I'm in the real city of three rivers this week. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I don't have my camera but I'm hoping to find some good, on-line stuff to borrow for illustrations.
Some things that do not change:
- the amazing view of the rivers and sunlight and bridges as you come out of a tunnel, only to have the city and water and buildings gleaming, laid out in front of you
- the number of smokestacks and long, low, factories. Even when you are a dying steel town on its third (?) renaissance, there are still many reminders of what drove this city from the beginning
- the name of Heinz. It used to be all about the ketchup and the factory (which I toured as a kid and still proudly own my Heinz green plastic pickle pin as well as a Heinz 57 ketchup bottle pin from a later trip). Now it's Teresa Heinz: wife of John Kerry, who hosted, as I heard it, the Obamas when they were in town for the G20. (Some Obama lore: the President says thank you each time a waiter brings something to the table, and after the meal, goes back into the kitchen to personally thank the staff. I love this!)
- Pamela's. Before I stepped foot off the airplane, three different people had invited me there for breakfast or lunch. No wonder, and more Obama lore: the sisters from Pamela's served their best-in-the-world secret-batter pancakes to the Obamas during a visit, then were invited to the White House to serve same pancakes. (Apparently they had the secret batter but not the secret griddle, so the edges weren't as crispy and the pancakes weren't as neo-crepe-like-but with the hominess of a pancake in DC.)
- As usual, a visit with and to my family is firmly anchored by food. We love food. We eat it, talk about it, cook it, eat it while talking about it, and then discuss it while waiting to eat some more. On the other hand, most of us are a reasonable weight or better. This supports my theory that the best way to change a habit is through small satisfactions in that direction (I'll have some cake, but only a small piece of cake) instead of denial (NO CAKE! MUST EAT CAKE! WILL EAT MANY CHIPS BECAUSE THERE CAN BE NO CAKE!) And that, at least in my immediate family of husband and kids, much of our talk about food comes while we are taking a walk or a hike. (Not sure of the scientific validity, but there might be a dissertation in here somewhere for a student of psychology?)
- and some knitting is getting done: a Noro striped scarf worked on the airplane. (I got up to use the front restroom and realized, after navigating through half the plane, that there was a loop of yarn around my right ankle. So much for being incognito, if that had been my plan.) And my sister has a great swing-style cardigan from Knit and Tonic to try.
- and we've already hit one vintage clothing store and have plans to do another one tomorrow. As always, my sister has the ability to look at a case full of old jewelry and then pull out of the melee the one piece that is distinctive and stylish and fun. This time it was a necklace with strands of carnelian beads and then strands of a burnished brass bead - very tribal and colorful but classy. She talked me into a pair of striped summer pants that will be super comfy with a t-shirt and a pair of sandals, and almost into a Marc Jacobs shrunken blazer.