Thinking back….

The last time I saw my dad was on the day after New Year’s Day, January 2. That was one week before he passed away.

Mom and I went in to see Dad. He hadn’t been in a wheelchair in many weeks. He could no longer sit up, so he was placed in a recliner on wheels. The first time I saw him in the recliner, it was all I could do from breaking down. His body seemed contorted in strange positions and he was propped up with pillows.

Mom always went to the second floor to get Dad and would wheel that big recliner into the elevator and take him downstairs to visit with him.  She would have a bottle of Ensure tucked in her purse. She placed a straw in it and told Dad it was a milkshake. He would drink it down so well through a straw. Then he would drink a cup of coffee through a straw. He rarely talked on these visits and just didn’t seem to be much interested in anything. I always struggled as I didn’t know what to say….Mom would talk to him and fuss over him and he seemed almost distant.

On the last visit,  Dad grabbed my hand in his. Somehow, I knew he was telling me goodbye. We went downstairs for our visit and when I spoke, he didn’t respond.  At one point, his leg  slipped off the recliner. Since I was sitting near his legs, I gently moved his leg back up. He didn’t complain when I moved it, but later, he drew his legs up and said his knees hurt so much. He told Mom and I that we had no idea of the pain he was in. It was all I could do to keep the tears back. When I had moved his leg back onto the recliner, I was shocked to see his calf wasn’t much larger than my forearm.

A couple of days after my visit, my mom called and said Dad was in really poor condition.  He had internal bleeding but was in such weakened condition, it would be hard to even do anything for him.

Dad passed away, very peaceably. My mom, two brothers, and my uncle (Dad’s brother) were talking in the room when he passed.

I will miss my dad. He was an amazing man, driven by his deep convictions….

I guess the reality of the whole situation has suddenly struck me now.  I am so grateful that my dad was with me all my adult life. I know so many people lost parents at a young age. I thank the Lord for all the wonderful times we shared and all the happy memories!

Shhhhh…..

Don’t tell Ben I posted this!

Ben completed his first semester at SUNY Geneseo shortly before Christmas with outstanding grades! I was so pleased last autumn when he included a photography class as he needed a general course not associated with his business degree.

When I read the syllabus for the photography class, I cringed…not being exactly a “techie”, I was overwhelmed by things like podcasts critiquing photos, technical assignments, and the icing on the cake! The final assignment was a published photo book. My hands got seriously clammy even reading the word “stupendous”….the professor’s choice of words for an “A” on the book.

Ben chose the subject Barns of the Finger Lakes for his project. He went on photo shoots and I was able to point him to some cool barns I saw throughout my adventures. I was so pleased when his book’s grade was posted…he aced it with an A!

 

 

Remembering…

Dad and Fritzi

Yesterday, we made the journey to Jamestown for a memorial service for my dad. A sad occasion but we also had to be concerned about the lake effect snow warnings that flashed on signs as we made our way along I86. There were threats of up to 8 inches of snow likely to fall but we figured if the weather got as bad as predicted, we would just stay overnight.

We wound up traveling several  miles behind a strange getup…it was a snowplow with a “trailer” that was pulled behind that could actually be swung out to the plow’s right side and take up the entire two lanes of traffic, plowing and spreading whatever blend of magical potient that removed the snow from the highway’s surface. This contraption slowed us down a good ten minutes and made me fret we would enter the service late.  Thankfully, the trailer slowly backed off from the plow and pulled in behind it, allowing traffic to regain speed.

We arrived at the church with a few minutes to spare, enabling us to exchange a few hugs and words of condolence from cousins we had not seen since the last funeral.  Sad, but true…

The service went well…the pastor was so wonderful! Carly’s girls, Sarah and Erin, sang Amazing Grace, a’cappella and in harmony, perfectly! I wish I would have videotaped it….I read a tribute I had written the day Dad passed. I had felt the inkling to write it before he passed. Perhaps an unction from the Lord to do this.

For those who couldn’t be there, here is the content.

My name is Kae Manelick Catalano and I am Harry’s favorite daughter. Oh, I am Harry’s only daughter.

I think most all of us have heard the words of Ecclesiasties, chapter 3.

To everything there is a season, a time to every purpose under heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted. Futter we read A time to weep and a time to laugh: a time to mourn and a time to dance. And verses 12 and 13 say I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor, it is the gift of God.

My father,  Harry, did indeed enjoy the good of all his labor. He was a man who worked hard all his life. He was a man who deeply loved his family….if we ever needed help, he was always there. Dad loved working with his hands and always had a building project, or so it seemed. Although he wasn’t especially fond of farming, I remember the large gardens he planted in Youngsville and every spring he began working flowerbeds around the house that always produced abundant blossoms. He loved nature and his backyard was a sanctuary for birds… he was excited when tiny hummingbirds would return to his feeder each spring.

One of the most outstanding characteristics about Harry, though, was how I would best describe him. Harry was a man of integrity. He was honest, straightforward,and if he said he was going to do something, he always followed through.  These traits were not only evident to us, his family, but others saw them as well. As such, his employer,  MRC/SKF, requested that he serve as a loan officer at the credit union. He felt honored and accepted the position, spending lunchtimes meeting with the other officers. He was proud of Mom when she completed college and became a registered nurse and he supported us kids in our pursuits. He was a man of integrity.

I believe my dad’s parting words would be accept Jesus, follow God’s commandments, love your family, love your neighbor, and enjoy the good of your labor,  for it is the gift of God.

After the service, a luncheon was served in the parlour. It was wonderful talking to relatives and hearing stories about Dad.

We began heading home at about 3 and happily traveled dry roads. The dreaded snow never fell and we grateful for a wonderful day, remembering a terrific man.

On my way to the dentist…..

image

image

I could not believe my eyes! I saw “something” big sitting on the road from a distance. It was only when I got several feet away, I realized I was looking at an immature Eagle! I suppose it was as curious about me as I was about it….ot sat there for probably a minute before finally lifting off and flying away!

Posted from WordPress for Android

Whoa!!!

image

On Monday afternoon, instead of running to the grocery store, I wandered into the house and made another batch of French Macarons. This time, I made them dark pink and flavored them strawberry.

Monday night, I realized I really needed to go shopping! We were out of basics. I am not inclined to shop late in the day,  but I left the house after eight. I planned to shop at Walmart and Wegman’s. 

I worked along the aisles, eventually ending up at the back of the store in the frozen foods. As my eyes lit upon the box above, I nearly passed out! French Macarons for sale in a box!!! But wait, they were $7.98 for 4.6 OUNCES! Over $27.00 a pound!

I’ve made four batches of Macarons now and not one batch failed. They seem fairly easy to make. The hardest part is letting them sit awhile before baking.

Wow. I never realized how expensive these little treasures are! I do know the most expensive ingredient is almond flour. I paid about $9.00 for a one pound bag at Walmart. That bag makes about three and a half batches. $27.00 a pound? Yikes!!!

Another picnic and choices….

This could easily become a habit!  One of my favorite things to do is to go on picnics! It is so much fun being outside and as my mom has always said, food *always* tastes better outside!

Michelle and her fiance, Jacob, want to have a wedding next May.  Michelle wants to be married in the spring, and she was thinking the weather might cooperate by the end of May. They also have agreed that they don’t want a typical church wedding.  Since they both love the outdoors, they have decided an outdoor wedding would suit them well. Of course, the problem that arises is where such a wedding can take place.  There are venues such as Sonnenberg Gardens State Park in Canandaigua, but it comes with a hefty price tag.  Also, Michelle and Jacob are thinking a more rustic setting is what they would like.

So….yesterday, Mark, Michelle, and I (Ben was working) set off for Letchworth State Park in Mount Morris. We met up with Jacob, his parents, and his two younger sisters to explore the various pavilions that Michelle and Jacob had scoped out previously.

012

This was the first (and only enclosed) pavilion we looked at.  It is quite pretty. And here is the opposite end…

013

Since weather can be somewhat unpredictable in May, this might be a good venue as it is enclosed.

016

Michelle and Jacob really like this field as a choice as well. They were thinking that they could rent a party tent and set it up here.  This is a beautiful setting and there is lots of parking nearby as well.

021

This pavilion was yet another choice.  The problem here would be if it was rainy or chilly, it would present problems. 

As we discussed the various areas, we saw why they liked the park.  I only wish it was closer. It might be a bit challenging moving all the necessities there as well as food and decorations. 

There are places closer to home that are nice, but there are issues of restrooms, parking, and size that present problems.  Thankfully, Jacob’s dad is a minister, so he can do a wedding wherever they decide!

We stopped along the way and had a wonderful little picnic. It was a beautiful day and there really weren’t very many people in the park!  It was so enjoyable.  Our picnic table reminded me of the Flintstones!

032

We got home a little after nine-thirty and I think we all slept well! We did get some exercise, hiking about to look at the various buildings!

Hummer Fun

This afternoon, I had to clip you-know-who’s nails.  He really isn’t thrilled to get his nails clipped, so I have to muzzle him.  After doing his nails, I got my camera and sat on the floor for a few minutes with him.  I had placed a hummingbird feeder outside my window, and as I was on sitting there, a bird came to feed!  I quickly snapped away! Unfortunately, this was far away and also through the window, but I got a photo!

 

 

Balloons over Letchworth!

Sunday was a rather remarkable day. I had discovered that hot air balloons would be launching at Letchworth Park over a period of a few days during the Memorial Day weekend. I love hot air balloons and I especially like photographing them!

I spoke to Carly on Saturday and asked if she and her family would like to go, too. They did! Since the balloons were launching at 6:30 pm, and Carly wasn’t available to go until afternoon, we made plans for an impromptu picnic.  We had grilled chicken breasts, a broccoli salad, and a lemon meringue pie.

pie

That doesn’t sound like a lot of food, but I think we all were full at the end of our picnic!  Oh, we also did something different….we ate at one of those stone tables!  It reminded me of something from the Flintstones!  It was wonderful, though, as we had a scenic view of the gorge.

After our picnic, we headed off for the balloon launch. It was fascinating. The ad  said there were thirty balloonists invited and although I didn’t count, I know there were lots of balloons there.  It was amazing as it seemed like the field would never contain many of these aircrafts! The public was allowed to sit and watch very close to the actual balloons.  This made it even more fascinating. I never realized they used a generator and fans to begin the process of filling the balloons.

As the first balloons began being filled, there were some breezes that would move them about!  I left everyone and went a bit closer to the first batch.  I met a young lady there with her boyfriend who sometimes rode in the chase vehicle for one of the pilots.  She told me all kinds of information.  She said the pilot has to get permission to land….I had never even thought about that before. She said that some people absolutely refuse to allow a balloon to land on their property, so the pilot must lift up again and go on until they can obtain permission from another property owner.

This was such an exciting adventure!

BALLOONS 6

BALLOONS 7

BALLOONS 5

BALLOONS 8

BALLOONS 9

BALLOONS 10

BALLOONS 11

BALLOONS 12

BALLOONS 13

BALLOONS 14

BALLOONS 15

BALLOONS 16

We actually saw some of the baskets (with people inside!) tumble to one side as the wind blew and caused the balloon to sway!  People from the balloon crew quickly hopped to the rescue and held the basket upright! Some looked as though it took a great deal of effort!

BALLOONS 17

BALLOONS 18

BALLOONS 19

BALLOONS 20

BALLOONS 21

BALLOONS 22

BALLOONS 23

BALLOONS 24

BALLOONS 25

BALLOONS 26

BALLOONS 27

BALLOONS 29

BALLOONS 30

This was so awesome! The balloons just seemed to hang in the air over the gorge!  It was so beautiful. I am so glad we were able to do this!  I plan on making this an annual event!!!

Wishing you were here…..

so you could experience the fragrance that is filling the entire downstairs of our house!  Our Lilac bushes suffered from the severely cold winter.  Instead of being filled with loads of flowers like last year, the flowers made a sparse showing this year!  In fact, I also lost my two Butterfly bushes in front of the house over this winter.  I decided since there weren’t that many flowers on the Lilacs, I might as well clip them and bring them inside to enjoy!

Looking back…

I don’t know where this week disappeared!

It seems like it was just Sunday.  The kids wanted to do something special for Mother’s Day, so we loaded the car and took off for Watkin’s Glen.  It really isn’t too far from our home and it was a beautiful day to be outside! I had been sick for a little over a week.  It seems I had picked up a strain of flu that likes to hang around for awhile.  Although I didn’t feel “sick”, I felt weak and lacking energy.  I spent much of the days lying in bed reading.  So, the Mother’s Day outing was the perfect getaway!

On our way to Watkin’s Glen, we stopped in Penn Yan for takeout Chinese.  Once we got to the park, we walked to a picnic table and enjoyed our meal.  It felt so good to be outside breathing the fresh air!  (Even when I felt really tired when I was sick, I put on my winter jacket and sat outside on the porch swing. The oxygen in the air felt so good!) Even though we didn’t spend a long time out, it was a perfect day!

Mark and I spent Monday doing things around the house, knowing that Tuesday was going to be a very busy day!  We were up and out the door shortly after seven to take our pickup truck to the garage to have a brakeline replaced.  It had rusted through and one day, the brake pedal went nearly to the floor when Mark stepped on it.  He decided to have the garage do the work, so we had to drop the truck off by eight, then be on our way to take Mark’s mom to a doctor appointment. Everything went smoothly and we got home with just enough time to get ready to go out to Bill and Carolyn’s as we do every Tuesday night.

We hadn’t gotten together the previous Tuesday, as sicknesses were making the rounds….bronchitis, bad colds, and the flu!

Bill had made an awesome pan of Lasagne and Focaccia (bread) that was awesome!  Sue brought an antipasto plate and there was so much yummy food!  Afterwards, we were treated to a Black Forest Cake Bill made to celebrate Sue’s daughter, Dee’s birthday.  As we were finishing up, “it” struck.  My oh my!  The thunder and lightening put on a spectacular show!  The rain came down so fast and furiously and all of our cell phones kept making sounds to alert us to a flash flood watch.  We weren’t too concerned, as Bill and Carolyn live at about 2300 feet above sea level.  I did wonder about Naples as the evening progressed, but….

We were finally ready to leave a little after eleven o’clock.  We had had a very long day. But, when we opened the door to go out to the truck, the lightning stretched across the sky, the thunder boomed, and the rain looked as though it had no intention to let up.  We waited. And waited.  Finally, things let up a bit and we made a mad dash for the truck. As we drove off, we were wondering what it was going to be like getting home.  We didn’t wonder too long!  As we drove down the short road to the next road, we passed over streams glistening in the headlights where the roadside ditches were now overflowing onto the roadway. We turned the corner and less than a mile up the road, a large log probably twenty feet long was lying in the road. There was other debris there as well.  I got out of the truck and attempted to move the big log, but it would not budge. The water was over my ankles and I quickly moved the smaller debris and we were able to pass through.

We passed through several more non-intentional streams flowing over the backroads until we finally hit the major route between Prattsburgh and Naples.  We were pretty certain once we were on the main road, everything would definitely be better.  As we drove along, there were a few breaches where the road seemed to disappear under a briskly flowing waterway.  We were determined at this point to make our way home!

As we got closer to Naples, everything seemed much better.  There was no more water covering the road, and it seemed all was well.  Once we got to the other side of Naples, however, the water was rushing like mad off the hill where County Road 12 rises sharply up from the Naples valley.  Lights were flashing and volunteer firemen equipped with headlights on their hats seemed to be everywhere.  We were told Route 21 through Woodville was impassable, so we were advised to take County Road 12.  The firemen told us they had not received any calls about damage there. We drove up the steep incline and the only problems were where higher roads intersected the road and left deposits of dirt and rocks all over the road.  We were so thankful to have the truck!

We got home and were so grateful! There was no damage at our house.  Michelle said it had been a bit hair-raising, but all was well. Murphy was at home with the kids and he was a bit upset, but was fine!

We got alerts on the cell phones that flash flood watches are in effect through Friday of this week. Wednesday, I went out and got groceries.  I have never taken the flood warnings seriously, as we live in a pretty safe place.  After the trip late Tuesday night, I am a bit more inclined to listen! We are all still in awe of the fact that the National Weather Service can alert people via cell phones….

Today was Ben’s last day of his first year of college. He has done well and I think he is pretty happy to have it behind him. We went out to a restaurant to celebrate and then wandered over to Seneca Lake State Park for a bit.  It was so windy and people were parasailing on the lake. Water was splashing all over on the breakwalls but it was warm and nearly balmy!  We have a front passing through now that is giving us some more rain and then the temperatures will drop some over the next few days.

Well, if you do come across the time I am missing from this week, please let me know!!!