Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunset on Seneca

I took 307 pictures on my camera this weekend, that doesn't even
include the ones on my phone. I look forward to getting them on picasa
and the blog.

Watkins Glen

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Today was Marvelous!

Saturday morning

The bike is a little too big for Georgie but he has a place to ride in
the front so he ca see everything. Quick synopsis so far. It rained,
tent leaked, nothing of importance got wet, bacon, coffee and
blueberry poptarts for breakfast. Life is Good!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Feet up in front of fire.

Tent with a view

When I wake up tomorrow, this is what I'll see. Took me awhile to set
up as the wind is blowing and I am rusty. I love it here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I'm going CAMPING!!!!

Well - first I have to try and sleep tonight, then I have to sit through some work tomorrow. This is like Christmas to me! I'm so excited! (Or as my co-workers say - I am just nuts!)

Georgie is ready to go too! I had a bit of a scare, I couldn't find the little guy. He went with friends to Florida to DisneyWorld and was given back to me, but it was on a scrapping night. I'm never responsible for what I do and where I put things on scrapping nights.

So- the car is packed. The cooler and bike will get loaded on tomorrow after work - then I'll go see Mom at the home and I'll be "On the road again" woo hoooooooooooo!

I'll try and upload some pics and small stories while I'm camping - it depends on the Edge network out there!

Talk to you all soon!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Introducing Georgie - the Gnomad

Okay - this picture is from two years ago - but it still makes me crack up. Georgie was given to me 3 years ago (is that right Mel??), his cousin Vera is in California - and then there are all other relatives all over the place. They travel with us - we take their pictures and post them on Well - I used to be good about posting them, but I still take Georgie with me on my trips.

This is my tent - and the place I camped at last time on Seneca Lake. This time - the weekend, I'll be at Seneca Lake again - but in a different campsite - and no trees in this one area - but that's okay - I get to go camping and that is the most exciting part of the whole deal! Woo HooO!!!!

My plans, so far, include a wine trip on Saturday with Brenda and Dave! Woo Hoo! Sunday I am going to head down to Watkins Glen and do the "Behind the Waterfalls Tour". It's a fairly short hike and I'm bringing my bike with me, so I can go for a ride too if they have bike trails (I think that they do). I've got to do more hunting on the web for bike routes and the like. Riding at the campgrounds is nice but I've done it previously.

All of my camping equipment (that I packed up 2 years ago and hasn't been out) was still in great shape! Woo Hoo! I'm so excited I can't stand it. The washing areas are a distance at the site where I'll be staying - so I'm bringing extra water - I can wash my stuff with minimum fuss.

On the Mom front - she is getting stronger. The insurance company is looking at her case - which is much better than last week when they had closed it and that was that. I have complete faith that God has his hand in this and things will work out. Please continue to pray that she does get stronger still and able to walk without the weakness that seems to hit. Her blood pressure is staying very low now, when it hits the 13x/7x it is hard on her - almost like when it was when it hit 200/1xx's. I'll keep you all up to date as I know more!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

20 Miles on the Erie Canal

Victory at 10 miles! I love this picture - it was too bright out for us to see how well it turned out!

I don't think that I would have done this on my own. A friend - who I knew way back in 7th and 8th grade, emailed me about the blog and we kept talking about stuff we're going through in life. Somehow it ended up that he and I were going to ride together. LOL - it took us awhile - his bike needed emergency tire surgery and timing was off, but yesterday we did it. And he can ride like the wind! At least compared to me! :)

My average speed is about 9.5 mph when all is said and done - I tend to dawdle when looking for a good picture. Well yesterday our average speed was about 11.5! But we did it! I did tell him that I would be saying mean things about him today - I figured I'd be in pain - but thank goodness I am not. I've got the typical soreness -but nothing special.

He took the bugs for me too on our way out - LOL but he wasn't so kind on the way back! :)~~~
We were both spitting and sputtering. We are going to ride together again - there were three people older than us on the trail that kicked my butt - my friend probably could have gone faster were it not for me.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Summer Mornings

So, here I am, sitting on my front porch with my cup of coffee. I just finished reading the paper, saw a "Happy Birthday" ad in there for a young man that used to be my little brother's best friend. There was a picture of him and his baby girl! Man that makes me feel old. My brother and this boy were inseparable when they were younger...they were a hoot together. Never afraid to try anything!

In fact this reminds me of some stuff that we used to do when I was younger. I think that I mentioned Left Turn Right Turn before in my blog. My mom used to take us on those LTRT trips - but then sometimes we would go to places that we saw as scary and mom and I would make the windows go up and down 'magically' and the engine would die and I would scream - LOL - you probably had to be there, but it was scary / funny. The doors would 'open' on their own. We'd imagine that Freddie was out there. Our favorite place to do this was out by the Marcy Prison - before the Walmart Distribution Center was built. We used to go over by Chaminade - that at that time was not being used - it was so scary. And we also used to go down Barnes Ave - LOL, what a bunch of goofs we were! My mom always told me that she hoped I had a daughter that could shriek like me - well I don't have any children, but my neice can hit my high notes with ease. My brother's friend, that I mention above used to go with us too!

We also used to, and my mom and I still do, go to Cooperstown down Rt. 28 - but before you hit Fly Creek there is a left turn that will eventually take you to Fly Creek, but down there is a little area with some very old houses and a creek - that was where my mom's grandparents lived. It's beautiful down there and at one point, if you make a left turn you get on this dirt road that leads into Cooperstown (eventually) called Bed Bug Hill - we love going on that road, it's an adventure all on it's own.

So - you get all this "walk down memory lane" because I sat on my front porch this morning to enjoy coffee, the paper and the neighborhood waking up noises. It is gorgeous out and I look forward to the rest of the day. I'm washing and waxing my car today - LOL - I honestly looked into buying a new one because I soooo didn't want to do this, but it will be a good thing. Honest hard work never hurt anyone - LOL - those are my mom's words.

Have a wonderful, blessed day!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Remember this?

Pink flamingo anyone? This one was shivering to death!

Isn't it beautiful outside right now? Perfect blue skies - 80+ degrees, dry and wonderful! I just figured I would remind us all that summer in upstate is a wonderful thing - and winter is long - so enjoy it as much as possible!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Good News and Bad News

The good news is that my mom's blood pressure is not caused by a panic disorder or PTSD. The bad news is that it's probably - very likely actually - related to her having had 35 radiation treatments on her throat for cancer of the larynx back in 2002. (she smoked for 42 years - quit in 2000 and has had lung and throat cancer) And the other bad news is that the damage is not reversible and most likely it will be progressive. What does that mean? I'm not sure yet.

Dr. Stephen Messe at the University of Penn Med Center was very thorough, very kind and knowledgeable. He is the number 2 neurologist in the US. (According to my S-I-L's cousin Julie - who is a Biomedical Researcher at UofPenn). He was so kind in fact that if my mom's insurance doesn't cover him, he's not billing her.

He is sending her to a Renal specialist - it's more than that even - but I don't know the exacts yet. Most likely that means we'll be going to Albany or Syracuse to see this doctor - I only know of one kidney specialist in Utica area - and I believe he's not the type of specialist we are looking for.

So, my poor mom has a lot to chew on and get her head wrapped around. She has to get stronger so that she can come home. Please pray for her, that she'll have the strength for her exercises, the strength to face things as they come down the line and peace in knowing that God is with her and that we are all praying for her and will be there for her.

Thank you all...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Coffee in Utica!

Well, like all towns we have Dunkin Donuts and other donut places with pretty darned good coffee. Holland Farms has been voted best of the best forever.

Well, that's all and good, but for someone like me who enjoys latte's and cappucino's that are made with espresso from fresh ground coffee beans and the milk (or soy milk) is steamed to the correct temp and poured together in the right way. That is wonderful...and oh so decadent. About 4-5 years ago Cafe Domenico opened on Genesee Street, it's only a couple of blocks from my house. That wasn't a good thing for awhile there because I was stopping every morning for a latte and a scone and it was costing me more for that than gas (this was when gas was 1/2 what it is now). So, I stopped going daily and now it's a treat when I do go. Actually I went there tonight and enjoyed a latte, while trying to work on my next speech for Toastmasters.

But I do have a new favorite place! Tramontane Cafe - it just seems more relaxing and homey to me. Robin - the owner or one of the owners - has been in the coffee and food business for a long time - and she does it well. She used to own the Virgo Bat and Leo Phrog coffee house on North Genesee Street back in the late 90's early 00's. (I know I am getting some of this wrong - please let me know the 'real' story) Tramontane does lunches - homemade soups, special sandwiches, quiches - and yummy baked goods. Not to mention the wonderful hot coffee, latte's, cappuccino's etc... They offer specials for Vegans and Vegetarians.

So, while we don't have a Starbucks in Utica. And truthfully I am glad of it, we have these two coffee houses and others that have their own personalities, specialties and uniqueness. Thank goodness Utica is a city with a small town heart!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

15 Miles on the Erie Canal

LOL - well it's true. I road 15 miles on the Erie Canal trail from Utica to Oriskany and back again. It was a lot of fun, but very BUGGY! LOL - the bugs were swarms between Marcy and Oriskany and it was Gross! But I am so glad that I went. I got some pics too!
This tree was just too cool - it was so stark in contrast to the rest of the Marsh and canal area. Plus I have a thing for clouds and the sky.

This was wicked funny! I took this picture then saw the people fishing - I almost yelped. They weren't there on my way through 20 minutes prior.

This bridge is cool - there is a water fall below it (man-made) but the bridge is wooden, so it kind of sings when you go over it.

Lot and lots of space for birds and wildlife - of course we have made our mark with the powerlines.
The Marcy Lock - There are a lot of concerts here in the summer time. The park was full - lot of family picnics - I saw volleyball being played and people fishing and relaxing.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I forgot

I think that I was going to blog about this and it fell out of my head....I went to Saranac Thursday last week with my brothers and sisters in law. I have to admit it was my first time down there in like 4 years. We met down there at Sickenberger Lane, right next to Hollyrock. My youngest brother and his wife were staying with my middle brother and his wife and they were coming in from Whitesboro. Since I only live a few miles away - I drove down and parked past Huntington Street on Cooper. LOL - it's good that I always wear comfy shoes.

I know that people love it down there at Saranac - but I must be showing my age - it's cool - but the blaring music - 5 different kinds from all the bars fighting to be heard is not pleasant to my ears. I knew quite a few people down there - but I also saw a lot of young women that didn't look any older than 15! LOL - that really shows my age!

But - not trying to bash Saranac Thursday - I think that it could be a ton of fun! Plus don't forget I'm a tad stressed these days - so not really my scene. But it was great to spend time with my brothers and sil's. I only stayed for a couple of hours, 5:30 in the morning comes early.

Oh - and when I was growing up - on Erie Street - not far from the brewery, Varick street looked nothing like it does now. The people that have opened the bars and stores and restaurants down there have done a very nice job in cleaning up and making the street look better. The police presence was very welcome, especially when I had to walk back to my car! While parts of west Utica are getting better other parts are still hurting, I hope that that can change soon.

I'm going camping in a few weeks and look forward to posting about that. I'll be on Seneca Lake and spending a few days just getting R&R...

Monday, August 11, 2008

God's Bowling

That's what my mom used to tell me when I was growing up when there was lots of thunder and lightning storms. It's funny - they don't bother me if I can sit on my front porch, with a pillow and or blanket and just watch and hear them coming down the valley. But lately it seems like all of our storms are crazy strong. That, or I am so stressed and tired they are amplified in my brain.

I got soaked 3 times today - all with a big umbrella - it was just raining that hard! Right now it feels like fall, but I am guessing by early next week the heat will be back.

Mom is still in Rehab - it's not a bad place. Actually if she had been sent to the place where my grandfather just passed away in I would still be crying a week later. She's getting physical therapy, she has company during the day, even when she has high blood pressure 'attacks' she is in a good place. They monitor her, give her oxygen (that helps with the headaches), they give her the good drugs that help her BP come down and her to relax. It doesn't smell bad there either. The other place that Yankee (aka grandfather) was in smelled so bad of all the sprays that they used to cover up the 'bad' didn't work.

She is heading to Philadelphia in a week to get some tests done and see what these doctors say. I'm not going - my sis-in-law, my brother (maybe), my nephews and niece and my sis-in-law's mom are going. I've been to Boston twice for this and Buffalo twice and don't have any more time coming to me.

I know that this isn't about Upstate NY - but I hope it explains why I haven't written as much. I'm at the home every morning and night...and trying to have a life in the meantime.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

12.69 Miles

That was today's ride. I was going to go up Route 12 again - heading south, but then at Seward Ave and Sunset, I took a right instead of a left and decided to go to the Rayhill Trail. So - I go out to Chanatry's - hang a right to just under the bridge and hang a left (can't remember the name of that street) and go down by the Ramada - the trail starts there and when you get to Commercial Drive in New Hartford you have to use the cross walks - but I will admit I feel safer when I do. Then up the trail to MiddleSettlement Road and continue across it. I followed it all the way to Clinton Street and then turned around.

It was a beautiful night for a ride. If you've never been on the Rayhill Memorial Trail - it's worth a walk or a bike ride. You can park, up off of 840 by Clark Mills Road. I would suggest not going on it at dusk - without good bug spray! LOL - I had to be very careful to keep my mouth closed at 11mph! I don't need that kind of protein.

There are areas where you can get off the trail and see the geese, fish, flora and fauna, it's really quite well done!

Friday, August 8, 2008

A glimpse of Heaven

I walked out of my office and saw this - but my iPhone caught it differently than my eyes saw it. To me this looks like an oil painting in the top because of the way the phone dealt with the sun. It was pretty awe inspiring...

I was trying to drive down the street to get home and almost ran into the curb because I was so inspired by these clouds. My real camera should be with me from now on, the iPhone does a good job, but it's not the same.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Symeons Greek Restaurant

A visitor to our area reminded me of a jewel we have in the Utica area. He's from Pittsburgh and when I mentioned that we had a Greek restaurant he wanted to try it, so he asked me if I'd like to go with him. Of course I said yes, because I love the food there.

We walked in and the smell was divine. We were seated and asked what kind of beverage we would like - I asked the waitress if they had beer - as you get a wine list - but no beer list. She said they did and first on her list was the Saranac Pomegranate Wheat which is by far my favorite Saranac. My friend said that he too would like one as I'd been telling him about it for two days. He loved it! Woo Hoo Saranac!

We order the Calamari which was phenomenal as usual and then our dinners came! Yum! He was very pleased - he's been to Corfu, Greece and to him the food just brought him back to the restaurant he liked the best - I believe he said it was Myra's. Oh and to make the whole evening awesome Symeon Jr came over and asked us how our dinner was - that thrilled my friend as well.

We are truly blessed in the Mohawk Valley with such a diverse culture.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Last night - feeling stressed and tired and wanting a beer or two or ten, I decided instead to walk until I couldn't walk anymore and listen to WTTM - that's Window To The Magic. It's a podcast that Melanie, my friend in California, told me about - it's all about Disney! There is one podcast in particular that I love - it's the live Aladdin show and it's a hoot. I digress, so...I put on my walking shoes, grabbed my iPhone and plugged into Disney magic. I went up to Genesee Street and then up Emerson, to Holland, to Harriet, to Oneida. At Oneida street I had to make a choice to go up or down. I thought that I could get into the cemetery where Justus Rathbone's statue was by going up. Well I was wrong. So then when I got up to the entrance to Master Garden Road and the other cemetery I decided to go up Master Garden. It's up and up and up some more. Well I took some pictures as I went up, I'll add them at the bottom of this post. But when I got to the top - I thought that walking down the grass hill/ski slope would be easy. LOL - I was so very wrong! There are times when I had to walk sideways because the slope was so steep. And it was muddy up there too! But it was a great walk and my thighs got a good work out. When I got home I passed out and slept better than I have in awhile. Today I was hoping for a bike ride - but it may have to wait until tomorrow when the weather is friendlier.

The image is a little dark - it was getting late. But it's still nice.

Update on Previous Post

Justus H. Rathbone -established the Order of Knights of Pythias. I decided to link to these sites, because I know nothing about this man. There is another site with more information about Justus, it's pretty interesting. Something I definitely knew nothing about in any way. The second picture is of the statue from the side. I walked up there last night - if anyone knows that hill, it's a doozie.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Greens and HalfMoons

That got your attention, didn't it? They are both very yummy, just not together!

Utica Greens - Yum! It depends on where you go as to how they are made - but the recipe I have linked looks pretty close. I like them spicy - this post is making my mouth water. Chesterfields on Bleeker Street in Utica has some seriously tasty greens - and I've had good ones to at Michael T's out on Seneca Turnpike - and many other places in between! Some places have potatoes in theirs - some are pretty bland - others are blazing hot! But all in all they are just Yummy! I couldn't find any pictures - I'll work on that!

- These can be found everywhere! It's a cake style cookie - and by that I mean it has more of a cake consistency than that of a cookie. They usually come in chocolate or white bottoms - and believe me, people have their preferences. And the tops are 1/2 white frosting and 1/2 chocolate frosting. During different holidays you'll see different frosting colors like red and green for Christmas, orange and chocolate for Halloween, pastel colors for Easter and everything in between! I love to have them with a big glass of milk! It's about the only time I will drink milk.

As to who has the best - well I used to love the ones at Hemstroughts- (this link is to their recipe) but they aren't in business anymore (that I know of). Holland Farms are good, but they can sometimes have way too much frosting. I've heard that Gingerbread Bake Shop has good ones too.

Well - now that I have talked about food for this long - I'm going to go have some lunch!