Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Let's talk about snow shall we? I now understand those one worded responses from upstaters when you ask a question: Yup. Is it snowing again? "yup". Not much else to say about it. We have taken pictures of it, walked in it, sleighed in it, driven in it, skidded in it, talked about it, fallen in it, and moved it around. It's beauty just never ceases to amaze me, and I hope it never does. Because if it does, it will prove to be a really long winter. At this point in time, that is totally OK with me. I look back on my history, and I have always been drawn to the winter and the mountains. When I was younger I asked for ski trips for Christmas and ice skated my way through high school. As a young adult, camping in the Catskills and being outdoors at the lake in Connecticut was heaven. Jerry and I spent our honeymoon at Swan Lake in the Catskills (Forever thanks to Rich!), in February. It never occurred to us to go south. We are both drawn to the winter, to the mountains, and to the outdoors. I cannot deny the beauty of a warm beach in the middle of winter (right around mid-february, it is a necessity; even for me), or lakeside in July on a beautiful sunny summer day, but my soul is moved by winter and snow. That being said, I can tell you that if my feet get cold, it's over. I am a cold foot wuss. I don't like to be cold, and I do everything I can to make sure that doesn't happen. If I get cold, I cry. Like a baby. Wearing the right clothing for the weather is a real issue here, and one that Allison and I will argue till the cows come home (not our cows, but you know what I mean) I was happiest when I witnessed the kids in snow pants while they were sleigh riding. It warms my heart, and my butt, to see them dressed appropriately. I know I have done my job as a parent. They will be 45 and I will be telling them to put a coat on. I totally love snow pants. I loved them when I was a kid, and I love them still. It is the greatest invention in the world to be able to sit down in a pile of snow, and still be warm. How cool is that? (ha ha, no pun intended). It's like having the right tool for the job. Anyway, back to the snow. I have observed that people here don't plow their driveways, they plow their yards. We are now those people too. If you plow your driveway, by mid-January you will have no where to put the excess snow. Plowing the yard allows for snow storage, cause it isn't going anywhere anytime soon. We just keep piling it up, and the yard keeps getting smaller and smaller (the plowed portion) This is the way to keep ahead of the constant snowfall. Right now, Jerry is plowing more snow. Ten inches last night, and still coming. Jake has to do his perimeter pee in the morning, and the snow really complicates his territory marking. Hard to find the old spots under 10 inches. But he manages. That's essentially his only job, and he takes it very seriously. He single-mindedly marks each corner of our property, and sniffs his way around all the boundaries, making sure that no other dog or animal has peed in his territory. If he finds a strange scent, he will pee on top of that, just to let the other animal know this is Jake's place. Very ingenious and quite deep thinking for a dog. If I could only get him to run the vacuum. He absolutely loves the snow too. Actually, he absolutely loves everything, so I can't really guage his enthusiasm. On a scale of one to ten for enthusiasm, Jake lives at ten. He has never turned down an activity yet. He loves it all. Also, we can all now readily recognize a deer print in the snow, and I am proud of that. We see them everywhere. They do come out on sunny days and graze in the brush, but we don't get too close. I want to establish a no hunting zone in our back gully next year, and maybe drop some apples or seeds, so they will graze there without fear. We are not necessarily on the same page about that, Jerry and I, although I know he wouldn't shoot a deer after establishing a no-hunting zone. That's just plain cheesy. But we may have to negotiate where it is. Imagine if all the deer he is trying to hunt get the word out that the free buffet is in my area and they stay there? We have to think this further. There is nothing like seeing a deer run through the snow. It is just incredibly beautiful. Today is New Year's Eve day, and like everyone in the world, I spend some time and reflect on the year past. It has been a crazy year, but busy and exciting. I spend alot of time wishing my body was in tune with my mind, because together we could accomplish great things. But this year seems to be another year of physical challenges for me, and I hope that they are behind me. Each one, in and of itself, is not terrible. But together, and endlessly, I find myself worn down with little problems that get in the way of a full life. I am grateful that these are the windows I get to gaze out as another day of healing passes by. And I am confident that the next time the kids come, I will be riding down Mussy Road right alongside them. That is my goal. My resolution this year is to live every day to the fullest. To love with abandon and to forgive and forget, with release. That should cover it all. Oh, also, to test my blood sugar five times a day, as I am supposed to. I have quit smoking, which is the greatest achievement of my adult life, besides giving birth, and now I must take on a challenge worthy of the New Year. that will be it. If I could blood-test everyday, and learn to be a great patient, I would benefit and so would the rest of my family. That is a big one. A worthy resolution. So, Happy New Year friends. Stay safe, and may the new year bring you health, happiness and prosperity. And maybe a little snow. It's too fun.

NewYears Eve Morning snow fall

We are getting a little snow here this morning ,I think we have about 10 inches at 8 AM,

The temp is 18 outside and Toasty here inside! Ali's been down on Long Island for the last few days so Jen and I have been on the the Go, The other Night we hit the movies in Johnstown, Marley & Me. Both Jen and I had read the book and loved it, I recommend seeing the movie too.

Last Night we ventured into Albany, New York With Dan and Jenny, Hit a very large health food store and then a Japanese Hibachi restaurant. All though they had the tables that you sit in front of the chef cooking, the wait was too long so we took a normal restaurant table and served right away. The food was great , Jen loves the ginger that they serve on the salads. Seems that we can never finish the portions that they are serving.

Tonight ,New Years Eve , the lake community house / hall at East Caroga Lake are having a get together and we are attending,it's a bring a covered dish deal. We plan on making Stuffed Cabbage if we can get out this morning to get the makings. We will see! Looking at the snow I'm not sure that its going to happen at the lake tonight.

Jen took a spill a couple of days ago on the ice and landed on her tail bone, healing with each passing day. We are still working out the kinks of walking out to the mail box which is road side. Thinking about training the dogs to earn their keep and have them take over the job.

Til next time...Jerry

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Children were nestled all snug in their beds. . .

And that's the way I like it.
Brian and Ashley are coming later in the week, and Nicole, Mike and Payton are coming later, date to be determined. We are here with the rest of the gang, and loving every minute of it. Yesterday was an outdoor sleighriding day. The quest for the perfect hill was finally realized at the Nick Stoner Golf Course, and a good time was had by all. Of course, we had to defy death and actually try a ride down Mussy Road, which was all it promised to be. An icy and out of control sleigh ride to the bottom, where we were parked in the unlikely event that traffic would come along. None did. We're usually the only traffic on that road. A couple of snowmobiles passed us by, but that was it. We've been eating like hogs, enjoying Jerry's lasagne and delicious Christmas menus. I am now referring to myself as calamity Jen, as the day the kids arrived I was buzzing around, actually feeling pretty good, when I went outside in clogs (croc type - rubber) and of course my feet went out from under me and I landed on my tailbone-hard. I am now hobbling around the house and sitting very delicately. This should last for a few days at least. Never a dull moment. At some point I considered myself somewhat graceful. I no longer do. Clearly, grace has left me. My shoulder is feeling pretty good, and once the butt situation is not an issue, I could safely say that I am in good shape. But I won't do that. It's like flying in the face of God. I no longer ask "what else could go wrong?"because I keep finding out. So, I will enjoy each moment for it's beauty. I will try not to hurt myself, and stay out of trouble. I no longer have to quit smoking as a New Year's resolution, so I have to find some kind of self-improvement habit to take on. This may be it: Don't hurt yourself. How hard could that be?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

It is at this moment, when I suddenly realize that if I haven't done it yet, it isn't happening, that I finally settle down and experience the beauty and warmth of the meaning of Christmas. The pressure is gone and I am happiest. The family is coming for the holidays and we all have everything we need. We are blessed. It is snowing for the seventh straight day, and Jerry continues to plow the driveway and those driveways of our neighbors. The carpet guys are coming in 20 minutes, and we are ready for them. All the shopping is done, and we are planning meals and breakfasts and campfire snacks. This is what it's all about, and tonight when they turn down the lights at church and start to sing Silent Night while everyone lights a candle, I am at peace with the world. Of course, that starts the sobbing, because I cannot hear Silent Night on a candlelit Christmas Eve without falling apart like a blubbering fool, but as we discussed last week while decorating the Christmas tree, I'm not alone. Our friends Dan (the bee guy - I wonder when that will be unnecessary as you will all know him, maybe now?) and his wife Jennie are coming tonight for a slumber party, and we will be doing the Santa thing in the morning. Their dog Angel is joining us, as there is always room at the inn. Allison is looking forward to Christmas morning as she has been assured that we don't have to wait for the others to get here. They are arriving at what we call "Jackie Time", which means you should make your plans and know that they will get here when they get here. Otherwise it's too much waiting! There are Christmas traditions everywhere we go, and I am reminded of ours. We don't have to keep the secrets anymore, so here we go. Jerry always read the Polar Express to Nicole and Brian, and still can't read the book or see the movie without getting misty eyed. I had never heard of it until we met, and I am now a huge fan. We will be seeing them soon, and we can't wait. My kids were raised on the audio version of "The Stingiest Man In Town" which my Father and Mother raised us on. It is the live recording of a Alcoa Television Production of the Scrooge story. My Dad was a stagehand for the show, and it was his favorite. It still brings me to tears. So now we're all crying at Christmas. I guess it's because sentimental is in full force during this holiday. I can remember leaving the cookies for Santa and the carrots for the reindeer, leaving out a bag of what wrapping paper we had left for Santa to use in case he ran out (Spoiler Alert! so as not to give away the familiar wrapping paper - how clever!) The torture in the morning of waiting until the cameras were ready, and the coffee had perked. You can't do Christmas without coffee. That still applies. The earliest Christmas for me is recorded at 5:30 A.M. That was the year we lived on Avenue A in Port Washington and Walter was on deck since 4:00. I just couldn't hold him off anymore. Now I'm the one waking up the kids when they're home, because I just can't wait. I want to spend every waking moment with them, not watching them sleep. The circle of life. So today I am recalling Christmas past, and missing my folks, and Christmas present, because I still can't wait, and Christmas futures - who knows? We are blessed to have blended our families and I am in awe every day of how much we all care for each other. That is a gift. I wish you all a Merry Christmas wherever you are, and whomever you're with. God Bless Us Everyone.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More Christmas Cheer

There are two days until Christmas and I am so behind, it feels like I'm ahead. It is zero degrees outside (45 in the crawlspace) and still snowing. Who would believe that that type of weather would become boring news. Sorry. It never ceases to amaze me. I spent yesterday shopping. Locally of course. I realized that I miss terribly shopping for little girls Christmas dresses. I spent a little time in the young girl's department, and just looked at the taffetas, plaids, velvets and tulle. It made me a little sad, and probably a little pathetic looking. I miss the years when the search for the perfect Christmas Dress for the girls was something I spent alot of time on. We started shopping in October or November, either for a dress, or for a pattern and fabric to make it. Both of them had their own styles and opinions. I have favorite memories for each of them, and they probably both hated the dress that was my favorite. That's how it goes I guess. I realized yesterday that these childhood rituals are what makes Christmas so special, and when the children are babies no more, it gets to be a tough holiday. Which explains why I've left the shopping until December 22nd. Brilliant move Jen. Bravo. I'll have to remember next year that this plan really sucked. Nothing changes the joy of Christmas on Christmas eve, but the sense of mission in the stores is missing. I guess I need a small child that I can dress without their telling me that it is not acceptable and they're not wearing it. Which is why I keep going to (Don't worry girls-you're safe!) I have heard that due to the economy many people are turning their pets into shelters because they are unable to care for them. That must be a heartbreaking situation. I am cruising for a small addition to our family, because we simply don't fit in the car anymore. But a 5-10 pound addition is lap-worthy, and probably would work out fine. A dog who would wear what I want without an argument. I just always feel at this time of year that if we have, we should share. And so, I am looking to share with a small canine friend. If I think too long on this, crazy is the word that comes to mind. But I try to think mostly of the dogs in the shelters, and it just seems like they need a place to go. So, that is part of my Christmas shopping. Shelters and pounds. Once Jerry reads this blog, we'll be having that reality conversation. Who knows? Maybe he feels the same way. Ya think? Attached are pictures of the youth group Christmas Tree hunt. Of course, the boys bailed, and the girls came through. Except for my guy Jerry. Did I tell you he is a hero? The tree is up in the church and is about 12-15 feet high. Now that's a ceiling! It's the most wonderful time of the year. . .
Not a Christmas dress among them, and I still think they're adorable. The guy who did all the backbreaking work is lurking in the back. Loading the tree into the truck. What a beauty! The tree I mean. The decorating crew. Notice the tree is right next to the radiator. These are pioneers! Not a neurotic one among the bunch (about trees anyway.) I'm thinking we may go with a live tree. We haven't cut one down for our house yet, so how dry could it be? Look at me - what a daredevil I've become. A Live Tree! What's next, flying to Florida? If it keeps snowing like this, we may just do that. Have a great day!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Christmas Rush

We're all off for a little last minute Christmas catch-up. So I have decided to share a Christmas Story for people having a bad day, of which I am one. This is destined to become a classic. Thanks Jane! You made me laugh this morning. When four of Santa's elves got sick, the trainee elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones, and Santa began to feel the Pre-Christmas pressure.Then Mrs Claus told Santa her Mother was coming to visit, which stressed Santa even more.When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two others had jumped the fence and were out, Heaven knows where.Then when he began to load the sleigh, one of the floorboards cracked, the toy bag fell to the ground and all the toys were scattered.Frustrated, Santa went in the house for a cup of apple cider and a shot of rum.. When he went to the cupboard, he discovered the elves had drank all the cider and hidden the liquor. In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider jug, and it broke into hundreds of little glass pieces all over the kitchen floor . He went to get the broom and found the mice had eaten all the straw off the end of the broom.Just then the doorbell rang, and irritated Santa marched to the door, yanked it open, and there stood a little angel with a great big Christmas tree. The angel said very cheerfully, 'Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn't this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?' And so began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Nurse Nicole

As Jerry said (man he gets up too early) we were downstate at Nicole's nursing school graduation. I was so impressed at her accomplishment, and I am impressed at nurses in general. The vocation itself is inspiring to me, and to see Nicole up there getting her pin after all that hard work, I am just blown away. Go Nicole!
Getting the Pin:
Finally done!:
I have found a new favorite place to eat - the Cheesecake Factory. Oy. Michael and Nicole hosted the whole family, and it was spectacular.
I'm still full. It was a super-special night. The trip home was earlier than we planned, as the weather forecast was for Armegeddon. We decided to get on the road early at 6:00 am, and that is what we did. First we woke the entire household getting ready, loading the car, locking ourselves out, waking Jesse and Jackie, slamming doors, wiring up Blue. All in all , we are the houseguests from hell. Thanks guys, you deserve a purple heart. The entire trip North was intersperced with weather reports predicting all kinds of horrendous weather. We got back to Johnstown by 10 something, and I was actually able to get to the grocery and the dollar store for paper goods long before the first flakes began to drop. I met up with Allison getting off her bus at 11:30, enjoying her early dismissal due to the weather. Just as we both were walking up the porch stairs (stairs! Can you believe it? STAIRS!) it began to snow. Timing is everything. Dan the bee guy and his gal Jennie held down the fort admirably, and with a little attitude from Daphne, we are back at being northerners. Jerry is out moving snow around again, as the youth group is arriving this afternoon (I hope!) We did get about 10-12 inches, as predicted, and it is still snowing. Total accumulation still to be determined. It promises to be a fun and busy day, and the feeling here is just good. We are both so proud of Nicole, and glad to have made the trip to see her big moment. It's all good. Don't you love when that happens? Proud Daddy:

Did I Tell You That It Snows Here?

Well Readers It snow again Yesterday and last night as you may or may not know. Most of the readers on the east coast of the country know that. We received approx 10 inches of new snow. Jen and I Drove down to Long Island for Nicole's nursing graduation at Molly College. The ceremonies Took place on Thursday night, a class of 140. Nicole graduated with "Honors" WHooooo HOooooo!!!! I know that she is glad that that part is over and now looking forward to the next challenge. The family then had small celebration at a restaurant called, The Cheese Cake Factory, it was fabulous. Thanks Mike & Nicole. Jen and I spent the night on Long Island at Jackie's and Jessie's apt. , getting a very early start back home in an attempt to beat this storm as we headed north to the Adirondacks. We made it back without any snow flakes reaching the ground. It was and always great to come home. We saw everyone except Walter who could not make it, It as always is great to see the kids....we miss you! Today I will clean up the snow that I plowed last night and the new snow that came as we slept, and still falling now as I type. Later the Church Youth Group coming up to "Tree Hunt" for the churches live tree. I hope they are still coming, little tough walking out there where we keep the trees...LOL Jen baked a cake and we will have some pasta , garlic bread and warm drinks ready for the tree hunters and family. Hoping to take some photos. Another Snow Storm on it's way for Saturday night and Sunday Til next time....... Jerry Crawl space 46, outside 12 at 7:30 am

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Jen's Plank & Recovery

Daphne staying warm, the Pellet Stove Warming Jennifer after Jennifer took her spill today
This is the plank that Jen was talking about in her earlier post.
She is resting well in the Heated recliner watching an old black and white movie, The Apartment.
Pellet stove working hard to make her feel better.
For those of you who have been here and seen what we used in the past to enter the house, this new deck / porch will make such an improvement.
Til next time Gang, I'm off to start Dinner.....Jerry


Well gang the 1st bucket of honey has been bottled and 2 cases sold already and to be delivered to a store in Glen Cove, L.I., NY. in the next couple days.
I have a very limited extra amount, let me know if you need any. I expect to be bottling some again soon, so if you don't get in on this batch I try and get you into the next
My labels still being printed so I am using Dan's.
Tasted some while bottling and it "Was Great!!!!"
Honey Tastes best I think when spread on Dark brown Lithuanian bread, Butter 1st then honey on top....WHoooo HOoooo. Brian you know what I'm talkin about.

Just call me Grace

I don't recall. Well, Jerry is still plowing the neighborhood. I took Daphne outside because she was a little late getting up this morning. It's hard to get out of bed when it's snowing. I feel her pain. She went down the plank sideways, because the grips are a little further apart than her legs. Once she was down she was fine, because her body is four inches from the ground. She can't fall, because she is already down there. Jake and I were another story. He went down and so did I. Not down the plank, down to the ground. OUCH! The ice under the snow is thick and slippery. The new snow is powdery, with a little icy crust on top. I fell forward and I don't think I injured my shoulder, but it is a little sore. My glasses however, were hanging on a chain around my neck. They are now a little sideways and crooked. No biggie. I have cheaters all over the house and should be fine. There is a two hour delay in Johnstown, no schedule change in Wheelerville. Hence, our bus was here this morning at 6:30. We were not, so he passed us by and will not be back. This is the rub here in Caroga Lake. The bus does not always match the school program. Oh well, Jerry is plowing the world, so he should be able to get Allison down to Johnstown with no problem at 9:45. I think I see a knitting/spinning day ahead of me. Thank God I bought all that junk food last week. We're good to go!

Another day of Snow!!

Here are some early morning hour photos
Well Gang another day of snow, so far about 3 inches, a frozen rain type snow on top and light and fluffy under.
I plowed the driveway this morning and my neighbors, Rogers driveway too
Roger owns the local Caroga Lake Pizza-ice cream- restaurant. Roger has a plow and did our driveway last year for us while we did not live here full time. Roger leaves early and I have taken it on to do a little of his driveway so his family can get out...Sort of paying forward.
There is an older couple down the road too and after this post I will be doing there driveway too.
Makes us feel good and another "Paying Forward"
Crawl space 47.6 and outside 28 ( Having a heat wave.....LOL)
Til Next time Gang, Jerry

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Front Porch Photos

New front porch going on.
It gives a whole new feeling to the front of the house and a Better Curb Appeal.

Those columns are 6 x6's and they will be holding up the porch roof when it is installed. At some point in the spring the posts will be removed and Logs will be replacing the posts.

P.s That Bay Window next to the front door belonged to Jeff & Linda M. From P.W.. They removed it and put in something else......It was just the right window for us and we love it.

The 2nd floor window above is Ali's new bedroom window, All the painting has been completed in Ali's room and just waiting for the new carpet to arrive sometime after the holidays.

Weather reports that sometime late tonight we can expect a snow fall...Reports are 5-8 inches or 8-11 inches..... We will see.

Until next time gang....Jerry

Rambling thoughts. . .

Dear Anonymous. It was not deliberate. It was absolutely self-defense. I saw it. The bat was carrying a concealed weapon. We are living through the porch construction, and loving every minute of it. Forward progress. This porch faces my absolute favorite view, out the front of the house. I used to have to sit on the steps, which were really just staggered pieces of wood, and have my morning coffee there. It was the sunny spot in the early morning. Now, we will be able to sit on the porch in a comfortable seat and enjoy our coffee. In the spring of course. Right now, sitting outside is not at the top of my list. Getting outside is important, but the plan is to keep warm and keep moving. We observed a caravan of electrical contractor trucks coming from Michigan when we were driving on Route 90 Saturday night. Albany county took a really hard hit. When we received snow last week, they all received an ice storm of drastic proportions. Schools are still closed, and trucks just keep coming. It is amazing to me how states will send their emergency assistance wherever needed. These contractors had approximately an 11 hour trip from Michigan, and they came without question. The caravan was quite long, and we observed two different groups on the trip West, and the trip back East at 10:00 PM. Albany county is really hurting. The temperature changed yesterday into the 40s, which was helpful. It allowed some of the frozen branches and electrical work to be done without interference from ice. Tomorrow, we are expecting more snow, and temperatures in the teens, but the ice factor is supposed to be minimal. I hope so. We had no problems with electric because, well, we were prepared. As soon as that generator went in and was functional, our chances of ever losing electric and needing its services dropped to nil. It will sit there and rot before we'll need a generator. That's OK. If Murphy's Law works in our favor, I'm all for it. Only when it works against me am I a cynic. Just as it never rains until you wash your car, we are planning on a stress-free winter. OOOPS. I just changed the odds.

Monday, December 15, 2008

New Front Porch

We have started the new front porch the other day, the cement footings set 4 ft down. Today we are starting the deck portion, laying in the floor beams. The front porch will be 40ft long by 10ft from house out. Soon as we have something to show you I will post some photo's Yesterday Jen and I along with our church did some Christmas caroling at 8 to 10 places, assisting living , private homes and nursing homes. The Group ,I think was about 50 people and we all drove our cars through out Johnstown and Gloversville to the pre-picked locations . I had never done Caroling before that I can recall , it was fun , my singing could use a little work.......Maybe a lot of work!!!! I think people wished I was singing Silent Night for real!! As you all Know Jen's a great singer so I stood very near her and she carried me. We did this for about 2 hrs, then all of us returned to the Church Rectory for Food, drink and a few laughs. Seems I was not the "Only" singer that needed some lessons as I heard a few other singers getting ribbed too. Dan the "Bee Guy" was there too, he does not even go to our church but he heard that there was going to be some "GOOD EATS" so he came along. I'm hearing thru the grape vine that Dan is thinking about becoming a member of our church,We will see! I had some Great food to eat, we had way more then was needed, I made my 12-14 Lbs lasagna and from what I heard it was well received or it could be that Jen has been Telling everyone that it is so good they had no other choice but to say it was great! NaaaaH was great. I think there was two turkeys severed, a couple other pasta dishes,some salads,casseroles and other dishes that I just plain missed. Desserts all over the place, I had 2 Brownies and passed on all the rest. I drank some Mull that was served warm, It's one of my new warm winter drinks. Jen did not drink any Mull but did get to smell it as it is very aromatic, I think she liked the smell and would have liked the taste. Next Saturday the Church youth group and any others from the church who wish to participate are coming up to our place and pick a Christmas tree from our property, the tree then will be placed inside of the church on Sunday and decorated after the 10 am mass. Jen and I are so happy that we are able to provide a tree. We are planning to have a camp fire, some hot chocolate and serving some spaghetti. We hope to see a good turn out to do some tree hunting.

Bone Tired

I am tired down to my fingertips. Now that I have been on the road to recovery for two weeks, I am starting to get more involved in the renovation end of the house projects, helping Jerry every chance I get. This weekend, we took on the completion of Allison's bedroom, minus the carpeting. Every other aspect of her room is done. DONE!!!!! We finally finished the painting and the walls are actually covered with posters and pictures. All these things have been stored in boxes accumulating sheetrock/spackle dust, and now they have been strategically placed. Allison attended a Sweet-16 party on Friday night, so that was booked start to finish. Then Saturday morning arrived. It was a long day in which the three of us spent most of it dusting and placing, dusting and placing. Little by little, it is starting to look like a finished room. As the painting was being finished in the bedroom, the furniture and boxes of clothes were stored in the adjacent bathroom. So a big part of the project was weeding out and getting all this stuff into it's appropriate room. We are done. After that, we jumped in the car and went to town for a hair appointment because Allison was going to a school sponsored Winter Formal, which was really a semi-formal ( I don't understand either, but it's not about me). After that, she was staying at a friends house and spending the night. All of this required prep, driving and participation on our part. After we dropped Allison off, we drove to Utica (about 45 minutes to an hour) for dinner and a shopping excursion to Gander Mountain. If you've never been there or heard of it, don't feel bad. Neither had I. It is almost like EMS, only discounted. I could throw away everything I own and start my wardrove over, if I had the chance. I LOVE THIS PLACE. It is a sportsman's/sportswoman's delight. Everything is outdoors, warm, well made and discount. This is a mecca for upstaters. They stay open until 10 which is a huge benefit in a world that rolls up the sidewalks at 6 PM. We were happy. We ate at a hibachi/suchi restaurant that was similar to Benihana, but better. Hard to believe. I ate like a hog. We decided that ginger might be worth growing, as we all love it so much. These are the types of conversations held at our table, now that we're farmers. Of course, we haven't grown a thing yet, but it is a mindset. We're thinking about it. Alot. We arrived home at 11:30. Party on Garth. We are AARP members, so you must realize that this is considered reckless and wild. We were both exhausted, but only halfway through. Sunday morning was church and then back home to put the finishing touches on the upstairs (blinds, assembly, etc.) Jerry had lovingly put together his lasagne on Saturday, and we were due at the Rectory at 5PM for christmas caroling and pot luck supper. This pot luck was like I had died and gone to heaven. There was turkey, ham, casseroles, vegetables, potatoes, cakes, brownies, cookies, and of course, Jerry's lasagne. Need I say more? We are STUFFED! We arrived home at 9:30 after caroling all around Johnstown and Gloversville, a caravan of about 15 cars and 40 or 50 people. We went to homes of shut-ins and various assisted living facilities and nursing homes, singing carols and bringing holiday cheer. It was the kind of night that leaves you feeling good about the world, and determined to be a kinder and more caring citizen. All in all, it was a hectic and crazy weekend, and after Allison got on her bus this morning (another hair raising experience, but she made it), I crawled back into bed to catch a few more zzzzzz's before the porch guys arrived. Thank God my costume shop job is on haitus, I could never fit it into our schedule. This retirement thing is exhausting!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


We were enjoying a lovely evening last night, winding down from a night out on the town. Allison had been to a sweet-16 party, and Jerry and I had spent that time picking up ingredients for his lasagna for Sunday, doing a little Christmas shopping and some window shopping, and having our first Chinese food in Johnstown (not bad by the way). No point in coming back up the mountain just to have to go back down and pick her up. . .
So. We had all had a nice time and were winding up the evening. Papa in his kerchief and I in my cap had just settled down for a long winter's nap when Allison screamed "JERRY!!!!" Of course this could only mean one thing. The bat was back. Now, he had been back once before since his episode of terrorizing Clint and Joanne (and me), but I had neglected to mention it because I didn't want to freak out any potential guests. We were sitting at dinner with Dan and Jenny (Dan the bee guy) in our kitchen, and the bat flew into the living room, swooped around a couple of times and flew back down the hallway. Allison and I were cowering and simpering, but Jerry and Dan just got into a discussion about the remarkability of a bat appearing in November (as it was at that time) since they should really be hibernating, and how do you think he got in? and where do you think he's going now? This was not a sufficient conversation for me. I wanted to be hearing, "Let's get a posse and go and get this varmint!" But it wasn't going that way. So, I put it behind me in true pioneer fashion. I am learning to pick and choose those things I want to deal with. Anyway, LAST NIGHT'S bat was most likely the same one (see how well I rationalize these things?) and at Allison's cry Jerry jumped out of bed to assess the situation, just as Allison was jumping IN. She and I and Daphne were protecting the bedroom, with the door shut. Usually Jake will follow Jerry wherever he goes. Not so this time. He stayed with us. Jerry went out into the living room and I heard the bat swooshing back and forth outside the bedroom, then back again down the hall. I was not hopefull for any real resolution and was just resigning myself to the fact of bats in the mountains when all of a sudden I heard a loud "THWACK!" Jerry had brilliantly used the pizza peel, which is essentially a large wooden pizza board on a stick. It's made to slide an uncooked pizza into a brick oven, and to pull the finished pizza out when it is done. You see them all the time at the pizzeria. We have one because, well, it's Jerry's house. He cooks. Anyway. It was a perfect weapon to take out the swooping bat. We had used other items before; fly fishing nets, brooms, etc. Nothing had really worked well. The peel worked in one fell swoop. The poor little bat is now deer food thrown over the bank into the picturesque backyard. Bye bye little fella. Rest in peace Pizza Boy. Hopefully, that is it. I don't expect to see any more bats this winter, ever. But in the event there is a rogue non-hibernating bat just waiting to terrorize us, we have a plan. I can live with that.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Snow Photos

We had snow last night and some of this morning, here are some shots from the back deck looking to the pasture . Enjoy.......We sure are!

Snow Day!

WOOOOO HOOOOOO! After much hair wrenching and teeth gnashing, the Johnstown School District pulled the plug on today's activities at the 11th hour (now! 8:15) just as the two hour delay was creeping up on its deadline. Allison, who stayed up way too late in anticipation of what she had determined last night would be a sure-fire snow day, has received a bone from God. She was right. The panic on her face this morning was comical, as a two hour delay was not what she was anticipating while she enjoyed facials, mani-pedis and hot tubbies into the wee hours of the morning. I know this because Jerry was up during the night and heard these activities. Once I go to sleep, I hear nothing. My children know this. The only thing that saves me is that I do wake up intermittently during the night, and once I am awake, I am WIDE awake. So it balances things out. Again, I digress.

What we awoke to is this.

Jerry is happy as a clam moving around tons of snow with his plow, and the dogs and I are adjusting to the new winter noises we are experiencing. There is no sound like the rumble of snow sliding off the metal roof, as it is intended to do. Metal roofs are pretty standard up here in the North Country, as the snow load gets pretty impressive after awhile. It is not meant to stay up there for any length of time. The rumble starts very slow, and you stop what you are doing to listen more clearly, in case what you heard was a avalanche barreling down the hill. Then it picks up speed and volume and you realize it's just the roof snow coming down. I never quite understood what the wooden shrub tents were for, when I would see them in people's yards in the winter. Now I understand. It is to protect the landscaping from roof top snow dumping. I've seen the damage that snow can do. We had a metal (metal!) lounge chair that we left on the deck last winter. When it thawed out in the spring, it was a mangled piece of garbage that had been beaten into a twisted and broken shame of a loss. I loved that lounge chair. Anyway, it's gone, and I now understand the power of snow loads. Jake and Daphne continue to freak out when it happens, and add their hysterical barking to whatever the hell is making that noise. In their minds it is threatening and frightening. But, these are the dogs who continue to bark when a doorbell rings on a TV commercial. The same commercial that has been playing (and ringing) for years. They still bark every time, as if we had a doorbell and they had been told to guard it religiously. Neither one is true. The entire northeast has been blanketed with some type of precipitation. Southerly rain, catskill region freezing rain and ice, and northern snow is sending a plethora of problems wherever it has occurred. The rain is gray and dismal so that, as Maryellen says, you must shine from within. The catskills are experiencing serious power outages and dangerous driving conditions. Here in the Adirondacks, it has just dumped another 8 - 10 inches on top of the previous snowfall, making for a really nice base for skiiers, cross country snow shoers and sleigh riders everywhere. My shoulder is not quite sleigh ready, but I am also enough of a realist to know that the 14 year old would not be joining me. Not. She has already gone back to bed. That took all of 30 seconds once the call was made. But I will be making hot chocolate and snuggling in with my best friend Daphne, and maybe we can fit in a snow-shoe walk this afternoon. Enjoy your snow-day, wherever you are.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How to Keep Winter at Bay !

Well readers I figured it out. Yesterday I put up some outside Christmas lights out on the rear deck railing and they look great. This seemingly minor action has turned the weather around, the temperature has climbed into the 50's and raining.... At seven am the reported temperature is 53 degrees in Albany , N.Y. Snow has faded away and grass can be seen in and around the pasture. So to recap Guys and Dolls.......Get those Christmas lights up outside and save a little on the heating bill. Till next time, Jerry P.S Crawl Space temp 49.2

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Visions of Sugarplums

Two bees ran into each other. The first bee asked the other how things were going. "Really bad," said the second bee. "The weather has been really wet and damp and there aren't any flowers or pollen, so I can't make any honey." "No problem," said the first bee. "Just fly down five blocks and turn left. Keep going until you see all the cars. There's a Bar Mitzvah going on and there are all kinds of fresh flowers and fruit." "Thanks for the tip," said the second bee, and he flew away. A few hours later, the two bees ran into each other again. The first bee asked, "How'd it go?""Great!" said the second bee. "It was everything you said it would be." "Uh, what's that thing on your head?" asked the first bee. "That's my yarmulke," said the second bee. "I didn't want them to think I was a wasp."
Just a little bee humor. Or not.
Sending a diabetic who is experiencing a low blood sugar into the grocery story is like sending a five year old child with an unlimited budget and no rules into a candy shop. That is how I shopped yesterday, after leaving physical therapy with a blood sugar of 43. Suffice it to say, we have junk food supplies in store for the next THREE ice storms, one of which will be arriving this afternoon. I purchased the following: fudge pops, ice cream sandwiches, fruit pops, fluffernutter, granola bars with chocolate chips, sugar free chocolate covered wafers, christmas oreos (with the red filling, cheerios (actually, these were for Allison), very berry captain crunch, jelly fruit slices, pistacho nuts, honey roasted peanuts, sugar free hot cocoa, egg nog, romaine lettuce, zuchini and a cucumber. I kid you not. This little sugarplum trip cost $79. The real kicker is that the point of going to the grocery was to pick up something to eat so my blood sugar would stop dropping. Instead, I just bought everything I thought would alleviate the problem, without actually EATING it. This is a common trait for a diabetic in trouble. Aimless wandering and babbling. I can only speak for myself, but I have on occasion found myself walking around downtown with odd food purchases and not really remembering how I purchased it, or if in fact I DID purchase it. Hopefully, the bag is a good sign, as a thief does not usually pause to bag their stolen items. Then again, we're not talking about rational behavior here. It can be a very frightening experience, and one that is hard to describe. It's seriousness is generally lost as I try to make light of the episode and make a joke or two. However, this is a disease that can give you food issues if you really let it. I have let it. Food to a diabetic is something that must be disected, measured, rejected, monitored, reported, and if it is appealing to me, denied. And then, just as you have adjusted to this unnatural way of looking at food you find yourself in a low blood sugar situation where food is the one thing that will save you. Literally. It is, to say the least, a bi-polar relationship with food. It doesn't work for me. However, I was not asked if it worked for me, so here I sit, recovering from a day of fluctuating blood sugars and trying to get 'back on track' with my diet. Because, I will admit, when I got home and was able to set my weak body into the recliner, my irrational mind of course dipped into the ice cream, pistachios and egg nog. Just until I felt better, which was when my blood sugar reached a high of 488. Anyway, this was yesterday's activity. Balancing the sugar. When I report all of this to the endocrinologist this morning, he will be appropriate horrified, as am I. And we will move forward another day. This is just my way of blowing off a little steam. I appreciate the opportunity to do so. I think today I'll be having that salad. Hold the croutons.

Snow Removal

Well another day of snow removal....Seems that every day for last few days I am doing snow removal. Last night we got another inch or so. I have the plow on the truck always now. Jen helped me hook it up which is reported now to only take 2 Min's because of new innovations in plows....A Fisher plow... Not so much! Took Jen and I every bit of 20 Min's with me pushing and pulling to get the plow and truck lined up. Spoke to Walter and when he comes up going to give me a class on how to do it . Just doing something wrong. Not sure if how the plow is left when I disconnect it or that ground not level...Just not sure. For now it's staying on. Cleaning up with the snow blower and shovel. We also have to shovel the back deck too as last year while not living here we almost lost the second floor deck because snow falling from the sky and snow falling off the roof caused a frozen pile on the deck that I could not remove. Now I shovel everyday. We had to get the economy plow as I am retired now, Here is sales man giving me a demonstration of the one we bought. Snowplow Pictures, Images and Photos Good on Gas but the seat can get a little cold!!!!! Contractor was here yesterday after a week of no work by him... His worker just disappeared and could not find him. That left us with no one to take care of the projects that I am looking to get done by the time our Christmas guests arrive. Ali's room almost done, her bathroom finished and now full of stuff from her room so that painting can take place in her bedroom. Started to remove some lighting fixtures and as is the norm, no electrical boxes, just wires coming thru the Sheetrock and damaged Sheetrock behind fixture.. Contractor needs to fix and some taping to be done which is holding up painting. We also decided that we are not sanding the sheet rock but using a sponge....,less dust which is into everything.. The shop vacuum has been running non stop here with every item we move in her room. The carpet in her room I ripped up and guess what? I found some flooring that also needs repair or attention, nothing new I guess. Once we finish this project it will be a new house! Soon a front porch going on and as I said we have that permit in hand. Going to be tough getting thru snow and frozen ground. Jen out for P.T. and driving herself, she is doing good. Dan and I unable to take any Honey from the hives this year but able to buy bulk honey last week from a commercial bee keeper who operates out of town further west and north( Near Aunt Debbie) This guy runs over two thousand Hives and moves his bees by truck all over the country. Most of his bee's down south now and as the say "Wintering over down south". Less trouble with bears. Photobucket Getting ready to jar that honey any day now, Let me know who's looking for some. Was not as cool last night was few degrees about zero and crawl space stayed at about 45 the low.


Got your attention didn't I? Get your mind out of the gutter.
I am a big fan of the mail order catalogs that offer "retro" products from my youth. Vermont Country Store, Lehmans and Woolrich, just to name a few. For a number of reasons, I believe that these things are better made and more attractive to me than the products that are being offered today.
But among these older catalog items, I would see alot of things that made me wonder "who is buying this stuff?" Even I was skeptical. When was the last time you saw someone wearing a pair of rubbers to protect their shoes? We lived in a disposable society. That was my feeling. I never saw a need for the shoe clamps that have grips on the bottom. These are products for somewhere other than the Long Island intermittent nasty weather that we were used to. Winter on Long Island is always cold and raw, but mostly it is manageable snow amounts that disappear after a few days or weeks. Not a constant barrage of extreme weather on top of extreme weather. Who had a need for this north country necessary protective shoe gear? I get it now. When I walk into Physical Therapy in the morning, there are no less than 40 pair of boots left at the door, and yes, rubbers. It was an epiphany for me to see who is buying the rubbers for their shoes. They all live here! I haven't seen this footwear in years! There are snow boots of all types, the popular and fashion necessary Uggs down to the lowliest pair of rubber boots with clips on them, the kind my Father had left over from his army days. I haven't seen this type of snow gear since I was a kid, and here they turn up right at the door of PT. AND they are being worn by young people (I can't believe I just used that term - Oh God) People in their teens and 20's are dressing for the weather. I am still losing the battle with Allison to dress appropriately for the weather, in my eyes, but I am taking comfort from the fact that we live in an area where function is more important than form, for most people. I was made to live here. I see kids walking along with snow pants, and found out yesterday that the elementary schools require snow pants for gym and recess. If you don't have them, and the weather is below 32 degrees (every day!) you are considered "unprepared". I LOVE THIS! This rule is helping to raise a whole generation of smart kids, who dress for the weather. I find this remarkable. Unfortunately for me, and blessedly for Allison, the High School does not have the same rule. Their attitude is that you should know better by now as to what is appropriate for the weather, and if you don't, then freeze your patooties off you big old fool. These are my words, not the High School's, but we are all on the same page. So, as I dress for physical therapy in my appropriate winter gear, which means it is all warm and doesn't necessarily match, and that is completely OK in this world of extreme winter weather, I pity the people who are still living in the "sorta winter" mentality. If there isn't snow on the ground, we just didn't dress as warm as we could have down on LI. It was my own fault, but I dressed for the office, not for the trip to the office. Shame on me. I am learning different rules here, and they are working for me. Allison? Not so much. Oh well, there are some things that just have to be learned in their own time. Learning how to dress like an old person, with rubbers, suspenders, vests, thermal underwear and scarves and hats that don't match the coat is an art form that takes years to perfect. I am nearly there-I just have to get my hands on a pair of woolen pants. That seems to be the uniform for the thermally challenged. Maybe green or red plaid? I am having way too much fun. Oh, by the way, we're having a heat wave - 28 degrees!