Friday, October 28, 2016

Of Cows, a Dog and A Rose

Mom and Georgia were off to Cape Cod this past week.  
They are on their way home as I type this post.
What this means is that I walked Mom's dog, Bear, twice a day.
This is good for me.
And like most things that are good for me I resist them until I 
can't not do it any longer and then I actually enjoy it.
Just keepin' it real.

So, Bear and I would walk each morning and afternoon.
My darling husband took the night shift and let him out for his evening needs.

Bear is a good walker but has this crazy quirk.
When a car is coming he runs toward it.
I really don't understand what he is thinking but it requires keeping the 
leash tight when you know a car is going to pass by....
not sure how far he would go and am not willing to test that theory.

One afternoon these cows decided they were interested in us and came 
walking with us, just on the other side of the fence.
I always kind of hope this will happen because I am fascinated by cows.
They are such curious and interesting animals.
So much more social than one would think.
My attachment came back in my childhood when we would go 
to purchase our raw milk from the grandfather of my best friend.
When there were calves I could be found hanging out with them....
Just chalk that up to one of those needless facts you don't have to retain.
But it helps to understand why I am sooo very happy to live across 
from a herd of milk cows.

On one of the first mornings this week we were walking past our home
when I noticed that our roses were still looking pretty spunky.
As I tried to take a few photos Bear got into the shot.
At first he was just there....but when I called his name
it actually turned into a pretty cool shot.
He makes a wonderful backdrop for this red rose.

What did my dogs think of all of this other dog stuff going on
this week?
They kind of loved it because I would allow them to come along
in the car.
They LOVE to ride in the car.
Even if it is just two driveways away.
Then they waited in the car while Bear and I 
walked and then we returned

Crazy, right?
But every day they were so excited to do this.
It is cool here this week so they were perfectly 
fine to wait in the car.

I'll leave you with one amusing anecdote...
One day I stopped to walk Bear on my way home from some errands.
(No dogs were with me.)
I pulled in the driveway and while walking Bear got into a 
texting conversation with Chelsea.
As I left I was so caught up in my conversation that I forgot I had
driven there and just walked right past my van and came on home.
Later in the afternoon I noticed that "someone" was parked in Mom's
driveway.  As I pondered whose van it was it hit me....
It was ME!
I was parked over there!!
Got quite a giggle out of that....
trying to cover the panic that I might just be 
losing it.

My life has officially "gone to the dogs".

Monday, October 24, 2016

This Weekend's Wedding

Meet my friend, Ruth.
She is such a sweet lady who loves much!
She loves her friends, her family and her neighbors.
She loves the Lord.
She also loves Gary.
She and Gary were once married.
Then life happened and they weren't married anymore.
But then REAL Life happened and God reunited them.
On Saturday they were remarried!
It was way more moving than I expected.
I guess not having been to a re-marriage before 
I didn't know what 
to expect...
It definitely didn't feel like they were going through the motions.
These are two adults who really understand the commitment
they are making to each other and the Lord.

Since I was busy with the food I didn't get any photos of the two 
of them together but here is a photo of the men right before the 
ceremony started,
Gary is on the right.
Pastor Mike on the left.
Gary and Ruth's son, Steve, is in the middle.

In the moments JUST before Ruth walked down the aisle I got 
she and her kiddos to pose for me.

I didn't take any photos during the actual ceremony.
I was too busy wiping tears...
But our friend, Kelly was the official photographer and she
captured many special moments.

Running back to the fellowship area immediately following the 
ceremony I snapped a couple of photos before guests began to 
come in.
Everyone loved the floating candle centerpieces.
Ruth had given Deanna, of Creekside Cottage, a photo of something
she found and loved and asked if it could be duplicated.
Sure enough...these were so pretty lit.

Here was one of the drink stations taken earlier in the day.
One of these was later filled with water and the other with 
pink lemonade.
A coffee carafe was added in the center.
The pictures on the drink tables came from my living room.
Turns out I happen to like pink and green, 
which were the wedding colors, 
pretty well myself.
Didn't really think about it until I looked around for 
items to take to pull in more of her colors.
The ones already at the church tend toward Autumn
rather than Spring.

 As someone who makes a lot of party favors I thought Ruth's 
jelly favors were adorable!!
Small jars of jelly from Kitchen Kettle Village
with a personalized label.
I made sure I got me some blackberry jelly!

While I would have loved the opportunity to make the cake
I would have had neither the time or expertise to make something this lovely.
It is a duplicate of their original cake.
A local bakery, Achenbach's, did a fantastic job!
It was beautiful and delicious.
Very moist!

The serving utensils were vintage and had personal 
meaning to Ruth.

I got only ONE food photo.
It was of the fruit cup which was simple but tasty.

Green grapes and pineapple with a splash of organic orange juice.
Topped off with strawberry fluff and a slice of kiwi.

To see more about this wedding from Deanna's perspective you 
can visit her at Creekside Cottage.
Take note of the Sweetheart table....simply adorable.
The picture over the table is vintage and hung in Warren's
Grandmother's dining room for many years.
It has hung in ours since her passing.
I really liked it in that spot behind the couple as they
ate their meal and then greeted guests.

It was truly an honor and a blessing to be a part of 
this important day.

It was also great to work together with a team of people to 
pull it all off!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

More Vacation Photos and What's Next around Here

We are home once again.
But these are the final photos from our last day in New York.
On Saturday Warren and I took off for a day of exploring on our own.
Jonathan stayed at the resort for a day of quiet.
He liked it.
And we liked our day of traveling back roads.
First order of business was lunch so we headed back over to Callicoon 
to the Brewery which had great reviews.
I will say that the food was really, really good.
I will also say that the environment was kind of dirty.
Don't want to steer anyone wrong if they are the squeamish kind.
It is a restored fire house, that by the window decor seems to have had
at least one other owner as a restaurant before becoming the brewery.
Their fresh cut fries are the bomb!
Warren had a tasty burger with corned beef on it.
I left my usual gluten free self somewhere else and had a quesadilla.
I could only eat half. 
Jonathan got to enjoy the rest of it later.

Our server wasn't the friendliest type.  In fact her shirt summed her up
pretty well.  It said, "I don't listen".  Sure enough....she doesn't.
But finally we got her to talk to us a bit by asking her about local
lakes to visit.  She suggested Huntington Lake which wasn't too far away.
We drove over and it surely is beautiful!
We took a couple of photos but knew we wanted to keep looking
because I was picturing something a bit more secluded and accessible
than this little pull off with houses all around.

It was such a perfect day.
We were blessed.

We headed out to find Crystal Lake.
All was good and happy until shortly before we arrived at the lake
we found we had no phone service.
Only a problem because our only directions were on our phones.
However we kept driving as long as we knew we would 
remember how to back track.
I think I recall Warren saying something about bread crumbs.
Finally we turned onto this beautiful lane through the woods.

And then we popped out to this view.....

According to a man we met there, this lake is an amazing
place to fly fish for brook trout.
He has heard that it is 100 feet deep.

And then it happened...
I got the shots I came for.
Trees reflecting in the water.

Loved the "crystal" clear water!

I didn't take a photo of it but we watched a water snake swim through here.
It was so neat.

We were sitting in warm sunshine on large rocks along the bank.
This lake has a path all the way around it but my flip flops weren't
really made for the roughness of that pathway.

As we left.....
we put the windows down and took in the smells of a forest floor.
Pine, leaves and fresh air.

On the way in I had wondered what happens
 if you meet someone on this narrow
road.  On the way out I found out.  We yield.  It worked!

I was hoping to find a third lake but Warren had plans that were just as good
and a bit different.  He found a historical stone bridge.

History....they just don't make them like this anymore.
The top of this bridge is now a grassy walkway.

We crunched through these fallen leaves enjoying both 
the sound and the sweet scent of them.

But wait...there was more to this day!

We decided to try yet another restaurant for dinner.
This was nearly a mistake.
Warren did express concern because their website had a 
review from the New York Times.
I thought it couldn't be that exclusive with a 
$$ rating, right?

Only because we were out of our class/league.
However it was such a beautiful setting and every detail was so perfect
that we ended up not minding the prices..too much...
and the fact that the only thing I could really 
order was a meat and cheese platter
for $14.
There were four main course options.
None of which I could enjoy.
But everything was sourced locally which was pretty cool.
And the chef really knew what he was doing with 
seasoning and flavor blending.

We were crass and Warren kept sliding me pieces of his 
$32 steak as he ate.
I would have complained but it was so good I didn't have the
discipline to do so.

Happy silver in a linen napkin.

Beside Warren sat this adorable serving station.
I had to sneak a picture.
Check out the lighting.  

Behind me was the to the rest of the rooms
and in the kitchen were two bowling lanes with antique wooden pins.
You bowl, you set the pins.
We had actually just bowled a game at the resort before heading over for
dinner or I probably would have had to do it.

Something I will not forget about my dinner that evening?
Cherry compote.
On a very tiny spoon.

The cheeses were mostly soft ones with only Parmesan
to add a tang.
The brie was so soft it was like the softest cream.
I loved it....Warren leans more toward the harder cheeses
so he finished off the Parmesan.

Same thing with the meats.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Italian cuts without spice
while he ate the peppery one.

We make a pretty good team, I think!

We had a fabulous time on this vacation.
It is good to be home but this was one I didn't want to rush back from.

Happiness was seeing how very delighted Molly was to see us again.
She had been staying next door with Grandma Georgia while Bandit
was with my Mom.
I had no idea if Molly would care about being back or not.
But her happiness was palpable.
She turned in circles and went straight to Warren 
and Jonathan for some attention.
Bandit was being territorial with me...
we dealt with that.
Then I got some Molly snuggles and kisses too.

What's next you may ask?
Cooking for 80.
My friend is getting married on Saturday 
and I'm doing the reception food.
One of my favorite things to do is cook for a crowd.
And so I am thankful that I am being allowed to do it.

Her menu?

Fruit Salad
(Pineapple/Grapes/Kiwi - layered)

Strawberry Spinach and Poppyseed Salad
 (I'm not making this salad)

Green Beans
Herbed Red Potatoes

I will have help to prep the fruit and potatoes.
Also to serve as it is going to be a banquet style with each one 
receiving a finished plate.

The wedding cake is being provided by a local
baker as a gift from another friend.

The bonus blessing of this wedding?
It is her second to the same man.
Life can disturb the expected path of life....
but in time God chooses to heal ....sometimes.
In this case, definitely.

So...I may not be back before the weekend.
We will see.
May God bless you and yours.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

A Visit to the Zoo.....

Some time over the summer I got the brilliant idea that we should go 
away this Autumn.
You might remember that I wasn't feeling well, 
and probably wasn't thinking straight at that time.
Fall is my crazy busy season!!

But, we scheduled it and I am so glad!!

Even though I accepted a rush order for 30 three layer baby shower favors
at 6pm the night before we left that had me up until 2am
resulting in three hours of sleep.
I'm still glad we came.

It is so good to get away for a bit.
To recharge.
To pray about the heavy things in our lives.
To spend time with Warren and Jonathan doing everything from nothing
to going to a zoo.

Paws N Claws Wild Animal Park is pretty awesome.
Of course it is always a mixed emotion for me to see these animals in captivity....
but they seem well cared for and are going to be there whether I go to see them or not.
So....I deal with the sadness side of a visit to a zoo.

Majestic lions...two of them.

 Both of these photos are of the same lion.
There are plexiglass windows that allow you to take photos and view 
without the grid of fencing.

I think our biggest fun came from stepping into the bird house for a half hour of feeding
apples to these colorful birds.
Mom and Georgia had come here earlier in the week and had so much fun.
Mom took this photo during their trip.
We split our week in the Catskills so that our dogs would be taken 
care of and so Warren and I could attend an important meeting with 
some of our kiddos.

When it came our time to go in I hesitated and then just went for it.
So happy we did!!
These little critters were "enthusiastic" to receive their apple dinner.

Loved the brilliant colors!


It seems they really like men.
Warren, for sure!
This was worth the $18.50 entrance fee to the zoo.
For sure.

The white tiger was calm when we first saw it.
While Warren and I were in the bird house Jonathan went back to visit
it again and it kept trying to get to him.
Minutes later as we passed by we saw that it was feeding time.
Whew....glad those cages are secure.

It was so neat to see that there are babies at this zoo.
A baby monkey, of whom I go no good photos.
This snow leopard.

We were just inches away but through plexiglass.
This frisky kitten kept trying to jump through to play with 
us but we stepped back and told it to go wake up his littermates to play.
Would you believe it did just that?
It came up to this pile of leopards and piled on top!

Such a treat!!

As we were approaching the zoo Warren told me that he finds photos 
with people in them more interesting over time than those of just
beautiful scenery.
And so I took one....

As you can see the day was beautiful!

Cute little fox.  
Much better fed than the ones that live in our neighborhood.

A thoughtful friend.
Such pretty fur....

My tiger friend.
Chelsea usually poses in these for me.....but since she wasn't there....

The otters were friendly little critters.
They have the pattern down...
come to the front of the viewing area and then run
to peek under the fence to watch you walk away.
Funny thing is Jonathan was still standing there when I walked away
so he got to see their routine while I was oblivious until he told me.
I looked back and there they were peeking out from under the fence at me. you can see we had a wonderful time here.
God gave us amazing gifts when He made the animals.
I know just our own precious pups are great for lowering the 
blood pressure.
Seeing these guys reminds us once again how great our God is.
Such differences, such detail.

I'm so thankful for this time away.
Thanks Mom for arranging it!!