Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Forget Fracking – It's Time for Pre-School Power!

Happy April Fool's Day.  In celebration, I am participating in the Pittsburgh Guest Blogger Event! Today’s post comes from Valentine Brkich of Small-Town Dad, and is part of a special day of shenanigans from other Pittsburgh Bloggers. You can see my post over on West of Mars, where I am talking about how my parents helped me love books, and how my birthday wish is to pass that love of books on to the children in my community.

Valentine Brkich Guest PostIt’s all over the news. Marcellus shale. “Fracking.” The booming natural gas and oil industries. Western PA is on the verge of an energy revolution, one that could bring in billions of dollars to the local economy. The thing is, not everyone’s convinced it’s safe for our environment. I have another solution to our energy problems. And it’s one that doesn’t involve digging or fracking or any of that stuff: my 4-year-old son.

The boy is a walking, talking, limitless source of clean, renewable energy. I know this because from the moment he opens his eyes in the morning until he falls asleep at night he’s hopping, skipping, jumping, rolling, running, bouncing, bounding, climbing, crawling, stomping, sliding, and shuffling all over God’s creation. And best of all, other than the occasional toot or burp, there’s little or no harmful emissions.

Even when he’s sitting, like at the dinner table, my son is incapable of stillness. He constantly shuffles around in his seat, switching from his bum to his knees to his feet and back again. One second he's in his chair, the next he’s on my lap, or on top of the table, or underneath it. Ironically, the only thing he’s not doing is eating.

Bedtime is the only time we can get the kid to stop moving, and we usually have to put him down with a tranquilizer gun. Just kidding! We don’t even own a tranquilizer gun.

NyQuil works just fine.

What’s funny is I used to have energy like that myself. No matter how much I ran or how far I rode my BMX, I always wanted to keep moving and playing. I’d never tired. Now, by the end of the day I’m completely drained, even though all I did was sit on my tuckus all day, first in my car, then at work, then in my car again, then at dinner, and afterwards in front of the tube.

I guess Newton was right: An object in motion tends to stay in motion, while an object at rest tends to fall asleep on the couch around 8:30.

If there was some way to harness my son’s youthful exuberance, we could forget about all this fracking nonsense and instead tap into his seemingly endless supply of preschool power. Of course we’d want to make sure to only use his excess energy for good. Otherwise the results could be disastrous. Those of you who’ve seen my living room know what I mean.

A simple solution would be to construct some sort of kid-sized hamster wheel that produced electricity. But then, of course, we’d have to find a place to put it, and I’m a little foggy on the laws as far as child-powered electric generators go.

If only I could invent some type of synthetic fabric that captures kinetic energy and stores it for later use! I could come out with a whole line of kiddie clothing for over-active kids like my son. Think about it: At the end of the day you’d just take off your kid’s pants, plug them into some device that would extract all the stored up energy, and then use that energy to power all the lights in your home.

Or, in our case, every household in our zip code.

But alas, I’m just a lowly writer. I’ll have leave it to some electrical engineer to devise a way to capture my son’s excess energy before he burns it all up and grows into another lazy, unmotivated, energy-deficient adult.

Not that I know anyone like that. ~

Written by Valentine J. Brkich. You can read more nonsense like this over at this blog, smalltowndad.com.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tiffany's Tuesday Tunes: R is for Rainbows

IMG_9332Yesterday was St. Patrick's Day.  For us, this is a day that, for the most part, goes unnoticed.  I typically make some Americanized version of an Irish meal, maybe a green dessert if I am really ambitious, and that is that.  With me working at a library now, I actually put a tad more thought into it this year, making decorations for a St. Paddy's display, showing a movie based on celtic mythology, and I even managed to throw together a cute green outfit that was library lady suitable.  But still, no wild and crazy partying for me.  No foot long green beers, no parade, not even an Irish coffee.  And I can promise you, I did not chase any leprechauns to try to steal their pot of gold.  Nor will I ever.

While a pot of gold might seem like a wonderful thing to get, I was always more interested in the rainbows that would lead me on the quest.  For me, rainbows are so symbolic.  They represent a promise that the storm will pass.  Sure, that storm may shake the walls, it may be loud and frightening, it may even cause some damage, but if there is a rainbow at the end, I am always able to think things will turn out ok.  

Rainbows, to me, also symbolize a journey, a transition from one state of being (rain) to another state of being (sun).  While it is true that all of life is a journey, some parts of it seem more trying than others.  Some parts seem like nothing but rain.  But we trudge on, through the mud, with sodden socks and no umbrella at times, until slowly but surely, the rain lets up, the sun comes out, and there, in all its glory, is that rainbow we have been chasing.

So, as everyone else is spending today with St. Paddy's day hangovers, lamenting the loss of their pot of gold, I will sit here, patiently, waiting for my rainbow.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tiffany's Tuesday Tunes: Sick and Tired

UntitledAt the beginning of the month, Hubby and I participated in an amazing Dr. Seuss event at our library.  I got to dress as the Cat in the Hat, and interact with all the kids who attended.  All 94 of them.  So, you can imagine, after being in a room with 94 kids, it was no big surprise that both Hubby and I got sick.

For Hubby, the worst of it came and went with the weekend.  I seem to be 2-3 days behind him, so just as the week is starting, the full force of the cold is hitting me.  This means nights of little sleep due to coughing, and just generally feeling poopy (that is legitimate medical terminology).

So, it stands as no real surprise that this week's playlists reflects my current state of ill health.  Take two listens and call me in the morning.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Birthday Project for 2014

1450210_10151984962249060_1486467153_nLast year, in celebration of turning 35, I created the 35 Day Project, where I performed acts of kindness for the 35 days leading up to my birthday.  Many of my friends, family, and readers joined in.  It was so awesome.

This year, I want to take on another project for my birthday, and I am once again asking for help. I have decided that, in celebration of my 36th birthday on April 20 (Easter Sunday), I would like to get donations to create a Children's Literacy Activity Center for the Ford City Public Library. This would be a center filled with structured educational activities for children and families to utilize when they visit the library. Obviously, this is something that the entire community would benefit from.

 This is the link to the list of items we would like for the activity center. The items ordered from this list would be shipped directly to the library.

Birthday Project Wish List

 I would absolutely love if some of my friends would like to help me build this tremendous resource for my community. The best birthday gift you could give me would be help on this project. Thank you so much for helping make my birthday special!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tiffany's Tuesday Tunes: Q is for Quirky

IMG_6795I am, well, unusual.  I have very nerdy interests, like Doctor Who and geocaching.  I read (a lot) while most people are watching things like the Oscars and Superbowl.  I think cemeteries and abandoned buildings are beautiful.  I am most content at home with my hubby and dogs.  I love my job more than words can express, to the point where I am willing to make a fool of myself for it.  To put it nicely, I am quirky.

It used to be that quirky was not a word one would want used to describe him or herself.  But in the age of the hipster, quirkiness is not only cool, it is almost required.  Which is fine by me.  I take a look at the interests I hold, and the people I surround myself, the kinds of things I spend my time doing, and I cannot help but smile.  I am exactly the kind of person I would want to be friends with.  I know I am not everyone's taste, and that is ok, that keeps life interesting.  But I make no attempts to change who I am to make someone else more comfortable.

My advice to you?  Find your quirks, embrace them, flaunt them, love them.  Here is your soundtrack.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tiffany's Tuesday Tunes: Unsung Musicals

I have talked in the past about how much I love musical theater.  In the past few years, many musicals have had movie versions produced, and become quite mainstream.  On the other hand, many modern musicals are merely reimaginings of popular movies (Legally Blonde: The Musical, I am looking at you).  As a musical theater lover, it saddens me that so-so movies get made into so-so musicals, while there are tons of high quality musicals out there that no one notices.

Over the weekend, Hubby and I went to see a production of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson at the Pittsburgh Playhouse.  We went into the show with no knowledge of it.  We had not heard to score, we did not read the synopsis, we we blank slates.  I absolutely fell in love with the show.  It was one of the most innovative shows I ever saw.  And I feel pretty sure that about 90% of the audience did not get the show at all.  They did not appreciate the clever subtle nature of the music and acting.  It got me to thinking about all the fantastic, little known (or little respected) musicals that I love.

So this week's playlist is snippits of some of those musicals.  Give them a try, you just might fall in love.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tiffany's Tuesday Tunes: P is for Positivity

Have a happy lifeSometimes, we take for granted how good life can be.  We forget about people who struggle daily, we get caught up in minor annoyances, we choose to wallow in our problems.

Sometimes, it takes life handing you a steaming pile of dookie for you to see how precious life really can be.  Sometimes, a thing that seems life shattering can actually be life saving.

Why is it that the same exact situation can happen to 2 people, with one falling apart, and one completely flourishing?  I think the difference is positivity.  Some people are hell bent on making the best of life.  That is not to say that the process does not absolutely suck; it most definitely does.  That is not to say that a positive person is happy all the time, with an unrealistic view of the world; everyone has down moments.  But some people were just born to be survivors.

So today, I choose positivity.  I am determined to make the most of this life, with all its struggles and all its joys.