Sunday, July 27, 2008

Going on Hiatus/ Moving to Arkansas

We are in the middle of packing up the house in preparation for the big moving day on Thursday. As a result, I don't really have anything interesting to say or any fun pictures to put up (apart from this one of Mt. Rainier from the airplane). So, I am going to put the blog on hiatus until next week some time. In the meantime, if you need something to keep you busy and occupied, watch one of these shows: Black Books (3 seasons), Slings and Arrows (3 seasons of 6 episodes each), and the movie Once. All are great, but be forewarned - the language is not for little kiddies. However, my mother was able to get through without flinching (at least outwardly), so it can't be too bad. Anyway, if you watch any of them, let me know what you think. Talk to you again from Arkansas!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Buffalo, Buffalo, Buffalo

Here is an interesting blog post from Julie Zickefoose (NPR commentator, artist, blogger) about bison farming in North Dakota. I knew that they were better for you - lower cholesterol, lower fat, etc - and that they were better than cows for the environment, but I didn't know how much. We tend to only buy bison meat, or at least as much as we can. It was easier in Texas...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

On the beach

Last week, we went on a real vacation. Along with my dad and Benjamin's dad,we took a hiking trip to the Olympic Peninsula - my favorite place in the whole world. Until I moved to Texas, Dad and I (and Mom until I was about 12) went backpacking there every single summer. The summer wasn't complete until I had seen deer eating seaweed and racoons trying to steal our dinner, and until I had sand in just about every possible place on my body.

Prior to the hiking part of this vacation we took a trip to REI, where we bought two (as opposed to the one that we planned to buy) new, lightweight, wonderful backpacks. I hadn't planned to get one for myself, but I was just so envious of Benjamin's and smitten with the packs that I couldn't resist. I also saw Robin Williams, although I didn't realize that was who it was until a clerk mentioned him, who was apparently in Seattle to shoot a movie. My one brush with Hollywood, and I don't even notice. Huh. Anyway, back to the backpacks. They were great - no disintigrating parts, no squeaky frames, just enough room. Hurrah! Now we just need a couple of new sleeping bags that compress to the size of a soccer ball, and we will be all set.
I also got a large hat, (as you can see) which will be great when we get to sunny, hot Arkansas. The beach, alas, was not sunny this trip. Over the years, Dad and I have developed a theory - whenever we take someone to the beach, be they friend, relative, whatever, it is never sunny. When we go on our own, it is usually sunny. This trip we were at least lucky that it didn't rain - so I guess Ben and Scott were partially accepted as family members!

We didn't see a lot of wildlife this trip - only three racoons, and one deer (in the ranger station parking lot, not on the beach). In the case of the racoons, that is probably a good sign. It means that they aren't getting as much junk food from careless hikers and aren't getting overpopulated. Probably ditto for the deer. The wildlife we did see though was great - a whole family of Bald eagles. For a long time, just seeing one eagle was a big deal - this time we saw one as soon as we got to the end of the trail to the beach, and we saw a group of juveniles and a couple of parents the next day. Wow!

Despite the lack of sun, we still had a good time. Benjamin tried his hand at environmental art (which you can see in the background of this picture). We all took a long hike back up the beach on the middle day, hopping over rocks, exploring hidden campsites. And we got to make stick biscuits - one of the foods of the gods. They are pretty basic, and you could make them over your fireplace fire, but they wouldn't be the same. As with most food on a hiking trip, it tastes better simply because it is made outside, and you are ravenous. Stick biscuits are nothing more than Bisquick on a stick, cooked over the camp fire, then filled with butter and jam, but in the open air, after a day of hiking, they are sublime. Ahh....

There was more to our vacation, including a Mariner's game (they actually managed to win!) and a wedding shower for Annie, and a trip to the University District, but it shall have to remain shrouded in mystery. We are moving on - to moving actually. We have one week left here in NY, to pack, visit places we have missed, clean the house, and generally wrap up. eeek!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Going on vacation

Tomorrow, we are heading to Washington for vacation. We are going to go hiking, on this very beach, and my dad is going to cook lots of good food for us, and we don't have to do anything. Hurrah! See you in a week or so.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

It's starting

We are getting closer to moving with each day that passes, and the good-byes have started. It isn't going to be as sad as when we left Austin, simply because we don't know as many people here, but still...This morning I said good-bye to Mary Jo, the archivist at SUNY Brockport - I still have some work to finish there, but she is going to be on vacation when we get back from our vacation. And tomorrow is my last day at work. I won't miss the job, particularly, but it is always difficult to leave people. I hate this part of moving and leaving.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Belated weekend pictures

Here are the pictures I should have put up yesterday. I got them off of Benjamin's computer last night, but then our internet went down so I couldn't get them up here. Huh.
Fireworks - there is a special fireworks setting on our camera that works pretty well. It is sort of long exposure sort of setting, so you can get the fireworks as they shoot up and as they explode.
The Holley falls. Not as dramatic as the ones we visited the other week, or Niagara, or the Ithaca gorges, but still neat. A good picnic location, and a good spot for water loving dogs to frolic.
Last but not least, Oliver helping us play Trivial Pursuit. He loves sitting with us on the table. He ran away right after this picture, since he is camera shy. Good thing, or we would have had to give him a game piece and ask him questions. Hard to do, since he was sitting on one of the wedge spots.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Long weekend recap

Let's see, what did we do this weekend? There was quite a bit of tennis, surprisingly. It is a lot nicer playing tennis when it is 75 degrees out than when it is 90, so we are playing more tennis than we ever did in Austin. We played tennis on Friday and Sunday (I lost all the matches), and watched quite a bit of tennis on Saturday (women's finals) and Sunday (Nadal d. Federer in the longest singles match final ever). I am getting better, but my automatic muscle reaction still has racquetball responses - which don't work well with a net.

Friday we also went to a Rochester Red Wings baseball game. That was fun, if a bit expensive. Not for the seats - those were cheap - but for the food. It cost more for a small cup of ice cream than it does for a pint of the same ice cream at the grocery store. Huh. Oh well. And there were fireworks, which I got pictures of but didn't get off of the camera yet, quite nice fireworks.

Saturday we went for a 14 mile bike ride up the canal to the next town, Holley, and a surprise waterfall. Benjamin had discovered the waterfall on a previous ride and wanted to take me to see it. It is a surprise because most of the land around here is pretty flat - no altitude changes really - and doesn't seem to give itself to gorges and waterfalls. But, there it was. Again, I have pictures but they are still inaccessible. Check back tonight or tomorrow and I will try to have them up then.

In other news, this is my last week at work. Next week we head up to Washington for a vacation and hiking trip to the beach (wahoo!!). Then, it is moving time. Whew.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

Creamsicle says, Happy 4th of July! Well, not really, but I am too lazy to dig up the fireworks pictures I know we have somewhere. We are going to a minor league baseball game tonight, with a fireworks show after - so that should be fun. It has sort of become a tradition for us. Since we don't have any parties to go to, it gets us out of the house to have fun, and we can see fireworks from designated seats. The weather today is great - sunny, warm but not too hot, no rain.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Cutie Pie...or Pest?!?

Now that we have a big table in the kitchen, Oliver has begun a new cute/pesty habit - he has started to sit in the middle of the paper when I am trying to read it during breakfast. This is fairly typical cat behavior, but none of our three cats have ever done it before. Now, however, Oliver seems to think it is the perfect time to get some supplemental petting and attention. It is incredibly cute, and incredibly annoying. He doesn't try to eat my breakfast, thank goodness, but he does shed all over it. Sigh.

This is in addition to his bug hunting behavior, which has started up again, now that he is out on the porch at night. In Austin, he would sit on the porch and hunt cockroaches. When he caught one, he would bring it in to show us, trilling a funny little meow. Now, he hunts crickets and moths. I am fine with rescuing bugs in the evening, but 4 AM is a bit much. That is when he brought me his latest catch. Sigh again.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Requiem for a good pair of boots

Our backpack wasn't the only casualty on our Adirondack hiking trip; my favorite (and only) pair of hiking boots also suffered. I have had them for at least 8 years, and they were the best pair of boots I have owned - in fact, I had just finished saying how pleased I was with them when I first noticed their condition. They kept my feet warm and dry on all my snowy walks this winter, and didn't give me blisters. No more. The soles just disintegrated and separated from the body of the boots. I held out hope that they would be repairable, but that hope was squashed once and for all yesterday when I took them to a shoe repair shop. The wizened old man in the shop (and being a wizened old man in a shoe shop is a sure sign of faultless knowledge) said that there was no way he could do anything for them. So, RIP hiking boots, my friends. Sigh. Why does everything good have to fall apart eventually?

In other news, we are down to the last month here in NY. Eek!