Thankful for the little things

23 Nov

thankful-heart-a_std_t_nvMost every year at Thanksgiving, I post a long-winded list of all the things I’m thankful for. It’s an exercise that forces me to pause and think about all the little things in life that I too often taken for granted.

If we’re fortunate enough to have a roof over our heads, enough money to live comfortably, and good health, that’s really all we need. But the little things — the intangibles — are what really make life worthwhile. That’s the list I’ve posted every Thanksgiving, and which I add to every year.

This is the original list, posted in 2013:

I am thankful for:

My husband, my kids, having a nice home and enough food for the table, my cats, my karate family, my job, friends at my job, good neighbors, good health, my family’s good health, my terrific in-laws, my father, my siblings, the color and crunch of autumn leaves, flowering trees in the spring, rain on the porch roof, Easter baskets, Tiny Tigers, line-dried laundry, lilacs, Christmas Eve snow, sunshine, Friday summer nights on the porch with a beer, sunsets, thunderstorms, warm summer rains, starry nights, blankets in the winter, fires in the wood stove, weekends, Christmas lights, writing my blog, hugs, leaf piles for jumping in, crisp new sheets, the summer breeze that comes in my bedroom window, daffodils, baby giggles, holding hands with my husband, memories of my mother, picnics, camping, hot soaking baths, the WOFs, fog in the valleys, puppies and kittens, spooning, Christmas trees on Christmas morning, cinnamon buns right out of the oven, my mother’s banana bread recipe, reading a good book, the sound of crickets in summer, strangers who return my smile, warm apple pie, watching Glee with my daughter, my new Barry’s family, baby snuggles, naps, after-dinner walks, sleeping in, “Caledonia,” my kids (I know that’s a repeat, but they continue to make me proud), hiking, fuzzy pajama pants, rainbows, my cat keeping me company while I write…

Three years ago, I added:

new friends, coffee and a newspaper in the morning, Friday nights at Barry’s, cool summer sheets, birds at the bird feeder, Tom, Sarah and Mike, my kids (yes, again), writing my column, all of my readers, sunrises, making people smile, the sound of crickets, wildflowers, the aroma of fresh-baked apple pie, ice cream anytime.

Two years ago, I added:

I am thankful for my new karate family; my new Tiny Tigers; my children Sean, Sara and Erin (again); my new(ish) daughter-in-law Sarah; Tom and Nick; hanging laundry out in the middle of November; my health; the ability to run; the freedom to travel; my misfit WOF family; Irish music and my Irish music friends; getting to play roadie; touch football with my pub family; my CFC friends and workouts; going to hockey games with my family; Sunday afternoons sitting at my computer and writing.

Last year I was able to add to it AGAIN:

This year, I am thankful for my Schlegel and Plank North elementary colleagues, hugs from kindergartners, a child’s innocent smile, the Barry’s Runners, my kids (again), admiring Christmas lights on a winter run, biking the Erie Canal Trail with friends, hikes in the woods, music, silence, waking up every morning with the man I love, being able to travel, Friday nights at the pub (and occasional Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays), the smell of flowering trees in the spring, the peacefulness of a pine forest.

You’d think that would just about cover it. But life gets better every day. All you have to do is sit back and notice it.

And so I would like to add the following this year:

I am thankful for a husband who cooks, being able to wear a cape to school, helping children experience the joy of reading, having a lap cat when I type, traveling with my husband, riding my bike through strange cities, running with old friends, running with new friends, thank you notes from my readers, my new fire department friends, my kids (again) and their significant others, and being able to make a difference by doing what I love to do best — write. 

Feel free to add your own. And happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

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Santa Claus is coming to town

21 Nov

santaSanta obviously knows there are a lot of good little boys and girls in Webster, because he’s making our town his first stop this holiday season.

Webster’s very own Santa Claus will be spreading Christmas joy (and collecting food for the Salvation Army) on December 1 between 6 and 8 pm. at St. Martin Lutheran Church, 813 Bay Road.

This is a great opportunity to get that coveted photo with Santa without standing long lines at the mall. Bring your own camera if you’d like, but St. Martin tells me they will have a professional photo shoot set-up, complete with “a large whimsical Santa Chair, an elegant Christmas photo backdrop, everything you need to help make your Christmas photos memorable.”

Plus Santa, of course.

The kids can also have some fun with cookie decorating and board games, and can write their very own “Letter to Santa” which can be handed directly to him or deposited in his North Pole mailbox. There will be refreshments, carol singing at the piano, and later in the afternoon, Santa will read a few Christmas stories to the children.

The event is free and open to everyone.

If you come, please bring some non-perishable food items for the Salvation Army. At this time of year stuffing, gravies, boxed mashed potatoes and canned vegetables are especially appreciated. 

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CaptureIf you can’t make it on December 1, here’s your next chance to catch Santa before he gets really busy.

The Webster Lions Club will host their annual FREE Pancake Breakfast with Santa on Sunday, December 3 at the Webster East Golf Club, 440 Salt Road.

Breakfast will be served from 8:00 am until noon, and Santa will definitely be there to visit with the children. There will also be raffles, holiday prizes, gift certificates, and free vision screening for children 8 and under.

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Penfield Rec offers Elf Training Workshop

20 Nov

christmas-elf-mdGiven that this is a WEBSTER blog, I don’t often write about Penfield (even though I actually live in Penfield).  But this program being offered through the Penfield Recreation Department is just too cute.

It’s called an Elf Training Workshop, and it’s for the entire family.

Elf wannabees will meet at the Dolomite Lodge (Veterans Memorial Park) for a one-hour training session, which will teach critical skills for anyone who wants to work in Santa’s workshop. They’ll include toy construction and inspection, gift wrapping, ornament making, and more. Prospective elves will also have a one-on-one interview with Santa himself.

Elves who complete the one-hour seminar will be presented a gift bag and official certificate from the North Pole.

The workshop is scheduled for Saturday, December 9, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Cost is $5 per family, and pre-registration is required. A limited number of spots are available, so sign up soon. You can call  (585) 340-8655 or register online at www.penfieldrec.org.

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Village to honor Carol Klem

18 Nov

Carol_Klem-

(The blog below is an article I wrote for the Webster Herald about a great person and good friend who’s getting some well-deserved recognition at the Village Board meeting next Tuesday.)  

If you’ve lived in the Village of Webster for any length of time, chances are very good you know Carol Klem — or at least know about her.

It helps that for the last 12 years, as Village Focus columnist, Carol’s smiling face has appeared every two weeks on the village website and in the Webster Herald.

But even if you don’t regularly read her column, you’ve almost certainly seen Carol around town, chatting with fellow journalists at Barry’s Old School Irish or at Golden Boys, visiting with local business owners, or darting back and forth during parades, festivals and other special events, snapping photos for her column.

Basically, the name Carol Klem has become synonymous with all things good about the village of Webster. For years, she’s been the eyes and ears of Webster, like a town crier, using her column to cheer accomplishments both big and small. She has introduced us to new businesses and old businesses. She has written tender obituaries, announced births and anniversaries. She has told us about upcoming special events and charmed us with personal musings about small-town life. And every Christmas she has delighted us all with her epic holiday poem.

Next week, the village will recognize Carol’s devotion to Webster by proclaiming November 21 Carol Klem Day in the Village.

Carol was born in Rochester in 1938, the oldest of three children, and lived with her family in the Beechwood section of the city. While she was attending high school at Nazareth Academy, her parents decided to move to Webster, in a home they built on Basket Road.

At that time, Webster was very rural, and was really considered the “boondocks.” Moving from the city to farm country was a big adjustment, but it gave Carol lots of handy excuses for being late for school. One of them, her daughter Mary Kay remembers, was “the Schreiber cows were loose on Basket Road.”

Carol attended Nazareth College, where she studied English and music, and was hired at Holy Trinity School, where she taught first through third grades.

Carol was the school’s first lay teacher. “It was mom and all the nuns,” Mary Kay said. “It was really quite funny. I think she was very different from the nuns. I can’t imagine a bunch of nuns and my mom!”

It was while she was teaching at Holy Trinity that she met Gene, her husband of 57 years. They were introduced by then-pastor Fr. William Kalb in 1959, married the following year, and immediately started a family. Mary Kay was born in 1961, followed closely by Tom, Greg and Doug. Many years later, in 1978, little sister Meg joined the family.

Carol worked through her first pregnancy, then became a stay-at-home mom. It was only after all the kids had all grown and moved on that she re-entered the workforce, finding part-time work with the Webster Post, writing wedding announcements and obituaries.

At 47 years old, Carol Klem the journalist was born.

“I remember her starting with a portable typewriter,” Mary Kay said. “I couldn’t imagine she would ever be computer-literate, and Word proficient. Although she still has a knack for losing files.”

In 2005 Carol left the Post and was asked to join the Webster Herald as the Village Focus columnist. She had finally found her true calling: writing about the village she loves so dearly.

And she does love Webster dearly. In September 2015, in an interview she recorded for the non-profit Webster Together organization, Carol called the village “the heart of Webster.”

“I just love our town. I love the people in it, and I love the spirit,” she said. “I’d love to see the village definitely take off. I think that whatever happens, we have the right people to make the decisions.”

For years, Carol Klem has been Webster’s biggest cheerleader. Now the village wants to return the favor.

In recognition of everything Carol has done for our community, The Webster Village Board will officially designate Tuesday, November 21 as “Carol Klem Day” in the village of Webster.

Mayor Darrell Byerts will present the official proclamation at the regular Village Board meeting, Tuesday November 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the Community Meeting Hall, 29 South Ave. (The meeting has been rescheduled from Thanksgiving Day). The entire Webster community is invited to attend.

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Village Band schedules annual holiday concert

17 Nov

image

The Webster Village Band will celebrate its 50th Anniversary Holiday Concert on Saturday, December 9 at 11:00 a.m. at Webster Thomas High School, 800 Five Mile Line Road in Webster.

Please  note that this is a change in venue from previous years, when the concert was held at Webster Schroeder.

Director Tom Indiano and Associate Director Sue Siegmund have selected a variety of holiday music for your listening enjoyment, both familiar favorites and some with musical variations on a theme, such as Good Swing Wencelas, Adventum featuring “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and “Ukrainian Bell Carol,” A Holiday Rhapsody and Fairytale of New York, to name a few.

Also, be sure to bring the children for the annual reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” and for a special on-stage treat for these youngsters.

Admission is free, and light refreshments will follow the concert.

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Bourbon lovers, unite!

15 Nov

L-BourbonTrail-20350555

Wine lovers have had their day — OK, lots of them — with the Webster Wine Walks. Now bourbon lovers are getting their turn.

The Webster Business Improvement District BID) and Webster Wine and Spirits will host a Bourbon Bash this coming Saturday November 18 from 6-9 p.m. at the Harmony House on East Main Street.

This is Webster’s very first Bourbon Bash for Webster, and it’s shaping up to be a really neat event.

Organizers have invited many local and well-known bourbon vendors to set up in the Harmony House for tastings. Several local restaurants will also be on hand to complement the bourbons, including Pub 235, The Coach, Gioia Mia Catering, Webster Hots, Smoking Hot Chicks, The Village Bakery and Brimont Bistro.

BBQ Blues Band will provide entertainment as attendees sample great bourbons from distilleries including Heaven Hill, Black Button, Elijah Craig, Iron Smoke Whiskey, Honeoye Falls Distillery, Jim Beam, and more.

Tickets are $20, available at the BID website and Hegedorn’s Market 964 Ridge Road.

Proceeds from the event will go to the Challenger Miracle Field to help finish the local field for challenged athletes.

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Webster Thursday mailbag

15 Nov

imageLots going on as the holidays start to gear up in earnest.

Here’s a fun thing to do this weekend: The Webster Thomas Players will present Shakespeare’s classic A Midsummer Night’s Dream in three shows this Thursday Friday and Saturday, November 16 through 18. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. at Webster Thomas High School, 800 Five Mile Line Road.

Tickets are $7 and will be available at the door.  Click here to check out a preview of the show.

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On Saturday, Spry Middle School will host a FIRST Lego League competition, which promises to be a fun spectacle.

Here’s a description/press release written by one of the SparX team members:

It’s that time of the year once again! Young students throughout the world are preparing to compete in this year’s FIRST Lego League competition, HYDRO DYNAMICS.

FIRST Lego League is a worldwide competition in which students ages 9-14 compete in challenges by creating a robot using Lego® blocks. In this year’s game, HYDRO DYNAMICS, kids have to create a robot that can do a variety of water-related functions, such as turning on a Lego faucet, flushing a Lego toilet, and replacing a broken Lego pipe. In between the games, the teams also make presentations to focus on the thematic issue presented each season. This season the teams are focusing on the importance of conserving water and the human water cycle. The kids use the scientific method and engineering design to solve their problems.

The last significant part of the game is designing a poster that goes over the fundamentals of Lego League: Discovery, Integration, Inclusion, and Cooperation.

On November 18, a regional competition will be held in Spry Middle School so the kids can show off what they have been working on for the past few months. Opening ceremonies begin at 11:00 a.m. If you are interested and want to learn more about the FIRST Lego League and the FIRST program, stop by or visit firstinspires.org.

hydro

The Chorus of the Genesee has announced their second annual Breakfast with Santa, which will be held on Saturday December 2 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Harmony House, 58 East Main Street in Webster. Photos with Santa will be available.

The menu will feature French toast sticks and sausage, coffee, juice, and milk. Cost is $5 per person, $20 maximum per family. For tickets call (585) 265-9540 or visit chorusofthegenesee.org.

Breakfast with Santa is happening on the same day as the Village of Webster’s White Christmas Festival and Parade of Lights (Saturday December 2), which features holiday activities all afternoon and evening. Watch for a more complete blog about that to come soon.

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The annual Henderson Ford Toy Drive is ending in the next two weeks.

The dealership, along with six other business partners, are calling for the community’s help for new and unwrapped toys. Donated toys are being given to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots and The Furnished 4 Life Christmas Store at the Wedge Market.

The Henderson Ford annual toy drive is one of the largest collections in Rochester for both distribution campaigns. The toys delivered by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve will be distributed in Rochester. The toys delivered to The Furnished 4 Life Christmas Store at the Wedge Market will allow for parental selection and pride in gifting.

You can drop off your new, unwrapped toy donations for all ages at any of the following locations:

  • Henderson Ford, 810 Ridge Road, Webster
  • Steinmiller Insurance, 1223 Bay Road, Webster
  • The UPS Store, 1900 Empire Boulevard, Webster
  • Webster Chamber Health Insurance Service, 1110 Crosspoint Lane Suite C, Webster
  • RAMP (Rochester Area Music Project), 31 West Church Street, Fairport
  • Edge Advertising Group, 6 North Main Street, Suite 220, Fairport

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Blood drive will honor Schroeder student

14 Nov

Ed. note:

I received this important message on my blog earlier today from Nancy Ryan, which I wanted to add to the blog post:

Hi Missy. I wanted you and your subscribers to know that community members will also have the opportunity to register as an organ and tissue donor at the November 25th event at Webster Schroeder in honor of Colin Montesano.

As you mentioned in your blog, Colin was a registered donor and, because of his generous spirit, was able to save and improve the lives of several people through the gift of donation. I am the Director of Marketing & Community Relations for Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network and will be on hand to help people join the New York State Donate Life Registry, as well as answer questions about organ and tissue donation.

And now, the blog itself:

You probably know by now that I’m a huge supporter of Red Cross blood drives. Well, I wanted to especially tell you about one coming up in a few weeks, which is important for two reasons.

colinFirst, this special blood drive, scheduled for Saturday November 25 at Webster Schroeder High School, is being held in memory of Webster graduate Colin Montesano, who passed away last April at just 21 years old.

After graduating from Schroeder, Colin enrolled in the biology program at the University of Pittsburgh. He had wanted to dedicate his life to helping others by becoming a physician. Following his death, Colin received a bachelor’s degree in Biology, Summa Cum Laude, when the University of Pittsburgh determined he had completed the credits necessary in his three years of enrollment to earn the degree.

Colin was an active community volunteer. He volunteered at a hospice facility in Webster, and at a children’s hospital in Pittsburgh. He was a co-founder of Pittsburgh Attacks Cancer Together (PACT), a fundraising organization for cancer research. He was also a talented athlete, whose accomplishments include being on the Webster Schroeder High School ice hockey team that won the NYSPHSAA Division II championship in 2014.

After his death, Colin continued to help others by being an organ and tissue donor.

Colin’s family is hosting this blood drive to continue Colin’s legacy of helping others. “Colin was a very giving person,” said Tracy Montesano, Colin’s mother. “Hosting a blood drive is a way to keep his memory alive and give hope to other patients who need blood.”

“We hope that everyone who can donate blood, rolls up a sleeve and gives blood in Colin’s memory, especially his coaches, teachers, friends, and those who played sports with our son,” added Mike Montesano, Colin’s father.

Blood Drive in Memory of Colin Montesano
Saturday, November 25, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Webster Schroeder High School
875 Ridge Road, Webster

Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are encouraged.
To make an appointment to donate, visit redcrossblood.org or call
1-800-REDCROSS. Use sponsor code websterschroederhighschoolwebster.

Aside from this being a great thing to do in Colin’s memory, this is also a critical time of year for blood donations. Donations decline significantly from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day as people get busy with holiday activities, so the Red Cross really needs your help.

It only takes about an hour of your day and would help lots of people. Just like Colin would want to do if he were here.

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Pay it forward this holiday: Help Make Spirits Bright

13 Nov

making spirits bright

There’s an awesome organization here in Webster doing awesome things for families in need this holiday, and they could use your help.

Making Spirits Bright, created by Jamie Buss, Colleen Bedford, and Jeanette Wittmeyer,  was founded in 2014 with one simple mission: to provide smiles for families in need during the holiday season. For many families in our area, the holidays are not a joyous time, as parents struggle put a decent meal on the table, let alone purchase Christmas gifts for their children.

The organization works with area school counselors and social workers to identify families that need assistance. Then they collect wish lists from each of the family members and begin collecting items.

To date, Making Spirits Bright has spread holiday joy to 90 families — almost 50 adults and children. This year they’re set to help almost 50 more.

That’s a huge challenge. So far many businesses (34 of them!) have already adopted entire families outright. But there are a lot of family lists left to fulfill.

This is where you can help.

If you click here, you can see the Google spreadsheet where Jamie has organized all of the families’ wish lists.  Just scan the list, find a gift (or two, or more!) that you’d like to purchase, and fill in that blank on the list. You can sign-up to purchase as many items as you wish, from as many different people as you wish. Jamie will arrange collection and delivery once the gifts have been purchased.

This is a great holiday activity for the entire family, or for your small business, by the way.

If you have any issues connecting to the list (it’s not very mobile-friendly), email makingspiritsbrighter@gmail.com for help.

Making Spirits Bright will also gratefully accept monetary donations, which go to purchase any items on the lists which were not adopted. If you prefer to help out in that way, click here to go to the Making Spirits Bright GoFundMe page.

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Photos from Barry’s anniversary

12 Nov

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Barry’s Old School Irish hosted another epic party last night, this time in honor of the little pub’s 6th anniversary.

As the Barry’s pub family has grown, it’s become commonplace for these occasions to be rather well attended, and last night was no exception. Even before Barry’s Crossing took to the stage (er, corner) at 7:30, the place was shoulder-to-shoulder with well-wishers, and it pretty much stayed that way until I left around 11:30.

Add Jack the bagpiper, some Jamieson Irish dancers, free whiskey, and a bizarre green man into the mix, and it made for a terrific evening.

Here are a few photos from the evening, and you can click here to see many more.

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