Happy, Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today we went on a little unexpected day trip!

The phone rang shortly after 10:30…it was my mother. 

Today’s my birthday. Do you want to meet at Sprague’s?

Of course!

And so we were out the door and on our way!  The temperature was nearly balmy considering the time of year it is.  I remember so many snowy and blowy Thanksgiving Days in the past. Warm sunshine and breezes are a sharp contrast to driving rain and snow along with bitter blustery weather!

We arrived and I was happy to see a thermometer hung outside the restaurant….

a totally warm november day.small

(nice thermometer, providing an easy read in both Fahrenheit and Celsius)

We waited for a few minutes for a large corner table that we always like.  Soon we were seated and our orders were taken.  As we sat waiting for our food,  the “Sprague’s Moose” who makes some appearances from time to time entertained customers as they ate.  The moose disappeared,  then reappeared outside the restaurant, dancing about, much to the delight of the tots eating at the tables inside….

spagues moose 1.small

spragues moose 2.small

spragues moose 3.small

The food was as terrific as always.  This restaurant never fails to amaze us, as the food is consistantly consistant!  No matter what one chooses, the food is good!

Our waitress was absolutely phenomenal….she served us with more than a smile! She was so attentive and offered a song when I discreetly confided today was my mom’s birthday!  As we were eating,  the waitresses and waiter came over, offering a round of “Happy Birthday to You”!

spragues crew sings happy birthday to mom.small

We brought along a cheesecake for dessert, as that is one of Mom’s favorite desserts.  Our waitress not only brought small dessert plates, napkins, and clean forks,  but a candle for Mom’s piece of cake!

moms cheesecake,small

After finishing our meal,  Ben called to me to go over and “see the birds”.  The restaurant has three large birds in a big cage and they were quite interesting. Two of the birds seemed to be involved in an exceedingly intimate discussion…..

an intimate conversation.small

while the third looked like he was flossing his beak!

innocent bystander flosses his beak.small

I snapped a photo of the pretty gift shop as we were leaving….

spragues pretty gift shop window.small

This gift shop is so cozy, offering not only a vast array of maple products (made there) but all sorts of lovely little gift items as well!

After leaving,  I had to take a little jog (literally!) down near the road to photograph the bear family that graces the lawn….

pilgrim bear family plus one.small

Aw, look at little Murphy sitting with the bears!

bear family plus three.small

and Michelle and Ben hung out with the Pilgrims and Indians as well!

As we hopped into the truck to head on home,  I took a shot of the beautiful sky and Enchanted Mountains…..

spectacular skies over the enchanted mountains.small

What a lovely day this was and I am so fortunate to have such a wonderful Mom to celebrate her special day with!  Happy Birthday again, Mom!  Thanks for such a fun day!

A More Relaxing Day!

Today was the first time in a long time that we didn’t have any obligations to be anywhere at a certain time.  Well, sorta.

Last night,  Ben went with a few other boys who were here at our house to spend the night camping out at a church.  Yes, a church!  One of the boy’s dads pastors the church, so from time to time, the guys get together and have a little campout there.

Ben called a little after 10 this morning, asking us to pick him up at 11.  We got ready and off we went.  Since we were heading toward Penn Yan,  I thought perhaps we should visit the store I like there so I could pick up some baking supplies.  We picked Ben up at the church. As we sat in the parking lot waiting for Ben to come out,  I was shocked to see one little plant of Fleabane that was still hosting some flowers!

really hardy flowers.small

We were off to Penn Yan when Ben and Michelle said they might like something to eat.  Mark and the kids decided Chinese would hit the spot,  but in the meantime, they stopped at McDonald’s since their food wouldn’t be ready for half an hour.  While they ate,  I looked for suitable photo ops…..

red berries on a bush.small

I got a tad restless and hopped out of the truck while they ate.  I walked along the sidewalk and soon came upon an Amish horse and buggy in a parking lot.  The horse was so adorable, instantly striking a pose for the camera!

amish horse striking a pose.small

This Amish buggy was rather interesing….it was more of a delivery-style vehicle than family carriage!

amish delivery buggy.small

After getting back to the truck,  we still had to wait a few more minutes for the Chinese food.  I suggested we go down to a small park along Keuka Lake.  The wind was so intense,  I wondered if I could even hold the camera still in my hands!  It was a brisk wind that carried quite a chill with it. As I walked,  I spotted a statue….Walking over, I was pleasantly surprised to see one of the most beautiful statues I have ever seen!

red jacket statue at keuka lake,small

The statue depicts a Native American called Red Jacket.  The plaque at the base of the statue explains a bit about the man and how he got his name.

plaque on red jacket statue.small

As I said, I really like this statue.  The little details are awesome.

detail on red jacket statue 1.small

The back side of the man’s body has some beautiful images.

beautiful detail on back of red jacket statue 2.small

From the park, we hopped over to pick up the Chinese. Then we went to the Windmill where I purchased some baked goods from the Amish bakery.  Then we stopped by the store.  They always have some great specials and I was thrilled to pick up some roast beef and provolone cheese on special.

We stopped in the town of Penn Yan as Mark spotted some activity at the fire hall. Seems they were using a ladder truck to “deck the hall”!

decking the fire hall with boughs.small

On our way up to Canandaigua, (I needed to pick up some medical supplies)  we passed so many pretty homes…many displaying American flags.  I really liked this one, though….

country grain storage.small

I picked up the supplies, then we took some back roads to the north of the city to return a part at the plumbing store. We had to stop at a railroad crossing for the first time ever, for a Finger Lakes Scenic Railroad train as it made its way down the tracks….we have been coming this way for years and never saw a train on the tracks before!

finger lakes scenic railway passing by.small

We finally were ready to return home.  Mark took Main Street in Canandaigua to come home and I was awestruck when we passed by a large wagon pulled by two large horses! That was a rare scene!

We were home by suppertime and the day really was relaxing.  Ah, just the kind of day I love!

Yay, we Survived!

After going to bed at about 11pm last night,  I was up and awakening the family  at 3:30 this morning.  I must admit it was a little rough getting myself going on so few hours of sleep,  but the stores were opening early at the mall, beginning at 4 am.  I actually overslept,  as we were supposed to get up at 2:30.  I just could not reconcile myself to so little sleep….that one hour more would surely be much better!

We got to the mall shortly after 4:30 and Michelle honed in on the stores, armed with her shopping list. The shopping itself was a breeze, but waiting in lines was another story.  Most people seemed to be rather jolly, sharing their reports of their earlier acquistitions.  And many people even arrived to shop wearing pajamas!

We moved around a little from store to store, and by the time we were ready to leave the mall, the parking lot looked like a patchwork ocean of vehicles! There were so many vehicles, in fact, it would have been problematic trying to find a parking space!

Michelle wanted to shop at Target, but when we saw the lines snaking around to the back of the store, across the width, and back up toward the front,  we decided no sale was worth that much waiting!

We finished up our little expedition, then went to have a little bite of breakfast.  It felt like it should have been late morning after all the shopping, but it was only about 9:00! We moved on out and shopped a little more, then headed home, arriving after noon.  The kids scurried to clean the house up as they had invited their friends over for the evening.

It was another busy day and I will be so relaxing just as soon as my body hits the mattress!

A Lovely Visit to my Hometown

Our Thanksgiving Day was just awesome!  We got up at about 5 am to get ready to go to visit my parents and Randy, and my older brother, Bob.   We were out the door shortly after 7, and arrived at about 10:30 at my parents’ home. 

We spent the day relaxing,  watching some television (gasp! I never do that!)  and visiting. 

We ate at about 1 and let me tell you, the food was fantastic!  There was turkey, roast beef, and even chicken!  We had tasty cranberry/ jello dish, rolls,  salad, and sweet potatoes, and stuffing.  And speaking of stuffing,  we all stuffed ourselves!  My compliments to the cook….Mom, everything was beyond awesome!

Yes, I took the new camera with me, but we got so busy with all that was going on,  I barely took it out! 

However, there was one little fellow who provided so much entertainment, I found myself laughing over and over!

Fritz examining my camera bag.small

As soon as I placed the camera bag on the couch, little Fritzmeister began diving in with his long nose.  I have no idea why he was so attracted to the bag,  other than perhaps he smelled “Scottie scents”!

As soon as I rested on the couch, I was pounced upon by Fritz, receiving a rather ambitious cleaning! Fritz loves “kissing”, and he really likes me!  However,  I was not the lone victim!

fritz cleans michelle.small

I know…I should have photographed all the people…the food….the essence of the day.  However, I just plumb didn’t do it. 

As we left to come home,  I asked Mark to drive through downtown because I wanted to see if there were pretty Christmas decorations.  I love the decor they chose….

pretty christmas decor downtown.small

Well, not much in the form of photos, but we all had such a satisfying day!  We were home again at about 8 this evening.

My mother showed us an article in the local newspaper that announced the official Christmas shopping season has now begun.  Tomorrow is Black Friday.  That means crazed, glassy-eyed shoppers arriving at stores in the middle of the night,  hoping to score big savings on Christmas gifts for themselves and others.  Sorrowfully, I must say, I shall indeed be counted amongst those numbers.  Yup, Miss Michelle has gleaned all the sales flyers,  making her list and well, in a few short hours,  we will be out “there”.  Ah, nothing like a teenage shopping diva in the house!

Wish me luck.  I’m sure I shall be needing it!

I am so Thankful for You, Dear Reader!

Yes, tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in the US of A!  I am so excited because this means we will be traveling to the home of my parents for the big day!  We haven’t done this in a while, so it is going to be a real treat.  AND, Mom, bless her heart, is doing ALL of the cooking and baking!  Yay!!!

I truly am thankful for each and every one of you who has read my babbling…I really love blogging, but I imagine sometimes my mundane posts are painfully tedious!  And so, for you,  I am so grateful. You have encouraged me when I thought about giving up writing my oft silly posts!

You have no idea the anticipation of this morning….A couple of days ago, Mark and I sat at his desk and ordered a new Nikon D-90 camera, as well as an incredible lens.  I fluttered about the house,  whining and wondering how long I would need to wait for the box to arrive! 

The friendly Fed Ex guy came to the door with Angus announcing his arrival.  I floated into the house, box of goodies snuggled in my arms!  I am so happy!  And now, you poor thing,  you must bear with my photos taken today.  These photos were taken in Penn Yan, as the kids were there late this afternoon to visit with Jonathan, who came home for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The town of Penn Yan is situated on Keuka Lake, one of the Finger Lakes.  Penn Yan has an awesome trail called the Outlet Trail which runs along the outlet of the lake.  It really is a pretty little walk, but we arrived late in the day, after 4 pm.  I really was hoping to get some photos, but my hopes dwindled as the cloudy skies were darkening as the minutes ticked off.

Mark nudged me to walk along the trail, parking at a little public park along the trail.  I got out and began walking…I love walking so much.  As I walked,  I began using my new camera and was surprised at the results.  These were all taken in Auto mode with the camera set up just as it arrived at our door!

As I wandered along the trail,  I noticed what looked very much like a little rabbit hutch tucked into the brush.  I couldn’t figure out why someone would have discarded it there, nor why it hadn’t been removed by the town.  I do think I might have met up with its two inhabitants, though as I walked the trail.

wild cat.small

Yeah, cute kitty, isn’t it?  Gads, the thing was gallopping toward me full bore! I saw another kitty a short time later pawing through a pile of leaves.  When I tried to take their photos, the wild felines appeared as though struck by lightening and one actually limbed up a small cliff. Not friendly.  Not at all!

old rail bridge pen yan.small

I contemplated walking out on the railroad bridge, but the ties were so rotted, my smallish foot kept wanting to retreat into one of the open cracks.  I certainly was not wanting myself,  or my brand new camera, to make a splash!

Since the Birkett Mills is an integral part of this town,  I was happy to capture a few interesting shots of the huge yellow building….

Birkett Mills Pann Yan.small

Birkett Mills Pen Yan 2.small

Birkett Mills again.small

Birkett Mills and bridge,small

I love the bridge with graceful arches.  As I walked closer and closer,  the noise was increasingly louder.  There must be turbines or some sort of machinery for the mill located there.  The water went from glass smooth to vicious whitewater while passing under the bridge!

bridge near Birkett Mills pen yan.small

I walked back to the truck and took a slight detour because I thought a mirage lie in front of me….all of our trees are stark naked. Not this one.

amazing tree that still has leaves.small

Mark and I decided to visit the little town to see if anything might want to be photographed.

streetlamp with christmas decoration,small

I love the streetlamps decorated with small simple snowflakes.

downtown pen yan 1.small

downtown penn yan 2.small

We picked the kids up at 7:30 and headed home as we have an early day ahead tomorrow.  As I stepped out of the truck,  I decided to try a handheld shot of the moon and clouds.

moon taken this evening handheld.small

I am so thrilled with the new camera. I cannot WAIT until tomorrow!

Almost Springtime!

As I was walking through the store the other day,  I could have sworn I heard birds chirping above my head.  I stopped and listened….sure enough,  the singing was awesome and so happy-sounding!  I know that a lot of home improvement centers get the birds in because they have their doors open for long periods of time sometimes.  But this was rather unexpected on a November morning. 

I raised my eyes up to the top of the store and was so surprised….

birdhouse in store.small

The house reminds me a great deal of a bluebird house.  Now, I’m not sure if the house was installed to accommodate birds who happen along, but this is a rather unusual sight!  I didn’t even think to look around to see if there were more houses installed throughout the store! Oh, and the yellow blur on the left side of the photo is actually a mustard container sitting on the shelving!

So….Have Ya Missed Me?

Well, probably not.  That’s okay.  Life has just been so busy lately.  It seems like I am in constant motion and getting very little done.  Forget about my hibernation theory,  cause I am sure it just isn’t gonna happen.  Not any time soon!

Michelle wanted to have a birthday party,  but she wanted to do it when all of her friends would be able to make it.  She decided on a Sunday afternoon and tomorrow is the day.  She chose to keep it small, and have a dinner party.  The fare for the party will be my version of spinoccoli;  that was Michelle’s personal request.   We worked this morning, making up some 20 servings.  Now, all I need to make tomorrow is the alfredo sauce, which is easy enough. 

The past couple of days have been spent running around….trying to get some loose ends sewn up.

This afternoon, we went out to Victor…I had three stops and Mark had a return to Home Depot.  WOW!  All of the stores are located near the mall and to anyone observing, it looked as though the Christmas shopping season has officially begun!  The parking lot was wall-to-wall vehicles and Mark had to drop me off and cruise around the lot! If it is this bad now,  I cannot imagine  the weekends until Christmas!

My camera has been gathering dust lately.  Both cameras, actually!  Responsibilities keep calling out my name!  Which leads me to believe….perhaps I shall CHANGE my name!!!!  Bah HUMBUG!

A Brief Ride through Amish/ Mennonite Country

This afternoon, while Michelle attended her fencing class,  Mark, Ben, and I rode into Amish/ Mennonite country, located only a few short miles from the college.  In total honesty,  entering this area is almost like traveling to a foreign country.  Here one can see hard-working people who are obviously richly-blessed of God!

I shan’t waste words; the photos speak for themselves.  If you hover over the photo, a brief description will appear.

scene outside amish-mennonite school.small

hello.small

corn cribs 1.small

tractor with metal tires.small

corn inside shed.small

another corn crib.small

young lad hauling plastic jugs.small

awesome farm with orchard.small

some type of amsih-mennonite meetinghouse.small

water supply outside building.small

accommodations for many many horses and buggies.small

amish-mennonite schoolhouse.small

look at the views.small

beautiful mule.small

mules live in beautiful barn,small

I am so thankful for America, great melting pot where diversity lives freely!

Morning Reflection from Woodville

Lucky me! This morning, bright and early, I got to go to the dentist’s office to discover how many zillions of dollars it will cost to fix my teeth!  Yeah, not a very exciting proposition….

Nonetheless,  I did head out with the Panasonic in my Explorer “just in cae”.

Since I left the house a few minutes early, I was able to stop at Woodville just in time to see the sun coming up over Bare Hill.

morning reflectiion at woodville.small

I thought it rather amazing I was able to do the sunset last evening in Canandaigua at the lake and the sunrise his morning from Woodville, at the complete opposite end of the lake!

Oh yeah,  the dental visit wasn’t *too* bad.  I did find out I have a problem grinding my teeth. That was news to me, but the dentist explained it might be done at night while I am sleeping….too bad I never remember my dreams, eh?