Monday, October 27, 2008

I Can't Sleep

I'm having one of those very unusual nights when I can't fall asleep. For those who know me well this sounds rather unbelievable because I seem to be able to sleep anywhere. I've even been known to fall asleep standing up. But for some reason sleep just isn't coming tonight so I've abandoned my bed and ended up at my computer. After reading everybody else's blog I know of, and still being awake, I've come to my own. It has been many weeks since I've posted any news.

My "galavanting" has been quite limited to New England travel for the past two months but why would anyone want to travel anywhere but New England in the fall? The leaves have been particularly good this season and still, in the end of October, beautiful.

Two weeks ago we spent part of three days with many kind church friends producing "Uncle Bill's Homemade New England Applesauce". We made over 550 jars and are selling it as a fundraiser for our school. If I do say so myself it is the best applesauce around and is far superior to anything for sale in the stores. Anyone looking for some feel free to contact me.

Our really big news as a family involves my daughter, Corey, and my daughter in law, Camille. They are both expecting babies in May, one week apart! I'm still trying to figure out how to be in both Florida and New Hampshire at the same time. I have one grandchild that has mastered the name "Gigi", we'll see if the next two can also. I am so excited about both these pregnancies and time can't go quick enough for me until May.

I'll add a few pictures to this blog and then see if I can fall asleep.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

? The Last Swim of the Summer

Today was one of those particularly beautiful days which sometimes occur after a storm (bye bye Hannah) passes New England. We spent last night and today on Cape Cod. I spent the first 20 summers of my life on Cape Cod and have visited my Mom and sister there on a steady basis for all the years thereafter. I have a natural bias for the area, as well as many other beautiful spots in New England. Today the hot weather lured us to the beach and the warm water of Craigville Beach was reminiscent of numerous swims through the years. The sad thing is that now that Labor Day has passed it will most likely be the last swim of this summer season.

The Old Country Store in Centerville has the classic look of the area.

Life has taken on a rather routine flavor since our return from Nova Scotia. I have battled a sore (very sore) left knee since being hit by a baseball in mid July. It came to a painful crises for me last week but thankfully medical intervention has brought some relief. I continue to go to work each day and Bill and maintain a very busy schedule.

Over labor day week-end our Braintree Church spent 3 wonderful nights camping in Freeport, Maine. The weather was incredible and as a group we had an awesome time. Sleeping under a starfilled sky out in nature certainly does something for the soul.

We're looking forward to Corey and Calleigh visiting us for a week at the end of this month. Corey loves New England in the fall and I love to be around Calleigh so we'll all be happy. So I'll continue to post a blog from time to time.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

It's Almost Over

After nearly two gloomy weather weeks in Nova Scotia our time is winding down. Yesterday was actually the best day that we've had with some sun on and off all day. We (Bill, Toni, Mom and I) took advantage of that by driving an hour along the Bra's Dor Lake through St. Peters up to Big Pond to go to Rita's Tea Room. The scenery was as pretty as usual and Bill is quite taken with this Nova Scotia has been Rita MacNeil. She's a local singer who has made it nationally in years gone by. We enjoyed the food offerings and the little trip. You know you can only keep Bill cooped up for so long.

In other news we had a delivery of gravel on Wednesday to help our water soaked driveway. They boys were sopped to the skin smoothing it out on the driveway. They had to do it because we couldn't get in or out of the driveway with the pile in the way and Devin and Leigh were leaving.

Later in the day they also delivered a load of loam that we will use to fill in David and Jonathan's cabin site, which is the site of our former cabin that we moved across the road in 1996. All went well until he started to pull out and got stuck in the mud. An hour and some maneuvering later he was on his way. He made both these deliveries in the worst rain we had had. A crazy time to do it but I guess he couldn't do any of his other work.

So we continue to play with Calleigh, read, eat, play games etc. I actually left Calleigh and a book long enough to enter a little Rook tournament. Corey and I were against Toni and Lori. They were very confident of their abilities to prevail. It turned out in the end that their confidence was well founded and Corey and I were the loosers. Oh, well.

Corey, Duncan and Calleigh leave tonite. They need to drive through the nite for Calleigh's sake. When awake she can't see any reason to sit still. She has enjoyed the playground in our little town and generally speaking continues to be on the go. She took a few minutes yesterday to pick blueberries with Papa. I think she ate all she picked.

We will be arriving home early Sunday morning and then our usual life starts again. Maybe I'll post a blog now and again then.

For David, Jon, Rad and Shannon

Hey, Guys, I've been trying to send you this since last week but Blogspot was having trouble with their videos then.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Smaller Group Now

Our numbers have been greatly reduced with the departure of Rick, Alison, Heath, Steve, Kelly, Shawn and Camille yesterday. We spent the last night altogether with our usual scavenger hunt. It was prepared by Shawn this year (and very successfully done I might say). There were no arguments over any of the questions which was a first. And for once Bill and I were on the same team and we actually won, along with Steve and Duncan. Duncan probably would say that despite me we won. Bill is having a good year because we had a major general knowledge team quiz a few nights earlier and he and Ricky won that. Anyway with all of us dashing around the island for an hour and a half looking to take pictures of various things we once again were much noticed by the natives. They seem to get a big kick out of us acting crazy.

After the scavenger hunt on Saturday night Heath chaired a meeting of the group setting up some standards for the cabin building project. His leadership was very impressive and he was well prepared. Charlie took minutes and will send them to all present and those absent. I now am sending on some pictures to Dave, Jon, Rad and Shannon of the exterior options for the cabins and some interior possibilities. It might give you a better idea than the earlier picture I posted.

Today we celebrated Toni's birthday by going to Baddeck. Of course that remains our favorite place on the island. We browsed through the shops and went out to lunch. The boys left to go golfing in Dundee and the girls came home to various projects such as me writing this blog.

Calleigh seems to make her presence known wherever we go so keeping track of her is interesting. She certainly is no wallflower and is adding new words to her vocabulary daily. She knows the names of everybody here and is constantly saying hi to everyone by name. She's one bundle of energy but fortunatley naps morning, afternoon and goes to bed early at night.

On Sabbath afternoon we had our usual hike out at Little Anse and some great photos were taken.

The weather remains mostly cloudy on the cool side but it looks like it's that way at home too. The days are quickly winding down and we too will be departing. Too bad.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

From Nova Scotia

There has been nothing but work during the daylight going on with the guys with a little help from the girls and older set since Monday when it was agreed that the ten cousins were going to build their own cabins. This has worked out well because the weather continues to not be good. We haven't had anymore heavy heavy rain but varying degrees of sun (very little), clouds and brief periods of rain. The temperature has hung in the upper 60's and low 70's. This will go down in record as the first year we haven't put the raft in the water and there has been virtually no water activity apart from two swims by Bill and a two minute dip by Mia. Of course Calleigh had a small fit yesterday when we wouldn't let her go in. She just didn't get it that the water and air were cold.

The evenings have been spent in the usual type of games. One evening the younger set played the Newlywed Game with Corey and Duncan emerging as the victors.

Last nite the oldyweds played with Charlie and Lori coming off as champs. There was a day when Bill and I always won these kind of events but Bill seems to have lost his edge in this type of game.

He hasn't lost his edge in blueberry picking and it continues to be a passion of his. The blueberries are very prolific this year as well as the raspberries. We've enjoyed many wonderful desserts already featuring these two items.

Some friends of Lori and Charlie stopped off the other day. They were motorcycling from Cape Cod around the Cabot Trail. They took the catamaran from Bar Harbor to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and have biked since then. They said they saw in a motorcycle magazine that this trip was listed as one of the best motorcycle trips in the world. The early part of their trip was hampered by a lot of rain. I'm not sure how good it has been for them since they left us. They stayed and had a tour of our island and then had a meal with us. They couldn't believe that this many family members could get along with each other.

Mom has been doing well to our great pleasure. Her only problem was when I worked her too hard breaking off the ends of green beans and she got dizzy. Toni (the nurse that she is) promptly put her in trendelenberg on the couch. In the end it did the trick.

I"ve tried twice now to send videos of the work to Dave, Jon, Rad and Shannon but I just can't get them to upload. Maybe I'll have Corey try at a later date. Missing you all.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hello From Rainy Nova Scotia

Well we've been here on the beautiful Isle of Madame on Cape Breton, Nova Scotia for four days and have seen rain every day. The forecast looks much the same for at least the next two weeks with unseasonably cool weather. On the first night the three couples camping in tents outside suffered varying degrees of water damage but Shawn and Camille were the only ones ending up in the house. Our spirits haven't been dampened by the dismal weather because we have each other, books, games, Calleigh and food in no particular order.

Much to our surprise and delight over this past spring Devin and Heath had figured a way out to our expansion problems. Now that six of the ten kids are married we have been bursting at the seams for at least five years with no workable plan in sight. They came up with the idea of each kid putting up a small cabin type house that will be inexpensive but practical for providing sleeping accomodations. It met with rapid approval by the younger generation and most of the guys (and Camille) have been working on the project with undivided attention for the last couple of days. They have staked out and cleared their spots (like they were early explorers) and hope to have the footings in before they leave on Sunday. They think they can do the actual construction in a couple of days when they first get here next year. I haven't felt such enthusiasm for the place in a long time.

I have been more of an inspector than a helper on the work sites. I seem to be very content in watching Calleigh run around. She seems to want to be outside all the time. She has mastered walking on uneven surfaces with no difficulty. The rain however has confined her to the house much of the time. She doesn't hesitate to investigate every nook and cranny. She doesn't need any toys she's very content to move everything out of the cupboard and then put it back in. I guess that's what they did in the olden days when there weren't many toys. Her really happy time is playing with Mia who arrived yesterday. It is amazing how much kids love kids.

Anyway all is well. I'm rushed because the internet is closing momentarily. There will be more to follow.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

And Then There's New England!!

When Corey created this blog for me I thought I would only use it for my trip to Europe to keep people at home informed of my whereabouts. But it seems as though some of these people have grown accustomed to this blog and want me to keep it going. I've given it a little thought and think maybe I'll give it a try at least every once in awhile.

As much as I love foreign travel (and I do love foreign travel), there is something so wonderful about New England I would never want to minimize the great experience we have living in New England. For many years now (since our children were little and they're far from little anymore) Bill and I have taken great pleasure in driving the back roads of New England. We had that such experience today. Last night we ended up with our friends, Barry and Gail, in the West Dover Inn in West Dover, Vermont. It claims to be the oldest continuously running Inn in the country. We enjoyed the piano player in the restaurant last night and the suite they upgraded us to when I found some dirty towels in the room we had reserved.

Today we drove around southwestern Vermont stopping at a few antique stores and taking pictures of barns (a personal favorite of mine).

We headed into northwestern Massachusetts and passed through Williams College. We loved walking around the campus for a bit and then headed to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge. Above is Norman Rockwell's studio which was moved to the museum sight. We enjoyed the main street of Stockbridge and ate a little supper in a good downtown eatery. Stockbridge was awesome!! I'd never been to Stockbridge before.

Just a note about my "Galavanting Gigi" name. It is pretty obvious that I like to galavant whether near or far so that part of the title is easy. The Gigi part is the name I chose for my first (and only so far)grandchild, Calleigh, to call me. I was more that ready to be a grandmother, but not ready for "Nana", "Grammy" or the rest of the common names. Those names are all wonderful names of people I love, but not me. So my attempt to chose my own name, Gigi, was put out there with some anticipation that Calleigh might chose something else or not be able to say it at all. I am pleased to say that at 14 months she has the Gigi down and I think I'm all set. Time will tell.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

All Good Things Must Come To An End (or so they say)

Well after a couple of months of planning and thousands of miles of traveling I'm on my homeward leg. I got a 2:20am wake up call in our Athens Hotel to get a cab to the airport and a 5:20am flight back to Budapest. After a five hour wait here I fly to New York with at least a 4 hour wait there before my flight into Boston. I never slept one wink before my wake up call so I'm pretty tired and I don't sleep on planes(as many of you know that's the only place I don't sleep). I hope today will be different. Ricky is catching a direct flight from Athens to Philadelphia and on to Chicago. He leaves at 11:30am.

Athens has been an advanced history class. Fortunately I had a good teacher and despite miles of walking (and a lot of it up hill)I really enjoyed the sights. Seeing the Acropolis and Parthenon (although under renovations) is a totally awesome sight that I'll never forget.

Hadrian's Gate and the Temple of Zeus were also remarkable.

All in all Greece was an excellent experience. I really liked the food. The people for the most part were friendly and helpful. I never got used to not flushing (even toilet paper) anything in the toilet. There was shopping galore and much better quality stuff than in Croatia.

So to my traveling companions: Bill, Nancy, Ken, Eric and Rick thanks for a great time and a great memory.

I should be arriving in New York at 3:30pm today (Tuesday). I hope to pass the hours talking on my cell phone. If I don't call you, call me.