Eve’s college tour continues

Yesterday we hit the road before the sun even woke up, and headed into the sunrise to visit the 4th college on Eve’s list. Fourth in order of visiting, first in order of preference. It was in the top two, but after spending the day there I think it has jumped to #1 in all categories.

University of Maine at Farmington (NOT Framingham, as I keep accidentally saying) is a “premier teacher education and liberal arts college for the state of Maine.” (according to their website) It’s a very small college with a tight connection to the local town, Farmington. Eve loved everything about it.

We were there for a “Junior Visit” day with a group of maybe 2-3 dozen other kids and their parents. They had a few sessions, lunch in the dining hall, a campus tour, and a resource fair (that was too crowded and loud so we went to the bookstore instead!). All of the student ambassadors were really friendly and outgoing. Eve brought King Gerald, who happens to be a great conversation starter! I’m trying hard not to take over that King Gerald Instagram account. I would have fun with it. LOL.

I have a few reservations about the size of the college and academic rigor, only because of the amount of time she spend complaining about the people and academic rigor at her high school. I think this college is only a small step up from high school. The graphic design program there is also very new, which could be good (she could be part of the cohort building the program) or bad (if they don’t really grow the program).

In a funny little trivia session I won a prize by knowing what the name of the mascot. Can you guess what I won?

We have one more college visit scheduled for next week. Then it’s time for a vacation from college campuses for a few weeks! (Unless I’m the one picking Lex up in early May, still TBD).

Quick trip to RIT

After 10 days in Peru, River was ready for a quick trip to RIT. He got home Friday evening, took a shower, then we headed to Rochester, arriving at 2am. After a quick sleep, we headed to RIT for their Accepted Students Day. We had a day of presentations, campus exploration, dining hall food, and a resource fair. There were lots of cheesy photo ops, but he wanted nothing to do with any of that. LOL. I took a few other random photos instead.

His incoming class is bigger than most of the colleges Eve is looking at, and RIT is almost 4x bigger than WPI. It almost feels like it’s own little city. Crazy, but definitely cool too. Now if we could just pick it up and move it a few hours closer… :)

E’s college tour: Day 3

Day three found us at SUNY New Paltz, “in the stunning Hudson River Valley.” (according to their website)

While Johnson & Wales* was very urban, and Purchase was very closed and artsy, New Paltz seemed a really nice in-between. The campus was large, but filled with tress, flowers, and lots of green space. The buildings were a mix of architecture and many were visually interesting. New Paltz has a fitness center and a pool, which Eve liked. We had a very nice tour guide and only one other family on the tour with us. The tour was pretty comprehensive, which was great. Eve likes the wide variety of academic options, perfect for her Liberal Arts heart. :) She thought the campus was too big, but was eager to do our own little walk after the tour for a King Gerald photoshoot. She found her way around campus with no trouble and seemed confident.

So far this is my favorite of the three we’ve seen so far. She is still very undecided, but feeling comfortable with the process so far. She’s eager to see the other two on deck. We’ll be vising University of Maine at Farmington on Wednesday and SUNY Plattsburg next week.

On our way home last night we stopped to visit Joyce at her new house. It’s a lovely little house, and will be even lovelier when the rain stops and (unrelated) when she’s fully unpacked and settled. We all went to the Olive Garden to celebrate the end of this trip. Then E and I drove home through awful rain, fog, and wind. We were both VERY ready to be out of the car by the time we got home at near midnight!

* Johnson & Wales University is abbreviated to JWU and pronounced “J-Woo.” Whenever E talked about J-Woo (and she says it smoothly, like it rolls right off her tongue), all I can think about is “woo girls” from How I Met Your Mother. Young, usually drunk, party girls who yell “woooo” about everything. Every time she said something about JWU, I had to stop myself from yelling “wooo!” 😂 I guess if she ends up going to JWU, that’s something I’ll have to work on! LOL.

E’s college tour: Day 2

Today we visited SUNY Purchase, a very artsy school in “Westchester County, one of the oldest and most well-established destinations in the scenic Hudson Valley.” (according to their website)

The area is beautiful and expensive, but the college is all Brutalist architecture and Eve didn’t love it. It is very much an art focused school and it seemed like you would need to declare a firm major (graphic design, sculpting, painting, etc) when you enroll. They say they have sciences as well, but it’s clearly an art school.

It seemed like there was a lot to do on campus, but there was nothing within walking distance off campus. The tour guides said most people live on campus for all four years. They showed us all of the art studios and spaces, and a dorm room, but not the dining hall, underground tunnels (between dorms and the dining hall), or the library. We were struck by how few people were out on campus. It wasn’t as sunny and beautiful as the day before, but it was pretty nice for a spring day and we only saw dozen or so students out and about. I asked the tour guide about it and she said that people spend a lot of time in their studio spaces, working on their projects, especially now that it’s close to the end of the school year. She said they have regular events on campus and everyone comes out for those, but otherwise what we were seeing is pretty standard.

Eve loves art, as we know, but while we were discussing the visit over lunch (at a delicious pub!) she decided she didn’t want to be at an ALL art school. She wants some sciences and some variety. She also liked the area, but not the campus itself.

Tomorrow we’re off to New Paltz!

E’s college tour: Day 1

Johnson & Whales University, Providence, RI

Big “small” school, right in the middle of the city. Cool dorms (pet friendly, AC, high ceilings), energetic tour guide, beautiful day (no thanks to JWU). We had a nice tour, but it’s definitely a city college. The green/quad is very small and surrounded by three buildings and a road. All of the other buildings are within a several block radius and many are old buildings with local “charm.” The building Eve’s classes would be in was the newest building, but it looked like a pretty small department. She liked the tour, but isn’t sold on the location. (I agree, but it’s not up to me. 😉)

Eclipse!!

After months of thinking about it and weeks of planning and days of worrying, the big day finally came! Eclipse 2024! The skies were clear, the weather was perfect, my chosen location was fantastic, and we had a great day!

The state has been putting out traffic warnings for weeks now, warning us of a massive influx of vehicles and people for this one day. They brought in tons of extra police and port-a-potties, they made arrangements with fuel companies and cell phone providers to make sure we had enough gas and cell coverage. All of that was probably for the best, but it also stressed me out. For awhile my plan was just to “drive North and figure it out,” but eventually that was adding to the stress, so I made a real plan. Yay! I found that the Shelburne Museum was opening for one day (they normally open mid-May) and for the price of admission you got a parking spot, dozens of acres of land to choose from, bathrooms, and a snack bar. I was sold! I bought tickets, invited a few friends, and made peace with my decisions.

As it turns out, my decisions were fantastic! We got up there with minimal traffic. We caravanned with a friend and her kids. We found a nice spot on the lawn with a southwest view. The museum did a wonderful job providing just enough amenities (bathrooms, food, small gift shop) and lots of family friendly activities like lawn games and live jazz music.

The real action started at 2:14 when the moon just peaked over the sun.

From there, we were hooked! We watched as the moon crept over the sun. The temperature slowly dropped. The light changed. The excitement grew.

For the final minutes we all had our glasses on, faces to the sun, watching in real-time as the moon completely covered. the sun. It was wild! The yellow/orange sun disappeared and I was expecting to see the corona, but all I saw was darkness. Rose said, “take your glasses off!” and I did and WOW!!! It was like glowing, sparkling, shining in the sky. So amazing that it’s bright, bright, bright, then OFF! Just gone in a second. Even the tiniest bit of sun showing is too bright to look at, but when the moon covers the sun completely, it’s like a flip is switched and you can stare right at it. I was wondering (and my friend Timothy was worrying) about how we’d know when to put the glasses back on. Turns out you don’t need to time it. As soon as even a smidgen of the sun reappears, BAM, it’s way to bright to look at!

Some quotes I’ve heard/read lately:

“A partial eclipse is like a cool sunset. A total eclipse is like someone broke the sky.” (Randal Monroe / xkcd alt text)

“100% is 1000 times better than 99%” (someone on Facebook)

“It’s like someone turned the sun off, then back on again.” (the ether)

I would love to be more articulate right now, but alas, I am not, so instead I’m going to share something a more literary friend wrote about viewing the eclipse. He wasn’t at the same place we were, but he was looking at the same sun and moon!

“Everything I anticipated became so thrillingly true it reclaimed its ability to surprise, on top of all the surprises. The alien light, the drastic cold, the immediate night, the ability to take off your glasses and stare straight at this object that seconds ago was burning your skin, the sharp clarity of the corona, the command of science to put us in the right spot, the awe of the heavens revealed, the stranger nearby who came alone and laughed in spontaneous delight, the inability to look when a mere pinpoint of the sun returned, and how much that pinpoint alone could light up the entire world.” — Bob Kalm, posted on Facebook

When the sun came back on again, we packed up and headed home, along with thousands of other people. We took back roads, changed the route a few times based on map routing data, and made it home in a speedy three hours! Only twice the time it takes in a normal day. However, my friend decided to stick around a little longer and wait out the traffic, which unfortunately turned out to be a big mistake! The traffic only increased as the evening went on! It took her four hours, but because she waited so long she ended up getting home really late!

I feel so fortunate that all of the decisions Rosy and I made around this event worked out so very well. Our location was fantastic. Traffic up and down was manageable. The weather was beautiful. I could not have asked for a more perfect eclipse viewing experience!

Scrolling through Facebook today it’s wild seeing the long lines of cars on the highways, huge crowds in cities and fields, and crazy lines at the Tesla chargers. It made me feel even better about how smoothly our day went!

If you’d like to see more pictures, here is our Google Album: Eclipse 2024

HBD E – 17!

Baby Eve turned 17 today! Not such a baby anymore, but she’ll always be my baby.

I had lots of celebration ideas, but she vetoed them all this year, so instead we’ve had a really nice low-key day. We had presents and cake in the early afternoon, with Lex joining us via Discord. :)

E decided she wanted to spend some time in nature, so we took a walk along Mink Brook, a Connecticut River tributary. It was a beautiful day. We brought Huxley along for the outing and we all had a lovely time.

We had dinner at Molly’s and now we’re home, watching The Simpson’s, E’s favorite show to watch with her daddy. Overall it was a beautiful day for a beautiful girl.

Also, it’s Easter! I totally skipped it this year. We put up a few tiny decorations, bought some jelly beans last week, and that was it. No eggs or baskets or anything. Oh well. Happy Easter to those who celebrate it better than I do. Happy Birthday to those who celebrate today (both E and my bestie Lisa!). Happy Sunday to all. 🐰💖

Dogs, Snow, Blood, and Life

We’ve got some big things coming up, so I thought I’d do a quick “little things” blog post first. Here are some of the things going on.

Dogs

Last weekend E agreed to dog-sit for a friend/ex-co-worker/teacher who was going out of town for the weekend. The original plan was that E was going to stop by their house a few times a day to walk the dog and feed her, but then we got a HUGE snowstorm prediction and all the weather warnings, so I asked if we could just have the dog at our house for the weekend. It went well, but I won’t be taking any more dogs from now on. Jasmine, already afraid of dogs, spent the weekend hiding, even though Bella was a complete angel to her. Eve tried to bring Jasmine to the laundry room a few times so she could eat and use her liter box, but she peed on Eve. Twice! Not sure if it was fear, age, or just a very full bladder. Either way, not fun. Bella was a nice, chill dog, but also guarded her food and Huxley’s water. She tore apart some his toys and sat on our laps while he stared us from afar. I think neither of the pets were happy, even though our visitor was a very nice doggo.

Snow

We got A LOT of snow last weekend. The reports said 24″ fell in about 12 hours. More snow than we’ve had all winter. It would have been amazing in December. Less amazing in March. I was supposed to work on Saturday, but the boss closed the library. Thankfully!! We all stayed home and watched the snow fall. It was lovely.

Sunday was beautiful. Sunny and clear. My co-worker who was supposed to work on Sunday was 100% snowed in (he lives out in the boondocks!) so I agreed to work instead. It was actually a pretty nice day.

Blood

This is a silly thing to write about, but here we go. Last summer E had bloodwork done that showed she had low iron and B vitamins. The doctor recommended supplements. We bought a bottle of each, she took them for a few months and decided they didn’t work, and the bottles have been sitting there ever since. So a few weeks ago I decided to add them to my daily pills. I used to take B and D (?) vitamins daily, but stopped at some point. Anyway, I decided to sign up to donate blood again, curious if the iron supplements would help. The past two times I’ve tried to donate blood I was turned away because my iron levels were too low. This time… success!! Mostly. I signed up to do the “power red” because successfully did that a few times many (many!) years ago, but my iron was too low for it this time. Apparently you need more iron for that then you do to donate “whole blood.” My levels were good enough for “whole blood” but not “power red.” So I did that. The folks there told me I was a fast donor too. Apparently it only took 4m25s to fill the bag. They said that’s good. *shrug* The technician did an excellent job with the needle! Got the vein first time and didn’t even leave a bruise!

Life

My brain is juggling a thousand balls lately, trying to keep my April plans in order. I’m soooo grateful for the ease of my new job. I’ve started doing more, but not too much, and feeling very appreciated there. Plenty of flexibility to deal with life as well. I’ll post another time about the eclipse! It may be amazing, it may be gridlock for days, it may be a total dud. Time will tell.

I went to the high school talent show last night. It was fun. I sat with a few other mothers, and Eve. Tonight I went to the theater with some other friends. We saw a play called “The Play That Goes Wrong.” It was HYSTERICAL! If you ever have the chance to see it, I’d highly recommend it.

I feel like there was something else I wanted to write about, but it’s slipping my mind right now. Maybe I’ll remember another time. Or maybe it doesn’t really matter anyway.

Book clubs

I am now the proud founder of two successful book clubs! Both inspired and supported by cool people around me.

My personal book club met last night. I leave these “meetings” in such high spirits. So much laughter and fun. We now have seven members and I love all of them.

Tonight was the first night of my work-related sci-fi book club. I was worried no one would come and, simultaneously, worried too many people would come! I ended up with five people in the room and one on Zoom. (Many of our programs at the library are hybrid like that.) Everyone was excited and engaged. Everyone has great things to say about the book, and everyone took a book for next month’s meeting. Yay!

I’m feeling pretty good tonight, and wondering why it’s not Friday night. 😄