Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ukrainian Heritage


Being a girl who is half Italian and half Ukrainian, I got really excited when I saw on the Lebo website that there is a Ukrainian event coming up in nearby Carnegie. Details are below. The art of making Ukrainian Easter Eggs, called "psyanky", has been a tradition in my family since I was a child. It seems like it was only yesterday that my grandmother taught me how to make them. As time-consuming as they are, it is always a joy to carry on the tradition. The same holds true for making the traditional Ukrainian "Varenyky" (Ukrainian for "Pierogi"). Yum! I am the unofficial maker of the Varenyky for my entire extended family. My grandmother taught me well I suppose. For years my grandmother would not give me or anyone else the recipe for her verenyky - I suspect the reason was that there really was no recipe - she was one of those fabulous cooks who cooked by "feel". However, soon before her death, we made a final batch of verenyky together, and I carefully (and secretly) wrote down every detail of the process. That recipe and memory is one of my most prized possessions....


March 28 - 44th Annual Ukrainian Easter Egg Sale. The parish of Sts. Peter & Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church, 220 Mansfield Blvd, Carnegie, PA will host this event. Featuring over 1,500 hand crafted Ukrainian Easter eggs, hand-made crafts from Eastern Europe, Ethnic foods from our kitchen, basket raffles, door prizes and church museum tours,. 11:00 am - 4:00 pm. Free Admission. Mastercard/Visa/Discover for egg and craft purchases. For additional information please call:

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Savings for Summer

If you're one of the many who take advantage of the Mt. Lebanon Community Pool, you might want to take note of the "early bird special" running from March 1 - April 15.

SAVE UP TO 20% ON POOL PERMITS!

Purchase your individual or family pool pass by April 15, 2010, and receive a 20% discount or, if purchased April 16 through May 15, 2010, receive a 10% discount.

HERE IS THE LINK:

http://www.mtlebanon.org/index.aspx?NID=366

Friday, February 26, 2010

Children Helping Children

Mt. Lebanon resident, musician, and mom, Marina Nielson, is helping to spearhead a benefit concert to help the children of Haiti. The concert will be held on Sunday, February 28, 2010 at Trinity Cathedral, 328 6th Avenue, Pittsburgh at 4:30 PM. Sponsored by the Pittsburgh Music Academy and featuring the school's chamber orchestra under the direction of conductor Laurence Loh. Details below. (Sorry it's a bit fuzzy!) All proceeds will be sent to Haiti via UNICEF)


Benefit Banquet 4 Haiti At Southminster Presbyterian Sunday, February 28

Elizabeth Boyd, owner/baker at Uptown Coffee at Washington Road, is spearheading a food-filled fundraiser for Haiti this Sunday, February 28 from 12:15 - 2 p.m. at Southminster Presbyterian Church.  From Elizabeth's Facebook page:

"Please join us in supporting relief efforts in Haiti! Come and be treated to authentic Haitian cuisine prepared by the ladies of Southminster. A free will offering will be received with all monies going to support Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. Bring your generosity and appetite!"

The church is located at 799 Washington Road.

Anyone who has been to Uptown Coffee knows that the opportunity to enjoy food prepared by Elizabeth is one not to be missed -- this gal can cook!  Add in the chance to make a difference to those in need and there's no place else to be on Sunday afternoon.  While you're there, be sure to say hello to five-year-old Esther, a Haitian native adopted by Elizabeth -- she's the little girl with the big smile.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Seasons

As we brace ourselves for yet another snowstorm tonight and tomorrow, I'm reminded of one of my favorite reasons to be back on the East Coast:  seasons.  We lived in San Francisco for 20+ years before coming to Pittsburgh 2 1/2 years ago and I've often described San Francisco weather thusly:  cloudy, highs in the 60s, low of 50.  The ironic thing was that this was a reliable forecast year round!  There was but one season in San Francisco and while we could see glorious sunshine in April or October, much of the year brought a certain sameness to the skies and the air that got old, at least for me.

As a child of the East Coast (Connecticut), I have fond memories of gigantic snowfalls that had our Flexible Flyers standing at attention and their polar opposite, scorching hot summers that had us running to the sea.  Spring and Fall were sandwiched in between and those seasons had their own special meaning absent the weather extremes.

I consider myself lucky to have landed in Pittsburgh and, specifically, Mt. Lebanon as these are the most defined seasons I've ever seen.  Granted, this winter's snowfall has been one for the ages but all three of our winters here have been marked by bouts of snow and cold and I like that.  The chance to break out the coats and scarves and observe Mother Nature in hibernation invites me to slow down as well and stay close to home with friends and family.  Winter marches inexorably toward Spring and suddenly, the air softens and trees start to bloom.  To say that Springtime in Mt. Lebanon is lovely is an understatement:  we are blessed with an abundance of trees and flowering plants that make nature's reawakening a dazzler.

As Spring turns into Summer, we have pool parties, block parties and countless opportunities to sit on the deck under a canopy of trees, cool drink in hand.  It's great to see neighbors outside late into the night, shooting the breeze as a breeze softly wafts by.  Sure, these interludes are punctuated by frequent thundershowers but hey, it's a cheap way to keep the streets (cars, windows) clean!

And then Summer turns to Fall, my favorite season of all.  I've always had a fondness for the riot of color that is borne of decaying leaves.  Oaks and maples lead the way and it's not long before we're crunching leaves under our feet and raking them into massive piles.  Once I feel that nip in the air, I know it won't be long before the holiday season is upon us with its many opportunities to be thankful.

The rhythm of the seasons calls to mind the continuum of life and my place in it.  It's a wake-up call I embrace.

Taking a "Dent" Out of Winter

Last week, while driving to a rehearsal in the City, I landed my car into a pothole the size of Texas. Boy, the potholes are brutal these days! I didn't think too much of it until I parked and realized that my pothole adventure had put a fairly large dent into my front bumper. Bummer! Since it's a fairly new car I decided I would try to get it fixed. I took it to several shops including the dealership for estimates. Most of them told me that the whole bumper would need to be replaced to the tune of over $1000!!! I decided to call my sister who works for a different dealership in a different state. I asked her to ask one of their body repair guys for the real scoop on bumper dents. She got right back to me and told me that it should be fixable without getting a new one. She recommended looking in the phone book for a "dent doctor" type of listing. Lo and behold, there was ONE listing and it happens to be on Banksville Rd! The shop is called DoubleTake Automotive. They are across from the Kuhn's shopping center. I took my car in today and after about an hour's time, it was as good as new! And did I mention that the cost was just a little over $100???? That's $100 instead of $1000! These guys are fantastic and very, very nice. I'll be bringing in my Subaru to them next for a windshield replacement. Their estimate was well below the other estimates I've gotten for that too! (By now you all must think that I must be a pretty wild driver with all of thse repair needs! Actually, I'm a great driver, but this winter weather has been brutal on my cars!) What a great find! If you are in need of any type of car body work or detailing, these are the guys to call!

They are at 3030 Banksville Rd.
412-344-9274
www.doubletakeauto.com

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Intertwined

I came across the following poem much by chance today...it must have been fate...its relevancy resonates within me in such a powerful way. THIS is my hope and vision for our community. Here is what the author has to say about the poem: "This poem is about synergy and working together to build supportive communities/networks. Like this basket, people with a shared vision can accomplish great things by working together. This collaboration can take place on all sorts of levels and for many different things. This could be even more of an abstract idea of integrating different parts of ourselves to create a powerful dream."

Peace...

Intertwined

Strands of wicker
A woven community
With threads of past success
Laced with future dreams

Alone we snap like twigs
When fate pushes and tugs
And bends us out of shape

Together
Finding strength in each other
By both supporting
And being supported.
Shared lives
Shared visions.

Not dominating
Nor submitting
But cooperating

Building a beautiful vision.
Together
Building a basket
Holding a world of dreams.
---------------------------
© Jan 2007 ~Ilana Cofield~

Friday, February 19, 2010

Blogging Is A Lot Like Hockey

My son plays in a hockey league and absolutely loves his team.  His coach is funny and fun and is firm with the kids when needed but never resorts to screaming; the coach's Zen demeanor calls to mind Pens head coach Dan Bylsma.  Both coaches are students of the game and hep to the old adage "you get more with honey than with vinegar."  The parents of the kids on my son's team get along well and are genuinely fond of each other.  We have very different lives but appreciate those differences and have learned much from each other.  Already, we're making plans for get-togethers during the off-season so that we can stay connected and continue to grow as a hockey family.  As of this writing, the team is 7-3 with two games remaining and has qualified for the playoffs.

Another team in the same division is coached by a screamer.  The team has gone through two business managers already this season and the parents are always at each other's throats.  They started the season with thirteen players and were down to the league minimum of eight for their most recent game.  Their record is well below .500.

It occurred to me today that blogging is a lot like hockey.  With both, the team you choose to play with can make a world of difference.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Few More Of My Favorite Things...

A snowy walk through town this morning got me to thinking about a few more of my favorite things...

1.  The U.S. Post Office on Washington Road.  Is this place a gem or what?  Rarely a line and Cindy behind the counter is unfailingly gracious and even has lollipops for the kids.  I know this location is on the chopping block so here's hoping that the USPS never, ever takes it away.

2.  Stephanie Glover at Salon Vivace on Washington Road.  Steph drives in from Weirton, W. Va. several days a week to see her clients in Mt. Lebanon.  She is young, enthusiastic and very good at what she does.  I hope she and her beau choose to settle in Mt. Lebanon someday -- the commute will be easier and West Virginia's loss will be our gain!

3.  Mm Mm Pizza on Castle Shannon Blvd.  A cold, snowy night +  pizza delivery = bliss and the fellas at Mm Mm Pizza ALWAYS give you extra sauce if you order it.  That puts them at the top of my list forever.

4.  Perani's Hockey World on Cochran Road.  Carla Jeke, the store manager, can make a hockey stick on the fly and is knowledgeable about each and every piece of merchandise in this winter sports emporium.  She also remembers the name of your kid, his team and whether he shoots left or right.  With her one and only son playing hockey in upstate New York, it's no surprise that Carla's staff is made up of young pucks eager to please the mom in charge.

5.  The Mt. Lebanon Pool.  All this snow has got me daydreaming about summer and when I do that, I think about afternoons spent at the Mt. Lebanon Pool.  Granted, I wish the pool were heated, had a zero-entry and that the lifeguards would keep the locker rooms tidy but hey, we have a POOL in our community and that certainly wasn't the case where I grew up.  My son and his friends just love this pool.

Do We Need A Hail Mary?

I took a walk this morning from our house at the southern end of town along the eastern side of Washington Road to the Uptown District and found the sidewalks largely shoveled.  As luck would have it, the ones that were not shoveled seemed to be in front of the houses with the most frontage on Washington Road.  (Thanks to Dr. Tim Steinhauer for pointing out that a lot of our sidewalks now look like goat paths!  Funny, and true.)

On the way back, I took the western side of Washington Road and was stopped cold in front of St. Paul's Episcopal Church because a large swath of their sidewalk was COMPLETELY UNSHOVELED.  Not the part in front of the church, mind you, but the long stretch in front of what I gather is the rectory and clearly on church grounds.  I clambered along a three-foot-tall snow cliff and a bit further down, a stretch of path in front of the First Church of Christ, Scientist was unshoveled, heavily trampled and equally treacherous.

Seems to me that if the churches had put out the call for shoveling help to their congregations, a lot of folks would have offered assistance.  What gives?  I'll say a Hail Mary while somebody calls the churches.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Music in the Air


I thought I would take an opportunity to spread the word about some great concerts that will be happening in Pittsburgh this week. I happen to be performing on them, but don't come for me! Come to hear the fabulous musicians I will be performing with: Pittsburgh's very own Chatham Baroque. This unique trio of musicians is top notch. It is a privilege to work with them. Information is below. Or check it out at chathambaroque.org

Hope to see you there!

Such Sweet Sorrow

Chatham Baroque (Andrew Fouts, violin, Scott Pauley, theorbo, Patricia Halverson, viola da gamba) with Abigail Haynes-Lennox, soprano; Ian Howell, countertenor; Johanna Novom, violin; Kristen Linfante, viola; Alan Lewis, chamber organ

February 19, 2010 - 7:00pm: St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, Strip District (Advanced purchase required)
February 20, 2010 - 8:00pm: Synod Hall, Oakland
February 21, 2010 - 2:30pm: Main Sanctuary, Calvary Episcopal Church, Shadyside

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, one of the most soulful works of the baroque, embodies the gravitas of the Lenten season. We welcome the voices of soprano Abigail Haynes-Lennox and countertenor Ian Howell. Instrumental works by Johann Heinrich Schmelzer and Marc Antoine Charpentier complete the program.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Denis Theatre Fundraiser Date Change, MESH Food Drive Extended

This week's weather has made business as usual a near impossibility.  Here are a couple of changes in schedule you may want to know about:

The Denis Theatre's Fundraiser, "Raise The Curtain," has been rescheduled for Friday, February 26.  Still plenty of time to RSVP and you can find details here:

http://www.denistheatre.org/GalaInfoandRSVP

Let's bring Mt. Lebanon's art house theatre back to life!

The food drive currently underway by the members of MESH (Mobilize & Empower the South Hills) to benefit SHIM's (the South Hills Interfaith Ministries) food pantry in Bethel Park has been extended by one week, to February 22.  Details here:

http://www.mesh-southhills.net/node/231

This is a great volunteer opportunity for local teens and, for that matter, anyone.

Handypersons Needed!

Frequent poster Hilary Chiz has chimed in with her need for a handyperson to deal with an awning contraption that just collapsed onto her front porch.  This puts top of mind the fact that many of us may soon face fallen gutters, tree issues, etc. related to the recent snows.  If anyone can post the names, contact info and specialty of recommended handypersons who deal with these issues, it would be a great community service!  Simply leave a comment after this post, and thanks.

Friday, February 12, 2010

In the Community....volunteers needed.

Anyone looking to do a little volunteering for our community? Below are just a couple of opportunities advertised on the town's website.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR EARTH DAY

The Earth Day Committee is seeking volunteers to help with the annual celebration to be held this year on Saturday, April 24, at Mt. Lebanon Park. Subcommittees are: vendor booths, nonprofit booths, food booths, farmer booths, entertainment, managing volunteers, Girl Scouts, school outreach and fund-raising. The next committee meeting is Thursday, Feb 18, at 4 p.m. in the municipal building. All are welcome. For more information, e-mail Chair Melissa Cicozi, mw2d@andrew.cmu.edu or visit www.earthdaymtlebanon.org.

VETERANS' MEMORIAL AWARENESS COMMITTEE

The Mt. Lebanon Commission is seeking resumes from residents interested in serving on a newly formed committee to increase awareness of the proposed Veterans’ Memorial to be constructed in Main Park. Committee members will be expected to raise the funds needed to build the memorial. The term of the committee appointments will be one year. Resumes may be sent to Marcia Taylor, Assistant Manager, 710 Washington Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15228 or to mtaylor@mtlebanon.org. Applications should be received by February 25, 2010 to be considered.

Random Thoughts And Bon Mots

I've felt a bit like Johnny Appleseed the past several days, ministering to tree branches, creating braces for them, wrapping shattered limbs.  It's nice to be able to do yard work in the wintertime, albeit under difficult circumstances.  And yet, I'm mindful of our many blessings.  Happy to be in service to the natural world.

A mom I know spoke thusly a couple of days ago:  "Okay, I've had enough bonding with my kids.  Time for them to get back to school."  I hear ya!  This week has been one of hastily arranged play dates and shuttling kids back and forth to neighboring houses depending on one mom's work schedule or another's emergency visit to the pediatrician.  It's all worked out beautifully and it says much about the smart, caring and engaged women in this town.

The ten-day forecast at weather.com shows a chance of snow for nine of those ten days.  Highest forecast temp is 35 degrees.  Can someone buy Punxsutawney Phil a one-way ticket to Miami?

Speaking of winter, Winterfest will be held in Mt. Lebanon tomorrow (Saturday), February 13.  Fun for the kids from 3-5 p.m. and grown-ups get to party from 8-10 p.m.  Suggested donation is $10.  Can we build the world's largest snowman and have it carted to Point State Park?  Could free up a few parking spaces and prepare our crosswalks for the Monday morning walk to school.

Here's a thought for Valentine's Day, two days hence:  WALK to your favorite Mt. Lebanon restaurant!  No worries about slippery roads, simply bundle up and stroll hand-in-hand with your sweetheart.  Ladies, it's snow boots fersure -- fashion-forward footwear will have to wait for another day.

Lastly, both our garbage and recycle were picked up this morning on our REGULAR pick-up day!  Three cheers for Mt. Lebanon and its contractors for getting the job done.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

School District Budget Numbers Mocked, Misrepresented

An email from fellow Lebo resident John Ewing (a former School Board member who resigned prior to completing his term) landed in my In Box today.  The Subject line read "Klein to Board: 45% Real Estate Tax Increase in Mt. Lebanon by 2015-16 School Year."  I opened the attachment that went with Mr. Ewing's email to find School District budget projections issued by the District's Finance Director, Jan Klein, within the last week along with a nifty bit of editorializing inserted into the projections, to wit:

"Director Fraasch was right - Real Estate Taxes are going up 45.3%
Kubit, Rose, Remely, Cappucci, Posti and Birks are full of prunes !"

I'm certain Ms. Klein, a circumspect individual if there ever was one, did not say anyone was full of prunes.  Mr. Ewing's churlish rejoinder to the budget projections does not serve the serious conversation going on in our community right now around School District budgets and taxes.

A couple of things to consider:

1.  Projections are just that -- a gaze into the future.  In this case, a look into the future seven years from our most recent audited figures.  My experience in 2+ years in Mt. Lebanon is that the annual School District budget projections are a starting point.  Much reconciliation and conversation takes place over a period of months and the final number invariably comes in LOWER than the initial projections.  That's not to say that taxes don't go up -- they do.  But my experience of the process is that they do not go up anywhere near the initial projected figure.

2.  If Ms. Klein, Mr. Fraasch, Mr. Ewing or anyone else in this community has a crystal ball that is telling them what WILL happen in 2015, I want in!  The statement "Director Fraasch was right - Real Estate Taxes are going up 45.3%" is absolutely ridiculous and, in my opinion, only serves to frighten community members.  Do these same folks also know if the Steelers will win the Super Bowl in 2015 based on the current roster? what the Dow Jones Industrial average will be in 2015 based on current economic indicators? if Iraq or Afghanistan will be the greatest threat to global peace in 2015 based on the current quagmires?

Here's hoping we can tamp down the rhetoric on School District matters and continue to work collectively toward positive outcomes.

Snowmageddon And The Three S's: Streets, Sidewalks and Schools

Musings on the recent snow event...

1.  According to Pittsburgh City Councilman Bill Peduto, the streets of Scott, Greentree, Carnegie and Mt. Lebanon put Pittsburgh's poorly-plowed streets to shame.  I happened to be on the South Side and in Lawrenceville last night and I know what Peduto is talking about -- East Carson Street, a main thoroughfare filled with restaurants and retail, was barely plowed and the snow plows that WERE driving along it had their plows up!  At one point, a truck dumped salt on the unplowed street and, well, I have to think using the plow first would have been a good idea.  While Butler Street in Lawrenceville was fairly well plowed, the streets just off it were a snow-addled mess.  Three cheers to our work crews here in Mt. Lebanon for doing such a terrific job!  They worked tirelessly all weekend and the results show.

2.  Two words for my fellow Mt. Lebanites:  ICE MELT.  Just a bit of snow-melting Melt, applied after you've shoveled your sidewalk, insures that any residue will not turn into ice.  I took a gaggle o' kids on a two-mile walk through town yesterday and it was a slippy-slidey affair.  Folks, I know we can do better!  And for those that can't, call your neighbors -- I'd bet they'd gladly share their Melt if it meant better sidewalks close by.  I've seen a lot of pulling together over the past several days and it's so heartening.

3.  Today (Tuesday) was the day to have school in session.  The snow stopped falling on Saturday and more isn't expected till later today.  Our streets are clear and the sidewalks are navigable, which means that most kids should've been able to get to school.  That said, I am aware that teachers and staff don't all live in Mt. Lebanon and some may drive in from Pittsburgh, which isn't all that driveable.  And yet, I balance that against the spectre of more snowfall through Wednesday and the prospect of losing this entire week of school (Friday is already a Teacher In-Service day).  That's a lot of snow make-up days on the horizon and it's still early February.

Oh well, it's starting to snow again...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Snowmageddon in Mt. Lebanon, February 6, 2010

I wrote this haiku on Friday night and it almost came true:

swirling flakes of snow.../may they amount to something!/two feet? fine by me!

While we didn't get two feet of snow at our house, we did measure twenty inches in several backyard spots.  Saturday was a day filled with snow and neighborliness as everyone came outside to smile and chat (and yes, shovel) and see to it that everyone had the help they needed when it came to digging out.  May this spirit of community last well past the inevitable melt.

I've put up some pix in the right-hand column under "Snowmageddon."  Click on the pic to see the entire album.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Heart O'My Town: Dan Asti

Although it's not technically in Mt. Lebanon, Asti's South Hills Pharmacy sits on land that was under the jurisdiction of Mt. Lebanon as recently as the 1950s, when a large parcel along Mt. Lebanon Blvd. was sold to Castle Shannon.  Truth be told, pharmacist Dan Asti's storefront may as well be in Mt. Lebanon since he's known, and loved, by a large part of the community.

A neighborhood pharmacist in the classic mold, Dan knows his customers by name and always greets them warmly.  He is quick to make a call when a prescription needs to be renewed and if you're too ill to pick it up, well, he's happy to deliver for free, even on nights and weekends.  In an era of big-box anonymity, Dan's approach is a soothing antidote.

Dan's knowledge of, and relationships with, local physicians is yet another wonderful service he provides.  He is happy to provide a suitable physician referral and if a customer is having trouble connecting with the doctor, he'll make a personal introduction.  And then there's the "treasure chest," a box filled with miniature toys for girls and boys who've come in to pick up medicine.  Who needs a spoonful of sugar when a new gew-gaw helps the medicine go down?

Yes, indeed, Dan Asti is just what the doctor ordered.

Mt. Lebanon Native Headed To Haiti On Medical Relief Trip

Mt. Lebanon native Dr. Maureen Tighe, a naturopathic physician and licensed acupuncturist with a practice in Dormont, is headed to Haiti on a medical relief trip on Tuesday, February 9 with the Society for Haitian Arts and Culture.

From Maureen:

"We are gathering medical supplies and small donations for the trip.  If you would like to be a part of the effort, no donation is too small.  All proceeds will go towards purchasing medical supplies.  Please make check to Trillium Natural Medicine.  My address is 3043 West Liberty Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15216.  For more information about this organization who is sponsoring the relief trip, go to www.shacnorthwest.org."

The crisis in Haiti is far from over.  Please help if you can.

Update from Maureen, 2/9/10, 2:20 p.m.  Maureen just called me from the Philadelphia airport -- she's on her way to Haiti!  She indicated that her accountant suggested checks for this effort be made payable to her (Maureen Tighe) and not her medical practice.  Maureen is heartened by the outpouring of support from residents -- when she got to her office this past weekend, she was overwhelmed by the number of contributions that had arrived in the mail.  Thanks to all and, most of all, to Maureen!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

In The Pink

I walked by Mt. Lebanon Floral a couple of days ago and the planters out front were filled with gorgeous blooms and gussied up with a nice pink bow.  A chalkboard sign reminded me there were 12 or 13 days till Valentine's Day.  This tableau served to brighten an otherwise gray Pittsburgh day.  Props to the floral folks on Washington Road.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Heart O'My Town: Mt. Lebanon Public Library

In a light-filled building, a series of cozy seating areas are filled with eager readers poring over an endless selection of newspapers and magazines.  What are they reading?  Everything from Yankee to Yoga Magazine, MacWorld to Martha Stewart Living, Model Railroader to Muslim Sunrise.  Yep, you're at the Mt. Lebanon Public Library.

Located along Castle Shannon Blvd. near the Uptown district, the municipal library is a haven for those seeking information but it's also a great place to see neighbors and friends.  There are comprehensive audio and video sections and shelves filled with everything from compact discs to large print.  A raft of public computers, close to forty of them, are available to users free of charge and for an unlimited period of time (except during those pesky busy periods) while a 1,500-piece crossword puzzle sashays across a large table, its bits and pieces begging for love.  Oh, the poster of actor Denzel Washington reading "Green Eggs and Ham" is a personal favorite.  And then there are the books, stacks and stacks of 'em waiting to be read.

I spend most of my time in the Children's Library since my visits here are usually with kids.  As in the main room, the librarians are terrific and I love how they display favorite selections for every season, holiday and local or global event.  Staff members always have an answer for the kids (and a smile to go along with it) and a suggestion for yet another great read.  A colorful seating area invites toddlers to daydream as Mom reads while older kids work diligently at one of the many computer screens.  Much as I love the kids' space, my favorite part of the library may be an exterior courtyard filled with tables and benches that morphs into a flower-filled sanctuary, replete with gurgling fountain, come springtime.

For me, a visit to the Mt. Lebanon Public Library always feels like a treat.  The place is filled with light and possibilities and I can't ask for much more.