Monthly Archives: June 2010

Madly terrified

I’ve told you guys this before, perhaps it was several years ago, but I’ve been pretty obsessive in my life when it comes to drugs.

By that I mean that for some reason, from my teens on, I have avoided drugs, excessive alcohol, and even cigarettes like they’re tainted with the frickin’ bubonic plague.

My family has no history of drug or alcohol abuse, so I don’t really know WHY I am the way I am. I bet there are Amish kids reading this on their illicit computers all, “OMG. WHAT A PILGRIM. Pass the jagermeister, Jedediah.”

I’ve never tried a drug that you can’t buy at Target. NyQuil is probably the strongest non-antibiotic med I’ve ever taken. Wait, there’s codeine cough medicine, so that’s special in an I’m so tired I can’t sleep kind of way. I’ve never put a cigarette to my lips (and to prove it’s not my upbringing that made me this way, some of my sisters have smoked before and/or drank at college before they were 21. Oh, my father is going to KILL THEM when he reads this, but not before they KILL ME for telling you this and RIP, Ginny. Remember what I want on my gravemarker, you guys.). My first alcoholic drink outside of my parents’ company was on my 21st birthday and now that I’ve written that I realize what a giant nerd I am.

But, whatever, my point is that I’ve watched enough Intervention on A&E to look at my seven-year-old son on occasion, and then grab him and hug him so hard that he’s all, “WOMAN! STEP OFF!”

Sure I go out with my sisters and get a bit toasted, and by a bit I mean boy am I glad we have a designated driver and it is not me, but I live in fear that drugs or alcohol will touch my family and hurt it, so much so that, and I swear I am NOT MAKING THIS UP, this conversation happened over dinner last night:

My husband, after cracking open a cold beer: I remember my first beer.

Me: “How old were you. Like ten? Ha-ha.”

Him: “Twelve.”

Me: “GASP! Our son is sitting right there! Don’t tell him this! [turning to my son] How old do you have to be to have alcohol?

Son: [Automatically] Twenty-one.

Me: And if you are seventeen and your friend says, ‘Have a beer,’ what will  you say?

Son: No.

Me: How old do you have to be to drive?

Son: Sixteen.

Me: And if you are fifteen and your friend says, ‘Hey, drive my car,’ you will say?

Son: No.

Me: And how old do you have to be to smoke a cigarette?

Son: [with a sigh, because he’s been through this with me a bunch of times] I’ll never smoke a cigarette, Mom.

Me: Because?

Son: They kill you dead.

The whole time, my husband is smiling, but probably rolling his eyes on the inside, because I sound bonkers. But you see that little glimpse into how I’m regularly drilling into my son the responsibility he needs to have to smoke, drink, whatever. I’m not an idiot. I know there’s a good chance the kid’ll have a drink or try a cigarette when he shouldn’t, but it won’t be for lack of me trying my hardest to make him think twice about it. And if he ever does something wrong, gets caught, and/or hurts other people, HELL WILL RAIN DOWN AND IT WILL BE LACED WITH THE BUBONIC PLAGUE.

[awkward kung fu moves]

So, knowing this about me, how very very naive and pilgrimy and quite possibly Amish in a previous life I am, you must know how incredibly annoyed I get when people act like marijuana is no big deal. I’m looking at YOU, Santonio Holmes.

So many people think smoking marijuana and getting behind the wheel of a car is fine. I mean, hey, it’s not like it’s alcohol, right? I’m not impaired; I’m just happy.


Lisa Styles was the ideal mother, a woman who gathered up her three young kids for picnic lunches in the park and who built her life around them.

Late Monday morning, she had strapped her 3-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter into a double running stroller and gone for a run on Washington Road when an SUV struck her and the stroller, fatally injuring her and knocking the stroller sideways into the street.

Ms. Styles, 36, of Mt. Lebanon, was rushed to UPMC Mercy where she underwent surgery for a severe head injury. She was pronounced dead at 1:27 p.m. Tuesday at the hospital, according to the Allegheny County medical examiner’s office.

Mt. Lebanon police say the man behind the wheel of the 2003 Toyota 4Runner, 20-year-old Benjamin T. Cope, now faces charges of driving while impaired and driving while under the influence of a controlled substance. Police said they believe he was high on marijuana. Mr. Cope, of Mt. Lebanon, likely will face additional charges after police confer with the district attorney’s office, Lt. Lauth said.

And now I’m mad, and maybe my anger shouldn’t be projected to where it is, but I can’t help it.

I’m mad at Ben Cope for being high in the middle of the afternoon and blowing the stop sign. Selfish.

I’m mad he didn’t look right and see Lisa and her big, yellow, very easy to see double stroller.

I don’t know that it does, but if that Toyota 4Runner belongs to anyone other than Ben, like say, his parents, I’m going to be mad as hell at them for letting him drive it, considering his record:

Records indicate that Mr. Cope has paid $755 in fines to Mt. Lebanon, South Fayette and Pittsburgh since February 2006 for traffic violations, including speeding, disregarding a traffic control device and driving without a license.

If he still had a drivers license, I’m mad at whatever judge or government office allowed that.

I’m mad at whoever sold him the marijuana.

I’m mad at whoever, if anyone, allowed him to get behind the wheel in his condition.

I’m mad that it doesn’t matter how much you protect your children, sometimes, death comes for you instead and takes away your chance to continue to protect them.

Most of all, I’m mad that so many things, so many, could have prevented this tragedy, and not a one of them came through for Lisa.

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Random n’at.


What is a good shrub/small tree, easy to care for, hard to kill, easy to groom, doesn’t grow into an odd-shaped monster missing patches of branches, and doesn’t look like it’d be found growing in the front of the Addams Family home?

I have some shrubbery decisions to make and I’M SO CONFUSED. This will be the THIRD time I’ve planted shrubbery in these three plots and I’d like to not have to rip them out because I eventually come to hate them and their bastard children.

2. You have until tomorrow morning to comment on the bird/monkey post to win tickets to the Aviary event.

Also, because you’re wondering, yes, I’m researching monkey-eating monkeys.

3.  My husband and I LOVE Last Comic Standing because 9 out of 10 comedians crack our collective shit up. Last night we were all [gasp!] when contestant Jesse Joyce did his bit and told the audience that he’s from Pittsburgh and then proceeded to tell a hilarious, if fast-paced joke about Pittsburgh, the tunnels, and tunnel traffic that he personally caused.

You can watch it here. Just fast forward to the 54 minute mark.


He got cut though, so that’s a big bummer. I’m hoping to catch him locally soon. You can catch him on twitter here.



5. If you pray, a prayer please for Lisa Styles, as well as her husband Brett, daughters June (5) and Evelyn (1), and son Nate (3). I am hearing from her friend that things are looking very grave for her.

Her friend tells me that a witness at the scene said that it appeared Lisa pushed the stroller out of the way before she was hit and dragged by the SUV.

She’s my age. I can’t fathom it.

6. Bob Nutting was named The Light of the Valley.

No, I am not in fact making that shit up.

7. Hilarious Craigslist What the Effie!

“The job itself may be a little degrading, but none more so than a cocktail waitress.”

(h/t Valerie)

8.  Do me a favor please? Go here and fill this form out on the Pittsburgh Technology Council website? It takes like a minute and it will go a long way in helping out the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority, which provides funding to Innovation Works and the Technology Collaborative, and other programs.

They’ve already seen their budget slashed from $56 million to $20 million and any further cuts, well, that’s a bad thing for Pittsburgh.

A very bad thing.

Thanks for your help, you guys!

9.  Look what reader Mike made me!

[fist pump!]

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Email conversations with my sisters

As you know, my four sisters and I often email back and forth, occasionally allowing my parents in on the threads, but only those threads that don’t talk about SEX, DRUGS AND ROCK AND ROLL.

One of the threads we did not include my parents on recently — avert your eyes, boys — was a thread about bikini waxes. Specifically, one sister, who shall remain nameless asked us other sisters if we’d ever used an at-home bikini wax kit, did it hurt, and how long did it last? She said she was asking for her “friend.”

I am aware that if the phrase Too Much Information had not yet been invented, that it would have been invented today after this post, but I’m sharing anyways because IT IS FUNNY.

So, after some back and forth in which three of us chimed in with our opinions and experiences, Tina Fey chimed in with:

I have an actual friend who had one and she said that for a week afterward her female parts looked like an angry bald man.  Do with it what you will.


One of the threads we DID include my parents on was our annual email discussion about what we will each be cooking for our night to cook at the family beach extravaganza in North Carolina.

For about, oh, 8 years now, Tina Fey has always made the same thing — bechamel pasta with prosciutto. Proscuitto is pig and my father hates eating pork. So each vacation when it was Tina Fey’s night to cook, my father would sit there and pick the pork out of his pasta like a toddler picking individual oregano flecks out of spaghetti sauce. Just begging for a time out and a forfeiture of dessert, that one.

This year, things will be different:

Tina Fey: So I’m calling the faux Italian meal for vacation. I’m making ravioli lasagna.  No piggy meat, Dad!!! Let’s start planning, people!!

Me: David is cooking our meal, but I am making Peach Crisp with Maple Cream Sauce for dessert because, well, I can and it doesn’t suck. YAY.

Princess Aurora: We are making bacon wrapped pork loin with a pork au jus sauce. With a side of cracklins. And for an appetizer pickled pigs feet. Be sure to suck in between the toes for the most flavor!

I heard my father fall out of his chair, from two miles away.

And my parents were CERTAINLY not included on the thread about how teens these days are way hotter than they were when we were teenagers, that included this gem about one of the four of them:

I’m sure a cougar with a hole in her skull that her brain is poking out of which thereby puts pressure on her ear drum giving her an inner ear imbalance thus leading to dizziness and an overwhelming desire to puke during sex is a total turn-on for 18-year-old guys.

My sisters are bonkers.

God love ’em.

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A fine feathered giveaway

WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED. chose comments #142 and #75!

For the most part, I don’t like birds. I find them as unpredictable as monkeys and therein lies my unease with them. Like monkeys, a bird could just be sitting there looking at you, all still and quiet and then, without warning …  FLUNG POOP.

Wait, that’s monkeys.


I’m really trying to work on this dislike of our feathered friends. I am. I mean, I adore hawks and falcons and pterodactyls and rocs and any other bird that eats pigeons. Gotta love them cannibals. Makes me wonder. Are there monkey-eating monkeys?

My brain is weird tonight.

Moving on …

If you love birds, here’s your chance to eat and drink with them as I have here in my virtual possession four, yes FOUR tickets to the National Aviary’s Night in the Tropics event.

A fun and carefree celebration, Night in the Tropics is one of the best parties of the summer! Enjoy great food and drink provided by some of Pittsburgh’s best restaurants, dancing to the mellow tunes of The Freedom Band, and hanging out with the Aviary’s flock of more than 600 birds. Night in the Tropics benefits the Aviary’s education and wildlife conservation programs. Tickets sell out quickly. Get yours today!

Tickets are priced at $50 each, so this giveaway is worth $200.

The event is July 17 at 7:00 p.m. and you can read a fun review of last year’s event here, complete with a slideshow of well, lots of hot babes. My goodness, this event brings out the cutie pies dressed in strapless fashions. They’re just asking for pooped-on shoulders.

So, to enter to win two tickets, just leave a comment and tell me HOW MUCH YOU HATE BIRDS.

Just kidding. Let’s see. Oh! TELL ME HOW MUCH YOU HATE MONKEYS!

Kidding! For serious, tell me what your favorite bird is, AND YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO SAY PENGUIN. Too darn many of you love penguins! So, other than the penguin, what’s your favorite bird?

If I had to pick, I’d say hawks, because they eat pigeons and because I’ve forgiven them for that one time two summers ago when one of them tried to steal my baby, which, true story. will select two numbers as winning comments. You have until Wednesday, June 30 at 10:00 a.m. to enter. If you don’t win, you can purchase tickets here.

Good luck!

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When it rains …

… it pours, and of course once I get to update you on Jamie and Ali, MORE information rolls in.

Jamie and Ali went to Philadelphia last week to visit with Jean Griffith and Ross Haskell and their son Alex. Alex will be two in August and he was one of the children that Jamie and Ali cared for at the orphanage in Haiti. They brought him home on the rescue flight with Governor Rendell. Ross Haskell was very active in the behind the scenes efforts during that week as he of course was terrified for his young son. You may remember their story when it appeared on CNN.

Jean, Ross and Alex currently live in Kansas but were in Philadelphia visiting family.  Jamie and Ali were able to join the family in Philadelphia and even stayed with Jean’s relatives, as lots of aunts and uncles and cousins wanted to meet them.

In addition, Jean, Ross, Alex, Jamie and Ali spent an hour and a half visiting with Governor Rendell for some play time at a local park.

Jean is a member of the board of directors of Jamie and Ali’s organization Haitian Orphan Rescue, and Governor Rendell has personally expressed his support to Jamie and Ali.  While they were all together, he asked to be filled in on the plans for the new orphanage, and Jamie and Ali were pleased to give him the latest updates, particularly about the generosity of Massaro and Chester.

His support has been and continues to mean so much to Jamie and Ali.  In the months since the rescue, he has followed up with Jamie and Ali regarding the children, asking about specific kids by name.  As he said in his budget address, “Playing a small part in rescuing these children has been the most personally rewarding experience of my 40 years in public life,” but his part wasn’t small. There are certain people that I consider untouchable on my blog and Governor Rendell is now one of them. Someday you will hear the moving story of how Ed Rendell saved young Haitian lives. I will never forget hearing about his actions on an airport tarmac in a weeping Haiti. Ever.

So, that’s the latest. As Calvin once said famously to his mom, “Further bulletins as events warrant.”

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