Saturday, September 28, 2013

Back on the Water

Kind of a silly shot
Today we went to the first of Cam's fall regattas in Welland, Ontario. It was a great site with actual seating and lots of lawn to hang out on for the many hours before and after his boat actually passed by.

Even though Cam is just 20ish minutes away we haven't seen him in two weeks. His schedule this fall is really busy between classes, work, and crew, and the weeks just seem to be flying by. He told me today he was sick all last week, which I sort of knew from stalking his Twitter account, but he had not told me at the time ("I knew you'd be worried"). I think the early hours for practice six days a week are probably something that is hard to manage, and he's getting a little run down. Of course, I'm walking that fine line between checking in occasionally and bugging him too much. I think I'm doing a pretty good job of not micromanaging him, not that he would let me anyway!

So, back to the race. We got to the regatta around 11am, and his boat was set to launch at 12:50, so we had plenty of time. We found the RIT tent and hung out there and chatted with him and the other parents. The rowers headed down to launch around noon, and finally made their appearance back down near the viewing area about 1:20. In the fall, the races are "timed," meaning they are not head to head like they are in the spring, which makes the spring regattas more interesting and fun to view. And the weather could not have been more perfect. I've been to regattas in the worst of conditions and this day was an absolute gift!!

When the guys returned to the tent after the race, we hung around a little more for the results (fourth out of four boats [aka "last place"] - oh well, better luck next time!), then hit the road for home, arriving back in Fairport by 4:30.

Not a bad little day trip.

The video is of the boat heading back to the dock after the race.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Friday, Part I

Welcome to Thursday! We're almost to the weekend!

There's a lot of fun stuff coming up. Mark and I still have to go out for our anniversary dinner since our original intention to have a fancy dinner out last Saturday was squashed by my desire to stay in sweatpants and not put my contacts back in after my nap. After all, it was a rainy, cold day and who wanted to go out in that? So, maybe Friday night we'll head out to Label 7 or Lento, two of my faves. I'll probably have to decide by this afternoon so we can make reservations. Either one is delicious.

Then, on Saturday we are once again on the regatta circuit with Cam's first race of the year, The Head of the Welland just outside of Niagara Falls, Canada (I think). It will take about 2 1/2 hours to get there so, we'll head out at the reasonable hour of 8am to get there around 10:30. He doesn't actually race until around 1pm, so we'll watch the races then we'll most likely head back home around 3pm. It should make for a nice day since the weather is supposed to be sunny and 75 degrees. We certainly lucked out (this time); fall regattas are notorious for terrible weather.

Next week holds some fun stuff, too, like my annual Libra dinner with long time friends JoAnn and Meg, then, next Friday, heading to Mercyhurst to pick up Annalisse to see the Long Island Medium, Theresa Caputo, in Rochester on October 4 (Nicole's big day!). [I'm really looking forward to seeing her!] The next day we will turn around and head back to Erie for parent's weekend, which will also be Annalisse's birthday. The rest of the month will find us booked every weekend through Veteran's Day. Whew!

No wonder I love October so much. So much going on!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Sign of the Libra

It's here! Another cycle of Libra. This one, of course, being a big one for me for reasons previously mentioned. Just a reminder there are three Libras in our house, so...

Get ready to rule and be ruled!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Transition to Fall

Today we took a ride to the Windmill in Penn Yan, which marks the unofficial start of fall for us. Looking ahead to the next month there was only one weekend we could go, as the rest of the weekends through early November are already booked. (I know! it's crazy!). It was a day that promised steady rain, but it held off while we walked through the crafts, farm stands, and baked goods. I treated myself to a sack of mini powdered donuts that is my once-a-year indulgence. SOOO Goooood!! We also bough three beautiful mum plants for the front porch. It's starting to look really fall-y 'round here.

Ever since my girl's weekend in Hershey, PA and our trip to Lancaster, PA (during which I could not find the Amish), I've been obsessed with finding a Pennsylvania Dutch hex sign for the house. I could easily order one online but I really wanted to be able to see it "in person" and make sure it is of good quality and the colors compliment the new house color. 

I was really hoping to find one at the Windmill today, but alas, my search was in vain. No hex signs. As a back up I did find an artist in downtown Rochester who makes custom signs. That will be our next stop. I expect they will be more expensive, but I don't mind paying a little more if it's of good quality and will look nice on the house. 

On a side note, there are just two more days until we enter the sign of LIBRA. Get ready!!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Year 26

Here it is: the Annual Anniversary (is that redundant?) Post!

Today marks 26 years for Mark and I. Wow, time has passed so quickly. Today was certainly a much more beautiful day weather-wise than September 19, 1987. In fact, it was a shame that we had to work on such a nice day that happens to be our wedding anniversary.

This is certainly a weird year. Looks like we're right back where we started with "no kids," and it's interesting to think of ourselves back then and the people we are today. I would say we are "much changed," in some good ways and in some not so desirable ways. Still, we carry on.

What celebrations are in store? Not sure. We might go out to dinner tonight in the Village or something, and maybe have a more special celebration dinner this weekend. I'm just home from work, the dog is walked, some chores are done, and now we'll probably head out for a bite. Sounds very exciting, doesn't it?!

Hurray for us! Twenty-six years.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Looonnnngggg Week

What a long week this has been.

It started on Monday morning with Mark's aunt Cece's memorial service and burial (she had passed away the previous Thursday from a relatively short battle with cancer), after which I hit the road for the North Country grad fairs at St. Lawrence University, SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Plattsburgh.

I got to Potsdam on Monday evening and was already feeling exhausted. A bright spot was that my pal, Heather, also happened to be in the 'Dam that night so we went out for dessert. By 8:30pm I was yawning up a storm, so I went back to the hotel and fell asleep by 9:30.

At 5:30am I received the text from my cousin that Auntie had fallen and it was pretty serious. That day was spent in uncertainty about my next steps: should I go to Massena after the Potsdam fair to see Auntie? Should I wait until the morning and see her on my way to Plattsburgh? Fate intervened and took Auntie that afternoon, so I decided to wait until the morning after which I would continue onto the Plattsburgh fair (on Wednesday night), then head home on Thursday. Then the plan was to get up early on Friday morning to head back up north.

The ride home on Thursday through the Adirondack Park was quite nice and relaxing, although a long trip (six hours door-to-door). Again, I will say how lucky we are to live so close to such a treasure. The leaves, though, had not yet started changing.

The news of the week kept piling up as we found out one of my girl's weekend best friend's (Lorie) mom passed away on Thursday, and then a good friend's mom passed away this morning. With Cece and Auntie that's four moms lost in one week. Not good.

So, for those of you keeping track at home: I've traveled approx. 1,200 miles since Monday. Boy, am I exhausted, both physically and emotionally. It really hit me last night after Auntie's calling hours that I needed to have quiet time - I was maxed out on people. Judy the introvert took over. It was a relief to get home knowing I could chill out with Jasper watching Saturday night TV (Lark Rise to Candleford on PBS) and have some down time Sunday, too.

So here you shall find my "cave," heater blasting, pup at my feet. Bliss!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Saying Goodbye to Auntie

On Tuesday we lost our beloved Auntie.

Aunt Carol Morin was the sister between my dad and Uncle Joe. Always everyone's favorite "Auntie," even to those who were not related to her.

Auntie had been in declining health for several years, and spent the last couple of months in the nursing home as her health issues had become more than her two girls, my cousins Jeannie and Ro, could handle. To be truthful, though, Auntie died a little bit every day since July 9, 1995, when her wonderful husband, Uncle Duff, passed away. She was never the same after.

You could always count on Auntie's wonderful hospitality, and her house was always open for a visit ("Mark, I think there's a beer in the fridge."). A memory that stands out: growing up, we always received underwear from Auntie for Christmas and in later years when we no longer exchanged gifts and I had to buy my own underwear, I actually had no idea what to buy! That's one funny thing I always think about with Auntie.

Growing up we were a very close Italian family. I think I've mentioned here before how we had a large web of cousins, and it was always hard in that small town to get away with anything without someone finding you out and reporting back to Nonnie or Dad or Auntie or Uncle Joe. It was a great motivator to avoid trouble, at least it worked for me! It didn't hurt that my Uncle was a village cop. Auntie was always very close to her mother and her brothers. I remember  that several years after Nonnie had passed away we were talking about watching "old family movies" and Auntie remarked that she did not want to do that - it would be too painful for her. It must have been difficult for her in these last years to lose so many loved ones.

Auntie is now in Heaven, reunited with all those who went before. She will be missed, but is finally out of pain, so that is a comfort to all.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

September 5

September 5 is a day that stands out in my mind.

I'll always recall the date because it's my brother-in-law Bill's birthday, and now our friend Chris Berg's birthday, but I clearly remember the afternoon of September 5th, 22 years ago now, in 1991.

I had just finished my bachelor's degree that spring and had just gotten a promotion at work. I had an official/professional picture taken at the College and had gone to a reception for something or other. When I returned to the office, around 3pm, my coworker said that my cousin, Jeannie, had been trying to reach me (of course, this is before cell phones). The news that my mother had possibly suffered a heart attack and that I should come as soon as I could. PANIC! As the hour wore on the updates became that she was flown by helicopter to Burlington, VT for a possible aneurysm, and had been resuscitated several times. At this time Mark and I had just one car (and no kids) so I had to pick him up at work (and wait for him to wrap things up - more panic setting in), then we had to go home, pack, grab a bite to eat and finally hit the road around 7pm.

We stopped and picked up my sister, Mary, in Watertown before finally reaching Burlington around 2am, where my sister, Carol, and Dad were waiting. We were able to see Mom, although she was quite out of it (but awake) and the medical drama that unfolded in the weeks to come included several brain surgeries, a couple of close calls including a bout of pneumonia, and weeks of rehab. During this time we were all back and forth from Burlington until Mom was released to go home the first part of December. Ironically, my father was too sick with a cold to go get her, more worry!

My mother made remarkable progress after her aneurysm and her physical and mental comeback was miraculous after all she had been through. It was amazing to me that my dad would go "first" in 2003 considering all she had been through. She is such a tough old bird! The silver linking in all this: it was wonderful to spend time in Vermont and it's one of my favorite places on Earth. I would love to live there (except for the cold weather).

Mom's health hasn't been great these last four or so years, but she was definitely blessed with many bonus years after her very close call, and September 5 is a date forever burnt into my memory as a I remember the scary uncertainty of that day, and the amazing recovery that happened afterward.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Thoughts on the Empty Nest

Wow, how many times have I been asked (or have I asked) about our imminent "empty nest" status in the last two years?
~When Cam went to college it was: In two years you'll be empty nesters!
~Recently, it's been: How will you like having an empty nest?
~And, as of yesterday, it became: Now you're an empty nester! What will you do with all your free time?
I have to admit, it's certainly going to be weird from now on. With the kids gone most of the summer for the last several years, I'm probably a little more experienced with the empty nest than some of our friends. I think I'll just keep pretending they are at camp. After all, Cam is just 20 minutes away and we had dinner with him last night, and I'll be seeing Annalisse again the weekend of October 4.

My friend posted this really great article on Facebook that I thought resonated so well about this period of our lives. It certainly feels like one great big page has turned and that, although they'll float back in and out of our lives, they'll never really be back "for good." This, I believe, is heartbreaking but at the same time exactly how it is supposed to be.

The Freshman

Yesterday, in spite of all the nervousness and anxiety, we made the 2 hour, 45 minute drive to Erie, PA to drop Annalisse off at Mercyhurst. I cannot believe we got all her stuff in the car. Really unbelievable.

Move in was very smooth as guys from the wrestling team helped load up a bin and bring her stuff into the beautiful Warde Hall, which just opened a couple of years ago. Annalisse had only "met" her roommate Sarah, a dance major Ohio, electronically since they connected on Facebook and had been exchanging texts and Twitter messages for a couple of months. Sarah moved into the room on Tuesday as she had to be there early for dance. 

Warde Hall features spacious double rooms with a bathroom in each, air conditioning, a fitness center, common areas on each floor, a movie screening room and a little convenience store on the first floor. Annalisse took a lot of factors into consideration when deciding where to live and chose Warde mostly because of her stomach issues. Exercise helps with that and she thought it might be a good idea be able to use the fitness center if she couldn't get out for a run. Also, she liked the convenience store in case she wanted to get a snack. Well, that was her story anyway. I think she just liked it because so sparkly new and fancy.
This is probably what her room should
have looked like. ~Thanks to Ken E. for 
sending this along!
After arranging the room and putting everything away (I will admit I'm not much of a decorator so I bet there are tons of more cleverly decorated rooms), we trekked off campus to the mall to get her a small TV. Then, it was back to campus to put the finishing touches on her room and get her TV set up. We also went to the bookstore (or, gift shop, as she calls it) to get her books for the semester. Of course, they were as astronomically expensive as you would imagine.

We said our goodbyes around 4:15pm (in case you're wondering: there were no tears on my part as I quickly slipped away and tried not to make a big fuss, but I'm not sure about her). I was super excited about her being there and all the great stuff they had planned for orientation, as well as knowing that she'd be meeting a ton of new friends. It's all good!!

After we left, the kids were to gather as a floor to head to the dining hall around 4:30, then there are non-stop activities planned until Wednesday when classes start. On our way back to Rochester we picked up Cam and had a great dinner with him. He was in a really good mood and talking a lot. 

As parents, we can't ask for much more than happy kids, can we? Now, if you'll excuse me there is a dog who is demanding my attention, and shall now have 100% of it!