Saturday, August 30, 2008

Planning and Preparation

I am a planner. Can't help it, it is the way that I am. The Great Race is coming up here in Pittsburgh. Bean and I have been doing the race since she was four years old. Last year we took Monkeyboy for the Steeler's race. He was enthralled with the thought of seeing some Steelers and with the thought of running through the tunnel and into Heinz Field for the finish. And seeing himself on the Jumbotron. We got to the race early, Mippy, Bean, Monkeyboy and I. We saw some Steelers, but they were Dwight White, Woodruff....from the 70's, no current Steelers. We must have asked Monkeyboy....oh, I don't know......fifty times if he had to go to the bathroom. He insisted he didn't. As soon as the gun went off, he had to go to the bathroom. We passed a hotel and Mippy went to take him in, but you had to have a key. Of course, they didn't, so Mippy stood off to the side, and as soon as someone came out, she dodged in. Getting back into the race, Monkeyboy lamented that "this is the worst day of my entire life". This said at six, almost seven, years of age. Somewhere on the course, he got a burst of energy and forged ahead, leaving Mippy in the dust, yelling for him to slow down. People all around Monkeyboy were watching him in amusement, running far ahead of his mother, who when pushed has an asthma attack. Well, the race ended and Monkeyboy has no desire to do another race. The Great Race is a lot of fun. Bean has bettered her time every year. Bird was going to do the race with her this year, because she is getting too fast for me. Bird isn't able to do it, so I decided on the track today that I will do my best to keep up with her, which will entail a lot of hard work between now and then. Planning and preparation. Of course, there is the chance that Bean will not want to do the race, so I'll check with her at Sunday dinner. Perhaps running will again become a passion for me....but then, perhaps not.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Everyone should have a passion...Wicked Kitty's is art, Michele's is photography and the table she is building, Wacky Mommy's is her new job, Hockey God's is his hockey, Bean's is her theater, Monkeyboy's is his sports. I love it when I hear about someone's passion, it pleases me to see the joy that they feel when they talk about it. Michele is building a table for her new apartment and her face lights up when she speaks of it. Wicked Kitty was featured in the newspaper for her art...what a thrill and to see her doing her art with children is inspiring. Visit and listen to her speak of her new job and how excited she is. And of course, I need not mention Monkeyboy and his passion. Bean, the child who sat in ballet class in the corner crying because she didn't want to dance, is now a wonderful dancer who has appeared on stage at the Benedum in Pittsburgh dancing, singing and acting. Hockey God's passion is both hockey and politics in Portland, Oregon. His sister is passionate about competing in mountain bike races. Hmmm, let me try to figure out my passion....what is your's?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Walk in the Park and So Forth

I truly believe that exercise is a cure all for anything ailing one. I love being out in the morning when all is quiet and peaceful. Monkeyboy started fall baseball practice last night, and I'm really not paranoid.....but, he draws very nice pictures for Wicked Kitty (see picture at right), and makes all kinds of crafty things for Mippy, Bean and Bird.....but do I get anything? No. And last night he was throwing the ball to first base, and I'm pretty sure it was meant to hit me. He said no, but who knows. This boy has a very strong arm. He can throw from left field to home plate with no trouble. Kids are starting back to school soon. I think they are excited, although they don't like to admit it. Monkeyboy had a rough time in school when Mippy and Bird went on vacation for their anniversary. He truly missed his parents. I was remembering it and talking with Mippy about it on Sunday. He sobbed because he missed them so much. I had to take off work because he refused to go to school. All of the grandkids are excellent students, so I wasn't too concerned, but it became a problem, even after the parents got home. He got back on track, thanks to the perseverance of Mippy and Bird. His comment to me when I asked him why he didn't get upset when we went on a road trip was that "Mom and Dad are always supposed to be at home."
I remember my first day of school. I was in the first grade ( I did attend kindergarten, but I don't remember any trauma associated with that) and my mother walked me to school and dropped me off at the first grade room. Miss McGreavy was her name. I remember going to the door and watching my mother walking down the hall, and how very sad and scared I felt. I got over it fairly quickly, but I can still see her walking down the hall. My favorite teacher was Miss Dressing, my fifth grade teacher. She was elderly (probably 40) and she always had a smile on her face. I remember that her class was fun, and she always kept us enthused about learning. My least favorite was my brother's favorite, Miss McCrum. Boy, she was tough. Kicked me out of Algebra 2 for some silly reason, like my doing English homework during her class. Who were your favorite and least favorite teachers? Do you remember your first day of school?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

In the Quiet Morning

Because I still have these odd things happening to my body since all of the surgery I have been through this year, I decided it was time to get back on track with exercise. When I think that Mippy and I used to run at least five miles a day, and sometimes as much as fifteen miles, I wonder how we did it. We used to run in zero weather and ninety-five degree weather. And I have to admit, the endorphins that kicked in were a wonderful thing. So, early this morning, after Ava bit me on the nose telling me she was out of food (Wicked Kitty called her fat, so she is on a diet), I put on some shorts and a t-shirt left over from the racing days and headed for the track. I would love to run the way I did at one time, and hopefully, I can get back to that, but it was nice to be on the track with only a couple of people there. I know we need rain here (sorry, Wacky Mommy, I know you have had LOTS of rain), but the weather this summer has been absolutely splendid. The only thing to ruin this quiet Sunday morning is the man behind us running his STUPID WEED WACKER. In talking with Ginger and Skipper last night we were lamenting about holidays never being holidays anymore. They are days for sales and shopping for bargains. Some of the stores here even open late Christmas day for sales. Kids sports are that way, too. Little league games, soccer games. Not that I don't enjoy all of those things. I do. But maybe we need to re-evaluate how we prioritize things. Meanwhile, the weed wacking has subsided, thank goodness, and I am going to sit in the back yard with my camera waiting for my friends, the deer, and enjoy the quiet of a beautiful Sunday morning. Enjoy your day.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pets and Such

Over the years, we have owned many pets. Saucy was our first dog...a Welsh Terrier. Fat, mean dog. Always constipated. Then we got an Airedale. Mike. He was a mean dog too. Went after Poppy's girlfriend at the time. My mom then got a terrier named Skippy. He bit people too. We got a German Shepherd mixed and had to have her put down because she had some disease. We got Molly#1. She was a good dog, except when Poppy came to our house and called her, she ran in the opposite direction peeing across the whole room. He thought it was hysterical and continued to do so during his whole visit. We adopted a dog named Scuddles. She was a sheep dog. Mippy brought her then boyfriend with us and I believe Scuddles bit him, but I'm not sure. (It's the anesthesia, not old age.) Scuddles was a good dog, although she didn't like to be left alone. We had to buy her a wire cage, and it became a contest with her to see if she could get out of it. The first day she simply lifted off the lid by banging her head against it. When I pulled into the drive, she was sitting on the dining room table wagging her butt. (she had no tail) We finally gave up on the cage because she got out of it every time and ended up tearing up our bed, dragging sheets around the house. Once we left the door open to the cage, she was fine. Scuddles died very quickly of cancer. We found out about it and she died two days later. Cancer of the lungs. We didn't get another dog for a while, but then we got Molly #2. She was also a sheep dog. The main problem with her was that when she drank water, it didn't all go in her mouth. We have a tile floor in the house, which turned into a skating rink when wet. Need I say more? It was when we had Scuddles that we got Abbey. I believe I lied (hard to believe) and told Papap that I found her. Actually, Peta friend and I got her at the pound. When Papap walked in the door from work that night....well, let's just say, he was upset. Molly #2 didn't take too kindly to her either. Abbey took ONE LITTLE piece of dog food and Molly grabbed her by the head and flung (is that a word) her across the room. Abbey was in intensive care for two days. She seemed fine after that, and she and Molly became good long as Abbey didn't go near her food. Mippy, Bird and Bean came over for Sunday dinner at Christmas time...not sure if Monkeyboy was born yet. Abbey didn't like Bean much, so I decided to give her some cat nip to mellow her out. She got very goofy, which put everyone into gales of laughter, so I gave her a little more. (Bird said they had lots of cats and cat nip wouldn't hurt her, so it was his fault). She got goofy again, spun around three times and fell over dead on the train tracks. I mean really dead. The vet wanted to do an autopsy, but we passed on that. Molly missed her, but papap said no more animals. Molly was with us for quite a while, but old age took her from us. Now we have Ava, and she brings us great times and much laughter. Pets are a wonderful thing and everyone should have at least one. I was at Mippy's house tonight and tried to get a picture of Flurry. Impossible, she is a fast little kitten. We did manage to get one of Oscar. He's a great dog and seems to be tolerating Flurry quite well. Any pet stories?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sport or Not

OK, here it goes. Is trampoline a sport? How about floor gymnastics? What constitutes a sport? Big discussion today and I said I would open it on the blog. I think some of the things that we have in the olympics are stretching the word "sport". Got into an argument about cheerleading, but I can agree that high school cheerleading is more of a sport than....say, the Dallas Cowgirls. It's more gymnastics. Opinions? Bean cut a baseball diamond with the lawnmower in the yard to surprise Monkeyboy. When he saw it he became so excited and was jumping for joy. Then Bean had to tell him she ran over third base and chewed up the base. He immediately burst into wails of disappointment. It was somwhat alleviated when Bean began to paint the lines to the bases. Another Sunday dinner.....I love it!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Fun Night Out

There is nothing worse than standing in court all day, and I do mean all day. But it surely is worse for the families. I left court at 5:00 and rushed to get home so we could go the the theater. Bean, Monkeyboy, Mippy and I went to see West Side Story. Monkeyboy watches the orchestra more than the production, but that is fine because he is a drummer after all. As we were eating dinner, the waitress told us she was expecting her third baby. Not missing a beat, Monkeyboy asked her the baby's name. She replied and he seemed satisfied. Later Mippy said that Monkeyboy asked his father where babies come from. Bean was there and Bird said something about when the "men" were alone together they would talk about it. Good out. Bean, I am told, giggled a lot. I got an email joke about this and sent it to Bird, thinking it would help broach the subject. I don't think he is going to use that particular joke. I just called Bird to ask him if I could blog about this and he said he didn't care. I then asked him if he had talked to Monkeyboy about this, and he said Monkeyboy is more concerned about football. So, Bird is off the hook for now. And Bean is still giggling. I remember being handed a book and told to read it and ask questions if I had any. Monkeyboy and Bean are coming to my office tomorrow since Bird has training. I swear, if Hockey Caseworker says one word to Monkeyboy about NHL or NFL channels on TV for $7.95 a month, I will choke him. I think ESPN sports every morning for the updates is enough. What is scary now is that Bean is starting to spout sports memorabilia. Have a wonderful Sunday and how were you told about where babies come from.........don't get too graphic, just generally. ;)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Time Flies

I am having fun playing with photos. This particular one is a picture of "The Gates", an art exhibit in NYC's Central Park. The gates were created by Christo and Jeanne-Claude in 2005. Their flags covered over 23 miles in Central Park and took over 24 hours to unfurl all of the flags. "The Gates" alluded to the tradition of Japanese torii gates which were traditionally constructed at the entrance to Shinto Shrines. I liked them because I think they added color to the landscape in the dreary months of winter, but there were many complaints about them also. I decided to play with the photo and leave the color on the flags and turn the rest of the picture to black and white. I remember these flags, but I had no idea that it was three years ago that this was on display. The older I get the more time goes by much too quickly. I am reminded of it daily when I see Sprout, Monkeyboy and Bean. They measure their age in years, months, days....12 1/2, 7 1/2, etc. I don't do that much anymore. Comes too quickly for me. I like that I am again pulling out the camera and looking at the world through the lens again. I had lunch with friends today and one of them brought pictures of the mountains in Colorao. I remember Papap and I being at the Grand Canyon and me taking pictures and saying that no picture could do this justice. I think the real thing is the most beautiful, but every once in awhile, one can capture that beauty with a camera and that's what I strive for...a picture that captures the moment. I hope you enjoy the picture, it reminds me that there is brightness even in the darkness.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sunday Dinner

I love Sunday dinners. It is usually a fun time and the kids seem to enjoy it also. Yesterday was no exception, except Sprout didn't make it. Tacos were the meal of the day. Excellent choice, Mippy. Monkeyboy has made his birthday list, though his birthday is over a month away. He would like tickets to the Steelers game, to the Pirates game and to the Penquins game. Oh, yes, and the Yankees game. He also wants some game and other items, but then he was very dramatic when he said...."Now, just think about this, because I really would like this, so just think about it......A baseball field in the back yard." I love it. He was very serious. And so what if he and dad need a road trip to see the Yankees play ball. Bean worked very hard this summer to earn money for Ugh (?) boots and got them over the weekend. I think they are ready to go back to school. She got a pair of Converse sneakers also. I told her to get them last year, because I think they are neat, but she wouldn't hear of it. Now she has a pair. Hmmmm. OK, another web site to visit. Neat artwork, also for purchase. The picture of the hole in the ground was seen by Mippy and I on our walk. It keeps growing. What a great Sunday, they should all be so good. Happy Monday.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


My friend, Michele at work, is a really excellent photographer. She has a neat site that I will post after I get her permission. After looking at her pictures, I am inspired. They are so good. So, Michele at work was explaining how to do black and white and add color. I got the black and white down, but now I have to get the color. The incline is one of Pittsburgh's unique tourist attractions. It is functional in that it gets people from one place to another...from Mt. Washington to Station Square. It scares me to death. One time when Poppy, Mime and kids were visiting we went on the incline. #1 son of Poppy's was a little hesitant, as was I. He and I got caught in the doors as the rest of the group went waltzing off to see more sites. I close my eyes on the incline, as I do on roller coasters and other things that are high. So, if and when you come to our fair city, ride the incline. It offers a wonderful view of the city...but of course, you have to keep your eyes open.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Feeling helpless

When I hear something that someone tells me and I am not sure I want to hear it, I do one of two things. I put my fingers in my ears and sing loudly or I totally tune them out. I went to my mechanic yesterday after work and as I walked in the door he looked sad and woeful. "It's not good," he said. "Not good at all." I asked if it was the timing chain. "No, and it's not the fuel pump." *fingers in ear, beginning to hum softly* "There is no compression in the cylinders." *humming getting louder*. "Don't know why, have a call into someone to see what it is." *singing now......"raindrops keep falling on my head"* He tells me he will call as soon as he hears back. I leave, singing at the top of my lungs, fingers in my ears. I CAN'T HEAR YOU. Fast forward to today. Cell phone rings and it is my mechanic. "Car needs to be towed to dealership." Tuning out, since cell phone is to ear and I can't put fingers in ears. I later find out from the dealer that the car is going to be very expensive. Alas, I dislike intensely the granny car I am driving. I like my little pretend sports car. So, I hung up on the dealer man without saying goodbye, waited 10 minutes, then called back and said "fix it". *sigh*.