Tomorrow is Chicken Boy’s Birthday, chicken boy was the 22 foot tall statue of a boy with a chicken’s head that was the mascot for Chicken Boy Restaurant and when it went out of business, Future Studio of LA saved him, some call him the Statue of Liberty of LA.  Fighter Rocky Marciano’s birth anniversary (1923), Germany returned it’s capital to Berlin from Bonn in 1999, it’s the anniversary of the start of World War II when Germany invaded Poland (1939) and the Titanic was discovered in 1985.

Well, I am getting hope for our government.  I didn’t want to see the ATF employees associated with that botched program Fast and Furious fired.  But I felt promoting them was out of the question for me. (They tried promoting three or four of the top agents).  I see the Justice Department removed the head of the ATF and the US attorney in Arizona from their posts.  They are back in more line type positions.  Former Pennsylvania House Speaker John Perzel, the crook from Philly (my opinion) was supposed to plead guilty today.  And the DA filed a number of felony charges against State Senator Jane Orie as well as lesser charges for tampering with evidence on her trial on misuse of tax payer money.  The original case when Judge Manning go so upset when he saw the forged documents that he let out an angry outburst “Even Ray Charles could see that is a forgery”.  :)

Toonseum seems to have settled in it’s new location of 945 Liberty Avenue, Downtown.  They are presenting “Too Soon?: A Cartoon Retrospective of 9/11″ starting with a panel discussion at Bricolage Theater at 937 Liberty Avenue on September 9 starting at 7 p.m., admission is free, but they are taking donations.  The show starts September 10 and runs through 25.  King Features Syndicate is encouraging a day of remembrance of 9/11 in the comic industry.  As expected, there will be many strips addressing this.  9/11 is not something to make a joke or fun of, but it is something I would think they can address in an appropriate manner.  More info on the exhibit can be found at their web site or by calling 412.232.0199.

CMU graduate, Steffanie Leigh is making her Broadway debut October 11 as the nanny in Mary Poppins.  You go girl.  :)

Bromeliad’s almost finished, a couple of loose ends, but over all, it’s finished.  And not a minute too soon, I have guests checking in there tonight for eight nights.  This first picture shows the fireplace with the mantel Metro Classic Builders designed and built for me.  Isn’t it great?  And you can see me battling with getting HD working up to the room.  I won.  :)

Here’s the new love seat that wouldn’t fit up the stairs.  I carried it up a ladder to the window and Derronda pulled it in.  Lucky, for me, it wasn’t a sleep sofa.  You might say that’s why I bought the one I did, I didn’t think anything was going to fit up the stairs.  I need to get some pillows for the back of it.

Here’s the stairs, there used to be a door on your left at the bottom of the stairs and directly across from that is where that chimney was.  I wanted it painted all white because it’s fairly narrow and no windows to brighten it up.  We still have to paint the stairs themselves, install the hand rail and the door at the bottom is getting replaced.  I spoke with Chuck with Metro Classic Builders and we’re going to replace that door when we do the other three in the Carriage house (two for the Ballroom and a new one for Ruellia).  I will have four doors that are air tight and I don’t have to keep “adjusting” all the time.  I like getting things fixed right.

Have a great evening,



The TV show Alice premiered tomorrow in 1976, it’s the anniversary of the Charleston earthquake (1886) it was the first major earthquake on the eastern seaboard.  It is also the anniversary of Princess Di’s’ death (1997), and the discovery of gold in Klondike Alaska (1896).

I saw the funniest thing on texting.  Texting has a spell check, just like Word.  But the texting generation aren’t known for their attention to detail, they generally more interested in passing on info than if they are grammatically correct.  I read a couple of faux paux like “I ordered fried children” (instead of I ordered fried chicken) and then I saw the best ever.  This lady was planning a party and sent a text to all her friends inviting them over for “coffee and gelato” and she misspelled gelato and the spell check inserted a similar word that starts with an f and refers to a sex act.  Can you imagine the reactions of her friends to this invitation?  :) :) worth two smilies.

Barn Owls are one of the many species rapidly disappearing.  They used to nest in caves and tree hollows and when we started farming here, they migrated to our barns.  There’s less farming and the farming that is going on is generally larger scale that don’t use traditional barns or smaller farms that are using tighter structures barn owls can’t get into.  One of their champions is Mark Browning, an animal trainer at the Pittsburgh Zoo.  He’s designed an owl house that you attach to a  pole and can place anywhere.  I don’t think it would be appropriate here in the city, but if you’re one of my suburban followers or rural ones, you can find them at his web site barn owl box.  They aren’t cheap, but should last forever and for what the barn owls do for us it may be worth it to you.  They can consume one and a half times there weight of rodents, lizards, insects and other small creatures.

The Mexican War Streets house tour will be held September 11 from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.  This self guided tour will feature several houses and gardens.  More info at 412.848.1083 or their web site.

In the market for a house?  The house on the property abolitionist John Brown was hung in 1859 is going to auction on September 11.  The historic Perkins House has a reserved bid of $950,000 and it’s estimated value is $2.2M.  It’s located in Charles Town, outside Morgantown, WV.  Quite the  impressive 7,000 square foot Queen Anne Victorian mansion was built in 1891 (obviously long after John Brown was hanged).  This two story brick home has a swimming pool, gourmet kitchen and two story barn.

A previous mayor of Harrisburg spent about $30M collecting historical artifacts to start creating The National Civil War Museum, the Wild West Museum and two other failed museum projects.  Maybe some should point out to former Mayor Stephen Reed that the Wild West was west of the Mississippi River, not west of the  Susquehanna River.  They’re excited they were able to sell 2,900 items for a net $1.7M.  Only $28.3 to go.  No wonder Harrisburg’s going into receivership.

There’s a local art show at Fein Art Gallery at 519 E Ohio Street right here on the Northside.  11 a.m. until 5 p.m. until Friday.  Local artists went to Cohen & Grigsby law firm’s office and did a series of paintings of scenes from their deck on the 5th floor of the EQT Plaza.  The theme is En plein air, French for “open air” and is normally outdoor paintings.  These highlight various Pittsburgh sights like the 16th Street Bridge, 6th Street going across town to PNC Park, Market Square and not from the EQT Plaza, Kennywood’s iconic lagoon.

I don’t know if any of you know Brunton Dairy in West Aliquippa.  It’s a family farm that was closed down last week after they found the bacteria Yersinia enterocolitica in some of their dairy products.  The odd thing is the state couldn’t find the bacteria anywhere at the farm.  They volunteered to stop production for a month for the state to try and determine where the bacteria came from.  This week, a storage building burnt down.  It was filled with farm equipment and 20,000 pounds of old newsprint they use for animal bedding. Kind of odd set of occurrences.  Some are saying competitors are targeting them.   Nice people over there and they do have a store, if I haven’t scared you off.  Also, you can pick up their product’s at KS Kennedy Floral and Gourmet right down the street from me.

Good night,



Tomorrow is the anniversary of the first televised baseball game (1939 between the Cincinnati Reds and the Brooklyn Dodgers), it is also the anniversary of the biggest explosion in recorded history.  The eruption of the volcano on the Indonesian island of Krakatoa  was heard 3,000 miles away and created 120 foot tidal waves in 1883.

Well, we’re getting close to the tenth anniversary of 9/11.  It’s a Sunday this year and weekends are pretty busy for me, though at this point that one is still pretty soft.  I’d like to go out to Shanksville.   The people in the other two planes were victims (as far as we know), the passengers that crashed in Shanksville were heroes.  The intention is not to be dismissive or say the other two planes were less tragic.  The two planes that crashed into the World Trade Center make me mad, Shanksville gives me hope about us.  I’m sure we’re going to see a lot of various coverage on the event, what television has announced so far, on August 28 National Geographic is doing an indepth interview with George W Bush.  On September 5, NBC is airing a special “Children of 9/11″ which follows the lives of 11 children who lost parents in the attack.  Also, on September 5, the Smithsonian Channel is offering “9/11 Day that Changed the World.  This special focuses on the leaders at the time like Ruddy Giuliani.  On September 8, WQED features “Return to Shanksville” that focuses on construction of the permanent memorial honoring the 40.  On September 9, the History Channel will be featuring “9/11, the Days After”, a follow up to an earlier work “102 Minutes that Changed America”.  History Channel will broadcast “Voices from Inside the Towers” on September 10.  This will focus on actual audio recordings taken from various sources on conversations that took place right before and during the attacks.  Showtime will be airing the Sundance Film Festival hit “Rebirth” on September 11.  The History Channel takes on the building of the Trade Center Memorial on September 11 with “Making the 9/11 Memorial”.  And finally, CBS will have a feature “”9/11 10 Years Later with host Robert De Niro.   I’m sure there will be a lot of other specials, but these are the early guys to announce.

There’s a lady in Ross that recently inherited property that is zoned residential and she’s asking the township to rezone it to commercial so she can sell it.  She’s saying because the township won’t rezone it, they are “crippling” her.  She says she had a buyer that walked away from an offer because the township won’t automatically rezone it from residential to commercial.  She refuses to tell anyone what kind of commercial development she wants to sell it for.  I don’t know, if my home was near the corner of Perry Highway and Rochester Road, I would want to know what kind of commercial application she’s seeking a variance for -maybe a porn shop, acid battery recycler, pawn shop, exotic dancer bar just to name a few.  She finally got title to the property after “a lengthy battle” with her relatives.  Do we see a pattern here?  Not getting along with relatives, keeping secret from her neighbors what business she wants to sell her property for?  I’d say someone needs to learn how to play well with others.  Life is not a one way street.

Speaking of seedy, did you notice some of the big banks are getting into payday loans?  As if they weren’t already of questionable caricature.  Wells Fargo, for example, is offering direct deposit customers a $7.50 charge on a $100 loan (less than the street lenders rate of $16), but it’ still 261% when amortized annually.  They have no shame.

There’s a pretty cool art exhibit at the Mendelson Gallery at 5874 Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside (412.361.8664).  Luis Castellanos Valui, a Mexican artist of forty years, is having a show through September 3.  Hours are noon to 5 Wednesdays – Saturdays.  They are having an opening reception this Friday from 6 – 10 p.m. and a closing lecture on September 7 in Pitt’s Posvar Hall from 4 until 6 p.m. with free admission.  His art is very colorful and somewhat whimsical.  He’s doing a mural for his Pittsburgh artist friend, James Simon’s Gist Street Studio in Pittsburgh’s up town section, and it will be on loan indefinitely.  I don’t know why I put a hyperlink to Mendelson, their out dated web site has nothing on this upcoming show.  But at least you can get directions, etc from there.

South Park Fairgrounds is having their annual Rib & Wing Challenge with 17 competitors, 35 vendors and Everclear performing on Saturday, War on Sunday and Molly Hatchet on Monday.  More info at 412.405.9631.  And these people actually have useful info on their web site.  :)

The Irish Festival is back the following weekend at Riverplex, next to Sandcastle.  They will have four stages of Irish music, authentic Irish food and beverages (potatoes and mead?).  Just kidding.  An Irish market place and much more.  More info (like ticket prices, times, etc) can be had by calling 412.422.1113 or visiting their web site, which also has useful info.

This weekend from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. the 14th Annual Shadyside Arts Festival is back.  It is on Walnut Street between South Negley and South Aiken.  I haven’t made it to it in awhile, but they at least used to bring in some very talented vendors and I’m sure they still do.  More info at 412.682.1298 or their informative web site- Steve Mendelson, are you getting a hint here?  :)

The 6th annual Savor Pittsburgh is again at Southside Works Thursday, September 1 starting at 6:30 p.m.  They will have representatives from more than 21 Pittsburgh’s finest restaurants competing.  This year’s recipient for proceeds of this fund raiser is the National Pancreas Foundation.  Last year’s event raised more than $150,000 for the National Respiratory Alliance of Western Pennsylvania.  More info at 412.966.4684 or their informative web site-Steve, am I getting to you?  :)

The Salvation Army is again trying to outfit kids this year for school.  This is so cool on so many levels, children are our future, their innocence.  There was two pictures in Sundays Trib that really struck me.  The innocence, pride, hope in those little eyes are vary strong.  Rape a woman, shoot a man, but leave the kids alone (please don’t take me literally here.)  Many years ago, I when I was in the Army and stationed in Germany and when I went to Dachau for the first time, one image still haunts me.  They did a really good job building up how Hitler started fairly innocuously with banning books, then burning books, then forcing certain “groups” to “register” then placing them in ghettos, then transporting them to “labor camps” etc.  And the museum at Dachau had a progression of pictures and text describing how all this started and progressed.  And you see images of the banning of books, burning of books, the ghettos, maps showing how different cities fed their “undesirables” into certain camps.  You then walked around the corner and there’s an unidentified boy, maybe 12 with his cap, knickers and jacket standing next to all the high booted Nazis.  You don’t even see them above the waist.  The terror and confusion in his eyes I can still see as clearly as I did then.  Sorry, I guess I just went on some kind of a rant.  Little kids getting school supplies is nothing like the Holocaust, but a worth while charity non the less.  Click on the hyperlink for how you can help or call Captain Rickie Armour at 412.224.6310.

Thanx and have a great evening (or day if you read this tomorrow),



Tomorrow is the anniversary of the start of the Vietnam Conflict (1945, just after the Japanese surrender, the French came into their ex-colony to rid a coup by Ho Chi Minh), it is the birth anniversary of Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908, possibly the most respected 20th century photographer) and it is Claude Debussy’s birth anniversary (1862).

My good friend Myra and her son Alex visited last Tuesday and Wednesday.  Myra’s the one that recently opened The Stone Manse Inn outside Harrisburg.  One of the buildings on her property, The Summer House, is the oldest occupied structure in York County (1737).  Anyway, she’s just opening (think she has four of her rooms ready) and was complaining about the lack of reservations (opening an Inn is extremely hard getting known, I know I’ve done it twice).  So we were talking two weeks ago and she took some time off to visit and we went over different ideas to spur business and how I run my Inn.  One of the things I suggested was she needed to get listed on bedandbreakfast.com.  They are the biggest on line Inn directory with great advertising campaigns.  So she joined last week and got her first reservation through them today.  You go Myra, congrats!

Is it me or is Michele Bachmann sounding more and more like Sarah Palin?  :)  And I’m not talking about the nasal twang, the rhetoric is really sounding like Palin.  Which I happen to be reading Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin by Frank Bailey, her ex-chief of staff.  He obviously has an axe to grind, or is just blindly looking for $.  Even if just a quarter of what he says is true, she’s more of a nut than I thought (which says a lot).  :)

While I’m ranting on politics, did you hear last week they promoted four of the agents responsible for the Fast and Furious debacle?  Two of the promotions were for senior level agents.  In case you’ve been under a rock lately, Fast and Furious was an operation where they were trying to trace the movement of weapons into Mexico for the drug cartels.  #1 why would you supply guns and ammunition to criminals?  There is no #2, #1 says it all.  I can almost see the logic for this operation to a limited amount, but there was thousands of guns and other deadly supplies in the various deals.  OK, just for talk, lets say we sell well organized criminal gangs weapons, thousands?  AND they screw up and loose track of the weapons.  Months later four get promoted?  OMG, that they did it in the first place drives me nuts AND then to loose track of them?  The weapons ended up on both sides of the border in criminal hands.  What amazes me is there’s so little being said about the promotions.  The director said the agents were promoted because of their skills and experience.  I’m not even going there.  When I worked the hotels, I frequently had staffs of over a hundred hourly and management below me.  When I was Assistant Director of Food & Beverage at the casino Resorts in Atlantic City, I would have almost 1,000 indirectly report to me (their bosses did).  I’ve been in large corporations and am aware of individuals that upper management were grooming for higher positions and the individual did a major faux paux.  I could give examples, but I don’t want this rambling to go on too long.  Sure their skill level and abilities weren’t diminished by this faux paux, but I would question their judgement and though I would not rule out a future promotion, but generally I would wait for awhile before promoting them.  Depending on the degree of the faux paux would be how long before I would again consider them for promotion.  Four months, thousand of weapons????????

The old Duquesne beer brand is back, and apparently doing well.  They started with just bottles, added cans this year and is planning on adding kegs (for bars & restaurants) this year.  Adding bars and restaurants will be huge for name recognition. They produced 14,000 barrels their first year (they opened last August).  Mark Dudash, and attorney that own the label with his wife Maria likes to point out the Samuel Adams only brewed 500 barrels their first year.  I’ve tried it and it’s not bad.  I don’t drink a lot of beer and when I do like beer with a more hoppy taste like from North Versailles Full Pint offerings like Rumpel Pilsner and All In.

I’m not sleeping with a snow blower anymore!  :)  No, we didn’t break up, the contractors that have been working here built the shed I bought almost two months ago (and I was sleeping with the shed stacked up along one wall, the lawn mower and at one point fifty banquet chairs).  Everything fits  so nicely in the shed.  Although the picture makes it look fairly imposing, it’s fairly discrete behind the gecko swing and everything fits in it (and more).  It was a minor inconvenience going to the basement for shovels and rakes, it was a pretty big inconvenience lugging the lawn mower up and down, it was impossible for me to move the snow blower up and down those stairs.

The contractors will be done with Bromeliad this week (and the various other odds and and ends I have them doing.  Here’s the latest on the Fireplace I got at Comfort Living Systems:

I have to get the tile for the hearth tomorrow for them, they have a few details to work out on it and hang the TV over it.  But they have done such a great job and have been really responsive to how I want things done I can’t say enough good things about Chuck, the general contractor at Metro Classic Builders and his staff.

How about that rain Friday?  A nine foot wall of water rushing down Washington Blvd in Highland Park?  That sounds like somewhere in the mid west a few months ago, or a third world country.  This doesn’t seem to be getting the kind of attention I think it should. The two tragedies are getting all the attention.  That poor mother and two young daughters caught in their SUV and possibly even more appalling was that elderly woman that seems to have been sucked down a drain in to the Allegheny River are just mind boggling.  My question is how could our drainage system fail so miserably?  And more than that, why is no one asking questions?  A nine foot wall of water in Pittsburgh deserves a better explanation than “it was a freak storm”.   Yes it was a lot of water descending in a short period of time, but a nine foot wall of water? Personally, I think there was more than just a lot water, I think there were system failures and unless someone calls PSWA to task, they will be happy to sweep any failures under the rug.  I’m speaking out my butt, I have no educated reason for saying this, it just doesn’t make sense to me that we could experience such a tragedy on just an extremely heavy rain fall.

OK, I’ve ranted twice today.  I feel so relieved, for those of you faithful to listen to it all, tanx, jeeps and airplains.  :)



A couple of noteworthy  birth anniversaries tomorrow:  Napoleon Bonaparte (1769), Julia Child (1912) and Edna Ferber (1887).  Tomorrow is the anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal (1914), completion of the transcontinental railroad (1870) and the Woodstock Music Festival opened in 1969.

Here’s a question for you.  How many people do you pass in your care on an average trip of errands or if you’re actually traveling someplace farther?  Do they all look at you as you’re passing or do you look at them all?  Generally I ignore other drivers, other than to watch where their car is and driving habits that may cause an issue in the future.  But for some reason, I occasionally look at the other driver.  90% of the time that I actually look at the other driver, they look at me.  I don’t speed up or slow down when going past them to draw attention to myself.  Do 90% of the other drivers that I don’t look at look at me?  (Does a tree that falls in the woods make noise if no one’s in the woods to hear?).  Is there an ESP connection between humans that make us aware of some kind of interest and that does it, no matter how casual?  I’m not talking about driving down the road staring at someone, I’m talking about a glance at the other driver.  Seriously, 90% of the time a glance at someone, they look back.  Am I crazy?  Don’t answer that.  :)

The little town of Aspinwall is running into problems with their ambitious project of purchasing the old privately held Aspinwall Marina, an eight acre waterfront property (obviously) that they want to turn into a public marina.  The price is $2.3 million and they’re only $173,000 short (“only” being a relative term).  :)  They only have three weeks to raise the balance.  I think it’s pretty impressive they’ve gotten this far.  They seem to be pretty determined, they raised the money through grants, lemonade sales any way they could raise funds.  Hopefully one of my blog minions is  millionaire or knows one.  :)

Keith Hoffman took a voluntary discharge from US Airways after 9/11 and the slow down in air travel.  He faced the same dilemma I had in 1999 when I quit the corporate world, “What am I going to do with the rest of my life?”  When he was a boy, he used to help his grandmother make nut bread and it was pretty popular.  So he decided to make a business of it.  She was still around (she has since passed away a few years ago) when he started this.  Typical of many kitchen mom’s, a pinch of this and a dash of that.  He worked with her as best he could and on his own until he got the recipe quantified so he could commercially produce it.  Grand Ma Ann’s nut bread was born.  They just passed their $1.1 million mark.    I personally am not a big fan of nut bread, but I may try this.  It’s sold in about 20 area grocery stores and from there web site.

I picked up my fireplace from Comfort Living Systems on Friday.  Dewayne’s back from vacation Monday, so he’ll finish Bromeliad to include installing the fireplace, building the mantle and hanging the TV over it.  Yeah!  Then he’ll finish the entrance (we decided to scrap the old front door and just get a new one) and Bromeliad’s finished.  I talked them into building my shed.  I’ve been living with a snow blower and lawn mower in my space for the past two months.  For the past month I’ve also had the panels to make the shed.  I just haven’t had time to do it.  So I conned Chuck from Metro Classic Builders have Dewayne do it for me.  Last weekend I slept with a snow blower, lawn mower and five stacks of ten banquet chairs.  That just ain’t right.  :)

I want to buy a 7/11.  There’s a 7/11 on the corner and it’s always busy.  I’ve started smoking again ): and have been going in there regularly for cig’s.  (I go back on Chantix next week).  The place is pretty dirty, I cringe at the floor, they clean up the “planter box” that surrounds their parking lot, once a year.  The rest of the year it’s nasty looking and all weed infested.  I’ve never seen anyone that looks like an owner.  Staff are mostly curt, occasionally you might get a thank you or a smile, but that is the exception.  And there’s always a bunch of customers.  I want to do that, make money and not care about anything.  :)

I remember Phil Solomon for years.  He’s the gentleman that sets up steel drums at the Arts Festival.  Although he hand makes steel drums, I had never seen him trying to sell them (I’m sure he would if someone asked :) ), his whole thing was to get kids interested in music.  When I moved back up here, a Jonnet Solomon viewed the Inn and decided to get married here.  I didn’t put two and two together at first.  It was a December wedding (my second up here) and they got married in the Mansion and then her steel drum band set up in my Ballroom for the reception.  They’re very good.  I just read in the paper that she’s the one that bought the old National Negro Opera House in Homewood.  The queen anne style house was originally a boarding house owned and run by William Harris for black celebrities that weren’t welcome in the Downtown hotels (like Cab Calloway and Roberto Clemente).  In 1941 it became the base for the National Negro Opera.  Her and her father has set up US Steelpan Academy out of the Opera House.  I read a year or so ago that someone had bought it and was trying to save it, I was surprised to see it was Jonnet.  She has a long road to go saving that important piece of history, but if anyone can, I’m sure she’s up to it.  The US Steelpan Academy is performing around town, if you get a chance, check them out.  They will be performing at a church in Dormont next month.

My friends Tony & Sue from State College stopped by Friday night and Sue brought some of her wonderful  homemade blackberry jelly from her blackberry plants they grow.  Tony brought the coffee table down, pictures are below.  The light wood is maple, the red rails are cherry and the insets are mahogany.  Tony’s friends with some people that own a saw mill up in Centre County and when they get a unique tree in, the call him to see if he’s interested.  He has all this cool planks in his basement (much to Sue’s chagrin).  He’s made all this amazing furniture, most of what’s in their house.  The legs are pieces of wood he glued together and then milled to create that look.  It’s an amazing piece of craftsman’s work.  Now, damn you Tony, I have to figure out where I want to place it.  :)  Joining us Friday night was Dave & Claire, also PSU alumni.  After college, Dave & Claire went to Houston, then Austin, then Angola and now their in Whitehall.  Welcome back to da burg!

Well, that’s if for today, have a great evening and we’ll talk soon,



Tomorrow is the anniversary of the unconditional surrender of Japan after World War II, the Smithsonian was founded in 1846, Herbert Hoover’s birth anniversary (1874) and Missouri was admitted as the 24th state.

Andrea & Omar’s wedding this past weekend was a fairy tale event.  Everything went great and all had a wonderful time.  Once again, I had the best bride ever (don’t get mad at me past brides, the newest is the one I have in the forefront of my limited memory).  When I complimented her on her gown, her Mom made it!  What a work of art.  And once again, Rich’s grew from Jody’s Pantry did an excellent job with food, service and recycling.  I had the easiest time yesterday getting all the recycling put together for drop off.

Did you know that effective August 31, the federal house of representatives are eliminating pages?  Due to electronic messaging (faxing, e-mail, etc) they feel they no longer need pages.  I kind of hate to see them go, it gave a lot of kids a chance to intern and see the inner workings (or lately dysfunction) of our government.  I think I read that they were going to save something like $4 million dollars doing this, so I guess we should.

Has anyone followed the saga of Andre the sea turtle?  They found this poor guy on a sand bar in Juno Beach, Florida last year.  He had gashes from at least two different boat propellers.  They removed three pounds of sand, crabs that were living inside him, his spinal cord was exposed and he had multiple life threatening illnesses.  They got people specialists to try procedures like skin grafts, getting his cells to regenerate on their own, he even got braces.  And the fabulous news is he was release last week to the wild.  I like happy endings.

They stopped construction on Bromeliad on Wednesday to give me a chance to get the room together for last weekend.  I told Andrea we could have it done for her good friends Jamie & Beau.  Dewayne, the job foreman, was going to the Outer Banks, I think on vacation. They did get the bedroom pretty much finished.  The fireplace is due in any day now and that’s about it up there.  They also need to hang the TV above the fireplace.  The push now is to finish the entrance.  We’re(they’re) :) going to take a narrow pie shaped piece of out the Ballroom so the entrance makes more sense, patching the ceiling where the chimney used to be, fixing the door so it works like a door, closing off the second entrance through the Ballroom and then painting the entrance and stairwell.  They have a few touch up issues in the Loft and then it’s off to new projects.  I have the money, so we’re going to replace those rotting windows on the third floor of Bougainvillea.  Besides appearance, it should help a lot with heating and air conditioning.  If you need a general contractor, I’m very happy with Chuck from Metro Classic Builders.  412.915.1552.

My good friends Tony and Sue from State College are coming down for a visit on Friday.  (I’ve talked about Tony in the past, we went to PSU, he was a hort major and I was a business major.  He always gives me great advise on my gardens, like the Arondo donex that’s in the front of the “beach” next to the sidewalk everyone thinks is corn).  We’ve stayed in touch ever since.  I haven’t seen them since last fall.  Tony has made just about all of the furniture in their house.  Bedroom sets, the dining room set, tables and lamps.  In fact, he made the cherry lamp and wooden shade in my dining room next to the fireplace and the walnut one on Chenille’s desk.  And these aren’t IKEA kind of pieces, he does all kinds of intricate cuts, inlays, etc.  I want a more functional table in my dining room than the one in the center.  It’s very awkward to get eight guests around it when I put the extensions in it.  So when there were here last fall, I told him what my budget was and asked if he wanted to make it.  We discussed the specifics of what I wanted and he said he’d ponder it.  Well, when he called to invite themselves down, he said he had problems with it, so he made me a coffee table patterned after the one he has in his living room.  I think he entered that in a contest and got an award.  So Friday, I get a new coffee table, I’m so excited!

My good friends Dave & Claire are back from four or five years in Angola, also PSU alums.  They own a house in Whitehall and have been working on it.  He used to work for Exxon and has retired from there.  So we’re all getting together Friday.  Derronda’s working a manager’s shift on Friday, so I’ll be able to spend some quality time with them.

Derronda’s working a manager’s shift today and Dave and Claire invited me over for dinner to see their house.  I’m such the social butterfly now that D’s being such an even bigger asset.  Thanx, D.

Have a great day and I’ll talk you ya again soon,



Tomorrow is the anniversary of the first British colony (1583), Sir Humphrey Gilbert, on his sailing ship Squirrel, landed on Newfoundland and claimed it for the queen.  It’s John Houston’s birth anniversary (1906) and the anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death (1962).

Bromeliad is pretty much finished and ready for our first guest tomorrow.  The contractors still have to finish the entrance down on the first floor and install the fireplace and mantel, but other than that and some details for me (I have this idea to do a faux over the bed.  Here’s the pictures.  They’re pretty self explanatory, and I have a bunch I need to do for breakfast yet.  I still need to figure out a seating arrangement for in front of the fireplace  and some odds and ends.  When I’m happy with it, I’ll get my pictures organized and do a before and after, but that’s not going to be for awhile.

In-Bev, the Belgian company that bought out Budweiser has filed a patent request to have copy right over our area code, 412.  They also have filed patent requests on fourteen other cities.  In-Bev won’t comment on their intentions.  The assumption is they will be labeling locally targeted beverages.  My question is if 412 is patented, will I have to remove that from my brochures etc?  :)

The Manchester House  Tour and sale was a tremendous success, I am hearing.  Now, they are following up with their 13th annual house tour (no sales, unless you enter a house you really like and make an offer to the owners).  :)  They are featuring six houses and two gardens 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Sunday.  It costs $15 for this self guided tour and tickets will be available on the corner of Page & Manhattan Streets across from the Conroy Education Center.  Info on there web site or by calling 412.321.7707.

The Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival is being held next weekend (August 12 – 14) at the Butler County Fairgrounds.  This is where the Bantam company fulfilled a request from the military for an all purpose vehicle in 1940.  They made 3,000 Bantams the first year, the forefather of the Jeep.  More info on their web site or by calling 866.856.8444

I have been so incredibly busy, Derronda’s officially carrying three full time manager’s shifts for me.  She’s such a God send.  She definitely saves my sanity.

Have a great weekend,



Well, I’m an empty nester.  My morning doves have all left me.  ):  It was amazing to watch those chicks grow.  I swear they would double in size over night.  Now we have to remove the nest and clean up their droppings.  :)

Had a wonderful wedding this past weekend.  Liz and Brian looked stunning and everyone had a great time.  Grecko’s/Bella Sera did a wonderful job with the reception and then a plated dinner. Food was great and service was even better, what a great staff.  I love working with professionals.  They had their dinner in the Ballroom and then adjourned to a dance floor they had set up under a tent in the Courtyard.  Liz and Brian are now off to a state park in Ohio for some camping, kayaking and spelunking.  Next up is Andrea & Omar this weekend.  I look forward to hosting their special day.

OK, here’s a new one (at least for me).  It’s called Planking.  People are going around the city and having their pictures taken in public spaces prone.  There’s strict rules to your posture in these pictures.  You must be face down, legs together, toes pointing out, arms next to your body with your hands flat and fingers pointing out.  You are “a plank”.  You get points for most unique location (on a railing on Mt Washington looking over the city, chest on a pylon and legs balanced on a second pylon like you are floating, on top of a park bench, etc).  Related to this is Toothpicking where you are vertical.  Gary Clarkson and Christian Langdon dubbed it in 1997 in England.  Comedian Tom Green claims he was the first.  If you want to see pictures visit these web sites plank pittsburgh, pittsburgh planking and lyingdowngame.  This pastime is not without it’s risks, this past May a man died in Australia when he fell off the railing on his seventh story balcony.  Celebrities have gotten into it, Rosario Dawson planked on Jimmy Kimmel’s show, Usher has posted him planking as have Chris Brown and Justin Bieber.

Here’s pictures of Bromeliad, which I took over the weekend, but it has already changed drastically.  I love the aquamarine of the walls.  This may be my most tropical room.  The first picture shows where the king bed’s going.  The second picture is where the fireplace is going next to that window.  Obviously, the third picture is the new tub and shower.  The reason I included the last picture of the toilet is that picture shows the tile I choose for the border.  I really like it.

So today, the electrician did his final installations, the plumbing inspector gave his final OK and the painters stained the doors and put the first coat of the coral on the trim.  I’ll take some more pictures tomorrow after the painters are finished (the white in the bathroom, ceilings and closet is all finished.)