Saturday, May 17, 2014

Have I mentioned how much I love Phipps?!

Back in December, I posted some pics from an afternoon/evening at Phipps Conservatory. I so enjoyed my time there that I went back a week or so later to get a dual membership. Probably the best $75 I have spent on anything. (And it was more like spending $54 since I was able to put the $26 I spent that evening in December towards my membership.)

Including that time, I have been to Phipps at least five times, sometimes with others and sometimes alone. I have gone to the winter show, the spring show, to something in between the winter and spring show, and then J and I went today, for the summer flower show.

Maybe I will do a post of the spring show, for posterity's sake. But here is the summer show!

Here are some pictures of random, pretty flowers and plants  (I have no clue what is what):

Purple is my favorite color, so of course this is beautiful

Right now there are trains in many rooms.

Love how the yellow and pink/red mix

Here are some pics of the Butterfly Forest. We watched some butterflies come out of their chrysalises, which was really cool.
So neat to watch the butterflies emerge.

Here are some pics of various rooms. We saw the beginning of a wedding in the first room below (we took this pic about 1.5 hours before the wedding started). The last two pics are of my very favorite room there, the East Room.

 Some cool thing outside.

Finally, here are some pics from the Center for Sustainable Landscapes; the last one is a view of the Tropical Forest. Very cool.

Going to Phipps puts me in my happy place. Even better is when I can go during lunch during the week. Well, I can be there only about 35 minutes, plus time to walk there and back, if I want to keep to my lunch hour. But there are so few people there; it is quite peaceful and relaxing.

I said to J that when I retire, I want to work there. Maybe I will!

Monday, May 12, 2014

A(n almost) perfect Mother's Day weekend

I had a really great Mother's Day weekend. It started out Friday evening with my enjoying a glass of wine while talking to the neighbors as our kids rode their bikes. I was able to let go and not hover over my kid, as I did last summer, when she first learned to ride a bike. (But I did get up a few times when they went around the corner and were out of our sight for more than a few minutes.). Let's not talk about the Pens loss that evening.

Saturday morning, my MIL brought me a nice glass decorative thing. I really don't need more knick-knacks, but it was pretty and thoughtful. Then the hubby and J took her to the airport, while I cleaned the shower (okay, that part was not too fun) and then went shopping for a couple of hours. I am not a fan of shopping, but I had not been clothes shopping in months and this was the first time I have done it without a kid in way longer than that. I ended that trip with three free pretzels from Philly Pretzel Factory, thanks to my winning a Facebook contest (I have now won something from them three times).

The hubby, J, and I later when to Home Depot where we picked up some vegetable plants. Really hoping things grow better for us this year. We seem to do well with tomatoes and not much else. That evening, the hub made a delicious seafood pasta, and he and the kid cleaned everything up!

Sunday morning, J came into my room with a cup of coffee, which was what I told them I wanted more than anything; I make the coffee every single day, so it was a nice break. Then the two of them made pancakes and sausage, J gave me a bracelet and card she made, and she and I headed to church.

Right after, we headed downtown to see Seussical, but in plenty of time to allow us to enjoy the beautiful day.

For lunch, we ate outside at Primanti's, where it turns out mothers ate free that day! 

Mmm, double egg and cheese

J and I outside Subway, next door to Primant's (she does not share my love of Primanti's, so we grabbed a sub for her there)
Then J and I walked around the city and the Point for almost 30 minutes, which was good considering I pledged to do 30 minutes of exercise for 30 straight days recently via a friend's challenge.

We made it to the show in plenty of time so spare, where we were slightly annoyed by a five-year-old boy who would not stop talking to me and asking me a million question. But Seussical was enjoyable (although mics went out a few times), and we ended up getting out of the parking garage in record time, not to mention a traffic-less Parkway.

The hubby made another good dinner of chicken and rice, and I once again had no dishes to do, which was followed by the neighbor boys bringing over a gift for me (candle and holder). And we ended the evening at the neighbor's house where we once again chatted.

The only downside was, once again, the Pens loss. Seriouisly, what the H-E-double hockey sticks is wrong with that team?!

If you are a mom, I hope you had a weekend even half as nice as I did.Minus the Pens loss.

Saturday, May 10, 2014


Pittsburgh is not very pedestrian friendly. This, despite the following law:

3542.  Right-of-way of pedestrians in crosswalks.
        (a)  General rule.--When traffic-control signals are not in
     place or not in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield
     the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any
     marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an
I cannot tell you how many times I have been at a crosswalk and have been ignored by cars zipping by. At one intersection near a park, there is actually a flashing light trumpeting that it is a state law that cars must yield for pedestrians. Still some drivers completely ignore that, and my daughter and I have have found ourselves waiting for long periods of time as well as coming close to being hit because we were not running across the street (I did not realize that part of the law was pedestrians had to sprint so as not to further inconvenience the drivers).

Near my office building at a crosswalk, there is one of those (non-flashing) signs proclaiming the law. Yet I cannot tell you how many times cars just ignore me. And I am not like some people who wait patiently on the sidewalk. No, I actually walk into the street, so I can be clearly seen. However, I have started to rethink that kamikaze attitude.

Unfortunately, a few mornings ago, a woman was hit by the bus she recently exited. I was in another bus several blocks away at the time, but heard about it on the bus radio. As we came to the intersection where it happened, the bus driver told us that we might be waiting awhile, since there were several emergency vehicles in the middle of the street, blocking traffic as a result of this accident. As someone who is into walking, I immediately jumped out, ready to walk the seven or eight blocks to my office. But soon after I exited the bus and started walking on the sidewalk, I saw the some people crowded around the middle of the street. Part of me knew I should not look. But the other part of me knew I would. And what I saw was very unsettling. Some EMTs were getting ready to put the injured woman onto a board. Her legs seemed to be twisted in an odd way/different direction than I expected. I quickly looked away, so maybe, just maybe, I did not see what I thought I did. But I still cannot get that picture out of my mind, two days later.

Fortunately, I later read that she was treated for only minor injuries at the hospital. But it could have been so much worse. And that could have been me or any one of hundreds of people daily.

I am not ready to give up riding the bus, which is scary enough on a daily basis the way some drivers come to a screeching halt at most of the stops.

But I vow to pay more attention to my surroundings, to run less often in the hopes of making the flashing walk sign, and not to stand as far into the street as I have been, on the hopes that drivers are paying attention and/or actually care about the law.

And, most importantly, when I am driving, I will try to be extra aware of pedestrians.

How about you do the same?

Saturday, May 3, 2014

I don't get this door-to-door religious stuff.

Well, I see another bunch of weeks have passed since I last posted. So here is a post for what is on my mind this a.m.: religious people who go door to door.

As I have blogged about many times, I am Catholic, but I don't have a strong faith (even though for several years I attended daily mass). I doubt things. I question things. I disagree with some things. Someday soon I am going to post about the diocesan campaign to get money out of people. To give you a preview now: I have a pledge card that gives me choices ranging from $40 a month for five years to $400 a month for five years.

But I digress, as usual.

I believe in letting people worship or not, as they see fit, as long as they are not hurting others. I know some people proudly display and talk or write about their faith. That is not me. Honestly, I sometimes feel uncomfortable when people do that on Facebook. And, as I have said before, I sometimes get annoyed when someone or some news entity posts about something tragic, and then 30 comments pop up offering prayers. In fact, I don't even like to say, "I'm praying for you" when a friend posts up something that many would deem prayer-worthy (even if I have or intend to pray for that person). I can't necessarily explain why, though I am guessing that at least part of the reason is because my faith in general (not just Catholic-specific) is shaky, and the other part is that I practically recoil when I see or read about people trumpeting their prayers/faith and then they turn around and post something negative.

But back to the subject at hand. As we have seen probably three to six times a year, this morning the half-dozen well-dressed religious people are going door to door. First, I am against pushing religion on others, and that seems to me to be exactly what these people are doing. Second, I don't get what they hope to accomplish by coming back to the same neighborhood several times a year. I guess I get that they may have dropped off some stuff and now they just want to follow up. But beyond that, what is the point? Perhaps that strategy has worked in the past, and they think since it worked for one person, let's keep at it. I mean I guess it must have worked on a few occasions, because why else would you keep coming back?

The people are nice. They aren't scary (to me, anyway). Years ago, I talked to someone, even took her pamphlets. I explained that I was Catholic and had no intention of going to another religion, but, sure, I would check out what she gave me. I think she might have even come back, but I don't remember if I let her in.

It was probably at that point that the hubby made and put up this sign.

I can tell you, no one has been trying to turn me into something else since that sign went up three years ago. So there is that. :-)

At the very least, I suppose these people are not hurting anyone, just annoying many, I suspect. So there is that too. Still, I have to think in this crazy world we live in, that someday in the not-too-distant future, these door-to-door "conversions" will end or be so rare.

Until then, I guess I should be glad that my family does not have to worry about any religious people harassing us.

Good luck to the rest of you!