Some cool things happening around the City this weekend (besides my wedding which is RSVP).  :)

Venture Outdoors is having their last Family Outdoor Festival of the season over in Allegheny Commons Park (right down the street from me).  It’s from noon until four tomorrow and is FREE.  They’re going to have kayak rides, rock wall climbing, bicycling, etc.

Over at Soldiers & Sailors Hall in Oakland they’re having the Pittsburgh Craft Collective for it’s second year.  This is from noon until five on Sunday.  The event Crafts N’At will showcase 100 local artists and craftspeople featuring hand made indie crafts.  There is a cover, I don’t know what it is, but part of the cover goes to Animal Friends.

Also, Obscure Games Pittsburgh are having another event this weekend.  They’re a group that tries to get adults out to play games and have some fairly traditional games like ultimate frisbee to things like human pinball and Vikingball.  They don’t seem to have a clear listing of the games this weekend on their web site.  There’s a good article in today’s Tribune Review in the Living Section, page 3.  I tried to do a link to it, but Explorer won’t load the page for some reason.  You’re on your own here.

EZ.  I am so together this weekend, I can’t stand myself.  Melissa & Eric are getting married here, I have all my errands done, all the plants (inside and out) are watered, Betty spent a couple of days visiting and she weeded, I straightened up the beach and raked it, took the recycling out, Derronda’s coming in this afternoon and she’s going to do all the b’fast prep for tomorrow.  (I’m training her to be able to take manager responsibilities of running the Inn in the evenings doing the check-ins and b’fast prep.  And running the Inn in the mornings actually doing the b’fasts.)  I wish I could take credit for being so good, but actually the Inn was very slow the past couple of days that gave me a head start on everything.

We lost another housekeeper last week.  So I ran an ad on Craig’s List and got some very good applicants.  I’ll be calling four of them back next week for a second interview with Derronda and myself.

OMG, Razor is an Olympian.  I’ve gotten over my fear of him and other dogs and broke down and am taking da boiz over to the dog park section of the Commons.  Lake Elizabeth is over in that section and there’s an island with a gradual cobble stone slope into the water (the rest of the lake has a cement lip that he’d have trouble climbing with his arthritis).  And, there’s only two bridges onto the island, so I can monitor when other dogs are coming and going.  Razor has taken to the water like there’s no tomorrow.  I used to sneak him down to the ocean when we lived down in Florida, but I guess the waves bothered him because he really wasn’t in to it then.  He’s like a little kid out there just swimming and swimming.  And Mr Pushover that lets RJ walk all over him with toys on dry land adamantly won’t give an inch with toys in the water.  THEY ARE RAZOR’S, AND HE DOESN’T SHARE.  :)

Well, everyone’s checked in, D’s making bread and doing the rest for b’fast and I’m taking da boiz down to the park, have a great weekend,



Productive week.  Fairly busy with guests, but I still got around to painting the Ballroom.  I had to do a couple of patches and decided it was time for a fresh coat of paint.  It’s amazing how you (rather what I’ve missed) when you don’t look closely at the walls.  Particularly in a “party” room where you have events.  It looks so much fresher now, I’m happy.

I had my first Bar Mitzvah this Saturday and a wedding next Saturday, so the Ballroom paint job will be put to good use.  I was a little nervous about having thirty to forty 13 year old kids.  They were very enthusiastic in the Ballroom with dancing and stuff.  But there were well behaved.  Jay, from Catered Elegance did a real nice job with the food and Steve Lebo did a nice DJ’ing and getting the kids moving and grooving.

Guess what?  My blog has a fan club!!!!!!!!!!!!  Ron & Rosa from Kentucky visited last week.  He belongs to a creative writing club there and liked my blog and has his other club members following me.  I better start watching my grammar closer.  :)  Ron and Rosa went to Nicky’s Thai Kitchen, one of the restaurants I recommend.  They ran into Marcella & Mike (visiting from Connecticut after dropping their youngest son off at college in Melbourne).  Then, the next day, Ron and Rosa were touring the Cathedral of Learning and who’d they run into?  None less than Marcella and Mike.  Too small of a world.  The next morning at breakfast, Rosa said her camera broke, so Marcella offered to E-mail her the pictures she took of the Cathedral.  The Cathedral is very cool space for anyone coming to visit.

In the 1920′s, the chancellor of the college of Pittsburgh wanted to get kids interested in education.  Back then, as today, many kids don’t want to go to school, they want to quit and do what daddy does.  Well, particularly back then, daddy did very dangerous things like working in steel mills or in coal mines.  So the chancellor decided to build the tallest educational structure in the world, which the Cathedral was for many years, it still is the tallest educational structure in the US.  This way, anywhere in the City kids looked up, they would see this structure and it may inspire them to pursue education.  He then got the kids involved by collecting pennies to actually buy bricks.  He then decided to create the Nationality Rooms.  Pittsburgh was originally settled by the French and British, but when industry came in, the Germanic’s came over.  So the kids could relate more, the chancellor got the German club of America to buy German building materials and use German craftsman to create the German classroom.  The Poles, Czechs and other second wave immigrants did the same.  These first nationality rooms are on the first floor, the third floor has the newer immigrants like the Indians, the Chinese, etc.  These rooms are particularly interesting during the holidays when they have their ethnic holiday trees and decorations.

I only have three passes to the Warhol left, what a popular special that is.  I have to buy more passes, I think that will be the fourth time since I started this.  I can buy passes to the Warhol and the Carnegie in Oakland at basically half price.  Instead of creating a “package” and working that into the price, I just offer the tickets to anyone that want them.  A lot of people miss this special on my Specials Page, always take a peak around web sites when visiting, you never know what you may find.

Something pretty interesting is coming to Pittsburgh, an LST 325 (Landing Ship Tank).  It’s one of the few left from World War II, they were the work horses of the invasion at Normandy.  It’s big enough for two helicopters to land on it’s deck at the same time, and it can hold 20 Sherman tanks and 30 trucks at the same time.  Tours and cruises will be offered September 2 through 7.  Something I didn’t know, Pittsburgh had two shipyards that produced 269 ships during the war, more than any other city.  The LST 325 was actually built in Philly and is permanently docked in Evansville, IL and will be going back after the Pittsburgh stop.

One more thing, I periodically check my page ranking with the major search engines and how many people have visited my web site.  Lately, I’ve been having 55-65 visits a day.  My current average daily hits have been 71 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ya Ho!  :)

Early b’fasts tomorrow, my UK friends are taking a gray hound to Fallingwater and need an early meal,



Well, I’m back from the Jersey shore.  Had a great time, visited family and friends, had a nice and relaxing time.  The funniest thing happened on the way to the shore and coming back home.  For any of you not familiar with the Philadelphia area, the Schuylkill Expressway is interstate 76 from the PA Turnpike to Center City Philly.  It’s a two to eight lane high way with right and left entrances and exits, no one goes under 70 miles an hour and everyone goes from lane to lane with no warning.  Basically, it’s legalized bumper cars.  I was driving east with my drivers side window open and I hear “Ed” and there in the next lane was Mark & Denny.  They are regulars that live in Philly.  What are the odds of that?

I got home a couple of hours before my first check-ins.  I got everything together and they arrived.  While giving John & Juliet a tour upon arrival, Juliet said “We saw one of your trucks in Donegal”.  I said “What?” and John said Juliet saw a white Toyota truck with palm trees on it and the name The Parador Inn and said they should follow it.  That was me coming back from Jersey.  Too funny.

OK, I’ve been using those air scents I spoke of a couple of weeks ago.  There’s two ways to go, one is distilled water and vodka with the essential oil and the other is mineral oil with the essential oil.  When I first set them up, I used Johnson’s baby oil (which is mineral oil), but it has that baby oil smell, so I didn’t like it.  Actually, the one I made up with baby oil has sort of dissipated the baby oil smell and just has the lavender scent at this point and the bottle is still full with the fluid.  The one I did with distilled water and vodka totally evaporated.  So my $’s on the mineral oil and essential oil.  I went to Pat Catans, a local craft store that’s probably the biggest and local and they had unscented mineral oil.  Fairly pricey, but what I want.  I’ll go on line and see if I can buy larger bottles at a more reasonable price.  Even if I don’t find mineral oil on line at a better price, I’ll be OK with Pat Catan’s price.

They’ve been filming a movie right over on Beech Avenue, the one that runs parallel to Western, the most intact Victorian Street in the city.  I think it’s that movie staring that guy from the Twilight series, not the main character, one of the male supporting actors.  It’s about CIA, FBI and a hole assortment of covert operatives that are chasing him.  Equipment trucks everywhere.  They haven’t had the groupies they had when filming in Mt Lebanon two weeks ago, that got fairly mobbed from what I hear.P1000060

We didn’t see any dolphins, but it was a nice boat ride.  Have a great weekend.  I’m sold out tonight, Steelers first preseason game,



I learned a new trick, we’re going to start having some pictures in my blog.  Obviously, I need to work on cropping and presentation.  But for my first pictures, I’m not too unhappy.  This is a picture of Tony’s hibiscus that was next to the arbor, but was getting all crowded out by the clematis, so I moved it this past spring and it seems pretty happy with it’s new location.  (Actually, there are two hibiscus, I moved them both this spring and then removed the other and it’s been quite mad at me.  Most of it died off, but I have one strong branch that’s a healthy green and even has flower buds.  I think we’ll be friends again next spring).  The big hibiscus (pictured) started blooming two weeks ago and should bloom into September if I remember correctly.  Next to it is one of my new banana plants.  I bought two bananas when I first planted the gardens and they died as did half of the plants I got from the nursery I bought all my plants initially.  The nursery staff also advised me to plant the blue hastas in the sun and the others in the shade (or vice versa) which was the exact opposite of how they should be planted.  Luckily, Tony and Sue had stopped by about a month after the garden when in and we replanted the garden.  Obviously, this nameless nursery hasn’t seen me since.


P1000059 This is one of my newest additions to the gardens.  It’s the Kopper King Hibiscus I talked about already.  The flowers go from pink on the outside to red in the center, which are nice, but I really like the foliage.  I think when it fills out (probably not until next year), it will really make a nice addition to the garden.

P1000058 And here’s a picture of my beach with the Arondo donex a few weeks past.  I love how they give me privacy without seclusion.  And I’m always getting questions from people about “that corn” I planted.  Obviously they aren’t farmers.  :)

The Phipps Conservatory, my favorite space in the City is having a free admission day on Monday, thanx to a grant from the Buncher Family Foundation.  While you’re at Phipps, be sure to check out the Agave americana, they actually had to take a panel of glass out of the ceiling for it to keep growing.  It’s over 33 feet tall at this point.  It’s blooming and dies back after the bloom.

Anyone looking for something to do tomorrow, Manchester’s having their summer Victorian house tour.  They’re real nice people over there.  They aren’t as restrictive as my neighborhood and you see more creative use of some of the properties, and some very traditional.  It’s well worth the price.

I have to buy more passes for the Carnegie Natural History, Art & Architecture Museums and the Andy Warhol, this will be the third time I’ve used them up (sold them).  A very popular amenity here.  I case you haven’t perused my  Specials Page, I have 1/2 price passes to both museums.

Finally, I’m leaving for the Jersey shore tomorrow for a few days.  Derronda’s babysitting the Inn and da boiz.  She’s also representing The Parador at a Pitt Panther football meet and greet Tuesday.  Hopefully we can get some parents and alumni aware of us for future visits.

Well, take care and we’ll chat again,