Monthly Archives: April 2010

Once in a While You Get Shown the Light in the Strangest of Places if You Look at it Right


Don’t forget – my
March for Maddie Giveaway is still going on. Can you help? Donate and you could WIN!

Man, I have had a few shitty days lately. Lately I feel like I am always a hairsbreadth away from a meltdown. Since mr b lost his job, he’s been working for himself, which mean I never know when and if we’re going to have money coming and how much. This stresses me out. God bless you folks who freelance because I would need to be either institutionalized or incarcerated after a while. Anyway, that bit of stress seems to drain my reserves of sanity, leaving me precious little for the unexpected. And lately, between our crazy schedules, work being insanely busy, the girl and her cheerleading tryouts (she made it), feeling disconnected from a couple people I used to be close to, my mother turning up her Evil-Ray-O-Tron to the Extra Super High setting, and a bunch of other random crap, I have been pretty close to losing it. Monday was the start – work getting out of hand, people being assholes. Then yesterday rolled around, and more of the same and I lost it. I spent a good portion of the day in tears. Not for any reason, and yet for every reason. I closed my office door and kept to myself as best I could.

But then last night, we went to Heinz hall to see the boy perform with his jazz ensemble. First there was a symphony performance and though I have never been much of a symphony-lover, as I sat there listening to the music, with no one throwing work and deadlines at me, no one bossing me into getting them ice cream, no barking assholes, or ringing phones, or critical mothers, or anything other than the music and I suddenly felt better. Not a lot better, but enough to sit back and enjoy and not feel like I was falling apart. By the time the jazz performance started, I decided that today, despite having the same problem I had yesterday and the day before and the day before that, I was going to focus on things that make me happy. And I am doing just that. Here are some of them:

Jerry Garcia & John Kahn: When I Paint my Masterpiece (my actual favorite performance of this would be at The Ritz on 01/27/86, but I can’t find it so this is close enough)


Golden Chocolate Oreos (the cookies formerly known as Uh-Oh Oreos). You can keep your regular Oreos. But these I can NOT resist:

How ridiculously much he loves these sunglasses:

One of my new favorite blogs: Hyperbole and a Half. I dare you not to laugh like a mental patient over this. I DARE YOU!

My baby playing at Heinz Hall:

Our new favorite family hobby: geocaching. We’ve gone several times now and it’s a LOT of fun. Despite the time we parked in the wrong place and had to climb a big, giant, dangerous, man-eating mountain (OK, not quite, but still – it was HARD), and the time the girl fell in a creek, and the horrible jagger (you burgh people know what I’m talking about, right?) scars on my legs, and the giant thorns that embedded themselves in my face, and that thing that was most likely a jagger, but may have been a creature that I think made a burrow in my arm and raised a family there and is eating me alive as I speak, and the fact that people leave sucky bullshit trades in the caches which pisses off the six year old looking for treasure, we actually love really love it!

This jackass:

One of my favorite Grateful Dead shows ever (and definitely my favorite versions of my favorite song – can you guess which one it is?): Beacon Theater, 01/27/1986
1 Cold Rain And Snow
2 Mama Tried
3 Banter
4 Row Jimmy
5 Cassidy
6 Brown Eyed Women
7 Big River
8 Might As Well
9 Lazy Lightnin’
10 Supplication
11 Tennessee Jed
12 Playin’ In The Band
13 The Wheel
14 Samson and Delilah
15 High Time
16 The Music Never Stopped
17 Crazy Fingers
18 Drums > Dancin’ in the Streets
19 Cosmic Charlie
20 Help On the Way
21 Slipknot!
22 Franklin’s Tower
23 Around and Around
24 U.S. Blues

March for Maddie Giveaway 2010


For the second year in a row, I (along with the most excellent Burgh Team) will be participating in the March of Dimes Pittsburgh March for Babies on May 23rd in memory of Madeline Spohr, who passed away on April 7th, 2009.

For those who don’t know about Maddie – she was born on November 11th, 2007 – more than 11 weeks too early. She spent 68 days in the NICU while her parents feared for her life. Luckily, Maddie made it through that tough time and was a beautiful vibrant, happy little girl, until that terrible day last April when she came down with the respiratory infection that took her life.

Sadly, the Spohr’s aren’t the only family to go through something like this. Every year, too many babies are born too early. Too many babies are born with birth defects. Some survive and some don’t.

My own grandmother went through something very similar to what the Spohrs went through. Her first child, a son named Donny was born back in the 1940’s. Like Maddie, he was a happy, vibrant, smiling little boy whom everyone loved. But he was born with Spina Bifida. My grandma struggled to keep him healthy. She took him to every doctor she could find, every specialist that would see her. She spent days on a dirty train taking him to the mayo clinic to be seen. But sadly, all those experts said the same thing – he would not survive very long.

As he got older, and sicker, a doctor told my grandma that he would most likely not survive his next illness, like a cold. Imagine the terror my grandma felt, trying to keep her son healthy – trying to keep him alive. And as hard as she tried, she couldn’t. No one could. And when he was only a toddler – somewhere around the age of two – Donny died.

But the March of Dimes is trying to change things for the better, and it’s working. And with our help, things can only get even better.

Like last year, I am holding a giveaway to help raise money for this wonderful, worthy cause.
For any donation of $5 to my walk page (click the button at the bottom), I will enter you into a drawing to win a Box ‘O Goodies. That means you get an entry for each $5 you donate – So $10 gets you two entries, $15 gets you three, and so on.

And like last year, the Box O’ Goodies will include a variety of goodies that will include:

* A $50 Target gift card

* A $15 Starbucks gift card

* Assorted goodies to be determined after I pick the winner (so I can gear it towards the winner a little based on gender, location, etc) but will include at least one book, something yummy, something weird (because…duh), something kid-related if you have any, and who knows what else, but I’m good at gift baskets so fear not.

(One of my favorite bloggers won last year and after receiving the package, proclaimed it a “treasure chest,” so it’s definitely a good prize)

Once you donate, please leave a comment here so I can figure out who is who (if you want to remain somewhat anonymous on the amount of your donation, you can comment here that you donated, and then email me to let me know who you are and the amount so I can give you the appropriate number of entries (sugarmag_at_live_dot_com).

You don’t have to know me to enter. I don’t care if you’ve never commented before. I don’t care if you’ve never been here before. What I care about is doing the best we can to help a great cause. Because no one should ever go through what my grandma, and the Spohrs, and so many other families have endured.

Although I love to give people stuff and usually die of anticipation before every birthday or holiday, I am going to drag this one out a little to give more folks a chance. The walk is on May 23rd, and I will keep the contest open until the week before to make sure we can raise as much money as we can for the March of Dimes.

Help out if you can and feel free to pass this along.


The Hoarder Room


When we moved into our house, it was a tiny little matchbox with no closets. Yeah, you heard me right – No Closets! I have no idea where the former owners pout their stuff, but it certainly wasn’t in a closet. We have since added on to the house – including two bedrooms for the kids (with big closets) and a nice long hallway (with a big closet) and another bathroom (big closet), but the original part of the house remains closetless. The two original bedroom were actually connected (one was built at a later time), and mr b and I had plans to turn them into one larger bedroom (and add a closet). But of course, that kind of thing takes time and money and we never seem to have enough of either. So for the time being, one of those rooms has been serving as the bedroom (as in, a room with an actual bed in it) and the other – which started out as a “dressing room” of sorts, where all of our clothes and stuff were kept – has become…dunh dunh duuuuuunnnnhhh…The Hoarder Room.

I’d like to blame the whole no-closet thing on the fact that I have a Hoarder Room, but anyone who has ever seen my school locker, dorm room, or college apartment knows that would be a lie – I have to admit, I’m a bit of a slob, so it’s a combination of the two. Needless to say, The Hoarder Room was in serious need of a cleaning, and I decided that this weekend was the time to take it on.

Holy Shitballs there was a lot of stuff in there. I would have taken before and after photos, but my shamelessness does, in fact, have limits. But I’m not too proud to share with you a (sadly, only partial) list of the strange discoveries I made on my Hoarder Room Adventure. I found:

One powerball ticket, which I am going to have to check because it may be my big break

Five unscratched West Virginia (???) scratch-off lottery tickets. Luckily there were no winners, because if they had been winners, I would have almost certainly ended up in tears since they are most likely null and void, being approximately four years old.

One jar of baby food (macaroni with beef and noodles). I have NO idea what this is about, since a) it was a brand I never bought for either of my kids and b) the room became a hoarder room long after either child was eating baby food.

A bunch of unused birthday and thank-you cards (yay – I can use those).

A bunch of clothes that are too small since I have gained weight and refuse to get rid of them, since they are some of my favorites.

Several pairs of pants & some shirts that still have tags on them and are too small because my mother is still doing that previously mentioned and super endearing Buy Things Too Small and Then Say “I thought you were going to lose weight” thing.

A dress with tags still on it (also courtesy of mom) because even if I lost enough weight to be a size 2, these boobs were not made for that dress, no matter how much she refuses to face the fact.

This sticker:

and matching pin. Bought entirely in jest, as anyone who has ever heard my (motherfucking) mouth knows.

A pile of too-big hand-me-downs for the girl.

A pile of too-small clothes for the girl that need to go to goodwill.

Four lipsticks- never used.

Eight gift bags.

A Christmas shape muffin tin. I was totally going to make those at Christmas.

Approximately 30 pounds of craft supplies.

The part I have been missing from my sewing machine for more than a year.

Novelty photos from Myrtle Beach (2007) that I had printed to give to everyone for Christmas. Fail.

An uncashed check from April 2007 for $5.00.

An uncashed check from March 2008 for $0.88.

An unopened can of Pringles.

An open bag of salt and vinegar chips.

Dove chocolate.

17 labeled cds.

9 unlabeled mystery cds.

3 dvds – one coated in something sticky.

4 tubes of glow bracelets (I obviously have a thing about glow bracelets)

Approximately 2,346 hangers – some of which are not even broken.


Hello Kitty arm floaties, which I am totally saving and wearing to next years Polar Bear Plunge.

Several dead stinkbugs.

Several dead ladybugs.

A feather which appears to have come from a pigeon. I know!

Fruit Stripe Gum wrapper tattoos, lovingly sent to me by Hedge.

An empty spice rack (I don’t even know…)

A bottle of Advil.

A tube of Neosporin.

Enough Immodium to clearly illustrate my fear of shitting myself.

A pack of water balloons (minus the water, of course).

What I did not find:

Money (not counting the $3.47 in change and the potential powerball millions) BOO!

Dead bodies – human or otherwise. YAY!


Friday 5: Multimedia


I have been blogging a little more regularly lately and I want to keep it up. But I’m extra work busy (damn work interfering with my fun) and don’t have a lot of time. Thus, a Friday 5.

1. What Rolling Stones song best summarizes the week you just had?

Back to Zero. Because there is someone in my life that I love who continues to disappoint me. And every time we get together, I start to feel like things are picking up – that maybe this person is OK after all. And then they show that hurtful side of themselves to me and it’s right back to zero.

2. What movie reminds you most of your childhood?

Hmmm. I can’t come up with one, really. I’m sure after I hit publish I will think of a ton. As for my teen years, it would be Spanglish. Remember that scene when the mother goes shopping and buys her daughter a bunch of new clothes? And the daughter is really excited? And then in the next instant is devastated because the mother bought them a size too small because she hoped the daughter would lose weight? Yeah.

3. What part of the newspaper do you never (or almost never) read?

Sports. I will watch sports, but I never read about them afterwards. Unless there is a “human interest” aspect to the story, I don’t care about scores or stats, or any of that.

4. What television show is a lot better than you thought it would be?

Dude – I love TV. If it distracts and even slightly entertains me, I’m in.

5. What station is the radio nearest you set on at this moment?

There isn’t a radio anywhere near me, actually. I don’t think we have a working radio anywhere in the house.

Potty Training was Easy Compared to This


I took The Girl somewhere super scary last night. No, not a cemetery. Nope, not a haunted house. Not a Scientology Center, either. It’s way scarier than that. Last night, I took my baby to…

Dun dun duuuuuuunnnnnhhhhhh…

Cheerleading sign-ups.

My baby wants to be a cheerleader. And since I am not one to stop my kids from doing what they want (within reason), if they want to join karate, they can. If they want to put eye shadow on the dog, they can. If they want to ride the pitfall 1,000 times in a row, they can (OK, that’s just me). And by god, if they want to be a cheerleader, they can.

I’m just not cut out for this shit. I live in a small town and sports and activities in small towns are so full of strife and drama. I hate strife and drama. But for many years now, I have been sucking t up for the sake of my kids.

But this cheerleading thing has me feeling a little uncomfortable, because it’s not just a sign-up that we went to last night. It was a sign-up to try out. And that makes me a little queasy. Don’t get me wrong – I think that at a certain age, kids benefit from having to try out – they need to learn that everything can’t be handed to you. That you have to work for things. That not everyone can win. But I have a hard time believing that 5 or 6 years old is that age.

I don’t know how many girls will try out – I’ll find out next week. But I imagine it will be more than just the fifteen that will be chosen for the squad. And the thought of one (or ten or twenty) tiny little girls being devastated because they aren’t good enough breaks my heart into a million little pom-pom shaped pieces.

And one thing that is really bugging me about this is that this is the cheer squad for the midget football team, and the boy’s sign-up was at the same time. And those boys? Are signing up, versus trying out. Every one of those boys will be on the team. They might not all get to play, but they will be on the team, uniforms and banquets and parades and the whole nine yards. But the girls? Exclusive City. I don’t get it – why the double-standard?

Here’s a confession: I tried out for cheerleading back in my first year of junior high. I tried hard and worked hard and thought I had a chance because I was a good gymnast. But I didn’t make it. And I can still remember being in that gym, standing in a line as they called numbers to step forward. I can remember the feeling when my number wasn’t called. I can remember getting into my mom’s car afterward and my heart breaking, crying all the way home. I don’t want my baby’s heart to break like that.

And looking back, what I didn’t realize at the time was that my mom’s heart was probably breaking, too. And I know that if she doesn’t make it and she feels the heartbreak that I felt, mine will too. But even though I want to shield her from that, I can’t. I explained to her that not everyone will make it, including her, and yet she still wants to try. This makes me proud of her – her willingness to try. But I still hope we can avoid the broken heart. And even if we do, I know there will be other brokenhearted girls out there, and that bothers me too.

I hate that at this young, innocent age, there is something that – no matter what – will result in a sad ending and hurt feelings for some of them. I know I’m idealistic in thinking that I can protect them from that, but you can’t blame me for wanting to.

Operation Sweet Sixteen Update


Some things:

1. You guys are SO awesome to want to participate.

2. I have decided it can’t be totally anonymous, since it might freak this very nice family out that a bunch of strangers have their daughter’s name and address, so I will have them sent in care of me and I will deliver them. We still won’t mention the party, but I plan to say something along the lines of that I told my internet friends it was her sweet sixteen and people wanted to help make it special. I just want to make sure it doesn’t sound like pity in any way.

3. I will get the info out to you all on Monday. I am sick and I have about seventy million things to do today and tomorrow.

4. Several of you left comments, but I don’t have your email addresses. If you didn’t enter an email address in your comment, please either comment again or email me at sugarmag at live dot com and I will send the info.

5. Seriously? You guys are the best.

Operation Sweet Sixteen


Tonight I went to a Sweet Sixteen party. I wasn’t feeling well and wasn’t in the mood, but I went because the girl is special and deserves to have everyone she loves help her celebrate. Her parents rented a small hall and hired a DJ. And ONLY ONE OF HER FRIENDS SHOWED UP!

The poor girl was devastated – hurt by her so-called friends and embarrassed in front of her family. It took me back to the heartbreak of being a teen. I am sure we all have some not-so-nice memories of that day. For me, it was around that age that the group of friends I had for years decided I wasn’t one of them any more. I found new (and most decidedly better) friends, but that didn’t take the pain away.

We’re all grown up and we can look back on those days and know that we didn’t deserve it – that those kind of people aren’t friends anyway. We know that people like that aren’t worth feeling bad over. But that’s now – five and ten and fifteen and twenty and OMG I’M OLD years later. But when you’re sixteen and it’s happening to you, it feels like the end of the world.

I’m asking if you will help me.

I think it would be a really amazing gesture if I could get a bunch of people from all over the place to send this girl a birthday card and let her know how special and awesome she is.

Here is the thing: I DON’T want the cards to mention the party or her friends – I DON’T WANT IT TO COME ACROSS AS PITY! Also – I DON’T want the cards to mention me at all – again – I don’t want it to seem like pity, and also I think that if they all come without any mention of how they got there, it will be more magical – like she has guardian angels all around the country who are looking out for her.

If you would be willing to help out with this project, please leave a comment, or email me at sugarmag at live dot com. If I can get at least ten people to do this (the more the better – I want to send her as much magic and kindness as we can) and I will send you the info.

All you need to do is send a birthday card (or even just a note)that wishes her a happy sixteenth birthday and tells her she is special or awesome, or any other good thought (while not mentioning me or the party or her friends). You can sign your 1st name and city (Jane from Pittsburgh) Or just leave it anonymous if you want.

Think of how fun it is to get unexpected mail. Now put yourself in her shoes and imagine how fun it would be to get a SHITLOAD of unexpected mail.

Let’s make someone’s day!



You know what can ruin a perfectly delightful evening at the theater? A shitload of jackhammers that’s what!

I took The Girl to see The Wizard of Oz at Heinz Hall last night. She had no idea what we were doing, but she was thrilled to just go to Lulu’s for dinner. Then to follow it up with her favorite movie live on stage? Wooo, was she a happy girl. We had a great “girl’s night” as she calls them.

After the show was over, we made our way down to the lobby and as soon as we got near the front door, we heard it. TETETETETETETETETETETETETET!! (I don’t know how to represent the sound of a jackhammer in text – that’s the best I can do. But you know what I mean). And it was LOUD. Louder than any jackhammer I had ever heard. Not only could you hear it, you could feel it. It was so loud that you couldn’t hear each other talking. So loud that people were looking around for the mysterious invisible jackhammers and covering their ears. We couldn’t wait to get to the car and get our of there.

We got into the parking garage and headed fore the stairs, since we didn’t want to wait for the elevator. It became immediately clear that the horrible, terrible, no-good, very bad noise was coming from inside the garage. And it got worse as we neared our floor. And wouldn’t you know it, we opened the door to discover the loudest, most horrifying construction site ever. Right there on the floor where we were parked, right near our car where six (SIX!) guys running jackhammers.

It was, by far, the loudest, most annoying sound I have ever heard. The girl immediately started crying because it was hurting her ears (even though she had them covered). And the other charming effect of jackhammering? The dust. The nasty, thick, not-exactly-healthy cement dust was so thick, you could hardly see. Even though a parking garage is technically open-air, without any type of exhaust system, that dust just hung there in the air.

I wrapped my sweater around The Girl’s face to keep her from breathing it in, but I didn’t have any way to protect myself. It not only burned my eyes and my throat – I could actually taste it and feel it in my mouth and nose as I breathed. It was gritty and nasty. We were both coughing, trying to hold out ears, and she was crying, and the douchebags just kept on with their TETETETETETETETETETETETETET!!

We finally got to the car (it took longer than it should have because carrying a bunch of stuff, including a six year old while coughing, blinking, and trying to hold your ears will slow you down), only to find that it was completely covered in a thick layer of the devil dust. By the time we pulled out of our spot, The Girl was complaining of a headache and a stomachache. I had a headache. And since I have been suffering from asthma-like issues ever since I had the flu, I woke up this morning feeling like there was a cinderblock on my chest. My throat and chest hurt and I have a terrible cough/irritation in my lungs. Isn’t that nice?

I can’t being to tell you how pissed off I am about this. I understand that they need to get this type of work done and it can’t be done during working hours. But considering that this is the closest garage to Heinz hall, perhaps they should rethink the idea of doing it just as a show is letting out. Especially a show that will attract a lot of children. If they have to do it, they should have at least stopped for 30 minutes or an hour after the show was over to give people a chance to get out of there without putting their health at risk.

At the very least, there should have been signs before you entered the garage letting you know that this was going to be happening. And why in the HOLY BLUE FUCK wouldn’t they shut down parking on the floor it was happening on? FUCKING IDIOTS!
Thanks a lot, Alco Parking, for being the Douchebag of the Day!