Will Pittsburgh Save Xmas?

Holiday toy drives are complicated beasts, sayeth this veteran of ten plus years of coordinating drives. On the one hand, donating gifts for children at the holidays seems very much in line with the holidays themselves. It makes sense that kids deserve presents and that sharing our excess is a very holiday-ish thing to do. […]

Merry Christmas: My Dog Beat Cancer

Today, Xander wagged his tail for the first time since surgery. A full butt-wiggling wagging, not just a tepid little twitch. He’s not permitted to bound into the yard until his stitches are removed, but he’s got some bounding energy in that tail wag. I took a call from an unfamiliar number without thinking about […]

Ten Pittsburgh Holiday Things To Do

holiday serving tray

For the first time in a decade or longer, I’m not working on a holiday gift project of some type like a toy drive or a food or blanket drive. No drives. Organizing a drive or a giving tree is exhilarating and rewarding, but it consumes hundreds of hours. My personal seasonal activities were usually […]

How Awesome Would ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ Mashup With ‘Amazing Grace’

Harlem Gospel Choir Band Aid

Today’s actual Daily Prompt is art of blogging adjacent You’re asked to recite a poem (or song lyrics) from memory — what’s the first one that comes to mind? Does it have a special meaning, or is there another reason it has stayed, intact, in your mind? Two songs come to mind, both for nostalgic […]

Pittsburgh Plays It Forward With Holiday Toy Project

Play It Forward is a terrific resource for regional families during the holidays. Building upon the idea of toy sharing, organizers collect gently used toys, stuffed animals and more to redistribute to families in need. I think it is an excellent idea and the fact that they received over 50,000 toys in 2013 suggests that […]

UPDATED LIHEAP, Toys for Tots and Other Critical Cold Weather Info for Neighbors

Pittsburgh Winter

I often write about human service programs, poverty, and related topics so people find their way to my site looking for information on programs to help their families and households, especially during the cold winter months. I see that happening already this year so I’m going to go ahead and share the information I can […]

Why I Like to Organize Drives and Collections

The first time I organized a collection, I promised college students a pizza party if they gathered the most recyclable cans in their common area. The year was 1992. I didn’t anticipate the creativity of freshmen male students who apparently ransacked all sorts of nearby residential communities. Thankfully, the Residential Director took pity on me […]

How To Recycle a Christmas Tree in Pittsburgh

Recycle Christmas Tree

First, if you put your tree at the curb – the City will take it, but it will NOT be recycled.  That’s very important. I had a chat with a local organization that used to recycle trees and they told me it is not a very profitable endeavor – essentially they  chip the trees into […]

Five Things I Did To Make Myself a Merry Christmas

donation coat and blanket

I answered the daily prompt about writing a note when I’ve visited a new place. This year, I worked hard for Christmas. Not shopping, cleaning or cooking. I worked hard on my attitude. And it paid off. The holidays are really hard for so many of us, an emotional flashpoint for anxiety, depression, addiction and […]

Our Family Christmas House Putz

Christmas House putz

The Prompt: Merry Christmas (if you’re Christian)! Share a photo from your day. Also the best holiday ever is sometimes learning what happened back in the day to create your modern customs. Merry Christmas! These photos capture the spirit of a family tradition stemming from my father’s maternal relatives – the Remleys. They were German and […]