Tuesday, March 26, 2013


When did Easter become Christmas?  When did it become necessary to buy Easter "gifts"? 
I remember Easter as a child.  We got a bunch of dyed eggs that sat in a basket for a week.  Each day we would take one or two, crack the shell and eat the egg.  Never refrigerated them, just left them in the basket on the table.  I don't remember ever getting sick from them.
And we got an Easter "outfit".  We would go to church, go to Phipps Conservatory, have our picture taken and have leg of lamb for dinner with mint sauce.  And asparagus. 
Tonight while watching television Toys R Us advertised a great selection of toys for Easter.  REALLY?  And not your cheap dollar store toys.  Video games, cars that you can ride in, play stations, etc.
And let's talk about Easter "outfits".  They have been advertised for weeks.  A woman who came to Phipps said to me, when talking about the snow we have had, "At least I don't have to buy a new outfit for Easter". 
This is what we have become.  Or is it that we have always been that person?  A new outfit to welcome spring, or a day to celebrate the resurrection of Christ?  Originally it was a pagan celebration of renewal and rebirth.  Celebrated in the early spring, it honored the pagan Saxon goddess Eastre.  So, over time it has evolved, and today we celebrate by buying presents for the children. 
When the kids were young, we had Easter egg hunts in the backyard.  Alyssa, Matt and Katie would take a basket and hunt for the eggs.  They were plastic and had money in them.  Yes, the true spirit of Easter.  It was fun, though.
I honor Easter as I do all holidays.  To me, it is a time to be with family and to eat.  Both, equally important.
Linda is cooking Easter dinner, thank goodness. I volunteered to work at Phipps.  We had an Easter bunny at Phipps last year.  Michelle was the bunny and I led her around.  Children react in different ways to the bunny.  Some hugged her, some were frightened, one little child in her mother's arms getting a picture taken, hit the bunny in the head, grabbed the bunny's ear and twisted the head.  Michelle tells me the head is quite heavy.  Almost knocked her over while the mother was smiling into the camera and ignoring the child.  Michelle won't be the bunny this year...has family commitments.
Well, Happy Easter, Happy Passover.  I must think about gifts for Easter.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Good News, Bad News

First the good news...the Pens won extending their winning streak to 11 games. I know they will lose at some point, but it's so exciting watching them.  Crosby is amazing.  I know there are those in the rest of the country who do not like him, but he is truly amazing and I am so glad he plays for the Penguins. 
Ummm, let's see.  Other good news.  Hmmm, the weather...NOT.  BUT it can't last forever, right?  Come to Phipps and see the beautiful spring show.
Now, onto things that I cannot let go without comment.
A baby being shot in the face while in their stroller. 
Our police chief being indicted by a federal grand jury.
A man disconnecting his gas stove line and causing an explosion that put at risk everyone in the building.
There are many things in our city of which we can be proud.
The Pittsburgh Symphony
The Pittsburgh Ballet
Our wonderful neighborhoods
Our beautiful skyline
Mario Lemauix
Charlie Batch
And then the politics.  Our mayor who uses city funds to pay for a bodyguard on St. Patrick's day while he drinks in a bar.  Way to go, Luke.  And I'm sure there will be more to hear about our mayor in weeks to come.
A police chief forced to retire because of his theft
And can I just say how appalled I am about this poor baby?  Who shoots a baby in a stroller?  Who does that?
I care about a baby who has no chance, who depends on a mother who was shot and had to watch her baby die.
I am trying to focus on the good.  It is hard.
I posted this on my facebook page in January.  For those of you who have already read it, please be patient.

I have been thinking a lot about this gun control issue and I have a few things I would like to say about it for those of you who care what I think (and this will be the last post I make about this.)... that said this will be long so be warned. here goes. Guns are controversial... always have been. Probably always will be. I am not willing, as so many are, to invoke the founding fathers support for gun ownership to address the current issues at hand. While it is true that (almost universally) the founding fathers supported a well armed population this has to be viewed in context. Please bear with me. I do not make the argument that the founders only meant militia, nor do I believe that, like many liberals have stated, the founders couldn't have anticipated the weaponry available in modern times. Weapons technology was advancing long before the time of the US revolution and I have to imagine that our founding fathers expected further advancement. What I do believe is that at the time of the 2nd amendment there was a fear that our government could revert to one of tyrannical tendencies A well armed populace was seen as a deterrent to this. This was the reality of their time. What they also understood was that times, worries, and cultures change. Thus they (not without debate) included an avenue for change within the constitution in the amendment process.
or not we need to be protected from our own government. (for those of you who believe we need to be armed with assault weapons to actually protect ourselves from our own government I don't know what to say... I believe that is paranoid at best, and I"m sure you believe me to be naive... we will have to agree to disagree. Today we face questions of how to deal with the mentally ill, what weapons should and shouldn't be permitted within the civilian population, and how do we stem the tide of the seeming endless mass shootings we experience in this country. The knee jerk reaction from the left is ban guns in one way or another, the knee jerk reaction from the right has been to arm school employees or place armed guards in Schools ( a strange reaction from a group often concerned with spending and government overreach... Armed government employees in every school?? Really?) The truth is somewhere in between here and we need to be willing to have this discussion somehow because obviously stripping everyone of all their guns is not feasible, nor is armed school guards... I for one think that civilian access to semi-automatic weapons is senseless. If we, as a society, every get to the point where we need this as a true defense we have already lost the battle... but I think it is long past time we got over the rhetoric, man up, and sat at the table to have this discussion. All the name calling and idealistic stalemates make us all look damn foolish.
Forgive the rant...or not.  It's been a day of news that makes me ill.  I never intended my posts to be political or anything other than something to make you smile.
But, I cannot smile when this kind of craziness goes on and it is ignored. 
Tomorrow brings hope that the world will be better for all of us. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013


I don't know when I first took a liking to cats.  As a child I always thought cat people were boring. 

Perhaps it is when I first saw Cats in New York.  It was after a long day in a long week...four shows in five days, and Cats was the last one to see.  Almost didn't go...that's how tired I was.

I had no idea of what to expect, and was I ever pleasantly surprised.  Such a delightful show!  The fact that we had almost front row seats helped, for sure. 

It was soon after that that I acquired Abby.  Abby had a sad demise.  She overdosed on catnip at Christmas.  Who knew?  Abby was also traumatized by the Old English Sheepdog, Molly.  Abby made the mistake of sneaking up behind Molly while Molly was eating.  Molly, never known to be violent before, grabbed the cat by the head and tossed her across the room, which necessitated an emergency visit to the vet.  $463 later Abby was home with the vet's advice to never let her near Molly when Molly was eating.  A trick in and of itself, let me tell you. 

Molly and Abby went on to be best friends, never again to squabble, but the injury to Abby's head may have impacted on her early demise.

Ava was allegedly found on the streets of Pittsburgh.  A trainee of mine found her and brought her to me in my office.  She was dirty, tiny and not well cared for.  A trip to the vet's, a bath and spaying brought her back to my abode where she rules the house.

I believe each cat has a very distinctive personality.  Ava likes to have her back scratched.  She actually comes when you call her....well, most of the time.  She has arthritis and takes dasquin every day, but is otherwise pretty healthy.  She sits on the chair opposite me while I eat my breakfast, and I find myself telling her of interesting parts to my book or articles in the newspaper.  She cocks her head to one side and appears to be listening. 

Ava is not a good mouser.  She is not quick, very slow to be honest.  And she chases them into a corner of the closet and when the mouse leaves, Ava stays, still looking around wondering "what happened".  And we have already discussed stink bugs.

Cats are delightful.  They require little care, are clean, funny to a fault, leaping from pillar to post, racing around, chasing light beams reflected from the crystal in the sunlight.  Ava is an indoor cat...I fear the outdoors for her.  But when she does escape...she panics.  (She has not been declawed in case she does get outside)  She looks around, whines loudly and kind of chatters with her teeth.  I think she is glad when I finally am able to corral her into the house again.

Yes, I have turned into a cat person.  Would love to get a dog again, and probably will some day, but for now, Ava is a joy to have and I have become one of those boring cat people.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Back Again

Hello Again!

I have been on hiatus, but now I am back.  I have been on facebook and have enjoyed that venue, but this allows me to post more at length about issues and my life.

So much has been going on since I last posted, which was about a year ago.

The road trip was the best ever, I think.  We drove to Chicago in the pouring rain for most of the way.  Actually had to pull over several times due to the horizontal rain.  We sailed along until we hit about 20 miles from the city, then hit the wall.  I think there were 15 lanes of traffic going the same way.  Okay, I am lying...but at least 6 and none of them moving.  By this time I was exhausted, as were Sprout, Monkeyboy and Bean.  Monkeyboy (who shall now be known as Matt) took lots of pictures, Sprout (now known as Alyssa) and Bean (now known as Katie) were sleeping/talking/singing (much to my chagrin). 

Finally arrived in Chi Town and pulled up to the door of the hotel.  Exhausted.  Unloaded the van and just wanted to collapse.  Once we got to our room there were cookies and milk for the kids and I, of course, unloaded the wine.  We all became rejuvenated and set out for dinner.

It was a great trip, saw so much and had more than enough to keep us occupied and then some.  Kids got up early and went to the gym while I slept.  After five days we headed to Iowa and the family there. 

Saw Anna, Clare, Maura, Rob and well as my brother and sister-in-law and their child.  What a great time we had there, although Katie had a cold which she shared with me.  I was sick on the last day in Iowa, but was still glad to see Rob and Lisa and the kids. 

Alyssa appeared in a concert at Christmas and looked wonderful.  Her mom has been in and out of the hospital, but seems to be doing pretty well.  Matt just finished hockey season, and excelled as usual.  Katie had the lead in Cinderella and has been in most of the productions of Pittsburgh Musical Theater. 

The snow this year has been incredible.  Not much except for the day after Christmas and this month.  We have all been fairly healthy.

Stink bugs have reappeared after hibernating all winter.  For those of you not in Pittsburgh, these stupid bugs were brought here to get rid of small bugs that looked like ladybugs.  These look like half dead beetles.  Ava, the hunter cat, just looks at them.  It is as if to say..."hey, they are stink bugs....if I kill them, I will stink."  There are many different ways to get rid of them...some flush, some throw outside and kill, some just scream and call for help.  I do all three.

The storm door doesn't shut.  I only mention this because when the sinkhole appeared in Florida, one station said that the first sign that your house would collapse was when the doors didn't close.  Just a heads up.  And I certainly hope the door doesn't collapse...I am in the process of spring cleaning.  Finishing up the living room.  It's always slow at Phipps this time of the year, so I use it to clean...fool that I am.  I cleaned out the desk in the living room.   Do you know how long it takes to shred checks and bank statements from 1998 to 2006?  A very long time....let me tell you.  Found mounds of great pictures and have been posting them on facebook.

OK, this is a new beginning on here and I'll see how it goes. 

Let me know of any suggestions or that this is even being read.  I'll post the link on facebook, and try to re-connect with those folks who read it before.  If no success...I'll quit!  I have to figure everything out again, so be patient, my friends.