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!"