Exploring

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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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The hubster and I are not at all religious, deeply spiritual, absolutely, yes, yes, yes. Coming from Portland, it was rare to encounter anyone overtly religious, but here in Pittsburgh we are blessed by God and passersby for offering a kindly hello, told by locals not to worry about getting lost as long as we know the way to church and the supermarket, utterly surprised to see Giant Eagle television commercials boasting low-low prices on Lenten favorites  and entire web pages dedicated to Friday Fish Fry guides. It is a different world, friends. Being of the adventurous, open-hearted, and open-minded ilk, we are rolling with it. When in Rome, right?

So, we walked in the frigid gleam of sunset (past our beloved library!) to the Assumption Catholic Church Fish Fry, descended into the bright basement, positively heady with the scent of fish, fried and baked, and were greeted and served by adorably nervous and charming middle schoolers. New to the business, I must admit that we didn’t have very high hopes. Much to our surprise, everything was tasty and very generously portioned. Never in my life have I seen a fish filet so large on a sandwich! The best bit, however, had to be the sweet service. Several adorable kids brought us food and beverages, but our favorite most definitely awaits an illustrious career in the service industry, enquiring, “Is everything to your liking?” And, “Are you satisfied with your meal?” As well as, “Please don’t forget about our delicious desserts!” Such fun, we’ll definitely be back!

The Bellevue Police Department, Mayberry is jealous, I’m sure.

Waffle and Fried Chicken Sandwich at Social. Yum…

Brrr…

Guacamole and apple-grapefruit-strawberry-ginger smoothies, the dinner of champions!

 Fire Roasted Veggie Wrap and Pulled Pork Sandwich at B Gourmet in Sewickley. Zehr gut!

A fine hello to March, don’t you think?

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Our Sunday walk, distilled into five photos. With so many kind, generous, and caring people, great architecture, and places like the Bayne Library and John Herrman Museum, we live in a gem of a neighborhood. The paintings are part of a collection of more than 1100, all painted by Herrman, in locales near and far, 130 of which are currently on display. Our borough mayor Paul Cusick was our tour guide, eager and earnest, with big dreams for this special space. I hope they all come true.

And what talk of neighborhoods doesn’t conjure thoughts of Mister Rogers? Did I ever tell you that I visited the Smithsonian with the primary goal of seeing one of his sweaters? Yuppity yup! I bought this mug at the Frick gift shop. Mister Rogers changes from suit jacket to sweater with the addition of your favorite hot beverage. Mine was ginger tea. Hot diggity!

Also of note to Mister Rogers fans, the Heinz History Center has part of the Mister Rogers Neighborhood on display. I am super excited to see it!

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Boy howdy, was it ever good to feel the sadness of December and January finally lift. So many tears, dear readers, so very many. We celebrated our surfeit of joy by making more, of course, with a stellar weekend of adventure and fun, starting at The Double Wide Friday night. They have TV Dinners! Compartmentalized food rocks! Grits! Portobello mushrooms! Brisket! Sweet potato fries! Shoestring fries! Cornbread! Coleslaw! Eeeek!

Surf Pittsburgh? Maybe I will.

This chest was made in 1760!

An afternoon at The Frick. A scrumptious lunch at the cafe, beautiful art, and positively heady conservatory air. Happiness!

Jason Walker

Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor

Finished the day in The Strip District, with stops at Wigle (pronounced like wiggle) for Sassafras Whiskey and aromatic bitters (organic and delicious), Italian provisions at Penn Mac, and marvelous art at Contemporary Craft. No chemicals were purchased in the making of this last photograph.

Sunset over the Heinz Lofts. Home we go…

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My Favorite Dictator

Ukraine

Africa

India

Switzerland

Armenia

Austria

Our friend Ron in Wales

Good day to you, dear reader! What’s shakin’? The hubster and I got our Pennsylvania drivers licenses today, making us one step closer to being official Yinzers! We just need license plates and library cards to seal the deal, at least in my eyes. Soon!

We continue to enjoy our time and make our way in the Burgh, learning the bends in the road and the wonky ways of our old house. There remain fewer and fewer boxes to unpack and sort, and, delight of delights, a new living room sofa and bedroom set arriving tomorrow morning. We spent the past two weeks on a mattress on the floor, which is cool if you’re Japanese or in college, but not for this couple of Yinzers in transition.

And to today’s photos at the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning, at 535 feet, it’s the second tallest Gothic building in the world. Made of Indiana Limestone and boasting more than 2,000 rooms and windows, it makes a heart grateful for fine architecture and wealthy industrialists of the early 20th century. It is also quite unique in that it houses 29 Nationality Rooms, donated by the various ethnic groups that built the city of Pittsburgh. Just another feather in this city’s awesome cap, I think.

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