Tag Archives: Football

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 … First Weekend of Fall

Sunday Salon banner

Currently …
Just finished watching the Eagles vs. Steelers and we’re quite happy in this house tonight, thanks to our hometown team’s win. It’s not easy being a Philly fan in these parts (especially when it comes to hockey) and I tend to root for the Steelers … when they’re not playing or in direct competition with my Eagles, that is.

No books finished last week, but I’m hoping to finish one tonight. I have deadlines this week for three freelance reviews.


My audiobook this week has been This Old Man by Roger Angell, who just turned 96 and is still writing great pieces for The New Yorker like the one he published this week (“My Eighteenth Presidential Election and the Most Important“). His essay “This Old Man” is one I’ve read at least twice, which is what made me interested in this collection of New Yorker pieces and other writings of Angell’s.

Finished Week 2 of Couch to 5K this morning!  I thought I’d change things up a little by trying a different park and it was a challenge — definitely more hills than I expected. (I know, I know … this is Pittsburgh. Hills are everywhere.) Total distance was 1.95 miles, with .71 of those running. People tell me my pace is good (12:31 per mile) so I’ll take it.  I’ve been reading a lot of running blogs since this a whole new world for me.

Maybe I needed some sort of mental break after 99 Days of Summer Blogging because my productivity here has nearly screeched to a big halt. I think it has more to do with being a very busy couple of weeks at work; after spending my days immersed in words, I’ve found myself needing a breather. I feel my mojo coming back, which is good.

Related to blogging, I was certain my life was complete without yet another social media whirligig, but apparently Litsy became available as an Android app this week and all the cool kids seem to be playing.  So, I’ve caved and now I’m MelissaF in case you want to follow whatever I’ll be doing over there.

Have a great week!

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Another NFL Fumble on Domestic Violence

Purple Ribbon

Once again, the NFL has fumbled the issue of domestic violence.

This time, Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback William Gay is the latest athlete who is shining a spotlight on an issue that impacts 20 people every minute — but make no mistake, not for the same reasons as other players.

The NFL has fined William Gay $5,797 for a uniform violation. His crime? Wearing purple cleats to honor his mother Carolyn, who was killed in a domestic violence incident when William was seven years old.

In case we’ve forgotten, this is the same NFL whose commissioner, Roger Goodell, stated just over a year ago that his own “disciplinary decision [in the Ray Rice incident] led the public to question our sincerity, our commitment, and whether we understood the toll that domestic violence inflicts on so many families. I take responsibility both for the decision and for ensuring that our actions in the future properly reflect our values. I didn’t get it right. Simply put, we have to do better. And we will.”  

Despite the “No More” commercials, which include William Gay, some of us are still questioning the NFL’s sincerity, commitment, and understanding of this issue. We only need to look to October itself, long known for being the most ridiculous month in the NFL.

With every player’s shoelace, every sportscaster’s tie, and every stadium’s field blitzed in every possible hue of pink and fuchsia to commemorate October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the NFL’s actions ignore that October also happens to be Domestic Violence Awareness Month. What  we don’t see — and what I’m convinced we will never see, at least while Roger Goodell reigns as commissioner — is any speck of purple during October.  It seems as if the NFL would like to pretend that domestic violence would just go the hell away already.

Don’t we all.

Which is exactly why it is downright ridiculous and hypocritical for the NFL to fine William Gay for his efforts to call attention to victims of domestic violence — and, as his personal story illustrates, the lasting impact on the 1 in 15 children who are exposed to intimate partner violence each year.

Were his shoes intentionally worn to cause a stir?  Maybe.  Was it a uniform violation? OK, yeah. But here’s the thing: you can’t say you’re going to do more about domestic violence, then not do all that much (from a public perspective, anyway) and then penalize a player for demonstrating his support in a modest way — especially when you’re doing the same thing by emblazoning everything in sight with a headache-inducing hue of pink for another equally worthy cause. That shows a lack of basic common sense at its best and a complete disrespect for the victims of domestic violence and their families at its worst.

The NFL needs to take another good, hard look at what it purports to stand for. If nothing else, the League should look to William Gay as an example and use October — and every month — to do even more meaningful work toward helping victims, raising awareness and becoming a true partner in helping to end the epidemic of domestic violence. (I’ve blogged previously about concrete ways they can do just that.)

They can start by forgiving William Gay’s $5,797 fine outright or donating the full amount (and then some, because that amount is pennies to the NFL) to the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh. Unlike the NFL, which also holds a nonprofit designation, WC&S will most certainly put those funds to better use than the League will. Consider it an employer contribution in honor of William Gay’s advocacy and volunteer work with WC&S.

Either way, the NFL has a chance to use this incident as a way to put their money, their mouths and their ridiculous policies towards furthering a cause they claim to care so much about.

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sunday salon: currently

The Sunday Salon

Currently: In my usual weekend spot on the deck with a Mason jar of water, the Sunday paper and my current read (Belief Is It’s Own Kind of Truth, Maybe by my friend, Pittsburgh author Lori Jakiela). Nothing on the agenda today except reading, preparing a few blog posts for the week ahead, finishing a book review, getting caught up on the two online courses I’m taking, and potentially watching Steelers football on TV tonight.  I can’t think of a better way to spend a gorgeous summer’s day. (Well, aside from being at the beach, that is, but that’s not where we’re at.)

Reading: I was between books earlier this week, not quite sure what I was in the mood for next, and decided to try something unusual for me – finishing an entire issue of The New Yorker. To my surprise, I actually did. I tend to read the magazine piecemeal: an article here, a short story there, and pretty soon I have piles of them around the house with those insert cards bookmarking my spot.

The New Yorker - July 6 and 13 “Five Hostages,” an article in the July 6 and 13 issue, deserves a mention because it was so compelling and heartbreaking. Those families … I simply cannot imagine the anguish they went through, and to not be able to tell anyone that their child was a hostage in Syria while they personally were negotiating with ISIS. The focus of the piece (which I had to read over several days and in brief intervals because it was so emotionally intense) is how the abandonment they felt led them to join forces with each other and David Bradley, the owner of the media company that owns The Atlantic. He took an active, personal interest in bringing the hostages home, as Lawrence Wright has written in this incredible piece of journalism.

Incidentally, if you haven’t listened to the July 21 interview with New Yorker editor David Remnick on WNYC’s podcast “Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin,” it is well worth the 48 minutes. Very insightful and entertaining, as most of the episodes on this podcast are. (This one is quickly becoming one of my favorites.)

Oh, and if you are a listener of “Here’s the Thing,” what the hell was that interview with Paul Simon earlier this week? Holy shit. I’ve never heard an interview where the subject sounded so miserable. Seriously, Paul Simon came across as a total ass, and I say that as a fan of his – although slightly less of one now. Uncomfortable to listen to doesn’t describe that.

Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe

As mentioned, on Friday I started reading Pittsburgh author Lori Jakiela’s new memoir Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe. She had me from her first sentence: “When my real mother dies, I go looking for another one.”  Belief is described as part adoption narrative and part meditation on family, motherhood, and what it means to make authentic connections. So far, 43 pages into this, it delivers.

Listening To: In the car, my listening is still primarily podcasts, which I can’t get enough of. I’m also listening to the audio book of The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, which is so incredibly good. I have this on my Kindle and I can’t believe I’ve never read this one, but that’s what The Classics Club is for. (This is one of my selections, mainly because it has been on my TBR forever.)

Counting: Speaking of TBRs, have you guys done that quiz/calculator thing that’s making the rounds on Facebook about how long it will take you to read your entire TBR pile?  My results are depressing as hell. With 1,870 books on my “want-to-read” Goodreads list (yes, really) the TBR calculator informs me that reading all 1,870 books will take me 26 years and 8 months and I’ll finish on March 29, 2042 when I am 73 years old.

It lies: I’ll only be 72 on that date, with 73 looming a few days later. But, hey, what’s a year when it is going to take me 26 of them to read all the books I want – without adding a single thing to said want-to-read list?

Learning: Because a coworker mentioned how much she is enjoying MOOCs (massive online open courses), I decided to see what they are all about. Needless to say, I’m completely hooked on them, too. I told my mom that I was registered for a total of five online courses between now and throughout the fall, and she asked how I possibly found the time for five classes.  (She knows the answer to that: I’m the world’s worst when it comes to cleaning my house, as I have no interest in that crap.)

Anyway, I’ll be spending some time today trying to wrap up what I can of Weeks 3, 4, 5, and 6 of “Literature and the Country House,” my first course and one that is being offered through the University of Sheffield in Sheffield, UK. When I announced to The Facebook that I was doing this, more than a few thought I was actually spending six weeks in England taking this course in person. I wish. Instead, I’m on my deck in Pittsburgh dusting off the English part of my English/Communications degree while reading poetry and excerpts from “Hamlet” and other classics. I’m more than a little behind, but that’s the beauty of MOOCs. Besides being free, they tend to move at one’s own pace.

My second course, “Childhood in the Digital Age,” started this past Monday with The Open University. That’s a bit shorter (only four weeks) and seems like it will be easier to keep up with. This one has some connections with my job, in a sense, so there are practical and personal reasons for participating in this.

Watching: Probably the Steelers vs. Vikings game tonight because … Steelers football, baby! Whoooo!

Hope you’re having a great Sunday!

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The Sunday Salon: Bookin’ It Through Fall

The Sunday Salon

We’re kickin’ off the first official day of football season, which in this house is akin to a national holiday.  NFL GameDay Morning started us off promptly at 9 a.m., and we’re watching the Steelers-Browns with the sound muted while listening to the Eagles-Jaguars game on SiriusXM. I’m bedecked in my black and yellow; The Husband is in his Eagles’ jersey. Here in the ‘Burgh, it’s a gorgeous Sunday weather-wise and the start of football season also marks, for me, the unofficial beginning of fall. I love this season.

Maybe it’s just me, but fall always seems to herald the best book events – both in-person and reading challenges in in the book blogging world. I swore off challenges almost three years ago now, but every once in awhile I can’t resist joining one or two … or three. Here are just a few bookish events, challenges, and readalongs that I hope you’ll join me in participating in:

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2014  shortlist will be announced this Tuesday, September 9 and I’m eagerly anticipating which of the 13 books move forward. I’d love to see History of the Rain by Niall Williams make it to this next round and win the whole thing, because I loved it so much. ‘Course, it’s the only one of the Booker longlist mentions that I’ve read, so that makes it my personal favorite.

Orfeo by Richard Powers is in my TBR pile beside the bed and I’d hoped to have gotten to that – and several others – by this point too, but that hasn’t happened. This longlist looks really good this year.


The Sparrow Readalong
Throughout September, Trish of Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity is hosting a readalong of The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell.  I’ve had this on my Goodreads “to-read” list forever and on my actual bookshelf for several years. I’m looking forward to participating in this.

RIP 2014

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril IX
If it’s September, it’s time for R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril, one of the best reading challenges in the blogosphere. And I say that as someone who isn’t usually a devotee of the mystery, suspense, horror, thriller, gothic, dark fantasy, supernatural types of reads that R.I.P. focuses on. I love this challenge hosted by Carl of Stainless Steel Droppings (his introduction to this annual challenge, now in it’s 9th (!!!) year, is always a fun read in and of itself).



There are several R.I.P. IX levels and I’m planning to participate at Peril the Second (Read two books of any length that you believe fit within the R.I.P. categories) and Peril of the Short Story (which is self-explanatory … to read short stories that fit the categories). 

A More Diverse Universe 2014

A More Diverse Universe
Between September 14-27, Aarti from BookLust is hosting A More Diverse Universe to encourage reading at least one book written by a person of color.  Aarti writes, “None of us lives in a monochromatic world, and yet the fact that terrifying hate crimes still occur makes it clear that we do not fully understand or trust each other.  And maybe part of the reason is because the media we consume does not accurately reflect the diversity of our society.  And books are such a massive part of the media we consume that we should demand and fight for those that do represent minorities and those that do present the world from a different perspective than the one we are used to.  So please – participate.  You may just discover a character or an author or a setting or a story that will completely change your life.”

This is not hard to do. Aarti makes this easy, giving links to book suggestions right on the #Diversiverse introductory sign-up post.

How about you? Are you looking forward to or participating in any of these events this September? If so, what are you reading?




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The Sunday Salon: January Reading Wrap-Up

The Sunday Salon

January 31 near Pittsburgh, PA

This week has seemed like a month, and this month has seemed like a freakin’ year. I am no fan of February (hate, hate, hate that damn month), but am glad to drop-kick this January to the dirty snow-crusted curb.
~ my Facebook status on Friday.

Wasn’t January just about the longest month EVER? Ugh. Even I’m getting tired of my complaining about the weather. It’s gotten to the point of being ridiculous. And, as our friendly groundhog just informed us, we’ve got six more weeks of this shit to put up with.

One of the only good things about January was the reading I did. I read 5 books (with 3 of those being audio books). I also read 6 magazines, which included several issues of The New Yorker, Creative Nonfiction, and The Writer. There were also 3 books that I abandoned.

Here’s what I read: (links take you to my full review):

Next to Love

 Next to Love, by Ellen Feldman (audio, read by Abby Craden)

Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted

 Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted: And All the Brilliant Minds Who Made the Mary Tyler Moore Show a Classic, by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong (audio, read by Amy Landon) 

Kayak Morning

 Kayak Morning: Reflections on Love, Grief, and Small Boats, by Roger Rosenblatt

Mating Calls

 Mating Calls: The Problem with Lexie and No. Seven, by Jessica Anya Blau

Pandora's Lunchbox

 Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal, by Melanie Warner (audio, read by Ann Marie Lee)

Definitely a variety, which makes it hard to play favorites for the month. I enjoyed most of these for various reasons (although “enjoyed” probably isn’t the right word for Pandora’s Lunchbox, which was eye-opening.) Kayak Morning was the only one that I found difficult to get through, because of the slightly rambling and disjointed nature of the narrative.

The True Secret of WritingI’m starting February with three books. I’m really enjoying Natalie Goldberg’s The True Secret of Writing, which would seem to be a pretentious title if it was anyone but Natalie Goldberg. (And, to be fair, she does have her critics, as anyone does.) Obviously, there isn’t a magical true secret to writing – but in this book, Goldberg gives her reader the benefit of her wisdom as learned through leading “True Secret” writing retreats with small groups of writers and by showing her reader how to combine one’s writing with walking and meditation. It’s very rooted in the practices of Zen. I’m absolutely loving this. 

Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It

Maile Meloy is an author I’ve been curious about for awhile; I’ve checked her short story collection Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It (love that title!) out of the library several times, only to return it unread. I finally started it yesterday and liked the first story, “Travis, B.” about how, for whatever reasons, sometimes the distance between two people can be more than we’re emotionally or physically able to overcome. Meloy says so much in just a few pages with this one, and I’m looking forward to reading more.

Looking for MeMy audio book this week is Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman, whom I feel I owe an apology to. Because this is a book that, despite being praised by almost every blogger, I had been dismissing as fluff. I greatly underestimated this one. But, I checked it out of the library anyway and when I had a 40 minute wait for the car wash yesterday, I put in the first CD … and I was hooked from the first few lines. I’ll be listening to this during my commute to and from work this week (and I suspect I might be reading some of the print book, as well).

I’m not sure how much reading I’ll get done during the Super Bowl. My boy has been hard at work creating some kind of competitive game for us to rank and score the commercials, so we’ll be participating in that.

Happy Sunday – and happy February!

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