Thursday, August 31, 2006

Her Times - 5K Run/Walk Training Video

Right from the shores of Lake Erie I have started training for the Her-Times 5K Run/Walk in October. 5K is 3.1 miles I was told. That gives me a little over a month to get in shape. Pet Peeve=those sweaty marathon people passing me like I was standing still (sometimes I was).

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Oh, Those Redheads!!

I decided to get brave and I just finished turning into a strawberry blonde (light red). I was getting into a big-time hair rut. I like it. I think my skin looks less ruddy against the red compared to the blonde. I'm going to get a haircut, too, but I thought that it would be fun to get my haircut in Jackson, CA. (then I can cry all the way home, ha). I have never come out of a hair salon happy. But I need a good hair style and my own haircuts fall pretty short of being good. It's time to catch up with the times.

Look at the box of L'Oreal superior Preference 9GR-light reddish blonde. Unfortunately, I don't look like the girl on the box. My haircolor is very similar now but not near as shiny and my face is about twice as big as hers even without the recent 5 pounds I gained back from recently losing a bunch, rats! And she has a thinner nose and fuller lips. Actually, there is no resemblance at all.

It gets expensive to keep up even when you do it yourself. I have wrecked my hair plenty of times in the past. I once very much resembled Bozo the Clown when my hair turned green and frizzy after I gave myself a perm and a color. I cried in the locked bathroom for quite a while. I had to use a curling iron and practically burn my hair to make it curl and that was to get a frizzy curl and then had to cut my long hair short because it was breaking off in my hands. I actually had an old lady tell me that day when I went out to the store that she really liked my hair. I was dumbfounded.

I bought this hair coloring on the spur of the moment and decided I needed a change. I like it and I hope I don't shock my husband too much but he called home just after I applied part of it on my hair. I told him I was going for it. He gave me encouragement and said I would probably like it and that is what he cared about. I do.

So that is the first part of my make over. I'll get the hair cut when I'm in California and then I think I would like to walk in the Her Times 5K Run/Walk. I'll be lucky to finish just walking but I would like to have something to work for. I think I can get in some kind of shape by October to at least walk it if I start now. I think it would be fun.

Here is the link for the 5K run application

Monday, August 28, 2006

I"m Splitting

I'm splitting my blog into 2 blogs. My posts regarding the restoration of my house will be located at This Old Erie House. It should be on the blogroll soon. It will also be part of a houseweb ring. Most of that blog will be video using

My personal and travel blog will remain with this one. I'll start using more video on this one, too.

I'll be splitting for California in a week and half. I'm so excited. All my sisters, my brother and my dad will all be together at the same time. That doesn't happen very often. I wish my husband would have been able to get off work to join me but it is his busy time.

Yes, I'm concerned about the terrorist threat and the recent commuter plane crash. Flying out of Erie I'll have to take one of those type of commuter planes to get to Atlanta before the flight heads to Sacramento, CA. But I am more concerned when I have to drive up Peach Street to get to Home Depot.

The best part is that my youngest sister (from Channel Island Harbor) is coming back with me to Erie. She has never been here before and I can't wait to show her Presque Isle, Cook Forest and Oil Creek. She'll be out here for 6 weeks but will be spending the greatest portion of her time in Pittsburgh as she bought an 1860s Victorian house that she will be renovating as a vacation home. I'll be helping her when I can. Maybe she will be helping me, too. : -)

Time is flying!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Baby Beaver

I came across this picture of a baby beaver on the website. It was so cute I had to share.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Erie Bluffs, Why Hide It? video

With nothing to do last Sunday, my husband drove us out to "Erie Bluffs". It is a state park that has been in the news lately because someone wants to build a lodge there. We had never been there and I had never heard of it before the newspaper article.

Before I started writing this, I went to the DCNR website to see what directions they gave to getting to this spot, I wouldn't want to steer you wrong.

If you go to the website you can read these directions.: Erie Bluffs is north of PA 5 at Lake City, twelve miles west of Erie. That is all the directions they give.

You'd never find the place with those directions. Even after knowing the real directions from the newspaper article, I thought we were in the wrong place. Here are the directions. Take PA 5 (west) past the Elk Creek Access and it is the first dirt road (like a tractor path) to the right (north). Yep, it isn't a real road, there are no signs to guide you, and you will probably question whether this could really be the place. You may even argue about it like I did. This just couldn't be it, corn fields? Muddy puddled areas (but our car made it OK)to drive through? Where were we going? There aren't any signs, a state park would have signs. What if we were in a farmer's corner field? I had visions of being run off by a shot-gun toting farmer. Through the small ruts and field we went. We came to 3 weathered picnic tables but that wasn't a clue as they could be for the field workers. The road split to the right but the right was a dead end a few yards ahead. So we went left. It turned out to be the right place. At the end of the road there was a "no motorized vehicles allowed" sign. Still that was the only thing that would assure you that you are in the right place.

On the way out I filmed a small clip that shows part of the road you'll have to take.

The flies were awful, like something out of a horror movie. We were covered with them when we exited the car. I dont' know if this was a one day event or not. I suspect the farmer's use of fertilizer as the cause. A heavy application of Deet on our whole bodies finally took care of the problem. The hike was fabulous, the views awesome and the beach was rocky and interesting. We briefly saw a couple of other groups walking on the paths. It is pretty secluded.

You can see a brief video of the beach below the bluffs and what the road looks like that you have to take. Search it out, (someone please put up a sign). Bring your Deet.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Diet Coke and Mentos-Can it Kill You?

I stumbled across videos at that showed what happens when you combine Mentos (the mint kind) and a soft drink. Most of the videos used Diet Coke. Perhaps everyone knows not to eat those two in combination but I never heard of it or gave it a thought.

Now I did have an episode during my high school years. We were given brand new uniforms that the band boosters spent several years in fund raisers to get for our little foothill school. We were performing a Christmas concert in our high school gym and during intermission I ate a Three Muskateers bar and then drank some cola. It was like Old Faithful. I tried to hold back the increasing pressure. My cheeks bulged out, my eyes widened, yes, I ruined the brand new uniform. It has a similar reaction to mixing baking soda and vinegar. But what happens if you swallow the Coke first and then eat Mentos. Could the massive expansion in your stomach kill you?

Click here to see a list of the Coke and Mentos videos.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Slideshow of My Latest Project

I have been sweating in my bathroom for the past week. I still have about a week's worth of work left but I can see the finish line.
Here is a link to the second part of my bathroom makeover. In this project I am building built-ins into the wall next to original built-ins. Why not use wasted space?

Bathroom slideshow.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Lowes, How Frustrating

I go to Lowes first and if I can't find something, I drive a few hundred yards to Home Depot.

I started a bathroom built-in project and am ready to build the boxes into the wall that will be my shelving cabinets. I searched through the "top grade" pine lumber and spent a long time finding just the right boards, not split, or bowed, or flawed. It can be quite frustrating to have to paw through all the bad boards to find a good one, even when you are buying the best-quality-priced boards. I loaded up my lumber cart and headed to the back of the store to have an employee cut them in half as I can't fit 8 ft boards into my Geo. To my horror there was a sign on the machine that said "out of order". NO, NO, NO!!... I stood there a minute or two, to get my composure back (I actually broke into a sweat) and saw three guys coming through the back door where the forklifts are. I flagged one down to ask about getting the lumber cut because I can't fit the lengths into my car. He replied that I could buy a handsaw and cut them. Thanks, guy, nice. He didn't say it rudely, more like stupidly helpful without offering to help, like he had a solution for me. I told him "Thanks, I'll just be leaving this lumber here, then." And walked away from almost a hundred dollars in lumber and a good portion of my day wasted.

I found what I needed at Home Depot. Their lumber prices, for what I was looking for, was about a dollar more for each board but the quality of the board was much better and I didn't have to search through so many bad boards to find what I wanted. But I have been totally ignored by sales people there in the past so they aren't high on my list, either.

I should have gone to Kraft Lumber on Peninsula Drive for my lumber projects but it was too close to their closing time (early closing times are a drawback compared to the big box stores). I've never been disappointed by service or lumber there and I like supporting the non-big-box stores when there is a choice.

I'll be posting my progress for my built-ins via picture slideshows (how I did it and before and after)soon. It isn't that I think my bathroom is great (because it isn't, it is small and pink) but that it might help someone else thinking of ways to improve their bathroom and make it more efficient or give them some ideas, too. I like to search the internet to see others' projects and how they did them. That is how I learned to take apart our double-hung windows and restore them. I don't like replacing things instead of fixing them. I like original if I can but it is a lot of work. The old-growth wood is so worth saving. If I can't save something I want to at least stay true to the style of the house. I'm working now on my personal website. It will feature all my before and after projects. Digging up all my pictures I took along the way is time consuming. When I'm done setting it up, I'll be joining the webring.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Otters Spotted? (pics) update

(In regards to the first comment below about a better resolution photo)
Here is one of the raw-data photos and if you click to enlarge it you can see the full size and maybe can enhance it a bit with a good photo program. I enlarged them and cropped them and lightened them a bit to get the close up images in the photos at the bottom, the top photo is right out of my camera. Maybe they are beavers and from the side the tails looked round and furry the way the light was coming from the side, I can't say as I didn't see the tails, just my husband did but we weren't all that close. But they didn't act like the beavers we've seen before, the way they were swimming around together, diving and coming back up. We often see beavers at Presque Isle so we know what they normally look like, these just didn't act like it but maybe they are young, frolicking beavers.
Sunday we headed to Presque Isle with our canoe. We launched at the lagoons and our canoe slipped quietly into the magic land that only Preque Isle can deliver. The amount of wild life that you can see up close is amazing. We fished for a while and caught some small bass and sunfish but the real show was the swallows (maybe they were purple martins). There were so many of them. Huge flocks dove into the water with splashes like dive bombers. It was an amazing sight.

We also saw a pair of what we think were otters. They didn't have a beaver tail and they dove and swam like an otter. By the time the camera turned on, they would dive again. You could see minnows and small fish jumping where they were swimming under the water. I did catch these somewhat fuzzy pictures (not unlike the bigfoot photos, ha) of the animals when I enlarged the pictures. I didn't see the tail but my husband did and said it had nice fur, not a beaver tail, plus the heads were not course like a beaver. Maybe it is common knowledge that otters live in the lagoons but I never saw them there before. I've seen them at Oil Creek but not here. See photos below.

Also amazing is a drive after dark in Presque Isle Park, you should try it. I think the road doesn't close until 11:00 pm. Drive slowly so you don't hit any of the night-time creatures. You will see raccoons, deer, rabbits and animals you probably can't identify. The park belongs to the animals after dark.
Photos taken in late afternoon/evening on the lagoons of Presque Isle State Park. Are they otters? I'd like to hear if you have seen them there or if you think they are otters.

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Blues and Jazz - Sunday Afternoon (pic)

We drove by Frontier Park on Saturday but just kept driving. Too many people. I don't like crowds. We had tickets for the VIP tent and each year something comes up and we don't go. So Sunday afternoon we braved the crowds and parked at Strong Vincent High School and walked over to the festival.

The crowds weren't bad but really started thickening up by 5 pm, about the time we left. I guess the best acts were in the evening but I thought the ones we saw were good, too. We thought the girl drummer was really good.

We saw some strange sightings at the festival. One kid on a "low rider" bike was wheeling around the crowd. He looked like something out of the X-men. Some guy had a fake skunk that was drawing a crowd and some lady had a bird on her arm. Erie has its share of interesting people.

Below is a collage of the festival from just the short time we were there on Sunday.
Click to make it bigger.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

LL Bean's Coastal Clogs, Happy Feet and a Klutz

Above image is from Crocs similar to LL Bean's coastal clogs.

I needed sandals before I went on our vacation and when we received the LL Bean Fall catalogue in the mail I saw some sandals called "coastal clogs". I decided to wait and buy my sandals "in route" to Maine as there was a LL Bean outlet store in Freeport, ME. I found a neutral color that would match just about any outfit and it was in my size.

They are, by far, the most comfortable shoes/sandals or any footwear I have ever worn. sells some that look very much the same and I have read reviews that they are super comfortable, too. They come in so many colors!

I did get a couple of blisters when I first bought them but we hiked a lot and climbed over the rocky coasts of Maine. But I would have gotten blisters barefoot, too, as I'm a tenderfoot. I didn't even feel the blisters but saw them at the end of the day. No problem.

I hate wearing any kind of shoe in the house, I'm a sock person, not a slipper or shoe person. But these, well, I'd rather wear these than go stocking-footed. That is how comfortable I think they are.

A few times climbing over the rocks on the coast I stubbed by toe, but these clogs have an enclosed toe so I was saved. Phew, I'd say, that would have been painful, man I love these shoes!

All was well until I got home and went to Target. I don't know why but I became a total klutz in these coastal clogs when I was in Target. I stumbled several times making that "ugh" sound and catching myself as I'm falling forward. Total clod. I was so embarrassed! I'm just glad I didn't hurt anybody or break anything. For some reason my toe was grabbing on their floor in these shoes.

Then today we went to Quality Market and again I looked like I was some kind of spastic as I'm stumbling 4 or 5 times in there. So there is something about the floors in these kinds of buildings and these kind of clogs that make them catch.

Now most people may stop wearing something that would cause them potential harm but I'm not most people. I'm not giving up on something that has changed my life. If you are in the store and see someone "high stepping" while pushing a cart around, that'd probably be me. I found if it tilt my toes upward and lift my feet a little higher than normal, I can manage to walk in the upright position and still wear my favorite shoe. : )

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Name the Painting, Artist (pic)

Click here for the answer.

Can you guess what painting this house is featured in? It is a pretty famous painting from the late 1940's (hint - Cushing, ME). Click on the picture for the answer. We were lucky to have the artist's granddaughter, Victoria, be our tour guide at the William A. Farnsworth Library & Art Museum, Rockland, ME. The painting I'm referring to was not on display at the Farnsworth but many of his other paintings were. It was quite interesting.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Berry Manor Inn - Interior Slideshow

The pictures don't do the bed and breakfast justice. I'm working on the rest of our vacation photos and will, in the coming days, post those, too.

For the interior slide show click here.

To read about the Berry Manor Inn and see a slideshow of the exterior, click here.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Berry Manor Inn - Rockland, ME, Slideshow #1

I think the main reason we had such a wonderful vacation was the bed and breakfast we stayed in in Rockland, ME. I fell in love with the Watson-Curtze mansion in Erie when we toured it a couple of years ago during a Christmas tour. I wanted to find a place to stay in Maine that was similar and boy did I find it. It was like stepping back in time to a place of grandeur and opulence. What I found was a Victorian mansion called The Berry Manor Inn.

The breakfasts were served with fine china in a beautiful setting. The food was exquisite and rivaled top restaurants! Ricotta stuffed french toast drizzled with fresh raspberries and raspberry juice was just one such dish. It was unbelievable!

There were common rooms that all the guests could visit and relax. The inn-keeper's mothers baked delicious homemade pies that were set out every evening for evening snacks. (I gained 5 pounds during our 7 night stay there but it was worth it!)

The bedroom's decor is gorgeous! We stayed in room #9 in the restored carriage house. It was beautifully decorated and very plush. When you enter the bathroom, however, the decor was that of Victorian times but it was outfitted with a huge body shower with 6 pulsating spray heads that relaxed every muscle in your body. The bathroom also had a nice deep jacuzzi for two. Luxury, I didn't want to leave the bathroom, ha.

It was also the little touches that the innkeepers, Cheryl and Mike, did so well. Late in the afternoon they'd come back to your room and turn on the radio to soft chamber music like you'd have heard playing during the Victorian era. The bed was turned down and a silver plate with Hershey kisses welcomed us when we returned in the evening after a long day of sightseeing. And, of course, a new freshly-baked pie graced the common-room counter.

I read the reviews from travel agents, etc about the how great the Inn was but took that with a grain of salt as many times reviewers get a "freebie" so I question the validity of some reviews. It makes a difference if you have to pay hard-earned money for something. We did and it was worth every penny we spent. Great job, Berry Manor Inn!
Click here to see slide show of the exterior.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Holy Cow!

Yes, we are back from our vacation to Maine. This was one of our best vacations ever. The first night we encountered this cow parked at our hotel. That is a full-sized truck so you can imagine how big that cow is. What a spectacle it would be going down the freeway!