Number 1 Fan

There really is no better way to spend a Thursday night than watching the Sons of Pitches play softball. We are developing quite a fan base. I need help, though. As official Team Mom, I like to bring the team a snack. But the orange slices I lovingly cut up before each game are just not as popular as the beer. Plus, I would like to mix it up a little bit. What are some other popular snacks to bring to games?


Hartwood Acres

This photo was taken moments after a torrential downpour drenched all the concert-goers at Hartwood acres. The crowd could not be deterred by a little dampness, and the Old 97s went on to play an awesome show. Luckily, we had already devoured our delicious picnic before everything got all soggy.


It's really summer now...

We went to the midwife yesterday and I am happy to report that all is well. Not that I had any doubts as I can really feel her kicking around in there. Hard. Especially last night as I was rooting for the Sons of Pitches. It was certainly our best game to date, and of course we were complimented on our outstanding cheering, which is certainly the best and most sportsman-like of the entire PSL. Even though we did not technically win last night, I am happy to report that we were actually winning for several innings early in the game.

Classes are in full swing again for me for the next month or so, and I really miss riding my bike around the city, the way I did last year. Instead, I'm trapped inside Posvar Hall all day! Although now I am grateful for the arctic-like air conditioning.

M and I have some trips coming up to Maryland, Chicago and Ashtabula, OH, which we are getting excited about, but for this weekend, we'll be engaging in the dreaded summer past-time of homeowners everywhere...yard work! Seriously, though, both of us do enjoy working in our yard, not to mention the compliments and occasional free beverages that we get from our neighbors when we do it.


Rachel Carson Trail Stats

I brought a little tracklogger with me on the RCT yesterday. It's no secret that the trail has a lot of ups & downs, and people familiar with the trail have probably seen the elevation profile before, but it's still kind of mindblowing to record it yourself.
Click for the bigger picture
If anyone's interested, here are the files:



Tomorrow is the summer solstice. Also, Father's Day. But some will observe it as Naked Hiking Day. I forgot all about it, but the Post Gazette had a brief article about it in the paper edition. Naked Hiking Day is a big tradition among Appalachian Trail thru-hikers. Officials say it's not much of a problem because people are usually hiking in rather isolated areas when they do this, and very few people see them. I personally did not hike naked on our thru-hike, but I think it was because we were wading through patches of poison ivy at the time. There definitely is a time and a place for clothing.

Anyway, I was thinking about this because I recently heard a lady call into a local radio show the other day complaining about some Pittsburgh police officers who had arrested a naked man in Squirrel Hill and had neglected to cover him up. A bus full of children went by and saw him, she said, his front! My first thought was, "So what? Kids saw a naked guy."

I am a little worried that becoming a parent will turn me into this lady, however. Not that I'll be encouraging my child to run around naked (although having known quite a few little people in the 2-5 year old range, I'm guessing she will do this on her own quite readily). I just don't want to freak out over stupid stuff.


Rosie the Cat Gets Brave

Rosie the Cat, aka Dungeon Cat, spends most of her time in the basement, staying clear of Lucy and all the busy-ness of the upstairs. Late at night, she will creep into our room and curl up at the bottom of our bed. But this morning, I was reading the newspaper in the dining room, when she came up and started circling around my ankles.


Empty Saturday

It's been ages since I woke up to a Saturday completely free from obligation. But, my tutoring clients are on vacation, I am on a mini-break between classes at school, and there are no out of town guests here. Plus, with the Stanley Cup victory last night, it's a good day to just hang out.

I'm still trying to make a plan for what to do in the fall. Originally, my plan was to get a special education job, finish my coursework part-time, then look for a reading specialist job the following year. You know what they say about the best laid plans....I couldn't be happier about this baby, but that plan is just not going to work now (I'm smiling as I write this, because she's kicking me, as if to say, "that's right, you can't forget about me!"). Ideally, I would find some kind of research or writing job that I could do from home, on a part-time basis in the fall. If not, I will probably try to finish my book, once and for all before the baby is born. Then, perhaps I will be catapulted into fame and fortune. Well, one can dream.

But for today, I'm putting off planning, to linger in my bathrobe, and sip tea, while watching the robins hop all over the garage roof, and marveling at yet another day of un-Pittsburgh-like blue sky.


Three Cheers for the Sons of Pitches

We had our first softball game tonight, and I must say, despite what could be deemed a crushing loss, it was an awesome time. M organized the team to play in the recreational PSL league.

We are called the Sons of Pitches, which allows to shout things like, "son of a pitch!" or "show them what a son of a pitch you are!" I am not playing this season, on account of the baby thing, but I am taking on the role of official Team Mom. Today I brought orange slices and lemonade. And bandaids, just in case.

Everybody hustled tonight, we all had a good time, and with a little practice, I think victory is within reach. But wins and losses aside, it's sure to be a highlight of this summer.


Weekend Musings

Our house is starting to look like we plan to stay here for a while.

Yesterday some neighbors stopped by to compliment the improvements we have made (we replaced the windows, put up window boxes on the second floor, hung a porch swing, and planted some flowers). Plus, at the neighborhood association picnic someone referred to our place as "the one with all the flowers". Smile. Naturally, in a house that is over 90 years old, we have lots of projects still on our list. My big plan this summer was to refinish the hardwood floors, but apparently that's not a recommended activity during pregnancy.

Today I need to go shopping for a fridge, since ours is being uncooperative, and I am tired of taking it apart and defrosting it with a hair dryer. Although, the second I got it in my head to get a new one, it started working just fine again. Sort of like the toilet. We have this ancient toilet that uses about 57 gallons of water with every flush, and I have to take full responsibility for our high water bill because I pee all the time, and when I'm not running to the bathroom to pee, I'm running to throw up (both of these symptoms are supposed to subside in the second trimester, and while I'm still confused with calculating gestational age and due dates, at 20 weeks you are supposed to be glowing with pregnant beauty, and not puking and peeing all the time. But I digress.) Anyway, the toilet broke a few months ago, and since it's covered by the warranty we were so excited to get a new one, but shockingly, the guy who showed up for the service call, actually knew how to fix it, although he had to drive around to four different hardware stores to find the parts. I've been noticing that companies that provide service for appliances or home repair type things are often getting very bad reviews these days. I think it's because economically, it just makes sense to go out and buy a new one. So nobody really knows how to fix stuff anymore. The last fridge repair cost almost $200, which is a hefty chunk towards a new, albeit low-end, model.

Anyway, the point is, there are days when I long for my life as a backpacker, where plumbing was never a concern and your food was whatever the ambient temperature was. I romanticize it, I know. Backpacking includes a fair amount of inconvenience and discomfort. Poison ivy. Insatiable hunger. Aching knees and blistered toes. But you fix what you can with duct tape and keep going.

I wonder if I can fix my fridge with some duct tape.

M is off at work right now, looking very smart as he left, but feeling a bit ragged around the edges. He's been training for the Rachel Carson Challenge, which has included very long weekend hikes with Caveman of Ohio, and daily walks to and from campus while carrying a 25 pound bag of rice in his backpack. Caveman of Ohio is looking very fit since he works out at the gym every day now. I am attempting to stay fit, although I'm finding it a bit disconcerting to be utterly exhausted after walking 3 or 4 miles and even a slight grade puts me out of breath. Funny what growing a human inside your body will do to your stamina.

But I have a confession. I am absolutely, utterly in love with this little baby. It makes me smile when I feel a little kick. I know this is biologically a very common occurrence and millions of women around the world are doing the same thing, but dang, it feels like something special. These hormones are powerful stuff.

And this is my life right now. Part time work at the University. Spending lots of time at home fixing stuff that breaks. And cleaning. Sitting very still for an hour in the morning, trying not to puke. Speaking of which, I gotta run....






It's a good thing when you are watching hockey and you think, "It's really too hot for hockey." This means it's June and your team made it to the Stanley Cup finals. Pens fans suffered this weekend, however, as we watched our boys lose twice. Here are some words from my sister that sort of sum it up.

Dear Coach Dan,
WTF was that? I have been looking forward to the Stanley Cup Finals all year and your team decides not to show up for the first two games. I’m sorry. That may be a bit harsh, it’s just the warm I.C. Light churning in my stomach. Back to the issue at hand. I can understand the loss in Game 1. We were in enemy territory in the first game of a series with a lot of hype. But losing Game 2 just one day later? Come on. The average age of a Red Wing has to be close to 57. I think half our team can’t even legally drink and, yet, we appeared to let them run circles around us. What I fear even more than the devastation of these first two loses is the ridicule that I will have to suffer from my So-Cal co-workers tomorrow morning who can’t figure out what this sport is and why I like it so much. Since I wish to suffer no further humiliation I am offering some tips for Game 3:
1. Get Fleury some bigger pads. Osgood’s pads give him a wing span of about 10 feet and allow him to sit idly in front of the net and continue to make saves.
2. Zetterberg is on Crosby like a fries on a Primanti’s sammich. Sid has not been much of a factor in the first two games. Feed Zetterberg a Primanti’s sammich so that he can’t skate as fast.
3. Geno needs to be on the ice for every play. If he doesn’t score more goals his mom and dad will be very upset and I don’t want to see them upset.
4. If Geno does need to rest, get Letang out there. I have been waiting for an opportunity to do ‘LeTang in Your Face’ with my brother and we have some cheap vodka and orange sugar powder that’s waiting for action.
5. Do not let Hal Gil play. Is it his job to stand in front of the goal and fall on Fleury when he’s trying to make a save? I think that’s what he thinks he’s supposed to do. Stop that.
6. Encourage someone to get in a fight that he will not win. I think Talbot is good for that and it really seems to rally the team.
7. Shoot the puck really hard at Osgood. A lot. He will eventually fall over and give us a wide-open net.
8. And finally, pray to our leader Lemieux for strength. There’s a reason that he always sits so high up. He might just be God.
I think that if you heed this advice we have a chance at victory. We are hungry. We want Lord Stanley to come home. Hossa is hungry too and has some big words to eat and I’m sure that Sid would gladly serve them to him. So even though everyone in the bar will ask me what this weird game is that I’m watching I will dutifully wear my black and gold and desperately clutch my rally towel. I will scream at the TV and hug a stranger when we score. I will quote Mike Lange and curse the network announcers. I will make the people of Southern California think that I am totally out of my mind.
Now go out there and make me proud.
Yours truly,
#1 San Diego Fan