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“Old fashion summer fun in Webster”

13 Aug

That’s what my friend Jim called these photos when he sent them to me a little while ago. He snapped them when he was at Webster Park a few weekends ago.

He wrote,

I couldn’t resist taking a few shots of these kids having a good time in the spray at Webster Park last week. The waves were breaking and the wind was blowing and the kids were having a great time. Just thought you would like to see some young people having fun without their iPads or cell phones….

I agree, it is great to see.

Summer’s not over yet! Send me a photo or two of your kids having some summer fun and I’ll post them in my blog.

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Bygone Blog: Cats in Collusion

29 Jul

This is the third in my series of Bygone Blogs, in which I am re-posting some of my favorite blogs from the last 8 years. This one was originally published on February 2, 2009. 

scheming cats

(Not actually my cats but they look like the ones I had. This photo courtesy

Yesterday I found myself standing in K-Mart, staring at a selection of kitchen trash cans, analyzing their various features, while simultaneously trying to estimate my cats’ intelligence.

Let me explain. My cats — to be honest, I think the older one is the ringleader — have become very adept at knocking our kitchen trash can over in the middle of the night and having a feast. It’s the only time they actually get along, so the camaraderie they show in this endeavor is touching. However, that being said, we got very tired of cleaning up trash every morning. So we started chocking the trash can against the wall at night so they couldn’t tip it.

They figured out how to open the swinging lid and fish things out from above.

Which brings me back to K-mart, the kitchen can aisle and my cat-IQ calculations. It was more complicated than you think. One can, for example, had a “quick-release” lid on the front which only had to be lightly touched and the lid would spring up. I was convinced they’d figure that out, either by accident or by design. Another had a foot-pedal mechanism which would have befuddled them, but it wasn’t big enough for our needs.

I finally decided on one with a latch on the side. I figured the cats would have to stand on top of the lid to press it, and their weight would ultimately keep the lid in place.

Believe it. These thoughts actually went through my head.

So I brought that one home and it now sits in our kitchen, where I debriefed my family on the whole trash can-purchasing, cat-IQ thought process. Someone wondered if, when the cat stood on the lid and pressed the latch, the lid might propel the feline into the opposite wall like a kitty projectile.

I do believe they failed to appreciate my efforts.

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The tour has finally come to an end

21 Jul

tour de parks

I do believe my 2016 Tour de Parks has finally concluded.

Earlier this week I spent a very enjoyable morning (and had a nice lunch) with the Wellness on Wednesday group which meets every week at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Webster. It was the fifth — and probably the last — time I presented my Tour de Parks talk.

If you STILL haven’t heard about my quest, basically it was this: In January 2016 I decided it would be fun to visit every single one of Rochester’s east-side parks (in the eight towns I cover for my column). It would be good exercise, a nice challenge, and would give me a lot of ideas to write about in my column.

I was able to cobble together a list of 100 parks, and spent many hours, especially on the weekends and during the summer, checking the parks off my list. I hiked as many as I could, biked a few, ran a few, took lots of photos and wrote a blog about my experiences.

One of the main reasons I was motivated to complete the tour was an invitation from the Adirondack Mountain Club of the Genesee Valley to speak at their March, 2017 meeting. I did that, and had a great time. Because it was so much fun, I thought I might like to do it again… and again. So I reached out to a few local libraries and in the next few months took my tour to Webster, Pittsford and Brighton.

And now, having completed my fifth presentation, I think I’ll tuck my display board away into a corner.  I’ve had a lot of fun, but I really need to get some housework done.

If you didn’t manage to get to one of the presentations, that’s too bad, because you missed my witty repartee. But all is not lost. I managed to turn my PowerPoint into a Google slideshow and have posted it on my Tour de Parks blog site, along with images of the display board and the brochure I handed out listing all the parks. I tried to put a short summary on each slide of what I was talking about.

You can find my blog here.

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Summer fun in the neighborhoods and village

19 Jul


On the theme of summer fun, Jill Nelson sent me these photos from a street party her Creekbend Lane neighbors enjoyed last weekend, complete with a bounce house and an ice cream truck.

(I’m thinking I need to move to that neighborhood.)

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They don’t LOOK like kids, but….

Thank you to Sylvia Hungerford for this delightful photo of one of my favorite bands ever, whom she called a “ragtag group of musicians.” It was taken at this year’s Webster Kiddie Parade during the Firemen’s Carnival weekend.


This group, led by Jeannette Altavela leads the kiddie parade every year, and just have tons of fun. Sylvia wrote,


It is a fun event where we dress in costumes and let our hair down. The antithesis of formal parade guidelines, there are none. You can be out of line, out of step, mingle with the crowd and enjoy the children parading the route with their costumes. What fun it is.

For the first time in years I had to miss the kiddie parade, so I appreciate Sylvia sending along this photo. I also got several other photos from some of my readers, which I’ve put in a slideshow below. The first two are from Amy Weetman and the three others from Rebecca Parzynski and her amazing Bella’s Bumbas.

If anyone else has some photos you’d like posted, please send them along!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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More outdoor summer fun!

17 Jul


You’ll remember my recent blog in which I took a few photographs of my neighbors and their daughters having some fun in their driveway. In invited others to send me photos of their kids having some simple outdoor fun.

I received this photo from Webster resident Britt G of her daughters Sophia & Emilia having a bit of driveway fun of their own.

Thank you Britt! And everyone else please consider sending along some photos of your kids enjoying the warm weather!

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Bygone blog: An entertaining trip to Bay Side

12 Jul

I was chatting about this blog with my friends the other night, so I thought I would give it the light of day once again.

Keep reading. It’s kind of a delightful story.

(originally published July 18, 2016)

Believe it or not, last night was the very first time my husband and I had ever been to the Bay Side Pub up on Lake Road. Our friends Dave and Patty invited us along when they headed up there for dinner. They warned us there’d be a wait for a table, but that we’d enjoy sitting outside with a beer and listening to some music while we did.

They were right on both counts. The wait was long because — as many of you probably already know —  Bay Side is quite small and apparently everybody in Webster knows that sitting on the Bay Side lawn on a gorgeous summer Sunday evening, drinking a beer and listening to music is THE thing to do.

Before too long we were joined by four other friends. We talked, and laughed, and sang along with a very entertaining local cover band called Vintage.

But the best part of the evening was what will forever be known as the Great Flip-Flop Rescue.

Allow me to paint the scene. We’re waiting at a table right on the water, and as we’re chatting, I watch as a young girl scampers down the short dock toward her family’s small boat. She stops in front of it and kicks off one of her flip-flops, expecting it to land in the boat. Not even close. Instead, it plops into the bay. Undaunted, she kicks off the other flip-flop. Which lands in the bay right next to the first one.

She stands there, looks at them, looks around to see if there’s someone who can help, looks at them again. Finally, she heads back down the dock, probably in search of adult assistance.

Eventually, Dad comes by, heads toward the water, looks at the flip-flops and walks back towards land with a rather peeved expression. Meantime, our victim scampers back and forth on the dock, flip-flop-less, while the wayward footwear continue to float away.

Before long, a small knot of family members and friends from the neighboring boat has convened on the dock, and the adult strategizing begins. Now all four of us, still waiting for dinner, are closely watching the action, anxious to see how the exciting drama plays out.

One of the flip-flops had not yet floated too far away, and somehow they retrieve that one rather quickly. The other one is more problematic.

There is much discussion on the dock. Someone pulls a pike pole out of one of the boats, and extends it to its full length before realizing that it would take about 10 of them to reach the flip-flop at this point. Someone starts uncoiling a road attached to a toddler’s floaty.  Someone else tries casting a fishing rod in its direction.

There is much discussion at our table, too. Like football fans questioning a poor call on the field, we’re wondering why SOMEONE doesn’t think to throw a tube into the water (there’s one tethered to flip-flop-family’s boat) and paddle over to it.

Perhaps she hears us, but it is flip-flop girl who finally also has that brilliant thought. Now hopping around in one flip-flop, she hops into her boat, pulls the tube up next to the side of the boat, and starts trying to climb in. As soon as she puts one foot on it she realizes that without help, she’ll also be in the water. So instead, she yanks on the rope and, all by herself, wrestles the tube into the boat.

Apparently no one else thinks it’s a brilliant idea, because it just sits there.

FINALLY, neighboring boat-owner-family figures they might as well head home. So they pull all their kids and stuff together, back their boat out of the dock, putter over to the flip-flop, retrieve it and return it to flip-flop girl.

There was actual cheering.

Next time Dave and Patty invite us to dinner and a show at the Bay Side, it probably won’t be quite the same. But I’ll definitely be back.

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Summer fun the way it should be

10 Jul

I LOVE it when I see kids and their parents outside playing together in the summertime. It means they’re not inside watching TV or playing on a iPad, and their parents are enjoying some of the simple, yet very special times that pass all too quickly.


Enjoying the outdoors (L-R):  Jessica Ellsworth (holding Calista), Annalise, Tim and Amelia. 


This scene, which I captured earlier today at my neighbor’s house, is a good example. Jessica and Tim Ellsworth were both out in the driveway with their three daughters, watching the two older ones ride circles.  Minutes before I took these photos, Tim had even hopped on one of the miniature bikes and did a lap of his own.

One look at how much chalk is on the driveway tells you how much they’ve been having these last few days of nice weather.


Annalise Ellsworth (front) takes great care to follow the arrows on the driveway bike route. (While avoiding her little sister.)

What are YOUR kids doing this summer? Why not snap a photo or two and email them to me at, and we’ll make a Summer Fun in Webster gallery!

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Bygone Blog: Webster’s a resort town?

5 Jul

Believe it or don’t, I’ve been writing this blog since April 2008. I was thinking about that the other day and just for fun, started going back through all the blogs I’ve written to kind of remind myself how it all started and how it has progressed.

Most of the blogs were about Webster people and events, sometimes mundane and sometimes very interesting. But that was the whole idea of the “Webster Blog of the Democrat and Chronicle” blog in the first place.

But I also wrote a large number of blogs about stuff only tangentially related to Webster. Many of them were about my family, others were random musings about things I saw when I was running or a funny sign that I saw.

And a lot of them were very touching and rather funny … or so I thought.

I enjoyed reading them again so much that I thought others might like to do so as well. Therefore, today I’d like to introduce my Favorite Bygone Blogs series, in which I pull out some of my favorite blogs from the last eight years.

I hope you enjoy them as well.

I chose today’s repeat in honor of the 4th of July holiday and the real start to the vacation season.

The resort town of Webster, New York (Wait. Whaaaaaat?!)

(originally posted July 4, 2011)

My daughter and I recently visited the beautiful port city of Baltimore. One evening we were doing some souvenir shopping at the city’s Inner Harbor area, when one of the shopkeepers noticed my Webster Village Days t-shirt. He asked me where Webster was. I told him it was a small town near Rochester, New York. He replied, “Oh, is it a resort area?”

We laughed for about 30 minutes.

After we recovered, we got to thinking. Calling yourself a resort town or family vacation spot is really only a matter of packaging, isn’t it? Any savvy marketing professional could put the right spin on any town and turn it into an enticing vacation destination.

Case in point: if you look closely enough, you’ll see that Webster offers as many — or more — attractions as any respectable tourist trap.  For example:

Water Park

Wet, wacky fun is just around the corner at the Spray Park at Ridgecrest Park on Ebner Drive. Enjoy enchanting water-spray animals AND a splash pad! Or if that’s inconvenient, just have the kids put on their swim suits and push them out the back door. Even if there’s not a cloud in the sky, it’ll start raining within ten minutes.


YOU might not call it a beach, but we’re extremely proud of our rocky, weedy shoreline. Take a romantic stroll with your loved one to the end of the fishing pier to see the Great Webster Lamppost, some REALLY BIG rocks, and some stunningly beautiful graffiti art.


Your exciting go-kart adventure awaits at Webster’s shopping superstore, Wegmans. These spunky little vehicles feature the added convenience of an attached shopping basket. Climb in and join your friends for some exhilarating speed-demon action (the carts can be revved up to a breathtaking two miles an hour). This attraction is absolutely free and is open 24/7 (which is great, since the only time the aisles are empty enough for go-karting is between 2:13 am and 2:56 am).

Pedal cars

These two-man pedal carts are all the rage on boardwalks from Virginia Beach to Venice Beach! Webster goes one better! Sneak your Wegmans go-kart out into the parking lot and tour the sights along the plaza’s scenic access road. Can’t get more fun than that!


Don’t miss Webster’s Bar District, conveniently located in the village’s historic Four Corners area. You’ll find a nice selection of watering holes within steps of one another, with yet another one coming soon! (And remember, what happens at the Four Corners stays at the Four Corners!)

Tour Guides

My daughter needs a job. (But plan on her boyfriend tagging along.)

Walking Tour

Would you rather venture off on your own to discover the wonders of Webster Village? No problem! Erin can email you everything you need to know to enjoy all the wondrous things Webster has to offer. (Be sure to allow a good 15 minutes for the whole village, 17 if you’re accompanied by young children or senior citizens.)

Music in the Streets

Free, family-friendly musical entertainment abounds in Webster! For example, on cool autumn evenings, bring the kids, set up some lawn chairs in the Webster Schroeder High School parking lot and watch the marching band rehearse. Flutes, trumpets, big drums, flags…what more could a music lover want?

Local-only spots

In Baltimore you’re not considered a “local” until you’ve been to Dick’s Last Resort, which they advertise as “The joint your mama warned you about.” In Webster it’s Empire Hots (or “E-Hots” in the local parlance). Consider yourself warned about this place, too.


Try some of our famous Lake Ontario Fresh Water Taffy!!! (On second thought, that’s not a good idea)

Famous Local Animal

Canada has its moose and Baltimore has its crabs, but Webster has famous local wildlife, too: DEER! You’ll see helpful signs along all the roadways indicating the best places to view these graceful, doe-eyed creatures. And if you don’t catch a glimpse right away, don’t worry! Keep driving long enough and one will jump out to meet YOU!

Tacky Webster Souvenirs

Make sure to pick up some souvenirs to commemorate your trip and take home to your loved ones! Our most popular ones include:

  • Refrigerator magnets in the shape of the WEBSTER bushes
  • Back scratchers that read “Where Backs are Worth Scratching”
  • Snow globes (actually, we call them “lake-effect globes,” and they have snowplows inside). Collect the whole series! County of Monroe Plow, Town of Webster Plow*, Pick-up Truck With Plow Blade, Man With Snow Blower, and the new, limited-edition Man With Shovel® which comes with a bonus bottle of Advil.
  • “Deer poop” (they’re really Raisinettes — see “Famous Local Animal” above)

See? Webster really is a great tourist destination ! It’s just a matter of how you look at it. So grab your fanny packs and instant cameras, pack your bags and visit Webster, New York, where life is always a vacation!

* (Allow 4-6 weeks extra delivery time for the Town of Webster Plow if you live on a dead-end street.)

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It’s been a while, Mr. Lush

28 Jun

And….. he’s back!

Mr Lush.jpg

I’m talking about whoever it is that likes to toss empty liquor bottles on the grassy shoulder along Hatch Road near my neighborhood.

I first wrote about the guy I call the Hatch Road Lush ( I assume it’s a guy) back in 2011 when I first noticed the bottles. Back then the litter of choice was Black Velvet. What started out early in the spring as just a few quickly grew to more than 20 over several weeks.


Of course, I wrote a few blogs about what I was noticing. I speculated back then that someone was ditching the bottles as they drove by late at night, but it could also be that someone liked to take late-night walks and someone’s wife didn’t know that he was drinking.

Then all of a sudden the bottles not only miraculously disappeared, but they never returned again. Could have been a coincidence, but I like to think that Mr. Lush’s spouse read my blog and put two and two together.

Back in the summer of 2013, the bottles returned. But this time they weren’t Black Velvet. Our drinking and tossing friend has apparently switched to the less expensive (but still imported) Canadian Leaf whiskey.

Fast forward another four years and it appears that Mr. Lush has returned, and this year his booze of choice is vodka.

At least he’s not getting stuck in a rut.

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A personal thank-you

18 Jun


You might not have noticed it, but a few months ago there was a big change to this blog. In early February, The D&C decided to go in a different direction with respect to their community blogs, which meant that my “Webster Blog of the Democrat and Chronicle” was no longer associated with the Democrat and Chronicle.

The split caused me some consternation. I wondered, would people still find the blog even though it wasn’t associated with the D&C? Would people keep reading it? More importantly, why was I writing the blog? After all, there was no way to really know for sure if anyone out there cared whether there was a Webster blog or not.

But bottom line is, I love to write. So I decided to make the changes necessary to continue the Webster Blog in some form.

I created a new blog and called it Webster on the Web. I think the new design is much cleaner and easier to read than the D&C‘s platform, and it’s definitely 100 percent easier to use.

Then I kept writing. And surprise, according to the blog’s analytics, people kept reading. And surprise, surprise, people still occasionally came up to me to chat about a blog I had recently written. And most surprising of all, some of my readers actually started SUBSCRIBING to the blog so they’d know when I posted a new one.

So, thank you everyone for reading. Thank you to my subscribers (all 31 of you!). Because no matter how much I love to write, it’s a lot more fun when I know someone is enjoying the fruits of my labors.

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