Andy, Dave, Mom, Pamela, and I also exchanged our "real" gifts. Mom loved what I made for her for Christmas as well as her early birthday present. She had told me before that she loved blue topaz, so I found a really pretty silver filigree heart pendant, some heart earrings, and a few topazes, and I set them. I gave Pamela a kangaroo pin since she has loved kangaroos for as long as either of us could remember. I didn't make the pin, but she was really happy with it. Dave, Mom, and Pamela went in on my gift, and Andy gave them the pointer they needed, then made sure I didn't buy it on my own. It was a Glass Eye paperweight, limited edition, in my favorite color combination: blue, green, and yellow. A girl and her ferret shock -- it's a lovely thing (as is the paperweight). Andy had made origami boxes in which to hold the jewelry; I think they loved the boxes as much as the gifts.
It was a gorgeous sunny morning, so we decided to go to Old Forge, where leaves are in peak. We would leave after we saw Uncle Rich and Susanna off. Pamela and Dave decided to get a quick lunch and meet us at Grandpa's in Boonville. Fast forward to 2pm, when Aunt Eileen and co arrived back. They and Uncle Rich left about the same time (after Uncle Rich turned the kitchen table and chairs upside-up). By then, it had become gloomy, but we headed to Boonville in hopes that it would get sunny again or that the clouds were only in Rome. En route to Boonville it started to rain.
At Boonville, Pamela and Dave had been worried they'd take too long for lunch and get yelled at, but they beat us there handily. We visited with Grandpa for a little while, then took off for Old Forge, hoping the rain would let up in Adirondack-land. When we got there it was raining hard enough that Pamela and Dave decided to shop and we decided to go back to Grandpa's. Almost as soon as we decided that the rain turned to a drizzle and the sky got lighter, so we decided to go back and see if it stayed nice. In the end, Andy and I decided to take the ski lift, while Pamela and Dave decided to give it a miss -- Pamela didn't want to aggravate her cold.
Even without sunlight, it was absolutely gorgeous on top of McCauley Mountain. Almost all the leaves had changed, so we could see reds and oranges and golds and occasional green for, well, as far as we could see. There were also several beautiful little nooks on top of the mountain. Since it was chilly, drizzling, and Andy suspected he might be catching Pamela's cold, we didn't stay for very long. On the way back to Boonville, we made a few stops along Moose River, which had incredible foliage plus rapids and rocky outcrops. I only took a few pictures at each little stop, and Andy stayed in the nice heated car.
When we got to Boonville Stu, Mary's brother, was there. Just to give an idea, Andy's observation of him was "I can see how you can overdose on him in relatively short order". Anyway, I did manage to get in enough words edgewise to ask Grandpa about the tape recorder project, and his reply was a definite "yes". We went over how to use it and he said he'd also RTFM because he likes to know what he's doing. We tried the tape recorder and it is really good at picking up voices. There is no hiss, and even with Mary in the next room we could hear her clearly in playback. Mom was stunned: she had been certain Grandpa would want nothing to do with it. Grandpa is a natural salesman and loves to talk, though, so I had a feeling he wouldn't mind.
Mary had the wonderful idea of having Andy and me drive home in Mom's car, and Mom staying to play cards and get a ride home with Stu. We did so, and when we got home just had some quiet time together. Andy got pictures off of the digital camera's very full flash card, and I did some cleaning before we sat together and breathed for a while. Then Andy worked until bed time while I played around with some crossword puzzles. I had discovered them on my last plane ride and nearly solved the two in the in-flight magazine this time, so now I was doing those which come in the Rome paper's comic section.