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 I 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 a 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 I 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.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Where in the World?!?

Are you coming from and why are you viewing me? Egypt, Thailand, Elbergen, Germany, Brazil, Jaya, Selangor - I don't even know what continent that is!

That's my question for today. I get curious as to who is reading my blog. It's not like I'm a celebrity, even in my own little world, but as I look at the Feedjit Live Traffic Feed and Map widget on my blog I'm seeing places I have no clue about or why people from these distant countries would be reading my blog. When I began my blog I added this widget so I could see who might be looking at what I write (I'm vain that way :-) and because I needed to fill up some space and not look like the amateur I was, am.

When I first started, like a lot of moms, I posted mainly about my daughter and about the dull, but sometimes amusing things that happened to me, casual observances, travel, yada, yada, yada. If I posted once a month that was huge and as the years wore on I posted less. 

I'd mentioned to friends that if you wanted to know what was going on in my life, read my blog. Thus the Feedjit strip that goes down the side of my page that shows who's been visiting my blog and when. At first, I knew most of the locations because friends were the ones reading my posts. Then I'd keep seeing my own location because I was reading my posts to see who else was reading my posts (no one!) 

Lately, there has been an unusual trend in who is stopping by my blog and where they are from. I'm seeing flags and countries I have heard of but know no one there and flags from countries I've never heard of! So my question is, "Who are you out there and what is so interesting about a housewife from upstate NY?" This means YOU Las Palmas, Canarias!!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Two Months In...

Finally Fall! Yeah! Lex has been away at school for two months now and somehow we've visited or seen her way more than I thought we would. We just came back from Parent's Weekend and since we've live the college life for the most part, we just did what Lex wanted to do - shop! We did 'make her' give us a small tour of where her classes are held especially her business classes that she will be more involved in next semester and in the future. 

Of course, I have a picture of the building she has Entomology in - bugs! which has nothing to do with her major! Basically I liked the ivy turning colors. We did take the obligatory clock tower photos, too. 

We got a late start on Friday and we had dinner reservations for 5:00. As we got closer to campus we texted Lex to let her know where we were and to BE READY but also that we needed to change clothes as we just wore jeans and sneaks and thought we needed to spiff up a little. Lex comes back with this...

LEX: OK can u guys change in the bathrooms downstairs? Bc there r a bunch of people in my room working on Halloween costumes.

US: Sure, we're just your parents, nobody important, paying for your college education, just drove 3 hours...in the bathroom?!

Guess where we got dressed...

Here is a picture of Alexa and her friend Taylor in their costumes...

It's still all about the shoes! Thank goodness we got this photo AFTER Halloween night and saw her bright and early, well not that early the next morning!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

What goes around, comes around...

It's been a week now that Alexa has been officially a student at Cornell. Technically we are empty nesters but with my MIL living with us it doesn't feel like that. We just eliminated the teenage element. The move went pretty smoothly. Cornell has it's act together when it comes to moving in. We had to display a loading permit in our windshield that showed the date, time, and dorm we were moving into to just get into the lot. They had lots of staff and students in red shirts directing traffic, handing out hand cart tickets, calling out directions with a loudspeaker, checking the rooms offering help, even maintenance was there to collect boxes to be thrown out. Here is a little pictorial.

Donlon Hall. The kids in the red shirts under the overhang were responsible for directing people into the dorm and matching up families with students who had hand carts and were loading up possessions (like the gentlemen in the forefront) to take up to rooms.

As soon as you got permission to enter the unloading circle right in front of the dorm you were directed to where to park and instructed to quickly unload your car, place your belonging on the sidewalk or grass behind the barriers and then to move your car! No dilly dallying around here! They also gave you a ticket - for a handcart to help move your stuff inside, which was good as Alexa is on the fourth floor and yes, they have elevators, thank you! They were on number 360 when we got there and our number was 415...

Norm was directed to a lot or more appropriately a grassy area about a mile away from the dorm to park the car. He started to walk back but luckily they had shuttle buses and was able to catch a ride. The parking lots were like Disney World, license plates from every state you can image.

These shots are from the week before, when we got to bring 1/2 her stuff early. Thank you Sharon for the hand cart! As you can see we moved furniture! placing her bureau under her bed. We had to buy a step ladder because she couldn't get onto the bed it was so high!

Here are some of the 'afters'. AFTER we had everything brought in, after we put together her lamp and cubbies, after her roommate moved in, but BEFORE she had a chance to clean up/put away anything.

I could not resist this one, sorry sweetie! It was all about the duvet and duvet cover! Lex got the duvet in the cover but the cover is larger than the duvet and was not laying flat so Lex 'dived' into the duvet, inside the cover to straighten it out.

I still have a list of things to return, exchange and finish for her. The bulletin board in the first picture above needs to be hung. Got to send her the fixings for that. No extension cords but she can have power surge protectors with longer chords. A new mattress cover because the one we had had a broken zipper, more Command hooks. The list goes on and on. Also, I have to finish an art project or two, or three for her.

Lex sent away for these wooden monograms for herself and her roommate, Katie. I got one-two coats of paint on them but they need more, a little sanding and maybe a coat of poly. (Lex's is the pink one and yes, I know, it's backwards. I painted both sides).

The campus is beautiful and HUGE! After we moved her in we had booked a hotel room the closest I could get - Skaneateles, and we had about an hour drive to get there! It was a very nice drive but we had to find a laundromat because we had to do Alexa's laundry from the week before! I know, we shouldn't have but lets call it our parting gift. So this is how we spent our Friday night, doing laundry in Auburn...

Back to campus. We arrived the next day after doing her laundry, picking up fruit, granola bars, milk and the step ladder I mentioned. Dumped it all in her room and left! Lex was heading to lunch, she had orientation meetings after so we were pretty much done! Norm and I decided to walk from North Campus to Central Campus and go to the bookstore. We needed some Cornell swag... and took in the sights along the way. 
 Looking from where the tower (below) was down the large quad hill to where my BFF Barbara lived when she was a student. You can see Lake Cayuga in the upper right corner.
 The bell tower. They were having tours but after finding out I'd have to walk all the way up, I decided I need to at least her junior year before I had the stamina to do so.
 Ithaca is Gorges! This is from the one of the bridges that crosses over to the central campus, just beautiful! Below is a reprint from an old magazine about the same spot, Triphammer Falls.

Lastly, what goes around comes around. If you are friends with me on Facebook you saw this picture recently. The duck on the left comes from the hotel we stayed in in San Francisco on our way to China. The duck on the right came from the Cornell Bookstore. What a trip!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

She's Moving on Out!

Not permanently, but it's beginning to look like it!

Alexa has been getting ready for college by staying up really late, sleeping in really late and shopping a really lot!

UPS has been making daily deliveries as so much of the college list is only obtainable on-line, for Alexa that is...Yes, I know, there are real brick and mortar stores that carry bedding, linen, printers, clothing, etc. but none that are acceptable for our Miss Priss. It's also of the utmost importance that her color scheme coordinates with her roommates colors... Then there is the storage. Even I'll acknowledge that dorm room are woefully short on storage, but seriously, how much does she think she'll be able to squeeze into this room!

Lex's roommate, Katie, is a Long Island girl, yeah! They seem to be getting on very well, on-line so far, and I do have a sincere wish that they hit it off and are compatible and comfortable living together. I have been of very little help to her on that front. I had a terrible time with roommates. Over three years of my college rooming experience I had 5 roommates, all of which I had no choice in selecting. My best roommate was someone I would have gladly roomed with again, but she had decided to move off campus with other friends for the next year before we were matched up.

My first roommate was very shy, very studious, a huge early bird both getting up and going to bed and totally freaked by my having a boyfriend (my future husband). My second roommate had her own boyfriend - at a different college, she was a year behind me and had no interest in being friends. Her boyfriend transferred to our school for the next semester, she moved out and I don't think I ever saw her again! My third roommate was a slob - now I don't say that lightly because I am not neat by any stretch of the imagination, but this girl was way over the top! Academically, she didn't do so well and dropped out before the end of the semester.

Huntress Hall (don't you love the name!)
We even had a live in ghost, Harriet Huntress whose wheelchair could be heard rolling around in the attic on occasion 

I was then 'asked' to move up to the third floor and move in with Melissa. The girls on the third floor of my dorm had a certain wild, party-girl reputation and I was a bit nervous to move upstairs. However, Melissa was great, we got along fabulously which surprised us both. I'm sorry we couldn't have roomed together the following year. My third year I was matched in a large double with a girl who was basically nice and we did get along but she was never there on weekends, she smoked, was several years out of the traditional high school direct to college time line and I think was seeing a married man on her weekends. Just the impression I got from her very cryptic answers whenever I asked about her weekends and where she went.

Senior year I requested a single. I was done. It worked out great as I had student teaching my first semester (what a nightmare that was!), I was engaged and I was obviously not roommate material. Here's hoping my outgoing, friend-heavy daughter has much, much better luck than I do!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Seventeen years ago, on this date, we were in China. We had had Alexa for a total of 4 days as of June 28, 1998. Look where she is now. Alexa ranked 7th in her class, graduated with honors and is  attending Cornell University in the fall. 

They awarded the class officers their diplomas first then they honored the top ten students in the class by awarding them their diplomas and having them stand together as a group. I don't dwell a lot on what Alexa's birth parents went through in deciding to give her up, nor have I thought a lot about them over the years, but Sunday I wish they could have seen her and known how she has thrived and how much she has accomplished since they entrusted her to our care. I'd like them to know how much we cherish this precious gift they gave us.

Lex and Laryssa

She spared us just a moment for a picture or two

With some of her friends

 Again, with proud Mom and Dad
On to the next chapter...

Friday, January 16, 2015

Buffalo Solid....

I enjoy sports, watching sports that is, I'll never be an enthusiastic participant. From my early days when every school coach took one look at me and thought they had a new player for their basketball team - until I touch the ball...till today when my husband still insists I throw like a girl, well DUH! I like watching sports - I'm a veteran of everything from the PGA, PBA, MLB and NFL. I also enjoy NASCAR, an occasional tennis match, the Wesminster Kennel Club Dog Show and curling when I can find it (I still need someone to explain the rules to me though).

Buffalo is a very sports savvy town. Being a New Yorker, all be it a downstate NYer, who grew up on the Jets, Giants, Mets and Yankees (who never really considered Buffalo part of my NY, yes I'm a snob, I know it). I have been know to switch alliances over the years. I grew up a Met and Jet fan. Oh, the days of the Miracle Mets! I even conned my mother into turning over her World Series ticket to me so I could take my brother to a game during the 1969 series via the Long Island Rail Road. That is a story for another day. Baseball today, I've been turned to dark side as I say - I'm now a dyed in the pinstripes New York Yankee fan (blame my husband).

Anyway, I was also a Jet fan thanks to my friend Barbara who LOVED Joe Namath when we were in high school. My football allegiance lasted until shortly after college. I went to school in New Hampshire and we lived in Boston the first two and a half years we were married. From then till now my football heart belongs to the New England Patriots (a dangerous team to support these days especially in this town!) I'm not a Bills fan and I never will be. That doesn't mean I dislike the Bills, they are kinda endearing in a hapless sort of way. But the one thing I will say about Buffalo is that they LOVE their pro teams. Everyone loves the Bills and the Sabres (hockey). What I especially find admirable is that this love is not just from the guys out there it's from the women of Buffalo also. I don't know about other football towns but how many morning drive djs made up of a man and a woman combo both get genuinely excited about a new football coach coming to town, or a veteran hockey player getting his number retired.

My daughter listens to Kiss 98.5 here in Buffalo and now that she is driving my car radio is set to this station more often than not. The other day the morning jocks were all gaga over Rex Ryan becoming the new Bills coach. They did a remix of a song, plugging in Ryan and his comments from his first press conference. The woman especially knew about his history, the Bills history, what they need, what they were good at, what they were bad at and how Ryan could make the team better! I was impressed.

It goes farther than that. Women in Buffalo love and know their sports teams. My daughter has friends who follow hockey! They know the Sabres players, how they are doing, etc. I have acquaintances at work who follow Bills games and everyone, I mean EVERYONE knows the Pegulas - or Terry and Kim, as they are affectionately know here. It's a very nice thing to see. I'm still a Patriot fan, (love my Tommy boy - hate Belichek, but doesn't everyone!) and will be excited at maybe seeing a game if Alexa goes to school in Boston. But Buffalo has it solid with it's love, loyalty and support of the Bills and Sabres (no matter how awful they are)! You have to admire and love that and I do.