Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I read a lot and usually have several books waiting for me at any given time. I have at least four or five sitting there now and a couple from the library that I have already renewed twice. It's not that I haven't been reading it is just that the Twilight series has captivated me so much that I haven't been able to pick up anything else. I have read each of the books several times and can't wait to go back home so I can read some more. The day after Christmas, at my mom's house, we had a party with her side of the family. I was so torn over reading the last book in the series and socializing with my family. I had to tear myself away from the book to hang out with them only to go back to the book when I felt I could make my escape without it seeming so obvious that I would rather be somewhere else. Even now that I have read the last book twice and counting, my obsession doesn't appear to be letting up any.

It is really odd for me to reread any book. I did reread the Harry Potter books but they pretty much are the exception to the rule. I am one of those people that once I start a book I am focused on it and the desire to finish it is so strong. But I have reread the third book 5 times. Yes, 5 times!!! Of course, part of that was that my mom was giving Steph the fourth book for Christmas and I had to wait to read it. Okay, in all honesty I went to Barnes and Noble and read a few chapters Christmas Eve Day. I was so tempted to buy my own copy but my thriftiness came through, I could wait one more day, right?

So, what is it about these books that have me so enthralled? I think that my love of fantasy and being a romantic makes these books seem like they were written especially for me. I find myself smiling when I am reading them and even though I know what is going to happen my enjoyment isn't any less each time. I can relate it to eating good chocolate, only with chocolate you can get full and I don't have my fill of the books yet. I know that I should be doing other things, like laundry, cleaning, etc. but I am really bad with procrastination especially with things I don't like doing. I don't see an end in sight although I am hoping when the TV networks have new shows again I'll be strong enough to tear myself away. I sound like an addict don't I? Is there such a thing as a Twilight intervention?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


We had Verizon Fios installed yesterday. Mark thought it would be good since it would save us some money, especially on our phone bill. I didn't really care too much but he told me that we would have the Tennis Channel for a trial 3 months so I was all for it and saving money is a good thing too, right?

Mark agreed to work from home for the day while the installer was there. I was very glad because it makes me nervous to have a strange man in the house alone with me. I realize that this a rather irrational fear and everyone who has worked for us has been completely professional as was the gentleman yesterday, but still it makes me uneasy. I also don't like when I'm asked questions that I have no idea what the answers are. So, it was good for Mark to be there for that as well.

So, we now have Fios and all our TV channels have changed. We have some new channels which Leah was excited about because there are more kid channels for her. Interestingly enough we don't get the Tennis Channel. I tried to go to it last night and it said we hadn't subscribed to it. That is just plain wrong. I complained to Mark and he said jokingly that I should call Comcast to tell them we would go back to them if they would give me the Tennis Channel.

Mark had called Comcast to tell them that we switched. He said that they did mention their own deals that we could have if we aren't completely satisfied with our new provider. So, we'll see.

Later Mark said that we would have to email everyone to let them know that our address had changed from Comcast. He seemed a little panicked about that until I reminded him that we never did change our address from adelphia and it changed itself over to roadrunner a few months ago. We didn't have to do anything and the adelphia and roadrunner addresses both still work. So, my inactivity was a good thing. How rare is that?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Bethel Park's football team won the WPIAL championship. This is a big deal because it is the first time they have achieved this goal. They beat Gateway 10-6. Mark and I actually watched some of the game. The end to be completely accurate since we went to the theater and arrived home for the last 5 minutes of the game. I was very impressed with Bethel's defense. To keep a team that had been scoring 40+ points a game to a meager 6 points is pretty awesome. Gateway was a nationally ranked team and even though Bethel was undefeated no one gave them much hope to win. That of course, makes the victory so much sweeter.

Mark and I helped some students make it to the game. We were walking to the theater from dinner (McCormick and Schmick's which was fantastic) when we overcame some confused Bethel fans. We overheard one boy say, "maybe we should ask someone." Mark told them they were headed in the wrong direction and needed to cross the river. It is easy to see how they were confused since they had just got off the "T" and with all the tall buildings, you couldn't see the stadium, any rivers or bridges. We were glad to help fellow Bethel Parkians.

So, Congratulations to Bethel Park and good luck with the next game which is against State College High School this Friday.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Religious Week-end

Steph had an interesting week-end. She was invited to a Bat Mitzvah of a school friend. We didn't even know that she was Jewish. I really wanted to go to the ceremony but Leah didn't want to attend and Mark is out of town so I didn't get the chance. Kind of a bummer but that happens. After the ceremony they had a big event at a restaurant with a d.j. and games. The girls all seemed to have a wonderful time. I asked Steph about the service and she said it was good but she didn't understand a lot because it was in Jewish. Hebrew? I suggested.

That night we went to the Saturday night service at Peters Creek. (where I work) Then on Sunday we went to church at Christ Community. In the afternoon Steph had a practice and Pizza party for teaching Faith Factor next Sunday and then she went to Youth Group back at Peters Creek. For Steph it was pretty much an all church all the time week-end.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


My birthday was Monday the 3rd. It was a beautiful day weather-wise which is rather unusual. Typically by November 3rd the leaves are all off the trees and the temperature is cold. This year however the temperatures the last few days have been practically balmy and there are still some beautiful trees around. I know it won't last for long but I am enjoying this last bit of Fall weather while I can.

I had a pretty quiet day. I played tennis in the morning, dropped Leah off for a swim party with the girl scouts and just read a book for most of the afternoon. Mark, Steph and I went out to dinner at Bravo's and then when Leah came home we had a small party.

The next day at work the staff had a special birthday breakfast for me. It was really good and I received some nice cards. I am all for celebrating all month long so if anyone would like to go to lunch let me know.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


We went to Michigan to visit Laurel this past week-end. It was really great to see her. We spent most of the time eating out and shopping. So needless to say it wasn't a cheap visit. One of the interesting things for me was that it was the week-end for a home football game against Ohio State. I have never seen anything like it. The campus was crazy with tailgate parties everywhere. The game started at 3:30 pm but the tailgates were going strong at 11:00 am when we picked up Laurel. Pitt being an urban campus with little parking around it there didn't seem to be many tailgates although now that they moved to Heinz Field it is probably different. But the game is still far away from campus so the atmosphere isn't the same. I had the forethought to wear green but Mark had on a red jacket (totally uncool). Not that anyone said anything or seemed to care. Unfortunately MSU lost the game, but Pitt won so we weren't too disappointed. Our first night at the hotel there were a lot of rowdy Ohio State fans, but the second night it was much calmer. They were probably recovering from tailgating all day.

We also visited the Kappa Delta House. It is very nice and I think Laurel will enjoy living there next year. They had a parents program but unfortunately we couldn't stay for it because it was from 3-5:00 and that would have put us home about 11:00 pm. As it was two of the newer sisters gave us a tour. I would have liked to talked to exec-board sisters to ask some questions but they weren't available when we were there. Oh well, I didn't have anything crucial to ask so maybe next time.

We also had the chance to meet Laurel's roommate Debra and friend Rose. They both are very nice girls. I am glad that Laurel changed roommates, Debra is a hard worker, which is way better than having a heavy partier. Debra is also Jewish which gives Laurel a different perspective. I think it is interesting for her to know about the difference in cultures and about being kosher. I hope they can share things about their faiths.

It was kind of sad to say good-bye again but we will see her at Thankgiving and then when her term is over in December.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I am sure many of you are a little curious how I am faring with my eldest daughter in college. It has it's ups and downs. The up side is that she seems to be handling herself really well, attending classes regularly, keeping up with her work and making friends. The down side is that she is so darned far away. When she had a tumultuous break-up with her boyfriend it would have been nice to give her a hug, but I was too far away so I had to send one over the phone which just isn't the same.

I was very, very excited when she pledged Kappa Delta. I hope that she enjoys it as much as I did. It will give her some fun activities to do in between studying, working and going to class. It is amazing how different it is having a house compared with the suite the girls have at Pitt. I kind of envy the house it really seems more fun. She went to her first tailgate party on Saturday and was exposed to a new culture. There are people who have as their main goal to get as drunk as possible as quickly as possible. I told her to laugh at and then feel sorry for them because they will be feeling it the next day. (or later that day depending how early they start)

Going to college is an eye opening experience. You meet all kinds of people who are so different than those that you knew at home. Laurel was surprised when one of her fellow pledges was incredulous that she chose to go to MSU because of her major!?!, because she was all about the football team and tailgating which Laurel doesn't care that much about. (although she has enjoyed the games she has gone to) So, I am happy that Laurel is getting to experience college with all it's challenges and good times. I know that she will thrive there.

We are going to visit Laurel in a couple of weeks. I can't wait! She already has told me things she wants me to bring from home and that she wants to go out to eat. I guess the cafeteria food can get boring after a while. I am anxious to see the inside of the KD house and meet some of her friends.

Laurel would love to get some mail so let me know if you need her address.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Amuse Me

I have been watching sports every day and night for the past 4 weeks. I love the Olympics and then the U.S. Open tennis started. I will be going into serious withdrawal tomorrow.

In between my sports watching my family went to several amusement parks. We were in Southern California and visited Sea World, Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure park and then went to Kennywood for Mark's company picnic back in the 'Burgh.

I was excited to take my girls to Sea World because I had fond memories of going when I was younger, back when there was a Sea World in Ohio. We went on a few rides first, An Arctic Adventure, which is a simulator-type ride that was pretty cool. We then went on a ride called Atlantis that looked like a roller coaster and was although it had a water part that I was not expecting. Okay, so now that I'm wet we might as well go on the river raft ride. We were completely drenched after that ride. Mark and the littles went on it twice, to make sure that there was not a spot on them that was dry. After that we had lunch and then started attending the shows. The shows were very entertaining, but waiting in the hot sun for them to start wasn't great. We all had sunburn even though we did (I thought) a good job of putting lotion on. Is there anything you can do about sunburn on your hair part? Other than a hat? All-in-all we enjoyed Sea World but felt that it would have been better if they had a few more non-water rides.

Everyone in my family absolutely loves Disney. (ok, maybe not Mark but he is a great sport) We were excited to go on the rides that they don't have in Florida and to revisit our favorites. We went on the Matterhorn first and then headed over to the Alice-in-Wonderland ride. After this we noticed a trend. We were next to go on the Alice ride when it broke down and were told that the wait would be about 15 minutes before it started again. We decided not to wait and went to Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. About half through the ride it broke down and we were escorted to the exit. We next tried our luck with the Pinocchio ride. We made it almost to the very end this time before yes, once again the ride broke down. I thought maybe Fantasyland was having problems, let's check out some other areas of the park. It didn't seem to matter. The Indiana Jones ride was down when we first went to ride it and the Haunted Mansion was down for most of the day. By the end of the day we were able to ride everything we wanted and loved the Indiana Jones ride so much that we went on it twice. The only thing we missed is the It's a Small World ride because they are completely overhauling it and it would be out for I think a few months. The girls sang the song to Mark anyway so he wouldn't feel he missed out completely or just to be annoying. Hee Hee!!! Actually I wanted to go on the canoes and the girls said, "no way, it looks too much like exercise."

After taking a day off we went to Disney's California Adventure. The park opens at 10:00 so we went to Disneyland first and rode Space Mountain before heading over to CA, which is separated by a courtyard so it is really easy to go from one park to another. We headed for Soarin' and had a little longer than expected wait because one side broke down and we had to be diverted to the other side. We were worried about another day of mishaps but I think the only other ride that went down while we were there was the new Toy Story Arcade ride. We did end up going on it twice because we loved it but the line was very long, they really need to give this ride a fast-pass. We enjoyed California Adventure a lot. I always allow the girls $20.00 to spend on souvenirs for the whole vacation and we had no trouble spending it all at Disney. My recommendations for a Disney trip are, arrive as soon as the park opens, use Fast-pass for any line longer than 20 minutes ( if it is available) and don't get stressed by break downs.

I have to admit after going to 3 parks in August already we (Mark and I) weren't very excited about going to Kennywood. It was paid for by his company and they had dinner included and the girls were really looking forward to it, so we went. Of course, we had a wonderful time. It is nice that the girls are at the age where we like to ride pretty much the same things. Steph wanted to go on the Phantom's Revenge and neither Mark or I was willing to brave it. Laurel was missed because we know she would have taken Steph on it. One ride that we all like is the Grand Prix or what I like to call the Dodge 'em cars and everyone else says are Bumper cars. I like to drive around and try to avoid being hit and Mark and Leah in one car and Steph in another try to bump me as much as they possibly can. "Getting Mommy" is the highlight for Leah.

So we had a very amusing August and I am glad that we are now home and back to a normal routine. Although we miss our Laurel, but that will have to be another blog.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

New Job

I have a new job as part-time secretary for Peters Creek Presbyterian church. My sister goes to that church and found out that the person who had the job wasn't working out so they were looking to hire someone. She was interested in the job but not full-time so asked if I would like to share the position with her. Since I was getting so few hours at the Loft I thought it would be a good idea. We went for the interview together and I was a little nervous because I have absolutely no secretarial experience at all. I am teachable so I thought that I would do alright in the job, but if they delved into my experience I would be sorely lacking. As it turned out it didn't matter. They explained what the job entailed and asked when we could start. It was pretty obvious that they really, really wanted Bev (who is highly experienced) to take the job and if they had to take me then it was worth the risk. One area that I expect to excel in is answering the phone. I do have a lot of experience in that area and my sister Marilyn said that I have a smile in my voice. ;-)

We worked together for a couple of hours before I left on vacation, but my real first day is on Tuesday. Pray for me. I will need it.

By the way, I am still working at the Loft part-time. I can't give up the discounts and it is fun.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Laurel is officially graduated from High School. I told her that she was gradulicious, which she thought was a pretty funny way to describe her accomplishment. I don't think of High School graduation as that big of a deal really. I mean it is a milestone in ones life but everyone can do it. The ceremony was held indoors because of the rain. I have never attended a graduation outside, so it didn't matter that much to me other that fewer people could attend. The speakers all did a very good job. Laurel's friend Valerie gave a nice speech urging her fellow classmates to take a cue from Buzz Lightyear and strive for "infinity and beyond." The valedictorian's speech used a Winnie-the-pooh quote. Disney movies seem to have a big impact on everyone.

We had Laurel's grad party over Memorial week-end. The highlight was the "wall of Laurel", which had pictures of Laurel from her baby days to now. She wasn't too crazy about the middle-school pictures. That is an awkward time for just about everyone but I told her that the important thing is that she came out the other side a beautiful young woman. I was asked jokingly if we always had the pictures up. I laughed and said that I had just put them up but now that they were there who knows how long they will be there. It has been several weeks and yes, they are still up! If you missed out and want to see them (or see them again) just give me a call.

I think we are all more excited for college. We are leaving today for Michigan to attend Laurel's MSU orientation. I have never been there and look forward to checking it out. I hope to visit the Kappa Delta chapter if we have time. The littles are pretty excited about the swimming pool at our hotel. I know I will be far more emotional about sending Laurel to college than I was about High school graduation.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I know that all of you have been anxious to find out how my singles match went on Saturday. (except those of you who already know) My team carpooled to the Pittsburgh Golf Club which is near Squirrel Hill. I joked with the girls how I was hoping for a very old opponent that was really slow. Of course, that was not the case my opponent was young (in her 30's I'm guessing) and pretty quick. Her name is Louise Kay. "Louise," I asked? "No, it is Louise Kay," she responded. Okay, uh, so Louise Kay and I started to warm up. I noticed right away that her ground strokes were a little unpredictable, but as we continued to warm up she seemed to get better. Her serve was pretty shaky and she had a lot of trouble feeding me overhead shot practice. So, I went into the match feeling fairly confidant that she wouldn't blow me off the court and I might even have a good chance of winning. It was interesting to me that she chose to receive serve after winning the spin instead of serving first, which is usually an advantage. It was another indication of how uncomfortable with her serve she was.

To make a long story short(er), I won the match 6-0, 6-0. She seemed to think that hitting the ball as hard as you could was the way to go. That only is the case when you you can keep the ball in play, which Louise Kay really, really struggled doing. We only had one game that went to deuce. Louise Kay exceeded my expectations for an opponent. My only hope now is that my captains don't think that I can do that same thing against other teams. My team won the match 4-1, losing only line 1 singles. Interesting was the age of the line 1 and 2 doubles opponents. They were all at least in their 70's with one of the ladies playing line 1 doubles being 82 years old. I hope that when I am their age I am still playing tennis.

My team for Mt. Lebanon Team Tennis won again yesterday narrowly. My wonderful partner Penny and I won a tough match 9-6. We were able to come back after a three game to zero start. So, I have won all my matches so far this year, which I know won't continue once Pittsburgh Tennis League starts, but for now it is all good.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Work and Tennis

I have had many people ask me about my job and how I like it so far. I really do enjoy the work. I have always loved helping people with outfits and it is very gratifying when they take my suggestions. After just one 4 1/2 hour day I've come to a few conclusions:

1) I need more comfortable shoes.

2) I should never calculate how much I will be payed because it sounds so paltry.

3) This job will be easier when I know where everything in the store is located.

4) I was tired after just 4 hours. How will I feel after an 8 hour day?

All in all I had a good time and am looking forward to work again today.

On a completely different note, the tennis season is upon us. I have played in two matches so far for the Mt. Lebanon team tennis league. I won both of my matches 11-4 but my team's record is 1 and 1. Actually every team in the league has a 1 and 1 record. I had two different partners for the matches and feel really blessed to have such nice players to play with.

My first USTA match is on Saturday and I am scheduled to play singles. UGH!!! I am not a singles player. I am a much stronger doubles player. Of course, it is my own fault for offering once to play singles for a person who was injured. I hope that this is a one time thing. My biggest concern with singles is my stamina. I have been playing one set of singles a week with the Wednesday group I play with, but if I have a match that goes to three sets I could be in trouble. Pray for me on Saturday morning.

Monday, May 5, 2008


I have been thinking of getting a job for quite a while now. Last year when Leah was in first grade I was contemplating it. One of my tennis friends said, "you should give it a year." So, I gave it a year but still felt like I needed something new to do. It really is a transition going from having small children that require a lot of attention to having "big girls" that are independent in many ways. Truth be told that I was kind of bored with my life. Not at all times of course, but generally speaking the sameness of every day was getting monotonous. I enjoy tennis but even that was feeling old.

I had always liked working before I had children and was a very good sales person. The question was what type of work would be best for me. I didn't want to go for a full-time career type job, at least not yet anyways. I also was hesitant to work retail because of the hours, which might be difficult when Mark is out-of-town. I decided that it was probably best for me to just get my feet wet with any job and then see how it goes. I applied to work at Borders about a month or so ago but was told that they were not looking for anyone at the time.

Last Friday I went to lunch with a friend from Bible study and then we went shopping afterwards. We ended up at Ann Taylor Loft, which is one of my favorite stores. I love picking out clothes for people and helping them shop. My joy must have been evident because several people said that I should consider a job there. My heart kind-of leaped at the idea, so I got an application.

Part of the application process is answering a questionnaire on-line. They had you put basic info about yourself and then asked personality questions that you had to say if you strongly agreed, agreed, were neutral, disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement. They also said that you only had 20 seconds to answer and you couldn't go back once you hit enter. The very first question I hit strongly disagree instead of strongly agree and felt sick to my stomach. Would my blown answer ruin my chances? Argh!!! I don't remember what the question was but Mark and I joked that it was probably something like, "I consider myself to be an honest person" or "I am a friendly person."

After stewing for four whole days I received the call to come in for an interview. I felt fairly confidant because I am usually pretty good at speaking extemporarily, but I haven't interviewed for a very long time. After talking and answering questions for about ten minutes I was offered the job. I was doing the happy dance inside my head.

I will probably work for about 2-3 days a week. My biggest question is whether I will make any money at all because the employee discounts are really good and I do need work clothes, right? We will see how good my self-control is. I start training tomorrow at 2:00pm. Pray for me.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Yesterday the little girls and I picked up our new glasses. This is the first pair for both Steph and Leah. They were told that they really only needed them for school. They both look pretty cute in them. My glasses don't look all that different although they are silver and a little more substantial than my last pair. Leah was with me when I picked them out and approved of them saying that I still looked like myself. My last pair was broken and pretty scratched up, but I kept putting off going to the eye doctor until Leah and Steph both needed check-ups.

Laurel didn't need new glasses although her old pair were very bent out of shape. She decided that she wanted contacts. She was surprised that they gave them to her right at her appointment last week. At first she struggled with getting them in and out but now she is able to do it usually on the first try.

The one really nice thing about the place we went (The Eye Gallery in McMurray) is that they repair glasses for you whenever you drop in, for free. I saw many people have their glasses adjusted while I was waiting for the girls during their appointments. They fixed Laurel's glasses which was great because she didn't need another pair since her prescription hadn't changed. They even offered to fix my old glasses which is great. I don't know if I will ever wear them again, but I guess it is good to have a spare pair in case something happens to the new ones.

Leah was really cute saying, "now everyone in our family has glasses." I teased Steph that her dad and I are doing everything we can to keep the boys away from her by having her get both braces and glasses. So far our strategy is working!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Rabbit Hole

Mark and I went to see the Pittsburgh Public Theaters production of the play 'Rabbit Hole' on Saturday night. 'Rabbit Hole' was written by playwright David Lindsay-Abaire. I had not heard of him before but he has received 5 Tony Award nominations and is currently working on the book and lyrics for the Broadway-bound musical 'Shrek'. He is also wrote the screenplay for the upcoming movie 'Inkheart' and is also bringing 'Rabbit hole' and one of his other plays 'Kimberly Akimbo' to the screen as well. I believe that Mr. Lindsay-Abaire is about to become very well-known indeed!

When Lindsay-Abaire was at school at Julliard he was told that if you want to write a really good play, write about the thing that scares you the most. At the time he didn't understand that, but now that he is a father he realized that one of his greatest fears is that something horrible would happen to his child. Rabbit Hole is about a family that is dealing with the tragedy of losing their son in an accident. The four year old Danny ran out in the street chasing after his dog and was hit by a car. The first act takes place about 6 months after his death.

The play opens with Danny's mom Becca (Erika Rolfsrud) listening to her younger, wilder sister relay a story about how she punched-out a girl who was yelling at her in a bar. It turns out that Izzy (Joey Parsons) was sleeping with the girls' boyfriend and is now expecting his baby. She was hesitant to tell her sister about the pregnancy because she wasn't sure how Becca would react. Becca tried very hard to be happy for her sister but you could tell that she thought this was another piece of evidence that Izzy was a screw-up. How can she raise a baby when she can't even keep a job at 'Apple bee's'?

Becca's husband is Howie (Dylan Chalfy) who returns from playing handball with his friend and part of a couple that was very close to them before the accident. Debbie was Becca's friend but hadn't called her for months and Becca was not going to call her out of principle. Howie and Becca were both handling the tragedy in different ways. Becca was going crazy with all the memories in the house. Seeing one of Danny's toys or a finger print sent her reeling. She gave the dog to her mother and was starting to clean and sort his clothes to give to Goodwill. She wants to sell the house to try to get away from the sadness. Becca quit going to the support group because she couldn't stand the religious people who said things like, "he is in a better place or God needed another angel", which she found not at all comforting.

Howie on the other hand continued to go to the support group and wanted to keep everything the same in the house and was angry that Becca removed Danny's artwork from the refrigerator. He enjoyed watching the video tape of Danny. Howie accuses Becca of trying to erase Danny from their lives when she accidentally erases the video and in the fact that she wants to sell the house.

Becca's mom, Nat (Jo Twiss) tries to help with varying degrees of success. She understands what it is like to lose a child because her only son also died. Becca resents the comparison because her brother hung himself while strung-out on heroin, while her son was an innocent child.

The only other character in the play is Jason (Alec Silberblatt), the teenage boy that was driving the car that killed Danny. He is also struggling with the death and writes the family a letter and asks if he can dedicate a story he wrote to Danny.

The second act takes place about three months later. The house is up for sale and they have the dog back from Nat who Howie said was making him fat. Izzy is helping Howie with an open house and tells him that no one is going to make an offer when they see Danny's room. They in evidently ask about the child and then are mortified when they hear that he died. "It creeps them out," says Izzy. Izzy also mentions that one of her friends waited on Howie and a woman at a restaurant and that they were holding hands. Howie says that the woman is from the support group and he was just comforting her and emphatically denies that anything else is going on. Becca and her mom return from a shopping trip where Becca had an altercation with a mom who wouldn't buy her son fruit snacks and then ignored him. She ended up slapping the other mom. Nat explained to the other mom why Becca so over reacts. Jason walks in because it is an open house and he wants to talk to them. Howie goes ballistic on him, but he leaves his number in case they want to talk to him later.

Becca decides that she would like to talk to him and arranges it. He explains that he may have been driving a little fast, maybe one or two miles per hour, but he can't be sure because he hadn't checked his speed in their block. He saw the dog and swerved not to hit it and then ended up hitting Danny instead. Becca assures him that they don't blame him, that they know that it was an accident. The title of the play is taken from Jason's story. He writes about rabbit holes that connect our world with alternate worlds. Becca takes some comfort in that maybe there is a world where she was happy and that the tragedy never took place.

In the end Howie agrees that Danny's room should be made into a generic guest bedroom and stops going to the support group. Becca and her mom share a good moment while cleaning out Danny's room. Becca finally calls Debbie, they reconcile and Debbie invites them over for a cookout. Becca admits to Howie that maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing if they don't sell the house. Even though it isn't clear what will happen to this family in the future it seems that there is hope for them.

I loved this play. Even though it was about a very sad subject there were funny moments as well. I found the play very believable. The acting was great and the actors seemed visibly moved by the standing ovation that they received.

On a side note, there was a lot of eating during the play. They ate creme caramel, birthday cake (Izzy's birthday), zucchini bread, lemon squares and apple tort. I wonder what they do with the leftovers. Maybe the crew gets to eat it. I would volunteer to help them out, everything looked really good. The kitchen in the play was really nice, way better than my kitchen. Mark suggested that we ask the set designer to help us remodel our kitchen. We also noticed that all of the actors except Alec (who is a high school boy from Pittsburgh) have appeared in "Law and Order." I guess with as long as that has been on every actor can get a turn.

The play will be showing until May 18th. So I urge you to go see it. You will not be disappointed.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Catch Up

I have been very neglectful of this blog. I know that you all have been wondering and wondering what I have ben doing. So, I will try to catch you all up on what has been happening to me. After the Mississippi trip the following Wednesday was the start of Laurel's musical. This year they performed 'Fiddler on the Roof' and it was a tremendous success as usual. I am always amazed at how professional the sets, staging, pit orchestra and choreography are. They are so much better than the typical high school productions.

For Easter we went up to Girard to celebrate with my parents. This is a tradition but this year was very different than usual. Normally we have a huge gathering at my Grandmother's house with lots of aunts, uncles and cousins. This year since Easter was so early my grandmother stayed in California and our celebration was just my family and my parents. We dyed eggs, went to church, hunted eggs (actually I'm the hider) and had a great meal. It was a very nice visit.

Monday was Leah's eighth birthday and we had a small family party and then had the friend party on Saturday. I normally kind of dread children's parties but this one turned out really great. We chose to do a craft that involved a lot of tiny plastic beads that you place on a board and then iron the beads so that they stick together. The children really loved to do this and would have been happy to make designs the whole time. This made the party go by so much faster. Leah was thrilled to receive more Webkinz to add to her collection.

It was such a nice day this past Saturday that the little girls and I went to the zoo. I like to go to the zoo and enjoy walking around and looking at the animals. We hadn't been there since the otters' exhibit opened. We are speed zoo goers. We have been there so many times that we spend very little time looking at each animal. The girls spend the most time looking at the gift shop. We didn't buy anything but it doesn't hurt to look, right?

We then went to visit Aunt Bev at the 'Hall China Convention' and saw a lot of really cool, ornate teapots like the ones that my sister collects. Bev was in charge of organizing the convention and did a great job. Way to go Bev!! I bet you are relieved that it is over.

Yesterday I took the littles to see 'Horton hears a Who'. It was thoroughly enjoyable. I think that I prefer Jim Carrey as an animated character in real life he seems too much, but in a cartoon he is perfect.

Okay, we are caught up.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I travelled with 10 other people from my church to do some rebuilding in the Biloxi area. This was my third trip to assist and I noticed a lot of changes. The first year there was a huge amount of debris everywhere and we spent most of the week helping people clear it. We also helped with 2 roofs and one drywalling project. Last year we had two crews, one that painted and the other helped repair the outside of Reggie and Darlene's house (which was a major job).

This year I noticed that the debris was all gone and the rebuilding effort is making a big difference, although there is still a lot to be done. The first change we noticed was the airport, which is finally finished and looks great. (all shiny and new) We then took a ride along the coast to see the progress. The casinos are, of course up and running. It was kind of sad to see the number of empty lots that formerly had businesses or beautiful mansions on them that will probably never be rebuilt. A few blocks back from the beach there is plenty of activity getting the neighborhoods back to normal. We noticed that almost everyone has a new roof.

We stayed (for the second year) at the Salvation Army's Volunteer Village. The village is an old football stadium that has been turned into housing for the volunteers. We sleep in an area that most likely was the locker room . I really enjoyed coming back here and seeing Edwin and his family who run the village. We worked with Ken again as our project leader. His passion and faith are truly inspirational. We enjoyed getting the chance to renew our relationship with him and his family. (although not necessarily his jokes!)

We were again divide into teams. Kyle and Bre went to help Reggie and Darlene with some inside renovations they are doing to their house. It was great to see them again and I was so happy to see them well (Darlene had a bout with cancer) and excited about their home. Glenn and Gabrielle went to work with a family mudding and priming walls to help the 5 person family out of sleeping in one bedroom. They also built a playhouse for the 6 year old daughter, which was above and beyond what their original task included. You guys rock!

The rest of the team, Mark, Ryan, Sue, Tadd, George and I spent our time at Charlie's house mudding, sanding, mudding and more sanding. This is not the most glamorous job or the most fun, but everyone was very dedicated and I never heard anyone complain. I give special kudos to Ryan who spent most of his time sanding the ceilings, definitely a tough job and he ended up covered in white dust every day.

One of the most fun parts for me was that Charlie is a really big tennis fan. Marlaena and I enjoyed talking with him about our mutual passion. On Thursday morning we went to a local park and played doubles with Charlie and his son Charlie. It was decided that the Elder Charlie (74) and I would play together. We won 6-2. Young Charlie was obviously a talented player who was very rusty. He said that he hadn't played in several years. He was having trouble getting his serve in with regularity. The most memorable part of our play was when he served the ball right into Marlaena's back. Charlie was so so so apologetic, hugged Marlaena from the back and then when we were leaving made her a card out of notebook paper saying again how sorry he was. It was really sweet. Sue came to watch and to take pictures, none of which are very flattering of me. If I had known I was going to play tennis I would have brought more appropriate attire. Oh well, it was really fun to get outside in nice 70 degree weather, the sun felt so good. At the end elder Charlie gave some money to his son. I thought it was funny and wondered if I should be offended that he had to be payed to play with us. What do you think?

Thursday afternoon I painted the men's bathroom at the church where Ken's family lives and is turning into another place where volunteer's can stay. Friday morning I put on a second coat and painted a door. In the afternoon I helped Gabrielle decorate our post in the Village. They decided last year that they wanted all the volunteers to leave behind a hand print to show how many people came to help out. We choose a post near where we had evening devotionals and Gabrielle came up with the idea of putting the Biloxi lighthouse on it and the the words to 'God of the City', which was our theme song for the trip. It turned out really well.

One thing about a trip like this is that you leave with work still to be done. Every year we have left mid-project, which leaves me with the great desire to come back again and see how everything came out. When we left Charlie's the drywall was done, but it will look so different painted and with flooring in. I didn't mention before that Charlie's wife is suffering from cancer and they are anxious to get back into their home which is closer to where she is getting treatment. I pray for both of them and their family in this difficult time.

The only not so smooth part of the trip was that our flight from Gulfport/Biloxi to Atlanta was delayed and then our flight to Pittsburgh was cancelled. So we managed to get a on another flight to Pittsburgh which was to leave at 10:59 pm. That flight was delayed also and we ended up pulling out of the gate at 1:00 am. With the time change Mark and I got into bed at 5:00 am. We both are still recovering . Mark was to leave for Texas on Monday but changed his trip to next week instead.

All-in-all this was again a really great experience. I know I didn't mention half of what happened, maybe I'll add more in the future. Unfortunately my memory is like trying to hold water in my hands.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


Last Wednesday I noticed a strange sensation in my left hand. My little finger felt numb and my hand didn't feel very strong. I thought that was weird but did not think too much about it at the time because I was playing tennis. After several days of no improvement I asked the older ladies that I play tennis with on Monday what they thought (they have had every ache and pain in the book). They said I probably had a pinched nerve in my elbow, shoulder or neck. So, I went to the chiropractor on Tuesday and then again on Thursday. The Dr. asked if I noticed any improvement and I said that I don't know if it is getting better or if I am just getting used to it. It still feels weird especially first thing in the morning. I might be sleeping on it strangely or it gets worse with no usage. I don't know.

I am a huge 'Lost' fan. It is one of the few shows I am really excited about. I am soooo into all the twists and theories. I think that this is the best season ever. I love to read the recap on the Entertainment Weekly web site and then read all the comments that people have. I spent yesterday afternoon reading through 35 pages of comments. I also read the recap and comments for 'Survivor' and 'American Idol'. Okay, I think that I might have overdone it because my mouse hand kind of aches right now. Do any of you get computer related injuries?

I am leaving for Mississippi this morning for a mission trip to help rebuild the gulf coast area that was hit by hurricane Katrina. This is the third time that I have gone. I am really looking forward to being in Biloxi again. It is amazing to see how God is working there. I hope that my hands aren't going to hold me back at all. Maybe since I won't be near a computer I will be feeling better. I could use a computer break.

Shout out: to my friends Rob and Perity that were married last Saturday. Congratulations!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Snow Days

I remember when I was in school how I looked forward to a surprise day off because of too much snow. I grew up in Girard PA. and we had a lot of snow but not so many days off. It had to be almost a blizzard for them to even consider a day off and I don't remember having 2 hour delays, but maybe we had them.

My daughters have loved staying home the past two days. Actually Laurel had school today and was really miffed that her little sisters had another day off. Steph had a day off earlier in the year because of an electrical problem. Laurel said that they should have a day just for Neil Armstrong students to make up for it. That would be the 'fair' thing to do right?

As wonderful as it is to have these days off I will not be all that thrilled if they have another day off tomorrow. So, let's all pray for good weather. It is a bummer when they start removing days from the Easter Holiday vacation or adding days to the end of the school year.

At least Leah had extra time to finish her valentine's. What did you do on the snowy days?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Weekend Fun

Mark and I travelled to Lake Latonka (off the Mercer exit of 79) for a retreat this weekend. The team of people that are going on the mission trip to Mississippi gathered for some fun, camaraderie and worship. We arrived on Friday evening and were taken a little back by how fabulous the accomadations were. I was told we were going to be staying at a cabin but this was definetly a huge house that has 6 bedrooms and a pantry that I would love to have. The downstairs area had a ping-pong table a flat screen TV that we played Guitar Hero on. That was my first time playing and I did okay but I would rather have had some practice time before I performed in front of an audience! Mark and I being the only couple on the trip stayed in the master suite. It was about 2-3 times bigger than our bedroom at home. So we were very pampered, although we didn't get the chance to try out the jacuzzi tub. Thank-you so much to the Smith family for allowing us to stay at their wonderful retreat. On Friday we just ate and played. The team of Marlaena, Ryan and I won at Cranium, although the teams were all very close. We had a lot of funny moments, like when Mark had to get his team to say 'mermaid' and when Ryan had to act out 'Marilyn Monroe".

On Saturday Pastor Terry came up with team member George (who is recovering from surgery) and lead us through some worship and had us discuss the 'story' that we are going to be participating in. All of us on the team have been to the Gulf coast before and have some expectations of what the trip will be like but we know that when it comes to doing God's work there will always be surprises.

After lunch we particpated in 'the Glenn Brooks experience.' Glenn every year comes up with a unique activity for us. Last year he had us divide in groups to make a puzzle that he had spray-painted black and then gave each of us a handi-cap like big gloves, earplugs and a blind fold. He then made us stop before we had a chance to finish it which he said was like our trip because we would never be able to finish everything we started and others would come after us to help complete the task. This year we filled out a survey of miscellanious facts about ourselves earlier in the week. (favorite color, first job, favorite class in high school, which foot do you put your sock, shoe on first ..etc..) Glenn had us stand around the ping-pong table and then had us take two steps back and turn around with our eyes closed. He told us that the survey was just a decoy and that it had little to do with our activity. When we were turned back around we saw a t-shirt in our favorite color in front of us and some fabric paints to decorate our shirts. It was fun to see what everyone came up with.

We then had some prayer time and then Mark and I had to leave for our next event. Unfortunetly our t-shirts wern't quite dry and got a little ruined. :(

We then drove to Cranberry Twp. for sweet little Meredith's first birthday party. My sister Bev drove my girls to the party so we met them there. Meredith is so cute and seemed to be really enjoying her party. We arrived in time for cake which she had all smeared on her face in typical baby fashion. One of her favorite presents was a little wooden wagon that she sat in and had some friends push her around in. It had her name on the front and is the perfect size for her to push, but really low for an adult. I worry about the state of her mom and dad's backs in the future.

On Sunday one of my tennis friends had a gathering at her home. It was so nice to have a chance to socialize with everyone when we aren't playing tennis. It's amazing how different we all look in regular clothing. People commented how much taller I seemed, of course I was wearing 3 inch heels. The food was great and we all had fun. In the past Connie has had her party around Christmas time, but we all agreed that this was better because Christmas can get to be pretty hectic.

All in all a very fun and relaxing week-end. I didn't even tell you about my girls events. Hopefully Laurel will share about her weekend on her blog. It was her birthday on Saturday.

Thursday, January 31, 2008


Mark and I went to see the production of 'Amadeus' at the Pittsburgh Public Theater on Saturday night. It was extremely well done and we enjoyed it very much.

The play centers around Antonio Salieri (Tony Abatemarco) who says that he is in the last hours of his life and wants to confess what he has done. He claims to be the reason that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died. The play flashes back to young Salieri making a bargain with God to be committed to him if he allows Salieri to become a composer. Salieri is granted this and is a successful composer in Vienna. All seems to be going well until Mozart moves to Vienna. Salieri hears Mozarts music and realizes it's genius and claims that it is God's own voice. Salieri has tried to live a pius life and by contrast Mozart is a rude, crude, selfish and childish man. Mozart even beds Salieris' secret love and student. Salieri then claims that he is an enemy of God and will do everything in his power to destroy God's musician.(Mozart)

Salieri pretends to befriend Mozart but instead trys to harm his career by limiting his opportunity for students and making bad suggestions. He also ensures that when Mozart is given a post at court that he is payed almost nothing. Mozart suffers from depression and delusions, claiming that he has been poisoned. He dies at the age of 35 a pauper. Instead of rejoicing in his victory Salieri suffers because as time goes on his music is forgotten and Mozart's is played all the time and celebrated. (which is true I even own 'Baby Mozart' and they never made a 'Baby Salieri')

One of the things that made the play so enjoyable is that the acting was excellent. I particularly loved Harris Doran who played the part of Mozart. He took a very difficult role and made the most of it. I also saw Mr. Doran play the Emcee in Cabaret last year. Those roles are so diverse I feel that he can do almost anything now.

Another thing that we liked about the play is that they mentioned a lot of locations in Vienna. Mark and I travelled to Vienna a few years ago and remembered the locations and had toured several of them. We loved Vienna and would love to get back there.

In the program one of the older actors said he "is happy to make his debut at the O'Reilly Theater in such a powerful contemporary play." We found this statement kind of funny since the play is set in the late 1700's. Although to his credit it was written in 1979. (which is still a while ago)

I highly recommend this play and the O'Reilly Theater is a wonderful venue to see a production.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


The reason that I have not posted lately is that I have been watching the Australian Open tennis championships. The tournament has been taking place the last two weeks and ended today with the final men's match. Novak Djokovic (from Serbia) defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (from France) in an exciting 4th set tie breaker. The only thing that I don't like about this tournament is that I like to watch the matches live and with there being a 16 hour time difference that made for some late nights. ESPN2 had the tournament on starting coverage at anywhere between 9pm and 11:30pm. I went to bed between 1 and 1:30 am every night.

I was disappointed that the Americans didn't fare better. James Blake lost to Roger Federer in a good match. Now that Djokovic beat Federer maybe Roger isn't looking quite as invincible. I have high hopes for James this year. Serena and Venus Williams both lost to young Serbian players. They both seemed rather lethargic in their last matches I hope that they are feeling okay for the upcoming season.

I wish that the Australian Open would move forward about a month to make it closer to the other major tournaments. I am sure that the players feel the same way. It would give them a longer off-season to recover and work on their game. Oh well, I doubt anyone will listen to me on this issue. I would really love to go to Melbourne and see the tournament for myself.

Now that the Australian Open is over I can get back to all the things I have put off doing.

Friday, January 18, 2008


I love to play games. In particular solitaire games on my computer. I tend to have a particular favorite for a time and then switch to something else. Laurel has me hooked on a game called Peggle right now. Peggle is a pinball type game with different challenges . The only problem is that I am very competitive and want to have the high score on all of the levels. So I play and play until I am the champion. This can be very time consuming and I get little else done.

I went through a Spider Solitaire phase recently and have achieved a 42% win record on the most difficult level. (which is the only one I play now) I have won 1682 games and lost 2295 games. Obviously that is a lot of games and covers many years of playing. I consider this to be a really good statistic but I'm not sure how it compares to other players. It may be better for me to not find out.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Book I Read Over Christmas Break

I actually read several books but the choice I made for this report is 'Breaking Back', How I lost everything and won back my life' by James Blake. The main focus of the book is the year 2004 when James went through major Job-like difficulties. His biggest decision to this point was to shave off is signature dread-locks but then he had a freak accident and broke his neck, his father died of stomach cancer and then he had a bout with zoster a virus that left his face half paralyzed and the very likelihood that his tennis career was over.

There is a lot to be impressed about with James. He is a constant reader as was his father. Education was very important to the Blake household and both James and his elder brother Thomas went to Harvard University. James left Harvard after winning the NCAA's to try his hand at the pro-tour. He promised his mom that he would go back if the pro-thing didn't work out. I have a feeling that he won't go back now, but that would be really cool if he did.

James has many good and loyal friends that saw him through his trials including his coach Brian Barker. Brian has been James coach since he was 11 years old. It is practically unheard of to stay with a coach that long especially one that is not a family member. Brian and James' father both stressed that improvement is the important thing. As long as you keep getting better the results will take care of themselves. Work hard, get better was the mantra.

When James came back form his 'bad' year he participated in challenger events even though he was granted wild-cards into tour-level tournaments. He felt the need to earn his way back and the wins gave him the confidence to move forward more match-tough. In the weeks heading toward the US Open in August 2005 James started to really come back. He made it to the final in the Washington DC tournament losing to Andy Roddick. Then came the Pilot Pen tournament in New Haven Connecticut.

This tournament was a big moment in James life. He grew up in Connecticut and many of his friends were able to come watch him play. All those friends that kept his spirits up during the rough times the year before could cheer him on. The director of the tournament sat his fans together and they became the J-Block. They had matching t-shirts and cheered James on as if their lives depended on the outcome. James won this tournament on the backs of his beloved J-block. I loved reading about this because I watched the matches on TV and wished that I could have been right there, wearing a blue t-shirt and yelling at the top of my voice for James.

The J-Block continued to cheer James on at the US Open where he made it to the semi-finals. His opponent was Andre Agassi. I remember being very conflicted during this match because I wanted James' streak to continue, but I loved Andre and I knew he wouldn't have many more years ahead of him. (Andre retired the next year) Andre won in a fifth set tie-breaker. Always the gentleman Andre said "I wasn't the winner tonight, tennis was." I agree.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it whether or not you are a tennis fan. James Blake is a remarkable man and quite good-looking I might add. He was put on people magazine's sexiest man list in 2002 which earned him a lot of ribbing from his friends. Some day I would like to go to a tournament and have James sign my book. Maybe I'll even buy a J-Block t-shirt.