Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Community Crandall 2013

It's another year, so I've relocated to another space.

Connecticut Crandall is retiring and I'm moving into another Community - the Community of Us.

Monday, December 31, 2012

The Drive Home, Through Newtown, Through Sandy Hook

Somewhere near Albany, the snow seemed to be melting and the winds began picking up. At a rest stop, people were complaining about the 36 degree temperature, but it was a good ten degrees warmer than Syracuse, so it felt warm. There was snow, but it wasn't as massive as CNY - just enough to make the ride beautiful.

I was apprehensive taking exit 10 off of 84 where I would drive past Sandy Hook Elementary School and the town of Newtown. I didn't want to be intrusive, but I needed to catch 20 down to the Merritt to Stratford. As I exited, the sun peaked through the white clouds and I said a few prayers. For many, Sandy Hook, Connecticut is a location on a map they learned about from the news. For others, it is where we, our colleagues, and our friends live.

It's been two weeks. On my way up to Syracuse, I missed the exit to 20 and found an alternative route. I believe this was my subconscious way of leaving my normal route to rest. I still cannot imagine the grief of the community or how the holidays, from this day on, will be a reminder of a tragic, tragic event.

Newtown was very quiet. The diner was packed as normal and a few wreaths were hung here and there. Traffic was light and stores were open with customers. Here and there, a few spray painted sheets read, "Pray for Newtown." Churches were quiet and few people were out. I made my way quietly, only to notice the pristine white that covered everything. Their parks were perfect and a few Canadian Geese walked along a pond. One hill hosted an angel for each person who lost their life on December 14th and this pierced my heart. This will be a spiritual space for many and  the town, quaint and calm, will never be the same again.

Trina Paulus, author of Hope for the Flowers, and the Connecticut Writing Project have collaborated. We have almost met our goal of providing 600 copies of her book to children, families, churches, counselors, and youth agencies in the area. Supporting this effort can be done through visiting the CWP-Fairfield website and donations will purchase the book and help  to host a butterfly release this spring.

I texted my niece in Syracuse to tell her she will compete against Newtown High School when she travels to Rhode Island for a WGI Regional - they're in the same class. I think it would be wonderful for the Northstars to bond and to do something extremely special for the students in their guard. The world is enormous, but at times like these it seems so, so small.

This is my last post for Connecticut Crandall - 2012. It is not the way I anticipated finishing the year. I know, however, that all my future writing will be inspired by the proximity of this event.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

And the home visit comes to a close....

My friends in Connecticut asked me if it was snowing in Syracuse. I had to laugh. I've been here a week and I can count on one hand the two days it didn't snow during this break. Christmas  is always nicer when it's white, even though I do remember skateboarding in shorts on during my childhood. The rugged plow life is more like it - I prefer the cold, wintry, miserable Syracuse that has become infamous across the nation.

I'm also stoked to have new boots now to match the lifestyle of Syracuse. I hope I get to use them when I return to plow out my driveway tomorrow, too. I know lil' Roseanne ( the Ford Focus) won't get up my driveway in Stratford unless it is plowed. Nikki calls the shoes "butters," which I sort of like. I shall call them that, too. I scraped them already, thought, and they were flawed within the first 15 minutes of owning them. Mom says, "They're boots. Get over it."

Ah, but it is time to head back to work and the routine of academia - there is always much more to be done. The hiatus of cookies, cakes, and Clay Jam has come to an end (and I anxiously await the January guilt to work off everything I ate these last few weeks even if I was a bit smarter this year and tried not to eat much before I drove home).

I enjoyed the relaxation, knowing my mother is feeling better, Nikki's one liners, Casey's whisky-fest, and having WIRELESS everywhere I go - it took my family a while but everyone is now caught up to the 21st century.  I used my IPad more, too, even if I still feel more comfortable on the laptop.

And so, Syracuse, it looks like a departure until March. I think you are in for much, much more snow, but only time will tell.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

I guess they met at Starbucks

The video is from Best In Show (2000) and the spoof of characters created to depict the eccentricity around dog lovers. I'm not quite sure I get it, but my niece will be performing to this (with a wonderful piano tune) during the 2013 Winterguard Season. As plans have it, I will be able to make it to Rhode Island where she will compete in a northeast regional.

I got a preview this week and the potential is there for the Northstars to continue this growing legacy.
I am guessing that they are going for whimsical and funny, although that is not the way it has been portrayed thus far. Now that I made the connection to the Christopher Guest spoof, I am thinking there's a lot of potential to add whimsical flare to the "script".

We shall see. Only time will tell.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Cynderballs! Today is your Day!

It begins with my mom's birthday. It moves into Christmas. It ends with Cynderballs and her special December celebration!

Today is the 28th and my big sister, the Queen of the Universe, turns another year older. Here, she's pictured doing her best impersonation of the Cabbage Patch doll Mike bought her for Christmas (which I image she already returned this week).

On the 28th of December each year the Crandall, Isgar and Barnwell people get together one last time to determine that, yes, they pretty much have had it with each other and need some space for a while. The close proximity over several events, coupled with decades of family history, creates anticipation of the new year where not as much time is spent together.

Actually, the love is real and it is especially felt on Cynde's special day. Today, she'll be getting her hair done. I'll be picking up her daughter at 3 p.m.. And she will select festivities for the evening that will not involve whisky, ginger all and cherry juice for Casey. I'm also baking my famous cake just for her and watching the U of L/University of Kentucky basketball game at 4.

We love you Cynde! We think you're the best oldest sister in the world! Here's to you!

With any luck, we'll get more photos like this tonight!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

I am admitting my addiction...

Clay Jam, 2012.

I downloaded the APP Clay Jam earlier this year, but never played it. Tapping in to my inner OCD, I began playing last weekend when I got home. I admit it, I've not been able to think about anything other than completing all the levels and solving the game. I sat for hours (I mean ridiculous hours) to move a little forward every day.

I am honored and happy to say that yesterday at around 4:30 p.m., I defeated the last monster and was awarded with a clay-day parade. I thought this was pertinent for my holiday home-visit to Clay, New York.

Of course, today there's much snow that has fallen and I should have saved my play time for now, but that is not how OCD works. I needed the game resolved immediately and that is why I spent the last week paving a way for my little marble to collect blotches of monster dough.

When I was younger, it wasn't me who played, but Casey. I coached. Things have changed and I now have deleted the application - it's gone. I no longer have the distraction and I am thankful.

No more games in 2013, okay?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

And the memories were created, XMAS 2012

I promised my brother-in-law, Dave, that I wouldn't post anything on Christmas Eve night about my sister's reaction to the orangey-peach sweatshirt I got her from Kohl's. "That," he advised, "is not something for the world to read. I mean, I have to live with her."

And he had to drive with her all the way from Cicero to Manlius, waiting on pins and needles that at any second the topic would return, "Why the F@#$ would anyone buy me a F#$#ing orange sweatshirt?" This was the mantra for the evening, so readily repeated that Sean also began asking it of anyone who would listen.

Bailey's Cream. Southern Comfort. Ginger Ale. Cherry juice.
K dot C dot. And how dare a brother drive an orange sweatshirt from Connecticut all the way to CNY? Doesn't anyone pay attention to how she dresses? Her color patterns? Her style? Doesn't anyone think about what would look good on her?

We all learned one thing that night. Wrapping paper and GIFT BAGS did not look good on her either. As she tried to build her chest so she could pound on it yelling, "I am woman hear me roar," we all lost the purpose of the rant. We sat quiet hoping that she wouldn't direct her frustration on us next.

I mean the sweatshirt was her size. It looked warm. I was thinking about cold, Syracuse nights and the winters when Dave is plowing the streets. A fleece of sorts.

But it was orange. I should have known better. I can do better paying attention to details and thinking ahead to colors that might be better suited: grays, browns, blacks, etc. I mean orange.

This one goes down in the record books.