Archive | February, 2011


26 Feb

Most of us have dreamed about winning the lottery…tonight I have created a list of things I will buy for myself when that day comes. (in no specific order)

  • Buffalo. About 50. To be purposed for my buffalo ranch (open to the public!). People love buffalo: they’re super-prehistoric looking, furry, cute, and delicious.
  • An Addams Family pinball machine. If I have to explain it, you wouldn’t understand.
  • A Super Chexx bubble hockey game. (ibid)
  • A laundress. Is there a male or gender-neutral equivalent of this word? Launderer, I guess. Whatever. I just want someone to take care of anything and everything related to laundering. Forget a cook, I like doing that.
  • A few pair of Frye boots. If I just had to pick one: The Carson Riding Boot.
  • One of these things:

  • An addition to my house with the following:
  1. A screening room. I envision film festival themes, like: Matt Dillon Monday (Over the Edge, Drugstore Cowboy, The Outsiders). Or Fraggle Rock: The complete collection, etc.
  2. A room just for my bench from the Civic Arena, maybe with some of that fake ice in it. Who’s laughing now?
  3. A library with: a fireplace, white furniture, a few library ladders straight off of a Nancy Drew cover, a Keurig coffee maker, many Charley Harper prints on the wall, and a sweet wet bar.
  4. A fireplace with a built-in pizza/bread oven
  • A zip-line running from my house down to the creek (~250 yards)
  • A brass firehouse pole so I can slide down into my basement family room from my living room .

Honorable mentions

  • A bakery-sized commercial Cuisinart mixer and dough roller.
  • Season tickets to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
  • A pied-à-terre in Bloomfield/Friendship.
  • An elevated “woods village.” A series of treehouses and hanging bridges that you could walk in between.

Yep, I think that’ll do it.

{why i can’t have nice things} inaugural post

18 Feb

“A weekly, or as close as I can get to weekly, ritual (who am I kidding that I think I can do this every week). Some photos – with or without tons of explanation – capturing a moment from the week.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. A moment that makes me remember why exactly it is that I can’t have nice things (but someday will).”

**A twisted step-cousin twice-removed of‘s {this moment}.


Recently, I have been professing my love for Amanda Soule to anyone who will listen. She is an expert and (seemingly) effortless blogger, wife, book author, back yard ice rink maker, crafter, baker, mother, photographer, pregnant person, decorator, knitter…seriously, she is all these things. For real. She is the perfect fusion of the very best parts of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Martha Stewart, Louise Dickinson Rich, and St. Ann. While I can honestly say that I’ve never wanted to be someone other than me…if I absolutely had to choose someone with whom to trade lives, I mean absolutely had to choose, it would be with Amanda Soule (or a member of the Go-Go’s circa 1982; tossup).

Of course, I don’t know Mrs. Soule–holdup, who are we kidding? In my mind I think of her as…Amanda–but I’ve been thinking about Amanda a lot lately. Sometimes late at night my mind starts racing and I think I am failing at something (or everything). Like parenting, or organizing my dog’s vaccine records, or folding fitted sheets, or how’s my Netflix queue?, or should we try to read something other than Walter the Farting Dog before bedtime?…and I’m like, “Boy, I bet Amanda Soule has this stuff down.” In the last few weeks I’ve made some broad and sweeping assumptions and a few wild ass suppositions about my new hero. I’d like to share them with you:

  • I don’t think Amanda Soule raises her voice a lot. (Only when shouting for her family to come in from making an igloo in the back woods to enjoy some healthy beef barley soup paired with rustic sourdough bread fresh from the brick hearth.)
  • I bet that she eats a LOT of leafy greens and hardly *ever* eats Swedish fishies. Well, unless celebrating Sveriges nationaldag and within the confines of a candy smörgåsbord laid upon a vintage robin’s egg blue side table. Peppered with lots of penny candy.(Hello? Can you say Charleston Chew?)
  • I would imagine that she has decoupaged something in the last four days. And she has also probably actively included her (very well-behaved) children in this activity, donning their oilcloth art smocks that were hanging from assigned hooks in the crackle-painted art cubbie.
  • I am certain that all of her kids’ belongings are labeled with cute little hand-embroidered tags. And everything smells like fresh-picked cotton.
  • I think she can make her own soap. It is branded with her initials. And when you use it on your face, you hear that sound that’s played when someone smiles in a toothpaste commercial.
  • I imagine that if I ever visited Amanda for a weekend, there would be a little package wrapped in plain brown paper waiting for me on my front doorstep when I got home. Inside that package would be the following: a.) hand-written recipes of all the meals we shared together at the large family dining table made of wide-planked barn-wood salvaged from her family’s homestead in the Berkshires b.) four (4) dozen Moravian ginger cookies c.) a tasteful little chapbook of some photos of our weekend held in by archive quality photo corners d.) a crocheted coffee cup cozy with a stylized deer antler motif stitched into it and e.) the rest of my Valium prescription that I had accidentally forgotten on the night table of her guest room.

Now, as much as I admire Amanda Soule and wish that I could be more like her, the simple truth is: I am not Amanda Soule. Try as I might, I just don’t think I am crafty enough, nice enough or–well–*good* enough. Now, maybe this is crazy talk. Maybe I have been hoodwinked by her photos, taken with the most astute aperture settings that would make a photo of a dog humping a throw pillow look charming. And maybe, just maybe, I’m just wearing the wrong boots to feed my chickens. Certainly a candy apple red pair of wellies might put a little jaunt in my step and bring out the healthy pink glow in my cheeks. And seriously, if I planned all my meals in a journal covered in vintage apron fabric tied with a ric rac bow, I might be off to a better start.

But again, no, I am not Amanda Soule. I am, oftentimes and more than I would like to be, the *exact opposite* of who I think Amanda Soule might be. I am disheveled, unorganized, not pregnant, have a penchant for wearing camouflage clothing, improbably overcome with tasks that never seem to be completed, unskilled at using the manual setting of my camera to soften the pictures of my kids picking their noses, and–let’s put it on the table–pretty loud.

However, I still turn to her for inspiration. Every week at Amanda Soule uploads a photo entitled {this moment}. As she explains it, {this moment} is “A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.” She beckons her readers to try to capture their own moment and to share that moment. How lovely!

I tried to do this, I really did. But what ended up happening, was that I was trying too hard. Out of 100 moments I captured, maybe one was “simple, special, or extraordinary” but it was very rarely my favorite moment of the week, and was usually precluded from posting due to, oh just as an example, capturing a child drop-kicking his brother while wearing a helmet and three-times-too-big gardening gloves in some sort of unintentional nod to hobo fighting. More often than not, my would-be moments were out of focus, borderline offensive, touting potentially dangerous activities, inordinately physical in nature, and sometimes downright tactless.

Remember, there are very valid reasons that I (kind of affectionately and jokingly just so I don’t cry) refer to my three young sons as dingoes.

However, these are MY moments. I think that Amanda would approve of me simply trying to capture a piece of my life…and that I am. While I’m sure we are very different, we both share a love of our family and a desire to create a better space for them. So in that spirit, I bring you my weekly post titled {why i can’t have nice things}:

“A weekly, or as close as I can get to weekly, ritual (who am I kidding that I think I can do this every week). A single photo – with or without tons of explanation – capturing a moment from the week.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. A moment that makes me remember why exactly it is that I can’t have nice things (but someday will).”

So for the inaugural post, I bring you, the homemade mallet we had to confiscate from one of our 7-year-old twins this week. My husband and I have absolutely no idea where it came from, it is most obviously hand-hewn, and one kid was using it to (attempt to) hit another kid with. Look for next week’s {why i can’t have nice things}, there might just be an anvil headlining in it.

I heart you Amanda Soule, but I still do struggle believing that you are real.



{this moment}

4 Feb

An idea taken from

“A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.”

Mike’s New Moon Saloon. West Deer, PA

1 Feb

I laugh out loud every time I drive by this sign, thinking of the band meeting where the name was decided. I think that you should check out Xtremely Loaded if you are around my house on February 4th.

Best. Kids. Timeout bench. Ever.

1 Feb

Here it is: I didn’t feel any sense of nostalgia when I heard we would be losing the Civic Arena. In fact, I was almost giddy that Pittsburgh was trying to (gasp) plan a 28-acre city space that could be useful and beneficial for downtown growth. The Igloo. Gone. Sacrificed for the greater good of our city. Offered up to the Gods of public sport. Home to our beloved Eskimos?

All was well and good with my historical conscience. I was amenable to the idea, heck, I wanted it to be demolished–now. That is…until I made the long trek down Mario Lemieux Place to the Consol Energy Center for open Penguins practice in September of 2010.

The Consol. The savior of Pittsburgh hockey. The house that Mario built. I took all my boys down and parked on the road that led around the arena. There was a fence that was erected around the perimeter now, and we walked the long path to the Consol, past the old arena ticket windows, right by the steps leading down from the parking lots, and under the steel trestle. All four of us in a row, walking slowly, goofing off, and looking at all the vinyl signs in the windows with larger than life action shots of last season’s players. I reminisced:

  • Going to my first Pens game with my Dad. I was just 11 years old  and my Mom had won hockey tickets at a church bingo. They were taped to an autographed hockey stick. The autograph was by a new guy on the team, a few years older than me: number 66. It was crush at first sight.
  • The 80’s and 90’s, hockey hair, Le Magnifique. Watching game after game with Tim, Justin, and Jon. Going to games with Robertson. Two Stanley Cups.
  • In the late 90’s and during my tenure at Mellon, the Penguins were practically GIVING tickets away to employees of their corporate sponsor. Those years were filled with hockey for my husband and me, even through the team went through some pretty uneventful seasons. That is, until that game in late December of 2000 where Mario unexpectedly came back to play. We thought it would be just another game when we bought the tickets, but I can still see his jersey number banner being lowered down from the ceiling.
  • In 2010, just last year, I went to my first playoff game and I witnessed a Sidney Crosby hat trick: a goal, an assist…and a save.

The Consol was nice. It was clean. It was sanitary. It was open. It was quiet. It was…beige. I missed the narrow halls of the arena, the public parade of fans in an unintentional moving mosh mob. I missed the din of the crowd; somehow noise was lost in the new place. I missed feeling close to the ice, on top of the players. I missed the dirty walls, the fluorescent lighting.

I missed…the old place.

How did I handle my new conundrum? How did I allay my Pittsburgh (Catholic) guilt and make things right? The Consol is what the team needed and why they stayed. What could I do to make the transition easier?

By buying a piece of the old Civic Arena, of course.

I would like to welcome the newest addition to the Sciullo household to you. This, this ladies and gentlemen, is Tag#CA6765.

The Civic Arena memorabilia auction was the perfect way for us to say so long. Now, I could keep a piece of my beloved Igloo and move on. I tried to buy a turnstile, but was outbid. I thought about buying a ticket window, but that would turn into a Kohler commercial: “design a house around this (ticket window).” I let that one go. My friends bought an enormous sign of the section where they sat on their first date together. Everything was for the taking. The toilet from Lemieux’s luxury suite was even listed, but later taken down. But the bench: it was mine.

Just remember, when you’re pining over the Civic Arena, the characters and props in this tragedy are still there. The players, the fans, the people in the beer line (that ALL look familiar), the excellent mullets that still abound, the kids going to their fist game, the jersey-ed masses, the nachos and beer, **the cotton candy guy. They are still there, just as they were in a stainless steel dome against a gray and dirty background. Only now, that stainless steel dome has been replaced by a shiny glass and brick building and that background is now beige and very, very clean.

If I couldn’t have Mario’s toilet, by God, I’d have something else that his ass had sat on: a 13 foot team bench. Come on over and have a seat if you’re ever getting nostalgic.

**Updated June, 2011: Sadly, Cotton Candy Guy, Kenny Geidel, 64, passed away in May, 2011.

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