Archive for the ‘Buffalo’ Category

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Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens

April 5, 2017

We’ve been through some rough stuff recently, so the girls and I decided a little day trip was called for. We headed out Buffalo way and went to the botanical garden. I went a little nuts with the camera…roughly 200 pictures worth of nuts. As I began wading through and editing them, I decided this adventure should be multiple posts. I’ll let the pictures talk.

I’ll post more pictures tomorrow! The orchid room will be next.

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Hockey Clinic

August 1, 2010

The weekend following the Boilermaker, we found ourselves headed in the opposite direction for Erin to participate in a girls’ one day clinic in Amherst. She had done a couple of one day, co-ed clinics locally, but this seemed like a great opportunity, so we signed her up. Once we got there I was a little concerned since most of the girls looked much older and more experienced. As we began to watch, my concerns grew as she seemed to be getting hammered by the older girls, letting in almost every puck shot her way. She kept at it though and her saves increased as the day wore on. I was still a bit concerned when they stopped for lunch. We waited for her to come out of the locker room to see if she would want to eat with the girls, or sit with us and eat the lunch we had brought from home. She told me she would eat with her “friends.”  We didn’t really get much of a chance to talk with her during lunch, so we really weren’t sure what she thought of the clinic so far. During the second on-ice session, she simply looked tired. At the end of that session, the coaches and staff of the organization talked to the whole group of girls encouraging them to keep on and whatnot. Afterwards, they called Erin over and talked to her for a minute by herself. Not sure what to make of it, I was anxious for her to change so we could find out. While we waited for her to change, the director of the Edge program came over and told us that he was impressed with her abilities since he knew that she had only just learned to skate about a year ago. My heart swelled with pride! She works so hard and listens so well, it was quite a treat to have someone recognize and acknowledge that. When we asked her about it on the way to the Jeep, she told us that they had told her she was doing a good job and to keep up the hard work. She’s so funny…nothing goes to her head.

Erin is a pretty care-free kid, so the level of intensity she is capable of, visible in her eyes in the next picture, is always a little astonishing to me. I think this must be a hockey thing for her since I rarely see this off-ice.

I think this picture shows well, just how little she was compared to the other girls at the clinic!

This sign was torture as we sat in the rink all day. La Nova is our favorite pizza and wing place. After the clinic was over, we did go there and get a few slices and an order of wings. YUM!

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Crazy Hockey Weekend, Part III

April 14, 2010

Perhaps I should say that the “crazy” part of the hockey weekend continued after the weekend. Erin had tryouts for the Edge U12 team both Monday and Tuesday. Since she really hasn’t been playing all that long, we were unsure as to whether she had a chance of making the team, so we spent both Monday and Tuesday discussing the fact that she should not get her hopes up and that if she didn’t make the team, she would still play, just not necessarily with girls. She was elated to find, when we got home from dinner last night, that she made the team. Jeff is absolutely giddy about it! I’m trying to be excited but play it down a little, I don’t need an (almost) 11 year old with a big head! She’s just excited to be able to continue learning at that calibre. I guess I’m lucky to have a smart AND humble child! Sarah told Erin that she is very proud of her and Erin beamed; lots of sisterly love there!

Back to the (actual) weekend… On Sunday we got up at what Jeff calls “the crack of oh, my God, it’s early” and set out for Hamburg again. Joe looked as though we were abandoning him. He spent a little longer in the backyard doing his business as if to say that he was not happy with us. After dragging him into the house, we were off. We stopped at a different Wilson Farms for ice and I was pleasantly surprised by the cheerful cashiers. We made decent time and got to Hamburg right at 8 AM. The rest of the team arrived a short time later and the girls got ready to hit the ice for game 3. They played Monroe County. I was a little surprised because I didn’t know we had another girls team in the county. Jeff and I are so out of it when it comes to youth hockey. He last played for the Junior Amerks in ’93/’94 as their one over-ager. Since then, we’ve not followed youth hockey at all and boy have things changed (not a bad thing)! The Monroe County girls seemed bigger and older and they were a challenge for our girls. The final score was 4 to 1 but our girls really worked hard!

Nicole needed another inch in leg length!

One goal!

See how much bigger they look? I would have been intimidated! Our girls just seemed to go out there with no fear or intimidation at all.

After they played Monroe, they only had about an hour before they needed to get ready for their last game. Erin was to play in the final game. We went to the Jeep and she had a snack and a drink and I uploaded pictures from the previous game, then back in we went. The last team they would play was West Seneca. The girls on that team were definitely smaller than the previous team, but I was a little concerned because the girls looked so tired after the 3rd game. I wondered how they would get through the last one with so little time to recover. Apparently they only APPEARED tired. They did really well and won the game. Erin had a blast the whole weekend. She loved being with the girls and cheering them on from the bench when she wasn’t playing. She commented on Saturday, after the game in which she didn’t play, that it was really cool to watch a hockey game from that close! Jeff and I thought it was pretty cool that she had such a good time while riding the bench. She definitely has that team spirit, as do all of the girls!

I love Erin’s “air conditioning.” I ask her if her legs ever get cold, but the answer is always, “Mom, it’s hot in all that equipment!”

I love the focus on all 3 of their faces.

One on six? Now, that’s confidence!

As we were leaving the rink, I requested that Jeff take a detour through the parking lot of the VFW post near the rink. They had a plane, a helicopter, and a tank that were begging to be photographed, hehehe! Since there was a helicopter, he obliged. My back was so sore from all the standing, that I opted to take my pictures from the Jeep. I did open the sunroof and pop through for a couple of the pictures. That must have looked funny; I’m sure the cop watching from across the street thought so! I didn’t notice him until AFTER I had popped through the roof. WOW! Good thing that the older I get the less I care what people think of me. I am who I am and if you don’t like who I am, I’m okay with that! I digress…aircraft! I found out that the helicopter is an AH-1 Cobra, or HueyCobra.

My mom and Jeff both really like helicopters, so these pictures are for them…

While stopped at a red light in Hamburg, this clock caught my attention. I had time to fire off one shot before the light changed.

Since we were in the Buffalo area anyway, we headed up to Sheridan Ave. to see what Great Skate might have for goal pads. Erin’s leg pads are about 4 inches too short, so we have been looking around to see who has what. I imagine we’ll wait until all of us have enhanced photo ID’s so we can check out Reids before we decide to buy. Maybe it’s just nostalgia, but we haven’t been to Reids in ages. In fact, we haven’t been to Canada in ages…. That will change soon enough!

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Crazy Hockey Weekend, Part II

April 12, 2010

After the first game on Saturday, we had about a 2 hour window before Erin needed to be back to dress for the second game. My in-laws had gone to Hamburg to see her play, so we went with them to a Pub style restaurant right on Lake Erie. As we were driving along Rte. 5 looking for a place to eat, we passed a beach with a launch point for sailboarding. Although we didn’t see anyone with sailboards, we did see several kite surfers. I had never seen this before and only figured out what to call it when I searched in Google. Pretty cool sport! I, unfortunately, did not get any pictures of them as we were short on time and my photographic needs were overridden by everyone else’s gastronomic needs…

I did however, take a moment in the parking lot at the restaurant to photograph a small wind farm that has risen out of the rubble that was once Bethlehem Steel in Lackawanna. I remember trips to Buffalo as young child and seeing Bethlehem Steel in full swing. It seems like another lifetime ago. When we lived in Buffalo, Jeff and I used to takes rides over the skyway and into the southtowns along Rte. 5, observing all the dilapidated buildings and boats along the lake shore.   As I stood looking at the wind farm, rising out of a seemingly dead, unusable chunk of land, I couldn’t resist but take some pictures! I am fascinated by the giants that convert a wild, unstoppable force into usable energy. Jeff laughs whenever I get excited about wind turbines. The other night, when I eagerly showed him my pictures, he asked if I was turning into Don Quixote… I have no intention to attack, I only like to look at them!

In addition to the wind turbines, my favorite Buffalo building is in this picture. See City Hall framed between the two generators on the left? The not-so-cool to look at building that stands above the rest is HSBC Centre.

One more picture of the Buffalo skyline. The Peace Bridge to Canada is visible in this one. During my final year at Buff. State and my first year of teaching, before we moved back to Rach-cha-cha, we lived a stone’s throw from the Peace Bridge…and therfore, Doug and Tom Reid Sports in Fort Erie, Ontario! Much time, and money, was spent there when Jeff was playing hockey. They are truly great people!

After a tasty meal, it was back to the ice arena for another game. This time against Niagara.

There was definitely some unrestrained excitement at winning their second game of the tournament. This game was the closest of the 4 games they played.

After the game we headed towards home. I was navigating while Jeff drove, but he turned the wrong direction out of the rink before I had a chance to tell him which way to turn. Knowing my way around the area pretty well, I told him we’d just take a slightly different route. Soon we came upon a HUGE Wal-Mart and Erin asked if we could stop. We went in and grabbed a couple little things and Jeff took the girls to the checkout while I went to sit in the Jeep. My back was not happy after all the standing and/or sitting on hard benches. I got situated when Jeff appeared at the door alone asking for his debit card back. We had stopped, in Rochester, to buy ice to fill the cooler some 7 hours earlier and I was sure I had given him back his debit card. Apparently I hadn’t.

After figuring out that I had most likely thrown out the debit card, with the empty ice bag, at the Wilson Farms, I made several phone calls trying to figure out what, exactly, to do. I didn’t want to cancel the card if I had only left it at the counter by mistake, but the receipt from the store only had an 800 number, not a local one. When I called 411 they gave me the number for Griffith Oil…not sure how that happened! They are located near each other physically, but have completely different names, so I am not sure how one number was mistakenly given for the other (still scratching my head on that one). Once I found the correct number (another call to 411) no one would answer the phone at the store. Not terribly shocking, since the people who work there are frequently out back smoking pot during their shifts! The only reason I know this is becuase it is the closest “stop-and-rob” to our house, so we go there when we need something and are in a hurry. After 20 minutes of calling and letting the phone ring 20 times each, hanging up, calling back, etc. someone finally answered the phone. After spelling our last name about 6 times for the girl and listening as she yelled into the phone to her co-workers, she concluded that the card wasn’t there. In hindsight, I wonder why I called in the first place. I KNOW what the people who work at this store are like and that even if the card was there, they probably would have concluded that it wasn’t. I must stop here and say that I have nothing against people who work at Wilson Farms, it’s just that this particular store, for whatever reason, has very shady characters working at it.

Upon finishing with the Wilson Farms people, I had to call HSBC to cancel the card. Sounds simple, right? WRONG! I called the 800 number on the back of a different HSBC card that states to “call if card is lost or stolen.” Kind of funny if you think about it…how would you get the number if you lost the card? Anyway, I called and got an automated system asking for an account number. I entered the appropriate number, only to have to pass through a handful of other “push a button for…” prompts resulting in my having to hang up because there was no option for “press…for a person.” I dutifully dialed again (oh yeah, the phone number ends HSBC and my cell phone is designed for those who text, so it doesn’t have the letters associated with the numbers…grrr)! I waited until the prompting was finished and eventually I was transferred to India a hold queue for a customer service rep. Twenty minutes later, a woman with a thick Indian accent answered. I have trouble with Indian accents; for some reason I just can’t understand them very easily. Add that to the noise from being on the thruway, and I couldn’t understand a word she said. Eventually, after she repeated everything 5 times, I found that in order to get a new card issued, I needed to tell her where we opened the account (specific branch name) or the last cash withdrawal made with the card (again, specific location), We almost never withdraw cash, and it is usually Jeff that does whenever we do and he doesn’t pay attention to things like the name of the bank whose ATM he is using. After telling her every unique piece of information I could think of, I wound up hanging up without getting a new card issued. I did go to a branch today, spent 5 minutes with a CSR and was issued two cards, one in each of our names, without having to pull any crazy information that was long ago forgotten from my poor, sad, over-tired brain. They should be here in a week, whew!

The obvious moral to this story is: Don’t throw away your debit card!

Once I was finished making all the crazy phone calls, we were nearly home. Once we got home, Jeff and I had to go back out and play musical money, moving cash from one account to another, so we could still access money without his ATM card. I often wonder why we maintain more than one checking account…now I know!  By the time Jeff and I got back home, I was wild. When I get really tired, I become extremely agiatated and unreasonable. I just wanted my bed! Kyle left hamburg with Jeff’s parents so they could take him to a race on Sunday morning, so we had one less person to drag out of bed and to Hamburg Sunday morning. When I finally fell asleep, I didn’t move until Sunday morning when the alarm went off. Poor Jeff was so out of it, he tried to wake me up when his alarm went off, not realizing I was already up and showered… Good thing Sunday was a much shorter day…more about that tomorrow.

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Crazy Hockey Weekend!

April 11, 2010

I am not sure how many posts this will take, but here goes! Erin has been playing with a girls team for the last month or so, and they had a tournament in Hamburg this weekend. They had two games on Saturday and two games on Sunday. Instead of trying to get Joe to the kennel and find a hotel and all the stuff that goes with that, we decided we’d travel back and forth. It’s only about an hour and twenty minutes from our house to Hamburg and the weather was nice, so it really wasn’t bad. On Saturday the girls’ first game was against Hamburg. They played really well and won handily. Here are a bunch of pictures from that game.

The fight over the puck below was right after a face off. I got a series of pictures of the struggle that I thought was pretty neat. The end result is that our girls came up with the puck!

Post scoring congratulations.

More fist banging after another goal!

Score!

Erin had an incredible defense in front of her, so she had to try to stay warm and focused without seeing many shots. In retrospect it was probably a good thing. Erin gets motion sickness fairly easily in the car, so with trips taking more than an hour, we typically give her dramamine. It didn’t occur to me until well after she took it that it tends to make one drowsy. When she was warming up before the game we were a bit concerned because she didn’t seem to be herself. About midway through the game it occurred to me what must have happened. I’m glad her defense was in good form! The picture below is one of a series of shots as she was rolling her head and neck to try to stay loose. It looks as though she is praying for something.  With only 12 seconds left in this game, she let in one goal. Not too shabby for a sleepy goalie. NO more dramamine the day of a game!

I will post more about the weekend tomorrow. I am exhausted from the weekend and we have a busy day tomorrow as well.

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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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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.