Archive for March, 2010

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Around the House

March 31, 2010

Yesterday I wandered through the house and took a few pictures of the girls rooms and Erin’s “garden.”

Sarah didn’t want to be photographed.

Erin, however, really didn’t mind.

Sarah is a collector of many things.

The horses on top of her bookcase are horses that I collected when I was quite young. I gave them to the kids when they were fairly small and I am amazed that they are still around. A couple of them are probably close to 30 years old!

Sarah has quite the collection of musical things as well. The box to the right of her keyboard is a guitar, while the box underneath contains a ukulele.

As I was taking pictures, Joe was whining at the bottom of the stairs. As I moved from Sarah’s room to Erin’s room, I peeked down the stairs and found Joe on the lower landing. He isn’t allowed upstairs, but sometimes he tries…

Erin loves her new room even though it is quite small.

Erin is quite creative. She made a whole bunch of these angels…

 

 …and made this very cool picture with pastels.

 

This picture was on a shelf on the bottom of her easel when we moved her into her room. I thought it should be framed, so I found a framed picture that was in the house when we bought it. I had stashed the framed picture thinking it was an okay picture, but not really my style. Erin’s picture was the same size, so I put her picture in the frame instead. She was absolutely thrilled!

Although Sarah’s creativity usually comes out more in the form of music, she does occassionally draw and create on paper. These are on her door.

Finally, I went downstairs and photographed Erin’s garden that seems to keep expanding through my dining room. She is studying botany this year and has decided that she really likes it, so she has been planting seeds from all sorts of foods. She even planted seeds from the wild bird seed we bought to feed the birds at the park.

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Buffalo, Part II

March 29, 2010

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, we began our journey at the waterfront by the Irish Famine Memorial. Not only had I never seen this before, but I wasn’t even aware of its existence before this past weekend.

There is a side-walk that leads up to the memorial from one side and there are 4 plaques that describe the memorial and a brief history of the famine. I will include pictures of the plaques below, but if you don’t want to read them all, I’ll summarize. Beginning in 1845, when Ireland was under British rule, there was a famine due to a failed potato crop. A million Irish died during this famine. Two million more people left Ireland during the famine. From the mid to late 19th century, Buffalo became one of the largest inland immigration ports and thousands of Irish immigrants settled in Western New York. In 1995 several Irish cultural organizations worked together to form a famine commemorative committee. A short time later, they and several other interested parties had the memorial erected. The central piece of the memorial is a granite slab from Carraroe, Galway County. The 32 limestone rocks surrounding the outer edge of the memorial are from Penrose Quay in Cork Harbor, where many immigrants last set foot in Ireland as they left. If you only read one of the plaques, I recommend the third one. It describes the significance of each part of the memorial.

Here are a couple more pictures of the memorial.

Very near the memorial were some geese, swimming in the water.

There were about a dozen geese in all, but two of them were off a ways from the others. They seemed to be engrossed in a courting ritual or something when the other geese began swimming towards them. The goose in the front of the pack and the male, I assume, from the pair began fighting. They looked so ridiculous fighting that I was giggling and forgot to take a picture. Then they stopped and the one goose from the pack began swimming quickly away while the one from the pair put its head down and began weaving it back and forth as they do on land to intimidate would-be attackers. The whole thing looked very silly, but the only picture I got of the whole affair was of the goose from the pair “yelling” at the other goose.

The two farthest to the left are the pair, the angry one on the right, and the one being scolded is the goose that seems to be swimming out of the frame.

After we watched the geese for a bit, I began taking pictures of stuff surrounding the area where the memorial is.

Sarah loves light houses, so this one is for her.

As I looked toward the Naval park, I thought these would make cool shots.

Above is the USS Little Rock. It’s pretty cool to tour, although I don’t think my back would hold up to a tour of it at this point. Below is the USS Little Rock in the foreground and USS The Sullivans. It was named after 5 brothers who were all killed in World War II when their ship, USS Juneau, was sunk. Their deaths prompted more strict regulations about separating siblings in the service. Behind the ships, on the other side of the skyway, is the HSBC Arena, where the Buffalo Sabres play.

After looking around for a little while at the waterfront, we headed into down town. Yesterday’s post describes that in detail. Once we were finished in the down town area, we moved north a ways and stopped at one of my favorite places in Buffalo, the Forst Lawn Cemetery. I am a big fan of Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs and his last design, which was constructed after his death, is the Blue Sky Mausoleum located in the Forest Lawn Cemetery.

The cemetery has a very park like feel to it. When Jeff worked in Buffalo, the kids and I would go visit the cemetery and have walked through a great deal of it. I sensed that Jeff wasn’t really into visiting the cemetery, so I took pictures of Blue Sky and continued driving, the long way, back to the exit. As we came around a bend, avoiding several geese who believe they own the road, I saw something I really didn’t expect. Walking among the headstones was a young looking deer.

I pulled over onto the far side of the road, rolled Jeff’s window down and took a couple of pictures. The deer stopped and just stared at us. I became a little concerned, wondering if it might spook and run into us, but it just stared. Eventually, it took a few steps and stopped to eat some grass near a headstone. Now I know that cemeteries are very open places and deer might find them good places to hang out, but this cemetery is in the middle of a densely populated, urban, residential area, with a rather high (5 or 6 foot) wrought iron fence surrounding the place! As far as I know all the entrances are off of decidely city streets. There is a park neaby, but it is also in the middle of the city. Weird!

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Half-Day Trip

March 28, 2010

I love day trips, but lately it hurts to sit for too long, and forget walking. I am good for about 3 or 4 short blocks, or about 1/2 the length of an average mall. I simply begin to hurt and no combination of sitting/standing/walking alleviates the pain once it begins. Lying down helps, but I imagine laying down on a bench in a mall or on a street somewhere might bring a few curious glances and maybe even a law man or two, LOL! In light of all this, we now take 1/2 day trips. It works best when I combine short jaunts with sitting in the Jeep, which has incredibly comfortable seats. It also has a large enough back seat that if I needed to, I could lay down.

Yesterday I took the very short drive to Starbucks for my morning chai, when I discovered that it was positively gorgeous outside, albeit a bit chilly. I hurried (a relative term) home to see if Jeff would be willing to go to Buffalo so I could take some pictures of the awesome buildings in down town. I have wanted to do this for some time now, but we wanted to go without the kids, as getting in and out of the Jeep repeatedly is much easier with just the two of us. The kids find it somewhat boring as well. When I woke Jeff up (at 10:30) he was okay with the idea, so after puttering around the house for a couple more hours, we set out for Buffalo. The kids had spent the previous night at my in-laws so we were off by ourselves.

Upon arriving, we headed to the waterfront to see what was there. We ususally go to the naval and servicemens’ park, but I saw a sign for an Irish Famine Memorial that raised my curiosity. We checked it out and I even took some pictures, but those will be in another post…

I love the city hall building. It is huge and angular and very cool to photograph. From the park, I took a couple pictures of it. This was my favorite.

From the park, we headed into down town to find a spot to park that would get me fairly close to Niagara Square. As we were driving around, this guy begged to be photographed.

Fortunately, we were stopped at a red light and Jeff agreed offered (he’s learning) to watch the light while I took the photo.

We eventually found a place to park on Deleware, just south of Niagara Square. As we parked, Jeff looked through the sunroof and decided this would be a cool picture.

He thought the things on top of the building looked like the feet on a transformer. I have to agree, but I probably wouldn’t have photographed it myself, lol!

We headed north on Deleware and I had to take more pictures of city hall. I hope I don’t bore you…

City Hall looks out onto the McKinley monument, which was commissioned in 1907, to honor our 25th president, who was fatally shot while visiting Buffalo in 1901.

As I looked around the square (which is actually a circle) I found many buildings with interesting architectural features.

The clock tower on the building above was awesome. I took several pictures of it from various angles. At first I assumed it was a steeple on an old church, but upon closer inspection, I realized there weren’t any of the usual religious icons that appear on church steeples. With a little research, I discovered it to be the clock tower of the building which houses the Supreme Court.

Also in Niagara Square, is this cool piece of history.

I couldn’t really find any information on it in a cursory search online, but I believe it is sealed until 2046.

After walking around the square (circle) a bit, I wanted to get a closer look at a building that caught my attention because of a Statue of Liberty replica on top of it. In an effort to get closer, we wandered down Niagara Street and this squirrel posed for me.

It was rather amusing. Jeff said something along the lines of oh, look, there’s a squirrel. Apparently the squirrel thought that was its cue to hop up on the wall and put its right forelimb across its chest and stare, as if waiting for me to snap its photo.

I then saw this.

As we turned onto Franklin Street, I found the building I was seeking. The Liberty Buidling, which is actually on Main Street, is visible, across a parking lot,  from Franklin St.

Finally, we headed up Court St. back to Niagara Square. I was not aware that Buffalo has several buildings that house various parts of the court system. I found a lot of very cool entryways as we walked along.

All in all I think I only walked about a 1/4 mile, so it was quite nice. I did manage to take about 85 pictures in the process though! There are many more pictures to share, but this post is long enough. So come back later, or maybe tomorrow, for more…

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Chimney Bluffs

March 22, 2010

We went to Chimney Bluffs yesterday and took a short hike along the lakeshore with my mom, sister, and brother. It was a fairly overcast day and the mud was crazy, but we still had a good time. I think each of us stepped in mud at least once and we all ended up with wet feet from trying to clean off the mud. The lake is mighty cold!

Brief geology lesson…these cool formations are the result of wind and water (including snow and ice) erosion to drumlins that were formed by glacier activity. That is quite possibly the most brief geology lesson I’ve ever given, lol!

I wonder how long this tree will remain rooted…

The next two pictures show pretty clearly how the action of the wind and water has badly undercut the top of the drumlin.

I read that the average loss of land per year is about 3 feet. All that material winds up on the beach and at this time of year is a muddy mess. As the mud dries it leaves some cool artwork though.

The trees from the hill above often find their way to the beach eventually.

Here is the gang. My rockhounds were looking for cool rocks. I told them to take it easy on the rock collecting! We have a lot of rocks already. Last time the kids and I were there, I think we collected about 50 pounds of rocks…not this time though! Erin found a couple she couldn’t live without, and miraculously, I only collected one! I, of course, had to have one of the kids pick it up for me…

I decided pcitures of cool rocks are much easier on my back, lol!

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Duck, Duck, Goose, Swan…

March 19, 2010

Actually, it was more like swans, goose, duck. I had a doctor appointment this morning, but I was a little early, so I wandered down to the lake, a short distance from my doctor’s office. I only had a few minutes, but the light was great and the wildlife close to the shore. Here is what I saw.

It was a very brief, but enjoyable visit and a wonderful start to my day!

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Visiting

March 16, 2010

This past weekend, my sister-in-law, Julie, was in town with her two girls. While she was here, my husband’s cousin, Kate, came to visit with her four kids. I am not a small child person. I like to observe them from afar. I can typically interact well with wee ones and even elicit the occasional smile, but I usually choose not to, interact that is. My mother-in-law invited me to visit while everyone was here, so I bravely went over. I was pleasantly surprised when I got there however. With 6 kids aged 16 months to 6 years (I think) I imagined horror, but to my (pleasant) surprise they were all (fairly) quietly playing and hanging out. I must admit though, I realized just how very thankful I am that my kids are teens and tween. I can’t fathom chasing toddlers around at this point. I think I would crack up! Anyway, I got a few nice pictures. They were all very active, so I got a lot of “half” pictures…you know, someone was cute and perfectly framed until I snapped the picture, then they half disappeared from the frame…oh, well!

Landon was a hoot. He is such a happy baby! Kate says he isn’t fond of clothes, so he ran around in his shirt, socks, and diaper. His goal that afternoon was to escape the family room, but Kate kept him occupied with toys and things and hugs…he loves to give her hugs. Very cute!

Violet, Landon’s twin, seemed to just want her mom. She played a little, but never much more than an arms length from her mom. It’s funny how a set of twins could be so different.

Sarah came into the family room and asked if we liked her new backpack. Apparently Lily makes a good backpack. Lily had me laughing pretty hard by the time I left. She spent most of the time I was there in the living room with the older kids playing on the piano. Shortly before my kids and I left, she told me about her mom’s new camera, and her new shoes, and I don’t remember what else. She strikes me as the kid who might repeat what you’ve said in anger…to the person about whom you said it, lol! I love the bribed smile in this picture. She was hiding her head against Sarah until Kate offered her candy (gummy something-or-others) if she’d smile…too funny! Great result though!

Since Lily got a piggy back ride, Logan got one too. I didn’t talk to Logan much, but he seems like a sweety that is very helpful to his mom. I like his smile…uncoerced, lol!

Jessica and Diana weren’t quite sure what to do with so many little people around. Diana just sort of zoned out into her own little world, watching a movie while the kids played. Jessica seemed to enjoy the bigger kids, hanging out with them in the living room.

It was nice to see all the kids. I hadn’t seen the twins and only saw Lily as a baby quite some time ago. It was nice to see their mom’s too!

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Catching Up

March 13, 2010

Time seems to get away from me. I was going through the pictures on my memory card and realized it has been awhile since I uploaded pictures. I thought I’d share what I found on the card.

At Erin’s last fall/winter hockey practice, I took some not so great photos through the glass. Normally I sneak onto the bench to take pictures, but someone usually comes along and kicks us off the benches…something about safety concerns. Like these little kids who can barely coordinate skating and stick handling are going to apply enough force to lift a puck, let alone put it over the boards! Anyway, I was unhappy with the pictures, but I did find this one that I love. This little munchkin was so adorable with the jersey all the way to his skates!

What I found so amusing, other than the obvious, is that this little one seems to have no fear. The bigger kids will be struggling to get a puck and this one will get right into the thick of it, apparently not caring that the other kids are much bigger.

Last weekend, Erin announced that it would be a perfect day to go to Buffalo. She wanted to go to Niagara Falls. Although it was a beautiful, bright, sunny day, the temperature never exceeded 35, so we decided the Falls might be a little too chilly. Instead we went to the Galleria and walked around a little, then we went to our favorite pizza joint, LaNova, for dinner. On the way to LaNova, which is in downtown Buffalo, I took the long route through the city streets. Buffalo is an old city with absolutely incredible architecture. Unbeknownst to my family, I planned to stop and snap a few photos. As I was driving through a rather questionable neighborhood, I saw this gorgeous church poking up above the other buildings. I really wanted pictures of the buildings downtown, but I couldn’t pass up this church.

By the time I finished taking pictures of the church, it was getting really close to sunset and we still weren’t that close to downtown. I managed one more picture, but the sun had already set too low in the sky. I also had to take the picture through the windshield while stopped at a red light. All things considered, I don’t think it is too bad.

Oh, I almost forgot to post the snow pictures! We got quite a storm a couple weeks ago. Here is what it looked like after some of the snow had melted.

The Tuarus (white car) is facing the south and I took these a couple days after the snow finally ended, so what was there had melted some, compacted a lot, and the kids had moved quite a lot of it.