National Champions.

13 11 2012

Six years after our first trip to Nationals (where we came in 3rd) and many other trips (where we came in 2nd, year after year) My Angels finally won the National Championship today.

The Pittsburgh Angels are the Women’s DII National Champions!

The final match was played at 11am on Sunday in Ft. Myers, Florida. (the one time it’s close to my family…. I know!)

I opened My Living Room an hour early so that anyone who wanted to, could come watch. And come watch, they did. The bar was packed with some of the guys team, and former Angels.

Our lovely tech wizards, like PghRugbyRef, Calipanthergrl, UVA and FashionForward hooked up a second TV to the interwebz so we could watch the match on two tv’s.

For over an hour and a half, we all stared at those tvs, screamed, jumped up and down, (ok, jumping up & down was me, mostly) clapped and yelled at the tv. Every play. Every kick. Every pass.  Every set play. Every second of that game!

The second half was mostly defense, to be honest. But they held out.

And they won.

My former teammates and the newer girls, they finally won a National Championship. 8-0 against Severn River, from Maryland.

I’m so proud that I don’t even know what to say. I’m incredibly excited and happy for the team.

I’m also sad that myself and so many other “retired” Angels watched the game at My Living Room instead of participating or watching from the sidelines. But a win is a win.

And, after 6 years, my ladies came home as NATIONAL CHAMPIONS. I’m so proud to call myself an Angel, albeit an old one, today.

And all of us former Angels can claim a stake in that championship. If it wasn’t for our work, over all those years, this may have not happened. Right?

As one of my newer teammates posted to Facebook early on Sunday morning:

“All I can think about are the Angels before me. Everything they have done before me and taught me up until this moment. Hit hard, hit low and leave everything on the field. This morning we are a regular rugby team. By the end of the day we will be CHAMPIONS!!!!”

Thank you, Web Developer, for that. Us old girls appreciated it very much.

I love you, Angels. Cannot wait to see that trophy on the top of the bar. I have the perfect spot picked out!

Previous posts about my trip to Nationals as a player are here, here and here. (Lots of awesome rugby related videos at that last link, folks!)

Pittsburgh is proud to welcome you home. Well, at least the club and bar are… I’ve been working on the rest… In the meantime, check out this awesome video from Uncle Crappy.





Farewell to a mentor.

15 08 2012

I learned today that Mr. Frank Farina passed away early this morning.

Mr. Farina was the band and musical director at my high school, North Allegheny.

You can say what you want about NA. I know I’ve heard awful things, had people walk away from me because I went there. But here I am, college degree and back in school for another degree. Whatever. It’s just a darn school.

Back to Frank Farina.

When I first joined the marching band, whoo boy, was he scary. He stood on the auditorium stage and yelled. Are you a load (someone late to call time.)? I seriously hoped I wasn’t… He put you to place. He was demanding, but understanding. That man had a great heart. And I learned so much from him.

To stand in line.

To march.

To FEEL the music.

To DANCE, kind of like the Ohio University band did…

(I swear on my life, the day that the OU band came through my quad at OU, I cried, remembering what we did at NA) Especially because I didn’t have the time to devote to that amazing band. I wish I had, but I didn’t.

To LOVE the music.

To be the person you were meant to be.

To succeed in music. And life.

To be in multiple honor bands.

To try to quit. Have your parents tell you NO. And on top of that, to have Frank Farina, tell you no, you cannot quit marching band.

To give you another instrument. One you’d amazingly succeed with. A baritone horn.The euphonium.  One that Mr. Farina would challenge you to try out for an honor band. And you make it. And you have a solo. An epic solo, in your mind…

I still can’t decide if I love the sound of the clarinet or the euphonium more… We’re tied…

The one you actually tried to play in the symphony band at OU, because you loved the trust that man gave you, but couldn’t find the hours or place for practice…

I will always regret that last part. That I could not find the time or place….

I still remember practicing my clarinet when my parents would have liked to run for the hills over the noise.

I remember so many band camps. Yes, I know, it happened at band camp… But for most of us, those who I know? it didn’t. It was fun. It was hard.

I’d like to think I never let you down. I love music of all kinds. Really. And I love to dance, when I can…. It will never end. I’m now dancing in my seat to things my lovely niece loves… It will never end…

I will miss you so much, Mr. Farina. I can’t even put it into words. But my tears will make you understand. I play music in my mind, for you. As I have for years.

Thank you, Mr. Farina, for giving my music a voice and a path to follow.

I will come pay my respects to you on Sunday. It’s probably going to be a very hard thing for me… Alone. Thank god I’m a strong woman.
You leaving this earth is going to take multiple trips to the symphony or NA band stuff for me to be ok…





Reviewing my life.

1 01 2012

I’m incredibly blessed to have parents who allow me to be a kind of hoarder. A girl who throws things away, but can’t give it all away.

My parents moved to Florida with not one, but three or four containers which housed things from grade K – college.

But I had to clear that crap out this past visit. And clear it out, I did. (I threw away, donated approximately 90% of what I saved.)

Anyway, why I’m talking about this is because some things hit me, and my parents with a big old *smack.* Sometimes funny. Sometimes (me) tears.

The sad stuff, first.

I was given three stuffed animals/dolls etc, before age 4. I love all three. They mean a lot to me.

1) My doll, Julie. A Madame Alexander doll. My parents gave this to me when I was two years old. Still have her. (she is totally falling apart. And lives with my parents now, not in a storage box, until we can figure out how to fix her.)

2) A teddy bear my not-to-be-talked-about brother gave me. My bear is in my apartment and I love it.

3) Dexter. The railroad dog. I honestly thought this stuffed animal was somewhere in my apartment. For years! But he wasn’t. I pulled him from the ugly plastic thing I have had since the day I went into college… The container was kind of moldy. I considered throwing Dexter away. Then my dad walked out. And I looked at my mom. And then my dad.

You see, Dexter has an extra story.

My father worked with this man, Bob. Apparently, this man, Bob, thought I was pretty cool. And every time my mom took me to see my dad in downtown Pittsburgh at work, Bob would make tease me. I’d get new shoes, and show up in the office with my mom, to show my dad my fancy new shoes… And Bob, he’d say, “Oh, Claire, your new boats are so beautiful!” or “Your new suitcases are great!” (I had big feet for my age as a kid… Whatever.)

My mom and dad and I aren’t sure where Dexter came to be. We’re sure it was a birthday.

The reason that he means so much to me is just after I was given Dexter, Bob passed away. In a very bad car accident.

So when I saw Dexter, and realized he was not, in fact, in my apartment, and was a part of my life I was trying to toss out, I cried. (no big surprise, I’m the world’s biggest strongest softy. True story. I admit it.)

The funny thing is, I still remember visiting my dad’s office then. Bob and Myrle and my daddy. Opening Myrle’s bottom file to find the toys she kept there for me. And hearing Bob comment on my shoes. Even now, I remember.

So I saved Dexter. I had to.  Out of all the elementary, middle and high school memories I found in those containers, all the papers, the written word, the art, the paper music, the wooden clarinet, the tchotchkes… All the crap I saved.

I had to save Dexter. The Nana put him in the dry cleaning bag, and he looks a bit better. She is going to save him for me, along with Julie.

All in all, I tossed a bunch of stuff I will never miss. I saved some stuff that made me or The Nana laugh our bums off. And all of my sheet music and my clarinet. And some little things I may want to give Little C when she reaches certain ages… Just one or two.

The funny… There is ONE thing, that I wrote, after looking at a zillion pages of crap, that I swear on my life, left The Nana nearly in tears. And The Papa nearly as well…

The photo:

The story:

“Once upon a time there was a spider. He was lonely. He had no friends. Then, one day I went out to my dad’s garden. I found him. I said ” AAAA!!” My dad came out. He said “What’s the matter?” There’s a spider in the garden.” I said.” “A what?” My dad said. “A spider.” I said. Finally, my dad killed it.”

I read that story to my co-worker at My Living Room the other day. He said I built it up to something it totally wasn’t. True story.

I hope I tell better stories now. Who knows. I’m just super happy The Papa killed that spider. Whether it was real or not. Thanks, Papa.

P.S. I got a STAR on that essay/writing thing. I must have thought I won the world at grade 1 or 2… Who knows. No date on the paper. Sad. 😦





Motivation, and thanks.

5 10 2011

Most of my motivation to go back to school has to do with myself and my family.

I want a job that I will love*, that I will be proud to do, and I want my family to be proud of me.

So I started school again, and we’re just about half-way through the semester. (HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? I FEEL LIKE I JUST STARTED YESTERDAY!)

The support of my family has been awesome. (Thank you, so much.)

Some other friends who have had A&P in the past have been awesome, willing to help and offering to help me in any way they can! (Thanks, all of you!)

And my sister, a former A&P HS teacher, has been invaluable with her tips & tricks & ideas to help me. (Love you for that, Lili!)

But I now have more motivation.

When I show up for work, usually someone I work with, or a regular, will ask me how school is going. My reply is usually, “It’s very tough, but I’m working really hard!” Their questioning how it’s going? Means the world to me. Really.

And when something kind of important (to me) happens, I usually post it to my personal Facebook or Twitter account… And sometimes I get a “like” or comment here or there, but lately I’ve been getting more “likes” and comments. Even comments from my mom. Even “likes” from NE (who is SUPER BUSY at his job right now, so that counts x10).

And I have to tell you, these questions, comments and “likes” from my friends – and Family – really are motivating me so much more than when I started.

I want to be able to tell them I did well…  My parents, Lili and NE, and my friends.

So, thank you, friends, co-workers and family. For making me want this so much more than I did 5 weeks ago. Your support and encouragement mean more to me than I could ever tell you.

*side note: I started my clinical observation (40 hrs of observation this semester) today and I TOTALLY ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. I spent 90% of the day in the ER x-ray room, with a 2nd year student and a tech. I cannot wait till I can do what the 2nd year students do! (Thank you to the tech, and the 2nd yr student I was with. I learned a TON! Thanks, guys!) I appreciate it!

I’m still trying to figure out how to explain what I’m going to school for to Little C, when she saw her Papa and Grandpa Bob in the hospital, Lili said they were at the doctor’s. Hopefully she’ll be older when I have to explain this… As long as I say “I love you” and she blows me kisses via phone, I’m good with it. (I totally caught those kisses on my face, btw.)

Thankfully, when G-man is old enough for me to explain my job, it will probably be easier! (Here’s to hoping that neither of them have x-rays between now & then.)





The wheels on the bus…

27 09 2011

I have lived in Pittsburgh for my entire life, save for a year or so after I was born, and my years at Ohio U.

Sunday night was the very FIRST time I rode a PAT bus on my own. I was terrified.

I’ve only ever rode the busses here in the ‘Burgh with my friend, Nix. She KNOWS the busses. (I also asked her what bus & what time to get home from So Side, after I consulted the schedule. And I asked another co-worker. I was *that* freaked out.)

I’ve rode the subway and busses in Toronto and Montreal with less fear than I had tonight…

Why did I have to ride the bus? Well, there was something wrong with my Cobalt.

It started Friday on the way to work. At a stop sign, where I stopped fully, I noticed my speedometer showed I was still driving at 10MPH. Uh, no, I wasn’t.

I wrote it off as crazy Chevy stuff (things have happened kind of like that with my last three Chevy’s, so yeah…)

And on the way home, on a down hill, I hit the gas and nothing happened…  I had to pull over, stop  and re-start the car to get home… Still with the same issues.

But then on Saturday, the MPH when from 10 to 5 to 25 to 15 to 35… But it only happened a few times. Not always.

I was terrified to drive Sunday night to work. But I couldn’t NOT work, so Cboy and his lovely picked me up on their way to the South Side from the Pgh Zoo.

(Side note: I’m totally jealous of Cboy and his lovely. They had a great day at the zoo and saw more than I’ve ever seen!!!! Yay for them. Also, thank you.)

I got to work so early, that even Viking commented that I was even earlier than usual. (I’m ALWAYS early for work. Always. But this was definitely earlier than normal.)

And then, since we were so not busy at work, I took a bus home, the 54C, all by myself. I thought I had to walk from 22nd to 18th to get the bus, but I had an inkling that the 54C stopped outbound at 22nd… Many thanks to the nice girl who works at The Library in So Side for helping me when I asked her about the bus. And also to her to telling me that the bus ran late on Sundays, and would be there in maybe 10 minutes at one point. So. Helpful.

I didn’t have to pay for my ride, the fare thingy box was broken.

I called the dealership around 9am on Monday. They said since I didn’t have an appointment, I’d have to leave it or wait. Uh, I don’t have people (aka my parents when they lived here) to pick me up, so I have to wait. My “assigned” guy said it could be up to 5 hrs.

He reinforced this when I actually got there around 10 or 11am… I again told him I didn’t care, I had homework to do, and had no one to pick me up.  I was willing to sit, do my homework, and wait…

He seemed perturbed. But that isn’t my problem.

The only issue is the temporary waiting area at Baierl. No television as before. And the magazine selection? Hunting, guns, wine and cigars. Where am I???? West Virginia? Plus a single copy each of: Redbook, Good Houskeeping and Consumer Reports… Good lord.

I at first,  sat next to a woman who was filing her nails. No, I’m wrong, she was FILING HER NAILS LIKE A CRAZY PERSON. In the Baierl Chevy waiting area. I removed myself from her to sit by a nice man at a table. He was kind, and wished me an early reprieve from the dealership.

The dealership fixed up my car. It wasn’t my fuel pump. Thank god, since I’ve heard many horror stories on fuel pumps. It was just corroded electrical connections, which, apparently, many other Cobalt owners have had issues with.

I have missed hours of library time this weekend because of this car. (okay, also because Viking added a Friday shift for me, but still) The same issue will plague me this coming weekend. At least I seem to have a working vehicle…

Dear gray Cobalt, I know I have no name for you, as I had for the past 5+ cars I have owned, but I love you. I really do. I do enjoy driving you, and littering you as I please…  Please make this up to me and be the bestest car ever….





School stuff.

22 08 2011

Holy cats. I start school tomorrow. TOMORROW! At 8am!

I have to wake up at 6am to get there in time. OMG. 6am does not exist in my life right now.

But it does tomorrow. Surprise to ME!

My classes are as follows:

Tuesday: Anatomy, 8 – 9:15am and Lab 9:30am – noon. Radiology 3:40 – 5:20pm.

Thursday: Anatomy, 8 – 9:15am and Radiology 2 – 3:35pm.

I’m going uber early on Tuesday because I have NO IDEA where the classrooms are. I also want to stop at Dunkin Donuts for coffee and a Wake Up wrap. (The wraps are very yummy!)

But, nice studying built in time in there… On purpose. So that I can STUDY! And continue to work at My Living Room and make some money.

But OMG I start school tomorrow.

My scrubs are washed and hanging waiting for me to step into them tomorrow morning.Same for shoes, socks and the under wearings, n’at.

And since I have to be at work after school, my work clothing is waiting for me as well.

I spent nearly $50 on paper, a few binders, folders, pens and a two highlighters yesterday. FIFTY dollars! For binders and paper! And pens! So much money for a few things. dumb.

Good grief, I can’t wait to get started. But OMG I’m scared. So nervous.

But I I KNOW I CAN DO IT. I know I will pass these classes. I know I will.

Please send me any anti-ADD vibes you have, because I can’t deal with that right now… I need to focus. FOCUS, you guys. For a huge ADD girl!

I’m ready for this. I really am. I need something new…

I’m kind of excited to sit in a library and study again. I loved it last year when I took my biology class. So here’s hoping that carries over to two classes this fall.

Good luck to me.

Why am I doing this school thing?

I’m doing this for me. To have a better life.

To make my family proud. My parents, specifically. And also my Lili, Little C, NE and G-man, Semester by semester.

To see Little C and G-Man every time I want to see them.

And, I want a a house. In Pittsburgh. (at least until Lili and NE move elsewhere)

A house where I can modify or hang anything I want. To plant things outside. To use a lawnmower again. Yes, I want to do that!

A house that has at least two guest rooms. Specifically designated to Little C and G-Man.  And one or two couches that pull out to beds. Or room for an inflatable matress for me when they visit. Room for Lili, NE, The Nana and Papa.

I figure I can make this happen. In two years. School. Here we go. I’m ready. I’m taking it head on. Bring it.





Clutch.

28 07 2011

I don’t know if I’ve said this before, but my musical tastes are very random. Broadway, classical, country, hard rock…

I’ve been super lucky this year to see so many bands live, mostly because of friends who needed someone to take a ticket that could not be used…  See my “About” thing…

Last weekend I had the chance to see Clutch live in Pittsburgh at Stage AE, with some amazing friends!

It was awesome. I’m so glad I went, and I would go see Clutch again the next time they are in town.

Some of my fave songs are below… Clearly I like Blast Tyrant.

And WordPress is not happy with me and is refusing to allow me to imbed videos. So I just have to give you the names of songs and a link… Sigh. Anywho…)

Mob Goes Wild

(In the wake of the) Swollen Goat

La Curandera

Loved the show. So happy that I went – I nearly didn’t.  It was $25 better spent than the $50 or so I spent on Kenny Chesney (although, to be honest, I didn’t realize our tickets would be in the LAST ROW ever of Heinz Field…)

It was a great night, no matter what.

I may or may not have sat on someone’s lap on the ride back to My Living Room as well… That’s what happens when one girl and 5 guys try to fit themselves into a small car.