We're out of the door by 8:34am. I think that's a first for us. I usually make us later than he wants to leave. He picks out Dry for me to read stating that it will be perfect. Bogart and Bacall drank a lot; I'm on the right track!
We're not even out of the city yet and on the first CD (nearly always Abba Gold) and I'm told, "This isn't the ordinary trip where you get to nap, sing and read the entire way. You have a job to do this time. Look inside the glove compartment. You need to learn how to do something." I nearly begin to panic. I have a job to do on this trip. It must be very complicated. I open the glove compartment and see a black case. Holy moley, I think, "It's a GPS device." Did my in-laws give my husband one to use for the trip? No, they didn't. I open up the black case and it's a Nikon Coolpix 5900 camera. Ah ha! He bought it at the local Cord Camera and it comes with free digital prints for the next year, a class for two people to learn how to use it and some software. I spend the next few hours happily engrossed in the manual trying to figure out scenes and other settings.
I realize that we're heading South not North. We must be going to The Wilds. They must have some kind of overnight package scheduled there.
As we get close to Steubenville I wonder if we're going to the Dean Martin Museum. My husband didn't know they had one. I just made it up. (I have since found out that no, there is no such museum in Steubenville. They do have a Dean Martin Festival each year with his daughter as a guest. The city web site has a map that lists the important local Dean Martin sites to see while there.)
Eventually I give up guessing. I'm told we're going someplace that I've been to before. I can only think Philadelphia, Pittsburgh or somewhere in New Jersey or New York. We reach Pennsylvania.
Just after 11am I mention that I'm hungry. The Trader O's cereal didn't fill me up. He changes our plans from reaching the hotel at noon to getting lunch first.
Shortly before noon we reach Pittsburgh. My husband has never been there but I went just before our senior year in high school to check out a school. We have lunch at the Original Hot Dog Shop. At the first counter we get our hot dogs. At the back counter we get our french fries. They have sizes that vary from small (feeds 1 - 2) to extra large (feeds 8). We get a small and drinks. I'm looking at a container on the tray that looks like an apple sauce container. I wonder why we're getting berry flavored apple sauce with our french fries. I see a kid eating french fries with his family. It's ketchup! We watch the cook remove a large order of fries from the fryer basket. I wonder if someone ordered before we did. He places it over a small container and fries spill out onto the tray. It's our order. My husband was cautioned to only get a small. Does an extra large order come on two trays? We eat upstairs.
We skip checking into the hotel and go to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History (I learn about Bog People), and the Carnegie Museum of Art. We walk and walk and walk for several hours. I'm surprised because they let you take pictures of their artwork. I always thought that picture taking was off limits or one of those taboo things. When done we checked into our hotel, the Omni William Penn, and took a nap.
I love naps.
I love naps with my husband.
We get dressed for dinner and go to Lidia's Pittsburgh. The atmosphere is nice. Our waiter is ingratiating nice to the point where he's almost smarmy. Almost but not quite. I figure out I don't like Caesar salad. I accidently order a beer thinking it's a wine. (Yes, I'm silly and can admit it.) My husband orders the gnocchi and I order the pasta trio. I can barely eat what's on my plate. It's so fresh and filling. The pasta was goat cheese ravioli (I don't like cheese much so my husband ate most of my serving), farfalle pasta with shrimp (yummy!) and linguine with a marinara sausage sauce. The linguine is so much better than in any other restaurant I've had and the sauce is the right mixture of sweet and spicy.
We take a taxi to the Wood Street Gallerieswhere they have a video art exhibit. I can't remember the names of the videos but one was a video about a San Francisco art group in 1976 that stage a media event complete with modified cadillac, JFK impersonator, and a pyramid of TVs. Another was on the topless cellist, Charlotte Moorman. I had vaguely heard of her before watching the video. Nearly everyone interviewed (high school acquaintances and fellow artists) had nice things to say about her and she seemed like an interesting woman. Another video was about a couple's trip to California with a detour to Las Vegas. They videotaped each other then did diary entries in a tape recorder about the day. The woman edited it. It was mildly interesting... I found her more interesting than him and found the concept more intriguing than the actual video. There was one by William Wegman but I only find his stuff interesting when it deals with dogs. Go figure. I only saw a snippet or two of it. Then I saw one that was titled something like Pickelporno. It showed a man and woman in various states of undress. It wasn't erotic and was more a study of the human body. The man had really ugly feet.
We left just before they closed. My tummy was aching so we went back to the hotel where we read. The original plan was to go to up one of the inclines and have drinks in one of the restaurants. It's supposed to be a romantic spot overlooking the city. Darn tummy!
I kept waking up at odd times which always makes me sleep in. We got started on our day and checked out of the hotel just around 10:30am. We were going to have breakfast at the Andy Warhol Museum. The cafe opened at 11am but the door was locked so we went to the top floor and saw the John Waters exhibit. I got to see artwork owned by people I recognize (Todd Oldham, Ben Stiller, and Johnny Depp to name a few). I found some of the pieces interesting. For instance, he'd put together eight stills of a common object such as the electric chair (including Lisa Simpson in one) or take cut down a movie to the essential plot in eight photographs. One of the funny ones was the Farrah Fawcett one where various stars have Farrah Fawcett hair pasted over their own hair. He also curated an exhibit called "Andy's Porn" where he got to go through the archives and put them together for an exhibit. You had to go through a set of black wooden salon type doors to see the exhibit. It was mainly pictures and drawings. There was a video booth showing two movies (two people per booth please!) but with an empty stomach I couldn't do more than take a peek at one of them.
Taking the elevator down to the cafe we found out they didn't open the main door. My husband got a garden burger and chicken quesiddilla (I know I butchered that spelling) while I got roasted tomato soup. I just kind of picked at my food. I find that if it's really hot that I don't eat much even if I want to eat. I had half of the soup, an apple and part of the chicken thingie. We went to the 6th floor and then started to view the items of Andy's. I really like his shoe paintings. I'm not sure what it is about them. I also liked his Silver Clouds. It is a recreation, it's not the actual clouds. I figured out how to make a movie on the camera and got some kids and people playing with them. The Velvet Underground record contract was interesting - I bet band contracts these days are totally different. Well, nearly completely different. A tip if you go. There is a parking lot across the street from the museum. Tell the lot attendant you are going to the Andy Warhol Museum. They usually charge $10 but if you tell them that it's only $6. My husband bought a book and I bought two post cards. One is of Andy Warhol with Blondie (it's from a movie they mad) and the second one is of him rowing on a river in Paris. I sent the second one to my friend in WI that doesn't talk to me anymore. I still think of her even if we don't see each other when she comes to town. Except for the John Waters portion, you could take pictures of the artwork here too.
After all of that walking we were gluttons for more punishment. We went to the Mattress Factory. I thought it really was a mattress factory until my husband or one of the workers at the Wood Street Galleries mentioned it. It's a museum that houses large scale installations. It has a few floors, an outdoor garden and some nearby houses. There was an exhibit done by non-artists that was interesting. One item was a bird's nest in the top part of the wall. On the floor were some broken egg shells. I got a good picture of it. (Three museums I could take pictures at!) My favorite was created by a clothing designer and it's hard to describe. When I get all of my photos on Flickr it will be public so people can see it. The outdoor garden was two exhibits. One person had placed speakers in various places with different sounds. They were arranged so you never had conflicting or overlapping sounds. The garden itself was really more of an overgrown ruins that you could walk around in. While exploring it I could just close my eyes and see travelers with cloaks descending the staircase into the watery underground halls, an audience sitting around the performers located on the stage at the bottom... it really got my imagination going. In the gift shop I found a DVD of Jill Sobule live in concert in Pittsburgh. The clerk liked it and thought I'd like it too since I'm a fan.
We're still not done walking. We get a little lost but find ourselves at our next-to-last destination the Phipps Conservatory. We see a lot of their different rooms but we're there to see the Butterfly Forest. I get to smell a chocolate mint plant. I could take one home and smell it all day. If I had one at work it would be a definite pick me up.
The final stop before hitting the road is the Primanti Brothers for their sandwiches. I forget what my husband ordered but I got the roast beef. Again, I just picked at it. Partly because it was hot but mainly because it was too big to eat!
We're on the road at 5pm, and we get to my parents' house right at 9pm. We visit with my dad for a little bit and take a tired dog home.