Tag Archives: United States

Uncle Garry and the Heartbreakers

In August, I wrote a blog post about my Uncle Garry.  I am thinking of him with love tonight and want to repost this again today.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

This summer, we went to see my Uncle Garry play in his band at the Broadalbin Hotel in Broad Albin by Sacandaga Lake.  He plays every Sunday.  The audience was a bit older than we were, but that didn’t stop one spry fellow to demonstrate his dancing prowess by throwing (literally) his dance partners during the square dance routine.  I am admittedly not versed in the art of square dancing, but up until that night I was not aware that there was a move that required the female partner to become airborne.  After a mild injury and an angry wife’s wrath (who was not the woman he was throwing up in the air) the fellow was persuaded to conclude this activity.  It was a HOOT.

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We had such a good time at this event!   My uncle has played guitar his whole life, yet as I sat there, I couldn’t remember ever hearing him play.  It was so nice just to watch him.  About six songs into the set, Uncle Garry started to sing.  Sing!  All of the ladies got really quiet and started “shushing” people so they could listen.  All at once I could see why.  Uncle Garry has got a set of pipes on him.  Dang, that boy can sing.  How had I missed this for so long!? 

Take a listen.  I am no videographer (obviously) so I apologize for the terrible quality.  

It is only a matter of time before Jay Leno sees this. 

What I loved about the evening is seeing a side of my Uncle that I could appreciate as an adult.  I love this guy and I am so glad to see him doing something that he loves so much and is so darned good at. 

To some he may just be an average Joe, but to many he is a celebrity in the Adirondacks

But more importantly, he is my uncle, who I love very much.  I am thinking of him tonight with love and prayers.

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1st Grade

Here is what I’d like to know:  I’d like to know when I will be able to drop my son off for the first day of school and not come home in tears.  All of the other parents are happy and care free and I am sad that my boy is now away from me for the better part of the day until next June. 

YUCK.

I like my kid.  He is really cool.  I miss him when he is gone. ~~sniff, sniff~~

I know that makes me sad and pathetic. 

Tomorrow will be better.

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Uncle Garry and The Heartbreakers

On the first full day of Brit’s visit we went to see my Uncle Garry play in his band at the Broadalbin Hotel in Broad Albin by Sacandaga Lake.  He plays every Sunday.  The audience was a bit older than we were, but that didn’t stop one spry fellow to demonstrate his dancing prowess by throwing (literally) his dance partners during the square dance routine.  I am admittedly not versed in the art of square dancing, but up until that night I was not aware that there was a move that required the female partner to become airborne.  After a mild injury and an angry wife’s wrath (who was not the woman he was throwing up in the air) the fellow was persuaded to conclude this activity.  It was a HOOT.

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We had such a good time at this event!   My uncle has played guitar his whole life, yet as I sat there, I couldn’t remember ever hearing him play.  It was so nice just to watch him.  About six songs into the set, Uncle Garry started to sing.  Sing!  All of the ladies got really quiet and started “shushing” people so they could listen.  All at once I could see why.  Uncle Garry has got a set of pipes on him.  Dang, that boy can sing.  How had I missed this for so long!? 

Take a listen.  I am no videographer (obviously) so I apologize for the terrible quality.  

It is only a matter of time before Jay Leno sees this. 

What I loved about the evening is seeing a side of my Uncle that I could appreciate as an adult.  I love this guy and I am so glad to see him doing something that he loves so much and is so darned good at. 

To some he may just be an average Joe, but to many he is a celebrity in the Adirondacks.

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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. 

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Genuine gratitude for men braver than me

This is Memorial Day weekend.  It is a time to give thanks to all of the soldiers who have served honorably, who have passed.  I am grateful for the liberties they have provided to us.  In my opinion it is also a time to think of those who are uncomfortably overseas as I write this.  Two very dear friends of mine are in Afghanistan at this very moment.   I love them deeply.  I spent last Memorial Day with them by a campfire and they will be missed this year.  I will be thinking of them, missing them and giving thanks to them this weekend just as I do every day.

This was a good day for me to reflect on gratitude.  In my darkest hour, I can always find strength in gratitude.  My problems seem insurmountable  and my heart is heavy with matters that are just outside of my control right now.  Somehow, when I think of our soldiers, their bravery gives me strength to face whatever life throws my way.  I am grateful for that.  I am grateful for them.

I am grateful for my son and most of all, today and every day I am incredibly grateful for my amazing husband who is MY brave soldier. 

Nothing will ever change that.

May your holiday weekend be filled with wonderful memories and gratitude all your own.

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Asra Nomani – Part Two

When Asra Nomani finished her speech she allowed offered a question and answer session.  Angry members of the audience took this opportunity to voice their opposition against Asra and her mission.  At first I was annoyed because of the rude nature of their questioning and then all at once I became very afraid.  I remembered the distracted guard.  I heard noises that indicated that the main entrance was not the only point of entry and perhaps someone could have slipped in the side door that would have terrible intentions.  I tried to calm myself with the fact that I have an exceedingly active imagination and I was in no real danger.  I just did not feel safe. My gaze darted around the room in paranoia as I tried to distinguish if anyone among the sea of faces would be the person that would intend to make good on their death threat against Asra Nomani. 

I have wondered often what people are thinking of right before they are victim to violence or terrorism.  Are they at peace?  Do they have a sense of foreboding?  With death as a certainty in each of our lives we may imagine what will lead to that event.  Do the victims of an attack say “Oh, this is it.  This is how I am meant to go.”  Because I thought that.  I wondered if Asra Nomani had thoughts of her own running through her head each time she led a discussion. 

My professor was the host for the evening.  He diplomatically wrapped up the Q&A session when he felt that it was appropriate.  As people filed out and fished for their car keys with the intention to return to their lives I felt the apprehension lift from me.

The evening ended with the only harm being at the hands of my own imagination.  I bought both of her books and stayed behind to have her sign my copy.  She spoke to me as she signed my book.  She asked me about myself and learned quickly that I had a son a year younger than her own. 

She looked deep into my eyes and asked me what role I take to ensure that my son is not brought up to perpetuate gender inequality.

Good question.

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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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The Arizona Hangover

Coming home after a vacation is analogous to hangover.  While you were having fun, you gave little thought of tomorrow.  Then the morning comes and while you are reaching for the aspirin and the Visine, you regret the spirits of the night before.

The time change is only fun when you gain time.  Not when you lose it.  Thus, on the day we left we were on Arizona time all day and got in too late at night to feel rested the next day.  For two days, my house looked like the aftermath of a hurricane sight. Maria (my imaginary maid) has inconveniently taken a sabbatical.  My house is less welcoming to me when it is a disaster.  For days, I had a total disinterest in tidying it up.

It took me all weekend to get that motivation.

So let’s assess the damage of the Arizona hangover:

  • An unkempt house.  An unkempt mom / wife.  All weekend, I looked worse than my living room, which by the way was decorated in luggage that has been opened and rummaged through in a fitful attempt to fish out needed items.  I had to laugh when I thought of my last post.  It was all nostalgic about my desire to return home. 
  • Neglected pets. I think one or both of the hermit crabs did not fare well being on their own for a week.  I am contemplating on whether to conduct a private investigation and subsequent funeral when my son is at school.  The last hermit crab funeral was awful.  I was not ready to face the questions about heaven and God again today.  Maybe he’ll just forget about his little shelled pets. 

Yeah, right.

  • A weary child. For two days, son came home with bloodshot eyes, a head he couldn’t hold upright and a wad of homework that made my stomach flip.  It was all due today.  All of my neglected housework and his schoolwork had to be immediately attended to.  The weekend was a blast. 
  • Mail, mail, mail.  Bills, bills, bills.

So I am finally starting to feel a bit better.  At least his homework is done and my living room is… well livable again.  

Next task for me is to just get caught up on the bills today, go to class and then make a list of all the things I need to do for my school to get myself back on track.  Sounds lovely.

I really adjusted gracefully to the return home.  Can’t you tell?

Despite the Arizona hangover, it was still so worth it.

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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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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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