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