Monday, August 29, 2011

Tornadoes, Earthquakes and Hurricanes OH MY! updated...

Well, it's been quite a week!  It all started with the earthquake last Tuesday, then thunderstorms and severe weather causing us to duck for cover when they posted tornado warnings in our county.  Next it was Hurricane Irene.  I'm seriously thinking we need to move to a safer area!!  If you know of any please let me know!
I attended a Women of Faith conference in Washington, DC this past weekend with some ladies from my church.  I had such a good time!  The speakers were amazing, the company I shared was a lot of fun, and I'm ready to sign up to go next year!  Thank you to our coordinator, Tricia, Melissa who took me under her wing and became c0-monkey with me (and who safely drove us home in a hurricane), and to Judy and Dar who arranged dinner on Friday night.  Good food and good company, can it get any better than that?  It was such an amazing event, if you are ever thinking about going to one I would highly recommend it!  We laughed, we cried, but mostly we felt God's presence and His abundant grace and love.  I just hope I can go again next year!

I have to tell a funny story here.  I mentioned that Melissa was my "co-monkey".  One of the speakers told us that we need companionship, that it can relieve stress and discussed a study done with monkeys.  They put a monkey in an extremely chaotic environment then studied his stress hormones, and they were very high.   They kept the chaotic environment the same and added another monkey... then studied the first monkey's stress hormones and found they were cut in half.  They concluded that having a companion during stressful times can be beneficial to your health and well being, so he encouraged us to grab a monkey when we found ourselves stressed.  Melissa and I had taken a walk, downhill from the convention center and decided to take the metro back as it was nearing time for the next session.  I had a smart card, but she did not and was standing at the machine trying to by a ticket.  Since neither of us had done this before we were perplexed and a man walked over and asked her what she needed then punched the buttons and out popped her ticket.  She thanked him for being our monkey...I started telling him the story because I was afraid we might have offended him but he only laughed and said that was fine, then showed us a tattoo on his inner forearm that read... Gorilla ...  Tell me that wasn't a God moment!!

After Melissa dropped us off at the church I still had a 45 minute drive home, through driving rain and mild wind gusts.  I felt myself hydroplaning a couple of times so had to slow it down some to stay on the road.  Fortunately we had just put new tires on the van so I felt fairly safe and hurried home as I was anxious to get out of the weather.  I arrived home ready for a hot meal, so dropped my suitcases upstairs in my room, unpacked a couple of things and came downstairs just in time to have the lights blink a number of times and then go out for good.  No hot meal for me!  Fortunately the guys were prepared with flashlights and games so we had a game night and listened to the radio while we watched this one particular tree that looked like it wanted to plant a kiss on our roof!  Fortunately it never happened...nor did we get any flooding in our basement (our sump pump was going off every few minutes before the lights went out then grew quiet when the power went out) which I am so thankful for.  Our neighbors were bailing out their basement at 1 AM but they live three doors down and just a wee bit lower in elevation.  I am so thankful we were spared that chore!  Our power was out for about 24 hours, so after about 18 we threw up our hands and started searching for a hotel so we could take a hot shower and have a little electricity.  We stayed the night and returned home today to put the pieces back together.  Some of our outlets weren't working so we had to run extension cords to different outlets so our phone and internet would work.  Ah Mother Nature...she's not one to reckon with!  I have been praying for those I know by name and those I don't, and though I know that some have been flooded and have lost loved ones, I keep praying that they will find peace and help where they need it.  DH was off to work this morning, DS did not have school as their school is without power this morning, and I am home from work as the store I work in is still without power.  It's looking like I won't make it in today as I was supposed to come home at 2 and it's already after 1.  I have to say, I'm kind of glad as all this running around has left me very weary.

I haven't had much time for stitching, but I have been able to put a few stitches in here and there.

I've been working on my UFO without fail on Thursdays.  I haven't been getting very far, but there has been progress.  I just realized I don't have any current I'll have to update it later this week.

I caught up with the Star Sampler...

With the Oakhaven designs Owl SAL...


Sampler Romantique...


And I completed another of the 15 crazies...this will make number 13 completed...The Tree Of Stitches that was offered on The Stitch Specialists yahoo group.  Only two more to go!!

 I'll be off now to get some stitching done since I haven't heard from my boss....since I was only working two days this week, that will surely put a crimp in my paycheck this week, but hopefully as time goes on I'll work a few more days in a week.  Oh, and I reached another milestone last week, I was discharged from physical therapy!  My life is slowly becoming my own again.  Till next time...

I just saw on Babs blog that she is giving away some fabulous gifts.  I encourage you to take a peek and leave a word of encouragement for her!  *Hugs*

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I felt the earth move...under my feet...

Hi folks!  Just a quickie to let you know we are OK.  I will have another update soon, but I know there may be a few that have heard about our little "shake up" here today.  I was having a stitching day with my pal Sonya, when we felt a little jolt, then it started shaking harder, then the walls seemed to wobble and dishes rattled, and we bolted for the door.  I got a call from my son who was home alone at the time and he was calling from underneath the dining room table.  So...that ended my stitching day earlier than I expected.

Apparently a 5.9 quake hit in-between Fredericksburg, Richmond and Charlottesville Virginia.  It was felt by some friends of mine in Maine and my cousin in North Carolina.  My Mom in New York didn't feel it though.  It's not my first earthquake, but it probably was the hardest one I've felt.  I came home to find some of my furniture had moved, my Grandfather clock had stopped running because of the shaking, and it took me 30 minutes to find my cat who had to be coaxed out from under a bed and who ran and hid somewhere else.  Fortunately nothing was damaged except my frayed nerves and my most wonderful afternoon of stitching was brought to a screeching halt.  I'm thankful that nothing worse happened.  

I got a reminder phone call from the physical therapist about an appointment tomorrow, and I told her if nothing hit me from future aftershocks, I would be there!  She chuckled...

I'm beginning to wonder, though, we had severe thunderstorms on Friday and Sunday with flash flooding in some areas, today an earthquake and I hear there may be a hurricane headed our way later this week.  Is someone trying to tell us something?  Ah well, I'll be like Scarlet O'Hara and say, "I'll worry about that tomorrow" is a lovely day, low humidity and comfortable I'll just live in the moment for now.

After checking on facebook, I see that most of my friends and family are safe, so I'm off to put a few more stitches in...alone...miss you Sonya!  Thanks for the time we spent together today and lunch...sorry I had to dash away so early.  Next time I'll bring you home with me and you can laugh at the antics of my son who has never been in an earthquake alone before.  LOL!!!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thousand Island Adventure

I hope you aren't bored with my vacation yet.  I have a few more spots to hit.  This one will probably be picture heavy too.

Oh before I forget, I want to mention again that Gillie over at is having a giveaway in honor of her blogaversary, anniversary, and the exciting news that she and WT have become American Citizens!   Congratulations you two!  Welcome to the great melting pot!  (I apologize for not mentioning your good news in my last post)

Our next stop was to New York, where we picked up my Mom and headed for Alexandria Bay and the Thousand Island region.  We had planned to spend a night in Singer Castle on Dark Island, but we couldn't settle on a day, and then couldn't make reservations...ah well, there's always next year.  Instead we took two boat tours.  The first tour we saw a few things along the way but it was too hazy for decent pictures, I did see two lighthouses (another thing I'm fanatic over...LOL)
We stopped to see Boldt Castle on Heart Island.  Now just a little background, according to our tour guides, there are over 1,000 islands in the Thousand Islands.  Many of them barely big enough to stand on, but they do have vegetation and remain above water 365 days out of the year.  It is expensive to build there (most everything has to be transported in) and not all have running water or electricity.  You can imagine what it must cost to run cables to an island through a river that does freeze in the winter.  I was fortunate enough to have an Aunt who worked for a man who had a "camp" on the river and we spent a couple of days during the summer there when we were younger.  I love the river!  The big boats fascinate me, but so does the rhythm of the river.  Ok, so I can't explain it in words, but hopefully you get the idea.  

Boldt Castle was built for a man whose wife was the love of his life.  It originally was built as a hunting lodge (if that's the case I would like to see what his idea of a home was!)  He was spending tremendous amounts of money to build this castle, but in the middle of construction his wife passed away.  His heart was broken, so he suspended construction and willed that it never be finished.  As a kid I had seen this castle many times, and it was heartbreaking the state it was in.  Graffiti covered the walls, it was crumbling from the inside.  It has been about 30 years since I've seen it and I can't believe the transformation.  The people restoring it plan to leave it 90% completed it in honor of Mr. Boldt's wishes.  Pictures do not do it justice, it is breathtaking inside!
Here is a picture of Mrs. Boldt.
This is what I remember the inside looking like...
And this is what it looks like now...
They even had an indoor swimming pool...
And a bowling alley which I didn't get a picture of.
I pointed out islands along the way that looked vacant, maybe up for sale, and asked when DH was going to build me a little "cottage" like Boldt Castle...I mean, didn't he love ME enough to build me a shrine?  LOL  Maybe if he was some kind of corporate mogul he would.  Honestly, I'm happy with my townhouse in the "burbs".

Now Singer Castle is one place I had never visited before.  From what I understand they have only been having tours of the castle for about 8-10 years.  My best friend from High School told me about this place.  It's an interesting place, full of wonderful artifacts, and secret passageways.  I think the man's name was Borne? who built this castle, he was an executive for the Singer Sewing Machine and that is how the castle got it's name.  Here are a few pictures of it, and it is available for overnight guests.  

Can you see the little peek-a-boo picture he had installed?  Three was a cat walk behind this picture, and the servants could peek through the picture to check on the visitors dining below to see if anything was needed by the guests at the table....creepy if you ask me!!
We interrupted our boat tours with a quick trip to the race track.  Now that DS has his learner's permit, we had to allow for a few minutes of driving.  These two are so competitive...LOL  But don't they look like they are having fun?
After our tours, we headed back to Gouverneur.  This is the only picture I have on the computer at the moment...I remember many years, marching in the memorial day parade as a girl scout and ending up at this arch for the services and the 21 gun salute.  This was erected of marble, that is quarried nearby.  Many of the buildings are made of this marble and it really is a pretty little town.
We took one day to take a trip to a nearby town to visit with a friend from our college days.  It was so nice to visit with these folks, and to meet their 6 yr old son for the first time (see how neglectful we are of our friends...but they still welcomed us with open arms).  This man was one of the usher's in our wedding!
Next stop was the Adirondack Park, where my DH was from.  I only have a few pictures, it was so hazy when we visited that none of the pictures really showed up too well.  It's a beautiful town on a clear mountain lake and is usually so cool in the summer time.  After the heat this year, it was a welcome place to visit.  Here is a picture of all of us with DH's Mom.
Next stop guessed it...sports related.  As if the Hockey Hall of Fame wasn't bad enough, we had to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY too!  I will admit, this place held my interest a wee bit more than the hockey did, as I am an Orioles fan.  We saw quite a few exhibits on the Orioles, they really were a decent team at one point in time.
Our last stop was an unexpected one.  We were looking at the map and realized we were only a stones throw from DH's Aunt who I haven't seen since the year we were married.  (We celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary on this trip!)  We have always corresponded with cards and letters through the years, but never had the chance to visit.  I'm so glad we decided to stop by.  They have a wonderful house on the side of a hill, overlooking a valley.  It took my breath away to look out their dining room window.  I truly wish I lived closer to them, as she is a craft person and is in the process of learning to braid rugs right now.  She showed me a quilt she had made for her in-laws 50th anniversary that was hand embroidered and told the story of their married lives.  We had an enjoyable visit and I truly hated to leave.
That was the end of our vacation and we headed into the sunset on our way home.  
I have to say, I can't remember when I've enjoyed a vacation as much as I have this one.  We didn't have much of a plan except a list of things we'd like to see.  We did as much as we could each day, and no one complained when we had to call it quits for the day.  I know I keep saying this, but having had cancer really made me put my life into perspective.  You know that saying?  Don't sweat the petty stuff?  Take it to heart.  You never know what tomorrow brings so enjoy each moment and live IN the moment with those you love as often as you can.  I got a chance to spend time with the ones I love this vacation and realized I don't just LOVE them, I really LIKE them and enjoy being with them.  Oh the years I've wasted just existing.  There's a song I like to sing to on my ipod (that can be embarrassing when I'm at the gym...LOL) that says "Every day I wake up thankful".  Try it for a week.  Look around and truly see what is in your life that you can be thankful for.  You'll surprise yourself with what you find.  (I can say this because I was a different person before this whole thing began!)  Even things you THOUGHT would break you and that you THINK you can't endure can lead to something truly wonderful.  Enjoy your life, it's getting shorter by the minute!

*Climbing off my soap box*  I hope you enjoyed pictures of our family vacation.  I love that people have been stopping by and leaving comments.  Your comments truly make my day!  I don't mean to make any of you envious, really the reason I post pictures is so my family so far away, that at the moment I rarely get to see, can see what we have been up to.  Next time I hope to have some stitching photos...I haven't had much time to stitch, but hopefully I'll remedy that today!  *Hugs*

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thank You Frances!

Just a quickie today as I'm in between errands to give a BIG Thank You to Frances. She and I were paired for an exchange through Friendly Stitchers Yahoo Group and though we were both on vacation we were able to find biscornu patterns that suited each others personalities. I told her that I LOVE violets and she found an amazing pattern with them on....isn't this absolutely gorgeous?????

And I learned that she likes Canada and found this maple leaf pattern for her. I hope she likes hers as much as I adore mine! Thanks again, Frances!!!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Oh Canada!

The second stage of our journey brought us to Toronto, Canada. Strangely enough I ran into a lady this morning that was from Toronto and we were talking about how clean the city is, how easy it is to drive inside the city, how friendly the people are and what a pleasure it is to visit there. We really enjoyed our visit there and even though we originally had reservations to stay two nights, we ended up staying an extra night.

I love it that Canadians are so patriotic to their country, they put the maple leaf on everything, including their McDonalds! LOL Good Old Mickey D's, tastes the same in any language!

My boys dragged me kicking and screaming to the Hockey Hall of Fame. It was a fun visit though...

We saw the holy grail of Hockey....the Stanley Cup. The boys wanted their picture taken with it even though their beloved team, The Washington Capitols, haven't won it yet. DS respected the trophy and cheerfully hugged it...

while DH kissed it for luck. We'll see what the Caps do this year...look out Crosby, Ovechkin is on the hunt!

It really is like a shrine there....with a dome overhead...very pretty for a trophy room...

But my favorite exhibit was the "Miracle on Ice" corner, where USA won the Gold Medal in the 1980 Hockey Olympics. I've been to Lake Placid, New York where the game was played, I watched the game on TV during the Olympics and I've watched the movie many times. It always gives me the shivers!!

Of course the guys had to get a little game on with the electronic games in the gallery. You should have seen them playing their little hearts out against the big bad video machines!! DS always managed to hit his goalie in the head and knocked him flat on his tush...LOL

When the torture...I mean tour...was over, the guys rewarded me with a taste of civilization...definitely worth the hours of boredom....I mean fascination I endured! LOL

As if that weren't bad enough we had a force march tour of Rogers Center, the home of the Toronto Blue Jays. They do love their team...they named a street after them...(can you see the CN tower in the fog in the background? Now you know the reason for our extended stay)...

and bronzed some of the fans!

My favorite pose of DH....Hey Blue Jay Fan, are you a man or a mouse?

We took a trip to the heavens in the CN tower. What a view!!

There is a glass floor all the way up there. AND, new this can pay a good sum of money to strap yourself to two thin tethers and take a tour OUTSIDE on the ROOF of the dome at the top. You couldn't PAY me enough let alone spend good money that could be spent on cross stitch supplies to do that!!!!!

We ate at the Boston Pizza place one night, and the food was GREAT but the desert was GREATER!!! This was absolutely decadent, but OH so GOOD!!

We were told the CN tower was the second most visited site in Canada, when asked if we knew the MOST visited site...DH and DS shouted out simultaneously," The Hockey Hall of Fame" to which the tour guide said "Now you're just messing with me". Can anyone guess the most visited site in Canada?

If you guess Niagara Falls, you are we hit the most popular sites. We also visited a castle in Toronto. Has anyone heard of Casa Loma? We stayed an extra day so we could do something NOT sports related. Thanks guys! It was fun to put a little taste of culture in our visit. It's a lovely place to visit...Inside....

and out!

I got a kick out of their for those of you who I sent post cards to from Canada, here's the box it was collected from!

And that concludes our Toronto portion of our tour. Check back in a day or two and you'll see our trip to the Thousand Islands, the St. Lawrence River that separates Canada and New York. Thanks for stopping by and for your comments! *Hugs*

Just a little mention that Gillie is having a give-away on her blog in honor of her anniversary and and the third anniversary of her blog. Congratulations, Gillie and WT!