Seven Quick Takes No. 79–A Trip to Pittsburgh

It's Friday, so that means Seven Quick Takes! @emily_m_deardo

I.

We spent last weekend and part of this week in Pittsburgh celebrating my grandma’s 85th birthday.

Me and Grandma

Me and Grandma

 We celebrated by taking a dinner cruise on the Gateway Clipper Fleet, which was a great meal and boat ride around the three rivers of Pittsburgh. We sailed by PNC Park, Heinz Field, the Point, and other Pittsburgh landmarks. Quite a bit of the family– though not all–was there, and it was a fun way to celebrate.

 

Dad and my cousin Diane's youngest child.

Dad and my cousin Diane’s youngest child.

II.

One of the best parts was seeing my cousin Diane, and especially meeting her newest baby (above with Dad). She has two older daughters, whom I’d met before, but I’d never met this little guy, who turns 1 in August.

Diane and I with her little guy.

Diane and I with her little guy.

III.

The next day we went to PNC Park to see the Pirates beat the Phillies in extra innings. I’d never been to a Pirates game where they won, so I was pretty excited about that! Dad taught me how to fill out the scorecard that was in the game program, so I feel very educated in the Ways of Baseball. (Sort of. I find baseball always has new ways to confuse me.)

Our seats were behind home plate and under the overhang of the upper deck, so we were in shade, which was great when it was 85+ degrees.

Pirates win and the Parrot takes the mound.

Pirates win and the Parrot takes the mound.

III.

 After the game we had another party at one of my aunt’s houses. She has a pool and her husband grilled, and there was, of course, jello marshmallow salad, because it’s not a family gathering on my mom’s side without jello marshmallow salad.

Kids like cookouts.

Kids like cookouts.

These kids....

These kids….

Grandma received cards and presents, and then there was Bethel Bakery cake, which is the Best Cake in the Universe. Not kidding. Our swimming was curtailed because of a huge thunderstorm that opened up, but that didn’t deter the youngest from having fun….

ballooooonnnnns!

ballooooonnnnns!

IV.

Diane’s oldest girl (seen above, in the pink glasses) and I:

Me: So, Susie, what’s your favorite movie?
Susie: Frozen.

Me: OK. What’s your favorite song?
Susie: (As if I am deeply, deeply stupid) “Let it Go.”
Me: Well, there are other songs in the movie.
Susie: No there aren’t.

V.

Monday we went to Kennywood, where I hadn’t been in over ten years, so it was nice to be back, and Diane’s husband had never been there at all. Susie and I had fun riding rides, but when I took Bridget on the carousel, she seemed a bit wary, until the ride starting going. She also really enjoyed the ice cream cone.

I had to rescue this ice cream from hitting the pavement more than once.

I had to rescue this ice cream from hitting the pavement more than once.

 VI.

Kennywood really does have things for everyone, which makes it fun, but my grandpa’s favorite ride was “The Restaurant”, so we had dinner there. It’s a large cafeteria style place and it has good food and, the real winning point, air conditioning. It was hot, so we got a lot of water rides under our belts, and then dried off with roller coasters.

VII.

Of course, some of us couldn’t handle all the excitement:

Being this cute takes a lot of work.

Being this cute takes a lot of work.

Seven Quick Takes Friday No. 42

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I.

The madness has started! And I love it. Thank God Pitt won yesterday. I was a bit surprised OSU lost to Dayton but I had OSU losing in the next round anyway, so not too sad about it. 🙂 We’re Pitt peeps in my family! (Dad did his undergrad there) They play again (against Florida) on Saturday.

II.

I watched some of the games at the home of two of my friends who, coincidentally, are married–I was friends with each of them before that, however. 🙂 They have a gorgeous little girl (she’s almost 1 1/2) and I got to read Madeline to her, which was fun. I love reading books to kids–I do voices. Some of my favorites are the Llama Llama books, Go Dog Go! and Fish Out of Water (probably because my mom read the last two to my brother and me).

III.

First week of Pulm Rehab ends today–five more weeks to go! Today I have my sessions with my PT and with nutrition. Really, the problem with nutrition is I am hungry. A lot. Sometimes all the time. That’s a med thing, and I’m not sure what we can do to fix it. But we’re gonna try! I also have a CT scan with contrast at 2:15 before my pulm rehab session at 3:00. That means–peripheral IV time! YAYYYY! 🙂 (NOT)

IV.

But before I get poked with 20 gauge needles, I’m having lunch with one of my favorite people, who is also a student at my alma mater, so I get to eat in the Main Dining Hall (MDR) again. I really loved my college years and I”m glad I live so close so I can go back and visit. 🙂 (I cannot believe my ten year class reunion is this year….gulp!)

V.

I want to see Divergent soon. Loved the first two books. The third–eh.

Also, I am not happy with The Giver trailer. Not at all. Ages are all wrong. Sets are wrong. Costumes are wrong. IT’S A LOT OF WRONG, peeps.

VI.

Read a great book this week: Girl at the End of the World. People, you need to read this. It’s a real, honest, moving account of a woman’s escape from a fundamentalist cult founded by her grandparents.

VII.

Going to confession tomorrow. Have you been yet this Lent? Maybe you should go too? 🙂 (Friendly Catholic reminder!)

The Long Weekend

Labor Day, as marking the end of summer, sort of bugs me, because it’s not the end of the summer, as a season. But I realize I’m fighting a losing battle here. And I am happy for the return of college football because it means, well, football, which I enjoy, but also, whenever the Buckeyes are playing is prime time to run errands, because no one will be on the roads. So I do love having Easton, or downtown, or the grocery, all to myself while Buckeye Nation watches football.

(I’m not a born and bred Buckeye fan. Yes, I have lived in Columbus my entire life, but my parents are native Pittsburghers, and my dad is a graduate of Pitt and Carnegie Mellon. And Mom’s family was totally pro ND, all the way, because two of her siblings went there. So when it came to college loyalty, we were rooting for Pitt and ND. Also, Pittsburgh has three pro sports teams. The idea that a college team would get so much press was incroyable to my parents. So, my siblings and I grew up sort of OSU neutral, and this remains, even though my brother is an OSU grad. I have been to an OSU game, and I love the marching band. Really, I watch the games just for the band.)

With this long weekend, I have a few things in mind:

  • knitting, of course. I ordered some yarn from Quince and Co. today, and am excited to work with it! The yarn will make up Christmas Scarf No. 3, as well as a longer scarf/wrap for me (two balls of yarn. I’m excited for this.), and possibly Christmas Scarf No. 4. We’ll see. Also I want to make up a few bookmarks as part of the Christmas packages.
  • Learning lines for And Then There Were None. We’ll have rehearsals over the weekend, and I want to start getting to the off-book stage. I’m only in one act, so I don’t have too terribly many lines, but I want to really get them down so I can focus on other things.
  • Restocking the pantry, and cooking. This is part of my revamp: consistent meal planning and having healthy things around the house that are easy.
  • Working out: ballet beautiful and walks. Also possible pool, before it closes. My pool is in my complex, and it closes at various and sundry times every year; sometimes it’s open until October!
  • Reading some Jane, especially Persuasion.
  • Sleeping in. That’s definitely happening.
  • Along with restocking the pantry comes cleaning out the pantry and the fridge. For some reason I love to do this in the fall. Must be some sort of latent nesting instinct.
  • Potentially the piano.
  • Also decorating for fall, which means putting my scarecrow in the front yard, and a little wreath (assuming I can find said wreath)

The Dark Knight Rises: Pittsburgh references

Before I review the movie (EPIC, oh my gosh) , I want to point out all the awesome Pittsburgh references! (that I caught, anyway, feel free to add more) : 

  • The blue and white bus stop signs. Love those. 
  • Heinz Field, Of course!
  • The Heinz field scoreboard has :UPMC, 84 Lumber (founded in Pittsburgh), Heinz (also, Pittsburgh, of course), and Giant Eagle.
  • The Steelers, bien sur!
  • Point Park University signs
  • The Point
  • The bridges, bien sur. I can’t name them all but they are Pittsburgh bridges for sure. 🙂 
  • PNC plaza
  • Heinz Hall 
  • A kid wearing a Penguins ball cap

Pilgrimage to Primanti

The Pittsburgher Sandwich at Primanti Bros.

I have a confession to make.

First, some background.

My parents are native Pittsburghers. Born there, met there, married there. They moved to Columbus after the marriage because my dad worked for Bell Labs here on the East Side of the city. But we made many pilgrimages back to the home city, so much so that as a child I considered Pittsburgh to be my “hometown” as opposed to Columbus and its environs. As I got older, we made fewer visits, but the city is still a big part of the fabric of our family life. And usually I make it up there at least once a year.

But until yesterday I had never had a Primanti sandwich.

This is very sad. I am ashamed to admit that my true Pittsburgher credential card was missing this punch. I had been “dawhtawn”. I thought subs were hoagies for about the first 10 years of my life. I say “slippy” instead of slippery. My first hockey game was at the Igloo, and I was at a Pirates game at Three Rivers. I’ve been to Kauffman’s Clock, seen a PLO show in the summer (The Music Man, with Jeff Goldblum!), been to the conservatory, the Carnegie museums, and taken the Incline. I love me some Eat ‘n Park Smiley cookies. My first roller coaster ride was at Kennywood and I LOVE Sarris chocolate.

But I had never been to this cornerstone of Burgh cuisine.

Finally, that has changed. (Can I be a true Pittsburgher now? )

My parents and I just got back from spending a few days in the Burgh. We went to Idlewild Amusement Park with one of my aunts and her three children, which was something I’d also never done before, shopped (no sales tax on clothes in Pittsburgh!), stocked up on Pittsburgh sports team gear, and did other Pittsburgh-y things. Originally we were going to stay until today, but some severe weather in Ohio led us to come back home yesterday and assess the damage to our homes and refrigerators (fortunately we’re OK on both counts. My roses even look really good!). But before we left, we met one of my dad’s sisters (my Aunt Judy), her husband and her youngest son (my Uncle Frank and cousin Justin, respectively–yes, I have two cousins named Justin) at the Primanti’s in Cranberry.

I was excited to be trying something new, but also sort of skeptical. I mean, this is a sandwich that not only has meat and cheese, but also coleslaw and fries on the sandwich. How the heck was this going to fit into my mouth? And was it going to taste good? I was skeptical.

When we got there my family and I perused the menu. There were other things besides the fable sandwiches–pizza, salads, gyros, etc.  But I figured Go Big or Go Home. So I settled on the Pittsburgher–it’s steak, provolone cheese, coleslaw, and fries on Italian bread–and a Diet Coke (I know–huge sandwich, Diet Coke…but I drink the Diet because the real stuff is so sugary to my post-transplant tastebuds that it makes me gag. How I ever drank it for 23 years, I have no idea.). As we waited, we talked and generally caught up, which is nice, because we almost never see Dad’s side of the family (my Aunt Judy, who reads my blog, often calls my dad and remarks about my Pittsburgh entries, and how she didn’t know we were in town. WHY DIDN’T WE GO SEE THEM?).

The food arrived. And yea verily, it was good.

The coleslaw, which I’d been sort of “eek” about, was necessary to balance the searing heat of the meat. The Italian bread is soft, which allows you to get it in your mouth easily. And the fries are on the sandwich, but also sort of around it–so you can put them on a separate plate to eat as a side. There weren’t that many fries actually on my sandwich (but that could’ve just been the way it was made here?). It was delicious. It wasn’t heavy–as in, the sort of heavy that makes you think you need a nap or a Uhaul to get you up from the table. It was filling, for sure. I was definitely satisfied. But it’s a smaller sandwich than you’ll get at a place like Red Robin or the Cheesecake Factory. It’s an actual human sized sandwich. And it. was. good.

The coleslaw, on its own, was also yummy (some of it spilled out so I ate it separately. Not gonna waste good food.). There were desserts, but we didn’t try any, because really, who needs them after this sort of sandwich? My Uncle Frank had the chicken salad, which, amusingly, came with fries on top. (Have your cake and eat it, too!) The place was pretty crowded with Sunday luncher, Little League post-gamers (some kids were playing pool near us) and some post-Church attendance folks. Everyone was chowing down and generally enjoying themselves. It would be a great place to watch a sports event.

So now I am a true Pittsburgher, yes? Because I ate the Pittsburgher Sandwich. And it was good.