Blue Knob Bound

Sometimes, when you look at yet another sidewalk of snow to be shovelled, or closet of clothes to be triple layered against the elements, it's hard to remember why you chose to live in western PA during the winter. It's frigid, it's "slippy", and there's no getting around it.  Just remember that a winter wonderland is only a relatively short drive away... Blue Knob State Park. Your relationship with snow will then become a lot more tolerant, with every snow dump a siren's call to "head for the hills."

 Even the snow covered roads are an adventure.

The backside of Stembogan Bowl.

 You can get pretty close to the wind turbines that are a huge part of the landscape in that area.


Things I Love...

I love how pretty the greenware pottery looks while drying, even under bad lighting.

This Southern drive thru which specializes in  North Carolina  BBQ and Premium Milkshakes called the
"Cook Out".
We had bbq pulled pork and got to choose from at least 30 unique milkshake flavors.
Hopefully they'll break out of the Carolinas and franchise into Pittsburgh (fingers crossed).

Gift Message I liked: "Congratulations! Let love never leave your house and happiness stay with you forever! Kathy & Chuck C.


We ran into an old friend the other night...

We found one of our pitchers at Murray Avenue Grill in Squirrel Hill the other night when we stopped for dinner running errands. It was sitting by the bar at the restaurant. I recognized it as soon as I saw it, but couldn't remember making it. It looked kind of hippyish with the raffia on it.

I looked at the maker's mark on the back and realized that the pitcher was made in 1999 and stamped by Scott S., who used the panther paw as his stamper's mark. When I looked at the bottom, I saw Keith H.'s  throwing signature. It was a pretty cool time capsule for us.


Dog Day @ the Beach in January

 This was the girls' first trip to the beach. They had a great time.

 We met a blind dog friend. It was amazing watching her run around the beach.

From the Tao Te Ching:
Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.


Go Steelers!

We got the following in an email and had to share.
Subject: FW: What's the big deal about Steelers football?


Being a Steeler fan means so much more
than football. It means being from a corner of the world unlike any

It means being from a place where the people are so
tough-minded that they have survived the Homestead strikes, the Johnstown flood and most recently the Etna Floods. These people have the DNA of hard work, in mills and mines, without the necessity of complaint. They live simply, with no frills. They don't have movie stars or fancy cars.

Instead, they have simple traditions like kielbasa, Kennywood,
and celebrations. They live in distinctive neighborhoods like Polish Hill and the Hill District and all of the surrounding counties. These people are genuine.

They don't have chic internet cafes and cappuccinos, but they have The Original Hot Dog joint, Primanti's, Eat n' Park and Iron City Beer.

People from Pittsburgh don't have sunny beaches or fancy boats,
but the rivers roll gently, connecting the small towns of people whose histories have been built on strength and humility.

People from Pittsburgh don't have the biggest shopping malls or the best nightclubs, but they'll take Friday night high school football and Steeler Sunday over anything.
Steeler football means so much more than you think. It
symbolizes a Diaspora of generations who had the best childhood they could imagine.

They ran free without a care or concern in the valleys of those Allegheny Mountains . Their blue-collar world was easy ... there was no one to tell them that they lacked material things. There was no one to tell them that they needed more.

As the steel mills closed and the jobs disappeared, some of these people had to leave. While the world benefits because they spread their Pittsburgh values, they long for their home where things were simpler and more pure.

They teach their kids about Jack Lambert, Lynn Swann, Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Jack Ham, L.C. Greenwood, Joe Greene, and Myron Cope in hopes of imparting not
just the knowledge, but the feeling that they represented.

They are everywhere, those Terrible Towels. They wave, not just for the team, but for the hearts they left behind.
They wave in living rooms in Fort Lauderdale and in the bars of Washington , D.C. They wave all the way to the Seattle Superdome! They wave for the Rooney family, whose values mirror our own - loyalty, grit, and humility.

They wave for football players like Jerome Bettis and Hines Ward, whose unselfishness and toughness have allowed sports to be about the game and the team.

Make no mistake that Steeler football is not just about football. I could not be prouder to be from the Pittsburgh area than I am right now!!

Even if you no longer live in the area, you have South Western Pennsylvania in your blood no matter where you go.

And deep down in your heart of hearts, you can still hear the Super Bowls of times past, the excitement in everyone's voices especially our fathers, cousins, and anyone else who gathered around the TV on Football Sundays!

Make no mistake, its just as exciting right now! It's not just about rivalries and who is better than the other, it's about family, tradition and roots! It's more than football, but its football at its finest! If you now live in Arizona , Colorado , Ohio , Indiana , California , Florida , Nevada , or Texas , be proud of where you were born and who your FIRST favorite football team was!

Go Steelers, Picksburgh GO STILLERS! Ah yes!

Yunz is from the Picksburgh area or maybe you grew up
there if:

1. You didn't have a spring break in high school.

2. You walk carefully when it is "slippy" outside.

3. You often go down to the "crick."

4. You've told your children to "red up" their rooms.

5. You can remember telling your little brother/sister to stop
being so " nebby."

6. You've gotten hurt by falling into a "jaggerbush".

7. Your mother or grandmother has been seen wearing a "babushka" on her head.

8. You've "worshed" the clothes.

9. I ask you to hand me one of those "Gum-Bands" an' you actually
know what I'm talking about.

10. You know you can't drive too fast on the back roads, because of the deer.

11. You know Beaver Valley , Turtle Crick, Mars, Slippery Rock, Greentree and New Castle are names of towns. And you've been to most, if not all, of them.

12. A girl walks up to three of her girl friends and says,

13. You hear "you guyses" and don't think twice. Example: "you guyses hause is nice."

14. You know the three rivers by name and under stand that "The Point" isn't just on a writing instrument.

15. Someone refers to "The Mon" or "The Yough" and you know exactly what they're talking about.

16. You remember the blizzard o f 1993 (or 1976, or 1950, or 1939,
or...) and remember not being able to go outside because the snow was over your head and you would have suffocated.

17. Someone starts the chant, "Here we go Still-ers!" and you join in.
In the proper cadence, waving the appropriately colored towel.

18. Bob Prince and "There's a bug loose on the rug." hold special meaning for you.

19. You've either eaten a Farkleberry Tart or know someone who has.

20. You drink pop, eat hoagies, love perogies and one of your favorite sandwiches actually has coleslaw and French fries ON it.

21. You know what a "still mill" is.

22. You expect temps in the winter to be record-breaking cold and
temps in the summer to be record-breaking hot.

23. You know what Eat 'N Park is and frequently ate breakfast there at 2:00 AM after the bar closed and made fun of people.

24. You order "dippy eggs" in a restaurant and get exactly what you wanted.

25. You spent your summers, or a school picnic at Luna Park , Kennywood, Westview, Sand Castle , or Idlewild.

26. You've been to the Braun's Bread Plant or Story Book Forest for a school field trip. We went to the Heinz plant and the Isaly's plant for Cub Scouts.

27. "Chipped ham" (from Isaly's) was always in your refrigerator when you was growin'up.

28. You refuse to buy any condiments besides Heinz unless a Pittsburgh athlete's picture is on the side of the container.

29. When you call the dog or the kids you shout, "Kum-mere" and they come.

30. Franco, Roberto, and Mario don't need last names and you can recite their exploits by heart.

31. Food at a wedding reception consists of rigatoni, stuffed cabbage, sauerkraut and polska kielbasa.

You'll send this on to family and friends who used to live in the Pittsburgh area as well as to those who have never lived there, just so they can appreciate how different western PA really
is. Wonder how many of yinz guys actually understood all dat? Some folks just don't.


A nice gift message

It's funny how hard it is for some people to decide on a gift message. You can go short & sweet or express yourself in a long paragraph, we've seen it all. A customer used the following gift message on her order and I think I might just poach it for my next wedding gift:
"With love and best wishes for a happy marriage, Love, Aunt L and Uncle B"


Special email from A.C. from Hewitt TX

Message: I received one of your crocks as a wedding gift and absolutely fell in love! I have received so many compliments from guests. It is something that we will have forever, and will remember our special day every time we look at it.