Saturday, November 3, 2012

Cat Mystery

Do you remember a few months ago when I mentioned that one of our cats started hating the other one?  They had lived with one another peacefully for close to 4 years until Bella decided one day that she despised Monty.  It was bad.  As soon as she would see him, she would attack.  Not play attack, but "I want to cut your ear and rip out all your fur and make you scream like you are being murdered" kind of attack.  I realize that if you are not a cat person, this story will certainly not convince you of ever liking cats and you should stop reading now, but for those of you that are intrigued and might be able to provide some insight, keep reading.

All this is so strange because Bella, the younger of the two, is truly the sweetest cat I have ever owned.  She loves love.  This behavior has not changed towards humans, however she no longer wants love from Monty.  Poor Monty.

When this started 6 months ago, we immediately took Bella to Elmbrook Veterinary to have Dr. Sue examine her.  She did discover that there was blood in her urine and we treated her for a bladder infection.  I didn't blame Bella at all for lashing out when we discovered this, I'd be "pissy" too.  After 3 weeks of taking antibiotics we brought her back to get re-examined and there was still blood in her urine.  At that point we had xrays taken of her bladder and we truly thought she had bladder stones.  So, we did bladder surgery to remove the stones, but to our surprise there were no bladder stones.  Sue had run test after test and sent away numerous blood samples to try to figure out what was going on.  Of course, nothing solved our mystery and we reached a point where we didn't want to keep making Bella go through all this.  So, we put up a screened door in our hallway to separate the two cats.  One cat has the back of the house, the other has the front and our companionship.  To make things fair, we trade them out every 24 hours.

As you can imagine, a locked screened door in the hallway does not lead to good feng shui or the desire for my husband to once and for all finish that hallway.  At night, the cat that's in the back of the house makes it known around 2 am, that it does not like being the cat on the other side.  Every couple days when Drew and I are home together at night and things seem peaceful we get a toy out and play with the cats or we give them wet food together.  During those situations, they are fine together, no attacks, no puffy tail and no immediate chasing.  The other night we had the two of them actually sitting on my lap together, this was rare.  Could it be that Bella finally decided she was going to start playing nice again?

Not wanting to take any chances in the middle of the night, we separated them.  The next day, we tried to get them together again and Bella didn't want to have anything to do with him and began to attack.
After 6 months of dealing with this arrangement, it's become a part of our living situation, but honestly, I don't want to do this for another 6 months.  I have sent in my information for a casting call to the Animal Planet's show, My Cat From Hell to have Jackson Galaxy, their cat behaviorist come help us.  In their casting call, they ask: Is your cat's behavior driving you or others crazy?  YES!  Are you at your wit's end?  YES!  Do you need help getting your cat to behave? YES!

I understand how hard it is to break into Hollywood, so if you have any suggestions, please let us know.  However, don't suggest we get rid of one of the cats, I'm not that person.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I Should Have Stopped

On a typical morning commute I see tourists pulled over on the side of the road taking pictures of our beautiful area.  Yesterday was no exception since the foliage is really starting to pop, especially along the river.  However, I did find it odd that so many cars were parked in Wilmington Notch along the narrow rock wall.  I kept driving, but I wondered if I should have stopped and if there was a brilliant orange tree that was photo worthy.

Hours later, I found out there was a moose standing in the river.  Yes, a moose. A bull moose.  The moose stood there for hours.  He stood there the entire time I was at work and then he retreated into the woods on the hillside.  I should also mention I was working on my normally scheduled day off.  Tourists showed me their pictures and stories of the moose along the Ausable.  Friends posted their pictures on facebook.  I have no picture.

I have never seen a moose.  I didn't see a moose the year one was hanging out at Cascade Ski Center.  I also didn't see a moose in the field off of 9N between Upper Jay and Jay last year.  I've been to New Hampshire and Maine and I've never seen a moose.  I have always wanted to see a moose.  I should have stopped.

Friday, August 31, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow?

In following the popular trend of growing ones own food, we jumped on the bandwagon and tried our luck with a couple raised beds planted with veggies and herbs this summer.  We have had mixed success.  Surprisingly, more success than failure.  I blame the failure on not paying attention when being told how to identify weeds as a child.  I'll get to that later.

Here is a more in depth recap on growing our first vegetable garden.  We didn't want to overwhelm oursleves and so I found this simple plan and also this plan.  Drew built one raised bed, but after mapping it out and buying the seeds and plants, we quickly realized we needed to build at least one more.

We had a great soil mixture delivered to us from Flowering Meadow Nursery where we stupidly instructed them to dump the soil in our driveway on the opposite side of the house from the gardens.  We spent the rest of the evening wheeling it around on a wheelbarrow that had a flat tire.  That was fun.  Um, not.  Either we completely miscalculated the quantity needed or they were very generous.

What did we plant? In the first bed we had sugar snap peas, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, onions, basil and rosemary.  5 1/2 out of 8 worked.  The snap peas and the cherry tomatoes were my favorite.  I can't believe I didn't like tomatoes until this year.  Have tomatoes always tasted like a burst of sunshine?  The lettuce came up, but it was sad looking and we had barely one salad each with the greens.  As for the carrots, I don't know if I can say they were unsuccessful.  I never really gave them a chance.  This is where I needed another lesson on properly identifying vegetables vs. weeds.  It turns out, those feathery greens aren't weeds, they're carrots.  Fail.  Oh, and when I checked on the cucumbers, I noticed Drew had accidentally butchered one with the lawn mower.

The second bed had green and red peppers and more tomatoes.  We are still awaiting the peppers to turn red and wondering what to do with all the tomatoes.  

We have had less frozen pizza this summer and more gazpacho, blt's, and various cherry tomato salads.  Thanks to pinterest I discovered this recipe for chickpea, tomato and basil salad.  Does anyone else have any other recipes to use up the tomatoes?   

The slugs and worms weren't too harmful and the wildlife has been surprisingly kind to us.  I noticed only a couple bites on a tomato and some gnaw marks on a cucumber, not enough to make us want to put up fencing.  With the nights getting cooler, I'm realizing that the garden is coming to an end.  Will we do it again?  Yes, but next year I'll let the carrots do their thing.

Monday, August 27, 2012

High Chair

For the record, I would like to make it clear that I know I have a vivid imagination.  So what.

This is not something I was imagining.  Do you see it?

Look a little closer.  What is that above the river?  Really, you can't see it?  How about now that I have  circled it for you?

It's not an illusion.  There is a chair sitting high above the river.  Here's a different angle.  Do you see it now?

Still don't believe me... go look for yourself.  It's behind the Recovery Lounge in Upper Jay and I'm thinking I missed one heck of a performance and party Saturday night.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Here is something to record...I took an actual lunch break and left my windowless office. To my delight, I noticed that it was still summer outside.  My nose followed the smell of grilled hot dogs and I found myself at Woody's next to the Post Office on Main Street.  

I asked the teenager working the stand if he ate hot dogs all day.  He said, "just one a day" and not that I was judging or anything, but he was quick to add "I only work twice a week."

I ordered a Michigan and a grape soda.  It was darn good and the only thing that would have made my meal better is if I could order Summer to slow down!  I can't believe that this was my 1st lunch break at Woody's.  Maybe I should consider eating two hot dogs a week before they close up for fall...

Sunday, August 12, 2012


People are talking and they're talking about the Farmhouse Restaurant and Crowing Cock Saloon.

The Farmhouse is located behind Saranac Sourdough where Caribbean Cowboy used to be.  Don't worry fellow Cowboy lovers, you can still eat Rob and Vicky's food down the street at the Cowboy.  I'm not talking about that right now, however I find that the food at the Farmhouse has me drooling for other reasons.  They source as much food as possible from local farmers and businesses and the menu lists all that info.

We both ordered different flavored home-made sodas, maple and rhubarb.  They were both tasty, but I'd have to say that the maple was better because it was a unique flavor and not too sweet.  I should mention that the menu didn't tell us about the tree where the sap came from to make the maple syrup that flavored our soda, but we didn't want to be obnoxious and ask.  I couldn't help thinking about the hilarious Portlandia skit about this.

Next we had crab stuffed deviled eggs.  We don't know what chicken the eggs came from and we can only suspect that the crab did not come locally. It didn't matter to me, I love deviled eggs of all kinds, traditional with the yolk, mayo and a little bit of mustard or hummus filled, I'm not picky.  Yes, I am that person at a potluck that takes two halves.  I can't help it, I love them!  These were lovely to look at and tasted that way too.

Next time I want to try the Clover Mead Fromage Fort, garlic and wine infused cheese with crostini.  I know there is enough on the tapas menu that I could have made a meal out of it, but we ended up ordering individual entrees instead.  For dinner, Drew ordered the non-local Caribbean Seafood Salad.  Greens, sea scallops, shrimp, salmon, fresh fruit mojo, cruda, rice and a champagne dressing.

Maybe the greens were local from Fledging Crow?  He thought it was good and managed to clean his plate.  I had the Classic Farmhouse Meatloaf Sandwich made with Atlas Beef and Harmony Pork.  
I thought the portion size was generous, it hung over the bread.  

Just in case I didn't have enough to eat, the sandwich came with fries.  

I really liked my dinner and I would definitely like to go back and try out some other items on the menu.  Locally grown or not, the food is good and the prices are friendly for locals too.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Will Brake for Beaver

I have a confession to make.  On June 8, a chipmunk hit my car.  Then, on July 4, a crow hit me.  I have been known to brake for birds and usually hit my horn to warn them that I'm coming and they always fly away.  This one did not and it made an awful noise under my car that I am having a hard time forgetting.

The other night as I was traveling on 9N from Upper Jay to Jay, my friends and I witnessed a large branch being dragged across the road and was sucked into the guard rail.  Even though we could not see the animal, I knew I needed to slow down.  When we finally saw that it was a big, brown waddling animal, I turned the car around.

We got out of the vehicle and watched the beaver slip into the water with the branch.

From the edge of the guard rail, we looked down into the river and became mesmerized by this creature  circling the water and acting like a log floating in the Ausable.

Do you see the beaver just above the rock?  

Just before dark, he swam over to his branch and grabbed a bunch of leaves and then pulled himself up onto a rock to eat his dinner.  In the half hour that we watched, we named him Benny the Beaver.  

I am so glad that I pressed down on my brakes for this beaver because if I can't shake the sound of the crow hitting my car, I can imagine that the 2nd grade girl that was riding with me would have been scarred for life if we had hit Benny.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Looking Up

I don't have a weathervane nor do I have any idea what direction the wind is coming from as I write this.  However, if I wet my finger and hold it up into the air, it seems like the wind is coming from the fan on the east side of the bedroom.  What does this have to do with anything?  Nothing, except I've been taking note of the weathervanes along the Ausable.

Last month, my book group met at the Jay Village Green and as the ladies were talking about the book I did not finish, I found myself looking up at the gazebo and the weathervane on top.

 A Blue Jay seems fitting for the town of Jay.

It made me recall seeing a weathervane at Whiteface when I was skiing down Boreen last winter.  Mental note: If you are not looking for weathervanes you might ski faster.  I drove to Whiteface to see if I remembered correctly and as it turns out, not only do they have one, but there are three!




If you start looking up more, you will find them, but they're not all unique.  Mostly you'll see roosters.  Apparently, a weathervane is also referred to as a weathercock. Thus, the cockerel design.  Other common designs are feathers, arrows and horses.  

A mountaineer and luge weathervane are definitely unique.  If my memory serves me correctly, you can see them at the Mountaineer and at USA Luge.  

Another unusual design that I remember a friend mentioning awhile back was that of some elf shoes perched above the Comfort Inn next to Howard Johnson's in Lake Placid.

If you look closely, you can see that the shoes used to belong to someone standing on a feather that should have been running to safety at the first sign of heavy winds from the North.  What that figure was, I have no idea because it must have shattered when it was struck by lightning.  

Friday, July 13, 2012


No, I have not moved away from the Ausable.  I am still here and I thank you anonymous readers for leaving me comments letting me know you miss my posts.  If you all must know the details, I shall provide you with a quick recap into my last few months, but I don't know if it's too fascinating.  I'll let you decide.

1. My job changed and I find that I no longer have time at work to ponder my blog and read gossip magazines.  I now make decisions and utilize my brain daily.  I should mention that this does not mean I take myself too seriously.

2.  We have followed the great American trend and have been testing out my green thumb on a vegetable garden. Peas are good.

3.  Our guest room is still not done, however I have painted the ceiling.  Blue Mood.

4.  I got a smart phone and became slightly obsessed with Words With Friends (I started cheating), Free Scramble (I shouldn't play when I'm tired) and last but not least, Draw Something.  My addiction is fading.

5.  Our television was shipped off to China to get fixed and I was without cable for over a month! Just this morning I discovered that Ann Curry no longer co-anchors the Today Show.  Have no fear, I am not completely out of the popular culture loop, I can tell you play-by-play what's been happening on the Bachelorette this season.

6.  One of our cats started hating the other cat and we now have a screened door installed in the hallway to separate them until we can figure out what's wrong with her.  I am a fan of Dr. Sue at Elm Brook Veterinary and have faith that things will get better for all of us soon.

7.  My husband continues to surprise me with his entrepreneurial skills and has converted his side of the garage into a sewing workshop, now known as headquarters for Reprise Mountain Gear and Repair.

8.  My hair has started to go grey and I enjoy picking them out and examining them closely.

I can't promise anything, but blog posts might just become a little more frequent again.  So,  you tell me, which of the above shall I expand upon?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pothole Research

I was starting to think that I didn't have much time for blogging anymore, but then I found myself on the side of the road having my husband videotape vehicles going over potholes. I guess this is a sure sign that I have plenty of time to do meaningless things and yes, I still get excited over the mundane.

For those of you that have driven Rt. 86 between Lake Placid and Jay, you may have noticed a massive bump every winter at the entrance of Whiteface and you might have become relaxed about traffic rules. Don't tell me you don't know what I'm talking about. Every local knows to cross the double line to save the bottom of your car, out-of-towners... not so much.

Avoiding potholes has become part of my daily commute and laughing at fellow travelers makes the drive to work more entertaining. I could probably navigate the potholes with my eyes closed. I don't even need a sign to warn me. However, I should mention that the bump warning signs have forced a chuckle or two out of me when I noticed they have been affected also.

It makes me wonder if someone hit a bump so hard, that they caught air and hit the sign. There are definitely dangerous potholes out there and they should be taken seriously. Plenty of people have lost hubcaps because of the frost heaves.

If this hubcap looks familiar, you can find it on the bridge at the end of River Road. This stretch of the road is really rough and preference for driving over it is different for everyone. In my scientific research of this area, I have noticed that there is a tendency for drivers to veer right more so than going to the left.

I prefer driving to the right and avoiding oncoming traffic, but that's just me. I haven't heard if there will be any construction or maintenance done to Rt. 86 this summer, but if there is not, that can only mean next winter's frost heaves will create bigger and better potholes.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Vietnam's Turn At The Table

I have some sad news to report. Mexico City is no longer available at Hunan Oshaka/Kento Japanese Steakhouse.

Have no fear, it is being replaced by Saigon Pasteur Vietnamese Cuisine and you will still be able to try another culture's food.

There you have it folks, say hello to Japanese/Chinese/Vietnamese cuisine and good bye to authentic Mexican food. Tear.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bike Along the Ausable

I know it's been awhile, but I have a gem of a story to tell you.

A few years back, okay a decade back, I was a lonely graduate student living along the banks of the Thames River. I needed my own set of wheels to get to and fro and stumbled upon the most amazing bike that I ever laid eyes on. The vintage Raleigh came equipped with a basket on the back for my groceries and a headlight that would shine up the streets as I pedaled home after an evening of drinking at the pub. I loved this bike and called it Rusty Raleigh. He cost me 35 pounds and was my constant companion. We would bike along the river, go for picnics together at Hampton Court Palace and of course, have photo shoots.

To say I was attached, is an understatement. When it was time to return to the United States, I feared Rusty's future. I found out how expensive it was to ship him and as a poor student, I didn't have that kind of money. I found him a good home with another graduate student that was selected through an interview process. I'm kidding. Well, kind of.

Once I returned home, I bought myself a mountain bike. It just wasn't the same. My family and friends knew how much I missed Rusty and were on the look out for a replacement, not that he could ever be replaced, but perhaps we would find a similar bike. Alas, my sister and I were at an antique fair and Rusty's doppelganger was spotted. She saw the look of joy in my eyes and she bought it for me right on the spot.

We loaded it into my car and it came home to the Adirondacks. This "new-old" bike was fun to ride, but needed some work. Rusty Junior waited patiently while I trained for marathons and grew tired of it. Finally, last fall I brought my bike to LeepOff Cycles in Keene Valley. The owner, Mark is a great mechanic and specializes in fixing up old bikes. He researched and ordered tires that would give me a smooth ride, replaced the cracked cables and gave it a tune-up. By the time I got the bike back, the temperatures weren't ideal for a cruise and it would wait for me through the winter.

With unseasonably high temps this weekend, my friend Ann planned on going for a bike ride. I thought the sunny day was as good as any to take Rusty Junior for a spin, complete with a photo shoot with his new friend.

Maybe it was the spring air or it was the friend by my side, but I found myself truly enjoying the ride. Something tells me I'm going to love riding this bike along the Ausable.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Cake Placid Dilemma

Imagine that you have a sweet tooth and you find yourself at work alone with half-day old cupcakes from Cake Placid.

It is not even 10 am and the cupcakes keep staring at you, whispering, "which one do you want to eat first?" You decide you can't eat them all and call a coworker from a different department to show her what you are faced with. You select the mint chocolate cupcake and set it aside for later and she picks the mystery cupcake.

One bite in and she finds herself re-thinking her entire wedding menu. You take a bite and decide it is a French Toast cupcake. Together, you are glad this is the one you started with since technically it can be considered breakfast and doesn't count as dessert. This means you can have another.

Before you know it, you are slicing up another cupcake to taste some chocolate, but only one bite. You remind each other that is a long day and you need to pace yourself. After all, you can't call in sick while already being at work with a belly ache since there is the evidence of leftover wrappers.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Gargoyle Joke

What do you call a gargoyle with goggles?

Goggoyle. Ha!

The real question is, will the gargoyles actually need goggles this winter? Last year they were buried in snow and could have used them.

With over a month left to winter, let's hope the gargoyles and their goggles get hit with some snow!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Next Chapter

After months of hard work, the Wells Memorial Library will be open once again this Saturday at 11 a.m., January 28. As our Board president, Marie Anne has said, "We are five months overdue."

Many of you know the library did not fair well from Tropical Storm Irene. As it turns out, three feet of water on the main floor of a library is not a good thing and when that river water finally recedes and leaves you caked in mud, you have a major problem.

Having lost a large portion of the collection and needing to make extensive repairs to the library, reopening seemed impossible. However, the amount of support that was received has been astonishing. Neighbors, friends and others in the community lent a hand when they could and book and monetary donations rolled in from across the globe. The generosity of so many has been overwhelming and we feel extremely fortunate. Thankfully, we are seeing books on the shelves again and it is truly heartwarming.

Please come visit us and check out a book. If you happen to be along the Ausable this Saturday from 1-3 p.m., join us at a reception to celebrate the Wells Memorial Library's next chapter.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Vegetarian Bird Suet

Winter has finally arrived with below zero temps and I find myself wanting to help out the birds as much as possible. Recently I went to buy some suet and was surprised when I looked at the ingredients on the back and saw that beef was on the list. I had never seen a bird dining on cow before and so I put the suet back and thought I'd figure out how to make my own.

After researching how to make suet, I have come to the conclusion that I am far from being an ornithologist and knowing what's best for the birds in my yard. As it turns out, suet is also known as beef fat and can be safely fed to birds.

However, there was no turning back. I was not going to return to the store to buy the suet, I would make my own. I found an easy recipe and had most of the ingredients at home:

4 tbsp crisco
2 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp polenta
3 tbsp quick oats
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp chopped sunflower seeds
2 tbsp chopped raisins

I melted the crisco, peanut butter and sugar in a pyrex cup in the microwave. Meanwhile, I combined the rest of the ingredients in a medium bowl and then poured the melted ingredients on top and stirred it all together. Then I took my suet holder and figured out an approximate shape to press the ingredients into a dish.

This all went into the fridge for the night so it could solidify. Once it hardened up, it was super easy to place it inside the suet feeder. I think it took all of five minutes for the birds to discover their homemade treat and now I can watch them enjoy it from the warmth of our living room.

I just hope they like my variety more than the neighbor's. Now, what should I do with the rest of that polenta?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Junk In My Trunk

We had put off the chore of taking the garbage to the dump for over a month. I should point out that it is much easier to get away with this in the winter because the garbage freezes and maggots don't form. Alas, the guilt formulated and began to hover over the garbage, so it was time.

Drew was off doing his own thing so he left the task up to me. This was a mistake. As I pulled up to the dumpster, I spotted a lamp. A lamp with a pottery base that just happened to match the decor of our living room. Upon my first inspection, I saw that it was sitting on top of a table and was oddly screwed into it. I contemplated the lamp and threw the first 2 bags into the bin. I spun around and Jim was already getting his tools out to make sure the lamp went home with me.

He told me how easy it would be to re-wire the lamp when we saw the cord had been cut. I hadn't looked to see if it was functional. I had only thought about where to find the perfect lamp shade for it, but I guess I'll be looking into becoming an electrician too. As the lamp made it to the back of my trunk, I had a few more bags to toss.

Just when I was throwing the last of the trash in, a man unloaded from his minivan an old milk can and put it to the side. Jim gave me a wink. This too would be mine.

I'm not a fan of the previous owner's paint job, but it's nothing a can of spray paint in the right color can't fix, right? Do you see where I'm going with this? I should probably not go to the dump alone or I'll end up with more junk in my trunk than I started with.