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View From the Trail to Mount Colvin

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I Love Wednesdays!

Wednesday is turning into my absolute favorite day of the week. :) I think it’s because my brain still thinks of it as a work day, and there’s always that little thrill in the morning when I wake up and realize, hey I don’t have to go to work today. Kind of reminds me of the feeling I used to have when I woke up and there was a snow day – except without all the snow and ice and cold!

There’s a lot on the agenda for today. First, bright and early at 9 am, I get to go for that lovely once a year x-ray that women get to enjoy once they pass that wonderful 40 year mark. Hmmm…even though I just read Margie's account of her root canal yesterday and enjoyed all her photos of the dentist’s office, I think I will not be bringing my camera. ;) Once that is out of the way, I am going to come home and have a great walk! The weather is awesome – blue skies, right now it is about 54 and it is supposed to be low 70s, and low humidity. I have to make a trip to the post office and do some laundry…what an exciting day ahead! But hey – I’m not working!! :)

Harry will be coming home a little early so we can go in to Albany and pick up the truck. Then we will be taking some pictures and putting it up for sale tonight! YAY! I’m not expecting another 24 hr sale like we had with the pop-up, but I do hope we get some calls soon.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What to Say Tuesday

Maybe it’s because I haven’t had my coffee yet, but I’ve sat here for several minutes now trying to come up with a title to sum up today – hmmm…another day of work? Nope – just doesn’t have the nice ring I’m looking for. About the only news of the day is that tonight we will bring the truck to be detailed. Perhaps an expense for nothing – we will never really know whether it was worth it, but we do want the truck to put it’s best foot forward for any potential buyers. It’s a good thing we’re selling too, because we got our insurance bill yesterday, and it has gone UP. I have to call our insurance broker to find out why, whether it’s just normal rate increases, or better yet but not too likely, a mistake. That’s would be quite an increase to go up from last year, despite the removal of the pop-up and the online driving course I suffered through a few weeks ago that was supposed to get me a 10% decrease in certain categories on our insurance. Don’t they know we’re trying to save our money??

Monday, June 28, 2010

Muggy Monday

First of all, I welcome our new readers – Phyllis and Ira and Vicky. I’m glad you have joined us. :)

Well, Monday evening has arrived. The day was hot and muggy, and it was actually the kind of day where it is good to be inside an air-conditioned environment for at least part of the day. The weather guy just said that the current humidity is 69% – that is pretty humid! I’m glad to be home, though, even though it is sticky out. We have the floor fan going in the living room and the window fans are on in our bedroom. I love window fans – I think they are the best invention ever! A delicious yet easy meal of hot dogs on the grill is on the menu for tonight – Harry actually just headed out to barbeque our meal. You can tell by the way my thought process is jumping from one thing to another that there’s not too much to talk about tonight, so I will sign off for now. Until next time… :)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

More Cleaning Out

First of all, welcome to our newest follower – Nellie from Diary of a Midlife Cruiser. I have had so many laughs reading your blog! I am glad you have joined us for the ride. :)

Today has turned out to be a good day, and productive. It was supposed to get pretty muggy this afternoon, and then there was another chance of showers, so while it was relatively nice, Harry and I walked for 4 laps (45 minutes). I felt very good that we got out there for some exercise.

We had a late breakfast this morning, around 10 o’clock, so when we got back from our walk at 11:30, we were nowhere near ready to have anything to eat yet. So we decided to go back outside and tackle the mess in our garage.


Here you can see some of Harry’s tools on the shelves temporarily. We decided not to put any of the covering on it yet as we are using them to sort while we clean out. There used to be bags of old clothes and rags etc over in the corner by the door – those are now waiting to be thrown out. We try to give anything that is still useable to the clothing collection box, but nothing in these bags is in any condition to be worn again, so out it goes. We were previously keeping them in case we ever need scrap cloth. Hmmm, yeah right….

Next to the new shelves is a small refrigerator that we used to keep extra drinks in, especially during the summer time. We haven’t been doing that for at least a year now so it’s getting higher on my list of things to get rid of….pretty soon!



This is a close-up view of the items behind that wagon with children’s toys in it. This whole entire pile will be going as we complete the renovations inside the house. This is the new flooring for both the downstairs and upstairs guest bedrooms and the new vanity and mirror for the upstairs bathroom. All of this work is on our to-do list for this summer, so this pile should be moved inside soon.

The stuff inside this recycling bin is the main thing that I got accomplished this afternoon – you may recall those gray metal shelves that used to be standing next to the steps where the new shelves are? It took me almost 2 hours to take all the screws out and get these shelves completely taken apart!



And here is Harry showing off his major accomplishment for the afternoon – yes, there really was a workbench under all that mess!!


Now it is time for the rest of Sunday…it is clouding up again, and looking like rain, and we are going to enjoy left-over Chinese for our late lunch/early dinner and relax!!! :)


Since I published the last post about 20 minutes ago or so, Nathalie from Albany has come and gone, taking our armchair and hassock with her! YAY – a little bit more STUFF gone! :)

Go Away Rain

Right now it looks a little dreary outside. From the look of the driveway and road, it was raining at least somewhat throughout the night, but it is drying at the moment. I definitely want to try to get a walk in, but looks like a bike ride has to be postponed for another day – both because the weather isn’t great, and also because Harry is sore from his construction project yesterday. It looks really good though – here is the somewhat finished project…


All we need now is to buy some of the shelf covering and staple it to the shelves, and then start organizing!! :)

One other thing – this morning may have been productive already, when all we had done was crawl out of bed! :) I was sitting on the couch, drinking my first cup of coffee, and checking my email, when lo and behold, what should I see, but a response to my freecycle post from yesterday. Someone is interested in the chair, and after a quick phone call, she should be here within the hour! Woohoo – another thing out of that garage!!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Best Laid Plans

A big welcome to our newest follower – Happy Trails. Thank you for joining us and coming along for the ride! :)


I don’t know how visible it is in this picture I took from my front step, but it is once again RAINING here! So the bike ride plan for today has not materialized. I was even thinking that I would just take a walk instead, but the “perhaps an occasional shower in some parts of the viewing area” mentioned by our esteemed weather man has been a steady rain for the past hour and a half. It doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere, at least anytime in the near future. The rain started – oh just about the time I got out of work!!

Other plans for today have fallen into place nicely. I got home from work around 2:15 or so. We took a ride up to the local transfer station and dropped off the tv I had that didn’t work, and some plastic from a child’s outside playhouse for recycling. Our next door neighbor had given it to us for when Schaun gets older, but we decided that for the amount of time he spends here, which is very little, it didn’t warrant cluttering up our back shed with more stuff!

Other than that, the major accomplishment around here today has been the major construction project going on out in the garage. The new shelf is coming together nicely.

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Harry took most of these pictures while I was at work – I only took the last one to show him hard at work on his masterpiece (can you tell it’s posed and he’s not really drilling into that piece of wood?).

The other thing that I finally got accomplished today was posting the chair and hassock on freecycle. I hope I get a taker soon! It will be great to get that out of the garage!

It’s still raining – even harder than before I think. I hope it clears up for tomorrow!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Another Project

IMG_2465 This week has turned into “what else can we get done while we still have the truck” week. So today after work, and a quick sandwich for dinner, we headed over to the Home Depot to get materials for new shelves that Harry is going to build in our garage. Hopefully that will enhance it’s value, and also help us to get the garage organized. Painting upstairs has temporarily been moved to the back burner, as cans of paint will more easily fit in our cars than long pieces of wood!


So once we were there, I amused myself by taking lots of pictures while Harry chose his pieces of wood with care…

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…and consulted his list to make sure he wasn’t forgetting something.


Once home, we unloaded the wood into the garage.

This is the shelving unit that Harry made last year…


and this is the area where a new shelf will be going this weekend…


and the rest of this mess is why I am glad that we have 7 years before we are moving out of this house!! :)

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hot and Muggy Part II

Well! I walked into work today with my contribution to today’s pot luck lunch and……I was the ONLY ONE who brought anything!! :) haha For some reason I just had a feeling that was going to happen. Oh well, it gave me a reason to bake a cake that I would probably not have made otherwise. So instead of having a potpourri of stuff from lots of people, we all pitched in a few bucks and bought a sub platter and had my cake for dessert. I got rave reviews. I have to say, it really was yummy. I brought some home – for Harry of course.

I met a woman today at work who really made me so glad that Harry and I are planning and working toward the full-timing goal. To make a long story short, she has enough money to live pretty comfortably, but not enough to really travel and do what she would like to do. She has her health but isn’t happy just staying home being retired. BUT – she can’t bring herself to sell her house, and get rid of her stuff. After talking to her, I felt so good about our decision – for me it really validated everything we are doing and planning. Yes, in some ways it will be hard to leave this house where we have been really happy, but we will have some great memories to take with us, and will be looking forward to making lots of new ones in our travels! Ok, enough sentimental stuff…just feeling very grateful tonight for all that we are planning for and working towards!!

Hot and Muggy

The weather, both yesterday’s and so far today, is very sticky. I don’t know if the hot temperatures would be quite so bad if it weren’t so humid. I guess we are supposed to have some showers coming in later this morning, so I should be able to get my walk in this morning before I head to work at 10 am. I was very pleased yesterday – after a sluggish start to the week with no exercise either on Monday or Tuesday, I walked 45 minutes yesterday morning, and then last night Harry and I did another 20 minutes. So that was great. It is so much harder to find the time on Monday and Tuesday, so I’m thinking of maybe just making those my “off” days – my weekend from exercising! :) Then Wednesday – Sunday will be my days to make sure I get my rear end off the couch and do something! So far, if the weather man is to be believed, we have a beautiful weekend ahead of us. YAY!! Another bike ride may finally be on the horizon!

Anyway, after my walk this morning, I will head to work. It will be interesting to see how many people remember to bring something in for this pot luck lunch. Oh, well, if there’s nothing else, at least we have Turtle Cake! haha

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day Off – Baking Turtle Cake

Today is Wednesday – time off to stay home and do stuff around the house. I’ve never been one of those people who live to work. I thoroughly enjoy whatever time off I have. There have been times in my life that it has been a challenge – our culture, I think, seems to hold up the other type of personality as the “best” way to be – the go, go type who “never lets any grass grow under their feet.” (this usually said with an admiring tone) So it’s taken me time in my life to learn to appreciate my own personality and the graces that come along with having a more laid-back way of being. Harry knows of someone who at something like 70 something years old is still working – not because they have to, but because they can’t imagine their life without work to fill it. Not me…when Harry retires in 7 or 8 years, I will be just fine filling up my days and weeks – with life!! :)

So anyway…back to the present moment, and my current day off – today is Turtle Cake day! I love this cake, but I haven’t made it in a long time. It is pretty easy too. Today I will show you how to make Turtle Cake.


The ingredients are pretty simple – 1 pkg. of double chocolate cake mix, (This is the “official” type of cake mix in the recipe, but I think any kind of chocolate cake would be fine. Harry found triple chocolate cake mix instead of double, and I am sure that will taste just as good.), 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk, 1 12 oz. package of caramels, 16 oz. semisweet chocolate chips, and 1 cup chopped nuts. I have always used pecans in this recipe – it’s Turtle Cake! And you also need the eggs etc to make the chocolate cake according to the directions.


The first part of making this cake is the longest – peeling all the caramels!


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Next I prepare the baking pan by greasing and flouring it.


Prepare the cake mix according to the directions on the box, and then put half in the pan. This is done by estimating – I usually just pour the cake batter gradually until the bottom of the pan is covered. It looks like about half to me!

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The condensed milk and caramels are heated in a double boiler until the caramels have melted. I don’t have a double boiler, and haven’t used one since I was a kid. I use them so rarely I don’t see the point in buying one, so I just improvised!


They are heated gradually until the caramels have all melted and it makes a nice caramel sauce.


The half of cake batter that you started with bakes for 15 minutes, and then it is taken out, and the caramel is poured over the top of the first layer, then sprinkled with 2/3 of the chocolate chips and chopped pecans.


Pour the other half of the batter over the top of the caramel layer, sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chips and pecans, and then it goes back into the oven for another 20 minutes.


Here is the finished product…


Hopefully it will taste as good as it looks! I’ll let you know – tomorrow!! :)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cool Breezes

It was warm today, and pretty clear, but tonight the rain has moved in. Although the weather guy talked about high humidity with the storm systems coming through, right now the breeze coming in the window feels very refreshing. This is my 4th day in a row without being able to walk. I don’t like not being to get out there, because I don’t want to fall victim to the “couch potato syndrome.” I have had it before, and know it is too easy to develop! So I am hoping that tomorrow morning it will be clear enough so I can get out and get a little exercise. The other item on my agenda for tomorrow morning is baking! I haven’t made a cake in quite a while and tomorrow I will be putting together a Turtle Cake to bring to work – more on that to follow in the morning.

We got our truck back from the mechanic and it has a clear bill of health. The only thing needed were new brake pads on the rear brakes. So we are heading down the home stretch toward putting it on the market. So far in the past few months we have sold a snow blower, a pop-up, and a canoe. This is by far the biggest item on our “for sale” list for the year, as well as the most important. It will make the biggest contribution toward our new truck fund for this year. Our goal is to save enough money to pay for the new truck completely without doing any financing, and to hit this goal by the end of 2013, so basically every spare penny goes into this fund. I am hoping that our good luck with sales so far will continue for just one more item this year!

Quiet Tuesday

Not too much to report and/or write about this morning. Looks like some rain may be coming in today for a couple of days. I am hoping it will be sporadic so we can still walk tonight.

We took the truck in last night to our local mechanic just to have it checked out, especially the brakes, before we put it on the market next week. Just last year we had to have a new starter put in, so that will be a benefit for whoever ends up buying it. The only thing we want to do with the truck now is bring a tv that doesn't work to dispose of it. I listed it on freecycle hoping that someone might want it for parts, but I haven't had any takers. So I guess we will have to just get rid of it, even though that wasn't my first choice. We have a few more items in the garage to get rid of, I hope to get some pictures taken this weekend so I can get them listed on freecycle.

So guess it's time to get started on Tuesday...hopefully we will get good news today about the truck.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Still Monday

It took me some time to wake up this morning – time, and a coconut iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts. :) I am happy to report that I do not have to bake a cake tonight as I expected. The “pot luck” lunch that was in the works for tomorrow has been backed up to Thursday, so that works out much better for me. Now I can bake my cake on my day off (Wednesday) instead of packing it into a few short hours this evening. Right now we have a box pizza cooking in the oven, so that is our not so fancy dinner for tonight.

Today Harry made an appointment for next week for us to get our truck detailed. We have a 2001 Ford F-150 XLT that we are going to put on the market. Whatever we make on it will go into our new truck fund. We are hoping to make at least somewhere between $9000 and $9500 for it. According to the NADA guide, it is worth $10,050.00, and it is definitely worth that much. It really is in great shape. Harry has taken really good care of it. He has never used it for plowing or any kind of heavy work like that. It only has a little over 60k miles on it. The only thing it was really used for was towing the pop-up that we sold about a month ago (and that was on once a year trips). So we figure that, since we don’t have the pop-up anymore, we are better off selling it now, plus we will also save the money that we are paying for the insurance currently. Anyway, Harry is not really disappointed about selling his truck – because he is already dreaming about and planning for the F-450 dually that we are saving for and planning to buy in a little over 3 years. :) All this planning is a lot of fun – and it will only get better once we actually start making them reality!!

Monday Once Again

Not too much planned for today – just a long day at work. I do have to come home and bake a cake tonight, so that is a little out of the ordinary. They are having a potluck at work for lunch tomorrow, and I signed up to bring a dessert. I decided to make Turtle Cake, which I haven’t made in a long time, but it is very good! I will post pictures and the recipe tonight. So today is going to be a whirlwind day.  I think Harry is going to pick up a frozen pizza while he is getting some ingredients for my cake (he gets off work earlier than I do).

I am still whipped from the weekend. We packed so much into it, good stuff but still, it wasn’t the quiet restful type. And on top of that, I’m not awake yet, even though I do have close to half a cup of coffee in me. So I shall sign off until tonight….

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Weekend's Over

Today was another good, but long day. We started out with a nice complimentary breakfast at our hotel. Got up too early though - why we wake up at 6 am on weekends and especially in hotels with nice big king beds, I do not know! So for whatever reason, we were up drinking coffee at a WAY too early hour. After having a bite to eat, cleaning up and packing up, we headed back over to Gretchen's for another visit.

We put the bike trailer together and brought it down to the back lot to attach it to Gretchen's bike. Then she took it for a practice run around the parking lot. Hopefully she will get a lot of use out of it traveling around the area with Schaun.

So then we headed back upstairs, and of course a lot of pictures were taken, but I will only show my favorite.

By early afternoon, we were thinking about the drive back home. So we reluctantly said our good-byes, and headed for NY. The trip was good, but we did pass through a couple storms. It was actually a very strange trip - going from sun, to heavy rain, and then back to sun.

First the rain....

.And then not five miles down the road...sunshine. You can still see the rain on the windshield.

And can you imagine the view from this house? Look closely above the billboard on the left hand side. When I see houses like that, I always wonder where the road is that goes to them.

Well, that's it for another day, and another weekend.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Busy, But Very Good Day

Today was a very nice day. It started out with a few hours at work. I woke up bright and early at 5 am, even though I really didn't have to get out of bed until 6. So since I was awake, decided to get up and enjoy my early morning cup of coffee. Then I headed to work until about 12:30. After heading home, and having a bite to eat for lunch, we hit the road and headed for MA. We stopped to drop off a box spring in Waltham to Andrew....

We are happy to be moving these items now, as we are hoping to sell this truck sometime in the next month or so. So we are moving everything that needs to be moved now while we still have the truck. We only have a few things left that require the truck to move them.

Outside the truck you can see the other piece of furniture we're moving this weekend - another crib for Schaun! We bought one crib for him, which was recalled. So the company replaced it with a different crib, which a few months later was also recalled. Maybe they just shouldn't try replacing metal parts with plastic? So anyway, my sister's youngest child is now in a "big boy bed" so she gave us yet another crib - this one has the old-fashioned metal rods down the sides. We brought it today and Harry and Gretchen put it together - Schaun now has a nice safe crib for sleeping.

It was hot today!

Schaun wants to climb on the mattress now!Schaun is trying to help out! :)

Now that the work is over can we play?

As you can see, it was a great day - more "stuff" out of our garage and a great evening with Gretchen and our little guy. (As you can see, I skipped right over that ol' work part of the day!) :)