Saturday, December 25, 2010


It's been snowing off and on all day (mostly on).  John and I are a little disoriented, being away from home and family on Christmas.  This is the first time in 26 years we've had Christmas without Eric.  We decided to be like the Jews, and go to a Chinese restaurant for dinner.

Taipei was a good choice.  Somewhere east of Pittsburgh (Fox Chapel) on the Monongahela River, it is one of the best Chinese restaurants around - probably the best Chinese we've had.  We had shrimp dumplings, seafood in a birds nest and shrimp and pork in black bean sauce.  Everything was wonderful.

This is what the fortune in my cookie says:

Do your work with your whole heart, and you will succeed.

My lucky numbers are 50, 49, 28, 11, 43, 40.

Bruno Sammartino - Christmas News

Correstion: This story was in yesterday's (Christmas Eve) paper.  We just didn't see the paper until today.

The lead story in the Pittsburgh newspaper today (Christmas Day) is a story about Bruno Sammartino.  If you don't know about Bruno Sammartino, you should.  Sammartino was the longest reigning champion of the World Wide Wrestlig Federation, holding the title from 1963 to 1971, and again from 1973 to 1977.

John says this was back when wrestling was still a serious sport, before it became just a "show".  He remembers watching on TV in 1960 when Sammartino picked up 640 pound Haystacks Calhoun,  lifted him over his head, turned around and threw him to the mat.

Sammartino was John's hero.  He called his cousin, Rocky, this morning to tell him about the Sammartino newspaper article.

Sammertino is a Pittsburgh native.  Well, sort of.  He came here when he was a 14 year old skinny kid, escaping the Nazis in Italy.  Pure Italian lore.

curious gifts this year

Friday, December 24, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter up north this year ...

Reminds me of Sea Foam!
It is finally the first day of winter.

It has snowed most every day since Thanksgiving, and has not been above freezing for 2 weeks.  Lot of ice around.  And darkness.  Hard to believe that we're just getting started!

In Florida we mark this day as well, for it promises to bring a few months of cooler weather.

Jubilee and I still thrive on our walks in the snow.

Here's a close-up.

Monday, December 20, 2010

1957 Westinghouse Ad

A number of people have contacted me about the ad for Westinghouse engineers in the May 1957 issue of Combustion Magazine - "All this and a husband who's a Westinghouse Engineer!"  The original that I have is a copy of a copy of a copy ...  It is not a good reproduction, but if you want it, I have it in PDF form HERE.

Vatican Splendors

Yesterday we went to the "Vatican Splendors" exhibit at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh.

Maybe because we've been to the Vatican, this exhibit felt watered down and contrived to us.  I was hoping for more ancient iconographic art.   Some of the display seemed hokey, like the cast of a rock from Peter's tomb.  Not the real rock, mind you, but a copy of a rock.  There was a relinquary with 4 tiny bits of bone in it - said to be those of St. Peter and St. Paul and "other saints that couldn't be verified".  The reliquary, itself, was interesting.  I'm not sure if I believe that the bones are what they say they are.  How can they verify such a thing?  The exhibit was a tribute to Catholic Church, the history of Papal rule and the role of art in that history.

A few things impressed me: 

A large and ornate red cape worn by St. Charles Borromeo who lived in splendor in the 16th Century so as to represent the glory of church.  Anyone wearing that cape would have drawn attention.  A relief depicting the crucifixion of St. Peter, and a Tibetan scroll from the 17th century, with the large red seal of the Dalai Lama, allowing missionaries into Tibet.

There was a cast of Michelangelo's Pieta, which we could see up close.  You realize how much the marble itself lends to the beauty of the original when comparing it to a small original Michelangelo that was on display.

Later, as John and I were discussing it, we remembered an exhibit of Middle Eastern (Ancient Iraq) artifacts that we had happened upon in Chicago last summer (2009), which impressed us more and even seemed more "sacred" and real.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ice Alert sign and the Great Wall needlepoint

Ice Alert sign in the Westinghouse parking lot.  John says that it turns blue when freezing, to warn you that the roads are icy.  Note John's Jeep.

Also a needlepoint of the Great Wall of China that is on the wall on the 4th Floor Elevator Hall.

Friday, December 17, 2010

beautiful winter's day

Sunny sky today (at least it was sunny this morning).  In the low 20s, it feels less cold.

I don't know why, but I am fascinated with the way the tree branches randomly fall over the frozen stream.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It even snows when the sun is out ...

I got a little braver today and went to the park.  The road to the park is hilly, windy, and less traveled than the road to the grocery store.  The sun was out.   There were ice patches on the road, but I didn't slide around.  I got worried at the park, though, because it started snowing again, even with the sun out.

Still very cold here.  All I want for Christmas is a ski mask - one of those woolen things that cover everything but your eyes!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

cold and snowy

8:30AM, Tuesday.  Cold and snowy here, like every where else.  12 degrees with serious wind.  I can't even get the door open to the balcony.  It's frozen shut.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


We had a heat wave today.  40 degrees and sunshine!  Much of the snow melted, but much still remains.  The weather is expected to be strange for the next couple of days - rain, sleet, then very cold - so we headed down to Fallingwater this afternoon.  Fallingwater is closed in January and February, and who knows what the weather will be like for the rest of the year.  We may not be here in March.

Fallingwater is the house that Frank Lloyd Wright designed for Edgar Kaufman in the Laurel Mountains of Southwestern PA.  The house is unique in a number of ways, not the least of which is the waterfall it encompasses!

It also happens that one of my Florida friends is the niece of Edgar Kaufman, and often visited Fallingwater as a child.  She was mortified when her aunt (Kaufman's wife) would skinny dip in the plunge pool.

We were impressed with the place.  I have mixed feelings about the house.  Frank Lloyd Wright, with his vision that one's habitat should be an extension of the landscape, really pushed the envelope on this one.  Last year the Nature Conservancy, who owns the house now, spent more than 2 million dollars in structural repairs to keep the place standing.  I kind of think that this house, as unique as it is, is going to have to erode and fall like the other rocks of the waterfall.

We were not allowed to photograph inside the home during the tour, but here are some outside photos.

Friday, December 10, 2010

amazing snow dog!

I take that back (about not going out).  Jubilee and I did get over to the park, and we were making the first tracks through the new snow.  I don't know how I captured this flying leap over a log.  The sledding hill looked ready, but everything is suddenly melting.  The computer temperature says that it is 31 degrees here, but it feels a lot warmer to me and the snow is melting on our balcony.
This is the sledding hill and I saw that someone had already tried it out.  I hope John doesn't make me go down it on a sled this weekend.

more snow

View from the window about 9:30AM.  Very large snowflakes falling for the last hour or more.  The road is white.  Though the traffic is still moving, I don't think I'll venture out today.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

the "teens"

It was somewhere around 13 degrees this morning when Jubilee and I went for a walk.  This is a new low for us, and it looks like temperatures will be dipping into the teens and lower for the next week.  Other than my hands that get cold unless I put them in my pocket - I still only have cheap gloves - I really don't notice that it is colder than the 20s.  Of course, I've got on my long underwear, my fleece sweater, and my down jacket.

The creek at the park is a bit more frozen today than it was yesterday.  Jubilee made it across without breaking the ice.  

More photos on the Flickr site.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Winter Park Walk

There was a break in the flurries this morning, so Jubilee and I headed over to the park.  We were the only ones there, even though it looked like the hill had seen some sledding over the past few days.  Here's a close-up of the sign:
Walking was a little tricky in spots, and Jubilee discovered that the ice in the creek is not fully frozen.  Her paws froze up after walking through the snow.  It was about 20 degrees or less, but no wind, so it wasn't so cold.

Jubilee looks kind of wolf-y in the snow, doesn't she?  She certainly seems to inherently know about winter, like it's her natural habitat.

I discovered that you have to scrape the ice off of the gas tank door if you want it to open.