On a personal note we’re still hanging in there in the aftermath of the fire at Las Velas. Chins are up. Smiles are lit. Insurance papers are being pored over. Meetings are taking place. This is going to be the week that makes or breaks us, so to speak, so continued good thoughts and prayers are appreciated as we wade through the insurance process. It’s all new to us, so we’re not sure what to expect.

Posting here will be pretty much back to normal today, as it’s a welcome distraction.

On another personal note, this Christmas the entire family will gather here in Pittsburgh, including Tina Fey from Texas and Ta-Ta from Virginia. All 22 persons. This of course meant the following email from Ta-Ta, the Giant-Breasted Grand Poobah of Planning and Agendas, with the subject line “Plans.”

“Hello my dearies!  Hope everyone is doing well today.  Wanted to kind of lay out the plans for the week before Christmas.  You know how I love plans. :)  So this is what I know…please email the group with corrections, additions.”

I thought it was a joke until she went day-by-day detailing what we as a family would be doing that week. Things like girls night out, lunch with friends, Pens game for two of the family members, Steelers game for another two, Syrian family dinner, etc.

I bet she often wakes up from a nightmare, covered in sweat, gasping, “OMG. I just had the worst dream that I flew by the seat of my pants.”

Related, Ta-Ta claims I pick on her. I don’t know where she gets that.

My father responded with the following, where “Dottie” is my mother’s nickname:

Dec 20 – Dad painting woodwork or something that Dottie deems to be unsightly and not suitable for the family to see.
Dec 21 am- Dad repairs leaky gutters because Dottie freaks out when she sees icicles.
Dec 21 pm – Dad touches up earlier paint jobs following Dottie’s inspection with a magnifying glass.
Dec 22 – Dad calls Geek Squad to increase speed of his desktop because Dottie is embarrassed that kids have to wait too long to surf the Internet.
Dec 23 – Dad searches for good divorce lawyer.

Sad part is, he’s totally serious about everything but December 23.

He can’t divorce her. It’s not on Ta-Ta’s agenda.

Also, he’s not kidding about his PC. You click a link and then grow a mustache while you wait for it to load.


  1. JenEngland
    December 6, 2010 12:52 pm

    This is a message for Ta-Ta…I’m with you girl. Don’t let them get you down. Us planners need to stick together. They all mock us, but WHAT WOULD THEY DO WITHOUT US??? Nothing would get done, people would go planning stuff all willy nilly, making overlapping plans, it would be chaos, CHAOS I TELL YOU. Dogs and cats living together…

    (is she perchance a virgo??)

  2. Audrey
    December 6, 2010 12:52 pm

    Happy to see you back! I have thought about you and your family often since news of the fire. You and yours will remain in my thoughts and prayers. Good luck with everything! Love from Westmoreland!

  3. Betoon
    December 6, 2010 1:04 pm

    My father has taken to turning off his hearing aids and nodding his head. Reading lips, heck no.

  4. Joe K.
    December 6, 2010 1:05 pm

    “Nothing would get done.”


    The horror. Can’t just sit around on the holidays eating and drinking, can we?

  5. Christina
    December 6, 2010 1:06 pm

    Fingers crossed so hard that knuckels went from red to white for the insurance process.

  6. Patricia
    December 6, 2010 1:11 pm

    Thanks for the chuckle – I really needed it. Do all 22 of you actually follow “the agenda”? My but Ta-Ta has a lot of power! Thinking about you and keeping my fingers crossed for a smooth insurance experience.

  7. bluzdude
    December 6, 2010 1:24 pm

    On the bright side, I hear Daniel Sepulveda might need a volunteer to give him sponge-baths, as he recovers from ACL surgery.

    Commence estrogen cloud…

  8. unsatisfied
    December 6, 2010 1:28 pm

    @ jenengland….re: your last comment, I was totally thinking the same thing.

    as a virgo, I am constantly reminded by family and friends that I am such a pain in the ass.

    hey, I just want to know what and when. is that too much to ask?

    @ virginia,

    keep on keepin’ on…..

  9. CrashJK
    December 6, 2010 1:50 pm

    Do we have pics of “Ta-Ta” ? Just askin’….

  10. Drea
    December 6, 2010 1:55 pm

    Ginny – you have done so much good for so many people, this all has to work out for you. Best of luck with everything. If it doesn’t work out, then there is something seriously wrong with the universe…

  11. JennyMoon
    December 6, 2010 1:56 pm


  12. spoon
    December 6, 2010 2:00 pm

    I’ve given up planning anything with my family since one half of it is chronically 45-90 late for everything. Thats why my mom usually chimes in “That’s a shame you sweat the small stuff.” to which I reply “That’s why shit doesn’t get done. Now THAT’s a shame.” fo sho!

    Best of lucky Ginny! Bah Stinkbug!

  13. PA Girl in VA
    December 6, 2010 2:02 pm

    Welcome back, Ginny. I, like the others, am hoping and praying that the recovery from the fire goes as smoothly as possible. However, I must offer my condolences to you on Daniel Nomnomnomnom Sepulveda’s injury. That’t #3 in ths series of bad things – I really hope that’s the end of it!

  14. Butcher's Dog
    December 6, 2010 2:20 pm

    Well @jenengland and unsatisfied, I’m a Virgo as well and a chronic pain in the ass. The two aren’t related, however, as the later was attained during a 37-year career trying to teach teenagers their native language. Planning? I can do that. But I can live without it, too.

    I would second the request for Ta-Ta pix, especially if the “Giant-Breasted” part of the nickname wasn’t, you know, hyperbole. Just sayin’.

  15. Margie
    December 6, 2010 2:40 pm

    I like to have some plan as to what’s going on, but Ta-Ta is a little over the top.

    Glad to hear things are coming along with Las Velas. You and your family have been in my thoughts since it happened.

  16. Me
    December 6, 2010 2:54 pm

    I had a sister-in-law that was a planner. I think that her experiences trying to get our family to plan anything was actually part of the “irreconcilable differences” clause of her divorce from my brother…

  17. Ta Ta
    December 6, 2010 2:56 pm

    @JenEngland–Finally someone who appreciates me. :)

  18. G-Man
    December 6, 2010 3:10 pm

    Ta Ta – I appreciate you, too. I am a planner. I make fewer lists than I used to because I’m retired and now have time to run out and do one thing on an individual trip. But I have the lists in my head.
    My girlfriend spends a lot of time harassing me about my planner-ness. But she appreciates I don’t forget stuff the way she does. She just won’t say it out loud. I suspect your family is like that, too.

  19. G-Man
    December 6, 2010 3:13 pm

    Hmm. Did anyone else notice your post is time stamped an hour into the future? I posted my comment at 2:10 but it says “3:10 pm.” I’m good but I still haven’t cracked the time travel mystery. Srsly.

  20. Suburban Nor'Side Girl
    December 6, 2010 3:28 pm

    There is definitely something to be said for dysfunctional families who can’t stand to be in the same room together for 10 minutes let alone plan a whole week together.

    On the other hand, I’ve always wanted a sister who cared enough to want to spend 10 minutes with me and send me an agenda of what we would do during that 10 minutes. Enjoy it, Ginny, you are blessed in ways that some of us aren’t.

  21. Cassie
    December 6, 2010 4:47 pm

    I’m the anti-planner. It’s not that I don’t like to, I just don’t know HOW to. I’m actually jealous of Ta-ta.

  22. Sara
    December 6, 2010 6:07 pm

    In October, I was up to my ears in spreadsheets for work, and traveling across the country. In one day, I got two emails: one from my family regarding our upcoming Thanksgiving trip, and one from my best friend about an upcoming long weekend at her house. Both included spreadsheets. It was so overwhelming, I cried. The funny part? I am an event planner.

  23. Dash
    December 6, 2010 6:13 pm

    My sister-in-law tries to plan like that, and whenever I’m around she pretty much has to throw out all of her plans. I don’t do it intentionally, but I am the worst person to keeping to a schedule. Oh, and I hate to tell JenEngland and the rest… I’m a Virgo as well! :-)

  24. Dash
    December 6, 2010 6:14 pm

    Sorry, that should have been “at” keeping to a schedule.

  25. Katy
    December 6, 2010 7:32 pm

    I, too, plan like Ta-ta. The way my baby refuses to adhere to any sort of predictable schedule at all is the worst thing in the world for me because I have to fly by the seat of my pants almost every day and it KILLS ME. How I long for an agenda! How I long to map out a holiday excursion! Oh, Ta-ta. Plan one out for me, girl!

  26. Magnus Patris
    December 6, 2010 10:34 pm

    My brother Planned out our agenda, minute by minute, for a trip to Disney World. He’s kind if a jackass that way. I screwed up the agenda because I have, you know, free will.

  27. Eeek
    December 7, 2010 1:03 am

    I think my parents have that same computer!

  28. plexxer
    December 7, 2010 9:12 am

    Tell dad to install Google Chrome ( Much cheaper than the Geek Squad.

  29. BeauJacques
    December 8, 2010 3:13 am

    NO ONE WAS HURT!!!! Thank God!


    1) Get Dad a Mac

    2) Since obviously we’re printing new menus, can we PLEEEZ
    see Pozole on it??


  30. LaReina
    December 8, 2010 12:49 pm

    The kitchen photos make me sad. Here’s hoping for no problems with insurance and rebuilding.