Pittsburgh!!

This past weekend, I had the best time in Pittsburgh.  Leading up to the trip, people were slightly confused as to what the possible draw of Pittsburgh could be.  Well, only my best friends from college that’s what!  Ever since missing the 10 year reunion, I’ve been particularly sad (not actively sad, just missing people sad!) that I haven’t seen some of my friends in so long.  Marissa, Carrie and Laddie have all made it out to SD on work trips and I had seen Karen when I was in DC, but it had been forever since I’d seen Gisele.  5 years, in fact!  Also, the group of us hadn’t been together in that same amount of time and we finally decided that enough was enough and we had to make it a priority to see each other.  So, last September, a flurry of emails went out and this past weekend was the one that worked for everyone.  Well, except for Hillary since she went ahead and got herself knocked up but since that is such fantastic news in and of itself, we’ll just have to see her another time!

I took the plane out on Friday.  Laddie and I were on the same flight from Chicago but sat separately since I was studying and she had work to do, which looked suspiciously like taking a nap to me.  But whatever, I don’t work in advertising.  Then, Karen and Carrie were at the airport to pick us up.  First stop, liquor store.  Second stop, costume shop.  I know, ridiculous!  But we were loading up for Saturday’s bachelorette activities for Marissa.  Then we went to Karen’s house and hung out before heading back to the airport to pick up Gisele.  [Airport trips would be a theme of the weekend.  Fortunately, Karen drives a Prius].

Next, we went to the Double Wide Grill for dinner.  It was a converted gas station, which was very cute.  We drank some local beers and ate delicious food although I’m having a memory lapse right now as to what we ate exactly.  And no, it’s not related to the number of beers I had!  Marissa met us there and we hung out for a bit before heading back to Karen’s place and hanging out until 2.  While I had the advantage of being on West Coast time, that was still pretty late!

The next day, Laddie and I slept in until 11!  It was delightful.  Everyone was about to head out for a run so we quickly rallied and joined them for a run in the cemetery.  Then, we showered and ate brunch at Coca Cafe.  Oh, yum!  Karen and I split the fried eggplant Benedict and melted Brie and fig French Toast, both of which were dee-licious!  Then we went to the Mattress Factory, a contemporary arts museum.

When we got the museum, we realized we had walked into a 35th Museum Anniversary celebration!  Awesome!  I silk-screened a poster and then we all sat down and made crowns.  It was serious business!  There were cardboard strips that were stapled to size to serve as the crown base.  Then there were a ton of craft materials to glue/staple/tape to the crown.  We each made our own and then wore them around the museum.  It was really fun.  The museum was pretty incredible.  Two installations really stood out.  The first was James Turrell’s Pleiades (1983).  There was a ramp up to a small platform with two chairs.  It was complete and total darkness.  The room had acoustics that made all noise seem far away, even as the person I thought was far away was just a few feet from me.  Although we didn’t stay in there long enough to let our eyes adjust to see the painted amorphous sphere, it was a pretty cool experience to experience that degree of sensory deprivation (visual) and sensory distortion (audio).  The second was Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Dots Mirrored Room and Repetitive Vision (1996).  No deep thoughts here- it was just a really cool visual experience.  I’m sort of a sucker for the infinity images towards the vanishing point that mirrors provide.   
Repetitive Vision
Infinity dots
After our arts and crafts session!
Repetitive Visions of Laddie!

After the Mattress Factory, we headed back to Karen’s house for a Skype session with Hillary that included our impromptu bacholorette party!  We celebrated with champagne, presents and a nice chat with Hillary although I think all the champagne drinkers were getting easily distracted by the end.  Then, we went to a delicious Thai place named Pusadee’s Garden.  The food was pretty good and much needed.  I had a delicious, rich pumpkin curry.  Next, we headed across the street to The Allegheny Wine Mixer, a wine bar (now THAT was just what we needed!).  It was a pretty cool place with really nice people.  Our party was joined by Karen’s lovely boyfriend Adam.  It was really nice to meet him and he fit right in.  Well, he didn’t have a crown but he managed that potentially embarrassing situation with aplomb!

Hi Hil!  Where’s your crown?
Admiring Laddie’s necklace on me!
The next morning, Gisele and Marissa took off fairly early.  Carrie, Karen and I slowly got moving although I felt pretty good since I had alternated with water the night prior (an excellent strategy that I am now realizing at my old age!).  We went and had the prix fixe brunch at Tamari, down the street from Karen.  Then we went home and packed before heading to Church Brew Works for a beer/peek inside one of the coolest bars (it’s a converted church!).  Afterwards, Karen drove us to the airport and Carrie and I parted ways and I was off to San Diego!  While I love San Diego and my life here, there’s a special place in my heart for my college friends and it was so!nice! to see them.  I can’t wait to see them again at Marissa’s wedding! *fingers crossed!*

Karen and Carrie

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