Friday, January 17, 2014

The Commute Through Town

Every night, I commute across the city to get home.  It isn't a very long commute, but it involves bridges, rivers and tunnels.

A few nights ago, I snapped a pic because the road was pretty empty on my regular commuting hour. This is an sub-terrain highway that leads to the bridge.

Even the city in Pittsburgh doesn't feel very urban sometimes because it is nestled in a river valley.  Green hills (except winter) and flowing rivers take the edge off the city.  This area is one of the places where Pittsburgh can feel crowded and very urban.  

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Bridge of Sighs

There is something about a stone building. They seem to stand the test of time and evoke memories of the past.  For me, the Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail stands a one of the most distinctive building ever erected in Pittsburgh.

It was designed in 1883 by renowned Boston architect, Henry Hobson Richardson.  This picture includes the walkway between the Courthouse and the Jail called the "Bridge of Sighs."

There is something about that name that always evoked clear images of inmate walking their fate into the jail after being sentenced.  The jail was moved to a larger more modern facility along the river in 1995, but the city has managed to re-purpose the building.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Snowy Barn in Northeast Ohio

In December, I went on a Wine Tour with some friends.  We go to a couple of places throughout the area East of Cleveland.  Now, some of the wine is less than stellar, but the times are always good, if not great!

On this particular day, we went to a place called M Cellars. Not only was the wine great (I tested this theory by bringing it home, so thumbs up), but the tasting room and surrounding vineyard were incredible. 

I stepped out onto the back deck to look at the surrounding fields, and noticed this barn.  Nothing like a snowy day in rural Ohio drinking wine.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

How Rusted Root's Cruel Sun Still Shines for me Today

Shortly after I graduated from college in 1994, I moved to a neighborhood in Pittsburgh called the South Side. With a firm grasp on a temp job making $7.50/hour, I left my parents' house and found my own apartment.

This place was tiny. It was probably the size of my current open plan living /dining room. However, there were lots of great things about it.  I was in a fun neighborhood and my friends visited all the time. I had a Christmas party with a REAL tree.  My best friend, Lara, even stole the makeshift Elmo I had attached to the top of a tree with a gum band  (For those outside of Pittsburgh - that is a rubber band).

This apartment was about Freedom. Freedom of being on my own.  Even better, it had access to the fire escape / roof and there were 3 boys who lived across the hall.  They were all culinary students and a lot of fun.  If I am being honest, there were 2 boys who were great and one was kind of a grump. Nice enough, but grumpy.

This album - Cruel Sun by Rusted Root - takes me back to that time in such a vivid way with a very specific memory attached to it.

Almost every Tuesday, one of the boys, Harvey, and I would go out because it was the only night of the week he had off  from the restaurant business.  We would get 22 oz bottles of Rolling Rock for $2 at the bar around the corner. When we had sufficiently damaged our brain cells and livers, we would head home. Every time, we would end up in my apartment dancing to this CD.  I am sure I tried to play other CDs, but Harvey would say "Put on Rusted Root." Every time, Harvey would fall asleep in my chair while I still boogied around.

Now I know what you are thinking - no Harvey was only ever a friend. No hand holding, no kissing, no shenanigans.  Just good clean, Tuesday nights blowing off steam.

There is something so special about that apartment and time of my life. Fun was cheap because it was all we could afford.  Pittsburgh wasn't cool, but everyone was making a go of it. Pasta was about all I could afford to eat. There was something about being young and striking out into the wilderness of life.

I lost touch with Harvey a few years after he moved out of Pittsburgh. He moved around; and I moved around. Without email, staying in touch during those days was harder. Although I constantly try to track him down. Apparently he is not a social media fan - which does not surprise me one bit.

The thing I realized when I put this CD in today, is that I will never really lose Harvey. When I was dancing around my apartment this morning, he was right there with me saying "How can this music not make you happy?"

You know what Harvey, like I always replied, "You got me on that one!"

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year Resolution - Jealous Again?

In the past, this blog has been a 'photo' blog that was started when I made a New Year Resolution to take a photo every day.  
This year, I decided to take on a new resolution. I am going to start listening to my CDs - the whole thing. I am going to enjoy the artistry of the albums musicians make.

I figured, since the word 'noise' is in my blog name, music could and should be included.

I started the tradition during the Christmas holiday. However, my first album of the New Year was "Shake Your Money Maker" by The Black Crowes.

I had forgotten how amazing this album is. I love The Black Crowes and saw them this summer for the first time.  Chris Robinson is like a music alien. I don't think he doesn't know how to love music and let it in his soul.
Money Maker is packed from end to end with amazing music. Every track is worth listening to - no skips here.   From the rockin' Jealous Again and Hard to Handle to the heart breaking She Talks to Angels, dust this one off and listen from end to end.  It will make your day better.  Promise.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Old Time Christmas Building Decorations

As I was walking to get coffee in the South Side, I strolled past this building. 

First, I had never noticed this particular building before. Although I had lived in the South Side and work about 2 blocks from here, I must never had come down this street.

Second, I was immediately enamored with how it was decorated. There is something about the simple decorations that made this building seem like something out of a Christmas past and a bygone area.

Love it!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Winter Walk in the Woods

I am pretty fortunate that I live near a hiking trail in the middle of the city. The Mt. Washington /Duquesne Heights area of Pittsburgh has a sprinkling of trails all along the mountain side.

On this morning, it had snowed overnight when I left, so I grabbed my phone. I usually don't take it with me when I go for a walk because it is my time to unplug.  I am so glad I did it on the morning.  Nothing more beautiful than a lush snow-covered trail.