Category Archives: Family & Friends

Nothing but the Road Before Us

When I was younger, my family would drive twelve hours to visit my grandparents in Pennsylvania every Christmas for a week. In the last five years or so, though, we’ve only been up for a couple of long weekends and for my grandpap’s funeral. Each time, someone wasn’t able to come because they couldn’t get off work, but this year it was like old times again.


We used to have a van that all six of us would pile in, but my mom sold that for a 5-passenger SUV this year. So three of us crammed into the back (a good example of why it’s annoying that my family is so tall sometimes) with me in the middle. My sister had to work late so she was going to fly in to Pittsburgh later.

We got stuck in some traffic in Ohio where it started to snow, and my mom kept saying quietly, “we’re going to get stuck in this blizzard,” and “we should have stayed home,” and “it’s like a blizzard out.” I was about to throw snow at her to keep her quiet. Other than that we arrived just fine at about 2AM.

The next morning, I awoke to find a white blanket of snow covering the ground! :D

My Dad and I went to pick up my sister and left early to make sure we had enough time to get there with all of the snow. It was really nice, just hanging out with my dad. I don’t get to spend a lot of time with him anymore, just me and him, so it was really cool. We crossed the bridge over the river by my grandma’s to head to town, and struggled up the hill. We giggled together as we slid all over the place. (Looking back, it probably wasn’t that smart, sliding all around in the snow when we could have slid right off the cliff and into the river, haha. But… YOLO.) We finally made up it up the hill and once we got to town, the roads became clearer. He pointed out the neighborhood that he wanted to grow up in with the nice houses, and where he had to come rescue my aunt when she slid off the road and into a ditch once when it snowed. They also took the old brickhouse out, where my dad worked as a teenager. Driving into Pittsburgh, I saw a sign for PNC park. I asked if anyone besides him was into baseball growing up and he said he was really the only one. He would get tickets from high school and wouldn’t find anyone to go with him. We were quiet as we went through a tunnel. My family knows I love the tunnels – when I was really little, I would constantly ask if we were close to the tunnel (specifically, the one in Wheeling, WV), not the “are we there yet?” that most children ask.

Even though I didn’t grow up here, Pennsylvania is my home away from home. I feel like I’m at home when I’m here. It’s so humbling how so many things can change over time, and other things will remain almost exactly the same. We grow older, but grandma’s house remains the same, and her peanut brittle will always be the best.

I feel like it’s truly Christmas now, with snow on the ground and being back in Pennsylvania. There’s truly nothing like sneaking pieces of peanut brittle when my mom isn’t looking and my grandma giggling while I huddle on the far side of the house, trying to mooch off my aunt’s wi-fi down the road. And my aunts and uncles are hilarious. It’s so good to see them again – even if they joke with me about the stink bugs they have here. (In my defense, they are HUGE.)

We’re headed back early tomorrow morning, probably about 6:00AM. I’m sorry to leave, but it will nice to be home. Six-hundred and seventy beautiful miles to go.

I Finally Turned the Heat On

Christmas is, truly, the only thing that gets me through winter. The last few weeks have been wonderful and I couldn’t remember why I didn’t like winter so much. It was jacket-weather outside and it was cold, but bearable. And then two nights ago, the temperatures dropped and I’m sitting in my apartment trying not to curse everything because it’s so freaking cold.

I’m also really cheap so I didn’t want to turn the heat on, but I worked a double shift yesterday (15 hours shifts, wooot!) and my feet hurt and my teeth were chattering so I finally just turned it up. My apartment is pretty old, so it has an old thermostat where you just adjust the little lever, so I turned it up to about 65 and I could hear the heat kicking on. But all that was blowing out was lukewarm air. Is that normal? I craweld under my blankets, prayed that the furnace wouldn’t explode because it was making weird noises, and woke up in the morning feeling nice and toasty.

Warmth is one of the most beautiful things.

I can’t wait to go home and sit by the fire that my dad always makes downstairs. I can’t wait to go home and bake Christmas cookies and open the oven and watch the cookies cook. I can’t wait to lay on the ground with my dog and pull him close, dog hair flying in my mouth and his slobbery kisses. Three finals and four days (plus a couple hundred miles) are the only things in my way from going home. What a beautiful thought.

My family and I are going to see my grandma in Pennsylvania this year. A couple days after I get back we will drive up there for a long weekend. I haven’t seen her since my grandpap’s funeral a few years back, so it will be great to see her again. I’ve always loved their creaky house and the country. It’s so peaceful. It can be boring going up there, but it really is laid back. We’ll talk and play board games and do nothing, which I have never been so excited to do before.

Since the last time I blogged, my grandpa was diagnosed with colon cancer. You may remember my dad was diagnosed a year and some months ago, so it was kind of tiring to hear the news again. My grandpa is 90, so I’m more worried because of his age. He had surgery three weeks ago and has to wear a colostomy bag like my father’s for six weeks. He is staying with my parents until he gets it removed. It’s a bit of a blessing in disguise that my dad knows all about it, so he can help my grandpa with changing the bag and all of the issues that go along with it.

I talked on the phone with my mom last night and she said, “You know your father isn’t the most tender guy and grandpa and him haven’t always gotten along, but he has been great with him. It makes me love him in a whole different way.” :love: Tabor has also been keeping my grandpa company, more than he would probably like, haha. My mom said he likes to lay on his feet, which grandpa really likes because his feet are always cold.

My dad has, by the grace of God, fully recovered and is pretty much back to normal. (Though, my gosh, his farts smell twenty times worse, which I didn’t think was possible to begin with.) Nonetheless, I’m very happy to be almost done with this semester and to go home to two men who have incredibly, awful-smelling farts!

Also, only 17 days ’til Christmas. :)