Archive for May, 2007

Zoo Night
May 25, 2007

This is the feisty little fellow that wouldn’t let us get by him at the zoo!
We nervously laughed and waited for him to attack. I have the greatest picture of my friend trying to get by but she begged me (make that threatened me) not to post it here. Anyway, the standoff lasted a few minutes and we finally we able to make our way into the spectacular exhibit The Water’s Edge.

To watch a polar bear swim is amazing.
They’re surprisingly graceful… despite, well, being a big bear.

The bears only swim about 10 percent of the time. We waited less than 15 minutes in the tunnel before they jumped in. I had walked out of the tunnel for a second to get some water with my daughter and I heard Kelly Frey yell…. “Hey, here he comes!”
We went running back and loved it!

A took this picture because I have a huge stained glass window of a peacock in my living room that’s posed very much like this.

When I bought my house I knew the window would match an antique charcoal drawing of a garden of peacocks my mother gave me. She had it hanging in our home as I was growing up and every year I begged and begged and begged her to give it to me. I love it! When I finally moved out on my own she gave it to me. Or wait, maybe I took it…. it’s all a blur now. So I have a special place in my heart for peacocks.

The usual suspects at the zoo were pretty cool, too. We had a great time seeing all the media from the other stations.

Much of the time we walked around with Sally Wiggin. She’s great… and knows everything about all the animals. My son loved listening to her. At each exhibit he made his way closer and closer to her and finally by the time we got to the sharks he was glued to her side.

Finally, here is the elephant from the picture I posted last time when I zoomed in on his eye. I’ll have to ask Sally which elephant it is…. I bet she knows.

Eye of an Elephant
May 21, 2007

They say the eyes are the window to the soul but this guy is still a mystery to me.

He is beautiful, isn’t he? I have to wonder what a big guy like this is thinking when he’s looking back at me over the fence.

I wrote a long blog last night… with lots of pictures from the Pittsburgh Zoo… and before I could post it, it disappeared!
I’m sure it’s something I did wrong…. so I’ll have to start all over. ARGH!
We watched the polar bears swim, had a standoff with a peacock, and played out with the frisky sea otters.
In the meantime this morning, enjoy this haunting picture I took of the elephant…. and let me know what you think he’s thinking.

Phipps Amazing Show
May 20, 2007

You have to make the time to go see the AMAZING glass show at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

I took this picture and it’s my new screensaver.
International glass artist Dale Chihuly’s exhibit is BREATHTAKING.
Pittsburgh is the seventh city chosen to host the show.
If you’ve never been, Phipps is in Oakland inside of Schenley Park. It’s always a treat to visit but this show is awesome.

Chihuly is known for vibrant colors and innovative sculptures. He lives in Washington and his work is featured all over the world.
But I am not a good enough photographer to capture how impressive this exhibit really is.
The show will be here until November 11.
To check out more and find out about the hours:
Here are a few of the zillion pictures I took.

I went at night when the sculptures were glowing from the lights and they were spectacular! I am going back during the day to get a different perspective.

You can see video of Dale Chihuly working on his website: I love the segment on the chandeliers.

One thing I learned about Chihuly is that he revolutionized the art of glass making by working as a team.

Phipps has a wonderful shop but I didn’t leave myself enough time to buy anything because I kept lingering around the exhibit. I am heading back to buy a beautiful piece of glass from the shop. Phipps also has a cafe so I think I’ll head over for a quick lunch and do some shopping to remember 2007 as the year Pittsburgh celebrated glass.

our glass flowers
May 20, 2007

I promised I would show you some of our glass flowers when I got them.
Here they are.
Aren’t they special? They are my Mother’s Day gifts.

For those of you who didn’t read my earlier post. We went to tour the Pittsburgh Glass Center last weekend.
It was cool.

After watching the experts blow glass…. the kids got the chance to make their own glass flowers.
Our friends’ flowers turned out even better than these but I was so excited to give it to them… that I forgot to take a picture!
If you ever have the time you should stop by the Glass Center on Penn Avenue and check it out.
Another glass show also blew me away.
I saw the Dale Chihuly show at Phipps.
I took a ton of pictures and as soon as I upload them I’ll share them with you. It is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen (other than my Mother’s Day glass flowers).

Race for the Cure
May 15, 2007

This was my view at the Race for the Cure.
More amazing every year.
I’ve been helping with the race for 13 years. It’s wonderful to see how far it’s come. It’s also wonderful to see so many pink shirts. The women wearing them are survivors…. and until we beat this disease, our goal is to increase the number of survivors.

Andrew, Mike and I were thrilled to take part. Every year we get the chance to talk to Jim Rohr from PNC bank. How proud we are to have him in Pittsburgh! What a caring person! PNC is the presenting sponsor each year and we couldn’t do it without its help. This year Jim presented us with an award. He honored WTAE for being the media sponsor for the race since the very beginning. What an honor!

Here I am with my dear friends the Marschkes.
I gave little Caroline a doghnut when we took this picture.

Here she is a few minutes later….. fast asleep from the day….still holding my doughnut.

One day this is what we’ll all be doing on Mother’s Day…. sleeping in.
No more race.
No more getting up at 5:00.
No more announcing lost keys and cell phones.
No more trying to stop the walkers from staring early so they won’t block the runners as the courses cross paths.

That’s our goal…. to stop the race.
And tell little Caroline, that she doesn’t have to worry about breast cancer.
But until then, we’ll keep getting the message out: regular self exams, mammograms, raising money for research and treatment.. until we find that cure.

Goodbye Gwen
May 15, 2007

The very first time I ever interviewed Commander Gwen Elliott I knew we’d be friends.
She had a way about her to make me feel so comfortable.
I could tell she really cared about Pittsburgh and she cared about every single person who lived here. She wanted to make this a better place.

She did.

Gwen was so excited for me when I was about to become a new mom. After I had my first, she always asked a ton of questions about how he was doing and how I was doing.

For those of you who haven’t heard, she passed away this week from brain cancer.
She was the first black woman to become a commander in the Pittsburgh Police Department but she was so much more.
She leaves behind quite a legacy. She started Gwen’s Girls… a safe haven for at-risk girls.
She was a great example for all of us.
Goodbye Gwen. You will be missed by so many.

Pittsburgh Glass Center
May 13, 2007

We took a tour of the Pittsburgh Glass Center on Penn Avenue near South Negley Avenue.
It is amazing.
This is Amy. She showed us around and explained everything that goes into glass making.

Then the kids got their shot at making glass flowers.
They each got a chance to take tools and pull out the glass in the shape of a flower. They were all beautiful and I get to pick them up Monday. I can’t wait to get them!

While we were there, a guy came in to the furnace room called the “hot shop” (for good reason!) who looked like a college football player and told us he was picking up a vase and flower he made for his mother for Mother’s Day! He didn’t look like the type to do something like that but I bet it’ll be one of the best Mother’s Day gift his mom ever got!
What a great idea!

We watched the glass blowers make a beautiful vase.


It takes a long time to make each piece and it’s super HOT in there! It’s not easy doing what they do.

This is Zach and Stephen…. they’re work is wonderful.
I have no idea what this next guy is doing.

We also met a talented jewelry artist named Jessica Rutherford (412-951-8825 or
I bought two pair of her earrings.

Her website is still being created but and worth checking out when it’s up. Jessica told us she hosts parties where she teaching jewelry making and she adjusts her work for people of all ages.

Another jewelry artist named Theresa Cress was there showing, as she describes it, her “funky blown glass vessels and jewelry”.
If you go to visit, there is a showroom with beautiful pieces to admire.
Pittsburgh Glass Center
5472 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Tuesday – Thursday 10am to 7pm
Friday – Sunday 10 am to 4 pm
Mondays by appointment
They offer classes

When I pick up our glass art on Monday I’ll take some pictures and show them to you.
I can’t wait to show them off in my home.

Go Red for Women
May 8, 2007

I learned a lot this weekend at the Go Red For Women Luncheon in Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County.
It was all about our hearts… and how women play an important role in keeping the family heart healthy…. both figuratively and literally.

The Pennsylvania Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs organized the event. Here are some facts I learned about women and heart disease:
*Heart disease if the #1 killer of American women.
* 1 in 2.5 American women will die from heart disease or stroke.
*Women are twice as likely to die from heart attacks than men.
*64% of women who died suddenly of cardiovascular disease had no previous symptoms or awareness they had the disease.
* Heart disease kills more women than all forms of cancer combined.

I got to meet Hannah the perogie which is my favorite in the Pirates races since my daughter’s best friend is also named Hannah.

I also was honored to meet 11 year old Mariah Mascara of Washington, PA. She underwent heart surgery at age five. A muscle bundle had grown across her heart valve and it had to be removed. She shared her story about what happened and her family’s strength and she’s an inspiration!
Thanks to the doctor’s great work, Mariah is an active child with a red belt in Kung Fu. She joined a flag football team and won the gold medal last year. She also won the Young Hearts Award for “facing her ordeal valiantly and raising awareness in her community and representing a fitting model for others to emulate.”

The fashion show was put on by the Nemacolin collection. AND THE CLOTHES WERE FABULOUS! The red and white dress you see me in is from their store in Uniontown. If you ever get the chance to stop in and shop around it’s worth the effort! There were also people selling things and giving a portion of the profits to the cause. I bought this cute little Beijo purse which converts to a backpack (every mother needs one of these!).

So what can *you* do to prevent heart disease? Get a checkup. Exercise 30 minutes a day. Quit smoking. Lose weight. Stop using so much salt. Know your cholesterol numbers.
Thank you to a wonderful organization for including me and thanks for emailing me pictures to share on this blog!
Heart health is important and I’m thankful I was able to be a part of such an important day!

Recipes/Cool Website
May 8, 2007

Soon to come are pictures of my weekend in Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County and the “Go Red For Women Luncheon”. Many people at the event emailed me photos and I’ll share them soon.

For now, check out this cool website my cool producer, Kevin Kalia found on the web. It’s a sunlight map of the Earth. Watch the sun rise and set all over the world on this real-time, computer-generated illustration of the earth’s patterns of sunlight, darkness, and cloud cover based on current weather satellite data.

Also, a quick note on the recipes from Nemacolin’s brilliant executive chef Jeremy Critchfield. Some of you have called and emailed me about getting copies of the recipes. I think they’re somewhere on the main page of….. but to make it easy for you here they are: just click on these links and the pages should open for you.




Local Illustrator, John Manders
May 6, 2007

I wanted to say thank you to illustrator John Manders.
He gave my daughter, Allison, one of his books and signed it for her.
I think his work is amazing! Ally has read this story to me a dozen times already.

Here’s what I learned about him from his website ( : John Manders lives in Pittsburgh and studied at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and later at the Visual Arts and the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.
His other books look fantastic and we’re going to order some of them… including his most recent: The Perfect Nest.

You can find John’s work in more than 30 children’s books and many children’s magazines.
In May, 2006 he was named Outstanding Illustrator/Author by the Pennsylvania School Librarian’s Association.
And now, John was also voted best illustrator in our house!

Nemacolin Secrets
May 4, 2007

Nemacolin’s Spa Secrets.
I love that place! It’s wonderful and the staff was wonderful to share some cool things we can all do at home to relax and enjoy our time with our families a little more.
We first met the Executive Chef Jeremy Critchfield who made for us three yummy dishes that are designed to help keep your energy levels up all day.
The full recipes are posted here on…..
For breakfast he prepared a fruit smoothie and an oatmeal souffle. The oatmeal was ready in no time at all… thanks to pre-cooking the oatmeal. He says it’s great to do that the night before to save time in the morning.
For lunch let me say CORINANDER is my new favorite thing! We coated some salmon in it and it is great. That’s going to be the first thing I’m after next time I go to the grocery store.
And finally, he showed us how to cook some pork tenderloin on the stove top in grape seed oil and it was perfect. I also got to toss some potatoes with fresh parsley…. and it was incredible.
We then went over to try out a few yoga moves. The wellness coordinator showed me a few basic moves that help get your blood going. He said taking five minutes in the morning to stretch can make all the difference in your day.
As far as the spa treatments… the best formulas are right in your kitchen. Yogurt, fruit, honey…. slop it on your face for 10 minutes… and it will do wonders. I also enjoyed the scrubs. Mixing salt, olive oil, and a little lavender can smooth out dry skin… and when you use the olive oil you won’t need to moisturize later.
If you love to cook… you may want to sign up with Nemacolin’s new culinary school. While in school, you could work full time at Nemacolin and get full benefits, too!
Thanks to Nemacolin for showing us some insider information from their five diamond resort.

Steelers Fan Blitz
May 2, 2007

The fan blitz at Heinz Field was a blast!
It was raining but there was no way we were going to miss a chance to step on the hallowed grass.
So we went with some friends at braved the day and it was no surprised that the place was packed anyway.
The draft was being aired up on the jumbotron but mainly there was a ton of cool things to do.
Here was one highlight: meeting Dwight White from the Steel Curtain! My friend Jim Ogilvie (pictured with Dwight here) spotted him across the room and started telling me Dwight’s amazing story.

Here’s what happened: Before Super Bowl IX, White spent much of the week leading up to the Super Bowl in the hospital with a viral infection.
White lost 20 pounds during that week and was not expected to play. However, White checked himself out of the hosital and did play, and accounted for the only scoring in the first half when he sacked Fran Tarkenton in the end zone for a safety — the first points in Steelers’ history in a championship game.
The Steelers defeated the Minnesota Vikings 16-6.
After the game, Dwight went back to the hotel, ordered a sandwich and went to bed.
You can see why Dwight was Jim’s all time favorite player!
Now, let me explain this kid’s face.
Zach wanted to bring a friend to Heinz Field. So I called this young man’s parents who agreed to let him come along.

When we picked him up he looked like a normal kid.
When I took him home his mother was quite shocked to see this coming in her front door.
I think I heard her say “OH MY GOODNESS!”
I have no defense… there was face painting…. he wanted to try it… and this is what happened.
I’m worried his parents won’t let him come along with us next time!
But I will say that we waited in line for what seemed like over an hour to kick a field goal and I didn’t see one person make it… except our little friend here! When it was our turn, he sprinted out onto the field.. face paint and all…. and kicked so fast and made it!!!!! It all happened too quick for me to capture on camera but he really made it!

Finally I wanted to show you this: The line was SOOOOOOOOOOO long for autographs that we walked up to the front and took this picture of Chris Hoke. I wanted to say hello to Chris but some security guys wouldn’t let us get close. So with my zoom lens I snapped this picture…. and then we went home. If anyone talks to Chris soon tell him he owes us four autographs!