31 December 2009

Dashing Through December

December flew by...2009 flashed before my eyes...the last decade almost gone!

31 December 2009 Photo: Once In A Blue Moon

I am feeling the pressure of it being the last night of the year...last year of the decade...last blog entry of the first year of my photo a day site! Too much pressure!!! I need a good last picture of the year, final blog post...after all, tonight is once in a blue moon (at least until 2028)! http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091230/ap_on_sc/us_sci_blue_moon

It is time to take toll of the last year. I have seen too many news programs about the year in review so I am not going to bore you with my personal year in review other than just like every other year...it was the best of times...it was the worst of times...but most of it was just - well - it just was!

I started this blog as a commitment to myself to focus on my photography. I have to say that it was a huge success. Not only did I improve my skills and join a local photography group as a result, but I also had photos in a show for the first time since I was in high school and shared my love of photography with a wider group of people on the blog. I have been asked if I am going to continue the blog. And the answer is yes...in some form. I am not sure on the form yet but check back here to see!

I know it is cliche...New Year's Eve, champagne blah blah blah. The blue moon was hiding and I have already done NYC for New Year's Eve twice...this is as good as it gets!

In a few hours it will be 2010. TWENTY TEN! Where did the last decade go? I remember when I was partying like it was 1999 and only ten years later, I am partying like I am 99! I know, I know I said I wasn't going to do recap my year, but this is a whole DECADE! Many wonderful things happened in the last 10 years...houses bought and sold and bought; moving back and forth and back again - from NY to RI back to NY; marrying a wonderful man, to name a few! May you and yours have a happy and healthy next year and decade.

30 December 2009

30 December 2009 Photo: Frequent Flyer Miles

Memories of childhood came flooding back when I saw this sled at a store in town. Obviously it is not an original but I immediately associated this Flexible Flyer with hours of fun in Wilcox Park in Westerly, RI. Did you have a Flexible Flyer? Did you ever do the running belly flop onto the sled? I was out running errands today and froze...how is it I stayed outside for hours upon hours playing in the snow as a child and never thought about how cold it was?

Here is a little history about the Flexible Flyer: http://www.ehow.com/about_5087180_history-antique-flexible-flyer-sleds.html

29 December 2009

29 December 2009 Photo: Footprints On My Heart

The snow has returned and we picked up Mona at the dog sitter's yesterday. She had a good Christmas but is not so thrilled with the snow. Her poor little paws get so cold because she is one of those dogs that does not have much fur on the bottom of her feet. We may have to buy her some little booties.

28 December 2009 Photo: Boom Boom Pow!

We stopped by to see my brother and niece on our way back to NY. She was enjoying the drums that we bought her for her birthday. My brother, however, is not! :) Just a little payback for the crazy gifts he has bought in the past!

27 December 2009

27 December 2009 Photo(s): The Ocean House

All the snow melted in Westerly overnight so Bill and I took a ride down to the beach. It was a beautiful (but cold) day. We wandered around Watch Hill, Misquamicut and Weekapaug.

I was happy to see The Ocean House rebuild in the final stages. The Ocean House was one of my favorite places when I was growing up. I used to go there when it was closed in the winter and sit on the porch to think and reflect. The Ocean House was built in the mid 1800's and torn down a few years ago because it was in such disrepair. They rebuilt it so that the outside of it looks almost identical to the original. It is one place I would like to stay before I die! Every time I look at it, I see the people of the late 1800's and early 1900's enjoying their days by the ocean. You can see what the old one looked like here: http://www.pbase.com/mybigboy/image/55932290

26 December 2009

26 December 2009 Photo: Defying Gravity

My sisters and I went to see Wicked tonight in Providence. It was a great show and I am glad I FINALLY got to see it. I am excited I am going to see it again in Syracuse with Bill in a couple of weeks.

25 December 2009 Photo(s): A Tale Of Two Cities

Christmas Day started and ended in RI with a little of MA in the middle! It is always wonderful to see kids on Christmas morning/day with the excitement of seeing what Santa brought to them!
By the time I put my head down on a pillow, I was out like a burned out Christmas light!

24 December 2009 Photo(s): Twas The Night Before Christmas...

Some people celebrate more on Christmas day, but in the Lombardo household, it has always been Christmas eve! We had 22 people for dinner at my sister's house which included the 6 siblings,spouses, children and a variety of extended family and friends. It was a feast filled with food, family, fun and reindeer antlers!

The 5 cousins, who have made their appearance in the blog before, are above in the official cousin picture of the year! It was pig pile on Jared year!

My niece went around putting her antlers on many people to get them to catch her infectious excitement...and with that smile it spread like the swine flu or the reindeer flu!

You will see money being given in multiple formats because when the kids say they want money, we can't just put it in a card and call it a day. No, we have to make it more fun. This year I made my oldest nephew play "Jeopardy" to get his money. He also got "dough" baked in Pillsbury dough because that's how he "rolls".

It was a great night and we have another year to recover before we do it all over again! I hope you Christmas was wonderful as mine!

23 December 2009 Photo: Snowman Tree

Ok...so I am a little obsessed with the tree ornaments. Funny how both my sister and I have an OVER abundance of snowman tree decorations.

22 December 2009

22 December 2009 Photo(s): The Spirit(s) Of Christmas

I finally have caught the Christmas "spirit"! It only happened a day or so ago but was kicked into high gear when I arrived in RI to see my family today. This is the one (usually) guaranteed time of the year when all of my siblings are together, along with spouses, children and assorted extended family. With six of us spread from GA to NY to MA to RI that is never an easy feat. As you can see in the photos above my sister, Anne Marie, is the Gaming Queen!

It has been quite a year for us - my brother was in the hospital during Christmas last year, my sister had kidney cancer in the spring, my nephew broke his arm, I broke my ankle and assorted other aches and pains as we get older. Luckily this Christmas season we are all relatively healthy (or at least healthier) and will be gathered in a few days to celebrate the season.

As we enter into this year's Christmas festivities, I am happy to have my family around me and remember those that are not here. Today would have been my mother's birthday and while she is not here with us physically, I know she is here in my "spirit" of Christmas!

21 December 2009

21 December 2009 Photo: Turkey Bling

Bill went to the grocery store yesterday to pick up a few things - one of which was turkey deli meat. While I was making a sandwich today, I looked at the package and was confused. Why was this turkey $37!?!?! I opened the package looking for some BLING! Certainly there must be something gold or shiny in there for $75/lb. NOPE...ONLY turkey in there! I asked Bill if this was a mistake that was corrected when he checked out...NOPE! According to the receipt, he was, in fact, charged 37 bucks for 1/2 lb of turkey.

Off he went back to P&C to get the extra $33 back. Now, if you live in Central NY, you know that P&C is on the brink of bankruptcy and has been in the news for the last week about whether or not they will be bought by another company or closed for good. Maybe this is a new tactic...charge 10x the amount on deli meat to make some extra cash! This is why I shop at Wegmans!

20 December 2009 Photo: Our Newest Family Members

Now, Dasher! Now Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donder and Blitzen!

Don't they look real...well, besides being super small. It's the new mini-deer! We saw these cute deer in the store and decided they needed to come live with us. Mona is not so sure how she feels about the newest family members. First thing she did was smell their butts. I think she was offended that they didn't sniff hers in return.

19 December 2009

19 December 2009 Photo: Retro Christmas

I remember growing up with ceramic items always around for the holidays. My mother and her friends were always "going to ceramics" and I never knew what that meant. However, I still have several pieces from my childhood, including an Easter basket. When I met Bill, I was amazed to see this ceramic Christmas tree in his belongings. It is our only Christmas tree this year as we never got around to getting our real tree - partially due to weather and partially due to my foot issues. I had to put out some holiday decorations and glad we had this one to pull out! Only a few days until Santa comes down the chimney. I hope he brings me new lenses, a new computer, renovated bathrooms, a puppy and some Christmas spirit.

18 December 2009

18 December 2009 Photo: A Little Bird House In My Soul

Found this little birdhouse hanging out in Fiddlers Green. It made me think of They Might Be Giants and their song Birdhouse In My Soul. Of course I had to go look for the video...I have not seen it in ages! It is pretty funny and strange. You have to LOVE TMBG and the countless screaming Argonauts! Here is the blast from the past video: http://www.poetv.com/video.php?vid=180

17 December 2009 Photo: Winter Weeds

There is not much growing these days in Central NY except the weeds. They sure are hardy!

16 December 2009

16 December 2009 Photo: Tied In Knots

I was going outside to take pictures of the snow but it was really cold outside so I only made it as far as the mudroom.

15 December 2009

15 December 2009 Photo: Chotskies

As I was getting ready to decorate for Christmas, I become more aware of the chotskies we have around our house. According to the "Urban Dictionary" chotskies are "generally useless crap of little or no value. Similar to knick-knacks, popularized in Wierd-Al Yancovichs eBay song."

Now my stuff while useless, it is valuable at least to me. Since I looked up the definition and it mentioned Weird Al's song, I had to go check it out and here it is if you have a few minutes of your life you never want to get back! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYokLWfqbaU

14 December 2009 Photo: Hot Air/Cold Air

While it is not officially winter until next week, the cold air has moved in and the only hot air in my world is dreaming of the summer balloon festival.

13 December 2009

13 December 2009 Photo: O Christmas Tree

We have yet to successfully find a Christmas tree. We went to the place down the road from our house but didn't find the right tree. Yes I am picky! :0)

12 December 2009 Photo(s) & Video: An Nollaig

Bill and I went to see Eileen Ivers and Immigrant Soul in Geneva, NY. She is an AMAZING fiddle player as the nine-time All-Ireland Fiddle Champion and original music star of Riverdance. We discovered her music about 4 years ago when I surprised Bill with tickets to see her at the Iron Horse in Northampton, MA. We have seen her 4 or 5 times now and encourage anyone who likes Irish music, fiddle playing or just an all around high energy good time to go and experience her and the band. The lead singer is Tommy McDonnell and recorded and performed with "The Original Blues Brothers Band". They are so fun and really know how to get the crowd going. There were people there from 8 - 80 and everyone had their toes tapping and their hands clapping.

You can see more about her and her band here: http://www.eileenivers.com/index.html and see more about her story as told by Sunday Morning news show here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GW9Jqsrj8xo

Below is a short video I took to give you a taste of the show we saw in Geneva. Yes I know the video flips toward the end...sorry. What do you want, I'm a photographer, not a videographer! :)

11 December 2009

11 December 2009 Photo: I Saw The Sign

Our final staff lunch was had today at the Glenside Pub. They have a unique way of advertising other businesses. There are a bunch of sign cut outs hanging from the ceiling.

10 December 2009 Photo: Holiday Party

In December we are usually either overseas doing a visit to one of our schools/programs or in Glenside, PA having a Staff Retreat. This year was a PA year. Even though I must admit, I generally enjoy the overseas travel more, I definitely have a great time when I get to hang out with colleagues and friends in PA as well! It was an exhausting week of meetings starting at 8AM and going until 5 or 6PM but I work with some of the best people I know!

9 December 2009 Photo:

A couple of my photos hang in The College of Global Studies office at Arcadia University (where I work-well when I am not on the road or working from home). The one on the left was taken in Northern Ireland at the University of Ulster.

8 December 2009 Photo: Stop Following Me

Santa seems to have followed me to PA. He has now taken the form of a Pez dispenser.

7 December 2009 Photo: Pillow Gate Update

I am in PA for the week and staying in my normal hotel when I am here for work. Today I FINALLY received a call from the hotel manager that accused me of stealing the pillows last week. She told me that she they would not be further investigating the missing "soft" pillows and would not be charging me. We'll see if the hotel this week finds something missing when I leave - I did use the complimentary shampoo. I hope that is ok!

06 December 2009

6 December 2009 Photo: Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow

On my way to my meeting for work, I popped in to see some friends who have made an appearance on the blog before - the Dunne Family. Finn is growing like crazy and is super cute! I took this one with my iphone but I totally love it because Finn is so excited to see himself on the computer. Thanks for a fun afternoon Molly, Tom and Finn - it is always great to catch up!

The photo below was taken en route of all big fluffy snow. We barely got any snow in Syracuse which is just fine with me!

05 December 2009

December 5 2009 Photo(s): Candymania Part Deux

Well here is some of the finished product getting ready to be shared with friends and family near and far. If you are one of the lucky ones you will get some. If you come to visit me, there is a good chance there will be some here. If you have had the pleasure of tasting it, you know it is good. If you have not, you don't know what you are missing. Click on the second picture and make it giant...your mouth will water :)

Fun fact #1: I grew up with my mother making this candy every Christmas. We always called it Mom's Famous Candy and I assumed it was her recipe (not that she ever said that). I saw an almost exact recipe in a cookbook once - someone must have copied hers. Right?

Fun fact #2: This candy was the favor at our wedding. My sister made 14 or 15 sheets of it and brought to RI in a separate suitcase on a plane all the way from Georgia. Can you imagine if they asked to inspect that suitcase? HAHA

UPDATE FROM PILLOWGATE: I have made 5 calls to the General Manager of the hotel...she has not called me back! Does that mean I can call the authorities on her? Or maybe the owners of the hotel?

04 December 2009

4 December 2009 Photo(s): Oompa Loompas Hard At Work

It was like the Wonka Candy factory at our house tonight as we made Christmas candy. I want an oompa loompa and I want it NOW!!!!

03 December 2009

3 December 2009 Photo(s) & Video: The Pillow Thief

So after a 15 hour day yesterday, I decided I was too tired to drive all the way home. I stopped in MA at a Holiday Inn & Suites at 10PM, crutched in to see if they had a room...checked in, went to my room, called Bill and fell asleep after watching Criminal Minds. Slept straight through until 6AM (late for me, if you know me), got up, washed up (didn't even take a shower or take the complimentary shampoo) and was out of the room before 7AM, grabbed breakfast and checked out. I even returned the key to the desk because there was a message posted on the desk when I checked in that said "Please return the key to the desk or leave it in the room. New technology is expensive." The key was the new fangled wave it in front of the door and it opens deals.

So...fast forward to returning home at 10:30AM after making my way through driving rain. Happy to be home, I unpacked the car (while on crutches) and started doing some follow up from my school visit yesterday. At 11:39AM I received call, since the phone was in the other room, I could not get to it in time to answer it. And how happy I am about that because now you can listen to the message. Thanks to Bill for doing the video.

In full disclosure...this is not a picture of that hotel in question and I have edited out her name and number to protect the not so tactful GM.

I was LIVID. Really did she just call me a PILLOW THIEF???? And tell me she was going to report me to the authorities??? I told the General Manager when I called her back that I had no idea what she was talking about and that I did not steal her 4 "soft" pillows. I explained to her that I arrived at 10PM last night and did not leave the room until I checked out at 7AM. I saw her at the front desk when I left and asked her is she remembered the person leaving on crutches. She said she did. I said did you see any pillows on me. All I had was a backpack with my computer and toiletry bag. She said, I don't know what to tell you. Wait, maybe I threw them out the window and drove around back to pick them up. Now, I know I am soft and fluffy and I wish I could blame my extra fluffiness on 4 "soft" pillows stuffed down my pants but alas, I cannot tell a lie - it is just me.

I asked her if she checked to see how many times I entered the room? I know she can do this because the "new technology" allows you to check a log to see entrances. I just watched Criminal Minds and they did it last night. Wait...maybe they could see I watched that show and that is why she called me a pillow thief! HMMMM!!!!

Anyway, I said I didn't take your pillows and I don't know why they had disappeared and maybe she needed to get new glasses or double check her new fangled fancy technology. I also informed her that if this charge is added to my bill there will be a problem. She said "fine"...WHAT?? what does that mean. She told me she can't promise me anything. I said you are the GM, who is going to make that decision??? She said she would have to investigate it further and I said I would appreciate a call back when she is done with her investigation.... No word back yet - I have Garcia, Hotch and the gang on speed dial (sub-reference to Criminal Minds for those who don't watch that show).

So I have taken some pictures of the pillows in my house and if said hotel spots one of their "soft" pillows, please feel free to come pick it up. As I was taking one of the pictures, Mona stepped in front of the pillows...she likes "soft" pillows and she looks kind of guilty. Maybe I will send in her paw prints into the authorities so she can be cleared or accused as deemed appropriate.

2 December 2009 Photo(s): The Biggest Little State In The Union

I think this will be one of my favorite posts. As a true Rhod'islandah, I love the Big Blue Bug. If you have driven on 95 through Providence and missed Nibbles Woodaway - go back NOW!!! He is perched on top of New England Pest Control for all to see.

Currently Nibbles is dressed up for the holidays sporting a red nose, antlers and 5000 lights! But his outfits don't stop there - he is decked out for several holidays including Halloween, 4th of July, Opening Day of the Pawtucket Red Sox, and drinking one of my other RI favorites - Del's Lemonade. You can learn a lot more about Nibbles and see pictures in the gallery here: http://bluebug.com/

And if you still have not had enough of the weirdness that is RI, check out some other favorites here: http://www.bluebug.com/news/markpatinkin_no_lack_of_weird.html