Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas tree, O Christmas tree...

How lovely are your branches (after we wrestled you from the grasps of these fellas):

The small pile of presents that will soon multiply...

This angle makes it look more impressive and looming...

Note the kitty-fang hole in the red ribbon...

Happy penguin waves hello and merry Christmas! Despite the fake tree, it's our tree, and I love it in all its shabby baldness.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Should be interesting. We bought a small, fake tree (so sad, but we've got a small place), and immediately put it up and decorated it with all my little knick knacks from my younger years. John doesn't have ANY. So it's a little Steeler heavy.

Not two hours later, we found the tree on the ground, with ornaments everywhere, and one branch in the mouth of Ozzy, chomping hard. So now it's slightly mussed, and sitting in our guest room until we put it in our bedroom because those evil cats will take that tree down again.

Who has Christmas in their bedroom? That's weird. So Christmas morning will be sitting in our small bedroom to enjoy the tree and open presents and eat some french toast with peppermint, our Christmas morning breakfast of choice for this year.

We aren't buying each other true gifts, but we're making stockings (sort of, since we have no where to hang them), with candy and little things in it for a small surprise. We might buy the kitties some tuna, so they feel special. Or something. Yeah, they don't need much more since they tried to destroy our tree.

At least we won't be cold on Christmas, we finally broke and turned the heat on, although very low to save money. It's unseasonably cold here right now, with lows in the lower 30s, but sunny afternoons in the 50s more than make up for it. Winters here are nice...I can still go hiking without freezing my butt off.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Happiness, but something's missing...

We're happy, just him and me. Although having the cats are really great. They make us laugh, and act like they love us when really they're just happy that we feed them. And this small, two-bedroom apartment wouldn't hold much more than just us, and the bathroom could stand to be a little bigger. Mornings are a little tight, and cats weave in and out of our legs to try to trip us.

But overall, just sitting on the couch in silence, just him and me, talking about our day, watching television or anything else, is just enough. And I like not having much to think about after work, because I'm not sure I can actually think after work. I don't want to. I can't. My eyes blur over and my mind blanks out, and just last night I had to pump out two feature articles due this morning while knowing dishes needed to be done and laundry needed to be washed and groceries needed to be purchased. But I couldn't do any of those things.

But I got my articles done by 10 p.m., just in time to shower and go to bed. Can I ask where and when young couples add more stress to their lives, just because they're married and feel the need to buy a house and have 90 pets and birth children exactly nine months after they get married? Why do they do this?

It's ridiculous, truly. I'm enjoying the simple life, although not so simple, but so much simpler than so many people. And I wonder if the added stress is ever truly worth it, when we got married for just each other and nothing else. I prefer to live with a little extra time, because I don't get much, and without an overabundance of possessions that we'll never use. If I could spend all of our extra money on small trips together and dinners out, just to enjoy each other's presence, I would, and I know he would too.

Though a dog would look awful cute running on the sand right about here:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The simple life, as told through photography

We don't need to buy toys.

Pure terror.

Ozzy doesn't fit, he's too fat. And chicken.

Enjoying the fall weather with the window open.

Looks like Halloween is coming soon!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I like everything about fall

I never understand why people like summer the best. Sure, there's no school, so when you're young, that's cool. But now, I don't get a summer break, and there's almost nothing good about it. It's always hot and only baseball is going on, which quite obviously is useless to me.

But summer here is nice. The skies are always blue, it's hardly ever hot (although it did reach 90 here once) and there are fewer people on these beaches than on eastern beaches.

But now that fall is here, it's even better. It's cool, but the skies are still blue, and the leaves are changing color. Yes, we have trees that aren't made of pine, but they aren't the only kind we have, so things are still green all winter, too. It's basically perfect. It's football season, and hockey just started. We have our football bar all picked out, and the food is awesome. We just found a bar that shows a ton of hockey games, which will come in handy when the playoffs come around and Versus feels like showing MMA instead of super important playoff hockey.

Speaking of hockey, the Bobcats are 7-0. And I'm not there. I didn't get to see our banner from last year raised, and they might get another one this year. So sad we're missing out, but I have my correspondent Katie to fill us in. It feels weird that I'm not on campus right now, and John isn't coming down to visit so we could hit up hockey games, then order DP Dough. I guess that means we're adults, now.

Although he still kind of gets a summer break. Jerk. I guess I'll just enjoy fall.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Pre lives


If you were in Coos Bay for the 30th Annual Prefontaine Memorial Run, then you'd know it, too. Nearly 1400 people raced, with Great Britain and Australia represented. The guy from Australia won, sporting a rocking mustache/sideburn combo a la Steve Prefontaine. His long lost twin, I swear.

Coos Bay isn't big. At all. And people gather here from all over the world, no matter how old they are, just to pay homage to this great runner. That amazes me. Half those people out there weren't even alive while he was alive!

It's humbling, really. I don't like running. In fact, I hate it. But the dedication and love shown today as I saw Bradley Cooper cross that finish line, barely breathing heavy and completely capable of giving me a full interview directly after he finished, was just too much. All for the love of running. All for the love of one man, a man that none of these people knew personally, although I think his sister ran, and his mother was there.

It's unreal. I'll never understand the sport of running, but I will always respect it.

Pre lived again today — I could feel it.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Yay football!

Right now, we're sitting on the couch watching college football being played on a bright blue field. I'm preparing for the Civil War game on Friday night, the first of many football games for the season, and my career. NFL games starts soon.

But fall is a bit different here. It's still hot in Ohio this time of year. I'll probably wear a sweatshirt over my dress clothes to the game. The leaves aren't quite changing yet, but the air is still crisp. Mostly because the air is crisp all summer here in Coos Bay.

I was introduced at the who's who of Coos Bay/North Bend athletics luncheon today, and kind of felt like a celebrity, which John (the sports editor) basically is. Everyone loves him here, and people were so excited to meet me, for whatever reason. It seems I'm the first female full-time sports writer. Take that, glass ceiling!

Both coaches are hilarious, nice and fun. They're absolutely NOTHING like the coaches I dealt with at the Advocate. I think these guys actually like their job. And North Bend just won the league last year. Odd how that works out, when you have a coach who's fun. Rick Taylor may be my new favorite person in this town. Either way, I'm enjoying this full-time sports writer thing, where coaches and players know who I am when I walk up, and I don't have to introduce myself as 'Rachel Finney, sports writer with The World,' every time I call them.

Plus, I got free pizza topped with sausage and mushrooms.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

With reckless abandon

Or a well thought-out idea of slight rebellion.

"And though the course may change sometimes rivers always reach the sea"
"no storm or heavy weather will rock the boat you'll see"

And we absolutely love them.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


I'm an editor. Can I just say something really quick? EEEEKKK!

Thanks, I feel better.

It's only a weekly page, but it's more than I have ever done before. I'll also be heading into two-a-days next week, and "football tab hell," as John calls it, which is the time of year where we push wayyyy too hard to put together a full-sized preview of every football team in the area. Did I mention that they removed the part-time sports writing position? Because they did. 

Which means...it's just me and John. He must have had so much faith in me to do this job with him, because I happen to know that all the other people who made it to the final cut had more experience than me. He took me to lunch and literally blind-sided me with an interview in which I needed to sell him on the idea of hiring me. Something must have worked, although I may never know what it is.

Maybe it's because we have similar tastes in bad baseball teams.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Working working work

I'm working and working and working, and two-a-day practices haven't even started yet. That's next week.

Hopefully we'll find some relax time and go-to-Eugene time because we have some errands and surprises and fun to do there.

I can't complain about my job though. It pays, and I have a super duper nice sports editor who truly appreciates having me around for football season, and truly loves that football is my favorite time of the year. I'll gladly help take some of the craziness of football off his back.

Of course, it's more difficult to work when I have a cute husband sitting at home not working. :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year

And it's not Christmas. FOOTBALL AHHHHH!!!!

I'm not sure how to portray just how excited football season makes me. The air seems cleaner. The sky bluer. Sleep comes naturally, and there's always something on TV during the weekends.

I got married, moved to Oregon, went to Canada on our honeymoon and now football starts. Life couldn't be more perfect. 

If only our apartment could double in size so we could find room to fit everything we got from the wedding...

On to writing some thank you notes, the best part of being married. Right? Right?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Overworking and loving it

So the newspaper business...it wears on you. In the past week, I have definitely worked more than the 8 hours per day I'm supposed to, mostly because I didn't take lunch when the President of the University of Oregon was speaking at a luncheon nearby, or when I needed a story (or two...and a photo) done first thing in the morning and I don't get done with interviews until about 4. It's a lot of work, and most people don't realize how difficult it is on the other side of the presses.

Most of the people in that newsroom are writing for crappy benefits (that will hopefully also be my crappy benefits...I'll nurture them with care), and working many more hours than they are paid. And it's not often we hear good news from the readers. If we don't hear a complaint, we take that as a good sign. It's not often a rewarding or satisfying job, because usually someone must complain.

There are only so many hands to type stories, take photos, copy down quotes and lay out pages. We can't be everywhere at once, which means we'll miss something once and a while. Or a lot. And we might forget about that event this weekend, because the fair has taken over our lives, or football season is about to start. Please don't yell at us -- we appreciate your polite reminders, though, because we really are there for the readers and the public, whether you believe we hate you or not. We try so hard to please everybody, and even though you know that's impossible, you still complain. 

But that means your reading. And that, folks, THAT, we truly appreciate.

I actually haven't had a complainer yet, although I got one polite reminder that the newspaper forgot about a huge garden show this weekend (which wasn't even my fault). But I have heard a few raves about the coverage at The World and how well they do supporting local businesses and events. It makes me proud to be working for them, with as much as I've heard from my story subjects. Fingers crossed that my employment continues upon our return from Canada.

Man, I'm tired, and I love it so much. Thanks for letting me be in the newspaper business.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Early days

Finally John returns from the camping trip and finally we can organize the place that at one time looked like a man in his 20s lived alone with two cats. Oh wait.

The place is starting to look a little better, although maybe still a little college-esque, but we figure we'll want to buy bedroom sets and things that match, so we're not throwing money into something that we're not going to use later. Besides, I'm fine with sleeping on a mattress on the floor.

As John closes down with Summer Academy, I'm just beginning work. 40-hour weeks might be a little much right now, especially since in journalism, 40-hour weeks generally mean 45-50-hours. Especially when this is a trial for a permanent job and I have to go above and beyond. But I can see the sports writing in the distance, so I'm pushing through.

Everyone here has been so nice. We actually met a lady who owns a cute shop downtown who lived in The Dalles for 20 years, so we had a good discussion about the differences and similarities between The Dalles and Coos Bay. What a small world. My interview with a retired lady out in Allegany turned into a drive through her tiny town, meeting people and learning about the area for three hours. She was so nice, invited me inside for a Pepsi and gave John and I so many fresh veggies and garlic that we almost don't know what to do with it all!

Right now, we're just counting down the days until we get to go on our honeymoon. We definitely deserve a week away to not think about anything, but it might be difficult to put out of my mind that the fate of my job will be decided when we get back. And we still have so many thank you cards to mail, name change information sheets to fill out and so many things to switch over and share. I can see why women don't change their names anymore...not because they're crazy feminists, but just because they make it far too difficult.

We couldn't have had a better first weekend as a married couple. It's been a long time coming, and it feels so relieving, and I'm sure he would agree.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Driving home from the airport, I was sad. It was the final move to breaking away from my parents, knowing I'll only be around to visit, as all adults do when they get married and move away. It felt strange and almost crushing, especially since I was only coming home to a couple of cats.

But as I was driving home, I pumped up the Essential Johnny Cash albums as I drove through dense, wild and beautiful wilderness, felt the air get colder as I approached the coast and saw the fog roll in through the tall pines, and I knew I would be okay. Change is difficult, especially permanent change.

And as I sit in a quiet apartment, poorly lit but comfortable, and possibly too expansive for a single person, I feel the change moving through me. Although the marriage is nothing more than paperwork to announce a relationship that felt like marriage from the beginning, I feel more alive and adult than I ever have. But that doesn't mean I'm fearless.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Thoughts on marriage

We get married in a week, and many people seem to think that marriage is a chore, a boring necessity, a burden. I think the Bible says everything I feel about marriage, and I think I can speak for John as I quote this:

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love."

We are made perfect in love, and there is no fear. No cold feet, no worry, no concern that this permanent decision may one day backfire like so many marriages in today's society. No thoughts that one day our love may fade, whither up, or die. This is the best decision of my life.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tired of the Pirates not living up to Pittsburgh standards

Another trade, another day.

The story of the Pittsburgh Pirates seems to be the in-season trade. What's bothersome is that they do it with no hope for the present, and with little thought to the future, although they would say otherwise.

I called it months ago, partly in jest, hoping it wouldn't be true, but my false prophecy proved itself tonight: the Pirates traded one of the young, promising players of MLB -- Nyjer Morgan -- the left-fielder and one of the fastest men in baseball.

He's fun to watch. He enjoys the game, and has a youthful glow as he takes the field. His stolen bases ignite the crowd, and his antics win over critics, as well as his stolen bases and beat-out bunts. But here the Pirates go again, trading away the talent that appears in front of their eyes, and right to the Nationals, a team Nyjer can't be too excited about joining.

The Pirates weren't too far below .500, a win percentage they haven't touched for a record number of consecutive years in MLB. I guess that makes us the worst team in recent baseball history. And as we do increasingly well, we continue to remove the talent that has gotten us to a nearly not-embarrassing-to-the-point-of-vomiting record. Moves like this lose fans, faith, money, and even the support of the team. Check out the Post-Gazette's article on how Jack Wilson is taking it. 

He was bonding well with up-and-comer Andrew McCutchen, the centerfielder with a knack for speed and flair similar to that of Nyjer. And these smiles were bringing hope back to Pittsburgh:

When will it end? Because before we return to the storied days of old, we need to make sure we're not trading away the next Willie Stargell, Roberto Clemente or Honus Wagner.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hating big cities...

...but not Pittsburgh. That is definitely the only city I can say I would deal with living there, and not only because my sports teams are supreme. Although I'm continually amazed with how much Pittsburghers love the Steelers, Penguins, and yes, even the Pirates.

After checking out the Buccos game (which they oh-so-lovingly won for me), I saw all the Pittsburgh natives strolling the streets and the stadium, all sporting shirts from one of our majors teams, I just realized how much people can come together. I think Pittsburgh quite literally is a small town masquerading as a big city.

The cultures merging, Italian, Polish, Croatian, Irish and just about any country you can imagine -- all can be found in the Strip District. Bargaining with shoppers, hawking food and shouting about $5 t-shirts, it shows the diversity of a farmer's market and the friendliness of a southern small town -- you just feel at home, and maybe a little overwhelmed.

Driving through the Fort Pitt tunnel reveals the beautiful skyline and Heinz and PNC stadiums along the waterfront, where the historic and beloved Three Rivers Stadium once stood. The old bridges and buildings welcome you, and the city is far from trendy, yet perfectly okay with that.

So many aspects make me love that city, but it's the little things that truly steal my heart. A simple nod of understanding while walking around in a Roberto Clemente shirt -- the city knows his greatness, as acknowledged by his large statue. A smile when someone notices a shirt denouncing Cleveland -- what a healthy and lovable rivalry. The discussions over food orders in restaurants and purchases in stores -- reminiscing about one of the best years in sports for a single city, the inspiration of Sidney Crosby, the unlikely touchdown from James Harrison, the disappointment in the Pirates, but the promise that is seen in Nyger Morgan and the stability in Jack Wilson.

I tried to enjoy my latest trip like it was my last, because I very well might not make the trip to the city again, but I certainly hope I'm wrong. Columbus has never been that type of city, and neither has Cleveland or Cincinnati. With three major sports and a troubling economic history, the city has become a cultural maven with grandmotherly women talking about the good ol' days and young children crooning over their hockey autograph. I couldn't think of a better city in which to spend a summer weekend enjoying life.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Summer isn't my favorite time of year, mostly because I hate humidity and heat and sweating, but the evenings spent in my backyard are so nice and relaxing. Especially when you're goofing around with two giant doggies. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


...you just have to do what you want in life.

A lot of perspective comes while planning for a wedding, a cross-country move and a college graduation. So many little details are discussed, and so many arguments ensue. People are never happy with the way you want to do things, and you can never please everybody.

I have always wanted to enjoy a life outside of the Midwest, just to experience the world. To me, being in Ohio isn't living -- not to life's fullest extent. Many people may be happy here their whole lives -- but me? No. The world is so large, and the culture just on the other side of our vast nation is so different that I can't imagine a single person who would never want to leave a place to which they've become accustomed. Even just for a moment. It's ridiculous to miss out on life experiences just because of fear.

I've never feared getting married, sharing a life with someone, moving to a place where nobody knows me, graduating from college and getting a job. I'm young, intelligent and happy, and completely ready to take on the world. I want to experience a new way of life, and there's nothing wrong with moving away from friends and family to achieve that.

It doesn't mean you never keep in touch. It doesn't mean you never visit. My door is open, and I can't wait to show off my new home in Coos Bay. It's a constant vacation, just like when we lived in The Dalles, Ore., for a few months. Doesn't everybody deserve to live in a place where you feel a zest for life?

When you begin a new life with someone you love, it should be just that: new. I want to learn about life with him alone, learn to swim instead of sink without the backup of parents on which to lean. Family is important, but eventually you branch out on your own to create new traditions and a new home and a new family. 

Sometimes, you just need to do what makes you happiest, and overlook the tiny details that mean nothing in life. People won't remember our wedding in 15 years, but we'll still be married. I won't remember all the classes I took in college, but I'll still have the skills.

Sometimes, when you look back, you will realize that the little details didn't actually matter, despite how much time and effort you put into them. All I know is my faith and my love are unshakeable, and I plan to live life exactly how I always pictured it, despite what outside opinions and societal norms have tried to instill upon me.

"No storm or heavy weather will rock the boat you'll see."

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Basking in the glow

The road is long and difficult. Longer and more difficult than any other road in sports. The silver chalice is storied -- more so than any other professional trophy. In the middle of the season, nobody would have been caught dead predicting the Penguins in this position right now.

One year later. One lost, prima donna winger later. One coaching change later. One year older, wiser and more experienced, but still young with excitement. Young enough to fully appreciate this opportunity, but skilled enough to actually take advantage of it.

The Penguins showed their depth, the same kind of depth that announcers, sports writers, coaches and players have bestowed upon the Red Wings. Nobody talked about Max Talbot, or Jordan Staal. Everybody talked about Marc-Andre Fleury, but it wasn't positive. Ruslan Fedotenko, Tyler Kennedy, Bill Guerin, Chris Kunitz -- the smaller-named hockey players -- were the ones who vaulted this team led by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin beyond the team they were last year. Losing Marian Hossa freed up finances to pay Guerin, Kunitz, Brooks Orpik, all the players who played a significantly better game than Hossa did for the other side.

We all knew this day would come. Sidney Crosby was meant to write history. There's a reason he's been slated to win the Cup since his teenage years, a reason he's the face of the league, a reason he gets all those commercials. He may not have been the playoff MVP (an honor which deservedly went to Geno), but at 21 years old, he's the youngest captain to ever hoist that shiny cup. And words can't describe his face, and the feelings every Penguins fan felt as they watched his expressive and childlike smile spread to his teammates, with the Stanley Cup lifted high.
Until next year, boys.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Lord Stanley's Cup will be in Joe Louis Arena. This time, both teams have the opportunity to hoist it high, this time the series is tied, this time the Penguins can enact revenge. It's a waiting game. It's a patient game. It's a beautiful game. But only one team truly wins, wins it all, wins the chance to get their names immortalized on the Stanley Cup.

Nobody will pick the Penguins. This I know. But they know it, too, and so do the Wings. The Wings have always been the favorite, even before we'd played a shift.

But the game 5 shutout doesn't mean a thing. The two dominating games in Pittsburgh don't mean a thing. Neither team's season means a thing. The only game that matters comes on a late Friday evening, in a run-down city that claims the title of Hockeytown. Nobody needs to be reminded what's at stake.

Always believe.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Inspired by God

Nothing connects me with God more than wandering around in nature, and the vastness of the wilderness, sky, oceans and mountains make it impossible to deny divine creation.

First, Mt. Hood, a mountain near and dear to my heart, my soul and my previous summer internship. The close proximity, accessibility and endless beauty every month of the year never cease to amaze me. I've also explored Mt. St. Helens, but Mt. Adams, Mt. Jefferson, the Three Sisters and Mt. Rainier are on my to-do list. Do you think I have enough time in my life to experience all that beauty that God has to offer?

Nothing is more relaxing than sitting next to a bubbling Pollalie Creek (a roaring river in Ohio). I feel so peaceful sitting inches from clear, icy water flowing from a beautiful mountain, and I could eat my lunch here every day, as bald eagles and hawks soar effortlessly above and the clean, fresh air cleanses my lungs.

Hearing a thundering wall of water tumble over a cliff before it comes into sight feeds the adventurous explorer in everyone, and seeing such a powerful, yet peaceful and beautiful sight hidden well off the beaten path just cements the wonders of God. This gem hidden deep in the Mt. Adams wilderness surprised me with its girth and raw power, and its untapped beauty is unprecedented. There's no physical way of descending to the base of the waterfall, ensuring that man will leave this spot in nature to its own, creative devices.

A beach is peaceful for most people, as they gaze out into the seemingly endless waters, holding wonders that no human eyes have seen. I'll trade the popular beaches any day, where people lay lazily on the sand acquiring skin cancer, and beer bottles stick out of the sand as a McDonald's wrapper blows effortless through the crowds. Could you think of a more disgusting scene? This photo of Cape Blanco, taken in December no less, shows a beach devoid of humans, and until you've walked on a beach like this one, you haven't truly lived.

But sometimes God gets a little rough with us here on Earth. This photo was taken in Wyoming following a survival of this snow/hail storm (in August!) at high elevation. I'd rather not experience that again, but isn't it amazing to look at from a neutral standpoint far away from the state of Wyoming?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Gather your troops

This guy, the wonderful Evgeni Malkin, has thrust himself into the 8th place spot of the most points in a single post-season. The list is impressive, including greats such as Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Paul Coffey. Malkin currently has 35 points -- 14 goals and 21 assists. If the Wings can't find an answer for him, and Crosby and Zetterberg keep canceling each other out, these next few games could be interesting. But with Crosby finding ways to score, too, the Penguins are dangerous. And young. And healthy.

Game 4 was amazing beyond words. But I'm not just saying that -- I literally have no words to describe the magic I saw on that ice in Mellon Arena, and it won't be the last time Pens fans will see their beloved boys on home ice, thanks to the win.

The road will be difficult, even though it shortens by the hour. And those hours tick by slowly, as we replay Marc-Andre Fleury's amazing saves, Tyler Kennedy's well-executed goal or Sidney Crosby's game-winner. We have the talent, that we know. But we also know that Detroit has been here before, many, many times. But they haven't played against this Penguins team. Sure, they beat us last year, but this team isn't the same team. You can feel the electricity from the players and the fans, the fans that came by the thousands to sit outside the Igloo where they couldn't even see the game, just to be a part of it.

It. Will this be "it?"

Imagine how long it will take them to edit this video to fit Sidney Crosby's smirking face hoisting that 35-pound hunk of metal.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Not going to think about it

Purposefully not talking about the Pens. Because I can't think about it. It's too scary. I will say that if we play all game every game like we played the third period last night, we'd win this series easily. So that sounds like a plan.

Monday, June 1, 2009

I long for rain, pine trees and wonderful seafood

Sometimes I take for granted how much I miss the Northwest when I'm not there. How long have I spent time there, you ask? Three months last summer, and about a month visiting Coos Bay over Christmas. And random vacations. But there's no other place that feels more like home to me. I cherish it when I'm there, and I miss it when I'm not. 

I miss the hiking, the wonderful and constant smell of pine, the fact that everything is still green in the winter, fresh, live crab and fish options about 15 minutes from home, rain (believe it or not), the feel of a coastal town, the dive restaurants that always tend to beat out most restaurants in Ohio (at least in Newark), and I miss the companionship, quite obviously.

Sure, I can hike in Ohio. But I've been to Hocking Hills in every season, and I've explored every mile they can offer. I haven't begun to tap the hiking and exploring in Oregon, let alone Washington and northern California. Plus, Hocking Hills doesn't have large, flowing mountain rivers, miles and miles of pine trees and moss, beautiful wild flowers or snow-capped mountains. And it's covered with people who don't know how to respect nature's beauty, littering, smoking and toting children who run around trampling plants. Hippies or not, Oregonians (and people in the Northwest in general) love their wild, untapped land, and know how to respect it, and keep it perfect for visitors in the future.

I feel so smothered in Ohio. I like the wild and free feeling of the Northwest, where I can enjoy a bonfire on the beach, seafood dive restaurants and I can be myself in a small-town atmosphere. I've reached my peak in Ohio, and I grow increasingly bored with the state.

The need to play dirty...

...because the Red Wings are doing it right. 

I think the Pens forgot that in the playoffs, refs don't call anything. And the Wings know exactly what they can get away with. We need to learn that, and go for it, even if it's against our moral beings as hockey players, because otherwise, there's no way we win this series.

Screen the goalie, because there's no other way to get past Osgood. Especially not when they miss a million blatant penalties that could have resulted in fantastic scoring opportunities for the Pens. Lay in front of the goal. The Wings do it all the time! Why not us? As soon as the puck gets near the goal, lay down, make sure there's no possible way the puck can get through the wall of players. Isn't your goalie fat enough to do this on his own?

We need to test the waters. Throw some elbows. Toss some sticks. Push the envelope with penalties, just to see what we can get away with, because until we figure that out and start playing with a little toughness and urgency, the Wings are going to win this one, because they already figured this out a long time ago, and we all see where that led them last season.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The end of school, the beginning of life

Schooling seems to last forever. And frankly, it kind of does, considering after finishing 13 years (if you count kindergarten) you have to go to college. That's a lot of learning. How are people still so dumb? That's another discussion altogether.

But I'm almost done with school. And I couldn't be happier. I'm sick of hearing from everyone that this is the best time of our lives, and you should cherish college, and you don't want to go out into the real world, it's boring! Sick. Of. It.

How do they know what I want and don't want? I'm sorry your lives are boring, but they certainly don't have to be. My college life is boring. I go to work and class all day, then come home and, instead of making dinner and relaxing, I microwave something and do homework into the wee hours. Where's the fun? I work hard to get good grades -- so this generally continues on my weekends, with a side of hitting Lucky's for a hockey game or home to get away from Athens.

Maybe everyone else slacked off in college -- that's where the fun was. But this isn't the fun part of my life, I can feel it. Getting married in July and starting my adult job and paying taxes and bills doesn't make me a boring, old married person. I'm excited to do that. Making dinner with my husband, sitting down and watching stupid television shows, then laying around until we go to bed -- how is that not fun? I'm not doing HOMEWORK!

I want that life. I want to be young and married, sharing my growing up years with my husband, traveling as long as we're able, enjoying the outdoors, eating at fantastic dive restaurants along the Oregon Coast. Why are people so cynical?

I'm also sick of hearing from many, many people who have been married for many years that we're going to hate being around each other in about 5 or 10 years, and that we'll cherish time away. Everyone is different, and your unhappy marriage is no reason to impose your rude comments on me and my fiance. I don't care about your life, your lack of fun, respect and sex in your relationship. The aligning element to all of these people who have passed on this wise advice is that none of them are married to their best friend, someone they need to be around constantly. You talk to your best girlfriend on the phone all the time, go out to lunch and shop. The men go to the bar and watch sports and talk about sports and food. Guess what? I do all of those things with him, because we have all of those things in common. Maybe you should have considered that before you got married. Sharing things with your spouse is allowed, believe it or not, no matter what American society with their 50 percent divorce rate would tell you.

He's my best friend, and I'll be damned if everyone tries to throw our future marriage under the bus before we've even said our vows.

So despite all your amazingly helpful adages about being an adult, I'll intelligently ignore them all and live my life the way I've always imagined it. Have fun being boring.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Do you see what's different in this picture from last year? All three of them are quite exuberantly touching the Prince of Wales trophy. If I remember correctly, Sid never came close to the trophy last year, out of superstition.

See where that got us?

Seems like we've matured. We have confidence. In fact, we ooze it from our pores. We relied on luck last year to get us to the finals, where we lost to a clearly superior team. This year, there's no need for it.


Why hello again, Prince of Wales. No time to bask -- next stop Lord Stanley! Sid the Kid and Geno, the modern-day Mario Lemieux/Jaromir Jagr. They deserve their names on the Cup many times over.

Winding down

Final projects and papers, my mind is mush rolling around in my head. I have bigger fish to fry come July, and I really just wish it were July right now. Then I know I would be closer to moving on. I'm ready to close this chapter, and move onto a new one -- one that doesn't include writing a paper on a Sufi martyr or the Athens parking services.

I'm anxious. But the good kind, where I know I'm waiting for something wonderful, but don't actually want to wait for it. Funny though, the thing for which I'm anxious would know exactly how to make me calm down. If only.

If only it weren't May. If only I had tried to graduate early. If only hockey could continue for the next few months so it could occupy my time until then. If only football could start earlier so I could worry about that instead. If only schoolwork wasn't the sole thing I have to wrap my mind around. If only I weren't such an impatient person. If only I didn't depend on him for my well-being.

But I do. And for that I'm eternally grateful. If only it didn't make things so difficult right now. I could concentrate better if I had a weekend visit. I could be less irritable. I could be less impatient. But 3,000 miles is a long, expensive trek for just a few days.

I'd wait a lifetime. But I certainly wouldn't enjoy it.

Thank you

For your wonderful son, and letting him unite with Sid the Kid in a thoroughly epic combination that will surely hoist the cup. If not this year, then some year in the future.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hats off to Evgeni Malkin

Game two of the Eastern Conference Finals definitely didn't disappoint. Well, for the Penguins fans, at least. What started out as a close game of back-and-forth goals turned into a scoring contest, with my Boys of Winter coming out on top. Winning 7-4 and going up 2-0 in the series before they head south -- now that's sweet.

What's truly awesome, though, is the accomplishments of the boys. Chris Kunitz finally found the back of the net for the first time during the playoffs, and looked so happy I thought he was going to cry.

Adorable. Man deserved it.

Another great accomplishment was Evgeni Malkin's lovely hat trick. Relatively quiet during most of the series with the Capitals, Geno finally burst back onto the scene with a strong game tonight. Expect him to continue this for the rest of the series, now that he's found his groove. I wish I had a screen cap of how cute his parents were after he scored that third goal, with his dad planting a big old kiss on his mom. Such supportive parents -- they must be so proud.

One thing I noticed glancing into the crowd (aside from one of the Hanson brothers! Oh my gosh!) were many Geno for MVP signs. I love Geno, and I campaigned for him to win the Hart Trophy all season, but frankly, I'm over it. Not like I think he doesn't deserve it, but I've forgotten about it, in lieu of the playoffs. 

Ovechkin will more than likely win the trophy, and good riddance. He may be a complete tool and inadequate at playing defense, but he scored the most goals, and that's what counts to the people watching hockey and voting on it. Frankly, I value assists over goals in a Most Valuable Player because someone who wills others to score is fulfilling the namesake of the honor.

But I don't care if Geno gets it. I'd give up 956 Hart Trophies for a chance at the Stanley Cup. And the fact of the matter is, Geno still has a chance at that, while Ovie is probably golfing.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Silverback vs. the White House

James Harrison, the Steelers' defensive virtuoso and NFL defensive player of the year, will not be going to the White House on the routine, post-Super Bowl visit. Everyone is making a big deal out of this, but oddly enough, didn't care when he skipped out on the last White House visit a few years ago.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he cites a fear of flying as the reason for jumping ship on both visits. But why do people care now, when they didn't care the last time? Maybe because he's now a high-profile, and not to mention high-paid, athlete. Maybe because of his often-replayed, slow-motion touchdown return before halftime of this year's Super Bowl.

Or maybe it's because last time they were visiting George Bush, the controversial and much-criticized president, and fans figured it was okay for him to dislike Bush. This time around, that's not so forgivable, with the historic President Barack Obama thoroughly settled into the White House. Are media outlets trying to make this into a political statement? Are they reading too much into this, as they often do?

Maybe they're just bored. It's the offseason, and what else are these sports media super giants going to cover? Brett Favre might return. Manny ended up "just being Manny," and got suspended. In other news, Lord Stanley is rolling over in his grave as the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue on, passing by performance-enhancing drugs and aging quarterbacks.

A new beginning

Well here I am, a journalism major just now getting into the world of blogging. I read so many blogs, but never got around to making one of my own, mostly for the reason that I had no idea what kind of platform on which to write. I'm a sportswriter, but how many more Pittsburgh sports bloggers does the world really need? Don't get me wrong, I'll still be weighing in on my beloved Steelers and Penguins, especially now during the quest for the Stanley Cup. I have too many opinions on the public affairs of sports to not share them.

I also love food, but don't know enough technicalities to write a food blog -- all I know is that is tastes good. Travel is my other passion, and of course living in the Northwest and a soon-to-come honeymoon in August will lead to travel posts. I guess I'll just be writing about how I'm adjusting to married life 3,000 miles away from home, in a place where Steeler fans are few and far between, and it's too difficult to find a good steak for a cheap price.

But don't expect frivolous tales of my life. I'll be living with two cats and a boy who prefers to wear jeans and a Browns t-shirt over going out for a fancy night on the town. Luckily, I'm the same way, minus sporting the hideous brown and orange. Besides, Coos Bay isn't the most hopping place to be in the Northwest, and especially not when you don't know anyone your own age. Being a 20-something in a coastal town should be interesting. At least we'll have each other.