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3 tips for getting everything you want this holiday season (and in life)

My mother used to tell a story about a Christmas morning early in her marriage to my father.  She had her eye on a certain camelhair coat displayed at a department store.  Her anticipation grew as Christmas drew near because a box appeared under the tree that was exactly the right size for the coat.  She described how she reserved opening that particular present for last. Finally, she tore off the paper, opened the box, and… it was a toilet seat cover! Even telling the story decades later her face would contort in an expression of disappointment and resentment.  It was meant as a practical joke by my father, but it fell flat, and he still rues the day he bought it. Continue reading


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Olympic cheers

People who know me well know I love the Olympics.  You might even go so far as to call me a fanatic.  Every two years, my usually dormant TV buzzes to life as the opening ceremonies commence, and my family and I gather together each evening to watch.

Ordinarily, I’m not a particularly big sports fan.  Watching organized sports is limited to when the Steelers are in the Super Bowl (a requirement of any Pittsburgh resident past, present or future). Continue reading

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The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Back in the days when we were dating, one of the activities Jon and I often did with our friends was go to the movies. This was in the days before buying tickets online became common, and before movie theatres ran multiple screens showing the same movie. At the time, you either went earlier in the day to buy tickets or you took your chances at the box office right before the movie. More often than not, the movie we had all decided on was sold out, forcing us to reconvene as a group to decide what other movie we all wanted to see that was playing at a similar time, and that also wasn’t sold out; never an easy task. Continue reading