Category Archives: Sports

The Week That Belonged to Adam and Emma and Bob

Remember way back when our ire was focused on the pea-brained idea from the White House to replace food stamps by sending recipients a box of food?

That was last Tuesday.

Seems like an eternity ago, doesn’t it?

Since then, a few other matters have rightfully earned our collective outrage and attention. Yet another horrific school shooting occurred on Wednesday,  a Valentine’s Day massacre that was followed by the angry and determined passion from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students, especially Emma Gonzalaz.

Friday brought the much-awaited and welcome news that 13 Russians have been indicted, complete with the detailed, sophisticated ways they stole our democracy right before our eyes. As someone said, their operation was infinitely more organized than the bumbling Drumpf campaign. Well, obviously. At this point, if you still believe and support this complicit, morally bankrupt Puppet-in-Chief, I’m going to assume you’re either a Russian bot or have had your brain (and soul) replaced by one.

And in the middle of all this ugliness, as a merciful salve to our souls, enter the beauty and Olympian confidence of Adam Rippon, someone who doesn’t shy away from speaking his mind, celebrating who he is, and giving hope to a generation of young LGBTQ people. The Girl and I have been captivated by him and, like many, transformed into instant Adam fans.

These weeks pass by in quadruple axel speed. Blogging feels futile; as soon as I can collect my apoplectic thoughts on any single event, the next wave knocks me asunder. Like everyone else, I’m exhausted and overwhelmed.

Take something as simple and inconsequential as these weekly posts, for example. They often take an inordinate amount of time to write. (I started this on Sunday. I’m finishing it on Tuesday morning, at 5:19 a.m.) That never used to be the case. Yet I feel the need to do what I can to capture and comment on these unprecedented, most-definitely-not-normal times. There are some who are doing Sisyphean  work of documenting every single one of these injustices, the eroding of rights, the trampling of our lives. I don’t know how they do it; it’s relentless.


Some other reflections from this past week:

Reading … a review book. Of course. It’s about “the women in the 20th century “who made an art out of having an opinion” so needless to say I’m all about this.

Listening … mostly to podcasts in the car, mostly The Rachel Maddow Show. I love watching her at night but it’s not conducive to a good night’s sleep. Much better to listen en route to work in the morning.

Writing … I need to spend some time this evening working on a book review. The Girl has a youth group meeting at church so I’ll be hunkered down at Starbucks trying to make some progress on that.

Watching … the Olympics, after initially not caring about them at all. Nice move by NBC to hire him Adam Rippon as a commentator to keep viewers like me who may have tuned out after the men’s skating and who will listen to anything he has to say.

Cooking … Some dietary changes are afoot in this house. The Teenagers are not happy about this. Last night we had a delicious Instant Pot Lentil Soup with Sweet Potato and tonight was an original creation, It was supposed to be a stir fry of sorts but I realized I didn’t have all the vegetables I wanted for that, so it became Brown Rice with Carrots and Chicken* in a ginger turmeric sauce. (*Chicken = Beyond Meat Chicken-Free Grilled Strips) It’s not the prettiest looking thing but it was tasty.


Planning … on going to yoga at least once this week. Hopefully tonight. We’ll see how the day goes; I’ve been awake since 3 a.m.

Anticipating … 70 degree temperatures today! I’ll take it, if only just for one day.


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A Rollercoaster of a Week

What a week, you guys. I’m pretty sure The Husband and I are not the only people still in a state of disbelief that the Philadelphia Eagles really did win the Super Bowl! As proof that it wasn’t a dream and that after 57 years we aren’t losers anymore, there’s the photo I captured from my TV.

And later in the week there was a parade with Jason Kelce dressed as a Mummer, and countless examples of why Philly has more heart that we’re given credit for. People bringing the remains of their loved ones to the parade and strangers toasting the deceased with beers — I mean, it just doesn’t get any more Philly than that. Hopefully, this week showed the crazy, full-of-heart city I love in a new light to more people. My social media feeds have been amazing, one delightful explosion of joy and celebration and love after another. It’s an incredible feeling.

As the title of this post suggests, though, it was a roller-coaster of a week. The Husband and I watched some of the parade during one of his doctors’ appointments. Thank God for cell phones and live video technology. We also had a scare with our cat Mrs. Douglas. She had been drinking an excessive amount of water for a few days — as well as peeing excessively — so we called our wonderful vet to get her checked out. We all suspected diabetes. We spent four hours at the vet on Tuesday night, waiting for lab results and, ironically, for her to pee so they could test her urine. Fortunately, everything seems to point to your regular, run-of-the-mill UTI. An antibiotic shot and $400 later, she is doing fine. But, yeah, way too much time spent in waiting rooms this week.

What else? That’s probably enough. I have a bunch of things I need/want to catch up on and make some headway on for the week ahead (book review stuff, grocery shopping and prepping some meals, etc.). so should probably wrap this up before the day gets any further away from me.

Hope your Sunday is going well and that you have a great week.

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Sunday Salon/Currently … Fly Eagles Fly!

We are, as regular blog readers know, unabashed Philadelphia Eagles fans here in this house (making us anomalies here in the ‘Burgh, especially when one considers our steadfast loyalty to that other Philadelphia team, the one that is the hockey rival) so it goes without saying that our Birds being in today’s Super Bowl is quite the momentous occasion.

It has been nice to see some of my Pittsburgh friends rooting for my Birds. Very much appreciated. After all, we were one team once upon a time. (Hence the reason — well, one of them anyway — that I cheer for the Steagles whenever the two play each other. And don’t get me wrong … I really am quite fond of the Steelers. It’s just that I’ll never lose that hometown loyalty. You can take the girl out of Philly ….)

That said, our celebration is rather on the low-key side. The Boy was complaining about congestion, headache, and a sore throat last Sunday and although he quickly recovered, I came down with it on Wednesday evening (minus the sore throat) followed by The Husband on Thursday. The Girl had similar symptoms on Friday. The Husband and I have had the worst of it and while it doesn’t seem to be the flu, we’re pretty miserable. We’ve been inhaling copious amounts of soup, tea, Dayquil, essential oils, you name it. This winter has been brutal; I can’t remember having been this sick so often.

A typical Super Bowl year usually has me participating in Jenn’s annual The Big Game’s On Read-a-thon but, as we’ve already covered, this isn’t your typical Super Bowl. My attention is otherwise diverted. I should be reading a review book.  (When am I not reading a review book?) With being sick this week, I didn’t make much progress with any books.

Still listening to Fire and Fury as my audiobook.

This week while I was sick I wanted something to watch that was fairly short and that I didn’t have to think too hard about. We’ll Meet Again, the new PBS series with Ann Curry was a perfect choice. It’s a six part series of stories about people whose lives intersected during pivotal points in history and who reconnect years later.

For This Is Us fans, tonight is a BIG night. I’ve decided that if the Eagles win, there’s no way in hell I’m watching what promises to be an emotional episode. Regardless of how Jack dies, it’s only going to get me depressed and upset. I mean, it’s not like he’s NOT going to die. Now, if the unthinkable happens to the Eagles, I might watch. Or I may go directly to bed. Both options run the risk of seeing an abundance of spoilers tomorrow but I’ll take that chance.

I have a Philly themed Super Bowl menu planned for tonight’s dinner:

Hoagies from Jersey Mike’s, which is as close to authentically Philadelphian as I can get here in Western Pennsylvania. I picked them specifically because they offer gluten free rolls — and it has been an eternity since I’ve had a real hoagie on an actual roll.  In addition, we’ll feast on soft pretzels (I found gluten free ones at Giant Eagle); Tastykakes (Krimpets, as a way for The Husband to share the game with his dad, who loves Krimpets) and, of course, a gluten free version of Philadelphia Butter Cake.

If you look closely, it would appear that none other than THE EAGLES LOGO IS IN MY CAKE!

You see it too, yes?

(More likely it’s just the cold medicine that’s making me hallucinate.)

GO EAGLES!!!!!!!!!!  


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Sunday Salon/Currently … In a Fog

It’s a foggy Sunday morning, as seen from our living room window. That’s a color photo, believe it or not, no fancy filters here. I’ve been up since 5 a.m., for no particular reason besides going to bed exceptionally early last night and sleeping in very late on Saturday. Maybe I’ve exhausted my sleep quota for the weekend — as if that’s possible. So far, my Sunday has consisted of reading the papers (Post-Gazette, Inquirer, and NYT) and a bunch of blogs. The grocery store is in my future and possibly a yoga class.

The Boy has a slight sore throat, he says, along with some congestion. I’m hoping its the typical winter crud and not the flu. This year’s flu season scares me and has me on high alert more so than usual; when I was 15, my never-took-a-sick-day-in-his-life father died at age 44 following a brief bout with the flu so these recent deaths (especially the children) are freaking me the fuck out.

Reading …
January hasn’t even ended and I already have the first book for my Best of 2018 list. (I know I still have to finish the post about my favorites from 2017.) It’s a review book and I usually try and refrain from talking much about them until my review appears but I can’t help myself with this one. It’s Educated by Tara Westover and is one of the best memoirs I’ve read. She was raised in a deeply religious, survivalist family in the Idaho mountains and didn’t attend school until she was 17. It’s drawn comparisons to The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls and deservedly so. Incredibly gripping writing and just an astonishing story. I’m recommending it to everyone. Publication date is February 20. 

Listening …
As much as I loved Educated, this week also saw my first DNF (did not finish) book of 2018: Writers Between the Covers: The Scandalous Romantic Lives of Legendary Literary Casanovas, Coquettes and Cads by Shannon McKenna Schmidt. It seemed like a fun audiobook on the surface but quickly became overly salacious and tawdry.

In keeping with the salacious and tawdry theme, I’m currently listening to the audiobook version of Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff. (I’d add a photo but I’d rather not have that asshole’s face on my blog — and I’m not referring to Mr. Wolff.)  At the chapter six mark, I haven’t read any shockers that a) haven’t already been reported and b) most reasonable people didn’t already know or suspect.

Here are two podcast recommendations for your listening pleasure this week:

Caroline Donahue’s interview on The Secret Library Podcast with Chloe Benjamin, author of The Immortalists, another new book that I loved.

Katie Couric’s interview with Maggie Haberman, White House correspondent for The New York Times and who has been covering the White House’s current occupant for many years.

Only thing I watched this week was This Is Us — and that was plenty, thank you. And there’s no way I’ll be able to handle the Super Bowl next week (EAGLES, BABY!!!!!!!!!) and an episode of This Is Us. No way. No how. Except everyone will be posting spoilers, so I don’t know what I’m going to do. This show is crushing my heart.

Did I mention the Eagles are in the Super Bowl?  We are beyond excited in this house. Yes, even though we live in Pittsburgh, we still root for all of our Philly teams. I’m starting to think of a Philly-themed menu for next Sunday … perhaps hoagies, soft pretzels, water (pronounced “wooder”) ice and Tastykakes.

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The No Meat Athlete Cookbook (spoiler alert: you don’t have to be an athlete to enjoy this one)

I’ve become somewhat of a slacker with running. There are enough reasons for that to warrant a separate post, I think, and I do want to get back to more of a fitness routine. I’m starting with walking; The Girl and I did two 2-mile walks on the beach last week and that felt good, so that’s something.

When I started running last fall, I went back to eating chicken. I thought I needed the additional protein for my increased workouts. That experiment lasted only a month or two because a) I didn’t really notice a difference (it’s not like I suddenly became a triathlete) and b) after 20 years of not eating meat* the stomach woes were too much. Within a month or two, I was happily back to being a gluten-free pescetarian.

Around this time I discovered the No Meat Athlete  site and podcast, which reinforced that it was definitely possible to eat a plant-based diet while partaking in high-intensity fitness activities like marathons. Even though I’m nowhere near that point — and may never be — NMA offers a lot of great information, strategies and recipes for athletes of all abilities.

I was thrilled to review The No Meat Athlete Cookbook by Matt Frazier and Stepfanie Romine  in Tuesday’s issue of Shelf Awareness. They offer athletes at every level 125 plant-based recipes providing a powerhouse of essential nutrients for strength and endurance.

“It’s everything in the food–and the remarkably complex interactions of countless nutrients–that our bodies thrive on, not a single constituent,” the authors state. Because the body also requires less time to process whole foods, more energy is available for workouts and a full recovery afterward.

While athletes are this cookbook’s focus, there’s plenty here for people who are simply interested in eating a plant-based diet.

Thanks to Shelf Awareness for the opportunity to review The No Meat Athlete Cookbook. Read my full review here.

* There was a brief period in 2011-2012 when I ate chicken. The kids and I were still living in Delaware while The Husband commuted back and forth from Pittsburgh, and it was just easier for the three of us to eat the same thing. And then I got a job where I was on the road extensively, often in rural parts of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. After that ended, so did my meat consumption.


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currently … in a funk

That’s a photo from a Pirates game we were at in 2013 — a lifetime ago, really. I’m kind of bummed this weekend because The Husband and I had an actual, honest-to-God date planned down at PNC Park where the Pirates are, as I type this, playing the Yankees in a rare series. We like the Pirates just fine; however, The Husband is a Yankees fan and it’s not often he gets to see them. This weekend’s games here in the ‘Burgh would have been the perfect opportunity and I encouraged him to get tickets as a belated birthday gift for himself. Unfortunately, The Husband hurt his foot on Friday — we suspect a sprained ankle (he’s getting it checked out on Tuesday) — so he sold the tickets on StubHub and here we are, watching from the living room on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon.

I was looking forward to the game, so not being able to go has added to my general bummed out mood lately. We’re dealing with a family situation that’s incredibly sad and difficult, one that falls in the “not entirely my story to tell” category of blogging, so that’s weighing heavily on our minds. We were in Philly last weekend for Easter because of this. It’s a hard time and being so far away from everyone right now makes us feel even more helpless. My attention span is nonexistent.

Reading … I’m in a bit of a reading funk. I brought Anne Lamott’s new book, Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy with me to Philly last weekend, thinking it might provide some comfort. I really wanted to like it but found it kind of rambling and scattered. That’s been the case for me with a few of her books lately. I’ve also abandoned two potential review books. I can’t seem to get into anything new.

This week wasn’t a complete loss in the books department. I finished The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes, a novel that draws heavily on the true story of Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich. In 1936, Stalin attended a performance of his opera and … well, he didn’t like it. Which does not bode well for Shostakovich, whose life is placed in danger. It’s a compelling story, one that feels especially relevant in these times. At times I felt a bit lost (I think the narrative assumes the reader has more knowledge of music and Russian history than I do) but I found it fascinating and disconcerting at the same time.

I also read Jennifer Jackson Berry’s new poetry collection, The Feeder, which is … emotionally intense. These are raw, personal, soul-bearing poems dealing with infertility and loss and sex and pleasure. I’m a fan of Berry’s work and this collection is one that stays with you.

Watching … Still in the middle of the first season of “Grace and Frankie.” Such a stellar cast in this show, which I am enjoying. I really want to see “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” Maybe we’ll watch that tonight.

Loving … My new laptop. My hard drive died a few weeks ago and while it can be replaced (and we were able to save all my data), the laptop is four years old. The Girl really needs a laptop for homework so I decided to get a new one and repair my old one for her. Also, I’m loving this weather. It’s finally nice enough to sit outside at lunch with a book and on the deck after work.

Running … Slowly but surely, I’m starting to get back into some semblance of a running routine. There’s a great little walking path at my mom’s so I was able to get in a 1.25 mile-long walk on Sunday, with a little running tacked onto the end. We also did a walk on Friday evening too.

AnticipatingDewey’s 24 Hour Readathon is next weekend (April 29). I love this event, which happens every spring and fall, and I try to participate as much as I can.  I’m really hoping my reading rut will have ended by then.

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penguins, parades, and pittsburgh pride (17/99)

Philadelphia Zoo - solo penguin

Penguin. At the Philadelphia Zoo.

So there was a little parade in Pittsburgh today. You know, a small shindig with only about –oh, 400 bazillion people attending, give or take.  That’s a bazillion people for every time the Stanley Cup has been owned by this city. According to the crazy photos, most of them seemed to spend the day hanging out in –and on — parking garages. Or packed into a several-city block radius like sardines.

But here’s the amazing thing. As of this afternoon, NOBODY GOT ARRESTED.

Not a single person.

Aside from the fact that there really are cities that actually win not one but MULTIPLE championships once in the same century, that’s unfathomable to me.  I hate to say it, but as much as I love and am loyal to my Philadelphia, I’m pretty confident that this would not have been the same news story had the Cup traveled a little further east.

Whenever I’m asked about the difference between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, I always answer the same way.

“It’s the people,” I say.  “They’re incredibly friendly here. I mean, they’re downright NICE.”

I’m always struck by this whenever I visit my hometown, as I did for several days last week.  The difference in demeanor is noticeable. While my mom and I were at the grocery store, I happened to leave my cart (and yeah, it’s a CART, not a buggy) a little too much in the aisle. Another customer came up alongside and I apologized for having the cart in her way.

No response.  Wait, I take that back.  I’m pretty sure she grunted.

In Pittsburgh, I would have been asked my thoughts on the gluten-free crackers I was holding, learned that her cousin’s daughter’s neighbor was one of my coworkers, and been invited over to her house for a BBQ this weekend.

Lest you think this was an isolated example, it wasn’t.  Similar thing happened at another store.

Almost every day brings more kudos for Pittsburgh.  We’re the Best This, the Most Livable That, and for sure, this town certainly has its issues, but for the most part these accolades are accurate. This really is a great place to live.

I doubt I’ll ever become a Penguins fan. But today?

Today I’m pretty damn proud to live in this city.

99 Days of Summer BloggingThis is post #17 of 99 in my 99 Days of Summer Blogging project. 


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