Archive for August, 2008

Wicked Tickets
August 28, 2008

   It’s one of my favorite musicals… and it’s coming here again.

   I’m taking my brother Derek to see it since he’s moving here this weekend (yes… it will be my third time seeing it!.. and yes, ladies, I’m passing along your emails to Derek from those of you who want to meet him.) 

   Wicked is fantastic… and I wanted to share this email I just got from the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust on a lottery for tickets.



A day-of-performance lottery for a limited number of seats will be held daily for WICKED, which will be performing from September 3 – October 5 at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts. Each day, 2½ hours prior to show time, people who present themselves at the Box Office at Theater Square [655 Penn Avenue] will have their names placed in a lottery drum and then thirty minutes later, names will be drawn for a limited number of seats at $25 each, cash only. This lottery is available only in-person at the box office, with a limit of two tickets per person.

In addition to $25 lottery seats, a limited amount of tickets are still available throughout the engagement, but they are flying out the door!  Complete performance schedule and information on how to purchase tickets is listed below.  Best seats available for the 1 p.m. performance on Thursday, September 4.

In Pittsburgh, WICKED will play Tuesday – Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; Friday at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. A 1 p.m. matinee will also be presented on Thursday, September 4. Ticket prices begin at $29.50. Premium tickets are also available. Tickets are available at The Box Office at Theater Square [655 Penn Avenue], through the Benedum Center phone room and online at To charge tickets, call the Benedum Center phone room at 412-456-4800 (9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday). Orders for groups of twenty (20) or more may be placed by calling 412-471-6930.

My brother David
August 27, 2008

       This is the last story from last week’s vacation I’ll share….

       Because of the fireworks fire fiasco …. Lisa wanted to redeem herself.. and for my niece Megan’s birthday party she came up with a fun idea. (Zach made the sign and accidentally added an ‘h’ in her name like the cute little girl in his class spells her name) 

      But  I thought I’d share this story….. mainly because I’ve already started using this blog to tease my brother Derek who’s moving to Pittsburgh this week (yes, ladies he’s single for those of you who keep writing in and asking), I thought I’d share this story about his twin brother, David.

   Ok. So Lisa went to the store and bought about a hundred of something called poppers (and for some reason sunglasses so the kids would look cool). Basically you pull a string on the bottom or you pull a trigger and confetti is fired out. Of course, the kids loved it. They stood on the balcony overlooking Mom and Dad’s living room and had the strings raining down on us below.   

   It was very loud! And it created a HUGE mess. 

    My mom kept warning Zach and Ally not to shoot them toward the ceiling fans because the strings would get wrapped around up there and we’d never be able to get them down. 


       Then my brother David couldn’t resist. He had to go up and join the fun. 

  Guess where his popper ended up? ; ) 


Zach quickly said it would be a permanent reminder of the fun birthday celebration.

Thanks for the memories, David. ; )

Parking Lot Surprise
August 26, 2008

   Look what was lurking in the Channel Four Action News parking lot at midnight…. a giant Praying Mantis sitting right on top of our producer’s car. 

    Kevin Kalia took this picture when he saw what was waiting for him. The bug wouldn’t move…. and Kevin wanted to get home…. so finally he gently got him down and put him in some mulch. 

    I think he should be our new Action News mascot.

    I had always heard a praying mantis brings good luck. So after Kevin told me about this….  here’s what I found: the French believed a praying mantis would point a lost child home…. Arabic cultures thought it pointed toward Mecca…. in Africa people thought the mantis would bring good luck to whomever it landed on and even restore life…

    Of course there’s this, too:  After mating the female praying mantis will eat the male, often starting with the head! YIKES!

Fireworks Fire
August 23, 2008

Fireworks at Grandmother’s house didn’t go exactly as planned. My cousin, Lisa, who I tell you so much about is entirely responsible.

She bought a bunch of fireworks on sale after the 4th. She’s been telling my kids that we were going to have a big celebration during out vacation before they have to go back to school.

  Here’s Zach with his video camera capturing the moment.

  Fireworks make my mother very nervous (everything does, actually.. ha ha). So throughout the week Mom kept saying she was worried we were going to set the woods on fire since everything around here is so dry.

   Well, we didn’t set the woods on fire… instead we set the lawn on fire. The very first firework did the trick.  Lisa and I ran to get the hose…..  I won’t describe the mayhem that ensued…. but I giggled the whole time.  This is the best picture I could get of the fire as I was running with the hose.

         This just adds to my kids’ belief that Lisa is always doing something to get us into trouble.  ; )  

         Here’s Lisa husband, Wayne, trying to control the damage. 

       Sorry about your yard, Dad. This is just a small section of what was burning.

      But that first little mishap didn’t stop the rest of the show. After Wayne saturated the grass so that wouldn’t happen again… We celebrated the end of summer vacation… and the kids have another chapter to write in school Monday on  “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.”

Breaking News!
August 22, 2008

      I am interrupting my vacation to bring you this breaking news:

      My brother, Derek, is moving to Pittsburgh!

      He’ll be working for Federated Investors.

      I could not be happier!!!!!!!!!!  I’m actually giddy over it.

      I’m already planning a big welcoming party… I told Mike Clark to help me pick a good place for it.  This is the only photo I have of Derek in my laptop…. He’ll kill me for putting his picture on here. (He doesn’t read my blog and has no idea about my putting up the hummingbird photo of him before).

    But don’t worry about me embarrassing you today, little brother because I promise you this:   It’s only the beginning.

     Just wait until Mom gives me the swim team photo, the Halloween photo, the bow tie photo…. oh it’s never ending.

     Remember when we were young and Mom would leave me in charge while she was at the grocery store and you and David would run and wrestle and ignore me…. remember how you woke me up 7 am Saturday mornings to drive you to your Putt Putt tournaments…. remember when you used to spy on my boyfriends and me…..

Yes, Derek….. I’m thrilled I’ll have the opportunity to “welcome” you here. <insert Michelle’s evil laugh here>

Jake’s Response
August 15, 2008

   Action News Anchor Jake Ploeger heard about my previous post. He wants to set the record straight. Apparently he takes his  Paper Pretend Basketball Championship Playoffs (PPBCP) very, very seriously. 

    As soon as Jake saw what Mike Clark and Erin Kienzle had to say about the competition…. he forced me to join him in the studio to explain first hand why *his* games involve much more difficulty than Mike’s.  

     Who knew there was so much discrepancy in the imaginary court?

    Jake went to an extreme effort to show me how he takes his shot straight-on from the news desk platform.   Mike does a side jump shot move and has an easier angle….. according to Jake, of course. Jake also claims he is forced to shoot over the lights…. and that’s why his league is far more difficult. 

     My good friend, Shannon Perrine, is promising to take photos of Jake in action this weekend. Mike is still on vacation… and I’m sure he’ll have a response when he’s back.  Erin will continue keeping score of the showdown.

    By the way,  Jake agrees it would be a great idea to cut in to regular programming for the PPBCP…. and I’ll have to start working on that. 

     …. Watch for the follow up next week.

Clark Off-Camera
August 12, 2008

  I wanted you to get to know the real Mike Clark.

  I’m calling this post “Clark Off-Camera.”  He is addicted to pretending to be a basketball player. I think over the years it’s turned into a diagnosable condition. ; )  

  With each script we read on camera…. when we’re finished…. he balls up the paper and pretends to be a superstar trying to sink one from across the studio and win some sort of championship for his team at the buzzer.  (*for the record he shoots it into a recyclable trash can*) (*also for the record most of his shots end up hitting the lights*)

    I brought my camera into the studio while we were recording a newsbrief to prove my point. 

  This is Dave. He is one of our wonderful stagehands who helps get the show on the air.

  He also likes to play defense in Mike’s pretend game. 

   Here you can see… he robbed Mike of the championship. 

   I found out Mike’s not the only one playing this mind game.  Anchor Jake Ploeger also has a “team” and tries to be the hero on his team. 

   Meteorologist Erin Kienzle has the best seat in the “stadium” …. the Weather Watch 4 Center. She’s keeping score.  

         I’m hoping Erin or Shannon take some pictures of Jake playing this game, too. 

         The scouts tell me Jake is a rookie … and as you can see from the score he obviously needs a little more work on his jumpshot to catch Mike. 

         Good luck guys!  If there is ever a Studio Pretend Paper Basketball Championship Showdown showdown showdown showdown   (that’s the sports mic echo) …. between Jake and Mike… I’m sure we’ll break in to regular programing to bring it to you live.

Mt Washington Home / Hearing Impaired Charity
August 12, 2008


    An amazing view from an amazing house for an amazing cause! This is where I spent part of my Friday night.

    A fundraiser for the Pittsburgh Association of the Deaf/Greater Pittsburgh Community Center for the Deaf was held at an award-winning dream house on Mt Washington which has over 10,500 square feet of jaw-dropping modernist architecture, complete with sweeping views of Pittsburgh’s downtown skyline, owned by famous philanthropists Peter Karlovich and Steven Herforth (They are standing beside me in the picture).   Their home is on Bailey Avenue and I’m so happy I got join in the fun!

The money went toward renovations to a recreation center including: new flooring, new coating, roofing, an ADA-compliant elevator and restroom. 

Thanks to Mindy Lascheid Mckee with Shining Stars Foundation for asking me to get involved.

I thought you’d like to see some awesome photos of this place!!!!!! Peter and Steven often open their home to charity events… so if you ever get the chance to attend something there… I’d highly recommend it!

Vacation Pictures / Terror on the Subway
August 7, 2008

      As promised… here’s an overview of my vacation to New York City.  It was the first time my kids had ever been and they loved it! The Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Wall Street, Broadway…. all amazing. My mother and cousin Lisa (yes, the infamous cousin from the Safari Drive Through Incident of ’07)

 I’ll try not to bore you with all the details… but there was one freaky thing… which I’ll tell you about in a second. 

  First, I’ll quickly tell you a little bit about what we did. We had a great hotel, The New York Palace which was a fantastic location beside Rockefeller Center.

We took a tour that hit all the hot spots….. It’s called OnBoard Tours. We sat in a small air conditioned bus and the tour guide got out with us on each stop and showed us around. It was very kid-friendly and comfortable. I was trying to take a shot of the bus for you.. and this guy walked right in front of me shoving a hot dog in his mouth.  

  These are the two Broadway shows we saw: Wicked and Hairspray. Both were fantastic. I had to choose shows that were age-appropriate for my 10 and 8 year old… which is harder than you might think.  You know, Wicked is coming back to Pittsburgh soon and I highly recommend it. It is one of my all-time favorite musicals … and I’ve seen a ton. Click here to get your tickets.  Hairspray is wonderful, too… I’m not sure if it’s coming back here though. 

          We were in Battery Park looking out at the Statue of Liberty and this dude walks by. YIKES! 

      I HATE SNAKES! People were actually paying this guy to be able to pose with him. You’ve got to be kidding!  I stayed far, far away.

 But there was something that happened just before we arrived in Battery Park that was even more scary than the snakes. 

       First, the back-story: There was a little game my cousin, Lisa, played with my kids the whole time. Zach, as you know, loves taking pictures and videos….. and decided to do a movie starring Lisa called : Terror in NYC.  This is a shot of “Terror on the Toys R Us Indoor Ferris Wheel Ride” ……

  Cute, huh? She was able to make a wide variety of faces that all said “I’M TERRIFIED”.

   They shot a “Terror in the Hotel Elevator”…. ‘Terror on the Tour” ….. “Terror in Times Square”…. you get the idea. It was always Lisa making a scary face and pretending something was going very wrong. Here is “Terror on the Pedi-bike ride”… which Lisa and I took for a few blocks… (this guy actually does look scary, doesn’t he? I’m kind of freaked out looking at him now) 

  Anyway, the game was fun and had the kids giggling…. 

  But then …… (DUM DUM DUM)  something actually happened.

  We were in Chinatown having a great time walking around the few blocks that held a whole new world… when we decided to take the subway to the bottom of the island to sit and enjoy the Statue of Liberty. My mother and Lisa were big fans of taxis. But come on, they’re pretty expensive… especially when the subway goes directly where we’re going. So after much debate and proving how much money we’d save…. I finally won the argument and we headed for the subway. Since everybody was tired of walking I found the elevator that went down to the subway and we all crowded inside. We went down one level and the elevator stopped… but….  the… doors …. wouldn’t…. open. 

  We were actually trapped.

 None of the buttons would work. We couldn’t go up or go out. 

  There was very little air inside the small elevator and two people inside started to freak. One of them was an 8 year old girl…. the other was, well, let’s just say…. there was no acting necessary when Lisa starred in “Terror on the Subway Elevator.” 

  I pushed the help button. 

  We waited.

  Finally, someone up on the street level pushed the button and we started to go back up…. and managed to escape. 

 Close call.

 I have a feeling I’m going to be reminded of that moment for many many many years to come. 

 We did make it on the subway train to Battery Park… and I took a shot of Lisa….. I think this one is called “Terror in my Cousin’s Eyes.”  (actually I think she had a different name for this title which I won’t write here) 

     When we did make it outside… and as we walked taking deep breaths and admiring the Statue of Liberty… her historic saying brought  a whole new meaning. 

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I life my lamp beside the golden door.” 

 Huddled masses yearning to breathe free…. that’s us!


Pictures of Wendy’s Boys!
August 5, 2008

        Wendy just sent me this darling photo of her boys…. and she said it was ok for me to share it with you.

        Jack, Ryan and Michael are the big boys (from left to right) …. Chris and Bobby are on the ends and I have no idea which is which…. I’ll find out and let you know ; )

       They are all so precious.  

      I’ll share more about my NYC vacation soon…. but I thought you’d like this much better first ; )

Back from Vacation
August 5, 2008

  Hi. I’m back from vacation and trying to get myself together to head to work soon. 

  We went to New York City to see the sights and see some shows and had a blast! I’ll tell you all about  it later tonight.  Sorry for the gap in blogging….. can’t wait to get caught up on what I missed while I was away.