Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Rand on "Why Pittsburgh?"

Rand on "Why Pittsburgh?"

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I got asked that question a LOT before we left and I still get asked that question from people I talk to... I thought this piece had some good answers to the question, "Why Pittsburgh"

Sunday, September 13, 2009

diving in

Last night I participated as a volunteer in an event called Rock the Block put on by WYEP. It was nice to get out on a Saturday night (haven't done that in awhile, separate from hanging out with Michael's childhood chums in Ligonier) and intermingle. I had the opportunity to talk to some really cool people, most of whom were born and raised here and never left. Strangely in Seattle many of the people I called friends were not locals; and in fact I can only think of a handful who were! I think it says something about a city where people don't leave or if they do, they find there way back. Although I know several of my classmates who have moved away and moved back to "The Springs", I could never imagine moving back there, under any circumstance. Maybe in part because I don't have family there, which many of them do; but still....

I digress.

As I was saying.... it was great to be out and about, meeting new people, hearing good music, having tasty treats (Pomegranate sno-cone), and generally feeling like I might start to have a life again.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Go figure...

You regular readers may remember me being somewhat concerned about introducing myself, and folks having trouble with the pronunciation of my name.... well the funny thing is, there is a very large contingent of biblically (as opposed to wiccans, First Peoples, Taoists) religious people in this city and for the most part I've had very little trouble getting people to pronounce my name correctly and even a few (typically older) have mentioned Ben-Hur!

Who knew... that Pittsburghians who use words like yenz and dahn tahn would find it so easy to say Tirzah.

Monday, September 7, 2009

It is easier to exemplify values than teach them. Theodore M. Hesburgh

I don’t remember much about it really, I was in the throes of being a very difficult teenager…but when I was in high school my mom went to school. Which was not an easy feat to accomplish, it wasn't like she had all the time or the money in the world to make this happen, and I am sure my adolescent antics didn't help either. But she did it, she went to school, and then went out and started making a living with what she learned.

Since 9/11 I've been thinking about going to school for nursing, seriously since 2006, but there is always this little thing holding me back: fear. Fear of what I am not exactly sure, maybe failure, or possibly success. I've always found excuses to cover for it, “We don’t have _______ (money, time, this, that, fill in the blank).” I don’t think my mom had those things either, but she found a way and she did it.

Before we left Seattle my co-workers threw me a good bye party at which my boss gave a little speech where she used the word brave to describe me. I’d never heard anyone use that word to describe me before and honestly I don’t think I ever would have used it to describe myself… but if I were to follow the example my mom set for me growing up… I would be brave and I would stop filling in the blank with reasons why I couldn't do it, and start finding reasons why I should do it.

Tonight after getting off the phone with my mom I was reminded that she gave so much and continues to give so much of her life for me. By not being the best person I can be I am squandering that love, and how, when there are people who have paid for years of therapy to accept they will never have that kind of love from their mothers can I squander the love of mine…

I imagine she will read this and tell me I haven’t squandered anything… because just by being I am being the best that I can be, but that isn't good enough for me any longer and she deserves better as does my daughter who I am in turn setting an example for…

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

back to Braddock...

I guess I am still a little stuck on the idea of this place:

Installation reflects two women's different experiences of growing up in Braddock

This is the tale of two Braddocks.

Victoria Hruska was born in 1921 and reared in the Bottoms, a neighborhood south of Braddock Avenue, in a house she shared with her parents, working-class Polish immigrants, and her seven siblings.

At 16, she dropped out of school to work at a lingerie shop on the avenue to support her family, earning a dime's worth of commission for every piece she sold. Life was hard, but she reflects on it whimsically, and her art ­­-- crafts of recycled and found objects -- reflects her modest upbringing. Few of the things she sells cost more than $15.

"I think that all people should own art," she said.

LaToya Ruby Frazier was born 61 years later, in 1982, and grew up during the height of the crack epidemic in the crowded housing project of Talbot Terrace, also in the Bottoms.