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Status Update

Dear Friends and Readers of SARD,

I know I’ve been Missing in Action for quite an extended period of time now. I needed and still do need a break from the blogging scene.

Thank you to everyone who’s inquired as to my whereabouts. I’m here. I’m just sorting through a lot of stuff right now and have had to reprioritize my commitments and also recovering from a bad bout of the flu.

This blog will not die. Just a sabbatical if you will.

Be well and I’ll be back.

– Blondie

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I’ve been offline for a while, so very little opportunity to blog. But no worries, I’ve got all your rugby goodness before the weekend starts.

On a totally unrelated note, I’m listening to Radio Margaritaville right now. And it’s awesome. I’m a big Buffett fan, but never check out the radio show until today and they stream it free online. Plus, it’s not just Buffett music, it’s a great mix of all kinds of artists. I thought it might lighten up my work and it is.

Too bad I don’t have a tasty margarita to enjoy while I listen.

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Sweet 16s

In case everyone thought I was in this big philosophical bent … here’s some rugby …

Via USA Rugby’s Women’s Club Championships page …

2007 Seedings
1 Northeast #1 New York
2 Pacific #1 Berkeley All Blues
3 Midwest #1 Minnesota Valkyries
4 South #1 Atlanta Harlequins
5 Northeast #2 Beantown
6 Midwest #2 Twin City Amazons
7 Mid-Atlantic #1 Philadelphia
8 Northeast #3 Keystone
9 Mid-Atlantic #2 Washington Furies
10 Midwest #3 Chicago North Shore
11 Mid-Atlantic #3 NOVA
12 West #1 Kansas City Jazz
13 Southern Cal #1
(Belmont over Austin) San Diego Surfers
14 Pacific #2
(ORSU over Scottsdale) ORSU
15 West #2
(Jazz (W3) over Boston) Glendale
16 Pacific #3
(Mudhens over Wisconsin) Emerald City Mudhens

And the schedule for next weekend …

Saturday, October 27
Game 1: 9:30 am: Beantown v Kansas City Jazz
Game 2: 10:00 am: San Diego Surfers v Atlanta Harlequins
Game 3: 11:00 am: NOVA v Twin City Amazons
Game 4: 11:30 am: Minnesota Valkyries v ORSU Jesters
Game 5: 12:30 pm: Philly v Chicago North Shore
Game 6: 1:00 pm: Glendale v Berkeley All Blues
Game 7: 2:00 pm: Washington Furies v Keystone
Game 8: 2:30 pm: New York v Emerald City Mudhens

Sunday, October 28
8:30 am: Loser Game 1 v Loser Game 2
9:00 am: Winner Game 1 v Winner Game 2
10:00 am: Loser Game 3 v Loser Game 4
10:30 am: Winner Game 3 v Winner Game 4
11:30 am: Loser Game 5 v Loser Game 6
12:00 pm: Winner Game 5 v Winner Game 6
1:00 pm: Loser Game 7 v Loser Game 8
1:30 pm: Winner Game 7 v Winner Game 8

Good luck to the Minnesota Valkyries, Twin Cities Amazons and Chicago North Shore in your games. Go Midwest!

That said, I know I have readers from just about every team on this list, so to everyone … GOOD LUCK and KICK SOME ASS!

I really don’t have any favorites. But I’ll tell you what, I bet the Amazons are going pretty far this year. I’ve still got a bruise fading from that game. And I hope the MN Valks can return to finals again.

If you have any news to share or last-minute fundraisers to announce related to your upcoming games, let me know …

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My sister and I rented the movie “300” last night.

Worth watching, if you enjoy a war-action-macho flick.

Also worth watching if you enjoy totally ripped nearly naked warriors battling to the death.

My sister and I are definitely in the latter.

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Goodbye Vacation … Hello Work and Rugby

My parents and I got home late Monday, maybe 7 p.m. We spent roughly nine hours in the car driving the interstates of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and good ol’ Wisconsin on our last day of vacation for the journey home.

Saturday and Sunday was spent exploring Washington, DC … and getting lost. I was very angry with DC for it’s lack of proper street signs, directional aides and overall discombobulation. Just when I finally figured most of it out, we had to leave. Next time DC, next time.

Saturday, we hiked around Arlington National Cemetary because my dad had never been there. Good views of the city and I enjoy the history and importance of seeing JFK’s eternal flame, General Lee’s former home and the tomb of the unknown soldier. It was hot as hell though, 98 degrees! By the end of our walking, all of us were soaked and melted into puddles. We had to sit down in some AC and collect ourselves before our next destination.

We opted to visit the National Zoo next, rather than motivate ourselves to see more memorials that afternoon. We got lost (again), kind of, then found some lunch and then found the zoo. The good thing about visiting DC is that almost everything is free to see. We only ever had to pay for parking at places, which was cheap, even if hard to find.

The zoo was very nice and very hilly. It’s set in a large forest preserve and winds downhill to all of the various displays. Nice big areas for the animals (mostly) lots of vegetation, trees and unique areas for some of the monkeys and oranguatans. There is an area where small golden monkeys are allowed to just live in the trees in the park, so not caged in at all. My dad didn’t believe the “Watch Out for Monkeys” signs though.

The orangutans are also allowed to use the “o-line” which are a series of towers and cable “vines” that let them move from their home compound to a learning center compound, but up above the people and with no risk of escape. Sadly, it was after hours for the o-lines so no orangutans were climbing above us.

Highlight – In the Invertbrate building, my dad asked the zookeeper about one of her fish tanks and got to go back and talk fishtanks (his passion) in the back non-visitor area for nearly 20 minutes. My mom and I waited and watched this huge leafcutter ant display while we waited (those ants are busy!).

My favorite display was actually a Lemur (small monkey-like animal) display, but there were no lemurs on the little mountain surrounded by a pond. But in the pond, dozens of little painted turtles were swimming around – big and small. They swam up to you when you looked over and swam all around. It was really cool.

And we did eventually see the Pandas. Almost every animal in the zoo was staying indoors because of the heat, so when we finally found the Pandas, they were napping, except for the young panda who was happily munching into some Bamboo.

Again, after the zoo, we were beat from the heat, humidity and walking everywhere. But we went to go find the National Cathedral because my mom wanted to see it. And it was truly awesome. And we had the whole place to ourselves right at sunset.

It’s a incredibly large gothic cathedral up on a hill near some quieter streets, with huge stained-glass windows, gargoyles, stone arches. Next to it, we found a herb cottage and a beautiful herb garden with boxwood hedges, flowers, herbs and little brick paths winding around benches and statues. We spent quite a lot of time admiring both the cathedral and the gardens near it to end our day.

Sunday, my father decided that he did want to visit the Vietnam War Memorial Wall, after initially thinking he didn’t. My father is a Vietnam War Veteran and served as a jet engine mechanic in the Navy and rode in helicopters to pull combat troops out of jungle throughout the war. The Vietnam War is a defining experience in his life, so the wall would be emotional for us if we went.

He had brought along a new special leather vest he recently purchased which features a large embroidered map of Vietnam on the back, “Vietnam Veteran” on a banner and all of his tour of duty flags, P.O.W. Remembrance patches and other memorial symbols. So he put on his new vest and we went to go visit the wall first thing on Sunday morning.

Needless to say, it was an emotional experience. Even for me, someone who wasn’t even a thought in my parent’s minds during that time of their lives. The wall is beautiful in it’s simplicity and heartbraking in the more than 58,000 names of soldiers who died in that war. A park ranger helped my father find the area of the wall where soldiers were listed who died while he was in Vietnam and we just spent time walking around looking at the whole area. After we were done, I was glad that we had been able to see the wall for my Dad.

We visited the Lincoln Memorial next – the one memorial I really wanted to visit – and despite hundreds of other tourists swarming all over it like ants, it was really cool. I’d love to see it someday on a really quiet day, when I could walk around that huge building by myself. I love how Abraham Lincoln and the entire building are larger than life-size. And how he’s just sitting there gazing across the city towards the Capitol.

We wrapped up our morning of memorials with the Korean War Memorial (very cool, with the soldiers walking out of the woods), the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial (very zen, with the stone, water and quotes) and the World War II Memorial (I liked the stone wreaths of oak leaves and wheat stalks). And then finally, we did not get lost as we drove out of Washington, DC to head home through Maryland and West Virginia.

Like I posted earlier, we stopped in Ohio to sleep after driving though the mountains of Maryland and West Virginia. Ate lunch at a nice little restaurant called the Crabby Pig in Cumberland, Maryland, up in the mountains too.

Overall, not much else to see on the way home. Ohio was fairly hilly then leveled out into the lovely flat cornfields of Indiana. We deduced that we would hit Chicago’s borders right at rush hour – Not Good! – and developed our plan of attack for avoidance of rush hour hell. Which worked pretty well and included stops at Starbucks and White Castle for “sliders” as my dad calls them.

Looking back, I really enjoyed the whole trip. Sure, sometimes we got on each other’s nerves but it was pretty fun and memorable. And relaxing … nice to not worry about anything else for a few days.

Yesterday, back at home, fairly well rested and back to work. Then we had our last free women’s rugby clinic with some new faces showing up, including a 44-year-old mom who wanted to try something new and meet new friends.

We have our Stuart Daily Memorial Tournament this Saturday (women’s 7s teams, $175!) and team practices officially start Tuesday. Even though I feel like we’ve been going already.

I have a megaload of work projects and I want to keep recruiting hard for our team, since the more players we have, the less we have to worry about this season. Our team’s in super flux with a lot of veteran players hitting the time of their lives where life decisions are made and rugby takes a backburner. And then I remember that despite what the t-shirts say, rugby isn’t life. It’s just a sport. And the team has been going for 30-some years, it’ll keep going somehow.

No worries, right.

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Baberham Linkin’

Yup, cleaning up the links … and my favorites list.

I have this habit of saving sites as favorites as I surf so I can pass them on, but I ultimately forget and than have this crazy mix of links on a mess of topics.

So, I’ll share them here with you …

• An MP3 of the dreaded Beep Test for you masochists out there.

• A list with photos of the 10 most magnificent trees in the world. I like the Baobabs the best. They remind me of the book, The Little Prince (aka Le Petit Prince).

• An internet search engine that helps charities raise money. Good Search.

ACL injuries growing problem for young female athletes … “Girls four to eight times more likely than boys to injure anterior cruciate ligament”.

Media images stereotype girls, foster violence in men, say speakers

Girls are bombarded by advertisers with images of princesses, fairies, and things that are sexy, pink, and glittery, and this entrenches stereotypes of girlhood, according to Sharon Lamb, co-author of Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters from Marketers’ Schemes.

The message is that girls gain power by being sexy and pretty, Lamb said during an all-day conference promoting media literacy on March 30 in Bishop Center.

The conference, “The Mass Media, Children, and Values,” was sponsored by the Neag School of Education.

Thomas Goodkind, a UConn professor of curriculum and instruction, coordinated the conference, which is in its fifth year.

Lamb is a clinical psychologist and a professor of psychology at St. Michael’s College in Vermont.

“The term ‘Girl Power’ is used over and over in marketing,” she said. “In the ’70s, Girl Power meant that girls could enter into all sorts of careers.

Today it means something entirely different: Marketers use it to mean the power to shop, the power to attract boys, and the power to choose among different types of girls to be.

This boils down to two types: a girl can either be for the boys, or one of the boys.”

• Related to the last article – Media musings: Imus a part of relentless devaluing of women

If the Don Imus situation made one thing perfectly clear, it’s that race is an easy topic of discussion in this country and particularly for the media.

Oh, I don’t mean easy in that there are easy answers and simple situations. It’s that race is such a simple way to polarize people that the media become the lighter fuel in the discussion as much as a conduit for clear discourse.

On the topic of gender or sexism, however, the media can be the bucket of water on the coals instead.

That was clear in the whole Imus mess, when much of the public discussion became about race and not the insults these young women endured because they were, well, women.

“Had Don Imus said, Boy, that team’s full of a bunch of sexy babes,’ we would not be here,” said Mary Jo Kane, director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport at the University of Minnesota.

• I need this soap.

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