Tomorrow is the anniversary of Brasilia’s Inauguration (1960), the birth of Rome (753), the Red Baron was shot down (1918), holidays include Brazil’s Tiradentes Day, Baha’s Festival of Ridvan, Indonesia’s Kartini Day and Texas’ San Jacinto Day.  Birth anniversaries include naturalist John Muir (1838), actor Anthony Quinn (1915), German educator Friedrich Froebel (1782) and author Charlotte Bronte (1816).

Wilkinsbug is hosting a unique house tour on May 9 called The Vacant Home Tour.  In conjunction with a group of CMU grad students, they’ve selected five vacant houses they will highlight that could be available to purchase.  They’ve done their homework figuring out the history of the house and even will have some pictures of the homes in their happier days.  After the tour, Allegheny County and the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation will hold workshops talking about programs and financing options for people that tackle bringing vacant houses back to the tax rolls.  They have the expertise to handle the acquisition of the property and can lead the way in guiding you through the process.   If nothing else, you should consider the tour just to learn from the experts how this can be accomplished.  And maybe you’ll fall in love with a property and start the process for your new home!

Slide the City is coming to South Park on June 6.  It’s a touring company visiting 150 US and Canadian cities.  The 1,000 foot slide will come down one of South Park’s hills.  You need to bring your own inflatable to ride the slide, or you can buy one from them at the site.  The cost is $20 for one ride, $30 for three rides and $50 for an all day pass.  There are discounts for buying your tickets early and premiums for buying the day of the event (and that will be based on availability).  More info and tickets are on their website.

Joylette Portlock, founder of Communitopia thinks environmentalism could use a lighter side.  She has a series of videos on the environment, some are kind of cute like her take on Gangnam Style with her version Climate Dennier Style.  Her tag line is Don’t Just Sit There, Do Something.  She not looking for people to take radical action, not chain themselves to trees, but maybe washing in cold water to save energy.  She says big steps are best, but if you only want to take little steps, they add up also.  Communitopia is joining up with Phipps, the Carnegie Museums and other partners to to host Futurefest 2015 on the lawn of Phipps on Saturday, April 25.  It’s going to be a fun day of cooking demonstrations, tours of the new Phipps labs & classrooms, composting demos, hands on activities, an eco minded market, scavenger hunts, even 1/2 Phipps admission that day.

Remember I spoke about that door between Bird of Paradise’s bathroom and African Tulip?  Well I did the construction a week or so ago framing it out, putting sound proofing insulation in and then dry walling it:


And April from No Good Riding Hood created a faux door for me:


Pretty cool?  🙂

There’s an interesting free exhibit at the top floor of the Hunt Library on CMU’s campus through June 30.  Photographer Sue Abramson has a black and white photo collection of nests and their building materials she has taken in Frick Park.  Images done in colored pencil by David Morrison feature detailed images of nests in their natural environment with details like spring buds and new leaves gracing the drawings. Wendy Brockman uses water colors to create her nests on calfskin vellum.  Kate Nessler uses water color to make images of her nests.  All this is enhanced with real bird nests on loan from The Carnegie Museum of Natural History which pretty much rounds out the show.  The show follows the Library’s normal operating hours of 9 am to noon and 1 to 5 pm Mondays through Fridays and from 1 to 4 pm Saturdays.  More info at Hunt Library’s website or by calling 412-268-2434.

Last year, Open Streets Pittsburgh had a  route from Roberto Clemente Bridge, down Sixth Avenue to Market Square.  This year the route is mainly from the Strip District out to Lawrenceville.  They close the main streets to vehicle traffic and they are open to pedestrians, cyclists, skate boarders, dancers (the side streets are still open to vehicles).  It’s the last Sundays of May, June and July and the hours are from 8 am until noon.  More info on Bike Pittsburgh’s website.

You know, I complain a lot about a lot of things in America, we have our problems.  But when you take a minute and  look around the world, even at our worst, we’re still pretty good.  There’s a group of the Lost Boys of Sudan living in Pittsburgh.  I met one through my sister, Deng (his birth name) published a book under his baptismal name Paul Kur called “Out of The Impossible” about his struggles as one of the Lost Boys fleeing ethnic violence in Sudan as a small child. The book chronicles Deng’s struggles as a child just to survive genocide, starvation, even being eaten by lions.

Out in Latrobe, Matthew Stein Woodworker and Hand Crafted Furniture makes Windsor chairs, tables, toys and other items using 18th century wood working techniques and tools used back then.  Although he doesn’t use all antique tools, he makes tools that mimic what they used back then.  Besides making these new old pieces, he also restores furniture.  On some projects he’s partnered with another Latrobe craftsman Dave Horner of Dave Horner Carpentry and Millwork.

Join Ann, the resident shelter dog at Northside Common Ministries, at this year’s Walk for a Healthy Community as she and other Food Pantry supporters raise funds to stock the shelves at the food pantry.  It’s easy – just click on the Walk for a Healthy Community to sign up to the team or make a donation to the team on line–then join the festivities at stage AE on the Northshore on Saturday, May 16th at 9am.  All proceeds go right to the purchase of food for distribution in the food pantry.

The Northside Common Ministries is having an Old Fashioned Spaghetti Dinner on Saturday April 25th at Northmont Presbyterian Church at 8169 Perry Highway for an Old Fashioned Spaghetti Dinner from 4pm-7pm.  Carry out available—bring the whole family!  More info at the Common Ministry’s website or by calling 412-323-1163.

Well, that’s it for now.  I have an electrician doing some repairs, some you’d never notice, a couple I’ll talk about next time.  Enjoy this spring weather, we earned it,




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