Sunday, July 31, 2011


Boy, it's been a hot one, hasn't it? BUT, for two nights, I have been able to shut off the air conditioning and open the windows to the sound of the cicadas chirping, the birds chirping and the garbage trucks smashing garbage.
Mippy and Bird's air conditioner quit, just stopped. Too much heat for an old unit. So, I'll not complain. Much.
As I mentioned, I am volunterring at an animal shelter. There is a wonderful dog there, Belle. She is older...nine to be exact. And she is the sweetest dog ever. Gently, affectionate, beautiful. BUT, extremely aggressive with other dogs. When I first walked her, she snarled, growled and barked furiously at every dog in sight. I have been working with her diligently to see if we could alleviate some of this behavior. Treats work wonders. I have been watching the "Dog Whisperer", as has Bird and Bean (Monkeyboy, also, I think). So, I apppealed to the shelter to allow me to bring Belle home with me to see if, together, Bird and I could help both Oscar and Belle to become less dog aggressive.
We met in a neutral location...the cemetary. When the dogs spotted one another, they immediately began barking, snarling, pulling going crazy. Bird has a much better handle on this, so we took the dogs to a grassy area and Bird and I both (me with much struggle) put the dogs into a submissive posture. Oscar calmed quicker, it took Belle some time. Once they were both calm, we allowed them to get up. Belle started again, so down she went. She calmed quicker this time, so we began to walk them side by side, but with great distance between them. As they walked, we began to move closer, and they seemed ok. When we turned to walk back, another episode, short lived though. As you can see, by the end of the walk, they did very well. Oscar walked to his home and Belle and I went back to the shelter. Upon arrival, Belle did not want to go inside and had to be coaxed. This is the worst part for me. Later in the week, I took Bean and Monkeyboy out to see the shelter. We wanted to meet Prudence, but she wasn't there...perhaps....could she have been adopted?
Road trip in three days. Two days at the farm and seven at the beach. Today we meet to plan meals. There will be five of us this year. Monkeyboy, Sprout, Bean and Bean's friend, for whom we don't have a name. Each of us has to plan, shop for and prepare a dinner. That will be the plan for today. Love the road trips. We pick up the van on Wednesday and head out around lunchtime. On the road to arrive at the farm shortly before dinner. Then early Friday we head to the beach.
I hope everyone is surviving the heat. It's been a pretty harsh summer. I'm sure, when I was a kid, we had summers this hot. I don't remember them much. We didn't have air conditioning, but our house was surrounded by large trees that helped keep it cool.
Phipps has been very, very, very hot. I am amazed at the number of people who come in and think it is air conditioned. They come out after visiting, in puddles, saying "I thought it would be cooler". Noooo, it's a glass house! And very hot...did I mention that?
Have a wonderful Sunday and try to stay cool.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Bad Week

When does a bad day become a bad week?
When you go to the dentist with a toothache and are told there is no cavity, that you are grinding your teeth.
When your assistant manager comes to you and tells you that you have an appointment to meet with her and your manager.
When you are driving home from work and you see flashing lights in your rear view mirror, and when you pull over, so do the police.
When you are ready to blog and your computer goes off and when it comes back on a message says that you have a corrupt or missing file and you have to restore or reformat your computer.
When Monkeyboy's team does not play at their best and the idiot parents on the other team just keep screaming at the top of their lungs. I mean, come on, when you are ahead by 14 runs, do you really need to keep screaming? By the way, Monkeyboy did an excellent job of relief pitcher. The team did not give up and fought till the end. Second place is not such a bad thing. And there is another tournament this weekend. Redemtion is just around the corner.
It seems that when under ANY stress at all, I grind my teeth at night. I was told to wear a mouth guard, but when I put it in my mouth I couldn't close my mouth, so it sits in my drawer, $19 down the tube.
I drove home from work on Friday in the 90 something heat. Took the side street that I always take. Two stop signs. Police officer said that I went through the first one and issued a citation. Now, IF I did, I will gladly pay the fine of $25. I do not understand an EMS fee of $10. Nor do I understand the MCARE fee of $30 for Medical Care of Availability and Reduction of Error Fund.....WHAT IS THAT? And then there is the fee for JCP/AT...that would be the Judicaial Computer Project/Access to Justice. Oh, and don't forget the court costs of $35.50 for a grand total of $110.50, Also 3 points on my license. I believe you can plead guilty by computer and pay the fine. So, for what would I be paying the court costs? I went to the office of the Magistrate this morning to talk to them. There were four women and a dog in the office. Yes, a dog. I love dogs, as you know, but here this dog was, sitting on a chair in the Magistrate's office.
So, I came home on Friday. Turned on the computer, as I always do to check my email. Did that, got some dinner and sat down to watch the news. I went back in and did some searching on the computer to see about my ticket. Then I went to blog, and alas, the stupid message appeared. After trying multiple things to try to fix it, I went to bed. Tried off and on all weekend to no avail.
So, yesterday, I took the plunge and did a full system restore with backup. It worked fine, except I had to call Verizon to reset my router. Then I had to call Norton to update my security. I spoke with Satheese. Satheese lives in southern India. He is married and has two children. He travels for 45 minutes each day on his way to and from work. He works for nine hours, but gets one hour for lunch. There are many people, according to Satheese, that want a job like his. He has been there for four years and won't leave since it is so difficult to find a job. He has never been to the states, but invited me to come to southern India. He would like to visit us here, but cannot afford to do so with his family. You may wonder how I know so much about Satheese. It's because we talked for the thirty minutes it took him to remotely load Norton. By the way, my subscription ends next month, and he reminded me that I didn't want to let it lapse because it was protection for my computer. I did remind him, in a pleasant way, that it did not protect my computer, and that was why I was on the phone with him now. He acknowledged that there was a failure.
Fortunately, all my pictures were saved, but if you have ever emailed me, do it again. I lost my email addresses.
Things seem to settling down. The weather is cooler, Bean's production is tomorrow night, I will be able to go to the shelter tomorrow to walk dogs....always a bright spot for me.

Friday, July 1, 2011


I have to wonder when it became fashionable to show your underwear when you are in public.
A number of years ago it became fashionable (?) for young men to wear their pants halfway down their butt and to show off their boxers. The crotch of their pants came midway between the knee and their crotch. In amazement, I watched them swagger down the street showing off their boxers. There was, however, a problem if they had to run.
Perhaps it was even before that. Sometimes with the low ride jeans, or jeans that had become low ride because of a (ahem) weight gain, when bending down, not only did your underwear show, but your butt crack showed.
On a recent shopping trip I went searching for some summer tops. I noticed an inordinate number of see through tops. Very shear, very cool looking for summer. However, I wondered, what does one wear under those blouses? So, I began to look around, and alas, it appears as though women wear....their bras. Colored bras, striped bras, even polka dot bras.
Sometimes however, the style seems to be to wear layers of tank tops, which seems to defeat the idea of dressing for least for me. And if you don't want to wear layers, just wear one, with the bra straps showing.
And not only does one wear tank tops with bra straps showing....sometimes the whole back of the bra shows.
When did this trend start? When was it okay to have your underwear become outerwear? A friend blames it on Lady Gaga (whom I adore). But the whole saggy pants thing started before Gaga.
I know, I am getting older, and fashion statments sometimes elude me. I have to admit, some teens can actually get off with the layered tank tops, the cute bras under the see through tops. But then there are those....well, I people look in the mirror before they leave their house?
OK, I admit it, sometimes I go out looking awful. I think we all do. I will clean my mirror tonight so that I can look in it and actually see how I look. And I won't go to the wine store with pizza all over my shirt and paint stained pants.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Will we ever be satisfied with the weather for more than two days? Is it always too hot, too wet, too cold, too humid? And what is with the weather? Are we having it worse now than ever? Or as we get older, do we just pay more attention to the weather? I have given up on watching the weather, other than my homepage printing what they think will happen. They are often more wrong than right.
I have air conditioning. I appreciate it/hate it. For me, I like open windows, hearing the rain, hearing the birds, feeling a breeze. The winter is the house closed up, hibernating. Summer is openness. So, today, I kept the house open. And tonight I died. Temp in the house was 84. Turned on the air at 5 PM, and at 8:30 temp was 80 and air had been running for 3.5 hours nonstop. So, I sit in comfort...with all windows closed. Not to hear the rain. Not to hear the birds, the dogs, the thud of the paper hitting the drive.
Prayers and positive thoughts for Sprout's mom and Joanne. Sprout's mom is having some pretty significant medical problems and Joanne is dealing with cancer and chemo.
Sprout, Bean and Monkeyboy on the streets with skateboard, bike and scooter, having a ball. How much fun is it seeing kids enjoying life? And to see them do well and excited about life. Sprout...getting a perfect report card. Bean getting a part in a production that showcases her dancing. Monkeyboy backing shortstop and getting the ball and throwing it to home plate for the out.
I walked dogs today. Prudence is rooming with the beagle twins. Riley chasing chipmunks. Happy leaping for joy and racing through the trails, wanting to greet everyone and everything. It is such a joy to work with these dogs and play with them.
Tournament ball starts this weekend and I am excited for that. It's such fun to sit in the summer sun and watch baseball.
Well, I am off to bed. Summer is officially here. Enjoy!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Back Again

It's been a long six months, but I am back. Made it through winter and am now dealing with summer. From one season to another.
Our annual trip to New York City was spectacular. We took the Megabus from Pittsburgh to NYC. We left here at 7:00 AM and we were checking into the hotel at 3:00 PM. It was on a newer bus, double decker. We got in line early so the four of us could sit together. We watched people line up, and thought that they were cutting. So we got out of line and got behind them. Turns out they line up backwards and we would have been first, but alas, we were about 20th. Monkeyboy wanted to be first so he could sit on the top front of the double decker bus, but we couldn't make it. Megabus is wonderful. They are clean, and on time. The four of us traveled for a total of $84 round trip. Well, there was that slight problem on the way home. As we were coming up Summit hill we pulled over to the side of the road. The driver got out, looked at the back of the bus, got back on and we lumbered up the mountain. A few miles later he pulled over again, and this time he came into the bus and said that the coolant line had broken or something. So we spent two hours at the Get Go. The weather was perfect and we all had books to read, so it was fine. Really it was.
There were a few college students on the bus. The one sitting next to Monkeyboy and Mippy talked on his phone for almost 4 hours non-stop. I never knew a man to do that. It was amazing. His battery would have died, but they have outlets on Megabus as well as internet. Internet would probably have been quieter. His battery did die at the rest stop, but he charged it again immediately upon boarding the new bus. The new bus had the air conditioning on. It really wasn't warm enough for air, so Mippy asked him to turn it off. He misunderstood and turned it up. When we realized that it was getting even colder, she asked him again. Apparently, he was new and couldn't figure out how to shut it off, so it was a cold ride back to Pittsburgh, but other than that, the trip on the Megabus was fine. Much better than being stuck in an airport for 20 hours.
Swimming is always a big part of our trip and Monkeyboy has come so far this year. Diving for money at the bottom of the pool, swimming the width of the pool. Bean and I also having fun in the pool.
We saw "The Adams Family" and Bean and I went to see the NYC Ballet. Monkeyboy and Mippy went to see The Harry Potter Exhibit.
We ate a couple of good restaurants and saw the Burton Morris Exhibit at POP.
Monkeyboy told a joke in the restaurant that sent us all into gales of laughter...well, not Mippy, but Bean and I about choked as we laughed so hard.
Bean had the starring role of Belle in "Beauty and the Beast". She was excellent and of course, we gave her a standing ovation.
And of course, it is baseball time. I believe Monkeyboy is one of the best pitchers on the team. Their team has had a winning season so far, and tournament ball is about to start.
I finally did the bathroom after many months of procrastination. Pulled my back out reaching that one corner, not totally unexpected.
I am doing volunteer work at Animal Friends here in Pittsburgh. I love walking the dogs, and they each have their own personalities. Belle is a mixed breed, very gentle, who loves to lie next to me and be scratched on her head and back. Most of the dogs are mixed breed, but some are not. Ripley is a basset hound, who walks slowly to examine each blade of grass, but whose short legs race across the parking lot to get to the grass. Miss Tiny is a beagle who is being pursued by Prudence. Both are female, although Prudence does have a beard. She is a bit....well, maybe more than a bit....overweight. She is a delight, but has to rest as she is being walked due to her weight. Here is a link to their website if you would like to see them.
The butterflies are flying at Phipps. And our summer show is pretty spectacular. We are getting all kinds of international visitors and it's fun to listen to them talk about how much they like our city.
Pirates are playing pretty good baseball, so we are following the team a little more now. Had a couple of sell out games with Philly...go figure. And we won 2/3 games! We truly are a sports town!
Well, I hope I haven't lost too many viewers. How was your winter/summer? We seem to have missed spring. Hope you are all well!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

January in the 'burgh

Sunny and 45 degrees. Snowy and 8 degrees. 28 and icy. Welcome to Pittsburgh!
The Steelers did it and what a game against the Ravens. It was a quiet week here before the game. I think the team set the tone. Focus. No smack talk from us. A pep rally on Friday was the biggest news. The game looked awful the first half, but out team came back and defeated the Ravens. It's on to the Jets on Sunday. Get ready, Tim!
As you can see, the picture is hung. Few things that I want to do yet, but for now it is hanging and looking pretty good!
This would be a good time to do things in my house that I never want to do in the warmer weather. Problem is, I don't want to do them now. The freezer in the basement...well, let's just say that it should not even be there. I don't know why it is. It needs defrosting. Yes, that's right, I said defrosting. It has had much of the same food there for several years. Probably, the food isn't any good, but it seems wasteful to throw it out. The same problem exists in the freezer in the kitchen. But at least that one doesn't need defrosting.
Then there is the bathroom. For years, I have been saying it needs something. I keep thinking that it would be a wonderful winter project. Maybe if I take a nap those horrible thoughts will escape.
Why is there always something to be done in my house? No matter how much I do? Does someone or something sneak in at night and mess up the attic or the basement?
I have this problem. I know that this is the time of the year to tackle these things, but when it is dreary and snowy I just want to get OUT of the house. Cabin Fever, I believe, is the malady that strikes. For instance, today it is dreary. Yesterday it was sunny. So yesterday, I thought I should get errands done since it might snow. And today it looks like snow, so I am going to lunch with my friend and to the mall for a haircut. might snow tomorrow.
I know, it makes no sense. But my hair will look better. Which means I have to get a shower and wash my hair so Donald doesn't think I never take care of my hair. And it will be clean and shiny when he washes it and cuts it.
Some days I just go out of the house looking like.....well, you know. No shower, hair a mess, old sweats on that are stretched and torn. And I swear, I am just going to get some gas for the car and maybe stop for some wine. And that is the day that I see everyone. I try to ignore, but noooo, the yell my name and wave madly across the gas pumps. And I'm pretty sure the man who takes care of me at the wine store is the husband of the woman with whom I work. I look like a street person craving for my next drink. So within the space of one mile, I have seen four people that I know or are acquainted with and now they think that I am the eternal slob.
Next week CATS is coming to Pittsburgh. Our gang is going, and I am excited. I love CATS and all the music and dancing. Guess that means a shower and shampoo.
Stay warm.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

And So We Begin a New Year

Happy New Year. I hope this new year finds you in wonderful spirits and in good health.

And I hope your Christmas was wonderful. Mine was probably the best in a few years. Family and and play. Much work since Phipps was open in the evening, but I like the people with whom I work and we make it fun. Mippy and Bean came in to see the exhibit, as did Sprout. Mippy embarrassed Bean by shoving aside small children so she (Mippy) could plant her basil or whatever.

At this time of the year I think of indoor projects that need completed. I don't know why, I guess to keep me somewhat sane. The first project was enlarging and framing a print that I had from our annual trip to New York. I went to the local shop that I use to enlarge photos. We discussed size and I thought 11x14 framed would be large enough. NOT. So, today I went back and got it enlarged to 18x22 for a frame of 22x26. A wonderful, helpful man helped me choose the color of the mats and I am now waiting for the mat board to come in so I can cut it. The picture on this blog is of the smaller one, but just wait till you see the finished product on the wall. It should be perfect. I have a number of my photographs hanging in my home and each one seems better than the last. Photography gives me a great deal of pleasure. And playing with the prints is part of that pleasure.

The other picture that I posted is one that Bean made for me. I love it. I don't know how she did it and if she reads this, perhaps she can explain it. She has made seveal pictures for me over the years, and I treasure each of them and have them displayed.

Monkeyboy got a cell phone for Christmas. He has learned the art of texting. Oh, my. Gadgets. How kids love them. I guess we all do.

Speaking of ballet (well, I was when I was talking about Bean's picture), I went to see The Black Swan over the holidays. It was very intense and others have described it as "dark". Darren Aronofsky is the director who also directed The Wrestler. Natalie Portman, the Swan, began training for the production about a year prior to the movie. I am not a ballet dancer, but I think she did an excellent job for one who was not a professional dancer. It is about a dancer who becomes obsessed with being perfect, not only as the white swan, but as the black swan. She has a mother who was a typical stage mother, pushing her to the limits, which literally drove Portman crazy. Barbara Hershey played the mother and it was a perfect role for her.

Do you make New Year's resolutions? I think about changes I would like to make, but I try not to make "resolutions" since, in the past, I have made them and they have fallen by the wayside by January 2. The one that I did keep was to stop smoking, which I was finally able to accomplish. Took many tries, but it has been many years since I have had a cigarette. Sometimes, though, the desire still hits.