Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Afternoon Commute

But then this song happened; and I cannot possibly be in a bad mood when listening to it. I also have a bit of an appreciation for Bruno Mars' pink jacket, especially since I have a coworker who sported a similar one in his 1988 yearbook picture, which is an image that cannot be unseen or forgotten. Enjoy!

Song: "Uptown Funk"
Artist: Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars


Nineteen thoughts and ideas for the nineteenth day of November...
  1. It was like nineteen degrees Fahrenheit when I took Mojito out this morning. Like a few other news flashes that have come my way this week, I was equally unprepared to accept the tundra that is currently Pittsburgh. 
  2. I love when I discover that I have something more in common with a friend than I already knew. And then arguing over who had it first. Most recent argument: pepper jack cheese. 
  3. I have slept in my childhood bed more times in the past six weeks than I have in the past decade. And no, the novelty of sleeping under a canopy hasn't worn off whatsoever. 
  4. My cousin's gluten-free bakery opens this weekend in Adams Morgan. Called Rise Bakery, it is in fact, Washington D.C.'s first and only gluten-free bakery. Yes, we are a family of visionary geniuses! Go there if you are in the area! 
  5. If you aren't listening to Milky Chance by now, you should be. 
  6. Does anyone even read letters of recommendation anymore? 
  7. My buddy AJF didn't invite me to his blogger cookie exchange. I cannot decide whether this is an insult or a compliment, but I am leaning toward the latter. 
  8. I have started sending handwritten notes via Snapchat. It makes me happy. 
  9. Peace, Love and Little Donuts makes an Apple Pie Donut. And it is downright heavenly. 
  10. My new leather planner for 2015 came in the mail yesterday; after thirty minutes of diligence, there is a large chunk of it that is completely filled. I am aware than my need to be organized in this way is a total quirk. 
  11. My Journalism students wrote a letter to the editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. It's definitely worth reading, despite the fact that the PG has yet to publish it. 
  12. I finally decided on a color for my living room, which is called "Heavenly." It's like the color of a marshmallow before it gets really toasty. And that is quite heavenly. 
  13. LA's Totally Awesome All Purpose Concentrated Cleaner might be the greatest household cleaning invention since the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.
  14. There is a fried chicken Christmas tree ornament at Bronner's. Clearly, their designers saw my Christmas list! 
  15. My house sold. 
  16. I am really looking forward to Thanksgiving and seeing my family, especially MAB. It's been far too long since I have annoyed my sister and put my cold feet on her. 
  17. I miss the warmer temperatures because I miss running stadium stairs. The first warm day of spring will be painful, but I am already looking forward to it. 
  18. I am going to see Newsies next Tuesday with a pre-show dinner at Meat & Potatoes. #PerfectNight #SeizeTheDay #WineAndDuck
  19. The whole Kim Kardashian glazed donut lookalike butt thing and any other recent frivolous media frenzy have left me thinking; when a dear friend learns that he has cancer, when a pregnant friend's husband is unfaithful, and when there are over a hundred homeless children that need help in my area, I cannot help but wonder if our gaze needs to be redirected. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Things I Learned From my Ex(es) Part 7

Editor's Note: By now, you should be familiar with this gimmick series. I added a page above that is dedicated specifically to these fine gentlemen. You can click on it to see the previous six posts. As for this particular post, I believe it's quite evident that "The One With Whom I Never Felt Unloved" is my first husband, EJB. The DJ from our 2004 wedding recently contacted us to wish us a "Happy Ten Year Anniversary!", only reiterating to me once more that there are meaningful relationships that haven't lasted, nor ended well. And that is okay, as long as I have reflected, learned, and changed for the better.  

The One With Whom I Never Felt Unloved
  • I learned that being with someone who is thoughtful is invaluable. 
  • I learned that without trust, there is nothing. 
  • I learned that bowling birthday parties involving bowling pin-shaped invitations, clowns, and school buses are unforgettable. 
  • I learned that it's not important to have every thing when one wants it. Most material items can and should wait until money has been saved. 
  • I learned that it's very possible to build a snowman out of sand. 
  • I learned that a side salad goes along well with the Eat'n Park Breakfast Smile. 
  • I learned that being on the beach in Aruba on Christmas Day is pretty awesome. 
  • I learned that it's really fun to try to make words out of license plates (that aren't vanity plates). 
  • I learned that every sunny weekend day should involve doing activities that are fun and unrelated to work in any way. 
  • I learned to let my "Soulshine." 
  • I learned how to make an amazing egg sandwich. 
  • I learned that if one has a grill, one should use it as much as possible 
  • I learned how to be a dog person. 
  • I learned that certain compliments have the power to resonate forever... like, "You are prettier when you smile," and "Summer always looked good on you."
  • I learned that homemade KFC dinner is so good and so fun to make together (fried chicken, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, corn on the cob, gravy and biscuits). 
  • I learned that one shouldn't date someone who isn't ready to be dating, or if I'm not ready to date. 
  • I learned that one shouldn't get engaged to someone who isn't ready to be engaged, or if I'm not ready to get engaged. 
  • I learned that one shouldn't get married to someone who isn't ready to be married, or if I'm not ready to get married. 
  • I learned that marriage doesn't fix or "save" a relationship. 
  • I learned that a divorce isn't just a break-up with a spouse; it's a break-up with a family, a dog, and friends. Missing them never really goes away. 
  • I learned that I like a man with some facial scruff. 
  • I learned to love Bill Simmons. 
  • I learned how to tailgate; ultimately, I learned to love the Steelers. 
  • I learned that changing one's name back to a maiden name is a pain in the butt. Literally. I think my butt is still numb from the amount of time I spent waiting downtown and in the East Liberty Social Security Office. 
  • I learned how to do the Ickey Shuffle. 
  • I learned that a man who can do useful things around the house is quite attractive. 
  • I learned that even at six weeks, the loss of a baby is heartbreaking and painful on multiple levels. 
  • I learned that I shouldn't throw toaster ovens and/or spoons at people. 
  • I learned that there are really terrible and hurtful ways to handle one's emotions, and yet, those ways aren't always avoidable. 
  • I learned that I am often my own worst enemy. 
  • I learned that my self-destructive behavior had (and still has) a ripple effect on those I love the most. 
  • I learned that living at The Waterfront is actually great... during the week and when the bridges aren't under construction. 
  • I learned that running into this particular ex in public (especially the most recent instance this past June) can be an emotionally exhausting experience.

Saturday, November 8, 2014


I know that I posted a list of thoughts and ideas just three days ago, but in light of certain "stuff," here are eight more...

  1. My most recent post, "Oh Brother" has been circulating on the internet widely and sparking many comments on both facebook and on The Steel Trap. In one comment, I was accused of not being able to get over the Central Catholic vs. Woodland Hills rivalry. To clarify: I do not indulge that rivalry, because I do not believe that there is a true competition. Despite the fact that I coach a varsity sport, I do not look at athletics as the measure of a school's superiority over another; despite what the PA School Performance Profile suggests, Woodland Hills provides a fantastic public education, and anyone's failure to recognize that fact is simply ignorance. 
  2. Mojito got groomed yesterday; as part of the "Top Dog" package, he was spritzed with a sugar cookie scent (you know, for the holidays). I have to admit, it makes him even cuter and I didn't think that was even possible.
  3. Why does Ginger Ale cure sickness? And which is better: Canada Dry, Seagram's, or Schweppes? 
  4. Sour Patch Kids are not good frozen. And why aren't they selling bags exclusively filled with red ones? 
  5. If you could swim in a pool of any food/beverage substance, what would it be? Survey says: Cool Ranch Doritos, cottage cheese, mac and cheese, white grape juice, pop, champagne, gummy bears, root beer float, and [my pick] cherry Jell-o.   
  6. I want my mother to make me fried chicken and an apple pie with a crumb topping. PSB- no need to reply. Just let me know when I should arrive at your house. 
  7. Going to breakfast with one of my oldest friends is a fantastic way to start the day. I truly believe that we would all be much better off if we found ways to begin anew like this every day. 
  8. Someone asked me if I was happy. I replied, "I am not unhappy." I think that is the best we can do sometimes, you know? And that's okay. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Oh Brother

A Brother from Central Catholic High School tweeted this statement on November 4, 2014 at 7:37 a.m. in relation to the upcoming football game this Friday during which the Central Catholic Vikings will play against the Woodland Hills Wolverines in the WPIAL Football Playoff Quarter Finals:

And then, nearly twenty four hours later, he issued this apology: 

Oh Brother Charles... what were you thinking? You are a teacher, a role model, and you are of the clergy; your website says to "Make Excellence Your Autograph!" Irony?

A dear friend and colleague of mine submitted the following letter to Bishop Zubik of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh in response to Brother Charles' tweets. Her heart is on her sleeve (as well as being in the perfect place), and I applaud her for giving a voice to my thoughts (and the thoughts of many) regarding this incident.

Bishop Zubik,

I am appalled at the conduct of one of our Catholic Brothers. As an active Catholic and youth minister at a local parish, and as a teacher at Woodland Hills High School (the school district in which said parish is located), I am constantly aware that my students, as well as parishioners and parents, see me as a symbol of our Catholic Church in my public school. I once told our parish’s former youth minister that I couldn't do much at my school because it’s public. She told me that I am a constant reminder to my students to see Christ in everyone daily. As such, I strive to be a positive role model for all of my students, not only the Catholic ones.

I understand that rivalries between Woodland Hills and Central Catholic are intense. My sister and I attended Woodland Hills while my cousins, aunts and father attended or do attend Central Catholic and Oakland Catholic/Sacred Heart. Thanksgiving is not an easy holiday for my family because someone is always disappointed in the football outcome. However, as adults, and as Catholics, we must model appropriate behavior for our youth.

I am sincerely glad that so many students are affluent enough to afford to go to Central Catholic and Oakland Catholic. Many of my students struggle for food daily. Many students do not have one parent, let alone two. Many share beds, or couches, or floors with friends, and are cold every night. Many fear for their lives daily. This weighs on me constantly. While I pray and try to give back to my community as much as possible, I know that it will never be enough.

As Catholics, should we not all be taking a page from Pope Francis’s book and “care for the poor”? Perhaps “BroChaz” should be encouraging prayer, if not a food drive, instead of berating children who not only go to school, but also have jobs. I think Central Catholic needs to take some time to provide in-service training for teachers and staff on appropriate behavior, as well as what it means to be Catholic.

I look forward to your response.

[HGB's awesome friend and colleague]