Friday, December 30, 2016

Day 183 Cirque Dreams Holidaze Journey

My blog inspiration book, Little Golden Books, reminds us that, “Christmas is a time to go all out.” That is just what Cirque Dreams Holidaze is all about-going all out and celebrating  everything  “Holidaze.”  I thought that after Christmas day, this show would keep the energy going.  It did that with  jazzed up variety and circus acts plus a lot of  glitz.  

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Day 182 Rocky Bleier in The Play-His story, the life of Chances

Rocky Telling his journey 

Pittsburgh is a sports town so most  Pittsburghers  would jump at the chance to hear  a story from  a former Steeler  running back, who was part of the  “Golden Days” in  the 1970’s, the days of the “Steel Curtain,”  and  4 Super Bowl victories. This show is not really about Steelers team  history or I would have been lost and bored because  I must timidly admit that I am a temperate fan, unlike most  supersonic ones in this town.  What I do love however is  a  good  story (see Day 146). I  got a good story from Rocky Bleier. I heard his story of chance or of “what if’s” in his life.  I think many of us have those kinds of memories. During the holidays when we are together with family and friends, it is our stories that bring the joy of telling and remembering  to life so that we don’t forget. This is what Rocky Bleier accomplished in this one man intimate play.   

Monday, December 26, 2016

Day 181 St. Nicholas Church (Millvale)- Holiday light tour of Croatian Murals -Gift to America

Pittsburgh’s  rich immigrant  history  has given  birth to many hidden treasures. One of these treasures is the water color tempera  murals painted on the walls of  St.Nicholas Church in Millvale.   We give gifts during the Holidays and  Croatian artist  Maxo Vanka said that the murals were his "Gift to America.”  These paintings mix both secular and religious images to tell the story of the Croatian immigrant experience in the United  States.

The Holiday Light Tour is sponsored by “The Society to Preserve the Millvale Murals of  Maxo  Vanka.”  This tour is a good way to experience these paintings with new LED lighting and learn about their social justice, anti war and reverence for women themes. 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Day 180 Phipps Conservatory- Feel the Wonder in a Wonderland

The weeks before the holiday often involve that panic rush feeling "to get it all done.” We forget, as my blog inspiration book, Everything I Learned About Christmas, I Learned From A Little Golden Book, reminds us that Christmas should be a “time of wonder, a time like no other time of the year.”  At Phipps Conservatory,  the beauty brings back the wonder of the season as you navigate through the 8 rooms  of nature infused with lights, Christmas trees, and  poinsettias,  as well as 5 permanent  botanical  gardens. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Day 179 Michael W. Smith with Jordan Smith Christmas Tour- Christmas Giving

Mom and I before the show 

Listening to the sounds of Christmas  is a good way to get “into the spirit.”  It’s even better  when  you go a concert which celebrates Christmas and does not try to focus on a generic “Holiday Season.”  That is what  you get with the Michael W. Smith  Christmas tour. My Blog inspiration book,  Everything I Need to Know about (Christmas), I Learned From A Little Golden Book,  reminds  us that Christmas is, “ a time for giving the very best of yourself.”  Giving your best,  felt like the spirit of  this concert.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Day 178-A Christmas Story (Musical) –stories and traditions

Photo by Jesse Scheve

When I heard that the 1983 film, “A Christmas Story”  was adapted  into a musical, I thought that it would be a great way to kick off the holiday season with my son.  It’s a tradition for us every year to watch the movie that takes place on Cleveland Street in Indiana in the l940’s. We laugh over and over again at  Ralphie’s  quest  to get a Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot BB gun for Christmas!  The holiday movie, "A Christmas Story” is so appealing to the masses and we never get tired of watching it over and over again because it  fuels our memories of  our own holiday stories. We all can remember a time when we worried that all the “bad stuff" done that year would keep Santa from giving us that one special, must have, childhood toy. My coveted toy was a Barbie convertible.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Day 177 Joe Beretta Foundation-Story of Family-Giving Thanks

I have seen many of my friends use an unexpected adverse experience to  catapult them into some type of positive action (see Day 60- Skully's Wish, Day 28-Support A Friend, Alzheimer's, Day 57-Ovarian Cancer).  We  participate in various causes because we are affected personally, because of friendship, or because the story behind the action makes us want to help. It’s the story behind  my childhood best friend’s loss of her husband to heart failure and her family’s  amazing dream to make things better for others in similar situations,  that fuels my desire to help and share the cause of the Joe Beretta Foundation. (see

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Day 176 Try Running/Never Thought I Would

The days are getting shorter and it’s a race to get some activity in before the sun sets. Jogging gives you a work out in a short period of time.  I have to admit that I hate to run and I  would do anything to avoid any type of running.  I would joke that  I would be the first one in a group to be eaten by a bear because I am so slow.  

I never  thought that  I would even attempt to run  at my age, especially because I need to save my knees for skiing. However, I was inspired by my college friend who finished the Boston half marathon. She also hated to run and her efforts fueled a  competitive nerve that I did not think I even had. I thought that  if my friend can master a marathon than I can at least try to run a 5k. Conquering a weakness is a quality of a being self- actualized or  reaching  your  personal best, so  I started to jog.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Day 175 Red Hot Chili Pipers- A Bagpipe concert?

This empty nest period has been filled with an explosion of new music experiences ranging from  Jazz (Day 15), banjos (Day 54), alternative Rock (Day 137),  to Rap (Day 170 ).   However, I did not expect my new music exposure to  include a  bagpipe concert!  I must admit that I never imagined  listening to  bagpipes without attending a St. Patty’s Day celebration, some type of memorial, or watching clog dancing, until I heard The Red Hot Chili Pipers, (not peppers but pipers).

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Day 174-Salome, Pittsburgh Opera-regretful lust

When I ask most of my friends to go to the opera I often get a polite, “no thank you. ”   I would like to point out that  opera is all about the overall experience and this blog is about the overall experience of trying new things  especially in the midst of a life change (see Day 143).   I say go for the hyped up  experience of the opera with the symphony, singing, dancing, extravagant sets, costumes, and drama.

 You really don’t have to follow every detail of the story to understand what the show is trying to convey.  Pittsburgh Opera's   Salome,  is all about uncontrolled lust and desire fueling one to behave in an unusual or in a bizarre manner.  We all have performed  regretful acts birthed from something that we think that we need or must have!

Monday, October 31, 2016

The New 2017 Scarehouse and Day 173 Scarehouse-Happy Halloween

During Halloween weekend,  I  experienced the adrenaline thrill of  fear  again at the ScareHouse.  As a girl who sleeps with the lights on after watching a scary movie, I had to invite someone for a  sleepover after I experience these 3 ScareHouse  haunts!

There is a new Sunset Lodge which is a old hotel that  has been  taken over by serial killers. The hotel was just like a horror film movie set. The ScareHouse  room details continue to amaze me and the 70 plus actors always seem to stay in character.

There was  a new  3-D circus themed haunt with some really scary looking clowns. This was my favorite group of rooms. I laughed at myself as I jumped, when turning back from  looking at my friends behind me, I came face to face with a clown with a scary huge grin. In  3-D it protruded out as if to bite me!

The Infernal Haunt with  more demons and scary dolls always seems to produce that feeling of "get me out of here"! There is something  about those big eyed dolls that just creeps me out.

I am not sure why we enjoy the thrill of a little fright but ScarehHouse did it again! I am still not ready for the basement experience.

Happy Halloween. 

Day 173 Scarehouse-Happy Halloween

 I am a girl who sleeps with the lights on after  watching a scary movie and who turns her head during horror movie  TV clips. I must  be getting brave  in this empty nest period because this was my third annual Scarehouse visit. I wondered if this place would still give me that scare thrill. In case it did, I had friends join me for support this time.
He moved! Foggy

I  wonder why we enjoy  that heart flutter adrenaline spark  when something unexpectedly jumps at us or when  the presumed mannequin is real and  moves toward you. I guess there is a dopamine rush that keeps us coming back for more.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Day 172 Colbie Caillat-Carnegie Music Hall in Homestead/ Personal touch/ Malibu

 I first saw Colbie Caillat on the Today Show  over  10 years ago. She was playing her first solo hit single, “Bubbly.”  I loved her pop/jazz/soft sound and I ran out and  got her  first CD, CoCo .  I still love every song on that CD.  I was surprised to see that she was coming to a small venue, the Carnegie Music Hall  in Homestead. Even on a week night, I was off to rediscover her  and check out this music venue.  What I discovered was great music delivered with a personal touch.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Day 171 PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh/Finding Neverland-imagination

My Blog inspiration book, “Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book,” reminds us to, “use our imagination.” That is just what playwright,  JW Barrie, did when he embarked on his journey  to create the story, Peter Pan.  The PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh musical, Finding  Neverland, is  about this journey. This is not just a play for children, but is really a play about  tapping into something inside each  of us  that inspires us to imagine, dream,  and be childlike.  

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Day 170 Rapper Kuf Knots-Positive Light

Kuf Knots at the Pittsburgh Winey with Multu
 I thought that I would be the  last person on the planet to ever  listen to Rap music. However, I got hooked on this guy Kuf Knotz because of his positive message when I experienced his music  at the Pittsburgh Winery (see blog Day 169).  According to my blog inspiration psychologist,  Maslow, viewing the world in a positive light is a  characteristic of a person who is Self- Actualized or who has reached their personal best.  Rapper Kuf Knot’s  new  CD,  A Positive Light  is filled with  inspiration and  positive energy. This is what most of us need as we  navigate through  life.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Day 169 Pittsburgh Winery/romantic, interesting music and wine-Mutlu

Pittsburgh Winery stage
My blog inspiration book, Everything I Need to Know I Learned From A Little Golden Book, reminds us to, “be adventurous”.  I felt adventurous when I tried,  the  Pittsburgh Winery, which is an urban winery located Pittsburgh's strip district.  Urban wineries do not grow grapes but import them. Thus they have  a variety  of grapes  to make the wine.   The Pittsburgh Winery  offers an opportunity to sample good  wine, and hear national artists  in an intimate setting.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Day 168 Pittsburgh Broadway, Kinky Boots – Change your world and Remembering my Friend

The Pittsburgh Broadway series is bringing some great  musicals to town. Kinky Boots, which is based on a true story,  had a unique plot-Charlie revitalizes  his late father’s bankrupt shoe  factory by finding a niche making sexy boots for men who dress as women. Kinky boots was about confidently reinventing  something which is in line with my blog  inspiration, Maslow, the father of self actualization , or being your personal best.  This show was also about acceptance and  looking beyond appearances into one's heart.  As stressed in this play, by doing this you can "change your world. "
 Maybe it’s my  current  perspective (see Day 167) but every song in this show seemed to be screaming at me: Take What You Got, Sex is in the Heel , History of Wrong Guys, and of course, What a Woman Wants .  I have to admit that my eyes welled with tears during, Not My Father's Son, and Raise You Up/Just Be. I  remembered my best friend, Paul, who left this world much too soon. He dared to be himself when it was so difficult in the 80's. He sure sparkled just like those Kinky Boots!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

167 Off Balance-Try a Unicycle

No hands
From Everything I Need...
This blog has  always  been  about  moving forward after  life changes by trying new things. I believe  that  moving forward is a way to find  a  path to being  our personal  best  or as the theorist  Maslow would say, becoming self- actualized. My childhood best  friend  recently  advised  so well,  “Cindy, you can’t really move forward when you’re off balance.” Many things in life can get  you off balance.   As one of my blog inspiration books, Everything I Need to Know About Love, I Learned From A Little Golden Book,  states,  " broken (relationship) ..can leave you flat on your back.”  A few months ago,  an unexpected event put a  hatchet to my relationship, my son went back to college and  a close family member had to fight a serious  illness. So yes, I was a bit off balance but once I found some balance again, moving  forward  is refreshing because of my new perspective, goals, and  chance to start "better".    

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Day 166 Trip with Mom-Bradenton Florida

Two years ago, right after starting this blog, I took my mother to the beach with my cousin. Before that, it had been over 10 years since I had a trip  with my mother.   I always traveled with my son, a significant other, or friends. When my mother would  ask about  going on vacation together,  I was busy with life and just like in the  song  Cat's In The Cradled, responded :

"I don't know when
But we'll get together then
You know we'll have a good time then."
In this empty nest period even though you're still a parent to your child, it's like retirement  because your child is now an adult and busy with his/her  life. My mother turned 80 this year! It’s time to try a new kind of vacation, one with my mother.   

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Day 165 Dali Museum/St Petersburg, Florida

Daddy Long Legs Evening Hope

Enjoying art has always been a passion of mine. I have explored this more fully during my empty nest period (Day 14-Absorb Art Degas, and Day 86-Art Institute of Chicago). When I heard that there was a  Salvador Dali   museum in St. Petersburg, I packed up my beach chair and I was on my way. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Day 164 Happy 4th of July/Riverhounds- Pittsburgh soccer

I watched the World Cup a few years ago when the US was a contender but I have never been to  a professional or semi- professional soccer game.  I have been trying sports events in this empty nest period (see Day-91 Penguins, Day-95 Steelers, Day 11- Spring Training Baseball). Therefore, on  the  4th of  July, I thought that  going to a  Riverhounds  game  would be a good way to enjoy the holiday  and watch the fireworks since the  stadium is located along the river with a perfect view of the city. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Day 163 US Open Oakmont Country Club, Pittsburgh

US OPEN at Oakmont Country Club  in 2016

The US Open  is at Oakmont County Club  all week.  It  comes to Oakmont about every  10 years so if I missed it, I would have a long wait to see it again. I had hoped to start golfing more in this empty nest period (see Day 50 -Swinging a Golf Club) but I have not played much.  Real golfers (which does not include me), say that the game requires  skill but that  it’s mostly a game about  confidence and mental control. Thus, you play well one day and play like crap the next but you keep on playing.  There is so much to remember:  how to hold the club, how wide to keep your feet, how to pick the right club,  don’t swing down on the club, shift your weight, and the list goes on and on.  That is why the game is fascinating  to me because to master  it, requires you to put it all together -  it’s like finding your Zen  

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Day 162 Political Rally/ Hillary Clinton in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh June 14, 2016 Hillary Clinton Rally
I am undecided about my vote for President so when I heard that Hillary Clinton would be in Pittsburgh, I decided to attend my first Presidential Rally in an effort to gather more information. This would be  consistent  with striving for self-actualization, or your personal best. It was ironic that during my first rally  I was interviewed by KDKA news, another first! ( click to view news clip)

Monday, June 13, 2016

Day 161 Stanley Cup/Pittsburgh Penguins a Play- off Game

Sheary my favorite player with the Cup  6/12/16

When  I started this blog two years ago,  I was not that much of a sports fan but I have morphed into one during this empty nest period (see Day 91-Pittsburgh Penguins) .  This happened by osmosis from having new friends that are sports fanatics and because going to a  sports event is one of the rare things that my son will  do with me.    Even if you were not a hockey fan,  you got the fever this year as  the Pittsburgh Penguins  pursued, and yesterday  won, the STANLY CUP.  So this year, I was fortunate to experience for the first time going to a few play- off games.  

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Day 160- 2 year blog reflection and soul/funk artists Charles Bradley-Changes

Charles Bradley at the Pittsburgh Arts Festival
This blog has been about self  improvement , or self- actualization, which is being the best you can be, by trying new things after life changes. My  changes occurred  over two years ago  when my only son started collage leaving me with an “empty nest” and simultaneously  I had a cracked personal  relationship. I had the double whammy and potential for despair.  Dale Carnegie once said, “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”   I challenged myself  to trying something new everyday in the summer of 2014 and to blog about it. It’s been 2.5 years of fun, discovery and reflections. This  blog has been a push for me to get busy and hopefully to others who read it.   

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Day 159 La Festa Della Donna - International Women’s Day

It seems  like there is a “day” 
dedicated to everything. Thus you could literally celebrate something every day  but  International Women’s Day is  a day worth embracing.  It is a celebration with a political history but it is also a day to appreciate women.  In Maslow's principle, the human need for  love and belonging  is third on  his  list to reaching our best self or self-actualization. This need can be  expressed in deep friendships  so I was excited when my friend invited me to my first celebration of La Festa Della Donna.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Day 158 Purdue Visit


My Blog inspiration book, Everything I Need to Know I Learned From A Little Golden Book ,reminds us to “Let  your children know you love them.”  That  is just what I did on my recent visit to Purdue University to see my son.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Day 157 The Ultimate Oscars/Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Goofing off at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra - Heinz Hall 

Enjoying  the Pittsburgh Symphony  Orchestra show, “The Ultimate Oscars,”   was a great way to gear up for the Oscars.   I love the glam of the Oscars  with  its “star power,” movie previews, and red carpet dresses.  The Oscar's larger than life movies have familiar larger than life music themes  written to be  paired with a full  orchestra and the Pittsburgh Symphony POPS featured some of best of these movie themes.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Day 156 Bed and Breakfast/Holiday Valley

Jefferson Inn, Ellicotville, NY
Even though February is the month of love due in part to Hallmark’s marketing, it’s still nice to reflect  on the things, people, and places, that we love and show our appreciation  to the significant others in our life.  Appropriately,  my blog inspiration book, Everthing I Need to Know about LOVE I Learned From a Little Golden Book  reminds us that, “without love, we wouldn’t know joy’s true heights.” A bed and breakfast is a good place to relax alone or celebrate your relationship with that special someone. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Day 155 NBA Basketball/Utah Jazz vs Philadelphia 76ers

Jazz vs 76ers
I have never been much of a sports fan  but my friend continues to introduce me to sports. Like anything, familiarly brings comfort and I guess now I can say that I am merging into a fan! I think basketball might be on the top of the list.   Recently I experienced my first professional NBA basketball game in Salt Lake City Utah-Jazz vs 76ers.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Day 154 Chicago Architecture tours/river, walking & theater

River walk in Chicago
Last year I ventured to Chicago for the first time and experienced all things Chicago (see Days 84, 85, 86 and 87).  This year’s visit was all things architectural. We took a walking tour  with the  Chicago Architectural Foundation , a river tour with Sight Seeing Tours, and a back stage tour of the iconic Chicago Theater. You rarely think about a building’s history when you walk to get  from one place to another. An architectural tour brings the stories  of a city to life and  you see beautiful works of art  that you might never have noticed in the absence of a tour.  Architecture is the standing history of the past life of a city and just like  the house tours of  Day 154, these tours give you a sense of  life’s brevity.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Day 153 Trains & House Tours/Allegheny West

Holmes Hall
The  Allegheny West Neighborhood  consists of only eight blocks on the North Side of Pittsburgh but it’s rich in history with several  restored Victorian homes from the 1800’s.  I learned  some new things about   Pittsburgh’s past  and  discovered  a vast private toy train collection when I helped as a guide for  my friend whose home was part of the Old Allegheny Victorian Christmas House Tour. A house tour is  an intimate way to explore architecture  and  lifestyles of the past and present.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Day 152 Ski Utah

Top of the Mountain -Alta, Utah 10,500 feet

My blog inspiration book, Everything I Need To Know I Learned From A Little Golden Book     reminds us to, “be daring” and that is just what you have to do when you are about to ski down a mountain on two long boards. When the cold weather approaches, bear like hibernation tends to occur unless you can find  some kind of outside interest and skiing is a great way to enjoy the winter. I have recently added skiing back into my life( see Day 104-Ski Again). However,  I have not been out west to ski in over 10 years so I was ready to tackle the mountains of Utah for the first time.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Day 151 Temple Square Christmas Lights, Salt Lake City, Utah

The  New Year has arrived! A new year is a time to reflect and a time to start fresh. My entire blog is about change and fresh starts so I don’t need it to be a new year for my “do over.” Every day is a do over for me. I am also not one for New Year’s resolutions because I usually set my goals much too high which inevitably result in failure. Thus, in 2016 I am going to continue to see the silver lining in life, keeping it positive. As the psychologist, Maslow would agree, having a positive attitude in life is a characteristic of a self -actualized individual. I am keeping alive the glass half full philosophy. Therefore, I thought that I would start the new year blog with my recent visit to Salt Lake City’s  Temple  Square, where the Christmas lights filled the night. There were so many lights that I had that breathtaking “Ahh” feeling.