Signs of the Times….

Chris in Scotland got me to thinking about the fear of a pandemic outbreak of swine flu. Her mention of the bottles of sanitizing hand cleaner in church made me smile.  She also spoke of a rather “safe” form of communion taking place in the church.

While we were in Niagara Falls the other day, we stopped at  Sam’s Club.  I nearly turned around and decided NOT to enter the store when I saw the “Cover Your Cough” signs hung on the doors entering the store!  There were also bottles of hand cleaner strategically placed throughout the store….especially *noticeable* around the electronics area!

And speaking of hand cleaner…..When the first threat of swine flu hit the headlines,  many stores found themselves short on the anti-bacterial cleaner.  (I prefer soap and water myself, but find the “waterless” sort rather convenient when entering crowded stores and restaurants!)

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I was so happy to find this quart-sized bottle of cleaner at Wegman’s.  No, I didn’t buy it specifically because of a pandemic threat.  We have been using this stuff for years! Think about a husband who has to roll across parking lots in a wheelchair.  Better yet, take a look at the floors of home supply stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s. Mark’s hands are so filthy when he comes out of these places,  I feel like cleaning my entire BODY with the stuff!

While we were at Sam’s,  I noticed they had an even *larger* bottle of hand cleaner! WOW!  I had never seen a two liter bottle before!

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Now that we have two big bottles of hand cleaner, I leave one in the back of the truck for when we go out for a picnic. Makes it really nice not having to worry whether there is a restroom nearby to wash up!  There is one major downside to the whole essence of antibacterial hand cleaners, though…..seems they can never remove “sticky” stuff no matter how hard one tries!

Decisions and Rethinking!

Yes, I have been thinking!

I thought I was going to be completely satisfied with the Nikon D-90 I tentatively bought last month.  Gads, I loved that camera and the photos it took.  It was awesome.  However…..

Mark has done so much research regarding cameras and he always enjoys a good hunt for the lowest price.  The Nikon D-90 is a much newer model and a considerably better camera than my D-80.  The place where we purchased the camera allows customers 30 days to try out merchandise and if they aren’t satisfied, they may return the merchandise.  And so, I reluctantly (gasp!) packed the D-90 back into its original packaging and said “so long” to it.

The other day, I decided to give a Nikon D-40 a good try.  The Nikon D-40 is a more “entry-level”  D-SLR that costs about 1/2 the price of the D-90.   Of course, the one I bought was purchased at WalMart, so it might not have been the very “best” price. 

I opened the box and charged the battery right away.  Upon putting the camera together,  it was amazing how much smaller and lighter the D-40 is than the D-80.  It really is kind of “cute”. So, how did it perform? The following are some photos of my plant life gracing the front porch and back deck…

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Mark always kind of laughed about me looking at Ken Rockwell’s site as he reviews both Canon and Nikon cameras. He is a photographer who has such marvelous photos on his site.  Well,  many of the photos of his kids were taken with none other than a Nikon D-40!  He loves this camera so much and claims it is actually “fun” because it is so lightweight and easy to use.  If you go to his website,  click on the link for Ryan Rockwell. (his little son)  There are some super fantastic pool photos taken with a D-40 just a couple of days ago and they are fabulous.

I still would love to have the Nikon D-90 because it is a real treat to use,  but for now,  I am thinking perhaps the low cost D-40 might serve me well.  With the economy looking a little off-kilter at the moment,  I would rather spend less on camera equipment.  The worst part about purchasing digital cameras is the moment after one lays down their hard-earned cash on the counter and steps out the door, the depreciation factor begins chopping away at the value of the equipment….I am thinking I might just patiently await the price of the D-90 to drop, even if it is months from now. I have no great urgency!

On another note, the woodpecker babies mentioned in my last post have become so vocal,  Michelle and I discussed the fact we are thankful the “host tree” is situated far beyond the house.  Those babies are LOUD!  The poor adult woodpecker(s) are seen flying back and forth constantly as the squawking brood literally screams out for “more”!  The noise seems only to subside during the night hours.

I heard on the radio today that we have received almost four inches of rain this June.  I am certainly not complaining, as we have had our well go belly-up in dry weather, requiring water to be delivered.  That makes me so upset, but Mark explains it is far cheaper than paying to have a drilled well put in.  For now, our skies began clearing early this evening and we are promised a few dry days with warmer temperatures.

Yesterday’s Adventure

Before  I tell about yesterday’s adventure,  I must interject about a curious situation I encountered at the beginning of last week….

I had taken the Scotties out for their early morning constitution.  As we walked along the side of the driveway,  I heard the tiniest…nearly inaudible (to me) noise.  It sounded rythmic and rather mechanical.  Squeak…squeak…squeak…I looked up towards the well, wondering if the pump might be making such a noise, but came to the conclusion that since it is a submersible model,  I would never hear noise coming from it.

Well, the next day,  I heard the noise again.  And the next day.  I then realized it was a nest of hungry little birds!  As the days progressed, the noise also progressed…louder and louder!  One morning I watched, trying to spot where the noise was coming from!  And soon enough,  a Downy Woodpecker flew to the side of the tree, then seemed to disappear inside.  The noise promptly stopped,  only to begin once again after the bird flew away!

I imagine those little woodpeckers will be leaving the nest sometime soon to fetch their own grub!

Now, fast forward to yesterday….

We were off to Buffalo  to pick up some things for my business, so afterward,  I thought we could do something interesting.  No, I didn’t say fun as what defines fun to two teens isn’t quite my idea of fun!  Lately, it seems their definition of fun is hanging out with their friends as much as possible!

 I am a member of he zoo in Rochester, and many zoos and aquariums reciprocate and allow members admittance for free.  I discovered that the Aquarium of Niagara was one such organization, so we were off to Niagara Falls.

I was a bit disappointed, as the aquarium looks as though it has become quite “aged” since I was there. Of course, it has probably been about thirty years!

Between the dark lighting inside the building,  a huge contingiency of what looked to be a group from India coughing and sneezing  (ew!!!! hope it isn’t swine flu germs!), and two kids who would have liked to have been anywhere else but there,  I wasn’t real keen on taking photos.  And the ones I did take were shoddy to say the least!

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I was lucky enough to get one photo of the feeding penguins without a little head in front of the glass!

I went back over to the penguin exhibit after the feeding time was over and this cute little fellow was so happy to see me, he flapped his wings!  (please don’t burst my bubble here!)

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I liked the penguins and harbor seals the best!  Oh, the penguins are Humbolt Penguins and come from Peru and Chile.

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We weren’t in the aquarium very long.  Mark asked why we came out so soon, but it was so crowded and dark in there, I think the kids and I just wanted to be in the sunshine once again! (and the weather forecast had been for rain!!) It also had a very strong aroma of fish which made the kids make comments over and over again!

We drove around a little and stopped at the most fascinating place! (not for all, mind you….)

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Yes, this is Snow Park! It has a snow slide, ice rink, and even a play area on the side where kids (I saw two grown men trying to build a castle there!) can play in the snow!  Imagine people doing “snow recreation” in shorts and tee shirts! I am keeping this place in mind for when the temperature soars out of control come August!!

The highlight of my day was when I got to stand beneath a helicopter that takes off from a platform atop a building!  I love helicopters and hopefully,  I will one day get to ride in one!

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Before we came home, we did stop for dinner of pizza and wings at  La Nova.  Buffalo is a city with so much to see and do.  I wish we would have had more time to spend there, but as Mark always says,  There’s always next time!  The kids have completed their schoolwork for the year, their records have all been sent to the school district and now….it’s summer party time!

One Very Lonnnngggggg Day!

Today was so busy, I found myself bumping into myself along the way!

When I got up this morning, I took the Scotties out, then spent some time brushing their coats out well.  They get brushed (very) frequently, as their “kilts”…”skirts”…whatever,  have a tendency to collect all forms of matter and debris found on the ground!

I helped Mark for a couple of hours and prepared a meatloaf for lunch.  Oops….I put it in the Crockpot at 9 am, which meant it would be ready early afternoon.  Since no one on the family (except me!) enjoys mashed potatoes,  I decided to make potato salad to go with the meatloaf.  Well, as soon as I had most of the ingredients assembled,  I realized I had no celery.  No problem….I would mak a trip to the market in Naples and grab some.

On the way back home, I just had to stop briefly in Woodville.  I was shocked at the vast amounts of wild Irises growing there!  I had never noticed them previously as I hadn’t frequented that area until we bought the inflatable kayaks last year.  We got them well after the Irises would have been in bloom.

How fortunate I was to capture a Bumblebee visiting the beautiful yellow flowers!

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We have been getting “copious” amounts of rainfall the past few days.  (“Copious” was the term used on the news report today!) The skies have been very overcast and the rain seems to just keep coming and going!  While I was in Woodville,  the skies remained rain-free and the water was mirrorlike…..

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As I was getting into the Explorer,  I saw this boat (?) barge (?) that is seen early in the spring, making its way up the lake and around the lake, installing docks for cottage and home owners.

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And I spotted even larger patches of those pretty wild Irises!

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I got back home and prepared everything for a late lunch.  We had decided to go out right after lunch because we needed to replace a cable that locks up the brakes on the camper in the event it becomes disconnected.  The old cable got frayed and needed to be replaced before we take the camper for inspection tomorrow.

After lunch, Mark decided he would rather stay home and finish up some paperwork for the kids’ school reports.   Michelle and I would go to Lowe’s and pick up the necessary parts.  Mark decided that since we would be going to Canandaigua,  Michelle and I might as well take the LP gas cylinders off the camper to have them filled.

Michelle and I removed the cylinders and as I was replacing the cover back on, didn’t a piece of metal smash my finger and cut it!  I was so disgusted….I walked back to the house to wash my hand and tell Mark I should probably get a tetanus shot as my last one was in 1996.  I told Mark I would see if perhaps our doctor (in Canandaigua as well) could work me in for a shot.

When I arrived at the doctor’s office,  the receptionist told me that the doctor had undergone emergency surgery herself last Monday and wasn’t in the office.  My heart sank.  The girl called the doctor and she said to check and see if I could get in at a clinic.  Nope.  The receptionist then called another center and they were available in a walk-in basis.  When the receptionist told the doctor, (yes, another call!)  our doctor said she had a friend visiting and if I would hang on a few minutes, she would have him drive her to the office!  (she only lives a mile or so away)

Did I ever mention how much we LOVE our doctor?  She was so incredible….she gave me the shot and explained about how she had issues that wound her in the hospital last Sunday night! She also told me that she wanted to give me the shot, as going to the clinic would carry a hefty $50 or $100 co-pay as opposed to the $20 co-pay at her office.   She is so amazing and such a dedicated doctor!!!

Well, we didn’t get the gas cylinders filled, but Michelle and I did a little shopping and then headed back home.

We are planning to go on a little outing tomorrow so Mark informed me I had an order for 24 bottles of essential oils to ship tomorrow.  I spent the next hour and a half pouring the oils up into bottles and packing them.  I finished up shortly before 11.

Yes, this seemed like the day that went on and on…And even though we sailed through rough waters,  everything worked out so very well!  Now….I just hope my arm doesn’t ache like crazy tomorrow when I wake up!

Stumpt!

Okay, I know….the proper spelling is “stumped”.  But I got to thinking….in other English-speaking countries outside the US,  people have “learnt” many things.  Here, we have “learned”.   I suppose English teachers in the US might blow a gasket were someone to say they “learnt to conjugate ‘to learn’ in past tense! 

So, the question to my UK readers (and Ian in Oz!) is this…..how many verbs can be spelled with the “t” as opposed to the “ed”?  Now, I have noticed some UK bloggers using the term “learnt” while others “learned”.   So….now I am totally confused! 

Back to my stumps!  I wrote about the seven I needed to cut earlier this spring, but failed to update!  Actually, it is recently that I really worked on them.

The two (most annoying) were nearly in the center of the front of the house.  They are now but a memory!

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The five remaining stumps are a work in progress.  Today, I cut three of the five.  I had already cut one a few days ago, and I probably could have done the fifth had my arms not grown exceedingly weary under the weight of the saw.  It seems because my arms got so tired, my saw kept “migrating” downward, causing the chain to get very dull.  Although I am careful about not running the chain into dirt and rocks,  sometimes little rocks and minerals inside the tree dull the chain.

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I worked for an hour or so, then Michelle wanted to take an ATV ride.  Mark and I went with her on trails on adjoining land.  There are logging trails all throughout the woods and although they are mostly unkempt,  the ATV’s make short work of getting  where we want to go.  In one area, we drove through a stand of awesome red pines.  They were so tall and straight…it was almost a sacred event passing near them! We also saw a doe watching as we drove past her.

When we got back home, Ben wanted to go for a ride, so Mark and I went with him, taking some different paths.  My biggest mistake was that I didn’t slip the Panasonic camera in a pocket.  I hadn’t planned on riding, but when everyone coaxed me, I left without a camera in hand.

After the rides, Michelle washed all three bikes and they are so sparkling clean, I don’t want to take them out again!  Don’t worry….we will!

The rain is pounding down outside now and the temperature is a wild contrast from yesterday’s summerlike highs!  There is quite a chill in the air, but the rain and chill just makes it so much the better to snuggle up and read!

To Market, to Market….

Our kids had made plans for today that included meeting friends in Canandaigua this afternoon.   This was fine and we were prepared to take them until a small conflict came up……Seems I had a dentist appointment at 3:30 this afternoon to get my new crown placed on the tooth that had broken.  (I am not totally daft! I had given Mark my appointment card so he could place a reminder on the computer and I failed to get the card back. Instead, Mark neatly placed it in a small niche of his desk drawer organizer.)

Along about 8:30 this morning, I decided to give the dentist office a call.  I had devised a plan, after all!  I would call and ask if any earlier appointments had been cancelled and then see if my appointment could be moved up to earlier in the day. 

I called….

“Dr.  xxx’s office. Can I help you?”

I explain who I am.  Then I make my proposal.

“You have an appointment today“?

I answer affirmatively.  “It says June 16 at 3:30 pm.  Today is the 16th, isn’t it”?

The receptionist makes a strange noise….

Seems when my appointment was made, the card was filled out, but the time was not put in the computer! Uh oh! 

Long story short…I rescheduled (well, I guess my phantom appointment might not have really counted, after all!) for next Monday morning.

We went about our business this morning and into the afternoon until it was time to leave.  We had decided to make a trip to the grocery store as I hadn’t done any “serious” grocery shopping in weeks!  In order to shop, we would have to leave the Scotties home because the weather forecast was for some warm (hot to me!) temperatures.

Michelle brought up the two crates and placed them side by side in the kitchen.  Interestingly, BOTH Scotties decided to go into the smaller of the two crates…..

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Silly boys!

We were off to Canandaigua.  Mark stopped at McDonald’s and the kids and I got small sundaes.  As we were leaving, we saw several old Model T Fords parked across the street at the Ford garage.  Mark asked if I might want to photograph them and I said sure!

This old truck makes appearances in local parades and such. It belongs to the folks who own a furniture store.

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I nearly missed the next car, as it was leaving and I had little time to focus. The sign on the side of the vehicle rather piqued my curiosity, though….

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I looked on the internet and found this:

http://www.oceantoocean-in-a-t-llc.com/about.html

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We saw a few more cars scattered here and there, going down the road. Too bad I couldn’t have photographed each of them!  Yes, they are celebrating the centennial of a coast-to-coast race of Model T’s!  We even came upon on one as we headed east to Geneva!

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Boy, if that vehicle (black) with the little back window and skinny wheels doesn’t remind me of an Amish horse and buggy….no wonder they were referred to as “horseless carriages”!

Mark and I stopped at Kentucky Fried Chicken and picked up a meal.  Then we went down by Seneca Lake.  It was looking so beautiful!

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After our meal, we hopped on over to BJ’s where we got many items we were out of or nearly out of!  Before we finished, the kids called saying they were ready to be picked up.  After getting them,  I went into Wegman’s and bought even more goodies!  Then it was time to head home to the wee boys.

All in all, a rather pleasant day!

 

So…You Think You Know How to Relax?

Yes, at the end of a long day….a physically tough job….or even a stress-filled few hours….you settle down and just relax and let yourself unwind.  Ah….feels so good, doesn’t it?   Nothing is worse than feeling tense and overworked!

Well, take it from Murphy….

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Yes, although his biggest worry of the day is that his cookie tin might run empty,  Murphy does like to de-stress at the end of the day.  Just look at those paws up in the air as he stretches out!

And look at the peaceful and happy look on that Scottie face!

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Does he look troubled?  Is he worried about where his next meal might come from?  I think not! Look at his little lip shining and looking as though he is *smiling*.  I call Scottie lips “licorice lips”!

And Mark loves the little Scottie “bear paws”…..

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I kid you not, Murphy never even budged a muscle as I snapped these photos, complete with flash! 

High Seas Adventure!

Well, okay.  So, it was just tiny Cuba Lake!

We met my parents and Randy at this most wonderful little corner of the world today and lingered there for some six terrific hours.  But rather than wasting a lot of words, I will allow my photos to speak for themselves! (if you hover over each photo, a description will show!) 

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We had such a fabulous day.  We paddled, laughed, talked, admired our doggies, and had a picnic starring food from a local establishment. 

Although we all know I am rarely at a loss for words,  I am too tired to think! (think fresh air and sunshine!)