Pet Peeve Monday
July 28, 2008, 8:36 am
Filed under: daily | Tags:

I am peevish today. Perhaps it is because I am so close to the end of the semester and I really want to have 3 weeks off.

Perhaps I am PMS-ing.

Perhaps I am just in a foul mood.

I have a general pet peeve in the form of people who have terrible grammar. I hate when people say “irregardless”. It makes my skin not only crawl, but fall off and die.

I hate it even more when people pretend that they have excellent grammar by screwing up ‘well’ and ‘good’. I am going to give you all a lesson.

Example 1:

Katrina: How are you doing today?

Dan: I am doing well.

Example 2:

Katrina: How are you today?

Dan: I am good.

Example 3:

Katrina: How are you doing today?

Dan: I am doing good.

Example 4:

Katrina: How are you today?

Dan: I am well.

Which of those examples are correct? If you said 1 and 2, you get a cookie.

If you said 3 or 4, you don’t get a cookie.

Here’s why. Well is an adverb. Adverbs describe verbs. Good is an adjective. Adjectives describe nouns.

So, if you say “I am” you are describing yourself. You are a noun, oddly enough! When you describe yourself, you want to use an adjective. So, you use ‘good’. I am good is the correct sentence.

If you are talking about how you are doing, you are talking about an action, or a verb, not yourself. You want to use an adverb to describe that. So, you use ‘well’. I am doing well is the correct sentence.

Saying ‘I am well’ just makes me think you are trying to impress me with your use of well instead of good, because everyone thinks good is automatically wrong. It’s right in that context, so I immediately judge you.

Saying ‘I am doing good’ just makes me think you don’t understand grammar. I immediately judge you.

Ok, class dismissed. Go out and use grammar effectively!


July 25, 2008, 10:07 am
Filed under: Books, daily | Tags:

I guess I was hoping for a miracle, or a fairy tale ending. Something so beautiful, heart-felt and funny only happens in chick flicks, and those always end well.

Not so much this time.

Randy Pausch died last night. It’s nothing we didn’t see coming, and yet, I still didn’t see it coming.

I’m going to go check out his book now.

Edit: (because I’m too ashamed to blog 3 times in one day, especially when I have a paper to write and a collection to develop.)

I just read his book in oh, 2 hours. Very easy read, poor choice to do it at work. In a library. Out in public. I was that person tilting her head back, and snorting quietly to avoid slipping into the loud grunts of crying. And I don’t even KNOW these people!

So, yea. Go read it. Preferably with tissues, and in the privacy of your own home.

Pittgirl just discussed his death, and she put it very well: he gave us perspective. Death is something we will all encounter and he did it so well. Is that something to aspire to? Dying well? Yes. Yes it is. But more importantly, he LIVED well, even when he was dying. So many things I agree with: we are raising children with a false sense of self esteem. Self esteem comes from being challenged and rising to the occasion, not from a pat on the head and a generic trophy. We are becoming more selfish: we need to attempt, in life and in death, to think of the people around us, especially the ones closest to us. We need to have fun, in everything we do. We need to challenge ourselves in these things and more, every minute of every day for the rest of our lives. Even when we’re dying.

In the end, the biggest thing I can think of to say, and also the smallest: Bear is simply not allowed to die on me. Hear me? You are not allowed to die, and that’s final.

Things the Animal has done
July 25, 2008, 9:13 am
Filed under: daily

While in her crate, no less, the animal has been able to perform these amazing feats of puppy strength:

1. She moved her crate 2 feet from the wall.

2. She got paper/cardboard/plastic bags WHILE IN HER CRATE and pulled them in with her. To shred to pieces, of course.

3. She flung the trash can (which was on top of the crate) off of the crate and into the living room. Her crate is in the kitchen.

4. She hunted a rabbit, killed it, skinned it, and roasted it for dinner.

Ok, actually #4 is a lie. I wouldn’t be surprised if I came home to hossenpfeffer some day, though.

She also rarely uses the steps individually. She instead leaps over them altogether, usually slamming headfirst into the wall at the landing.

She is a ninja dog. She can blend into the very dark navy blue futon. Sometimes, depending on how the light is, I will spend 5 minutes looking for her, calling her, worrying about whether or not she’s lightbeamed herself up to the Enterprise, and she’ll be patiently sitting on the sofa, looking at me all, “You ass. I’m right here. These stupid humans I am saddled with, they are making me stupider by the minute.” And then we make out for a while.

I have 1 week left of class/school work. I have in the works a treatise on my conservativism, an analysis of the BPA-free plastic hoopla with the help of Top Scientist Bear, and an adventure into making Girl Scout cookies at home. These things must wait until I am done doing the stuff that, you know, people will actually READ and then determine whether or not I am allowed to be one third librarian.

WHOA! There’s a lot of pee here.
July 24, 2008, 8:13 am
Filed under: daily | Tags: , ,

Three years ago, I had an awful summer. We’ve already been over why it was awful.

I spent a lot of that summer eating blueberries and Pepperidge Farm cookies.

I also spent a lot of that summer not sleeping. It was too hard to sleep. So I just didn’t. I stayed up late, usually on the internet. Usually while eating blueberries and Pepperidge Farm cookies.

I read an article in the New York Times about a blogger named Stephanie Klein. I promptly visited her site, and then spent the rest of the summer reading it. The entire thing.

What? I told you it was an awful summer. Some people turn to booze. I turned to local produce, over-priced cookies and blogs. You explain yours, and I’ll explain mine.

That was the only blog I read for a long time. For some reason, I thought she was the only one around. I didn’t really bother to look for more. I loved her writing style, and her scarves, and I thought she was funny. She was a distraction, one I desperately needed in 2005.

I kept reading her, long after that summer ended. I still read her 3 years later. When I started, she was single, living in New York City, living it up. I think she was still working at her job at that point. Now, she’s living in Texas, has written 2 books, made two babies, and is married. How things have changed.

I am now a grad student, my dad is better, and I’m living in Pittsburgh full time. I have also found a whole pile of other bloggers to read. I even recently upgraded to an RSS feed because I was wasting too much time checking each blog. Hell, I even have my own blog now!

But Stephanie Klein is still my first.

And. AND!

She started following me on twitter last night. I didn’t even know she had twitter. I wasn’t following her. And then I woke up this morning and BAM! I HAD AN EMAIL SAYING SHE WAS FOLLOWING ME ON TWITTER.



How did she find me? I write absolutely nothing of any substance on twitter, or here for that matter. I’ve left comments on her blog, participated in comment section discussions, and that sort of thing. WHY IS SHE FOLLOWING ME!?

Phew. I have been excited about it all morning. I would forget about it for a while (like when my dog was being an ass) and then I would remember and be all excited about it again! I feel like I need to start writing something of substance on twitter, because MY GOD. STEPHANIE KLEIN IS FOLLOWING ME. MUST DO GOOD. I’m sure it is nothing special, I bet she follows lots of people. I bet she won’t even notice what I have to say in my daily life on twitter, but STILL. PEEING. MY PANTS.

She was on a panel with DOOCE, for crap’s sake. My other favorite blogger. I know saying that dooce is my favorite blogger is about as cool and original and saying that I love The Catcher In the Rye, everybody loves dooce and The Catcher in the Rye. Whatever. I’ve never read The Cathcer in the Rye, but I have nearly pissed myself on many occasions while reading dooce.

STEPHANIE KLEIN IS FOLLOWING ME ON TWITTER. Excuse me while I go pee myself. I promise I’ll clean it up, I have about 6 different kinds of carpet cleaners geared towards dealing with urine because of a certain animal. One of them has to work.

I’m going to try SCIENCE!
July 23, 2008, 2:24 pm
Filed under: daily | Tags:

I had my screening appointment for the drug trial that I will be participating in yesterday.

This is what I learned:

1. I lost 3 lbs. Boo. Guess I need to bake brownies.

2. My blood pressure is still astonishingly low! People are still astonished by it! Even though every medical record I have mentions my astonishingly low blood pressure! Yesterday it was 102/76, which is actually fairly high for me. What’s really astonishing is that I don’t pass out very much. (I get this from my mother. Since she’s so very tall, she does pass out occasionally, especially after giving blood. The vampires at the blood bank have extra juice and cookies ready for her when she arrives.)

3. I am not pregnant! The study is not approved for pregnant woman. They don’t think it will produce a monster baby, but they don’t know for certain, so they can’t even risk it. Therefore, I will be given a pregnancy test every month before I can start taking the drug.

Funny enough, I can only take the drug during my period. They can’t give the drug to me until I start it, in fact. Wouldn’t you think that would be evidence enough? I guess not. This is science, after all. Must! Document! EVERYTHING!

I will announce the state of occupancy of my uterus every month. I promise.

8 days until all schoolwork for this semester is over. Eight. Days.

Summer of all fears
July 21, 2008, 8:05 am
Filed under: daily | Tags:

I spent an hour on Saturday watching videos on YouTube about how to breastfeed.

This experience brought me to two conclusions:

1. You really can learn how to do anything on YouTube.

2. People really will put ANYTHING and EVERYTHING on YouTube. I found videos of women breastfeeding their babies for the first time, recorded and published to The Internet for posterity’s sake. That would never happen in my world, not even for a second. I have absolutely no idea why anyone would put themselves out there like that, their most personal moment as a person, a mother, a family, displayed for the world to see.

And then I remembered this blog and I stopped judging.

I watched these videos because I read too many bloggers who had a hard time breastfeeding. They all seem to be able to do it for 2 or 3 months, and spend the entire time bleeding, chafing with thrush and all kinds of other awful things. Since I am completely rational, I have decided that that is going to be me, as well. And again, because I am completely rational, I turned to YouTube to teach me how to do it, so that when it is actually my turn, I will have a head start.

I am totally that girl who asks a professor for the reading list way before the semester starts so I can get a head start on reading.

I fear that I will be a failure, no matter what that is. The first weekend we had Katie home, and Bear was away for the weekend, I spent the night he came home sobbing because I was a failure as a doggie mommy.

Lucky Bear. Imagine what I’ll be like the first weekend I have a baby home.

I fear that I won’t be able to be good enough- in school, in life, in relationships, in careers. I gave up the idea of going to graduate school for a PhD in biology because I decided I didn’t have the grades for it. I graduated with a rope of honors around my neck, and a good friend of mine in the same major did not.

She just started graduate school at Drexel in cell and developmental biology. I am in library school, and absolutely over-qualified for it.

Three years ago, my dad got very sick. He had a total of 4 strokes that summer. In the course of figuring that out, they found colon cancer at a very early stage. Because of the strokes, he had a hard time healing from that surgery. He had the hiccups for a month straight. He was in the hospital for 6 weeks. It was a summer of fear. We thought he was going to die. When we knew he wasn’t going to die, we feared what life was going to be like after.

He’s fine now. Only he notices the effects of the strokes. If you met him today, you would see a older, pudgy man with an astoundingly detailed memory, and strong, well-supported opinions on many topics. You might notice that he sometimes struggles recalling a word, but you also might not notice. You wouldn’t know he had 4 strokes.

The hardest part about that summer was having him in the hospital. The next hardest part was having him come home. I woke up one morning to go to breakfast with an old friend, and found the bathroom covered in blood: the shower, the floor, the toilet, the sink. Everywhere. It looked like someone had been murdered in there. He had taken off his bandage for some reason, and was unable to clean it up. Since my parents oddly have carpet in the bathroom, I spent an hour trying to clean up the blood because I didn’t want my mom to have to replace the carpet. One of the worst stains is still there, hidden under a bathmat. It sometimes peaks out, reminding me of the summer of my fears.

We didn’t deal with it well, none of us. My dad and his sister decided early to not tell my Grandma. She took to calling twice a day, and I had to keep making up lies about why he couldn’t come to the phone. After 2 weeks of that, I called my brother in a fit and announced that we were going to Lancaster to tell Grandma the truth. Lying to my Grandma was not an option.

She still calls every day, at 6 pm. Just to make sure he’s still alive.

That summer, I was taking a class at a community college a county away. OnĀ  my way there one afternoon, the window stopped working and refused to go up. I drove there in 105 degree heat with bugs flying in my mouth. It was awful. I was stressed, tired, hot, and petrified. I called my mom and left a screaming message about how awful the car was, and how I couldn’t deal with it anymore.

I couldn’t deal with any of it anymore. I probably could have picked a better way of expressing my frustration, but it was August of the worst summer of my life.

I came home to a 2 page, handwritten letter about what a failure I was as a daughter. In her defense, it was August of the worst summer of her life, too.

I spent the night sobbing to Bear on the phone to the point of gagging. It took a half hour of gulping gasps of crying before I could tell him what happened. It hurt in a way I couldn’t verbalize. My mom was and is my favorite person. She was able to keep me in line as a child because I was so terrified of disappointing her. Now, I had done it.

I finally cried myself into exhaustion and slept. My phone decided to not work in the morning when Bear called to see how I was doing. He worried, and called the house phone. My dad answered, and Bear told him what happened. After I talked to Bear, I sat on the sofa in my underpants and a t-shirt next to a very sick Dad, sobbing over what my mother had written to me. He feared that his illness had driven a wedge between my mother and I. Normally, he was the one who sent me into fits of rage and crying. He was the one I butted heads with. Now, she and I were at odds and he felt it was all his fault.

He called her after I went back to sleep, and informed her that her letter may have been a poor choice. She sent me an email apology. It probably wasn’t enough, but
it was better than nothing. We never spoke about it. It is too much of a reminder of how awful that summer was. It was too much of a reminder of how we failed dealing with that summer, and how we failed each other.

My biggest fear is that letter. I fear getting it from her again, especially, but the rest of the world counts, too. I fear disappointing myself, and everyone else around me. I fear not being able to step up when it really matters and dealing with it. I fear breaking. Breaking up, breaking down, breaking sideways. I’ve done it before: I shattered in the crucible of that summer, and I fear doing it again.

When you’ve been through the worst, you might be stronger because of it. But you spend the rest of your life fearing it, because you know precisely how awful it is.

Substance (Abuse) for The Weekend
July 18, 2008, 8:53 am
Filed under: Pittsburgh | Tags: , ,

Ok, “Math Major” (HA! He’s actually a ‘Music Recording Technology’ major or some such nonsense), I’ll give you substance.

I have come to the startling conclusion that Pittsburgh is one of the most conservative cities, anywhere.

Shocking, right? I know! I was totally dumbfounded when I thought of it. Considering that about 80% of residents are Democrats, we haven’t had a non-Democrat mayor since before World War II, and the exceedingly liberal Post-Gazette is the only newspaper I see on the T in the morning, you would think that Pittsburgh wouldn’t be conservative, right?

You would be wrong.

What does it mean to be conservative? Merriam-Webster defines it as such:

1: preservative 2 a: of or relating to a philosophy of conservatism bcapitalized : of or constituting a political party professing the principles of conservatism: as (1): of or constituting a party of the United Kingdom advocating support of established institutions (2): progressive conservative 3 a: tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions : traditional b: marked by moderation or caution <a conservative estimate> c: marked by or relating to traditional norms of taste, elegance, style, or manners 4: of, relating to, or practicing Conservative Judaism”

We can ignore 4, for obvious reasons, even though we do have a large conservative and Orthodox Jewish population. I bolded the definitions that I feel are the best descriptors. Conservatives are cautious about change. This is why I maintain that housepets and children (I might be redundant there) are absolutely conservative. Conservatives do not trust change for change’s sake. If change needs to happen, it needs to be careful, deliberate and not to be rushed into heedlessly. Conservatives are reactionary: that is why they wait until change NEEDS to happen before instigating it, because unnecessary change can cause more problems than it fixes (Carter overthrowing the Shah of Iran is an example of this. We got rid of a moderately corrupt government and replaced it with a crazy, radical corrupt government. Hello, Ahmadinejad!)

Conservatives? They like things to stay the way they are unless they have to change. If the status quo works, why mess with it. Don’t fix what ain’t broke! Even then, they will probably dislike it, and will probably resist change despite all evidence that it needs to happen. If you’re really honest with yourself, you’ll realize you’re the same way in your day to day life. I know that if someone takes your parking space or disrupts your morning schedule, your whole day is thrown off. YOU KNOW IT’S TRUE. I’M LOOKING AT YOU, ROOMMATE.

Gee, does that sound like anyone in Pittsburgh?

Guess what. It’s not a giant taco stand. In fact, NOTHING HAS CHANGED. Potato Patch fries are still there, the rides are just as awesome, and I bet everyone has forgotten that it’s not owned by the original families.

  • Remember when the Rooney brothers started talking about selling the Steelers? Remember how Pittsburghers near and far reacted the same way they did to Kennywood being sold? Oh wait, that’s happening RIGHT NOW. Hair being pulled, clothes being rent. Doom, gloom, blah-di-blah.

Guess what. The Steelers will still be just as awesome. If they aren’t awesome, it won’t be the owners fault. Frankly, not having ownership become a battle between the many, MANY grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the prolific Rooneys is better for the organization. Less in-fighting, more Super Bowl rings. I think all Pittsburghers can support that idea.

  • Remember how Pittsburgh hasn’t elected a Republican since 1926?** Let’s be straight here. Pittsburgh city government is hopelessly corrupt. The finances are awful, the debt is huge, and the services are non-existent despite all that money. Lord Lukey Pants likes to do fun things like use police SUVs acquired via Homeland Security funds for his own personal use, use public funds to pay for his entertainment, and then play the hero when he ‘chooses’ to go to the Stanley cup games on his own buck. They supposedly consolidated the Row offices 2 years ago but nothing has changed. We would be better off standing at the Point, throwing twenties into the Ohio. Why is it so corrupt? Because the Democrats know they have no competition. They can get in there, do whatever they want, steal Pittsburghers blind and STILL GET REELECTED.

This is not a dis on Democrats, per se. If the Republicans had been in office for that long, the same situation would be here. Hell, if the Anarchists were in office for that long, NOTHING WOULD BE DIFFERENT. Governments work best when you don’t allow it to do anything. That can only happen when you have an equal amount of opposition on every side. Pittsburgh does not have that.

Why, you ask, does Pittsburgh not have any political opposition? Because Pittsburghers are conservative to a fault! (Yes, I did just say that). They vote Democrat because thats what their daddies did. Their daddies voted Democrat, because thats what their daddies did. Despite all evidence showing that the Pittsburgh Democratic party is hampering this city, and may in fact, have been part of the decline in the past 40 years, Pittsburghers still vote for them, because change is evil and to be avoided at any cost. The real election happens in the primaries; the actual election is a mere coronation of the Chosen Democrat.

The next time I hear a Pittsburgher try to tell me he’s a liberal, I’m going to laugh my skinny ass off. I’m more liberal than all of you, and I read the Trib! ON THE T! IN FRONT OF OTHER PEOPLE!

**Seriously, click that link to the list of Pittsburgh mayors. Go look at Joseph Barker, mayor from 1850-1851. He ran as an Anti-Catholic (in Pittsburgh? Really? He would be startled and horrified by the number of Catholic churches all over Western PA now): “elected while serving a year in jail after protesting the Catholic Church, he was illiterate but popular during a xenophobic time in the nation. Uniquely he is probably the only mayor in history to meet his death by “train decapitation”.”

That, my friends, is hilarious. And I wish they would provide a schematic to explain what exactly that means.

Reading Material for the Weekend:

You might not find this funny. But you would be wrong.

If by ‘depression’ she means ‘Munchausen’s By Proxy’, she would be right.