Creative Ventures

My kids have been doing the most creative and awesome things lately!

Michelle asked us for a Babycakes cupcake maker for Christmas, but I just could not do it.  Instead, I looked and looked around until I found a nice Wilton cake decorating set.  I thought Michelle might get more use from the set than from the cupcake maker that makes small cupcakes.  I thought perhaps I made a mistake at first,  unsure if she was going to use it.

Michelle is cut from the same cloth as I am.  Obviously, she has trouble getting projects started, or maybe just getting motivated, when there are people around.  So…yesterday, while we were getting new tires installed,  Michelle decided to get creative!

She did much of the decorating today, but as I opened the refrigerator last night, I was greeted by pink roses and a bag of green frosting!

There were little flowers on a tray on the counter!

As if this was not enough, our little baker went to town and made this today, as well. (She said it is a kinda Alice in Wonderland  theme!)

Michelle says that fondant on the cake must be kneaded, then stretched to fit over the cake.  I think she has done a pretty great job for her first two cakes!

Ben has been spending some time in the garage under Mark’s guidance, building a new bed for his room.  Since his room is very tiny by today’s standards,  he must really economize in his room.  The funny part of all this is that when friends come over for a party, they always seem to congregate in Ben’s tiny room.  So, we came up with a fairly slick arrangement!

Ben wavered some between wanting a loft bed and not.  As he worked on planning his room, he soon realized a loft bed would give him some more bang for his buck.  Mark and Ben went to work on building a solid bed that would hold the weight, but not overwhelm the room.

We all helped get the bed up into position so it could be mounted to the walls. Since Mark built the house, he was confident using the studs in the walls for mounting the frame of the bed.  The bed will be taken down and painted soon, but  Mark wanted Ben to give the new bed a whirl tonight.  Also, Mark is going to build a small headboard with shelves and a door for little things he would like to keep up there with him, like his Ipod and speakers for it.

Mark bought the futon under the bed so friends can sit on it to watch videos and such.  Ben is still trying to figure out what color he wants to paint the bad. He originally thought black, but is wondering if a charcoal gray might be better. He wants burgundy highlights, such as the sheets, curtains, and pillows.  I cannot wait until his room is complete. He has been waiting for this project for a long time.

After getting Ben’s bed up late this afternoon, I needed to take a package down to be picked up by UPS.  I thought since I was out, I would try out Mark’s new tires on the truck by going for a little ride.  The sky was glorious with clouds, but patches of blue and sunshine sparkling through.

Canandaigua Lake is just so beautiful, no matter what the season! I decided to take a jaunt to Woodville, so I turned down a little side road.  I have shown this barn before, but I really like the green wreaths and the sled added for Christmas.  It is so pretty!

I stopped briefly at the boat launch and marvelled at the beauty…yet again!  I would love to spend a day down here, as a  fellow from the marina just a stone’s throw away told me that the eagles come down and feed on the ice from time to time.  He said it is an awesome sight.  I have not seen the eagles since fall, but they do overwinter here.

I knew I could spend hours in Woodville, but needed to get back home.  I smiled as I passed by the garden in the side yard.  Everything is pretty buried under a mantle of white!

I looked back as I walked up the ramp behind the house…

The Jotul stove in the garage has a catalytic converter, which means it is smokeless, but some smoke does appear when it is reloaded.  I admired those blushing clouds above.  The moon was out too, playing peekaboo, hiding behind the clouds, then reappearing!

What a nice day this was.  Both of my creative kids are quite well-pleased.  Ah, the sense of satisfaction!

Yes, I Have Not Been Posting

And there are definite reasons for that.  The main reason that comes to mind is the fact that I am tired of repulsive comments I must sort through (Akismet does collect them, but I still need to go through and see if any are real and valid) and also “peeping Toms”.

We have been so  busy, but what is new?  Michelle has been busy trying to get things together so she can transfer to a four-year school.  Hard to believe she is one semester shy of two years of college.  How did that happen?  Shortly before Christmas, she received a most glowing email from one of the admissions people at the college she really wants to attend.  She was advised one of the letters of recommendation from the community college professor was very highly recommending her and that she should be proud of herself.  Wow…all that from our little “homegrown” girl!

Ben completed his music theory class with an A-.  He was very happy, although a tad disappointed not to have gotten a perfect “A”!  Ben has also been a busy fellow helping Mark with building his bed in between school and catching up with friends.  We have also discovered Ben is a great snowmobile mechanic! Yes, he is a very busy young man! It is entertaining hearing Ben and Mark having a conversation about the current work they are doing….Ben seems to have inherited Mark’s mechanical engineering savvy! Mark’s dad and I used to jest that engineers have their own langage…anyone out of the “loop” just doesn’t seem to understand it!  Lucky Mark…both Michelle and Ben understand him, while I merely scratch my head and roll my eyes.  (When  I utter, I just don’t understand!,  Mark’s instant reply is, And proud of it!  Argh!)

Mark and I are snowed under with paperwork and all manner of “stuff”.  Does this burden ever seem to ease up at all?

  Mark is still trying to negotiate with the hospital bill our Amish friends are facing.  I am in awe of how Mark can not only think on his feet, but can also bring some poignant statements to the table regarding the massive bill this couple is faced with.  Noah has suggested the hospital doesn’t have a great deal of compassion and that seems like the understatement of the year.  Two things that keep troubling me are;  1.If the hospital cannot turn anyone away because they cannot pay the bill, then how can they even allow people to come through their doors without some manner/form of insurance?   2.  Why does the hospital believe these people have some endless source of money/income hidden away somewhere?  This has annoyed me so much, I often get really worked up by it and then must remind myself that God is in control…..not the hospital, not me!  Prayers are appreciated!

Here are some random photos taken with the Panny….

And a couple from the Nikon…

Well, that is enough for now. We are getting some real  snow!  Hopefully, some photos tomorrow!

Thinking about Cameras and the Like

I drive Mark to distraction when I tell him I might be needing a new camera.  He automatically begins to list the amount of money spent on photographic equipment.  But, that just isn’t fair, say I!  After all, he would be hard-pressed to simultaneously play his nine guitars and countless amps, eh?  True, they cost less than my hobby, but….

I have been finding myself grabbing the little Panasonic point and shoot more and more lately.  Its compact size makes it much easier to take along and were I to damage it, it wouldn’t be so heart-wrenching as hurting my Nikon.  Oh, and don’t get me wrong… Nikon isn’t going anywhere.  I love that camera and it serves me well.  It’s just that when “on the run”, smaller and lighter makes a big difference.

So…the camera I have been thinking on is a Panasonic 4/3 camera.  Its compact size, yet interchangeable lenses make this so enticing.  The price is not bad, either.  The biggest plus with this camera is the fact that is is about the same size (without lens) as my little Panasonic point and shoot!

I have read and reread the reviews given for the model I would like to get, and they are pretty good reviews, indeed! In fact,  one or two of the reviews have stated that the Panasonic was bought to replace the big Nikon -SLR’s.  No way for me….I love my Nikon and whenever possible, it is always, always my first choice! I do like the photos I get from the Panasonic, though. They really are good quality.

Okay, so enough of the dreaming for now.  Here are a couple of photos from my cell phone.

The first, my Wee Angus of Bristolwood. (and yes, that is his “proper” name!)

This photo was taken at the cabin we stayed at at Allegany State Park.  I love his big nose and shiny eyes! (When my mother had my Kiltie the Scottie, she often referred to him as “shoe button eyes”!) I would love to play with this photo a bit more, as it almost has an oil-painting texture and feel to it.  Angus is such an awesome little subject. He never complains and nearly always complies!

The second photo was taken today. Not sure why, but some years, my holly bush has few red berries on it. This year, there is an abundance!

One last photo, and this one taken by the Nikon, of Murphy and Michelle….

Ice Hockey to Ice Jousting?

While we were at Allegany State Park, enjoying the snowmobiles, Mark, Ben, and Michelle went out one day without me.  I never thought anything about it until yesterday when Michelle showed me three hysterical photos she took with Mark’s cell phone!

It seems they visited the camping area where we park in the summer.  While there, Ben spotted a giant icicle that makes the one I posted on my blog look…well, minute! 

So….I looked at the definitions of jousting, along with the types of lances used. Nowhere was a description of one such as Mark’s given!

I have decided that seeing this rather large spear coming my way would certainly send me into “retreat!” mode!

Thanks, Michelle, for the funny pictures!

A (very) Quiet New Year’s Eve

Well, it was *kinda* quiet!

Actually, the noise was from the Canada Geese!…okay, I’ll explain!

The kids were happy to get home on Thursday evening from our little vacation, as they were attending a New Year’s Eve party with their friends over in Middlesex.  They met at the church and hung out there, watching videos and playing games.

Mark and I dropped the kids off and then headed on up to Canandaigua. We weren’t really sure what we wanted to do, but we thought about eating out.  Mark mentioned a fish fry since it was Friday night.  We thought about one place a neighbor had highly recommended….after attempting their number several times and getting a message the number is no longer in service, we gave up.

Mark pulled out his computer and looked at a site that gives information about “the best fish fries in the Finger Lakes”. Well, one of the other businesses listed is being sold becaused it was closed down for tax evasion.  (I later looked online and I think the business mentioned above was also closed because of tax evasion. Gads, not so good for a city as small as Canandaigua!)

Mark found another business mentioned a few miles north of Canandaigua.  I told him I would be up for a little ride.  In looking online for information, a news story came up that the owner of that establishment was charged with theft. The business is no longer in business!

Back online again, Mark found a small bar listed, so he called and ordered two takeout fish fries. They were ready in about half an hour and I hopped inside to pick them up.  The decor inside was not exactly great….it was rather austere, but at least it was still in business!

Mark and I went down by the lake and parked the truck.  The little Scottie boys were with us and I was happy eating in the cozy atmosphere of our truck.  The weather was crazy warm…a sweater would have sufficed for being outside!  Mark rolled the window down for a few minutes and all we heard was loud honking from the lake.  Mark turned on the headlights momentarily, and the “reflective” white rumps on the geese gave them away!

The fish fries were good.  That was a big plus!

Here is a photo of our view….

If you click to enlarge this, you can (barely) make out the American flag flying in the center of the photo.

It was so pleasant just eating and relaxing in the confines of the truck.  The lapping water, squawking geese, and lack of time restraints made this time so precious!  This doesn’t happen often and I treasure moments like this when there are no demands and no contention, just peacefullness!

We left our pleasant surroundings around 10:45 to pick Michelle up at the church.  Ben spent the night, along with several other young men…I think they were up all night; we picked Ben up on New Year’s Day and he was pretty sleepy, indeed!

Allegany Adventure continued

 First of all,  Happy New Year!  to all my friends and family.   May this be a year filled with goodness for you all!

Even though it was terribly awkward taking pictures while snowmobiling, I did manage to take more than I had thought!

Thursday was our last day at the park.  When we awakened, we were shocked at how cold it was outside!  Everything was covered in a pretty substantial frost, and as we walked to the restrooms, the snow made that unmistakably “yesitissocoldthe snowis CRUNCHINGunderourfeet” sound! Cold or not,  Mark wanted to make the most of our last day out.  We were off before 8 am!

Funny, but for all the photos I took, I didn’t get one of our cabin!  I took a couple inside the cabin, but none outside! This photo was of the sky, but the cabin in the photo was directly across from us and was exactly like ours.  We had chosen a handicap-accessible cabin and it was so nice.  Mark could roll the wheelchair right in from outside and onto the concrete floor!  The floor bothered me…it was so cold and sterile, but we never had to worry about tracking snow across it!

The kids had pulled a huge icicle off the side of the cabin. It was at least three feet long! Ben placed it, pointed end up in a snowbank just outside the door!

There was an area near a picnic location with a big open hill.  It looked like many people had played on their snowmobiles there, and Ben and Mark had previosly checked it out.  Mark encouraged me to have a look and the view of the enchanted Mountains was….well, I guess the word would have to be awesome.

Since the windshield is more of  device to direct airflow over my head than to actually *see* through, this crazy frost didn’t bother my vision.  But, you can see how cold it really was!

No picnicking any time soon….

We came to the conclusion that when the groomer does up the trails, he or she must usher snow into the covered bridge as the base was really thick!

Okay, so you have seen ho much fun we have had, riding at the park.  It was astronomical!  I cannot remember when I have enjoyed anything so much.  But I love the winter!  Being out in the cold is of no consequence in snowmobile clothes, either.  Several times, I unzipped the front zipper on my jacket as I was getting too warm.  However…….

being a bit claustraphobic, it took a great deal of courage on my part to realize I was not going to stop breathing by placing all this gear on my head!!! I actually breathed through my mouth, every now and then gasping. When it warmed up, I would also uncover my nose and that felt so good!


I miss the park. I love living rustically, but I must admit, I did miss my computer time!  I wish we could find a property in the snowbelt and build a simple cabin there.  The kids loved snowmobiling as much as Mark and I did! We traveled to a small town about 9 miles from our cabin for gas and oil on Thursday. Since Mark’s sled is a two-up, I rode on the back on the way to the town and Michelle rode on the back on the return trip. 

In case I haven’t mentioned it, this snowmobiling s such good clean fun!

Our Allegany Adventure

I was hoping to get these photos edited and posted earlier, but when I got out of bed in the morning,  I was greeted by mounds of dirty laundry that would drive me to distraction if I left them!  Michelle was busy making goodies for a New Year’s Eve party, so she was predisposed.  So, I washed, dried, and folded seven loads of laundry today.  And, the psad part is that I had all of the laundry caught up before we left on our adventure!

Tonight, while Michelle and Ben were at their party, Mark and I sat lakeside in Canandaigua and I went through my photos.  I had to resize them before uploading them.  As I looked at the images, I realized this is going to have to be two posts!  I just had to show so many pictures!

This is the administration building where we signed in for our cabin and received the key.

We immediately went to the cabin and Ben and Mark worked to unload the sleds.  As soon as they were off the trailer, Mark and Ben were ready to ride!  They asked me to go along and Michelle urged me to do so, saying she and the Scotties would bring in our belongings and arrange everything!

The following photos were all taken from the snowmobile.  As I mentioned previously, it is hard to take photos on a snowmobile, particularly when riding with others!  In the time it takes to remove gloves and fish the camera from my pocket,  Mark and Ben could be in the next county! (Well, slight exaggeration!)

Our snow amount was so puny compared with this! 

The park has about 75 miles of trails, so map reading skills are mandatory.  Good thing Mark and Ben can read maps!

One of the most fascinating things about riding the snowmobiles is that Mark is able to see areas and places he could never see firsthand.  There are just so many places a wheelchair cannot travel. 

Allegany State Park has about 350 cabins in the park and we were able to pass by many of them! (Most are open in the summer camping season, although many are equipped with propane heat or woodstoves for winter camping)

While many of the woodland trails are fairly narrow, the park closes some of the roads in the winter, allowing snowmobile travel over them.  They are glorious and so much fun to ride!

The little yellow sign was posted warning of a steep hill ahead. Mark waited while Ben rode the hill to see if it might be too steep for Mark and me to pass.  Thankfully, it was not and we whizzed right on up!

We came upon an area called Thunder Rocks.  The rocks…ummm….boulders!….are huge. I think some are nearly as large as our house.  This is another place Mark has never seen, as access is limited for those with wheelchairs.

Mark and Ben went ahead of me and I found them hiding beneath a giant rock!

Here you can see this “rock” stands pretty tall!

On the path once again, we came across a stand of trees that resembled spines…the snow looked like vertebrae!

The last few photos were taken as the day was drawing to a close.  This ride was so exhilerating.  At this point, we were high up on a mountain, looking down.  It was so very beautiful! These are called the Enchanted Mountains and they certainly are enchanting!

When I looked down the trail and saw that straight line, I felt my knees getting shaky!  Fortunately, that was only a gas pipeline, and the trail veered off to the left!

I am going to end this here for now and will post my last pictures later!