Monthly Archives: January 2011

The ‘burgh!

With the “Stillers” in the Super Bowl, I am being deluged with emails full of Pittsburgh nostalgia and trivia.

While I claim Pittsburgh as my home town, and cheer for the Steelers, I actually only lived there full-time for four years, and that ended 40 years ago. My parents were deep-rooted Pittsburghers. (I’d call them “yinzers”, except my father would never forgive me and my mother would come back from the grave and haunt me.) However, my life from earliest memory until high school was spent in Wheeling, W.Va.  — about an hour’s drive down the road. We moved to the South Hills the summer before my 10th grade. I left Pittsburgh for the University of Florida after my freshman year in college and never moved back except for two college-summers and visits.

A beautiful photo of "The Point" by Jennifer Yang.

All the same, I can still relate to many of these “You know you are from Pittsburgh if…” statements that my sister sent me.

Yunz is from the Picksburgh area or maybe you grew up there if:

1. You didn’t have a spring break in high school.

2. You walk carefully when it is “slippy” outside.

3. You often go down to the “crick.” (Lots of “cricks” in West Virginia too.)

4. You’ve told your children to “red up” their rooms. (I actually caught myself using this term the other day.)

5. You can remember telling your little brother/sister to stop being so “nebby.”

6. You’ve gotten hurt by falling into a “jaggerbush.”

7. Your mother or grandmother has been seen wearing a “babushka” on her head. (I don’t think so. Wrong ethnic group.)

8. You’ve “worshed” the clothes. (Never. My mother would have killed me.)

9. I ask you to hand me one of those “Gum-Bands” an’ you actually know what I’m talking about.

10. You know you can’t drive too fast on the back roads, because of the deer.

11. You know Beaver Valley, Turtle Crick, Mars, Slippery Rock, Greentree and New Castle are names of towns. And you’ve been to most, if not all, of them.

12. A girl walks up to three of her girl friends and says, “HEY,YENZ GUYS!”

13. You hear “you guyses” and don’t think twice. Example: “you guyses hause is nice.”

14. You know the three rivers by name and under stand that “The Point” isn’t just on a writing instrument.

15. Someone refers to “The Mon” or “The Yough” and you know exactly what they’re talking about.

16. You remember the blizzard of 1993 (or 1976, or 1950, or 1939, or…) and remember not being able to go outside because the snow was over your head and you would have suffocated.

17. Someone starts the chant, “Here we go Still-ers!” and you join in — in the proper cadence, waving the appropriately colored towel.

18. Bob Prince and “There’s a bug loose on the rug.” hold special meaning for you. (And you remember exactly where you were when Bill Mazeroski hit the walk-off homer to win the 1960 World Series.)

19. You’ve either eaten a Farkleberry Tart or know someone who has. (???)

20. You drink pop, eat hoagies, love perogies and one of your favorite sandwiches actually has coleslaw and French fries ON it. (I remember using the term “pop” when I went to Florida and no one knew what I was talking about. They called it “Coke or something.”)

21. You know what a “still mill” is.

22. You expect temps in the winter to be record-breaking cold and temps in the summer to be record-breaking hot.

23. You know what Eat ‘N Park is and frequently ate breakfast there at 2:00 AM after the bar closed and made fun of people.

24. You order “dippy eggs” in a restaurant and get exactly what you wanted.

25. You spent your summers, or a school picnic at Luna Park, Kennywood, Westview, Sand Castle or Idlewild.

26. You’ve been to the Braun’s Bread Plant or Story Book Forest for a school field trip. We went to the Heinz plant and the Isaly’s plant for Cub Scouts.

27. “Chipped ham” was always in your refrigerator when you was growin’ up. (Didn’t everyone have it?)

28. You refuse to buy any condiments besides Heinz unless a Pittsburgh athlete’s picture is on the side of the container.

29. When you call the dog or the kids you shout, “Kum-mere” and they come. (I’m afraid I’m guilty of this one.)

30. Franco, Roberto, and Mario don’t need last names and you can recite their exploits by heart.

31. Food at a wedding reception consists of rigatoni, stuffed cabbage, sauerkraut and polska kielbasa.

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I’ll bet that tingled a little!

The sports world is providing all kinds of interesting videos this week.

I watched an outstanding Florida-Georgia basketball game on ESPN last night. It went to double overtime, with lots of amazing shots.

But the shot everyone will remember happened when Florida forward Chandler Parsons drained a three from the corner, right in front of the Gator bench, and fellow Gator Vernon Macklin popped him in the “jewels” with a towel.

Ouch!

I’ll bet Chandler and Vernon had a little chat about that in the locker room later.

Boogers, babies and scarey nuns

It’s been awhile since my last post, so I guess I’d better get to it.

It wasn’t such a great year for my Florida Gator football team, but my pro team, the “Stillers” are making up for it. Ya gotta love the way they manhandled the Jets in the first half last night. Too bad they cruised in the second half and let the Jet’s make it a close game. There were many highlights of the game, but the most amazing clip was a lowlight. Here is Jets QB Marc Sanchez with back up QB Mark Brunnell.

That’s classy!

*     *     *     *

Mrs. Poolman called me from her work last Friday and asked me if we had any plans for that evening. Our friend Liz’s husband needed to be out at a work function and she was looking for help with their five-month old twin daughters. Apparently the evening is their grumpy time and it’s a two-person job to get them settled for bed. I went over after work and Mrs. P joined us when she got off. The girls are too cute! We had a fun time.

*    *    *    *

I just finished a book that is very non-typical for me – “An American Childhood” by Annie Dillard. It was recommended to me by my sister-in-law. It is a non-fiction “memoir” of the author’s childhood. In truth, the only thing I found interesting was the setting, the Point Breeze-Frick Park section of Pittsburgh. I’m not that familiar with that neighborhood, but I knew my Dad grew up near there. When I told him about it, I asked if he was familiar with St. Bedes school, which was on the same block as the author’s first home. It turned out that Dad actually went to St. Bedes, although about 20 years earlier than the time the author described.

I related one amusing scene in the book where the author describes being terrified of the St. Bedes’ nuns when she saw them on the street in their old-style black habits. My dad’s comment:

“I knew those nuns well, and they terrified me too!”

We love our Goodwill store!

The store opened in a strip-mall in our part of town several years ago.

I don’t think we had visited it at all until a good friend and neighbor called Mrs. Poolman to say that she had been in the store and saw an entire set of our everyday stoneware dishes. Mrs. P ran right up to the store, but they were already gone. When Mrs. P mentioned to our friend that she wasn’t quite fast enough, the friend said, “Well, that was a week ago that I saw them.” Oops!

Now, hardly a week goes by that one of us doesn’t stop in for a quick survey. (Yes, we always check out the dishes first.) Over the last year or two, we have picked up some outstanding bargains at rock-bottom prices.

I had been looking for a desk chair for my home office. I found one identical to the one I have at work for $10.

Poolboy moved into a new apartment and didn’t have any lamps. I found two brass lamps for $3 each. They cost another dollar for the shade, and about $1.50 to replace the switch in one of them.

For the past several months, Mrs. P and I have been going back and forth over what to do about a freezer for our garage. We had inherited an old stand-up freezer from her parents that was so old, no one can remember when it was originally bought. It finally bit the dust a few months ago. We didn’t really want to spend a ton of money on a new full size freezer or even a combo refrigerator-freezer. I suggested a small chest-freezer which we could pick up at Sam’s Club for under $200. Mrs. P vetoed that for a number of reasons. So we have been at a stalemate.

A week or so ago, we dropped into Goodwill for our weekly survey, and, lo and behold, there was a refrigerator-freezer in the back of the store. It had no price tag or sold-sign. The manager said we could have it and quoted a price under $50.

The next day, I borrowed my friend Robin and his pick-up truck and carried the refrigerator to its new home. I plugged it in; placed a cup of water in both the refrigerator and freezer compartments; and held my breath. Two hours later both were frozen solid. Clearly, we need to adjust the thermostat, but the important thing is that it works!

I hope it is happy in its new home, because I know we’ll be happy with it.

Pets, snow and the BCS

We had a pretty quiet weekend. Two of our pets, Casey the Lab and Penny the Fearless, underwent surgery on Friday. Casey had a growth removed from his right-front paw, and Penny was spayed and declawed (front only.) Casey came home shortly after the surgery on Friday, but Penny was held overnight, so we picked her up on Saturday.

Both did very well. With the help of pain medication, the two of them spent most of Saturday curled up together on a pallet in front of the fireplace.

And people still ask us if our dogs and cats get along. Ya think?

*     *    *     *

I had originally planned to be in Atlanta for three days this week for the governor’s inauguration, the opening of the legislature and a Board of Regents meeting. Five to eight inches of snow sure changed those plans. It’s just as well. Now I have three open days I hadn’t planned on to get some things done.

We are cold and rainy here, but, fortunately, no signs of snowfall. Just as well — an inch of snow in coastal Georgia would shut the region down until spring.

*     *     *     *

The college football season ends tonight. Then we face a seven and a half month drought until the next kickoff. We’ll have the NFL to hang on to for a few more weeks. We’ll be rooting for the Auburn against the “fighting ducklings” in the BCS championship game tonight. As much as I have trouble believing that Auburn’s QB Cam Newton is really as naïve and innocent as his family tries to make out, we’ll pull for the SEC standard bearer – for better or worse. Let’s make it five SEC national champs in a row!

One more hat to wear

In my job, I am a bit of a “jack of all trades.” My official title is External Affairs Manager, but that doesn’t really tell you anything. I wear a bunch of different hats. Depending on the day and needs, I may be a:

  • Writer
  • Editor
  • Photographer
  • Publicist
  • Spokesperson
  • Designer
  • Lobbyist
  • Public Speaker
  • News media contact
  • Fundraiser
  • Foundation director
  • Customer service coordinator
  • Tour guide

And on and on.

It’s probably for the best. I’m really not that good at any of those jobs, but I am “OK” at all of them.

Yesterday, I had a new role laid into my lap – baby sitter.

On the first day back from our holiday break, I was approached by one of our scientists. She was hosting a married-couple pair of visiting scientists, both of whom were going to present one-hour seminars to our science team that day. One was in the morning and the other in the afternoon. The problem was that they also had an 11-month old baby who needed a “sitter” while the parents were occupied. She had approached our administrative assistant, who has no children and is not very comfortable with them. Lila told her to go find me.

That’s how I met Clara.

As you can tell from her expression, Clara was not overjoyed at spending an hour or so in a strange place with a guy she never met before, but she got over it. She was a little cranky during the morning session, but it never got out of hand. When her mom brought her back for the afternoon session, she was sound asleep. She stayed that way until her parents came back to get her – thus proving once again Poolman’s First Law of Childrearing.

“Sleeping babies are always cute.”

The downside is that I’ve had people in and out of my office all day today asking about my hourly rates for baby sitting.

Very funny. No thanks. I have enough to do.

2010 in review

In case you are interested, here is a year-end report on this blog by the folks at WordPress.

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 50,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 6 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, there were 119 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 219 posts. There were 140 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 25mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was May 26th with 625 views. The most popular post that day was Let’s order lunch!.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were search.aol.com, en.wordpress.com, google.com, images.google.com, and shallotsweb.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for cat, pizza, cat pictures, burka, and terrence cody.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Let’s order lunch! November 2009
2 comments

2

French burkas, racial profiling and the Tebow-Super Bowl flap January 2010
4 comments

3

What’s in a name? October 2009

4

“Start spreading the news…” October 2009
1 comment

5

Vacations gone bad May 2010
2 comments