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Showing posts from 2016

Calamityware for unique holiday gifts

I have been really lousy at blogging during 2016, for several reasons (some of which I don't even know). One big reason is time: Between working full time and helping promote Calamityware, plus having a small family and doing the occasional social thing, there is not a lot of time left to put thought into blogs. [Sadly, I can put hours into FB, but that is mostly my reading and not thinking, and perhaps writing short comments. :-)]

Anyway, since we are now in the middle of the holiday (shopping) season, I thought I would again promote Calamityware. If you are like me, you have a few people on your gift list who are really challenging to buy for. That is where Calamityware may come in handy. Following are the unique, quirky, fun, and even some beautiful items you can purchase here:
Various porcelain plates adorned with fun things like frogs, zombie poodles, pterodactyls, tentacles, a volcano, a vortex, and more; buy a plate or one of the series of fourSoup bowls with fly (1 fly per …

The speed of life

Life just keeps zooming by. Not sure how it happens. Would love to slow it down (except during an awful workday or a painful conversation). But, alas, on we go.

And speaking of living life, I have found a way to spend even more time on my phone (the hubby did not think that was possible). I finally replaced my iPhone 4 with an iPhone SE. It is nice to be on an operating system that came out in the current year (My 4 was still on OS 6, which was updated in 2013, just not by me). And to have actual memory on the phone (I went from 8 to 64 GB). I can have more than 12 apps! My desktop computer (on which I am typing this post) is older than a lot of grade schoolers, and I keep clinging to XP, but at least I have made technical progress somewhere!

So what else? Hockey season is back. Yeah! Please just no one else hurt Sid (including Sid). The Steelers' football season kind of hit a skid with Big Ben's injury, but it ain't over yet. And Penn State beat then #2 OSU in a spectacul…

It's just a game!

Today, I went to the Pitt-Penn State football game. The last time I saw Penn State in action was also the last Pitt-Penn State game, also in Pittsburgh, way back in 2000. It was and I am quite different this time.

Today, two jagoffs Pitt fan did things that I find reprehensible. About 1.5 hours before kickoff, I was walking down West General Robinson Street with a ton of others. All of a sudden, when I was nearly at Art Rooney Way, some a-hole in a Pitt shirt cross-checked my shoulder so hard, I spun slightly and dropped my water bottle. I was stunned. But being the middle of a fast-moving crowd, I picked up my water bottle and continued on. There is no way he could have accidentally done it. He just looked straight ahead right after and kept going. After I recovered, I could not help wondering what kind of a person does something like that to a complete stranger, a woman especially, presumably just because I had a Penn State hat on. I guess I will never know. But I feel sorry for his…

Swearing with style

Before I launch into some random thoughts, I first wanted to make a push for the latest Calamityware project on Kickstarter, the Classy Curse Kit. Each element of the Classy Curse Kit includes a colorful and typographically refined, all-purpose curse in a socially acceptable form—the euphemism graphic ($%*?&!, which starts off with a lightening bolt). The kit contains 2 mugs, 2 decals, 12 note cards, and 12 calling cards with customizable Banner-Hulk scale. I really hope it funds, because I look forward to raising my coffee mug during boring meetings where someone says something annoying. I especially want to place the decal on the back of my car with all the jagoff drivers in and around the Burgh. And it would be pretty nice to slip a calling card with a personal, pointed note underneath the windshield of a car that parked stupidly. If you are like some of my friends and most of my coworkers, $48 may be a bit steep. But I encourage you to talk to a friend and split the kit. Wha…

Calamityware

About a month ago, I embarked on a freelance gig spreading the word about Calamityware—quirky porcelain, paper, and fabric projectsthat my friend (and former boss) retired graphics designer Don Moyer has come up with. I am charged with trying to find newspaper and magazine people as well as bloggers to talk about these fun, practical, and (sometimes) beautiful items.

The Calamityware series started in 2011 when Don inherited a traditional, Willow-pattern plate and decided to redraw it and add the excitement of a pterodactyl. Over the next few weeks, he drew several more plates—each with a different calamity. When he posted his sketches to his Flickr site (https://www.flickr.com/photos/36106576@N05/), people encouraged him to reproduce his drawings on porcelain, and the first in a series of successful Kickstarter projects, a plate with flying monkeys, was born. Since then, Calamityware has seen 10 plates, a mug, a set of small plates and bowls, a puzzle, 4 bandanas, and 2 letterpres…

Health Insurance Angst (part 17, probably)

As noted here and on FB, the hub's previous employer had pretty crappy health insurance, for which he paid about $1,100 a year for single coverage. I pay less than that per year for my individual plan (which has far better coverage), but adding him would have cost another $2,100, year. Since he has been to the doctor about three times in our many years of marriage, we had decided when I started my job a little over three years ago, it was not worth the extra $ to put him in on my better plan (J is on it). We were right. :-)

Sadly, the hub's new employer's plan makes the last plan seems like the gold-star option. If B goes on this plan, which he could not get on until August, he would pay almost $3,000/year. But on top of that, he would first have to pay a $1,500 deductible. If our entire family was on the plan, almost $19,000 would be deducted from his yearly pay, plus there is a $4,500 deductible. Coinsurance (no idea what that is) is 30% after the deductible. And the co…

Some stuff

A few things have been weighing on my mind lately. Most notable has been the hub's job. The company he has worked for for more than 7 years has not been doing well for, well, years. Paychecks have been late for at least a year or two. His salary was cut long before that, never to be brought back. And, even though the economy is better than it was earlier this decade, it still is not great, thus keeping the hubs at that job. Still, we both knew the biggest advantage of his job was that he got to work from home. Being able to get out of bed just before your starting time, particularly when you are not a morning person, is pretty great. Not having to sit in traffic most days, also pretty great. And being able to take a late lunch so you can get your kid from school and bring her back home, saving on after-school care, also pretty darn good.

J will be 13 at the end of the summer. We had decided that we were going to transition her to staying by herself by letting her do that 2 or 3 d…

You are different from me, so let's not be friends!

This election season, which pretty much started 3 years ago, has been particularly contentious. I can't believe we have another almost 7 months until the general election and then another almost 3 more months until the inauguration. Lord, help us.

But what bothers me even more than the bitterness, hate, and name-calling is when people say things like this on Facebook:
"If you support _____, unfriend me right now." 
If you have just met me or read my blog for the first time, the best way I can describe myself is a liberal Republican. Facebook reminded me a few days ago that my hubby had called me a "bleeding heart liberal" 2 years ago. Not surprisingly, my liberal friends were pleased and said things like "what a compliment" and "thank him." In fact, only one conservative friend made a comment, which was "If the shoe fits..."
As I have said several times here, my (somewhat confusing and conflicted) political leanings often put me on…

Racism, prejudice, entitlement, and saying the wrong things

Simple Definition of RACISM
• : poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race
• : the belief that some races of people are better than others

Simple Definition of PREJUDICE
• : an unfair feeling of dislike for a person or group because of race, sex, religion, etc.
• : a feeling of like or dislike for someone or something especially when it is not reasonable or logical

I certainly don't treat anyone poorly or commit acts of violence against them because of their race. I don't think one race (or my race) is better than others. And I do not have a feeling of dislike for anyone or any group, other than litterers, drug dealers (of the hard stuff; not marijuana), and murderers. But I can tell you that great disdain for those three groups is not based on race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. It is all about the actions of those people, and I certainly don't think it is unreasonable or illogical to feel that way about people who do disgusting things.

But, in…

I'm glad that is over with!

This past Monday, I officially became (one of the things) I had wanted to for my last two car purchases: a Subaru Forester owner. :-)

I wish I could recall what made me want to own one, way back in 1999, just before I had bought my (used) Ford Explorer. At that time, I was down to a Honda CRV and a Subaru Forester, but the latter was going to be more expensive to insure, so I nixed it. Plus the Forester was boxy, so I don't know what the appeal was. In any event, the dealership I was dealing with did not have any CRVs in, and my lease was running out; then the Explorer presented itself. It was a good (large) car that served me well for many years. But then repairs started to pile up, and I started searching again. This time, I was down to, once again, a Subaru Forester, which was slightly less boxy, but still not "pretty," and a Hyundai Santa Fe and a Tucson. When Saturn offered 0% financing for 5 years for a Vue, I moved that car up from #5 to #1. It too served me well …

Second chances and bad decisions

I've been thinking about second chances and drugs a bit lately. This has been mostly spurred by the HONY series on inmates. I find  a lot of their stories to be fascinating, and in many cases I feel sorry for them, even empathetic. Some of those people were dealt a bad hand in life. Others got caught up in a lifestyle. One guy justified his actions (dealing drugs) by his giving neighborhood kids money for the movies and helping someone pay a bill. Robin Hood of the hood!
I also watch the show Pit Bulls and Parolees. I find myself rooting for the guys there too. I want them to do the right thing. And I think most of them will. 
But it is so easy, I imagine, to fall back into the fast lifestyle. When you can make hundreds or thousand of dollars a day working just a few hours, slinging burgers for $7.25/hour for 6 to 8 hours a day seems a lot less appealing. And the addiction. I know how difficult it is for me to not eat sweets or to stop biting my lips and my nails. I can only imagine…

So much to say, and yet nothing really

Another month has passed without my blogging. I (sometimes) long for the days when I would blog several times  a week. I am just in a weird place now, and I am not sure blogging will help. Plus with the rather boring life I lead, there really is not much to say. But I will try to say a few things that are on my mind.

The Steelers are the playoffs! I used to be so excited by that. And I am still a little. I will certainly be watching the game. I am wearing my Hines jersey as we speak. But I no longer get really worked up by a game. I don't cry when my team loses a big game. I no longer post a lot about the Steelers as I used to on Facebook and a little on here. This season is the second in a row I did not go to a single game, which is now my longest streak. My family got season tickets when I was in high school (can't remember when). I went to a game or two a year then. In college, I probably went to only one per year. Once I graduated and up until I had Jordan 10 years later, …