Sunday, May 31, 2009

Great Weekend!

What a great weekend! From Friday to now it has just been the best! Friday night I worked and then hung out with an old friend. Saturday I woke up and went to a "gardening party" at my dad's house. I got to use the (thank goodness) brand new lawn mower and cut the grass. It was me, my dad, and Wendy all at the house together working on yard work. A few neighbors dropped in and it was all around a wonderful day. We built a garden that has to be ten feet by ten feet. Dad sent Wendy and I to the store to buy four tomato plants, but of course we got them at a great price, and so we came home with about 20... and we planted them. If you have never used a motorized rototiller, it is quite an experience. I think my wrists still hurt. I got really sunburned but it was worth it for the day. Afterward I came home (to my new house still) and passed out for a bit and then it was off to the Pirate game with my sister, her husband, her three children, and our Aunt Char. It was Skyblast night, which meant that after the game there were fireworks and a band! What a great family day!!!

Today my dad came over and saw the new place, and then I had my girlfriends over for Sunday Lunch. We had pizza and dip, and it was great. Both Shannon and Melanie brought their little girls and we had a great time in the living room, just chatting and catching up. It's been almost TWO MONTHS since we had Sunday lunch, which may not sound like much to you but when you're used to doing it every week, it's a long time. Quick nap then off to a photo shoot where I got to see my friend Lindsay's beautiful little boy. I took his four month pictures and they turned out absolutely beautiful. The older he gets, the more fun it is to take pictures of him because he can do more. Finally, I headed to a local bar to watch the pens game and sorry to say, but we lost. :-( I still have hope for our Pens though, we're bringing it home on Tuesday.

Well, it is time for bed now, because it's back to work tomorrow. I got so sun burned gardening on Saturday that I have been really cold and tired. I hate peeling so I put aloe vera on like it is going out of style. Got a call from my office today about a case... sometimes I feel like it never stops. I'm so envious that my friend Mia gets to retire. I will miss her when she's gone from work.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

If a tree falls in the woods...

If a tree falls in the woods and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound? This is very similar to... if someone writes a blog and no one reads it, is it still a blog? My point here is that I have no idea who is reading this. If you're out there (other than you Mia) and you're reading the blog, please don't be shy and leave a message that says so!

On a side note, work has been interesting. They finally took steps to lower the heat in our office as some days it was over 80 degrees in there! Whew... that feels better. There's a lot a buzz over contract negotiations right now, as there always is, but this time it seems that people outside of our direct department are supporting us, so we'll see how that turns out.

Not much else to note... it's dollar draft night at one of my favorite local bars, so I think that later that's where I'll be. How about you? That is... if you're out there... what are you up to for the rest of this fine week?

Monday, May 25, 2009


So, I'm not sure if I mentioned this before, but when I am at my new house I feel like I am on vacation! This will wear off unless I hire a chef, cleaning crew, and door man, but for now I am making the most of it! Yesterday it rained here, and I was even happy that it rained! I took my book and sat outside on the (partially covered) deck, kicked back on my chair and just listened to the rain come through the trees and the birds chirp in protest. Then... I took a nap. I'm finally down to the bare bones of unpacking. I got all my books out yesterday and set them up in my room. I still can't get over how big it is in there! Bed, two dressers, three closets, nightstand, two bookcases and you could still do a gymnastics floor routine in the middle of it... on the BRAND NEW CARPET!

Who knew life could be this perfect? This morning my roommate and I chatted it up and planned to head to the pool. I had some shopping to do first, so I met her there and we worked on our tans together. Now, I'm off to a picnic at a friends. Don't forget the spinach dip!

I hope that everyone is having a wonderful Memorial Day. And a special thank you to all of our service men and women who make it possible to feel like you're on vacation, at your own house.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

C'mon June!

Whew... May has been a very taxing month. With a trip to Philly, a move, and about 1000 court hearings under my belt. I will be glad when June arrives! We don't have cable at my new apartment but thanks to an unsuspecting neighbor who forgot to password protect their internet connection, I am able to use it at times. :-) Sorry if that bothers anyone, especially my neighbor, but if it does, then I suggest you password protect your connection. I'm not a hacker, just an opportunist.

Anyhow, what amazes me most tonight is that I am home alone on a Friday night, we don't have cable, it's super quiet here, and I LOVE IT. I can just putz around my house, putting things away or just relax on my couch [I LOVE MY COUCH] and do... nothing. I used to feel pressured to have something to "do" on every weekend night but now there's plenty to do but I'm staying home because I want to.

My last place was great but this one is incredible. The view is better off my deck, the neighbors are all wonderful, and I have the best roommate in the world. Her birthday is tomorrow so I decorated the apartment in yellow streamers today (her favorite color), got some balloons, cake, card.. ya know, the works and just left it for when she got home from work. It made her happy, which made me happy.

I guess you might say I am just enjoying the simplicity of life right now... and amazed at how things can change from chaotic to simple, so fast!


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Philadelphia and the move...

So I took a mini-vacation/work trip to Philly. The drive out was cloudless and wonderful, I made it in 5 hours almost exactly. When I arrived my GPS told me there was traffic so I detoured around it... which brought me into the city a different way. Later, I was told that I came in the "bad" side of south Philly. What I can tell you is that it looked like the stereotypes of the "bad" parts of Philly that are shown in movies.

As a caseworker, I drive through areas that other people wouldn't even consider visiting (our so I am told). I barely notice anymore here in Pittsburgh, but there, I was uncomfortable. I arrive at my gracious Hostesses' home and greet her and her cat. I tried to be clever and send her a picture of her door (like in the AT&T commercials) but she didn't get the text and I was tired of standing outside, so I finally just called her.

On the way there, I had thought of a fun idea and suggested we go to Atlantic City for the night. After some internet price searching and not finding a price we wanted, we decided to stay in town. Dinner was pizza and then we went out. I discovered a few things very quickly when I arrived in Philadelpia: 1) As long as you stop at stop signs and red lights, you can do pretty much whatever you want as a driver there. 2) As long as you watch for cars, you pretty much do anything you want to do as a pedestrian as well. 3) People in Philly are overly ambitious and "not too far away" can mean you're walking up to 15 blocks, "kinda far away" means you could land in the hospital or reach your next birthday before you arrive at your destination. 4)The city has three smells: bakery, sewage, and urine. Sometimes they combine as well...

The first night we went to a wine and cheese bar, and then an Irish Pub. I liked the pub much more than the wine place. The wine was good and the company was nice there, but it was a little out of my price range and my feet still hurt from walking. At the Irish Pub they had drink specials and a DJ, way more my style. We cabbed it home.

I won't go through minute by minute but some highlights were seeing the campus of La Salle University, touring Eastern State Penitentary, dinner with friends from around the world, seeing City Hall, seeing the kids outside of city hall breakdancing, the Love Park fountain and statue, the Italian Market Festival, Drinkers Bar (where they serve 40's to drink inside the bar) and Gay Bingo.

Gay Bingo was an Aids Relief benefit that was run by Drag Queens dressed as celebrities. My favorite was the rendition of Dianna Ross.

I stayed for 4 days, I ate at Pat's not Geno's and liked my steak hoagie. I think I ordered it right, I hope I did... I practiced while waiting in line, but it was a short line :-( All in all it was a grand trip. As I left the city and I was on my way to attend to work matters, I was thinking about how the drivers in Philadelphia really do whatever they want, but somehow it works. Cabbies dodge and weave, and I have never heard car horns used so often in my life! Just as I was thinking about this, I noticed police lights in my rearview window. Thinking he must be on his way to an accident, I moved over and prepared to stop. Oddly... he moved over as well and then squaked at me and motioned for a side steet... almost like he was pulling me over... wait a second... he was pulling me over.

Ten minutes and $140 later, I was on my way back to Pittsburgh. 11 hours later after making 4 stops (two to see kids on business, 2 to charge my phone at rest stops because my GPS is in my phone), I arrived at home. At 11 o'clock at night I got home and checked my voicemail message. Oh... my family was going to help me move on Thursday, but tomorrow would be better for them. And so I rested about 30 minutes, got up, packed till 4 am, slept till 7:30 am, packed till they arrived at 9, moved all day, worked at night, moved some more, slept worked, worked again, got home at 8 p.m. tonight, had a beer with the new neighbors, unpacked some more and now here I sit... blogging.

It's time for bed :-) Have a great day!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The best 24 in a long time!

I just had the best 24 hours that I have had in a long time. It starts out with me going to my sister's house last night and buying a paper, to look at the ads. I bought my sister a pair of fuzzy cozy socks that I am not sure that she was thrilled with, but said that she loved them. Hung out there for a few hours then headed back to Pittsburgh.
Left and headed home, where I had a great night with the roommates, snow battling and laughing.
Somewhere in there (sorry I'm leaving all the details out but this IS the internet) I stumbled upon the ability to make a large purchase. Immediately plans began running through my head... what do I do with this new found equity -- and then I remembered my sister, her three children, and the pathetic digital camera that she has from 2002... You have to love it and squeeze it just to get it to take a picture. And then I remembered how much she loves my camera and always says how nice that it is. And so it was decided.

So as I began shopping for a new digital camera today, I started with the ones that were on sale to see if there were any deals. There was a nice looking Kodak for a good price, but I haven't used Kodak before and I wasn't sure if that is what I wanted. Finally, I settled on a Sony H10 -- just enough bells and whistles for her to learn, good quality, decent price. After visiting three stores and giving a nice older couple (headed to Alaska on a cruise) a quick 101 in digital camera information (they did decide on the Kodak by the way) I landed at Best Buy saying "pack it up I'll take it, and the memory card, and the warranty." **Always get the extended warranty on digital cameras**

Then, I was off to Shaler Middle School because my sister and her family were at a wrestling tournament there. But they weren't there... So then I was off to her house, which is about an hour away, because Lord knows that this couldn't wait. (I'm terrible at keeping presents a secret.)

So I finally get my sister on the phone and she sounds worried, because I have been trying to get ahold of her. We decide to meet at Sheets. I make her close her eyes in her car and set the camera in the box. I will NEVER forget the look on her face when she opened her eyes. After explaining how I came into being able to do this for her, I hopped in her car and we went shopping. Which was funny because we were both so dazed from happiness that we both kept running into things. Finally I told her - look, you need this stuff you have to shop! And we laughed. She called her husband and he was happy. We showed the kids and they were excited as I quietly whispered in my nephew's ear "It's better than my camera." So that he could understand it in 10 year old language - then he was excited. It was a little daunting because we had to wait for the lithium ion battery to fully charge (which felt like days) but it was SO worth it when the light on the charger went out and we got to play with the camera. My sister and I just had the best time in the world sitting on the couch taking picture after picture of the Christmas Tree, because the kids were long in bed by the time the battery was done.

Since I am the youngest in my family, often I feel like everyone is taking care of me. It was so great to be the one to give instead of accept this time. My sister, God bless her, offered to take my old camera and give me the new one, but I told her the truth. "Nope, you deserve the new, shiny, just-took-the-stickers-off-of-it camera. And she does.

There was enough happy in this day to last through 1000 bad days. It will make my day every time I think of her using it, and it will make her day every time she does. What a GREAT day... I am thankful for my family and for the opportunity to make them genuinely happy by being able to do it.

:-) Michele

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Where's the Pause Button?

My friend Melaine tells me pretty often that more happens in three hours of my life, than happens to her in three weeks... I don't know if that is usually true, but in the case of the last 24, it is! I began yesterday morning feeling tired (because I got a second job that I like to pretend that I hate, but secretly love) and catching a bit of the news before dashing out the door to work. On the news, I saw a fire in Mt. Washington overnight... I paused for a second and then turned the TV off as I had to go, but not before I thought to myself, wow... I hope my friend from work is okay then nah... can't be. When I got into work I found out a different co-worker, sadly, had passed away.

Almost immediately after I found out my co-worker and friend (the one I had though of earlier) lost everything he had in a fire, but not the one that was on the news. Saddened and puzzled, because I was told "not to say anything" (Because sometimes that's how work politics go...) I was now upset for him but couldn't say anthing to him. Wierd...

Moving forward with my day, I did some late home visits and the mother that's never there, wasn't there again... no surprise and then over to my Dad's house to pick up some mail. While there, I called him to see where he was and he was on his way home from hunting. Like the good daughter I am, I said I would stay till he got home, and help him unload the car. Knowing that he would be exhausted and sore. However, there was some left over birthday cake on the stove, which seemed like a great reward for my good-daughter efforts, so I helped myself to a piece.

As I am eating the half-stale cake from my favorite bakery, while sitting in the recliner, watching the show House... I - began - to - choke! And what I can tell you is this, there are two types of choking, the type where you think to yourself "wrong pipe, arms up" and then there is the type that you think to yourself "holy shit, I'm in trouble here". I didn't know this until yesterday, but believe me when I tell you it's true, and the type of choking I was doing, was the latter! My immediate response was to run to the garbage can and cough... HARD. Finally...I threw up --- and pee'd, (which wasn't humiliating at all!!) but I still wasn't getting any air. I thought of calling someone but what would I say "Ehh Ehh?" So I threw up again alas and pee'd again :-( but then, I had air. My main thought though the whole process was "Oh my God, he's going to come home from hunting and find me dead, on birthday cake." And if you can't see the levels of irony in that sentence, I can't help you with it.

So me and my pee pee pants helped dad unload when he got home, went home, changed and went back out to the grocery store. While there I picked up a jar of marinara sauce for myself... and then I dropped it, and it exploded, and I was on the phone. So now, I'm that asshole in isle 5 who just dropped a can of spaghetti sauce while on my cell phone. Being the good samaratin I am, I went to the front counter, while asking another patron to "watch" the explosion I had left on the floor (as though someone could miss it!), and offered to clean up the mess. The woman was very nice and promptly asked someone else to do it. Not me, not her... that works for me. :-) So I slink back to the isle and try to look unassuming and innocent as I get a second jar of sauce (this time with no phone and a much firmer grip) and I proceed to the checkout line.

In the checkout line I get behind a man who is suffering from a severe handicap. My first response was to get out of line because I knew it was going to take forever (it was the self check-out) but then I thought to myself, "people must do this to him all the time... no, I am going to stay." I considered asking him for help but then I thought, well maybe he doesn't want help... since he got in the checkout line. Determined not to look annoyed... I stood there, glancing at magazines, offering help at two points (once I was wrong!), and being patient... for 45 minutes. Just long enough to hear the unfortunate soul who had cleaned up a whole jar of spaghetti sauce that some idiot dropped, return to the front of the store and vocalize his displeasure with it. I was done with the good samaratin act at this point, I finally changed lines as the man in front of me was packing up his groceries.

I headed home and cooked some cheese sticks for myself (with spaghetti sauce for dip) and in the process I burned my hand so bad that it didn't blister, it just melted off. Awesome. Fell asleep on the couch, missed Boston Legal, woke up when it was over and then couldn't fall asleep until 3 am. Man... am I glad yesterday is over!

Whew! Sorry for the long post! ~Michele~

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cue the Holidays

Somehow, Thanksgiving always symbolizes the start of the Holiday's for me. Working at the mall, one would have thought that Christmas follows Halloween directly, and that there are not two months between the two holidays. I am excited that I only have a three day work week this week. Somehow having days off at the end of the week makes the week seem shorter but alas... having a day off at the beginning of the week always seems to make the week feel longer when you finally get there.

I love Sundays :-) It has fast become my favorite day of the week.

I have some personal traditions to go along with the family ones, that I try to stick to every year. On Thanksgiving, I go to the bar the night before and see everyone from high school who is in town... on Thanksgiving I eat with my family, tell the same old stories, and sometimes play cards. As the night gets later I meet up with friends "my other family" and go to see a movie, late at night. This year's pick is going to be the movie Twilight, the new Vampire movie. On Friday morning it's time to get up out of bed and go shopping. I rarely buy anything on Black Friday for some reason, but I love being out in the hustle and bustle of it all. I think it's funny how upset and crabby people get... who wants to feel like that while they're buying gifts for loved ones in the spirit of holiday cheer?

What are your holiday traditions? What's your favorite part?


Monday, November 17, 2008


So they say that cleanliness is like Godliness... in my family, this is true. So, as I prepare for my Tastefully Simple party tomorrow, I am both exhausted and satisfied. My house is clean. If you drop something on the floor, feel free to eat it anyway... really! My roomates are pretty sure that I suffer from OCD when it comes to cleaning, and I'm sure they're greatful for it. I think it is something else though, I think I am finally growing up. I recently moved out of my parent's home and though it may sound silly, it feels good to clean. This is my house, my sanctuary, the place that I pay for, cherish, and value - and I like it clean. :-)

What else I think is funny is that I don't have any readers yet. I have one potential reader, but I keep not telling her the website. I think I'll fess up tomorrow.

Good night

Saturday, November 15, 2008

New Car

So... I recently moved out of my house, into an apartment, bought a car, and finished getting my master's degree. Now, I don't have enough income to go any further until I catch up a bit and that leaves me feeling a little stuck. The upside is that I love the apartment that I live in, the roommates are good, and the freedom is amazing. Finally, I am starting to feel like an adult in the world. Someone who contributes things that are worthwhile, rather than just drifting from one mindless activity to the next. So... here's to being an adult... I have to go, I have laundry to do!