Sharing the Road

Seems as if I forgot to hit the publish button, and this has been sitting in my draft folder for over a year.  Ha-

I drove this week as a reward for solidly hitting middle age without (too many) tears, so today’s antics come from the road:

Scene: Bumper to bumper traffic, at a red light on Irvine/Greenfield Ave. Bicyclist trying to squeeze down the right side of the stopped cars. He loses his balance and literally falls into the Explorer directly behind me. The biker scoots his bike up to the driver’s passenger window. Windows are down-

Biker (B): WTF is wrong with you, you a**hole??

Driver (D): ME?? Why don’t you watch where the f**k you’re going?

B: You’re too close to the side of the road!

D: You have insurance for that f’ing thing? (Seatbelt unbuckled)

B: F**k you! You’re too close, you f’ing d-bag

D: F**k you! (Opening car door)

Biker rolls off down the street, middle finger up in the air like a flag…


I posted this a few days ago as a Facebook status, and my son asked me why I took the time to write it. I responded that I was a writer, and that’s what I do. Then it hit me that I haven’t been doing that at all. So here we go again-

Pittsburgh. This is a city like no other. The Championships our teams have won collectively put us in an almost untouchable place. We are spoiled by their successes. Yet in the same breath, their successes stem from the influence of the city they represent.

Even with the collapse of the steel mills, Pittsburgh is still very much a blue collar work ethic town. Values handed down through generations are somehow as much a part of the city as its famous three rivers and all of its bridges. Pittsburghers work hard, play hard, and definitely cheer hard. Babies are born and immediately dressed in black and gold and draped in Terrible Towels. If a child reaches 3 months and doesn’t throw his or her arms in the air when they hear, “Touchdown” or “Goal,” or if they don’t know the names Mean Joe, Lambert, Mario, Maz, Willie, Sid, Geno, Big Ben, or the Bus by 2- well, you’re a failure as a parent here in Yinzburgh.

We expect our teams to win, but that’s not enough here. Living the ‘Rooney way’ and asking what Mr Rogers would do is the way of life in the Burgh. We demand more than excellence from our players. They’re a part of the Pittsburgh family, and we hold them to higher standards in exchange for our support. Donning the black and gold means becoming a part of something greater than the game. It doesn’t matter where a player is from, he becomes a Pittsburgher for life. The price of that inclusion is that the player adopt the Pittsburgh mentality. Work harder, play harder. We demand body, mind, spirit, and HEART.

Don’t get me wrong, we’ll call someone out if they’re not performing well. Screaming at the TV, tweeting, posting, whatever the source, we’ll cheer, we’ll boo, we’ll call it like we see it. And that’s OK, because we can call a player a ‘jagoff’ a million times, but let an outsider say it once, and “Hold my Iron” is the last thing they’ll hear before hitting the sidewalk.

The seasons here are marked by sports, not by weather. Days are counted by how many until training camp, the beginning of the season, the next game, the playoffs. We look for, and find, fellow Yinzers- no matter how far we travel. And we bring it all with us if we happen to leave- flying Terrible Towels in Afghanistan, Africa, Boston, Florida, Texas, and even on the Bering Sea.

Pittsburgh, it’s a city like no other, and we’re one game away from adding to that legacy. The city will be frozen in time for a few hours tomorrow. We’ll all be joined together once again by that thread that makes us all one, wherever we are. Wear that black and gold proudly. It’s an honor, and a privilege đź’›


Sitting in a waiting room in a hospital, there isn’t much more to do than study people. As you may know, I have a fondness for the stupidity of my fellow man, and I relish every opportunity I get to watch the freak shows in action. I’ve even considered riding the bus for fun now that I’m working from home, but I’m just not that desperate for source material yet. Anyway, short of public transportation, it just doesn’t get any better than a hospital.

Much to my chagrin, the surgical waiting room was pretty well behaved. The staff was helpful, and sadly, good service prevents conflicts. There were no disgruntled, half drunk family members demanding to know what was taking so long. Nobody was writhing in pain as they waited for their turn. The staff was friendly to me, even when I left Greg’s tracking number in my car.  It was a mess. Allegheny General Hospital’s professionalism was killing any hopes of a good story.

Sure, there was an occasional ass talking loudly on the phone, a girl with jeans so hole covered I’m not sure how she was able to arrange the denim threads to cover anything, but all in all, it was quiet, calm, and peaceful. I hate quiet, calm, and peaceful.

The cafeteria was the same way. People behaving. WTF was wrong with this place? Normal people, eating decent food that wasn’t even overpriced.

After the disappointingly tranquil lunch, we went back to the waiting room.  Greg was still listed in procedure, and it was taking longer than we had expected. The woman at the desk called back to the OR, and she delivered a status to me with a smile. This was getting ridiculous. Time was ticking away, and I had nothing. Another hour or so passed, and then finally, he came.

He had the disheveled look for which I’d been waiting: messy hair, sloppy clothes, a bunch of missing teeth- jackpot!! When he asked US if his family’s name had been called, I could barely disguise my glee. Especially when the answer was no. I steadied myself to wait for the profanity laced rant. Waited. Waited. And then he picked up the damn phone, called back to the post op area, got his information, and hung up the phone. He quickly told us a story so unremarkable I can’t recall it, and then he scurried out of the room. I sat deflated, like a child who finds the beautifully wrapped gift under the tree on Christmas morning is just socks. All of that waiting. For nothing


In Roll the Clouds

In our kitchen hangs a sign that reads, “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about dancing in the rain.”

Those words have always been an inspiration to me. Now they mean more than ever.

My fiance, Greg,  pulverized his ankle at work a week ago, and our consultation with the surgeon today went less than well. He’s facing a long road to recovery, and our wedding is in approximately six weeks. He will not be cleared for bearing weight on it, and the surgeon actually recommended a wheelchair for the ceremony. Our dream wedding has totally changed.

And although I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a few moments of self-pity, I’m not disappointed. We just have to dance. I am still marrying the man of my dreams at our favorite place, surrounded by the family we love. It’ll be a challenge to literally dance, but I’ve been looking forward to dancing with my husband since he asked me to become his wife. That hasn’t changed. Whether I’m spinning his wheelchair, holding onto his crutch, or we just hold each other for our song, we will dance at our dream wedding.

Figuratively, the storm rages once again, but we have each other. We’ll dance it out, remembering that it isn’t the what, the where, or the how. It’s all about the who.

“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about dancing in the rain.”

We shall dance


Follow me on Twitter: @fml831

Two Months to Go

TWO MONTHS (and 1 day) until the big day. Somehow, our simple beach ceremony has turned into something a little more grand; our untraditional service is leaning a bit more towards the conventional with some personal touches. I’m fine with it, because this day means the world to me. I already think of us as more married than not. The little piece of paper and new name don’t have as much meaning to me as the idea of spending the rest of my life with this man, and I’ve been doing that for years now. It’s just our chance to show the world what we feel. And for me, it’s my chance to tell him what I feel, although he already knows.

I do, however, still want to keep it unique. In the next two months, I’m hoping to find a Jedi robe for my brother (the officiant), and walking under crossed light sabers would be cool, but I think Greg might not be super enthused about that idea. I have to write the ceremony, so I’m apologizing now to the guests. We all know I have a tendency to go long, and you’re a captive audience.

I also have to write my vows, and for once, I’m at a loss for words. How do you tell someone, in 5 minutes or less, that they are your happy ending, the reason for your smile, the one person in this gigantic world with whom you were born to spend the rest of your life? And more importantly, how do I read the words without turning into a puddly mess? This is my biggest stressor. This will be the moment when I can say it all, get as sappy as I feel, and I don’t know if I can get through it. I’ve written, and rejected, some stuff, and I always have “I choose you, Pikachu” to fall back on. Guess that will be a game time decision.

Alex has designated himself as our beach bouncer, so I’m suggesting that everyone bring 2 forms of ID and their invitation. He won’t tolerate any trouble, and anyone not on his ‘list’ will be escorted off of the open, public beach. We have sand and water, so I’m also asking someone else to take on lifeguarding duties, in the event that our Flower Girl or Ring Bearer decide to make a break for the lake. If I do have to perform some type of wedding day Baywatch, I’m asking all cell phone footage be provided to me. I’d like to become a YouTube star, and landing on Ellen would make a cool honeymoon.

The next two months are probably going to feel like an eternity, and then it’ll be over in the blink of an eye. One of the best days of my life, a memory in the rear view mirror. The awesome part though, is then we have the rest of our lives together, and every one of those days will be one of the best days of my life.


I just changed the ‘image’ on here (it’s called a blavatar if you were curious), and now I can’t go back to the one I had. This may not seem like a big deal, but I am highly annoyed with myself. The original was a picture I had taken, but I don’t seem to have the file on this computer. As  result, I’ve spent the last fifteen minutes trying to find a suitable replacement.

The original pic was a shot of an empty lifeguard chair. I chose it for purely aesthetic reasons, but then I realized it could symbolize parenthood. Lifeguards are ever vigilant, watching, allowing freedom, while still enforcing rules and keeping swimmers safe. Their presence is an assurance that even if a swimmer goes too deep, someone is waiting on shore to pull them to safety.

That is parenthood. You teach your kids to swim, and then you hope they’re strong enough to go out into the deep waters. Of course, you have rules (hopefully) clearly marking how deep they may go, but once they’re out there, your job is to stay on shore and watch from a distance. You have a life ring and a first-aid kit, and you just watch them swim, hoping you never have to use your rescue gear, and praying that if you do, you’ll react in time. That’s parenthood. And that’s why I am annoyed that I lost my picture.

The new picture I chose is a lighthouse in Erie, PA. This particular lighthouse has a lot of personal significance to me, and I’m sure over the course of the next few months, I’ll get into that story. For now, I’ll just explain why it’s my second choice.

For centuries, lighthouses have stood as beacons of hope, guiding lights, and warnings of danger for sailors. Through high winds, storms, and swelling seas, lighthouses stand their posts without falter, alerting captains of the land they’re approaching. A lighthouse can be a welcome sight after a long voyage at sea –Land! We’re home. It can be a light by which to navigate- Shore is near. It can also be a caution- The water is shallow, take care.

This is life. It’s love, it’s parenthood, it’s friendship. We are the lighthouses on the shore, welcoming home our loved ones. We are the lighthouses on the shore, sending out a light to help them find a way back, or helping them begin a new journey. We are the lighthouses on the shore, warning them of dangers, standing with them through the storm, illuminating the perils they may face, letting them know they are never alone. We are the lighthouses on the shore.


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