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Have a Good Day Appreciating What We Have Around Us

I wish for you the chance to sit back tomorrow, take a deep breath, and give thanks for the good in your life the past 12 months.

So much in this busy world swirls around us that sometimes the negative overwhelms the positive.

Monday here in Syracuse, for instance, fate fell on football coach Scott Shafer as the news came out at last after many weeks of wondering and eight straight losses for the Orange that new athletic director Mark Coyle had decided after three seasons it was time for a new direction under the Carrier Dome. As either one last sign of respect or a case of nowhere else to go, I suppose, the AD will allow Shafer to finish this season up there on the hill Saturday afternoon against Atlantic Coast Conference rival Boston College, equally shaky at 3-8.

Let's leave that for then. And there are more serious problems that could be pondered, most certainly.

First comes Thanksgiving. Gather if you can with family and friends. Join hands and minds with those you love and cherish, those who cherish and love you.

Talk about things you may have done around this community the past year together that have lifted your spirit, the gifts of Central New York that may deliver a boost you seek again.

The tree lighting and Home for the Holiday celebration in Clinton Square starts at 6:30 p.m. Friday night, with the ice rink opening that day. Even if you don't go for that music-and-singing event, the lights and skating remain for all to enjoy for months.

Last year, I dropped by in mid-December and saw a bridal party using the pretty urban setting for a wedding photo session.

The rink will welcome skaters to the center of downtown Syracuse for months to come.

Writing this Mark It Up community column here once a week has allowed me to share similar  good news about our home turf, new and old.

In January, I grooved for the Lustre Kings' tour in tribute for what would have been Elvis Presley's 80th birthday hit the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, digging club music.

In February, my dear wife Karen and I yelled with the 35,446 fans wishing and hoping for the Orange against ACC basketball rival Duke in the Dome, until SU fell short 80-72.

In March, we walked along South Salina Street and gawked at the throng of boisterous people and odd things for the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.

In April, we soaked up the drama and tension of a sold-out Syracuse Stage performance for the intriguing "Other Desert Cities."

In May, we joined friends for a day-long barbecue and then watched the line of veterans stand proudly in formation for the lighting of the Memorial Day Weekend Watchfire at the State Fairgrounds.

In June, I experienced the Syracuse Chiefs luxury suite on a Fireworks Night Friday at NBT Bank Stadium.  It will be interesting to see how General Manager Jason Smorol's plan to close the five furthest sections of the upper deck by covering them with tarps and advertising to make the park seem more intimate -- and raising those ticket prices by two bucks and turning that level from general admission to reserved seating -- works out for our Triple-A team in 2016 as Smorol strives to make it profitable.

In July, we saw hot young band Lake Street Dive and bona fide legend Aretha Franklin, magnificent both, at the marvelous, free-admission M&T Syracuse Jazz Fest at steamy Onondaga Community College. 

In August, I visited the majestic beauty of the E.M. Mills Rose Garden at Thornden Park, rising high above the city at the top of the Syracuse University campus, free for all to admire every day.

In September, we tapped our toes at the first show ever at the new Lakeview Amphitheater, enjoying the sound of the country music of Miranda Lambert from the lawn as well as the sight of the boats on Onondaga Lake behind the pavilion.

Last month, I headed west through Skaneateles to a tree farm and nursery in Owasco to meet owner Robert Hoadley, a man who truly makes the most of his growing life every day.

Which brings us back to November, the month of giving thanks.

Happy holiday to you and yours. May you savor what Central New York brings to your life.

Mark Bialczak has lived in Central New York for 30 years. He's well known for writing about music and entertainment. In 2013, he started his own blog,, to comment about the many and various things that cross his mind daily.