Monday, June 29, 2009

Great weekend with a stressfull end.

The weekend began on Friday with a visit from Wyatt (above) and Maeve (below). Not a long visit - I took them home Saturday evening, but a great time. Maeve spent Friday evening with her friends from the Wayland Cohocton graduating senior class at Seabreeze Amusement Park. We hung out some with grandma and grandpa, visited Maya whom they hadn't seen since the explosion of talking! Longest time I've heard Maeve quiet in a long time! Maeve practiced parallel parking with cousin Casey. I also learned about Charlie The Unicorn! If you are into amazingly silly stuff, click the link and waste a few minutes! It is almost as good as The Llama Song of several years ago.
Sunday was devoted to a little local one day Art/Craft show. Pretty much the entire gamut of outdoor craft show experiences. Wonderful folks from the National Council of Jewish Women sponsored the one day event. A more friendly and helpful bunch of folks could not be found! The weather could not have been better for the first few hours, and the crowd was good for a small show, and sales were OK. Around 2:30 the sky began to look a lot less friendly, and within the hour it was raining hard. By around 4 we gave up, and we all began to pack up wet stuff, and fold up wet tents --- that is an especially wet job because at that point you no longer have ANY dry place to be! Very special thanks to our friend Jerry Romanowski and his son who helped us pack up in that downpour! This morning we need to set up the tent and the walls again in the driveway to let them dry out!
Cheryl before the storm!
The booth before the storm!

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Grape Plume Moth on the back of our van.

Click for a larger view.
An amazingly beautiful Grape Plume Moth we found just resting a bit on the back door of our van last weekend. The caterpillar stage eats grape leaves, but according to an agricultural web site --- "Plume moth larvae rarely occur in large enough numbers in commercial vineyards to justify control measures." Picture of the larval stage below -- borrowed from The Ohio State Entomology Department page titled "Insect and Mite Pests of Grapes in Ohio and the Midwest"

Thursday, June 25, 2009

We could have been home sooner!

Coming home on Route 28 through the Catskills and central New York, and then connecting to Route 20 across the state to home took about 3.5 hours longer than getting on the Thruway. But we would have missed these moments along Tremper Mountain Trail, just off Old Route 28 near Phoenicia, NY. This little stream feeds Esopus Creek that winds along Route 28 on it's way to the Hudson River.
You miss so much traveling on those big highways that offer panoramic views, but little detail! As always, click the pics for even more detail..... there were 4 creeks coming down the mountainside along the trail within about 50 yards. How does each drop of rain know which creek to head for when it lands in this magnificent place?
And on the Thruway, lunch would have been chicken nuggets and a milk shake at the arches. Instead, it was the folks at The Delhi Diner, Main St., Delhi, NY, who gave us a break and some lunch along the way! The place was crowded, the food was OK, and the bathroom was up old wooden stairs on the second floor..... somehow much more satisfying than another thruway stop with the standard automatic faucets, the standard line at McDonalds, and the standard decor that makes you not sure if you are in Syracuse, Auburn, Albany, ?????Thanks to the Catskills for a few extra hours well spent!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Another one for Salena

I love diners, and even more when they are this cool, have good diner food, and are located about 100 yards from the hotel we are staying at. We ate too much and got stomach misery, but it was worth it. I mention Salena in the title, because she loves food, and hangs out with a guy named Ed, and is my favorite blogger besides myself of course!
Located in Hyde Park, NY near the Roosevelt home (note Franklin on the left in the mural above), The Eveready is classic diner in every sense of the word with the possible exception of size! Check it out if you are going down Route 9, or even take a detour off The Thruway! You miss so much traveling on those big highways that offer panoramic views, but little detail!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Remember those "Hens and Chicks"

A month later, those Hens and Chicks in the neighbor's yard have blossomed beautifully!

I thought they were just spreading, but not!

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Last year I did quite a few entries about our thistles! Here is this year's contribution. I still think they are beautiful, but I think I'll amputate the flower heads before they go to seed this year? Both are great images to click on for a bigger view.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

New Custom Balancing Act

This is one of our new larger version Balancing Act pieces. This one is custom -- We added wings, and a quote from Langston Hughes. I love it!

Friday, June 19, 2009

It's a BOY!

Hey! Did you expect I wouldn't include the first picture of the new grandson!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

If you're squeamish, come back in a couple of days, or quickly slide down the page to see my top show pictures!

First of all, how weird is that thing in the picture when you figure it goes inside your chest and heart!

Second, how weird is it that I need one? And how weird is it that I've needed one since I was around 10 years old? Why, you might ask, are you getting one now at age 63 if you've done fine for 53 years without one? Well, passing out (syncope) wasn't too bad when I was a kid, and even into my early 20's and 30's, but over time, I've found these syncope spells harder to recover from. After my first "spell", I was back outside playing in about 15 minutes! My most recent bout had me miserable for a couple of weeks, especially when layered on top of the kidney stone symptoms! After years of trying to figure out why I would just feel weird for a while, followed by "fainting", I recently had a heart monitor attached for 24 hours during that kidney stone deal! It turns out my heart just stops beating for a few seconds once in a while. Stopping for a few seconds creates the above mentioned "weird" feeling - quite unpleasant actually. Stopping a bit longer makes me feel like I'm dying - the whole world slowly goes black, and so far I wake up a little while later feeling like something big just hit me --- like the floor? I usually sit there or lie there sort of cursing the bad feeling, and reminding myself that up until now I've always woken up afterwards!

Why haven't any of my doctors figured this out before now? First, there are no symptoms when it isn't happening. And, until recently, I never had a doctor around when this was happening. Actually, not quite true! My heart stops for a while when I have a colonoscopy, but they just panic, inject something, and I wake up and go on. I only learned of this during a recent colonoscopy when I overheard the doctor telling the nurse to prepare the injection in advance this time ..... "this guy has syncope". Anyway, with the 24 hour heart monitor on during my kidney stone incident, the doctors now know what happens, and the "cure" is a pacemaker. It will constantly check to make sure my heart is beating on schedule, and if the schedule changes, the pacemaker will send out the necessary signals until my own system starts up again. Kind of reassuring!

Still weird! But the next time this happens, I won't even know it.

Another constant reminder of the fragility of life. I now have three conditions that even if "cured" I have to be constantly monitored, and thus constantly reminded, for the rest of my natural days! Regular visits to the oncology folks, with PSA checks to see if the cancer is back ..... regular blood tests to see how my thryoid condition is doing (maybe I can get them coordinated and have them use the same blood sample each time??? - seems like that would help a bit with the nation's health care costs?) .... and soon - monthly checks of the pacemaker - is it still working right, how's the battery charge, are the wires into the heart still in good shape, etc. And every few years, a bit of surgery to replace the batteries! They tell me that in a few years, they will be rechargeable without cutting me open!

And if one more person tells me how common pacemakers are these days, and how safe they are these days, etc..... I'll scream! And, don't send me any messages about cell phones, i-pods, airport screening, those machines that whine if you walk out of the store with stolen stuff, etc. Microwaves are not a problem anymore, but I will have to give up my weekend job as a lineman for the electric company!

Oh --- final note ---- the surgeon won't replace my hip until I get the pacemaker ;-)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Spinning Top Show!

I got to do my spinning top show again on Tuesday, and as always, I asked the teacher to take some pictures. Instead of the usual 2 or 3, I got a whole bunch - most of them quite good, so here are a few, and you can go to my Picassa page to see more - link below! I love doing this, so if you know of any groups of kids of any age or height, check with me about doing my top show! I have a ball, the kids - I repeat - of any age, have a lot of fun too, and they learn some great stuff without any effort!Above - me trying (unsuccessfully) to stack one spinning top on top of another??Above - my special "calm the kids down" trick. Most of my tops require snapping the fingers, pulling a string hard, throwing the top, or some other energetic method of getting the top spinning. This one just glides off the end of the twisted string very gently and silently!Above - spinning a large Japanese style top in the palm of my hand!
Picassa collection for more top show pictures.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Epiphyllum - Orchid Cactus

I've had this plant for at least 35 years. It was given to me by my friends Ginny and Chris Gartlein in Ithaca, NY. It blossomed the year after I got it, and then did not blossom for many years, but ugly as it was, the memory of that one wonderful blossom made me keep it - that and the fact that I just can't get rid of anything, much less a living thing! Over the past 10 years or so, I've gotten 1 or 2 blossoms maybe every other year. Last year I got 2 blossoms from the original plant, and a couple from the one shown here. This one was grown from cuttings off the original. This year, the original one has put out 4 blossoms - a personal record. This one, hanging in the lilac bush at home, has a total of 10 buds and blossoms! Click on the image above and you can see all 10!

Monday, June 15, 2009

A rose by any other name

Oddly, after a couple of off years, the various roses in our yard have staged a comeback.

A good image to click for a larger view.

and in another note, on my bike ride last night, I discovered that a favorite piece of graffiti has been painted over by our ever vigilant graffiti patrol. My blog may be the only record of the existence of this cool art work.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Genealogy trip to Naples, NY 6_11_09

On Thursday, I went to Naples, NY to meet a couple of my cousins. Dave Olney, and his father Lou Olney. They were interested in seeing all the places in Henry C. Olney's 1886 diary. Dave recorded the GPS coordinates of everything from the location of their farm, to the location of their grave! We went to Evergreen Farm, checked out the pond where they harvested ice, and visited the locations of various relatives farms. The picture above was taken approximately where the house was.

Dave and I are both great great grandsons of Henry and Sarah. Lou is of course a great grandson. I'm descended from their son Bart. Dave and Lou are descendants of oldest son Omar. I was very pleased to add information about Omar to my brain! I got to see his farm .... he married Hattie Warren not long after the diary entries! We also visited Omar and Hattie's graves!

More pictures from the trip can be seen here.From left to right - Dave, Lou, and Don Olney.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Maya Wednesday! - Accomplishments!

And, with about 16 years to graduation!
Maya is quite the athlete! Swinging from the bar over the top of the slide is a favorite activity at the playground. Click the picture below for a great image of our beautiful granddaughter!Below - a video of Maya climbing up a playground ladder - turn up the sound --- she offers play by play commentary ---- Do it, made it, did it, back down, up, etc. with a triumphant "Made it" at the end!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Maeve Graduates!

On Sunday, Maeve Elisabeth Olney - my neice - graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy! She was part of the 228th graduating class from this esteemed institution! Close-up below.What more can I say?
We love you Maeve!
And as always click the picture for a bigger view!
I can't believe this shot came out this great! We could not get very close, so I was zoomed in to the extreme. Also, I was kneeling on the ground, checking the list of names in the program to see when to expect Maeve's name, when I heard them announce "Maeve Elisabeth Olney". I jumped up - snapped a couple of quick shots, and got the picture above! Not perfect if you are a severe critic, but as an uncle, I'm most pleased!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Bike Ride

The above picture is just to share a little bit of why I love to ride my bike. With that view ahead, how can you go wrong? Below is my favorite destination point --- a good long ride, with a very nice place to rest, and this year somebody has planted some flowers! A big thank you to whoever put in the effort to add some more beauty! This was an 18.5 mile ride!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Weevil on a peony

Kind of looks like something from a science fiction movie?
It is actually a tiny weevil on one of our peonies!
Evidently black vine weevils like to eat peonies, along with strawberry plants, begonia, lilacs, etc. I hope we don't have a major problem here, but in the meantime these little guys are sort of cute? Click on the picture for a closer view.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Unfolding Poppy

When we left there were two poppies out. On our return another one had just opened, but hadn't quite worked out the wrinkles yet! Click image to enlarge.