Monday, May 25, 2009

Poised on the Edge of Party

Everything is ready for the big Memorial Day Barbecue.
We've been buying for it for over a month, and have been doing
set-up things for it for the last 3 days. We've been watching
the weather report for days, chanting "don't rain, don't rain".
(It looks like the rain will hold off until after midnight.)
It all starts in an hour and a half. Cay went to get ice and
chairs, and I'm sitting in the quiet house, preparing for the
whirlwind of a day.

We don't know how many people are coming - somewhere between 40
and 60, I'm guessing. We've been doing this for many years now,
it seems to be the traditional kick-off for the summer. I can't
believe fun is that much work, but it is always great fun, and
worth it.

Ah the strange human celebrations of the passage of time -
burning large amounts of meat and swilling large amounts of
home brewed beer. And then, voila! It is summer.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Horseshoe Falls - Canadian Niagara

The money shots!

The boat sat in the middle of the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian
side, for quite awhile. It was the coolest thing I've done in years.
Cay got these next pictures, my battery ran out at one of the high
points of my life. O.k., though - I got to just stare at the falls
(while getting very wet and clutching the flagpole, to keep from
falling over - water was rough). The pictures only show a small
part of the giant horseshoe of falls surrounding you.

On the "Maid of the Mist" boat, at Niagara Falls

And now the highlight of the trip

This next photo is from the Maid of the Mist boat that I rode on.
It goes along the base of all the falls, including the huge
horseshoe falls on the Canadian side. It was gob-smack awesome!

Everyone is issued a blue rain poncho, and you do get wet!

NIagara - American side falls

This is just a very small part of the Niagara Falls!

Erie Canal

I've never seen it, and there it was along the
way. I can't believe they dug that thing. It goes through
a lot of upstate New York.

Mystic Seaport - Connecticut

I love Mystic, CT - for the name, if nothing else.

The amazing 100 year old woman

This was the birthday girl at her party. I could only hope to look
that good at 100. She partied the whole day, well into the night.

Pink Elephant with Glasses?

At some gas station - in Wisconsin?
I loved it - and want it for my yard. This was a full sized elephant!

Vacation Pictures!

So after my last post I got motivated and loaded up the pictures.
I'll post some favorites from the trip - in order of events.

No time for boredom...

I thought I would be sad to be back from my trip. I haven't even
had time to think about it. Caught up on my sleep in my wonderful
bed and got unpacked.

Back to work for the final push on the big project I've been on
for the last several months. Looks like we pushed it out the door
today. Whew! Things should be quieter for about a month and then
on to another crazy project.

Also getting everything ready for the big Memorial Day Barbeque
that we throw every year with our friend Joel. It is always a
big affair and a lot of work. This year we dubbed as "Burger Fest
2009". We're going to make every kind of burger that we can think
of with fresh ground meat made from chuck and sirloin steaks.
We got the recipe for making your own hamburger off of the show
"Good Eats" many years ago. It makes insanely good burgers!

I also stopped off at the garden center after work and got a
zillion flowers to put in pots for the yard. They had a sale on
a flat of snapdragons, so I got one. We filled 3 large pots full
of snapdragons - a flat goes a long way. Lots of petunias, pansys,
begonias, and a lovely hardy rose. The house looks very cheery.

And I had to weed the existing plant beds. Yech! I hate weeding -
I always pull something in my back or hamstrings. Not a motion
I do much.

Darn, I still haven't loaded up the vacation pictures. I'll post
some, as soon as I get to that. We're having clam chowder for
dinner tonight. I miss the chowder from the trip out east. Can't
get anything like that here, though - so it is a token gesture.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Still Traveling

So many sights and experiences, on the road.
Friday - got to Staten Island, NY. Spent some time with the relatives.

Saturday - the big party for Cay's grandma's 100 year birthday.
90 people showed up, a lovely catered event in a tent in the
backyard. Then went out until 1:30 am with a couple of Cay's old
buddies. Really good times!

Sunday - drove up to Mystic Seaport in Conneticut. Ate dinner at an
amazing restaurant on the ocean. Best Clam Chowder, ever!
Drove into the middle of Conneticut. Gorgeous!

Monday - Drove through the Adirondack Mountains, and then on to
Niagara Falls in New York. Walked along the falls
at night - they have them all light up. It was quite the sight.

Today - Explored the falls. Rode the Maid of the Mist boat to the base
of all 3 falls. Had to wear a rain poncho, because the water was
everywhere. Probabaly one of the coolest sights I've ever seen!
Then, sadly, started back. We are in a hotel somewhere in Indiana.

Tomorrow it is back through Chicago, and on to home. It will be good
to be back in my own bed, and to see the dog. But I will miss the road.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

On the road again...

We hit the road in MN at about 6 am. Pretty early for me!
Drove for 15 1/2 hours and finally crashed near Cleveland, Ohio.
We were in 5 states today!

Roads were good - not too much road construction, except near
Chicago. The weather was good. No rain this time - the last time we
made this trip, it rained hard the entire time. It was sunny, humid
and 80 degrees today in Illinois.

We stopped at Mitsuwa marketplace near Chicago, and had a nice
Japanese lunch. That is a fun Japanese marketplace but it is full of a
lot of rather overt anime fans. Now I love anime too, but I try not to
be a big geek about it. But the Japanese people there probably think
I'm a mondo geek too.

Stopped at a lot of rest stops and roadside Oasis, but the only
picture I took today was at a gas station that had a life sized
pink elephant with huge glasses on. Not sure why - it just was
there with no explanation. I'll post pictures when I get back -
I forgot my camera upload cable.

It is supposed to rain a bit tomorrow in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Pooh.
I'd like to see the Alleghney Mountains for once when the sun is out.

I'm going to get some sleep now - got very little last night.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Magnolia marker of spring

Leftover winter picture - Pet truce

Road Trip Ahoy!

The mad dash at work continues - 3 weeks to go to deadline.
I worked until 10 pm on Friday to get the weekend run of tests
set up. (Keeps me from having to work this weekend.)

Leaving for the driving trip to New York on Thursday, so spent
today shopping and packing a bit. I need a road trip! We are
so looking forward to this. We are going for a week, stopping
at Chris's homestead for his grandmothers 100th Birthday.
Wow. I only wish I could live that long....

But considering how much the body is falling apart at half
that age - there wouldn't be much left by then. My current
hope is that I'll make it to 80. Hey, everyone needs goals.

Our friend David is going to stay at the house and watch the
pets. Hopefully they will miss us a little, but they love
"Uncle David". He is bringing his cat, which our dog thinks
is the best "toy" on the planet.

I hope to have some good pictures to post when we get back.
We are thinking of stopping in Niagara Falls on the drive
home. I've been there as a teen, but Cay has never seen it.

Open road, here we come!