Tuesday, May 15, 2018

They weren’t kidding about April showers

1 April, Easter & April Fool’s Day, Mount Pleasant PA USA
Going to church was a nice way to start this unusual first day of the month — Easter and April Fool’s Day.  i won’t make any bad jokes about that.  Glenn and I attended his daughter Michelle’s father in law’s church, then had lunch at his home.  Since we did all of this last year, I  remembered most of the names of Chris and Mindy’s extended family.  And again worked hard at not overeating.  The buffet was large and delicious.

Sara in her Easter dress

Since the sun had come out and rains stayed away, granddaughter Sara and her cousin Allison enjoyed their annual Easter Egg hunt, amassing scores of trinket-filled plastic eggs.

Now, this evening, Glenn and I are decompressing at his place over a glass of wine and a very light supper.

2 April, Squirrel Hill
Returned home this afternoon, then after putting things away, made a trip to the Waterfront shopping area in Homestead.  It’s on the site of the old Homestead Works of USSteel where the infamous and bloody strike took place in  1892.  Interestingly I am reading Meet You in Hell, a book about the fraught relationship between Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick.

3 April
Rain during the day, and a thunderstorm tonight.  I love thunderstorms so enjoyed the that. 

Did two exercise classes today and ran errands in between — early to bed for me.  Argh!  I just saw a centipede cross from the wood floor to the rug.  Creepy.  I’m off to get it.

4 April
Disappointing that water ex was cancelled, but there’s a circuit class at the same time.  Different instructor than my Tue-Thur class but still very energetic. Worked hard.

Mid-day Glenn arrived for our trip to the LDS church in Greentree.  They have access to the ancestry documents the church complies.  We arrived to find the library doesn’t open until this evening.  So, off to IKEA to look for wall shelving for Glenn’s bathroom and small table for my printer.  Didn’t find anything for me but got a few ideas for him. 

On the way back we stopped to see Victor and Louise. Glenn needed to help Victor with his new mobile phone.  Then we went to the Water Front to continue our shelving search.  We ended the day with dinner at Vue 412 atop Mount Washington.  I had bought a Groupon to check them out.  We had a perfect view of the Golden Triangle as the sun went down.  The lights came on at PNC Park for an evening baseball game.  And the food was great too.  I’ll make a reservation to bring Violane and Stephen here when they visit.

5 Apri
Weather so far today: dark clouds, snow, sunshine.  And it’s only 11 am.  I’m doing a bit of laundry and cleaning, then I’m off to Mount Pleasant.

6 April, Mount Pleasant
Glenn and I did an early morning walk, then lunch with his younger daughter Jen and daughers Emma, 3, and Callie, 3 months, came over for lunch.  We were “celebrating” Jen’s last weekend before returning to work from her maternity leave.

7 April
What month is this?  It is totally white outside — about 3 inches of snow fell overnight, after a steady rainfall.  Glenn’s car is not only covered in snow but also underneath that, ice.  

View from Glenn's kitchen
We went to see the movie Chappaquiddick, then had dinner at Rizzo’s in Crabtree.  Near us was a birthday party for a woman celebrating her 101st.  The whole restaurant sang “happy birthday” when the server brought her cake with a few candles.

8 April, Squirrel Hill
I slept in this morning in Mount Pleasant, felt good.   Then Glenn made a traditional Italian rice cake (done and sampled, mmmmm).  We emailed to Olga about our arrival in Reggio next month, then I made train reservations from Milan to Reggio.  We checked out tours to Pompei but made no decisions.

We met friend Janet and her sister Judy for lunch in Mount Pleasant.  They had been at Hidden Valley getting Janet and Dennis’ place ready for friends to use.

Back home now, I put away laundry, empty the dishwasher of clean dishes, and got ready for the week.

9 April, Aunt Louise’s 89th birthday
Back to water ex, hurray.  But it’s snowing … again!  A “light dusting” fell overnight, covering my car, but by the time I left for the JCC, remained.  But now it’s snowing again.  Ugh.

I had coffee with Victor and Louise and took her some of Glenn’s scrumptious rice cake.  She loved it.  Victor doesn’t eat rice, a carryover from his Korean War experience.

10 April
Spring may finally have sprung:  blue skies, a little nip in the air, but my little car looks clean and shiny under the sunshine.

I stopped to drop off rice cake to Janet.  Had planned to leave the package on her doorstep, as arranged.  But she was home, so we talked about a women’s group she belongs to and that she thought might interest me. It does but unfortunately I’ll be arriving in Reggio when they meet next.  

12 April
Glenn drove in this morning, and we went back to the Mormon Library in Greentree.  They’ve changed how they work, no longer providing microfilms.  Much more is on line.  A very friendly aide helped Glenn get online, and let me use her account to check out how the system worked. 

Tonight I’m ushering at the New Hazeltt Theater; Glenn will go to Victor’s.

13 April, Mount Pleasant
We made a quick early morning trip to Mount Pleasant.  Emma had high temp and cannot go to day care.  We had her for the day at Glenn’s.  She was quite warm to begin with but her temp seemed to improve in the afternoon.  

14 April
A week ago it was snowing, today it’s 80 degrees.  Friend Johanna joined us for our morning walk at the mall.  She and I had coffee for an hour while Glenn continued walking.
Later today we’re going to granddaughter Sara’s 6th birthday part at her other grandparents Chris and Mindy.  Michelle is making sushi.

15 April
At last the weather is good enough to walk outside.  While I’m used to walking at below freezing temps, Glenn isn’t.  So we walk the mall a lot.  Today we were outdoors at the local Y.  Temps of 50s was perfect for walking but the forecast is for colder temps and snow during week.  Yuk!

Back at Glenn’s, I “napped” on the porch a while but I needed a light blanket since I was so still.  Glenn’s other “non wife” came by to get some documents.  Pam and Glenn have worked together for so long that many at the Westmoreland Fair thought they were married.  A year or two ago Pam bought a bench for the fairground and had a message carved in the seat back that said she “is not married to Glenn.”  I told her maybe I’d buy one to put next to hers, one that says “And neither is Suzi.”

Glenn made wings in the air fryer for dinner.  That’s among my favorite meals.  Tonight I’ll drive back to Squirrel Hill. 

16 April, Squirrel Hill
Back to water ex, then off to lunch with high school classmates.  We have a core of friends that get together fairly often and others who join when they can.  I’m getting around more easily from Squirrel Hill. I actually found the restaurant with no wrong turns.

17 April
Snow, snow and more snow.  Unbelievable.    I drove to Ross Township to pick up the baskets Glenn ordered at The Container Store and to check out some trousers at the nearby mall.  No luck on trousers but the Container Store had the baskets.  

18 April
Sunshine!  I feel like way too many of my blog posts sound like weather reports.  But every where I go people are complaining about this winter and how long it’s lasted.  

I went with Louise to the doctor this morning, her semi-annual check to get her prescriptions renewed.  Glenn came in to join us for lunch at Red Lobster, our treat to celebrate her birthday.  Now, as I write this Glenn is napping on the loveseat with his laptop in his lap.

19 April
What was I writing about weather talk?  Snowing again — argh!  I am so fed up with winter, but then, so is everyone else.  As an antidote, I spent the afternoon switching winter and summer clothes around. Egads, do i have a few pairs of navy trousers?  Glenn worked on his family tree while I did that. 

My deck in Squirrel Hill

I need to clean out the freezer before European trip. I don’t want to risk the something in the refrigerator breaking down.  That happened a few years ago in Minneapolis, creating a horrible stench from the one pound of hamburger that I’d miss when I cleaned the freezer.  So, I’m starting early.  Today I defrosted a leftover rice dish for dinner.  We had our first fresh watermelon for dessert, compliments of Victor and Louise. 

20 April, Mount Pleasant
Glenn has a cold.  He left Squirrel Hill early today, dropping me off at water ex en route.  After class, I had coffee with Mary an EFHS ’62 grad who’s in the class.  Now I’m watching the Penguins hockey game and doing laundry.  So nice not having to schlepp up/down steps.

21 April, Earth Day
Glenn and I spent the afternoon at an Earth Day event at St. Vincent College.  Sara, Michelle and others from rabbit club were exhibiting.  Sara’s rabbit Anna demonstrated hopping, and her Kevin was his usual laid back self and was petted and held by assorted children and adults who stopped at the table.  Weather was perfect for such an event, and we wandered around to see other exhibits, all very interesting.

We were "hangin' with Kevin" at Earth Day.
Kevin is Sara's very mellow rabbit.  He endured
hours of petting and handling by strangers with nary
a complaint.

24 April, Squirrel Hill
I had lunch with Victor and Louise.  Afterwards we had a spirited discussion around their lack of wills.

25 April
I’m taking part in a couple of studies through the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).  Today was my first meeting about the sleep study — they’re looking at how shift work and non-shift work affects sleep.  I took the bus to UPMC, then walked up the hill to Western Psych where the orientation and initial intake were scheduled.  Took 4.5 hours!  I left with a sleep monitor that I have to use overnight, then return via UPS.

Glenn came into town in time for dinner.  We’ll return to Mount Pleasant together tomorrow.

26 April, Mount Pleasant
We drove over to Pittsburgh Trophy to get a plaque for Glenn’s friend Frank who won their Final Four competition.  The loser has to buy the winner a trophy, always something humorous.  Glenn won last year and Frank’s trophy to him mimicked Trump’s language — “yuge” award, etc.  Glenn’s giving Frank an old trophy with a rabbit on top and a simple:  “2018 winner” and Frank’s name.  No indication of what he won etc.

Then we went to Derry for cards, lunch and lots of laughs and fun with friends Gary and Johanna.  I’m really enjoying these games and spending time with them.  Before we left, we walked around Keystone Lake.  We’ve informally talked of joint travel, and Glenn and I agree that we’d enjoy that.  We’re all interested in a US river cruise, maybe that’ll be our first.

Big win tonight for the Pens against the Capitals, 3-1 with all Pens’ goals scored in third period.  This is going to be a close series.

27 April
We haven’t eaten since coffee after our morning walk. We picked up Callie and Emma after daycare and kept them until Jen got home, so busy.  Glenn’s cleaning his refrigerator pre-Europe, so nothing to snack on.  I’m starving … 

28 April, Squirrel Hill
This morning we walked at Mammoth Lake in Mount Pleasant Township, nice change from the Y (outdoors spot) or mall (indoors).  Violane has texted with their estimated ETA.  As the day moved on, it got colder and windier.  I checked the Gateway Clipper schedule to book our river cruise and found it wasn’t operating (it had been on the schedule two weeks ago when I looked!).  So, quick change of plans.  We drove to their hotel at the Golden Triangle and walked over toward the Block House and Fort Pitt museum.  Then we drove across the river and took the Duquesne Incline up to Mount Washington.  We were really early for our dinner reservation at Vue 412 but they were able to seat us fairly quickly.  We had a table with a view and enough food for 10.  I brought home leftovers.

Mammoth Park Lake, my new lake
view for morning walks

29 April
What a fantastic weekend with Violane, Stephen and Glenn.  Still cold and windy but warmed by visiting with good friends.

Today we picked Violane and Stephen up at 8, then drove to the Strip District for breakfast at Pamela’s, a local cafe chain.  They serve typical Pittsburgh portions — huge.  Afterwards, we walked around Strip, checked out Wholey’s market (excellent fresh fish and meat).  We drove to Phipps Conservatory in Oakland for a walk through all of the exhibits, then drove through Schenley Park and Squirrel Hill before returning them to their rental car for their drive back to DC.

Some Chihuly glass dots several exhibits
at Phipps Conservatory

Camera-shy Violane snaps pix

Glenn and I spent a lazy afternoon catching up with emails, then watching a very disappointing Penguins’ hockey game.  They lost to the Capitals.  Next two games are in Pittsburgh; hope our playing and luck are better. 

Since Glenn’s in Mount Pleasant tonight, I’ll use the sleep monitor.  Hope I can sleep with all that paraphernalia on me.

30 April
Well, I slept incredibly well and awoke to a chilly but sunny day.  Hurray.  Perhaps spring has sprung permanently at last.  Off to water ex and to run errands.

Is it spring yet?

1 May, Squirrel Hill, Labor Day in much of the world
Nice way to start a new month — with a sunny day and a massage.

3 May, Constitution Day in Poland

Tosia gets a final wear
of the hat I made he
4 May, Mount Pleasant
Glenn and I have the privilege of taking care of granddaughters Emma 3, and Callie, 3 months today.  It’s a beautiful day to play outdoors, so Emma and I did just that.  Mostly we kicked around a small ball — she’s learning to play soccer.  At one point, she sat down on the porch step and said, “How about you kick the ball and I’ll watch?”  That’s our girl!
Emma on the porch

Pappy feeds Callie.

5 May, Cinco de Mayo in Mexico & Brunch with the Elephants in Somerset County PA
We were lucky to get tickets for the ‘brunch with the elephants’ event at the Pittsburgh Zoo’s elephant refuge.  The zoo opens the refuge to a small number of visitors (under 500) every few years, and the newspaper where Michelle works is a major sponsor.  We got five tickets, taking Victor and Louise as well as Pam, Glenn’s other non-wife.  Pam and I get along incredibly well; I’m looking forward to spending time with her at the Westmoreland Fair this August.  We connected with Michelle’s husband Seth and their daughter Sara at the refuge.  We enjoyed a buffet picnic, saw some zoological exhibits, including a one-eyed owl and an opossum, then got into a big wagon for our turn to see the elephants.   Three young zoo keepers were incredibly knowledgeable and told us about the five in residence, four females and one male.  They were all rescued, some coming by plane from Africa.

I bid on and won a wine basket at the silent auction.  Two bottles of wine too sweet for me so Michelle will get those.

7 May, Berlin, PA
Tonight we’re enjoying the company of third granddaughter, Sara, who recently turned 6. 
Sara doing homework.
We picked her up after school and will stay until her dad returns around 9:30 from a seminar he’s teaching.  Homework was finished without a problem, snack was eaten and a bit of TV watching done, then off to dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Somerset.  Sara order enchiladas, adult portion, and declared she loved avocado, ordering a side of guacamole.  She proceeded to polish off most of the dinner and all of the guacamole.  She just went to bed, upper bunk with three dolls and a host of pillows and comforters.  Glenn’s got his laptop on his lap and snoring.  I’ll stop now and read a bit.

May 8, 19th anniversary of my son Peter's death
Glenn, our high school friend Suzie and I went to Linn Run State Park for a bit of outdoor air and sunshine while we gather our thoughts of loved ones no longer with us.  It was a wonderful time.   

Glenn, Suzi and Suzie

We found these "sculptures" by the creek.
So we made our own ...

Mine, with a little help from Glenn

Suzie's creation in memory of
Lance, her husband

9 May, Alexandria VA
The best laid plans and all that.  Glenn and I left early for our drive  to Alexandria; we wanted to arrive ahead of DC area rush hour, a nightmare he’s endured unhappily before.  Unfortunately the car had other ideas.  A problem arose that caused some loss of power and gasoline, but enter Siri.  She found a Jeep dealer in Hagerstown MD. They checked it out, had the right part and fixed it, all in about 90 minutes.  By then we were hungry … Back on the road, Glenn’s cousin Donald called. We are staying with him, except we aren’t.  He is leaving for Alabama, very last minute business trip.  May be back by weekend.  We have keys, and he’s left some food and beverage.  The HOV lane on the ring road north of DC helped but eventually we hit rush hour head on (not literally, of course), and inched our way to Donald’s.  Now for some dinner and a glass of wine … or two.

10 May
One big reason we’re in the DC area for this long weekend is that my friend Oren’s husband was buried today at Arlington National Cemetery — with full military honors.  Bill died about a year ago, and it took this long to get on the cemetery’s schedule.  Not hard to imagine when you see what all goes into full military honors.  First, a short service in the Old Post Chapel at Fort Myer, which sits on one border of the cemetery.  Honorary pall bearers brought in Bill’s urn and flag, and carried them out at the end.  The urn was placed inside a fake casket on a horse drawn wagon, and the casket draped with the flag.  Six horses with five riders pulled the caisson through the cemetery to the location.  An Air Force band preceded them, and all of the mourners in cars slowly followed.  The graveside ceremony was like my friend John’s burial a few years ago, including the 21-gun salute.  Oren’s sister handed out roses and we all placed one on his grave before leaving.  Afterwards we gathered for a reception.

It’s hard to describe how breathtaking and moving this ceremony was.  Something I’ll never forget.  It brought tears to my eyes as I thought of Oren’s loss as well remembering my son Peter and friend John.  And it made me proud to see that at least some of our traditions are being continued at a time so many are being destroyed.  

Each time someone spoke about Bill, they made much of him (and Oren) being a Trekkie and his childhood desire to be an astronaut.  When he was graduated from the Air Force Academy and could join the astronaut program, corrected vision wasn’t allowed, so he could not join.  But he’ll get some time in space, probably this summer, when a portion of his cremains will go up with a Space-X flight.  

Late in the afternoon I took a Metro to Arlington and met Susan, whom I met at the same time as Oren; they hired me for the TechnoServe Uganda program.  We nixed the first place we’d decided to meet because the owner has newly uncovered and multiple harassment charges against him.  I learned he also owns a Mediterranean restaurant we went to and liked during  last trip.  Won’t be going there any more.

It’s been more than I year since Susan and I got together, so much territory had to be covered, from my relationship with Glenn to new development in hers with Tony.  They are getting married next May.  Like Glenn, Tony is Italian, and not long after they met, he accompanied Susan on a business trip to Rome (she was speaking at a conference of some sort).  One day they drove to a small town about 90 minutes away and found some of Tony’s relatives.  Despite few of them speaking any English and Susan and Tony knowing minimal Italian, an awesome connection was made.  I have the name of the town; maybe Glenn and I can visit and send a postcard.

11 May
We had a lazy day, probably a good thing since we hit rush-hour traffic on the way to friend Inga’s in Bethesda.  We made our dinner reservation on time, and had a lovely time with Inga and her daughter Francesca (I still think of her as Frankie).  I remember when she was born, and now she’s already completed her second year of college.  Yikes.  

12 May
Today was Adah’s Bat Mitzvah at Sixth & I Synagogue, a non-traditional place for a non-traditional ceremony.  Adah is the younger daughter of my Peace Corps roommate Stacy and her husband Michael, also a returned PCV.  I was at her sister Abby’s Bat three years ago.  Although Glenn had attended a Bar Mitzvah as a kid, he’d never been to a Bat.

The ceremony was conducted by a female rabbi who had guided Adah’s year-long research into feminism and women’s rights.  The ceremony was pure Adah.  She addressed the three phases of feminism (suffrage movement, 1960s and current) in her presentation, “Notorious Women.” And it closed with everyone (or most of us anyway) singing “I Am Woman.”

14 May, Squirrel Hill
Major thunderstorm struck as I approached the turnpike to return home from Glenn’s.  I turned around and went back to his place to sit it out.  After dinner at our favorite Mount Pleasant restaurant, Margaritta’s, I came home and he went to his meeting.

We had an easy drive home yesterday after a lovely brunch with Aideen and Mickey to celebrate Aideen’s 50th birthday and Mother’s Day.  Highly recommend The Dirty Habit restaurant/bar which is actually in the Monaco Hotel in the Penn Quarter area of DC.

Con call with Steve and Ryszard re the coming board meeting in Poland.  Since I wanted to get started with packing, I decided not to stay at Glenn’s tonight.  And I’m making major progress.  So — back to packing.

15 May, Mount Pleasant
Gorgeous sunny and hot day.  Is it August already?  Walked up to post office to return some mail that was in my “hold” pile but not mine and stopped at Giant Eagle for some yoghurt and milk. My refrigerator and freezer are nearly empty except for condiments and ice.  I was sweating profusely when I got home.  Now I’m packed except for the laptop and electronics.  And Glenn’s packed with a “little help” from me.  All of his clothing etc. fit into my big blue suitcase, which is smaller than his big suitcase.  I am not gloating but I told him so!

Later, Squirrel Hill
Back home after dinner and visiting with Victor and Louise.  We will Skype with them from Italy, and Victor wanted to be sure he knew how to handle that.  I read and wrote a couple of dozen emails and checked us in for tomorrow’s flights while we all waited for Victor’s PC to update — PCs are sooooo slow.  We made a few practice Skype calls, then returned.  Glenn’s doing some last minute rabbit club things, I finalized my carryons and am recharging electronics.  

That’s all folks until we get to Italy.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Pothole season has arrived

1-4 February,  Lebanon PA
My first venture to the PA State Rabbit Breeders Meeting.  Glenn’s and my main task is to keep an eye on granddaughter Sara, 5, as Glenn’s daughter Michelle had a new volunteer job.  She was the supervisor for the Youth Hall, an all day every day job.  Sara participated in several activities and is going home with a pile of certificates attesting to how her hard work paid off.  I video’d her “showmanship” presentation for Michelle; her presence was incredible and she got top grades.  And one of her photographs also won an award.

Sara waits for her

Sara's photos won ribbons too

5 February, Mount Pleasant
Took a day here to do laundry — no schlepping up and down the stairs. I’ll return to the city later today with baskets of clean clothes.  Yippee.

9 February, Squirrel Hill
Glenn found an announcement that Phipps Conservatory was having a Valentine’s dinner today and made reservations for us. We got all dressed up and arrived early enough to see most of the new exhibitions in the , Christmas was gone although many of the beautiful Chihuly glass pieces remained.  We saw some incredible Bonzai trees, many 50+ years old, as well as some gorgeous orchids.  Then into the new Cuba exhibition area where dinner was served in a perfect setting.  Only about 30 tables for two and four, beautifully set.  When Glenn looked at the menu in advance of reserving, he noted the high number of vegetarian and vegan dishes, along with carvery beef.  And he tried almost everything on the buffet … and discovered that quinoa and garlic mashed sweet potatoes are quite tasty.  The only flaw in an otherwise perfect evening was the dessert table — all of the cannoli were gone by the time we were ready for sweets.  Even without my favorite Italian dessert, it was the best Valentine’s Day ever.

Phipps Conservatory in the dark
11 February
Glenn dropped me off at the New Hazlett Theater on the North Shore for my volunteer training.  I’m an usher who hasn’t had a gig yet.  Today’s plan was that I’d call Glenn when I was done, and he’d return for me, visiting with Uncle Victor and Aunt Louise while I trained.  Funnily I was done with training before he even got to Victor’s.  It lasted about 20 minutes, only focusing on emergencies.  Afterwards, I decided to explore the area and went in search of a coffee shop, found none.  I did find a bus stop and a bus that was going downtown arrived a few minutes later.  And as that bus arrived downtown, a bus to my neighborhood arrived and I was able to catch it.  I called Glenn en route and arranged to meet him in West Homestead near Victor’s.  On the way two men around my age and seated next to me were talking about the training I’d attended and other ushering they do.  We conversed until they disembarked at the Carnegie Library in Oakland.  

While we were at Victor’s, the rains came … heavily.  But Glenn and I headed to dinner anyway, at the Hofbrauhaus on the SouthSide.  

My sweetie at Hofbrauhaus
13 February
Yesterday we got two inches of wet snow.  Today it’s sunshine and milder temps.  The evening television news featured road work that will begin shortly … shades of Minneapolis.  I noticed that pothole repairs were beginning on my street.

After a quick shopping trip, I decided to stop at Lynn’s Salon and Spa for a much-needed pedicure.  Ny dry heels have been pumiced, and my toenails are red again.  Day brightener!

14 February, Valentine’s Day, Mount Pleasant
I bought a second set of flannel sheets the other day.  Much as I love my cuddly fleece sheets, they are actually too warm already.  I decided a second set of flannel would make bed linen changing easier.  i bundled the new sheets and a basket of dirty clothes and took them with me to Glenn’s.  Makes doing laundry easier.

Glenn had agreed to watch granddaughter Sara, 5, from after school  until her dad got home from work.  And since Sara and Emma, 3, play well together, we picked up the younger granddaughter and took her to Somerset where Glenn’s older daughter Michelle and her family live.  I had lunch with our friend Suzie, also a Somerseter, while Glenn managed the girls at Michelle’s.  Later he and I took them to dinner at the cafe of Sara’s choice.  

By the time we left Somerset with Emma, the sky was black and it was drizzling.  To keep Emma awake, I initiated a game of “I spy with my little eye.”  And Emma introduced her new catch phrase, “No you don’t.”  (It had been a melodic “I got it.”)  For the better part of an hour, whenever it was my turn, Emma would say, “No you don’t,” then ask Glenn to tell that I didn’t.  But at least it kept her awake!

By the time we got back to Mount Pleasant it was rain, rain, rain.

Emma gets a haircut

15 February, Squirrel Hill
Saw in the paper today that comedian Marty Allen had died.  Not only was he originally from Pittsburgh, but he grew up practically where I live now, across from the high school.

I turned the furnace temp down today because it’s been way too warm in the apartment.  And it’s still pretty darned cold outside.  I’ve decided that it is well insulated.  Not only does it stay warm, but despite hardwood floors, my footfalls haven’t led to ceiling banging by my downstairs neighbor.

In addition to my Senior Circuit class, I walked a couple miles on treadmill, then went to a neighborhood shoe store that’s having a big sale.  I tried on several pairs of shoes but ended up buying a new pair of tall leather boots.  My jeans easily fit inside (hurray), and the sales woman water proof sprayed them for me (double hurray).

Tonight Glenn and I are going to see Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat performed by the high school drama program at the Jewish Community Center. Glenn arrives shortly so it’s off to get ready.

Rain, rain, rain.  It was pouring when we left for the JCC and when we exited a few hours later.   But in between, we enjoyed a spectacular production of Joseph from our reserved seats in the center of the front row!  The costumes were incredibly well done, vibrant colors, very professional looking.  The songs, the choreography, the amazing energy — definitely worth the standing ovation they company received.  The kids are high schoolers from all over the city who worked on the production of a month, making the professionalism all the more surprising.  Saw cast at Eat N Park where we went for coffee; gave them kudos.  They were still hyped.

17 February, Mount Pleasant, 10th anniversary of Kosovo’s independence
I was living and working in Pristina when Kosovo celebrated the first anniversary of its independence.  Pretty peaceful celebration as I recall.  I was also in South Sudan when that country celebrated its first anniversary of independence.  Unfortunately things are not going well there at all; civil war, continued corruption, massive emigration to Uganda and Kenya, severe food shortages.  I fear for the folks who worked for our project.

Closer to home, it’s snowing here — 3 inches by morning is forecast.  Then temps will be in the 70s.  Go figure. We’re indoors, staying warm and dry, and I”m making muffins.
Snowfall is interfering with Glenn’s satellite TV reception.  We’re watching old movies on the DVR as streaming won’t work.
View from Glenn's living room

18 February, Squirrel Hill
Returned to the city after a mall walk.  Snow is melting — hurray.  Time to catch up with far off friends via Skype — Jean in Eugene, Oregon, and Violane in Vienna, Austria.

20 February
Sunshine!!! And warm enough to sit on my deck and read for an hour.  Heaven.  Plus Glenn’s arriving shortly.

22 February, Alexandria VA
We left midday to drive to the DC area to see my niece Dyana and assorted DC friends.  We’re staying here with Glenn’s cousin Donald.  Tonight we three had dinner with friends Inga and Craig at an Asian restaurant in Bethesda.  Dyana arrives late Saturday night and is staying at a hotel near Pentagon City.

US Olympic Women’s Hockey team took gold by finally beating Canada.  Yeah, women.  And quite a few MN players in the mix.  OT and shoot out

Just learned that Anna Mae died.  She was my ex’s aunt, the youngest of my mother in law’s sisters and a lovely lady.  Last time I saw her, she was planning a train trip to her daughter’s in Montana, something she’d done before.  She told me how much she enjoyed talking to the young men who were working in the western ND oil fields, hearing their stories.  Oh, and she was still in her own house where she said climbing a few stairs helped keep her fit.  The remaining sister Caroline will be 100 in March.  She and I had some good times together.

23 February
Another rainy day. Glenn and I went to National Harbor, a good place to walk, lots of spots to stop for coffee.  The National Rifle Association convention was just finishing its annual convention at the hotel-convention center complex  No comment. 

Beach sculpture, tour boat and ferris wheel
at National Harbor
Tonight we had dinner with Donald at a local cafe.  We had tried for Rosa Mexicano in National Harbor but it had a long waiting list.  Arranged to meet Dyana for brunch tomorrow.

24 February
Dreary day.  We picked up Dyana for brunch at very interesting restaurant in Shirlington.  Dyana’s a vegetarian.  The menu at Poets and Busboys had an especially nice spread of vegetarian and vegan options that actually sounded tasty.  But they also had bacon which satisfied Glenn’s meat need.  No reservations and although large, the place was packed.  Glenn was looking for parking while Dyana and I went to the cafe.  One ramp’s retail parking spots were all taken, so Glenn drove to the other.  We stopped him as he came by to say we had another 30 minutes to wait.  Dyana looks and sounds great, making decisions about her future.

25 February
Yet another dreary day so we were lazy.  After coffee at Donald’s house, we drove over to a nearby shopping center for an outdoor walk.  We stopped at a few shops along the way, but sidewalks all around the place made for an easy walk.  Then lunch at a nearby restaurant.  Tonight we’re having dinner with Dyana and Donald if he’s available.  Then on Tuesday, back to Pennsylvania.

28 February, shortest month is over
Back to Squirrel Hill and whatever March offers — more snow? more rain? spring?  Well, not the last.  Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow earlier in the month.

March roars in like a lion

1 March 2018, Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA USA
What a way to start the month.  A therapeutic massage.  I’m so glad I started these.  They are really helping my achy joints.

3 March
My turn to host pinocle.  Gary, Johanna, Glenn and I play about once a month now.  I’m learning pretty quickly.  And once again the women won.  It was a reverse of the 2016 election.  Although the guys had more points, we won the last hand, so they couldn’t win the game.  A new wrinkle to the game that I just learned.

Since my small apartment meant we had to play on the dining room table, I opted for pizza at Mineo’s on Murrray for dinner.  We walked to and fro in cool, dry evening.  and I stumbled on a bad piece of sidewalk, poor lighting and talking contributed.  I landed flat on my stomach with only a sore right hand and two very small knee scrapes.  Could’ve been worse.

7 March, Mount Pleasant PA
Spent early days of week getting ready for Minnesota trip and came to Glenn’s tonight.  He’ll take me to airport tomorrow morning.  Although it’s farther to the airport from here, it’s actually easier because my noonish flight would mean rush hour traffic if we left from Squirrel Hill.  From here, it’s interstate all the way and we bypass  the downtown and Fort Pitt tunnel traffic back ups.  

8 March, Minneapolis MN
Here i am in Minneapolis.  Uneventful trip.  Nice to have been upgraded to first but I closed my eyes as we took off and half dozed the whole way.  i was up before dawn.  After picking up a rental car, I drove straight to Northfield to see my friend Lois, 92.  She looks and sounds good.  She had acupuncture today for the first time, to try to alleviate some of her knee pain.  Then on to Janet and Ed’s where i’ll stay until Saturday afternoon.  Ed had a delicious dinner in the works when I arrived, and Thom has made macaroons for dessert.

Snow is everywhere:
Janet & Ed's back deck

9 March
I was up early for 7:15 am water ex with Andrew and a few the Y’s Swimmin’ Women.  Always been one of my favorite classes — kind of a yoga-Pilates session in shallow water.  The lunch with friends Jan and Sue from my St. Paul days. Sue recently returned from a long trip and cruise to Australia and surrounds.  She is slowly healing from the loss of Nancy.

Late dinner at Monte Carlo with Judy from grad school.  She requested a quiet table, and since the Monte Carlo has several dining areas, that was possible … until they seated a long table full of exuberant women in the same small room.  The women were quite loud but seemed to be having a ball, so no complaint from us.

10 March
Today was the memorial for Ted, my friend and former consultant.  I sat with Patrick, a St. Paul Companies friend.  Ted’s health had deteriorated over the last three years but his demise was still a shock.  I had talked to his wife Mary just a few weeks ago since I hadn’t heard anything from Ted in a long, long time.  We’d agreed that the three of us would meet when I came to MN.

Ted was the poster boy for the voracious reader, lifelong learner, curiosity personified.  The three friends and his daughter Christine gave testimony to that in their eulogies — and I got to put faces to the names I saw Ted’s “clipping service” emails on which he’d bcc me (and I’ll bet others).

This was the first time I’d met Christine, although I’d heard much about her.  She went to my alma mater Northwestern.  Today she was wearing an amber pendant that i’d picked out for her years ago, and she remembered me for that.  When Ted came to Warsaw to train my trainers, I took him to Krak√≥w where we picked out amber jewelry for the women in his life (Mary, Christine, his mom and Mary’s mom).  Mary liked the jewelry so well that she asked me to buy amber jewelry for them a few more times.  

Tonight I’m having dinner at new restaurant with sister.

11 March
Busy day — early breakfast with friend Susan followed by coffee with friend and condo neighbor Maryanne.  Great to catch up with both.  I miss them a lot.  Tonight it’s dinner with family — niece Michelle’s in town and Jodi, Gary and daughters will also join us.

Walked by Westminster Church's
spectacular new building
Our newest granddaughter Callie Sue was baptized today.  Unfortunately the date was set after I bought my Minnesota ticket so I couldn't attend.  But her big sister Emma and cousin Sara were among the family members who were there.

Callie Sue

Sara, 5, and Emma, 3

12 March
The move to PA has caused me to look at my will and “estate,” such as it is.  Inheritance laws are very different in MN and PA, so I had to do some planning.  I met this morning with the lawyer who’s drafting the documents for me.

Then off to a late lunch with Marilou at Blvd in St. Louis Park.  Marilou loves her new job. Phew.  She and our friend Randy leave for Vietnam in a couple of weeks; Randy’s going on to China.  

13 March
Do you get the feeling the food figures largely in my visits?  Today it was lunch with friend Marilyn. When I used to return to MN from overseas, Marilyn dubbed them McVisits — a good descriptor.  Tonight I’m having dinner with my sister; I’ve been staying with her since Saturday.  She’ll go with me to return the rental car to the airport,  then deliver me to Janet and Ed’s.  Janet will take me to the airport tomorrow morning.  Oh, I forgot laptop at Barbara’s.  It’s probably getting a complex because I keep forgetting it.

14 March, Mount Pleasant
Home again.  Glenn picked me up at the airport, and we went straight to Somerset to stay with granddaughter Sara until her dad gets home from work.  Glenn’s daughter Michelle is in Indiana on business.  We had a a bit of play time, Sara did her homework, then we took her to dinner (broccoli cheese soup for her, salads for us).  She went to bed without incident.  It snowed steadily in Somerset from early evening, but Glenn’s careful driver and the turnpike is well maintained … and by the time we got to Mount Pleasant, no snow!

18 March

Daddy's yahrzeit meant a trip to
my spiritual home, Linn Run State Park.

20 March, Squirrel Hill
First day of spring … ugly skies and snow flurries.  Rain sprinkles first then, it looked like a salt shaker was upended.  

21 March
5+ inches of snow.   
View from my living room window

The television news showed some kids at Point Park.  They’re from Jamaica  and were seeing snow for first time.  They had such fun making snow angels, throwing snow balls.  Nice to see people happy with the snowfall.

Glenn drove in this afternoon as tomorrow we have lunch with Uncle Victor and Aunt Louise.  They want us to meet friends of theirs. Also Glenn wants to go to courthouse to look for a marriage license of one of his uncles; in doing ancestry work, he discovered this uncle had been married twice, not once.

24 March, March for Our Lives in Pittsburgh and around the world
Because I’d committed to ushering at the New Hazlett Theater today, I couldn’t attend the march although several of my water ex friends were going.  I’m really impressed with what the Parkland High School kids have initiated, shades of the anti-war movement of the ‘60s.  Maybe they too can get something done.

At the theater, a dance company was performing three short ballets for kids.  Then all of the children in the audience were invited to learn a few dance moves

Interactive theater
25 March
Penguins hockey game with Glenn and our friend Suzie.  The game was a nail biter, but the Pens won in overtime.  We had dinner at Margaritta’s in Mount Pleasant.

Suzi & Suzie at the Pens' game

26 March
Glenn and I walked at Westmoreland Mall this morning, then made a trip to DeLallos Italian Market for vittles for the holidays.  We checked out separately and had identical totals, $25.56.  Time to play the lottery!  I took a bus back to the city, first try at this — clean, comfy Greyhound-type bus, free to seniors like me, and I got off near Carnegie Mellon and caught the bus to my place.  Easy peasy.  Will definitely use again.

27 March, Squirrel Hill
Rain, rain, rain.  I’m getting tired of this.  Trudged up to the JCC for exercise, then took a bus downtown to Allegheny County Courthouse.  Glenn’s uncle’ divorce decree had arrived from the archives.  On the way back I stopped for lunch at a newish Thai cafe on Forbes.  Worth another trip.  Then had a mani-pedi at the salon on my street.  Tonight is laundry night — 

28 March
Bob, an old friend and former consultant to my aid projects, e-troduced me to Rouzbeh, a friend from his work in Afghanistan.  Rouzbeh and I had been trying to get together and finally settled on coffee today.  He, his wife and three children joined me at Panera in the WaterFront.  They have settled in Brentwood, a lovely suburb across the river and over the hills from where I live.  I really enjoyed meeting them, and we’ll plan some activities when the weather is nicer.  

31 March, Mount Pleasant
Skies cleared yesterday for a while but it got cold.  I know, it’s March.  But I am so ready for winter to be over.  

We had Easter dinner with Glenn’s daughters and granddaughters today.  Glenn smoked a pork butt and made a “gob cake” (local specialty). Nicer weather, sunny but still too chilly to have an outdoor Easter Egg hunt for the granddaughters.  I made mac and cheese and a salad.  We got six extra large plastic eggs and filled three each with non-candy treats for Sara, 5, and Emma, 3.  Glenn hid them around the living room.  A kids’ clothing store at Westmoreland Mall was closing  and prices were ridiculously low (“nothing more than $2.49),  so we went wild getting the girls summer clothes.  I rolled each piece in tissue paper, secured one end with ribbon and set them in a big basket that their moms can use later.  Should’ve taken a picture when I was done … and while Sara and Emma tore into the baskets.  When everyone left, Glenn and I flaked out on the couch for a while, then started clean up.  Great ending to a passable month.

Ready for spring