Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mid Week Update Whine

It has been snowing here! Nothing is sticking but still, it is much too early for snow. And raining too. Since last Saturday our days have been weird. First it is raining, then 30 seconds later the sun is bright, by the time I get my shoes and jacket on for a walk, it is very windy and raining again, dark clouds overhead, 4 minutes later it is sunny again. If I pay serious attention I can squeeze in two ten minute walks in a day. And cold, did I forget to mention it is cold? Paul has a fire going in the fireplace all day. Which was great when I was laying sick on the couch with Swimmer's Ear. Very annoying. Made me cranky and tired, just painful enough to wake me up often. Finally found some old expired ear drops, didn't seem to work. Called my doctor office and they never got back to me. Whine.

I had to cancel my all day Monday shopping trip with my friend, Diana. Too tired and crabby. That hurt. I need some pants that aren't baggy. I need to start Xmas shopping, since most of our holiday will be at Thanksgiving. I need my daughters and sons to hint what they want for gifts. Apparently I have an endless need to whine. My blog, all about me.

Except that George Burt died Friday night. He is the father of our long time friend and neighbor, Virginia Boyle, and handy guy Shane's grandfather. George was one of the lake huggers, he always had a joke and a hug. When you live with the same neighbors for 24 years, you just kind of blend into family. Paul and I went to the funeral home Monday night and the funeral on Tuesday with John and Jean Villa, the senior members of the the lake community. They drove home on Sunday, to the Detroit area, and drove back Monday afternoon just to be there. It was raining, and snowing and blowing, and nothing stopped them. What a way to be 91.5 years old! Just John, Jean is much younger, certainly not a senior Stevenson Laker.

Last week Shane was telling us a story of Grandpa Burt, he was a Marine in WWII, and was in the battle of Anzio in Italy. He built their home from scratch, and it was done perfectly. Now we know where Shane got his patience and talents! Tuesday was George and Betty's sixty-third wedding anniversary.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New Bathroom is taking shape

Shane is making good headway on the new bathroom. He will be putting the tile up soon. It looks great and it is all his idea. He has the shower floor tiled, it is small tiles on the diagonal, and the rest of the floor is about half done. Where the window is behind him, used to be a door, and from the outside you would never know there had been a door there. Except for the cement porch and steps, which isn't going anywhere without a lot of work. He tiled a wonderful corner bench in the shower, I will get a good pic next week. It has some tape on it right now. He took a field trip to Menard's yesterday and gave us a list of possibilities for vanity, lights, etc. So Paul and I drove to Mt. P. and shopped. Can't wait to see it all put together, which might be as soon as Friday! This is so exciting. We needed a new toilet in the cottage the other day and he put it in in about 45 seconds. It just doesn't get any better than that.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Beautiful Fall in Michigan

This has been a particulary beautiful fall, warm and colorful, many sunny days.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ow, Ow, My Eyes Hurt

Pennsylvania is just too beautiful, it makes my eyes hurt. We drove through this state on Monday on US 80. The trees were bright and colorful. It was an awesome experience to see the patchwork of colors on the mountains. As we drove west and crested a mountain, the sun behind us was just rising and peeking out of the clouds, overlooking a large valley, wispy rivers of fog followed the valleys and rivers below. It was an enchanting view. What a beautiful state, good roads too.

I took this pic through the car window. We were on a mission to get to Michigan. I highly recommend PA for color tours, perfect driving.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

New York City

We had a great trip to NYC today with Katie and Mark. We took the commuter train in, an 85 minute ride. Lots of scenery of the Hudson River and the clifts across it. Colors are turning fast. The flag picture is the front of the New York Stock Exchange. Just above is the Empire State Building. Then a pic of Katie and Mark on the top of the bus, and the next is a pic of Pier 15 on the waterfront. The weather was perfect. We took a city bus tour I know that we will do it again, maybe get game tickets or show tickets and spend the night. My feet are sore from all the cement walking.. The city was much nicer than I expected, clean and tidy, friendly people.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Colorful Catskill Mountains

On Friday we decided to drive up 9W to Kingston and then take route 28 across the mountains. It turned out much more complicated than it should have. We had Katie's Garmin, and an atlas map, seriously lacking in detail. So we got turned around and drove through the heart of Kingston while the high school thugs were on lunch hour. We managed not to run any of them over. We did find a nice Diner, one of those chrome palaces. It was very clean and the food was good and fast. We split a Philly Cheese wrap with fries. They were real fries and it was so hot we couldn't eat them until they cooled a bit. How often is the food to hot to eat? Usually it is cool by the time you get it.

Anywho, finally we got on 28. There was very little traffic, and it was peek color. The hills looked like puffy patchwork quilts. We ended up driving much farther than we planned, 175 miles, as the roads I chose to go south on weren't there. Except for on that was pretty bumpy. So we went straight west across the Catskills then south and then east back to Milton.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Military Geek Week

Katie grilling dinner with Smokey assisting. He's the little black bear from Gatlinburg.

On Thursday, we did some touring in this area, and drove through Newburg to OCC, Orange County Choppers, of the reality biker show. It was a huge and beautiful new building. We picked out tees for our biker pals, Roger and Lance. There were quite a few bikes displayed and they were pretty and shiney. QVC was there setting up for selling stuff on TV. I have a pic of the bike made to honor the firefighters and police killed in the 911 attacks. There was so much color/clutter in the background it will be hard to distinguish it, still I am putting it online.

Then we headed south on 9W to West Point. We took a tour of the post, it was so beauiful. When things change, like they don't need stables for the calvary anymore, instead of tearing down the beautiful stone buildings, they just redo the inside for new use. And the view of the Hudson was awsome. It is so wide and deep, and surrounded by hills.

So now the geek part of the story. We took a 3 hour tour at Gettysburg and noticed there were people who thought they knew more than the guide, and kept interrupting. Our guide at Gettysburg had been doing this job, his obsession really, for 25 years. Same goes for West Point. IF these annoying folks had been military, they wouldn't interrupt, if they were retired military, they could have gotten on post easily enough. As it was, they sucked up precious minutes of our tour. I have posted a photo overlooking the dorms from the chapel. Also one of the view by the Hudson River.

On Wednesday, Katie got off work early and we had lunch at a favorite spot, and then we drove to Connecticut to grocery shop at Stew Leonard's, a very unique store. It was not so much canned goods but excellent meats, dairy (they own their own cows/farm) vegetables and fruits, baked goods. And you only go one way in this store, like a maze. It makes it easier to shop and you don't miss anything. Plus snack stations, like a buffet only the people move. A moveable feast!

Thursday night we ate at the Raccoon Bar nearby. They are famous for their hamburgers, so we ate burgers and sweet potato fries. Katie and I split a crab cake appetizer too. Excellent, with a mango salsa. I think they should be famous for the view, we were hanging over a cliff with a great view of the Hudson and just below a waterfalls and pond.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Beautiful PA

We had a fairly easy drive from Gettysburg to Newberg, NY, on Tuesday. Made the trip in 5 hours, as advertised. Pennsylvania was so beautiful, lots of hills and mountains and red trees. On US 81, there were many times that we were on an elevated road so we were driving through the tree tops. Driving through Scranton was pretty easy, it was early afternoon, very little traffic. Once we got into NY on US 84, the beautiful color disappeared and it was mostly green.

We hit the grocery store and bought grilling foods for dinner. Found the hidden key to get into Katie's house, and made ourselves homely. Her house is very, very nice, but so much more work to do. In NY, builders don't put up the towel bars, etc. Or provide them. And you know how tricky that can be. All the windows still have tags on them, and I am too short to reach them. The ceilings are quite high and the kitchen cupboards are hung high, as is the microwave. I feel ever so short. Katie has a step stool in the kitchen. Lots of windows and good light. The rooms have good proportions, and all the floors are wood. No pictures on the walls yet. They are going to be unpacking and pounding for months yet.

Her backyard is wooded, and this is a rocky area, so it is grass and rocks. Very pretty red maples. All the trees have bright red poison ivy vines clinging to the trunks. That will be a problem to get rid of. Mark has been working on them.

On Thursday we want to go to West Point for a tour, Saturday Mark and Paul are going to the Army game there, Katie and I are shopping. Sunday we are all taking the train into NYC. Sounds like fun.

Katie lives in the country and there is a vineyard right across the street. Also many orchards and farms. Very desirable area. Pics tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Gettysburg, PA

We had a beautiful day at the Gettysburg National Park. We took the bus tour, very good, our guide had been giving tours for 25 years. We went to the movie and the just opened Cyclorama, which was excellent. And we went through the museum. The pic of paul is on top of Little Round Top, and I am on the rocks at the bottom of Devil's Den.

We now have some understanding of the battle, what happened and why. The town is charming and interesting. I had no idea that this area was so hilly and beautiful. We have never been in this area, really from the Smokies up to New York, a pleasant surprise that it is such a picture! I like it better than the rockies for touring, the green hills are so pretty, there is just a start of red in the trees, next week should be excellent viewing.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Nellys Ford, Virginia

We are visiting with Timer and Sharon Keenan, Julie's in laws, in the mountains. Here we are at a local brew pub. And the next day enjoying a yummy picnic lunch that Sharon made. And Timer finding us fun things to do on the internet. We had a great time with them. Their house is in the mountains just SW of Charlottesville, VA. The house is great and the view is excellent. It is an interesting part of the country, and we liked it very much. The trees were just starting to turn but they are beautiful when they are green also.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Bear Goes Over the Mountain

Yesterday we were exploring and some of the locals we talked with highly recommended we take the road in the park to Cades Cove. It is a large valley in the south of the park that was once a farming community of about 700 people. It was founded in the 1830. There is an 11 mile loop road around the valley and 2 million people visit it every year. There are houses and churches you can go into, and farms set up. The fields are kept cut and the elk come down to feed there in the evening. We saw deer, a coyote and one small bear. It was a beautiful and peaceful area, lots of cars on one way circle. Any time wildlife is spotted, it all grinds to a halt and people jump out of their cars and run up with their cameras. Duh. This little bear wasn't concerned with the gawkers. I did not get out of the van. This was close enough. Paul saw a bear earlier in the day, he told me it was between the two trees, but I couldn't figure out with two trees, out of a trillion, he meant. It was a much bigger bear. This one was under 100 pounds.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Go round and round the mountain

That's what we did all day today. It was a beautiful sunny day with enough puffy white clouds to put great shadows on the mountain sides. We drove over with a side trip to Clingmans Dome, the highest point in TN. That specific point is a half mile up hill. Paul made it, I got too hungry and bailed. It was very windy and freezing too.

We drove into NC and through the Cherokee Reservation. It looks a bit poor around there. Then we went south and west circling the park. Started on 28 then on 19. Many many curves and turns, slow driving. Very beautiful. One road, 19, was all banked so it drove like a race track. Very few cars on it but the motorcycles loved it. There were two bike camp grounds and one bike resort. The name was Dragon Tail or something. Fontana has a big biker festival this weekend. Guys on crotch rockets just flew by us.

And apparently gas is now a problem. Gas stations in NC were out of gas, and when we got back to Galtlinburg some of the stations were out.

On the up side, we saw great beauty today. Pics tomorrow.

Disturbing Trend After 40 years

This is just so weird, in the last couple of weeks, four times, people have asked if Paul and I are together. Twice in grocery stores, once on the street yesterday, and someplace else (I disremember). They didn't just ask, they were surprised that he wanted to pay for my groceries.

Does he have to start wearing his wedding ring again? Are we supposed to hold hands? It must be body language. We are having fun, we talk to each other. What is going on? Maybe we have to smile more??

Gatlinburg, Day One at the Aquarium

The Ripley Aquarium in Gatlinburg is rated number one in the country, we were very impressed. Lots of information about each display, interesting shows, big sharks -- 12 foot-- and a very long underwater tunnel. The above pic shows a waterfall at the top, tumbling into a tank of catfish and ciclids, etc.

Another pic shows a shark being fed. They feed them four times a week, so the little guys don't get eaten. Very interesting. For the grands, there is a pic of Grandma petting a sting ray.
Guess this is all the pics I'll get on today.
Anyway, it was great fun, then we shopped a bit and found a nice place to eat, Legends, and I had Chicken Parm and Paul had minestroni soup in a bread bowl. And we shared of course. It was good. I always like Italian food when we travel.
We also went to the National Park and got a map and took a trip up to a gap. This is a free park! How nice. There are lots of bears in the area. We want to hike some today, and I must admit I am more afraid of Tics than bears. Have to find out if they have them here.