Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The farewell tour

So it's like this.
The career opportunity I've been wanting for a very long time, in the city where I grew up suddenly fell into my lap. It happened so quickly I'm still not sure it actually did happen. I'm astonished. And excited.
And leaving Pittsburgh.
I'm not a native of the Steel City, but my husband is, which is how I was lucky enough to come to live here. And while I've spent the better part of the last decade here, I don't know if I ever got to know Pittsburgh as well as I should have. There are a lot of things you're "supposed" to do when you get here that I just haven't done. Partly because I married someone who's been here and done that, but partly because I was always thinking of living in Pittsburgh as a temporary arrangement. I feel sort of bad about that now, because Pittsburgh has become very much a second home to me. I have nothing bad at all to say about the people of this city. They're super.
I don't start at the new job until August. So for the next month, I'm going to make a list of things in Pittsburgh I either haven't done, or things I want to do once more before the move, and try to do as many of them as I can, time and budget permitting.
First things first:
  • I've never been to Kennywood. (I KNOW!)
  • I've never eaten at Primanti's (I was a vegetarian until pretty recently).
  • I want to watch a last baseball game at PNC Park (I've at least done that). The only drawback there is it'll have to involve the Pirates.
I welcome suggestions of what other things I ought to experience before the move.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The day before vacation

Getting ready for vacation is so stressful, mostly because my husband is so freaking calm to the point of comatose while I am a whirling dervish of stress and trying to be organized and not forget anything and also breathe ...
Stress is more stressful when no one shares it. Because then, you're not only stressed, you're borderline neurotic, too and DON'T TELL ME TO CALM DOWN... oh, sorry.
Really what I need is a vacation.
Ah, irony. There you are again.
So, tomorrow we start the drive to the coast. Yes, drive. Don't get me started; he won't fly.
We'll see how it goes...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


We can barely afford it, but we're going to take a vacation this year, and go to Cape Cod.
I'll get to meet my new baby niece, not quite a month old. I'll also see my dad for the first time since our falling out (it's a long story. And boring.).
My younger child wants very much to see my dad. Me, not so much. It's just easier not to.
But, it may in all likelihood be the last time I see him. I wish I could muster up more interest in the situation based on that fact alone. Will I feel bad for the distance (both metaphorical and geographical) between us after he's gone?
Right now, I'd say no. After he's gone, I may feel differently.
Oh, but there will be beach time near a bona fide ocean on this vacation, to offset my 39-year-old angst.
So there's that.
We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Right now... it's June and I'm out of excuses

I just love this photo. Memorial Day at Phipps Conservatory. Good lookin' guys, huh?

I'm going to steal Uncle Crappy's idea and try to blog every day for the month of June.
I think my previous goal of every day for a year? Too ambitious.

I just need to write more.

We'll see how it goes...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Hannah Louise

My first niece, born on Mothers' Day.

I wish my mother could've met her. And my kids.

She would have been an awesome grandma.

(it's a cell phone photo, but she's still perfect)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Restart button

First, it was just a few days, then it was a week then it turned into a month.

I thought I would blog every day for a year, my 39th year, in honor of my mother.

Yeah, I suck.

So, restarting on Mother’s Day (Mothers’ Day?). Sincerely going to make a second attempt.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

It's just this sort of thing that makes me wish I went to law school

It's not easy being a journalist; the job itself isn't super-hard if you have half a brain, but the reputation/public perception that we're all scandal-mongering, muck-racking dirtbags is hard to fight when you have people like Rick Sanchez representing the profession:
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Uninformant
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Reform
Honestly, we're not all that ridiculous. Some of us have pride. Scruples, even...

Monday, March 1, 2010

and I do mean idiot box...

One of the most endearing things about my husband (or most annoying, depending upon who has the remote), is his affinity for bad television. When I say the man will watch *anything* on television, I am not exaggerating even a little. As I type this, he is watching a show on public access television in which two African-American women are discussing... I have no idea what they're discussing. One's going to St. Louis, the other one wants to eat M &Ms. I have tuned out. My husband has not.
That is exactly the sort of thing he likes to watch. Public access is must-see TV. The guy who yells, "Read On!" to his companion, who reads passages from the Bible? Husband loves it. Oh and shopping channels? The more hideous the jewelry/outfit/artwork the better. Quacker Factory leisurewear? He'll watch it for hours.
Yet, if I try to sneak in an episode of Grey's Anatomy, I'll never hear the end of it. Not only does he watch awful television (his reasoning is someone has to watch it), he is very judgmental of the TV-watching habits of others.
Some nights, we just have to reach an agreement to put on hockey and be done with it. We can at least agree on that...

Don't move my STUFF!

So the 5-year-old, he has a lot of STUFF. Toys, subcategories of toys, construction paper, crayons, pencils, stuffed animals, games, trucks, cars, books, flashlights... and I haven't even gotten to the Lego section yet.
In an effort to help him keep it more organized, I took one of my bookcases, emptied it of its stuff, put it in his room and put some of his stuff on it. Since he is a child who craves organization (and craves is the word I was going for), I figured a more-organized room was a very good thing.
Except of course, I did it wrong.
"This is just going to scare me later!" he told me, furious. "Why did you move it all around?"
See, things in your room look a lot different with the lights off than they do with the lights on. Especially when you are a 5-year-old with a vivid imagination. Anything out of place becomes a terrifying visage after Mom shuts off the lights and leaves the room. See: "Bedtime for Frances".
He took everything off the bookcase and reorganized it properly.
He must have done something right, because he slept like a log, not even a request for a drink of water. Maybe I'll have him tackle my closet next... but that's a whole other set of scaries, isn't it...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

If Rory Gilmore were a boy

Today I had lunch with my older son, who is a full-fledged adult and everything. Old enough to drink legally, even.
I'll wait while you try to figure out the math.
OK, time's up. Yes, I was extremely young when I had him, so young that it boggles my mind how little I knew about taking care of myself, much less being responsible for another human.

It was hard when he was little, because I had to sacrifice a lot of the teenage and twentysomething things many people in that age bracket take for granted. It was harder still when he hit adolescence, because I made some selfish decisions which had not-fantastic consequences for him.

But now that he's a little older, and has a capacity to understand that A) Mom was really young and inexperienced and didn't know what she was doing most of the time but B) usually had the best of intentions, our relationship has greatly improved. There is no one else I can talk to so candidly about many topics, and that includes my sisters and my husband. He is *so much* like me in so many ways, and so much better than me in a lot of other ways.

So we discussed Olympic hockey and why the modern American workplace is a ridiculous and unreasonable place, and ate Middle Eastern food. It was nice, and I wish we did it more often.

The now-defunct show "Gilmore Girls" was about a mom who got pregnant as a teenager (Lorelai) and her teenage daughter (Rory). It was one of my favorite shows ever, and while I was sad to see it canceled, it seemed like the right time for the characters, especially Rory, who had graduated college and was entering the workforce. That parent-child relationship of a mom who wants everything for her kid despite their less-than-auspicious beginnings, is a model for the kind of relationship I'd like to have with my older kid. They're not just parent-child, they're best friends.

Maybe we're not there yet, but I think we will be soon...

Friday, February 26, 2010

Can't wait for 6

When my now-5-year-old was 3, he loved us and was a perfectly charming little person to be around; agreeable, pleasant, funny, innocent and cute, cute, cute.
Then he turned 4. Still cute, mind you, and still funny and innocent. And while there is something intensely comical about a 4-year-old stomping off in a huff, what does a 4-year-old have to stomp off about?
Our pediatrician assured us that 4 was just a difficult age, and he'd mellow out once he turned 5.
We believed him.
Still waiting for that mellow.
Maybe it's because he's a Taurus. Maybe it's because he's just smart and gets impatient with his dopey parents who need everything explained to them. Maybe we need to be more patient.
Or, maybe, our pediatrician is a liar, liar pants on fire and 5 is just as whiny and obstinate as 4.
I am *sure* when he turns 6, he'll stop howling with despair every night at bedtime, lose interest in driving Mommy bananas with an argument for even the smallest decision, and will accept "because I said so" as a viable reason to do something.
Definitely, right?

Not beating myself up. Nope. Not gonna do it.

So less than three days in to my new project of blogging every day for a year, I dropped the ball. Why?
I forgot. Plain and simple.
I did something else that was out of my comfort zone.
I went to a Tweetup.
To meet some of the very funny and interesting people I interact with on Twitter on a pretty much daily basis. Despite my brave and hopefully amusing front, I am a very shy and insecure person by nature. I'm tall, which has been kind of a social handicap (at least in my own mind) since about teenagehood. It is VERY HARD for me to meet new people, not because I don't have opportunities, but because I fret about it and build it up in my own mind, and psych myself out.
So I am very proud of myself for swallowing my fear and venturing out to Piper's Pub on the South Side. I admit I waited all day for the weather to change enough to cancel the event, letting me off the hook. But it didn't. So I didn't chicken out, and am very glad I did not.
I had already met Abby, the fabulous organizer of many Tweetups, and @shadow, a very nice and funny techie. But I was dying to meet UncleCrappy and @mrscrappy, because they're journalists like me! And also, very funny and nice.
I wish I had had more time to talk to @FunkyDung and @annthegeek, but, I at least introduced myself. Big step for Shy Me.
There were a few people I chickened out introducing myself to (still a tall, gawky teenager in my head), but I'll save 'em for the next Tweetup.
So there. I'm not going to beat myself up for forgetting to blog yesterday. I'll blog twice today as penance. In fact, I'll make that my rule. As long as on Feb. 23, 2011, I have 365 posts to show for myself, I'll consider this project a success.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

very public transportation

Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows that I usually commute to work by bus. Given Pittsburgh's ridiculously labyrinthine transit system, I end up on two buses for a total travel time of about an hour for a trip that encompasses just under six miles.
What I like about riding the bus: I can snooze on the way to work, or check email, or goof off on Twitter, or do any number of other things I couldn't do while driving. Also, I don't have to drive in rush hour traffic.
The things I don't like about the bus don't have a lot to do with riding it. I hate the moment where I have to pay. I always fumble with my change if I don't have a pass that week, and I can feel the hatred of the passengers behind me. I hate waiting for the bus; it's that nervous tension kinda like when you try to get money from the ATM but you're not exactly sure how much is in the account... not sure the bus hasn't arrived yet, if it's late... just too many variables can go wrong before the bus actually shows.
But the worst part of traveling by bus is the instance of being just a shade late or slightly too far from the bus stop when the bus pulls up. And you have to run to catch it. You surrender all dignity at that point, and are at complete and total mercy of the bus driver. He or she can pretend not to see you, or can just keep driving and ignore your breathless humiliation.
Mostly, though, the bus isn't a terrible way to get around. If the seats were just a little more comfortable...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Peter Fonda, Dakota Fanning and Howard Jones...

... were all born on February 23rd, too.

Today is also the anniversary of the Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima photograph

Most awesomely, on this date in 1896, the Tootsie Roll was invented.

Whereas yesterday, I was filled with profound insight and self-introspection, today when I sat down at the computer, all I have in my brain is Tootsie Rolls and Peter Fonda.

On this upcoming year's to-do list, in no particular order:

-Visit my sister in California (she has lived there more than 10 years and I've never visited once, for various reasons: small children being born, finances, etc. )

- Get out of print journalism. The future is bleak and the pay is lousy. Trying to make the transition now by beefing up my mad online journalism skillz. It's hard for an old dog like me to learn new tricks after 12+ years.

-Spend more time at the ocean. Not on the ocean, like in a boat or something, just in a place where I can see it.

-Get healthier. Just, yeah.

-Be more patient. I would say that might be my biggest character flaw; I am impatient with people and get easily frustrated.

I know this post was full of randomness, but I'm new to the "blog-every-day" mindset. I have to save some of the brilliance if I'm going to do this daily for a year straight ...

Monday, February 22, 2010

One down, 365 to go

Turning 39 is not nearly as big a deal as turning 40. I get that.

However, I have an especially unhappy association with the age 40: it's how old my mother was when she died of a brain tumor.

As a nurse, she almost certainly knew how bleak her prognosis was when she got it. I have, somewhere, a photo of her blowing out candles on her 40th and final birthday cake, her chemo-ravaged head covered by a scarf. She must have known at the time that it would be her final birthday. Mother of three small children. What must have been going through her mind at the time that photo was taken? I can't even begin to imagine, and believe me, I've tried.

So I plan to celebrate my 40th birthday as a great occasion when (and if) it arrives. But I have a year to go first: I'm going to be 39 tomorrow. I decided I would treat this 40th year as a great gift; savor every day of it. I don't think I can quite bring myself to treat it as if it were my last year, but I wonder if my mother would have lived her 40th year differently if she had the knowledge she wouldn't see 41, and hadn't been so sick those last few months.

My plan is to post something here every day for an entire year. Not every post will be so fraught with personal reflection, or so serious, hopefully. What I'm hoping for is to gain a better appreciation of a mother I didn't get to know that well, and honor her memory by more fully living and exploring each day left on my own calendar.