Thursday, June 28, 2012

Health Care for All

Today the Supreme Court upheld President Obama's Affordable Care Act, in my opinion a great victory toward health care for all. Of course the plan is not perfect, but I think it's a step in the right direction in allowing those who have not previously had affordable access to health care (pre-existing medical conditions and the self-employed) options  for being covered. 

(I get kind of annoyed by the naysayers because I know of several people who are are receiving public assistance and whose kids are on "we're" already paying for their insurance. Ironically, this is the socio-economic group that tends to be so adamantly against the Affordable Care Act.)

Obviously, these people don't like the health care plan. In fact, they are so disgusted with it they are threatening to move to (Socialist) Canada (where they have Universal Health Care). I'm pretty sure the Canadians don't want them either.

I think a colleague of mine said it best on FaceBook:
Lots of talk today about the commerce clause and the definition of tax. But NPR bottom-lined it for me (and made me cry) when they quoted a man as saying, "The real winners today are the families who can now go to a doctor when they're sick."
Finally, progress. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Safe and Sound

We just got an email that the kids got to Krumbach "safe and sound" after a long 24 hour journey which began with the bus trip to Philly yesterday morning and took them through a later than planned departure last night. I'm sure they'll have a wonderful time once they get some sleep!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Nein! Nein! Nein!

If this day had turned out as expected, Annalisse would be somewhere over the Atlantic right now.  Instead, she sits upstairs, really upset, not knowing at this point where the plans for the exchange trip to Germany stand.

It all started as can be expected, with an excited group of students checking in at noon for their 2:10pm flight to Newark (connecting to Munich). Soon enough we started to hear hear rumblings of a delay due to storms in the Northeast. The kids said goodbye and headed out to security, and "us parents" were instructed to hang around and wait until the kids were on board, "just in case." Good thing. By 6:30 we called it a day. The flight was cancelled and as I write this we still don't know what the future plans are.

So upstairs she sits, the last place in the world she wants to be/expected to be this Friday night. And downstairs we sit, feeling super bad for her and all of her travel friends. Stay tuned for updates...

6.23.12 Update: The kids will catch a bus from Fairport to Philly on Sunday morning at 6:30am for an 8:30pm flight to Frankfurt (it only takes five hours to get to Philadelphia...sounds like a long day at the airport...), from which they'll take a bus to Krumbach, which will take around two hours. If all goes according to schedule they should reach their families by 2 or 3pm on Monday.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Congrats FHS Class of 2012

Congrats to FHS's Class of 2012! it's so hard to believe it's been a year since Cam graduated and another until Annalisse does. Treasure the memories of your kids when they are little - it goes so fast!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Capitol Girls

TJ Memorial
Last night at around 5:30pm three of "the girls" and I returned to Rochester after our girl's weekend in Washington, DC. The weekend, our ninth annual, was a blast! Here are the deets...

Sue photo bombs The Capital
Lorie, Heather and Gina arrived from Massena around 8pm on Wednesday to spend the night before we headed out for our journey on Thursday morning. But, first things first: wine and catching up on the porch on a beautiful almost-summer's night. It was great, and really relaxing. On Thursday morning we got going around 9pm and took the usual route (Country Cupboard!) until, against my better judgement (and despite the fact that I knew the route), I let my GPS guide me on a crazy route that took us around Baltimore and into DC/Northern Virginia on the opposite end that I usually enter. The trip was made immeasurably longer due to the infamous DC traffic. Grrrrr!

Vietnam Memorial
We finally arrived at the hotel (after dropping some goodies off to Mom Shiao) at around 7pm and promptly headed down to happy hour, which featured FREE DRINKS. You heard me right. I think it was mostly free wine and beer but, hey, it was just what we needed after being in the car for 10 hours. After drinks we walked down to one of my and Sue's fave restaurants, The Austin Grill, for a little dinner and collapsed afterward to get up at 5am to arrive at the WHITE HOUSE (!) by 7:15 in time for our 7:30 tour. 
The Girls at the FDR Memorial
The White House
As it turns out, we didn't really need to rush. We were delayed for an hour because Heather's last name was spelled wrong on "the list" (damn interns!) and we had to hang out while she waited in the "pen" until they cleared her. When she was finally set free we were off and running for our self-guided tour, which didn't take too long since there is really just a limited area to see. Still, it was pretty cool to be there. After our tour, we walked the mall for hours, seeing the major sites and spending some time at the museums. I was especially happy to be able to catch the Jefferson exhibit at the American History Museum, which I had been looking forward to. So, we did it all, except the Jefferson Memorial, the FDR memorial, and the MLK memorial. It was a beautiful and inspiring day.
The Korean War Memorial
Good 'Ole Abe
After our day walking probably 8-10 miles in all (my feet were carved up) we went out to dinner at a great Greek restaurant in Old Town (Alexandria), then to bed we went to get ready for our next fun day. On Saturday morning we slept in a little, then met Mom Shiao for breakfast before doing some shopping in Old Towne. At around 2pm we jumped in the car and headed to Arlington Cemetery, Jefferson Memorial, the FDR memorial, and the MLK memorial.  As many times as I have been to DC, I have never seen the  TJ/FDR/MLK memorials, although I had been to Arlington Cemetery and seen the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, but even that had been a really long time ago. It was another wonderful day and I continue to be in awe of our Capitol.  

The Vietnam Memorial
Are all men created equal?
After our travels we returned to the hotel to freshen up before going to dinner. We let Lorie pick the place and surprised her with a little birthday celebration. On Sunday morning we were up early to hit the road. On the way back I DID NOT listen to my GPS and found my way home just fine, thank you.

It was another really fun weekend of laughter and a chance to unwind. We are all so fortunate that we are able to leave our troubles behind for a couple of days each year and spend some (drama free) time together. I love "my girls" and am so blessed to have them in my life!

MLK - So huge!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The King of Mulch

Mark Baker is the unrequited the KING OF MULCH; does that man ever love to mulch. A couple of weeks ago we had six yards delivered (imagine a pile that takes up a good chunk of the driveway in front of the garage), and he's been steadily chipping away at it ever since. Right now the pile is about half the size it was, and he's been on a mission to get it all spread. I help him once in a while, but he's mostly just focused on getting down to business every day after work and on the weekends while I'm engaged in other chores or running around.

He gets a great deal of satisfaction out of making our yard look beautiful, and it does look beautiful. It really relaxes him and it gives both he and I relief from stress just looking at the precisely sculpted edging, symmetrical patio and walkways, and (mostly) weed-free beds. I especially love the view from the upstairs porch - so serene!

And who could complain about loving yard work? He could get his thrill from worse things, after all!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Goodbye, Junior Year

Today is the last day of Annalisse's junior year. Next week are three days of finals, then DONE. Seriously, how did that happen?? STOP, TIME. I can't believe the-kids-in-school phase of our life is almost over. Looking ahead to a summer packed with travel and fun times all around (except for the having to work part) I expect the first day of her senior year, and Cam's second year at RIT will come all too fast.

But, let's just live for today. Here's to a fun last day to Annalisse and her pals!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Disappointment Hangover

Last week was not a great week in terms of feeling happy and upbeat as I was still feeling really disappointed with Cam's final performance at RIT this spring, as well as some household drama that went on all week...which I won't go into here out of respect for the parties involved. Let's just say my much desired state of peace and harmony took a beating last week and I'm hoping this week brings the (my) universe back into balance. If the pouring rain, dark skies and cold temps would also go away, that would be much appreciated. Are you listening, Universe? Peace, Harmony, and Sun (with a couple good grades thrown in). It doesn't seem like too much to ask, does it?