Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas recounted

We all had a wonderful Christmas this year. On Christmas Eve we went to church and heard the final advent message. We need to worship more, consume less, give more and love all. I left the service feeling very loving. I haven't been doing so well with the consume less part but I now have something to work on, right?

We then went to Outback Steak House which has been our tradition for the last several years. We were seated almost right away and the food was as good as ever. The only down side was that Laurel's boyfriend's meal was misplaced and he received his food a lot later than the rest of us. They apologized and gave us his meal for free. He thanked us for inviting him along and we said "gee, your meal was free you can come anytime!"

We then came home and everyone opened one present. I received a beautiful sweater from Laurel. Next we played a rousing game of 'Apples to Apples'. (the Jr. version) Leah really impressed me with her reading ability, needing help with only a few words. Laurel did the best by far. She seemed to be able to judge what would be the most likely chosen word. For instance, Leah always picks the funniest answer.

The next morning we opened more presents. Santa was kind to us this year! Steph and Leah received many Webkinz and Nintendo DS games. (they also received some clothes but that wasn't as exciting) For Laurel it was mostly movies and clothes. I received a book that I have been wanting to read, 'Breaking Back' by James Blake. I know you are thinking, but Barb that is a non-fiction book. I know it is but it has it all, my love of tennis and I am a huge fan of James. I, of course have finished the book already and loved it.

We had Christmas dinner with my dad's side of the family. It was crazy with way too many people for the space but a lot of fun. My baby cousin Meredith is absolutely adorable. I think every year that it could be the last with my grandmother, who is 93 but still going strong. I hope for many more Christmases to come with her.

We will be celebrating with my mom's family this weekend.

I will definitely have to start to 'consume less' with the start of the new year.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


My husband and I taught our first lesson for the middle school students at church this past Sunday. We are going to be teaching once-a-month and I really think that I am going to like this even better than teaching the younger children. They pay attention, participate and are pretty funny and we have doughnuts after class. So, all good.

The lesson was about 'what Christmas is all about'. For most people it is about 'giving and receiving' which is a big part in my family. I love to buy gifts for my children and see their excitement on Christmas morning. I like to see how much they enjoy shopping for the people on their list. (they take after me) Of course the down side of this is : What if you get a bad gift or don't get what you want? Is your Christmas ruined? So much of this relies on others, to buy you the right present or for them to like what you picked out.

Another big part of Christmas is 'gathering together'. I have a very large family, my dad is the eldest of 7. So with lots of cousins, who are starting to get married and have children of their own it makes a huge group. Even if some people don't come we overflow the house. This year we are going to my aunt and uncle's in Cranberry Twp. (bless them) I wonder if some time in the future we might have to rent a hall. It is really nice to get together with everyone. I am enjoying my cousins most of whom are grown-ups now, although my youngest cousin is ~9 months old and is absolutely adorable. At the lesson we talked about 'the weird family member'. We all have one right? We mentioned that the weird person in your family could be you. All of the children assured us that it wasn't them and then told us about various strange family members they have. We had to reign them in at this point, everyone wanted to out-weird each other. Do we want to hear about groping relatives? No!!

Next we talked about getting in the 'Christmas spirit'. Decorating...baking cookies...sending cards... shopping...wrapping presents...going to concerts... the list goes on and on. Do we all have to be like Martha Stewart? I am definitely not!!! I do put up a wreath and we have some white lights in our bushes but we look like minimalists compared with some of our neighbors. There is one family in my neighborhood that goes way overboard. (I bet you have one too!) They have a wide assortment of light-up plastic figures, tons of lights and even boxes with moving figures like store windows. It has so much going on it looks a bit trashy, but they love doing it and its not just for Christmas, they decorate for all holidays.

My husband and I are a little bah..humbugish when it comes to this spirit thing. He doesn't care if we decorate at all. Cookies? Do we really need them? Christmas cards? I rarely send them although last year we had a family picture taken at Disney and sent it to relatives. I still have some if any of you would like to put it in a prominent place and gaze fondly at us throughout the year. Any takers? Okay, I admit that I do like shopping and I don't mind wrapping presents although I haven't started yet.

So, what is Christmas really all about? We know right? Jesus coming to earth as a baby to redeem us all. I love Christmas Eve. The work is done and we can focus on God's wonderful gift to us. I hope that you all have a wonderful stress-free Christmas and find the time to focus on Jesus this season.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


It is the time of year when the schools put on their 'Holiday' performances. So far I have gone to see Steph's band concert and my nephew Tim in the Heinz Chapel Choir. Laurel's concert is coming up. I'm not sure when but I am sure she will let me know.

Steph is in the 6th grade band and also the jazz band. I was surprised that they had flutes in the jazz band , not being a typical jazz instrument, but I think they want to provide everyone the opportunity to play more ie: practice more. We heard the 5th grade band preform first. I thought they did a good job. (way to go Kit on the drums!) The jazz band and the 6th graders also did really well. It is good to see the progress that one more year of playing makes. Unfortunately it was hard to hear the flutes. I did see Steph moving her fingers so I assume she was playing.

One of the band teachers came to the microphone and told us that perhaps he was maybe even more excited to hear the bands as we were. And then went on to say it was because he taught the students in elementary school and was anxious to hear their progress. I thought his first statement was really funny. I can't say with all honesty that I was excited to go to this concert, so his being more excited was very probable. I know that it is important to go to the concerts and be supportive, but to say I was excited would be going a bit far. I was more resigned to going. Of course, I did think it was a good middle school concert as far as that goes.

Tim's concert was something all together different. The Heinz Chapel Choir is the best choir I have ever heard. They are absolutely amazing. If any of you have the chance to see them I highly recommend it. I went to the concert with my husband, parents, my sister and her first grade son Danny. I was concerned about Danny's behavior because he is normally really rambunctious and sitting through an hour and a half concert might be difficult for him. I was really impressed with how well he behaved. I think that his attention span is greatly improved since going to school all day.

Before the concert we had dinner at the Pitt cafeteria. It is 100 times better that it was back in my day. (wow, I sound so old saying that) They have different stations that you can go to and it is an eat as much as you want type of place. I went to the Japanese stir-fry place. You put whatever vegetables you want in a bowl and then when it is your turn they take the bowl and cook the veggies with the protein choice you make. When they give you back your food you can choose between 4 different sauces to put on it. It was really good although the rice was kind of mushy. I spoke with several students that said they like the changes but that you get bored with the choices after a while. I bet they wouldn't like manna for 40 years.

It was a fun night. Do any of you have concert stories?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

unwell revisited

I think it was interesting to read the comments about my last post. Everyone seems to agree that Tom needs a wake-up call from God. Yes, I feel a bit bad about "wishing unwell" myself, but I can't help being a little glad when his movies flop. Okay, now on to a new yet somehow related topic...

As many of you know I am a huge fan of fantasy books, movies,etc. My favorite movie(s) of all time are "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. I read mostly books from the children and young adult section because I enjoy an easy read without all the adult issues found in grown-up books. The movie "the Golden Compass" is coming out soon. I read the trilogy several years ago and would normally be excited to see the movie. However, I found the books to be rather disturbing in their anti-church and atheistic views. The third book in particular was the worst in that regard. I never would recommend the books to children.

The director removed the anti-church message in the first movie, but I fear that if kids enjoy the movie ,they might be inclined to read the rest of the books. It is too bad that the author couldn't have stuck with a good story without alienating people of faith.

So, I guess I'm wishing this movie "unwell" also.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wishing Unwell

Generally speaking I have good wishes towards people. I want to see others succeed at their endeavours. Sometimes however, I find myself cheering for failure. The best example of this is Tom Cruise. I have been an unfan of Tom for many years. The last movie of his I saw was the one where he plays the sports agent. (I forget the title) It started when I found out that he joined the Scientology cult and continued down hill when he divorced Nicole Kidman. I was in the camp of people who yelled "No, Katie, Run for your life!!" Considering the cult they belong to it really is her life she is throwing away isn't it. I hope she comes to her senses and leaves him ASAP.

I was happy that so few people went to see his most recent movie. Earning 6.7 Million dollars in the first week, which is the lowest amount for his openings since 1986. It made only 3 million in the second week. I know that seems like a lot but it is doubtful they will recoup the 35M it cost to make the movie. Even Robert Redford and Meryl Streep couldn't save this sinking ship. His next movie looks like it will have equally dismal results.

The big question now is what Tom can do to change his image woes. For me he would have to completely renounce Scientology, become a christian and donate large amounts of money to christian charities. That is highly unlikely but you never know what will happen when people reach the bottom. I don't think Tom is quite there yet, but I have hope. After all nothing is impossible with God.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The other day when I got the mail I noticed an envelope from Michigan State University. I felt a sudden rush of anticipation. My eldest daughter had applied to MSU and was awaiting the results. My first thought was the dilemma over to open the envelope and read the news or wait for Laurel to open it. Thankfully, I was spared by the fact that the outside had the words, "Congratulations! You're a Spartan!" written on it. At the time Laurel was at a meeting with a woman from PNC to talk about her job as a corporate events planner. I waited until I thought she would be done with the meeting and then called her. When I read Laurel the outside message she screamed with excitement.

MSU has been Laurels first choice school since she visited the campus this summer. So, it looks like I will be travelling to Michigan a lot over the next few years. She also applied to Penn State , but hasn't heard yet. Part of me would like her to choose PSU because it is closer , but she really needs to choose the best school for her. From what I understand Michigan is a lovely state. I guess I will find that out first hand.

Once the letter came I was hit by the fact that Laurel will indeed be going off to college soon. I always knew that she would go but it seemed so far off in the distant future. Now the reality is setting in and I know that this a great opportunity for her (I absolutely loved college). I am already anticipating a tearful good-bye at the end of August. How many of you been through this transition? How did you handle it?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

treats and more treats

What a perfect night for trick-or-treating. I was the stay-at-home and pass out treat person, Mark took Leah out, Steph went out with some friends and poor Laurel had to work. (although she didn't seem to mind) I like to pass out the treats because I get to see all the costumes close and up front. I bought 4 different kinds of candy bars and let the children choose. Kit Kat bars were the most popular choice. I asked one little girl (about 3yrs.) in a princess costume what she wanted and she answered very earnestly "chocolate." I thought "I am so with you." She was so cute.

When the girls came home they dumped out their candy and sorted it out. The over abundance is a little overwhelming. These are the totals of the most frequently given candies:

Snickers - 29 snack-size, 2 regular size
MilkyWay - 21
Kit Kat - 19, 1 full size
Crunch - 18, 3 Crunch Crisp
Hershey - 17, 2 full size with almonds
M&M's - 13, 2 full size

The totals for the Snickers and MilkyWays are exaggerated because they include what we had leftover from giving, but still it is quite a haul. One thing I found interesting is that neither girl received peanut M&M's. When I bought my candy on the 30th the Giant Eagle was sold out of both kinds of M&M's. I think that people kept them for themselves.

The perfect night was capped off by us watching the Halloween episode of "Pushing Daisies", which was hilarious as usual. I am bummed that next week they are showing the CMA instead.

I hope that you all had a great holiday.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Gym and Cushions

I mentioned in my last post that I went to see "Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat" at a nearby Presbyterian church. I told one of the ladies I play tennis with how much I enjoyed it because I knew that she attended there. Her response was " well, most of those kids aren't our kids." That I did know because Mitchell attends a Methodist church down the street. The director of the production is the chorus teacher at Upper St. Clair High School and she recruited talent from her classes.

I then mentioned that the gym where the production was held was really nice and it was the first time that I had seen it. (it is only a few years old) She agreed that it is really nice but then said "They say that you should never join a church with a gym and cushions on the seats." I was a little baffled by this statement. My first thought was that the cushions would be so comfortable that people would be more likely to get drowsy, but I couldn't figure out the gym part. So, I asked her to explain. She said "because they spend money on themselves rather than on missions." She went on to say that when they were discussing building the gym the young people told the committee that they deserved a full-size gym rather than the half gym that was being planned.

I thought that this brought up a lot of good points. How much should a church spend on missions? At the church I attended growing up we had cushions, but I think that they were donated by a really wealthy old woman. So, we can enjoy them now guilt-free, right? If the gym is used for community outreach then how bad can it be or is that just a rationalization? Is it more a matter of balance?

The church that I attend is in the gym of an elementary school. Since we don't own a building, we can devote more money towards missions. Our pastor and a member of our leadership team are in Africa right now learning ways that we can help the AIDS-ravaged people there. Mark and I are hoping to go to Mississippi again to help Katrina victims. (yes, they still need help) We also assist the people of the Shepherds Heart Church. Does it sound like I'm bragging? I guess I always assumed that since the churches that I have belonged to thought missions were very important that all churches did. Was that naive of me?

I will be interested to here what you all think of the gym, cushion and mission debate.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Mark's car is repairable and we should have it back in about 2 weeks. We are keeping our fingers crossed that it will be as good as new.

Our home renovations have hit another snag. The powder room sink top that we bought is too deep for our cabinet. So Mark is trying to cut the back so it will work. He figured it out and is now installing the towel rack and toilet paper holder and then the room is done. Yea!!

This isn't technically an update, but we all went to see my friend Ruth's son Mitchell in "Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat." He played Joseph and did a fantastic job. I give him a lot of credit for not having a problem wearing only what looked like white boxer shorts for a good part of the play. I kept thinking "I know he's supposed to be in jail but could someone please toss the boy a shirt!" All in all the production being put on by local Presbyterian church youth it was really a great job and you could tell they had a lot of fun. (As did the audience) So, kudos to Mitchell and the whole cast and crew.

Don't forget to watch "Pushing Daisies" on Wednesday at 8:00pm. It is by far the best and most creative show on TV. If you want to see the first 3 episodes you can go to and watch them for free.

Friday, October 19, 2007

crash II

I don't really have much new information. It still hasn't been decided if "they" are going to total the car or not. In a way it would be great if the car could be fixed because it was a really nice car, but if it won't be the same post-crash maybe not. On the other hand I know we won't get enough money from the insurance company to replace it with a similar car. So since I don't know what to wish for I am leaving it entirely in God's hands. (which is always the best)

On a similar yet different note, my sister had an accident with a deer. She said she saw the deer running down a hill towards her and slammed on the breaks, but the deer still hit her car and smashed the windshield. Fortunately she was unharmed. I relayed the story to my husband and he asked if she had killed the deer. I said that technically it could be said that the deer committed suicide for running into her. My sister has a rental car now and so do we. We have a PT Cruiser, which is okay but not as nice as the Camry.

Have a good week-end. Drive safely because I have heard that these things run in threes.

Monday, October 15, 2007


In my family, we keep our cars pretty much until they die or appear that they are going to die shortly. My last van had about 120K miles and was definitely on its last wheels (or is it tires?) Mark's car is a Camry and appeared to have many years ahead of it. Until....CRASH!!!

When Mark was on his way to work today some guy ran a red light and drove right into him. There is a lot of damage to the car and we don't know if it will be considered "totalled" or not. Fortunately Mark seems to be unharmed except for some stiffness and aches, but the doctor recommended that he have x-rays done to be sure.

What a hassle. We didn't expect to be dealing with insurance companies, who from what I understand try to give you the least amount of money as possible or fix your car with used parts. The only good thing is that two witnesses came forward and the guy admitted his guilt in the situation.

Please pray for us as we go through this whole process and that Mark's aches are nothing more serious.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Comedy of Errors

This title could aptly describe the chaos of having work done on my house. We have hired someone to do some renovations on the girls bathroom and tile the entryway and powder room downstairs. Nothing is ever as easy as it seems. When Wayne(our contractor) removed the toilet and sink from the girls bathroom he discovered that our waterline turn-off was leaking. He needed to have the water turned off to the house to fix it and couldn't find the right tools. The plumbing places were all closed by the time he discovered the problem and Lowe's and Home Depot didn't carry what he needed. He suggested having the water company come out and turn it off, but they gave us absolutely no indication as to when they could send someone out. We waited for as long as we could but ended up cancelling the call because Mark and I had theater tickets. Mark was able to tighten the bolt so it leaked only a little so we could have water again.

The play that we went to see was Shakespeare's "A Comedy of Errors." It was performed at the Pittsburgh Public Theater's O'Reilly Theater. The O'Reilly is really nice, with seating on three sides and our seats are center row G, which are really good. The basic premise is that two sets of identical twins are separated in a boating accident. One of each twin with the mother and the other set with the father. They named both sets of the twins the same names. (that made little sense to me, but sometimes you have to take this kind of thing in stride) Years later the one set goes to the town where the other lives and a lot of confusion takes place. There is a lot of slapstick type humor, with the servant twins getting hit for doing the "wrong" job assigned to them by the other twins.

This adaptation had modern dress and staging, but still used the "old English" dialogue. This was okay for the most part, but there were times where it made no sense at all for today's times. For instance, Are there any cities ruled by a Duke anymore? I think it would be better to change the dialogue to update it if you change the scenery and costumes or leave it the way it was written completely. The "old English" is hard to understand and I was happy to get most of what was going on. The play is very funny and the actors did a good job with the physical humor. I did notice that the people sitting next to me and a few other couples did not return after the intermission. I thought that maybe they didn't return because they didn't understand it or were having trouble catching up with the dialogue, which was kind of fast.

My mother-in-law is taking my middle daughter to see this play in a few weeks. I hope that the language doesn't throw her for a loop. My husband and I decided that if we explain the plot to her she should be able to enjoy it.

Fortunetly Wayne was able to fix our water problem on Monday.

Have any of you been having your own comedy of errors?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Pushing Daisies

I have decided that this is my favorite new show. (Tim Gunn's Guide to Style is a close second) The basic premise is that a guy(Ned) can bring people back to life with one touch, that is the good news. The bad news is that they can only stay alive for one minute or someone else has to die in their place. His main job is as a pie maker, but he also works with a detective by going to the morgue, bringing people alive long enough to ask them who killed them and then touching them again which re kills them. He and the detective can then collect reward money for solving the case.

Things get complicated when he brings back a childhood friend. She unfortunately doesn't know who killed her and he doesn't have the heart to touch her again. He explains the situation to her and it is obvious that they really like each other but will never be able to touch because, of course that would be fatal to her. They catch the killer in the end.

One of the best parts of the show is that the narrator is Jim Dale!!! Jim Dale is the guy who did all of the "Harry Potter" books-on-tape and he is fantastic. Kristen Chenowith is a waitress in the pie shop, who has a crush on her boss. She is very entertaining in her petite bundle-of -energy way.

Check this show out on Wednesday nights at 8:oo. It is way better than Kid Nation.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Experiencing GOD

Henry Blackaby wrote the book "Experiencing GOD" in 1990. He has revised it in a bible-study format recently and my Friday morning bible-study group has picked it for this year. I have found that I tend to get lazy over the summer and really crave the start of the new studies and fellowship. The last several years we have done "Beth Moore" studies, which I have loved, but since she didn't have a new study out this year our leader suggested this one. Our leader did this study when it first came out years ago and found it very powerful and life changing. So, I have high hopes.

I completed the first part of the study and have learned that I need to follow and trust Jesus every day. I may not know what he has planned for me or where he will take me but he said " I am the way the truth and the life." His way is the best way! We had a memory verse "I am the way, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him then he will bear much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5 I think I have it pretty close.

The problem is that I am not sure what Jesus wants me to do practically. It is so much easier to agree with the statements in theory. I guess I will have to continue on with the study and see where it leads me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


My husband and I found ourselves with a free Saturday and decided to call my aunt and uncle to see if they were doing anything. They were, my aunt was going to her high school reunion and my uncle was going to the Pitt football game and he had extra tickets!! We arranged for the little girls to spend the night at their grandma's and then went.

We met a group of old college friends at a tailgate party. It was a lot of fun to see everyone and catch up with them. We saw the Pitt Band march by and I saw Tim (my nephew). I recognized a man at the tailgate next to ours and asked him if he had been in the Pitt band. It turns out that he was a senior when I was a freshman and is friends with my sister and her husband.

The game was terrible. From the very beginning the Panthers played horribly. It was pretty embarrassing, how the quarterback kept throwing the ball to our opponents. (we are wearing blue,not white..ugh)

Oh well, it was a fun night regardless of how bad the team played. At least the band was good.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Juror #8

I had my first experience with jury duty last Thursday. I took the subway into town and arrived about 8:00am. I walked about 2 blocks to the court house. I entered and had my bag scanned and then took the elevator to the 3rd floor, where the jurists meet. There were about 100 of us waiting to be interviewed. The room was pretty nice, they had free coffee and tea, vending machines for other snacks and drinks , comfy chairs and restrooms . They gave us a free pen, discount info about restaurants and shops and a discount pass for those who parked at the chatham parking garage.

There was a woman in charge of us, who told us what to expect. There were 2 cases that required a jury that day. She then had us rise, said a speech that started with "hear ye, hear ye..." and then the judge in charge of the jurists came in. He was very entertaining telling us how the amount paid to potential jurors had not increased since the 1950's. The legislature keeps talking about an increase but the amount of money it would take is so large that they end up saying that it is our civic duty, so the amount stays the same. ($9.00 a day plus mileage)
The judge also told us to not be too disappointed if we were not chosen because it is hard to guess what the lawyers are looking for. He then relayed a story about how he once didn't choose a man because he looked like an uncle that he didn't like.

After the judge left we waited for the lawyers to be ready to pick us. We were given a questionnaire to fill out. I had a cup of coffee and chatted with some ladies while we waited. When the first case arrived the first several rows of chairs on my side of the room were vacated and we had to stand against the wall while they called our names in a seemingly random order. I was the 21st person called. When they said my name I said "yeah" quietly. They then read the charges against the accused, rape, incest, indecent assault of someone younger than 13 years, corruption of a minor... I was in shock!! The person that I took to be one of the lawyers was actually the accused.

When it came time for me to be interviewed I walked up handed the defense attorney my questionnaire and sat down. I was then introduced to the accused and the defense attorney and the prosecutor. The defense asked me about my degree (Industrial Engineering) , the sex of my three children and a lot of questions about my husbands job (geologist). I don't think that had anything to do with the case. Maybe he was just interested in what a geologist does. The prosecutor had no questions for me and I returned to my seat. I told the young woman sitting next to me that I would never be chosen because with three girls I doubted the defense would want me.

How wrong I was!! I was chosen. I was really surprised. They called about 6 of us out of the room and we were taken to a waiting room upstairs of the judges office for the case. We were told that the case would start Monday and most likely be over on Tuesday. We were then free to go. It was about noon, so I went to lunch and then went to Macy's. I bought 2 pairs of awesome shoes (they were buy 1 get 1 free, so I had to get 2 pairs, right?) and then I went home.

On Monday morning I again took the subway into town only later because we didn't need to be there until 9:15am. I met my fellow jurors. 7 men and 7 women made up the jury (12 plus 2 alternates). We had to wait a while before the trial started, but they brought us coffee or tea for which I was one of only three people who took any. There was a smattering of conversation but mostly we sat there bored. We were then lead down to the courtroom in order. I was #8. (did you figure that out!)

The trial started with the judge giving us (the jury) instructions. Then the prosecutor gave his opening statement and off we went. I think that this is a good time to mention that the prosecutor is a very attractive man. One of our jury members seemed quite taken with him. She commented on how the sun was shining on him through the window and he looked "holy, like an angel." That didn't bode well for the defense, who in all fairness wasn't bad looking himself although he didn't have the sun-thing going for him.

The young girl who was the alleged victim was the first witness called to the stand. She is now 14 and the crimes against her happened when she was 10 and 11. It was difficult for her to tell her story and when the defense attorney asked her questions she seemed to be confused about dates and what order things happened. I thought he was pretty hard on her and can you really expect a girl who was traumatized at 10,11 to remember all those details? After a break her mother took the stand and then the detective who interviewed her. They both were good witnesses. Because the alleged crimes took place a long time ago there was not any physical evidence. We then were recessed to go to lunch. We were to be back at 2:00pm.

After waiting for an extra half-hour the judge came upstairs and told us that the case had been settled. The defendant plead guilty to the 2 lesser charges and the other charges were dropped. They felt that the girl hadn't done that well on the stand and decided to offer the deal. I was disappointed that we didn't get to "decide the case" ourselves, but understood. We took our checks down to the treasurers' office to cash them and then I went home.

I thoroughly enjoyed my jury experience. I thought the process was interesting. I was soooo glad that I was chosen even though we didn't get to deliver a verdict. I cannot be chosen again for county court for three years, but I hope that I will be given another chance to serve someday.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Last night was the completion of sorority recruitment at Pitt. I am an advisor for Kappa Delta. Even though the week has been exhausting it was also really fun. As an advisor my job is to be there for membership selection meetings. Really it is mostly to provide moral support, although I also need to be there in case of an emergency. (which there weren't any this year, thankfully) The parties during the school week cannot start until 9:00 pm so they won't interfere with night classes. This lead to long nights where I didn't get home until after 1:00 in the morning. Of course, the long nights are no problem at all for the college students.

The KD's did very well this year receiving quota-plus-one pledges (a lucky 13), so that brings them to 2 members over ceiling . The ceiling at Pitt is 60 members. 8 out of 11 sororities made quota, so this recruitment was successful for Pitt. The recruitment chair for KD was a pleasure to work with and had everything very well organized. She and her committee did a great job.

Now I can return to normal life. I definitely need to catch up on my sleep and find out what is happening with my other girls.

Thursday, September 6, 2007


My daughters wanted to see a movie last week, their last week before school . They chose the movie "Stardust." We all absolutely loved it. The story is about a young man, Tristan (played by newcomer Charlie Cox, at least new to me) who is in love with the beautiful,yet shallow Victoria (Sienna Miller). She seems to have little to no interest in him, but he tries to win her heart by promising to bring her a fallen star. He enters a magical land and finds that the star is actually a girl who was knocked out of the sky by a necklace. The girl (Yvaine, played by Claire Danes) is in danger from several sources, the evil witch (played by the beautiful Michelle Pfeiffer) who with her two sisters wants to cut out her heart so they can live immortally and young and the princes who are trying to recapture the necklace and be the new king of the land.

One of the most amusing parts revolve around the princes. The 7 brothers are killing each other in various manners so they can be the last one standing to become the new king. The dead brothers are shown to be ghosts, who cheer on and cringe over the antics of their alive siblings.

Tristan and Yvaine go through many adventures and I think that the ending will be very satisfying to everyone, although it is a little predictable. I think that predictable can be a good thing sometimes. There are some great moments with characters played by Robert DeNiro and Ricky Gervais.

I think that "Stardust" is a very entertaining movie and would be a really good for a date. It kind of reminded me of "The Princess Bride", which I think is high praise. So, check it out and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

My Best Day

Today is the first day of school for my girls. Usually they start before Labor Day but since there is a lot of construction going on in the school district the start was pushed back. I like it when they start sooner because they are excited about the first day and in June they will be ready for school to be over as soon as possible.

One day last week my eldest daughter commented to her sisters that "next Tuesday is our first day of school" to which I replied "that will be the best day of my life." The little girls were confused by that statement. Laurel said that I need more excitement in my life, which of course is true.

I have decided that today would be a good day to make resolutions. It seems like a better time than Jan. 1st. I have decided that I will try to do some exercise and at least one bit of housework every day. The exercise is really needed to get off the pounds I gained this summer from going out to lunch with the girls far too often. The housework, well, um, well, I just loathe. So I have decided if I try to do at least one householdy thing a day perhaps it won't be so overwhelming when I have to clean for an event.

I have already, unloaded the dishwasher, cleaned up the breakfast dishes and payed bills. The exercise, I haven't decided about yet. Maybe I can do a few sit-ups while I watch tennis. I know what you are thinking, is this really her best day ever, cleaning , exercising and watching tennis? Well, probably not but there is definitely something to be said for a few hours of quiet to do what ever I want.

Are any of you making school-year resolutions?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

US Open

I love tennis. I enjoy watching it as much as playing. The US Open is one of my favorite tournaments because they have coverage from 11:00-5:00 and then a night session at 7:00pm. The first day of the tournement my youngest daughter asked me "Are you going to watch tennis all day?" My unabashed reply was "yes and at night too, for the next two weeks."

There have been several really great moments so far in the tournement:

Donald Young, 18 won his first match and now is into the third round because his last opponent had to withdraw.

John Isner, 22 and 6' 9" is into the third round with 2 impressive wins. He will play Roger Federer next. When asked about his next opponent he replied " I don't know that much about him. Is he good?" HAHA!!

Justin Gimelstob played his last US open singles match against his friend Andy Roddick. The post game interview was hilarious. I think Justin will have a good broadcasting future.

Andy Roddick won his second round match on his 25th birthday.

James Blake won is first 5 set match against a tricky and entertaining player, Fabrice Santoro.

The Williams sisters are both playing really well.

Newcomer Ahsha Rolle was a surprise winner and now is also in the third round. This has to be a dream-come-true for the young American.

Maria Sharapova has been wearing a beautiful red dress.

If you don't hear from me much over the next 2 weeks you now know why.

Monday, August 27, 2007


My husband and I celebrated our anniversary this week-end. We spent friday night at a Holiday Inn Express on the south-side. ( we are feeling sooo smart now) We had a great dinner at a seafood restaurant and then went out to different bars and watched my Buccos win an exciting 15 inning game.

We noticed a lot of 20-somethings order drinks with Red Bull and other "energy" drinks. We were asked if we wanted to try it but declined. I really felt no inclination to stay up to 2 AM or beyond. Those days are long passed. Still it was fun hanging out and people watching.

I have seen several times this new show on VH1 called "The Pick-up Artist". It has this guy called "Mystery" and his two wing-men helping socially challenged men try to learn to pick-up girls. The contestants all struggled even with the most basic conversation skills. I liked the one piece of advise, "try to be interesting." Yeah, if it were only that easy. As if they were trying to be boring on purpose. Oh, I get it I have to be interesting!! Can I be good looking too? "Mystery" has a book out too, so if you need more in depth help, check it out.

So, since I was people watching I tried to notice how the guys in the bar were doing. Some seemed to be doing fine ,but I noticed a lot of guys just sitting at the bar making no attempts. There was one guy hanging out with a very offensive t-shirt on. It had a girl bent over with very little clothing on. I can't remember what the phrase on it was, but I told my husband that it was the most girl-repelling shirt I had ever seen. And to think that he had chosen to go out in public wearing it. Ugh!

Although it was fun, I am so happy that I am married and don't have to be a part of the singles scene. I guess that is what is best about celebrating an anniversary, realizing how good you have it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Wild Things

A group from my church went on our second annual baseball outing to see the Washington Wild Things, a farm league team in Washington PA. We had a really nice tailgate party before the game and I brought my famous taco dip. Someone said that it was "infamous" but I said "no way 'cause its really good". The dip was completely finished before we went in to the game.

My family's seats were not particularly good because they were behind the metal rail which was exactly at my level of vision. I had to either sit up really high or slouch down to see, so I moved up one row to sit beside a freshman in high school named Dylan who went on the mission trip with Laurel and I to Mississippi last year. (check Laurel's blog for details) I don't typically have a lot of interaction with teenage boys and I always think it is interesting how girl crazy they are.

Since Dylan's mom was not at the game I did my best to embarrass him. (which is a mother's job) I picked a favorite player to cheer for (Jarod Rine, who had a nice hit his first time at bat), I cheered for all the contestants in the between inning contests, I danced to "YMCA"and did the chicken dance (in my seat so not too bad). Dylan was pretty unflappable and took my antics in stride. Of course, I wasn't the only one in our group acting crazy. Things can get pretty funny when we get going.

You see you really have to make an effort to have fun at these games because otherwise they can be very boring. After seeing pro games the minor league players just don't measure up. Dylan and I agreed that several times the player at second base should have made it home and they stopped at third. Ugh, it was so frustrating . Even so the Wild Things were victorious ,yay.

They have a lot of give aways at these games. We each were given a 20% off coupon for Ponderosa, an opportunity to get a free gallon of washer fluid from Auto Zone, a discount of $10.00 off a $50.00 purchase at Dick's Sporting goods and the kids received a Wild Things gym bag. Last year everyone in our section won free fish bites from Long John Silvers. We all cheered like it was the best prize ever and even hoped that we could be so lucky this time around. Unfortunately they didn't give fish bites this year. :-( I asked around and found out that no one used the certificate last year so perhaps it wasn't deemed a very successful promotion. We all joked about the common prize of 2 free tickets to a future Wild Things game. The cost of our tickets were $8.00 each. Okay, its better than a stick-in-your-eye. (but most things are)

One of the highlights was fireworks after the game!! There were some really cool ones. A perfect cap-off to a great evening.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Civic Duty

My husband has been called to serve on jury duty many times. He was actually feeling rather harassed by the number of times and called about it once and they said he was summoned by error. You are only supposed to be summoned once every three years. There are federal and county cases , so it could be slightly more often.

I have always upheld my duties and have voted in every election. Yes, even the boring ones where you only are voting on judges. Have I ever been asked to serve on jury duty? No!! I am one of the few people that would love to do it and you even get paid , although not very much.

I am so excited because I have finally received a summons. Yes!! I am supposed to appear in mid-September and I can't wait. Knowing my luck they probably won't need me or I won't be chosen. Do you think that my views for the death sentence on all crimes will be a problem? ;-)

I am interested in hearing from all of you about your jury duty experiences.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Just for Fun

I was kind of bored the other day and discovered this cool blog. It is called Bent Objects and it is a lot of fun. The blogger's name is Terry and he lives in Indiana. He makes characters out of wire and other things, that are amazing. Check it out! It is guaranteed to make you smile.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a huge fan of fantasy books and have been a big fan of the Harry Potter books for a very long time. I think they are "bloody brilliant!" My daughter Laurel and I have been attending the book release parties for the last several books and this year we attended with middle daughter Steph and my sister and her eldest son. I picked up my wrist band at 2:30pm and received number 320. We arrived at Borders at 10:00pm found my sister who was in line to have her sons caricature done. The line was so long and slow that they finally had it completed about 11:30. (Steph had hers done as well although it doesn't look too much like her) We received our book at about 12:30 and headed home. Laurel read aloud to us until we got home, then she claimed the book as hers.

I was able to read almost all of Saturday and finished the book on Sunday. Laurel has been hampered by her work schedule but I expect that she will finish within the next couple of days and Steph has started to read it after I read a couple of chapters aloud to her. Yes, I read it so fast the first time that I am reading it again. I enjoyed it that much. There is something exciting about reading a book that you know millions of people are reading at the same time.

I will not give any spoilers but say that I thought it was very well written, exciting and ended very satisfyingly. I urge all of you to read the books because they will be a part of our culture and the words and phrases that J.K. Rowling coined will be used for generations to come.(think Wizard of Oz) Also the books are an easy read and a lot of fun. I know that some of you are non-fiction readers only, which I can scarcely understand, but I feel that the benefits of Harry will be soooo worth your time. They are not just kid books. Unless you count me as a kid or maybe just a kid at heart!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


There are times when I wish the past would just stay there. Not always, of course, sometimes it is great to see an old friend and catch up with them. I had a lot of fun at my high school reunion, for instance. Then again there are other times....

When I graduated from college I had trouble finding a job in my degree (Industrial Engineering). One of my sorority sisters' dad had just bought a car dealership and they needed some sales people. I applied, got the job and started work after I returned from my honeymoon. I knew next-to-nothing about cars but went through training and became pretty successful. One of the downsides to this job were the horrible hours, almost every evening and Saturday's. Another was boredom. During most day's you would only speak to a few customers and on winter days you might not have any. The biggest downside was the almost constant sexual harassment. The staff was mostly male and they enjoyed telling me bawdy stories to see my reaction. There was one older man that always wanted to put his arm around me and if I complained he would get this sad puppy dog look and say "don't you like me?" This is just a few examples and there are much worse ones that I won't write about. These were the absolute worst times of my life.

I was so relieved when I finally after 2 years got another job. For a long time after I would get a sick feeling in my stomach just passing the building. The dealership closed a long time ago and I rarely think of it now except when I have a bad dream and those are fewer and fewer as time has gone by. It has been about 22 years since I last worked there.

I have recently found out that the church I attend is seriously considering moving to the exact building of my torment. I am sure that it will look drastically different and may seem to be the perfect place for us to move. For me the discussion has brought back many really bad memories that I would have preferred to have forgotten.

Friday, July 13, 2007


It has been a long time since I have posted because I have spent the last 2 weeks watching "The Championships Wimbledon." It was very exciting with Venus Williams winning as the lowest seed ever and Roger Federer winning for the 5th consecutive time in a thrilling 5 set match against his nemesis Raphael Nadal. I only saw the last 3 games of the match because I went to church. It was nice for Roger to hold off beating Nadal until I could get home.;)

As well as watching tennis I have also played in some matches myself. I played in a USTA match last Saturday against a woman that I go to church with. I was really hoping that I would not have to play her and was nervous that I would have to. I don't like playing against people that I know. I would much rather my opponent be a stranger so when I crush them I don't feel so bad. Plus, there is the added pressure of knowing that I should win big. My team is tied for second place and the team we played is in last place. My partner and I won 6-2, 6-2. It was a big relief. My record for USTA is 3 for 4.

Yesterday I played a PTL(Pittsburgh Tennis League) match against someone from my USTA team. You know how I feel about playing someone I know! Karen is a very hard hitter and has aced me a few times with her amazing serve. Fortunately my partner can also hit the ball really hard and we prevailed winning 6-1, 6-1. I felt a very tiny bit bad because this certainly wasn't our opponents best day but, it brings my PTL record to 3 for 3 so I was very happy. Karen asked me to not tell anyone how badly she played and I said that I would just put it in my blog. You all can keep a secret, right?

My seasons are all winding down soon. My USTA team has their last match Saturday and my PTL team only has 3 matches left. I will be feeling a great sense of loss until contract time starts in September. So if anyone wants to go to lunch I am available.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Weighty Issues

I just want to clear up a few things. I am not on a diet. I have given up on the concept. I read an article that stated that it is better to always try to eat reasonably. That way if you mess up one day you don't give up but just continue to eat right the next day. They also said that you should never weigh yourself because if you notice that you have lost weight you might be more tempted to splurge. I don't hold to that completely, I do weigh myself occasionally and am always within 2-3 lbs of my normal weight so I don't worry about it too much. Yes, it would be nice if I could shed about 10 lbs, but I am not willing to try that hard. What I need is major motivation. It would be great if I could go on Celebrity Fit Club but since I am not a celebrity that is highly unlikely. Before my last high school reunion I did lose a few pounds but even that wasn't a big enough reason to change my lifestyle too much.

I would like to say Tim, is that Laurel is a huge enabler. She has brought me cheesecake twice totally unasked for. She said that she doesn't want me to weigh less than her! It is a good thing that I get as much exercise as I do or who knows what I would look like. (actually probably just a fatter version of me)

Does anyone have a good tip for me?

Friday, June 29, 2007

Just One More

I have come to realize that I have no will-power at all. Ok, maybe that is a little extreme. I have almost no will-power. My girls and I went to Wal-Mart for a few needed items and just happened on the candy aisle. I know from my past that having candy in the house is a bad thing, by how quickly I finished the chocolate that I bought in Hershey PA. in May. But, Wal-Mart had M&M's on sale and I couldn't resist. My favorite are peanut M&M's. I think that they are addicting. Could I take just one handful and then leave them alone? You know the answer, no way! I took one handful divided them by color (check out my Jellybean blog) ate them and then waited. I tried to, I'm not going back to the kitchen...oh,ok,just one more handful. It's really disgusting how I sabotage any effort I have of dieting. If I say that I should cut down on calories, I will eat something I shouldn't usually within the day, sometimes hour. The best strategy I have is to avoid having candy in the house, although I was so desperate for chocolate the other day that I ate a handful of chocolate chips. I was soooo feeling like an addict.

It is a very good thing that I am not tempted by anything more harmful. Or should I say a GOD-thing.

Monday, June 18, 2007


Yesterday was Father's Day and my family decided to go to Outback Steakhouse. We only go to Outback for special occasions. (like Christmas Eve) Of course, Father's Day is an important occasion and we all really like the bloomin' onion so it was decided. We used the call ahead seating which was a good thing because we only had to wait about an half hour instead of an hour and a half. On the way into the restaurant a yellow jacket flew behind my glasses which totally freaked me out. I yelled "ah...ah" and finally whipped my glasses off to let it escape but not before it stung me on the eye lid. I also had been holding my youngest daughters hand and ended up bumping heads with her in the commotion. As we entered the hostess asked "How are you today?" to which I replied "not too good I just got stung by a bee on my eye." She had no reply to that. I guess that is a situation that doesn't come up in training. I headed to the bar area and asked for some ice. So I waited for our table with a bag of ice pressed against my eye. I received a lot of strange looks. My middle daughter always looking for the bright side of things said "at least it isn't Mother's Day." Fortunately it stopped hurting by the time I went to bed. All-in-all a rather unfortunate event.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Saddle Sore

Today my middle daughter had a girl scout event. Her troop is closing so they needed to have a last spend-the-remaining-money spree. They had voted to go to a dog-sledding place near Deep Creek Md. The woman in charge said that it was too warm for the dogs so the event was cancelled. We all think that she just didn't want to do it because it wasn't that warm with a day high of only in the 70's. We were going to be there at 9:00 am and it definitely wasn't too warm at that time. Oh well, what should we do instead?

It was decide that we would go horseback riding, go to Cici's Pizza for lunch and then to the Wave pool at South Park. For horseback riding we went to Rolling Hills Ranch. We first had to sign a waiver. I am not really sure what for exactly but if you want to ride you sign, so we did. We were then asked if we were going to wear helmets, to which the girls in one loud voice in unison said "NO". Then we signed another waiver for denying the helmets. If we fell and broke our heads it was so totally not their faults. Then we were given our horses. Mine was named "Lumpy".
Lumpy liked to be at the front of the pack. So even though we started off near the back we were at the front almost as soon as we passed through the gate. The ride was for about an hour on a path through fields and woods. It was really scenic and a lot of fun.

Cici's was okay. I then picked up my youngest daughter and met the rest of the group at the Wave pool. The water was very cold so I pretty much just waded. The troop had some money left so each girl was given $5.00 for snacks. The line was ridiculously long and the snack shack was so poorly run that I had a hard time holding my tongue.
Who runs this place anyway? The Industrial Engineer in me was planning out at least 10 changes that they could make to help the situation. Arrgh, Is there no commonsense?

When we got home I needed and took a nap. When I woke up I sat on the edge of the bed to put on my sandals and ouch, my but was really sore. I now can fully appreciate the concept of being saddle-sore.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Yes!!! My team won the Mount Lebanon Team Tennis Championship and we received a trophy. We won by only 1 point and that is because they(the purple team) had to take a 2 point penalty. Of course, we have the trophy and that is all that really matters. If any of you would like to see my trophy I will be happy to show it to you.
It will have to be soon because I can't imagine that I will be displaying it for very long.

My daughters were impressed by the trophy. The purple team received a key chain with a crystal tennis ball on it. Which is a much more practical gift, not that I need another key chain.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


For Mother's Day I received an MP3 player which I had asked for because I hoped it would make going to the gym less boring. Over the last few months I have not been going to the gym very reliably. It started when I came back from Mississippi with a really bad cold. One week led to the next and I am sure I had a lot of good rationalizations for not going but I finally buckled down and went twice in one week. Unfortunately I must have tried to do too much and I pulled or strained a muscle in my left shoulder. So, of course, I couldn't go back to the gym for several more weeks while that injury healed. I now have run out of excuses and have gone twice lately. The last time I had my new MP3. I like it, but it really didn't make going to the gym significantly more fun. The volume of the songs I loaded vary quite a bit. It can be jarring to be listening to a soft song and have the next song be REALLY, REALLY LOUD. Why can't the CD manufacturers make their Cd's with the same volume levels?

I have now put off the gym long enough and am going right now!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Roland Garros

The official name of the tournament is Roland Garros but to you and me it is called the French Open. You know the tournament that is played on red clay, the one that no American man has won since the 90's. How we long for the days of Chang, Courier and Agassi. Andy and James lost in their first round matches and even though they both played pretty well they still go home losers. At least the Williams sisters are doing well. The big question is: Can Roger Federer beat Raphael Nadal for the title?

I would love to see that happen!!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Time Flies

I have been playing a lot of tennis the last few weeks. I am on three teams and even though I don't play every match for them I have been playing about 3-4 times a week. The USTA(not the polish word for lips!) keeps track of the scores for years. If you wanted to know how I fared in my matches from 2001 you could look them up.
I can't imagine anyone doing that but you could.

I can't believe that the school year is almost over. My girls are all very excited about summer. The younger two are planning on going to WLD Ranch, which is a christian horse camp. They are also going to girl scout day camp and swimming lessons. My eldest Daughter is going on a mission trip to West Virginia and is going to be working a lot to help pay for a trip to France next year. As of right now we have no plans for a family vacation. We have talked about maybe going to California sometime in the Fall or Winter. Still I would love to go to the beach,
preferably Emerald Isle and not Presque Isle. (not to be picky or anything)
The weather has been so beautiful the last few days it has me in the sand-between-my-toes mood. Anyone else feel the same?

Saturday, May 12, 2007


We bought my youngest daughter a desk for her room. I did not buy a chair for the desk because it was $150.00 and I thought that was too much. My husband mentioned that we had an old green chair, so I decided to refinish it. This was a much bigger project than I had anticipated. I first sanded the chair to get off as much green paint as I could. Wearing some sort of face mask would have been wise because I inhaled green dust which when I blew my nose came out again.(eewww) I then thought, I hope the paint wasn't lead-based. I went to the hardware store to buy white paint. The young pimply-faced boy at the paint desk suggested that I buy oil-based paint. That was a mistake because it is hard to work with. It dries very slowly which leads to drips that I tried to remove and then repaint which lead to more drips. Oh well, The chair looks a lot better than it did, even though it took 6 days to complete. One good thing that happened is that I was able to get a chair cushion for $3.50 at Tuesday Morning and my sweet baby is very happy which makes it all worthwhile.

Monday, May 7, 2007


I played my first match of the tennis season today. (I was supposed to play a USTA match last Saturday but we were rained out.) This was the start of Mt. Lebanon Womens Team Tennis season. The teams consist of 14 players playing 7 lines of doubles. Because of time constraints this league plays 15 games of no-ad scoring. The first team to score 4 points wins the game. I am very excited about my team this year. We have a lot of new players that are pretty good. We won the match 64 to 41 points. My partner and I won our match 10 to 5. This is definitely the best start I have had in this league ever. I hope that we will continue to dominate unlike the Pirates. My next match is Saturday for my 3.5 USTA team. Wish me luck!!

Friday, May 4, 2007


I went with my daughter to the state FBLA conference. (Future Business Leaders of America)Like all Pa. state conferences it was held in Hershey the chocolate capital of the world. We did not come for the first day of the conference because my daughter has missed a lot of school already this year and I did not want her to miss an extra day. She had a test at 8:00 on Tuesday for computer applications. The test took her about an hour and she didn't have any other requirements until noon so we went to Chocolate World.

Chocolate World was created to take the place of the tours of the chocolate factory that Hershey used to do. They have a ride like the Disney kind that goes through the process of how they make their chocolate so delicious. In the ride they have 3 cows sing about milk and how it is the key ingredient. It is really corny but kind of cute. The best part is that they give you Hershey Kisses at the end of it. Then of course you end up in a big store with all the candy that Hershey makes. We bought quite a lot of candy because you just have to being right there. I thought I had spent a lot (~$27.00) until I saw what the Japanese tourists in front of me in line spent.($111.00) I guess it is harder to get Hershey candy in Japan.

After Chocolate World we went to an outlet shopping area. Anyone who knows me well knows how much I like to shop for clothing. Since I have little money I have become an expert at getting a good deal, so the outlets are perfect for me. I think that this is the real reason that my daughter wanted me to come on the trip. We did buy some things for us but my husband made out better and he wasn't even there which is his favorite type of shopping.

We then went back to the conference so that L. could take the Hospitality Management test. This is what she wants to study in school so it was important for her to do well. At the awards ceremony that night we found out that she came in 4th place. I was very proud of her. We don't know how she fared at the computer applications test but wasn't in the top 10. I was amazed at the number of students at the conference. There had to have been at least a thousand. It would have been nice for L. to have had other friends from her school at the event. Although she would have had to go to more of the lectures and probably wouldn't have gotten the new clothes.

To make the trip more of a learning experience we went to Harrisburg to see the state capitol on our way home on Wednesday. I had never been to the capitol building and must say that it is very impressive. The rotunda is beautiful and the Government chambers are full of carved wood, marble, gold leaf and huge chandeliers. It is all very grand. Several years ago we went to the Texas state capitol in Austin and the PA building is a lot more ornate. Not everything is bigger or better in Texas.

Friday, April 27, 2007

sweep II

They did it again!! The Pirates swept the series against the Houston Astros. It wasn't easy especially the 16 inning game on Wednesday and yes, I did stay up for the whole game. Unfortunately we don't play Houston again until July 20th. Let's pray that we can be successful against some of the other teams. At least the Pirates are at 500 right now which gives you a 50/50 chance of seeing a victory. The Pirates start a new series against Cincinnati at home tonight. Go Bucs!!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


I was really excited on Monday because the new episode of "Heroes" was showing. I like the idea of having a superhero power although some of them are certainly better than others. I would love to be indestructible. Think of how crazy the X-treme sport guys would be with that gift! The good vs. evil plot is essentially what the show is about but it is hard to tell who is good and who is evil. Some of the characters are definitely evil like Sylar. Mr. Linderman is interesting because it shows how absolute power corrupts absolutely and yet he says he wants the greater good. Nathan seems to be heading that direction himself. It is all about being elected and then worry about the consequences. Even HRG (Claire's dad) who seemed to be bad now is looking like he could be one of the good guys. I can't wait to see how this all turns out.

Some would say my love for "Heroes", "Lost", and "The Lord of the Rings" puts me in the geeky teenage boy category, but I know that I really am far more well-rounded than that.
After all I watch "America's Next Top Model","Dancing with the Stars" and "Grey's Anatomy" as well.

Tonight I am watching "Top Model", "Lost", "American Idol results"and "Shear Genius". I will also check in with the Pirates game if it is on TV. It isn't a surprise that I typically watch TV by myself because I flip back and forth between the shows that are on at the same time. I'm sure it would drive all of you crazy.

Have a happy TV-day!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I went to an alumna event for Kappa Delta sorority at the University of Pittsburgh this past Saturday. It was great seeing everyone again. I have been an advisor to the chapter since I graduated so I have worked with all of the sisters that were there. It was so nice to see how accomplished the women are.

The sisters had a very well organized program for us. They had several sisters talk about what the chapter has been doing in the last year and highlighting the awards and honors that they have received. They also had a slide show presentation of pictures of different events over the years. It was fun to see how things have changed although some things were just as we had remembered. At the end of the slide show I noticed a picture of me. I then realized that all the pictures on that page were of me with the caption at the top thanking me for all my years of service to the chapter. They then had the current membership chair give a speech about me and the ways that I have assisted them. They also had a present for me.

I was completely surprised. I could feel my face flush while the speech was being given. I have never been honored like that before and I have to say it was really nice. Afterwards I thought that I probably should have said a few words to the group but I was so shocked that I did not even think of it.

It has been a pleasure working with the KD girls and I of course will continue. It is so nice to see what a wonderful chapter that they have become.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Jelly Beans

I love jelly beans. The stores have been having them out for about a month in preparation for Easter. I have bought many packages but when I wanted to buy more right before Easter the Giant Eagle was sold out. :(

I like the fruit flavor the best in a medium size bean. In eating and seeing how my family eats jelly beans I have determined that there are 3 types of eaters.

1. the grabber- This person just grabs a handful of beans not caring what flavors they get.

2. the sorter- This person sorts their beans by color(or flavor) and eats them in some order.

3. the selector- This person chooses out only the particular flavors that they like.

It can be annoying for the sorter to be sharing a bowl with a selector. I am a sorter and my daughter is a selector and eats only the orange, pink and sometimes yellow. So at the end of the bowl we have the least popular beans left.

What kind of jelly bean eater are you? What do you think that this says about you?

Thursday, April 5, 2007


I love this time of year. Spring is here, the birds are singing, the flowers are blooming and hope springs eternal. Hope that is for my Buccos to have a winning season. (Pittsburgh Pirates) So often they have disappointed but this year things are looking up. The Pirates have won their first three games, beating the Houston Astros in Houston. All of the games have been exciting come-from-behind victories. Now I know that they could lose the next 7 games and put me into a mild depression. Still, I can bask in the glow of my first place Pirates and feel that all is well with the world.

Monday, April 2, 2007

High School Musicals

This is the season of high school musicals. Generally speaking they are a real mixed bag. I have to say that I really enjoyed the two that I have gone to recently. Bethel Park did "Thoroughly Modern Millie" and USC did "Into the Woods." My friends' son played Jack in "Into the Woods" and did a very good job. We joked that he really had the part of the simpleton down pat.

My daughter was in the chorus for "Millie" and had a wonderful time. I had never seen the Broadway show before, only the movie which was a bit different. It was nice to see a new show because I have seen "Oklahoma", "Guys and Dolls"and "The Music Man" more times than I would like. The production was really impressive. It is amazing how talented the students are. The pit band was great. I went to a small high school that didn't have strings and struggled in that area. To hear the whole orchestra was awesome.

Although the shows were great I am really glad that they are now over so that we can get back to a regular schedule. Laurel (my 17 year old daughter) is home "sick" today to catch up with her school work. I think what she is most sick of is history. She has been working on it non-stop for about 7 hours and still has more to do. She needs a lesson on time management. It would have been better in retrospect for her to not stay up all night Saturday after the cast party. Oh well, to live and learn.

I would love to hear comments from those of you who saw "Millie" and hear what you thought.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


It has been said that everyone should have a blog. Although I disagree with that statement, I have succumbed to peer pressure (actually daughter pressure). My eldest daughter has been telling me for a while that I should be sharing my thoughts with the world. Well, at least with the people that might actually read this. So here I write....(exhale)......

My title is "At the Front of My Mind." My plan is to write about the things that are most pressing to me at the time or at the front of my mind. Lets face it, if it is at the back of my mind I probably wouldn't even think about it long enough to get it written here. Does it seem that I am stalling? Ok, I am realizing that this is a much more daunting task than I thought.

The most recent change in my life is that I have a new van. My old van that I had hoped to keep forever and ever was becoming increasingly unreliable. I was instructed by several mechanics that I should get rid of it ASAP. Still, I held on to it hoping that their diagnosis was extreme and that I could keep it for a few more months at least. When my van conked out on me last week I saw the writing on the wall and could interpret it!

My husband was out of town so I was able to use his car. When he came back I was carless.
I wanted to get a van that had 3 individual seats in the middle row for my 3 daughters. That doesn't seem too much to ask but it is hard to find. I had heard that the Toyota Sienna had that feature available on some of its models. My wonderful husband found one on his lunch break on Thursday and on Friday we brought the new van home. It was a demo and had ~15,000 miles on it but since it wasn't titled it was still considered a new car. I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive to drive it at first, but now I really love it.

Perhaps my getting a new car isn't the most interesting first post, but it does happen to be at the front of my mind.