Monthly Archives: June 2012

A text conversation with my sisters

A text conversation with my sisters:

Tina Fey: “Look at my FB timeline. I had to kill a snake this morning. Nearly threw up.”

Me: [runs to Facebook and finds several pictures of a severed snake head, mouth agape, eyes dead, laying across a rock]

Me: “OMG. You need to move home. Nice and cool and we don’t have to kill snakes here.” Side note: this happened before Friday when the mouth of hell opened and unleashed hellfire into the air.

Tina: “I was so freaked out. I had a 25-minute cardio workout without moving anything but my stabbing arm.”

Princess Aurora: “What kind of snake was it?!”

Tina: “I have no idea, but it was pissy and reared up in defense the whole time I was mutilating it.”

Me: “Where was this snake and why did you have to kill it and was it poisonous and do you think chopping its head off was a bit overkilly?”

Tina: “I had to chop its head off. I initially severed it in half but it continued to hiss at me with its tongue protruding. So I chopped off more of his body and he just got angrier. Then I hacked its head off and it writhed with mouth agape for 10 minutes! The only way to kill a snake is to overkill it!! It took two shovels and a hoe!

Me: Where was it?

Tina: “It was right off our back porch. No idea what kind it is. Probably just a grass snake, but they’re all Satan’s creatures and must die regardless of their potential to poison you.”

Me: “Well that snake is the deadest dead snake I’ve ever seen.”

Tina: “Yep, that’s how I roll. I hope it suffered greatly. And I’m pissed at my cat now because the only reason I have a cat is to kill things. Why have her if she’s not going to do her job? She’s lucky I didn’t whack her with the shovel too.”

Me: “If I was a cat, the biggest thing I would kill would be a mouse. I don’t blame your cat. You need a hawk. Or a falcon. Or a pterodactyl.”

Tina: “Our pet store stopped carrying birds of prey and dinosaurs. I’m going to have to get a bigger, meaner cat. Maybe a mountain lion. Or just a lion.”

And the lesson we should all learn from this text conversation is that Texas is stupid, cats are useless, and having a pet pterodactyl would be AWESOME.


Warning: Use of undefined constant php - assumed 'php' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c05/h01/mnt/75660/domains/ on line 46

The night I ninja-jumped Sulu

Last Friday night was one of those nights you think back on even a few years later and say, “That night was perfect.”

Perfect friends. Perfect experience. Perfect weather. Perfect beer.


It started with me draining the battery on my husband’s new used Mazda CX-7, which I drove around the entire day not realizing I never actually turned the car completely off. It has one of those newfangled gosh-darn tootin’ keyless starter thingamajiggies and how was I to know that the reason the navigation wasn’t turning off after I shut the car off and the reason the car was beeping and hooting and hollerin’ at me every time I walked away from it was because I had to turn the keyless non-key thingamajiggie even further back than I was?

Technology can kiss my grits so hard.

Having to wait for a jump from my brother-in-law Muchacho put me behind schedule fifteen minutes to meet my friends for the game.

No matter. I didn’t let it phase me.

I met up with besties Mike Woycheck AKA The Butler AKA Woy and Jonathan Wander to enjoy the Buccos taking on the Tigers at beautiful PNC Park.

We drank beer. We ate Crab Fries AKA Crack in a Cup with a side of Liquid Crack in a Littler Cup. We laughed as Rod Barajas slid into home where “slid” means “plopped.” It registered 1.5 on the Richter Scale.

The Buccos won.


After the game Mike and I bid farewell to Jonathan at the end of the Roberto Clemente bridge and then the two of us continued on. On past the Byham. On past the Renaissance. On past Bally’s, we walked. Chatting and laughing and wait.


I made eye contact with a man — a wee man of Asian descent as he and another man rushed past us in the opposite direction. They held playbills in their hands. For that split second that we made eye contact, it registered in his eyes that I recognized him and also because I said, “Waaaaaaaait. Is that..?” just as he passed by.

I grabbed Woy’s arm, my eyes as big as your grandma’s pierogies and for a second we simply spoke telepathically via mindmeld.

Then Woy, once a huge Star Trek fan, said breathlessly, “Was that … George Takei?”

“It was.”

We stood motionless, staring at each other for one long moment and then I said, “Mike! GO!”

We were off, chasing George Takei down like snarling dogs after a Snausage-covered cat.

We dodged the oncoming onslaught of foot traffic like the Starship Enterprise avoiding an asteroid storm.

We jumped this way and hopped that way, spun out of the way of a garbage can, possibly hurdled a flower cart — I can’t be sure. We were Riggs and Murtaugh getting closer and closer to our perp until finally he was right in front of me and had made the terrible mistake of slowing his pace down just one tiny bit.

That was all I needed.

Have you ever waited around the corner to scare someone and you leap out from behind the wall, land in front of them while ever so slightly hunched over, your hands held up like the claws of an angry bear? As Woy is my witness, that’s what I did to George Takei. I leaped in front of him from behind, spinning 180 degrees while in air, landed directly in his path like a lethal ninja and said, “Hi! Can I PLEASE PLEASE get a picture? [SCARY DESPERATE TEETHY SMILE]”

And he smiled widely and said, “Sure!”

Woy snapped the photo and then George continued on his way probably all, “Red alert! Batshit crazy yinzer-ninja!”

Whatever. I’m a delight.

P.S. You too might spot George in town. He’s here in the New Hollywood filming a Nickelodeon series called Supah Ninjas. I can’t believe he didn’t just cast me on the spot. [awkward kung fu moves]

Warning: Use of undefined constant php - assumed 'php' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c05/h01/mnt/75660/domains/ on line 46

Gosh darn you, Kip Kay!

I know you don’t know who Kip Kay is, and up until a few months ago I would have thought Kip Kay was a swanky beach resort on the coast of Rhode Island.

Kip Kay, RI.

The Euro Sticker would be KKRI.

No, Kip Kay is actually some sort of gadgety electronic guru super-genius who can build a rocket ship out of a disposable camera and a rubber band, and who makes MacGyver look about as handy as a trunk of elephant poop.

I have no idea how my son discovered Kip Kay’s website, but I think he must have been Googling “FART MACHINE.”

You think I’m kidding, but one of the first things my kid built from a Kip Kay video is an archaic fart machine made from a rubber band, a washer, and a paper clip. MacGyver never saved a damsel with a fart machine, that’s for damn sure.

Since his joy at the fart machine and making one for all of his friends at school (YOU’RE WELCOME, MOMS AND DADS!), he has also, with his father’s supervision, turned a lighter into a mini-motorcycle. On his own, he pranked my husband into thinking there was a huge scratch on his car, put fake blood inside the bristles of my toothbrush turning my entire mouth and lips red for five hours, took apart his electronic Incredible Hulk toy to see what made it work, and used the gel balls inside a diaper to turn a glass of water into a towering mass of goo.

Needless to say, we’ve had to hide the tools from him lest we find him behind the washing machine with an important looking part in his hands and a look on his face that says, “Shit.”

Now, my son is only allowed to watch the videos on because if he watches them on YouTube, the comments are terrible at times, and the “Related Videos” thing is just a scourge that once led him to watching the Challenger explode. Talk about an unexpected plot twist.

One day a few weeks ago I sat next to him on the couch while he was watching videos on, when I heard the words “condom hack pack.” And my ears went RUH-ROH! My kid has no idea what condoms are, but he was watching KipKay talk about five awesome things you could make with a condom including a fun shooter. I quickly leaned over and clicked away from the video and said, “Why don’t you watch this one instead?” Because really, the last thing I need is to be in Target one day and have my nine-year-old son loudly say, “Mom. I need some condoms.”

Hiya, Mister Child Protective Services. I swear he’s not sexually active. 

Fast forward to a few days later when we took the kids to Smokey Bones for my birthday dinner (I let the kids pick the restaurant). The waitress arrived with our drink order and also plopped down some appetizer plates topped with a four-pack of individual hand-wipes. You know? Square hand-wipe packets that you tear into?

And my son, very loudly because he has two volumes and they are “loud” and “sonic boom” picked up the wipes, waved them around and asked, “WHAT ARE THESE?! CONDOMS?!?!?!”


I looked at my husband.


He looked at me.


We looked at the waitress.


We looked around at the judging eyes of the other patrons in the now-silent restaurant.


Then my daughter who is five and who repeats everything her brother says, shouted at the top of her lungs out into the quiet, judgy air, “WHAT ARE THESE?! CONDOMS?!?!?!?!?!? HAHAHAHAH!”

And then my husband and I shriveled up and died right there.

May we rest in peace.

Until Child Protective Services comes and takes them both away.

Gosh darn you, Kip Kay. Gosh darn you to Kip Kay, RI.


Warning: Use of undefined constant php - assumed 'php' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c05/h01/mnt/75660/domains/ on line 46

What They’re Really Thinking: Mini-camp Edition

While we’ve all been wrapped up in the glory of the Pittsburgh Pirates — That’s right. The GLORY of the Pittsburgh Pirates, although if you believe any of these analysts, this is an early-season fluke that will wind up with us anywhere from fourth place to the seventh circle of baseball hell where demon-scavengers feed on our carcass. I choose to believe that all those so-called baseball experts can bite me and the ghost of Roberto Clemente. (Also, Tabata’s throw to second in the 9th to nail the Indian trying for a double? I wonder if that’s how Roberto threw.)

While we’ve been wrapped up in baseball, the Steelers, minus Mike Wallace who is holding out, have been holding mini-camp where some things are the same and some things are not.

Casey Hampton continues to host zip codes in his belly button while hunting down his ever-missing fluffernutters.

Meanwhile, there’s a new punter wearing Daniel’s number 9 and he has wisely chosen to shield us from his non-Sepulvedian face lest the ladies of Steeler Nation lose their collective shit.

That bubble better never pop, sir.

Ben, forever missing his TLA B.A., is having trouble understanding his new coach Todd Haley who might as well be Charlie Brown’s mom:

Even worse? Haley introduced Benny to his new offensive line which now includes a little person, a dog, and a Mexican Lucha Libre.

Neither Charlie nor Ben seem too happy with Haley’s methods right now:

I can’t wait for the first time Haley and Ben go at it on the sidelines.



P.S. I intentionally left this picture out because DOUBLE YOU TEE EFF, JAMES HARRISON?!?

Warning: Use of undefined constant php - assumed 'php' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c05/h01/mnt/75660/domains/ on line 46

Mad Hot Awesome

Sunday evening I was a guest ballroom dancing judge for Pittsburgh Mercy Health System’s Dancing Classrooms of Pittsburgh fundraiser “Mad Hot Ballroom.”

To answer your question. “Nothing. Not one single thing. I don’t know one single thing about ballroom dancing.”

Wait. That’s a lie. I do know a few things because Strictly Ballroom is one of my favorite movies ever and therefore I know the following:

  • A beginner has no right to approach an Open amateur
  • The rumba is the dance of love.

Man, if you’ve ever seen that movie, that joke KILLED. Trust me.

So I arrived at the Westin to learn that the other judges were none other than Lynn Cullen, KQV’s Nan Cohen, and city councilman Corey O’Connor.

Nan said, “Ah. The writer!”

Lynn said, “You don’t LOOK like her!”

And Corey said, “So, you’re that blogger?”

And I said, “Yep.”

And Corey said, “So you write about Pittsburgh. In general?”

And I said, “Yeah. Pretty much everything. I just love Pittsburgh a lot.”

And Corey said, “Where do you live?”

And I said, “Actually Westmoreland County.”

And Corey’s face said, “WTF?”

Good times.

Now I really enjoyed judging the various teams representing local organizations and corporations, especially because Corey O’Connor was so lost — giving an adorable older couple the highest scores just because they were cute. Corey, CUTENESS is not a judging criteria. How’s their posture? Their musicality?

I’m kidding. I have no idea what musicality is.

But the real joy of the evening was the children of Dancing Classrooms of Pittsburgh who performed several dances for the crowd. LOOK AT THIS:

Do you have any words because I can’t find mine.

And they could MOVE.

It’s a simply phenomenal program that teaches children self-confidence, pride, manners, respect, and more.  You know when you see a child doing something they love and they can’t stop smiling? Just beaming from ear to ear? Trying in vain to swallow their grin but it’s as fruitless as stopping a sneeze? That’s how these kids came to feel about ballroom dancing after ten weeks of classes.  You could see it in every fiber of their being.

After the competition, well-known ballroom instructor and guest emcee Pierre Dulaine gave a ballroom dance lesson to anyone in attendance who wished to try it out. I said, “Hahaha. And let this crowd see what a praying mantis would look like if it tried to rumba? No thanks.”

Corey O’Connor, who is also deathly afraid of dancing (I know this because like vampires, we can just smell it in each other), was begged and begged by his beautiful and down-to-earth fiance to try the lesson with her. He refused. Shook his head no. Resisted as she tugged at his arm. Sat back down when she pulled him up to his feet.

At first.

I said to myself, “Well, he’s a city councilperson. He probably doesn’t want to be seen making a fool out of himself by looking like a praying mantis trying to rumba. He has a reputation to uphold. An image to project.”

But then she begged again and Corey reluctantly got up to dance with her.

He doubled over laughing.

And even gave her a twirl:

I’m sure he never realized I was snapping pictures because I’m very good at doing it all ninja-like. And by that I mean [awkward kung fu moves] CLICK! [awkward kung fu moves].

I’m sure Nan never thought I’d tell you that she gave me great advice about being a mom and a writer and that she told me a hilarious Dance Moms story that you would just die laughing if you heard.

I’m sure Lynn never thought I’d tell you she showed up for the event a day early and wondered where everyone was when she arrived.

I’m sure Lynn never thought I’d tell you that despite the many times I have vehemently disagreed with her opinions, she is without a doubt one of the most amazing Pittsburghers I’ve ever met. Like Fred Rogers preached, she truly lives in the moment and you cannot help but notice it.

I’m sure they never thought I’d tell you that when you’re picking your future wife, don’t go for the girl who wants to sit beside you and watch the crowd. Go for the one who drags you kicking and screaming out on the floor, not giving a rat’s ass if you’re a city councilman.

And I’m sure they all, every one of them, learned a lesson — If you don’t want things shared, don’t invite the blogger.

Warning: Use of undefined constant php - assumed 'php' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c05/h01/mnt/75660/domains/ on line 46