ceebeegee: (Tulips!)
THIS WEATHER. I just cannot with this winter. But yesterday and today it's been much warmer--I've actually been able to ditch my down coat for my lighter L.L. Bean coat. With temperatures in the 40s (and I think tomorrow it will get up to the low 50s), the snow and ice is melting and the city is very drippy and wet. Starting to get hints of spring, yay!

And it's not even the oppressive cold that's been so bad. My apartment is quite cozy and comfortable, and my down coat really does keep out the cold. It's that it's so difficult to *exercise.* I can't run when it's in the teens out--my eyes start tearing up and I'm more likely to get hurt. I can run in the 20s, no problem, but no colder than that. Also we haven't been able to play soccer in a month because the fields are in such bad shape. NO SOCCER. FOR A MONTH. I am DYING here!

I spilled a drink on my MacBook Air laptop last September and decided I would not dip into my savings and buy a new one right away. I would do the responsible thing and save for it. So for the past few months I have really cut back as much as possible on all discretionary spending--and finally two weeks ago I bought my new laptop. *claps hands excitedly* And as another small reward to myself, I bought a new Coach purse--but this was not a huge expense. I'm a member of the Coach factory outlet site--you have to be invited to join and somehow I rated an invitation *smirk.* They must've known of my addiction! Anyway they only have sales a few times a year and they had one a week ago. So I bought this pretty little thing:



SO CUTE AND YELLOW I JUST CANNOT
ceebeegee: (St. Patrick's Day)
I had such an awesome St. Patrick's Day weekend (crappy weather notwithstanding) I forgot to post yesterday! So here goes:

Green-Chicago-River-for-St-Patricks-Day2

♣ Happy, happy St. Patrick's Day ♣ Revel in the green, listen to some beautiful Irish music, wear a kilt, drink a Guinness or a Harp! Spring is almost here!

So Tim had his annual par-tay overlooking the parade route at the Peninsula. Cold and crappy as it was Snowy Parade

I still had an absolute blast. Dermot Henry, the singer who performs there every year, was awesome as always--I kept bringing him coffee to keep him warm. He was outside--under an umbrella but still. I myself stayed parked under the outdoor heaters unless I was venturing forth to take pictures.

Overlooking the Parade Route 2013

At one point Tim was pushing me to sing, so I got up and sang "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?" and "The Wearing of the Green." These went over quite well so Dermot urged me to sing something else--I shrugged and said "Danny Boy?" (At this point it had been sung at LEAST 5 times!) Afterward Dermot was *raving* about my voice----every time I passed him he would say in his Irish accent "looveleh voice, just an absoluteleh looveleh voice." Tim said he thought that was the best I'd ever sounded.

Tim and I 2013
Brr!


As things were winding down, Tim told me "don't go anywhere." I ended up sitting with him and Chuck Sullivan (Tim's friend who owns pretty much everything--he either used to be or still is a part-owner of the Celtics and the Patriots) while they hashed out what to pay the bar owner. I felt quite the power player by proxy--the waiters were comping us drinks and everything! Then Tim and I joined some of his friends who were waiting downstairs--there was a lot of Who Shot John but in the end Tim and I went uptown to Dresner's and they eventually joined us. I did an Irish Car Bomb and had to explain very carefully to the waitress how to make one. Mmmm, car bombs...so delicious!

Then yesterday I joined a new meetup group that gets together on Sunday mornings to play flag football. The woman who runs the group was very interested to hear about my soccer playing--she has a team and wanted to know if I was interested in ever subbing. Uh, yes! So I played my first game of flag football and we had a blast. I caught 4 passes (dropped one) and spiked 1-2 passes on defense. After that I ran home, changed and went downtown to have brunch with my soccer team.

Dolphman St. Patrick's Day Brunch

How cute are we?! We ate at a place in the Village called West 3rd Common and after we had closed out the check, I looked at their cocktail menu and pointed to one called Banana Booze--Jack Daniel's infused with bananas and brown sugar. I said the Southerner in me wants to try that as it sounds like a cocktail version of Bananas Foster--the waitress told me that was the inspiration! OMG SO GOOD. Afterward we went to a place nearby that had beer floats! Banana beer with ice cream in the middle--SO yum. A yummy weekend, altogether!
ceebeegee: (Riding)
So, I am a huge gymnastics fan and The Olympics is my happy time. (Although World's is fun too.) Most Olympics fans are what we call four-year fans--nothing wrong with that, BTW!  But I thought I might give you a little bit of background on the American team and the likely contenders.

The team format:

This Olympics, we have a different team format. There are only five members per time (plus 2-3 alternates), in contrast to past Games where we had 6 (Sydney in '00, Beijing) or even 7 (Atlanta in '96). Also 3 team members compete on any one apparatus--and most importantly all 3 scores count. It used to be that you could drop the lowest score on an apparatus, so if one member flopped, it wasn't such a big deal. Not any more. This format is known as 5-3-3. Bruno Grandi, the head of FIG (Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique, the worldwide governing body of the sport) in an effort to curry favor with less-represented countries that traditionally have not been featured much in gymnastics, devised this system to that countries like the US, Russia, Romania et al. have less of an advantage--you need fewer good gymnasts to win. I personally hate the system, as do many fans, because I think it's crappy to make the teams smaller and allow fewer gymnasts to become Olympians. Small countries have plenty of opportunities to qualify for event finals or the AA--team finals are supposed to decide the best TEAM, as in plural.

Individual All-Around format:

Only 2 gymnasts per country can qualify, as opposed to the past where 3 could qualify. And I believe the top 24 (not 36) overall qualify.

The Players:

The US team are the current World champions. This is no guarantee of gold, though--in both '04 AND '08, we also came in as world champions. But we are definitely the favorites--I believe our strongest competition is probably the Russian team. However, interestingly, the Romanians beat the Russians in Europeans. China is likely not a threat in team competition. But anything can happen, as Beijing proved!

American Jordyn Wieber is the current World AA champion (and two-time US champion). Jordyn beat out Russian Viktoria Kimova in a controversial finish--Jordyn had had a bad bars routine which seemed to take her out of contention but then came back with flawless beam and floor routines, which were also difficult. Vika made no major errors throughout the meet but her sets weren't as difficult and she gave away a lot of tenths here and there...and they added up. When she saw that she'd ("only") gotten silver she burst into tears, and was...shall we say, not exactly sporting on the medals podium.


MedalsStand

BUT. She is a lovely gymnast, and I hope both she and Jordyn hit in London. Vika is definitely out for blood and motivated, but she is a bit of a headcase. We shall see.

Another AA contender is American Gabby Douglas, who actually beat Jordyn Wieber in the Olympic Trials. ("Oooooh, All About Eve drama!")  That dynamic is actually reminiscent of '92--Kim Zmeskal was the current US and World champion, but Shannon Miller won the Trials, and then Kim fell off the beam in the team prelims. Gabby's biiiiig strength is bars--she absolutely flies over them, as high as Dominique Dawes used to, she gets incredible air. Her weakness is that she's a little unreliable--in last year's Nationals she fell off the beam 3 (3? maybe 4) times. In one set. She's also relatively inexperienced, just a few big meets so far. But I think if she hits she has an excellent chance of medaling.

A Romanian AA contender is little Larisa Iordache, who is absolutely darling, a real old-school pixie. I am hoping she will sneak onto the podium, I enjoyed watching her at Europeans. Another Romanian is Catalina Ponor, whom you may remember from the '04 Olympics! That's right, she's making her comeback and doing very well. Catalina's events are the beam and the floor--she and Larisa traded golds and silver on those two events at Europeans.

McKayla Maroney is the current World vault champion, and you will see why when she competes. She has the biggest vault you've ever seen--she gets mad air. Goes up higher, stays up longer, lands further than anyone else. She makes vault exciting.

The vault final at Worlds was interesting--they had gymnasts from EVERYWHERE. Two particular favorites of mine were Yamilet Peña from the Dominican Republic, who tried to throw a very difficult vault and ended up sitting it down. She got up and with a big smile saluted the judges. What a trouper! She gave it her all--gotta love that. Peña has in fact qualified for London at the Olympic test Event, so I can't wait to see her. The other vaulter was a tiny slip of a thing, Phan Thi Ha Thanh from Vietnam who ended up winning the bronze! The joy on her face was incandescent--she was thrilled just to BE there, but to actually medal...!

VaultMedals

Since she medaled at Worlds she automatically qualified for the Games but funding for her sport is very low and she's had much difficulty training.  The other gymnast on McKayla's right is Oksana Chusovitina, a fierce HBIC who has been competing FOREVER.  Remember Barcelona in '92?  She was THERE.  She competed as a Soviet, for the Unified team, for Uzbekistan and now for Germany.  Chuso is Da Woman.

He Kexin, one of the age-controversial gymnasts in '08, will be back although just barely.  She actually hasn't done so well since Beijing--a shame as I like her gymnastics.  (Yes, I think she was underage--bitch, please.  No, I don't blame her and would never blame the gymnast--she's part of a totalitarian system, she has no say in this.)  But China needs her bars, so she's back.

Britain might actually medal this year, which I believe would be an Olympic first.  Their big gun is Beth Tweddle, who is a past World champion in both bars and floor.  REALLY pushing for her, I love her work *and* the fact that she's an older gymnast.  I also get a kick out of how very ENGLISH Beth looks.  Case in point:

bethtweddleG_450x300


Those are some CHOPPERS!  But I kid because I love--best of luck, Beth, hope you perform well for the hometown crowd!

Finally

Jul. 19th, 2012 06:16 pm
ceebeegee: (Riding)
Senate passes resolution, Obama supports it, to have moment of silence for murdered Israeli athletes.

Yes! It's an absolute disgrace it's taken this long. Just unbelievable. The IOC failed miserably back in '72 and Avery Brundage was a wretched example of Olympic ideals. (God, he sucked. From refusing to support a boycott against the Nazi Olympics to being a complete dick about the travesty of Jim Thorpe's stripped gold medals to ignoring the massacre of the Israeli athletes--a massacre that was enabled by HIS shoddy security practices--in every way he was just a terrible, terrible human being. He also had a female athlete, a gold medal favorite, kicked out of the Olympics for drinking champagne refusing him after he hit on her.)
ceebeegee: (Celebration)
So I've been playing in this winter soccer league.  Our record was good enough to get us into the playoffs--there are eight teams in this league and we were tied for third place.  We played our quarterfinal last week and won!  We were supposed to play the semi-final immediately following that game but they had made a mistake somehow and our semi-final was rescheduled for yesterday. 

We'd had practice on Saturday which went very well--we had a pickup game against a really good team who was coached by this older guy, in his late 50s at least.  The guy was AMAZING.  We want him to coach us!  He was not only an incredible player who embarrassed the hell out of all of us younger players on the field, he also offered great commentary.  I actually played a decent amount in the scrimmage and took a couple of head balls--I landed badly on one (the knee is still a little shaky) and went down and popped up immediately.  He was praising me to the other players, saying "that was textbook perfect."  The knee was a little weird--if I twisted it at all, it would hurt like hell, but eventually the pain would go away.  I had (FINALLY) the MRI later that day, so hopefully that will shed light on the problem.  Anyway the game came down to penalty kicks--I took one and got it in!  The thing with penalty shots on goal is that if executed properly, you have an excellent chance of getting it in.  For the goalie to have any shot of blocking it, s/he has to commit him/herself beforehand (they can't see where the ball is going and then react--there's not enough time).  So they just have to decide to which side they're going to dive beforehand and hope the shooter goes to that side.  So you have a 50/50 chance of getting it in if you shoot for the side (proper technique).  And if you shoot for the top corner they have even less chance of blocking it.  Penalty shots are as close to a sure thing as you can get--they're like foul shots in basketball.

So, back to yesterday morning's game, the semi-final.  The winner of that game would go on to play the finals later in the afternoon.  We played the red team whom we'd played in the regular season.  Now there are some teams we don't like--primarily the red and green teams.  Red has a couple of players who are way too aggressive.  They're pretty rough for what is supposed to be a social team (I mean, really rough--one guy took out several of our players, I'm kind of surprised he didn't get a yellow card), and most irritatingly they try to call the games.  (This is a tactic wherein as soon as something happens--say, the ball is kicked out, a handball, etc.--they will "call" it (i.e., for them) which is, hello, the referee's job!).  They do it to try to influence the ref.  One of my teammates on my select team in HS used to do this.  Since I didn't play that much (the knee is still a little shaky), I saw a LOT of this and I was openly calling them out for it.  "Hey, we already have a ref, why don't you just play and stop trying to call it?"  They also argue with the ref a lot which REALLY should be yellow carded, it's annoying as hell.  Anyway, we beat their aggressive asses 3-1, haha!  So now we're in the finals.  I played a little bit and not only did the knee NOT hurt, but I was actually showing skills I'd never shown before.  In HS I was not this fancy-shmnacy dribbler.  I scored a lot because I was very fast, and had very quick reflexes.  I could get past the defenders, but I didn't do cool things like fakes and misdirects, and passing through their legs.  I just ran!  (And kicked.)  Well, some of the players in this league are pretty incredible, including several on our teams--they can dribble the hell out of the ball.  One way of improving yourself (in almost anything physical, including dance) is to watch those who are better.  I've been doing a lot of this, studying the better players, and something must have rubbed off because honest to God, I was doing some of that yesterday.  I actually got past several players dribbling the ball, and heard the surprised voice of one of my teammates (Pete, a Totally Hot British Dude, oh my God, he is completely hotttt) saying "there you go!"  And this makes me VERY HAPPY because I've been worried, especially after hurting my knee, that I have lost my skills.  I played very good soccer for ten years and I want that back, dammit!  Peter (THBD) complimented me after the games, saying "you had an excellent run there."

Anyway, after our first game (before the final), there was another game, for third place.  Red was now in that game, and the green team were their opponents.  The green team is another disliked team--until two weeks ago they were undefeated, and then they lost their last game.  They were given a bye into the semis--and they lost.  Very surprising.  We never played them in the regular season but we've run into them at the bar--they never socialized with the rest of us (any of the teams).  The team captain was quoted as saying he didn't want them to socialize because he felt it would inhibit their competitive drive.  Guess that didn't work out too well for you!  He also tries to recruit players from other teams and apparently they've been together as a team for awhile.  In general they had this huge "we're the best team" attitude that turned off everyone.  Dudes, it's a social league.  Get the stick out of your ass.  Anyway they played their game--green won (so they were the third place winners) --and then it was time for the finals.  Us vs. the yellow team.  We'd played the yellow in our very first game, in the snow, and they'd beaten us handily, 6-3.

They seemed nice enough before the game, chatting with us, but apparently they were THE hated team, which I didn't know,  I didn't figure this out until I saw both the red AND green teams--and other teams--standing next to us, cheering for us!  WTF?!  They were actually quite nice to us, so uh, okay, thanks for the support!  At halftime we were down by one goal.  We huddled together and everyone said something--I said "we are not out of this yet.  Keep your heads in the game.  Look for opportunities and play smart.  Never let up, keep the pressure on."  As a smaller athlete, one of my guiding principles is that a smart player is the best kind of player.  You can overcome all sorts of disadvantages if you're playing smart--if you are constantly looking and hungry and alert to opportunities.  This is especially important when you're down, because momentum is a HUGE thing in sports.  That's why so many Super Bowls turn into blow outs--the team that starts winning, ends up winning.  Not today!

We scored a goal fairly quickly into the second half, so now we're tied.  Then we scored FOUR MORE.  One was kind of a fluke--the goal had the ball and decided to go WAY out of the goal area, dribbling the ball.  Well, he got caught behind enemy lines and one of our players took a well-aimed shot from the half which went in.  I felt bad for him but dude, you're the goalie.  You can't leave your post.

They never scored again--and so we ended up league champions!  We got medals and everything.  It was awesome!  We also got a $100 bar tab.  (I begged our captain to buy at least one pitcher of Guinness, as opposed to disgusting watery Bud Light, but she said they didn't have Guinness on tap.  A horrified me responded "that's outrageous!  What kind of an Irish bar doesn't serve Guinness?!")  At the bar the green team came over to (somewhat creepily) kiss the hands of our captain and ask for her number so he could set up a "friendly" game between us.  He also drunkenly confessed to all of us "deep down we consider ourselves to be the best team."  (Uh, no.  By definition in a league that has playoffs, the best team is the team that wins when it counts.  The tournament is not a coronation.)  We ALSO found out that he'd bought trophies for his team--these had to have been bought before yesterday so what was the point if he didn't know in which place they would end up?  And seriously--trophies for your third place team?  You got the third place medal, why would you buy trophies when even the champions (US!!! :) didn't get them?  It just seemed pathetic, like one of those participation trophies.  Those are fine for kids, whom you're trying to teach good sportsmanship values, but for a die-hard competitive team such as them, it just seems as though they're trying to insinuate that, as he said, they were the REAL winners.  Dude, you came in third!  Accept it.  I will say, he admitted "no one could stop you guys today."

Anyway, so so so happy!  I draped my medal over the trophy I won last fall for the softball tournament, next to my trophy for Least Embarrassing Player.  And I'm so proud of our team.  We won not because we were the most talented (although we have some fierce players) but because 1) we have incredible team spirit (we also won the Spirit Award) and 2) we WORK.  We practice every week.  Hard work is almost always the deciding factor in who wins.  As a team we have signed up for the spring league, where we'll be playing on Sunday evenings.  This will conflict a bit with softball but I'll find a way to make it work.  And at least the bar will be better!  We'll be at Slainte, which is where we hung out many times after various Planet Connections shows.  THEY have Guinness on tap!
ceebeegee: (St. Patrick's Day)
So my soccer team won our quarterfinal on Sunday--and I actually played! This was moderately thrilling because although my leg seemed to be getting better last week, I twisted it AGAIN on Saturday and thought for sure I would be unfit to play. But one of the girls came out and Alyssa (teammate) urged me "just go in" and I did and I played GREAT. Not for that long, but nothing seemed to be hurting. And we won! So we'll play the semis and hopefully the finals next week.

I went to the orthopedist last week--he said it didn't seem to be an ACL tear but we would get an MRI anyway. STILL HAVEN'T GOTTEN THE APPROVAL FROM MY HEALTHCARE PROVIDER YET. It's been nine days now. I called the doctor's office twice last week, but they have to hear from Cigna. YOU SUCK.

St. Patrick's Day is coming up! YAAAAAAAAYYY! My team is planning some kind of get-together but I will have to tell them hey guys--I *got* a party to go to, it's 19 floors up at the Peninsula, bishes. Sign of spring, yo. I'm trying to learn "Song for Ireland," a *gorgeous* nouveau-folk song:

Talking all the day
With true friends who try to make you stay
Telling jokes and news
And singing songs to pass the time away...

Living on your western shore
Saw summer sunsets, asked for more
I stood by your Atlantic sea
And sang a song for Ireland


My Mom is coming to visit next week and she'll be at the party too. I'm also hosting the No-Name Open Mike next Thursday (3/15) at Indian Road Cafe--come one, come all! You can hang out with my Mom and me.

Aussi, la semaine dernière j'ai visiter avec mon professeur d'histoire, M. Kosto, et il m'ai dit que je suis une candidate très sérieuse pour le programme de master's en les étudies du Moyen Age et de la Renaissance. Nous avons discuter de le proces d'application. Un exigence--une langue médiéval, comme le Latin ou....Francais! Mais je voudrais devenir plus facile, alors aujourd'hui je visite Yahoo! France et je lis les articles de celebrites, et je les traduis. Ces sont plus faciles car le sujet c'est familier.

Miscellany

Feb. 9th, 2012 03:57 pm
ceebeegee: (soccer)

This makes me ridiculously happy.  I don't even LIKE McDonald's (unless I'm in Spain for nine months--I frequently indulged in a McChicken during my cruise ship contract) and I almost never go in there.  But Shamrock Shakes!  They make me happy because they taste good and they're about St. Patrick's Day!

Bart called me this morning--he has tickets for Merrily We Roll Along for this Saturday afternoon, but sadly I can't go with him.  VERY sad, I love that show!  What a fantastic, inventive score--I LOVE "Our Time" and the lead-in to the reprise of "The Hills of Tomorrow":

It is the obligation we have been given.
It is to NOT turn out the same.
It is to grow, to accomplish--
To change the world.


Bart told me that 1) his partner Walter knows Lonnie Price (the original Charlie Kringas) and 2) Lonnie Price was the obnoxious hotel heir in Dirty Dancing!  "He said 'What does he have that I don't have?' And she said 'Two hotels.'"

I went to the doctor Tuesday and they referred me to a cardiologist.  They didn't seem too worried, though--guess I'm not about to have a heart attack!  The nurse was taking my information--I filled one of these out when I first started going there but I guess they were updating everyone's info.  All the questions about cancer, thyroid, etc.  I was like no, no, no.  Heart disease?  Oh yes.  Ohhhhhhh yes--my father's side of the family is riddled with heart disease.  My grandfather (heart attack, then later died of a coronary), my uncle (several heart attacks), my father (angioplasty), my brother had some kind of scare, a couple of my aunts.  OH yes.  So it's--weird to feel my heart beating, a little sobering.

I have put the Meetup soccer games on the back burner for now for a couple of reasons.  No. 1), they're hard to get to, 2) the style of play is VERY intense.  3 30 minute games with NO substitutions is a lot for me--I'm just not in that kind of shape.  But I want to be and I will--those games are something to work towards.  So I researched and found another league, the New York Social Sports Club.  The style of play is less intense (2-18 minute halves WITH substitutions) and they emphasize the social aspect quite a bit.  The league sets up a relationship with a nearby bar and we're encouraged to hang out there after the game, we get discounts on pitchers, etc.  In theory this is a cute idea.  But this bar's set up kind of blows.  Instead of hanging out on the bottom floor which has cute small bar tables and dim lighting, they open up the 2nd floor which has super-bright flourescent lights and tacky long plastic tables.  And the discounted pitchers?  For BUD.  And BUD LITE.  Guh-ross.  Not worth the calories!  Still though, the other people on the team are cool.

 



How adorbs are we!  This was after our first game which we lost--but we won the next two.  The kids on it are a fun group but they are KIDS--I am Grandma next to them!  It is frustrating too that my skills haven't come back yet--I seem to have lost the ability to kick left-footed.  I'm doing okay but have not scored a goal yet.  We have practices on Saturdays but now that rehearsals for The Vagina Monologues have started, it's difficult for me to attend. 

Yes, I'm directing The Vagina Monologues for TTC.  We're nearly a week into rehearsals; it's going pretty well so far, although there has been DRAMMER.  I can't talk about it, obviously.  Let's just say doing a show with this many amateurs has its challenges!

My Weekend

Jan. 23rd, 2012 01:27 pm
ceebeegee: (Pink!)
Saturday evening:
  • Shift Driving for RightRides, a non-profit organization that gives free rides home on Friday/Saturday evenings to women and LGBTQ individuals.

Sunday morning:

  • Soccer game.


Sunday afternoon:

  • Auditions for The Vagina Monologues for TTC.


Sunday evening:

  • Apprising myself of the Giants game by popping into every bar I passed in Hoboken and the Village while on my way home.


Conclusion:

My yin and yang are well-balanced :)

Potpourri

Jan. 6th, 2012 04:28 pm
ceebeegee: (Mardi Gras)
Hungry and very tired.

I'm meeting up with Lori later tonight to exchange Christmas gifts--I'd rather wait until Sunday or so but Kevin is taking down the tree tomorrow and it wouldn't be kosher, so to speak, to exchange Christmas gifts after January 6.  Although I suppose we could call them Epiphany gifts?  Hey, they do that in Spain.  I am giving her some homemade peppermint bark and one of the holiday soaps I bought from Holly.

Speaking of Epiphany--Happy 12th Day of Christmas! Today kicks off the season of Epiphany which means you know what is coming up: Mardi Gras!  Mark yo' calendars for February 21 and get ready to laissez les bons temps roulez!  I think i'm going to have it back at my place this year--last year was convenient but not that many people showed up anyway (although I did get out the invitations late) and I just think it's probably easier.  But looking forward to it!  Hurricanes and jumbalaya and King Cake and The Big Easy playing in the background...

I used to hate January because it was so cold and crappy.  Still not crazy about the dark and the weather but it's a nice change from December which was a little crazy this year.  It's always that second and third week that kills me--my birthday is ALWAYS the same week as my work party and then someone's always visiting from out of town and there's a performance of Christmas Carol or something.  Lots and lots of high-profile events that I can't miss.  This year too I was working on a project for a friend of mine--she commissioned me to knit a Christmas stocking for her step-daughter.  What made it tricky was that I didn't have a pattern--she wanted me to replicate a stocking knit by her granmother.  With no pattern, I had to reverse-engineer it, which was actually kind of cool and fun.  And I learned a couple of new skills, including the kitchener stitch which is a way to remove the seam from a sock so that it looks seamless.  It's pretty cool and makes me want to knit some socks now!  But I still (STILL!) have to finish up the purse I've been making for years now...almost done, I should finish it this week and then I just have to felt it.

Aaaaaand speaking of which...Drunken Knitting is coming up!  Lori and I will decide on a date tonight and then we'll let y'all know. I want to do two dates this year, one in January and one in February.  Ladies, sharpen your needles!  (And rev your blenders for all those drinks :)

Since I've been having so much fun with softball (and spurred on by a FB ad pimping out an indoor soccer league at Chelsea Piers), I joined a Meetup group that plays soccer every week.  They play at different locations all over the city but it seems the ones that meet my schedule best are in Long Island City at Queens West Sportsfield.  I played my first game last Saturday--the format is 3 30 minute games, among four teams, played on a field that's about 3/4 the size of a full-size field.  Generally speaking, the smaller the field, the more running.  In a normal, regulation game, you can rest more because the ball can actually be away from you, whereas in indoor soccer, you are CONSTANTLY running.  When they were assigning positions, I said sure, put me at wing (which is where I spent the majority of my soccer career).  Oh my God.  That 1st game was BRUTAL.  Nonstop runningrunningrunning.  I was in agony after the first game and I couldn't stop coughing.  The second and third games went a little better.  Or maybe my system was in so much shock, I just couldn't feel anything!  As soon as I got home (which was difficult enough, my thighs kept buckling whenever I had to go up stairs) I drew the hottest bath I could stand and soaked as long as I could.  This didn't stop me from spending the next two days pretty much on the couch anyway, but if I hadn't, I would've been literally bedridden.

But I gotta say, I didn't do too badly considering I haven't played for 15 years.  I assisted on a couple of goals and got all up in the faces of a few of the guy players :)  And I overheard a couple of admiring "hey, she's not too bad." I just love how brutally physical soccer is.  They always pigeonhole me as some small player that's easily intimidated and I ALWAYS prove them wrong.  Especially the big players :D  Some of these players have amazing ball skills--it's like playing against Pele out there.  Although as I said I played wing for most of my career, I was never an amazing ball handler--I was on the front line because I was very fast and had very quick reflexes, so I was able to score a lot.  (And I did :)  I was the lead scorer on my team--my coach used to call me Green, Green, the Scoring Machine.  Isn't that adorbs?)  Anyway until I get my wind back and can handle all that running, I need to upgrade my ball skills, maybe do some practicing out in Inwood Hill Park or something.  I'm playing my next game tomorrow--hopefully I'll be slightly less physically devastated afterwards!
ceebeegee: (Red Heather)
Still can't wrap my brain around this Penn State story. Good God, it's depressing--I just want to leap back in time and save these poor kids. I found out that the guy who did the actual raping--Sandusky*--set up a charity to help underprivileged kids, all so he could target more kids. It just gets more and more depressing and sad. And guess who gave this fucker an award in 2006 for his "philanthropy"? Rick Santorum. Who is calling the firing of Paterno "devastating". Glad we know where your priorities are, Senator FrothyMix. Getting kicked out because you did shit-all when little boys were being raped in the shower room by your assistant coach? DEVASTATING. Comparing homosexuality to bestialty? A-okay!

This is what happens when your "academic" community is really a jockocracy. Never have I been so glad I went to a woman's college. I love sports as much as anybody but you can't invest sports programs with that much money and power because this is the result. Paterno had more power than the President of the University, for God's sake. It's like in the book Friday Night Lights, when the football coach is paid more than the principal. That is messed-up. They made a good start firing Paterno and the president,** now they need to go after all the others who knew and never went to the police--never even called 9-1-1, for God's sake!

The best thing the university could do now is to voluntarily suspend its own football program for the next 5-10 years. But they're probably going to need the money it brings in since I have no doubt whatsoever they are going to get the shit sued out of them, and rightfully so. It's impossible for me not to believe the reason this was essentially ignored was to protect the brand.

*The guy is also an author, of books about football. The title of his first book? Touched. I couldn't make this up. Also, they just painted him out of a mural in the town where PSU is.

**Who is ALSO an author--of an academic treatise on, of all things, swinging.

Le Weekend

Aug. 8th, 2011 01:54 pm
ceebeegee: (Tatiana the Sausage Kitty)
Softball yesterday was GREAT, although we did lose. But considering we were playing a player down, *and* our first baseman had a broken freakin' arm and could barely throw, losing by only 2 runs was a moral victory. But I was quite stoked personally--I batted .600!!! And I got an RBI! And I hit a double! And scored two runs! It was all basically mental--I started focusing only on the ball, nothing else. I did a battery of other adjustments as well (choked up a little (the smallest bat yesterday was 26 ounces), held the bat higher behind me, and leaned back) but primarily I just focused on the ball and visualized myself HITTING IT. Oh, and forcing myself NOT to swing on the first pitch--that is a terrible habit of mine, and telling myself, over and over, to WAIT. I can usually see immediately if the pitch is any good, which is why I tend to first-pitch swing, and why I always pull to the left.

I also slid under a tag at second base. Woo hoo!

In other news, Anya and I think we have a visitor! There have been...signs that someone--or something--else is in our apartment. Saturday morning Anya woke up to find something that looked like residue in the tub--and it wasn't there an hour earlier when I'd gotten up to feed the cats, use the bathroom, and then go back to sleep. I *know* I shut the door behind me and I know the door had been shut when I first entered the bathroom (to keep the A/C in--the bathroom window is open to help air it out after a shower). That was the first sign. Then Tibby and Tatia started acting strangely--especially Tibbles-and-Bits who seemed to be "seeing" things. He would stare at what looked like blank space and act scared. Hmmm. We noticed a couple of other things as well, and were trying to figure it out. Anya wondered why Edna Mo wasn't visiting the apartment where she spent the last 6 years--I said that's because Stuart and his family are gone from Naples, there's no one there for her. And she did spend the last 5 months of her life with us. Precious lamb. I started calling out to her, telling her she was welcome to stay with us as long as she liked, and Tibby could use the schooling.
ceebeegee: (Spring!)
Last weekend I had my regular 1 pm Saturday game of softball, and then another at 6, way uptown (by 102nd Street). These are two different teams, both part of the alumni league, but there is some overlap. I started playing for the second team, affiliated with the Michigan School of Business, at the behest of someone on the first team, Cecil, who also went to the University of Chicago. (I personally went to neither Chicago NOR Michigan!) I started playing with the Chicago team last year, and they know me pretty well by now, but there is someone new on the team (at least he wasn't there last year) who is getting on my nerves. Despite having seen me in action, he treats me as though I don't know how to play, or am completely unathletic--in other words, he's either a male chauvinist or doing a good imitation of one. I will say, he is part of a cultural/ethnic group that has a reputation for being extremely chauvinistic. Two weeks ago he was playing at shortstop--every time there was a runner on first, he would explain to me how, if the ball was hit to him, he was going to throw it to me. After about the third iteration of this, I snapped at him "yes--I know how to play softball. I get it." Last week he did even worse--he was playing shortfield and came running in to field a looper. He got it and was about 20 feet away from me--instead of just throwing it, he gave me this exaggerated "baby" throw, very arched, as though I couldn't handle a real throw. Not only was this insulting, he arched it so high, it nearly went over my head! I leaped up to catch it, was barely able to do so but did, and made the catch (and the out). This being the third out, as we jogged off the field I said to him, my voice kind of shaking--I was caught between anger that he'd done such a stupid, insulting thing, and gladness that I made the out anyway--"Dude, just THROW it. I can handle it. You arched that way too high, I'm not that tall."

So this has definitely been getting on my nerves. After this game, I took a walk through the park on my way to the new Sprinkles which has just opened on the Upper East Side by Bloomingdale's. I had an adorable encounter on my way there--at the southeast corner of the park, I stopped at a hotdog stand that featured all organic meats. I ordered a turkey hotdog and the guy, who from his accent was from another country, asked me what condiments I'd like. He listed all of them and my eyes lit up when he said raw onions--I said raw onions, brown mustard and mayonnaise. He said "are you from New York City?" I said originally I'm from Virginia. He said "it is unusual for Americans to have mayonnaise on their hotdogs, very unusual." I said well, Southerners love their mayonnaise--we put it on everything. Fries, grilled cheese sandwiches, everything. (Side note--my mother puts it on SALAD. And cottage cheese. Mmm. I grew up eating cottage cheese for lunch with a dab of mayo on top.) I asked him where he was from, he said Egypt, and I said I was dying to visit there sometime. (Gotta see the only still-extant Seven Wonders of the World.) Then I mentioned that I'd spent time in Spain, including the place where mayonnaise was invented--the town of Mahon, on the island of Menorca, in the Balearic Islands. He was fascinated, and asked me exactly where so I sketched out a little map of the Iberian archipelago with my hands for him. He said he'd have to remember, so he could tell his customers. It was just such a charming New York City moment.

After THAT I went to Sprinkles (mmm, dark chocolate cupcakes...), then to church. I am pretty much incapable of getting up for the morning service, not to mention I'd have to dress up a lot more. The weekend early evening services are much better for me, and lower key--no one seems to mind that I'm in softball gear! They have a 5:20 mass on Saturdays, and an Evensong service at 5:00 on Sundays--I prefer the Saturday because Evensong is a longer, bigger deal. Also, I sang in my church choir for like thirty years, starting from the age of seven, and to me the term "Evensong" means "another precious weekend day spent all day at church!" (We had Evensong one Sunday every month, and on those days we had an 11 am service and then one later on at 5, so I spent all day in a dress. I hated this.) This week the service was in the St. Joseph Chapel, which I love--it's one of St. Mary's little side chapels, and it's so pretty and small and personal. St. Mary's really has THE most gorgeous physical facility of any non-cathedral I've ever seen.

High Altar

After church I went back uptown for Game 2. When I got there, as it turned out there weren't too many Michigan players there--we were playing against Fordham, who had plenty of players, so some of them played for us. My Chicago team also plays against Fordham and they remembered me (I typically do pushups when my team is at bat--mainly to keep my blood moving and my energy up, but also to psych 'em out ;) So we get out there, and the shortstop on my team is very good--and I can just *tell* from the way he's playing, he just assumes I'm not that good. (Example--instead of throwing the ball to me, he's running the ball over to make the play himself.) I don't take this too personally--he doesn't know me, hasn't seen me play--but it gets to me nonetheless. I'm brooding over this a bit when an awesome, once-in-a-season play happens.

We're in the field, and there are runners at first and third. The ball is hit to the third baseman, who checks the runner at third, then throws it to me at second. I make the out, see the runner at third going for home, and NAIL the ball to the catcher. Like, that ball was on a CLOTHESLINE. The catcher makes the tag. Not only is this a double-play but we saved a run! Our team goes bananas--EVERYONE, my team and theirs, was congratulating me, "oh my God, did you see that?!" Hullaballoo ad infinitum. It. Was. Awesome. The reaction went on quite a while, and of course I knew part of the reason people were so impressed was because I'm a girl. No guy who made a double-play would've gotten such a reaction--certainly the catcher and the third-baseman, who were part of it, weren't patted on the back liike this. You know what? That's the flip side of the crap I get most of the time, one small reward. Right now, I'll take the adulation, thanks ;)

*Basking*

The only thing that could've improved it if it had happened in front of the obnoxious guy on the Chicago team.

The Open

Sep. 10th, 2010 07:18 pm
ceebeegee: (Tennis)
Had a lovely time as always. Tim had called the night before, wondering about the rain--I said hells yeah, we should go, I'd been checking the forecast (obsessively) all week and it looked as though there might be showers but not steady rain.

Due to cat shenanigans (that third cat really does add to the cleaning load exponentially), I ended up leaving later than I meant to but no worries, just sailed on out to Flushing Meadows on the ol' 7, reading The Odyssey. That train ride always kills me during the Open--you can see more and more tennis fans getting on, all wearing polos or US Open tee-shirts or hats or whatever. Everyone's in a good mood. Got there around 12:00 and Tim met me with the tickets. We saw some great people play, including Andy Murray (the Great Scot--he rocked), Venus (for like the fifth or sixth time, we always seem to catch her. Where is my Maria?! I'm dying to watch her), Sam Querry, Anna Ivanović, Tim Isner and Rafael Nadal. The Nadal match was SO great--he played against Denis Istomin and the guy seemed to be dying in the first set, and then he really, really fought after that. A lot of us had on the American Express radios (they have a booth where they give them out to cardholders and Tim always gives me his) and McEnroe's commentary was so enthusiastic, saying "Nadal is having the time of his life out there--he's playing a worthy opponent who's making him work and I've never seen him give so much respect to an opponent." The whole crowd was behind this guy--I mean, of course we wanted Nadal to win but this guy was really working and did a great job. I was cheering out loud for him, encouraging him. Tennis is such a lonely sport--it's really hard to die out there. So the crowd always gets behind a good effort (Venus's match was not as close but people were similiarly encouraging to her opponent). So much fun.

We had dinner at a restaurant inside the grounds called Mojitos--food was great (I had scallops, big fat ones) but we made a mistake in ordering a pitcher of mojitos. You really shouldn't make them by the pitcher, they have so many disparate ingredients, they're best made one at a time.

Great, great time. I love the Open.
ceebeegee: (Straighties)
For the past few months I've been shuddering every time I heard the names LeBron or Gaga. I can think of few things for which I care less than where an overpaid athlete chooses to play next--just. Do. Not. Care. And as for the latter--GO AWAY. I'm having the same reaction as I did to Madonna in the late '80s--GO AWAY. I didn't know your name a year ago and now you're like the Gosselins (another name I wish I didn't know), waving "hi, Mom!" at the cameras every chance you get. Stop begging for attention. So yesterday I was vaguely aware that finally the hoorah about where the basketball player was going to go was about to be over and I cast my eyes upwards and thanked God. I had no idea of the details of the announcement; I just knew Relief Was In Sight.

I must say, if I'd known his announcement was going to be this entertaining, I might've tuned in. He had a show? An hour-long special where he referred to himself as King James? Complete with a charity as a PR fig leaf? Oh. My. Christ. Man, do I wish I could've seen this--he is getting absolutely eviscerated online today. Here's a column on Yahoo!:

An exercise in self-aggrandizement and self-loathing that will have far-reaching implications for the NBA and James. What a spectacle, what a train wreck.

And

the public execution of his legacy, his image, and there was a part of James that clearly wished he could turn back through the doors and hide.

And

Someday, he will fire his business manager Maverick Carter for turning the two-time MVP’s free-agent moment into Geraldo and Al Capone’s vault. Carter used the cover of charity for a historically horrible event and completely destroyed the credibility of his client.

WOW. *warms hands over the heat.* And there's more, in this chat on the Washington Post site:

Toronto: Did he at least give Miami's GM a rose?

I can't recall ever seeing anything so narcisstic and egotistical.


And

Laurel, Md.: I feel for fans in Cleveland. Making this a publicly televised spectacle and then telling the world that he was spurning Cleveland is tantamount to publicly spitting in the faces of the Cleveland fans. Comes awful close to being personally insulting I would say. I really feel for those people.

(And--what, the Browns left CLEVELAND?! When the hell did that happen? Nobody ever tells me anything!)

Clearly I missed out last night!

Although I can't say I blame him for giving New York a miss. New York sports fans eat their young.
ceebeegee: (Rome)
This past weekend was busy--I had rehearsal Saturday morning, softball, and then a baby shower in Toms River for New Jersey and then NEWS. Rehearsal went fine, although I found out that our darling Luke, our Demetrius, will not be able to do the show because he broke his arm. The replacement seems cool but I love Luke! After rehearsal I went over to Pinkberry--I was sitting there, nomming on my Original with Cap'n Crunch and blackberries, when a guy walked in with a woman and two kids. My gaze drifted over him and I thought "he kind of looks like Kelsey Grammer but I thought his hair was darker?" When he said something, I realized it WAS he! He and the other three sat at the table next to me, which had only three chairs--he asked if he could have the free chair at my table, I said "of course." I'm so shy around celebrities, for several reasons--the main one is that I don't want to bother them. The guy's out with his family, let him have a nice time, don't pester him. The only celebrity I'd ever say anything to would be someone whose work I really admire and follow--Kelsey Grammer is a fine comedian, he was perfect in Cheers, but it's not as though I watched Frasier obsessively every single week. Another reason is that I think celebrities have so much weird energy fixated on them--somebody's always coming up to them for something, an autograph, a photograph, validation, whatever. Someone's always trying to get a reaction out of them. And then they sell the story to TMZ. I can't stand this when it's just a random guy on the street, I can't imagine how annoying this would be times a million. I just leave 'em alone. Also, this is New York, and you just can't fawn over celebrities. It's not cool. (In that way it's like the Vineyard--I saw plenty of them there as well, albeit they were more erudite--Art Buchwald, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Bill Clinton (well, my aunt and uncle met--and had dessert with--the Bill, not me :) But for all my shyness, it's still exciting!

Whaaaaat a game! )

After the game, I had just enough time to run home, feed the babies, and run back down to Port Authority for the bus down to Toms River. This was fun--I got to talk to Lori's dad at the shower, who for some reason really likes me and always makes a point of talking to me about history after I burned his ears off last Thanksgiving going on about Henry VIII's wives. I was telling him about my class.

Eeeeeeeeeehhhh!!! )

And Amy is coming to see Thyme! She was a great TA, I hope she likes the show. I'm also inviting some other Columbia friends to the show who've asked about it--they know me as Hermione, just WAIT until I blow their mind as an androgynous, skinny, wood fairy who puts a girdle 'round the earth! Interesting though, I've been reading on the Times site about the horrors of student debt--I'm so behind the times, I had no idea private lenders lent out money to students and had variable rates. For some reason I thought this was a much more regulated market--some of these stories are scary, it sounds like debt bondage. Very glad I've been so cautious about my financial plan so far (1-2 classes at a time, etc.).
ceebeegee: (Spring!)
THIS is pretty incredible. A few months ago, FIG (the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique, the governing body of international elite gymnastics) ruled that the 2000 Olympic women's team bronze medalists had falsified the age of one of their gymnasts and recommended to the IOC that they strip this team of the bronze and award it to the 4th-place team, the US. Today the IOC did so. The country? Take a wild guess. China, of course.

I'm not at all surprised that China was proven to have cheated--one of their other Sydney gymnasts, Yang Yun, had already slipped up and admitted herself on TV that she was underage at the time. What shocks me is that 1) FIG gave a crap, and 2) that the IOC actually acted on it.

FIG is a shady, badly-run organization--their president, Bruno Grandi, is a complete mess and does stupid shit like having gymnastics meets in Iran. You know, Iran, where women aren't going to be able to wear the leotard, or even compete. So naturally half your athletes can't compete, your judges and coaches can't be there. Good thinking, Einstein. Grandi also pushed for the 6-3-3 system, so that teams with fewer good consistent gymnasts can win more, thus making the whole TEAM concept irrelevant! He hates the All-Around and Team competititons and wants to eliminate them completely--I doubt this will happen, but that's just such a stupid idea anyway. No AA means no Nadia, no Mary Lou, no gymnastics heroes for little girls to idealize and lead them into the sport. And I personally dislike him and FIG because when Paul Hamm won the gold AA in Athens, and it was then discovered that a judge had neglected to give the South Korean bronze medalist the correct start value on one of his routines, which lowered his score (and after that, it was discovered that another judge had negelected to penalize the SK gymnast for an extra hold, which meant his score was actually higher than it should've been--it's confusing, I know, but basically Yang Tae Young got a gift overall and should not have even won the bronze).  FIG sent Hamm this sleazy letter "suggesting" he give back the gold he'd won.  They ignored the second hold for which Yang was not penalized and acted as though Hamm was cheating somehow. Unbelievable.  Basically FIG likes to make a dramatic show when the spotlight is on them, but after the meet is over, they do nothing.

And the IOC is like this as well.  They make a fuss about drug testing and zero tolerance--and to the point of ridiculousness, as when they stripped poor Andreea Raducan of her AA gold for taking a cold tablet which 1) had been prescribed to her by the team doctor, 2) hindered, rather than helped, her performance, and 3) IS NO LONGER A BANNED SUBSTANCE.  But when the heat dies down, they do nothing.  Look at East Germany in '76.  It has now been not only proven but admitted that the East German women's swim team juiced.  One poor swimmer was so messed up, she actually underwent sex-reassignment surgery.  But has the IOC vacated the results?  Nope.  Shirley Babashoff deserves the golds she should've won that year, but the IOC will never do anything about it.

But I am happy for the US Sydney team.  They were dogged quite a bit for not medalling at all, some nasty gymnastics fans out there, and this is some nice vindication.
ceebeegee: (Rome)
Phillies fan intentionally vomits on 11 year old girl after his friend is kicked out for spitting on her family.

Just...wow. As the Philly.com article says, "'It reminds you of the type of behavior you used to hear about at the 700 level in Veterans Stadium,' Vanore said." These are the same kind of people who threw D batteries at one baseball player who'd turned down the Phillies. And when Michael Irvin took a header on their crappy turf and sustained spinal cord injuries that ended his career...they cheered.

What a bunch of thugs. As bad as some professional athletes are (some), some (some) of the fans are worse.
ceebeegee: (Rome)
Busy weekend, well tomorrow anyway. Ken Scudder has hooked me up with his Oberlin (?--I think, a college anyway) softball group and they play every week through the summer, starting tomorrow. Yay! Very, very excited about that.

I also have to catch up on my reading for class--I slacked off a bit last weekend and have some original sources through which to plow, plus I have to start work on my essay. We have a 4-5 page essay due at the end of the month--the professor offered a list of possible topics, but I chose my own: Julius Caesar, Rock Star. Okay, not exactly that but the gist is: Julius Caesar was the first public figure to succeed not just on merit but because he specifically knew how to sell himself via his coolly laconic dispatches from the Gallic Wars--this coincided with the development of "personality-driven" writing, like Cicero's letters, which later culminated in the invention of a new literary genre, the biography, by Suetonius and Plutarch. But as I told my Mom, Julius Caesar was the first rock star. Just imagine him striding into Pontus, kicking ass and taking names, and as he walks out, he's surrounded by the papparazzi who are all taking pictures and shouting questions at him. He looks coolly back at them and says with a slight shrug "Veni. Vedi. Vici." Adjusting his cloak he then makes his way toward the shuttle waiting to take him back to Rome as a swarm of groupies follow in his wake. "Gaius! Gaius! Oh, he's so dreamy!" As I said to my Mom, "Laconicism is hottt."

So anyway, gotta get started on that. Read and write, read and write. While still finding time to think about the 10-minute play I'm directing for Duncan.
ceebeegee: (French Quarter in New Orleans)
EEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS!!!!

Who Dat Nation rejoices!!!!! New Orleans is on the rise again! Oh, next Tuesday is gonna be MAJOR at my place!!!! Pre-pare to PARTY!! Did y'all see that shot of Bourbon Street with that writhing drunken celebratory mass of humanity? The drought is OVER!

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS, SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS!!!!!


ceebeegee: (French Quarter in New Orleans)
The Saints are goin' to the Super Bowl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh. My. God. WOW. This is HUGE, y'all. The SAINTS, this just does not happen.

Well, obviously God was listening to me Saturday afternoon because I went to Saturday 5:00 Mass at St. Mary's and our rector said we should pray for the Jets "even though it's not going to help" and I spoke up "we should pray for the Saints!" Of course I was making a liturgical joke but yes, I do love the Saints and YEEHAW!!!! Geaux Saints!!!!!!

And guys, I'd support you no matter who you were playing but you especially gotta kick the snot out of the Colts. I grew up in DC, we do not forgive (the Indy Colts used to be the Balmer Colts, and they picked up literally in the middle of the night and skedaddled out of Balmer. I'm a DCer, not from our neighboring city, but we thought it was disgusting).

Geaux Saints!!!!!

Unbelievable. History, man.

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