Showing posts from December, 2012

Goodbye 2012: The Year of Music and Travel

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

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?

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

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…


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

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

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

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

Annalisse excitedly texted me this morning to let me know she had been chosen for the Senior Superlative "Class Clown." 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…