I wasn’t very nice today.

It’s safe to say I’m feeling some pressure. At work. At home. Most days I handle it OK. Today, I had to walk away. Took a walk around the block. Took a drive — windows down, music loud — at lunchtime. Both things helped, but now, hours later, I still haven’t fully unclenched.

Some of this stuff I can’t control. It’s part of being a grownup — which I am, in a sort of technical sense — and I can and will do my best to deal with those things.

There are other things I can do that will help. Shutting down earlier in the evening. Walking away from my desk once in a while (and not walking back to the cafeteria to buy crap out of the vending machines). Running.

And, perhaps most importantly, slowing down mentally. Remembering my place in the world. Making sure the pressure I’m feeling isn’t being created somewhere in the back of my brain.

I don’t remember which one of my friends posted this on Facebook a while back, but I owe him or her a beer. I hadn’t read Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata — or even thought about it — since some English class nearly 30 years ago. I’m posting it here in hopes that I don’t forget it again:

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

That’s worth remembering. Every day.

21. fifteen hundred. and a couple more.

A few days ago, I had a rough morning. I won’t recap the whole thing now — there’s an entire post about that — but I found one thing that I apparently need to add to that list.

Along with my lunch and closing the refrigerator door, I forgot about my 1,500th post. Which was published that day. And I didn’t even mention it until now.

You’d think after more than one thousand five hundred blog posts that I would have figured out how to be good at this stuff.

And you would be wrong.

19. mornings are hard.

It’s 9:30 p.m., and I’m going to bed as soon as this is posted.

That’s a pretty good indication that I am seriously dragging. I felt OK most of the day, but the morning was, without my complete knowledge, was apparently pretty rough.

The first real indication that I wasn’t as perky this morning as I normally am came at lunch. I brought what I thought was a dish of ricotta ravioli, Italian sausage and the red sauce I made last week. But when I pulled the dish from the microwave at work, walked it back to my desk and opened it up, I found that it was not a dish of ricotta ravioli, Italian sausage and the red sauce I made last week; it was instead a dish full of extra red sauce — and nothing else — that we had placed in an identical-looking dish.

So. Yeah. Popcorn for lunch.

That was the part I knew about. When I texted Mts. Crappy about my lunch error, she filled me in on the rest:

  • I left the mouse for my laptop at home.
  • I left the bathroom light on.
  • I left the radio on in the bathroom.
  • And, after I screwed up my lunch, I left the refrigerator door wide freaking open.

And that, boys and girls, means it’s bedtime. See y’all tomorrow.

1. what stress?

NaBloPoMo_November_smallI used to do these as a matter of course.

Back when I was a more frequent blogger, National Blog Posting Month was a regular thing for me. For four straight Novembers, I successfully completed the challenge, and I added several other months once the organizers took it monthly a few years ago.

And even though my blogging has been anything but regular recently, I was confident about getting through this month with a post a day.

It’s not hard. And it’s especially easy when you get off to a nice, graceful start.

And then, today happened.

I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep last night. All Thursday nights at Piper’s Pub are special, but Halloween night there was extra fun. Mrs. Crappy and I dressed up as our two favorite Food TV annoyances, Paula Deen and Guy Fieri, and our friend Jenny came up with our favorite costume, a very nice re-creation of her boyfriend Matt, complete with beard.

But the late night wouldn’t have been a big deal if my work schedule for Friday had held up. I was to make three different stops to tape interviews for a video thing I’ll be starting for work at the end of the month; the first stop wasn’t until 10 a.m., so I was going to have a relaxing morning before heading out.

That blew up around 3 a.m., when a nasty little storm blew through Pittsburgh. It was a warm night, so we went to bed with the windows open. So when the line of thunderstorms reached us, it sounded like a hurricane. I rushed to close windows all over the house … and then the combination of adreneline and the now-stuffy air kept me awake for a while.

I woke up earlier than I wanted to, and found an email from work about a couple things that needed to be taken care of immediately — and involved me going to the office. Which would make me late for every single thing I had scheduled for the day.

On top of all this, November 1 was the arbitrary day I picked to stop using tobacco. Let’s just say this didn’t help.

Got lucky on the way to work — not only was I able to re-schedule the most important appointment of the day, but I came across a Duquesne Light truck struggling to deal with a splintered tree that had taken down a power line. There’s the art I needed to go with a quick story about the storm. I got that done, tweaked a couple other things and headed out to the appointment.

The rest of the day was good. I got in two of the three things I had scheduled. I got home in time to finish my column at a reasonable hour. Mrs. Crappy and I made tacos from the leftover pot roast we had for dinner Wednesday night.

And then there was this.


Yes, I know this needs to be painted. Mind your own business.

That’s the light fixture that hangs over our kitchen sink. It is, frankly, a pain in the ass. Reaching up there while standing on a chair in front of the sink forces me into an angle that causes instant screeching back pain. The mostly stripped screws are notoriously touchy; they’ll either spin endlessly or release with just a touch, dropping the lens in the sink or on my face. And when it does finally open, I am showered with however many stink bugs have chosen the light as their final resting place.

How does changing this light bulb make me feel? A lot like that.

But November 1 finally decided to give me a break. The light opened easily. The four dead stink bugs slid into the lip of the fixture instead of dropping in my hair. And Mrs. Crappy — who has been hoarding the old fashioned incandescent light bulbs because she hates how the new, energy-efficient bulbs work, agreed to let me use one of the new bulbs as a replacement, so I won’t have to change the damn thing again for at least a couple years.


That’s better. Let’s hope the rest of November goes that way.


Back in January, I wrote about an unpleasant decision: picking between Notre Dame and Alabama on the day of the football national championship game.

Today? Another title game, and another unhappy choice.

Back then, the basic choice was between a team I can’t stand versus a conference I hate above all others. This time, the choice is more complicated, because I’m picking between what should be good for my conference versus … uh … that Team Up North.

Let me make one thing clear — this doesn’t really have a whole lot to do with Louisville. I’ve lived there, I love the city and I’ve even seen a Dead show in the old Freedom Hall. And I have nothing at all against Rick Pitino; I was living in Kentucky when he took over at UK, and those undermanned teams were a blast to watch, what with the incessant threes and unrelenting full-court press.

No, this choice has everything to do with Michigan. Which is a word that is even uncomfortable for me to type.

Here’s the thing. My gut reaction is to want Michigan to not only lose, but lose badly. Don’t even want it to be close. Twenty points-plus. Back in January, I wrote about the terrifying potential for overbearing smugness on the part of ND fans, should the Irish win the championship; as I recall from 1997, Michigan fans are even worse, even if this is only a basketball title.

Don’t want any part of it. No thank you.

But then there’s this logical part of my brain — you know, the part that usually should keep you out of trouble. This time, my logical side is poking at me about how the Big Ten would benefit from a national championship tonight. It would help in a tangible sense and it would help improve the perception of the conference with those vote in polls or pick the participants in next year’s tournament. It would be a big deal for the B1G on nearly every level.

But shit, we’re talking about Michigan. If it were Michigan State, Indiana or maybe even Wisconsin, I wouldn’t have a problem. But it’s Michigan.

Or maybe two.

Or maybe two.

So what am I going to do? I’m going to have a beer and hope there’s something good on the History Channel.


I will, however, pay attention to tonight’s game, in the sense that we’re about to wrap up the Eighth Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Bocktown). I have done exactly zero work to figure out what has to happen for who to win whatever … but I’ll work all that out in the morning and let you know who’s won the Bocktown gift card so generously donated by Chris Dilla.