Before and After (or During)

I know you're probably all sick and tired of my WW posts (as this is the 3rd in a row). But I just came across a couple of pictures that demonstrate how far I've come. And while you may not need to see it, I do. This is more for me than it is for you. I need to see the progress I've made. I'm hoping that it will either encourage me to keep going or at the very least, allow me to give myself a break because I have kicked some weight loss ass and there is nothing wrong with how I look right now - even if it is still considered to be very overweight by most standards.
(Fuck the standards...)

January 21st, 2009. (5 weeks after having a baby):
June 5, 2009 (5 months, 3 weeks after having a baby):

The difference is about 22lbs. I'm only 5"2' so the loss on my small frame shows up more. Particularly on my face. And clearly I've been out in the sun a little too - which always helps. If I'm ever lucky enough to be pregnant again, I think I might pop in to the tanning booth once in a while.


I feel the need to come clean about something...

I went and wrote that last post about how la-tee-dah wonderful Weight Watchers has been and how I've lost X amount of weight so far and I blathered on about all my "tips" for following Weight Watchers while being a busy mom and I'm sure you all felt so inspired by me (sure you did) and you probably went out and bought a Weight Watchers subscription if you didn't already have one.

But then after I wrote that post, I kind of... waned. And I will do that from time to time (I think it helps me to continue) but this time I thought about throwing in the towel completely. I don't know if it was the 10 points that I had to cut off my day when I stopped nursing two weeks ago, or the fact that I started jogging every morning before Steve goes to work (or perhaps a combo of the two plus a few other factors) but dudes, I hit the wall. And I hit it HARD.

My energy last week was next to zero. And I was miserable. I was HUNGRY. And the measly 23 points that I get to eat in each day was NOT cutting it. Not at all. And I was so tired - all day long. I just wanted to not worry about stupid Weight Watchers. I just wanted to eat potato chips and drink beer on my deck with reckless abandon.

And so I kind of just let it go for a little while. The determination, that is. I just couldn't pull it off. So while I didn't go hog wild and make a pig of myself, I did eat a big steak and a giant fluffy, cheesy stuffed potato. I ate those potato chips I was wanting, and yes I drank my beer without counting (2 points, 2 points, 2 points). I may have consumed a few other odds and delicious ends as well. And I didn't feel bad about it. I felt like I needed it!

Then I started thinking that maybe I should "save money" and cancel my online subscription and just do the plan "on my own". I mean, if anyone knows the plan inside and out it's me. Why do I need to pay for the online program? So I signed into my account yesterday to cancel the whole thing, and what did I find? That I was a couple days too late, my subscription was auto-renewed for another month, just three days ago.

If there is anything I hate (besides being fat), it's wasting money. Especially when money is tight (like when on maternity leave). So.... *deep breath* this means that I need to give myself a pep talk, go out and get some good groceries, and get recharged and re-inspired and commit to fighting this fight wholeheartedly for at least one more month.

Not sure if this was a sign from Fate that I need to keep on keeping on - but that's kind of how I look at things. So I'm glad I had my potato chips and beer and steak and fluffy, cheesy stuffed potato (and the McDonalds cheeseburger and fries - THERE I SAID IT!!), because now I can start fresh - hopefully with minimal damage on the scales and maybe lose a few more pound before I fall off the wagon reassess the situation again next month.


I've lost almost all of the 68lbs that I gained during my pregnancy (including the baby) and would like to keep on going. Funny, with all my issues around weight - I don't feel terrible at all about the amount of weight I gained during pregnancy. I feel like I looked good. I didn't look overly "fat". And I enjoyed every little bit of food that I ate. I made sure of it. My motto was this, "If there's ever a time when I should enjoy what I'm eating - it's now." And so I did. Besides that, I knew I would work my ass off (literally) to lose it once baby was born. And I did. Six months later, I'm in my pre-pregnancy jeans (actually almost missed wearing them as they're getting a little loose already). That's a huge accomplishment considering how much time I do not have to spend on fussing over what I eat these days.

15.6 of those 68 pounds have been lost since starting Weight Watchers online back in March. That was when I decided I needed the little extra help/push/motivation/structure that Weight Watchers provides. Well, and you people also "encouraged" me in that direction.

I've never been a fast weight loser, but I am a steady and determined one. And as long as I don't get frustrated with losing slowly, and stay focused (yet still allow myself to "stray" every once in a while), I can and will do this. Proof is in the pudding (although I'm not crazy about pudding)

I know I've picked up a few readers along the way that are also doing the whole WW thing - and some I know who are wanting to start and are looking for some encouragement. I thought I'd do a post about food that I like and stuff that works for me.
I've got a slightly different spin on what I eat these days since I'm now a busy mom who doesn't have a lot of extra time to fuss over stuff (except for when I'm occasionally blessed with an extra long baby nap).

So just move along if you're not interested...

Since I am now busy with taking care of a 6+ month old baby, and have to make sure she's happy and fed and clean before I can worry about myself being happy and fed and clean - I've had to learn some shortcuts when it comes to doing WW and preparing meals.
The first thing that I do? Stock up my freezer with points friendly frozen meals and frozen veggies. I know that eating frozen meals is not ideal, but if you're in a hurry, sometimes having a quick meal to throw in the microwave can be a life saver. Frozen veggies are also very handy when you're in a hurry to prepare a meal and are short on time and can't get to the store to get fresh. Costco sells a giant bag of green beans that are really very delicious and inexpensive.

I also make sure I keep a container of grated light cheddar in my fridge at all times. (1oz = 2 points)I use it to top my steamed veggies, to add to a sandwich, or breakfast. So handy. I bought one of those cheese grater/container all-in-one things at Ikea. Best invention ever! And cheese that is grated seems to go farther than if you are slicing it. Seems like you get more. Or maybe that's just me.
I also keep a small dish of chopped up green onions in my fridge. Chopped green onions are delish, and add such nice flavour to so many things. Like eggs. Or as a topping for baked potatoes. It just makes things taste a little nicer and a little more fancy looking.

I also like to keep a couple boiled eggs on hand in the fridge as well. Only 2 points on their own. Or they are also great sliced on a piece of toast (3 points total) for a low point breakfast or a good snack.

Another great idea is to buy those already cooked whole chickens from the grocery store. When I get them home I "disassemble" them while they're still warm (they come apart easier when they're warm) I toss out the skin, and remove all the meat from the bones. I keep the chicken meat in a container in the fridge for snacking or sandwiches or whatever. This is also an easy-way-out dinner.

Here's some of the stuff that I like to eat:


I always eat breakfast - usually something with eggs. Eggs are satisfying and give me energy. One of my fave breakfasts is a breakfast sandwich. I use 2 slices of the Weight Watchers bread, toasted. I scramble one egg with some chopped green onions and throw in one oz of chopped up Schneider's Fat Free Ham (super low in points - 2oz = 1pt). Top it with 1/4 oz of light cheddar (that's all you really need) and voila! You have a breakfast sandwich for only 4 points:
I would normally make that while the baby is having her first nap of the day. But if by chance, we're not into napping that day - or I'm too busy to "cook" something. I have a standby - in the freezer. President's Choice Steel Cut Oats with Blueberries. I get it at Superstore (freezer section). This oatmeal is ready and prepared -frozen in a bowl and it just pops in the microwave for 3 minutes or so and then you have a delicious, nutritious bowl of steaming hot goodness. (If I'm needing a little extra sweetness, I sprinkle some Brown Sugar Twin on top - 0 points.) If you throw in a glass of Tropicana Orange juice, the whole breakfast is only 5 points (3 for cereal, 2 for juice). AND you get in a serving of fruits/veggies.


Lunch can sometimes be a tough one for me. I find that making a good sandwich usually costs too many points, and a lot of the time I'm not really all that into sandwiches anyways. I kinda like warm lunches. One of my long time favorite things to make (if I have time) is a piece of Highliners Wild Salmon with Dill Sauce (also comes in roasted garlic sauce and teriyaki sauce) and a side of steamed broccoli and cauliflower with 1oz of grated light cheddar melted on top. 5 points for the whole meal. The dilled salmon is only 3 points per fillet. They come frozen and you bake them. If I had a few extra points to spare, I might throw in a half cup of rice for an extra 2 points. Here's a picture of my actual lunch today:

And the box they come in:

If I'm short on time (and even if I'm not) - I have found the Weight Watchers Santa Fe Style Rice and Beans (Smart Ones frozen entree) to be so delicious and comforting and just ohhhh soooo good. It's cheesy and tasty and... gah! My mouth is watering thinking about it. Sometimes I'll steam up some broccoli and cauliflower or green beans and throw it on the side to get in some veggies. The Santa Fe Style Rice and Beans entree is 6 points. So worth it. The picture on the box does not do it justice.

I sometimes also buy the Eating Right (Safeway), Italian Chicken Tomato Lasagna. Now usually I despise pre-packaged, frozen lasagna (or any tomatoey meal for that matter). I think it tastes... well... pre-packaged. But this stuff I do not mind. Not at all. It does take about an hour and a half to cook - but I usually bake it one evening or afternoon while I'm doing other stuff and then cool it and put it in the fridge for quick and easy lunches for a couple of days. It's only 4 points per cup.

Note: It does not look like the picture on the box when it's cooked. But it still tastes good.

I'm a big fan of the BBQ. We eat a lot of grilled chicken and grilled lean pork in this house. A standard dinner here usually consists of grilled chicken/pork, baked potatoes topped with fat free sour cream and chopped green onions (No Name brand makes the BEST fat-free sour cream. I would know, I've tried them all). I always serve some sort of veggie on the side, usually green beans (because they're my fave), or broccoli/cauliflower. Sometimes carrots grilled on the BBQ in a foil pack with just a little bit of cooking spray, a sprinkle of salt, and a sprinkle of Brown Sugar Twin.

Sometimes I also cook baby potatoes in a foil pack on the BBQ, with sliced onions and whole garlic cloves in the pack with a little cooking spray and a sprinkle of seasoning salt. They come out so delicious!

Quite often I also fry up some sliced mushrooms in a frying pan with a little cooking spray and some seasoning salt. 0 points and they make your dinner go farther - not to mention that they are delicious.

Sorry, no dinner pictures (I guess I'm too hungry and busy at dinner to take photos)


Snacks get me through the day. If I didn't snack, I wouldn't make it. I have a few low point snacks during every day. Mostly pre-packaged stuff cuz it's easy to grab. Here's a few that I love...

First up - Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwiches. So so so good. IF you buy the vanilla ones. (The chocolate ones don't taste like chocolate, they taste like chemicals). These are a decent sized ice cream sandwiches and they are only 2 points each. Perfect for a hot sunny afternoon or evening:

I also love Kellogg's All Bran Bars. They really do taste good, people. Well, to me they do. And they are also only 2 points. Sometimes if I'm not too hungry in the morning, I will even have one of these for my breakfast. They're great with a nice hot cup of black tea:

Also good with a hot cup of tea - or coffee - are Fibre 1 "Oats & Chocolate" bars. Oh my god, good. They are chocolately and just the right amount of chewy. 5 grams of fibre per bar - yet they do not taste "fibre-ey". So good in fact, that I buy them by the case at Costco yet they mysteriously disappear from the pantry at an alarming rate... You know, the same way bacon does?? Again, only 2 points each:

I recently discovered Weight Watchers Chocolate Chip cookies. I was totally leery to buy them because sometimes Weight Watchers products are kind of... meh. (Like their snack cakes - don't waste your time/money/points) But I went out on a limb and bought a box of these cookies (Safeway, bakery section). SO. GLAD. I. DID! They are a perfect little treat/dessert! And get this, they are only 1 point! They contain 4 grams of fibre per cookie and they're a decent size. (On a related note I see that Steve has discovered my stash of them. I must find a new hiding place)

My other 1 point pleasure? Microwave popcorn. Since everyone is getting on the 100 calorie snack package bandwagon - popcorn now comes in 1 point snack bags. My favorite is good old Orville Redenbacher's Smart Pop. (Remember, only the 100 calorie bags are 1 point each). Sometimes I will also sprinkle vinegar on my popcorn for some extra taste - but beware, that isn't for everyone.

I am not a big fruit eater. I don't like apples - I do like applesauce (and incidentally, apple pie). I buy those little snack packs of unsweetened apple sauce. They're 1 point per cup. Good for getting a serving of fruit/veggies. Easy to grab in a hurry. And for some reason applesauce carries my satiety a little further. You could also stir a package of this into a cup of instant oatmeal in the mornings for a nice warm breakfast.

That's all I have for now. All this food talk has made me hungry and the baby is now awake from her nap.

Perhaps there's another WW post in the future.

Today's Tip

Today's tip is for those who are out there enduring the 9-5 grind: Never, ever, nevernevernever ask the mother of a 6 month old baby, who is currently on maternity leave, "What do you do all day?"

Bonus tip: If the mother of that 6 month old baby who is currently on maternity leave happens to be your WIFE - that question should be avoided at all costs. EVEN IF you "didn't mean it that way", you should still sleep with one eye open.

Double Trouble

There are TWO things burning in this brain of mine today and I need to post about both of them. So you, my readers get a double dose of Tarable!

1. BC Hydro

A couple of weeks ago I got a nasty letter from them saying that we had an amount outstanding and if we didn't pay immediately they would take further action. The amount outstanding was $23. Really? Really BC Hydro? Cuz that's just lame.

And then today, we got our latest BC Hydro bill in the mail. My eyes just about bugged out of my head when I opened it to find that we owed $535!!!! What the fuuuuuck? I went over the bill, looking to see if it was possible that the interest on our outstanding $23 was $500. Nope, it seems that suddenly, in the past month Steve and I have quadrupled the amount of hydro that we use! Shouldn't the cops be knocking on my door with a search warrant, looking for the "secret garden" in the basement???

Steve phoned them today to ask them, "What the hell?". He actually said, "We don't have a grow-op. Why is our bill so high???"

Well it turns out the dude that comes to read the meter read it wrong. Wrote down the wrong number. So our account will be credited. The woman told Steve that they had actually "flagged" our account.

They flagged it but didn't think twice about sending out a bill for more than $500???

Do any humans work there or are they all robots???

2. Road Rage

*sigh* Yes, another post about road rage. But this time, I wasn't the rager. I made someone else rage.

You see, I did something really terrible while I was driving today. I changed lanes.


Yes, I did do the lane change legally. I even used my indicator. But what I didn't realize was that the man in the car that was in that lane - 4 car lengths back (yes I had plenty of room) apparently OWNS that lane of the road. So when he saw me changing lanes, I actually heard his engine rev up so he could try to squeeze me out! And then he honked his horn at me. I gave him the standard Tarable "courtesy wave" and then gave my most condescending shake of the head.

I did have my daughter in the car with me, which prevented me from taking further action. So I continued to drive the speed limit while he rode up my ass and made obscene gestures.

When I pulled into a turning lane to head home, this gentleman raced up to the side of my car - where he could CLEARLY see my baby and he yelled out his window to call me a... C*NT!!!
(He didn't call me a "cent" or a "cant" so... insert appropriate vowel.)

I took the high road and went quietly home (instead of chasing the putrid excuse for a man down, bumping his car and then driving into his fat body when he got out to challenge me), because I am a mature adult now, who had a daughter in the vehicle. And also because I drive a station wagon and his car was bigger and tougher than mine.

Graduation Day

I remember when I was finishing Grade 7 - going into high school the next year for Grade 8, our school made a really big deal about "Grade 7 Grad". I mean, there was a ceremony and there was a dance and there was a dress. Oh god, the dress. I remember shopping for the dress like I might get married in it (perhaps I could have, it was white and poofy and lacy and very fancy). I may or may not have even had my hair done at the hairdresser that day. There were professional photos taken. It was that big of a deal.

And then the whole "grad" thing really started to take off. Besides the Grade 7 Grads, I started to hear of other ridiculous graduation ceremonies. Like kindergarten grad! And even preschool grad! Parents that I worked with would have to leave work for a few hours in the afternoon to attend their child's kindergarten grad? Really??? I remember rolling my eyes and thinking, "Wow. People are really letting this grad thing get out of control."

Of course it was ridiculous and out of control then. And for other people.

But you would understand if I told you it's totally different now that there's Ruby, right?

Because today, we take it one step further. Today, Ruby graduates from Babydaze (our Mommy/Baby group). We've been going to this group faithfully every Wednesday since she was 10 weeks old. Now that she's 6 months old, it's time to move on (and get a life). So they hold a little grad ceremony for the graduating babies. There are diplomas and food and drinks (not my kind of drinks) and cake. I am right now deciding if she should wear a dress or not...

I realize that perhaps having a grad ceremony at only 6 months old, is probably setting the bar for many more "grads" and other such events to come. But having just celebrated her "1/2 birthday" complete with cake and balloons, I'm pretty sure that Pandora's Box has already been opened.

Oh, and I made her this hat. Have I gone too far?

Serious talk

Yesterday we picked up a blu ray player and a surround sound system for a steal of a deal. Steve's been wanting the surround for some time and I've been wanting the blu ray so when we found this smoking deal for the whole package we bought it. (Well, we didn't technically buy it. We put it on the "never never" plan). So all day yesterday Steve was just beside himself with delight! As soon as we got home, he started ripping into the box, pulling out speakers and wires and parts, and he was deliriously running around the living room holding up various electronic components. So I left him to have his little "man moment" with his new toy and I came into the computer room to read blogs.

About twenty minutes later, he suddenly appeared at the door of the computer room with a serious look on his face. He walked into the room and sat down beside me. He put one hand on my knee and looked into my eyes and said, "Honey, we have some big decisions to make... "

Now, I've known Steve for a very long time. Almost 10 years. And in that time I've learned a lot about him. One thing? He doesn't do well with "serious" talks. No big heart-to-hearts for him. If I start discussing something serious with him, I can see him panic and glaze over and he brushes me off with "Don't worry about it." or "It'll be fine" or "We'll find the money somewhere" or "She means nothing to me" and then he looks for the quickest exit. (Just kidding on that last one).

So with this sudden serious and sombre mood that I've so rarely seen in him, I panicked. What could this be about? Does he want to try to have another baby already? Are we going bankrupt? Is he thinking about quitting his job? Does he want me to go back to work already?

My heart was racing. I knew this would be big...

And then he pulled the surround sound manual out of his pocket and showed it to me. "We can either put the speakers on these here stands, or we can mount them on the wall. What do you think we should do?"

Yes, people. A decision needed to be made about the positioning of speakers.

Life or death.

Almost his death.

10 Things You'll Learn To Hate About The 2009 Season

After writing a heck a lot about teams we hate, it's important to acknowledge that 2008 wasn't such a bad year to hate the teams you hate, either.

If you hate Notre Dame, then you would have loved the loss to Syracuse.
If you hate Texas, you would laugh at the fact that despite the Longhorns beating Oklahoma, OU is still in the National Title game.
If you hate Alabama and Florida State, then you're probably in hospital spitting blood after laughing about their offseason issues.

But the 2009 year is coming round soon, and in a flash, the end of the season will once again be upon you.

But by the end of the last game of 2009, the VFA has 10 things you'll learn to hate about the 2009 season.

1. The B.S.C (sorry! BCS!)

Let's face it, the BCS was a shambles last year and will be as unpopular again. Foreseeably, no team will go unbeaten this year, and then it'll be up to a bunch of writers and some computers to figure out who's playing the National Championship Game, sparking fans of everyone from USC to Florida wanting to burn down the NCAA's usual. Where's Skynet when you need it?

2) People going on and on about Notre Dame

I've been looking at the schedule, and the Irish could conceivably go 11-1 this year, and go to a BCS - and maybe on a long shot - the title game this year. Oh, and you'll hear lots about Jimmy Clausen being the dark horse for the Heisman, Knute Rockne, Rudy, and too much from NBC. And if Lou Holtz is on ESPN this year, then him too.

3) The recreation of the Texas- Oklahoma bunfight

Unless you were on another planet last season, you'll know that UT beat OU 45-35, sparking a monstrous controversy that was only a mite less wild than the current Iranian election. Well, if Oklahoma State beat Texas and Texas beats OU and OU beats Oklahoma State, then once again, you'll be asking: "Why in the hell couldn't the Big XII sort out their decisionmaking in the offseason?"

4) Talk of Colt, Tim and Sam

We know, we know. Mssrs McCoy, Tebow and Bradford are all Heisman contenders. And all three will all go to the NFL (you heard it here first!). And that means that for the weeks of the CFB season, that's all we'll probably hear about. The agents must be rubbing their hands. And good NFL fans who support crappy quarterbacks will be hoping for a winless season - all three of them will be future greats. After battling it out for the 2009 Heisman award (which you'll also hear a lot about).

5) The Gator Chomp

This Florida Gators side is primed for another run at the National Title. That means that we'll be seeing an awful lot of people "doing the Gator Chomp" - and possibly a lot of them wearing 'jorts', too. Urghh......

6) People jawing about the Big Ten

The Conference's laughable showing in the 2010 bowls has meant that according to the BCS, the Big Ten sucks. You'll hear words like "slow" and "not good enough for the NFL" thrown around, as well as "not as competitive as the Pac-10 or SEC". So if you love the Big Ten, get your defenses ready, because people are going to be raining bombs.

7) The constant talk of a USC - Florida match-up.

Not to put two schools under pressure or anything, but everyone seems to think that USC and Florida will play each other for a National Title. Just in case you missed it, USC's got to start a new quarterback and Florida's going to really miss Percy Harvin. Plus, USC always seems to lose a Pac-10 game while Florida's got to run the table in the SEC - which isn't exactly easy. So why don't we give the schools a break until October, eh?

8) Fickle fans, fickle broadcasters

After giving schools a ton of hype early on, a team will lose a couple of games and the fans will only show up if they can boo....loudly. The broadcasters will probably do the same sort of thing. Sorry, Michigan.

9) The upsets

If you're at a top (or near to the top)-ranked school during November, prepare to hate the school that beats you either on a final second field goal /interception or simply because you forgot to bring the heaters to the bench. Because when the weather gets cold, Mr and Mrs Upset are in town. And believe me, you'll learn to hate them.

10) Your new coach's guts

After losing to Wichita Tech 49-13, you'll be pretty upset with the coach that promised everything and delivered nothing. So light the fires, and run the boy out of town! There will always be a new one to run out of town next year!

We love you, college football offseason!

I love the college football offseason.

Forget results, rankings, and the bloody BCS. We don’t have to talk, bitch and fight about that any more. We don’t have to pelt our team with snowballs after losing at home to Syracuse. We don’t have to call for Joe Paterno or Bobby Bowden to retire.

Because, in the college football offseason, everything is perfect.

After all, who cares about last season? You can use the words “Not this year” and look forward to Cocktail Parties, White Outs, and games between Army and Navy. In a world where 1 team is National Champion in the start of January, in August there are well over 100. Critics be damned!

You can rejoice if Phil Steele picks four of your players are picked as pre-season All-Americans (albeit none of them in the top team!). You can tell any of your divisional rivals that THIS will be the year you’ll take home the conference crown. And more’s the case, all of your teams are 12-0 and going to Pasadena this year (it’s the first year for a few that USC actually WANT a Rose Bowl game, right?). And you can high five your friends when you pick up 2010’s ‘Can’t Miss Recruit’ (then pray he doesn’t get arrested/move school on you/decide not to play football any more). Oh, and if your team IS a preseason No.1, then screw the rest of 'em - you've got preseason bragging rights!

Of course, the offseason is also a time to despair, write your team off and hate life in general. Fans in Auburn? You’ve just already given up on new head coach Gene Chizik. Fans of Alabama and Florida State? Give those wins back, baby! Fans of Florida? Can our players stay out of trouble?

I love the offseason. Roll on February 2010.

What I Learned Today #17

Today I learned that if you are a young woman and you are in love infatuated interested in a certain guy and he isn't overly interested in you, that you shouldn't be too devastated concerned about it because years down the road when you haven't seen him for a very long time you might come across a picture of him on Facebook and you will see that he looks like hell did not age very well and you will also thank your lucky stars that you did not produce offspring with him because his kids inherited his strong features and are ugly homely probably not winning any "cute kid" contests...

It's OK to be nice sometimes

Listen, we at the VFA haven't been the most giving and loving types recently. We've given lists on teams we hate, we've talked rudely about Notre Dame, Tennessee and the BCS (a lot), and most recently, we've been happy to point out the foibles of the SEC, and of our other fans in general.

But sometimes, we've realised, it's OK to write about something heartwarming.

There's my buddy, Taylor Davis, who tells me that during his days at Middlebury College, it was simply "the done thing" to take a handicapped guy to the game (I asked him after Rick Reilly immortalized Butch in a 2003 article).

There's my buddy at Penn State who decided not to go to a game and give his ticket to a friend because his buddy might miss out.

There's the story of my friend Dan Deyo, who's out serving the country in the USA. Someone out there's created a 'Daniel Deyo Fan Club' on Facebook for him - and it's already got 351 members. And if you're a Penn State fan, make sure you sign up - he's Nittany Lions crazy! Oh, and he - and his family - are incredibly nice people. Just don't swear (trust me on this!).

And there's the story of this writer's many friends across the Atlantic, who have played 'Good Samaritan' to me just because I couldn't miss 'THAT' sporting event. You know who you are.

Oh, and give it up for people who are simply those guys. We're talking about the people who don't re-sell tickets to friends for more than face value, despite knowing they could get - at times - hundreds more and there's a recession on hands. We're talking about the hundreds of student athletes who don't lie, cheat, break the law, or steal during their time at college and are not even talked about in the press. We're talking about the coaches who make sure their kids get the grades they should do. And also, we're talking about the thousands of volunteers who raise money for school sports that aren't football or basketball. 

And it's OK to root for someone even though you're not their biggest fan or the biggest fan of their team. It's OK to pray for Phil Mickelson and Rocco Mediate, whose wives are struggling with  cancer and kidney disease.  It's OK to smile when Frank Lampard, a midfielder in the Premiership soccer league, points to the heavens after scoring a goal in an effort to acknowledge the memory of his dead father, Frank Sr. 

Oh, and if you've got any "good guy stories" in college sports - from the athletes to the fans, then let the VFA know and we'd be pleased to publish your responses on our website at a later date.

I still don't speak Punjabi

Normally, I'm fairly understanding about wrong numbers.

A little less so when I've had difficulty sleeping for a couple of days and I am woken up to a phone call that is a wrong number.

Even less so when the person phoning has listened to my voice mail message (which is in english), then left a long winded message (in punjabi).

Slightly less so when that person calls back again 20 minutes later.

More so when I answer the phone (in english) and the person speaks to me (in punjabi) and I tell the person "wrong number!" (in english).

I soften a bit when the voice on the other line turns to english and says, "Oh what I do? I so sorry!"

But then I start to really get pissed when the person calls back three consecutive times after that within five minutes...