Monday, December 19, 2011

Sunset Over Cayuga

Last Wednesday, as we came out of our oogling frenzy at MacKenzie-Childs, up the east side of Cayuga Lake, this is what we saw.  Ayne took the pictures.

Sometimes the beauty of this area just blows me away.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Wednesday was my birthday.  We used to try to go out for dinner but it often sleets this time of year.  So much so that we have stopped trying.  Mid December is not the best time to have a birthday what with Christmas and Chanukah in the same month.  Jim's birthday is the day after Christmas.  
Oh poor us.  

Ayne and I are planning a knitting retreat for the spring at her home in Lansing.  We had to do some of the hard stuff this week, so we scheduled it for my birthday.  We want the group to go out to lunch someplace not too expensive but scenic, nonetheless.  Since she lives several miles up the east side of the lake it is easier to go to Aurora than south to Ithaca.   We decided to test out the Aurora Inn's luncheon menu.  Well, someone had to.

I drove up to her 1860 Victorian and she drove us both north to Aurora.  Alas luncheon service in the dining room is halted from the end of October until May 1, so we went across the street to the Fargo Grill. The food was excellent as was the service but the atmosphere is not conducive to a large group nor to knitting.  sigh...  We may just have to check someplace else out another day.

Then we went next door to a clothing shop that is interesting to look through although pricey.  But hey, still fun and they did have a sale rack.

Next we went a bit further up the lake to MacKenzie Childs to check out its suitability for browsing.  This place is really something else.  I think we were lost in there oogling and oohing and ahhhing for over an hour.  The shop consists of several incredibly lush rooms.  A bit of this decor is really plenty in any room, but MacKenzie-Child's decorators have brought excess to an artform.
 Wouldn't you love to be invited to a dinner at this table?

Tuesday night, I set out a dark burgundy turtleneck to wear on Wednesday but changed my mind to a different one at the last minute.   Once I opened the presents from my sister, I knew why I was moved to wear the softer sea green colored shirt.

Doesn't this just go perfectly? 
 My sister sent a Brooklyn themed birthday this year as the bracelet is covered in old prints of Brooklyn. Look! That's the Brooklyn Bridge and NY skyline in the top photo and a side view of the bridge in the ad.  
We grew up in Brooklyn and even though our father's warehouse/factory was situated under the Williamsburg Bridge, we like the Brooklyn Bridge very much as he worked on it in his youth.

And these bird earrings are covered in maps of Brooklyn.
Very fun to wear.

Also on my person on Wednesday was this needle gauge from Jim.
Last Christmas a silver one was a present from my sister.  I wore it often. The nautilus design combined with the practicality really grabbed me.  However one day in February I came home to find the silver chain on my neck but no gauge hanging off it.  Major boo hoo.  I looked everywhere I had been, including under the seats in my car, all to no avail.  Big boo hoo.  I missed it greatly.  Jim replaced it just this week for my birthday with a nice leather cording so I can wear it two ways.  

I am so blessed.

Meanwhile my DIL, Liz, had asked me for a list of what I wanted for my birthday.  That was hard.  Finally after the second request I sent her a list of about 4-5 things I wanted: earrings (when don't I want earrings?), books and some Dreamz knitting needles.

Just yesterday a package from National Geographic arrived.
They are Fulani Tribal earrings, made by Fulani craftspeople in Mali.  
I wished for them but hardly expected that wish to come true. 
 Liz and Matt are very generous to me.

This was the best birthday in memory.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Be Still My Heart

Richard and Leslie met at my house about 10:30 to pile into my Pilot and head on south.  We stopped for coffee and snacks at Dunkin Donuts in Owego then boogied east to Binghamton and south to Scranton.  We made excellent time, getting there about 12:35.  Leslie brought their gps (Although it took me most of the trip to get used to the gps voice and mutterings as Jim is our human gps on most trips.) which was very helpful once we got off route 81, getting us easily to the HS situated in a working class neighborhood.

Of course by the time we arrived the school parking lot was full but a nice smiling cop let us make a U turn and told us to park across the street, which had just a few spaces left.  We called Jen to find out where she was and get our tickets.  Richard got on the line as it was already extremely long while Leslie and I walked up the hill to find Jen's silver car.  Fortunately she has Rhode Island plates so was easy to spot amongst all the PA ones.  And fortunately, myveryownsister lives in RI so I know what they look like.
Folks in Scranton got their tickets by standing in line Monday evening, while we got ours through incredible John, our upstate NY OFA coordinator, or we wouldn't have been able to get in.

Then we joined Richard.  

Folks were so happy and upbeat even though it was misting, cold and windy.
This is the Syracuse Squad who started their trek about 9:15 am.

Once the line started moving I was very impressed at the speed at which our closeness to shelter progressed. I thought I'd be able to knit while in line but the weather not at all conducive to outdoor knitting. Ravelry folks who know told me the security folks would check everything so I took a fairly small bag.  The guy looked into every zippered compartment, opened my purse and looked carefully into it.  As predicted he ignored the loose dpns and Denise shafts stashed among several pens and pencils so I got to knit on a hat once inside.  Score!

Folks who were on the line at 10:30 were not early enough to get inside the yellow lines where Obama actually touches people but we were close enough being in the side bleachers where he entered and left.  If you have seen any of the pics of the cheering cheerleaders, we were below them, about half way up.

Obama stopped at the Festa home before coming to the high school.  There are plenty of pics of that plus some video footage here.  Scroll waaaay down.  Donna Festa introduced him

but I could hardly hear her last words for the shouts of joy from the audience and my heart beating and my saying, "He's real!  He's real!".  This is one of the few I took that were not too blurry from my excitement.  Both Leslie and I are such groupies.  We were grinning and grinning and grinning. When we looked around so were most folks, well.... except for the Secret Service guys.
This pic and the one below were taken by a Syracuse volunteer who was way closer with a better camera.

Obama's speech was inspiring and just what we all were hoping he would sound like. ( I took a video of the whole thing but the c-span one is much much better.) Strong, upbeat, interactive, to the point, jeering a bit at the Republicans and telling us he was giving them one more chance with the tax cut bill that was going to the senate on Friday.  It sounded like if they didn't pass it he had an egg up his sleeve that might break on their faces.  He said to "Call your senators to support the tax cut extension for average Americans...."

"By the end of December all of our troops are going to be out of Iraq."
"America is a place where you can make it if you try....  Veterans should not have to fight for a job after coming home after fighting for America....  When you get knocked down, you get up. ... We've taken some punches in the last few years, we are tougher than the times.  We don't give up. We get back up...  We are fighting to make sure you can live a good solid middle class life where hard work is valued and.... rewarded....  not based on outsourcing and financial schemes but on education, manufacturing and small businesses....  Just like you don't quit.  I don't quit.  We can't wait. So we started taking steps on our own.  We can't wait for Congress... Since I have taken office we have cut taxes 17 times......"
O Bam a, O Bam a, chanting from the students.

He took about 10 minutes to leave, shaking hands, talking with folks, signing tickets.
Those are the teachers of Scranton HS in the background.  Most of the students were in the balcony behind us.

And he looked up, just before he boogied out, right at the place where Leslie and I were standing.

After waiting for the OK to leave we headed over to downtown Scranton.  Wow.  Some of those buildings are incredibly beautiful.

We met up with folks from the Scranton area, the Syracuse Squad and other OFA volunteers to get to know each other a bit and share info and ideas.
Such an up day.  So much to remember and think about that I will be flying for days to come.