Thursday, November 27, 2008


I have many things to be thankful for and sometimes in the day to day scariness of my mom's illness I forget, so I'm going to try and remember all of the things that I am thankful for.

I'm thankful for...
my mom
my brothers (Dan and Doug) and their wives (Melissa and Melissa) and my nephews and niece (Noah, Chad, Zach, Dakota, and Kaylie)
my job and my boss and co-workers (they deal with a lot of my drama when I have to leave work to meet the ambulance)
my church and family there. Pastor Andy, Bonnie and so many others are always praying for my mom.
my friends, Mel, Kelly, Brenda, Shelly, Tina, and so many others - I love you all!
God - for answering prayers
for living in America
for my health
for the wonderful people I've met through work, through mom's illness...
for my Toastmasters family
I'm thankful that I've been able to get an education, that I do have a good job and I can help people through it. I pray that everyone can find something to be thankful for...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sorry about lack of posts!

I do love living here - there are so many good things about Utica. But I have to post a GRIPE! We have two hospitals here - St. Elizabeth's Hospital and St. Lukes Hospital. My mom has been to both - St. E's 98% and St. Luke's 2% of the time. My grandfather always went to St. Luke's and he passed away at St. Luke's Home, so St. Luke's is just difficult to be in at times.

St. E's - well she's been there 3 times this week alone to the ER. Tiny bit of background - she has brain damage from radiation treatment of throat cancer. Apparently it hit the back of her brain and has effected her in such a way that she has partial simple seizures, uncontrollable blood pressure and brutal screaming headaches. We can handle the 'calmer' ones - but three times this week her BP has hit 240/120+. She had an appointment set for Thursday with a new Neurologist in the area - she had an appointment with him previously but I had to change it because she was in the hospital at the time. Well - the Doctor at the ER on Tuesday was really glad that she was going to see this guy- and don't you know - we got home from the ER and this neuro's nurse called to change it to December 19th. God help me, I wanted to go there and scream at him. We've been trying to get in there forever! We've called him, my mom's primary care has called him and yet we can't get in any sooner. My mom has been in the ER probably 30 times in the last few months. Finding a good Neurologist in this area is impossible.

Here is the optimistic side of me. The neurosurgeon that put the coils in mom's brain to stop an aneurysm and he placed 5 stents in her carotids and left subclavian artery (all of which were caused to be much smaller due to the radiation). Anyway he is in Buffalo - his name is Dr. Adnan Siddiqui - He ROCKS! well we have an appointment with him on December 2! I just pray that he will have something in his bag of tricks to help mom. These seizures, headaches and blood pressure fluctuations are killing her.

So - my lack of posting is mainly because I am finding it hard to get the words out. One of the blogs that I follow is and Elden is going through even more than I am with his wife Susan (WIN!). There is just so much stuff going on I can't seem to write any "warm fuzzies".

I hope that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and please - if you have anyone in the hospital that you love and care for - be proactive in their care. Make sure their medicine is given at the right time and in the right way. Make sure that they are getting assistance when they need it.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Snow part 2

This is to the north west of Utica.

Snow is coming!

This is the view to the west. The snow clouds are banking up!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thank You Veterans!

I want to use this space to say Thank You! From the bottom of my heart for all of the sacrifices that you have made and all that our men and women are still making for this wonderful country of America! I pray that all veterans and soldiers are treated with respect and graciousness and are never overlooked.

My mom's side of the family has an interesting story about service in the Armed Services. My grandfather, and 7 of his brothers all served during WWII. I have a picture that was made of them that I will try and find and post. It's a great statement about patriotism and belief in what made America.

Without our Veterans and Soldiers we would not be able to say and do all the things that we do! Those of you who oppose war very vocally have our Soldiers to thank for the right and freedom to say what you will.

Thank you ALL! for protecting, serving and loving America!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Great Visit with Mel and Vera!

Otsego Lake, Cooperstown, NY

Mel and I did a lot in the 2 days that she was here. It wasn't fair that it was so short - and it didn't help that I am sick and coughing. But - we did get to hit places in Utica, south of here and Old Forge. I wrote of Fly Creek previously - I apologize - I have a feeling my writing was a distracted as my coughing is making me crazy. Old Forge was nice - it was rainy but we got to go to the Old Forge Hardware Store and Melanie was able to do a little more Christmas shopping. It was rainy and we had lunch at Walt's Diner - a nice little 'greasy spoon' diner. If you like fresh french fries it's the place to go. The potatoes are peeled, cut and fried to order! Yum!

There were still a lot of snow piles up there from the snowfall before Halloween. Of course most of them were mucky dirty, but Mel got to see snow!

We did go to Michael T's for Riggies and Greens - like Mel wrote before. The greens were very good - love the hot peppers. I had wanted to go to Chesterfields, but honestly didn't have the energy!

Then Mel was up bright and early and on the road - but had a safe and event free trip to JFK. I just heard from her and she is safe back in California! So, that is a good thing!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My First Greens & Chicken Riggies

Michelle brought me to Michael T's tonight for my first chicken riggies!

We started off with the Trunfio Greens - which we shared. They're escarole, sausage, sweet & hot peppers, breadcrumbs & Parmesan all baked to a new level of yumminess! You don't find greens very often in Southern California, so I'm not even sure that I've had them before, and definitely not like this! I think it would be worth the flight back just to have those again :-)

I have to admit - they're a lot more appetizing than this picture indicates :-)

After that came the Chicken Riggies. I've had similar dishes to that in CA, but never heard them referred to as "Riggies". This was rigatoni with chunks of chicken & green bell pepper covered in a pink sauce. Quite good, but I have to admit, I preferred the greens. But then, I haven't had much in the way of vegetables this week, so I may have just been craving them :-)

I have to hop on a plane back to CA tomorrow, but I have to say I've enjoyed my introduction to Utica cuisine. I'm looking forward to coming back and seeing a performance at the Stanley Theater (which I got to see - and the inside is spectacular!) and trying all these other places that Michelle has been talking about.

Bye for now.....


Friday, November 7, 2008

Karam's Middle Eastern Bakery

So Mel has been dragged all over Utica, Cat Town, Fly Creek, Bed Bug Hill Road and Cooperstown! But boy did we have fun!

Karam's was wonderful! As usual! We had hummous, tabboule, kibbe, meatless grape leaves and to top it all off baklava! For those who don't know Karam's Middle Eastern Bakery is in Yorkville on Campbell Ave. I was first introduced to it about 22 years ago by a Polish lady that I worked with at Fraternal Composite. I couldn't believe how yummy it was and never forgot it. I've always like going back there and have introduced many people to it.

But I must admit that today was wonderful sharing with Melanie!

After we went to Karams and enjoyed the flavors and tastes - we headed to Cat Town where my great great grandfather had lived and built a home and barn. Then, of course, I had to take her on Bed Bug Hill Road.

After the ride on a muddy road...and getting pictures of Georgie and Vera in snow... We have a lot of pictures of them at Fly Creek and in Cooperstown. I'll be posting them soon!

Mel got a ton of her Christmas shopping done and it was just a wonderful day.

Dinner was Trios Pizza! Yum! (and in case you don't know where that is, it's on Main Street in New York Mills)

And now I am sitting here, trying to type, but getting sleepy. I'll look at this tomorrow and most likely retype all of it as I am just too tired to continue and have a lot to tell you and share about our day.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Heidelberg Heaven

Guest Poster Melanie here....

I arrived here in Utica after a side trip to Lake George (Note to Google - your directions aren't very clear!)

After a nice long walk around the neighborhood, Michelle & I went over to "The Balkan" - a restaurant & bakery by the Heidelberg bread folks (which I've never heard of).

After a week of bad hotel and conference food, this was such a treat! We shared a Rueben sandwich, made with Pastrami instead of the Corned Beef. It was so flavorful! And just the perfect light snack after a good long walk.

But even better than that was the apple tart! There's a wonderful case of all sorts of baked goods there at the restaurant. They had carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, pumpkin cookies, several types of strudels. We picked the apple tart to share. It was made with puff pastry, with just the right amount of apples and cream. Delightfully light and sweet, it brought me to my happy place. :-) I highly recommend it.

My first taste of Utica cuisine was a raging success!

Mel is here and will be Guest Posting!

Apple Tart - Oh Yum!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mel's almost HERE!

My friend from California - Melanie, is in CT for business and is trekking all the way up here to spend a few days with me! Woo Hoo! We are going to try all kinds of local foods - since my mention of tomato pie and chicken riggies and halfmoons - we have to! But I also want to fit in a taste of Karams - possibly Symeons. LOL - we don't have the stomach or the time to do this. Trios Pizza on Friday night though! YUM!

But my plan right now is to go to Fly Creek on Friday - I love the cider mill and all of the cool stuff that they sell there - but going on the weekends is insane! Plus I can take her on Bed Bug Hill Road. And then on Saturday we'll go to the Amish store on Route 5 in Kirkland and then up north to the Old Forge Hardware Store - Mel will love it. And I hope that we can take a few walks and see Utica up close and personal. No bike rides for me I'm afraid - I've been fighting a lung infection and coughing is just not giving up. So walking will have to suffice.

So - look for some posts from me and Mel - I'll let her post her thoughts about Utica here! It'll be good to have an outside opinion - especially from a born and bred Californian!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Thanks for reading!

This is a message to a person who left a comment on my topic about Coffee Houses...

OB - Welcome Back! I lived in California and Washington State for 6 years - then New Jersey for 8 years and in between came back and at the end moved back for good. Domenico's and Tramontane are awesome and the people who own and run them are from the area and are good people. Tell Robin "Hi!" at Tramontane - and Orin or Molly "Hi!" at Domenico's. As to the writing or book club - I don't know any but that being said there is a website called Meetup - they have book clubs listed and you can specify where you live and they give you meetings in your area.

I hope that this helps and that you feel welcome back in Utica!