Sunday, October 27, 2013

Home Can Be the Pennsylvania Turnpike

Thank you, Billy Joel, for that quote. As some of you know, I'm plopped down here in Philadelphia, and my grandma is settled in a tiny town near Pittsburgh. We're at opposite ends of the PA Turnpike, a road that, as it turns out, we've come to know quite well. We all head out every summer for a family reunion, and we've come to make a tradition of heading out each fall for a girls' weekend (my mom, my sisters, and me. And this year, the wee nephew).

We made a long weekend out of it and set out Friday morning. I decided that this trip I would take my good camera and try to take some pics of the journey. I was hoping for spectacular foliage, but most of it was quite muted. Some trees were green, others changing, and others looked like it was the depths of winter. Most of my pics were blurry and total rot, but I managed to get a few that captured the scenery quite well.

The sky was blue and dotted with puffy fluffy clouds. At certain points along the trip, the sun was hidden above layers and layers of gray clouds (which helped with facing west later in the afternoon when the sun was lower in the sky). It always seems to take so much longer to get where you're going when you're looking forward to the weekend. But we finally arrived at my grandma's, just before dinnertime. It was coooold out there, and the snug little house was nice and cozy.

That rocking chair? Made by my grandmother's grandfather. She's in her eighties, so I don't even know how old that would make this. We packed lots of toys for the boy, but he found a few old toys my grandma still has around and was perfectly content (like a Fisher Price Little People bus from waaaay back when). He's one of those kids that will play with boxes and strings and is fascinated by leaves, so you can pretty much take him anywhere and he'll be amused.

We woke up Saturday to frost on the ground. I sat with my coffee at the kitchen table, and worked on my granny square blanket for the other nephew, who didn't come to visit this time ("Will there be cousins there? Then no, I don't want to go this time").

Can you see what it's getting to be yet? I didn't make as much progress as I would have liked, but a row is a row so I'll take that for sure. After the sun was out and the weather warmed up, my sisters went shopping, and my mom and I took the wee un outside to tire him out.

 "Follow me, ladies! It's this way to fun!"

 Every leaf was a treasure.

Trapped on the porch. This kid is a constant ball of energy, who suddenly says "Run!" and is gone. He's tough to keep up with sometimes.

 That blue sky is a liar. It was quite chilly and windy.

Our last trip out was warm and sunny, and absolutely beautiful. This time, the chill in the air let you know, with no mistake, that winter is around the corner. We headed out for dinner at Applebee's. I had the pecan-crusted chicken salad. Wow. It was absolutely amazing. A-train took one of the lemons and had himself a taste of one--

Check out the bib...

All too soon our visit was over. We sat, and talked, and looked at old photos, and ate things that are bad for us, and watched A-train be an absolute ham. And then we piled in the car to make our way home. 

There are still a few Mail Pouch Tobacco barns that dot the TP. I was sooo happy this shot turned out, especially with the cows in it, as it's the only one I was able to get.

And then it was back to life as usual. Looking at the pile of stuff sitting on my sewing table. Wondering what built up in my work inbox for me to face tomorrow. Junk like that. I didn't feel like dealing with it, so we built a fire and popped some popcorn and just spent the evening hanging out.

I love going out to visit my grandma, regardless of that long drive. The western part of the state is so very different from the eastern side. It's almost as though there is a line right down the center, breaking up two very different...cultures. The western side smacks of industry--railroads, coal mines, farming, stuff like that. I loved watching that part go by in the car window when I was younger (and always hated when I would nod off during it). There's something so timeless and seemingly changeless about it (though of course that's not true--everything changes, unfortunately). When you hit the eastern side the road has a different feel, something more...white collar, maybe?... I don't know, I can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe it's the fact that my side is normal life, and the other side is relaxing and not worrying about the to-do list. All I know is one of the coziest places I know to snuggle up with some yarn and a hook is my grandma's house. I really need scientists to get going with disapparation and flue powder (a la Harry Potter) so I can plop myself there whenever I want).


  1. Thanks for taking us along. That nephew is adorable!!! Such a fun...and BUSY age! Love the blanket!!! And love your nephew's bib? From you?
    XO Kris

  2. Thanx for letting me drive along! And the blanket... maybe Tetris?

  3. It's funny, when I was wee and we lived over 300 miles away, trips to my gran and papas were magical, not least because we left our mostly farming county and drove to the *big city* Now she's 5 miles down the road, it's less magical lol



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