Archive for the ‘Favorite Things’ Category

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Turkey Dinner

November 22, 2011

Since we won’t be able to celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, the girls and I decided to make a turkey dinner today. We made turkey, stuffing, smashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, brussels sprouts, and gravy. Here are some pictures of the major players.

Here is the whole spread on the table for dinner. The rolls are teh only thing we didn’t make from scratch.

While at Wegmans, I saw some beautiful autumn flowers that I decided to buy. When I got them home and put them into a vase, they looked so tiny. At $8 a bunch, I wasn’t keen on going back and buying another bouquet or two. Then I went to Price Rite this afternoon and they had bunches for $4, so I bought a couple.

Here is the end result of my 3 bunches of flowers.

We had a great time together and the food was super tasty!

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving Day!

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Fiddler’s Fair Part II

August 16, 2010

I realize that the post I put up earlier today had the Fiddler’s Fair in the title, but contained no pictures of the fiddlers. Sorry, I will try to rectify that in this post.

It was a rather rainy day, so we were content to sit inside a large barn-like structure and listen to the groups that played in there. This group played almost exclusively hammered dulcimers. The music was wonderful despite the fact that we kept hearing that it was difficult to keep the stringed instruments tuned properly due to all of the humidity in the air.

Immediately following them was a trio of men. Apparently the guitarist that normally plays with the group was ill and couldn’t be there, so a couple hours before their set, the band found a guy to fill in. I never would have known he wasn’t actually part of the group normally. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the hammered dulcimer player. He struck me as being very ADD, but also very talented.

As we were sitting in the nice dry barn, it began raining outside and I caught this musician trying to close his umbrella, which had been protecting a bango from the rain, before entering the building. I thought it was a neat picture, very indicative of the weather from the day.

Throughout the day, there were opportunities for the guests to get their hands on some of the instruments and give them a whirl. Mark wanted to check out the hammered dulcimers, so once the group shown above was finished, we headed over to a tent to learn a little about them. As the woman began talking to Mark, I quickly became lost. Despite the fact that I took flute lessons for a couple of years, and can pound out a tune or two by ear on the piano, I am not terribly musically inclined. As she began speaking of fifths and thirds and arpeggios I decided that they may as well be speaking a foreign language, for all that I could understand. Mark, being a guitar player, seemed to eat up the information and figure out the structure of the instrument. When she handed him the hammers, he produced some beautiful sounds. Mom and I decided that we would have sounded like two year olds pounding on the strings.

Near the end of the day, there was square dancing in the main tent. Although I was required to square dance in school, it was not something I would have chosen to do. I do however, enjoy watching it.

I thought this older couple was so cute. They seemed to know the dances, so I imagine this wasn’t a “new” experience for them.

One of my friends from college met us at GCVM with her daughter, grandmother, sister, brother in-law, and their two girls. The girls, after watching for a little while, decided that they could figure this square dancing out. So up they went. Fortunately, there was a gentleman whose purpose, apparently, was to assist those who were new to this style of dancing to figure out the steps. He helped the girls a little, but they soon picked it up and were doing a great job for their first time out.

I think the smiles on their faces are proof of their enjoyment!

After watching the girls for a little while, I sat down and set my focus on a slightly smaller subject.

Isn’t she a cutie!?

I was trying to keep these two posts organized, but I had so many pictures, that I missed a few that should have been put into the last post, or are just random. I’ll just put them in here, even though they are a bit random. It’s been a busy couple of days and I am so tired I can hardly see straight.

My little? girl!

Michelle sat for a minute while Mom and I went into one of the houses in the village.

Michelle and Erin. I called to them from across the room and these are the resulting faces.

Ben didn’t want me to take his picture, I guess.

I forgot to put these two in my last post. They were cute and much nicer than the nasty goose that tried to bite me.

This (wax) man was in the insurance office in the village. The door to the room where he was sitting, was slightly ajar, but could not be opened any further. I tried a few times to get a good shot, but the opening was not wide enough for the flash to fire without interference and it was way too dark for no flash. So I opted to go with black and white, hoping to get across an antique feel. What do you think?

Speaking of the insurance office, there was the funniest letter in there. It was a letter that was supposed to have been from the era of the building. The insured was writing to the insurer to let him know that his horse, barn, and many livestock had died in a fire that he was sure was punishment from God for his poor church attendance. As I stood reading the letter, I could hardly contain my laughter. He went on about each of his animals and whether or not he thought they were worth anything, like the pigs with worms, or his old nag, who was apparently very cantankerous, and whom he had named after his wife. It was a very amusing letter, even though he had lost much.

This stove was in the outer part of the insurance office. Pretty cool looking!

Bachelor’s buttons, growing along the side of one of the roads in the village.

We had a fun and very tiring day. My mom brought some sandwich and salad fixings, so at one point we went to the truck and Jeep for a bite to eat. While we were there, Erin asked if she could spend the night at my parents house. A quick call to Jeff confirmed that she could, so she was ecstatic the rest of the time we were there. I had turned off my cell phone last night to charge it and when I turned it back on this morning, I found a text message from Erin (using Michelle’s phone) that had been sent at 11:56 pm, just to say “hi!”. I guess the girls had quite a fun time building a fort in Michelle’s bedroom, watching cartoons, and just staying up late. When we met this afternoon so I could bring Erin home, she looked as though she’d fall asleep at any moment. She was wishing she could have stayed another night, but then later decided she was glad to be home. Jeff sent her to bed a half hour early because she looked like she was going to fall asleep in her dinner! She’s such a funny kid!

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Sad, but Hopeful

May 19, 2010

It’s been a sad few days. My zoom lens, which I use most often, has ceased working. It won’t autofocus and as it attempts to, it grinds horribly. This all began a few days ago, so last night I wrapped it snugly in a box with bubble wrap and then sent it off to Nikon this morning. I sure hope they can fix it. I really haven’t felt compelled to take many pictures since it died, but I do have a few that I should probably post, but not at midnight…perhaps after some sleep. Goodnight. I’ll be dreaming of functional lenses, hoping for the soon return of mine in working order!

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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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Clouds

April 10, 2010

Thursday evening, when I went to pick Jeff up from work, there were some really cool looking clouds in the sky. I had to wait a couple of minutes for him to come out, so I decided to snap a few pictures as I waited.

The last one was taken through the sunroof, and very near the edge of a front. I know, I’m a science geek…

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One of My Favorite Things

April 6, 2010

This afternoon one of the kids asked what the weather was supposed to be like for the rest of the day. When I pulled up a local website to check, I found a severe storm warning flashing across the page. I LOVE thunderstorms, so I got pretty excited about the warning. Unfortunately, it was a very short storm and fairly mild as thunderstorms go. I did however, how the presence of mind to take a couple pictures of the rain on my skylight.

As I tried to take a picture, I got really annoyed with my camera until I realized there was no SD card in it. By the time I figured that out, the short storm had pretty much stopped. If you blow this one up, you can sort of see the rain on the window.

The window was open until Erin started complaining about the rain coming in. The raindrops on the screen were pretty cool to photograph. I like the texture of this picture!

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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…