Best of luck to Chris Zeigler who undergoes surgery for his broken nose tomorrow at Harrisburg Hospital . . . We celebrated Christmas in July tonight. As many of my regular readers know, Bob and his neighbor Betty Holmboe several years ago were distressed because they could not celebrate the season befitting their friendship because both were too busy with other events at the time. So they agreed to postpone the holiday until the middle of the summer when they could spend some extra hours together. So tonight was the time for a wonderful meal and an exchange of presents. Jane, Jason, Sabrina and Felix came by to wish all a Merry Christmas. The porch was appropriately decorated with candy canes, garland, snowflakes, sleigh bells and a miniature tree . . . I know that the consumer is supposed to lead us out of the Bush recession, but I really have to wonder. When I walk into Boscov's, for instance, I see an acre of dresses and I know that throughout the area there are other stores with a similar collection. Who is going to buy all these, I wonder. The same might be said for a visit to Karns or Giant. Shelves stocked floor to ceiling; will it all get eaten? My sister works at Walmart and I once posed the question to her. She told me that the store offered unsold merchandise to charities in the area, but none wanted to be bothered, so when a new shipment arrived the old merchandise was simple tossed into the dumpster. The only non-profit that accepted the leftovers was the Animal Humane Society . . .
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Had a reason to drive down Front Street and into Shipoke this morning and was quite impressed with the site decoration in Riverfront Park for today's Gay Pride festivities. Tents of all shapes, sizes and colors and several dozen colorful flags were scattered about. There was no doubt that a major fun event was about to take place; really made Harrisburg look like a special city again, if only for a few hours . . . . Today's TripAdvisor visitor was a school teacher from Pittsburgh. As soon as she consulted the travel site she knew that she had to come to The Bare Wall. She had grown up in a house at 712 Green Street in Greensburg, so our address had to be a good omen. We enjoyed her visit . . . Received a letter from David Hoffman full of good news; Dave explained that most of the parking lots in the HACC midtown area are actually privately owned and merely leased to the college. That means that they are paying property taxes to the city and are not exempt . . . That does take me back a bit—to the late 1960s when property owners in the city found that it was more profitable to tear down their houses and create parking lots; the resulting destruction of perfectly good housing was one of the reasons we created the Historic Harrisburg Association . . .
Friday, July 29, 2011
Sorry I didn't have my camera with me on my morning walk. The Waterford on the west shore was shrouded in a mist and would have made an eerie picture . . . Had a heart-to-heart talk with Dr. Dowling this afternoon and told him that these repeated visits to the hospital for a scan or test were too stressful and exhausting since they were occurring every week or two; I needed a break. He was very understanding and agreed to delay the scan he had hoped to do next week for another several weeks--until August 30 to be precise. I am happy for the "vacation" but I will probabl worry about it right up until the procedure; it is the same scan I had last month that ended with my passing out . . . Ordered the West Virginia glass from Ron Hinkle this morning. Delivery should be quick if all the pieces are in stock . . .
Thursday, July 28, 2011
I was pleasantly surprised by a visit from my nephew Ken Welsh, his daughter Brandi and son Justin of McConnellsburg this morning. I hadn't seen Ken for several years. They were in town to get Brandi's birth certificate so she can pursue a driver's license . . . A wonderful late afternoon/early evening rain . . . Happy to welcome Jack Barnett home after his few weeks in the hospital . . . Mary Lingus recovering from foot surgery . . . Your August copy of TheBurg is here . . . Wishing all the best to our uptown neighbors Chris and Megan Zeigler as they leave us for their new home in Shipoke. We'll miss the dog, too . . . My uptown walks often take me around the HACC campus and I have to wonder why there are so many parking lots that never have any vehicles in them. I have threatened to actually count all the spaces that have been reserved for students. I cannot help but wonder—are all those asphalted fields now tax exempt? If so, that is a terrible boondoggle to pull on Harrisburg residents . . .
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Apparently the scan today was inconclusive and another scan will be necessary; Dr. Dowling will explain tomorrow . . . I am sorry to report that baker Bob Miller of Specialty Cakes in Mechanicsburg passed away last night . . . Thanks to Lindsay Mills for the oatmeal raisin cookies . . . Negotiations with the steam company by those affected by next month's proposed shut-off will have a preliminary hearing tomorrow at the PUC if I understand correctly . . . Bryan and Jaime MacLeod are in the market for a new car; their sporty Jeep is not handy since the family has expanded. Bryan said the replacement will probably be a silver Ford Focus. I suggested that little Annalise would probably prefer it in pink . . . Saturday is the last day to register for the Friends of Midtown landscape/gardening contest. So far only four families have registered. E-mail us (address at left) if you want further direction . . .
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Somewhat cooler for a day or two . . . Nice to have a visit from Janet Day this afternoon . . . Chris Zeigler facing serious surgery for a broken nose, the result of a workplace accident at the Hilton . . . my scan at the hospital is scheduled for 9:45 a.m. tomorrow so we should be back in time to open at 11 a.m . . .
Monday, July 25, 2011
A day of intermittent showers that kept the temperatures down a bit but didn't improve the comfort level all that much . . . well, it wasn't the most romantic spot we could have chosen, but Bob and I celebrated our anniversary by going out on the town--the Yankee Doodle Diner in Wormleysburg . . .
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Guess this is a day for welcoming folks back to town: welcome to Doug and Amy Hill, back from Oregon where it was so cold they couldn't go boating; welcome to the Battisti family, back from Orlando, Fla.; haven't seen the kids yet so cannot give you a first-hand report; welcome home Betty Holmboe who has been crisscrossing West Virgina with Buckhannon as a kind of home base. She visited the studio of a glass blower whose works we hope to add to our collection. Welcome to Jane, Jason, Sabrina and Felix who chose one of the hottest days of the year to see a Phillies game . . . Actually spent some time out on the porch today, it was that cool (90 degrees) . . . Looking forward to seeing some of you before the temperature goes back up later in the week . . . Bob and I will be celebrating our 26th anniversary tomorrow . . .
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
Bob reports: Whitaker Center's tribute to Earl Blust was well done—from the booklet reviewing Earl's works with commentaries from fellow artists, to an overview of his works and styles. The exhibit of Earl's work was thoughtfully displayed. It was also good to see the large number of people who attended to honor him. The Hilton's catering wasn't bad either . . . The paintings remain on display until the middle of October . . . Diane Neiper e-mailed to say that she highly recommends the Funny Girl production currently playing at the Mt. Gretna Playhouse . . . The Bare Wall was closed today and will probably have abbreviated hours tomorrow if the temps remain around 100 . . .
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Today did not go well and the fact that it was 100 degrees outside had nothing to do with it . . . Was at the hospital a little after nine this morning for what was to be a few moments in surgery at eleven. Was then informed that I had been pushed back to eleven-thirty. That came and went as did twelve o'clock and one as well. Of course I hadn't had eat or drink since the night before, so my stomach was complaining . . . Finally got into an operating room after one, the plan being to replace a stent that was providing drainage for one kidney. Well, the old stent came out easily but there was a “krink” in the road that prohibited its replacement. At the moment we have no stent in place at all and can only hope that these few weeks with one might have enlarged the hole to permit normal drainage . . . No matter what, it will be back to the hospital next week for another scan to see just what is going on inside . . . There is no pain with all of this but there is considerable agony. Would love to have a day or two when I could simply forget about my condition . . . Was too exhausted to attend the Earl Blust reception at Whitaker Center tonight but Bob and Ernie Kepner went and promised to mention me. Will have a little report for you tomorrow . . . In the meanwhile, I think The Bare Wall will be closed all day tomorrow, so stay home and keep cool . . .
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
A minor traffic accident at Green and Forster this afternoon but serious enough that at least one vehicle had to be removed on a flatbed truck . . . Lots of coming and going despite the heat today; sold another two ship's bells . . . It must have been in the 90s or almost when the Harrisburg Mile began on Front Street this evening at six o'clock . . . Finally received the well-traveled box of wine related items from UPS. A variety of interesting things we will be happy to show you. But two other shipments came as well: the cards from Pictura which have helped fill the shelves and another six copies of the Internet Address/Password logbook which we quickly sold out of around Christmas ($7.95) . . . Back to the hospital tomorrow at nine-thirty for a “procedure” at eleven. Originally Dr. Dowling said this was a quick and routine check-up which should only take a few minutes; suddenly it is a “no food after midnight, no breakfast except for clear liquids, no meds, no etcs.” Sounds a bit more serious than I was expecting . . . And it is rather sobering to realize that those warnings about “the heat and the elderly” now apply directly to you . . .
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Another very hot day and one without a single visitor. And presumably UPS workers are also stifled by the weather—they couldn't locate the missing box of wine-related merchandise for most of the day; now they promise that we will see it tomorrow . . . Think everyone is affected by the heat: Bob made us a yummy mess of ham and fresh green beans for supper; we both had cleared half our plates before we realized he had forgotten to add the ham to the pot . . . Had two green pepper sandwiches for lunch: two slices of buttered bread, a thin slice of onion and a squashed pepper. Yum yum. Have to thank Mary Ann and Rick May for the peppers—the first from their garden this year . . . The temperature is predicted to climb still further, so please come early in the day; we may be closing early these next few afternoons . . . Hmmm, we wonder: two men in a battered pickup truck cruised through our uptown neighborhood this morning checking trash cans for hunks of metal. I happened to glance down into the truck bed while they were parked in the middle of the street and there was one of those realtor FOR SALE signs that are often staked in the flower beds in front of homes. Couldn't help but wonder if this was a legitimate piece of trash or maybe an immoral “borrowing”? Now I know why so many realtors actually wire the signs to the porch railings, etc . . .
Monday, July 18, 2011
Spent much of the day wrestling with the card racks again. As many of you regulars know, the shelves have been in disarray for most of the spring months and I have been helpless to correct the situation. But I am getting a handle on this oversight and today I placed a nice-sized order with Pictura cards . . . the new wine items are somewhere in the Harrisburg area but they weren't on the truck as UPS promised they would be today. Looking forward to tomorrow, though it is no fun unpacking cartons in hot weather . . . There is a reception to honor painter Earl Blust at Whitaker Center this Thursday from 6 till 8 p.m. An exhibit of his work will continue in the lobby through most of October. Earl is the last of the original Seven Lively Artists . . . The kids are raising heck at Disney World in Florida this week. I am sure several parents were less than pleased when Cecilia bucked the line and rushed into the arms of Winnie the Pooh. Some young women just get carried away around a good-looking man . . .
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
Very pleasant summer's day but the street was empty; guess everyone started his weekend early . . . Heading back to the hospital next Thursday for another procedure. This one is said to take only a few moments and won't require any “sleep” time . . . Uptown neighbor Megan and Tim, her father-in-law, had a great morning on the golf course . . . Anyone driving up Second Street needs to be cautious at the Sassafras intersection. There is quite a dip in the road there that really shakes up the passengers . . .
Thursday, July 14, 2011
George at State Street Copy celebrated his seventy-ninth birthday today. We are finally having new business cards made . . . I almost overdid it today by walking down to Strawberry Square for some Arby's sandwiches. Don't know if you have been there recently, but a lot has been changed. I could not access the square from the bridge out of Capital Park and had to hike down to Fourth Street to get in. Then, once I had the sandwiches in hand, I couldn't find my way out. My usual entry at Third and Walnut is no longer open. Finally found a security guard who got me outside again. So sad that this venue never reached its promise . . . This summer Harrisburg Dairies is marketing something called “southern style” lemonade. I don't know what makes it “southern” but I do think it is very refreshing on a hot day. I have been through a couple of gallons of the stuff . . .
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
We were surprised and exceedingly pleased by today's visit from Pansy Michaels, executive pastry chef at the Lancaster Country Club. Pansy used to live across the street from The Bare Wall (yellow house) and was active in the Historic Harrisburg Association. We had not seen her for about thirty years . . . I am happy to report that a team of workmen tackled the damages to Amy and Doug Hill's home caused by an alleged drunken driver some weeks back. (That is the blue house across from The Bare Wall.) Ron and his crew will make it as good as new . . . Added a small new picture to the left of the text here. That is Bob's backyard hydrangea bush which has prolific blooms this year . . . The Green Street Stuffed Toy Mystery continues to fascinate. Two days ago we awoke to a scattering of stuffed animals and other figures, many with a Christmas theme, up and down our block. One witness reported that a woman coming uptown from the south suddenly opened a large bag and began flinging these toys in all directions. We would all like to know the name of the perp and especially the motive . . .
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Happy to report that we have already sold two of the ten ship's bells we received a few days ago . . . A great big “thank you” to Jaime and Bryan MacLeod who returned from their brief vacation at the shore with a tub of caramel popcorn for us; yummy . . . I believe this is the upcoming weekend for the Penn State arts and crafts fair . . . Bob finally mustered the courage to remove the bandage hiding the hole that was punched in my back at the hospital last Friday. I could hear his sigh of relief; a bee sting would have left a bigger mark, he said. He passed up a bulky replacement bandage and used a band aid instead . . . We have been assured, more or less, that our recovery is proceeding in a generally satisfactory manner, but just to make sure the doctor wants me back in the hospital again for another look-see. He promises the visit will be brief and won't involve going under. Am now awaiting the appointment date . . .
Monday, July 11, 2011
We were really delighted with the delivery of ship's bells that we received this morning. These are handcrafted in Maine and provide a “sound of the sea” in three different chimes on each piece. They are beautiful works of art and sell for $25 each. They are for use outdoors and will last for many years. The same shipment brought us some “S” shaped hooks just right for yard and patio. Now you can easily hang bird feeders, wind chimes, flower baskets or other decorations from the eaves, eye hooks or tree limbs. These sell for $7 each and can be left outside indefinitely . . . Placed a large order for wine related items with our California supplier this afternoon. Lots of interesting stuff to come within the week, according to the customer service team . . .
Sunday, July 10, 2011
I neglected to thank the three people who came to the hospital on Friday to keep Bob company during my procedure. Unfortunately none was directed to our location, so their visits were for naught. However, one was directed to the eighth floor where I was thought to be. Too bad I wasn't; I could have been rich. The eighth floor is the maternity ward . . . Bob and I finally visited the Midtown bookstore; I was disappointed. The clerk explained to me that this was not a venue for browsing or the casual reader; it was a “scholarly” place and I almost gave her a heart attack when I asked if she had any mysteries tucked away. There were NO sale books inside, I was told, but I did find a Kenneth Roberts and a Mary Stewart on the $1 carts outside. I probably read both fifty years ago, but they should be good for another go-round . . . Neighbors Megan and Chris tried Dodge City Restaurant for lunch and gave it a tentative thumbs up; neighbor Betty, her daughter and sister went for dinner and there was no mistaking their thumbs down . . . That tiny hole they punched in my back at the hospital on Friday is beginning to itch like crazy; hope that means it is mending itself . . .
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Friday, July 8, 2011
Have it on petty good authority (a regular) that Nonna's opposite the Midtown Cinema has closed. Have not yet confirmed but best to call if you were planning a visit . . . The hospital visit today was a good experience for the most part. Too technical in some respects to detail here but the important part is that a stent is now in place and the kidney is draining again. Dr. Jay Goodman and his staff (even Roger who the nurses blamed when anything went astray) were wonderful. The outlook is promising . . . There was a major downside, however. My bed in the pre-op/post-op room was directly opposite the staff and patient canteen. Hadn't eaten for twelve hours and was forced to watch everyone else with their coffee, sodas and box lunches. (Even Bob had a coffee!) But when I finally got back after the procedure was completed I totally demolished everything in one of those boxes . . .
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Watched the Dodge City Restaurant make-over program on the Food Channel last night. I thought the host was overly arrogant, perhaps to compensate for a lack of talent. He certainly was not the guru I expected and some of his suggestions struck me as stupid. As Doug, owner of the enterprise, said, he expected some constructive tips on what was already in place and not a complete trashing of 31 years of business. Bob has since visited the eatery and says he can approve of the décor but that the new menu lacks several of our old favorites . . . By now you must be tired of my medical adventures but this time around it appears there is a blockage in a kidney that needs serious attention in the near future. A stent and external drainage tube might be the remedy. As of this moment the operation will take place next Thursday. I am no longer amused by this adventure . . . I am more and more depressed, partly because Bob will be giving up his once-a-year trip with his men’s club to babysit me. And this is their 20th anniversary celebration year. Interestingly, my condition first manifested itself last year about this time while he was away at the get together . . . Details are sketchy but there may have been a shoot-out of sorts in the 200 block of Briggs Street last night. Two homes were hit by gunfire. There was also a rumored stabbing on North Street not connected to the shooting event but again there are no confirmed facts. If anyone knows anything please be in touch with me. E-mail address on the left . . .
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Not my best day. Took the hour-long kidney scan at the hospital this morning. Returned home exhausted; napped. Went to the bathroom, collapsed in the hallway trying to return. Scrapes and bruises but no broken bones. Don't know how long I was out but eventually could crawl into bed where Bob found me some time later. The nature of the scan suggests dehydration, so liquids are the immediate treatment. Still a bit woozy in the head--and no smart remarks, please . . . Watched a few July Fourth celebrations on TV yesterday. Whatever happened to those good old shows that featured rousing patriotic songs and Sousa marches? I would take George M. Cohan over a rock and roll retrospective any day . . .
Monday, July 4, 2011
Hope everyone had a good Fourth of July. I can't believe it's already into July; seems as if it was only a bit ago that we were shoveling snow. (Is that old age or what!) Ronn and I had a rather quiet day, but we did go to the Battisti's for a cookout late afternoon---good food, good company, and a rousing water balloon battle to cap off the festivities. Seems strange that Harrisburg's fireworks were last night, but I suppose that makes sense since the river festivities ended last night. I don't like cold weather, but I'm not crazy about hot weather either. I sometimes wonder how people managed before air conditioners or even electric fans. Are we a bunch of wusses? My Deib-a-tribe: We have a mayor who thinks she has a direct pipeline to God; now we have a state senator who thinks he is God.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
It took seventy- five years, but I now have the ugliest sun-burned nose one has ever seen; no one told me that people taking antibiotics should stay in the shade . . . I am told that last night's symphony concert at the ballpark was exceptional and would have been even better had the mayflies stayed home . . . Bob and his uptown neighbors are mesmerized by some high-profile murder trial being aired on television; it is almost impossible to tear one's self away, I am told . . . Friend Gary reminds me that the Tour de France is now under way and I can see lots of aerial shots of the beautiful French countryside on Versus every day. I could care less who wins . . . I am reporting all this drivel so I don't launch into a tirade about our incompetent mayor and the even more incompetent people she has surrounded herself with. Our Fourth celebration in Harrisburg is pitiful. Perhaps I should ask Bob to write the next blog entry; he would have some blustering things to say . . . A reader named Georgia wrote in response to my little essay on vegetables to say that Harrisburg does have an urban vegetable stand of sorts. It is located in Strawberry Square each Tuesday. Check out this website: http://joshuafarm.wordpress.com/
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Neglected to say Happy Birthday to Ed Zook on Thursday . . . Claire Pennington of Dayton, O., is visiting her parents, Yvonne and Wes Brown, this weekend . . . When you are buying your Schnader's French Fries in Riverpark you might want to buy a shaker of Schnalt, a mixture of salt, pepper and spices. It will enhance the flavor of almost everything (but not ice cream). Bob recommends it . . . Well, it had to happen sometime. We read our books on the stoop while waiting for customers; earlier this week Bob put his volume aside to wait on a patron; when he returned to his chair the book had disappeared--so he may never know "whodunit." (Unfortunately, the book was a loaner so he will have to replace it and can finish it then) . . .
Friday, July 1, 2011
We need an overnight miracle if there is to be a reason to make a bee-line for the riverfront this weekend. I did some late afternoon scouting and am disappointed to report that there are very few food vendors setting up at the moment, though our favorite, Schnader’s French Fries, is there. Several tents looked promising, but when I nosed inside I found they housed banks of soda machines. Not a morsel to be had there . . . It is that glorious time of year when fresh vegetables and fruits begin to flow freely from farm to our tables. Among Bob’s favorites are yellow wax beans, and we have had them a few times in the past week; I have been warned to expect some more. And neither of us would object to sweet corn every day; lots of butter, of course, and “off the cob” now that we are older . . . I like red beets in salads or as a side—boiled, buttered and peppered. Bob doesn’t like red beets except to cure his hard-boiled eggs but lately he tried yellow beets which met with his approval. (Frankly, I couldn’t discern the taste difference.) . . . Soon everyone will be offering tomatoes to everyone else. I like those really big ones where one fat slice serves as sandwich filling; a bit of Miracle Whip, a lot of pepper and a kitchen sink to catch all the droppings. My paternal grandfather preferred his tomatoes sliced, on a plate and sprinkled lightly with sugar. I am not a fan of those little bitty things called cherry tomatoes, and I wish restaurants would quit passing them off as “real tomatoes” . . . We eat carrots but primarily those that are cooked with the beef roast . . . I think a dish of watermelon makes a perfect breakfast; Bob would choose a well-ripened cantaloupe instead. I had an uncle who liked his ‘loupe with plenty of pepper . . . I have eaten most of my Vidalia onions—plain, on bread with butter—and now I am looking forward to the big green bell peppers which I eat the same way . . . I think a visit to a roadside farm stand is just about the best thing going at this time of year—if you can find one. Unfortunately those have pretty much disappeared . . . JJ and some friends are enjoying Hershey Park today . . . Please have a great holiday and travel safely . . .