Saturday, December 18, 2010

2010 Christmas Newsletter

December 2010

Happy Holidays to our family and friends! This newsletter comes with our warmest wishes and we hope that you and your family have reasons to celebrate this season of love.

Our year started on a sad note with the passing of Jim’s Dad on January 15th. Many family members gathered in December 2009 for a great 93rd birthday celebration for George and we were grateful for our time together. His Memorial Service was a wonderful celebration of his life and we appreciate the efforts made by many family and friends to attend the service.

On a happier note, we look back on many good things in 2010. In mid-July we spent 6 days in the Upper Pennisula of Michigan with the Schaefer clan re-living the good times that Jim and his family had with his cousins, aunts and uncles.From there we joined friends on RABGRAI, the bike ride across Iowa, and we enjoyed the mostly gentle terrain of this year’s route and the kind temperatures provided by Mother Nature.

In early August we flew to Rome, Italy, where we did the tourist thing for a couple of days before embarking on a 7-day Mediterranean cruise. We saw many beautiful and interesting places during our cruise, but some of the highlights were biking for miles and miles in Mallorca, and exploring the market in Tunis, Tunisia. Rome is a beautiful city and we’d love to go back as we only scratched the surface of things to do. If you are planning a trip to Rome in the near future, we have a couple of B & B’s that we can highly recommend!

Jim continues to work at Johnson & Johnson and continues to run. Early in the year, he won an award at work that included an all expenses paid trip to the Grand Beach Resort in Naples, Florida. So for 5 days we enjoyed the luxuries that the resort had to offer as well as the opportunity to get lots of flat training miles on some rented bikes. It was a wonderful mid-May break.

Marji is still teaching Physical Education to kindergarten -2nd grade students, which provides an endless source of entertainment. Biking and knitting fill her spare time.

A quick update on the boys: Corey is in his senior year at Syracuse University and continues to love the academic challenge as well as the athletic challenge provided by the Cross-Country and Track teams. This fall we had a couple of opportunities to cheer for Corey and the rest of the SU cross-country team as they ran in the Big East Championships, just outside of Syracuse, and then in the NCAA Division I Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Tucker’s big news is that he is now a home and land-owner in Colorado. He recently purchased a house on 3.5 beautiful acres of land in the town of Dolores, CO. We hope to go to visit him during Marji's spring break from school next April.

We are looking forward to having both boys with us for Christmas and New Year’s. This year we will be traveling to Tennessee for Christmas with some of Jim’s family. We will then head to the Adirondacks for our annual New Year’s celebration with the hardiest of our friends.

Our wish for you this holiday season and the upcoming year is for times of stillness and peace as well as times of great joy and celebration.

Hope all is well.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Of Mice and Men

The hunt is on! A while back, while reading in bed at night, I heard a scratching noise in behind our bed in the attic. So Jim sprung into action.

He set the traps. The irresistible bait seems to be a piece of the wax covering from a hunk of fontina cheese, covered with peanut butter. So far, Jim has caught 4 mice!

I won't go into details, but it appears that there was one incident of mouse cannibalism. That's enough about that.

Stay tuned for more updates of the Great White Hunter!

Hope all is well.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Catch-Up Time

Wow! It's been a while since I posted. I guess this will be a quick catch-up.

We are all well here, just busy and doing other things. I realized that I have been knitting a lot in the evenings and when I am not knitting, if I am sitting at the computer, I am not doing my blog, but rather reading trail journals from people who hiked the Appalachian Trail. They are absolutely addicting to me and I cry every time a thru-hiker completes the trail on Mount Katahdin in Maine! So I have now put a few restrictions on my reading of trail journals and will attend to some other things that should be done around here.

We had a great Thanksgiving with a wonderful dinner at Gram and GrandDad's. Corey was home for the weekend and we enjoyed having him here!

We have been doing some hiking on the weekends as I try to break in my new hiking boots. Here is a photo of some swans in Durand Eastman Park.

Jim and I took a hike at Canal Ponds Park and marked our new hiking guide for the town of Greece. Wegmans and Greece worked together to promote some of the local trails, encouraging families to get out and go for a walk. The guide has places to mark which trails you have walked by doing a pencil rubbing at a trail marker. It is a nice idea, although some of the hiking info is a bit sketchy! I got our trail guide at my local Wegmans and I know that there are other guides for other local towns. Here is Jim putting our first rubbing in our guide.

We have had several dinners at the Villages which is always enjoyable. Grandma will be in Tennessee for 10 days at the end of this month so she has to use up her meal allowance before she leaves and she can do that by having us be her guests at dinner. I love it when I don't have to cook dinner!

Jim raced in North Carolina this weekend and will be home in a couple of hours. He had a frustrating race, not running as well as he wanted to.

I went to the Auditorium Theater on Friday night to see a Broadway production of Mamma Mia. We know the young man, Travis, who was playing the role of the male lead (Sky) that night and it was so exciting to see him on the big stage. He really is a talented guy and the show was wonderful!

Yesterday I went to the Holiday Brunch at the Villages with Grandma. The dining room was beautifully decorated and we enjoyed a wonderful brunch including mamosas!

After eating a plate-ful of delicious food, we visited the cookie table and had to choose from many yummy, homemade treats! It was a fun morning!

Today Gram came over at 8:30 AM and we got lots of Christmas cookies made and made some plans for the holidays when the boys are here. We had the Christmas music going so it was a very festive time. Thanks Mom!

Tucker is now a home owner!! He signed all the paperwork and moved in on Dec. 3rd! Congratulations Tuck! He was in his new home for about a week before he left for Costa Rica. He joining Alison and her family for a 10 day trip to that beautiful country. I can hardly wait to see him when he finally gets to Rochester on Dec. 21st. And then I get to meet Alison when she arrives for New Year's! Lots to look forward to !

How is your Christmas shopping coming? I got a bunch of errands done this afternoon so I am feeling better about what still needs to be done. I hope the Christmas cards I ordered get here soon, because that is one big job that still awaits. I think it is time to set up the wrapping table in the basement so I can work on that job when I have a few minutes.

Time to knit some more and wait for the call from Jim telling me that he has arrived at the airport.

Could be some interesting weather coming through in the next few days.

Hope all is well.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Indiana Recap

We made it back from a wonderful weekend in Indiana! Corey and the Syracuse XC team were running in the NCAA Division I National Cross-Country Championships in Terre Haute, IN on Monday, so we left here early on Saturday morning with a destination of Indianapolis. We arrived around 3 PM and checked into the Westin. Jim went for a run and I found the yarn store that was only 1.5 miles away! After we returned from our separate jaunts, I decided I needed a good walk after sitting in the car all day, so Jim took me to the White River State Park, right in downtown Indy where we ended up walking about 3.5 miles along the canal and past the zoo. It was a great walk and just what I needed.

We then got in touch with niece Amy who was in town to spend some time with family. She recommended that we eat at her family's pizzeria and pub, which was a short walk from our hotel. We had a good meal and then Amy joined us for a beer. If you ever find yourself in Indianapolis, give the Pearl Street Pizzeria and Pub a try! We talked for a short time and made some plans to get together in the morning. It was great to see Amy again~it had been a long time since our paths have crossed.

After our Sunday morning breakfast, Amy came to the hotel and we walked in the other direction along the canal trail, racking up a few more miles. What a great resource that canal is in downtown Indy!
We then said our good-byes to Amy and made plans to meet up at Corey's meet the next day. Jim and I then went to a neat outdoor store where we learned a lot about backpacks for me.

We then drove west some more to Terre Haute where we spent the afternoon with Corey and some of his teammates.

The highlight (or maybe lowlight) was watching the Milk Mile and cheering on Syracuse's entrant, Sean. The Milk Mile has become a tradition before the National Championship race and it is for some of the runners that come along with the teams, but are not going to be running in the big race the next day. The contestants start the race by drinking 12 ounces of chocolate milk and then running a lap of the track. They drink and run until they have consumed 48 ounces of milk and run a mile. If you throw-up before crossing the finish line, you have to run one more lap. Most of the guys did OK, but the poor women! They crossed the finish line and quickly put their head in the conveniently placed large garbage can and started puking! People cheered! It was a bit sick! But they all earned the respect of their teammates. Sean did a fine job of representing SU by taking 3rd place in the Men's Elite race and managing to hold down the milk! He later told us that eating dinner that night was a challenge!


Knowing that nothing could top that entertainment, Jim and I headed back east about 35 miles to our hotel in Cloverdale, IN. We had to drive to the larger town of Green Castle to find a small, local restaurant for dinner.

Monday morning we were up early to get to the race course in time to walk it for a while and to check everything out. This course is one of the few dedicated XC courses in the country and is built on an old landfill, so there were hills for the runners to go up and down! We walked a good bit of the course and then Amy joined us and we walked some more.

The women ran first and I quickly realized that if I wanted to get some good photos of the SU runners, I would need to pick one spot and stay there.
There were lots of spectators who ran from point to point on the course so if I wasn't in a good spot right from the start, I wasn't able to get close enough to get good photos. So Jim ran all over the course cheering on Corey and the rest of the SU runners and Amy and I staked out our spot at a turn on the course where the runners were coming right at us and would come by this spot two times.

Corey is right in the center of the following photo.

There was a jumbotron right at the finish line so that more spectators could see the runners as they crossed the finish line. With thousands of spectators at the race, only a lucky few, who staked out their spots early were able to be right near the fence at the finish line. This jumbotron was a great addition.

The SU women had a good day and ended up with a tenth place finish out of 31 teams. The men had a tougher day and claimed 14th place. It was incredibly exciting to be part of this Big Dance for college runners and we were once again so proud to be wearing our Syracuse colors. Corey had a OK race and was SU's sixth man.

After the races, we hung around for a bit, but needed to get back on the road for our long drive home.

We left the course shortly after 2 PM and pulled into our driveway at 12:33 AM, not bad considering that included 2 stops for gas, dinner and a change of drivers.

Edited 2 days later: This has taken me some time to get posted because Blogger would not let me upload my photos, and what is a story without pictures! So, here it is Thanksgiving morning and Blogger is working again.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our family and friends. Corey got home last night and we put him to work this morning raking up the last of the leaves (at least we hope it is the last). We will be at Gram and GrandDad's for dinner and Grandma will join us there.

Hope all is well.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Practically Perfect Long Weekend

Have you ever tied 3 or 4 days tied together that were just wonderful, in a variety of ways. That is the way I can describe the past 4 days for Jim and me.

Thursday was Veteran's Day which meant a day off from school. After taking a couple of minutes at 11:00 AM on the 11th day of the 11th month to be thankful and grateful for the service of many past and present, I got to have lunch with a close friend.

I picked up Jim at 4 PM to begin our trip to Connecticut. We headed east, spending the night in the Albany area. In the morning, Jim realized that we would be crossing the Appalachian Trail while on I-90 and wondered if I wanted to stop and hike for a bit! Well, of course I did. So after a 45 minute drive on the interstate we exited and started our search for where the AT crossed the road we were on. We couldn't find it at our first road crossing, but were successful on our second try, finding the trail in Tyringham, MA. I changed into my hiking boots, we loaded up our day pack with some water and snacks and then headed south on the trail. We hiked for about 45 minutes, following a boardwalk over what must be a swampy area in the spring and climbing some good hills to get some nice overlook views. We turned around and retraced our steps, heading north on the trail, back to our car.

But then we decided we really needed to see what the trail was like on the other side of the road, so we hiked almost another 30 minutes, all up hill, hoping to get a view when we got to the top, but no such luck, so we turned around and returned to the car. Now I must tell you that the weather was absolutely perfect for a day of hiking~sunny, clear and in the mid 60's! It was very exciting to be out on the AT~plus my feet felt good in my new boots.

After getting back in to the car, we drove lots of back country roads towards New Haven, CT. There was yarn store in New Haven that I wanted to visit (of course there was!). Our trusty GPS took us through part of the Yale campus and right to Knit New Haven, a lovely yarn store, which just happened to have some yarn that I thought I needed to add to my stash. And since it was such a beautiful day, Jim enjoyed his walk through this part of New Haven and Yale, so he didn't mind the time I spent in the yarn store.

We were in Connecticut to see the SU XC team race in the Northeast Regional Championships. Corey was not running, but had come along with the team. While in New Haven we contacted Corey to see where he was and what his plans were. The team was staying west of New Haven and we would have to wait until the next day to see him, which was fine with us.

We continued on east to the town of Madison, where we were staying at the Tidewater Inn, a lovely place located only a mile from the race site at Hammonasset State Park. We had nice room at the B&B, where we got settled in before heading down to the state park for a walk on the beach.

It was a perfect time to stroll in the sand as the waves gently lapped at the shore and the sun was setting. We returned to the B&B in time for a wine and cheese gathering for the guests and the innkeeper. Our innkeeper recommended and made reservations for us at an Italian restaurant in Old Saybrook, about 7 miles down the road. We had a delicious dinner there.

Saturday morning dawned clear once again, with the promise of a delightful day. We returned to the state park, with plenty of time before the races (women's and men's) so we walked around the nature center and then I took the Dunes Trail back to the race site, while Jim drove the car. While we were walking the course, we met up with Corey, who was doing a workout.
We got to spend some time with him between races, but during the races, we all went our own ways to cheer on the SU teams.

There were 39 schools at this regional meet and last year both the SU men's and women's team won so they were running with targets on their backs this year. And once again the SU runners rose to the occasion and won both events!!!

It was a great day to be wearing the orange and blue of SU!! Both teams will be running in the national championship races in Terre Haute on Nov. 22nd, and Corey will be running on the SU men's team! We will be there to cheer them all on!

Shortly after the last SU runner crossed the line, and we were pretty sure they had won, Jim and I jumped in the car because we needed to get home that night. Jim was racing on Sunday morning!! We had an uneventful trip home, but Corey could not say the same. The SU runners and coaches were traveling in two big vans and the first van (the one in which Corey was riding) hit a deer on the Thruway!! Fortunately, no humans were hurt, but the van and the deer were not so lucky. So, a tow truck was called and all the guys in the first van climbed into the second van, where all the gals were riding and drove the last 45 miles back to SU! Champions and Survivors!!

Today Jim raced at Center Park in Fairport. He had a good race and it was a good day for running. I went along to help with registration. I was then asked to hand out some lanyards to all the runners after they crossed the finished line, which I agreed to do. Well, I learned a lesson and will never agree to do anything at the end of the finish line chute. As some of the guys came across the line, they were gagging and puking and snot was coming out of their noses, and I was completely grossed out!!! Never again! After the women's race started I followed along walking the first 5K of the 6K course and got some good exercise. With some of the hills I walked up, I can see why some of the faster runners with throwing up at the end of the race!

Tonight we closed out this great weekend by having the parents here for supper. I made them each make their own Naan pizza (all you Seinfeld fans will recognize this as a Kramer business plan!) and we each enjoyed our own creation.

We talked to Tucker briefly this weekend and he is looking forward to closing on his house. Corey commented that that seemed like such a "grown-up" thing for Tucker to be doing!!

I hope you did something this weekend that made a good memory~ I know I sure did.

Hope all is well.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday Summary

After surviving Halloween night, we embarked on the first week in November! This week I have made 6 more grape pies~2 for the Baked Food sale at church to support the youth bell choir and 4 for "Friday treats" at school. The pies at school were gone by 9:00 AM!

Jim has had a nasty cold for the the second half of this week, but seems to be on the mend at this time. He was feeling so poorly that he worked from home on Friday.

Saturday we went to the Section 5 cross-country championships at the Genesee Community College. We were there to cheer for the Odyssey team and they had a good day. Two girls qualified for the state meet and the boys team won the section 5 title for Class C and are on their way to the state meet too! Congratulations!

Today Jim raced in Syracuse and got have lunch with Corey. Jim did not run well, but after being sick for the last 4 days, he wasn't surprised! I stayed home and went to the gym for a good workout and then ran errands for a big chunk of the afternoon.

I did finish knitting the lace shawl that Corey gave me for my birthday. I blocked it on Saturday and it came out beautifully. I will post pictures here when I can get a good photo of it. I love the shawl!

This will be a short week at school as we have Veteran's Day off. Yippee!

I guess that is all for now.

Hope all is well.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hiking, Racing and a Cool Photo

Happy Halloween!

Corey's spectacular finish at yesterday's Big East Cross-Country race was captured by a photo/journalist for the Syracuse Post Standard newspaper and the photo was in today's sports section. For those of you who don't get that paper, here is the photo.

Today was Jim's day to race and today's event was at Watkins Glen State Park. I decided that I wanted to test my new hiking boots, so decided to tag along and hike the Gorge Trail while Jim was racing. Jim's running buddy, Tony, and his wife, Ann, rode down with us and Ann went hiking with me which was fun! We left the guys at the race course at one end of the park and drove to the main entrance of the park, where the trailhead was located. We hiked up the Gorge Trail, enjoying the many waterfalls and came back on the Indian Trail to make it a loop trip. It was a delightful hike and I am pleased to report that my boots were very comfortable. Here is one of the views that we had along the Gorge Trail.

Our 3 mile hike took just under an hour and we drove back to the race site and arrived with just a few minutes to spare before the start of the race. Tony gave us the lowdown on where to stand to best see the race and we cheered as the gun went off. Jim and Tony both had good races and Ann and I enjoyed our walk around the course. Here are 2 photos from the race. Jim won a medal and a share of a case of beer for the winning Veteran's team!

It was a good day to race and Ann and I only had a few sprinkles of rain as we started our hike, but mostly it was cloudy with welcome breaks of sunshine.

We enjoyed the ride along Seneca Lake on the way to Watkins Glen, especially the bright yellow leaves of the ever-present grape vines. The hillsides were vibrant with these golden leaves. Sorry, no photo.

So far, we've had about 30 trick-or-treaters (8:30 PM). We'll shut off the lights in another half hour and then Jim can get into the leftover Kit Kat bars!

Tonight I knit the last stitch on the shawl kit that Corey gave me for my birthday. It is going to be lovely once I block it out! I'll post photos when I finish the blocking process.

Tomorrow is November 1st! Time flies when you're having fun.

Hope all is well.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Big East Champs!

Congratulations to Corey and the rest of the men's Syracuse University Cross-Country team. Today they defended their Big East title by beating 13 other Big East XC teams. Jim and I, along with the grandparents drove to Jamesville Beach County Park, just outside of Syracuse for this meet. Bob and Sally drove over for the meet too, and their support was much appreciated. The women ran first and the Syracuse women took 3rd place overall. Then the men stepped to the line and we were all nervous-excited as the gun went off.

The course was a true cross-country route~hills and mud! The SU men ran a smart race and when all the runners had crossed the finish line, SU had a 4 point win over Louisville (that would be a good win in basketball, too!!). Corey ran well, finishing 7th for the team, and passing 2 other runners just at the finish line. We all enjoyed seeing him run again, because we do not get that chance very often anymore. The grandparents were all real troupers, dealing with cool, windy conditions, with lots of walking and standing, but I think their cheering kept them warm!

We stayed for the awards ceremony and then drove 4 miles to the German restaurant that I like, where we had a delicious lunch.

Here are a few photos from today's race. Enjoy.

The start of the men's race.

One of the many, muddy hills. Corey is the SU runner on the right.

Corey looking strong!

At the 3 mile mark.

Corey with a great finish, just beating 2 other runners!

Celebrating with Gram and GrandDad!

The celebration continues with Grandma!

The awards ceremony.

A proud father and grandfather with a happy runner!

Hope all is well.