My Goodness……

I have not been here in ages.  I don’t really like making excuses. but I just deleted three separate posts that I began (one, weeks ago!) but left after having problems uploading photos and not being able to edit them.  I’m not really sure why things are happening as they are, but I have a feeling it might be a problem with our web host. I am using WordPress for this blog and I really like the ease of use but they are telling me I need to update. I think our web hosting site is so far behind the times, I cannot update to the newest version on WP. I am suspecting this might be a probable cause of my difficulties publishing my entries.

‘Nuff said!

Winter has been long and somewhat brutal this year! We have endured some long spells of cold temperatures that were well below “normal”.  We didn’t have huge amounts of snow, but the cold temperatures and wind has caused more weather alerts to pop up on my phone than I ever remember.  Thankfully, the cold is diminishing….little by little. We have even had a few days that felt *warm*!

One week ago, we were given a “Winter Weather Alert”, meaning that we might see some rain, freezing rain, and possibly snow.  Why that alert wasn’t upgraded to a “Winter Storm Warning” is beyond me! We actually wound up with about eight inches of snow!  It began with a pounding rain early in the evening, changing over to freezing rain, and by 10 pm, it was snowing like crazy!  And the snow!  When I began shoveling Sunday morning, it was like shoveling water….it was heavy! But….it warmed up on Tuesday and Wednesday, and much of it disappeared!

On Tuesday afternoon, I took Murphy outside and he immediately scrambled up onto a snowbank Mark made with the plow. That pup went absolutely crazy, rolling around in the soft (heated by the sun) stuff.

I was afraid he would roll right off the bank, but the snow was so soft, it conformed to his body!

Things have been moving right along here in the Bristolwood.  Michelle is currently looking for a job. She wants to remain in the area, so she has been searching locally. Ben is attending Finger Lakes Community College and is doing very well.  At this point, we are seeing that home schooling didn’t harm either child. (Although they might say otherwise!)

Mark and I are still getting together with friends every Tuesday night. It is a blessing to have such friends and it is a blessing to be able to get together as we do!  We gather around the table for breaking of bread….and wow!…the incredible meals we get!!!….and then Mark and the “girls” practice music together.  Sometimes there are eight or nine people, other times, twelve or thirteen.  I really look forward to these times!

Now I have a great favor to ask.  If you are inclined, would you please pray for a friend?  His name is Mike and he is needing a miracle. I won’t go into details, but God knows Mike and He knows all about the situation.  Basically, Mike needs a healing touch from God.  Thank you, in advance!

Well, I am getting a bit antsy for kinder weather so we can get outside more.  Right now, the wind is a-howling and it is pretty chilly out there. I think the Beatles summed it up fairly well…….. “Little Darlin’ it’s been a long, cold, lonely winter!” Now…..let’s hope “Here comes the sun”!

Two Posts Monday!

Yes, today is two post day!  That is partly because my little netbook went out online and caught a virus on Friday evening! I have no idea what I did or where I went to make that happen….I went to the same places I always go, but ended up with a stupid popup that warned me of the twelve viruses my computer picked up.  For a mere $79.99,  they would magically disappear!

I knew better than to proceed, so I shut the computer off and told Mark about it.  He was busy with paperwork on Saturday, so I didn’t want to bother him to fix the computer.  On Sunday morning, it only took him about twenty minutes to rectify the situation.  I am so happy he knows how to eliminate these bothersome bugs!

After fixing the netbook, we decided a Sunday drive was in order.  Destination: Geneva.  Before we went out, I washed the Subaru to get rid of the grungy salt that was covering it.  I grabbed Murphy, put him in the back seat, and we were off!  Mark opened the moonroof, and off we went.  Yes, it was so warm, we could actually comfortably drive with the roof open!  Murphy greatly appreciated it….his nose was working hard in the back, sniffing out all the scents entering!

I was anxious to see if there was any migrating waterfowl at Seneca Lake, but was disappointed when we saw none.  We drove through the park at the north end of the lake and couldn’t believe all the people out enjoying the summerlike weather! On our way back home, we stopped at McDonald’s and picked up an ice cream cone.  We bought it specifically for Murphy.

Oh my goodness!!  The wee lad ripped into that cone and enjoyed every bite!  He doesn’t get such treats very often and he was over the moon!

We headed into the setting sun on our way home along Route 5 &20.  It was so beautiful.  I sat and took

photo after photo of the incredibly colorful skies. Too bad we were kind of bouncing along at fifty-five miles per hour!  Since I couldn’t quite settle on one specific photo, here are a few….

Lucky for you….my SD card was now full, so I couldn’t take another photo!

However, I did save my favorite one for last.  We had stopped at a tiny pond located right  along the highway.  It is a designated wetland area for migrant birds.  At first, I didn’t see any, but upon closer inspection, there were a few Canada Geese.

As you can see, the sunset was just beyond astonishing!  It was such a great way to end an enjoyable day!

Busy Days

Yesterday morning, I got up and went to work right away on the rubber roof of the camper.  At some point, we had developed a leak inside the camper and I was pretty sure there was a problem on the roof.  Mark said the roof should be cleaned, so he read up on the process and found Tilex is good to use for cleaning it.  We picked up an industrial strength bottle at Lowe’s, so I was anxious to get busy.

Michelle had moved a ladder around the camper a few days ago, snapping photos of sections of the roof.  She and Mark reviewed them and saw a spot or two that looked suspicious.  As I worked on that roof,  it was incredible to see the color change from grey to white!  Mark said  the company that makes these roofs recommends washing them three or four times a year…..YIKES!  It has been awhile since the last time I was up there!

As I worked, I was antsy to get to the refrigerator vent.  I was convinced that the leak was there as when it rained, water would  drip down in the cabinet below the vent.  It didn’t take long to see the problem once I got to the back side of the vent….

The big long dark “crack” in the center of this photo is where the rubber roof actually came away from the caulking that kept it water tight!  After I finished cleaning the roof,  Michelle (excellent cake decorator!)  went up with a tube of caulking and fixed that area up better’n new!  The test came last night.  We had a few downpours that would have left water in the camper, for sure!  When I got up this morning,  I went out and ran my hand inside the cupboard….it was bone dry!  Phew, that was an easy fix!

As I was looking through the photos on this SD card before uploading them,  I saw a few photos from Genesee Country Village and Museum that might be worth sharing.  There are several really nice sculptures there and I had never been able to get a decent photo of the two horses before.  This time, I took my time and took many photos from all different angles till I came up with a photo I like! Oh, and the flowers are from near the gazebo on the main green.

As we were leaving the village while we were there,  I spotted a wild grapevine growing along a fence….

These remind me it won’t be long until the grape harvest in all the Finger Lakes region! 

Since we were at the village on my birthday,  Erin went into the gift shop with her dad and Sarah.  When she came out, she handed me this really cute little Scottie dog!  He rode home on the dashboard of the truck.   What a cute present!

And, speaking of Scotties….I got this one of Murphy resting in my Nikon camera bag the other day!  Both he and Angus love this bag.  No idea why!  I got my snazzy new backpack/camera bag and it blows the doors off this “ragbag”!  I actually got the bag together with an extended camera warranty and lens.  It was a three-for deal that was too good to pass up.  The only thing is, the bag has very little padding and has developed a hole where the top closes.  I have found cardboard and paper with Chinese writing on it leaking out the hole.  It really was time for a new bag!

Now randomly from my front garden….

After spending a few hours cleaning the rubber roof last night,  I was anxious to clean the awning today.  It had gotten pretty ugly with lots of black mildew spots on it.  I dragged out the ladder and began working away.  I found awning cleaner and a scrub brush did miracles on removing much of the spotting.  As I finished up the highest part, Ben came out and helped clean the rest.  It took the two of us a little over an hour.  I think had I still been working alone,  I would still be out there!

Now the little camper is about as clean on the outside as on the inside.  The work is strenuous, only because I find myself working from a ladder!

With the hurricane threat,  I pray for folks up and down the east coast.  From all I’ve read, this is pretty unusual, but they have had to deal with hurricanes before.  Our forecast doesn’t show any rain although I am wondering if it will change.  Seems when this happened previously,  we got wind and lots of rain!

Autumn Continues

The word “autumn” seems to conjure up warm sentiments and memories in my mind.  I think of things like hot cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven,  a steamy cup of tea,  warm colors like gold, orange, cranberry,  brown…all the colors typically associated with Thanksgiving.  And what a warm and cozy holiday Thanksgiving is! 

Our weather has been absolutely glorious the past few days.  It has been so warm, one can comfortably go outside in a sweater or lightweight jacket.   That in itself is rather amazing for nearly mid-November.  Our nights have been cold enough to leave a telltale frost in the morning,  but when the sun arises in the sky spilling down its warm honey like rays,  the days warm up considerably!  We have been forewarned, however, by the local meteorologists that this will soon be only a memory and more “seasonable” weather will ensue.  That’s okay, because we have thoroughly enjoyed this brief but magnificent  reprieve!

Last night I got a brief call from Eunice.  Gosh, isn’t it cool to be able to say my Amish friend calls me?  Anyway, Eunice wanted to let me know that Susanna was being released from the hospital and they were soon going to be on their way home.  She said the driver was there and they weren’t quite ready, so I thanked her for calling and thanked the Lord that the little one is doing okay!  Eunice was not too thrilled that Susanna was being sent home with oxygen in case she needs a bit and that she is to have someone watching her 24 hours a day. Just in case.  Eunice said she will have some young girls come and take shifts watching over Susanna. Hopefully, Eunice will be able to get some rest!  Prayers would be greatly coveted and appreciated, I am sure!

Yesterday afternoon, while Mark shifted trailers around,  I went out with the Nikon and took a few photos.  All botanical.  This was fun!

Yeah, I guess the one big drawback to the season is that all the vibrant colors of summer have gone, but as one studies these stark reminders of summer past,  it doesn’t take too much imagination to see the beauty inside.  Alas,  the remaining stalks contain the seeds for summer yet to come!

To celebrate the lovely weather today,  I emptied the hot tub and refilled it with fresh water.  As the tub was filling,  I climbed up on the rail of the swimming pool and used a five gallon bucket to scoop up rainwater and leaves off the winter cover.  There were tons of leaves sitting on the cover and if they aren’t removed, they begin to compost on the cover.  Not a good thing!

More Prayers, Please!

I have mentioned here previously about my friend, Eunice and her tiny baby, Susanna. 

Yesterday,  Mark drove his mom to a doctor appointment. When this was done,  I asked Mark if I might be able to visit with Eunice.  We drove over to the Ronald McDonald House where Eunice is staying. I found her there and she invited me into her room to visit.

Through a miscommunication, Mark thought I was going to call when I was done visiting, whereas I had asked that he call me after about an hour and I would leave.  As it was, Mark was awaiting my call!  So, in the end, Eunice and I visited for about two and a half hours!

Mark finally did call and when several family members arrived,  I took my leave!  I had to wait a few minutes for Mark and the kids to come pick me up, so I walked around the Ronald McDonald House grounds a little.  This house is for parents and family to stay when a child is in the hospital.  Most of the children are in pretty serious condition and so the house offers a pretty setting, even though it is located in the city.

What a great alternative this house offers to parents.  It is much nicer than staying in an expensive hotel room and people may interract if they would like.  The house offers refrigerator space,  pantry space,  a cooking and baking area, and also a nice library.   Eunice told me they also offer dinners (food donated by local grocers and warehouse club) that are cooked by various churches and other organizations.  What a comfort to suffering families!

I ask that if you are inclined, please lift Eunice, Noah, Chris, and little Susanna up in your prayers!  Susanna happened to have surgery yesterday and although Eunice was told everything went well,  I know this is so stressful for the family.

On our way home, we saw some incredibly beautiful skies!

T’was a bit of a struggle photographing the sky through the rear window of the truck traveling about sixty miles per hour….using the camera on my cell phone!  Ah well, you get the idea!

News I’d Rather Not Hear

A  couple of weeks ago, I saw one of my old friends on Facebook, so I began a live chat with her.  She wrote and told me she was heading out for dinner and would get back to me later.  The next day,  I received an email from her saying she has been diagnosed with cancer.

My first reaction to the email was to feel like sitting down and crying my eyes out.  When I first came to the Rochester area back in 1988,  this friend and another invited me to come and live in their spacious three bedroom apartment.  I was thrilled and we certainly had some fun times! And so, I wondered, what can I do?

Well, I bought a book over a year ago that has patterns for “prayer shawls”.  The book includes both crochet and knit patterns to make shawls and throws for people going through a change in their lives…mostly medically.  There are prayers included in the book.  Well, since I am rarely at a loss for words,  I have been working on the prayer shawl and as I work, I pray for my friend. 

I haven’t knit in so long, but as my neighbor used to tell me, there are *only* two stitches…knit and purl! How right she was.  I am working rather slowly on this piece,  but that’s okay.  I figure when my dear friend receives the shawl, she will certainly be covered in prayer!

It’s a Wonderful Life, Indeed!

Especially since the hot water is once again flowing!  Yes, after numerous calls to the tank manufacturer,  Mark and Ben worked this afternoon on removing the burner assembly on the old hot water heater.  Tech support at the company advised Mark on how to clean the tiny orifice that was plugged on the pilot feed tube.  I guess there are many bonuses being married to a mechanical engineer.  One thing about Mark is that he has the tenacity of a terrier to follow through when he needs information, and he isn’t the least bit intimidated asking for it!

Well, then, now that the hot water is back…and I was the first to luxuriate in a tub of warm water!!!….I will recommence with our little Saturday adventure!

After Angus had his opportunity to nearly run us into a ditch drive the truck,  we were off once again.  The next stop on our itinerary was Sauder’s Store.  Wow, I think we are addicted and Mark enjoys going there just as much as I!  I had to smile when I saw the little “oops” in the spelling on the sign out front….

I cannot complain, as I think it must be difficult placing the little letters in proper sequence, let alone getting spelling perfect!

After leaving the store,  we headed back to Seneca Falls. Mark needed to fiddle around a little with the GPS, so he pulled over at a spot I suggested. For anyone who has seen the movie It’s a Wonderful Life,  an interesting bit of trivia is that the town in which it is set might be based upon Seneca Falls.  Seems Frank Capra (producer and director of this classic) passed through the town and was quite enamoured by it.  And so, it wouldn’t seem the least bit surprising that the bridge we parked near would be on “George Bailey Lane”!

Now, why I didn’t photograph the actual bridge itself is beyond me.  (Fort hat matter, I didn’t catch Zuzu Cafe, either..named for George Bailey’s daughter, Zuzu in the movie.)

Well, I did notice the insanely bright bushes in front of the truck!

Oh, and a couple of starlings perched upon the railing….

Seneca Falls has another notable bit about it.  Why, even drifters upon the water are alerted to its fame…

Yes, Seneca Falls is noted as the birthplace of women’s rights here in the USA!  The Seneca Falls Convention was held here in 1848 with some progressive women who advocated equal rights for women.  The ball began rolling right in this picturesque little town!

I noticed some statues along the water and I am totally unsure what they are all about, but I will certainly be finding out on my next outing to this lovely town!

Well, we ventured out to see all these sights and were ready to move on along by mid-morning. We still weren’t done!  I will finished up our little tour in the next entry!

As a little addendum here,  for those who feel so inclined,  please pray for my dear friend, Laurie, who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.  I am sure she will greatly covet any and all prayers uttered on her behalf. Thank you!

Saved by the Bell. (on my phone….)

 Michelle’s (and ours, too!) day began with arriving at Finger Lakes Community College at eight this morning.  Michelle had to take a placement test so the school would know that she is literate and can do math…that we haven’t just kept her home twiddling her thumbs these past several years!  Even though we were required to keep extensive records on her schooling as well as having her tested to see where she stood compared to public school students,  she received no diploma from the school district stating that she had successfully completed all required work.  School districts do not seem to look kindly on homeschooling.

We arrived at the college and Mark, Michelle, and I hopped out of the truck to begin a day of orientation.

finger lakes community college.small

As we walked towards the school,  I could hear the buzzing of bees in a hedgerow of fantastic rosehip bushes.  But, there was no time to dawdle taking photos as more important business was at hand. 

Mark had thought that perhaps Ben would like to see the school, but he decided to stay in the truck and wait.  The weather forecast had called for thunderstorms throughout the day,  but with increasing heat,  haziness, and humidity.

We raced along the pathway and up to the doors……

finger lakes relief in concrete.small

I love that relief map in the concrete of the Finger Lakes.  Very cool.

welcome signs.small

And little welcome signs greeted the new scholars and their families.

We went inside and while Michelle did her testing (she said it was very basic “stuff”)  we joined the other parents for an information session.  The college is small with only about five thousand students.  Each classroom has about thirty students,  making it very nice for Michelle’s first step into the world of higher academia.

We listened and learned about many things,  including the library and many services that are not only available to the students,  but their families and community members as well!  Very informative.  But, as we sat,  my cell phone began to vibrate.  Ben was getting restless and wanted to go for a little walk.  We told him it would be okay,  and set some guidelines.

A while later,  the cell phone vibrated once again.  As I looked down at the phone,  I saw a little message flash at the bottom of the screen that the main battery power was getting low.  At this point,  it was after lunch time, and I thought perhaps Ben was getting a little hungry.   I left the meeting and drove over to pick him up from a store.  I then took him for lunch,  thinking the cell phone might get charged enough to last the rest of the orientation.  Unfortunately, it didn’t and I was forced to leave it charging in the truck.  Ben said he would stay in the truck until we were done, so I left.

Since I was alone and no one could/would grumble about me taking just a few photos,  I snapped some along my way back to the building.  I don’t think I have ever seen this many rosehips, ever!  (thinking about all the jam that could be made from this harvest!)

tons of rose hips.small

There were few flowers left on the bushes, but the ones that remained were a haven of yellow pollen for passing bumblebees.  And so I indulged……

busy busy bumblebee.small

magnificent colors.small

watch out kittle beetle.small

I just saw that this last photo was mistakenly named….”watch out kittle beetle”…it should have read “little” beetle.  I was especially pleased with that particular photo.  I love the way the bumblebee is hovering!

Thank you one and all for the birthday wishes.  It was a different day, but Michelle is all registered and ready to begin her courses September 8th.

After Michelle’s orientation, we came home to grab the Scottie boys.  We took the kids to visit with their friend Jonathan one last time.  Jono leaves for college tomorrow morning.  So the kids went on a little hike for an hour.  We picked them up and then wandered over a few towns to a Kentucky Fried Chicken store for dinner.  I really like their grilled chicken.

Then it was back home to the Bristolwood.  And what a relief to be back home.  The temperature and humidity reached really almost unbearable heights today but  the temperature dropped several degrees as we got closer to our house!

A Fun Day in Buffalo

Today, Mark, the kids, and I went for a little exploration to the Buffalo Zoological Gardens. 

We got home at about ten this evening, so after looking through (endless) photos and resizing a few,  I decided to just show two of my favorites today….

We had such a good time.  After the zoo, we hopped on over and picked up some chicken wings at Duff’s.  Ben suggested we should go to a park and have a picnic, so Mark looked up parks in the area on his GPS. Man, that little piece of equipment is worth its weight in gold!  We also enjoyed ice cream from Dairy Queen.

It was a busy day and I am tired, so I will end for now, showing some more zoo photos tomorrow.

I want to thank annyone who breathed a prayer for the kids’ friend, Tim.  He underwent surgery late yesterday afternoon and it seems he is going to be fine. No contact sports….but everything else should be fine.  Thank you, Lord, for answered prayer!