Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday Musings

What a wonderful string of Indian Summer days we have had here in Upstate NY. The weather has been glorious and I have enjoyed every minute of every beautiful day.

I had intended to write an essay about Cousins, which I fully intend to do sometime soon. However, the day has gotten away from me. While cleaning my desk drawer this afternoon, I ran across this little gem and thought you, my bloggy friends, might enjoy it.

Inspirational Thoughts
  • Try everything once.
  • Invent a holiday.
  • Learn three jokes that get laughs every time.
  • Be a mentor.
  • Wear only comfortable shoes.
  • Write a sonnet.
  • Start a reading group. (Or join one)
  • Store snowballs in the freezer and pull them out for a summer party.
  • Enjoy fresh tomatoes in December.
  • Do nothing all day and feel no guilt.
  • Wake up.
  • Dance all night.
  • Take the road less traveled.

Beauty seen is never lost.

God's colors are all fast.

~John Greenleaf Whittier~

~Hippo Hugs~

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Where Have I Been?

Just recently, while on a "girlfriend" trip to Las Vegas, one of my travelling companions and my daughter commented that they really missed my blog posts. Now, neither of those ladies leave comments, and I was surprised that they were faithfully reading my blog.

Where have I been? The answer to that is simple and complicated all at once. In September, we took our dream trip around the Pacific Northwest. I posted a little, and promised more but when I got home I just, I don't know, lost interest I guess. Anyway, each Monday I am determined to begin again, but somehow before I know it, it's Friday and I've not posted.

This Sunday afternoon, having just arrived home after a quick weekend jaunt to Hershey, PA to watch my niece run in the State cross country finals, I have decided to begin anew. Not only have I not been posting, I have not been keeping up with all my wonderful blogging friends. For that, I sincerely apologize, and admit that I have sorely missed all of you.

So, by means of catching up....This is where I have been.

Washington, Oregon and California

I took tons of pictures, but will spare my blogging friends. Jim and I have decided to collaborate on a scrapbook of our trip. I may post just a few pages here.

Attending one of the most beautiful weddings ever.

Enjoying the beauty of the wild flowers which were so beautiful this year.

Camping with my sister-in-law at one of my favorite spots on earth.

Enjoying beautiful fall days with my husband.

Hiking with Nicole.

Taking a Vegas jaunt with some girlfriends.

And so, you see, I haven't just been watching TV and eating bon-bons. In between all this travelling, I have managed to accomplish cleaning up my garden for winter, making applesauce and spaghetti sauce for my freezer, and a few other things.

What I have neglected is my writing and communicating with you, my dear friends in Blogland. I plan to be better. My daughter, and some of you, are participating in the exercise to write a novel in a month. Me, I'm just going to try to write on my blog more than once a week this month.

~May you have warm words on a cold evening,

A full moon on a dark night,

And the road downhill all the way to your door.

~Hippo Hugs~

Monday, September 20, 2010

Falling in Oregon

In the almost three weeks we have been on the road, we have had only one really serious disappointment. That was Crater Lake National Park. We changed our itinerary so that we could do the Rogue River Cruise, delaying our arrival at Crater Lake by one day. That was just one day too many. When we arrived at the Park, it was raining. Silly us, we still had hopes that we would see the caldera and the wonderful blue water that is Crater Lake.

What we, in fact, saw was NOTHING. I honestly don't think I had ever seen fog that thick. We stopped and had a cup of coffee, thinking it might clear. The Ranger told us that they forecast was for thunder and lightening and more fog. Needless to say, we high tailed it off the mountain. However, we didn't do it hurriedly. The fog made it nearly impossible to see past our noses. My reaction: One more reason to come back to Oregon.

That brings me to today and the title of this post. We have had the most delightful day in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. It began at the Bonneville Fish Hatchery where we saw beautiful rainbow trout

This is Herman the Sturgeon, over nine feet long and weighing over 400 pounds.

We also saw salmon being weighed and evaluated for spawning. There is an overabundance of salmon needed for the spawning process in the hatchery, the less usable salmon are sold to help offset the cost of running the hatchery.

We watched a wonderfully informative video on the process of artificial spawning.

Then it was on to Historic Highway 30 and the Falls of the Gorge. I was hoping to post these wonderful pictures in the order in which we saw them, but I don't have the patience to deal with Blogger tonight. So here they are.

Latourell Falls

This is the last of the falls we saw on Highway 30.

WahKenna Falls

Bridal Veil Falls

Multnomah Falls are the highest of the falls we saw on this day. I thought I'd add a couple of photos of the handsome people viewing nature.

Horse Tail Falls

The end of the day brought us to a beautiful lookout point where we could see the beauty of the Columbia River. I'd love to post the pictures from there, but Blogger is stronger than I am tonight. With that I will say good-night and....

~Hippo Hugs~

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Oregon Gold

Walking on the beach this morning I found myself praising God for his beautiful creation. More than that, praising him for allowing me to enjoy all the beauty of nature here in Oregon and Washington.

Just a few minutes ago, Jim and I were sitting on the deck outside our room gazing at the ocean. The conversation was all about the wonder of being here and experiencing this grandeur. We grew up in a town of less than 800 people in the Pennsylvania hills. Our school district was the smallest in Pennsylvania.

Our working class families gave us all the benefits they could, encouraged us to look beyond the small town of our youth, to go to college and work for whatever would better our lives. They told us we could be teachers, engineers, doctors, lawyers, but their lives were centered in a very small sphere and they never told us about travel.

I keep wondering what my dad would have thought were he alive and I were to call him on my cell phone as I walked on the beach of the Pacific Ocean. He told me I could be anything I wanted to be, but never mentioned that I could go anywhere I wanted to go. He would be so happy for me, and he would have been proud that his daughter was able to travel all over the country.

This trip has been such a joy and blessing to us. It is so clear to me that God has been traveling along this road with us. I'm sure there those who would think that the things that have happened would have happened anyway. That's okay, but for me, I prefer to give the credit to God.

~Hippo Hugs~

PS - Pictures tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Back in the Saddle Again

Where have I been? Where am I going? Where am I at the present time? All those are good questions.
  • Where have I far as my blog is concerned? I'm not sure I have a really understandable or acceptable answer to that. The summer was particularly busy with a lot of short trips. I spent time with my niece and sister-in-law, visited my mother in law, camped with some of my girlfriends, spent some time in the mountains with Bruce and Shelly. My Aunt Letty, my mother's last sibling, passed away. That was a difficult loss. I suppose all of these things are good reasons for not blogging. But, if the truth were known, I just have found it hard to blog. More and more of my good ol' bloggin' buddies are not posting anymore. I think FB has taken over priorities for them. I'm sure FB has kept me from posting as much too. I miss my regular pals in Blogland. All of these things have worked together to add to my lack of blogging enthusiasm. So, I apologize. I really do love blogging and plan to work harder at posting more often.

  • Where have I been....geographically? Oh my! Since September 1, I have been in the Pacific Northwest....having a fabulous time.

September 1-4 - Seattle.

We toured the harbor, rode up in the Space Needle, explored Pioneer Square and roamed around Pike Street Market among many other things in this beautiful city on Puget Sound.

September 4-5 - The Northern Cascade Loop. We started in Seattle and ended up in Bellingham, WA. What a beautiful drive.

Yesterday we arrived here in Port Angeles, WA. It was a cold and rainy day so we read and relaxed in the afternoon.

The nice part about not having a really tight agenda is the ability to change plans. Because of a lot of fog today, we decided to skip Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park and check out some other sights. We took two delightful hikes to see some beautiful falls.

Tomorrow marks the first full week of our vacation. It is hard to fathom all the beautiful things we have seen. Every day I say to Jim, "How can anyone believe that all this just happened? " This is, without a doubt, proof of a Creator.
We are changing our plans a little, causing me quite a bit of disappointment. We have decided to opt for exploring Hurricane Ridge rather than ferrying to Victoria Island. We have a couple of days at the end of the trip without any plans. I hope we can still get to Victoria. Keep your fingers crossed for me, will you?

Until later....

Hippo Hugs

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Few Days in the Adirondacks

We had a great time visiting with Bruce and Shelly at their summer home in the Adirondacks. The weather was iffy, but nice enough that we spent some time outside. Saturday was a perfect "deck" day and we spent the afternoon sunning and catching up. Of course, I managed to get a nap in. There is something about that mountain air....

There was also just enough rain to allow us plenty of time to read. Jim did accomplish several little jobs for Bruce. Since that was part of the reason for our visit, it was good that he could do a few things.

Bruce is continuing to improve. Although the road to recovery is still a long one, he is doing well. He uses his wheel chair less and less all the time. We went out several times and he didn't use the chair at all. I'm so proud of how hard he is working and the progress he is making. Shelly is a good care giver and coach.

The highlight of this trip was our trip to Blue Mountain Lake for dinner at The Hedges. The food was outstanding as was the service. I snapped a few pictures, none of which really do it justice.

I know this is probably a strange picture, but the entire dining room, walls and ceilings was this beautiful, decorative tin. I've seen tin ceilings before, but I think this is the first time I've seen an entire room done in it.

Isn't this an unusual stump?

The sunset was really much more breathtaking than this.

How would you like to meet this guy on a hiking path?

We arrived home yesterday about 1 PM. I've done laundry and made spaghetti sauce from the fresh tomatoes in our garden and now I'm off to visit some of my family in Pennsylvania.
~Hippo Hugs~

Thursday, August 5, 2010

24 Hours at the Camping House

I was sad to see my kids fly back to Las Vegas. A good cure for the blues is a little trip to Hammondsport to the Camping House. Due to everyone's busy schedules, we could only manage a little over 24 hours, but early Wednesday morning we were off.

Sandi, Linda and me in front of the camping house. I guess, for those who don't know, I should explain the camping house. This camp belongs to Sandi's family and was built by her dad on a piece of land in a fairly remote area near Keuka Lake. The house has no running water or electricity. It is really roughing it and we love it.

We started our day with lunch of hot dogs cooked on sticks over a wood fire. I haven't had a hot dog that good since my days as a Girl Scout.

Sandi's mom lives not far away in her lovely log cabin overlooking Keuka Lake. We walked over to visit her and her sweet dog, Lyric.

After saying, "Hello" we brought the canoe back to camp so the girls could enjoy the pond.

Nicole brought her new kayak along.

Beth decided to "paddle her own canoe."

Sandi and Linda had an enjoyable trip around the pond. I sat in the sun and worked a crossword puzzle. I love to be near the water. I even love to be on the water. BUT, I don't want to work my way....give me a boat with a motor.

After dinner Sandi went out scavenging fire wood in the John Deere "Gator". This provided a wonderful campfire and the heat to make S'mores. It was wonderful to sit around the campfire listening to the night sounds in the woods.
We all had a good night's sleep (after we got Linda and Nicole to settle down and stop giggling). We awoke this morning to a great breakfast cooked by Sandi's mom, Sue. We also awoke to rain. It was really pleasant to sit around the table in the camp for a couple of hours listening to the rain beat on the roof.
The sky cleared in time for us to get out and enjoy the day. By noon the weather was just perfect. Before we knew it, it was time for lunch and then packing up to leave. We were all a little sad that the time was so short, but also so happy to have had this time to enjoy one another's company and the relaxing atmosphere of the camping house.
I came home with my stomach full from the great food we had and my sides aching from laughing.
Stay tuned for my next adventure which begins Saturday in the Adirondack mountains with Bruce and Shelly.
~Hippo Hugs~
P.S. I do know how to double space between paragraphs, but Blogger is being stubborn again tonight.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Day at the Lake

Having Brian and Gretchen here for a week hasn't just been their vacation, but ours too. We are having such a wonderful time visiting with and just plain enjoying our kids. Friday, we decided to spend the day enjoying Lake Ontario.

We started out at B. Forman Park a place full of memories for Gretchen. We spent many afternoons at this park when our children were growing up; school picnics, family picnics, church picnics, just hanging out as a family. Our girls always enjoyed the swings and slide at the park.
Hey Brian, look how high I can go.

Skipping stones with Dad was always a highlight of any trip to the park.
Looking for the perfect stone.

Then it was on to Sodus Point Light House where Gretchen went on her Biology class fishing trip. Gretchen caught the most fish which didn't exactly impress the boys in her class.

On the beach at Chimney Bluffs State Park.
Checking out the poison red berries.

Some wildlife along the path.

Views of the bluffs.

We finished up the afternoon with a late lunch at the Candy Kitchen, one of Brian's favorite places to visit when he is here.

Another perfect day celebrating life with our beloved children. If you're reading this, Paige, we miss you.
~Hippo Hugs~

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Family Visit

Gretchen and Brian arrived on Tuesday for a much anticipated, long awaited visit. We have been having so much fun laughing, playing, eating and just enjoying each others' company.

Yesterday, we made a quick visit to Pennsylvania to visit with family. It was a delightful day and I thought I'd share a few pictures.
Gretchen and Brian posing with Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Dale. Gretchen is so happy to have a chance to visit with her family and Brian is loved by everyone.

Gretchen only gets to see her dear grandmother every two or three years so it was all smiles while they were together.

Our nephew, Derek, was unable to join us, but his wife and children were able to spend time with us.

From left to right, Brian, Gretchen, Anita, Analiese, Alexandra (twins) and in front, Andrew.

Anita, a lovely mother, wife, niece and cousin. Oh yes, daughter-in-law and granddaughter-in-law. We love her.

Say cheese, children.
We had a wonderful day, a yummy dinner and drove home in a blinding rainstorm. We all slept peacefully last night.
~Hippo Hugs~

Monday, July 19, 2010

Horse Whisperer

I received this from my dear friend Sandy Van the other day. I just had to share it with my Bloggie friends, especially, Midlife Mom, who I suspect is a Horse Whisperer herself.

~Hippo Hugs~

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Going to the Mountains

If you are a regular reader of my blog then you know about our friends, Bruce and Shelly, their accident in October, and the long and arduous recovery that has faced Bruce.

I remember so vividly the day he moved his big toe and we all cried tears of joy. Well, tomorrow we will be going with them to their summer home in the Adirondack mountains to help them settle in for the rest of the summer.

Bruce will have his physical therapy in Old Forge which is about ten miles from the cabin.
The view of Fourth Lake and the wonderful mountain air should go a long way toward bringing healing to their bodies and souls.
We are so grateful for the progress Bruce has made these past months and are confident that he will continue to go forward in the months to come.
~Hippo Hugs~

Friday, July 9, 2010

Great Day!

For many reasons this was a great day. First of all, the heat has broken. We started out very warm. When I left the house for my "Me Day" at 11 A.M. it was 90 degrees once again. By 2 P.M. the rain was falling and the temperature was a wonderful 75.

I spent this day doing errands, shopping, visiting Florence, having lunch out (all by myself). I accomplished everything I had on my list and came home a happy camper.

Although I'm still struggling with my camera, I finally was able to download the Vacation Bible School pictures that I want to share.

I will do that in just a minute, but first I want to report on our Mission Project. This year, we chose Heifer International for our mission. If you are interested in learning more about Heifer Project, you can go to We collected over $1,000 for this organization and are buying:
  • A heifer
  • A goat
  • A sheep
  • A pig
  • Ducks
  • Chickens
  • Bees
  • Rabbits
  • A share of a Water Buffalo
Needless to say, we are very excited about our support of this wonderful organization.

And here are the many faces of VBS.

The Staff without whom VBS would not be possible.

Some of the over 100 children who attended daily.

Such a worthwhile endeavor.

Suffer the little children to come unto me

For such is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Mark 10:13

~Hippo Hugs~