Monday, July 27, 2009

It's been a week or two....

...with no posts. Sorry about that. So what has been on the docket recently?

1. Lucy has been having some breathing problems. In hot/humid weather on our walks, she absolutely HEAVES for breath. Now we always do short walks and she choses the speed, so I know I'm not pushing her. For some reason, I feel that someone (the vet? One of my dog friends? My own mind?) told me this is normal for older dogs. But she has a vet appointment on Friday to check, just in case. She's also been on Deramaxx, an NSAID joint supplement, so she'll have her blood values checked. The Deramaxx is wonderful and now if I could only get rid of that dratted corn on her foot, she'd be as good as an 8 year old pup! :o) But I do worry about that heaving for breath. Asthma? Lung cancer? Emphesyma????? No, no, no!

2. Grapehounds. This weekend was Grapehounds, the annual greyhound event of the Finger Lakes. This year it was along the Seneca wine trail and all the vendors were together at Mill Creek Cabins in a large field. I vended my art and was set up next to some fabulous folks who helped me with my tables, setting up my EZ Up, etc. The attendence seemed way down from last year, but given the economy, I'm not surprised. I had a few sales, and saw some great folks I've gotten to know over the years and met some great new folks. Lucy spent the day with me Friday, and Cliff came with me Saturday. Mom helped me set up Thursday, Bridget and Trace kept me company Friday, and Dad came by on Saturday. I felt loved! :o)

3. Sad, sad, sad. Trace is moving to Florida this week, and I just found out my parents are moving away (they live about 10 minutes from me now). I am totally devestated by all this. To lose one of my best friends, and now my parents whom I'm really close to. I'm on the verge of a total meltdown... I don't take change very well. And I don't have a lot of friends. So I feel very alone all of a sudden, and kind of petrified and panic-stricken, which is silly because I'm an adult, but I can't help it.

4. Greyhounds in Art! I was again asked to show my art at the Greyhounds in Art Show in Dewey Beach, Delaware. I'm so honored but now the pressure is on to make 6 pieces of fabulous art. Pressure, pressure! And unfortunately my Dewey roomie, Trace, won't be coming and so I'll be going it alone with the pups. We'll probably camp this year at Cape Henlopen State Park. I love camping so that's not a big deal, although the weather in October in Delaware is always volatile so I'm glad I seem-sealed my tent LOL.

5. The garden is doing great, and I'm overwhelmed with all the veggies. But I'm afraid to eat my yellow beans, because some of them smelled like pee. I think naughty Cliff has been urinating on them. Can I wash them and eat them? Or does pee soak into beans? Will I get e-coli?

6. I entered two pieces of art in the State Fair art show. One is my woodcut "View from Heiberg Forest". The other is a piece I haven't made yet. LOL. That wasn't the smartest thing I've ever done, because now I'm caving under the pressure to carve something. I have to drive them to Syracuse in 2 weeks so the jury can judge, so I have 2 weeks to come up with something fabulous. :oP

I think that's about it. I'll try to have a better post with more pics and other fabulous things soon....


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Home again, Home again, Lickety-Split

Well, another camping trip come and gone. As you can see, the back of the Scion is retro-fitted especially for the pups since they camp with LOTS of beds and blankets! After 3 days in the mountain air, the greyhounds were pretty pooped and ready to go home (well Lucy was, at least).

We stopped briefly in Old Forge so I could hit the shops (I got some art postcards to frame for my new bedroom) and thankfully we've had such a cold summer that it wasn't a problem leaving the pups in the car, like it usually is. In July, even in the ADK's, is kind of muggy and brutal but this year it's been so cool and nice, I just can't believe it.

I think we are going camping once more this summer....possibly 2. It's a lot of work afterwards (cleaning up, doing all the laundry, etc) but so worth it!


Happy Clifford on the Trail to Eagle's Nest Lake

Lucy Dips in 8th Lake

Raquette Lake Flow

Out driving with the hounds one afternoon, and I had to hit the breaks to take a picture of the flow out of Raquette Lake. Just so pretty.


Kayaking at Stillwater Reservoir and Moose River

Friday afternoon, I rented a kayak and went out with Mom and Dad. First we went to Stillwater Reservoir which was at the end of an unending dirt road, LOL. The reservoir is huge so we only explored the southwest area, going to a "bone yard" of driftwood on one of the islands. Unfortunately the water was really high, so most of the wood was underwater. Mom and Dad said that when the water is lower, there is like an acre or 2 of driftwood "bones", white as ghosts, laying outside the forest.

Scenes from the trip:

After Stillwater we had a few hours left on my rental, so we went to the Moose River on southern edge of Old Forge. It started pouring rain (of course!) so my pictures are all very drab. But in real life (not photograph life) the skies were SO GREY and the grass and foliage was SO GREEN and it was just beautiful.

I enjoy kayaking a lot. You see things from a totally different view than when hiking. I only wish I could do it with my dogs... then I would certainly invest in a kayak! But until I can find one that fits 2 greyhounds, I'll be sticking to walking shoes. :o)


Trail to Shallow Lake from Brown Tract Pond

One of my longer (3 mile roundtrip-ish) hikes with Clifford originated from Brown Tract Pond, a bit north of our campsite, kind of in the Raquette Lake area. Lucy slept in the car while Cliff and I went out.

It was a beatiful hike, with the forest very... magical. I know I've said that before but the gray trees, with moss-covered forest floors... absolutely amazing. The first part of the hike was from Campsite #69 at Brown Tract along the pond, through boreal forest, and then we hit the Middle Earth-ish forests, and then the trail flooded out at a bog and we couldn't go any farther.

So we never got to Shallow Lake, but the journey was worth it!


Ferd's Bog

Ferd's Bog is a nice little trail that leads through a magical forest of trees covered in lichen, then out to a bog. It's like a quarter of a mile too, so I deemed it okay for Lucy (I've letterboxed here before, so I kind of remembered the site). Unfortunately I forgot that it was a bit hilly, which was hard for Lucy, so we stopped several times to let her catch her breath on the hills. But otherwise, she did great. Cliff, of course, was just happy-happy-joy-joy to be out walking!

Saw these birds on the sides of trees while going through the forest... the only thing I can come up with is a juvenile sapsucker. Anyone have other ideas?? Besides them, I heard some robins but nothing else I recognized.

I saw some other birds on our camping trip too, that made it into my birding log book (yeah, I now keep a notebook of all the new birds I see, does that mean I am an official bird nerd?): what I think was a white-breasted nuthatch, LOTS of Hairy Woodpeckers, some blue jays (which surprised me), sparrows, etc. We also saw a whitetail deer wander through the 8th Lake campgrounds, several brownish-orange bumpy-skinned toads, and an Adirondack Black Bear!!! Can you believe it???

Yeah, wouldn't I *LOVE* to see a real Adirondack Black bear, but this is the closest I got. An inflatable at the campground lol. Maybe next trip?


Camping at 8th Lake

Just got back from a camping trip with Mom and Dad. We went up to 8th Lake in the Adirondacks- great DEC campsite and lots to see- one of my favorite areas! Pics to come.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Lunch at Strong Hearts

After the meetup at the dog park, I parked my dogs at Trace's house and she, myself, and Bridget (Wendy had to work, we missed her!) went to a great vegan cafe in Syracuse, not far from the art store. I can't believe Trace is moving to Florida in the next few weeks and this is one of our last hurrahs! Anyway, we had so much fun, and the food was of course delicious. Last time I had the tofu scramble which was oohhhhh so good. This time I had vegan waffles with fried potatos and all three of us finished off with their signature vegan smoothies (I had a Peach cobbler, A++).

Since it is so close to the art store, I'm sure I'll be back there soon LOL.


Lucy and Malcolm at the Park

The two gimpies of the group. Aren't they sweet? :o)

Lizette at the Park

Lucy at the Park

Playdate at the Park

On Saturday, the pups and I headed to Syracuse to meet up and have a playdate with friends Bridget, Trace, Wendy, and their dogs. We went to a nice securely-fenced yard and had a blast! On hand were Sophie (one of Bridget's greyhounds), Malcolm and Cosmo (Trace's greyhounds), Wilson and Lizette (Wendy's greyhound and French bulldog) and Lucy and Clifford.

There was some running and playing....

...but mostly the dogs just hung out, socialized with the humans on hand, and followed us as we walked around the perimeter of the park. It was sooo humid and warm. And most of the dogs are older so they aren't energizer bunnies anymore. Lizette, Wendy's Frenchie, was the most active since she is a puppy. Sophie is 5ish. The other dogs are 8, 9, 11 and 12 1/2.

Mal and Lucy...
Traffic jam at the water bowl....

Lizette is adorable. She and Wilson are so cute together.

Lizette also wanted to say hello to the other greyhounds. Cosmo looks a little grossed out by her kiss, don't you think?

Cliff didn't seem overwhelmingly excited to sniff noses with her either, LOL.

Bridget and Sophie....

Mal, Trace, Wendy, Sophie and Lucy...

Hike at Howland Island

I was determined to go hiking on Friday (we've been furloughed Fridays through the summer, so I have them off. At first the idea of a lower paycheck upset me, but I am *so so so* loving the 3-day weekends!)... so bright and early at 8 AM, Cliff and I headed over to Howland Island, part of the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. I love Howland but it's dangerous to visit because during the year it is either hunting season, or mosquito-horsefly season. So either way you are in danger of dying. Mom and Dad had kayaked by the island last weekend and didn't think it was as mosquito-ey as usual, so Friday I packed Cliff up in the Scion and headed west to try our luck.

We started out our walk meeting a rabbit on the dirt service road, which hopped ahead of us for aways (see above... he is the little black spot in the distance!). Cliff was curious but not that interested. Other cool thing we saw: Three Belted Kingfishers!!!!!

And it was wild flower season, so the fields were colored in whites, yellows and pinks. So prettty.

We mostly walked several different stretches: Cornfields (planted for the deer); forests (where the bugs ate us alive) and then open wet/brackish areas (where we baked in the sun). I hadn't eaten breakfast, a rarity for me, so by hour 2 I was weak, whiney, famished, and of course had hopelessly lost on the trails. The book I had (which had a trail map) was no help. The heat and muggyness hit like a ton of bricks. Even Cliff began to fade. We eventually had to turn around and re-trace our steps back to the car, because I couldn't make out the trails (I had INTENDED to take us in a loop). The bugs were awful. The heat was awful. I was sweating which I hate to do. I was so hungry I could've gnawed my hand off. There were a few times where I think we ran into fawns (there was huge crashing in the brush on the side of the trail) but I was so hungry, hot and tired at that point, that unless it was a 30 lb. Twinkie then I wasn't interested.

We ran into a few ponds which Cliff gratefully climbed into to cool off. And when we got back to the car, he rested in the river for a bit before getting in the car. I had been a bit worried about him. It was only 11 AM in the morning, but it was soooo muggy. I'm glad he took every opportunity to cool himself.

And the final treat: We stopped at the closest gas station for ice cream and Hostess cupcakes. Cliff got a little bowl of whipped vanilla. I got a Nutty buddy and the cupcakes. Nice breakfast, huh?

Well, we survived. Covered in mosquito bites, but we lived!!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

And Here I Go Again on my Own...

... That's a Whitesnake song from the mid '80's, if you didn't know (how could you NOT, though, it is one of the best songs in the world!!). Anyway, last night I went to see Whitesnake and Judas Priest with my friend Trace and her husband. It was a great show and we had really good seats!!! Canandaigua PAC is a really nice venue, too.

The music was, of course, amazing. David Coverdale, the lead singer, is as good as ever. I've never heard Judas Priest before so I can't speak to them, but they seemed to put on a very lively show. There was one guy in front of us who provided much entertainment- mid 50's, normal kind of Average Joe, and was wearing a REALLY SHRUNKEN Whitesnake shirt from the '84 "Slide it In" tour. It was so tight on him, you could see every knob in his spine practically. Anyway, this guy was just pumped and was jumping up and down, running down the aisle, playing air guitar, etc. the whole time. It was hysterical. Drunk as a skunk. Not us. We were sober and enjoyed the whole thing al fresco.

Second most amusing thing besides Drunk Air Guitar Guy: Judas Priest played "Diamonds and Rust", a ballad by Joan Baez written shortly after her breakup with Bob Dylan in the ... 60's? '70's?. Judas Priests' rendition was pretty good (if not a bit hard) and almost as good as Joan's but in a very different way. Joan is, of course, a folk singer so there were more delicate parts of the song that were lost in the JP screaming and electric guitars. But I could almost sing along, and it was a pleasant surprise to hear such a great song in such a ... different... interpretation.
But as great as the concert was, it was also kind of devestating to me in a way, because Trace and Andrew are moving across the country in a few weeks, so this is one of our last hurrahs together. I don't have many friends so Trace moving so far away has been a horrible pill to swallow. I tried not to think about it last night but you know, big stuff like that is always there in the back of your head, ready to needle you.
Anyway, before I get sniffly here... the concert was fabulous. In other news, I spent most of my lunch break outside carving the final reduction of a new greyhound woodcut that I've been afraid to post "in progress" pictures of, in fear of ruining it and then having to announce my ruin publicly. I'll put it through the press tonight though so let's hope for the best. And I have 3 other woodcuts in the planning stages, all due to be entered in shows BY JULY 13. Pressure, anyone?
Lunch break is officially over. Today's office work: an alum event mailing to get out, and then labelling/packing/mailing all the class photos taken at our big alum reunion a few weeks ago. Plus a gazillion emails to answer and lists to download off the college database. I generally enjoy work, but getting everything done in a four-day week (we've been furloughed Fridays) has been a bit hard!