She’s just heavy.

Do you ever find yourself maybe driving down the highway blasting your favorite song, or perhaps walking in the park with the warm sun and cool breeze on your face, or laughing with your family when a sudden wave of happiness washes over you? Your life is just fine right there. Your problems are manageable and survivable; the bills are paid; that joke was hilarious; your sister is coming to town; summer will be here before you know it; the winter pounds are melting off; and life is just fine right there.

As an obviously “happy-go-lucky” kind of girl, I have a lot of those moments. I had one yesterday driving home from work, happily ignoring the fact that you sir, in the burgundy sports car, are an ass. Yes, an ass. Don’t look so surprised.

Do you also remember when we were children and 90 percent of our lives were made up of those moments because there were no bills, all the jokes were hella funny, and problems were for someone else to deal with? Not us. We just needed to eat our dinner, do our homework, play nice, listen, not bitch-slap our sister when she touches our Cabbage Patch Doll and just be. Life is just fine right there.

Except life is not just fine right there for everyone and that hit me between the eyeballs when I read this article yesterday.

Six Belle Vernon, Fayette County, children are staying with their grandmother, because police said their mother passed out from snorting drugs on Tuesday.

Police said Nicole Lynn Holmes is also accused of sending two of those children to school with lice after being warned by school officials.

Six children aged one to ten looking at their mother passed out on the floor. Two of them repeatedly sent to school with lice in their hair.


And this article today:

Police found three children, ages 2, 3 and 4, malnourished and living in squalor, according to the affidavit. The children were subsisting on uncooked french fries and Mountain Dew, police said. The 3-year-old had contusions on his face, and police also noticed rubber tubing tied to the bedroom doors to prevent the children from getting out, according to the affidavit.

The children were later examined by a doctor, who found numerous bruises and injuries to the 3-year-old’s hands, according to the affidavit. The 4-year-old told police his sibling suffered the injuries trying to get out of the room.

Can’t they do better? Can’t they BE better? Shouldn’t those kids be taking a deep breath of cool air and running as fast as they can, laughing out loud and shrieking with the happiness that only comes when life is just fine right there? NOT trying to claw their way out of a locked room of squalor.

It’s upsetting and it’s needless and it bothered me greatly. Maybe because I’m hormonal. Maybe because it’s kids, and of course you know how I feel about those bubble-gum smacking, attitude-y little rascals. Love them, I do.

So driving home yesterday, that wave of happiness was immediately replaced with some sadness. Why were those kids chosen to live that life? Why can’t some people just be better people?

Why did that asshole steal my purse when I wasn’t looking?

Why didn’t any one of those six people that saw that woman drop her new box of cigarettes as she walked by say, hey lady, you dropped something? Why instead did they watch her walk away and then make a move to grab them for themselves?

This is Pittsburgh. This is the place where the vast majority of us are not just looking out for ourselves. We’re good people. Decent people. People who would have said, “Hey, lady, you dropped something!”

But maybe we can be better. I know I can. Next time I’m going to bust out the bus window, lean out, and shout, “Hey, lady, YOU DROPPED SOMETHING!”

Maybe we need to keep our ears open to children who are suffering and just looking to get to the point where they too can feel that wave of happiness, our eyes open to those chances to do little acts of good, and our minds open to other points of view. We get one lap around the bases in life and it would be a shame to take that lap without helping someone else around.

I don’t know.

Just don’t steal my frickin’ purse and then put your head down at night as if you’re a good person.

And that’s about as well as I can wrap this post up because there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it, but it was something I had to put down on keyboard and I really feel better for it.


Better post later. ;)


  1. Mia`
    April 3, 2008 10:30 am

    As someone who HAS said, “hey lady, you dropped something!” I think it’s a perfectly fine post. The world needs more “posts” like this one. We have to take a test to get a driver’s license but anyone who can spread her legs and find someone to climb between them can have a kid. I’ve said it for years, if only there was a way to change that – to make everyone go through parenting classes and pass a test before they could have a child AND not have the government have anything to do with it! Then we could wish for bullets that only hit “the bad guys” and diseases that only afflict “bad people” and wars were fought with pen and paper (or email) and no one was physically hurt and no one ever goes to bed hungry unless they are trying to lose weight, not because they have no food/money to buy food.
    Okay, bad day…stress filled day…I’m needing one of those moments of pure happiness. To be 8 yrs old and the only worry of the day be if its going to rain and ruin my fun outside….is it happy hour yet?

  2. Mitch Cumsteen
    April 3, 2008 10:54 am

    Didn’t ya ever notice, though, how everything in life balances out? There’s bad. And there’s good. You know, the yin and the yang. Or how like Jerry Seinfeld is Even Steven.

  3. DeutschtownFrau
    April 3, 2008 11:57 am

    Anonymous, thank you, thank you, thank you.

  4. JamieO
    April 3, 2008 12:17 pm

    This a great post, PittGirl. My own thoughts:

    – I try to do my part by volunteering. I volunteered at The Hill House for a while, for example. I get some opportunities to do the same here in Central Pennsyltucky, so I take advantage of it. So, there’s what I call “official volunteering”.

    – Then there is “unofficial volunteering”. Such as risking your super-secret PittGirl identity by yelling out a bus window “hey lady YOU DROPPED SOMETHING” and then someone sees you and blogs a description of your bad self. I try to do this as well. Before anyone says “oh aren’t you great and holy”, no, not claiming to be. I am just talking about pretty simple stuff here. I am not bragging I can run a two-minute mile, just saying I can walk.

    – During my 16 years of Pittsburgh living, one thing that struck me was how rather “small-townish” is all was, given the personality of the people. Friendly, helpful. Of course, there is your run-of-the-mill ass in the burgundy sports car. Them critters are everywhere, even here in Centre County, Pennsyltucky, although they are more apt to be asses in burgundy pickups.

    The one thing that sticks in mind about Pittsburgh is the people overall seem to want to do the right thing. For example, back in the mid-90s on an extremely cold winter morning, I was taking the T out to a meeting in the South Hills. The T slows down at one of the more isolated stops, and this old man goes to board. The operator tells the old man that it’s not 9 am yet (seniors I guess rode for free then after 9 am) and that he had to pay. The old man says he only has a twenty on him. Operators all “no, rules are rules, you have to wait for the next one”. It’s frickin’ freezing outside, like near zero. A minor uproar ensues, people say “c’mon, let the guy on, have a heart” and such. The operator refuses to back down. Finally, almost at once, several people step forward and pay his fare, in total disgust.

    Sure, there was an ass present – the operator. But the majority wanted the right thing.

    That’s the Pittsburgh I like to remember.

  5. JP
    April 3, 2008 12:46 pm

    This city needs to get over itself and deal with the fact that P-burgh is about the same as anywhere else in terms of per capita jagoffs. Although, I was born and raised in P-burgh, I have lived all over the place since then, and firmly believe that people here are about as friendly or shitty as anywhere else. Generally speaking, I think people everywhere (not just Pittsburgh) seem to want to do the right thing and the vast majority of us everywhere are not just looking out for ourselves. So when you run into a bad patch of humanity, just know that is life. It should not come as a huge bummer just because you happen to reside in Pittsburgh where there is a 30 year old marketing campaign telling you that we are somehow nicer than everybody else. Sort of childish in my opinion.

  6. jjwainwright
    April 3, 2008 1:30 pm

    The major issue with Pittsburghers that I see is how they’ve neglected their hometown brew, Iron City. You see all these sheep drinking bud light and miller light and having their tax money leave the city for other parts of the country and, equally disconcerting, losing our identy. These same people, however, would never consider eating any ketchup other than heinz. Yeah, go figyuh.

  7. Gunn Lino
    April 3, 2008 1:54 pm

    Pitt Girl, very well done.
    When they make me Emperor of the world I will make you Grand Dame in Charge of the Well-being of Children and the Destruction of Pigeons.
    One of your duties will be to beat the shit out of those who mistreat the kids.
    Get your coronation gown ready.

  8. spoon
    April 3, 2008 2:07 pm

    “You see all these sheep drinking bud light and miller light and having their tax money leave the city for other parts of the country and, equally disconcerting, losing our identy.”

    wha? Unless you’re originally from Pittsburgh there’s a very good chance you’re not drinking Iron City. Lets look at this. Why do the sheep drink Bud, Coors and Miller products? Because when you watch any sporting event you’re going to see one of the BCM. Almost every beer commercial on TV is for one of the 3. They are staples in most bars. Why is that? They’ve marketed themselves enough to have their ads everywhere you look. Even locally before the rebranding how often did you see Iron City besides on a bad 80’s Pirates commercial? How often did you see it outside of Pittsburgh? The company for the last 10 years or so has been in financial ruin. The group that has taken over the brewery has a great vision. Now it’s a matter of if people will buy it again.

    The problem here too is that you’re limiting the “hometown brew” to JUST Iron City. Last I checked we had Penn Brewing, East End Brewing, Church Brew Works, Rivertown, (Well John Harvards and Rock Bottom also but they’re chains).


  9. Sue
    April 3, 2008 2:08 pm

    I grew up in the area, move to NYC , now NJ and come “home” to visit often. I strongly believe people are kinder in the Burgh. The further you get away from large cities, the nicer and more patient people seem.
    As for the “look awayers” Its a frustration of mine. I have teenagers, needless to say I worry.
    No one seems to want to do the right or necessary thing in fear of scandle, or talk. Schools have become bureucratic lawsuit fearing “look aways”.
    Our school in particular knew of the merciless bullying a freshman girl was enduring and ignored it up until 3 days after her suicide by hanging this past week. Wouldnt a few calls to some taunting kids parents such as “hey your kid is being a little shit” possibly have helped out this poor girl and her family?
    Speak up! Do the right thing! Reach out and make a difference for mankind!
    Weren’t we all taught this in grade school?
    Maybe not in the schools outside of the Burgh?

  10. pittwedge
    April 3, 2008 2:12 pm

    Random acts of kindness can never happen too often. Live by example and don’t worry too much about what the asses of the world do because then you might miss your chance at a random act of kindness.

    Thanks for a great post and remember that even with all your troubles you can decide to just be, even if it’s only for a moment or two.

  11. JP
    April 3, 2008 2:17 pm

    That is a terrible story Sue and you seem to have a lot of empathy which is the sign of a good heart. But there is nothing in that tragedy that tells me it could not happen or has not allready happened here in Pittsburgh. They are ignorant parents and sociopathic children everywhere

  12. jjwainwright
    April 3, 2008 2:18 pm

    Yeah, sheep, because they do what madison avenue programs them to do, rather than thinking for themselves and desiring to experience a bit of something different, of local culture.

    Those other beers are wonderful, but since the majority of beer drinkers are light beer drinkers (sad as that is) I was directing my post to them.

    Guess where Yuengling was in the mid 80’s? Near financial ruin. They built a juggernaut not from tv advertising, and their local costumers (schuylkill county and Reading) NEVER gave up on them, no matter that they didnt have bad, or any tv commercials, on pro-baseball or not. The sheep that live in the ‘burg should do the same.

  13. Sue
    April 3, 2008 2:27 pm

    There are a lot of people out there that should’ve never had children. Uncooked french fries and Mt. Dew? That is a sad, sad situation.

  14. JP
    April 3, 2008 2:47 pm

    I am always drinking Iron or IC light also happy to reach for a bottle of A or Dutch club dark I’m no sheep

  15. spoon
    April 3, 2008 3:02 pm

    Donnie looks like Scott Blasey trying to look like Donnie.

    jjwainwright – They’re not sheep, they’re lemmings :)
    Yuengling came back because they brought back the lager in the late 80’s after decades of not making it. It accounted for 80% of production. I’m not saying that Iron City brewing wont have the same success but it won’t come in the form of Iron City Beer. It’ll be one of the other styles that brings people in.

    Personally I’m waiting for Olde Frothingslosh to make a triumphant return as a Barleywine

  16. jjwainwright
    April 3, 2008 3:21 pm

    Spoonman– I am together with your brew plan. You are right, the lager had a lot to do with the resurrgence of Yuengling. However, it was the undying devotion of the locals who got them through the (very) lean years. The black and tan was a very big seller at the time also.

    Light beer (and adjunct lagers) still account for the vast majority of beer sold. Hence, IC and IC Light, even if they were to get a decent portion of the pittsburgh market again, would turn around the brewery. Also, the brewery is hoping lightning strikes twice, that is why they introduced augustiner lager… definitely a response to yuengling lager.

    Now, if they’d only be proactive and not reactive and start off another cream ale craze by letting robin hood out from wherever he is banished…

  17. Betsy
    April 3, 2008 3:49 pm

    Thank you, anonymous. My family has had our share of Pittgirl’s moments of serenity, and we are now on the brink of a major disturbance. Despite our comfortable life and love for Pittsburgh, we are following a wonderful opportunity and moving to the Middle East. Thank you for helping me justify and put words to why we should risk it all and search for a greater, richer, fuller life.

  18. Mitch Cumsteen
    April 3, 2008 4:37 pm

    Are we really comparing Ying Ying and Arn? Yuengling is tasty, Iron is not. IC Light, not sooo bad.

  19. scottie
    April 3, 2008 4:54 pm

    Maybe your happiness is drug-induced from all of the Paxil and Prozac in our water supply? If they could add some Viagra and Valium to it, we’d be happy, horny, and not remember a damn thing

  20. Still A Fan
    April 3, 2008 7:11 pm

    well said PG. cool prayer as well.

  21. pittgirl
    April 3, 2008 7:24 pm

    Gunn Lino, you’re on.

    Betsy, good luck, girl!

    JP, someday we’re going to have a beer and please remind me to tell you my Atlanta story. I’ll make you a believer yet.

    Jackie, LOVE IT!

    Boys, your beer talk is quite the funny. Don’t throw pointy things at me, but I cannot distinguish between beer tastes to save my life. Beer is beer is beer.

    Scottie, HAH!

  22. retailgirl
    April 3, 2008 11:09 pm

    I feel the same way sometimes…but Thanks to the PPG every thursday on page A-2 they post 3 or 4 random acts of kindness…that picks me up to know there SOME good in Pittsburgh

  23. jjwainwright
    April 4, 2008 8:14 am

    pittgirl, I understand your dilemma, but do not despair. There’s a whole world of enjoyment at your doorstep. I think you’re a perfect candidate for the following:


    Contact Mary Izett

    Sales have ended for this event. Tickets may still be available at the door.

    Heres an exciting opportunity to become current on the growing craft beer movement through a fascinating and humorous presentation designed and presented by a woman for women. Beer is no longer just a beverage consumed by men in their underwear in front of television, but a diverse and historic part of a healthy diet with an unbelievable spectrum of taste sensations to be savored and paired with your favorite foods even chocolate! Get ahead of the social trend while easing your trepidation and increasing your confidence about ordering and drinking this wonderful beverage.

    In this single session class youll learn how beer is brewed, the types and styles of beer, how to taste and evaluate beer, the proper methods of storing and serving beer while enjoying at least 5 different beers throughout the evening.

    Mary Izett is a homebrewer, Certified Beer Judge, and former president of the Malted Barley Appreciation Society of New York City.

  24. spoon
    April 4, 2008 9:31 am

    or you can come out to free beer samplings at 3 Sons Dogs n Suds on Thursday nights where sickpuppy and myself would give you a tour of over 600 beers. You should hit some of the local beer festivals with us this summer!

    If you want a more intimate setting tell Woy to fire up the grill and I’ll bring the beer and grub :)

    jjwainwright – that (spoonman reference) actually made me laugh. I was trying to get that beer geek out of you more than damn sheep drinkin that crud. One thing I don’t think people realize is that you don’t have to be a pompous ass to be a snob about something. We have very knowledgeable and fun craft beer culture in Pittsburgh. The ones that are pricks we tend to ignore :)

  25. jjwainwright
    April 4, 2008 11:13 am

    Oh absolutely I live in the other burg but I am tuned in to what’s going on in P’burg and visit it often. Usually hit 2 or 3 area brewpubs on a trip but also can enjoy a cold iron in polish hill as well.

    I’d expand your comment to say Pennsylvania in general has a tremendous beer culture and history. If you haven’t, check out north country in slippery rock and selins grove brewpub (my personal favorite) and farther east General Lafayette. PLus all of the venerable historic plants like straub, the lion, IBC, yuengling.

    Dee’s 6 packs is a good place too for tons of variety.

  26. Sue
    April 4, 2008 9:09 pm

    I recruit and train foster parents for a living. It is one of the most concrete and powerful ways you can undo some of the damage children suffer at the hands of their caretakers and as a result of society’s neglect. It is really doable, for single people and couples, for working parents and stay at home parents. The resources are there.

    You can also volunteer with foster care agencies. We need help with everything from childcare to sorting donated socks. You can contribute a week’s worth of cappucino funds toward projects that help foster kids. You can set up a donation link on your blog/website.

    I’m planning our agency’s foster parent dinner right now to say thanks to a group of folks who make it better for a lot of little kids. You can help with that, too. If you want to donate something for our thank you baskets, that’s cool.

    I’m very willing to be creative to find a way to get you (whoever you are) involved in improving the lives of children in foster care.

    Human services require lots of humans.

  27. MoreRoth,LessBurger
    April 7, 2008 12:27 pm

    I used to live in the ‘burgh and now in the ATL. I took a colleague w/me to Pittsburgh and he said that he has never been anywhere in the world (he’s been around!) with such genuinely nice people.

    In the south, “southern hospitality” is BS – unless your daddy’s daddy’s daddy fought in the War of Northern Aggression or some such junk.

    PittGirl, it stinks that your purse got stolen and the guy in the burgundy sports car was a douche. Sometimes things just suck. But it won’t stay that way forever.

    NFL Draft weekend is almost here, and that’s a good thing, right??????