I took a Wednesday off from work earlier in the month so I could run around downtown Pittsburgh for the day with friends Mindy and Michelle, plus Michelle’s beautiful daughter, Alexis. The photo above was from our first stop, The Pennsylvanian (gorgeous historic landmark…old train station converted into office space and spectacular apartments located at the intersection of Grant and Liberty 15222). I used to work in the building and being inside again made me long for seeing such architectural beauty daily.
My favorite picture from our time at The Pennsylvanian occurred when we were outside and I flopped down on the ground to take a few photos looking up. Just as I clicked to take a picture like the one at the top of this post, a pretty little face photobombed my efforts…
Anyhow, after the first stop we just started walking. We knew that lunch at Las Velas was desired by all in our party so Market Square became our destination, but other than that we were flexible as to route. We were walking down Grant to 7th, enjoying the Federal Building, Federal Courthouse, Federal Reserve, and Gulf Tower, when I fussed about wanting to stop at the cemetery between the two churches on 6th. Eager agreements were quick; easiest group to hang out with, I swear.
How cool is it that right in the heart of dahntahn Picksburgh we have a cemetery sandwiched between two stunning churches? VERY.
This cemetery has some major historical figures buried here, too. Chief Red Pole (Shawnee), Dr. Bedford (Pittsburgh’s first physician…help found the University of Pittsburgh), Several Revolutionary War soldiers, and many others. This is the only cemetery that I have ever been in that actually makes me almost giddy with excitement while providing an incredible sense of peace at the same time. Difficult to explain my emotions, but I love being here.
We even ducked inside the First Presbyterian Church (the ground was deeded to the congregation by the heirs of William Penn) to gawk at the Gothic marvel of the place.
It was here that Alexis brought tears to my eyes with her sweet, young voice singing “Jesus Loves Me” in Chinese. Yes, you read that right. Chinese. She had been singing to herself while us adults were oooohing and aaaaahing over a variety of things and when we realized what she was singing I asked her to sing it again so that I could pay closer attention. I squatted down to her six year old level and right there in the back of the church she gifted me with the most beautiful song I have heard in ages, all without breaking eye contact and without missing a beat. Might have been a quick song, but it was a moment I’ll never forget.
Soon after we inhaled all the food that Las Velas had to offer we decided to hit the Water Feature at PPG Plaza. While the short person made quick work of getting herself into the pulses of water shooting into the air, us three taller women parked our butts on a bench to relax a bit before more exploring of the city. Didn’t take Alexis long to decide she needed one of us to play with, but Mindy wasn’t thrilled about the idea of wet tennis shoes for the rest of the day and Michelle didn’t exactly jump for joy at the idea of getting drenched. It was when she looked at me and and uttered the words “I dare you” that I was off my ass screaming, “OH IT IS ON!”
I don’t have any photos of that because I was too busy playing in the water [Michelle posted a few], but after I got out I decided to use the mirrored effect of one of the PPG buildings to take my own picture and happened to make a new friend for the minute:
(Hey nice guy who works down there, I didn’t put this on Facebook, just like I promised!)
We probably could have stayed at PPG all damn day, but made the tough call to continue our exploration of dahntahn by making our way over to the sister bridges. Several impromptu modeling sessions popped up before we decided to make S.W. Randall’s our next stop. Wandering past the Renaissance Hotel brought my cell phone camera out for a photo of the dragons decorating the sign out front when the bell hops started teasing each other about wanting their photos taken. Of course it didn’t take me long to face that camera towards the front and wha-la, a photo with another new friend for the minute:
I had read about the Cell Phone Disco, but as many adventures as I have had in tahn, I had never made the effort to find the alley it was in. Changed that as we all held true to being up for anything. I even called Mindy to make the lights dance, even though she was right next to me. Pretty damn cool for an alley.
I could go on and on about what a great day I had, and man, toy shopping in Randall’s really should be a post of its own, but this post is long and boring enough. Just wanted to try to get back into the habit of writing here and there.
Some things are so outrageous that you think they can’t possibly be true. Yet they are. There is no way I could post the following on April 1st because no one would have believed it. Hell, I waited almost a week and yinz still might not believe it. Regardless, here goes…
My former coworker and I are still friends. He doesn’t work more than 10 minutes from our office and we will meet for drinks or sometimes another coworker and I will go to his camp for a night away. B is always full of stories about one of his employees, Tank. Usually when we meet at happy hour Tank joins us and I can assure you, the man is, how shall I say this…well, Tank is not the average bear. He is young, smart, funny, attractive, outgoing, and batshit crazy. His brain just doesn’t quite work the way same as most people. Tank’s stories always result in tears running down my face. Or my jaw hanging open. You never know when I’ll hear about Tank showing up in a limo, drunk, eating pizza at 4 AM on a night when one of the guys has a flat tire or some such insanity. Honestly, he is incredibly similar to the fictitious Twitter account DadBoner, but Tank is 100% real. (And technically homeless as months ago he moved out of his apartment, but not into anywhere new. An email from B: “One of Tank’s quotes written on the dry erase board right now is “Homelessness is the key to personal wealth – I’ve never had so much money.”)
About a week ago B emailed me that he thinks he made a mistake sending Tank and McBane on a work related trip out of town together. I received forwards of texts and emails:
“The two of them are traveling together. RW is spearheading the certification process. This is a listing of the texts I’ve received from Tank since the end of work yesterday:
McBane Packed for a fortnight (in regards to a picture of McBane with about 42 outfits on a hotel cart) (7:13 PM)
Dude, McBane just choked out RW. His tongue was literally sticking out of his mouth (12:38 AM)
Seriously (12:39 AM)
I’m never traveling with McBane again. (12:55 AM)
McBane loves Pepper, but he hates cinnamon (7:13 AM)
Everything I’ve said about him so far is absolute truth (7:15 AM)
He called the front desk last night because he lost track of which of his pillows was the “medium” firmness (7:17 AM)
That afternoon I received an update:
“McBane and I are pretty much the most unprepared people at this thing, but we’re really not sure what we need to do next. I just looked over at him and said, “so do you think we should start hammering this packet out or what?” To which he responded, “McBane has a deuce on deck that would choke a heifer” and he got up and stormed out of the room.
This is the worst.”
Did I mention that McBane is not much better? Oh yeah, that.
I received no more emails regarding their antics, so I kind of forgot about it. Until the next morning, when this popped up in my Inbox:
“Nothing from Tank, but I received these from McBane this morning:
Do you think Tank is going to be mad when he wakes only to find our curtains are decimated and on the ground and the mini fridge is laying next to him in the bed. (6:57 AM)
Our room looks like when they wake up in the hang over. Tank may have a monkey in his bed. (7:06 AM)
I’m pretty sure there’s a small Asian guy in the closet. Tank said he was making to much noise. (7:09 AM)”
Personally, I got nothing more until Friday. Then an email from B…
“Tank never came back to the hotel room last night. They were supposed to check out by 10:00 AM. McBane couldn’t get a hold of Tank and assumed the worst. It turns out, he hooked up with some girl and stayed at her place. The girl went to work and Tank went back to the hotel and he and McBane packed up and returned to this girls place (Tank had plans of staying the weekend there while McBane meets his brother in another part of town). McBane was looking around the place and seen a bunch of pet toys. He inquired upon what type of pet she had and Tank looked around and screamed in terror “Oh my God, we’ve lost the housecat.” They’ve searched everywhere and can’t find it. In an effort to find either the cat or a picture of the cat (Tank couldn’t remember what it looked like), they ransacked her place ripping apart closets, boxes under the bed, dresser drawers and the like. The place is now in complete disarray. They eventually looked outside and have found both a grey cat and a black & white cat. Being as Tank can’t remember what it looks like and never found any photos, he grabbed both cats and threw them in the door and they left. He’s just going to pretend like he doesn’t know what she’s talking about when/if she calls him to see why her place is ransacked and either a) she has an extra cat or b) her cat is missing and two strange cats are now living there. I can’t wait to hear how this turns out!”
Followed up with one more from B…
“Update: I just spoke with McBane. Apparently she had no idea McBane was going to be hanging out there (he was going to hang there with Tank until 3:00, then go meet his brother), so while they were searching for the cat/cat photos, McBane thought it would be real funny to mush all of her underwear into his pocket so that she would think Tank was a total perv and stole them. So now, she’s going to show up at a ransacked place, with either one extra cat, or two extra cats less her actual pet, and all of her underwear gone. I kept telling him to get out of DC and come back here so they don’t get arrested. McBane just kept laughing screaming “it’s all on Tank, she doesn’t even know I exist” while throwing underlings out of the passenger side window and Tank is driving in the background yelling “shut up dude, get rid of those f’n things. We both made a pact to never speak of it again. This isn’t even funny. Not remotely.” I can’t wait for more phone calls!”
I don’t doubt a word of any of this. And I find it all hilarious. Sadly, I’ve heard nothing else. Maybe B will leave a comment here with an update.
Those who know me for even a little bit of time quick come to learn that I don’t cook. Like, do NOT cook. Not at all. Other than heat a can of tomato soup on the stove or maybe make cheesy scrambled egg once or twice a year, I just don’t cook.
I realize that most people find this ridiculous, but keep in mind I have no children or husband to ensure receive nutritious food daily. I’m fine with toast or leftovers from a previous meal for breakfast, a huge lunch ordered at the office and then something simple like chips and salsa or cheese and crackers for dinner. Lots of times my coworkers will bring in their leftovers to share. And living less than two miles from five sets of aunts and uncles means lots of dinner invitations. Plus I am blessed with a gazillion friends who have adopted me for dinners as well. Take one look at me and you will know that I am not missing meals. It is just that I don’t know how to cook.
Enter Ree. You might know her as The Pioneer Woman and she has, quite literally, changed my life. No, I don’t wanna marry a cowboy and live on a farm (I am incredibly happy here in my beloved Pittsburgh). No, I don’t wanna birth beautiful babies (not physically possible). No, I don’t wanna basset hound (I love my German shepherd). I do, however, want to cook. The photos she posts with her step by step instructions make even me say, “I could do that.”
AND I HAVE BEEN. Me! Cooking! Happy girl sigh.
See, I’m a Cancer. We *love* food. We are nurturers. We are comfortable in our homes. While I adored my Mom, she was a terrible cook so I had zero desire to learn from her. But day after day for the past few years, ever since Britt was amazed that I didn’t have a clue who the Pioneer Woman was and sent me to her site, I’ve been watching Ree make phenomenal homey meals. And make them look easy. Easy enough for even me.
So I bought her cookbook as a Christmas present for two friends and picked up one for me. After looking at pictures of horses and her husband’s butt (sorry, Ree!), I closed the pretty cookbook and let it sit for over a year.
Britt and Jared came to stay with me for a month. They have two kids to feed and are on a rather unforgiving budget so we ate at home. A lot. Lucky for me, Jared enjoys cooking and experimenting. He heard me complain about wanting meatloaf after having a really bad one at a restaurant and remembered seeing Ree’s cookbook in my kitchen (it makes a lovely accent, too!). Damned if I didn’t come home from work one night this past September to a house that smelled divine. Meatloaf and mashed potatoes were hot and being served. Not just any meatloaf, but The Pioneer Woman’s bacon wrapped meatloaf. Those two pounds of meat didn’t stand a chance with our group. Devoured.
I was inspired. But not enough to really do anything about it. I mean, Jared was still there cooking all the time (even though his attempt at her brownies was a nightmare to look at, they tasted good enough to lick from the counter tops). And then when they left I fell back into what I have done my entire adult life…if I ate supper it was at someone else’s house if it was not chips and salsa.
But I kept reading Ree’s cooking posts. And one day, all alone, I cracked her cookbook. The call of that meatloaf was powerful. Powerful enough that I made a shopping list. And told people what I intended to do. Invited a guest over so I wouldn’t chicken out. Borrowed a little hand mixer for the mashed potatoes (yes, I had to borrow one!).
It. Was. Fantastic.
Ok, “fantastic” is probably a little strong. But the mashed potatoes were creamy and smooth and not glue. My meatloaf was juicy and flavorful. It was a damn good meal. Even if there was no other side vegetable on the plate. I was crazy proud of me. So happy and proud that I started making little things here and there. Baked brie. Bacon wrapped chicken with a little brown sugar. Chicken rice soup. Hard boiled eggs sauteed in reduced soy sauce. Yams. Split pea and ham soup. Baked potatoes. Cinnamon sugar French toast. Chicken breasts. Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon (that turned out so good it deserved capital letters).
Guys, I am cooking. Not just cooking, but truly enjoying the process. Over on Pinterest I created a food board.
I get that I am rambling. I really do. And I apologize. But tonight I made Ree’s Brussels sprouts which weren’t just good, they were damn good. The only other time I was so happy with Brussels sprouts I was in Orlando at Cat Cora’s restaurant, Kouzzina.
What I am saying is I think Ree created a monster without even knowing it. My coworkers are seeing it and as a result gave me a hand mixer for Christmas so I don’t have to borrow one any more. My friends and family are seeing it and have offered little one on one cooking lessons, start to finish, any meals I want to make. (Did I mention that I am really only cooking one thing at a time, not entire meals? Totally am. Baby steps with simple food! Yaaaaaaaaaay for offers to assist in person!)
I like this newest shiny thing in my life. It won’t get old since I am starting at 40 and hello, yummy results. I won’t tire of it since the possibilities are endless and fun.
I’m just feeling really grateful right now. Thanks for the inspiration, Ree. Without even knowing it you gave me confidence in the kitchen that my best intentioned friends and family were unable to provide. Know that you and your little blog have made a difference in this wonderful world.
[I had every intention of inserting a few photos of things I have cooked recently, but the images were on my cell phone and really don't do any of it justice, therefore you simply must trust that what I am saying is true. BAM!]
Years ago I had a simple little sterling silver German Shepherd charm on a bracelet and lost it. Looked everywhere, and I do mean everywhere for that little guy. I felt silly praying for guidance to find it, but did anyhow. And then I still couldn’t find it. Then September 2004 had the stupid flood hit and my storage unit on Campbells Run Road got submerged under water for days. Problem was I could not even begin to think about it since I was busy throwing away most of my (now sopping wet with sewage water and ruined) possessions, mopping, bleaching, washing and generally trying not to freak the fuck out about no longer having a place to live. So yeah, probably was more like a week or two before I got to the storage facility since other priorities were on my mind.
The garage type door was barely half way on its way to open when BAM!, the stench hit. Sewage water that sits and festers? Not anywhere near a pleasant odor. I took a step back. Regrouped, if you will. Said a silent prayer for strength to get through another day of throwing possessions away. And repeated words I had been saying for days, “It is only stuff. I asked for Reilly and Ludo’s safety during this flood and I got it. My dogs are all I need. Thank you for their safety.”
I threw the door all the way open and backed up again, desperately hoping the fresh air would somehow mix with the awful smell and make it all better. After another strength gathering moment I stepped inside the tiny unit. Thick brown mud was on everything. Most items were unrecognizable as they sat under the disgusting substance. I was about to get overwhelmed and desperate not to lose my composure so I looked down at my feet. An inch in front of them sat a perfect, shiny little silver dog, surrounded by a tiny circle of clean cement.
How could a mud filled room possibly have a two inch perfect circle of clean cement on the floor? How could a totally brown room offer a pristine pup?
All I know is my dogs were safe and then up shows another dog I prayed for. I wholeheartedly believe in a higher being. Always have. Too many things like this happen to me for me to not believe. The timing of these tiny miracles is just the icing on the glorious cake.
[I linked to two old posts within this one. They contain the entire flood story, but are rather long posts. Just warning you!]
“I want to beg you, as much as I can, to be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart; try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms or books that are written in a foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers; they cannot be given to you now because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. You will then gradually, without even noticing it perhaps, live along some day into the answer.”
The above was something Mom gave me ages ago, a piece that never got framed, just got shoved in a box and moved around a bit. Even somehow survived the flood in 2004. Fortunately the print and mat are wrapped in plastic so the dust and dirt of the years doesn’t seem to have impacted the piece itself. I found it a week or two ago and have read it at least once daily. Considering that my dear Aunt Sue is dying and today I head to Florida for a few days to hang out with her for the last time, this BE PATIENT and LIVE THE QUESTIONS NOW is hitting pretty close to my heart. The heart that is breaking for my cousin Jane because she soon will know this awful feeling of not being able to pick up the phone and hear her Mom’s voice. That is the worst for me…to not have Mom at my fingertips, to see me calling and happily answer any silly little thing I needed or wanted to know; to not be in my corner always.
This photo was taken about 10 days before Mom died. Aunt Sue is the one with the gorgeous silver hair, behind Mom. Before Mom had chemo and the cancer really took over, the two resembled each other a lot.
Aunt Sue loves the Lord and has lived a very happy life with Him in her heart. I am told she is looking forward to no longer being in pain and having the pleasure of gazing upon His face. Her faith and strength thrill me. But dammit, I am selfish and want her wonderful self here. I want to be happy for her, but my heart hurts. It hurts so hard.
And yet there is also a huge hurt that goes deep down to my core because I really want to ask her to tell my Mom a few things. Mostly that I am sorry for not being a better daughter while I had the chance.
The familiar alert that a new text had arrived interrupted my cooking so I ignored it a while. (Come on, your shock at the fact that I was attempting to cook should make you understand that there was no way I could break concentration, right? Moving on.)
Eventually stuff on the stovetop no longer needed constant attention so washed my hands and checked the beloved EVO’s messages. (I just realized that my phone doesn’t have a name. How the fuck could I have gone for almost a year and a half with no name for my phone? Eek! Suggestions?) ( Ok, where was I? I really need to write here more often in an effort to help lose some of this scattered brain. Sheesh.) My high school best friend had sent me a “Just found this pic of you and E at the zoo” message with this photo attached:
First of all, at first I didn’t even remember going to the zoo with little dude. Secondly, I am not even certain that I ever looked like that. And lastly, the child in that photo turned 14 this past March. FOUR FUCKING TEEN! (translation: I am old!)
Back and fourth our texts flew, mostly about how times have changed and all, but then she sent two more pictures from a long ago trip to South Park (I think it was South Park):
I was flabbergasted. Basically I have it in my head that I have always looked the way that I do now while somehow thinking that I still look exactly like I did then. I forget sometimes that I am 40 and was young once. (And apparently was at least 75 pounds lighter than I actually am.) My head has an awesome mashup of me and I kinda like it.
Anyhow, I asked how old she thought I was in the two images of me alone and when the reply was “22″ I just couldn’t believe it. Not that she has any reason to lie, but wow. 22.
Might have to pull out the old photo albums. Was fun flashing back for a few minutes while dinner cooked. Kinda wanna check out the “reality” of pictures as opposed to trusting my memory. If I find anything fun perhaps I’ll slap it up here. Really has been too long. Don’t like neglecting this blog. I think I sorta miss writing here…
First person to comment on my shades or Steelers shirt gets spanked. Same for the fact that I look like Yinzer Secret Service Agent or something. Also, commenting on the tight jeans with penny loafers and a t-shirt (and a scrunchie around the wrist!) shall result in spankings as well. Then again, I still have about a dozen white t-shirts that I live in and I don’t have a lick of fashion sense now so I guess not having it then is no surprise…
As so many of you know, this past month I had the pleasure of having Britt and her family park their RV in my driveway and park their butts in my house. It was fantastic! My tiny house was alive with energy (I’ve never heard so many questions before 8 AM in my life) and my dog thrived on the extra companionship. Coming home to the smells of a home cooked meal (Jared used my cookbook often…totally inspiring) and having coffee first thing with a great girl friend is something I had yet to do in this house. (Yes, I moved in back in December of 2004, hush.)
Point is, I was given a fabulous gift by having a terrific family stay with me. And I meant to give them a great gift back by showing them my beloved Pittsburgh. Problem is, there is so, SO much that I didn’t show them:
Don’t get me wrong, we obviously did *some* stuff over the course of a month:
- History Center
- Just Ducky tour / Station Square
- Backyard bonfires
- Pirates game
- Pitt football game
- Driving tour of Mt. Washington, South Side, Oakland, Downtown
- Carnegie Science Center
- Card and game night at my aunt and uncle’s house
- Dinner out with Podcamp friends
- Bowling in the most diviest dive that ever dove
- St. Anthony’s Chapel
- Saturday morning in the Strip District
- Blogger parties
- Shakespeare in the Park
- Cowboy boot shopping
- Tailgate party at Heinz Field before Pitt – ND
- Helped my cousin move
- Movie on Opening Weekend (Real Steel)
- Several family parties
- Lunch at the original Primanti’s
- Tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece, Fallingwater
- Evening of playing in the Water Steps and ice cream at Remember When
- Penguins first home preseason game from a Loge Box
- Driving tour of Squirrel Hill, Point Breeze, East End
- Theater District night out for Wicked
- Steelers game viewing parties at my Aunt & Uncle’s house
- Fishing (and lots of catching) at a friend’s pond
- Free drinks on date night at Church Brew Works
- A few crappy restaurants
- Tour of Ohiopyle State Park
- Play and exercise in Frick Park
So there was lots we did and lots we didn’t do. I like that they seem to want to come back and tackle some of the stuff we let work and school prevent us from doing. For the most part they got a good look at what life here in Pittsburgh is like. Emma cheered for the Pirates, Devin said he would love living here, Jared imagined his family visiting for a vacation and Britt smiled when talking of living in the Strip District. I know New York City is their dream, but I love that Pittsburgh is right up there on the list of places where they could be happy.
I mean, I did see lots of smiles…
At Las Velas after Britt spoke at PodCamp
Playing around after a baseball game
Catching fish in a friend’s pond
Playing in the water steps on the North Side
Finding stylish items in the Strip District
Showing off athletic maneuvers in Frick Park
Of course,having them around made me smile lots, too.
Teaching the kids how to appreciate hockey from private box was fun for me.
And watching the kids do yoga in the Water Steps and in Frick Park made me smile.
Speaking of smiles, when other folks stop what they are doing to appreciate those I love, well my heart just explodes with happiness.
So yeah, we might not have done everything there is to do, some might say I’m a bad hostess this time around, but I’ll just choose to say that I saved some smiles for a future visit. Can’t get here soon enough…or last long enough…
I remember everything about September 11, 2001. The four planes were still burning and smoking when my company sent us home to be with our families. Mom had called and asked that I please come to her work (she was a cancer nurse at Shady Side Hospital at the time). Although the hospital was completely in the wrong direction, the sound of her voice made me immediately say yes. Traffic wasn’t bad yet because Pittsburgh didn’t officially give the evacuate order until a bit later so I arrived quickly in Shady Side. Mom threw her arms around me and burst into tears, relieved that her only baby was safe after she witnessed such horrific events. It was like she only believed it when she finally saw me. I stayed in the cancer center until the end of the day, following Mom home and spending the evening / night with her (Reilly and Ludo hadn’t come into my life yet so there was no need for me to go home).
Mom turned the television on as soon as we were in her home. The news kept showing planes crashing into the Twin Towers. I felt sick. But the part that made me feel the most anger, true and pure white hot rage, was when the cameras would show people in the streets celebrating. Dancing. Clapping. Smiling. I couldn’t grasp how someone could feel joy at the same actions that caused me such overwhelming sadness. My brain couldn’t think straight and I started trying to figure out where those folks were. If they were in Philly I was going to drive five hours at top speed and not stop as I plowed straight into their celebration. I wanted to then put it in reverse and drive my little 1986 tank Volvo over anyone I missed. Over and over again. But then the announcer told me that the celebration was happening in a foreign land, a place where awful people hated us. A place where my little car couldn’t take me to ruin their celebration.
Almost ten years later a local DJ announced on Twitter (hi, @fsmikey!) that our President would hold a press conference around 10:30. At night. On a Sunday. Everyone knew it would be a big announcement. The POTUS doesn’t just make speeches late at night on Sundays. I stayed glued to Twitter. I watched as speculation was thrown around on television. And then I saw President Obama officially declare that Osama bin Laden was dead. I felt relief. Huge relief. While I knew that it didn’t mean the war was over, I felt proud of our troops and Military Intelligence for finding bin Laden. Pure relief that finally he felt the wrath of our country.
Twitter didn’t seem to show relief. It exploded with joy and jokes and happiness. Political statements were thrown around a bunch. Some folks were wonderful enough to thank our troops, some reflected on how much we have lost in the past ten years, but my stream was mostly filled with celebrations. Even couch burning celebrations (way to go, WV).
This morning television, radio and Twitter were filled with the merriment, with joy. Yet I can’t join in the party. I still feel great relief that the leader of al Qaeda, his son and couriers/confidants are no longer breathing, but I can’t dance. War is ugly and this victory is fantastic. But to dance and party in the streets? Seems all too similar to the celebrations I witnessed on September 11th. Those revelers were happy to hurt the enemy. To them we deserved it. And now we party because they deserve it for being our enemy.
Just doesn’t seem right.
I want to hug our military. I want our troops to know how grateful I am for their sacrifice, their willingness to witness and perform terrible acts, their living in conditions I can’t fathom, their service to our country. I want the families of those who serve to know that I am thankful for their sacrifice as well.
But I don’t want to celebrate.
I have so much to share and yet absolutely nothing to to talk about. A while ago an ugly internet situation (which didn’t even involve me) reinforced how much this community of “friends” can turn on you if you make a mistake and people don’t agree with how you handle the aftermath. The power of the written word is mighty. I watched in horror as folks took to anonymity in order to slam and talk about a few others, saying dreadful things which didn’t even pertain to the original situation, all from the safety of behind their keyboard.
Most seemed to think that because two people blog and share lots that somehow they MUST share everything. It was as though because someone chooses to share about lots of good things and a few flaws that somehow they were expected to share every flaw…in detail. So many people not only expected it, but actually demanded it.
It wasn’t the first time I saw it happen. The first time crushed my heart and made me doubt that I would ever blog again. I wailed online about the injustice, the name calling, the bullshit of it all. This time? This time still broke my heart, but it also took a lot of wind out of my sails. More than I realized, it crushed my spirit.
So I guess I mentioned that situation and how it made me feel in some sort of way to explain why Midnight Cliff has been on the silent side. But yes, I am alive and actually quite happy. In the past month that I haven’t posted here I’ve been to a Bags, Bellinis and Brunch fundraiser where I bought a new license plate purse from Little Earth, I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with Coal Miner’s Granddaughter and Copasetic Beth, I’ve been enjoying the Penguins playoff series, I’ve had a trip to Nashville canceled as a result of the terrible flooding, I’ve had the pleasure of being gifted with a VIP ticket to the Wine Festival where I consumed wine with a price tag of over $600 per bottle, I’ve attended my favorite trade show and partied with some tremendous people, I’ve laughed so hard at Benihana that my sides hurt, I’ve enjoyed the 90th birthday party for my dear great aunt, I’ve had hot dates, I’ve spent incredible time outside with the dogs, I’ve dined with fellow bloggers, I’ve had followup testing to confirm that February’s surgery healed properly, I’ve started planning my 40th birthday adventure to Alaska for next summer, I’ve enjoyed the Kentucky Derby, I’ve booked a cooking class, I’ve been thrilled to hear that a friend was invited to speak at BlogHer, I’ve started planning my next adventure in Kentucky, I’ve had heartache, I’ve had questions, I’ve celebrated Cinco de Mayo, I’ve dreaded Mother’s Day, I’ve searched for contractors to put a new roof on my house and to rebuild my falling down fence, I’ve enjoyed time with family and friends, I’ve accomplished lots at work, I’ve considered painting my house, I’ve welcomed spring as over 50 robins worm hunting signaled it FINALLY arrived, I’ve dined on gourmet food, I’ve been involved with planning committee meetings for a fun raising golf outing and I’ve done lots more.
But none of it seems to make me want to write about it. There are some fun stories in those things that I’ve done in the past month. Twitter has given me an outlet to share some of it, but I just don’t feel like sharing here. Maybe because I know that no matter how positive I am and no matter how I try to do the right things, well, maybe someday the Internet will demand more from me than I want to give. Maybe the Internet will find some mistake I made and not agree with how I choose to handle it so they will decide to pick up their torches and pitchforks instead of just talking to me about it so that we can work through it.
I know I’m rambling, which is kind of funny for a post where I tell you I have no desire to write. Not sure what to do about that. Guess basically I’ll wrap up with this: I’m happy and healthy, enjoying life, but have zero writing mojo.
Hope it returns. I do still love this little blog.
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If you follow me on Twitter you know that Monday night I took the dogs for a walk. Well, actually I took the German Shepherd for a long walk as his vet says his hips need the exercise, then I went back to the house and swapped Ludo out for Reilly as his beautiful little self loves to explore. After that, when I knew the novelty had worn off, I went back to the house and got Lou again so that all three of us could get out together. It was wonderful. And I learned a few things on this little adventure.
First, if I ever want to pick up men, just take the German dog with me. Not sure what it is, but damn, guys love a shepherd.
Second, not only am I out of shape, but so are both of my boys. Sheesh! All three of us were panting by the time we made it home. That photo up there is of them collapsed after our adventure.
Third, Pittsburgh is damn hilly. Ok, I totally knew that one already, but did I mention the heavy breathing? Yeah, there sure as shit was a reason. After the flood in 2004 that forced me to move and get new shit I looked for a place that wasn’t in any valley or near a creek (pronounced “crick”) and lemme tell you people, I fucking succeeded. If water rises enough to get me at the top of this hill, ya better have an ark.
Fourth, Finn also doesn’t like the phrase “you people” and it now makes me smile to sneak it in places. Like in that last paragraph. You should see the smile on my face. (Sorry, pretty lady!)
Fifth, the not quite all there/mentally disturbed guy that I was so happy to Tweet about the other day is friendlier than I imagined. While he smiles and waves when I do as I drive by, I have also seen him yelling at cars as he sits on the curb and smokes hand rolled cigarette after cigarette. Ludo and I walked up that far so I smiled and nodded hello as we approached. He smiled back. I stepped off the curb so as to not shove a German Shepherd in his face, but he held out his hand while still seated and asked if he could pet the dog. “Sure. Lou, be good, be nice. And behave, dammit!”
Dog made me proud, even extending a friendly lick hello. The guy remained seated, still smoking an unlit, half gone cigarette and complimented Lou’s behavior. Then he reached into one of the several bags beside him and pulled out something small which he held out to me. Looking down into his kind eyes I took the offering. It was a medallion, not even an inch long, made of a thin silver material and stamped “Italy” on the back with Mary on the front. I believe in Jesus and basic Christian principles, but I never could get into the whole pray to Mary thing…I talk to God, thanks. Regardless, I smiled and commented on it being Italian.
The guy was really nice, didn’t try to preach to me, didn’t ask anything of me, just gave me the small medallion and said that he hopes it brings me miracles. I went on my way with a little extra bounce in my step because some strange man wishes miracles for me. So I guess I am saying I also learned that strangers still can happily surprise me.
(medallion is now attached to Ludo’s collar)