Easing into life in Pittsburgh
4 September 2017, US Labor Day, Mount Pleasant PA USA
Returned from Minneapolis sojourn to plumbing issues at 6350, so we cut Glenn’s stay in Pittsburgh short and lengthened mine in Mount Pleasant. Got to bring a huge basket of laundry along, so it’s been a busy weekend. I spent some time Saturday doing laundry. High school friend Suzie drove over from Somerset, and we went to Levin’s in Greensburg to look at chairs while Glenn smoked ribs for supper. I made baked beans earlier (doctored up some Bush’s as I usually do), and we had fresh, locally grown corn on the cob. Heaven.
Tomorrow Glenn and I will go to Linn Run State Park near Ligonier to mark my late son Peter’s 45th birthday.
5 September, my nephew Craig’s birthday too
7 September, Happy Birthday, Spike and Marilou
I remember this day well. Larry and Karen’s younger son Spike was born in London when I was there on a business trip. I took his big brother Jonah who was three to Regent’s Park Zoo on Peter’s birthday; Karen was due imminently. I got to see Spike before I returned to Macedonia. Now i have his bar mitzvah on next year’s calendar. Time flies …
This is the last month of regular season baseball, and Glenn and his Uncle Victor are getting in a few games, and later in the month I’m joining them as is his daughter Michelle and her family. Should be fun.
Last night while Glenn and Uncle Victor watched the Pirates lose, Aunt Louise and I went to dinner at Mitchell’s, our favorite spot at The Waterfront, then watched the end of the game at her house. Nice way to spend an evening.
10 September, Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh PA USA
One aspect of my Minneapolis life that I miss is all of the wonderful theater. I had several season tickets with various friends — a good way to stay in touch, have a night out, be entertained or knocked up side of the head about some relevant issue or other. I’m sure there is good theater here. I just haven’t found it yet. At the library the other day I picked up some announcements and a local City Pages to explore what’s available. And I decided to try what I thought was a play today before it closed. Nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
“Six A Breast” was actually a modern ballet performed by three women, and ironically all three had Minneapolis connections! They’d lived and worked there and received grants from well known MN foundations that support the arts. How’s that for the luck of the draw?
While I’m not a big dance person, this was excellent. It focused on myths and stereotypes around women. One set of notable scenes had a woman demonstrating how to properly fold a fitted sheet. Ladies, haven’t we all seen those videos or read those blurbs? The last woman did what I often do, rolled it into a ball and tossed it into the cupboard. Another set had each dancer trying to become the ideal woman — the funniest of the three kept adding layer upon layer of make up that she pulled from al large purse. Then she pulled out and put on an “apron” that stuck out horizontally at the waist. Lastly she pulled out a small bottle of wine and a glass, setting them on her apron/table, and with a wry smile, poured a glass. The audience broke up laughing.
The ballet was at a theater on the North Side and being uncertain about football game traffic and parking, I tried Lyft both ways — nice. Oh, and I signed up to volunteer at the theater. Small theater groups from around the city use the theater which features many new plays.
Slowly but surely becoming a Pennsylvanian again. Got my driver’s license on 8/31. Last week Glenn took me to AAA in Pittsburgh to get my license plates and apply for a new car title. He added me to his AAA membership. I now have a temporary title and owner’s card. Today I had the car inspected at the garage recommended by Uncle Victor. A safety inspection and emissions inspection are required, and thankfully, my little Focus passed both. My windshield is appropriately stickered!
Skyped with Hala in Sandomierz today. She’s well into her retirement and seems to be enjoying herself, finding things to do. Actually on a farm there’s no end to things to do, even without animals. I told her we’d see her in December for the board meeting; Glenn’s coming with me again and we’ll spend some time in Amsterdam afterwards.
Tomorrow Glenn and I are driving to Harrisburg for the day. We’ll pick up his daughter Michelle’s birthday present from her husband — new rabbit cages, and have lunch at a restaurant that we went to last January. Weather report is for sunny skies, a nice day for a road trip and it’s the turnpike the whole way.
16 September, Happy Birthday, EFHS Class of '63
17 September, Happy Birthday, Michelle F.
Yesterday Glenn and I joined other members of the EFHS Class of ’63 in celebrating our 72nd birthdays. This has become an annual event supplemented with the occasional lunch in between. Donnie and Gene organized this lunch at Eagle’s Landing II, the restaurant at Rostraver Regional Airport not far from our old high school. While that might seem an unlikely place to dine, I can assure you it isn’t. Several years ago a friend and I asked someone to recommend a place to eat, and were directed to that one. We figured, why not. And found an outstanding menu, including the best coconut custard pie on earth!
Keeping with the “good food” theme, we celebrated Glenn’s daughter Michelle’s birthday at Seven Springs, a ski resort in the nearby mountains. They have a sumptuous buffet that includes steamed crab legs, Michelle’s favorite. Since we had younger granddaughter Emma for the day, she joined us, and she and Sara enjoyed quality cousin time. Both were very well behaved, and we all ate very, very well!
Glenn and Uncle Victor went to another Pirates’ game tonight. Aunt Louise was too tired from a busy weekend to go out, so we didn’t get together. Pirates lost again.
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins tonight. Shanah Tovah to all of my Jewish friends. Good health, happiness, peace and prosperity in the coming year to all my friends and family of any, or no, religion.
|Close up of block full of pop tabs|
21 September, Matt & Will’s wedding day
My friend Jan’s son Matt married his long time love in a civil ceremony in France where they live. Jan, her ex, Matt’s siblings, Will’s family along with a few friends were in attendance.
When I lived in Warsaw in the mid ‘90s, Matt spent a month with me, a break from youth hostels as he flew around the world. More recently, a friend and I visited Matt and Will at their idyllic homestead in the Dordogne region. We spent an amazing weekend of excellent food, interesting sights and warm hospitality. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds.
Bruce, a high school classmate and friend, was inducted into the EFHS Hall of Fame tonight. Eileen, Suzie and I helped get the word out to other classmates, and a tableful attended. Additionally, quite a few Greenockers were there, “kids” I haven’t seen in some time. Lousy food, much-too-long speeches but a good chance to honor one of us and re-connect with old friends.
Friend and classmate Janet rode to the banquet with me while Suzie drove to Glenn’s, then rode with him. She’ll spend the night here as she doesn’t want to drive back over the mountain from Mount Pleasant to Somerset late at night, and I don’t blame her. We’ll have brunch with classmate Alana at Eagle’s Landing tomorrow on our way back to Glenn’s.
Cannot believe how busy Eagle’s Landing was today. Luckily Suzie and I were there early. The place was filling fast as friend/classmate Alana arrived, and by the time we left, a couple of dozen people were standing in line. Told you the food was good (oh, and affordable too).
One of the nicest things about coming “home” to Pittsburgh is reconnecting with people from my growing up years. Today I had lunch with two “girls” from the street where we lived: Debbie and Linda. I haven’t seen them in decades so we had a lot of catch up on, and we did. More to come.
29 September, Bethesda MD
That wonderful man I love came to Squirrel Hill last night so he could drive me to the airport this morning, then return to Mount Pleasant to pack for his trip to the national rabbit show in Indianapolis. His daughter Michelle, her husband Seth and are going too. Since we all get back to PA next Thursday, I’m going to check out the airport bus for my homeward transport.
Aideen picked me up at Reagan, and we had lunch in Arlington on the way back to her condo. Tonight we took her son Mickey with us to meet Inga, her beau Craig and friends Benia and Paweł for a Polish dinner in Arlington. Then I went home with Inga and Craig.
Love Inga’s new townhouse/row house. Not far from her old house, and a bus to the Friendship Heights Metro stops on the corner, a few steps from her door. Inga’s hard at work updating some rooms, and although it’s way smaller than the house, it’s spacious and warm and all Inga.
Tomorrow I’m having lunch with Glenn’s cousin Donald. We may go to a winery if the weather is good. We’re flexible.
Today is Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. So tonight I’ve been thinking about what I have to atone for. I hope I’ve said “mea culpa” (or moje wina) whenever I’ve erred. I definitely know I’m not perfect, but I don’t go around purposely hurting people. But if I’ve done that inadvertently and thus not apologized, please tell me. Don’t wait 17 years as one now-former friend did.
I didn't count the number of Sunday hours in September and October that Suzie and I spent at Levin Furniture in Greensburg looking for a chair, but it was more than a few. Decision still TBD, but we both did make some purchases.
|Pick a fabric, any fabric & order the chair!|
A hectic month and thus I did virtually no blogging. Thanks to my calendar I can, however, give you the highlights.
1 October 2017, Bethesda
The month started with a Sunday hike and winery visit with Inga and Craig, Benia and Paweł. We brought snacks and bought wine and enjoyed a gorgeous day sitting outdoors. Spent the rest of the week catching up with a few friends and helping Glenn’s cousin with a project. All in all, a lovely way to start the month. Glenn picked me up at the airport, and spent the weekend in Mount Pleasant.
7 October, Mount Pleasant
The first Saturday saw me enjoying another glorious day outdoors. I had found an apple festival not far from Mount Pleasant, where Glenn lives. We invited his Uncle Victor and Aunt Louise to join us at the festival for good food and shopping. We had incredible BBQ for lunch and apple dumpling ice cream for dessert — no calories there. Aunt Louise tried a local brewed root beer that she declared excellent. A couple of hundred vendors were spread out across the hilly fairgrounds, mostly local artisans with good stuff for Christmas and Hanukkah gifts. Needless to say, I shopped.
9 October, Squirrel Hill
Friend Jan in Minneapolis did an e-intro for me and a friend of hers from her grad school days at Pitt. Nymphe and I finally connected over lunch at Curry on Murray, then walked up the hill to the Manor Theater to see Victoria and Abdul, a very interesting film about Queen Victoria’s relationship with a Muslim Indian clerk who’s initially sent to London to present her with gift from the country. Excellent film and fun meeting Nymphe of whom I hope to see more.
If you ever get a chance to see A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Cancer Ward at Sloan Kettering Institute in New York City (phew!), do! It was at the City Theater on the South Side, and I got a solo ticket to the matinee today. Very racy occasionally but hysterical. I know, you are wondering how female cancer can be funny, but believe, I laughed so hard I was crying. On the way out, I can into two women that I’d been in high school with! I actually saw Mary first at the Jewish Community Center water ex class. She was a year ahead of me at EFHS. Her cousin Martha, also in her class, was at the play. Small world getting smaller.
14 October, Emma’s 3rd Birthday, Mount Pleasant
Today is Glenn’s younger granddaughter’s birthday. Glenn and I joined her, her mom Jennifer and a friend of Jen’s at Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate. Everyone enjoyed the games of skill and chance, collecting tickets for each win. At the end Emma got to pick prizes and pay with the tickets. Tomorrow her dad’s family will host a surprise party for her, and we’re invited. Another group of new faces to remember.
15 October, Glenn’s birthday
We’re celebrating on Friday when he’s in Squirrel Hill. Today we participated in Emma’s surprise party at her dad’s parents’ house. A mile-high pile of presents and enough food to feed an army.
|Emma & her birthday cake|
The world continues to get smaller. Today I did my free session with jamie, a trainer at the JCC. When the training manager and I were emailing, he asked about my preferences. I said only that the trainer realized I’m 72 not 22.
Wow! What a fantastic evening. Glenn came into the city for the weekend, and we celebrated his birthday at Senti, an Italian restaurant that we sampled on our walking tour of Lawrenceville. Outstanding food and wine, as we had expected fro our sampling. Definitely nice not to be disappointed. Uber drivers were on hand so we shared a bottle of wine too. The going-home driver offered to sing Happy Birthday to Glenn, then Glenn pranked him. The driver asked is it had been an enjoyable celebration. With a straight face, Glenn said yes, as long as his wife didn’t find out. We all got a good laugh.
Sunday we’ll go to a retirement party for our friend Gary. He’s half of Gary and Johanna whom I met in Poland and Glenn knows through his work with 4-H and the Extension Service. Johanna will continue to work full time, so a return trip to Poland, as we’ve all discussed, won’t be for a while.
25 October, Suzi turns 72!
To be celebrated on 5 November with The Capital Steps and dinner at The Melting Pot, as planned by my sweetie.
26 October, Mount Pleasant
Halloween comes early in the mountains of Western Pennsylvania. Glenn picked me up yesterday, and we had dinner in town for a birth day celebration. Tonight we met our high school friend Suzie in Somerset for an early dinner before we all went off to grandchildrens’ Halloween parades.
Berlin, where Glenn’s daughter Michelle and her family live, has a huge Halloween parade with prizes and goodie bags, then a few hours of “Halloweening” in the town. Sara’s costume was incredible — her dad made her a jewelry box and she was the ballerina on top. An amazing number of kids trudging through the not-terribly-well-light streets after treats. Sara got quite a haul before she pooped out; she’s only 5 1/2 and probably walked a few miles in her box.
Sara, the ballerina on the jewelry box
Another Halloween … this time in Mount Pleasant on a rainy, chilly day. Glenn doesn’t usually hand out treats, but I love this holiday. (As a kid, I never had birthday parties; my mom didn’t believe in them. But I did get to host a Halloween party many years.)
As hand outs, Glenn bought an assortment of one-serving bags of chips. More than a dozen neighborhood kids braved the weather to our door, zombies and princesses and football players and one little cowgirl, granddaughter #2, Emma, who stayed to play for a while, along with her parents, Jennifer and Allen.
31 October, real Halloween in Squirrel Hill
Drove over to the Waterfront tonight and saw lots of lit-up houses and costumed kids walking along Beechwood Boulevard. Had forgotten today is Halloween. Nice to see so many homes welcoming kids.
Driving into Pittsburgh today to celebrate my birthday, Glenn gave me the best present ever — he said we should go to Italy for a month this summer! Yaaaaay. Now we’re off to The Melting Pot and the Capital Steps.
11 November, Minneapolis
Argh! I am so behind in blogging and posting that I think I’ll wait and post just before we leave for Poland. We’ll attend my December board meeting in Sandomierz, then we’ll stay in Amsterdam with Ana and Art for a few days. I’m so excited.
To recap — my birthday celebration on 5 November was a 10, an A+, a night to remember. I haven’t had fondue since Switzerland in the ‘80s. The Melting Pot does a delicious job, just way too much food. The cheese fondue was superb, the meal/seafood/veggies delicious, and the dark chocolate with pineapple, marshmallows and such to die for. And the Capital Steps were in rare form. I wish I could remember all of their hilarious skits, and the closing Lirty Diars was as funny as I recall from the old tapes. In short, a perfect birthday celebration. Thank you, Glenn.
Saw a few snowflakes in Squirrel Hill on Election Day, 7 November. I didn’t vote since I know nothing about the candidates. Next year …
Met with an insurance agent about my Medicare Advantage plans here. And had a lovely early dinner with Uncle Victor and Aunt Louise; they have embraced me as family. We went to Falce’s, an old fashioned cafe that we all love — comfort food at a very reasonable price. Victor and I had the liver and onions, mmmm good; my once a year dive into one of my favorite meals (no comments please).
Recap of whirlwind week in Minneapolis — wonderful “homecoming” and reconnecting with family and old friends. Dinner, opera and B&B with Janet and Ed, water ex and coffee with the Swimmin’ Women of the Y, early morning lake walk with Linda and later lunch complete with piña colada cake (!), lunch with Sabrina, coffee with my first Minneapolis boss Roland and his wife Merle, trip to Northfield for lunch with Lois, and dinner with friend Marilyn (sorry to miss Jan who was sick).
|An earlier walk in Schenley Park in Pittsburgh|
lso, a fun afternoon at the newly reopened Children’ Museum and dinner at St. Paul landmark Mickey’s Diner with nephew Craig and his son Alijah; meeting with Ben, my financial planner; catching up with Dr. Brown, CNP Lydia, Office Manager Barb and Dr. Gary (oh, and having my annual physical exams and a dental check too); dropping off no-long-needed business clothes at Dress for Success with Janet’s help, meeting with Kamal, a grad student and colleague of a former client of mine (Kamal wants to develop a project in Somalia for his grad school), researching and buying a new dishwasher for my condo (thank you, sister Barbara, for your patience).
|Alijah & his tower at|
Minnesota Children's Museum
|Craig & Alijah enjoy burgers|
at Mickey's Diner
And finally tonight a glorious dinner with Barbara, her kids and their sweeties. That last dinner was at a new spot that Barbara suggested, Porter & Smith, which I heartily recommend. Barbara and I both bought $50 Groupons which they honored by giving us two separate checks for three people each. Thank you, P&S. Tomorrow morning bright and early Janet will drive me back to MSP and my flight home.
|Tomery & Clint|
Oh, the every-five-years colonoscopy that created the need for a trip at this particular time — it was cancelled. They forgot to schedule an anesthesiologist and were unable to reschedule the procedure with one for this week. So, I’ll need to find a gastroenterologist in Pgh soon.
19 November, Squirrel Hill
Home again, home again.
My wonderful sweetie was right there waiting for me when I arrived in baggage claim. We stopped in the Strip District to pick up a few things — poultry scissors and hazelnut coffee beans to be precise — and had brunch. Then home for a disaster …
Glenn’s tablet wasn’t working so I offered him my laptop … except that I couldn’t find it. And then I realized that I didn’t have it. I’d left it in the seat pocket on my flight from MSP today. I’d been working the Sunday NY Times crossword, then it was time to land, and I stowed it … and totally forgot it when the bell chimed that passengers could get up and out.
You may have heard me screaming “Representative” to assorted computer-generated “Help” voices. Finally reached a real person, Elizabeth, who called PIT and got the skinny on Lost and Found. Long story short, no real news. But Glenn offered to drive me to the airport to see if the laptop was at the Ticket Counter (per the helpful human, that’s where lost items end up at 8 pm). We did that with no luck. I will call again tomorrow, scream “Representative” a few more times and see if the laptop turns up. In the meantime I changed a few key passwords to online accounts. Nightmare. So much for getting a good night’s sleep.
There is a Goddess and she loves me. Sleepless night. Glenn left to help Victor with something and called me when he finished. Hearing the distress in my voice, he offered another trek to the airport. Off we went, another explanation to a ticket agent, a check of the locked storage place, and out the agent came with my laptop! Now I can get on with life …
It’s snowing A really lovely snowfall is visible outside my living room window. Lots of big fluffy flakes. I love it!
Know how you see all those folks, young yes but older too, walking down the street, eyes down reading or watching something on their mobile phones? Well, today I walked down my street with my head down too … reading a snail mail letter. A lovely note from Jan’s son Matt and his hubby Will thanking me for the wedding present.
Busy day getting ready for travel. When Glenn and I leave for Poland and Amsterdam on Tuesday, I won’t be back here until mid December. I’ll leave for 10 days in DC two days after we return from overseas. I know, you know, I love to travel anywhere anytime. But this winter’s schedule is a bit much even for me!
I spent much of today getting organized for both trips plus Thanksgiving in Mount Pleasant … doing laundry (down the stairs, up the stairs, repeat often), select and pack clothes/boots/shoes for Poland, Amsterdam and DC, find three kinds of money, Mickey’s presents and my travel kit (pills, cosmetics etc.) … and I returned to my regular exercise regime. Today was Silver Sneakers Circuit, a 45-minute work out that’s lot tougher than you think. I walked home down Shady Avenue, a roller coaster-style street, and passed a handful of pre-school teachers with their flock of toddlers. We were all smiling as the kids gleefully kicked through the leaves.
22 November, 54th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination
To all my NU and EFHS friends — and others of a certain age — where were you when you learned the president ha been shot? I know you remember, we all do. I was crossing Sheridan Road in Evanston IL. A classmate Ann and I were returning to our dorm after our 12 o’clock freshman English class. We heard passing mumbles, thought it was a joke and didn’t take it seriously until we got back to Willard Hall and saw the newscasts.
A morning of last minute packing and organizing for my coming trips, housekeeping duties — trash and recycling taken out, dishwasher filled and run, bedsheets changed, laundry basket filled. Then a relaxing lunch at Ramen House with high school friend Janet (I think my address has more Janets than any other woman’s name!). This Janet has excellent taste in coats; she was wearing a Burberry coat in light green just like mine in dark blue. Haven’t seen Janet for about a month so it was good to catch up. Then I went off to Costco for gasoline and a big bouquet of flowers for Jennifer who’s fixing breakfast tomorrow — French toast an BYOC (bring your own coffee).
23 November, Mount Pleasant, Happy Thanksgiving
Today and every day I am thankful for family and friends. I could not have had this adventurous life without your love and support. And now I have added Glenn and his family to the mix. And the adventure continues.
This morning Glenn and I joined daughter Jennifer and her family for breakfast. Jen made cinnamon French toast with a little help from Emma who hates French toast but loves “cakes,” as her mom calls it. Alan fried pile of bacon and sausage. And we all ate well.
Back here, it’s been a lazy day. I took a two-hour nap while Glenn continued to prep for Saturday’s turkey dinner with daughter Michelle and her family. Tonight we had Glenn’s special air-fried Buffalo wings for dinner, and i’m hoping for a few homemade ladilocks later for dessert. Glenn and Michelle with a bit of help from Sara made 260 mini ladilocks last weekend (oh, that doesn’t count those eaten during construction).
It’s almost midnight. Glenn’s napping on the sofa (a nightly ritual), Sara’s asleep in a spare bedroom and I’m ready to hit the hay. We’re pooped.
No kindergarten today for Sara although both of her parents ha to work. So we volunteered to take Emma too. She’s always asking to play with her cousin. They really were pretty good, played well until supper time. Then, adventurers that we are, we took them out to eat.
|Emma after a hard day of play|
|Sara as Princess Popi (sp?)|
Valley Dairy is a nice family restaurant that we like and good for kids’ messes and noise. They ate well and got the promised sundaes for dessert. Back at Glenn’s, they played for a bit, then Glenn had to take Emma home. He told Sara to pick up the toys and Emma chimed in, “I want to help.” She who was “too sad” to help her mom clean up toys a while back. And help she did. Needless to say, I called Jennifer to tell her, and we had a good laugh.
Sara and I changed into sleepwear and watched two animated specials, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and the new Troll Holiday. Then it was off to bed for her. And not long after, off to bed for me.
Five stuffed people relaxing after Glenn’s incredible turkey dinner. He spatchcocked the bird, which meant less cooking time, and dry brined it, which meant a very moist and tasty bird. Michelle made dynamite cranberry sauce; I definitely need that recipe. And she made a surprise dessert — Twix cake — that was also a hit.
Prepping for our trip to Poland and Amsterdam, departure from Mount Pleasant at the crack of dawn on Tuesday. I am determined we’ll back efficiently and so far have all of Glenn’s needs in his usual carryon suitcase. Ok, he’s not happy about wearing his sport coat on the plane, but it fits nicely in the overhead bin with his computer case. And I may snuggle under his winter jacket as my coat isn’t as roomy.
We walked at the Y again this morning, finished our packing/re-packing as well as laundry/last-minute-stuff, then lunch at Panera, a trip to Target for me to buy Christmas gift cards and finally the car wash. My car’s first wash since the move; it’ll stay at Glenn’s while we’re overseas and while I’m in DC. Now Glenn’s at his Extension Board meeting and I’ll post this in a minute. Tomorrow we leave for Detroit, Amsterdam, Warsaw and final destination, Sandomierz.
I’ll sign of with this from Thrillist (email@example.com) :
“If you were born in 1945...
The BIGGEST song was "Rum and Coca-Cola" performed by the Andrew Sisters and "Till the End of Time" performed by Perry Como, which were both the No. 1 song in the country for 10 weeks.
“But the best song was "This Land is Your Land" performed by Woody Guthrie. Maybe America was humming along to the sounds of the Andrews Sisters and Perry Como at the time, but this confrontational folk song pointed towards a musical revolution to come.”