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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Getting to the "root" of the matter

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.

This is not a picture of my veggie
medley, but you get the idea.
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 to the mall for a couple of those sometime soon. To everything there is a season, and we are making the transition to fall. Summer, I will miss you and I'm sure the wait will seem endless until your warm days and nights return again! 

(Just for the record: Although I love spring and fall, I still think I could be happy with 80 degrees (+) and sun all year round. Just sayin'...)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

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 she is able to stick with, and be success at, the AP Bio class. A grade of 80 would be great, but we're just hope she passes after a pretty rocky start. This class is a "whole different ball of wax" for her, but I want her to stick with it (as does she), understanding that it's the closest thing she's had to an actual college class. 

I give Annalisse a lot of credit; she is really focused on managing her time wisely and meets her  demands - in and out of school. She had all her college applications done before her senior year started (except for the last two possible additions) since she knew she'd be be super busy come September. I told her once she pushed the button to "submit" her apps, we are going to have a celebration. Then it's just the anxiety of waiting for decisions...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Reflections on Twenty-Five

The Young Bride
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.

The Handsome Groom
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 it comes to love. Life, day in and day out, can do that to you.

Missing Dad Today
Remembering Charlie
Still, there is a lot to celebrate. We'll be marking our day in a low key way tonight when we go out for treats at the delicious, delectable, dessert destination Phillips European. We had hoped Cam could join us but he has to work and, as of last night, no one had offered to take his shift. Gone are the days when the family gathers to celebrate a couple's 25th, as it was when my parents and their contemporaries celebrated their Silver Anniversary. There was usually a party given by the kids, complete with a corsage for the bride, a fancy cake, and lots of silver-themed gifts. That's okay...a party like that is not really my style anyway. It's possible I may take Mark and Annalisse with me to Puerto Rico this January as a good excuse to celebrate our 25th!

Thanks to all for the warm wishes! We are so lucky to be surrounded by such wonderful friends and family who shared our day with us and have supported us throughout the years!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

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 the fair I stopped over to see my cousin Roseanne, who lives in town. We had a nice visit and it was great to see her and the kids since it had been a while. Unfortunately, our paths don't cross as often as they used to with us both living away from Massena. After visiting Ro I headed over to Maxfield's to meet my grad pals and actually stayed out until 11:30! I know!

On Saturday morning I headed to Clarkson University (saw no one) and then to St. Lawrence University (saw a couple of kids). Following the fairs I went to check into 24 East Main, the B&B where I was staying. What a great place! It's an old house which, during my sister's time at SUNY Canton, served as her sorority house. It's been totally renovated and updated. Really beautiful. I stayed in the "Tower Suite," which was basically the attic. It had a queen bed, a separate room with two twin beds, and a jacuzzi in the bathroom. OH YEAH. I took a nice hot bath and settled in for the night. No TV, just me in a comfy bed. Admittedly it was a little creepy because the ceilings weren't super high, but very nice nonetheless.

Before settling in for the night I took a ride over to SUNY Canton, where I spent my first two years of college. Great memories. In some ways it has not changed at all, and in others it's changed a lot. There have been "facelifts"and renovations at different locations, and some others are woefully in need of updating. I hadn't been on the campus in quite a long time so it was great to just take a walk around, especially after being cooped up for two days.

In all, I drove over 700 miles in four days. It always amazes me that there are still roads in New York State that I have not travelled, but there are. It makes the drive a little more interesting, anyway. In a nutshell, I am looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tonight!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

500 in 24

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 part of being an adult) that, when I was a kid, we went to the Seaway just about every summer evening to take Nonnie "for a ride" and I hated it at the time. Now I love the area and realize how lucky I was to grow up in such a beautiful place.

Hindsight, right?

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Late Summer Gift

Today was a gift of a day off that I had not expected.

It started at 8:30am with a planned staff meeting "on the porch," a yearly occurrence where my coworkers and I start the morning with a pot-luck breakfast and progress into either planning or a team building activity, or both. After eating a delicious breakfast, we headed out to the porch for our "meeting" on a warm late summer's day. It was so beautiful out! We were lulled into not wanting to go back to work...and I decided not to go. Encouraged by my great group, I stayed behind and spent a Friday at home alone with just me and my pup. We got a nap in, as well as a quick walk, and I write this from the front porch in late afternoon.

What a lovely gift they gave me!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Last First Day of School

Today is YET ANOTHER milestone: Annalisse first day of her senior year. You've heard me lament enough on the blog about how fast time passes, but seriously? The Last First Day of School? Unbelievable. She wouldn't even let me walk her to the bus this morning! ; )

The year promises to hold a lot of fun for her between her Downstage shows, the Senior Trip to Boston in November, various dances (I sure wish she would reuse dresses), and graduation-type milestones like the 100 days 'til graduation celebration breakfast and "Decision Day" (when all the kids wear t-shirts from the college they have chosen). In the next several weeks, though, we need to concentrate on getting through the ACT and SAT tests, which are a little worrisome - I'm not sure how that is all going to turn out. Luckily, most of the schools she's applying to, with the exception of her top choice, Allegheny, are "SAT optional" so we'll have to see how that all plays out.

So much to look forward to, but so bittersweet!