Hello, Pittsburgh!

What I really want is to be home in my fuzzy bunny slippers, feeding my sourdough starter and working on my seventeenth interesting way to cook turnips from the winter CSA.

But I am not at home in my fuzzy bunny slippers.   Instead I am spending quality time here:

This week has me making two round-trip passes through the JetBlue terminal at Logan Airport.  

Yeah, I know.  This all sounds a little too humble-braggish:  I am soooo busy because I am sooooo very accomplished and important.   Rest assured:  I'm not particularly accomplished.   I'm certainly not any more important than anyone else.   And to tell the truth, I'm not even all that busy.  But on this particular week I do happen to have back-to-back business trips, and homebody that I am, it is making me a little cranky.

I do have strategies for dealing with work travel, and trying to make it as cozy as I can.  To start with, I try to maintain my traditions and routines wherever possible.  For instance, whenever I am in Pittsburgh, I always stay at the William Penn Hotel downtown.

To be fair, I have only been in Pittsburgh two times in my life:  this week, and in June, 1988, when my brother got married here.   And the lobby has changed a lot since that time!  It has added this Christmas village, which has some disturbing aspects of relative scale:

I believe this is a replica of the hotel itself -- in which case those gingerbread people flanking it are positively terrifying.  

And now the lobby has grown a lot of these:

But I recognized it right off the bat as the place I'd been thirty years ago!  My brother got married here, and I was, of course, a bridesmaid.  My dress at the time was a classic of the genre:

Perhaps my very favorite travel ritual is Road Yoga.  I love hunting down local yoga studios wherever I land; they offer a little window into local cultures.    Inhale Yoga Downtown is particularly delightful.    My own home studio, which I adore, is in kind of a crappy basement space below a CVS, and it’s almost always overcrowded and stuffy.   Inhale Downtown has great high ceilings, and big open uncrowded spaces, and a very welcoming teacher named Jana (which happens to be the name of a much-loved friend from home – so Pittsburgh Yoga Jana needs to do no more than say her name to win me as a fan).   

And it has a little buddha next to the bathroom!

!  I have chosen this particular class because it’s really the only one that fits into my work schedule.   It’s “Dynamic Flow”, their “most advanced” flow class, which may or may not be a bit of a stretch for me.    I do a lot of yoga, but my 53-year-old chassis has a lot of miles on it and has been in more than a few fender benders, so let’s just say I watch my asanas.   My real test for a class is:  1) does it make me work enough to get my mind out of my head? and 2) will everyone else be doing Stupid Arm Balances while I’m chilling in Child’s Pose?

Turns out the class is great, well-paced and well-cued.   One of my fellow yogis looks a lot like my rabbi, who may or may not do yoga; but if she does, would almost certainly be the type of yogi with whom I’d most like to practice.  The woman to my left is wearing a pink turtleneck over her yoga clothes to keep warm as we get started, rather than state-of-the-art Lululemon – another point in Inhale’s favor.   And when we do finally get to the Stupid Arm Balance, only one person actually does it – the rest of us chill in Child’s Pose.

I like this class.  A lot.   And the evening ends perfectly, the way all post-yoga evenings should, with a tasty local beer (Mischievous Brown by Helltown Brewery), a big pile of vegetables, and a healthy side of carbs:

As the yoga class was settling into savasana, the final resting pose, Jana had the soundtrack cranked on Dylan, specifically the song “North Country.”  It is not one of my favorites.  And yet it brought such warm thoughts – mostly of my younger daughter's Dylan impression, which is astonishingly good, particularly for someone with no Y chromosome.   Her big sister does an awesome John F Kennedy, based largely on her own frequent passages through the Southwest terminal at Logan Airport, where, as you arrive, they play on a repeating loop a recording of JFK intoning, “ask not what your country can do for you.”   My girl nails it perfectly.

I know.   I shouldn’t be bragging in my blog about my children’s talents.  It’s just that I’m so damn proud.

Whom, do you suppose, would my daughters imitate if they passed through Pittsburgh International all the time, instead of Logan?  William Penn, perhaps. 

What exactly did he do, anyway?  I can’t for the life of me remember.   But I bet that when he did it, he sounded exactly like a Kennedy.

Or perhaps they would imitate a Steeler:

It's quite a sports town, Pittsburgh!

Now honestly, I could give a rat's ass about professional sports, not to mention unprofessional sports, not to mention Sportz of any sort.   But Pittsburgh has won my heart through the innovative step of getting all of their professional sports teams -- hockey, football, baseball, and whatever else they play -- to have the same team colors, black and gold.  This is a bit of efficiency that completely delights my logistics-obsessed self; it makes me fall in love with the place just a little.

How couldn't I, this time of year?  It's the holidays, after all; and the macarons in the Pittsburgh airport burn just a little brighter than anywhere else.




1 comment

  • Janna
    Hi Laurie, Thanks so much for visiting us on a chilly Tuesday, and for giving some blog love! Safe travels, merry holidays, and happy Road Yoga-ing! -Janna & Inhale

    Hi Laurie,

    Thanks so much for visiting us on a chilly Tuesday, and for giving some blog love!

    Safe travels, merry holidays, and happy Road Yoga-ing!

    -Janna & Inhale

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