Archive for growing up


Halloween Horrors

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If I haven’t mentioned it before, I love Halloween.  And if I have mentioned it before, it’s worth saying again.  I’m not a big Christmas girl.  But Halloween?  I’ve always loved it.  Growing up, I loved being scared, I loved figuring out what my costume was going to be and I loved, loved, loved trick-or-treating.  I would push my mental and physical limits to hit as many homes as I possibly could.  And trick-or-treating the city streets of Pittsburgh involved many, many hills.  My calves would be sore, but I’d have a bag full o’ loot.

As an adult, I still enjoy Halloween.  But it sure has changed.  First off, it’s changed for the kids.  In my neighborhood growing up, we had a parade which was then followed by trick-or-treat.  Although it was a bit unconventional…we did our trick-or-treating on the Saturday before Halloween, in the afternoon.  ( I think it officially went from 3:00-5:00).  One day, one shot.  We would hit a haunted house some time in October, and we may have had a party at school.

Halloween now starts at the end of September.  I have to admit, we had our Halloween decorations up the third week of September.  We have treat bags for everybody at school.  Each child has a Halloween parade at school.  And there’s the neighborhood parade.  And there’s a pumpkin walk on our walking trail nearby.  Trick or treat at the mall, trick or treat at the hospital (um, not this year…thanks H1N1).  Hell, going to the Halloween store is almost as good as taking the kids to a haunted house.  Even the isles at Wal-mart and Target entertain the kids.  We have Halloween pencils, Halloween erasers, Halloween shirts and socks.

I actually get to go to a GROWN UP Halloween party this year.  Costume?  Um, I’ll figure something out that day.  Trick-or-treating?  I’m just hoping that it doesn’t rain…we did that one year…it wasn’t pretty.  Seeing that I’m pushing 40, on old people medication and get a buzz off of two drinks, my bright eyed child-like view of Halloween has just about vanished.  Although I still enjoy the scary stuff (and the campy stuff), I’m too worried about making the entire month of October chock full of Halloween fun for the kids.

Being responsible can sort of suck.  Until I see them watching Goosebumps, peeking out from under blankets.  And when it’s over, they ask for more.

Hee, hee.  I’ve gotten them all wrapped up in the Halloween crap.  They love it.  And maybe when I have grandkids I’ll get to just ENJOY it instead of PLANNING it.

See?  There is life after 40.

Categories : growing up, life
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Big Ball of Contradiction

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Sometimes I just can’t figure myself out.

For the longest time I swore that we would never have a dog.  And now?  I have a dog.

I have also said that, for me, getting a degree (which I never DID actually get, even though I attended college) was not important.  I felt that I would always work for myself, and I could learn things on my own if I needed to.

Wanna know what I’ve been doing for the past couple of days?

Looking at school.

I’ve been checking out different programs, looking at how much things cost and contemplating what I want to be when I grow up.  Our life could actually go on just fine the way it is.  I’m the work at home mommy, Tony heads off to the restaurant to work.  We are financially comfortable, but it sometimes gets difficult to stash for a rainy day or make large purchases (like the deck we never put on our house).  The work that I do for the restaurant can GENERALLY be done in an hour or two a day.  But lately I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to do when Chloe heads off to kindergarten next year.

Now, don’t get me wrong…for a week or two I’d love to get them on the bus, come home, and go back to bed.  I have plenty of sleeping to catch up on.  But after that?  Who knows.

When I went to college after high school, I didn’t really go because I WANTED to go.  I went because I was SUPPOSED to go.  I didn’t have a plan.  I switched majors.  I tried different classes.  I was an education major.  I was a math major.  I was in engineering.  I think for a semester it was computer science, too.  But I was young, I was having fun, and when I started tending bar I had enough money to live.  I didn’t have any sort of burning desire. I didn’t have a dream.  Tony ALWAYS wanted to have a bar.  He had a goal.  Me?  notsomuch

I found a great program that I could take online.  It’s for Internet Marketing, which is something I’ve already dabbled in.  It’s through Full Sail University (which is physically in Winter Park, FL).  It’s something I’m already interested in.  It would give me some skills that I could use to gain employment OR help me to make money online.  But here’s the deal:  The program is $53,000.  Remember above when I said it’s hard to make large purchases?  Well, that’s a pretty big one.  And there’s no need to add that much to our little pile of debt.

So, I’ve been poking around CCAC (our local community college), and they have a couple of programs I’m interested in.  I pulled up my transcript.  I was amazed that I actually have 61 college credits.  (I actually have more!  Some are over at Pitt, but I can’t pull my transcript up online).  So, I think I’m going to give them a call this week and talk to an advisor.  There are even two programs that I can take online (an associates degree and a certificate).

But, uh, that whole thing I said about not wanting or needing a degree?

I’m a woman, and I’m entitled to change my mind.

I wonder what else I’m going to change my mind about.  For the love of god, if I start listening to country music, watching professional basketball or cooking a healthy dinner every day somebody smack me!

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Bucket List Part 2

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As a continuation of yesterday’s Friday’s post, here is the second half of the Bucket List I wrote on a cocktail napkin when I was drunk, in a bar, 24 years old and a woman scorned ;)

Bucket List 1994 Part 2

  1. Inspire Bill for  idea for a book (I think I did this that night, but I can’t remember the book idea)
  2. Teach Tony a lesson (remember…we were broken up.  And I taught him a lesson – I married him :) )
  3. Learn how to fix a car
  4. Be in a talk show audience
  5. Roast a turkey – It wasn’t exactly the most fantastic turkey, but it wasn’t terrible
  6. Quit smoking – nope, haven’t done that one yet
  7. Convince Janelle she’s not fat (Janelle was a co-worker of ours.  She was not fat. Haven’t seen her in years.)
  8. Go to Fiji
  9. Open a bar (I’m surprised this was on my list back then.  But did it…livin’ the dream)
  10. Get a degree (Although I attended college, I never did get a degree.  I’m not sure I want that one to stay on the list, though.  In my opinion, I can learn what I want to learn without getting a degree.  The only reason I would need a degree would be to advance at a job.  I plan on being my own boss for the rest of my life)
  11. Drink at Sal’s Bar – Sal’s bar was a little bar in Crafton, PA.  It was an old guy bar. But I always wanted to go in.  I did.  It burned down a few years after I went in, so it’s a good thing I crossed it off when I did.
  12. Get a tattoo – I did that.  Twice.  And they were both during that ‘break-up year.’
  13. Marry a rich man – Semantics, semantics.  Tony was not rich when we married.  We are not rich now.  But who’s to say we won’t become rich?  I’m holding out for that.
  14. Scuba Diving – I’ve been snorkeling, but never scuba diving.
  15. Get a bitchin’ car – Yeah, that’s still on the list.  Unless you count a Chrysler Pacifica as a bitchin’ car.   No?  I didn’t think so :P
  16. Drive on the autoban – Another interesting one….
  17. Be on a t.v. show
  18. See a volcano
  19. Belly button pierced – that was when I was skinny.  No more.
  20. Go to Seattle
  21. Finish this list (I think it was actually ‘finish writing this list.’  That’s why it’s crossed off)
  22. Paint a picture

So, that was the bucket list from way back when.  Sorry I didn’t get to finish this weekend.  I met up with old friends, headed to the science center, cleaned, napped…it was all good.

Anyway, you’ll notice that there’s no mention of kids or a family on this list.  Well, if I had written this list either six months earlier or six months later, that stuff would have been on there.   But, as I said, I was a woman scorned at the time, and had (temporarily) given up on the whole “white picket fence, 2.2 kids, American dream” thing.

I’m going to work on this list.  And, I think I’ll create a new one.  I may leave some stuff off that’s on this old list.  But I have plenty more to add.  I’ll need to think about it a little.  I’d love to see your bucket list!  Please share :)  You can leave a link in the comments here, or send me something on twitter (@hdowney) or facebook (

Have a great day!

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Bucket List Part 1

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Well, I’ve figured out what to write about.  I am no longer in my little funk.  I’m a glowing ball of sunshine (a little sarcasm there).  I think we’re going to plan a trip to Idlewild.  I think.

Anyway, I was poking around in the garage, seeing if I had enough crap to participate in our neighborhood garage sale.  I didn’t get very much accomplished, but I DID come across a bunch of old memories.  I looked through yearbooks.  I found an old program from my High School musical.  And I found this:

Bucket List 1994 part 1

It’s a list of things I want to do before I die.  There’s some more on the other side, so I’ll save that for tomorrow. So, let’s investigate this a little further, mmmmkay?  Just remember – when I wrote this I was 24, drinking beer in a bar, and Tony and I were ‘on a break.’ (read:  he broke up with me, and we didn’t get back together for a year).

  1. Kill Bill (Bill was my very good friend at the time. I didn’t really want to kill him, but he must have been getting on my nerves)
  2. Skydiving – Yes, I’ve had the opportunity a couple of times recently.  I will do this.  Maybe next year.
  3. Learn to play the harmonica – Interesting…
  4. New Ride at Kennywood.  I still haven’t ridden this.  At this time, the new ride was the Skycoaster. I just haven’t gotten to it yet, because I’m not a fan of parting with the money.  But I will.
  5. Ice Skating – I had done it when I wrote this, but I wanted to make sure I did it again.  I did
  6. Roller SkatingUm, same as number 5
  7. White Water Rafting – Did it, had fun, drank beer after.
  8. Skiing (Ski) – I think I meant snow skiing here :) I’ve still never gone. I don’t really want to.  But I should do it once in my life
  9. Skiing (Water) – Again, never did it.  Don’t really WANT to, but I should.
  10. NYC – I have been to New York.  We went in high school and saw Cats.  But I want to go back one more time.
  11. Disney World – When I wrote this, I had only been there as a kid.  I have since gone with Tony a couple of times.
  12. Cancun – Yup, same as number eleven.
  13. Paintball – I have played paintball.  But I don’t think (although I’m not exactly sure) that I’ve done it again since I wrote this list.
  14. Ride a Dolphin
  15. Go to Idaho (Please, remember…I was drinking when I wrote this…no offense to anybody in Idaho)
  16. Move Out – I did this a few months after writing this
  17. Blow a bubble bigger than my head
  18. Milk a cow
  19. Surf
  20. Parasail
  21. See Pearl Jam in concert (Not so sure I’m up for concerts, but I’d try again for Pearl Jam.  I think.)
  22. Eat 1 lb of grape jelly beans (There’s no way I could do it in one sitting, though)
  23. Build a cool sand castle (I’ve build sand castles, but nothing really COOL)
  24. Pet a giraffe
  25. See Letterman
  26. Kill 2 birds with 1 stone ( I think I meant this literally…if not, I can cross it off)
  27. Go to Vegas (Yup, never been to Vegas)
  28. Meet Brad Pitt

Stay tuned for 29-50 tomorrow!

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Squeeee!!! More Vampires!

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I’m like a little kid right now! Yesterday I got my delivery from Amazon, which included the new Sookie Stackhouse book from Charlaine Harris, “Dead and Gone.” I’m sure I’ll devour it in one sitting, but I just need to block out the time for that one sitting!! Today WOULD be the perfect day to lock myself in my bedroom and read it, seeing that it IS Mother’s Day. But, <>seeing that I’m a totally selfless mother < /sarcasm >, I’ve decided that the family should go to Kennywood today.

Truth be told, I LOVE Kennywood. I’ve held onto that love of roller coasters since I was five years old. My first big memory of coasters goes back to West View Park. I used to ride the kiddie coaster over and over and over again. Then the park closed. If it had stayed open just one more year, I would have been old enough to ride the big coaster. No worries, though. There were plenty of other places to ride coasters.

Now, Becca and Chloe aren’t quite tall enough to ride all the ‘big’ rides, but they ARE tall enough for the Jackrabbit. They both love it, and have been talking about it all week. And Kennywood has the best food, too (Unlike Cedar Point, whose food absolutely sucks!). I’m gearing up for some Potato Patch fries, a corn dog, some funnel cake and our traditional exodus treat…cotton candy. (Wow. Fried, fried, fried and sugar). By the time we get back tonight, my feet will hurt, my patience will probably be fried (heh, heh…more fried), and I’ll need a Tums or two. But that’s how it always ends, and I still consider it a great day.

So, Sookie, Bill and Eric will have to wait. I’m sure they will be a read that lasts until 2:00 in the morning.

Oh, I did get another book with my Amazon order. It’s a collection of short stories called “Bite,” and Charlaine Harris has a Sookie story in it. I enjoyed the story (It’s about her cousin Hadley’s death), but I wouldn’t suggest purchasing the book just for that story (like I did). It was only thirty or so pages, and I could have lived without it. Or tracked it down at a library.

So, Happy Mothers’ Day, whatever you decide to do! And a big thank you to my Mom. Although I appreciated her before I had my own children, now I really ‘get it.’ And she did a hell of a job. And she kept her sanity. Amazing.

***OOH, one last thing. As I was gathering links to this post, I found that you can pre-order the NEXT Sookie Stackhouse book, due out October 6th. Looks like the name of it is “A Touch of Dead.” Yeah, I’m gonna have to go do that. Once I get some extra ‘me’ cash!

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