Photo credit: Jennifer Granzow

I don’t know about you, but with all this extra time I have lying awake at 3 am after waking from a vivid dream about whether I included the attachment on that last email, did I lock the back door, is my conference call at 10 or 11…I have had a little time to think and plan. In what is no doubt a valiant effort to protect itself from a breakdown, my brain really only lets me plan things in the near term. Tomorrow, I will bake with my daughter. After dinner, we will go for a bike ride. I can’t think too far in the future – will my daughters get to go to Cape Cod like we planned?  Will Lourdes Camp even happen this year? That lack of control over future events is a tough pill for me to swallow (and those of you who know me well are laughing and nodding right now). With no choice but to embrace this week, today – this instant – we are all finding ways to engage our minds and hands. Here and now, this is how the Wladis Team has been pushing aside the great unknowns and enjoying the moment.

Tim Doolittle is most looking forward to being able to go out to dinner and attend concerts.  One of the best new things he and his lovely bride Erin have made is Joanna Gaines’ banana bread (with chocolate chips!)  While on pause, he has even taken up woodworking and completed an end-table as his initial project.  Tim plans to embark on a dining room table soon.  Erin is a nurse, so the Doolittles are taking extra precautions about social distancing. Tim has been unable to see his grandparents while we have been on pause and can’t wait to share dinner with them again. No doubt they long for that day, too.

For Chris Baiamonte, Spring really hasn’t been the same without Opening Day. The first ball game of the season is typically a bright spot in April or May, this year promises to be even more so, whenever that is. LETSGOSYRMETS!!  (We know Jim Fortino agrees!)

Photo credit: Chris Baiamonte

When you call or visit our office, it is Shannen Eichler who greets you. Her young daughter will start kindergarten this fall, and the thing Shannen most looks forward to is the day she can walk to the park with her daughter and puppy. What a great opportunity to let loose and burn off the pent up energy from being cooped up at home since March. She’s also looking forward to date nights at Sake Bomb with her boyfriend, a ritual they enjoyed before New York paused. Just the idea of being able to go out without a mask is an amazing concept to her right about now.

Kevin Murphy enjoyed birdwatching long before any of us heard of Covid-19. This time on pause has given him opportunities to pursue this passion and enjoy time in nature.  He recently visited Magee Marsh, where he saw Blackburnian Warblers and several other feathered friends.

Photo credit: Kevin Murphy

Leann West has two young children, Lorelei and Gus. When we no longer have to social distance, she most looks forward to letting her parents and in-laws hug their grandkids again. Her family will also be planning a get-together to finally celebrate all of the birthdays, holidays, and other milestones we haven’t been able to be together for.  The West family tries to make the most of its social isolation when Leann and her husband Ryan aren’t working, washing hands, schooling at home, cleaning, drinking too much coffee, and cooking dinner (again). In the down time, they have been hiking at local state parks, walking around the block before dinner (the Covid-19 version of a “booze-cruise”), re-potting houseplants, and cleaning out the flower gardens. One of Leann’s favorite meals to make is inspired by Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe for chicken cacciatore – but with the Wests’ own twists, including the mandatory addition of mushrooms, and serving it over spaghetti. Give it a try!

Photo credit: Leann West

Tim Lambrecht skedaddled out of Syracuse to his family’s home in the eastern part of the state when we began our pause. Although he sees his mother a few times each week practicing social distancing, the first thing he wants to do when testing allows us to determine who has the anti-body, is to give her the biggest hug she ever got. Tim’s been entertaining himself by going to a nearby drive-in movie theater. Whether it’s Adam Sandler or Disney princesses, makes no difference to him. It’s all about the experience. He’s taken up some gardening, starting with potatoes and a plan to grow green peppers. He’s also finding some pretty spectacular deals on prime beef, and recently made a chateaubriand dinner to share with his brother. We think that Tim is getting in touch with his inner homesteader while hidden away in his family cabin and fully expect to learn that he will be raising chickens soon.

Lorri Norris has always been a remote part of our team.  At first thought, the pandemic didn’t really change much for her. Then the very loud sounds of her three wild coworkers – all aged 5 and under -reminded her of her new coronavirus-induced fulltime-mom-and-work-from-home reality. Lorri and her family are filling any extra moments with opportunities being at home affords them. Lorri’s garden is twice as big as it was last year. Knowingly over capacity, she also may have ordered another slew of veggies for contact-less pickup at her local greenhouse. Shhh…please don’t tell her husband (who is “essential” and has not had the benefit of new, younger, and more able-bodied coworkers to climb up and down while fixing army aircraft). Someday when these blueberries ripen and the onions recover from being trampled by a toddler, he will thank Lorri for her lofty garden aspirations. Several houseplants have also fallen under the ‘garden purchases’ category, yet so far, no new shoes or clothes or makeup…so you could say the pandemic has changed her spending habits for something considerably more fruitful (pun intended!).

We know Lorri’s garden will thrive!

Meg Senecal is enjoying baking while she shelters at home with her husband Leo and young adult children. Once a week after dinner, she has been making one of her late mother’s recipes.  Meg makes the experience especially meaningful by using her mom’s utensils and baking pans – what a great way to feel her presence. This week, Meg made her mom’s Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake and is sweet enough (see what I did there?) to share the recipe with us: 

Ellie Martin’s Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake


2 cups unsifted flour

1 cup sugar

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

3 Tablespoons cocoa powder

1 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients until smooth.  Transfer the mix to any non-stick baking dish, place in the oven for 30-40 minutes.  Let the cake cool – enjoy plain or add your favorite frosting.

Mark Wladis has used his downtime to sort over 10,000 baseball, football, basketball and hockey cards dating back to the 1960s. This exercise brought back some great memories of his youth and some of his favorite players.  He has also played over 300 innings of stickball and discovered how much he loves to play the game with his kids.  If you are interested in learning more about this sport, check out this link. Even the legendary Willie Mays played stickball. Since the Little League World Series had to be cancelled this year, it’s a great thing to have wonderful memories to sustain you.

Photo from the Granzow Family Collection – both Mark Wladis and Mike Granzow were on this team. ; )

Alphonse Williams found myself reading an Atlantic article about happiness during the pandemic which stated,

We may think that getting a big promotion will make us permanently happier or that a bad breakup will leave us permanently brokenhearted, but it isn’t true, as a casual look back on your own life would surely attest. Indeed, one of the survival traits of human beings is psychological homeostasis, or the tendency to get used to circumstances quickly, both good and bad. This is the main reason money doesn’t buy happiness: We get used to what it buys very rapidly and then go back to our happiness set point. And for those of us lucky enough to avoid illness, even the unhappiness from the COVID-19 crisis will be in the rearview mirror before very long. 

Alphonse has been lucky enough to celebrate the birthdays of two loved ones during this quarantine.  Following social distancing and relying heavily on ideas gleaned from social media, Alphonse and his friends were able to make the celebrations truly memorable. They drew personalized “birthday cards” all over the driveway using chalk, and then linked and synchronized their cars’ Bluetooth speakers to blast Happy Birthday. All of this was followed up with a family Zoom video conference celebration to cap off the day. The result was someone who was genuinely surprised and elated by the effort and thoughtfulness of friends and family. At the end of the day, it’s truly the thought that counts.

These are the days of discovering new things and rediscovering old passions. We are reminiscing, we are dreaming, and we are enjoying the present – each of us trying to make the most of this time on pause. As for me, I am looking forward to getting back to Trillium Stables and so my daughter can ride her true love, a thirty year old gelding named Nate. I can’t (but will!) wait for the day my older daughter is back on stage in her pointe shoes with the Cazenovia School of Ballet for the ballet spring performance that is likely to be a fall show instead. (Also: if you know me, I will cry at both these moments.) We opened our pool last weekend – ever the act of optimism where it sometimes snows on Mothers Day – and just being able to see blue water instead of the winter cover does wonders for my soul. Pause or no pause, soon I will enjoy a leisurely glass of wine poolside with my husband while our daughters perfect their belly flops.

Photo credit: Maura Granzow

While we’ve been apart, we know you are also finding your joy and we look forward to being together again and hearing all about it. Until then – here’s to your health and happiness.  Cheers!

Jennifer Granzow Headshot

Jennifer B. Granzow

Ms. Granzow holds a JD from the Syracuse University College of Law. Her practice is concentrated in the areas of business and corporate law, real estate, economic development, and government relations, with an emphasis on grants and public funding.

More Details About Jennifer B. Granzow