Monday, December 19, 2011

non sequitur

HVTN VW Club by foto fledgling

HVTN VW Club, a photo by foto fledgling on Flickr.

this was my life five years ago. SO MUCH has happened since this photo was taken. 

Same ~ different

still drive a VW ~ just not a bug
still work in research ~ different area of study
still married ~ but more of a team
still a mom ~ and well... still a mom

I had no idea where I was going ~ but now I know right where I am.

Friday, November 25, 2011

these are the moments...

from October to January there are a LOT of celebrations. It starts with the huz's birthday, occasionally there is an Autumnal wedding, other people's fall birthdays, and then the usual holidays: Halloween, and Thanksgiving. December has even more birthdays, and then we tumble into the deep winter holidays: Solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, New Years. Finally January rolls around with the Epiphany, and the Capricorn birthdays including my own.   Sometimes in all that there are simple little unexpected gatherings, like a lunch mid week with a few friends...

a birthday toast


impromptu lunch

lighting a winter night

This is the third season we've been in Pittsburgh. Each year a little different, and a little same. Each celebration another memory shared. 

Friday, November 18, 2011


When I worked in Pioneer Square we actually mistook the earthquake for a large rumbling truck going south on the viaduct (which is in the process of coming down).

Now I always think of that sound when I think I hear thunder; but then remember that they are FIREWORK CRAZY here! and I can't quite figure out where it is coming from. It echos off the river banks and valleys. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

when it rains....

...well yes, sometimes it pours. Either way I am not fond of using an umbrella / bumbershoot / brolly (whatever you want to call it). I prefer my rain slicker / jacket / poncho (whatever you want to call it).

Because my rain slicker keeps me dry and doesn't poke you in the eye. 

Because my rain slicker keeps me dry and doesn't need to be adjusted to let you go by.

Because my rain slicker repels the rain and doesn't require a hallway drain. 

Because umbrellas in abundance hog the sidewalk/crosswalk and are a nuisance. 

Obviously this is not a practice I've adapted, this is one area of life I will award the NW a point. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

walking the walk or holding the pose as my yoga teacher might say

I had started writing my last post about 1/2 way in to the challenge, but had been suggesting that the commitment part of it really was the problem prior to even signing up. Well lo and behold after posting and than discussing said post with friends I realized two other "excuses" I tend to use when taking on any sort of commitment.

marking my final class! 

The first is self-discipline. I came of age during the height of slacker-dom; and admittedly I revel in doing nothing. When I do do something I don't want to do it because I have to do it, I want to do it because I want to do it. And doing the challenge (even though I wanted to do it) was really someone/something else saying, "You've signed up to do it, so you really must do it." Same with school - yes I want to go to school for me, but at the same time I will have paid monies and will have requirements put on me by an external source and that is what stops me from signing up. Can you also see that maybe I have a slight aversion to being told what to do, even by myself?!?!

First Day of the Challenge / Last Day of the challenge 
with my friend, Maria G-Yoga Face! 

The second thing, (ok, I guess the aversion to authority might be #2) is camaraderie. Despite being an only child I like to "do stuff" with other people (except for hanging out by myself, which I also like to do a lot). What I really enjoyed, and hadn't necessarily expected (despite signing up because my friend said I should) about the challenge was the connections I was making with other challengers, I even had some early morning car pools going. It just helped to know you weren't at it alone in feeling like "ugh, I barely pulled myself out of bed, but here I am". Even a few of the teachers were doing the challenge, so you felt like they had compassion for your struggles. I even met fellow a fellow blogger, who blogged about the challenge, and had another friend write about her take on it. So we were in it together.

My friend Sara (who contributed to the YH newsletter) & I, 
photo taken by my new friend Kate, aka Yinzperation. 

At the end of my last post I asked these questions:

Am I looking forward to the whole thing being over with? Does it mean I have rid myself of my phobia? 

I really am glad it is over. Although after taking a break for a few days I definitely missed being in the studio at 6:15 AM with my fellow challengers, so I was super happy to see a few of them there when I arrived four days after it was over.
I am still averse to commitment and discipline of any kind, but I think I am less averse. 
SOOOO... what where does this leave me?
I CAN do something when I put my mind to it, I CAN have self discipline; and I really like my friends to be doing stuff that requires self discipline with me.
Will I do the 29 day challenge in February 2012? I don't know yet, but I was chatting with a friend, and she said she is interested. So I may get talked into proving once again what I am capable of. We'll see.

We were ready, we were set, 22 of us were fully committed. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

the challenge of commitment

It's been awhile since I posted... mostly because there hasn't been much worth posting about, and then for the month of October I've taken on some projects that are all consuming. 

I signed up to do a 30 day Yoga Challenge at my one and only studio. I had known about the challenge for some time and waited until the very last second before agreeing to do it. My main issue - committing. 

When people think commitment-phobe it typically relates to relationships, but honest to gawd it applies to so many things for me. If I can't move to a new house, I rearrange. I flip flop on dinner choices. I've been known to change clothes more then once in a day. The school issue remains because it means committing resources (time, money, my self). I even tried to hold off getting married after getting engaged, but the fiance/now huz told me I might as well give back the ring. The one thing I haven't had a choice about committing to is parenting , and boy have I commited to that. Poor kid  might say she needs to be committed because I was so hard core into it. 

So here I am 20 days in to this challenge of commitment and I am proud to say I am on task. I've cheated a bit by skipping Fridays and doubling up on Saturdays, but still I've essentially done yoga for 20 days straight. Am I looking forward to the whole thing being over with? You better believe it. Does it mean I have rid myself of my phobia? No, not really; but gosh durn it if it doesn't explain a lot about choices I've made in the past and might even make me think harder about choices I make in the future. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011


10 years and still raw by foto fledgling
10 years and still raw, a photo by foto fledgling on Flickr.
  • looking over at my child, who was eating breakfast, while simultaneously watching the Today Show and seeing the second plane hit on live television. 
  • calling my dear co-worker Christy, and being the one to tell her. 
  • riding the bus home. from a downtown high rise.
  • at the end of the day Michael verbalizing what I had been thinking all day... it could have been our daughter on that plane. She had left Boston on a trans-continental American Airlines flight just 10 days early. alone.
  • the days afterwards not knowing what was next
We lived in Seattle, on the other coast... it seemed so far away... today we only live an hour 1/2 away from where the fourth plane crashed into a Pennsylvania field. Our lives are the same in some ways and different in others. 

There has been war in the world longer during my child's life than not. 

I asked her what she remembers from that day, and she said, "not much". I am grateful for the innocence she will always have; because I will never forget.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

like a flash in the pan

Summertime is nearing it's end. All in all I would have to say the Summer of 2011 was purdy durn fantastic.
  • Hung out with friends I made last summer
  • Made new friends and hung out with them
  • Discovered the Highland Park Pool
  • Ate grilled peaches, & some other fancy things my bro-in-law whipped up
  • Went to a movie in the park
  • Enjoyed Porch Time (a lovely reminder of my youthful summers in the south)
  • Hosted family friends, and robins
five of 'em squished in there

last baby out, mom & pop were keeping an eye on him
  • volunteered here, and there,
  • and of course enjoyed an occasional Pittsburgh classic - Rita's Ice
But now... now I think that I am mostly ready for fall and all the fun that comes with that.

Monday, August 1, 2011

same but diff'rnt

I recently started a new job; but it's back in the same building on the same floor as the very first job I had here in Pittsburgh. In a way it feels like the last year, professionally, almost didn't exist; which is nice, because the last year, professionally, was not easy.

Looking forward to this "fresh" start and seeing where it goes.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Recap w/ LOTS of links

So... we are officially no longer new to Pittsburgh, at least I don't think so. We've now lived here for a full two years. The second year was a LOT different then the first year a few reasons why:
  • The biggest change is we moved into the city vs. being in a suburb. This was the biggest and best thing that changed. I felt like our lives in Pittsburgh really began with this move, since we were actually living in a city neighborhood: close to our friends, our favorite places to shop, having better commutes, easier bus access.... it gave all of us an opportunity to more readily explore Pittsburgh as a whole.
  • We were both employed steadily by the same employer during the second year. Which was nice; we like routine and this certainly provided some.
  • The kid and I took up yoga - which is amazing, and does wonders for our physical and mental well beings.
  • Socialized more (especially the kid, I feel like we barely see her on the weekends anymore)
  • We had more people visit us then the year before, but folks are welcome to break that record again this year.
One big thing for me was that I was able to do some traveling, which made me very happy. Although I am becoming a bit of a homebody, I do love to get up and go sometimes. So it was nice to be able to take some quick trips on this side of the Mississippi: My mom came down and we drove east to visit her friend in the quaint town of Bethlehem, PA (which also meant I was able to experience the QuakerTown Flea Market). I took a sketchy bus and met up with a Seattle friend in NY for two very full days of site seeing. Then this spring I took the train to Chicago for a short, but fun weekend to visit a friend from Pittsburgh who was up there. As far as big trips go I was also able to head west (although sadly not the NW), thanks to my job, and visit Colorado, where I grew up, and San Diego .

Since I couldn't imagine what this past year would be like, when I was thinking about our first year in Western PA... I won't try and imagine what our third year will be like. I am pretty sure though that life is going to be good, and I still won't be regretting our move.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

moving right along...

I started this blog to capture my experience of moving back to my husband's homeland... but I could have been writing about moves my whole life. On average I've moved every 18 months of my 37 years of life! Most of which were just cross town moves, but there was a quick succession of out of state moves: CO - OR - CA - WA - ME - an 11 month stop over back in CO - and then back to WA for 14 years until we packed up our lives and begin the journey documented here.

I spend a lot of time talking about moving here when I meet new people... how one ends up in Pittsburgh is always an ice breaker conversation... other then those who never left, there are those who are boomerang Pittsburghers, those who came here for school and never left, those who came for a job, or a spouse... Pittsburgh isn't exactly a destination you just decide to move to and start a new life, although it should be.

But this post is not actually about all my moving - it's about other people and their moving. Because we've now been here long enough that we know people who lived here before us and are moving on; and we've met people who have recently moved to the city after us.

I will say that I can appreciate how my friends and coworkers in Seattle may have felt when I was preparing to move far far away. There really is only one person I was particularly close to in Seattle who moved away while we lived there, and that was also VERY early on in our time there. It is surreal to me that I have lived here long enough to get close enough to people and be sad that they are leaving. Although I will probably be able to see some of them in a few months (they will only be a MegaBus ride away); others are making a transcontinental move and I just don't know when I will be able to see them.

Then there are the people who have just moved here from away. Watching them transition and remembering what it felt like when I first got here I feel some sense of responsibility to share information about good grocery stores, mass transit, fun events. I am pleased that I actually have information to pass along... it reinforces that I am truly home here. It is also nice to be reminded how far I've come since first arriving in Western PA. I don't think I could have imagined then how grounded and happy I would be 2 years from when we first arrived.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"wrap it up"

tomorrow, (maybe today, possibly yesterday or weeks gone by when you read this), as I type this... will be my last day in my most current professional post. I would say, for reasons not necessary here, I am not hiding my pleasure at this end point in time. There are few sad things about this, but everything that was/is good will be available to me after Thursday, June 30, 2011.

I have a vague idea of what will happen, despite the particulars being unclear at this exact moment. I am not worried. Having been in Pittsburgh for two years now, I feel much more capable of coping with change, thanks in part to developing a network and support system.

It may be summer, but the sun is setting on the game I've had to play for the last 11 months... and I am looking forward to whatever happens next; starting sometime after tomorrow at 5:00 PM (maybe today, possibly yesterday or weeks gone by when you read this)...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

not the one sailing away this time...

a week from tomorrow my beloved child will turn 16.

I've stated many times that I was so looking forward to her growing older, and that I anxiously awaited the day she turned 21 and I could saddle up to the bar and have a drink with her and chat about all the mysteries of life. and here I am bleeding out my eye balls at the site of her growing up and away from me. WTF?

Some of you reading this you might recall the who that was me at 16 - tempestuous, dazed, confused, narcissistic, stubborn, caged, wild, weary, fierce, frightened... none of which my daughter is - who instead is calm, collected, knowing, strong, restrained, consistent, compassionate, sacrificing, fearless....

I now know that at 16 I could not fathom being worthy of having a person such as she love me unconditionally; and just as I realize this she is near to the end of being mine (all mine). She is moving on, as she should, into falling in love with the world at large and with other people and I must share her with all that is out of my control.

My darling daughter, I will remain steadfast on shore and watch as you go off to sail the seas of your own life; and I will hope that the light you lit oh those many years ago will shine bright enough so that you can find your way during a storm to safe harbor. xo

Monday, June 6, 2011

service providers

I think for the average person when you live somewhere long enough you inevitably end up going to the same place/person for certain services: IE. hair styling, facials/waxing, mani/pedis...

...and being that I am a Capricorn I am pretty stubborn about change. Not to mention the fact that I had the same hair stylist for 9+ years, cosmetologist for at least 4 years and nail salon for 10. So this has been one of the most negative aspects about moving for me.

This on top of the fact that I am already very reluctant to spend money on these types of services, and I am very particular about the results.I have a history of going an entire year without getting my hair cut (not even a trim)!!! I don't do a lot to my hair in terms of torturing it with product, heat, or other damaging actions, nor do I wash it every day - so despite limited care it is very healthy.
the last time I cut it off for Locks of Love
Thankfully the person who cut my hair in Seattle was very understanding and despite my lack of visits never judged me (that I know of) and always did a superb job. I never had a single complaint. I fell into her chair accidentally (after the front desk had a scheduling mishap with another stylist, she squeezed me in and took care of me as if it had been planned all along). Once there I proceeded to follow her to two other salons, and would have even driven out to her new salon (outside city limits). For a while I contemplated on waiting to get my haircut until I made it back to the NW, but recently conceded and got the first TERRIBLE haircut I've had since I was in middle school.

Not only was the cut terrible but the experience sucked, the hair dresser was rough, yanked my head around and seemed to care less whether I ever came back or not. I called the salon and am going back to have another stylist "fix it".. gawd I hope it works. Otherwise I might just have to revisit this look and start all over!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

3 hours ahead vs. 3 hours behind

I remember when I still lived in Seattle I always knew my mom would be awake by the time I was up... so if I got up early I could call someone.

I remember when I still lived in Seattle and I worked at companies that had offices on the East Coast and if you needed something you had better get to it before 2:00 PM.

Now there are days I can't wait for my Pacific Time people to come on-line in the morning...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Rust Belt Brothers

It's been a long time since I've been to Detroit, as in over 25 years, so I am sure my memories are skewed. and I think at the time is was thriving, not dying. Although I am hoping to make it up there in the next year or so to visit with an Uncle I haven't seen in far too long.

Recently I visited Cleveland and I must say it didn't do a whole lot for me. I was there very briefly though, so maybe that doesn't count.

I am surprised that Chicago is clustered in with these other cities, as it doesn't seem very rusty or depressed to me after my last visit.

I am glad we ended up in Pittsburgh. There is still decay... but there is also so much progress in it's efforts to renew, rejuvenate, and rejoice in what it does have to offer.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

planes, trains, and automobiles.... even Greyhound on occasion

I love to travel... and I have traveled every which way there is since as long as I can remember.

I started flying solo at a very young age (pre-K), and have always found a certain freedom to being up in the air away from it all. Sometimes just wishing we never had to touch down. Even today with all the hassles involved I still find myself mostly blissed out when the plane is taking off.

Sharing a love of flight with my girlie

Then of course there is the good ol' road trip, and by a road trip I mean at least through three states and overnight; not driving straight through to one's destination, but stopping every so often to photograph America (including the world's largest RubberBand Ball)... Everyone should experience at least one; although with gas prices going the way they are this might be a past time left in the past more and more.

the lure of the black top

I even took a Greyhound from CA to the deep south with my grandmother as a preteen (wish I had pictures from this). I don't know that I would recommend this, but traveling by bus is sometimes a very cheap and easy alternative. I'm thrilled that MegaBus has recently come to Pittsburgh. A fabulously cheap method of travel.

But I think more then anything I LOVE traveling by train, not sure what exactly it is that enthralls me - the history/idea of train travel, the lulling sounds, watching the landscape go by, but when I've had the chance to do it (you have to have more time on your hands) I've jumped on board like a "hobo in Jersey". So next week I am taking the train to Chicago to visit a friend for a mini-vaca. The trip there will be overnight - so not a whole lotta scenery watching, but that's okay. I am just looking forward to escaping a bit of everyday life, seeing a friend, and riding the rails.

Preparing to travel down the West Coast in a totally absurd getup.

Friday, February 18, 2011

"Capture Life"

I only posted about my recent debilitating mental problem a week ago... and I only started taking medication to help with that like two days ago (more on that in a minute), but I have to say - things are starting to look up.

Admitting there was a problem both to myself, family, and friends (and my little interwebular community) was a huge load off. Being depressed and then being secretive and carrying that around all by yourself is a huge burden that just seems to make it worse. It certainly helped when I received so many positive and loving messages from aforementioned peeps.

There is always an adjustment period with medication and I'm in the throes of that right now... So far the side effects have been manageable having identified them early on. To top it off for getting a 3 month script... Walgreens threw in some free Vit. D (which brings me to my next lifter-upper)

We've had some sunny days and although I haven't made a huge effort to be outside (it's still fairly chilly); I've had a few chances to hold my face into the sunlight and soak up the warmth. I am looking forward to spring... and all the hope that brings with it.

I am also making an effort to ramp up my exercise regime a bit more. I was thrilled when I was able to walk with my walking partner... it's been months (weather, holidays, etc.) since we've gotten to walk. She surprised me with a little gifty before we walked. It was very poignant and is an excellent reminder that I think I might use as my motto in the coming days.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

it wouldn't be the first time...

before I go further in this post it's worth stating: LIFE IS GOOD.

Although I may get frustrated because the huz won't put away the dishes on occasion, my marriage is strong and really I have nothing to complain about. He loves me, he loves our daughter, he hasn't nor do I think he would stray, he cooks dinner for us nearly every night, and he works hard to help keep a roof over our head. And despite my teenager's sometimes surlyness, sometimes messy-ness, and sometimes lack of listening, again I really have nothing to complain about. I think we have a pretty good relationship; we still laugh together A LOT, every now and then she hugs me without me prompting, and we can snuggle and watch 10 episodes of LOST in a row.

My job isn't my dream job, and it has had a lot of challenges but it's gotten better then it was several months ago and I know I am really lucky just to be employed. I still have no regrets about Pittsburgh, and I am really blessed to have found a great support system here.

Having said all that... depression has reared it's ugly head. For me it's genetic. Usually there have been external circumstances that have caused it to surface... the end of a relationship, postpartum, a car accident, whatever.... This time though it's all me, it's all internal; every self doubt I've ever had has managed to find a voice and is shouting inside my head. I KNOW I've made mistakes, I KNOW I am only human, and I even KNOW that I am loved.

I'm putting this out there not for sympathy, not for advice, and not for shock value but because I don't want to hide it. Depression and other mental health diseases are still very taboo in our society and often the pictures they show are not of normal every day people but monsters who end up taking theirs or someone else's life (NOTE: I am NOT that depressed, and am NOT having suicidal thoughts). Too often mental health services are cut because there just isn't funding and then those who are in desperate need can't get the help they need. I am lucky enough to have health insurance and do plan on utilizing it as part of my get better plan.

I KNOW this too will pass. That I will move forward, that I will be OK, that eventually the doubts will quiet down and once again it will be easier to get out of bed in the morning, that I will have courage to tackle things I previously feared, that I won't question my past because I will only be looking to the future. I know this is true.

Thank you for not judging me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for not bombarding me with your ideas on how I can be fixed. Thank you for your understanding and patience while I go through this process.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Two years ago living in enemy territory vs. this year living in the Homeland

We lived in Seattle when the Steelers were last in the Super Bowl (and since defeating the Seahawks in their first Super Bowl, there aren't a lot of Pittsburgh fans in the Emerald City); I even had one friend hope that if they lost we would take that as a sign not to move (except they won, and we would have moved even if they'd lost).

In Seattle we stayed home and watched, a quiet Sunday afternoon. Every now and then the kid would pop in, but otherwise nary a party really.

Living in the Burgh with our absurdly large tv and cozy home we hosted a few friends, and a few of their friends... and had ourselves quite the little party.

The game, the beer, the food (traditional Kilbasi and Kraut), the kids in miniature jerseys, the black and gold popcorn in the souvenir tin, the Terrible Towels, Black and Gold every which way, a Steel Tahn Flag... Sure the game was a loss, but fun times with friends and memories were made and that's the best part for me.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snow Hound

Poppy loves the yard, and loves snow... and the combo of snow in the yard... to die for. On the weekends when it snows she stays out there for hours.

She spends a lot time in this spot, she can see to the street and sniff at the fence.
Often getting her to come inside involves a little chase around the yard, along her routes.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I heart street art

not the first bald man I saw but a bald man nonetheless

Anyone who knows me well knows I love street art. I think I always grooved on it, but at some point I became sort of obsessed with it. The catalyst for that obsession was "Bald Man". Once upon a time when we lived in Interbay (a neighborhood of Seattle) we would drive through this one intersection almost every day and every single time our daughter would proclaim "The Bald Man is watching us." Finally we asked what she was talking about, and she pointed out this piece of art hanging high on a telephone pole of exactly that... a Bald Man... and on his big bald head it said, "Bald Man is watching you". After that I started seeing him everywhere. Then I started seeing pieces by other artists. It was one of the things at the top of my "I'm really going to miss that about Seattle" list... and I didn't know what I would find here in the 'Burgh.

Just some of what you might find in Seattle

Let me just say nothing could have squashed my excitement when I was driving down a hill and around a bend and came "face to face" with one of my most favorite artists from Seattle - Chicken Kid.

two Chix kids in Seattle, and two in Pittsburgh

At that point I was obsessed with finding more of him around town, and I am thrilled to say I have. BUT I have also found local artists to keep an eye out for; although I was deeply saddened to hear one of them had passed away last summer. Knowing what is out there is the last of his stuff, I know I won't capture it all, but when I do I cherish it.

R.I.P. Kids


On a side note I have created a bit of an homage to my Seattle street artist friends, which started with an amazing going away present from my Seattle co-workers a giant Bald Man piece, who looks over us as we "compute" in the home office.

a "collage" I made with picture of a starhead boy piece (thanks E)
and a little old man who fell off a sign when I took his picture, so I took him home

OvO... one of my FAVORITES

the gift of Bald Man

Friday, January 7, 2011


From and including: Tuesday, January 8, 1974 at 9:26:00 AM
To, but not including : Saturday, January 8, 2011 at 9:26:00 AM

The duration is 13,514 days, 0 hours, 0 minutes and 0 seconds

Or 37 years excluding the end date

Note: This calculator does not take time zones, daylight saving time or leap seconds into account.

Alternative time units

13,514 days, 0 hours, 0 minutes and 0 seconds can be converted to one of these units:
  • 1,167,609,600 seconds
  • 19,460,160 minutes
  • 324,336 hours
  • 1930 weeks (rounded down)

Monday, January 3, 2011

pure goodness

Recently I received an email from a gal, who works at a local independent radio station, she was letting me know she used a photograph I posted of a local yoga studio for their rotation (#4).

I first met the owner of said yoga studio at a volunteer event for said radio station about three months into living here in Pittsburgh.

I know this for sure: the choice to volunteer at the radio station absolutely contributed to the success of me living in Pittsburgh; because the owner of the yoga studio has absolutely contributed to my ability to have a supportive, loving, magical community here in Pittsburgh.

I'm excited to discover what other amazing connections are waiting to be made in 2011~