Saturday, March 26, 2016

Fashionable Hearts

Crouse Hospital "Spirit of Women"
Drumlins Country Club
Dewitt, NY
March 9th 2016


My gal pals and I attended another one of those FREE medical information conferences with Crouse Hospital Spirit of Women. We have been attending these little event over the last year, ending with passport to Health. Its an evening of fun activities, food and tons of information specific to women's health.
The feature tonight is The Fashionable Heart. Becoming aware of heart disease. Did you know Heart Disease is the #1 cause of death in women...who knew?
When I think about heart attacks or heart problems I usually think of men, BUT us gals are At A RISK T000!
  I found that I am truly a heart attack waiting to happen....
Poor diet, weight, lack of exercise and yes I have returned to my dirty habit of smoking. I truly have to address my poor choices and FAST!!!
Not that I have been living under a rock, but it really does hit home when you hear it EXPLAINED out loud to you....
In the mean time...I am enjoying my life to the fullest. Bad habits to be addressed in the morning,.
Tammy and I pose for a SELFIE (I am not so good at these.)
A kind women offers to get a REAL picture of us.
Cant wait for an after shot of me being more healthy for my HEART!!!

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Musical Annie

Annie the Musical
Oncenter, Syracuse NY
March 2, 2016


Annie was my favorite ever when I was a kid. The original Broadway performance was just about the time I was at an age when I myself could have played Annie!! Oh yes and I did want to play Annie. Didn't every little girl? Sorry to say I never saw the live performance, but when the soundtrack came out, that was all I wanted for Christmas. I must have played that record (Yes it was a record)so much there were added groves to the vinyl. I knew every song and every word by heart!!!
When there was a National Annie search for the movie. I was all about the HOPE that I might be that girl. Needless to say I never had my audition but I did see and LOVED the movie. Who doesn't?
Years and years and years later!!! Here I am getting to see and re-love the musical all over again! And this time I get to see the actual SHOW!!!
Mom was my perfect date!!!
Before the show we had dinner at The Mission. A Mexican restaurant adjacent to the Theater.

Me and my mom...a failed attempt at a selfie
Mine was Yummy!!

The seats were decent. (Not nearly good) What can I say I am cheep. But it was great fun just the same. My silly mom brought binoculars (Bird watching binoculars) I could see the zits on little Annies face..LOL and I looked like a tool too! Awe but who cares,....Its Annie. 
I struggled to not sing along with every single song. Yep I still remembered all those words....and "Oh Boy!" did I hang on every note. 
I absolutely LOVED Ms. Hannagan! The actress did an  amazing job, and for all the reasons you are suppose to HATE her I simply loved her performance. 
The entire cast was pretty terrific. 
I sang, I smiled, I shed a tear!!! It was WONDERFUL!
There were no photos allowed, but I did sneak in these during curtain call.



Abba

Abba tribute band
Turningstone resort and Casino
Feb. 27th 2016








When Tammy said she, her sister and college roomate were going to see the Abba tribute band at the Turning Stone, I just had to get my own tickets and enjoy the show too, Mark was able to score me and Renee table seats with a perfect view.

When the day finally arrived, we decided to have a nice dinner at the buffet and a few cocktails before the 7:30 showing. When we arrived the line for the buffet stretched for MILES. There was no way we were going to be able to get in, eat, have s few drinks and make it to the show in time. NO fear...Mark is here! He and his VIP casino card walked us right to the front of the line. Woot Woot!!


After filling our bellies to the top a little desert was a GOOD idea.

Dinner complete we headed to the casino pub where Renee and I had a drink. I had seconds secured in my purse. (The only way to go). We met this little lady at the bar. She was celebrating her Birthday and seemed to be having a GREAT time. She had been drinking since earlier that day. Way to wear it for your birthday!


Her father...no step father...no uncle...no not related at all introduced himself and gave us an earful of his life. (Thanks for that counseling engagement thing I do so well....)Renee didn't help either when she started asking about some stupid Mexican frogs...he went on and on and on!!!! Opps sorry shows about to start.


Table seats!!!!
I didn't think I could bring my camera so all these pictures are from my phone. Sorry some are a little fuzzy,
We saw an old friend, a parent of one of our friends growing up. And eventually saw Tammy and her little group. Before we knew it...The SHOW was about to Start!!!

BAM!!!



Dancing Queen started off the SET!!!





We had such a great time. I think I knew every song they sang and I sang along with it!!!






It truly was GREAT fun! I loved the music and the band got the crowd involved.











And then...Just as soon as it began,,,it was over!!! So much fun though. Yes I knew it was not the REAL abba...just in case someone thinks I did!!! 





After the show we met up with Tammy, her sister and her college roomate. We discussed checking out the clubs, but they were not open til 10 and honestly I was BEAT!!! Time to find Mark and head home. 
We found him..he spent the time playing the slots. No big wins, infact no wins at all. Wahh! Oh well, we had a great time and I cannot wait until the next RETRO tribute band in March......
THE BEE GEE's!!!! I can't wait! and this time we are all going together!!! There are six of us and again Mark was able to score us a table!!! He rocks.. "...he's a woman's man!!"

Friday, March 11, 2016

Niagara Falls Canada

Ontario, Niagara Falls Canada
February 21,22, 23, 2016

Let me begin this blog entry by stating...my camera has failed me once again. I have tried to accept the fact that my poor pictures since I have bought and used my new camera was a result of my poor photography skills and if I simply learned how to take better pictures I would have no problem. I suppose it is my fault too that the camera seems to run out of batter juice just when I am about to get the most amazing shot of a lighted up Niagara Falls from at top a tower meant just for incredible picture taking. I am guessing it is NOT my fault. My pictures have been AWFUL since I got this thing and twice I have had the battery die; (Bahamas and now Niagara Falls.) Ill admit I am abusive to my cameras, that is because I am always USING them. Would you expect your sneakers to stay nice shiny and white if you wore them everyday, stomped through mud, rain, snow? No of course not...well my cameras have been like a well loved pair of sneakers and yes they take a beating. I hate to report that the current camera is like my 6th one in over 12 years. BUT I need a new one again simply for the fact this one SUCKS!!! Sorry Nikon this model has some defects and no it is not the user,
Enough about the RANT. I may have to search for a new camera soon. Water under the bridge. Here is Now and Here. A trip to Niagara Falls..
Kelly, Mathieu, Gavin and I got on one of those deep discounted groupon deals for a wonderful two nights three day stays at the Ramada Inn in Niagara Falls CA. Kelly and I have our passports and the boys are both under 15 so we were able to cross the border with birth certificates and a few nervous laughs. Yes, the boys thought we were goof balls at the border, but hey they let us in!!!
We were lucky to get checked in fairly quickly once we arrived and I got a room with a balcony!

 view from the balcony, Not so impressive, but cool just the same. Oh yeah and COLD. (As I have mentioned before my winter coat has no zipper...I was forced to suffer the cold with my fall jacket over multiple layers....new camera, new coat...)
 Our room...not bad for$40- bucks a night and vouchers for meals and attractions. (Although we never really used the attractions and skipped two of the vouchers.)

 All settled in we started walking. (Things look much closer then they really are; add the cold, my fat arse, and some Laziness and we spent any additional ventures out via car.)
 Everyone was starving so our first stop was to Margaritaville,
 I generally try and avoid restaurants that we cannot go to at home when were away, but since my party was about to eat an arm and it was so cold we took this fun overpriced burgers and fries place in for our first Canadian meal.
 Gavin did a fun little treasure search while we waited for lunch.
 Fill in the blanks questions were based off things one could find in the restaurant decor. Like the name of Jimmy Buffetts plane. The Hemisphere Dancer.

 Mat avoiding all pictures, but enjoying his virgin pina colotta,....(notice the poor quality of my pictures,,,,trying NOT to be upset.)


 Look at those Nacho's.....

 Of course, I had my plain Jane meal of a burger and fries.
 After lunch and a cold walk back to the hotel, we decided to head to The Clifton Hill area. This is where all of the tourist attractions are located. We luckily found a parking spot on the street. Its not to crowded in Canada on a cold Feb. Sunday. The tourist area is surrounded with attractions which often include funny characters, statues and other types of enticing gimmicks located outside the attractions as to lure you into their  establishment over another. This mirror maze for example has a creepy mouse that talks and a buzzard that answers.

 Yikes.
 One of the many haunted houses on the hill...
 They sure SCREAM Scare me!!!!
 First attraction we excitedly ventured in to was the Louis  Tassauds Waxworks.



Tons of fun elbowing with the stars. Can you guess who is whom?
 (Gavin put one of his treasures a fake tattoo of a parrot on his face and Mat bought a plaid lumber Jack hat...for the rest of the day they were Pirate Pete and Paul Bunyon.)

 It's the Undertaker....(and a bad picture with my camera.) right next to Jon Cena.
 Of course Gavin had to get one with his Dad's favorite, Tiger!
 and one of all of our favorites Back to the Future with the delorian time traveling machine.
 Talk about time traveling.....".Wahhh! Ricki..." Its Lucy
 and of course Micheal.
 The King of Pop and the Queen of a country. This is Victoria btw.
 And who can resist Leo???
 This one looks freaky... (Taken with Kelly's phone)


 How about a little Madonna? Very little resemblance I think.
 Clint...
 A little 007 and Tom Hanks...(Yes an odd combo)
Eddie Murphy

Gaga Baby!!! and that one on the left is suppose to be Julia Roberts.
 I wonder if he is really that short?
 Jon Candy....

John Travolta

Brad Pitt
Will Farrel

A very sad looking Harrison Ford....

 and a very THIN Ophah!

 A little laughter with Jay and Ellen
 How's that workin for ya Dr. Phil?....You Need to stop THAT!! and No it is not my first Rodeo either!!!
 Team Edward? Or team Sharkboy?

 Some more awful camera shots.

 James Dean looks constipated and there is something wrong with Elvis's face. Lets not mention the funny face between Marilyn and Bogie.
 Peace to you! Now let us wait.
 Fun with Harry Potter.



 On to the Horror characters.
The crypt keeper. 

Charlie Manson

Jack Sparrow

Micheal Myers

Freddy 
Jack

Hanibal Lecter

Dracula

Alien
Were off to see the Wizard.

Now for some Politics. Fist Bump with the Prez,
 Elegance with Lady Di.
Just hanging at the Bush ranch.
 Now for some Super Hero's!
Cat women...Meow


Some more fun characters.

A little Austin Powers
and who didn't love the Munsters?
This experience was silly and fun. I don't think you can help, but notice the lack of resemblance of several of the characters, but it was still pretty neat.
Best part was being able to stage ourselves with the characters. Pretty evident that we were not with the REAL identified stars, but it was great fun to pretend, Gavin really got into it.

Up next was a haunted house,,,,With all of these "cheezy " haunted houses scattered around the area, The Scream Queen's ourselves couldn't pass up a chance to get our hearts pumping just a little faster. Once we walked in however...it was clear Gavin wasn't even going to consider it. He immediately said...I'm NOT going in. Well, being a "good" mother I couldn't leave him standing on the streets of another country all alone, so I too opted out....at first.
Disappointed, but secretly relieved, I watched as Kelly and Mathiue began their journey, Moments later Mat was back with Kelly at his back encouraging him to go with her, Mat out..I was in....boy was I in and NEVER in my life had I been so SCARED!!!!
It doesn't look so ominous and scary....BUT it scared the poop out of me. (not that like this is too difficult, but this REALLY SCARED ME)
Most of these scary "fun" houses are filled with statue like creatures luring in the dark, perhaps a few strobe lights  a scream or bang here and there....BUT NOT this one!!! NOPE!!! This gem was perhaps the most fearful because 99 percent of the attraction was in PITCH darkness. Little red lights scattered along the walk ways lead you in the right direction and that is it,
We began our nightmare...rushed as I had suddenly been thrown into the experience as any good friend would do to support her buddy whose haunted house buddy chickened out. Any extra time to think about it may have changed my mind. Mat explained that all he had heard was creepy voices chanting his name and he was done.
We walked up to the door and there in the light was a red button. No instructions, just a red push-able button....SO I PUSHED!!!! Lets get this thing started already!!!
Suddenly the door slammed shut and the darkness engulfed us. Let the fear begin.... giggles taunted us...and they were so creepy. I began walking forward searching in the dark for my next direction. Kelly had thrown her entire body up into my armpit and pretty much stayed there the entire time. Walk..hit a wall, back track...walk some more..hit a wall. all while eerie voices whisper in your ear and you are touched on your legs and back.
We were both pretty darn scared. The scare fact kept it up with growls, and continued taunting laughter. Our imagination had to be the biggest fear. I must have screamed thousands of time, before we finally hit what we both thought was the end. A lighted stairwell guided us to yet another dark entrance. At this point Kelly was out of her mind begging someone...anyone to let us out. She made panic attack claims and shouted. "You said you would let us out." No one came.... There was an emergency exit door to the right of us and darkness in front. Lets just do this and on we went for some more no longer welcomed fright.
Things got from scary to terrifying...at one point we had to crawl under and shimmy down a tunnel. I didn't think my fat arse would make it, but I never moved so fast in my life. Once out of the uncomfortable space onward we walked again banging into walls of darkness. Sometimes we couldn't even see the tiny red lights guiding the path, my eyes searched for any recognition in that blackness...nothing.
Kelly still nestled in my arm pit pulling at my arm. I walked forward. I hit a wall, I felt my way around all the corners and realized we were in a hallway...only way out had to be where we came in. Back tracking we ran into yet another wall. Again I walked towards the other end. There had to be an exit somewhere...we got in here didn't we? Realizing rather quickly there was NO out....the walls started to close in. No not in my head....FOR REAL!!!!!This time I moved from one end to the other more quickly....back and fourth I went Kelly at my hip.
Movies where they think they are in a fun house when they really are at the hands of an evil killer emerge from mind. The characters smooched to death!!! I find myself huddled as close to one end as I can, thinking well at least the boys know where in here and when we never come out...they can tell someone....or not! OMG!!!! Were going to die in here. Screams of real terror echo from my throat!!!
Then suddenly we are Free'd. A door opens and out I ran. Around the corner a car comes at us. I don't even blink at that. I do a quick dodge and run out the door. WOW!!! Still shaking I glance at the screen shot of my terror ridden face. (These are often shown on the Jimmy Kimball show.) We grab the kids and bustle out the door to the lighted streets.....NOPE I'm not going to look back!
If your looking for some REAL terror!!! I highly recommend. If you have a heart condition well then maybe you want to stay away. WOW!!!
 Here is a link.
https://www.nightmaresfearfactory.com/


Taken from the internet.

A little less frighting fun was there for us outside, and just like when I was a kid and just finished watching a horror flick..I needed some comedy to shake the heebegeebees. We had tickets to Ripley's moving theater,,,Great idea!
This experience was like many of the Universal rides. You sit in movable seats and watch a film in 3-D while water, smells, and wind rushes at you. We watched two films;  one with snowmen sledding down a mountain and one with four wheeling barn yard animals. Both were cute and fun. No more scares!!! But I swear I have PTSD as a result.

There was more fun outside,...and up the street. We didn't go into this upside down house, but it sure looks like fun.

Some more street pictures...like this HUNGRY Frank atop a Burger King.


More attractions....
Oh and LOOK.....what Niagara Falls is known for.....Its WATERFALL!!!

We decide to venture to the falls on another day. We got more fun to have up on the hill.

oh and dinner at "The Keg" .


As part of the groupon package we got vouchers to local restaurants. One voucher was for The Keg restaurant.
I am not a fine dining fancy type. Although I do eat out a lot and yes I have had my share of "fine dining"...BUT NO I would not pick one as my last meal. (I am truly a burger and fries kind of gal.) but this was proving to be exciting and a treat we had not expected. The Keg; located in the Embassy Suits adjacent to the Fallsview Casino and Resort. (Yes I have stayed and played there...Mark and I stayed back in 2005 the first winter it was open. We had a luxury hotel room with a Jacuzzi over looking the falls. AMAZING!!! )
Back to this trip.....The Keg...yes. Parking at places like this is ALWAYS an issue and I was excited to hear that we could get valet parking for FREE!!! We were totally beginning to feel like the rich and famous.
A quick shot of the hotel lobby as we entered to the restaurant. All the way up!
BAM!!!! this was our view while we ate!!!!

It cannot get any better then this,

So if you were not aware. there are actually two sets of falls. The American Falls. (which were pictured earlier) and the Horseshoe Falls (Canadian falls) pictured here. BEAUTIFUL.
Dinner only made it all the more GREAT!
Kelly started her meal with escargot.  Yeah...ah NO!!!!
But....Mat was willing to try them.  Ready, Set...go....
I caught the face....
"It tastes like Ramen!!!" Ramen? Really. Gavin and I decided to take his word for it.
Instead I had as close to a burger and fries as I could get....and let me just say Phazzzz! to the burgers tonight. This steak and twice baked potato was AMAZING!
We were lucky to still be eating as it got darker and see the falls lite up.
Our waiter was AWESOME and shared that the American falls would be shut off. What? Shut off? yep that is correct. Apparently there is structural damage to one of the walkway bridges that must be repaired. In order to do so they must shut off the falls. I am told they will damn up the river somewhere up stream to do this, It all just sounds so weird...like there is some gigantic tap somewhere that one can simply shut off. Apparently this will not be the first time. Glad we got this trip in before the falls were shut off. Although it might be cool to see what it would look like with no water flow.
So far this day has been SUPER!!! and this evening has been a home run. BUT when I got the bill IT WAS a GRAND SLAM HOME RUN!!!!
With my voucher, my American money (Something like 40% on the Canadian). My meal and my son's was FREE!!!
The money is SO strange. It is plastic and there are NO pennies (anymore) they simply round up!
It was such a WONDERFUL evening. Kelly stayed in my room while the boys stayed in her's for an evening of fun. Kelly and I had shots of Fireballs. (Which was recalled in Canada....I did not know this..Opps At least we were told this by the bar tender the next day.)
Let me just say,,,,I had my taste and I do not need more.

Niagara Falls CANADA DAY 2:
The following day we met up for breakfast at IHOP which was located in the hotel (The Ramada) that we stayed in and we had another voucher (This time it was for $15-) Still a pretty good deal. At least we thought it was....It would have been in the States...BUT NOT HERE!!!



I will not BASH this place....I will only STRONGLY suggest if you want a good breakfast for a good price and good service...GO SOMEWHERE ELSE. Poor service (And you really have to be POOR to get me upset... and I was upset..) and a BILL TO CHOCK ON!!!
Nearly $60- for breakfast (for two) at an IHOP!!!! INSANE!!!! And last nights meal was FREE...Just saying. I am not sure what HST and SFDF standfor...and a tip too!

Still struggling with the Breakfast SHOCK we headed off back to Clifton Hill area for some more FUN!
We found a parking area close to these prehistoric creatures....aggah!!!




A quick stop at the souvenir shop to warm up....IT was SOOOOO COLD!!!
Loven the Mountee's
A view up Victoria St and Clifton Hill.
This is what a cold Monday in Niagara Falls looks like....Empty. Hey it worked for us.
We then headed to a games location and the boys took advantage of the fun.
First a little foolin around.
On to laser tag.....

Don't they look excited? Apparently there was something wrong with the system. Gavin couldn't get the laser to fire.
They tried several time and even changed the power pack. They both finally gave up, Thank you to the host for letting them go multiple times.
After laser tag the boys tried the laser maze. I was not allowed in as a spectator, but the boys reported it was great fun. Object is to not trip the laser as you get to the timer. Gavin reported Mat simply would run and trip all the lasers. He definitely had the fastest time. Next up was hours of games.

Not like the games we found as a kid in the arcade. And we never had tickets to trade in for prizes.
Game tokens exhausted, the boys did a little glow golf. (Can't see the glow in these pictures, but it was pretty cool.)


I'm not sure what if anything all these pirates have to do with Niagara Falls, but great theme!
While the boys played, Kelly and I ventured towards the falls.
We stopped at The Guinness Book of World records.
Yeah I look comfortable. NOT!
If I keep havin burgers and fries this is where I am heading,

I found this from my old photos. Gavin and Lexi in this same chair 2005



Another shot up the hill.
We found the falls. A shot of the American Falls. Just a few summers ago my family and I were over there on the other side getting on a boat called the Maid of the Mist...(If I knew how to link this to my older posts I would.) No boats today. Water is pretty close to FROZEN.












I am so impressed with the snow and ice at the bottom. WOW!

Off to the right of us is Horseshoe falls. It is all so very impressive.
Its hard to get a good look with all the mist.

My poor attempt at a selfie. Kelly's upload was so much better. Maybe I should take a class. Somehow I look like a chipmunk. 
Back up the hill we go. A quick shot of the Casino.

An appropriate blue moose greets us as we climb. I so had the wrong shoes on for climbing this hill,...not to mention the wrong BODY for the climb either. Ouch...My back hurt when we got to the top.
Kelly and I returned and the boys still had a few more games.
Object was to hit the lite buttons as fast as you can, These boys sure did move.


Then a little cannonblast.



Object here was to hit the target. Many balls hit one another....and the innocent  moms watching from behind the protective gate...


It was already mid-day and everyone was feeling a rest was needed and some food. But first up was a ride on the Giant Ferris Wheel. Kelly and I watched from below while Gavin had control of the camera up above.
 These shots were taken with my phone.
Gavin's shots from above. 







These two were so silly. I can only imagine what mischief was a happening up there. Gavin had a series of not to flattering  pictures of Mat. Here is one of the better ones.



Way down there is me.....
Gavin's non directors cut video.
video
Both boys were in hysterics when the got off. What could ever be so funny? I hate to say and I apologize to the patrons who entered the Ferris wheel cab after these two. I am told they left a #flyby as they exited. GROSS!!!! Why are boys so GROSS???

Lunch was discussed....Rainforest or

Hard Rock???? Decisions Decisions.
We choose Hard Rock. We sat at the bar. 
 I had poutine. Apparently a Canadian thing.....make that a Wendy thing. OMG YUM!!!!
French fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds. REALLY!!!
 I totally forgot my aching back hike up that hill earlier while I was filling my face with this heart attack on a plate.

After lunch we did a bit more walking around the area and decided we all needed a rest. We headed back to the hotel did some swimming and chilling out before heading to the Skylon Tower for a view of the city from the tippy top! This was about when my good old camera died and NO I forgot to bring the charger....


I have been to Niagara Falls both the Canadian and the American several times, but I had never been up in this attraction. WOW!!!! is all I can say. Unfortunately the pictures from my phone do not give the view the justice it deserves. The sights were INCREDIBLE.I have to say it is HIGHLY recommended!




It was COLD as can be, and even colder trying to get a screen shot from shaky hands...My phone kept reading hold device still,...yeah right. The view was so beautiful, but it was hard to really appreciate it with the cold night air and winds. I SOOOOOO WISH I HAD MY OLD CAMERA. With the fully moon in the background. It would have made for an amazing picture. It was such an amazing view!!!



We ended this great experience with some fun reminders of this three day extend weekend.

 Great Fun!!!!