Articles by Colleen

You are currently browsing Colleen’s articles.


Saturday evening, we strolled a favorite walking route in reverse and were handsomely rewarded. The pinnacle of summer splendor, a cool breeze and everything hushed, as if the sunset tamped the sound so we might hear the wondrous whoosh of pink and orange and gold.

It is August! Summer is waning already! We have done much – hiked and wandered, completed scads of home improvements (new kitchen light fixtures, cement repair, caulking, dry rot repair, new bark mulch, painted and painted some more). There is still much to do. There is more painting, lots, ugh and drat. There will be travel to a forest (the Allegheny), a bridge (the Kinzua), and a waterfall (Niagara!), and visits to museums (the Carnegie and Mattress Factory). Guests are coming! Beth and Peter and Hazel and Martha and Alan. The room is ready. The view is splendid. There is boxed air conditioning, tested and ready.

Which reminds me, we are surviving humidity rather splendidly, sweating like the dickens more often than we’d like but only retreating to the cool comfort of the air conditioned TV room a couple of times. Tough and stubborn buggers, I like to think, though our ceiling fans whir near constantly, even while sleeping. Moving air is a marvelous thing.

The butterflies (this one a black Swallowtail), taking a line from the Beastie Boys, “Sure Shot”. They can’t and they won’t and they don’t stop!

come back

she asked

“you are in love; what does love look like”

to which i replied

“like everything i’ve ever lost come back to me.”

nayyira waheed



some moments are nice,

some are

some are even worth

Charles Bukowski


Tig Notaro is a comedian that you likely don’t know by name, at least until recently. I know I didn’t. She made me laugh on Amy Schumer, and in the movie In a World (another good one, actually!), but I didn’t know who she was or that she did stand-up. Dang, was I missing out. Tig is funny! A slow burn kind of comedian. Patient with a joke. As it turns out, she’s quite a fighter, too. The documentary follows her life over a series of kick-her-while-she’s-down scenarios, each more difficult than the last. She handles each in the same manner as her comedy, slowly, wittily, with grace and, of course, good humor. Yay Tig!

Hector & the Search for Happiness – Hector is a psychiatrist at the end of his tether. Uncertain about his relationship and fed up with his patients, he embarks on a trip around the world to discover the source of happiness and maybe find a bit of his own. Funny, sad, and sometimes quite terrifying, with a happy ending, of course.

All the Wilderness – Filmed in Portland! Gee-golly, watching this kind of made me miss my old home, remembering with misty-eyed fondness my own time in the City of Roses. The story is pretty great, too. James witnesses his father’s suicide (off THE bridge, Portlanders) and copes in the best way he can. Obsessing over death, alienating friends and family, finding love, baffling his therapist (Danny DeVito!), it’s a struggle to make it day by day. I suppose that is life for most of us.

Not Waving But Drowning – Two best friends plan a move to New York City from their small Florida town post high school, but, for various reasons, only one of them makes it. The film documents their struggles and triumphs, with each other, new relationships, and life, in general. It’s a beauty.

A fascinating look at a wild and complicated Pittsburgh Pirate. Doc Ellis pitched a no-hitter while high on LSD, but that was really just the tip of the iceberg. Outspoken (and rightly so) on race and equality in the game of baseball in a time when it was highly frowned upon, he never walked away from controversy or failed to stand up for his team mates. His personal life was a bit of a wreck. He was a drug addict, heavy drinker, and known for abusing the women in his life. He makes good, however, in the best possible way.

The Code – A great political thriller set in Australia, with a small time journalist and his brother at the center of a murder investigation and major government cover-up. Very well done!


I don’t know what strange magic lurks in Pittsburgh’s grassy underbelly to foment such a marvelous collection of winged creatures, but I am ever so glad. A few fireflies remain, their little flashes the tiniest of paparazzi. A chorus of locusts, or maybe cicadas?, are singing their wild song, the bees are busy, and oh, the butterflies! So very many, everywhere. The first three are flitting about our yard, and that last one, orange and gorgeous, I spied in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Huzzah!

« Older entries