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 🙂



The Pittsburgh Festival of Lights starts this Friday at dusk in the Cultural District.  Ross Ashton will be back with four displays, one Old Bones a tribute to the Carnegie Natural History is basically a T Rex light, Splendors is a take off of the exhibit at the Heinz History Museum with relics from the Vatican called “Vatican Splendors: A Journey Through Faith and Art”.  Also, Cascade and Hope are done by Ashton.  There’s going to be a number of local light displays throughout the Cultural District, they are even changing some regular lighting in the District and some local light artists will be having some displays.  Ashton was here last year and had some pretty stunning light sculptures.

Speaking of lights, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (kind of like a Chamber of Commerce) started our Light up Night a number of years ago.  They had the name copyrighted and have been charging other cities (cities right outside the official city limits) a hundred dollar fee to use the name.  They came under quite a bit of local criticism for this.  It was just in the paper that they are donating proceeds to Project Bundle Up with a matching contribution.  How do you say Egg on your Face?

The County has been trying to find a new life for the old County Fair Grounds in South Park.  The County has a number of very cool parks with wave pools, bison habitat, and lots of spaces for family reunions, graduation, anniversary, birthday and any other events parties.  When I was young, they held county fairs there each summer and I have a lot of fond memories of them.  They were very agricultural and even though I lived in the country, I wasn’t overly familiar with cows and things.  The county is looking for feedback as to what can be done with the old fair grounds.  If you have any suggestions, they can be made at www.alleghenycounty.us/parks/SPFairgrounds.

What a day.  It was supposed to be slow, not guests tonight, so I arranged to take Betty exploring on the T (the T is the light rail that travels the south hills into Pittsburgh).  Betty just move into senior house in Beechview, right on the T line and she’s been nervous about using it.  It’s  a great system that will take her within a block of Mt Lebanon’s business district, right past a large grocery store and assorted other little plaza kind of stores.  So we ended up taking it all the way to the end in Library, PA and back.  I also plugged all Betty’s kid’s phone numbers in her new cell phone and we practiced using it.  All of this took about four hours.  OMG, my phone never stopped ringing.  I swear I picked up twenty room nights today and just finished showing the Inn to a potential bride for next year and am showing it shortly for a potential Bar Mitzvah this year.  All this and I didn’t have my rez book with me.

I’m not sure what this says about me, but my apartment is inundated with stink bugs.  I’ve been reading about them in the paper for awhile now.  Yesterday I had to kill 20 (and I’ve put screens in the open windows).  And they are all at my apartment.  I’ve see maybe two in the Mansion.  My apartment is at the one end and very back of the property, so I’m assuming they are migrating over from my neighbor’s either next to me or behind me.  (I hope it’s not personal)  🙂  As long as I don’t start having issues with them in the Inn, I’ll be OK with battling them in my space.

I had a wedding this past weekend.  It was a great event and everyone had a wonderful time.  After it was finished, I got my breakfast prep work finished and the kitchen put back together and it was a little after midnight.  I said good night the the group of wedding guests still hanging out on the Veranda and took da boiz up to bed.  I was in bed shortly after that and I thought that was the end of the story.  Since the weather has changed, I haven’t been diligent in latching the door going into my apartment.  The next morning, the guests that were on the Veranda until 3 a.m. told me RJ came down, opened the Ballroom door (that’s how we go upstairs) and partied with them.  After awhile, they figured he should go back up stairs, so they opened to Ballroom door and shooed him in  and latched the exterior Ballroom door.  He was gone for awhile and the next thing they knew, was he has the lace curtains pulled back on the Ballroom window that looks out on the Veranda and his paws are on the window sill.  So they let the party animal (pun intended) stay up with them until they went to bed.  Too funny.

Well, my last tour of the day just showed up, have a good night,



Welcome to the United Nations.  Of my four guest rooms sold last night, I have a lady from Columbia, a gentleman from Japan and a couple from India.  (The other foreign guests are from that foreign country Ohio).  🙂  They’re all playing nice, why can’t we do this on a global scale?

What a beautiful day we’re having today.  It is the perfect Fall day, bright, sunny, low eighties.

OK, time for me to vent a bit, I haven’t in awhile.  This morning I read where Charles Munger the VP at Berkshire gave a speak at the University of Michigan.  He told the students the public should “suck it in” during the hard times, this while we the people are facing the largest foreclosure rate in history, joblessness is next to double digit, small businesses are collapsing and bankers are getting their multimillion dollar bonuses.  And I like Warren Buffet, I hope he has a chat with Munger.  Even if that disgusting opinion is his, he should never rub his arrogance in our faces.

On a lighter note, my good friend Myra (the one the gave me the baked oatmeal recipe) is taking the plunge.  Her and her husband Phil just purchased a functioning bed and breakfast near Harrisburg.  By functioning, I mean it has an active b& b license and the physical structures are in good shape.  The previous owner has already sold all the furnishings.  So besides dealing with all the legal things of starting a business, the marketing things of starting a business and the frilly things, they have to outfit the Inn.  Luckily for her (and me), she’s the one that’s editing my manuscript, so they should have some good basics on starting and running an Inn.  I guess that ends the editing process, though.  ):  But that’s OK, I love to see people going off on their own.  More to follow as I get updates.  They’re a great family (son Alex actually usually travels with her when she comes to PGH, Phil has to stay at home for his regular job) and I have the utmost confidence they will do well.

Getting ready for the winter, I inventoried all eight fireplaces to see what I need for this coming winter (one is missing the remote control box and three are missing the remotes).  The place I bought them in 2006 was a real PIA.  A nice lady, but only worked when she wanted to.  So I went to the Monessen web site and they don’t deal with retail customers.  They did have a nice feature that you put in your zip code and they list all the local distributors.  So I put my zip code in and she’s not even listed anymore.  But there’s one right down Ohio River Blvd, almost to Swickley. I went there with my information and the lady their looked my Monessen up and found the “kit” the has the remote control box and remote for $100.  She couldn’t find just a remote listed and said I was going to have to buy kits for all three fireplaces.  I politely threw a fit.  The remote was dropped and broken and I have to buy a whole new system?  That’s like telling me I broke the remote for my TV and I have to buy a whole new TV.  Her associate asked me if I’d like to pursue this further and I said absolutely (they obviously don’t know me).  So they called their distributor and he said I had to buy kits.  We decided to call Monessen directly.  Guess what, you don’t have to buy the kit.  You can buy the remote separate.  Their name is Comfort Living Fireplaces, if anyone needs a fireplace or fireplace insert, very nice people.

Well, I think that’s about it for today, have a great one,



I’m sold out this weekend and basically the next four weekends (I have one room left October 8 & 9 and one October 15 & 16).  Derronda’s here doing all the breakfast prep and checking guests in, so I have some free time.  I checked my rankings on the search engines and I dropped from the #1 spot on Google, but I’m still in the top five of Google, Yahoo, MSN, ASK and AOL.  Also, I always calculate how many visitors I’ve had each day since I last checked my rankings and I’m running on average 75 per day, AWESOME.

I’m taking Tree Tender classes to be a certified City Tree Tender.  The main purpose of this is so I can properly care for the two trees they’re planting in the new sidewalks in front of my Inn and I plan on planting two new trees in my parking lot.  I want to replace the purple plum that was so seriously damaged during Snowmageddon last February and plant a new tree in back of the parking lot by the kitchen window.  The main reason I am bringing this up is at the class, one of the instructors said the Urban Tree Forge is still in operation.  If you remember, I spoke of it several months ago.  John Metzler set up with the City to take trees they needed to cut down and recycle them into flooring, cabinets, sculpture, etc over in the Point Breeze are.  John was tragically killed by a rental truck that broke loose from the one towing it and hit John.  I just assumed Urban Forge was closed, but she said it was still in operation.

On a related note, Friends of the Pittsburgh Urban Forest is having their yearly fund raiser at Guardian Storage Solutions, 2839 Liberty Avenue on October 29th from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m.  It’s $25 in advance and $30 at the door with all proceeds going to Friends of the Pittsburgh Urban Forest.  The space is pretty interesting, it’s a 100 year old building that’s been completely remodeled with the high ceilings, refinished hardwood floors and brick walls.  They’re going to have local food and libations, a silent auction, a cello performance by Gordon Kirkwood, the Mon River Ramblers will be performing and incredible art work made from salvaged wood.  Artwork will be for sale.

Garden updates, the hibiscus I moved once and was doing so good is really stressing out, I think it’s the heat and dryness of this summer has finally gotten to it.  I spoke with my Hort friend Tony and that’s his call on it.  I have been watering them basically twice a week, but maybe that’s not been enough.  The banana that gets a lot of sun is huge, the other is still pretty small.  The white clematis on the arbor is this massive explosion of flowers.  I have a bunch of zucchini and tomato plants growing in my garden from last year’s compost.  Hopefully this year I’ve done better and the composting will be more effective and reduce the seeds down also.  A funny thing is I have grape tomatoes growing in my garden and I never use grape tomatoes.  Seed companies take different strong seed stock and hybrid them, I think this is the seeds reverting back to what they really were.

Well, I’m gonna run, take care,



OK Myra, you embarrassed me into dealing with the crystal chandelier in the dining room.  I replaced the burnt out bulb when I saw your comments. I’ve been reluctant to fix the  two unlit bulbs, because I thought I had to rewire the whole chandelier.   I’ve already done that with three others and this chandelier is the biggest, it’s Waterford crystal (the individual crystals have a W stamped on them) and the center piece over my breakfast table.  I didn’t want to get in the middle of fixing it, run into some problem and have to stop leaving my dining room unlit.   So today, I took one of the two that wouldn’t work apart and took the section you screw the bulb into out to Lighting by Eric in Mt Lebanon.  Lighting by Eric has some pretty exotic lighting fixtures, as well as some fairly generic offerings and furnishings.  But hugely, they have Moe.  Moe is their light repair person, he is a wealth of information, expertise and parts.  As soon as Moe looked at what I was holding, he said “That’s European, you just need an adapter”.  European bulbs are metric and so our bulbs don’t fit (Waterford Crystal‘s British).  So I bought four adapters (two for back up) and for the first time since I’ve owned it, all the bulbs are working.  Thanx Myra and good luck Saturday.

I’m a corporate sponsor for the Carnegies (small fish in a big pond), that’s how I get the discounted tickets.  As a corporate sponsor, I also get their quarterly magazine.  I haven’t seen the new dinosaur exhibit that’s just opened, but have been hearing rave reviews (both in the newspaper and my guests that have been there).  What I didn’t realize was that they took a courtyard and enclosed it for the new exhibit.  That should add some architectural interest to the exhibit and the reason I’m even commenting on it is it’s silver LEED certified.  Way to go Carnegies.  Apparently the Sports Works down at the Carnegie Science Center also has an LEED certification and that is the new standard for the Carnegies.

It’s amazing what the Carnegies own.  What you see when you visit the museums is just a fraction of their collections.  Everything you see is just a tiny fraction of other objects just like it they have in storage. Academicians from all over the world come here for research.   From art to fossils to jewelry and clothing.  They’ve pulled out a bunch of stuff on birds and have an exhibit that’s just opened where you pair yourself to a bird.  It’s one of those A vs B personality traits comparisons.  Some people are aggressive raptors and some are meek sparrows.  Must of us fall in between somewhere.  They’ve made this some what permanent in that they can package it up and move it to new locations.

The Warhol has a new exhibit that looks kind of interesting, if not a bit bizarre.  It’s called Ordinary Madness and it’s a whole slew of things from a drain, a stack of broken glass, targets, etc.  It was put together by Dan Byers, Carnegie’s associate curator of contemporary art.  He wants visitors to embrace and enjoy the unease that contemporary art can inspire.  Barry Paris, a long time PGH Post Gazette film critic is assembling an exhibition on Marilyn Monroe that starts the end of October.  Paris has done acclaimed biographies on Greta Garbo, Audrey Hepburn and Louise Brooks.

The Science Center’s new movie in the Imax theater will be based on photos taken by the Hubble  Telescope.    The pictures that have in the Fall Carnegie Magazine are pretty incredible.  It’s amazing what’s out there in our universe.

I see my last guests are pulling into the parking lot, so I have to run.  We’ll chat  soon again,



I haven’t blogged in awhile, so I thought I’d do a short blog explaining my absence of late and brag a bit.

Why is it I seem to loose employees right before a holiday.  It happened at Memorial Day and now Labor Day.  New hire Alyce actually started on Labor Day and is working in nicely.  She misses some details, but every room she cleans, she walks out of a clean room.  That’s my biggest priority, CLEAN.  So I’m very happy.  The details will come in time.  The Parador isn’t a Marriott, each room is unique and there’s a ton to remember.  So today is her one week anniversary and she’s in the Mansion alone.  I’ll go over shortly to check on her rooms, I’m sure if I find anything, it will be minor.

I use Papua New Guinea fair trade organic coffee.  Iron Star Roaster here in Pittsburgh roasts if for me.  I was running low on the in room coffee packets about a month ago, so I called them and ordered more.  They were out, but supposedly it was in route.  I spoke with Tim a number of times, the coffee was in LA, but held up in customs.  Tim kept calling his supplier for updates, he even started calling around to see if anyone else had the beans.  Finally they arrived last Friday late morning, he roasted them, packaged 50 in room packets, and two five whole been bags for me AND DELIVERED THEM AROUND 5 P.M.  Talk about customer service.  Their web site’s sort of week, but they’re great people and carry great products and they ship anywhere.

Now, to brag, The Parador Inn of Pittsburgh is now 100% HD.  All guest rooms have HDTV.  These new TV’s are so much lighter than the old style.  I replaced Ruellia’s 32″ with a new HDTV and carried the new TV up with one hand and the new DirecTV box in the other.  I really struggled getting the old monster down those stairs (and then down the basement stairs).  Anyone want one or three analog TV’s for free?  Too late, I just donated them and the old style DirecTV boxes to Goodwill.

Busy last couple of weeks.  Two weeks ago we had a Steeler’s home game on Thursday and then Labor Day weekend.  I was sold out for four nights.  This past weekend, the Steelers played Sunday and the few guests room that weren’t booked for three nights, I sold those rooms on the open nights and ended up sold out for three nights this weekend.  Yeah.  🙂  Also, I’m sold out the next five weekends.  Nina & Jeff are getting married this weekend (not here) and are housing their guests here and the following weekend I’m hosting Jamie & Randy’s wedding (they live right over on the Mexican War Streets).  Then there’s two more Steeler home games and the other weekend is just sold out for no particular reason other than everyone loves to come and visit me.  🙂

By the way, I believe I’ve talked about my search engine ranking.  I have been diligently working on improving my ranking.  Most all of my business comes from the web.  When I was in Florida, I was happy with 30 visits a day to my web site.  When I moved up here, I kept my web page.  I went from being The Parador of the Palm Beaches to The Parador of Pittsburgh.  Well, talk about messing with the search engines.  At one point, Google dropped me totally (I did a search “bed breakfast pittsburgh pa” and stopped looking after 1,000 listings).  At the same time, Yahoo had me in the 200’s.  A guest stayed here and he was pretty knowledgeable about web pages and we did a barter thing and he definitely helped.  Kevin brought me to within 100 in Google and Yahoo was around 150.  Then he got me to Google within twenty and Yahoo 60.  I was the half way point between Kevin and his girlfriend.  They’ve since broke up and I haven’t seen him in a year (we E-mail periodically, if you’re reading this Kevin, I still owe you a weekend).  My printer Vollkommen hired this fantastic web guy, Kirk.  Since Kirk and myself reworked my web site, I’ve been in the top five of Google, MSN, ASK and AOL.  PIA Yahoo has kept me between 20 and 30.  Last week when I did my weekly search Google HAD ME IN THE #1 SLOT AND I’VE BEEN THERE SINCE.  Sorry for shouting, I’m just supper excited.  Yahoo has even had me in the top five lately.  If you depend on your web site to drive business, I definitely recommend contacting Joe (owner of Vollkommen) and have them look at your site.

And this was going to be a short blog?

Frustration.  I swear, when I find something I like, they drop it from production.  I’m not against change and improvements, but they seem to drop excellent products and replace them with these new products that don’t live up to the old.  When I was in Florida, there was this lo flo water conservation shower head call Euro Flow sold at HomeDepot, I haven’t seen it in years.  All the ones I see now have all these bells and whistles and don’t give have the added pressure these little babies did (I still have one in my shower, they last).  All of my ceiling fans/lights have two pull chains, one for the fan and one for the light.  I like consistency, I have a dolphin for the fan and a seahorse for the light (get it sea/seehorse).  I can’t find the seahorses anymore.  I’ve had this dust pan on a stick for a number of years.  Two years ago it developed a crack and I started looking for a replacement.  Lots of dust pans you bend over with, lots of lobby pans (the ones that fold up when you lift them from the floor), but for two years I haven’t been able to find a dust pan that doesn’t fold up.  Blankets, I have used the same blankets on my beds for years, I love them.  The cloth is solid and fuzzy with satin borders.  They are long enough that they reach from the pillow to the foot of the bed and can be tucked under the mattress.  The sides drape nicely over the mattress and are comfortably covered by the bed spread.  Out of desperation, I have bought retail micro fiber blankets (that don’t fit properly), blankets that sort of look like bed spreads and other frustrating excuse for blankets.  I went to Atlantic City Delaware last winter to a trade show trying to find what I want.  Did hook up with a commercial distributor, Mills Distributing and thought I had things covered (pun intended).  Well, we’ve been back and forth for months now and I still don’t have my blankets.  One of my watering cans has a small leak, so I was at Lowe’s two weeks ago and the closest thing I could find to what I wanted, I bought.  When I got home and filled it with water, I had to use two hands to carry it because of how the handle was cutely positioned, the weight of the water pulled the nose down and the water would pour out if you grasped it anywhere on the handle with one hand.  I hope it’s looking cute back on Lowe’s shelf.

OK, I’ll quit whining, for now.  With Alcyce, you should be seeing more of me here.



Hallway Details

Have you stayed with us at The Parador Inn?  Let us know what you think!  Use the comments to tell us about your time with Ed, Razor, RJ and the rest of the staff.  We can’t wait to hear from you!


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,