January has been a strong month getting reservations for 2018 and I was wondering what was going on the second week in March until Jacqueline checked in yesterday, she’s the advance for the NCESA conference scheduled March 14 -17 at the DL Lawrence CC, it’s their 52nd annual conference.  Their mission is to keep ceramic arts alive in teaching, creativity, and life in general.  It seems I am getting a lot of the attendees.  While researching who that are, I found a very interesting thing on the Southside at 27th & Josephine Streets, the mosaic steps by artist Laura Jean McLaughlin:

Most of the reservations are for three or more nights, a pleasant surprise in March, a usually quiet month.  One guest is in for a week.

I’ve been patiently waiting for the shoe to drop.  I’ve been a customer of DirecTV for close the 30 years.  Privately when I first moved to Florida and then the five years I owned The Parador of the Palm Beaches.  And now since moving to Pittsburgh.  When I heard ATT bought DirecTV, I expected the price to go up, the question was by how much and wehen.  I just received my new bill and it went up $200.  Of course I bitched.  The rep I spoke with said they needed to charge me for the 21 receivers I use.  I explained the switch can handle 21 receivers but I only have 13 active receivers.  I had to verify each of the cards in the active receivers and that brought it down $100.  So now I’m paying around $300 for 13 receivers instead of the $200 I have been paying, I guess I shouldn’t complain too much, I know people that pay that much just for themselves.

Another challenge at The Parador, Full Service Network the folks installing my new phone system are unable to convert it from analog to digital (or whatever you call copper wire vs fiber optics).  They haven’t been able to get reliability with my alarm system communicating with my alarm monitor company, the office phone works sporadically and getting the doorbell up and running again was a challenge.  The doorbell seems to be working now.  I sent my contact an email (again) about my concerns and suggested taking me back to the old analog system and he seems to think that would be the best route to follow.  They are now working on the new install.

Mr. Rogers Neighborhood turns 50 this year.  The post office is issuing a commemoration stamp this year with his image.  The TV show Jeopardy featured a Mr. Rogers category this week.  Pittsburgh’s Michael Keaton will host a Mr Rogers 50th Anniversary Show on WQED March 6 starting at 8 pm.  In case you are not aware, Michael (we’re BFF, that’s why I can refer to him by his first name – my BFF Jeff Bezos introduced us that last time we went out to dinner) sort of got his show business start on the Mr. Rogers show as a stage hand and an occasional appearance.

We’re down to the last few days of a Pittsburgh icon The Uncommon Market in Bethel Park, Upper St Clair or Mt Lebanon, not shore which it is actually in, it’s in the cross hairs of all three.  Joe Labriola got his start in his Italian immigrant father’s grocery  in Larimer (started somewhere around 1927) before taking his skills and opening his own sausage  store in the Strip somewhere.  Janet Labriola grew up in the apartment over the store, married and moved to Upper St Clair.  They opened the Uncommon Market in 1978, if not the first specialty upscale market in Pittsburgh, it was one of the firsts.  It closes for good February 25.  The Gralkas’ will continue to make their sausages, using dad’s recipes and you will be able to find them afterwards at Trax’s Farms in Finleyville and the Family Deli in Bethel Park (I’m not familiar with that one).  I understand, but it’s a shame, I will miss them.  I was never a regular, in there all the time, but did frequent it.

Well, that’s it for today, the days are getting longer and the 15 day forecast has  much nicer weather predicted than what we’ve been experiencing.  I spoke with Mike today and we’re on schedule for the roof replacement in March (as well as Oleander’s bathroom window.

Take care,