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!