Monday, August 22, 2016

It's a New Year! Kinda...

The calendar starts in January and goes to December, right? If you are like me, you have several different calendars whirling around in your head besides the classic January to December one. For most of my life my main calendar begins in September. Even before Alexa, calendars in our house begin in September as we have been an academically based household since college. It's a good thing and it has it's drawbacks.

GOOD - we have off the same holidays our daughter has off.
BAD - it's much harder to take a holiday or vacation any time of the year that does not revolve around a school schedule. So taking a trip after everyone goes back to school - not so easy.

GOOD - 2+ month Summer Vacay!
BAD - my DH works year round...

So you see, it's good and it's not so good!

We did do a lot (for us) traveling this summer. It was our 40th wedding anniversary this summer - no clue how that happened! With a kid in college we've been trying to keep expenses down so that trip to Hawaii or Europe was nixed pretty early. We talked about going to Canada for a day...no offense, but we could do better than that, so we decided to go to a Yankee game (what else, duh!!) in CHICAGO!!!

Norm has been to Chicago several times but I have never been so we checked the schedule, found out they were playing the White Sox a week or so after our official wedding date and decided to make the trip. We had a great time and managed to sneak in a second game across town with the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Getting to and from the games was so easy. We took the El to both. Nice to know NYC subways don't have the corner on crowded subways!
I'm awful with names - getting worse as I get older...I keep wanting to call this Cominsky Field even though I know it's not. U.S. Cellular? How about where the White Sox play?! While we were waiting to get in I helped a cameraman from the YES Network do a color check on his camera. Didn't help get us any perks, but I saw that YES logo and had to help out!
We had the BEST hotdog at this park! Smothered with sautéed onions and a little sauerkraut, it was the best hotdog I've ever had at a ball park.

Funny story - a few posts back I talked about our trip to Toronto to see the Yankees and how my brother saw us on TV - completely taking us by surprise. In Chicago we had similar tickets and of course, I looked to see where the cameras were and thought, no - he can't see us, we're not in the line of camera - WRONG! I get a ping on my phone an it's my brother complaining I'm not wearing Yankee swag...! Of course I protest, texting back to him, and he comes back telling me what Norm is wearing along with the guy sitting on the other side of him!

Then I posted on Facebook, as I usually do, and I get question from a friend asking what the Cubs score is - I'm not at the Cubs game...but I find out they are in town also, making up a game or two that got postponed. I get on StubHub and find out the Cubs are in town and buy tickets for the game the night after next! This one I KNOW my brother won't see us at because we are in the rafters of Wrigley Field -- in the rain!
It poured! The game was held up for a good 40 minutes. We had to run through the downpour just to get into the park from the El and we couldn't see the iconic Wrigley Field sign that's behind home plate. We were about 12 rows from the top of the stadium - that was the good news because our seats were dry and we were protected by the overhang.
The game finally started but not before some idiot fell over the ivy covered outfield wall on to the warning track!
I walked around to the other side of the field and took this photo of the stands built on top of the buildings across the street from the ball park.
We did do other things than baseball while in Chicago. One of the funest things we just stumbled upon was a local Beatles tribute band called Kaleidoscope Eyes. They were at the base of the Hancock Tower and they played for about two hours. They were great! As you can see they were down in the lower level off the Michigan Ave entrance and we were up on the street level looking down. They were just fabulous and one of the surprise highlights of our trip. We went down and talked to them after their set to see if they were playing anywhere else while we were in town and unfortunately they were out of the city the rest of our visit. 

We did go up into the Hancock Tower and took some great photos of the city. During our visit we walked along the waterfront, pictured directly below this photo, along the beach front and over by the park section opposite. You can also see the Navy Pier jutting out and we spent some time there also.
 They have a 360 degree view and we walked all around.
 Our hotel is the center one in this photo below with the rounded side and patch of green on top.
 This is looking north along the lake.
I wanted to go to the Art Institute and it did not disappoint!
 VanGogh

 Norm taking a photo of the Seurat.
 Monet's waterlilies!
 Grant Wood's American Gothic
 Georgia O'Keefe
We also saw 'The Bean' and met a very nice woman who gave us directions commenting on how when she was new to Chicago someone did the same for her.
We also HIGHLY recommend the Architectural River Tour. This was great! You tour down the Chicago river and get an informative and fun guide to the history of Chicago and the wonderful buildings and architecture of the city. We had a beautiful day to be on the water and the views were amazing!






Our guide even took our picture!
Remember the photo of the shoreline looking across to the Navy Pier? This is from that park edge looking back over to the city.

I said we did a lot of traveling, but I guess we didn't do that much, it just feels like it. Alexa did two trips with friends, one to NYC and another to Toronto.

Our other big excitement was my boss's daughter's wedding. Congratulations to Kaitlyn and Dave!
 
Lastly, Miss Priss is back at school and living in her sorority house. We brought her back to Cornell last week and helped her set up her room. She's a sorority sister now so she'll be someone's 'Big' come spring semester. She went back early to help with freshman orientation. We're hoping she has as successful a year this year as she did last.
That's it for our summer. I'm looking forward to the fall. I/we have a few little trips planned for the fall and January so that will give me something to write about. I'm also looking forward to cooler weather. I HATE the heat!! (and sound like a broken record saying/writing about it!) I hope you enjoyed my summer travelogue and I'll see you in October!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Time Flies When You are Having Fun...or Not...

Yeah, I know, only 5 months since my last post! If it's any consolation I do post every week on my store's blog - it's my job...

ANYWAY...How you all doing? Me, meh...That's it for my SOMU - State of Mind Update. On to what's been happening.

1. Daughter back to school - Oops! coming home for summer in two weeks! That time flying again. Lex had a busy, stressful and hopefully successful spring semester. She joined a sorority, came home at Easter and had all four wisdom teeth pulled and has secured an internship for the summer! Busy girl, busy life! I'm happy and hopeful her internship provides her some insight into what she would like to focus on, or not, in her academic career.  It will also provide her with her first full time work experience. Welcome to the real world honey! Lastly, she's getting paid! Whoopee!!
Lex and her 'Big' along with the paddle Lex made for her.

2. Easter wasn't a fun time. I was sick but pulled it together to take a photo or two and go to brunch.


The next day Alexa had all four wisdom teeth pulled, poor baby!

3. Norm and I went to Toronto for a Yankee game and had Norm and Donna's wild ride!
The Good: Wahlburgers for dinner! Loved, loved, loved it! Great burger, better onion rings or straws if you will, sorry we don't have one here in Buffalo.
 The Bad: While we had great seats, the Yankees lost...


The Ugly: On the way home we had a flat tire on the QEW - not fun...my phone wouldn't call AAA, we had to walk about a mile, in the dark, along deserted service roads...to a Ramada Inn and the wonderful, kind, helpful, night manager called AAA Canada for us and they came, picked us up at the hotel, drove us back to the car, checked and changed our tire (we couldn't even get the lug nuts off!) and was just wonderful to us. Thank you Canada! We drove home at 55 MPH and arrived back in Buffalo at 2am. The kicker was we had just had the car inspected the DAY before!

4. I made a class for the store...no one signed up :(



I made birthday cards for family, hoped the recipients liked them...


And I'm done! That's all for now, hopefully I'll post before the next five months go by!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Cha, cha, cha, Changes!...

Out with the old and in with the new! Happy New Year everyone! I've decided to make some changes, starting with my blog! New Year, new format. Cleaner, simpler - hipper?!? Using hipper just dated me, not so new. 

Anyway, I'm taking the new format for a test spin and see how I like it. I created my blog over 10 years ago and frankly forgot how I did it! So I just jumped in and started changing templates and backgrounds and color. It's looking like simple is better. Hubby and I have decided to simplify around the house too. We're going to start cleaning out drawers, closets and the basement --- OMG! the basement! Can I fit a bulldozer down the basement steps? or better yet, transporter technology or a shrink machine! That's the ticket! I'll try and post on our progress. Nothing significant will probably happen until Lex goes back to school, but we've already started with a few things.

Speaking of changes, here is a big one. We had dinner the other night with a group of parents and girls from FCC - Families with Children from China, our Rochester chapter. We aren't active anymore as Alexa is in college and we live a good distance away for regular get-togethers but one of our moms had the great idea for some of the families with college aged girls to get together. We hadn't seen many of these folks for awhile and even though we keep in touch via Facebook. It was really great so see these old friends and to see how much our 'little' girls had grown. We had the grown-up table where we commiserated together about the commonalities of having college aged kids and we had a 'kids' table where all the girls sat together with phones in hand, sharing - whatever! Lex was a little hesitant at first to go as she hadn't kept in touch with many of the girls but by the end of the evening phone, email and address info had been exchanged with promises of getting together. 

On the parent's side, as a group we marveled at what an amazing group of young women were sitting across the way from us. I think we all had our own personal and unique reasons for adopting and for adopting from China specifically and to see our girls and how they have grown over the years was just the best. We have all been a part of each other's journeys and I know we can't wait to see where and what these amazing, beautiful, intelligent women become.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Merry Christmas Decorating to All!

Christmas is just a few days away and I'm shamelessly stealing an idea for this post from a friend of mine who blogs all the time. We can't really travel for the holidays and our families live a good distance away so borrowing this idea I thought I'd share some of my favorite Christmas decorations and share my house with whoever!

I have two trees because our family tree is personal. It's filled with ornaments we've collected over the last 40 plus years. Back then I didn't want a glass bulb and tinsel laden tree with no sentimental value, plus we lived in apartments for so many years that we didn't have the storage room for a lot of stuff. I made many of the ornaments, especially the Santa's and others were made by my mother and grandmother. Many more I picked up at craft shows and specialty shops. Here are a few of my favorites. 

In my previous crafty life I did counted cross stitch. Over the years I made over 20 of these Santa's on perforated paper. I have a good 18 more to do! I also have my mother's. Behind the first Santa is a beaded Santa. I also have a variety of over 20+ mini beaded ornaments I made.

Before my cross stitch period I did crewel embroidery. This is one of the very first ornaments I made. 

I love this guy! Soft sculpture and embroidery. 

Our first "kids"' Megan and Shane, our cabbage patch kids each got their own stocking. Behind the sticking is a bunny with a little blue velvet sailor suit and holding a toy sailboat. I got him at a craft show back in the 80's. 

Somewhere along the line, in the 80's, I saw this wooden ornament in a store but U couldn't afford it and reluctantly passed it up. A few days later I went back, I REALLY wanted that ornament, but it was gone. After I kicked myself a few times, every time I went to a Christmas store I looked for this ornament again. I'd given up finding it when I found it at a little store in New Jersey. 

My Grandmother made this one and three others I have of a similar style. So grateful to have these. 

First, in the upper left corner is a hand stitch felt ornament from Hungary. The bird in nest ornament I got at a wonderful Christmas shop in Binghamton. In the center is our ornament for our Julia. 

Another craft show find. A crafter made these little mice and each one had a little theme. I have a cross stitch one, one that's holding a tray a Christmas cookies and one who's carrying a chopped down Christmas tree. 

In the late 70's we lived on Long Island and there was. Cute gift/Christmas shop that had these German wooden ornaments. I have three. Each one has Mr. & Mrs. Claus in a different vehicle - a car,a plane and a truck with presents in it.

I've got lots more, but I have a few other things to share. Stockings! Growing up my brother and I had personalized felt and appliquéd stockings. They stayed with my parents so I made a cross stitch stocking for me and a felt appliquéd stocking for Norm. For Alexa's first Christmas one of my mother's best friends made a personalized stocking for her. 


I love this decoration for our dining room table. It's a Santa in a large, oversized coffee cup. It's sitting on a table runner either I made or my mother made. It's been so long I've forgot who!

I always liked nutcrackers so U have a 'little' collection going.

This year I have a cookie decorating elf loose! Alexa did all these!

Lastly, my parents crèche. I hope you enjoyed some of my Christmas treasures and I hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New a Year.