The Red Front

Front Moving in From the NorthLast week on the way into work I noticed a front moving in from the north. It spread from one end of the horizon to the other and was bright orange. Unfortunately the skyline of Rochester limits visibility quite a bit. As soon as I got to work I headed to the First Federal building. It’s the highest building in Rochester and I figured It would be a great vantage point. I was able to get to the 19th floor easy enough, however once I was there both ends of the elevator hallway were key coded and I could go no further. It’s too bad the restaurant at the top is closed, it would have been a perfect place to take the picture from.

I was able to get this shot over the river. For those of you who don’t know the First Federal building is the tall one on the left with the circular top (which used to be a rotating restaurant).

Ryan’s Wake

A Beer At Ryan’s WakeFriday we went to Ryan’s Wake. No no Ryan is fine, This isn’t some sadistic planning session. It’s just the name of a bar in Troy. On our way to New Hampshire we stopped over in Troy to visit my good friend Emily. As it turns out some of Emily’s other friends were visiting this weekend too so we got to meet them as well. We had a great night and we were glad for the place to stay for the night. Thanks Emily!

The Amazing Maize Maze

The Cool BusYou can always tell its fall again when my department organizes the annual Maize Maze team building exercise. This year is no different and Friday my team (consisting of myself, Mike and Matt) came in 3rd overall and 2nd among those obtaining all pieces to the map.

While we were at the Farm we had to give the coops something to do and we arrive at the ‘Cool Bus’ Ryan and Matt are up front with our coops, Anne, Andrew and Matt taking the backseats.

Definitely beats working for a few hours!

Happy 80th Grandpa Heath!

Grandpa Heaths SurpriseSaturday we went to Grandpa Heath’s 80th Birthday surprise party. It was awesome because he has relatives all over the country who were able to make it, Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Massachusetts and even Hawaii. It’s very rare that they all get together in one place and its even more rare that he doesn’t know its happening. You could see the joy on his face as he entered the door and saw all these family members from distance places. I’ve met most of the immediate family (Rachel’s uncles and aunts) but there were several that I hadn’t and lots of cousins that I had not met before.

I had the chance to meet Rachel’s uncle Brian, for the first time, who lives in Texas with his wife Carolyn and daughter Kristin. I’m very glad I did, They’re neat people and we got to spend even more time with them on Sunday. Brian owns a paint contracting business near Dallas/Ft Worth. I offered to let him stay busy painting our dining room while they were in town but he declined. C’mon man we’re family now!

I had the pleasure of meeting two more distant relatives, Rachel’s father’s nephews, Matt and Dan. Matt has a house in Hawaii and offered to let us stay (although he assured us he would not guide us around, he draws the line there) the next time we go. That’s fine Matt, we’ll be happy to hire a tour guide with the money we saved staying with you! As it turns out Dan is very much into Genealogy and we got talking about Rachel’s family tree. Apparently he has traced their tree back to a revolutionary war soldier. That means Rachel can join the daughters of the revolution! Not quite sure what that gets her besides a plaque and probably a lot of junk mail though… We traded E-mail addresses and Dan agreed to send us the tree, I agreed to get it into Geni which I’m trying to get all our family to use and I strongly recommend it for those of you who haven’t yet.

I was also able to see some relatives whom I’d met before but hadn’t seen in a while. Among these was Rachel’s cousin Becky, who was pregnant with her second child, Cheyenne, the last time I had met her. This time around she had the third child, Desmond, with her. They were very energetic which meant they probably slept like a log that night and I’m sure Becky is thankful for that.

Flag and PlaqueTowards the end of the day Grandpa Heath opened all of his wonderful gifts and Matt, whom I had met earlier, presented Him with an American Flag which had been ceremoniously flown over the USS Arizona memorial in his name on September 11, 2007. It also came with a plaque with a military seal providing documentation that it was indeed flown over the memorial in his name at the time and date noted. It was all very moving because Grandpa Heath long ago served in the Navy during World War II until his responsibilities at home had called him back. The USS Arizona memorial had always held a special place in his heart but he hasn’t yet had the chance to visit it. I’m sure the flag and plaque will be long remembered by him as well as the rest of his family who was there to witness the gift.

A great event and I wish there were more like it.

Brian Regan – The Me Monster

Friday Rachel and I went with a bunch of our friends to a comedy show from one of my favorite comics of all time. This is the 3rd time I’ve seen him live and every time he has great new material. One of my favorite new bits was The Me Monster (I walked on the moon). Watch it below.

Marry Me

According to the New York Times there’s a new trend going on in the world of proposals. People are paying lots of cash to have photographers disguise themselves in order for them to capture the moment. Normally this is a very private and very special occasion however people are beginning to publish everything about their life on the Internet and what’s the sense of leaving out the most romantic part of your life? To that end I’ve decided to share our story for everyone to read.

Our engagement story is both romantic and spontaneous. Maybe that’s the same thing? I had the ring in my possession for months in advance just waiting for the right time to ask. In October of 2005 we found out that our good friend Charles was living in London and he offered us a place to stay. We looked into flights and since it was past high-travel season the flights were dirt cheap. We were able to fly direct to London from jersey for under $300 a piece. After talking with Charles we found out that London would be celebrating Guy Fawkes day in 3 weeks and we made our plans to start our vacation that weekend.

At that time I had still not decided whether to use this opportunity to reveal my intentions or not. In fact until 5 minutes before walking out the door for the airport I still hadn’t made up my mind. At the time I knew of no truly romantic places in London. However, as many of you know, just before leaving the house I did decide to take the ring with me.

Once there, and after talking with Charles I decided that the top of the London Eye would be the perfect place. It took some effort, but I convinced Rachel to wait until the last day of our trip to ride it. This was so we could end our trip with the best part of all (providing she said yes).

Marry me RachelWhen we were finally at the top I asked a gentleman who was in the capsule with us to take our picture, much to Rachel’s dismay. She couldn’t understand why I would want a picture of us at the top when we wouldn’t even be able to tell and she asked:

Why don’t we get some shots of the beautiful scenery?

Then, while she was posing for the picture, I bent down on my knee and she began to ask “he’s taking our picture, why are you tying your sho….ohhhhhH!”

Will you marry me?

and we all know her answer.

In the beginning the only plan I had was to ask a stranger to take our picture at a romantic place and pop the question while he did. I think it turned out beautifully and the spontaneity just added to the romantic feel of the moment. What does this mean? That I’m 2 years ahead of The New York Times.

Where’s Waldo Spanish Steps Edition

Where’s Waldo Spanish Steps EditionWhen Rachel and I were in Rome with Charles we stopped by the Spanish Steps during the day when there’s always several hundred other people (we also stopped by late at night for a pub crawl when there wasn’t many people there but that’s another story). While we were there Charles suggested a Where’s Waldo picture and I agreed. Therefor I bring you Where’s Waldo Spanish Steps edition.

Wii Style Therapy

Fogi BoxingSunday we tried out the Wii with some family and it was a huge success. First, Rachel’s mother practically brought down the house with some hysterical laughter as she attempted to race her steer mounted Mii into scarecrows. Then, as she worked up a sweat, she knocked out her husband of 29 years. He deserved it though with the constant taunting and teasing during baseball.

The Wii was a great success and by the end of the night the phrase

We’re gonna have to get one of these things

was uttered more than once.

A big red truck for A big old Canton softy

So my dad finally decided to retire and it’s a good thing too. He’s been bugging all of us with his proclamations of retirement to hunt with his brethren for months now. He got a pretty good early retirement package from EDS and figured he should take it.

I’m happy for him. Retirement is an event that we all plan for (hopefully) and work for our whole life. Unfortunately because of the way our society works very few can actually enjoy it once it arrives. I’m very proud to say that he won’t be one of them. He’s plenty more active than I am and has so many projects going at any point in time that I cant picture him being done with everything he has planned already until into his 90s. Not to mention the zany adventures and crock pot ideas he’ll cook up between now and then.

For those of you who don’t know him, he’s a hunter, from ducks to bears and everything in between (I just recently saw the light in his eye when he told us about the recent spike in the Moose population of New York). He likes the outdoors and has spent probably more than 50% of his life outside. This is at least partly due to being born and raised on his parents homestead in Canton NY. That’s right he’s a good old fashion country boy.

Dad’s 2007 SilveradoHe also likes his toys, and for what I assume is his retirement gift to himself he bought himself a nice big red truck. Not just any truck, a Brand New Chevy Silverado extended cab Z71 4×4 fully loaded. He’s earned it though. Over 30 years dedicated to the same company and same wife. Both are pretty rare these days.

My Dad is a great guy, an excellent father and a patient teacher and has the best years ahead of him.

Congratulations Dad, you deserve it!