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Showing posts from 2015

It's becoming too common

For the second Sunday in three, during the "Prayers of the Faithful" at mass, we prayed for victims of something. Two weeks ago, it was the Paris attack. Today it was for the shooting in San Bernadino. Each time, I find my eyes welling with tears.

When will it stop? Pretty sure not in my lifetime, unfortunately.

As with so many other arguments, I get both sides of the gun debate. But at this point, shouldn't we at least try to have stricter gun control? A gun can kill. I don't think it should be a big deal if someone has to wait in line for a couple of hours, take some tests (like a driver's license), and have their background looked into. As I write this, I think it is pretty clear that I have no idea what is involved in getting a gun. I realize my suggestion would make buying a gun at a gun show a little challenging and maybe impossible, but whatever we are doing now is not working.

I also don't understand (and I have said this before, in this very blog) w…

The well-written post (in my head)

I wrote a pretty good post in my head the other day. I have been going back and forth about the whole ISIS-Syrian refugee thing, and I thought I had finally landed in one place. But that gem went right out of my head, as do so many other thoughts, sadly.

So I am just going to bullet point things as they come to my mind, in no particular order.
My grandmother was Syrian (my dad was adopted); she came here with her parents when she was 2. I grew up with many Syrian relatives, though at the time I did not think of them in terms of their ethnicity. I also very much like what is considered a Mediterranean takeout place in my hood. The owner is Syrian. I like to pretend I am hanging out with my long-gone great aunts and uncles when I am there. I just wish he made kibbeh the same way Grandma did. I can't seem to find that anywhere. Sorry, but not sorry, but I can't hate Syrians (or anyone). I have a good friend who is Muslim. I won't hate those people either (or anyone).I do, howe…

Time

Lately, I feel as if time is flying by. Going at warp speed. Days, weeks, sometimes even months seem to come and go. I am reminded of what an acquaintance said to me at a PSU event a couple of years ago about having a child: "The first 12 years don't go so fast. But the next 12 years fly by." Those were not his exact words, and I don't recall the number of years he was referring to. But his point was that once your kid is a teen (or thereabouts), watch out.

I have really noticed it the past year. I sometimes look at my kid, who is now almost 5'3" and in 7th grade, and I wonder how she became this preteen. Where is the little girl who begged me to play Barbies and babies with her all the time? Where is the girl whom I had to check her homework every night? Where is the girl that I had to help dress, give a bath to, brush her hair, etc. Where is my little preschooler who would say, "This is my best friend mommy"?

Now, I apparently know next to nothi…

My happy place

My friend Mel wrote a post that resonated with me. I must take a trip back over there and comment on it. Because I so get it. I am a fretter (and, spell-check, I don't care if you don't think that is a word). I worry. I ponder. I worry some more. I often wait for the other shoe to drop, as she said.

But even though sometimes anxiety gets the best of me, I still continue to be a fairly optimistic person. I try to see the bright side. I count my blessings often. I take pleasure in little things, and I take pleasure in meaningless things. But whatever puts a smile on your face, so long as it is not a detriment to yourself and others, well, it can't be all that bad.

As I have posted about a handful of times, Phipps is my happy place. As I have also said a number of times, it was the best $75 I spent almost two years ago, and was again one of the best uses of $75 this past January (or maybe December) when I renewed.

I purchased a dual membership, which has allowed me to take s…

This will not be a draft!

For not the first, second, or third time, I have started a blog post and never finished it. In fact, since I have started this blog, I have begun 42 blog posts that I never completed. Probably half of them were pretty well formed, but either I could not pull the trigger (I felt I was sharing too much) or I just could not bring myself to finish it, for various reasons, including time, forgetfulness, or boredom with the subject.

This will not be draft 43!

As I have lamented here a couple of times in the past few years, I miss writing a regular blog post. It was therapeutic to get things out there, because I am fond of myself (mostly), I like sharing my opinion, and it was (or will be) great for my less-than-stellar memory. But I just don't have too many worthwhile things to say anymore. Mostly because I lead a pretty boring life. But also because I vacillate about too many things, which comes from being a liberal republican, if there is such a thing.

A few things have been weighing …

Nursing mothers? Chain yo-selves to your babies!

I rarely comment on news articles on Facebook. Mostly, I just don't want my name to be out there (hello, Google search). Partly, I just don't want to get into it with people. But yesterday, the P-G published an article about moms wanting a facility for nursing mothers at Heinz Field. And I simply could not stop myself from commenting. (But only once. At least so far.)

I was surprised (though I am not sure why) many of the comments were in the vein of "be a parent and stay home" or "you women want everything." Apparently most commenters did not bother to read the article, which was about nursing mothers who want to breastfeed or pump. Honestly, I don't think it is terribly appropriate to take a baby to a Steelers game. People can get wild and loud. Profanities abound, and sometimes rough behavior ensues. But if that is what someone wants to do, I certainly won't criticize them. At least not on FB.

But I was nursing mom for about a year. When J was ab…

Moving On

If you follow pro-football, and especially if you follow the Steelers, you know all about the brouhaha surrounding the Steelers' signing of Michael Vick. People have threatened to boycott the games and burn their jerseys. I have no doubt some have and some will. Animal Rescue League, an organization that I financially support yearly, really made a statement when they pulled out of having their gala at Heinz Field, after first having removed all Steelers-related auction items from the event.

I get why they did it, though, to be fair, the Steelers don't own Heinz Field. And there are plenty of other players on the team who seem to be decent. But as for the rest of us? Well, for sure we can all choose to support or not support a team for whatever reason. But personally, I think some people are taking it a bit too far.

Michael Vick did a terrible thing. [He pled guilty to bankrolling a dog fighting enterprise and participating in every aspect of it, including killing dogs that re…

It was a good weekend.

This weekend, I got about 8 hours of sleep two nights in a row. That surpassed the number of nights I got 8 hours of sleep the previous 20 days. I have not slept well this month of August. Between work stress and my mom moving, and throwing in anxiety about my kid starting 7th grade and worrying about various things around that, sleep is elusive.

But I don't want to dwell on that. I want to just acknowledge the weekend for what it was. It was busy at times.

But it was a good weekend.

I slept.

I had some Blue Moons. I liked the cinnamon one; I was not fond of the spiced chai one.

I cut three weeks' worth of coupons.

I cleaned the bathtub well (every 2-3 weeks, I give it a deep scrubbing/cleaning; the other weeks it gets a perfunctory wipe-off).

I went through my credit card receipts.

I watched some TV with the kid.

I slept.

I spent some time with the hubby, just hanging out.

I walked the dog, and I ran the dog.

I lifted weights.

I went with J to a friend's house (the mom w…

Yep, Verizon has officially made my blood boil! [with an update that makes me hate Verizon slightly less]

On Thursday evening, the first day of "The Verizon Plan," the kid and I walked into a local Verizon store ready to make my soon-to-be 7th grader a smartphone owner. A woman greeted us, and I proceeded to tell her exactly what we wanted:
the new plan for two smartphones for $20 each monthlyone new smartphone for my kid, a Galaxy Core Prime, which I wanted to pay for outright1 gig of shared data for $30 monthly Nicole mentioned a cool phone case she had, and I told her we would look at it, but we had already found something on Amazon we liked. Then she went to the back to get the stuff.

After a few minutes, Nicole returned with the phone, a case, and a cover, and explained the plan she recommended, which contained 3 gig. I said that I had yet to use 1 gig in any given month, and my child would be using wifi only at home, so there was no need to spend the additional money ($30 versus $45, not including the 20% off the bigger plan with my Pitt discount). She then mentioned the $…

Decisions, decisions

J will be 12 in just over a week. We decided now was a good time to get her a cell phone. The vast majority of kids in her class have a phone; some have had one for years. J never needed one until this past school year, when she joined the drama club, which sometimes resulted in play practices being cancelled, added, or ending early or late. During those occasions, she had to borrow someone else's phone, which was not so convenient, to text the hubby, who, like many of us, hates to answer his phone for a number he does not recognize.

What solidified the decision was last month, when J spent a week at a Carnegie Museum day camp. I signed her up as a self-sign out, which meant, as the name suggests, that she could sign herself out each day, rather than wait for me. I had no intention of her actually doing that, but I figured if I ever ran late getting there (I was a 5-minute drive or a 9-minute walk), then I could just meet her at the entrance. Unfortunately, her very first day ther…

Déjà vu

I have pretty much never written about work. At least not in detail. Not this job. Not my last job; well, until I was let go. And then I wrote about it afterwards. I still think my good-bye email to the office was one of my best pieces of writing to date.

Things at work have been slow. That is pretty typical for the summer. And we work pretty hard throughout the year, so it is not altogether unpleasant to be slow (though I prefer to be busy), particularly when we get out .5 to 1.5 hours early most Fridays. But things were becoming unnervingly slow. We did not have many contracts on the horizon. Then we heard about people (the people whose work we do) leaving. First it was one person. Then another. When we got to the fourth and fifth, I was downright panicking.

And then last week, we were told about a mandatory, full company meeting on Monday (yesterday). I did not like the sound of that. Not one bit. I felt very uneasy the entire weekend. The only reason I was not in a full-on panic …

I like it here in the land of sunshine and lollipops

When you have a baby, you are (usually) convinced it can never get more challenging than it seems at the beginning. The sleepless nights. The worries that something is wrong with your kid. The anxiety that she will stop breathing in the middle of the night. I certainly felt that way the first few months or even years with J.

At some point, though, even when things continued to become challenging in different ways, somewhere deep down I knew things were going to get a lot harder. I knew that eventually my little kid would grow up and have bigger issues. After all, my mom was fond of saying, "Little kids, little problems; bigger kids, bigger problems."

As my baby grew into a preteen, there was the stress of grades. Too much homework. Trouble with girls ignoring her. The disappointment of a boy not liking her. Now that she is entering 7th grade, I know that in addition to those challenges, all the "big" scary things are not too far away.

Recently on FB, I wrote about…

A lot of times I suck at living in the moment.

Well, maybe my title is not entirely accurate. I mean, I can find joy in little things. I don't need to be part of something that is big and spectacular. But yet I sometimes (maybe closer to often) find myself becoming sad because those little moments are going to end, and I focus more on the loss (and trying to capture the moments).

A few hours ago, we returned home from a week at OC MD. When we went last year, we stayed only four nights, and I honestly thought we would not be back for years. But one year later, there we were, and staying longer to boot.

Yet during the last couple of days, which would be more days than we had last year, I found myself almost panicking. I felt as if I had to grab a hold of the final days and fill them with as much beach and ocean as I could. I kept worrying that we were not doing enough things or that I was going to regret doing nothing.

Thursday was the first bad weather day we had. Before the storm came, I managed to get a run in on the beach a…

I hate cars (Part 125)

If I did a search on "car" or "cars," I am sure that would turn up a lot of posts. I can't seem to go more than six to eight months without having to put money into my car(s). And in the last 10 months, I have spent around $1,500 among tires, a couple of oil changes, an inspection, brakes and rotors, an AC quick fix (not what I really need for it to actually be repaired), and some oil pan or plug. Looking on the bright side, if I had a new/not-yet-paid-off car, I would have spent more on car payments during that time. But still.

I tend to go through a set of brakes and rotors every two years. In fact, every other June/July for the past six years, I have replaced my front set. You might be wondering what in the h-e-double hockey sticks I am doing. I kind of am too. But I guess when you speed up to a stop sign and then slam on your brakes, along with sitting in rush hour traffic in general twice a day, five days a week, well, that can do it. Plus I recently disco…

Each t-shirt tells a story.

This evening I was trying to find a t-shirt to take to my mom's. I have a deep drawerful of shirts that I wear when I want to go extremely casual, as most of them are old, and at least a third are ill-fitting. 
Since I can barely close the drawer, and I had no idea of half of what is buried there, I decided to take everything out and see what I had. Surprisingly, I had remembered almost all of them, and many brought back memories, which is unfortunate as it makes it tough to give them up.
Here are some of their stories: 

This is probably my oldest tee. Twenty-two years ago this past February, I stayed awake and on my feet for 48 hours (plus about 10 more before and after) for Penn State's Dance Marathon. I am proud of that feat and being a part of something that helps so many pediatric cancer patients. The hallucinations I could have done without. Regardless, I wear this tee some years during THON weekend.

Depeche Mode was the first concert at the Civic Arena I went to without my …

THIS will give me the motivation

Because I have over 300 "friends" on Facebook (at least half of whom are not really friends at all) and only a handful of readers here, I tend to be more open in this space. Today will continue that trend.

If you know me well (or even if you don't know me at all), I can tell you that for the most part, I feel pretty good about myself, both physically and as a person in general. I think it started soon after I had a child, and really solidified once I hit 40. I just have been able to accept who I am, know that I don't have to be perfect to be a good person, and pretty much am okay with my body, even though it is not as thin and tight as I would like it to be.

Unfortunately, in the last six or so months, I gained a few pounds. Going to Baltimore almost a month ago and eating non-stop for several days and hardly moving put me a few more pounds ahead, and I am now the heaviest I have been for only the third time in my life. Unfortunately, because I walk a lot and I star…

Random Ramblings

I have a handful of thought in my head (and by a handful, I think I mean about 30). So rather than try to pick one topic, I am going to bullet point some. Let's see how many "some" actually ends up being...

When the Penguins are done with hockey, so am I. I am not even sure who is still playing and if we are down to the final teams. I think the Rangers are or were in it. But that is all I know. I really like hockey, but as a true Pens fan who watches pretty much every single game, starting in October, once the Pens are done, I typically have had enough.Let the record show that I rarely complained this winter. So many people talked about how hard/bad the winter was. I did not see it that way. I am guessing that is because I drove to work this winter, unlike last winter, when I found myself waiting for the bus in frigid temps quite a bit. Even 5 or 6 minutes in windchills at -5 or even 0 degrees tends to bring you down. So this winter was like a picnic in comparison. In fac…

Worry

Lately, I have had some anxiety. I have been waking up within an hour of when I fall asleep (partially because my bladder has its own timetable). And then I lie awake, worrying about various things. Mostly I worry that I am failing as a parent. I worry that I allow my child to be disrespectful to me more than she should. I worry that I am not forcing my shy child to do more things. And I worry that the few things I am pushing her to do will make her resent me. I worry that she gets stressed about school. I worry that she is bothered because she does not have a lot of friends. I worry because I don't know why that is.

I worry that we will be stuck in our house in our bad school district, a place where we would not send our child to high school when she graduates in two years (two years!). Then I worry that our somewhat introverted child will have to go to cyber school. Because there is just no way that we could afford to send her to Catholic high school, for which tuition is curren…

I'm sure this will get me into trouble!

As I contemplated writing this post, I could hear my mother saying, "Stop putting everything on Facebook" or "Your whole life does not have to be on Facebook." I don't put everything on FB. I typically do post something nearly every day. Mostly, I post pictures of things (Phipps gets a posting pretty much every month since I am there that often). I also try to include whenever I get together with a friend (after asking them if it is okay if I post the picture), and my family. I don't post nearly the number of pics of my kid as I used to, mostly because she hates my taking her picture (the dog hardly sits still, so forget that). I also complain about something and/or make some topical comment on average once a week. I guess thanks to the Pens' early, but not surprising, exit, there won't be any hockey posts for awhile (though I had really cut back on those this season).

Most notably, I rarely post things about my kid's school, other than I end up…

My happy place

Phipps spring flower show came to an end almost a week ago. As usual, it was beautiful, calming, and delightful. I wish I could come up with better adjectives, but that's all I have right now.

I will let the pictures speak for themselves. Ah, spring!










I forget the great title I had for this post!

I had a pretty good title for this post, but it escapes me, probably because I actually wrote two different posts for what this will end up being. Which is loooong.

I was in NC from Thursday afternoon until Monday morning. And man, did we fit a lot into those few days.

It started off pretty smoothly. Because flying stresses me out and we had to go through two tunnels, J and I left the house, 30 miles away, about 2.75 hours before our flight was scheduled to leave. Even though it took us just under 40 minutes to get there, I still felt nervous, so I decided not to wait for the airport van/shuttle that takes you from a shelter in extended parking to the beginning of the airport. I was afraid the next one might not come for 30 minutes (I did not walk up to a shelter to actually confirm this). After dragging several bags for over 10 minutes, I regretted that decision. Fortunately, we made it through security pretty quickly, although clearly the novices we are at flying, we had a full wate…