I used a vacation day to have Wednesday free from work obligations. A beautiful mostly sunny day was just what I needed in order to go explore downtown with friends. Not only did it gave me an opportunity to capture a few photos so that I could enter a contest being held by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, but it also recharged my proverbial batteries. All around win. (Photos and another post to come soon!)
This morning went well at work. I was moving along, kicking ass and taking names, when I finally got around to checking out the retractable banner I ordered for an upcoming trade show. On the second time opening it the one side seemed to catch so I got the brilliant idea of fixing it. Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd I broke the fuck outta it. Woops.
A short email to my awesome provider and I received the promise of a quick fix so I jumped in my vehicle and headed over to drop off my broken banner. The radio was off, the windows were down. The short drive was quite pleasant and I enjoyed taking in the sights. One thing that struck me as odd was a couple on a back road, each pulling a suitcase on wheels. They seemed a little out of place, but I pushed them from my mind easily as I concentrated on driving.
I showed exactly how I broke my new banner and my provider offered to fix while I waited, but something inside me insisted that I just return later since the shop is literally on my way home from my office. Recently I have been reminded to trust my gut so I said I didn’t want to wait today and headed back to work the way I came.
Almost back at to the office, at the bottom of the office park’s massive hill, I saw the same couple again. Slower moving, obviously hot and tired. I threw on my flashers and pulled over, asking if they were headed to one of the local hotels. Hesitantly they nodded yes. More words few out of my mouth before I had a chance to consider them and my safety with what they offered. “I work just over the hill and would be happy to give you a lift to your hotel. This hill is terribly steep and not a fun walk, especially pulling luggage. It isn’t a problem for me, I have plenty of room for you both.”
I must have been using my kindest and most sincere voice or they were seeming to trust in my smile that I wasn’t going to ax murder them (either that or the heat had them delusional and willing to risk it), but a quick look exchanged between the two of them and then they were practically running for my SUV. As I started up the hill they remarked at how steep it was and that the map gave them no inclination of what they were getting in to when they made the choice to get off the bus at the Ingram station and walk instead of staying on the bus into town where they would have to transfer to another bus to get to their hotel. I laughed as I said, “Welcome to Pittsburgh!”
We chatted a bit and I learned the couple lives in Montreal, Canada. They had been hearing such wonderful things about Pittsburgh that they decided to vacation here. All too soon I was dropping them off. They expressed gratitude and amazement that Pittsburgh really does have people as nice as everyone says.
The whole thing couldn’t have taken more than five minutes out of my day and yet I am still flying high on the smiles total strangers gave me. It was a pleasure meeting them and brightening their day. Thrilling the impact we can have on each other, eh?
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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!]
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…
We’ll never forget. We’ll never stop hurting for our friend‘s loss.
I hadn’t intended on writing a birthday post…didn’t even bring a laptop here to Florida. But this fancy schmancy new phone makes it possible. And I feel so blessed to be alive, so thankful to be me. So here I am, typing on a tiny keyboard in the middle of the night when I should be sleeping.
But I fell asleep on the couch with the TV still on and woke up to find a movie I first viewed with my Mom on my birthday (after a Chinese meal that left us both with sides that hurt from laughter and a serious appreciation of hot peppers). Mom insisted that even though she had already seen Thelma and Louise, it was still the movie we *had* to see that day. She wasn’t sure when our schedules would again make it possible for us to get to the theater together and it was important to her that we saw it on the big screen, larger than life. Mom loved strong women and felt strongly (absolutely demanded) that I needed to view Thelma and Louise. Despite the ending, we both left that theater practically bursting with joy at just being women, just being alive. It instantly shot to my top five list of favorite flicks.
Waking up a bit ago to find TBS showing Thelma and Louise on my birthday is yet another in my life’s incredible synchronicities. Especially when I throw in the fact that both women in the flick picked up new hats and this weekend both Britt and I also bought hats.
One doesn’t hang out with Britt for any length of time without being forced to look in a mirror every once in a while. She is an inquisitive creature, always seeking to be the best person she can be, taking traits / habits she appreciates from those around her (whereas I just sort of stagger blindly though my life, content in the knowledge that I am happy, content and not hurting anyone, but never bothering to attempt to improve me).
So the questions come…do you have any insecurities, how did you get to be so confident, is being a strong (single) woman really about relying only on yourself, are you really that confident, etc. I never think of these things, but I have to sort of self analyze in order to respond and hold up my end of the conversation, otherwise there would be an awkward silence, ya know? Even if it feels strange to talk about myself all “wahoo, I fucking rock and you should all be like me, raise your kids to be like me and oh by the way, I have no fucking clue how I got to be the way I am” I find myself pondering questions that I never ask myself.
Today I realized (yet again…slow learner!) that it really all does go back to Mom and God. I will never be alone because God is always with me (I don’t need to be in a pretty building to communicate with him) and my Momma was a pretty damned tremendous woman who gave me gifts I never realized she was giving.
July 5th is my birthday. The one thing I want with all my heart is to hug my Mom tightly and say thank you. She not only gave me life 39 years ago, but Mom ensured I would live with a grateful heart and a happy song as my journey’s soundtrack. I miss her desperately.
Especially since she would have not only appreciated the creativity and talent that it took to make the stained glass effect Independence Day shirt I am wearing in this photo, but she would look at me with those Mom eyes and say I look beautiful (“on anyone else, no…but you? Absolutely beautiful!”).
May you all have someone who looks at you and always sees your best.
Got an invite from a friend to go on her friend’s boat for the evening. I haven’t been out on my beloved rivers in a boat in ages. This afternoon I feel all giddy, like a kid awaiting Christmas morning.
I’ll try to get some decent photos and post them.
Because Twitter just isn’t enough!
P.S. Yes, I post a bunch on Twitter instead of here. If you aren’t following me, why?
EDIT: Oh yeah…just like that, plans change. Seems the storms showed up sooner than we expected. Instead of being out on the water during the lightening show, we’ll do dinner and act like idiots elsewhere. See, Twitter would have been the better placce for this announcement. heehee
I colored my hair Tuesday night. The guy who does the coloring, I call him “The Hedge” is good, fast, great fun and reasonably priced. I love going to see him and I used to HATE, like crazy white hot passion hate, going to get my hair cut or colored. The coloring started the month I turned 30 when someone let us three drunk women loose in Wal-Mart. All that tequila impacted our thinking and I woke up a redhead (as opposed to my natural light brown, blonde, red mix). I liked it so I decided to keep it. These days it hides a bunch of silver hair so there is that added bonus as well.
Anyhow, back to the other night. I sent the most unflattering photo up to Twitter while the color was still on. Several folks wanted to see after photos. My Blackberry took a way crappy photo and shot it up to Twitter. A few people didn’t think it looked any redder than I normally take it. So I tried to take a few more. Proplem was it was a rather brutal day at the office, I’m exhausted and only have a little mascara on so these photos are ROUGH. But for you, gentle readers, I’m posting them anyhow. (Even if I am wishing I had photoshop to somehow make me look better in em.)
Can you see the red now?
Fuck. Why am I posting these again? Hit publish before I change my mind…
Looking back through my drafts folder kinda made me giggle. Wonder why I never wrote more or why I never published this, my favorite draft:
On Dasher! On Dancer! On Vodka and Tonic! On Whiskey! On Bourbon! On Sloe Gin and Mixer!
Next Page »
I realized that yesterday’s post never got around to making the point that corresponded to the title that I had given the post. (Yes, I write the title before even starting the actual post.) There was something heartbreaking about my cousin Jane’s handwritten letter and I never circled back to mention it.
Jane ended her wonderful note by saying that she knows I am busy and running around so she didn’t expect me to write back. Man, that tore me to shreds. When did that happen? When did I get too busy for one of my favorite people in the world to have to say it was ok for me to ignore her? NO ONE should ever be that busy. There is NO SUCH THING as that fucking busy.
So there. I’ve explained the title to yesterday’s post and also told you how I am obviously made of vast amounts of the suck. Fortunately I am loved and will be forgiven for being a bad friend. Again!
Now I need to get to planning a late winter getaway. Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!