Tag Archives: New York

The Great Flower Caper – Act I

Bridgette used to live here in New York.  We met in 3rd grade and we were pretty much inseparable until we graduated from high school. 

For those years we were together so much that our names were intertwined in a sing-song way “AliciaandBridgette” whenever anyone was speaking of us or to us.  Brit is the nickname I gave her pretty early on. 

Here are a few things you should know about Brit:

  • She is not your average girl.  That is the coolest thing about her.
  • She is super intelligent, but very down to earth.
  • She trains alligators.  She travels the country with a big van of reptiles in tow. 
  • She is single-handedly one of the most fun, good-hearted, beautiful people I have ever met in my life. 

On the day she is due to arrive, I leave my boys at camp while I go to Albany Airport to pick her up.  Hugs all around.  At the beginning of each trip I am ecstatically happy to see her, but sad I will be back here in only a matter of days to drop her back off.

We get in the car – camp bound.  Or so I think.  She looks me in the eye and says, “I really want some of my grandmother’s lilies.  Hey, want to go back to where I used to live and dig up a few of my grandmother’s lilies?” 

Sure I do. 

All at once I started imagining what our mug shots would look like:


I have lived far too long with a clean criminal record – let’s go.

Picture modification courtesy of http://paulporto.com/.


Filed under adult education, No Adult Left Behind, Summer vacation

Myspace saved my life

Ha ha.  Well, not really but it did improve it a great deal.  I prefer MySpace to Facebook and I cannot understand why I cannot take my 200+ Facebook friends with me. 

A few years back, my cousin set up a MySpace account for me.  As with any social media, I swore I would never use it and BAM! Before I knew it, I was addicted.  Now MySpace is cool – you can view a person’s page and listen to their music.  The coolest thing about it is that it connected me with my best friend, Bridgette.  Geography and time had separated us for too long.  For years I knew what state she lived in, but nothing more than that.   After our reunion on MySpace we started chatting on the phone when we realized that not much had changed between us on our little hiatus.  She still is the only person I can speak to on the telephone for more than 5 straight minutes. 

After we realized that we really missed each other, she planned a trip.  It was awesome.  Then she planned another.  It was even better.  I was on a blog vacation this past week because I was enjoying her third trip to New York.  It was so much fun.  So before I hit the books on my journey into my fall semester I plan to tell you about it.

We are a little bit nuts, so please don’t judge. 

On second thought, judge all you want, we don’t mind.  We kind of expect it.


Filed under adult education, No Adult Left Behind, Summer vacation

Kindergarten Graduation – Part I

Years ago I had a conversation with a friend to whom I told I would not change much after having a child.  She reminds me of this from time to time.

I used to think that scholastic celebrations are completely redundant and unnecessary.  I felt that you celebrated one “graduation” – the real one when you completed 12th grade and MAYBE an 8th grade graduation.  

So we entered September 2009 by placing my son into Kindergarten in one of the finest schools I have the privilege of being associated with.  This adjustment was no small one for us.  I was quite used to having my son all to myself for all hours of the day and I was quite reluctant to share him with the school.  I also did not like the fact that it was an all day Kindergarten.

Let me stop right here and say that I am certified to teach grades 1-9 in the State of New York.  As an educator, I believe that all day Kindergarten helps the children acclimate to the demands of their future years.  I like the staggered approach best, where the pupils attend half day until Christmas break and upon their return they ease into a full day.  However with the school we selected had an all day Kindergarten.  For the first week my heart felt empty due to his absence immediately after I dropped him off.  I have a cool kid and I love him and I missed him something awful.

It turns out that we really weren’t prepared for the demands of Kindergarten.

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The frustration of “seasonal” items in Wal-Mart

Last week it was extraordinarily hot here in upstate, New York.  This weather was so hot that I wanted to run from a body of water directly into air-conditioning, just so I could remind myself of what it feels like to have a chill. 

For a sweltering day of 97 degrees, we made a plan to be poolside – next to my son’s little pool.

I realized that I had left all of my beach towels at camp.  I made a quick run to Wal-Mart to buy a beach towel and a pair of swim shorts for the boy.  That was quite a frustrating trip.  It was the 17th of July, hotter than heck and there were no beach towels to be found in the place.  Why?  It is a seasonal item. 


Yes, you see if you need something while you are in the season that you need it, well then you are out of luck.  This particular Wal-Mart shipped all of their beach towels to a Southern store.  Now, if I’d like a deal on pencils or any other back to school items, I’d be in great luck.

Gosh, school just ended.  Are we always so far ahead of ourselves we can’t even live in the moment?  Does retail help us perpetuate this madness?

I can’t pretend to understand the retail mentality.  I am sure that smart minds are at work laying out the seasonal plan and that somewhere it makes good sense.  For me, on July 17th on a 90+ degree day, not being able to buy a swim suit or a beach towel was perplexing.   

Thank you, Wal-Mart. This time you did live up to your motto, “Save Money, Live Better” because we used a bath towel and an old pair of swim shorts and had a great day. 


Filed under adult education, No Adult Left Behind, Summer vacation

A Dilly of a Camp

I have a predilection with Sacandaga Lake in the Adirondacks in upstate New York.  If you have ever been here you share this addiction. This lake is only about 30 minutes from where I grew up and this close proximity made the lake seem as though it was right in my back yard.  What is cool about this lake is that it is a man made reservoir.  In 1929, five farm villages were evacuated and subsequently flooded to create this lake.  This fact tantalizes the imagination of anyone who visits.   Legends of graveyards that were never adequately removed were a subject of great ghost stories by camp fires.  For years I believed that on a sunny day, if you knew where to look you could see the old steeple of a church at the bottom of the lake. 

Each year my aunt and uncle would rent a cabin for a week or two and my girlfriend and I would be invited to come up and share the camp with her.  These were old fashioned camps that could have been built in the 1950’s that had each their own character.  We’d sleep on cots on the porches after a great camp day.  One year we found an abandoned old camp with a sign that said, “This is a DILLY of a camp”.  What a hoot.  We pretended that this meant it was haunted and had some difficulty sleeping at night with a ghost so close. 

When you think of how short a week is it is hard to believe how one week can be so influential on a person’s life.  Whenever I visit Sacandaga Lake time becomes altered, in the very best possible way.  It stretches out.  The first thing that hits you when you come here is the smell of the air.  It is clean and has a permeation of suntan lotion, lush greenery, pine sap and camp fires.  That right there slows you down, and you stop to notice the beautiful trees that grow so high and sway back and forth in the slightest breeze.

When we spent the week our schedule went like this:  we’d get up obnoxiously early to go fishing and then spend the remainder of the day swimming and basking in the sun.  You would end the day with hot dogs by the fire and then watching an amazing sunset while fishing again. 

Occasionally you would find yourself in a local town getting needed supplies and feeling as if you were taking a step back in time, you would tour all of the mom and pop shops in that town.    

It is no surprise then that early on it became the mission of my husband and I to have a camp of our own one day.  My husband and his dad built ours just a few years ago – right down the road from my other Aunt.  It is a work in progress.  Despite this, we have had such good times with our friends and family here.  Each day I hope that my son looks upon this place with the same nostalgia that I have for camp and for Sacandaga Lake.  My camp is a dilly of a camp – and I love it because it brings me close to this lake.   

The Great Sacandaga Lake is simply part of my soul.  Being here restores my faith in a way that no Cathedral could produce. 


Filed under adult education, No Adult Left Behind, Summer vacation

Elated student on summer vacation!!

What exactly happens when you have set up a blog intended to chronicle your life as an adult student and then summer vacation rolls around?  I guess you are about to find out! 

I can’t really blog about school when I am not there.  I could I suppose.  But I am a student – a REAL student who is deliriously happy and relieved to have the semester behind me.  So as a REAL student, I am going to enjoy a REAL break from blogging about school for the whole month of July.  I have big things to do and none of them involve school.  Here are some of the things on my checklist:  Catch fireflies in a mayonnaise jar, have at least 2 bon fires per week, teach my son how to swim, reach out to 3 of my most neglected friends and catch up, read a half a dozen new books and To Kill a Mockingbird  again, paint, write, lay in the hammock with my boys and read Calvin and Hobbes books, play bocce on Sand Island, make some wine, drink some wine, make sand castles, blow bubbles, catch frogs, have the cheeseburgers over for dinner, take a lazy river ride, go to Lake George on my birthday, stargaze on the dock, watch fireworks while floating, count shooting stars during a meteor storm… well I think you get the idea.

Just like every other student, I am taking a break from thinking about school.  Come join me.  For the next few weeks I will be blogging about whatever strikes my fancy. I hope that you will humor me on my random insane musings. 

What great things do YOU have on your summer to do list?  I would love to hear about them.


Filed under adult education, No Adult Left Behind

My final project for Crisis Management

The Leggacy Winery

My husband and I love wine and we love to sample new wines. We have visited the Finger Lake region in New York a couple of times to go on their various wine tours. It is so much fun and quite a beautiful trip.

Recently we discovered that a winery exists right in our backyard – The Saratoga Winery on Rt. 29 in Saratoga. One weekend we had a babysitter and ventured there with our friends. I loved this place! Better yet, I loved their wines. The Saratoga winery introduced us to a new type of wine called melomels that became my new favorite. They do a really amazing job with these. They are just so delicious.  If you like wine, you should check it out. www.thesaratogawinery.com

In any event during my visit I became intoxicated with the idea of making my own wine. That is how these guys started.

As it happened, my final project in my Crisis Communications class was to put together a crisis plan for a business. The idea is that we are all woefully unprepared for a crisis when it strikes and we should have a plan in place to handle it.

So the Leggacy (play on words using my last name as an inspiration) Winery was born. A fictitious winery inspired by The Saratoga Winery became my imaginary business. The idea is that if you think about as many possible crisis situations that could plague your business, then you are best prepared for a prevention plan to side step that crisis.

This business became very real to me. I started thinking that I could open a winery one day. I put together a really great crisis plan for this winery dealing with everything from customer intoxication to wine taint. I couldn’t stop. It was great fun.

If possible, I try to be practical in my efforts. In this way I like to take a course requirement and turn it into something that I could use one day. Now, I have never made a batch of wine, but I will when the semester is over. I may never open a winery, but maybe I will. I had a great romance with this idea as I developed this crisis plan. It was a really fun assignment.

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Home Sweet Home

This trip was an amazing once in a lifetime experience.  I am so grateful to my in-laws to have given it to me and sacrifice their time and their gas to let me experience it. 

It is time to leave. I must confess that I am a bit excited to get home. 

We all complain of the “daily grind” but I am looking forward to it.  I love the life that we have built for ourselves in New York, with our modest home that is decorated with pictures and trinkets of our experiences together and now joined by our wonderful son.  I like the routine of our life and look forward to getting back to it.

Arizona is by far one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to and I am happy to have been here.  I feel enriched by the experience. 

So I am sad to leave it behind, knowing full well that I will not be back again for a very long time.  I am comforted by the fact that tomorrow night at this time; I will be resting in my soft bed with my clean sheets hugging my big, burly man next to me. 

Just like Dorothy, I know that no matter where I go there is no place like home.

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Filed under adult education, Alicia Legg, Continuing Education, No Adult Left Behind

The Grand Canyon


There is no way that I am skilled enough in my writing abilities to capture the essence of the Grand Canyon.  Prior to our visit, I had hardly thought of it more than just being the biggest hole in the earth and quite frankly, I wanted to go there just to say that I had been there.  After all, it was only about 200 miles away from where we were staying.  It is necessary to go there if you are in Arizona.  As my mother in law says, “It would be like going to Rome and not seeing the Pope”. 

It was awesome.  I loved being there.  Except for being at Sacandaga Lake, it was probably the closest to God that I have ever felt.  

~~As an aside, I am fully aware that these posts make me sound like a total loon, but I haven’t joined a religious cult yet.  I won’t be appearing at your door trying to push off a free bible.  🙂 ~~

Discovery Channel did not do this one justice.  Nothing could.  It was amazing.  I wonder how many people have taken up the study of geology after visiting the canyon. 

It took billions of years to create this majestic place that is unique to any other on the earth.  Standing there, I felt like an insignificant spec in this great universe.  It is similar to the way that I feel when I stare into the sky on a starry night gazing up into the heavens. 

It is the feeling of being so small in a place so large that feels a bit like an out-of-body experience for me.  It reinforces the connection to something larger and the connection that we have with each other.  It is in this way that I patch together a religion all my own.

In the middle of hoards of people, I looked over and caught my husband’s eye.  Oblivious to those around us and without a word, he told me that he was feeling the same way.

This beautiful introspection was ripped from us as a storm blew in and we were pelted with sleet and snow.  Here we were in Arizona and finally I was receiving the snow I had prayed for all winter in New York. 

As we ran for shelter from these blustery, wet winds, we couldn’t help but laugh. 

God has a wicked sense of humor.

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Filed under adult education, Alicia Legg, Continuing Education, No Adult Left Behind

The unexpected beauty found in Sedona, Arizona

On day three of my Arizona visit we headed to Sedona.  It is about an hour or so to drive there from my in-law’s home in Phoenix.  We were promised red mountains and so we all anxiously awaited the view of them.  Postcards and Google pictures simply cannot prepare you for the site of these mountains when you are able to see them personally.  They are spectacular.  This is what I thought all of Arizona would look like before I came here.  These red mountains look to me like enormous, colorful, inverted icicles that are jutting from the earth.  I found myself thinking of Radiator Springs.  If any of you have watched the movie “Cars” then you understand the reference.

Once in the town of Sedona, I am immediately reminded of Lake George, New York.  Lake George is a seasonally popular tourist town that has a tourist strip on one side of the lake.  While there wasn’t a body of water close by, the similarities between the places were quite remarkable considering how far apart these two places are geographically. 

There were some distinctions, naturally.  The very first


place we visited had to be one of the coolest shops I had ever visited.  It had rugs made of the hides of animals such as cows and caribou.  Caribou!  It had the most exquisite leather goods such as purses, wallets and belts made by the local American Indians.  We were greeted by a woman of modest proportions and this only exaggerated her large firearm that was holstered at her hip. 

So that is a little different.

She reminded me a lot of my Aunt Sherry.  I could see my Aunt running this store, working with the local American Indians to showcase and sell their leather wares and jewelry while painting the landscape on her easel in the back – all the while having her “cowboy gun” (as she calls her revolver) strapped to her hip in the same fashion.

I am reading a book called “The Lovely Bones”.  It is a remarkably disturbing book, but there is something beautiful about it.  What makes it beautiful is the view that the dead have on our lives here on earth.  The way that they can see us and feel what we are feeling but can have limited influence on our lives.

I lost my Uncle a few months ago.  Sometimes, I feel that he is with me.  Reading this book is enhancing that feeling.  When I was in Sedona, I felt as though he was walking beside me, pointing my attention here and there.  As if we were seeing this place together for the first time.  In that way, I stood before a shop window admiring the revolvers thinking of him when I spotted a knife.  Not really a knife, but something that represented an arrowhead strapped to a bone of an animal with a leather tie.  It was beautiful.  I was overwhelmed with the desire to buy this for Uncle Don this Christmas.  It was then that I realized he didn’t need it because wherever he was now he could touch and admire these beautiful things at any time he felt like it.  I felt as though he was saying that to me, so I wouldn’t be sad.  My son came up to me at that moment and said, “Uncle Don would have liked it here.”  If I could have spoken at that moment, I would have told him, “Baby, he is already here.”

As we walked down the strip I admired the motorcycles where the people drove without helmets – it is not a law here to wear them as it is in New York – I felt very much at peace. 

Sedona is not a place to live.  It is so remote it is like being on another planet and that makes the people there seem peculiar to me.  However, it is my hope that Aunt Sherry finds her way here one day when she is ready.  It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. 


Filed under adult education, Alicia Legg, Continuing Education, No Adult Left Behind