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Showing posts from 2012

Goodbye 2012: The Year of Music and Travel

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Today, on the last day of 2012, I take my yearly stroll back through the year and reflect on ups, downs, highlights and themes. This was a year filled with many ups and downs in the US, and several terrible tragedies, combined with the effects of the faltering economy, give it a melancholy feel for me. But, let's get started...

First of all, as you already know, the world didn't end.

Next, I remember writing this reflection about 2011 and it seems last year's theme was "connection." Thinking about this year, I would say the theme that stands out is "music and entertainment," followed by a close second of "travel."

Music and Entertainment

It mostly started in May when Mary, Annalisse, Nic and I went to see "Wicked" in Raleigh, and was followed by Annalisse's Lady Antebellum concert in June, then Squeeze, then Train/Mat Kearney/Andy Grammer in July and August, "Nice Work if You Can Get It" on Broadway (my first Broadway sho…

End of the Year Checklist

During the week I have off between Christmas and New Years I count on getting certain once-a-year things done. They are:

File the backload of photos into an album (or albums) - thanks Mom Shiao for the two albums of 500 photos - they are filled already and I've got to pick up a couple more [I missed last year's photo-filing]File paperwork, projects, memorable items into the kids memory boxes or tax box in the atticOrder the current year's photos (January - December)Buy a new calendar (50% off, of course) and fill in appointments, birthdays, trips, etc.Put away the Christmas decorations, dust, and get ready for another year
I also need to find a way to download Annalisse's pictures from Germany, which are currently only on Facebook. They were on her MacBook but her hard drive crashed a couple of months ago and she lost all her pictures. I believe that 10 years from now she'll be pretty upset that she did not get prints from the trip so I'll (hopefully) find a way…

Surviving Christmas

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We made it through another Christmas holiday. As I sit in the relative dark with just the lights of the Christmas tree, fireplace mantle, and candles to light the room, I think about how much I'll miss the soft lights and decorations a week from now. As much as I usually sort of dread Christmas with all its overblown hoopla, I have to admit that Christmas found me once again on Christmas eve at our church service. It's probably the singing of all the familiar hymns and the beautiful music of the service that got me, but I finally felt it. It's a daily challenge to try to live more in the present, and I felt so blessed to be there with my family, safe and sound, after the terrible events earlier in the day. I couldn't help but think of those families, suddenly without their loved ones, on what was supposed to be one of the happiest nights of the year.

Our Christmas eve was very low key. After church the kids made popcorn and I prepared for the morning's Shiao famil…

Silent Night, Holy Night?

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Not for some after another senseless tragedy today that included not just the shooting death of two firefighters (one of which was also a policeman) and the wounding of two others, but also resulted in the loss through fire of seven homes - right in our backyard this time, in Webster, which is about 10 miles from here. I'm sure if, as recommended by the spokesman of the NRA, those firefighters had been armed they could have defended themselves. Of course, I'm being sarcastic. When will it end?

In spite of this, we will carry on with our Christmas celebrations, but I can't imagine what those families are going through. With tonight also comes a sad reminder that Aunt Mary, who, with Uncle Pete hosts the family party on Christmas Eve, has had her health challenges this year and they will continue into the new year. Our throughs are with her, Uncle Pete and Sarah during her battle against cancer. It adds to the already sort of sad nostalgia I'm having this year (and ever…

The Day After the Last Day

Hello there! Well, we're still here. The world didn't end on 12/21/12. Carry on.

Five other reasons to be super happy this morning.
The kids are home.Mom Shiao is home.I'm finished with my Christmas shopping (except for stocking stuff).We're off until January 2.We got a lot of snow overnight.  Who could ask for anything more? Happy day!

At the risk of being a bore...

Another college acceptance yesterday, this time to Roanoke College in Salem, VA, where Sue and Ken live. Wouldn't that be awesome?! I can tell Annalisse is getting a little anxious about the decision she will have to make, but wasn't that the idea when she applied to seven colleges - to have some choices? I told her she will have a lot of time to decide since deposits are not due until May 1 and there will be accepted student programs, and a chance for one last look for her top choices, before then.

Fun, fun times!!

Two for Two

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In the mail today Annalisse received the second (out of seven possible notifications) acceptance to a college. So far she has been accepted to Mercyhurst University (her first choice!!) and Lycoming College (one that I really liked but was not high on her list). I expect we'll get official notification from Naz around January 15 (although a little birdie with inside info told me the decision already...), and I suppose it's also possible that we might hear from some of the other "rolling" application deadline colleges this week. The only one I really don't expect we'll hear from in the very near future is Alleghany College, which has a deadline of February 15 (and notification afterwards, I asume).

When she received the packet from Mercyhurst on Thursday there was a piercing screech and lots of arm waving. I also think Mercyhurst would be a good fit for her with it's beautiful campus just three hours away (AND THEY HAVE A KRISPY KREME!). Very exciting tim…

Haunted

Tonight I am haunted by the tragic massacre of 27 children and adults at an elementary school in Connecticut. Where is God? Why, America, does this keep happening? Surely evil seems to be winning with all the young, disturbed men who open fire on innocent children, teens, shoppers, movie-goers, bystanders. Is it the easy access of guns? The violent video games and movies? Family troubles? Rampant mental illness? WHAT WHAT WHAT?

I actually found a lot of comfort in the words of Mister Rogers:
"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers - so many caring people in this world." -- Mister Rogers My heart breaks for the families of all who lost their lives, and their innocence, today.

The College Waiting Game

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It's almost mid-December and we are anxiously awaiting decisions from the seven colleges to which Annalisse has applied. A lot of her friends are hearing back from the SUNYs and several "privates," but no word from the colleges she's interested in. The good news: there have been no rejection letters. The other good news: of the other kids who applied to the same schools as A, no one has yet "posted" on Facebook (a big deal for the kids) that they've been accepted to Mercyhurst, Alleghany, Lycoming, Susquehannah, Roanoke or Dickinson - so I assume no one has heard from these schools yet. As for Naz, since I work there I know they won't be notifying freshmen until after January 15 so we're not expecting to hear from them yet.

I think she's anxious about the whole thing and would just like to be able to say she's been 'accepted' somewhere. Many of the colleges have rolling application processes, so we're hoping to hear very soo…

O Christmas Tree - 2012 Edition

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Last Sunday in the windy rain and cold sleet, we ventured out with our neighbors Morey and Ann, and Nic and Patrick in tow to find "the perfect Christmas tree." For a couple of years I've wanted to get a different type of tree, one that looks more old fashioned like Mémère and Pépère Moquin used to have. Their trees always seemed not super-full, and were adorned with old fashioned ornaments and strands of tinsel. I'm working with our current ornament collection and probably won't be putting tinsel strands on, but still wanted that "look" in a tree. I think I actually have a picture of them next to "said tree," but for the life of me I can't find it.

So, this is what we ended up with. It's beautiful, simple and not too overwhelming. I love the light the deocorated tree gives off - so warm and comforting!





New Driver Alert

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Watch yourselves on the road. There is a new driver out there and he's fast and loose.

Cam FINALLY got his license today. We've put it off long enough. A combination of procrastination and disinterest on his part, and fear on my part, added to him being probably the only 19 (almost 20) year-old driver in Fairport who did not yet have his license. All that changed today, just in time to take him back to school for two more weeks where he won't have the opportunity to drive anyway.

How did our parents ever do it? I just need to trust (and hold my breath) that when he gets in the car he'll get to where he's going safely. I often stress to him it's not always his driving I'm worried about, it's the "other driver" who may not be paying attention or driving recklessly (Or impaired. Or texting. Or talking on his phone.). Wow, there is always something to worry about, isn't there?

The Class Clown

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Annalisse excitedly texted me this morning to let me know she had been chosen for the Senior Superlative "Class Clown." Hmmm...am I proud? Am I mortified? Proud, I guess!! There's no denying it: that kid has a special twinkle that lights up her bubbly personality. But, it wasn't always that way!

When she was little (toddlerhood) she was a terror. She would have frequent meltdowns and had great difficulty with transitioning from one activity/time of day to another. We always had to be sure she was well rested, because when she wasn't she was out of control (right, Sue?). Even today she knows when to put herself down for a nap and is alternately whiny and non-communicative when she's tired.

Obviously, she's not always as perky and upbeat as she is when she's with her friends at school, but she is actually pretty pleasant most of the time. When she sasses back or gives us a hard time, I have to tel Mark that we "have to take the good with the bad.&q…

Welcome to December *sigh*

Queue the annoyed melancholy.

Well it's here. The last month of another year that flew by way too fast. Why does time go by so quickly as we age? This guy explains it for us. Anyway, with Thanksgiving being so early this year I am feeding compelled to get our tree a week earlier than usual, and was anxious to get the house decked out and the cards stuffed and addressed. All ramped up.

I'm not super happy it's December already; not a fan of winter, it is simply something to be endured until next spring. Although, I will admit that some mornings with a fresh coat of snow do seem magical at times. The dog certainly loves it, and I usually can't wait to go out and play with him in the white stuff. Also, who doesn't like hunkering down for a good snowstorm? The excitement that schools (and businesses - and colleges!) might be closed the next day?! Better stock up bread, milk and eggs! (Why is it always bread, milk and eggs?)

Tonight starts the first of our holiday celeb…

Mutants, UFOs, Conspiracy Theories and Time Travel

Last night I had the pleasure of picking Cam up from a friend's house at 1am (it was an hour-round trip altogether) because don't we always tell our children, "I don't care what time it is, you can always call us for a ride home" - a policy which he has taken advantage of twice this week: Wednesday night Mark headed out at 2am and last night it was my turn. But I'm not complaining because...

I love driving in the car in the middle of the night or the early morning - as I often have to do when I'm traveling and need to get the airport early. The first thing I do is turn the station to WHAM1180 for "Coast to Coast," which describes itself as:
A media phenomenon, Coast to Coast AM deals with UFO's, strange occurrences, life after death, and other unexplained (and often unexplicable) phenomena. I love this show. It really reminds me that are people out there with an alternate reality who truly believe they have experienced "Shadow People,&qu…

30 Day of Wha...???

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"Thirty Days of Thankfulness" is all the rage on Facebook. That's when the user posts something they're thankful for every day from November 1 through 30. C'mon people. We all know that we're thankful for family, friends, food, jobs, homes, health, pets...I'm not sure I could keep up with a such a task and keep it interesting for those who peruse such blather over their morning coffee (which is another thing I'm thankful for ~ especially Jamaican Me Crazy).

So I thought I'd try to post a few things I'm thankful for (for which I'm thankful?), which are a little out of the ordinary:

The quiet mornings when I don't have to go to work and can indulge in my news junky tendencies over a Wegman's marathon roll with raspberry jam and a 20 oz up of Green Mountain Coffee.Those occasional warm winter nights when I'm taking the dog for a walk and keep going past my usual route because I just want to enjoy the solitude of a clear, starry war…

The End of the Quarter

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Friday ended the first academic quarter for both kids: Cam at RIT and Annalisse at FHS. I am SOOOOOO (infinity) happy to report that both kids did great in the first 10 weeks. Cam, especially pulled of a 3.5 average for 18 credit hours in a very difficult program. WOW. We are so happy that his grades are on the upswing. In fact, HE KICKED IT. I'm sure it was not without cost to him as I get the sense from his tweets (on Twitter - which I'm not supposed to be reading BTW) that school work has taken over his life for the last three weeks. So I'm trying not to nag or pressure him too much during his week home as I think he really needs the down time.

Annalisse also did really well, although her course load this year, with the exception of AP Bio, is relatively light. Which is a good thing since the bio course taking all her energy (and free time). She received a 74 in the class, which is actually pretty good considering where she was in the first weeks of the term. Overall, …

Dreams of Nantucket?

For some reason I've been thinking a lot about Nantucket lately. I'm not sure why...I even had a lengthy dream about visiting the island "30 miles out to sea" last night.

Mark and I visited for a quick overnight in 1990, so it's been quite a while since we've been, but I really really loved our time there. We went during the pre-season in mid-May, so it wasn't too crazy with tourists yet. The trade off was that not too many places were open yet, and we stayed at a cute B&B, The Chestnut House, my first time at a Bed and Breakfast. (While the place was nice, their idea of breakfast was juice and crackers. I've since spent time at places with amazing breakfasts.) We had lunch at the legendary Brotherhood of Thieves, a place at which a friend of mine's husband is currently the chef. Maybe that's why I'm thinking of Nantucket - because if we go to visit again I know someone there!!

Anyway, maybe a return trip will be in order in the next y…

Bruises

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My love for the band Train began over 10 years ago with the release of "Drops of Jupiter," a song I nostalgically relate to being a hit around the time my father was first diagnosed with leukemia (he passed away two years later). Pat Monahan, the lead singer, has famously said that the idea for the song came to him in a dream from shortly after his mother died and says it's about her. If you've never heard this song or seen the video, it is a must hear/see:


(I watch this video once a month or so, when I need a mood lift.)
I've followed the band through a break-up (them, not me) and was sooooo happy when they got back together and began making music again. I dare say I like their newer stuff more than the "Drops of Jupiter" era and especially their new album, "California 37" which has some really awesome toe-tapping numbers on it. One of my fave songs is "Bruises," a melancholic, heartfelt ditty that I just can't get out of my head…

Mom Update and a Trip to Boston

This week I took a quick overnight trip to Massena to see Mom as she fell in the bathroom and was hospitalized for a couple of days. She's doing well and in good spirits back at Carol's house, and none the worse for wear except for a nasty bruise over her right eye. That woman is so resilient! She's in good hands at my sister's, and we (Mary and I) are so lucky that Carol is willing to take care of her. In November, when everyone on Facebook is posting "the 30 days of Thanksgiving," we eternally grateful to Carol for what I'm sure is not an easy undertaking.

In other travel news...

Annalisse left this morning for Boston for her senior trip. My how these milestones keep creeping up on us. I cannot even imagine how quickly June will come, then the summer, then YOU KNOW WHAT (that is, if we make it through AP Bio)! I'm sure she'll have a great time. Even though a (crazy) Nor'easter hit the East Coast this week I think Boston will be cold but othe…

Fun@RIT

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Last night I took Annalisse and a couple of friends over to RIT for the Fun concert (you may remember that we gave her two tickets to Fun for her birthday present). The concert had originially been scheduled for Saturday night but needed to be rescheduled because Fun was invited to appear on SNL. That made for a little planning on Sunday (and all weekend, actually) to ensure that Annalissse was well studied and well rested for her AP Bio exam first thing Monday morning. The timing was not ideal, but what can you do?

While the kids were at the concert I hung out in RIT's Java Wally's, the very cool and comfortable coffee house within the Wallace Library. (If I went to RIT I would hang out there all the time. Cam claims he never goes there...probably just the thought that his mother loves that place is enough to keep him away, thinking it's super un-coool). I sipped creme brule coffee while finishing a book for bookclub and catching up on other reading. I also spent a lot of…

Eve Leaves

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This morning, amid tears all around, Eve and the Irish kids boarded a bus heading south to Newark, NJ to catch a plane back to Ireland tonight. I'm not sure what time they're "taking off," so hopefully by the time we wake up there will be news that the kids arrived home.

Our visit couldn't have been better. Eve was a really sweet girl, and Annalisse (and all the kids) are counting the days until they go to Ireland. I think the count was 107 the last I heard!

Safe travels, kids! 

Update, 11/2, 7am: The Irish kids arrived safely home around three hours ago.

Frankenstorm Fall-out (a.k.a. Sandy the SuperStorm)

It's Tuesday, the day after what was a pretty bad storm day for NYC, NJ and Washington DC (mainly the states on the Atlantic seaboard). Here in Fairport, there was minimal damage and lots of rain/wind, but truthfully, we've had worse wind and rain. There's been plenty of gusty wind over the years, and Jasper is my wind-o-meter because the the worse the wind gusts are, the more anxious he gets (which usually manifests itself with him sleeping "way up," plastered between Mark and I). Last night there was no real noticeable difference in his behavior, and we all slept soundly, undisturbed by the wind.

I'm told by a friend that Lake Ontario seemed like the Ocean yesterday, whipped up with large caps, which we don't usually see here. A couple of direct results of the storm:

Eve's departure was delayed from this morning tomorrow morning. The kids were supposed to leave today at 5am for a couple of days in NYC. That's not happening. Hopefully they can enj…

(Not) Getting Ready For Frankenstorm

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First of all. I love this storm's name. Frankenstorm. Huge, scary storm...scheduled to hit around Halloween? Get it? Genius!

Secondly, I wonder if all the meteorologists are getting everyone whipped up for another weather event, expected to hit the East Coast Monday and Tuesday, that may not live up to its hype beyond being a pretty bad storm. Already NYC and Boston schools are closed, businesses (and Broadway!) are closing, and the NYC subway system is shutting down for what's being called "the worst weather event EVER." Even Rochester residents are out in force stocking up on bread, milk, bread, water, etc. (The 'etc.' probably being beer and wine.) If you thought I hated going to Wegmans under regular conditions, you can believe I am not going anywhere near the place on the eve of what is touted as a catastrophic storm.

We are mainly wondering if the Ireland kids will be heading to NYC at 5am on Tuesday (on a bus) as planned. Then, if they get there will …

My Tough AP Bio Class

I've joked in the past that during Annalise's grade school, middle school, and high school year that I've had "a lot of homework" throughout the grades. Meaning: depending on the class, Annalisse sometimes needs a lot of academic help (at home), mostly in the form of study buddy support in preparation for upcoming tests and such. We generally build a PowerPoint presentation to review terms and concepts (modern day flash cards), and spend a lot of time in the upstairs porch/three-season room with the space heater blasting and a soft dog to lie on, as we memorize items for the upcoming test.

This year's AP Bio class has been a killer. Thankfully, Annalisse's other classes have not been that demanding because just about every night we are hunkered down, memorizing terms and reviewing bio-chemical processes. The class has been a huge challenge for her, with some successes and other not so great results, but she's holding her own. She is so determined to s…

Eve Arriveth

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Our Irish student, Eve, is here!! The kids got in around 4pm, a weary looking bunch after, for many, what was a sleepless night and a full day of travel. She's very sweet, and doesn't think we're too weird (so far), with our "unusual" sense of humor and crazy family banter.

Once we got on our way from the airport everyone was getting hungry so we went to (where else??) Mulconry's Irish Pub in Fairport for dinner. The bartender, who was the owner Damien's brother, was from the same town/area as Eve, so they chatted a little. After a short walk Eve is trying to stay awake a little longer to make the jet lag adjustment a little easier. Then, it's off to school tomorrow and gearing up for a jam-packed week!!

The Libra Girls

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Tomorrow we crest the Libra cusp and say goodbye to our favorite zodiak sign for another year (unbelievable).

Tonight, just in time to catch the last scent of Libra, my friends, JoAnn and Meg, and I got together for annual "libra dinner," a tradition that Meg says has been going on for 21 years (I can't remember those details so I leave it to her). For 21 years we've been having our special dinner, and it seems like they are getting more poignant as we age. JoAnn is in her mid-60s now, I'm almost you-know-what, and Meg is about four years younger than me.

I've known JoAnn since I was 21 and had just joined Nazareth, so we go "way back." Meg and I met when we worked together at Naz, and she took care of Cam for the first three years of his life and also Annalisse for a little while until she (Meg, not Annalisse) had to go back to work and give up childcare. They are great girls and it's so wonderful to catch up - it's like a year has not pas…

Loving Fall

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Just thought I'd share a slice of fall on a beautiful, warm October day. We just got back from a two mile walk around the canal and I'm about to put cornbread in the oven to have with homemade chili for an early dinner.

I wish we could "bottle" days like this to relive over and over!

The View from Saturday

It's the weekend at last. Another long and tiring week which (my fatigue of which is greatly influenced by the shorter, drab days) leads into a busy weekend with the slight possibility of a nap, maybe sometime tomorrow..

Today we head to RIT for Homecoming/Parents weekend, which for us will mainly mean that we are going to see the guest speaker, Alec Baldwin (some people hate him, some love him. I LOVE HIM). Cam was not originally going to be around this weekend so we had not planned to go for any PW events, until last week when he texted to ask if we were planning to come as he was able to get some tix from a friend who had a change in plans. So, off we'll go to Brick City for a couple of hours until we head have to head home in time for Annalisse to leave for Rolling Hills, a "haunted" asylum near Batavia. She's a little freaked out about that (being a bit of a chicken), but I told her it would be fun. We'll see!!

Tomorrow it's clean, clean, clean as we…

Happy Birthday, Old Man!

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Happy Birthday, to Mark today, who celebrates the first anniversary of his GOLDEN birthday! We'll celebrate with dinner out later (so what else is new?)!

New Job News

Remember last year when I wrote about Mark's company being bought out, and the uncertainty we were facing with his job? Well, flash forward a year to October 2012, and yesterday he was offered a consulting job with KBACE Technologies out of New Hampshire.

It's a great opportunity, and a great relief for him to be able to move on. Even though he has managed to avoid layoff, he's been faced with a poor working morale situation, and has been woefully underutilized, not really working on anything of import or substantial for many months now. It's been a mystery why he has not been laid off since he hasn't had a lot to contribute as they transition from one technology system to another. Anyway, the time is right and he'll hopefully "sign on the dotted line" today or tomorrow.

One draw back: there may be extensive travel involved. Much like when he was a consultant for Oracle, he will be traveling to client sites to assist with implementation of their finan…

Mercy, Mercyhurst!

Up at 5am yesterday (A Saturday. *sigh*), off we went to Erie PA for the Mercyhurst University Open House program. Another day with six hours on the road!

From the moment we drove through the arched set gate onto the campus, we were very impressed with Mercyhurst. It's very beautiful, and pristinely kept, much like Nazareth. It had a great program with some different types of info than we heard at the other schools. It very quickly became tied for first place with Allegheny College - with Nazareth being in second place - and the others following behind. Because Annalisse was so happy with her visit we decided to cancel the trip to Castleton State in November. WHAT? I'M NOT GOING TO VERMONT AFTER ALL? Damn!

If all goes well with the application process and financial piece, I think we may have found our school.

Update 4:51pm:

And later that day...she hit "submit" and applied to six colleges!

The Long Short Week

This week seems like it's taken forever to get to Friday, even having had Monday off for our trip to Hartwick College. The good news is that after so many choppy weeks in and out of the office I feel like I got a super amount accomplished at work this week. That feels so good. I'm sure I'll be feeling stressed again next week when I'm on the road to college fairs for two days.

Mark left at 4am this morning to drive to Nashua, NH to interview with a consulting company. If he is offered/takes the job, he wouldn't be working/living in Nashua, but chances are he would have to travel again during the week, just as he did during his days with Oracle. The interview starts with pizza at noon so he decided to drive this morning, then drive back tonight - which is not ideal seeing it will be an extremely long day for him (not to mention 14 hours of driving), but we have an open house at Mercyhurst University tomorrow so he was not able to stay over and come back tomorrow. I …

It's hip to be (a) square(root)

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Yesterday I turned the age of a certain square root. I'll let you figure out which one. Let's just say next year is not going to be pretty.

It's been a whirlwind of a week, starting with my trip to Kansas City last Tuesday. It was cool being in Missouri one minute, and Kansas the next during the car ride from the airport to my meeting. I found the scenery underwhelming and quite undistinctive, bordering on unattractive, and realized this weekend (as I was admiring the changing colors in the hilly Finger Lakes) that it's really pretty beautiful in this area. The trip itself was tiring, and I returned home around midnight on Thursday, got up for work the next morning, worked until noon, then we headed to Buffalo for a family wedding.

Friday was also Annalisse's 17th birthday, and the poor kid stayed home that night while we went to the wedding because we knew we'd be home late and she had the SAT the next morning. My niece, Nic, came to the rescue and took her ou…

Rocktober!

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In true Libra fashion, I must acknowledge the fact that this is the first day of OCTOBER! Bring it on!!

Heading to the Heartland

Tomorrow I leave the Roch for a couple of days for my association's October board meeting in Kansas City, Missouri.

Of all the places I've been (especially lately), I've never been to the "heartland" of America. Probably the closest I've come to the middle of the country is Chicago, but I wouldn't exactly call Chicago "the midwest." So, I'm sort of excited to see what KC is like. (By the way: it's just confusing enough that Kansas City is in Missouri, but the meeting is actually in Olathe, Kansas, which is apparently in the Kansas City, MO metro area.)

The timing isn't great as October is turning out to be another intensely busy month for us. Just about every weekend is spoken for already, and next week we have things planned just about every night. All this is complicated by the fact that Annalisse has tons of AP Bio homework, and with the challenges (stuggles, really) she's been having with that class she really needs to focus …

Getting to the "root" of the matter

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I love fall. I love fall, a lot, except for that nagging voice in the back of my mind that keep saying, "You can enjoy fall all you want, but just remember what's coming after fall..." There is so much to enjoy with the colors, the warm, yet cool days, the smells, and THE FOOD.

One of the things I like best about fall food is the root vegetables available at the farmer's market. They are so much reasonably priced there than at, say, Wegmans, and you can get a ton of delicious stuff at a very reasonable price. Tonight I made a roasted root vegetable medley with carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, squash, and potatoes (are potatoes and squash root vegetables?). I wish I had also thought to buy turnip and rutabaga; that would have made it really yummy.
I've been missing the scent of "fally" smelling Yankee Candles (such as "Cinnamon Spice," "Pumpkin Spice," or "Banana Bread") burning in the house, so I'll have to take a trip t…

College Search Update

As you may recall we had a  full summer of travel, with many campus visits behind us.  BUT, as of tonight's college night at Eastview Mall there are a couple more prospects to add to the list. So, next up: Mercyhurst University (formerly "College" - they because a University in January 2012) on October 13 and now, Castleton State College in Vermont in Mid-November.

(YAY!! I FINALLY CONVINCED HER TO LOOK 
AT A COLLEGE IN VERMONT!!)
All this college stuff hasn't been without its stress (mostly for her) in the last month. Between an extremely challenging AP Bio class and her first round of standardized tests (she took the ACT in early September [got a 21, which was not too bad], is taking the SAT on October 6, and is retaking the ACT on October 27 (her score of 21 was so close, but we think she can boost her score a point or two...) she's just about had it with college prep. EXCEPT, that she loves to look at colleges, so off we go to two more...
I'm just hoping sh…

Reflections on Twenty-Five

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Looks like we made it (says Barry Manilow)! September 19, 1987 was a rainy Saturday, but the dark skies were brightened by the presence of our family gathered to send us off on our marriage journey (What schmaltz, eh?), complete with the '80s wedding fashions (peach balloon-hemmed bridesmaids dresses), a buffet dinner and the Chicken Dance.

But seriously...today marks our 25th Anniversary. I can't believe the time has passed so quickly. The years have been marked by many milestones: the birth of our two wonderful children, three houses, two cats, two dogs, many cars, job changes, and the loss of so many we loved. It's a bittersweet day. There have been ups and downs (marked by many high "ups" and many low "downs"), and even now we have rough days, but we have persevered and I think we can take real pride in that. We are certainly not the naive kids we were at 23 and 25 (the average age to marry at that time), and maybe even a little more cynical when i…

Rainy Friday Night

It's pouring rain. It's Friday night. I'm exhausted from a week of travel to the North Country, sitting in the chair with my laptop and the TV all to myself - so: happiness! Annalisse is off to her first sleepover of the year with the returning and new Downstage kids, and Mark is in his "cave." Ahhhh, serenity!!!!

The trip to the North Country grad fairs is always like a trip down memory lane. (Do I live too much in the past? Nah! The present has it's great moments, too!) I headed up to Potsdam on Tuesday afternoon and checked into the Clarkson Inn for the night to rest up for Wednesday's and Thursday's full day of grad fairs. On Wednesday morning I rose bright and early to head to SUNY Plattsburgh, which was about two hours away.  Sadly, Burlington, VT was calling me from across the Champlain...will I ever get there again (in the near future?). Major bummer.

Anyway, after the Plattsburgh fair I headed back to Potsdam for the SUNY Potsdam fair. After …

500 in 24

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Last night we returned from a whirlwind trip up to Massena to see our Aunt Jeannine from Edmonton, Alberta, who was in town for a visit. It's been hard for her to be so far away from her sisters as both Aunt Jackie's and my mother's health has been in steady decline. The trip was super quick because we weren't able to leave town until around 1pm on Saturday since Annalisse had to take the ACT (college entrance exam). She finished a little early and we were on our way, flying down the NYS Thruway.

When we arrived we met the family at a restaurant and spent some fun time catching up with everyone. Aunt Jeannie, as always, looked great and was buoyant and funny. We so enjoy spending time with her and wish she didn't live so far away. She's so awesome!!

On Sunday morning before we picked another aunt up for a quick breakfast, we took a ride up to the St. Lawrence Seaway and Barnhart Island, which seems to be our routine nowadays. It's so ironic (or maybe just p…