Sunday, December 8, 2013

Christmas Season

I'll admit that I was dreading the holidays this year. Thanksgiving used to be one of my Mom's favorite holidays but her sister passed away right after Thanksgiving about 15 years ago and then my grandmother did and it's just been a rough time of year. So this year with my Mom gone I just didn't know what to expect. Thanksgiving turned out to be quite nice. Had dinner at my brother, Dan's house, with his wife and kids and my younger brother, Doug, was there with his wife and one of their kids. Dan's in-laws were there too. I made Mom's stuffing (to the letter - I could feel her presence), I also made 2 apple pies as well like mom used to make. It was a good day and it felt good to be with everyone. Gracie even made an appearance and got to play with all of the kids and get petted, scratched and run like a lunatic. She loves people.

So after getting through that I decided I could handle decorating my house. Mom was with me the whole time - I had Kenny G's Christmas music on and just hummed or sang along with his awesome sax playing, cleaned the house as well! And yesterday I had a small party here and worked on cleaning up last minute stuff as well as getting food ready - what a wonderful day. I was smiling ear to ear all day - by myself without a care in the world.

A lot of this has to do with RB too. He's such a rock in my crazy, stressed world and I love him for it. He makes me laugh, think (and rethink), and feel so loved and cared for! That means the world to me.

So....Merry Christmas! May God give you what you need to make this season special and meaningful and not stressful.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

My favorite time of year

And it's been so incredibly beautiful. Cold/Cool nights and warm days - high 60's low 70's, perfect for everything. I'm just hoping it stays that way for my friend Mel, coming from California. We don't have any set plans, but lots of ideas - we'll see where it takes us!

Today was a clean up day - inside and out. First time I've really felt like doing it in a very long time. Funny how loss messes with you. After living here for almost 4 years without Mom, I'm finally starting to make more permanent changes and getting rid of things that Mom put out. Not that I don't like them, it's just not me. I can't get rid of them yet, just putting them away. The shed has been cleaned up and re-organized, the snow blower is ready for some action, the mower will probably only be used one more time this year and be put to the back. The weigela, hydrangea and some of the other bushes out front have been trimmed. It was starting to look like a jungle.

The freezer is full of containers of water (soon to be ice), we've found with camping that the huge chunks work much better than the small cubes - and it's cheap! Plus I've always got ice for the cooler. It's taken me a month to finally refill the containers and put them in the freezer. Almost all of the laundry is done - had to wash all the sheets from when the Aussie girls were here. Going to make the guest bed up with fleece sheets for Mel - want to make sure her California blood doesn't freeze! Plus there is nothing quite like fleece sheets when it's cold out - they are so soft and comfy! Going to put them on my bed too!

RB and I did some cleaning at his house - removed lots of cans and bottles! $33 worth! He is so good and had everything sorted and boxed - made the redemption center lady very happy. Gracie - aka GDoggy - is doing great. She's a funny, smart, stubborn, awesome doggy. She and Einstein are working on getting to know each other. Einstein has had dogs in his life before, so Gracie is just another beasty to him. He puts up with her and will jump on the couch between Grace and I so that he can snuggle with me, and while it doesn't bother him - it drives Gracie nuts. She is so very jealous of any creature who gets my attention. But Einstein just thumps her and stays put. Henry has no idea what to do, so he runs - and that is an invitation to Gracie to chase. LOL - they will never learn. Gracie did give RB and I, a heart attack the other day. She decided that the hallway gate was not a thing to stop her anymore. This was at RB's house - so she jumped it and went upstairs. Well Bob the cat is up there and hasn't really dealt with there being a dog in the house, so when RB went to look for Gracie and found Bob just sitting there he assumed that Gracie wasn't upstairs and he wasn't hearing her tags so thought that maybe she had somehow gotten outside. He searched all over - and I had been on the phone with him when he first realized she wasn't to be found. Then we hung up and about 20 minutes later he called - "I need your help, I can't find her" - I flew there and when I got to his house his truck was there. He had just found her. He had gone all over the neighborhood asking if anyone had seen a little brown dog - but kept going back to thinking she had to be in the house. Well - she was! She had gone into his closet and hidden from him - He was really worried about her and calling for her and she must have thought it was a "bad girl" call because she never came out. Bob didn't seem to care that there was a dog in her midst (yes Bob is actually Roberta). So RB and I were true parents - telling Gracie never to do it again - hugging her and then buying her a big new bone to chew on and a new tag for her new collar. It will be riveted to her collar because her old one is unreadable as she's chewed at it so much.

I'm all over the place today! Lots of things on my mind and just in a mood to let it out.

Took my second NextGen Certified Professional test yesterday - so I've passed the SCT (system configuration training) and EPM (electronic patient management) pieces so I'm an NCP (NextGen Certified Professional) in the EPM and am going to go for the NCP in the EHR portion too. My head may explode - but it will help me if I am in need of another job!

I think that's it for now - well almost. I've been dealing with DeQuervains syndrome in my right thumb aka "gamers" thumb for almost 6 months. Tried the NSAID route - that didn't work, tried the steroid shot (it helped kind of but the pain was ridiculous) so now at the end of October I'll have surgery. I hope that this does work, because this is one of the most painful things I've dealt with in a long time. We'll see!

Ok - now I think I'm done. I've written a small novel! :) There is a squirrel outside that is asking for a shot of the hose! He's making a horrid mess with the black walnuts! UGH!

Happy Fall!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Aussie Girls!

I was very fortunate to have met a young lady from Australia a few years back through KS. KS had met her online and they became fast friends. Belinda came here in February of 2010 (I may be off a year) to visit America and see a real winter. Upstate NY obliged. KS introduced Belinda to everyone she knew - they went all over upstate and had a lot of wonderful adventures.

This time - Belinda was coming over but bringing 3 friends with her! They visited Disneyland in California, Las Vegas, Utica and then NYC. Well I figured since I have an empty house I'd have all four of them stay here and I would borrow air mattresses and try to give them some space so that they could have a little privacy - after all they had been sharing a hotel room for 8 days or so...

What a joy they are! Funny, silly, smart, and just wonderful. KS and I enjoyed our time with them. KS was able to take them everywhere and do all kinds of NY stuff - I spent more time with them after work and such - couldn't take time off because of go-live stuff and training.

We did have a night out at Strut - a local bar in Utica that is just a fun place to be! We had some drunk Aussie girls, but KS and I watched over them and they had a really good time. Lots of dancing and laughing and singing! Oh and lots of selfies! LOL - Belinda is the queen of Selfies! Then on Saturday we had an American lunch! Hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill with salad, baked beans, and I can't remember what else. Then dinner was Chicken Riggies (YUM!), Utica Greens, Half Moons, Tomato Pie! Thanks to PF, FF, CF and BF! They were wonderful!

Then on Sunday we drove to Niagara Falls, NY - we stayed on the NY side - it was so awesome! The Cave of the Winds (I got soaked), the Maid of the Mist (I got really DAMP!) - and just the walking around and hearing a "It's a SQUIRREL!" and the Aussie girls running to get pictures with the cheeky little squirrels.

Then there was the Vegemite and the Berocca - I actually liked the Vegemite - but am very glad that the girls were kind and explained that a little bit goes a long way! Vegemite can be very overpowering, but on toast with a little butter and a little of it, it's yummy and it seems to keep me going a long time - has vitamin B in it which I'm sure helps. The Berocca is an energy drink tablet. It goes in water "Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz, Oh what a relief it is" - I kept singing that every time. Well the taste is very light - orange or lemon and it's full of Vitamins C, B (the whole family), Zinc and Magnesium. There is no Caffeine or other stimulants so it's quite enjoyable without making you feel spacey. And my Aussie girls left me both! And a marker board with a message and a lucky Bamboo Plant! I can't wait for them to visit!

Kristen, Sam, KS, Belinda and Sarah at Niagara Falls, NY

Kristen, Sarah, KS and Sam waiting to order at the Soda Fountain in Remsen, NY

Cheesy Smile! LOL - trying to sell Vegemite to myself!

Another of Belinda's selfies - with Kristen and Sarah!

KS and Belinda with Adam and Matt (I hope I got this right - KS let me know!) They were absolute sweethearts!

Kristen (eyes closed -UGH), Sarah, CF, Belinda and Sam!

Niagara Falls NY! It really was a spectacular day!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Stillwater Reservoir - August 2013

Most likely this was the last tent camping of the season. The Farmers Almanac is saying that we are going to have one heck of a snowy winter, so camping at a 4 walled camp with a roof will have to do! RB, Gracie and I got up at the crack of dawn on Friday and were up at Stillwater at 8am - hoping to have one of 8 sites - well that didn't work out so well BUT we did find site 24 and it was awesome. Huge beach, the woods site was actually up a fairly steep hill and we had so much beach area that we stayed on the beach. Plus there weren't any mosquitoes below! The "box" was up the hill as well! LOL if you had to go bad you had better get a head start - it was a haul! On the way to our site - all loaded up - Gracie excited to be in the boat, RB was close to site 20 when he said that he thought that there was something to keep an eye out for. The water is very low at Stillwater this time of year and there are lots of piles of stone just under the water. Well it's good he was cautious as we ran 'aground' in the middle of the lake! LOL it was freaking funny - I got out and pushed us off of the rock pile - standing in 6 inches of water with 6-20 foot depths all around! RB actually had killed the motor just before it happened - talk about intuition! Well we made it to camp without any further mishaps - walked around and checked things out. Beautiful area - very quiet - far away from most other sites. RB and I emptied the boat, set up the tent, chairs, got beer!, let Gracie run and check out her new digs, blew up the air mattress! (it was AWESOME), cooked hot dogs, chilled out, took a nap, swam, fished and all before 5pm! LM, RM and Max showed up around 6:30 or so - helped them get set up, got a fire going, chilled and talked till around 9 or so then passed out. Rained like crazy all night! Thought that it was going to be miserable on Saturday, but other than a couple of sprinkles it wasn't too bad. We all forgot silverware and cooking utensils! LOL - very funny but we got inventive and didn't starve! Max and Gracie had a wonderful time playing in the woods, water, on the boats, loving life... We came back on Sunday - the weather wasn't looking great for Sunday night or Monday and it's difficult to break down camp in the pouring rain.

6 am - Stillwater Reservoir from site 24. Absolute silence except for the loons near the culvert.

I love the stillness of the water...hard to tell difference between sky and water.

The water captured the sky colors better - amazingly beautiful.

Color is gone - but this is almost as beautiful in a stark way

Gracie - loved getting sticks from the water. Still not swimming so much as high stepping but she was trying her darnedest.

The petrified stumps were amazing - this could be a scary monster in a movie!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fourth Lake...

I'm very fortunate to have met some wonderful people. I worked for a local company for years and through them met this great lady named Sue - we became fast friends and very much enjoyed each others company. She retired while I still went to her old place of work to fix their machines. I also help her and her husband out with their computers at times as well. She invited me up to their camp on Fourth Lake a few times over the years and I've just never gone up until this year...I can't believe I waited so long. What a beautiful camp and great hospitality. Their son even brought me to the Moose River Plains in his new jeep to break it in a bit and we went for a couple of small hikes to look for moose! It was cool!
Sunrise on 4th Lake
Sunrise and fog....beautiful early morning
Sunrise on 4th Lake near Inlet

This is the closest we got to finding a moose! We just missed him by mere hours!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Random pictures

Little Woodhull Creek - before flooding

Very happy Gracie without a leash. She loves camp!

She is coming when called! Such a smart girl!

Flooded and lots of rain on memorial day weekend

Weigela flowers in full bloom

Henry spotting something interesting down the street

More Weigela flowers

Pretty purple dainty irises

it has it's own little face and happy smile

My mom's boots with lots of pansies in them!

Garden is planted and happy!

Handsome Einstein

Henry adjusting a pinwheel for me

Sunlight on ferns

How could you not love this sweet face? My Einstein
Random spring pictures from this spring (so far). Will be taking lots as RB gave me the most wonderful camera last year and I love using it.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


What a spring we have had in upstate New York! Many other states are dealing with bad weather and fires and floods - in upstate NY we deal with extremes!

Memorial Day weekend - was cold and wet with snow in way upstate - a whopping 30 inches of wet snow at Whiteface Mountain- The following pictures came from the Long Lake Facebook Page
Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway May 25, 2013
Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway May 25, 2013
Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway May 25, 2013  
Our plans were to spend the weekend at RB's camp up north but we only made it two nights. It was cold, wet and muddy. Couldn't stain the camp like we had hoped to, our friends came up CT and TT, but while they were game for anything it was just too much muck! LOL the good thing was there weren't any bugs - just lots of water and mud! The wood stove got a good work out. And when I got home on Sunday I had to turn on the heat as it was 50 degrees in my house.

Fast Forward to this weekend - hot hot hot hot hot! And while I'm not complaining about the heat - I've had enough humidity! My AC has been on for a few days now to keep the humidity down in here - can't sleep when I'm soaked. Just saying!

I've had the AC on twice already this year and the heat on in between - never have I done that before and I don't know that I've ever had the AC on so early in the year either. Ceiling fans usually take care of everything.

An update on my fitbit - it's worth it's weight in gold! I've climb 500 flights of stairs, walked 170 miles and over 100K steps so far since April 18th, I feel like I've accomplished so very much. Walking Gracie helps so very much - she doesn't like the heat but she's a trooper anyway.

Monday, May 27, 2013

In Memory...

It's been a year of losses....personal and as an American...

Let's remember those that have died to protect us; firemen, policemen, servicemen, every day heroes.... There have been so many tragedies due to shootings, weather, explosions, accidents and it needs to be acknowledged that Americans are phenomenal - they do everything they can to save people, animals, everything....and if need be they help re-build what was destroyed. God Bless those who serve their country, their fellow citizens, their neighbors, friends and family so selflessly...

As for personal losses -
My mom has been gone for just over 5 months, I miss her, but am dealing better with the loss. I am able to think about her more without tears. My father passed away a week ago - this one is harder in some ways but easier too. I only lived with him for maybe a year of my whole life some as a baby and the rest as a 12 year old. He had major issues, couldn't love his family, his other children had more of a taste of that than I did. He probably did me a favor by giving me up for adoption. Sad, but true. I've run the gamut of emotions, loss - but you can't lose something you never really had, my head knows it my heart is being obstinate. Anger - that pops up every now and then even with mom - it just is something we all go through with loss. Wishing...that things had been different, but knowing that I wouldn't be who I am now if things had been different. I'm stronger and more resilient because of all of the bumps in the road that I've endured. Sadness - that he couldn't express himself to any of us. I have 3 brothers and a sister through him and he really didn't leave much of a father legacy for any of us. My two youngest brothers seem to be doing fatherhood very well and for that I'm thrilled - they learned from him and are loving fathers. The oldest and my sister don't have children, like me and I'm sure it has something to do with him to some small extent. It is what it is....

On this memorial day - hold your memories of loved ones close. Remember the heroes who are protecting America and our freedoms, thank a service member, a police officer, a fireman, emt, neighbor, anyone who may have helped you when you were down...
Jeanne Britt: July 29, 1947 - January 9, 2013

Dale A Gates: July 23, 1946 - May 21, 2013

Thursday, April 18, 2013

New TOY!

I blame Mel for this - she mentioned it and it stuck in my head for a couple of weeks and then I couldn't wait anymore and had to go buy it! The FitBit One - best fitness helper doodad geek toy ever! It's forcing me to push myself and beat myself every day. And I can see how my friends are doing and we can egg each other on! It's fun and good. I can log food, exercise, sleep, and so on....

So...I am almost at 10,000 steps today so I think I have to take another little walk around the block to hit that. You get badges for hitting different levels - it's wickedly fun and cool!

Ah well....enough of that - I hope that you are all well!

Saturday, April 6, 2013


I'm ready to ride. I've not ridden much in the last two years and it's time to get back in the saddle. :)
Of course I'm ready but 30 degrees is not warm enough even though I'm more comfortable being cold - not on a bike!

So be ready for bike pics and adventures...I figure if I post it here it will force me to get out there. Well that and I really need my bike to help me think. It was a refuge a few years ago and it hopefully can help me this time. Grief sucks - you think you are okay but then it sneaks up on you and hits you like a truck. Stress doesn't help either so the bike will be my ticket to de-stressing and de-griefing. (my own made up word)

Canal trail here I come!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Winter Trees

Winter trees in Cooperstown. Since spring doesn't seem to want to show up, I've decided to post some winter tree pictures. Looking forward to taking pictures of the trees in bloom!
Looking at mouth of Susquehanna River at Otsego Lake

Snow in the nooks of the trees

Lake Street - Winter trees and lake view

Saturday, March 23, 2013


This is the sunset in Orlando - miss it horribly... It was back in November and it was warm. Upstate NY is wallowing in winter. Mother Nature isn't aware that it's March 23 and it should be warming up! Just saying! Shoveled again this was 20 degrees, the temp hit a high of 35 today. Woo Hooo! Not!

This winter has just been difficult. Losing Mom and trying to get outside and be active and not wallow in grief - ugh - not working very well. I want to ride my bike for hours and lose myself in the monotony of peddling and hearing the birds, feeling the wind on my face, smelling the flowers, grass, farms - heck cow poop in the spring is a rite of passage for living in Upstate NY! I want to feel warm breezes, play in the yard, enjoy the sun on my face and shoulders as I work on clipping the bushes and trees, planting flowers, enjoying the outdoors. Stillwater Reservoir never seemed so awesome! Want to camp, fish, sit by a camp life...

Lost so many people lately - Mom, Grandma Sally, Linda....they are in a much better place and I pray for peace for all of our families...

Peace and love to you all...

Monday, January 28, 2013

In Patti's Words

Patti was my Mom's dear friend from Texas that came here for Mom's memorial service. She lost her voice the morning of her flight and asked me if I would read her words. I was thrilled to, I couldn't come up with the right words and as soon as I saw what Patti had written I knew that it was the right thing.

Patti’s Words

I met Jeanne three years ago. She was a shy, quiet little woman who sat 2 or 3 seats from me in Sunday school at our church in Rockwall, Texas.

It didn’t take long to realize how wrong I was. Yes she was a little woman, but definitely not quiet or shy. Jeanne was funny, lively and had a gleam of mischief – all while being kind and thoughtful.

What started out as a casual greeting, turned out to be a friendship few know.  Jeanne turned out to be one of the dearest friends I have ever had.

Jeanne and I had grown up in the 50’s and 60’s – Jeanne in NY, and I in Texas. Kids were the same in both places. Jeanne and I had a lot in common. We played the same games, watched the same TV shows and movies and listened to the same music. We both loved horses and dogs. Once when we were reminiscing, we talked about string games. When “Cat-in-the-Cradle” was mentioned, we took some string and began playing string games.  Jeanne was as fun-loving a person as I had ever known. Our time together was spent goofing off and laughing constantly. It was like we were in our second childhood.

We would do silly things like decorating pumpkins with Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head parts. We decided to make orange rice Krispy Treat pumpkins. That didn’t work very well and we had to eat all the pumpkins that didn’t turn out.

Jeanne and I both loved NCIS. When I would say something really stupid, Jeanne would lightly slap the back of my head and say “Ya Think?”

One day we decided to name the 7 dwarfs in Snow White, between the two of us, we were able to name them all. We then tried to name Jesus’ Disciples. Oh were we shocked. We couldn’t do it. We named some who were disciples and named some who weren’t! We spent a lot of time memorizing the correct 12.

Jeanne once asked, “Why in the world would God make a hippopotamus?” Neither of us could come up with an answer. She said she would ask God when she got to heaven.  She had a list of 4 or 5 things she was going to ask.

When Michelle came to visit in Texas, Jeanne and I wondered how long it would take for Michelle to say, “Ma, I have to get you away from this crazy place!” It didn’t take long. (and in my defense – it was because you two were going to get into a lot of trouble with your silliness! But I was so very happy that she was happy and laughing and found such a great sister friend.)

Jeanne and I went to Arizona for a week. She loved Sedona, the Grand Canyon, and even talked me into a hot air balloon ride. She found beauty in everything wherever she was.

Jeanne did have a serious side – when it came to her health. Her treatments for her cancer were tough. Everyone in our Sunday school class rallied around Jeanne. Our “sistas”, as we refer to each other, volunteered to driver her to her radiation and chemo treatments.

Jeanne told me that her cancer was a blessing. Without it she wouldn’t have been able to really know and love each of the “girls”.

I am representing each of them today. They wanted Jeanne’s family and her friends to know how much they loved her and how they are better people for knowing her.

Jeanne would say, “I’m not dying from cancer, I’m living with cancer.”

Some other health issues were serious, too. Whenever she was scared she would recite the 23rdPsalm – one of her favorite Bible passages.

I was with Jeanne when the doctor used the word “terminal”. After leaving the doctor’s office, we sat in the car and cried and talked. We decided all of us are “terminal”.

Our Sunday School class gave our teacher a Bible 2 years ago. The teacher asked each of us if we would find our favorite verse or verses, underline them and put our initials next to it. Jeanne marked Matthew 25:34-40. Not only did Jeanne like these, she lived them.

I learned from her friend Grace, that even years ago if Jeanne saw a homeless person and it was cold she would buy a coat and gloves for him/her. In Rockwall, she would buy $5 gift cards from McDonalds. Whenever she saw a homeless man she would have me drop her off and circle around the block. She would give the person a hug and talk to him. One man said he hadn’t had a hug in years. Jeanne would give some gift cards to him and tell him that God loved him.

At church, Jeanne started a group (she wanted to call them the “Knit-wits”). Several ladies met each week and knitted or crocheted lap blankets for shut-ins and nursing homes.

Our church had an auction last year for missions. Jeanne made a beautiful quilt. It made more money than any 1 item ever.

Once Jeanne re-united with George, she would talk about him like a giddy teenager. She had finally found true happiness.

Jeanne loved her children and grandchildren so much. Even though I hadn’t met all her family until today, I felt like I knew them well. She was so proud and bragged on all their academic and sports achievements.

Now Jeanne knows the answer to “Why did God make an ugly Hippopotamus?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

January 9, 2013

My mom passed away yesterday. While it may not have been the cancer specifically, it was one of the tumors that caused a blood clot that is the likely culprit. It doesn't really matter, she isn't in pain anymore - no more pain, no more radiation, no more chemo, no more needle sticks, no more shingles, no more CT scans, no more xrays, no more bad news...she finally gets peace. And she died in the best possible way - in her sleep, at home and happy where she was. I'm including part of the obituary - omitting the names of survivors out of respect to them.

I pray for peace for my family and George and his family - this has been hard on all of us.

Jeanne Britt, 65, of Fly Creek, went to heaven on January 9, 2013 after a valiant battle against cancer.

She was born in Cooperstown and through the years she had resided in many places. Her true happiness came when she moved to Fly Creek to be with, in her words “the first and last love of her life”, George. Our Mom's greatest accomplishments were; getting her degree at Utica School of Commerce, working at Rinehard, Fitzgerald, & DePietro, raising the three of us and learning how to quilt, one of her favorite past times.

Jeanne was a very loving woman and thought nothing of sharing that love with all she knew. She was a caring, compassionate and giving person who would give the clothes off her back, her last dollar or anything that might help a person in need. She will be greatly missed by her children, grandchildren, George and his family, all of whom gave her such joy.

We all want to thank Dr. Leonardo, the 3rd floor staff at Bassett Hospital, and Lamar, for taking such excellent care of her. Dr. Leonardo went the extra mile for her and cared very much.

In lieu of flowers please consider the American Cancer Society in memory of Jeanne. 

Memorial calling hours will be Sunday, January 13, 2013 from 1-2:30pm at Wolanin Funeral Home Inc. 266 Main St, New York Mills with a service at 2:30pm.