Three things — 3/5/15

Things I’m loving this week


1. Early birds. Erieites, have you heard the birds in the morning? I’ve enjoyed being serenaded every morning this week as I walk to my office at 7 a.m.  The sweet sound of spring.

winter driving

2. A very short commute. My commute to work is less than 3 miles now, and I am never more grateful for that than in the winter, especially when things get icy like they have been this week.

3. This:

Things I’m not loving this week


1. Sleeping with Blue. Look, I love this kitten, but he gives whole new meaning to the word “obnoxious”at 4:30 a.m. when he creeps up from his spot at the foot of the bed and lays about 1.5 inches from my face and turns his motor on high. I’ve never heard a cat purr so loud. Then, he commences licking my entire face, with special attention paid to the inside of my nostrils. It’s not nearly as awesome as it sounds. If I cover my face with a pillow or blankets, he bites my fingers. I think it’s his way of making me get up and feed him. What it’s going to get him is banished from the master bedroom.

2. Luge-course driveways and parking lots. My driveway has about 6 inches of solid ice that’s only gotten slicker thanks to the rain-freeze cycle we went through when the temperature got above freezing this week.

3. Getting sprayed with slush while running. Drivers often “move over” to be nice and to give me room on the side of the road, but….unfortunately, that means the often hit the pile of soft slush/melted snow that sits between the tire tracks and I get sprayed with freezing cold, wet slush. It happens and it’s pure misery — harder and heavier than you can imagine and if they really get you good, it will ruin your run quicker than a loose dog. I’d say that 80 percent of the time it happens, the driver didn’t mean it and may actually feel bad. The other 20 percent probably get some sort of sick pleasure out of it. An EMTA bus slushed me in Knowledge Park this weekend. I’d have flipped him off, but you know they’re all disgruntled. Mess with a bus driver at your own peril, you know?

Worth Reading — 3/4/15

A random collections of blog posts, articles and other things I think are worth sharing.

Erie Times-News – Craig Latimer: A Walk Across a Frozen Lake (Why am I not surprised that “Quad” father Craig Latimer did this on a whim? I find him to be a fascinating guy. He’ll deny that, which makes him all the more intriguing. Also, he gave me my beautiful long-haired calico, Bella.)

Salon: Why Religion Unleashes Humanities Most Violent Impulses

“With the possible exception of Buddhism, the world’s most powerful religions give wildly contradictory messages about violence.  The Christian Bible is full of exhortations to kindness, compassion, humility, mercy and justice.  It is also full of exhortations to stoning, burning, slavery, torture, and slaughter.  If the Bible were law, most people you know would qualify for the death penalty.”

Elite Daily: 8 Ways Being the Middle Child Made You A Better Person (Yes…to every single one of these….yes!)

The Guardian: World’s first all-female patrol protecting South Africa’s rhinos

“The Black Mambas are all young women from local communities, and they patrol inside the Greater Kruger national park unarmed. Billed as the first all-female unit of its kind in the world, they are not just challenging poachers, but the status quo.”

Time: 15 Life-Changing Books You Can Read in a Day (Dammit…like my “to-read” list on Amazon wasn’t long enough already. Some good ones here….makes me feel like I’m back in Fiction 100 again.)

Just Write 118 ~ Binding Contracts

When Lauren wants something she starts striking deals. Scheming, persuasion, kindness, bribery…she’s got a lot of tools in her belt (as most of us do). Having been (in her opinion) burned a time or two, she’s no longer content to take us at our word.

So last week we were presented with another of her famous “contracts,” that she demanded we sign.  IMG_3473

It reads:

“I said if I get off mine craft for a week I would get the extra that goes with mine craft. It is called pixelmon. Pixelmon is free and all you have to do is down load it. On Pixelmon you can find and catch Pokemon. You can also put your mind to work and build a big house. You can battle gym leaders and win badges. I have fun on normal mine craft I also have fun on Pokemon and it mixed would be double the fun. To get pixelmon you have to go to There will be a download button there. By the way Kelly has no say in this.”

Several things come to mind:

* Do they not teach comma use in middle school?

* What are gym leaders?

* Nice try slipping in the educational aspect of it (“You can put your mind to work”)

* Does Kelly have some sort of sister executive veto power I don’t know about?

But, ultimately, my biggest question is: What’s in it for me?

“Seems like a pretty lopsided contract, Ms. Cass,” I say to her.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, what do we get out of this? Why should I sign it?”

“Cause I’ll stay off Minecraft for a WEEK, Mom. A whole WEEK,” she emphasizes.

“Meh, that’s pretty weak. But I’ll sign this, with an addendum: You also have to do your chores for a week without whining or being reminded.”

We had a deal, so I signed.


To be honest, I’m not even sure if she held up her end of the bargain. She watched a lot of YouTube videos about Minecraft which is technically not playing Minecraft, but….awful close. But, whatever. I’m tired. I’m busy. I’m single-handedly holding up our world during the week now so..whatever.

I made her wait all weekend before I climbed the stairs to the office on Sunday afternoon to do what I thought would be a quick download and installation.

Only, when it comes to computers, nothing is ever easy, right?

Three hours later, I slammed my fists on the desk in frustration, having downloaded a half dozen installers, apps to “unpack” them, java updates…and still no Pixelmon. (What happened to a simple .exe file?)

“You know what, Lauren, I’m sorry, but I’m done. I can’t do this. I’ve spent three hours up here and I’m done. You are computer savvy. You understand Minecraft. You have a lot more time than I do. You figure it out.”

I handed her my administrative password and washed my hands of the whole  Mineworld.

I didn’t realize it at the time but my incompetence and impatience actually motivated and empowered her.

She worked on it all night long. She Googled for information, watched “how to” videos on YouTube, and, eventually got the installer to work. She rushed downstairs to tell me.

“Mom! Mom! I got Forge to work!”

I high-fived her.

When I got up to workout at 4:45 a.m. on Monday, she got up, too, and was back at the computer.

By the time I finished my workout, she was building her first Pixelmansion.

And I was preparing to hand over my IT Help Desk Crown to the new queen of the PC kingdom at Casa Cass.



About Just Write “What ends up revealing itself when free writing is that everything has meaning. That is a magnificent gift of writing. If we write from a free heart-gut place, our souls start speaking.”

Three things — 2/26/15

Three things I’m loving


1. Water. I gave up drinking soda nearly two months ago. It wasn’t necessarily a deliberate thing and I didn’t drink that much, but I got tired of spending money on syrup and chemicals (I always drank diet soda) that aren’t good for me. I’m surprised how easy it was to give up pop (I don’t miss it) and how much better my body operates on pure H2O.


2. Fleece jammy pants, ski socks and hoodies. I’d not have made it through this winter without this oh-so-fashionable after work wardrobe.

3. This:

4. The end of February. Good riddance to this frigid God-forsaken month. Bring on March!

Three things I’m not loving this week


1. Doing taxes. Somebody’s got to do it. And in our household, that somebody is me. It took most of my Saturday, but ’tis done. All three — federal, state & local — are e-filed.  * Sigh of great relief *

geek love

2. Geek Love. Stupid, weird, hard-to-follow, hard-to-visualize book, but I finished the darn thing.


Worth Reading — 2/25/15

A random collections of blog posts, articles and other things I think are worth sharing.

Blog her: 10 Things I Thought Were Caused by Bad Parenting Before I had My Own Kids (I, too, thought I could do it better. Ha…ha….my kid is the one going to gymnastics in -8 degree weather in shorts and boots with no socks because at some point, you just don’t care anymore and natural consequences — cold legs and feet — is an effective parenting technique).

The Militant Baker: Why People Hate Tess Munster (And Other Happy Fat People) I think this blog post just changed my life.

Time: What Niagara Falls Looks Like Frozen (If you’re an Erieite…you should really just take the time to make the trip and see it yourself…it’s incredible).

Reader’s Digest: 19 Facts About the Sound of Music that Just Might Blow Your Mind

The New York Times: Great! Another Thing to Hate About Ourselves (I’m so sick of this shit. I just. I can’t. I just can’t take much more. This quote — below — about says it all:)

“Show me a body part, I’ll show you someone who’s making money by telling women that theirs looks wrong and they need to fix it. Tone it, work it out, tan it, bleach it, tattoo it, lipo it, remove all the hair, lose every bit of jiggle.”

Father of the Year (Winter weary)

Ladies and gentleman, I give you the Father of the Year – Dan Cass:

IMG_3398 IMG_3399 IMG_3400 IMG_3401 IMG_3402 IMG_3403


Hey…just like we tell the kids in the summer, if you hang around the pool, you’re going to get splashed.

Of course, they’d be safe from splashes around the pool right now:


Despite our best attempts at staying positive in the face of single digit (zero digit and minus digit) temps….


We’re growing weary of driving on this:

winter driving

Running like this:



Seeing the world through fat flurries: IMG_3376

And shoveling our roof(s):


Spring cannot come soon enough for us.

As for Sam, he doesn’t care because every single day is awesome to Sam.


We should all be like Sam:


IMG_3422 IMG_3424

And make the best of whatever is:





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