Thursday, November 8, 2007

Camera Happy

I can't stop taking pictures! I love our new camera! I finally can show pictures of these cool Cairns at Taughannock. I've tried taking pictures with my phone all summer but they never were clear enough to really get the picture.
So the story with these Cairns is that a few were built at the bottom of the falls earlier this spring and as the summer went on, it seemed that everyone who visited contributed to the collection. Now there are hundreds of them! Cairns have a long history but in short they are artificial stone structures used anywhere from marking burial sites, to trails, or just for pure pleasure and zen. They're pretty cool, especially when there are so many, like here.

Here are some dried out seed pods. Not sure exactly what plant it is, but they're pretty. AND it shows off how good of pictures our camera can take! I've kind of gotten out of the habit of seeing things in the light of being able to take a good picture, but I'm sure it will come back quickly.

Both the main falls and lower falls of Taughannock. The leaves are almost done :(

And finally a good snuggle with Abner - what a sweet boy :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

New Bios

Check out Ithaca Beer Company's updated staff page:
You can see Mike and all the monkeys he works with :)

First Flakes

That's right - today we had our first flurries of the season! I'm so excited for this winter!

Birthday Girls

My grandma turned 99 today!!!!!
She is such an amazing woman, just keeps going and going. I love her so much!

And Miss Janet, a friend of mine from DE, celebrated her birthday today too!
Happy birthday gal!

Is Patience Really A Virtue?

I guess so, but sometimes I do think it works better to yell your brains out and kick and scream as loud as you can. Unfortunately, both Mike and I are not so great when it comes to such displays of anger and frustration. I guess that could be viewed as a good quality, but after personal experience working in the retail industry, I know all too well that if you bitch and moan enough, most likely you'll get what you want. Luckily, we didn't need to resort to such measures in our camera situation, although I still wonder that if we had gone that route, would we have had a new camera months ago? Who knows...
ANYWAY - we can finally put this whole thing behind us because last night our old camera was "junked out" and we were given the full purchase amount to buy a brand new one!
As I'm sure you can imagine, we are very happy and relieved to have this taken care of. And we love our new camera:
So long blurry pictures -we are back in business!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Happy Halloween!

I love Halloween! I feel like I haven't really done too much the last couple of years, but working in an elementary school, I've been thrown right back into it. At school, a few of the teachers and aides that I work with decided to do a Wizard of Oz theme for the school party. We all dressed up towards the end of the day and the school puts on a parade for parents and the high school, which is right next door. I was given the role of the lion, so I decided to make my own costume. It was so much fun! I don't think that I've had the sewing machine out since we've moved, so it was good to get back into it. I got a shirt and pants from good will and then borrowed a wig from my mom. Then I made a main out of material and sewed it to a headband. Then made a neck thing, tail, and wrist and ankle decorations. I was really happy with how it came out.

The teacher that I work with mainly is the Tin Man next to me. She is so nice - all the teachers are really great that I work with.

Happy Birthday John!

Another VERY LATE wish! Mike's grandma's husband, John, had a birthday on Oct. 12! Happy Birthday John! We hope that you had a great day and we are looking forward to hopefully seeing you soon!

Fall in Ithaca

This fall has been really nice so far. The weather has been really nice - warm, sunny days and cool, clear nights. The leaves have been beautiful and we've really been enjoying being back up north. It is starting to get cooler now though. Last week I had to scrape my windshield one morning and last night we had a good frost. The deer and turkeys are out more and we've put an extra blanket on the bed. The signs of winter are becoming more and more visible with each day. Here are some pictures from around Ithaca. I've been trying to get out to the parks several days a week after school. I figure that I better enjoy it now because once the snow comes, a lot of the park trails will be shut down for the rest of the winter.

These are both of Taughannock Falls State Park

Buttermilk Falls State Park

A beautiful sunrise last week


On the drive home to State College two weeks ago

And Miss Myra. We're back to the meds for her. A couple of weeks ago I noticed that she was sneezing again really bad. And as I was calling the vet to get a refill of meds (I had let them run out a few weeks ago to see if she would be ok) I noticed snot on the bathroom sink with blood in it. So I took her back to the vet to get a new analysis. They put her on two different meds - both she takes orally twice a day. I'm getting better about giving it to her, but she just hates it so much. I hate doing it to her (were back to quarentening her into the bathroom, wrapping her in a towel and shoving a syringe down her throat - twice now - and then she spits half of it out) but it really makes such a difference. When I took her almost 1.5 weeks ago, she could barely breathe out of her nose. You could watch her lips puff out every time she breathed out. But when I took her back yesterday for a check-up, she was pretty much back to normal. But now they want us to keep giving her these meds for another 3 weeks and put her on a special diet and then go back for another check-up. I'm so glad that she is getting better, but all this is so stressful to her. I just hate it, but I have to remember that it's for her health, and she deserves to be able to breathe - I can definitely empathize with her after going through so many allergy attacks myself. I just can't imagine having to do this to her for the rest of her life. I think after months of this, her spirit would be really dampened. Just hopefully the diet is the answer and she can come off these prescriptions soon.

Another One Ties the Knot

The Sunday after my parent's retirement party, we got to go to a wedding for a guy that Mike works with at the brewery, Danny. The wedding was held in Ithaca at Buttermilk Falls State Park. The ceremony was really nice and sweet, then they had a big BBQ afterwards. The fun thing about this wedding was that when they sent the invitation, they requested that we wear jeans, and that suits were prohibited.
It was a fun time, most of the staff from the brewery were there, so it was almost like a mini work party.

Here is Lin & Dan

CJ, another brewery worker, played guitar during the ceremony. He's really good and has a great voice. I guess he's in a couple bands, we'll have to get out and see some more of his work!

Fun games were also allowed, like "Catch Zach and give him a mohawk!" The bride had the honors, but it only ended up being a couple of strands. Zach was pretty scared all the same - funny stuff.

Dan & Zach

CJ playing a saw with a bow. I had never seen such a thing, but it actually sounded pretty good!

This is the papercutting that I did for them. The picture isn't great, but if you blow it up you can see "LOVE" on top, Lin & Dan, and the date. The design is modeled after their wedding invitation.
Congratulations Dan & Lin!!

The Next Chapter

About 2 weeks ago, my parents celebrated both of their retirements and 60th birthdays. It was really nice, we got to be all together, David, Jeannie and family were there and Mike's parents, and a lot of my parent's friends - many whom we hadn't seen for a couple of years. It was really a nice time.
I'm excited for my parents to be beginning this new stage in their lives. I think that they are really going to enjoy their new freedom and grow even more both in their marriage and separate interests. They have both accomplished so much during their careers, raised a fantastic family :), and have made it through so many ups and downs. I think that I can speak for several people when I say that we are so proud of you and so happy for all of your accomplishments. Congratulations and we wish you the best in your future adventures!
And HAPPY BIRTHDAY too! (Dee - March 7 & Lee - October 10)

This is a papercutting that I made for the special occasion. I was pretty happy with how it came out.

We got to spend some quality time with the nephews too. Here is Evan in his Halloween costume that Jeannie made. It was so cute!

Conell trying on the dino hat.

Evan and I found this cat outside my parent's house. It was so sweet, a stray, but so friendly. I wish I could have taken it home, but rules are rules. :( Evan's so silly though - I miss my nephews!

GABF 2007

I know this was over 3 weeks ago, but I wanted to write about it. It was so much fun. Oct. 10-14, Mike and I went to Denver, CO for the Great American Beer Festival (GABF). Ithaca Beer Co. paid for Mike to go and I got a pretty sweet deal too. We went there with Dan, the owner of Ithaca Beer Co., Chief (the other brewer), and Eric (the sales rep). Chief was the only one of us who had gone before, so he was helpful with showing us around. The first night we were there, we went to an opening private party at Wynkoop Brewing Company. That place was amazing! It was so big - I think it was 3 stories, the top floor had over 20 pool tables, plus a full bar on each level. All the food and beer you could eat/drink for a few hours. It was really nice. Afterwards we headed a few blocks over to Falling Rock, which is a cool tap room/bar. We ended up spending a lot of time there - when the festival wasn't going on, it seemed to be the prime gathering spot. The actual fest ran Thurs, Fri, & Sat nights and an afternoon session on Sat. too. Each session lasted 4 hours and there was something like 400 breweries and over 1800 different beers available for sampling. It was held at the Colorado Convention Center - and it was HUGE! I guess they said over 46,000 people attended - the biggest turn-out yet. I'm pretty sure they sold out each session.
Anyway - it was a great time all together. We also got to visit Great Divide, Flying Dog, and Coors Field. We made some new friends and experienced the biggest brew fest in the world. It was a strain on the body, going through such intense sampling :) and being a mile above sea level, and traveling, but I think we will definitely be returning in the future.
Here's a couple of pictures - I even bought a disposable camera since ours is STILL being worked on. Just to get this out - we pretty much HATE (that's a mean word, maybe it's more that we're very upset and disappointed with) Best Buy right now. They keep saying they are going to fix our camera, then send it away to their "shop" and two weeks later we get it back fixed, but only for about 4 pictures. They say that nothing is wrong with it, yet it doesn't work and somehow they figure out how to fix it (temporarily). Thank goodness we have a warranty on it, but we have been doing this dance with them for over 3 months now. And this last time, we took it back for the 4th time with the SAME problem, they sent it away again, and now are almost refusing to send it back, saying that there is nothing wrong with it but they can't fix it and we can't get a replacement. The actual store says that they can't do anything for us until they have the camera in their possession, but it's been away for almost 5 weeks when it should only be away for 2 weeks at the max. The good news is that when and if the camera comes back, they are going to refund our money or at least give us a new camera, but right now we feel as though we are getting so messed with. So after this experience, I'm going to make it a priority to never go to Best Buy again! I was trying to stay positive and not spew all that out, but I had to get it off my chest - sorry for the rant!
Anyway - here are the pictures from my phone and junk camera which really took horrible pictures too. Oh well - what can I do?

This just reminds me of papercutting - I like :)

Mike and Chief outside Falling Rock

Inside Falling Rock - this wall had taps going the whole way across, I have no idea how many they had - tons!

Here we all are at the booth. It was my first time being able to actually "work" a festival. I got to give people drinks and get people excited about our beers. It was great - I think I could really get into doing this more. (Chief, Dan, Me, Mike, Eric)

We also ran into our old friend Josh from DE. He used to work at Dogfish too but now lives in Milwaukee and works at Miller.

People get pretty silly at these fests. I learned a new trick (not really trick, but something that people often do at the fest) is walk around with pretzel necklaces. I was seeing so many of them and thought they were for sale somewhere, but when I asked someone, they said that they brought it from home. Hundreds of people walking around with these things - just a string with pretzels strung on it, tied around their necks. An instant snack with no hands needed. Although I never made it to the store to create my own, I discovered that most people were pretty open to sharing their necklaces, so it worked out nicely. This pretzel hat was quite crafty!

The guys working hard. They got such great reactions from people. I think the beer was viewed as quite tasty.

Don't I look so natural?