Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Home from California

We just returned from California on Sunday.  We spent a week with my dad visiting.  We had a 2-1/2 week vacation just a month prior out west (Glacier, Yellowstone, Tetons) but I wanted to spend some quality time with Dad and stopping in while on vacation rushes things. 

It was really nice just watching ballgames, going on some local sight-seeing drives and playing cards.  Had I gone at Thanksgiving or Christmas there would have been too many people and too much going on to actually get a good visit in and there is the travel nightmare of it all. 

We did let Dad have some alone time and went to the movies and drove to Calaveras Big Trees for a day trip. They never stop amazing me.  How anyone could have cut down those amazing trees back over 100 years ago is beyond me.  They were so taken with them that they took them.  The huge ones that are left hopefully will live on. You can read about these trees and about organizations trying to save them but the best way to get that message across is for people to see them in person.  They couldn't help but care about them if they see them. Pictures never do justice to the wonders in nature.

We did not get scanned or patted down while on our trip. We just walked through a metal detector both in Sacramento and Erie.  In both airports they didn't even have scanners.  I don't understand why they would only pat down if you set off the metal detector.  The underwear bomber didn't set off any alarms did he?  Anyway, I believe it is all for show.  Someone will get something on that plane if they want to.  Most likely it would  be in some mail the plane carries or luggage. I accidentally brought my contact solution in a zipper bag in my carry-on backpack and didn't realize it until I got to California and took it out to use.  It was a 4oz bottle, over their 3.4 fluid oz limit allowed.  They didn't catch that. I just read that gel sole inserts are not allowed. I didn't know that and I'm glad I wore my newer shoes as my old ones does have them.

My luggage wasn't hand searched like it normally has been in previous trips.  Everything was exactly as it was before.  I had lots of electronics in my suitcase. They must just x-ray them and have some kind of explosive detector.  I was glad they didn't search it because every time they do they break something or don't put the lid back on tight and things get broken and ruined.  I've lost, due to breakage, my portable Water-Pik, hot rollers and a brand-new makeup mirror in the past couple of years.  You pack it carefully and they unpack it and just throw everything  back in your suitcase and you know what happens to the suitcases after that.  I had all my rollers just dumped in my suitcase and the plastic lid cracked and pieces missing from it last year. I realize they are in a hurry  but that just shows a lack of respect to the traveler. 

Our flight was so miserable with the lack of leg room, dry air to breathe, no food (unless you pay $7 for a box lunch) and it is impossible to sleep on the planes with the constant announcements and bell dinging. We had to connect with planes on the opposite side of the airports in the middle of the night.  It isn't fun anymore.  You are herded like cattle and no one cares about your comfort like in the decades past. We made a decision to never fly again unless there is a family emergency.  We love to drive and will just have to plan extra days to get there and back.  We love to see America in the car, we can take what we want with us and stop anytime we want in the car.  On the road, you are king.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


We got out of the car at the parking lot of Artist Point at Yellowstone National Park back in September and headed for the path. Purple caught our eyes. My first thought was not something I am proud of. Luckily it only lasted a second or two and my thoughts changed to admiration. Do you know how compatible those two people are that they would dress alike, in matching purple no less? And when a squirrel moved near the rocks their cameras came up in unison as they both joyed in photographing the animal each having their own camera? All I can think is that they are truly compatible, and really enjoy life together. I snapped and ran. It is one of my favorite photos of the trip.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Many Glacier Moose Family

While we stayed at the Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park we'd spend time relaxing on our room's balcony and look out on Swiftcurrent Lake.  The place was so gorgeous! The rooms weren't much but you pay for the view and you get a view worth more than you paid for!  Below is a video sweep from our balcony of the great view.  The second video is of the moose family frolicking.  Toward the end of the video a baby moose appears.  I love Montana!


Saturday, October 02, 2010

Vacation Photos

After 16 days of a wonderful vacation we are home and reliving it through our photos.  I think the prettiest place has to be Glacier National Park and the Going to the Sun Road.  But my best photo (I think) was from the Grand Teton National Park.  The aspens were changing colors  It was gorgeous. Below is my favorite photo.  I'll post more in the days to come. Click to enlarge.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Shooting Stars

I read in the Erie Times News yesterday that last evening, after 10PM and before 4AM, was suppose to be a show of shooting stars.  Just before bedtime my husband and I went out on the deck and peered up at our little sliver of night sky we can see between our house and all the neighbor houses.  It was a small window. We looked and watched and strained our necks.  Finally, after about 10 minutes, we saw ONE. We high-fived. Soon my neck couldn't take it any longer and we went inside satisfied we at least saw one.  It was the first one in about 6 or more years for me.  I guess I just don't look up much anymore. 

I returned outside at 2AM hoping to see a big show.  I sat in a chair on our deck and rested my head back on the house siding. I had my Zune playing a soft Bach into my earphones.  After a hot, humid and draining day the breeze was wisping my hair away from my head and releasing the built-up heat from the day.  It was awesome.  But no shooting stars.  Where were they?  All the city lights probably made them invisible. But just as nice was the cool breeze, soft music and seeing the silhouette of a hundred pears swaying on the pear tree against the night sky.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Happenings in Early May

Just some updates:

My very old Moosie cat has died.  I had a hard time with it as I've been babying him for more than a year now to get him to eat. I'll miss him a lot.

My mp3 player has died.  My Creative Zen worked really good, too.  It just quit.  I did online searches and found out how to reset it but that didn't help.  I'll have to keep my eyes open for another one.  I had some audio books on there that I no longer have on my computer that I was listening too. Backup everything.

I had a root canal done a few days ago and I'm finally off the antibiotics and pain killers.  I feel really good today, finally.  No brain fog. What a difference.

The weather has been so lousy I can't even get out to find my ferns for my hanging baskets.  The wind has been terrible but the forecast is looking up by the weekend.

The Penguins are about to win or lose the series against Montreal tonight.  Go Pens. I have a bad feeling, though. But if they lose, well, we can then fit in some evening walks instead of watching hockey.

I gave up artificial sweeteners about 7 weeks ago.  Soon after I had no problem giving up all sweet things.  It was amazing that if I didn't sip on that diet cola and drink bottled water instead, I didn't want any sweets. I do drink coffee in the mornings with powdered creamer which I may have to give up.  I have lost 12 pounds in 7 weeks without exercising.  However the past couple of weeks, eating the same amount of calories (I have been counting seriously) I haven't lost a pound.  It's time to start exercising I guess but it could be my scale.

Yesterday, while I was still on the antibiotics and pain pills, I cheated.  I was at my in-laws and they have a gumball machine with m&ms in it.  I'm blaming the pain pills.  I had 3 little handfuls of them.  I don't even like them that much.  Well, that's over with, I'm off all medication and it's time to move on.

I have found that I can weigh myself, step off and weigh myself again the scale it can weigh 6 lbs difference depending on how straight you stand, how far up on the scale you stand or if you lean at all.  I went to and ordered a balance beam scale as our other scale is shot.  It just arrived as I was typing this.  The box is about 6 ft long!  How am I going to get it upstairs?  I'll take it up piece by piece.  I think having an accurate scale will help me know if my calories counting is accurate. It weighs as small as 1/4 pound increments.  It's just like the ones at the doctor's office.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Peevish Gull and the Cute Ruddy Ducks

The weekend was perfect for a trip to Pymatuning State Park, PA where we saw large numbers of the cute Ruddy ducks.  We saw several immature Bald eagles and the Purple Martins were back and nesting.  The calm was interupted by this terrible, nasty gull.  See video.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter

Wishing you all a glorious Easter.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Priced Too High

Tonight I started planning our vacation for the year. We decided we'd like to take a southwest vacation this year on the way to California. I was about 1/2 hour into my researching and came across information on the Grand Canyon. I've been there before when I was a kid when my family first moved out from Minnesota to California and spent the whole summer traveling around all the western states and visiting all the scenic areas. But that was about 40 plus years ago.

To my surprise, it ain't like it used to be. Entrance to the Grand Canyon is $25 per vehicle, the cost of the Skywalk is $25 each, the cost of entering the reservation to get to the skywalk is $50. The estimate is $80 per person with additonal taxes and fees. And, get this, cameras are forbidden on the skywalk. However, they will take your photo and you can buy it from them at additional cost. This is a rip off. I wanted to see the Carlsbad Caverns, too. You can't take photos of the bat flight. Not even video without flash. Ya, you can buy the photo at the store. I long for the good old days when there weren't rules and regulations up the yahoo. Protect the enviroment? Mostly to make money. Oh, well. I saw the bat flight at Carlsbad Caverns. I heard the noise and suddenly saw the mass of bats and then fainted. Yep, missed the rest of the bat flight. Made my mom miss it, too, because she was trying to revive me. I wanted my husband to see this wonderful place.

All this commercialism really takes the wonder out of these wonders of the world. I went through this last year when I was planning our Boston trip. I wanted to see all the historic sites but the parking costs were ridiculous to the point we nixed it and went to North Carolina Blue Ridge Mts and had a low cost wonderful time.

This makes me want to change my plans and take a northern vacation. Maybe up through Montana, Washington and Oregon. I would say Canada, but I'm still mad at the Canadian Hockey team and even our (especially our)Penguin Sidney Crosby for taking the Olympic gold medal away from the USA team.

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Appreciation for Music

I have always hated classical music. I couldn't help it, I just hated it, I liked country music. Then we stayed at a bed and breakfast, the Berry Manor Inn, 2006 in Rockland, Maine. It was a Victorian mansion converted to a bed and breakfast and all the rooms were appointed in Victorian splender right down to classical chamber music and turned down beds. We weren't expecting anything when we returned from a long outing for the day. We opened our door and classical music was playing softly on the radio, the bed was turned down and chocolate mints were on the pillows of the huge poster bed.

After that vacation, every time I hear soft classical music like Bach, I think of Maine and that bed and breakfast. It was one of the best places (the best!) we've ever stayed at.

I made some Smilebox slideshows for my "This Old Erie House" blog regarding art glass and had to choose the music from their selection. The only thing that fit with the slideshow was classical. I listened to it over and over and now I'm so hooked on classical music which does show you people can change. Just like that. Geniuses they were, Mozart, Bach and Beethoven.