Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Power of Positive Thinking

In April I posted about my garden. Technically, I posted about my awesome garden. At that point it was just a mound of dirt with some chicken wire around it, but I was hoping to invoke the power of positive thinking by referring to it as awesome, so that I would be properly motivated to plant it and take care of it. I loves me some home grown tomatoes, so the payoff should be worth the effort.

I am leaving today for a vacation at the shore for a week (in Pittsburgh we always said "the beach", but now I've converted to the way everyone on the other half of the state says it, "the shore"), and I wanted to take some pictures to show the progress, and also so that I can see how much it grows while I'm gone. I thought I'd better post them now, since it looks so good.

I took some even better pictures, but Blogger is ornery this morning and will only let me post this one. But trust me, the tomato plants are looking perfect. Hopefully we'll get a bit of rain here while I'm gone, and when I return in a week they'll look even better!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

2/3 of a Meme

A few weeks ago I decided to try to start using Google Reader to keep up with my favorite blogs. It seemed to be going fine, until today when I realized that for some reason it wasn't updating all of the feeds. I was kinda starting to get worried about Corrina of My Random Blog, since according to my Reader she hadn't posted since May 28. (Did Vanilla Ice turn into a stalker and hurt her? Maybe she met someone for a cell phone trade-up and things went bad. Has she been nursing a REALLY bad hangover all week and is unable to write?) For some reason, today I decided to check her blog the old fashioned way, and thankfully, she's alive and well. And she tagged me last week for a meme. Yay! My first ever!

The rules:

Link the person(s) who tagged you.
Mention the rules on your blog.
Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours.
Tag 6 following bloggers by linking them.
Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged.

I've never really thought this hard about my quirks, but I'll give it a shot:

1. I always wake up before my alarm goes off, but I never get up before it does. Instead I just try really hard to fall back asleep, even if it's just for 15 minutes.

2. I love Tony Orlando. Loved him as a little girl growing up in the 70's. Loved his weekly TV variety show. Loved him when my Dad took me to see him in concert at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh. Love it when I have my iPod on shuffle and Tony comes on. Even loved him when he was 103 pounds heavier.

3. I like to hold my fingers on my throat and feel my pulse. Like when you are thinking and you rest your chin on your fist? Well instead of that I prefer to hold 2 fingers just under my chin and feel the beat. People at work noticed it recently and mocked me for it, so now I have become self-conscious about it. I'm not sure why, though. It relaxes me.

4. I drink liquids really fast. I mean fast. Came in handy at fraternity parties in college. But it also applies to coffee, tea, water, whatever. Sometimes at restaurants the waitress will just leave the pitcher after she's refilled my water 3 times before the meal has even arrived.

Ok, so I can only come up with 4 right now. All week as I've been doing things I find myself thinking "Is that quirky? Does everyone (fill in the blank) like this?" and I'm starting to drive myself crazy. If I eventually come up with 2 more, I guess I'll have to post them.

I don't really know who to tag. Seems like I've seen memes very similar to this on most of the blogs I read regularly. So I don't think I can even come up with 6 to tag. Maybe I'll continue my not-quite-all theme here and just tag 4:

That Night
The Burgh Baby
View From The Cloud
I Do Things So You Don't Have To

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Did I Pay It Forward?

What do you do when you pass someone on the street who is asking for money? Do you avoid making eye contact and move by as quickly as possible? Do you look them in the eye and firmly tell them "no"? Or do you reach into your wallet and give them something?

Living in the suburbs, you aren't faced with this situation too often. I grew up just a few miles from downtown Pittsburgh, yet I didn't get into the city very often. That's probably a good thing for me, because in the past the few times I've been in this situation I was always the type to avert my gaze and move by as quickly as possible. And it made me feel uncomfortable.

I still live in the suburbs, but in the past few months I've had this situation come up a couple of times. For some reason, my response has changed quite a bit. Now, my immediate instinct is to see what cash I have and give it to the person. A few months ago I held up traffic at a light because I was trying to get the attention of the homeless man on the corner holding up his cardboard sign so that I could give him $5. I'm not sure I believe in karma, but I'm willing to invest $5 in it just in case. (I do really like the TV show My Name is Earl, so perhaps that has influenced me.)

A few days ago while walking into a drugstore, a young man stopped me in the parking lot, pleading for some money. He said that he had no money for gas to return home (quite a drive from where we were) and had a 16 month old baby in the car. He promised to send back double whatever I gave him via Western Union as soon as he could. What would you do?

As I had approached the store, I watched him pleading with 2 other people that were on their way in. From a distance I couldn't tell what was happening, but both people shook their heads no and kept walking. Then it was my turn. I listened to his story, and had to decide what to do. I knew I had some cash in my wallet (which is rare--usually just plastic in there) but the smallest bill I had was a $20.

I saw his car a few feet away, with the hazard lights flashing. I asked him to show me his baby. We walked over to the car, and in the back seat in her car seat was a small baby. There was also a woman. She looked a bit haggard, but I didn't really look very closely. The young man was searching for a pen and paper so that I could write down my name and address, again promising that he would send me back double anything I gave to him.

So I ended up opening my wallet, pulling out a 20, and giving it to him. I walked away before he could even ask again for my information. He was incredibly grateful ("Oh my God, thank you. Thank you so much. God bless you. Thank you.").

I wish I could say that doing it made me feel good. For some reason, it didn't. All I can think about is the downside of giving them the money. Instead of picturing them driving around the corner to fill up their gas tank, and maybe buying a snack for the baby, all I can think is that they also could have turned in the other direction and used the money to buy drugs. I really want to picture them happy and relieved and driving themselves home safely, but instead I just have visions of the poor baby sitting in the back seat wailing while the two of them sit in the front seats smoking crack.

If we were at a gas station instead of a drugstore, I would have offered to pay for their gas rather than just hand them cash. Or if they were asking for money to buy medicine I would have just bought the medicine. Then I'd be able to feel good about it, sure that I had actually helped someone. Unfortunately, now I just feel like an enabler rather than a good Samaritan. I suppose I need to listen to some Lennon today, and remember that I'm a super star.

Dog Day at the Park

Bring your dog out to see an IronPigs game and help The Center for Animal Health and Welfare at the same time!