Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Our last Sabres game of 2008

Chris and I at the Sabres vs. Caps game. We lost.
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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

More Holiday Pictures

I have a bunch of random pictures that I'd like to share. I think they're mostly from Christmas morning and the following days when we went to Ohio. I never take as many pictures as I hope to take. (New Year's resolution, maybe?) Anyway, here are a few pictures that I did take...


Caleb is a silly little guy, always making faces for the camera. He's my brother's youngest son, and he turned 4 on Dec 10. This is a shirt that my buddy in Fredonia gave me to give to him.



This cup was sitting on the ground in this parking spot. Somehow Chris managed to park the truck over the top of it. He also backed out of the parking spot and left the cup standing again. Now that's talent ;)

It's been a while since we drove down to Florence, so I almost forgot about this water tower. I have a thing for photographing things like street signs and billboards...I think this counts as a sign, right?

Entering Cincinnati from the south. What a gorgeous view of the city!
We had been down to Florence to buy some wheels for the Jetta. (After last week's horrible weather, we decided that although we don't really want to buy snow tires, we're going to have to.) So we met up with this guy and got the rims (which are steel--ick--but I can handle ugly rims for a few months if it means a safer car), then we went to the mall before we drove back into the city. Chris wanted to take me to a restaurant he had been to when he was in downtown Cincy for his conference this past May. After a delicious meal at Rock Bottom Brewery, we walked through Fountain Square (seen below) on the way back to our car. Before you view the picture, I have to tell you a story. We were almost at the parking lot where we left our car, and a guy stopped us and told us a whole long story about how he's not homeless and not a beggar, but he was at the Bengals game with his friends and they got into a fight and left him downtown, and he needed $14 to take a cab to the University of Cincinnati. Part of me felt really bad for the guy, and part of me was wondering why the heck he would go to a football game and not have some cash or an ATM card or a cell phone. Now we joke about knowing that it (supposedly) costs $14 to get to University of Cincinnati from Fountain Square.

Xander's first time staying at a Sheraton. He started to bark in the middle of the night (although he didn't go into full-on howling mode) because he heard some people in the hallway, but otherwise, he was very well-behaved. And of course, he slept with us.

He was pretty confused about what he saw out the window of our hotel. We were on the 11th floor.
On the way home, we stopped to get gas and we were going to switch drivers, so we both got out. (Normally one of us sits in the car with Xander because he goes a little crazy when one of us isn't close by.) Since we didn't let him out of the car like we had at previous stops, he decided to climb up to the front seat and sit down. I slid into the driver's seat and took this picture:
Then when Chris got into the passenger seat, we thought Xander would hop back into the back seat, but nope...he decided that he wanted to help me drive. (Just so you know, we were NOT moving when this picture was taken. We got him situated in the back seat first, then we drove off.)
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Saturday, December 27, 2008

After-Christmas Shopping

One of the great things about being in the Cincinnati area is the shopping. There are so many malls and stores in the immediate area that it's easy to hit lots of them in a single day. I try very hard not to shop much because I don't really need anything, but every once in a while I get the urge to do some bargain hunting, and this is a good place to scratch that itch. So far I haven't bought any clothes or anything like that, but we did enjoy a shopping trip at Ikea! Chris' mom and dad gave us a gift card so we could buy some shelves that we want so we can continue to decorate our home. We blew through the entire gift card and found even more stuff that we like. We bought a couple gifts and our Christmas cards for next year, but we also bought more things for the house...frames, curtains, etc... FUN!

Now we're getting ready to drive down to Florence, KY to pick up some wheels for the Jetta (so we can get snow tires). Later Chris' mom and dad are having some friends over for dinner, then they're going to watch "the fight." I have no idea what "the fight" is, but I'm sure I'm not going to be interested in it, so hopefully we'll get to find something else to do. It would be great if we could go to a sports bar and watch the hockey game there, but I guess they'll probably be watching this fight, too, so we'll be listening to it on our computer at the hotel.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve in Cuba, NY

Chris and I began our Christmas journey at around 10:30 on Christmas Eve. We left Dunkirk and drove to Cuba where Mom and I wrapped a few gifts and ran a couple errands. Tim (my brother) picked up his kids and we played for a while before going to Grandma's house. As you can see from this picture, they spent some time loving on Xander, which he ate right up!

My brother made strombolis for dinner, and this is a rare photo of all three boys sitting down.


After we ate dinner, we made homemade ice cream with our human powered ice cream makers, then we opened presents from Grandma and my cousin Mark. (Mark gave us Sabres tickets--woo hoo!)

Now the boys are in bed waiting for Santa, and we're getting ready to put out presents. Tim and Chris just went for a ride up the hill on the four wheelers. Since I have this sweet new computer, I hope to add frequent updates to my blog throughout our holiday :)
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Monday, December 22, 2008

Finishing up Christmas prep

The last few days have been a little on the weird side. Friday I was surprised with a snow day and got some stuff done around the house, then Chris came home early from work and we enjoyed the evening together. Saturday we ran a couple errands in the morning and met some friends for dinner that evening. Sunday was the usual, but the weather was horrible so we stayed in all day. I'm not kidding...we didn't go anywhere. Today, surprised with another snow day.

Now, I'm not complaining about these days off. They were sooooo nice! I don't want to call this a "problem," so I guess I should say that the irony of the situation is that these are days that we'd want to be at work. Now, on Friday I'm thankful to have had a snow day for one simple reason...I did NOT want to deal with my colleague. We had an argument on Thursday and that was still eating me. (It's still eating me a little, and I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to deal with that tomorrow, but at least the wound isn't quite as fresh as it was on Friday.)

I was talking to my friend Kathi about how it's nice to have these days off so we have time to do stuff, but it's hard to be out of the routine of things, and it's also difficult to run errands with the roads in such bad shape. I made my lasagna today...something that I would have had to sramble to get done this evening if I hadn't had today off. So that was good! I also got a little more packing done, and as soon as I'm done here, I'm going to go up and finish.

Because of these snow days, though, plans are up in the air for a couple of things. First, we have the luncheon tomorrow...or do we? The above mentioned lasagna is for the luncheon we have every year, but this year one of the secretaries suggested that we just get pizza and wings. Now, I love pizza very much, but one of the things I love about the luncheon is the variety of home cooked food. If we end up doing pizza and wings, then I'll have the lasagna to eat at home, so either way, I can't really complain.

The other issue is the annual Christmas breakfast. Every year on the last day of school before break, a bunch of teachers get together and cook a big breakfast in the cafeteria, and we all eat together, and we talk, and have a gift exchange, and sing carols. It's a pretty neat thing, although I've never been there for the entire party. A party at 6:30 means that I have to leave home before 6, which means I have to get up earlier than I care to think about! But the problem now is that I'm not sure if that's going on, either. I'm sure it is, but I haven't paid for my breakfast or anything.

Oh well, hopefully tomorrow will be filled with cheer and I'll get everything I need to get done finished before it's time to leave on Wednesday morning.

Snow day!

On Friday the weather was expected to be really bad, so I found out at about 6:30 (when I was all ready for work) that we didn't have school. Thank goodness for my friends who called to tell me...otherwise I would have driven all that way only to find out that we didn't have school. Chris drove to work, but they closed Canisius early and sent everyone home before noon, which made me happy! All weekend the weather was horrible--we had a lot of snow, but the worst part about it was the wind. This morning we were still dealing with lots of wind and snow...and a very full driveway. We received a phone call before 5:30 that the Thruway was closed, which kind of prevents Chris from going to work, then we found out that Canisius was closed anyway, so that was good news for him. I still didn't see that my school had closed, and I figured there was NO WAY our school would be closed AGAIN, but, alas, Mary called me at about 6:30 to say that we were closed again. I've spent the day catching up on chores and getting ready for the festivities at work tomorrow and in the upcoming days.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Caleb and his new coat

A while back I discovered Freecycle, a web site/e-mail system that allows people to post ads for things they need and things they want to get rid of. Everything people put up and ask for is free--no money is exchanged for any of the items. Pretty cool, I think, especially because it keeps things out of landfills!

One time a lady posted an ad offering up some kids' shoes, and they fit my youngest nephew Caleb, so I told her I would take them. Since then, she's given me many more items, including the adorable coat, which Caleb is wearing in the picture below. I told her that he'd probably like the buckles because they're like the buckles on his life jacket. I took this picture and sent it to her with a note of thanks for her kindness.


Trying out Picasa to file pictures on my computer

I just got this cute little computer, and I'm trying to figure out how to manage my photos. Chris has used Picasa for a while, so he encouraged me to try it out. I learned that it is tied in with Google, which means that it's tied in with Blogger, and therefore, it may be easier to upload pictures to my blog. We'll see. This could be fun :)

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's been a while....where do I start?

There's no particular reason why I haven't updated my blog...I've just been neglectful, I guess. And I was without a computer for a couple days...that would prevent me from blogging, too. I'm not bringing my work computer home anymore. I loved that computer (It's a MacBook Pro), so I carried it home and used it as my personal computer as well. We have a state auditor at our school who is going through EVERYTHING, and he assessed the laptops at school. Pretty much all of us use that computers for personal stuff--web surfing, pictures, music, video games (one of the people I work with let her kids play games on her work computer). So anyway, even if that stuff was done at home, they say that the computers are paid for with taxpayer money, and they don't want us using them for personal use, sooooooo, Chris bought me an Acer Aspire One computer. It's super cute and really tiny...will be perfect for my Body Shop business, e-mail, and web surfing. It's no MacBook Pro, but for the price, I can't complain. This computer does what it needs to do, and it's PINK!

A lot of great stuff has happened over the last couple weeks, but the thing that's on my mind right now is the terrible day I had at work yesterday. I was already frustrated in the morning when I went to work because of Xander. He got out of his crate on Tuesday and, through a series of stupid things that I overlooked that day, (all Xander-related), I ended up missing the Christmas party that night (another story for another time). On Wednesday he tipped over his water bowl, which he does every day anyway, but when I let him out of his crate that day, he bolted for the water bowl and drank for about 2 minutes straight before even going outside to pee. At that point, I felt like I had been torturing the poor creature because, first of all, he cries and barks when I put him in his cage, and secondly, because he was obviously parched if he drank that much, and being that thirsty is just terrible. So yesterday I left Xander out of his crate. I couldn't stand the thought of locking him in there again, but I was worried about what he was going to do to the house.

And now for the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. On Wednesday afternoon, my colleague got on my case for "not telling her" that some guests would be speaking in a teacher's class. First of all, this was a very minor thing, as guest speakers are in our school, and especially that class, all of the time, and secondly, I did tell her about it, and resent the original e-mail to prove it. Then on Thursday morning, she came in and said "Where are those financial aid packets you were looking at?" and I said, "I put them in Judy's mailbox." She said "I ASKED you to give them back to me when you were done." I responded by telling her that she wasn't even at school when I was done looking at them...she had already gone home. About 30 seconds later, she came in saying, "You REALLY need to tell me when you're going into the classrooms to talk about the VoTech field trip, because that affects my students, too." Yes, she's right...this issue does affect her students, but it wasn't like I sent her students away so I could just tell my students what was up! No, I told ALL of the students, mine and hers, the SAME THING! So if she has a question on something, all she needs to do is ASK, she doesn't need to SCOLD.

That final time that she cam in to talk to me, she asked me why I was being so snippy with her, and reminded me that I have to tell her things like that. But here's the other issue--half the time I don't have a freakin' clue what's going on with her! Last year she went to a leadership conference and didn't tell me until after she had returned...I only knew she was going because someone else told me. And the ironic thing is that I was already running a leadership group...don't you think I should have been included in that conference? That's a common occurrence with her. She's also gone into classrooms numerous times without telling me, and I never scolded her for not telling me! I thanked her and got on with my day! Must be she doesn't have enough to do, because she's getting very nitpicky.

I'm going to post one more thing in a separate blog because it's way off topic from what I talked about here, but while talking to my friend on the phone today, I realized something else that probably has to do with why I was so weepy yesterday.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Office Christmas gift

For Christmas my first year at Maple Grove, we (me, the other counselor-Lisa, and our secretary-Beth) exchanged gifts, but after that, we decided that instead of giving each other gifts, we'd make a donation to a charity. We gave to St. Susan's Soup Kitchen a couple times, donated money for Christmas boxes that were given to children in need, and other local charities.

This year, Lisa showed us a web site called www.heifer.org. The purpose of the organization is to "buy" animals for needy people around the world. For example, you can buy bees that are given to people who will raise them for their honey and wax. You can buy ducks, chicks, rabbits, pigs, etc... I really appreciate the concept, however, I'm not comfortable with the idea of giving animals as gifts, and then having those animals slaughtered. Kind of goes against my beliefs.

Monday, December 1, 2008

So frustrated with Xander

I can't remember if the last time I wrote complaining about my dog was the first or second time he got out, but as of today, he has gotten out FOUR times! Today is the first day back to work after Thanksgiving, and when I put Xander in his crate, I used two carabiners to secure it closed. Imagine my surprise when I got home and heard him in the kitchen again. He had gotten into another waste basket and spread garbage all over. (At times like this I'm so happy I compost all of our food waste...at least I didn't have food messes to clean up!) We're going to have to find another way to lock his cage up tight, because I can't deal with him destroying the house (and who knows what else) while we're at work all day. I thought having pets was supposed to help reduce your blood pressure....

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I got SO MAD at my dog yesterday!

I decided to go to the gym after work, so it was probably a little after 5 by the time I got home. I always drive into the garage, go into the kitchen door and put my stuff down, and then let Xander out of his crate and run him out the front door so he can go to the bathroom. But yesterday when I got to the kitchen door, I could hear him barking in the kitchen. I thought, "Oh crap, he got out of his crate!" Sure enough, he broke out...not sure when, but he definitely had enough time to destroy the house! He knocked a bowl off the wine rack...I'm surprised that it didn't shatter. He got anything that had touched food off the counter...a whole container of cookies that I had just baked, a roll, and a piece of bread (he ate right through the plastic bags and containers to get to the food inside). He emptied the waste basket in the living room and upstairs in the bedroom. Then he puked all night. I was so frustrated when I saw the mess, I screamed at him. I mean, nothing seems to work with this stupid dog. I've tried to teach him things that a "good dog" does...when he behaves, I reward him and pet him and fuss over him. But when he's bad, what am I supposed to do? I hate hitting him, although I will give him a swat if he jumps, another one of his bad habits, but I don't want to hit him in a place that's really going to hurt him. Unfortunately, when he jumps, the only part of him that I can really smack is his face or head, and I don't want to do that.

I thought that owning pets was supposed to be more fun than stressful, but my animals definitely cause me anxiety.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Laundry problems

I don't really mind doing laundry...I have a nice front loader washer and I line dry most of the clothes to conserve energy. Most things come out just fine, but I've been having a problem with Chris' dress shirts. They have what almost looks like greasy spots on them, and the spots become more pronounced when I iron the shirts. The spots aren't there when I put the shirt in the washer, they only seem to become obvious after the shirt is dry. And it's not like the spots come from food or anything...some of the spots are on the back and arms of the shirts.

So the point is, if anyone has any suggestions on how to get rid of these spots, I'm all ears!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Need help with plant identification

Chris and I bought two house plants. We had been talking about bringing some more greenery into the house, so finally we went for it. We've always had a lot of viney plants around the house, and those grow like crazy, but we've never had the more tree-like plants. I'm finding that I have no idea how to care for them, which, I believe, is causing them to die. I'm wondering if they'll even survive because we keep our house fairly cool in the winter, and we don't have a lot of sun coming in, but I'm going to do my best to keep them alive! Any advice is welcome!

I think I've managed to identify the first one as a Corn Plant:



However, I have no clue what this one is:
Can anyone help?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Snow pictures

Thought you might like to see some pictures from my ride to work this morning. Dunkirk (where I live) had just a dusting of snow...this was what I encountered along the way. I saw a few cars off the road, and have heard of a few more accidents that have happened more recently. It's scary out there...I don't think people realize quite how bad the roads are today.



Sunday, November 9, 2008

Weird headaches

Ok, so twice in one week I'm complaining about medical ailments...sorry about that. I'm a pretty healthy person and not really a complainer about "feeling yucky," but I'm really confused about what's going on in my head, and I thought maybe keeping a little journal about it would help me possibly pinpoint what's causing it.

Early last week, I started having really sharp, almost stabbing pains in the back of my head on the right side. The pains were pretty intense, but they would go away within a few seconds. After several days of that, the pain seems to have migrated to the left side of the back of my head. It's strong enough to make me kind of squint my eyes in pain, but then it goes away.

I'm not the kind of person to rush to the doctor for every little thing, which is why I thought I'd just kind of keep track of this and see how long it lasts. (What happened this past Wednesday was way out of character for me.) I've had what I assume are migraines in the past, which would involve intense pain that would increase for an hour or two until I would finally vomit, then it would fade over the next hour or two. From what I understand, 4-6 hours is a pretty short period of time for a migraine, but I have every other symptom. The headaches I have now are nothing like those.

As always, advice and feedback are welcome. I'll see how things go over the next few weeks and see if I need to rethink a visit to the doctor's office.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Happy conclusion of a long work week

Ok, so nothing particularly special happened to make it a "happy" conclusion to the week, I'm just glad to be home!

Tomorrow I'm going to Jamestown (about 40 minutes away) to work at the "What's New Fair" at Jamestown Community College. I'm working the Body Shop booth, and I'm kind of excited about it. I'm never all that happy to spend time away from Chris, but I want to do this because I hope to pick up a few new customers. (I realize how sad that might seem to some of you that I don't even want to be away from Chris for 4 hours, but I consider myself extraordinarily lucky to be married to someone I love to spend time with so much!)

I stopped at the gym on the way home today. I didn't really want to go, but I've been putting it off for two weeks...the week Chris was at his conference in Florida, I wanted to get home to let Xander out of his cage, but I did yoga at home, so that was good. Then earlier this week, I was tired or busy (I know "tired" isn't an excuse, but it worked for me), and on Wednesday I was sick (see blog post from that day if you really want to know--and my guess is that you probably don't want to know), and Thursday evening Chris had to work at the Opera House, where he helps out every so often, so we grabbed a quick dinner out and then I felt too full to go straight to the gym, so I came home. So today I stopped on my way home, largely due to the fact that I got out of work at a reasonable time! I even made a stop on my way home from the gym and still got home before 5. Weird, I know!

I work at Maple Grove High School, and the football team is playing at Rich Stadium tonight. In case you don't know, that's where the Buffalo Bills play. (Actually, now it's called Ralph Wilson Stadium, but to many of us native Western New Yorkers, it will always be Rich Stadium, and the place where the Bisons play (AAA baseball team) will always be Pilot Field. So I'm excited for "my kids."

I guess there isn't really a point to this post, but I just felt like writing. I'm wating for Chris to get home (he was arriving at the gym just as I was leaving), and we're going to cook some dinner and relax. We won't be watching the hockey game because it's on a channel we don't get. Hoping for another shutout, though :)

Until my next pointless post...peace!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Trying to find a way to get rid of VHS tapes

A couple years ago when I was finishing up my counselor certification, I took some graduate classes via video tape/self-guided work book. Now I have about 15 VHS tapes for which I have no use, but, as you well know, I can't just throw them out! I'm looking for a way to either reuse them or recycle them, or a combination of the two. Any and all suggestions are welcome! I've looked up some things online, and most of them say "Donate unwanted tapes to children's hospitals or nursing homes," but believe me, no one but the people taking these classes would want to view the tapes.

Sick day

I'm editing the content of this message since I'm sure there are details my readers just won't want to know ;)

I felt kind of funny, but not horrible this morning when I was getting ready for work. As it got closer to the time I usually leave, I felt worse and worse. I'm not the type of person to make a big deal out of not feeling well, so I left for work, the whole time wondering if I it was a good idea to make the 35 minute drive when I was in pain that seemed to be increasing. I got about halfway to work and the pain was so bad I pulled over and called my secretary to tell her what's up. She said JUST GO HOME!!! So that's what I did. I think that was the longest drive of my life, trying to get home with the pain increasing every second. At 8:00 I called my doctor and they squeezed me in this morning. (For those of you who don't know me, I HATE going to the doctor, so I know I felt horrible because I didn't think twice about making an appt.) She ran some tests and put me on an antibiotic. I'm not all that thrilled about being on meds, but that's the only way I'm really going to get rid of this infection.

So now I'm sitting at home, and I'm feeling better, so I feel kind of guilty for not going to work. In a way I feel like I overreacted by calling the doctor so quickly. I'm the kind of person who believes that my body will take care of itself. (But then again, why do I get so many infections?)

I'm going to try to take advantage of this time to get some stuff done around the house now that I'm up and moving around again.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voted today

I'm surprised and impressed with how excited people were about voting today. I think that a big part of what makes today special for me is knowing how women years and years ago fought for our right to do the very thing that I so easily walked in and did today. I'm proud to be an American, and I'm proud to be a voter, and I'm proud to be a woman. And now I'm going to play Guitar Hero.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Is the Christmas season upon us already?

When we were grocery shopping on Sunday, Christmas music was playing over the PA system. I've seen Christmas decorations out for quite a while, and that doesn't bother me, but Christmas music in early November does bother me. (Maybe "bother me" is a strong term...I guess I just think it's silly, and a little too pushy to start marketing Christmas nearly two months early.) The radio station I listen to plays Christmas music from Dec 1 until Christmas, and I love that, because I feel that Thanksgiving officially kicks off the Christmas season. Oh well, I'm just going to try to embrace and enjoy. Many people I know have talked about cutting back this Christmas season, but I think that's great, to be honest. We usually get a lot of gifts of items we really don't need...frivolous stuff that collects dust and isn't of any use to us. I'd be fine if I didn't receive gifts at all, but it's inevitable that our families will give us stuff, so I've stressed the importance of only giving us stuff that we NEED, or maybe stuff that is a little nicer than we'd normally buy for ourselves, like real maple syrup or jewelry making supplies.

I can't help but think that with all of the cutbacks that people are making this season, maybe it will be better for us. Maybe it will help us get back to the "true meaning" of Christmas, which is different for just about everyone, while at the same time bearing the same meaning universally...kindness and love.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I'm such a sap

Chris is in Florida for a conference, and I feel completely lost without him. I know that's pathetic, but it's true. He's only there for a week, and I'll only be without him for four days, but I feel like a piece of me is 1000 miles away. I guess that I feel lucky, though, because even though we spend most of our free time together, we still can't stand to be apart. I appreciate the fact that our relationship is so strong after over 10 years.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sister Fidelma's 90th Birthday

I have some relatives who are nuns. Actually, they're not really relatives....let's see if I can explain this: They're my dad's cousin's aunts. Make sense? Probably not, but it does to me. Anyway, their names are Sister Mary Henriella and Sister Mary Fidelma. It was Fidelma's 90th birthday, so on October 12 there was a party at the church where they serve. There were about 25 or 30 people there, mostly relatives, and Chris and I were the youngest people there by many years. But the Sisters were super sweet and so happy we could make it. I only took a few pictures and they're probably not all that great, but I'll post them anyway.

The day started out with a mass, which Chris and I did not attend, but afterwards we went into the church (St. Stanislaus in Buffalo) and took some pictures.
Then it was time to party! We went across the street to the building where the nuns live, and we mingled for an hour or so, then went to a little chapel to say grace, then we went to a little dining room where we ate lunch.

Here is Sr. Henriella, (biological sister of the birthday girl) with their other biological sister, Rita (wearing white). (It's tough to describe relationships between people when they're both sisters and Sisters ;)
And here's the birthday girl, Sr. Fidelma. She's a little forgetful at 90 years old, but she's as sweet as can be. Her greatest memories seem to be the times she spent with my grandmother who, again, is not related to the sisters. Let me see if I can explain it this way...Sr. Fidelma and Sr. Henriella's biological sister, Rita, married my grandma's brother, Arthur. Does that make it any clearer? Probably not, but again...makes sense to me ;)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Aunt

I hate to brag, but I will anyway :) I'm an aunt to three of the coolest little boys and one crazy-cute little girl. My brother has three sons, Nathan (7), Trey (almost 5), and Caleb (4), and my brother-in-law has a little girl, Avah (15 months).

Here I am goofing around with Trey in May, 2008.

And then Trey got ahold of my camera and decided to take a picture of me and Nate.

Here I am with Caleb (left) and Trey (right) snuggling up by the bonfire on the 4th of July, 2008.
For the past few summers, Nate has spent several days at our house. He loves being here and I love having him here. When he's not here, I miss having him around! This is a picture we took of ourselves at the beach on Lake Erie in Dunkirk.
This past August, I went to the Buffalo Zoo with my parents and the boys. Here I am with Caleb posing with a zebra in the background.
And here's my niece, Avah. I don't think anyone has taken a picture of me holding her, so you'll have to settle for a picture of her trying to put her glasses on so she can look like Uncle Chris.
I consider myself very lucky to be surrounded by such cuteness!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Animal Lover

Another thing about me--I'm an animal lover. I have a few of my own pets, and some of them have been a little on the weird side...most notably our rat, Vailey. I believe we should be kind to all animals, and I'm firmly against animal testing.

Here are some pictures of Kelly: Animal Lover: (Actually, I'm only posting one pic now because I have some laundry that needs to come out of the dryer...I'll post a few more eventually.)

Here I am with a Lorikeet at the Aquarium of the Pacific in April, 2007.

This is me with our dog Xander, a lab mix who we rescued from the pound four years ago. Can you believe someone abused this sweet animal?

Friday, October 10, 2008

New idea

I have a lot of pictures that make me think of who I am as a person, so I thought, Why not use some of those pictures to show my blog viewers who I am? (I realize that this has probably already been thought of and done by others, but it's new to me!) So that's what I'm going to do! The first picture in my Who I Am series is....

Wife!Here we are on our wedding day, April 5, 2003.

It's finally hockey season again!

Over the last few years, our passion for the Sabres has grown quite a bit. We've always liked them and would go to games in college whenever we could. (Bonas would often run bus trips to the arena at a reasonable cost for us poor college students.) I'm not sure quite what it is that's gotten us so into it, but it's an understatement to say that we're huge fans. Right now the first game of the season is on, and although we're off to a bad start (we're less than 4 minutes in and we're down by 1), we're still enjoying seeing our guys back on the ice and we're looking forward to a great season and a Stanley Cup!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Nightmares about fires

On September 15, my brother-in-law's house burned down. Then on the 21st, a happy family of 5 in Fredonia became a homeless family of 3 when their house burned down, and two little boys, ages 3 and 10, died. The other night I had a nightmare that our own home caught fire, and I believe that it's due to the two fires that have happened so close to me.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Quiet blog lately

I'm not sure why I haven't blogged lately. I guess maybe I feel like nothing interesting has happened, and sometimes I figure since no one reads it, what's the point, and I have been a little on the busy side, but other than the typical "excuses" for not blogging, I don't have a very good explanation as to why I've been absent. I've been visiting my blog to check other people's blogs, but I just haven't been inspired to write. Or maybe I've been TOO inspired to write, but I'm spending too much time being inspired and not enough time writing. Either way, I'm actually feeling a little empty because I haven't written.

We've been doing some fun stuff! I just love spending time with Chris :) Last weekend we went to a preseason Sabres game and sat in the second row, then during the 3rd period we moved up to some empty seats in the front row, so we got to pound on the glass and act like obnoxious hockey fans. Actually, that's not true...we weren't being obnoxious. We weren't swearing and acting like jerks, but we were pounding on the glass...that's just fun!!!

My students this year have been absolutely awesome! My Girl Talk group inspires me to want to do more and better things. I have a few students who want to do all kinds of service projects, and I'm SO PROUD of them. And one nice thing about them is that they're young--9th and 10th grade! So I'll have 3-4 years to work with them and help them with all kinds of service projects. I'm a big advocate for volunteering and giving back to other people, so this is like living a dream for me. I'm teaching young people the value and beauty of doing things for others. I've never felt so good about my job!!!

I'm finding that politics really bother me. As I've mentioned before, I'm very moderate about some topics and hold very strong opinions about other topics, but I've realized that it bothers me when people are hypocrites. I have some very good friends who are rubbing me the wrong way, and I hate that I get so riled up. I have to just keep my mouth shut, cast my vote, and hope that we can peacefully coexist no matter who is elected. What really matters in the end is LOVE, COMPASSION, and KINDNESS!

I went to the Ellicottville Brewing Company ("Fredonia campus") with Chris and some of his Canisius coworkers on Friday. I really liked everyone there and we shared some laughs. It was fun. I didn't drink beer, though. Beer is not my friend ever since that time I drank some (not much--just a few ounces, because I didn't really like it) and then went on carnival rides. I can comfortably say that I will never drink beer again.

I can't think of anything else right now, and my battery is going to die soon anyway. I have to go pick out my clothes and prepare for another busy week at work. And hopefully I'll remember to blog more. As always, thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Chris and Kelly's British Dictionary

Please note: I plan on updating this post frequently as we continue to play our little game. I started this post quite a long time ago but I just saved the draft, I didn't post it, but that also made me almost forget that I started writing it, so I'm posting it now and adding more to it later.

I consider myself a very lucky lady because I'm married to someone I get along with so well. We have little code words and play little games and no one knows what's going on (unless we've let you in on some of our games, especially the people-watching games). Every once in a while we add a game to our list. Our most recent game has created lots of laughs and some lighthearted competition :)

We went to England in April and realized that although they speak English there, it's quite different from the English we use here. Some of their words and phrases are downright funny! We occasionally use some of the words we learned when we were there, but we added fuel to our British fire when we realized that we could watch Top Gear, a show we fell in love with in England, on BBC America. Sometimes they use phrases that we heard when we were there. Sometimes they use phrases we've never heard, but are decidedly English. So our new game is to use as many English words/phrases in regular conversation as possible. We also award a point if you use the British pronunciation of a word that is the same "in American." Here are some words that we have used:

"It's gone all pear-shaped"
Petrol
Simultaneously (the "i" is pronounced like the "i" in "pig")

Saturday, September 20, 2008

How we wasted a Saturday...

~Threw the bikes on the rack and drove to Buffalo
~Went to HSBC Arena for the Sabres scrimmage
~Heard them play "Better Now" by Collective Soul in its entirety during intermission
~Left the game halfway through the third period to get a jump on the next leg of our journey
~Found a Subway on the way to Niagara Falls and got footlongs. Ate half at the restaurant and saved half for a picnic at the falls.
~Parked at the Seneca Niagara casino and hopped on our bikes.
~Biked to Niagara Falls state park and found that it's not a bike-friendly environment with all of the pedestrians.
~Realized how inconsiderate pedestrians can be.
~Rode our bikes down stairs. Twice.
~Ate the rest of our sammies in a grassy spot by the falls while being stared at by an angry looking seagull.
~Found that if the wind blows just right, you can get really wet from the mist at the falls.
~Thought about riding our bikes across the Rainbow Bridge to Canada, but thought we should probably check out Canadian bike laws before making the journey. Decided to attempt that next spring.
~Feeling bad that we parked at the casino without patronizing the establishment, we decided to go in and gamble for a few minutes.
~Won $4 on a slot machine. Got excited.
~Took the money and ran.
~Drove down to the Boulevard Mall to waste some time until we got hungry again because we had coupons for Pizzaria Uno and really wanted to try it.
~Bought 10 pairs of socks at Gap.
~Had a nice chat with a little boy about the Sabres. Drew Stafford is his favorite.
~Headed over to Pizzaria Uno for an early dinner. I had the Spinoccoli (spinach/broccoli) pizza.
~Had a very talkative waiter. Now I think we know more about him than his own parents do.
Quite the story teller he was.
~Got said waiter to say the word "hymen."
~

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Please vote for my friend's friend Zach

I met Leah in college and adored her bubbly personality and love for everyone. We didn't really hang out a lot or anything, but we were friends. We reconnected a while back on Facebook, and I was shocked to learn that she has had cancer TWICE since we graduated from St. Bonaventure 8 years ago!!! Through her battle, she has met some friends who are also living with cancer (and kicking its ass!). One of the people she has met is Zach. He is a finalist in the LiveStrong Challenge. PLEASE consider watching this video and voting for him. I know it would mean the world to Leah, Zach, and everyone who knows them!

http://www.livestrong.com/vi
deo/5023-dare-to-challenge-finalist-mhallstr4/

11:30am

I really want a cookie

I get really drained at work. I feel great at home in the morning, and I have breakfast every day. But then I get to work and all I can think about is eating. Over the summer I made some yummy cookies--I combined the best of two recipes, and came up with a cookie that I love, and besides the butter and sugar, they're fairly healthy (I use oatmeal, wheat germ, flax seed meal, coconut, and a few chocolate chips). I know I shouldn't eat them, but I make them every once in a while, and lately I just crave them in the morning! (Let me just say that whenever I crave something or I'm nauseous, people start speculating, and I can't even begin to tell you how annoying that is, so don't even say it. You know what I'm talking about.) So anyway, I'm down to my last cookie, and I wanted to eat it before 9am, but I've held off so far. And tonight I have to figure out if I want to make more or if I just need to suck it up and try to ignore the cravings. When I ignore my cravings, though, I feel really droopy and can barely make it through the day. I need to come up with some yummy (and affordable) snack ideas...things that I can bring to work to keep me from trying to eat everything in sight.

10:11am

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The knee is ok-yay!

I had my follow up appointment for my knee today. I had my MRI last Monday. The Dr. said everything looks fine, and he cleared me for most activities as long as they're comfortable, so that's good news. I was sure I'd need surgery, just from the type and location of the pain, but he said no, so I'm good to go! I guess I'm just going to have to push myself a little more and work on strengthening my knee. When the weather turns bad, we'll join the gym again, so that will give me more ways to get exercise--I'll have access to bikes, treadmills, ellipticals, stair steppers, and weight machines. I really, really, really need to force myself to do yoga, though. That always makes me feel better, but at the same time, I find it a little boring and sometimes I just don't have the energy for it. Or the time. Which reminds me, I really need to do a load of laundry.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Steve and Lacie's house burned down

My mother in law just called and said that my brother-in-law's house burned down. The power was off in Cincinnati due to the wind storm last night, and when it came back on, there was a spark, and their house (a trailer) caught on fire and burned to the ground. No one was home, but they lost both of their cats and all of their belongings. Steve is a musician, so I imagine he lost all of his instruments and recording equipment. Any music lovers out there can imagine how devastating that must be!

I feel so bad because they don't have a lot, but they work very hard to pay their bills and take care of their one-year-old daughter, Avah Marie. They've had a lot of bad luck, and this is obviously a life-altering tragedy.

More details later. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering 9/11, Twitter, Garlic Festival

I'm in a good mood today, but I'm kind of somber, too, as I remember the anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center. I'm sure many people have the same thoughts I'm having right now...they remember how they felt that day, where they were, how they found out, and how their lives were changed. I even remember what I was wearing that day! I think that the attacks temporarily made Americans a little more aware, and a little more thankful. As we remember what happened seven years ago, I hope that everyone takes a minute to think of what it means to be an American, and to appreciate and accept the people around them, and to always do the right thing, even if that choice is the more difficult one.
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I've been using Twitter since this summer, and I'm surprised to find that I'm meeting some very cool new people on there!
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I guess I didn't get much blogging done today. Most of my thoughts seem to leave my head before I can write about them.
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This weekend I'm going to Cuba for the garlic festival. I think this is the fourth year of the event, and my parents are in charge of parking, so I get to go back to my hometown and work the whole weekend. Part of me is excited to go down there, but the other part of me is really wishing I could stay home, do housework, sleep in until 7am in my own bed, and spend time with Chris. But now I actually need to go and pack for the weekend. It's probably going to rain, which is going to mean I'll be very wet, dirty, and uncomfortable.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Rob and Em's wedding

Chris and I just spent the weekend with some of our best friends for a very special occasion. Rob Tyrrell, our close friend from college, got married on Friday. That was one of those weddings that we just couldn't miss. Even though I had to take two days off during the first week of school!

We left on Thursday morning so that we could make it to the rehearsal at Rosary Chapel at Dominican College at 5:00. (I used "at" too many times, I know.) Chris was an usher at the wedding. So we rehearsed, then we went to the Clarksville Inn for dinner. We enjoyed a delicious meal with Rob and Emily's close friends and family. We stayed until well after 10pm (which is late for us!) talking to people, many of whom we had never met before that night.

The next morning we picked up Rob and took him to breakie at a little diner. Two of Rob's other friends met us there. We had a nice time hearing stories about times that Rob and his friends spent together when they were younger.

I'm sure I'll add to this story later, but I just have to mention the picture I'm posting below. This is the Bonaventure Crew who attended the wedding--Terri Hammond, Matt Hammond, Justin Behan (his wife Tracy couldn't make it, but she wouldn't have been in the pic anyway because she didn't go to Bonas), me (in my strapless dress that I'm realizing didn't look very good on me), Chris, Rob, and Emily (who didn't attend Bonaventure, either, but she's allowed in the pic because she's the bride).

More later!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Why is healthy food so expensive and junk food so cheap?

One thing I'm learning about work--I have to take food with me. And I'm talking a LOT of food. Whenever I'm there, I'm starving, and that keeps me from concentrating. I took some salad, but that wasn't much of a "meal." Problem is that I have no clue what to pack to take with me. I can't believe how expensive food is. And you know what makes me mad? You can get all kinds of junky food super cheap, but the most expensive foods are fruits and vegetables! What gives?

Chris bought a half-pound of lunch meat over the weekend. He got lean turkey, but I still kind of consider that junk food because of all of the processing and preservatives that goes into making that loaf that they slice up. I looked at the price--it was a little over $3 for that half pound bag, which equals a week's worth of lunches for him. I often buy strawberries to put into smoothies, but now that they're not local anymore, they're $3 for a one-pound container at the cheapest place I've found them! I get about two smoothies out of a pound of strawberries, but I also mix it with kale (yes, that green leafy stuff) and apples or bananas. (I also don't cut the leaves off the top of the strawberries--I blend them into my smoothie for even more greens :) So one of the healthiest things I could eat is also one of the most expensive things to eat. I shouldn't feel guilty about eating FRUIT, but it kills me to spend so much of our food budget on that stuff.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Too good to be true?

I woke up this morning feeling, well, really good! Even though I love my life and I look forward to each day, upon waking up I experience a feeling that I can best describe as dread, and I have no idea why. I don't know if it's that I have to go to work, or the feeling that I won't get anything accomplished, or any number of other things, but the only way to describe it is a crushing feeling.

Last night after work I had a horrible headache from the fire alarm testing they were doing all day long, but I had errands to run...I needed to mail something at the post office for Chris, then I wanted to get some books on CD for my drive to and from work. After that I went home and, as you probably saw in yesterday's post, I dealt with the neighbor kids asking me if I could go out and play.

Chris came home briefly, and then he went to play computer games with the guys, so I had some alone time. I didn't do anything special...I had some dinner, did some laundry and some ironing, read a little bit of a book I just bought at the library, and various other little chores. The only thing I did that was purely for me is that I did yoga for about 10 minutes. And if that's all it takes to make me feel this good, then consider me converted. I really felt like a different person when I woke up this morning. I'm going to test my theory again tonight and see if a little yoga makes me feel this good tomorrow morning!
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My school district doesn't pay teachers (and counselors) for classes done in anything other than the traditional manner--go to a college, sit in the classroom with a professor, and pay $2000+ for a class. I did classes through Indiana Wesleyan University, which were correspondence-type classes. I got the book and the videos in the mail, and I watched the videos (just like a distance-learning class) and did all of the work (which took a long time!). And New York State approved the classes for my permanent counselor certification!!!! But my district won't pay me for the credits, so that's over $800 a year that my district isn't paying me. Before, I didn't have the energy to deal with this issue. I don't know if it's just today because I'm feeling spunky, or if the issue is finally starting to get to me, but I want something done about this! The union hasn't done much for me up to this point...maybe it's time for me to start demanding that my dues do something to benefit me!
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I'm looking for new short haircuts. I've had short hair several times, but it always works the same way...I grow my hair out long enough to donate to Locks of Love, then I get a nice short, cute haircut, then I get one more "maintenance haircut," and then I let it grow again, usually because I'm too busy to get it cut again. So then it gets long and I like the fact that I can put it in a ponytail, so I get a little attached to it, then it gets long and starts to bug me. I'm at that point gain. Inevitably this is the time when someone will walk up to me and tell me what beautiful hair I have. But I'm ready to cut it short and I'm looking for ideas. Again. I make appointments but never have any idea what kind of a haircut I'll want. (I'm open to suggestions, but I realize that if anyone is reading my blog, you probably don't even know me, so it would be hard for you to suggest something.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

No, I don't want to pull weeds

The other day Chris was out scraping the house, and the neighbor kids were out there bugging us, so I told them that I needed to pull weeds. The weeds that I was pulling are actually pachysandra that's providing ground cover all over our shady yard. This might be kind of a stupid idea, but I'd like to pull all of that stuff and plant grass. I think that will look so much nicer. We made a pretty good dent in what's growing out there...but every day since then the kids have come over asking if I want to pull weeds. It's about 40% cute and 60% annoying as hell.

Today I pulled into the garage at 5:00, after leaving the house before 7:00 this morning, and as I was gathering my belongings in the car (the books on CD that I borrowed from the library, sunglasses, keys, purse, etc...), I heard some noise behind the car. I looked in the rearview mirror, and there stood the kids (Emily-7, and Eric-4). As soon as I opened the door, they asked if I wanted to go pull weeds.

Side note--we now have a new fire alarm system in the school, and they were testing it from about 11:00am until almost 4:00 when I left. The word "LOUD" would be an understatement. That alarm is actually painful if you're out in the hallway. I'm not kidding. It felt like it was rattling my brain. So by the end of the day I had a RAGING headache.

So when they asked if I wanted to pull weeds, every fiber of my being was screaming NOOOOO, but I didn't want to be mean, so I politely said that I had to do some stuff after I let Xander out. I went into the house, dropped my bags, let Xander out, and guess who's standing on the porch...yep, Emily and Erick. So after a few more minutes, I went back into the house and sat on the couch with a book. I read a few pages to unwind a little bit, then went upstairs to change my clothes. While I was up there, they started ringing the doorbell. I knew it was them, but I answered the door anyway. When I opened it, they were both sitting on the sidewalk, staring up at the house, asking if I was ready to pull weeds yet. I told them again that I wasn't sure if I'd be able to go out.

I'm fully aware that they have no idea how hard it is to work all day and then be expected to play all afternoon, but it's still annoying to me.

Is this more proof that I'm not cut out to be a mother???

Cool craft ideas for me to make

I love the web site Craftster, but I've also found some other sites with tutorials or whatnot... I keep the windows open on my computer, but it just distracts and kind of annoys me, so I figured I'd just post the links here and then get back to them when I have more time.

Tailored dragon dress:
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=252249.0

Change purse tutorial:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/15683948@N00/1381026836/in/set-72157602003927800/

Book review for Not Just a Pretty Face:
http://www.leafygreen.info/book-reviews/not-just-a-pretty-face-a-review-and-interview/

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Second day back at work

I fear that I'm going to have trouble posting to my blog now that school has started. I've been especially bad about posting pictures. (Speaking of that, I should upload some pictures right now!) So I thought that maybe I'd just keep my blog screen open and type whatever comes to mind, whenever the thought occurs to me. That will make for some disjointed blogging, but it could be fun!

So first of all, I'm going to have to take two days off during the first week of school, which is seriously stressing me out. Rob and Em are getting married on Sept 5. They asked Chris to be an usher, and asked us to the rehearsal and dinner, so we have to drive out there on the 4th. School starts Sept 3. So yeah, I'm freaking out a little bit.

I guess that the good thing is that my principal and superintendent didn't even blink when I requested the days off. I expected them to have a problem with it. If I were my boss, I would have had a problem with it!!! But everyone has been so supportive, and needless to say I'm pleasantly surprised.

I had to take the Pilot in to the shop again today. This is the third time I've had it there for the air conditioner. Hopefully this will be the last. I want to get all of the repairs done before the warranty is up in October.

I'm trying to think of how to explain something that's going on at work without divulging too much information, because anything pertaining to my students is confidential. I'll just say that some parents have complained that their children didn't get an honor that mom and dad think the kids should have gotten. I'm trying to think of what I'm going to say when I make these phone calls, basically telling the parents that their children aren't the strong students that the parents think they are. This is always a touchy subject. I'm sure it's hard to be a parent, and I'm sure they want the best for their kids, but sometimes, the kids have simply failed to meet criteria for certain things, and I don't know how to make the parents understand that.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Back to work tomorrow

Tomorrow it's back to work for me. I'm so conflicted because I love the work that I do, but at times I hate it so much I dread it. I look forward to the business that's ahead, but I dread things like parents demanding that their kids' schedules be perfect. That's tough for two reasons...one is that sometimes, kids can't have what they want. They will definitely have what they NEED, but sometimes what they WANT just can't happen. Also, if they can't make up their freakin' minds, and say that they MIGHT want to change, but don't know for sure if they do, then I can't necessarily make the decision for them. Thirdly, the computer program is quite unreliable. I will make changes that aren't in the computer the next day or the next month. It's unbelievably frustrating.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

My first trip to Lily Dale

I went to Lily Dale on Friday for the first time. I've been curious about the place since we moved to Dunkirk six years ago. It was an incredibly enlightening day for me, and I will go into more detail about my visit when I have more time to reflect on what I learned there.

Just to give a quick preview, though...I'm almost afraid that I'll offend people with what I have to say about my experience. I was raised by two Christian parents and went to a Catholic college. The majority of people with whom I surround myself are Christian to some extent. However, I've never felt completely comfortable in any of those churches. I was surprised and pleased to find that I felt at home in the chapel at Lily Dale. I have a lot of learning and exploring to do, but the truth is that I feel more awake and alive than I have with any other religion/philosophy.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New glasses, no more PT

So I had my orthopedist appt on Tuesday, and I have to go for an MRI on Sept 8. I can discontinue PT for now, so that's kind of a good thing.

Today I went to the optometrist to try to nail down some glasses. I got a pair of Vera Bradley sunnies and I have some money to spare, so tomorrow I'll go down and pick my regular glasses. I LOVE glasses. I think they're so much fun and they're so stylish. I always have a dreadfully hard time picking a pair.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sara Bareilles, Maroon 5, Counting Crows

Chris and I went to another concert last night. That was our last concert of the summer! (It's hard to believe we're at this point in the year already!)

First, Adam Duritz from Counting Crows came out and introduced Sara Bareilles, which I thought was insanely cool. I like famous people who exhibit a little humility, and he did just that. He was very appreciative of Sara for opening for them and I admire him even more for being so gracious. (Appreciation and respect go a long way with me.) Below is a picture of Adam when he came out to announce Sara. Doesn't he look happy? (Also, Chris took all of the pictures that I'm posting today. He did a super job! He's a wonderful photographer!)


Sara was excellent. I don't typically like female artists. I don't have anything against them, they just don't appeal to me. But Sara is really talented and her songwriting is amazing. I'm really glad we got to see her!


I've liked Maroon 5 for a long time, although I haven't listened to them much lately, except for that one song that they do with Rihanna, which is on the radio all of the time. I wasn't quite sure what to expect of them in concert, but I was pleasantly surprised. They were really, really good! Very talented and energetic. Adam Levine never stopped moving.


Finally, Counting Crows was up. They were also very good. They seemed peppier last night than they usually are, which was a pleasant surprise for me. They're normally so mopey, and I get kind of tired of that sometimes.
We left the show early in an attempt to beat traffic. If you've ever gone to a concert at Darien Lake, you know that traffic is a nightmare!!! There's one lane to take cars to the road, and there's a big sign that tells all traffic to turn left. Well, several cars turned right, but we turned left like we're supposed to do, and it took us all over God's country. I always feel like we're turning in the wrong direction, but it gets us where we need to go. The road loops you around and you pass in front of the amusement park. Wellll, this really sucked--we got stopped at an intersection (with a line of other traffic that followed directions), and they let about 50 cars who DIDN'T follow directions turn in front of us. So it took us half an hour just to get to the thruway, all because of the idiot Genesee County Sheriffs, who let all of the traffic turn in front of us. I was so ticked! And poor Chris...he had to go to work today, and he still had to get up at 5:30 this morning, even though we didn't get home until after midnight.

Ok, that's my rant, and now I'm done.

Actually, no I'm not. I have one more thing...

This is a good story with a bad ending. Counting Crows and Maroon 5 are involved in a group called Reverb. The group is aimed at decreasing emissions, reusing, recycling, etc... among musicians and their fans. It was started by Guster musician Adam Gardner and his wife Lauren Sullivan. (PS-I love Guster :) They have a tent at the concerts called "Eco-Village," which is a very very cool idea (IMHO), but I think they fell short a little bit. First of all, the Eco-Village consisted of one tent (well, maybe it was actually two of those little 10'x10' pop up tents side by side) with a table, and on that table they had an autographed guitar and a few solar bags (ok, so I will admit that the bags were cool and could see myself carrying one, but that shouldn't surprise anyone). They had a few leaflets (printed on glossy paper-come on people!), and that was about it. Now, I approached the table because I'm interested in that kind of stuff, but if I were someone who didn't give a flip about the environment, I probably wouldn't have even noticed the table. So I signed up to volunteer at other shows.

Then I was let down again after the show. Chris and I took bottles of Poland Spring water into the show with us because you're only allowed to take sealed bottles into the venue. Normally we don't go anywhere without our Nalgene bottles, but I'm sure we wouldn't have gotten into the show with them. When we left the show, we grabbed our one empty bottle, our full bottle, and another bottle that had rolled down by our feet. I planned on recycling the two empties at the Eco Village, but guess what...the tent and all of the recycling bins were GONE! Grrrr! I wasn't all that upset about having to carry our own water bottles back to the car with us, but I was also carrying some stranger's water bottle. And despite that, I would NOT throw the bottle in the garbage. So the stranger's bottle came home with us and is now in our recycling bin.

So a quick review of my thoughts--I like the idea of Reverb, and I think they're on the right track, but they really need to set a better example, and get volunteers who care about what they're doing. (However, on the other hand, I can understand that volunteers wouldn't want to stay too long after the show, because they wouldn't get out of the venue until the next morning with how horrible traffic is. But that's just at Darien Lake...I've never seen traffic so bad as at a concert there.)

I really need to just stop writing...if I keep trying to clarify my thoughts, I could go on forever...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Fun day at the Buffalo Zoo

Nate spent the week at our house, then on Friday morning he and I left the house at 9am and met Trey and Caleb (Nate's younger brothers) and my parents at the zoo at 10.


It was crazy walking around the zoo with three young boys, but it was so much fun! There's nothing like taking little kids to the zoo! It was nearly 3:00 when we left.
Nate went home with my parents, which bums me out. I wish he could have stayed with us longer. On one hand, it's kind of nice to have the house back, but on the other hand, it's just not the same without him. I love that kid so much!

I took loads of pictures, but here's one of all three of them that I just love!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Nate has been here for the week

I've been preoccupied lately, as Nate (my oldest nephew) has been visiting since Monday. I have a little time in the morning since I get up at 5:30 with Chris and Nate has gotten up at about 8, but I don't want to wake him up, so I do quiet activities. As soon as he gets up, I start the delicate balance of fun and obligation. I've had appointments every day...Tuesday I had PT, Wednesday I had a dentist appt, and today (Thursday) I had PT again. Nate is very, very well-behaved, but he likes to dilly dally a little bit, and he doesn't like to get cleaned up, especially after he goes potty. I think you catch my drift...

So after the appointments and such, we've taken care of other things, like shopping, eating lunch, and going to the beach.

I'm going to spare some of the details right now and just post a picture, because I'm really thirsty and I really have some chores that need to be finished.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Got a new washer

Since my washer was kind of broken, we had to get a new one. Well, we could have gotten the old one repaired, but it would have been a very expensive and very temporary fix. (Thank God for honest repairmen!!!! Latimer's repair service rocks!)

So anyway, here's the new machine:

Bruce Hornsby two nights in a row


We learned (again) that staying out late is not for us. We went to see Bruce Hornsby at Chautauqua Institution on Friday night, and again on Saturday night at the Town Ballroom in Buffalo for a Buffalo City Mission benefit concert. Even though we were exhausted, it's an understatement to say that we had a good time! It was absolutely awesome!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sometimes it's tough to be a responsible adult

The other day, my poor washing machine started acting funny. Long story short, I called the repairman and he was kind and honest enough to tell me that it may be better to buy a whole new washer than to have him repair it. That's not an expense we were planning on! We've also realized that we have several other things that need to be repaired before things get really bad.

The back of our house needs to be either painted or sided. We determined that we can't really afford to get it sided, so it looks like we'll be painting sometime within the next couple of weeks. Our house is kind of weird. Three of the sides are covered with vinyl siding, the back is covered with aluminum siding, and the family room is painted. Oh, and we'll need to get a pressure washer to help clean off all of the old paint, so we're trying to decide whether it would be better to rent one ($53 for four hours or $75 for 24 hours) or to buy one.

I kind of wonder if they make bamboo siding. That would be a great way to cover our house with a sustainable material, although I'd wonder how we'd finish that kind of siding and what kind of upkeep it would need.

We have two roof leaks. One is over the garage, and when it rains, the water basically pours right through the ceiling into the mud room. The other leak, albeit tiny, is over the family room, around one of the skylights. The family room skylight leak isn't too bad, but is probably going to require the help of a professional roofer...something that we also can't afford right now, so that repair will have to wait. The garage roof, however, will need to be patched, but luckily, we can probably do that ourselves.

Finally, on our list of things we need before this winter: New tires for the Pilot, and snow tires for the new Jetta.

I had an idea...not sure if it was good or bad, but I decided that it was good and went ahead with it anyway. We have a family message board where we post news, pictures, etc... I'm not sure if people use it because I'm practically the only person who ever writes anything on it, but I thought I'd use that forum to send a message to anyone who buys us gifts. My dilemma was that I didn't want people to think that I was asking for things. The point is to tell people what we need, and therefore HOPEFULLY they will refrain from buying us useless crap as gifts. We get a lot of thoughtful but very wasteful gifts. I don't want or need expensive things. I'd rather have reused items or things that we use everyday (cleaning products, food, etc...). Actually, I have decided that when we have kids, I will look for used furniture, and just buy a new crib mattress. Reusing is one of the best ways to reduce waste!!! So anyway, for the upcoming holiday season, if people buy us gifts (keeping in mind that I would prefer if they didn't get us anything at all), I hope that they use our list and just get us stuff that we need.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Our trip to Cincinnati

I'm in the process of labeling pictures from our trip, so I thought I'd at least do a quick blog about what we did each day that we were away:


Thursday 7/31/08--Drove all day, arrived in Cincinnati in the afternoon. We were planning on going to King's Island, but after the long drive, we were quite tired, so we decided against abusing ourselves at the park. Instead we ate at one of our favorite restaurants, The Old Spaghetti Factory, and then went for a walk at Winton Woods, which is a county park. It was beautiful. Not quite the hike I was craving, but definitely a worthy alternative. It was absolutely gorgeous, albeit a little hot.


Friday 8/1/08--Up early and off to King's Island. I feel so bad for Chris because I just cannot do amusement park rides, so he rides almost everything alone. I do, however, enjoy walking around and taking pictures. We did have a good time at the water park, but we had to walk for what felt like miles in bare feet to get to the slides, and the pavement is roasting hot! We were pretty sore and tired after that experience. After Chris got to ride almost all of the things he wanted to ride, we went to his parents' house where we had dinner and spent time with Guy and Colleen (my FIL and MIL), Steve (Chris' brother), Lacie (Steve's girlfriend), and Avah (Steve and Lacie's daughter/our niece).

Saturday 8/2/08--After having breakfast with Guy, Colleen, Steve, Lacie, and Avah, we went to the Air Force Museum in Dayton. I found it very interesting, but also experienced a vast array of emotions, from awe and pride to anger and frustration. The technology I saw was amazing, and I'm very proud of and thankful for our troops, but at the same time, I'm so angry that my tax dollars are being spent on these billion-dollar projects when people in this world are starving and sick. That didn't sit well with me.

We ate dinner at Macaroni Grill, another restaurant we don't get to visit very often, and then we saw Ironman at the cheapie theatre--$3.00 per ticket, but we had a coupon for buy one get one free tickets, so it cost us a grand total of three bucks to see the movie. And it was quite good, which was a surprise because I'm not normally a fan of superhero movies (except X-men).

Sunday 8/3/08--We weren't sure what we'd be doing that day. Guy and Colleen suggested that we go to the horse race track, but horse racing isn't really at the top of our "fun things to do" list. Then they suggested that we go to a town called Metamora (in Indiana), which has a grist mill and lots of little shops and stuff. (I will post a few pictures here, but if any readers want to see more pics, they'll have to visit me on Facebook.) It turned out to be a really enjoyable day. Lots of stories about that, but they'll come later, including, but not limited to a train ride, a canal boat pulled by horses, ice cream in fresh-made waffle cones, and me getting in trouble for taking a picture. After we returned, Chris and I went out to a little shopping plaza where I bought some new work clothes, then we got food from Chipotle and took it back to G+C's house to eat. I had a vegetarian burrito and it was delicious!!!

And then today, Monday 8/4/08, we made the journey home. We stopped a couple of times to switch drivers, walk Xander, and eat the messiest bean burrito I've ever eaten.

When we pulled into the driveway, I felt so thankful to be home, but at the same time I was so thankful for all of our fun experiences on our trip. We agreed that it's a sign of a good vacation when we're happy about what we experienced while we were away, but happy to be home, too.

I will edit this blog with more stories and pictures as soon as I get time. It's back to life as usual now, which means work for Chris and appointments for me. Bright and early tomorrow morning I have to take the Pilot to Jamestown to get the air conditioner fixed. Again.