first snow

After spending Christmas in Georgia and Florida, we came back home to a winter wonderland and Gabby had her first taste of winter in Indiana. Here's a quick video... she's wearing a little dog blanket that my mom loaned us—it used to belong to our family dog, growing up in New Hampshire. It's a bit big on her, but she's just 9 months old so she might grow into it.

Needless to say, she loves the snow (eating it and sprinting through it).



Is it weird for a girl to love football so much? 

I can't help it, it runs in the family. My grandfather played in the NFL back in the day and—brag alert—was first round draft pick to the LA Rams in 1950. Following in my grandfather's college footsteps, my dad played four years at Villanova. 

Had I been born a male, I too may have gone on to be a football legend. But since we still live in a time where girls kicking ass in the sport is a rarity warranting national news, my chances were slim. Instead, I've settled for playing flag football and watching Georgia football. Lots of Georgia football.

It's hard living in Big Ten country and trying to describe exactly what SEC football feels like. 

In Athens, Georgia, Saturday is the holy day. We wear t-shirts that say things like "A drinking town with a football problem" and "The best time you'll ever have with 92,000 of your closest friends" (which is how many people Sanford Stadium holds).

We cheer just as loudly watching in the stadium as on TV. Loud enough to make it on the front page of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Loud enough to get kicked out of restaurants. 

This Saturday, we have a big game. Excuse me. A fucking big game. The ESPN crowd and Mike and Mikes of the world are surely betting against us. But I believe. 

Coach Lombardi said that the difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will. It's about who wants it the most. And we WANT it.



rest for pilgrims

A house of shelter or rest for pilgrims, strangers, etc. 

If you look up hospice in the dictionary, that's the first definition you'll find.

I learned yesterday that my grandmother is now under hospice care. She's traveled slowly down the road of Alzheimer's for about seven or eight years. 

She wouldn't know me if she saw me today. Because she lives in Maine (and because she can no longer hold a phone conversation), it's been a long time since I've seen or talked to her. 

This is my sweet Nana. I miss her terribly. I've missed her for a while, so I was a bit shocked by the fresh wave of grief when the word "hospice" came from my dad's mouth.

If anyone deserves a house of shelter or rest, it's you Nan. You've always been the picture of strength, determination, patience, tough love, and kindness. Witty. Sharp as a tack. Quick to speak your mind. A big heart and a big laugh. Hands always moving, always warm, with slight callouses from a lifetime of caring for a hospital full of patients, four children, and ten grandchildren. 

At Thanksgiving especially, I think of you. I wear the cross necklace you gave me on Thanksgiving when I was in fourth grade. I remember the holidays in Boston, all of us packed into two rooms while the rest of the house sat empty. Jumping on your couches, playing dress-up in your closet, the smell of some form of Italian food mixed with cigar smoke hanging in the air.

I'm grateful for you. In every way.


wet nose. warm fuzzies.

Morning person, I am not. And yet every morning since August, I've been waking up a bit earlier so that this fur face can have her morning walk. 

Not such a sacrifice in the summertime but recent mornings have dipped down to the 30s, with every surface covered in blue-white frost. 

It makes for a chillier start to the day, but a much warmer ending curled up with this pup. Like right now, for instance, as I type this. We're watching the Colts game on the couch. And she has the hiccups. So spoiled... (both of us).


the boardwalk

This is the Jersey Shore as I knew it. A far cry from the MTV reality show.

It's where my brothers, cousins and I spent all summer building sandcastles, chasing seagulls, and riding waves on our boogie boards. 

It's where we had to wash every last grain of sand off our bodies before we could set foot in my grandmother's beach house. 

And it's where—if we were very well behaved all week—we'd be rewarded with a night at The Boardwalk. 

Picture all the magnificence of a state fair. Picture a giant pier looming over the dark Atlantic on a warm summer night. Then imagine the two of these things together and you have the Seaside Heights Boardwalk, home of my childhood dreams. 

It's a place where your teeth feel fuzzy from pink cotton candy, and the carousel twirls like a life-size music box, and the lights live incandescent in your memory until well into adulthood.

Seaside Heights Boardwalk, 2008. Photos by my brother, Trey Pasquariello

Dawn, my favorite carousel horse since 1984.
photo credit: BrickPatch

Last week, I saw the above image on the news. The Boardwalk was another victim of Hurricane Sandy. 

So grateful that my relatives in the Jersey/New York area weren't harmed, but this does make my heart ache.

More photos of the hurricane recovery efforts in Seaside Heights and beyond are here.


south haven

In September, we ventured to South Haven, MI, a quaint beach town on the edge of Lake Michigan, to celebrate our one-year wedding anniversary. It's an easy four-hour drive north from Indy.

Too chilly for swimming but perfect for lounging at a bed and breakfast, wandering around shops and bookstores, whiling away the afternoon in a wine bar, and reflecting on what a year it has been.

view from our room
lighthouse on lake michigan
adorable B&B

sunset and storms over the lake


the [other] fame monster

Speaking of happier things... 

The silver lining of our home robbery turned out to be an 18-pound ball of fur, who's since grown into a 36-pound little monster.

This is Gabby. She likes the spotlight, or (let's be honest) I like to put the spotlight on her. Since we adopted her in August, she's become the subject of incessant Instagram-ing.

But her biggest claim to fame so far? Five seconds in the local news. Indy station WTHR ran a story on dog obesity earlier this week (yeah, not a typo, dog obesity) and while she's not obese, she happened to be at the right place at the right time (as is the story with so many stars) and made it on TV! Check it out.

Reminds me of the classic scene in TMNT II: Secret of the Ooze.

"Hey Mikey, do you think you could crunch a little louder? I can still hear outta this ear!"


picking up the pieces

I stand in my bedroom, in the dark, hands on my face, surveying the open dresser drawers, bare nightstands, and glass on the floor. The heavy July air pushes in through the open window and I hear my own voice in a manic chant, "Who the fuck steals lamps? Who the fuck steals lamps?"

It's been said that nothing bad can happen to a writer, because everything is material. 
In other words, catastrophes make for interesting stories. 
I can't disagree.

In mid July, Ryan and I traveled to a sleepy mountainside in southern New Hampshire to see my best friend get married. It was breathtaking [photo as evidence]. 

Days later, we arrive home after midnight. We'd driven to the airport separately, and so Ryan pulls into the driveway maybe a minute before me. I cut the engine and start to step out of the car when he asks, "Did you put something in front of the door before you left?"

Me: "No. What are you talking about?"
Him: "Did you leave a light on?"
Me: "No," racking my memory and at the same time fighting the immediate dread that pulls at my throat.

Him: "I just tried the door and it won't open."

We walk together around the front yard and see nothing. We walk into the backyard and notice a small silver-colored stake sticking out of the grass.

"What's that?" I'm asking at the same moment my eyes dart up to the back of the house. Light shines out through the shattered window.
We'll later realize that the metal stake is our curtain rod.

Adrenaline tells me to run, and I do. I grab my bag (phone inside), and then I'm standing at our neighbor Jerry's door, trying to knock in a non-frantic way but failing as my knuckles hit faster and faster to no avail. 

In the background I hear Ryan on the phone with 911. I'm pleading with him to walk away from our house, to get out of sight, imagining the intruder running toward us, gun raised.

Minutes later, three cop cars appear. They search the house, find it empty, then ask us to identify what's missing.

And that's where this story began. Me, in the bedroom. Our bedside lamps missing. I'm staring at a naked pillow, whose case was likely used to carry my jewelry box, laptop, our knife set, DVD player, and iPod dock. Our kitchen stools are gone. The table that matches was left behind in the hallwaypropped against the door—which explains why Ryan couldn't open it in the first place.

An hour passes. The police take photos. Search for fingerprints. Bear witness to me collapsing in the kitchen when I realize that, with my computer gone, I'm missing years of photos and writing. Then they're gone as quickly as they came, and Ryan and I are left.

Fear is a terrible emotion. I'm scared to stay at the house, but scared to leave it again. It's a feeling that lingers for weeks.
But as we lay wide-eyed in our own guest bedroom that night, tucked away in the basement, he wrapped his arms around me and whispered, "Tomorrow, we'll start picking up the pieces."

And we have. In the months that have passed, we've replaced what we could. I still miss the irreplaceable things—my mom's rosary beads, my aunt's earrings, etc.—but remind myself that they're only things. Then I remind myself that karma is a huge bitch, and someone out there has one hell of tidal wave headed their way.

I've neglected to blog since this incident, knowing I had to write about it and also knowing it would force me to relive it. Even now it makes my heart pound. But now it's done, down and out, and we can move on. Here's to happier things.


doggie DNA results

The Humane Society thought she was part German Shepherd
The vet thought she was part Doberman
The husband thought she was part Beagle.

...want to take a guess?

Turns out our little pup is an American Bulldog/American Staffordshire Terrier mix. The mix part could be anything from Chow Chow to Saluki (never heard of it). Completely amazed that they can trace back to GREAT grandparents!


pup + harmonica

What a weird month it's been. Until I have the stamina to write it all down, I'll just post a cute video instead. Sorry?


can't keep it to myself

My Dad sent me (and a long list of others) this email today:

I received a text from our son Nick today. Who most of you know is a Mechanical Engineer at Georgia Tech.

"Dad, I never realized how much I learned from you. No one else on my team really know how to use power tools or about pilot holes and stuff like that. Thank you. Love you"

I responded back to him… "And I have learned a lot from you also. Love you too"

Life just keeps getting better.

Wish I could tell you how happy this makes me. It was just too good to not share.


talking and rocking

"My uncle says there used to be front porches. And people sat there sometimes at night, talking when they wanted to talk, rocking, and not talking when they didn't want to talk. Sometimes they just sat there and thought about things, turned things over..." -Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Oh friends, I wish our front porch was big enough to fit you all on it! This has become my new favorite place (when it's not 100+ degrees, I should add) for talking on the phone, reading a book, or just sitting and rocking. 

It's not completely done—still looking for a few plants to spruce it up, and as you can see in the photos, the baseboards are a work in progress. But the hard part—flooring and furnishing—is finished.

The "before" photos are posted here.

stumbled across these beanbag ottomans and couldn't say no

cracker barrel rockers... worth it!

love the old-timely beadboard ceiling

my grandmother's old shelf with mini-vases from my mom

what porch is complete without a handy bottle opener?

awesome old milk jug, another gift from mom

holds all the magazines i never get around to reading
"before" shot of the magazine table; $12 antique store find

NOT our house, but my inspiration; our honeymoon resort!


i don't like mad men (gasp)

For years, I've heard people rave about it, and for years I've avoided getting sucked into yet another series. But I finally broke down and starting watching Mad Men a few weeks ago. I've made it seven episodes, and I have to say... I probably won't be watching any others.

I know, it's sacrilegious, especially because I work as a copywriter in the advertising industry. It should be right up my alley... but I just don't find it very appealing. Everyone's either an asshole or chicken shit. There's not a single character I actually like. 

Oh well. I tried. That just leaves more time for Downton Abbey.



Running on empty? Not such a good thing. An empty inbox? A good thing.

I'm overtired and under-prepared to board a plane tomorrow morning (a mere 8 hours from now). Instead of packing, I spent this evening purging my work emails so I'll have a clean slate to return to.

Looking forward to digging my toes in the Florida sand, seeing my family for the first time since Christmas, and spending a first vacation with my husband, parents, and brothers all under one roof.


napa recap[a]

our adorable [rented] adobe
...lame rhyme. Couldn't help it.

In April, we made a little getaway to Napa Valley. We flew from Indiana to San Fran on Friday, met up with friends from Georgia, rented a minivan (oh yeah), and traipsed 90 minutes northeast to Napa.

We stayed in this impeccable little bungalow (owned by Bill and Paul, a fab couple with fab taste).

Toured a few wineries—among them, Beringer, Mumm, Joseph Phelps, Louis Martini (favorite), Sterling, and Silver Oak.

We even saw some redwoods and hiked the valley. Wonderful food, wonderful company, and perfect weather made for two very happy travelers.

the view from joseph phelps winery

the mumm sparking wine estate

drip coffee at the oxbow public market

group shot!

the not-so-newlyweds
posing with the iron man and his wheelbarrow 

a game of bocce
the necessary photo op

hiking the valley
fresh off the vine