Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Somewhere in Tennesee

I wanted to get past Nashville, but the rain, dark and traffic have just stopped me dead. I only drove about 603 miles today - but honestly I think I did pretty good. I have about 900 to go tomorrow and just pray there won't be rain or snow. enough is enough.

Arkansas

I am in Arkansas just past Texarkana. Stopped at rest area for stretch and coffee. This welcome center is beautiful. 




The Trip Home

Well - it took far longer than I wanted to get down here. That will happen when you travel with your mom who has seizures when she sees flashing/strobe lights. There are a lot of flashing lights on the roads between NY and Texas. So it almost became a game - I'd see some in the distance (could be radio towers with the strobe lights, plow trucks, police cars, tow trucks, wide load trucks) and put my arm up across my mom's eyes. Normally I would just say close your eyes, but then I lost my voice. We are a great pair.

And of course there was the black ice - in the first two hours of our trip on the NYS Thruway outside of the Warners Service area we hit black ice. I sat by the side of the road like a scared rabbit for almost an hour - too afraid to try it again. Two very nice State Troopers stopped and asked me if we were okay and told me to keep my flashers on (well, duh!) but their lights were torture for mom too, but she was able to handle it okay. Blanket over the head works wonders - with Ativan....

Then in Ohio, about half way between Columbus and Cincinnati, the snow started, it was dark and there were a ton of cars on the road. Mom started having difficulty with the snow and the lights - made her head spin - I went as far as I could and stopped in Jeffersonville to spend the night. It was a good thing, my poor mom's stomach rebelled and I had to run and get some pepto - Thank goodness for that pink stuff.

Monday was about 540 miles - and yesterday was 420. Matilda, my GPS, was awesome at keeping me aware of how many miles left.

We got to Rockwall at 3 - unloaded my poor car. I could almost hear her breath a sigh of relief. I know that I will be glad to have the view unobstructed - of course I say that now until tonight when the lights from drivers behind me are driving me nuts. We opened presents - I have some beautiful gifts - a table/counter top wine rack, a package of black frames that are begging for pictures, a red hand mixer to go with my red KitchenAid and a wicked soft blankie.

Well - I'm going to take a shower and get ready for the return to NY! Mom is staying in Texas, so this is a lone adventure. I'll be posting periodically from the road so that people know where I am in case anything happens.

:)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Made it to Jeffersonville, OH

The trip has been a little slow going. Just outside the warners service area on the Thruway we hit serious black ice. My car is so full that it was just sliding all over the place. I pulled over and let some air out of my tires - they were a little overinflated because of all the highway miles we are driving - but they are back to the correct amount now. I called the Thruway Authority and told them where we were and asked them to sand. Two different State Troopers stopped to check on me during this time. I wasn't moving until I felt safe - it took about 15 minutes after the sanders went by for the black ice to disappear - I tried driving three times and couldn't do it. Finally on the fourth time we were good to go. That took an hour out of our schedule. We were definitely running late.

We are at a decent Quality Inn, the lady is incredibly nice and the room is clean.

I've lost my voice and am now doing a lot of charades to get my point across.

I'll write more soon as we continue on tomorrow...

Made it to Ohio!

Lots of miles to go!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I mean it from the bottom of my heart. I wish everyone out there a joyous Christmas with family and friends. My prayers go out to our Soldiers fighting so we "can wear our pj's and enjoy christmas with our families" as one soldier from the area put it. I pray for our firemen, policemen, EMT's, paramedics, hospital staff and anyone who does service to others. Thank you.

And a very special thanks go out to Johnston's Auto Body, Elizabeth Street in Utica. I ran out of gas today - first time in 25 years of driving that I have ever run out of gas. God was certainly watching over me. I just purchased AAA so I could have those marvelous maps and books - well I called them and they said it would be within an hour that someone from Johnston's would be there and put gas in my car. It took 23 minutes - the man was so nice and so efficient. He waited with me while we made sure that it was actually the lack of gas that killed my car. It was a very pleasurable experience for a very stressful week.

Please have a great Christmas everyone and thank people that help you...it helps them want to help even more people!

I'm driving to Texas on Sunday - we were supposed to leave tomorrow but that got changed big time - hence the stress - but I am sure that there was a reason for it. I know I needed some down time and this way I'll get it and will be in better shape for the drive.

**Update - I have the best friends in the whole world. When I ran out of gas today - I forgot to pick up my mom's meds. (she just got out of the hospital). I called Kelly's house and her mom answered I asked her if Kelly was home she said no that she was still at work. I called Kelly and begged her to help me. She picked up the meds for me and brought them to her house as I would pick it up after work. I went there and Kelly and her family were eating but she rushed to the kitchen and brought out dinner in a bag with the meds and 7 CD's for mom and I to listen to on the trip. Dinner was fantastic - and so appreciated. I have to admit I cried when I got outside. Awesome friends are hard to come by and I have a lot of them.

Merry Christmas,
Michelle

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Cake Truffles

Yum!!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

WOoooOoOOoo HOoOOoooOooOOOo!

Christmas is coming and we are having a snow storm! I know I shouldn't be this excited, but as I sit here waiting for the coffee to finish brewing, I can hear the wind whipping the snow around. Driving today won't be pleasant, but it will be beautiful. The local paper 'jinxed' us at the end of November when they wrote a column about how Utica and the surrounding areas 'saved' a ton of money because there was no snow in November so no plowing or salting. Then on December 1, it snowed. There were many minor fender benders and people going off the road from that. People forget how to drive in the snow all the time!

Well today we are in a snow storm...Lots of local schools are closed, I'm watching the list scroll through on WKTV right now. Everyone from Utica to South and East are closed, VVS and Rome are on delays - I wouldn't be surprised if they don't close too.

Well - enjoy the snow. Be safe, dress warm and smile! It will make you feel better and others around you too!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Utica's Finest gets good press!

The Utica PD has a couple of great articles in the OD today! Enjoy!
Public gets peek at police patrolling and Officer discusses life on the force

I went on a ride-along in September and had a fantastic time. Learned a lot and have a lot of admiration and respect for the Utica police officers.

Friday, November 27, 2009

I'm thankful for...

my mom
my brothers
my niece and nephews
my cat, Einstein
Utica Firefighters and EMS
Kunkel EMS
St. Lukes ER
The wonderful people who have stopped to hold my mom's hand, call 911 and take care of her.
My wonderful friends - Brenda, Shelly, Melanie, Kelly, Abeer, Deb, Jim, Shibu, and so many more that their names escape my brains...
GTC
Utica PD
my neighbors - Toni, Curtis, Kelly, Leah, Tony & Connie, and Ann
my FB friends - it's weird - so many I haven't seen in decades - but yet we still connect...
my health, my love of biking
my belief in God

And I'm thankful to be alive...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

This Holiday Season

I realized awhile ago that I couldn't do gifts for people. The going to the store and shopping for gifts type gifts. That being said I am not being scrooge.

Cookies, fudge, truffles and chocolates. From my kitchen, from my heart. I love to bake, I love to make special treats. And handmade cards....

It was a hard decision to make and in some ways I feel bad because I'm not 'buying' stuff but at the same time I'm trying to think about what Christmas is about. It is about Giving and Love and Hope and the Birth of Christ. (not in that order!).

I'm rambling...I'm tired I guess. But as the baking and making continue I'll put the recipes and hopefully pictures too. My favorite cookies to make are nut cups, nut balls, peanut butter balls, peanut butter kiss cookies, sugar cookies (thanks to my mom these are the BEST), chocolate truffles (different flavorings), and fudge (pumpkin, chocolate, and I don't know what other kind).

Ah well - I am very tired...and have to get some sleep!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Reminiscing about stuff...

Camping on Seneca Lake - watching the sun go down. Warm breeze blowing off the lake, the smell of the water, trees, grass, campfires and food cooking.



This picture reminds me of my canal rides...I love to capture the clouds
and trees in different ways.


And these roses and the purple flowers (that neither mom or I can remember the name of right now). They are now gone - they went with the old garage. Well - I say that, but the wild roses are coming back up...




Good by old garage! But the pretty new shed is in place!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Contrasts

Blue sky and sunshine

Beautiful

I wanted to go for a ride so bad. The stars weren't aligned for it so
I took a drive and then for a short walk to catch these pictures.

The Canal in it's Autumn splendor

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Painting Part II

Well - I'm done - at least the major parts are done and I've cleaned up quite a bit of it. That being said - here are a couple of pictures to wet your whistle and I'll add more when I get it all cleaned up.


The white cabinet is now "Mahogany Library" and the walls are a "Mulberry Blue". The baseboards are the same as the cabinet as is the molding at the ceiling. I did not paint the ceiling, it actually needs some work first and I have to get into the plaster fixing mode.



I had the towels and the shower curtain and worked really hard to match one of the blues in them...Doc at Home Depot was instrumental in that.

It's not perfect - but it is pretty!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Utica - Makes the National News

Utica was in USA Today! "Ten Great Town with International Flair" How awesome is that!


This picture is in the article - yes, I copied it from their site. Thornberry's is behind the Stanley Theatre and is a great place to eat. I didn't even realize that they were part of the Utica Monday Nites - I guess I have to pay attention and go next summer. UMN is a fantastic thing.

There are multiple music venues - the Oneida County Historic Society has talks, the Stanley Theatre has tours. It's just amazing and it happens every Monday night in the Summer.

So...come to Utica - visit Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute, the Saranac Brewery, the Utica Zoo and all the other wonderful things that Oneida County and Utica has to offer. Hey - bring your bike (or cross country skis in the winter) and go on the Canal Trail!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Painting

With my mom in Texas more than 1/2 of the year I decided that I would like to paint some rooms and mom told me to just do whatever colors I want. I hope that she's okay with what I came up with for the bathroom! :)

First - "Doc" at the Home Depot in New Hartford was AWESOME. I thought that I had a good color picked out - I was trying to match a towel - not exactly but close so I could match other stuff that I have. So - Doc showed me how to better match the color using the special light. The Home Depot lights are nothing like my home lights and when he showed me the color that I did pick under the incandescent lights - not pretty. So he helped me find the right color and he was an absolute sweetheart...he helped me find good brushes, a good roller and told me how to use them. What great guy!

I also looked at new vanities - the one in our house was a $70 - prefab white fake wood. It's tired and I was going to buy a new one but the ones I liked were VERY pricey. I went back home figuring I'd just deal with the old one and then it hit me - I'll paint the old white one! So - back to Home Depot. Doc wasn't there anymore, but a very nice young lady helped me find the color that I wanted and then another gentleman helped me find new handles for the cabinet doors and new faucet handles. I figure I'm going to try and make this thing look like it's brand new.

I'm painting a little at a time and I'm sooooooooooo excited by the colors! I don't want to give them away yet - I have some before and during and will have after pictures. And I'll give it away then! Woo Hoo!

Urbanik's Paint is a great place to go for paint as well - I don't want to convince anyone to not go to a local place. I just needed a lot of things and going to multiple stores wasn't what I wanted to do.

Well - off to continue on my painting!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

WIBX 950

This is our local AM station that does news, weather and talk radio. Rush, Glenn Beck, Lars Larson, etc. I listen to it a lot. Yes, I am conservative - but that aside, I actually called in today and spoke to Representative Dave Townsend. I've always wanted to call in to a talk show - but never had the time - or the nerve. But I had the time today, he was looking for calls and something he said just struck a chord.

When you buy gas from the Oneida Indian Nation- your receipt shows that you paid tax. Well - you did, but not to NY - it's a 'tax' for the OIN. That's fine - but it will come and bite you in the butt sooner or later. NY State passed a law earlier this year, or last year, saying that the OIN had to pay NYS tax. They don't and no one is going after them to get it. NY State Tax department isn't going after them, they are going after the customers. Rep. Townsend shared a story about a local business man that now owes the NYS $24,000.00+ in taxes for all the gas purchased for his company from the OIN. What I didn't understand at first was that the taxes that the OIN collect aren't for NYS and figured that NYS was double dipping - and choosing New York Residents to go after (because we are easier targets AND we don't have the money and lawyers that the OIN has). Rep. Townsend explained that the 'tax' that the OIN charges is for them not to pay what they owe NYS.

So if you think that you are putting one over on NYS and buy gas at the OIN or Savon gas stations, beware. That $0.60 cents that the OIN charges you for 'tax' could be doubled if NYS Tad Department catches up with you. Do yourself a favor and save yourself a headache and buy local.

About Rep. Townsend - I appreciated the way he spoke. He's calm, intelligent and collected that is a good thing to hear in a politician these days.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

These Colors Don't Run


These Colors Don't Run
Originally uploaded by Martha Anne
It was an incredible day at Roscoe Conkling Park at the top of the ski slope. It was cold and windy - but the leaves and the sun and clouds were incredible. I was fortunate to catch the flag on top of the hill unfurling and so beautiful and majestic. It reminds me that I love America as it was meant to be, as our Founding Fathers wanted it to be. I do not love Obama's idea of America - not in any way shape or form. We need to remember what this flag stands for and what it means to us.

Here are the original words to the "Star Spangled Banner" by Francis Scott Key.

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen thro' the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?

Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream:
'T is the star-spangled banner: O, long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash'd out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their lov'd homes and the war's desolation;
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserv'd us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause. it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Here is the History:
In 1814, about a week after the city of Washington had been badly burned, British troops moved up to the primary port at Baltimore Harbor in Maryland. Francis Scott Key visited the British fleet in the Harbor on September 13th to secure the release of Dr. William Beanes who had been captured during the Washington raid. The two were detained on the ship so as not to warn the Americans while the Royal Navy attempted to bombard Fort McHenry. At dawn on the 14th, Key noted that the huge American flag, which now hangs in the Smithsonian's American History Museum, was still waving and had not been removed in defeat. The sight inspired him to write a poem titled Defense of Fort McHenry. The poem was eventually set to music that had originally been written by English composer John Stafford Smith for a song titled "The Anacreontic Song". The end result was the inspiring song now considered the national anthem of the United States of America. It was accepted as such by public demand for the next century or so, but became even more accepted as the national anthem during the World Series of Baseball in 1917 when it was sung in honor of the brave armed forces fighting in the Great War. The World Series performance moved everyone in attendance, and after that it was repeated for every game. Finally, on March 3, 1931, the American Congress proclaimed it as the national anthem, 116 years after it was first written.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fighting Cancer....one tweeter at a time...

Drew Carey, aka @DrewFromTV, is now the latest celeb to jump on the philanthropic twitter wagon and he's upping the ante.

In an exclusive sit-down interview, the host of CBS's "The Price Is Right" told me that he will donate $1 million to Lance Armstrong's LiveStrong Foundation if he gets 1 million followers by midnight on December 31, 2009.

Fatcyclist put this on his blog - and I can't get to it - blogspot is having hiccups I guess. So I figured I would include it in mine. If you have a twitter account - please sign up to follow Drew Carey - @DrewFromTV - if he gets enough followers - like 1,000,000 - by 12/31/2009 - he'll donate that much to LiveStrong Foundation!!!!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Friday and Saturday...

Friday was a rainy icky day - Oh - and I have to make a quick plug for October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I had to have a mammogram at Faxton - not one of my favorite things, but the techs, nurses and personnel there are very good at what they do and very professional. Everything that can be done to make it a more positive experience is done. I'm just glad it's only yearly.

That being said - I was also starting to feel sick on Friday - I put it to stress and allergies - but am finding that that's not the case. But it didn't stop me from going to Brenda's house for some crafting and girl time! But boy was I in for a surprise! I walked in the door with my scrapbook kit and supplies and found dinner and friends and cake waiting for me. I have fantastic friends. Brenda, Shelly and Debbie all worked together to put on a fantastic dinner! Of course we got to also celebrate Tim's birthday on the 8th (Debbie's husband) and Shelly and Paul's anniversary on the 8th too! So lots of things to celebrate.

It was beautiful Saturday. Period. Just one of those days that Central New York has that is just right!

It was also a busy day yesterday. The Toastmasters Area 8 contest took place at St. Luke's Hospital in the Allen Calder Conference room. We had a great turnout and even better than that we had 3 great evaluator contestants and 4 great humorous speech contestants. I've never laughed so hard in my life. Little did I know that fishing could be so stressful and dangerous to your health! Or that a manly man could feel embarrassed about drinking wine! Or that Peanut Butter almost cost an international incident! Or that fear should push us to try things not shy away! Congratulations to Troy Bishopp for winning the Evaluation Contest and to John Krzeminski for winning the Humorous speech contest. Their next step is Division Contest next Saturday in Liverpool.

After that was over I went home and convinced myself that I didn't have a cold - but more like allergies and if I ignored it, it would go away. Not! But - before it hit me broadside I had a wonderful day with my friend Kelly in Syracuse. We went shopping - and not just in one place, no - that would be silly! We hit Carousel (Lindt Chocolate, Caramel Popcorn and Borders Books), then the Christmas Tree Store, Fashion Bug, and Wegmans. And of course to fortify ourselves for all of this shopping we went to the Olive Garden for dinner! It was wonderful! We got home around 8 - I think I was in bed by 9:30!

I am lucky to have such great friends! My life is in a weird transition right now with my Mom moving to Texas part-time and I think that my friends are trying to make sure I stay busy! LOL, it's working.

Hopefully the weather and my health will cooperate next week and I'll be able to go for another bike ride.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Utica's Finest

I was very fortunate last night to go on a Ride-Along with Officer Joe Dare with the Utica Police Department. The evening started out as I arrived at the station at 3:30pm. I was nervous and excited and really looking forward to this! I walked in with one of the patrolmen and then let the officer at the front desk know that I was there to ride-along with Officer Dare.

Officer Dare came out and introduced himself...I had to wait while he got into uniform and then went to the pre-shift meeting - I know it's not the right word...but I was nervous! Everyone was very nice and welcoming - a tad bit of ball busting went on but I felt so much more at home. These men and women really care about each other and about the career that they have chosen.

The night wasn't crazy busy - but it wasn't dead either. I was able to see the very seedy side of Utica and the very proud and beautiful side as well. We patrolled the east side - met some interesting types. I'm going to refer to some of the calls - but not use real names or physical descriptions. One call was to an apartment building where the victim and her friends were outside waiting for us. V (victim) had a complaint about a boyfriend who had allegedly punched her in the face and pushed her. Through a check on the V and the boyfriend - both had had a long history with the UPD - they weren't strangers to the system in any way shape or form. As aggravating as the V was in her description of the events - her language - her demeanor, Officer Dare was polite and courteous. Even after he got all of the paperwork together for the V to press charges and she declined to sign - he didn't change in his attitude at all. It made me very proud to have met him and know that the police officers in Utica are so professional.

We had a couple of 'loud muffler' vehicle pull overs - it's amazing to me what police officers note when they pull over these people. Call it intuition, observation, whatever - Officer Dare seemed to know when a person had prior contact with the UPD or problems with licenses or something.

At one point we patrolled the parks in east Utica - looking for, wait for it...I kid you not...."Hippety dippety"! I almost slid out of my seat laughing. Officer Dare was trying not to be too graphic - so he said he was looking people in cars doing "Hibbety bibbety" - I loved it and told him that my mom would have said "Diddley dickin around". I tried to use the light on the passenger side - the spot light. I'll admit it, I'm spotlight challenged. I shined it in our eyes, up into the sky and everywhere but where it would be helpful!

Oh - note to all who call the police to complain about noise - or children in the road - or whatever - you aren't helping the police if you refuse to speak to them when they get to the 'scene'. This happened to us twice - the first time we think we spoke to the kids that had been in the middle of the street, but the complainant didn't want to speak with us. And then they called again about 3 hours later - we couldn't even find the 'problem'.

The Saint Cosmo and Damiano festival took place in East Utica this weekend as well. So we made our way through the neighborhood near St. Anthony's church and spoke to some of the people celebrating. The only 'bad' thing that happened (that we were called for) was that a car had the front driver side window 'shot' out with a BB gun. The people were very nice - they really just needed the report for the insurance company - the ability of the police to actually find the person who did this is pretty difficult - and the paperwork involved is nuts! If you ever see a police officer sitting in a parking lot - don't think poorly of him or her - most likely they are filling out the paperwork from their last call.

There were about 180 calls yesterday - in a 24 hour time period. Nuts! And that wasn't a crazy busy day - it was just a day.

The only stop at Dunkin Donuts - was for ME! I needed to use the facilities and have a coffee to stay awake - I'm early to bed and early to rise. So by 9 - I'm in getting ready for bed mode - so coffee was necessary.

There were other stops - the guy who was riding one of those mini motorcycles down the sidewalk going about 35+mph - he had no regard for anything on the sidewalk - crossed side streets without looking. No license, no insurance, no helmet, no registration. The guy made Officer Dare's intuition go nuts! With good reason. The guy was 'honest' about who he was - but he did have a suspended license and a long list of priors. So Officer Dare put him in cuffs and in the back of the patrol car. That was interesting because the kid kept trying to get me to 'help' him talk Officer Dare to not write tickets because it would be a "felony" on him. Well - the kid had to call his cousin to come and get the mini-motorcycle. That was fine - until the cousin kept calling him back and when Officer Dare opened the phone to hand it to the kid, he heard the cousin ask the kid "Are your clothes dirty?" - I could see Officer Dare's face change - we had a dealer - granted he was clean - but still. So we brought him back to the station - Officer Dare wrote up all of the tickets and we went back on patrol.

It was a great night! I hope to do it again! It would be fun to catch some Hibbety bibbeters! :)

Thanks to Officer Dare, Sergeant M. Hauck and everyone else involved in this - I believe it's a great idea in so many ways.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fog bank

I'm heading to Little Falls to ride with a friend and as I was heading
down 5s, the valley was shrouded in fog. I was just high enough to be
in the sunshine and could see the blanket of fog in the valley. It's
going to be a beautiful day.

**Update - it is a beautiful day - we had a good - fast ride - 41 miles in 3.5 hours. Our average speed was 12mph - I was at 10.7 when I rode last time - so I'm getting stronger. My friend always pushes me to work harder and that is a good thing.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Weir

Elial Glen and LuLu Weir were my Mom's Grandparents on her father's side, they had 9 sons and 3 daughters: Kenneth Langsford (Doc), Ruben, Dorrance (Haunch), Keith Douglas (Douglas), Dannie James (Boone - My Grandfather), Elial Glen Jr. (Hi) , Carl Jackson (Carl) , Donald Elias (Don), Les (Tad), Doris, Violet (Buster) and Helen.

Okay - that was a lot wasn't it? I've always loved the stories that my mom used to tell me about my grandfather and his brothers. All of the boys, except Tad, served in the Armed Forces during WWII at the same time. In fact Haunch said that it was where the nickname Tad came from - he was too young - just a Tadpole to serve. My grandfather was Dannie "Boone" - he was killed in a car accident in May of 1963. My mom turned 16 later that summer. My grandfather and I share the same birthday. I tend to grasp at straws - to find connections in the smallest of things.

If anyone out there knows anything about the Weir's in Cooperstown, "Cat Town", Oaksville or Fly Creek, it would be wonderful to hear about them.

Anyway - the reason I started thinking about all of this (again - for the 90th time) is that mom and I went to Cat Town on Oaks Creek to see how my great grandfather's barn was faring. My mom just set me straight - he didn't build this barn but he lived on this property and it was his barn as well as the house in front of it. I don't take pictures of the house only because people live there. I've put pictures on here before from previous visits - but bear with me, I have more.


This barn always amazes me as it's held up at that corner by a pile of rocks - it's the lower left corner when you look at the picture. A couple of years ago when they had the floods so bad - you could only see that pile of stone and water under the barn. I believe one of my second-third or shirtail cousins owns the property.


This was just a pretty shot of some of the leaves changing colors on Oaks Creek.


This is a shot of the backside of the barn - it's starting to sag. But it's a beautiful barn. I'm guesstimating that it's about 70 years old.

I just loved how this tree looked and how the 'crick' reflects it and the other plants.
It was a beautiful day - we went to Hartwick Cemetary in Hartwick Seminary, my grandfather, great uncle Ruben, great-grandfather Elial and great-grandmother LuLu are buried there and I believe that there are some other family members there as well.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

62 miles = Metric Century *Updated

I can't believe I did it! I'll write more later. Need a shower NOW!

It's been 24 hours since I finished and I am exhausted. I don't hurt as much as I thought, but I was working out in the sun earlier and realized it was just way too hot. I forgot the sunscreen and my chin and nose are burnt!

I've found some new places that I want to explore - hiking may be my next avenue of adventure. Any takers? Jill Homer has been quite an inspiration to me and when I ride I always think of her and the things she has accomplished, tried and enjoyed.

Taking a break

Well I've actually taken quite a few but I'm actually sitting down
this time. I'm back in Fort Plain having a discussion with my butt
about the next 19 miles. I hope I win!

Little Nose *Updated

I'll have to add more to this post later. But look near the top of the
white cliff, do you see it? Unbelievable.

When you are driving on 5, 5S or the Thruway it is impossible not to see the "Noses" Big Nose and Little Nose, I did take a picture of it between Canajoharie and Sprakers, but the iPhone just didn't do it justice. So - I went searching on the Internet to find a good picture of the Noses and for a little bit of history. I found a great site - where a man and his daughter actually climbed both noses and share it in story and images. It's pretty cool - and makes me want to find someone to go climbing up there. I know exactly where they started out to climb Little Nose. Not sure about Big Nose though.

@ 31 miles

Still not in Fonda but I'm turning around. My Buttometer is cranky and
I have 31 miles to go.

Randall NY

Town of Florida. I never would have known about either without riding
the canal trail. I love NY.

Fallen rock zone

For whatever reason this cracked me up. Almost in Fonda!

Canajoharie *Updated

This is Canajoharie Academy. Susan B. Anthony taught at the here in 1846, where she rose to become headmistress of the Female Department. From what I was told by a very nice lady at the Visitors center in Canajoharie. The Academy property was purchased about 3 or four years ago and the man who purchased it had to agree not to tear it down. The problem is that he completely gutted it, removing windows and everything. This past year he purchased a couple of houses to the left of the building (well, left in the picture) and tore them down and that property is getting cleaned up. Who knows what he's doing, but I hope it's something good. It's a beautiful building - my picture doesn't do it justice.

20 miles down!

Utterly perfect day

It's warmed up enough for me to take off a layer. It's stunning out
here. Sky is so blue it's just awesome. And I'm going to keep on riding!

Montgomery County

I am on the road for this section. The deep gravel on the trail is
rough.

Beautiful trail

Im about five miles into the ride. It's gorgeous but still cold.

The start in Little Falls

Ok, it's cold and foggy right now bit it's supposed to warm up and be
sunny! I'll be on the trail at about 8:10 am.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Packy's Pub!

Washington Mills! Yum Yum Yum! Irish Loaded Chips - so good, homemade
chips, bacon, tomatoes, black olives, cheddar, lettuce, onions & bacon
horseradish dip and lots of love! 2 for 1 appetizers all day every
Saturday. Really great service, Melanie was the best.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I did it!

Longest ride (40 miles) yet for me and the only problem I seemed to have today was that my bum got very sore the last couple of miles. But my legs held out very well - as did my three bottles of water - I only had a sip left when I got back to my car. I bought a bag that goes around my waist that holds two water bottles in insulated pockets - with a good size compartment between them. I was able to put my map book, all my tire changing stuff, granola bars and shok bloks in there, with room to spare.

It was a beautiful day, I enjoyed all of it! At one point on the way back I saw tracks on the path - I realized they were deer tracks and they looked very fresh. LOL - they were - the deer was about 40 feet ahead of me running like crazy! Chipmunks were fewer this time, but I did see a HUGE gopher. And lots of birds.

Now on to 50 miles!

Little Falls

Only about 2 miles to my car!

Herkimer Home State Historic Site

One of these days I'll actually walk up there. Need to remember my lock!

I'm getting there!

The thruway is just about 60 feet from me. The trail runs parallel to
it fir awhile here. I'm in Herkimer County, Danube Township.

Lock 16 on my way back

It's so peaceful here but must continue!

Back in Fort Plain

I'm doing pretty well. I've ridden about 24 miles so far and I believe
I'll be at 40 when I get done. My computer isn't working right on my
bike. May have to splurge and get a Garmin Nuvi. Any input on GPS
would be much appreciated.

Canajoharie!

I made it! Now it's back to Little Falls!

Fort Plain - Lock 15

Not too bad! I'm going to keep on going!

St. Johnsville, here I am!

Mindenville Rd

Tim, works at this lock, nicest man on this earth. Very informative
and helpful.

Danube, it's nice to see you!

Good Morning Little Falls

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I love NY!

Yesterday was the first time in a month that I've been able to go for a long bike ride. The plan was to start in Little Falls and go till I was 1/2 tired and turn around. :) Then on Thursday my friend, Shibu, messaged me via facebook and we started talking about riding and I invited him to join me.

Saturday morning - I was up bright and early. Packed up the peanut butter rounds sandwiches (if you've never tried Arnold's whole grain rounds, you are missing out), did a small bag of mixed nuts, and a couple of packages of Black Cherry Shot Bloks with caffeine. Oh, and 3 bottles of water. I put my bike rack on my car and then loaded up everything else. I was in Little Falls at 7:30 - Shibu got there a lot a-bit later - but honestly it was perfect. I brought a book with me - watched the fog dissipate off the canal and just relaxed. Shibu got there - we got our bikes set up - checked air and headed out.

It was absolutely beautiful. Stunning. Perfect. I love the Canal Trails. The Birds. The Blue skies. God couldn't have given us a more perfect biking day. We rode till we got to a creek area - don't know the name of it right now. We stopped for a little sustenance and water. Then we got on our bikes again. We had a little problem in Mindenville - a small part of the trail is closed because they repaved it and I didn't read the sign right and we ended up down by the canal. But the man who works on the canal was wonderful and explained that the trail was just to the left of the entrance for the canal - so we continued on. I was excited about maybe, just maybe, making it to St. Johnsville. For not having been on my bike in a month I was feeling great. Even my bum was dealing. Well - we made it to St. Johnsville (I didn't even see the sign - had no clue) and kept going. We talked about going to 15 miles and turning around. It would be the farthest either of us had gone. So at 15 miles we stopped. We looked around and I kept hearing running water. I think we both really wanted to keep going so we 'looked' for the sound of the running water - for another 2 miles and made it into Fort Plain! Woo Hoo!

We turned around when we hit the Main street - right across from Save-a-lot market. I slowed down on Shibu for a little while but got my second wind. We met a couple about 2 miles from the Herkimer Home that had bikes loaded down with bags on front and back wheels and on the handle bars - they were on a long ride! They asked us which way to go - there are a couple of places on the canal trail where you can take a trail down to the canal - but you wouldn't know that unless you were familiar with the area. I told them to continue on - warned them about Mindenville detour and there is an area where Herkimer and Montgomery Counties meet where the stone dust trail is really deep and loose. My back tire kept kicking out - and I kept squealing like a little girl! It was fun! But back to the couple. They also asked about a place to sleep - I figured that Fort Plain would have the best place - or Canojaharie. This is the best part - they were going from Buffalo to Albany - meeting with the rest of their bike group and then go to NYC - by bike! I really need to find a group like that and start doing stuff like that!

Shibu and I had perfect weather - sunshine, cool breeze, bright clear skies and a beautiful, safe trail. The canal trail is something to enjoy and share! Please go and see what I am talking about!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Fight Like Susan

I wrote before about Fatcyclist - Elden and how he is using his blog to raise money for cancer. His wife Susan passed away on August 5 at 7:25pm. The day she died Elden had posted a 'contest' to get more donations for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. I've never seen anything like it. The contest definitely pushed up the totals in his fundraising efforts but since Tuesday he's raised close to $50,000. That's incredible. Everyone seems to want to 'Fight like Susan' against cancer and Elden has made it very personal with all of his stories about Susan.

So - Please, check out his website linked above. Don't forget the tissues - the last few weeks have been rough. If that's too much, just watch his riding videos - good music and a lot of fun to watch- almost rollercoaster quality. But consider giving - even just $5.00 - at this time it puts you in the running for a really cool bike - ( a really cool $9000 bike). I know a lot of people in this area that are fighting cancer or have fought and won - so please consider it. Elden and his teams are over the $500,000 dollare mark so far - and that is just awesome!

Fight Like Susan!

Friday, July 31, 2009

The rain is....gone?

Is that brightness I see? are the raindrops gone?

Yesterday was a glorious, blue sky, bright sun day and then at 3am this morning thunder woke everyone up and it started to pour! This is the first time all day that I've not seen it at least sprinkle.

Maybe I can cook the hamburgers outside after all???? With my garage gone I can't stand under the door and cook regardless of the weather and while the new shed is awesome - it doesn't have an awning - *note to self - build a place to cook regardless of snow, sleet, and rain!

So tonight Bren & Shell and their families are coming over for dinner.... hamburgers, packet potatoes (thanks PW), chocolate passion bowl (thanks Kraft) and Pomegranate Blueberry Margaritas (thanks Tastefully Simple). So if the rain holds off - the burgers will be cooked on charcoal and all will be good! Otherwise they just aren't as good on the stove!

Tomorrow we're going Blueberry picking! Yum!

And Saturday is an adventure - heading east!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Grass...hopefully soon

I'm talking about the green stuff not the smoking stuff...

That being said, with the garage gone we had to get grass planted, but I was gone for 3 weekends in a row. Well - tonight I finally raked enough and planted and fertilized. Now - I have to water, water, water and wait, wait, wait... I also cleaned out some of the area between our driveway and the lady's house next door. It looks better already. So tomorrow I'll do some more. My mom's been working on the inside so much, I figure I can help by working on the outside.

I have to work on more - but I'll try to get some pictures up of the area soon. The new shed is being installed later this week (I hope).

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fatcyclist

I am not exactly sure how I learned of www.fatcyclist.com - probably Melanie told me. Regardless I soon became hooked on Fatty's (aka Elden's) adventures biking in Utah as well as the struggle his wife, Susan, is dealing with - metastasized breast cancer. Fatty has been working very hard to help his wife deal with the day to day struggles and while he doesn't mention things very often about her pain and suffering - he opened up on Tuesday. He had even mentioned a couple of things on Monday - but the Tuesday post really hit me hard. I cried - sobbed actually.

Elden has done so much for his family and through his blog he has challenged, pushed, cajoled, rewarded and just made us all want to raise money for the LiveStrong Challenge. Team Fatty (link to the Philadelphia fundraising page for Team Fatty) has raised the most money in the Seattle, San Jose, Austin and Philadelphia races. It's so awesome to see so many people from all over the world come together to fight cancer.

So - Please Pray for Susan, Elden, their 4 children and all the people who care for them.

WIN Susan!!!!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Chicago

My only experience with Chicago has been to switch planes at ORD. But tomorrow that is all going to change... My friend Ash and his fiancee, Mitul, are getting married on Saturday in Downers Grove - just outside of Chicago. I am so excited about this! First and foremost is the fact that Ash is getting married and he seems so very happy. Meeting his family and Mitul are exciting too! It's going to be a big wedding and different for me because it's an Indian (from India - not Native American) wedding.

Tomorrow morning I head out to Syracuse to catch my flight. Tomorrow night is a dance - called a Garba. I don't dance much, but I guess I'll get over it! :)

I'll be adding more stuff - my laptop and camera will be heading with me.
Bon Voyage!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Update on Bell Festival!

The rain came. The End.

That's pretty much it. The wind was unreal, the sky was black and then the thunder and lightning started and that was it for me. Everyone else had packed up about an hour prior to me - I'm nothing if not stubborn, and I just couldn't stick it out anymore. It was lonely on top of the hill in the gazebo!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Boilermaker

I've never been more proud to live in and be a Utican. I volunteered this year for the first time. I got up at 5:30 Sunday and left my house at 6:45 - on my bike. Every road near my house is closed for the Boilermaker, but at least I can ride my bike. So I rode up to the golf course and the DPW - found my friend Brenda. We got our shirts, got all of our cups of ice ready - 2-3 deep covering the table. Everyone talked about how they always run out of ice, and most of these people have been doing this for 15 years or so. We had a demonstration of how to handle the cups so as not to make the runners fight for them or get soaking wet. It was funny - but important too.

The wheelchairs started at 7:30am and the runners started at 8:00 am. The first wheelchair was just a little after 8 (I think ) and then the elite runners were around 8:15 - it's poetry in motion watching them. They don't even look at the water or the ice! LOL!

As the rest of the pack came through we all yelled "Ice, Ice, Ice" - you don't want a runner to grab a cup from you thinking they are getting water and they instead end up with a chipped tooth or choking. So for about an hour and 30 minutes that's what we did. The runners that got ice - 90% of them said "Thanks" - which I found amazing because they are so focused on running! Then you get those who thank you for volunteering! I just did it because I can't run and want to be a part of the excitement, the action, the camaraderie.

But here is the best part of all. I went down to the Brewery for the post Boilermaker party, I'd never been there before so I was curious. It was awesome - huge - totally cool and lol - "smelly"! I mean it in a funny way - but you have 10,000 or so people who have been running - you have the sun beating on them, add some beer and it's going to smell a little. I was walking around, ran into a few people that I know and talked to them and then I ran into a family from Albany. They saw my volunteer shirt and asked me where to find Tomato Pie! My mind blanked! I could not think of a place that would have it on hand on a Sunday morning! How horrible! But then I remembered Roma's and my friend S - who's husband works there. I got Roma's number and was able to give them directions to it from Schuyler street. It was a blast to try and help them. But then the wife said to me that she was very impressed with Utica and Uticans! "The Boilermaker", she said, "is one of the best organized and friendliest races that she has ever been a part of". This made me very proud to be from Utica! Utica gets a lot of bad publicity and stupid comments - but it is a great place to live, work and be proud of!

Thank you to all who volunteered, participated in and worked at the Boilermaker! Every year I am amazed by the great stories I hear of people helping others and just the whole 'family' feeling that the race invokes in people.

Utica Rocks!

Friday, July 10, 2009

All set up - part 2

Keychains and necklaces! Oh my1

All set up! Part 1

Here are my magnets.

Bell Festival - New York Mills

The Annual Bell Festival - Every year New York Mills holds its annual Bell Fest. This is where the whole community gets together and celebrates yet another great year in New York Mills history with food, fun, and fireworks as the traditional ending.

Because of my Dominoes, my brother's Aunt -in-law invited me to sell my dominoes at the Bell Festival. So - I will be there. I'm setting up in the Gazebo - right on Main Street. Tonight the Floyd Community Band is playing at 7:00 pm and tomorrow night there is an Elvis Tribute. I've got a great seat for both!

I hope to see some of you there - I'll have my iPhone and I'll update the happenings as the night and tomorrow progress!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Synopsis on Camping

I did have a good time camping - for the most part. And no it wasn't the rain or mud that bothered me. I've found that I am offended by people's lack of respect for others space. I had two neighbors - the neighbor to the right of me was just like me. Quiet, relaxed, just wanting to enjoy the time away and with nature. I never even spoke to him or his wife, I did speak with his father and daughter though for a few minutes.
The neighbor to the left - another story all together. Walked through my campsite at all hours of night and day - in front of and behind my tent - when I was asleep - waking me up and scaring the tar out of me. The generator after 9:00 pm when it wasn't supposed to be on. The very loud music that could be heard all over the campground and to the lake even. He had bass boost on too - so even if you couldn't hear the music, you could hear the loud thump. At one point I thought that Jerry Springer must be next door because of the 'F' this and 'F' that. It makes me want to rent 3 spots next year and use the center one for myself.

But all that being said - I met some very nice people. A family from Long Island - on a 5 week vacation with their two boys. Mike and Lynn were very friendly and had a great dog named Socks.
Then there was the family that stayed where I had been last year - don't know their names, but the mom and I talked for awhile. I am pretty sure that she has been fighting cancer as she had the 'chemo' puffiness and no hair. She had a beautiful smile and eyes that lit up when she talked about all that they had done.
And of course the lady at the concession stand - working 7 days a week, 12 hours a day. Her prices were more than fair and the portions were huge!
Then there was the family down from me that rescued and hung up my towel for me, I had left for hiking and they found my towel in the road - it was really windy!
And of course all of the people that I met when I was out and about - Taughannock Falls, Watkins Glen, Captain Bills Cruises, Monteczuma Winery - etc...

I tried to even out this post with what makes me cranky and those things that make me smile. It was a good time - but I am going to try and get a spot in the 5 regular loops - they are quieter from what I understand.

Monday, July 6, 2009

MWPAI

Great music! Bluesy gospel awesome.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Good Morning Sunshine!

Absolutely stunning sunrise this morning!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Stroller IV

Captain Bills Cruises out of Watkins Glen. I had a nice time have to
admit that the movement of the boat was making me wickedly sleepy. But
it was interesting to hear about the salt mining that takes place
1800-2200 feet below the surface. They said that there is enough salt
in that one spot to supply the world for 600 years.

It was also nice to see Hector Falls from the water, I appreciated the
height of them.

Lodi Point State Park

Yet another gem on the Fingerlakes. Picnicing, great playground and
boat launch. Very clean and well kept. And here's a note to the budget
conscious, if you are camping in a state park and visit other state
parks with your camping permit there is no charge. So Taughannock was
free as was Lodi Point and I'm now heading to Watkins Glen.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Taughannock Falls

Very nice hike to the falls.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Beautiful

It did rain earlier. Actually it poured. But when I got to my site it
had stopped enough that I could set up my tents (I did the screen one
first to put everything under if necessary). It has sprinkled a couple
of times but now as I am typing this there is beautiful, wonderful,
ever so lovely blue sky. God is good!

I had steak and grilled mushrooms for dinner. Yum! I was hungry after
all of the packing, setting up and unpacking. Now I'm ready for bed,
but I don't think that 6:45pm is late enough.

Have a good night everyone!