Saturday, June 20, 2015

PA trip in June

One evening sky at Mt Top
Hill incline to Mt Top
As the final days of our two weeks here back home in PA approach departure day, I ponder when is the best weather to visit.  No matter when we are here we get rain and here atop the hills at Mt Top RV that means puddles, lots of puddles and PA like potholes in the  drive around.  The Mix family who bought this place last year, seem to have a good thing going, but could use some advice on how to run an RV spot.  Still it is the only game around and we are glad to have the spot to park.  I have channeled or awakened  my long latent mt.goat persona on the hills I  climb up and down each morning on my  4 to 5 mile walks.  I can feel the difference over two weeks in my stamina and speed, as well as my glutes and calves. Hills do wonders for workout intensity. I have the Mt Top final incline down to 2 minutes which is darned good for the road. These things I know from my Samsung Gear Git.  Still I prefer my zumba classes back home for work outs.  Here it's just me and the birds singing loudly as I am walking along up and down hills.  I have seen my first lightning bugs of 2015 right out the bedroom window in the tall grass and pines and the brilliant display was a sight to enjoy. That was on the dry days, and the humidity that follows the rains in Western PA.  

This trip we had the sad but not fully unexpected death of one of my classmates who had been ill with cancer and congestive heart failure for some time.  We had almost a mini class reunion yesterday at the funeral home.  So goes life, or so it ends, he was 70 and as another friend comment"drew the short straw."
PA gals back seated ,Carlie; front seated Pam,
back standing Dayna, front standing me
We are the Golden Girls of Ken Hi
 It is always a good time when we gals gather together and talk like there's no tomorrow, it's like we never lost time or space and have always been together.  Jerry is a token guy who sits and says little, observes, drinks his beer.  The women are all single so no male companions to talk with him. There were others at other gatherings, but I just did not take photos other than fast FB shots.  We had some nice visits with relatives and my long lost cousins.  Each gathering involves food, sigh.  Despite the fun and talk, I think this is my last long stay here, I find myself bored, restless and tired of the traffic, the awful roads and streets, the humidity when the rain stops and the over all dismal slumlike shabbiness of the town where I grew up, back when it was the good old days of the early 60's and late 50's, when the mills and Alcoa flourished, the town had a population of 20,000 some and crime was unknown. Back when it was Little Chicago and the mafiosos ran things, the good old days of safety. Today it's drug low life infested.  Even the newer Pittsburgh Mills Mall has more closed stores than open, and offers little except chain restaurants and movies.  Macy's there is unlike any other in the country, bargain basement old bargain clothing.  JCPenney's is almost a step up from Macy;s.  People including my old home of New Kensington have nowhere to shop, Walmart and K mart?  That's it.  So very devastating and sad, yet pot new to me. No wonder they are devoted to online shopping Amazon and QVC.  And this time I use the experience as a lesson in gratitude for the lovely clean safe area of MN where we live.  I vow to never again complain about our Valley View Mall and stores, they are 1000% above this.  I tell my friends it is their turn to come visit me, we have the extra bedrooms.  They need to make a journey to God's country to experience better living.  

Family memorial granite bench at Greenwood.  
One of my purposes this trip was to see the commemorative family granite bench I bought as the memorial at Greenwood cemetery, where I go to see my graves.  There are no headstones, all flat brass markers for ease of mowing the huge cemetery.  Sale of granite memorial benches is a new addition and I jumped at the chance.  I am so glad I bought this as a marker commemorating my ancestry, one side  is engraved Konesky  the name which my late uncle shortened from Kochanowski in becoming more American.  My grandfather thought that "nuts,"  He could not understand how educated people couldn't just spell their name right.  Here he was an old coal miner who stole a cow to get passage money to come to America and he could sign his name, what was wrong with them?   It sits alongside the road and looks over the hill.  I think they would have liked it.  Whoever sits there will notice the names and perhaps stroll by the gravesites.  
 paczki,  fresh tomatoes and straw
berries from farmers mkt
Today was one of several outstanding local farmer's markets, something I miss in MN.  Here the markets are abundant with cheap buys farmer direct with produce, fruits, as well as every type of ethnic food the valley offers.  At home in MN the farmers markets are nearly the same price as the stores and sometimes not as good quality. Here the farmers are happy to sell direct and share the lower cost with consumers.  Today;s reward was fresh picked juicy strawberries, small but vine ripe tomatoes, lovely kale and baked goods. I'd have bought more ethnic foods but I had the misfortune of  a woman who seemed to be ahead of me at each vendor and who took forever to make her purchases as she examined and talked.  I had my impatience going so passed the Syrian food  vendor when she was there. My special treat the polish donuts of my childhood, just like my grandma used to make, paczki, indescribable fried donuts, nothing like a real one.  But as I told the baker every year I get one and enjoy it,  He said," buy a dozen and freeze them", nah they wouldn't be the same then and besides I  would forget about them and they would go to waste.   Besides I make one last for  2 or 3 days, very filling.  Well thanks to the hill climbing I can eat just about anything I want and not gain weight but I am always aware and with less capacity until I am full, it;s not a challenge.  

This is my erratic blog posting, much more on FB.  This is my reminder too why I will be unlikely to journey to PA for another year and not for as long a time.  It's time to count my blessings for not staying here my whole life.  I would have known nothing different and would not have become who I am today.  There is a reason for everything though we seldom know it at the time and though we may continue to wonder why this side of the grass.  Life goes on and forward and we flow with it or we are swept under and away, twisted and turned and not ever content or satisfied with our new challenges and what we have overcome.  Huh?  Where'd that come from?  One last photo, PA puddles, seems to fit this last paragraph...
Some puddles after the PA rains, Mt Top RV,
 my inner Patty had to splash