Monday, December 31, 2012

End of 2012

Submitted by Michelle
It's the last day of 2012 and I'm spending it in the happiest place on earth.  No, not Disneyland but rather, Utica, New York.  Utica is home to my Aunt Rosemarie and Uncle Dave. I haven't visited since the fall of 2010, and after my hectic year of finishing my Master's Degree and losing my appendix, it was high time I came home to the people who are near and dear to my heart. 

I arrived on December 26 and brought a big snow storm with me.  Despite the snow, my aunt, uncle and cousin Kathy went out to dinner.
 Kathy and me looking glamorous in the snow.
Not to diss the city but, Utica is no metropolis. That being said, they have phenomenal restaurants. We went to a great little place called The Tailor and The Cook.  Much of the restaurant's food is locally sourced, from vegetables to cheese to honey, and we had a delicious and leisurely meal. 
We arrived around 8:00pm and when we left at 11:00, quite a bit of snow had accumulated. 
This is my aunt and uncle's house during the first night's snow fall...
...and here's the house a few mornings later, icicles and all!
Whenever I am in Utica I like to connect with as many family members as possible.  One of my favorite people is my Great Aunt Helen. She is 90 years old and one of the last of my grandmother's generation who is still living.  Each month Aunt Rosemarie has lunch with Great Aunt Helen and lucky for me, I was able to join in the December luncheon. 
Back row: Kathy, Me, Aunt Rosemarie  Front row: Margie, Laura, Great Aunt Helen
Great Aunt Helen's daughter Margie was in town, along with her daughter Laura, and they were able to join us, which made the lunch even more special.

Another special gathering was with my cousins Rich, Bill, Steve and their wives.  We went to an intimate restaurant in nearby Clinton and caught up on life.
Rich, Bill, Me and Steve
Linda, Kelly, Me and Angeline
The entire family also gathered to celebrate an early New Year's Eve on the 30th.  Here's me with Bill, Steve, and Rich's kids. 
And here's Rich's son Keith horsing around with an icicle that he broke off of the eave of Steve's house.
Today, upon the recommendation of Matt (my cousin Steve's son) I tried pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup.  Steve and his family vacationed this past summer with me and David in Encinitas and Matt had raved about pho, so it seemed only natural that I would try the cuisine with him.  Matt's brother Reed came too, along with Keith and Julia (Rich's kids.)
A trip to Utica is never complete without a few stops at some local hotspots. 
Holland Farms is a must for Half Moons (a.k.a. the black and white cookie).
For kielbasa and all things Polish, a visit to the Jolly Butcher Boys at Hapanowicz market is in order.
Even though there are lots of good places to eat in Utica, we always seem to fit in home cooked meals, too.  Here's Kathy whipping up a few snacks to go with her Cosmopolitan...
...and Reed and Matt came over to help Aunt Rosemarie make soup. 
After such a busy 2012, I am quite thankful to be ringing in a new year with the people who mean the most to me. Here's hoping 2013 will bring peace, joy and happiness for everyone. 


Teri said...

Love to see you are having so much fun ringing in 2013 with your family!! Hurry home...the sand people miss you! :)

Anonymous said...

It was wonderful seeing you Michelle! We all love you very much! Great pics! Linda