Happy New Year, dear friends. Sorry for the radio silence.
It has been sort of an intense month. Pat's grandfather passed away December 4th. While he seemed ready to go, it was hard to lose him and see the effect on the family. It's really hard for me to talk about such things, so I will take the wimpy way out and won't even try. I will just say he was just a good soul, and I will always think of how warmly he welcomed me into the family and how when Greta was little he used to get down on the floor with her to play, which I thought was awfully sweet for a guy with Navy tattoos.
The shootings in Newtown, CT, shook me, as it shook just about everyone. Trying to explain it to my own six-year-old was just about more than I could take.
Then on Christmas Eve the shootings in Webster, NY, hit close to home. One of the volunteer firefighters was a good friend of Pat's family, and he was even at Pat's grandfather's funeral.
It seems like there is so much sadness in the world, but we do our best to find joy and do a pretty good job at that.
We went to Binghamton for Christmas, and we got spend a lot of quality time with family and saw quite a few friends.
It's sort of funny (not totally funny haha), but Greta and I were super sick the week or so before Christmas. The day we got to Binghamton I realized I was getting worse rather than better, and I ended up going to a walk-in clinic, which was a first for me. The kind doctor gave me a prescription for antibiotics (the kind you can take and still drink alcohol - score!) and told me a couple over-the-counter things to take to help me out. It was a bizarre scene at the CVS that is open 24 hours while we were waiting for my prescription. It was just one of those experiences where everything is hilarious when they probably shouldn't be. We had to wait a while, and Pat was mastering his skills using one of those grabber thingies. Here he is approaching me with it next to the adult diapers. See? Funny.
Also funny, Pat took Greta to the Roberson Museum and Science Center while in Binghamton. I was working at the time and Pat kept texting me ridiculous pictures, this one being my favorite.
On Christmas Day it snowed and Greta wanted to go sledding at the elementary school where Pat used to sled. I know it doesn't look like much, but this little hill was pretty steep.
The day after Christmas we went to Skaneateles to have Xmas festivities with the McCarthys. My dad always gets us a nice care package of wine. I love wine.
One other little gem for you: Greta's black ski mask she got from my brother last year is the gift that keeps giving.
I don't consider myself very crafty as a general rule, but when I go to craft shows during the holidays I see cute, simple projects I feel compelled to try to re-create.
Last weekend I bought a paper star ornament for $6. The string on the ornament promptly fell off, and when I got it home I noticed it wasn't the best craftsmanship ever. I realized I could probably figure out how to make it.
I ended up finding the exact instructions I was looking for here.
I went to Greta's craft drawer (she's craftier than I am), and I actually happened to find the exact same pink chevron paper that the ornament I bought was made out of, which was kind of funny. It's just a loose 12 x 12 inch piece of paper we bought from a craft store, and I cut it into four 6-inch squares, two of which I used for this project.
I whipped up this reproduction in about 5 minutes.
I dare say mine (on the right) looks even better than the original, not that you can tell in the picture, and it cost less than $0.15 to make. Werd!
There is a fish store next door to where Greta takes her drum lessons. And without fail she asks to see the fish. We usually stop in for a few minutes and see all the cool fish. This is guy is by far my favorite. Look how cute!
He/she/it almost makes me want to get a salt water tank (not really).
Wow, so I realized earlier today that it's our 10 year blogiversary! That's right, my friends. Ten years ago today we posted our first of many mediocre blogs. Look how fresh faced!
I asked Pat if he wanted to say a few words on the website and he said, "No, I'm busy doing Drupal upgrades." Well, OK, then! I'm considering removing him as a contributor. I mean, seriously, I don't think he's actually posted anything since 2006, but whatever. I'm giving him one more year. Heed my words, Pat Reed! If a dog can maintain a blog, I think you can.
Anyway, I want to thank you all, friends who still check in, even though I've been pretty terrible about posting in recent years. I don't *think* the comments functionality is broken, so feel free to leave a comment every now and then. ;)
We don't look as fresh faced, but here were are at our usual posts this PM (Pat working on Drupal upgrades, me working on this, and Ruby doing her thing to get some lap QT).
If anyone checked the blog the last two days you may have wondered why I didn't post. Well, this isn't NaBloPoMo, this is FraBloPoMo, which specifically states you post the first 22 days of November, and then you take two days off, and then you post again at least one day, and then you see what happens the last five days of the month. Viva FraBloPoMo!
Seriously, it was a good but busy long weekend and I just wasn't feeling sitting in front of a computer.
I won't go into crazy detail, but we had a chance to spend time with good friends and both sides of our families.
Having drinks with Taryn and Todd in Skaneateles.
Watching the 47th annual McCarthy Turkey Bowl.
Completely avoiding any Black Friday BS.
Going to see the Nutcracker with Greta (especially getting to see our little friend Sophia dance).
Going to Second Storie and seeing friends Tracy and Justin of Happy Owl Glass, as well as the Roc the Arts craft show. (We bought a lot of local goodies this weekend!)
Setting up the Christmas trees. (We have three now; have mercy.)
Stuffing my face with delicious foods all weekend.
The theme for 11/23 was energy, which is ironic because I had none. The theme for 11/24 was adventure. We did not partake in anything adventurous as far as I can tell. The theme for today is beauty. We'll go with that.
So we bought a lot of locally made goods this weekend, as I mentioned. There are too many artisans to mention (read: I'm lazy), but one that caught my eye is Abbey Hendrickson of Aesthetic Outburst. She was at Second Storie selling signed copies of her book You Are Awesome: 21 Crafts to Make You Happy. She was also selling little hand-painted bird ornaments, and I am a TOTAL sucker for bird ornaments. Look how lovely!
We ended up buying two (Greta and I each had to have one). Each year I have Greta make ornaments for relatives, and based on Abbey's birds, I was inspired to get plain white birds from a craft store for her to paint. I think this may be our simplest and most striking ornament project yet. I can't wait to see how they turn out.
Yeah, I'm one of those annoying people who takes pictures of her food before taking a bite. Rather than go with the obvious today, though, I thought I'd talk about my favorite "food" that walks around my neighborhood.
So, not long after moving to this house, I came home one fall evening and saw a motley crew of turkeys in our next-door neighbor's yard. I was in awe. They're so big! And while we do live next to a wooded area, we're not exactly in the country.
We've lived her for over three years and I see they turkeys sometimes multiple times a day, and it just NEVER gets old. I can't not stop to gawk and smile. Look how cute!
Usually we see a half dozen or so largeish turkeys, but this year they have multiplied—literally. There are babies...well, they're called poults, and I love them. I have yet to get any good pictures of them because when they see me they skitter away, but that doesn't stop me from trying whenever I get the chance.
The day Hurricane Sandy came through (which really wasn't bad out here at all), I didn't see them all day and was very relieved to see them the following day.
Oh, and so these turkeys are wild, obvs, and I don't think of them as food per se, but I can't help but think about the turkey that I buy from the store that comes de-feathered and de-boned and in a little plastic package and then I get a little sad. But looking at the more practical side, I guess I just try to be thoughtful about what I eat and what that means to my feathered neighbors. I will totally be eating lots of turkey on Thursday, though. Sorry, dudes.
Also, I saw this article last week and thought it was super random that wild turkeys made NPR news.
We laugh a lot. One of my favorite things about our family is that we have so much fun and laugh so much. And I can be a little, um, intense at times, and I would say the best tool Pat has for balancing and diffusing my bitchiness intensity is bringing humor to pretty much any situation.
Greta has realized she can do the same, and we all just enjoy making each other laugh. One of my proudest moments in Greta's preschool days was during a parent-teacher conference when one of her teachers reported she felt Greta had a sophisticated sense of humor for a four-year-old.
If you haven't seen it, Greta even has her very own Twitter account. I do the documentation, but the words are all hers. Sometimes she's intentionally funny, but I'll admit at this point in the Twitter world she is mostly unintentionally funny.
It's hard to document laughter, but here are a couple recent pictures of my family members attempting (and succeeding at) cracking me up in stores.
And there's that bathrobe again...
And in the super random funny category, Pat and Greta started this ridiculous game where they yell "stripe!" louder and louder in a public place, and whoever yells it the loudest wins. (Pat always wins while I die of embarrassment.)
Today’s theme is change. For a long time Greta hated going shopping, but lately she’s been wanting to go shopping and even go in the dressing room with me, and she offers surprisingly constructive feedback. I have to say I approve of this change.
I was tempted to get a simpla back dress, but Greta talked me into getting this snazzy little number.
And then I liked this one on the hanger but wasn't sure it looked good on me, but Greta approved, so I went for it.
I have to say I’m really happy about my new personal shopper.