As typical of me, the outside of Bird of Paradise’s tub was looking kind of sad, so I was going to put a fresh coat of white Rustoleum on it. As i was sitting on my butt painting I noticed how sad the radiator right next to it was looking.  So my job doubled.  Then I noted how sad the tile floor was looking.  Three of the original bathrooms have ceramic tile that’s over 100 years old and the glaze has pretty much worn away, a secret treatment is to take Lestoil and apply a heavy coat undiluted to the floor and let it set over night.  The next day take a bucket of warm water, rag and nylon scrubber.  Use the scrubber on an area and then mop it up with the clean damp rag.  You will need to do this several times (until the water in your bucket stays clear) to get all the residue up.  Here’s the stained tile:

100 year old ceramic tile

And here’s the clean tile floor, freshly painted tub and radiator:

Bird of Paradise bathroom

And since doing this, Bird of Paradise’s closet opens into Allamanda’s bathroom and going back and for the radiator in Allamanda’s bathroom was bothering me, so I did that one as well:

Victorian ceramic tile

DJT was legal in his declaring a national emergency last month.  Although i strongly disagree with him doing this to “get his way”, it was legal and because our dis-functioning legislative branch of the government did not put restrictions on it when they enacted it in 1976.  I assume they did that on purpose assuming a commander in chief  would be reasonable.  Congress does have the power and authority to stop this power grab, if they have the nerve to do this.

Speaking of our government brings me to mind of my conviction that the founding fathers were aliens and speaking of which, there’s another past historical figure that I want to add to my list of aliens, Leonardo Da Vinci, actually his name was Leonardo from Da Vinci (that’s how they referred to people back then), like I would be Ed from Pittsburgh.  I’m not just stumbling on Leonardo, I’ve been a fan of his as far back as I can remember.  The reason this comes up now, is it’s the 500th anniversary of his death this year.  In keeping with this, the Carnegie Science Center has a special exhibit.  They have big digital reproductions of 20 of his famous paintings and a 60 life sized exhibits of his inventions, or at least things he was tinkering with.  Did you know he wrote backwards?  Dyslexia?  He was left handed (and so am  I)  🙂 , and writing on the paper from right to left kept him from smudging the ink.  He took copious notes and luckily for us used high grade paper that withstood time.  I have his thousands of pages of notes to his apprentice and after passing through several other people were finally published in the early 1900th century.  That was when his genius was finally discovered, for one thing he was the first to identify that the human spine was curved.  As he worked his study of anatomy he kept touching up his paintings to reflect how he now knew how various muscles worked.

I was invited to an open house City of Asylum was hosting last night, it was the first time I was in their new space at 40 W North Avenue.  They rehabbed the old Masonic Temple to a restaurant, book store and some event spaces that occupy the first floor, which is what they were showing off.  Actually, this new space is Alphabet City, a subsidiary of City of Asylum.  I’ve spoken of CoA in several past posts.  Such great people, founded by Henry Reese & Diane Samuels in 2003.  Read the link, they have such a cool back story.  The upper stories they turned into loft apartments, some market rate, some subsidized.  They still have the shot gun houses up the hill behind that have become fairly famous, one has a poem in Chinese written by one of their first residents on the front of the house.  If your touring the Northside, be sure to check it out. In Alphabet City, they have a series of events like book readings, jazz and other events.  They are always free, they do ask for a donation to help them out and you should RSVP ahead of time, because they fill up.  AC has partnered with Brugge on North, Brugge’s third location.  Something else I like about CoA, is they do things, not like those loosers that have had the rest of the Garden block tied up for years.  The developers insisted that they had to tear down the old historic buildings down to “make the numbers work”.  I didn’t like that as I didn’t like their insistence that they be exempt from the code requiring parking for their rental units.  What i have a major problem with is the zoning in that area calls for buildings to be no larger than 3 stories.  They couldn’t “make their numbers work with anything less than 8 stories tall.  I am good with getting reasonable variances from the basic zoning, but over twice the allocated height is ridiculous!  Here’s a picture of what they did next to the garden theater:


garden block demolition

It looks like something out of Aleppo, Syria instead of America.  Alphabet City is the three story building on the left of the white Garden Theater.

OK kids, I’m off to bed, the weather seems to be finally breaking and I am certainly ready for spring,



Last year when the cypress tree was knocked down by wind the Hays eagles built a new nest in a near by tree. New webcams were installed with new HD cameras and it is so much clearer now.  Momma last her first egg late last week and a third one Monday.  They’re saying there may be a fourth one.  Speaking of nests, they build nest around 6 feet by 8 feet that weigh up to a ton.  Girl eagles are larger than boy eagles.  Eagles reach maturity around 4 -5 years old and that’s when they get the white feathers on their head.

I think I’m going to hear a bit on this opinion, Hoda Muthana left America (she was living in Alabama) to become an ISIS wife (whether she is a bona fide American citizen is currently debatable).  She now wants to come back to America, I guess living for five years with those animals (ISIS) and their disregard for common decency not to mention starvation has her rethinking her choice in life.  As if that is not enough she tweeted this “Americans wake up! Men and women altogether. You have much to do while you live under our greatest enemy, enough of your sleeping!” she once wrote, according to The Guardian. “Go on drivebys, and spill all of their blood, or rent a big truck and drive all over them. Veterans, Patriots, Memorial, etc day … Kill them.” in 2015.  Her attorney says she’s an American citizen and the government can not deny her re-entry. If her attorney wants to push this, I suggest the US take action to revoke her citizenship permanently,like UK did to Shamima Begum, as similar story, she now wants to return to England.  England is revoking her citizenship to keep her out.  My suggestion to both women is to find someway to redeem themselves by working with orphaned children ISIS fighters  orphaned and/or finding how to help wounded civilians and military veterans that ISIS maimed.  I’m not saying never let them return, I’m saying because it’s cold and food’s scarce it’s easy to say I’m sorry.  Lets wait some time and see if they do have a heart and soul and can redeem selves.

While I’m talking about forgiveness, I think we are overly obsessive with correct behavior.  Digging into the past for past wrongs should have a limit.  The governor of Virginia  Ralph Northam admits that when he was in college he posed for a photo in black face. That was thirty years ago, what has he done since should be the questions asked.  David Duke was and is an evil human.  Mark Wahlberg was a rapper in his teenage years and made many homophobic comments.  He has since learned and seems to be very inclusive in his life, and other than a comment like mine, it’s buried in the past as past indiscretions should.  Anthony Weiner is another one that should not be forgiven.  His sexting and pornographic texts to minors cost him his wife and seat in Congress and he still kept it up.

I got the chandelier back from Francis Norwalk the day I returned from Florida.  He was upset the last time it was rebuilt they used plastic washers instead of the traditional metal washers and said a half dozen reasons why it should be metal and not plastic.  Here it is before he worked on it:

Waterford crystal chandelier

And here it is rewired and the inside of the center core cleaned look how it sparkles:

repaired Waterford

One of the reasons for the delay on this post is I’ve been watching DJT and his power grab trying to take the legislature’s power over the purse strings by declaring a made up national emergency (talk about fake news?)  🙂  I’ve been laying low about my opinions on him for a bit.  I hate America looking the fool  for his asinine comments (like during the election he said he knows more about ISIS than the generals do and most recently when he took Putin’s word that N Korea was denuclearizing over the CIA’s assessment).  But with our checks and balances, he probably will not be getting away with this power grab.  Have I told you before how much I adore our founding fathers?  I still think they were aliens.  In my mind during this power grab I kept thinking of the Nazi’s and how they pull similar tricks taking over the country from the normal and humane Germans that were around then.  I am still concerned about what that nut case my do if and when he gets backed into a corner.  My biggest fear is that he might declare another national emergency and suspend the Constitution and declare martial law.  Of course the Democrats are fighting the first “national emergency” and even some Republicans are breaking ranks.  Personally, I am confident that the military would not follow him.

OK to end on a happier note, here’s my treasure from Florida.  I feel like I am showing you me in my underwear (just a figure of speech).  🙂  He is currently in my basement and so the pictures show him in my rough basement (kind of like me in my underwear).  Here’s my parrot :

Mexican parrot

In this picture, he doesn’t look as big as he does from the back so here’s another picture of him:

back view parrot

Well that’s about it, I was lucky this weekend, I lost my Internet and DirecTV only.  Be good and be happy,






I spoke about Snook Islands here in Lake Worth in my last post and had a picture from afar of what they planted on these man made islands to lessen the effects of a storm surge with a hurricane.  I went to Mounts Botanical Garden.  All those things you see on the bottom are not branches, but individual roots anchoring the trees.  Here’s a closer of look of how their roots anchor into the soil that gives them such resilience to a storm surge:

mangrove trees

Also I got a got a red copper leaf plant.  Here’s my new little baby:


Mounts have an installation they just completed.  It took over 650 volunteers months to create this out of willow branches and switches:

mounts botanical gardens

Kind of reminds me of something out of the movie Beetlejuice.

To anyone living or visiting the WPB area, my friends Darcy & Steve took me  to Haos Noodles Asian restaurant.  They insisted on ordering their favorite for me.  We all got it baked rice, beef and vegetables and they ordered it hot and spicy which made me a bit nervous because I like flavorful, but not hot and spicy.  I have had hot and spicy at Nicky’s Thai Kitchen down the street and it was unpleasant.  This Beef Stone Bowl was extremely hot (it’s cooked at 500 degrees) but not overly spicy.  It’s cooked so hot and long that the rice along the edges of the stone bowl turn out like flavored rice cakes.

John, was an interior designer in NYC and some art gallery owner bought a house down here and brought him down to  do the interior while I still owned The Parador of the Palm Beaches.  He was here in the winter and when he went back to NYC in the winter decided to move to S Florida.  He settled in Ft  Lauderdale. He stayed at my Inn and we’ve stayed friends, so when I come down, I try and  spend some time with him.  Last year we went to Vizcaya Gardens and the Coral Castle.  So this year we went to Monkey Jungle.  Monkey Jungle is where the monkeys run free and the humans are in cages (actually caged hallways).  Thees  are  three of my favorite Florida attractions.  I have no interest in Disney Land, Universal, etc up in Orlando for one thing I’m  no longer 8 years old and mainly I hate the crowds and all the pushing  and shoving.  Here’s where they give their lectures at Monkey Jungle with the main monkeys originally brought from Java:

monkey jungle homestead florida


Francis Norwalk  called me yesterday and my chandelier from the main dining room  is finished. I’ve had it rebuilt with American standard light sockets instead of the European sized sockets that needed a collar to fit light bulbs.  They also cleaned the insides of the glass base and removed dirty plastic dividers and replaced them with metal washers returning it to a more original appearance.  Francis is such a nice guy, he’s in his 90’s and doesn’t have a website, but he is acknowledged in Google Places.

A few more days  down here and then  up to visit my brother in Tampa and then back to PGH to get the Inn ready for Valentines day.  Have you made your reservations yet?  🙂

Take care,



My favorite toy store will be re-opening this spring in Lawenceville.  Dragonfly Castle was located down on a side street near the river and was hard to find and harder to give directions to.  They bought a two story house in 2017 and have done extensive renovations.  The new location is 4747 Butler Street.  Their tag line is “No batteries, no screens, pure fun”, that kind of sums them up.

I was speaking with my friend Arlen that owns City Books just down the street from me the other day and she had missed the back story on those high school kids from Kentucky and the Indian Elder, that went viral just showed the high school boys standing in front of Nathan Phillips, an elder with the Omaha tribe. The back story, these youngsters visiting our capital to protest against abortion.  They seem to come from a fairly conservative background and had bought some Trump “Make America Great Again” hats and was confronted by some Hebrew Israelites after some chants like “Build the Wall” and “Trump 2020” who were calling them names like hicks, homosexuals all in derogatory forms.  And the kids started call the Hebrew Israelites names as well.  Nathan Phillips who is a Marine veteran saw the confrontation and brought his demonstration between two feuding groups to promote peace.  The boys were being young and stupid, the Hebrew Israelists were being rude, Nathan was the hero of the situation trying to diffuse a volatile situation.  Why can’t we all be more like Nathan?

Loop was announced last week at World Economic Forum, the plan is to eliminate the need to recycle.  Like back in the 1950’s with milk delivery.  You would put your empty milk bottles in a box by your door and the milkman would take the old ones, send them out to be cleaned & sanitized and put a new bottle of milk in the box. Loop is the brain child of Tom Szaky CEO of Terra-cycle of Trenton NJ.  They already have some big players signed up for it like Nestle, Proctor and Gamble, Pepsi, Coke, etc.  I imagine it will start with bigger popular items like laundry soap and liters of soft drinks and depending on it’s popularity more products would be added to what you could order through Loop.

OK, , I swore I would avoid politics, but I can’t stand it anymore.  Your commander in Tweet DJT has been very funny.  He has truly backed himself into a corner.  I personally don’t like Nancy Pelosi, but have to give her credit.  As she orchestrated stopping Bush from privatizing social security she’s holding firm that DJT needs to open the government before she’ll negotiate.  She’s not buying into his normal stupid, oh I’ll give your this partial immigration reform on a temporary basis. and the other bluster he’s offered.  One if his major campaign pledges was to build the wall and make Mexico pay for it.  Well surprise surprise, Mexico said no.  He then said, well I never said they were going to directly pay for it, I’m going to make them pay for it through my new NAFTA agreement, again, not true.  So he wants America to pony up $5.7B to build his medieval wall.  I just saw on the news of people tunneling under the all (much like Hamas does in Israel) and building make shift ladders and climbing over it.  He invites Pelosi & Chuck Schumer, the ranking Democrats to the Oval Office to discuss reopening the government and when they didn’t agree immediately to what he was offering, he got up and sarcastically said bye bye.  Then she asks him to hold off on the State of the Union address I do want secure boarders and don’t think 5,000 immigrants should be able to caravan into this country.  To be American is a privilege we have and not a right.

This is DJT’s entry into the 2020 campaign appealing to his “base”, I don’t find it appealing, I find it appalling.  I don’t understand how he orchestrated this “partial” government shut down.  Once again he is showing his true colors.  He’s hurting working families like the TSA, Coast Guard and the poor Americans affected by the closing of programs like section 8, food stamps.  Not the banking system or big business like oil & gas, utilities.  He is as out of touch with America as his Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Rosss who said he doesn’t understand why “they” don’t just take out loans until the government reopens.  I think there once was a queen that said something like “Let them eat cake” when her country was running out of wheat for bread.  I can see the NSA mega data mining and putting me on the watch list for proposing getting a guillotine and chopping his head off.  Not that I think that would be a bad idea, I’m just saying. 🙂

OK, I know you shouldn’t tell people on social media you are out of town.  You need to read down this blog to see this.  Several things that make me comfortable doing this, last fall during one of our walks some drunk started giving me a hard time.  As our voices rose, RJ took note and became very still and focused on the drunk.  Naturally his little sister did the same.  As my discourse with the drunk progressed RJ started a low rumble, he wasn’t pulling on the lease, just letting the drunk know to back off.  His sister started squirming letting RJ she has his back.  The drunk finally took note, put his hands up and said Whoh, whoh, whoh and backed off.  Besides all my cameras I can check anytime and they record for over a month, my house sitters are Randy & Art.  Art is a retired marine and a quiet guy like RJ and just lays back, but you meet him and just have respect for him (not fear-he’s not one of those).

So I’m in Florida, couldn’t have picked a better time. 18 degrees in Pittsburgh and 70 in Florida.  Generally i have a hard time sleeping lately.  I’ve gotten more and better sleep in the last few days than the last few months.  I think a lot of that is I finally got real Sudafed, instead of the over the counter weak stuff.  I haven’t been able to use my CPAC machine because of the congestion. and that is pretty much gone.  The CPAC machine has a funny story related to it, remind me next time I see ya.

I’m in Lake Worth, where my first bed and breakfast was.  It is now just a vacant lot now, so sad- (I’m starting to sound like DJT ):  LW is such a cute town and will remain so.  Not so densely developed and pricey as our southern neighbor Delray Beach.  There is no fast food in either downtown corridor streets.  As traditional with me, I get up early and go over to LW beach to watch the sunrise:

Lake Worth FL sunrise

Walking across the bridge to Palm Beach Island, I saw snook islands.  The county has been adding this islands with mangrove trees that are natural hurricane storm surge protectors for the land, their roots and trunks are spindly and not like one big oak tree for the winds to grab and pull down, because of their natural structure, the winds can’t grab a hold of them and their roots go deep down to hold them in place.  They are not particularly pretty tropical plants, but sure are work horses that do a great job.

mangrove trees

The big one on the left has been there for years, the little ones you see are like babies of the big one, just artificially created.

When I first moved back to PGH, my sibs gave me this monster gas powered snow blower.  Super loud, super heavy, super difficult to start.  Got rid of that years ago.  Just bought a Sno Jo ti’s electric so it’s light and relatively quiet so I can use it early before guests get up.  It’s known not to do well with heavy snow, and I am OK with that.  The first snow this year is was somewhat useless (may have been operator error)  🙂  The second snow it was a champ:

sno joe snow blower

Well, this is it for today, keep warm my northern friends and don’t go out unless you have to (Art & Randy say da kidz are OK with the cold, but ready to come in fairly quickly,




The best news ever, we are officially 1/2 through the DJT nightmare.  And that is why he is making such a  spectacle over this boarder wall nonsense.  He’s already started his 2020 campaign and is appealing to his “base” that he’s a man of his word, I would say he’s neither.

I gave out some fake news last post, the gentleman with the lighting business on Liberty Avenue is Francis Norwalk, not Paul Norwalk.  I apologize, I hate being the bearer of fake news.

Real news, my friend Nicki finished my Day of the Dead pillows in Bougainvillea, they are so cute:

Day of the Dead pillows


I should figure out how to set up my camera, the camera on my iPhone is pretty cheesy.

I’m in a new book being released in March, Bas Van Oort is publishing “Het Wender Van Iowa” chronicling there bicycle trip from the Atlantic to the Pacific.  Bas is Dutch and so the book is in Dutch.  I told him if he ever has it translated into English to let me know.  He has a travel blog with thousands of followers and did a post dedicated to The Parador, when they were here.  He sent me a link to it, of course it was in Dutch, so I had a Google app translate it and he said very nice things about me and my Inn.

Big news on my guest room Bromeliad, it is moving and going to be my first first floor guest room and it will be wheel chair accessible.  I’m shooting for a debut later spring.  Pictures and details will follow as they are progress.

Darn I am already so over this cold, thankfully we basically just have about two more months of it.  Keep strong.  🙂



There are several groups now trying to clean up that massive garbage pit we humans have created in our oceans.  4ocean is a group that sells bracelets for $20 which is how they fund their clean up, not a bad price to pitch in.  These bracelets are made from trash 4ocean had pulled out of the oceans.  Another group trying to clean up specifically the huge swirling mass of plastics that covers an area the size of Texas in the Pacific above Hawaii is Ocean Clean Up and this group has deployed a system of floats that suspend netting that drops below the top of the ocean and scoops up the plastics.  Started in 2013, Boyan Slat wanted to start cleaning up that huge mess.  After a number of years planing and designing the system, it was launched this past fall and has run into some issues.  They’ve towed the system to Hawaii for repairs.  Hopefully he gets it up and running soon.  It gets depressing seeing your Commander in Tweet stand in the devastation of the Camp Fire (what an odd name for a forest fire) and deny climate change, it’s folks like 4Ocean and Boyan that give me hope that we aren’t doomed.  🙂

I’m taking down the holiday decorations and thought I’d share with you my rodent infestation, they are so cute:

Christmas mice


The crystal chandelier over the main dining room table is a Waterford crystal and I’ve been having problems with it.  First of all, the sockets are for European sized bulbs-a little difficult to find here in America.  So they have these sleeves I slip on the base of the bulb and then screw it in the socket.  There are three sockets that are permanently broken and two that periodically quit working.

Waterford Crystal


I got a name for a repair person from Erik at Lighting By Erik in Dormont  (whose’s going out of business) then I found out about Francis Norwalk in Bloomfield.  What a cool old guy, he’s in his 90’s and been doing chandelier and other lighting since he was in his twenties.  These are just a few of the chandeliers Fran has on the first floor, his better ones are upstairs, I can’t  imagine how impressive they must be.


Francis Norwalk crystal

And here’s on more picture with multiple chandeliers:

multiple crystal chandeliers

At 90+ Francis doesn’t have or want a website, but he is recognized in Google.  Basically he’s on Liberty going out from Downtown on the left in what looks like and old school house across from Paul’s Lumber right before the Bloomfield Bridge.  Paul’s lumber is an interesting place.

My friend Nicki was the one that found Kerry passed away, that is quite the heartbreaking story.  A friend told her she should make Memory Bears, she took clothes from Kerry’s house and made a couple like this:

memory bears

She’s selling them through her face book and has made like $600, someone gave her clothes from their parents and she made a boy bear and a girl bear for her.  Also from Kerry’s she found a bolt of Day of the Dead fabric and is making me some pillows from it.  The fabric’s very cool and I’m super excited between the new pillows and the Dia de Muertes items Javier & Sasha brought up for me from Cancun.  All going into Bougainvillea with the other ceramic frogs & gecko’s I brought up from Florida.

I got a Christmas card from Claire, Claire was my very first housekeeper and my good friend Dino’s mom.  She moved back to North or South Dakota (does it really matter if it’s north or south Dakota-both are cold as all heck).  🙂  And I never got her address.  Claire has a very special place in my heart and it is so nice to have her address and being in touch with her again.

That’s for today and Merry Christmas to you Orthodox Catholics,



I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas., I did. And if you are one of those that celebrate New Years Eve, please be responsible with drinking and driving.  Either a designated driver or one of the ride sharing companies need to be in your plans.  Besides not wanting one of my friends to get hurt or hurting someone else, the police will be out in full force (and rightly so)-so if you get busted shame on you.  That’s better than causing an accident.

This is my favorite holiday card this year is a Lab with icing and sprinkles on his nose (the puppy next is just adorable):

Cookie eating Lab


The greeting inside the card says “There will be no cookies this Christmas due to technical difficulties”.  Although the lab looks more like RJ with his American Standard looks than Rayezette with her English Lab looks, the potential for sampling cookies has her name all over it.  She would do that and look at me with a look, I’m really sorry dad, I couldn’t help myself.

Javier & Sasha were up for the Patriots game, this was their fourth visit, I believe.  Javier prefers to call to make his reservation than doing it on line.  At the end of our conversation, he always asks if there’s anything they can bring me from Cancun.  As always, I said thank you but I’m fine.  Later I thought they are coming up from Mexico the home of my beloved dia de Muertes, day of the dead, it is such a fun and colorful festival.  So where better could I get stuff for day of the dead, I called him back and said if they found a dia de Muertes item, I would love  it.  When they arrived on that Saturday, they sat down at the center dining room table and Javier started pulling things out of a bag, and continued pulling items wrapped for safe travel.  Here are the skulls and one Katrina they brought me:

day of the dead skulls The Parador Inn

And they brought me a day of the dead tshirt:

day of the dead tshirt Pittsburgh PA


I love this shirt.

I’ve been fairly slow this week and I’m sold out this weekend for the holiday and Steelers home game and been getting everything ready for that.  I finished everything upstairs and walked down into the basement and saw all my elephant ears that have been down there for two months drying out.  I lost my contact with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Gavin has left them.  So I couldn’t get approval to take my big composting items to one of their composting piles.  I was complaining about this to a guest and he said he just cuts his ears down, then runs his lawnmower over them.  I tried that and they just gummed up.  So I’ve had them in the basement drying out. Since I didn’t have any guests today, I fired up the lawnmower in the basement and chopped them up.  They are now compostable, I added them to all the leaves I’ve collected this fall. When I came upstairs with the chopped leaves to put on the compost pile da gerl said “Dad the kitchen stinks, I want to go outside for awhile”.

I have my dog sitters/Inn sitters all lined up for my trip to Florida this winter.  Weird as it is, Art & Randi are coming up from Vero Beach and I am going down to just below Vero Beach.  Vero Beach is a very cute coastal town.  I got to know it a bit while living down there.  LuAnn that worked at a nursery I would go to lived up there.  It’s about an hour north of Lake Worth where I used to live and she would drive that commute every day.  I understand an hour commute coming in to New York or DC, but Lake Worth it was frequently a subject of conversation about how she was certifiably insane.  I loved LuAnn, when I would go down to the nursery we would sit in the office for an hour at least laughing our *sses off.  🙂

Thanx for listening to me and have a safe and happy New Year,



I would like to thank all the help I received for my Alternative Victorian House Tour last weekend.  Many friends and neighbors made homemade cookies and cucumber sandwiches which really added to the festivities.  In particular, I would love to thank Linda (the owner of Cabin Fever Bed and Breakfast) whom I’ve known for years and is a dear friend and Ethelyn my neighbor.  I was killing myself laughing at/with them.  Here’s a snippet of one of their conversations.  Linda “I was at Phibbs taking pictures on Tuesday” and Ethelyn said “I was also there, what time were you their?”  Linda “10:30” and Ethelyn, “So was I”.  Linda “I had an excellent lunch there again”  Ethelyn, “What did you have?”  Linda “Pulled pork sandwich”  Ethelyn “So did I, what time” Linda “About 12:30”  Ethelyn “So did I and I didn’t see you”.  I chimed in “You two hadn’t met yet”  🙂  Then Ethelyn started talking about her African Gray Parrots, I remember when I first moved here meeting a woman with a parrot on her shoulder walking around the neighborhood.  As Ethelyn told her parrot stories, Linda kept saying that she should write a book.  Ethelyn had us both falling out of our chairs laughing.

Although we didn’t make the $1,000 goal I had set, we did raise a significant amount.  Something nice was people would come in and not pay the $5 cover, but hand us a $20 and not want change.  People were very generous and I love to see niceness.   

I told you that the neighborhood association wanted to put my home on their house tour and I said I would agree if they made a $1,000 belated donation to the food pantry, they said no and offered to run a fund raiser and I said no to that.  At that final tour committee meeting, one of the members threatened to take his house off the tour if the other committee members forced the issue of donating $1,000 to the food pantry.  Oh grow up, I’m sure you heard about the little boy that didn’t get his way so he took his ball and went home. 

In addition to the coffee/tea shop that opened across the street from me about a week ago, the wine bar’s grand opening is this weekend.  On over in the War Streets neighborhood Mayfly Market & Deli just opened at 1327 Arch Street less than a block from Randyland.  A cute little neighborhood store with a nice selection of staples, Ann Gilliagan’s famous sorbets and many other works by local artists.  Also, this past weekend the wine bar just down the block had their Grand Opening, Juan & Cecilia were overly impressed with the strong turn out.  It was great, next time you’re here, you need to check it out.  🙂

I had some terror moments here at The Parador Inn last week.  Ester my squirrel was outside my window eating peanuts as I was working at my desk.  I finished my project shortly there after and when I opened the office door to go back to the mansion a hawk was having lunch right outside my door.  It quickly picked up it’s prey and flew off.  My first though was I had lost my dear Ester.  ):  Then I looked at the crime scene and didn’t see any squirrel fur, just pigeon feathers.  I feel bad for the pigeon, but super happy Ester is still with us.

Da gerl had her final check up on her ACL, and she’s in good shape, there is still a small break in the bone and the vet said to just keep her from over exerting herself.  That should be fully healed by the summer.  She’s free to go on walks with her dad and big brother, she’s truly a happy camper.

Word Press changed the program, they seem to be trying to force us to buy the upgraded version.  This is it for today, have a great weekend,  My web guy Nick reverted it back to the Word Press Classic version and I’m doing better.

Did you see the Steelers on Sunday?  Damn they sure can play football when they show up.  🙂

Have a great one,


A little different thing to do for Christmas is the Etna Scare house is hosting a Christmas Scare House.    It is December 7 & 8 and cost $20.

Another something different is the pop up bar on Liberty, it is the Miracle on Liberty, they don’t have a website, but operate under their face book page.  It doesn’t say it on the face book their location which is 705 Liberty, it’s their second year and the benefit of the pop up is Pittsburgh Food Rescue and more details are in Pittsburgh Magazine.

Vietnam veteran Stanley Stoltz passed away with no known family, so the funeral home posted a notice asking people to show up at the burial.  Hundreds showed up and gave Stanley a proper send off.

What’s ya doing this weekend?  The Parador is hosting an Alternative Victorian House Tour from 4 – 8 Friday and 11 –  4 then 5 – 8 on Saturday.  $5 cash donation and all proceeds goes to the local food pantry.  I am doing this mainly to support the food pantry, the neighbor hood association in 2009 had a presentation and then request from food pantry for a one time $1,000 donation from all 17 Northside neighborhoods to help fill their shelves during the great recession and the neighborhood association refused and has refused since then to support the food pantry.  As I told the association back then, in my world “little children should not go to be hungry.  I don’t know what world you live in”.  My comments were not well received back then.  They approached me this year and wanted me to let them use my home for their Victorian House tour and I said yes, but I want a $1,000 donation to the food pantry and they said no.  So I’m running my own “house tour”, please stop by and assist so little kids don’t go to bed hungry this holiday and winter season.  I could still use a couple of volunteers for the Saturday shifts, if you are available, call my cell 412-508-6000.

Speaking of hungry kids, just when I thought I couldn’t me more impressed with John & Giselle Fetterman (our new Lieutenant Governor).  Giselle started 412 Food Rescue, it’s an app she developed with some very tech savvy friends.  412 Food Rescue is an app that they developed to keep food out of the garbage stream and feed people that are food insecure.  The concept of 412 Food Rescue is based on diverting good food that would normally end up in the garbage stream because the quantity is not large enough for the “big guys” like the food pantry to bother with.  The food pantry will send it’s trucks to grocery store chains when the grocery chain realizes for example a delivery of lettuce will not last for them to sell.  So the food pantry sends a truck to pick up the cases.  There’s a lot of small operations with usable food that doesn’t fit into the “big guys” scenario, like me two years ago after my 10 year anniversary party and this summer after my jazz series events.  With my OCD and my hate for waste, I knew to put the left overs into pans I didn’t need back and took it over to my local homeless shelter (Northside Common Ministries location).  Giselle and team  developed an app that if say I’m on the Northside and driving to West Mifflin to pick up my coffee, I can enter my start and finish locations into the app and they will respond with there’s a pan of lasagna in Southside and it’s wanted in Baldwin (on my way).  There’s an article in the Shadyside magazine Shady Ave about 412 Food Rescue.  They have about 4,000 volunteers signed up and about 600 non profits that accept the food donations.  Not only does the app hook up drivers with food to be picked up and where dropped off, it also offers navigation aids.  412 Food Rescue made 18,000 deliveries in it’s first three years and expect that to be their total for this year alone!  412 Food Rescue has started a food education program teaching recipients how to properly prepare healthy meals with food provided.  They have also started a program Hidden Harvest that volunteers pluck food from city trees & shrubs on city property and back yards that product more food than the owner can use (you can donate here as well).  They have also partnered with Penns Corner Farm Alliance in Lawrenceville to create a program to use up unattractive, yet nutritious food.

Besides the Victorian House tour and the Alternative Victorian House tour, there are other seasonal activities going on at The Parador, all decorated the decorations are all pretty much the same, I did find an addition to my snow village this summer at a thrift store for $4:

It’s the middle house, kind of large and it’s all clear and lights up nicely at nite.   It looks a little blurry in the picture, but not in real life, I guess I need to hone my photography skills.  🙂


Another tweak I’ve made is I’ve had this silver lame for years and never thought of what to do with it.  This year I spread it under my Caribbean tree and it really reflects the lights nicely.

For those of you that have not been here over the holidays, note the star on the top of the tree is actually a star fish and the red garland around the tree is real fish netting I got, cut into strips and painted red.

And one other holiday thing, my cards should be hitting the streets any day, they are finished and just waiting for the printer to put them in the mail.

Keep warm and cheerful on this cold and dreary day,





First of all, I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and have a lot to be Thankful for.

Dee resigned a couple of weeks ago, she took a position at a nursing home, I think she will do well there.  After watching her with Betty in her last few weeks, Dee definitely has a bedside manner.  I’ve been encouraging her to work on a nursing degree, I will not be around forever.  This new place has a tuition reimbursement program and that should work well for her.

The reason I brought this up is usually this time of year, we would have our assigned duties.  So this year I’m doing it all cleaning and decorating for Christmas.  I always cleaned and paste waxed the first floor she would do the dining room chandeliers.  (I always did the Murano in the parlor.) I cleaned the crystal chandelier over the main dining room table for the first time in a number of years and wow, what a spectacular piece it is.

The chandelier is Waterford crystal.  I’ve seen the name etched int the tongue that holds the round ball on the bottom.  While polishing the crystals I noticed Waterford is also etched in many of the crystals as well.  The reason I bring this up is my thankfulness.  What a lucky man I am to have such a spectacular property and furnishings.  And to own such a successful bed and breakfast.  Sales has not been particularly stunning this year, but something I can handle and still keep up with the maintenance items that need my attention.   Usually, this time of year, I’d have Dee do all the housekeeping and I’d do small projects, saving the big projects till January/February.  This year I am just doing the breakfasts, housekeeping, maintenance and some very minor projects.  I’m OK with that.  I always push the admin things to last and this year it’s even getting worse.  I hate sitting on my butt in the office.  🙂

Speaking of being thankful, I am making progress with the nasty neighborhood association that threatened to sue me over my exterior colors (if you don’t know the story behind that, ask me next time you see me-it’s pretty funny-again I am a lucky man).  The coffee/tea shop opening across the street from me has a much more vivid teal on it’s exterior trim than mine that had them so upset.  Also, I remember blogging about them refusing to give a $1,000 request to the food pantry in the height of the recession when the food pantry shelves were bear.  When it was my turn to talk, I expressed my opinion that “in my world little kids should not go to bed hungry and I don’t know what world you guys live in”.  (They made around $60,000 on their Victorian Christmas House Tour that year and couldn’t give $1,000 to feed kids?!!!!!)  And if you know me, it don’t let things rest, I have whined about this repeatedly.  For years, they did not want me on their Victorian Christmas Tour because my tropical theme was not “appropriate”.  This year, they don’t seem to have enough houses for the tour and several ladies in the neighborhood approached me about using my house for their tour.  And I stand corrected, Holly called me and when she told them what I said about how cheap they are the told her they donate to several charities now, for one the Commons Initiative, funds collected to restore the Commons Park, the oldest park in the city right down the street from me and they donate to two other charities.  My terms were $1,000 to the food pantry.  They countered with that they would set up a fund raising for the food pantry.  I said no, $1,000 or no Parador on the tour.  Look up stubborn in the dictionary and you might see a picture of me. 🙂  So what I am doing this year is hosting an Alternative Victorian House Tour.  $5 cash and I am opening my Inn for tours, all proceeds goes to the food pantry.  I am looking for volunteers to help with my tour.  I need someone to be a greater, some one just to sit in the main dining room to stop tourees from opening the pantry door, because the kidz could get out and cause bedlam.  Shifts are Friday 12/7 from 4 – 8, Saturday from 10 – 4 12/8 and then 5 -9.  If anyone is available, please call me at 412-508-6000 free parking in my lot.  🙂

Finally parents, check out the worst toys list.  Toys today generally are much safer than ever, but that doesn’t mean we can let our guard down.  It’s the holiday buying season, I refuse to go to stores or even drive on Black Friday.

Thanx and keep warm,