Just a quick note on yesterday.  The good news from the orthopedic surgeon is he’s happy with the progress of the break.  The bad news is he wants the cast on for three more weeks.  I have a small wedding this weekend and the Scott Church Photo Workshop next and will have to provide full hot American breakfasts for both of those events.  That’s going to be quite the challenge.  Also, I have to  winterize my gardens before a hard frost and can’t do that with a cast.  I’ve been watching the 15 day forecast closely, and so far, so good.

Apparently that storm yesterday sent an electrical surge that set my fire alarm off.  As I’m running around making sure there wasn’t actually a fire some where, with the alarm screaming in my ear, talking to the alarm center, the installer of the system and hearing a fire truck approaching, one of my guests was fallowing me around asking for directions, for a flash light and water pitcher.  :)

That’s all for now,



I’ve written about these people a couple of times in the past, Urban Tree Forge.  This is the group out in the Lincoln-Lemington area of the city whose founder, John Metzler, was tragically killed by a run away rental truck last spring.  This is a group that gets trees cut down in the city and recycles them in the most innovative ways.  They make works of art, furniture, flooring, anything they can think of to keep these past city residents from going in a land fill. There was an article on them a few days ago in the Trib, John Eastman, who is leading this artist-run manufacturing organization, says they decided to continue in John Metzler’s memory.  They’re having a show this coming Friday at Guardian Storage Solutions at 2839 Liberty Avenue.  It’s a fund raiser for Friends of the Pittsburgh Urban Forest, the organization that is trying to plant 20,000 trees in Pittsburgh.  They plan on having the Mon City Ramblers and cellist Gordon Kirkwood.  They’re going to have food, drinks and an artist’s market.  One of the things that will be there is bunk beds made from salvaged city trees.  How cool would that be to put your child to bed in a bed of the forest.  They had a few pictures of some of their pieces and they are exceptional.  Admission to this fund raiser is about $30.  If I didn’t have a wedding and am sold out this weekend, I’d definitely be there (I may be able to squeeze out, Derronda’s working.)

There’s a REALLY cool store in Pittsburgh, but you can’t go to it.  Spector Studios is over in Sharpsburg and they hand craft costumes.  They don’t have an outlet store, they only sell on line or through several  retail outlets.  Their products aren’t cheap, but they’re all hand made here and of exceptional quality.  Their resident artists are involved from conception, through all phases of production.  One of the reasons they are here is they recruit Carnegie Mellon University art graduates.  They were voted one of the best places to work in Western Pennsylvania (next to The Parador, of course).  :)

They’re filming another movie here, In a New York Heartbeat is filming out in the Shadeyside/Squirrel Hill areas starring Eric Roberts.  I think they’re only filming parts here, the majority elsewhere.

Phipps Conservatory, my favorite space in the city, got a corpse plant.  A very interesting plant from Sumatra.  The entire visible ten foot stalk is actually a leaf with leaflets on top.  A huge purple and lime green flower will come and it emits a foul odor, hence it’s common name.  For some reason, it’s only on display Thursday through Monday in the main lobby.

Well, in about an hour I head to the orthopedic surgeon to find out the fate of my left hand, with me luck.  :)



The hand’s doing fairly well.  It’s just pretty frustrating, I must wash my hands 20 times during b’fast and only being able to wash one and part of the other kills me, I can type with all fingers of my right hand and just one finger on the other (and this causes me to look at the key pad and this really slows me down), yesterday a screw came out of Ruellia’s bedroom bi-fold doors and it took me over a half hour to fix it (this happens regularly and it normally takes me five minutes to fix it).  The good news is today writing out my reg forms for in coming guests are actually legible, it just takes me twice as long to do them.  I’m pretty set at this point that I will continue using my right hand, even when the left is healed so I can be truly ambidextrous.

Service is very important to me.  I think it shows in how I run my Inn.  I’ve been in hospitality all my life, and really appreciate it when I come across that in my vendors.  I bought all nine fireplaces in the Inn from a crazy lady that opened her shop when she wanted, closed it when she wanted, went to lunch when she wanted.  She was very nice, but was winding down her business and really didn’t care anymore.  Two of the remotes for my fireplaces broke and one of the receivers.  I can’t go to my crazy lady anymore, so I found another distributor for my Monessen fireplaces.  Comfort Living Fireplaces right down Ohio River Blvd are great people to deal with.

Speaking of customer service, Steve Bondarenka was here yesterday.  He’s a Registered Master Plumber that’s done work for me in the past, he’s my fourth Master Plumber I’ve had. His first time here was to unclog a clog underground from a drain spout.  He his work was fine, but then called me the next heavy rain we had to be sure his work worked.  Pretty amazing.  I had one Master Plumber that got a ton of work from me when I first bought the place and was always asking for money.  If you know me, I don’t have a problem paying my bills.  He was continually asking for the balance before he was done.  I had one Master Plumber that did shoddy work.  And the other one had done some work for me and I referred him to my sister for some work.  When I had hm go out to Betty’s to clear a drain, he bragged he was charging me what Roto Rooter charges.  I have drains snaked many times here and in Florida and Roto Rooter has always been the most expensive and the quality of work depends on who they send.  Steve doesn’t seem to have a web site, so I reluctantly will pass his phone number out 412.670.5931, just tell him I sent you if you call him.

Do you know something that I find funny?  When some people call for a reservation, I ask them for a lot of information, their name, the first name of their traveling companion, snail mail address, dates of visit and guest room.  We go through all that and then when I ask for a credit card number, I tell them I accept Visa, MasterCard and AMEX.  At that point, they ask me if I’m ready.  I’ve just written a bunch of stuff down, why would I not be ready? :)  Just one of the little quirks I find amusing.  I guess what they say about it not taking much to amuse small minds is true.  :)

I may get addicted to just serving continental breakfast.  It is sooo much easier.  I’ve had time to read the newspaper and instead of nibbling unhealthy, I’ve been having oatmeal.  Evening prep is a cinch and I’m cleaned up in no time.  But, I actually do enjoy cooking and varying my b’fasts.  I can’t wait until my hand is better.

Talk to ya soon,



A follow up on Gee’s Bend Quilters.  I was talking to Dave, a regular from North Carolina this morning at breakfast.  He was really moved by these wonderful women and talked to them at length yesterday.  They own part of a plantation in Alabama, where their ancestors were slaves.  The men that owned them (Joseph Gee and his partner Mark Pettway) were benevolent slave masters (oxymoron).  He treated them well, by the standards back then.  When they were freed, they worked as tenant farmers and eventually bought part of the plantation and set up their own community.

These lady’s are very religious.  They had an 8:30 flight Sunday, so I made b’fast for them at 7.  After b’fast, they sang a hymn of praise and thanx (to me also).  It was so sweet.  Unfortunately, I had newly weds in the guest room directly over us.  I couldn’t ask them to stop, and I was acutely aware of who was in the room over us.  When he came down, he made a comment about their night was fine until they heard the singing and thought they were in church.  When I explained what the singing was about, he was cool.

Well, that’s it for tonight.  good night,



Good news, I saw Dr Christopher Schmidt Thursday from Allegheny Orthopedic Associates.  He’s the doctor that did such a nice job replacing Betty’s shoulder last year and he doesn’t think I’m going to need surgery.  He thinks I’ll heal on my own in four weeks.  He wants to see me in two weeks and as long as the bone hasn’t shifted, I’ll be fine.  Also, they re-wrapped the hand and I have much better control of my hand.  I’m up to typing with several fingers.  And I think my right handed printing has improved another grade level, I  may be up to fifth grade.  :)

The Young Men and Women’s African Heritage Association is a non profit group over here on the Northside does a really important job with disenfranchised youth.  One of their programs is teaching quilting.  They brought  Gee’s Bend Quilters in for a show over at the New Hazlett Theater this past week.  What a nice group of older ladies.  And quite the quilters also.

I’m going to weigh in on the city’s option of leasing the parking authority to a for profit group to get money to get our pension fund up to where it should be, I’m for leasing  it.  I have called 311, the mayor’s help line, the president of city council and my city council man with suggestions for revenue enhancement.  All three went to voice mail, none have responded.  There’s a $1.5 million reconstruction going on my street with new side walks, period light fixtures and moving the utilities to the alley way. They finished my side of the street last year and then ran into problems with moving the utilities.  For a year there’s been parking meters on my side and none on the other side of the street.  They can’t install the high hat lights until the utilities are moved, so there’s maybe a dozen at most meters they can’t install (the ones attached to the high hats).  The other two to three dozen could have been generating revenue for a year now. The meters are already paid for and sitting in some warehouse!   Since this pension crisis evolved and they’ve been talking about leasing our parking assets, I’ve noticed missing parking meters all over the city with cars parked there.  That’s like me sitting with empty rooms and not selling them.  I go into one of my guest rooms to do projects only when I have several others available.  I’m not going to risk being able to sell a room because the only room available is under construction.

My other recommendation to my “city fathers” was to blitz the Northside on game days with parking enforcement like they’ve been doing over on the Southside on weekends because of all the drunks.  I’m not against the Steelers or their fans (including me).  It’s just if you break the law, there should be a penalty.  If the city is in need of funds, this would be a gold mine.  The city could easily recoup the cost of police and parking authority salaries and then tons of cash through ticketing and towing.  While we’re on this subject, my idiot neighborhood association pays off-duty officers to patrol the neighborhood (thousands of dollars a game) to do a basically ineffective job.  The worst part is this is a function the city is responsible for anyway.

While I’m complaining about my neighborhood association, they’re talking about supporting the Central Northside Association in their efforts to slow down traffic on North Avenue.  People speed to make the next green light.  They want to remove traffic signals and replace them with stop signs.  Instead of being hateful, and incurring the expense of removing lights, buying stop signs, etc, why not time the lights so if you travel at 25 miles an hour you hit them all green?

Well, it’s half time and I’m going to focus on the rest of the game.  Not to mention my left hand is getting tired.  I can type with all my fingers on my right hand, but have to do one finger on my left as well as hold it at an odd angle.  I even have a kink in my neck from this.

See ya,



We’ll call this blog useless.  That’s what I am right now.  I took da boiz down the park for a swim and as we approached the pedestrian bridge (ie narrow), there was a lady standing on the bridge with her dog on a leash.  My boys were on their leashes, but they are long leashes.  So I wrapped the leashes around my left hand so they were forced to be close to me.  As we passed the lady and her dog, both my dogs jumped toward her dog.  I heard a bone snap in my hand.  Since we were at the lake already, I let Razor do his swim thing (I couldn’t go to the ER, I had guests checking in that afternoon).  After my last guest checked in, I went to one of those urgent care clinics and yeps. the bone is broken between the knuckle and wrist.  I have an appointment Thursday with an orthopedic surgeon.  Wish me luck.

So while I was waiting for my last guest to arrive, I made the apple stuffed French toast, panned the bacon, made orange cranberry bread and collected my mis en place for the morning.  The next morning I got up and made breakfast for my 13 guests. It worked pretty well, as far as my guests could tell.  Kind of funny at times in the kitchen.  But then the clean up came, you should have had closed video of it.  I can’t use my left hand at all, so I can’t scrape the plates, I can’t put my left hand in water, I can only carry with my right hand…. it was pretty funny.  So until I have my left hand back, I am only offering continental.

I’m typing this with one finger on my right hand.  Derronda volunteered to come in today to help me.  What a god sent,I love Derronda.  She did the welcome letters and registration forms for the next week, she did the confirmation letters, she even wrote my checks.  Then she washed the pans I couldn’t wash, pulled the mis en place for for the next day, she even cleaned the kitchen floor.  Did I say I love her?

Betty came over today and she’s been doing all my dishes, she even weeded a bit.  She’s agreed to stay until Thursday, then I’m on my own again and sold out.  This should be an interesting weekend.

What a handicap this is.  This is going to sound bad, I don’t mean it that way.  A person without a hand is used to it and their life is adjusted to it.  My life is not, and I need to do a lot of things with two hands.  I can’t even fold towels in thirds to hang in the bath rooms, I can’t cut the chicken up in little pieces that I sprinkle on da boiz dog food, did you realize you need to hands to floss?  I bought a pack of those environmentally insensitive floss on a stick.

A while back, I was whining about finding a product I liked and then not being able to find it again.  One of those things was a low flow shower head.  They make all these fancy shower heads with all these bells and whistles, I want just a basic shower head that conserves water and improves water pressure.  I found them!  It’s not the same  model I used in Florida, but they are exactly what I want.  As soon as I can, I’ll be going back out to Rollier’s in Mt Lebanon and buy the other four they had (don’t sneak out there and snag them on me).  :)  They’ll order more once I clear them out.  I love Rollier’s, that’s where the palm tree in my dining room came from.  They’re an upscale hardware store that’s very well run and all kinds of things.  I’ve talked about them in the past.

I’m going to sign off now, since one finger typing is one of the few things I can do, you may be seeing more of me here :)