Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas and the magic of a Santa hat!

As many of you probably know I work in retail for a second job. I've found that 99% of the people out there shopping want to be in a good mood but that's hard to stay in that frame of mind when they can't get help, feel like they are ignored or whatever. My Santa hat has had a 'magical' effect on me and thankfully on my customers. I've worked two days in a row 8am to 12:30am with about 40 minutes between where I took a power nap. Last night I woke up from my nap at 6pm and felt like I'd been used as a washrag and put through a wringer. I got dressed and went downstairs to add some bling to my Santa hat and put it on in front of the mirror and just started smiling. It was truly magic!

Customers smile when you start off with a smile for them. They laugh when I say silly stuff and it just really makes a difference. I do all that I can to help my customers and to make at least a few minutes of their day better - and the biggest reason is that it's good for them and for me. This has been a grueling two days, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the whole world. People walked up with lots of burdens and no smile and left with a happy heart. That is a good thing.

So Merry Christmas - and if you are feeling Bah Humbug, put on a Santa Hat and go say Merry Christmas a few times - it will change your life.

God Bless you all, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Spirit

I was working at the store on Saturday - it was a very busy weekend. I was asked to stay on the floor and greet customers, hand them bags for shopping if needed, help them with anything that they may need, find sizes, colors, offer suggestions, etc. I love it. Making people happy and smiling - gives back to me ten-fold.

About 2 hours into my shift I was standing near the door to the mall - wishing people a Merry Christmas, a man and woman with their two toddlers and a stroller with 2 month old twins walked by I wished them a Merry Christmas and the man stopped and said it was the best Christmas ever! A lady in the mall had stopped them and given them a $100.00 bill. I get goose bumps every time I repeat the story. That's what Christmas is about. Giving and making others feel blessed and loved.

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas

This is a weird Christmas for me. Usually my mom and I are buying and wrapping presents together and trying not to give each other gifts early - which never works. But now that she's in Texas and I live alone the only 'people' who watch me wrap are Einstein and Henry. RB has seen the fruits of my labors, but I haven't given in to the urge to give him something early. I did send one gift to my mom early so that she could wrap herself up in it, a soft, cozy blue sweater that I thought would make her feel hugged on cold days and on days of chemo and radiation. She has to have more chemo than originally thought, so please keep her in your prayers.

Also - this is the first year in a long time that I will not be with any of my family. My mom is in Texas as is my younger brother and his family and my other brother - well that's a long story. There is some work to be done by both us - repairs actually. Christmas will be with RB and his family. I'm looking forward to it but also a little sad. Missing my mom I guess....

Monday, December 6, 2010

Snow

It's snowing like crazy! I woke up this morning to the realization that I would have to shovel tonight when I get home from work. I think I was hoping that the snow would miraculously stop and melt overnight. Well that didn't happen!

I worked at second job last night. I really do enjoy working there - the shoppers need someone to smile at them, wish them a Merry Christmas, and help them with anything that we possibly can. It's a joy making someone smile and be happy in this crazy world we live in.

I'll post some pictures later!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Thanksgiving and more

I've never been so busy or so blessed than I have been this year. With the economy the way it is, having two/almost 3 jobs that I really enjoy is a blessing.
A list of things that I'm thankful for:

  • my health has been good
  • life is good
  • RB is wonderful
  • I have two crazy loving orange tabby cats that make life interesting
  • my house is in decent shape
  • my hot water heater had a slight hiccup but thanks to RB's advice it's now happy again
  • my mom is getting through her Chemo and Radiation pretty well
  • my friends are so dear and loving
  • God is good and he listens!
  • Work is busy and I'm learning new stuff all the time
  • My other job is rewarding in an entirely different way because I've got closer contact to customers - I do like this part a lot, not as hard mentally as job 1 - but harder physically!
  • RB is my friend and so much more
  • Thanksgiving was about friends and family, the past memories but the good new memories
  • I met RB's cousin finally and really liked her - can't wait to spend time with her again. 
  • My mom and I talked quite a bit - hard being away from her, but thankful that she is still fighting the good fight. 
Life is very full and very fulfilling! Very much a pleasure to be living right now...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Kitty update

Both cats are in fine health and full of 'piss and vinegar' as my mom used to say about us. They are funny little guys. Well not so little anymore - Henry is getting a belly on him - all that fine food pouring I'm doing these days. :)

I worked all weekend at the second job - 8 hours on Saturday and 6 last night. I'm a tired puppy. But the good thing is I slept last night - soundly and wonderfully. Saturday night was a different story - I was so tired that I crashed at 8:15 - couldn't stay awake anymore - I was cold and tired. So I woke up at midnight and was able to go back to sleep - woke up at 1:15 and it had to be three before I fell back to sleep. I even took a benedryl - guaranteed to make me pass out, but to no avail. And even when I did go back to sleep I was in a half awake, mind rolling over everything under the sun - not a good place to be at times. I got up at 8 and I looked like I'd not slept in a week. I didn't do much yesterday - took a nap that was much like my sleepless night. And then worked from 5-1030 - it was a good thing - I tired myself out and slept much better.

So enough of that saga!

My mom has cancer in her lung again. This time she is getting radiation and today the chemo starts. Please pray for her and keep her in your thoughts. She is so strong and so committed to winning this, but I know that the chemo especially is going to test her strength and endurance. The good thing is that I saw her about a month ago and my brothers were both with her this weekend - it was good for her to see the older one as he lives up here too.

Well - I have to get back to work and save the world - one computer at a time from viruses and user error! :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Henry and Einstein

I'm a cat lover - in case you haven't figured that out yet.

I have two of them Einstein (7 years old) and Henry (1 year old). Einstein brought Henry home this spring and Henry decided after a couple of weeks and some good food on a regular basis that he would stay. I took him to the vet and had him checked out - he's a handsome little lad with an amazing ability to do some stupid things and yet make me laugh every time.  Einstein was about two when I adopted him and his brother Jefferson from a family that was moving to Arkansas and couldn't take them. Jeffy was incredibly friendly and trusting and must have been picked up by someone or hurt - I never found him as much as I tried.

And - something to note - Jeffy and Einstein were indoor cats before they came to me (supposedly). They were houdinis when it came to getting out of the house - especially Einstein. We put new windows in all the rooms of the house one summer - and I noticed a couple of times when I came home from work that Einstein was waiting for me outside. When I know darned well he was on my bed sleeping when I left that morning. Well the new window screen in my room wasn't quite installed correctly and Einstein realized that if he pushed he could slide between the screen and house and get on the roof of the back hall. From there he would go to the pergola and then climb down the lilac. My Einstein isn't a dummy. He knows that if he gets on that back roof and meows it will wake me up and I'll let him in!

In the spring Einstein got a horrid abscess and it was good I got him to the vet when I did. He was one sick kitty. Well I now check him and Henry often to make sure they don't have any wounds or swelling because they do scrap with other animals - a lot, especially Hankster the Gangster! Well - Henry came in on Sunday with some swelling, but I found the wound - did hot wet compresses, cleaned it up and kept an eye on him. No fever and his appetite was fantastic. But Wednesday night he came home and he was so swollen he looked awful! I was able to (sorry in advance) drain the abscess - YUCK - put hot compresses on it and get the wound very clean. I kept him in and then brought him to the vet on Thursday morning. The vet even said I did a good job - gave me some antibiotics and we'll go back in two weeks to make sure Henry is in tip top shape.

I kept Henry in the house for 36 hours - LOL - not good if you want to get sleep! He attacked my feet, chewed on my hands, jumped on and off the bed, and made his purr noise and meowed. He was saying -  "I feel good - let me out now!!!" So I did - he came back in at lunch and looks like a million dollars - the swelling is gone and he is a happy camper.

Cats are funny - I'm not their owner - I'm their servant. My focus must be on them when they want it and "shoooo" away if they don't. Funny little guys that they are.

So that's enough about the beasties...but I wanted to share my 'kids' with you!

Monday, October 25, 2010

I feel like I've been gone forever

I went to Texas to visit my mom last weekend. I try not post about travels until I'm done as I don't want people to know that I'm not home. Anyway - that was a segue wasn't it?

Well I went to Texas to just have a fun visit and meet all of mom's new friends. Well about a week before the visit that all changed - my mom called and told me that she had lung cancer (again). Quick history - right after September 11, 2001 my mom found out she had lung cancer - the summer of 2002 she found out she had throat cancer. Surgery was performed for the lung cancer and radiation for the throat cancer - and she has been clean until now.

When I got there on Thursday, my mom had been home from the hospital after having had a need biopsy that morning for an hour or so. The doctors told her before she went in that there was a 90% chance that her lung would collapse. They wanted her to go to another hospital and have a surgeon do the needle biopsy - she said no - she had waited long enough. My mom and her friend Patti asked if they could pray before they did the biopsy. The doctor overheard their prayers and thanked them for including him. Well - my mom came through without a collapsed lung, God is good.

We had a good visit - her friends in Texas are the most wonderful people that I have ever met. Giving, loving, caring and selfless. It's a beautiful thing. My mom is in good hands.

Here she is on a Harley - with a really neat man named Mike. Basically he was a stranger to her but willing to give her an adventure! Thanks Mike!

Oh - and about the Texas Rangers outfit - my brothers are both Yankees fans and my mom got that outfit to basically drive them both crazy - I think it worked and it helped the Rangers win at home and they are heading to the World Series!!!!

And one more thing - I've never seen my mom smile as much as she is in this picture and others that have been taken in Texas - she is really and truly happy!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Porch: Old and New

It's been about 3 years since we painted the posts and sides of the porch - in the green and white. We needed to do the deck and the skirting but frankly I'm too much of a pain about that stuff and figured that I would drive myself crazy trying to make it perfect - it wasn't going to happen. So I hired "Uncle Rick" to do it for me and he went way above and beyond what I thought was needed - it's a good thing because he got rid of a lot of rotting wood and frankly it's just better all the way around.


This is looking from the stairs to the east - the gray paint is in horrid condition. It really needs this paint job!

This is just after he removed all of the old wood underneath - I had cut the wegalia's back so that he could get in there so it's a drastic change. Usually the wegalia's hide everything - hence the moisture damage in there I am sure.

This picture shows how awful the boards are on the deck - also if you can tell - it shows the black railing that has been newly painted and looks beautiful. I took this picture at 10 at night after I got home from second job.


Rb and I drove out to see his mom yesterday and when we got home - the porch was painted...RED! It's not what I had in mind - we (my mom and I) picked out what we thought was a deep burgundy color - LOL - nope - it's more a Chianti color and bordering on FireTruck Red. Ah well - I'm ready for Christmas now.


In this picture you get the full effect! - the sun is really sparking up the color. Well - you certainly can't miss my house - I can just say it's the house with the red porch and pretty soon everyone in Utica will know which one it is!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Roses from RB

My office is dark and the lighting isn't the best - but these are truly gorgeous roses. They are from Chesters Flowers and honestly they have the best arrangements.  Thanks honey!

Hydrangeas from RB


These are from RB's yard - they are beautiful and he brings some to me every now and then....I dry them so that I have them for longer than a few days....

Hello Blue Skies and Sunshine

The rain seems to have finally taken a leave of absence from Upstate NY. I don't usually mind the rain but for some reason it feels like it has been raining for days.  And of course you could probably read that in my last post - my almost unreasonable anger with messy shoppers. I've always been a pick up after myself kind of person and that part of me comes out like crazy when I'm tired or stressed or depressed for a better lack of a word. But hopefully I'm over that hump now...I need a break from it.

It's been a wonderful week in that my RB made my birthday a very special day. In so many ways.... roses sent to work - red, yellow, pink and white... dinner at a wonderful restaurant - The Willows. And a beautiful necklace with multiple ways of wearing it and a candle to remind me of camp. Wow! He was so thoughtful - and I mean that in that he thought about it a lot and with a lot of care. Boy am I lucky!!!

My 'Uncle Rick' is working on my front porch and doing a great job - in between the rain drops. I'll show before/during/after pics soon.

And I think that's it for now...I'll post some pics of the roses next.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

To all you messy shoppers!

Normally I'm not negative about people - I think the best of people to a fault. Working at the department store has given me another perspective. I seriously thought that teenagers would be an issue but quickly learned that while they are the silliest walking through they generally are pretty well behaved. Nope - it's women who believe that it's their right to go through all the racks - take off a pile of clothes and then start scattering them throughout the store. Or the woman the other night - in her 60's with her hubby or man friend, who went through all the folded sweaters and shirts - It took me 3 hours to get those back to rights There are about 60 feet of shelving times 5 (five shelves per unit). This giggling silly woman would pick up every single shirt and say "oooooh what about this one honey?" in a sickening little girl voice and then toss it back. I had to go back through after this woman left and fix almost every item on the top level as she was very consistent in her destruction. And....drum roll please....they were there for at least 1.5 hours and she bought nothing. The man didn't look happy.

I went in yesterday at 11 and the store had only been open for 3 hours - you couldn't even tell that I had folded the night before. I'm not saying that you should refold everything that you look at but don't toss it like a salad for dinner! LOL

It also amazes me the food, gum and drink containers that are left on the folding tables or display areas - there is a garbage can at every single register and we are happy to throw it away for you. And there is a huge garbage can just as you walk out the the mall.

The Christmas rush has already started and with it crabby people - but so far so good. I smile and greet everyone as though we've been acquaintances or better yet friends for years - it usually takes the crabby out of people pretty fast. Some of my co-workers have the ability to attract the crabbies - but we all get through it.

So try to think about all that folding and don't toss the shirt back in like it's garbage!

Thank you for reading my rant!

Friday, October 1, 2010

My newest adventure

I'm crazy...but that's okay...I have lots of wonderful company! LOL!

My full time job is as a systems analyst with a small IT company, my second job is with a national department store and now I'm adding a third job/adventure and that is as a Tastefully Simple Consultant. I've been having parties for about 4 years now. Our consultant is Lisa Petrie and she has just been wonderful to the group of us. And since almost the first time we met she's been asking me to be a consultant - and of course I'm stubborn and kept putting her off - only now I've decided I'm going for it.

In case you are wondering what Tastefully Simple is - here is my site. http://www.tastefullysimple.com/web/mmanning2 . The food is awesome - everything is meant to be made with 2 or less ingredients. It's an American company and was started in Alexandria, Minnesota in 1995.
Please message me if you are wondering about it. I will answer any and all questions.

Happy Eating and Drinking....

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Henry the Cat. A.k.a stinky

Nap time with Henry before work. He climbed up on my side and plopped head down over my arm. He still smells a little skunky.

**update - when I laid down Henry was at the end of the bed - he got up and moved up to my head, laid down and put his nose to my forehead. He's such a funny, sweet beast. One thing I've realized though - Henry doesn't like people, I opened the door and he wouldn't go out because there were people walking by. What I really think is that because I feed him he'd do anything for me! :-)

100,000 miles


I bought my Ford Focus Wagon (Bess) in August of 2003 - little did I know that I'd actually still be driving it 7 years, 1 month and 8 days later! This car is wonderful vehicle and has been on many adventures with me. As it turned to 100,000 miles I thought about all of the places I have driven this car to, some happy, some sad and some crazy.

Bess has been to Nebraska once, Texas twice, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. She's been to far too many hospitals in Buffalo, Utica and Boston. But she's also been on lots of seasonal roads, getting covered in mud and dust and pretending it was a four wheel vehicle. By far the camping trips - loaded up with all of my camping stuff and the bike rack on the back - heading out to Sampson State Park - were the best trips. Knowing that Bess was big enough in the back for me to sleep in was always in the back of my mind as showers and thunderstorms would roll through.

Bess also moved my mom to Texas. That poor car was filled to the gills - and silly me overinflated her tires a tad too much and black ice almost took us out. But we made it in one piece. I've lost her gas cap twice now - once I was able to retrieve it - somewhere in Illinois or Indiana - but this last time I was in Tennessee and didn't realize for hours that it was gone.

Bess was also involved in Mom's 'giveaways' - we'd drive through poorer sections of town on hot days with a couple of coolers of Italian ices, water and soda and give them to people sitting on their porches or walking on the sidewalks. This was my mom's favorite pastime - and I was her chauffeur.

There have also been times - more recently when RB and I sat in the back of Bess and played chess and had cheese and crackers while waiting for laundry to finish. And she's move clients from one office to another - I can fit a lot of computers and monitors and printers in her all at once. Yesterday was 7 pc's, 1 server, 5 printers, 1 iMac, 7 monitors, all of the keyboards, speakers, mice, surge protectors and UPS's. And I could still see out the back!

Bess is a great car and I hope to have lots more adventures with her for many years to come.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Good Morning

So much for writing every day. It was one of the busiest weeks I've had in a long time. But that's not a bad thing. Dinner with friends, relaxing with RB, TastefullySimple party at Bren's house and then headed to The Delta Lake Inn, Rome NY.
My friend KS has been asking me all summer if I wanted to head out to the Inn to listen to her friend Bonnie play piano and join in the sing-a-longs that inevitably happen and as much as I wanted to, getting used to working the two jobs and being an person who likes to be in bed at 9, I just never made it.  Well - last night Bonnie was playing - a number of KS's friends would be there and I know a lot of them too. What a wonderful surprise and so much fun! I love Broadway musicals and any other music that you can sing a long to. I was there for no more than 10 minutes when Bonnie played Billy Joel's "The Piano Man" - It's perfect and everyone sang along! It was also PL's birthday so that made it especially festive last night. I didn't stay late - 11 was my limit.
And the funniest part of the night was the joke that KS played on me - I'm still chuckling and shaking my head. It all started earlier in the day when I went to Empire Recycling Center in Utica with a lot of old computers and printers that were of no use to anyone. Well there were a few guys there that had ridden their bikes over hauling a lot of metal and stuff and they 'helped' me unload my car and push the cart (which did weigh 430lbs) when I got it on the scale. And the one guy "Gary" kept shaking my hand - LOL - big flirt! Too funny. They all were. So back to last night. KS and I went up to the bar right after I got there. A Guinness seemed to be the perfect choice for a beverage. There was a man there with overalls - very friendly - talkative - asking questions, being a little flirty - well after we went back to the piano area KS proceeded to tease me about this man 'hitting' on me. I told her about 'Gary' and the other guys at Empire and we laughed - KS told a couple of other people too who laughed too. Fast Forward to 10:40pm - this man walks up to me and hands me a soda and says it's from the man at the end of the bar. I almost ran out the door! We all got to laughing and I turned red - Bonnie started playing some 'love is in the air' type song. I slid over in my chair so the overalls guy couldn't see me. It took KS about 8 minutes - then she fessed up to being the one who had the drink sent to me - that started another round of laughter. Too funny and she got me good!

On another note - Heading up to RB's camp tonight after work. Can't wait to enjoy a beautiful campfire and all of the fresh cool air up north.

The view from the back of RB's house and the fire pit is right there as well.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

To RB - a story

There once was this girl who thought that she would never meet the "right man" and have someone to love and who loved her back. She prayed about it a lot. Dated some nice guys, dated some not so nice guys and finally got to the point where she just didn't date. Her mom was not in the best of health and she helped her mom with stuff around the house and when she was in the hospital she would be there for her mom. But one day her mom moved a long ways away and the girl lived alone for the first time ever.

It wasn't easy at first because the girl didn't know what to do with the freedom! Not having to worry about where her mom may be and what may happen and all of that scary stuff. It took a few months but finally the girl felt like she was coming into her own.

And then one day she received an email from a guy on a website - a nice email, from an intelligent sounding man, and she replied and he replied back and this went on for about a week when they decided to meet. The girl went with little hope that they guy was as nice as he seemed in the email. Seriously how could he be? - he seemed smart, kind, and way too nice.

Well the guy and the girl met for the first time at a coffee house - the girl felt safe there - she knew the owner and knew ways to get out of the building and be gone before the guy would even have a clue. But within a few minutes the girl realized that this guy was as genuine as he seemed in his emails. He had a manly face, an open engaging smile, his eyes crinkled and he laughed with joy when speaking to the girl. The first date lasted a few hours and the guy and the girl exchanged email addresses and phone numbers at the end and had a quick hug. The girl went home hoping that what had just happened was for real.

Well five months plus later - the girl is still surprised by the guy on a regular basis. He is as genuine and giving and loving and nice and caring as she thought and even more so he's funny, adventurous and just a wonderful man. The girl is thinking that God does answer prayers - better than anyone could ever know....

Thanks RB for emailing me that day....it was a good, good day!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday

I slept in for the first time in a very long time - really slept in. Usually 6:45 is sleeping in - sometimes even as late as 7:15. When my eyes opened this morning it was 9:40 - wow!

Yesterday I had to work at my second job - 8:30-3:30 - it made for a long day. Then last night was Game Night at KS's house - with 9 other people! Lots of laughs - my stomach is still a little sore from the laughing. We ate yummy tacos - had lots of dips and chips and fresh fruit and rum cake for desert. The only thing I can tell you about KS is that she loves to mix up the foods! And I love her for it. There is never any of that well you can't have filet mignon with potato chips - stuff - it's eat what you like with whatever else you like and it's all good!

We played Apples to Apples, "L-C-R" or Left Center Right ,(this is a fun game and could be played with money, or as a drinking game - or whatever else you come up with. It's lots of fun! and fast paced!), we also played Outburst - our team won of course! LOL  And there were many "verbal explosions"! It was a great night and now I have to go buy L-C-R because it's inexpensive and so much fun!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Date Night

My girlfriend and her husband are instituting date night - they have a sitter for their son 2 nights a month - a Friday and a Saturday. Tonight is their date night but RB and I are broke so we can't join them this time. I'm not really broke it's just that I have an insurance payment, property taxes and all that fun stuff to take care of.

But who says date night has to be a going out adventure? RB and I are going to make dinner together - well he's probably doing more of it than I am as he gets out of work earlier - but we'll cook it together. I have the National Treasure movies, so I'm thinking we'll have dinner watch a movie (or two), maybe play chess too!

The Remsen Barn Festival is taking place on the 25th and 26th of September, so I hope that my work schedule is conducive to heading up there on that Sunday. I actually started to write that it was next weekend, but thankfully I'm incorrect about that as I already know I have to work on Saturday.

Fall seems to have hit hard all at once. The temperatures have cooled right down, it's been rainy and misty. Saturday looks to be a beautiful sunny day - I hope that people take advantage of it and get outside. All of our (upstate New Yorkers) complaining about the cold and snow and length of winter should make us get outside and soak up all of the sun when it's out there.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New wipers

It's a good thing that I finally bought new wipers - it rained last night and it looks like today will be rainy off and on. Not complaining because we really needed it. My old wipers were so bad that I couldn't see out the window - this morning - it was like the lights came on in the car when I turned those bad boys on! There was light! and it was streak and bug gut free!

It will be a busy day today - that's not a bad thing in any way. I enjoy having lots to do, keeps me from getting bored and wanting to sleep. Brought cupcakes in - already had comments about them - as in "ugh" from the one guy who always goes in for the kill and wants to eat sweets. His only will power with them is if they aren't here. So he always gets 'mad' at me for bringing them in - but enjoys them anyway! :)

Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Good Advice

I was reading the Pioneer Woman today and am going to take her advice to heart if at all possible. So basically it is to make sure that if you are a blogger to keep blogging and give your readers something to read.

She writes about everything! Embarrassing stuff, funny stuff, heart wrenching stuff, everything!

I don't think that I want to share any embarrassing stuff. At least not right now!

My day was a little strange - didn't feel so hot all day - lots of stress, but we all have that right! So after work - in my very nice clothes - better dressed today than usual I went to the auto parts store and bought new wipers for my car. It's bad when your wipers leave a worse mess than what you are trying to wipe off! I seriously thought I just put the last blades on a year ago, um....no it was 26 months ago - no wonder they were falling apart!  My car is now happier and the windshield has been de-bugged.


On Monday RB and I went to Heids of Liverpool. RB saw "Man vs. Food" and realized that Heids wasn't that far away. So we had lunch there - it was good but honestly I won't drive an hour for it again. Sorry Heids! It's cool that it was on a national show - but I really like Zweigles so much better! Thanks to RB - of course you can only get them in Rochester area Wegmans!


Last night RB and I decided to go to the laundromat and wash our blankets. Well RB always has great ideas and we had Twisted Tea, cheese and crackers, played chess and have nice clean blankies now! I've never enjoyed a visit to the laundromat so much in my life and believe me, I have been to very many of them over the years.


Well - I have to go get the cupcakes out of the pan, frost them and bring them to work tomorrow!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Kayaking

It is a week later than I said I would do this, but things have been so hectic! I started on this last week and the phone rang and then I realized I was going to be late for work if I didn't get a move on....LOL
So - a few week's ago RB's friend (and now my friend) LM told me she would go with me kayaking. I did it quite a few years ago and loved it and have been dying to do it again. So we drove up to Old Forge - Mountain Man Sports - RB had been there and thought it would be a good place to go.

We rented two kayaks - with the big opening (which was a really good thing because it was hot in the sun and we got more air that way). And we got loaded into a van - with our kayaks on the back trailer rack and brought up to North street
At the top right hand corner of the map you can see where there is a bridge over the river - we got dropped off there and proceeded to snake our way all through the River all the way back to Mountain Man Sports. One problem - well we knew it but still it didn't stop our optimism - it was 5 miles! It took us about 4.5 hours and we got stuck on logs and sand bars a few times - too funny. Had to get out and stretch our legs. Oh and we brought nothing with us - no water, no sunscreen, no food, nothing! Unprepared to say the least - but it was so much fun! I did get a heck of a sunburn on my shoulders and arms as well as the insides of my legs. The kayak protected the outer sides but from the center of my shins in I was burnt. I look funny still! At one point too - you have to get out and carry your kayaks for .2 of a mile - most of us would swear it is a mile by the time we are done. LM and I carried the two kayaks together because unless you put it over your head or drag it's not getting carried alone. There were mud pits, roots galore, hills, bridges, more mud, rocks and more roots. But we made it!

View Larger Map
This map will allow you to look at the whole length of the river that we followed.
We were probably an hour into this and needed to take a break. This is LM's kayak as my sandals were strapped to the back. It was very sandy and really nice all along the river. 
This was pretty much the widest place on the river - and absolutely gorgeous. It was a spectacular day!
When we had to carry our kayaks - I forgot the other thing we had to do - was carry it over this bridge! It was a little dilapidated, but we did it!
Here's me - still thinking that I'm strong enough to carry the world! LOL - this was about halfway down the trail!
I took this picture from the foot of the bridge - it was so beautiful with the sun streaming through.
It was a fantastic day and if you ever want to try kayaking I suggest you go to Mountain Man Sports - they were nice, professional and it was something like $78.00 for the two of us all day.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lots of stuff!

I'll have to write more on Saturday - but there are three things I want to talk about...

1.) Mountain Man Sports in Old Forge NY
2.) The Balkan - spoke about them before but want to talk about OktoberFest and potato pancakes! Yum!
3.) Willows - on Culver Ave in Utica. The most delicious food, great service (thanks Ruth) and beautiful redo on an old restaurant. Celebrated RB's birthday there.

I'll be back with some pictures and lots of descriptions!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Summertime

I believe that this is the best summer I've had in a long time. The weather has been exceptional - a little humid, but nothing a hose, shower, pool or creek can't help with.

I've been spending time with RB up at his camp - it's paradise - just about 45 minutes North of where I live and it feels like it is in the middle of nowhere. It's beautiful, quiet and just empty of lots of people. When we went last weekend I may have seen 10 people - maybe and most of them were in vehicles leaving the area.

Sitting in front of the fire and having a conversation with RB or just sitting there and listening to the birds, animals, life in the woods - I can't describe how good that is for my soul.

I've also spent time in my house - starting to move things around a bit. My mom moved out and honestly it still feels like our house - but I don't know that she'll be moving back ever. So now I'm starting to make changes and rearrange. It's not painting time yet - I'd rather do that in the fall or spring when I can't spend as much time outside.

My front porch is a haven as well. I sit in one of the Adirondack chairs with a cup of coffee and a book, Henry the cat stretches out on my lap or across my shoulders, Einstein lays on the bench next to me. The wegalia makes my space private along with the shades and I can sit there and read, or listen to the neighborhood waking up and getting on with their day.

I firmly believe that life is what you make of it. I've always known that but RB has helped me to see it and live it more consistently. My life is good - better than I could have imagined actually. Summertime....

Monday, July 19, 2010

Peace

This place just gives me a sense of peace and calm. It's up near Forestport and to me is as close to heaven as anywhere on this earth. A lot of that has to do with the person I am with when I'm up there, but it's also the beauty, the serenity, the quiet, the water running over rocks, the birds and other animals in the woods.

This picture was taken around 7 in the morning (I totally lose track of time when we are up north) - the landscape was changing every time I looked around - the sun cast shadows and lights up areas as it rises in the sky and everything looks new again.

At night it was the fire that mesmerized me. I could just stare at it for hours, and did as a matter of fact...

Nature waking up!

This was taken with my iPhone using the Hipstamatic Camera App - specifically the JohnS 195226 lens. This app basically takes pictures that look like photos from years ago - I love this lens a lot - the pictures always come out with these blue green hues and sometimes even a watercolor feel to them.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Camp

I've been working a lot lately and haven't really gotten to spend time at RB's camp. Well we enjoyed it yesterday and today. It's really warm here - 90's all week from what the weather reports are saying and RB has a creek behind his camp - like 30 feet from his door. We took plastic Adirondack chairs and sat in the creek - What a fantastic way to cool off! We made a little trip up the creek walking over and around rocks and tree limbs. I got way more sun than I thought only because the water keeps you so cool - it was in the sixties.

Our original plan was to cook hotdogs over the fire, but RB had the brilliant idea to go to a local landmark, The Buffalo Head Restaurant - it's been around for decades - actually it's older than me! We both had fantastic steaks, shared a shrimp cocktail and just enjoyed the food and atmosphere. We went back to camp, RB got the fire going again and I had a couple of marshmallows - burnt - not toasted, thank you very much.

We crashed early - the water had really cooled us off and so much fresh air really knocked me out. We had coffee and hotdogs for breakfast this morning! It was fantastic - we went for a short walk down the road and just as we hit the end of his driveway I heard something crashing in the woods - thinking it was a deer. No - it wasn't - it was a bear!
I was zoomed in all the way to get this picture - he was probably about 40 feet away. And thank goodness, he was not interested in us at all. 

Here is a shot of RB's creek area - it goes from a few inches deep to over my head in places - for the most part it was about 2-3 feet deep. Then there were the fishies...like minnows - that kept nibbling at us - it's funny feeling and then it gets annoying to have these fish nipping at us. 

There is foam on the creek because about 50 feet upstream there are lots of rocks and the water rushes over it. It's a little slice of heaven here. RB's camp was built by him and his friends - it still needs work, but it has great bones. I look forward to spending more time there with him.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Stillwater

I had never heard of this place until this summer. I went there camping with RB and met a bunch of his friends - that are becoming my friends as we get to know each other better. I had been told (warned) - this is not camping like Sampson where I had access to toilets that flush and showers with hot water - there would be a box (maybe) with a seat on it (more like a hole) and no showers - just the lake. I was game for it...why not? 

Some facts about Stillwater - 
"The Reservoir was originally flooded in 1876 to facilitate the logging industry by allowing logs to be floated down the Beaver River. There were three takings here by the state, the second in 1882 and the last in 1922 which is when the current dam was built. Presently the primary purpose for the reservoir is flood control for the Black River Valley. The dam houses a hydro electric facility which runs based on water supply. The reservoir has been managed by The Hudson River Black River Regulating Authority since 1922.
The reservoir currently has about 128 miles of shoreline and 6,700 lake acres. There are many islands but camping is permitted only on a selected few in order to preserve the pristine beauty of the area. There are a total of 46 designated campsites. However, camping is permitted elsewhere provided you are 150 feet off the high water mark. The water depth varies greatly with many stumps and shoals hidden slightly under the surface of the water so boaters beware but fisherman's delight.

Our trip from the boat launch to the campsite was an adventure for sure. We had a small boat and had to put our stuff in a canoe and tow it - the wind and waves were not our friends. But RB is strong and knows what he is doing and got us where we needed to go with a small detour. 
The campsite was on an island - there were 3 sites on this particular island, two were being used by people that all know each other - our group and another - but the third was empty. This was fantastic because the dogs were able to run and roam and enjoy the woods without dealing with leashes. We had a little beach too - which as of today was a lot smaller - they had so much rain last night that the lake rose a foot.  That's a lot in one night. 

I learned how to fish this past weekend too - I didn't think I would enjoy it as much as I did but it was pretty awesome. I didn't keep anything I caught. We let them go to get a little bigger.  On Saturday night though we did have a fresh fish fry - it was fantastic - they guys do the cooking. They clean and coat the fish and fry them up - so good. And they made fresh french fries - nice and crispy. Really good food. 

RB and I explored a lot of areas - places that we want to try camping at up there some time this summer - it's such a beautiful and unspoiled place. 

Friday, June 25, 2010

Purple Smoke Tree

It's getting really big this year and I've had many people walk by and admire it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Saturday

Good Morning! The sun is shining, the doves are cooing, birds are chirping and the day is going to get hot! My schedule has been such that I've not been able to get out for a ride. I hope that that will change soon, but we'll see. There is a lot going on in the Mohawk Valley - specifically Utica today! The Taste of Utica celebration is happening at Hanna Park today and I believe that Bo Bice from American Idol is singing tonight. That's pretty cool! Also the Deerfield Firemen's field days are happening up at the Deerfield fire house on Trenton Road. Not sure on the hours of those but they are fun things to do with friends and family.

I'm still working the two jobs, I have to admit that it's enjoyable. The outlet I get by helping people find what they want and saving them money in the mean time is awesome. When you smile at people and show that you are paying attention to them they get this whole new look on their faces and their whole demeanor changes. I like making people feel special, even if it's only for a few minutes. Plus it's a break from my other job where people get cranky about their broken computers and somehow it's my fault that it happened. LOL- that is amazing to me that a person can get their machine all balled up, whether it's viruses, deleting files, moving things, installing bad software, whatever - and it's my fault that I can't fix it in 3 minutes. Ah well - usually - not always, when I do get it straightened out then all is good and people are happy again.

Time to get ready for work. :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bike rides...

I'm looking for some organized bike rides to do. The feeling of riding with all of those people and having 'competition' (it's really with myself, but I like to pretend I'm trying to catch up with someone) and having rest areas at good intervals - that appeals to me. I think I may look at doing the ride for MS, my friend Mel and Team Lobstercle are riding it again this year and I'd love to join them, but it's in California and I just don't have the money to ship my bike and all that. So - there are a few rides in NY, PA and NJ that I'm looking at. An adventure for sure.
So if you have any ideas - send them on!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

3:15 Hours

I did it! and not only did I make it the 40 miles - but I broke my fastest time by 45 minutes! WoW!!!

It was a heck of a ride - It was pouring when I woke up at 5:30 - so much so that I covered my head and slept till 6 and then talked to RB and realized that I had to get moving - that I was going to do this ride no matter what! On the way to Verona Beach there was a lull in the rain and I really thought that it was going to clear up - yeah - um NO! it poured when I got there. It poured in the first 40 minutes of the ride and then it got humid - but it was all good because it probably never got warmer than 65 degrees.

This ride had a lot of firsts for me. My canal ride is a wussy ride - I'll be honest. No hills - at least nothing that makes your lungs and heart feel like they are pounding out of your chest. This ride was hilly - but it forced me to face something that I hate - HILLS! But on the good side - I only walked up one -  and it was rather small but I did it because my hip was hurting - just walking those 40 feet made me right again and I pushed myself.

I got a wonderful surprise about 4 miles out - RB was waiting for me - He rode into Sylvan Beach and stayed there while I made my last mile fly. I was hitting 17mph on that little bit because I felt so good. Still can't believe how fast I went. Of course there wasn't any stone dust either for the trail - it was all pavement.

So thank you to all of you who donated and wished me luck! I really appreciate it. 62.5 miles next year!

Wet! LOL

Starting in 5 mins

Friday, June 4, 2010

Excited!!

My 40 mile ride is coming up this Sunday - for the American Diabetes association. I'm excited and nervous about it. I've only had two big rides this year - actually pretty much two rides period. The first was really good and quite the workout - the second was a 'snot' out! My allergies just about did me in. Sunday looks like it will be rainy and cool - but that is good because it will tamp down the pollen. The route is shown to the left - I had to open up google maps and look at it step by step. I can't believe that is 40 miles!  It isn't too late to donate - I hate asking but it would be nice to have a few more donations - it can be done anonymously if you want - all online and they do use security.  I'll try to get some pictures of before and after - RB is going to be there to cheer me on and maybe even sneak in a little riding. I've got the iMapMyRide app on my iPhone so I'm going to use that too - it'll be interesting what it says versus my computer - versus the ride organizers.  Wish me luck and fast legs!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wegalia

I'm playing with a new app on my iPhone called Hipstamatic. It has
multiple lenses, flashes and film types and the pictures remind me of
old polaroids and pictures that I took with my tiny camera when I was
a kid. Neat app!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Shortened Ride

Allergies. Period. My eyes and nose hate me right now so I'm going to
head back after only 11 miles. Not sure if my video posted right but
I'll fix that when I get back home! It is a beautiful day and I hope
that you all get out there and enjoy it!

Sent from my iPhone

Video on canal trail

video

A first!

Turtle on the trail.

The beginning

Good morning and let the pedaling begin!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Spring!


This is one of two Jack in the Pulpit plants that my mom unearthed on our property last year. It's good to know that they are still quite happy in their little place. You can see them from my dining and living room windows - kind of fun to point them out to people.

More flower and landscape pictures to come. RB is going to help me clear up a lot of the trees and stuff on the property that are actually weeds. It will give me a little more sun in the back yard and maybe I'll be able to plant a garden next year.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Good Morning

This is the view that I have right now. I'm sitting on my front porch listening to the birds, the early risers driving to work or shopping or somewhere, the front doors open as people get their newspapers and best of all I hear my flag move in the wind. My cup of coffee is next to me, I'm trying to savor it instead of gulp like I tend to do when I am heading to work in the morning. There is a train in the distance, it makes me smile to hear the whistle blowing and hear it chugging along the tracks. It also reminds me of RB as he lives close to the train tracks. His realtor told him that you get used to the train - LOL - he sarcastically tells me that every time it rolls by.
What a beautiful morning...so peaceful and relaxing. I hope that all of you can find a place where you can relax and find peace - I think it's necessary in life.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Happiness

Einstein enjoying the sun among the weeds!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Weird and Random Stuff

I'm working a second job - I think that I mentioned that previously. It's a good thing and I do enjoy it, but it's taking some getting used to.

I haven't ridden my 100MoN yet for FatCyclist.com - it's a 100 mile bike race - the proceeds of which go to fight cancer. I haven't been home long enough to have the time to do it, but I am hoping that the 23rd will be my day - if I can get it off. We'll see. It is supposed to be done in a small space - Fatty, the author of FatCyclist.com has done it in a room on a roller watching movies. If you have the time you should read about some of the things people have done to get through "100 Miles of Nowhere" There are a ton of stories and they all make me want to ride, ride, ride. The Marines out at sea - they truly deserve accolades! Semper Fi!

The weather in Upstate NY has been topsy turvy at best! Holy cow! It's been pretty cold - as in 25 at night. I've had to turn my heat back on. The grass has calmed down a little - which is good because it's been wet a lot. And it's been very windy - that plays havoc with everything. Lots of trees have been cut down or cut up because they have fallen down or have lost too many branches.

RB and I are having a wonderful time getting to know each other, laughing together and just enjoying each others company. I'm a very fortunate woman to have met a man like him. He's one of a kind and just an absolute honey. Yes - he does read this but I'm not trying to suck up to him - just trying to let him know how much he means to me.

I've had to change the comment section of the blog - I've disallowed anonymous comments for the foreseeable future. I'm not impressed with some of them that have been coming through so figure that if you don't want to tell me who you are then you aren't going to leave a comment.

RB and I are going camping in June - to a place that I have never been - and there isn't a hot shower to be found! LOL - I think I already wrote a little about this - but I'm excited and really looking forward to it.

On June 6 - I am riding in the Tour de Cure for Diabetes and really need donations. If you would care to help me out, you can go here to donate, I am signed up to do the 40 miles! Please help! Thanks much!

I have to post some pictures of the plants in my yard. The irises are blooming like crazy - really cool! Surprising how well they are doing with the cold. The wegalia is leafing up well as is the purple smoke tree. I love seeing plants leave their dormant stage and come back to life....

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Green and blue

The sky is stunning this morning. This picture doesn't do it justice
in any way. And the green isn't as Kermit the Frog green as it showed
in real life. But I still have to share.

The storms that blew through last night were amazing and scary. Woke
me out of a sound sleep! And they came back around for a second show,
it's like they bounce off the valley walls a few times.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Trying to keep up!

I am a tad overwhelmed these days! Lots of stuff going on, but I don't want to forget my blog either. I am working a second job now and I am in a wonderful relationship!

The weather has been topsy turvy here to say the very least! Holy moley - the storm that blew through yesterday afternoon really took a toll on lots of the trees in the area - just driving down the Parkway will show you that. And speaking of the Parkway - actually I believe it's Culver Ave at the corner by MVCC - it has been repaved - and it's so nice to drive on. They have had it closed for almost a week but I've learned all kinds of ways to avoid that. Anyway - it's nice and thank goodness it withstood the storm yesterday - they were working on the storm drains.  Today is going to be gorgeous and then (in typical upstate NY fashion) it's going to get colder and colder and wetter and wetter for the next 5 days.

RB and I are going camping in June! This will be 'real' camping - not my cushy camping with a 19 inch thick mattress! the campground is reached only by boat - and there is no running water! LOL - we'll see what kind of stuff I am made of! And how bad I'll stink after three days! hehehehe! But there will be lots of pictures - but no blogging while camping as I'll be off the grid! Yea!

Haven't done much biking - when I have time the weather is bad and when the weather is good, I am at work.

I'll post more later! And Firefighter/Paramedic - welcome! I've been reading your blog for a long time!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Spring buds and flowers

This tree was outside of Faxton campus on Burrstone Rd. Smelled so
good! It's warmer out today than it has been in awhile! Yea!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Life

Life is good.
In fact, life is great.

I have started a second job, I'm thankful that I have the opportunity to work a second job and that it was relatively easy to find. I'm going to be pushing myself a little in the sleep department. And this is a warning to RB - my mom says I'm crabby, crabby, crabby if I don't get enough sleep. Of course I have to laugh at this a little because I've been living on less sleep for a month + and no one has complained yet!

I have wonderful friends who watch out for me and care about what I am doing - and when RB and I started dating - Brenda used to have me call her to make sure that I got home safely. Very nice indeed.

The Tour de Cure is coming up on June 6 - I've signed up to ride the 40 miles. Yes - I am looking for donations - pretty please.  I know things are tight - but if I could get 20- $5.00 donations that would put me over the top and help a good cause.

Letchworth State Park in (Castile) Mount Morris, NY is a beautiful and huge park! RB and I went there on Sunday to see his mom and sister, we had lunch at the Glen Iris restaurant. What a treat! Beautiful restaurant, good food, great service, great views and just a pleasure to meet RB's family. :-) We've already decided to go back and hike - well...I have and I'm hoping to get RB to go too.

Life is good! Smile - the sun will be shining this weekend!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Double rainbow!

Happy days

Things are really changing right now in my life. I don't talk about private stuff too much and I won't here either. But that being said - I am very happy. RB and I have been seeing each other for almost 4 weeks now - it's a wonderful fit in so many ways.

The Murder Mystery is on! Tomorrow night and Saturday night! Get your tickets! It will be a lot of fun! Great food, beverages and lots of laughs...

I start a second job on Monday - I'm a bit nervous - but with the way things are with taxes going up and everything else - I figured it would be a good thing.

And - a friend of mine just gave me 3 bags of clothes with more coming! woo hoo! I love 'hand-me-downs', what better way to save money! Looking forward to trying them on and having a little fashion show!

The trees are really popping leaves like crazy - it's wonderful to see.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Utica Police

I did it again! And so far I'm the only one who has gone for a second ride-a-long so far. It's a great learning experience and an eye opener.

Here is a 'briefing' of our evening - no I won't print out names - but in some cases I wish I could. Wow some people are whacked! And Patrolman Dare was again, very respectful, calm and courteous to people who would probably be happy to thump on him, swear at him and goodness knows what else. People have really got to learn to shut up and listen with respect to what an officer is telling you.

A rundown...

Don't park in the firelane. Seriously. Don't. The fire department can't get to a fire in a store, apartment, whatever if you park your car in a fire lane for 'a couple of minutes'. I've seen a picture where someone did that and the firemen popped out the driver and passenger side windows and ran the hose through the car. Too Bad. And if you are young - early 20's - and in a hurry to get something from a store - that's not an excuse either - and giving the police office lip? Seriously. You are lucky it's only a $20.00 ticket. Get some exercise - park in a regular parking place and walk. It was maybe 20ft to the nearest spot.

If you see 4 huge firetrucks - with firemen in full gear, hoses out - don't try to drive through and around them with 4 police cars blocking traffic and telling you no. Honestly I am amazed at how many people wanted to just barge through like they didn't see all the apparatus out. And there was a fire - at a bank and people wanted to go into the bank even with all that going on. Seriously???

I'm a little cynical after last night - sorry, it's going to show a little in this post. But remember this, Patrolman Dare and his fellow officers were nothing but professional, respectful, alert and helpful to these people who showed no regard for rules, signs, information from the officers or anything.

Then there was the noise complaint. An neighbor called in about very loud music. We got out of the car, about 25 feet from the front door and could hear it. At that point music isn't music when it's so loud that it's distorted. Patrolman Dare banged on the door, hit the door bell - and of course, you guessed it, the music was so loud that they person inside couldn't hear it. The complainant came out and gave us a little more information and the person who was playing the loud music finally shut it off. So we were able to get his attention. He was in a wheelchair - the house reeked! Cigarettes - it was awful the stink pouring out. Patrolman Dare went into the dwelling and spoke to the man, who was sitting in his wheelchair with a t shirt and shoes and socks on - that's it. No Pants! Need I say more? The loud music guy did tell me that I could come in - but I could tell from the quick look that I had that it probably would be best for us all if I just stayed outside. LOL.  He did get an appearance ticket as it had been the second time in a few weeks. He was calm and knew why the police were there, his companion on the other hand was a twit, he wanted to complain about all of their neighbors and the noise from them. It was silent in all the apartments but for our conversation.

Then there was the drunk. The call went out as a person refusing to leave. She did refuse and was quite drunk - the alcohol was just rolling off her in waves. Very pathetic. If you think that alcohol enhances your personality, looks, whatever - stop thinking that. This lady was 29 years old and we both thought she was in her 40's. Alcohol is not a preservative. And it makes you repeat things over and over and say vulgarities profusely, cry one second and rail against everything another.  It's very unattractive on so many levels. I really hope that she gets her life straightened out - she has children and they deserve a mom.

There were lots of vehicle infractions last night too. If a police officer is nice to the driver about not having their drivers license and gives you (the passenger) the opportunity to drive the car and only a small ticket to original driver, don't bad mouth the police officer. He's cutting some slack as it is and you give him attitude. Seriously? You have nothing to worry about, your DL is clean and you have to be a jerk. Lucky he didn't arrest the driver and hand a ticket to you.

Do you see why I am cynical today? It takes nothing to be respectful and calm and peaceful. The rewards are high too! I know that if someone is smiling and friendly to me I am much more likely to do the same back and be in a much better mood. If you go into something with a rotten attitude - guess what? that is what you will get back.

Once again, Patrolman Dare and the other officers that I had the opportunity to talk to last night, showed their professionalism in the face of all kinds of crap. I do love Utica - but it does need a lesson in being kind to others sometimes.

Support your police by being a good citizen and looking out for others!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"It's Just Not Faire"

And it won't be if you miss this years Murder Mystery at the Stanley Theatre in Utica. The volunteers are celebrating their 14th Murder Mystery by having this one on the STAGE! Yes - you got it! You can have wonderful hearty hors d'oeuvres, Saranac Beer (and others I'm sure), wine and most of all - You can have fun! Interact with the volunteers, try and figure out the mystery - meet WKTV's very own Kristen Copeland!
You'll get to also go to places in the Theatre that most people never get to see - it's very cool!
April 23 and 24th - tickets are $30.00 a piece at the Stanley Theatre - or go to www.StanleyTix.com.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spring... is springing

The trees outside my house are budding like crazy, my grass needs to be cut, the lilies are all popping out of the ground, the rhubarb is growing fast...and it is COLD out! We went from 80 on Thursday to 40 yesterday and cold enough last night that it was snowing. Granted it didn't stick, but it was snowing. I was up north with RB yesterday and the snow was coming down fast and furious on the way back. Gotta love NY! Wait 15 minutes and the weather will change.

On another note...The Murder Mystery is in two weeks! I'm looking forward to it! Kelly and I are working on the program today! It's going to be the biggest EVER! The volunteers have done a phenomenal job of getting advertisements. And in case you haven't heard - WKTV's Kristen Copeland is in the Murder Mystery as well! Oh what fun we are going to have with her!

And ....another quick note...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KELLY!!!!! I hope that you have a wonderful day, full of love, laughter, hugs and special friends!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Little Falls - 40.46 miles

Okay - I'm officially exhausted. I've only hit a headwind once before and it was brutal - 20 miles of headwind on the return trip is too much. Plus trail mix just doesn't cut it when my body is screaming "I'm hungry!" Thank goodness I had Easter dinner waiting for me! And I was late! But I did call. Never expected that I would be fighting as hard as I was to get home. The 20 miles to Canajoharie was a piece of cake - seriously. I was averaging 12.5 mph - and I just didn't even think of the tailwind. LOL - that was my mistake. Every time I got to a place I'd look at my odometer and say - "I can make it to the next spot" LOL - I need my head examined. Canajoharie is a big deal for me - it took me months of riding to get there last year...so getting that far on my second ride of the season was awesome to me!
Not sure when my next ride will happen. The Murder Mystery is getting here and we need to practice!
I hope that you all had a wonderful Easter! God is good!

Mindenville 31 miles down

I'm beat! But it is stunning out here and worth it!

Canajoharie 20.25 miles

Woo hoo!

Fort Plain 16 miles down!

11 miles

Minden - St Johnsville is 1/4 mile to the north! I'm moving right along!

6 miles so far

Gorgeous sunrise absolutely wonderful out here!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Blond!

I went to my favorite place today....the place where I am always treated like a dear friend and come out looking like I've been pampered and primped! Arthur Nole Systems in Hair - Art and Donna Nole - they are the absolute best! Hands down! Art rescued me about 3 years ago from the absolute worst hair cut I've ever had. The woman who cut it razored it and I had clumps missing in places, it was awful and I felt awful. Of course Art had to cut a lot of it to get it cleaned up - but what a difference! I've been going to him since - and now with my longer hair there is more time between cuts, but I still feel like I'm welcomed as if I was there yesterday. Donna does my color. Back in 2008 (we just discussed this it's not that I actually remember) I wanted dark hair and that is what I got. I was tired of fighting my ever darkening roots, fighting the fact that I was born blond but my hair was turning dark (and GASP! gray) on me! So I went dark. Well that lasted all of a year because my mom told me that she really wanted me to go blond again...LOL I decided to get highlights - nice bright blond ones. My hair is significantly longer than it has been in years - so I figured between that and the wavy curls I'd go for the blond streaks and we'd see. It turned out really great!
Now - I'm bad about keeping up with my hair color. So - I used store bought color to keep my roots in check for the last 9 months - alas - I just couldn't do it anymore. Plus who doesn't want to go to a place where you are treated so well! So after Einstein has his doctors appointment (he has a clean bill of health!) - I went and got pampered. And I went seriously blond - no streaks here - just flat out blond. And the sun has been so strong that I already have color and it just fits!
Art and Donna, you are the best! If you want to be pampered and treated well - go to Arthur Nole Systems in Hair - it's at 1926 Genesee Street in Utica.

Adventure...

The Cooperstown area was awesome yesterday. The temperature hit 86 degrees, the sun was shining and the sky was blue. We hit all the places we had discussed and found some roads I didn't even know existed (those are the best kind). The Fly Creek Cider Mill was open! I think it was the first or second weekend, there was grazing to be had (by grazing I mean that they have samples out - a LOT of samples). It's a great way to know if you will like something or not. We bought some yummy stuff! We then went out and fed some of the birds. They have a turkey, some geese, ducks, chickens, guinea hens - and as soon as you buy food they come running! And I have to say that Turkeys are not an attractive bird...
The Cooperstown Diner does indeed have the biggest burgers! One pound and cooked to perfection! No frozen patty there! I had the 'junior' burger - let me tell you that it was big too! But so good! There are only four tables and 9 chairs at the counter...and it was busy.
After we left the diner we walked down Main Street and then down one of the side streets to the lake. We sat on a bench and just reveled in the warmth, the view and the quiet (except for the occasional car). We walked down to the waterfront motel - trying to avoid the mud and water - the lake is pretty darned high.
And after we hit the other side of Main street we headed to Ommegang Brewery - Yum! The beer is fantastic. All Belgian style brews. The 3 Philosophers has a wonderful taste - and then you put a piece of dark chocolate in your mouth, savor it and take another taste of the beer and it's even more flavorful. Hint of cherry comes out and it's so smooth. The Witte, Hennepin, BPA, Rare Vos were all wonderful.
All that being said - Adventure day was awesome - the company even better... and I can't wait for our next adventure!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Adventure awaits

It was just January when I headed towards Cooperstown - well I'm doing it again on Friday and not alone! I'm going to introduce all the back roads I know and some I don't to RB. The weather is supposed to be wonderful - a huge change from how cold it was back in January.

We've talked about going to the Cooperstown Diner, the Ommegang Brewery, maybe even the Farmers Museum, and of course we have to walk down Main Street, look in the store windows, check out the lake (sans ice), maybe check out Glimmerglass Opera, or Glimmerglass State Park...There is so much there - and I did not even mention Baseball - and the Baseball Hall of Fame.

This is just to remind you that there is a lot in Upstate NY - A L O T! I didn't even have to look up "what to do in Cooperstown?" Oh wait - that's because I'm a nut! :)

There will be pictures to follow our adventures....

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Trail under ice

I'm freezing. Period. Don't know how Jill does it. Of course she has
the gear and I wore shorts. It's warm in the sun, in my car, with the
heat on! I rode three miles - really need warmer gear.

Paris Hill Cat Hospital **Update

I'll be heading there soon. My poor cat Einstein isn't feeling well. He's not eating (which is just not like him), he's not 'talking' (he meows or makes some noise whenever I'm home) and he won't lay down for long - he has to keep getting up. So...all that being said I think I have a very sick kitty indeed - some kind of obstruction. And for kitties - the only place to go is Paris Hill Cat Hospital - I'm just waiting for 8 when I can call and find out what to do.
Please think happy thoughts for Einstein - he is such a good cat and such a pleasure to have for company. It's funny how much our animals mean to us isn't it?

**Update - Einstein had surgery for an abscess on his neck. My poor baby...I wish I had noticed sooner - but he kept hiding on me. I think that he'll be coming home tomorrow and I'll be his nurse, giving him his antibiotics, anti-inflammatory and pain meds.  I just hope that he heals up well.

**Update  - Einstein is home and is behaving as usual. His neck wound is open (yuck) but it seems to be healing fast. I am so very glad that he is home and that the Paris Hill Cat Hospital is here in the Mohawk Valley! They are wonderful!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A couple of things...

It's raining, still, and cold and not bike riding weather. So what's a girl to do? Should I bring the bike back in the house, haul it up the stairs and set it back up and maybe ride for 30 minutes? NO! I can't tell you how heavy that bike is and that combined with how short I am - it's dangerous to be hauling that thing up the stairs. And...honestly I don't like riding inside.

Saturday is supposed to be 48 degrees. I think that means I'm going to bundle up and ride. Little Falls to Canajoharie - 40 miles round trip. Not sure if I'll be able to go that far - because I'm going to wait for it to warm up.

On another note. I attended my 9th year of Project Sites - this is put on by MVEEC - Mohawk Valley Executive Engineers Council. It pairs students and local companies for an afternoon of learning, sharing and outreach. The students come from all over the area and companies open their doors to them. The company I work for is pretty small - there are only 12 of us - but we try to take a couple of students every year. It's amazing to me that even in this economy companies give up their time and workers to share their expertise and passion of their jobs. Mike, Bill, Jim, Chet, Ed, and so many other engineers spend weeks getting things set up for this and work so hard. Thank you gentlemen!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Murder Mystery

No - this isn't a news story about a murder - it's a reminder that the Stanley Volunteers are practicing hard to provide great fun and entertainment to those daring souls that buy tickets at the Stanley Theatre for "It's Just Not Faire!". Look - if I can learn how to do a dance and practice it in my house, office, yard, in front of people! then you can be helpful and buy a ticket to watch me do said dance. This is painful! Probably for poor Randy who is teaching us and the people in the dance that I keep bumping into too!

All that aside, this promises to be a very amusing show. So many people are working their tails off to do this and it's all to raise money for the Stanley Theatre.

Another thing that hasn't happened in the past is that we're going to have a series of raffles at the show. I don't know the prices yet of the tickets - but I do know that one of the volunteers wrote letters (by hand!) to about 75 local businesses asking for donations and let me tell you that the response has been INCREDIBLE! She has a notebook with the plastic envelope pages - FULL - in fact it's bulging and if she puts one more gift certificate in it, it will probably explode. So - just think - you pay $30.00 for hearty hors d'oeuvres, a fun show, and a tour of the Stanley Theatre and buy a few raffle tickets and you could be leaving with a gift certificate to a local restaurant, pizza place or some other wonderful thing.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Raking and Cleaning Windows

I don't know that we have had a March like this one in a very long time. Raking? Seriously? In March? Yeah - the city is getting raked and swept and treated to a very early spring cleaning. It's quite wonderful - but you have to wonder if Mother Nature is going to pull a fast one and snow on our parade. Yes Virginia, it does snow in March, April, May and even in June from what I have been told.
My back yard is new and different this year. We took down the garage last year and put in a shed, but because of all of these codes and rules the shed is basically right behind the house - I didn't want it 8 feet from the fence line at the back of the property because stuff would grow between it and the fence and it would be wasted space. I'll have to put some pictures up to better describe it. But the major point is that I have a nice back yard now - lots of space - the grass I planted came up nicely. Raking today made it even look neater and I got the clippers out and really went at the pricker bushes and Rose of Sharon bushes that are too tall and needed to be clipped back years ago. I know from previous experience that they will come back - they are prolific if nothing else. After raking and clipping for about an hour I went inside - intending to sit and chill out.
That didn't happen. Here's my problem. I didn't ride today but I did the "Biggest Loser Boot Camp", when I do this my energy level spikes - so I tackled the front screen door windows, the screen (thanks to Einstein it had paw prints and pulls in it) and the two front windows - covered with muddy Einstein prints. So - at least my house is a little cleaner. I should have gone for a bike ride, but had dinner with dear friends and it was wonderful.
The snow that the weathermen were talking about earlier last week is no longer in the forecast - rain is - but we really need it. We've had a ton of sun and wind and it's dried things out quite a bit. Looks like the sun will be back out on Wednesday....maybe....they've been wrong before.
Happy Spring!

By Request

A little more information about me...

I was born here and through a series of strange happenings in my life I left (7 years), came back, left again (8 years) and in 1997 came back for good. I've lived in Prosser, Washington, Orange & Irvine, California, Bernardsville, NJ and a few small places in NY. College was interesting as I didn't know what I wanted to do when I grew up - but it helped, yes helped, that my father once told me that "I'd amount to nothing". Talk about having a fire lit under you... I decided, after a few years of all kinds of classes, to go into Mathematics. I like math - it's straightforward, it doesn't change and the rules are the rules. It took me a mere 13 years to get my degree, but I learned a lot and I only went to school full time the last 2 years. During that time I was a nanny/housekeeper, EMT for a volunteer fire department, worked as a tabulator for an art auction company, a clerk/asst manager/manager in a convenience store, a security guard, and salesperson at a clothing store. That's a real education - doing all kinds of things and learning from all of them.

I was hired out of college by a large local insurance company to do programming. I was only there for 9 months, I left as I was offered a job with a local IT company. I've been with that company for 10 years on April 3. I love what I do and I think I'm pretty good at it. I've been learning the whole time as technology changes faster than anything.

My mom and I bought a house in Utica 9 years ago. Thanks to my mom this house is in wonderful shape. She has moved to Texas to live with my brother and his wife and family, so now it's Einstein and myself. Einstein keeps me hopping!

Utica has been a great place to live and I've met so many wonderful people here. I stamp and scrapbook with Brenda, Shelly, Debbie and others as they come and go. Camping on the Finger lakes is great, biking on the Canal Trail is always an adventure, kayaking and hiking are in my future and friends are always welcome in my home.

Well Michaela, I hope that answers some of your questions! :)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

What a wonderful day!

I just love this trail. You can see how half of the canal is still icy - on the left side. The water is fairly high at this portion of the trail - but just beyond here to the east, past Marcy Lock, the water is much lower. The canal isn't open for the season yet.

Stick with me and I'll be posting more about the canal trail and my adventures on it and in other places!