Growing up in North Dakota, we lived on the ice from late fall through early spring. Being that far now, winters started much earlier and last much later. It was life as we knew it; and I LOVED IT!
All three of us kids had our own ice skates, as did our parents. And most days after school we walked the one block to the indoor skating rink in our tiny town that was always full of kids utilizing the ice for open skates or hockey leagues. My little brother was the skating professional among us and represented the family proud on his hockey team. For me, it was a fun sport and a time to hang out with friends. Sure there will spills and falls, but there was also hot chocolate that made it all feel better.
When our family left North Dakota for the wide-open lands (and windy!) of Wyoming, that ended our days of ice skating. That was 1993.
Fast forward to 2013 – yeah, 20 years later! – and I finally got back on skates. And we weren’t in North Dakota this time, instead we hit the ice in my brothers new stompin’ grounds in Pittsburgh. My ankles were a bit wobbly and my body entirely unsteady, but I made it a few laps around the rink.
We even got my 3-year-old niece out on the ice with us. She was a big scared, uncertain of the blades on her feet and freezing, which you could hear from her teeth chattering against the cold. But she battled on and made it two laps with us before I caught my skate on the ice and feel flat on my face! Needless to say, that was the end of her skating too. At least for that trip.
Even with a bruised knee after the trip, I had a blast getting back out on the ice. Next trip though, maybe I need to find one of those kiddy walkers and stick with my niece.
With a kiss to the hubby and a pat on doggie’s head, I hopped a plane and headed east to visit my brother and his family in Pittsburgh. After 10 years in the U.S. Navy, Ryan, Maria and the cutest niece in the world – Paige – found their new home in the suburbs of the big city.
Living in Maria’s hometown, her entire family is diehard Steelers fans – my brother now included! And when winter moves in, the Penguins take the ice. Thanks to Maria’s cousins, we scored tickets to a Penguins game while I was there that were six rows off the ice! Now I’ll admit I’m not the biggest sports fanatic. I’ve watched games on TV, but haven’t really ever gotten into one particular sport. But when you put me in a hockey arena where I can hear the sticks hitting the ice, the puck clank off the goal post and bodies slam into the glass, I’m going to be cheering with the rest of them! This was my first NHL game, and one that will never be forgotten with the game coming down to a shoot out. Talk about edge of your seat! Penguins win!!
Pittsburgh is an amazing city with incredible views of the skyline from Mount Washington. The unique characteristic shape of Pittsburgh’s city center is a triangular tract carved by the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, which meet to form the Ohio River. The city features 151 high-rise buildings, 446 bridges and two inclined railways, making it not only know as “the Steel City,” but also “the City of Bridges.” Pittsburgh is also home to Heinz ketchup and the famous Primanti Bros. Restaurant, where sandwiches come piled high on homemade bread with your choice of meat and cheese topped off with fresh cut fries and coleslaw. It truly is an entire meal in one bite!
I’m excited to return and explore more of this city. Soon there will be a new reason to visit, as Paige will be a big sister!