Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Three Times in Four Days

Every once in a while we go through one of those spans where it seems like we're constantly in Buffalo.  We have family things or some other planned activity, and we spend so much time on the Thruway that it makes me wonder if we're really dumb for not having moved there by now.  But when we both have jobs and our lives have basically been here for nearly two decades, I guess it's not that easy.  So, we continue the travel and make the best of it.

Last week ended up being really busy.  Between Jacob's normal lacrosse schedule and a work event I had been planning for the last six weeks, our evenings were already a little crazy.  Then Thursday I had to go to Buffalo for my cousin's bridal shower.  It was fun seeing most of the women in the family, and enjoying a little wine and lots of food while celebrating my second-youngest cousin's impending marriage!  I grabbed this pretty shot outside the venue, which was along the Erie Canal.

Originally I planned on sleeping over at my parents' so I didn't have to drive home late, but then I had two Muffins with Mom events with the boys first thing Friday morning, so I limited my wine intake, drank a Diet Pepsi, and dragged myself back home that night.  I had muffins with both boys (separately) by 9am on Friday, so yes, it was a bit of an early morning!

Normally I'd pull these off my phone, but I'm print screening Facebook instead because it's quicker!

I had a busy day after that, as I had a number of things on my list.  I started with a trip to the dollar store, a run to Wegmans, my first allergy shot, a trip to use my beloved $10 coupons at JCPenney, a bunch of cleaning at home (though I ended up snoozing a bit on the couch thanks to the early morning), then a somewhat ill-fated haircut (it's really short and while I've gotten compliments on it, it's still a little odd), and my first run in probably 10 months.  That was two miles in about 21 minutes.  Not bad, but oh, was I ever sore for the next two days!  By then the boys all came home and we had dinner, followed by more cleaning at night so the house was ready for Mary's arrival on Saturday!

We had Jacob's lacrosse game at 11:30 and Mary arrived in time (and with mud-ready gear, as it was still a bit damp out) to see the game.  And what a game it was!  We're not entirely sure of the final totals, but as far as we know, Jacob scored four goals and five assists!  One of the better players from his team was out, so perhaps he just had more opportunities.  Or maybe it was the speech Craig gave him last week.  But whatever it was, he closed on the opportunities and really looked great out there!

Mary and I took off right from the game and made a stop in Geneseo.  We ate lunch among an entertaining commencement day crowd at Mama Mia's, and smiled as we walked through campus and caught glimpses of graduates getting their pictures taken in iconic campus spots.  Mary said that she wanted to run up to them and say, "Seventeen years from now you'll still miss it!"  We wandered around campus in search of the giant rice krispie treats they used to have (apparently they still exist!) but all of the dining areas were closed or in use.  But we wandered around and through Mary's old department's floor--a department that no longer exists but whose wall decor was still intact many years later.  It was a nice stroll and we felt very fortunate that the weather cooperated.  It was probably in the upper 50s and cloudy, but it was surprisingly tolerable...and a much better option than the rain that had been forecast all week!

We hopped back in the car and headed toward Niagara Falls, taking the same route I used to take home from college.  Not much has changed, but it was a nice little throwback.  As we approached our Thruway exit, I pondered the best way to kill time before the concert and decided to take a detour through N.T. to stop at Platter's, the chocolate wonderland that Craig and I stopped at during our day alone.  It was significantly toned down from Easter, but we each still found a treat and enjoyed baby cones of fabulous ice cream as a pre-dinner treat!

We eventually made it to Niagara Falls and found a lot to park in that was relatively close to the park near the brink of the American side of the Falls.  We walked over, through throngs of foreign tourists, and eventually found a spot to eat dinner, which was Aunt Cookie's subs brought from Geneseo.
Not a bad view, eh?  The brink of the falls is even with the top of the railing, so we were pretty close.
After eating we took the long way back around to catch a view of the falls themselves.  It had been a while since I'd been at this spot.
The American Falls are in the foreground, and the Canadian Horseshoe Falls are in the far back left.  The tall buildings are all hotels on the Canadian side.

Caught a boat in the middle of the mist.  I believe this is the Canadian version of the Maid of the Mist.
It was finally time to head to the concert, which was in a not-great part of town a bit away from the tourist areas. We were a little nervous about parking and safety and all that, but we got lucky with one of the last parking spots in an adjacent lot.  We then had to join an eternally long line to get into the seatless venue, and it wasn't until we got to the front of the line that we realized why--they were frisking everyone as they entered.  That was a new one for us.  It dripped rain for a bit while we waited, but it was fine and still a much better scenario than the forecast had been saying all week!

As we waited, I couldn't help but snap pictures of the surrounding neighborhood.  It's clearly very depressed, with lots of vacant storefronts and neglected buildings, but you could also tell there was a ton of history there.  I would have loved to see it in its prime!
How cool is that window?

You can tell there used to be something between those decorative panels, as the exposed brick underneath is visible.  I wonder what was there...

Those French doors and the arched window with the year marker above looked almost whimsical.

This building really caught my eye, as Jenss was an upscale department store in Buffalo years back.  The building's brick was still painted with the store name, and I was shocked that the front doors still had the neon logo intact.
The inside of the theater was equally interesting, but much better cared for.  The walls and ceiling looked freshly painted and beautifully preserved.  I am still obsessed with the ceiling.

The concert itself was amazing!  They played so many great songs and we enjoyed every moment!

This was at the very end of their encore, when they performed without electronics--no microphones, no amps.  Just their voices, a banjo, and a couple of percussion-type instruments.  It was amazing.
The car was still intact when we made it back outside (yay!), and we headed back to Rochester.  It made for a late night getting back around 12:30, and the next morning was early since we were going to church and then on to Buffalo, but it was worth it for such a fun day and a great show.  Mary left early to get back to her own church and her weekend work at home, and after we headed to church and a couple stops, we were off to Buffalo for Mother's Day (trip #3 for me!).  We spent a couple hours with my parents and a few hours with Craig's family, and then headed back home again.  For gifts, Carter colored me a picture and answered questions about me, and Jacob made me a flower magnet.  I probably could have had flowers from the boys, too, but we were so stressed out getting them for everyone else that I turned them down!  Other than that, it was a pretty good day overall.  And given that it's taken me three days to post this, clearly it's been busy getting back to the grind this week.  We have another busy weekend ahead, including a lacrosse tournament for Jacob.  But Memorial Day is coming and this is only the beginning of a very hectic time ahead! 

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