Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Forest Hill Cemetery Gate

I know it's a cemetery - but these gates are so beautiful!

I believe a lot of people walk up in through the cemetery for exercise, plus it is peaceful up there. This cemetery gate it to the right of the Master Garden Road that leads to the top of the Roscoe Conkling Park there is also a cemetery to the left. That one is New Forest Hill Cemetery, that is where that picture of the silhouetted statue came from. And the more that I think about it, that may be a statue of Roscoe Conkling. I'll have to check it out now that I have mentioned it twice and I'm still not sure.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Schroon Lake in May

This is one of my all time favorite photographs.

I took this at Schroon Lake in early May - it was a wet, dreary weekend. We were at a Women's Church Retreat at Word of Life. Every time I stepped out my door I was greeted with this view. It was different every time too, the fog earlier in the day made my pictures seem spooky and otherworldly. This one was taken at about 7:30 in the morning - I'm an early riser - I'd already been up for about 1.5 hours. And it's so much my favorite that I have it on my laptop desktop, my iMac desktop and my iPhone screen. It's very serene and peaceful...

Views from Roscoe Conkling Park

I am always amazed when nature helps out with beautiful pictures - this is a little dark, but I still love the colors. I was working on getting my recyclables together tonight and realized it would be perfect night to go to Roscoe Conkling Park and get some pictures. The sky is clear and the sun was setting. This statue is in the cemetary - but I cannot for the life of me remember who it's there for. If anyone knows - please tell me!
This next shot is from Master Garden Road and the large building in the background used to be the psych center - I believe it's empty now. I know it's spooky over there - Old Main and the other buildings just seem to have a lot of stories to tell and there are times when I've ridden my bike through that property and gotten thoroughly spooked - but at the same time - it's a beautiful place.
The stone with plaque at the top of the hill at Roscoe Conkling Park. The sun was hitting it just right to get the rosy cast to it.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Driftwood on Seneca Lake
Hector Falls (during a dry spell)

The picture used in my header was taken about 3 years ago on Seneca Lake. We were wine tripping - I'm usually the DD. They were tasting wines and I was chasing butterflies. I think I got the better end of the deal with this picture. 

I love photography and take a lot of pictures. I'm going to try and go on a photo hunt this weekend and get more of Utica and the Mohawk Valley. Then I will post to my hearts content!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Bike Ride

It's been a stressful day today. Mom is in hospital - they decided to admit her because her blood pressure has been all over the map today. At one point 214/138 and then at the lowest 60/22 - insane - but she also said she had pressure in her chest - which is a new thing, so the doctor gave her Nitro - makes sense. But that and the pain meds dropped her pressure like a stone. Then of course they had to give her IV fluids fast to bring her pressure back up - and it went a little high - but right now she seems to be fine.

So, you are probably asking yourself where does the bike ride fit into this. Well after being at the hospital for 6 hours I decided that while she napped I would ride. I bought some of those Clif Shot Bloks - they are electrolyte chews. Boy did they make all the difference in the world. The flavor is ok - but when you eat them and then drink a lot - your body stays much more hydrated and boy did it work for me. I left my house (by Faxton) and traveled south on Sunset to Woodlawn - up to Genesee and then went down to Rt. 12. Went South on Rt. !2 towards Waterville. I have to tell you that Rt. 12 is my personal challenge - it's a hill - just flat out a big Hill. I've ridden 1.3 miles up to Paris Road a few times and then gone down Paris Road into New Hartford and back home. But today- with the stress and the Shot Bloks pushing me I made it up to Tibbits Road. Wow! it's about 1.8 up to that point (I think). Then of course you have to go up Tibbits and then it goes down a little and then back up and then the awesome part is a very steep down. It felt so good to just feel the air hitting me. I feel better than I did and now it's time to go back to the hospital and see how Mom is doing.

I just pray that someone, somewhere is going to look at all of my mom's symptoms and say "I know what the problem is...." At this point no answers stinks.

Friday, July 25, 2008


This was a double rainbow - that I just couldn't believe I was seeing
much less that I caught it with my iPhone.

Someone commented on my iPhone pictures. I want to share two of them here that I took about 6 weeks ago. I had been at Dick Sonne's buying my new Trek - and was on my way home (oh and in the middle of all that broke up with my boyfriend of 18 months) - well I saw these rainbows and knew that all was going to be okay. I was on Sunset, heading north, just past Carlyle.

The view from 4th floor Faxton Hospital

What a gorgeous day. It's these kind of days that makes Utica the best
place in the world to live!

Blue skies and a tiny sliver of moon!

The sliver is so small it's almost not viewable! Darn! I took this with my iPhone and could see it when I zoomed in. Ah well - still a beautiful deep blue sky. More than makes up for the rain in the last few days. I love it here!

Chicken Riggies

I have had Chicken Riggies in a lot of different restaurants in Utica and the Mohawk Valley. I don't have a favorite yet - but that's probably because I tend to go to different restaurants and not the same ones over and over. But I digress....

I looked up Chicken Riggies on Google - LOL - What a treasure trove of thoughts and ideas and emotions about Chicken Riggies...too funny but very informative. - great forum conversation about Chicken Riggies and the festival that now takes place yearly to see who makes the best Chicken Riggies in the area.

The Wiki Definition - The Wikipedia definition and description of Chicken Riggies.

WKTV link - A recipe and small article about Chicken Riggies by our local TV news station.

Cookbook - WikiBooks - This has (yet another) recipe for Chicken Riggies.

Is it ok that at 6:30 in the morning that I really want some Chicken Riggies??? LOL

And I think that Mel in California will be happy with this post as there are about 4 recipes in these links! :)

Happy eating!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tomato Pie

At our Toastmasters meeting last night, one of our members gave a great speech on the Boilermaker and the sense of Community that all of the stuff leading up to and including the Boilermaker give to this area. But - she made a comment in the beginning of her speech about Tomato Pie, Halfmoons and Chicken Riggies - I had just eaten dinner but that was all I could think of after she mentioned it.

So - here is a small article in Wikipedia about Tomato Pie and they mention Utica! I've tried to explain Tomato pie to people in California - they don't get it. They envision an apple pie made with Tomatoes instead - pretty funny looking I am sure. There are a lot of great places to get Tomato Pie locally too. Roma's on Bleeker Street in East Utica is one of my favorites right now. But I know that there are a lot of great places to get it. I'd love for you all to leave comments as to where else you can get Tomato Pie in the area!

My next few posts will be about Halfmoons, Chicken Riggies and Greens - which you just can't find anywhere else. Plus - Trios Pizza - it's made different and it's soooooooo GOOD!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What a difference few hours make!

Raining Cats and Dogs

The sky just opened up! It is raining so hard outside it looks almost solid. But the sound of it on the roof is awesome - of course it also makes me want to take a nap. :) The sky is rumbling too - it's pretty cool to listen to....

So - tomorrow everything will be a foot taller - including my grass! But I don't care - it's not snow and the rain makes everything clean and smell good. It's been 10 minutes and it's still raining very hard! Wow!

This is an image - outside our front door. You can't really see the rain - but you can see the grayness. The guy just got done with the mowing and edging, my guess is he could probably come back on Friday and do it all again!

Monday, July 21, 2008

So Much Fun!

The Asylum Street Spankers ROCK!

Asylum Street Spankers

View northeast from Hanna Park

Hanna park

The Asylum Street Spankers are playing here tonight. They are a lot of fun to watch and listen to! It's part of Utica Monday Nite.

A Picture of my bike!

I have a Trek 7100 I love it. It's a very comfortable bike to ride and lots of fun!
Mine is white with the grey shade flowers on it. If you use the link above you can actually zoom in on the bike - it's pretty cool. The site was wicked slow tonight though!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Doctors and Hospitals

A little history, my mom has been in the hospital so many times in the last 7 years that I know the protocol for at least 2 hospitals and I know so many of the doctors and nurses. Well today my mom was in the ER for the second time this week. Usually they treat her high blood pressure and tremors with lots of Ativan and send her on her way. No one has taken that extra step to see why her BP goes through the roof out of the blue. Yes, she is on 2 different BP meds and she checks her BP twice a day - because she can't take the BP meds if her Systolic is less than 100 or her pulse is lower than 60. Well more times than not her pulse is in the 50's so that's one less med. And her BP runs normal 120's-140's over 50's - 70's. And then there are the days that it goes through the roof 240/140 is the highest so far.

The difference today - Dr. Ramzi Nassif. I met Dr. Nassif about a month ago through my work. I was struck by his kindness, his caring and just his whole person. He is genuine and really cares about his patients. So fast forward to today - Mom and I were at church, she asked me to take her home early because she wasn't feeling well, but in the car she started crying and shaking worse - that means the BP is crazy - so I brought her straight to the ER - we were 4 miles away. So I got her there and the security guard was wonderful - met me at the car with a wheelchair - brought her in while I parked. She was brought right in, a few of the nurses know her by name. When the nurse was taking us to Acute 2 -- I saw Dr. Nassif. I waved to him and went into the room. The nurse did her thing - hooking up everything and getting the symptoms for the day. Dr. Nassif came in, he was covering for my mom's regular doc (also a cardiologist). He treated her first with a BP med - can't remember the name right now. But it brought down her BP very nicely - it was 204/99 when we started. He took a history - asked me her meds - Oh and he did her IV when the first one blew her vein. Who does that? I don't know any docs that do their own IV's or BP with a stethoscope. And he may have given us the answer to why this is happening. So - mom is going to call her doctor tomorrow and ask him if he'll order the tests to find out if this is the case. I am actually afraid to write the name here in case this is another dead end. I pray that this is an answer to many prayers!

****(7/26/08) An update. As it turns out mom was given a test for pheochromocytoma last August, but her Primary Care doc did have the test run again. He uses the same test that the Mayo clinic uses. We'll see what happens. She had a bad day yesterday - her BP was 77/42 - not good and when it went up to 139/67 last night she thought that her head was going to explode - it did this in 30 minutes time. I just made sure she got her meds and laid down and rested. That's about all they do in the hospital anyway. If it had spiked up to the 2**/1** I would have called Kunkel immediately. So - there you have it....It's always a struggle to understand and know what is going on...

If you don't like the weather, just wait a little while.

I have heard this forever about the weather in upstate - it is true, sometimes. Today we had sun, then rain, then sun, then wind and clouds, then sun, then a spectacular thunder and lighting show that lasted a good hour. Every time I thought that it had gone, I was sitting on my front porch and enjoying it, it would circle back around. That is one thing about living in this valley - the storms sometimes seem to bounce off the hills and come back around a few times. So today was one of those days that you just had to wait 15-30 minutes and the weather would change. It is pretty nice tonight - I opened up all of the windows and am enjoying the fresh air! It's sweet! The AC is nice to kill the humidity, but fresh air is the best.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Deconstruction and Reconstruction

The Utica Club Brewery was badly damaged - I remarked on it in an earlier post, but they have already started with the removal of damaged building parts. I know that this pic is a little dark, but the sky was so blue and the clouds puffy - plus you can see the outline of what is being moved. I'm very thankful that the Matts are rebuilding, I know that the fire was devastating, but it is good to see them rebuilding and staying put in East Utica.

Saranac Thursday Entrance Gate

I haven't actually seen the set up for Saranac Thursday in a long time and was amazed to see how much bigger it is. The last time I was there for any length of time, it was about 7 years ago and there were no porta-potties lined up like that - there was a wicked line to get in. So I am glad that they are adding to that. Because, frankly, Lotsa Beer = HUGE Need of bathrooms! :)

It is awesome to see how much Varick Street has changed since my childhood. There are restaurants, bars and stores that are just so well maintained. It's a pleasant area to be in.

Reynolds Hardware - What an awesome place! I had to get some keys made and had gone to Home Depot (because I honestly couldn't think of where to get keys made) and only 1 of 20 actually worked and they were 1.79 each - ridiculous. Well, a friend of mine, Vin, suggested Reynolds Hardware - It's on Varick Street - that's how I thought of it when writing this post. Anyway - they made all 20 keys at .75 each and every single one of them work. The store is small, but chock full and I am sure that the gentlemen that run it could find what ever you need! The big box stores don't have that kind of Customer Service at all.

The F.X.Matt Brewery

I took this picture on my ride this morning - it was so nice and quiet, but as you can see, the sun was starting to come out. This building is part of the Brewery complex and is at the corner of Varick and Court Streets and is just to the right of where Saranac Thursday Night takes place.


I've just started getting into bicycling, I was going to say again but I've never really been serious about it before. My old bike is a Jamis Explorer - great, fun bike, but it's a trail bike for the dirt more than the roads and I have to work really hard to keep up with people and peddle constantly - no coasting for me! But I decided that I was going to get a new bike - more of a hybrid/street bike. It's the Trek 7100 - I love it! I don't have to bend over the handle bars and it's so comfortable to ride!

How does this fit into Upstate NY you ask? There are so many awesome places to ride! I've barely scratched the surface and I'm enjoying every bit of it. The new Trail that goes from NYMills, by the Ramada to 840 and up in that area is awesome (watch out for Goose Poop though) :) The canal trail is awesome too! You can go from Utica to Fort Stanwicz and it's just way cool! Today I'm going to ride the Parkway to Bleeker (it changes names when you hit Genesee) - and continue on till I get to New York Mills, Main street and head north to the Fitness Mill and then west to New Hartford Street and use those back roads to get to my house. I know, I know, I am avoiding Burrstone Road (LOL) I hate that hill with a passion and it would shorten my ride by 2 miles at the least.

I'll bring my iPhone so I can send pictures from the ride - but I will stop my bike to take pictures! :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Val Bialas

Ok - I have to admit, until today I couldn't spell that name. It's only a mile from my house and I drive by it at least twice a day. Please read the following, it's from the City of Utica, Recreation website.

Val Bialas Recreation Center, located on the Memorial Parkway in Utica, is one of only 2 municipally owned ski centers inside city limits in the lower 48 states. Named after local 3 time Olympian ice skater Valentine Bialas this hill is a true asset to the Utica community. The ski center is located in Roscoe Conkling Park on Memorial Parkway. We offer a chairlift, tow rope, night skiing, new ski chalet complete with snack bar and double sided fireplace. We have 5 trails at different degrees of difficulty and separate sledding hill. In addition to downhill skiing, the winter sports complex offers over 7 miles of groomed cross country trails. There are varying degrees of difficulty to accommodate all levels of skiing ability.

I have walked up to the top of the hill by going up the Master Garden Road. It's beautiful up at the top and you can see for miles. It's great to bring the camera and take pictures. In the winter time there are all kinds of sledders and skiers. I think that I will have to go sledding there this winter - I'll be 41 - so I think it's about time I went for my first ride! :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


The picture above is looking from the State Office Building - south towards New Hartford on Genesee Street. The gold dome that you see in the foreground is a bank building. Forever it seemed it was the Savings Bank of Utica - it's changed a lot in the last 10 years and is now M&T Bank. The building next to it used to house WOUR 96.9 Classic Rock with Jerry "the Doctor" Kraus. He is missed by a lot of people during the noon hour - the new owners changed up everything and Jerry is no longer DJ'ing there. The little red brick building on the right side has the Triangle Coffee Shop - I am sure that you can see why - being that the building is triangular.

If I ever mispeak - or don't give enough information - please let me know. I'd love to share more with people. A lot of the info I have is from listening to people, reading our daily newspaper , watching WKTV news and listing to WIBX - so I am sure that I am missing the good stuff - because as we all know the news is just for the bad stuff for some reason.

Please let me know what you think of this site so far - comments are much appreciated.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Munson William Proctor Arts Institute - it's a wonderful mix of modern and antique. It's always been a sight to behold when you are driving down Genesee Street in Utica - You see this very modern black/gray marble (not sure what kind of material it is) building (right side) designed by Philip Johnson. Then right next to it you see Fountain Elms - it's a restored 1850 Italianate mansion. (left side)

Every summer there is a sidewalk art show - it's on for about a week and they ask for the public to submit their artwork, it's wonderful to see all of the talent in Utica and the surrounding areas.

There is a huge Jackson Pollack painting in the museum - you can't miss it, it's straight ahead when you walk in.

So, if you are ever in town, you should see what Munson Williams Proctor has to offer. There is also the Pratt at MWP Art School - it's pretty phenomenal. They have done wonders with the neighborhood behind the museum.

My Church, My Family

I've always believed in God and that he gave his only Son for our sins, but I couldn't find a church that I felt like I belonged. I've gone to Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Mormon churches, but I finally found MY church and My new family! My mom started going to Hope Alliance Church a few years ago - it took me awhile longer. There have been some transitions there, but I really believe that God has had His hand in all of it and now we have Pastor Andy Ward. A couple of the people at church have done a wonderful job on the website. I would love to give them credit and I'll do my best to get their names. They also put up a lot of the sermons given by Pastor Andy and some of our Elders. It's wonderful to listen to the sermons again.

So - If you are looking for a Church, for a family, for some answers, for God, for Jesus, please come to Hope Alliance. It's on Middle Settlement Road in New Hartford. Check out the website too, there is lots of information there.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Outside my office

Out back door of my office


Yeah - it's a parking lot and a building but the sky and trees and grass are wonderful!

Perfect Day

Mother Nature is showing off! The sky is a beautiful blue, some big puffy clouds, no humidity and there is a breeze. It's 78 degrees and just stunning! This is one of the many reasons I love living here - the weather changes daily - sometimes it feels like hourly and of course in the winter it feels like it never changes (but that's another story)

We had a lovely rain yesterday - I think that all of the grass grew about an inch this morning!

If gas wasn't so expensive I would go on a 'right turn/left turn road trip' - That's when you get in your car and when you get to an intersection you decide if you should go left/right or straight. It's a lot of fun and we've gotten wickedly lost, but who cares when you find places you didn't know existed! My mom have found places down near Cooperstown that were just awesome. The Forest of the Dozen Dads was a place that she had gone to as a child, but didn't know where it was and we found it by driving all over the place and just stumbled into it.

There are so many neat places in this area, so much history too! I may have to buy a motorcycle or moped so I can go on a roadtrip - of course that won't allow me to go on one of the many seasonal roads that are just a blast! You never know what you will see and where you will end up!

That's it for now!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Jewel on Genesee Street

The Marquee was refurbished and brought back to it's original design including the W (it's in the middle of the front) it stands for Warner Bros. The 'new' part is the led screen - it's fabulous. The old marquee was the stick on letters that had to be changed by a person on a ladder with a lot of patience!

The New Chandelier - created by Meyda Tiffany in Yorkville NY - it's absolutely stunning and fits the entire decor better than anything that could have ever been made. It's also HUGE! It is 35 ft across! If you can, imagine there being a bare bulb there - because that's all that was there for the whole history of the Stanley. (If I am wrong about this please let me know)

Our local Theatre - "The Stanley" was saved from the wrecking ball in the seventies when the Central New York Community Arts Council stepped in and bought it. They put a lot of money into it and it has been a wonderful place to see 'Broadway' shows, rock concerts, country, classical music, christmas shows, plays, ballet, opera and my favorite are the Volunteer Murder Mysteries. Well, after many, many years of saving, scrimping and asking for money - they finally were able to do a HUGE renovation. It took a long time and the results are spectacular.

The Stanley (now known as The Stanley Center for the Arts) is just a beautiful place. The expansion project is allowing for much larger shows to come into the theatre. It's already received rave reviews for the loading and unloading speed of the trailers. The old door was a small garage door with a 6-8 foot drop to the stage floor. Many shows couldn't put up their entire set as there just wasn't room, the stage was too shallow and not wide enough. Not a problem anymore.

The Stanley Expansion was followed closely by a couple of photographers - I know Brian Ure for certain did a lot of the picture taking. Check out the Stanley website and you'll find all of the expansion construction pictures. It's amazing what they have done!

Einstein, Master of all he surveys!

My Cat - actually I am his Staff.

He is incredibly spoiled and I only have myself to blame. But I love the orange furball and would miss his "MEOW" dearly...

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Boilermaker Logo

Boilermaker Finish Line

The Boilermaker Road Race is HUGE! in Utica. Every hotel, motel and B&B in the area is booked months ahead of time. From what I've heard on the news there are about 11,000 runners signed up. It started as a 15K road race in 1978 with 780 runners. Now it's a 3 day event with the Boilermaker Expo being held at at the Masonic home on Friday and Saturday. There are smaller runs and walks so that people who can't run the 15K can participate in another way. The community really comes out in force.

At the finish line there is the biggest party! It takes place at Court and Varick Streets at the Utica Club Brewery. It's a celebration of another kind too because the Brewery just had a wicked fire. I linked a post from one of our local media people. I was driving back from Frankfort and I was up on the hill and could see the smoke - that was scary. It was thick and black and I was about 8 miles away and could see it very clearly. I turned on the local news 950AM and that's all they could talk about was the fire. The brewery is dealing with the aftermath, but things are going well, the Matt family is doing very well.

So, if you are ever in the area, on the second Sunday of July, check out the Boilermaker - and if you are here at another time you can go to the Brewery, go on the tour and enjoy a free beer or rootbeer. Also in the summer there is Saranac Thursday at the brewery, at the same place where the Finish Line party is for the Boilermaker.

Friday, July 11, 2008


We earned our Competent Communicator Awards!

Reason number 1,271 that I love living in Utica. I learned about Toastmasters in 2005 but it took me awhile to actually join. Boy am I glad that I did. I love to talk to people, no problem speaking in public, but I needed help to be better at it. (Don't we all). But I will admit I was very afraid of mean constructive criticism. I do well with people pointing out my faults in a mean or rude way. Toastmasters doesn't do that in any way, shape or form. The Mohawk Valley Toastmasters are my second family. I've been with them for 2 & 1/2 years and am looking forward to 40 more.

If you are new to the area or looking to meet new people, learn new things, love to talk or love to listen, or are afraid to talk and you need someone to hold your hand - Toastmasters is the place to come. We meet on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of every month at 6:30pm. We meet at the Moose River Restaurant, Holiday Inn, Utica Business Park - it is a dinner meeting ($13.00) per person - with really good food! Check out the website - the link is above!

Smoke Tree

Smoke Tree

Dew on the Smoke Tree - looks like crystals

This is a Smoke Tree that is in front of my house. It was planted about 6 years ago, a little 2 ft. high bush. My Mom found it at a WalMart for a few dollars - now it's about 10ft tall and is draw to anyone who walks in our neighborhood and it's a great conversation starter with the little kids. They love that it's so Puffy, and it's soft. You can run your hands over it and it's so silky.

So - plant stuff, watch it grow and invite children to see it and talk about it. Forsythia is another bright happy bush/tree. You know it in the spring as it is one of the earliest bright plants. It's bright yellow in the spring and then turns green in the summer.

Our homes, cities, towns, etc...are what we make them. There are parts of Utica that are really scary and need a lot of help, but there are also so many homes that are well decorated with flowers and bushes and yard art - and they are in our neighborhoods. Walk and enjoy the area...

Sunsets and Beautiful lakes

Sunset on Seneca Lake - I know it's outside of the Mohawk Valley, but it's a beautiful place to go to in Upstate NY and not too far away. This was taken from the east side of the lake at Sampson State Park! Great place to go camping, very family friendly and pocket friendly. Wine tasting can be found in all directions! Hiking, Biking, Boating, Swimming. And the same could be said for all the lakes in the Mohawk Valley area - Lake Delta is very family friendly and close by!