Friday Frenzy!

Even though I have decided that I REALLY need to slow things down a bit, with two teens in the house, I guess that just isn’t about to happen any time soon! Thus, Michelle sent me off to Canandaigua yesterday morning with a list of groceries to purchase.  She stayed home to clean, as her friends, Jacob and Jeffrey, were coming over later in the afternoon.

Mark didn’t go in for physical therapy yesterday, because he felt like he was coming down with a cold.  Trying to move about while sneezing and blowing his nose would only cause his efforts to seem worthless, so he cancelled.

I left the house and drove on to Canandaigua. And, you, dear reader, who have any inkling of what I do or am about, know that stopping lakeside was a prerequisite.  I pulled into a small parking lot and thought about getting out to take a few photos.  As soon as I began to open the door of the Explorer, a wicked gust of wind caught it and whipped it out of my hand.  I grabbed hold of the handle and yanked the door shut.  No way I was going out into that! Feeling a bit defeated, I leaned back on my seat and rolled my eyes.

Just then, a group of Canada Geese flew overhead.  I reached for the Panasonic camera at my side as I watched them looking as though they were also struggling against the wind to make headway!  Silly me….I snapped a photo through the glass.

I was about to delete this photo, but just turned the camera off and put it away.  I figured even if I had no pictures to show, I always have *something* to say on my blog, after all!  Now, I am really glad the photo was kept. It is very “artsy”   and I love the dark blue color from the band of dark glass at the top of the windshield!

I scurried off to Wegman’s and made my way through the aisles, picking up all the listed items.

I rushed to get home as quickly as I could.  Michelle had invited her friends to come at 3, and it was going to be after 2 before I got back home. 

As I drove along the road, I spotted some suspicious characters walking about….

I pulled over and took a few pictures and as the turkeys felt a bit threatened, they formed a line, single file, and walked away from me!

I carried all the groceries into the house and Michelle quickly fished out the eggs.  She had planned to bake Jacob a white and chocolate checkerboard cake for his birthday.  She rushed about and had two layers all baked by the time the two boys arrived.  She went to the garage, along with Ben, to play a game of Foosball.  I removed the last layer of cake when it was down.

 Michelle came in the house at about 4:30, and between cooking chicken lo mein for dinner for everyone, she decorated Jacob’s cake….

Wow! I could get used to someone else doing the cooking here! Michelle did a very nice job and everyone seemed to enjoy the lo mein.

I got a photo of the lit birthday cake before it was blown out….

But no photo of Jacob.  The boys stayed until about 9, and by that time, I was so tired! I thought I felt like I was catching a cold, too, but I guess I was just exhausted!

As I was going through the photos on my cards, I found this one I took last week of my Christmas Cactus. I had said I wasn’t going to take any more photos of it, but I loved this photo…the texture and color of the flower was pretty incredible!

The temperature today is still below freezing, but with no Arctic blasts of northerly winds blowing, it feels downright balmy out there!

Swarming Swans, Gaggles of Geese, and Dozens of Ducks

 Madeline and Shaye both told me about the waterfowl that frequents the Irondequoit Bay/Lake Ontario area. Ever since I emailed Shaye and she sent me some photos the other day, I have been *dreaming* of making this journey.  Shaye had told me that the swans were eating bread right from the hand of her husband. This, you must understand,  just got those little gears working in my mind…(see previous post)

The other day, I ventured forth to Country Max and purchased two 10 pound bags of cracked corn for the appointed day.  Every time I looked into the back of the truck and saw the bags, my mind would once again wander into a dreamlike state….

Mark’s mom had a doctor’s appointment this morning and she lives only a short distance from “the magical” place!  As we drove to Rochester, my mind was filled with imaginings, unleashed!  Oh, to feed a swan from my hand….it sounds too surreal….such happenings are reserved for Heaven, I thought to myself as I tried to calm down!

Mark’s mom went in for her doctor’s appointment, and we drove over to Wendy’s so the troops could refresh themselves.  My stomach had been a tad off yesterday, so I passed, but then decided on a tiny Frosty, which felt so good and hit the spot.  We waited and waited for the call that my mother-in-law was done. It seemed the time stood still, and then, the phone rang!

My mother-in-law has a cold that she says is breaking up now, so when Mark inquired if she might be interested in seeing the “birds”,  I hoped she would say “yes”.  She did, and off we went.

The temperature dropped throughout the day, and by the time we reached our destination, it was cold, but the wind was downright brutal.  Mark parked on a boat launch where all the birds were in clear view. I think I veritably flew from the truck,  excited beyond belief that I was getting this close to the birds.  Ben and I carefully opened one of the bags of corn and I filled a little cup. 

As I walked toward the group of swans, geese, and ducks,  I truly expected them to recoil and head for the open waters. Not so!

I held my hand out so they could see that I came bearing food.  They were almost as excited as I!

This group was amazing.  I didn’t count the swans, but there must have been more than a dozen.  There weren’t really that many geese, but the Mallards?  There must have been over 50 Mallards! The birds didn’t fight or carry on as I dropped some of the corn near the water.  The ducks ate, the geese ate, and the swans ate.  All peaceably.

The trickiest part of this whole exercise was trying to feed the birds AND photograph them at the same time. Needless to say, it was downright impossible! One of the swans was so comfortable in my presence that it plopped right down on the launch within inches of my feet!

As I held the corn out in my hand, the swans would gobble at my fingers! I would then allow some of the corn to slide down my hand and into their mouths.  Having owned geese in the past, I am familiar with getting “goosed”. That is one of the most pinchingly painful injuries I can think of.  The swans, on the other hand, would actually grab at my fingers, but would gently let loose instead of clamping down!

Michelle picked up the little Panasonic camera and took pictures of my encounters…(and look how BIG those swans are!!!)

One startling “eureka” for me was the bright coloration of the Mallards. Not only are the males strikingly beautiful, but I have never seen the females looking so pretty! They were also colorful! Breeding season cannot be far off, I am sure!

The gradiant sizes of the birds is very evident when they are all within inches of each other!

Here you can see one of the swans eating directly from my hand.  I must interject at this point that my fingers were actually burning.  The wind was tormentuous as it lashed wildly about.  Since there is nothing to impede the gusts”,  it was brutal. And miserable.

With many pounds of cracked corn still available, we purposed to go back again when the weather is just a bit milder!

In the meantime, Michelle got the cutest photo today……

Like I said…..magical……totally magical!

My Name is Katya.

And, I am addicted.  Every time I think about it, my fingers get shaky….they begin to move as though out of control.  My mind begins to race, just thinking about it.  Sometimes, it awakens me in the night and I feel a deep urge to satisfy the longing for “just one more”.  It seems to occupy my mind so frequently,  even to the point that it dictates my destinations!

There,  I admitted it and I feel better.

After all, I love photography!

Last night,  the temperature outside rose quite a bit and our house grew toasty warm.  Michelle fell sound asleep on my bed and I worked a bit on the computer.  I got up and looked out the window….the sky was totally overcast, and the clouds provided the perfect atmosphere to reflect the orangish lights from the ski mountain and broadcast them throughout the Bristolwood. Fantastic….

I threw open the window, pulled up a seat, and made my mind up to get at least one good shot.  I sat for the better part of an hour,  snapping photo after photo, reviewing and erasing.  I was just stubborn enough to assure myself that at least one good photo could be shot handheld!

Well, there you have it.  There is a tiny little point of light in the center of the photo….that is a light from the ski mountain, located about two miles from our home!  Ah, sweet success!

Landing on Canandaigua Lake….

While we were out yesterday, I wanted to stop by the lake just for a minute,  because it is always fun just to watch the ducks and geese.  I got some pictures of the geese just kind of standing around and such, when I heard a lot of flapping in the sky.

I zoomed as far as I could and I was shooting eastward (towards the bright morning sun),  so the quality of these photos isn’t the greatest, but you can certainly get the idea.  The geese came in for their landings, but as they came down on the ice, it was rather humorous, as they skidded on and on!  (you can see in the last photo, one goose came to a stop before the other!) 

Another Busy Day

We had to arise early this morning, as Mark had an early morning appointment for physical therapy.  He cancelled yesterday’s appointment, as we had Ben’s friends over and it would have been nearly impossible to attend the appointment and rush home to greet everyone as they arrived!

We went to Mark’s appointment and I got to see him walk in a “walker”.  It was great to see him standing on his legs, nearly as upright as anyone would walk. Wow.  The therapist made a comment she had no idea he was so tall! He worked hard for about 35 minutes, then we were on our way.

We stopped down by the lake and I had fun watching the geese and ducks playing on the ice….

The kids have off school this week, so we took them to the mall where they wanted to do a little shopping. Afterwards, we hopped on over to Rochester.  We had so many little stops and errands, it seemed like we were never going to finish!

But…we did! On the way home, I caught this….

I am so tired and I still have some photos to process, but tomorrow is another day! For now, I need to get some rest!

Perhaps?

Jeanne over at BermudaBluez wondered on one comment she left if perhaps Spring *is* coming.  This got me a tad bit curious, so I went out to the garden beds to see if there were any signs of life. What I found was quite amazing to me!

The Columbines seem to always be ready and willing for the snow to disappear so they can shoot up!

A little surprise that caught me off guard was the Daffodils peeking up from under the leaf litter!

And the biggest surprise of all was the greenery on my Mum!  This plant put on such a spectacular show this past Fall.  What a terrific addition to the garden!

Today was Ben’s birthday. He decided not to have a birthday party, but rather, a gathering of his friends.  He invited eleven kids and they all came! Carly also came with her three kids, so at one point,  there were nineteen people here!  What a riot!  I think everyone enjoyed themselves and Mark enjoyed playing Foosball with the kids.  We had Tacos for dinner and it was just a lot of fun having everyone here.

Carly pointed out one pair of rather unique shoes….

Yup, the kids’ friend, Sage, wears his intense green Reeboks with bookworms on them! They are quite appropriate, actually, as Sage is in his second or third year of college at the ripe old age of sixteen!

A most busy and entertaining day. One of the highlights was when the Hardy twins were getting ready to leave. Before departing, they went to Ben and sang their version of “Happy Birthday” in two-part harmony. Fabulous!  It really was a great day, full of fun and lots of good memories!

Umm…one thing…I think we will just ignore the weather report calling for rain, freezing rain, and snow….The flowers cannot lie, after all, can they?

Morning Visitors

This morning, the chatter was so loud, I could actually hear it with closed windows! I looked out to see what all the noise was about, and was fascinated to see the tree full of little finches, singing quite happily!

Yesterday, I ran out of Black Oil Sunflower seeds, so I picked up a pound of a Songbird blend.  Perhaps that is why the finches were singing so!  I looked out again and saw this cute little Downy Woodpecker working away on the tree….

No, your eyes aren’t fuzzy! The little woodpecker is a bit out of focus, plus it looks like its down is “leaking”!  It looked like a fluffy little toy.

Today was  crazy.  I had a little running around to do, like picking up some Sunflower seeds! I bought 100 pounds, so we should be set for a lttle while!

Happy Valentine’s Day

Too bad I don’t have a picture of a beautiful red Cardinal to insert here for Valentine’s Day, but how about this adorable face?

I wondered about the Goldfinches….they are a kind of “olive drab” during the winter months, but bright yellow in the summer…So, when do they change color?  If you look at the little bird above, you can see the bright patch of yellow under the beak.  I have noticed bright yellow on the finches here and there.  I wonder if this is because their breeding season isn’t too far off?

I went wandering about in the woods a little to see what kind of damage might have resulted from the tremendous winds on Tuesday.  I was happy to see that the snow *finally* allowed me to show off the treads on my (not so) new boots!

Yes, I was waiting for the wet, sticky kind of snow so I could show the snowflakes on the bottom of my boots!

There are several trees down just in a small area I observed.  I wonder just how many more there are throughout our woods!  I did not photograph a large Basswood that broke open at its base…really weird….looks like it imploded! I dislike Basswood!

I feel so spoiled this Valentines Day!  Mark and the kids got me flowers…..

A cute Valentine balloon bouquet……

And, (so very dear to my heart!) TWO boxes of Walker’s Scottish Shortbread cookies!

We took our kids, along with two others, over to a small party in Penn Yan today.  Mark and I got to spend some time alone….gads, it was soooo incredibly quiet!  We drove around a bit and went to Geneva to look in a couple of stores.

Last night, Mark and I watched a Buffalo Sabres game on television.  The game was held in Buffalo, and the NHL (National Hockey League) offered to postpone the game in light of the tragic plane crash in Buffalo Tuesday night.  The management decided that perhaps the game would be good for the people, bringing them together in a spirit of unity.

Before the game began, there was a moment of silence in memory of those killed in the crash.  It sent goosebumps up and down my arms, seeing this huge arena, full of people, heads bowed in silence.  During the game,  short clips of the coach were shown with him speaking about the crash. It was obvious this was a very difficult subject for him. Several of the players on the Sabres team live within minutes of where the accident occurred.

The game went on with Buffalo in the lead against the leading team in the western conference.  As time passed, the San Jose Sharks tied the game, then scored another goal,  leading the game 5-4.  As the closing minutes of the game wound down, it looked for all intents and purposes, like the Sharks were going to win the game.  With 3.9 seconds on the clock, Buffalo scored, tying the game as it came to a close!  You have never seen such a standing ovation! Fans screamed and cheered for what seemed like forever!

The game went into a fourth period, which is played 4 on 4, for five minutes. Neither team scored, so it was time for a shootout.  After several players went out, individually, to try to score on each goalie, the Sabres wound up victorious!! It was a very tense and nerve-wracking game, but the fans were nearly ecstatic! I do think that the game did unify the people in Buffalo for a time, and gave them something good to enjoy.

My heart and prayers go out for the families and friends of those on Flight 3407….

Such Heartbreaking News…

Last night, I took the kids to their Bible study in Canandaigua.  I got a bit nervous when they didn’t come out until nearly 20 minutes later than usual, but Michelle had decided to play a game of Foosball, as the winner would receive a rose!

While the kids were at their study, I went shopping at TJ Maxx.  They have so many cute things for Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day.  One of the items that really caught my eye was this cute little bone china mug….

The stamp on the botom says Crown Trent UK , but there was a sticker over it stating that the mug was made in China, and decorated in England.  Ugh! Since when is nice bone china made in China? 

Perhaps it is the Ukrainian in me that loves the colorful decorations on the mug, but I thought it was so cute! (or, it could be the wee bit o’ Irish that was attracted to the green!)

After picking the kids up, we left Canandaigua, where it was lightly snowing, but not sticking to the ground. As I drove, the weather began to degrade rapidly.  The roads were snow covered and glistening. The amount of snow on the ground was in direct correlation to elevation, so as we neared home, the snow was deeper. I took it easy and we made it safely home.

I went upstairs later and as I listened to the radio, the anouncer said a plane crashed in Buffalo in a residential neighborhood.  As I listened, he said details were sketchy….

This morning, information is being given regarding the accident and the people who were on board.  There were 44 passengers, 4 crew members, and one person on the ground died.  The plane crashed into a house, and two people in the house escaped, but another was killed.  Everyone aboard the plane died in the crash. This is just so heart-wrenching…