My irritation with Bank of America usurped my attempts to write about my trip to Pittsburgh. I'm glad I got it all out there, and now I can write about other things.
When last I wrote, I was at my awesome hotel upgrade enjoying awesome hotelness. I slept like the dead that night, and in the morning got up and went over to the Cathedral and walked around. There were a million children running around in there, I guess the vast majority of them were staying at my hotel too. There was a massive swim meet at Pitt, and I took it that these noisy urchins were the swimmers.
I didn't hang out in the Cathedral too long.
I headed over to the Carnegie Museum of Art, took a picture of the Diplodocus and Shakespeare outside the Carnegie Music Hall. The museum was mostly empty at 10:30am.
I headed straight to the trees in the beautiful Hall of Architecture where the trees and the Neapolitan Presipio are set up each year. The trees are giants, and fit in so beautifully with the fronts of the buildings, and all of the ancient statues and doors around the hall. It is perfect. The theme this year was Muses, and each of the five trees had a theme. Muses of Art, Music, Andy Warhol, etc... I spent a great deal of time studying each of the trees and taking pictures of them. They were all so beautiful.
And the room was so empty that it was so refreshing to be in there.
I then turned my attention to the Presipio. The nativity scene that is assembled each year makes me think that if it was my job to do this at the museum, this would be the highlight of my work year. Every time I've seen this, I see something different. And the way it is set up, I like to think that it can be assembled differently each year, like you're home playing with your doll sets and you are six years old again, only it is Italians, Wise Men, Baby Jesus, Animals and a Mess of Angels.
It is so spectacular, so wonderful. All the figures, the angels hanging from gossamer strings. There was one angel so low, I've never seen it that low, and the figures around her reacting to her presence.... so truly amazing and beautiful. I studied this thing for so long this time. Last time I was there, Geoff only wanted to look at trees and run around in circles and make noise and go see dinosaurs. So to have this all to myself was a blessing. A few other people came in, and the security guard talked to me (incessantly, which is something Jessica finds amusing, people just come up to me and start talking and before you know it I have their life story. She thinks I'm magical).
I then went up to the Scaife Galleries, where all the paintings and artwork are. I sat on a comfortable couch in front of Monet's Water Lilies and just soaked it in. The guards were funny.... two young women who were happy to have the place to themselves and were talking about going out that night, and I talked to them about how quiet the galleries were.
"Mornings are usually very quiet. Parents take their little kids to see the trees and then all the dinosaurs, and then around noon they come up here when the children are exhausted and starving and crying, and it's a lot of fun."
I could see how that might be a problem for some. In fact, that is exactly what we did with Geoff the last time we were there.
After about an hour kicking around the Scaife galleries, I was ready to go and discover more things, like see my favorite taxidermy/sculpture, Arab Courier Attacked by Lions, but I peeked into the Works on Paper gallery and was intrigued. The exhibit was a called "On Reading," and was a collection of about 100 pictures by photographer André Kertész. All the photos were of people reading. Magazines, newspapers, books, menus. None of them looked as if they were aware they were being photographed. The exhibit was accentuated by beautiful overstuffed leather sofas, with tables full of books sent in by the museum staff. I sat on one of the sofas (I still had an hour or so until Jess was done with her final) and I read the first two chapters of Tolkien's "The Hobbit," after struggling for a while trying to figure out which fantastic book to read.
I thought to myself, that this was by far one of the most thoughtful and sweet exhibitions I had ever seen. The intimacy of the photos combined with the fantastic gift of favorite books from the museum staff just struck me as so sweet and beautiful.
Jess called me, and we met up at the trees, soaked them in together for a little while. Sadly, my daughter isn't as moved and inspired by the Presipio and the trees as I am. We didn't spend much time gawking, and the crowds were much larger. We headed to lunch, landed at Fuel and Fuddle at the recommendation of my friend Crystal. We finished up and took Jess' friend Cordelia some cold medicine. She was holed up in her room suffering, so we brought her gifts and tea and medicine to make her better. Jess was done with all her finals, so we went to her room and got her gear together, and headed north to Doug's family.
Out to dinner with Doug's parents, the following morning we went to my niece and nephew's Christmas Pageant. Elyse was Mary, and Craig was a shepherd. We had a fantastic lunch out with my brother in law's family too, and it was just a wonderful visit. That night we watched the Steelers game (they lost, unfortunately) and Jess and I had an evening to ourselves. We went out to Steak & Shake and had a ton of fun. At about 9am we were on the road, and got home at about 10pm. The last hour was spent in the driving snow, rather stressy experience but Metallica made it better.
All told it was a very fun weekend. I love Pittsburgh, I'm glad my daughter landed there. If you would like to see pictures from the weekend, they are all here. Be sure to check out all the Presipio shots... maybe you will love it as much as I do.
I can't wait to go back. But next time I need company in the car or my head will explode on the way out there... so boring. So very boring...