Wednesday, May 23, 2018


Sat morning Spouse & I drove to DC and picked up my aunt Mary and then drove to Pittsburgh to join the rest of the family.  The total drive time with 1 stop for food and restroom was 7 hours. We checked into the hotel and then met up with the family who' already arrived.  That evening we all went to dinner at Lidia's.  Most of had the pasta tasting trio which was amazing.  We had a wonderful meal and had a lot of fun.
David the college graduate and me

Anna, Gabby, and Randy
Paul, Evelyn and David
Mary & Eric (parents) and Evelyn

My handsome Spouse
Karen, Louis, Eric
The next morning I met fellow/former blogger David for breakfast at Pamela's Diner in the Strip District.  The family thought I was crazy for making breakfast plans with a stranger, but I explained that we 'know' each other through our blogs.
Me and David
The conversation was easy and we had a really nice visit over a delicious breakfast, and then David offered to give me a tour of Pittsburgh.  He drove me around and pointed out many noteworthy buildings, parks, stadiums, as well as shared lots of historic info only a true native would know.  We ended up at the top of Mount Washington where I took these photos:

I feel like Pittsburgh is an under-valued city for tourism.  There's so much to see and do here it surprises me that I haven't heard more people talk about going there.  I enjoyed it very much and wished I had more time to explore.  I hope to go back again, but its a long way to go for a weekend.

After returning to I hotel met up with most of the family and sat outside and talked for a while in the covered patio area, then everyone got dressed for the graduation.  First there was a small reception with sandwiches, salads, cookies, and drinks, then the diploma ceremony. 
The general commencement ceremony was early in the morning.  We all decided just to attend the diploma ceremony for his specific group in the Tepper Business School.  David's major was Business Administration with a 2nd major in Creative Writing.  He's already gotten a job with a DC consulting firm starting in July.  We're all very proud of his accomplishments.  Afterward David posed for photos with all the family.  Here are just two:
Me, David, Aunt Mary, Spouse

Proud parents Eric & Mary with David
Afterward the family went a park for a picnic dinner of pizza, wings, and subs.  But I made plans to see some of my family.  My cousin April's daughters Chelsea (and her husband Gabe) and Micah (and her fiance Justin) live in Pittsburgh so we made plans to get together for dinner.  Unfortunately Micah had to go on a business trip, but I did get to meet her fiance Justin.  Chelsea & Gabe invited me to dinner at their house and since the weather was so nice we ate outdoors.
We had a wonderful time catching up on each other's lives, talking about real estate investing, and Justin & Micah's upcoming wedding.  It was really, really great... such sweet folks.

When I got back to the hotel several of the family had gathered in our room and we talked and ate cookies that Karen had made.

The next morning Spouse & I and Aunt Mary headed back home.  It was a great weekend full of quality time with friends and both sides of my family.

Monday, May 21, 2018


Today is the anniversary of Marvin's homecoming.  6 years ago on May 21st, which was also a Mon, Marvin joined our family and his name was then augmented to Marvin Parker.  Click here to read about his arrival and the reason for his name.

In his honor, I'm sharing some of my favorite photos of our good little boy.  Click to enlarge them.


Friday, May 18, 2018

Weekend plans

We're going to Pittsburgh this weekend.
Our nephew is graduating from Carnegie Mellon University and his parents roped the entire family into going to the graduation by reserving and paying our hotel room Sat & Sun nights.

We're leaving DE tomorrow morning, stopping in the DC area to pick up my aunt Mary, and then heading to PA.  I think it will take 7 hours, not including stops for food/gas/bathroom.

Sat night the family is going to Lidia Bastianich's restaurant called Lidia's Pittsburgh.  Spouse has been a big fan of hers for years because she's very upfront about her recipes being Italian-American rather than being snooty about her cooking.  Spouse's sister has eaten there on some of her previous visits to Pittsburgh and said its very good. 

The graduation is Sun at 2:30.  Unfortunately the weather forecast is for rain and possible thunderstorms so it won't be ideal for exploring the city.  (Spouse & I have never been there.)  Sun evening Spouse & I are meeting up with my cousin's 2 daughters who live in Pittsburgh and their guys.  Its been 2 years since I saw them here at the beach and we've never met Chelsea's husband or Micah's fiance.  I'm glad to work that into this visit.  I might even meet up with a fellow blogger.

We'll leave Pittsburgh Mon morning and get back to DE around dinnertime, I hope.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


You really have to have a terrific ass AND a good sense of humor to wear this shirt.

Monday, May 14, 2018


Yesterday Spouse & I decided to do some rug cleaning.  The area rug in the living room had a couple little spots from a bad little dog (Walter), so we began by spot-treating those areas 1st then using our carpet cleaner machine on the full rug.

A few minutes into the spot-treating I noticed a very strong smell.  Typically rug cleaning products have a nice, fresh scent but this smelled the opposite.  I asked Spouse if he noticed the smell too and he immediately said yes.

Then he looked at the bottle he'd been spraying on the rug and said "Oh my god - this is insect killer!" When he'd pulled the bottles out from under the kitchen sink he didn't notice that 1 of them was insect spray.

We hoped that the carpet cleaning machine and solution would wash the insect spray smell out so we continued with our plan of cleaning the full rug with the machine.  But a couple hours later as the rug was drying the smell was definitely still there.  Since the rug wasn't expensive we decided to roll it up and put it in the garage until we could dispose of it.  That chemical smell was too much.

Next we turned our attention to the planting beds.  I pulled some weeds, fixed the landscaping fabric that had become loose due to high wind, and then we spread a couple bags of fresh mulch.  Of course we didn't have enough - isn't that the way it always works? - but it still looks better than it did before.

After dinner Spouse & I were looking at area rugs for the living room on Amazon and found this one in the clearance section:
Its 8'x11' and priced at $149.99 but there was a box to click for a 'coupon' which took off an additional $22.50 so the final purchase came to $127.49 with free shipping since we are Prime members.  Deals like this are why we weren't so upset about having to throw away the previous rug.  It should arrive on Wed.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Patrick's visit

My long-time friend Patrick arrived Wed evening, and he and Spouse were talking out on the back porch when I got home from work.  We chatted on the porch for a little while, then I changed out of my work clothes and the 3 of us met up with Steven & Thad for dinner at Jimmy's.  Patrick had met them on previous visits so we all had a nice time catching up over dinner.

Yesterday (Thurs, my regular day off) we had coffee on the porch and Patrick got some special lovin' from Marvin & Walter.
I suggested lunch and a walk on the boardwalk which Patrick quickly agreed.  On our way to the restaurant my phone rang 4 times.  While I'd hoped to disconnect from work the entire day to spend uninterrupted time with Patrick, unfortunately I kept getting calls and emails from clients to whom I'd shown homes earlier in the week.  Patrick was very nice about it and understood, but I was annoyed.  After handling what I needed to over lunch, we went to the boardwalk.  As if someone had flipped a switch, the sun went behind the clouds, the temperature dropped, and the wind picked up.  It was so chilly we actually had to cut our walk short.  As we were driving away from the beach, again as if someone had flipped a switch, the clouds broke, the sun came back out, and the temperature warmed back up!

We returned to the house and talked some more, and then I went into the office to meet with my clients and write a contract.  This can often be done via telephone and technology, but these clients are kind of 'old school' and wanted to talk and sign the contract in person.  2 1/2 hours later I returned home to Patrick and Spouse, and since I had a taste for pizza we decided to order delivery. After dinner we just hung out together, with 1 eye on the TV and 1 eye on Facebook, relaxing.

This morning Patrick & I had breakfast at a local diner together, and then he headed home and I headed to another real estate appointment, even though I had planned to be off that day so Patrick could stay as long as he wanted.  While our visit wasn't 'uninterrupted' as I'd hoped, it was still nice to visit with my old friend.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018


My old friend Patrick is coming this evening for a short visit.  We've known each other since high school (35+ years) and after many years of absence from each others' lives, we reconnected a few years ago.

We don't have anything particular planned to do while he's here so I think we'll probably sit on the porch and talk a lot (the weather should be good for it) and catch up on the goings on in each others' lives.  Its nice to have friends like this, that you don't feel you have to 'entertain', and with whom you can just be yourself.
Patrick & Me - 2015

Monday, May 07, 2018

Cinco de Mayo celebration

So, Sat was Cinco de Mayo, making it the perfect excuse (as if we needed one) for dinner at Dos Locos.  Steven & Thad were away in NJ but I managed to rustle up some buddies to join us.
Joey, Glenn, Vic, Mike
Joe P & my handsome husband

Vic, Mike, and a VERY handsome man in the plaid shirt at the table behind ours
Everyone ordered margaritas because, DUH! its Cinco de Mayo.  But oddly 3 of us ordered the same entree and 4 of us ordered variations of quesadillas.  As usual, the food was delicious and the service was terrific.

You'll notice in the photos that we're all wearing red chili pepper necklaces.  I collected them on Cinco de Mayo 3 years ago at Dos Locos and brought them for our group to wear.  As we stood up to leave a table of women said they liked our pepper necklaces and asked where we'd gotten them.  I explained, and then took off my 2 pepper necklaces and gave them to 2 of the women.  Then Spouse offered his, followed by the rest of the guys.  I jokingly said we were 'paying it forward' by giving them the pepper necklaces, and that next year they should wear them but give them away to someone else before they leave.  They loved that idea.

What did YOU do to celebrate Cinco de Mayo?

Friday, May 04, 2018


One of my clients recently bought a furnished townhome.  During the pre-settlement walk-thru I saw a vintage metal patio chair stashed in the attic storage area.  I pointed it out to my client who said that it likely wasn't out on the porch because it didn't match the other furniture.  After pulling it out into the daylight we realized it was rusty and needed some attention.  
She mumbled something like "Hmmm... I'm not sure if I'll keep this or not".  Loving mid-century modern the way I do, I thought the chair was adorable so I said "Well, if you decide you don't want it, please don't throw it away.  I'll take it."

A few days after settlement she texted me that I could have the chair, so I asked her to just place it on the back patio and that I'd stop by within the next day or two to pick it up.  That way she wouldn't need to be home.

Yesterday I decided to start working on the chair.  First I took a sanding pad and sanded the arms and legs which had been sloppily painted white at some point, and were quite rusty.  It actually took less time than I thought it would.

Next I took plastic bags and painters tape and taped off everywhere I didn't want paint.  
I really like the color and patina of the turquoise and cream paint on the seat and back, and despite there being some rust on them, I decided to leave them as is.

Next I wiped down the sanded areas with a rag to remove the dust, and then spray painted the arms and legs with a grey that resembles aluminum. 
I don't think the arms/legs would have originally been painted at all, so rather than repainting them white or black, I chose the grey that resembles aluminum in hopes of making it look more original.

It turned out pretty well.  
Not bad for a $5 can of spray paint and an hour of time!