Showing posts from February, 2012

The next best thing to packing heat, I suppose...

I am not sure when exactly I started doing this, but for quite some time, I have pretty much refused to go anywhere without my cell phone. Not because I am afraid I will miss a call. Not because I am dependent on my phone (considering my phone is stupid, how could I be?).

No, I want to have my phone with me at all times, including church, because you just never know.

I don't consider myself particularly morbid, and more often than not, I am optimistic. But thanks to the information age, I can know, fairly easily and quickly, every time something bad happens. And although I don't think the world is a lot worse today than it was when I was a youngster, I think people feel more entitled, parenting has become lax, and some other things that I just cannot comprehend. But the end result is that although I don't obsess about something bad happening, I know that it can, and I want to be prepared.

A little over a month ago, I started attending daily mass three or four days a week (…

Oh, crap

Late this afternoon my (mostly) lovely eight-year-old and I were lying in my bed reading. J, a biography about Ben Franklin for a book report and I, a trashy magazine my MIL gave me. At one point, J told me that she did not understand something. Now this book was geared towards fourth graders, at least according to the library. But since the book is almost 15 years old, what was considered fourth grade then is pretty much third grade now, so I thought it was just right for her. And it certainly did not seem above her reading level, except for a few words here and there she could not pronounce.

But, no. J was not struggling with a word. Rather, J looked at me, read the phrase "because he had gotten a girl pregnant" aloud, and then asked, "How do you get a girl pregnant?"


My heart started pounding, my face got red, and I started stuttering.

I think I said something like, "That is a good question. Hmm. Uh... Well... You know, it is hard to explain and …


When I refer to TMI, I am not talking about people sharing (often gross) things they probably should not. But rather sharing a friend's or a relative's personal information with a spouse or significant other.

I know people who have cheated on their spouses, had abortions, have been raped or victims of domestic violence, committed (minor) criminal acts, did not disclose things to the government that they should have, suffered from various mental aliments, and who have been drug addicts or alcoholics. In most cases, I have not shared that information with Brian unless the person told me I could or I felt he needed to know for family safety issues (e.g., you have to consider who you let your children around). I am certain he would think less of some of these people if he knew things they did, so what purpose does it serve telling him? But more importantly, I want these people who confide in me to know they have my word.

I can honestly say I don't think I can trust any of my…

19 years ago this morning I was hallucinating

Later today, the 2012 Penn State IFC Panhellenic Dance Marathon (known to many simply as THON), the largest student run philanthropy in the world, will come to a close. For those us of you who may not know, THON is a yearlong effort to raise funds and awareness for the fight against pediatric cancer. But the most well-know and longest-running THON event is the actual 46-hour dance marathon.

Back in 1993, I danced in THON as part of Phi Sigma Pi, a coed national honor fraternity. A good friend of mine, who was born the very same day that I was, had recently died from cancer, and I really wanted to participate in THON for "Big Al." However, having never pulled an all-nighter in my life, I had no idea how I was going to stay awake and standing for 48 straight hours (not sure when THON removed two of the hours!), on top of the hours I would have already been awake before the event began that Friday night. But I figured if Al and so many others could suffer through what they did,…

Number 3

Yesterday, I sent out my third thank-you note for my thank-you note project. This one went to a woman I met four and a half years ago when our daughters attended the same preschool and then the same kindergarten (they were in the same place, the same room, actually). I really like R; she is younger than me, though we have the same birthday, and she seems to be a good, loving, caring mom to her three kids. She seems sincere, and she is not one of those gossipy women. We have managed to stay in touch over the years, though because of her work schedule and large (to me, anyway) family, we don't get together too often, which is a shame because Jordan really likes her daughter, who is sweet and quiet, just the kind of friend you want your kid to have.

I decided to send R a note because, as a real estate agent, she has been sending me housing information to help me fight my assessment case. As I ranted about a few weeks ago, our assessment went up even though we live in an area where th…

Would you call the police?

In the past few days, I have read in the paper/saw on the news two heinous acts against children. A boyfriend of some woman beat her 11-year-old son over the course of a nine-hour period, and the boy eventually died. I won't go into any more details, other than to add that the mother waited over an hour after she got home before calling 911, because what I just wrote is so disturbing as it is. Then last night, I saw on the news (and read this morning) that another boyfriend of another woman sexually assaulted a three-month old.

I am so incredibly sickened and angered by this. What normal person would not be?

And that is the thing: these people cannot be normal.There are lacking something, but what I do not know.

In the first horrendous crime, some neighbors who were interviewed cried, saying they should have done something.

This made me wonder, how many people hear screams or crying down the street or down the hall and actually call the police. Would you?

I am one of those peo…

This one felt good

Over the past week or so, I had given a lot of thought as to whom I should send my next thank-you note. Joe Paterno's family crossed my mind, because he did mean something to me, and I wanted to thank his family for sharing him with so many of us. But the family has received thousands of cards, so I don't think my one card is going to mean much to them. I might still send one, but not for awhile.

I also thought about sending a note to Amy over at Callapitter. Because of her, I try to treasure the moments I spend with my kid more so than I might have had I never came to know her. But that note does not feel quite right either. If I had lost my kids, I am not sure how much I would appreciate someone with children thanking me for helping her appreciating her children. So I am going to sit on the idea of that note for a bit (or maybe forever) as well.

This morning I woke up to the annoyance of a fire whistle followed by several loud fire trucks. I was silently cursing them, since …

That was a looooooong week

I spent the past 1.5 weeks subbing for the music teacher (who also teaches social studies to third graders). The last time I went to work five days in a row, Jordan was in utero. That was a long time ago.

Anyway, I have come away with some observations:

My mom was right when she said I should have practiced the piano more. My trying to play songs with the kids was not a smooth thing. In my mind, I could play whatever was in front of me, but my fingers had a different idea. Probably because I can't sight read anything. Oh, well.If I never hear "Wiggle Worm" again, that would be just fine for me. However, the K through 3rd grade kids love moving around to that song and then trying to stand like a statue. What they don't like is when I tell them they have moved and then they have to sit down.Those who talk the loudest often sing the softest. But boy can they "scream-sing." Ugh.The one kindergarten class was surprisingly attentive when I tried to teach them the …

This is a little harder than I thought.

After one week, I managed to send out one thank-you note. Before I reread the post this relates to, I thought I had failed already, as I had sent out just that one note. But fortunately, knowing myself well (duh!), I apparently set a goal for two notes a month. Phew!

The first note went to a mom of another third grader in J's school. As I have blogged (and complained) about before, some Catholic school moms are mean, which, I suppose, makes them like some moms in general. And many moms are just not welcoming. This mom, I am delighted to say, was unlike most other moms.

When J was new to the school in first grade and many of the moms ignored me, N was the nicest person. As I would stand alone outside of my car at the end of day, waiting for the kids to come out, she would come over and ask me to join her group. She tried to make conversation with me, unlike her mom friends, for most of whom it seemed to be a bother to smile at me.

Eventually, I gave up trying to talk to the group …

Assessment crap

I am certain I have never used the word "crap" in blog post title, but crap is pretty much what I consider the Allegheny County reassessment mess. This is a long post, but I have to get it out.

When we bought our house in 2002, we paid $87,000 for it. At the time, it was assessed for $92,300. I clearly remember the settlement agent telling us we should appeal to get it down to $87,000. I decided not to bother since I had hoped to sell our house within three to five years and wanted to get more than what we paid for it.

We tried unsuccessfully to sell our house back in 2007 and 2008. At that time, the only offer we had was too low. But looking back, we probably should have taken it, because I am very confident that today, we would not get that 90k for our house.

Not only is the market bad, but we live in an area where home values have been on the decline. We live on a cul-de-sac, but on the street we use to get to ours, out of about 15 houses that sold over the past three ye…