Admiring

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Hullo gentle reader. Happy day after the final episode of Mad Men. Which we have not watched because we do not have cable (never have) and are impatiently awaiting its arrival to the Playstation Network, so we can get this business over with, and I can sob or jump up and down in anger, very likely both (UPDATE: Both sobbing and jumping, mostly sobbing. Thank you, Mad Men). I have been rewatching the entire series over the past few weeks, which has been heartening, depressing, and inspiring. That show!

To the photos. We painted! The foyer (with gorgeous landscape by my dear friend Jamee Linton), living room, and dining room are done, done, done. Warm and bright spaces make for happy occupants, truly. It is rather unfortunate that much more remains. You can’t have everything, at least not all at once. I should mention that the light fixtures are also new (Restoration Hardware if you’re on the hunt), installed by the uber-handy hubster! Lucky me, lucky us.

Dianthus, sweet and spicy and one of my very favorite scents!

Green! Our pint sized plot is really starting to come into its own. It’s been interesting to see what comes up and, of course, add my own touches, like peonies (of course!), lavender, culinary herbs, and wild flowers. Hoping the yard is teeming with bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies by summer’s end. I am also researching a few colorific (is this a word?) shrubs and the best evergreens for small spaces, as that wall-o-brown fence is much too much for the eyes to bear, especially in winter. Must have green!

On that note, how lovely is the giant sycamore just beyond our fence?! It is rather slow to leaf out, but it sure does it in style! The street scene is just down the block, though it could be any of our neigbhoring hills. All of Pittsburgh is cradled in green. What a marvelous treat after the browns of winter.

Also exciting, tremendously so, are the birds. It is a dream to see and hear such a wild chorus of song. At this very moment: Cardinals, Song Sparrows, Sparrows, Carolina Wrens, Tufted Titmice, Chickadees, and Finches! These same birds and more visit our feeder, too, much to my delight. We’ve also seen three varieties of woodpecker, more Starlings than we can shake a stick at (such savage beasts and sweet singers!), Mourning doves, Juncos, White Breasted Nuthatches, Robins, a Red-Tailed and a Red Shouldered Hawk (here for birds, not seeds), and, while they haven’t visited the feeder, we have delighted in the aerobatics of swallows and herons just above the trees. Squee!

Look! It’s like we’re actually talking.

Have a great day!

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.

Friendship Way, 1998

Cork Marcheschi, Neon Sculptor

Zaharakos, largely unchanged since 1900, with stunning woodwork and marble, is the coolest ice cream parlor I have ever visited. Not only do they have delicious treats, a cherry float and hot fudge sundae for us, but they are also a museum dedicated to the mostly lost art of ice cream parlors. Utterly unique and wonderful with super friendly staff, this place is fun for the entire family.

Bartholomew County Courthouse, 1874

Isaac Hodgson, Architect

The Commons pictured in the foreground, 2011

Koetter Kim & Associates, Architects

Bartholomew County Memorial for Veterans, 1997

Thompson and Rose, Architects

Bring a tissue, friends. The monument has excerpts and entire letters written by fallen personnel carved into the stone.

Republic Newspaper, 1971

Myron Goldsmith, Architect

Columbus City Hall, 1981

Edward Charles Bassett, Architect

Bartholomew County Jail, 1990

Don M. Hisaka, Architect

Miller House, 1957

Eero Saarinen, Architect

Dan Kiley, Landscape Architect

Here we are. This is the house that gleefully sent me down the Columbus, Indiana architecture rabbit hole. Beautiful. The only way to see it is to take a tour, and, rather unfortunately, they do not allow any photographs of the interior, so if you would like a glimpse and don’t have time for a journey to Columbus, watch this short video. If you’re still intrigued and would like a more comprehensive look at the house, J. Irwin Miller, and the history of Columbus in regards to its marvelous buildings, here’s another video. As for the house, believe me when I say that it is an awe to behold and well worth the price of admission.

St. Bartholomew Catholic Church, 2002

William Browne, Jr. and Steven R. Ristling, Architects

North Christian Church, 1964

Eero Saarinen

Parkside Elementary School, 1962

Norman Fletcher, Architect

First Baptist Church, 1965

Harry Weese, Architect

After a long day of walking and photographing, and walking and photographing some more, our reward was a beyond delicious meal at the Henry Social Club. Everything was superb. We chatted it up with our neighbors; they shared their bread with us; and we discovered how small the world is when we realized we’d lived near each other decades apart.

Next up, Cincinnati!

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I don’t remember when I fell in love with buildings, the first time I recognized them as objects of beauty and more than places of shelter. However, had I the great privilege of growing up in Columbus, Indiana, I could very likely say, always, for this humble city of 44,000 inhabitants is rather special, architecturally.  For that, I can thank J. Irwin Miller, former president (now deceased) of Cummins Engine. At the ripe old age of twenty-four, he returned to his home town to run the family business. Educated, not in business nor engineering but philosophy, politics, and economics, he had a love for the arts.

It turns out to be a marvelous combination, as he was able to turn the company into a profitable organization and begin hiring some of the best young architects around to design every manner of exquisite building for the town, making it, according to the American Institute of Architects, the sixth most architecturally significant city in America.

I have been wanting to visit for years! So, of course it would be a destination on our first Pittsburgh based road trip. Absolutely. I am thrilled to report that it didn’t disappoint, not in the slightest. If anything, it was more than I could have hoped for. Let me show you…

Red Brick – Cummins Cerealine Building, 1867 now part of

Cummins World Headquarters, 1984

Kevin Roche, Architect

Jack Curtis, Landscape Architect

Our digs at the Hotel Indigo. Napping on the chair is the super sweet and adorable resident pup, Miles. He’s lived at the hotel since he was eight weeks old. Wielding a wacky pillow is the super fun and game for anything hubster.

First Christian Church, 1942

Eliel Saarinen, Architect

Cleo Rogers Memorial Library, 1969

I.M. Pei, Architect

Large Arch Sculpture, 1971

Henry Moore

Original Irwin Home, 1864

St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, 1988

Gunnar Birkerts, Architect

Central Middle School, 2007

Ralph Johnson, Architect

A T & T  Switching Station, 1978

Paul Kennon, Architect

Fire Station No. 1, 1941

Leighton Bowers, Architect

Robert N. Stewart Bridge, 1999

J. Muller International

Chaos I, 1974

Jean Tinguely, Sculptor

Hoping you are as dazzled as I was. More on Friday!

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Our bedroom looks east, and when there is sunshine, either blessedly clear or like the photo, striving to burn a frothy layer of clouds, it fills our eyes upon waking. We are enjoying having a very pared down space, with precious little art (my favorite Goodwill find of the sea!), a few trinkets, and all new furniture from Room & Board. It’s called Calvin and was made in Oregon, of all places. The ties that bind. The wall color is a pale and icy blue, and while we are most definitely in need of a new layer of paint, the shade will remain the same.

The heavens had a riotous pillow fight and the feathers fell as snow. We bundled and braved below zero wind chill to walk to the library and market in the bright white of it, dropping off movies that were too terrible to mention, buying an onion, a jar of pickles, and a 9-volt battery. It is a bummer to be awakened by a chirping fire alarm. It really is.

The onion was for green chile (recipe here – it’s been a while, Paris in the sweet hereafter, me a Pittsburgher, and the Powell Food 4 Less long gone!). This was definitely one of the best batches EVER. I made pinto beans and margaritas, too. The hubster made guacamole. Everything was marvelous and gave our cheeks a rosy-pink glow.

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