Category Archives: Personal

4th of July Weekend

We had a rainy Friday and the local fireworks were postponed until Sunday night.  Friday I worked on diagnosing our failed internet.  The thunderstorms we had during the week knocked out a router and modem.  I managed to get replacement parts swapped in time to keep my Internet addicted wife from suffering a breakdown.  She said she needs internet access to get to recipes – otherwise we are regulated to hot dogs and Mac & Cheese.

Saturday and Sunday were gorgeous days.  Eric went to a buddy’s house to play on Saturday while Kathryn and I did a lot of yard and home projects.  Saturday I finished mowing our pasture.  Saturday night we had an old friend, Rich Roman, over for dinner and played pitch.  Saturday night our neighbor’s cows escaped their pasture and several of them visited our yard.  The dogs went nuts about 11pm and we assumed a raccoon or something similar.  I turned on all our floodlights, but never saw a cow.  Sunday AM we found that the cows had punched up the lawn pretty good along our fence line.  They ate several branches off a plum and pear tree.  Fortunately they found their way out of the yard during the night and they were returned to their own pasture in the morning.

Sunday Kathyrn/Eric/I took turns mowing our lawn.  I repaired the broken cable on our garage door.  I weeded in the garden.  We have lettuce, spinach, lots of green tomatoes and nothing to eat yet.  Sunday night we hosted Fusco’s for dinner and then went to watch the Boonville fireworks.

Our Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend

I took Wednesday off from work to help clean the house and set up for Thanksgiving but, as usual, Kathryn did most of the work for the meal. Thursday we were joined by Rob & Linda, BillieJo, Joel, Stone and Dakota for our holiday.  it was nice to be able to chat and catch up with family.  Thursday evening we pretty much got everything put back, table cloths washed, laundry, dishes washed, etc.

Friday morning I met BillieJo in Barneveld to pick up Stone & Dakota.  Meanwhile Kathryn met Kellee at the Verona Thurway exit to pick up Izzabella.  All the grand kids were staying at our house for an overnight.  We re-convened shortly before noon and after lunch the kids went outside and went sledding for ~90 minutes. The kids went back outside for more sledding at 4pm before dinner.  Shortly before bedtime Kathryn took the girls out to the hot tub.  The warm water worked well as Bella crashed shortly after my bedtime story, and Dakota followed shortly thereafter.  The boys slept upstairs – Stone in the bed and Eric in his sleeping bag on an ThermaRest on the floor. Late Saturday morning I took Stone and Dakota to met Joel in Poland, while Kathryn and Eric took Bella back to Syracuse and then ventured onto Rochester where they met Kathryn’s friend Judy and spent the night at Tim’s house.

Saturday afternoon I brought two carry-all’s of wood up into the garage (worth a couple of weeks).  I tightened the fit of the door on the woodstove, drained and re-filled the hot tub and watched football games.

Kathryn and Eric returned on Sunday about 1pm.  Kathryn and I went to cut wood near our old silo site from two dead elm trees that had blown over.  Walking up there we encountered a deer laying in the water in the ditch.  The deer had been hit by a vehicle and broken it’s hips or back.  Although it could stagger to it’s feet it couldn’t stand or walk.  It had probably lain soaking in the ditch for most of the night and all morning.  We ended up calling the State Troopers to dispatch and dispose of the deer.

We finished cutting up the dead elm trees and transferred the wood to our shed where much of it was thrown on the ground to be split at a later time. We absolutely, positively agreed this would be the last firewood we would cut for the winter. Eric and I manged to get our lawnmower driven into the basement where it is a little warmer and drier. I still need to get our driveway outlined with fence stakes so the snow plow guy knows where to plow.

Eric starts his Travel Team basketball schedule with his 1st game tonight at 6pm vs VVS.

Utah Vacation

First of all, welcome. You are about to embark on a wonderful journey, one that 96.4% of first-timers repeat again and again. We want you to feel that you will have a trusted advisor leading you on this journey. If we get you on the right ship, you will discover a new kind of vacation experience that will take you to new worlds with very little hassle in unsurpassed comfort.


Perhaps no portion of travel is as prone to exaggeration and misleading pricing information as the cruise industry. Look around the Internet and you will find scores of sites claiming to offer the “best deals”, “deepest discounts”, and “fantastic savings”. The cruise lines own advertising often features an incomplete price offered on the lowest possible category of accommodation.

Our cruise section is designed to help you steer a straight course through all of the phony hyperbole and come-on-pricing, we are here to help you find the best Sunset Dinner Cruises.

For all but a handful of niche lines, all cruise lines offer discounts based on projected yield per sailing. For instance, repositioning sailing’s at the beginning or end of a season carry far higher discounts than prime season space.

Any smart marketer who wants to assume that the public is naive can play the Internet price game, promising a one-week cruise for $699. Or less.

The fact is that all of the top quality lines try to assure that all of their top agents receive the same pricing benefits.

Where travel firms tend to differ is in the quality of their consulting and the benefits and amenities they provide.

We hope that the information that follows will help you make an informed decision when it comes to the planning of your first, or next cruise vacation.


Last year, 11.3 million North Americans took a cruise vacation, a 6% increase over the previous year. Despite unparalleled growth, only about 9% of adult Americans have sailed on a cruise ship. Today, we would like to talk to those of you who are considering your first cruise, and, perhaps, to a few of you who have cruised once or twice before but would like to know more about the industry.

Cruise ship photoThe reservations process can be daunting. How do you pick a ship, a cabin, or an insurance policy? This brief guide is intended to help you navigate the cruise-selection process. Whatever process you use to select your cruise, be content with the knowledge that there is a 96.4% chance that once you return from your first cruise, you will sail again within thirty-six months. This represents the highest satisfaction level, by a wide margin, of any type of vacation experience and it is the core reason for the growth of the industry. But lets make certain that you get it right the first time. Here are some of the questions we are asked most often by consumers considering their first cruise:

How Do I Start?

Some of the best and least subjective information about cruising can be found in books such as The Berlitz Guide to Cruising and Fielding’s Guide to Cruising. We find the information in these books to be far more accurate than information gathered from the Internet. Friends may offer opinions based on their own experiences, but it is doubtful that they have the range of cruise experience sufficient to guide you toward exactly the right vessel. And there is only one best cruise line and vessel for you – the ships really are that different. All of your friends likely to insist that their doctor is “tops” in his or her field. It is much the same with cruises. Unless you have sampled dozens of ships and are aware of the striking differences between products, it will be difficult to make a decision on your own. Marketing departments at the largest lines aim to keep you confused. Every ship is described in glowing terms.

How Do I Select An Agent?

There are a number of cruise specialized travel firms in the United States that enjoy excellent reputations. But ultimately, it is the relationship you will share with your particular consultant that will have the most influence on your overall cruise vacation experience. Quite often, firms that sell the most cruises get preferred rates. As a general rule, you are best off working with a member of the “By-Invitation-Only” Virtuoso Network. These are the top-producing agencies in the nation. Last year the network members sold $5.1 billion worth of leisure travel. They are the top-producing agency group for virtually every one of the top-ten rated cruise lines. Conde Nast Traveler Magazine rates the best cruise consultants in the nation on a yearly basis. The ratings are published every August.

(For the complete ratings of the top ten lines, click on Cruise Line Ratings on our home page).

Planning a cruise ought to be a three-step process. First, contact a knowledgeable cruise expert to discuss possible options. It is important that your consultant tries to learn about your likes and dislikes. Do not give in to sales pressure during this first discussion. Take the time to study the brochures you will be given, looking carefully at accommodation choices and itineraries. During the second discussion with your consultant you will make the actual reservation. The third and final step in the process is a comprehensive trip review, which is usually done two or three weeks prior to your departure.

It is the first, consultive meeting/discussion that is critical. A great consultant will try to get to learn as much as possible about you and your goals for your upcoming cruise vacation. You will not be pressured to purchase. In fact, if you try to purchase, you will be asked to take the time to do some research to check the validity of the advice you are being given, you just need to make sure to pick the best option for you, try to pick an option that offers port canaveral transportation, this way you don’t have to worry about it later.

Will I get a better rate if I book with one of those 800 numbers or the Internet?

It is true that there are cruise agencies that work out of large rooms in out-of- state booking centers. And it is true that they may have a lower price than you will find in your own community. This usually has more to do with the fact that they are rebating a portion of their commission than with any special deal they have with the cruise lines. In fact, cruise lines frown on rebaters, much as the medical or legal professions frown on practitioners who would kick back a portion of their fees to attract business. A travel firm that sells on price rather than service, runs the risk of loosing the right to sell a cruise line’s product. Cruise lines cannot set the price but they can set standards and they can refuse to pay commission to those who rebate a percentage of the cost of their product.

How Should I Go About Selecting The Best Cruise for Me?

That will be determined by the skill and knowledge of your consultant combined with the research that you have been willing to do on your own. Here are some questions you will need to answer to get pointed in the right direction:

What is your budget? Be candid with your consultant. Any of the top-ten cruise lines are going to cost from $500-$800 Per Person Per Day. There will, however, be special sailings and promotions that could lower the cost by as much as $200 Per Person Per Day. Always discuss cruise costs on a per person, per day basis. Do not include airfare or insurance but do include all port charges and taxes. This will enable you and your consultant to discuss apples-to-apples without confusion.

How long can you get away? Ten to twelve days is the ideal length of time to cruise. Are you really locked into seven? One of the biggest mistakes made by first-time cruisers is the selection of a cruise that is shorter than what they need or can afford. Never book a three or four night cruise. They are not at all typical of the overall cruise experience nor are your fellow guests.

What do you expect to get from your cruise experience? Your agent will want to know this so you can be matched with the perfect ship.

How important is the age of the ship? Booking you on a new, glitzy mega-ship with two or three thousand fellow guests is no problem – but is that what you really want? Would you consider an older, more mature cruise ship? Be cautious. Wine and people seem to get better with age but we feel that does not apply to cruise ships?

Do you like the Mirage and Caesar’s Palace? We ask that question, because some of the new ships being launched closely resemble floating Vegas resorts with huge casinos, several dining options, and numerous onboard options. But there are alternatives for those of you who don’t want a glamorous, high-energy cruise experience. One cruise line employs Oxford and Cambridge lecturers on voyages that concentrate on the antiquities. There are small, comfortable ships where you never have to don a tie, sailing ships that cruise the French Riviera, 100-passenger ships that ply the rivers of the Colonial South with visit to antebellum mansions along the way, and small ships that sail with just six couples to Alaska. The point is that there are numerous options for those who want to do other than mainstream cruising. The top-three rated cruise lines are all ships with fewer then 700 guests with an “inclusive” policy, meaning gratuities and drinks are included. Most of the larger, mass market ships, feature long lines and institutional cooking.

How Do I Find the Best Cruise Line for Kids? That one is easy. Most cruise lines offer rather superficial children’s programs led by part-time instructors. The best current children’s programs will be found aboard Royal Caribbean, Disney Cruise Line and Princess Cruises. The highest-rated children’s programs overall and by a wide margin, are offered by Disney. These are the only three lines we would consider if you are looking for the very best onboard kids programs. Holland America and Celebrity Cruises also have good onboard children’s programs.

What Will My Fellow Passengers Be Like? This is the least-asked, most critical question to consider. When you are traveling you are relatively careful about the hotel and the restaurants you select. You are concerned with health and your personal safety. But you are also concerned with something we call, for want of a better term, “the jerk factor.” A deal on a ship with a group of rampaging drinkers who are going to keep you up till the wee hours is not a deal. It’s money down the drain. Your vacation is an expression of who and what you are.

The fact is that the more expensive the cruise product the more refined an audience it will tend to attract. Of course, refinement is not for everyone. Comfort is also important. But the “jerk factor” on various cruise lines is definitely worth discussing with your agent. Cruise line brochures do not, unfortunately, offer “jerk factor” ratings

A quick walk around the yard

With all the rain and warm weather things are looking quite lush around our yard.  The peonies are in full bloom.

The front lawn is lush (too lush) and all except on landscaping plant survived year 1.

Kathryn relocated green, yellow and green & white Hosta along the east side of the garage.  It is filling in nice this year.

The garden is in.  Potatoes in the foreground.  Blue Kentucky pole beans sprouted and ready to climb the wire fence.  There are 24 tomato plants in the garden (and another dozen or so stuck in the ground on the south side of the garage).  In the background are 1/2 rows of yellow wax beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, lettuce, spinach and a full row of peas.  On the right side is our remaining rhubarb and a view of the asparagus going to seed.  Not visible are the 3-4 egg plants at the end of each tomato row.  Pumpkins and acorn squash are planted down near the grapes.

I mulched heavily with leaves and have a snail problem eating the young sprouting plants.

Sand Fleas Volleyball

With Scott out of the line-up and my knee taking a couple weeks off, Brian and Bob filled in for our two games at ADK Lanes. Below Julee sets Bill while Bob, Chris, Brian and Kathryn are in the background.


Bill blocks a shot while Bob covers the tip.  Chris, Brian and Kathryn are in the ready position.


While our Wednesday night Volley Llamas team is near the top of the standings our Thursday night Sand Fleas team is hanging around the middle of the 10 team league.


HPE Track Meet

The 3rd and 4th Grade held a track meet.  Eric competed in the 55 meter run.  Eric competed in a heat vs James, Dylan, and unknown and Jonathon.


Eric and James were side by side the entire race.  Eric told me he was afraid his sneaker was going to come off.  In this picture it looks rather loosely tied.   In fact, in several races kids lost one or more sneakers during their run.


After their event the kids headed over to the drink tent for water and socializing.  Eric’s buddy, Jack, had a tough time in his mile run and couldn’t finish.


The kids had a lot of fun in the bleachers cheering for their friends.  It was a raucous group.


Ordered Pairs

An ‘ordered pair’ is simply two numbers in a certain order. For example, the numbers ‘2’ and ‘3’ can form two ordered pairs:  2, 3 and  3, 2.   Ordered pairs can also contain the same number twice. For example:  2, 2  and  3, 3

A very important application of ordered pairs is to locate points on a grid or map. For street maps it is common to use a letter and a number, eg: B17 or D5. This is not very accurate, but if two numbers were used instead of a number and a letter, then people would easily get them in the wrong order and get lost!  In mathematics, we use two numbers to accurately locate a position on a rectangular grid.  Eric has been doing ordered pairs in school and used worksheets to make several pictures.  Foghorn Leghorn was one of his more complicated graphs.

Foghorn Leghorn

Lacrosse vs. Whitesboro Team 2

Eric had a 6pm lacrosse game last night vs. another Whitesboro team.  Eric got to play middie last night for the 1st time and participated in a face-off for the 1st time.  He scored two goals as the beneficiary of nice passes from his buddy, DeVante.  Below Eric (#6) shoots on goal.  He wore one black sock and one white sock to help his Mom differentiate him from the other players but he ended up with one black sock and one grey sock.  There was 1/2″ of water laying on the field.

There was some discrepancy about the score… we might have won 6-5, but either way it was a decent close game.   We got soaked, despite raincoats, etc….


Afterwards Kathryn and Eric jumped into the hot tub to warm up.


HP Gold vs. Waterville

HP Gold won a good game vs. Waterville 3-1 on a warm Sunday afternoon.  Goals by Trevor, Eric and Sawyer.  Waterville came in a little short-handed so we loaned them 2 players each quarter and played 8v8.


Afterwards we took a team photo and handed out ice cream coupons.

1st row: Hunter, Jonas, Carter, Andrew, Sawyer, Nick

2nd row: Zach, Logan, Eric, Trevor, Nicco

Coaches: Jim & Jim