Sightseeing the Ohio Valley and Beyond

We spent a lovely two days sightseeing the Ohio Valley area and Pittsburgh. Jeff had VA appointments yesterday and today, which was a wonderful excuse for us to all get out and about!

Tuesday was his Physical Therapy evaluation at the VA in Aspinwall complex in Pittsburgh (it looks like things will go well with that.) This hospital is nestled in a densely wooded area, bordered by fine old homes with magnificent front yards. The drive there is a little hectic, as the highway we take has all sorts of merging ramps and various off ramps, but we found the complex with little effort. We took Dad to the Strip after Jeff's appointment, to show him the shops - we also were low on olive oil and I needed some breadcrumbs - so the timing was perfect. We stopped in at the large Italian market there, and at Parma's for sausage. I found some delicious zucchini at the fruit and veggie market, to boot!

Afterwards, we headed home and I set the men to cleaning while I started my marinara, stuffed peppers and meats. Company showed up right on schedule (my Aunt Helen, Cousin Linda, and Keith and his wife and 2 boys) and we sat down to a huge Italian feast. My Aunt and Cousin absolutely adore Dad, and are so glad he his considering relocating to Ohio. Sorry, no pictures yesterday.

Today was the other VA appointment, again in Pittsburgh at the Highland Drive complex, and Dad was treated to a drive through one of our favorite Jewish neighborhoods (excellent kosher deli there!). I remembered my camera this morning, and took a few snapshots around the VA complex. There is a cozy garden area just behind the building Jeff's doctor is in, and I often sit outside and read my book or smoke while Jeff is being seen upstairs. It is a tranquil place, and I was so happy to share this favorite green nook with Dad. The small garden is surrounded by a high wooden fence, and if you didn't bother to leave the smoking area, you would never find it. Heavy stone benches and tables offer a cool place to rest, and small green trees and shrubs, plus my favorite rock, adorn the inside of the fence proper. It has become slightly overgrown, which only gives me reason to love it more, and birds chirp in the trees overhead.

We stopped by the CEKSF on the way home, in search of a light jacket for Dad. Oakdale really is a charming community, and the scent of freshly cut grass and approaching rain only made the trip all the better. Clothing Sales and the PX were a bust, as they didn't have anything, but I did spot the perfect birthday gift for my Mum (and will return there next week to pick it up!)

On a whim, we drove back to Ohio and headed up the 7 towards St. Clairsville - the Ohio Valley Mall has a lot of shops - and Dad got a chance to see the lush rolling hills. Luck was with us, and we found a nice dark blue light jacket for Dad (who, being from a desert climate, finds or crisp summer mornings a tad chilly.) We had a refreshing rain, and I captured some houses in the mist, as well as the photo below of Jeff and Dad (and his purchase find!) A stop at the Cracker Barrel for lunch, and we headed back. Jeff thought he'd be funny, and started snapping pictures of road signs, as my parents will be heading along this route in a few days. Needless to say, the man took pictures of every turn and sign they would need to look for during their trip from I-70, complete with shots of the corner of our street and driveway! I emailed them to Mum just now.

We are back at home, the men are napping while I work on this entry. I'm fairly exhausted - seven hours of driving does wear one out!

We are really going to be sad when Dad leaves for home, but we are all hoping that things work out well so that he can return here soon, perhaps to stay! It's been wonderful having Dad visit, and Jeff and I are blessed to have him in our lives.

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