September 2007

What apple orchard did we go to this week?

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Funny you ask. We went to Beak & Skiff, the mother of all apple orchards. Yes, thee Beak & Skiff that you've heard me mention more often than any normal person mentions apple orchards. We went out to Skaneateles on Saturday to Taryn and Todd's and then we met Taryn's sisters and mom and my parents there. You know that I like to complain, so I do have to say that B&S has gotten extremely popular, so it was SO CROWDED. We still managed to take a wagon ride; pick apples; and consume apple fritters, French fries (Pat doesn't understand that eating French fries at B&S is kind of sacrilege because there are so many other offerings from the bounty of the season, but I let it slide because I was extremely hungry and they were actually very delicious), cider, and cheese curds. Greta loved everything and she devoured as much of an apple as she could before Pat noticed that she ate the stem and part of the core and took it away. Greta also ate the most cheese in one setting that I've ever seen a toddler eat. I was kind of worried she wouldn't poop for a week, but everything turned out a-ok on that front, thankfully.

Grandma McCarthy holding Greta holding an apple.

In the below picture Greta is wearing her "Expert Apple Picker" sticker, a very prestigious title indeed.

The Reed Family: Greta stuffing her face with cheese curds

Another exciting part about our trip to B&S is that we ran into a friend of, Katie, and her beautiful daughter Addie. (You may remember seeing pictures of Addie in the comments section here and there.) I am amazed that Katie spotted us since that place, in a word, is bustling. Thanks for saying hi, Katie! I hope you enjoyed your time there!

Later in the day I went to a baby shower for Taryn that her sisters threw for her. I had fun helping out and spending time with Taryn and her family. Having lived in Rochester for the last 12 years (holy crap, 12 years!), I've been quite out of the loop with things at "home." I love going to old friends' weddings and showers and whatnot and catching up with their siblings. Everyone seems so amazingly grown up (of course) and like such good, productive members of society. I hadn't even been to Taryn's parent's house in probably 6 years, and I asked to see her childhood bedroom. It looked totally different because her parents had turned it into a guest room, but then Taryn opened her closet and it was like a portal to the past, including Led Zepelin and Reality Bites posters and other funny little collages and drawings we made. It made me so happy.

For those of you who have ever had Pat and me as overnight guests (or maybe even a guest for a mere couple hours), you probably know that we are notorious for leaving belongings at people's homes. This past visit must have been a record. We were in Skaneateles for about 6 1/2 hours, and we (I) managed to leave our camera at Taryn's parent's house and leave two shirts, a pair of jeans, and a pair of socks and shoes at Taryn and Todd's house. It's truly an art form. At least I remembered to get our phone charger back that we left after our last visit there. Heh.

Thankfully my parents documented the Beak & Skiff trip, so I don't need to work with stock photos from the archive or delve into our folder of random odd photos we've collected over the years. Okay, well here's a couple just for kicks.


I hope everyone had a lovely fallriffic weekend.


2007-09-23 21:32:53

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This week was a little rough, but it ended on a high note. Greta came down with a cold this past week with a horrid cough, fever, and an ear infection. The word on the street is that amoxicillin is easy peasy to give kids. Greta says otherwise. You would think we were trying to feed her Satan’s sputum by her response of spitting and gagging. After talking to two different pediatricians, a pharmacist, a mommy, and consulting numerous websites, we tried many different Trojan horse methods of getting her to take the amoxicillin, none of which worked. We finally decided brute force is the way to go. Pray for us.

We had Greta's 18-month appointment earlier this week. Other than the ear infection, she had a clean bill of health. Here are the stats:

  • Weight - 23 lbs, 8 oz - 40th percentile
  • Height - 32.5 in - 75th percentile
  • Head Circumference - small (Who really cares about HC?)

Since this week was kind of awful, we'll fast forward to Saturday, when Greta finally started feeling better. Since we had given Greta an IOU to go for a merry-go-round ride, merry-go-round we did. Greta seemed very nervous at first but by the end of the first ride she was eager to get back on. Three rides later Pat and I were feeling a little woozy and Greta was hooked. She was soooo sad to finally leave.

Today, I continued my commitment to love fall and enjoy it to its fullest. Of course today was 75 degrees, sunny, and hardly felt like fall, but we rang in the beginning of fall with utmost seriousness by taking a trip to Green Acre Farms, my favorite apple orchard in Rochester (that I've found so far). They have the most amazing doughnuts I've ever had in my life, lots of entertaining Halloween-themed chochkies, and all of the regulars: apples, apple cider, pumpkins, etc.

Greta loved picking apples and had her first raw apple. She demolished it, loved it so much. It was very cute. Of course I was appropriately nervous the entire time since raw apple presents as a wee bit of a choking hazard, but she just kind of gnawed on it and didn't get greedy with any big bites.

Greta made a friend while we were there.

Can we keep him? (Greta kept kissing the gnome, which is cute and all except that she is very stingy with her kisses with us. Oh well.)


Masticating an apple.

Here is a bonus photo. Greta loves purses, and three purses are better than one, right?


A chance to make a difference

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Our good friend Alex (aka Soup, aka Dr. Al) is participating in the 2008 Ironman challenge in Lake Placid, and he is fundraising for Room to Read. Here is a letter he wrote telling a little about himself as well as his goal to complete the Ironman coupled with his fundraising effort.

Hello friends and family,

In March 2005, I decided to quit my pack-a-day smoking lifestyle. I started running as a method to distract myself from the nicotine withdrawal. One mile at a time and two and a half years later, I have finished 2 marathons and also completed a handful of triathlons ranging from the sprint distance to a half ironman.

This year I decided to up the ante: On July 20th 2008, I will be making my first attempt to complete the Ironman Lake Placid Triathlon. The Ironman is a grueling 140.6-mile journey consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike, and a 26.4-mile run. All must be completed in 17 hours for athletes to earn the coveted title of Ironman.

I want this experience to be more than just crossing the finish line, so to make my Ironman journey more meaningful, I have decided to fundraise for Room To Read.

Room to Read partners with local communities throughout the developing world to establish schools, libraries, and other educational infrastructure. They seek to intervene early in the lives of children in the belief that education is a lifelong gift that empowers people to ultimately improve socioeconomic conditions for their families, communities, countries, and future generations. Through the opportunities that only an education can provide, they strive to break the cycle of poverty, one child at a time.

For more information about Room to Read please go to

I hope I can count on you to help! To donate, please click here.

Thank you,

Alex Tong

Here is a video describing more about Room to Read.

To give you a little background, Pat and I have known Alex since 2001. While many of the people we were hanging out with at that time have changed quite a bit (ourselves included), I vote Alex "Most Changed Since 2001." When I met him, he smoked like a fiend, drank Guinness like it was his job, and ate Wendy's like, well, a pig. (Love ya, Alex.) A few years later, he told me he was going to quit smoking. I admit I was pessimistic that he'd be able to do it, but every couple months he'd report that he still hadn't had a cigarette in X amount of days. I saw on his website that he had cut way back on drinking Guinness, which was the biggest shock by far. I also knew that Alex always hated fish, and then he started eating chirashi on a regular basis, which is basically a big bowl of raw fish over some rice. Then came the marathons and the triathlons, and now the Ironman and this excellent chance to raise money for a great cause. Good luck to you, Alex! Although I think you're a little nutty for wanting to participate in an Ironman, I fully support you!

Please consider going to Alex's donation page and making a contribution. Thanks to all of those who do! As for the rest of you, you all know how karma works. Just sayin'.

PS - Alex, do you remember this?


Happy 18-month birthday, Greta Olive!

File under: birthday | greta

In case you couldn't tell by the title, Greta turned 18 months old today. I can't believe I need to spell things out for you like that. Jokes. For real, though, I can't believe how quickly the last 6 months have flown by. I feel like we were just celebrating her one-year birthday.

When Greta woke up this morning, she had her craziest hairdo to date. Of course I had to document it. After taking her picture, I had to wet the hair and put them back from whence they came. She wasn't too keen on that, so I told her a story about a time when Mommy was a young lassie in college and she had very short hair and some nasty bed head. A friend (?) saw the bed head and called her "Pat Benatard." I told Greta it was not something I ever wanted her to go through; I'm not sure she was convinced, but it distracted her long enough for me to get her hair back in place.

In the evening, to celebrate Greta's milestone, I got her an Ernie balloon and carrot cake cupcakes from Cheesy Eddies. I'm glad Cheesy Eddies finally took action on my threats suggestions to make a full-size cupcake of their delicious carrot cake rather than just their tiny little good-for-nothing carrot cake "bites." We also dressed Greta up in her latest favorite outfit and gave her an I.O.U. to go for a ride on a merry-go-round.

Here is one cute Gretabean on her big day.

Greta oohing and ahhing over her Ernie balloon.

G enjoying some milk out of a fancy tea cup.

More please.

Here's a short video of Greta enjoying a spot of milk. Apparently cupcakes are second fiddle to milk in a sweet cup.

I feel like these last 6 months have been really great. To be honest, I found the first year to be a little stressful. I was always so concerned about doing the "right" thing. Things just feel much more comfortable now, and we have a lot more fun these days. Greta seems generally pleased by the little things in life. She is definitely starting to understand what's funny, and she seems to have a great sense of humor. While Greta is definitely not the most affectionate kid I've ever seen, she loves her mom and dad so much and we get insanely tight hugs, at least one kiss a day, and the most amazing squeals of excitement whenever we're reunited, even after a short trip to the bathroom. How great is that?

On an unrelated note, reason #342 why I am an old lady: I had to get a cortisone shot in my knee. Fun, fun.


Mid-weekend update

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Some of you know that I have a deep love of apple farms, including but not limited to picking apples, drinking cider, making apple pie, and basically all things relating to the fall season. My all-time favorite apple orchard is Beak and Skiff, which is near my hometown, Marcellus. I have been to many apple orchards (okay, maybe 10 tops, but that seems like a lot, considering) and none has held a candle to my beloved Beak and Skiff, but each has its own charm. Today, we bundled up and went to Powers Farm Market in Pittsford.

Here's a nice little family self-portrait of us right before we left.

We had never been to Powers, and it didn't even come close to competing with B&S (although it's really not fair to compare them since Powers is a farm market and B&K is an apple farm), but it did have a fantastic little collection of cute and unique creatures (those crazy multicolored chickens [you know, they're all different colors and they have bouffant feathers - does anyone know what these are??], a turkey, deer, goats, sheep, donkeys) as well as the biggest damn tepees I've ever seen in my life made out of corn husks. Greta was slightly sketched by the animals at first but grew to love them.

She also LOOOOOVED running all over by the tepees. One of her favorite things is being "chased" by me, so I chased her around for a good 10 or 15 minutes.

Chasing Greta...

More chasing Greta...

Oops! Greta took such a spill that she actually got dirt and wood chips in her mouth. Luckily Pat Reed was there to document the scene, with Greta mid-fall.

After a quick recovery (of Pat digging through her mouth and removing debris), we went right back to playing chase.

She was so sad to leave and so were we.


Reason #824 why my job amuses me

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I just said, "Gonorrhea is nothing to clap about." to an MD I work with. I'm so droll!


Mr. Bungle meets A Clockwork Orange

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I just had an MRI on my knee. Has anyone else had one of these? It was one of the most bizarre experiences of my life. It was over 25 minutes of laying down, halfway in the big tube dealy (the MRI scanner). The technician lady offered to let me listen to music through headphones, and I was all about it. I requested classical music thinking that would be lovely and that I would likely take a little snooze. On the contrary, piped over the music (which wasn't classical-classical but some frenetic arrangements) were these crazy, loud noises that I can only image come directly from space (or maybe from Mike Patton). So weird. It felt like I was in A Clockwork Orange and, not coincidentally, I left there with quite a pain in me gulliver. I did not like it, no I did not.

The good news was that I got to keep my pants on for this test. The only blue paper thing I wore was on my head. I'm not expert but I don't even think I needed to wear that hair net thingy.

Also, my appointment was at 7:45 at night, at Highland Hospital, and it was eerily quiet there. Plus, I hadn't been there since I had Greta, which of course was a surreal experience of its own, which got me reminiscing about that. The whole thing was weird, although I'm not sure I'm conveying that well now. I think that MRI shook my brain loose.



2007-09-09 14:44:23

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This was our first weekend in quite some time where we didn't have any planned activities for where we needed to be at any particular time, and it was quite nice.

Friday evening, we ate dinner and then took a nice long walk to Abbott's for frozen custard.

Saturday morning, we met our friend Jen at the public market. We got breakfast sandwiches from the European cheese shop and coffee from Java's. Greta loved sharing my brie and prosciutto bagel sandwich, which really warmed my heart. In the afternoon, we made a quick visit to Webster to see Greta's great-nana and great-paw. They seemed impressed with all of her big new words, including her most perfected two-syllable word, "outside." Saturday evening, we went to the Leshers so Greta and Colin could play for a bit. We put Greta to bed there so the adults could have some quality time together. (For having no official plans at the start of the weekend, we sure managed to *do* an awful lot!)

Today has been a rainy, lazy day. We took our weekly Sunday trip out to breakfast. This morning we ended up at a place called the Mennis Family Restaurant. I was calling it the Mennis to Society Restaurant. After breakfast, we took an impromptu trip to the zoo. We love going to the zoo when it's drizzly out because it's so empty we feel like we own the place, so today was the perfect day to go. We got to see the newest exhibit, the three female meerkats, and got up close to many of the other animals. Greta happily growled at the cougars, the tigers, the penguins (don't ask my why she growls at the cute little penguins), and others.

Here is Greta running away from the big, fake polar bear. Retreat, Greta!

Greta and I are in front of the big fish tank. Since we were the only ones there, we didn't have to hear 500 people (kids and adults alike) go over to the tank and yell, "There's Nemo!!!!"

Greta's new thing is that she gets a big serious look on her face (while still smirking a little), stares you down, and shakes her head. It's quite humorous (to me at least).

In other news, Pat is taking two classes this semester after taking two semesters off. (We all needed a break from school for a little bit.) Things will probably be pretty busy for a while, but after these two classes he'll be a third of the way through his Master's program. Yay, right?

Hope you all had a fabulous weekend.


Caption Contest Award Winner(s) and Honorable Mentions Announced!

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There has been a lot of demand to get the results of the caption contest. Seriously people, cool your jets. I know this has been a very popular contest with an obviously large cash prize, but stop your rioting!!

For real, though, thanks to Soup, Kimmie, Anitra, Lavery, Kensey, Pam, and Melissa for participating!

Get to the chase, right?

The prize for "most creative" caption goes to Melissa for her guess of "All I Ever Needed To Know About Fashion I Learned At Staples." Congratulations, Melissa! Office supplies + fashion = paper shorts. I never would have thought of it, and it made me laugh out loud.

Now, in an unusual turn of events, I am excited to announce that the prize for "most accurate" caption goes to....MELISSA for her guess of "You...switched to a really formal gynecologist." Congratulations again, Melissa! While I didn't wear these shorts at the gynecologist's office, I did wear them at an orthopedist's office. Gynecologist, orthopedist, same thing.

Melissa, your "large cash prize" is actually dinner at Aja on me. The only catch is that you have to eat it with the Reed family, on a Tuesday night.

I also would like to give an honorable mention to Soup for his guess that I was trying out for America's Next Top Model. I loved that. It's really funny on multiple levels. If you've ever watched that show, you know that on the first episode each season there is a competition where they set up a bunch of clothes on a rack in a room and let the girls run in and elbow and claw their way in there to try to put together a fashionable outfit. There is always one girl who gets totally screwed in the process and has to cram her size 4 body into a size 00 dress, or there is basically a scarf and nothing left for her to wear or some such. That being said, and the fact that it came from a real man's man, it was a funny guess. It is also funny because I am basically a midget, and while ANTM does seem to keep some unconventional-looking girls around for at least a few rounds, I doubt they've ever had a 5' 2" gal even make it through the casting call. Soup, your prize is a firm handshake when I see you tomorrow. Don't spend it all in one place!

While this post is extra rambly and I should probably just stop, I should probably mention that I've been having some knee issues, which prompted the visit to the orthopedist. It was a hellish visit and I was stuck in a freezing cold room in those damn paper shorts and heels (I know, bad footwear choice) for over an hour. I was so pissed (yet still amused) that I had to cram the shorts in my purse to bring them home and show them off to Pat and, well, the Internet.

Anyway, next caption contest I promise to find a more compelling picture to work with, and I won't start the contest over a long weekend when people are out doing things with their loved ones and not checking

Peace out!


Finally getting the recognition I so rightfully deserve

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A couple days ago I got a package from my friend Brette. She is an acupuncturist and has some relaxation recordings that she made to "elicit the relaxation response." Since it's apparent that I'm a total stress case but show room for improvement (or so I've inferred), she sent copies along to me. I am very excited to use them. As a super extra bonus, she sent me an award. That's right, and award. See below.

That's for Best Blog Post Title for Your Epidermis is Showing. Yay for me!!! I have to say I thought that title was rather clever, so I'm glad Brette thought so as well.

And then, if that weren't enough, I noticed two friends had linked to us with complimentary synopses.

The Moens Family said, "If we were still in high school, they would be voted most popular." Yes!!

The Larned Family said, "Our friends who've managed to keep cool while parenting a toddler." Double yes!!!

It's like a few virtual pats on the back. Yay for me (and Pat)!