talk nerdy to me*

*We went to see Captain America on Friday and got there probably 20 minutes before the movie started. They were playing all sorts of commericals including a nearly 5 minute long “commercial” for some Lifetime show. That Talk Dirty to Me song was…well it wasn’t even playing in the background, about half of the commerical was women walking around and the other half was whatever** dude*** sings the song with some scantily clad women twirling around him.

“Is this a music video?” I asked Keith, amazed that they now played music videos before movies.

“How should I know?” he retorted; which…good point.

It wasn’t until nearly the end that they flashed the name of the show and I realized that it was the most bizarre commerical ever. They played a shorter version at least twice more before the movie started and I have since been unable to get the song (or really just the snippet I know) out of my head.


Anyways….last week I had a paper due for my dirt class. We were given the latitude and longitude of a piece of land and had to write up a survey of it, talking about the soils and landforms and whatnot. My professors provided us with a lot of links for information since we couldn’t just up and travel to this plot of land.

The coolest**** link we were shown was for Penn Pilot. It is a database of hisotric aerial photography for the entire state of Pennsylvania. Two days before the paper was due, instead of pulling it up and typing in my homework assignment, I immediately typed in my home address.

They have 3 eras of photography, 1937-1942, 1957-1962, and 1967-1972.

So you type in an address or a city and all the little red dots show where photos were taken. For each era they are slightly different, but luckily I live close enough to an intersection of two major roads that I was able to locate my house pretty easily.


In 1939, my home did not yet exist. It would later be built where the blue arrow is, right on the edge of a field. The pink arrow points to the original farmhouse, which is still there! And for sale! Someone buy it so I can go look inside!


In 1956, my house was 6 years old! Just a baby! Out in the middle of a field. I wish there was google street view back then, I’d love to see what it looked like up close.


In 1967, my house was 17! Almost an adult! with a swimming pool! (That has since been filled in. I keep threatening to go dig it up but now that I realize it is almost 50 years old, I guess I’ll let it be.)


And now, 2014, my house is 67! She can retire! She now has lots of neighbors but the most amazing part (to me) is the amount of treeeees! There were some in the tip of the triangle back in ’39 but the majority of them were not even there in 1967. I really would love to know what it looked like without any trees. I would say more than half of our property is covered in trees and while I like that (more privacy, less grass to cut) it would have been cool to see the whole ~3 acres bare.

Pretty awesome to see the evolution of the neighborhood and our property. Can I get a job doing this? Just looking at old houses and maps all day? And adding little arrows in Paint? Please?



**Yes I am 83 years old, living under a rock. Proud of it, too.

***I just looked it up and apparently it’s Jason Derulo and I have heard that name before but I thought he was a country singer. See above asterisks.

****If you are a super nerd like me.

quarter life crisis, part one

I used to call it a 1/5 life crisis since I will live until 106. But the closer I get to 30…the less that math works.

When I was 7 years old in Mrs. Defife’s first grade classroom, I remember coming to the realization that I wanted to be a teacher. I was not yet in the gifted program *humble brag* so I would sit in class bored out of my mind. I remember thinking, “If this was my classroom I would xyz.” (Such a critical child!) After a while of thinking that I realized, “Hey! I can have a classroom! I can do things my way.” And so it was decided.

I went through several more years of schooling, through elementary school, through middle school, still holding onto this desire. I was always a great student, and though I wasn’t always a teacher’s pet, sometimes I was and sometimes I was merely close. Then 9th grade happened. I started to hate school. There was a particular group of 10th grade boys who were mostly responsible for this new phenomenon. I also started working and that on top of honors classes *humble brag* sprinkled with your usual teenage angst and I was done. I wasn’t going to college, screw becoming a teacher, I’ll just go and live in a forest.

Then 10th grade. I think that was one of my favorite years of school. I had a really stellar cast of teachers. Shoutout to Mr. Morris, Mr. O, Mr. Deliere, Mrs. Shoberg and Mrs. Berry. Mrs. Berry was everything I ever wanted to be. She was incredibly kind, funny, smart, sassy, everyone adored her. I had her for Astro/Geo and don’t remember so much of what we learned but I do remember all the awesome, hands-on projects we did. My faith was renewed, I was going to be Mrs. Berry.

Tenth grade came and went, 11th grade offered up some more wonderful teachers and senior year had another amazing crop. Back in the wanna-be-a-teacher groove, I spent more time observing teachers and seeing who I wanted to emulate and who I found useless. I also decided that I wanted to teach high school since those were the teachers who had the greatest impact on me.

I started at Pitt in 2004 as a Pre-Education major. They didn’t (and don’t) have a Secondary Education major so I was informed to just major in the subject I wanted to teach and then attend the 5th year (ha!) Education program. So I started as a Psychology major. Bo-ring. Sophomore year I switched to Spanish. Ay dios mio, my Spanish will never be good enough. What was left that wouldn’t require taking Calculus or O-Chem? History.

Keith can’t believe I would ever choose History as a major, I am very much not a history buff. I’d give you some examples but I would just embarrass myself. The History major is pretty particular with you needing these exact ~10 classes, no substitutions. I got a few classes in and realized it was not the major for me. I had no desire to take any more stupid history classes. Give me classed about Latin America! Give me History of Pittsburgh! Give me anything but stupid Colonial American drivel.

Having exhausted all my other options, I remembered Anthropology. That’s history-ish? But way more entertaining? I could major in it and teach Social Studies? Sounds good! I had taken (and enjoyed) a few Anthro classes in the past, so I wasn’t going in totally blind. I also loved that the major had 3 must-take classes and then you could pick and choose for your other 7. Much more pleasant than the rigidity of the History major.

So I switched and I’ve been trucking along since. I have really enjoyed all of my Anthro classes. I am on track to graduate next year so I decided to finally bite the bullet and meet with someone from the School of Education. I had been stalking their website and knew that I was on the right track with the stupid pre-reqs but I just figured it was high time to talk things out.

And what a bummer of a meeting it was. The guy I met with was great, he answered (almost) all of my questions and assured me that I was on the correct path but talking to him about my future career path did not excite me…at all. I walked out of the meeting full of doubt. Doubt that I could get into the program, doubt that I would enjoy the program, doubt that I would be able to find a job once I graduated. This was a new feeling. I had known since I was 7 *SEVEN* what I wanted to do…I had spent so long working toward it and now…this?

…to be continued.



Disclaimer: I am a super nerd.

So we live on a road I’ll call Petunia* Road. Back in the day, when our township was just starting out and everything was farmland, the Petunias lived here and the road was named after them. At some point, another farm either came to be or replaced the Petunia farm (I can’t find enough information) and that was the Lilac* Farm. The Lilac family are who we bought our home from.

I found, through some intense googling, an entire site devoted to the history of our township. Except the site didn’t work. I looked up who had registered the domain and shot the guy an email telling him we had bought a house on Petunia Road and I saw that at one time there were some pictures online of the Petunia/Lilac Farms and did he still have them? He emailed me back within the hour with “Whoops! I took the site down for maintenence and never put it back up! I’ll put it up now!”

So I scrolled through hundreds and hundreds of pictures dating from the late 1800s and was able to find a bunch of pictures featuring the Lilac family.

The previous owner of our house (Bob) told us that until the age of 6, he lived on Petunia Road with his grandparents. His father then came back from the war and built our house in 1950. It cost him ~15,000$ in materials. At that point, there were only 3 homes on the road, two original farmhouses and ours. All inhabited by the same family.

farmhouse 1880
One of the original farmhouses that still stands and is still occupied by a Lilac (Bob’s Aunt). The other was torn down sometime in the past few years.  

I should have asked Bob more questions, because I’ve hit a dead end with what I can find online. The original guy was Michael Lilac. It seems that his son Ed Lilac also had a farm on Petunia Road, but I can’t figure out who built our home. I had assumed it was Ed (he seemed the correct age – as found on the 1940 census) but I found his 1998 obituary and he didn’t have a son named Bob. (Bob was born in 1944 so I might just have to wait ’til the 1950 census comes out. (See? Super nerd.))

I was really hoping to find a picture of our house shortly after it was built, but most of the photos are older than that. I did find this picture that shows the location of our house in 1930.

 site of our house circa 1930

The arrow is about where our house is, we are actually probably 3 lots farther back. The whole field was turned into a housing plan ~1970 so it’s pretty crazy to see just farmland.

I think it’s awesome to see these pictures and see the other pictures of the family (if not the person) who built our home. This is exactly what I wanted when we were looking for a house, a place with history. They even left us the original blueprints, which I thought was really cool, though they are pretty fragile.

*Names changed because I don’t want the previous owners to google themselves and find out how much I hated their wallpaper. 😉