Monday, September 30, 2013

Getting Off My Dupa, in Pictures

Dupa is a Polish word,  meaning your heinie.   Bottom.  Backside.  Ass.  My mom, of Polish descent, taught me that word, usually while wielding her belt or penny loafer.

I sit on my dupa a lot lately.  There's not much else I can do.  With my head in  this damn neck brace, I  can't bend my head down, which means I even have to sit down to pee since I can't aim.   All I do is sit.  I mostly sit at this laptop.  Sometimes I position myself awkwardly on the couch and watch a movie or read a book.  Right now, I'm reading Richard Russo's Elsewhere.  Russo is from 36 Helwig Street in Gloversville, the tiny city of 15,000 people next to Bleecker.  Russo is a Pulitzer Prize winning author, and this is his memoir.  It's not a very flattering book regarding Gloversville, but accurate.

Pam went horseback riding yesterday.  I didn't get her camera yet, and so I don't know if she has many photos.  But when she came back we decided to hie ourselves over to our property since it was an absolutely beautiful fall day in the Adirondacks.

The leaves are at peak.  Maybe even a little past.

Looking towards our foundation hole.

Jeremiah's horse trailer.  It needs a good washing.

Pam.  She doesn't need a washing.

Bessie.  An almost flat tire, and I couldn't get her started.  I need to charge the battery.

Audrey the Kia sports a new sticker.



Our driveway.

Pam decided to burn some boxes and she set the bonfire alight again.

Track of a large deer, probably a buck.

I'm glad we saved this tree.

We had to go.  It was time to put the fire out.  I used the time honored Boy Scout method.

Our well.  The grey mud is stone dust.  They drilled through five feet of dirt and 140 feet of stone.

I love the light coming through the woods late in the day.

Autumn days here in the lower Adirondacks are always beautiful.  As much as we enjoyed many places in our cruise down the coast, this is one reason why we had to come back.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Mauled By a Pit Bull

Trish and Theresa came by to visit for a bit yesterday.  They know our dogs, and so knew what to expect.  Especially Trish since she owns a pit bull herself.

Theresa sat in a chair so the dogs wouldn't be all over her, but Trish went for the couch.

First, Chevy attacked.   Kisses all over.  Then he went for a toy.

Ruby, the protective, motherly female pit bull, jumped up and positioned herself between Trish and Chevy.

Ruby first fended off Chevy, and then Olivia.  Poor Trish got squashed by 80 pounds of pit bull in the process.

It was a standoff.  Ruby wasn't going to let any harm come to Trish.

Uh oh.  See the devilish smile on Ruby's face?

It was all over for Trish at that point.  She didn't have a chance.

Afterwards, we went to a big BBQ at our friends' place down the road in Benson.  I didn't bring my camera because I didn't want to look like a tourist, but I should have.  They have a beautiful little horse farm, with  four horses.  Between the horses and the kids that were trying to feed them, I missed a lot of good shots.  Always always always always always always bring the camera.

But I did take a few photos around our unabomber cabin.  The foliage here is peak, or maybe even a little past peak.

Beautiful, isn't it?

Today, Pam took Jeremiah horseback riding.  She took along her point and shoot, so I hope to have photos of that for you tomorrow.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Daddy Long Legs

As you know, for the past month my life has been pretty boring.  Since the accident, all I do all day is watch movies and play on Al Gore's internets.  I'm not complaining, mind you.  It's better than the alternative.

I  was sitting here the keyboard at 4:30 AM (you need to get up early to sit and do nothing all day if you expect to get anything done) and my daddy long legs buddy came trotting by.  He climbed up on my laptop's keyboard, waved a long leg hello to me, and trotted off.  What an odd creature.

It seems he wanted me to open this small bottle of Tabasco sauce sitting on the table for him.  He must be tired of bland ol' aphids and wanted to spice them up a bit.

So, not having anything else to do, I googled him to see if I could learn anything about these spiders.  Well, the first thing I learned is that they are not spiders.  They have eight legs and are arachnids, but are not spiders.  They don't have venomous fangs, and they don't build webs.  Well, what kind of insects are they then?   They're not insects either.  They're from the arachnid group Opiliones, and commonly called Harvestmen because they show up in large numbers at harvest time in the fall.  They eat aphids and other small insects and spiders, chewing them up outside their bodies and sucking up the liquids.


This seems to be an extremely good year for daddy long legs.  We have a bumper crop of them here in our unabomber cabin.  They suddenly appeared here about a week ago.  I've always found them to be very cute and friendly.  If they had fur, perhaps even cuddly.

Yesterday turned out to be a yucky day here in Bleecker.  It was NOT sunny and 74 degrees as forecast.  It was 60 degrees tops, and cloudy and gray.  Pam wasn't feeling well either, so we never went out for a foliage drive and I was cabin bound yet again.  Today, however, we're going to a BBQ at a friend's place here in Bleecker.  I'm looking forward to getting out of here, even for a little bit.  Only one more month to go and hopefully I'll have this damned neck brace off and I can drive and be somewhat active again.

I'm over the flu or whatever bug I had, so today I'm thinking I might get back to my book about our travels on Drift Away.  The book is almost half finished.  Since I'm half finished with being house bound, I'd better get my butt in gear.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Day in Photos

On my Drift Away blog, I'd often post a "day in photos".  Really, just a compilation of what my day was like in photographs, usually cruising up Delaware Bay or some such.  People seemed to enjoy it, and it was one of the most popular blog posts that I did.

So... what do I do now?  I'm trapped in a neck brace.  I can't drive.  I can't work.  I can't do anything except sit at this laptop.  Well, what about my day in photos here?

 I grabbed the camera.  Here was my day in photos.

The highlight of the day was when Earl came by to tell me about the well being drilled.  Earl loves the dogs, and the dogs love him.  Chevy brought Earl a tug-of-war toy, which Earl enjoyed as much as he did.

Ruby has positioned herself to protect Earl in case things get out of hand.

OK.  Earl left.  Now what?  On Drift Away, I'd be taking pics of Friggin' Pelicans, or Laughing Gulls, or whatever.  Nothing here.... WAIT!  A Daddy-Long-Legs!  This is the best yet!  And right on my paper towel next to the laptop!

He was doing laps here, from the napkin to the Tabasco Sauce to the parts for Pam's lamp.

Look at how exciting... OK.  So it's not so exciting.  It's all I've got.

The only other item of interest was Leo the Cat and Ruby.  This is Ruby's bed at night, only the Spitfire of Death was sleeping there.  Ruby managed to sneak up on one corner and curl up, with one eye open for fangs and claws.

Sorry folks, that's all I have.  Life in a little cabin in the woods just isn't blog fodder when you're in a neck brace.  But tomorrow Pam has off, and she says that she's getting me out of here for a bit.  Maybe I'll have something better tomorrow.

I wonder where that Daddy-Long-Legs went off too?  Here Daddy Daddy Daddy...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Green Eggs and Ham

I avoid politics on my blogs.  You don't care what my political views are, nor I yours.   However, one thing that I've been passionate about for decades is the sorry state of health care in the US.  50 million people uninsured, the exorbitantly high cost of it, and medical bills being the leading cost of bankruptcy in this country.

I never thought I'd be one of the uninsured.  I was sitting in work one day when my boss came to me to tell me that he couldn't afford to pay for my health insurance anymore.  It seems that when I turned 60, the premium went from $600 a month to $1,150.  Yes, that's legal in Connecticut.

No problem, I thought.  I'll just buy insurance from someone else.  Imagine my surprise when I found out I couldn't buy insurance from anyone at any price.

Things went along fine for three years while Pam and I self-insured.  We took a nice cruise south on Drift Away, filling our prescriptions at Walmart since they're everywhere.  I simply paid my doctor bills and x-rays as I went along.  Obamacare was in sight.  I only had to make it to January 1st, 2014.

I didn't.

So I'm sitting here with $26,000 worth of hospital bills.  So far.

I went online to see what my insurance premiums will be under Obamacare.   $1,259 for the silver plan.  That's not a month, by the way.  That's annually.  If you'd like to see what your premium would be, you can check it on the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation's Subsidy Calculator.

And I'm sorry if you're a Tea Partier, but when I see them hollering to repeal the Affordable Care Act, I want to scream.  Sure, there are plenty of things wrong with the Affordable Care Act, but I think it's a start.

And then what do I hear?  Ted Cruz "filibustering" to repeal Obamacare.  It wasn't a real filibuster because it wouldn't prevent the vote in the Senate.  It was simply Ted grabbing media attention.

And then... Ted reads Green Eggs and Ham to his kids over the TV.  Does Ted have any reading comprehension at all?  Doesn't he realize its a child's story about not liking something you know nothing about, but once you do, you love it!

With apologies to Dr. Seuss and children of all ages...

I am Barack

I am Barack
Barack I am

That Barack-I-am
That Barack-I-am!
I do not like
that Barack-I-am

Do you like

I do not like it,
I do not like

Would you like it
Here or there?

I would not like it
here or there.
I would not like it
I do not like
I do not like it,

Would you like it
in a house?
Would you like it
with a mouse?

I do not like it
in a house.
I do not like it
with a mouse.
I do not like it
here or there.
I do not like it
I do not like Obamacare.
I do not like it, Barack-I-am.

Would you fund it
in a box?
Would you fund it
with a fox?

Not in a box.
Not with a fox.
Not in a house.
Not with a mouse.
I would not fund it here or there.
I would not fund it anywhere.
I would not fund Obamacare.
I do not like it, Barack-I-am.

Would you? Could you?
in a car?
Fund it! Fund it!
Here they are.

I would not ,
could not,
in a car

You may like it.
You will see.
You may like it
in a tree?
Not in a tree.
I would not, could not in a tree.
Not in a car! You let me be.

I do not like it in a box.
I do not like it with a fox
I do not like it in a house
I do not like it with a mouse
I do not like it here or there.
I do not like it anywhere.
I do not like Obamacare.
I do not like it, Barack-I-am.

A train! A train!
A train! A train!
Could you, would you
on a train?

Not on a train! Not in a tree!
Not in a car! Barack! Let me be!
I would not, could not, in a box.
I could not, would not, with a fox.
I will not fund it with a mouse
I will not fund it in a house.
I will not fund it here or there.
I will not fund it anywhere.
I do not like it, Barack-I-am.

In the dark?
Here in the dark!
Would you, could you, in the dark?

I would not, could not,
in the dark.

Would you, could you,
in the rain?

I would not, could not, in the rain.
Not in the dark. Not on a train,
Not in a car, Not in a tree.
I do not like it, Barack, you see.
Not in a house. Not in a box.
Not with a mouse. Not with a fox.
I will not fund it here or there.
I do not like it anywhere!

You do not like

I do not
like it,

Could you, would you,
with a goat?

I would not,
could not.
with a goat!

Would you, could you,
on a boat?

I could not, would not, on a boat.
I will not, will not, with a goat.
I will not fund it in the rain.
I will not fund it on a train.
Not in the dark! Not in a tree!
Not in a car! You let me be!
I do not like it in a box.
I do not like it with a fox.
I will not fund it in a house.
I do not like it with a mouse.
I do not like it here or there.
I do not like it ANYWHERE!

I do not like

I do not like it,

You do not like it.
SO you say.
Try it! Try it!
And you may.
Try it and you may I say.

If you will let me be,
I will try it.
You will see.

I like Obamacare!
I do!! I like it, Barack-I-am!
And I would fund it in a boat!
And I would fund it with a goat...
And I will fund it in the rain.
And in the dark. And on a train.
And in a car. And in a tree.
It is so good so good you see!

So I will fund it in a box.
And I will fund it with a fox.
And I will fund it in a house.
And I will fund it with a mouse.
And I will fund it here and there.
Say! I will fund it ANYWHERE!

I do so like
Thank you!
Thank you,

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


I think I have Post Traumatic Tree Disorder.

I was up all Monday night.  Between not feeling well, the two cats chasing mice, and dogs kicking me, it was impossible to sleep.  Finally, around 7 AM yesterday (after finishing Ron's Chappell's book Navajo Autumn) I decided to try to catch a few.   Do you know that place where you're not awake, but not asleep?  You're aslake.  I love being aslake.  Suddenly, a tree came flying at me with a crash and hit me smack on the head with a bang!  I awoke and jumped!  Well, as best a 63 year old man with a full neck brace can jump.  I twitched!

That scared the crap out of me.  It was real, like it was happening all over again.  I was in a cold sweat, and my heart was pounding.  That kind of a dream hasn't happened in the month since the accident.

I got up, putzed on Al Gore's internets, and laid back down.  I was awake... aslake... asleep... oh look, a butterfly... .WHAM!  There's that damn tree again!

All day yesterday, every time I tried to get to sleep, I'd get smacked by that tree.   I didn't get much sleep.

It's midnight.  I suppose I really should try to get some shuteye.  I've been playing on Facebook for awhile and had to chuckle when my friend Rosemary posted this on my timeline...

Three Stooges: Curly's Hard Head

I don't know if you remember, but while I was at Albany Medical Center, I had teams of doctors come in to see me.  I was seriously hurt, with a broken neck and a concussion.  Many asked if I had a headache.

"No, why?  Should I?"

They looked at me with amazement.   Maybe I should point to the tree and say "Oh oh oh oh oh.... oh look!  Toothpicks!"

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Well and Chicken Soup

Healthwise, I've been feeling better this afternoon.  I ate an English muffin for lunch and chicken soup for dinner.  Some of Pam's homemade chicken soup!   Mmmmmmm...

I needed it.  I stayed up all night not feeling well.  I read a book recently published by a friend of mine, R. Allen Chappell.  It was a good read.  Ron (the R. part) grew up near a Navajo reservation.  Navajo Autumn is the first in a series of mysteries based on and around the Navajo.  I'm already half way through the second, Boy Made of Dawn.

But staying up all night and only snatching cat naps during the day is too much for this old guy.  I need to hit the hay early tonight.

Sonny from Adirondack Drilling called last night to let us know he was coming to drill the well this morning.

"We can't meet you there, Sonny.  Do you remember where the well goes?"

"Yeah, I think so," he said.  By the end of the driveway, right?"

Yep.  That's it.

I got a call at 8 AM this morning.  It was Sonny.

"Did you get my message last night?" he asked.

"No.  What message."

"I wanted to know if you'd go put a stake where the well goes."

"We can't.  Pam went to work and I can't drive.  I broke my neck and..."

"YOU DID WHAT?  How did that happen?  Are you going to be OK."

I gave him the short version of the accident.

"Eh, I think I'll find it."

Pam called at 11 AM.  "Do you need anything?"

"Yes.  Go right to the property and see where they're drilling the well.  They wanted us to stake it for them."

Well, Pam went over and when she returned she told me that the well is off about ten feet from where we wanted it, but it's OK.

Then Earl came over to tell me that Sonny hit rock as soon as he started drilling, so we only have the minimum 20 feet of casement required by law.  The well is 145 feet deep and we're getting 8 gallons a minute, no hydro fracking.  With the rig they have, Earl said you could watch it bore steadily down.  They were done by 1 PM.  Sonny took the cap off to show Earl.  It was already full of water.

Now we only need electricity and a leach field and we're good to go for docking the motor home there next year.

I wonder if we should give the motor home a name?  Roll Away?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Don't Read This While Eating

I've been fairly discouraged lately.  I actually have gotten a bit worse since being attacked by the tree as my right food suddenly went numb.  Dr. Carl doesn't know why.  So I've been sitting around feeling a little sorry for myself.  I can't drive, I can't lift more than five pounds.  I had planned to at least build the pole barn this fall to store our cars in, but that's not happening now.

And then it got worse.  I've either gotten the flu, or I'm possibly having flu-like withdrawal symptoms from running out of Gabapentin, a generic form of Neurontin, yesterday.  Since we were at a crowded reception eating finger food on Saturday night, I'm guessing the flu or some other bug.  I was only on the Gabapentin for three weeks, anyway, and everyone I've read about on Al Gore's interwebs who had flu-like withdrawal symptoms were on much higher dosages and for a much longer period of time.

As I wrote a reply to a Drift Away blog reader in Jacksonville, I bemoaned my plight, and then realized how funny it must look for an old man in a neck brace and a bum foot trying to hobble off to the bathroom to vomit in the bathtub.   The sink and toilet are too high (the toilet is on a pedestal... really) and I'd have to stand, but I can kneel next to the bathtub.

There's half of a nice apple pie sitting on the kitchen counter but I'd hurl it.  So as I type this, I'm drinking ginger ale and eating saltines.  Big whoop.

In more positive news, the numbness in the middle finger of my right hand is gone and it's back to normal.  If we didn't live in the middle of the woods, I'd be able to flip people off with it.  Well, I might be able to drive in another month or two.

If there are any children reading this, I'm only kidding about that.  That would be totally rude, and wrong, and very immature.

For you adult readers... wink wink nudge nudge.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Mucking Along

Not much happening here.  Just mucking along.

No progress on building our place, of course.  Although we did pick up the final version of our house plans from George T. Farnum the architect in Ballston Spa.  If you live around here and want house plans, Farnum is your guy.   Well, Skyler is your guy.  He actually did the plans.  Very skilled, very accommodating.  He looked to me to be about 12 though, so you might want to call first to make sure he's not outside playing.

We also bought Pam's brother's motor home.

It has a flat tire and needs a brake master cylinder, so on Monday we'll call Frank's Heavy Duty Truck Repair to go tow it and fix it.  The plan is to stay in our rental Unabomber Cabin until after Christmas and then hightail it south, towing Jeremiah in a horse trailer.

Oh, we just bought a horse trailer too.

In health news, I went to see Dr. Carl yesterday.  We had a noon appointment.  At 2 PM, he finally came into our room.  His cell phone rang and he left us to answer it.  Pam was livid.  You don't mess with Pam when she's livid.  I've seen it.  Her head actually spins around like a top and she breathes fire.

"I'm not impressed with Doctor Carl," fumed Pamela.

"But he's a really good doctor.  I like him." I protested.

Pam gave me The Look.  I hate The Look.

When Dr. Carl came back, he reviewed my MRI of my lower back to figure out why my right foot went numb and stopped working.

"It all looks good.  I don't see any reason why your foot has issues."


"How is your upper back?"

"Well, I don't have any numbness in my middle finger anymore.  Everything else is just as it was three weeks ago when the tree hit my noggin," said I.  "So I guess that's slow progress."

"In my business, that's healing up pretty quickly," said Dr. Carl.

We had some discussion about my shoulder pain, which is chronic.  On a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is me stepping on that friggin' nine inch nail a couple of months ago, it's about a 7.  But it's non-stop pain unless I take a dreaded oxycodone pill.  Then the pain goes away for an hour, and slowly creeps back over the next couple of hours.  And then it's back.

Dr. Carl suggested a cortisone/lidocaine/novocaine in my shoulder.  He said it might give me temporary relief for anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks.  I HATE the oxycodone because it turns me into an imbecile (OK, a bigger imbecile) so after a very brief discussion of side effects, I agreed.  He produced a needle about three feet long and the diameter of a garden hose and jammed it into my shoulder.

"Rotate your arm around," he said.  "How does that feel?"

I hadn't taken an oxy since 7:30 that morning and so was in considerable pain before the shot.

"I think i worked," I said.  "The pain is gone."

Dr. Carl smiled.  I smiled.  Pam smiled.  The nurse almost smiled.  Everyone was happy.

We left and went to visit old friends of ours, Kate and Chuck, who live just a short distance away from Albany Medical Center.  They rented a gorgeous apartment in a beautiful old home on a quiet street.  They also bought a motor home very similar to ours.  They're going to sell their sailboat and cruise in their land yacht, just like us.  We had a nice visit while waiting for Preston and Vickie to arrive, friends from Annapolis.  I won't bore you with the chit chat, but after a bit we went to Cornell's restaurant in Schenectady to celebrate my birthday and the fact that I'm here to celebrate it.  Cornell's is partly owned by the Humes, fairly old friends of Kate and Chuck and fairly new friends to us.

On the ride over, we hit a HUGE bump.  The pain in my arm came back.  Sigh.  But I planned on celebrating, so an oxy was out of the question.

Cornell's is in Schenectady's Little Italy part of town.  Bottom line.  It was fabulous, made even better by wonderful company and lots of laughs.  I even forgot about my painful arm for a time.  I've never had steak pizziaola before, but I'm going to have it again!  It's a steak "sauteed with mushrooms, garlic, white onions, tomatoes, fresh ground pepper, and a touch of sherry wine".  Because of the drugs I take, I don't have any appetite to speak of, but I did a number on that steak and ate half of it.  The other half will be lunch today.  Everyone else raved about their meals too.  If you live in New York's capital district, or plan on visiting here, take a trip to Cornell's.  Just a tad pricey, but the food is fabulous and the service was top shelf.

Being cruisers, Pam and I have learned to be flexible.  You don't make plans, you just have notions.  Since our notion of getting the foundation, well, and leech field installed this year didn't happen, we shifted gears and will now head south in the motor home along with all the other blue haired old farts, but towing a horse instead of a car.  We might take a few trips.  Key West has always been high on my list, and another internet friend Speedy (Kate and Chuck, and Preston and Vickie were met on an internet message board) has invited us all out to Arizona for a visit.  That would be cool, if our old motor home is up to it.  We'll see.

Last weekend was two weddings.  Today is a wedding reception for Trish and Theresa.  I need to load the wedding photos I took onto one of those electronic picture frames, select one photo to print for a regular frame, buy a good flash for my camera, and get ourselves to Gianna's Restaurant in Gloversville by 5 PM.  Pamela has to work until 1 PM, so we'll have some scurrying around to do.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Happy Birthday To Me

I'm sitting here at 4AM in a lot of pain.  I have a bottle of oxycodone sitting next to me.  I'm loathe to take any, though.  I've read that oxycodone is a man made form of heroin, and as addictive.  So I'm self medicating with scotch and telling myself that the pain isn't really all that bad.  Although it is.

I can do this.  I've been through worse.  When I was 19, I blew my back out lifting a quarter keg of beer out of the back seat of my '67 Camaro Z28.  I spent three days in bed afterwards, unable to move.  I can do this.


Today is my 63rd birthday.  I honestly don't know what to do.  The pain is intense.  The side effects of the drugs suck.  All this scotch helps a lot, but probably isn't good for me either.

I have tears running down my face.

Man, this hurts. I guess that's to be expected, what with getting hit on the head with a tree and all.  But when does this stop?  Constant pain... no appetite and can't eat... I'm wasting away.

It is now 8 AM.  I read the above to Pamela.  I told her it was pathetic and I was going to delete it.  She said no.

"Post it. A couple of years from now, you can go back and read it and remember what it was like."

Having the love of my life next to me makes all this easier.  And my Ruby has been amazingly supportive as well.  Pitbulls were once known as "nanny dogs" because they're so protective.  That would be Ruby.  She comes to me constantly during the day, wanting loving pats on the head and scratches behind her ears, letting me know she's here for me.

I can't imagine going through this alone.  I really can't.  Pamela and Ruby make it bearable.  Their love is my birthday gift.  Happy birthday to me.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Autumn in Bleecker

The leaves are starting to turn here in the lower Adirondack Mountains.  It won't be peak for another two or three weeks, but it's starting to get very pretty.

I just went outside to yell at Olivia for barking when I noticed that the sun was very low and lighting up this tree nicely.

Leo followed me outside and found a hole to curl up in.

Earlier today, I caught Leo trying to come in the side door with a Blue Jay in his mouth.  I quickly shut the side door, and then ran over to the front door and shut it.  Pam came home a few hours later.

"Why is there a dead Blue Jay by the front door?" she asked.

I guess Leo is just trying to earn his keep.  He is very proud of himself and his hunting prowess.  Birds, mice, frogs... and his favorite- grasshoppers.  He doesn't kill them right away.  He likes to paw at them and make them hop for awhile first.

I turned to walk back inside.  This is how low the sun was, barely peeking through the trees.

It's getting chilly here.  We've had frost for the past couple of days, and a fire in the woodstove at night.  I love wood heat, especially when we can run it 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  I'm still out of commission though, so it's all up to poor Pamela to start the fire and keep it going.

We're going back to the doctor on Friday.  I'm hoping he'll let me do some light duty work.  I don't know though, because it seems to me that I haven't gotten any better since this happened three weeks ago.  Thank God for oxycodone.

Monday, September 16, 2013


This has little to do with Bleecker Mountain Life, but more to do with just plain old life.

I've never really excelled at anything.  Hardly any of us do.  We all pretty much muck along, doing the best we can, and then we die.  Sure, some of us are better than average at some things.  I built probably the best computers that one could buy, but that hardly made ME anything special.  That only meant that I cared about the products I assembled and sold.

I did excel in college for a time.  I was a returning adult, with a family and a mortgage, and so was motivated.  I got 100% on just about every test I took, and usually got any bonus question correct.  The professors who marked on a curve would do so on the second highest grade, discounting mine.  My final GPA was 3.98.  A "B" in tennis messed up a 4.0.

I've always enjoyed the arts.  Music, painting, and so on.  I tried them all and although I enjoyed my attempts at them, I was never very good at any.  The desire was there, but the talent was not.

About a year and a half ago, Pam and I were living on our boat in Savannah.  I was working on our Boston Whaler which lived on the upper deck of Drift Away.  I don't remember now what I was doing to it, but I had my point-and-shoot camera with me to record the proceedings.  At the end of the day, I packed everything up but I had forgotten all about my camera and left it up there.   During the night, we had your typical southern rainstorm of biblical proportions.  My camera was ruined.  I intended to just go out and buy another inexpensive camera, but Pamela wouldn't hear of it.

"Let's go out and buy you a nice camera," she said.

"No, they're too expensive," I replied.  I can be a cheap bastard at times.

"You never spend money on yourself," she said.  "You love photography.  You're always taking pictures, and you're good at it.  Let's go to the mall and look."

Well, I guess it wouldn't hurt to look.  So we went to the mall, and a basic DSLR with a couple of lenses would set me back close to a grand.  Nope.  Not spending that kind of money.

"Buy it," said Pamela sternly.

Well, we walked around the mall, and somehow she persuaded me to buy it.  Back at the boat, I put it all together.  It certainly was a nice piece of equipment.  I could even change the lens!  I decided that since I spent such a large amount of money on a toy, I should learn how to use it.  I went online and enrolled in a digital photography school.  I read about photography online.  I bought books.  I tackled photography the same way I did college my second time around.  I took photos.  Lots and lots of photos.  I made mistakes and learned from them.  I worked on my photography and got better.  I submitted photos to stock photography websites and was accepted by one, and they sell my photos and even pay me a paltry sum for the honor.  I put many photos on my Drift Away blog.  Some blog posts were mostly nothing but photos.  People noticed the improvement, including our friend back home, Trish.

Well, not too long ago, Trish asked me if I'd photograph her wedding.  Uh oh.  I told her that I'm not a real photographer.  I'm a hobby photographer.  I'm not really that good and just get lucky once in awhile.  She insisted that I would do fine.  Well, Pam and I owed her a lot.  She's the kind of friend who will do anything for you.   If it wasn't for Trish, we might not even be together.  She helped Pam through some tough times.  I was so grateful, I even asked her to be my best man.  I nervously agreed to do it, advising her that she might want to get a professional.

Then I had the logging accident.  Trish and her bride, Theresa, were concerned that I wouldn't be able to do it.  No way, I told them.  I'll be there.  I owed them.

Yesterday was the big day.  My pain meds make me loopy, so I made sure not to take any.

One thing I learned quickly about photography is that if you want to get some good photos, take lots of them, and I did.  I put my camera on all different settings.  It was an outdoor wedding at the covered bridge park in Edinburgh.  It was in the shade, which was good.  It's tough to get good photos of people in bright sunlight.  But which ISO setting do I use?  Too low and the photos would be dark.  Too high and they'd be grainy.  I took a half dozen photos of each shot using myriad settings.  I took off my 55 mm lens and put on the 300 mm to get some close ups.  At the informal reception afterwards, I maxed out my camera's memory card.  I had taken almost 500 shots.

Back home afterwards, I downloaded the photos to my computer and then immediately backed them up to my external hard drive.  If my laptop crashed, there would be no do overs.  I booted up my photo  processing program and scanned what I did.  Amazingly, there was some good shots.  I got to this one, and I choked up a little.

It's a close-up that I took with my telephoto during the exchange of marriage vows.  Trish has a tear running down her cheek.  It's a powerful image of love.  How can anyone be opposed to gay marriage?  Why do so many states still not allow it?

Looking at this photo... maybe I do almost excel at something.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

OK, Now This is Cold.

It's 5:43 AM and 52 degrees inside our cozy little cabin.  I'm crawling back under the covers. See you later!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Last Bite

We have a tradition in our family.  Our pets get "the last bite".

All animals beg for food.  Even though they get their own special food, they want ours.  We make them wait.

The dogs sit politely, knowing that their turn will be coming.  The cats, however, haven't learned this.

We do not allow the cats on our laps or certainly, not on the table while we're eating.  Leo jumped up and stuck his nose right into Pam's plate.  Right after I took this photo, Pam put Leo on the floor.  Of course, he immediately jumped back up.  And Pam put him down.  And he jumped back up, and Pam put him down.  And he jumped back up, and Pam put him down.  And he jumped back up, and Pam put him down.  And he jumped back up, and Pam put him down.  And he jumped back up, and Pam put him down.  And he jumped back up, and Pam put him down.  And he jumped back up, and Pam put him down.  And he jumped back up, and Pam put him down.  

Cats are persistent.

Finally, it was time for the last bite.

The pitbulls are patient, but Olivia the German Shorthaired Pointer has a hard time controlling herself and sometimes tries to intercept Ruby or Chevy's bite.  She'e learning, though, that her turn is coming and she's getting better.

Don't worry, Leo got his too.

Friday, September 13, 2013


Pam and I drove the mile from our rental cabin to our property to grill a couple of steaks for dinner the other night. While relaxing in our screen house, we heard the rumble of thunder of an approaching storm. The thunder was continuous. We knew it was going to be bad. As soon as we finished eating we packed up and hightailed it back home. Along the way, the wind kicked up something fierce, and the leaves swirled and tree branches swayed. We pulled down our driveway and found this fallen tree at the bottom. 

Why are trees after me?

Since I can't do much of anything, Earl came over with his chainsaw the next morning and made short order of the tree.   He cut it up into little pieces which he and Pam tossed off to the side.  Of course, Ruby thought this was a wonderful game and dragged several back out to play with.  That made Earl chuckle.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

UPS and FedEx Deliveries

I've ordered several things since moving to Bleecker.  Usually I request a US Postal Service delivery to our big country mailbox, but once in awhile, it has to be UPS or FedEx.

I was working on our property a few weeks ago.  A UPS truck pulled in.  The driver looked a bit nervous.  There is no house here, and only a dirt road leading to an acre or so that we cleared, where there is TODD the Trailer, Bessie the Tractor, the screen house, and little else.  I smiled and waved, and signed for the package.

Yesterday was a busy day.  Pam and I ran around getting needed information from the county (so National Grid will consider running power to our land), talking to a mechanic about the motor home, and other stuff.

"What do you want to do about dinner?" asked Pam.

"I dunno.  How about getting something to grill?"  Our barbecue grill is still over on our property from our Labor Day bonfire.  'How about if we get something to grill and then take the dogs over for a romp?" I replied.

And so we did.  When we pulled into our property, Pam parked the car and I hobbled over to TODD the Trailer to put a new coil for the chainsaw away.  I heard Pamela shout...

"Did you order something?" hollered Pam.

"I don't think so.  Why?" said I.

"There's a package here for you in the screen house."

What?  I hobbled over to the screen house.  It was a package from the yacht club I once belonged to, and to which I'm an honorary member.  They shipped an FTD get well package to my address in Bleecker.  I can only imagine the UPS guy driving down our long dirt road, only to see TODD the Trailer, Bessie the Tractor, and the screen house.  What??  So he left his delivery in the screen house.

Pam grilled a couple of steaks and some DELICIOUS upstate New York corn on the cob.  While we were eating in the screen house, we could hear continuous thunder all around us.   It got closer and closer.  We finished eating and decided to high tail it out of there.  Just as we pulled out of our driveway, the wind kicked up something fierce.  The trees were whipping about and leaves and small branches flew about.  We drove the mile to our rental place and pulled off the highway and down our steep driveway.  At the bottom, a tree laid across it.  We stopped Audrey the Kia and hopped out and ran for the cabin just as the rain started pelting down.

It was a nasty storm.  Hail and everything, a typical upstate New York thunderstorm.  Pam's mom called on the phone to say that in the midst of all this rain, hail, and lightning, that Jeremiah the Horse was out in his pasture eating grass.

"Not a problem," said Pam.  "No bugs."

And that's life in Bleecker.  We live according to the insect situation.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Bleecker Weather

Weather is important when cruising on a boat.  I signed up for daily email forecasts with Intellicast even before we left Stamford.  I've found them to be pretty accurate.   As we moved down the eastern seaboard on Drift Away, I'd go online with and change the location to the city closest to where we were.  When we moved back to upstate New York, I changed our location to Bleecker.

I found today's forecast to be interesting.  It embodies the old saying about the weather here.   If you don't like the weather, wait a minute.  Today it will be 90 degrees.  Friday will be a high of 60.  This is completely different than Georgia where every day was a high of 90 and a low of 70 and isolated thunderstorms.

But that's what the weather is like, and fall is definitely in the air here, and the leaves are turning.  Upstate New York and New England are beautiful in the autumn and I'm looking forward to it.

========================================================================= Weather E-mail - Wednesday, Sep 11, 2013 3:14 AM

For the complete 10-Day forecast and current conditions, visit

5-Day Forecast for Bleecker, New York
Today: Isolated Thunderstorms, High: 90 F, Low: 70 F
Tomorrow: Thunderstorms, High: 76 F, Low: 59 F
Friday: Few Showers, High: 60 F, Low: 45 F
Saturday: Partly Cloudy, High: 60 F, Low: 40 F
Sunday: Partly Cloudy, High: 67 F, Low: 47 F

Forecast Details 
A few isolated thunderstorms developing this afternoon under partly cloudy skies. Near record high temperatures. High near 90F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%. 

Variable clouds with scattered thunderstorms. Low around 70F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%. 

Scattered thunderstorms in the morning becoming more widespread in the afternoon. A few storms may be severe. High 76F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 80%. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Martha Stewart's Tips For Rednecks

Yep.  That's right.  Since I don't have much blog fodder, I'm going to pass on an email joke.  Yeah, I know you didn't come here to read email jokes, but 1) this is funny and 2) it's all I've got, unless you want to hear me complain about my broken neck.

To set the record straight, I am not a redneck.  I am not a woodchuck, which are what Adirondack rednecks are affectionately called.  I am an Adirondack American.


1. When decanting wine, make sure that you tilt the paper cup, and pour slowly so as not to "bruise" the fruit of the vine.
2. If drinking directly from the bottle, always hold it with your fingers covering the label.

1. A centerpiece for the table should never be anything prepared by a taxidermist.
2. Do not allow the dog to eat at the table... no matter how good his manners are.

1. While ears need to be cleaned regularly, this is a job that should be done in private using one's OWN truck keys.
2. Proper use of toiletries can forestall bathing for several days.  However, if you live alone, deodorant is a waste of good money.
3. Dirt and grease under the fingernails is a social no-no, as they tend to detract from a woman's jewelry and alter the taste of finger foods.

DATING (Outside the Family)
1. Always offer to bait your date's hook, especially on the first date.
2. Be aggressive. Let her know you're interested: "I've been wanting to go out with you since I read that stuff on the bathroom wall two years ago."
3. Establish with her parents what time she is expected back.  Some will say 10:00 p.m.; Others might say "Monday."  If the latter is the answer, it is the man's responsibility to get her to school on time.

1. Crying babies should be taken to the lobby and picked up immediately after the movie has ended.
2. Refrain from talking to characters on the screen. Tests have proven they can't hear you.

1. Livestock, usually, is a poor choice for a wedding gift.
2. Kissing the bride for more than five seconds may get you shot.
3. For the groom, at least, rent a tux. A leisure suit with a cummerbund and a clean bowling shirt can create a tacky appearance.
4. Though uncomfortable, say "yes" to socks and shoes for this special occasion.

1. Dim your headlights for approaching vehicles; even if the gun is loaded, and the deer is in sight.
2. When approaching a four-way stop, the vehicle with the largest tires always has the right of way.
3. Never tow another car using panty hose and duct tape.
4. When sending your wife down the road with a gas can, it is impolite to ask her to bring back beer.
5. Never relieve yourself from a moving vehicle, especially when driving.
6. Do not lay rubber while traveling in a funeral procession.

1. Never take a beer to a job interview.
2. Always identify people in your yard before shooting at them.
3. It's considered tacky to take a cooler to church.
4. If you have to vacuum the bed, it is time to change the sheets.
5. Even if you're certain that you are included in the will, it is still considered tacky to drive a U-Haul to the funeral home.

I think what really hit home for me was "If you have to vacuum the bed, it is time to change the sheets".    Living with Ruby, Chevy, and Olivia, this is a given before going to bed.   Does this officially make me a woodchuck?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Tomantown Road

Pam took Jeremiah The Horse for a nice long ride yesterday down Tomantown Road.  The road runs from Bleecker to Mayfield but was abandoned many years ago.  Finch-Pruyn logging trucks have been using it though, frantically logging the land.  They sold their property to the Nature Conservancy and have only a short time to log it before the deed changes hands.

New York State is in the process of purchasing land from the Nature Conservancy to add to the Adirondack Park.  You can see a map of these acquisitions on their web page Finch-Pryun Land Map.  If you scroll to the bottom, you'll see where it says "Benson Road".  That would be the land behind our property.

The DEC says this is the largest addition to the state forest preserve in 117 years.

"The 3,800-acre Benson Road Tract in Mayfield will provide opportunities for two snowmobile connector trails, fishing access to Stony Creek and a network of non-motorized multiple-use trails."  Sorry James.

Pam took lots of photos, posted here for your enjoyment.  You can see why we love the beauty of this area so much.

The loggers clear large areas for logs and equipment.  Or, just for the hell of it.

Yeah, they make a mess.  But in ten years, you won't see a sign of this.

Yep, a garter snake.  Lots of those around here.

Beautiful.  This is why we bought property in the Adirondacks.

What a handsome boy!

They've got rocks too.

Pam's uncle's camp.  It's a guy getaway, and looks like it.

Stony Creek.

I haven't been able to find much about Tomantown, except that it was a town named after the Tomans, and they were all wiped out by smallpox.  That happened a lot back then.  Smallpox. And falling widow maker trees.