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

Archive for September, 2010

Inflatables Season Begins

I am fascinated by these monstrosities....I mean yard decor!

There is no explanation as to why I photograph these items.  Last year it was the Inflatable Turkeys and then a new one today- Frankenstein.  I hear they are expensive.  I guess I just don’t understand how they have caught on.  Surely the grandchildren would love a yard full of inflatables.  They remind me of those plastic clown punching bags you’d bop in the nose and it would fall  over and right itself, still smiling. They seem to be getting larger!

Homestead Smokestacks at Night

You see images of these stacks often. This one from the parking lot by the movie theatre.  All that is left of the US Steel Homestead Works- a dozen smokeless stacks.

Former steel mill site now a shopping complex, restaurants and movie theatres.

Albóndigas de Pescado in Pittsburgh

You feel fortunate when you receive an invitation to dine in someone’s home.  It doesn’t happen that often these days.  Sharing a meal and conversation is the best.  But when your new neighbors entertain their parents who are visiting Pittsburgh from Spain and the mother cooks for the meal, you are really lucky. The menu was fish balls!  Albondigas de Pescado ( I hope I spelled it correctly). Delicious! Rice and green salad, a crusty bread,  Spanish wine, followed by pie with whipped cream.  Oh my.  You wish your grade school Spanish was more than two sentences.     And a house next door that has sat empty for at least five years, no lights on all this time,  has new life and new friends and it feels good to be home.

Joaquin's mother prepares lunch.

Need scratch and sniff for this photo, too.

Dancing in the Streets at the Italian Festival (2 images)

Saturday night, Steve and I’d eaten dinner and I was working on some photo project and he said, Do you want to go to the Italian Festival? So we did. The neighborhood of Bloomfield hosts Little Italy Days (the 9th year according to the banner behind the band) Wish I had the playlist to post.Let’s just say I knew them all.  “I Saw Her Standing There.” (’60’s music as well)  . The band played straight with not even a breath between numbers and they closed the evening with Donna Summer’s “Last Dance”.  Finesse Band website for more info. Turns out they have opened for Earth Wind and Fire and Chicago.  Anyway,  after a few numbers the young dancers made there way to the space up by the main stage but they started out behind the barricade down the street. Their energy and enthusiasm added a lot to the crowd’s enjoyment.

Bloomfield Neighborhood in Pittsburgh

Enjoying the music from long before they were born!

Montana Made Coffee in my Pittsburgh Kitchen

I was knitting a shawl in the Spokane airport after a nice vacation with my brother and sister.  A lovely couple from Indiana sat next to me as we waited for planes and we struck up a conversation.  They had just visited their grandchildren and their daughter and son-in-law were opening a business in Lolo Montana.  A coffee business- And proud Dad gave me a card.  Which of course I didn’t find until a month later. And so I ordered a couple of pounds of beans for Erika as it is her birthday coming up and she enjoys fresh coffee.  I got the nicest note and a box with coffee beans for me from amy@hunterbay.com , thanking me for my gift purchase.  Her parents had told her about meeting me in the airport.  So today the blog is a thank you to Amy for her thoughtful gift of delicious coffee from Montana.  Click here for website. Have you heard of Moose Drool, Trout Slayer, Smoke Jumper and Praying Monk?

Fragrant Coffee Beans sent from Lolo Montana

Gourmet coffee sent from Amy K., - Matthew's cowboy hat bought in Okanogan a couple of summers ago and an old German coffee grinder on the kitchen table.

Dry Cleaning & the Bicycle Man

Negley Ave Pittsburgh Friday evening.

I love it when Steve drives. We were headed to the Squirrel Cage Cafe for the Fish Special.

What’s Her Story?

What's Her Story?

Waiting. An ongoing theme. For a bus, a birthday, a phone call. We wait.

Signing the Star Spangled Banner at the Pirates Game

O say can you see……My friends’ daughter Deaidra and the Pressley Ridge Signers signed the Star Spangled Banner  before the Pirates(11) vs Cardinals(6) game Wednesday night.  The attendance sparse-  a little over 11,000 but there were thunderstorms earlier so might have deterred people from coming out.  It was a great night!

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Jack and the Giant Curly Fry


=Jack examines his French Fry at the Ohio State Fair.

Dining at the Ohio State Fair. One fry was like an entire potato! From the archives.

Will Miss His Good Words

If you read the blog comments you might have read Bernie’s name.  He passed in his sleep on Saturday night, his sister wrote to tell me, asked me to let David know.   Bern was my brother David’s best friend growing up in Morris Plains NJ in the ’60’s.  Bonnie said we brought a lot of smiles to him lately as he did us.  We are going to miss his sense of humor and generous heart.  He especially liked the Sept 3rd post so I am posting a butterfly for Bern today as  final arrangements are made in Kalamazoo.

Obituary link

Love and Sympathy to the Gruizinga family, Ruthie

In memory of Bernard Gruizinga

Remembering Bern Gruizinga August 31, 1949- September 19, 2010




Congratulations James Wade Weaver! Columbus OHIO.

Shadows at the Met

By the information booth at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC.  From the archives.

From the archives. Taken from the balcony, looking down

Hunt Stained Glass Studio Statues

You are driving up a ramp and you look to the right. You sit in bumper to bumper traffic. See the arc of the West End Bridge  You see the tops of statues that stand along a wall for Hunt Stained Glass Studios. I had to research who the statues belonged to and thank goodness for Google Street view.

Hunt Stained Glass Studio Saints

Saints' statues sentry- this is a second story level and the road is below this ramp.

Ohio State Fair Winner

What do people do with these giant stuffed animals they win?

What do people do with these giant stuffed animals?

Tribute Reading & Reception 9-18-10/Scroll Down for Information

Celebration of the Life of Christina Murdock

Tess created this bouquet for Joan when she hosted Book Club. Christina was a member of Book Club, too.

Christina Murdock

Christina Murdock was awarded the 2006 Sara Henderson Hay Prize from The Pittsburgh Quarterly Online, and her writing has been published in The 10th Floor Review, Collision, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Voices from the Attic and Pittsburgh CityPaper. She died in April just one week before her 30th birthday and is survived by her husband, Terry, and daughter, Sophia. A  tribute reading of her work will be held at 1:00-3:00  p.m. on Sept. 18 at Kresge Theater, Carlow University. Free and open to the public.   Sales of her book, Burying the Body,($12.95)  will benefit a scholarship fund for her daughter. Sponsored by Madwomen in the Attic, a creative writing group for women @ Carlow University.  If you would like to order a book let me know.

Panza Gallery, Millvale- Interior/Exterior

Formerly a German Dance Hall.  There is always an art exhibit, portrait (Mon) and Figure Drawing(Th) classes and expert framing. PANZAgallery  115 Sedgwick Street  Millvale Pa 15209  412.821.0959  panzagallery@mac.com Wed.Thurs.Fri.10-5     Sat10-3       Click here to see Mark Panza’s photographs.

Monday Night Portrait Class at Panza's

Where I get all my framing done.

Whose Chair?

City scene Saturday night. Pittsburgh

With Steve at the wheel I see all kinds of things I might have missed!

Birthday Cake on the Front Porch

After I had baked the layers and let them cool, I knew I’d frost them before heading out to the Steelers game at Cj’s.  Set a table on the front porch to photograph the effort while I waited for Steve to come home to go to the game.  The occasion? Happy Birthday Roberta!

Vanilla with vanilla

Vanilla cake with vanilla icing. 1-2-3-4 Recipe and Buttercream.

Saturday Night in the Strip

I was the passenger. Steve the driver. This car pulled up to the red light.  I have noticed cars lately. It isn’t that old a model or anything but was immaculate! We went for a couple of pizza slices in Bloomfield after traipsing around Penn and Smallman St.

It is great to be a passenger and shoot without watching the light change.

Sebastian, 8 wks & his Parents- Fair in the Park

Grada Mosaics artist Adalgisa Bosonetto and her husband in their booth at the Fair in the Park. When I first walked in it was just the Dad.  He was measuring the photo size in the frames for me.    I bought two colorful mosaic picture frames.  When Mom returned to the booth I suggested I take their family photo and  Sebastian gave me a nice smile as I shot it. Seeing this young family made me feel happy!

Mellon Park is the setting for this annual fair

He looked at me and smiled! What a lovely family. We are going to have to photoshop in his brother!

Northside Rooftops

From Allegheny General Hospital parking garage yesterday.

Pittsburgh Northside Rooftops

An old gold school converted into condos, a different view of the city.

What Makes Bookclub Enjoyable

The people, of course but  you have to check out this spread! You read a book. Or two. Discuss. Some people just hate the books chosen, and others love them. Tonight it was James Joyce Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. You read things you might not have picked.  We didn’t meet all summer.   Tonight it was at Joan’s- everything from her garden.  Heirloom tomatoes on homemade focaccia crust and a spinach golden raisin pine nut one. Oatmeal Crispies and a flavorful small watermelon.  Oh yes, the books. Sergio by Samantha Power and everyone had thumbs down for Little Bee by Chris Cleave.

Heirloom tomatoes on Focaccia Crust.

The Gladiolas were from Joan's garden and the sunlight shone on them.

Why Movies Are Filmed in Pittsburgh

Not sure the year of this vintage auto-pre or post war?

10:48 AM Update: Uncle Frank has identified the car as Chrysler 1948 so post-war.

Happy Day Cake Recipe

For Birthdays it was the 1-2-3-4 Cake recipe or the Happy Day Cake recipe on the back of the Swan’s Down Cake Flour box, frosted with Penuche icing.  My mother would put the saucepan into a sink of cold water and then beat it by hand once it cooled. I can hear the ring of the metal loop at the end of the pan’s handle. And as I remember it she added a dash of vanilla extract.  My dad would pour milk over a slice and eat it with a spoon.   Cake and frosting recipes below photo.

Happy Birthday to my sister Mary who gave me the vintage pan

Happy Birthday Mary. This vintage cake pan was a gift from her to me.

Happy Day Cake

2½ cups sifted cake flour

1½ cups sugar

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup shortening, at room temperature

1 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 eggs

Sift flour with sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir shortening to soften. Add flour mixture, ¾ cup of the milk and vanilla. Mix until all flour is dampened, then beat two minutes at medium speed. Add eggs and remaining ¼ cup milk. Beat one minute longer. Pour into two 9-inch layer pans that have been lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans; remove from pans and cool thoroughly on racks.

This cake also may be baked in three 8-inch layer pans for 25 to 35 minutes, or in a 13- by 9-inch pan for 30 to 35 minutes. Batter may be spooned into 36 medium paper baking cups in muffin pans, filling half full. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

Penuche Frosting   Butter is Key


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar, more or less
  • hot water, optional


In a saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Add the brown sugar. Bring to a boil and lower heat to medium low and continue to boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cool to lukewarm. Gradually add sifted confectioners’ sugar. Beat until thick enough to spread. If too thick, add a little hot water. Frosts top and sides of a 2-layer cake or a 13×9-inch cake.


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