Saturday, May 24, 2008

One Year

I have been married to Corey for one year. I love that. Every time I talk to my Gommy, when she isn't forgetting my birthday or confusing me with one of my aunts, she says, "The first year is always the hardest you know." I think this saying is probably true of people who didn't co-habitate before getting married, but I also find it hard to believe any other year will be more trying than this one.

Our marriage started out sort of scary--his mom was so very sick that she missed our wedding. He and I spent the next eight months not seeing one another as our schedules refused to align. We yelled at each other a lot when we did catch a glimpse of our spouse awake. It was a really, really hard year. But the causes all seemed external to our relationship.

His mom is a picture of health now, and we're going to wander around Tuscany to celebrate this fact. I'm finished with graduate school and, since commencement, we've cooked dinner together and actually sat on our deck to eat. And the other day, when Corey climbed out of bed to rustle of a late night snack, he brought along a piece of extra-dark chocolate for me...without needing to be asked. He also stayed up all night last night washing dishes so I wouldn't complain about moldy food when we returned. Who wouldn't love to be married to such a man??

I went to Target to look for an anniversary card to give him while we're on vacation. This was challenging because all the cards at Target include long poems about love and heaven and many incorporate Bible verses. But then I found the perfect one, the one that captures the primary image which stands out from our first married year: a card with people talking to one another in farts. Because above all other things that are wonderful about marriage to Corey, our ability to laugh at each other's gas makes me the very happiest. I remember a year of expulsions: farting along the route to Ohiopyle and giggling in the woods. Burping at the Pirate Parrot. Farts echoing through the empty rooms of our brand new home.

Corey, here's to another sixty years of you opening then locking the car windows when I stink up the front seat.

Friday, May 23, 2008


My friend Em came to visit yesterday! She had an unexpected layover in Pittsburgh for a bunch of hours while waiting for her mom to come get her, so while I was at PT, she hopped the 28x into Oakland and we got to spend the day together.

The two highlights of the visit were eating 12 pieces of bacon, and going to the Phipps. The bacon was turkey bacon, which we peppered and baked in the oven and then ate blissfully with bean salad. I kept pretending I was going to save a piece or two for Corey, but it just tasted so damn good that we ate the whole plateful. It felt so sinfully decadent. A whole plate of bacon!

Obviously the only acceptable way to follow that was to see the Chocolate! exhibit at the conservatory. We ogled the chocolate party scene, ran into exhibit designer Michele McCann, and watered the plants with elephant watering cans in the children's garden. Then we played with the model train, watched a butterfly get eaten by a spider, and gorged on free chocolate samples in the gift shop. It was basically the perfect afternoon.

I wonder if Italy will have anything nearly as fun or delicious? Somehow I think yes...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

No, I want to work with Katy!

Sometimes I love tutoring because it makes me feel like a princess. This week, I was in the middle of setting up some regular appointments and rearranging things around my Italy trip when a trio of football players came in. These fellows are pretty funny and are roommates and I call them the Three Amigos inside my head. Anyway, they started to fight over who got to work with me on Monday and Wednesday afternoons! It was incredible! They said things like, "I'm getting up early to get in here right when she gets to work," or "You got to work with her last semester. Quit hogging!"

I literally got to have one of those moments where I pull myself up tall (well, half as tall as them...) and say, "now boys. There's enough of me to tutor everyone. Stop fighting!" I loved myself so much! I have to watch out or my head might explode and float right off my shoulders.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Switching Brains

I am the anal, obsessive-compulsive planner in our relationship. Corey eats Fig Newmans and watches as I destruct, then gets up and throws some things in a bag and just rolls with whatever I freak out about, then leaves his shoes or cell phone wherever we go. Normally. But we're getting ready for vacation, and I think we switched brains.

In some sick parody of our normal lives, I managed to lose all the information related to the car we rented for our trip to Italy. I don't have an email, a confirmation number, even the foggiest idea of which car rental company we used. Nothing. Do you know how many car rental companies there are in the world? Lots. I began freaking out and, by 11:30 pm, I was yelling a lot of mean things to the universe.

Corey ate a few handfuls of trail mix and came up with an action plan: we would begin phoning all major car rental agencies. Our conversations went something like this: "Hello. I rented a car for the end of May. I'm supposed to pick it up in Rome. Did I rent it with you?...No, I ALREADY have the reservation, I'm just not sure where...No, I don't have a confirmation number. This is my last name....I understand that I am asking you something impossible and that I sound like a crazy person. Do you have a car rental in my name? No? Well thanks anyway."

We did this about ten times, and with every agency I feared someone would charge us $500. Until Corey thought to call the rewards people from our credit card. Did you know they work at midnight??? We started the same silly conversation, asking if perhaps by the grace of the lord we had rented a car through them. This woman said, "Well I have something here...but Corey is not the authorized user of the account." I snatched the phone out of his hand and identified myself and spewed out my social security number in case she needed it.

We had rented the car through them! Ms. Corey R was our registered driver! She emailed me our itinerary and read me all the numbers in case the email went to my junk folder. I told her she was my new best friend. Corey made arrangements to obtain an international driver's permit at AAA while I gushed at the customer service girl. Then Corey and I switched brains again so I can plan and pack while he dawdles and forgets things.

Monday, May 19, 2008


I started rehab/PT this morning. I think I like it. I was treated by a physical therapist and her advanced clinical pt student. When I told them I sustained my back injury playing rugby, they both nodded and started rattling off rugby players they know from Ohio. It was a good place! They gave me heat and stim for awhile, which felt very nice, and then a series of exercises.

We were all surprised that my hips pop when I do adductor/abductor strength tests. The clinical student jumped back from applying resistance to my leg and said, "did I do that?? What just popped like that??" I didn't know it wasn't normal for a 27-year old young person to have poppy hips. They don't sound any different from anyone else on my team...I got used to it I suppose. The leg exercises they gave me are supposed to help improve that.

One thing that makes me feel a tad wary is that they advised me not to start CrossFit when I get back from Italy. I had really been looking forward to this program and getting into monster shape with the Angels to get ready for nationals. I wonder if the clinicians have perhaps not seen the video and don't know what I'll be doing? I'll ask them again on Thursday before I leave for vacation. Perhaps there are alterations I could make to the routine and still participate. I want my thighs to be mighty and my shoulders to be sturdy!

Thursday, May 15, 2008


I can't decide if my favorite breakfast is Quaker Oat Squares with strawberries and skim milk or scrambled eggs with ketchup and bacon. It's kind of a moot point today, because we are out of ketchup and I can't imagine eating eggs without that delicious red nectar. But what do I choose tomorrow, when the house will be full of ketchup again?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Last night I trampled my teammate. We were scrimmaging in Schenley Park and Boo, who was even on my team, got tackled. I went to ruck over her and smashed my foot down on her tiny little wrist. All the weight of my body driving forward, into her arm. I felt just terrible about it. I looked down at her face contorted in pain and wanted to eject myself from the game. I hate that part of rugby, when you accidentally hurt someone.

For the remainder of practice, I couldn't focus and kept staring at her on the sideline clutching her sore arm. I offered to ride Etienne to her house and tie her shoes for her this morning, but she told me she'd wear flip flops and that I shouldn't feel badly because that stuff happens in rugby. She's right--I am never angry when something happens to me--but that doesn't really make me feel any better about it. I think I'll bake her a cupcake.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

I Shall Call Her Etienne

Birthdays were always such a big deal in my family. Thanks to my mother, presents mysteriously appeared on the piano weeks before a birthday, taunting the birthday girls with their ornate bows, promise of something wonderful inside. My mom, as I've mentioned before, has a unique ability to always buy the perfect present and she gets just as excited as the receiver. Some years it's a Boxcar Children book, other years a set of luggage to explore Europe. Always something amazing. There was premium cake, too. In my case, I loved cream cheese/chocolate cupcakes and strawberry cake equally and generally took them to school for the whole world to love. So after 20 or so years of this sort of birthday treatment, it's been rough transitioning to life with Corey. Usually, the best part of my birthday is the stream of phone calls from my family back home, singing Happy Birthday in four-part harmony or even my mother calling in the wee hours to pretend she feels labor pains again.

Until this year! He made me a special birthday weekend! The birthday extravaganza all started with a Pirates game shared with our new neighbors. We bought peanuts outside the stadium, which you are evidently allowed to take in and avoid being raped at the concession stand. Shannon taught us where we could get cheap shrimp poppers for dinner and the Pirates actually won. Not even beer prices could thwart our fun. Corey came back from a beer errand in the 6th inning to tell me: "I just saw the parrot rolling past me on a razor scooter and I burped at it." I thought I would die of happiness right there in the grandstand.

In the morning I received this:

(The orange one in the middle with blue handlebars--the Bianchi and the other orange bike are Corey's)

Her name is St. Etienne, and she is hand built by my true love. He actually made a special trip to State College to build her while I was playing rugby in Baltimore. Note the Sturmey Archer internally geared hub:

These were pretty popular in the 70s I guess and Corey and his fellow bike shop owners scour the earth for original hubs. What it means to me is no dérailleur when I change gears, so no slipped chain, no external moving parts, and nothing greasy to mess up my pant legs. So I now rock a unique, vintage bike that is super cool and I have a bike part my husband does not, yet covets. See also how he included a blue, glittery chain because I'm pretty and need a pretty chain.

We broke in Etienne with a 22 mile ride from Ohiopyle, PA to Confluence, PA and today when I got back, Corey baked me this delicious-looking cake.

I feel 12 years old again, so excited about my birthday that I ran outside in the rain to show my new bike to 6 year old Anthony blasting past on his lame green bike. All I need is a bell and my St. Etienne will truly be the world's best princess bike. Corey says he pulled so many tricks because it is a special month, what with graduation and my birthday and our anniversary approaching. I stopped listening when he let me lick the bowl.

Friday, May 09, 2008

The Back of my Back

I went to the doctor today to talk about my back. I called sports medicine rather than the regular doctor, thinking the sports folks would "get it." My doctor took x-rays, asked me to talk about the pain, identified the sore places and then nodded a few times. He sat down in his rolly chair and asked me, "Is there any way you can NOT play rugby anymore?"

I was pretty stunned. I felt like he had asked me to perhaps take a day off from breathing or maybe just stop digesting my food for a few hours. I said, "No! Absolutely not!" Plan B is to get some rehab on my back, because the doctor feels that the pain is muscular. I feel that way, too. I've never had rehab before and am not sure what it entails. My appointment is for May 19 at 730 in the morning, so I'll find out pretty soon.

I have decided to give it two chances and if I don't like it, I'm going to either go to the chiropractor or just start taking yoga again. Either way, I'm still playing rugby.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Dr. Dan

Want to see a hilarious picture of me listening to Dan Marino's speech at commencement? Because there is one for you to look at and it's right here. Note how excited Patsy and I are to be graduating. Note also the poop brown hoods signifying that we are masters of the Fine Arts. Thank heaven we are not MBA students, because then our hoods would be "drab."

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Procrastinating Already?

I think I did pretty well up until today in terms of being productively self employed. I secured a new feature story, I interviewed a zillion people, I worked on a draft. Today was my first long, long day of just writing. So what did I do? I bought my sister a graduation present, I worked on the shower drain with a piece of wire and a knitting needle, I ate some salmon, and I putzed around on the internet.

I didn't start drafting at all. I almost took a nap. I don't understand what's wrong with me. The story I'm supposed to be working on is fascinating to me--profiles of two women I find fascinating. But I just couldn't get started. I think maybe my body thinks I'm on some sort of vacation. Maybe I'll go mow the grass, even though Corey likes doing that. All the neighbors are doing it...

Monday, May 05, 2008

The Front of my Back

We played in a tournament this weekend, where our team dressed as pirates and took second place. Pretty exciting all around, YAR! Only after our game against Chesapeake, my back seized up. I tried stretching and doing some sun salutations, but that just made me cry involuntarily. So I crawled over to the trainer and lay on my back whimpering. He started massaging my stomach. I thought this was very strange.

He talked to his colleague and said my L1 was spasming. I don't know what that means, but I said, "Why are you pressing on my stomach? Why does it hurt when you do that? How did you know it would hurt there?" The trainer just kept working out the spasm and told me he was rubbing my belly because it's the front of my back. I never thought of it that way before! Soon enough, he went to work on the actual back of my back, but I just couldn't get over this new way to envision my stomach. The front of my back! It blew my mind.

While I was lying there, our friend Ayo appeared. Too late to see the match, but just in time to help me out, he bought me a pork sandwich so I'd be sure to have delicious food after I could move again. It was like a moment of heaven--the moment the pain in my back eased up, I sat up and had a warm plate of pork barbecue. I like to think the delicious protein went straight to my sore L1, which is really the back of my stomach.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Career Aspirations

I had lunch in the Strip with my friend and teammate Tricia today. We were walking around buying pirate gear for our rugby trip theme this weekend. On the way back to my car, I passed the chief fish guy who owns the fish store. "Hey, dude!" I said to him.

"Katy! I'm so glad I saw you. I need some work done this afternoon. Do you have a half hour?"

I told him no, that I was on my way somewhere. That somewhere happened to be back home to watch The Wire with my friend Paul, but plans are plans. Anyway, he begged me to come to the office and take a look at the project and reconsider, as he was really in a bind. I followed him in and he emerged holding a seamonster costume. A seamonster costume. I just needed to type it again.

He said, "I need you to put this on and walk around for a half hour. I'll give you $25."

I just stared at the green thing, with fins for hands and long scraggly bits of moss (barnacles?) and wanted to punch him in the face. I was so insulted. Possibly more insulted than I've ever been in my life. In the background, a little old lady screamed at the top of her lungs, seeking truffle butter while someone else haggled over the price of cod. And he kept waving the wooly costume at me like a prize. I said, "Sorry. I have to go. I have plans." And I left.

When I told Corey, he said, "But isn't that your lifelong dream? How could you tell him no?" Is this what I have to look forward to? Will my freelance career go sour and I'll have to wear animal costumes to hand out discount flyers for a fish store?