First off, I want you all to ask me questions about anything your little heart desires. Go to http://www.formspring.me/alysamarsiella for details.
I hope all of you had as great of a week as I did. What was my favorite part of this past week?
Nonna coming to town and bringing the snow and cookies with her (Monday)?
Having both the 2009 and 2000 National Champions in my house at the same time (Tuesday)?
Watching the decimation of the second best team in the country in an absolutely electric XL Center (Wednesday)?
Christmas Eve party with my family and friends (Thursday)?
Eating cookies for dinner (Friday)?
Spending all my gift cards (Today)?
On Monday we all welcomed the arrival of the hottest woman this side of Philadelphia, my grandmother aka Nonna! She arrived with three bags of cookies including struffoli, an Italian peasant dessert consisting of tiny fried balls of dough smothered in honey and topped with rainbow shots. She also brought her pineapple cookies, which are like incredibly tiny turnovers filled with pineapple puree. They’re in my garage right now. I want some. So bad.
That night, I went to my old stomping grounds at C.A.S.T. (a local children’s theatre group I performed with until I turned 18) for the Summer 2010 musical auditions. I’m helping assist Donna with the line coaching and acting work as well, and I must say we are getting one excellent group of kids. The show this summer is The Wizard of Oz, and my goodness, our core group of four are going to be phenomenal. It was also great to see my first acting teacher, Donna, who directs the kids every year. Nobody knows how to wrangle 140 ten-year-olds like Donna.
Tuesday night was the night I had been waiting for. The night of the humongous party honoring both the current team and the 2000 Championship team. Everyone from the previous team with the exception of Swin and Tamika (Swin’s in China playing ball, Tamika’s the ass’t coach at KU) came over. It was fantastic to see everyone, in particular Paige, Kelly, and Marci. I hadn’t seen them in years, and it was great catching up with them. I had seen Stacey at the Final Four dinner back in St. Louis but it was still wonderful to see her again (especially since I found out she had to get a waiver in order to even attend since we’re playing Oklahoma in February!). A friend of the team, Lindsay, couldn’t attend but decided to do something crazy anyway. She sent a humongous cake that looked like it came straight out of the ovens on Cake Boss, topped with a mini replica of the National Championship trophy. It was one of those situations where everyone thought it looked so good, it was a shame to eat it. The next day I had a bite and came to the conclusion that while it looked phenomenal, the taste was the exact same as any other normal looking sheet cake. Now, had this thing had Snickers bars or cream cheese in it, I would’ve moved into it.
I wish I’d gotten a lot of pictures from the night, however halfway through cocktail hour my camera decided to have multiple seizures, then die. I was crushed, but made it a point to go out before Christmas Eve and get a new one.
The night was only curttailed by the fact that we had a big game the next day so it couldn’t go on for hours. Everyone got out of the house by midnight, which shocked me. I was counting on stumbling downstairs at 1AM and yelling at Dad to turn the music down. That happens usually every time we have people over. The best part was that Sveta got to stay over, which thrilled Nonna to bits (Sveta’s her favorite of all time).
Wednesday morning I crept downstairs, thinking I’d be the first one up. Not a chance. Mom and Nonna were already making coffee. I dropped something with a loud crash and Mom hissed at me to keep quiet. I thought it was due to Dad still being asleep, but Mom shook her head and pointed to the couch. There, passed out in a clump, was my little brother, home from college for Christmas. It was absolutely hilarious since he never, ever, ever sleeps in his own bed when he comes home. He always picks a couch and sleeps on that. It’s the same thing at our beach house. Sveta came downstairs next, and Mom brought her over to the couch to surprise Mike. His reaction? “HEYYYY…*flump* *snore*”
Then came the Stanford game. Now, Nonna and I are like two peas in a pod. Both of us love to cook, and we do not handle close games well. At all. As most of you were well aware (due to my Twitter updates) for the majority of the first half and five minutes into the second, I was a total and utter wreck. I hid in the bathroom for the last five minutes of the first half and put my head in my hands when Stanford made that small run after we had pulled away 19-10. Maya made some dumb choices in the first few minutes of the game, but she was just trying to win the game all by herself. Indeed, it felt like for the first chunk of the game everyone wanted to just blow Stanford out by 40 and get it over with. I felt really bad for Caroline in particular, who was just so nervous and jacked up that it spilled over into stupid fouls and bad offensive decisions. Dad feels the exact same way. May I remind you, my dear blog readers, that prior to her injury Caroline had never played in a 1 vs. 2 game at UCONN? The biggest game she participated in was the Oklahoma game and that was a 1 vs. 4 (and that game didn’t have nearly the amount of hype this one did). So give the girl a break. She’ll be fine.
Then the second half, and oh my gosh! The second half was probably the most fun I’ve had at one of our games in years. The atmosphere in the XL was pure adrenaline. Everyone was freaking out and dancing and pumping their fists, and when Maya made that Baryshnikov-esque pass to Kalana it was game. OVER. I don’t know what it looked like at home but I hope it looked like 16,000 people losing their minds at exactly the same moment.
The next morning, I came downstairs and as I put my oatmeal in the microwave, Dad said “What’d you think?” The only thing I could think of to say was “Holy shit.” And Dad just laughed, then made me put the game on. So I did. And the bitching commenced. Ahhh, life with my father.
Christmas Eve was absolutely everything I wanted it to be, however I was exhausted due to all of the stress of the season and just wanted to sleep for most of the day. I ended up hanging out on the couch with my family as we watched It’s A Wonderful Life, an Auriemma tradition. Mom starts crying right when Mr. Gower slaps George’s ear and doesn’t stop until the end, and our entire family yells “GARLIC EATERS” right along with Mr. Potter. My favorite line is one I’ve repeated many times to my father. “Oh, why don’t you stop annoying people.”
Then came Christmas Vigil Mass with our new pastor, a very sweet man from Poland presiding over his first Christmas Mass as a priest. I couldn’t take his homily that seriously, however, as his accent made him a dead ringer for Pavel Chekov. I half expected him to start talking about Vulcans (or, Wulcans).
Christmas party with our neighbors came next, which I have already talked about in entries past. This year, one of the families decided to mark the occasion in a very special way. She gave Mom a photo album containing pictures from the very first Christmas celebration in 1991 all the way up to last year. It is a gorgeous testament to our amazing night together. The evening culminated with my father sleeping on the couch, wrapped in a bright purple pashmina, while I watched the second half of the Stanford game for the umpteenth time.
Christmas Day was just as lovely as Christmas Eve, although my damn internal clock woke me up at 8 when everyone else clearly weren’t up to the task. We brunched and opened presents (Dad loved my gifts as his Secret Santa, by the way) and I was thrilled to receive all three things I had asked for, including Rosetta Stones in both Welsh and Italian (I know, I know, Welsh is a dying language, but it’s a gorgeous one).
Around 2:00 we all headed to my brother in law’s uncle’s house (also he’s a friend of Dad’s, that’s how Todd and Jenna met) for a huge Christmas Day dinner. It was glorious, but it meant I was hungry at 7PM since we had eaten so early. Cut to me eating precisely eight cookies and calling it a meal. It’s Christmas.
And now all that’s left is New Year’s Eve. 2010 promises to be the biggest year yet in the life of Miss Alysa Auriemma. Stay tuned for a final year-end wrap-up and musing…