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December 29, 2012

Christmas in Pittsburgh

Filed under: Travel,Winter — Judy @ 5:38 pm

This year, instead of doing the ‘stealth’ Christmas tree routine, we took the show on the road to Pittsburgh. After loading up the ‘sleigh’ with presents, and decorations, and food, and our gear, we left Rochester in good season. The weather forecast wasn’t looking too good, especially in the stretch below Buffalo along Lake Erie, and we didn’t know how the driving would be. We saw a few flakes heading off on the Thruway towards Buffalo and, although the roads were clear and dry, a few DOT trucks were out with their plows raised, probably making practice runs to find where the crossover points were. We laughed at the sight, but little did we know how vital that information would be for them.

By the time that we got to the first rest stop we made in Pennsylvania, the car was coated with ice.

Icy car

The weather continued to get worse as we pressed on, and nary a snowplow or salt/sand truck we saw in Pennsylvania. But we saw quite a few cars off the road as folks drove without heeding the weather conditions.

Snowy pennsylvania

We were glad to get to Pittsburgh and settled in for a great visit. We decorated Kelsey’s little rosemary bush for a tree,

Rosemary tree

Bryan, Kelsey, and Sky Christmas 2012

Bryan, Kelsey, and Sky Christmas 2012

ate, shopped at the Restore and IKEA, opened a few presents every night,


Sky opening one of her presents!


Ooh! It’s a chewy, claimed-to-be-indestructible Frisbee!


Ooh! Chocolate-covered espresso beans!


I think this is for me, Dad!

ate, visited the Phipps (post coming with a slideshow), ate, played some card games most of which were won by Bryan :), ate, played with the dogs,


Sky in her new Christmas sweater



Cooper, King of the Snow!

ate, went to church at Waverly Presbyterian for Sunday and Christmas Eve services and heard some fantastic music including a beautiful solo by my seester, Sallie.


Then we all collaborated on a fantastic vegetarian Christmas dinner including a stuffed Tofurky roast roasted with a mélange of onions, gravy, roasted asparagus spears and homemade rosemary bread by Kelsey,  fresh greens salad with pomegranate seeds and to-die-for sugared walnuts by Kelsey, and the pièce de résistance by Sallie – a caramelized garlic tart

Fabulous caramelized garlic tart

all of which we then ate. Needless to say, we were stuffed to the gills, which was just as well because we didn’t plan on any dessert!

On Wednesday it was time to leave, but not without making a quick dash to the Pitt Store and Anthropologie. Our 9 1/2 hour trip home was hair-raising, to say the least. We saw 21 cars and 1 semi off the road with only 3 plows from Pittsburgh to the Pennsylvania-New York state line on Route 79. Visibility was less than a quarter mile, snowing like crazy and icing the roads. In New York we saw lots of plows including a 4-snowplow brigade clearing the entire road in Buffalo. Unfortunately, it was snowing and blowing harder than the plows could keep up with and the Thruway was treacherous. Even though car speeds were down to 25-30 mph or less, the truckers felt the need to speed by at far higher speeds entirely obliterating our field of vision with clouds of snow and pushing us to the side of the road where the zizzy strips are or farther. Exhausted, we finally arrived home at 1 AM to find over 15 inches of snow in the driveway. We powered through the 2 feet of snowplow crap at the road end, and all the way into the garage, and that was that!

The next morning the driveway looked like this after a few more inches of snow overnight

Home again

and the snow on the deck looked like this.

Snowy deck

And yes, that is over 2 feet! But all’s well that ends well and we had a wonderful time being with family at Christmas. Many thanks to Sallie and Jeff and Cooper for hosting us!

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