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We’ve got quite the bounty of flowers in the garden now, roses, lilies, hostas, St. John’s Wort, marigolds, Russian sage, and more. The top two are echinacea that I planted in the spring. I had never seen white before, so there was a bit of suspense about how they would actually look. I am pleased as punch with my choice. As for the blue, I can only guess that it is somehow related to spider wort (tradescantia) based on the look of the flowers and foliage. The blossoms are about the size of the tip of my thumb, so you can imagine how tiny that bee is! I also saw a large and fantastic yellow butterfly on the lilies yesterday, but, as is often the case with butterflies, it’s presence was fleeting, floating up and over the fence right after I caught a glimpse.

We got the TV room painted! It was a rather icky shade of beige before, and though it wasn’t terribly dark, it sure did make the room feel it. So we are happy and keep lingering at the threshold, pleased with our work and the color choice.

Look at that ceiling fan whirl! Never much for them, we are Pennsylvania converts, the humid air just heavy enough to make one feel the heat when the fan isn’t going. Thankfully, they are all over the house, so we haven’t had much use for a boxed air conditioner. YET.

Must dash – I’m off to hear Bach at an outdoor concert. Have a wonderful Sunday!

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!

Marvelous light of spring and new wingback chairs, I love their acid green, tall backed comfort, perfect for reading and nodding off. There’s a new lamp on the way, a replacement for the one on the right, which will be quite at home in the T.V. room. Then, and only then, will it be ready for your eyes. The dining room fixture is new and  already well loved. The table, our first piece of grown-up newlywed furniture, and thusly clocking in at more than twenty years old, was a desk for ages but is a table once again. Shuffle-shuffle-shuffle. Let’s make the most of what we have, shall we? One fine breezy day, we will open the windows and paint the walls that perfect shade of white.


Spring is on the verge, with budding trees and blossoming crocus and snowdrops, too. Our first Pittsburgh spring! So often, I think of how improbable this all was one year ago. Pittsburgh and a 109 year old house, my Grandmother gone, the cats too, how quickly a life can change!

Strolling the South Side Flats yesterday afternoon. A precocious teen, spying the hubster’s rather fashionable spectacles, asked, “Are you a hipster?” We laughed, and I said that we’re probably far too old and nerdy for such declarations, before discussing cameras and skateboards and money, and he wished us a blessed day. These are the moments that enrich our lives.

The bright sun belies a bitterly cold wind. We walked quickly, hands deep in our pockets, wishing for warmth in between a fabulous lunch at La Palapa and treats at The Milkshake Factory. Zooming off to our next destination, we played what the hubster and I not-so-fondly call the Pittsburgh Slalom, a.k.a. dodging pot holes. Jeepers!

Greetings from Mt. Washington! My Grandma Frances lived in Pittsburgh as a girl and relayed such fantastical tales of the funicular and uber-super steep hills that they screamed fiction. Even these photos do such little justice to the city’s rolling and rollicking hills. Alas, you truly have to visit to believe it (our guest room will be ready soon!). Grandma lived somewhere near the Duquesne (dew-cane) Incline, and I cannot help but look for traces of her as I wander the nearby streets, decades and decades after her departure. Was this her church? Did she live in this house? Did she scramble, bare-legged and laughing, up this old tree? I don’t suppose I will ever know, which saddens me some.

Our neighborhood lies just beyond the top most bridge in the photo above. And in the photo just above that, on the left, is the PPG Building (Philip Johnson, Architect), my favorite in the Pittsburgh skyline, just in case you were wondering.

More marvelous murals to add to my collection and a sharp-edged building, too, circa 1893. The history in this town!

See you later, alligator. Don’t be an April fool…


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.


Saturday night’s supper, beginning to end: super soft sharp cheddar polenta and roasted green beans with almonds and orange balsamic vinaigrette. Tasty.

The living room, entirely unpacked and cozy, though not entirely finished. The walls need fresh paint, some shade of white, and the foot stool needs to be recovered, maybe the chairs, too? The jury, for the time being, is still out.

The local laundromat, the nicest we’ve ever seen, our every other week hangout until our washer and dryer arrive in mid-January. Who knew there would be such a run on them at holiday time.

I am reminded of how life is a progression – idea or thought, need or desire, the steps to attainment, so very many beginnings. I am hoping to have more endings soon, the end of boxes and disorder, the end of being in transition. Which brings me to this last photo, the Andrew Bayne Memorial Library, my beautiful local branch. I am pleased as punch to announce that I got my library card today. And, wonder of wonders, they had a copy of A Christmas Story, the holy grail of holiday films. Beginner’s luck, maybe, but I’ll take it!


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