Where has Missy been?

7 Jan

This blog thing can be a capricious beast. Some weeks I have so many blog ideas that I have to make a list lest I forget something. Other times — like these last few weeks — those ideas have been few and far between. Now that the holidays have passed, there seems to be little going on, at least that I’ve been told about.

Finally, though, something came across my dining room table/office desk that sparked my interest: the latest edition of the Webster Today.

You may know this publication as the former Town Times, what it was called during Supervisor Nesbitt’s tenure. This is the second edition of this new and improved quarterly newsletter. The first was published in October and I was immediately impressed by its glossy, full-color layout and the clean and organized way it presented information.

This latest edition continues to impress. Some of my favorite features, again, include

  • a table of contents right on the front cover
  • a complete town government directory on the inside cover, perfect for tearing off and putting on the fridge
  • photos of the town board members
  • LOTS of information about the Rec Center
  • handsome photo illustrations and colorful charts

There’s also a nice visual spotlighting several of the positive things that happened in 2020, including opening of the outdoor ice rink at the Rec Center, the re-imagined Summer Celebration and the Parade of Lights. There’s even a fascinating 2-page feature compiled by the Webster Museum highlighting almost two dozen Webster residents who fought in the Civil War and are buried in town cemeteries.

Every home and business in the town received a copy of Webster Today this week, so if you haven’t gotten yours yet, keep an eye out for it. And if you tossed it in the recycle bin without even looking at it, I recommend you rescue it and take a closer look. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

And by the way, if you know of anything going on in town you would like me to blog about, please email me!!!

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Here’s where you can recycle your Christmas tree

31 Dec

I don’t know about you, but I put off taking down my Christmas tree until at least New Year’s Day. This year it may stay up even longer because it brings me much needed daily joy breaks.

When it does finally get stuffed out the door however, I don’t like setting it out with the garbage. Seems like a very undignified end for a tree which served us so proudly as a glorious symbol of the season. Instead, I try to pay it forward and recycle it to be turned into mulch for next spring’s gardeners or pine chips for the trails.

Here’s some info on a few nearby places you can do that:

Webster: According to the Town’s website, you can drop your tree off at the Town High Department, 1005 Picture Parkway, betweem now and Feb. 28.

Penfield: The Penfield DPW is accepting trees at their facility, 1607 Jackson Rd. You’ll see a sign to the right of the facility’s gate, and you can drop it off right there. You can also leave the tree with the regular brush pickup.

Irondequoit has a Trees for Trails program, which is descrbed on their Facebook page:

Rather than put your Christmas tree to the curb after Dec. 25, bring it to Helmer Nature Center, where it will be used to create wood chips that mitigate trail erosion. Starting Dec. 26, bring your tree to the Helmer parking lot for recycling. We will collect trees until the Jan. 16th Trees for Trails event when volunteers will help unload your tree and High Falls Tree Service and Irondequoit Lawn & Landscape will be on-site recycling trees. This will happen from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Helmer Nature Center is located at 154 Pinegrove Ave.

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The weird tradition continued, even without snow

26 Dec

Several days ago I blogged about an unusual, decades-old tradition my family has, the annual barefoot snow walk. (Click on the hyperlink to get a little more detail about the tradition’s history and recent interations.)

In that blog I pledged that the crazy tradition would continue, even though I wouldn’t be getting together with my extended family for the holidays. As promised, I set up a Zoom snow walk instead, and invited family members from around the country to participate.

It proved to be as crazy a virtual gathering as it usually is in person.

Just before the appointed time, 11 a.m. Christmas morning, cousins and nephews and brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles from around the country started joining the meeting, and it wasn’t long before we were all barefoot and heading out the door. Many carried their phones to record the event, others had propped their laptop up on the porch or had a non-participant hold the recording device. (These nonbelievers are usally in-laws.)

We didn’t all have snow, but that didn’t stop us. I made sure, for example, to gather up a couple of buckets-full on Christmas Eve before the rains started and threw it in a freezer. The next morning we brought it to our gathering at my daughter’s house in Gates. It had frozen solid and I had to break it up with a hammer, but it was enough for the three of us to stand in.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, is the wild video.

Top row are my eldest daughter Sara and her boyfriend Tom in Cheektowaga; my daughter’s living room; my brother Chris and his family in PA; and my brother Greg in CT.

Middle row: me, my son Sean and youngest daughter Erin at her house in Gates; my sister Mindy in Greene; my cousin Laura in AZ (where she put her feet in a pool); and my cousin Amy in MA (holding a phone where my aunt and uncle are FaceTiming in from Cape Cod and walking in their snow).

On the bottom: my nephew Tim and his girlfriend Manda are watching while they drive; my cousin Paul in Horseheads; and my nephew Drew in MA.

Now here’s the really neat thing about all of this, and one of the few positive things to have come out of this pandemic. In total, 21 children and adults were part of the 2020 COVID Barefoot Snow Walk, from all over New York and four other states, including Arizona. It was something we never would have done in a normal year.

This is the first time all of these people have been “together” in one place. I haven’t seen most of them in more than a year — even years. And I don’t care the reason, or that it was through a computer screen. It was just great to see them all.

Hoping you all had a merry Christmas filled with your own comforting and unusual traditions.

No snow on Christmas morning? No prob. We saved some from Christmas Eve.

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A happy story for Christmas Day

25 Dec

As we near the day we can finally say goodbye to a difficult 2020 and welcome a fresh new 2021, it helps to remember that some good things actually did come out of this awful year. Here’s a story about one of them.

Almost every week since the beginning of April, 5-year Julia Meyers has been playing virtual Yahtzee with her new friend Marion, a resident of Maplewood Nursing Home.

Julia and Marion playing via Google Duo

They get together via Google Duo, usually on Tuesday afternoons, and spend about a half hour playing one game of Yahtzee, each using her own dice and board. Marion is assisted by Maplewood’s Volunteer Coordinator Lori Porte, and Julia’s mom Linda helps her. But despite the board-side assistance, there’s plenty of excitement and conversation passed back and forth between the competitors themselves. And judging from the end of the game I watched earlier this week, the competition is pretty fierce.

It was Linda who originally came up with the idea as a way to have Julia connect with one of the residents.

I reached out to The Maplewood when the pandemic started because I was looking for a way my daughter could give back during these hard times. My grandmother spent time at Maplewood before she passed away in 2014 so that was my connection.

They first tried just video-chatting with another resident, but that didn’t work very well. Someone came up with the idea to play a game instead, and suggested Yahtzee. Lori found a resident whom she thought would be able to follow along pretty well and enjoy playing with somebody she’d never met before.

The games were on.

Both young and old have benefited from the weekly interactions. Julia gets to practice her math and number-writing skills. Marion enjoys seeing Julia and her 5-month old brother William every week.

The games have forged a friendship that reaches beyond the computer screen. Just before Thanksgiving, they even got to “meet” through the window. Marion and Lori used the occasion to give Julia a wooden jewelry box inscribed with her name. Before they presented the gift, Marion even asked Lori to line its drawers with purple felt, Julia’s favorite color.

More recently, Julia and Linda gave Marion her own Yahtzee game for Christmas — so she didn’t have to continue using Maplewood’s game — and a frame with a picture from the window visit, where Marion can keep track of the Yahtzee scores. Recently, Linda even discovered that one of Marion’s children is a neighbor of theirs.

The overall game score is pretty close. Julia won again on Tuesday, so she’s up 15 games to 13. But Marion needn’t worry. She’ll have plenty of chances to catch up. Julia said she’s planning to keep playing the games for “29,000 years.”

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Holiday music and a visit from Santa

24 Dec

Here are a few holiday delights for you and your family on this Christmas Eve.

The first is a beautiful rendition of O Holy Night, shared by Carly Thomas, the orchestra director at Klem North and Schlegel Rd. elementary schools.

Carly is a member of several orchestras, and is normally very busy performing holiday concerts at this time of year. But as there’s nothing normal about this year, one of her orchestras decided to try something different. They recruited some vocalists and put together a COVID-friendly arrangement of O Holy Night, recording their parts individually.

The result is incredible. Carly is the violinist in the red sweater against a white background.

Next, here’s a special treat for children and adults alike. Santa himself reading the Christmas Eve classic, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. This video was originally posted on the 2020 Webster Holiday Parade of Lights Facebook page.

May you all have a blessed holiday, enjoy your family, and please remember to be safe so that we can all get back to celebrating Christmas properly once again next year.

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Another look at the village’s holiday finery

22 Dec

This is a great follow-up for anyone who liked my recent blog highlighting our village’s holiday decorations.

The Webster Public Library has just posted a new video in their Let’s Explore Webster series. (You can view it above.) It’s called Holiday Time in the Village, hosted by our favorite library video personalities, Laureen and Doreen. They took their stroll through the village during the daytime, so I think you’ll see several things in their video which were not in mine.

Check it out, and while you’re on their YouTube page, check out ome of the other videos they’ve posted there. You just might learn something about our town you didn’t know before!

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The village sparkles this time of year

21 Dec

It was a beautiful night for a walk last night, so in between football games, my husband and I extracted ourselves from the couch and wandered down into the village to check out the sights.

I love how Webster looks at holiday time. It just sparkles from end to end, making an already charming village look even more so. If you haven’t walked along Main Street after dark recently, you owe it to yourself to do so; it will help brighten what for most of us is a pretty bleak holiday season.

But there’s also another reason to make the trip: many of the local merchants are participating in a Christmas Decorating Contest. Community members are invited to drive or walk through the village to check out all the decorations, then go online to the BID website to vote for the most colorful, the most creative and the one which most embraces the spirit of the season. You can also see photos of the entries on the BID website.

Here are several photos I took on our walk.

And here’s a quick note about a Webster Public Library program which the whole family will enjoy.

It’s a “Holiday Storytime Extravaganza,” a staff-wide holiday storytime special. It premieres Monday night at 7 p.m. on YouTube. Click here to join the fun.

This is the first time the library has done anything like this, so it should be filled with a lot of surprises. Get your kids in their PJs, boot up the laptop, and tune in.

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Two stories of holiday kindness

19 Dec

Here are a few quick stories that will brighten your day.

The first comes from one of my faithful readers, whose daughter Julia dances with the local studio Dancing With Denise, located on Gravel Rd. in Webster.

Owner Denise Baller has always supported our community in so many ways, most recently participating in the recent Webster Holiday Parade of Lights, where she and her dedicated dancers kept going through rain and snow until the very last car drove through the parade.

Last week Sunday she and her “Happy Feet Dancers” dancers took that commitment to The Maplewood senior living community and created their very own Dancing Parade around the outside of the building. Each resident was treated to their own private dance show right outside their windows.

The photo above is of the dancers in their holiday gear. Go on over to Denise’s Facebook page to see more photos and a really cute video.

I picked up this next tidbit from a Facebook post created by Jamie Nodine about her son Josh.

I wrote about Josh back in March when he was treated to a very special birthday parade past his house, kind of a consolation prize for when his Dream Factory trip to Walt Disney World got canceled.

On nice days, Josh likes to sit outside his State Rd. home and wave at the cars and trucks driving by. When he was doing that a little more than a week ago, he was surprised by a very special visitor.

Jamie wrote,

The weather was beautiful yesterday! It was a perfect day for Josh to sit in the driveway and wave to passersby. As I looked out the front window, I saw a truck slow down and stop in the driveway. Much to my surprise, Santa hopped out to greet my son! Josh was beside himself! With a “ho ho ho,” he handed Josh some candy canes and wished him a Merry Christmas.

Josh was thrilled, Jamie added, and talked about the experience all night long. A big thank you to the the kind Santa in the pickup truck for taking the time to make a special memory this special young man.

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COVID or not, we WILL barefoot snow walk.

16 Dec
At my sister’s house in Greene, Christmas-time 2018. The temps were hitting record lows that week.

So many things are different about this holiday season. But come hell or high water, my family WILL be doing a barefoot snow walk.

My regular blog readers have heard about this unusual tradition. My paternal grandmother (“Gia Gia”) originated the challenge about 75 years ago, when she took off her shoes and socks in the dead of winter and tromped barefoot in the snow to the far side of her yard and back. It was a distance of perhaps 100 feet each way. Pretty much every year since, my family has been holding annual barefoot snow walks whenever we get together for the holidays.

It’s a foregone conclusion: before the turkey gets sliced or the gifts get opened, we gather up towels, remove socks and shoes, roll up the pants, set up a photographer or two, sprint out the back door into the snow, and — while holding one another for emotional and physical support — smile for the cameras.

(While we scream through gritted teeth, “Take it already!” “What do you mean you need one more!?” “No, I am not moving over!” “Why didn’t you turn the camera on before we got out here!?” “I AM smiling!”)

Then, after the photographers are thoroughly accommodated, we run screaming back into the house to re-acquaint ourselves with our feet.

This year, of course, we won’t be gathering for Christmas. So we’ve had to come up with a creative solution to keep the tradition going: the first-ever Zoom Barefoot Snow Walk.

My running buddy Mike Bodine actually came up with the idea, and after giving it some thought I realized it was inspired. So a set time has been arranged, texts have been sent, and the Zoom invite has been emailed. On Christmas morning, I, my kids, my siblings and a smattering of nephews — representing at least four states — will, at the appointed time, Zoom barefoot into whatever snow we happen to have.

It will be epic. And it will be recorded.

How about you? What unusual holiday traditions does your family have? How are you celebrating this unusual holiday safely and creatively?

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Some holiday giggles

15 Dec

We all could use a little laugh right about now as Christmas-time stress compounds the stress we already have thanks to COVID.

So I thought I’d share these images with you, of a scene I came across in Irondequoit last weekend. All I could think of was, “Arlo Guthrie told us all about the ‘Thanksgiving Day Massacree.’ How come we haven’t heard anything about this obvious Christmas Day Massacree?

It got worse when I got to the Rec Center, where I saw clear evidence of a hit-and-run.

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