Monday, December 29, 2008

Shut Out!!

Apologies to the Cleveland expats I call friends, but for this 'Burgh gal, there is nothing better than a good old routing of the Brownies. This year, I was lucky enough to be in attendance, good stuff.

If the score (*ahem* 31-0) wasn't enough to put a smile on your face, there is my favorite part of being at the game - you can't get this watching at home:

Just in case it isn't immediately clear what's happening in this photo, whenever the Steelers are within 20 yards of the end zone - "the red zone" - the two giant bottles of Heinz ketchup atop the scoreboard tip and create the scene you witnessed above. Favorite. part. of. the. game. Enjoy.

Playoffs start January 11th, mark your calendars now!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Happy Christmas to all. May you survive the weather and crazy families and endless food and all the other joys of the holiday season. It'll all be over soon *grin*.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Universe Celebrates my 30th

I would like to personally thank the Powers the Be, Karma, and any other entity who had any hand in the two fantastic gifts the cosmos presented to me on the occasion of my 30th birthday - this:

and this:

Happy Birthday to me!

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Every once in a while, the universe seems to know that I need a little extra and this past week, it sent me a very strategic, early birthday present, with the help of the many fantastic woman in my life.

First I find out that my two bestests from college will be making the journey for my 30th. I imagine I'm not the first to be less than thrilled at entering my third decade - but in one fell swoop, these two have made me look forward to it like nothing in recent memory. I. Am. So. Excited.

Then, I got the most amazing bit of introspection from one of my favorite moms; she turned my whole attitude around in approximately 2 sentences. Remarkable.

Finally, happy hour with some of the bravest and funnest women I've ever met. My TNT gals have all accomplished some amazing things in the past few months and I am so proud to count myself among them. We had the most wonderful kind of ridiculous fun the other night, which parlayed right into the most ridiculous and fun 5K the next morning. Love you guys!!

Thank you to you all; for better or worse, I wouldn't be the Chrisie I am without all of you.

All smiles, as it should be:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Knitted Bag"

It will go down in history as the worst, most terribly and awkwardly knitted article ever... but I made it and it's the greatest (and only) thing I've ever made:

The picture really doesn't do it justice. It's really, really bad. It makes me laugh every time I look at it. I see how the end is 11 stitches wider than the beginning... because over the course I picked up 11 stitches... it seems physically impossible to me to invent stitches out of thin air, but I've been assured it happens. I also see the dropped and otherwise jacked up stitches where Oedipuss wanted to be sure and leave his mark (and pull the entire work off the needles on more than one occasion). I also see the middle part where I mixed up a knit and a purl and may have invented a new stitch.

Suck it, rainy November.

(Here's a pic from the book, in case you were wondering what it is supposed to look like):

Yeah, I don't get the whole "cable" thing... or the "seed stitch" thing...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Travel apparently makes me angsty

I feel I need a disclaimer. I don't mean for this post to be as bad as it likely reads, and I'm not feeling sorry for myself, it's just an unexamined part of my life that I'm trying to get a better understanding of... on the web in this most public of forums.... because I hear that's how it's done. ;)

In the past 10 days, I have been in three time zones, five states, six cities and on eight flights. No, I am not touring with Pearl Jam (though Seattle is one of the cities).

I hate traveling (for work) - Yet I've been on the road more than I've been home lately. This thought occurred to me on my 7am flight this morning. Thought I loathe it, i'm now the office road warrior... and much of it is by choice.

It used to be that I refused to travel. When I was in a relationship, I hated being away and would risk much to ensure I wasn't. One of my greatest anxieties has always gone something like this: "I only have a certain number of days on this planet, and no one is promised tomorrow". Therefore, why would I want to waste even one of those numbered days alone in a hotel room when I had so much at home and someone with whom no number of days would ever be enough? It was something I could never reconcile... so I drew a line in the sand and was completely prepared to take a career hit for it. I felt like I had my priorities completely in order.

Needless to say, life is much different now. Whereas I used to hurry home from the airport, or better yet, have a ride waiting for me and more than willing to stop at the Mad Mex nearest the airport for a fantastic reunion meal, now I dwaddle at the airport because I know I'm going home to an empty apartment. Do I mind that? Yes, immensely. But why? I used to love living by myself, and I do have a comfy bed, a loyal, loyal cat and usually a Tivo full of House, Law and Order and M*A*S*H to catch up on. Those are all thing I look forward to. Maybe it's the other things it still takes me away from; last week it was a TNT alumni meeting and a Happy Hour to catch up with my running buddies. This week it is running the lights, one of the greatest parts of the holiday season. I guess that while I appreciate Hugh Laurie and half price drinks, neither of them make me want to rush home from the airport.

So if there is a takeaway in all of this (too many meetings) - I guess it's to try and get excited for the next thing that's going to make me want to stay... which is kind of a cool thought.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Potty Humor

Last time I was in Seattle, I had many lovely things to say about the fair city. This trip, I have found something even lovelier:

Seattle is a very green city. Lots of LEED certification, lots of recycling, lots of composting, not a lot of paper cups to be had. NOW, they have smart toilets. Up for #1, down for #2. Genius. How would you like to be the one tasked with writing this sign (found in a public restroom): "push the handle in the direction which best suits your needs". Suits your needs? I also appreciate the inclusion of the #1 and #2 as clarification, in case "liquid waste" and "solid waste" were unclear to some people.

I'm off to Texas next week, you can bet I'll be reporting on the potty situation in the Lone Star State, stay tuned.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Margo tagged me. Here are the rules - list 6 things I value and 6 things I don't and then pass this award on to 6 people...

What I value:

1. My true true true friends
2. Finding an absolutely perfect song to fit your mood
3. The way I feel after a tough run
4. A really good conversation
5. Individuality in all its forms, including my ever-evolving definition of myself
6. pizza and vanilla ice cream with a huge dollop of peanut butter in it (not to be eaten concurrently)

What I don't Value:

1. Fashion
2. Traveling for my job
3. The flu on marathon day
4. Boredom
5. Having to put up a tough front when I'm totally not feeling it
6. Fast Runners =)

Now I'm supposed to pass it on. Alas, I don't know that many people who blog, or who read my blog, but:

Peter Lemonjello

Have at it. Or don't, that's cool too. I value the right to choose blog topics as well ;)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

20 ounces

This was not a good idea this morning, it's a large:

I'm freaking out, how about you??

Don't forget to vote!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Marine Corps Marathon, Part 2

I've decided to forgo the relating of the story of the marathon. It went; it certainly wasn't what I expected or was hoping for, but in the end, I have this to show for it:

AND, if that weren't cool enough, several times throughout the race, I was treated to this sight:

Yeah, that's right, not only did my family manage to make it to three different spots along the course, they were all sporting adorable "Go Chrisie Go" T-Shirts, it was pretty much the coolest thing ever.

So now it's on to the next thing, whatever that may be.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Marine Corps Marathon, Part 1

I have a love/hate relationship with "Once a Runner", but this weekend can best be summed up in a quote (paraphrase really) from that book: "you can be so good, but then you have to be so lucky". (Thanks to Dev for those words, though not saving my weekend, they helped).

This was not a lucky weekend for me. I guess it all started Thursday morning at 3:55 AM. I was awoken from a glorious night of sleep to a cold. I woke up with a stuffy nose, a very sore throat and an achy body. I took some ibuprofen and a zinc and went back to sleep. I got up in the morning and went to work, feeling quite like crap, but having to go to work since I wouldn't be back in my office until the following Friday. So, I got everything done that I needed to, went home, and immediately crashed into my bed, still with nothing packed for marathon weekend. I get up that night and pack, not even sure I have everything, but lacking the energy to make sure. I set my alarm and go back to bed. Friday morning I'm to meet my team for the drive to DC. I get everything gathered and head to my car. Won't start. dead battery. A breakdown ensues. It was too much. Sick was one thing, but sick and with a dead battery for some reason I couldn't handle. Don't know if you've ever had a breakdown on a city street in a car at 7:30 on a Friday morning when you're sick.... but I can't really recommend it. It was awhile before I could even get it together enough to call AAA.

The guy who came to jump me could not have been nicer - he was a highlight of this miserable weekend. Here is an except from our conversation:

AAA guy: are you headed to work?

Me: If you can believe it *sniffle sniffle*, I'm running a marathon this weekend and I'm headed to monroeville to meet my team and I'm going to be late and and and....

AAA: Wow, I can't believe anyone can run 26 miles

Me: I can't believe you know that. Every time I tell my mom I'm running a marathon she says "and how long is this one"

AAA: well you have to get your mind on that race; I'll have you out of here in 2 seconds.

He was an angel. Kudos to the fine people at stuckert's auto body!

Meet the team, head to DC... no more major catastrophes. Meet up with Dev on Friday - for his birthday extravaganza (or as much of an extravaganza as I can produce with nothing at my disposal and whist sick). Friday also a highlight of the weekend, we had a fantastic night out in DC and got really really good pizza.

Saturday (while the rest of my team is relaxing and not leaving their hotel beds) I am to meet my family for a strategy session (where were they going to stand, where were we going to meet up afterward, etc etc). No location had been set for this so we decided to meet in Germantown.

Dear readers, there are two Germantowns in Maryland.

I won't tell you exactly how long it took us to establish that we were in cities over 50 miles apart, nor will I tell you some of the exchanges that were made upon said realization.... but I'll pause a moment to let you imagine how that might have gone.

So, there I am... already sick, freaking out about the marathon, and on the wrong effing side of the stupid state.

By the time I finally find my fam (in Silver Spring, which there IS ONLY ONE OF!!!), we barely have time to scarf down some soup at a Panera before I have to return so I can be back in time for the team meeting.

The rest of Saturday is survived but is rather a blur. I go to bed Saturday night sick as hell, but hopeful for a miracle recovery.

Tomorrow, the disaster that was my MCM race..... you're excited, I know.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

If You're Gonna Play in Texas...

... you gotta have a fiddle in the band.

I always bitch and moan about the state of Texas, but I had an okay trip there last week and feel it's important to highlight this trip, to avoid getting a reputation...

1. The rental car had XM. I've never really gotten into this whole satellite radio thing, I have an iPod and therefore want for nothing, music-wise. But I have to say, commercial free radio was good times. I found myself driving around just to listen to it (i need to find a Kinko's..... in Irving!)

2. DJ. A dear dear friend and former co-worker of mine whom I see far to infrequently. DJ was a fellow liberal in a company built on conservatism; a fellow tech geek in a land of engineers and was always and continues to be my corporate role model. He managed to work for a giant, potentially soul-stealing company while hanging on to his faith, his sense of self and was always the first to remind me that "we're not saving lives here". I miss him terribly in the day to day and am always grateful when I get to spend some quality time with him - he gives me perspective.

3. Pappasitos. Finally, I didn't have to eat at a steakhouse. Those always turning into meat-based pissing contents... people damn near kill themselves to see who can eat the biggest piece of meat. It happens every time. Pappasitos is a Mexican place and the cheese enchilladas were to die for (after I requested that they not put the meat sauce on top. Yup, it comes with a meat sauce.)

Hang in there, Texas, there may be hope for you yet. Blue would be a really good color on you, look into that.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

An open letter to September

Dear September,

First, let me say that I'm a big fan. Sure, you're no October, but I've always admired the way you are able to take us into Fall without really missing summer. You bring us Football, Homecoming, Hockey Training Camp and some all-star running.

All that being said: what the hell, September?? I survived the misery of August only to be bitch-slapped by you.

Pumpkin Spice Lattes are calling out to me but I can't enjoy them because it's still too damn hot. And the humidity... you're killing me! Recent runs have felt more Amazonian than Western Pennsylvanian. I'm still running my air conditioning (stupid 4th floor apartment).

Do us all a favor, kick in here and bring on some fall. I want some colorful leaves, some hoodie weather and some kick-ass runs, crunching through fallen leaves.

Sincerely Yours,


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ikea Half

In eager anticipation of the Marine Corps Marathon next month, I ran the Ikea Half Marathon this past weekend.

The first thing to know about this whole thing is that I am a terrible racer. I so want to have that killer instinct, that ability to run until death is a reasonable possibility... but I just don't. Soooo, try as I might to look on the bright side, I'm still fairly disappointed with my time - I really really wanted to go sub 2-hours, but it was not to be. However, I still had a really good time with the TNT gang, as evidenced by the stolen pictures below:

Less than 7 weeks until the real thing. Oorah.

Also - anyone looking for an excuse to come to Pittsburgh next spring...

Thursday, August 28, 2008


I'm the first to admit that I can be kind of hard on my sister. Truth is, I've never really understood and rarely find myself to be on her wavelength. My sister is the girl who never got over her love of pink (and I have a bubble-gum colored bridesmaid dress to prove it), loves to shop, actually wears fuzzy track suits (pink ones), hates to fly and flies off the handle at a moment's notice. She worries worries worries. Oh yeah, and she teaches kindergarten.

Now, I'm assuming that if you're reading this, we've met. I have a restraining order against the color pink, I wear the same clothes until they literally fall apart to avoid shopping for new ones, I am in the air at least a few times a month and a room full of 6-year old children is my recurring nightmare.

But back to my sister. She has always been the Princess, and this did not stop being true when she got married. I was concerned for her, concerned that as the adage goes, she was preparing to be a bride and not a wife. She's not much on compromise and she can be tough to please. She is perfectly at peace with her high maintenance level, I can only assume her husband (my beloved brother-in-law) has made his peace with this as well. Still, I worry for them.

My sister's mother-in-law passed away this week and I am writing this from Ohio where we will attend her funeral tomorrow. Tonight was the viewing and I have to say that I saw my little sister in a whole new light. She was a wife. She stood by her husband's side and greeted family and friends. She talked to the funeral director and made decisions for the family - for her family. She wasn't anyone's princess, she wasn't concerned one bit with herself, only with her husband and her family. I was so very proud of her.

On a lighter note, this is my very favorite picture from her wedding, I feel it captures our relationship beautifully:

Love you Princess!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Happy Hour!

I haven't felt like blogging lately - I'm in one of those ruts where nothing about my life seems worth even typing out. I can't seem to get anything to rise above the level of.... of.... if I type "blah" here, will you know what I'm saying?? Can't seen to rise above blah.

The one exception to this, as it often is for me: running. Joining Team in Training continues to be one of the better decisions I have made in recent memory. I have been blown away on so many occasions by the generosity of people I do not know, or at least do not know well. When I got into it, I knew I could hit up family, close friends, and some people I've worked closely with for donations. However, I questioned whether or not that would be enough to get me to my goal ($100 for every mile of the marathon). I definitely didn't expect my message/request/plea to spread as far as it did; I have received donations from people with whom I have spoken to on the phone but never met, and people who I didn't realize they even knew who I was. In as non-trite a way as I can say it - I've been really inspired by the fundraising process and it's added a dimension to the running that I would never have expected.

As way of a slightly less esoteric TNT update, I offer you party pictures. I know, it doesn't look like we're preparing for a marathon in most of them, especially the ones in which I am stuffing my face with fried cheese sticks, but I assure you that we are.
My fellow TNT-er Margo and I hosted a Happy Hour this past weekend to raise money for our marathoning endeavors:

Here is our happy hour crowd. We had a fantastic mix - parents, friends, co-workers, former hockey players, random Pittsburghers. It was really a happening scene.
As if the chance to hang out with Margo and I weren't enough, we had some pretty sweet raffles to, including an autographed MARIO hockey stick!!

Here are your adorable hosts... even inadvertently sporting our hometown colors, we are such loyal Pittsburghers. Should you see Margo out and about, please thank her; she has more than once been the reason I have finished a long run.

We raised just under $1000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, all while enjoying my new favorite drink - mandarin and tonic. Look into it, it's delicious.

Go Team!!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bluetooth or Crazy

After running a very long, very slow 16 miler today, then promptly falling asleep, the only thing not cramped up on me today are my fingers and since I cannot watch any more olympic handball, I will tell you about the game I made up. It's called "bluetooth or crazy" and the rules are very simple. When you see someone walking down the street talking to themself, you have to guess if they're wearing a bluetooth, or just crazy. It's a fun game. It's also a very different game depending on if I am at home or at work. I work downtown, so in that case, it's often "bluetooth". However, I live in the finest ghetto in Pittsburgh (thank Kendra) and when I'm there.... well, it's anyone's guess.

I invite you to try it out and see if it doesn't make your people watching adventures that much more exciting.

Also, on an entirely different note, this is the funniest thing I've seen all day:

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


You can't imagine how excited I was for the X-Files movie. I was an X-Phile before it was cool to be an x-phile (okay, okay, it was never cool). I know everything about that show - go ahead, quiz me. I know everyone's birthdates, death dates, licence plate numbers, badge numbers - I know about every storyline, every character, ever bit of black ooze ever conceived of by Chris Carter. My email address is the production company responsible for the creation of the x-files (you always wondered about that, I'm sure).

Oh my stars was that movie bad. I refused to listen to the critics; I put my fingers in my ears, sang quietly to myself and thought "they aren't real fans, they just don't understand the complex nature of the franchise like I do, how could they like it?". Friends, I could not have been more wrong. I suppose there's no point in getting into exactly what all was terrible about this movie, but let me at least pick a few things that I found to be particularly hideous:
  1. No lone gunmen. Yeah, I know, nothing.
  2. Not even the hint of any conspiracy. That's bush league, Carter, bush league!!
  3. I knew what was going on the entire time. There wasn't a single episode where I knew what was going on the entire time, that's not the x-files!! I except to be thoroughly confused and feel slightly dumb.
  4. Skinner had a cameo? Are you kidding me? It was a pointless cameo at that, he didn't even bring anything to the table - not that he had much to work with....
  5. Scully and Mulder - they toyed with the idea of them being together brilliantly for 8 seasons.... then they got together and broke up more times in this movie than I did with my 5th grade boyfriend. Ugh.

I'll bet Krycek is somehow behind all of this....

Thursday, July 17, 2008


I ran the Boilermaker this past weekend. You may recall I had some lofty goals heading into the weekend. So where to begin....

...I guess you have to begin with the beer. The Boilermaker is hosted by Saranac beer (The F.X Max Brewing Company, actually). Some races have mile markers... this race had signs that read "you're only x miles away from the beer". Nice. Also, no finishers medal, no t-shirt.... just a pint glass as a runner's gift. Again, nice. Here are some other notables, in no particular order:

  • Team Meat. I have no idea what was up with these people, but there were a whole crew of people with giant slabs of steak on their shirts - I definitely drafted off of one of them for a good mile. When I finally passed her, I wanted to let her know that she'd been towing a vegetarian, but I refrained.
  • I beat the Governor of New York.
  • The crowd was crazy; there were people drinking and grilling and otherwise rocking out... all at 8:00 am. that is one dedicated town.
  • I would like to send a personal thank you to all the homeowners who came out with garden hoses to help us on our way... mucho appreciato.
  • I would not like to thank the person who gave me the pina colada flavored popsicle around mile 6. Just kidding, it was my fault, not yours.

In the end, I didn't make my time; there was a screw up with the chips so I don't know my exact time, but it was 1:23:something. I'm okay with that.

Thanks to my parents for making the 6+ hour trip with an almost 3-year-old in tow to watch me run for less than an hour and a half. Hope the free beer afterward was worth it. You're champs!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Why you haven't talked to me

If you can believe it, the loss of my beloved Chippy hardly makes the top of the list of terrible things happening lately. In fact, his passing was but the cherry on the crap sundae that has been my June. I've had a hard time trying to write about it because I try to keep my blog light, if a little bitchy at times and some pretty serious stuff has been going on. So, I will try to capture it without trying to make it quirky or funny and without bumming everyone out too much.

First and worst of all is that my darling brother-in-law's mother has been diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer - glioblastoma. It is pretty much the scariest thing ever - there are no genetic links to it and it has no yet been traced to any environmental causes (smoking, cell phone use, etc.). Nobody knows why you get it!!! Anyway, she is going through speech and physical therapy now and will start radiation soon.

The same week that we got this terrible news, my sister and brother-in-law's (yes, the same brother) house was hit by a tornado. *insert munchkin joke here*. They are both fine, but Princess was alone when it hit, as brother was in Ohio with his family. They had to wait just to get an insurance adjuster because of the amount of damage caused in their area, but the house will be fine once everything gets sorted it.

My adorable little brother has not been spared by June either. He was holding a routine chatter-fest with my dad after a session of lawn-mowing when he gestured wildly about something and hit his hand off the still-hot lawnmower. Ouch!! He burnt his little hand fairly badly and spent some time in the pediatric burn unit. Oy. He's doing better now and has started to use it again and is back to modified hockey playing, so that's perhaps a ray of light.

Lastly, my pretend grandmother (she's not technically mine, but next time her family isn't looking, I'm stealing her because I adore her so much) had a nasty run-in with the ground and broke a hip. This led to an unpleasant hospital stay and much pain. She also has been released from the hospital but is slightly worse for the wear. Gets harder to shake things off at 89 I'd imagine. Still, she's about the toughest cookie I know, plus, she's Irish. She's golden.


All that being said, if you celebrated a birthday, anniversary, birth of a child or other event in June, I likely missed it completely. I'm sorry for that. I hope you had a great birthday, a happy anniversary, your child is adorable and so on and so forth.

Hopefully I'll be back soon with some happier news. Until then, keep Kathy, Grandma and family in your thoughts and hug everyone you love. You just never know.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Necessary Hedgie Pic

Little Chippie Hedgehog has died. I buried him in the backyard next to Potato. I’m sure they are somewhere now rolling their hedgie eyes over the stupid names I gave them. Chip is survived by the girl who fed him (chrisie), the black monster (Oedipuss), the builder of forts (Devon), and his hedgie companion (Russet). He will be missed terribly by the girl, but not so much by the black monster – who always secretly knew Chip was eating *his* food.

Chip enjoyed cottage cheese and hoodie pockets. He liked to play in forts and torment the black monster (from the safety of his cage). He was known as an adventurer, often forging new trails into the unknown territory under the couch and behind the TV.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Penguins on bikes

So many things of note, so few actual blog entries. This one is about 2 months old: I got my bike back!! You may remember something about the bikenapping of poor bikey a while back. So how about this - let me take you back to PA Primary election day '08. I was driving back to cranberry to stand at the polls and yell at republicans (not really) when my dear dear friend Emily calls to tell me that she and her beloved have spotted bikey on.... wait for it.... CRAIGSLIST. Yup, the brain trust that took my bike - in Pittsburgh - tried to sell it - in Pittsburgh. For those of you not familiar - it's a small city. So I call the cops, convince them to join me on my sting operation, and set up an appointment to purchase my dear bike. It. was. crazy. I IDed bikey and next thing I know badges and handcuffs are being whipped out of nowhere and that was that. Bikey is down some pedals, but other than that seems no worse for the wear. He and Bikey II seem to be getting along swimmingly.

What else has happened that I've likely failed to mention to everyone....

OH YEAH... the PENGUINS ARE IN THE STANLEY CUP FINALS!!!! Sadly, I was in Dallas for the game tonight, but managed to convice a whole bunch of Stars fans (and one stubborn Ranger fan) to get behind my boys. Hockey truly brings people together. I know you're wondering, and I can't really explain what happened in the first two games... lulling them into a false sense of security I guess, but we're on our game now and the Red Wings should be shaking in their little space boots.

I was camping all weekend and am now in Dallas, so if you've sent me messages or otherwise tried to get a hold of me (Pete) I will be in touch, promise.

Here's to Lord Stanley!! Game 4 - Saturday!!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Think Purple!!

I know, no updates for some time; I've been so busy I haven't had time to post to tell everyone how busy I am. However, the thing I am most excited about is this:

I joined
Tean in Training!!!

Team in Training is the brainchild of the
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The basic premise is that you train for an endurance event (The Marine Corps Marathon in my case) and raise money for the LLS. A lot of money.

I know that most of you reading were friends with, or at least knew, Knapper. We lost her nearly 2 years ago to AML, a form of Leukemia. I would like to run this event and raise this money to honor her memory, and to honor and support everyone who is fighting a blood cancer.

If you'd like to support me, you can here:, but what I think I'll need is the other kind of support - good thoughts, good wishes and a well-placed "GO Chrisie". Those can be left on my fundraising page as well, or thought anytime between now and October.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"Put little bit water on my forehead"

The title is what Carson will tell you if you ask him what "Baptism" is. He practiced in the bathtub for a week beforehand. he picked out his own tie. He was promised pancakes afterward. He was so. excited.

Little Carson has four godparents and I don't think a one of us is actually Cathollic; however, everyone else seems to be fine with that, so I won't puzzle over it.... much.

The day of the Baptism arrives:

Carson is so excited, moreso for breakfast and his balloons, but still. We get to the church and show him the baptism pool thing... he's more interested in the Easter flowers. Okay, no problem. THEN, the priest walks in. The man, though very nice, was easily 6' 10:

Carson = scared to death. He starts saying, quietly and church-like at first, and the progressively louder "I don't want to go see him". Even after beinga assured that we would all be with him, he was still having none of it. Turns out, it was a good thing there were four of us, because it took all of us to hoist him over the pool/fountain thing while his original sin was deftly washed away.

Pancakes followed. Then, a party. Now, I don't remember my own baptism, but I have many little figurines, savings bonds and 10 different children's bibles to commerorate the occasion. My, how the times have changed. This kid got toys, stuffed animals, gift cards (savings bonds for his generation, I suppose) even a card that sings, and not a bible or ceremic cross in sight!

Carson by the end of the day:

Sunday, April 13, 2008

8 Mile

So my test worked. Check it out today. 8 mile long run. I registered for the Boilermaker this week. This is the first race where I am determined that my goal not simply be "to finish". I want to finish in 1:20. There, I said it. Now pretend I didn't.

All that being said, I'm leaving the log right there, over on the right-hand side. Don't let me slack. It'll be your fault if I don't race well. It will have nothing to do with me. (I can't see your face, are you buying this??)

I still owe a story about Carson's baptism, it includes a giant priest and multiple snow globes. Stay tuned.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

This is a is only a test

I found a way to link in my running log, this is supposed to automatically update...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

NOT a post about Carson's Baptism

So, I wanted to blog about Carson's baptism this past Saturday. And I will. Unfortunately, I first have to report that someone has stolen bikey. Yup, that's right, he brought me faithfully to work yesterday, I tied him up carefully at the bike rack, and when I returned from yoga to head home..... nothing. the rack was empty. I immediately went into self-doubt mode: "did I even ride my bike to work today?" "Did I park it here?" Of course I rode my bike and of course I parked it there, I park it there every day, I have never parked anywhere else.

*Sigh*. I miss bikey. He was more than a bike... he was a friend. Okay, that's not true, he was just a bike. But he was a good bike. He got me to work every day. One time he got me to Meadville and then to Lake Erie, and he's gotten me all over Western PA (and parts of Ohio and Ottawa).

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Whatchoo got, 3/20

So it has officially been Spring for nearly two weeks now, but I rode my bike to work for the first time today and I officially have blisters on top of other blisters, IT'S SPRING!!!

Gross, huh? (Kind of awesome though too, right??)

Monday, March 31, 2008

The aforementioned "land of the living"

Two most exciting of events to report today. The first is a hockey game, the second, a lecture.

Yesterday, my parents and I took Carson to his very first Penguins game. I waas terrified. Now, I loves me some hockey, and I don't get to go to games very often, so though I love cheezy dearly, I was afraid he would watch approximately five minutes of the game and then need to be otherwise entertained for the next 2 hours and 25 minutes. I could not be more wrong. he loved the game:

he loved the jumbotron, he loved the zamboni, he loved the music, he loved Iceburgh, he especially loved the nachos:

He clapped, he danced, he wooed the ladies. It was a great game (a win), I had twizzlers, my parents got to have a good time, what more could a Chrisie ask for?

I'll tell you....

Tonight, Anthony Bourdain. Man, I love this guy. I will admit, he took some time to grow on me but I'm convinced he's a genius. He's far more introspective and intelligent than I originally gave him credit for. My bad. His lecture was great, he talked on topics from Rachel Ray to Vietnam and managed to be funny and insightful about all of them. The only thing of note, other than Tony, were the boneheads in the crowd. STOP ASKING HIM TO GET A BEER WITH YOU. The man is cooler than you and doesn't want to hang out with you. Ugh.

Good times. Good times.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Hedgehog Taxonomy and Dr. Wang

I've been hiding. I didn't really even realize it until recently, but I've been doing it for weeks. Lots of reasons, I suppose, but I was feeling particularly anxious, crazy, drained, and a little beat down... not necessarily in that order.

I think at first it was a good thing, I needed the chance to... how to say this with the least amount of hippy overtones... reconnect? Find some inner strength? Remember myself? Yeah, there's no good way to say it, it was kind of a hippy thing. Sometimes I do that. Anyway, it got out of hand. I stopped doing everything: blogging, gChatting, emailing, calling, running, enjoying things, and eventually, even leaving my apartment. Whoa. Luckily, I think I'm on my way back to the land of the living.

I threw an impromptu party Friday night, and who knew, it was exactly what I needed. I invited everyone I know over (everyone in the same state, that is) and had a crazy Rock Band party. It has been so long since I have felt a part of something, felt loved. It was great. And even if we never got through "Green Grass and High Tides", and even if my snack food offerings sucked (I told you it was impromptu), a good time, much beer and many almonds were had by all.

Today, I ran. Outside. Five miles. It was beautiful. I think I needed to prove to myself that I can make my own heart beat faster. =) I feel so so strong when I run, even when I'm slow and out of breath.

So, I'm back. I'm taking Carson to his first Pens game tomorrow and will be playing the role of Godmother at his baptism next week... Updates to follow.... slightly less esoteric ones, I promise.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

... and you don't even have to cross the street

I am in Seattle this week for the Microsoft SharePoint conference. I must say that although I have not heard any Pearl Jam, didn't get to see the Space Needle, and amazingly have only had one cup of Starbucks coffee (tastes fresher here) I am enjoying myself.

The plane rides to get here were harrowing. First a flight to DC then a 2-hour layover. THEN, a 9.5 hour flight from DC to Seattle, via Phoenix (it was like a bus, we landed, people got on and off, but I didn't get to leave the plane). Ugh. I watched "Million dollar baby".. THREE TIMES!! Don't show that movie on the plane, people, there aren't enough kleenex around! I thought the movie was sad, until I started talking to a guy who lost both legs in Iraq in 2006. Amazing guy, won't get into it, but he's having a hell of a time. If nothing else, he solidified for me that opposing the war IS supporting the troops, and if one more person tells me I'm disrespecting the troops and minimizing their sacrifice by opposing the war, they can expect a deeply felt reply. You've been warned. =)

The flights were otherwise uneventful.

The conference is a conference: lots of speeches, even more sales pitches, lots of tchotchkes, schwag... call it what you will, I'm bringing home six million pens, three bottle openers, two frisbees and a dozen or so golf tees. I love vendors!! Oh, and since it's a Microsoft conference, I got to meet this guy:

The highlight of the conference, for me, was the keynote speaker: Greg LeMond. Did you know he was shot before winning the Tour de France? I did not. They're raffling off a few LeMond bikes, keep your fingers crossed for me.

Oh, the title. I was also speaking with a native about the whole Starbucks phenomenon and he assured me that in Seattle - you do not have to cross the street to get to a Starbucks. In my limited travels through the city, I have not yet been able to disprove this statement. No kidding.

So, the hotel. I'm staying at "W Seattle". This place is so hip it doesn't even have a name, just a letter. I swear Dracula is staying here. There are no lights in the lobby/registration desk/bar... only candles. Seriously:
The hallways are lit by eerie blue lights:

My room contained a $28 bottle of water, a selection of relaxation CDs and a "Whatever" button on my phone which when I pushed it a voice answered with "good evening Miss Ambrass, what can I do for you". Whoa. This certainly must mean that the dream I had was true and I am, in fact, a rock star. Now if my entourage would just show up....

I'm out on the red eye tonight (coach class, so much for the rock star), bound for a layover in Charlotte tomorrow then home. Only to leave again on Saturday for visits with friends in Boston. (there are not words to describe how excited I am for that... but that's another blog). For now, I will continue to pretend to pay attention to the breakout session on "Governance and Administration" and look forward to one more Starbucks before heading for home. I'm sad to be leaving, we simply do not have views like this in Pittsburgh:

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"This is Myron Cope, on sports"

That's how Myron Cope ended every broadcast that I can remember. He died today and I believe I am safe in saying that my city's heart is collectively broken. This whole city mourns on Monday mornings after a Steeler loss, you should have seen it today.

My entire life I watched Steeler games with the TV volume off and the radio on - my dad and grandfather loved him. He has the most grating voice you have ever heard and Pittsburgh COULD NOT get enough of him. Everything he said was gold. I think he drove members of my generation kind of crazy, but even if you hated him, you loved him.

In 1976 he swam the Mon river (in DECEMBER) to make good on a bet and he is the only broadcaster in the football hall of fame.

Myron Cope brought us the terrible towel. Please tell me that you know what the terrible towel is... please??

He invented the towel - but the story behind it is that Myron gives all money raised from the sale of towels, over 2 Million to day, to an Autism school in Western PA. He has been doing this for over a decade now. very quietly.

If you don't know of him, there is no way for me to capture him.

I can only say that talking about him today has brought back many wonderful moments from my childhood. He encapsulated so many things that I love about this city - generosity, humor, devotion to our Steelers, loyalty, passion, brutal honesty and a fair amount of chutzpah.

How exactly do you hang a terrible towel at half mast? Yoi.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I honestly can think of few things as intimate to me as my running log. Is that weird? I think that's weird.... I would sooner show someone my scale reading or my diary or my eighth grade school picture than my running log.

I am acquainted with an above-average number of really really good runners... we're talking olympic trials material, so me and my 10:00 minute miles are easy discouraged.

Not any more!!

I'm reclaiming my slowness!

the other day I bumped the treadmill up to level 2 (9:05.. with an incline!!) and I was so stoked... then I stopped and realized that speed was still a joke to most other runners I know and my bubble was quickly burst. That's crap!! It was damn fast for me.

That doesn't mean I don't want to be faster, I'm not taking my 5K time off of my 101 list, but I also won't bad mouth myself for my speed, regardless of what it is.

I'm feeling so good about it, I may try and find a way to link my running log into this blog... how's that for accountability?

Stay tuned... I have a feeling this isn't the end of this particular rant...

Monday, February 18, 2008

President's Day Rant

Since I've been ranting more than blogging lately, I decided to at least give running a break and rant about politics for a bit. It's President's Day and seems somehow fitting. I'm also off work today and have lots of time for CNN and Anderson Cooper (I wonder if he ever calls Rawley Valverde or Lisa Ling to talk about the good old days in the "hacienda").

Since I live in Pennsylvania and we obviously don't care about politics, we haven't bothered to hold our primary election yet. This means I haven't yet had to decide for whom I shall cast my vote.

I'm still waiting for one the candidates... any of them really... to come through with some actual information. I'm so sick of everyone standing up and saying "fix the economy, fix education, fix healthcare".

HOW??? I want to see your plan. I want numbers, I want pie charts, I want details. We let our candidates off too easily. We let them off with lip service and empty promises and we focus on things like how many times they cried or what they did when they were 18. We let ourselves get caught up in the nonsense, just like they want us to, and we forget about everything that's important.
I demand more! I demand to know not just that you're going to fix it, but how you're going to fix it. nobody is going to stand up there and say "I have no intention of doing anything about healthcare". So they aren't really saying anything useful by promising to fix it.

Where is Ross Perot when you need him? Say what you want, but the man went on TV in a half hour special, and went through every aspect of our government, explained what was wrong with it, and FURTHER EXPLAINED HOW HE WANTED TO FIX IT. Come on, the man had pie charts!! We need more pie charts!!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Marine Corps Marathon II

In an attempt to not be full of $h1t, I am working on some follow through to this post.

Though there are many things I love love love about Larryville, my inability to run after work (in the dark) is not one of them. I have used this as an excuse to not run for far too long.

I joined a gym. It is only a few blocks from my office and I try to get there everyday. So far, i'm averaging about 3 days a week.... but i'm running again!!!

Running is my single favorite activity and yet it is so easy for me to get away from. That never ceases to boggle my mind. I have never ever return from a run thinking "man, why did I do that?" I always feel great, it makes me feel less anxious and happier and.... the list goes on really, but I still make excuses to not do it.

So why am I telling you all of this? Accountability, my friend. It's new and fun now, but can I make it more than a few weeks? If I keep talking about it, I feel I have a better shot. So stay tuned, and if you don't hear me talking about the miles I'm logging... call my bitch ass out!! =)

Monday, February 11, 2008

1 TB

I need a moment for a short, but necessary geek rant.

*begin geek moment*

One Terabyte. That's how much you can (and roomie did) buy in exteral storage. Don't tell anyone, but My inner-geek just died and went to Seattle.

One Terabyte is exactly 1000 Gigabytes. Does anyone else remember when there was no way in the world civilization would ever need more than ONE GIGABYTE?? It happened, I remember.

One Terabyte. It doesn't even sound real. It sounds made up. Oh, friends, I can assure you: it is very real:

Dost thine eyes deceive thee? NO! You saw correctly:

One Terabyte. Do you know what you can store on one terabyte? You could store 262,144 songs. Or 56,21,684 Documents. Or 1,062,059 Photos. The possibilities are endless when you have, at your disposal, One Terabyte of storage.

Do you know what is bigger than a Terabyte? It's a Petabyte. Yup, 1000 Terabytes is a Petabyte. After that we have Exabytes, Zettabytes and Zottabytes. It's true, I'm not making this up.

One Terabyte. Just imagine.

*end geek moment*

Thank you for your indugence.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Messin' With Texas

Greetings, ya'll, from (not so) sunny Dallas. I again find myself in this land of steakhouses and fake succulents and am still lamenting this state's forcable separation of me from my bed.

I am here to facilitate a training session about our corporate university. My presentation is one hour. Yup, sixty minutes required me getting out of my warm and toasty bed and away from my warm and toasty beloved at FOUR AM and will prevent me returning until after midnight (and that's only if everything goes well with my flight situation... I HATE being on the last flight out of the evening, but that's another story).

Sure, it was my choice to make the 3 hour flight twice in one day instead of just staying here a night or two. But, I ask you: have you ever been to Dallas?? If so, I think that question answers itself.

So I'm off, to deliver my soul-numbing power point (not that it's a bad power point, per se, but it is still power point) and my slightly less soul-numbing scavenger hunt and anxiously await the baording of my flight back to the homeland. While not presenting, I will pass the time by passing out mini snickers to people I find interesting and trying all of the creamer flavors on the beverage cart (Did I mention that my day started at FOUR AM!?!?!)

There's no place like home, ya'll.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Madigan Joelle

Anyone needing to see the most beautiful baby to come along in some time should promptly head over to and say hello to Madigan Joelle. While there you can also read the engaging tale of how Wee Lee kept her momma on her toes even from the womb.


Love and blessings to Kendra and John.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Baby Brother

*horn fanfare*

Without further ado, I would like to announce the arrival of my "new" baby brother. Though he has been with us for over two years now, my parents officially adopted Carson today.

In one bang of the judge's gavel, my sister became a middle child and I went from older to oldest. I feel it's an honorary title, but still.

To Commemorate the occassion, some of my favorite things about Carson:

  1. He gives me an excuse to build forts in the family room and eat pickles and cheese for lunch.
  2. At night he sings the "ABC" song until he falls asleep.
  3. He used to call me "Spiderman" because I taught him the "Itsy bitsy Spider" song and he had a stuffed Spiderman doll that sang the same song.
  4. He's like a parrot; he'll repeat back anything you say. Anything. It's hilarious.
  5. He likes The Shins almost as much as I do. I use it to sing him to sleep all the time.
Must send non-sappy love to my parents. It is a remarkable thing they have done and I am monumentally proud of them and hope that I have inherited even a small portion of their capacity to love.

The hearing was unceramonious and yet exciting. Some lawyer gibberish, some paper signing and lots of gavel banging. Then, the presentation of the stuffed Elmo doll by the judge to Carson. It was very sweet.

A delicious lunch followed at one of my very favorite places.

Welcome from the bottom of my heart to my new little brother!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

101 in 1001

Okay, Knitty, I'm in.

The point is that you make a list of 101 things you want to do and then you do them in 1001 days. I shall not belabor the point, full details here:

My list:

  1. Run the Marine Corps Marathon (why start small??)
  2. Go vegan for a week
  3. Run a sub 21:00 5K
  4. See Maine
  5. See Seattle
  6. Complete a sprint triathlon
  7. Be excited to turn 30
  8. Read "Infinite Jest"
  9. Make a scrapbook for Carson
  10. Become a certified ASL translator (may not be able to finish, but would like to have started)
  11. Take my parents to a Penguins game
  12. Publish a paper in a refereed journal
  13. Cook dinner for myself every night for a week
  14. Go to Italy and eat and bike and eat and bike (repeat as time permits)
  15. See Pre's Rock
  16. Throw a pot on a wheel (am I even saying that correctly???)
  17. Visit Shakespeare's grave
  18. Buy a home (*gulp*, this is getting serious)
  19. Go on an honest-to-goodness picnic (checked tablecloth optional)
  20. Eat bagels in Ottawa
  21. Buy myself japa mala beads
  22. Use aforementioned beads to find a mantra I can use when anxious
  23. Keep aforementioned beads with me to remember that I have it within myself to be peaceful and calm, regardless of my surroundings
  24. Go on a girls-only vacation
  25. Eat/drink 3 servings of calcium every day
  26. Try running in the morning at least 3 times
  27. Learn to perl
  28. Go camping with my dad
  29. Attend a service at a UU church
  30. Unplug my TV (and tivo) for one week. Repeat
  31. Organize my photos (pitch the blurry ones, you won't miss them!!!!) =)
  32. Go out to breakfast on the weekends more often
  33. Run a marathon as part of Team in Training (see #1)
  34. Make a will
  35. Talk to a financial advisor
  36. Qualify for Boston
  37. Teach Carson to ride a two-wheeler

Well, I was going to wait until I had a complete list to post it, but I guess this will do for now. Suggestions are welcome.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Marine Corps Marathon


I want to run it.

Now, as I sit here, typing this, from my bed, I have just received confirmation that I have pneumonia and I haven't run in.... yeah, I think it can be counted in months at this point.

But still, I want to run it.

Moreover, I want to run it as part of Team in Training. Great organization, more on them later.

(Stay tuned)

Monday, January 7, 2008

"Crumby Weekend"

Holden Caufield would have called this a crumby weekend. I am inclined to agree. My beloved transcendentalfish, Emerson, passed away this weekend. Dear Emerson began his fishy life in a drawer as a practical joke and has been with me for no fewer than four moves. He has been a constant in an otherwise tumultuous two years. He will be missed by all. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to "goldfish for Obama", a cause near and dear to Emerson's fishy heart. I tried to get him to at least hear Edwards out, but he refused.

As if the loss of my fish were not enough, the Steelers had to go and lose. And not just lose, but lose in a knock-out drag down fight to the death. The victory would have been sweet, my friends, it would have been sweet. It's amazing what one fourth down conversion can do to a city.... At least my Pens have a nice little winning streak going for them. There's a lot riding on you, Armstrong, you better not let me down.

The last straw, the very last straw, was the end of the pumpkin spice latte for the season. I know you're all feeling the same pain, so I won't belabor the details; I guess I should thank the vanilla latte for taking me back every year after I spend months cheating on it with a superior latte. Until next Fall, my dear pumpkin, fare thee well. (Apologies to Holden, I go and steal his sentiments, and I somehow doubt that he'd approve of my latte addiction, so I'll just throw that out there now).

A final note to those who love and care for me. When I die, please do not flush me down the toilet and then go out for pizza. Thank you.

Happy New Year!