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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. Our neighborhood lies just beyond the top most bridge on 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…

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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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Belated Greetings from the 502! I had every intention of posting yesterday but got caught in a whirlwind of errand after errand and a super fun St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Life is good!

The fact that the Louisville area code is one digit away from Portland’s 503 seems to be more than an interesting coincidence, as they have a very sisterly feel to them: open, friendly, creative, lovely river cities, of which, if you haven’t noticed, I am a rather big fan.

This is Butchertown in NuLu, our most excellent home away from home, with that top photo our abode, a 125 year old building on Main Street. Take a look at those giant doors; the ceilings were twelve feet high. We walked and walked under mostly sunny skies, the rains only coming in earnest, with a most spectacular downpour, on our way to our next destination in Indiana. Heaven!

We ate and drank v e r y well, with bourbon of some sort at nearly every meal. One place put it over pancakes(!), most others by the glass. The jelly jar was a bourbon slushie, a.k.a. the best adult version of a kids drink EVER.  Our favorite restaurants were Rye and Feast, with Rye having the most creative and delicious menu we’ve seen since leaving Portland (sorry, Pittsburgh! We’re still looking!). Those are the best rolls I’ve ever had the good fortune to eat, soft, buttery, wow. And that kind of wild looking mess with meringue? A banana crepe! A m a z i n g. Feast was crazy good barbeque and the home of the yummy slushie. It is wonderful to be spoiled by marvelous food and service, peeps. Indeedy.

The neighborhood is super cool, dare I say hip, and full of shopping (check out Why Louisville) and fun; Colonel Sanders and Abe Lincoln photo opportunities, squee-ee; an alley called Billy Goat Strut. Then there are the aforementioned eateries and really great architecture! My goodness, I love beautiful buildings. Oh, and murals and iron work! Choice examples lined the streets. It all makes me so happy. I want exclamation points everywhere! Then to see little bits of history, like the Thomas Edison brick house, and the world feels a bit smaller and more personal. I’m here, and he was here, and think of all we can be and do. It makes a body grateful for the privilege of travel.

More of Louisville on Friday, I hope!

 

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Wild and wonderful West Virginia fog. I love the way it whispers and hugs the landscape. We could not have asked for better weather on the first leg of our inaugural Pittsburgh based road trip. We left in darkness to beat the traffic, and boy, did we! There was hardly a soul on the road.  I still can’t believe my dumb luck to be born in this great nation, with beauty at every turn.

Lexington is a fun town, with much to admire and try. The Parkette has been on my list for some time, mostly because of that fabulous neon sign, though I was terribly sad not to see it in full regalia. In the sci-fi future of my mind, travelers will have the ability to see monuments just as they like, no matter the hour. Sunset? Yup! Bright neon? You got it! Without utility poles and wires? No problem! Anyhoo, the fried chicken, according to the hubster, is good, but not #1 in his book. He likes super duper extra crispy, and this wasn’t that. I can’t fault the man for knowing what he likes. I was charmed by the friendly and fast service, y’all. I must admit that I never imagined Kentucky would sound sooo Southern. Just look at it on the map, the way it skirts that center line.

Being westerners with few original reminders of just how old our relatively young nation is, the hubster and I find ourselves reeling at buildings well over the century mark, with the majority pictured in that category. This last one is also quite historical, being the home where Mary Todd Lincoln was born. Hello Abraham, let’s go back to my house… There’s another of her family homes a couple of blocks away, but, rather sadly, I could not get a decent photo without a garbage can in it, which seemed terribly unseemly, so you will not see it here. I’m sure Mary would approve.

Tomorrow, Louisville!

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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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