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Showing posts from May, 2009

For the love of dogs

If you follow the local (Pittsburgh) news, then you probably know that Steeler James Harrison's pit bull bit his toddler son, the mother of the child, and another person. The son appears to have had the worst of it, having spent about a week in the hospital. Apparently this two-year-old dog had never been aggressive before, but something in this young child's cry set the dog off.

I have a pit bull, who, according to our vet, may actually be a pit bull-shar pei mix (who knew). Sadie has been with us since July 1, 2002, when I brought her home, with a little help from my friend Amy (whom we refer to as Aunt Amy, although Ame refers to herself as Aunt Mimi), from the Human Society. As some friends know, my plan was to get a dog or have a child. Not both. When we adopted Sadie, I told Brian that was it, no child (clearly, I changed my mind several months later).

When I first saw Sadie, it was practically love at first sight. I thought she was cute, and then I moved down the row of d…

Facebook is the devil

I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. First, the love.

It has allowed me to get back in touch with people from high school and college. This has probably been the best part of Facebook.I can keep up to date on people's lives, from pics of kids, to where they went this past weekend, to what they are doing this very second.I can reach a lot of people at once. Approximately five minutes after I was laid off, I updated my status to read "Faith just got the ax." Within 15 minutes, I received a ton of sympathetic comments, a few personal emails, and a phone call. This saved me a lot of trouble of sending out emails to friends. Since bad news travel fasts, I also received friendship requests from a half dozen people within the hour, mostly former coworkers who had heard the news because I was friends with their friends.There are a ton of silly, pointless quizzes, some of which are kind of fun, especially the ones about friends. Who knew a friend from high school has bee…

More shooting and a lot more scoring

So far 2009 is shaping up to be a good year for Pittsburgh sports. The Steelers started off the year by winning the Super Bowl, a feat which seems like a lifetime ago, for some reason. The Pirates were above .500 for at least a few games, and now the Pens are back in the Eastern Conference Championship game. I am reminded, once again, how great it is to live in da Burgh.

But things are not always rosy. A couple of months ago, I read an article in the P-G about a couple who was going through financial difficulties due to a job loss and underemployment. These two said that their mortgage was a month overdue, and the next month, the cable would go.

When I read that, it kind of irritated me. I thought why would you pay your cable bill before you pay your mortgage?! A lot of good hundreds of stations are going to do you if you don't have a house to watch them in. So, not surprisingly, I contemplated writing a letter to the editor about that, thinking these people were like so many others…

Looking on the bright side

Michael J. Fox had a TV special one day last week about optimism. I did not catch the entire show, but I did think the topic was a good one. What does make one person an optimist and another more of a doom-and-gloom person?

For the most part, I am optimistic, and I think that a simple story I read helped shaped this attitude.

In the fall of 1999, I had my heart set on buying a Honda CRV. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a new one at any of the nearby dealerships, and my car lease was about to run out. So one day, Brian and I test-drove a used Ford Explorer. It was bigger and older than what I wanted, but the car and I hit it off well, so I took it. However, within days, I had great feelings of regret and panic. I was sure that my car would need multiple repairs while I would still be paying a hefty car payment. In fact, some nights I did not sleep, I was so worried.

Then one day, I thought back to a Chicken Soup for the Soul story I read (or maybe I read it at that time). I don't …

He shoots and scores (off the post, no less)

Most of the time, I prefer my big-time sports events to be on the boring side. I just want my team to be up by several touchdowns or three goals, and then I can relax and enjoy the game without worrying too much about the outcome.

But there is also something to be said for a game like last night's Pens-Caps game. It was at once maddening and entertaining (at least the 3rd and OT periods were; I was at choir for most of the first two). My heart stopped probably no fewer than 10 times, and I am sure my blood pressure was up. But it was great! And I just knew (well, was pretty sure) that the Pens were going to pull it out. How could they not win it with so many scoring chances?! And, I am ashamed to admit, I was almost wishing for the Caps goalie to go down. Not with a debilitating injury or something major. I just wanted him to fall flat on his face and not be able to get up until the Pens put the biscuit in.

Football will always be my first sports love; nothing can compare to it, a…

It takes a village

A friend of mine/fellow blogger recently wrote about rescuing some plants from a long-abandoned house. I have the opposite problem: next-door neighbors (son and his mother) who do nothing to keep up with their property other than occasionally mowing their lawn. Notice the pictures of the shrubs I posted. These people no longer walk between these overgrown beasts to get to their front door; they now cut through the grass. I know when I took Jordan trick-or-treating there this past Halloween, I pretty much had to turn sideways to get through. I think Kate Moss would be challenged to fit!

The owner of the house is somewhere between mid 20s and mid 30s and is completely mobile; in fact, I have seen him attempt some type of martial arts in his backyard. So why is it so hard to trim these shrubs? We have shared hedges, and if you looked at them head on/between our two houses, you would see his side growing wildly and ours looking neat and trim. Brian has threatened many times to go over ther…

Another taxing problem

It appears that Allegheny County may have to reassess everyone's property. In other words, the 2002 values may be going by the wayside.

Here is my concern: Houses being assessed based on what they can be sold for (and I am not even sure that is what the basis is) can be problematic. If you live in a so-called nice community, where houses tend to sell for 200k or more, chances are the values are going to go up. Most likely, those communities have good school districts and people are willing to pay for it. So these places may end up with even more tax money, which does not seem fair to those people. Why should Sally Smith have to pay another few hundred dollars a year just because her next-door neighbor sold his house for a small fortune AND because she keeps up with her house?

If you are in my situation, living in an area with declining property values and a crappy school district, we have the opposite problem. If houses are reassessed for what they can be or have been sold for, thos…