Saturday, October 31, 2009

Chi Town

I love riding the trains. Took a cross country trip years ago on Amtrak. So, a trip was planned to go to Chicago for the day. That's right, for the day. The train leaves the Pittsburgh station at 11:59 PM and arrives in Chicago at 8:40 PM. We went sightseeing for the day on a hop on-hop off trolley.
We got to the train station and watched the Yanks beat Philly. Everyone in the train station moaned a collective sigh for the loss. We then went to the loading platform, where we had to wait for a few minutes before boarding. There was a family there with a small child who kept saying "Boo very tired, boo very tired". Her name was Brook and she was 2 years old.
We boarded the train and promptly got into our very small cabin and fell asleep.
We got up at 7 AM the next morning and had breakfast before arriving in Chicago. A very annoying young man was in the room next to ours and ate breakfast with us. That can be a problem on the train, since it is community seating in the dining car. The breakfast was very good, although we had to watch him literally stuffing food in his mouth.
Figuring out the lockers in Union Station was a challenge. Have to put your finger up against a screen, the against an infrared button, then put in money, find the locker and quickly jam things in. Getting things out was the same process, and you had to use the same finger, which, since it took me four times to figure out, I wasn't quite sure which finger to use.
The weather did not look good when I checked it on the net. Thunderstorms and windy (windy in Chicago????). It was only drizzling when we got on the trolley. The tour was a great way to see the city. We went to Navy Pier, to the Aquarium, to different museums. By the time we got back to our stop, it was pouring. We got soaked as we ran to the train station. Umbrellas were turning inside out, rain coming from all directions, and I swear I heard thunder. I was laughing so hard I though I would be institutionalized for being out of my mind.
It's fun watching people in the station. Union station is large and a great place to explore. Our train was a few minutes late, but we sat with a couple from Australia for dinner. They were wonderful company and had lots of interesting stories. They were in the states for a month and doing all their travel by train.
Arrived home, went to pick up the paper on the drive and again, my back spasmed. So, I sit here with a heating pad typing this. That's what one gets for carrying a puter tower down two flights of steps, sleeping on the top bunk on the train and not being able to do stretches for two days!!!
Mippy came downstairs last week to find this absolutely wonderful message from Monkeyboy. I thought it said it all. She took a picture of it...I am sure to remind him of this when he goes mumbling up to his room as a punishment.
Bean's play is this weekend. I am told it is long and difficult to follow in places. Fortunately, Bird gave me a condensed version of the storyline.
An amazing sight to come down the street this morning and see all the leaves. I like the sight, I'll try to get a picture of it. I think it looks lovely.
Happy Halloween and have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Because Bean Said So

Bean is in rehearsal for Les Miserables. She got home late tonight and told me to, for you Bean.
As you can see, I have been with camera. I truly love the colors of Autumn. The landscape is so amazing. And the sun on the trees is magnificent.
I have been working lots this week at Phipps. Training, tours, etc. So forgive me for not posting on Sunday, but it seems I post either on Sunday or Thursday, and technically, it is Thursday for a few more minutes. I watched the baseball game tonight, so I am a bit late.
The Angels beat the Yankees tonight. I am glad. Too many glamor stars on the Yankees. I want it to be the Angels and the Phillies. But if not the Angels, then I hope the Phillies whip them!
There was a family from Philly at Phipps, and we had quite a discussion about our teams. We agreed that the the Eagles were not a team to cheer for, but that we would both cheer for the Phillies since the Pirates weren't in the running.
We have different codes for things at Phipps to use on the walkie talkies so that we don't panic the public. I have never used walkie talkies before, but I think I like the idea. "Mia to Events" sounds like fun. I like listening to the calls. Kind of like eavesdropping on a conversation. Sometimes comical, sometimes serious, sometimes just pain amusing. I love to listen to conversations. In this day of cell phones it becomes very easy. How does one carry on a very private conversation in a restaurant with someone on a cell phone? One can only imagine the other end of the conversation.
Cell phones are great to a point. I am so tired of seeing people on cell phones driving and so engrossed in conversation that they pull out in front of you without looking. I know, the argument exists that any distraction is dangerous. Technology abounds, doesn't it? Phones ring in a restaurant and you see six people pull out their phone to see if it is their phone.
Monkeyboy and I went to a movie last week. A telephone rang in the pet shop, in the book store and in the movie. All was quiet and you could hear the entire conversation. I don't care to hear how Justin was suspended from school and how angry Dad was, with Mom screaming back at him. Nor do I care the dog has a diarrhea and is it improving? And a teeny bopper giggling with her boyfriend over the phone. Can you just take it somewhere private????
My big project right now is trying to gist the right lighting in my kitchen. My track lighting blew, so I am trying to find the right light so I can read the paper as I eat breakfast. A lamp on the breakfast table does not seem to work. I am using the light on the ceiling fan, which is not optimal, but seems to work somewhat. We shall see.
HP at work catered an event over the weekend. As she explained it briefly to me it was to follow the example of somethng she was involved with in California when she lived there. Check out the website, it is really unique.

So, Bean, I posted. And your play is next weekend. For those of you here in Pgh., it is at the Byham theater. Bean is in the ensemble. Monkeyboy is in hockey playoffs....such a decision.
Have a great Friday.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


I was taking some pictures today. The one I posted is of a planting in the yard. I love this time of the year. The days are warm and the nights are cool enough to snuggle under the covers on the bed. And when the sun is shining it is a glorious picture that Mother Nature paints for us. In the morning, the sun is coming through the trees at a delightful angle, casting shadows on the street where the leaves have fallen. Do you remember jumping into piles of leaves? I do. We lived in a neighborhood with lots of trees, and everyone would rake the leaves into the street in big piles to be picked up by the borough. One had to be careful when jumping not to land on the curb...that was painful. I love to wander through the neighborhood and see the grass covered with a blanket of beautiful leaves, all different in color and shape. When I go to the mailbox now I have to be careful. The oak trees are dropping acorns, and more than one has bounced off my head. I guess some get depressed with the coming of winter. Not me. And is there anything more beautiful than the first snowfall? I could not live where there is not the changing of the seasons. I don't like the ice, the bitter cold winds, but it only makes me appreciate the warm, sunny days like today.
My brother and sister-in-law visited for some time over the weekend. It was fun to have them here and to drive all over the city and then some! I believe it was about 150 miles in search of an antique shop and a botique. Never did find the botique. But we had fun.
Final baseball game is Tuesday, I believe. Monkeyboy isn't supposed to play, but he has been sick all weekend, so maybe they will call him up since he missed the game on Saturday. I think his deck hockey goes on for a while.
Bean has begun rehersal for Les Misérables. I can't wait to see it. I love to watch their productions.
Seems as though lots of folks are sick with some kind of flu. 'Tis the season, I suppose. I think Bean said 20% of her class was out. Monkeyboy was sick most of the weekend, but seems to be on the mend.
The Steelers won again, and I think I may have won some money. I'm not sure, since I don't quite know how to read this sheet. I'll let you know. Troy is still out, but some of the new players are showing great promise.
Hope all is well in your world. Have a wonderful week.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I'mmmmm Back

Thanks to all who have inquired and nagged. I am back.
Autumn has arrived in Pittsburgh. Rain, cool weather, little sun. More like November weather. I admit, the furnace has come on. Shame on me.
Lots of happenings in the 'burgh. G 20 Summit with lots of changes in traffic, daily routines and in news coverage. Phipps hosted the G 20 dinner on Thursday night. HP, one of the administrators in my direct line of supervision, stood with President and Mrs. Obama in the Welcome Center, along with LM, the woman instrumental in my being hired at Phipps. HP said it was pretty neat. Phipps was very busy preparing for the international guests, and the Conservatory looked lovely.
I have taken a number of pictures at the Conservatory and have some of them shown here. Hans Frabel is the glass artist that created the clowns, jokers and flowers here. Chihuly still has pieces at Phipps, but I like the Frabel pieces better. They are whimsical and fun. I watched a video of how he creates them, and they are hand created, not from a mold. The detail on them is astounding. Such a talent.
Monkeyboy has been playing fall ball and I love it, of course. They are beginning to pitch the ball. He is a great pitcher, strong arm and very accurate. He has been hit by a pitched ball several times, but "carries on for the team".
Bean's guitar lessons are amazing. Both kids have an ear for music and it amazes me how well they play. Both of their instructors have commented that they are their best students.
Rainy day for homecoming here last week. Rainy and cold. We splashed our way to the parade route with umbrellas up banging them into one another. Mr. G joined us. Quite a crowd. Ty's mom, Ginger and Skipper, Mr. G., Mary Rose G, Monkeyboy, Mippy, Bean and Bird as well as myself. Umbrellas are a pain, in addition to being dangerous! One can get poked in the eye by people turning to call your attention to the idiots riding in a convertible in the pouring rain. Who would have a brand new Corvette with the Queen of the Hockey Team in her strapless gown, shivering with hair dripping wet...waving and smiling, teeth chattering? Oh, did I mention the top was down? It was.
Parade was quite a bit shorter this year, I suppose because of the rain. People in cars and floats throw candy to the crowd...or should I say AT the crowd. It landed on wet streets, in puddles and in the grass. The kids raced to pick it up and plop it in bags, parents saving it for halloween to give away. Times are tight, you know. So, watch for those penny (quarter) candy that no one likes to eat and end up giving away. Never the good stuff, of course. By halloween, it should have dried out somewhat. Bean was dancing up the street with her umbrella. I tried to put it on the blog, but it doesn't seem to work.
I am getting to know the people at Phipps. Kay has a delightful sense of humor, teases Alex all the time about his wild weekends. Alex is one of our supervisors. Kerry is patient and teaches me things on the computer and gives me hints about the job. HT is our manager and is great fun as well as being very organized and knowledgable. She is especially fun to tease with and together we all make the day go quickly. I cannot stress how wonderful it is to work in an environment that has people happy and wanting to be there. The public comes through and comments on "peaceful, beautiful, one of the best Conservatories they have seen". HT remarked that she is going through some of life's greatest stressors and all at with friends, buying a house, switching jobs and moving to a different city. And she maintains a sense of humor...probably helping her to stay sane. Truly a bundle of energy who is always looking a problems and asking for input into solutions.
My brother and sister-in-law are heading for the 'burgh at the end of the week. Means I have to clean. Not that I don't clean, but when you have overnight guests (is family guests?) I feel a need to clean a little more thoroughly. I don't know why, they know what a slob I am.
Much of the garden is dying for the winter. Although I will miss sitting and reading, I love the autumn with the changing of the leaves. And winter to me is a time to hibernate and store energy for spring and summer.
New fall shows have started. They took The Unit off, much to my chagrin. But NCIS is on, and I like the new show, The Good Wife. And of course, Criminal Minds. I watched the movie, The Wrestler, with Mickey Rourke. Excellent, but sad.
Steelers are on tonight. They have lost their last two games. Here is hoping they will pick up the pace tonight. I don't know if Troy will be playing tonight, but the Steelers need him.
That's it for now. Enjoy your Sunday!