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.


Nothing like getting smacked in the head by Randy Pausch
May 21, 2008, 5:53 pm
Filed under: Books, Library | Tags: , , , ,

Remember Randy Pausch? Of course you do. He’s Pittsburgh’s inspiration: how to raise your children well so they’re happy, how to be happy in your own life, how to live despite dying.

He hit me in the head today.

Ok, maybe that’s not entirely accurate.

I was shelving hold books (requests, etc) this afternoon. I put one on an upper shelf, bent over to get another one, and felt a sharp pain in the back of my head. A small book clattered to the floor. Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture. I’ve been meaning to find that! And read it! Because I need another reason to cry (imagining what it would be like if one of my hypothetical children died in a fiery car accident OBVIOUSLY ISN’T ENOUGH). Also, I thought it would be a good read. And a good cry.

This ought to be the moment where I say that THE PERFECT BOOK found me by FALLING FROM THE SKY.

But it’s not. It was on hold for someone who recalled it from someone else. Meaning I can’t check it out to myself because that person HAS IT RESERVED.


Dear Abby
April 17, 2008, 6:39 pm
Filed under: daily | Tags: , , ,

The New York Times has this article today, discussing the winners of a contest for the best advice from parents. This was inspired by Pittsburgh’s own Randy Pausch, the CMU professor who is dying from pancreatic cancer. His “Last Lecture” is a love letter to his babies, and advice to them for living the lives that he is going to miss.

I was reading through the original submissions here (and there are a lot of them), and I started thinking about the nuggets of advice my parents left me.

1. A man is not a home improvement project. You can’t change someone. If you find yourself thinking, “Oh, I can change that!” you’re wrong, and this person is telling you something about themselves that you don’t like. People rarely lie if you listen and watch closely.

2. If you have a headache, you probably need to sleep, eat, drink water, or poop. Try those, and then come back and ask me for tylenol. Why take drugs for something that is caused by something so simple?

3. No matter what you do with your life, always make sure that you have the skills and qualifications that you need in order to always be able to support yourself and your family alone. You never know if you’re going to be divorced, widowed, or supporting a disabled husband, so you should never count on his income to support your babies. Your salary must be enough, and anything else should be saved religiously for a rainy day. They always happen eventually.

4. You can tell a person’s character by the strength of their handshake, their ability to look you in the eye, the way they treat wait staff, and how they speak to their mothers. If someone has a weak handshake, they are shady and squirrelly. If they can’t look you in the eye, they are lying to you about something. If they treat wait staff badly, they are arrogant and unkind, which are both unacceptable. If a man treats his mother poorly, he thinks poorly of all women, and will treat you badly, too. You should make sure you avoid these things, too.

5. Wash your hands often and well. It will keep you from getting sick.

6. Don’t eat when you aren’t hungry. Eat when you are hungry. Doing the first will keep you thin. Doing the 2nd will keep you happy.

What advice did your parents give to you? What advice would you give your children?

Proof that the World is Ending
March 6, 2008, 10:07 am
Filed under: Current Events | Tags: , , ,

1. Treadmills for Kids. Why does a kid need a treadmill? The answer is, there is no reason. If you want your kid to get some exercise, and to run around and get some “cardio”, send your kid outside and chase him around. This is a very easy concept. Live in the city? Take him to the park. It’s too cold out? Bundle him up like Ralphie. Afraid of people kidnapping him? Then don’t take your eyes off of him. THIS IS NOT A DIFFICULT CONCEPT.

Besides, the idea of exercising for the sake of exercise is a foreign idea to children. Exercise is a byproduct of playing. Playing happens best outside. The great outdoors also blows the stink off of your kid. A treadmill is boring to him, it won’t get used, and then you just threw 109 bucks down the drain.

So, take your kids outside. It’s free and fun.

2. Patrick Swayze has pancreatic cancer. I love Patrick Swayze in an entirely illogical way, particularly in “Dirty Dancing”. I know he’s a terrible actor but look at how dreamy! And that mullet! Oh, excuse me while I swoon. *fans self*

Seriously, though, pancreatic cancer is a terrible diagnosis. You only have a 5% chance of living for 5 years after diagnosis. That awesome computer professor from Carnegie Mellon, Randy Pausch, is dying from it. I have only the best wishes for Patrick Swayze, but I don’t see this turning out well. The poor guy.

At least I’ll always have “Dirty Dancing”.

(I seriously recommend clicking the “Randy Pausch” link. It takes you to the youtube video of his last lecture, which is now an international phenomenon. You will cry. Bring tissues. I highly recommend it. No, really. Watch it. Why aren’t you watching it? DO WHAT I TELL YOU, MINIONS.)

3. The Mon Wharf is closed.

Oh wait, no, just kidding, that happens every other week here in Pittsburgh. The news just acts like its evidence of the world ending. Sorry, I got confused.

4. Bear is in the air today. He is probably on a plane now. He is supposed to land around 3 this afternoon. So of course, I opened post-gazette.com, and what do I see? This. This is what I see. Hey, Universe? When my dear darling boy is in a plane, there should not be near-collisions near Pittsburgh. I don’t care that it wasn’t his plane, and nothing actually happened. I had to spend at least 5 minutes deep-breathing before my eyes would un-bug and allow me to blink correctly. I may have to go get a drink. Of something strong. Don’t do that to me!

5. I’m going to the Bahamas. I know! Over a week of no posting! The world IS ending. I leave for The East tomorrow morning, then we go to New York City on Saturday morning to get on the boat. A week at sea, and then I’ll be back in Pittsburgh next Sunday. If you want to stalk me, here is the itinerary. You can be jealous. Hell, even I’m jealous of myself.