Monday, June 28, 2010

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Whirlwind Weekend

Good friends Alison and Denys stopped by around lunch time on Saturday on their way to the lake for their vacation week.  We took them out to Peaches Cafe.  We hadn't been seated for 5 minutes when Denys and I took a few diet sodas to the shorts and shirts.  We were soaked and STICKY.  We laugh it off, crack jokes with our server for the rest of our stay and enjoyed a great lunch.

Other friends,  Lori and Howie invited us out for the weekend to help celebrate their oldest son's 2nd birthday.  So, we packed up the new swagger wagon (we bought the Town and Country, not the Sienna, but the video is still worth watching) and headed to Elmira on Saturday afternoon.  When we arrived, we each ordered a great dinner from Gino's Restaurant (if they had a website, I'd link to it).  The veal marsala was excellent.

As we were winding down, I took this photo of Zac at 1 year 364 days old.  It may be the weirdest creepiest photo you've ever seen...somehow it looks like his eyes are closed and the camera can see through his eye lids


Anyways, it was time to turn in so Emiley and I started the motor on our queen sized air mattress in the middle of their living room.  Unpacked and inflated in less than 3 minutes.  I couldn't even get into bed for a good hour and a half after Emiley did.  Sleep just wasn't happening at that point.  I was wide awake.  Sitting on the couch made me think of KM's recent insomnia post.  All in all, I got just over 2 hours sleep Saturday night.

Sunday started with a great breakfast as Howie broke out the waffle iron instead of just plain breaking the waffle iron like the last time we were there.  Other family and friends started arriving for the big birthday party.  In the 8 hours from Zac at 1 year 364 days to Zac at 2 years, the little guy went from demon looking to happy as could be.

The party was going well and everyone was enjoying themselves.  It was now time for Zac to open his presents.  Keep in mind, he could care less about the presents as long as he had one of the 986 balloons that were scattered throughout the house.
After the first gifts were opened, you could hear the two dogs getting into a little bit of a tiff outside.  This was a big turning point in the day.  People that were out on the back deck noticed that the 11 year old pug (that Howie had since he was a puppy), Max, was bleeding.  Others, including Howie, went outside to find Max with a SERIOUS eye injury (Max had lost his left eye in the fall during another tiff with Maggie, their golden)  and a cut on his ear.  This resulted in me driving Howie and Max to the Elmira emergency vet.
The vet was very nice but was VERY confident that the eye would be lost.  She tried to assure Howie that dogs can do very well blind.  At this time Lori and another friend Lloyd showed up.  After several minutes of emotional discussion and deliberation,  it was decided that Max would be put down in the morning....they couldn't bear to do it on Zac's b-day.  Max is being kept 'comfortable' at the emergency clinic until morning.  He was 11, would not have any quality of life, often wore a diaper when inside, and had been a little testy with the 2 boys in the past.....but, it's NEVER an easy decision and I wholeheartedly feel for them tonight.

Needless to say, this had slowed down the celebrating.  I was messaging with Emiley while at the vets and she indicated most of the other guests had left.  When we all got back to the house, the guests (other than immediate family) had left, the kids had been put down for a nap, and the toys and food had been cleaned up and put away.  Zac didn't know the long as a balloon was in reach.
At 3pm, Emiley and I packed the rest of our stuff into our new van and headed back to Albany....anxious to see Shadow after the day's events. 
Remember, I'm on two hours sleep (even writing this) and drove the 3 hours home.  Emiley, who is in the 29th week of pregnancy would ask me random questions throughout the trip to make sure I was staying awake.  I spoke in jibberish and could barely put a working sentence together but we made it.  Shadow got all sorts of extra pets and ear scratches....just because.  Getting Shadow back into the van to come home turned into an ordeal, but it all worked out and at this moment he is sleeping  snoring on his bed

In memory of Max, a great companion and friend, remember to give that 4 legged family member(s) a few extra belly rubs and scratches behind the ear.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Strange Pairings

Each time that Emiley and I have any sort of pasta, I get the 'you have 3 heads' look.  It's not the pasta, it's what I like have to drink with my pasta.  Whether it be spaghetti, ziti, ravioli, or angle hair, I must have a large glass of pink lemonade...not yellow...must be pink lemonade.

This is reminds me that of a second strange pairing that resulted in "That's gross".  I was finishing lunch and had extra peanut butter that I was dipping apples in with only carrots remaining.  So, I started scooping the PB out of the dish with the carrots.  It tasted awesome but again, drew quite a few strange looks.

They aren't things that go together like peanut butter and jelly, cookies and milk or Penn and Teller but for me, they work.

What strange food combinations do you enjoy?  What were others' reactions?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Tipping the scales

I can remember as a kid my grandma and my mom being faithful users of the supermarket produce scales.  They would put 5 peaches in a bag (sidenote:  even then, the plastic produce bags required the proper rubbing together between the thumb and finger...on both ends....before they would open.  God forbid if you got them wet because you'd need an exacto knife to get them open) anyways...they would then scour the produce area looking for the scale.  If it the lever bobbed over the 1lb mark, we only got 4 peaches that trip.

Emiley and I had planned on kabobs for dinner tonight.  Venison for me, chicken for her.  I stopped at the store to get a variety of vegetables that would skewer nicely and taste good grilled.  I spotted the green peppers (for my kabobs only) and had to wait behind a woman that appeared a little older than my mom.  She would pick up a pepper, inspect it for blemishes and then gently place it in the produce scale.  She'd anxiously wait for the lever (is that the right term?) to settle.  Three times, she would remove the pepper from the scale and place it back amongst the pile.  Then it dawned on me, she was looking for a specific weight for her green pepper.  When her third pepper hit the scale, I had to ask "are you looking for a pepper of an exact size?"  She very nicely replied that her recipe called for 1 cup of chopped green pepper and that 1C is the same as 8 oz or half a pound.  Then she scowled and slapped her hand down at some invisible object (you know exactly what I'm talking about don't you?) and said "and I don't like anything to go to waste"

I personally have not used one of these scales in years.  If a pepper is $1.19 per pound, I pick up a pepper, struggle getting the plastic produce bag open and am on my merry way.  I'm never concerned that it's 3/4lb or 2/3lb.  It will get all get used.

I'm curious, does anyone use these supermarket scales anymore?

Oh, and by the way....the kabobs were AWESOME!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

To Facebook or Not to Facebook

I'm getting annoyed with FB.  Not FB itself because it has proven to be very useful in reconnecting with old friends and has proven very valuable for networking...especially for Capital Coexist....but the posts that I see.  Some posts are just ridiculous

Examples of types of posts that I don't like to read and definitely wouldn't post myself.
  • "out--text/cell it"  For some reason I find this to be absolutely ridiculous I must be getting old 
  • _______(insert name) just ate/made ______(insert mundane food i.e. toast).  Good for you, I don't care and now I'm hungry
  • "My boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/significant other is so________(insert disgustingly sweet/angry adjective).  Without a 'why' this type of post serves no purpose to your 'friends'.  If it's meant to be  for one person to compliment them or show how angry you are, why post it on FB?  Seeking attention?
  • Two person conversations that could should have been done by phone (we still use phones, right),  email, text, or IM.
                   Example:   Person 1 "Are you going tonight?
                                    Person 2 "Yes, can I get a ride"  
                                    Person 1 "Sure, I'll pick you up at 6"
                                    Person 2 "great, see you then"
Great, two friends are going to the same place at the same time and one is giving the other a ride...freakin' fantastic....your 134 other 'friends' either aren't going or have to find their own ride...or bike if they are smart health/environment conscious friends

To be fair, there are also types of posts that I enjoy (and am more likely to comment on):
  • links to interesting events/articles/activities  These make for good readings if the topic is of interest  and keep me up to date with local activities and meetings
  • anything cute or embarrassing (especially if it's embarrassing for you) that  kids have done or said. Yes, I laugh at your expense...and think, I'll be there before I know it
  • ______(insert name) just ate/made______(insert some exotic food, great new restaurant or healthy recipe.  Always looking for new food choices both out and and at home
  • Anything that uses @Jason   How can I not be interested if someone took the time to tag me in a post?
  • posts that make me think or laugh until I cry.  I'm likely to laugh first because I probably 'don't get it' but after a while it will come to me
If you post things that fall into the top bullets, don't take offense....I just may not comment (breaks your heart, doesn't it?).

Facebook on my 'friends', Facebook on!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Community Voice

I exercised one of my civic rights duties tonight and went to a community meeting (you'll have to check a Capital Region events calendar to figure out which one) as a resident. My goals were to listen to the presentation and not have to put on my planner hat.

The room had about 40 people including several area elected officials. The Big Shot of a company (for simplicity and to be completely accurate, we'll aptly refer to him as B-S) stood in front of the room with his entourage of consultants and fumbled through a power point presentation in which it was mentioned that traffic including cyclists and pedestrians was the focus (after the expansion of the company, of course).  B-S actually used the term 'those people' when referring to low-income and the large population that does not have access to private transportation.  After several public groans, he opened up the room for questions. Questions focused on everything from neighborhood impact, parking, transit, and noise.  Some asked about bicycle access and parking.  B-S made a comment that no matter what happens, cycling on this particular roadway would be difficult.  He answered more questions about noise and B-S noticed my hand up in the back row.  As he is about to call on me, someone else interrupts and says something positive about cyclists.  B-S  laughs and says "they're taking their life in their hands" and in the same breath he motioned that it was my turn to ask my question.

I opened with "I'm one of those cyclists that will be risking my life on this roadway on my way home tonight (I rode to the meeting)".  B-S dropped his head as he realized he had put his foot in his mouth.  All I could do was silently chuckle as the only thought that came to mind with B-S' message was "You'll shoot your eye out, kid"  I asked my question and strongly encouraged them to consider covered bike parking.  B-S jumped in and said they would have a covered area for bikes.  Whoa!  It was getting dark and I did have to ride home on a fairly busy roadway so I got up, proudly donned my red helmet and made sure my the bottom of my padded spandex shorts could be seen under my 'regular' shorts and made my way to the door.

The ride home was uneventful except that the battery in my bike head light went out about 3/4 a mile from home....reflectors and strobes still fully functioning.

It felt great to have a voice in the community and be able to speak intelligently on a subject of personal interest.  I encourage everyone to attend these types of meetings to be engaged, have a voice, and ensure that people like B-S know that their decisions do have an impact on the community.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Good things come....

A lot of good things today; things that friends are doing trying to help others and make this scary world we live in better.

As work was winding down and I was checking scouring Facebook, an old high school friend had a post about an upcoming bike ride that her and her husband were participating in. The ride benefits Roswell Cancer Institute...a near and dear establishment that holds a special place in my 34 year history. Jonelle is doing the 20 mile route and her fund raising page is for anyone that would like to make a donation. Does it get better than cycling and trying to cure cancer in a single event?

A second person that you have to admire for doing something for the community is Justin Booth who is the man in charge (think Director is his official title) of Green Options Buffalo. The mission of GO Buffalo is to create livable, sustainable, community friendly transportation for the Greater Buffalo area. Notably, Justin has somehow worked it so local breweries are selling Rusty Chain beer and the proceeds help support the cause/community. Being able to socially have a drink and be doing something good is an awesome outreach example. Justin and I work together a lot on bicycle and pedestrian issues and it's great to see someone actually getting things done.

There were also interestingly surprisingly positive discussions at the office today. This doesn't happen everyday, especially with this particular group so it was encouraging (slightly) to have some support for our proposed changes in the use of technology.

Outreach for Capital Coexist is expanding. We've got posters and palm cards that we're giving out for free that highlight the 4 cyclist/motorist education messages. I'm also going to try my hand at some sort of Capital Coexist podcast...wish me luck!