Archive for July, 2008

Tour of the Station
July 31, 2008

 Here are some photos I just got from a tour of our station Mike Clark gave to a group from North Huntingdon. 

     The tour was donated as an auction item to Queen of Angels Catholic School’s annual dinner/auction held April 25th. This year they raised a record $45,000 at the event.
Mike Clark agreed to host the tour for six people…. and I’m sure he did a great job! 
  Here they are in our control room with the wonderful Becky Emmers who hosts Links n’@.
  Demetrius showed them around the weather center….
and Sally invited them up on the set with her. 
 
       Here, Mike must be telling them why they must watch Channel Four Action News! ha ha ha…. Thanks for sending me these pictures and we’re glad to have you take a look behind the scenes.

New Book / Loving Frank
July 30, 2008

Here’s the book I just finished reading. It’s about famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright who designed the amazing Fallingwater which is about an hour from Pittsburgh.  It’s called Loving Frank and it’s a debut novel for Nancy Horan. 


  The book is part fiction, part fact… as Noran pieces together a very public affair Wright had with the wife of one of his clients …. Mamah Borthwick Cheney.  I loved it!  If you plan to read it… don’t let anyone tell you about it… and whatever you do… don’t look up on the internet how it all ends.  It will ruin it for you. My neighbor Cindy had just finished reading it.. and warned me not to look anything up until I was done with the entire book… and she was right.

 I have been to Fallingwater twice and never heard any of this story before.  The book gave me much more appreciation for Wright’s work and challenges of being such a visionary during that time. Remember when Angelina Jolie flew Brad Pitt to Fallingwater as a birthday present because Brad’s hobby is studying architecture?  (sigh) 

   Here’s the book review from the publisher: 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

I have been standing on the side of life, watching it float by. I want to swim in the river. I want to feel the current.So writes Mamah Borthwick Cheney in her diary as she struggles to justify her clandestine love affair with Frank Lloyd Wright. Four years earlier, in 1903, Mamah and her husband, Edwin, had commissioned the renowned architect to design a new home for them. During the construction of the house, a powerful attraction developed between Mamah and Frank, and in time the lovers, each married with children, embarked on a course that would shock Chicago society and forever change their lives. 

In this ambitious debut novel, fact and fiction blend together brilliantly. While scholars have largely relegated Mamah to a footnote in the life of America’s greatest architect, author Nancy Horan gives full weight to their dramatic love story and illuminates Cheney’s profound influence on Wright.

Drawing on years of research, Horan weaves little-known facts into a compelling narrative, vividly portraying the conflicts and struggles of a woman forced to choose between the roles of mother, wife, lover, and intellectual. Horan’s Mamah is a woman seeking to find her own place, her own creative calling in the world. Mamah’s is an unforgettable journey marked by choices that reshape her notions of love and responsibility, leading inexorably ultimately lead to this novel’s stunning conclusion.

Elegantly written and remarkably rich in detail, Loving Frank is a fitting tribute to a courageous woman, a national icon, and their timeless love story.

Thirsty Squirrel
July 25, 2008

  OK. Here is a sequence of shots I took from Mom’s kitchen window of the squirrels trying to get a sip of sugar water from the hummingbird feeders…. after munching on that corn Zach threw down for them. 

 

Squirrels and Sidney
July 25, 2008

I’m trying to organize some recent pictures in my computer… and thought I’d share a few. Here’s Zach at my parents’ house… feeding the squirrels.  He’s pulling kernels off the cob. 

  See the shirt he’s wearing? You already know he’s a Sidney Crosby fan… even in the off-season ; ) It was the only thing he wanted for his birthday.

  We can’t wait for the season to start! If you’ve never seen the footage of Sidney playing as a kid click here to see him in action as a tyke.  I remember when I interviewed him I told him how Zach was destroying the baseboards in my basement by playing hockey along with the team when he’s watching them on tv. He laughed and said he ruined his parents’ basement by practicing hockey, too.  This video shows him doing just that. 

Anyway, back to the squirrels, it seemed the squirrels got thirsty from all the food… and wanted a sip from the hummingbird feeders. They are true acrobats!

I’ll find those pictures and post them here next. 

Wendy’s boys / Jersey Boys
July 24, 2008

           Wendy’s boys are beautiful. They’re still so tiny and so precious. Mike Clark, Producer Maria Dravecky and Executive Producer Tim Wells and I all went over today. We had a great time. Bobby and Chris were so quiet and sweet and I didn’t want to leave them to come to work.  I’ll ask Wendy for some pictures of the the boys to post here. They’re darling!

   Now to my Cleveland trip! 

   I was invited by Zach Stevenson to come see a cool show coming to Pittsburgh in January. He’s with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and does a great job! So I talked my friend Bonnie into hanging out in Cleveland and seeing a show. Here we are with Zach right before the show. 

         The show is Jersey Boys. It won a Tony Award for best musical in 2006. It was AWESOME! It is not appropriate for children with some bad language (originally I got tickets for my kids to come but Zach Stevenson told me I should reconsider that … but I HIGHLY recommend it for adults.)  If you have a significant other who doesn’t like musical theater….. this is the show to drag him to! He will love it. It is the true story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Click here to get tickets before it’s too late. 

 

    

   Here we are backstage after the show with the stars. This is the same group performing here in January. They are so nice and so talented. Their voices are incredible! I can’t say that enough. AMAZING!  One of them was with the show in the early stages in California … before it even went to Broadway.  He told Bonnie and me that he was very nervous when it opened because some mobster-types  were in the audience to see how everyone was portrayed. He said they’d get on the cell phones in the middle of the show to report back to “someone” about each of the characters.  It looks like everyone must have approved of the show since it’s still going strong.

(The guy wearing the baseball hat is a CMU grad. He’s looking forward to coming back to Pgh for the show …. I’ll tell you more about him next.)

    Bonnie and I also checked out the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Cool!

    I promised my son I’d boooo as I walked past the Brown’s stadium…..  

   As for the rest of Cleveland…. I’ll just say that after visiting… I’m more thankful and more proud than ever… that I live in Pittsburgh!

Voice of Romance
July 23, 2008

     Later today, I’m posting photos from my trip to see The Jersey Boys. Awesome show. Also, Mike Clark and I are going to visit Wendy today and see her new baby boys! Can’t wait! I’ll let you know how that goes. 

     In the meantime, I thought I’d share this email I just got today:

        He’s called “the voice of romance”. He’ll be performing in Pittsburgh on my birthday. 

       He’s Italian. I have no idea what he’s singing about most of the time… but, come on, does it matter?

    Click here to listen to him.  

   Here’s the press release… check out how the last line describes him ; ) 

 

Patrizio Buanne – the Italian

Wednesday, October 8, 2008 – 8:00 p.m., Benedum Center
Tickets On Sale Monday, August 11 at 9:00 a.m.

Pittsburgh – The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and Joker Productions are proud to present Patrizio Buanne – the Italian for one night only at the Benedum Center Wednesday, October 8, 2008 at 8:00 p.m., with Giorgia Fumanti as the opening act. Tickets range from $35 – $70, and are available at the Box Office at Theater Square [655 Penn Avenue], by calling 412-456-6666 or ordering online at pgharts.org beginning Monday, August 11 at 9:00 a.m. Patrizio Buanne – the Italian is brought to you by WQED.

Since the release of his debut album, “The Italian” in 2005, and his 2006 follow-up album “Forever Begins Tonight”, Patrizio Buanne has achieved impressive success across the globe. Patrizio found himself the right team to record his vision and dream on two CD’s with the world’s finest musicians, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, in one of the most respected recording studios, Abbey Road. After being signed and released by the biggest record company in the world (Universal Records), he has sold over one million albums worldwide, which left a particular impression in the UK, Asia, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

Outstanding sales that now take the albums in some of the mentioned countries to Triple Platinum status have resulted in sold-out tours that included unforgettable nights at the Sydney Opera House, the Explanative in Singapore, the Kennedy Centre in Washington and The Lincoln Centre in New York. He has also performed for such luminaries as the Pope, The Royal Family and the President of the United States.

Patrizio has been called “the voice of romance,” but his creamy baritone voice, seductive phrasing and onstage persona say a whole lot more. He has taken an essence from his all-time favorite entertainers and re-invented that tradition into a new school of ‘Crooning Entertainer,’ or simply, PATRIZIO. Although he is only in his late twenties, his stage experience is that of an old soul professional who knows how to reunite three generations into one show. Once described as ‘the dark suited Lothario who arrived on stage in an Estrogen-charged atmosphere like a match being dropped into a box of fireworks’, there is no doubt that Patrizio Buanne has charisma.

Jersey Boys / Talking to the Dead
July 22, 2008

    

   I have a lot to tell you about a Broadway show coming here!  I spent the weekend in Cleveland and saw Jersey Boys.

It is fantastic! I can see why it won a Tony award for Best Musical. 

       You need to go ahead and buy a ticket now for the January show. If you have a man in your life you have trouble getting to go to a musical… *this* is the one to drag him to. He’ll love it.  I’ll be writing about this more tomorrow.  Click here to go ahead and get your tickets now before they’re gone. 

   I still have to download the photos from my weekend to show you… and since I didn’t bring my transfer cords to work tonight (my nighttime schedule still has me out of whack) … I thought I’d post this email I got today of something else coming to Pittsburgh in October. If you’ve ever wanted to talk to a loved one who’s pass away…. maybe, just maybe, this woman could help.  I have no idea which relative I’d want to talk to or what I’d like to ask.  I can’t say I believe in this…. but it does have me thinking. Have any of you out there had an experience from the “Other Side”? If so, I would love to hear about it! 

   In the meantime… here’s my email notice: 

Lisa Williams: Messages From Beyond

Tuesday, October 28th – 7:30pm | Byham Theater
Tickets on sale Friday, July 25th at 9:00am

Lisa Williams is an internationally acclaimed Medium and Clairvoyant who has an amazing ability to communicate with loved ones and friends whom have passed on to the ‘other side’. She is appearing at the Byham Theater on Tuesday, October 28th at 7:30pm. Tickets are $45.50-$75.50 and can be purchased at the Box Office at Theater Square (655 Penn Avenue), by phone at (412) 456-6666 or online at http://www.pgharts.org. Lisa Williams will be doing readings for members of the audience. Purchasing a ticket does not guarantee a reading.

Born in England, Lisa was discovered by Merv Griffin and currently has her own hit show ‘Lisa Williams, Life Among the Dead’, on Lifetime Television. As well as appearing on Good Morning America, Oprah and The Jimmy Kimmel Show, Lisa recently completed her first book. In addition to her readings in front of large audiences, Lisa does personal readings and is a trained Reiki and Crystal Healer.

She works with loved ones of the audience to help resolve past issues, inform them of situations that they may find themselves in, and give closure and healing. Lisa Williams shares these gifts through large audience readings.

My first golf lesson
July 17, 2008

.

      I’m not sure what prompted this…. but I finally decided to take a golf lesson. I have no idea why.

       I grew up with my dad and brothers playing constantly. Actually my dad is rather awesome. But I’ve never picked up a club before other than to play putt-putt. But my kids both love to play… I normally take them to the driving range or putting green and relax with a good book while they practice.  

      But I thought I should give the game a try…. simply because my kids aren’t old enough to drive the cart themselves… and I have no idea which direction to drive. So right now we can only use the driving range or the putting green.  The first time I drove the cart and was trying to find the driving range… I actually drove up on a green with four people putting and they gave me a not-so-friendly look. I thought I was going the right way. Nope.  Then one of the golf professionals, Ed, quickly drove up behind me and quietly escorted us over to the range. I was so embarrassed!…. but not as embarrassed as my kids! 

       Frank Blazewick offered to give me my first lesson.  The membership coordinator took this photo and sent it to me.  I warned him that I’d be terrible…. and I was.  

      Just awful.

     When I told Mike Clark last night during the 11:00 news that I was taking my first lesson… he grabbed a pen on the news desk and showed me the correct way to hold the club. So during a commercial break I practiced.  Frank said Mike gave me great advice on my grip (so great job, Mike!).   But *that* was the only thing I did correctly. 

     We spent the whole hour just learning how to swing.  I did everything wrong. There is a lot of things to think about during that swing. Arms, hips, head, feet. And my hair kept falling in my eyes…. boy, was that annoying!     Believe it or not, he actually agreed to a second lesson next Thursday…. I’ll let you know if I improve.    

      Later I read Frank’s bio:  

      Frank Blazewick has been the Head Golf Professional at Highland Country Club since 1996. In his twelve years as Head Professional he has been very active in playing, teaching, and managing the golf operation at Highland. While in the position of Head Professional he has won three Tri-State PGA events, his last in 2003 at the Nike Classic held at Old Stonewall Golf club. Ina addition to his playing accomplishments, in 2003 and 2004, he received the Tri-State PGA’s Horton Smith Award for his dedication, leadership and outstanding contributions to PGA education. In 2007 he was recognized by Golf Digest Magazine for his teaching ability. In the annual Golf Digest list of top instructors, Frank was named 14th in the state of Pennsylvania. Frank has been married to his wife Kristin since 1990 and has two children, Ashley 13 and Matt 9. He is a graduate of Robert Morris College where he majored in Business Administration with an emphasis on Sports Management. While attending Robert Morris he was a two-time MVP of the golf team. After graduation he worked as an Assistant Golf Professional at Armco Golf Club, in Slippery Rock, PA from 1989 to 1992. From 1993 to 1995 he worked as an Assistant Golf Professional at Highland Country Club until he was named Head Golf Professional in 1996.

    Well, he should add on there that in July of 2008 he was named the “Most Patient of All Pennsylvania Golf Professionals” after providing a rather challenging lesson to a complete klutz.

Great Seats / Bad Timing
July 17, 2008

  We recently had GREAT seats in the Home Plate Club at PNC Park. Thanks to my friend who gave them to us when he couldn’t go to the game. 

  IT WAS AWESOME.

    The kids loved being so close to all the action…. and they loved the waitress who spoiled us by coming back often to see if she could bring them more food.

   But we learned timing is everything in baseball.

   Pitching.

   Hitting.

   Catching.

   Avoiding the Pirate Parrot. 

   Remember, how I’ve told you Ally’s fear of mascots?  Well, she’s pretty much over it. We’ve been many places where she’ll even get up the courage to get her picture taken with one. But the Parrot is HUGE. 

   So while she was having a fabulous time in our fabulous seats …. she was keeping an eye out for the big bird. 

   The Parrot was always up in the stands entertaining…. 

   And then we had to go to the bathroom.  As soon as we walked into the Home Plate Club……. 

THERE.

HE. 

WAS!  

 

  Ally was not happy. The Parrot recognized me and Zach insisted on taking our picture. 

   One moment sooner or later…. and we’d have missed each other. 

  But, of course, fate had us smack right into each other. 

   Ally recovered well…. but next time…  I bet she’ll hold it until we get home.

Rat Pack
July 16, 2008

Did you hear the Rat Pack is coming to Pittsburgh?

Click here to watch a preview of the show coming to Heinz Hall July 22 – 27. 

Thanks for your emails to Shane
July 16, 2008

  Thanks to everyone who sent in messages about Shane the soldier. I forwarded them to him and hopefully it will help him realize that people care. If I hear from him again, I’ll post it right away. 

   Also, I’m anchoring the 5:00 and the 11:00 for Wendy while she’s on maternity leave…. so these posts are coming at odd times. I used to post them when I got to work before the noon show… I’ll have to try to get into a groove with my new temporary hours now. I hope to see Wendy and Bobby and Chris in the next few days.. and I’ll be sure to let you know how they’re doing.

  Also many of you have asked about a story I did that helps your feet feel better. There’s a device called Yoga Toes that helps stretch your toes making them stronger and feel better. Click here to see how you can order them.

     And to make my hectic week a little better… I’m proud to report the hummingbirds have arrived at my house! I put up two feeders and the little things have tried out both of them. I will have to have my camera ready to capture the moment and brag to you. With my new hours I haven’t had a chance to ask Erin how her feeder is doing… I’ll try to do that. Thanks for all your suggestions… they worked!

Sad Letter from Shane
July 15, 2008

  For those of you who’ve been reading for a while, you know Shane the soldier. I met him in an airport saying goodbye to his fiancee as he was heading off to Iraq. 

   He just emailed a sad letter describing their breakup. Long distance relationships are tough.  He wanted me to post the entire email, but I don’t feel comfortable sharing exactly what happened without getting her response. So I’ve decided to share only part of it…. and let you know that Shane is having a tough time since his fiancee ended their relationship. Let’s remember him in our prayers… and all the other soldiers sacrificing so much for all of us. 

Michelle,
                    Unfortunately this will be my last E-Mail to you and all who read your blog.  I want them to know that I feel like I have become “friends” with not just your city but the state as well.  The E-Mails you have forwarded to me from your readers have truely meant the world to me while I’ve been here.  Please make sure they know that.  In the following paragraph I will tell you the reasoning for not writing anymore, and hopefully my “freinds” there in PA will understand.

Kennywood Day Fun
July 11, 2008

    The King of Kennywood Day signed autographs beside me for a while on WTAE day at the park. 

    Doesn’t Joe look great? I am reminded of my very first Kennywood Day. After only working here for about six months, I arrived to our autograph booth. As the shift changed… I took the place of Joe DeNardo. The crowd saw we were switching places and started screaming… “NO JOE.. DON’T GO!”.  Down I sat. And as the line moved through… person after person just wanted me to hand over a card of Joe… even though he wasn’t there to sign it. So rather than signing any photos myself… I just started handing out Joe’s photo. ; ) 

  

   Here’s the guy responsible for putting our day of fun on television, Art. 

   And here’s a reader of this blog, Ron! Thanks for reading! 

          Here is a great family….. The guy in the blue shirt works here, Jim.  Remember, he’s the guy who found the coffee burning a hole in the cups?  And ok…. so this next shot was long after the parade. Here’s Mike back in the newsroom with his daughter, Danielle (on the right) and her friend Brenna.  I wanted to take a picture of them during the parade but forgot. They rode in the parade right in front of us…. and we kept blowing our horn at them. I will only say that the driver of his car should get his exhaust checked out. (PHEW!) 

  Lots of familiar faces stopped by to say hello (Paula and Joe… it wouldn’t be the same without you!) …. and my kids had a great time in the parade. What a wonderful day!

Shawn’s Art Show
July 9, 2008


   

     If you’re ever on Ellsworth in Shadyside…. take a second to  go in the Mendelson art gallery.  My friend, Shawn Quinlan’s fabric art is on display. I stood on a chair to take this picture. The gallery owner, Steve Mendelson, was so worried I’d fall. I imagined what kind of picture *that* would be…. the perspective would be looking up at a bunch of panicked faces looking down and circled around me.

Click here to see more of the Mendelson Gallery.   or  Click here if you’d like to read more about gallery owner, Steve Mendelson.

   Here we are at the opening night reception.  Shawn is a video editor at Channel Four. We were hired the very same month almost 14 years ago and we became fast friends. I think his work is amazing both at WTAE and his fabric art. Photos don’t do him justice.. you really have to see it in person. 

   I stood out in the rain to take  this picture. I like the reflection of the neon lights on the rain-soaked sidewalk and street. You can see the reception going on in the back room.  Steve Mendelson had just gotten back from a two week trip to Beijing, China and had some amazing stuff. There’s a mirror that has a laser so when you look into it, a ghost-like little girl appears along with your reflection and she start putting on lipstick. It’s cool and creepy!  I told him it would give me nightmares.  He also had some other unusual pieces. One was rice art in a large frame… but when you turn it on, underneath you can see moving lighted figures running over rocks and behind a tree. When it’s off, it’s a beautiful conservative piece of art… and then you can make it into something much more modern when you flip a switch. There’s another one like it that involves an antique Chinese map.

     Here, Shawn is showing his work to my neighbors who joined me for the show. His art is edgy, controversial, and is sure to encourage conversation.

     Shawn’s work will also be in the Andy Warhol Museum as part of the 98th annual exhibition of the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh August 1st – September 14th.

     As part of that show jurors give out big awards at the opening night reception July 31st…. so keep your fingers crossed for Shawn!

Cast Art
July 8, 2008

Meet T.J.

He’s a great WTAE photographer. But you can see by this photo… how his ability might be a bit limited now.

 

  Somehow he broke his wrist.  But check out his cool cast! He said they offer casts in all different colors these days.. but he chose white and then had Action News Reporter Marcie Cipriani’s husband, Chris create a design on it.  

  

  

     It’s harder than it looks because of the texture of the cast…. Chris did an amazing job.

    I told Marcie that Chris should open his own business of doing cast art.

 There are a ton of kids (big and little) that would love to sport a cool design during a tough time. 

  But we don’t want T.J. thinking he’s looking too cool…… we need him back behind the camera lens!