Category Archives: Weekend Moments

Weekend Moment: Pittsburghese (Repost)

Since my family and I are back in my hometown for a little summer vacation, I thought it would be fun to re-post this tutorial on Pittsburgh. Enjoy! 🙂


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I was very blessed to grow up in Pittsburgh, PA.

It is a wonderful place and in this post, I alluded to the fact that it has a language all its own. It is called Pittsburghese.

I never thought I had any kind of accent until the day my friend Heather called me when we were living in Rhode Island and said, “Susan! I just heard a caller on Regis and Kathie Lee and she sounded EXACTLY like you!” It turns out that the caller was from my hometown and she did sound just like me!

If you ever visit, it’s important that you know the language of  the natives…so here goes:

Steelers = “Stillers”

Downtown = “Dahntahn”

If you want your kids to clean up their rooms, you say, “It’s time to ‘redd up’ your room!” (My kids still make fun of me every time I say, “Okay, it’s time to redd up the house!”) :)

Speaking of house, it is pronounced “hause.”

A rubber band = “gum band.”

Did you eat yet? No, did you? = “JeetJet? Nodju?”

Pittsburgh = “Pixburg”

Soda = “pop”

Giant Eagle (a local grocery store) = “Jynt Igle”

Out = “aht”

Northside = “Norseside”

(This one is for you, Ida Mae) : Iron = “arn”

She makes me say “iron” then collapses into a fit of giggles every time. :)

And…my all-time favorite:

You all = “Yinz”

I love my hometown.

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Weekend Moment: The Legacy of Fitness

My dad was a physical fitness nut.

He had his own home gym, spearheaded the building of  a gym for fellow employees at work, took an enormous amount of vitamins and supplements everyday and played for his work softball team well into his later years.

From the time my brother and I were little, he encouraged us to stay in stay in good shape, forever extolling the many benefits of exercise.  He was front and center (along with my mom, of course) at all our sporting events, cheering us on.

I have so many memories of walking with him at the park near my childhood home. He was always fully equipped with an odometer and a stopwatch because he had goals he wanted to reach.

I have passed this same love of fitness onto my kids.  We have walked, hiked, biked, swam, etc. Both kids have qualified to win  the Presidential Fitness award three times.

Even when he was two years old, Josh loved to run. He would tell me, “I need to run Mommy!”. So, we would walk to the cul-de-sac in our neighborhood and he would run around and around until he collapsed in the grass, happily tired.  Today, he runs 5K’s and is a member of the track team.

I recently came across these photos from 2003, the year we moved to south  Florida. Our plan had an exercise room and the kids and I went there nearly everyday. They would wait patiently while I worked out, then we would go swimming.  I took these photos one morning when my mom was visiting. Josh was 7 and Julia was 5. The age of my mom will remain a secret. 🙂 :


I love that they know the joy of regular exercise and continually challenge themselves to reach new levels of fitness.

Just as I used to walk with my dad, my kids and I enjoy walking together as well, strengthening our bodies as well as our relationship.

My dad would be thrilled. His influence lives on.


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Weekend Moment: An Explosion of Color

Earlier this week, I drove by the local nursery  and on their sign someone had written: “Visit Us and Experience An Explosion Of Color!” Just past the sign were rows upon rows of flowers of every hue. It was a beautiful sight and a reminder of just how glorious the season of summer can be.

So, for this Weekend Moment, I decided to display my own “explosion of color” from my part of the world. Enjoy and celebrate summer where you are today!

ski slopes in the summertime

“I walk without flinching through the burning cathedral of the summer.” –Violette Leduc

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Weekend Moment: America The Beautiful

My dad Ralph (right) & childhood friend Joe, both Korean War veterans

Freedom is never given; it is won.”


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Weekend Moment: Lion Country Safari

During our last summer in south Florida in 2007, we went to visit Lion Country Safari in West Palm Beach. Since Julia has always been an animal lover, being this close to all these wild animals was a dream come true for her.

As you enter the park, they give you a CD, which helpfully tells you about each animal as you slowly drive by.

Our journey through the park got off to a rocky start, however…when this ostrich decided he did  not want want us to proceed any further. He spied our van and began moving purposefully toward us. And he didn’t look happy:

He moved closer until he was right up against our windshield and after taking a moment to carefully inspect it, he must have decided that he did not like what he saw…because he began to angrily peck at at it. This went on for several minutes. I swear he was glaring at us. Eventually, he tired of us and finally moved on, allowing us to gingerly move forward into the park.

We dutifully listened to the CD as we passed the lions, who lounged lazily in the sunshine.

And then we came upon this rhino…and were so fascinated that it was standing right next to the road that we turned off the CD and marveled. We could have reached out and touched it, but we settled for just  taking a picture:

He ignored us so we turned the CD  back on and moved forward….only to hear this:

Under no circumstances should you stop your vehicle when driving by the rhinos. They are easily startled and can overturn your vehicle.”


We kept the windows up and did not stop for the rest of the drive.

Baby zebra


Swinging monkey


A turtle that has no common sense

We then moved on to the section of the park where you could walk around and visited the exotic bird area:

We were also able to get up  close and personal with the giraffes and feed them. They are so gentle:

Julia had an unwelcome encounter with a bear:

Before we left the park, we rode some rides:

This was the moment when Josh decided that he does NOT like heights:

We were nearly out of the park when Julia got nabbed by a dinosaur:

That day was absolutely wonderful…we hope one day to go on a real safari in Africa! Until then, we’ll always have the south Florida version. 🙂


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Weekend Moment: Rattlesnake Mountain

One of my family’s favorite activities is hiking.

Back in 2009, we decided to tackle Rattlesnake Mountain, which overlooks Squam Lake (for you trivia buffs, that is where the classic movie “On Golden Pond” was filmed).

This is the beginning of the path up the mountain:

It is quite a hike to the top, but the beautiful view is worth the effort:

My brother Jeff was the first one to reach the top:

I wasn’t far behind:

Doug staking his claim at the top of the mountain 🙂

Josh and Julia enjoying the view:

Even though it is called Rattlesnake Mountain, fortunately, this was NOT a rattlesnake!

We are extremely blessed that we are within driving distance of so many fabulous trails. It is our goal to hike all of them.

Since we had burned so many calories, we headed to one of our favorite places for a guilt-free treat 🙂

It was the perfect ending to a wonderful day.

Doubly happy…is the man to whom lofty mountaintops are in reach.”–John Muir


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Weekend Moment: Summer 2007

(Note: The “Path Into God’s Heart series will continue on Monday).

I am feeling very nostalgic today. Josh is in New York City with the high school band and Julia is staying with her Aunt Leslie and Uncle Tony in another part of the state, celebrating the end of her school year.

It is very quiet and I have found my mind wandering back to  one of the happiest times of my life: summer 2007.

After five years in south Florida, we were thrilled to move back to our beloved New Hampshire.

We actually pulled out of town on the evening of July 4th, our van packed to the hilt, Buddy tucked safely in his carrier. I will never forget driving down the highway, seeing fireworks light up the night sky as we sped north. It was as if the world around us was celebrating our happy turn of events.

Thirty-three hours later, we arrived at our new home at 3:00 in the morning. The kids hadn’t seen the house yet and they literally ran all through it, calling out to each other in excitement and staking their claims to which room would be theirs. Buddy was right on their heels, wagging his tail and sniffing up a storm, thrilled to be out of his crate.

Afterward, we all gathered out on the back deck, taking in the beauty of the brilliant stars shining in the inky black sky. We never really saw true darkness in south Florida, due to the fact that it is so densely populated and lit up.  The blackness–and the stillness– around us  right then was startling.

Soon, the sky began to lighten. By this time, it was nearly 4:30. Air mattresses were blown up (our furniture wouldn’t arrive until one week later) and it was time to catch some much-needed sleep. I drifted off that night feeling the fresh mountain air through the screen door in our room, filled with joy at being back “home” in New England.

The above photo was taken about one week later. My mom had flown up from PA to visit and see our new place. We loved showing her around  the real-life Norman Rockwell painting where we have the privilege of living.

The kids look so little to me! Josh had just turned 11 and Julia was 9. Josh is now quite a bit taller than both Doug and me and Julia is close to surpassing us.

I look at that photo and I can almost hear the nearly endless laughter of that sweet time. Our hearts were so full and we were all excited to begin a new chapter.

We had no way of knowing then that the economy would crash  and Doug’s industry would be dealt a harsh blow. The job that had brought us here was gone two years later and life hasn’t been the same since.

Looking back, I celebrate the fact that I knew deep in my heart that that time in our lives was very special…and I truly treasured it as I was living it.

Live all your moments…especially the happy ones.

He who binds himself to a joy

Does the winged life destroy;

He who kisses the joy as it flies

Lives in eternity’s sunrise. 

—William Blake

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