Tag Archives: Spring

sunday salon/currently … wishing for spring and channeling my inner leslie knope

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To borrow my friend Tiffany’s phrase, it’s been full on sloth mode for me this weekend.  I’ll blame it on the weather, which has been decidedly unspringlike. We woke up to snow Friday and Saturday morning, just enough to be a nuisance and to kill my poor daffodils.

Daffodils in snow 4-9-2016 - 2 Daffodils in snow 4-9-2016

Ugh, so depressing.

Aside from taking The Boy to an appointment, grocery shopping, and cooking dinner, I didn’t do much of anything yesterday. I’d planned to clean the house but only managed to wipe down the kitchen counter and table. Today’s adventure was a trip to Target, as The Girl needed some things for school. It snowed on the 10 minutes it took us to get there.  Of course it did.

At long last, I’ve finally started watching Parks and Recreation.  A lot of people have been telling me that I would like this show and they were right. The tipping point was this clip, which a coworker shared with me after I unknowingly was all Leslie Knope-fangirling about Joe Biden, who not only was visiting Pittsburgh this week, but who was speaking mere blocks from our office.

I’ve successfully gotten The Husband and The Girl into Parks and Rec, too (probably because they were annoyed at me laughing nonstop with my headphones on).  This was much-needed humor relief for all of us after yet another stressful week on the home front.

Hoping to finish Scorpion Tongues today.  I think I’ve gotten my reading mojo back.  Jane Mendelsohn has a new book out called Burning Down the House which I snagged a copy of from the library and I’m looking forward to starting this one.  I loved her debut novel I Was Amelia Earhart  and American Music (see my reviews here and here).

More Things I Loved Reading This Week …
Elizabeth Mosier announces and reflects on a new anthology, Fifty Women Over 50.

The older I get, the more I appreciate the music of John Prine. This piece in the New York Times (John Prine Endures, With a Half-Smile and a Song) explains why.

Still listening to a lot of Spotify, especially in the car. I’m a big fan of their Discover Weekly selections. Their algorithms are clearly under the impression that, musically, I’m back in 1977.  I’m loving Spotify because I feel like I’ve missed out on a lot of artists who most people have been listening to for years.

I seem to have a bit of a consumption problem, though: when I discover someone I like, I need to download every note they’ve ever performed. Like, I need to have their entire oeuvre at my fingertips. Eventually some songs may be weeded out from my collection (I’ve deleted two in the course of writing this post) but only after I listen to them first. Similarly, I need to tell myself that just because I love a band or a particular artist, it’s really okay if I don’t like every single one of their songs. I mean, it’s not like their feelings will be hurt if I ax something from the rotation.

Next weekend is our second rehearsal for Listen to Your Mother.  (You’ve gotten your tickets, right? From what I understand, they’re going fast.)  I can’t wait to see these ladies again.  This is such a fantastic group. Our producers have been featuring profiles of the 2016 cast on the LTYM Pittsburgh website, which you can check out here.

Oh, and we got our official headshots back.  Here I am:


I usually hate most pictures of me, but I love this.  Photo was done by the lovely Ashley of Ashley Mikula Photography. She was great to work with for this.

Inspired by fellow Pittsburgh Blogger Alex’s #PghGBE post on Eat with Emily, I’m trying a new approach to meal planning. I’m creating a spreadsheet of dinners that meet with everyone’s approval in this house. As one might imagine, it’s a very short list. I’m also adding meals that I think might work for our family — things I’d like to try. The idea is that when I’m at a loss for dinner ideas, I can consult the list and add it to the menu lineup for that week. We’ll see how this goes.

That all being said, I should probably end this post and figure out what we’re having for dinner tonight ….

sunday salon: ides of march edition

The Sunday Salon

Time and Place:
Sunday evening / the couch in the living room. As per usual.

Weekend Happenings?
Not much. The Girl went to a SibShop yesterday. It’s a support group for kids who have a sibling with special needs. It took me awhile to find such a group and they’ve increased the number of sessions to three weekends per month. A bit of driving around on the weekends, but as much as I might complain about trekking around Pittsburgh, it’s worth it because The Girl loves going and the facilitators are wonderful with her. Afterwards we enjoyed lunch at Panera and I came home and took a long nap.

Today’s been a lazy day. Grocery shopping was the extent of my activity. I should have done more, but I’ve had a bad headache all weekend and wasn’t up to it.

The last week or so has been a mixed bag on the bookish front, with everything from a book that will likely be on my Best Books I’ve Read in 2015 list to two DNFs.

The Paying GuestsLet’s start with what I loved. The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters is …well, I was unable to put this down. Set in 1922, Frances Wray and her mother live together in their large South London mansion following the deaths of Frances’ brothers in the War and then her father’s illness. Her father’s mismanagement of the family’s finances makes it necessary for Frances and her mother to rent out some of their rooms. Newlyweds Lilian and Leonard Barber join the household as “paying guests” and change the dynamic of the Wray house – not to mention each one of their lives.

The Paying Guests also is on the just-announced longlist for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize for Fiction) along with 19 other contenders. I’ve read only one other nominee (Station Eleven) and if I had to choose between the two, I would definitely choose The Paying Guests.  Anyway, I’m hoping to have a full review up soon.

My DNFs were Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan – about a group of restaurant workers during their last night at a Red Lobster which is slated for closing – and Inside Madeleine, by Paula Bomer. The latter, a collection of stories, has been hyped for being evocative and daring; however, I read the first two (“Eye Socket Girls” and “Breasts”) and found both to be eh rather than edgy. It didn’t do much for me, so back to the library it goes.


Still completely addicted to and immersed in House of Cards. I’ve just started Season 2 and will hopefully have a chance to watch episode 2 and maybe 3 tonight.

ZZ: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald was on my TBR Goodreads list, but reading West of Sunset by Stewart O’Nan made me more interested in picking this up.  Z is my audiobook this week.

Remember the #1000Speak post I did as part of 1000 Voices for Compassion? (Listening to Our Better Angels) Well, now this project has become a monthly thing and on Friday March 20 we’ll be writing on the theme of “Building from Bullying.”  Join us on the 1000 Voices for Compassion group on Facebook. 



Bloggiesta - Spring 2015Bloggiesta comes back this spring and it is better than ever! You guys, it is a week this time. A week! I have a to-do list a mile long for this blog, so I definitely could use that amount of time. Not sure what Bloggiesta is or what it involves? Click on the button to be taken to the Bloggiesta page or go here.


Daffodils - 3-8-2014

Look closely … my daffodils are coming up after a very long winter! You see them? Full disclosure: this is a photo from last March, taken on 3/8/2014, but they look the same right now.

This headache that I’ve had most of the weekend. I think it’s weather-related (yesterday was rainy and miserable) and I’m being very cautious about not taking much of anything like Advil or my Maxalt because I’m scheduled for a root canal tomorrow.

I actually hate the headache more than the root canal. This is long overdue – my dentist wanted to do this back in 2012, according to my chart (I conveniently forgot about that) and now this tooth is starting to bother me. So, as much as one can look forward to a root canal, I am.

Don’t laugh, but I really want to do some spring cleaning around the house. (I know … those of you who know me are probably thinking my blog’s been hacked.)  Every room in this house is a disaster and could use some freshening up. Nothing major – we don’t have the budget for anything crazy. I’m talking about some significant decluttering and deep cleaning (I might hire someone for that), framing some photos for the walls … simple things.

Hope your weekend has been a good one!


for the fair daffodils, and for those who have hastened away so soon

Daffodils - 4-14-2014

It’s hard to get the full effect from such a small picture, but trust me … my daffodils were absolutely stunning on Monday after a glorious weekend of 70 and near 80 degree temperatures.

And this morning, not even 48 hours later?

Daffodils in snow 3

Daffodils in snow 2 Daffodils in snow 4 Daffodils in snow 5


Fair Daffadils, we weep to see
You haste away so soon;
As yet the early-rising sun
Has not attain’d his noon.
Stay, stay,
Until the hasting day
Has run
But to the even-song;
And, having pray’d together, we
Will go with you along.

We have short time to stay, as you;
We have as short a spring;
As quick a growth to meet decay,
As you, or any thing.
We die
As your hours do, and dry
Like to the summer’s rain;
Or as the pearls of morning’s dew,
Ne’er to be found again.

Robert Herrick (1591-1674) 

Daffodil in rainAfter the longest winter ever, our daffodils bloomed Thursday afternoon.


These were taken this morning and something about the rain on the newly emerging daffodils somehow seemed fitting in the aftermath of the stabbings at Franklin Regional High School here in the Pittsburgh area. We don’t know anyone at Franklin Regional, but given its proximity to us (it’s about 40 minutes, give or take), seeing that bright splash of yellow during the last two days was definitely needed.

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.” ~ Albert Camus, “The Stranger”

Daffodils emerging

seems like years

Daffodils - 3-8-2014

“Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear…” 

“Here Comes the Sun” ~ The Beatles, written by George Harrison

Indeed, it has been a long, cold lonely winter and it does seem like years since it’s been clear enough to get up the driveway, much less spot these daffodil tips in the front yard this afternoon.

today in daffodils

Daffodils in our front yard, as seen today at 8:15 a.m.

…and then at 3:30 p.m. 

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Springtime Outings with the Beez Family (A Pittsburgh Bloggers Guest Post from BeezusKiddo)

Today, as part of some April Fools shenanigans with othePittsburgh Bloggers, nobody is where they are supposed to be. Meaning that, today I’m featuring a guest post from my new friend Elizabeth Collura who is an attorney, wife, mom, and one of my favorite local bloggers. 

Elizabeth’s blog, the awesomely-named BeezusKiddo, has been one of my favorites since we moved here to Pittsburgh because she, Mr. Beez, and Baby Beez seem to do ALL THE AMAZING THINGS in this city. I’ve gotten so many great ideas from her blog. (And for my bookish friends, if you were thinking that the Beezus part refers to the Beverly Cleary character, you would be right.) 

And now, without further ado, please welcome Elizabeth from BeezusKiddo

Springtime Outings with the Beez Family

The weather man tells me that this week there is finally hope of Spring returning! Perhaps this frightful winter weather won’t be permanent after all!

Life being what it is, with errands and laundry and what not, it’s hard to find time to just relax.  But with the hopes of spring around the corner, I’m itching for some adventures.  If I had a whole day to spend just chillin out maxin relaxin all cool, this is how I’d spend it:

We’d start our day out with a hearty breakfast.  Pancakes at the Dor-Stop? Yes, please!

Next we’d head into Oakland. The first order of business would be a visit to the Carnegie Library. Baby Beez could read and play in the kids area, while I read a magazine and Mr. Beez surfs the internet.  No visit is complete without checking out an armful of bedtime stories, and a stack of Dora and Elmo videos too.

After the library, a visit to Schenley Plaza would be in order.  In the summertime, they offer monthly family day events where carousel rides are free, and there are activities like face painting, balloon animals and caricatures.  We are also big fans of the frequent free concerts and theater performances in the Plaza.  Even when there isn’t a special event going on, the charming carousel is well worth a spin.

After all this, it would be time for Baby Beez and Mr. Beez to take a nap.  If I knew what was good for me, I’d take a nap too…but I just can’t help myself. So I’d head out to the Allegheny River for some quality kayak and podcast time.

And after everyone is well rested and I’ve cleaned the river water smell of myself, we would trek back to the North Shore to take in our beloved Buccos.

We’d each be treated to our favorite snacks: French fries for Baby Beez and Mr. Beez, and Quaker Steak BBQ wings for me.

Hopefully the Pirates will score some runs and we can see the fireworks.  We know those Bucco’s well enough to have well-practiced loss scowls.

But maybe this year? Right? I think it’s time for a winning season! Happy opening day, yinz!
OK, yinz see what I mean? I’m exhausted just reading that! I’ve never been to the Dor-Stop nor the main branch of the Carnegie Library. I had no idea that there was a carousel in Schenley Park, and maybe if I get myself to a Pirates game this year their record will change. (Hope springs eternal, right?) Four great Pittsburgh ideas in one post. Thanks so much, Elizabeth!  As part of the April Fools Pittsburgh Bloggers event, I’m guest-posting about what to do when “You’ve Lost That Blogging Feeling” over at Will Reynolds Young’s blog. 

Photo Credits: Top photo taken by me, March 30, 2013, Pittsburgh as seen from the top of the Duquesne Incline. All other photos by Elizabeth Collura. 

Links to other participating Pittsburgh Bloggers and their posts are here: 
Making Rainbows for The Steel Trap
A Librarian’s Lists & Letters for Prettyburgh
Prettyburgh for Oh Honestly, Erin
Oh Honestly, Erin for everybody loves you
everybody loves you… for The Great Scott! Blog
The Great Scott! Blog for jelly jars
jelly jars for Glitzburgh
Glitzburgh for Pittsburgh Hot Plate
Pittsburgh Hot Plate for fooding with Emily
fooding with Emily for ‘lil Burgers
‘lil Burgers for Red Pen Mama
Red Pen Mama for Crank Crank Revolution
Crank Crank Revolution for Yinz R Readin
Yinz R Readin for Beezus Kiddo
Beezus Kiddo for the betty and boo chronicles (obviously ….)
the betty and boo chronicles for Will Reynolds Young
Will Reynolds Young for Tall Tales from a Small Town
Tall Tales from a Small Town for Ya Jagoff
Ya Jagoff for Sean’s Ramblings
Sean’s Ramblings for Love The Burgh
Love The Burgh for Primped in Pittsburgh
Primped in Pittsburgh for Making Rainbows