Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Pittsburgh, Primanti's and Penguins...

source unknown

 My mother would have turned 81 the day we left for Pittsburgh.  As we loaded the car,  I noticed the October sky all lit up and could only smile.  I breathed deep, heralding in as much tranquility as I could,  and we left to pick up our precious cargo.

Meet Minny, who would be traveling across the country with us to her family waiting for her arrival.  Oh those big eyes.  

Perhaps one of my favorite pictures- obviously Colton had gazed into those eyes as well.  

Traveling with a dog was hugely entertaining for the boys and gave us all something to help with many hours of "together" time.  

Realizing that the University of Notre Dame was just a short stretch off the toll-road, gave us a much needed reprieve for a bit.  It was sunny, and full of fall colors, and the campus was beautiful in so many ways.

We arrived early evening in Pittsburgh, and brought Minny to some happy family members.  We had a super-sized Sunday coming up, and were off to bed early.

The next morning we moved to a hotel in downtown Pittsburgh, filled with football fans.  

We heard it being discussed that the subway was only a few blocks from our hotel and it was free.  It was easy to find, and a fun new experience for the boys.  

After days of researching online, we had Steelers tickets almost fall in our lap- and they were way better than anything we had looked at.  It was truly a day long experience- one Nolan has dreamed of since he was little.  It would be our first NFL game.

The subway took us right to the front gate, of Heinz field.

We felt like we were sitting on the field.  The sun was gloriously warm, and despite the Steeler's quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, being injured, the fans were die-hard and very entertaining.  I wondered at times if we had somehow walked onto the set of a Real Housewives show, with the "competitive banter" flying back and forth between some Patriot fans interspersed with the Steelers fans.

We hadn't thought to bring our Terrible Towels, but it was really cool to see them in person.

A friend put me in touch with her friend living in Pittsburgh.  He said if you want the authentic Pittsburgh experience, you have to eat at Primanti's Bros.  Its a sandwich with your choice of meat- from sausage to salami to knockwurst- but the sides of coleslaw and crisp french fries?  Come right on the sandwich.  Its clever, and more tasty than you can imagine.  

The game didn't end with a big win for the Steelers, but we had a wonderful first day in Pittsburgh.  We have so much more to come... but first... 

It's infusion Tuesday already.  I see Dr. P today and go over my lab results.  

My spirit is strong, but my body can't always keep up.  The fatigue nags at me, food upsets my stomach, and it slowly has occurred to me,  it may never be any different.  Sometimes, the more I try to hang on to, the more slips through my grasp.  

So I'm just going to keep breathing deep, staying in today, and trying to surrender the "knowing," to the one who knows all.  


  1. Loving all the pics and experiences but especially the family time and that you were able to do it, dear Vicky. It takes so much to push through and if healing was based on heart alone you'd be the healthiest person I know.

    You are probably at infusion right now and maybe even confering about test results. I will pray for all that means and for Dr. P to have a good plan and for you to have a good response that doesn't leave you feeling so wretched. May it be so, dear Lord. Sweet hugs and hugs to you, friend.

    1. Your gift of understanding truly blesses me- thank you Robynn. I will be updating soon about my time with Dr. P- am just happy to be upright for a bit for now! Sweet hugs and love right back to you, friend.

  2. Oh my dear sweet soul sis,
    I am almost speechless after reading this post several times. The photographs are stunning, and I just love that you all snuck away to have a life-memory adventure. After attending two Seattle Seahawks games in person with my grandchildren, I could just feel the atmosphere of competition you described. The air is just thick with traditions like towels and loud cheering. What a blast!! And your description of that sandwich...well it left my mouth literally watering.

    Yet what touched me most in reading this, dear heart, was the quotation you started with."My hope is that they will remember that mommy tried."...Oh sweet Vicky, they will. Just as we see and feel your courage to be present each day, as best you can, your boys will always know how much you loved them and how much they meant to you. You are, daily, living your legacy. I trust they will know you did it for them. And my sweet friend, I so wish I could take that fatigue from you, and carry it awhile. Know that you are always, always in my prayers as you stay in today and surrender to the One who does know it all.

    I love you to the moon and back, Vicky Held Westra...always!

    1. Thank you, Linda for your reassuring and love-filled words. The boys have both talked about events, trips, etc., from the past and its funny how their memory for some of it, is completely different than what Rick or I remember. In a completely normal way, the boys sometimes express their frustration that I can't engage at the level they'd appreciate- and its this way more on a daily basis. There is a sadness that permeates the fun and adventure in a new way, and we're all having to face it. I used to rebound and have weeks better than others... lately not so much. Perspective maybe will shift later on- I hope they will see it- your words truly give me hope that they will!!

      Loving you right back! To the moon, and all the way back!!

    2. This all touched me so! Not just what you wrote Linda, Yet you pointed out the quote that also spoke volumes to me :) Vicky it is your reply here that touched me so deeply. I love that you wrote 'in a completely normal way...' They are that! Perfect and so normal, yet living something that the general 'teen population' doesn't have to live. There moments of fun and adventure, as you wrote in your way are clouded by one simple truth. They see the fatigue and all there Mom is going through. But when I read what you wrote about 'they sometimes express their frustration that you can't engage at the level they would like'...what I truly heard was, 'I am worried and concerned, Mom can't engage at the level she use too' ...the sadness comes from seeing and feeling and loving you so very very much! And they feel much more then they can probably put into words. The frustration is the helplessness they feel. So it comes out the way it does. They are strong young men. But is anyone immune from watching someone they love fight and struggle for one more day? Is anyone immune from the unknown...of it all? Fighting cancer like you have..oh My it is truly a 'family fight'...touching and reaching each one of you. Your boys KNOW how much they are loved! The thing is...they love you just that much as well! Oh how I wish like everyone else, to give you a break from all that you go through! You are so Loved! ~Sometimes there are reason's that reason itself cant understand~ Prayers for all of you and much much love!

  3. i'm loving this but wondering how MN folks came to love the Steelers. glad it was a good weekend. love to you.

    1. Hi Jenn, we often wondered how Nolan developed that interest so many years ago- both the Penguins and the Steelers? No idea! So we just joined him and loved seeing him fulfill a life long desire. Praying your week is going well! Love you, friend.

  4. Vicky, I'm brought back to the summer I was a nanny out East and my good friend and I, on our day off, took a day trip to Philadelphia abs ended up at a Phillies game. We weren't fans but pretended to be and we enjoyed the atmosphere and gabbed most of the game more than anything. Good memories you brought up through sharing yours. You all look wonderful. Love the black and yellow Steelers colors! Hugs and hopes for a decent infusion day. XOXO

    1. Thanks Roxane, for your faithful following and sweet comments. I'm praying that desire to journey and explore life are being instilled in the boys and they will continue on in these adventures when they are older and more independent- just as you did! xoxo

  5. Love seeing you truly living, making all the moments matter, experiencing them to the best of your ability and cherishing. Some people seem to live 90 years and yet never truly live.


I welcome what you have to say. Thanks for taking the time to grace me with your thoughts and words!

When you get lucky

When you get lucky

Popular Posts


Minnesota.com - MN Weather, Map, Businesses and Blogs
Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape