A Bit of a Colorful Day

This weekend is Labor Day Weekend here in the US.  This is the time when we pay tribute to “working America” and take some time off to kick up our heels and relax as we officially say good-bye to summer. Or at least the summer season.

School doors in our state will soon open.  Life will become more structured for kids who have been celebrating the days of summer; as the darkness sets in earlier and earlier now,  we do know what is ahead.

The United States is steeped in politics; being an election year, conventions are being held. The Democratic Convention has taken place,  and with the Republican Convention set to begin,  all of America is holding its breath and lifting prayers to heaven. The political scene is now taking a backseat as eyes watch the latest news regarding the potentially devastating hurricane known as Gustav.  As this hurricane makes its way towards the Louisiana coastline,  people cannot believe that in light of the devastation of Hurricane Katrina,  another hurricane looks as though it is set to hit New Orleans once again.

And,  those of us far removed from the danger stand by, wondering how we might help…..

We had made some plans for today, but they didn’t work out, so Mark thought perhaps we should take the kids to Darien Lake Theme Park.  We put the Scottie boys in their crates and left.  With temperatures expected in the 80’s (about 26 degrees, Celsius) we left the boys home in the kitchen. This is a north-facing room that is generally much cooler than the rest of the house.

We had to stop at the convenience store on the way to buy some ice for the cooler.  When we pulled in, we saw the coolest little red hot rod.

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We continued on our way and the kids begged and pleaded with us to stop at Dairy Queen for a chocolate-dipped cone. Since I am not overly fond of chocolate, I opted for vanilla ice cream in a kiddie cup with cherry dip.  No one in my family had ever tasted cherry dip before, but it was my favorite as a kid.  Tastes just like a maraschino cherry!

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We also stopped at Darien Lake State Park. This is where we often go camping and we were  last there during the Kingdom Bound event.  The park was pretty full of campers and it was the most awesome day! This photo was taken by the beach.

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The rest of these photos were taken at the theme park. Mark and I entered with the kids, then let them go ride whatever rides they wanted.  Mark and I went and grabbed a bite to eat, then just enjoyed relaxing by the lake….

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That tall tower is about 250 feet tall.  Brainless maniacs with a strong death wish   Crazy people actually pay $30 (I think that is correct)  to be lifted up to almost the top of that tower and then then released on a bungee-type contraption to swing about,  pendulum-like above people and water below. My last photo shows some nuts people as they were released.

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I know I photograph far too many ducks, but they are just so cute! This little lady was moving through the water like a power boat, heading for some bread crumbs someone threw into the water….

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Ah, a piece of placid sanity! The park where the rides are was insane! There were people everywhere, making it really hard for Mark to make his way with the wheelchair. We dodged over to the lake. It is always so quiet and peaceful there!

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Ah, quick! Call the National Guard! There appears to be a monster in the lake!

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Gotta love that fountain! I never would have noticed that it was an octopus had we not ventured over that way!

And, as promised, crazy people for whom the phrase “The nut doesn’t fall far from the tree” might well have been coined!

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As we arrived back home early this evening, I suddenly felt such a deep sadness. I have not seen the eagle in so long….My heart longs to see the bird or birds again. There is something so wonderful,  so inexplicable about seeing them…I can only equate it to being inducted into a society of privileged members.  I had only dreamed of seeing one of  these majestic birds a few weeks ago and now…. I consider myself deeply blessed. And more…for I long to “mount up on wings, as eagles”…

Crackerdog

Late this morning, as I was walking in the upstairs hallway, I heard a rather mysterious noise.  It was coming from Michelle’s bedroom….

I walked to the doorway and poked my head in….

There, upon Michelle’s unmade bed, I found Murphy rolling and swirling about on her down-filled comforter.   As he gleefully played,  happy as the proverbial “pig in the mud”, little “heh-heh-heh” sounds could be heard coming from his lips.  For those who understand canine language, this is recognized as dog “laughing”.

I stood and watched for several seconds before the little bundle of flying fur actually caught sight of me standing beside the bed.  I don’t think I have been so entertained by a pup since reading James Herriot’s tales of Mrs. Pumphrey’s obese Pekingese, Tricki Woo. Mrs. Pumphrey claimed that when her little Tricki acted up, he was going “crackerdog”.

I explained that I was going to get my camera. Murphy stopped for a brief moment, as though processing what I had said,  then began the crazy rolling gyrations once again.

When I came back with the camera, Murphy stopped and just looked at me.  It was as though he didn’t want to be caught in the act of such nonsense.  I began making the “heh, heh, heh” sound he had been making earlier.  This was all the instigation required to set the boy rolling and twisting about all over again!

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I was thinking about the difference between Angus and Murphy. Angus is so very serious, and Murphy is just barreling through life a hundred miles an hour.  Murphy makes the most out of every moment…and adds so much joy to life!

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If ever a canine had a Bible verse written just for him, Murphy’s would be “A merry heart doeth good, like a medicine.” Proverbs 17:22

Lions and Eagles

My blog-friend, Jackie, over in Scotland,  featured a lion on her blog entry for today:

http://glasgowdailyphoto.wordpress.com/2008/08/28/guard/

This lion reminded me of a pair I had snapped pictures of the other day while picking up a pizza in Naples.   The photo I took while trying to get both together was no good, as the lion on the left was in the shadows, and the one on the right was overexposed, bathed in bright sunlight!

This pair resides at the Maxfield Bed and Breakfast , which is absolutely lovely in the photos in the link given. However, the business is now for sale, and those pretty privets that border the sidewalk are now in need of a “haircut”! Being height-challenged, I could barely reach over the hedge to photograph the lions!!!

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Even though this lion is in the shadows, I wanted to show him as you can see the inviting rocking chairs on the front porch with their pretty golden seat covers located behind him..

And, the lion on the right (a bit overexposed!)…

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And while on the subject of lions,  I always think of my maternal grandparents when I think about lions.  For a large portion of my life, my grandparents lived in State College, Pennsylvania, home of Pennsylvania State University.  The Penn State mascot is…..the Nittany Lion.  Wow….I have not seen that lion in probably thirty  years…

While posting this entry, I realized that Jackie was away when I “caught” a photograph of the gorgeous eagle that lives on the south end of Canandaigua Lake. (I am told there is actually a pair there, although I have only seen one at a time.)

I cropped this photo a  bit, and in all honesty, I cannot believe my trusty little point and shoot did such a good job! Oh, and I had to “park” my little inflatable kayak in some lily pads to catch this bird!

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Busy Little Bees…

Yes, we were working like busy little bees this morning! We worked together as a family, splitting and stacking the firewood from the seven trees we cut earlier this week.   After finishing,  we went out to do some errands.

Michelle wanted to know if we could drive over to Geneva to see the extreme house and since the stores we needed to shop at were also located there,  Mark decided it might be fun.  We drove down the street the house is located on,  and unfortunately, the block where the Hill house is situated is closed off with blockades.

We looked down the street and saw landscapers working in the yards that were trampled by the hordes of people coming to view the home as it was taking shape.  I had wondered if ABC would fix up the neighborhood in the aftermath. Apparently, they did!

And, speaking of bumblebees….I was out with the camera this morning, watching them working about in the weeds behind the house.

Just look at this little bee’s face! Pollen, anyone?

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I really liked the way this capture turned out. The bee contrasts so nicely with the flower!

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And…..this is the ***elusive*** dragonfly! Elusive, you ask?  Yes! This dragonfly is relatively large compared to some others I have photographed. It is such a pretty blue color on top,  but it just flitters and flies around, never lighting!  I was shocked that I found it lingering on the fuchsia flower late this morning….Too bad I got its bottom side instead of the pretty blue topside!

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Enjoying Cool, Delightfully Delicious Weather!

I so cannot complain about the summer weather we’ve had this year. It has been too hot a few days, but most of the time, the humidity has been bearable and not nearly as high as  most summers.  Today, the temperature is just delightful…almost “chilly” in the shade and warm in the sunshine!

I walked down the driveway this morning to take a couple of photos of the house with the trees gone…it is taking me some time to adjust to this new look, but I know eventually, it won’t seem to “exposed”…

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The house is receiving more sunlight now, but Mark assures me that with the front porch, the house is not going to “fry in the sun”.  The photo below was taken from the road and even though we can see the road quite clearly, I guess we aren’t as visible as I had suspected.

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While down by the road, I thought I had better get a picture of the wild chickory and the mailboxes. (our neighbors and we share the post on which the mailboxes are mounted)  I thought it looks like a “natural still life”!

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Yesterday, while visiting our neighbors, we got to talking about the weather and storms. They told us about the Bristol Springs Free Church. (we had not heard before)

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Pretty country church, isn’t it? Well, a couple of storms ago, we had some extraordinary lightening in the neighborhood!  One of the bolts hit the bell tower on the church.  Apparently, the volunteer fire department is very quick! As you can see, it looks like damage was limited.

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The one question is my mind…..

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I wonder if this sign was up before or after the lightening strike?

Brief Walk Through Geneva

 Yesterday,  when Mark dropped Michelle and I off to walk over to the makeover home,  we walked back to where we were dropped off only to find that Mark had driven away! That would normally be no problem, but when we tried to call Mark from my cell phone, I kept getting a cryptic “cannot connect for unknown reason” message. Exasperated, Michelle kept repeating she  had no idea why my phone had no signal whatsoever in Geneva. In all honesty, I felt clueless as well.

So…in temperatures so hot, one was sweating while  sitting still,  Michelle and I began walking. I figured that if we got near the main highway,  the phone would certainly be able to ring Mark up. As we walked on and on,  I realized what the problem was!

Since our cell phones are more computer than phone, they need a rebooting from time to time,  just as a computer does.  Sure enough, as soon as the phone restarted, the meter read  “full signal”!

The little walk along several blocks didn’t hurt Michelle or me a bit,  and we actually found ourselves in awe of some of the architecture we passed! As we came closer and closer to this “tower” on the Episcopal church,  I loved the little “spires” with their unique design.

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As we passed the front of the church,  the sign surely made worshippers welcome. Taken from tthe verse Isaiah 56:7…

“Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.”

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This stone church is so beautiful and although I couldn’t find the date on the building,  I do believe it is an old structure. I love the wooden doors in the front….

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During our walk, we passed this building located across the street.  It is the Geneva Historical Society Museum and I would love to visit there.

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At the top of the hill where these buildings are located, everything looks very very old.  These houses all overlook beautiful Seneca Lake. The row houses are so impressive and I love the way each is painted a different color to distinguish individual homes.

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Here is a peek between some of the buildings and you can see the hotel I showed a few days ago below.  This is just at street level,  and I cannot imagine the view from the second or third stories of these homes!

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I will certainly be visiting Geneva again with my camera in hand.  It would appear there is some interesting history located here!

Today was a workday, clearing all of the debris from the trees I cut down. I am so tired from all  of the work, and I think I discovered some new muscles I never knew existed!

The Extreme House

 Preface: we lost our electricity about an hour and a half ago as I was working on uploading these photos to my blog! Through modern technology…a cell phone and laptop, I am able to post this entry…..Isn’t modern technology fun?

After completing my wood cutting task, we decided to take a little ride to Geneva. I had been wanting to see the Extreme Home Makeover  house. 

We drove to Geneva, and as we got closer and closer to the home,  the traffic increased like crazy. This little college town that is usually pretty quiet was hopping with people and there really was a sense of anticipation in the air.

We followed behind a cement truck and when I commented I have never seen a cement truck on Sunday before,  it was no surprise that the truck was unloading in front of the new home!

I reflected that on Wednesday, I watched as an excavator loaded the last bits of wood from the house onto a waiting dumptruck.  I was anxious and curious to see the new house that was now standing on that same spot.  What I saw was nothing short of amazing!

This street is lined with homes that are old.  Many are apartments, some are homes that are in nice shape and some look in need of repair.  I had not seen the Hill home previously, but this house that is standing in its stead looks very much like a “vintage” home in many respects.  The house does not dwarf neighboring homes, nor does it appear as a “modern” contrast.  Kudos to the designers. The house actually fits rather comfortably into the neighborhood.

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Excuse the lack of clarity in some of these photos, but all the tall people were once again standing in front of me and I held my camera in the air and just snapped the photos.

We were there at about four in the afternoon, and the workers were placing cement in forms for new sidewalks at the house.  There were moving style trucks everywhere….I am thinking they must have been loaded with furnishings for the new home.

Amazing….simply amazing! As Michelle and I walked back to the truck, I said how nice it would be to have something like this at our home.  Mark is unable to use his wheelchair to move around our house because it is so small. Michelle looked at me and said,  Mom, we get by just fine. Everything always works out!

How did I ever end up with such a wise little fifteen-year-old…..She is amazing!