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,


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