Saturday, August 30, 2008

Back To School Shopping

I am off to Colonie (Albany) today, to take on the mall. Jerry (wisely) has decided to work with Dan today. The Bee Guys are working somewhere south of I90. I don't know where. Yesterday, they were at an old theater in Glens Falls (I think) that turned out to be a bust. After climbing up to the third floor and opening the hive access to release the bees, it became apparent very quickly that these bees were africanized. What does that mean you ask? Well, according to all of the press, Africanized bees have been slowly migrating to the US, and will eventually be a huge problem here. Right now, they are an intermittent problem. An occasional hive turns out to be africanized. What that means really is that it is just an incredibly nasty hive. Most honey bees don't want to be bothered with you. They will escape their hive and fly around nearby while a hive is being messed with. Africanized bees will chase you 200 yards down the road, stinging all the way, and still be aggressive and nasty when you are that far. It's not a nice hive to work with, and certainly not one you want to introduce into your bee yard. When the Bee Guys find an africanized hive, they walk away from the job. They will direct the customer to a different kind of bee guy. One with big guns. He (or she) will come in with chemicals and blow them right into the hive. The interest in saving the bees is no longer there. The interest is in eliminating those MF'ers and killing every last one. Organics be damned, you don't want Africanized bees. These jobs are when the most stings are received, and it is usually a painful day, in more ways then one. Walking away from a bee job is also financially not a happy day. No bees, no honey, no money for saving the day. Never a good thing. Allison and I are continually asking bee questions, and we both wanted to know how you can tell an Africanized Bee. There is no difference. No way! you say. Way! They look the same as your gentle and productive honey bee, just bitchier.
I know, I thought the same thing. I can be bitchy on occasion. Doesn't that apply to most of us? Are we to be destroyed after only one incidence of bitchy. I can't believe I'm defending the bees, but really, one chance? One shot at good behavior? Isn't that a little extreme? It is my understanding that if you remove the Africanized Queen (sure, blame the female leader) then the entire hive will revert to docile and productive honey bees in just a few days. Really? Just a few days? Like 4-7 days? Is anyone else being reminded of a cyclical bitchy mood swing that closely resembles this Africanized Hive? I realize that the clyclical bitchy mood swing to which I am referring is certainly inconvenient. However, death by chemicals is a little drastic. Has anyone tried a little wine in the sugar mixture that is offered to bees when the bloom is waning? Possibly some Midol dissolved into this same sugar blend? Why not chocolate? That usually soothes the worst type of "bad mood". I just might have hit on something here. The solution to the Africanized Bee threat to North America. Chocolate, wine and midol. Bear in mind that this solution is also organic. It's worth a shot.
I will be consuming massive quantities of this mixture as I escort our teenager to the world's most challenging endeavor -Back to school shopping. I will pack chocolate in my bag, as I may need to administer some type of medication to Allison as well. This gets ugly on occasion. Never maliciously. It is just something that we both must endure. A right of passage so to speak. Going shopping with your Mother is always second choice. Shopping with your friends is so much cooler. But I have the money. So, we must tolerate each other's drastically differing opinions as to what is cool, appropriate, and/or allowable. If it were up to me, she would still be wearing Polly Flinders dresses (If you don't know, never mind). I do know this is not an OK option, I am not crazy. But seeing her in the jeans and t-shirts that seem to be the style sets off some type of emotional crazyness in me that becomes irrational and uncool - some type of africanization. Maybe these hives are just a bunch of mother bees who need to take their drones back to school shopping. It's a stretch, I know. But if no one can come up with another answer, why not? It makes sense to me. Wine anyone? It's Five O'Clock somewhere.

Friday, August 29, 2008

So much for feeling better. I guess all the "manipulation" of my arm was a step in the right direction, but a painful one. There's a reason they sent me home with a prescription for pain - OUCH!
Allison got dropped at practice this morning and barely made it into the school. We are all feeling the effects of a rainy and dismal morning, and sleeping in would have been my first choice. As all parents know, when your child joins an activity, so do you. We are all up and at em way earlier in the morning than we would prefer. But I do know that once the animals get here (dare I say IF?) we will be up and at em even sooner. I look forward to that day, perhaps I am naive? I'm sure if it is 20 below and I have to get out to the barn, I will not be skipping in joy. I know myself better than that. However, I seem to be able to pull myself up by my bootstraps when it comes to the animals. They say having a pet adds 7 years to your life. So, between Jake and Daphne, I'd say I'm up 14. Not bad. If I can add a few more pets (alpaca, goats) to the mix, I should live a good long time. That's the master plan.
Interracting with animals always lifts your spirits, even just a little. If you have a pet, you know from which I speak. We once had a serious deathbed scene here at the cabin, and Jackie can tell you, it was serious. Poor Daphne had apparently been stung or bitten by something outside. A wasp or spider perhaps? Anyway, being small, she went down fast. Jerry had been walking her, and she just lay down in the grass and stopped. She could not get up, nor was her breathing strong. She was down. He picked her up and brought her inside. When he lay her down on her bed, she just stayed there, breathing shallow and looking panicked. She was unable to move. I picked her up in my arms and got hysterical. (Always the helpful adult in these situations). I just cried and cried and held her. It was one of the most pathetic scenes you have ever seen. We didn't know if Daphne had had a stroke or what. Jackie, who had never been a big fan of Daphne, became her biggest champion. She cried right along with me. While we were sobbing, Jerry was on the phone to the vet on Long Island. He called us back right away, as his service had reached him weekending in the Catskills (I knew I liked that guy). He told us to give her a bit of benadryl, which we did. After about 1/2 hr., Daphne started to respond to us somewhat. She was clearly wiped out, but had lost that glazed look in her eyes. She must have had some type of reaction to a bite or sting and really come close to death. Ever since then, I have cut Daphne an incredible amount of slack in my behavior expectations. Any time she screws up or is just plain rotten, which happens on occasion, I just overlook it, because I know how I would respond if she were to be taken from us. It's a little melodramatic, but hey, she's my baby too. Even Jackie likes Daphne now - deathbed scenes will do that. We are reminded of what we might lose. So, bad behavior aside, Daphne is forgiven in advance of all her transgressions. Which means today, when she refuses to go outside because of the Rain, which she hates, I will put the wee wee pad down in the kitchen and hope that she uses it. Because she is Daphne.
That's all folks - it's pickup time. Back to school I go. Have a sunny day.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Yesterday was medical day. I have been making and keeping appointments with physicians here in Johnstown, and also in Amsterdam, which is about 15 miles away. The word is that Amsterdam is a better hospital than the local option, Nathan Littauer. With that in mind, I have had an appointment with a well-recommended orthopedist in Amsterdam for quite some time. I was finally seen yesterday for a shoulder injury that I incurred in May, and I was pleased with the whole experience. The testing was thorough, the staff was friendly and helpful, the PA seemed knowledgable and sympathetic, and there was ample parking. I feel better already. I am waiting on the results of the MRI, but the PA and I both are sure that the rotator cuff is either torn or shredded. Shredded would be better, as it could be repaired with physical therapy. Torn is not so good, as that would require surgery. The results will be ready by Friday and either way I am happy to be moving forward with some type of treatment for my shoulder, because it is getting in the way of my life. It is hard to be doing renovations and trying to get some farming done when your shoulder is completely painful and immobile. It's not a good combination. I need to get it fixed. Now.
The whole trip to Amsterdam was entirely pleasant and restorative. I felt as if I was being heard and respected. This is something that has been lost on me in the North Shore Hospital system on Long Island. The stress of that system was not a good fit for me, a term used in human resources that also applies to medical people. I was not happy with North Shore. I liked my cardiologist and my general physician, but the whole system was entirely too large and complicated for my taste. If you are not someone with a chronic illness and your doctor interractions are limited to physicals and occasional cold or flu, you are very lucky. As a Type I diabetic with a history of heart attack and cardiac stents, I spend ALOT of time dealing with physicians and their staff. There is not a support group in the world that would not be happy and proud to have me as a member. It has not always been helpful or pleasant. I have left doctors whom I genuinely liked because their staff was so disrespectful to me as a human being. One doctor, who shall remain nameless, had a front desk employee who treated the patients like we were criminals. I once had the audacity to request an insulin prescription when I had not been in to see the doctor for a little more than three months. Although I had a scheduled appointment within the next two weeks, she proceeded to berate me in the outer office as though I was asking for black market drugs to then be sold on the street. I was mortified. After she finally got the prescription from the doctor, and insisted that I reschedule my appointment for the next day, I began to drive home. On the way, I snapped. Something in me just said No. Take this prescription and shove it. I pulled over a few blocks from that Doctor's office and called my GP, who is generally a compassionate and qualified doctor. Her office said to come right over if I needed an insulin prescription, and they would have her see me IMMEDIATELY and write up the necessary prescription. I turned around and drove back to the Endocrinologists office, walked into the front desk area and handed back the prescription to the witch at the desk. I told her to take the prescription to the doctor and inform him that I would not be returning as a patient, that anytime someone is made to feel like a criminal for attempting to fill a prescription that is KEEPING THEM ALIVE, something is really wrong. One of the men in the waiting room said out loud "good for you honey". I left and felt like I had won a major battle for R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Not really. I never heard from the doctor's office, so I guess they had plenty of other schmucks to fill their schedule. I probably should have called and asked to speak to the Doctor personally, but I was just tired of the whole place. It was an experience that has stuck with me though. It empowered me as a human being, and it educated me as a patient. I am more inclined to question my doctor as a peer. I am entitled to compassionate and kind care in the course of my medical treatments, and I don't hesitate to demand that. The thing is, so far, I have been pleasantly rewarded with that type of behavior here in the boondocks. I am not dissing the metropolitan area medically. I am sure that the metro area has the finest medical care in the world. Truly. Of that I have no doubts. I do question the level of care here, because it simply is not Long Island or New York City. Let's face it, people do not travel to Johnstown or Amsterdam to seek medical opinions. But you will find people receiving care on Long Island or NYC who have traveled from all over the world. The care is that good. But somewhere along the way, I felt lost as a patient. It is a scary journey for someone with my health issues, and being treated like pond-scum by the medical staff is not conducive to feel-good reduced stress medical care. It's hard enough to always try and do the right thing when you have a chronic disease or two, and the medical staff trying to beat you down is just wrong. It just muddies the water so to speak.
So, for me, on this day, I am feeling good about our move, and hoping that this optimism continues. I like my doctors. Which isn't to say if I ever had something really SERIOUS going on that I wouldn't be jumping on the thruway and heading south. There is nothing like NYC for world class physicians. Just a vent of mine. Thanks for listening. Go get a physical. Do the right thing no matter who your doctor is. Just don't let the front desk run you away. You're worth more. We all are.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Hot chocolate anyone? We're here in the kitchen and really feeling those 40 degrees. Summer in the Adirondacks. The swim team practice went well. Not all the girls were there, as there are two practice options. 8-10 in the morning, or 4-6 in the evening. Allison is going to try the evening practice to see who shows there tonight. Many of the girls were not in her grade, and it appears that most of the 9th graders attend practice at night. So, that is where she will go tonight. But all in all, it was a successful practice and swim team looks like a good choice. We are watching the grass carefully. The cold weather is not particularly good for the seed, but it is coming up slowly. We are making great strides in the bathroom renovation, and I have to admit (I Know, I know) that Jerry was able to find the necessary pipe in question. He is graciously not driving home his point. I like that guy. The sun seems more brilliant in the afternoons, and less effective in the mornings. I guess this is the slow end to the season. There are only six racing days left at Saratoga (remember Tuesdays). But we are looking forward to the Fulton County fair this weekend. My favorite is the livestock area, and the 4H projects. It will be different this year because we are "residents", not "visitors". I think that is a nice thing. I'm starting to feel northeast pride. Even AAA has a new location for us - it is AAA Northway. We're no longer mid-atlantic, but northeast. Who knew? It is probably the first labor day weekend since we've been vacationing and living here that we have no visitors. Just the three of us. Who will ride the crazy rides with Allison? My crazy ride days are over. I used to jump on the roller coasters and loop di loop rides without thinking about it. It was great and I loved it. Then, as I got older, I started to feel a little loop di loopy myself when I got off the rides. The last ride I was on with Allison was ten years ago when I took her on a tilt-a-wheel at St. Rocco's Feast in Glen Cove. I thought my brain had come dislodged and was swishing around in my head. That was it. I swore off rides forever. And now we are heading into the ride mecca of the northeast - a county fair. eeeek. I can't do it. I won't do it. But if Allison can't go on the rides because no one is here, I might do it. Or maybe Jerry and I will take turns so we can help each other off when we're falling down. We'll see - it should be fun!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Bye Bye Baby

I just dropped my baby at High School Swim Team Practice. I am awed and inspired by her ability to walk into a strange High School and join a team where she knows nobody or anything about being on a High School team. I am so proud that we have raised a lovely young lady with the self-confidence to do this. She doesn't read the blog routinely, so I can brag without fear of humiliating her, or I would simply say that Allison went to High School today. But for me, this is a huge milestone for both her and I. And I handled it beautifully. I was sobbing in the car on the way home. Snotty drippy nose sobbing. After I dropped her at the school pool, which gives the Cube in Beijing a run for it's money in the way of facility design (Go Johnstown!), I walked back out to the car and just broke down. I remember the day Allison came home from the hospital and although I know it wasn't yesterday, it feels that way in my heart. She is still the baby that needs me. That will never go away, for any of them. Jackie and Walter, and Nicole and Brian are all young adults. They are away from home and don't see us on a regular basis, and yet we see them everyday in our mind. They are still babies and always will be - they still need us, even if they don't think so. That is what keeps us going. We all just want to be needed by our kids. Forever. It doesn't change as they add spouses or significant others, or better yet, Grandchildren. Even if they become more successful than we ever hoped to be. The fact that they need us is what drives us. And when something happens where it appears that the need requirements are dropping - appropriately so - it devastates us. What do we do now? I'm hoping when I pick her up at 10:00 AM she will want an ice cream or something that I can provide without hesitation. Then I can still feel important in the life of my baby. Sometimes they want things that we can't provide, and only when they become parents will they understand the heartbreak that that can cause. It is not always easy to do the right thing, or the difficult thing. That's what kids don't understand about parents. The old saying "this hurts me more than it hurts you" used to refer to the old trip to the woodshed. But really, it refers to anytime a decision is made that makes our kids unhappy. Even if it is the right decision, we never want to make them unhappy. Ever. Contrary to popular opinion, it does not make my day to humiliate, discipline or deny any of them. It doesn't make me happy. It breaks our hearts, over and over. And yet, I wouldn't change a minute of any day in any year. I love you kids unconditionally, and always. All of you. And that is how you can tell a Mother's heart. By the mended breaks and bursting love. Bye Bye Baby, Good Luck, God Bless.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Is it Men or is it Menopause?

I was sent to Lowe's this morning to purchase a shower head for the new shower. This small errand turned into a nightmare of freakish proportion, simply because Jerry and I don't always speak the same language. Sometimes he speaks english, sometimes he speaks manglish. Manglish is where you mangle the english you are trying to communicate with. This is what men do when they are trying to explain plumbing and auto parts to women. It is not that we cannot understand them, it is that the facts are being mangled. Although it is hard for him to believe, sometimes I do in fact understand the plumbing or auto parts mission at hand, and I am fully capable of participating in this endeavor. Sometimes, and I will admit that it is rare, but sometimes I might even have a better understanding of what is going on than a man. Rarely, but sometimes. When this happens, the communication shuts down altogether, because it is so difficult for a man to accept that a woman might have a working knowledge of ANYTHING. We scare them, that's all. Of that I am sure. Anyway, my trip to Lowe's became a nightmare because way back when we had made a decision about a shower head when we were discussing the shower head in relation to the OLD bathtub. In those days, it was more of a custom situation because the tub that was already in place did not have wall access for a shower head, so we decided to have it drop from the ceiling. It was a sound plan. Then we decided to scrap the tub that was already there (for reasons too numerous to get into here) and go with a new shower and smaller tub. So now, the necessity for the custom (read this - custom) shower head no longer existed. This shower had walls. We could use the regular shower head, and the job was simple. Not so fast. Men, being from Mars and Women, being from Venus, see and read all directions in the opposite. It is as if our planetary systems are spinning in clockwise/counter-clockwise rotation. If I think to myself, "we should go left here, it's quicker" I know that invariably Jerry will be thinking "I'm going straight and making a left down there, it will be quicker". It never fails. Sometimes I see this as a fun game to play in my head while breaking up the monotony of a road trip. Other times I think I might have to blow my brains out to end the torture of keeping my mouth shut while we make bad choice after bad choice. I must say that most times I succeed, although Dr. Lee (DDS) will attest to the clenching that goes on in my jaw. I can't blame Jerry for the dental work, because he has his own clench issues, I'm sure. It's much easier to just blame men in general, because I don't think they do this maliciously. I think it is just a left brain/right brain communication issue. So, I purchased the shower head that I thought would work, because the custom pipe for the shower head we no longer needed was unavailable. Not unavailable because they were out of them, unavailable because THEY DON'T FRIGGING EXIST. I'm hoping the plumbers will come back, because they left around noon time today. This will allow us maximum privacy to address the plumbing issue, and hopefully resolve it to everyone's satisfaction. Maybe this is why many people upstate tend to have appliances on their front lawns. The husband probably threw it out there when the wife just wouldn't listen to him. And there it stayed. If you see pictures of appliances on our front lawn in future blogs, you'll know how this renovation project went. I love ya honey. Just as soon as our orbit rotations coincide, we should discuss politics. That's always fun for laughs.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Upstate vs. Downstate

There is definite reverse snobbery here. Although I have heard my share of upstate jokes, and I'm sure more will follow the longer we are here, but yesterday was an education for us all. Let me explain: We took a ride to pick up our kitchen island from Noah. On the trip, Dan (who graciously was lending his pickup and his strength-more on that later) needed to swing by a farm family to check their beehives - apparently they were not sure if they had a queen or not. So The Bee Guys had a job to do. We stopped at this farm that was mind bogglingly beautiful. I mean the most beautiful farm you had ever seen in your entire existence. It was as if Martha Stewart had been let loose in farm design, and she went to town. I was awestruck. The family does home-schooling, and they have six children, one cuter than the next. The girls in matching jumpers, the boys in matching T-shirts and dungarees. It was picture perfect. The Dad asked the three girls(ages 5-9 approximately) to "entertain" us while the men and older boys walked out to the beehives. Joanne, Lily, Alexa and I were waiting in the field just gawking at the perfectly appointed farm that all the children work on and are obviously and justifiably proud of. The last words the Father said as he walked away were "Learn something about Long Island". "I already know something about Long Island" piped up the oldest of the three girls. "Parts of it are trashy". Well. Joanne, in true trashy Long Island fashion went right back at her - "Some parts of here are trashy too - let's not forget the sofas and refrigerators on the front lawns." It was priceless. Now, of course not all upstaters have furniture and appliances on their lawns, although we know of a few (not us! not us!), but neither are all downstaters trashy. It is simply a matter of preconceived bias. But I had no idea it went both ways. Coming from Long Island (I WAS rooting for Joanne) I felt such a sense of injustice - because THEY HAD NEVER BEEN TO LONG ISLAND. How wrong is that? Now, getting into a bitch fight with a nine year old didn't happen cause we're from Long Island. But it helped. I love Joanne for many reasons, but it is her absolute ability to defend herself (and me) in the process that I love her most of all. She doesn't take nothing from nobody. You go girl. Now the little darling in the jumper was properly "adjusted". But I could tell that she wasn't really buying it. Nor was she terribly interested in learning anything about Long Island. The family was lovely and gracious and we had a nice visit. The barn and "schoolroom" were absolutely magnificent and made me wish I was 9 and being homeschooled - it was that nice. But it kind of left a sour taste in my mouth. A little bit. And it also begs the questionk, aren't we all pre-judging just a bit? Whether it is location or ethnicity, we all have our own preconceived notions about people and places we know nothing about. But now that I have experience in both areas, I feel I am uniquely qualified to make the following observation: Long Island - 1 Upstaters - 0 Noah finished our island, and it is magnificent. We had a day filled with fun visiting all these farm families. It was an education for us all. Alexa thinks she might like an extended visit on an Amish Farm. We're in negotiations for that. Lily is ready to get back to school,and Joanne is hero. What a day.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Although Walter and Dana experienced bats while we were away in Vermont, it didn't really impact me. That was so wrong. Last night, after a lovely dinner at the Outlet with Clint and Joanne, Lily and Alexa, we came home in anticipation of a toasty warm campfire and 'smores. We came into the house to collect the necessary accoutrements and were surprised by what looked like a bird flying around the living room. It turned out to be a bat. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaggggggggggggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! The visual that will always come into my mind is that of Joanne, Lily, Alexa and I cowering in a corner of the kitchen. Everytime the bat swooped near us (which was every few seconds as they fly in a circular pattern) the screams increased in volume. Daphne (the dog) came hopping over to us, clueless as to the reason for what she must have perceived as a big hello. She quickly realized we were not screaming in recognition and joy, but in terror and fear. She added herself to our cowering mass and began to shake. I must tell you that throughout this whole episode, Jerry, my hero, was attempting to direct the bat out the back door. He is fearless. After a few minutes, while we were still screaming and laughing, Clint came over and riffled his hand in my hair. Let me tell you, I thought I might die. I didn't realize it was him, and Lily said the terror in my face was something she had never seen before. She was right. The bat eventually flew out the back door. We thought we were safe. Jerry, on a hunch, went to check the bathroom. His hunch proved to be right. Either it was the same bat, or another bat, but we had a new swooping bat dive bombing us in the Living Room. Joanne just left. She took her sweater and ran outside to the campfire. She just left us cowering on the couch. Me, Lily and Alexa. Cowards! That's OK - I will admit it. I have a fear of bats. I'm OK with field mice. Hawks and deer are no problem. I even think bats are an important part of the ecological system. They eat tons of mosquitos. They are good. Outside. Not in the living room. My favorite book when the kids were small was Stella Luna. Great book. When you see the bat flying in your living room, it takes on evil connotations. Vampire bats, rabies, etc. Not Stella Luna. I can only say this to Walter and Dana. I am so sorry. I was not properly sympathetic to your bat experience. I stil have a stomach ache from laughing, but I am anxiously awaiting the insulation guys who will be blowing insulation into the crawl space. I am certain that this will limit the bat access. I sure hope so. My stomach can't take any more. And the Rowland family is surely looking forward to visiting us again. ya think?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

This rocks!

Tonight, after finishing dinner, we decided to head to the river to "borrow" some river rocks for our wood stove platform. At $17.00 per linear foot, the cultured stone option is not working for us. Not to mention that the river is LOADED with rocks, and they're FREE! How Brilliant is this idea? I thought so too. By the way, it was MY idea. Not that it matters at all, but it was mine. I was a little uneasy going to the river, but the reality is we have river on our property, we just couldn't get the car there. And I was not carrying 100 lbs. of rocks the 1/2 mile from the river, at dusk, with my shoulder injury. Jerry was game, I voted for the car. On the way our car passed a pretty Deer and her babies. So cute. Anyway, we found a good place to back up the Jeep and headed down to the river to pick our rocks. They were plentiful, beautiful and VERY heavy. We were both initially being very picky. Really looking for the perfect rock, and bypassing some perfectly adequate rocks to get to others. Then as time went on, we realized how foolish this is. In order to complete a platform for the wood stove, we need ALOT of rocks. I will be a 3 or four foot platform with rocks that climb up the wall to a mantle level. That's when we started being a little less descriminating. Now we have about 8 square feet of ROCKS!!!!!! We're on our way! We have until the river freezes (a couple of months or so) to keep collecting as many rocks as we can. Beats the heck out of $17. a linear foot. And they are much prettier. I'm hoping we don't get picked up for rock theft. That would be so awkward. And then we'd have to come up with another rock plan. So far,this plan is working beautifully. I love free stuff, don't you? We have a long way to go before we have enough river rocks to finish the fireplace project. We probably won't take it on until next spring. Until then, we'll just collect rocks. For right now, we have plenty of pellets for the winter. They are talking about the temperature going down into the 30s tonight. It's all about the weather, you know? We're getting weird. But we're warm.

The Olympics

We've been watching the Olympics for nearly two weeks now. I used to be quite an olympic afficionado, but somehow I've lost interest through the years. I am more cynical and jaded than I used to be. It seems that money rules, and the country with the most money wins. I don't want to negate the accomplishments of the athletes. They are incredibly talented and dedicated. But the true spirit of the olympics is a little cloudy now. You used to have to be an amateur to compete. Now that rule is out the window. Of course, the athletes are the best there is, but was that the spirit of the games? I don't think so. Anyway, I have been catching bits here and there, but not glued to the TV like I was in 76 or 80. Jerry is watching alot of it. He likes it more than I do. I am still tuning into Home and Garden as though it were new. I love watching what people do to their homes. It is the olympics of renovation. Still, money wins there too, but there is more room for creativity. It is a challenge of sorts, to be able to decorate and complete your renovation without spending a million dollars. It would be easy to spend, if you had it. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately-the jury is still out on that one)we are looking for more creative solutions than expensive ones. On the ride home yesterday, I decided that our car smelled bad. Like dog. Of course, the two of them were riding in the back seat, as usual. Jerry pointed out that Jake was breathing down my neck, literally. Now, although I love Jake dearly, he is a genital licking-horse pie eating (i've seen him!)dung sniffing dog. I don't kiss him anymore. Maybe on the top of his head, but that's as close as I get. Obviously, his breath stinks. He rode this way the whole way home. Actually, Jake believes that I am in his seat, and you can hear him huffing and puffing the entire ride. He is clearly miffed that he is in the back seat and I, low man on the pack list, sits in front. He defers to Jerry, he ignoresme. Although he is my protector, I believe he thinks it is his job, not something he does out of love. At one point he turned his back on us and gazed out the back window. Just a small statement from the canine gallery. He's a pistol. These are slow days at Blue Line Farm. We're literally watching the grass grow. Hopefully. We had alot of rain last night, and every day brings another patch of newly sprung seed. The pasture is looking great in some spots, and not so great in others. It's our first go at seeding pasture, so it may be a trial and error thing. I can't help but think it's not brain surgery. I've seeded bare patches of lawn for years, and always just assumed it would take. It always has. Now that it really matters, doubts are creeping in. Jerry has farming in his blood. I do not. Not that I'm aware of anyway. We both have alot to learn. I guess it's better to learn on grass seed than on an animal. I am reading everything I can on raising livestock, and I am picking up alot of information. We will be farmers, and we will also be taking on alot of formally veterinarian tasks. I have only helped deliver a litter of kittens, once, a long long time ago. I was actually helping because they were breech, but I did it. I hope I have the same instinctual talents that I had at 12 when the animals come. We'll find out won't we? Well, watch your grass grow, and have a great day. Bye Bye!

Monday, August 18, 2008

As seen in Sunday's Leader Herald: Sex Addicts Anonymous - to be held Monday at 7:00 P.M. Men Only. Probably a good idea. Men only. We've been away and we're back now. Went to PA to visit Jerry's Mom. That is always a great trip-we adore her and look forward to our visits. Never long enough. Summer vacation is winding down. It is evident everywhere you look. there was actual trailer traffic on the throughway - people heading south. Never a good sign, although this year I'm actually anticipating fall in a good way. I am looking foward to the leaves turning, and the visitors that brings. Hopefully, we will have lots of leaf peepers this year. Allison's swim team is gearing up and starts practicing in two days. She has bravely signed on for Swim Team, even though she is a new student and knows no one. I give her lots of credit. It's so hard to watch your kids go back to school each fall. More than a birthday, the first day of school is a real mile marker in our children's lives. It gives you a visual memory for each year of their life. Birthdays tend to get lumped together, but first days of school are vivid in my mind. My own, and my children's. I can remember what i wore to school the first day of kindergarten. I remember what Jackie and Walter and Allison all wore their first days of school. it just sticks in my mind. Another year goes by. . . We are anxiously awaiting the Fulton County Fair, which is held Labor Day Weekend at the Fulton County fairgrounds. If you've ever been to our house, it is the fairgrounds that are right off Exit 28 off Route 90. The best part for us is the livestock. To see all the animals that are cared for and thriving is just an amazing sight. Of course there are the rides and the stock care races and all of that, but the animals are it for me. Maybe Next year we'll have entries, but this year we will just gawk. The 4-H clubs always have amazing entries, and it is like stepping back in time. It also marks the end of summer for farmers and their livestock. I do hope the pasture gets enough warmth and sun to really get a couple of weeks of growth in before the cold nights start. The skies are strikingly clear,and crisp. Flannels are back in style, and wool socks are making an appearance again. I know it's only August 18th, but it feels like fall. When exactly is Indian Summer? I'm not sure, but maybe here it will be the first few weeks of September? It could be, cause right now I'm cold. Isn't that what comes first?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Adirondack Living Show

We went to the Adirondack Living Show last night in Queensbury. It was held just a few miles south of Lake George. We were able to see the latest and the greatest in rustic decor and north country heating and building innovations. It was great. We were with Dan (the bee guy) and Jennie, and they are always fun to be with. We took a little side trip on the way home and cruised through Moreau State Park. It is a beautiful state park with a lake and camping facilities. The more I see state parks, the more I realize how beautiful New York is, from top to bottom. We were speaking to a volunteer at the venue where the fair was held, and she was telling us how busy they are at the sports complex. It is a dome covered field with turf (I don't know the technical name for that now) that was beautiful. When you have a three or four month growing season on the athletic fields, I guess a dome covered turf field is the way to go. She said that all types of athletics book the fields during the winter. What a great idea. There are also adult pickup soccer games or softball leagues for $10 a game. You just show up, sign up, pay up and play. All winter. I'm looking at these places with a new eye now, because as the trees are beginning to turn, I am very conscious of the weather (I slept in flannels last night!) and how quickly fall and winter will be here. I'm not pushing it along, but it is pushing me. It's cold here. If you stand in the sun, you're OK. As soon as the sun goes down, so goes the warmth. A domed field may just save me in February. We had to order our pellets this week, as the rush is on. Our kitchen cookstove will need wood, and the propane heating system is already turned on (occasionally). My snow shoes are ready, and I am knitting as fast as I can! There is probably still some summer left, but you gotta grab it fast. We may go up to the cottage today and swim in the lake. Or, we may not. First I have to get out of the flannels.

Friday, August 15, 2008

We are Construction Ready. Yesterday at Lowe's was productive and we are ready to go. The counter tops are ordered, and the contractor just has to come and measure. We purchased all we need for the wallpaper backsplash (I went with wallpaper instead of tile - it's much easier to change when my mind changes). Now we are waiting for our plumbing contract who said "I'll see you Friday". It's only 9:10, so we could be way jumping the gun here. Maybe he meant next Friday? We'll see. We did a drive-by at Noah's and checked on the Kitchen island. It is almost done. We needed to count how many drawer pulls we needed from Lowes, so it was an essential detour. On our way over to Lowes passing through Palatine, it was clear that it was a big day in the Amish community. Obviously, peaches had arrived from somewhere because there were buggies everywhere. We actually almost had a culture crash at a four way intersection. There were two buggies, one which which was driving quite recklessly around the cornerm, and another which had four young ladies in it. Our car, and in the opposite direction was a young man who looked like he was a "skater". He had on jeans and a biker shirt, and was walking along the road with a huge chip on his shoulder. I wondered to myself how he would respond to the Amish ladies in their buggy, because he didn't look like an upstanding guy. Just a hunch. He didn't look dangerous or anything, just chippy. We found out later that the Amish order their peaches from Pennsylvania and hire a truck to bring them to the community. This we learned from Roger of Roger's Orchard. He told us that they use the peaches to can, and that they are not what he would consider cannable. But the price is right for them. I guess if they are ordering them from Pennsylvania, they are maybe supporting another Amish peach farmer. Roger is not Amish. Peaches do not travel well, as we learned by bringing them home from Rogers in a plastic bag. By the time they were home they were slightly bruised and juicy. Not terrible, but only a 1/2 mile trip. Imagine the trip from PA? Anyway, we had fun. It was a lazy day of choices and endless discussions. Oh, by the way, we stopped at Johnstown Dodge and took a look at the pickup they had there. It was in rough shape and not exactly what Jerry was looking for, but it was a PICKUP. ARE YOU GETTING MY DRIFT? Thank you. I thought so too. He is quite a guy my Jerry. We are still looking, but I think we may have had a breakthrough here. I will keep you posted.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


We're off to Lowe's today. It's been a few weeks since we're there, and I'm starting to feel a touch of withdrawal. We need to order our kitchen countertop. We know what we want, but we have put it off for a few weeks now. I think we may be experiencing construction overload. We have alot of projects right now that could be started immediately, they just need someone to step up. No one is stepping up. Instead, I've been to the Library, just reading and knitting. Jerry is working with the bees, so he's off the hook, but neither one of us is a ball of fire. We're just taking it slow. I guess we're learning to slow down. We're not yet at northern speed, but we're contenders. We're in vehicle acquirement negotiations. That means that we are disagreeing as to the type of vehicles we need to be most productive here. We need a plow. That much we know. How the plow is purchased and what vehicle it is attached to is the big question. Jerry's Jeep (wrangler) is too small and the entire family does not fit in this vehicle, nor do we want to. It is a Jeep and very uncomfortable. The ride to Long Island in this jeep is out of the question for me, I would be in traction after such a ride. Jerry loves his jeep though. For me, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is a wonderful car. However, this being the most comfortable car, good with gas and fitting the whole family, we need to keep this vehicle in good shape for as long as possible.Putting a plow on the Jeep Grand cherokee would really beat it up. So, to me the obvious swap is the Jeep Wrangler for a pickup with a back seat, and a plow. It's clearly the right answer for our needs. We NEED a pickup. Being under construction is a huge hassle when you don't have a pickup. We've had to borrow Dan the Bee Guy's pickup to get the cabinets and other construction materials. He must be sick of us by now. In addition, the pickup would fit us all comfortably if and when my Jeep is out of commission. The odds of that happening are slim, (although now that I have voiced that possibility, the Gods are surely listening and making plans to whip the hell out of my Jeep,joyously wringing their hands in anticipation) but when it happens we need a vehicle we all can fit in and be comfortable. The second car should be a pickup. The plow can go on that, and we can all face the winter knowing we have the right vehicle for the jobs at hand. How will we pick up goats in the spring without a pickup? Borrow again? I don't know. I feel this is a strong argument. Jerry will read this blog later and possibly have a different opinion. The betting windows will open at noon. This I am finding out is what retirees do alot. We discuss stuff. Over and Over. We examine every side of every issue, because we have time to do that. We can look at vehicles and go back and look again. And Again, And Again. We will be discussing this issue until October when it snows. Then we might make a decision. Why rush? We welcome any opinions. e-mail us at and let us know your opinion. Just like the GPS, other opinions in an already crowded field of opinions are always welcome. This is the stuff that retirement is made of. I can't wait to get to Lowe's. They have choices too. And really, how will we get it all home? Help.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Good Time

We arrived back home last night at 7:30 PM. According to Jerry, we made good time, which is quite amazing since I was driving. Actually, we got out of the Long Island rush hour just ahead of it. We were on Route 84 heading west at 5:pm. Not bad. We're always afraid to say the traffic isn't bad, when we're on the road, because once those words are uttered, it comes to a dead stop. So the entire trip we said very little. The obvious words were "traffic is great", because that is how it was, but we were both afraid to say it. I don't like to mess with the Traffic Gods. They don't like to be toyed with. I only made "good time" because Jerry is was the passenger. As you know, I always have the urge to take a road I've never noticed and see where it goes. I used to do that alot when the kids were small. Just turn off the main road onto an unknown side road and take that for awhile. I learned some fantastic shortcuts that way, and also got to see some amazing things I would never have found otherwise, but it is a time consuming and reckless day waster. Not something I could do with Jerry in the car. Even under the effects of vicodin after root canal, he still remained wide awake and observant. I don't think he trusts my driving, but would never admit it. Just says he's not tired. Vicodin? 3 1/2 hr road trip? come on. I would have been drooing out the side window. But not Jerry. He just laid his head back and watched the road. And me. I thought about turning off a side road, because once you're behind the wheel, you're in control. It's a dizzying sense of power. I began to think of all the antiques stores and gift shops we were completely unaware of north of Westchester. I got past that mindset and stayed on the Taconic Parkway. Next time. The dogs are happy to be here, and Jerry is back to bee-work today. Somewhere near Glens Falls. The grass on the pasture has not yet "burst", but there is a definite green tinge to it. I notice last night that the pasture was the first place Jake ran to when he jumped out of the car. Of course there are eight OTHER acres he could have peed on, but he felt the need to pee on the newly seeded pasture. Oh well. Once the livestock fence is up, that won't be an option for him. Although the grass is always greener on the other side, it only matters if you have a key to the gate. He won't. The trip home with Jake and Daphne was pretty funny. They were alone in the back seat (no Allison) and so it was like two teenagers who aren't speaking. Each gazing out their own window, no one acknowledging the other's existence. It reminded me of traveling when I was younger. Always making sure your feet or legs didn't touch the offensive other party's body parts. It was a real effort in self control. Both dogs showed incredible self control, even sleeping through much of the trip without crossing the invisible line drawn down the middle of the back seat. Once we were home, they reverted back to their silent war. It was different while we were at Jackie's. There, they are united in their indifference towards Blue. Both of them are incredibly interested and want to play with him, but they won't show it - they are locked into their indifference in order to maintain an edge. That sometimes goes away, but it was a quick trip this time. There wasn't enough time for them to break through the barriers. Everyone is back home, and we all had our family fix. It helps alot to get back to Long Island when we can. I miss everyone there, and especially family. But we are here, and they are not, so the best solution is to hop in the car and make good time.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Unlike the Amish,we worked on Sunday. It was out of necessity, as we are heading to Long Island for a few days to handle some business. The pasture is ready for seed, and we needed to get the seed down. In the morning, it poured. It didn't look as though we'd get anything done but a few more rows on the sweater. I have inserted here a picture of our two canine companions. We lost electric around 11 am and I have to say that I am amazed how quickly arch enemies can forgive when thunder and lightening are happening all around us. Behold: As you can see, Daphne is UNDER my chair, and Jake is just imploding. He does that when he's under stress. Just goes into himself. It's quite remarkable really. I wish I could do that on occasion. - I'll have to try it sometime. He was actually sitting ON my feet before I got up. I had to peel him off.I can't blame them though. Thunder here is different than on Long Island. Most storms seem to begin from below us. You can feel them through the ground long before they reach us. They say that animals are more tuned to barometric pressure, and I can believe it. Even before I hear the thunder, the dogs are following everywhere. Once it starts being heard, they are practically under my skin. I would be alot more fearful, but they are such good company, I always feel as if I have to be the fearless leader. This is what panic looks like: Anyway, after the storm hit, and the electric went out, we decided to head into Tractor Supply as I had done all the research on pasture seed that I could. In this internet age, plus picking the brains of a few friends (thanks Richard!) we were able to establish what type of seed we needed, and how much. Off we went to Tractor Supply, and woo hoooo, they had what we needed at 15% off. It pays to seed late in the year. You get discounts for being behind. I love that. We got enough to seed 1+ acre, and came home. As we were heading up the mountain, the sun came out and gave us the go-ahead to seed the pasture. Now. Before it rains again. So, we did. Jerry says that the power from electrical storms induces germination in seeds. So although we could hear distant thunder and saw rain clouds, we seeded away. I guess that is why he had me standing in the middle of a field, under a tree, holding the metal rake. I guess. So the pasture is seeded and we are free to roam for a day or so. Nothing left now but to sit and watch the grass grow. Literally. How cool is that? I have lots of knitting and a few books to catch up on. We can run away to LI and know that the fields are growing every minute. Next year at this time we'll be tending animals, hopefully, so for right now watching the grass grow is fine. We'll be looking back on these days fondly, I'm sure. In the meantime, pray for rain. Thanks!

Friday, August 8, 2008

We have Pasture

Dan-Dave is done. Mostly. The only thing left now is fencing and seed. The seed we need is called an orchard blend. It has no rye, and is blended with alfalfa. This is the best seed for the Alpaca. Essentially, goats don't really care what they graze on (remember the tin cans?) Goats will eat pretty much anything. That's what I hope anyway. Dan-Dave told us that we're very, very lucky, as most of the soil here is rock-laden, everywhere. As you can see from the photo, we have beautiful brown rich soil. This is truly a blessing. What we have to do now is seed, and watch it grow. We ideally need to have a pasture for a year before you let animals loose on it. This will enable the seed to really take root, and will be a heartier field when next year rolls around. Also, the first growth of seed is too rich for animals. So, we let it take root for a year. This will also give us time to petition the town of caroga for livestock permits. This could be dicey, but I figure that now that we're "local" we should have a better chance. I hope so. I'd like to have animals grazing by April of 2009. That would be the best. Then we can shear in Sept or October and have some fleece for winter spinning. It all sounds so do-able doesn't it? Jerry just asked me if I think people think we're crazy. Since our family was here for a week, I guess he is wondering what they Really think. It's possible they think we're crazy. I do some days. But most of the time, I just think we're lucky. I really think that we're lucky we found each other, because we just get each other. That's the real gift. So even if we ARE crazy, we're crazy together. Isn't that the whole point?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

We have to go into town today, which will require cleaning up my act. It will take some time. We have become used to living rural, which means comfortable work clothes and more importantly, no makeup. More and more I resent having to put makeup on. It doesn't happen often. Usually if I am running into town, I don't bother. It has become a silly and unnecessary activity. Not alot of women are running around made up here. It's just not common sense. However, when you have an appointment in town, you will find that there are professionals who are going to work in proper business attire and make up. That's when I realize how changed my life has become. I look at these women and feel no sense of nostalgia for the professional life. None. I wonder what they are thinking when they look at us - "poor bastards, can't even clean up their act to come into town". If only they knew how much fun we're having. I have a different set of eyes when I look around me. I used to see a shack on the side of the road, now I realize that the owner of that shack may also own the 200 acres that the shack sits on. It is just a different view of the same picture. My eyes are taking in more than the obvious. Here in upstate New York, all is not what you see from the curb. Which is a good thing. Our curb appeal is way down at the moment. There is more value in the cord of wood that may sit in your driveway. That has incredible value. Jerry doesn't want to talk about it, but the leaves here are getting ready to start turning. You can see a few orange in the green landscape. It is just a reminder of what is to come. A clock ticking on the nice weather. But no matter what the season, I don't think I'm going to feel the need for make up on a regular basis. I hope not. It is very freeing. Although there may be another opinion on this (ya think?) I am feeling particularly uninterested in changing into "town mode". I prefer jeans and a t-shirt whenever I can. Flip flops are like a uniform, until the weather changes, then we switch to workboots. You can't chop wood in flip flops. It's just not a wise choice. There are so many differences that we are beginning to notice. Allison has recently acquired her first pair of cowboy boots. They are for riding, but she likes them. Who would believe it? Not something I ever thought I'd see. But, she is changing too. It's not about form, it's more about function. I like that. We start back to school shopping in a few weeks. We'll see how that translates. I can only hope.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


We had a plan. We were all up and at 'em at 7:00 AM, moving at a nice clip and planning on hitting the road by 8:00 AM. It takes 45 minutes to get to Saratoga, and we were on a mission. We had a few stops to make and got on the road at 9:00. Not bad considering the logistics. We made the trip and arrived in Saratoga around 10. It looked so uncrowded, but we have been fooled by no crowds before. As we got closer to the parking area we were in awe of the beautiful homes in and around the town. Spectacular victorians in mint condition. Lots of beautiful flowers and landscaping. The whole city of Saratoga is happy to have horse lovers there. The parks and amenities are amazing. Anyway, as we pull up to the parking area (empty by the way) we pulled over and asked the Security guard where to park. For what? he asked us. Horse racing we said. Not today he said. When? we said. Every day. . . but Tuesdays. Oh. who knew? After all the preparation, getting up early, coordinating the bathroom schedule and getting breakfast for everyone, we blew it. However,the day was not lost. We went to Congress Park which was having a craft fair. It was lovely. The gardens and grounds were spectacular. A perfect day for park walking. We passed through town as pedestrians and enjoyed Saratoga from one end to the other. Lunch at the Circus cafe was a hit, and fully satisfied that we had fulfilled our Saratoga fix, even if we didn't see the races. So we headed home. In Amsterdam there are go carts. This became the activity of the day, and it was a hit. Allison, who gets her real license in two years, was speeding along and loving it. I see a real speed racer in the making - not good. She was handling the car well though. Brian and Walter were neck and neck throughout. Friendly competition gone awry. And Dana was right in there, switching cars for speed and keeping the guys on their toes. We had fun too, although one ride was enough for Jerry and I. All in all it was a great day. We met a security guard who has dreams of being a horse owner (too much information, but they always seem to find Jerry)and really really hates his job. Eight years he's been doing it, and he hates it. There may be a security position opening at Saratoga, I'll have to keep an eye on that. On the way home, we accidently hit a bird. Actually, he accidentally hit us. Walter and I saw it coming, and responded by jumping out of our seats and screaming. One of those moments that will be laughed at for years. He never saw us coming. Feathers and windshield shmutz, but Jerry never missed a beat. What a day. So, for future reference, Saratoga is dark on Tuesdays; The Circus cafe is delicious, and if you think you might want to be a Security Guard I am quite sure a position is open. Go for it.

Monday, August 4, 2008


Update: Our bathroom appliances have arrived. We received a call from Colonial Plumbing in Albany, and they instructed us to call on Monday (next week) to confirm delivery. We are to speak to a guy named..... you guessed it, Dan. Dan the plumber will be letting us know what time the delivery will arrive. I love this place. We are back from a magical weekend in Vermont. My cousin Corey and her sweetheart Liam are married, and life is good. We spent time with family, friends and good music. Liam and the Kilts will be climbing the charts with their rendition of Wipeout, and a good time was had by all. There is nothing like a wedding to restore your faith and positive outlook for the future, and this wedding was extraordinary. The hospitality we enjoyed and the incredible planning and attention to detail was evident in every moment. We were awed by the love that surrounds this couple and their families, and inspired by the families as they embraced each other and their children. It was a beautiful and peaceful moment in time, and we are so blessed to have been included. Thank you Anne and Danny. You are amazing. I can tell you that the effing second bus was the place to be. We had the bagpipes on board, which made for a rollicking and hysterical trip back to the hotel. As always, the family together is one huge laugh a minute, and we enjoyed it thoroughly. Now we're home and happy to see a houseful of family at this end too. Walter and Dana and Brian are here, and it feels great to have them here. We've enjoyed our first campfire together, and today we're off for some adventure. Saratoga is calling, and we may answer. I've never been so busy as I have been since "retirement". It is proving to be quite an adventure, and we're loving it! Gotta run - pictures will follow!

Friday, August 1, 2008

I noticed yesterday when I went into town that cords of wood are being delivered all over the place. If not cords, then stacks and stacks of unsplit trees, all lined up and neatly placed. What's going on here? It's August 1st. I fear that fall is close behind, and this just confirms my suspicions. I do know that the Tuesday after Labor Day, it seems as if summer comes to an abrupt halt. We have been here before, trying to make the long weekend last an extra day, and it always seems that summer is already over when we are packing up. I know the back to school ads start stepping up in August. If you tried to get a bathing suit right now, you'd be stuck with a limited selection. But summer is only halfway done. We have only just begun to enjoy our campfires and slow down a little bit to bask in the sun. Over? I'm not ready yet. Usually by this time I start to look forward to fall, to the change of seasons and the change of wardrobe - It is always about the clothes. Now that I am knitting, I am especially anxious to have summer linger for a little while longer, because I am so far behind. Spinning and knitting takes time. I'm not ready yet for sweater weather, as the sweaters are not done. I'm still working on the glovelets, and hope to knit a kimono sweater before the weather breaks. Corey's wedding shawl is done, and the yarn was beautiful. I love being surrounded by all of this fiber, but I would love it more if I could finish the projects before fall. Before the cold weather. Allison is waiting for school to start, and looks forward to getting her social life back up to speed. It's been a quiet summer for her. But there are still books to be read. And school means homework. No one rushing there. The farmstands are all offering up more and more vegetables, so the harvest is moving forward as well. It's happening all around me, but today I chose to ignore it and embrace summer. Even as I look up and see that some of the trees are beginning to turn.