This is another guest blog, of sorts.  Possibly the only thing I like about winter is I slow down and can get caught up on things.  I’m currently tackling a number of small projects I would not be able to when busier.   When I can, I go to a bar on Tuesdays and have several friends there.  Ed I’ve know for 6 – 8 years and Rich just a year or two.  Last fall we were having a discussion about our current president and Rich said anyone that doesn’t see all the good DJT is doing is just stupid, Ed agreed.  I don’t consider myself stupid and decided other than getting into a heated exchange to just stop conversing.  About two weeks later, Bishop Zubik’s article that I am quoting below was in the Post Gazette, I saved it on my kitchen desk to re-read at a later date and came across it when cleaning off that desk and thought it might be good to quote him directly.  I am a recovering Catholic.  I was impressed with Francis when he was elected pope.  Not enough to restore my faith in that faith, and to keep my intro from being too long, I will leave it at that.

“We all know that something is gravely wrong with our public conversation. The lack of civility is so pervasive that it is pointless to assign blame. We each have a responsibility to change the game, to treat each other better, especially when we disagree.

I’m not pointing fingers at secular society, because partisan divisiveness infects my own church. It doesn’t even have to be about significant social or theological issues.

This year, when St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Friday in Lent, I granted a dispensation so that those who wished to partake of corned beef could do so. My inbox was swamped with nasty responses, accusing me of destroying Catholic tradition, purposely undermining the faith and paving someone’s journey straight to hell.

This is a failure of our social discourse — and of Catholic religious education. I apologize to any reader who has ever been treated disrespectfully by someone trolling in the name of Catholicism.

Catholic tradition actually teaches a lot about civility. The starting principle is that every human being has God-given dignity and is worthy of respect. Or, in the words of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Civility is a way of speaking and acting that takes seriously what I believe and what others believe. It includes a robust and passionate engagement with those who hold differing views. Civility assumes that the ties that bind us are far more important than the differences we hold on important social and political issues.

Civility requires a “civil tongue.” When we direct insults toward another human being, we degrade ourselves even more than we degrade that person ”  and we display an impoverished vocabulary.

Recently, a friend of mine couldn’t help but overhear a man in a restaurant making an angry, obscenity-laden phone call. He used one obscenity repeatedly as subject, object, adjective and verb in the same sentence. My friend was shocked that two young women nearby showed no reaction, especially as it became clear that this man was talking to his wife.

I believe there is a direct link between such routine obscenity and the vileness of our public discourse. Vulgar language isn’t the cause, but it is a link in the chain. The coarseness of everyday language numbs us to the frightening degradation of our public conversation. Racial and sexual slurs, bigotry, anti-Semitism, anti-Catholicism and hatred in general have uncoiled from under rocks and slithered into the public square.

We need to recapture the sacredness of language. Our words are intended to express life, love and all that we fundamentally believe. Our vocabulary should reflect the best that is within us.

So let me suggest nine “Civility Rules for Faith Communities and Everyone Else.”

• 1) In a healthy, civil dialogue, we listen to one another. Listening is more than hearing. It requires time and energy to appreciate where a person or group comes from, what they believe and why they believe it. Empathic listening takes to heart the feelings of another’s heart and builds bridges.

• 2) Civil conversation presumes that we are each working for the common good. We nearly always have areas of agreement and disagreement. Instead of zeroing in on points of divergence, we should first acknowledge where we can stand together. Then we can address our differences more effectively.

• 3) Any civil public discussion recognizes the validity of contending groups in society. My goal cannot be to shut down another voice. Democracy and freedom guarantee differences of convictions and conclusions.

Yet not every cause is worthy of respect. For example, we have recently seen the importance of naming the evils of white supremacism, Nazism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. These ideologies must be heard for what they are — efforts to deprive some human beings of the dignity and respect that is theirs as children of God. Even as the First Amendment allows these hateful ideas to be expressed, we must condemn them firmly and nonviolently.

• 4) Civility shows respect for the person with whom I differ. You and I can do this, even while we try to persuade our interlocutor of another perspective.

• 5) Civility works for the inclusion of all members of society. Civility is especially sensitive to minorities and marginalized persons. Sometimes, we will have conflict over what “inclusion” requires, but we can disagree in ways that do not denigrate the other person.

• 6) Civility distinguishes between facts and opinions. Let facts speak for themselves where possible. (The quote from the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan is more pertinent today than ever: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”)

• 7) The flip side to this rule is that facts can take us only so far. Disagreements about values are difficult, and we cannot and should not avoid passionate discussion.

• 8) We should not impugn motives. People often turn to bad solutions out of a desire to do good, and we should assume this is the case.

• 9) We must be willing to be self-critical. Honest dialogue helps us to examine the roots of our own positions, leading us to clarify — and sometimes modify — our convictions.

Civility is a virtue, a habit of choices and conscience, which shapes the way we encounter others. It does not come to us automatically. Like any virtue, we have to work at it day after day after day. And we must work on civility — if we are to help move forward policies that support human dignity, human rights, human life.

Each of us has the responsibility to recognize the dignity of every human person, regardless of whether we believe in a God who requires it. We in Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania, with our rich history of treating each other as good neighbors, should lead the way toward new levels of social respect and civil behavior.”

As I read that again, there were several things I considered editing, but that is not my place.  I think over all he has many good points to consider.  Lets all work on being a more sensitive, inclusive and civil society.  It starts with each of us.  THIS MEANS YOU.  🙂

Thanx guys, gals and you in between,  🙂



Da gerl is progressing steadily.  Since I was foolish and thought she had healed enough to go on a full walk with RJ and she had a slight limp that evening, she’s back on restricted walks.

Babies, Babies, Babies.  The National Aviary is awash with babies.  They have recently added a female baby sloth Vivien.  In addition to being their latest attraction to educate people about sloths they are hoping Vivien and Valentino will be attracted to each other.  The Aviary is a wedding venue and I’ve known a lot of people that got married there.  I want an invitation if Vivien & Valentino get hitched. When Valentino was a baby I had several people book at my Inn because of my proximity to the Aviary and they bought the Sloth package at the Aviary.  I’ve already had a couple last week book for Vivien, they get to feed the sloth, hold and other up close and person interactions.  When I order Aviary tickets Audrey usually leaves them at the rear entrance by the parking lot.  If Audrey was a slacker and I have to wait for the tickets, I always walk around the corner and watch the adult sloth, we have a special bond.  I believe he recognizes me and moves one of hit fingers in greeting.

Speaking of couples, Sidney & Bette have had another clutch of baby penguins.  I saw them when they were just little bundles of fur, they now look like little penguins, so cute.

There’s a debate about if playing classical music deters crime.  Pittsburgh was the first city in America to play classical music in our subway.  Something I wasn’t aware of is the recordings are exclusively from Pittsburgh based ensembles like the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble and River City Brass, the Pittsburgh Chamber Orchestra and the Mendelssohn Choir.  After returning to live in Pittsburgh after a stint in Philadelphia and when friends from there came to visit, a must stop was our subway.  Not so much for the music, but the cleanliness of our subway stations.  When I lived in Philly, I used the subway to commute from my sister’s house to work down by city hall.  The stations were all so nasty.  This was a number of years ago and I hear they have cleaned up their subways quite a bit.  A number of places have tried using classical music to deter crime with various amounts of success or not.  A bunch of 7 – 11’s in British Columbia started playing classical music to discourage loitering with some success, that seemed to be successful.   When I was in West Palm, they installed speakers in a high crime area that played classical music to deter crime.  I never heard how it worked, I moved from down there up here shortly after they started the experiment.

There’s an online petition to get the Pirates owner to sell the Pirates.  Bob Nutting is know as running the Pirates as a business and with the revenue sharing set up between the national franchises, he makes more money keeping payroll low and taking subsidies from the successful franchises.  They exceeded their goal of 25,000 signatures in just a few days.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that our congressional districts are so gerrymandered that they violate the state constitution.  The justices said if the legislature cannot come up with a fair redistricting, they will do it.  🙂  Too funny.

So Pittsburgh is in the final 20 list for the new Amazon headquarters.  I wonder what Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and state are offering Amazon to locate here.  I don’t think incentives like no state taxes, property taxes, etc would really entice them to choose Pittsburgh, what Pittsburgh should do is something creative like taking the over $1B other cities have offered them and do something like instead of offering Amazon $1B directly, if they move here Pittsburgh would invest the $1B in fixing our water problems and credit Amazon with us finally having safe water and separated storm & sanitary lines to keep our waterways clean. Or maybe take the $1B and create affordable housing in whichever neighborhood Amazon chooses so it’s mixed income.  Jeff Bezos called me and told me he had already selected Pittsburgh as their new headquarters and wanted to know if I would sell my Inn to him as his primary residence.  (Now this is unofficial, please don’t tall anyone and get me in trouble.)

Speaking of Amazon, they opened their first convenience store across from their Seattle headquarters without cashiers.  You log into you Amazon account when you enter the store and they track what you select and automatically charge your account.  Unfortunately, that is probably the way of the future.  Sorry, I want to know what I am being charged for before I see the money taken out of my account.  I’m also one of those nut cases that don’t sign up for rewards cards, I don’t like people tracking what I do.  The only one I have is Giant Eagle because they won’t let me use the self check out line without one and I shop there so seldom, it doesn’t matter.

I’m hosting the Paranormal this weekend, hurry up and get a room.  I spoke with Eliza an she promised not to hurt anyone.

That’s it for today,



Be careful with these personal assistants like Alexa, Echo, Siri etc.  They are always listening, like to hear you call out with a question.  What else do they pay attention to?  To keep your privacy, turn off the microphone and they can’t listen to you anymore.

Speaking of the jazz series being planned at The Parador this summer, the folks that used to run the jazz show on NPR that is now WESA have been broadcasting made Pittsburgh Public Media and have had an on line and a satellite presence since 2011.  In 2013 they started broadcasting on FM again.  They just got their 1,020 foot antenna working and  you can find them at 101.1. you can tune it in 24/7.  It is staffed with all volunteers.  Oh, that’s right I hadn’t mentioned the jazz series at The Parador yet. We’re working on a Wednesday in May, June & July with some renown Pittsburgh jazz musicians.  Details will follow as we get firmed up.

Shopping malls “the thing” in the mid to late 20th century have been taking a nose dive.  People don’t go to malls anymore.  They are worth a lot of money and the investors that own them are trying to save them.  They have spent billions upgrading food & beverage offerings and adding various entertainment options like performance stages, movie theaters in the mall, instead of as an out building in the mall’s parking lot and even adding things like fitness clubs, grocery stores, health clinics and they have even added things like rock climbing and other amusement options.  Other than going to Ross Park Mall for their Apple store, I never go in malls so I wouldn’t have seen any of this.

The 1928 vaudeville theater Roxian in McKees Rocks finally closed in 2002.    In 2010 the McKees Rocks community development corporation acquired it and spend almost a million dollar shoring up the roof and installing elevator shafts. Thunderbird Cafe in Lawrenceville’s owner John Pergal recently acquired it and plans on investing $9M and hosting their first concert about this time next year.  The venue can seat around 1,000 on the first floor and another 500 up in the balconies and VIP boxes.  It will fill a void in Pittsburgh between Mr Smalls, Thunderbird and other medium sized venues and big box stadiums. It should be a huge boon for McKees Rocks with drawing more upscale restaurants and bars to cater to the before and after crowds.  Thunderbird is slated to open later this spring after doubling in size in it’s remodel to 400 capacity.  Other live music venues in Pittsburgh include Howlers in Bloomfield, Stage AE here on the Northshore, Smiling Moose on the Southside, Brillobox in East Liberty, Club Cafe on the Southside two smaller venues include Neid’s Hotel in Lawrenceville. the Park House on the Northside, Roxie Theater on the Southside, Diesel Lounge also on the Southside James Street Gastropub owners are opening a new venue on the Southside, I don’t recall it’s name on the Southside.

Changing tunes here to sweet shops, the Oakmont Bakery is moving right up the street, the new location will be just after you cross the Hulton Bridge that school is on your right and they will be basically next to it.  They are more than doubling the retail from a 3,500 sq ft and production is going from 3,500 to 18,000.  It will also include parking from 12 spots to 110, a chef demonstration area and more indoor and outdoor seating.  They are in the process of getting permits, etc and hope to start construction later this spring.

You see some of the strangest things in the park down the street from me, the Commons is the oldest park in the city, it was founded when this area was not part of Pittsburgh, but was Allegheny City.  The Commons was an innovative idea idea at the time.  Back then, people were moving into the cities from farms on the outside.  With them they brought some sheep, goat and other farm animals.  City lots did not have enough space for grazing.  So Allegheny City designated a large swath of land in the middle of the city as a common grazing area.  Hence the name The Commons, it has changed over the years and is no longer used for common grazing.  When I took da kidz down for their walk a month ago or so.  There was three of these in a tree:

A couple of years ago I spoke about the iron buck in the Commons:

Most years someone puts a scarf and hat on the buck.  As you can see the buck atomically correct.  I was walking da boiz through the Commons one day and lady had a small boy (maybe 4 years old) and he ran over to the buck and grabbed apiece of the buck’s anatomy-if you understand me).  Mom got all freaked out and started yelling at him to get away from the statue.  🙂  Razor thought it was hysterical and RJ just grunted.

That’s it for today, keep warm and go Steelers tomorrow,



I like this post better than his Fit Traveler back in October.  And don’t forget to book for my first Paranormal Weekend, January 26 & 27!

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Tips for Keeping Your Home Secure While Traveling

Travel is supposed to be fun and relaxing. Even if you’re away on business, it should serve as a little bit of a break from the mundane. But one of the stresses of traveling is making sure your home stays secure while you’re away. And that is a reasonable fear since, according to Safeguard the World, more than 2,000,000 home burglaries are reported every year. So, what are the most important steps you can take to give yourself peace of mind when you leave? Here are just a few.

Stay Off Social Media

Sure, you can share family vacation photos, but refrain from doing it until you return home. Seventy-eight percent of ex-burglars say they used social media to find their victims. But not only does your social media status advertise that your home is empty, it could also cause you to get your insurance claim denied.

Don’t Change a Thing

One of the biggest tip-offs to potential thieves that you are out of town is your “away from home” routine. For example, some people will only close all the curtains and lock the front gate when they’re away from home. If you plan to do these things, do them even when you’re home, at least some of the time.

Don’t Advertise Which Security Company You Use

Letting intruders know you have a security system is good, but putting out a “Protected by ADT” sticker could give them enough information to disarm it. As technology advances, so does the sophistication of criminals. Get a generic sticker or use one from a different company.

Tell a Neighbor

It’s important to have at least one neighbor you trust, especially for situations like these. If neighbors know you will be gone, they can keep an eye out for suspicious activity as well as pick up your mail so that it doesn’t look like you’re gone. If you trust your neighbors enough to enter your home, you could also ask them to go inside every few days and turn on a different light—anything to let people know someone is around. Also, consider alerting your local police department and your alarm company.

Hide Your Valuables Better

Most burglars head straight for the master bedroom to check for valuables, so make sure you come up with more clever ways to hide them. For example, Realtor.com suggests you try hiding stuff in boxes in your garage with labels such as “winter clothes” or “Christmas decorations.” Better yet, actually put the valuables in your winter clothes or decorations. You can also create fake vents, outlets, or light fixtures to stash smaller items in.

Invest in a Lock for Your Garage

You may not know this, but apparently closing your automatic garage doors is not enough to deter thieves. They are very easy to open by hand or sometimes using a coat hanger. According to Corporate Travel Safety, all it takes is about six seconds for someone to do this. Some garage doors have an emergency release lever you can disable. If not, you can either secure the lever with some thin wire or invest in a lock that you can keep in place.

Install Security Lighting

It may seem like a no-brainer, but lots of people don’t realize how important it is to keep your property well-lit. A burglar will think twice about trying to break in if he risks everyone seeing him. But in order to keep your electric bill from sky-rocketing, install motion sensors on your outdoor security lighting. Not only will it keep your entrances in plain sight, but it will also make intruders wonder if someone is home.

Remove Your Hidden Keys

No matter how well you think your spare key is hidden, remove it before you leave. Take the key to your neighbor or put it in a magnetic box under your car. Just don’t leave it in the yard. If nothing else, it will save you from worrying the whole trip that someone might find it.


Don’t let worry keep you from enjoying your time from home. Take a few simple precautions to keep your property safe and your mind at ease. And for extended trips, consider asking a relative to house sit. Sometimes just a few words with a neighbor and an extra lock here and there can save your valuables and your trip!

Enjoy this warm weather we are experiencing, better than two weeks of below 10 degrees, 🙂




The welcome reception will be Friday from around 7 pm until ?  Beer, wine, appetizers and a group reading with physic Sara Sachs.

The actual paranormal investigation will be Saturday evening.  Denise & her crew will set up their equipment in the dining room for guests to view and they will explain how the equipment works and give an over view of what to expect before moving the equipment up into the guest rooms.  The overview will start around 7 pm and the investigation will run until 10, unless you guys want it to last longer.

Denise has been here several times in the past was was just here yesterday with some of her team to view the Inn and start planning the logistics.  It looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun.


ed 🙂


Lets start this with I don’t believe in ghosts or spirits and I don’t disbelieve in them either.  If any place is haunted or spiritually challenged The Parador would be a good candidate.  With a 150 year history, there’s been a lot happen here over the years.  If there’s something here, I know who it probably is.  My place was built for Joshua Rhodes who owned the P & LE railroad (station square was his train station) and founded National Tube originally in McKeesport.  He was a self made millionaire.  He built the mansion katy cornered behind me, for his son Joshua Jr, wife Eliza and their two young daughters.  The year they moved in, Eliza passed away.  The following year Joshua Jr passed away.  Mr. & Mrs. Rhodes raised their grand daughters here.  If there is a spirit stuck, I think it would be Eliza whom came over to watch over her daughters and got stuck here.

When I first purchased the property there were several incidents that are unexplained.  The first was within two months of owning it, I had contractors working on replacing the furnace in the basement.  There was no one else here other than the two guys working in the basement.  I went out to do some errands, they knew I had left the building.  When I returned, they asked me who was upstairs, they both heard someone walking around.

The second incident happened a couple of months later. My good friend Lisa had just closed her restaurant across the street named the Ugly Duckling and was helping me out by doing a bunch of sewing for me.  Most of the pillows around the Inn Lisa made as well as some of the drapes like what is in African Tulip & Bougainvillea.  As Lisa finished pillows, she stacked them on a window seat.  A couple of days later, she wasn’t here and I went up to the room to admire her handy work.  The pillows were no longer on the window seat but on the floor.  I initially thought gravity or maybe was wind through the leaky windows knocked them over.  Lisa came back, made more pillows and the next time I came in the room, the pillows were strewn around the room-if I’m haunted, I’d say she has a sense of humor.  Lisa’s current venture is catering with Fabled Table if you need catering, she’s absolutely the best, she’s the one that did the food for my 10 year anniversary last year.

A few months later, I was still not open and I had that port wine sitting on the coffee table in the Parlor that’s still there (obviously new port from 12 years ago).   🙂  I came in one morning and the port wine bottle was empty.  I wasn’t open, the contractors were long gone this is when I had the protracted battle with P.W.S.A. over paying for a second water line into the building for the sprinkler system ($24,000 they cost me!!) so I could get my certificate of occupancy.  I love ghosts that enjoy a glass of port now and then.

The last occurrence was maybe two years after opening.  I was still hosting weddings.  I had 24 guests for breakfast and got up around 4:30 am and when I walked over to the Inn, there were two guests sitting on the Veranda.  I had to get the quiche in the oven, I greeted them and went into the kitchen.  Once I got the quiche in the oven, I came out to the Veranda to chat with them.  Thinking maybe they didn’t find the bed comfortable, I asked “Is everything OK, did you sleep well?” and the first words out of their mouth was “Is your place haunted?”  And I said “No, why do you ask?”  They both recalled him sitting on the love seat, removing his sneakers and placing them under the love seat.  For some reason, they both woke up at 4 am.  He went to use the bathroom and tripped over his sneakers that were now in the middle of the floor instead of under the love seat.  Again, if I’m haunted, she has a sense of humor.

There hasn’t been any activity since, other than a few instances that I can directly blame on my lack of memory, “Did I put that there, I thought I left that in the kitchen.”

I have heard that spirits get agitated when there’s new owners (ever see Beetlejuice?, one of my favorite movies).  If it was Eliza, I think she decided I am one of the “good guys” and is at rest.

So if you want to meet Eliza, book now for my paranormal weekend January 26 & 27.  The weekend will start Friday with a cocktail party of heavy appetizers, beer & wine.  And a group reading by psychic Sara Sachs. Saturday, Denise (who’s worked did some investigations for SciFi’s Ghost Hunters and crew will come in and set up their equipment.  She has all those heat sensor machines, laser machines and other gear ghost hunters use.

I’m not one into threats, but I tried this once before two years ago.  I didn’t have any reservations for the weekend before Halloween and agreed with Denise to do this.  I ended up selling out without one person booking for the paranormal.  A lot of guests have expressed interest in attending a paranormal weekend here.  Most recently, this past fall I had four couples insist that if I do it to let them know, they definitely would attend.  I sent a personal invitation to all four couples, one initially told me they couldn’t attend and the other three I haven’t heard from.  If I don’t sell some rooms, I will not try this again.  There’s my threat.  🙂  What else do you have to do in the middle of winter?

If course I am sitting here listening to Reggae and Jah Cure came on with their hit song What Will It Take and the middle of the song they sing “Lady, my love is gonna to haunt you”, coincidence?

That’s it and Boo to you,





The Snow Angel project started in Pittsburgh and expanded to Allegheny County.  Unfortunately because of the lack of funding, Allegheny County is no longer in the program.  In case you are unaware of the Snow Angel project is it pares healthy men and women with elderly or disabled that are unable to clear the snow from their walkways.  You can go to the Snow Angels website or call 412-475-2459 to request assistance or volunteer.  So far 62 new people have requested assistance and only 23 new has signed up to volunteer.  In addition to the new requests 100 that have been helped in the past are requesting help again.  Last winter 250 requested assistance and 80 volunteered, a big gap.  The website has a map with the locations of people needing help so you can volunteer for someone close.  You don’t want to volunteer to help someone miles away because you could end up being part of the problem during a snow storm driving through the mess.  A great idea and there’s no gym charge for getting in shape.  You don’t even need to do a face to face with the person you will be helping, a phone can can determine if you need to bring a shovel or will there be one there.

They offer tours of the Maxo Vanka murals at St Nicholas Croatian Catholic Church in Millvale on Saturdays at 11 am and 12:30 and they last about an hour.  Maxo Vanka an artist of Croatian decent painted the murals in the 1930’s and are pretty famous.  Art Deco was in vogue in the 1930’s and you can see it’s influence in these paintings.  Visit the tours link and they request a $10 donation that goes to preservation of the murals.  They are pretty spectacular, you should schedule an appointment.

With as bitterly cold as it’s been here, I’m seeing extra birds at my feeder.   The little guys hang out on the ground pecking away at fallen seeds the bigger birds knock out.  Being the nice guy I am, I felt bad for the little guys and took a broom out so their little beaks could find the seeds without digging through the snow.  My fat birds have trampled the snow like humans do on the sidewalk.  Who would have thought they’d damp down the snow:

See how it’s all trampled down directly under the feeder?

Speaking of cold, I had frozen pipes in Bromeliad in the Carriage House this past weekend.  I can close the two Carriage House guest rooms down and not heat them in the winter during the week, I can drain the water.  I was sold out last weekend for the final regular season Steeler game and needed all the rooms.  I closed the taps, turned the water on and turned the heat on Friday in both rooms.  Something else I need to do is turn the furnace on low in the ballroom because that is under the guest rooms.  When I did it, I couldn’t get the thermostat to lower the temp from the last event I had in there.  I changed the batteries and still it wouldn’t go down.  So instead of 45 degrees, I figured I could live with 65 for the weekend.  Dumb me didn’t go back in the ballroom to see if it heated.  I got the water in the sink working but couldn’t get the tub/shower to work.  I called John, my plumber, and he said he could be here in 15 minutes!!!!!!!!!!!!  What plumber on a ten degree night New Years weekend can offer that kind of service?  John’s a super star in my world these days.  BIG shout out to John with All Pro Plumbing.  I tried finding John’s website but after several pages, I saw a link to a past blog I did where I offered kudos to John for figuring out what was wrong with my AC back in October 14, 2011 866.996.7767.

Took the gerl for her first post surgery visit with the vet.  First of all, she’s the darling at Avets, they all know her and speak so kindly about her.  She is such a positive force and everyone loves positive attitudes.  The surgeon was beaming about her recovery so far.  Thank you Dee for doing her physical therapy when you are here, it has certainly sped her recovery added to my PT.  🙂  She’s now cleared for short walks and I can keep extending them each week.  So for a while, it’s separate walks for the gerls & boiz.

Took down the holiday decorations the last two days, they are all neatly packed and stowed for another season.  The worst was taking down the outside garlands in this frigid temperatures.  I survived and didn’t fall off the porch roof removing the big wreaths.  Life is good.  🙂

Neighborhood mail is getting really bad here.  When I first moved here I received my mail by 2 pm, it keeps creeping later and later, no it’s around 5 pm.  Which is annoying, but they are not picking up the mail out of the neighborhood mail boxes.  I don’t have a mail box and don’t want to put envelopes with checks in them in the mail slot for all nefarious passers by to see.  I always take them to the corner mail box when I take the dogs for a walk, the mail box seems not to be emptied on a regular basis.  I again got my new invoice for my car payment today with a late fee and I mailed it in plenty of time.  I’m going to start taking them to the actual post office mail box.  I received my mortgage bill today 1/3/18 that was due 1/1/17 and I received my other bill from my bank two weeks ago, they normally send both bills out at the same timeWhile I’m whining, holiday cards when out several weeks ago.  And I am getting the “undeliverable” ones back.  I see a pattern where a particular zip code, a bunch are returned.  Besides the money spent making them, postage the thing that bothers me the most is taking people off my list because a mail person is too lazy to deliver mail (an assumption on my part I definitely acknowledge).  I’m considering switching to e-cards, to get a physical holiday card means a lot to me and would really hate to stop sending them.  Most are from guests that haven’t been here in a few years, but some of them are just a few months ago.  I’m always getting mail for a business over at 939 North Avenue and I’m at 939 Western Avenue two blocks south of North Avenue.  All in the same neighborhood and the same mail person.  I get mail from outside my zip code even.  Can’t they read?  And there’s nothing you can do, on several occassions I needed post card stamps to send out cards and the post office didn’t have any or I needed to bu 100 only needing 5!  That’s like your gas station not having gas or your grocery store not having milk.  How can they stay in business?

Off my soap box and on to new and exciting things happening here.  A new phone system is being installed, it basically works, the phone part.  The alarm system, door bell and surveillance cameras still need fixed.  Guests will now be able to call anywhere in the continental US for free, just like you do at home.  And now when you call The Parador, your first option will be to reach me and then you will have the option of ringing a particular room.  Say you are staying in Chenille and your daughter wants to reach you, the prompt will tell you how to ring that room.  I didn’t have them install voice mail in the rooms, too many ways that could be a problem.  So if you are staying here, just be sure to tell whomever might need to reach you, which room you are in.  And if a call comes in and I happen to be in the office, I can transfer the call to the appropriate room.  Here’s a picture of the new phones:

My desk is not normally this neat, I stacked all the papers normally strewn all over and hid them.  🙂

Everyone knows Pittsburgh has a lot a tech and has for quite some time.  Did you know the techie that invented emojis for a smiley was a CMU professor Scott Fahlaman.  If you don’t know his name, most Pittsburghers are aware it started here.  A Mt Lebanon teenager invented the first computer virus 25 years ago.  Rich Skrenta played games on computers back when games came on floppy discs (do you remember floppy discs?) and he would tamper with the floppy discs before passing them on to his friends.  The basis of Apple’s operating system was invented by another CMU professor Luis von Ahan.

Well, that’s it for today, happy New Year and remember to check in on your elderly neighbors in this frigid tempurature,




Happy winter solstice to you.  It’s the first day of winter, but also the shortest day of the year.  Each day from now on, the day gets longer and longer.  When you add the shortened day to our typical cloudiness this time of year, it gets to be very depressing.  Keep smiling it’s only going to get better.

It’s been a week and da gerl is doing exceptionally well.  Generally speaking she’s walking on all fours, she still being cautious with the left rare leg where they worked on her knee. One of the things I liked about Dr Ley, the surgeon, when I had mention dislike for the famed cone dogs need to wear after surgery to protect the wound he suggested a newer thing, it’s an inflatable donut you put around their neck and depending on the location of the incision can be very effective.   Her wound was so well healed that I took the donut off permanently yesterday.  I attribute her speedy recovery to our “in house” physical therapists Dee and myself.  I’ll take her back to the vet for a check up next week and see how happy he is.  I’d love to start taking her for walks again with her brother.  It was too funny yesterday, I was sitting on the chair in the cold kitchen reading the paper with Rayzette laying next to me and RJ walks over to us and repeatedly drops a tennis ball directly in the front of her for almost ten minutes.  He’s not known for subtlety.  🙂

Here’s my little gerl with her sad face and gold nails:

The Hunt Armory out in Shadeyside seems to be getting a new lease on life.  The developer Mosites has an option on it.  Again the main feature will be an indoor ice skating venue.  In addition to the skating rink, they are considering a “studio” rink and offices, retail, classrooms and I would not be surprised to see an area for restaurants.  The last deal to make it into an Olympic size skating venue fell through because the developer couldn’t secure financing.  Mosite would probably hire the Penquins to operate the skating venue.

This comes in the heals of the Pittsburgh Athletic Association found a buyer in Walnut Capital in Shadeyside, a huge developer mainly in apartments and famed for their involvement in Bakery Square.  The deal includes the vacant lot next to the PAA building.  They plan to put offices on the upper floors of the 124,000-square-foot clubhouse, and retail or restaurants on the first level.  And building an upgraded fitness center that PAA members will be able to use.

Millcraft has acquired 13 acres in the Chateau area of the Northside (behind Rivers Casino) between properties they’ve purchased and parcels owned by the city’s URA, they will be calling this development Esplanade .  They plan on anchoring the development with a Ferris Wheel similar to the Navy Pier in Chicago.  Much of what they control is on the waterfront along the Ohio River and they want to use that as much as possible with kayaking, a pier and other riverside amenities.  They are also discussing creating a Pittsburgh First Museum (George Ferris was born and died in Pittsburgh’s Northside, specifically in the Mexican War Streets area), it could be a very interesting museum, Pittsburgh has a lot of firsts.  Of course there will be apartment/condo, office and retail space going up there.  They are discussing some big box stores like Target.  Route 65/Ohio River Blvd is a very under served shopping corridor.

I will be hosting The Parador’s first paranormal weekend, the last weekend in January (January 25 & 26).  Friday evening will be a cocktail reception in the ballroom with appetizers, beer, wine and a group psychic reading by Sara Saches.  Saturday Denise will arrive with her paranormal team to set up the equipment.  That will run until about 10 pm (unless you guys want to run it later-I’ll be going to bed)  🙂

Oxford Market expects to open on the plaza level of One Oxford Centre on or shortly before Feb. 1. And this one promises to be cashless.  In addition to eschewing cash for most food transactions, this food hall diverges from others in the area in that it’s a hybrid branded space from Eurest — the $1.4 billion food and vending division of Compass Group North America — with an eye on community businesses, that will also include at least one local chef spot, says Jim Kallas, Eurest Division president based in Chicago.  “It’s a big deal for us,” says Mr. Kallas. “We hope it’s the first of many projects in the region.”  Mr. Kallas says they’ve been in talks with a couple of local chefs about taking up residence in the space with multiple stations, such as one offering Italian fare (which may be run by a local chef), a grill (which could be run by Eurest), “Spices,” with dishes from India to Mexico and the “Community Garden,” which will be partially stocked with produce and wares from local farmers — as the company has done in other markets. The offerings will switch up every year or so, he says. Mr. Kallas says the location will also offer an “Apron Exchange,” which will recruit local women and minority-owned start-ups to showcase food and beverage products.  These offerings will be available during breakfast and lunch, while Bar Oxford will be open for the after-work crowd, serving drinks and bar snacks. The bar is the only place where guests can pay with cash. “The modern food hall features state-of-the-art cashless technology at its ordering and payment kiosks throughout the space,” reads a press release. A spokesperson confirmed. “The food hall will feature cashless kiosks throughout. The bar will accept cash and credit cards,” she wrote in an email.

The Pennsylvania Building pm Penn Avenue between 18 & 19th streets and somewhat down to Smallman Street.  The more than 18,400-square-foot property whose backside faces the original Primanti Bros.  Anthony DiCio bought the building in March 2016, it’s on track to become a drinking and dining destination.  It already has several vendors in this food hall like East End Brewing, the Olive Tap and will be adding more vendor this coming year. By this spring, it will house an upstairs food hall, a wine bar and on the 18th Street side, a courtyard with covered stalls where a coffee vendor, produce seller, bakery, pizza place, blacksmith and others will sell their wares.  The building has had several businesses in it that ended up closing after a number of shootings and the Allegheny County DA was threatening to permanently revoke their liquor license.

Sidney & Betty’s second egg just hatched at the National Aviary.  You can watch them on the newly installed webcam.  This is the second egg to hatch from these proud parents and the first eggs to be laid in about three years.

Speaking of webcams, the Hays eagle nest was lost last year when the sycamore tree it was built in fell over in a storm.  Mom and Dad quickly built a new nest in a near by tree.  Since the nesting season is over, Pixconroller the company that donates the webcam to the National Audubon Society has installed new solar powered cameras better positioned to watch the nest.  It should be a good season for you eagle watchers.  I also heard they finally got a decent camera on the Harmer nest as well.

Speaking of animals, Ester and Fester had another baby this year.  I think it’s a she, so Hester is joining her parents and brother Jester.  She’s pretty funny, she’s afraid of the shed roof she needs to climb down to get to my plate of peanuts.  She sits on the tubs I have filled with compost under the plate and waits for the birds (or brother) to knock a couple of peanuts down for her.  In time she’ll build her confidence and tackle the roof.

That’s it for today.  If I don’t find time to make another post, have a very merry Christmas and a safe one,




I will be changing the pricing of my guest rooms next year in several ways.  First of all, the first six rooms (Chenille, African Tulip, Bird of Paradise, Allamanda, Oleander and Lady Palm) are increasing $10.  The back three guest rooms (Bougainvillea, Ruellia and Bromeliad) will remain at $160 plus tax giving an option for more affordability.

I am also adding a $20 cancellation fee.  I’ve been hearing Google has changed their requirements for their ranking and they are now looking that lodging establishments be listed on at least one OTA (online travel agency like booking.com, Expedia,  Trivago, etc).  I selected booking.com because they have the reputation for being the strongest OTA in Europe.  I had one lady last summer that booked, then canceled the same room three times for the same date for some reason.  I had to pay the credit card “discount” charge (the normal % charged for my credit card companies to process the payment and then the “transaction fee” we pay  a set fee for each transaction, usually between a few cents up to ten cents) on all three transaction and then the refunds because each time the credit card info had to pass through the credit card secure channels.  I can always have the system ignore the cancellation fee, particularly for returning guests (just be sure to send me an email so I know to do so).

I’ve worked in the hospitality industry all my adult life and have seen much.  Back when I was in the corporate world, the front desk had what we called Rev Max (revenue maximization).  The reservation staff would have standards that when a certain percentage of rooms were sold, the price of the rooms went up a set amount.  With technology, so much can be automated and this is one of the bells and whistles my new reservation system has.  I have recently activated this.  If you are reading this, you are probably a returning guest.  As soon as you have some dates you are thinking of visiting, you might want to book your room so first of all you get the room of your preference and also to save the added fee if others are also interested in visiting during the same dates.

I will be posting another blog later today or this weekend focused on things going on in da ‘burg,




I haven’t been following current events lately, big change for me.  I selectively read the newspaper and turn the NPR radio and TV news off when it starts to cover that idiot in Washington who can say anything he wants without any facts behind his tweets.  And anyone that dares to disagree with him, he either calls it fake news or maligns them.  My attitude is based on  St Francis of Assisi’s prayer of serenity that I learned when I was young and Catholic:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.”  I love this and think of it often.

He’s subsidizing his big tax break to the 1% by cutting funding to our social programs.  His department heads are methodically cutting food stamp benefits, they are not funding CHIP, health care for poor children, cutting funding to agencies that provide things like ACCESS that provides transportation to poor and elderly.  I believe the reason President Putin is his idol is Putin enshrined the Oligarch system in Russia, with the super rich few trampling on the masses. Maybe we are seeing America’s response to his BS with last night’s Alabama’s special election?  I don’t know what was the final straw defeating Roy Moore, his being judicial and refusing to follow his boss the US Supreme Court, alleged affairs with minor females or possibly his statement of wanting to delete all the amendments to our Constitution after the 8th amendment.  Not sure if it was the 8th or not, but I do recall hearing him saying that he was OK deleting the 13th amendment abolishing slavery. OMG  What I’m concerned about is the 48% that voted for him, I’m sure some of the 48% voted for him because they don’t believe he actually molested teenage girls and figured this was some of what that nameless person in the White House refers to as fake news, some voted for him because he was the Republican candidate, some of them probably supported his decision to illegally keep the ten commandments on government property (the separation of church and state was in the very first amendment) so maybe they thought he was just responding to federal jurisdiction over state’s rights, I don’t agree with this but somewhat understand it.  I don’t understand how any American can say it’s OK for slavery and still able to freely walk our land!

I’ll step off my soap box now.  Here’s the BIG news story of the day.  Da Gerl had her knee surgery yesterday and I picked her up this morning.  So Dee and myself have 10 – 12 weeks of physical therapy to get da gerl back on her feet, so to say.  🙂  I really liked Dr Ley, the surgeon. I picked to have it done at AVETs in Monroeville.  I truly hate the parkway east and will do anything to avoid it, when I took her up for the initial valuation, the 20 minute drive was over an hour.  So bad, I read the entire paper while literally sitting in traffic.  I called the vet to explain I was sitting in traffic and would be late.  When I got there, the receptionist said not to worry about it, they saw where a trash truck dropped it’s load just outside the Squirrel Hill tunnels.   In his presentation, Dr Ley answered all my questions I had made up in my mind to ask before I had a chance to ask.  I was impressed with his quiet confidence.  I’m totally unimpressed with the discharge person, I’m thinking she’s new and didn’t know how to explain post surgery procedures I need to follow.  And the pill bottles were not labeled as accurately as they should have been.  I’m debating on sending Dr Ley an email with my concerns, I don’t want to get a new girl in trouble for not being accurate.

Here’s my gerl:

RJ knows his sister is having some difficulty.  He hasn’t been teasing her to play.  Dogs are amazing.  Dee had some personal problems that we were talking about in the kitchen a couple of weeks ago and though she wasn’t crying, she was upset and RJ came over and started rubbing against her.  Last week after my mom passed, I came home and and while standing in the kitchen I also was not crying, but he sensed my upsetness and came up to me and started rubbing against me.  Da gerl ignored both instances.  Maybe it’s age and maturity, or maybe she’s missing the empathy gene.  I love her none the less.

I promise to be more upbeat in future posts,