Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tha annual canoe/kayak trip (Part 3)

It's been a week now since this trip. I think about the good times everyday.

On Sunday morning, we packed up and began the trip home. Our first stop was to Hoss's Corner in the village of Long Lake. I have watched this store grow over the years. It is fun to walk through. They have a little of everything here.

Next we headed to the Buffalo Head Restaurant. This has become a tradition at the end of this annual trip. It's nice to have something to look forward to at the end of the trip!

How it got started. . . Three years ago, we came out of the woods hungry - as usual! - but we didn't want the typical greasy spoon fare that is so typical of the Adirondacks. We stopped at several places beginning in Long Lake and then through Old Forge. All were either closed or they were places we decided not suitable.

"I remember seeing a sign. . . ", Rick began. In the tiny hamlet of Forestport, is a wonderful restaurant, off the beaten path, with wonderful food and hospitality. The large parking lot is always full. You should see the size of the slices of pie they serve!

After a wonderful meal, we walked to the parking lot, gave everyone a hug and started the last leg of the drive home. . . only this year things were a little different! As I was about to pull out into the road, Rick came running to my car with his arms waving. His car wouldn't start.

What? I was dumbfounded.

A quick battery jump and we were on our way! Never a dull moment with this group!

And so another canoe/kayak weekend camping trip came to an end. I realize a 4 day weekend in the woods away from the conveniences of civilization isn't for everyone. But for me, when you are taken away from the rat race of everyday life and forced to focus on the little things. . . the sound of water hitting on the shore, the tall birch and pine trees with wind blowing through their branches, the loons. . . a tiny frog hopping through the campsite. . . enjoying a cup of coffee and good conversation with friends in the morning around a campfire. . . all these and more, go a long way to calm the mind and spirit.

In closing, I want to say a great big THANK YOU to Rick and Ginger, Caryl and Kathy for making this another very special weekend. Love you guys!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The annual canoe/kayak trip (Part 2)

This is a picture of our campsite. Note the canopy. That was a most welcome item this year. On Friday, we had off and on rain, mostly light, but one period of heavy rain. Having a place to keep our gear and ourselves dry, was a real plus! This particular model can be spread further out or close in. Obviously, by spreading it out, you have more dry ground. But it's also nice to push it in, making it easier to get into and offering more headroom.

My everyday work life is filled with much stress and aggravation. It was a real pleasure to be able to just sit and listen to the gentle breeze blowing through the trees, listening to the birds, especially the loons, or having stimulating conversations with my camping buddies. Wonderful therapy!

Below are more pictures which I hope can give you a sense of this beautiful tranquil area that I love to come back to every year.

Watch for at least one more post on this trip. You may think the drive home would be without incident and a downer. . . ah! You never count this group out when it comes to excitement!!!! Stay tuned. The best is yet to come!

Monday, July 26, 2010

The annual canoe/kayak trip (Part 1)

Oh, my Gosh! What a weekend. Every year, a group of us, after months of anticipation head up to the Adirondacks for a four day canoe/kayaking weekend. They are all fun. But somehow, this year was really special.

The Cast of Characters:

Ginger and Rick. Back when I was in real estate, Ginger never failed to make me look good with her exceptional design skills for my brochures for the homes I listed or the post cards I sent out for self-promotion. So many times my clients complimented me on the materials I used in my business. Rick is Ginger's husband. He is great at getting big campfires started, even with wet wood and wet ground! If these two don't go, I don't want to go!

Caryl. I've known Caryl now for close to 10 years. She is a regular on these trips and always a pleasure to have along. Caryl is just one of those people who, without you realizing it, can build your ego to gigantic proportions.

Kathy. This was Kathy's third trip with us. Her motto for a successful camping trip is "fire and water!" She loves a campfire (who doesn't?) and she loves going in the water. She spent a lot of time this weekend sitting on a boulder at the water's edge reading her book for awhile (Nora Robert's latest - Search) and then she'd put the book down and jump in the water.

And "me"! (Oh, but if you are reading this, you already know me!!!) The only thing I'd add is how much I truly love getting a group of friends together [only those friends who enjoy this kind of thing!!!] and going to the wilderness and away from the real world and all the craziness that goes with it.

Now that you know "us", on to some of the fun times. Most of you know, I love doing camp dutch oven cooking. Folks, you don't have to eat mundane, freeze dried or otherwise "garbage" camp food. YUCK! Saturday morning I made Mountain Man Breakfast. Okay, so maybe it is an artery clogger, but none of us eat like this all the time. Ingredients: chopped bacon, chopped onion, green bell pepper, garlic, large chunks of potatoes with the peel left on, eggs, and cheese. . . (I think I included everything!) When you serve it, you pass around the picante sauce. MMMMMM!

Here is a picture of it cooking and the view of it ready to serve.

The other meal we had was cornish game hens cooked with brown rice and baby carrots. That was a crowd pleaser too. Two nights I made blueberry cobbler. Ginger told me in an e-mail before the trip, "the cobbler MUST happen."

We arrived at the camp area on Thursday after first stopping - another tradition - at Keyes Pancake House in Old Forge, NY for lunch. This camping area is a pristine wilderness area run by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The campsites are few and far between for a true wilderness experience. There are three islands in the area and those are a top prize (first come, first served).

Ranger Rick was watching as we loaded one tandem canoe and three kayaks. He was decent enough to keep his mouth shut, but you could tell he was thinking, "No way are they going to get all that gear in these boats." Never underestimate this group, folks. We want our comfort. We pack those folding umbrella chairs, three tents, one big canopy (in case it rains), two camp dutch ovens, charcoal, . . . the list is endless.

This was my first time camping with my new kayak. I got it all loaded and the darn thing tilted. While I was quietly having a coronary over the situation, Ginger went about the task of reloading. She made it look so easy.

Soon we were off, headed into a strong headwind. I was pleased with the way my new toy handled in this hurricane. It didn't take long to find an island void of other campers and we were overjoyed.

Stay tuned. There will be more on this trip and more pictures in the days to come!

Happy Birthday, John and Michael!

Today is my twin sons' 37th birthday. Happy Birthday, Boys! You've made your mom very proud.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I'm back!

Our annual canoe/kayak camping trip this weekend was just wonderful. Just got back a little while ago and now I'm taking a break from the unhappy task of unpacking and putting things away!

We drove to the Adirondacks caravan-style - three cars, five people, one canoe, three kayaks - on Thursday. We were lucky this year to have an island all to ourselves.

Once I've had time to sort through the pictures and get those that others took, I'll go into more detail.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


It was such a small thing, probably insignificant by many people's terms.

I have a lot on my mind these days, a job filled with stress and grief. . . have you ever had to deal day-to-day with PhDs who may be brilliant in their field, yet don't have ordinary "walking around sense" and who think the world revolves around them? I'm getting ready for a 4-day canoe camping trip. I am very much looking forward to it, but there is a tremendous amount of preparation involved, since I feed 5 people for the weekend. Then there is the news I received last Friday that my furnace is dead.

All these things were weighing heavily on my mind yesterday as I pulled into my driveway after work and stopped to get the mail from my mailbox across the street.

Then it happened. "HI, SHERRY!" I looked in the direction of that cheerful voice. There, sitting on the steps by their front door, was a young mother with her 3-month old and 4 year old. The little girl's face beamed even more when I looked in her direction and waved back at her.

If only for a moment, my heart was filled with joy that this little girl was so excited about seeing me. Gone were the things in life that were dragging me down.

I have often watched with a smile at this young family across the street. The parents are family oriented and spend a lot of quality time with those kids. And yesterday afternoon this small act of kindness on the part of this vibrant little 4 year old went a long way in making my day!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The forgotten victims of the Gulf Oil Spill

Okay, call me an old woman with a soft heart or misplaced values. . . I don't care. This morning, as I was drinking my coffee with Molly in my lap. . . all 55 pounds of her, I was watching CNN. There was a segment on the Gulf Oil Spill and the dogs that have been misplaced and placed in cages at an animal shelter waiting for a new home. Their owners, caught up in the economic turmoil of losing their livlihood due to the oil spill, simply could not afford to feed and care for them.

I have had a Labrador Retriever in my life nonstop since 1985, three of them, actually. I cannot imagine life without a Lab at my side. Children grow up and go out into the world on their own. A dog always needs your love and care and attention. I have suffered setbacks and heartache over the years, like a lot of other people. But one thing I could always depend on, no matter what else happened, there was always a devoted and loving Lab at my side.

My heart goes out to those unfortunate people along the Gulf Coast, who, through no fault of their own, have lost their way of earning a living, whether through fishing or the tourist industry. And may God grant that these poor animals soon find a loving and caring home.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Paddling Salmon Creek

Today was a beautiful sunny day, perfect day to get out in a kayak. My friend, Nancy, and I headed to Salmon Creek. Salmon Creek is off Braddock Bay, on the west side of the county. It is a winding creek that is home to swans, red-winged blackbirds, turtles and all kinds of wildflowers along its shore.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A good week

It's been a good week. Aside from being a 4-day work week, I got to spend time on two days with my children and grandchildren, had a good night at my Tuesday Night Defensive Pistol Shooting group, AND!. . . I sold my kayak that I had been trying to sell for several months. At some point, when I have more time, I'll do a post on my Tuesday Night Defensive Pistol Shooting group. I'm learning a lot there and having fun too. Can't beat that.

Have a good weekend everyone. I have plans to get out in my new kayak - maybe THIS time I won't flip it upside down - and myself along with it - getting out of it! And if I'm lucky, I'll get out on my bike for the first time this year.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Dog's Ten Commandments

Everyone knows I love dogs. The following found its way into my e-mail inbox. Anyone who has ever owned a dog can understand this.

Remember that they can't do a lot of things for themselves and that they depend on you to make their life a quality life!


My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you is likely to be painful.

Give me time to understand what you want of me.

Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well-being.

Don't be angry with me for long and don't lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainment, but I have only you.

Talk to me. Even if I don't understand your words, I do understand your voice when speaking to me.

Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget it.

Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that I could hurt you, and yet, I choose not to bite you.

Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right food, I have been in the sun too long, or my heart might be getting old or weak.

Please take care of me when I grow old. You too, will grow old.

On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me please. Never say you can't bear to watch. Don't make me face this alone. Everything is easier for me if you are there, because I love you so.

Take a moment today to thank GOD for your pets. Enjoy and take good care of them. Life would be a much duller, less joyful experience without God's critters.

Now please pass this on to other pet owners. We do not have to wait for Heaven, to be surrounded by hope, love, and joyfulness. It is here on earth and has four legs!

Monday, July 5, 2010

More scenes from yesterday's 4th of July party and parade

Michael and Marisa

The firetruck brings up the rear of the parade.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

To all my United States readers, I sincerely hope that your 4th of July holiday was as fantastic as mine. Yes, many of us think of the 4th of July as picnics, time with family, parades, fireworks, and of course, a holiday from work. The 4th is that too, but let us all remember, 234 years ago this country declared its independence from Great Britain. We may not be perfect as a people or as a country, but America has always overcome adversity and become a better country for it.

Today was a time to forget about the things that trouble us as a country and individually. Today was a time to celebrate and just enjoy being with family and friends.

I spent the day at Keuka Lake, one of the Finger Lakes that western New York State is famous for. My son, John's in-laws, Sue and Gerry, have a home on the lake and I was invited to spend the day there, along with Michael and Marisa (my other son, John's twin, and daughter in law), John, Jen, and my grandsons, Kevin, Jake and Andrew, Jen's brother, Brett, and his family, wife, Lindsey, and children, Caitlin, and Stephen.

A couple of years ago, the cousins, Kevin, Jake, Andrew, Caitlin, and Stephen, began having a parade on the 4th of July. From it's humble beginnings, today it mushroomed into quite an affair! Below are pictures from this wonderful day.

Kevin paddling a kayak along the shoreline.

Hanging out on the trampoline in the water.

The cousins! They are all wearing shirts that say CC (Camp Cousins).

Now we get to the parade pictures! That's Gerry driving the tractor with "Keukie the Lake Monster" and kids behind!

Now this is the amazing part, folks. I told you earlier, this "parade" idea the cousins had a couple of years ago, until now had been just a short "walk" down the Lake Rd and neighbors would come out and wave. But THIS YEAR!!! Drum roll, please! One of the neighbors, who is a fireman, found and restored a vintage 1955 firetruck, from the year he was born,. . . his wife claims it is the "other woman in her life". He brought it to the parade, and believe me when I tell you, kids and adults came out of the woodwork to see this masterpiece! "Who wants to ride in the back?", he asked and kids and adults vied for a spot on it! Really!. . . And I don't mind telling you, once this parade got going, I jumped on the back end and loved every minute of the ride up the road with the bell clanging and the siren going and people everywhere staring in wonder!

Even Bingo, the dog, got in on the act!

It was truly a magnificent day and I am grateful to Sue and Gerry for inviting me to share their day.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Nice day for a paddle

This afternoon I took my kayak to the Erie Canal and paddled for awhile. It was too nice a day not to get out and do something fun.

I put in at the launch next to Clover Street and paddled toward Pittsford.

Many towns and villages along the Erie Canal have capitalized on the canal as a recreational and tourist attraction. Pittsford is one example. Here you see people just enjoying being out, feeding the ducks, or riding bikes on the bike path that runs along the north side of the canal. That big round tower in the background used to be a coal tower. Now it is home to the Coal Tower Restaurant, a great place to go for breakfast or just to stop for a cup of coffee with a friend.