Home › Monthly Archives › February 2012

Harrisburg Organ Donation

I like the idea of organ donation.  I even have a donor card; you know, one of those cards you carry around with you so that when your number’s up they can dissect you and take anything useful left inside of you, out, and give it to some deserving soul lying on an operating table somewhere.  Anyway, it thus made me happy to learn that Donate Life Pennsylvania is starting an organ donor campaign for this year to try and boost the amount of registered donors in Harrisburg, and ultimately, the rest of the country.  They made the announcement yesterday which apparently was National Organ Donor Day.

Anyway I hope it works because right now there are around 8,000 people in the state of Pennsylvania alone who are waiting for an organ transplant but only 45 percent of our licensed drivers have the card to say they would like to donate an organ, should they end up in a fatal car accident.

What’s particularly troubling about this is that nearly 20 years ago it was our city, Harrisburg that was the model for other states.  But now we’ve taken a somewhat large step down especially when compared to states like Alaska and Montana, almost eight out of ten donors are registered.

Getting Off Cheap!

Well, tonight is Valentine’s Day and I had been thinking long and hard about where to take Dani for our first milestone night together.  First, I thought of the Brewery as the wings were so delicious there on Super Bowl night.  But then a buddy of mine put me off the idea – saying it just wouldn’t go down well with a new girlfriend. 

So I was delighted when she asked me if she could make a suggestion!  And then when she told me what she wanted to do was free, I was even happier!  Tonight at The Forum, at 7pm is a free concert being performed by the Harrisburg Symphony Youth Orchestra for Education Week. 

Apparently the first group will be sixth to nine graders performing Bedrich Smetana’s “The Moldau” and others.  It’s going to be a combined effort of the Junior Youth String Orchestra with the Harrisburg Symphony Youth Orchestra. Later on the latter will be performing pieces by various artists, culminating in a bit of romance for the night with a performance of Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture.”

I’m glad I didn’t suggest the Brewery since this sounds like it will be quite nice…or at least a bit of cultural sophistication.

Kids’ Teeth


So I just found out that the reason there  has been such a focus on dental hygiene for kids recently is because February marks National Children's Dental Health Month (NCDHM). Apparently, the Pennsylvania Dental Association is sponsoring a poster content (something it does every year and all students in the area are being asked to participate.  Shame; that means my kids don’t get to join in which makes all the talks I’ve been having with them, somewhat redundant.

And even my kids got upset that they couldn’t join in when they heard about the $500 winning prize money and to have their poster reproduced as bookmarks which will be given to all libraries across the state; my oldest has always been somewhat of  performer and really loved this idea.  There are other prizes too – the teacher gets one and there are monetary prizes for second and third place as well.

So I can only hope that one day I’ll get to spend as much time as I want with my kids, and not have to constantly have this pit in my stomach feeling that I’m just missing out on way too much…which clearly I am. Oh well; I must focus on the positive.

Until tomorrow…

Kids Health in Harrisburg

So there has been quite a lot of discussion on kids’ health in Harrisburg especially with the Wellness Challenge in the city.  My kids came for the weekend which was nice so I was trying to get them interested.  At the moment, there is a focus on dental hygiene and health.  And one way to ensure kids dental health is by focusing on the child’s diet apparently.  Thus, key to dental hygiene is regular dental visits and a good diet, with minimal sugar and acid.

The problem today, according to Children’s Dental Health Associates owner, Dr.  Eric Felix, is that kids are consuming huge amounts of fruit juices and candies that all attack enamel.  In other words, pure sugar is being put directly into their teeth.  What parents also have to be aware of is the amount of fruit snacks and gummy vitamins they are consuming since their sugar content in these is also extremely high.  Thus the advice being given to parents is to remember that fruit roll-ups are basically candy and should be treated as such – as an occasional treat, not as a “fruit.” 

That’s definitely something I didn’t know and will be trying to modify in my kids’ diets also.  But it’s really so hard since I see them so rarely all I want to do is spoil them; I guess I’ll have to find other ways to do this now, not with sweet treats as they won’t thank me for that in the end.

Feeling Under the Weather


I know, I know, I should have gotten my flu shot.  But I just didn’t get around to it – what with being busy with work, and the new woman in my life and of course my kids – so now I’m sick and I need to see a doctor.  A while back I did sign up with a doctor though at the Community Medical Associates; his name is Dr. Donald Spigner and he’s been practicing for nearly 50 years!  He graduated from the University of California, San Francisco (although why I needed that information, I don’t know!) and he has a really great bedside manner.

So I went this morning; he told me it’s flu and to just rest up.  So that’s what I’ll be doing I guess.  Joanne was pretty good about it and said she had no problem having the kids this weekend (it was my weekend to have them) so I’m just planning on spending the weekend in bed to recuperate.  Nothing else to report; I guess the next thing on my to-do list is to get better so that’s what I’m planning on doing!

Dickens Meets Harrisburg

I am not such a literary buff, but Dani really is.  So she was stoked yesterday when Harrisburg marked the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens – probably one of the 19th century’s finest writers of the 19th century and the most famous of English language during that time.  Since Dickens visited our city in 1842 on a trip to America, Harrisburg recognized the man’s life and the huge impact he had on literature.

Although Dickens wasn’t impressed with Harrisburg, attacking its “feeble lights, reflected dismally from the wet ground, did not shine out upon a very cheerful city,” he had a lot of time for the Eagle Hotel proprietor whom he described as the “most obliging, considerate, and gentlemanly person I ever had to deal with.”

So in recognition of Dickens’ time spent in Harrisburg, a party was held at the Midtown Scholar Bookstore that Dani said was really great.  I was happy to just stay home and anyway she went with her work colleagues.  She told me excerpts from “The Pickwick Papers” and “American Notes,” were read by a theater arts professor who was dressed in late Victorian style.

Super Bowl Fun

I managed to get over my upset yesterday – having found out about horrible crime in the city – and enjoy my time at the Lancaster Brewing Company where I watched the Super Bowl.  The crowd was great – they got really into it actually – and in general it was a fun atmosphere.  The wings were amazing at the Brewery too.  In fact, they were so good that I wouldn’t care paying full-price!  Maybe even Dani will come with me one time…if only just for the wings. I noticed signs there for their Valentine’s Day celebrations – suggesting to make reservations now – but I didn’t want to be so presumptuous as to book the place before having discussed it with her. It might be a bit “manly” for her and not romantic enough…we’ll have to see. I certainly don’t want to mess up my first Valentine’s Day with her!

The bbq wings came with something called a broiled jumbo lump cake (which was amazing), fries and coleslaw which had more mayonnaise than veggies – my perfect slaw – and the beer was cheap too. So price- and taste-wise I certainly had no complaints.

Next time I go though – with or without Dani – I will definitely sample some of the other beers on offer as there are a lot (including: Fest Beer Amber Lager; Goldstar Pilsner; Litening Lager; Celtic Rose and then a bunch of seasonal ones to choose from too).

So the Patriots lost – truthfully I wasn’t bothered who won or lost – but it was a fun night with really great food and now I’ve discovered another cool hangout in Harrisburg!  Things are for sure getting better and easier for me in my now-not-so-new home!

How Low Can You Go?

I just heard some pretty not nice news today that is certainly not going to help with my mood for trying to enjoy the Super Bowl later.  In the last month there have been eight assaults on Harrisburg’s senior population.  It seems that the teenage attackers are going for society’s most vulnerable  – I mean really, how low can you go?  These elderly have ended up with bruises, broken bones and have had their money stolen.  It’s awful.

The most recent attack took place last Wednesday on Woodbine and North 4 Streets and Schuylkill and North 3rd Streets – both with men over the age of 50 being attacked.  The individuals who perpetrated the attacks were aged between 14 and 17. It’s really upsetting and just making me wonder if Harrisburg really is the right place for me to (semi)raise my kids.

Where I’ll be Watching the Super Bowl

Of course, even though my team isn’t playing, I plan on watching today’s Super Bowl.  The question I’ve been pondering though for a few days now is, where will I choose to watch it?  I don’t want to sit alone at home for the game, and no-one has invited me to theirs for a party or anything and Dani certainly isn’t interested in watching it and the boys are with their mom so…

I found out that Harrisburg’s Lancaster Brewing Company – where I’ve actually never been – is putting on some festivity for the Super Bowl.  Actually what really clinched it for me was the fact that the venue is offering half-price wings during the game as well as English pints at a reduced price of $3.25 and I certainly love my beer and wings. One of my colleagues had also mentioned a few weeks ago he’d gone there with a few friends and in general the food – American cuisine – is excellent.  So I’m quite looking forward to it actually.

Missing My Kids

I always miss my kids of course; being divorced is tough on the parents too.  But I especially feel it when I hear about cool things going on in my city that I know my kids would love.  Well, earlier this week the Iron-Kid Challenge started and that really got me thinking about my kids.

I guess it has a similar philosophy to the Harrisburg Wellness Challenge I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, being part of this project our Mayor established.   It’s an after-school program that is meant to try and get kids excited about healthy diets and taking regular exercise. This particular part of the program received financing from the Highmark Caring Foundation.  Rosemary Browne from the foundation said “for more than ten years we have worked to improve the health, well-being and quality of life in the communities that we serve.  And we have also been focusing especially on efforts around children’s health.” There are going to be prizes given out at the end of the school year too.

My kids really need to get into this.  They need to see that it can be fun and invigorating to eat well and find a sport they love. As well, if they get into sports early on in life then maintaining it will be easier for them as they get older.  At least that’s what Dani said was how she got hooked on swimming.

It’s a real shame my kids just aren’t living here; I think they would really benefit from and enjoy this a lot.