Friday, August 31, 2007

My Bad, My Bad...

I was wondering why I had no comments! My blogging mentor, Tracy was kind enough to e-mail me to let me know something was screwy with my settings and she couldn't comment. So I checked a few things and I think I've got it right now.

Comment away!!!!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Staples has it right...

After our July travels things have been kinda busy. Preparing for the "most wonderful time of the year" has me in a tizzy. Alexa's supply list is pages long, one piece swimsuits are in short supply and it appears private violin lessons will be added to the after school activities.

Mill Middle School

Today is the 5th grade picnic and parents aren't invited, works for me! I do have to pick up her "supply pack" that I ordered to help take the pressure off and prevent a potential meltdown over buying school supplies. This huge package with over 45 items comes in at $74, not including the additional $6 for her Mill Agendamate - a requirement for every Mill student. This is just the tip of the iceberg! Each subject area ALSO has a list - thankfully much smaller, but still more supplies to get!

Remember when we just used to worry about spiral vs. three ring binders? Our school supply shopping happened AFTER the first day when our teachers told us which type of binder was acceptable and whether we were allowed to use pen in their class vs. kiddie school pencils? Gym, now called PE - required uniforms. Those lovely, one piece, slightly bloomish in the leg fashion no-no's that our mom's had to embroider our names on the pockets. My mom embroidered my name in script! I was mortified. What happened to simple block printing like everyone else!

Middle school at McKenna Jr. High School in Massapequa was pure hell! I hated and dreaded almost every minute of it. Mind you, our jr. high was 7th and 8th grade. I was about as dorky as you could get. My hair was always limp because I walked about 10-15 blocks to get there or I rode my bike (couldn't get much dorkier than that!) My stylish bookbag was one like lawyers carry - easier to fit into my bike's twin baskets (over the back tire). For the first year, I could walk with Dolores Devine to school. Dolores was a year ahead of me, but after that first year she went on to Berner Sr. High School and I was on my own.

McKenna Jr. High School, now McKenna Elementary School!

The only thing that made coping with my geek existence bearable was the black and red checked lumber jacket (as we called them) that my parents gave me for my birthday. I can't begin to tell you how important that jacket/wool shirt was to me. It made me a little less geeky, a little more able to blend in with crowd. It was the one piece of "cool" trendy clothing I had. I had that shirt for over 15 years. It was my secuity blanket and my favorite piece of comfort clothes for many, many years. I think it finally when to teen fashion heaven when I wore the elbows out beyond reason or repair and my husband finally put his foot down and said it had to go!

Don't let me mislead you that nothing redeeming happened in jr. high. One very, very, good thing happened during my 2nd year. I met Barbara, Sandy, Sandy, Janet and the gang that would become my best friends and anchors in high school. Oh, and I think I may have learned a thing or two, maybe...

Addendum: After spending the last two days getting the other thousand or so things that are required and not in the supply box, and dealing with my know-it-all diva, I'm ready to buy Alexa one more thing...a one way ticket back to China! ARRGGGHH!!!!!

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Norman and I have been very lucky to be a part of a wonderful organization, Families with Children from China, or FCC. Before we even traveled to China nine years ago, we met a group of couples who were all in various stages of adopting a child from China. We met Sharon and George Abbott who ended up traveling to China with us in the same travel group. Their daughter, Anna Jen, comes from the same orphanage Alexa does. We met many more wonderful couples who we have become friends with over the years and we have all watched our children grow together.

I feel very comfortable with these people. While we come from all different backgrounds, many of us made the decision to adopt from China for very similar reasons. We started together as a support group for couples going through the rigorous process of adopting a child from China and we eventually developed a Chinese Culture Class that our little ones attended on Saturday mornings. Our kids would do activities every week. Learning language, coloring, doing crafts, singing in Chinese, dancing and sharing all the fun things kids do together. We feel it helped our kids to know other children and families just like their own. The parents would sit in another classroom, drink coffee and compare notes. From these casual meetings Chinese Culture Camp was born and Norm and I were happy to have given them the idea of looking at Keuka College as a location for our yearly gathering.

This year's camp was last weekend. To be honest, Norman and I enjoy these weekends more than we think Alexa does sometimes. It gives us a chance to connect with people our age who have elementary aged kids and now middle school kids. Most of our old friends have kids in college and a few are grandparents!

Usually when we walk into Harrington we are met by Judy and Warren Robertson and Jim Hendrikson. All are on the organizing committee for the event. This year Judy was at the desk, Jim was standing nearby and we figured Warren was somewhere else on campus running the million and one errands that need to be done. Judy mentioned how she was a little frazzled as their family had just come back from China a week or so earlier - a visit to show their daughter Ciana where she came from.

During the course of the weekend it never occurred to me that I didn't see Warren. Our organizing committee does such a great job and they are all over the place pulling the event together. I estimated we had close to 50 families and maybe 75 children attend this year. At the end of the weekend we left and the last person I waved goodbye to was Judy as she stood outside of Harrington.

Late Sunday, early Monday morning all our families received the e-mail you never want to get. Warren had passed away sometime during the weekend. Last night Norm and I drove over to Rochester to see Judy and Ciana at the calling hours. The line at the funeral home was out the door and remained that way for the entire two hours. Warren was a health care professional. He had a degree in Nursing and he and Judy were members of the Pennfield Emergency Ambulance Corp.

Many of our FCC families were there. Members of the local and several state representatives of the EMT first responder community were there, neighbors, friends, family, colleagues - all there to support Judy and Ciana.

Warren was just 48 years old. Some of our daughters realized that their parents were the same age or even a little older. It was a very sobering event for all of us. Warren was a wonderful man, he had a quick smile, a gentle and patient manner and was a wonderful husband, father and friend. He will be greatly missed by us all and he will be remembered for many, many years.

God Bless you Warren. May you and God look over Judy, Ciana and the rest of your FCC family from above.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Dr. and Mrs. Christopher Parmeter

Meet the happy couple! Sandy and Christopher got married on July 20, at the Sayville Country Club. We were thrilled to be invited and included in the festivities.

Back Story: When Norman and I moved to Keuka Park from Kentucky about 14 years ago, my second job at Keuka College was in the Office of Experiental Education. One of my bosses was a single, hard working mom named Sally Berch. Sally was a Keuka alum, having gotten her degree while working full time for the college. Sally had a son, Christopher. Christoher was a tall gangly boy just finishing middle school and starting high school. Chris's father was not a factor in his life and Sally was raising her son essentially by herself. She has a great mom and dad and two brothers, but the day to day, 24/7 responsibility for Chris was her's alone.

I had met Christopher briefly, a few times when he came into the office to visit his mom. Usually he had a basketball in one hand and something to eat in the other. Rarely did he say more than "Is my mom here?"One day, Sally had a meeting that was going to go late into the day, early evening and was having difficulty arranging transportation home from basketball practice for Chris. I volunteered to go pick him up. Chris and I had said maybe two words to each other before this. I drove downtown at the appointed hour, Chris came out of the gym, got into the car and we headed home. Now, I'm not known for my sterling conversational skills to begin with but I thought I'd give it a shot. I asked Chris how practiced went and he said, "OK". I think that was the extent of our entire conversation!

Over the years we went to Chris's basketball games, helped with transportation, Norm gave him advice about colleges, I helped when he got his ear pierced (another story, another time). We helped when he moved to college at Nazareth and again provided transportation back and forth from Rochester to Keuka and generally provided what support we could to Chris and Sally as Chris grew more independent and started on his academic career.

Sally became my best friend at Keuka. She supported us in more ways than I can count when we adopted Alexa. She house sat for us and Kasey when we went to China, babysat Alexa for several days when we had business that took us out of town and I tried to the same for her where I could. We became partners at work when it was just the two of us in the office running the entire show. We traveled together for employment conferences, collegiate meetings and whatever else needed to be done. We basically had each other's back. To this day I think of her like a sister. Several years ago Sally married a wonderful man, Jeff Daggett who is her complement in every way. Seeing her happy with Jeff after all the years she was alone is wonderful. They are a wonderful couple and good, good friends.

Chris continued his education at Binghamton University and got a TA-ship in the Economics department. While teaching one of his first courses he spied a lovely young woman and began to plot ways to meet her outside of the classroom. Now, you know, it would be a major no-no for Chris to date one of his students, so for the record, they didn't REALLY begin to see each other until after exams were over. That's mine and their story and since I don't really know any better, I'm sticking to it! To top it all off, Sandy is from Long Island! Karma if you ask me!

Chris plotted and planned and after over three years together, Chris getting his doctorate and a job at Virginia Tech, and Sandy graduating with her degree; Chris asked Sandy to marry him, in Paris, not Texas, FRANCE! as the Eiffel Tower lit up in the backround - true story!

So nothing could make Norman and I prouder and happier to see how both Chris with Sandy and Sally with Jeff have found their mates for life. We were honored to be able to share in their combined happiness.

Here are some more photos from the wedding

Sandy with her dad, Bob Ahearn and below, Sally and Chris

At the end of their first dance togther. I love this one!

Congratulations, have a long and happy life together - Chris and Sandy Parmeter!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

First things first...

I looked at the list I posted yesterday and realized there were a lot of missing items. Like, Harry Potter! I couldn't stand not knowing what happened in the last book. Sunday morning, right after breakfast I went out and bought the 'Deathly Hallows'. I had just finished the 'Half Blood Prince' about a week before and was so surprised by the events at the end of the book and so afraid someone would spoil the ending of 'Deathly Hallows' before I got to read it.

The series ended along the lines I thought it would and I'm looking forward to J.K. Rowling writing an encyclopedia of Harry Potter. She said in some of her interviews that she was seriously considering a reference work for the series and it would be great to go back and read all the books with a reference book.

I still haven't seen 'The Order of the Phoenix' but I'm hoping to this week. Getting Alexa and her lists of supplies for school will be the order of the week for the next two weeks or so.

Sandy and Chris' wedding tomorrow!

Monday, August 6, 2007

I'm Baccckkkk!!

I know it's been awhile since I blogged but it's been a busy few weeks. I'm still trying to get my pictures in order and everything else done. Here's a short preview of post or posts to come...

1. Wedding Bells!
2. On the High Seas!
3. Visits with Family!
4. Chinese Culture Camp!
5. Historic Points of Interest (to me at least)
6. Menopause the Musical - Who are they kidding?!

In no particular order, I will get to them all!

P.S. - Hi! Tracy ;-)