Staycation

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So it’s winter break. A week long holiday that doesn’t exist where I grew up in SoCal and still confuses me a little. But with it being in the single digits for Valentines day and an official snow day for schools on Tuesday. I was grateful Luke took an extra day off and I didn’t have to drive to Rochester.

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I have to say I’m not very good with staycations. I am learning, but it’s not easy. The fireplace is on the view outside is beautiful and cold. Kira is getting spoiled with so much more attention then she normally gets from both of us.

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But I have a nagging feeling I need to take this time to get ahead with lesson planning or do early spring cleaning. Although yes, I will probably do some of this, Luke is encouraging me to Blog, journal, play piano, sleep in, and overall just rest.

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I do not have a personality that rests very well.  It takes a lot for me to “stare out the window’ and “just be”. Usually I do this best when I’m physically away from the everyday environment.

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As is I am having a hard time adjusting to the slower pace of this semester compared to the fall when I taught everyday in Rochester at two different schools. But I am making an effort to fill that “extra time” with items that matter just as much as official work like exercise, reading, meal planning, house cleaning and organizing and so on.

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Learning to take advantage of the quiet seasons, the silent snow days is hard. But I am always reminded that I have this season as a blessing, as a moment to sigh and regroup from what was behind, and to prepare for what is ahead.

Anyone else struggle with snow days or staycations?

2013 in review

I know we are a little more than a week into the new year but it has taken me a full week to get back into the normal routine of things (I can’t be the only one who’s in the post-holiday struggle for normality). As I look back on almost a full year with this blog I thought I’d review some of the highlighting events of 2013.

So here is a review of 2013 blog style:

January: survived our first NY winter:  A Lesson in Independence and explored our local museum’s winter events: 2300 degrees

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February: Started a new Valentines tradition: Valentine’s Pie: a New Tradition, and explored what it means to be newly married :Dispelling Marriage MythsMarriage Myth busting: Round 2

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March: Celebrate Luke’s birthday with brewery tours/tastings in Rochester: A Chemistry lesson for a birthday present, Shared about my allergy to barley: Why I am barley free: Part One, and celebrated Easter: Hot Cross Buns and Berry Salad

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April: Celebrated 6 months of marriage: Wow it’s been 6 months!, shared details about our wedding:The Dress and  learning how to look for a job: Patience: giving myself time

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May: Traveled to the West Coast for an Oregon vacation and my brother’s college graduation: Vacation Highlights Part 1: Family TimeVacation Highlights Part 2: Date Days

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June: Went Kayaking in Rochester: Kayaking and BBQ, bottled our first homemade barley-free beer:  Bottling our first homemade brew and celebrated my birthday in Ithaca: An Ithaca birthday Adventure

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July: Explored local festivals: Two festivals and Korean BBQ, Fixed up the front porch: Home Improvement: The Front Porch Project, and traveled to Washington to be apart of pre-wedding events for my brother’s wedding : Pre-wedding Jitters

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August:  Particpated in my soon-to-be sister-in-law’s bridal shower: Stina’s bridal shower and other wedding events, attended two local foodie festivals in NY: Smoke on the WaterTaste of Ellicotville, and hiked a local landmark: Walkins Glen State Park= Gorge-ous

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September: Looked back on my brother’s wedding: The Wedding, and shared more about my job-search: A New Year: Teacher without a classroom

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October: Picked pumpkins and attended an Apple Festival: Picking Perfect Pumpkins;  Apple Fest,  shared about my allergy to tree-nuts:Why I am tree-nut free Part one,  and celebrated a year of marriage with a trip to Niagara Falls :Niagara Falls anniversary Part One

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November: Kept busy with non-blogging activities and shared about them in: busy: and update

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December: Started two new holiday traditions: Post-Parade Cookies and Cocoa and Christmas Concert TSO. Attended our local holiday festival: Sparkle and shared our Christmas with my parents: A Very Corning Christmas present and A handmade and heirloom Christmas

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That is one very full blogging year! And that is only a small portion of the blog-post in this past year and doesn’t include any of my recipes. So what can you look forward to reading about this next year? You’ll find out soon enough.

The Lamppost

Well this is a first, up until now I have not shared any of my creative writing or poetry on this blog. But today, Christmas Eve, I thought I’d share a new poem I wrote. I was inspired by Reliant K’s Christmas song “Like a Lion” which was inspired in turn by C.S. Lewis’ Lion Witch and the Wardrobe as well as by my mother-in-law’s newest book I edited called Winter Has Passed . Here is The Lamppost: Enjoy!

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The Lamppost

I’ve wandered through a long dark winter

A child lost in the snow

The blizzards blind me

The ice cuts to the soul

The winter never ends here

It lingers never melting

The sun never shines

The snow endless, drifting

I wait for Christmas

For joy in the dark cold

For old St. Nick and reindeer

Like all the stories told

But presents never come

No stockings ever fill

I have forgotten: what is spring?

The trees lie dead and still

Until one day after months maybe years

I squint my eyes to see in the distance

A faint small light appears

Is it a star? Will it grant my wishes?

As I come cautiously near

It is a lamppost; that becomes clear

A flaming light protected in glass

Held high by iron metal clasps

I stood in wonder in the glow

I could feel it’s warmth in the blinding snow

And a surprising memory begins to grow

Of a thing I think called:

Hope

A smile stretches across my face

As I take in this small space

And in the distance I could almost hear

The sound of jingle bells drifting through the chilly air!

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Hope you have a wonderful Christmas Eve!!

Spring is coming

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Cherry blossom tree at Easter in Seattle

It is still cold outside but there is hope as things are slowly thawing. We are not used to long winters with snowy temps. from October-March. We are told this was a normal to light winter-eek!

Fortunately spring is coming and we have finally moved out of the “settling-in” stage. Luke mentioned to me that he feels like we have finally arrived-things are beginning to feel well . . .  normal. We have been married for 5 months now and the newness of it all is starting to fade . . in a good way.

Our “settling-in” phase was such a scramble. Everything was new, scary, exciting, and anxiety producing. Any little task around the house, errand, or decision was a monumental “first” which involved talking, compromise, patience, and grace.

We are now ready for a new phase I call “branching out”;  it’s time to get involved in the community.

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Now that I have gotten a grasp of some of my wifely responsibilities I am ready to begin the job of finding a job. It is time for me to find my purpose and place here in New York.

As I make phone calls, email inquiries, send my CV to colleges and companies in the area; I have to stay focused on today and not worry about tomorrow as I wrote in The future is . . .

We have also recently been asked to lead a small group of young couples at our church once a week starting in April. We love to host events and build community. Plus I once again have a reason to bake goodies!!!

In addition, we are attending Financial Peace University at our church.  Luke has a good working knowledge of finances I   . . . do not. We thought this class would provide us with the framework/vocabulary for discussion on this stressful topic. This is us taking that desire to procrastinate talking about loans, debt, spending, saving, and shoving it out the door!

Last, we have been exercising. We got memberships at the Y in January. It took awhile to get into the routine. Fortunately the Y has a clean welcoming facility and everyone is polite. There is no judgment, no hogging the machines, no showing off, just genuine people taking care of their bodies whatever their shape, size, or age! It is a far cry from the LA gyms and fitness centers! Still we are looking forward to warmer weather so that we can exchange our indoor exercise for outdoor explorations.

Chinese garden Huntington Library this past May

Chinese garden Huntington Library this past May

Do you have any spring cleaning/changes or challenges ahead of you?

My new hometown

Luke and I love to explore but sometimes for cost sake it’s better to stay local. Yet in this still very winter weather, no matter how tempting, we don’t want to get stuck inside. Fortunately we live in Corning.

Spending more time close to home, I realized I haven’t blogged about my new hometown.

(As I have written before click on any picture or word/phrase in orange to see more!)

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Corning is probably known best for Corningware or Corelle. You know, all those plates and baking dishes you buy for wedding registries? (maybe even bought for mine). This is where it all got started.

Corning was first known as a lumber town because the Chemung river runs through it. When the industrial revolution hit the city became a center for the railroad. By 1868 it had become the new home for Corning Glass Works. This is why Corning’s nicknamed “Crystal City”.  Tourist come in the summer to the Corning Museum of Glass featuring modern glass art, the science behind glass, glass uses, live glass blowing demonstrations, and an extensive collection on the history of glass.

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On the same property is their glass making studio where you can sign up to make a featured item.

Ornaments Luke and I made in the glass studio in December

Ornaments Luke and I made in the glass studio in December

Or you can take one of many glass shaping/art classes at the glass making studio.  You may remember my 2300 degrees blog; that event was hosted at the museum. Corning Inc.’s offices and one their research and development facilities, which test glass products for industry, science and technology, are also in Corning.

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As much as I love history, what you will probably hear me talk most about is our historic downtown called the Gaffer District (a gaffer =a glass blower/maker). This area encompasses several blocks of glass art studios, museums, eclectic speciality shops, antique stores, bars, bakeries, and restaurants.  Many events and festivals are held here annually (some of which I  will attend in the future and share with all of you ).

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If you are a history buff and want to know about Corning’s history: Click Here!

Want to know more about the historic downtown Gaffer District? : Check it out here!

or take a look at the Gaffer District’s Facebook page: Click here!

So that is a short tour of my new hometown. What do you think?