Cancel Monday and Schedule Me for Tuesday

Mondays after a vacation are always tough at the office.  Not only did I have about 500 e-mails waiting, traffic was really bad today.  Even on the way home I sat for 10 minutes waiting for a break in traffic to pull away from the curb in front of Elizabethe’s office.

Pageant is over, and guests are going home.  And, as soon as everyone leaves, it starts raining.  Yes, it finally rained today.  It really came down hard for a while.  It felt good to get some rain.

I must have picked a few pounds of cucumbers before I left for Rochester this morning, and when I returned, there were MORE.  I swear, things grow at alarming rates in this area.  We have nice fertile ground and lots of moisture, as well as longer days during the summer.


You Need to Be There

There are times when you really need to be there.  Missing church, for whatever reason, can result in your missing a great experience.  Today would have been one of those times.

The choir had prepared a couple of songs to sing during Sacrament Meeting both last week and today.  Our Sacrament took longer than normal to pass due to the number of people in attendance.  It was followed by three lovely testimonies.

First, Sister Morrison, a missionary returning home, bore her testimony.  She’s been serving in our ward for a few months and she has been a delight.  She was followed by Sister Christensen, the mission president’s wife.  Finally, President Christiansen talked.  I love listening to his testimony.  As he says, “Nobody loves the Book of Mormon more than I do.”   His testimony shows his love for the gospel and the teachings of the Book of Mormon.

We closed the meeting with the congregation singing The Spirit of God.  On the last verse, the choir joined in with the descant parts from the Hosanna Anthem.  The only thing I can write is, you had to have been there.

You need to be there every week.  The promise God makes to those who keep the sabbath day holy is one of the greatest promises there is:  And that thou mayest be unspotted from the world…

Besides, you miss experiences that you would not have otherwise.  (And, the young man who played Joseph Smith in the recent movie about the translation of the Book of Mormon was there at church.  You never know who will drop in to church in the Palmyra Ward.)


We returned home in time to catch a “good-bye” from Brother Smith as they headed out to return home.  That was followed by lunch and a long-deserved nap, and then a visit from our home teachers.

So, with pageant being over, we look forward to a more quite week.  Then, next year, we will do it all again.

Saturday Gone Wild

I made a list first thing this morning of things I want to get done.  It was a short check-list, but an important list.  I felt I had plenty of time to get everything on the list complete.

Boy, I was wrong.

Elizabethe had gone down to Canandaigua and purchased a couple of boxes of cherries and cucumbers for canning.  She had our day planned.  It was going to be putting up pickles, cherries and jam.

I went to my office and got a few things done, and then noticed it was afternoon and I had promised Jeffery at the bookstore I’d come and sign a few books.  This is where my good intentions fell apart.

Now, I have no regrets as to how the day went from here on.  It was a great and wonderful day.  I just never got to my “to do” list.  It kind of got pushed aside.

The bookstore was crazy busy.  And, it is one of those things where you don’t want to leave because you know as soon as you do, someone is going to ask where I went because they want their book signed.

Bookstore Crowd

Around 2:30pm, I realized that I had told the people at the Sexton building that I would come back to purchase an ice cream sundae.  The Select Choir at Pal-Mac High School was selling them as a fund raiser.  And, besides, who can resist ice cream.

I scarfed my ice cream down and returned to the book store where I stayed until about 5pm.  They sold out of some of the temple prints and the Autumn in the Sacred Grove prints.  It was well worth my time.

Upon returning home I was informed Elizabethe needed more sugar and cider vinegar and that I should pickup something for dinner.  Well, you know the say?  If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.  It was hot and stuffy in there from all of the boiling water in the canners, so I gladly drove the Breem’s to pickup some ingredients for her.

Yup, that’s my Saturday gone wild.


Temple and Bookstore

Where has this week gone?

I started the morning working in the temple.  It was quite a busy day.  Lots of youth groups and lots of people attending sessions.  I spent about 90 minutes at the recommend desk.  It was busy the entire time.

By the time I got out of there it was after 1pm, so I came home and got some things done around the house.  I then packed my G12 Camera and headed to the bookstore.

There on the corner was our annual guy proclaiming that we’re all wrong.  What drives someone to do that is beyond me.  The old saying, “You catch more bees with honey than you do with vinegar”, must not have been told him as a child.

Then there was this guy twisting Elder Pauley’s ear.  He had two air horns connected to a hose.  I didn’t stick around to hear what his story is.  But, Elder Pauley was patiently listening to him.

Some Guy Talking to Elder Pauley

So, I signed a few more books today.  Most of the people in the bookstore today were with one of two groups.  One was from Virginia Beach, VA, and the other from Pennsylvania.  There were a few other families traveling through, but mostly those two groups.

I finally made my way home where I am waiting for my wife to get home so we can have a date.  I think she’s earned it this week.


Elizabethe and I had dinner at Yellow Mills.  It is probably the closest sit-down restaurant (diner) to our home.  It is on 31 just west of the village on the corner of Yellow Mills Road and NYSR 31.  It was really good.  I picked the New York Ruben.  We also ordered a side of onion rings.  They were perfect onion rings.  I’m picky about my onion rings, and they couldn’t have been better.  Our waitress, Beverly, was attentive to our needs and provided great service.

While we were there we saw some people from pageant.  We also ran in to President and Sister Tanner.  They were just finishing dinner, so we chatted for a little while.

Book-Signing All Day

I set up at the bookstore a little after 10am and stayed until after 4pm.  It was really fun.  They sold quite a few copies and I met a lot of people.  And, I handed out hundreds of cards.  I won’t be there all day tomorrow or Saturday, because I have a lot of things I need to get done, but I’ll be there for an hour or two each day.

Tiffany helped with the book signing.  I think she had fun.  I hope she did.

Me and Tiffany at the Book-signing

After that, I came home for a portrait session.

Where do the hours go?  I tell you, this being in business for yourself can really make time fly quickly.  Last time I checked, it was 2006… right?

Pageant Security

This morning was filled with a lot of studio work followed by a walk to the Latter-day Harvest Bookstore to do some print and book signing.  It was fun.  I met quite a few people from all over.  I even met three ladies from Chubbuck, Idaho.  One even knew President Christiensen (former Oakland Temple President).  Oh, and they bought prints too.

Latter-day Harvest Bookstore, Palmyra, New York
Elder Pauley (one of our house guests)

From there I headed to Hill Cumorah as I accepted an assignment to help.  They assigned me to the post where the cast members enter.  It is a busy post as lots of people want to walk to the top of the hill, and they close that trail at 6pm on Pageant evenings.  One group of youth begged and promised, “We will behave.  Really…”  I had to tell them sorry, but they can’t go on the trail.


I got the sweetest text from Kathy today.  I’ve known Kathy ever since I was about 13 or 14.  She’s a few years young, but last August we got re-acquainted and now she’s the little sister I never had.  Every day we exchange short texts or e-mails.

She texted me, “You’re the brother I always wanted!!”

I explained how as kids I wish I would have paid her more attention, and thanked her for not holding that against me.  Kathy expressed similar gratitude.  (She used to tease the heck out of me… just like a little sister of a dorky big brother would.)

She replied, “Yeah, thanks for not holding anything against me too!  But, the best part is we have each other for the rest of our lives.”

Sometimes live takes unexpected twists and turns.  Getting reacquainted with Kathy has been one of those unexpected twists.  Having grown up with just a little brother, I had no idea what having other siblings would be like.  And, having had lots of children, I’m glad my children had the oportunity to have so many siblings.  I hope they realize what a rich blessing their siblings are to each of them individually and collectively.

Unlike other peers in my life, Kathy and I have history and past memories, and that makes it all the more sweet.

Where Did the Day Go?

One minute I’m think I’ll have time for a walk, and the next minute I realize I have to rush to get ready for my next client.  Where did the day go?

I’ve been swamped lately.  Am I getting older and slower, or do I just have that much more work to do?  I can’t figure it out.

I did make a delivery to the bookstore.  I almost drove my car, but decided I had enough time to walk as long as I didn’t stop and talk to someone.

My client appointments went well.  It was hot, and I was sweating like crazy, but thank goodness for air conditioning in my car.

I’m beat and just want to go to sleep.

15 Miles on the Erie Canal

There is only one “Pageant Monday”, and that was today.  There is no pageant on Monday, but this Monday is surrounded by pageant.  Pageant runs Friday and Saturday, and then is off on Sunday and Monday, and then picks back up on Tuesday and ends the following Saturday.  (Got that?)

I spent a good portion of the morning preparing images from Saturday’s wedding, and uploading them to my hosting page where the guests can place on-line orders for the images.  Then, after fighting off a headache, I decided to take a walk to the village.  I met a couple of our two-week missionaries at the Grandin Building.  One of them was from the Antioch California Stake!!!  Small world.

Pageant Missionaries - E.B. Grandin Building

I stopped in the bookstore mostly because it was hot and muggy and I wanted to cool off before walking back home.  (Now, this is funny.)  I ran in to a temple missionary who saw my camera and asked, “Are you a photographer?”  There were a few chuckles from people who know me, and I smiled and acknowledged I was.  At the same time, there were a couple of tourist looking at my book Palmyra.  I motioned that she should come look at the book.  She saw my logo on the cover, looked at the same logo on my shirt, looked back at the cover.

Jeffery McCooeye, manager of Latter-day Harvest House, Palmyra, NY

In her defense, at the temple we call everyone “brother” or “sister”.  So, she didn’t know that my 1st two initials are “db”.  Anyway, it was sweet and funny… and also quite flattering when she realized that a photo she had purchased was one I photographed.  So, she was there with her daughter, purchasing the same print for her daughter.

(click here to view and/or purchase that image)

On the way back, I also met Steve Berdy.  He owns a little shop on Main Street.  I’ve never seen him there.  So, I stopped and talked for a while.  He’s a retired school teacher and he sells stuff at the flea market and in his little store.  He has a bunch of American items of interest.  From old records and movie posters to toys and collectables.    His store is a trip back in time.

Steve Berdy, owner

I got back to the house just as Elizabethe arrived home from work.  We headed out with Terry and Luetta Koberstien (from Antioch, California) for dinner and a canal boat cruise.

We ate at the Coal Tower Restaurant in Pittsford.  It’s an interesting home-town cafe.  The service was very good.  I went for a burger while everyone else went for their daily special of Chicken Terriaki.  (Mine was the better choice.  The potato chips that came with my burger were the freshest tasting chips I’ve ever had.  I didn’t ask, but I think they make their own chips.  The bun was definitely homemade.)

We boarded the Sam Patch along with two other passengers.  Including the crew, there were only 8 of us on the boat.

The Sam Patch - Erie Canal, Pittsford, NY

The boat took of heading towards Rocehster on the Erie Canal.  I couldn’t help not humming “15 Miles on the Erie Canal”.  My children growing up in California knew that song and sung it often.  “I have a mule and her name is Sal.  15 miles on the Erie Canal…”

Terry and Luette Koberstien

We headed in to a lock (which I’ll post the video on You Tube some time this week.  I need to edit it first.)  It was pretty impressive to see how quicly that lock filled and emptied.  One minute you are in this deep concrete hole, the next minute, your at the top.  Impressive!

Luetta and Elizabethe and our tour guide

Our tour guide explained who “Sam Patch” was.  I had heard the name before, and once he started talking about him I realized I heard about him for his infamous jump off Niagara Falls.  Yup… the self-medication and ADHD do not mix.  If you are wondering what I’m talking about, go research Sam Patch.

He also talked about the canal and its history and impact on the region.  Today, the Erie Canal is mostly used for recreation.  It is a wonderful asset to this area, even now.

Terry's Shoes (Okay, so it is random.)

We got back to Pittsford and it was sad to see our cruise come to an end.  It was definitely fun.

Elizabethe and Me


We headed back to Palmyra and decided the evening would not be complete without a visit to Chill-n-Grill.  Okay… this is a Kiddie sized cone.  No way could I handle a “small” this late at night.  (A kiddie is smaller than a small.  You’ve been warned.)

That's Smaller Than a Small?

Pageant Sunday One – 2011

Before I write anything more, I just have to say…

Choirs do not “perform” in Sacrament Meeting.

Okay.  I’ve got that off my chest.  I guess it is a pet peeve of mine.  Choirs sing in Sacrament Meeting, but it is not a performance in my mind.  It is to add reverence and bring the spirit to the meeting.

That said, we did sing today.  It went quite well, and it always amazes me how during pageant Sunday our tiny little choir can sound like there are hundreds of voices singing with us.  I won’t say more in this public forum, because it is best left to be felt.  If you visit Palmyra during pageant, you owe it to yourself to attend church in the Palmyra Ward.

The first speaker today talked about miracles.  It was a moving talk and it really made me think about miracles in my own life.  Whether it be finding a misplaced set of car keys, or having one of your vital senses restored, our lives are full of miracles.  We need to watch for them and then give thanks to our Heavenly Father for those blessings.

The rest of the day was pretty laid-back.  I was exhausted from yesterday’s wedding and pageant.  It was nice to get a nap.

Wedding and a Pageant

Today I had a wedding down in Canandaigua.  Tiffany assisted me.  She did an excellent job for her first time.  She really took to being my 2nd-shooter like a duck to water.  She was a real blessing (again) to me.

Me With My 2-Camera Harness (photo by Tiffany)

This was the first time too, that I used my two-camera strap.  What a wonderful way to carry a camera.  Because the weight is on both sides, and suspended on the shoulders (not the neck) it was very comfortable.  I wish I would have bought one years ago.

After that, we came back and copied the wedding images to my hard drive.  It seemed like that took forever.  By the time it was done, it was time for us to leave to go to the Hill Cumorah for pageant.

Elizabethe, Tiffany, Luetta and Terry Koberstien (from Antioch)

We got to pageant and decided we’d have BBQ chicken for dinner.  We had barely sat down when I saw the Koberstiens in line.  We called them over and they shared our table.  Today is Terry’s birthday, so we sang Happy Birthday to him.  We had a fun visit and saw lots of people we knew.

A friend from work, Frank, and his family joined us to watch pageant.

Friends from Work

Tiffany finally met up with Sister Barrus and Sister Trujillo.  They were soooo happy to see her I almost started crying.

Sister Barrus, Tiffany and Sister Trujillo

While waiting for pageant to start, you never know who you will see.  But, in this case, it only stood to reason we’d run in to the Smith Family as they are staying with us AND they are in pageant.

The Smiths

Pageant was just spectacular.  (Of course, it always is, but it is more spectacular when you have a bunch of friends with you who have never seen it before.)

Elizabethe, me and Tiffany - Pageant 2011

Tiffany has become a daughter to us.  It was fun seeing pageant through her eyes.  Not only was it a joy to have her assist me in my photography business today, it was a joy to share with her the experience of the Hill Cumorah Pageant.  And, to top that off, to share it with Frank’s family too.

I simply love living here.  I cannot describe how it feels to live in a place where you feel you were always meant to live.  The friends and people I have met, and the beautiful country side make Palmyra a heaven on earth for me and Elizabethe.  Today was another day in paradise.