Friday, June 27, 2008

Grill Update

Finally - the birdies flew the coup - literally! The other night was my first attempt to use the grill after the invasion. Once we realized that the grill was free of any more little ones, John totally cleaned it out - scrubbed the grate and rinsed off the coals. The burgers were good and so far neither one of us feels ill...yet!

In case you were wondering - we do have a grill cover in place, with a piece of cardboard obstructing the overlap in the back, along with bricks on top of the cover to keep it in place in case of bird or wind disturbance.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

This is what happens when you fall asleep early...

...and leave your husband unattended:For those of you who have not seen John in a while - he has been sporting a new style of long hair. You could probably tell by the recent pictures that I have posted on this blog (see Making Amends and Success).

Well, I had a really long day at work today (left the house at 4:45am and got home at 6:45pm - no swimming, no shopping, nothing other than work). Obviously, I was a little tuckered out and fell asleep on the couch watching "Shear Genius," which is a hair styling reality show/competition on Bravo. I guess the show was inspiration for John, and this is the result:
I was really digging the longer do, but it will grow back soon enough!

Monday, June 23, 2008


Bachelorette update - Graham is gone. I called it though (see comments from last week). DeAnna claims that he was the one who she was actually falling in love with, but couldn't risk the chance of being rejected by him in the end because he refused to open up to her about anything. In my opinion - it was a wise decision. Although, I am very curious as to what he wrote in the mysterious note that he handed her as he left.

I was really impressed with how the rest of the home-town dates transpired, especially Jason's. I know that he has been in my "top picks," but I was skeptical the whole season about him due to the fact that he has a 3-year-old son. Well that concern is gone because DeAnna totally embraced the possibility of becoming a step-mother.

Other than that - there was nothing too exciting. Jesse's family was really down-to earth, and Jeremy's was okay. Her and Jeremy need to get passed the fact that they both had parents that passed away - I understand the significance of that sort of loss, but I'm not sure that's the best thing to base a relationship on.

So with Graham gone - only one of my original 4 favorites is still hanging in there - Jason. Next week are the "Fantasy Dates," followed by "The Men Tell All" episode, where all the rejected men come back to bash each other and possibly DeAnna.

Love the trash!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

SUCKER, part 2

The Rudolph Run was a total success, and I am so glad that we participated. Unfortunately, there was no one else from my class who attended, but Dani caught up with a few of her old classmates. It truly was a great afternoon. The above picture shows myself, Ann Rudolph, George, Dani, and of course, the girls (sorry about the quality of the picture, but my mom's photography skills leave a lot to be desired). We look forward to making this an annual reunion! So, being a sucker was totally worth it this time!

Friday, June 20, 2008


Even though I have nothing bad to say about the institutions where I attended high school and college (in fact I wouldn't trade my education for anything), I am still reluctant to donate money to them. Call me cheap, but I seldomly fork over cash to either Oakland Catholic High School or Allegheny College. I guess part of the reason for this is because my parents (and I - READ: loans) have given loads of money to these schools already. And I just can not justify giving more when I still have outstanding loans that I am paying off.

That is - until now! Oakland Catholic (OCHS) has definitely figured out the "golden ticket" when trying to get alumni to donate money - exploit a most beloved teacher and coach: George Rudolph (pictured here). George (as every student called him) taught world cultures and you didn't have him until your junior year. Although he was infamous for his impossible tests and research papers - he was (and probably still is) one of the best teachers at OCHS. In addition to teaching, he was the cross country and track coach, so I interacted with him in the classroom and on the track. I feel very lucky to have gotten to George as well as I did. My family became very close to him and his wife, Ann, over the years. Keep in mind, Dani is 5 fives older than me and ran track as well, so my family built a relationship with him for close to 1o years.

OCHS is well aware of how most students and alumni love and respect George and therefore has organized the 1st annual Rudolph’s Run. They are calling it an event intended to promote healthy lifestyle choices and raise money for The George Rudolph Scholarship Fund. AKA - alumni donating money to the school.

So of course, we are a bunch of suckers and are not only donating, but participating - and it's tomorrow. Unfortunately, Marina is in a wedding, so she can't attend. But Dani and I, along with my mom and the 3 little ones, are going to do the walk, which is a 4K. I would prefer to run, but I think that Dani will need some help with the girls.

It should be a fun event and I am looking forward to see who is going to show up...hopefully it will be a fun reunion!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"I'm a professional coach!"

So, John had his first dual meet of the season last night. For those of you who don't know, John has been the swim team coach for Hill Crest Country Club for the past 11 years. But this year, he is coaching at Fox Chapel Golf Club. Since he is new there, he was not sure about volunteers for timing, scoring, and judging - so he asked me to help him out. I ended up being the starter, announcer, and judge - fun for me!

The meet was against Churchill Valley Country Club, and the coach was new to the league (since John has been the league for so long, he knows a new face when he sees it). I noticed that the other coach was entering an extra person in all of his individual events (in country club swimming, only 2 kids can swim for points), so I very kindly approached him about it and told him that other clubs with harsher judges may disqualify a swimmer for this kind of stuff. His response to me was (and may I add that he didn't say it very nicely): "I'm a professional coach," with a look on his face that read: "you don't know what the hell you are talking about."

Okay buddy - this is country club swimming - not the NCAA (we later discovered that he is an assistant for the CMU swim team). So John and I figured that this coach probably just assumes that this runs the same way that the NCAA does, which it doesn't. Regardless, I was just trying to be nice and point out areas where other teams may get angry at him, because in a sense, he was cheating. Then he gets all belligerent with me.

Get over yourself dude! "I'm a professional coach." What a turd!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Final Four!

Twilly is FINALLY gone! Gees - it took long enough. Although, I must say this - the 2 guys who got the boot (Twilly and Sean) were very gracious and took it like men. I was very impressed.

I also have to admit that I was relieved that Sean was sent home too. He had been low on the radar until tonight, and then revealed a little too much. He is single and lives by himself, yet has a huge house with 5 bedrooms, drives a Hummer, has a closet that is bigger than my bedroom, has a sauna and a walk-in tanning booth in his house, admits that he loves labels, and actually said that his luggage is no good unless it has "L.V." on it. I had to learn later the "L.V." stands for Louis Vuitton...that's pretty bad! I came up with a solution though - I think that Sean would be perfect for Shayne (see The Bachelor = STUPID BOY post). 2 high-maintenance people can find love...maybe.

So that leaves: Jeremy, Jason, Jesse, and Graham (note that 2 of my original 4 favorites are still in!). Next week are the "Home Town Dates" where DeAnna will go to each of the guys' home towns and meet their families and friends. Should be interesting (especially with Jason and his 3-year-old son).

We will return to the drama next week!

Monday, June 16, 2008

This one is for Cara

If you read my last post, Cara (aka "pajama mom") commented on how she wanted to know what I bought at Ann Taylor Loft this weekend. So, as the title depicts...Cara, this is one is for you (keep in mind that I had that 30% off coupon and more gift cards left over from my birthday):

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Feeling the Fever!

We had a weekend full of little ones! First off, I really wanted to visit Ann Taylor Loft this weekend because I received a 30% off coupon for this weekend only...can't pass that up. So, when I told John my desire, he actually offered to come with me...SHOCKER! Well, Dani happened to call as we were leaving and asked if she could meet us there (with Gabi and the twins, she needs assistance while shopping and this was a perfect opportunity for her to indulge as well). So there we were at Ann Taylor Loft - Dani and I trying on clothes in the dressing room, and John in the store with Gabi and the twins...but he loved it!

Then later that evening, friends of mine were having a little get together. The hosts, Laura and Steve, have a beautiful daughter - Gianna, who is pictured here...too cute! We had such a great time: eating, drinking, and playing a mean game of Catch Phrase (boys vs girls). We played so many rounds - I forget who the big winner was - but I think it was the girls!

On Fathers Day, my parents hosted a family shin-dig where all the kids were loving the great weather. Here are a few photos from the afternoon:

This is Nica getting used to the sprinkler.

This is Toni - trying to move the sprinkler.

This is Gabi - a mess with ice cream.

And here's the whole gang with ice cream: Matteo, Guilia, Toni, Gabi, and Nica (Matteo and Guilia are my cousin's little ones).
It's getting hard to wait!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Heart Attack on Wax Paper

Pittsburgh is famous for many things: steel mills, Kennywood Park, bridges, rivers, the Incline, THE STEELERS, but also this:The Primanti Brothers sandwich. For those of you unfamiliar to this culinary masterpiece, it is a sandwich comprised of meat, cheese, coleslaw, and frenchfries, which is traditionally served on a piece of wax paper.

John and I went to the Primanti's in the Strip 2 weeks ago (before my rejection at the club) for a treat. Although it screams's soooooooooooo good!

You gotta indulge yourself every once in a while, right?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My Solution

I mentioned in the How easily we forget post that I was developing dark tan lines from my one-piece Speedos, which consist of thick lines on my back and a high line on my chest, almost to my neck. These are pretty unflattering when you are trying to dress seasonally with tank tops and such which expose these lines without forgiveness.

So, I made a decision to resolve this problem. I have never worn a two-piece training suit before, but due to the frequency of my afternoon swims and the beautiful weather, I purchased one.

Here in Pittsburgh, there is a shop called Knabes Swim and Trophy, which carries all different swim apparel from all different companies. Therefore, this was my only stop when searching for my solution. However, when I arrived, I was disappointed to see that the only selection in the 2-piece training suits was limited to a very small clearance rack. Perseverance always wins over though, here is my purchase:

If you look closely enough, you can see that the top and bottom not only don't match, but they are from 2 different companies (top from Dolphin, and bottom from Speedo). But hey, the top was $11 and the bottom was $7...can't beat that when regular 2-pieces run no less than $50 these days.

I'm pretty self-conscious in this, but I have no one to impress. And I would rather look a little ridiculous wearing this in front of a bunch of other people in unflattering swimwear than look ridiculous in a pretty dress at a formal function with funky tan lines exposed!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bachelorette Breakdown!

Crazy episode. Seriously, these guys are definitely WORSE than the girls who are typically on "The Bachelor." The jealousy, the games, the pouting...grow up!

For those of you who aren't addicted to the trash like I am...every season, there is a dreaded two-on-one date. This is where two hopefuls go on a date with the bachelor or bachelorette. The way it's supposed to go is this: a rose is given to one of the hopefuls, while the other one is sent home immediately (they actually pack their bags before they leave for the dates, which are then picked up by random guys so that the rest of the house knows who got the boot). This time, however, DeAnna sent both guys packing...a little twist that we didn't see coming.

Now we are down to six guys, and 2 of my top 4 are still there (Jason and Graham). I will keep you posted next week.

Becky - Please answer me this question - why is Twilly still there...c'mon! I was sad to see Fred go, but I really didn't see DeAnna romantically connected to him, and Robert was getting a little too girlie for me. What did you think?

Monday, June 9, 2008

Summer Reading

I use Summer as a time to enjoy the sun and read outside. I read the first Summer book this weekend: The Choice by Nicholas Sparks, which was fantastic! Now I have to admit, I LOVE his novels. I have read all of them. If you are not familiar with him, I am sure that you have at least heard of a few of his novels. Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, and The Notebook have all been made into movies. So, if you enjoyed any one of these will LOVE any one of this books (because the books are much better than the movies). When we went to see the Sex and the City movie last week, there was a preview of another one of his novels coming to the big screen: Nights in Rodanthe, which is starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane...can't wait!

I just purchased the second Summer book, The Last Summer (of You and Me) by Ann Brashares, who is the author of the series The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, which consists of 4 books. The first book was turned into a movie a few years ago, and now they are going to release The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 in August, which looks like it is going to be the combination of the last 3 books. Needless to say - I can't wait for this movie to be released either! If the series is any indication of The Last Summer (of You and Me), then it's going to be great. I think that I even got Becky hooked on the series last summer. I do have to admit one embarrassing tidbit...if I have sparked an interest to go out to purchase the Traveling Pants series, please be advised that you have to visit the "Teen Reading" section of the book store. This new novel is her first "adult" novel.

This is the habit that I have developed: read a book, and if I enjoy it, I buy any book by that particular author as soon as a new one is released. Obviously, this is the trend with Nicholas Sparks and Ann Brashares. The other one is Jodi Picoult. I have read many of her novels as well, my favorites being The Plain Truth, Salem Falls, and My Sister's Keeper.

Does anyone have certain authors that they love to read?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

It's a wonder how no one in my family is morbidly obese!

I know that I have mentioned on a few occasions the Thursday night tradition that my immediate family shares. There is another weekly tradition that my extended family still carries on as well. When we were younger, we would sometimes go to my grandmother's house (Nonni) on Sundays after church where we would enjoy a wonderful pasta linner (lunch + dinner = linner). As time passed, these Sunday gatherings became more frequent and eventually we congregated in Nonni's tiny kitchen every Sunday. As Nonni aged, we started alternating by going to my Aunt Anna's house every other Sunday so that Nonni wouldn't get too burdened. Sadly, Nonni passed away 4 years ago; however, the tradition is still alive. Now, Aunt Anna and my Dad alternate preparing the meal, but the feast is always at Aunt Anna's house.

The menu usually consists of pasta (of course!), meatballs, vegetables, and another meat dish (chicken, pork, ham, beef, etc). That is followed by salad, then fruit, then dessert and espresso. Seriously, we eat like this EVERY Sunday! Here is a picture of today's smorgasbord:

Okay, this isn't the best picture, but here is what we pigged out on today (Dad's week to cook): rigatoni with tomato sauce, meatballs, pork parmigiana, veal stuffed with sage and prosciutto, mixed veggies, and a fritata (my aunt threw that in at the end).

Oh, we're not done are the desserts (emphasis on the plural!):Here we have a lemon meringue pie, a belated birthday cake for Jackie's 21st (chocolate with chocolate custard filling from Oakmont Bakery), s'mores squares, and a fat free pudding.

This is why I swim!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

How easily we forget

So, I have mentioned that I have been swimming again. I joined a place nearby that has a 25 yard indoor pool, but it also has a 50 meter outdoor pool. For those of you who are not swim-savvy, a typical high school indoor pool is 25 yards, while larger university pools are 50 meters. Below is a picture so that you can see the difference:Obviously, the length of the pool is 50 meters, while the width is 25 yards. Well, I have decided to indulge in the great weather that we have been blessed with lately and swim outside. And now I have one thing to say - OUCH!

It is amazing the difference that 89.04 feet make when you are waiting for the wall to show up. I have realized something - I need my flip turns! I forgot how hard it is to make the transition between the 2 types of pools. But I am going to persevere through this and build my endurance so that each lap won't feel like an eternity.

The only downside is that every once in a while I have flashbacks to winter breaks in Puerto Rico. Yeah, that may sound nice, but my fellow Allegheny College swimmers understand the negative connotation from that statement. The other downside is the tan lines and the uneven tan. I am noticeably darker on my back in comparison to my front and therefore have the dreaded Speedo tan lines that will take forever to get rid of. Not to mention the fact that I have a tan line around my face due to my cap. Oh well!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

"The Bachelorette" Vent

It's about time she got ride of Ron, who was the whole reason for the cattiness that I mentioned last week. The ironic thing is that - he was the oldest guy there - 36-years-old. I would have expected behavior like that from one of the guys in their early 20's.

Anyway, can I just say this - how adorable is Jason! He was so nervous about telling DeAnna about his son, but she was really open to it and didn't reject him as a result of it (for now). The thing is - I am worried that she will eventually get rid of him because of it.

I am so bummed about Richard - another one of my original top 4 bites the dust. It doesn't look like I am doing so well with my predictions this time around.

Twilly is still there - seriously, he is a loser! Jesse surprises me each week...he wore an actual suit finally - and he looked pretty snazzy in it.

Although he wasn't in my top 4, it looks like Jeremy will be the guy who she ends up with. I am not backpedaling and saying that he is MY favorite, but it sure looks like he is HER favorite. The only one who stands a chance to bump him off the top seat is Graham...but the previews for next week don't support that theory.

Guess we'll just have to wait and see!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The hype is totally justified!

I saw "Sex and the City The Movie" yesterday afternoon and I have one word - FABULOUS! It was great! If anyone is a true "Sex and the City" fan, you will not be disappointed. Hell, even if you never watched the show - you could still understand the storyline and fall in love with the characters and the plot. Of course I love the show and was so anxious to see the movie. We made a party of it - me, my sisters, my mom, and some friends. My mom loved it - and that is a rave review in itself!

It's funny, it's sad, it really brings everything together. The clothes and the shoes are amazing. But more than that - it was just so great to see all of those characters come together again. They did such a fantastic job with the script. I hope that there is the possibility for a sequel!

Has anyone else seen it yet? If so, what did you think of it?