Next Saturday is Independent book stores day April 27.  Be sure to go out and support your locally owned book store, I can’t resist the impulse to put a plug in for my friend Arlen at City Books right down the street at City Books.  Arlen received recognition from the chalk board association for her use of the a-frame chalk board she has outside her shop.

Sometimes DJT does something I just can’t ignore.  President Trump said on Friday that his administration was “strongly” considering releasing migrants detained at the border into mostly Democratic “sanctuary cities,” suggesting that the idea should make liberals “very happy” because of their immigration policies.  It reminds me of a neighbor that threatened to take his house of the Christmas House Tour if my advocates continued pushing the neighborhood association donate to the food pantry.  Again it reminds me of the story of the little boy that didn’t get his way and then was going to take his ball and go home.  Oh, just Grow Up People.  🙂

I’ve whined about how the OTAs (online travel agencies like Trivago, Expedia, etc) charging us lodging establishments a 15% commission and recently learned of something so much worst.    Colleen Black, the artist that created the painting in my Ruellia suite with the ghost of a humming bird.  Here’s the painting during the day with the ghost invisible:

Colleen Black

Here it is at night with the ghost visible:

Most artists have an agent the covers their art, her’s seems to be talking about wanting a 70% commission and I thought 15% was steep.

Celine Dione is going to perform at PPG Arena next March 13, be sure to book your room at The Parador Inn for the concert I have less guest rooms than they have seats.  🙂

Oh, one more thing, great daffodil season this year:

This is it for today, be thankful you don’t live int he Midwest, we just got some showers, no blizzards, I would have gone off the deep end.  🙂



I have a new friend, actually an older one. I had seen the chipmunk scampering around the yard last year, but then he disappeared. I used to put the peanuts out for the squirrels on a shelf I put on the shed, but I guess the little guy couldn’t get all the way up there like the squirrels..   Now that I’m putting the peanuts on the compost boxes next to the shed, he’s able to get up there for peanuts.  He’s so cute, he’ll eat a peanut and then shove one in his mouth and scamper over and then under the deck out by the street.  I guess he’s delivering breakfast to his significant other.  Here he is:


Getting ready for my next project.  I’m turning my space into a guest room and moving back to the space over the parking lot.  With these eight windows, it brings me up to almost 100 windows replaced:

Trim line windows

It’s so convenient having a ballroom.  With this project I will be ADA compliant with a wheel chair accessible guest room  It will also be nice, I have a fair amount of guests that have had knee or other surgeries that makes using stairs a challenge, even the main staircase.

The courtyard is now mulched, one of the nice things about winter, or at least when it’s over, the gardens get a make over.  This year I outsmarted da gerl.  Last year Mr. OCD placed my compost bins where I wanted to spread it last year and the mulch guy was late, I had my wheel barrel, shovel, etc station out in the parking lot and when I heard the truck arrive I spilled and spread the compost around.  When I went out to get my first load of mulch, da gerl discovered a “tasty treat’ in the compost.  So now she knew there was goodies spread under the mulch and spend the next several weeks scratching the mulch aside seeking more of that tasty treat.  🙂  So this year the compost was spread around when the wheel barrel with mulch was on the standby.  The elephant ears were more than ready when I planted them this week:

Elephant Ears

It’s so nice having the courtyard all cleaned up, mulched and the fountain up and running.  I love the sound of the water.

Also, I changed my bird feeder, it’s much easier for them to get at the seeds now.  I think I’m feeding most of the finches in North America and my morning doves and their kids are all residents now.  There’s a ton of them in my yard now.  I haven’t won with the pigeons, but it’s at a tolerable level now.  I still get the original one sometimes and I haven’t seen more than 3 – 4 on any one day.  By far most days there’s none.

There’s a new/old bar in Market Square.  It’s a pop up bar that’s being run by MW Hospitality, they keep changing the theme, the Clover Bar was all green and shamrock for St Patrick’s day, it is becoming the Dragon Bar in commemoration of the last season of the Game of Thrones.  See the link to see what else MW is doing.

Upcoming concerts at PPG Paints Arena include Cher April 18, Eric Church  May 3 – 4, The Who May 30 and John Mayer July 28.  Get your tickets now and book your room.  You insiders know how convenient The Parador Inn is for events at the area.    Park your car in my lot FREE, walk down to the “T” FREE, ride the “T” to Steel Plaza FREE and walk up to the arena FREE.  After the concert just reverse the above, did I mention FREE?  🙂 No traffic, parking, DUI, etc.

My last post, I said I would dedicate a post to my opinion of some current events and after writing several pages and getting thoroughly depressed I decided to just pass this one on.

OK, this game book isn’t unique.  But DJT stole a major tact used by the City of Pittsburgh for years.  I don’t know if he deliberately took this tact because of the short-term success with it in Pittsburgh.  For years Pittsburgh left enough money in the water and sewer authority’s account to cover the basic operating expenses.  Pittsburgh did the same with the parking authority’s account.  They did this to avoid raising taxes.  We all know you can’t own something without maintaining it.  What would happen to your car if you didn’t invest the money to change the oil on a regular basis?  Also, what would happen to your house if you didn’t squirrel some money aside for an eventual roof replacement.  That’s what the city did with both authorities.  They can’t raise the parking rates like they did with our water rates.  You can only use bottled water for so much, no washing machines, awfully awkward flushing toilets.  But commuters can easily find parking in garages not owned by the parking authority.  So the parking authority is looking into selling their assets (or actually in some instances they are “partnering” with other private entities to do joint projects.)  The city passed its obligations off to it’s children.  This is what DJT is doing with his National Emergency declaration and stealing money already ear marked for certain projects, again passing the federal government’s obligations to our children to build his wall, looks like he’s going to get somewhere north of $10 BILLION for his wall.  Between what he’s already gotten committed from the government shut down, this money grab and he anticipates getting more funding with the next budge. OMG.

OK kids, that’s it for today, enjoy this early spring,




Spring is finally here and not a moment too soon.  In celebration my Dorothy Wycoff Pieris is truly showing off:

Dorothy Wycoff Pieris

She’s been in the ground for years, but the last few she has certainly grown.  This is the best spring showing she’s ever done.

I found a cool place up in Wexford Salvaged Pittsburgh.  Sort of a Construction Junction, but they also bring in a fair amount of wood from a saw mill in Cranberry.

Two kids that survived the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas mass shooting have committed suicide in the last two weeks and a father whom lost his first grade son at Sandy Hook Elementary School committed suicide yesterday.  OK, it’s OK to think about steeling that  Maserati, but not OK to steal it.  Similarly it’s OK to contemplate suicide, but not OK to do it.  There is always help out there, it you don’t have a support network (or don’t want those people to know you have these kinds of thoughts), call the 24 hour national Suicide Hotline and talk to the professionals.  Currently the toll free number is 1-800-273-8255.  This is all about me, I can’t afford to loose a blog follower.  Just kidding, it’s all about you.  🙂 And parents, particularly of teenagers, need to have the hard conversation with them.  I think this is a much more important conversation than grades, alcohol, drugs and teenage sex.  Particularly if your kids seem well adjusted, sometimes these are the most at risk.  The reason I said the national Suicide Hotline is currently an 800 number there is movement in congress to establish a three digit  number like 911.

When I bought my inn, the previous owner had added a shower head to the pedestal tub in Allamanda.  The original subway tile didn’t go high enough to protect the plaster wall.  So I installed a shower curtain on three sides to protect the wall while keeping the water in the tub:

Allamanda shower curtain

That shower curtain was so ugly and I’ve been planning on adding ceramic tile above the original subway and bull-nose tile.  Just finished that and the bath is so much cleaner looking:

Allamanda new tile

If you are a Cher fan, she is performing at PPG Paints Arena April 2, I’m sure it will sell out so better hurry and get your tickets.  If you want to make a package of it, I still have rooms available.  Remember, with a 5 minute walk to the “T”, free “T” ride and then a 5 minute walk from the “T” to the arena.  No traffic to worry about, no parking fees, no worry about a DUI and a wonderful breakfast in the morning.  At 72, I don’t know how many more tours she will be up for, but she is always full of energy, she still puts on a great show.

This is it for today, I will be doing another blog very soon and make up on my opinions on current events  🙂  Enjoy the breaking of spring,



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,