Ok… So this post is a Mack- Daddy! The epidomy of all that is Blog writing at it finest! The Best run-down of a weeklong vacation ever told! Ok< Ok, so it wasnt an explosion of constant heart pounding excitement, but boy, am I sure glad I made the trip.
I decided to go to Pennsylvania in October this year, for my mothers wedding of course. My father passed from Cancer 9 years ago in November, and It was very important to have our new amazing additions to our family feel our closeness and unity through the whole wedding process.
I came into town the night before the wedding. Huge Chaos! The brisk chill through the air and the Charcoal color of black that made the mountain atmosphere crisp excited me for the weekend to come. 36 Hotel reservations at The Holiday Inn under our families names alone and more to check in throughout the evening. Unfortunately, Continental Airlines misplaced my luggage somewhere on the Eastern Coast of The US, so I found myself confined to the running suit in which I wore for ( the most comfortable I could get) on the plane as far as “travel attire”- Little did I know that this outfit would be what I would be plagued with for the next 3 consecutive days…lol.
Saturday was the wedding, I helped put together my first wedding cake, helped position tables, and place cards all while running from room to room of the hotel, borrowing what I could from family and friends to find an outfit presentable for this joyous occasion that meant oh so much to my mom and my future stepdad Otto. I made it in on time! Just at the right moment to catch my mother and all of her pre- wedding anticipation behind the white wall, while standing arm and arm with my Uncle Jim, one of my fathers last living siblings. Our eyes teared, I gave her a hug, told her how stunning she looked, and went out to my seat beside my sisters and their spouses. Yes, I broke down in dramatic, overwhelming tears at the site of my moms glowing face. Keep in mind, this was all paired with music that was just bursting my heart with every second that it played. Our little lady clan of my mother and my 2 sisters was about to add a new father-figure, a beautiful new sister and a strapping brother. They exchanged rings and we all clapped in celebration. An enjoyable reception followed accompanied by an actual “candy bar’ with chocolate fountains, and some of the best “wedding dinner food” I have ever had.After a few cocktails, I “ripped up some rug” with family members I had not seen in years. They rained from Florida, Maine, Kansas, Pennsylvania and Georgia.
I was so proud of my mom that day...
The Night quickly turned into morning, where we all stumbled down to Brunch provided by the hotel, to say our goodbyes and pass along well wishes to those family members whom traveled in from out-of-town and were headed back on their long journeys. I was in a rush, however, to run around like a crazy person and return all of the belongings in which I had gathered in the mad dash to put together an outfit for the nuptials, so I, unfortunately didn’t get the chance to have the long goodbye as I had wished. We threw the luggage in the car, loaded with dozens of cans hanging from strings off of the trunk, which I thought was the coolest thing ever!
After getting back, I really got to enjoy the new home that my mom and Stepdad had just bought. Accompanied by 16 acres of land and the most peaceful mountain views you could ever imagine!!
Our family that was leftover sat around while shooting the bull, and I was able to then
cross number 82 off of my 2011 Bucketlist “ride a motorcycle for the first time.”
It was absolutely breathtaking. My brother-in-law offered, as he has been an avid Harley
enthusiast for as long as I have known him. I decided with just a hint of fear to take the
challenge as it presented itself to me. Reminding myself that “this is what the list
was made for” and once I did it, I then
would know what it was like whether I was a fan or not!
In Pennsylvania right now, the foliage is amazing. Bright reds, yellows, pinks, purples,
oranges, and even some blues are arranged perfectly amongst the billowing mountainsides.
I got on the bike as my family all stood around taking pictures “after all, it was a big deal
to be doing a “bucketlist item” in the presence of all my family, as most of them
simply hear the details on Facebook. We took off and at first I hid between his
shoulder blades then, suddenly, the fresh air started to feel refreshing as
I lifted my head.
He was safe with me and was going slow, but to me if felt like we were going quite fast!
I really took in the leaves and the feeling of fall combined with the thrill of being on the
back of not just any motorcycle… but, a Harley!!
Conquered Bucketlist #82 Ride on the Back of motorcycle for the very first time.
The Following days proved to be more and more relaxing, as the dust from the wedding had settled, and my new stepfather (an avid cigar smoker) and I enjoyed late night bonding conversations over sweet homemade wine and organic food items that he had picked straight from his garden. His dog, Maddie, a German Vizsla, is the most beautiful red dog who just hungers for as much attention as she can get herself into, which is hilarious considering her size is 6 or 7 times as big as my cocker spaniel Goldie. To watch her and my mother’s dog run through the pasture was as if I was watching a Pedigree commercial. Ears flapping through the wind and all. Like a child, when she gets sleepy, she carries around her blankie, which that of which is a black Steelers fleece this is how nightly she let me know that she was ready for bed. Something I very well appreciated as I still, at 30, tend to get spooked while visiting Pennsylvania. Theres just something about that coldness in the air and nightly sounds of the sticks leftover from leafless trees banging each other and the houses siding in the night… if you know what I mean!
She awaited me every night I stayed at the farm, to make sure I didn't get spooked at night (-;
I was able to take the day on Tuesday, which was day 4 of my trip– and really take in the fall foliage that was bursting through the briskly chilly Pennsylvanian mountains. The pipelines shined off of the sunlit colors that reflected from all of the leaves that silently screamed “football season”! and - “Halloween!” -
I am fortunate enough to have some friends from years ago that happen to drive around the state quite often for their jobs, and in celebration of my short homecoming, took me out for the day to take in all the nature as subtle reminders of “what I am missing” by choosing to live in Florida, where seasons barely change…. They all hate that I prefer the sand over the snow, but after this scenic day-long outing, I can tell you they drive a hard bargain!
The first stop on the agenda was this natural series of waterfalls in this area called “Ohiopyle”. Shockingly enough, in all of my years of shear and utter boredom growing up in Pennsylvania, I had never realized that about an hour and a half away there would be such beautiful, bustling rapids cruising through the rocks span across the mountainous countryside.
Sometimes you forget about how much "The little things" make the true difference
So, After these intense waterfalls, accompanied by relaxing sounds of what the equivalent of what ocean sounds would be to me, the day transitioned over to what Ohiopyle calls: A Natural water slide. This thing was fantastic! Nestled within the mountainside and weaving in and out of nooks and crevices caused by the earths most intense types of geography. I was never much of a geographical girl by trade in school, but to see an actual waterfalls soft enough to comfortably hold several thousand people during the summer months, in the perfect shape of an amusement park/like waterfall completely left me in ahh of the whole picture as I stood there watching the waves roll the strayed leaves down the mountain, in a powerful, bubbling, white current. I couldn’t help but to think of the people who have enjoyed such lazy days and family outings amongst the rocks that surrounded us. It was awesome! definitely something to cross off of the bucketlist as well. I had no idea that one had ever even existed!
"One of the coolest works of nature I have seen in a long time"After I picked my mouth up off of the ground in amazement, I was fortunate enough to go to "Fallingwater" the intricately engineered and artistically famous work of architectural genius built overtop of yet again, another waterfall. This home was once owned by the Kaufman family, whom the tour guide mentioned that on a scale of one to ten, that their fellow employees rated them a twelve on being humble, down to earth homeowners. I, foolishly grabbed a "Spicy soda" that I thought was ginger ale for my friends and I's excursion through the grounds of a home visited and studied by people of mass fame such as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. As a matter of fact, as I was looking at its intricate design, streams of freshwater pools and interesting sculptures to say the least, I couldn't help but to think of a Psycology textbook I had in college that had a photo of this exact house, calling it "tranquil" and "serene". Funny, as I looked at it and in its windows, I notices that the decor in the house was of 70's era, which at that time was Modern and futuristic, ironically enough, if you open any life, home and style magazine of the current day, the same decor is now featured as the same, 30 years later, Modern and futuristic.Bucketlist #37 Visit a famous architectural structure
The following days of my trip were spent staying up late with my new stepfather, while he smoked cigars and took me on endless tours of his pantries filled with only fresh, organic food. Enough food as to where I had imagined it as to if a meteor where to hit the earth and the farm were underground, we could all live in that house the rest of our existence and never go hungry. He is somewhat of the wildlife connoisseur, being from Hungary as a child and coming to the United States, his stories are both interesting as well as fascinating which paired with my habitual sleeplessness well. My mother tried to keep up, but being on a mission to bond more post nuptials was key on this visit, and we sure did! Thank Goodness I have a strong stomach, as he is an avid old school hunter and gatherer, and not shy to discuss the details one bit!
I had been invited on my last day in town to spend some quality time with my niece. She the youngest of five children to my middle sister, and the one who looks most like I did when I was that age. I was honored to be invited to what her school calls “an afternoon Tea”. Uh!! It was so neat! I arrived at the school and soon realized just exactly how much the world has changed since I was in elementary school way back when. I literally had to do everything but hand over a fingerprint to get through the front door… But safety is key Just a reminder of what scary times we live in that each and every school with these cute, little faces of our next generation can’t even go to school in peace the whole thing has to be on lockdown from crime. Crazypeople are just getting worse.
Anyhow, so we received our “clearance” from he front office and the smell took me back forever. I realized that all elementary schools smell the same way that of paste, glue, and paint…. Not to mention, for some reason no matter what is cooking in the cafeteria the scent always lingers throughout every classroom. We walked past several art projects done by students of all ages in grades one through 6 and to be honest, I never thought about how many artistic uses there are for children, Cheerios, and paper plates. I walked past Projects made of cob webs, flowers, pumpkins, vines, spiders, gourds, apples, apple tree, and probably a whole lot more… you all get the idea.
So, I sit, waiting for her and her class to enter the stage, where they sang, and I was so proud of her in that moment. At the same time, I started thinking about how old I am getting so fast, watching my youngest niece stand in front of me sing a song so beautifully with the rest of her whole class.
After the show was over, we were all invited back to the classroom where I was able to look through all of her artwork and see how she is doing in her classes. I was just shining with pride, as I do with all of my nieces and nephews, they all have special strengths, Addison’s is definitely her spunky personality. Cool as a cucumber she knocked it out of the ballpark onstage.
After Conferences and Tea, I had one final goal of my trip home to Pennsylvania. To enjoy a couple of slices of my favorite pizza, Marlenes Pizza in Nanty Glo. This pizza is unlike any other I have ever had and sometimes I wake up in the morning craving it, and of course, in Florida, there is no way I can satisfy the craving. My Mother used to work at this pizza shop when I was in highschool and literally, the shop isn’t any bigger than a small shed. I, as well as all my friends would try to crack the code to the secret sauce, but the owners are so protective of it ( which in retrospect they should be) that they would take all of the labels off of all the ingredients day after day to ensure that even though the recipe was written out in black and white, that no one would try to mimic it in any way by trial and error-ing the ingredients. Ugh, I got about 3 slices in when I realized, I don’t have the appetite I used to, there was a time where I could eat half of a large and have to walk away, knowing I would be ashamed if I ate any more that the allotted half.
The ride home on the plane was windy, and I am not gonna lie, I cried a little. While I love Florida, the sunshine and the overwhelming ocean, there is nothing like the feeling of having your family around. especially when you only make it into town for special occasions. It seems sometimes as though life is happening so much more quickly. Not sure if I could ever live there again, but for now, I am excited for my next trip for Christmas! That adventure is to be twice as long, and now that mom has the farm I anticipate helping her decorate and celebrate the holiday with her and all of the countless others flying in for the occasion.