Friday, March 30, 2012

HAPPY WEEKEND! hope it april showers

When I lived in Chicago I knew it was april because of the downtown tulips...

Someone told me once that the former mayor wanted it to look like Paris.
I can't verify the truth to that story, but it did feel romantic on State Street.

Now I have a wonderful mother-in-law that provides them for me right in our very own kitchen. 

(they go in the beautiful tulip vase that she also bought me)

In addition to tulips, here are some things I look forward to this lovely month...

Opening Day
Is there a better time for Pirate fans then the first day of the season?
We have all the potential in the world for be over 500... for a day.
Oh how hope springs eternal on 4/5/12

Holy Week
Starting with a passover seder dinner on thursday (it will be at our home - with friends, and wine, and horrible versions of time honored jewish traditions. mazel tov!).
Friday - have you ever walked through this stations of the cross, completed by local artists? Its so creative and introspective and its become my good friday time of solitude (with Neil).  
Then next saturday, we will do just as our Lord would have wanted and we'll have a night game easter egg hunt - with flash lights and head lamps and all out rumbles.
Easter Sunday we are going to be real, true grown ups and cook an easter dinner.
I will get to finally be at the big kids table!

NHL playoffs 
There are just a few games left in the regular season and if the people that predict things are right about the things they predict, then it looks like we would end up against Philly in the first round.
(I'm sure their fans will be real nice about it)

Movie Draft
With our house bet on MTV's The Challenge having come to a close, we found ourselves at a loss for wagers. Then my brilliant cousin (must run in the family) came up with an idea... 
its sensitive data that's in the works but it involves blockbusters, snake drafts, and boatloads of money.
I'll make it all public once my research is complete

Rock N Roll HOF
On April 14th the following bands are among those inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame
The Beastie Boys
Red Hod Chili Peppers
Guns N Roses
and while concert tickets are around $500, this may be the only chance to see GNR play together and I'm hard pressed to thinking of a more stacked line-up. I'm tempted to want to drive to Cleveland to stand in the parking lot with a periscope type contraption and see what I can see.
 (yes, its worth a $20 parking pass and a t-shirt tan, it's that legendary)

Rounding out this glorious month is the wedding of my cousin/former roommate/partner in crime 
(my 'cousmate', if you will) and she's hitching up to a really great guy. 
She has given me the honor of not just standing next to her to be a witness to the occasion, but she's allowed me to be one of the people performing the ceremony.

When I have trouble sleeping at night I think about things that give my mind rest and ease, sometimes its praying for loved ones, sometimes its day dreaming about the future - but ever since they have asked me to officiate their wedding - I've been so lucky to have thoughts of all the good things I could possibly say about the two of them. 
I feel infinitely blessed by this - I want to multiply the time I have before their wedding and yet I also feel like the day can't come soon enough.

What do you hope to get showered with this month?

A Tournament of Lies

Have you ever been out and found yourself thinking - "I look pretty good tonight. Got dressed up to go out with the girls... feeling pretty fly... this has definitely been underestimated lately."

Then you catch a glimpse of yourself in a storefront window (or even worse, on the unforgiving hardcopy playback of a digital camera) and the record scratches - the wind in your gusty sails is sucked away - and you find your self asking you closest friend something irrational like "how did you let me leave the house with this many chins?"

Lately I have been acting all hot stuff and braggy about Pittsburgh. I happen to think the city is pretty fly and it has been underestimated.

I've also been boasting about the infallibility of the college tournament bracket method to determine winners for things.

You can see how this would put me in a bad position (and set me up for one of those kind of reality checks I was talking about above) when I stumbled upon this bracket from CBS Chicago.

Its called the "Tournament of Bad" and of all the terrible things that could win - from heavy mouth breathers to Nicolas Cage Movies - do you know what won? the state of Pennsylvania. [record scratch]

I really wish we were Georgia at a time like this so I could diffuse the situation ("oh you must mean the country not the state, happens all the time, no need to send a formal apology, I accept")

What really gets me is that the photo that goes with our scarlet letter is this:

(on the left is PA, losing to something also very crappy on the right)

and I can't argue with that. I wish I could go retract my love for brackets and quote REM with "a tournament, a tournament, a tournament of lies."... but I can only ask 'How did we end up leaving the house looking this way'?
I thought when we got dressed, we were hot stuff.

But I'm not dumb, I was a middle school girl once and I learned some things. For example, when you don't want people looking at you, draw attention to someone else...

"oh em gee - did Kentucky just punch someone?"

"and have you seen Texas lately? total. mess."

I also learned it's much better to ridicule those outside your friend group.

"ew. ew. ew. Spain is so gross."

(hey, I'm not proud of these lessons, but I want my state to look good again. We lost to 'wet socks'! I can't have that)

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Friends, I tried out biking and it is not for the faint of heart. My legs burned and my butt bone ached and when I looked at my watch I had only been out for 4 minutes 8 seconds. (say what now?!?)

I (sort of) stuck it out though. I found some flat streets and managed to make it about twenty minutes before I ran into some friends...

My niece and nephew were out riding bikes as well - they had a worse time of it. The four year old ran over the two year old's toes with her training wheels. The two year old toppled and the four year old tripped on uneven curb and scraped her hands, knees, everything. Her mom had a face that said "help me!"

We walked four haggard people and three bikes the two looong blocks home. We traded helmets for band aids and hugs, and we all agreed yet again that biking is not for the faint of heart.

here they count for you all 5 band aids,
as the reenact scenes from the great depression era

(and please don't judge me for getting out my camera
to document the very real-not posed-crocodile tears)

The thing is, at the start of my ride I was thinking maaybbe I don't want to do a sprint triathlon. Maybe it's too much for me. Then I was walking next to a sobbing, gasping four year old with a bleeding foot who was saying "I want to walk now but maybe I can ride my bike again tomorrow." (just look at that face, it'll break your heart). How can I not get back on the horse bike and give it a try?  I can't let a preschooler show me up.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have an announcement...


60% of the time this sequel thing will work every time.

Feel free to continue with any of your favorite Anchorman quotes because thats what always happens at the mention of this classic. Just think, now we'll have two movies to regurgitate lines from! Lets just hope they take notes from the Dumb and Dumber franchise. Also, "The arsonist has oddly shaped feet." (see I can't help myself)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

electric love

This week is extra extra rough. (and it's only wednesday... and it's not even lunch)

This week I need to go to my reserves to get through - which means I rely heavily on my friends and family and a strategic milkshake.  

Did you ever have the kind of friend that you secretly, blushingly say "I can't believe they were duped into friendship with me. And they seem to be buying into my coolness. And they seem to really like me?!" Thats my beloved Rob. 

(and that's us aggressively robot-ing)

Even though we might play phone tag for a month - and even though the phone tag might be on purpose so we can make up songs on each others machines - once we connect, we'll talk for hours. And the line that threads from here to New York is as strong as it was six years ago when we were freshmen in college (sharing a pizza & hot sauce at midnight while we lament about boys). 

He hears what I'm saying implicitly, through all the things I ramble on about, and he instinctively knows what I need...

Then he sends me an email the next day with a link to the two words that are the most elusive to me - the two bastardly words that I didn't verbalize but he knows I just can't seem to get a grip on...  

and damn you Rob - for not only knowing what I long for, but for also knowing that it should look pretty...

maybe this week is kicking your butt too and so I thought I'd lend you the goodness of my dear friend Rob - 

wait. hope. 

isn't it beautiful and horrible and just about perfect?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dear Sam Adams

not you, former mister president

you... respectable brewing company. I'm writing to you.

I just wanted to thank you for some things. Namely your Octoberfest and Winter Lager (in that order).

I had some hesitancy about the light Alpine Spring but I tried it and you know what... a tip of the felted colonial cap to you there as well. Now, I will continue to enjoy Sam Adams through all the seasons.

And I appreciate that you've come out with a Boston Marathon beer to show support of the runners. Your 26.2 Brew is intriguing to say the least.

Mostly my gratitude befalls your advertising department. Thank you for not forcing upon us a sexy Sam Adams... that would be funny but scarring. You have commercials that just show your beer, your brewery, and sometimes normal people taking sips of your beer. Well done. Because you make good beer you don't need to do anything else, I'm sold.

I couldn't find those classy commercials but here is a fine employe of yours, 
making me want to send you my resume 
(seriously, are you hiring?)

Its my sincere hope you continue to surprise me with seasonal delights and quality advertising. I never want to see you stoop to the level of your competitors - selling beer by suggesting that men stop acting like women (and 'man up'? how shameful), or that women always be nagging, or that women sensibly keep on pulling beer from ice water in skimpy clothes... And there's the other side, where beer drinking men are shown to be unromantic and  insensitive and stupid. (Sam, you wouldn't stoop to that... you know men are good people)

So here's a toast to you Samuel Adams (not the president) - when given the choice and some discretionary income, I will pick you!  **note: I'll still have some of that other cheap stuff at tailgates, camp outs, etc, because I don't mind terrible beer and I really don't mind free beer, and I don't have your scruples.

a non-venting, fully clothed, lets-my-husband-watch-football, occasionally has a beer kind of lady.

Monday, March 26, 2012

ugh. monday

This weekend I was blessed with a really fun bachelorette party and a sweet little thee year old's birthday party... and all that abused brain energy that goes with this monday morning I have purchased myself a ticket on the struggle bus.

Here are a few things from around the interweb because I'm too tired to be original. All Aboard...

I'm not a Mad Men fan but with everyone all crazy, I might have to get to watching. People have even started DRAPING (which is like planking but you pose as Don Draper instead)

I've mentioned my love for the site Letters of Note before but I just had to highlight one that showed up this weekend. Its a short little note from Dana Reeves to her husband Christopher on their anniversary (and four months after his paralyzing accident). Its so sweet and so powerful.

I can hardly express my adoration for 30 Rock enough. Single New York gal, Liz Lemon is the polar opposite of Carrie Bradshaw and I love her. And I love food. And she loves food.

If you haven't already spent time mocking the humblebrag - its a great couple minutes of guilty pleasure (as a bonus, I can mentally take notes to NEVER say anything like it.... even though I have so many reason share how awesome I am)

Am I the only one that still feels like the 90s were ten years ago? At least I'm not the only one that thinks the peak of entertainment happened somewhere in the middle of them.

Have you ever heard of a yurt? Ever since I've seen them, I'm dying to stay in one.

I'm fascinated by this United States of Beer Map that outlines which beer is most fittingly indigenous to each of the 50 states. (note: I found it through this fun little blog) And I'm not at all surprised that our beloved PA is Yuengling or that West Virginia is Natural Light. I loved all the Abita we had in New Orleans and I couldn't agree more with Illinois or Colorado or Delaware. The rest I look forward to sampling some day.

And this is a race my friend Katy brought to my attention - the color run - I'm trying to decide if it would be brilliant or incredibly stupid to run in my wedding dress.

Hope you are faring well today (at least better than I am) - just think, it's almost tuesday and tuesday is a whole week away from monday!

Friday, March 23, 2012

HAPPY WEEKEND! hope you put the "U" in fun

Neil has an exceptional hidden talent: making a mixed CD

I must say, its a month later and I'm still enjoying my Valentine's Day gift. (In fact, I just now brought my self to take it out of rotation in the car and load it into my computer/ipod)

After making dozens of mixes for each other over the years, we began challenging ourselves by adding themes (a whole CD of 'Intros', songs from only this year, indie songs that sound like rock songs, etc)  With this one, he chose each song starting with a specific letter and each letter spelled out a message.


OKAY okay, enough about my stud of a husband (my single self from 2004 just instant messaged me to say she's making puking noises.) The point is not to flirt with Neil, the idea is that I will share a few songs with you to from my mix get you in a weekend kind of mood....

Here is the "V" that motivates me to warm up for a light jog

Here's a "U", because its fun and its already friday!

and we'll cool things down with the unplugged and ever epic "A"

hope your weekend is F-U-N!

Facing Fears

The totally lame and unexciting thing that makes me ultra-nervous.... pedal bikes.

clearly, this one's nothing short of a monster

It never used to be that way, but since the accident, I freeze up and have a hard time on them. I think its partly because I have to use my balance. My brain also has to compute so many things that I do actually struggle a bit. But I think it's mostly because I am on a vehicle without walls again and I am freaked out.

I don't like having that looming over me. While I'm okay with how terrified I sometimes get in my imagination (don't, I repeat, DO NOT show me scary movies), I'm not okay with being scared of living my life.

So, logically my next step was to begin training for a sprint triathlon.

Yep. I'm even taking a bike from a pregnant lady to do it.

And to make things worse better, Neil will be with me, dealing with his own demons. He likes to refer to himself as a strictly land mammal. He is decidedly not looking forward to the swim part. What a team, right?

We're going to be at the Jersey Shore in June and we couldn't find any race we liked for our 50 races in 50 states - but there was a nice little sprint triathlon (400M swim, 15 mile bike, 2.8 mile run).

So now we face our fears (not of the Jersey Shore, it has some really nice parts, actually). The result will either be inspiring and and life affirming (like a montage from Rocky) or it will look decidedly more painful and awkward (like putting a cat in a bathtub)

Granted, we haven't actually signed up yet - we're feeling out the training part and 'testing the waters', to see 'if it has wheels' (get it?). This is your chance to tell us if we are down right crazy or if its time to get past those things that make us uncomfortable.

I'm curious, do you have anything you're afraid of? How have you dealt with it?
Have you ever done a triathlon? and do you have any tips for beginners?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

o cosmic birther of all radiance and vibration

I've recent read "Eat This Book" by Eugene Peterson - the guy that wrote "The Message" (the loosely translated, modern version of the New Testament). I'll save you some time and say it wasn't amazing, but he spoke a bit about how the different translations came together to make what we know of the Bible.

In the jumbled mess of different languages and cultures and translations (upon translations, upon translations) most people see flaws and discrepancies - but Eugene sees potential and beauty. His point is that the more phrases, adjectives, and metaphors we gather to describe God, the better we are for it in the end.

I'm a person that LOVES listening to english as a second language (ESL) speakers because they show you words in a new way, so for that very reason - I must say, I agree...

A few years ago, I was in a coffee shop that had a couch piled high with pillows. A family from Eastern Europe was next to me and their little boy was bouncing, laughing, airplane-ing his arms out and falling backwards onto the plush pillows. His embarrassed mother came over and said "Please excuse him, he feels freedom." ah. that makes my heart burst! No one trained in this language would say something so beautiful and perfect and so mind opening!

This all brings me to my renewed, lenten love for the Our Father. Did you have any idea how many translations are out there for this simple prayer? ... and I don't just mean the "Forgive us our sins/debts/trespasses" question. (But while we're on the topic, I love the phrase 'trespass' for sin, because how often do we hurt others by crossing over their invisible boundaries and we might not even know it. I think that's a beautiful way to think of things)

Three weeks ago, I was told a possible translation for the line "Lead us not into temptation" and it's played in my head every single day since. It's led me to read the whole prayer in every hebrew, greek, and pig latin translation I can get my hands on. The result has been so gratifying.

The alternative line of prayer is,  "Let us remember our true selves." Let us remember our true selves. It's so different from 'Lead us not into temptation', yet isn't temptation just abandoning who you are? and instead of seeing how they're different, I've been seeing how they compliment each other. Let us remember our true selves.

This year, I wanted to add to lent and not subtract from it by giving things up, so spending weeks with these lines has been quite nice. I used to feel that different translations were to be pared down and figured out, now I'm adding to them, expanding. It enhances everything to let go of the 'strict word of God' in this way - it feels freedom.

I worried about how to edit this (very long) post because my thoughts on each new line of just one prayer could fill a chapter. But, I'll spare you that, and finish with an aramaic translation of the Our Father that I like quite a bit...

O Cosmic Birther of all Radiance and Vibration.

Soften the ground of our being and carve out a

space within us where your Presence can abide.

Fill us with your creativity so that we may be

empowered to bear the fruit of your mission.

Let each of our actions bear fruit in accordance with our desire.

Endow us with the wisdom to produce and share

what each being needs to grow and flourish.

Untie the tangled threads of destiny that bind us, as we release

others from the entanglement of past mistakes.

Do not let us be seduced by that which would

divert us from our true purpose,

but illuminate the opportunities of the present moment.

For you are the ground and the fruitful vision,

the birth, power and fulfillment,

as all is gathered and made whole once again.

amen. and so be it. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I'm sure a large percentage of you readers are following the CBI tournament quite closely.

For the benefit of the few people without vested interest in the semifinal round, I'll let you know about something rather kinda almost hardly exciting:

Tonight at 8pm eastern standard time, the University of Pittsburgh Panthers play the Butler Bulldogs in what's sure to be a raucous rematch!

A year ago Pitt was a 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, poised to win it all (at least that's what I believed whole heartedly) and Butler was the 8 seed that somehow cheated won in the second round.

here's a picture of former player, Matt Howard, looking like an idiot and a hobbit
(because I'm a mean person and a sore loser)

It still hurts too much to describe what happened in the final minutes of that game so I'll post a youtube video that breaks things down. (or a video of what I believe to be the final minutes - I still can't bring myself to watch it either)

Now our paths cross again, under less prestigious circumstances. Here is a decent article about the pros and cons of Pitt even playing in the CBI. Personally, I'm all for it - I hope we take it way too seriously, like the guy that wears a mouth guard to a pick-up game of flag football.

I'm not sure if it will mean all that much to anyone outside of the world of Pitt fandom if the Panthers win or lose tonight. Butler will probably flop around to draw fouls (yes, I said it.) and shrug at the outcome because they had a much much better hand last year. Pitt fans, myself included, will probably feel this is way to rid ourselves of some ghosts and put more stock into the result than what's really there (it is the CBI - I'm aware. I'm aware)

At least for this girl, it's as exciting as I could hope for it to be - an untelevised rematch in a buy-in tournament with the bulldogs that took us down last year! I'll take it!

Let's just cross our fingers that its not an exact repeat, and I don't end the night re-playing 'what-if's' in bed while crying. GO PANTHERS!


I must thank my cousin Ryan, because he's been suggesting for ages that I watch the show Terriers....

yesterday I finally watched it (streamed from Netlflix), and today I can't stop watching it.

It was canceled from FX in 2010 after 13 episodes and I'm already experiencing panic from being on episode 4, knowing there's an end in sight.

The story lines are clever (its about so much more than a couple of scrappy PIs), the dialogue is funny and smart (they used the writer from Oceans 11), and the character development is great (they get you to care about these guys even when you really shouldn't).

I'm not insisting you must go and watch it... I'm just saying don't try to contact me for the next 9 hours or so.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Regular Ebenezer

Don't get me wrong, I am excited for spring but I'm not as weather dependent as everyone else seems to be. I suspect its due to the fact that I feel pretty terrible in every season - so when the cold lifts and the warm front comes in, I'm still in pain.

In fact sometimes I swing in the opposite direction of the populous, their sunny disposition and need to 'get out and enjoy the day', makes me long for storm clouds (at least then I can feel justified for staying in and reading a bit).

Because I'm quite tired these days, my defiance to the new season is small, but shows here and there...

I'm sorry dainty pastels, 
I can't hear you over my navy blue nail polish

and despite the heat wave it creates in our kitchen,
I can't ever resist a hearty soup

the great outdoors? maybe later. 
I'm just as content curled up on the sofa with a blanket
(with an awesome dog that I get watch again at the end of the month)

oh, yes, and hot tea. I will drink hot tea all year round.
Lately I've been making my own combinations - ginger with raspberry,
cinnamon with peach, peppermint with vanilla
(I'm just crazy like that)

Please understand, I'm not saying I hate the spring. I actually find it very refreshing at times. I just like to keep my patterns of hibernation. Thankfully, I live in Pittsburgh, where the weather is fickle and I have an assurance of some dark, 30 degree days ahead of me.

If no one else, Pittsburgh gets me.

Monday, March 19, 2012

I Remember the Days

This time when Common released his new album, I was hardly excited. That's a far fall from the days when he was my favorite rapper.

My husband has a theory about an increase in popularity and a decrease in shelf life in the rap world. It goes something like this - they gain notice for talking about real issues and problems, get rich, and prove their new status by rapping about opulence and elitism.  And no one loves opulence and elitism.

On a much less intelligent level, I just miss the Common that made "Be." I never wanted the guy that puts on a flat ironed wig, works Jen Aniston into rhymes, and promotes a terrible autobiography. 

When I was all but done with Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Neil still had the patience to hear more. He bought the newest album "The Dreamer/The Believer " and had it playing in his car, which left me with no choice but to give it a chance. 

If you had told me there was a track titled "lovin i lost",  I would have gone on an even longer rant about my drift of feelings... I would not have guessed it would be so good. 

And its so so good. I can't say the same for the rest of the album (I haven't listened to it yet), but track 6 feels like the old Common again, when I was in love with his music. 

Oh yes, I remember, I remember the days.

Friday, March 16, 2012

HAPPY WEEKEND! hope you get what you've been waiting for

I'm not sure what you've been patiently waiting for these long winter months.

Maybe it's the chance to pick out the seedlings that will start your gardens.

Maybe it's the opportunity to watch a parade, drink green colored beer, and eat the perfect St Patty's Day treat.

Maybe its the $30 you'll win in the office pole if Baylor can just eek by with two more wins.

What have I been waiting for? That my best friend's baby will finally get here already!
So I'll say in my most petulant voice possible "commme oooonn"
We've waited so long. I just want to know if its a boy or girl. I want to see a button nose. I want to marvel at some tiny chubby feet. I want this baby to just freaking get here!

There are many proud aunties that feel like I do...

but don't worry about any of the others, little one,
because you're going to like me the most
(I'll always have gum and let you stay up late)

So friends, other than asking St Patrick to break a girl's water, I don't have anything else for you. I''ll just let Gus lead you into a great weekend...

Thursday, March 15, 2012


If Tuesday's play-in games first round of the NCAA Tournament is any indicator of what is so hot right now - it's the COMEBACK!

That's why I'm listing for you some things that are coming back - they are all very important, and they are all coming back TODAY! (also why I'm going with the caps lock thing)

Technically, each of these things fall under the umbrella of the all important lyric "Don't call it a comeback, I've been here for years." because each has been well established, just on hiatus. But the wait is over friends, today is the day....

Tonight Sidney Crosby makes his debut yet again and I have such mixed emotions about it. As always I want to see him come back and do well. I want to see him heathy because in a way its hope for seeing myself healthy again. Its also thrilling because of what he did the last time he returned to the ice...

But I can't help watching every moment of his play time like a worried, over protective, mother. "Slow down. Be careful. Watch out! Are you resting? You look dizzy, you must feel dizzy. It sounds so loud in there!"

Just as I hope people are trusting that I do what's best for me, ultimately, I know Sidney is doing what is best for him. That being said... I really want to see him kick some ass!

This video. (And really no other explanation needed.)

After how extremely poorly I did in the conference brackets with Neil - coupled with a change up in medication (see: change in mood) - lets just say my ego was 'fragile'. I felt I could use a win. I need a measurable, tangible victory. Does that make sense?  And for the first time in my life, I was in no mood to have a collapsing tournament bracket. If any one has ever filled in one of those wonderful forms, you know the odds of 'winning' are not in your favor. This left me a little despondent (I know there are bigger problems in the world then not having the joy you normally have for basketball - but please refer back to my mood change and bear with me)

THEN the magic of the madness of march won out. Its thursday morning and with little prep and abandoned self-pity, I've put aside a need to feel good about picks and I pressed enter on my online selections. Neil even came up with the idea to do a combined bracket in one poll so I won't feel the loss alone (what a stud!)

And you know what, I feel good. I have my swagger back - and for at least a few hours, it will hold. (by then the games will be in  full swing, the sneakers squeaking, the nets swishing, I'll forget all my woes in this world)

not the UNI
Of all the things coming back today - I hope this trend will lay fallow. Sure, I want the cats to do well, but I hope all brows remain two separate entities.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Winning the Race

My friend Caitlin always says "slow and steady wins the race... except in an actual race."

After we ran the March Mad Dash 5 miler last weekend we went to dinner with Neil's family, and when we mentioned the race to his 5 year old brother he said "well, did you win?"

I laughed, thinking of the hundreds of people there, and said something very teacher lesson-y like "No, we didn't technically win but we tried hard and had fun. So in a way we all won." (or something lame like that)

Then I came home and checked our race results - only to discover that my husband did technically win! He placed first in his age group!! He killed it!

So if having a public blog with limited readership has any benefits - its to brag about your husband right? He's too humble to do it (that guy!) - so someone should.

He started the race in his old muddy shoes, the one with a hole in the bottom. He wore a Guns N Roses sweatshirt and he carried no gel packs. His only real "training" was with me - at my slooow pace.  So imagine my surprise, that this unassuming (and handsome) man went and won the race!

Well done Neil!  next time we'll stick around and let you claim your prize

inner teenager

Since my recent addiction to young adult literature, I've decided to embrace my inner teen...

I'll admit to you freely that I've watched the Hunger Games trailer somewhere between 4 and 7 times.

I'll confess that I own this exact cotton candy flavored chap stick.

And I'll sheepishly say this video of Paul Rudd reading relationship questions and giving advice for the pre-teen site "Rookie" makes me blush a little. Maybe I could tell Jessica to tell Caitlin to tell Paul that he looks really cute in those glasses.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Los Ridiculous

come on NBA, what's going on here amigos?

I was going to let it slide when you pulled this with the Heat (They're in Miami, maybe they love Spanglish there. I don't know, but I was only mildly confused).

Then I've seen it cropping up more and more, and last night was the pinnacle of my disappointed head shake: "Los Bulls" played "Nueva York Knicks"

It was Spanish Heritage Night - and they celebrated by... bastardizing the language.
For those of you that don't habla espanol, you probably still remember the great Chris Farley. Somehow, I don't think the NBA is going for the exact same joke.

I vote they either go all out with true spanish - trust me, Americans can handle it. We'll still be able to identify Derek Rose, even if we don't automatically know that "toros" means bulls. (In fact maybe we'll learn something!)

Or I vote they stop el shenanigans. Gracias.

(if any of you readers were celebrating Spanish Heritage Night and want to weigh in, your opinion is desired)

Awesome Things

I was going to say now that its getting nice out - here comes the loud subwoofers and the weed wackers and shouting children that play outside. I was prepared to share with you a well developed Concussion Sh*t List: Spring Edition

But all you headache free people appear to be really happy with the change of season and your affective disorder appropriately titled SAD seems to be melting with the snow.

Which leads me to begrudgingly join the joyful masses and share something nice, something awesome:
Here are 1000 Awesome Things

I mean, who doesn't love when you hit that point in the book where you suddenly can't stop reading

or the first shower you take after not showering for a long time

or my personal favorite, watching cream go into coffee
(if it's iced coffee in a clear cup, I pretend a silent bomb is detonating in a very brown world)

I won't ruin the fun by listing them all here but go to the website. Feel the happiness of life's awesome gifts.

I have to go now and shower for the first time in 3.5 days and captivatingly add some cream to my coffee. (okay, I'll be honest, I'm not doing anything until I finish the last 100 pages of Catching Fire)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Tiny Desks

Today is a day I feel sunny and hopeful about springing forward...

yet also very very exhausted (maybe the afternoon downpour punctuated my mood)

Despite the birdsong outside, I have the urge to pull up an afghan, sip some earl grey, nibble ginger snaps, and listen to good music.

Maybe you'll want to join me on that last part. I got addicted to NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts a while ago and on days like today I could blow through four or five of them. I recommend Iron & Wine, Esperanza Spalding, Civil Wars, and Lost in the Trees

oh, and how could I forget the Decemberists
Colin Meloy, you make multitasking look easy

Today at the tiny desks they posted a concert by a group called Real Estate - I had never heard of them till this afternoon, but they were just the kind of the thing I needed (NPR always knows what's best for me). Enjoy!

Friday, March 9, 2012

HAPPY WEEKEND! hope you feel wonder and awe

This weekend I get to spend time with my awesome nephew, who is almost 7 months old now. (How? How do they grow so fast ?!)

He is at the perfect age when you can actually see him discover the world around him - you can really watch it - he shows it all in his little expressions. (He would be terrible at poker).

Its so fun to see him drop the toy, get the toy, drop the toy... then look at you- amazed that he's learned gravity.

Then there's the wonders of having one bright plastic cup, then two bright plastic cups, then oh my lordy they nest inside each other! I love the pure shock on his face when the smaller one disappears.

Its just object permanence buddy, you'll get it soon.

I feel a sense of amazement watching him as he's watching the world with a sense of amazement.

I hope you get some of that confusing, awe inspiring, good stuff this weekend (and to top it off, I hope little leg fat, knee dimple action comes your way too)!


I know what you're thinking. I can't wait for selection sunday either.

So here are some brackets you can fill out in the meantime. (watch out for the 5/12 upset)

Scott Van Pelt's show has done an MC's bracket. Before you get upset too, I'm aware. My cousin and I have already discussed it and the seedings are all wrong (Tribe has to go against Jay and Run in the East Coast bracket? not okay.), There's no Fugees. No Roots. No Missy Elliot. No Lil Kim... seriously NO ROOTS? But it's still fun to play, especially if you can't wait for selection sunday.

Grantland has taken characters from The Wire and worked out a way to find out who is the best with Smacketology. Its clear I'd pick Omar, but Bunk could be a dark horse. (Sgt Ellis Carver, you didn't even make the field but I always loved you man.)

And while the voting has concluded for these below - the science of bracketology has prevailed - giving us results in some of life's greatest questions:
~ Stankoff: the greatest Outkast song
~ Souper Bowl: the ultimate soup bracket
~ Hovafest: the best of Jay-Z 
~ Who won 2011
and the ever controversial
~ Condiment Bracket

If all of this still isn't enough to keep you at peace until Sunday night. You can create your own bracket here. I am working on one for my future career ideas, I'll be soliciting your votes soon enough.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Dear Tray Woodall

I had another letter for your team mate Ashton but it wasn't hopeful or nearly so kind. When he put that towel over his eyes yesterday, unwilling to watch the end of the game the season, and I shouted at my espn3 streaming "great! that's a metaphor! If I have to witness this so should you!" - I knew I was not in a healthy enough place to write to him.

His season didn't turn out how he wanted, on any level. I can sympathize with him for that, but I can't agree with how he used the the hand he was dealt. In life, a lot of people's 'seasons' don't turn out how the imagine - do they put the towel over their eyes? no!.... (breathe, calm. Tray, I'm sorry I keep loosing my cool here. What's done is done. The season's over. Let's talk about you.)

*note after writing this, Ashton gave a very kind and humble interview taking blame for the season. and I ate some crow

I mention all this stuff about Ashton and his leadership because that's what I believe to be our gaping wound this season. (that and a struggling front court game, but more so the leadership thing).

The night we found out you got hurt, my husband and I went to dinner and we got into a heated debate healthy discussion about what makes a good point guard.

We said the top five are:
1. assist to turnover ratio
2. ball handling
3. range of shooting (so you're a threat outside but can penetrate when needed)
4. knowledge of the game/playbook
5. and solid defense

My husband said you have all of that (aside from some difficulty getting burned on man defense - which you've improved). My husband's prediction: your injury will be the downfall of our season.

I agreed with the top five skills he attributed to you - you're a fine guard. However, when it comes to point guards - I added that more important than ANY of those 5 things is that X factor (excuse the conjured up Krauser image of crisscrossed forearms). The thing I'm looking for is the ability to rally the team behind you, the confidence to take the last shot, the carrier of the morale.

*I don't feel it NEEDS to be the point that has this X factor but someone has to have it and no one on this year's team did... maybe Nasir had the most heart but if your forward has heart and the ball is turned over before he can even get it then there's problems.

My prediction: that your injury would be the best thing for our panther team. I said either a leader would emerge - Ashton or someone else would step up as point guard - or you would sit on the sidelines and it would effect you. Then in your return, we'd have our game changer.

Maybe my husband was right - the season did downfall. (as a life long fan, I have braced myself for dips, I'm okay with it). But maybe you can make it so I'm also right. Travon, when you came back there were flashes of great things. Hold onto that - let that sidelined time and the poor season change you instead of using it as a reason to throw in the towel.

You have the skill. Work on your turnovers a bit, square up your shot, and keep up with the defense (minor stuff really). But I love that with your size difference you'll still drive into the lane, and I love that you always look for the assist. You have good bones. Use them. Own this team... because a new crop of players are coming.

And this is the best part  - the panther's still need a leader.  

the girl sheepishly asking for what channel they air the NIT

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Don't Quit

I found a letter my friend Kristen wrote to me years ago. She sent it with a care package to cheer me up (this is while I was living far from her). She's a wonderful friend

She explained that she found a gift and thought of me, but on the way home she dropped it. Because she wanted to keep with it's theme, she glued it back together and sent it to me anyway. She really is a wonderful friend.

I can't remember now what was happening that prompted Kristin to send this gift, and she doesn't say expressly in the letter. Maybe that's the upside of a poor memory, the bad things are wiped away too.

But I think the message is still so applicable today - and I wanted to share because I suspect some of you would like a visual reminder too.... it is only wednesday after all - and sometimes these days can be rough.

Kristin, thank you for your care packages and your super glue - they still work on me

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hardcore Decor

I already mentioned yesterday how much we love The Wire... so when we saw an oil painting of Omar Little by our (very talented) friend Nick, our reaction was naturally super hyped. We were so enamored of the work, he ended up giving it to us. We felt guilty about this for a few minutes, then we took our picture and ran before he could change his mind!

by Nick McCormick

*note: if you're a fan of the wire and you disagree that Omar's the greatest, you can work that out here.

We hope to someday become home owners and to add to our art collection, but I found myself wondering - how do I add to Omar? THE stick up boy? What could possibly dare to hold wall space along with this painting?

Then I found the "The Magnificent Map of Rap Names." Its a scientific, categorical, and comprehensive breakdown of all rap groups and emcees. It's pretty impressive - enough to hold its own with our other bad ass pieces.

plus it looks very classy hanging over a couch.

It's oh so useful too. In case you were wondering which is the best group to ever use of  a "K" in place of a "C", now you can just reference the right hand side of the chart, under "Improper use of K" and find that Outkast just krushes the kompetition.

Aside from commissioning someone to make a bronze statue of Jamie Dixon in his famous squat and think position, I would say we're just about done here!