Monday, May 29, 2017

Niagara Falls, NY:annual conference 2017

Niagara Falls, NY and CANADA 
May 8th, 9th and 10th
2017 Care Management Annual Conference

Wow! I have been a traveling fool these last few weeks,,,, Last week I returned from another Florida trip and just before we headed off to Florida I had a few work days at the Annual Care Management conference. 
I have attended every year since I started at my current job and after last years overcrowding in Albany I pledged I would not go again....Unless of course it was held at a new location. WELL.....I got my request answered and this year it was held in Niagara Falls NY, 

Day 1:
There were about 20 from my office alone. What a great employer I have. Stacey, Barb, Erin and I drove up together meeting Amiee and Becky for a little lunch on the road. 


 Best Burgers on the Thruway....guess my diet starts next week....well maybe not!
From the office it was about a 2 and 1/2 ride to the hotel. We had fun on the road telling stories and laughing. Soon we were at the Sheraton on the Falls for our conference adventure.

After checking in. Stacey and I were roommates. We took a tour of the hotel. Check out the sharks in the pool area....Really COOL!!





 This was the pool area itself. Talk about a dreamy pool area!!

They had fish too...







 Several of us had our passports and had discussed taking a trip over the border to Canada. Stacey, Amiee, Andrea, Cynthia and I planned to meet up with of fellow co-workers and were soon on our way over the Rainbow bridge into CANADA!!!!

 We found a spot to park on Clifton Hill before heading to the Hershey Store for some chocolate.
 Of course we had to have a little tourist fun on the way!


 A view towards the falls looking down clifton hill. This is actually the America Falls in view.
 We stopped at the Hard Rock for Stacey to get her husband a souvenir. He collects the pins. Then we headed into the Hershey store for some CHOCOLATE!!!

We all love a little kiss!!!
 Some more then others....
 I love them so much I had to get a big hug!
 More pictures with the kiss.

 Just so you are aware....Canadian chocolate does not taste any different the America chocolate,....I just had to convince myself that it tasted so much better because it had to be the MOST EXPENSIVE Reese's peanutbutter cups I have ever purchased.


Really cool fun packaging....but tastes just the same.
After getting our fill of chocolate, we made our way back up the hill and headed to the falls...We decided to find a place to park within the actual Niagara Falls Park.
The parking and entrance  seems so far away from the falls itself, but don't be intimidated. We were able to drive nearly to the beginning of the falls and simply cross the street to be right on top of the water beginning to cascade down.


 Now I have been to both the Canadian and the America falls multiple times, but this had to be the some of the best I have ever seen, Pay the $15- parking fee and walk to these amazing sights. It was incredible.

I must have taken a thousand pictures....I could not get over just how incredible the falls looked from this angle. The last time I had been on this side of the falls looking directly at the mouth was in the winter time, it looks much different. We have also had such high rain fall this year I am sure I have never seen the falls this full of rushing water. Even at the base riding the Maid of the Mist could not compare to this eye level view. Maybe it is because on the Maid you cant see anything because it is so wet. We did get a little damp from the spray...but it never took away from how perfect the falls looked. 














We had so much fun. Andrea was upset that her hair was getting wet. Opps! Might need to bring an umbrella next time. I certainly did not care...a light mist was welcomed.




 A few poses by the falls...Don't we look like were having so much fun?








We continued to walk along the waterway towards the American Falls. I hate to admit it, but our American falls fails in comparison. The Canadian Horseshoe falls blows the American Falls out of the water.
 So I only took like two pictures of the American falls.. Opps!!! Back to the beautiful ones...

 and a rainbow too!


We discussed coming back for a night view...and our parking admission was for all day, but as the night went on we never made it back. We were there after all for a work related conference..



Instead we made our way back to the America side found ourselves lost in Niagara Falls NY looking for some Malibu for cocktails later. (we never even touched it.) and decided on dinner at the Seneca Niagara Casino buffet.

 Although our meals were paid for by the company, we each got a FREE Buffet just for signing up for a players club.



Several of us stayed for some gaming after the filling meal. Becky WON over $400- while Amiee and I lost our shirts but had a heck of a good time.
We had to have a picture with the Blues Brothers before ending our night.



Back at the hotel we decided on a little pool fun. First some swimming then the Jacuzzi! While we were enjoying the water the cleaning crew began to wash down the decks. We all decided that Snoop Dog was there under cover. (I wish I got his picture this guy looked just like him.)




Great Fun! Tomorrow is the first full day of the conference and we all needed to get to sleep, but who could sleep after such a great day? Somehow I found mine and the comfy beds didn't hurt the subject.

Day 2: Conference begins!!!!
We arrived and had some breakfast as well as some free goodies.
Just look at my stash of stuff. Pens galore.
The conference began with the key note speaker (I had actually heard him speak before) he told of his story suffering from abuse by his father who suffered from Schizophrenia as well as his own bouts of depression, drug addiction and finally free of these symptoms becoming an author and advocate for mental health. He provided us with a book too. An American's Resurrection. and he brought his darling daughter up to the stage too. I had the book signed Eric Arauz his daughter Olivia signed it as well. 
The personal stories really make one think about life and if my role as a care manager impacts those I work with. 
Up next was a break out session as well as some news from the state. Before we knew it, it was time for lunch.








We certainly ate well. 
After lunch we had a few more break out sessions. I took as many courses that I could apply to my CASAC hours.
We learned a lot I think. The day ended and we were soon all discussing the evening adventures.
Hard Rock Cafe was decided!
Here is a bunch of us, Megan, Stacey, Barb, Becky, Cynthia Brittany, Amiee, Joanna and me!



We walked about a block down towards the American Falls and had an early dinner at The Hard Rock cafe.

Apparently we missed the free cocktail party offered back at the hotel while we were enjoying the falls but from what I understand there had been some antics going on after the cocktails started flowing. Someone removed their clothing. Yep!!! Apparently we missed a pretty good time. This was no one from our office, we also missed the marijuana that was being passed around in the hotel. We smelled it all though the halls. I guess some people had the need to let loose....I settled for 1 cocktail and a burger thank you.

Barb had a virgin cocktail and it looked yummy (above)
NICE!!!! Mine was the Jimi Hendrex's Purple Haze. (on the right)

After filling up on food and drink we all headed to the American falls. Along with a "homeless man" who was actually crying for a hand out. (this was so uncool) we ran into some of the Children and Family people. Meredith refused to get a picture but she did take a nice one of all of us.  


We got a nice one of the Care Managers as well. 
The American falls seems so sad in comparison to the Canadian falls and the overlook area was closed so we couldn't get right on top of the falls to appreciate them. 







 I still took some pictures. I felt I had too. I was here after all. I guess what I would say is if you do visit Niagara Falls, make sure you have the opportunity to go to the Canadian side as well. Certainly NY has some great adventures to engage in regarding the Falls area, but to really get a view you must see the Canadian Horseshoe.
We walked along the trails for a bit and crossed one of the bridges before several of us myself included decided to head back to the hotel for some after dinner cocktails. 
 The water was certainly raging.










Stacey and I had a buy 1 get 1 free coupon from our room service at The Rain Forest cafe and wanted to cash in.

Despite  some confusion with seating and ordering cocktails in the kids slushy cups, a rude waitress and Barb being accused of not paying her tab, we all actually had a good time. 







I had the best of fun getting selfie shots with the animals!



In order to get a fun kids cup I had to get a slushy so I ordered a slushy and had the cocktail as my free drink with my coupon. 

 (I took several pictures of these jellyfish thinking they were about the coolest I had ever seen,,,,,until I realized there was a string hanging from it,,,,,I was so convinced these guys were real.)



 The place is really pretty cool. I had fun touring the restaurant. Judy and Crystal as well as Becky, Amiee, Amdrea and Cythina ended up joining us too.


We ended up getting additional slushy cups for FREE because of all the confusion we had with the waitress. I guess sometimes a little irritant pays off. 
(photo may be out of synch. taken from Becky's FB post. )

Before the night was over we made our way to the Jacuzzi. No pictures we taken. Bed was calling, tomorrow is another day, 

Day 3: 
Final Day of the conference and not much to tell. Several of us made it to breakfast at Fridays.

Then we were off to conference. Things started with the state and awards. I decided to color while listening. 

It is hard to pay attention the the results of healthcare changes and the over all impact Trumps new health bill will do to the several people I serve. (not my best color job.)
It sounds like the cuts will happen over several years, but we will ALL see the affects...no matter what class you are. 

After this depressing presentation. We made our ways to the breakout sessions. I attended a peer run session on engaging people in activities within the community then barely made it through a presentation on Harm reduction before I was itch'en to be done, Lucky for me we were done. The conference ended at 1pm. 
For as much fun as we had at the sights, the last day of the conference is always hard. I learned a few things and I got some CASAC hours so that rocks. 
We discussed possibly stopping at the Outlet mall. I really want to buy myself a Coach purse....(thinking I may just buy it second hand.) I am really that cheep. 
Instead we at least in my car made a decision to simply go home. After stopping for lunch we made it back to the Syracuse area by 5pm. I dropped Erin off and rushed home at rush hour,

We defiantly had fun! Next week I will be back in Florida again....RUN RUN RUN!