Thursday, December 9, 2010

It's Beginning.....

I won't even say it...I will just say that winter has arrived with a vengeance. Bitter cold...not really, but it feels like it. Snow.

I came home from Phipps on Monday night (we are open now until 10:00 PM) and it was blizzardy. Snow covered roads, cold, blowing snow. Of course, no salt thrown in the city until morning. Thank goodness for the new tires.

My brother will be happy to music. He doesn't much like the music I put on this site. So to you...Merry Christmas, I won't put any music on here for you to have to listen to and about which to complain. It's OK, he's my brother, he can complain.

Alas, another friend has been diagnosed with cancer. It makes me incredibly sad, but can I just say this...I got an email from her. She was diagnosed a week ago, and her outlook is incredible. Positive. Upbeat. Hopeful. Accepting. Here's to you J, you are my inspiration.

OK, I am sick of winter. Sweeping/shoveling snow. And it is December. And I ask...when will this end? I know, it is only beginning. And white Christmas....forget it. Give me a warm, sunny day.

I'll stop whining.

Positive stuff only....

I figured out my grab bag gift and, as usual, it is wonderful. As you may remember, and if you don't...I'll remind you. First year was a framed, autographed picture of myself. Wonderful, if I may say so. Next was the postage stamps with my picture on them. A tremendous hit, it I may say so. Next....M&M's with my picture on them. EVERYONE wanted them. This year tops it all. Wait till they see this one! Aren't you all curious? Mippy asked "what will your face be on this year". She just wants the gift. And when Monkeyboy chooses it, when it is her turn, she will grab it. I'm pretty sure there will be a humongous fight over this one. And don't let Bird fool you, he wants my gifts, even though he says he takes them out of pity.

I have found some wonderful gifts and have done most of my ordering on line. Most of it is here, although I am worried about one. I got an email that told me to quit going to the mailbox. They were only going to ship beginning this week, so stop looking. They would email me when I should start looking. Only one gift was wrong, and there is time to fix that one.

Ava is doing well, running and jumping about. Curling up with me to sleep. I so would love to have a dog, pets are such a wonderful thing.

OK, time for bed for me...actually, well past bedtime for me. Have a great week!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Feeling That Thanksgiving Dinner

It was a wonderful dinner, and I hope yours was as well. I say it took us thirty minutes to eat...Mippy said it took us thirty minutes to fill our plates, sit down and then eat. It amazes me the work that goes into the dinner and how quickly it is devoured. But it was oh, so good. And such a relaxing day. And the turkey was done to perfection this year, thank goodness.
Bean is looking great on her pointe shoes, and after such a short time.
And Monkeyboy is racing about on his blades, playing hockey and loving it.
The tradition here is to have everyone decorate my tree after Thanksgiving dinner. It was amazing to see over the years how the kids decorate. Initially it was seeing who could unpack and put more decorations on the tree. Now the kids actually try to do it so there aren't too many of the same color in the same place. It is smoother and more fun this way. I believe a good time was had by all.
Phipps is very busy this weekend. It is the opening of their winter show. So many people coming in with their children dressed up in their holiday finest to have their picture taken. I was in the Palm Court today, selling memberships. It is interesting to see families and how they get their children to sit still, to pose, to smile. Parents making faces, jumping up and down, and yes, cajoling children to smile with bribes of food to come. And then I become the photographer that takes the family picture. Always someone with closed eyes, fussing with their hair, poking a sibling. One family had triplets and two other children. That was a bit humorous, with one of the triplets crying, the other hitting and the third laughing at the first.
I already ordered on line and should be getting many of the things in the mail this week. It's more fun for me to get them in the mail than to go to the mall. I try my best to stay away from the mall at all costs.
The Steelers barely won today. Had me on the edge of my seat. The new kicker did an excellent job of winning the game for us.
Have a great week, and see you soon!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Stressful couple of weeks for me....two people very close to me had surgery...and of course Ava, the cat!
It appears that all are doing well, but it makes me appreciate health that much more. One never knows when problems are going to hit us, and when we climb back, it is a good thing.
OK, I am sick of leaves falling. Are you one to try to keep up with raking leaves, or are you one to leave piles of leaves until they ALL come down. Personally, I would like to leave them until they all come down, then have everyone come and help gather them up.
Did I tell you that I am trying to get rid of old paint cans? Well, I am. I must have twenty of them in my basement. I am told that if you put kitty litter in them, they will be taken. Do you know how heavy a gallon of paint is with kitty litter in it? Well, let me tell you, it is heavy!
Anyway, there are eight less paint cans. Working through them.
I have cold sores. It what comes with stress. Fortunately, they are already disappearing.
Bean has a part in the Christmas Carol. Not sure what it is. But I think she is pleased. And Monkeyboy is playing in line hockey, whatever that is.
Phipps is decorating for the holidays and their winter show and let me just say is amazing. Beautiful. If you are in Pittsburgh or visiting you have to see it.
The Steelers got rid of Jeff Reed. He has been on the line for some time, I think. He did well here and I appreciate it, but there have been problems in the past year or so, and I don't think it is just football related.
The Steelers looked bad on Sunday and the Patriots looked awesome. They could do no wrong. Hopefully, we will make a come back. Ben looked good for a minute, but neither the defense or the offense had it together Sunday. Sad, but true.
That's it for now....have a good week!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween Happenings

When I was small, we had a bakery. It was a small bakery and the people who owned it lived near us. It delicious baked goods, all fresh, none frozen for the next day or week. They had wonderful cherry filled cookies, decorated cookies and cakes and pies, which were not as good.
At Halloween we would dress up and go to the home of the owner.....because.....they gave out candy apples. And they were wonderful! As they gave them to you they asked your name, so you couldn't get two, which made me sad. We didn't have very original costumes. Some kids did...their parents made their costume. I remember in second grade one girl had a blond wig, only it didn't look like a wig. She won a prize for the best costume. No one knew who she was.
Halloween was a big deal. We used to have a party, then parade around the school with the parents standing there taking pictures. Then we would go home and prepare for the parade the town had. After that we got to go trick or treating. We never did much of the tricking, though.
It was fun and exhausting...going through all that candy.
Phipps is having a Halloween Happening. Kids come in with costumes and they see a magic show, can get their face pained, pot a plant and eat! It's fun to see all the kids in their costumes, some of which are very unique.
Ava, the cat, is on medication. X-rays were taken and examinations done and nothing of significance was found, so she is on meds for inflamation. She alternately does well and hobbles around on three legs. It's sad to watch, but she is sleeping and eating regularly, so the vet said to just give her time.
What do you remember about Halloween? Did/do you make costumes or do you buy them? I remember a butterfly costume I made for a certain child, who, when they saw it ran screaming to hide behind the bushes.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Let The Games Go On

Ahhh, it is the season again.
The NY Times had an excellent article about Nolan Ryan. It talked about him buying the Rangers with the thought of.....making them a winning team. Isn't that a novel idea? Not buying a team to build a new stadium, make money and move on. I read that he was quite the player in his time, and he wants to build this team to win. Good for him. And they beat the Yanks. That is such good news.
Ben is back. Very mixed feelings about that. I think he played a good game. We won. Thanks, Tim, for all the cheering. I think I saw you down by the goal line, but I can't be sure.
Monkeyboy's team is doing well. Monkeyboy has the second highest score...he is going for double digits. Such fun watching the kids play.
Both Monkeyboy and Sprout celebrated birthdays. Sprout's cake had a picture of her on it and it was so much fun! Monkeyboy elected to have a giant chocolate chip birthday cookie. Personally, I prefer cake.
Bean is in Phantom this week. Break a leg, Bean. She is having such fun, but is exhausted. Such is the life of a star. Well, she may not be THE star, but she is our star.
Ava has a bad leg or legs...have to take her to the vet again. He gave her a shot, which helped briefly, but she is not doing well. Both hind legs seem to be affected. She is having great difficulty walking. *fingers crossed that it is nothing serious.*
Seems to be a time when many close to me are having medical problems. This too shall pass, I just hope it passes quickly.
On a lighter note, there was a Japanese wedding at Phipps this weekend and it was lovely. Such beautiful dresses, all dressed in their culture. Makes me wonder why we are so against immigration.
Code purple today...chipmunk expired in the outdoor garden. Butterflies are about done. Great train display currently. I still love my job.
The weather has been decent for the most part. Warm days, cool nights. I am having a garage sale this weekend. Dreading it, but I made the commitment. Hoping to get rid of some junk. Never had one before, so we will see how this goes.
Vote, okay? I know....sometimes it seems to not make a difference, and sometimes I get discouraged, but do not be Have a good one!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Weather

It rained here this week. A lot. Some people don't like the rain...generally, I do. I fell asleep to the rain the other night. It wasn't a storm, just a pleasant rain. Woke up to it also. Got ready for work. It amazes me what happens to drivers in the rain, at least here in Pittsburgh. A usual 25 minute ride took me 45 minutes, but it was okay. I had the time, so it wasn't crucial that I speed. Which I can't anyway, because I need new tires. But that is a whole other story.
I began my day at Phipps in the butterfly area. There aren't many butterflies left, but we have to be there to catch them should one escape. It was a very quiet morning and raining there in the conservatory as well as outside. The conservatory was built in 1893, so some of the rooms have water coming in when it rains. So, after cleaning the area of leaves and setting up the table, I sat and watched the rain. And listened. It was quiet other than the water dripping on the bricks. A young couple came through holding hands, whispering, smiling. We talked for a few minutes. They were here for a conference that started that afternoon and decided to spend the morning with us. They had been married in June in an outdoor garden wedding in, of all place, Iowa.
I think one of the best things about living in Pittsburgh is the changes of the seasons. I love them all, even the snow and ice. Those days of terrible weather make me appreciate the good days, the sunny ones.
I had an hour or so left in the butterfly area, so I contemplated the weather and how it affects people. One woman told me Phipps was a perfect place to be in the rain; it made her feel happy and peaceful. A co-worker told me it was a good day to spend in bed reading a good book.
What do you like to do on a rainy day? Is it different now than it was as a child?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Wow, It's Been A While!

I did not realize that it had been almost two months since my last post. So, here we go!

Road Trip: Midwest, Farm, Beach. Delayed flights, running through the airport, Monkeyboy getting stuck on one level, we on another. Bean to the rescue. Racing, racing, racing through the airport. I think the next time we will not fly!

The farm was great, but the beach was the best! The water was warm, the hotel was wonderful and a great time was had by all. Pretty sure that the beach will be our destination for next year.

School has started, dance has started, hockey has started. Back at Phipps and working lots of hours right now. Lots of weddings there. And the weather has finally cooled down.

Last weekend was a Pirate's game. Monkeyboy wore his Diamondback shirt since we are playing them. He has a favorite player on their team...don't ask me who it is. I have no memory for those kind of things.

I am still at the track most mornings. It is incredible to see the sunrise and to watch the clouds moving. The same group can be found most mornings when I go before work. Some run, some walk, some do the steps and some just watch their partners. When I am not working, I go a little later, and then I see the kids at the school in gym class. Interesting to see the different groups of kids. You have the kids who are obviously the athletic ones. Then there are the kids that talk a lot and giggle as they do the track. There is a group kids who do nothing but long jumps, and their teacher is incredible. He encourages them, they cheer for one another and they really try to do better. I admire teachers who have that kind of enthusiasm and dedication. Much more than the gym teacher who stands by the edge of the track with their clipboard texting on their cell phone.

I love listening to the exchanges on the radio at work. Code for Troy coming to the conservatory is "The eagle has landed". His wife is on our board and they sometimes comes. Everyone looks forward to that! There are other codes, which are sometimes humorous. One is code purple, which means an animal (usually a rat or a dead fish...something like that) is in distress or on the premises. Several weeks ago T. in events yelled over the radio that there was a code purple. Turned out that there were ants in the garden during a wedding. I don't think that warrants a code purple, but she did. Freaked because she thought that the ants might go up the bride's dress. The following week, someone in events said there was an anthill in the garden and a wedding was going to start. S., our maintenance man, said...on the radio...that he would come out and stomp on them. That went over big. T. got on the radio and began to freak that you don't just stomp on them. S. went through the serpentine room mumbling to himself. I think that he did just stomp on them, but I'm not sure.

Monkeyboy had his birthday party (one of two) tonight. He got many gifts, mostly sports stuff. Also the ipod touch. Bird is still trying to figure that one out.

Bean got her ballet pointe shoes and has started classes. She got two parts in Phantom of the Opera and the one that she is most excited about is the understudy for the pointe part. GO BEAN.

I promise I will try to post more often. And thanks for the concern, Jen.

Friday, July 30, 2010

It's Over, It Really Is

Can I just is over for Monkeyboy. No, really it is. It was supposed to be over last night. But, alas, it wasn't.
First of all, it has been hotter than hell any summer that I remember. I mean, come on. It's been 90 degrees for a zillion days. And the humidity has been as high as it can be without raining. Let me just say...J's hair can't take it. It's long, naturally curly and very thick. Enough said.
And S. smiles, and says she feels sorry for us in the butterfly room...which, did I mention...was 94 degrees with humidity of 3,000 degrees.
The butterflies don't even like it. I won't go into that, though.
OK, so it was hot. Stinking hot. And last night was the final game. thank goodness, I am SICK of it We all assembled our chairs, watched with anticipation as the sky grew darker. Of all nights, they were calling for horrible storms. Not to worry, they weren't to happen until after 10:00. liars, all weathermen are liars
First inning. Not good. They got lots of walks and a run. We got nothing. Sky getting darker.
Trip to the concession stand for Bean and I. Female appearing to be on drugs takes our order. She keeps repeating it as she adds it up in her head. I, who have not had dinner, have a large order...mistake!!!!
Bean and I make our way back to the row of chairs. Uh, oh, switching pitchers. Monkeyboy is called to the mound. Texting (hard to do with two dogs, coke, nachos, slushy) to let Bird know. No response from him.
Hot dogs were cold (long walk). Ketchup everywhere. Monkeyboy doing his thing...very well, if I do say so. Bird pulls up on Harley. Sky darkens even more. Ready to start third inning....what is that? Lightening? OH NO. Score...4-0 other team.
No one wants the second dog...I don't blame them. I know, children in the world are starving. Into the garbage.
Apparently, one lightening strike delays game for 20 minutes. Whoops, here comes the second strike. Are those bats flying around? I do believe they are.
Rain starts. Not just rain, but wind. Bird checks the weather on his trusty cell phone. Looks like we are on the edge. No......wait, THEY ARE CALLING THE GAME.
OMG, what is a tornado size wind little wind and a monsoon a little rain? Come on, toughen up. People racing to cars...Bird to motorcycle. Hmmm.
People pray for him, wish him luck, tell Mippy to check insurance and we are on our way. We follow Bird while he fishtails his way home. He makes it...whew.
Fast forward. Game tonight...well, now it is last night. Game to be at 7:00. We arrive at 6:30. Kids warm up. No umpire. It's windy. Cold front has passed through. 7:30. No umpire. Mippy wants hot chocalate. I want a blanket. Kids, now running about, rolling on the field. Parents getting grumpy. 7:45, no umpire. Coach trying to contain kids. Not working.
8:00. No umpire. They decide to let someone ump.......but wait, sun is blinding batter. Have to wait till it drops behind trees. I use the covers for the chair over my arms to keep warm. Some selfish lady has a corduroy jacket AND a blanket.......DO YOU THINK SHE COULD SHARE........NOOOOOO.
Some kind man offers me a blanket from a senior citizens home. I grab it, thanking him profusely. FINALLY, the game begins. Monkeyboy on the mound. Holds the other team. Our boys are pumped. We are shivering.
We win...bottom line....we win. By a lot. Our guys did great.
I just want to go home. Take pictures, get trophies, get in the car. Monkeyboy and dad are in a different car and are stopping at MickeyD's.
MR, Bean, Mippy and I decide to get donuts. Krispy Kreme's sound good. We race towards the highway. OMG, they are closed! It is only 9:30 and they are closed!!!! Not to worry...let's try Dunkin Donuts. WHAT THE HECK??? They are closed. OK, we will stop at Giant Eagle. Wait, they have no donuts????? MR suggests cupcakes. No, I want donuts. Onto the next Giant Eagle. Surely they will have them. They do. Whoooohooo. We grab them all and head for the car. I grab one........AND IT IS STALE!!!! I throw it out the window and Mippy tells me I am a poor example for small children. MR is 15, Bean is 14. Bean said that Bird threw a hamburger out the window once. Mippy is still appalled. Who cares? Not I.
Did I mention that Monkeyboy's team came in first. What a night. I have to go to bed now. Phipps should be cooler tomorrow, J's hair should be good. It's a good night.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Getting up and going to the track for forty minutes listening to my ipod.

Watching Monkeyboy being called in as relief pitcher and getting the team out of trouble.

Balancing my drawer at Phipps.

Sharing a meal with friends.

Or just eating!

Watching Bean in Footloose and Dance and fun.

Sitting at a baseball game with nachos.

Watching my cat race through the house, playing with a paper bag or just sleeping at the foot of the bed.

Getting ready for the road trip.

A bottle glass of wine at the end of the day.

Reading my book in the garden on a summer afternoon.

Watching a good movie (Invictus, Chase, Juno, The Blind Side, The Wrestler).

Sunday dinner.

Seeing the older couple at Phipps that speak softly to each other in polish and are so devoted to each other, she taking care of him after he suffered a stroke. They come nearly every day and sit in the gardens and talk.

What are some things that make you feel happy?

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Nearly Perfect Day

OK, so I have been TRYING to get to the track everyday, but it is so very hard. But, I have been doing it. I love going when it is early, when the sprinklers are on. The sound of the water swooshing, (is that a word?) the droplets of water in the early morning sun, the quiet, the blue sky. It is a nice beginning to the day. The picture of Bean in the sprinklers is an older picture, but it is appropriate. I think it shows spirit, freedom, fun.
It was actually chilly this morning. 49 degrees. Made me run just a little faster. I'm not counting times around the track, I am running with my i-pod. I make up new playlists and run as long as the playlist, usually about 40 minutes. And let's be clear...I say run, but I mean jog....very slowly, in time to the music. And it is wonderful. I hope I can keep it up.
I meet the nicest people at Phipps. If you are ever in Pittsburgh, you should visit. Green, butterflies, flowers. Fridays are tequila nights with music. Wednesdays are Farmer's Market. I meet and greet people from all over the world. Last week was a German couple, and Sandy talked to them in German. It's fun to try to communicate with people who speak a different language. And it's fun to tell them about Pittsburgh and all the things we have for them to visit.
So, work was great today. Butterflies flying, people visiting and music.
After work I decided to attend the first all star baseball game with Monkeyboy. Have I mentioned that I love to watch little league baseball? By the way, that surprises me. But it is such fun.
Let's start with the introducing of the teams and the announcer mispronouncing the names of the players. I mean, come on.....get a life here. Then a man takes the field in a horrendous tie and microphone. And he gives a speech about freedom, the 4th of July, the flag and then states he is going to have us join him in a passionate version of The Star Spangled Banner. He begins. No one joins him. In fact, people begin to look around to see how others are responding. Wrong move. Mippy begins to stifle a smile. Bean nudges me in the ribs and I peek out of the corner of my eye to see her suppressing a smile. Oh, my gosh, is CS beginning to laugh? Is that singer beginning to dip and dance? Mippy is now struggling to not laugh out loud. Bean is convulsing with giggles. CS notices and her shoulders begin to shake. Of course, I remain the stoic one in the group. FINALLY it ends and...are you ready.....he comes over and says he is available to sing if we have an event. Mippy pulls it together, as does everyone. However, I must say, she is laughing so hard when he leaves that she is crying. And she doesn't stop. I think she had some "happy juice" on the way to the game, but Bean swears she hasn't.
The team (I shall refer to them as the DeH team) scored in the first inning. Monkeyboy was on the bench a stupid move by his coach when he is clearly a star player and his coach is a truly great coach, one that Monkeyboy has had in the past. Coach knows the game and is supportive and a great teacher. Their team scored, but clearly we had the best team. As the game progressed, Bean and I visited the concession stand. The hot sausage was great! So were the nachos, and you could get extra cheese for $.50. Of course, always wanting to support the team, I ordered more cheese.
Remember the last game where Monkeyboy's team scored ten runs in the last inning? Well, the score was 10-4 DeH in the beginning of the sixth inning. Let me just cut to the chase. Monkeyboy was on the bench. They scored three runs. Two men on base. Two outs. They pull the pitcher and Monkeyboy goes in as relief. Bird and I start pacing. Silence on our side of the field. Tying run at bat. Bird shouts some tips to Monkeyboy as he warms up and Monkeyboy does as Bird tells him to do. First pitch actually I had my eyes closed so I don't know what happened and I'll make this up, but the end result is true and I hear a roar from our side. Strike one. Second pitch. Strike two. AND HE DOES IT. Monkeyboy strikes him out in three pitches. Can you believe it? The crowd roars. What a save!!!!
Is there any doubt? Nearly a perfect day. I would say perfect, but there is always room for improvement, although I'm not sure what that would be.
Happy Fourth of July and have a safe and happy weekend.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Such a Game

The crowd was arriving for the game under the lights. Parking was at a premium. Mippy waited mumbling, grumbling, sweating smilingly for a parking place. Monkeyboy screaming suggesting that she hurry up so he could practice. Bean rolling her eyes asking Mippy to drive around. Me, humming at an increasing loud volume. sweating in my Phipps sweatshirt...(it was supposed to cool off). We waited for that stupid idiot mother to load her children into the car and back out of the space so we could pull in. I am sure it took her twenty minutes while we were sitting there waiting. Finally....wait.....there is a spot on the other side......should we try for it????(from Mippy) A resounding NO the rest of the car.
Monkeyboy bolted from the car, racing to the field.
Erin making a remark about my sweatshirt, wanting to know if they were forecasting snow and she had missed it (little did she know that it would get down to 75 degrees by the end of the game).
Chairs set up, snacks procured (had to force Bean to go to the concession stand with me).
Let the game begin.
Uh, oh....this doesn't look too good.
Look, here come Ginger and Skipper. They had no trouble parking.
Here comes Bird, on his Harley. He too has no problem parking. The crowd swells to near capacity (30 parents and fans and 10 people who left the swim meet and wanted a laugh.
The crowd quiets. The opposing team scores, scores, scores. We do not.
Monkeyboy pitching. A walk. Uh oh. Good pitches ensue. The inning is over.
The opposing team continues to score. We continue to not score.
Bird needs to get back to work. He waits till Monkeyboy gets up, then has to leave.
It is the sixth inning, the last inning of the game.
Monkeyboy's team gets on base.
The score....13-4....other team.
I turn to Ginger. Maybe, I say. Skipper is ready to leave. We encourage force by holding him down to remain.
Another player gets on base. A loud cheer goes up.
A steal to third and a runner gets in. Only 8 runs to tie are needed.
The crowd is on their feet. I'm pretty sure that Erin is shivering from the cold, but I say nothing. More hits, more runs. Monkeyboy is on third. One out. Score is 13-11. The ball is hit. Runner runs to first, Monkeyboy to home, first base to second, but gets tagged out because the ball hit him. Two outs. The coach argues. Monkeyboy back to third. Another hit, and another walk, more scores. Ginger and I go wild. Screaming, jumping, cheering. Score at the bottom of the sixth.....14-13......Monkeyboy's team.
Their team scored another run. Big deal. What a comeback for Monkeyboy's team. It ended in a tie. My throat was sore, but what a game.
As we left, I think I heard Erin say she was cold, but I could be mistaken.
A baseball game under the lights, a hot dog and soda.....could anything be better? I think not.
A post script: Bean did have her hair cut and donated to Locks of Love. Pictures are posted. Thanks, Bean...your new hair looks great!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Vacation Time

We made a trip to New York City this past weekend. It was a great trip. We women had one room, and the guys had a "man cave". Pleasant drive to the big apple. No problems. We rented a van and packed it up and on our way.
Sunny day, not much traffic, even going into the city. We have a thing here called ez pass. What a great invention. Whip right through those toll gates. We got it mainly for the Holland Tunnel, and it really got us through all the toll lines in great time. We arrived in the city through the tunnel. Mippy drove the final leg. We came out of the tunnel and the garmin said to go one way, but Mippy thought we might be going the right way. By the way, the garmin often gets confused around tall buildings. After a screaming, yelling, swearing fit minor meltdown, we were headed for the hotel. Had to go around thousands of blocks in the darn traffic the block several times because of the one way streets, but we made it to the parking garage which charges thousands of dollars because they can and began to unload the van.
We went into our separate rooms and unpacked before heading out to ToysRUs to ride the ferris wheel, which, of course is a tradition. Thank goodness, I didn't have to ride it.
The kids swam, we shopped, we ate, we went to Central Park to ride the buggy and to hang out. We saw Wicked and I saw Race. Wonderful productions. I went to see Race first with James Spader from Boston Legal. What a provocative wonderful production! And after the play, the four person cast came out to greet those who waited by the stage door. It wasn't as though I waited (OK, I did), but there was about twenty people there to greet them and the cast was very kind to meet with us and thank us for coming.
We headed to Central Park Saturday morning. I mentioned that surely, if I was to find red cowboy boots anywhere, it would be here. No longer did I say it then they appeared in a window of a shoe store that we were going past. I went in, tried them on and they fit! Needless to say, I bought them AND wore them to the theater that night. Aren't they great????
Did you ever have a time when you began to laugh and giggle about something very silly and then it got to the point where you couldn't stop? Then everything becomes hysterical. We left the theater after seeing Wicked. A wonderful production, by the way. Did I mention that? Bean does this wonderful impression of a horse. She paws the ground then gallops. It is hysterical. You would have to see it to appreciate it. If I can figure out how to do a movie and download it, I will. That started the giggling in the corridor of the hotel. We got into our room and began to find everything amusing. We were laughing so hard that we couldn't stop. At least we were in the hotel room and not in someplace where we were supposed to be serious.
All in all, it was a wonderful trip.
I have my boots, we all have memories and we all arrived home safe and sound.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

I Love Spring

Monkeyboy is playing baseball again. How I love to watch! It is kids, having fun, I hope and parents sitting freezing our butts off, grumbling, even swearing watching with joy as the children learn the finer points of team work. Huddled in blankets, hoods on our heads, hands in our pockets, cheering them on "just strike out, we don't care, just end the game. I believe it was 20 degrees with a wind chill factor of -50. And the game lasted almost three hours since there were so many walks. OK, I exaggerate. Not to blame the pitchers, the weather took its toll on their arms and fingers...they had to be numb with the cold. The next game was much warmer. The parents are fun, we all cheer for both teams, perhaps a little harder for our team, but when a good play is made by either team, a cheer emits from the crowd on both sides.
Bean is playing lacrosse. I'm sure I am spelling it wrong, but spellcheck doesn't pick it up, so this is how I am going to spell it. Bean is co-captain of the team. Actually, I think the there are three captains. There are four players on the team...KIDDING! First boy, girl party for Bean last night. There was quite a discussion about it at the ballgame. Should Bean's mom call to see who was chaperoning the party, should she get a list of names, should they follow Bean to the party and hide in the bushes peering through the windows. First dances, first dates...that anxiety, giddiness, fear. My first date was with a boy named Bobby. We went to the movies (in the day you could actually walk to the movies). His friend met us there and Bobby and friend talked about how the movie wasn't true to the time period. The movie was at the turn of the century and Bobby pointed out that they didn't have zippers in clothing then. Bobby and I left and walked to my house where we sat on the front porch, watching my father (who had been celebrating Saturday night) come up the street. He was walking a bit funny and when he reached the front steps, he kind of sat down and went to sleep on the steps. Bobby and I sat, me trying desperately to ignore the snoring. Finally, Bobby said "should you do something?" and I said "about what?" Bobby got up, walked around my father and left. We didn't have a second date. And I went in the house, leaving my father on the steps, sleeping away. My first date. Ahhh, memories are great, are they not?
The other picture I posted today is the sight I see every sunny, spring day at Phipps. We have benches outside the conservatory and these three or four men show up every day to meet and talk. They sit on the bench for two hours, looking over Flagstaff Hill, talking. Every day. I often wonder what they are talking about. The weather? The status of the Pirates? who seem to be even worse this year, losing one game 20-0 The playoff games for the Pens? The young ladies sunbathing on Flagstaff Hill? It's nice to see them. Every day that the sun is out. Doesn't matter how cold, they sit and talk for two hours.
The butterflies are out at Phipps. Well, some of them are out. An inordinate number of them seem to be dying very quickly. And one got into the fern room which necessitated me racing about with the butterfly net, much to the amusement of the children in the room. I didn't catch it, but Ray did. He is the champion butterfly catcher and butterfly expert.
Big day in the 'burgh today...marathon, Pitt graduation, Pens playoff, religious walk. Pens are playing the Montreal Canadians. So, my afternoon will be in front of the television cheering on the Pens. GO PENS. Have a lovely Sunday!

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I have problems with my lower back sometimes which is a pain in my butt! so I have to do stretching exercises every morning. So, I am lying on my back, counting the bugs on the floor and looking at the dust on the paddle fan, and I happen to glance out the window. Lo and behold, the oak trees dirty, leaf dropping things that they are are in full green. Leaves are green and beautiful! I am happy.

Now, don't tell anyone, but when I am at the podium at Phipps, I do crossword puzzles and lately have begun to color with markers. I know, but hey, I am bored. And I derive pleasure out of these designs that I draw. Did you color with chalk when you were a child? We did. Colored on the street, on the driveway, on anything. I loved it. So, today, I went out and bought a box of colored chalk. I have been walking in the park on the way to work. I am going to take the box of chalk, put it in plastic and hang it on the fence at the park and invite people to draw with it. Have a contest, if you will. Bean and Monkeyboy decorate their walk, their deck, their street with chalk, so why can't everyone???? The world would be a better place with art on the street. On the sidewalks. On their drives. And if someone doesn't like it...hey, the rain makes it go away.
And what about kites? Did you ever have a favorite kite? I love kites. I love the different shapes and colors. On the road trip I plan to buy kites for the kids and watch them fly it over the ocean.
It's spring, what can I say? I love it. A time of renewal, of fun and play. I have one more week in this floral design and I have posted my newest one. Monkeyboy had a game that was cancelled and Bean had a game that their team won. And go PENS! Tied up the series.
Have a wonderful weekend! IT'S SPRING!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter in the Burgh

I am pet sitting at Mippy's. There is a church near their house and I am sitting and watching people get out of their cars and head for the church.
There was a time when it was a big deal to do Easter shopping for a new spring outfit. New dresses, new shoes and anticipation of heading off to church with the family, even if it was only one of two times you went to church. A young woman is getting out of her car now with her husband/partner/boyfriend. Those must be new jeans she is wearing. And the woman walking up the street in capri pants...they must be new also, along with the t-shirt.
There are some who still buy a new "spring/Easter" outfit. A little girl, about two years old, came into Phipps in a dress, new shoes and a big flower in her hair. Her parents took her into the Palm Court and proceeded to take her picture. People were standing there watching because this little child was so charming. We've had so many people come to Phipps because that is their Easter tradition from when they were small. I went there as a child...never liked it much, as I am sure many of the children who come there now don't like it much. I think one must be older to appreciate the calmness and beauty of the Conservatory. There is one man who brings his son every morning. His son is about three years old,and they spend an hour there every day, come rain, snow or sun.
It has been ridiculously warm here...85 degrees. The magnolia tree is beginning to open and I fear it will open and it will be lost to a frost just as quickly. Daffodils are out...haven't seen any tulips opening up as yet.
Mippy and family are visiting Bird's family. Flurry, the cat, has finally come over to say 'hello' to me and Oscar has finally begun to eat. They both seem to miss the hustle and bustle of a family in the house. Razor, the fish, has not had much to say to me...just floats around. The life of a fish must be very boring.
Oscar and I have been having a morning walk at the cemetery. This would be a reason for getting a dog. It is so beautiful at sunrise walking in the quiet. Wait...maybe I don't need a dog to do that! A man was walking with a folding chair and sat down on the hill overlooking the cemetery, I guess for some early morning meditation.
Oscar is a very strong dog and weighs, I would guess, about 75-80 pounds....maybe more. I cringe when I see another dog approaching. I allow Oscar to run free until I see another dog...Oscar is not the most socialized animal. But he fools people because he is a golden and he wags his tail. When I see another dog or person, I call him and he comes to me. I put him back on the leash and we walk towards the other dog...Oscar wagging his tail, panting. The other dog doing the same. A woman smiles and prepares to greet me and then....Oscar snarls, bares his teeth, barks, lunges and yanks me hard enough to pull my arm out of the socket. A shocked look appears on the woman's face as she speeds up to get past us. Me, holding Oscar for dear life, she casting a sidelong glance as she guards her dog. Once past, Oscar again wags his tail, prances and sniffs every blade of grass along the way. Overall, he is a great dog, but he does tend to hog the bed. And I can't push him out of the way...he is just too big! We sit together in the living room, me reading, he on his chair snoozing. I begin to feel tired, so I close my book. It is the signal. I try my best to beat him up the stairs so I can claim a spot, but alas, he shoves past me and leaps on the bed. He sleeps across the middle of the bed, leaving me a mere six inches on the edge. I have been know to race to Bean's bed, and sometimes I beat him to that one.
I hope all of you are enjoying the wonderful weather and Easter Sunday. Dinner today will be at Ginger's house...she is having ham, but is also having kielbassi...thank goodness!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

It Has, It Really Has Sprung

What a wonderful weekend! Sunny, warm..just beautiful. Phipps was jammed with people wanting to see the flower show, kids were out blading and scootering (is that a word?). I'm not sure which is my favorite time of the year...spring or fall. Right now, it is spring.
Health care passed on Sunday. An historic event, whether you are for it or against it. It seems those that are against it have become violent in their anger and frustration. People who have considerable influence are inciting people with no regards to the safety of others. Let's grow up, folks, is this the kind of message you want to give children? Throwing bricks, namecalling, targets on maps?
Enough of that! I took Ava to the vets to have her nails clipped and to talk to the doctor about heaving and upchucking digestive problems. I was watching people in the office waiting room. There was an elderly gentlman there with a collie mix dog. He was gently petting the dog and talking softly to him as they waited. So gentle. There was a 8 month old mixed lab who was full of energy, howling, barking, lunging. It was all his owners could do to contain him. Two yorkies to get annual shots. They asked the owner for her email address and she didn't know what that was. Then there was a man with a yellow lab, again, just talking to him/her and petting to try to calm the dog down. When the man with the collie mix left, I noticed the hind leg of the dog bandaged and the dog limping. I felt badly since the man seemed somewhat distraught. We become so attached to our pets even when they puke all over the house and it's sad to see them ill or in pain.
While I was talking to the vet about Ava (he suggested a different type of food for her, since she seems healthy and hasn't lost any weight) a tech came in and said something about the mix collie. The vet looked delighted and suggested that it was probably the reason why he was limping and he wanted to call the owner to relieve his anxiety. I mentioned that the man seemed very attached to the dog and the vet said that the dog was 14 years old and that he had been seeing the man and the dog for all of that time. He explained that the man's wife had died some years ago and the dog was all that he had left since the man's children all lived out of town.
Jackie, at Phipps, recently lost her dog and just got a new puppy, Madigan. Looks to be a beagle mix and what a cute puppy! Jackie knows exactly what to do with Madigan and is doing things I never would have thought of when I had a dog. She talks about socializing the dog to other dogs and to people. She has talked about taking the dog for obedience training, not because she can't do it herself, but because she wants the dog to learn to filter out noise while she gives a command. I am so impressed! She has stories to tell me every day about Madigan, and I love to hear them. Puppies are a lot of work, but they are also a lot of fun.
By the way, Ava loves her new cat food.
I got tulip bulbs from Phipps. They can't sell them because they are forced for the flower show, so they may not bloom again...but I'll try. At the very least, it will be food for the deer. I haven't seen the deer in my yard. I believe Ginger has seen them in her neighborhood. I walked around the yard yesterday to see if there was winter damange from the snow, and it appears as though most of the plants survived. The magnolia tree has large buds on it, which will probably burst open within the next several weeks.
Bird, Mippy and kids are headed south to visit family for Easter. I get to care for Oscar and Flurry, which I always enjoy. Kind of lets me have a dog for a few days.
Off to Phipps, which is amazingly beautiful and busy. Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I Believe Spring Has Sprung

At least at Phipps. The spring flower show is spectacular. And I can see grass again in my yard. The buds on the Magnolia tree are getting bigger. Yes, another winter seems to have disappeared.
My floral design class is going well. I never knew there was so much to putting together a bunch of flowers. The people are fun and the instructor is great. It amazes me how she can take one flower, move it, and create a whole new look to the design.
My friend who was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer had a joint birthday party with her sister on Sunday. It was delightful. LM is doing well, looks great, has a positive outlook and can actually go back to work full time and go to the mall, which I know Sassy would appreciate. The party was so fun. A very nice group of people, from old co-workers to new co-workers. It is always fun to see people I used to work with and to catch up on gossip. The party was catered and the food...well, I gained two pounds, need I say more?
Another friend lost her brother yesterday, in a tragic death. Senseless.
On a lighter note, I don't like waking up in the dark. And I don't understand why we have to change the clocks. Oh, I know, it has to do with farming, kids walking to the bus, WHATEVER. Just keep it the same year round. I don't care which they do, daylight savings or the other, but just keep it the same. It is such a chore to change all the darn clocks...and I won't even go into changing the VCR.
For those of you who have pets, is there anything more annoying than having to get up in the middle of the night to tend to the needs of those pets? Ava, the cat, never gets sick during the day. It is usually at 4 AM in the morning when she begins the process of ridding her body of hair balls. It goes on for.......ummmm........about an hour. It echos through the house. And then she goes to her food and begins to voraciously chow down, which has me on the edge of the bed wondering if she is again going to heave for an hour. So, I end up with a very poor night's sleep. And a cat that stares at me as though to say "WHAT?" And yes, she is worth it...unless it is 4 AM.
I have been working out and have found that my lower body strength is very good, but my upper body strength is awful. I have also found that when I am on the treadmill trudging along I tend to see what the person next to me is doing, then I try to do them one better. I have this awful competitive streak that I can't seem to control. By the time I leave the gym, I am trying not to limp to the car since the wench woman next to me is watching me out the window that faces the parking lot.
Well, off to bed for me...I have to go to the gym early tomorrow. Have a Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thoughts on a Winter Night

Sprout wanted me to blog, so here I am, Sprout. This one's for you.
So, how many of you have ever had cold sores/fever blisters....whatever you want to call them. Well, I felt one coming on and immediately began treatment of it, since they tend to spread, get ugly and hurt my entire face. But, you see, when they begin, you really can't tell where they are. Two weeks ago I had one between my nose and my upper lip....very attractive.
This one appeared to be coming out on my lip. I woke up the next morning hoping that I had treated it in a timely enough fashion so that it would be unnoticeable. Alas, there it was......LARGER THAN LIFE. This humongous thing on my lower lip distorting my whole face.
Since I had to go to work, the dilemma becomes whether to put a bandage all over my lower face, try to cover it with many of the colors of lipstick (knowing that the lipstick would immediately have to be thrown away), or go au natural. I chose the latter.
Working in customer service with a distended lip with a huge blister on it can be disconcerting to customers. They don't want to appear obvious, but they are. The glance, then look again with horror in their eyes, then look away and don't make eye contact. They move on quickly, whispering among themselves, casting sidelong glances as the walk away.
For those that know me, I make up lies about what it is....the cat bit me, I was mugged coming from the parking lot, I fell on the ice and got stabbed by a fallen icicle. I am good at making up lies, as anyone who knows me can tell you.
I have been going to the gym also. Pretty, young girls with their perfect bodies, perfect tans and very white teeth stare in horror. I make some comment about this is what happens when you turn a certain age and go to tanning booths. They immediately look at their skin to see just how much time they should be spending in a tanning booth, then look at my lip, shaking their heads in fear and wonder.
My lip is better today, hardly noticeable, thank goodness. My face isn't as sore, so perhaps there will just be the one and they will go away.
Road trip plans are under way. We picked out the room at the cottage without too much fighting. Plane reservations have been made....I know, it's a ROAD trip, but this one also includes a SKY trip.
Monkeyboy had a hockey game last weekend and scored the only goal. Great job, Monkeyboy.
The weather has been good for sledding (DUH). Sprout had her first sled riding experience and seems to have enjoyed it. Bird and kids built an incredible track which was ruined by the warmer weather and a water leak that flooded their drive.
Winter is a wonderful thing, and I'm sure in July and August we will remember this winter differently. Thinking about those of you who might be getting the nor'easter going up the coast right now. Be safe, and stay warm. Better days are coming.....I hope!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I debated posting, but decided to talk about the snow anyway since I couldn't think of anything else about which to post.
In keeping with my goal of things to be grateful for, I have wine, electricity and food. We have had 22 1/2" of snow so far and we are getting more. Again, things to be grateful for....the shoveling is done for the moment.
I have realized that there are some things of which I have no control. Weather is one of those. Once I accept this, I can sit back and wait for spring. A large glass of wine helps in this endeavor.
There is something about weather that brings people together. Several years ago power in our neighborhood was off in the summer for two days. People emptied their freezers and had a street cookout. Steaks, chops, hamburgers, hot dogs...all cooked and shared. I wasn't invited. But I heard it was nice.
I have an annoyingly chatty friendly neighbor that lives across the street. I have to time my shovel time so that it does not coincide with her shovel time. She chats with the mailman daily, with the UPS man daily, with anyone walking up or down the street...and if she can catch someone trying to leave in their car, she has been known to flag them down. Frankly, I don't want to hear her constant whining tidbits of gossip and complaining. But then it takes all kinds of people to make a neighborhood.
We tend to look out for one another here. We notice if someone hasn't been home for several days without notice and we tend to share phone numbers, keypad numbers for the garage, wine and even food when necessary. I like my neighborhood and the thought of packing up and moving south puts me in a tailspin!
Spring will arrive. The flowers will pop through the earth, the hostas will again be green and the magnolia will blossom in all its splendor.
Ahhh, the winter of 2010. It will be one that will not easily be forgotten.
Stay warm and be safe.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


I have a hobby an obsession. I see something, it catches my fancy, I buy it. Nail polish is just one of those things. I indulge in a manicure every two weeks. Sherry, my manicurist, suggests pushes a different color of polish each time to "try" something different. Generally, I like her choices and end up buying them just in case the polish chips over the next two weeks. Hence, the line of polish in my bathroom. And if you think that is all of it, you are oh, so wrong. Those are just the current colors.
I do the same with shampoo. When I was at a hotel this summer, I tried one of the sample shampoos. It was wonderful! Smelled great, did a wonderful job of cleaning my hair without drying it. AND, it was sold at Bath and Body Works, or some such store. I raced to the store and bought the shampoo and conditioner. It only came in the large economy size. That was in August. I still have over half a bottle of each. I also have two bottles I bought from Donald, my hair stylist. Oh, and don't forget the one I got on sale at the supermarket. And of course, they all come with the must have conditioner. I have it all.
Soap. Let's talk about soap. Crabtree and Evelyn. Dove (I love their ads for young women, it's the only reason I buy it). And they have all those different scents.
Hand Cream. Nivea, Scentsations, Avon, you name it, I have it.
AND....can we talk lipstick? Oh, it is such a problem. I look and look and look. I buy. I take it home. I put it on. It looks horrendous. Once I found one that I really liked....Vrie Rose. They quit making it. I keep looking.
And what does one do with all of the tubes of lipstick that one tries once, the furiously scrubs off their face. Seems like a waste to throw it away. If you can think of something, let me know...nail polish, shampoo, lotion, lipstick.
The snow has ceased (fingers crossed) and now it is just cold. Winter. The gift shop has spring things out and the Orchid show has begun. Can spring be far behind?
Happy weekend.

Friday, January 15, 2010


The snow is beautiful really getting on my last nerve. When I woke up Monday morning, which was supposed to be snow free, there was snow coming down and snow on the street. But, it was supposed to warm up as the week went on and up to forty degrees by weeks end. And it did, thank goodness.
Our city, in all of it's infinite wisdom stupidity, decided to close down two of the best sledding spots in the city...Frick Park and Flagstaff Hill. They said it was for safety reasons. They lie.
Here we go....
When I was a child.....
They closed the street for sledding.
I never wore helmets for biking.
Car seats???? I don't think so!
No mandatory seat belts that warn screech an annoying beep for the first three miles.
And I am tired of shoveling snow.
While we are at it (well, I am at it, I don't know about you) let's talk about the garbage men.
Are they trained to be annoying? Because they are. I understand that it is not a quiet job. But do they have to back up the street with the truck beeping all the way? Do they have a contest to see who can throw the can the furthest? All this at 5:00 AM. Then they leave (laughing all the way) as the recycle truck begins their rounds...much the same.
And let's talk about the plow trucks that block the drive as soon as it is cleared.
And how about the jerk up the street that throws all of his snow on the street after the plow has been down.
I am reading a great author and he has a series of books, all mysteries. I am reading non-stop, which is why I haven't been blogging. I know, I am getting all kinds of gentle not so gentle hints from folks.
Remember when I told you I was going to begin all kinds of projects now that I can't sit in my yard to read.
What do you mean, you don't remember.
I'm sure I told you.
Do I have to repeat everything I say.
Oh, wait, maybe I didn't tell you. Hmmm. Well, anyway, I have not begun one project. Well, there was putting one group of pictures on a CD. There was the matting of one picture. Wait, I never actually matted it, I just cut the mat. Hey, it's a beginning.
My blog seems to have a different tone tonight.
I think a glass of wine is in order, and shame bravo to the kids who ignored the signs on Flagstaff hill and went sled riding yesterday.