Monthly Archives: November 2011

The Belle of Halloween

By: Mary

Many years ago I made a special effort to have a fun Halloween. This effort involved driving across the country to Chapel Hill, NC with my older brother Rob and with Cale to go to a street party . From start to finish, this was a very bad plan. I ended up spending the weekend in a fetal position on Kate’s cabin floor vomiting and sobbing while the flu hit down hard.

Skipping ahead to 2011, I put much less effort into making fun happen, and had a super fun day. Cale and I opted to attend a costume party at a family friends house. We were about 15 years younger or older than everyone else (minus Clare who tagged along much to her regret).

It took me about 1o minutes to throw myself together as Bell from Beauty and the Beast. Cale decided to stop at the store on the way to boy a $3 mustache for his costume. When we got to the store, Clare told me that I shouldn’t get out of my car. Well, I may not be like my older sister who traipses about Pittsburgh in a ball gown with the baby in a sling and her harp, but I can handle going into Wal-Mart on a rainy afternoon as Bell in my yellow bridesmaid dress.

Cales humor was infectious. Clare didn’t get infected by it though because she was careful to stray behind us at a distance. I think she just needs to grow up to realize how much fun it is to be a kid.

The toy isle hasn’t been such fun to me in years! I almost made the impulse buy of a  tiara, but I stood strong.

The Halloween isle was equally as tempting to Cale. An Angry Bird thingamabob was beckoning to him. He tried to use his 26 year old logic to prevent him from wasting $21 on it. He walked away, really I promise you!

But the Angry Bird was just too tempting, so back he went to buy it.

I was still laughing when we left the store. Out in the parking lot a little girl said loudly to her mom “look Mama it’s a girl in a beautiful dress!” Clare slyly stuck her tongue out a the preschooler.

When we got to the party Cale became Angry Bird.

Clare was a girl from the old west in my boots and a costume from Colleen.

Being Bell meant that the little girls at the party wanted to hangout with me.

What little girl doesn’t want to tag along with a fake princess? The Angry Bird was a hit with the kids too. He jammed down in the basement on a guitar. Clare liked the resident Saint Bernards.

Celebrating Halloween year was great. I hope you readers all hade a wonderful Halloween too.

Until next time,


Caffe Mona

by Kate

There are benefits to setting out on foot to pound the pavement hanging posters all over town. I have been flyering for rock shows and Shakespearean productions and dance performances and bellydance classes for years now, and have come to love the work. It’s a great way to learn a neighborhood, and to discover where to find everything from an amazing bookshop to a great cup of coffee.

Yesterday I was hanging flyers for the  grand Gala Bellydance Show featuring Sherena happening Saturday here in Pittsburgh. It is going to be a great show, and if you are in the area you should come. Live band, great dancing, Turkish food available for purchase, beautiful space, family friendly, kids under 12 get in free. In the course of my ceaseless promotions, I stopped to hang a flyer at the Caffe Mona.

The Caffe Mona is located just across the street from the gargantuan and internationally renowned Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. As coffeeshops often do, it has recently undergone a change of ownership. By all accounts, the former owner was a bit… aggressively friendly, particularly with female customers. Perhaps as a result, the new owner is distinctively courteous and respectful.

He is also Turkish, which means I heavily encouraged him to attend the upcoming bellydance show, and also that the menu at Caffe Mona is extremely enticing. The Caffe does catering as well as a full line of breakfast including sweet and savory seasonal crepes of all sorts and salads and sandwiches for lunch and dinner. My flyering companion had a pumpkin stuffed crepe, and I was torn between the Caprese Bagel or a Steak Omelet. I had the Omelet, but I’ll definitely head back for the bagel. The coffee is very good.

And the general atmosphere is warm, welcoming, and calm. I imagine that it would be a welcome respite for the staff and visitors at the UPMC Children’s Hospital across the street.

It was also a great place to have breakfast with a friend and a wiggling, ululating toddler. Meaning that perhaps during our stay there it wasn’t as great a spot as usual to get some work done in a contemplative manner.

If you’re near the Children’s Hospital or looking for a new coffeshop or lunch experience in Bloomfield or Lawrenceville any time soon, check out the Caffe Mona.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off. I have some flyers to hang.

Running in Sewanee, Tennessee

by Colleen

45 degree weather never felt so good as it did this past Saturday as I ran in the last cross country race of the season in Sewanee, Tennessee.  Yes, I am quite in the same mind as Mary about winter weather and cold and gloom and all that, but coming from Dallas  (same old sun and 80 degree weather), I was completely exhilarated by the fall weather.

On Friday afternoon, my cross country team and I flew out of the DFW airport, and touched down again just a few hours later in Chattanooga, TN, in weather that I would typically dub horrid.  It was cool, gray, and rainy.  And absolutely gorgeous.  I wore a sweater!  After dinner in a beautiful renovated train station, the team and I explored a little.

We all ended up on one of those famous Chattanooga Choo-Choos (do you know that song?  I do-thank you high school choir!)

Soon enough it was off to bed, and morning came early.  Well, relatively.  Although both of my roommates at the hotel set alarms along with me, not one of us woke up.  We ended scrambling down to the bus with breakfasts in our hands.

The course for the race was absolutely beautiful.  We were running on the campus of Sewanee College, “The College of the South”.  It didn’t look southern at all, though.

There were little stone cottage-like houses for the students, and everywhere there were trees in the height of their autumnal beauty.  I expected to see smoke rising from the tiny chimneys, and missed our chubby black woodstove back home.  (We had a very close relationship-I have the burn marks to prove it).

We got out and ran our warm-up, and boy, did most of the UDers need it!  It was quite brisk out, even for a Wisconsinite.  I stretched and simultaneously posed for pictures quite nonchalantly, so cool in my head band from my little brother, James.

And then we were off!  Running up and around and crunching over the glorious fall leaves, breath frosting the air before our cold noses.  I didn’t run the fastest race of my life, but in the end it didn’t matter.  I was just happy to be there with my team and doing something I love.  Our team ended up getting 9th out of 10 at the Conference meet, but we still had the heart to celebrate.  The world is beautiful, especially when there are maples leaves to throw in the air under a sunny fall sky.