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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Today is THE Day!

Today is the day for which we've been preparing a LONG time. And I'm not just talking the last couple of years. Isn't most, if not all, a child's education geared toward preparing him/her for college (or a trade) after high school, which gives him/her the education or training needed to be a productive member of society? Obviously, a rhetorical question.

So all that readin', writin', and 'rithmetic has led us to college move-in day. The car is packed, the boy, and the parents, are ready. I'm so excited for all the new experiences that lay ahead for Cam, good and bad; this will be a time of tremendous growth for him. Today he goes to college as a teenager, tomorrow he will come home as a man. Well, not literally tomorrow, but the proverbial "tomorrow." Corny, eh?

Good luck to my eldest! The world is at your feet!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Wind, The Week and the Waiting

As Hurricane Irene batters the East Coast (it's dark and windy here, and Jasper is a little freaked out), and hot on the heels of this week's other natural disaster (the earthquake centered near Richmond VA), we conclude our staycation week. Of course, I didn't get as much accomplished as would have liked. A couple of things I should (could) have done the summer, but did not (yet) were to paint the front steps and the back privacy fence. I'm just not good at home improvement, and Mark can't be convinced to do those things either. So, alas, they still look bad: all chippy and faded and such. Maybe I'll get some ambition to do those things in the early fall. Another thing I did not yet get around to do prep work for a church committee I'm heading up this year. Procrastination at its finest! (AKA vacation)

The week wasn't too exciting, and it was even a little boring. We did all the running around we wanted to do, and with being a little cautious about our money situation (with extra bills related to the RIT bill and the possibility of Mark getting laid off in December), we didn't do anything too exciting (i.e. day trips or shopping). Annalisse had to work most evenings at her new bussing job at Otto Tomotto's, and there were a couple of days when Cam did nothing but play video games all day (THANK GOD HE GOES TO RIT ON WEDNESDAY. WITH MOST OF HIS FRIENDS ALREADY AT COLLEGE HE'S EXTREMELY BORED. HEY! MAYBE I CAN GET HIM TO PAINT THE PORCH STEPS...) I tried my best to get a nap in here and there, but that didn't work out too well either.

One thing I did enjoy (surprise, surprise!) was cooking. Yes, cooking!! I had a chance to think of some special things I wanted to cook for the week, and could actually take the time to prepare and cook them. We had a great German meal (complete with our awesome neighbors to share it with), I tried shrimp scampi (a little bland...I think I need a different recipe), I made Cam's fave mac-n-cheese, and tonight I'm making Chicken Mirabella.

Another thing I really enjoyed this week was reading The Devil in the White City, a fascinating true story of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, complete with murderous intrigue. Great book! I highly recommend it.

So, tomorrow I head back to work and I actually feel ready to tackle a new year with renewed energy. The greatest part about my week off is that I could step back and think about my job, and how I want to approach things this year. A nagging question: after a tough recruiting season and very difficult external factors affecting applications and enrollment, will this be a year of change for me? We shall see.

For now, though, I'm savoring the last quiet moments of my vacation, and plan to hunker down and ride out the storm (literally, and, I suppose in some cases, metaphorically speaking).

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Countdown to College

Today we took a trip over to RIT to check some things off the "to do" list before Cam heads over for move in next Wednesday. We thought, to beat the crowds, we would:
  1. Get his ID - CHECK.
  2. Get his books - CHECK.
  3. Verify the balance on his bill for the payment plan option - CHECK.
  4. Take a peek into his room - CHECK!
His room is really basic. Just room enough for two occupants with a bunk bed, dresser, desk and office file desk on each side. There isn't even a closet, just a closet bar to hang clothes and some cubby holes. Cam and his roommate Michael (from California; same major) will be living in very close quarters! I was wondering where his gigantic TV would go, so we'll have to see if we can make it work on top of his dresser. Michael is bringing the other "big ticket" item: the fridge. The room is carpeted and the bathroom is right next door.

Cam wasn't that interested in buying cool or cute stuff for his room, but it should be pretty nice and comfy with his new bedding and accessories. I think I actually saw a smile!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Staycation 2011

Today at noon begins my one week "staycation"/ vacation for this year. Sure, I've taken a lot of trips this year, and it seems like I'm always on the go, but for the last time for what will probably be a while we're all home for an entire week with not a lot planned. About the only concrete things going on as of "now" are that I'm heading up north on Sunday to see my sister and mother, both of which are hospitalized right now (Mom for pneumonia, Carol for hernia surgery [she should be getting out later today]). When I return from Massena, we're going to RIT on Tuesday to spend a couple of hours and get some of Cam's tasks out of the way (ID, books, checking out his room is we're lucky). Other than that, the week is ours...

Which could be a good thing or a bad thing. The challenge will be to keep the kids busy. Both have been pretty much couch-bound since Cam finished his camp job and Annalisse returned from all her summer travels. No, they're not sick. Just lazy (BAD MOTHER!). I am really looking forward to Cam heading off to RIT and Annalisse heading back to school so they can do something other than watch TV and surf the Internet all day. A couple of days of that is okay, but weeks and weeks...?

So, we're looking for long walks with Jasper, nice meals at home that take more than 1/2 hour to prepare (as is mostly the case after a busy day of work), sleeping in, and picking up last minute stuff for College and the new school year. Let's hear it for STAYCATIONS!

Friday, August 12, 2011

An Ode To Summer

Summer, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways (not too many original thoughts tonight...)

I love listening to crickets outside the open window on the sleeping porch.
I love to go outside at night, stop, look at the sky and just savor the moment.
I love the chirpy, fighting birds outside my window at 4am (even though I pretend to complain about them).
I love our new fire pit, and crackling fires shared with friends.
I love sleeping with the windows open, even if it's super hot out.
I love having Jasper follow me everywhere when I'm puttering in the yard, pulling out weeds here and there.
I love when the kids are having fun at camp and with their friends, as this is a special time they'll always remember.
I love the fresh fruit and vegtables available the farmer's market, but mostly I love the sticky buns.
I love eating outside with water nearby. It makes me feel like I'm on vacation.
I love vacation days with not a lot planned.
I love thunderstorms, any time of day, but especially at night.
I love wearing no socks from May until October.
I love indulging in the memory of the summers of my youth, spent with friends by the St. Lawrence. They leave me smiling, and a little sad.

In these waning days of summer, I have to remind myself to live in the present, savoring each moment in the weeks to come, as Cam prepares for the next stage in his life, and Annalisse starts an important year in her high school career.

Just to be fair: THINGS I HATE ABOUT SUMMER

I hate the bugs; mosquitoes, flys and the like.
I hate having to work in the summer.

That's about it.

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Capitol Vacation

Tomorrow we embark on our last getaway as a foursome as we head to Northern Virginia to visit Mom Shiao, Dave, and the kids, and also to see our German exchange student, Belinda, as she visits her family in Virginia. I never tire of visiting the Washington area (except for the crazy, intense traffic) as there is always so much to see and do.

This time, we're going to head up to Mount Vernon in Alexandria. The kids and I went there quite a few years ago, but Mark has never been so that should be fun. That means this year we will have visited two president's homes (the other being Monticello in April). I don't even mind the long car ride as it's always broken up by a visit to the Country Cupboard in Lewisburg, PA, and gives me a chance to get caught up on my reading.

Check back for a trip report!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Not A Great Surprise

Well, this should be interesting. Today Mark's company announced that it has been bought out by a larger telecom company from Arkansas. This came totally out of the blue for the majority of Paetec employees. Now we're left wondering what will happen with Mark's job as Windstream Corp. will most likely consolidate the jobs at Paetec to do away with redundancy. Once the new company really understands how difficult and expensive it is to do business in New York state they'll probably pull all the jobs out of here. Not good.

Hmmm...time will tell.