Allegany State Park, revisited

I had to chuckle as I read the title of the last post.  Busy?

Last Sunday, we had planned to take a little trip as Michelle begins college soon.  Tomorrow soon!  Yes, tomorrow is Labor Day and the United States of America rests and pays tribute to its laborers.  However, Rochester Institute of Technology begins their fall classes on Labor Day!  One of life’s mysteries, I guess….

But I digress.

Michelle went with her boyfriend, Jacob, to his church picnic last Sunday at the county park located just a couple of miles from our house.  She came home early at four,  and off we went on our little adventure. 

We drove to Allegany State Park where we stayed until Friday. Although we had planned to relax, we were busy every day! It was very nice, though! The weird thing in all this is that I really didn’t take many photos.  This was our little niche in the world from Sunday night until Friday noon.

I always end up chuckling about us spending time at campgrounds because of the fact that we live in the woods.  Most of the folks I have met at campgrounds are city dwellers who are so appreciative of the fact that they can escape to the sanity of a less stressed and hurried lifestyle, only if it is for a couple of days sometimes!

On Monday, we explored the park a bit.  Ben remembered how we visited Thunder Rocks this past winter on the snowmobiles and he wanted to return to see them now.  I am not sure we have rock formations like this around our area, so I forget how massive they are until we visit them again! (Hoping you don’t mind seeing our kids over and over!)

Fly Tweetie, fly!

After our stop at Thunder Rocks,  we passed by Science Lake.  Not sure how the lake came to have that name, but it sure is pretty. There were a couple of young men fishing there….the lake has trout in it. Please forgive so many photos…I could not choose which to show.  As you can see, this was a day of perfection, weatherwise!  It could not have been a nicer day!

Science lake is a manmade lake, thus it has a spillway to keep it from getting unruly!  That was quite a drop!

After visiting Science Lake, we were on to see the bear caves.  Yes!  There are many black bears living in the park, although I saw n’ary a one. Drat!  I would love to have some bear photos.  There is an area where campers take their trash that is filled with several dumpsters.  The area is surrounded by electric fencing to discourage said bears from pillaging!

I remember as a child seeing bears at a dump area of the park.  People would drive there in cars and throw food from their windows to feed the bears!  Yeah, hard to believe. 

That little hike to the bear caves was pretty strenuous for this “picture-taker”!  I was getting tired! We had to take out Little Bear (Angus) along for the walk, as Mark refers to him as a bear cub!  He enjoyed the cruise through the woods, too.

On Tuesday, we went to visit with my family.  It was another beautiful day and we really enjoyed the time spent together until dusk when the mosquitoes came out for their bloodlust fest!  These days were so much fun, but passed by much too rapidly….

Front: Mom, Dad, Mark, me and Fritzie   Rear:Randy, Ben, Michelle

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…..my 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….

Oh My Goodness!

I am sorry I haven’t been keeping consistant with blogging, but the kids have something planned nearly every day!  And, (of course) when the kids have some time blocks unclaimed, Mark fills them with things he wants to do or things that need to be done.   What ever happened to the “simple” life?

Today, Michelle had a date for a tour of a tiny college located on Keuka Lake.  The college is called (rightfully so!) Keuka College and was founded  in 1890 by a man by the name of Dr. George Harvey Ball.  Oh my goodness!!!

Here are a few short facts about this school:

The total number of students enrolled, including adult learners, is about 1,500.  The teacher to student ratio at Keuka is 1:14.  Generally speaking,  the largest classes are for freshmen, where a class might have 35 or 40 students.  The wonderful young lady who took us on our tour today is going to be a teacher and she told us one of her classes consists of nine students.  We were told that when a student is missing from class, the professor will generally call or email the student to make sure everything is okay.

One of the most outstanding features of this school is that students are expected to spend 140 hours for each semester doing “field period” work.  This involves the student writing up a contract in which they specify the type of work they anticipate doing in their particular field of study.  This study can be done anywhere. The student is responsible for their transportation and living expenses, but all work will be credited toward their experience. I am probably not explaining this properly, so I will give you an example our tour guide gave.

Samantha (our guide) will be working this summer during her break on a ranch where disabled children ride horses. Because Sam has an emphasis on Special Ed,  working with the children will be counted toward her degree.  She also told us about another friend of hers who is also working towards a teaching degree.  This young lady went to Russia and worked in an orphanage as part of her field work.

After our tour (which Sam made absolutely fantastic with her enthusiasm) we met with an admissions advisor who told us that 40% of students are offered jobs from companies they have done their field period with.  Of that 40%, only 20% actually take the offer,  while most others find work elsewhere.  The school is recognized as a leader in “experiential, hands-on learning”.

Can you tell that Michelle, Mark, and I were all impressed with this school?

Okay, that is enough…..but maybe not.   What kind of kids attend this school?  Well, let me tell you, they are serious students.  We were told of two specific indicators that substantiate this claim.  One is that the “Emergency” phones that are available on campus (in the event a student is being assaulted or distressed in any way)  have never, ever been used in the history of the college.  The second has to do with amazing artwork that is displayed by a German artist. The artwork is found in a cozy nook in the library and has never been damaged or messed with by students. 

Now for some snapshots…

Keuka College is not a Christian college, but houses an awesome chapel built in 1964.  We spent quite a bit of time there, astonished by how beautiful this chapel is!

Michelle’s heart is set on this little gem located only about 35 miles from our house.  We shall see, but in the meantime, she is thinking about touring even more schools!

I sincerely wish I would have brought my Nikon camera with me today. There was so much to see and in all honestly, I was so overwhelmed,  I didn’t take many photos! The ones I did take inside were disappointing…I needed my faster Nikon lens!

Happy Birthday Wilma!


Michelle’s request for her special day today was to spend time at the Eastview Mall.  We left home today late in the morning and Mark dropped Michelle and me off to shop.  He and Ben left the area and went to another shopping mecca to attend to their manly business.

Yes, the mall is decked to the nines and I must say I was rather astonished at the number of shoppers out this Friday afternoon.  I don’t remember seeing so many people shopping this early (before Christmas) on a weekday, but there were some pretty good deals to be had. 

Michelle shopped while I observed. Michelle is an incredible shopper.  Instead of heading for the latest and greatest fashions,  she immediately heads to the clearance racks in every store.  While I find it mind-boggling to carefully browse through racks of clothing,  Michelle takes her time and surveys each piece offered.  In the end, she often finds some good bargains.  Such was the case today!

We shopped first in J.C. Penney’s.  In the midst of buying items for her birthday,  Michelle found some Christmas presents for others. Did I mention she is such a great shopper!

As we were leaving Penney’s,  Michelle called out,  “Look Mom!  They are selling Flinstone jewelry”!

I turned to see my lovely daughter with the most humorous look on her face with the largest sting of fake pearls adorning her neck….

Happy, Happy Birthday, Wilma!  Er, Michelle! What a terrific young woman you have grown to be.  How could we have ever known eighteen years ago what an impact you would have on our lives!  Love you, Michelle!  And Happy Birthday!

The Memorable Thendara Station Train Ride

Mark always enjoys looking for little outings while we are off on our excursions.  We found what sounded like a fun little trip-a short, little-more-than-an-hour train ride from Thendara Station!  Thendara Station is located in the Adirondacks, just a stone’s throw from Old Forge.

Shortly after the train began to move along, we met up with some interesting characters.  A woman known as Poker Alice introduced herself and began to humor riders with her stories.   She was from the “west” and dressed as a “cowgirl”.  As she walked along the aisle, she kept stopping to inquire “where is the rest of your hat?” to men wearing baseball caps. (as opposed to her cowboy style hat) She just could not understand what happened to the brim of the hats…mor why they were turned “down”.  This got lots of giggles. 

After meeting Poker Alice, we met another western woman named Miss Sally. 

Poker Alice returned a little later, telling us she had an intuition that something was up…..she had heard there were train robbers around the area and, well….she had a “feeling”.  And, after traveling only a short distance,  Poker Alice’s intuition was 100% correct!  Not only were gunshots heard outside the train, but the train stopped and…..

Ayup, the robbers were amongst us! (Don’t worry….they weren’t the sharpest pencils in the drawer!)


Well, these train robbers seemed of little consequence **until** this fellow began to try to romance our Michelle!!!!




the scoundrel assures her with a wink, he will be back for her!  Argh!

Finally, Poker Alice uses some persuasion to get these seedy characters away from our car.


But trouble was still brewing outside the train….

While the robbers inside the train were annoying riders in another car, Poker Alice handed out government money, thinking these robbers would be content with that money and wouldn’t require anyone’s hard-earned cash!

A little later, we met yet another woman,  Miss Annie Oakley!

The ladies assured us we were all in good hands!

We meet yet another young lady named Miss Felicity…..who is a mail order bride.  And, just look who ordered her!

Oh my!  Later, Miss Sally reveals the truth to Miss Felicity….


A short time later, the robbers return with a most unlikely bandit…..

Okay,  I have set the scene for our ride and now,  I will just let my photos tell the story.  Enjoy!

(ummm, excuse the horse….)


You can only imagine how LOUD this shootout was!





Before Michelle’s suitor got into the gunfight, he had given her a spent 45 caliber bullet….

 What a fun way to spend a drizzly wet day this was! The actors were great, engaging the train passengers along the way, and this was just pure fun!


A Bit of a Change!

I get up well before everyone else each morning to take the Scottie boys outside.  I don’t mind as they are my Scotties! (I cannot imagine life without a good little canine friend! )

This morning,  I popped out of bed and fed the boys.  I was getting ready to take them outside after they ate, but my summer pajamas,  consisting of a short sleeved top and shorts, would not offer much protection from the downpour! I quickly slipped on a big zippered sweatshirt hanging near the door.  The sweatshirt was so large, it came down to my knees! (Okay, I have previously established I *am* very short!)

The boys and I hopped out the door and down the steps.  We were outside a total of maybe ten minutes and by the time we were heading back up the stairs,  I was shivering!  WOW!  I haven’t felt that sensation in ages!  It felt so good to feel cool.  My flipflops squeaked from the wetness as I walked across the front porch and the Scotties shook and shook, trying to shake off the excessive moisture on their coats!

Yes, it is cool and wet and I am loving it!  I heard on the radio that it is supposed to warm up and be very humid today, so I am totally enjoying this comfortable break while I may!

Yesterday morning,  I was standing on the porch looking at the flowers and bushes below. I noticed movement on the Butterfly Bush, and sure enough, the little Hummingbird Moth was back once again.  I had mounted my longer lens on the Nikon, so I went upstairs to grab it, hoping the little moth wouldn’t fly away.  I did manage a fairly good photo of the little bugger at work amongst the flowers on the bush….

If you enlarge this photo, you can see the little moth pretty well. This photo is much better than the ones I took a couple days ago with the Panasonic.   I wish I could get closer and get a better shot, but this moth is quite timid.  Even standing several feet above and away from it,  it moved rapidly, trying to get away from me and the camera!

I also got a rather grungy shot that I cropped just to show the moth as it flew away, its proboscis coiled….

I have been taking photos and playing around with my camera on the cell a lot.  The day before yesterday, we had the strangest weather I’ve seen!  The skies were an intense blue with puffy white clouds of the harmless variety.  Suddenly, the sky would darken and we heard awesome thunder to the northwest.  As the storm grew closer, we found ouselves in such downpours, it was hard to imagine so much rain coming down so rapidly!  The rain stopped abruptly and the blue skies once again appeared!  This played out several times throughout the day.  Carly said they had hail in Rochester, but we didn’t have that.  I captured the sky in a cell photo that can only be described as “changeable skies”!

Yesterday was bright and sunny, but quite warm.  We left the house in the afternoon as we had some running around to do.  We had to go to the county treasurer’s office,  the DMV,  the bank,  Finger Lakes Community College, Lowe’s, and Wal Mart.  After finishing this up,  we took the kids to the mall so they could support their friends’ band who was playing at a store there.

Mark and I went to the mall before the show with Michelle, as she is thinking she might like to get a cell phone.  Yes, our children seem the only ones on Planet Earth who have managed to age well into their teen years sans a cell phone!  Michelle has been given Mark’s phone when she attends classes at college and that worked well, but she is thinking she would now like a phone of her own.  My, sometimes it is hard seeing our children grow up, isn’t it?  And yes, she really isn’t a child anymore,  but a young lady….adult….with ideas of her own!

Michelle never did decide to go with a particular phone.  Very much her father’s daughter, she ponders and logically thinks things through before making a decision.  Very rarely will one find Michelle acting on impulse. 

After looking at phones and hearing the details of the various plans offered,  Mark and I visited with the mom of one of the kids in the band.  We had a really nice visit,  then Mark and I went out to the truck.  As I walked out the mall entrance,  I had to snap a photo of a pretty pink Hibiscus flower.  The Eastview Mall in Victor has the most lush and beautiful gardens I’ve seen in any of the local malls.

Once we were headed toward the truck,  we spotted the new LL Bean store,  located across the parking lot from the mall.  Mark and I both wanted to check out this new (sporting goods and outdoor) store.  We wandered on over and enjoyed looking around the store for a few minutes.  Before entering the store,  I really did need to capature a photo of the giant boot outside!

It was a busy day and I think my brain was smoking after hearing so many numbers and facts at the DMV and the Sprint phone kiosk!  I was shocked that in order to simply take the driver’s test in New York, kids under 18 need to pay $100 for a five hour course.  Fees seem to have surpassed anything I would have imagined!  As far as phone plans, well, that’s another story.  Mark made the comment that many people would probably pay their cell bill before eating if push came to shove.  As I tought about it,  I think he might be right.  Sad.

We didn’t arrive home until after ten o’clock and I was dragging!  The Scotties were so thrilled to see us and by the time I took them outside and gave them a treat, it was nearly eleven!  This morning,  Michelle called out to me to come and see….

Yes, Michelle informed me that little Angus was cold, so he hopped up next her and snuggled against her, thus causing her to cover him up from the chill!

A Quick Michelle Update!

Nothing is ever easy!  Having said that, the doctor’s office called shortly before noon today to tell us that Michelle’s bloodwork came back okay.  That means that she has no inflammation or infection in her body, so the rash is probably the result of an allergic reaction.  Phew!  That was what we were hoping for.

The nurse who called went on to explain that the doctor wanted to put Michelle on a presciption of prednisone, a steroid.   Mark talked to the nurse for awhile, then said he would call back shortly, after talking to Michelle about it.  Michelle decided that although the thought of taking meds wasn’t fun,  getting rid of the rash as soon as possible would be beneficial.  (She has basically spent yet another day lounging about,  saying that the more she rests, the less the itching and soreness.) 

Mark tried to call the doctor’s office right back, but they had all gone to lunch!  We waited and shortly after one, Mark called to talk to the nurse regarding where we wanted the prescription sent in.  The nurse was busy, so Mark had to wait for herto call back again.  Finally, at about 3:30,  Mark called WalMart to verify they had received the presription.  They had just gotten it and would need about an hour to process it. 

Mark and I went and picked the prescription up and then we did a little looking around at WalMart.  We finally got back home shortly after seven, and Michelle began her first dose.  That was two and ne-half hours ago, and she said she is already feeling the swelling in her fingers going down!

Phew….What a Close Call! and more!

Michelle has been resting all day today. She awakened during the night, terribly itchy and miserable.  She had told the doctor and nurse that examined her yesterday that the rash hadn’t itched at that point.  Oh, what to do, what to do?  One of the main reasons I thought she should see the doctor yesterday is because I am allergic to the  diphenhydramine in antihistamines like Benadryl.  When I saw Michelle breaking out in bumps all over, I wanted reassurance from the doctor that she too was not allergic because she has been taking the medication.  When I mentioned yesterday I am allergic to said medication,  the doctor looked at me and commented that was very curious, as Benedryl is administered for allergic reactions.  Argh….

Tonight, poor Michelle has many terrible bumps all over her hands.  They have crept up her legs from her feet and now bother her behind the knees and on her kneecaps.  The bumps on her elbows have also increased.  The nurse told us to give this 48 hours and if it doesn’t begin to subside,  I think both Michelle AND I are going to SCREAM! The poor kid.

Late this afternoon,  Michelle made a little request for a pizza for dinner.  Well, after all she’s been through,  I told her it was okay.  I left and ran up to the store to grab the pizza.  As I was returning home,  just before Bristol Mountain,  a very small fawn came bolting out into the road.  As fast as it was running,  I was afraid of hitting it, as I had been going about 55 mph.  I stopped with about 25 feet to spare, and there was a car coming in the opposing lane.  I held my breath and yelled “NO”!  The little animal then stopped abruptly,  and tumbled down onto the asphalt.  Nearly as quickly as it had fallen,  it lurched to its feet and made a hasty retreat back toward the mountain, from whence it had come.

As I had applied the brakes on the Explorer,  I was glancing in my rear view mirror to make sure no one was tailgating to rear end me.   As it was, the truck which was behind me had plenty of stopping room.  Once I had slowed down to a near stop,  I kept tapping the brakes to let them know I was stopping.  After the little one had scooted off the road, I watched the couple in the truck pointing toward the deer.  They understood why I stopped as I did and for that,  I was so thankful! 

After living here in the Bristolwood for almost eighteen years,  we know to travel cautiously.  Seer abound in the area and we have become pretty much aware of the spots they prefer.   Several years ago, Mark had a close encounter with our Volvo in this same spot.  There was a buck standing in the road.  Mark came to a complete stop and the buck must have become disoriented.  He turned around and ran direcly into the side of the Volvo!  No damage was done, but we were surprised and it taught us to keep a watchful eye out for these animals!


Speaking of animals!  Last night, Michelle decided to spend some time watching movies on her little laptop.  When she got bored, she asked Angus if he would like to “watch a little something” with her.  Michelle sat at her little desk with Angus propped up on her lap.

Since Angus seems to enjoy observing wildlife,  Michelle found some goodies for Angus to watch on YouTube.  The results were nearly hysterical!

Well now, if Scotties are not your cup of tea,  how about a photo I took this morning?  We had some rain during the night and my (newer) pink and purple Fuchsia had some tiny raindrops still lingering on it so I tried to get a good photo.  I liked this one best….

I am hoping and praying that Michelle will be much improved come morning.  It is no little thing to just whisk her off to the pediatrician’s office as it is located about 40 miles from our house.  We don’t mind the drive,  but sometimes it is tough trying to coordinate times so she can be seen quickly.

Ah, So Glad We Weren’t in a Hurry!

If there is one nearby town in which visitors could linger for hours, maybe even days, it would be the beautiful little scenic town of Fairport.  Perched upon the Erie Canal, the town is juSt a delight.  But then there is the flip side.  If a cute little town could annoy one to the point of screaming, it is Fairport! There are two reasons!

If one is heading westward into the town,  there is the liftbridge to encounter.  When the family was seeing a dentist in Fairport years ago,  I cannot tell you the number of times we were several minutes late because the liftbridge had backed up traffic halfway to Victor!  Well, almost…. Every time a large boat must cross under Main Street, the bridge goes up and traffic is at a standstill for many minutes.  Tick, tick, tick…..

The second annoyance comes just a bit farther down toward town and is every bit as inconvenient as the liftbridge.  That would be the railroad crossing!  Be aware that both of these roadblocks are right along Main Street!

Michelle had another bout with poison ivy a few weeks ago and after it finally dried up a few days ago,  her hands, feet, and elbows all broke out in a rash!  This morning,  Michelle was nearly reduced to tears as she told me her hands hurt from the swelling from the rash.   I got concerned and did something I have rarely done for my kids in ages!  I called the pediatrician!

I had a dentist appointment early this afternoon,  so I agreed to bring Michelle in to visit the doctor’s office mid afternoon.  The dentist visit was non eventful, which was good, as the gaping hole from having my root pulled out is filling in nicely.  The dentist merely looked and poked at it a bit, then I left!

We took Michelle for her appointment and she saw a nurse.  The nurse came to the conclusion Michelle’s problem was probably something like a viral contact dermatitis.  She wondered if Michelle babysat or came into contact with any young children.  Not that we know of!  The nurse then called one of the pediatricians to verify her diagnosis. The pediatrician looked Michelle over well and said she thought the nurse was correct.  The good news is that they didn’t give any meds and told Michelle it is likely to disappear as quickly as it came.

After Michelle’s appointment, we had some supper,  looked around a couple stores, then headed home.  Michelle was feeling terribly, so we were trying to get home as soon as possible. 

Then we came to Fairport.

As soon as we came into the town,  the railroad lights began flashing and we knew there was a train headed our way. 

We sat and Mark and Michelle counted 122 slowly moving railcars.  We sat for quite awhile while watching all sorts of cars passing with seatainers of every color.  When the last car passed,  traffic began to start to move,  only to become instantly immobilized once again!

Yes, indeedy!  The westbound train was barely out of view when an eastbound train approached with three engines in front, no less! Michelle and Mark counted about 142 cars on this train!  If the other train was moving slowly,  this train was barely crawling along the tracks! We never thought it would end!

We all kind of giggled about this sign!

As soon as the second train was out of sight,  we were off again, heading toward home!  I told Mark maybe we could be further detained if the liftbridge was up now, too!  Mark didn’t laugh, actually, but the good news is that we had no further delays!

Until we were almost home, that is!

As we traveled the highway leading to our road,  there were flares in the road.  We wondered if there might have been an accident ahead, but were relieved that wasn’t the case.  As we moved along the road,  we saw large amounts of debris that had washed out of the hills and deposited on the road! There were three separate areas where this happened.  What a mess all over the road.  There must have been some very serious downpours while we were gone! This was all about 5 miles from our home.

When we arrived home,  all of the water running on our property was behaving nicely and there were no washouts here.  Thank you,  Lord!  We did notice the water level rose between an inch and an inch and a quarter in the pool while we were gone. Good news….I didn’t have to water plants this evening!