"Place, with a trace of humanity" Photography/Photo of the Day/Pittsburgh

Archive for May, 2010

A Day of Remembrance

Memorial Day War Memorial in late afternoon light

Muskingum County World War II/Korean War Memorial Zanesville Ohio

Family members plant flowers, trim grass, pull a few weeds, decorate graves of loved ones.

One time Mary and I scrubbed lichen off the granite with our toothbrushes. I saw a watering can hang from  a spigot, a metal pipe in the ground. Boy Scouts place American flags by white stone veterans’ graves.

I remember when Bill played taps and as the clear notes sounded, the wind kicked up, blew swirls of dust and leaves, the sky got dark. And we all felt  a shivering chill.

Each helmet  bears a soldier’s name.

My Bookshelf

What books would you put on your favorites bookshelf?

What books would you select for your bookshelf to be painted by artist Jane Mount? Her Ideal Bookshelf paintings (click link to see) featured in the New Yorker last August 11 inspired me to put twenty volumes together on one shelf and photograph them.   Anne of Green Gables was a Christmas 1925 gift to my mother from her mother and the Gene Stratton-Porter book was my mother’s.  C.S. Lewis’ Silver Chair is a stand-in for The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Most of these books belonged to my sister  Mary and got passed down to me. Longfellow was a gift to my brother David and me from Cousin Paul in 1961. In sixth grade I had to memorize, “Under a spreading chestnut tree the village smithy stands….. The Beatrix Potter in French was from my sister (who signed it Marie) and presented it to me on my half birthday one January fourth.  The Tiny Golden Book in The Naughty Little Guest by Dorothy Kunhardt. The Sunny Sulky Book opened two different directions with the good children and bad children stories.  I loved Fairy Eat-It-All who came in the night with a spoon for a little boy whose eyes were bigger than his  stomach, and he had to eat his way through a mound of food he had taken and not eaten.  So here are my books from growing up, all on one shelf.
My Bookshelf

You tell me my old books smell
like a Goodwill bin.
Old dust and stick your nose in,

The weight of them
on the house’s foundation.
My hardwood floors sag.
You say I’m impaired
in technology.
Society will evolve without me?
All I need in my life
is an e-reader not musty books.

I like the feel of them in my hand.
Turn them over, slip off a dustjacket.
See the author peer back at me.
The opening of the first page.
Or a slender bookmark to hold my place.
I’m sad they’re closing the store.

My list of reasons to read
from a page (or your preferred screen)–

There’s escape,
maps, cooking, and signs,
travel or how to put something together
take meds,
but for me
reason number one. Two and three.
There’s my mother’s voice
my dad’s, in certain volumes
reading to me-
the escape I mentioned before.
And enjoyment. Sheer enjoyment.
I’m sure you can think of more.

My Favorite Bookshelf Image

What books would you put on your favorites bookshelf?

Burnt Almond Torte and Copycat Recipe

Different regions prefer certain pastries, baked goods.  Burnt Almond Torte is popular in Pittsburgh. I’ve seen it as a wedding cake. tiered!  Who brought the recipe here I don’t know but many Pittsburghers LOVE it.  I’d never tasted one until we moved here.  This one is from the Oakmont Bakery.  Joan brought it to dinner one night.  We split it three ways. Don’t know who ate the cherry.  Not me.  But before we devoured it, I photographed it.  Here is a link to the Recipezaar Copycat Prantl’s Burnt Almond Torte recipe in case you want to have a taste of Pittsburgh Pastry/Dessert.  I hear there’s one where chocolate is involved.

Almost Late for School

You get behind a garbage truck on a narrow street. A school bus bears down on your tail, headlights reflected in your rearview mirror. The minutes tick tick tick.  You watch the men pitch the bags into the back. Both sides of the street. You should have left home earlier, not stopped for coffee, gone a different route. You make it in time.  But you might as well relax and take out your camera and shoot because there is no getting by.

You're stuck on Spring Street behind a garbage truck. It's a narrow street.

Just relax and photograph the scene where you are trapped.

Circular Window Frames Fountain/Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild Courtyard

Wednesday nights I drive to the Northside and take a Video Portrait Class until nine.  When I left to call a friend about previewing a copy of the movie I was burning I looked out and saw the sun setting on the courtyard fountain. Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild is a beautiful facility to take a class, hear a jazz concert, view student artworks.  As I head to class I am so tired from school but after a short time I am thinking creatively of a dozen more projects to consider making. Classic photography assignment- photograph frame something as you shoot it!

Classrooms at school are about 100 degrees. MCG is air conditioned!

Bicentennial Baby Celebrates Birthday

He’s how I became a mother. 1976, Fort Knox Kentucky.   And his brother Matthew had the idea to post something meaningful on birthdays. I found the dented engraved silver rattle in a tin.  I used to make things. Giant needlepoint baby blocks with buttons inside, I stitched  Mark a States Quilt with all fifty states to scale, (Alaska and Texas a different scale)  using a National Geographic map for the templates. Mark knew all the state capitals at age 3 and used to go around saying Sac-ra-men -to!   I stitched a little doll that was asleep on one side of his face, awake on the other and made a pillow with pockets to put him in.  You can see Mark wtih his grandfather in Philly, he’s wearing the  blue and white checked overalls I made.  It was a different time.  Now he is married to a wonderful wife. They have four children.  He’s how I became a grandmother. I am so proud of him and all his accomplishments!  Happy Birthday Mark Joseph McGrath. love, Ma

I am proud of my son on his birthday. Everyday.

Stuff I have saved (and could find) makes a personalized birthday collage.

Bigos, Leczo, Pyzy and of course Pierogi at Polskie Delikatesy

Bigos is the Polish National Dish. Another slideshow seems a bit much  but you can envision it in your mind and your taste buds. Can’t you picture it? All the ethnic  grocery stores in the Strip District (Stamoolis Bros. for grape leaves, Penn Macaroni for cheese and pasta, Sunseri, Jimmy and Nino for sandwiches,Reyna’s for Mexican, New Sambok Oriental Market or Lotus, Benkovitz or Wholey’s for fish, Prestogeorge for coffee or Mancini’s for bread, Enrico’s biscotti, the Middle Eastern one and lots more). You get the idea.  This afternoon it was the  S and D Polish Deli where I was stopped at the red light. Click on their name to get the menu details.   Ever eat Tripe Soup.?  A recipe and video on the site of a woman making Golabki (stuffed cabbage) click here Around the corner is the Leaf and Bean (cigars and coffee) where Marc R plays gigs on Saturdays. Pittsburgh has it all!

Halusky, Pierogi, Kielbasa(y)  at the Lunch Bar

The S and D Polish Deli in the Strip District- Pittsburgh

See the “Y” Bridge in Zanesville Ohio (plus other structures)

Yesterday a slideshow with people, today it’s buildings.  Then I promise to lay off the slideshow option for a time. Must be the urge to be a filmmaker that seems to amplify the story with multiple images.

I’ve driven by Zanesville for a few years and never pulled off the interstate. Today was the day.  The town was deserted Sunday afternoon.When I was a kid the family stopped here enroute to Illinois, our annual trek. I recognized nothing although all these buildings would have been built then.   See the “Y” Bridge on National Register of Historic Places where you cross the river and are on the same side of the river.  A hobby shop. Lots of churches. One large building abandoned. Lots of rectangular church tops.  I have noticed them as I drive by.  And the Travelodge Motel.   Muskingum County Courthouse is in the center of town. Check out the power lines right through the middle of town. Zanesville, Ohio.

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How to Photograph Your 4 Grandkids

You set up a couple of chairs on the back porch.

You bought a 4-pack of store brand cones, no nuts.

You start shooting all four in the two chairs.

You shoot fast and the antics begin.  The dog licks drips.

You try two at a time. Then singles.

It happens without direction from grandma.

Maybe Sunday morning when they’re dressed up for church you’ll try again.

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Jack Helps Maura Swing

From the archives. I’m in Columbus and we just finished watching Crazy Heart with Jeff Bridges. Took this photo before I started posting.


"Whoa, brother! I'm getting dizzy" the swing was on automatic and needed no assistance!

Old Fashioned Rose Bouquet in Candlelight

Book club tonight,  I hosted.  And Then We Came to An End by Joshua Ferris.  Recommend if you work in an office or a cubicle, author nails office culture and characters in an economic downturn, lots of seemingly authentic people inhabit the book. Well written.  Joan brought a mixed berry pie from Patty’s Farm Market and some vanilla gelato.  Sliced Pink Lady apples and Cabot sharp cheddar.  Guacamole and white corn chips. Tess picked lovely roses from her garden and brought the bouquet in a vase. The smell permeated the living room. After everyone left, I lit a couple of candles to photograph them. There are more than 450 varieties of roses that start with the letter B. If you want to grow them click here

a bouquet of roses from Tess's garden, candlelight image

My Grandmother Hendricks crocheted the doily. I love that word.

What I Saw on the Way Home From Class Tonight

It’s been a week for baseball. I was driving from Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild on the North Side where I am editing a video portrait in a cool class.  And I saw the lights! Took the Chestnut Street Exit and over the 16th St Bridge and around back to photograph the enticing light.  Like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, a  magnificent spacecraft landed. The sky aglow.  Shot from the car at the red light. At Yankee Stadium in the game today, my cousin Lori threw out the first pitch and served as honorary bat girl for the Yankees.( click link underlined for short video clip of highlights)

Lori Baur is Honorary Bat Girl for the Yankees today.  Just thinking about Baseball.

If this scene doesn't make you want to buy a ticket and see the game, I don't know what would entice you.

Samantha at Cafe Sam’s Bar

You look twice. Cause you see her kind of hunched over at the bar  I asked the hostess if it would be okay for me to photograph her.  She said, “Sure!”    Tonight we had dinner at Cafe Sam on Baum Boulevard.   It’s  a big old house.  There were 9 of us, former and one current Greenfield teacher. They come around with samples on a tray, pickled deviled egg with the whites soaked in beet juice, strawberry daiquiri in a tiny cup. And when they bring out your check there is a freshly baked cookie on top!

Mannequin at the bar so it is never empty

The mannequin makes you look twice!

Forbes Field/Baseball History

A little experiment. First slideshow inserted into a post. Eight slides of Forbes Field wall and homeplate. The huge print with Bill Mazeroski’s signature in the middle of the George Silk photo of fans cheering from atop the Cathedral of Learning.  Last day of the Oakland tour. What I was photographing before I found the multiple Cathedral Learning Reflections in the Katz School of Business glass.

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Essie’s Original Hot Dog Shop since 1960

The semester done, Oakland sidewalks and streets deserted. We’d driven Laura and James to the South Side to meet Celeste. On the way back I was a passenger and got a few views of The “O”or “The Dirty O”  at the corner of Bouquet St. and Forbes. Through the windshield at the red light. Caught the close-up as the light turned green. Three towers of dorm behind.  Scroll down for both views.  If you are into hot dogs, this is the place. And a mountain of fresh fries spilling out onto the tray. I am sure there are plenty of stories.  Late night adventures at the “O”.

Everything seems empty without the students.

Essie's Original Hot Dog Shop in Oakland at the University of Pittsburgh

Neon lights wrap around the corner at Forbes and Bouquet Streets.

Shooting the Cathedral

of Learning.  The multiple reflection in the windows of the Katz School of Business at Pitt. A self-portrait. Just dropped off disc for the WesternPAWritingProject Poe*Art event from last Saturday.

Cathedral of Learning University of Pittsburgh

Walking back to my car, I saw the multiples in the Katz School of Business Bldg.

“Walking to the Sky”-Borofsky Sculpture at CMU

Weighs 7 tons!  Press release says it’s controversial.  It is almost four years to the day the release was issued. Stopped at the red light on Forbes, the corner of Morewood.  Saw the tapes around a figure looking up and realized it was part of the sculpture.  Jonathan Borofsky graduated from CMU in ’64.  Looking at it cheers me.  Not everyone feels that way. Or at least they didn’t when it was first installed. And thinking about it and other art installations that stir controversy, I went to look it up.  Great topic and list — “controversial public art installations” (click here)for other art that created a response.

Public art catches the eye! Entertains. Annoys. Delights.

Classic Corner Drugstore

Received  a comment from Gail yesterday that the triangular building downtown reminded her of Shalit’s Drugstore in Morristown where we went to HS.  So when I saw this corner drugstore tonight on the way home from the All City HS Art Showcase, I stopped to photograph it. Looks like I’m in the middle of traffic. Camera propped against a light pole, cable remote.   Seems the CVS, Eckerds,  Walgreen’s eat up all the independents but this one’s still open in Bloomfield on the corner of Penn Ave and Main St.

Bloomfield Pittsburgh Old Fashioned Drugstore

A busy corner, a block from the new Children's Hospital.

Flatiron Building, Downtown Pittsburgh

When I hear Flatiron,  I think New York City and according to Wikipeida the NYC one was built in 1902.  This flatiron shaped building in Pittsburgh is listed as being built c.1885.  Triangular buildings and other odd shaped structures are listed at waymarking.com.

At the corner of Liberty and Seventh Downtown Pittsburgh

Three Men & a Bicyclist on Smallman Street

Waiting in the car for Steve to get the Primanti’s sandwiches, I saw these men head north on Smallman Street.  They’d just left Primanti Brothers. And then the bicyclist joined in the frame, that time of day when the streetlights come on, but it’s not dark yet. Unable to determine how the street got named but am sure with more research I’ll find it. You can see all the loading docks on the left for the fruit and vegetable deliveries. It’s a really wide street.

St. Stanislaus in the background on the right, completed in 1892.

Eddington Quote on Carnegie Mellon Wall

Went to see our neighbor, Terry Collins, receive a Heinz Chair for Green Chemistry at Carnegie Mellon. Teresa Heinz and her sons were there and it was a nice ceremony.  Plus, he received an actual chair which was red, in addition to the prestigious post! When I left the award reception I passed by a slope of azaleas in full bloom and tried to make sense of the quote on the wall in front of me.  Sir Arthur Eddington.  You will probably figure it out much quicker than I did. If you want further thought on topic of entropy click on word.

Hint: You have to start at the end and read backwards. Something to think about.

Pittsburgh Filmmakers Harris Theater Downtown

Refurbished and renamed in 1995.

Saturday night and the neon lights glow.  We’re waiting for Steve to get the car in the parking garage. No tripod but a slim tree trunk, the cable remote.  Evokes another era.  I realize I’ve photographed at least 3 other vintage movie theaters. Pittsburgh Filmmakers screens the Film Festival here and at Regent Square and Melwood.  Another restored theater  in Wisconsin(click to see)

1984- Moment in Motherhood/Childhood

Grafenwoehr Germany. Under the kitchen sink!  One of my favorite photos of Mark, Matthew and Laura.  Everyone laughing, having  a good time. (Mark’s own children are about their ages now).How they decided to get in the cupboard I don’t know but looking at this picture always makes me happy. Scanner not working so photographed the photo.

Who makes me a mom?

Looks like an oven rack or a cooling rack in Matthew's hands. Laughing under the sink.

Primanti’s # 2 Bestseller

Primanti Brothers (click name for history/info) Classic Sandwich A Primanti's Sandwich, close-up.  Pittsburgh icon.

Fries and coleslaw layered right in the sandwich, two slabs of Italian bread!


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