How we watch The Nutcracker for free

File under: FraBloPoMo

So today's theme is holidays...on November 9th. Mmm, OK. It seems a little early for holiday spirit, unless you're talking about Veterans Day. I was thinking I would just come up with a substitute theme for today and then something very serendipitous happened.

Greta wanted to go to Barnes and Noble, so we headed over there and saw a sign saying the Rochester City Ballet would be there to read The Nutcracker and perform portions of the ballet. It was 6:45 when we read the sign, and they were starting at 7. Quelle surprise!

So we headed up and got great seats. After the performance, the dancers stuck around to sign autographs.

Greta (shockingly) wasn't shy about getting all their autographs. Here is Greta meeting Clara.

And here is a picture of just about all the dancers who were there tonight.

My Grandma Ruth used to take me to see The Nutcracker ballet when I was little, and I'm a big ballet fan. I couldn't wait to take Greta to see it once she was old enough. This year will be Greta's third time seeing it, and we (well, I, at least) can't wait. It's one of my favorite holiday traditions. I'll take Greta as long as she is willing to go with me.

Also, happy early Veterans Day.


To sleep, perchance to dream

File under: FraBloPoMo

Today's theme is sleep, something everyone in this house with the exception of Ruby doesn't get enough of. Working from home I see Ruby snoozing all day long, and I know cats are nocturnal, but I swear she sleeps all night too.

The whole thing makes me really, really jealous.

Editor's note: I just remembered I'm supposed to something involving gratitude. Uhhh...I guess I'll just say I'm grateful at least someone in the house gets enough sleep.



File under: FraBloPoMo

Today's theme is innovation. It took me a while to come up with something to show / talk about for innovation, but then if finally hit me. The best part is this is something I'm very proud of, so I'm thrilled to share this.

In September we went to the Greentopia Festival, and they had quite a few kid-friendly activities. We met this wonderful woman with a scrap art table, and she was very generous with her time, ideas, and supplies. She gave Greta a bin of deconstructed silk flowers and a metal brad, and she showed Greta how to layer petals to make a big, cool flower. She let Greta add some more embellishments and helped her tie a ribbon on the back so she could tie it around her bun. I couldn't believe how cool it came out with some simple supplies that had been collected here and there.

Greta had so much fun making it we went to a craft store the next day and bought the same supplies. Greta has been making them like crazy, and each new batch boggles my mind.

She has been wearing them around a lot and gets tons of compliments. Her teacher even asked if she could borrow one and wore it around for the day.

We have so many at this point I am considering setting up some sort of sale so Greta can start her own little business. What do you think? Should she start selling them?

Oh, speaking of innovation, we went to some hellacious dance supply store and I was ticked because it took us almost an hour to get there they didn't even have what we came for, and then the owner was like, "Oh! I have something that will be perfect for your daughter's hair." I was wound so tight I was thinking it had better change my life or I was going to give her my patented icy-cold stare and then walk out, and then she whipped Greta's hair up into a beautiful, perfect bun in about 10 seconds. I bought one on the spot. It's called a Whirl-a-Style, and it's awesome. We use it all the time, and it brings me great joy, especially because Greta's dance studio requires her to wear her hair in a bun for class.

Innovation. Boom.



File under: FraBloPoMo

Today's theme is memories.

It's Election Day, of course, and I can't help but think a lot about Election Day four years ago. I think that President Obama deserves four more years, and I've been glued to the news the last two days, and my nails, which are even ridiculously shorter than usual, reflect how nerve wracking this election has been to me.

I hate to admit I'm pretty superstitious, so I've been wearing my Obama t-shirt from the 2008 election for most of the last 24 hours (ew, I know). I even bought brie cheese to have for a snack tonight because we ate that while we were watching the presidential election results four years ago. (I tried to buy Miller High Life because that's what we were drinking that night, but I couldn't find it at Wegmans so I got Genesee instead; if Romney wins, it was clearly my beer purchase.)

I took Greta with me to vote tonight, and she was very excited to be part of the election.

Four more years! Four more years!

Greta and I were glued to the TV early on in the evening. She wasn't very happy about going to bed tonight.

OK, and things are getting really juicy, so I'm not very good at multitasking right now.

I'll leave you with this from four years ago. If you don't like that, perhaps you will prefer this. Happy memories.


She had the knowledge to get her into college

File under: FraBloPoMo

Today's theme is knowledge.

I've lived 10 minutes from my alma mater for the last 13 years, but until recently I could count on one hand the number of times I visited the campus after graduation. I had some at least mildly hard feelings about the education I received there. I just feel like what I've achieved since college I achieved on my own with hard work, and part of that has to do with the college's brand, what it offered, and what I did with the college experience (I worked hard and didn't party, but I basically feel like I explored my hobbies there and not much more). For years I've wondered why I stayed there, aside from the fact that I had some really fantastic friends and any time I considered transferring professors pushed for me to stay.

About a year ago I went to a dance performance there and walked around by myself afterwards. Walking across the (very small) campus, I could completely understand why I went there and stayed. It's beautiful and has that awesome collegiate feel. Superficial? Yes. But it explained a lot of things.

I signed Greta up for the Saturday art program at Nazareth this year, which has been great. Greta has been having fun, and I thoroughly enjoy finding a different place to spend and hour and a half reading on campus each week. I am totally smitten.

I went back to my roots and spent some time in the library.

I also found this familiar little reading nook.

I am also totally fascinated by the arts center, which is where I spent the majority of my junior and senior years. Certain areas are super fancy now and then you turn the corner into the music wing or art wing and it's a total 70s throwback (and looks EXACTLY the same as it did when I was there). I love it.

Anyway, I am happy that I've made peace with my decision to go there, for better or worse, and I am thankful that I've made my way and had endless opportunities along the way in my professional life to learn and grow and be successful at what I do.

As a bonus, here is a picture of Greta from the art show this past weekend.

I still have great plans for her to go to RIT (err, I mean, wherever she wants to go) when the time comes, but I'm glad she is getting to know my alma mater's campus too.


Clothing, friends, and family

File under: FraBloPoMo

Hello, friends. Today's theme is clothing.

I may be partial, but I consider Greta a pretty snappy dresser. We get most of her clothes at Target, Old Navy, and H&M, which are nothing special, but we try to pick out fun things that aren't your typical six-year-old clothing items. Our Forever 21 has a girls' section, and we've gotten a couple cute things there too.

Two of my recent favorites are a plaid dress and a Beatles t-shirt, both from H&M.

She's a pretty fun model too.

In other news, today was sort of a sad, hard day. We went to a memorial for our friend Alex's dad who recently lost his battle with cancer. We also got some distressing news about a family member's health today. Hold your loved ones a little tighter than usual today, my friends.


Nature up in this piece

File under: FraBloPoMo

Today's topic is nature.

This one's easy. I took these pictures the last two weekends.

Two weeks ago we went camping in Old Forge. I use the term camping loosely because we stayed in a heated cottage with heat, running water, and beds, but it was at a campgrounds, so I'm counting it. Also, the campgrounds lost power for a little while one of the nights we were there, and it was pitch black and really cold for those 20 long minutes.

While we were in Old Forge we hiked Bald Mountain, which was Greta's and my first mountain hike. Pat had hiked this mountain several times. We all loved it, and the view was wonderful. I feel like my photos don't come close to capturing the greatness, but here you go.

Then last week we went to Chimney Bluffs, where the view was even more impressive than what we saw in Old Forge. Chimney Bluffs is only about an hour from Rochester, but it made me feel like I was thousands of miles away. I don't even understand how we can have structures like this in an environment so close to home. It was pouring rain the entire time during our four-mile walk, so we can't wait to go back during better weather.

I am so thankful to have such beautiful sights relatively close to home and a family that loves to get out and see them with me.



File under: FraBloPoMo

Today's prompt is technology.

So, if there's something I love more than words, it's technology. GPS alone has improved my life by 50 bajillion percent. I used to get so, so, so lost, like I'm-in-the-wrong-county lost. Now I just get average sentient being lost (but a little more than that), but really, GPS is awesome. I really appreciate it. And don't even get me started on the smartphone. Can you say distraction? I mean, hello?!

As much as I love technology and even though it's basically everywhere, I couldn't seem to figure out a decent picture to get of "technology." I did, however, take my usual daily pictures of nonsense. For the sake of bein' fancy, I'll call this genre of photos I take "curiosities."

I'm grateful for odd stuff.

This is a picture of something Greta made for Pat. It's a butterfly, sez Greta. A butterfly comprising a semideflated pink balloon, giant curly eye lashes, huge chompers, pink duct tape, and purple hearts for ears. It's semicreepy and I love it.

Unrelated, I needed approximately two things (beer and cereal) tonight, and so I went to gross Tops because it's super close to our house. Going to Tops is always ridiculous, for several reasons. This is reason #512.

A chef pig? Old West font? What does it even mean?? I don't know, but I was happy to document it.

Oh, if you're wondering about my typo in the title, it's barely a typo. Whenever I hear the word technology, I think of this clip from Ali G.


Words, words, words

File under: FraBloPoMo

In an attempt to get out of my nonposting funk, I was considering signing up for NaBloPoMo, which I did couple times and had lots of fun with. NaBloPoMo, an offshoot of NaNoWriMo, which I did two year ago, traditionally occurred during the month of November. I found out today that NaBloPoMo, while it still exists, is not what it used to be. It's run by BlogHer, and when I went to that site I saw article titles like "Are You a Chill Mom?" and then I snickered and went on my way.

A friend recommended taking part of the Positively Present 30-Day Gratitude Challenge. That's not 100% up my alley, but the idea prompts sound pretty good and all I want to do is dust off my internal narrator and get posting again. So, I decided to post every day, but not with any particular challenge. I guess you could say this month I'm doing FraBloPoMo (SoThereYaGo).

Because I'm totally rusty, I'm going with the Positively Present prompt today, which is "words."

As an editor, words are pretty near and dear to me. I spend several hours a day reading and rewriting words. And most of my favorite hobbies involve reading. Sometimes I have trouble staying awake for movies, but if Pat puts the subtitles on, I can't resist reading them, which keeps me engaged and awake. I've been known to read shampoo bottles just to have something to read.

This is a picture of part of the first page of my manuscript I wrote starting two years ago today, a day I felt super excited and full of promise. I told myself going in that I would feel content just writing a 50,000+ word manuscript, even if I never did anything else with it, but two years later, with almost none of it edited, I feel sort of like a loser, but alas. I call this one NaNoFailureMo.

To get to the gratitude part, Greta has transitioned amazingly well to first grade, which is actually sort of a shock to me. It was like pulling teeth trying to get her to read or do anything sort of educational before, but whatever her teacher is doing seems to be making things palatable enough that she is finally taking to school. Last week she started coming home with word lists for spelling tests, and I was shocked the first time I quizzed her on her words. She nailed them. Her teacher is using some sort of new reading program, and I can only assume it involves some form of magic. She also has such good penmanship, eh?

All right, well, this post is far from Hamlet (did you catch the association with the blog title?), but it's something!

Oh, also with the words things, being a word nerd, I have a huge appreciation for Latin. I often see lorem ipsum as placeholder text and always wondered what the significance is. It's not quite as thoughtful as I'd anticipated, but here you go.


Where the fun never stops*

File under: travel

Hey there, cats and kittens! It has been a busy summer already. Last week Greta had a break between kindergarten and the start of summer camp, so Pat took a few days off with her and my mom came out to fill in the gaps while I worked it was my job. (Whoever decided to put the end the fiscal year in summer is just a jerk.)

Pat and Greta took their Second Annual Father-Daughter Road Trip to Enchanted Forest during their time off. You may remember such road trips from last year.

The weather was super cold and so they didn't participate in the "water safari" portion of the park, but they had a great time nonetheless.

Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dumb, and  Tweedle Super Smart and Awesome (L to R)

This is Greta's new mom (since I chose work over family).

Enchanted Forest closed down early their second and final day of the trip, so Pat and Greta had lunch with the famous Vienneau and went to Fort Stanwix National Monument in Rome, New York, on the way home.


* Except when it's chilly and they feel like closing the park early.



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