Saturday, April 28, 2012

Local Critters

Besides the occasional photo of a feral toddler, I haven't been posting as many wildlife images on my blog as I once did.  So, I thought I'd remedy that with this awesome photo of a baby Eastern Milk Snake captured by Brian (both the snake and the photo). 

The baby snake in a water bottle for toddler viewing before its release.

We've also enjoyed seeing a number of other favorite local critters as well including deer, squirrels, cardinals, red wing blackbirds, wild turkeys and a barn owl.  

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Better Late than Never

As I was sorting through some papers before moving, I found a document that outlined the responsibilities of the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar before, during and after the scholarship period. It listed a number of tasks such as submit pre-departure documents, get to know the service projects of the host club and give the required number of presentations when abroad.  I scanned the list and thought check, check and check.  Then I noticed the first item under responsibilities after the scholarship period.  It stated simply, return home.  Oops, must have missed that one in the orientation sessions.

Last time we were home for a visit, I did try to do a presentation at the Cleveland club, but it was during the Christmas holidays and the club wasn't meeting.  So, when I received an email asking for participants in a panel session at the District 6630 conference in mid April, I was delighted to realize that I would be in the country and available to speak!

I really enjoyed the chance to connect with Cleveland Rotarians once again and to meet some fellow scholars and hear about their (equally positive) experiences.  

With Laura, who studied in Buenos Aires and Alex, an inbound scholar from Germany studying at Case Western.  Thanks to Alex for the photo. 

With two of my very favorite Rotarians, Deb, the scholarship coordinator and Jay, the District Governor during my study year. 

After the session I was pleased to meet next years outgoing Ambassadorial Scholar who will be traveling to Australia with her husband to study in Sydney.  We, of course, had a very long chat about universities, visas, housing, traveling and kangaroos and it was fun to remember that giddy feeling of preparing to go down under way back in 2005 when I learned that I was selected to go abroad.  It seems like ages ago and only yesterday all at the same time.  So many doors have been opened to me as a result of this experience and I'm so incredibly grateful for the opportunities I've had and friends I've made, all thanks to Rotary. 

Friday, April 06, 2012


When Riker was born we started to get to know our neighbors. We lived in a terrific little neighborhood on a cul-de-sac street where everyone would gather for barbecues several times a year but we never really got to know any of them until I was on maternity leave and found myself pottering about the yard with a baby. It was only then that I started to realize what a great little block we had.

An older couple originally from Greece lived next door and Anna started to bring us food and sweets that she would make.  She came to adore Riker and gave him chocolate every time he came to visit.  Though we started to joke that she would have to come over and put Riker to sleep on those nights, we just couldn't deny her the pleasure of seeing his face light up.  He would wander over to visit her whenever we were outside and she would squeal with delight when he said her name.  The photo below was taken on the day before we left Australia and Anna sent us off with gifts - a set of beautiful table scarves for me and money tucked into Riker's hand so that he could buy himself a toy kangaroo.  She cried as she kissed us both and waved farewell saying we were always welcome to come back for a visit.

Bill, Anna and Riker

It was only when baby Oscar was born that we got to know our other next door neighbors, Robyn and Leigh, who let us stay in their home while they traveled in China.  We were happy to see them one more time on the day they returned and will miss bumping into them and having collective dinners in the backyard.  Big thanks to them once again for their generosity. 

With Robyn and Oscar who were happy to sit on a grassy lawn after travels in Hong Kong and China

Sunday, April 01, 2012


Ari has been breezing past milestones right and left. Despite my best intentions to document them carefully, I've never managed to keep a baby book for either of my children.  Fortunately though, I'm able to refer to my blog and find out when Riker was doing similar things. So for the record, here's what Ari has been up to lately.

Teeth. He got his first tooth just before he turned five months old and he's now working on his third tooth.  They're really sharp and I have the marks on my shoulder to prove it :)

Sitting. For several weeks we'd been saying that he was nearly ready to sit up on his own. Then only a few days after we arrived in the US, I was up with a wide awake baby for several hours in the middle of the night and I happened to plonk him down on the carpet only to find that he could indeed sit up all by himself. And not just for a few seconds - he sat there happily playing for at least twenty minutes!

Solids. On March 26th (25th here in the US - that's going to be confusing for the poor kid someday) he turned six months old.  Since this is the recommended age for starting solids, I'm now slowly introducing new foods. He's been very interested in what we've been eating for a while now and I may have started a bit sooner but I've been so busy with the packing and moving that I couldn't get it together to start solids until now. Unlike Riker who wasn't interested until he was about ten months old, Ari opens his mouth and practically begs for food. So far he's tried banana, sweet potato, brown rice cereal and avocado all to his great satisfaction.

Love you sweet little happy boy! Keep up the good work!