Week 172 July 15, 2017

Our week began with seeing a most complete rainbow over the beautiful Lake in New York as we were returning from a hike. 
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Another highlight this week included a weekend BBQ with my brother and sister-in-law at their lake house. Being in New York is invaluable for the memorable times we have been able to spend together, though this one will have to be stored simply in my memory, as I forgot to record it with my camera. So I will insert a copy of the professional photo I have from the memorable evening spent celebrating my brother’s birthday last month. 
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This week too I discovered the difference between Eastern and Western Blue Jays. I kept insisting that the beautiful blue bird we were seeing was not a Jay as my sister-in-law said, as I was looking for the telltale black hood that I am used to in California. Later I looked online and found I was wrong. By the way, birds are not easy to photograph. Then, that evening I went to Urgent Care because my poison ivy reaction continued to erupt and had started to spread to my face. So, I am on a regimen of steroids and cortisone cream, and the rash has been abating since that began. We also enjoyed a FaceTime with Loren’s Mom and sister, and this time Loren recorded it with a photo. 
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One evening Loren and I took a picnic to a popular summer concert venue locally where we heard Desert Highway, an Eagles Tribute Band entertaining us with tunes from our teen years. Fortunately the weather was nice that evening. Had it been the day before we would have been inside at a rain venue.
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We also took in a great movie, The Big Sick at a small theater local to the lake house – a true story with a lot of laughs and touching experiences. Well worth seeing in our view.
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When it is not storming here it is incredibly pleasant and peaceful, though even the hours-long downpours can be lulling. Sometimes there is a cooling breeze when we sit on the deck, being entertained naturally by the sights and sounds of life around us. We often see kids off from school for summer, fishing on the few large rocks on the uninhabited opposite side of the lake. Sometimes neighbors in row boats, paddle boats or standup paddle boats float by. We also have seen a flock of 16 geese – or at times just 15 and just 1, and other waterfowl swim or fly low over the lake. As I write I must have seen 5 chipmunks – or the same one 5 times? – dart across the deck as if to say, “What about me? You forgot to mention me!” This prompted me to recall too that we had also seen some deer in the neighborhood in the evenings, as well as chipmunks. 
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We often hear the trills of song birds, the occasional barking of a dog or two, a few distant voices, and the croaking of frogs – these being especially prevalent at night. We also see numerous sparrows, Eastern Jays, a stunning Cardinal, hawks, herons, a couple of gophers, some scampering squirrels, and neighborhood cats – one a Tomcat for sure. It is idyllic here! We are so very grateful and feel so very blessed to have this place to stay.
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If there has to be a downside here, then it would be the raccoon who was unexpectedly caught in the gopher trap. Oh, and the alligator scare – yes, in New York, that had the neighborhood in a frenzy for a couple of days, We are fairly certain it turned out to be just floating algae, but there are certainly those who take on exotic pets, cannot care for them and just let them loose…
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A last highlight includes having dinner with my sister-in-law’s father at the Veteran’s home. My camera forgot to come out for this occasion too, but it was after an especially intense thunderstorm earlier in the day. Fortunately Loren and I had taken our near daily hike earlier on this day. The Veteran’s facility is the same one where my father spent the last few months of his life. It was nice that both fathers were living here at the same time. I have a cloth bag that my father had hand decorated before he went to the Veteran’s home that I treasure, with the simple message that I consider learning how to do to be the entire purpose of life. On our way home the sunset was breathtaking.
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Loren and I are still in New York, leaving later for New Hampshire than we originally planned today, because last evening Loren broke a tooth. Thankfully my brother’s dentist could take him for an emergency visit in the morning. When we return to New York Loren will receive a new crown… While I sat in the waiting room, I was drawn to this Van Gogh image on the wall. 
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I will finish this by saying how much we enjoy keeping in touch with family and friends, and that includes new friends who we have met on our travels, this family being from a memorable visit we had in Argentina with them opening their home through AirBnB.
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