Hi,

News Flash, I officially have two fans to my blog.  A new guest booked Monday and said they’ve been following my blog!

Sandra from the Calvary Church renovation group called me today to book a tour.  They’re the group that saved Calvary Methodist church several years ago from the wrecking ball.  They focused the $5 mil restoration that saved the church www.calvarypgh.com .  The church was built back before the turn of the century and reflects the $ that was in Allegheny City at the time, it boasts three incredible Tiffany stained glass windows.  They want to put me on their approved vendors for weddings.  Calvary’s a very nice place that does so much for the community.  If you’re ever around the first Thursday of the month, they have a very casual “soup night” with very affordable meals that benefit the food bank.  Very cool.

OK, I’m a little crazy.  I’m sooooo over this winter and the snow and dirt.  So yesterday I shoveled the left over snow off the front sidewalk so it would melt.  Today I took a hose and cleaned the front and parking lot porches and the sidewalk.  It is so much less depressing.  I was so happy, I again shoveled.  This time the sides of the parking lot so tomorrow Mr Anal can hose the parking lot off and get on with Spring.  YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not to stop my masochistic tendencies, I went out to Betty’s (my Mom) this afternoon.  She’s had a LOT of tree damage from the massive snow storms we’ve had in the northeast.  My nephew Michael was already there and we got most of the damage around the house cut up and stacked.  Couldn’t take the debris down into her woods because “the field” was still to wet, my truck got stuck in the mud on the first trip down there. Michael ended up helping me pull the truck out of the field with his mom’s 4 wheel drive car.  Lots of chain saw action and lugging and snipping.  I’m a little sore, but it was nice to see her yard sort of back to normal.

Problems with “the puppy”.  He’s always been aggressive towards Razor (not in a mean way, it’s just he’s kind of greedy, if Razor has it, RJ wants it).  When I went to get the dog food yesterday, I bought them both a bone.  RJ grabbed the first one while I was putting the dog food in the back.  When I got in the truck, I grabbed the other bone in the wheel well and RJ immediately dropped the one in his mouth and took that one.  When I took the one RJ dropped and gave it to Razor, RJ growled at Razor.  Totally unacceptable.  I don’t want to “beat” RJ, for this, then I realized the Razor doesn’t play with toys much anymore.  It dawned on me that Mr Easy going Razor has just given up on the toys.  Does anyone have any suggestions on teaching RJ communal living and sharing?  RJ’s not a “bad guy”, he’s just a puppy in a large body that hasn’t learned sharing.  Razor’s fault of being too much of a nice guy that doesn’t want to assert himself.  (Razor does assert himself at times, but obviously this isn’t important to him).  It is to me.

Good night,

ed

Hi, I’m back,

Once again, I did nine miles over the speed limit (sometimes a bit more) and still arrived when mapquest said I should.  Darn law breaking speeders, they should be banned from the Internet.  :)

Da boiz were quite happy to see me.  They were bouncing all over the place.  So I took them to the park for their run, fed them and then hollered at RJ for being WAY to enthusiastic when I was trying to get my computer to work.  All is back to normal.  :)

When I asked Vicki at the Inn on the Ocean www.innontheocean.com about leaving my truck in their parking lot so I could walk up to the convention center, she said it was more than the twenty blocks I thought it would be, it was more like thirty.  She immediately offered to drive me up, AND pick me up.  I just love bed and breakfasts, could you imagine the manager of a Hilton making that offer?  Breakfast was great.  It started with a medley of fresh fruit, coffee, OJ and a cinnamon bread that melted in your mouth.  Then fluffy scrambled eggs with fresh chives, crisp bacon and a home made muffin.  If you ever get a chance to visit Charlie & Vicki, be sure to ask about the wedding they had the day the moved into their new Inn.  Way too funny.  I was so full from breakfast, I couldn’t even think about a McGrease burger until after five (actually it was a McChicken w/grease).

So they gave me a ride up to the convention center and gave me some local tips on the trip.  There was three regular linen vendors at the show (there also were a number of rental companies and linen processing companies).  I think I have the info I need to make some decent choices.  One of the linen vendors, Harbor Linen’s did the same bs that gives sales people such a bad name.  They have their fancy booklet there with lots of pretty pictures and some descriptions, but no prices.  So I asked about getting a price list and the sales man started the same spiel about all of there customers are treated as unique customers.  I treat all of my guests as unique guests and don’t hide my prices from them.  Make a darn price list and discount for large orders, it’s not a hard concept to grasp.  At least a little guy like me has a basis to work from when wanting to spend time comparing one company to another.

I walked back the thirty blocks and it only took me forty-five minutes, they were short blocks.  Twenty of the blocks was boardwalk.  It was a nice assortment of honky tonk, old style boardwalk, new upscale and comfortably weathered older buildings.  One note to Ocean City, in the course of all my trips on the boardwalk, a dozen plus city trucks passed me, one actually smiled and waved.  I don’t care, but if you want to encourage tourism, at least get your city staff to go out of their way to be friendly.  Jamaica has taught their kids in school for years the importance of tourists.  They have billboards up for the locals explaining how important tourists are.

Well, it’s definitely time for bed, good night.

ed

Good Morning,

I’m not making breakfast this morning, I’m having it made for me.  :)  Since I had no reservations Sunday or Monday as of last Thursday, I decided to go to a trade show in Ocean City, MD.  There’s several web sites that list upcoming shows and when I’ve had a free Sunday & Monday, they were always in Las Vegas, L.A. or Boston (sometimes London or Singapore).  Since I wanted something I could drive to, this worked out perfectly, only six hours.

I was giving a tour to an engaged couple for a possible September wedding.  This was booked for 2 p.m. before I made my new plans.  I contacted them and they agreed to come an hour early so I could get on the road.  They actually showed up a 1/2 earlier, thanx Shayla & Will.  Dorronda’s busy scouring the rooms with a list of chores for the day and I kissed da boiz good by and was on my way.  (No, I didn’t abandon da boiz.  Kerry from KS Kennedy Floral www.kskenndy.bravehost.com , right down the street agreed to bring Lucy and they were all going to have a sleep over).

I know a lot of people complain about www.mapquest.com but I find it extremely useful.  Mapquest may have troubles with Pittsburgh’s twisted streets and constant changing, I have trouble with Pittsburgh’s streets and directions myself.  :)  Estimated driving time came in right at six hours (no I don’t know how they calculate drive times, but I did nine miles OVER the speed limit almost the entire trip and still arrived in six hours), maybe the web site has a heavy foot also.

So I found what appeared to be a very nice Inn right on the ocean.  From web sites, you are never sure what to expect, been there done that.  :)  I have found most times, Inns end up being AT LEAST as nice as the pictures, and this was true of Inn on the Ocean www.innontheocean.com .  When I booked, I told Charlie, one of the Inn Keepers, that I should arrive by 8 p.m., but may be late because of the tour at my Inn.  When he found out I was also an Inn Keeper, he offered me his least expensive room an would up grade me when I arrived to the most expensive available at the time.  When I arrived, Josh their night manager greeted me and showed me around.  There’s single serve coffee and tea available anytime.  They have an ice machine and communal refrigerator in the basement for guest use.  My room had a TV and VCR and there was a library of VCR tapes for guest use in the commons area (I assume the other guest rooms also have this amenity).  The common areas were fresh and clean and well appointed.  The living room has a gas fireplace controlled by a remote, nice touch.  They also have fresh fruit, candies and cookies in the dining room for guests.  Unfortunately, on several levels, I had a McGrease burger on the way down and didn’t feel like dinner when I arrived.  A couple of hours later, the munchies attacked and I devoured several of Vicki & Charlie’s tasty cookies.

The room Josh checked me into was the Veranda Room, first floor, ocean front.  Very nice, thank you Charlie.  The queen bed was nice and firm, I don’t like those overly soft pillow type beds many Inns have.  There was all the amenities one would expect, remote cable TV, alarm clock radio, full private bath (with jacuzzi), they’re own private label bottled water (nice touch), extra blanket, robes, luggage rack and small space heaters in the closet if you needed (the Inn was plenty warm for me).

So this morning I woke up at six and lazed around for a bit and then watched the sun rise from the ocean.  Quite nice, I haven’t done that in awhile.  I then took a walk on the boardwalk, right outside  and then came in for coffee and to blog.  They serve breakfast from nine until ten, so I think I’ll take a bit of a walk south on “the boards” and come back for b’fast.  The convention center is just 2 miles away, if it’s OK with Charlie & Vicki, I’ll leave the truck in their lot and just walk up the boards for the show.  I should be home fairly early, so if I have any regular fans, I’ll let you know how I made out at the show.  There’s supposed to be a number of linen vendors there, which is the main reason for me to come here.

ed

Summer

Summer

Hi,

Well, I guess it’s electronics one, ed zero.  The TV’s unfixable.  Vizio is sending a replacement TV.

Jason and Cindi were here earlier this week and Cindi did two posts on her blog, here’s the first link http://jc-parsons.blogspot.com/2010/03/our-adventures-in-pittsburgh-part-1.html the other link http://jc-parsons.blogspot.com/2010/03/our-adventures-in-pittsburgh-part-2.html.

Nice pictures Cindi and I’ll send you the $5 for the nice words.  :)

It’s the first Thursday of the month and my friend Lisa’s running Soup Night over at Calvary Methodist church on the corner of Beech and Allegheny Avenues.  It a fund raiser for the church and the food bank.  Good cause, good food, cheap prices and it gives you an excuse to get in the church and see the $5 million renovations.  Fabulous Tiffany windows.

Kristen & Joel left today, I finally got her breakfast right all the way through.  She’s gluten intolerant and day one I made her parfait with granola, day two I gave her parfait to Madona and had to quickly make another.  Also, yesterday I wanted to do one of my vegetable dishes and couldn’t do my quiche because of the graham cracker crust, so I planned on making frattata which has a potato base.  BUT, I put a tablespoon of flour in the egg mixture to make it more cake like.  After I put it in the oven, I thought “you fool”.  So she settled for eggs sunny side up, bacon and potatoes O’Brien.
I scare me sometimes.  They found a great local beer from the East End Brewery, www.eastendbrewing.com it’s on Susquehanna Street, I’m going to have to check it out.  They went to the Church Brew Works www.churchbrew.com for dinner and again the Brew Works didn’t offer the pizza menu.  They’re famous for their wood stove pizzas.  I don’t understand.  And Kristen & Joel didn’t care for their entrees off the dinner menu.

Kirk found out what my problem was with posting pictures and why my links weren’t working.  I’ve gone back and corrected all my hyperlinks, so if anyone wants to use them, they’re functional.  I also was able to post one picture, but most of the ones I have are too large for this program, I need to now figure out how to reduce them.

ed

Hi,

I have a “fan” for this blog!!!!  Rhonda & Tim checked-in today and Rhonda said Tim had been reading my blog.  :)

I hate electronics and new technology.  They know this the minute I walk into a room something new is and they start conspiring.  I eventually win, though.  I beat the ipod, now it’s the new TV in Bird of Paradise.  The flat screen in there died last month, so I got a new one and installed it.  It worked fine.  The first guests in the room said they got a pink picture and no sound. Derronda figures out that if you press the resolution button on the box, the pink goes away and you have sound.  The next guests check in the room and say there’s no sound and the picture is pink.  So I press the resolution button and the sound comes back on and the pink goes away.  Those guests were only here one night, so after they leave, I go up and try the TV.  Guess what?  No sound and a pink picture.  So, I call DirecTV.   After about four hours speaking with DirecTV and swapping boxes, HDMI1 cords and then using RCA jacks, it still works fine when you press the resolution button on the box the sound returns and the picture is fine.  If I shut it off and then turn it right back on, it works fine.  So it’s fixed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  This past weekend, I had guests in Bird of Paradise and the same problem occurred.  So I showed them the resolution button and told them how to fix it.  So the problem is not DirecTV related, so I contacted Costco’s concierge’s service, where I bought the TV.  Three phone calls and an hour and a half later, I’m on the phone with Costco and Rhonda and Tim arrive.  Costco was at the point of calling Visio when Rhonda & Tim arrive and I had to stop.  (NOT Rhonda and Tim’s fault, they just wanted to be checked-in and start to enjoy their visit, very nice couple).   So maybe tomorrow I’ll get the TV to work.  I will win, eventually.

After Rhonda and Tim checked-in and got settled in, da boiz and myself drove out to Finelyville to see Betty [we were supposed to have dinner last night, but I had a meeting with Kate & Charlie and Jay (Catered Elegance) who are getting married here in May.]  When I called Betty yesterday morning after checking my my reservation book, I had check-ins Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in my reservation book, I hadn’t look at my calendar.  Luckily, Jay sent me an E-mail yesterday morning questioning about the meeting and so before I had time to check my calendar and left; was reminded.  And called Betty to cancel, I could hear in her voice the disappointment.  So it was a nice compromise, she was happy to see us.  I’m glad I got so see Kate &  Charlie, not only to add my 2%, but I luv new couples, they’re so happy and fresh.  And typical of my weddings, they’re laid back and just want to have a fun time.

ed

Hi,

Let me make it official, I refuse to shovel any more snow this year.  IF we get another storm, beware neighbors.  I shoveled the Veranda roof for the second time.  The snow & ice back up from the box gutters and cause the water to leak under the roofing down through the box holding the ceiling on the posts.  ):

On the bright side, who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?  I’m now the ipod Meister.  My large CD player broke a few months back and I’ve been playing either my holiday 5 CD player or satellite (I must say, after listening to the songs the satellite played, I have much better taste).   Well, after much drama and downloading itunes multiple times (Windows 7 kept saving it in a temporary file and I never saw it there) and many other challenges (thank you Joann for bailing me out), I have recorded all my CD’s in my itune library and then downloaded it onto my ipod.  I’m listening to my music as I type from my ipod through the Mansion stereo system.  I didn’t say you cold teach an old dog new tricks easily.  :)

Pretty quiet week again.  This is getting old, after being so busy for so long, to take a nose dive like I have the past two months really grates on one’s nerves.  It’s nice having some down time so I can learn itunes and do lots of little projects around, but I need guests to keep me on my toes.  I actually slept until 7 a.m. the other day.

I found another nice review from Brian & Sherri on Google maps.  That’s so nice.  It’s like being a waiter, which I have for so much of my life, and getting a 20% tip.  It makes you all warm and fuzzy when people go out of their way to be nice to you.

You should see the new tee shirts Kerry’s selling down at KS Kennedy Floral and Gourmet www.kskennedy.bravehost.com .  They are black  with gold lettering.  There’s three gold diamonds reminiscent of the Steeler’s logo (no copy right infringement there) and a picture of a chair blocking a shoveled parking space.  The caption is Pittsburgh Public Parking Authority.  It’s a shame his shop isn’t on the Southside, he’d make a fortune over there.  Very cute.  Speaking of Kerry, he still has a couple of those carved wooden Christmas tree ornaments of the Willock mansion left.  They’re $15 and 1/2 goes to the neighborhood association.

I got my income tax refund today, thanx Uncle Sam.

Well, I want to take da boiz down to the park before Kristen and Joel arrive.  Chat later and have a great day.

ed

It’s pretty bad when you finally quit shoveling sidewalks and parking lots and start shoveling roofs.  Yes, I ended up shoveling the Veranda roof last night.  It wasn’t the weight I was worried about, the white snow was reflecting the heat and the ice back up underneath was causing leaks underneath the box gutters.  Speaking of snow and ice, there was this massive (and dangerous) ice cycle/block of ice around on of one of the front downspouts.  When I came down this morning, it was still dark at 6 a.m. and I could see some ice that didn’t seem to belong laying on the sidewalk in front of the parking lot.  Sure enough, the big ice chunk had finally come down.  I found a slate shingle from the front porch roof and this piece of metal with a big screw going through it.  I tried to see where it had come from up over the roof and couldn’t see anything.  When I came back out in the daylight, the ice had hit the new street light poll out front and knocked the electrical cover off.  I thought the metal look too new to have come off my house.

Western PA B & B Association is publishing their cook book, they called me today asking for my menus (I had sent them in months ago), apparently the cut off date is next week, so the book should be published fairly soon..  Luckily, I just finished putting all my recipes in my computer, so resubmitting them was a piece of cake-pun intended.

I’m doing a re-fi with Slovak Savings Bank, big drop in interest.  Jennifer stopped by to get some forms signed yesterday and we spoke this morning.  She was going to order the survey and they showed up already this afternoon.  Pretty prompt.  Jennifer was asking for a number of things and so I ended up spending most of the afternoon going through old files.  What a blast from the past looking through all Lake Worth, FL purchase and sale documents.  And then of course I end up looking through other old files, like the scam they tried to pull on me in 2004.  Back then, I received an E-mail from a Moses John from London.  He wanted to book a room for his “client” and wanted to pay in advance with a check drawn from Lloyds of London bank.  When the check arrived, it was made out for about $2,000 more than the cost of lodging.  There was a note in the envelope asking me to cash the check and send the balance back to him for airfare.  When I brought the check to Dave, my branch manager at Fidelity Federal (now a PNC bank in Lake Worth).  He looked into it and where as checks drawn on American banks can be declined after a specified amount of time, international checks can be declined anytime, even years later.  And I would have to pony up to cover for the check. So I deposited the check (so it wasn’t just sitting around) and repeatedly tried to contact Moses John.  I sent several E-mails explaining that I could only accept payment for lodging and offered to return the check.  I never heard from him again.  Not surprisingly, the check eventually was not honored and returned to me.  I now probably receive several of these scams a month, and just delete them. At least I had a nice balance in my bank account for two months, but I had to be careful not to touch the amount that would cover that check.  (Actually, I used Quicken back then and and just never listed it as a deposit in my check book so I was never tempted.)

Hi,

I just posted today’s blog and when I went to use the hyperlinks, they don’t work.  They look fine, I’ll have to ask Kirk what I did wrong.  Until I get this corrected, if you want to visit any of these site, just type the web site in your browser, that will work.

Holy cow, it’s been three days since my last (and first) entry.  I’m going to have to get my act together if I’m going to make this blog relevant and timely.  Served a new menu item this morning, it’s a hybrid between what some of you may have had, my Egg Tartlet and my good friend Lisa’s Egg Cup.  For Christmas, Lisa, formerly from the Ugly Duckling,  gave me a cook book of her recipes and I noticed the similarities between my Tartlet and her Cup, so I decided to blend them.  Of course her recipe called for some chili sauce.  I’ve had a bottle in my pantry for a year, my neighbor Eleanor gave me a bag of Heinz products for shoveling her sidewalk last  year and there was a bottle of chili sauce in it.  I never use chili sauce, so last summer I cleaned out my pantry and donated that and other items to a food drive.  Of course I forgot and assumed it was there.  So after having dinner at the Monterey Pub(  www.montereypub.com ) with friends Carlton & Tim, I went to the grocery store at 11 p.m to get the chili sauce.  I’m very happy with the blended recipe.  I added potatoes O Brian and reduced the amount of egg (cholesterol)  and my recipe was very time sensitive, this new one is more tolerant.    For anyone that’s interested, Lisa is now doing cooking classes and catering out of her new venture, The Fabled Table ( www.fabledtable.com ).

I put the inserts in 500 of my brochures to give to Visit Pittsburgh, ( www.visitpittsburgh.com ) to place in their Welcome Centers.  While Downtown, I stopped at The Terrace Room, ( www.omnihotels.com/findahotel/pittsburghwilliampenn/dining/aspx) a restaurant in the Omni William Penn where I worked for about five years.  It was nice seeing Marty and Santiago again.  Lunch was very good, by the way.

Another project I have been working on is collecting all my entree recipes and quick bread recipes.  I had misplaced my cinnamon bread recipe and thought I lost it.  (I eventually found it).  And that had me bothered.  Lisa kind of motivated me to add my recipes to her book.  AND I think I am going to finally get back to writing my book (45k words in the manuscript, 10k in other areas of my computer ready to be imported to the manuscript and the recipes will be another 5k; so that leaves me with about 15k I need to do before getting someone to edit my ramblings so they make sense to a potential publisher).  I have finished the entrees and only have three more breads to do this afternoon and that project will be finished.

Even though it’s kind of rough on the old bank account, being slow does have some advantages.   :)

Hi All,

Kirk, from Vollkommen, www.vollkommenmedia.com added this blog to my web site with our latest changes.  It seems pretty easy.  This is going to be a daily journal for occurrences today, past experiences, stories and idle ramblings.

Markus & Yvonne and Michaela & David all left this morning.  They were the last of the Germans that where here for Michaela & David’s wedding at The Priory last Friday (www.thepriory.com).  What a nice group of guests, and so easy to please.  They actually seemed to like my breakfasts.  :)

Maria & Bill are checking in this afternoon from Chicago.  This will be their first visit.

Jay with Catered Elegance (www.cateredelegance.net) will be meeting with Meghan (and maybe Mark) for their June wedding this evening here.  I think I scared Meghan last Saturday when she came over to see the place.  I laid my weekday housekeeper off because I’m generally so slow Jan/Feb.  This past week I’ve been basically sold out because of all the Germans that were in for Michaela & David’s wedding, we’ve had kazillions of feet of snow,  I was scheduled to give tours to two brides  and Meghan shows up at the door and I said “Spring wedding about 120 guests” and she looked at me as if I was nuts and said 120 guests this June 12.  I had just seen her not that long ago.  My mind (or lack of memory) really scares me sometimes.

It snowed again this morning.  I swear I’ve shoveled, chipped ice or used the snow blower at least once a day for the past two weeks.  I keep checking the 15 day forecast and it’s everyday, lows in the low 20′s and highs in the low 30′s and snow flurries.  How boring and depressing.  Send me back to Florida.

I can’t take da boiz down to run in the park.  Besides the entire thing being covered in two feet of snow, there’s no plowed sidewalks and tons of branches blocking the entrance.  I guess I’ll just take them out for a “drag” (they drag me down the sidewalk), around the block.

I need to figure out how to get my hyperlinks to work, not bad for my first post.  Have a great evening all.

Ire,

ed

Ire-a Rastafarian greeting wishing good luck, good health, good journey