Exploring

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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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Andy Warhol and Andrew Carnegie get dolled up. I love it!

At long last, for those who have been asking, pictures of Pittsburgh! Now that my computer has been unearthed, though it remains completely surrounded by other boxes of things I probably don’t really need but still desperately need to unpack, there will be more photos. I shall do my damnedest to keep yinz in the photo loop. Yinz? Yeah, using a little Pittsburghese, recently voted the ugliest accent in America. I kid you not. Anyhoo, yinz means you, and our best guess to the origin is that it’s an abbreviation of Pennsylvanian? Yin? Plural Yinz? Search me.

But, I digress. Pittsburgh, goll-ee how, is a beauty! We chose well, my friends, very well. There is spectacular art and architecture, a preponderance of it, all around the city. The city of neighborhoods, but more specifically (and why), the city of…H I L L S, mega-super hills that are difficult to fathom until witnessed live and in-person, the variety of which children draw when asked to render a rolling countryside, though maybe a little steeper, a lot steeper in many cases. It makes a grid system virtually impossible, on the whole, save in the pockets nestled in between. I am grateful to have made purchase in one of those pockets, on a generally flat stretch of land, though from the windows at the top of the house I can spy other hills and towers and observe the most glorious of sunrises and sunsets with very little obstruction. A win, win.

People love the Steelers here, as would be expected, but maybe not quite as I expected, with entire families kitted out in head-to-toe Steelers gear nearly everywhere I turn. The shoes aren’t an anomaly, just the churchy version of fandom. It’s a different world.

And, yet, it isn’t. It’s cloudy and a river city. People here are much like Portlanders, super crafty (The Handmade Arcade!), and go-out-of-your-way friendly. There are many beards and fine restaurants and tattoos, though Portland has infinitely more of the latter, and Pittsburgh has a heck of a lot more diners. The coffee here is not at all like Stumptown, which saddens me some, but with an actual Stumptown coming soon, I shan’t have to worry about that for long.

Eric, the Primanti’s photo is just for you, so everyone else, avert your eyes. You saw nothing! Ha. Primanti’s is famous for a sandwich that is piled high with coleslaw and fries. I know, it sounds weird, but it’s actually quite tasty and convenient. The burrito of sandwiches, maybe?

Oh, and this final photo? This is primarily for my Colorado peeps, but anyone who understands food nostalgia will appreciate it, too. This Grinch pastry is a dead ringer, flavor wise, for the frogs the King Soopers bakery made when I was a kid – a white cake with white frosting of the shortening, not butter, variety, glazed with fondant. It will make your teeth hurt in a good way. I have been wishing for something like it since they ceased production when I was ten. These were the ultimate store bought treat for a child of little means. I would search the day old shelf (the only shelf we we ever bought from, as it was half price) and be positively giddy when the neon frosting showed itself. My ebullience at today’s discovery, I am certain, was an exact match to those childhood days when there were exactly four frogs, and I didn’t have to share one with my siblings. “Buddy! These are like the frogs! Oh my goodness, I haven’t had one since I was ten!” Now, I know when others are chuckling at my expense, but I was happy to oblige both the hubster and the woman behind the counter. That my friends, is the power of food.

 

 

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Good evening, Pittsburgh! I am here, in permanent fashion, at last! Bone tired from unpacking, fresh from a row in the basement, bowl of cereal and handful of almonds devoured, stinky and deserving a bath, but eager to post is how I am. I have missed this space, brain sputtering before sending my fingers racing. I made do with my phone while dealing with the pressing matters of unpacking the essentials and shopping for yet more, oh, and getting lost. Again and again. New territory. New me, I hope, of a fashion, anyway. But, not yet.

First, the road. The glorious road to our new home. I shed many a tear on it; sometimes joyously, in light of what lay ahead; sometimes sadly, for what cannot be recovered, for what is past; oftentimes for the simple beauty of place – earth, river, sky; of being present and privileged with breath, a beating heart, and love.

Our travels took us through Denver and our first homes, then Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, nearly the whole of Interstate 70, our family of three rolling along, sometimes quietly, sometimes in raucous laughter punctuated by meows, oftentimes singing, Elton John and America and Radiohead, The Doors. Glad of heart for our gumption and bravery to drive 2,713 miles(!) and start anew, for the kindness of strangers, for gas stations, hotels, the blessings of sunshine and frost, for the world that is.

 

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Scenes from a mile high, though we are itching to be in Pittsburgh. Patience.

The hubster loves a diorama! And if you are thinking about dissing the sweatshirt he’s sporting, talk to the hand, peeps. Coors and my Pop’s thirty-plus years driving a forklift in their glass department fed and clothed me and paid for four years of college, thank you very much.

That’s all she wrote…

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Glass!

Chihuly glass, that is, and a whole heck of a lot of it! A sweet and relatively early morning visit (my mother-in-law’s treat – Hi Martha!) to the Denver Botanic Gardens while in house limbo, and I loved it. The hubster and I, waaay back on our newlywed days, lived in an apartment not too far from here. We would occasionally wander the gardens in the early hours of the morning on neighborhood free days. I always loved the peace of being there before Denver was quite awake and caffeinated, and then there was the beauty! I must say that my appreciation, some sixteen years later, is heightened after having tended my own patch of earth, and ideas are a-brewing for our garden to come at the Pittsburgh house.

Which brings me to that…finally, right?! After much waiting and wondering, all contracts are signed; the sellers are making requested repairs; and I am confident enough to say that we will be Pennsylvania homeowners as of December first! We are eager to get in there and make the borough of Bellevue our new home, but just to hedge our bets, how about a little good luck dance, prayer, or just plain fabulous juju in our honor, pretty please?

A few more words on the Chihuly, first, if you live in the Denver metro area and haven’t seen it, scoot on over before it skedaddles at the end of the month. You will not be disappointed, well, unless it’s not your thing, but I won’t hold that against you. I’m sure there’s plenty this little scribe does that would never-ever float your boat. Anyway, back to Chihuly. I have no idea how much time he spent wandering the gardens, sketching and conjuring, but it is truly amazing to see how well each piece fits the various spaces, like they’ve always been there. Egads! I love art, like Lionel Richie “Truly” love it. Yuppity yup.

And I’m off. Have a marvelous day, dear reader!

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