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Showing posts from January, 2012

In praise of a heartfelt note

A few weeks ago in Parade magazine (the supplement that comes in many Sunday newspapers), I read this article, "Up Your Gratitude: Thank-You Notes Can Have Profound Effects." The author began the essay telling of how he penned a thank-you card to a Starbucks barista who had to work on Thanksgiving and how that woman nearly broke down, having felt that she mattered. The author went on to discuss his subsequent journey of thanking 365 people, and how it not only made a difference in the lives of the recipients but his as well.

Just a week before I read this article, I was thinking about how I can show my appreciation for people. The day after Christmas, when I went to get my oil changed and my car aligned, I decided to bring in a box of candy for the workers at Flynn's. I felt bad that they had to work the day after Christmas when so many others didn't. I think it meant something to them; certainly the guy I gave it to was extra friendly and chatty. And when I came bac…

They just don't make things like they used to (Part 2)

A few months ago I blogged about my 14-month old TV that died unexpectedly. Unexpected because one would think a TV would last at least five years. I, being naive and optimistic, was actually hoping for at least 10 years, because, you know, my last TV is over 15 years old and still works. I am still trying to bring myself to write a complaint letter, but I am hesitant because I know exactly what will happen. Nothing.

But this week's dilemma is brought to you by tires and, apparently, PA roads, which are consistently ranked in the bottom five. But first, let me back up. About 2.5 years ago, when my car had about 26,000 miles on it, I had to replace my tires, which I believe were warranted for 60,000 miles. At that time, the guy at Flynn's told me that original tires never last long, and when combined with PA roads, my tires did as well as I could expect. Or something like that. So I painfully bought new tires, which were quite pricey thanks to my car (stupid Saturn Vue). But t…

My heart is breaking. I cannot imagine how Joe Paterno's family is feeling.

That may have been the longest blog title I ever wrote. But it sums up my feelings pretty well. You could read just that and skip the post, and you probably would not miss too much, other than a bunch of disjointed thoughts. But I have a few things I want to say, so here goes.

I love Joe Paterno. Well, loved. I realize many, many people don't understand this and never will, and that is okay. I won't bother to try to explain it, because, as I said in a Facebook post this morning, I can't. But there are people out there who do get it. All of whom know what the expected response is to, "We are." And I guess those of us can take comfort in this shared experience.

As someone else said on Facebook this morning, “I would hope that my life would be judged as a whole and not just by some bad choices.”

That is the thing that too many people have overlooked. Joe Paterno did not molest any boys. Joe Paterno did not shower with any boys. He is not a monster. Yes, he should ha…

Doing the right thing

I am still trying to get the nerve to write a post about my failings as a parent. Just not there yet. But for everything I do wrong and for all the times my kid acts like a teenager, it is nice when J does something that shows me I must be doing some things right.

As I have blogged about before, some of J's classmates have been mean to her and have excluded her, which, I know, is pretty normal for kids. Fortunately, she is rarely fazed by this, mostly because she is oblivious. I, on the other hand, continue to let this get under my skin, mostly because my kid goes to a Catholic school, so one might expect the kids to be kind, Christian-like. You know what I am saying?

One of J's best friends, whom I will call Kelly, happens to be loved by pretty much all the kids. Kelly is a pretty nice girl, fairly quiet when I sub, and, even better, has never been disrespectful to me, unlike far too many others. 

Yesterday when I picked J up from school, I asked her whom she sat with at lu…

It's January, and you know what that means!

Unfortunately, this year January does not mean a deep run into the playoffs for the Steelers, as has been noted in an earlier post. January usually means snow, although so far, a little over halfway into the month, the weather has been anything but usual. Sunny and 18 degrees one day, rainy and 55 the next, and snow squalls a few days later. Kind of makes your head spin.

But I digress. What I am talking about is tax time. Oh, how I hate it. The gathering of the papers and receipts. Trying to guess at the value of donated items. Lamenting over the few dollars we made in savings this year (though, looking on the bright side, that means giving less to the government). But mostly just trying to figure out how we can get as much money back as possible.

I read in the AP News yesterday (and in a few other places today) that Romney pays taxes close to the 15 percent tax rate, which is higher than most. But the thing is, he has made most of his money on investments. The top federal tax rate fo…

Waste not, want not

In the P-G (and the Trib too, I think) the other day was an article about PA making the amount of food stamps that people receive contingent upon their assets. People under age 60 with more than $2,000 in savings and other assets, such as a second car, will no longer be eligible for food stamps. For people over 60, the limit is $3,250.

I agree that assets should be considered. If someone has, let's say, $50,000 in savings but is making only minimum wage, I don't think that person should get food stamps. After all, they have plenty in the bank to pay for every day expenses. But to say, for example, that a 35-year-old single parent who scrimped to save $3,000 over the past five years for an emergency should be denied food stamps when another person who never bothered to save a dime should get assistance is, quite simply, unfair. And what if two parents both need a car to go to work? The bus is not the most feasible situation for everyone, so why punish those people?

My parents a…

You win some, you lose some

The party's over.

I was not really expecting my team, even with all the injuries, to lose to an 8-8 team with a QB who was a horrible passer. But maybe God really was on Tebow's side (I say that with some sense of seriousness; see my last paragraph). But I mostly believe that God could care less about sports, bands, movies, etc. I am pretty sure He has enough other things to keep track of. And let's face it: a lot of rich, famous people are rather crappy people, and I kind of doubt God would want to reward that kind of behavior with a #1 movie, album, or Super Bowl victory.

But what do I know?

Well, I know that the Steeler season is over, not even halfway through what is typically the worst month of winter here in southwestern PA. And unlike last year, I don't get to look forward to watching football into February. There is no more planning weekend activities around Steeler games. No excitement in thinking that my team could be hoisting another Lombardi trophy through …

Things that make me go hmmm

This post is kind of like a "Random Ramblings" post (interesting that I just capitalized the "r" in "Random" when I refuse to use initial caps in my blog or post titles), except it is specific to things as of late that either I don't get or I find interesting. Here goes:
With all the technology out there, one might think (one being someone other than I) that when you click on the "Find product in store" icon on a company's website, and an "in-stock" notation pops up for a selected store, the product might, oh, I don't know, actually be in said store. Since I am not "one," I don't think that to be true. Mostly because it has not been true for Walmart, Target, and Walgreen's the few times I have used this feature in the past 30 days.Third grade seems a little young to have an i-Phone, don't you think? Well, I do. But apparently quite a few parents of other third graders do not agree if I can believe what …