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.

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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…





Big plans. On a Tuesday.

3 07 2012

Today, I had BIG PLANS.

I was going to haul myself, and my car, up to Wexford to get an oil change. When my parents lived in Cranberry, it didn’t seem like such a long and far drive. Now that the ‘rents are solidly in Florida? And I’m firmly in the city? Going to Wexford is like the worst thing ever. But I like my car, and my oil changes are paid for through my car payment, so it was Wexford, pay way too much for an oil change that I can’t afford, or lose my car. So Wexford it was.

It just so happened that a few things collided nicely:

  1. I would be in the North Hills.
  2. I wanted to see Brave.
  3. PghRugbyRef wanted to take his boys, D & Q, to see Brave.
  4. I love hanging out with PghRugbyRef and D and Q!
  5. PghRugbyRef was on a vacation week! Movie it is!
  6. I wanted to swim.
  7. PghRugbyRef wanted to take the boys to swim.
  8. I love to swim. Duh.

So plans were set. I’d get my oil change. I’d meet them at the theater. We’d see Brave. We’d go to North Park pool and swim and slide until they kicked us out!

Woooooo! It was going to be the best day.

It ended up a great day, but not the way we planned, unfortunately.

Thankfully, my oil change was relatively painless, in that it was done way earlier than I expected. (BTW, have you seen the new digs at Baierl Chevrolet? ALL OF IT? It’s pretty freaking nice. The tech guys you see when you check-in are now in AC in a nice little room with the cashier. And the waiting room? All I can say is fancy. At least in comparison from last time…)

Anywho, I had some time… So, I went to Target and the mall… Had lunch. (Went to see a friend who doesn’t have a name here, but who happens to work at the mall… Randomly I chose to look in the window, and there she was! Yay!)

Then went to meet the boys.

We got our refreshments (Holy CATS, $4.75 for a *medium* Sprite?) and went into the theater. The theater we went to is the one I went to for my ENTIRE  youngster life. I saw ET there. I know that for sure… And so many other movies that I can’t even remember.

We got our seats, annoying people who wouldn’t be quiet sat behind us, and they kept getting up and pulling on D & my chairs. Annoying. But whatever. We enjoyed the movie. D was quite good at sharing the popcorn with me, and even hit my arm and handed me a tasty piece of Starburst candy! Yay!

And I’ve heard a lot of people not happy with Brave… I’m not entirely sure why. I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome of the movie. I won’t give ANYTHING away.

What was extremely strange for me? The Scottish accent. I still don’t hear it when my mother speaks to me. (I still hear it in the videos, like I’ve said before.) But I LOOVE that accent. And pick it up in a second, it seems… But  I have not been to Scotland, in, OMG, 24+ years? Maybe more. That was the last time I heard SOOOO many people speaking with a Scottish accent… Until this movie. OMG I love to hear it… So, yeah, I loved that part… Agh. And Aye. Oh! and “I dinnae.”

And so much more.I do wish that Merida would have said “Mum” rather than “Mom.” Because my mom called her mother Mum and that’s what I call mine when I remember to…. She’s my Mum.

So, after our fun at the movie, we got up and started talking about all the fun we’d have at the pool. Until we got outside. It looked like there would be a storm coming. But we still drove to North Park…

When we got to the pool, people were heading out. No lifeguards in the seats. No one in the pool. TOTAL SAD FACE.

So anyway, when we realized the pool was closed? We went to the playground!

And it was raining. Whatever. A little bit of water never hurt anyone. Nor did it hurt us….

North Park, near the pool, is not just ONE Playground! It’s like 3 or 4. Which worked for us. We swung on the swings, D & I. Played X&O’s with Q (he won every time!!!) Encouraged D to try the “monkey ovals” again & again!

And had a generally good time.

The guys I was with, all 3 of them? GOOD GUYS! I had such a great day!

I need to re-schedule the pool time with PghRugbyRef, because he’s a good dude, and holy cats, are his boys GOOD BOYS. I can’t even begin to tell you.

It was a great day. Just wait for pics from when we finally go swimming. I have no doubt D & Q will do things that are photo worthy.





Tomorrow, attending a wedding.

22 06 2012

It’s summer. It’s the season of weddings. I don’t often get invited to attend a wedding with a friend or on my own…

But a few weeks ago, I got an email from PghRugbyRef, who comments here often, when, and if I post… And asked me to attend a wedding with him tomorrow.

So tomorrow we are off to a wedding at the Phipps Conservatory. And then to a movie, Rock of Ages (since there is so much time between the wedding & reception,) and then to the reception, at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.

I’m pretty sure we’ll have a blast. I’m looking forward to it!





DJ Cannonball

28 04 2012

Oy my. This was hard. I tried it from so many directions. So many angles. How to write it. But this is it. A great friend of mine is leaving Pittsburgh. And I’m seriously crying over it. I can’t imagine my life without him.

JB has been an amazing friend and supporter and, duh, DJ, for me… How can we live without him?

He was one of my regulars back in the day when I worked on Sundays. And a fave to play 7s with at practice…

Tonight is JB’s going away party at My Living Room, and I’m not going to be there, since I worked all day and am still trying to recover from the sick-fest I experienced this past week… And I work tomorrow, too. Ugh.

But I have to say good bye, in my own way… So here we go…

I don’t remember the actual day I met JB… It was so many years ago. But we were immediate friends, I know that. How can you NOT love him?

Good grief. Pittsburgh is losing a great human being. I will miss you so much, JB.

Anyway, JB, I want you to know these things:

You can ALWAYS make me smile. Not many people can do that. That’s truth.

Thank you for being such a great friend.

Thank you for apologizing to me the one and ONLY time you ever had to. I appreciated that, very much so.

Thank you for somehow making people back in the day to apologize to me when they needed to. I still have no idea how you did that, but I appreciate it to this day.

Thank you for visiting me on Sundays back in the day at My Living Room. There were days you were the only customer.

Thank you for the “Nice Hustle” x one million. Pretty sure that’s an accurate count. Right?

Thank you for the “What’s wrong, Clairebear?”

Thank you for my wrestling belt and DJ’ing my “Last night at My Living Room.” I cherish that belt, btw.

Thank you for your cheesy (aka gorgeous) smile that I got to see not only on TV, but in person, many times. Thank you for not hating me when I teased you about the “cheesy smile.” And for knowing it was honestly a compliment. I will miss said smile. So. Much.

Thank you for calling me Clairbear when you see me. (apparently I like when you call me that. You’re the only person allowed to. Just saying.)

Thank you for being such a strong person and having faith. It makes those of us who know you stronger. Truly.

Thank you for being you, JB. You are an amazing person. I am blessed to have known you for these ten or so years.

You’ve made me a better person, Jon. I love you for that. I will miss you so much.

You should probably thank me now no pictures in  this post… I WISH I had a scanner!

Nashville is lucky to have you. I hope they realize that, quickly. You are good at what you do.

I may call you. If I do, you know I need to hear “Clairbear, what’s wrong?” there’s your warning.

Good luck, sir. I love you so much.





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. 😦





Midterms & clinical.

13 10 2011

Midterms are over. Whew… Side note: How am I halfway through this semester already? Didn’t I just start last week?

I got a C on my A&P lab practical midterm. Not as well as I thought I’d do, especially since I studied for it way more than Radiology.

Also, I forgot about a quiz that happened after the midterm. Oops. Got a D.

I’m not happy with this, and that just means more studying in my future. And maybe changing how I study for A&P. And maybe I’ll ask my sister for more help, since she is the A&P master in my life… We’ll see. (Side note: I should have asked Lili for help on the muscles and nerves. I asked for help on the skull, and missed nothing on those questions. I missed mostly muscle/nerve stuff. Should have asked…)

Pretty sure I have a B overall in the class so far though.

As for Radiology, I got a 91%, which you’d think would be an A, but it’s not. It’s a B. And I’m happy with that. I missed only 9 questions, and to be honest, I thought I missed ten!

I have a B for sure in that class.

I have been doing pretty great on the lecture quizzes. Mostly B’s, even an A in there! Two C’s and finally a B on the last lab positioning quiz! (Total shocker. I though I bombed the quiz.)

So I’ll carry on as normal with Rad. Maybe study a bit more to up my grade.  I know what to do in the labs. How to position the patient, etc. But the quizzes confuse me, but I did 10% better on the last quiz, which I thought I did awful on! Overall, I’m very happy with how I’m doing in the class.

Onto clinical observation.

I love it. I totally picked the right medical field to enter. I knew this each time I called my family and felt myself smiling when I tell them about my day. And tonight when my friends at work asked me about school, and I found myself smiling and telling them how much I love clinical… Yep, love it.

The people at my clinical site are nice, funny, and kind. All of them that I’ve met. I’m trying to combat my inability to remember names, and have been quite successful so far!

I cannot, and will not share much about clinical. Now or later. Right now, I basically follow a 2nd year or a radiology tech around and watch what they do. You see a LOT of stuff, and I still love it. I’m pretty sure I’d rather work in a hospital environment when I’m employed rather than a private office. I enjoy the randomness of it.

And I love it. I really do. I’m so happy I made this choice. Even if it’s hard work to be studying 24/7 (or so it seems) and have no social life in any way.

Best choice ever. And the best part ever? My parents are proud of me. As is Lili. And NE.

Some day, I will have to explain this to Little C. Right now? I observe at a doctor’s office and will help to take pictures of people’s insides. Uh. Yeah. Lili and I have to talk about this, since Little C will eventually have to talk about this.

All in all, I’m seriously happy I made this choice. I’m loving every minute of it. (Well, except for the fact I crash on school nights by 10pm at the latest, and wake at 6am 3 days/week… But I’m getting used to it!)

Funny thing is, I’ll probably work nights when I get a job as a Rad Tech. Some people hate that. And have said so. Me? I’m like OMG PLEASE TO GIVE ME THAT JOB!

We’ll see.

Loving it so much and so hard right now. Best choice ever. I’m ridiculously happy even though all I do is study and work. Super happy.