Monthly Archives: March 2012

Seeking Shades of Grey Readers

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Is anyone out there reading this book, has read this book, is in a book club about this book, or in any way, shape or form familiar with this book? Can you contact me? 860-209-8147. Many thanks.

Gotta Do It All Today At WDW!

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Our last day and that means hitting the WDW pavement early and with purpose!

Grandparents, my advice. Do something, anything…just you and the kiddos. You won’t be able to get the smile off your face!

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Travel With Grandkids? A Welcome Trip

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I have not worried as much…not  like I did with my own children when we traveled. I mean, yes, there is the pressure of returning the girls in as good a condition as they were when we left,  but there are aspects that are just less emotionally stressful.

That schedule I had?  Threw it away. Somehow it is not so important that we do everything and that the list is long and filled with dozens of memories that drove family vacations with my own young children. With them, I worried way too much that everything be ‘perfect.’ I wanted every minute to be seamless and then, without fail, beat myself up if something didn’t turn out right, even if was only me who noticed.

I had a plan for day #2 but it was derailed and I sat back and just let it happen. The smiles and the laughing trumped my clipboard. An appeal to swim ‘just for an hour’ turned into five when they met a group of  boys and girls while swimming. The kiddos just wanted  to play So I just let them and we adjusted the day accordingly.

It was Nana’s day to learn something. Sometimes you can’t plan happy. It just happens and  you see it and enjoy it…no matter what time it is or what it does to your questionably precious schedule. I think it is something I should be trying to do more.

Our ‘day’ ended at about midnight and as we were doing the brushing teeth, washing face, tucking in thing, I started rattling off Monday options.

‘Why don’t we wait until the morning to decide, Nana?’ suggested #1 granddaughter.

My dear,  I think you are right!

Is It A Successful First Day If Everyone Collapses ?

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They sleep. Or rather they still have not awakened from the Disney World-induced coma that comes with a 19-hour first day of ‘Nanacation.’

The flight went without a hitch, the all-inclusive WDW package that includes transportation and baggage handling is worth every single penny and on Day #1 we visited Magic Kingdom, spent time in the ‘we have to Nana’ arcade (where I showed them this old lady still had it when it comes to pinball machines) went to a luau, watched fireworks from a beach and along the way, giggled and shared stories and told secrets meant only for a grandparent and her grandchild.

We all had some successes this first day that may seem small but somehow add to character? Olivia was uncertain about flying but an hour into the trip she was walking around the plane without a care. Lilly absolutely did not want to try the Splash Mountain flume ride but dug in her heels and did it…and so guess where one of our ‘must go back ‘rides is today?

Today is a not so good anniversary for me and I find thoughts of my own young family all around me as I remember vacations here with my husband and my own kiddos. The smiles and the excitement and the energy that you wish you could bottle and then open as the years go by and life changes.

I had to laugh last night as they collapsed into bed and I tucked them in with kisses and hugs.

‘I think this was my best day ever in my life,’ said one.

Not so sweetie. There are so many more ahead for you in life. But thanks for making my day and letting me be part of one of them for now.

What’s A “Nanacation?” Let Me Grab My Clipboard

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I am leaving in a few hours with two grandchildren for a “Nanacation” a word created by daughter #2.

“So are you ready?” she casually asked during a stop by the house tonight.

“Yes,” I replied grabbing my clipboard that contains a four-day, detailed itinerary for any of these possibilities: two parks on four sunny days, two parks on four rainy days and any combination of those two kinds of weather.

“Uh oh,” was her measured response. “It’s a Nanacation.”

Let me preface this. I am a Virgo and that means I am a planner. If you are not governed by that astrological sign , you probably won’t understand. If you are, no further explanation necessary.

For anyone who has been following this blog for the past eight months or so, I have created a bucket list, albeit one that, to some, may seem uninspired, cliché, hum-drum and tame. But in the words of Lesley Gore, “It’s my party!”

Since September, when I decided to face my mortality and what I still wanted to DO, I have checked several things off my list. I did that girls road trip to Florida and visited Savannah and Charleston, (my sistas I love you!) wnt to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City , (tv does not do those balloons justice!) and took a cooking class . (Thank you Middlebury Consignment)

I am in the midst of training to run a 5K race (this one is anyone’s guess as far as success but I keep telling myself it is mind over matter and I only want to do it once) and then there is this, what I hope will be the first of a series of getaways, just me and grandkids.

I have not herded kids around Mickey Mouse Land for more than three decades and when I did do it, they were mine and it was with their father. We were both young 20 or 30-somethings, energetic parents who skipped off to WDW without a care in the world. We didn’t make any special plans or prepare for any emergency, we just grabbed the kids and went.

Which brings me to the trip for which I soon depart. I have quickly learned that going anywhere with your grandchildren is different.

Although the two granddaughters have qualified, capable parents when it comes to packing and preparing, I could not let it alone.

I have an emergency band aids, Immodium and Miralax, antibiotic cream, special bandages in case of blisters, a thermometer, aspirin, cold medicine, earache drops and Benedryl.

I have also packed rain ponchos, glo sticks, aloe vera , juice boxes, snacks, fruit, cereal and granola bars, and three kinds of suntan lotion.

As I write this, my two travel pals are using gold stars to mark the places they want to visit while we are in Disney, and I am sifting one last time through my stack of notes on the best places to stand for the Electric Parade, where to eat dinner in Epcot for the best view of the fireworks, exactly where the arcade and pool are located at the Disney resort where we are staying and double checking the special guest hours and park opening and closing times for the days we are there.

I have checked and rechecked dinner reservations, talked to the room reservation people four times to make sure the room request, etc. are in order (and even after the fourth call they still said “Have a magical day,” God bless them) and called three sets of friends who live in Florida to get the most accurate weather prediction possible.

I just weighed bags, printed two copies of the boarding passes (you can never be too careful) and created a cheat sheet with every Disney and JetBlue number imaginable, just in case of a glitch.

I imagine many years from now my granddaughters will be grown and be planning trips to WDW with their own children . I think I’ll keep the clipboard for them.

Saturday: The Nancation Begins!

Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford Throws A Play Party

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Hartford administrative assistant Carrie Woods, 43, was in a serious game of “Uno” while 58-year-old Wells Fargo employee, Bill Fairchild jumped rope. On the other side of the Connecticut Convention Center ballroom reception area, 51-year-old insurance actuary Curt Johnson got in on a game of video “Jeopardy” while co-worker, 42-year-old Samantha Morris played dress-up.

 Welcome to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford’s 2012 Spring Gala!

Organizers had a floor full of fun for the 550 guests who were invited to “play” in the mock club house at the convention center Thursday, décor designed to imitate the kinds of activities the clubs offer to Hartford youth, giving the adults some insight into all the benefits the non-profit offers to its young members.

 If I didn’t have this uniform on, I would have been able to jump more,” quipped a suit-and-tie clad Fairchild after a few minutes of showing off his jump rope style to youngsters who seemed shocked to see his “red hot pepper” performance.  “I haven’t jumped rope in a long time.”

 The theme, “Great Futures Start Here” was intended to show guests exactly how the Boys & Girls Club nurtures its young members and provides a safe, encouraging environment for them to grow.

“I was one of these kids,” said CEO and president Sam Gray. “This is intended to be a fun event and for me, it is so fantastic to celebrate another year and to see how much support we have in the community.”

Among those supporters was former state child advocate Jeanne Milstein, who seemed more than ready to party, for now.

“I told myself I had to take six weeks off,” said the popular, tireless and outspoken Milstein who stepped down from the high-profile position several weeks ago. “It’s week three,” she said, clearly antsy to move on to her next venture in life. “But for now I am a private citizen,” she said smiling. “And for now it feels great.”

 Besides the after-work playtime, the event also included an awards dinner, honoring the 2012 Youth of the Year, Quan Jennings. Four club alumni, Brian Comer, Mayra Esquilin, Alan Green and Eugene Green were also inducted into the club’s Alumni Hall of Fame.

“I remember the energy at the club,” said Esquilin, who is the executive director at Hartford Areas Rally Together. “It was always a special place.”

“It was a place where it didn’t matter what color you were or what your religion was or what your background was,” said Connie Green, who accepted the award on behalf of her husband Alan Green, retired executive director of the Hartford Housing Authority. Sharing her husband’s thoughts, Green said he had fond memories of outdoor movies and games and activities that included everyone.

 “”I remember how great it felt when I would get picked to play ball on the older kid’s teams,” laughed Comer, now president of Tax Exempt Markets for ING U.S.

 “Just being a member is a good memory,” added Eugene Green, a retired school educator and coach. “There were things to do and friends to do them with,” he said. “There were unlimited opportunities for success.”

 

For more gala photos go to http://cour.at/GSdTr1

Montañez Named “Woman of Distinction”

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 Thea Montañez  has been chosen at The Connecticut Women’s Alliance “Woman Of Distinction.”

 Montañez is director of marketing programs at the Hartford Financial Services Groups Inc. She will be honored at the Connecticut Women’s Conference on April 25 at the Hartford Marriott Farmington. 

Montañez was chosen for her efforts  to empower women and girls.  She recently organized a Women’s History Month  program and also traveled to Haiti to volunteer at a women’s shelter. Montañez is president of the Hartford Public Library and is active on several other local organizations serving women and girls.

 “Thea Montañez completely exemplifies what it means to support the advancement of women and girls!” said Wendy Leahy, alliance president. “She is truly an inspiring role model.”

 For event information go to : www.ctwomensalliance.com

J.A. Inducts Hall of Fame Members In Hartford

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Businesswoman Laura Estes credits former Aetna head, John Filer, in part, for her interest and commitment to organizations like Junior Achievement. Laz Parking head, Alan Lazowski says it was his uncle, Morris Rabinowitz and his father Rabbi Philip Lazowski who taught him the importance of giving back to organizations like Junior Achievement. Tom Barnes, board chairman at the Barnes Group, said it was a long line of stellar relatives including his grandfather Harry Barnes, and cousin, Carlyle Barnes, who set the good example of giving he followed in his own life.

It paid off for all three as they were inducted Wednesday into the Junior Achievement of Southwest New England Business Hall of Fame.

“Certainly George was one of my mentors as well,” said Estes about her husband who was one of those who influenced her when it came to giving. “When we first married we made a commitment to philanthropy,” she said. “But my boss at Aetna, John Filer, was a fabulous leader when it came to what was going on around Hartford and doing things for the community,” she said. “Anyone who was working there was expected to be involved,” she added. “John made an indelible mark on Hartford.”

It was a happy crowd at The Hartford Club where the ceremony and dinner took place, thanks to summer-like weather and a good reason to celebrate.

“I am so honored,” said Lazowski, who is well-known for his altruism when it comes to causes in the Hartford area. Lazowski recalled that he borrowed $3,000 from a relative to begin his parking empire in 1981.

“I paid it back in six months,” Lazowski said.

The honorees were chosen for their business success and their support and commitment to Junior Achievement. Receiving the 2012 Corporate Award was MetLife.  Accepting that award was company executive, Gene Lunman, who went above and beyond when it came to showing just how important the organization is to his company.  

“I came back special from Maryland for this,” he explained with a grin. And he was in Maryland, why?

“My daughter, Carolyn and her husband, Darrell, had my first grandchild Tuesday,” said a beaming Lunman who couldn’t wait to show off pictures of the new, Nathanial Rogers. “I told everyone it could be tight as far as me getting back for the award but I take Junior Achievement seriously and it all worked out.”

 

For more photos go to : http://cour.at/GFGRZH