Tag Archives: Penguins

The Death Star!

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Well ladies and gentlemen, guess what time it is?!?!?! It’s end of month at Initech!!

My word, Han Solo, I forgot how amazing you were in these movies.  TV Timeout while we admire Harrison Ford and the complete B.A.ness of him through all three movies.  Han Solo2Why don’t I know anyone like this in my life??  SOMEONE PLEASE BE MY FRIEND IF YOU ACT LIKE HIM!!

Anyway, back to the Death Star, er, Initech, as you all know it’s my least favorite time of the month.  That wonderful week of absolute hell and torture that comes at my high stress job.  Mandatory overtime, understaffed expectations we cannot obtain, and a frustrating bank that I want to burn to the ground.  Ok, maybe that’s a bit harsh, but I’m sure you’ve all had that moment when you have wanted to just scream your head off while sitting in your cubicle.  You must understand my pain.

Irony of ironies, because I’ve been working so many hours this week I haven’t had time for my running regimen I’ve set myself up on.  Still don’t know why I’m running, but that’s another post for another day.  The point is that I waited all day like a kid on Christmas Eve for that 6 o’clock hour to hit so I could leave, head home, and head out for a run.  It was beautiful out today, mid 80s, sunny, slight breeze.  A little humid, but I can deal with that.  Until 6:00pm on the dot, though, when a huge thunderstorm rolled in and unleashed over Pittsburgh and the surrounding suburbs.  Well…scratch that, then.  Guess I’m going home and being lazy like I have all week.

Readers, friends, what do you do for exercise when it’s raining/snowing/tornadoing/earthquaking out and the free gym you call the park is not available?  Pilates puts my to sleep, so don’t suggest that.  What are some other good activities I can do that won’t take 30 years and will get my heart rate up??

It’s Memorial Day weekend this weekend, one of the few holidays Initech actually accepts exists.  Hello, we didn’t even get Easter off, those commie bastards!!  So I am gunning for Friday, and this wonderful 3 day weekend that is coming up.  Three days without crabby coworkers??  I’ll take it!!

Baking tonight, and then to bed early, it will be another long day tomorrow at work.  Just have to keep reminding myself that I’m blessed to have a job.  Blessed to have a job.  Remember that!!

Night everyone!!!  Let’s go Pens!!

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I is for International Escape

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Well hello my friends!!!!  I am back, back to blogging, back from my trip, back in the good ole USA.  What a weekend it was!  I need a few more days off just to recover!! 🙂

For those of you who missed it, I went to Canada this past weekend.  Niagara and Toronto is where I spent most of my time, though I did liven up Buffalo and St. Catherine’s for awhile too! 🙂  It was a great trip, and I’d love to tell you about everything we did, but that would be pretty much impossible!  Instead, I’ll hit the highlights, low lights, and lessons we learned over the border!

Highlights:

20130303_1011431. Niagara Falls.  A lot of people in the NE USA have been to the falls before, and many of you may pass this off as “Oh, I’ve already seen the falls, it’s just water.”  And sometimes I find myself saying that too.  Until you stand in front of the falls again and realize, Wow, these falls are wonderful!  There really is nothing like them in the world.  Now if only I could find my barrel and send myself over those falls.  Bucket list!!! 😀

2. Niagara, ON.  It’s been a few years since I’ve been there, and man is this town trying to revitalize itself.  I loved it!! 😀  Niagara will always be a tourist trap of kitschy shops, ridiculous restaurants, and high priced novelty shops.  In the past few years, though, Niagara seems to be working to reinvent itself as more than just a tourist destination: sure, that’s all still there, but now there are some upscale restaurants, bars, clubs, and other fun places to spend the night or weekend with friends.  While there we watched the Penguins play the Canadiens at a bar in Niagara.  Since it wasn’t tourist season, it was low key, relaxed, and a lot of fun.  I’d go back in a heart beat, especially when the Penguins win!!

20130302_1159213. Toronto.  Man is this city happening! You guys know I love and adore Pittsburgh, but compared to Toronto, Pittsburgh looks like a hole in the ground watering hole.  This could partially be because Toronto is 10 times the size of Pittsburgh. But it’s such an electric city, it’s hard not to love the place.

There’s so much to see in Toronto, I wish I had an entire week to see what all was going on.  I’m just not used to a city of 5 million people.  Crazy!

Overall, though, we had a good balance of tourist and native Toronto.  We climbed the CN tower, made it to the hockey HOF, and then ended up wandering around Chinatown for awhile acting like we knew where we were going (we didn’t).  Maybe next time we go back we can act like we own this city! 🙂

20130302_1342564. The Hockey HOF. Can I say any more about this?  You all know I love hockey.  Why not go to the place that celebrates hockey for everyone to enjoy!! 🙂

The place lived up to expectations, partially because as a Penguins fan the place was crawling with Lemieux and Crosby shrines.  Not sure how Flyers fans could stand the place, but I adored it!  There was so much to see, including the Stanley Cup.  Plus, a wonderful overpriced gift shop.  Usually I’d avoid the place, but a very cute Habs fan employee might have mentioned to us that Crosby shirts were on sale.  And what do you know, there was a game that night and we were missing our Pens swag.  So those 50% off shirts were scooped up, lots of tags were ripped off, and we watched the game repping 412!

Low lights:

1. Missing teeth: On Friday night we ate dinner at the casino.  Afterwards, Kara offered me a piece of gum.  I was just breaking the piece in when I crunched on something.  I pulled the gum out, and found a piece of my tooth had chipped off.  What?!  I’m 26, I shouldn’t be losing my teeth this early!  But it was true.  I totally was staring at a piece of my tooth that should have been in my mouth.  Except it wasn’t.  It’s still mia, by the way.  My dentist couldn’t fit me in until Thursday.  Won’t I have a funny story to tell them once I’m finally there.

2. The taxes. Goodness, I always complain about the 7% taxes in Pittsburgh, but I failed to realize how much Canadians are taxed for the same stuff.  A price tag would read $17.99, I’d take it to the register and would be asked to pay $2.042.  Wha…?!?  You’re charging me an extra 20% for this??  Ridiculous!!  And their roads were just as bumpy as ours!!

20130303_1010413. Nickel and dimes.  Want to visit the falls?  That will be $20C to park.  Want to use the free wifi?  That’s a purchase of at least $5C.  Another thing that really irked me was how they try to squeeze so much out of you.  Sometimes we managed to beat the system: throwing our four ways on at the falls and parking in the middle of the road saved us $15.  Sometimes we couldn’t: we had to buy food at Subway just to use their wireless, because they wouldn’t give us their password.  Whatever.   I just don’t like being charged for dumb stuff like that.

Lessons Learned:

1. Cell phones don’t work in Canada.  Dumb to not realize, but you forget how often you use your cell phone until you can’t.  We couldn’t google “Crime rate in Toronto” or “Number of Tim Horton’s in Ontario” whenever we wanted.  We’re so spoiled, America!! 😀

2. Border patrol workers are morons.  Kara and I brought some extra blankets with us because a). It’s winter in Canada and b). We weren’t sure if our hotel would be shady (it wasn’t, and we were pleasantly surprised).  Both seem like ordinary reasons to pack blankets.  Yet on the way into Canada we were questioned about them and asked if we were hiding weapons under them.  At first we thought he was joking.  Then we realized he was serious.  And all I could think was…really???  Do I look like a gun runner?  And wouldn’t Wilson be a little nicer if I was?

3. Converting to metric stinks.  12.2 km to the exit means……*crickets chirping*.  I was converting in my head all weekend.  Miles, gallons, degrees.  Oh my.  I was never so happy to see a bank tell me it was 28 degrees out.  Finally, something I can understand!!  That being said, US government, seriously, isn’t it time we switch over to the metric system?  Are we really that pig headed that we think it’s better to use the imperial system??

4. Maps are useless.  How did our parents do it?  Thank goodness Tim Horton’s offers free wireless and we can screen shot directions, or we’d probably be in Montreal by now. 🙂

20130302_120506Whew.  A weekend in Canada.  It’s finally over.  And I’m so glad we went.  If nothing else, my alphabet year has taken me to some new and exciting places, and I’ve loved the opportunities.  I mean, who just randomly drives to Canada with no real purpose?  I do, thanks to this blog.  Yay!! 😀

As for me, I’m in the middle of a Dance Mom marathon, so I’m going to be returning to that.  Have a fabulous week, and don’t get snowed in Pittsburgh!!

E

N is for Niceties

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Hello my wonderful readers, how are you today?  I hope you’re enjoy the snow, and the fact that February is slowly coming to an end.  Come on March!!!! 🙂

It’s been a good weekend.  A Die Hard marathon, Penguins hockey, and the season finale of Downton Abbey tonight (although I don’t want to watch it because I know what happens and I’m super mad!!)  If Initech wasn’t driving me so crazy during the work week, I’d say I would be having a blast!! 😀

So if you’ve been waiting all week to find out what I’ve been up to with my alphabet weekends, I’m happy to tell you I can finally let you in on my closely-guarded secret.  Not too closely guarded, mind you, but close enough!

When I decided to start this year-long adventure, there were a lot of weekend activities I chose that were different, outside the normal realm of my average weekend.  I chose things I had never done before, things I was afraid to try, things I hated doing, things I knew would be once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.  If I was going to invest an entire year to blogging, I wanted to make sure at the end of the year I could look back and say, wow, I did a lot of stuff!! So far about 6 months into this, that has definitely been true.

A few things on the list were added simply because I wanted to be goofy, and have fun, and have funny stories someday when people asked, “What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done when _______?”  And this weekend was no different.  I wanted to do something wacky, something crazy, and I decided to do it at the library.

I love surprises.  I love giving surprises, and I love receiving surprises.  To me, surprising someone is the ultimate way of showing them you care, you love them, you were simply thinking about them.  And in a way, I think it’s a super humbling experience.  I honestly can’t get enough of them.

What I love more than surprises, though, are random acts of kindness.  I love when you find a stranger has done something wonderful for you simply because.  At Christmas I paid for the car behind me in the drive-thru.  A few weeks ago someone left an extra quarter at the soda machine that I desperately needed.  Those experiences are the most humbling of all, because it shows that you want to do something nice, but expect no recognition in return.  They help me believe that even in a world that is full of wars, crimes, violence, and drug problems, there is still a small part of human nature that wants to do good in this world.

So I decided to do a few random acts of kindness this weekend, but venture a little more to the crazy side of it.  I couldn’t go pay for everyone’s meal at Eat N’Park, nor could I really afford to go and play the lottery for everyone (I wish).  But in my opinion, sometimes the biggest acts of kindness come from a small inspiration, and that’s what I tried to do this weekend.

20130217_125337To set up my sting (as I called it), I headed out to the Hampton library.  It’s a wonderful library, nice and big, and deserted (damn you, Kindle!) the perfect place to get lost and set up shop.  I headed in, found a back corner where I couldn’t be disturbed, and dug the supplies out of my over-sized purse.

The idea was simple: I was going to write out inspiring thoughts, compliments, and quotes on index cards, and hide them in books all over the library.  Completely harmless, absolutely anonymous (unless some crazy goes dusting for finger prints), and best of all, hopefully positive and/or uplifting to the people who eventually find them.  On the back of each card I simply put the URL for this blog post, in case they wondered why in the heck some random card was stashed in their book.  And then I went to work.

Half of the fun was choosing which books to place the cards in.  On one card I simply  wrote “You are beautiful”.  I found a well-worn copy of a popular diet book on one shelf and hid the card within the pages of it for someone to find.  Hopefully it will remind them that no matter what they think about themselves, they are still beautiful. 20130217_125408 One quote about the power we find within ourselves I hid in a book about 20th century dictators (see the irony there!)  Some cards were hidden in best sellers, others in books I’m not sure had been removed from the shelf in over 20 years.  Some were left in books I love, like on the right, a card left in the book Unbroken, while I purposefully also stuck a card in Dante’s Inferno, one of my least-favorite books. 🙂  I figured if some poor soul was stuck reading Dante, they might need a little motivation to not gouge their eyeballs out.

In the end, some nosy librarian might have stalked me around the building, documented every book I touched, and then removed all the cards after I left the building, and no one will be able to see everything I hid.  But maybe, just maybe, a few will be discovered by random people throughout Allegheny County, people who need a good reason to laugh, or a smile, or a kind word.  They might throw it out, they might think it’s creepy, they might even ignore it.  But that’s the wonderful thing about random acts of kindness: you never know where they might lead, or who they might help, or how they might change the world. 🙂

Be inspired, and find a random act of kindness to do sometimes this week.  Maybe we can start a new trend, blowing up libraries around the world with index cards.  If you leave index card compliments in any books, leave me a comment and let me know so we can see if anything comes of it.  Maybe some how we’ll be the voice of good in 2013. 🙂

I hope you have a wonderful week, wherever you may be in life.  Stay warm, and stay tuned, because we have a super exciting announcement coming up next week!!! 🙂

E

Next Week: N is for Niceties

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Happy Sunday everyone!!!  How beautiful is it outside today!?  The sun is shining, the snow is melting, and right now my apartment smells like rosemary and garlic.  Try that topped on potatoes.  Take a minute and think about the explosion in your mouth!!  They’re almost don’t cooking, and I can’t wait to eat it.

DowntonAbbey1On top of that, I have bread baking in my slow cooker, a Friends marathon is on TBS currently, and some buffalo chicken dip is due to be consumed in about an hour.  Oh, and Downton Abby is on tonight, holla!!!!  Is anyone else as obsessed with that show as I am??  I seriously cannot get enough of that wonderful show.  Here’s my question, though, does anyone else keep track of how many times you want to smack Mary Crawley in a single episode?

Enough about my wonderful day, though, let’s talk about my adventure next weekend.  Next week is one of those random adventures I’ve always wanted to try, but never had the guts/time/ability to do so.   Not next weekend, though, next weekend, I’m finally making it happen.

Here’s the thing about next week’s surprise: I can’t tell anyone!  Maybe next week should be title S is for Secret, because this adventure has to go off without anyone knowing what’s going on.  I hope you weren’t too excited to hear about it this week, because there’s no way I can tell you!  But I’m super excited about it, and I hope that’s enough of a reason for you to be excited too!

So I’m off to work for a few hours, logging that overtime early to help keep ahead of the storm that is approaching at Initech.  Then it’s food, Downton, and some steamed Boston bread.  Let’s see how this turns out!!

Have a wonderful week.  Try not to think too much about my adventure next week.  And check back next week to see exactly what happened.

E

T is for Tourist Trap

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crosbyBefore we get to the meat of this post, let’s take a small moment to post this once and for all…HOCKEY IS FINALLY BACK!  Big happy sigh. Penguins, come home, we miss you.

The lock out’s been awful, especially considering how well Pittsburgh’s other sports teams have performed this year.  Oh you Pirates, you heart-wrenching awful Pirates.  And the Steelers…well, that was an embarrassing season.  But today, today hockey is back.  And for a brief moment, the world seems just a little better.

I’m not going to get on my soapbox about how the NHL “owes” me something, and I won’t be watching games anymore.  Let’s be honest, I’m annoyed and frustrated with the NHL owners, executives, and players.  I think both sides have acted incredibly selfish for several long months, and it hurt the fans most of all.  But will I be watching the first game in a few weeks?  You betcha.  Because deep down, all I want is to watch my beloved sport again.  And watch Letang’s hair flow behind him as he skates the puck into the neutral zone.  And watch Sidney raise that Cup again.  Is that too much to ask for?

I’m getting ahead of myself, though.  Today’s post is (sadly) not about hockey.  Today’s post is about my favorite city in the world, Pittsburgh, and all the fun I’ve had in it this weekend.

524778_609559287652_1041826364_nAs I told you in my previous post, this weekend’s adventure was about acting like those love-to-hate-’em tourist.  I wanted to get out, see the sites, have a bite to eat, paint the town red, and generally just have a good time.  Were lives going to change over this weekend, probably not.  Was I planning on having a good time, you better believe it.

So my old roommate Kara and I headed down to Oakland for the morning.  For those out-of-city blog readers, Oakland’s the area of Pittsburgh that houses the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon, and all of the Carnegie museums.  It’s a fun neighborhood to walk around, and while I have definitely explored the area before, I wanted to give it a closer look.

It was bitter cold on Saturday, and since all colleges are still on winter break it was also eerily quiet as well.  Without thousands of college kids streaming everywhere, the place seemed very ghost-town esque, if the middle of a major metropolitan area can ever feel like that.  We warmed up with coffee to help us brave the bitter winds, and set out to explore.

First we headed over to the Carnegie museums as they prepared to open.  Personally, even though I’m a history major, I’m not a huge fan of the Carnegie museums.  I can appreciate the culture and relevance they bring to the city, the chance for education and exploration, but I’m a sucker for the Heinz History Center.  It will always beat out the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in my opinion.  We did get to pose with some dinosaurs, though, which is something most people can’t cross off their bucket list 🙂

735175_609559157912_1979641394_nAfterwards we headed over to Pitt and the Cathedral of Learning.  It is the iconic building on Pitt’s campus, and though I’ve driven and walked by it dozens of times before, I had never been inside.   Luckily for me, I finally had the chance to head inside and tour the building.

The architecture inside is breathtaking, full of beautiful stonework, Gothic archways, and hand cut stone stairs. It is straight out of a scene from Harry Potter, and a little part of me wanted to shout “Protego!” as I wound my way through the grand hall on the first floor.  If we had been alone, I might have, but there was a high school mock trial competition in session, and it might have seemed a little weird…some day, though, I’ll make it happen.  Maybe I’ll add it to my ever-growing bucket list.

The cool thing about the COL is they have these “Room of Nations” all over the first few floors, and it’s almost like Pittsburgh’s own EPCOT.  Each classroom is set up and designed to reflect a different world culture, and each room was created to educate citizens about the different cultures in the world.  I will admit, there’s definitely less Mickey apparel in these rooms than in EPCOT, but once you get pas that the rooms are pretty fascinating.

185752_609559966292_496896217_nSeeing a new part of the city was definitely a great way to spend my Saturday.  Unfortunately the weather made staying outside for too long pretty much close to impossible, but we had fun exploring the museum and Pitt, and even got to see some amazing college tours full of apprehensive high school seniors.  Man I do not miss those days.

For now, I’m going to enjoy my Sunday off and catch up on some TV shows.  Seriously, what a great day.  Hockey’s back.  Downton Abby’s back.  And my laundry is finally done.  Is this not an awesome weekend or what?

I hope your Sunday is going as well as mine!!  Have a wonderful week my friends.

E