Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Rapids of Moose River Posted by Hello
Sometimes in life, you have to ride the rapids. I am not usually a risk taker. I live my life pretty controlled and like things to go as expected. The older I get, the more of a control freak I am. We took the girls this summer on a canoe outing in Old Forge. We rented a nice canoe and canoed the middle branch of the Moose River. Although Brian and I have canoed and kayaked, we have not done it recently, or with the girls. This part of the Moose River is normally pretty calm, which is why we choose it. However, when we left the canoe rental shop, we were told that due to the rain, there were some riffles on the last part of the paddle, just before we were going to take out and ride the Adirondack Rail Road. He sounded so casual about it, so we grabbed the equipment, put on and left.
The trip was awesome. We were the only ones on the river. It was a beautiful day, not too hot, and the scenery of the Adirondacks was amazing. We took out and carried around the dam, and ate lunch in a nice flat here. We put back on and were enjoying a nice swift current when we head the riffles before we saw them. Funny, they sounded like rapids. No problem, the guy said we could carry around them and put back on. We rounded the corner and saw the riffles. Riffles my ass, these things were genuine rapids. They roar was loud, as was the beating of my heart. We decided to take out and carry, only the current was too swift, we couldn't aim at the carry out spot. We were heading into the rapids. Brian yelled "hold on." I was in front, the muscle woman digging in and paddling. Brian was doing the steering, thankfully, because I wouldn't have been strong enough or quick enough to steer us. We saw the spot where we had to take out and carry up the hill to the train stop. We realized that if we missed it, there would be no train, and we would be in even more rapids. We had no idea what lie ahead on the river or how to get back, so we manuevered the canoe and prayed. I kind of felt like we were just along for the ride. The girls were freaking out. Miranda said " We should have never come." Anna said " I want to get OUT." I was feeling the same way.
Somehow, we managed to ride the rapids and aim for the bank. At this point, I dug in and paddled my butt off. We hit the bank with a thunk, I jumped up like Flash Gordon, grabbed the canoe and hauled it up out of the water fully loaded with my family. It was like that scene from the Grinch where he had the strength of 10 Grinches that day.
When we looked back at the rapids we realized a couple of things. First, Brian and I as a team rocked the house! We were awesome. Second, if we had origanally taken out and carried we would still have had to aim the canoe straight accross the rapids to get over to the take out point for the train. We would have chickened out. Sometimes it's better to put yourself to the test, to challenge yourselves to your limits. We felt exhilerated by the time the train came and we got the canoe on. People already on the train saw the rapids, the two girls, all of our gear, overheard the stories and were looking at us like they wished they did what we did.
I need to remember, as I micro- manage my life, to stop and ride the rapids. Listen to the roar, feel the water spraying my face, and enjoy the feeling of a personal challenge.

I am glad THAT's over!

I am speaking of the holidays and the food, food, food. I hate the food part the way the Grinch hates the noise, noise, noise! It's probally because I am a really good cook, my own worse enemy. When I cook Christmas dinner, we have leftovers for a week. I cook like a Catholic mom with 6 kids ( thanks Mom!). I even gave stuff away and there's food here. I gained 5 pounds in a month. 5! That really sucks.
So, it's resolution time. My friend Jp, got me inspired to put my resolution out there. It is what it I say every year, this is the year I will be healthy. My weight is about 20 pounds from where I would like it to be. I'm not at my all time high ( thankfully I am some 26 pounds less than my all time high), but I feel like a slug. My resolution is not so much to just lose weight, it's to arrive at a healthy lifestyle so I don't keep yo-yo-ing up and down the same freaking 10 pounds. You know, lose 10, gain 12, lose 8 gain 6, etc.....That can't be good for me. I want to hit my favorite weight and stay there. The trouble is, I have to work hard to stay at one weight. If I falter from my exercise routine, I am inching back up. With 2 kids, some days are impossible to hit the treadmill. I know, excuses.
No more excuses. I need to "just do it" in 2005. Good luck JP, and everyone else working on a better you in 2005. Back away from the snacks.........

Saturday, December 25, 2004


I was longing for a simple Christmas this year. One where presents took a back seat and family and memories came first. We had kind of a lean holiday this year. Brian had a complicated health year and 6 specialists later we had quite a stack of bills ( for the record, BCBS sucks), so I kind of got my simple holiday. The girls each wished for 6 presents from Santa, and he came through. Brian and I, however, didn't have a lot of money left to buy eachohter the kind of presents we usually do. He took the girls for a portrait for me, and I got him some golf assessories. Truthfully, that was great, it was more than enough. I sometimes feel like we live in a gluttenous society, interested in more, bigger, better, newer, and more expensive. I have always wanted to slow things down a notch to appreciate other things. This year, we did.
The things I would have wished for this year don't come from a store. I wish my husband's health could improve and that he didn't have to be in pain everyday without knowing what is going on with his body. I wish for an answer and relief for him. I wish the Judge in Anna's case would wake up and free her for adoption. She is about to turn three. She thinks we are her family, and she is 100% right. We are.
The best part of my Christmas so far was the excitement the girls felt this morning, waking us up at 5:55am to tell us Santa came. It was Anna, so happy all those gifts were just for her. It was Miranda, loving the little purse I got her. It was my sister in law who had tears in her eyes over the memory maker bracelet I made for her. It was my baby nephew, so happy and cute today. It was my older nephew telling Miranda that she doesn't have a brother, but she has him. Awwwwww....... It was time spent with my family, hugs, good food, and time to catch up. It was simply a Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Anna and Santa Posted by Hello
This is our first Christmas with Anna, hopefully if our lawyer has anything to do with it, not our last. She was kind of scared of Santa, but saw that he was giving gifts so she went to sit on his lap. She told him she wanted My Little Pony. Very cute. Merry Christmas little Anna.

Miranda and Santa Posted by Hello
Christmas is magical this year for Miranda. She believes in the magic, and isn't old enought yet to question anything. She loves Santa, and has been counting down on her Advent calendar. Excitement is high in the house today. Hopefully, sleep will come tonight and they will sleep later than their usual 6:00am. Sleep tight my little daughter. I love your innocence and wide eyed wonder.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Parents Just Don't Understand

I am the Homeroom Mom for my daughter's class. What this means is that I help the teacher with parties, events, and field trips. Today was their class Christmas party ( Catholic school, they actually get to celebrate the birth of Christ). Each child had to bring in a grab bag item worth no more than $2.50. I think the limit the teacher set was nice because not all the children come from well off families. A lot of the kids come from hard working families with limited resources.
My daughter and I went to the Dollar Store and found Precious Moments paper dolls and a pack of Christmas pencil erasers. We stayed within the limit. Well, as the presents were opened, there was a Hess truck ( what's that? A $20 item???), Clickets ( $8-10) and an assortment of other items from bubble bath to books. My daughter got this great Angelina Ballerina sticker book, one of the more humble presents were the parents stayed within the limits, like we did. She was so happy with it, she threw her arms around the girl that gave it and hugged her. Other kids were disappointed with their gifts. Yeah, if you gave an ultra cool Hess truck with motorcycles that drove up into it, it was hard receiving bubble bath. Some parents just don't get it. I wish the parents that gave the pricey gifts had watched the gift exchange go down. The teacher set a limit for a reason. She wanted to keep gifts equal, and she wanted to keep it modest so she could help them understand the true meaning of Christmas. Big flashy gifts took away from the lesson she gave earlier in the morning. Parents that can't follow directions and rules are only teaching their children to do the same thing.
I was so proud of my daughter for being gracious and thankful. That's what we are all about. Oh yeah, we follow rules and respect the teacher!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Food Porn

I am hosting Christmas dinner for my family this year. I am sad that Martha is in jail, because this will be a Martha affair. I will most likely be in food prep for a couple days. So far, here is the menu:
cheese and crackers
dill dip in a round rye bread
shrimp cocktail with homemade cocktail sauce ( horseraddish from Aunt Lila's crop)
The Main Event
3 cheese lasagna with sweet Italian sausage
Baked ham, dressed in clove and pineapple
green bean casserole
mashed potatoes and ham gravy
tossed salad that will feature: garden fresh tomatoes and cucumbers tossed with oven roasted pine nuts and tangy dried cranberries over a bed of tender field greens served with a basil vinegrette
home made dinner rolls
relish tray with olives and pickles

Dessert Buffett
Marble cake with chocolate fudge frosting ( Happy Birthday Kayana)
peanut butter balls
cherry pie
chocolate jumbos
Dana's home made fudge
Coffee and teas

I wish I had one of those dessert carts Grandma Ina used to have. She would load it up and wheel it out to the dining room table. When we move to a bigger house, I am on a mission to find one!

Bon Appetite!

Monday, December 20, 2004

Christmas 1971 Posted by Hello
I am making one of those calenders for my parents where you add your photos to each month. What a great gift, by the way, the kit was $15.00 at A.C. Moore. I found this old photo of my sister and I and Mrs. Beasley from December 1971. I would have been 6 months old, Kim just turned 4, and we were at my Grandmothers. What I see when I look at this photo is how much my daughter looks like my sister. From the facial expression, to her features, it's like looking at my little Peeper Girl.

Too bad she doesn't still have that mint condition Mrs. Beasley! Ca-ching.....

I Really AM Wonder Woman

Sometimes I just amaze myself. Take this morning for example. I woke up at 7:23. My husband forgot to reset the clock. My daughter has to be to school by 8:05. Somehow, I got breakfast for 2 girls, got them both dressed, hair done, teeth brushed, coats on, backpacks filled with the appropriate things, and out the door by 7:50. It was like "The Amazing Race", and I kicked some butt!
Part of the reason we overslept was my husband's Christmas party at work was last night. It was actually a family party, and I liked that soooo much better than having to hang out with people you don't know and watch them drink too much and then drive home.
This party had a nice dinner, a Sponge Bob jumpy house ( I really wanted to get in and jump), face painting, a really bad DJ ( misguided is a better word), and Santa. I can't wait to see the photos from the girls visiting Santa! Too cute......They didn't want to leave last night. They actually wanted to stay. A good time was had by all!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Define Class

What is class? Does it mean different things to different people? I mean, to trailer park folks, classy is new plastic siding with matching shutters. Does it vary depending on your world view? I was coming home from college tonight when the car ahead of me at the tolls had one of those frames around the lisence plate that said " This Bitch has Class." I beg to differ! First of all, her vehicle was a teal ( as in 80's teal blue) Hyundai SUV. HUH? This defines class? Secondly, the aforementioned lisence plate frame thing was pewter and had large pewter palm trees. I shudder.......Finally, the third clue that class was missing was calling yourself "Bitch". I know, I know, it's hip to refer to yourself as a Bitch, a compliment even, but does someone with class call themselves a Bitch.

When I think about class, I think about Jackie O. Jackie Kennedy really put a face on the idea of class, as well as what classy was. Even in her darkest hour, when her infamous pink Chanel suit was soaked with her husbands blood, she handled herself with dignity, she kept herself together, she was class. I even think Martha Stewart has class. She sucked up her sentence, never really said any harsh words, and accepted her punishment.
When I think of class, I think material things could be defined as classy. Elegant yet understated is classy to me. I also think of class as a personality trait, quite like Jackie acted her entire life. Websters says class is great style or quality. To the "Bitch" in the SUV, take a lesson from Jackie. Less is more.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Nearly Orgasmic

I went to dinner last night at a really Tony restaurant in the Stockade section of Schenectady. The Stockade is all about atmosphere. It's the oldest section of Schenectady, some of the Brownstones date back to the late 1600's. It has become somewhat of an artist's community and the old brownstones have all been lovingly restored.
We wandered into the Stockade Inn last night, formely the Lower Mohawk Club. Like the brownstones, this Inn has undergone a tremendous revitalization. Everything from the decor to the decorations for the holiday are just right. Simple, yet classy. Expensive, yet not overdone. The art is local and the photos on the wall are historic photos of the Inn and the city. The fireplace was lit and there was a Christmas party in the banquet room.
I wasn't sure what to order. I had previewed the menu online before hand and my mind was on the grilled flat iron steak. I almost wavered and ordered the scallop risotto, but I held to the steak. Always go with your first choice.
My steak arrived covered in Bernais sauce. I wasn't sure how I would like it and I almost didn't order it. It would have been naked without it. In a word, my steak was orgasmic. I prdered it medium rare and was pleased to have a chef that knew that this meant red in the middle and juicy. It was grilled and crusty on the outside. The bernais was the right blend of creamy, yet salty and complimented this well. My steak was flanked with their lobster mashed potatoes. Whom ever got the idea to marry lobster and potatoes I would like to kiss. Really. The potatoes were of course the real deal, they even had a few lumps. I chased my dinner down with their house red wine. It was a good choice for enhancing the flavor of the steak.
If you are ever in Schenectady, this restaurant is worth your time. Don't be slowed down by the price of the entrees, you won't be disappointed. From the atmosphere to a chef that is really good at what they do, I give it 2 enthusiastic thumbs up!!
Psst-don't tell my husband, I was checking out real estate down there.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

How Would You Do it Differently?

High school. If you got a "redo", how would you do it differently? I work in a high school and today when the bell rang, I got stuck in the hall. I say stuck because it's an urban school with 2,500 kids. My high school had 400 top to bottom. When the bell rings in this school, I am like a deer in headlights. First of all I am shorter then these kids and not as aggressive. My heart palpitates in these halls. Anyhow, today I'm in the hall and the bell rings. For one brief moment I flashed back to my high school expereince and I started to think how I would have done it differently if I knew then what I know now.
For starters, I sold myself short on grades. I had an IQ test in 8th grade and scored rather high. Without any effort at ALL, I got B's. I was a solid B student ( except for Math). I didn't do my home work or study. If I had, I would have been in the top of my class, where I should have been. I took the SAT 1 time, never took the PAST or ACT. If I had, my scores would have been much higher. I took AP History and got a A. ( again, no effort, and this was a college level class). I think that I thought women weren't desireable if they came accross as smart. None of the women in my family were college educated. My generation would be the first to go to school. I am pretty sure I actually believe it was cute to appear air headed.
I got to college and something clicked. I achieved. My undergraduate average was a 3.75. I graduated with honors in the top 10% of my class. I was inducted into not one, but 2 academic honor societies. Out of 1200 kids, I graduated in the top 100. Not bad.
I am about to graduate with my Masters in May. This time I have a 3.987. Almost a perfect score. 60 credit hours of pretty intense research and work and I have a near perfect score. I am finally letting the world know I am one smart cookie. I am only disappointed that I sold myself short in high school and didn't acheive at the level I was capable of.
Oh yeah, I would have dated more guys casually, and less seriously. I am not in any way saying I would have been a Ho. That's just not me. I just would have dated more and not gotten into long relationships. Sex in the City has taught me sooooo much. I wish I had been a little more Carrie and a little less Charlotte. Know what I mean??

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Just BE the parent, please!

I am working on my Master's in counseling, currently in an inner city internship placement. I am trying really hard not to judge people, but I am sick of seeing parents that don't do their jobs!!! Today, I am listening to a parent who's child is fascinated with fires. She has torched a bed, been caught smoking, and set a piece of paper ablaze. The parents says " I keep putting my cigarettes and lighter away, but she finds them." The kid is 5, and has other serious issues as well as the fire affinity. The parent is ready to have the child committed for 30 days to be observed. ( probally a good thing due to other issues). BUT, part of the solution is obvious. If you fear for the family's safety and want to feel safe at home, get rid of the lighter and matches, and heaven forbid, the smokes. When this little kid set the mattress on fire, the entire family could have perished, it was at night. Another obvious solution? MONITOR your child. The parent caught her smoking in the bedroom and she threw the cig. under the bed. It took the kid time to get the smokes, light up, and get caught. Where in the heck was the supervision????? BE the parent. Check up on your kids. The older they get, the more you schould check. BE a role model. If the 5 year old is smoking, realize where they got the idea from. A five year old isn't just born with the idea to light up and smoke. They see the behavior modeled.

I love working with kids, I will never get tired of that. It's the parents that sometimes frustrate me.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Volvo Virtues

Sweet Sexy Thang! Posted by Hello

I love my car. Not the same way a guy loves a car. I love that it's built like a brick house and can move 5 kids legally without being a gas guzzling environment destroying rollover nightmare of an SUV or a boring *yawn* mini van. It also has a 3rd rear facing seat in the wagon part. Yup. My car has a back-back, AKA the WAY back. As one car pooling kid said " WOW what other car has this?" My point exactly kid. This is the kind of love people write poetry about. Here's my official Volvo Haiku:

Swedish engineered
Built like an Army tank
Leather seats are nice.

Friday, November 26, 2004

City Sidewalks

I have never, in the history of me, gone shopping on Black Friday. Not really my idea of a good time. I do, however, kick of Christmas festivities in my own way today. Since I have moved to The Electric City and become a city girl I have started a tradition of my own. I like that this city has a downtown, events, and traditional holdiay happenings. For the past 3 years, I have wandered downtown to start my shopping. I shop at the locally owned artsy shops, looking for nicely made quality gifts that you just can't get at the big box stores that had the grab fests today. The area I shop at has a closed off street just for shopping, beautiful decorations, music playing and you can actually stroll and stop to chat with freinds and neighbors.
From there, we head to Proctors Theatre for the Festival of the Trees. I usually get inspired here to decorate and make my Christmas a classy one. The trees are stunning and it's fun to see what the theme or inspiration of each tree is. The money we paid at the door also goes to charity! Santa can be found here, too. This is news you need when you have 2 little girls.
The day ends at perhaps one of the oldest traditions in this old city, the Christmas Parade. This parade kicks off at 7pm and around 20,000 people will visit the city tonight to view this spectacular parade. The floats are usually illuminated and people take pride in their parade enteries. I look forward to this every year. It's been cold and rainy the past 2 years, but today has started mild and lovely! I am humming already....." City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style. In the air there's a feeling of Christmas."

Saturday, November 20, 2004


It's not that I am Scrooge and don't want to spend money on Christmas. It's that simply stated, Christmas has gotten out of hand. I grew up in the country and Christmas was pretty simple, and I loved it. A home grown tree, a big dinner with the entire extended family. there were church events, concerts at school, and a joyous Christmas vacation from school. That was enough for anybody.
Spring forward to 2004. The average family will spend well over $1000.00 bucks on just presents this year. Likely, it will be charged and the interest on that will take the total even higher. Our children have more toys then they know what to do with. Our homes are filled with so much "stuff" that dusting is a full time commitment. We have garage sales to get rid of the "stuff". We donate perfectly good toys to charity to make room for new toys. We sit around trying to come up with lists of stuff that we want for Christmas. The only thing I really want is one simple Christmas. No overcrowded malls brimming so full of people that it takes an hour to park and a shuttle bus to get you to the mall. No lists. No running around like a fool to get everything you need for Christmas. I want it to stop!!!
Santa, if you are listening, tell everone that buys me presents that I don't want anything this year. Replace it with time with my family. I want my girls to explore the true meaning of Christmas with less "wants" and more " I want to do". I want to bake things for the neighbors and have time to just say hello to them. I want a sleigh ride to the woods to get a Christmas tree. No running around, no stress, no stuff. I'd like no toys with batteries, but I think that would be too much to ask for! My goal is to spend less, and have more. More time, more love, more things I can do for other people.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Miranda's Cinquain

Beautiful daughter.
Twirling little ballerina.
Silly happy free graceful.
Tiny Dancer Posted by Hello

10 Years in the Making!

This is the love of my life. This summer we will celebrate our 10th Anniversary. I don't know where the time has gone or how this can be possible? We have been together 13 years. Amazing. As people I know have gotten divorced, I am so thankful and blessed that we met eachother. We stil haven't had a really major fight and people can't believe that. Well, what can I say? We communicate. We eat dinner together as a family at the table. We still have date nights and we kiss daily. We hug daily. We tell eachother what the other means to us. We cherish what we have and nuture is so it grows daily.
Dana and Brian Posted by Hello

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Baby Girl Friend

I am crazy in love with this little girl. Everyday is a good day being her mommy. She has entered first grade this year and although she liked Kindergarten, she LOVES first grade and reading. I love her artistic ability, as I can't even draw a stick figure. I am amazed how she is able to create the things she does. I am in awe of her grace, because I walk into walls and trip over nothing. To see her dance and do ballet is like watching all the sweetness and innocence there is in the world together in one little package. She is outgoing, funny, and smart. She is my only child, and may always be. Somehow, even though I used to struggle with that, it is enough. It is more than enough. It is perfect. Sometimes, you get what you need.
Dana Posted by Hello

Who knew about this Blog stuff??

I was surfing the web last night, in search of a long lost co-worker when I found him via a Blog. How cool is this? I consider myself to be pretty internet savy, yet I had no idea this existed. I had heard the word, yet had no idea. I said to myself " I gotta get me one of these!!"

I am looking forward to setting up my profile, and posting often. I love to write, and sometimes write for therapeutic reasons, so this seems like a good outlet for me. Between Grad school and my internship, I have very little time for recreational reading or writing. It seems all of my writings and readings have to have a purpose of completing a home work assignment. However, as of May 14, 2 years of Grad school will come to a screeching halt with my graduation and Masters and then, baby, I need some "me" time, R&R and a return to life as a non-student.