June 2009


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Spring time turning to summer. Life feels like it is renewed each Spring. Times for changes, for some a time for new love, time to plant things and watch them grow. Spring is always a time where I feel like a victor.  I have made it through the winter, I have kept warm and free of fractures though the icy blustery days of darkness,  I feel fresh.

I truly love to walk, and am not comfortable walking outside when there is ice on the pavement- so the gm is a nice place to go instead. I see so much when I walk, things I miss riding in a car. Wild flowers, butterflies, ferns, flowers, birds. It is neat to watch things change. The garden is among the signs that Spring has turned to summer and we are heading towards fall.

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We are on a second envelope of radish seeds, the tomatoes plants in the front left corner have a lot of blossoms but no tomatoes yet, the zucchini in the back right is really getting ready to reward us with it’s gifts. The back left- those are our sunflowers. They are reaching up to the sun . Front right is summer squash- not quite as excited about growing as its sister plants the zucchinis, but they too have blossoms. As they reach and stretch and grow, the thought of fresh veggies  (and putting some in the freezer to stretch out the summer veggie months) is also a reminder of days to come, when coats and gloves are needed, and we are reminded of our breathing because we see it in front of our faces with each exhale, and reminded that we have nose hairs- as they freeze.

Yes, this is my favorite time of the year. Spring to summer, and summer to fall. Winter I tolerate, I dread at times, and it makes me appreciate Spring. Living where there is no winter- well Spring would not have the same meaning, it would be taken for granted.

Enjoy the weather, treasure the colorful gifts that we get for no cost at all, the birds the sunsets, the incredible skies, rainbows, loved ones, children, LIFE>> Love Cindy

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Vacation. What does it mean to you? Is it a time a packing fervently and heading off to who knows where in a car, a plane, a train or a boat. And sometimes needing the car to get to the plane to get to the boat. Dependant on others to make sure they do their part, so you can get to your final destination for your vacation.

Or is it a time to know you have a job , and you have been benefited time off with pay, to take some “Me Time”. A very long weekend rest?

There is a reason why God made vacations ( and park benches…). Can ya guess which I lean towards? ( The park bench is a hint) And free things all around.

As I age I am getting less in the mood for crowds, strangers breathing on my neck as we stand in cattle herding appearing lines, waiting for some over paid , attitude strong, impatient person behind a counter take control of my life. Have you ever done that ( Oh I am sure you have) – like at a ticket counter, or at a boarding pass counter. Where the person behind the counter is taking their sweet time, hauls your baggage, smacking their gum , as dragging their pan slowly over forms that need to be checked, or slowly punching in keys on the key board- unaffected by the amount of time they are taking or the length of the line.

The people in the line bitching about how long it is taking, or what each person perceives to be the most important reason why they should not be held up, the people are so close they are rubbing against you, you can smell their cologne or their sweat… ahhh – yeah—the park bench is mighty inviting for my vacation this week.

I have some sewing  to do, and have 2 great books to read. One is “ Still Alice” – I am already 70 pages into it, and unfortunately had to go to sleep last night. This is a read and do not do anything else book for me.  It is frightening, interesting, and more frequent in our lives then we care to admit. Alice is a professor, she knows psychology and its intricacies, at at 50 years old is  trying to convince herself that her quick lapses in memory, forgetting what she was saying in the middle of a lecture, and all of the sudden having no idea where she was during a jog- that these are related to menopause. Only to find she is suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. The book is amazing in my mind. One of my friends who just read it warned me— she sees herself being more aware of how often she is forgetting things .  So this will be on my list of things to do.

Mark and I will be spending time together for the next 9 days, there is a family reunion at the end of the week we will go to, and Indi, well we gotta get a dog park jaunt in or two. I will plan on hitting the gym and walking Germandale Drive. And relaxing.. 100_3028_editedno alarm clocks for the next 9 days. I am off to make breakfast- go to church and then come home and mow the yard. Then read, cook, plan for the reunion, garden tend,  see Brandon Jeff and Amanda and enjoy my time with my husband. I love work, but I also ,love vacations. I will pop in and update this thru Thursday— but then off to see my family for a few days. Photos of my days to follow. Love to all, enjoy the free stuff… Cindy..alias Mrs Justa

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Mark and I were reminiscing the other day as we were talking  about our John Deere and the way it makes every other pass look like a slightly different height, and even through it does that , the acre still looks good. We work hard on it. Being we are the first lot on corner of the road to our development and we have the sign for the development in our front yard, we really want to make it comfortable for people to enter the street.

Mark is just about unable to walk after sitting on the rider for 1 hr. He is ready for a major rest. So I do the pushing and weed whacking. It takes me an hr to do my stuff, and often we go out together, finish together, 100_3028_edited go back and ooh and ahh at the garden ( which has yet to produce any veggies except some yummy spicy radishes… but it is neat to watch it grow. )

So as I was saying we were reminiscing about days gone by. Long gone by, like I am talking about 45 years ago.  At the age of 10, as I have written before, (  and will add more bits and pieces as the subject matter applies) my dad died at the  young age of 57. We were financially strapped and my mom, bless her heart, never really told us how broke we were, but there were times is was very apparent.

Here is an example… she went to WT Grants and bought us one of these. A shiny orange manual mower for the yard. This is the same color but way more fancy then the one we had. ( These handles are covered with cushy grips and the wheels look fancier)The problem we had was it did not like to cut grass. I remember her bringing it home and we ( at 11 and 10 years old) were in charge of mowing the yard. My sister Pam and I would have to take a running start and hope we grabbed the handle just right to get the sucker to cut maybe 3 feet. Then we would have to do it again.  Our yard was fortunately not an acre, the front maybe 20 by 40 and the back maybe 40X40. We had trees too, 2 Maples in the front, a couple poplar on the side, 3 willows in the back another few poplars, , Russian olive trees and a maple. I say this because in that 3 foot jaunt from the running start, should there be a stick the mower would jam. Upon a jam it would stop abruptly and that handle would end up jammed into our stomachs. Depending on how fast a running start we had, depended on if the handle would make us suddenly gasp out of pain, and we would be trying to suck in the air that was  just released from our bodies.

Now the older man next store, he had a nicer manual mower, it must have cost him a whole lot of money, I think he could have mowed with just one finger on the handle as he read a book and drank a beer. image Like this dude, ( I found him on google images) he looks like he is taking his mower for a stroll. This is how our neighbor looked lightly mowing his yard. You could hear the whish on each blade gently surrendering to his mower.He would glance over at us, smirk at times, as beads of sweat were watering the lawn, as we yanked branches out of the reel and massaged our sore abs, deep breathing trying to refill our lungs that had been majorly depleted of oxygen with each jam in the ribs and gut.

Our neighbor could have gone back inside , taken a shower, watched a ball game, ate lunch , even taken a nap and we would  still  be out there fighting the battle of the yard . And let me tell ya, when school had not yet quite finished and the yard needed attention 2 times a week, well that is all we did. By the time we finished the last 3 foot swipe in the back , it was time to go back and start all over again. .. To top off this memorable experience , the suburban track we lived in was built on a swamp- so the mosquitoes were pros, but, loves sucking the blood out of us. We could not swat them, because you did not dare let go of the handle once you were on the 3 foot venture.

My advice to all of you thinking about reverting back to these mowers- I saw an ad about a town going more green with their mowers, pay the extra bucks, get the one that wisps thru the yard.

Look at the mower here, it almost makes the non motor

mower option look cool, fashionable, like this mower rules.

Leave the cheap ones right were you first saw them .

Your abs will thank you… or your kids abs will.

Love to all, happy mowing, Mrs Justa.

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What the heck is this, some may think. Well it is a symbol of me STRETCHING out of a shell. Tonight was the Chase Corporate Challenge. This was my racing number that was pinned to MY shirt. It is an event that I believe stretches beyond Syracuse NY, but I will have tunnel vision for Syracuse. It was held on the lake parkway- which as it sounds runs next to the lake. It was 80 degrees out, a soft breeze, a beautiful night really.

I think there were 6200 or 6400 people registered to do it from various corporations in the area, and some areas far away. My employer participates in it every year, but me… not so much. This year I bit the bullet and signed up- that in itself is a huge step for me. I have never considered myself a jock. I have been walking at lunch, or at the gym or on the street we live, but this past week, well between the antibiotics, the possible tick bite and strept throat, I knew I would have trouble finishing the 3.5 mile trek. But I went, and I walked about 2 miles on the shoulder next to the course, and to and from the shuttle, and back around the many tents. I did not do the actual race- for it was a no turning back situation, and I knew I would not be able to do it. If you got caught crossing to the return side and not walking the full 3.5 you could jeopardize your company’s ability to participate in the future and disqualify them for tonight’s event. I did not want the owner or my co workers remembering me for THAT!

I stood on the side lines too and cheered my co workers as they came in. It was a nice time. I feel good , I tried hard, and I stepped out of the comfort zone, worked all day and then joined 88 of my co workers for this event at 6:00 this evening, I left around 8:15. I will sign up again next year, and hopefully stay healthy for it, and hopefully be in great shape to do it.  I may be 55, overweight, but I tried, and no one can take that away.

Stephany if you are out there, thanks for your inspiration. Love to all, Mrs Justa 

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Welcome to my challenge, to my huffing , to by will to make me a better me. When you drive in and out of our driveway  this incline seems minimal- BUT when you take a walk, a walk with determination to get to the end of the road and turn around and come back, well the first what feels like zillions of feet are a killer. Oh I am sure once I am in better shape it will be a mole hill, but folks right now this incline is a Mount Everest. It is about 2.2 miles when I add the for sale lots I zig zag in, and there are some dogs that are sometimes out, so I carefully zig across the street and back, never make eye contact though.. (The Dog Whisperer taught me that )

It is nice though because we live on a dead end street, so no thru traffic., no one really speeding or being annoying. Others walk up and down the road too. It is refreshing, it is tough at the inclines- and there are a few, –I think 4- but this first one from our house up it the worse. Let me just say.. I am glad it is at the beginning of my walk and not at the end. It is the rewarding part at the end of the journey! A gift from God.

Tomorrow is the Chase Corporate Challenge, I did sign up for it, fortunately it is not up hills or mountains such as this, but it is for 3.5 miles and I am unsure I will go for it, just cuz I am getting over strept throat, and am not feeling 100% on top of my game. I would hate to make the news by being the old lady who sat down 2/3rds of the way thru cuz she didn’t feel good. I am going to it, just unsure what tomorrow will bring. So for all you procrastinators about taking the first step.. do it… it feels GREAT, and if I can drag my ol ass up this mountain, (soon to be a mole hill) well so can you. Love to all, Cindy

Father’s Day.. it has come and gone. I hope that yours has gone well.  It is one day a year where we are honoring our dads, or fathers, or other men in our lives who acted like our fathers. Dads have a tough job, they try to hold everything in , all the troubles, and try to be  the person for everyone. They have a wife or significant other who has their own idiosyncrasies, and tough jobs of trying to support the kids while disciplining them .

My dad never let us know that he was having problems health wise or workwise. He was a traveling salesman and sometimes had a hard time selling the product, as he was an honest salesman. He had a tendency to have sales jobs that had large regions so he would be gone during the week, sometimes returning on Thursday, then going back out and home for most of the weekend.

I remember him packing, and I remember his coming home. I really do not think that he ever earned a lot of money. But money did not lessen his attention or love he had for all of his kids. He died after having 3 heart attacks in his past that he never mentioned or received care for them, he never had chest pain, he had flu symptoms, so he was treated for the flu. After his last heart attack, it showed on the EKG that it was his fourth one, not his first one. To this day I wonder if he had ever felt chest pain at different times and did not do anything about it. Happy Father’s Day Dad. You have been gone for 45 years, but I still feel your presence.

Today we went over to our friend Shawn and Pats house and tried to do what we could do to help him with a porch project he is doing. Mark helped, then sat and rested his leg and back, then helped and again rested. Pat and I carried 8,10,12, and 14 foot joists to the area, and stood around asking annoying questions at times, but we had fun.

100_3052Then Jeff and Amanda had a dinner  and invited us over for Fathers Day. Brandon

had grandpa moments , as seen here.

Brandon continues to change every time we see him. He is more vocal,  making all sorts of noises, and he has this new look where when he is concentrating he sticks his tongue out.

We took him outside for a little while and let him sit on the railing of the deck ( tightly held by Grandma OF COURSE) and we looked at all the flowers, plants and decorations. Then he sat in the grass and seemed to love the wind blowing in his hair.

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Daddy was teaching him how to do the ring stacker toy that he just got today.They are being supervised by Badger, the gentle giant.

Brandon likes the toy, but in his mind today… the rings are neat to take off and chomp on.

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  Notice the thinkers tongue starting to creep out.

Oh my goodness, he is such a joy for us. Amanda mentioned some days in the end of July when she is looking for 4 days for Brandon to be watched. I am going to check the work calendar, and if at all possible take them off. I will find out tomorrow.

Just as I am finishing this Mark’s daughter, Adrianne , called to wish him a Happy Fathers Day. She worked all day,I feel for her, as she is pregnant and is doing 12 hr shifts at a hospital in the town she lives in. She and Her hubby are expecting a baby this year too, So Josh had a Father’s Day for dads to be. It sounds like they are doing fine . Life is a blessing, God has given us so many gifts in life, just look around you and feel good about what you have and do not focus on what you do not have.

SO for all the dads, soon to be dads, grandfathers and families- Happy Fathers Day. Love to all, Cindy

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Well, it was not so bad a day for the cars and our check book. Phew.

This is our 1997 Dodge Intrepid- it has 138,000 miles on it and we were majorly dooming and glooming over what this incredible annoying squeaking noise was from under the hood. The dealer had warned Mark the last time he took it in there, that if there was a worsening noise it was probably whatever part the pulley is attached to, and they would have to take many parts off the engine, it would take many hours and cost mega bucks. Sooooo  we took it over to the mechanics at Cole Muffler in Fulton. They are an incredible shop ! They are quick and NEVER have done work that was not needed. We told them we had a squeal, we had no idea what it was, and could they check and give us an estimate, ( nervous teeth chattering as we spoke) plus we needed an oil change and the annual NY State inspection . ( More nervous chattering of teeth as we ask for a 12 year old car to be inspected …chatter chatter) ( each inspection at the dealers for the  past 3 years has cost us $600.00 or more) So we left the car, and I called back 1 1/2 hrs later to see what the damage was going to be on our checking account- it was 49.00 dollars! The squeal was a belt that needed adjusting, the inspection went fine, and oil change – no problem. They did not charge for the belt adjustment.

Mark was figuring 1200.00 dollars, and all kinds of pondering ( yes I said pondering from you Mark !) about if it is worth it to keep the car, and what will we do if we have just one car. Well, we are keeping it, and we remain with 2 cars for today at least.

My car –

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we needed to get the front brakes checked, and the fiasco at the dealers last weekend was still making me cringe, and I could not stomach another prediction of 500+ dollars to repair them. The front brakes  are not symptomatic at all. We decided to instead go to  Cole this morning before taking the Intrepid over there. The service writer told us they could get it in in about 20 minutes and take a look. I am thinking another 200 to 300 dollars for front brakes if the rotors are bad, or best case scenario the 79.00 special to have the pads changed.

In 10 minutes the service guy was showing us the pad, and told us they were maybe 1/2 way worn, not in need of any service, and to just bring it back in before the snow season hits, and they will check them again.  Charge a BIG FAT ZERO! SO our possible 1500.00 dollar car day turned out to be less then 50 bucks.

Now my question is WHY DID MY BACK BRAKES GO????????????????? It is a front wheel drive car. The front brakes have more work to do then the back. And the back pads were worn to the rivets and damaged the rotors beyond repair. And they were not symptomatic till the night before we brought it in for repair. Something is fishy about the whole thing. But it is money under the bridge, and we have 2 cars with seals of approval. So we are happy about that.  So as I go off to clean and do laundry and work on some sewing projects, I smile – it is a good day. Love to all Mrs. Justa.

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