Disaster Preparedness

Everyone on Facebook is making much of the fact that everyone makes much of the fact of snow these days.

let's go after everyone who thinks we should stay home today!

let’s go after everyone who thinks we should stay home today!

My history with driving in the snow is as follows:
(1) As a teenager I was completely and utterly terrified of driving in the snow, due largely in part to my mother telling me that my plans to go anywhere were dependent on the weather from October through March, regardless of whether snow was actually forecast. So I never drove in the snow. (I was not a good driver as a teenager, having been in two accidents before the age of 17, so this was not necessarily a bad thing.)
(2) I moved to DC, where the government shuts down if there’s an inch of snow, so driving in the snow wasn’t an issue for a while. Pressure off!
(3) I moved back to Pittsburgh. Gradually I began to drive in the snow, cautiously at first, but ultimately getting close to the point where I felt comfortable and competent.
(4) Then this happened two winters ago. Now I’m afraid to leave my house again.

I'm not overreacting

I’m not overreacting

Speaking of my car, the “low tire pressure” light is currently on in my car. Certain people tell me this is nothing to worry about and it’s just because it’s cold out. However the internet tells me I’m going to die.

I also spend a fair amount of time imagining what would happen if I got hurt and had to go to the hospital. How would they know I was still nursing? I guess I’d have to stop if I was unconscious? Would Ben move directly in with his parents or would he be able to make it through two or three days on his own? What about those clothes I left in the dryer?


I had a nightmare when I was three that my mom and I were carjacked on the road to my grandmother’s house. There’s a hairpin curve where it happened and it was very vivid in my dream. I now drive that way to work about two times a week after dropping kid(s) off at Bea’s. I’m fairly convinced it was a premonition and I’m going to meet my fiery death in that very spot.

The other night I had a very vivid dream that my family was in Japan (why?) and there was a giant flood and we all went outside to be safe (why?) and of course it wasn’t safe and the water came rushing at us and I woke up in a panic.

it looked a lot like this, but it was night

it looked a lot like this, but it was night

All of this has combined to put me in a mild but constant state of anxiety for the past three days or so. So what should I do? Do I need to move to a remote location and live off the land? Puke and rally? Or should I just drink more (side note: is that even possible)?



About 15 years ago, I was living in a lovely little apartment in North Bethesda with college friends Barb and Emily. Emily started to have some foot issues requiring semi-frequent trips to the podiatrist and involving cortisone shots. It turned out that Emily had a bunion, requiring the exlusive purchase of well-made and expensive shoes. One day when my shoes were off she looked at my foot and said, “look, you’re getting one too.”

Well, Emily, now is officially the time. The past six months have taken me from slightly annoying but manageable bunion to full-on problem foot.

Sad Foot

Sad Foot

This is what my foot looks like after walking maybe 0.5 mile around downtown in my CLARKS Mary Janes. I can’t even wear my CLARKS heels to walk in any more.

Granted, I should have been wearing different shoes to walk 0.5 mile around town, but I promise you this would not have been an issue even last spring.

You can’t really see it in the picture but my big toe almost overlaps my next toe. That’s the thing that’s happened in the past several months that’s really putting the nail in the coffin of this whole idea of “will I ever get to wear cute shoes again.”

This issue is genetic. When Emily told me about how I was acquiring this lovely foot problem, I pictured my grandmother’s foot, which was practically a claw even before I was born. How lucky I was to inherit this. I always thought it was from wearing bad shoes in her wayward youth. You know how crazy people were in the 1930s. But no.

I had problems with my foot when I was running the half marathon. Anything over about 6 miles and my foot would cramp up. I went to see a podiatrist at that time and he recommended some different shoes and some inserts, which definitely helped but didn’t completely take the pain away. This is one of the reasons I probably won’t run a 1/2 marathon again.

One thing that’s particularly frustrating is that it’s only one foot. My left foot is over there being totally normal (slightly wide and flat but otherwise normal) and wondering what happened to those cute red shoes I bought a while back that turned righty into a bloody stump.

I’m not really sure if I’ll do anything about it or not. I’m definitely not one for elective surgery, and if my issue can be solved by wearing different shoes I will probably just do that (weeping and gnashing my teeth all the while, obviously). But it’s starting to get to the point where I think it might affect my walking and exercising and that sort of thing, so it may be the beginning of the beginning of considering another alternative. I guess we’ll see. In the meantime…

(Actually, I probably just need to stop wearing heels. There are plenty of cute comfortable shoes these days. They all cost like $300/pair, but at least I have options.)

Time for Fun

I bought season tickets for Elena and I for the Pittsburgh Children’s Theater this year. I thought it would be something nice for us to do together, just us. The first show was Peter Pan, which we enjoyed.

The second show, called Time for Fun by the Hand Made Theatre, was blog post worthy.

Time For Fun - picture from the Tribune Review (linked)

Time For Fun – picture from the Tribune Review (linked)

I did not take any pictures of the show, as we were cautioned not to. I found a clearly bootleg video on YouTube, so I’m not going to link to it.

The group is from Russia, and they do interesting things with their hands and arms and feet. They made shapes and words and tableaus and it was generally really neat and interesting and hard to explain (why I’m attempting to write a blog post about it is a good question!). I would say it was most like going to see a dance group perform. A few early skits revolved around ballet (my favorite was the Swan Lake bit) which, you know, Russia.

Elena generally really enjoyed it. It’s funny to go to a show with her because she’ll clap or laugh when she hears other people clapping or laughing, and not necessarily because she enjoys something or thinks it’s funny. They did some crowd-pleasing local sports references and everyone was all excited, including Elena, even though she can’t actually read and has sort of only a vague idea of the names of the various sports teams around here in any event.

Ready for fun

Ready for fun

Most of the little skits were happy and upbeat, but there was one early on that made me think, oh yeah, these people are from Russia, where everything is large and bold and depressing all the time. (A generalization I’ve garnered from Russian literature and theater.) I was slightly worried that they were all going to be esoteric and ponderous, but other than that one they were not.

At one point Elena told me the show was “too long for me” (it was only an hour). I could see where a three year old might get bored with an hour long show (although that was not an issue with My Little Ponies this morning), but it was a perfect length for me. And I offered up leaving early as an option and she wasn’t interested, so I guess she wasn’t all that bored!

Overall it was really a cool event – both creative and accessible. It made me feel like a culture champ for taking my almost four year old daughter to it. There are a couple other performances this week, so if you’re able you should definitely check it out!

The Next Big Thing

I’ve been thinking about what my next project/set of goals/interesting thing I’m going to do should be.

(1) We’re done having children – so while I’m wavering through today on six hours of interrupted sleep, that won’t be the norm in a few months / ever again (KNOCK ON WOOD).
(2) We’re not home enough to get a dog.
(3) I’m at a good place with my job.
(4) Since I have two kids now I’m probably not going to be able to play quite as much hockey. Also, I’m getting a little older AND the people who play hockey play six times a week, so my skill level relative to everyone else is going to start a pretty severe downward skid.
(5) I love watching TV and drinking wine but you can do that so much.
(6) I think I might be addicted to my iPhone.
(7) All the money that we used to spend on vacations will now be spent on daycare.

This is not to say I don’t like my life now. I am just sensitive to the fact that change is inevitable, and why not make the most of my time? I feel like there’s some sort of creative and interesting project inside me and I’m ready to take some time to start figuring out what it’s going to be.

So what’s my plan?
(1) Try some new stuff. When I first moved back to Pittsburgh, I went out a lot with a bunch of different groups of people. It was like trying friends on for size. I enjoyed everyone, but certain people stuck and certain people did not stick. I will need to do this again, but with activities rather than groups of people.
(2) Research and talking to people about things. People do neat things. And you can’t do what you don’t know about.
(3) Put down the iPhone, turn off the TV. Obviously I don’t need to drink less wine. That’s crazy. But I am not maximizing my down time. (I mean, right now I am maximizing my down time, because I only have 20 minutes a day of down time. But theoretically the baby will not be eating 8 hours out of the day for very long.)

All this sounds very vague right now because (A) it is very vague right now and (B) I am very tired right now. But I wanted to do some posts about something other than children, and this is all I’ve got. Which is to say: stay tuned; watch this space.

10 Things I Like About Work

I’ve been back to work from my maternity leave for three days now. Without intending to diminish the importance or awesomeness of my new baby, I thought it might be nice to talk about some of the reasons why this is a good thing.

(1) My coworkers are awesome. (Most of them are, anyway. You know who you are.) And I’m not just saying this because a bunch of them will probably read this. I’ve made some great friends since I’ve been here, but more importantly for purposes of this post, I have some wonderful colleagues. For the most part, people treat each other respectfully and everyone works together, or tries to, to get the job done. Also we have cake at least once a month.

(2) There are a bunch of benefits for lazy people working at a big company. Benefits such as volunteering opportunities organized for you, blood drives one floor up, a Keurig in the kitchen AND a Starbucks in the building, discounted gym memberships, elevators, pens. I love working at big companies.

(3) The mouse works on my desktop computer here. If the mouse stops working, there’s a number I can call to get a new mouse. I don’t have to take it to the store. If the internet stops working, it’s not just my problem, and I don’t have to shut anything off and on to get it to work again, because there’s people who do that. (See also #2.)

(4) It’s nice to use my brain for things. Aside from things like cake and free internet, it’s nice to have a job where I like what I do. I don’t want to get into too much detail about my job, but suffice it to say that it’s a good match for things I’m good at doing: (A) being detail-oriented to the point of obsession, (B) sending lots of emails, (C) looking up things on the internet, (D) learning a little bit of information about a lot of stuff, (E) databases, (F) being fair and open and communicative to everyone who gives you money.

(5) Everybody missed me. When the department got together to get me a present for the baby (see also #1), the overwhelming sentiment on the card was not “congratulations!” but rather “please come back after your maternity leave.” That’s nice for the old ego.

(6) Debby I and Marlene have candy and umbrellas. (See also #1 and #2.)

(7) I got a phone call from a London attorney today. And I sent pictures of my baby to an attorney in Dallas on Friday. I enjoy working with (many of) the attorneys in our firm, and it’s neat when they’re from different cities and states. (Randomly, an attorney out of our Chicago office has known a friend of mine since practically her birth, which came up after my chatting with him for 20 minutes or so about a variety of subjects.) Those of you from the south will be happy to know that the attorneys in our North Carolina offices are hands down my absolute favorite attorneys to work with.

(8) I like working downtown. We got to see the Veteran’s Day Parade from our windows today. There are a ton of great places to go to lunch or drinks. (Links to some of my favorite.)

Just a regular old Monday

Just a regular old Monday

(9) We come across weird stuff like this or this, and then we can laugh about it for days/weeks/months/all eternity.

(10) I don’t cry myself to sleep at night on Sunday night because I’d rather be at home with the baby than going to my miserable job on Monday morning. (See 1-9 above.) You can only leave your kiddos at day care if you’re not going to a job that makes you miserable. I miss Elena and Zoe (and Ben I guess)(and also the cat)(and my back porch) when I’m at work, but it’s ok, because I like work.

Children’s Museums

Last Saturday we went to the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum. Then on Tuesday we drove to Youngstown and went to what we call the Youngstown Children’s Museum but is apparently, officially, Oh Wow! The Roger and Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science and Technology.

We went to the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum with Mollie and Mollie’s Mom a/k/a Mara. I suckered Mara into going with us so I could blatantly use her for child care for Elena when I needed to feed Zoe.

We spent the first hour or so just looking around at the exhibits. The Children’s Museum had a special exhibit, TapeScape, which is basically a bunch of tunnels made out of tape that kids can crawl through. It was pretty neat. We actually had to wait for the exhibit to open – the museum opened at 10 but this room opened at 11, except that it didn’t. Fortunately Mara tracked down someone and dragged them by their ear to the room and forced them to open it. So, another reason to be glad she came!





After a healthy lunch of, you know, chicken fingers and fries and that sort of thing, the girls finished out the museum experience in the water room. They’ve recently redone the water room and it is much more user-friendly for smaller kids like these girls. They spent a good deal of time filling up buckets and moving water around and generally preparing themselves for life as factory workers.

Because I clearly used Mollie and Mara as tools to entertain my older child, I came away from the museum experience feeling like a skilled and adequate parent of two children. It also helped that Zoe slept the whole time.

Children's museums are tiring

Children’s museums are tiring

Oh, and also I stole most of the pictures above from Mara. Again, good thing she came! Thanks Mara!

Tuesday met Catherine and her boys in Youngstown, which is more or less halfway between Cleveland where she lives and Columbus where we live. The Youngstown museum is fairly new (opened in 2011) and it’s pretty small. I wouldn’t recommend just driving there (unfortunately they do not have reciprocity with Pittsburgh’s museum, so members of Pittsburgh still have to pay), but if you’re going that way anyway, or if you want to meet up with your friend from Cleveland or Pittsburgh, it’s definitely worth stopping. It’s very nice, the exhibits are interesting, it’s small and so easy to keep an eye on small people, and generally easy to have a nice time.

Lego wall

Lego wall



Group shot

Group shot



Elena was actually so tired on the trip home that she pitched forward and was basically folded in half, but sadly by the time I stopped the car and was able to take a picture she had sat back and looked more normal.

Tired trip home

Now that we’ve been to two different children’s museums in the space of three days we probably won’t go again until April.