Print

Readers share stories about their worst Valentine’s Day gifts

Written by Nicole Martin on .

Valentine’s Day can be stressful, filled with big expectations and sometimes unexpected, therefore, bigger disappointments.

 

We asked our readers about the worst gifts they have ever received on Feb. 14.

 

Here are their stories:

 

“My ex-boyfriend got me two things for our first (and only) Valentine's Day together. In one gift bag he put a piece of lingerie and a box of sockets. Yes, sockets. Like the kind you would use for working on a car or something. He said that he bought them because I didn't have any.” – Patti, 32

 

“Don’t get your girlfriend a kitchen appliance, apparently.” – Mike, 35

 spatula

“My girlfriend once got me a gift card to her favorite store so that I could pick her something out. Now I’m sure you’re thinking something-sexy right? Her favorite store is Pier 1.” – Andrew, 23

 

“I thought I was being sweet and bought my girlfriend a pair of diamond earrings that she really wanted. Unfortunately I didn’t think about the fact that they came in a small, blue velvet box that I would be giving to her on the most romantic day of the year. The waiter just shook his head at me.” – Alex, 28

 

“I made a comment to my husband that my office chair at work got stuck when I tried to move and that I requested a new one from the company, but got no response. So he bought me an office chair for Valentine’s Day.” – Katelyn, 25

 

“My college girlfriend got me a scented candle and boxers that said, ‘taken’ on them. My roommates wouldn’t let me live it down for months.” –Mike, 24

 

“My fiancé once gave me a card that wasn’t signed, and still in the drug store plastic bag. ” – Shannon, 31

 

“My boyfriend and I are huge Pirates fans. He once got me a ticket to a Pirates game. Not tickets, just one. He had to work that day and thought I would be all right just going alone.” –Amanda, 24

What’s the worst Valentine’s Day gift you’ve ever received?

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Print

Down and out and unaffiliated

Written by Peter Smith on .

Overheard snippets of conversation between a young couple on the train yesterday morning (with an explanation of why it's relevant to follow):

"You'd better shape up or ship out. If you don't shape up in a couple days, I'm outta here."

(Jealous words follow about the chat rooms each of them have been visiting, including the ones she visited while he was serving time in jail.)

"..I'm tired of waking up and seeing that look on your face."

"So don't wake me up."

"You can't get a job if you sleep all day. I'm gonna get a job, take some responsibility."

***

Lost souls, to be sure, and in more than one way. It's hard to know which comes first -- broken relationships, verbal abuse, bleak job prospects, made all the bleaker by the stigma of a criminal record, and a desperation too raw to conceal among strangers. So what does this have to do with popular belief?

Only a fool would try to break into an argument like that and start an interview -- though I was tempted, because I wanted to ask if either of them has a connection to any religious congregation. That may sound beside the point. It isn't. 

It's commonly believed that the growth in people with no religious affiliation is taking place among the elites -- people with too much education or money or both to need religion. But actually, it's growing more among the have-nots.

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Print

Snow and sleet ruining your shoes? Here's what you can do to save them

Written by Nicole Martin on .

Road salt.

There might not be enough of it to cover the roads, but there sure is enough to ruin your shoes. Keeping warm is a must, of course, but looking good is a plus.

So here are a few tips to keep your winter attire looking top-notch.

How-to-fix-salt-stains-on-leather-3 Free People Blog

Removing salt stains from leather

The dreaded salt ring around the shoe is like a plague to Pittsburghers. Instead of buying over-priced shoe cleaner, simply make a half water, half vinegar mix, add a squirt of lemon juice, and a splash of either baby oil or conditioner in a spray bottle to restore moisture. Take a wash cloth and rub off the stain in a circular motion. I keep a bottle of this magic cleaner and a cloth in my work bag for on the go. When you get home, rub a lemon on the shoe and wipe it down for protection.

Misshaped or dirty suede

Suede is great, but it can be a bit more stubborn and takes more effort to remove road-salt stains. You will need a cloth, soft tooth brush, dish detergent and cold water. Use a dab of dish detergent and wet the cloth thoroughly. Dab the stained area with the cloth and while wet, use a toothbrush to scrub the area in a circular motion. After you finish, stuff the shoe with newspaper to keep the shape and let it dry naturally.

Cleaning Fleece Jackets

Everyone who has tried to wash a fleece jacket will notice that with each wash the fleece loses its softness and begins to form little clumps of fur on the jacket. You can prevent this from happening by turning the jacket inside out and washing it solo. After the wash finishes, run it through once more on the rinse cycle and then let it dry naturally on a hanger while still inside out.

Removing stains from wool

During the cold winter months, at least once a week I can ensure one coffee or make-up stain on my jacket or scarf. Try to treat the stain immediately. With a clean cloth, blot the stain — never rub it — until you get most of the stain removed. When you get home, spray with stain remover and wash in cold water. Do not wash in warm or hot water because the heat can set the stain.

Caring for Cashmere

Cashmere is gorgeous and can be a great investment for any wardrobe. Always hand-wash cashmere in cold water. You can use Woolite, though I prefer baby shampoo because it’s gentle and makes the material extra smooth. Always keep cashmere in a lump when it is wet, because picking it up and hanging it will stretch it out. Lay flat to dry.

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Print

Presbyterians may divest to protest Israeli occupation

Written by Peter Smith on .

pcusa logoThe Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has signed up for another round of controversial deliberations over its approach to the Middle East, with its main mission agency asking a church assembly this June to pull investments from three U.S. contractors tied to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

The Presbyterian Mission Agency voted Feb. 6 to ask the governing General Assembly, which will meet in Detroit, to divest church funds from Motorola Solutions, Hewlett Packard and Caterpillar.

 The same proposal fell short by two votes at the last assembly in 2012, held here in Pittsburgh. That assembly sought instead to encourage positive efforts toward peace and development in the region. It did, however, recommend a boycott of products manufactured in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, such as cosmetics derived from Dead Sea minerals.

A report by the denomination's Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI), which guides the denomination's efforts at socially responsible investing, said that several years of efforts, "utilizing all the tools available to investors (correspondence, dialogues, proxy voting and filing shareholder resolutions)," haven't changed anything.

"Three corporations, Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions, remain entrenched in their involvement in non-peaceful pursuits, and regrettably show no inclination to change their behavior. In fact, if anything, these three corporations have deepened their non-peaceful involvement. As a result, MRTI regretfully informs the 221st General Assembly (2014) that Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions are not in compliance with GA policy, and recommends that these three corporations be added to the GA’s proscription/divestment list until such time as their corporate activities are confined solely to peaceful pursuits." 

That list mainly includes tobacco companies and defense contractors.

The report says Motorola Solutions has provided sophisticated communications to Israeli Defense Forces, Caterpillar has provided heavy equipment used by Israelis to demolish Palestinians' homes and build Israeli settlements in occupied territories, and HP has provided high-tech support to the occupation.

The vote, and the debate leading up to it, is certain to reignite debate involving Jews, Muslims and Middle Eastern Christians, a full decade after the Presbyterians' first major effort at divestment was approved. The on-again, off-again efforts have strained relations between many Jews and Presbyterians. The two groups have historically been strong interfaith allies and cooperated on many charitable and legislative efforts in the U.S., but the Presbyterians have long advocated for Arabs in the Middle East and opposed the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories since 1967. Advocates for Israel have said divestment stigmatizes Israel and unfairly blames it for the crisis in a region where many oppose the existence of a Jewish state. The church also has strong ties to Palestinian Christian groups and interfaith ties with Muslims who have urged sanctions as a way to end the long occupation, including illegal settlements. 

 

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Print

Bishop Zubik: Helpers are now the helped

Written by Peter Smith on .

Senate Republicans used a filibuster to block a vote on extending benefits for the long-term unemployed last week, apparently killing action on such a proposal for the immediate future. But Pittsburgh Roman Catholic Bishop David Zubik still holds out hope that they'll reverse course and pass an extension.

He said in a statement Friday:

"Pastors in our Diocese tell me of more and more families coming to our churches, looking for help in paying rent, in meeting their heating and electric bills and in putting gas in their car or paying bus fare. The lines at our parish food pantries are getting longer and longer. Parishioners who once donated canned food now queue up to receive it. I am deeply concerned that without unemployment benefits more and more families will be plunged into permanent poverty, never able to climb out again."

His comments echoed those of other Catholic bishops who have been calling for the extension.

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.