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

Archive for February, 2011

Fiber Artist’s Palette- Like an Indoor Garden

Spools and spools of thread. Silk. Cotton.  Metallic.  All colors. Some shimmer. Rich colors.  Waiting to be selected, a length cut and the needle threaded. The embroidery comes alive under the artist’s fingers stitching.  I had asked Joan B if I could photograph her thread as I have another photo from before but today the light was so nice.  She made coffee in a French Press and homemade sticky buns, a Fiesta bowl full of  fresh fruit cut up and mixed with yogurt and honey.  An indoor garden of color! And the little cushioned chair holds the needles and pins.

Colors Create a Feeling

And these invite me
to think Spring.
Sunday night Thunderstorm-
March lions roar a day early.

Wanted some bright color for today's post. Knew where to find it! Joan's studio.


Eljay’s Used Books is Moving from the South Side to Dormont

I asked why and the answer wasn’t surprising.       “Economics.”

After 14 years on Carson Street.  I bought a James Beard Cooking Lessons volume to read while I waited for a friend.  The fiction section was already boxed up and packed.  A lot of books to move.  A loss for the South Side scene for sure.

Dormont is fortunate. 3233 West Liberty Avenue will be their new digs.

I Love Bookstores

Losing two bookstores in the city.
Just this week.
Borders  with the new books-not open lomg
barely two years
and now Eljay’s Used Books on South Side,
Signs of the times.


What a First Grader Gave Me as a Little Present Today

It’s Girl Scout Cookie season.  A wonderful student gave me a little present today.  I can’t tell you how it touched me.  Two Trefoil Girl Scout Cookies, held together by pink Silly Bandz. One cookie looks like there might be a  little bite out of it.  As you all know I am trying to watch what I eat ( forget the burger, pizza and milkshake posts) I am back on track. So I didn’t eat them.  But I held them in my hand a long time and thought about the heartfelt gift.  When I took it across the hall to Ms. P’s  room to show her, she was touched by the sight of the two little cookies bound together by the Silly Bandz.  We both said “awwwww. sweet.”   Good to have nice neighbors  at school to share these moments –thanks to everyone for looking today!

Presentation

The end of the week
and you’re whipped.
Happy to turn off the alarm for Saturday.
You review the week–
it can wear you out
but sweet moments come to mind.
There’s satisfaction.
To know a child was moved
to go to her locker and
bring a little offering to the art room.

p.s.   If you get a minute, go and vote on my Keep or Pitch blog post to help me downsize. 


And the Mantel Standing Alone this Morning part 2

Why you have to take the shot when you see it. Today(Friday) it was totally different. See the shot from Thursday posted today here

Friday morning view of the demolition

 


Find the Mantel in the Remains of the House Demolished on Centre Ave.

At first I thought it was an upright piano on top of the pile.   M-a-n-t-l-e is usually a cloak. M-a-n-t-e-l is the fireplace one. Although it seems they are interchanged frequently. I try to spell correctly on this blog but sometimes it’s tricky.

Driving to school I saw this pile of rubble which was a house last week. An abandoned, boarded-up house but still standing. Webb Construction guys were nice to let me take the photo. I asked them how they do it and he said you start at the top and work your way down.  Oh, and I met a contractor who restores houses and is looking for worthy pieces to salvage for the homes he restores.  What a contrast.

When It Is Too Far Gone to be Repaired or Restored

It gets torn down.
No one has the money to fix it up.
Houses stand boarded up a long time.
Sometimes there are occupied homes right next door.
Seems the city is demolishing abandoned homes at breakneck speed.
No archeological digs as in Philadelphia sites.

You wonder who lived here and the stories of their lives.


It’s Happy Hour at the Milkshake Factory on Wednesdays- Half Price!!

Last week I looked in the window and thought some tour or a class must have just let out or everyone is on a field trip at the Milkshake Factory on Carson Street. They were lined up out the door.  And I was headed to my Photo class again this Wednesday after school and parked and got out of the car, foraging for dinner somewhere on the South Side and went by the Milkshake Factory and it was PACKED!!!  I walked down the street and got a slice of Pizza at Pizza Sola and walked back to the Milkshake Factory.  I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to photograph the milkshake machines and see what the crowd is about.  Hmmmm.  Good excuse.  Well, the woman in front of me who confirmed that she was indeed the end of the line said, “Oh it’s Happy Hour- The milkshakes are half off!!”  I asked if I could photograph- after I ordered a coffee milkshake.  And the smell of chocolates was tempting too.  The Edward Marc chocolates are beautiful.  They will let you buy a single piece.  There were boxes of Valentine’s chocolates half price, too, but I resisted those.  Marble counters, a red tin ceiling, white subway tile. A host of milkshake “shakers” acting super pleasant, energetic and patient even with the enormous crowd, filled up the metal cups with loads of ice cream and milk, whatever flavor combination you wanted. And there are some wild possibilities with the flavors.  One guy had a drink carrier with four shakes to go!   So two dollars and eleven cents later (they had a dish of pennies to help out) I had my milkshake in hand.  I mustn’t make it a regular Wednesday stop as I didn’t ask for the nutritional information but calcium is good for bones, right? HA!  Named “best historic restoration in the city” according to their website. I am going back to the gym tomorrow after school. The past two Wednesdays have been fat-loading.

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Old Fashioned Milkshakes on the South Side

Scoops and scoops of Ice cream
pour in cold fresh milk,
load it into a tall metal cup
whirred by a sturdy machine.
Thick shake eased into a tall plastic
container with a clear straw–
melting as you sip down to the
grating sound of sucking
when the shake’s all gone,
wishing for a few more sips.
Sweet and satisfying.

P.S. Don’t forget to vote on Keep or Pitch blog today.


By Special Request- A Tulip Bouquet

Spring for 4.99Seems the perfect follow up
to yesterday’s snow post.
At least the snow isn’t staying too long this time.
Stick to the shovel kind.
So until the bulbs push up from the ground
and bring some blooms,
I took matters into my own hands
at the grocery store.

Opening slowly but surely a sign of Spring!


The Newspaper said “Little to no accumulation…” but-

A friend called and invited me for a slice of cherry pie for President’s Day. Hot tea.  I walked down the hill wrapped up in hats and scarves and boots.  A good thing-  I couldn’t believe it when I came out of her front door two  hours later and the snow had accumulated and was piling up.  That 60 degree weather on Saturday and now this? YIKES.  I trudged home, shoveled the walk and it’s blowing and snowing and really cold.  The snow was wet and heavy and a 2 hour delay has been called already for school.  How they will clear all the streets before the school buses head out is a puzzle to me.   (edit 5:30 AM.  All schools are CLOSED!  At least they didn’t wait to call it at 7 when everyone is already there.  My friend just called, teaches instrumental music  and gave me the news auf Deautsch singing Schnee Tag )

Not Spring Yet!

It isn’t that we aren’t ready for the crocus
and blossoms.
We got an unexpected snowstorm.
Shoveling again. And again.
Burrowing in the flannel sheets.
Florida friends, I am thinking of you!

Back to bed.

View from my friend's front porch as I started my walk home up the hill.

Heard from many friends and family who knew and loved Lori today.  And from friends who didn’t know her but were touched by her story and loving image with Fredi.  I tried to write back little notes of thank you to those who emailed or posted and I told her sister Sara about the overwhelming response but she can’t bear to look at it right now, understandably. A sad day.


A Tribute to Lori Lynn Baur Meli- 7/21/69 – 2/19/11

Lori and Fredi at Ritter's Diner, Pittsburgh, last May.

A valiant fight! A wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, a granddaughter, a niece, an animal lover, a friend to many.

Her grandfather, Robert E. Van Sickle,  was my mother’s brother.

As  Aunt Nancy VS put it so well, ” a sad day for our family.”

When you hear the term”battle” in reference to cancer,  Lori Lynn Baur Meli exemplified the definition.   Despite metastaticbreast cancer, Lori planned each day of her life to the fullest.   She sent us recordings of her singing a hymn or a Christmas song, always creative and musical.  She and her husband Fredi went on her dream trip to Hawaii returning just Feb 7th.

They came through Pittsburgh last May and here’s the photo I took of them in Ritter’s Diner that night.  It was right before she got to be honorary bat girl for the Yankees so it’s nice you can see the print on her shirt.  She loved the Yankees.   Especially Jeter.   She called and asked if a newspaper could use the photo for a story about her and another one of the pictures from that night was in a show in the 1650 Gallery in Los Angeles last summer. Lori was pleased with the images so I felt pleased, too. And she made sure I got the photo credits in the paper and sent the hard copies to me in an envelope.  Despite her diagnosis she was determined to live as long as possible, which is exactly what she did!     She had a plan. Always.    I will remember her first time in the batting cages in Connecticut a few years ago.   She touched a lot of people.   Here is an excerpt from her online journal-   “Love really is everything. There IS nothing else.       We have to let go off the other crap to begin to live in love and light, every day of our lives.” Her friend Jennifer pulled this clip- youtube video of Lori telling her own story.

A Bright Life Well Lived

Lori Lynn Baur Meli
A tribute.
She made the most
of the time she was given.


In My Grandmother’s Hand

I might try to make something from her recipes tomorrow.

The Pineapple Upside Down Cake recipe.    My father’s mother’s recipe box. Sitting on my kitchen shelf.   Yellowed newspaper clippings between the file cards..  I was looking around for items to put on my Keep or Pitch blog and the antique radio  from earlier this week reminded me how objects can tell a story. Or two.  There are recipes for pickles and yeast rolls. Illinois cuisine.  The edge of the file card is discolored as well. I am not going to pitch this in the downsizing effort. I sifted through the cards, read her notes, remembered how she made egg noodles and hung them to dry on the broom handle. Mary Alta Kerr Hendricks born Feb 7, 1892.  She taught me how to knit.  I sleep under one of her quilts now and am figuring out how to repair an afghan she knit. In her retirement, she worked in the flower shop in Lincoln, Illinois.  Kept her lunch  (a can of spinach and a hard boiled egg), inside the glass door refrigerator right next to the buckets of gladiolas and carnations for the bouquets.

What did your grandmother bake/cook that you remember?

I chose this recipe card
cause her handwriting
seemed clear and legible
through the camera lens.


Windy With a Chance of Sunlight

A beautiful day. And though inside from 7:30-4:00 I was able to catch the unfurled flag from the second floor window AND the flag shadow on the asphalt during lunch.  Right through the glass.

The Cathedral of Learning in the distance, the light fluctuating as clouds rolled across the sky.  Had to tilt the camera to get both the flag and the shadow-  the angle a technique I don’t use often.

Windy

In the daytime look out the windows.
Branches bend, papers blow across the yard.
Ripples or waves on water.
A pile of leaves caught up in a whirl.
You can tell it’s windy.
At night, listen.
A train along the river whistles.
Calm, a burst, a roar.
Earlier in my car on the bridge.
Wait for the light.
Feel it. Vibrate.
Bounce bounce bounce
right up through the tires.

Eye level to the top of a flag pole- a cool perspective.


Men at Work in Panther Hollow

Thursday night I found out that WordPress was inserting some google ads on my blog. Like a Giant Hamburger that said HOT DANG!  Yikes. So just a note to my readers or bleaders –rutheh.wordpress.com is now been upgraded to “ads free” blog.  I didn’t realize that wordpress was sneaking them onto the blog as they never showed on my view. Ever! If you saw these ads by google you will have to let me know.

Here is a photo of men at work, shot from the Carnegie Museum parking lot.  Sparks were flying and it looked like hard work.

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What You Should Never Eat- But Tastes Great!

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Hungry

Sometimes you are hungry
for something that is just not good for you.
And you eat it.

And regret doing so.

Or not!

Wednesday nights I take a class at Manchester Craftsmen’s and eat an early dinner on the South Side, driving down the slopes from Arlington.   The last two weeks it was Carson Street Deli sandwiches but then I started thinking French fries. Undoing all the work at the gym yesterday.

So I crossed at 16th St and went into Mario’s, the only patron at that off hour but not for long.  Cory was hosting and tending bar and took my order for an Alpine burger (don’t ask) and their house cut fries. A tall ginger ale.      I asked if I could photograph the stained glass windows.  Designed by Williams Stained Glass of Bethel Park. It was a good time to photograph the architectural details.  Woshner’s was once “haberdashery” and is now Mario’s.  I was too early for Karaoke night. Had to get to class.


Zenith Radio Model 12-S-370, 1939

Tonight at the book club meeting I sat at the table with this radio in front of me for the evening. I knew it had a story and the hostess just wrote to tell me I left my notebook where I had jotted down what I needed to know about the radio’s history.  I remembered the location of Beaconsfield Street in Detroit.   Here is what Lisa B. wrote to me just now about this radio  from her husband’s family.  Zenith Radio Model 12-s-370. found online Antique Radio Museum.

Here is what Lisa wrote in an email tonight-  So here you go: The radio belonged originally to neighbors of Virginia and Joseph Belloli who lived on Beaconsfield Street or Holcumb Street in Detroit. During WWII the neighbors were German nationals and as German nationals they could not own the radio because it had short wave capabilities. The neighbors sold the radio to “Granny” and “Grampa”.       Joseph was born 1895 in Cuggiono Italy and Virginia in 1896 in the US, though her family was from Cuggiono as well. And just to make things complicated, three Oldani sisters married three Belloli brothers. You just have to accept if you were born Belloli and you meet another Belloli in Detroit or St. Louis, yes, somehow in some convoluted way, you are related.”

You can see more about this model in a video a guy made on youtube with one  he found at the curb in Peoria IL



Michael Jumps Off the Board into 12′

Saturday afternoon with the family .  We checked out the indoor pools, one a leisure pool with a lazy river.  Everyone had a good time.  How to ward off cabin fever? Enter the balmy Westerville Community Center pool. We skipped the climbing wall. Note the little drips of water off the back of his suit as he jumped. Mark took the two oldest back on Sunday afternoon.

Practicing my sports photography, stop action!


Valentine’s Eve Sky at Sunset

Just returned to Pittsburgh from Columbus and the light was leaving.  Saw the sunset begin so found a spot in the Strip on Smallman Street to pull over and get out and shoot the colors as they changed.  Thought to myself- a nice pair for today’s post and yesterday’s-the beginning of the day and the end of the day, both in the Strip.

UPMC reflected in the puddle with trucks parked not far away.


Six AM in the Strip District and La Prima Espresso is OPEN

A two hundred mile ahead of me so getting a bold cup of coffee (and an almond mele) seemed a great start to the trip.  The whole block was dark except for the welcoming neon and glass doors and window of La Prima Espresso and the neighboring bakery (Colangelo’s).  A standing coffee bar with the best coffee in Pittsburgh. A thought of the day on a chalkboard, written in Italian.  Italian TV playing above the barista making espresso, cappuccino, lattes. Fresh squeezed orange juice until 2 PM.  You can see the newspaper outside on the sidewalk by the front doors.

One of the most recognizable scents

I remember when I didn’t even drink coffee.
A hot cup in my hand before dawn–
all is right with the world.
Especially if it from La Prima Espresso!

A welcome sight at 6 Am Saturday morning.


Empty Church in a Foggy Mist

Taken from the Bakery Square Parking lot...

Too many churches, not enough parishioners.  One afternoon I photographed 8 closed churches on the South Side in one hour’s time.  Now a  law office, one a Dueling Pianos Bar, two were condominiums, some just locked and empty.  I had a plan for a series on the  closed churches of Pittsburgh converted for other uses, like the Church Brew Works and Mr. Smalls Theater, the Altar Bar, The Priory etc.  but then I abandoned the effort as it just felt sad to me. No shortage of subjects.     There are some beautiful and interesting preservation photos of St. Peter and Paul (click here)

Could Have Been Taken Anywhere

East Liberty PA
Once a bustling business
and thriving cultural center.
Gone through decades of changes.
Now some new businesses.
I looked out and saw the closed church.
So hauntingly beautiful in the winter fog and mist.


School Chairs & Chain Link Shadows in the Snow

Someone left the chairs out in the snow. Today the sun came out.  I photographed these a couple of weeks ago and they just looked uninteresting to me.  So not the whole chair, just a part. It was the shadows that attracted me today.

This morning I saw my first sundog*.
I was unable to photograph it properly.
It was a stunning sunrise from the Birmingham Bridge.
I didn’t even know what a sundog was until Joanne
sent me a photo of one.
It was clear and cold, blue sky and a magnificent sun.
It is amazing how you can feel when it is light.
The view of the sundog from the school parking lot seemed less dramatic.
I was trying to show our librarian.  Definition below.
*from good old wikipedia
A sun dog or sundog (scientific name parhelion, plural parhelia, from Greek parēlion, (παρήλιον), παρά(beside) + ήλιος(sun), “beside the sun”; also called a mock sun or a phantom sun) is an atmospheric phenomenon that creates bright spots of light in the sky, often on a luminous ring or halo on either side of the sun.[1]

Sundogs may appear as a colored patch of light to the left or right of the sun, 22° distant and at the same distance above the horizon as the sun, and in ice halos. They can be seen anywhere in the world during any season, but they are not always obvious or bright. Sundogs are best seen and are most conspicuous when the sun is low.

A classic assignment for beginning photographers- Capture the shadow!


Button, Button, Whose Got the Button? ( & Bridal Veils, too!)

1700 Carson Street is the home of a great button store.  It fascinates me-  Parker Button. Boxes and boxes stacked from floor to ceiling.   All colors, shapes and sizes.  Like an artist’s palette.  Shank or flat. Frogs and belt buckles. Ribbon and trim. Spools of thread to sew them all on for utility or ornamentation. My mother had a glass jar full of buttons.  My sister made me the coolest necklace from vintage mother-of-pearl shirt buttons, strung onto embroidery floss. Do you have any clothing missing a button?

The other half of  the shop is Clarissa’s Boutique .   One word to describe the bridal veils, jewelry and accessories for custom headpieces and wedding necessities-  exquisite? lovely? classic? ethereal?  They will create a custom headpiece for you but allow three months.  Feathers, flowers, jewels, or pearls.       Voted the Best of the Knot for weddings 2011.

These Days Buttons are Often a Part of Web Design

Or people push our buttons.
Press the button to call the elevator
or select your floor.
Today’s post is the old fashioned kind.
Two-hole, four-hole or shank.
Metal, plastic, shell or bone.
Beatrix Potter shapes of rabbits.
When was the last time you sewed on a button?

Today marks 500 blog posts and counting!

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Growing up we had a record with the song ( these lyrics are from 1929)

Button up your overcoat, When the wind is free, Oh, take good care of yourself, You belong to me! Eat an apple every day, Get to bed by three, Oh, take good care of yourself, You belong to me! Be careful crossing streets, ooh-ooh, Cut out sweets, ooh-ooh, Lay off meat, ooh-ooh, You'll get a pain and ruin your tum-tum! 

The Carnegie Museum Fountains in Winter

Shooting a color photo that looks black and white is fun.  These pods looked chilly and the sounds of the water splashing gave a shiver right under my wool coat and scarf.

Ever watch kids play in fountains
in the summer months?
Not the day I shot this photograph/
and I doubt kids play in these
or if they do, I’m sure not for long.
Vigilant museum guards would
come out and put a halt to any splashing

February 1st after lunch on Professional Development Day.

Check out Keep or Pitch and vote today!


Bloomfield Fan’s Display Sums it Up

I was driving back into the city from Columbus OH, early Monday morning.  Trying to get to work. BUT I had to pull over on Liberty Avenue to capture this fan’s feelings. It was a gray day. Mostly rainy with a chance of the blues.

Driving back to the Burgh I
forgot about traffic at the tunnel.
Everyone trying to get to work.
Including me.
We’re all tired. But this sign tells the story
of our city.

Steelers Fans- Loyal to the Black and Gold!

(Don’t forget to vote on the Keep or Pitch blog today.)


It Was a Great Season….

Didn’t want to miss a date on the postaday2011 challenge. New post coming at one minute after midnight.

Flying the colors to honor a great season.


A Steelers Fan’s Nod to the Packers

We love our Steelers, win or lose. Here’s some Pittsburgh cheese to acknowledge your win, Packers fans and dear friends! (Rob you were right.)   I made Haluski, Pierogies and Kielbasa but no one felt like eating here.       Have to post now and get to bed cause I’m driving back to the Burgh for school in the morning, YIKES! We had a fun time together but watching the superbowl was so stressful.   Kids dropped off to sleep one by one.

Sportsmanship

What we teach our children.
I thought about posting
a Back to Work theme
(leaving Columbus at 4AM)
or some serious Comfort Food

Penn Mac Company on Penn Avenue in the Strip District has some GREAT cheese!!


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