to put them to use.

We might as well have worn heels and short skirts and gone around giving back rubs. I'd like to say that our astounding strength overpowered them and taught them a lesson in the end, but no matter how many of us carried bags of mortar on our own without flinching, the men inside and outside the loading trucks still didn't see us as anything but breakable.

I want to know how big and strong I have to get to be visible, to be SEEN not as a helpless person in need of rescue, but as a person worthy of work.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Angels on the Airwaves

Hey everyone! The Pittsburgh Angels were on TV last week! It was a very exciting opportunity for my team to be on KDKA's Pittsburgh Today Live show. Here is the link to our segment.

If I were just a bit more savvy, I'd embed the video right into the blog...but I am not that savvy.

Anyway, I am really pleased that we got nearly 8 minutes of screen time and the professional way the anchors handled the questions. I also love how Tricia talked about our experience with Extreme Home Makeover and felt her talking directly of me when she mentioned here teammate organizing the endeavor. You know, one of the members of the men's team ended up staying overnight, working twelve straight hours on the crew when some of the midnight shift volunteers failed to show. It's just great to see our team get recognition for the great stuff we do. Who knows if this tv spot will land us a fabulous sponsor???

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Pumpkins Again

My favorite rugby event of the year is ALWAYS the pumpkin carving party. I love that party because it's so chill and there is simultaneously so much to do. Darts. Flip cup. Punching bags, foosball, pumpkin carving! It's like a sensory overload.

This year I was sure I had a winning pumpkin. I sort of hand drew the Obama logo on my squash and carved away. Only nobody but Corey and Dave knew what it was. People thought it was the PLEA logo. Or someone thought it was the UNICEF logo.

Then, in the contest, I won all right. I won DFL (dead fu*#ing last for those readers who don't hang out with cyclists). While I was extremely happy with the star bucket, the lottery tickets, and even the booze (cooking purposes, obviously...) I was sad that my pumpkin got the last award cuz it said "hope" on it.

I need to start hanging out with my friend Rosie, who had a pumpkin for change porch. Or I need to just think of better pumkins I guess...


I am consumed by fitness. Ever since I hurt my knee August 18, I can think of nothing but my resting heart rate, my body fat percentage, and kettle bell swings. The injury came after 4 weeks of an Angels fitness challenge, 8 intense weeks of CrossFit and only two weeks of rugby practice that were equally as intense, and actually included elements of dozens of burpees. I was feeling fantastic (most days) because I reached a place I hadn't been in years.

I think the biggest disappointment for me was not watching the game from the sidelines, but losing my fitness base, because I had worked so hard to build it. I've been feeling very sedentary in general since college and have put on weight and mushiness in places that Jim Sullivan used to make solid. I recall the fitness routines of Penn State Rugby, bear crawling up enormous hills and lifting in the glistening varsity weight room in Rec Hall, the endorphin high I got from two hours of conditioning...and when I think of these things I feel sad because compared to that, I am a terrible physical specimen.

I have such genetic predisposition to be amply-thighed and buxom beyond belief. When I feel myself slipping away from good heart health, I get these visions of many chins and struggling on stairs. I need to stop talking about fitness and freaking commit to finding it again.

My knee is performing back at 98%. Today is November 1 and I am back at CrossFit starting Monday. So help me, I will return to my summer levels and surpass them. And then, who knows? Maybe the fit, healthy me that waved goodbye five years ago can resurface and stick around forever.

Friday, October 31, 2008


Corey and I have decided that pastured beef and pork is infinitely more delicious than the CAFO stuff. (I'm eating some sausage right now! You should be jealous!) Absolutely and unquestionably worth whatever minimal addition in price. The taste is just so fresh and pure and...meaty. Un-be-lievable.

Same with the eggs. The yolks are bright orange. Anyone who read Omnivore's Dilemma and had a mouth watering, out-of-body experience reading about those eggs the chefs wanted to bake with can relate to my delight making omelets from these beautiful ova.

The cage-free chickens, however? Stringy. Tough. Kind of gross, actually. It's a bit like gnawing on airplane meat or something with the consistency of licorice.

I can't understand it. I am so sad about it. Why is the meat ungood? Is there something in the diet of these chickens that makes the meat this way? Have I had continued bad luck with my cooking abilities?

Surely cramming chickens into cages the way we do now can't IMPROVE the quality of the meat? Can it? I don't know what to do in this situation, because I can't see myself giving up poultry and I want to stick to my guns regarding this lifestyle choice. Anyone out there had any delicious free range/cage free poultry?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Nesting Update

Corey and I shuffled around the basement and remembered that we actually have a few overhead lights we never remembered to install when we lived in Bloomfield, NJ. One of them will be great to replace the breast-shaped hall light upstairs, but I'm wondering if the other is a good fit for the dining room.

This is a close match to the light, which is not a pendant lamp but a ceiling-clinging one. My parents don't have a pendant lamp in the dining area and I never thought that was weird. Is there some sort of rule about pendant lamps over tables? What do you wonderful readers think about using this flattish lamp in the dining room?

I know it would be a marked improvement over the gothic chandelier, but is it a better choice than the others I was thinking about?

Once Upon A Genius

I made a 10am appointment at the Mac store for my MacBook. Note to others in Pittsburgh: Don't make 10am appointments. The geniuses (genii?) are in morning meetings until 1015. All the appointments are pushed back. Make yourself a 1015 appointment and bring a book.

Anyway, my genius opened up the MacBook and confirmed my suspicion that something was not right with the cd drive. He feels there is a mini-disk stuck in there, which I assured him is impossible. Then an interesting thing happened.

The Mac Genius whipped out a little light on a stick, like the doctors use to look in your ears and throat. He began using this tool to give my MacBook a medical examination. It was very strange to watch. I started to get worried my laptop would be ill or need a shot. He next whipped out tweezers. Long, skinny tweezers. He shoved them around inside there, in much the way I could have done at home I suppose.

Eventually, he determined the problem was much too deep for him. Which is so funny because I'm reading The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken, and the chapter I'm on is titled "How Deep Do You Want to Go?"

I guess that might only be funny if you're me...

Anyway, the genius told me there was naught to do but take the computer apart, something that would cost me $300.

I asked what would happen if I did not get the optical drive repaired. Evidently, I'm looking at a computer with no cd drive. Since I don't have a spare $300 right now and I don't really use the cd drive very much, I'm going to forgo this repair until...probably forever.

My next planned computer purchase will be a new Mac desktop, so I can move to use the MacBook only for travel and interviews. (This of course after I buy a sofa and bookshelves and the other nesting items required for the downstairs!)

In the end, I got a nice bike ride in this morning and discovered that, if nothing else, I know how to diagnose my own computer. Maybe I should apply to work as a genius! I do, after all, own tweezers.