Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Where Have I been

You have probably been wondering where I have been. I am using Facebook now for updates. It's so much easier to keep in touch with people and add photos, so wander over there and look me up. However!!! there are still years of posts and pics on this blog. Scroll down a little and look on your left for the categories/table of contents or just keep scrolling! Enjoy! I will still post here but much more infrequently..

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Living Willow Structures - These Are Great!

I must try this and the gal lives about a half hour away! I need two other people and we can take a class. I know I have an endless supply of willows!

Willow Sculpture Garden from Brian Birch on Vimeo.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

So What's New You ask?

I know, I know it's been a long time. It's so much easier to upload photos to Facebook so I have been doing that and neglecting this. I've been very busy between the kids, work and vacation. Thank God for that almost perfect weather last week or I would not be able to face winter, as the summer appears to be over after just two whole weeks. We were very lucky to be on vacation for one of those two weeks!

The steps are done and that's a gangplank at the end. This gangplank was modified from the previous owner's dock.


Me taking a refreshing float on a 95 degree day. The water was perfect!

I grabbed this shot of a blue heron on Fish Creek.

Doesn't he look like a ballerina?


Our vacation was stupendous, and we finished the future dock steps. While we were on vacation, we went to the Rennaisance Fair in Sterling NY. It was fun, and the people and costumes were wonderful.

Some dead Rennaisance men

The Queen's procession

The Joust!


A romantic poem is told in French followed by a translation. "Your eyes are fat" (said with a thick accent) was our favorite line. For the rest of the day we were all saying it.

Who are these charming people?

Black squirrel at the cabin

I am enjoying my job very much. Daniel even came to visit one day and my boss gave him the tour.
For the next two weeks, the kids are working at the Great New York State Fair as parking helpers. Apparently it pays well so it's a tough job to get. We knew someone and that's why they got in. This year there were about 400 applicant for 70 or so jobs (the figures may not be exactly right).


Monday, August 03, 2009

Stairs, No Knitting and Ducks

FINALLY we had a picture perfect summer day at the cabin. The boys continued on the stairs and I totally relaxed on the deck with a book, slipping in and out of refreshing little sleeps. We had a lovely dinner of goose stroganoff (yes goose) and retired early...but not before Mike got some wakeboarding in. He managed a 180 but says a 360 is not on the cards! The plan was to finish the steps Sunday but lo and behold, it was POURING Sunday. That was not the forecast either but it certainly came as no surprise to us ducks. Since it was miserable, we went home after breakfast. There was plenty to do at home.


click to enlarge

If anyone is curious I have been reading a lot and not knitting even though my 2nd sock will be finished in 20 minutes. Generally if I am on a reading stint I don't knit. Don't know why. But a coworker is having his first baby in February and I want to knit something special. I have a few projects lined up on Ravelry but my favorite one, a sweater with little sheep on it, is intimidating me a little. And since it takes me so long to knit anything, I better get spinning and knitting now. I would also like to knit one of those neat snowboarder's hat's with earflaps and a big tassle that droops off the side. I found a fantastic colorful pattern last year and promptly lost it.

The ducks are still with us I am happy to report and they are two males, not females as we originally thought.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Four Wheelers and The Passing of Friends




Mike has wanted a quad forever and finally came up with enough cash to put almost half down and make the rest in payments. It was a pretty sweet deal and has some kind of fancy exhaust. He rode around yesterday after he brought it home and the boys loaded it up into the truck and took it over to a friend's who also has a quad. This one is a two stroke 350 Banshee.


We have a dead tree, and rather than let it decide where it wants to fall we pulled it down where we wanted it to go. Now we have some more firewood.



They guy that used to lend us his wood splitter died two weeks ago so we will be buying a wood splitter. But a moment for Renne. He was a great neighbor anda good friend over the years. He lived behind us across the stream and the ravine. He kept the area by the stream beautifully, mowed like a park. It was and is pristine down there. When we had horses, he put his horse fences far enough away from the adjoining field's barbed wire fence so that I could pass through and reach the state land. He was a tremendously successful hunter and allowed me to put up a tree stand on his land. He told excellent hunting tales, acting them out as he spoke. We will miss him. He was always fun to chat with. It doesn't quite feel the same around here with him gone. He had told us years ago about his cirrhosis and he had been a big drinker when he was much younger. He had been in Syracuse in the hospital and then checked out and went to PA to be with his daughter. He wanted to come back and camp out under the stars, and ride his 4 wheeler one last time at home. He has left his property to his daughter who lives in PA, but who will take care of the place?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

July Vacation

The weather was not kind to us for our July vacation up at the cabin. It rained three days straight, so we got a lot of reading done. The sun decided to come out Saturday at 6 and then again Sunday as we left! It was out Monday and Tuesday as well but temps were unseasonably cool. Despite the cool weather, Mike taught himself to wake board. After a few attempts he was up and away. He has been working on jumping with the view to jumping the wakes and a possible flip (not something I want to see in the learning stages). Since he is a snowboarder, the motion is very similar but landing on a moving ody of water is much different than landing on hard packed snow.


Click to enlarge hugely:



Then Tom and Mike started the new steps that will lead to where the dock will be. We will be moving it from the heaved, 40 year old cement steps. They had some help from our neighbor Peter.
Getting ready to finish the third platform where the last set of steps will start and reach the stone shoreline.


Tom and Mike





Peter's wife Gail, has a few trained chipmunks. Check it out above.

And of course one of my favorite ducks, the loon, came to call. Literally.


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Why You Need An Electronic Key for Paypal

Not too long ago my Paypal account was broken into and two, one hundred dollar transactions were made. I was fortunate that Paypal called me in a random account check. Had they not called I never would have noticed until it was too late because I don't log into my account unless I am making a transaction.


I managed to track the guy down and emailed him after a hold was put on the transactions. I reported him to the FBI. I won't tell you what words I chose for the email. He gloatingly wrote back that he had all my passes and it's no big deal, it was only $200.00. But then I did further tracking and traced him back to Sharktech Internet Services. I called Sharktech and left a message that either he or one of his employees or customers was putting bots on people's computers and retrieving their passwords with the intent of stealing. I futher told him that I called law enforcement in Missoula, Montana and sent them the gloating emails along with all my tracing info. I guess I scared the crap out of him because he never called or wrote back. So I hope he's peeing in his pants right now because no doubt I was one of many he stole from and hopefully he will go to jail. In the meantime Paypal told me about their electronic key. It's simple. You have an added layer of protection when you login by pressing the button on an LED keychain doohicky that they send you. You type the number that is generated into a space on your login page. That's it. It was free for me becasue my account was compromised but it costs $5 for you. My advice is to go get one quickly! It's worth it!

I leave you with a picture of my homegrown lettuce. It grows like this, with the different varieties in each plant! The tomatoes got off to a slow start because of the cool weather but seem to be doing okay now. The basil is stagnant and I have no idea why. It's just sulking.



Saturday, June 20, 2009

Machines, Regents and Other News


So how do I like my new washer? Well about 50 loads later, I have to say I am very pleased with it so far. It cleans the clothes well, and has tons of room (4 cubic feet). I love the blue lights too and the little tune it plays when the washing cycle is complete. The super duper spin cycle goes so fast the clothing is practically dry, and even though it is very quiet, it sounds like a jet about to take off with it's high but muffled whirring sound. There are settings allowing you to turn down the spin speed for various types of washes so you don't get wrinkles. A nice feature is the Silver care cycle (AG in the pic) that uses ions to remove all bacteria and dirt from clothing. This is especially good for removing allergens from sheets and it doesn't use hot water.


In other news, I am very proud to say that Dan got a 95 on his biology regents and Mike mastered his earth science regents. Clarkson awarded Dan a $44,000 scholarship as a leadership award, the University of Rochetser awarded him $40,000 for the same thing and RIT awarded him $25,000 for a computing award. We aren't sure what that is. Right now it's a toss up between RIT and Clarkson, with Clarkson a little ahead. However Dan has not visitied U of R yet. Dan will spend his summer working at KFC/Taco Bell and the summer rec program as a lifeguard. Mike is working with Nathan at Mizrahi Manor. We plan to spend a week in July and a week in August at the cabin and Dan will be going to Virgnia beach with his girlfriend's family for a few days soon.

After my first week of work I am pretty exhausted. Learning a whole new process after doing it again recently, is stressful and tiring. However I like it well enough and a bonus is coming end of quarter. So that will make three in a row per quarter of a paycheck or even two. Of course mine will be prorated as I will have only worked there two weeks in the last quarter but I am looking forward to next quarter. Naturally we have to make the numbers though and that goes for this quarter too.

This rainy Father's Day weekend was supposed to be a cabin weekend, but we opted to stay home due to the rain. The bonus was not missing the rabies clinic so we took all 4 animals down. The Mets play later and the boy is changing the truck spark plugs with his dad. We just got done spending $1,400 on the truck Dan drives on maintenance issues and are about to spend another $700 or $800 on the Kia for service, timing belt etc etc. UGH! Cars are expensive!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

And a New Job (Again)

It's been a lovely weekend. The whole family (for a change) went to Nina's for dinner to celebrate my new job which starts tomorrow. Hopefully this one will last more than 3 months before a layoff. So what's this about a new job? Well....a few weekends ago, the FFA (used to be future farmers of America but now I don't know what it stands for) had their yearly awards banquet at the school. Both my boys are members of this organization. We sat at the same table as the mother of one my boys' classmates and friends. She was talking about her job because Tom knows a a lot about the latest Japanese manufacturing methods. I mentioned that I also have manufacturing experience and recently got laid off. She mentioned that they were looking for someone like me. I emailed my resume to her the next day to give to the GM and on Monday the personnel manager called me to set up an interview. This interview lasted FIVE hours and I saw all the key players. The company makes mostly high end organic dog food (Paul Newman's and lots of other brands most people have heard of) and recently got the Ol' Roy Walmart contract. Business has been fantastic and the recession passed them by, so much so that the employees have received two bonuses already this year. I am very lucky to have fallen into this job and yes they made me an offer 6 days later. I will be the QA Manager and am looking forward to it. Quality Assurance will be my concentration but the job is wide open for someone to come in and take ownership. I start tomorrow.


The company is steeped in history. Do you remember Gainesburgers? Clarence Gaines, back in 1928 developed the first complete dog food as we know it today. And the pet food company has been around ever since then!



I leave you with a pic of the Norwich Y Pickleball group that played at the Empire State Games. I am in the back row, 2nd to left.

Friday, June 05, 2009

I Got The Gold and Silver Too

I played in the New York Empire State (senior) Games yesterday and today. My partner scratched for the women's doubles so I was out of that. Yesterday my mixed doubles partner and I were down 14 to 3 against the eventual gold medal winners and managed to come back to lose 20-18. It was quite a game. At the end of the day, we were the silver medal winners. Today was the singles and I won the gold. I was pleased. I have to say though that it was very hard to get used to these courts which were just polished, and so the glare was terrible. I often completely lost the ball. My bracket was the 50-59 age group. I couldn't play last year because I was too young! I was amazed at how agile the 70-75 age group was. Staying active really pays off.


I had never been to the SUNY Cortland Campus and was quite impressed. It is one of the best teacher schools in the country. Last year out of some 20,000 applications, only 1,100 got accepted. Of course I got lost finding the place and lost trying to find the sports complex.

Here Rascal is modeling the medals.


Too bad the gold isn't really gold!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

We Have Ducks

Tom's boss had received a few Mallard duck chicks for his daughter. As they became more ducklike and less chicklike the daughter got bored so he offered two females to us. You see these ducks were trying to dig their own pond in the dirt! So they arrived in their little house on Saturday and we let them out and put them down by the water. We had to slip away quietly as they are quite tame and were following us. We left them alone and checked on them daily and so far have adapted well. We really enjoy having them here and once they are able to fly, hopefully they will be go south at the appropriate time.





Check out the Bluegill fish nest too. Note the sand in a circular pattern with gravel in the middle on which to lay the eggs. The mother is hovering at the top of the circle.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memorial Weekend at the Cabin

click on pics to enlarge

Red Misty Morning

Ooops! Almost Flipping the Tube

Campfire Looking Down To The Lake

Jonboat as it pulls away from the dock

We arrived at the cabin to find the dock installed as we expected. We launched the little Jonboat at the nearby launch, then headed into Hammond to pick up the pontoon boat. That launch went without a hitch and Mike, Brent his friend from school and I drove the 15 minutes to our bay while Tom drove the trailer back. So now both boats are in and the cabin is truly open for the season. The weather was very nice, sunny and not too warm with temps hovering in the 70's. We love the Jonboat and it's much nicer than the previous vhull 14 footer we had. It's more stable and really flies. The kids took advantage of this as they puttered around all weekend and did some fishing. They got some tubing in despite the 65 degree water.  At night they built a fire and toasted marshmellows. Because Dan was playing and marching in the Memorial day Parade at home we had to leave at 6 AM Monday to be back in time to see him.
I started my second sock and am about to start the heel.