Just realized that I haven’t updated in over a week. Blasphemy. This weekend I wasn’t anywhere near a computer. I was at the shore in our family beach home, trying to remember a fourth grade rain dance to get the sun to come out. The first day I was there, the sun beat down and I was sweating and enjoying myself tremendously. For the rest of the weekend, Mother Nature was all, “Just Kidding!” Sadface. But I spent a lot of time with my family, including my father, who regaled us with stories about Riga, Latvia (“the women are the most gorgeous women outside of the Czech Republic that I have ever seen on the planet, and the men look like dogs”), and my brother, who I hadn’t seen in weeks. We watched Grease and played charades, complete with my father’s critique of my mom’s attempts to play (“WHAT KIND OF A CLUE IS THAT?!”)
Now that I’m home and settled in, I will take the time to answer some of your wonderful questions while I watch So You Think You Can Dance (Evan danced a Mia Michaels routine…pardon me while I look for my face as it just melted off my head). Keep them coming! They’re fun to read and twice as much fun to answer.
pvicki11 asked: Does it ever surprise you how the following (fans and media) has grown over the past fifteen years or so?
Not really. I’m very used to it in CT, although sometimes it does strike me, mostly when people recognize him when we’re not in our home state. When people see him in NYC or any other place and point and go “Coach!”, that’s when I think a little bit about the real impact my father has had on the sport of basketball. One thing that really surprised me is when I was in Camelot at the Little Theater of Manchester, and because it got advertised in my town, suddenly I was a hot commodity to the UCONN fanbase. I got people at games congratulating me on my performance, making me realize that they had gone to the show simply because I was in it! I am very, very blessed.
cuzinvinny asked: Does your father have a garden where he grows tomatoes?
That is so funny you ask this, Vinny, because my father does not have a garden, but we talked this weekend in Avalon about how Nonna used to have a garden in her old rowhouse that delivered tomatoes, basil, arugula, peppers, onions, the works. She used them all in August when she made her tomato basil sauce (which you can buy at Stew Leonards! Run run!). One of my hobbies as a small child involved digging up the literal fruits of her labor. I was a weird child. Still am.
rpatrick529 asked: Do you think your mom would be willing to share her risotto recipe that you love so much?
It really is quite simple. Follow a normal recipe for risotto and add a ton of parmigiano reggiano and onions. I don’t know how it turns out so amazingly. Maybe it’s because it’s hers?
enkidu asked: Is your dad a bear to live with after a loss?
Depends on the context. Sometimes he’s actually happy. When we lost to Villanova in 2003 (a loss that snapped our 70 win streak), Dad was jubilant. “We’re going to win the national championship,” he said as we walked over to the press room. “We’re going to win.” He knew that the loss would recharge us, and he was right. Usually when he loses, I stay far away from him, but Dad’s great at leaving work at work. Sometimes he’ll snap and go on long harangues about why something’s terrible, but he usually shuts up if I get after him about it. He really only answers back to four women in his life. I’m one of them.
speedster83 asked: Does your dad watch the WNBA on TV? If so is it as a fan or is he screaming at previous players for things they do/don’t do during games?
He does! Usually when he can’t watch he checks the scores on his phone. Now he has to watch a lot more of them because of his Olympic commitments. He doesn’t really go nuts at all when he watches WNBA. He’s more sedate when its’ not his own players.
Brian S asked: Much has been written about the relationship between your dad and Jim Calhoun. I am curious about your relationship with Jim’s children.
That’s a great question. I actually have never met Jim’s children. They’re a little bit older than me and my brother and sister (they’re married and have toddlers, I hear) so we’ve never really ran in the same circles. I’m sure they’re lovely people! I just have never had the pleasure of meeting them.
enkidu asked: Chris Dailey has coached with your dad as long as he has been at UCONN. Is she close to your family? Is there any chance of her taking a head coaching job?
I love how every year the “Will CD leave” whispers grow loud during the summertime, and this year they are much louder since both Tonya and Jamelle have left us for head coaching gigs. Safe to say, CD ain’t going nowhere. If she did, I’m pretty sure what’s left of my dad’s mind would disappear like the lost city of Ys. (Did my full throttle geekery there just scare you off?)
Also, Writers Unblocked asked me that since I mentioned the vegan eatery I’m obsessed with, am I a vegetarian. With all the soy I eat, I should be. But I’m not a vegan or a vegetarian (note the chicken I had with dinner, plus the yogurt I just ate). I work out for up to 2 hours a day, so I need the protein that comes from dairy and meat to sustain my body and brain. Yes you read that right. I am a fitness freak. Over the past four years I’ve lost and kept off 60 pounds, so I am pretty rigid about what I put into my body. I don’t eat red meat simply because I was never a big fan of steak and I avoid pork (although I tried bison a few weeks ago and my taste buds had a technodance party in my mouth), my diet is about 50 percent raw, fried foods are a no-no, I don’t eat anything with high fructose corn syrup or refined sugars or hydrogenated oils, and I substitute tofu burgers and hotdogs at barbecues. Other than that? GAME ON. I eat pasta, cheese, chicken, fruit, yogurt, granola bars, lots of veggies, eggs, and turkey. I mean, I’m Italian. If I didn’t eat cheese or pasta, I think my parents would disown me. And I drink a lot of water, with some decaf coffee if I need something else. If I weren’t an actress, I’d be a dietitian. I get grief from my parents sometimes for being too “granola” (dad asks me “how’s your diet of lettuce and seaweed going?” about four times a week), but I love what I eat and I wouldn’t change a thing. And I’m not someone to turn down sweets. Last night at a dinner party I ate two pieces of cherry crostata. And I can’t have dark chocolate in the house. Just can’t do it. It’ll be gone in four minutes.