Archive for the ‘Clayton’ Category

I was recently diagnosed with bronchitis and prescribed medication.  I need to be careful with regards to sex and booze, but my doctor told me that I can go out as long as I cover my mouth when I cough.  Weretoad and I had planned for yesterday to be a “date night.”  He was going to take me to a bar I wanted to go to, but that probably wouldn’t have been a good idea so we did sober activities.

First we had dinner at The Mustard Seed.  As always they made delicious, meat-free meals.  Weretoad let me have some of his ratatouille wrap and I shared some spring rolls with him.  We each had some chili.  We decided to drive to Cape Vincent next just to see what it was like.  This included a detour to Tibbets Point where we saw gorgeous houses, a real light house, a mink cross the road, and the St. Lawrence joining with Lake Ontario.  We witnessed some absolutely beautiful scenery there.  Cape Vincent looks across to a wind farm.  I understand that several residents are unhappy about that, but I find them serene and lovely in their own way*.  I put my feet in the St. Lawrence for a bit and thought of the River Goddess.

Next we drove along the river until we reached Clayton.  They have their farmers’ market on Thursdays and I was delighted to catch it.  We purchased some cookies, French bread, banana peppers, carrots, an onion, and a buttercup squash.  We then had some dessert and sat by the river while a band played.
It was kind of funny, actually.  Until I moved out of my parents’ house, we used to go to Old Forge, NY almost every Sunday for a concert in the park.  There were usually rock-n-roll bands (which I love) that played a lot of Beatles, Elvis, Beach Boys, Rolling Stones, and such.  As the concert in Clayton started with some old fashioned doo-wop, I turned to Weretoad and commented that someday, when we’re old, bands will start to play our generation’s music in parks for free concerts.  Sure enough, this band played a number from Blink 182, Green Day, and several other contemporary bands.  I was amused, especially with all the older people dancing to “All the Small Things.”  Heehee.  I hope I never lose my sense of youth when I’m older.

We ended the evening by watching the sun set along the St. Lawrence, chased by speed boats and slow steamers.  The rose and orange clouds piled up towards Canada, looking like the background of a majestic Thomas Cole painting.  We looked into the waves and I thanked the Kindreds for such a beautiful place and a wonderful day.  Even though our plans changed, we found joy by the life source of Northern NY in the presence of the River Goddess.

*Not to mention my appreciation for alternative energy!

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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As of August 6th, Weretoad and I have been residents of Northern NY for a year.  We moved up here from the Mohawk Valley last year.  It’s been a bit of a transition.  I’ve been meaning to write about it.

In many ways, the North Country is similar to the Mohawk Valley.  It’s still NY and therefore we witness similar plants and animals.  Each area enjoys productive agricultural areas and lovely rivers and/or canals.  We’re a couple hours away from the Utica/Rome area, so I’m not seriously removed from my family and friends.

That said there are differences.  Few people see wild bears in the Mohawk Valley, but they’re quite common up here, as are bobcats*.  There have even been lynx and cougar sightings.  This is probably because life up here is more agriculture than in the Mohawk Valley which is heavily urban and suburban except for a few happy exceptions.  The bigger animals haven’t been driven out yet.

The rivers in the North Country seem more appreciated.  They are a central part of life here and not just something discussed in 4th grade social studies.  People celebrate our rivers.  Schools incorporate them into their songs.  The St. Lawrence is huge to our tourist industry, and many people who reside in this area enjoy it for sport, beauty, and sustenance.

The urban and suburban centers, while spread apart, have grown on me.  Alexandria Bay is kitschy but the views are beautiful and the swimming area is great on a hot day.  Clayton is one of my favorite places to go.  It seems to be the artistic center of Northern NY with its textile museum, antique boat museum,  studios, galleries, opera house, and art classes.  The view of the St. Lawrence is just as spectacular there.  The dining is also wonderful and vegetarian friendly.

Potsdam, an hour away from us, is a lovely college town full of cafes, international cuisine, boutiques, and access to the Raquette River.  There is art and academia, and it seems very pedestrian friendly.  I wish it were closer so I could live there!

Our city is Watertown.  While smaller than Utica, it seems cleaner and more alive.  There are many shops, restaurants, a huge and ornate library, and a thriving farmers market that is right in the middle of everything on Wednesdays (although parking is hard to find…) and a second, smaller one closer to the community college on Saturdays.

I am finding things to keep me busy outside of work and home.  There are a lot of classes that I would like to take advantage of when I have a little more money – yoga, sustainable/organic gardening, tai chi, weaving, drumming….  I’ve even found belly dancing classes a few towns away.  The CUUPs chapter is now providing me a place to practice Paganism more regularly with others.  A second New Age shop just opened up here.  The Mustard Seed in Watertown is my vegetarian cafe.  We have an amazing Thai restaurant, a decent Indian restaurant, and now have hibachi!  We are super close to the Saranac Lake, Lake Placid, Ottawa, and Montreal.  The military presence originally gave Northern NY a conservative feel, and I’m sure a majority of people here are very conservative, but the area is more diverse than that.    I’m feeling happier here and more at home, and that’s even without me waxing poetic about how I have an amazing job with wonderful people!

There are things I miss.  The proximity to my family and friends is one of them.  My parents, especially my father, keep talking about moving up here.  They really like it.  I wish they would.  I miss seeing them as much as I used to.  There are things about Utica I miss as well: the amazing Stanley theater and the art museum mostly.  The Stanley gets Broadway shows and MWPAI has a spectacular collection as well as their affordable film series.  Weretoad and I used to take advantage of that all the time.  We also miss Minar, the Indian Restaurant in Utica.  The place in Watertown isn’t bad – it’s quite good really – but the environment at Minar was special.  The staff knew us and the decor was warmer feeling.  Utica also had more independent cafes.  I’ve found some in Clayton, Canton, and Potsdam, but Watertown only seems to have Paneera and the closest thin in my hometown is a Jrek’s Sub Shop.

I also miss how close everything was in the Mohawk Valley.  Unless living in the extreme outskirts, it only took 15-20 minutes to get anywhere.  Up here, we have to drive 30 minutes to Watertown, 30 minutes to A Bay, 40 minutes to Clayton, 40 minutes to Canton, 1 hour to Potsdam…  It’s annoying and stressful to someone who wants to be more environmentally friendly.  But even if I were to move to Watertown so I could be closer to everything there, I would then be 30 minutes from my job.  I can’t win, aside from moving in between – which is what we’d like to do.  But, as the author of F that S says in her latest blog entry, living in the North Country comes with a lot of driving.  Her entry assuaged my inner guilt, reminding me that the little things one does to help the environment do add up.  Thanks for that!

While I’m certainly not close-minded to moving elsewhere down the road, I am finding myself happy here.  I have days or moments when I am annoyed by the driving, but that’s really the worst part, and I want to focus on the best parts, of which there are many.

Here’s to another year of exploration and growth in the North Country!

* I’ve not seen either yet, but my place of employment was on lockdown due to a bear once.

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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Sometimes the best meditation is observing nature.  I found myself doing that a lot today at various points along the St. Lawrence River here in Northern NY.  I stood in the refreshing water and just was.  I watched the waves roll in.  I followed ducks along a dock.  I wondered at the thrill felt by a seagull wheeling over the misty water.

My annoying cough may make standard meditation impractical, but there are other ways to calm the soul and rekindle our connection to the kindreds.

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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My vacation is nearly at an end.  We decided to busy ourselves today, get out, and explore a bit more.  Many people I know have taken advantage of their free time to enjoy Myrtle Beach or the like.  Lacking the funds (or, in my husband’s case, the time), we’ve stayed in the state, making the most of it.

Today we visited Clayton, NY.  What a lovely village!  The view of the bay was impressive.   It was a cold, rainy, and windy day so we weren’t exactly comfortable so near the Thousand Islands.  How marvelous visiting will be on the warmer days!  We stopped at the Thousand Islands Art Center, home of the Handweaving Museum.  They had a lovely exhibit of pieces made by local women.  Hubby was equally entranced and we discussed taking a weaving class together sometime.  We spoke with one of the curators who took our information and promised to send us a catalog of summer classes.  I’m very interested in the natural dying class she told me about!  Truly, the whole Center excites me!   I already feel like my understanding of the fiber arts will increase tenfold thanks to my proximity to these classes!  They even have a center totally devoted to pottery and are willing to rent kilns!  This means I can dapple with porcelain in the future!

After that we went to the Lyric Cafe where we enjoyed vegan chai lattes and quesadillas.  My husband, who has not given up dairy entirely, had cheese with his.  The staff were very accommodating to me.  I basically did not have a quesadilla – I had grilled veggies wrapped in a spinach tortilla.  It was absolutely delicious all the same!  I can’t wait to take classes at the Art Center and follow it up with dinner at the cafe! Apparently there is live entertainment on Friday and Saturday evenings.

We headed back to Watertown and decided to visit the Thompson Park Zoo.  It was our first time there and we were not disappointed.  Many people have lamented the absence of more “exotic” specimens, but hubby and I delighted at seeing so many local or semi-local nature spirits – including fishers and wolverines!  My husband was absolutely enamored with them.  To be true, so was I!  I’ve never seen them in person so it was a real treat to think that they are related to our beloved ferrets! I also loved seeing my spirit guide, the Lynx.  I feel compelled to sponsor them in the near future.  It feels right.  We also saw an albino snapping turtle, various examples of venomous NY snakes, black bears, wolves, mountain lions, bald eagles, snowy owls, ravens, and, some of our favorite buggers, otters!  There were many more as well.  I can’t wait to go there again, hopefully with visiting friends and family!

Following that we ran some errands in Watertown.  We’ve started to prepare for Wellspring.  Gander Mountain was having a sale on camping equipment.  We bought a cooler, a waterproof tarp to put under our tent, a tent repair kit, biodegradable shampoo and soap, eco-friendly insect repellant, and a waterproof bag to carry extra blankets in.  (I’ve heard Wellspring can get pretty chilly at night!)

We’re going to spend the end of the evening with some neighbors.  They’ve tried inviting us over in the past but we’ve always been down in Utica.  Today the cards are in our favor and we can actually get to know them.  I hope we don’t come across as too weird…  Brighid, Goddess of the bards, grant me eloquence and the knowledge to hold my tongue when needed tonight!  Dagda, Good God, give me humor and acceptance of my self and others!  Now… to wake my husband from his nap…

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Oh!  A couple things I wanted to mention before bed.

First off, Watertown is getting a sushi and hibachi restaurant!  Woo!  I have no idea when it’s opening but the thought of a more diverse cuisine up here is worth celebrating!

Second, there’s apparently going to be a psychic fair in Clayton, NY (40 minutes away from my current home) in the Clayton Opera House on the 24th and 25th of April.  There isn’t a lot of information on it at the moment, but I’ll try to keep abreast of the situation.  I don’t know if I’ll go or not, but it seemed pertinent to the Pagan community.

Have a goodnight and a lovely Monday!

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