April 2015

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There are many days when all the awful things that happen make you sick at heart, when the path before you is so steep you can’t bear to look. Not even love can rescue a person from that. Still, enveloped in the twilight coming from the west, there she was, watering the plants with her slender, graceful hands, in the midst of a light so sweet it seemed to form a rainbow in the transparent water she poured.

Banana Yoshimoto




roasted carrots & peppers with orange, hazelnuts, & feta

smoky pinto beans, guacamole, and flash fried tomatoes with spicy cashew cheeze

farro and wild mushroom risotto with roasted asparagus

This afternoon, the hubster and I, cutting board shared between us, made lunch. Salad rolls with carrot, radish, red bell pepper, cucumber, a touch of cilantro, butter lettuce. I made peanut sauce while he sliced and diced, working happily, elbow to elbow. Alec Baldwin and Sarah Jessica Parker chatted away on his fabulous radio show, Here’s the Thing. We commented on it, our collective and separate day, the news of the world. It was one of those times when an initially seemingly everyday moment is recognized as its truly bigger, greater, and more wonderful piece of the whole. The essence of what truly matters. Being together, enjoying a shared task in the here and now, and I told him so.

I am both happy and privileged to have the hubster working from home since moving to Pittsburgh. Did I tell you this? The sum total of his commute is a walk from the bedroom to the office, or, on longer days, from the kitchen on the main floor. Sometimes I worry that this proximity further cocoons us, that we are too much of each other. And then I establish a perimeter, take off to a Meet-Up, walk to the library or the dangerously delicious cookie shop, write or read or draw, call my parents or Grandpa, all before recounting my exploits when we snuggle, as we always do, before drifting off to sleep.

It is sappy, true, true, true, but sappy trumps mean any day of the week. The truth is I am to the moon and back glad for his presence in my life, our shared lunch breaks and the meals we create. They are acts of love and appreciation, every last one.

Happy Monday, dear reader! Welcome to the Allegheny Observatory, part of the University of Pittsburgh, and easily seen from our guest room window. As such, we had been itching to walk there practically since moving in. It’s about an hour each way, so it’s a nice way to build up an appetite before dinner and better acquaint ourselves with the neighborhood. It’s situated in Riverview Park, though the moniker makes absolutely no sense, as we saw not one glimpse of water, save at the drinking fountain. Anyhoo, we’re hoping to take one of their free tours this summer!

We decided that the couple on the lawn is future Colleen and Greg (as they had more gery hair and wrinkles than we do). They had four kites, three of which they had going at once, before she started with the bubbles. They kissed and laughed and were quite ebullient in their happiness. The best way to be, I think!

Sunset on a recent drive home…

this was part of a sound machine!

artist unknown

Dream City Art in Wilkinsburg a couple weekends ago, with different artists studios and events open to the public. Wilkinsburg, much like areas of Pittsburgh, is a place of contrasts, with newly restored homes and businesses next door to crumbling buildings and massive piles of illegally dumped garbage. Devastated by the loss of the steel industry some thirty years ago, it is making what seems to be even slower progress than Pittsburgh to re-establish itself. There is much work to be done and ambitious people working admirably to make it happen. My hat is off to them!

We went with our friends Ron & Janet (hi!), and enjoyed taking in the work of artists keen on being part and parcel of Wilkinsburg’s renaissance. Terry Boyd makes fun to watch art with his bow and arrow(!).  James Shipman makes fantastic scupltures on Rebecca avenue (the hanging basket is his), while Dee Briggs creates her work in an old fire station. A fun afternoon of discovery!


Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another.



Flying High

Yesterday was 4/20. THE day for marijuana, for reasons I just learned. A Facebook friend in Colorado was lamenting people openly celebrating by illegally smoking in public and hoping 4/21 would suddenly become random drug test day. I could not disagree more and not because I am any type of pot head. Yes, I smoked AND inhaled. It was nothing to write home about, save that one time when I got so high that I hallucinated, and, much to my concern and dismay, awoke to find my brain still buzzing some sixteen hours later. There are people who envy this, but for me, it felt more like a burden. I was not myself, and I kind of like who I am. I am silly and crazy and goofy and fun. I do alright without outside help. And before you think to mention my great love for whiskey, being intoxicated by it isn’t my desire. The hubster laughs at me when I ask not for a drink, but to share a glass, just so I can savor a drop on my tongue and, best of all, smell it in between his sips, because that heady woody sweetness is truly divine.

As for our disagreement, I don’t believe smoking marijuana in public is any different than smoking cigarettes or consuming alcohol. All are destructive to the body in one fashion or another. All can be pretty vile. All can lead to people behaving badly.

So why not in public? Who are we protecting? Children? That doesn’t really fly. Kids can see people smoking cigarettes on just about every street corner in America, and especially in Pittsburgh. Yowza, this city has not gotten the Surgeon General’s memo. I am constantly baffled by the sheer number of smokers here. So what’s the difference if the smoke is from weed rather than tobacco? Neither is great for the lungs or air quality. And much to my surprise, neither can really give the passer-by a contact high.

Children can see people drinking just about anywhere, too. Sidewalk cafés, restaurants, concerts, sporting events, in their own homes. All of it is perfectly legal. So why the stigma? Growing up, I saw legal drinking and drunkenness on a scale that frightened me. Adults smashing beer bottles and brawling. Adults crawling because they were too drunk to stand on their own two feet. Adults vomiting on the neighbor’s lawn after a wild night of partying. And the absolute worst, adults driving children in their protection, wild, fast, and furious, hoping not to get stopped by the cops, while I watched in terror as the center line drifted to the left and the right.

But marijuana, it’s real trouble and should be kept hidden from the public eye. Sure. Tell yourself whatever you like.

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