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'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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Kraków 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.
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.
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.
|Sara, 5, and Emma, 3|
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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 —
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|