frances in the city


ORD to PIT (several months later…)
January 6, 2011, 9:46 pm
Filed under: Family

Have you ever met my Pittsburgh cousins? They’re real gems, and I made an early November visit to their hometown to campaign for the office of “favorite cousin.” An unintentionally delayed blog post (with pictures) was part of the bribe for a securing my position. Other tools used to leverage the situation? Intelligentsia coffee and Garrett’s Popcorn. Bribery works, people*. Riley, if you’re (capable of) reading this I’d really like a certificate, or some sort of medal.

*It should be noted that my uncle Kenneth was the chief negotiator in this exchange, if you can believe that.

The trip was mainly about seeing Pittsburgh life as they lead it, and I jumped right in. Uncle Kenneth picked me up from the airport Friday morning, and we spent the day setting up for a fundraiser for his work. I joined the “bling” team in embellishing the silent auction goods (who knew so much goes into these things?) while Kenneth prepared a skit/presentation and consoled me over the severe lack of cream cheese on my morning bagel. The event took place in one of the older hotels in downtown Pittsburgh and was seriously beautiful. Not so lovely was the burst water pipe that flooded the lobby during the evening, but these things happen, and we canoed home safely.

swanky, eh? If this post were more timely than it actually is, I'd be able to confidently share fun facts about the space. Alas.

I was (and am) a big fan of these light fixtures. We all need a bit more ornamentation in our lives.

The ballrooms were on the top floor of the hotel, so we rode the elevator quite a bit...such a delightful carpet design.

The following are magical coffee experiences #1 & 2.

#1: I woke up Saturday morning to coffee in bed. I'm not sure this bed and breakfast is looking for advertising, but I can vouch that the experience is superb.

Saturday afternoon, Uncle Kenneth and I took a leisurely stroll to their favorite neighborhood coffee shop, Tazza Doro. The gentleman behind the counter assured us that they were most known for their Italian cappuccinos, so that’s what we tried. He was right. They were wonderful.

charming & delicious

another weekend coffee experience included this delightful Italian capucino. I always feel special when they make designs in the milk.

We spent Saturday just living life. Aunt Lynette and I made a trip to Trader Joe’s…they’re soon to receive a Target in their neighborhood, so their neighborhood is two for two on Frances’ list of critical retail outlets. We also made mini apple pies and played Apples to Apples. Saturday’s theme was apples?

itty bitty mini cranberry apple pies. (count the adjectives)

Kaileigh hard at work.

This is the family dog Tole. Riley took a slew of pictures with my camera phone, so there's a bunch more where this came from.

There are no photos of the final product, but the pies were delicious! Saturday night we watched Duck Soup, which I was reminded of after witnessing this Skype exchange.

like looking in a mirror.

Turns out that Kaileigh, Ian and Riley are at the ideal age for Marx Brother exposure. Harpo was a favorite, for obvious reasons.

Pittsburgh is divided into a series of neighborhoods even more defined than those in Chicago. On Sunday we explored Oakland, home of University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon and the family church.

beautiful beautiful windows.

After church we ate lunch at the “O” (I feel so in calling it that!), home of tasty hot dogs and HUGEEE portions of french fries.

This is Ian with a large portion. It served six people. I love the expressions.

Some poor, naive man ordered too much french fries, so we took them off his hands (after he offered, obviously). We left soooo stuffed! After lunch we visited the Carnegie Mellon Library. I tell you this: if such a library existed in Kansas during my library heyday, I would have never ever left. My cousins make the most of this resource, and it was fun to look for books with them.

Kaileigh and Riley on the steps of the  library.

Later we poked our heads in the University of Pittsburgh’s “Cathedral of Learning.” At 42 stories, it’s the second tallest academic building in the world, and just anybody can walk in! There was a Polish festival on the main floor (lots of polka and sauerkraut), but we went as high as we could.

soooo tall!

beautiful view of the campus and neighborhood. That's the Mellon library and museum in the bottom left.

We spent Sunday evening working on homework projects, and I flew out Monday morning in time for my class at noon. It was a jam packed weekend, but so worth it and delightfully fun. I sincerely enjoyed Pittsburgh and its people. I’ll be back, favorite cousins!*

*preceding enthusiasm was authentic and not directly related to my campaign for favorite cousin, though necessary for proper exchange.

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1 Comment so far
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This sounds like a very enjoyable trip to a fascinating and interesting city, to visit with a charming and delightful family.

If I was related to those nice people, I would do whatever I could to go and experience the same fun you had.

(The favorite cousin trophy is being assembled.)

Comment by Uncle Kenneth




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