Getting ready for Kingdom Bound, 2011

I have been around, just too tired to post! 

We have been spending a good bit of time looking at cars. We need a vehicle that gets better mileage because RIT is a good haul and the Explorer gets about 15 miles per gallon.  The biggest problem is that cars are so expensive!  My goodness….they have increased greatly in price over the past few years.  We bought the Explorer in 2002 and got a good deal because it had 18,000 miles on it.  I wish we could find a similar deal now,  but all the “gas sippers” are in short supply.

I also have  been having a bit of a time with breathing lately.  No idea what is going on, but I do dislike the heat and humidity!  It only seems to make breathing even more difficult. 

Sometimes Iwish we were Amish!

Those photos were taken on the way down to the dentist the other day. Shh…..we  were a few minutes late for our appointments, but these are amongst some of my favorite photos….they look surreal, don’t they?  Another time, another place….far away, and long ago.

I included the last two photosjust because I loved the colors! 

We are getting ready for Kingdom Bound.  It begins Sunday and the kids are excited. It is always a fun excursion and they get to hang out with their friends each and every day, all day!   So….guess I had better get moving along!

Ah,what a quiet, peaceful day!

What???  Are you kidding?  You have got to be kidding!!!

No, it was not a quiet day, but we did have a little fun!  We had an early afternoon appointment to have some (more) work done on the Explorer.  This is not one of my favorite topics, to be sure.  But in all fairness, it is a 2002 and we have had that vehicle for alomost nine years. 

While we were getting a new part installed,  we looked at some new vehicles.  They have changed a great deal and the prices have skyrocketed! It seems something isn’t right when basic vehicles can cost a quarter of the price of a modest house!  While a house can increase in value as one makes improvements, a vehicle decreases the moment one drives it out of the showroom!

Ah well.  We drove to Victor and looked at some other vehicles as well. Sure is fun to get your fill of new car smell!!!!

Here are some photos from today…..

We left home shortly after noon and just got home at almost nine-thirty.  And tomorrow….more of the same. Doctor and dentist appointments are sure to keep us hopping again!

Waiting for the heat to leave!

It seems like everyone I have talked to is saying the same thing….they cannot wait for the heat to stop!  It really is difficult trying to deal with temperatures so high, one sweats just sitting still!

This pretty Queen Anne’s Lace should cool us off!  This was taken down near the plateau where we store the camper.  There is a huge patch growing there, and it is so pretty! I happened to get it when the lighting was favorable.

Today,  I saw a different butterfly fluttering about near the Butterfly Bush.  I got close and it flew off.  First, it swooped up into the air as though being drawn up by an invisible current….then it dive-bombed me!  I followed it around and around, then gave up.  Enough of that!  I went outside a short time later and saw the little critter sitting on the bush again. 

I have figured out that the best way to capture a shot of a butterfly is to advance from behind!  I was out there trying to capture the Elusive Butterfly and the family was all sitting in the truck,  waiting to go out.  Well, I had to settle for far less than perfect.

I can’t say I am familiar with the name Milbert’s Tortoiseshell, but that is what this butterfly is called. When I looked up its name online, the information said they are shy and very hard to capture a photo of.  Hmmm…I could have told them that!

I did manage to get some photos of a hummingbird moth!  It came in and was intermingling with the pretty butterfly.

Just like a hummingbird, this moth can hover while gathering its food. Here is another photo…far less than stellar, but showing the moth’s backside.

It is late and I am tired.  I think when this heat and humidity leaves again,  I will be able to breathe a sigh of relief!  I do mean that literally….gasping and trying to catch my breath the past several days has been so frustrating!

Life in the wild, wild Bristolwood…..

Life will never, ever be the same.  No way.  This morning as we were working out back, Angus crawled up on a float that had been left out on the lawn.  Was he trying to tell us something?  Michelle thought so.  So, after all the work was done this morning,  Mark,  Ben and Michelle all went out into the pool.  And there they remained for quite some time.

Of course, Angus wanted to get into the swim as well.  Literally.  This Scottie loves the water.  He loves to swim.  I had hesitated to purchase a life vest for the wee wonder, as I wasn’t sure he would ever get any use from it.  I guess he is proving to me that such a purchase would be just grand!

As soon as he hit the pool, Michelle let him go on his own power and he gleefully paddled away.

Yes, Michelle was right next to him, stepping out of the way just long enough to take a picture. Of course, the antics continued on. And on….

Ben convinced Angus that he could easily swim to a float and hop on. Watching this sequence was so funny!

First, he latches on….then, begins to pull himself up…

He then pops the tail end out of the water….at this point, he looks like a sea lion coming up…now if we could teach him to clap his paws and utter, “arf,arf”!

Finally he’s on! As we know, that calls for a good SHAKE!

Oh, the humor of it all! Then, as if that isn’t enough, the lad spots a s-q-u-i-r-r-e-l in a tree.  Suddenly he hops forward and takes the most awesome stance!

It was getting late and I was hungry!  I had a hankering for a good fish fry, but I wasn’t about to slave over a hot stove.  Yes, today’s temperature rivaled yesterday’s. We do not have central air and the house was stifling hot….Michelle called in an order down to a small diner in Woodville and I would go pick up the meals.

I was getting ready to leave when Michelle snatched Murphy from me.  I called her, asking what she was going to do with the boy and she just walked away.  I had to go in the house for a few minutes and when I went out to see how everyone was doing, Murphy was…..well…..

Wait a minute….Murphy HATES the water.  He sure looks comfy on that float, though! Michelle removed him from the float and decided to check out his “doggy paddle”. Oh glory!!!! That dog acted like a two-year-old child.  He did this rotating paws thing where he slowly paddled one paw, then the other.  It looked like he was slapping his paws on the water.

As though realizing he was the brunt of a joke, he turned his body backwards.  I couldn’t tell whether he was seeking approval from Michelle or me,  but it just added further to the laughter!

You must understand, Murphy is my pup, through and through.  He shadows me and is intimidated by new things if I am not there with him.  Michelle and Ben then did such a funny thing!

Yes, rub-a-dub-dub, two Scots in a tub!

It was getting late.  I needed to pick up our supper and I wanted to make sure everyone and everything was okay on the homefront before leaving.  Of course, when I mentioned leaving,  Murphy would have called out, “take me! take me!” were he able to speak! Michelle took  the boys out of the tub and Murphy began to make his thoughts known as he started swimming toward me.

When I called him and clapped my hands, the little fellow kicked into high gear and moved headlong at a most impressive rate, with very impressive splashes!

The little fellow wanted desperately to go with me to escape the pool madness!  How could I tell him no?  I removed him from the pool and before I could even grab a towel to wipe him down,  he was off running into the front lawn, rolling about like a big ole happy pig in the mud.  With that,  I got into the car,  called Murphy, and when he hopped in, we were on our way.

We had a good dinner, then everyone decided they were shriveled enough, they got out.  Yes, the insanity of the day called for Ben,  Mark, and Michelle taking their dinners on the pool rail while I sat at the table on the deck eating mine. What a totally fun time we had with the Scottie boys today.  Funny how much happiness those two bring!

One more shot of Angus.  My favorite of the day! 

Angus,  with the very, very brave heart!

Yesterday’s Shenanigans…

 Yesterday, as the day progressed, so did the temperature on the thrmometer!  I remember years ago when the kids were little, there was a day when the thermometer on out front porch read 96 degrees.  Well, yesterday, it actually rose just a tad above the 96 degree mark.  It was so incredibly hot!

Michelle has been lobbying for Mark to join her and Ben in the pool for a long time.  Mark loves that swimming pool. He bought it and set it up about a year before the spinal cord injury, in the hopes that the kids would learn how to swim.  When they were little, we spent a good deal of time in the water, playing, splashing, and teaching the kids about swimming. 

But I digress.

Michelle, Ben, and I all worked together to safely get Mark into the pool….It might look a bit funny to an observer, (and a whole lot less than graceful)  but it is important to make sure he enters without hurting his legs or feet as he cannot feel them very well.

After Mark was in the pool, Michelle carefully put Angus into the pool as well.  Angus enjoyed riding on the float, while Mark pulled him around.  Mark is able to move around in the pool so much more freely than on land.  He is planning on going into the pool again today as the temperature once again is on the rise!

Late in the afternoon, Michelle and Ben said they wanted to go to Penn Yan to play football. I immediately thought no way!!! They talked to their friends, and they asked Michelle and Ben to come on over and they would go swimming instead.  That sounded like a far better plan in my book.  Everyone hopped out of the pool..well, we helped lift Mark out,  and we were off again.  When we left home, the temperature was right at 96 degrees.

When we got to Penn Yan, the temperature was 100 degrees.  I thought I was seeing wrong…nope, the temperature really was 100 degrees.  It was a scorcher!  Now, this heatwave might not be so bad, except for the fact that we have had little rainfall in weeks.   We wandered on over to the Red Jccket Park and I thought I would take a few pictures.

The first shows how the grass has dried to the point that it looks like straw! The photo is dark…I was shooting into the sun and it is greatly shaded in this (grassy) area.

I (thought!) that as I moved down the hill a bit toward the lake, surely the grass might actually be “green”?,  but no.

Wow. The brown dried up grass really made it feel even hotter.  I didn’t want to linger too long. I went on over to the Red Jacket statue….the plaque below explains a bit.

I especially like the detailing on the back side of the statue’s jacket.  The intricate details depicting items from nature found in the region always fascinates me.  It is so beautifully done.

I decided to defy the heat around me, walking all the way down to the lake.  Phew!  The view is beautiful with the autumnal golds, but no!  It is summer!  It should be bright and vivid greens!

On my way back to the truck, I came upon this ginormous oak tree!  It was at least six feet across at the bottom!

No wonder the Bible speaks of the mighty oak!

Mark and I drove around a little, taking in sights and watching people.  People were warned to stay indoors because of the heat, but the lake draws folks.  Many swimming areas all around the state have issued comments that they will remain open for an extra hour to allow people to be refreshed in the water!

The heat is on for a few more days.  I cannot wait until this hot weather leaves…for GOOD!  I really, really like cool weather much better.

Rumble Grumble!

Naw, that isn’t me rumbling and grumbling….it was my stomach last night.  More on that later, though.

The kids had planned to attend a music show down in Bath last night.  We decided to take them on down, then we would go for a little ride to Corning.  We left the house mid afternoon and after dropping the kids by the music store where the concert was held, we were off on a little ride.

We drove on down to the Corning WalMart where I went inside and got a few things.  We had taken the Expressway on the way there, so when I asked Mark if we could take the “road less traveled” on our way back, he checked the GPS and found another more scenic route.  We had stopped at a Burger King store and I had a hamburger and small onion rings and as we drove along, my stomach began to revolt.

Carly had called me earlier and told me about a terrible accident that had happened near Penn Yan. It seems there were thirteen Amish people in a van being driven by an “English” (anyone who is not Amish is called English by the Amish) driver.  The group had been invited by their county’s co-operative extension to visit some farms in Penn Yan to learn about ways to improve productivity.  The group had stopped in Penn Yan and had lunch in a park, then were heading north to visit another farm.

The van was driving along as a large piece of farm machinery (a piece that looks two stories tall) was approaching in the opposing lane.  It was moving slowly and a car behind it began to pass on a curve. (a definite no passing zone)  The car sideswiped the van, causing it to lose control as the driver tried to swerve, and the van ended up beneath the farm machinery.  Five of the Amish people were killed on the scene…reports were so heartwrenching about several ambulances and four helicopters arriving at the scene where firefighters worked for hours to free bodies from the wreckage.

This was such a sad accident…but then again,  isn’t an accident when something goes wrong or is miscalculated?  Well, the news today is that the driver of the car who caused this (and incidentally escaped unscathed) was arrested for Driving While Intoxicated.  Today, a sixth person passed away…this was one of a couple who now leave behind thirteen children.  Thirteen orphans.  Would it be too much to demand that the man who caused this to happen pay child support for those children? Surely he would have to work many hours a week to do this and hopefully, would have less time to imbibe. His conscience will bring to memory the evil deed he committed, but to hit his pocketbook would be a stark reminder that he will never drink and drive again.

The news about this really freaked me out and made me upset.  Add to that the heat.  And the fact that perhaps the food I ate didn’t agree with me.  I had stomach cramps and was beginning to feel uncomfortable. Here are photos I took…

I love old barns and this one, with the golden grass in front was just beautiful!

As we pulled into Bath, we were greeted by a beautiful sky…the sun was playing peekaboo, hiding in and out of clouds!

We approached the little park in the town square and there were several old cars parked along the street there.  I got out and looked at them. One really caught my eye…

A 1957 Ford Fairlane!  My parents had one of these cars!  Ours was black and white.

Wow, as I looked inside this car, it brought back some memories! As I was taking pictures of the car,  the buildings in the background caught my eye.  Bath is located in Steuben County, and the old buildings are part of the county complex.

The kids finally called after ten, and we went and picked them up.  Mark stopped at McDonald’s so the kids could grab something quick to eat, then we headed home.  Although I felt horrible,  the ride home was not unbearable.  I was having some difficulty breathing, along with the stomach cramps, and then I began to get heartburn as well. 

When we got home, I headed right upstairs, feeling really sick.  I finally wound up vomiting and then felt better right away. Both of the kids came into the bedroom to tell me not to sleep on my back in case I got sick again.  I was fine and thought perhaps what I experienced was food poisoning since the symptoms left suddenly. 

Today was so hot, I could barely stand the heat.  Tomorrow is supposed to be even worse.  Oh, how I long for shorter days with chilly nights!

Lazy Summer Day

This morning,  Michelle was up bright and early for her Rochester Institute of Technology orientation.  Truth be told, our girl was a bit hesitant about going….this was a “Michelle only” event….no Mom or Dad to help walk her through it.  Although Michelle exhibits confidence, every now and then, she gets a little “stage fright”. We encouraged her she would be fine and will even be meeting new friends along her way.

The weather forecast was for hot and humid, with a threat of scattered (but perhaps violent) thunderstorms.  Since I have had breathing issues the past few days,  we decided it might be wise for me to remain home with the Scottie boys.  I was happy because when no one is around,  I find myself more at ease and able to rest.

So, off went Mark, Ben, and Michelle this morning.

I enjoyed having some free time to look around on my Facebook account.  Sad to say,  I usually miss much of what is said or going on as I rarely have time to sit and read for long!  I only read the most recent of postings, so I am really behind on what is happening in everyone’s lives!  Oops!

After spending a few hours doing a little laundry, straightening the house, and washing dishes,  I looked at the Scottie boys who both were looking a bit forelorn.  Hmmm….perhaps they wanted to cool down a little with a ride in the Explorer.  When I mentioned the words “ride in the car”,  their tails began wagging!  Okay, so a car ride it was!

We drove on down to Woodville just because it isn’t that far away, and also, there is just something about life at the lake (not the people, but the birds, fish, and animals!) that excites me.  As we pulled into the boat launch, I spotted two white heads in the “Eagle tree”.  Oh, how my heart longed to be able to kayak out to see them! I took my camera and walked around a little, just taking some photos here and there…

Not satisfied with the 200mm zoom of my lens,  I stepped into the lake wearing my flipflops.  Thinking I should brace myself for the chill, I was shocked when the water actually felt warm!

As I was walking around, a car pulled into the parking lot with what looked like a sailboat on top. (It was a flat board, as opposed to a kayak)  I scooted into the Explorer and moved away, as I was blocking the launch area. I tried to nonchalantly watch the woman…she looked older, and she was alone, save for her dog,  launch this craft.  She slid the board down off the top of her roof, and placed it into the water.  She then got a paddle from the car, and had her dog follow her. Drat!  i didn’t notice the sequence of events…whether it was she or the dog who got onto the boat first…

The dog stood solidly at the front of the little boat as his mistress paddled out onto the lake. Guessing from the mostly grey muzzle, my guess was that this dog was an old hand at these adventures!  Amazing.

The rest of today’s photos were taken with the small point and shoot Canon camera….yes, I carry both cameras a lot!

One of the greatest challenges of using a point and shoot camera, versus a D-SLR (digital-single lens reflex)  is the lagging shutter speed.  With a D-SLR, as soon as you press the shutter button, you capture exactly what you see in the viewfinder. The typical point and shoot takes a bit more time to hone in and shoot.

That said, I challenged myself to capture a photo of a hummingbird with the small camera.  It was a challenge, for sure!  Add to that the lack of lighting.  With trees shadowing our front porch (I am NOT complaining here!) it makes lighting a bit of an enigma. 

Plus, these little birds move…! That bugger was playing peekaboo in the next photo!

The Scotties and I were having such a lazy summer dog day!  We finally got a call from Michelle at about five saying they were on their way home.  Wow!  What a long day this was.  Michelle was beyond excited….she was so happy!  She loved the orientation and she even met some people she already knows! 

After the call, Angus and I decided we would go outside to relax a bit.  Michelle told me it was 91 degrees in Rochester!   Here in the trees, it was only 82.  as we settled in on the hammock,  a nice breeze gently cooled us.  Hanging suspended midair on fabric in the shade of trees is a terrific way to relax and cool off!  (Too bad I had run out of lemonade!)

It was a little tricky holding a Scottie, leash, and camera, while mounting the hammock, but Angus and I made it look easy! Or not!  Angus got a bit nervous, but settled down.  Thankfully, Murphy was content to remain under the bed in the house. Two Scotties would have been very difficult!

Of course, with both Angus and I delicately balanced on the hammock, there was no way to make it swing back and forth. One false move and either of us, or both, might fall onto the ground.  And so, we settled in, just enjoying the time of relaxation…

Until I got just a little stir crazy!

That is my favorite necklace, by the way…handmade by a soapmaking friend all the way over in Oregon!

It is too hot. Seriously!

I have been having trouble breathing the past couple of days…I am pretty sure this weather is doing it and it makes me so mad! I have never been a great fan of summer and this hot weather is really taking it to the limits. I cannot believe how brown the lawns are getting everywhere and I don’t think there is much rain in sight…

Well, I tried to make the best of it today.  Mark and I went to Canandaigua this afternoon, so I got a couple of pictures there, too.  So, I will just let the photos do the talking….it is too hot to talk!

And there you have it!  It is 11:24pm and for the first time today, I am feeling comfortable.  That is because I took a cool bath and am lying down with the fan blowing on me!  If I didn’t know better,  I would think we are living in Florida!

Keep cool!!!