One year ago, November 5th, life changed for me.  I became one of those people - a grandmother.  Most of you probably already know this because, yes, I have taken all the liberties associated with my new position.  I have pictures on my smart phone, ready for anyone's viewing pleasure.  I have videos of a little tiny person who has simply found "the horn" on a little tractor, and for some reason that fascinates me to watch him blow that horn for longer than the average attention span on YouTube these days.  My mind occasionally devolves into thinking in rhymes and reminiscing about itsy-bitsy spiders.
As life changes have happened, occasionally, my mother's words reverberate in my ears.  And, in the case of my new grandson (oh, did I say his name is Hudson, and am inserting picture here!), my mother's words ring through again.  
Many of you may know that my mother is fondly called, "the Rev. Mother". Somehow in her position as mother - and as a Methodist minister - she has these phrases that make you think about your principles and your actions. (It's so annoying sometimes to actually know that she's gotten into your psyche, but I'm sure she loves it, ha ha, I do digress).  In this case, as I am exuberantly showing some new victim (generally one of my tourism associates) my most recent videos or photos of the cutest baby on Earth, my mother's phrase that went something like this, "take pride, but be careful with being proud," rings in my ears. What is that supposed to mean, I think? Where's the fine line between being proud and taking pride?  And, what's the difference?   
It may seem like splitting hairs, in one sense, because to be a "proud grandmother" is such a common phrase.  Pride - focuses on deep pleasure at achievements and possessions that are widely admired.  Being proud - while it can be similar to pride, also has the potential to bear the negative connotation of going a little bit too far. As Webster's dictionary says (also the fact that I just referred to a dictionary should signal to everyone that I am of grandmother-worthy age) proud's second definition is "having or showing high or excessively high opinion of oneself or one's importance." That kind of proud, I definitely don't want! Maybe this is the right time in the article to admit that the Rev. Mother is probably right - and I just insert a picture of her here too!  Or maybe just invite you all to be my Facebook friends so that you can participate in all the good advice that she distributes to friends and family. Ultimately, I have to admit, most of it is pretty darned good!
So, how does this all relate to tourism and marketing and selling Ontario County's assets?  Well, while I mostly wanted to just dedicate this blog to being a proud grandmother - and making sure you all know it - I also wanted to share how my feelings for the great lifestyle we have here are also something in which I take great pride. 
As Hudson comes to visit Kurt and me, with his parents, Ryan and Bethany, I find myself excited to share with him all the fun stuff and elements of the Finger Lakes lifestyle that Ryan grew up in. He already has his own Wizard of Clay monogrammed bowl and dish - ahhh - from the Finger Lakes earth.  He has MacKenzie-Childs gear too (lucky boy!). He has rolled in our grass, touched our lakes, strolled in our parks, and visited Wegmans (he didn't get a 14" Turkey sub, fully loaded yet, but soon!). He has met the people of the Finger Lakes, who are warm and welcoming and reflect this same passion for our area.  By the way,  I have harassed my son and his wife a bit, not understanding why they named this baby Hudson (a competitive tourism region in New York State) and not Finger Lakes. They certainly missed an opportunity for true brand ambassadorship here. Perhaps my other sons some day (not too soon, I hope)  will name their first born "Finger Lakes"? But, again, I digress, and will admit that this probably is a really bad idea!
Back to the story of pride and proud.
This is a great place to grow-up. And as people have heard so many times before from me, "a great place to live is a great place to visit."  With Hudson, I can have fresh eyes in showing off my destination, and since he doesn't get the emotion of pride or proud yet, I'll just declare that both are appropriate in this phrase. 
I am a proud grandmother who takes pride in the Finger Lakes Region and what a great place this area truly is for everyone,  whether they are just turning one year old to my wise mother - who is just 77!  I hope I don't slip into the "too proud" category, but gosh it's tough in this situation, and maybe this is one that you'll all allow me a pass on.  
P.S.  Had to insert one more picture here - because surely no one else has ever had a little lion this cute for Halloween visit their door! 
Loving life, loving the Finger Lakes. Please join me in sharing the pride!
Valerie (Grandma) Knoblauch