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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

You and I will walk together again

We have added a new member to the family. His name is Duncan. He is a hound dog hailing from South Carolina. He was given to a high kill shelter when his family moved and "rescued" just minutes before he got the needle. Hes 4 years old. Curious and quiet yet active (compared to Rosie) but calm. We got Rosie's approval first. She is very grateful that we didnt bring home Taz.. Who was a total spaz (I could not walk him without a harness) and he chewed Greg's glasses off his face. He was too much for Rosie and she wanted nothing to do with him. But Duncan she can tolerate.

Why did we get another dog? Despite my being in and around the house all day, Rosie has felt lonley and understimulated. I think this will help her out. Plus we helped save a life and.. the more the merrier.

And Toby? How does he feel about all of this? Well Toby is less concerned/scared than when we introduced him to Rosie. Toby is most annoyed by the fact that Duncan can reach his food dish. Duncan had a long body and a hounds keen nose. Those combined means he is good at finding food. However, he has yet to learn not to get up on the the counters.

Let the training begin.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

So where were we?

So where were we, again? I am afraid I have a lot of catching up to do. Not only here. But just about everywhere. It was a busy sort of rush for a while now (I'll get to all that here soon) that has abruptly dropped off and given over to lazy long hot days where getting caught up is a challenge when the pool gleams blue and the heat is exquisite. Play Relax Sleep Dream Cook (At the conclusion of all the events listed below, the Rheumatologist suggest that Willow and I switch to a Lectin Free diet so I have been focusing on learning some new recopies). Those have been the main activities over the last week. I know that such a state can't last though and work needs to get done. So I am starting with what seems like the biggest chore ahead of me.  Whipping out a blog really isn't that big of a job but the sheer volume of activity I have to unload is rather ..well.. massive. And the photos ..etc .. to go through.. So I will post a quick link below to an all encompassing photo album. The text below will match up to the sections in the album so you will have to switch back and forth for the full effect.

As We Approached The End 

I had a little bit of fun while creating Willows graduation announcements. One was of Willows head floating on a Roman column. Anyway, I thought this one summed up our recent silence during the last few months well.

DMV:
So I think I last left you with the kids getting their learners permits. These pictures were taken at DMV. I took the third on just because he looked like he could have been a rocker in the 80's but the glory days are gone now, the tour bus has been emptied and now he has to learn to drive. It made me nostalgic..for Reno... Not really. But I did chuckle and I took a picture. The tattooed Roadie/rocker look is not unusual here.   Anyway, since then, Willow has taken a drivers ed course and just finished this past weekend. She has some time to put in with me first but by fall (at the latest) she will be licensed and on her own way.

Birthday Party Downtown:
Connor has made a decent little group of friends. For one of those friends birthdays, a "scavanger hunt" with a group of about 12 was had downtown. It was a cold rainy day. Items on the list where like: get a picture of a shopper in a band t-shirt (made that guys day), play duck duck goose, and so on. These pictures are a few choice moments from a fun afternoon.

They Might Be Giants:
The first concert of the Season: They Might Be Giants. We took Dylan (the fiance) with us. It was his first concert. The local venue has that good old bar feel and there are no seats but they allow all ages and just monitor who buys and is drinking. TBMG was enthusiastic and as ironic as ever. They opened with a song about wishing it was already the end of the show and that they were home in bed. And I don't doubt them. To still be rocking that hard when you are in your ..60s? Dylan enjoyed it. We all did. About a month later (and unfortunately with no photo documentation) Greg, Willow and I saw Ben Harper. It was Willows first blues experience. She didn't appreciate it as much as us old folks did.  Ben is still fantastic. And the lighting and stage arrangement was subtly done to evoke the sensation of a boxcar.  Sailing down the tracks it cast its light (just as Bens music/truth/being does)  out on us.. an ever changing scenery of swirling and swaying.  We have a few more concerts on the books to attend this month.

One Season Ends Another Begins:
The last of Cons Ice skating lessons for the Spring Season came to an end. Instead of taking pictures of that, I went to the beach (right outside the door) and enjoyed the first real day of Spring.

Prom: Dylan and Willow decided to attend only one of the Proms. They were a beautiful couple. According to Willow .. apparently there is no award for Prom King and Queen anymore. And they didn't play any slow songs.

Grad Challenge: Grad challenge is a year long project that seniors work on. Its a project of their choosing from which they must learn and demonstrate and discuss at the end of the year in front of a room of other students and parents. Part of the project requires internship and interviews with professionals .Willows Project was about starting her own business. Despite my desire to observe her presentation, I was asked not to as it would make her more nervous. She made it through it, barely. She had had a wardrobe malfunction and her professional skirt tore. She swapped it out for a semi casual dress with spaghetti straps. They almost failed her for seeing bra straps. Thank Heavens they didn't because she was super ready to be out of there.

Honor Society Induction: Willow was inducted into the Technical National Honor Society. She was part of the candle lighting and lit the second candle for Honesty. The first candle was lit for skill, however, the girl lighting it really didn't have any. It was rather sad.

Sick Puppers and Other Animal Tails:  Rosie got sick, or wasn't feeling good. She didn't really eat well for a month and then just would not get out of bed.  We are not quite sure what was going on with her. She had a run of tests. Her liver is small but functions fine. Her cortisol levels were a little elevated. We ran some extra tests to rule out bad things that that might mean. She is on a diet to loose some weight. But otherwise she seems to have returned to her natural state. Oh and the whale tails? That's this landmark/art thing here. Its also a dog walk area. There are no real stories about Toby. He is a lover, though.

Auditions Rehearsals and Performance: Connors friend had a dance recital. My previous experience with recitals was each class would come in and do something they worked on and then the next and so on. This was the story of the Beauty and the Beast and the dancers from all the classes wove through the story in a synchronized fashion. It was more of a theatrical dancing performance. The pictures are from that. The end of the school year got especially busy for Connor. On top of finals, he also had the Summer theater production (Little Mermaid Musical) to try out for as well as the Fall Theater Production (Legally Blond the Musical). This meant memorizing lines and dances for both in a relatively short intense period of time. He was cast in both. He has a few weeks off before he gets to work. And it is a lot of work.  And it will be non stop until November starts.

Dylan Graduation: We went to Dylan's Graduation. He attends a small mountain school. Last year 5 of the classmates who would have graduated this year died in a car crash. Much of the ceremony was about remembrance. Afterwards Willow had a chance to meet most of his family.

Mom Comes to Visit:  It was great to have mom here. The first morning I had this desire to grab her toes. I didn't of course but took a picture instead. She dropped right into the rhythm of our lives and the hustle of the last week of school. It was extremely pleasant but also very odd to have the laundry always done and ironed as well as having the kitchen cleaned without so much as lifting a finger. During her visit, I suppose we both had a little bit of a reprieve from our normal activities.   

Willows First Graduation and Connors Impact Project Night:  Both of these events occurred on the same night and so we had to determine how best to tackle the evening. What do I mean first Graduation? Well... the whole thing is a little complicated. Willow was enrolled in one HS but attended the Culinary Tech Program at the another. This Graduation was from the Tech School. I went to this event (Dylan was able to join us there) and the pictures are from that.  While waiting for the event to begin, I sort of got side tracked with the colors and textures at hand. Willow received a Chefs hat along with her diploma.  Meanwhile, Mom and Greg attended Connors event. All the freshman are expected to do an Impact Project. Much like the Grad Challenge, this is a self chosen area of interest that the student wants to learn about and demonstrate that knowledge. Connor's project had to do with plastic pollution. On this night each of the students stood near their poster Board and discussed their project with curious parents who circulated around. On another Note Connor also received the Excellence Award for his "House." "Houses" are a strange arrangement that the High School has adopted. Apparently it isn't an uncommon structure in other states but it was new to me. The incoming freshman are split into 4 different groups. These groups are called Houses. The first year of HS the freshman take all their core classes in the House and with the same quarter of the Freshman population. I could go on more but I wont. Long story short only two of these awards were handed out in each House. Nicely done Con.

Get Your Sing On Mom! These clips speak for themselves. Willow and Grandma had some special bonding times.

 New Wheels:  Part of Willows Graduation gift was a bike.

Convocation: Another long ceremony. What is the point of this one? Oh.. the handing out of awards. The Choir sung well.

The Second and Final Graduation: And finally the cycle of ceremonies came to its conclusion with a procession of bagpipes and a wave of red. Joining us was a friend of Willows who lives on the other side of the lake. Oh my gosh, Kim was a joy to have along with us. Willow was unexpectedly (Although with her the unexpected is always to be expected) expressive with her post certificate pickup dab. After the ceremony she could not get out of there quick enough. I don't have any of the typical Mom/Grad pics but I did get a few nice Mom/Daughter shots.

Lobsta on Da Lake: Willow had to work after her ceremony so she was not able to join us for a lobster and dancing cruise of the lake. We were happy to have Kim join us in her place.  Connor had one of his auditions the following day and quickly realized that the moves he needed to practice timed up well to the music that was playing.  The greatest dance hits of the 70s  seemed to be the Dj's preferred playlist. And so Connor was giving off a true stayin alive vibe.  The sights were spectacular. And the company fantastic.

Surprise:  Saturday Morning, I took Willow to Drivers Ed. While she was gone, our longtime family friend, Melissa arrived from her cross country red eye trip. Willow was not expecting her and it was great to see Willows glee at seeing Auntie M. I didn't capture that. But it was great.

Celebration: Willow had a few friends over for a BBQ and Pool Party. It was an afternoon of Mermaids, Margaritas and Merriment.  I also think I should turn mom into a meme.

Our Flurry of Activity Winds Down and Company is Enjoyed. (So are the Pool and the Garden): This is just sort of an odd assortment of moments. The Doll mysteriously kept changing positions. I didn't have cat scratch fever afterall but I did have Poison Ivy. And it was unpleasant. We saw Willow at work and enjoyed the fruits of her labor.

And So It Ends
School is over. Everyone has gone home.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Sweet Relief!

Today we celebrate two young people who will be taking to the road. Congrats on the learners permits guys!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Keeping Pace; Winning the Race

Early morning sunday. The yard begins to brighten as the slowly rising sun draws itself to peek over the horizon. I am not offered a  spectacular view of the sunrise or sunsets at our home but I know them for what they are worth and i can embrace that beauty with my eyes closed. So rather I watch shadows stretch and listen to birds sing as I sip my tea and welcome the day.. come what may.

Connor had a decent week. His big news is that he was accepted into the pre-tech program in engineering and industrial arts. What that means is that he will be spending next year focusing on a vast field and then as a jr/senior. He will take a more specialized set of courses intended to move him towards college and/or his future career. That boy is doing quite well and is on track.

This week the kids will be taking thier learners permit tests. Fingers crossed for both of them but I think they got this. Yikes. According to plan, Within a year or so my driving duties are going to ..poof.. disappear.  Then I write promote publish and produce in ernest. That's the plan anyway. And steadily I am starting to gain some speed.

It was a long week for Willow. There was a state level competition she was involved in called Skills USA. It was a two day seminar and overnight stay with interviewing, resume and technical skills being tested.
She says it was the most difficult thing she has ever done. She hated it. Wanted to throw herself over the banister. But she endured and saw it through. So in our book she is a winner.

Friday we finally got Willow into the rheumatologist. Although not everyone who has the genetic marker will demonstrate illness, she is showing signs. Her ankles are most definatly in part due to arthritis.  There are other signs too. A battery of blood tests where taken and then the dr. will make a final diagnosis and we can start working on breaking her out of the pain cycle and finally get her where she can move more easily. The discussion offered hope. We will see what our next steps are.

That wasn't all this last week has had in store for the young lady. She picked out her prom dress and also registered for her fall classes. She is coming along.







Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Yesterday

I raked half... well it might feel like i did that much but no... it wasn't even a quarter.  I raked up an eighth of my yard. Today temps climb to the 50s. Then plummet overnight as a bitter arctic cold washes over us.

I have to get to the yard now.. While it's still cold enough to keep life moving and rising slowly to the surface. Easter Sunday was quite apropo: A day of rebirth for so many and an usherer in of the Spring Season, also the day I sniffly got in the car with willow and she asked me if I was crying. When I looked at her puzzled, she said "Allergies Already?" And she is right. The snow just melted.

Buckle up boys, I'm calling my dr today to get a fresh inhaler. I'm prepared this year. It's not going to lock me down! Kick it's A##!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Threading a needle..

Taking a breath. A deep one. This promises to be quite a long wrap up.
The month or more since my last posting has been quite the event filled one.
Greg is still in the job running?? He was one of two potentials but seeing as we have not really heard anything.. we are not counting on it. In the meantime there has been an org restructure which will give Greg a clearer understanding of his position and line him up with a boss who he knows he can work much smoother for. So he is feeling a little more on his feet in that regard.

We made it through the hot water heater replacement, a/c installation and water abatement process. In many ways I am quite relieved that the bottom rusted out when it did, that we caught it quickly, and that it did not happen when we were away.

Speaking of being away, the family went to Boston at the start of the month to take in a Blackhawks vs. Bruins game. The  kids and I drove down and back in the calm between two Nor'Easter storms. Greg had been in Tennisee the week before and due to the storm, it made more since to fly directly to Boston and meet us there.

 Let me take a moment to address the winter weather. It seems extreme to those from home but to put it in perspective, even though winter is truly a thing here, I have never once heard it announced that "Chains or Snow Tires" required. Generally speaking ALL cars in the New England region put on snow tires in the winter and road maintenance is amazingly coordinated. That being said, Greg got a lesson in being stranded due to the weather, which is a story I will wrap back around to.

Blackhawks and Boston.. Willow has been having trouble with her ankles and has been going to PT regularly to fix her issues and get her truly mobile.  That weekend she was in more pain and wearing her boot brace. That kept her down a little. But shes a trooper and she did her best to make the most of it.

  I didn't really take any scenic pictures this trip but that doesn't mean I don't have any stories to tell. The first was a little traumatic and has left Connor with little desire to ever attend another game. As we were filing our way around the arena to find our seats, Willow and I in the lead followed by Connor and Greg pulling up the rear. I caught out of the corner of my eye, a man standing near the inside wall.  As I passed I heard say something like "Oh its you." I turned to look and he ducked behind me. I assumed he merged into the throng and kept going a ways. It turns out he thought he recognized Connor. The drunkard stopped him and put his hands on Connors chest. Greg of course stepped in and shoved the guy off. So that is how our experience started. But that was not indicative of most of the fans that we met. Actually, the Bruins fans are genuinely hospitable. Many were interested in why we were Blackhawks fans and had no problem offering up a friendly discussion. I actually found that  to be true  of the locals in general and not just those at the game. The couple sitting next to us were a kick. Under their Bruins Jerseys they were wearing Hawks gear (See her green peaking out?)

 and they celebrated every goal scored. Later after the game and as the family was in the rooms re-cooperating/napping, I found myself at the bar. Where I met another season ticket holding couple and had a nice chat. She was in tech and he was a police officer. It was a nice visit but I realized that I need to be able to better answer the question of "what is your book about?" I stumble to qualify it for people. I will be working on a summary soon. This last picture is was the floor of the elevator in the hotel. I laughed every time I saw it but it made Willow uneasy.


Greg had a meeting scheduled in Boston  early that  week and opted to stay in town rather than drive home and back (Its about 3.5 hours) So I dropped him at his hotel. Its a short walk to the office from there so not having a car didn't seem like that much of a challenge. Well after we left the storm hit and he was stuck at the hotel. Which didn't have a restaurant. He hiked 2 miles in blizzard conditions with 60 mile winds to the only open restaurant ( a pizza place) for lunch and ended up hitting the snack machines for a tide me over dinner. On top of it all, the meeting ended up being cancelled and he came home after a long hard road trip.


The next weekend was the presentation of the Student directed plays. It was a week of long rehearsals followed by 3 productions which wrapped up Sunday. Connors character was a psychic who used his amazing sense of smell to determine who the murder was. This part was not far in keeping with his natural personality, appreciation for velvet and flair for style. Approx. 7 years prior to the date of opening night, I took this picture of Connor:

Can you guess which of these characters was played by Connor now? 

 Rosie after seeing these photos wanted to get in on the action. 

She has quite the stage presence. 

The week after the play was a decent one. Greg was home all week and the weather was nice. Thursday night however Connor fell down some stairs and bumped himself pretty darn good near his kidney. His broken hobbled gate suggested I take him to see urgent care. 

Just to be on the safe side since we were going to be on the road Friday night, Connecticut bound. He got the green light and directions to keep moving. So off to the 2nd Annual Gamers Convention at the Mohegan Sun Casino, Convention Hall and Arena. It was interesting to see and compare to Reno and Vegas. Casinos are casinos. Smoke and noise and colorful people watching. It was a pretty one and well thought out in terms of movement from area to area as the traffic paths accommodate non gamblers as well as gamblers. A lot more craps games then I am used to seeing. I think there almost as many crap tables as 21. Toward the end of our stay Greg dropped 60 on a table which kept him playing for 2.5 hours and when he was done, he had doubled our money. I wandered and drank and sized up the action. But that was towards the end of our stay.. Here is the beginning:

We loaded up the kids in two cars. We took a friend of Connors. Her name is Elsa and she reminds me in many ways of a teenaged Terri. I get a kick out of her. We also took Willows boyfriend Dylan. Dylan is a senior that lives down the road about 45 minutes. They were paired up somewhat surprisingly when two cousins (or maybe it was friends)  one from each of the schools were visiting and it dawned on them that the two might click. And click they have. Dylan is a sweet young man with a poets soul and a quick smile. He is quiet but a deep thinker. He reminds me in so many ways of a young Lystra. I know he will grow into a fine man.  So that is the cast of characters. We arrived late and got settled in. The next day we were Convention bound.. 
 So you may be asking, what is a gaming convention? It is like a comic con only based on games. All sorts from Board to Video games. Past and Present.
 There were gaming competitions (after we left we realized that there was a COD tournament Sunday that Greg could have had some fun playing in but we no know that that might be a possibility next year) and vendors selling everything and everything from clothes to toys to games to anything that represents a character or  a game. People wore costumes and others gathered in small circles to play Magic or other card and board games. It was smaller than we expected but it was good. While we were there My old friend  Aimee and her family met up with us and we had a nice lunch and got caught up.  It is always to wonderful to see her. She has not changed much but she has changed a lot. I suppose we all have. Anyway, its possible that we may get together again for Willows graduation or maybe towards the end of fall for a little vacation in Maine.

Anyway, we  wrapped up at the convention in the afternoon.

 We returned to our hotel room where, expect for a break for dinner, we campaigned until 9:00.



It was a good weekend and Sunday morning we pulled it together and the kids and I drove home and Greg went back to Boston for a meeting at the beginning of the week.

So March was very busy. We don't have much else going on now except getting through the rest of the school year. Willow is starting to have senioritis a little but is still moving forward. Drivers permit  tests for both the kids will be in April.  Willow is looking for a job or internships to fill in some of her free time. Anyway.. life goes on and as I look out I see that today is utterly gorgeous. I think its time to walk the dog.

Love you all!
Vic

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Nothing New, Thank Goodness!

Ankle Update:
I took Willow to the Specialist and we were able to see the X-rays and discuss the results. Everything actually looks pretty good structurally speaking. So I will be lining her up with Physical Therapy (and possible aqua PT) and hopefully train it and strengthen it and get her walking pain free again. 
Fortunately, because Willows dancing requires far more upper body strength than legs, Willow can continue to practice her dancing. 


She would eventually like to transition over to Ariel ribbons. There is a class at the same studio and once her ankles are strong we can look into it for her. 

Basement:
No real damage except to some carpet. Our Insurance will replace it.  We stayed at the hotel for a night. Willow needed to wash the color (It is a really flattering red) out of her hair and it just seemed easier to manage the dog from someplace that seemed less chaotic plus she is very effected by the drone of the loud fans.  We are now "roughing it" at home and with the electric kettle hot water isn't that far away. Its better to be home and Rosie has grown accustom to the sound.

The HVAC guy is in the basement as I type this. Our system is a little more complicated than is normal. The home assessor for the insurance claim said he has never seen one like it. It is oil fed and is a part of the furnace. (Not to worry we still have heat)  Anyhow, it is a process but it is getting expertly done. And while they are at it I am having them replace the AC. It is from the 1970s and doesn't work anymore and you cant get replacement parts. Although it is an additional cost (Although saving some because we can do both at the same time), the benefit to my asthma and disposition during heat are worth it. 

Job Search
Greg's interview went well. He has a return interview on Monday. Of the 7 or so candidates provided by the recruiter, he is the only one that has been moved on. He is excited by the prospect. We will see how it shakes out. 

Anything else? 
I met some volunteer moms of 9th grade boys in connor's core when I helped with the Teacher Appreciation luncheon. That was good. It was sort of a hard day at the school though as one of the 9th grade boys had died unexpectedly over night. Teachers are amazing for everything they do. 



Connor's play is on the horizon. Here is a picture of him from dress rehearsals:


He also started some figure skating lessons as well. (I need to look and see if there is a ice dance squad/club if such a thing exists.. Or maybe Connor could start one?) Regardless he enjoyed his lesson. His instructor is a Senior at UVM studying Environmental Science. I think they will work well together for awhile.