I Need a Photography Break!!!

No, not a break from  photography, but a break for photography so I can actually take a zillion photos by myself without the family whining “when are we gonna go home?”  There is soooo much out there to photograph in our big world, after all!

Now I shall refrain from whining to show you some photos of last night’s most amazingly spectacular skies as the sun slowly disappeared in the west…

These photos have not been edited, adjusting the color at all.  The colors were so incredible, I called Michelle to the window to see them. 

And, speaking of color, I found two pretty little crocus plants along the path up by the swingset.  I couldn’t resist photographing them once again!

I discovered I made a major “Oops!” late last November when I dutifully planted about 85 bulbs in my front garden. Somehow in my (nearly frantic) haste to get the blessed bulbs into the ground,  I completely forgot to note what is planted where!  Yes, I know…a slight oversight on my behalf.  Only problem is, they are all “common to me” varieties.


To add to the delightful colors of spring,  today’s temperatures reached up warm enough to be able to wear a shirt or blouse with no jacket nor sweater!  Now, add the sunshine and that was today!  Tomorrow promises to be even better, and Friday….well, let’s just call it Amazing Good Friday!

Most Amazing

I know….I have been remiss in posting here lately.  The problem is, between family and my Scotties,  I am missing great amounts of sleep lately!  I won’t  relate all the details, but trust me,  I am just plain tuckered by being awakened at weird hours….

And, speaking of time!  When Mark and I were at WalMart the other day,  he was looking for a voltage meter, as his last one broke while Ben replaced an outlet for Mark’s mom.  (All done under Mark’s instruction and watchful eye) As we cruised along the aisles,  we passed some nightlights.  I really don’t like nightlights, as I like a dark room to sleep in…I am a rather light sleeper, and lights annoy me.  However….

As I looked at the offerings,  I found something that absolutely de-“lighted” me!  Amid the nightlights was one that has the most awesome little clock for a face!  I was happy because when I awaken in the night, I am always curious what time it is.  I have a Timex clock radio, but that thing is such a “work of art” (said VERY sarcastically!)  The clock radio is *supposed* to be atomic, meaning it should merely plug into the outlet and work.  Well, I did have to press a button to allow it to know which time zone, as the United States has four. 

As soon as I plugged in the darn clock radio, it came up with time all right….about five or six minutes BEHIND the correct time.  Also, wherever the thing gets its info,  it never is even close regarding Daylight Savings Time.  There has been more than one time I have threatened to open the window and HEAVE that thing….(it is several years old!)

So…here is a photo of the cute little nightlight doing its thing in the dark…

The little clock has that bright green face that illuminates nicely at night, making it very easy to read.  It audibly “ticks” each second…fortunately, noise doe not bother me at night like light does.  The best part is that when it is time to set the clock forward or back,  I simply unplug it and turn the circular set “button”! 

Yes, amazing what a few dollars can do to alleviate my great frustration.  And the clock radio?  Well, it is plugged in and sitting on a table in the corner of the room where it totally doesn’t bother me showing its “off” time.  I still press the button on it from time to time to listen to its radio!


Note:  I wrote this last night and oops….forgot to hit the “publish” button.  I think I am running on low in the energy department and it is beginning to show!!!

Life has been so crazed here in the Bristolwood lately.  With Mark’s diagnosis and the two of us left wondering what, exactly, he is supposed to be eating,  life has certainly been interesting.  Mark has been faithfully monitoring glucose levels and they have never once been as dreadfully high as when the bloodwork was done.  Hmmm….makes one wonder…..did someone accidentally mix up labwork, giving Mark someone else’s results?  Chances might be slim, but we do know things sometimes get switched!

Tonight, Mark and  I watched a Buffalo Sabres hockey game against the Boston Bruins. It was a good game, but as we watched,  I got terribly annoyed by the woman interviewing players.  She always had one-liner questions and she asked her (brief) question, the player answered, then she immediately switched over to one of the male anchors.  The thing that annoyed me most is the questions she asked.  She asked with no emotion and it just seemed like the questions were much deeper than her understanding of the game.

The icing on the cake was when she began talking about one of our star players….a young rookie named Tyler Myers who stands a mere six feet, eight inches tall!  She made comments about the fact that he was from Texas and it was interesting how he came to play hockey instead of basketball or even football.  She went on to say he had gone to a hockey game and after seeing the game “him and his dad” went to buy equipment so he could play hockey.

Heaven help me…I am certainly not picky when it comes to people speaking correctly, but “him and his dad”?  For Pete’s sake…..someone help this poor damsel….she is in distress and I wonder if she is even aware?  Ah well, perhaps she thinks all hockey fans are  beer-guzzling (well, that seems to be what the commercials aired imply!) mindless fellows who have been conked on the heads one too many times by a stray puck. My advice is that the network send the poor woman to school for a remedial course regarding proper speech (or, stick with the fellows that seem to be good at ad-libbing!

Oh, and while we are at it,  one of the male announcers kept calling our Tim Kennedy “Tyler” Kennedy.  Well, Mark and I decided to just join in, so we renamed everyone on the team “Tyler”.  Somehow, the name doesn’t fit too well with surnames like Hecht or Lydman.

The Sabres won with a score of 3:2.  I am happy!

Sorry, but no photos tonight.  Today was not very “picturesque”.  Clouds and rain aren’t so much fun, after all! And a bit of good news is that Mark receieved a call from the hospital regarding getting together with a nutritionist who will help guide us through what he should be eating!

A Delightful Saturday

Today, Michelle was invited over to visit her friend, Jacob.  Michelle likes going to Jacob’s house because he has two young sisters and a Jack Russell Terrier.   Jacob’s dad is the pastor of a church and they live in a big parsonage next to the church.

This was on our property as we headed down the hill today.

Yes, there is ice there, along with water running. It was so pretty!

We took Michelle over to visit early this afternoon and then Mark, Ben, and I went for a nice Saturday afternoon drive in the country.  We decided to take another trip to Sauder’s (the Mennonite “grocery store”)  The store was so stuffed full of people, wecould hardly move!

Along the way, we saw this cool church steeple.

As you can see, the poor steeple is in need of some TLC.  The funny part is that the church below the steeple is in fine shape.  Only the steeple is in need of help!  Perhaps the problem lies in getting someone brave enough to do the work!

A we passed through the little town of Waterloo,  Mark thought I sould take a photo of the hardware store, where the window was full of highly polished bright copper weathervanes.  Of course, curiosity caused me to walk over to the store and check out the price of that big fish weathervane.  It’s price of  $899 was nearly as hefty as the vane itself!

We picked Michelle up again shortly after dinner.  As we drove past the boat launch down in Woodville,  I asked Mark to park in the parking lot for a few minutes.  I wanted to see if there were any redwing Blackbirds hanging out there so the family could hear the funny sounds they make.  Sure enough, there were many birds there. The fellow below kept opening his wings up and making all sorts of sounds!

There weren’t just blackbirds, either.  I spotted a Hairy Woodpecker working on a tree right near the water as well as the little Robin below, hiding amongst the brush. Shortly thereafter, another Robin appeared and I realized they were courting.

We got home shortly before seven, just in time to watch a Sabres game.  Thankfully, they won the game, assuing them a spot in the playoffs for the Stanley Cup this year.  Oh, how wonderful THAT would be……….

Sweet Sappy Success!

In the midst of trying to make sense of Mark’s less-than-happy diagnosis last Tuesday,  it seems like we are running in circles!  Well, I realize that isn’t true,  but sometimes it feels that way! With Michelle’s busy college schedule, I am often taking her to school or retrieving her.  Then there is the racquetball that she must play at the YMCA to receive her credits.  Add to the mix things like going to the mall last Wednesday evening to watch the kids’ friends’ band play at a store….you get the idea!

As I thought about the maple syrup season this year,  I committed to drilling the hole in the tree, setting the tap, and producing some syrup.  Now, mind you, it takes 40 gallons of sap to produce 1 gallon of maple syrup.  That requires a great deal of boiling down the sap.  Since I only tapped one small tree, I have been making teeny tiny amounts of syrup every couple days.

Our weather went from wildly warm to bone-chilling cold recently.  Yesterday, while we were running around,  every time we had to leave the comfy cozy truck,  as we opened  the door, the icy wind felt as though it would slice right through us!  This morning when we got up,  the temperature was far below the freezing mark! This, of course, plays right in with the need for a fire to not only heat the house,  but to boil down the sap…

I know this seems like a lot of work for the tiny amount of sweet syrup I’ve made thus far, but, oh my goodness!! I used some of my homemade syrup on pancakes one day and it far surpassed some of the dark maple syrup found in the stores.  It is so sweet, it tastes much sweeter than sugar!

I’ve dreamed of clearing an area for our maples to be isolated into a maple grove for syrup, but thus far, it has remained as only a dream!

I’ll include one more photo I took as we arrived home last night.  This was as it was just getting a little dark….

It All Happened so Suddenly

Mark had seen our doctor a couple weeks ago for an exam and a tetanus shot.  While he was there,  the doctor wanted him to run over to the hospital for a blood workup.  After the exam, Mark went to the hospital and endured a blood draw.  A few days later, the doctor’s office called, saying the doctor needed to see him regarding the bloodwork.

Tuesday afternoon, Mark and I went to visit the doctor.  We were both in shock when she told Mark his glucose levels were very high and he is now diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.  I guess it shouldn’t have been so shocking, but there had never been any problems before, so it just seemed a little hard to swallow.

Mark needed a day or two to digest the bad report, so today, he decided I should pick up the meter and supplies he was prescribed.  After I took Michelle to school, I hung out in Canandaigua until the stores opened.  Mark had called his insurance company for advice on where to purchase the supplies.  They had given him three different places in Canandaigua, but upon calling, none of them had the supplies.  While Mark researched further, I drove around a bit.

I doubt we would find supplies here….


You knew I would end up at the lake, no?

That photo above is of Coots.  There were many by the marina and I wish I had binoculars with me as I couldn’t figure out exactly how they were floating there!  They all looked headless!  As I lingered, watching the Coots,  I saw some other waterfowl.  I wasn’t sure what they were, but in looking at duck identification on the internet, I am pretty confident they are Scaups.  There were only a few of them and they dive for food, the same as the Coots.  Too bad I didn’t carry the telephoto lens today…

I finally got a call from Mark after he spoke to nearly every pharmacy in Canandaigua.  He told me to go to Wal Mart so I did.  Michelle had insisted Murphy wanted to accompany me this morning,  so he kept me entertained, for sure.  Perhaps it is because my “scent” is all over my camera bag, but he likes resting on it….

As well as in it!

The wee little laddie waited so patiently for me as I spent from about 10 o’clock until 12:30 there.  There were problems with the way the prescription had been written and once that was straightened out, it took forever to fill the thing! I was certainly glad to leave for home after looking at nearly everything offered at the entire store!

I might as well add a couple of photos I took this morning on the way to drop Michelle off at school.  These two photos were both taken at the top of our hill.

The interesting news tonight is that after not eating for many hours,  Mark tested his levels  and the reading was 105, well within acceptable levels.  I think he was so greatly relieved! 

Wow, don’t you just hate a bad report?

A Terse Post

Well, my dear readers, after composing those last two entries to my blog (and REcomposing the first of the two parts) I shan’t suffer you to read on and on or look at all my photos!  If you have lasted here for any length of time, you will note that I seem to have a *thing* for lamp posts.  They really draw my attention for one reason or another.

After our little adventure at Chimney Bluffs,  we decided to take a little ride on to Oswego.  This is a smallish college town located also on Lake Ontario.  This is a place I will return to at one point or another, as there are some interesting things to see (and photograph). 

And so, here is what the lamp posts in Oswego look like….

How cool is that?  I would say that really rivals my weathervane “collection” on its own!

Chimney Bluffs Adventure- Part 1

note: Carly previously beat me to the punch and published her entry for the Chimney Bluffs first.  (sniff, sniff!)  In her post, she gives a brief explanation regarding the formation of these unique “chimneys”.  Carly was  an Earth Science teacher, so I believe she knows of what she speaks! You can find her explanation here….  http://mockingbirdimagery.wordpress.com/

*** ARGH!  It is nearly 8pm and I published this post several hours ago.  The problem is, it disappeared!  I cannot fathom what hapened. I was sure I had pressed the “publish” button, but the post is no longer there.  I began the Part 2 post when I realized the first post was not there. All of the photos are in the gallery (thank heaven!!!)  but everything I had spent time writing is now gone.  Thus, I am beginning anew.

Yesterday morning,  Carly called us just as we were leaving home.  I talked to her and told her we were going to go to Chimney Bluffs State Park, located on Lake Ontario. (one of the Great Lakes)   As you might have heard, our illustrious governor of New York State has threatened to close 55 state parks and historical sites to save the state from bankruptcy.  Mark thought that “just in case” ,  we should visit the park as it is included in the roster of closures.

Carly said she thought her kids would love to go to the park as well, so she would try to formulate a plan and get back to us.  We ended up meeting late in the morning.  Carly came along with her kids, Kyle, Sarah, and Erin, as well as her mother-in-law, Madeline.  We were so anxious to get going, so we all tumbled out of the vehicles and started off on our beachside journey.  Mark would not be able to traverse the terrain in the wheelchair, so he stayed in the truck with Angus and Murphy.

Carly explains on her post that erosion accounts for about three feet of loss to the bluffs each year.  When we arrived at the beach,  as we walked along, we noticed what looks like red clay at the bottom of the bluffs.  It would appear that a great deal of the banks are cut back and wash down into the lake below.  As you can see in the following photo,  the turf does appear to be claylike with deep cracks where it had dried.

Some of the formations on the bluffs reminded me a great deal of castles Bill in Scotland had shown on his blog! They really did look much more like buildings than “chimneys”!

There were several places along the beach where streams ran down the bluffs, forming gullies where water mixed with the clay, forming a solution that resembled chocolate milk!  Some of these places left great gaps in the path and we would have to scurry quickly to cross before the next wave splashed up again.  Carly termed the lake as being very “angry” and I think that was a very good description!

I really like this photo.  It has a look of  “mystique” to it and the sky did a great job of adding to it!

As you can see in the next photo, the pathway that we followed was very narrow.  Carly said that the last time she was here, the beach was much wider to walk along.  The lake appeared to ge higher and as you can see, there is much clay that has slid down from the bluffs to the left.  The tricky thing about the stuff that slid down was that although much of it was hard like a walkway, every now and then, it was soft underneath and if one were to step on the soft areas, their footwear would sink down and feel as though it was about to be suctioned off!  Ben and kyle stepped into some of the soft areas, but thankfully, they kept their shoes intact!

Unfortunately, Madeline discovered the irregular pathway was hard on her knees, so she turned back and went to sit in arly’s Jeep.  As it worked out, it was nice for Mark as he and Madeline had a very good and lengthy conversation. Mark really enjoyed the company!

Tis always such a treat to capture kids in a photo, unaware!  The lake was so loud and noisy, the only way to hear one another speaking was to listen intenly.  Thus, I was able to catch Michelle and Erin deep in conversation!

You can see just how high the bluffs rise, as Ben and Kyle look like little ants walking along the beach.

Nature provided some very interesting artwork….

The crew….Carly has been experiencing some excrutiating back pain, so she had to move slowly along.  Here she is resting upon a large rock.

And another wonderfully “mystical” shot……

What a terrific piece of driftwood that looks as though it began as a piece someone was cutting into firewood before it went into the lake.  The rocks have  polished it to a smooth piece of wood!

Kyle, Ben, and Carly…

This poor tree is hanging horizontally from the cliff!

Nature’s very cool mosaic…

I’m not too sure why Ben chose to walk out into the water to stand on this rock.  The air was so cold, we all kept our hands tucked in our pockets.  We all had rosy cheeks from the cold and wind!  But Ben….

I would normally scorn such behavior, but he certainly did look impresive standing on that rock with the waves splashing up around him.  Mark said if the waves were just a little higher, it would have looked like Ben was “walking on the water”!

We carefully made our way back to the parking lot where we had started and the kids were ansty to continue on with the adventure.  I had found the walk very stimulating and I was game to go along with the kids…..

The Chimney Bluffs Adventure-Part 2

As I stated in my previous post,  the kids were still full enough of energy to want to hike the path that runs from one end of Chimney Bluffs State Park to the other.  I am uncertain how far this little jaunt is, but it was a nice walk for sure. Well, except for the challenges…

A nice set of wooden stairs, built from pressure treated lumber led to this sign.  I gingerly hopped up the stairs with great ease…no problem.  Carly and Madeline would meet us over in the other parking lot in Carly’s Jeep, along with Mark in our truck.  After the stairs ended, we commenced up the hill.  Did I say “hill”?   I think the grade on this incline is about eighty-five degrees. 

Kyle, Sarah, and Ben seemed to mount the grade with ease and gracefulness.  Thankfully, I didn’t feel totally defeated as little Erin confided that she has “bad knees”.  Thus,  Michelle and Erin followed behind me, never complianing that I was moving too slowly!  As we climbed (and climbing on hands and knees would have been a VAST improvemnent), I could hear the sound of my heartbeat gushing in my ears. Every joint in my hips, knees, ankles, and even my toes were burning! Just a few feet from the summit, I was sure my eyeballs were going to pop out from their sockets.

Fortunately, the end of the climb came and I was victorious!

At the highest peak, it was scary looking down!

Ben had to strike a cool pose….

We sauntered along the pathway enjoying all the beautiful sights.  However, many times along the pathway the path changed from a hard packed surface to “muck”!  Icky, sticky, gooey muck. We would walk through prickers, briars, and bramble to avoid the rich black muck.  Oh, did I mention it was also slippery?

Erin was thrilled as she observed several varieties of moss growing in te woodland and on rocks.

The boys sometimes cantered off ahead, and other times meandered behind.

As we walked the pathway, there were times when the path ended. Abruptly! See the tree below?

Now envision that tree right along the path just a few months ago! See the rich black soil where the tree once *was*??

Perhaps Erin will grow up to be a Botanist.  As I said, she is enamored when it comes to moss.

Where did Michelle wander off to?  Hmmm…..

And on we hiked, the six of us.

Many times we walked across logs to avoid the muck, while other times, it was just, well…fun!

When I decided to go on this hike, I switched out my cameras from the Nikon to the little Panasonic.  Drat…Sarah had struck such a lovely pose, looking out over the lake below.  By the time the camera fired, she caught me!

I can see how trees tumbling down the bluffs could easily take away three feet along the top!  These trees that fell were very large!

Another fail was when I tried to capture Ben up on top of this tree stump.  Of course, by the time he was in focus and I was prepared to snap, Ben jumped down.  Another drat!

And on and on we wandered.  At this point, we had encountered what looked like a huge bog along the path.  I led the way as we made a detour.  Erin looked bewildered and asked if I knew where I was heading?

See this log?

*If* we chose NOT to balance our way across it, guess where the “real path” was?

Uh huh!  Now who would mind walking in water who knows how deep with sneakers on our feet?  And, of course, if that muck was beneath that water, how far **down** would we sink?

Well, Erin walked across the log with her walking stick….no problem.  Sarah and Michelle gracefully crossed unassisted.  Kyle also had a walking stick and was surefooted.  Then it was my turn.  I began walking out, placing my feet carefully on the log.  As I took my third step,  I realized that were I to slip off the log,  I would land in who knows what?  And if I fell and landed on my camera, or the camera landed in the mud…..

“Kyle! Can I use your walking stick?”

Kyle came back with two.  His stick as well as Erin’s.  He gave me his, the more hefty stick.  Ah, now to cross.  I couldn’t believe how easily I walked across with that stick giving me a little more balance.

Shortly after crossing the most challenging part of our hike, we could see a clearing ahead! Yes, we were finally out of the woods! Hurrah!  This was the view…

We made our way back to the others waiting for us.  What an adventure, indeed!  We laughed and had so much fun, it really was a good time for everyone…challenges and all!