Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Nov 4th - Sure signs that snow is coming....

In Upstate NY, you know that snow is right around the corner when the plow stakes go up. You know the ones.....they line most driveways and now the town even puts them around bends in the road to help the plow guys find the turns and helps them not tear up front lawns.

My snow plow guy is putting ours up this weekend, so until April, my driveway - like many others here - will be lined with small stakes typically spray painted at the top with neon orange.
Hard to imagine too while I look at them against the green of the grass, that in a few short months, it will be hard to even find many of these in the snow mounds.

My daughter, however, is thrilled to see these stakes go up. They are a sure sign that the white stuff will be falling from the skies soon. And for her, that means hours upon hours outside having a blast.

I'm trying to embrace winter this year and I'm thinking up fun things to do outside during the winter months. I'll post it here to remind me in February why I like the snow sometimes.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Nov 3rd - Life in Upstate NY

I'm not a native Upstate New Yorker, but am from RI. The smallest state of all 50 of them.
Coming to NY almost 18 years ago was for work....a stopover, on my career path. I was working for Marriott / Interstate Hotels at the time and my plan was to move from my then home in Pittsburgh to Upstate NY and then head to Florida to be with my sister for a bit and then back to New England. I never truly envisioned myself anywhere else. I had moved from RI to East Rutherford NJ (because I told my company I was relocatable anywhere except NYC and they sent me to NJ - just 2 miles across the river from NYC). From there it was on to Pittsburgh, and then here to NY.

My plan for Upstate NY, was like most other cities that I have lived in, be here for a short period of time - 7 months to a year max and then move again. Hummmmmm.....where did my plan derail? I'm going on 18 years and my parents have now moved here and my sister has also left warm sunny Florida for Upstate NY. Well, along the way I have picked up a wonderful husband, his entire family is here and my two stepsons were here. So, here is where I call home.

We definately have a bad reputation though - all people know is about the many many inches of snow that we get, and the dreary days of winter. Looking out my window today, I have to remind myself what I love about Upstate NY and why we are blessed in so many ways:

* Great springs, mild summers and spectacular falls that take your breath away with color and magnificence

* Long country roads that twist and turn, with surprises around each corner

* Local farms and farmers markets with FRESH produce

* Places where everyone knows your name

* Finger Lakes where you can still afford to buy a house on a lake and let your children jump off of docks and swim carefree in non polluted water

* Horse farms and corn fields

* Pumpkin patches, apple orchards and dairy farms

* Very little congestion and traffic

* Families and values and comfortable places!

Although it is definately threatening snow and those clouds overhead are dark and dreary....I'm going to remember the things that really make me happy to be here. I'm going to pull out my warmest sweaters and snuggle into them for just a few months and look foward to the calm of winter too.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Oct 23rd - Fall Glory

Yesterday it was close to 70 degrees and today we will be lucky to hit 48! Despite it all, we are so lucky to be able to have such splendid Fall colors! I want to get out and enjoy it before all of the leaves drop and winter is here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Oct 6th - Wow....

Breathtaking. I was out in Colorado and this was the view on the way into Estes Park. Spectacular for October and so different than what I see back home. The colors of Fall are fabulous in the East, but I never tire of looking at the snow covered mountains - whether it be my trips to Colorado or Oregon.....Love it!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sep 17th - It's a Snuggle Day!

It was cold this morning! I mean a real autumn day, the air was crisp and even a little dark and dreary with a mist hanging in the air. Erin's alarm clock went off and on this rare morning, I was still in bed. No, I hadn't gotten up on time, and yes, I was still watching the AM news wishing for more time to sleep and contemplating that run to the bathroom for a hot shower! Obviously, I had decided that the dash to the shower would be a cold one and had hunkered down into the blankets for what I called "just a few more minutes."

In paddles my daughter in her footie pajamas! (As we still leave our windows open to take in some of the last shreads of the season, it gets a bit cold in the house and warm pj's are great. Erin decided that last evening was the nigt to pull those out for the first time this season.)

She climbs up on the bed and pulls the covers up and says, "its a snuggle day mom!" How true I thought. It is the kind of day when you just want to curl up and snuggle. Unfortunately, the morning routine on a school day doesn't include much snuggle time, or I'd be driving clear across town to get her to school after missing the bus. So, up we got and into the shower and on our way. As I sit and write this though - I'm hoping that "snuggle time" finds a way into our weekend.

I have a lot of plans for this weekend - a Lazy Sunday and snuggle time. Sounds like the weekend better hurry up and get here! Organization and schedules can pick back up on Monday of next week.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sep 16th - Hurry up and Wait

Every time I drive up Route 31 near my home I am amazed at how crazy people drive lately. They would sooner cut you off then let you in, sooner pull out in front of you then let you pass, and the they race ahead of you only to slam on the brakes at the next red light where they have to sit (impatiently I am sure) for the light to turn green. Then they weave and bob through yet another string of cars only to get to the next light 10 seconds quicker than the rest of us that they passed and then sit again at a light. I guess that is just our society these days. We race from activity to activity with nearly a chance to stop and enjoy anything along the way.

Now granted, I am a fast driver, and I am definately one of those people that would be considered an over achiever and an over committed soul. Lately, though, this hurry up and wait seems to really stick out like a sore thumb to me. I recognize it more and more when I am out and about. There is a country song that I love and it talks about things that the singer loves about Sunday - waking up late, going to church as a family, and then coming home to a long leisurely meal and sitting outside on a porch swing or even catching a cat nap. I haven't had one of those Sundays in a long time! Have you? I'm not even sure that my daughter has experienced more than a few of those Sundays in her lifetime.

I even remember as a child when many stores were not even open on Sunday. I bet your children can't possibly imagine not being able to go to the store on a Sunday and get what you want right then. I went to our new Hobby Lobby a few months back on a Sunday and was shocked to find them closed. Initially, I was irritated that I couldn't get what I wanted when I wanted it and then I read their sign in the window which stated "closed on Sundays so our associates can attend religious ceremonies and spend time with their families." Amazing and commendable in a age of get rich and materialism! I now find myself planning my visits to Hobby Lobby around Sunday and planning ahead on what I need, or better yet, asking myself if I really truly need that item.

Next week is "National Turn off your TV" week, so I figure it is the perfect time to also try and slow down a bit. I want to remember why I love Sundays too!

Enjoy the rest of the week!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sep 15th - One is Silver and the Other Gold....

Remember that old song: "Make new friends, but keep the is silver, and the other gold"? For some reason that came to me this AM as I was sitting down at my computer to work and got a text from my best friend in the whole world. Unfortunately, we don't live close - I am in Upstate NY and she is in Denver, Colorado. We don't get to see each other every year and we don't really talk on the phone much. Nowadays, it is mostly a text message here or there to catch up or let each other know that we are thinking of the other, or something made us laugh and we wanted to share it, or our kids just did the cutest thing in the whole world and had to tell someone about it! You know the kind of friend that it....there for it all even when the real world is running past you at a million miles a minute.

As my daughter started school again just last week in 3rd grade, we had many conversations about this very thing - new friends and keeping the old. Like many other kids this time of year is rough. New routines, new friends, new classrooms and for many a new school or even a new bus route. She wondered if her best friends would still be there and if they would still be together for lunch and recess even though they were in different classes and may be riding different buses. Well...we are on Day 5 today, and she has reconnected with some friends that she has met in other classes, and has had a great time with some new friends. And, at the end of each day, her closest friends are still there. They share recess time, and one actually got on the same school bus. They talk and giggle and have fun at recess too. The worry that they would somehow fade away if they weren't in the same class is starting to subside and they are each learning to grow independently but still come back together at the end of the day.

So, make new friends every day. You never know when that silver one will become your most trusted friend and turn to gold.

Share a laugh with a friend today and reconnect with your most trusted confidants. I've promised myself that I would take time this weekend to write my friend a real letter. You remember that "snail mail" stuff. The excitement you feel when you go to the mailbox and you find a true letter or card and not just junk mail. You settle into a comfy chair and read and catch up and smile. We may be thousands of miles away, but never far in spirit!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sep 1st - Change

Change....what a powerful word! Most people will tell you that they don't like change. There are thousands of books about change out there on the market. "Who Moved my Cheese" being one of the most popular (my boss' particular favorite). It tells people to think outside of the box and imagine the possibilities. Hummmmmm. I don't get it. People change everyday and they don't even realize how good they are at it, yet when asked, they say that they don't really like change.

Think about it - how many things do you change in the course of a day? You change clothes, and I bet that very few of us can look in our closet / drawers and find similar colors or even the same style. We change our hair - get it cut and for most women - a highlight or a color change every now and again. We change our meals - we have our few staples, but many of us are always on the look out for a great new dish. Unlike our parents, many of us have even changed jobs in the past few years, or even changed your living arrangements - buying a new house or getting a new apartment. Right now, we are learning to help our children work through change as they get ready to head back to school. They have changed teachers, there are new friends in their classrooms, and for some, they are even riding different buses. And, for all of us - we are watching the leaves change from Green to those wonderful Fall colors and we are getting ready for a change in the Seasons.

I personally like Change. It is exciting and new and it brings with it new possibilities. As we wind down the summer and head quickly (especially in Upstate NY) into Fall, it is a great time. The first apples of the season are out, the pumpkins right behind it and the leaves are so breathtakingly beautiful as they go from green to yellow to orange to red. I think it is one of the best seasons to live in Upstate NY. And, with it all - comes that change! It gets darker earlier, the weather turns just a bit colder and we change our wordrobes from shorts to jeans and add those fleece jackets. We change from flip flops to sneakers and shoes and even have to start adding socks! We change our routines to get ready for school and homework and everything else. Change - I love it! It keeps us on our toes and shakes it all up. Enjoy and embrace it!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Aug 25th - Giddy up!

We don't live on a farm (yet), and we don't know all that we want to about horses (yet), but it sure is fun being out at Sorrell Hill Stables in Warners each week. Erin has been taking riding lessons now since March and it has been as much fun for me as it has for her. There is something about it.

My mother in law would have been 82 this year and there wasn't a horse around that she didn't like. She had her own painted horse named FLASH when she was younger. She was a fantastic barrel racer with her horse. They won most of the events that they entered. Dorothy even went to college with FLASH - Ithaca. And think about it, she would have been 82 this year, so back in her day, women heading to college was exciting enough, let alone a woman heading off with her horse. Even at 78 she wanted to ride. I remember her story about a farm in Florida looking for some help. She went in to talk to them and told them she was 75. When we asked her why, she said, well they would have laughed at a 78 year old woman wanting to ride a horse....oh, like those 3 years would make it any less crazy!!!!!

All the years of hearing about FLASH, and hearing the horse stories from my Mother in Law must have stayed with Erin, as she loves it just as much. I will never forget the first time Erin rode at the farm, she told me that "Grandma was riding with her...she felt her watching her."

This weekend we returned home from an outing to the Lake to find a package from my Father in Law. It was a book printed in 1934 called Crazy Quilt. It was his favorite book about a painted pony. He has spoken about this book for years and about how much he treasures it. Well, there it was in an envelope addressed to Erin, with a note telling her that "I hope you enjoy and treasure this as much as I did". Love Grandpa!

Today, Erin got a chance to canter for the first time! I don't know that I have seen such a magnificent smile on her face in a long time. No laughter like yesterday, but just a gigantic smile that spread from ear to ear, and a whisper when she passed me on the rail...."Mom, I did it....I finally got to canter!"

Talk about an odd feeling. I felt my mother in law's presence with us so much today. It has been 1 1/2 years since her passing, but today it was like she was right there with me and her smile was a big as Erin's.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Aug 24th - You are my Sweetest Laughter

I don't know that there is anything that sounds sweeter to the ear than the sound of your child laughing on a warm summer day! That is the sound that I heard all day as I was working away in my home office, and my daughter was outside with two of my neighbor's young boys. The kids were just having a blast!

They went from throwing balls into this forever puddle in front of the house, to sitting in a small inflatable pool and chasing each other with buckets of water, to jumping on the trampoline. And the laughter all day was such a wonderful that you just never tire of. It definately takes you back to those fabulous days of youth when life was pretty much carefree and the only agenda - laughing and having fun and being silly!

I consider myself a very organized, serious person. Don't get me wrong, I love having fun like the next, but I am not one to just burst into laughter like I did as a child. I remember times with my sister when something - who knows what - just made us double over with laughter. When just looking at each other made us giggle uncontrollably. Laughter - you need so much of it in your life. It is the thing that attracted me so much to my husband. He has that wonderful deep laugh that is just contagious!

So, again, as summer winds down, I am going to remember to smile more, laugh lots and take things just a little less seriously. My daughter's laughter - quite simply, the sweetest sound in the world to me. It makes my heart sing and it is the one sound that I will never tire of.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Aug 23rd - Oh what fun....

Wow, what a weekend we have had! As we start to wind down the summer, we want to hold on to every minute as we know that the cooler weather is right around the corner and with that routines and busy schedules.

I remember this time so well from when I was a kid.....we never wanted summer to end. Never, not ever and we would have done anything to make it last just one more day. Not wanting our summer to end this year, we took full advantage of the great warm weather this weekend with another trip to the Lake. We were lucky enough to go out on the boat and the girls got to do some tubing. My niece tried water skiing on Saturday and actually got up! I wish I could have captured that moment on camera - the sheer shock and delight was written all over her face, but the best was the excitement in her voice when she let out a hoot of pure excitement! I think people on the shore could hear her and it was so great. It is like a rite of passage when you live on the Lake, I guess. Dan and Tom spent time after talking about when they first got up water skiing. I recalled my many many attempts when I was younger - never successful - but then again, I blame it on not living on the Lake, and having to learn in the Ocean where far too many sea creatures live (or so I think anyway). Erin even decided that she should try after Avery had succeeded. She had a great look on her face as she tried, and then as the boat dragged her face first when she fell because we never told her to let go of the rope when she fell.

The sun went down too quickly that day (literally, as the sun now sets before 8PM) but our memories are going to last for so long. I'm not ready to start thinking about the Fall just yet. I thought I was, but nope - I want the summer to last for a bit least the unhurried, less organized and more laid back days.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Jan 28th - The Transition

You know the old saying, "be careful what you wish for..." Well, I found out first hand today how true this is. My father in law has been living with us since July 5, 2008. What a year it has been. First my mother in law passed unexpectedly in March 2008, and then in July, my father in law fell off his bike. He put a fracture in his hip. Yes, as luck would have it, the same hip that had had a hip replacement 20 years prior. So... began the downward spiral. The long and the short of it - 2 major surgeries, and 3 smaller procedures later between August and September, he returned in early October. Of course, he couldn't manuever the stairs immediately and we set him up on a day bed in our living room, with his own recliner, and TV. He had what I would call a little live in quarters. It worked well as he had his space, yet we were able to help him with meals, and whatever else he needed. As the recovery went on, we relished our time with him. Erin got to spend some quality time with her grandfather too. After the Holidays, as the winter set in, he began looking forward to getting home to Florida. I will admit that I also began to look forward to regaining our normal routines.

Well, that wish came true today as he headed back to Florida today. So tonight as I put my daughter to bed, and we snuggled and the house was suddenly so quiet. We couldn't hear my husband and my father in law chatting downstairs, we didn't hear them arguing with the TV about politics, or even cheering on their beloved SU. The house was eerily quiet and I suddenly realized how much I had wished for this during the somewhat chaotic moments over the last months, and how now that it was here, it simply was not as I had expected.

Sometimes change, despite the upheaval it seems to create, also brings new opportunities. I have enjoyed our change over the last few months as it has been a chance to garner fond memories. Time that we may not have been given with my father in law under other circumstances.

I know he will love being back in Florida, with the sunshine and his routines. As for me, I will treasure the times, remember the laughs and know that this change, like others will bring new opportunities, but I will have a quiet breakfast after Erin goes off to school, and I will miss those moments with my father in law recounting times from his past and learning about his heritage and all that made him who he is.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Jan 29th - UNbelievable and UNforgettable

Wow, what a week. I was in NYC this week for work. I left last Sunday and knew that I would be on the go from the minute my plane touched down to the minute I boarded for my return home on Thursday evening 1/22, and I was right.

I left my daughter, my husband and my father in law who is living with us since his hip surgery in August and boarded that plane for work. For those of you that don't know I work for a hotel company - CARINO Hotels & Resorts and we are launching a new reservation arm to our business with a new chain code called "UN". The week was all about "UN" and rolling this out to our members. It has been a bit since I was a road warrior and the whole time, I just kept wondering how I ever did this week after week after week before? It was sad and lonely and just not real. I got to NYC and ran from the airport to my meeting and then from my meeting to a reception with my collegues. Yes, it was fun and exciting....I was back in NYC, what was there not to like? But upon returning to my hotel room at 11:30PM and going to bed alone without saying goodnight to my family - I realized how much I have not missed the days of being a road warrior. I love tucking my daughter into bed and unwinding from the day and talking to my husband. I even missed my quiet times during the day with my father in law and learning all about his life and his family and my husband's heritage.

Monday was busy and started early and ended with a client reception at Rockefeller Square in NYC......yes, again fun - we went ice skating and I didn't fall, and actually felt good about my ability to do this sport. Some of my collegues fell and others just gave up before they started. Yet, again, 11PM return to the hotel and I was missing my family!

Tuesday was a whirlwind....go, go, go and never stopping. Wednesday a bit more relaxed and some time to breath, but I sure did miss my family!

I finally boarded the plane for home and just couldn't wait to see my family and settle into the comfort of home! I made it safely home and couldn't believe that my husband had planned a huge family event for Saturday with his family. A going away party for his father who was heading home to Florida. Normally I would not want people over as I had just been away for a week, I would fret about the condition of the house and want everything to be perfect. This week I just took it all in and hoped for the best.

Then on Friday evening, my wonderful husband made a bonfire in our firepit and we got to sit outside and enjoy the mild weather for Upstate NY. My daughter had a friend over and we had a great evening. I even realized that sometimes the simple things mean so much. Wait....who is this person writing this?

Saturday came and went and I had a great time. No one cared if the house was clean or normal lived in clutter and the world didn't come to an end because we ran out of something. My oldest stepson came over too and it just goes to prove that sometimes life has a way of working out the kinks and coming to rest at an even keel.

So, here we sit, less than 3 days before my father in law heads home and I find that I'm having a hard time giving up what I thought I wanted to have happen. A week ago, I was anxious for him to get back on his own and back to his life, and for us to get back to our little world. Today, I find that our lives have so entwined that there will be a gap with his leaving. My mind, knows that he needs this, yet my heart is being greedy all of a sudden and doesn't want him to leave. Isn't it wierd? Maybe there really is something to be said about the simplicity of our ancestors way of life, their values and their quality of life.

In any event, I'm glad to be home! Being away with little responsibility other than work, has made me appreciate my family and I know that I would never want to be any place else right now tother han home!

Treasure every moment my friends! They truly are all very precious.

Carpe Diem!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Jan 12th - Night time rituals

I just put my daughter to bed and there is nothing like those quiet "snuggle moments" before your child goes to sleep. My daughter and I have this nightime ritual that has been going on since she was very small.

One day we had been playing outside in the snow and we had made snow angels and snowmen. The next day it got warm and our snowmen started to melt. She was sad that evening and asked if mommy's melt or go away like snowmen and I said of course we don't. We are not made of snow, and we stay around for a long time. Erin thought about that for a bit and then before she turned over to snuggle down she gave me this huge hug and kiss and said "I love you forever, and I hope you don't melt. See you in the morning." And thus was born our evening ritual. No matter if I am travelling or home, we end each of our nights the same.....big hugs, kisses when I am home, or kisses to the phone when I am travelling and then "I love you forever, and I hope you don't melt....I love you forever and I'll see you in the morning!"

We have been saying this now for years and I never tire of hearing those words. I love time spent with my daughter, but those special snuggle times are definately some of the best. Treasured times and special words that hold so much meaning for us.

So have a great evening, and I hope you don't melt and I'll see you in the AM.

Good nite.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Jan 11th - I Wish you Enough...

Another dreary cloudy day here is Syracuse, but it's ok. We are having one of those lazy Sunday mornings where you drink coffee, stay in your jammies and just flit from activity to activity. This AM I have downloaded some pictures that I want to use for a Scrapbooking weekend that I am going to next weekend, I've read the updates on my favorite blogs and I've gone onto Ravelry Knitting website to catch up on my groups and get more inspiration for my Christmas 2009 gifts. This is the site to end all sites and is giving me divine inspiration for those lovely Holiday gifts and those special hand made gifts that I love to give throughout the year. I found a great little cardigan for my daughter for this year's gifts
She is just going to love it....maybe in deep purple or something. She is wanting those fingerless mittens too, so that is on my list to surf for next. Maybe in a really soft cashmere. We'll see.

While I was surfing around, I found a great poem that I had not seen in quite a bit...but it was sent to me a while ago. It was so beautiful, and I remember keeping the words, but in the world of technology, they were lost during a computer crash I had a bit back (note to self - remember to journal things down in writing somewhere). I can't take the credit for this as it is a copyright by Bob Perks, but it has been written on cards and in stories. It goes something like this....I wish you enough.
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess
I wish you enough "Hello's" to get your through the final "Goodbye"

You can find more of the details here:

Well, I'm off to finally ease into the day, get dressed, maybe do a few things with my daughter, and then make some applesauce for the week and we'll see from there.....

So for today.....I wish you enough.....

Have a great inspiring day!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Jan 9th - Taking the Leap to Blog

January 9, 2008

Well, I've taken the leap and started blogging. I wanted to see what all of the buzz was about and I visited a few sites that my friends have started and found that I'm hooked, so here is my attempt. What was the inpiration for my blog - sunshine. Or, for those of us that live in Upstate NY, the lack thereof in the winter months. I never understood how wonderful sunshine makes you feel until I moved up here and lived through my first "grey" winter. Don't get me wrong, there is a great deal to be said for snuggling up on a cold and windy day with a good book, a blazing fire and a wonderful friend or family to share it with, but like anything else, too much of something isn't always good either. So, here it is folks....Wants2CSunshine! My blog, like sunshine, will hopefully make me smile and feel good about each day and what I have to be thankful for in my life. I hope that if you read this and follow this, you too can smile and leave with a good feeling about things around you.