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,



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