31 March 2008

Rochester Rumble

For those interested, I've posted pictures of the kids playing in the Rochester Rumble hockey tournament at Flickr. It was their first travel tournament and we all had a lot of fun. The Bears Club brought seven teams to the contest. Everyone stayed in the same hotel (the one with a pool AND a bar) and there were SO many of us that it gave the impression of living in a small town. You couldn't step into a hallway without running into a Bear or some blue & white hockey gear!

A few poor souls who were not with the Bears were also staying in the hotel. I was waiting for an elevator with a knot of them when, in keeping with my family tradition of running into people in the strangest of places, one of them called my name. I turned and found myself standing with my hairdresser's sister and her son, who were there competing with a team from Buffalo!
Small world...

Rochester is about an hour from Buffalo but a great many people made the trek to see the boys play! It was a lot of fun cheering with aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins. Another family tradition? Cheering signs. Everyone pictured here is from our clan:

Our family made a great addition to the Bears' usually loud cheering section - they fit right in!

21 March 2008

Good Thing He Has Long Arms

Chris' parents gave Ross a digital camera for his 9th birthday. Actually, they sent money so that Ross could go and choose the actual camera himself, a system that Ross was especially fond of. We took him to a store that has a pretty wide range of active demo models and, with a little guidance, Ross decided on an Olympus FE-280. The FE-280 is only slightly bigger than the palm of my hand, so Ross can reach all the buttons with ease and the control interface is simple to understand and navigate. The backside of the camera is almost entirely LCD screen, so images can be enjoyed right away (a HUGE win for the kids, who are usually clamoring to see their picture before you've even snapped it).

Ross stared at the charger for the entire initial charge, dashing to the bathroom only in times of extreme need and always with the near-panicked rush of someone who fears losing his place in a crowded line. As soon as the battery light switched to green, Ross whipped the battery out and began taking pictures. He is very fond of (and already quite good at) arms-length self portraits. I think it helps that he is inheriting his father's freakishly long arms:

Ross also got a great sunset shot in our yard:

19 March 2008

St. Patrick's Day Poetry, by Ross

There once was a Leprechaun named Steve.
He only came out at eve.
One time he left his gold.
And I sold it to the man who was old.
He likes to read.

18 March 2008

March, the Month Without Meals

This month has been flying by in a haze of long workdays spent in the city. The boys like a good guys' night now and then, so they can eat hotdogs or other food items only a guy could love, but there are only so many guys' nights even a guy can handle.

Usually, I plan the guys' nights into the menu so there's only one (or maaaaaybe two) per week, with regular meals (still fast and easy to prepare, but featuring actual food) otherwise. We stock up at the weekend and Chris makes whatever the menu lists. Lately, though, we've been busy or away at the weekends, so shopping gets pushed off to Monday, when I work at home and Chris goes to the lab. Which means shopping gets pushed off until Tuesday, when I'm in the city and Chris is facing a string of guys' nights, for which the stuff we have laying around (pasta and cheese or chicken nuggets and tater tots) will service. Not being home, I can't complain much and we muddle through with maybe a midweek milk run.

Yesterday, with a half-hearted start to a grocery list in my hand, I found myself standing in the kitchen feeling lost. I'd surveyed the provisions on hand and had decided to make the best of a bunch of lasts - last of this kind of spaghetti, last of that kind of spaghetti, last of frozen corn, last of frozen peas, etc. We're starting the third week of not having a solid meal plan and I'm feeling as if we are wandering the abyss. Who knew how attached I've gotten to meal planning? It's been a good long time since the cupboards were bare enough that I couldn't scrape up something in the way of a meal I'd serve to sudden guests. It's not a financial predicament; only a calamity of time and motivation.

Tune in tomorrow when we'll probably feature pancakes (we have eggs and bisquick) or Thursday, when the ground beef might have defrosted and we could chop up some more lasts to manage tacos. Wave to us on Friday as we head out for the weekend again and look for my sorry self wandering the kitchen again on Monday, wishing the grocery fairy would hurry up and figure out where we live. If you're wanting more than some blue cheese stuffed olives and a bowl of Cheddar Jack Cheez-Its, you might want to wait until April to drop by.

08 March 2008

Saturday, What A Day

5:45am - Wakeup (sort of); shower. Think about the happy jig I would do in honor of the last Mites away game, if only I were a little more awake.

6:00am - Lars has huge sneeze. Gob of mucous gets stuck in his throat and he gags a little. Recovers; seems bouncy.

6:05am - Breakfast. Wonder how the children can be so talkative at this hour and how long I can go without actually giving a response.

6:25am - Pile into car; drive to Morristown.

6:55am, 100' from entrance drive to rink - Lars pukes a little.

6:56am: Chris pulls car over in rink driveway but not before Lars pukes a lot.

6:57am: Lars pukes some more, thankfully now outside the car.

6:58am: Another Bears family arrives. Situation is quickly assessed, Ross and Chris go with other family; I wait for Lars to feel a little better and then take him home. We drive with all the windows and the sunroof open. We freeze but it's better than the windows closed option.

7:30am: Lars makes it to the house before the next round.

7:35am: Lars goes to shower. I start laundry and clean car.

7:55am: Lars asks if he can have a granola bar. Uh, no.

04 March 2008

Some Days Deserve A 5-Minute Ovation

  • Start before rooster crows; shower.
  • Offer thanks and praise for 6am opening of local Sbux.
  • Remind self that early train = great parking spot.
  • Laudable Barista gave me an extra Mango-Pineapple Empanada!
  • Remind self that great parking spot is worthless if you are snoozing in the car when the train arrives.
  • Sprint to Eastbound track; board train.
  • Drink about half of latte; watch sunrise.
  • Doze while watching sunrise, spill coffee.
  • Clean up; congratulate self on selection of latte-colored pants.
  • Manage to be late for only one appointment, the one held in my own office, while I was actually there. Figure that one out.
  • Review, discuss, present, review, present, review.
  • Raining! Sprint for train headed west.
  • Head to Kinkos to pick up large prints order and make even larger copies. Kinkos is out of toner. Out of toner?!?
  • Head to Alphagraphics to make really large copies. Alphagraphics' parking lot is flooded and I'm caught out without my hipwaders.
  • Head to Staples to make ridiculously large copies. Wonder if I can expense drive-thru as well as the cost of the prints since this is taking much, much, much too much effort and time and those empanadas were a really long time ago. Decide against an extra trip around the traffic circle in my hunger delirium.
  • Arrive home, boys at hockey. Scarf half a can of peaches with cottage cheese.
  • Take off coat, answer phone, arrange yummy leftover baked chicken & asparagus in toaster oven, set timer, check e-mail.
  • Ding! Turn chicken, which is all gross looking and still cold?
  • Turn on toaster oven, reset timer.
  • Ding! Turn chicken, decide it's warm enough, eat.
  • Boys get home - hang hockey stuff, finish homework, snack, showers, bed.

03 March 2008

Rockin' (or not) my TTDs

Checked off my TTD list:
  • Contact LLBean's about having rolling suitcase handle repaired. They're just going to replace it - great news! Also order matching large-size suitcase since they are discontinuing the style and price is therefore darned cheap. Refrain from adding cute overnighter and wrinkle free blouses.
  • Complete filing for sport insurance related to broken leg incident last summer.
  • Fill out the school Math Survey (Ross)
  • Fill out the school Math Survey (Lars)
  • Create Quizlet Multiplication and Addition fact sets
  • Package the Box-Tops-For-Education and send in
  • Google Map all the places I'm supposed to be this week for work; get depressed by the extreme unlikelihood that I will get anywhere on time.
  • Google Map the appointment that wants to be squeezed in. Laugh out loud when total one-way travel time exceeds 2 hours. Make a note to call and revise the idea of being "squeezed" in.

Still on my TTD list:
  • Find out if my team is doing the tournament in Warminster
  • Get July town day-camp forms (not on website yet)
  • Add 08-09 school calendar to Google calendar
  • Revise taxes since bloody real-estate fund didn't report until the end of FEBRUARY (ugh)
  • Get bloodwork done (becoming critical; appointment to review results is on Monday)
  • Write to Carol (waiting for 3-on-3 game schedule)
  • Get March book group selection & read it. (I'm such a bum)

01 March 2008

Wifer's Delight

Casual dinner! Leftovers of your choice, eaten when you like, probably while reading a magazine. Lars is very fond of showing me ads from New Jersey Magazine for upscale appliances, Vanna White style. Ross usually peruses National Geographic KIDS or Lego Magazine. I have trade publications, Antiques,Scientific American and Traditional Home to choose from. Tonight, I'd gathered the trade publications, figuring I'd whip through them and save the leisure rags for the weekend.

Ross ate while I was warming up my own selections but he hung around the table while I ate, chatting. When I returned to the table after clearing my place, I found Ross deeply absorbed in an article. Closer inspection revealed he was reading the National Fire Protection Association Journal. The cover picture of a burned airplane caught his attention and he'd leafed through the journal until he found the article. When I asked what he was reading about, he told me it was the story of an airplane in trouble - how it was going too fast when it landed and had to take off again, but it didn't get high enough so it crashed into a building and lots of people were killed - more people than in any other crash in Brazil. He needed help with 'tarmac' and 'collision' and referred to Porto Alegre as 'Port Algae'. Not too bad, for just-turned-nine! When he got into the nitty-gritty discovery portion of the research article, he asked me to read it to him and we finished about half before bedtime. We'll pick up again tomorrow - do you suppose the NFPA would object to a Webkinz Goober's Lab bookmark being used in their publication?


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