Showing posts from November, 2009

Most of us have more than we need

Just because Thanksgiving is over does not mean we should stop counting our blessings and being grateful for what we have. But just as important, in my opinion, are having some compassion and doing the right things.

When I picked Jordan up from school on Monday, she asked me if I saw the Christmas tree at church. I told her it was actually the Giving Tree, and that even though I did not have a job and money was tight, we could still pay our bills and were blessed. Therefore, we would be giving someone less fortunate a gift. I explained to Jordan that I chose a tag for an elderly woman who probably had no family. I went on to say that some people have little or no money and they probably wouldn't be getting any presents. Jordan then said she could give someone one of her toys. That thought made me smile (and brought a tear to my eye).

After I picked out a tag from the Giving Tree last week, someone in my choir commented that people should not be studying the tags; they should just pi…

A lot to be thankful for

Like many people this time of year, I am reflecting on all the blessings in my life. So, as I did last year, I want to list the many, many things I am thankful for.
Jordan. To think I did not want kids and could have missed out on her. She is truly my greatest blessing.Brian. We drive each other crazy more than we should. And sometimes we want to run the other way, far, far away. But he is a good husband, father, cook, and handyman who is doing the best he can. And he just walked in with wine coolers!Family. Jordan and Brian are at the top of my list, but I am also blessed to have the rest of my relatives, especially my mom, dad, brothers and their families. Friends and acquaintances. I have many (more of the latter) and for that I am lucky. Faith. It gets me through tough times and often helps me better appreciate the good times. Health. We have been blessed by relative good health, aches and pains notwithstanding.Home. Unfortunately there are people out there who don't have a pla…

Sitting at the kids' table

Yesterday Jordan and I went to a local country club to support the athletic association at her school. You pay some money, get to eat a lot of food from a buffet, and watch the Steelers on giant screens. We got there a few minutes after kickoff (mercifully, we missed the all-too-common kickoff return for a TD) and tried to find two seats at one of the many tables. Eventually we came upon an empty table "claimed" by a couple of coats; said table happened to be near one of the screens, so good deal, I thought.

That is until I see a handful of boys heading our way. Not just any boys, mind you, but boys from sixth grade, one of the more challenging classes I have subbed for. As they noticed me sitting there, what can only be described as a look of horror crept over some of their faces. I just smiled sweetly (well, maybe more like sarcastically sweet), and as more boys showed up, I offered to keep moving down, proclaiming there was room for everyone! About 15 minutes later, the pr…


I am not talking about the TV show "Community," which I particularly like. Rather I am talking about an interacting population of various kinds of individuals in a common location. The key words being interacting and common.

Last month, in between school drop off and semi-monthly school mass, I starting visiting a small coffee shop a few blocks from Jordan's school. The first time I went to this place, I instantly liked it. The friendly owner chatted with me; and as others walked in, it was clear the owner knew pretty much everyone and what they typically ordered. There were four people who were there during my 45-minute stay, and I felt comfortable enough to join in on part of a conversation. I discovered the two women walk around town before coming in for their morning joe, and one was married to a guy who arrived later.

This past Monday, I decided to walk to the place. It was a beautiful crisp morning, and I figured if I was going to down a few hundred calories, the le…

Sweet November

As if having the best holiday this month is not enough, Pittsburgh has experienced some pretty rocking weather the past few weeks. I think I have been to the park with Jordan more times this month than I was in any given month this summer.

Saturday, after attending a nice pancake breakfast at a local church, we decided to drive to the North Shore to check out the Nina and the Pinta (no Santa Maria). I figured the kid could use a little relevant history lesson (sans the did Columbus really "discover" America debate), and we could take advantage of the sunny early September day, which just happened to be in mid-November.

The area was crowded and none of the lots near the stadium were open yet (I guess in preparation for the Pitt-ND game), but that made no never mind. We were in no hurry on this beautiful day, so I rather enjoyed the long walk and was not the least bit bothered by waiting in line for a ticket.

I would like to tell you that I imagined what it would be like to be…

I touch the future, I teach

Yesterday after a nice, long run for me (30 minutes, plus five minutes off and on of sprints), I was stretching near the upper gym entrance at Jordan's school. One of the teachers saw me and came out to talk about her daughter running a marathon and how her entire family went to PSU. Then another teacher commented on how she saw me last week doing the same thing. It was a nice few minutes, and then I went to my car to wait for my kid, thinking I should be teaching with them.

Even while volunteering for lunch duty yesterday, several kids ran up to me and asked me if I was substitute teaching. I am at the school so much anymore, between volunteering and subbing, that I really do feel as if I work there.

I said to my mom a few days ago that I just think I am going to get a job teaching at J's school. The chances are so small (though greater, I am sure, than winning the Powerball), considering the student body has been shrinking over the past few years thanks to charter schools. Ye…

An optimistic, an idiot, or one of those people?

Over the years, I have often wondered about people who have gotten in over their heads. The ones who just before payday have about $25 in their checking accounts. The ones who have no savings to speak of. The ones who carry balances on their credit cards.

Although I know most every situation is different, I have to think that some of those aforementioned people think it will all work out somehow (e.g., they will win the lottery or get a 40 percent pay raise). I also think some people are living for the moment and not really sure if they will be around tomorrow, next month, or next year, so they figure why bother planning for the far future.

Even though I have been critical of those kinds of people over the years, I'm afraid my current situation and how I am dealing with it puts me in the same neighborhood (well, at least the same town or county) as those people. When this past weekend my little brother said I had turned into a democrat, it was like a slap in the face to me. Nothing …

Three funerals and no weddings

In BC (before child) times, weddings were almost always fun. You were typically surrounded by numerous friends or relatives. You "got your groove on" (at least I always did). You imbibed (often over-), ate well, and generally were merry. And the occasion was happy. Two people in love, vowing to spend their life together. On that day, all seemed right.

But this weekend, rather than looking forward to witnessing the joining of two people, I am instead watching two people say good-bye to their spouses. If you are keeping score, Grandpa (Brian's grandfather) died at the end of September, and his service was three weeks ago today.

This week my uncle's father passed away (my uncle is married to my mom's sister, lest any of you think he is my grandfather). I had seen Glen over the years at family functions, and I know how well loved and respected he was, so I felt the loss, particularly for his family. On the very same day, Aunt Dodo, the oldest of my mom's siblings, …

These dreams go on

For many years, I have had a recurring dream where I could not find my locker or a classroom. More recently, I had lost my class schedule, so I did not know which classes I had or where I was supposed to go. Usually I was wandering around a version of my old high school, though in my dreams it was sometimes supposed to be college. And every once in awhile, I would forget the lines to a play I was in.

I recall reading a few years ago that dreams like those indicated I was unfilled in my life, not challenged. And that made sense. I was at the same job for many, many years (though I did do different things over the years). And once I had a kid, I pretty much completely lost the fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants attitude and started to plan things well in advance. Plus I was not exactly trying new things or traveling to new places.

Now that I am taking a couple of classes, these dreams come less frequently, but I still have them at times. But more strikingly to me, over the past few months I have…