Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Mountaintop, Lake, and Earache - Oh My!

Last Friday morning the girls and I patted Tesla on the head with directions to behave himself when Andrew came by to feed and water him, threw our stuff, in the car, and pointed ourselves to the west. Amanda was going to spend the weekend with her friend Darci in Bennington who is attending college there while Jamie and I continued on to the Lake George area of New York.

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Our journey to Bennington took us through the Berkshires of Massachusetts and as it was a picture-perfect September day we decided to take a slight detour and head to the summit of Mount Greylock, Massachusetts' highest peak at an elevation of 3,491 feet. Amanda and I been there once before early last September but it wasn't the best of days and what we saw on the summit was this:

Amanda had said that it seemed like something out of the movie "Silent Hill" and I've got to admit, it was downright impossible to get a good look at the war memorial that stands at the summit. This time, though, was a completely different story! And not just because Amanda's hair is now red instead of black!

As you can tell, the girls are thrilled to be back together now that Jamie has returned from Canada! Sigh ... Anyway, one of the other things that was different this time other than the fact that we could actually see the monument, was that it was open so we could climb the spiral staircase to the top if we wanted.

Amanda took about six steps up, decided that it was just too windy and steep for her (she apparently inherited my former fear of heights) so instead opted to safely wait for Jamie and I on a bench. There is a time when I would have been sitting right there with her but now I've simply got to do things I wouldn't have before as otherwise I might miss out on a good photo op!

Jamie and I successfully negotiated the increasingly narrower and narrower-as-it-got closer-to-the-top staircase until we finally arrived at the small room at the top of the tower with its windows looking out in all directions. Some of them were still pretty covered with condensation as it was still fairly early in the day but I was able to get a few decent photos taken before we started our way back down.

Amanda was right where we left here when we made our way up and once we got our feet firmly back on the ground we resumed our journey to Bennington which is not far from Mount Greylock at all. I'll be writing more about Mount Greylock over on The Distracted Wanderer once I get my proverbial act together and find some extra time too!

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After getting Amanda settled at Bennington College with Darci, Jamie and I drove through some very pretty New York farmland for about an hour and a half before arriving in Lake George around 4:30 in the afternoon with plenty of time to check into our budget motel (more about that on my other blog at some point) and buy a couple of tickets for the upcoming fireworks cruise on the lake before killing some time walking around and taking photos of the area.

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As the Adirondack Balloon Festival was taking place just down the road in Glens Falls (something that I decided to completely avoid after witnessing the line of cars trying to get into it off of the interstate)  a couple of balloons came up to do what they call a "moonglow" in Battlefield Park next to the lake before the fireworks went off.  I managed to get a quick picture from across the street before we boarded the Mohican, a moving National Historic Landmark that has been plying the waters of Lake George since December of 1907.

Not only did we get to see some beautiful fireworks over the lake from a terrific vantage point but just before the fireworks started, Jamie and I saw a meteor streak through the sky - though we didn't know it was a meteor at the time and only found out later when I was watching the 11:00 news back at our hotel. According to the newscaster, it's one of those "you're lucky if you see one once in your lifetime" kind of things so I guess we were quite lucky indeed!

Jamie wasn't quite so lucky the next morning when she awoke early with an earache. Thinking that maybe it was sinus-related, I made a trip to the closest Rite-Aid and bought Advil and Sudafed and a few other over-the-counter things and then as I drove up to Fort Ticonderoga, about 40 miles north of where we were staying, Jamie laid down in the back seat and napped until we got to our destination. I took Route 9N along the lake rather than heading up the interstate like my TomTom initially wanted me to as I thought it would be nice to see some scenery along the way even though it was an overcast day.

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Jamie snoozed peacefully right up until I pulled into the parking area at the fort and then she was a good trooper as we had lunch and then walked around the grounds learning the history of the fort and the troops that defended it. As you can see by the flag and my hair in the photos below, it was a bit windy there on Lake Champlain but even though there were plenty of dark clouds, the rain held off until just as we climbed into the car to make the drive back to Lake George.  I was most thankful as I had been wanting to go to the fort for years and rain would have been most annoying!

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Jamie climbed into the backseat and resumed her previous position for the drive up to the fort and slept the whole way back to the motel. She said she was feeling a bit better before going to sleep but the next morning she said that her ear was really bothering her again so I sent Amanda a text and told her that I'd be picking her up earlier than planned as I wanted to get Jamie home at that point. On the way back to Bennington I simply had to stop briefly to take the photo below:

Makes me wish that I lived up in that area simply as that would be one very cool triple-feature to see, especially at a drive-in movie theater! Unfortunately it's a bit far to go even if one of the movies does star John Cusack and it would be kinda interesting to see Abe Lincoln slaying vampires!

After picking Amanda up at Bennington College and saying good-bye to Darci, we continued on home though this time our route of travel took us down some back Vermont highways where the foliage was looking pretty good in some places. If I hadn't had a sick kid in the backseat, I probably would have been stopping way too often to take photos but instead I merely pulled over for the two below.  It looks we are most definitely having an early foliage season this year but that doesn't surprise me as everything seems to have been about a month early this year. It's been weird to say the least!

The rest of Sunday passed peacefully enough but when Jamie's ear seemed to be even worse on Monday, I took her to see a doctor who diagnosed her with both an inner and outer ear infection. Having been on an antibiotic plus ear drops along with a pretty powerful pain reliever since then, Jamie is finally starting to feel a bit better and hopefully the worse is now behind her.  Even though the timing could have been better as far as not having happened while we were out of town, I'm just glad that she didn't get the ear infection while she was still up in Canada as I'm not sure how she would have gotten it treated. Thank the good Lord for granted favors!

Charity Auction Items: How Many is Too Many?

These days fundraisers take on many forms and depending on your charity and your goals, the planning of your fundraiser may take several months or merely a few weeks. Fundraisers can be small events like car washes and bake sales or extravagant gala events and silent auctions with large ticket items. No matter how large or small, planning and executing these events can be overwhelming.

One of the most successful fundraisers for many charities is the silent auction. A silent auction is a fundraising technique that is conducted without the help of an auctioneer. Attendees at a silent auction view charity auction items and silently bid by secret ballet. If an item has a particularly high value, a minimum bid may be set. Then the highest bidder will be announced as the winner of the item at a designated time during the event. With the help of Charity Fundraising Packages we can make the planning and execution of your silent auction pleasant and easy.

One of the most difficult decisions while planning your charity’s silent auction is how many auction items to have available to your guests. Before selecting your charity auction items, it is important to review the following criteria during your planning.

  • What type of charity auction are you hosting? 
  • How many guests do you anticipate at the event? 
  • What are the secondary events occurring at the event? 
  • What are your financial goals for the event? 

The type of charity auction can vary depending on your organization and the demographics of your attendees. If you are hosting a school fundraiser, there may be children at the event and it will tend to be casual. Showcasing specialty items and items of lesser value tend to be more effective as you can obtain more bids at a lesser dollar amount. However, if you are hosting a dinner auction or a gala fundraiser, your silent auction should include only a handful of items with two or three high value selections.

When considering the number of guests at your event, remember to think about guests vs. households. Though you may need to order 1,000 meals from catering, there may only be 500 bidding households at your event. Couples tend to bid on items together and this factor greatly decreases the amount of bidders at your event. A good rule of thumb is to showcase one charity auction item per five guests.

Walk through the entire event in your mind prior to the event. If you have an event planning team, it is helpful to rehearse this with others so that details are not overlooked. Think about the other happenings at the event. How long will registration take? Does the event include entertainment? Is there a keynote speaker? Is there a cocktail hour or dinner? If too many charity auction items are showcased, your event may run too long and guests may grow tired or bored.

When you think about the financial goals you have forecasted for your event, estimate the highest bid that each of your charity auction items sell for. This should assist you in selecting the approximate number of charity auction items to showcase

Thursday, September 20, 2012

"Red Sky at Night ..."

... Means tomorrow should be a lovely day to head west to the Lake George region of New York's Adirondack Mountains!

I'm taking Amanda up to visit her friend Darci who is attending Bennington College in Vermont and once I've slowed down enough for her to jump out of the car (kidding, just kidding), Jamie and I are going to continue on towards Lake George. I have long-wanted to see Fort Ticonderoga and this seemed like the perfect opportunity as it's not too far from Vermont.

Turns out that it's also the weekend of the 40th Annual Adirondack Balloon Festival in nearby Glen Falls - how cool is that?? They are expecting over 100 balloons and I'm hoping to get some photos if at all possible. I'd love to go up, up, and away in a beautiful balloon while I'm there but I'm afraid the cost of a ride is too sky-high for me. Someday though I will take a ride, it's on "the list"! And this from a kid who used to be afraid of heights!

I'm hoping for an early start in the morning as Amanda wants to stop at Mount Greylock on our way to Bennington. When we went there last year it was shrouded in clouds and rain so fingers are crossed tonight's red skies really are a sailor's delight tomorrow - and a traveler's delight, too!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

It's All About Image ... Credit!

Yesterday found Amanda and I arriving in my small hometown of Canterbury, Connecticut at the ridiculously early hour of 7:30 in the morning in order to set up the booth that I would be having as part of the town's annual fall festival, Old Home Day. I've been the "Official Photographer" for the last four events but this time I thought I'd give hawking my wares a shot and see what did or didn't happen.

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As I also had my official photographer duties to handle, I drafted Amanda to run the booth in my absence and she did a fine job of it though she was a bit of a nag about me needing to be there to explain where a certain photo or two may have been taken.  I get where she was coming from but it was a bit difficult to be in two places at once though I did my best and you can still see a gallery of 200+ photos from the event here should you be curious.

I would have to say that for my first foray into actually trying to sell some of the photos I take that I sold a respectable amount of prints and cards but what was perhaps even nicer were some of the lovely compliments that I received from those folks who took the time to stop and take a look at what we had to offer.

One of those folks was from a booth just across the grass from me, a very talented artist by the name of David Costanzo of Baldwin Brook Studio right there in little ol' Canterbury. I've seen some of David's work at previous Old Home Day events and was just as impressed yesterday as I had been previously.  The detail in his paintings is simply amazing and as he specializes in historic buildings and landscapes, you know that's something that I can totally appreciate!

According to David's website, he "... develops his own compositional paintings by visiting each site to observe lighting and mood - a moment in time that can be captured into a one of a kind painting. Each painting is carefully rendered on canvas and is painted in a *Chiaroscuro system (In Italian, “chiaro” means“light” and “Scuro” means “dark”) Each painting is under painted in a graduated monochrome tonal scale using black, gray and whites. Once the under painting model is completed, David glazes colors in oil using his own interpretation and style. David feels the dramatic use of light and shadow creates an in-depth mood and focal point in each painting."

Now I'm not the artist in the family, I give that title to Amanda, but I think I know a good painting when I see one and David's are very good as he succeeds very well in capturing that 'magical light' that even we photographers are always striving for and like to talk so much about.  That same "magical light" that I've found maybe a time or two out on Cape Ann in Massachusetts during my wanderings and would love to find more of!

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David had come over and chatted briefly earlier in the day and later in the afternoon he stopped by again, this time looking over and buying a few of my photos including several of that iconic fishing shack that I love so much in Rockport, Massachusetts - Motif #1.

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As we were talking about the lighting in the photos and other things, David mentioned that he had been asked by that most venerable of New England magazines that I've written about with such reverence before - Yankee Magazine - about using one of his images of Motif #1 for an article that they were doing on fish shacks.  David said that he was quite honored to be approached and said that they could most certainly use the image with the one condition being that he requested attribution in the form of an image credit.

Image credit is at the very least a common courtesy afforded to those who produced an image whether it be via a painting, a photograph, a sketch, etc. and something that I myself have quite readily agreed to share my photos in exchange for.  As an artist, it lets people know that you were the one who produced that wonderful image that you're looking at and as a freelance artist, it's a major tool towards success.

Image Credit:  Yankee Magazine
The image above is David's that Yankee Magazine  asked to use in the article "New England's Harborside Fish Shacks" by Pete Tuttle and I have to say that I was more than surprised when David told me that when the article came out in the March/April 2012 issue (both in print and online) that there was no image credit given whatsoever.  Huh?? Seriously??  David said that when he saw that it had been omitted, he called and spoke to the same gal who had initially approached him about using his image of Motif #1 and she basically told him that the credit for the image was "on file." Yea?  So what?  How hard would it have been for them to put a small caption under the image stating, "Image courtesy of David Costanzo, Baldwin Brook Studio"? I'm thinking not hard at all and it would have been the right thing to do as otherwise it appears that the image was contributed by the same person who wrote the article when it obviously wasn't.

Finding out that a magazine that I have long-admired did that was pretty disappointing - to say the least.  Perhaps not quite as disappointing as finding out that your favorite athlete is only that good because he/she uses performance-enhancing drugs or that the guy/gal you voted for is taking kickbacks but pretty darned close.  Like David said, to be asked to be part of Yankee Magazine  is a pretty big deal to folks in New England and to have the chance to be able to say that "I have an article/photo/painting in the magazine" is some pretty major bragging rights and possibly a real business boost, but when you can't prove it because you didn't get credit for your contribution - well, it kind of more than stinks. And the whole thing just boggles my mind because I just don't see how they could have omitted something like that.  It just doesn't seem right at all - especially in this day and age when making sure that credit is given where it is due is so easy to do. I simply don't get it and I am so disappointed in Yankee Magazine, you have no idea!  Good Lord, next I'll find out that Robert Downey, Jr. really doesn't do his own stunts after all!

As for the rest of Old Home Day, none of it was a disappointment at all and I was happy to once again be a part of it as well as meet a very talented artist who likes understanding the history of what he's painting as much as I like knowing the history of a photograph I take.  Very cool stuff indeed and when you add on the compliment of saying that I had "a great eye" ... well, that made my day and then some! Now if Yankee Magazine  would just do the right thing and give the guy the image credit that he so richly deserves, all would be well in my world!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Birthday Reflections

A big thank you to everyone for yesterday's Happy Birthday wishes!  As far as birthdays go, I'd have to say that I had a pretty great one and it was relatively pain-free turning another year older.  I'm still not quite sure how I got to be 54 so darned fast but the reality of it is, I am and chances are really good I'll be sitting here in another year wondering how I got to be 55 so fast!

My friend Paula most definitely spoiled and made me feel quite special yesterday and Mother Nature even provided a beautiful backdrop after a week of truly lousy weather that was filled with heat, humidity, a threat of tornadoes, and a little more humidity thrown in for good measure.  Not exactly New England at its finest I must say! Still, after some initial cloud cover yesterday morning the afternoon turned out to be filled with beautiful blue September skies and not a bit of humidity - perfect weather for visiting a local British Tea Room for luncheon where Paula and I started our day. 

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You can read more about our visit to Mrs. Bridges' Pantry at my other blog - The Distracted Wanderer - where I actually managed to keep it short for a change! I'm rather looking forward to making a return trip up there at some point having now had the chance to sample Lemon Curd and Devonshire Cream on a scone in addition to the "proper" English Tea Sandwich that I had for lunch along with some very delicious tea.  I think that my British grandmother would have liked the place - I know I did!

Following our lovely luncheon and a little poking around an antique store that was nearby, Paula then treated me to a birthday pedicure at one of the local nail salons but it wasn't just any pedicure - nope!  This one included a wonderful herbal leg and foot massage with a really nice lemongrass lotion and even hot stones for the ultimate in relaxation!  Ah, bliss!  I tell ya, I could get used to something like that if I let myself and I must say that my toes look much better than they did prior to walking in to the salon!

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Now I've got pretty purple toes but no cruise ship to take them on - darn! Ah well, at least underneath my work boots, I'll know my toes look great! 

When I finally got home from my wonderful day with Paula, it was to find that Amanda had actually cleaned up the house in my absence - another great birthday present! She was going to bake me a cake but apparently we were an egg short of the required number so she's promised to bake one at another time now that I've rectified the egg shortage.

All in all, I've got say that it was a really great birthday - now, let's see if I can make it a great year! 

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Wonderful Part of Fall Is Coming Soon - Canterbury's Old Home Day!

Even though the official start of autumn is still a few weeks away, for a lot of us it begins as soon as we change the calendar over to September as that's when a lot of fall festivals, fall fairs and other fall fun stuff starts. Maybe that's just a New England thing but what can I say? We love fall up in these parts and as the season itself doesn't last as long as we'd like before it gets shouldered out of the way by Old Man Winter, we start as early as we can!

Canterbury Sign

Next Saturday, my hometown of Canterbury celebrates it's annual fall festival when the Canterbury Historical Society presents Old Home Day which they describe as an:
"... old-timey fall festival that has become a local perennial favorite. Enjoy live music all day long, animals, children’s activities, local farm products, re-enactors, demonstrations by practitioners of many traditional crafts and trades, great food, informative displays by civic and religious groups, and the chance to meet old friends and make new ones. Visit the restored one-room Green District Schoolhouse, complete with historical photos and displays of Canterbury’s one-room-school days."
Once again this year I'll be there as the "official photographer" of the event (I think this will actually be my fourth year if I'm adding it up correctly on my fingers!) and in addition, I'm actually going to try my hand at setting up a booth and maybe selling a card or a print or two of some of my New England photographs. I'm not expecting to rake in the dough like we rake up dry leaves here in the fall but it would be a real hoot to sell even one or two cards. As I'll be busy walking around the festival and taking photos, I've recruited Amanda to man the booth - something she should have no problem in doing being that she has sold her own wares at a convention or two.

If you're in the Canterbury area and want to stop by, Old Home Day takes place on the Canterbury Green - aka the lawn of the First Congregational Church - and runs from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. rain or shine.  Naturally I'm hoping for shine or even just mildly overcast but either way I'll be there with Nikon in hand and perhaps sampling a tasty corn-on-a-stick or some other delicious fall fare while listening to some great music and just enjoying what's become a fun fall tradition.

I've posted some of my favorite pictures from previous Old Home Days just to get in the mood!

Jack O'Lanterns
Connecticut Apples
Canterbury Musicians
Bear Minimum
Canterbury Musician
Canterbury Blacksmith
Canterbury Chairmaker
Canterbury Woodcarver
Canterbury Artisan
Canterbury Spinner
Antique Car
Canterbury Tractors
Canterbury Snacks
Canterbury Old Home Day

Hope to see you there!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Gone to the Dogs and Back

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My plan to leave Massachusetts fairly early and beat the Labor Day traffic rush to get back to Connecticut at a reasonable hour actually worked out quite well though that meant that Amanda and I had to leave Salem before Walt and Juli got back from Montreal so we didn't get a chance to hear about how wonderful of a trip it was.  From the looks of the pictures I saw on Facebook, Walt was having a wonderful early birthday celebration and even though they missed those two little fellas pictured above, I'm glad he and Juli felt like they were in good hands and could relax and enjoy themselves.

Speaking of hands, yep - that's mine to the right giving Dewey a bit of a head scritch - something that I count as a great accomplishment.  Unlike JayJay, Dewey is a bit on the shy side and it takes some time for him to warm up to people and let himself be touched so when he would actually nudge my hand and tap on my arm with his tiny little paw in a "Hey!  Pet me!" sort of way, I deemed that to be a great honor!

It wasn't just all dog-walking and house-sitting for me this weekend though as I managed to not only do some wandering around the North Shore but also make a rather unplanned drive up to New Hampshire early Saturday morning.  I had a phone call from Juli around 10:00 or so on Friday night explaining that she had a bit of conundrum as she and Walt had accidentally left their passports behind and they weren't going to be able to make their planned trip to Montreal without them.  Ut-oh.  They had stopped for their first night at the Quechee Inn about three hours away and it was as Juli was thinking of the day ahead of them on Saturday that the thought dawned on her that their passports were sitting in the kitchen cupboard back in Salem.

Well, I did what any friend would do and offered to drive them up to them as how could Walt celebrate his birthday in Montreal if he couldn't even get through the border crossing?  Juli said that if we could meet halfway that would be great but as neither she nor Walt really liked driving at night it would be better if we did it early in the morning.  Now anyone who knows me knows that I am not exactly a big fan of early mornings but knowing that the earlier I got going, the better it would be as far as traffic went and the better it would be for Juli and Walt to get to Canada without losing too much time having had to backtrack a bit so I said "Sure!"  I Googled a halfway spot that would be easy for both of us to find, said I'd meet them there at 7:30, and went to bed hoping I wouldn't be too groggy in the morning.

At 5:00 (late by Barb's standards!), I climbed out of bed, took a quick shower, went down and fed the dogs and let them out, watered the plants out front, and then hit the road north while getting a last look at the lovely full moon that was setting while the sun was rising.  If I'd had time I would have stopped to take some photos but I was a woman on a mission and there simply wasn't time.

After meeting up with Walt and Juli at a Hampton Inn just outside of Concord, New Hampshire, hugs were exchanged all around as I handed them their passports and then they insisted on buying me breakfast at a nearby little restaurant.  After breakfast, more hugs were shared and they started towards Canada while I headed towards Ipswich in Massachusetts.  As I came down I-93 southbound through New Hampshire and saw all of the traffic backed up at the toll booths that I had practically sailed through about an hour earlier, I was quite glad that we planned to meet early and avoided all that.  Whew!

I got as far as Epping, New Hampshire when my gas light came on so I stopped to fill 'er up at prices that were .40 cents a gallon cheaper than here in Connecticut; not that $3.63 is anything to dance a jig about but it sure the heck beats $4.03 a gallon!  In celebration I decided to splurge on a car wash - as pictured above! - before continuing my journey south. En route I stopped at one of the New Hampshire State Liquor Stores and picked up a few bottles of wine - one for myself and one as a thank you gift for the gal who was checking on Tesla for us while we were gone - as well as a bottle of 12-year old Jameson that my dispatch partner has been hankering for.  Granted, he's going to pay me back for it so it's not like I'm some wonderful partner who bought the bottle for him but he was still very happy to pay the discounted price that the store was offering and he was very happy that I thought of him while I was there.

Continuing southeast, I soon arrived at the destination I had planned to visit that day - the Crane Estate on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in Ipswich, Massachusetts.  Just a little "summer home" for an industrialist from Chicago who made his fortune on the advent of indoor plumbing and would spend a whopping six weeks a year there with his wife and two children.

Uhm, yea, summer home - sure, if you say so!  I won't write too much more about the house here as I'll be writing a full-blown post for Travels With Nathaniel  (hopefully soon) so if you'd like to learn more about the stately English manor house and the beautiful grounds surrounding it, you are invited to stop by there at some future point.

I will say that photos were NOT allowed inside the house however, they didn't say anything about taking photos of the grounds from the windows of the house so I took the one above with my iPhone just to give you an idea of how beautiful the Grande Allée is. Following my house tour, I walked the entire half-mile uphill/downhill stretch to the end where one gets an absolutely beautiful view of the ocean and a much welcome breeze, too!

Of course, once I was all the way out there, I had to walk all the way back!  I bet on a nice crisp, fall day it's a great walk but on a hot, humid end-of-summer day I could have really used a bottle of water! And lighter clothing! Ah well, it was good exercise and the view was certainly worth the walk!

Once I finished walking around the rest of the grounds and taking more photos than I'll ever need or use, I decided that it was way past time for food so I drove back to Rowley to do some "research" for another Travels With Nathaniel  post at the historic Agawam Diner.  

Now, I know that a lot of you have been posting pictures of your food and talking about all of the fantastic healthy eating that you've been doing so I almost feel guilty about posting the following pictures - almost! - but in the name of research, sometimes a gal just has to make some sacrifices and eat things like grilled beef franks with a really delicious potato salad and tasty cole slaw ... 

... and then follow it up with a slab of some of the best lemon meringue pie I've had in quite some time.  With a crust that wasn't soggy at all!

So ... all of that walking from one end of the Grande Allée to the other and back in the hot sun was pretty much negated by lunch but how could I write a post about how good the diner food was at the Agawam Diner if I didn't actually eat any?  Exactly, I couldn't! However, because it was late in the day, I didn't eat any dinner so this was really two meals. Two very delicious meals!

To wrap up my weekend, I spent most of Sunday writing the post on the Agawam Diner and then at night I drove down to Logan Airport to pick up a friend of Juli's who was flying in from India.  He had a heck of a time getting through Customs as apparently all of the agents were taking a holiday weekend and there were only two on duty so by the time I got back to Salem, it was after midnight and definitely time for bed.

Today we made the drive back home after I took the pups for a final walk around the neighborhood and arrived back home to a cat who acted like we had abandoned him for days on end!  Obviously Tesla missed us as he's been wrapped around Amanda since we got home but I know that he was well taken care of while we were gone as he had plenty of food and water in his bowls when we arrived home.

Heck, I just don't get it - I sometimes wish that people would leave me at home for three-and-a-half days by myself!  I'd sure enjoy the peace and quiet but then, look at all the great stuff I'd miss!