Monday, November 30, 2009

Give Thanks - Atlanta here we come

After 2 days at home relaxing from my round the world trip we set off for our 950mile trip to Atlanta. With the dogs in the back we left Monday at about 10.30 and drove across Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and part of the way across Virginia. We spent the night at a hotel in Lexington before and early start the next day. Tuesday we drove the rest of Virginia into North Carolina, South Carolina and finally Georgia. The girls were as good as gold the traffic was fairly light and the scenery was very nice.

Paul, Robyn Allie, Missy Blake, and the dogs Sarah and Parker were all in good spirits and pleased to see us - all of the dogs quickly settled in to their own little group and Cagney and Lacey had a great time tearing around the garden and especially playing in the sand pit. Robyn and I had an early start going to collect the Turkey and then we spent most of Wednesday preparing food for the Thursday. Got to speak to Sarah and Alana by skype it was really great to see them both. Alana was a sweetie of course.Wednesday evening we went out to the local BBQ place that also had live music, it was very down to earth but the food was great and we had a really good time.
An early start on Thursday to get the Turkey in and then a leisurely morning ( thanks to all the prep the day before) Paul and Rob took the 2 smaller turkeys down to the neighbours to be deep fried. 15 for lunch and another 9 for dessert, everything was delicious and the company as always.

Friday the boys went to see the bodies exhibition and us girls went shopping, leisurely stroll around Jo-Anns with plenty of bargains then lunch and off to the mall to Build a Bear and the tea shop. we watched movies Friday night and then started the long trek back to NY on the Saturday. Our third Thanksgiving at the Pinto home and we thoroughly enjoyed it - thanks both !!

New York to New York - The long way !

On Sunday 8th of November the adventure began - NY to LA then LA to Melbourne arriving Tuesday morning...... Who stole my Monday ! Wednesday, Torquay surfers paradise. Thursday, Sydney. Friday, hurray no more work I flew to New Zealand. Arrived in Dunedin at 5 pm and was met by Toni. It was so good to see her again. Friday evening we had a quiet night in with her parents and sat up talking to way past midnight.Waihola ( the small town where they live) is a pretty farming community close to the sea. Toni currently lives in a cottage in the grounds of her parents house but will be starting on the build of her own home very soon.
Saturday, home baked muffins to start the day then off to the beach for a a walk. Late morning we drove into Dunedin for a look around, great curry for lunch and Toni bought me a lovely charm for my Pandora bracelet - Thanks Toni.

We then drove out to the headland - a very long walk down the the beach to see some sea lions sunning themselves followed by a much more strenuous walk back up to the car. Further along the road we came to the Albatross colony, fantastic to see them floating on the wind. On the drive home we stopped to pick up fish and chips for tea, yummy.

Sunday we went for a walk along another part of the coast after stopping off for a local speciality, chocolate dipped ice cream ! Sunday evening we had a great dinner over at her parents followed by a couple of hours playing dominoes - perfect. Left Monday morning with just a few tears.

Flew to Singapore and then back to New York on the Thursday, 27 hours without sleep lovely

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

2 years living in the USA -- Wow that went quick !

I was just reflecting on my original move over on November 1 2007. Toni was good enough to come over with me and help me settle in. We had so much to do and even the very basic things were a real challenge. Like finding a grocery store..... after much driving around we thought we had cracked it only to find that we were in the Latin American store wall to wall Goya products and Pinyatas!
On the Saturday we were really pleased to find a quilt shop. Quilters Attic based in Pine Bush. We went in and the staff were all so friendly that I decided there and then that I needed to find a home close to Pine Bush. So here we are 2 years forward living in Pine Bush with my second home still the Quilters Attic.

I decided this year that the Girls and Rob should try get into the holiday spirit a bit more and so I bought them all Halloween costumes, Don't they look great and you can see how much they all loved it...........NOT !.
We take things much more seriously at work! The place is decked out and then the staff bring their children in for a "trick or treat" day. A good time is had by all.

Two years on and we are still finding little gems on our door step. This stone built church is tucked away near one of our favourite walking areas on the mountain. Rob discovered it when he flew over it with his hang glider. It's very cute with a great view of the Catskill mountains beyond.

This blog entry "critter of the month" goes to a reptile of some description that scared me half to death as I was trying to do some floor exercises in the basement gym area. I don't know what it is or how it got there. I let Rob deal with it .... in a nice way!
This weekend is the start of a long road trip with work over to Australia and Singapore, the best part of which, will be a stop over in New Zealand to see Toni. I am so looking forward to it

Friday, October 23, 2009

October adventures

It's been a busy month for visitors. We were so pleased that Robyn managed to drag Paul away from his laptop to relax for a long weekend.
We knew it would be fun when the advance consignment of wine arrived! We spent the whole weekend walking, eating and drinking. I wanted to show them the Mohonk Mountain House and Paul decided that he wanted to to do the "Lemon Squeeze" with Rob while Robyn and I took the "easy" route to the Skytop look out. The boys enjoyed the climb while Robyn and I had chance to chat. At the top is a look out tower that gives a great photo point. The area looks so good at this time of year with views out over the Catskills and the Hudson Valley. The skies could have been a little clearer but at least it wasn't raining. Still, it was a good chance for Robyn to get arty with the camera.

Meanwhile the girls were a little disappointed that they had to stay at home. They went crazy (as usual) when we arrived home but soon got back to napping .... it's a dogs life!

Pine Bush is blessed with quite a few good eateries but we discovered another one! Culinary Creations is mostly a cafe and cake shop but opens up as a restaurant at the weekends. The owners were trained at the Culinary Institute and we are so lucky to have them in this small town. That was the only posh nosh of the weekend although we did take in bar food in New Paltz, Panera Bread in Newburgh and Friendly's for ice cream in Poughkeepsie (Robyn's special request).

Of course, no visitors could go away without a trip to Orange County Choppers. Their big shiny new "World HQ" is packed with examples of their handy work and also new Harleys and Ducatis. Mainly one for the boys!

We couldn't leave the dogs out so we did spend a fair bit of time walking them but that also gave us a chance to show off the mountain in our back garden. We walked up to "Sam's Point" (photos in earlier blogs) and also took a wander up to the hang gliding take off. There was no flying on the day but Paul was impressed by the "facilities". The time just flew by and we can't wait to take our (now annual) Thanks Giving trip to Atlanta. We are taking Cagney and Lacey this time so there will be lots of excitement when they meet Blake, Missy, Allie and the two mutts Parker and Sarah.

With barely time to draw our breath, Sister Kat and Niece Catlin arrived at JFK. Rob collected them and after a middle of the night hello they were able to catch up on some sleep. I still had work to do on the Friday so Rob looked after the girls (all four of them) with a long walk around the mountain. The weather was very kind and Cagney a Lacey had a special test when they met horses for the fist time. They did themselves proud.
The big adventure started on Saturday. Elizabeth came over to collect a very excited Cagney and Lacey. Rob went off to the RV storage to load and hitch up the fifth wheel. We met up in the car park at work and then set off on the 350 mile trip to Niagara Falls. This was my first big trip out with the trailer and was a bit of a nervous passenger for a while. All went well. The roads were not crowded and the views were gorgeous up through tree lined hills. The Fall colours and the sunshine gave us lots to look at .... but not Rob as I made sure he was looking at the road. Towing a 40ft trailer means that fuel and food stops have to be thought out. You have to think like a trucker. Luckily ...... there's an Ap for that. (much to Robs disgust - he doesn't like Apple) I was able to see the truck stops along our route.
We arrived after dark but the camp ground had left us site instructions and it was an easy "pull through" so no problem getting set up. That gave us plenty of time to go see the American Falls lit up at night and then a treat for Catlin at the Hard Rock Cafe. By the time we got back to the RV the oil filled radiators had done their job and we settled down for a toasty night.
The next morning brought a bright blue autumn sky. It was chilly but a perfect day to sightsee. First breakfast at Catlins favourite dinner - Dennys.
After few more pancakes than is strictly needed, we headed off to park at Goat Island and then to explore the falls.
From the overlook at the US side of the Horseshoe Falls, we walked along to The American Falls and then over the rapids to Rainbow Bridge Where you cross into Canada. Catlin thought that it was funny that her Mum had made her walk all the way from America to Canada.
I had always been told that the Canadian side of the falls was "Tacky". Whilst the seaside style amusements were more evident, the parkland around the falls was clean and very well presented. The views are certainly the best. We were all glad that we made the effort. After a very long day we collapsed back in the RV with a carry out pizza and sore feet.
Next morning we were all up early and off to Letchworth State Park with breakfast on the way. It was an hour and a bit away through more lovely countryside. Once again the weather gods were on our side with beautiful blue skies.

The park is centred on a gorge and a number of waterfalls. There are a bunch of paths set out through the woods with great views of the water. This must be the best time of the year. We spent the day at a gentle stroll while Rob ran around taking a million photos (of the same thing :-) There was even an ice cream stop deep in the woods. It is also possible to lodge in the park. We came across the old place serving up afternoon tea on the veranda. Inside was quite ornate with stained glass set in the windows. It was lots of fun to travel with Kat and Catlin. Catlin even had time to carve up a Pumpkin. I can't believe how quickly she is growing up.
Looking out of the window today couldn't be more different. The rain has been falling all night and there is a very autumnal smell in the air. The old boy has been blowing leaves around this week although they seem to be blowing back just as quickly. He asked me to include pictures of a couple of the wild creatures that he has found in the garden.

Monday, September 21, 2009

September went sooo fast !!!

We started with a bang, Sarah's 22nd birthday a move into a new home and Alana starting a new nursery. Add to that all the training courses she is doing and life is definitely changing.

Back here in the US it was labour day on September the 4th and I took the Friday before off so that we could have a nice long weekend. Although I spent the Friday running between my long arm quilter and my embroidery machine not sure what part of that counted as a rest ! except for the fact it was very satisfying finally getting the chance to finish some of my projects.

On the Saturday we had a lady come to the house to help train the dogs, we very quickly realised it was not the dogs that needed training but us and after about 3 hours she had us working the right way and sure enough the dogs were doing just what we wanted them to. She also taught Rob how to clip their nails without inflicting injury and left us with a pile of homework to make sure we did not go back to our bad habits. Sunday we met Gil and Sarah at the dog park and proudly displayed our new found skills they were not as impressed as we would have liked!

Sunday night was great, we went to our very first "drive in" movie. Gil and Sarah came with us and helped us not to stand out too much by guiding us on where to park and what to do. We watched 500 days of Summer which was a lot of fun. We will definitely do this again in the future.

The following weekend we finally got the chance to try out the Fifth Wheel - we booked a space at a site about 10miles away just to make sure we could get back home if we had any teething problems. We arrived on the site at about 6.30 on Friday evening and thank goodness everything worked in the trailer and we were able to settle in very quickly complete with the dogs. We were also really surprised to see that Brian from the office was on the site opposite. We had a really nice weekend, very relaxing and we had some fun looking at the early halloween stuff that Brian had added to his site.

We packed up on the Sunday and took the trailer back to the storage location only to find that the electronic lock was not working. We spent a very interesting 45 minutes trying to manoeuvre the 40ft trailer into a parking spot - I think at the last count, it was probably a 32 point turn but we did it and then went back the next morning after they fixed the lock to store it properly.

This weekend we have had beautiful weather - but Autumn is arriving very fast. We walked the dogs up to Sam's point and then went to buy some plants, pumpkins etc. to create a nice little Fall tableau on the front door steps ( when in Rome do as the Romans ...... :-)