List #205: Hockey

If you're not from Pittsburgh, and certainly if you don't follow hockey, you might not know that the Pittsburgh Penguins are running a 14 game winning streak. We've made some trades, we're at the top of the standings, and the last two games ended in shut-outs. It's entirely impossible to not get caught up in the fever of hockey in this town right now. Unless you're the group of guys behind me in Subway this afternoon. And if that's the case, I'll be sure to cast you the evil eye. And oh boy, is it fun and nerve-wracking all at the same time.

I won't claim to be the biggest Pens fan in Pittsburgh. Hell, I'm not even the biggest Penguins fan I know. One of my friends has gone to hockey camp with Mario Lemeuix, another had season tickets delivered by Sidney Crosby, and another can rattle off old roster numbers faster than I can name all of the books I've read this year. But through the years, being around all of these wonderful people, watching Penguins win Stanley Cups and more Stanley Cups, going to games, and just generally having the nicest group of players ever in your town, you start to really like hockey. Confession (and borderline blasphemy in Pittsburgh, though becoming more and more acceptable) I usually prefer the Penguins to the Steelers.

So when we won tonight. And my favorite player scored twice (though I missed them due to yoga), I screamed a little bit in my living room. Got very excited. And then started thinking about all of the things the Penguins are attached to in my memory:

  • Coloring "Let's Go Pens" signs in the '90s to hang in our windows. 
  • All of those Black & Gold days in school. And all of those days that I wished for a Pens t-shirt (We didn't have a lot of money those days. The girl in the house wasn't getting the shirt first) and wore Black & Gold combinations of clothes.
  • Naming our family's second rabbit Stanley, after Lord Stanley, of course. 
  • Running into Pascal Dupuis getting coffee at Starbucks. Multiple times.
  • Running into Pascal Dupuis at Giant Eagle. 
  • Wishing Pascal Dupuis a Merry Christmas.
  • My first Penguins game in the Civic Area.
  • Taking an ex-boyfriend to a Penguins game. Seeing a hat trick and having him not even get up to cheer. He was a winner that one.
  • Making it to the Jumbotron.
  • Getting tipsy, and eating wings, in a bar with a boy I very much liked. And some quiet things whispered in my ear during commercial breaks of very early playoff games.
  • Losing my voice at games.
  • Old students drawing me pictures of the Penguins logo in their homework assignments.
  • Slyly hanging "Let's Go Pens" signs in my classroom (so that the school's director wouldn't see) during playoffs. 
  • Winning a signed Malkin jersey.
  • Running around outside, with an ex-boyfriend who bought me Pens t-shirts, when we finally did win another championship.
  • Generous friends with season tickets and the energetic text messages they send.
  • Cowbells.
  • The esoteric game "Penguin Sex."
See, I told you those Penguins are tied up in a lot. Now, let's go Penguins. 


List #204: A List of Movies I've Never Seen

Earlier tonight I was watching the video for Mirrors for the first time and I made a comment to a friend that it was pretty much a short-film version of The Notebook. But then immediately I remembered that I have never actually seen The Notebook. It's just been ingrained in popular culture so much that I know the plot and the twist and that Ryan Gosling is dream in a cap and in the rain. 

But truthfully, there are a lot of movies I've never seen. Somewhere in my 20s seeing the latest and best became far less a priority. I'd rather watch a movie at home than in the theater, the only problem with that being I suck at watching movies alone. I nearly always fall asleep and it could take me three days to finish a 90-minute film.

So I'm coming clean tonight, and fessing up to some of the movies I just haven't seen.

  • The Notebook
  • The Departed
  • Napoleon Dynamite 
  • Most of The Lord of the Rings
  • The Dark Knight Rises
  • Magic Mike
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Les Miserables
  • Alien
  • The Shining
  • A Few Good Men
  • Black Swan
  • Dances with Wolves
  • Amelie
  • The last Harry Potter
  • Hangover II
  • The Incredibles
  • Tropic Thunder
And basically a whole lot more that I can't even remember right now. I'd say that one day I'll get to them, but unless someone is going to put me on a couch and sit with me, it's doubtful. I have too many books to read. Oh, and I'll never watch the scary ones. I'm a wuss. 

What about you, dear readers? Which movies are missing from you list? 


Letter #53: On the First Day of Spring on Which it is Snowing

To Someone I Am Not Actually Sure is There,

On this first day of Spring, it snowed. Tiny flakes that flittered in the sky and barely rested on the ground for a second before they disappeared, but it snowed nonetheless. And because the sky was mostly gray, and because it was almost too cold to crawl out of bed in the morning, and because I had to dress in drab layers, it was easy to feel lonely. 

The last few days of winter have been filled plans, friends, and family that really do make me smile and laugh. But then, when the quiet settles and I find myself alone the couch and too tired to read, the blanket covers my lap and I find myself watching Parks and Recreation in an almost-continuous loop. I keep the heat down low. I make tea. I crack windows to let the fresh air in because it should be time by now. 

And I quietly hope that maybe someone really is out there. Maybe he's cursing the extended winter under his breath too. He's refusing to wear his heavy winter parka out of principle and his gloves have long since been lost. Maybe he's out there thinking about a girl who is likes to stay up into late night hours reading books in bed. But understands when she says she doesn't want that to be for her whole entire life. Maybe he's the type of guy who will get up in the morning and dance to Justin Timberlake when he gets out of the shower. And then catch himself and laugh looking at the mirror. 

Either way, I know he's going to feel let down that it snowed on the first day of Spring. But he didn't complain about it all day. I just don't know if he's actually out there.


List #203: Recent Dreams

Lately I've been having the type of dreams that wake you up, but continue even after you'll fallen back asleep. I rarely sleep through the nights to begin with, and my dreams are always vivid, so this hasn't been the most conducive week for rest. I'm hoping a hot bath and some light reading before I settle down beneath covers will help (even just a little bit) tonight. Because even though some of the dreams have been pleasant, every night feels like a roller coaster.

  • Work. In all capacities:  programs, mean patrons, missed deadlines, emergencies, lost books. Whatever could happen usually does happen.
  • Men who send me emails. So real that I got up in the morning and double-checked my inbox because I was pretty certain it had happened.
  • Wild goose chases.
  • Bad things happening to people I love. And fighting off the bad men.
  • Living in Brooklyn.
  • Vacation.
  • Very attractive men with beards and mustaches. And some kissing against door frames.
  • Running out of time.
Probably a lot more too. But these are the repeats. Or the ones that really altered my reality. I know nobody likes listening to another person's dreams, but sometimes not being able to tell anyone just makes them all the more emotional.

So let's let it off our chests. What have you been dreaming lately?


List #202: The Best Things to Come out of Justin Timberlake's Mouth to Date

Lyrically, of course.

With Justin Timberlake's new album coming on on Tuesday, digging through the Timberblake archives is what I've listened to the majority of the week. I'm on my second streaming of The 20/20 Experience. And I think we all knew in the first listen of Suit and Tie that nothing was ever going to come close to FutureSex/LoveSounds, because it was an album that defined an era of our generation, but he's back. And quite honestly, that's about the best good news we've gotten in terms of entertainment in 2013.

What are my favorite things Justin has sung to us to date? Well, here you go. In no particular order.

"Senorita, I feel for you. You deal with things that you don't have to. He doesn't love you, I can tell by his charm. But you could feel this real love, if you just lay in my..."
Bonus points for giving a shout-out to a brown-eyed girl.  A "hollerback" fasletto. And the ending line of "Ladies, good morning." 

Bye, Bye, Bye
"Just hit me with the truth, now.  Girl you're more than welcome to. So give me one good reason, baby come on."
Admittedly, I was  JC girl during the Nsync hey-dey. So most of my favorite lines are his. But still, JT's chuckle is pretty irresistible.

Rock Your Body
Anytime he's singing about grabbing girls. 
This song is perfect for sorority formals. Trust me. 

Cry Me A River
The entire chorus. Who am I kidding. The entire song.
Plus the video. This is song is a masterpiece.

"I"ll let you whip me if I misbehave." 
I think that says it all really.

So if you need me, I'll be the girl mouthing song lyrics and asking if the room is getting any hotter. But I know I'm not alone. 


List #201: Thoughts on Three Rivers

Over the weekend I crossed a few rivers. In Pittsburgh it's something we do a lot. You can't get very far in this city without seeing water and crossing a bridge. We're known for it. World wide. The Three Rivers are unavoidable. The Allegheny, the Monongahela, the Ohio. In fact, we can now even go under one of our rivers. I just don't think it's possible to be in this city for even a few days and not fall in love with them.

Crossing the Monongahela at Dusk. Red Line.

So when the seasons start to turn, and spring starts pushing through winter, and all of Pittsburgh is golden with sun, crossing a river can make your heart swell. With pride. With love. With memories and connections.

The Allegheny:

  • Makes me pine for late spring evenings at Pirates games. Cheering on our ill-fated Buccos, waiving signs, and trying to get on Root Sports.
  • Speaks of summer afternoons and long bike rides. Working up a sweat with the prettiest view.
  • Is making my way to my mother's childhood roots. Big families, holidays, and feeling loved.
  • Saves pictures of steel mills from my early youth. Graffiti marked higher than I could ever imagine one climbing, production slowing, and stories from my grandparents passed down to me.
The Monongahela:
  • Reminds me that first loves are often rambling and dirty. 
  • Always makes me wonder of mysterious planes lost at the bottom
  • Is the one no one from out of town will ever remember how to pronounce.
  • Feels like coming home, nestled deep into the back seat of the family van. Warm and sleepy, just before the tunnel leaves the city behind.
The Ohio:
  • Causes me to crane my neck out airplane windows. Even to see it's mammoth partner, The Mississippi. 
  • Calls for crisp autumn weather. Leaves falling on the water, Steelers fans cheering on their team, and city lights on the horizon.
  • Casts me back to grade school classrooms. Learning about Louis & Clark, Industrialization, , and Science Center field trips.
  • Makes me want to show new love all of the things I love about this city the most. To explore its nooks and crannies, to burst at the seams with all things black and gold.
So dear readers, what do the Three Rivers do to you? Share your love in the comments. And if you've never been to Pittsburgh before, let us know. I might know someone who'd love to show you around.


List #200: What I Think About in Downward Facing Dog

Somehow it seems fitting that my 200 (ish)* list should discuss a new force in my life. See, somewhere back in October I decided that I wanted to start practicing yoga. I needed a form of exercise that wasn't competitive, strengthened my body, and restored my mind. And I just had a feeling that yoga would be it. Admittedly it took me awhile to gain the courage to try it out. Plus, there was a Groupon purchased that ended up being a medium-sized fail. But eventually, I got there.

It's been two months since I've made yoga a part of my normal routine. I've been going to classes once or twice a week and I try to fit an a workout at home in between sessions.

I'm still working on it though, because when I'm twisting my body into shapes that push my limits and sweat is dripping down my face and down my chest, this is what I'm thinking:

  • I love this, I love this, I love this.
  • Oops. I hope I didn't forget to turn off the stove.
  • I hate this, I hate this, I hate this.
  • Why does every woman I know have to have babies?
  • I want everyone around me to feel happiness.
  • I want to feel happy.
  • What do I have to do at work tomorrow?
  • I have to remember to check my email when I get home.
  • Is Parks and Recreation new tonight? 
  • Am I ever going to go on a new date?
  • There is no way I'm going any deeper. 

But then all of these thoughts disappear. And if they don't vanish all together, they become a lot whole lot quieter. I push my body further to limits. I breathe in colors and exhale the negative. I listen to my breath. I smile when I reach a position that I actually enjoy. And I find my mind at ease. At least for a few minutes at a time.

I don't know where this yoga road will take me. But already I've managed to stay on it longer than I was expecting.

*I am pretty sure my numbering is off in some posts. I've tried to go back and fix them through time. But I always seem to find an error anytime I attempt this. 


List #199: Living Room Dance Parties

I know I've mentioned how much I have a desire to dance in kitchens. Either with partners or by myself, it doesn't matter. I'm just a big believer in the spontaneous dance party that can happen while preparing dinner or after a long day of hard work.

My kitchen is small though. So in my apartment, dance parties are usually held in my living room. I had one tonight after a long day of work in which I worked hard. Really hard.

There are only a few rules when it comes to dance parties (other than they can really happen in any room you choose).
1. Pants are optional.
2. Singing along is required for at least 50% of the songs.
3. There is no room for embarrassment. In neither song choices or dance moves.

Tonight's picks?
Nelly ~ Hot in Herre
The lyrics were in my head this morning thanks to a cover version. And really, it can make any party a great party.

Thrift Shop ~ Macklemore & Ryan Lewis 
I don't care how trendy this song nor do I care how played out it might be. I want all of it.

Pirates ~ Jenny Owen Youngs 
Left on Spotify from the last time I had it up and running. It makes me bop.

Suit and Tie ~ Justin Timberlake featuring Jay-Z
It's not my favorite JT song by far. And I really hope it's not the best thing on the new album. Buy Justin is making formal wear sexy and I want to drink Pim's Cups with him.

Now go and have your own dance party, dear readers. And come back and share what is your on your own impromptu playlist. 


List #198: Assorted Things a Single Girl Might Do When She's Ready for a Seasonal Change

  • Take walks after work. Because even though it's still cold, it's sunny.
  • Yoga. Make lots and lots of room for yoga.
  • Stand in a room, talking to a kind-of-crush. And have him list all of the women he's dated, or tried to date, or failed to date.
  • Run into Pascal Dupuis doing regular life things. And wishing he wasn't married with kids.
  • Dream about hockey players.
  • Question why the only hockey player she ever dated for the briefest period of time had the personality of a stick.
  • Worry that the lines on her forehead are starting to show. Realize this is being melodramatic.
  • Text friends about the wrinkly forehead woes. And be laughed at.
  • Fall asleep really early. And still find the need to hit the snooze in the morning.
  • Finally read the second Game of Thrones book. Because she's four ahead in her 2013 reading goal, so why not read a book that's going to take her a month to finish.
  • Wish for a really phenomenal first date. But lack the desire to even try to mine the field at the moment. 
  • Watch Girls online and a day late. And wish she could write half as well as Lena Dunham. 
  • Wonder if it's a right of passage that everyone on this planet has to lead some other person on. At least once, before they finally find the one. 
  • Worry that at some point in the future she'll really be the odd woman out.  This worry can drag a whole day down.
  • Turn up the heat. And watch it snow.
  • Stress out every month about bills. Though it seems the majority of Americans do this nowadays.
  • Make dinner at home, pinch pennies. So that a new spring dress can be purchased soon.
  • Listen to Suit & Tie repeatedly. And know that even though it's not perfect, that new JT album is going to be in high rotation. 
  • Sleep alone. With a cuddly kitty on the edge of the bed.
  • Hold dance parties in the living room. Thrift Shop bringing out the moves. 
  • Drink Earl Grey tea. In all forms, but especially lattes. 
  • Let a cell phone battery die. And not even be too concerned about immediately charging it.
  • Apply lip gloss, Chapstick, and Carmex liberally. Winter cold does no good.
What's been you occupied, dear readers, as you eagerly (or patiently) await a change?