Sunday, February 28, 2010

Eye'm watching you

A Downtown Job

So, this was new to me, but an obvious solution in a city like this. Someone's job is to walk around downtown using what appears to be a heavy-duty fertilizer spreader filled with salt or sand or some mixture thereof, and voila! walkable streets and sidewalks.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Most Beautiful Sound

This morning, waking to freshly fallen snow, I checked the sidewalk which I shoveled TWICE yesterday and saw it was once again "full" and in need of a shovel. I made some coffee and began to think about my day. Lo! a sound, a motor, a neighbor with a snow blower . . . and he's approaching my sidewalk. Will he stop at the driveway or will he continue and do my sidewalk too? Oh, bless his heart, he did not stop. I don't know who he is, except that he has a big ole heart and a snow blower.

He doesn't live next door, maybe around the corner? I saw him on the other side of the street as well. How nice it is to live near a good Samaritan.

I will say that I think he uses discretion about how far to go. For instance, he did not go any farther than my house. In my mind, I think he saw that I had made the effort yesterday and the next house had not. (Although I did do a one time shovel of her sidewalk early). I don't care his rationale, I love being on the receiving end this morning.

And just FYI, as of 6 p.m. last night, Pittsburgh had received 42.8 inches of snow this month. It's one for the record books.

Monday, February 22, 2010

An Incentive

I had a very frustrating day driving over the weekend, trying to find my way to of all places Walmart. Walmart is not my favorite spot and why on earth I chose Sunday afternoon to do this, I'll never know. When I say frustrating, I mean something like two hours driving in what seemed to be circles, cloverleafs, and various over- and underpasses. Pittsburgh has so many hills, you can't see what's on top, unlike the Oklahoma landscape where you can see for miles. I found out later that this area is something I liken to 71st and Memorial at Christmas, except there are more roads, more cars, more options. And I won't visit 71st & Memorial unless I absolutely have to. Now I know.

My next adventure will be downtown Pittsburgh. My incentive? Joshua Bell is performing March 2 and I bought a ticket. I'm so excited. I have listened to his Romance of the Violins, oh, maybe 500+ times. It's my favorite morning music. Even Lucy likes it. "Yaya, that music is so pretty." She calls it Prince and Princess music.

I will make several trial runs to Heinz Hall; I will Google, Mapquest, do whatever necessary to get there on time and in a peaceful frame of mind. No way will I arrive frustrated.

NOTE: if you haven't read or heard of the experiment in Washington, with him playing in the train station . . . see the video below. How many beautiful things do we miss by just not paying attention?

and the story itself is worth a read here.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Just Being

I have my list of work tasks; my list of calligraphy projects and here I sit watching it snow. I will absolutely get out today for a much needed hair appointment, even if I have to walk.

Although I am determined not to miss "my destiny," I'm also aware of not forcing things. Letting things unfold as they will. Almost like a stilted conversation, where you sit and listen and don't respond immediately and the other person continues to talk and spill out their thoughts until there's a connection. Still, there's always that voice in the back of my mind that tells me to do something. To say something. Is this enough? What now? What next?

It's the simple act of being, of doing nothing that is so difficult sometimes.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Banana Recovery

It bothered me all night. I couldn't really believe that it could be the pan that caused my banana bread not to cook. It had to be the oven. Never in a million years did I think it was me. But, it's confession time. I forgot to put in the baking soda yesterday. That was the problem. I made another loaf today and it was (almost) perfection.

I'm so happy I'll be able to use my gorgeous loaf pan for its intended purpose.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Banana Bust!

Sad to say the banana bread was a bust. A different oven, a new pan and my same trusty recipe did not work well together. I don't think anyone really cared except me. The bread would not cook in the middle. Even after much extra oven time, the entire interior of the loaf was doughy. Very strange.

I'll find another worthy recipe for the pan though. It's so beautiful, I have to have it dedicated for something special.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Settling In

Tom left Monday to go back to Tulsa and I have to admit when I went to bed, I felt disoriented and wondering about this move. I felt very alone. Of course, having 22 inches of snow on the ground, being exhausted from a week of non-stop settling-in activities, and then getting a cold on top of all that, did not help. I slept for 12 hours, just to give you an idea how fatigued I was.

Today, I mustered the energy to brave the roads and find my way to Target and the grocery store. This was huge! It's one thing to learn your way around in a new city; it's something else to attempt it with all the snow. The amount of energy this move has taken has been overwhelming. I wasn't prepared for the brain freeze or the glazed eyes. I've always adapted pretty easily, found my way around, and been pretty cavalier about things. This had been different. Of course, I'm older and it's been a long time since I've introduced anything new into my life. It's been very interesting to say the least and I'm sure it's recharging some brain cells I've let lay idle.

Tonight, there's fresh snow falling, a predicted 3-6 inches on top of our 22, and the promise of even more tomorrow. I am nestled in my 98% settled spot with some Missouri wine which is surprisingly good, some NPR jazz and a book that may be so-so. No cable yet, which is interesting in and of itself.

Tomorrow I have a date with Lucy to make banana bread, her favorite. My birthday present from my sister was a Polish pottery loaf pan made especially for banana bread (our interpretation of its purpose). You can expect a picture tomorrow of the finished product.

I better get a good night's sleep because Lucy is not one to be taken lightly.

Happiness Blogging Award

This morning when I read Cindy's Clipboard, I discovered she had passed along the Happiness Blogging Award to me. What a great way to start the day!

I'm supposed to list 10 things I love and pass this on to 10 bloggers. This is pretty hard, because today I'm loving just about everything. Here are my top 10:

1. My (very!) supportive husband
2. My daughter & her family
3. My sister
4. The way a piece of art finishes off a room
5. Completing a project
6. Braking in a long line of traffic to let a car in
7. Five-cheese Mac at TGI Friday's (would love to have some right this very minute!)
8. The phrases and sentences that Lucy comes up with to describe a situation
9. Well-executed calligraphy
10.My new place in Pittsburgh as it comes together

Now, I don't mean to blow this but I am not going to pass this on to 10 bloggers. Not because there aren't 10 blogs that I love and read religiously, but I know they don't read me, so what's the point?

Thanks, Cindy, for the recognition.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Here's the Difference

Yesterday the weather forecast here was 8-14" inches of snow, and they were right on target. But here's the difference. The snowploughs were staged on the highways by mid-afternoon. By early evening, trucks were spraying, scattering salt or sand on my street. This morning, the snowplough has been down my street three times already. Too bad they don't do driveways!

Here's the view from my "sun" room . . .

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The First Pittsblog

We left 8 inches of snow in Oklahoma and drove to Pittsburgh. Some would question the sanity of that, but already it's worth it. When a little one tells you "I love you as much as how far you used to live," well, you can see what I mean.

We arrived Sunday evening, with no intention of unloading the truck. We were dead tired, brain dead and just glad to be here. But when you add two young boys willing to carry stuff up stairs trying to see how strong they are, a son-in-law who is incredibly strong with just a touch of ADD, and a daughter who is in shape and energetic from corralling the entire crew, a 16 ft. truck can be unloaded in nothing flat. When it was all said and done, it was definitely the right thing to do. Tom and I worked that night assembling the bed and literally fell into it. Nighty night.

Monday morning we walked less than a block to a restaurant to fortify ourselves for the day's work, then the fun began. Right now, we're about 90% unpacked and organized. The main area left is my art room and office, which requires a trip to IKEA and that's the plan for today. I'm ready to get set up and have a bit of my old routines in place. There are plenty of new routines, one of which is using a French press for coffee. Only one day of it, but I'd say I'm hooked.

Right now, I can hear the train rattling down the track. This is a new sound for me. Not a bad one, just a new one. Lots of new sounds and sights. One thing we have commented on is that people here drive slower. The speed limits are slower. Lots of bifurcated streets (love that word and I've heard it so many times lately, for some reason.) And from what I've read, Pittsburgh drivers are rated #1 for courtesy. I'll let you know. I have a feeling my driving here will test their patience.