Counting blessings

Well Then!

I had a dentist appointment at 5:30 on Thursday evening. I had spent the day in Rochester, trying to forget about the dentist….I am unsure if anyone hates going to the dentist more than I!

I arrived at the office a few minutes early and was taken right in.  Now, have you ever seen photos or heard of racehorses at the track before a race?  They paw at the ground and act downright skittish, anxiously awaiting the gate to open!  Now you know how I feel walking into the dentist’s office!

Mind you,  I thought I had the right to feel as I did, particularly on this day, as a NYC dentist by the name of Bruno Spagnoli predicted the tooth that was desperately needing work  would need a root canal.  He said it might be six weeks or six years.  But that was over twenty years ago.  I have had two root canals and they really were not bad at all, but I dislike sitting in the dentist’s chair for hours at a time!

The fact that this tooth was the last molar on the bottom right made me know that the event was going to be painful.  The dentist saw how upset I was and advised me that they could give me a sedative I could take before coming back another day, but I would have been insane to prolong this!  I told the dentist I would be fine.  And, I was.  I was in the chair for three hours and yes, it hurt.  But, I will get a crown on the tooth and all will be well.  For that, I am grateful. But I still am a bit sore where the needle went in to give the Novocaine.

Yesterday was a busy day with Mark and the kids working on some excavating we had done earlier in the week.  Even though we had to cart water for a couple of months, when the excavation was done,  it hit a spring and water was flowing into the swale the fellow made!  Thankfully, our well is fine now, but Mark was concerned the small bank created for the swale might cave in.  So, the kids were hauling large stones out of the woods to kind of build a wall to reinforce the swale.  While they worked on that, I raked leaves.  My back just will not tolerate picking up heavy things, and I was hurting whenever I bent over.  I got over half of the lawn done, so I was happy.

Today, Mark got together with a few people to practice music.  When we had the music event at Ontario County Park in August,  Mark and his friend Jim were impressed with two ladies who sing together.  They asked if they might like to form a little group and they said yes, so Mark, Jim, the ladies, Jim’s daughter, and Ben get together about once a month to practice.

Today was not only practice, but also Mark’s birthday!  It was an amazing birthday and Mark was blessed beyond belief! Jim’s daughter (Sarah) made a phenomenal casserole that was yummy, yummy, and yummy!  I made a salad and at the last minute, made a batch of rolls.  We all ate and then it was time for a birthday cake. THIS was extraordinaire!!!

It turns out one of the ladies could not make it to practice because of work, so the other lady brought her hubby along.  Holy mackerel!!! This man cannot only cook, but he BAKES!!! AND, he even cleans up after himself!  Bill is NOT a chef, nor baker, but a building contractor!!! He does the cooking and loves creating.

The cake was chocolate, but far from “just” chocolate.  He told us it had cocoa, black cocoa, sour cream, and coffee added in! He said the added coffee enhances the chocolate flavor.  Wow.  The cake was moist and very, very chocolatey!  There was cherry pie filling on top and the cake was decorated with whipped cream “stars”.  The creation looked like it took forever to make, but Bill said, no, doesn’t really take that long!

We had such a great time and the stress free meal was incredible!  I even had time to finish raking the lawn while the group practiced! This was not only an incredible day for Mark, but for the whole family as well!  As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, I am so thankful for such wonderful friends and good times.  I feel like God has blessed us…..really well!

Dropping by!

Key operative word: dropping!!!!

We have been so busy lately with this, that, and the other thing.  Yesterday, we ate dinner a little after six.  By eight, I was passed out, sound asleep.  And, I slept until 6:30 this morning!  Yes, I think I have been a little sleep-deprived.  There is always something more to do, and it seems like sleep is low man on the totem pole!

Today, we went to visit my parents for Easter.  We had a marvelous day for travel.  It was bright and sunny all the way to their house.  We went to the rod and gun club for a spectacular dinner….I had a Queen cut Prime Rib. Someone made a mistake, because I think I got half a side of beef, instead!  The prime rib on my plate looked more like a ROAST!  I am so disappointed I didn’t photograph my dinner…I was too busy eating!

We visited for a few hours and it rained during that time.  Then the sun would break out from behind thick clouds. Strange weather, for sure.  We made it home by nine tonight, and there was no rain the whole way home.  Although there were cloudy skies on the way home, at our house, the sky was clear, and there were endless stars!

Just a couple of photos from today…


Yup, Remarkable Randy managed to find me one wonderful Chocolate Scottie Dog!!!  Of course, Randy and the kids were joking around about whether or not I would actually eat the Scottie Dog.  Hmmm…..

And, one photo taken from the rear view mirror on our way home….

Just look at those cool clouds!

And, as a *bonus*, we got some good news when we arrived home.  Let me back up a bit.  When we arrived at my parents’ house, my father was in so much pain!  He said his right leg was hurting so much, he could barely walk.  He even thought perhaps he would stay home while my mom, Randy, and our family went out to eat.

Well, Dad did come with us, and I for one, was happy he came. 

When we got back to their house, I asked Dad if he might talk with his neighbor…he is a massage therapist and he has a business not too far away.  Well, since it was Sunday and a holiday at that,  my dad didn’t want to bother.  After we left, Randy went over to their house and talked to Jim.  He came over and worked on Dad’s leg.  After he was done,  Dad said the pain was reduced and he could walk on the leg again!  I am so happy!!!

It is amazing the work that was done for us on that cross that we celebrate every Easter.  It is so hard to imagine how God’s love for us can be so personal.  And yet, not only can we count on a heavenly reward, but in this life, He gives us the people and answers we often need!  What greater love?

A little afternoon visit

Michelle has finished up this quarter of the school year.  Rochester Institute of Technology does things its own little way. Instead of the typical semesters, the school does quarters.  Each quarter is made up of a ten week (intense) session.  This will be changing, but only after Michelle has already graduated next year! The following year, they will begin doing semesters.

Michelle is now awaiting her final grades, which will certainly be good ones.  She has studied and worked hard and it has paid off.  So, I wanted to do something a little different and fun today as a bit of a celebration.  I asked and Michelle thought taking a ride to Bath would be fun.  We planned to do a bit of shopping, pick up some Chinese, and visit with Eunice, my Amish friend, on the way home.

We did the shopping and then the Chinese, then headed off to Eunice’s house.  Upon arriving there, they had just gotten home from attending a wedding.  It was so much fun to see little Chris (3) dressed in his white shirt, black pants with suspenders, and a little black coat.  He is such a cutie and Michelle was so impressed by how much he knows!  I bought him a book that has pictures that you place stickers on and as he looked at the pictures, he called out the name of the animals!  Amish kids typically speak Pennsylvania Dutch (a corrupt German) at home and the kids don’t learn English until they begin school at age five. Eunice began getting High Five Magazine  (a publication of the same company that produces  Highlights Magazine)  and Chris is learning so much! Michelle said he also called out the names of letters as he pointed to them. Very impressive for a three year old!

Little Susanna is now about fifteen months old.  She has grown so much and is about the size of a baby her age. She sits on the floor on a blanket and watches everything going on around her. She was wearing a pale blue dress with a pretty white apron and white kappe. She also had on black stockings and little knitted black booties.  She was so adorable to watch….she is happy as a lark and kicks her little feet in excitement.

Eunice was baking up “just seven dozen”  cookies.  She has a woman in Bath that sells them for her.  I was so surprised to see her using a recipe for Pumpkin Whoopie Pies that I had given her!  She baked as we chatted away. She wasn’t using a timer for her cookies…she would just pull them out from the wood cookstove and then rotate the tray and place them back in the oven until they were golden brown.  Eunice moved here two years ago and before that, she had a bakery in Michigan. She said she baked tremendous amounts of cookies, pies, and bread back then!

As always, I so enjoyed our visit.  As always, it ended too soon!  It was beginning to get late and the sky was getting dark. Michelle and I said our good-byes and went outside.  As we left the house, it was pouring down snow.  I quickly opened the door and called for Chris to “come!”  As soon as he saw the snow, he threw his curly little blonf head back and let out a tremendous burst of laughter! Then he went over to a piece of equipment sitting outside the door and “tasted” the snow.  He was so funny.

The family buggy was still sitting outside the barn, so I asked Michelle to snap a photo of it.

Between the dusk setting in and the snow falling, this photo looks out of focus, but  you can see the trails of snow against the black buggy.

I drove home and was glad I did!  As we headed north, the snow got progressively heavier as we traveled. I could keep the high beams on the Explorer on for awhile, but had to dim them most of the way home.  This was scary, as this is the time of the year when deer are a bit giddy and have a tendency to run out onto the road. 

By the time we finally reached Naples, the center lines and white outside lines on the road were totally covered in snow.  There had to have been at least three inches of snow on the roads and there wasn’t a plow anywhere in sight!  I drove so slowly and opposing traffic all came toward me with their flashers on.

We reached our hill and I stopped at the bottom to place the Explorer in High 4 x4.  I am so grateful for the tires on that vehicle…they are wonderful, even on snow-covered steep hills! Here is what we came home to…

The snow has stopped now and the wind is picking up. Thus, the fickle weather continues with Saturday being warmer once again.  We just never seem to know what is next!

I will leave you, Dear Reader, with this.

When my dad gave me the planter filled with Begonias for my birthday back in August, he made a comment that the flowers ought to last at least “one more month”.  How about *three* months!  Although the flowers on the front side of the planter were killed by frost, the ones facing the house are still continuing to bloom!

Tonight, I am thankful for friends! It is always so wonderful to get out and visit with Eunice and Noah.  I miss so many other friends…it seems like my friends are mostly located long distances from my home!

Happy Birthday!

Today was Michelle’s birthday and we had a rather busy day of it!  Michelle has lost her voice after the little sick spell…that cannot be much fun, but she still had a good day!

Michelle’s friend, Jacob, came over and we went out this afternoon, stopping first at a Chinese buffet in Geneva.  My, oh my, I ate too much!  I usually don’t overeat at buffets, but I kind of ate a bit too much today!  I sat across the table from Michelle, so I kept annoying her by taking pictures.  I was hoping to get just one good one.  She got tired of me and the camera, though….

Ummm…the photo above was taken before we left, obviously! I got the pretty Argyle sweater she’s wearing for her for her birthday.

After we ate, we headed on over to the outlet mall in Waterloo.  We walked and walked and walked some more!  Michelle had said she wanted a pair of fashion boots to wear under slacks, so we looked for those.  As we passed by the Clarks/Bostonian store, I told her she might try looking there.  She was reluctant, thinking it looked too “upscale”. 

Lo and behold, the store had boots just like she wanted.  The problem was,  they didn’t have her size.  She was a little disappointed, but one of the girls there told her they can order them directly and they will be shipped to the house. How cool is that?  No extra charge for shipping, either. Michelle was pretty happy.  I also found a really cute little purse there for a great price.

We looked around a little more,  then decided to start for home.  Mark wanted to see the Sabres/Ottawa Senators game, so we wanted to get home before too late.  We stopped at Wegman’s along the way and I picked up a Friendly’s Reeses Peanut Butter Cake for Michelle’s birthday.  WOW!  What a cake that is!

We got home a bit late, but watched the game as the kids watched a movie in the basement.  All in all, Michelle had a good day, but we can tell she isn’t 100%, as she looked pretty worn out by the time she went to bed. 

So, on this day, I am so thankful for our Michelle.  She has accomplished a great deal in her nineteen years and we a proud of her!  She is a blessing in so many, many ways. 

I am also thankful for the Sabres win over Ottawa!  This game was a real nail biter. The game ended in a 2:2 tie,  so we went itno overtime.  No one scored in overtime, so it was time for a shootout.  The first two Senators got the puck in, as did the first two Sabres.  Then there were three Senators who failed to drive the puck in….same with the Sabres.  Another Senator. Then, the Sabres’ Derek Roy……INTO the NET!!!  Sabres win 3:2!

Tomorrow is Michelle’s Birthday!!!!

I am so much more excited about tomorrow than about today!  Today was a rather humdrum day with little going on.

I did wander down to the Dollar General Store in Naples this afternoon.  I was feeling a bit on the restless side because the sun was shining, although it was quite chilly! 

This is just a quick post because I am tired and I am anxious to take a look at the Victoria Classic Holiday Bliss magazine I picked up today.  My oh my….this magazine is full of the prettiest holiday photos I have ever seen! I love Victoria Magazine, but this issue is so beautiful…..with photos ranging from simple little touches to luxuriously elegant ideas!  Eye candy, indeed!

Today, I am thankful for the birds that sing so happily outside our house.  I know that is a little unusual, but they are so chipper!  Just hearing their songs and little chirps can make a less than stellar day so much better! I really am thankful for the birds and that I can feed them.  God gave us those little birds to remind us of His great love! The Bible says that not even a little sparrow falls from a tree but that God is aware….How much greater His love for us?


Today, Michelle got up earlier than I  and fed Murphy AND took him outside!  Wow…that was such a treat.  All this to say, Michelle is feeling much better!  She has a little bit of a cough, but she is okay. She spent most of yesterday sleeping and taking it easy, hoping to feel better today. She had classes today, but stayed home until her last two classes of the day.  We were so happy she was able to make it to at least some of her classes.  Last night, she was feeling pretty poorly!

Mark and I both went to Rochester with Michelle and we did a few errands.  Michelle’s bithday is Saturday, so we went looking to see if we could find her something she would like.  She is so easy to please, but I don’t like getting her something she might not really, really like.  We talked to her on the way home and decided we would just take her on a “shopping spree” so she can pick out what she truly wants. 

While Mark and I sat outside the McDonald’s in Henrietta, we noticed a seagull watching *us* from atop a camera on the store!

That silly bird kept watch over all that was happening at Micky D’s!

Still don’t have my camera back with the Murphy photos from yesterday. Harrumph!

Today,  I am so thankful for a place to call home.  God didn’t need to give us a house.  He didn’t need to surround our house with some pretty awesome scenery!  He didn’t need to do all this for us.  But, He did.  And for all this, I am so very grateful. And thankful!

Funny how things come round…

Mark was thinking about getting a shed and thought he would do a little comparative calculating to evaluate whether it would be worth it to buy premade or to build.  One of the componants needed would be trusses.  Mark was at a bit of a loss where to find some locally made trusses.

I thought about this for awhile, then told him he ought to contact the Mennonite company that builds and sells lots of sheds in our area. He agreed this might be a good lead, so he called.  The nice girl on the line answered a couple of questions, then said she needed to talk to one of the guys that works there when Mark asked about trusses.  She came back with a business name and telephone number for Mark of the guy who builds their trusses.

Mark dialed the number and I sat in the room with him.  As the man spoke, Mark said he sounded like….but I couldn’t hear who he thought the guy sounded like.  As I listened, I thought he sounded like the guy who we hired to add the large addition to our garage in 2005.   The funny thing is, it was him!  Apparently, he is no longer doing building, but is now building trusses!

When the fellow asked for Mark’s name and telephone number, he said he did some work for him several years ago….Yup! It really was him.

I took a few photos of Murphy today with my little camera.  He went for a walk with Ben and I up in the woods and was so cute!  He must have picked up a zillion leaves in his “skirt”!  He also had them dangling off his nose.  We had taken along some treats for the wee one and he posed so nicely for the camera!  Problem is, the camera isn’t here at the moment, so perhaps I will post the photos tomorrow.

Today I am thankful for the beauty that surrounds us! God has given us such an incredible world, filled with so many blessings.  Today was a fantastic day full of sunshine and warm temperatures. It is hard to actually believe it is November!

November? Really?

I simply am having a hard time believing that November is already here!  Where has the time gone?

We spent the day today running around..a lot!  We had to drop Michelle off at school.  Oh, but *before* dropping her off,  we had to rush to WalMart so the kids could buy a bunch of the special Halloween candy on sale for half price.  This was important. To them, anyway!

After Michelle was off to school, it was time to rush over to Mark’s mom’s house.  She had a doctor’s appointment.  After getting her squared away at the doctor’s,  we went on over to Home Depot.  We were checking out some pricing on lumber and when I saw all the pretty Christmas baubles,  I was like a piece of metal to magnet.  I will never understand the draw for me,  but I just love all the colors of Christmas.  Oh, not *just* the reds and greens, but all the others as well.  And speaking of red and green,  I cannot even begin to believe all the variations of these two colors.  Just awesome!

After picking my mother-in-law up when she was done, we took a leisurely drive on over to Sam’s Club.  We were there for quite awhile.  I really like their big packages of chicken and roasts.  The prices are so great and with all the Crockpot meals I have been making, it is so nice to be able to pull out pre-packaged chicken breasts and thighs.  (I place one breast or thigh into a small baggie, then place the small baggies into a large marked bag…so simple!)  Mark’s mom even bought a large package of meat to make up several meals.

When we got done shopping, we were off to Mark’s mom’s house.  She is such a stitch!  She bought a wireless doorbell at WalMart she wanted to show me.  It was pretty cool. The button goes outside, as is typical, and there is a wireless receiver you plug into an electrical outlet.  It makes a very nice “ding-dong”. 

After seeing the cool wireless setup, she went and got out another box.  This was way way cool!  She loves watching QVC and sometimes buys things from them.  Well, she bought an awesome wireless doorbell that plays different songs.  It has Christmas selections as well as titles for other holidays.  The most impressive had to have been the Hallelujah Chorus.

Although today was fairly warm compared to the past several days,  I got chilled.  We were working outside at Mark’s mom’s and it was shady and cool.  I went and sat down in the car with Murphy.  Mark opened the tailgate and Ben put one of the seats down so Murphy could see what was happening.  The little bugger sat in the back of the car and watched every little thing!  He was so cute sitting there, tilting his head back and forth! 

One notable difference with Murphy being the single pup is he is no longer such a wild man when it comes to food.  When Angus was around,  if you offered Murphy a treat, you would have to place it in your palm and hold it up to him.  If you tried to have him take it from your fingers….OUCH….Murphy would clamp down on your fingers like a ravenous wild animal! Today, my mother-in-law (bravely) placed a treat in her lips and told Murphy to take it.  We used to do this with Angus and he would ever-so-gently remove it.  Not Murphy….he was out to do some lip-piercing!  Today, however, Murphy gently eased the treat from her lips!

As we were getting ready to leave today, my mother-in-law confided that Murphy reminds her a lot of Angus. That was awesome, as this woman absolutely adored little Angus!  When we used to go to her house, Angus would see her and his ears would lie flat on his head….his lips would curl back, exposing his teeth and his rearend seemed to come undone, as though totally disengaged from his body!  He would hop up and down until she came over to him and talked to him.  Oh, how we missed that today…..but Murphy was different….totally warming up to her.  It was so cute as he followed her into the garage to get a “cookie”.

We were a few minutes late picking Michelle up from school.  She and Ben were so excited, as a nationally known band was going to be doing an accoustic set at a local business in Rochester this evening.  It started at six, and the best part was, it was free!  Tomorrow, they are doing another venue, and it is expensive to get in. 

Michelle got into the car and asked us to crank the heat up.  She asked Mark to go to McDonald’s to get her a sandwich as she felt like she was starving.  After she ate, we went over to WalMart.  She stayed in the car with Murphy and when we came back out, she said she wanted to go home.  She then told us her throat was so sore, she just wanted to go home and go to bed.  Poor Michelle.  I feel so bad for her….

As soon as we got home, everyone acted pretty tired;  even Murphy flopped down and fell asleep!

Only one photo.  I took this one yesterday.  You see, we moved into this house just a little more than nineteen years ago. In all those years,  we have never, ever, had one child come trick or treating!!  The first few years we were here,  I always bought big bags of candy, expecting someone to stop by.   But, it never happened.

Sooo……there is always a first, right? 

There were four “kids” that came by just before dusk last night.  Aren’t they just dear?

The fourth little one was photo shy!

And so, this November first,  I am so thankful for all my friends and family! Where would be be without all the loved ones in our lives?

Another first!

Wow, this month saw me riding in a police cruiser (at Allegany State Park) for the first time.  No, if you missed it, I was not arrested, but getting a ride back to our campground after Angus locked the powerlocks on the truck…the policeman got the doors opened for us! (the keys were inside the truck, of course!)

So…Mark and Ben arose early in the morning yesterday to try to muscle the old wheel bearing hub off the truck.  They worked at it for quite some time before Mark decided that they were not going to be able to do the job.  Sheer disappointment for both Mark and Ben.

Mark called the Chevy garage and inquired about whether they could do the job yesterday.  Yes!  Mark made an appointment for 1pm and the garage even agreed to use the hub Mark had already purchased.  Wow, that was great!  But in order to coordinate everything to work together, Mark had to call AAA at the right time to get the flatbed to haul the truck.

Mark had asked if the service manager thought it might be okay to drive the truck in for the appointment.  The fellow told Mark he had seen some vehicles start on fire or the wheel begins to wobble and destroys the brake and rotor on the tire.  Mark decided it would be better to have the truck towed!

Since Mark couldn’t very well travel to the garage in the tow truck,  he asked if I would go.  I said yes.  So, this was my first ride in a tow truck!  A flatbed, no less!  As we rode to Canandaigua, the driver told me he had seen a car loose its wheel due to a wheel bearing failure.  He said it was a mess…the wheel rolled off, causing the axle to fall onto the road, gouging it and making it impossible for the driver to steer.  He said no one was injured, but he had a terrible time getting the car loaded onto the truck.  I am so grateful we were able to drive as many miles as we had with no trouble!

I waited at the Chevy garage while the truck was being repaired.  Unfortunately, the splash guard behind the wheel had rusted so badly, it had a hole in it. Although a cheap part, the process of putting the truck back together would be delayed a bit because a new guard had to be delivered from Rochester.

I ended up waiting a total of only two hours for the truck to be fixed!  I watched as it was driven around to the front parking lot.  The service manager came with the bill and I paid…then off I went!  Interestingly, the last time I had driven the truck a few weeks ago, I thought the brakes felt a little “funny”.  As I drove the truck out of the parking lot, everything felt great!  I told Mark this and he said he thinks the wheel bearing failure happened over a length of time.  He said he wondered if the power steering needed more fluid, too! 

We are waiting to hear from the Ford garage about the Explorer. It has been three days since it was towed there and we were told it would probably be at least two days of working on it. 

I will be so glad once our vehicles are all set in working order once again!  The stress of not having a working vehicle yesterday was incredible.  It is a strange feeling to realize you have no means of transportation!