Saturday, June 29, 2013
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Emerging from blog darkness to celebrate not just the fact that I've kept this blog around for 12 years but to also celebrate the bigger news that the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down DOMA.
For all my friends who are married to members of the same-sex, welcome to true equality in marriage. It's a truly happy day!
Posted by Julia at 6/26/2013 11:01:00 AM
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
While there are actual seasons blowing in and shining down, the constant pace of my life has hardly seen a break in years. But seasons come and go regardless of whether I'm occupied or not.
- We hosted this year's "Cousins Weekend" which saw the arrival of cousins from Albany and Boston, aunt from Buffalo, and my parents from Rochester to our house. Somehow in just a weekend, we visited Southern Tier Brewing Company, Panama Rocks, Bemus Point, Chautauqua Institution, Forte, Lily Dale, and Dunkirk. It was a bit of a whirlwind for me as the host but I was so glad to see everyone!
- My parents came down to visit a couple times to help with some household improvements and to celebrate Father's Day. My grandmother came the latter visit and we had fun going to the Yassou! Festival and finding bargains at some of the local thrift shops.
- Matt and I worked on some household projects. The downstairs bathroom saw a makeover with the old vanity being ripped out, new flooring being put down, a new-to-us toilet being installed, new lighting, a pedestal sink, and wainscoting installed on the walls. The room still needs a final bit of wainscoting and a final paint job before accessory installation can happen.
- I finally got to see Fountains Of Wayne, for free even, as part of Buffalo's Thursdays In The Harbor. It was a wonderful show even though there were only a handful of us who were familiar with a greater range of their songs beyond "Stacy's Mom."
- The end of June included the arrival of a puppy in our lives: Sammy. Sammy is a German Shepard-Lab-Mix we adopted from Northern Chautauqua Canine Rescue. Matt says he's one of the best puppies he's ever had. The little guy is quite cute and quite a handful. I never had a puppy before so I was definitely not prepared for the lack of sleep, the time commitment, and the patience needed. Even so, I like having him around. He has a lot of the traits of Buddy to the point where we joke that Sammy is Buddy reincarnated. I didn't blog about Buddy dying back in April. I don't know if I ever will. I still miss him so much and probably always will.
- On the health front: Matt and I have been eating a diet that follows the Paleo Model. We were strict for the initial 30 days of the diet (started day after Mother's Day and continued until June 8th), but have relaxed to the point where 70 to 80% of our diet is paleo. The diet is a "real food" diet that is gluten free (no rice or corn even), legume free (no peanuts or soy), and dairy free. As it's anti-inflammatory, I've seen my rosacea calm down and I lost some of the stubborn weight (around 5 lbs) that had been hanging on for the last year despite all my exercise/calorie counting. Matt lost 16 pounds he had gained back after his big weight loss competition last year and saw his allergies settle down as well. I don't miss bread as much as I thought I would although lunch is a bit more complicated because there isn't the easy fall-back of sandwiches. Eating romaine wraps does get old. I also am not missing cheese as much as I thought I would either. That doesn't mean I haven't had a cheeseburger here and there over the last few months!
- I submitted my resignation from my teaching gig at Infinity Visual & Performing Arts. Part of it is because I will have a rehearsal on Wednesday nights most of this Fall which would have made it impossible to teach the one day I'm available. Also, while I really enjoyed teaching and I liked the small group of students I had, sometimes you need to step back and refocus.
- Refocusing doesn't mean I've given up being busy. The rehearsals I will have are for JCC's production of "Legally Blonde" in November. It has been 3 seasons since I've done a musical at JCC and 2 years since I played in the pit for "Chicago" at Lucille Ball Little Theatre of Jamestown. It was time for a challenge of a familiar, but different variety.
- Busy also includes: Playing in a wedding this Saturday and enjoying Local Music Showcase, a couple trips to Rochester to celebrate my mom's birthday and my parent's 40th wedding anniversary, a Fiona Apple concert on October 9th, a Morrissey concert on October 19th, a Jamestown Community Orchestra concert on October 21st, three weekends of "Legally Blonde" performances, and Matt's 40th birthday. You'll need to check back in with me sometime in January before I have free time again, in other words.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
I'm drinking the smallest glass of cream sherry ever right now because I wanted a little something before bed, but I didn't want to be up until 11am drinking a more regular sized glass of sherry. My drinking habits tend to run in the "nursing" department, but that's not bad when it comes to figuring out who can drive home at the end of the night.
I went to the first rehearsal for the Living Christmas Tree tonight. There is a kind of sacrilegious feeling to playing Christmas-like music before Halloween has even happened. This is on top of all the Christmas creep I've been trying to ignore in stores. Really retail people? You really think that by saying some people want to get their shopping done early means it's okay to make the rest of us suffer? Really?
That said, I'm looking forward to the early winter/holiday season. I love Thanksgiving and I love those early days of cold weather where you can make the house feel cozy by baking, wearing lots of wool and fleece; and eventually listening to more holiday-themed music. I swear I haven't had a lobotomy.
My main goal right now is making sure I'm caught up at work and getting as much violin practicing in as I can stand before my well-earned, much-needed vacation. I'm playing in a wedding on Veteran's Day which involves a lot of unfamiliar country and religious-pop music. I probably didn't charge the bride enough for my services, seeing as how I had to write out the violin part for one of the songs, but I don't mind in some crazy way. I think all artists and musicians undersell themselves at times just because they enjoy the challenge, or are having enough fun doing it to think about asking for more cash.
Speaking of violin, I have a new student as of Wednesday. She's a 7 year old who has never played violin. I heard through the grapevine that her mom really doesn't want her to go the Suzuki route, which is fine with me.
On the exercise front, I've been asked if I want to be a sub for Zumba classes at the YMCA. I don't have a routine together, so I had to decline. Part of me keeps thinking I should work on creating a routine just because it would be fun to actually use the training I received before my licensee authorization runs outs. I can't justify signing up for the Zumba Instructor Network, which has a monthly fee, in order to maintain my licensee authorization if I don't even have a routine!
Lastly, my body can tell it's time for winter because it wants me to fill up on carbs and sugar as the amount of daylight diminishes. I'm trying to resist the best I can, or at least counter some of my weak moments with appropriate time in the gym, but I can almost feel the other kind of Christmas creep threatening in the form of weight gain. Here's to at least holding steady over the holidays!
Friday, October 28, 2011
(SEE UPDATE AT END)
Tonight's 10pm newscast of Cable 8 News on Time Warner Channel 8 in Chautauqua County and Warren, Pennsylvania will be the last for that news show. After today, Cable 8 News is being absorbed into YNN Buffalo as part of the Time Warner Cable YNN (Your News Now) network.
The Cable 8 news program will be greatly missed in this area. It was the only television news program dedicated to covering Chautauqua County news and sports. While the Buffalo TV stations do cover the big stories, they generally don't come down here to report on stories like the various city, town, and village board meetings; school board meetings, county legislature meetings, and other more "mundane" items that aren't sexy and splashy, but have a great affect on area residents. They also don't give top billing to our athletic sports at area schools and colleges like Cable 8 has done for over a decade.
Fortunately, while the news show will be no more, there will still be 2 news reporters and a sports reporter dedicated to Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Allegany Counties to provide stories to YNN Buffalo. While I don't completely understand how it will work, our local stories will air sometime in the "wheel" of YNN Buffalo's 24 hour news programming. There is a chance now that stories that come out of this area, if interesting or big enough, can be more easily distributed to other YNN stations around New York State
There have been some hints of these changes over the past year. A glossy, happy story titled, Covering the Community, appeared in the Buffalo News on June 11, 2011. Another story, Staff changes expected at YNN, appeared as part of a business section article in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle on March 22, 2011. Even with my inside contacts and friends who work for Time Warner/YNN, I don't feel comfortable giving an explanation of why this has all come about and what it means going forward.
I am grateful for the 10 plus years of Cable 8 News. Sure, they weren't as slick as some of the larger TV markets, but when you consider this was the first full-time TV job for many of the people who came across our airwaves, then it brings some perspective. Cable 8 News was a springboard for many to go onto bigger markets:
- Former Sports Director Kevin Carroll anchors the YNN Buffalo sports desk.
- Former News Reporter Dayna Roselli is the Morning News Co-Anchor at KLAS-TV (CBS) in Las Vegas.
- Former News Reporter Casey Bortnick reports for YNN Rochester.
- Former Sports Reporter Jay Harris is a sports producer for WIVB.
- Former Sports Director Jeff Russo anchors the sports desk at WKBW.
- Former News Reporter Sawyer Van Horn works for NECN (New England Cable News)
- Former Sports Director Don Heins is the weekend sports anchor for YNN Buffalo.
- Former News Director Elizabeth Carey reports for Business First & WKBW.
- Former Sports Director Ron Vitrano is the Sports Director for ESPN Radio in Tallahassee, FL.
- Former News Director Stephanie Hoey is the Account Manager at NBC CT, formerly a WKBW reporter and Executive Producer of Special Projects for NBC.
On a personal note, the 6 years I anchored a newscast for WKZA and then WRFA-LP would not have been possible if not for Cable 8 News. They provided me their nightly news script that I re-worked into a radio-friendly script to read for the 2 minutes of airtime I was given each week day. Without them, I would not have had the material to create a newscast. I'm indebted to Mark Goshgarian and the other reporters for providing me that information for all those years. It's been a fun ride with all of the Cable 8 staff. Here's to seeing you somewhere in the "wheel"!
UPDATE: I'm still working on confirming these details, but apparently how the "wheel" will work is that YNN Buffalo will carve a 10 minute block in the 7 and 10 o'clock newscasts following the "Weather On the 9's" after the top of the hour for news stories from this area. Whether that includes local sports, I do not know yet. While 10 minutes is nowhere near the same as having 20 minutes of local news, at least Time Warner subscribers can still tune in about the same time as they used to with Cable 8 to see the news for the day for this area. I will update as I learn more.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
This week has turned into a rather dark one for the radio industry.
Yesterday, Clear Channel laid off about 150 employees at radio station across the country due to heavy debt issues (Partial list of those laid off here and here). The people laid off were mostly on-air staff ranging from talk show hosts, news reporters, DJs, producers of those shows, and others. They are being replaced with syndicated programming that Clear Channel doesn't have to pay an extra dime for since they already have the rights to those shows. Once again, radio markets lose. Of local interest, Brendan O'Riordan, who had worked as a news reporter for WJTN from late 2000 to early 2002, was one of people let go from WHAM in Rochester. These are talented radio people and their on-air presence will be sorely missed.
I wrote about how local radio is dying in a 2004 post called, Slow Death of Radio. What I said then has been clearly demonstrated by Clear Channel this week. A Syracuse Post-Standard article does a great job at filling in those details and other historical background on how the hell this all has come to be.
On the brighter side, since 2004, two local stations have come on the air in Jamestown and in the Southern Tier. One of those is not-for-profit, Arts Council-owned WRFA-LP. The other is Seneca Nation-owned commercial station WGWE. Both stations provide local programming and local hosts. Money is probably the biggest issue why WRFA doesn't have more live on-air staff and local programming but they are fortunate to have some dedicated volunteers along with some of the hardest working radio guys I've met with Public Affairs Director Jason Sample, General Manager Dennis Drew, and Consultant Steve Shulman.
On a not so brighter side, a good chunk of the money WRFA receives has come the past few years from a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Earlier year, there were threats to cut money to CPB and National Public Radio (NPR). Fortunately, that did not happen, but now the GOP has geared up again to go after funding to NPR.
Why should you care?
When you have radio conglomerates where local programming is homogenized across the country, public radio is often one of the few places where you can hear a local newscast or hear local personalities. Of course, with the syndication of NPR programming, the chances that you'll hear much difference from one NPR station to the next is just as bad as listening to any given Clear Channel Kiss station (note: WKZA in Jamestown is NOT a Clear Channel Kiss station). Local radio has become less personal and more canned across the country. Fortunately, in Jamestown we still have local voices on the air, but there are a lot of instances where those voices are pre-recorded and aired later in the day.
My probably unrealistic hope is that Clear Channel will get to a point in its financial state where it's forced to divest itself of some of the radio stations it owns, thus potentially allowing the ownership of some of those stations to return to independent groups that don't already own over 3 stations in a market. Given the economy and the cost of running a radio station, I don't know if this will ever come to be.
Please support your local radio stations that do provide local programming and local personalities. Consider donating to the public radio stations that depend on local listeners to extend that small bit of federal funding they may receive to exist. I'll repeat my urgings from 2004 to contact your representatives in Congress to tell them not to cut funding to CPB or NPR; and to urge them to scale back the flawed Telecommunications Act of 1996.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
For some odd reason, I decided to watch the Erie County Executive Debate on WNED tonight. I had gotten the heads-up about it from WNYMedia.net earlier in the day about what hash-tags to use (#ECDebate) if you were going to tweet while watching, so I thought, "Well, this could be fun."
Okay, I've been out of the politics game for quite awhile even though I still do stuff here and there depending on what my husband begs me to do. There are no contested races in my election district this Fall and that's including the mayoral race for the City of Jamestown. Many people are lacking reasons to get to the polls in this county. It's pretty damn sad. And then I look to the north to Erie County and see there's a County Executive race. That could be fun.
The debate was proof of such fun. I'm a Democrat, so I was rooting for Comptroller Mark Poloncarz. Disclosure, etc. That said, I've seen and heard enough debates to know when one side is doing a better job than the other. Poloncarz missed some opportunities in his statements, but overall he crushed incumbent County Executive Chris Collins. You almost got the impression like this was Collins' first time on the political debate circuit.
From a fluff standpoint, someone needs to get Collins better make-up so that he doesn't look like he's sweatin' like Nixon all over the podium (actually thought of the Buffalo band first before the actual historic reference).
All that aside, it's the #ECDebate twitter tag that made this all fun. I laughed out loud so many times tonight. It reminded me of the old Bfloblog days of watching Sabres games and the live blogging/comments. Maybe it's the whole MST3K feel to it all. Anyway, I want to thank all the WNY Tweeps who made my Thursday night and helped me become a little more educated on what's happening politically in Erie County.
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
I consider myself at risk when it comes to getting the winter blahs. Living in Western New York, we have a lot of gray days that are already sunlight deprived as we head through Fall and Winter. Every year, I know that the dark months are coming, but I often don't prepare. This year, I'm not going to let the blahs catch me off guard and am going to use this article as a guide to alleviate the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.
For the past year, I've been on a mission of minimalism. This doesn't mean I'm getting rid of every article of clothing, books, CDs, DVDs, accessory in our house but it does mean I'm working harder to eliminate the clutter. I've been giving my cache of clothing a hard look and then doing my best to get rid of what doesn't fit and what I'm not wearing. The upside is that I've made some cash off of the items that were in better shape that I took to a local consignment shop. I've also cleared out enough items that I will be able to get rid of a clothes rack in the back room that I affectionately refer to as my "walk-in closet." Don't think this has lessened my shoe shopping habits, but I've made myself think very hard about what I had and how much use I would get out of what I wanted to buy.
We also made additional monies when we had a garage sale last month where we did our best to sell off more items I had cleared out. It's an on-going process, but slowly I'm seeing corners of rooms that I hadn't before. I now have this luxury of trying to decide how I want to revamp my "walk in closet" in terms of whether to make it my closet and a library, or leave it a blank canvas.
Going from the house we live in to the body I'm housed inside of, I started thinking about food and diet from a "Well, I want to look good for (fill in random trip/event/happening)" stand point. Instead of thinking, "I want to lose 5 pounds" it's more of a "I want to look good when I go to our friend Meg's wedding reception so I will feel better if I go to Zumba tonight and I don't eat that cannolli that looks really good in the display case at Jones Bakery." I'm not totally depriving myself or ignoring my body when it's telling me to rest, which is important given that my schedule sometimes does mess with when I can exercise or do a sit down meal with Matt. It's some of the same thinking as when I consider whether I need to hold onto a physical item, "Do I need to put this in my body? Will I feel better or worse for eating or drinking this? Is it worth it?" I'm also considering giving meditation a permanent spot in my schedule since I rather enjoyed a session at local Yoga studio that I attended two Sundays ago.
Do I think I'll completely avoid the blahs? Probably not, but I'm hoping to not get stuck in them for long periods too.
I wore jeans today because it's cool outside. Unfortunately, after a summer of wearing loose clothing, the constrictive denim is making me feel a little muffiny, and I'm not talking chocolate chip although I'm sure the one I ate this summer contributed. To add insult, I then read an article about how women tend to get poochy stomachs as they get older due to the loss of estrogen. As if that wasn't depressing enough, the article then added the punch that you cannot target exercise the pooch away and that your only hope to possibly get rid of it was through a healthy diet and general exercise. Okay, that's pretty "DUH" but still a bummer that it implies 30 minutes on the elliptical and then a series of abdominal crunches/exercises won't necessarily mean you're going to lose the love handles. Given everything, I guess I'll keep at my regimen of Zumba when I can, elliptical when I miss, and doing my best to eat healthy with moderation.
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Long before we adopted McKinley into our family, our dog, Zak, had a penchant for barking/crying at cats he would see outside our house.
Since the weather has warmed up, we've noticed McKinley looking out the windows and screen doors as if searching for something. Matt figured out that he had a friend in the neighborhood, which was confirmed by seeing a gray and white kitty hanging around our front stoop.
This morning, both McKinley and Zak were huddled around the screen door to nowhere in our breezeway. McKinley was meowing loudly while Zak barked a kind of high pitched yelp. I went over to investigate and there was McKinley's gray and white friend sitting on the pavement below.
I got a snap of the friend as he/she wandered away, apparently put off by all the attention.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
When I came back from my NKOTBSB travels, I was welcomed by my desktop computer not wanting to get past the initial start-up window. I had considered shutting the unit down for the one whole day I'd be gone but forgot in my last minute travel plans. Of course, this means there was a power outage which probably created a surge that did something to the computer. God knows. I'm hoping that Matt will take it to one of our friends this week to see how much damage was done and am currently crossing my fingers that I won't lose anything. At least we did do a full back-up this winter, so the most I'd lose is some stuff from eMusic, last few months of WRFA scripts, and probably some pictures. Not that I wouldn't still be fuming to myself, but that's technology.
In the meantime, I've been using the non-portable laptop. I'm convinced this thing is giving me back aches since I can't seem to get it so it's at an appropriate viewing and typing height. The sucker also outputs a lot of heat which is just dandy when the temperature goes up. Whine, whine. If money were no object, I'm at the point where I'd love to get a high memory/capacity laptop with a big screen so I could clear up my desk at home somewhat. Unfortunately, when you're a homeowner there tends to be other ticket items that get priority, like new gutters.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Nearly two weeks ago, I went to see super-boy-group, New Kids On The Block-Backstreet Boys, in Pittsburgh with Preppy Girl. She wrote an awesome account that I can't top. On the non-concert side, it was so much fun to hang out with PGirl and help her bust her IKEA and H&M virginity.
We broke down and finally got the 1-DVD at a time option from Netflix to enhance our Netflix streaming. I'm really glad we did as I finally got to see (500) Days of Summer and The Social Network. Next is Up In The Air, followed by Thank You For Smoking, and then the Twilight movies. You can guess that Matt was a bit late at getting in his picks.
How Does Your Garden Grow?
I've continued working on the back garden and have some visible plants growing courtesy of my mom. One is a hosta and the two others I'm not sure about but one has a yellow flower and the other has a kind of greenish-yellow bud. I'm pretty excited that the gladiolas I planted are starting to send shoots up. Those will probably be the most dramatic flowers I've grown based on height alone. The front hill is shameful but I haven't had the time or money to rip everything up, plant new ground cover, and try to get it growing with something other than whatever weeds are there now. The next thing I'll have to tackle is the south side of the garage. There are some foundation issues over there (I know, it's never ending) that we'll need to take care of this Fall, but I want to get a swath of ferns out of the way so things can be assessed.
I've had a few people ask me how adjusting to life with out the news is going. I think I've gotten used to it aside from that occasional feeling like I should be doing something. The first week or so was hard because my brain was still hard-wired to be on the look-out for news stories I might need. I may have even cried a little. These days, I've found I like having that stretch of evening free. I've definitely tried to be more conscientious about getting stuff done around the house. I've read two books. As mentioned above, I've watched a few movies. I've also gone to bed early, sometimes just after 9pm depending on the day. There is still the feeling that something is missing.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
I was having a drink with a friend I hadn't seen in months last night when the topic of blogs came up.
"I've had a blog for 10 years now," I offered, sipping a sweet summer drink.
"What is it about?" asked the companion with my friend.
"Hard to say. Some personal stuff. I never gave it a specific direction," I replied with a shrug.
I went on to talk about how I used to post more than once a day in the beginning and reflected on how that's dwindled to once or a couple times a month lately. I thought about the blogs that influenced me and whether their authors still publish posts (Yes and Yes). I talked about how blogging has changed but how there are some out there that seem make it work even as the media world has changed (Design*Sponge).
I thought about how blogging brought me closer to some people in around Jamestown (Preppy Girl, Galoot, Mr. Social), how it connected me with those who are farther away (Princess Slea, Maurice, Pamela), and how it made me more aware of everything (Buffalo Pundit, kottke.org, The Big Picture).
There was a time period where I considered ending this blog, leaving without a goodbye and letting the last post to hang without explanation other than the increasing time between the present and that post being the proof that something had been left to die quietly. But I've always been a journalist, whether it was in private notebooks or in my more frequently updated news feed for Facebook. I've learned to make no promises when it comes to writing, unless it's for someone else or has a deadline. I still like this blog and that it exists as a document of the person I was and have become over a decade.
Onwards we go..
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
After two more hours working on the earth on the back of the house Monday night, which involved uncovering more and more stones of ever increasing size, we have some semblance of a garden again.
My regret is that only one small rose bush seems to have survived the whole digging up/planting in a planter situation that I employed in an effort to keep plants from dying during the foundation reconstruction last summer. I'm not quite sure what to do with the empty space next to the steps now other than weeding the area.
In total, I hauled out about 4 dry-wall buckets full of rock, concrete pieces, and stones from the back of the house. Those are now deposited underneath our mudroom entry way. After several years of decomposition, I was able to dig out our compost to mix in some nutrient rich soil with the dry, rocky soil in hopes that one day it'll be a more hospitable environment for plants. Do you think that stopped me from planting some free flower bulbs I got at a bridal shower? We'll see if they grow.
The last thing I did on the back of the house was spread mulch. I didn't end up digging out the entire section because I could tell it was getting late, plus the soil was more stone than dirt. I figured I'd still lay down some mulch over what I hadn't finished anyway.
Sunday, June 05, 2011
A few months ago I read the article,
"In Which We Teach You How To Be A Woman In Any Boy's Club" by Molly Lambert about how women can be their own worst enemies when it comes to the work place. The writer reflected on how in a mostly male work space, the scant handful of women sometimes either cave to acting like one of the guys and joining in on their misogynistic comments and attitudes or they steer clear but quietly work against each other in order to hold some esteem in the eyes of male co-workers who do not deserve that kind of power.
This past week I read this article, Design Online: A response to the ny times article on online magazines, on Design*Sponge. It included dialogue on how working against each other to "be on top," which the writer says is a business model used heavily in the print publishing world, doesn't hold true for online magazines or blogs.
Both these articles made me think about how I interact with other women as friends.
Admittedly, I've tended to have more guy friends than female friends. There have been a few instances in my life where girls I've trusted have turned their back on me, betrayed me, and hurt me. Sometimes I knew the reason and maybe could have done or said something differently, but other times left so many questions, confusion, and tears. I have less than a handful of female friends that I keep in regular touch with whom I knew before moving to Jamestown.
The last couple years, I've met another handful of incredible women. While I still have my guy friends, whom I cherish, there's definitely something about having a woman to lean on. There are basic things that she gets that no matter how versed a guy friend may be in the ways of women will ever understand. To not understand that until now seems like some gross lack of education on my part, but I guess it gives insight to how much I distanced myself from having a close relationship with any woman. I was that girl who sat with the guys and shook her head along with them when the topic of women came up. I was a "me too" chimer when they would pronounce how much they didn't get women. I didn't because I wouldn't let myself. That's terribly unfortunate and I'm glad I've allowed myself to try to get over that.
I'm incredibly blessed and lucky. I hope I don't ever take any of my friends, male or female, for granted. I'd hope that if I did, they'd call me on my bullshit. Then again, the friends who matter to me probably already know that they're in my heart and will stay there.
It's been one week since I stopped doing the news.
I'm feeling a little lost.
It's silly in a way.
So what have I been up to?
I gardened last Sunday. I cleaned up some of the house on Monday and had a Memorial Day hot dog dinner with Matt. I watched I Capture The Castle and New Waterford Girl.
Tuesday I finally saw Labyrinth for the first time since it was available on Netflix streaming.
Wednesday I had just one violin student and then I went to watch Matt play floor hockey. We went out with the team after to Applebee's for dinner and some drinks. It was the first time in awhile that I recall having a drink in the middle of the week with dinner, or before 10pm.
Thursday I attended the dress rehearsal for the Infinity group, Collective Groove, that I would be performing with on Friday. After dinner, Matt and I went to see Bridesmaids. I cried on the way home because the movie reminded me of how much I miss one of my friends who moved away.
Friday we ate dinner quick before attending the Infinity Performing & Visual Arts Showcase at the Reg Lenna Civic Center. I had my worst case of nerves in years complete with icy hands and dry throat. We dropped into Forte after for a glass of wine and slice of grand marnier cheesecake before going home.
Saturday we had a funeral in the morning for the father of our friends. He was a good man. After a quick trip to Wegmans, I took my mother in law to a bridal shower for her granddaughter/my niece. Matt had a hockey team party that night, so I sat down in the recliner and read all of The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.
Today I chatted online with my friend, Candy, who has had a marvelous weekend, before getting ready and meeting my friend, Heather, at Wegmans for coffee and grocery shopping.
There was a lot that went on this week. I did some things I might not have if I knew later on at night I would have to do the news. I felt like I should be a lot more simply because I didn't have that one thing hanging over my head.
I feel like I failed in a way.
Heather said she got some advice not that long ago that makes sense. That she just needs to be rather than worrying about setting goals. I think I just need to be for awhile. I need to figure this out. It's been a long time since I've had this kind of additional time back. It seems so very over dramatic to be going on like this, but the truth is that I just don't feel like myself. I've even had a hard time remembering what I used to do with myself in the days before I did the news. I also know I'm a much different person from then.
Matt says I don't deal well with change. I know I don't. I just don't like to hear it out loud because I tend to advocate pretty loudly if I see something that should be changed for others. Admittedly, even when it's a good change, it's still hard. The good thing is that I still make myself do it. I couldn't grow otherwise.
Sunday, May 29, 2011
A year ago, we had the foundation replaced on the back end of the house. At the time, I had big plans to immediately fix it all up and replant the bushes and flowers that I had to uproot so they wouldn't get destroyed in the construction.
Fast forward a year later, and the plants I had taken out are still in planters looking fairly worse for wear, if not dead. Since I knew I'd have a little more free time on my hands in the evening, I figured I better kick my ass into gear and do something.
Last weekend, I weeded and removed stones from the side garden. Matt had picked up flowers we buy from Kiwanis every year for their fundraiser and I still had some succulent plants my mom had given to me last year that I hadn't managed to kill over the winter.
Lucky for us, one of our neighbors was getting a load of mulch delivered at a very cheap price, so we were able to have a yard of it dropped off on the corner of our lawn. Matt covered the side garden with mulch and we have plenty leftover for the next big project which is....
Attacking and hacking up the soil on the back of the house so I can at least plant some annuals with hopes for hosta at some point. The process is a bitch because when we had the foundation replaced, they filled back in with whatever soil and loose stones were around. Plus, our soil is pretty rocky to begin with.
Here's a shot after working for nearly 3 hours. Most of what you see on the sidewalk is loose stones.
I really don't have that far to go. If you look at the white pipe that comes down next to the house (gutter), that's where I stop. You can also get an idea of how big some of the rocks are by the pile on the flagstones at the bottom of the picture.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Over the years, I've had people question my sanity in providing a volunteer service that involves me leaving my house in the later night hours 5 nights a week to record a news cast. Truthfully, I don't think I'll miss the late nights that much, especially after being sick so much of this past winter. That said, here's a top ten list of things I will miss about doing the news for WRFA these last four years:
1. Catching the phases of the moon every night that had a clear sky
2. Waving at the people in Forte and getting to see friendly faces just before going upstairs to record
3. "I'm Julia Harrison..."
4. The excitement of waiting for local election returns
5. The satisfaction of recording the perfect 2-minute newscast
6. The feeling that comes from rewriting a lengthy story into a concise 4 sentence story
7. The actual delivery part of the newscast, especially nights when I could get through the whole newscast with no mistakes
8. The pride of knowing that the local news was being provided consistently every Monday through Friday on our community radio station.
9. Scaring various people in the Arts Council building who don't expect anyone else to be around at night
10. I will especially miss that feeling that I was still a news reporter on some level, even though Cable 8 provided the bulk of my scripts. I've always loved radio and while I plan to still be involved at WRFA, I will miss being able to define myself as a radio news anchor.
You can still catch my news cast through this Friday morning on 107.9 WRFA-LP, or streaming online at wrfalp.com, at 6am, 7am, 8am, and 9am.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Next week Friday, May 27, 2011 will be the last day that my newscast airs during "Small Things Considered" on WRFA-LP.
I have enjoyed volunteering my time to read the news for WRFA these past 4 years and also enjoyed my time with WKZA, which started in August 2005. Unfortunately, the demands on my time plus changes in local media have led to me deciding to end the partnership for now.
I'm grateful to everyone who has tuned in to listen to WRFA over the years. At this point, I know they are working to fill the time slot my news was in with some other news feature. There's a good shot it will be local stuff, so please continue to tune in every day.
I don't intend to stay away from radio. Matt and I are already discussing possibilities for programming we can create together for WRFA. I'll be sure to report anything that develops!
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
A women in Rochester was at an Amvets Thrift shop where she bought a box of Christmas cards. When she got home, she realized there were other things in the box: business cards, photographs, a work ID card, and a love letter written from a husband to his wife on their 12th anniversary. The woman took a chance and sent the personal items to the address listed on the business cards with a note saying she hoped people at the address would know the people in the photographs and to let her know if they made it to the right place.
My grandmother in Buffalo received that bundle in the last week. The items had belonged to my grandfather who died in October. The pictures were of him at meetings with friends, spending time on a friend's boat in 2007, and one of him posing with me and my cousins on Easter Sunday in 1987.
My grandmother misses her husband of 61 years a great deal. She told my Aunt that she has been looking for a sign since October that he is where he's supposed to be and is happy. My grandmother says she has her answer now.
A side note - I googled the name of the woman who bought the Christmas card box and if the person I found online is the same, she's a widow too. My aunt helped write a note for my grandmother that she will send back to the kind woman whose chance purchase made all of my family smile this past week.
Posted by Julia at 4/27/2011 09:04:00 AM
Friday, April 01, 2011
There have been some big changes in the works for several of our friends recently, mostly of the moving-out-of-town sort. It's going to be sad to see some of them go, but seeing them head off for new opportunities and adventures has made us think a bit lately.
Both Matt and I have embarked on different interests outside of our regular jobs. We've discussed taking those interests to the next step. Unfortunately, there is a sense that doing that in Jamestown might not be possible. So when our friend, Candy, started sending job listings in Portland, Oregon to me, mostly as a joke, I started looking into possibilities. We've never been to Portland but based on friend's experiences and various stuff I've read on the interwebs, it definitely seems like a vibrant city that has a great art scene.
While we love Jamestown and our friends and family here, we think it may be time to chase the other dreams. With that, we've begun plans to move to Portland where we hope to start on a project Matt came up with, inspired by the Portlandia series. It will be the "Put A Bird On It" web company. Part of our goal is to target artists in Portland and provide them a venue to have websites built around their artwork. Think of it as a very localized Etsy. We figure that the sooner we move, the better given that the housing market is only sucking more and more as the months go on, so our tentative move date is April 31st.
We're very excited about these changes, but sad at the same time as we'll miss this community and everyone. Look for more details in the coming weeks!
Posted by Julia at 4/01/2011 07:09:00 AM
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Back in January, I discovered that I actually like using the elliptical or arc trainer for exercise. I think part of it has to do with the fact that I'm in a lot better shape than the first time I tried to use an elliptical some years ago. It also helps that I now have an iPod with thousands of songs and dozens of playlists to help make the time go by and motivate me.
The first playlist I made, called "Elliptical Delusions," had a lot of pop stuff on it and I used it pretty regularly until this last week. A sampling of the music includes:
Stars - Fixed
Lady Gaga- Teeth
Rage Against The Machine - Killing In The Name
Metric - Help I'm Alive
P!nk - Raise Your Glass
Basement Jaxx - Rendez-Vu
Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock - It Takes Two
The Temper Trap - Sweet Disposition
Fergie - Fergalicious
Daft Punk - Technologic
The latest playlist, named "Elliptical Confusions," has less songs (first one had 3.4 hours of music) and comes in at 1.6 hours of music. I'll probably have to switch music out more frequently, but I found a lot of stuff I wanted to listen to just wasn't coming up. Here are some of the songs on the list:
Kelly Clarkson - All I Ever Wanted
My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult - Daisy Chain For Satan
Faith No More - Midlife Crisis
New Order - Vanishing Point
MNDR - Fade To Black
The Go! Team - Grip Like A Vice
Metallica - Of Wolf And Man
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Suck My Kiss
ABBA - Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)
I've read a bit about how music can motivate you and I find it definitely is true for me. I think this is a big part of why I like Zumba. On that front, no plans to teach right now. Taking the certification class was a good experience, but finding time to get additional training is rather rough right now given that it's my busy season at work.
Friday, March 04, 2011
I initially blogged about my experiences with the Ice Storm of 1991 some years ago. The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle has a retrospective including a slide show of photos.
The big thing about the storm, aside from the massive tree damage, was the number of people who lost power and then went days, some even weeks, without power. I was only 14 but I understood the concept that this was a public relations nightmare for RG&E. It didn't help their good image much more when they instituted a rate increase in later months to help with costs incurred by the storm. My house was without power for just over 6 days. Like many, we stood in line for dry ice at a local church so that the well-stocked freezer in the basement wouldn't defrost, spoiling the food.
Even with photography and video, it was still sometimes hard to grasp how hard this storm was on tree population. The magnitude of how many limbs and trees were affected became easier to understand when driving south on Route 590 just before the 104 interchange. Massive piles of branches towered. At first, I think the town of Irondequoit was burning the wood until the neighbors complained. They later resorted to chipping the limbs into mulch. The town gave it out for free, and then continued to offer free mulch at Durand-Eastman Park for years after. Up to 3 years later, I used to joke with my parents when we drove by the steaming mulch pile that they were still trying to grind up trees from the Ice Storm.
The night hours stick out for me still. While I was growing up, we didn't watch a lot of television. That changed when I moved away and my mom discovered HGTV. In 1991, we were mainly a family of readers with the occasional hockey or football game thrown in the mix for my dad. During those power-less days, the oil lamps and candles threw off a decent amount of light at night. I could have read but opted to drag out coloring books because it gave me something to do with my hands while we listened to WHAM for hours. My parents didn't listen to talk radio, but the friends staying with us for the week did. It seems like they tried to keep local hosts on the radio all day and into the night so that people could call in from all over Monroe County to tell their survival story or share information. These days we'd Twitter or post something on Facebook that people would read on their phones so we'd know what was going on. As much as I love having that kind of information readily available, hearing it on the radio made it more human.You could hear the emotion in people's voices. The frustration over how long it was taking crews to make their way through neighborhoods, worries about where to find generators that were sold out all over town, sadness over the loss of grand, beloved trees in yards; and appreciation for the radio station providing a venue for people to talk during the disaster.
Rochester would be hit again with a destructive Ice Storm in 2003, but it would not compare to the Ice Storm of 1991. In a sense, I suppose the 1991 storm is comparable to the Blizzard of '77 for Buffalo in terms of the way it affected a large area for weeks and also by how much people continue to talk about it, even 20 years after the fact.