Daily Photo Challenge – January 23 – 31

Well, here we are……then end of January 2023……spring (and Christmas) are just around the corner!!! Hahahaha

Let’s just get right on with the last of the January Daily Photo Challenge Topics:

TODAY’S WEATHER

SOMETHING I LOVE

FOOD

MY DAY

SOMETHING BLUE

I AM

LUNCH

FRESH

THIS IMPROVES MY MOOD

For those who like to know the next month’s topics…..here is February’s List:

See ya on the flip side!!!

Daily Photo Challenge – January 16-22

I’m sitting here looking out at the snow falling on this chilly Sunday. I just finished watching the re-play of the live stream of Lisa Marie Presley’s Memorial Service. What a beautiful service for a beautiful soul. Gone far too soon, as was her father…..I pray she is reunited with her son, Ben, and her father, Elvis, as I hope we all will be reunited with our loved ones when the time comes for us to leave this earth. Rest in Peace, Lisa Marie.

And, now on to less somber material…..the next set of January Daily Photos:

A RECOMMENDATION

KINDNESS

NICE

THE VIEW FROM HERE

I AM PASSIONATE ABOUT

Making Memories!

Taken in Pisa, Italy in August 2022

WATER

SKYLINE

Taken from my hotel balcony in Honolulu – January 2020

So on with my day…..my lazy day where I plan to curl up and read, for the most part, under a warm blanket and try not to notice the snowflakes! hehehehe

Daily Photo Challenge – January 10-15

Group Two of my January Daily Photo Topics:

CURRENTLY READING

SUN

I WENT HERE

COLOR

INSIDE MY HOME

OUTSIDE MY HOME

Daily Photo Challenge – January 1-8

Well, hello, there 2023……looking forward to all the wonderful adventures and memories you are sure to bring to me! Yeah, I know – I can’t expect ALL good things…..every year has it’s ups and downs, but I just know there will be something great to look back on fondly. So, let’s get on with it…..here are my first eight photos that represent the Daily Photo Challenge topics for January 1-8:

HELLO

…in six languages…..including “calculator”! LOL

MY WORD FOR 2023

BREAKFAST

SOMETHING NEW

NO FILTER (5th) and OUT & ABOUT (6th)

I played “catch up” with this one…..it was me chilling out with “no filter” after a few days of being non-stop “out and about”! LOL Hey – at least I didn’t just skip the topics when I got too busy to remember to do them! 🙂

AM

PM

Yes…..my tree is till up…..did you not get the message about being busy this week? 🙂

So, there you have it……Week One of January 2023 in pictures!!!

Daily Photo Challenge – December 21-31

In just a few hours from the time I’m writing this, 2022 will end and 2023 will begin! WOW! I saw a Meme on Facebook a while back that said something to the effect of: “It was a shock to realize that 20 years ago is no longer in the 1970’s….and not even in the 1900’s at all!” Um, yeah….not something I care to think about in any detail…..hahaha!

But – before I put myself in a full blown depressive state, let me share with you the last group of Daily Photos for December…..and for 2022:

  • I didn’t do a photo on December 21 for the prompt: “On The Floor”

GIFT

TRADITION

SOMEONE I LOVE

MY DAY

THIS IS DELISH

COLORFUL

A BOOK

US

HOW I RELAX

BEST PART OF 2022

This last one represents a couple things I consider the best parts of 2022 – first, I went on some awesome adventures, this year (the Santa in the tartan pants was purchased in Scotland) – second, the Christmas theme represents having all my family in my home for the holidays!

So…..that’s the end of 2022…..hard to believe, but true, just the same.

For those who like to see what topics I’ll be using to prompt my daily photos, here’s the January 2023 list:

Happy New Year one and all……

2022 Christmas Blizzard

Christmas didn’t quite go as planned, this year! My family was all set to come to my house at noon on Christmas Eve so we could gather for our annual Family Christmas…..my church put together a wonderful Christmas Eve service scheduled for 4:00……I was looking forward to going to see a movie on Christmas Day (a tradition I’ve had for many years). But…..Mother Nature had other plans!

The forecast had predicted a blizzard to start mid-day on Friday and go through Sunday morning. With the major heavy stuff looking like it would stay south of us, we didn’t think we’d get enough to be much more than an annoyance here. My main concern was for family that was coming from a city to the south of us. But, plans were proceeding…..it’s Western NY…..we can take it, right?

Let’s start with Thursday…..I had some minor surgery on my left hand – trigger thumb release – which wasn’t a huge deal, but it meant that my hand would be totally unusable for 3 or 4 days and usable with caution for a while after that. I add this part as a preface to what was to come over the next couple of days!

Then…..on Friday morning, I ran a few errands, picked up the meat platter for my family Christmas, and did some last minute things at the church for our Christmas Eve service. All seemed fine – it was SUPER cold, but so far, so good…..till mid-day when the wind picked up and the snow started and it began to look like we just might be in for a time of it!

While I was at Tops getting the meat platter and “stuff”, the lights kept flickering. The place was PACKED with crowds of people…..apparently, Walmart was closed due to no power, so Tops was the only game in town! Word of power outages were posted all over Facebook and driving started to get dicey. I spoke to leaders at our church and to my family and we all decided to just wait to see what happens overnight before we make any decisions about Christmas Eve festivities.

Once I got home, I stayed there — the wind was roaring outside and the snow was blowing like crazy……not a lot of accumulation, though – it was just blowing around making visibility impossible. A travel ban was put into effect and the county declared a state of emergency. Reports of thousands without power and heat were shared. Luckily, I never lost power and had heat, but so many were not so lucky!

Through the night, every time I woke up, the wind reminded me of what was going on outside.

Then, Christmas Eve morning I woke up to the same strong howling winds. I looked out and visibility was pretty bad. I didn’t have a lot of snow on the ground – a few inches and my deck had none. But, I opened the garage door and saw how the wind was drifting the snow.

Word of places that were more open to the wind told a story of major drifts totally blocking driveways and roads and trees that had blown down taking power lines with them. Facebook posts talked about people stranded and cars in ditches and warming shelters and people still without power and the travel ban was still in effect. No one was going anywhere! And it wasn’t over, yet!

But, it looked like it would start clearing up by 3:00 or so. Not soon enough for our plans for the day! I rescheduled our Family Christmas to New Year’s Eve and we canceled our Christmas Eve service at church (we already were not planning a Christmas morning service, so no need to cancel that) – all other churches in the area did the same. And, we hunkered down!

The time the forecast predicted a clearing came and went and the storm raged on…….

Views from my windows:

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Photo credit: Pastor Marsha was out for a walk and took this photo of our church on Christmas Eve.

The wind finally stopped roaring sometime late Saturday night – Santa was able to get on with his business, but no one else was moving, unless they were out for a walk.

Then…..Christmas morning, the sun was out, the sky was blue, the wind was calm…….still under a travel ban because there are still roads that need to be cleaned up and people stranded and cars in ditches, but it looks a LOT better!!!

We survived the Christmas Blizzard of 2022……Mother Nature may have canceled Christmas Eve, but she didn’t cancel our Christmas Spirit! My neighbors are all out clearing their driveways and once the travel ban is lifted, people will start to get out and get on with their lives. This morning, the reports are showing people are still without power, but a LOT less than yesterday – the crews are out and getting it restored as fast as they can…..THANK YOU!!! And road crews are out busy clearing the way for life to go on……THANK YOU!!!

Back to my first photo – my hand surgery means I won’t be clearing MY driveway. Yesterday a friend cleared it for me, but it filled back in through the day and night. Looks like I can likely drive through it and just let Mother Nature take it back as she warms the earth around us over the next few days (supposed to get into the 50s by the end of the week – Woo Hoo)…..or, maybe someone will help me out….either way, I’m good!

As for my Christmas Day movie tradition – I might still go – depends on when the travel ban is lifted and if I can, in deed, drive through the snow in my driveway…..or, maybe I’ll just veg out in front of the TV. We’ll see…..I have a nice meal planned and the day will be wonderful whatever I end up doing. As for my Family Christmas – we’re all set to celebrate all together at my home on New Year’s Eve – it’s all good – Christmas is a state of mind and we can share the spirit of it any day we choose! I’m just glad we are all safe and able to make plans to be together!

So…..Merry Christmas to whoever ends up reading this…..Mother Nature had her say and messed up some plans, but we laughed at her and went on about our lives despite her efforts otherwise!

2022 Christmas Show: Come From Away

On Saturday, December 17th, I was lucky enough to get a last minute ticket on a full bus going to the Historic Shea’s Buffalo Theater to see “Come From Away” with the Busy Buddies group. WOW — I was speechless when the show ended. It was a wonderful production and included a delicious dinner and time spent with special friends. What more could I have asked for?

We left Albion on the bus at about noon headed to Shea’s for the matinee performance. It was a snowy day in Buffalo – not as bad downtown where we were, but much of Buffalo was getting hit pretty hard.

This was our bus parked outside Shea’s and the line of people going in to see the show.

Shea’s Performing Arts Center started out in 1926 as a movie theater built by Michael Shea. Today, the campus is comprised of three theaters in the Buffalo Theatre District. It is a beautiful, historic theater with ornate décor and amazing ambience.

“Come From Away” is a Canadian musical production based on the events in the Newfoundland town of Gander during the week following the September 11 attacks, when 38 planes, carrying approximately 7,000 passengers, were ordered to land unexpectedly at Gander International Airport. The characters in the musical are based on (and in most cases share the names of) actual Gander residents and stranded travelers they housed and fed. The musical has been received by audiences and critics as a cathartic reminder of the capacity for human kindness in even the darkest of times and the triumph of humanity over hate. This is the stage setting used during the entire show.

The show was wonderful…..extremely emotional, but also filled with fun humor to lighten the mood of a very tragic and sad time in our country’s history. It was so well done…..just incredible! I highly recommend everyone see it if the opportunity arises.

After the theater, we went to Sean Patrick’s restaurant in nearby Amherst for dinner. The meal was delicious and the restaurant was beautifully decorated for the holidays.

We had a choice between steak and chicken. The meal also included a cup of Italian Wedding soup and a salad to start and vanilla ice cream with chocolate and crème de menthe drizzle for dessert. So good!!!

Our group – a full bus load – filled this huge room for dinner!

Another great Busy Buddies day trip in the history books! So glad I was able to get in on it at the last minute!

Daily Photo Challenge – December 8-20

WOW – December is flying by! I just realized I didn’t post the next group of Daily Photos for December, yet, so this will be a long one! hehehe I also need to post photos from a day trip I took this past week! Whew! And…..I’m WAY behind on getting ready for Christmas. So….guess I’d better get on with it, huh?

LOOKING UP

SMALL

OUT AND ABOUT

FREE CHOICE

LIGHTS

SOMETHING GREEN

DECORATION

A STAR

CANDY CANE

A HAT

I MADE THIS

JOY IS….

BEGINS WITH S

So…..that’s all for now!!! Now, on to the rest of the million and one things I still need to do before Christmas Eve!!!

Mystery Adventure

Just about every time I’ve seen a Mystery Tour advertised, I think “I should do that”! But, I usually ask myself if I really want to spend money and time on a day trip that I have no clue of any of the details. But, finally, I just said “what the heck – just do it!” And, I did!

On December 7th, I indeed ventured out on a Mystery Adventure! It was offered by First Choice Travel in Batavia, NY. All they told us was the start and end times (9:00am – 9:00pm), that we wouldn’t be more than four hours away, and that lunch was included. The rest of the details were a mystery….a well kept secret! The cost was $125.

My adventure antenna were standing on end and going crazy! The closer I got to the date, the more excited and curious I got. On Wednesday morning, I left the house at 8:15am and headed to Batavia to meet the bus that would take me on my mysterious day. The bus was loaded with 40+ eager adventurers and we were on our way a little after 9:00 am. The drive was overcast with thick fog and we remained in foggy, drizzly weather throughout the entire day – good thing we discovered all our fun was inside!

When we got on the bus, the popular guess about where we were going was Skaneateles, NY – they do a Dickens Christmas style thing throughout their beautiful downtown between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The thought was “where else would you go at Christmas?”. I was excited when I heard that possibility cause it is on my adventure bucket list – how cool would that be to not only have a fun mystery day, but also check something off my adventure bucket list? Another guess among my Facebook friends was Corning Glass Museum. Well……as soon as we got on the thruway and headed WEST, that shot down both of those theories.

View of the thruway from the west side bridge of the Angola rest stop during our first “bio” break.

My seat mate, Debbie (more on her later) and I were talking about possible places of interest in the general direction we were headed and neither of us could come up with any good ideas. I mentioned that we were told we’d be “no more than four hours away” and that if we were looking at a four hour or less window we could get as far as Erie, PA, but couldn’t think of anything exciting to do there – not that there isn’t, just that I couldn’t think of anything off hand. Another Facebook friend guess was the Lucy and Desi Museum, but when we drove past the Jamestown exit, that shot that theory down. Other thoughts were an outlet mall in Pennsylvania. Then, we crossed over into Pennsylvania and something in the Erie area became the most likely theory.

And, then about 15 minutes before we reached our destination, we were told…..but only because the tour manager, Kathy Hamm, had to hand out the tickets and the name of the mystery was written on them! We were going to a dinner theater performance! Turns out my seat mate (remember my mentioning Debbie in the last paragraph?) was part of a group of five retired nurse friends. When Kathy was figuring out how to keep groups together and fill tables for eight, the five friends said they were together and I said I was a solo. Debbie’s friends – Kathy, Kathy, Ann, and Diane – offered to adopt me to make us a group of six. There were two other solo adventurers – Diane and Vickie – sitting in the seats in front of me that were added to round out our table of eight. We got along great right off and had some great conversations over our lunch.

We arrived at The Station Dinner Theatre in Erie, PA just before noon. In addition to our bus, there was also another bus full of “people of a certain age” and a school bus full of high school students…..creating a 40 or 50+ year old age span among the audience members.

Our wonderful bus driver removing some of our passenger’s “wheels” from the storage area to stage them for use. Sure sign a bus is transporting retirees enjoying our golden years to the fullest!

The theater showed signs of age, but was very nice and cozy – I’ll definitely keep it in mind for future adventures – they do a lovely job!!! The three buses filled the tables. Our group of eight was seated at table # 2 – right front and center – YAY!!!

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The show was called “Christmas Memories: Jimmy Lawrence USO Holiday Special” – a musical play set at a radio station for a Christmas Eve 1944 USO radio show for the troops during WWII just three years after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The cast consisted of three ladies and three gentlemen who sang and acted their way through the two act play.

The actors were also our servers. They served us lunch……performed Act 1…..served us dessert during the intermission…..and then performed Act II.

Lunch was delicious!!! The service was a bit awkward at first – it was “family style”, so we had to pass the platters and bowls of food around a table that didn’t have any room to set the serving dishes. But, once we got the hang of it, it worked out just fine.

The first course was a corn chowder soup and a Caesar salad (that I didn’t take due to my cheese allergy, so no photo).

The second course was ham, chicken breast stuffed with dressing, green beans, and potatoes au gratin (again, I didn’t take any potatoes because of the cheese allergy, but I had PLENTY to eat without them). Everything was soooooo good!!! We also had choices of water, coffee, tea, and iced tea included with the meal, and other beverages we could have purchased, if desired.

Dessert was a Pumpkin Crunch with whipped cream……OMG – that was amazing!!! So moist and flavorful!!! It had a crunchy top layer with a moist cake with cinnamon, ginger, pecans, and I’m not sure what other spices — sooooo good!!! I could have eaten a whole pan of that without one ounce of guilt!!!

The show was excellent — full of Christmas spirit and song, touching, heartwarming, hysterical, and fun. I admit it brought on some tears and a whole lot out laughing out loud. I doubt there was anyone in the room that didn’t thoroughly enjoy every minute of it!!!

Here are some photos from the show:

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This performance of “Ava Maria” was simply stunning — the voice on this lady was heavenly to say the least!

Act I was closed out with an “Armed Forces Salute” – flags were placed for each branch of the US Armed Forces as the song for each branch was sung and they asked that veterans in the audience stand when they heard their song. It was an emotional way to segue into the intermission…..and dessert!

The fun numbers were hysterical and added comedic dimension to the show.

When the show was over, I thought we would just get on the bus and head home…..nope…..we were told we had TWO more surprise mystery stops left in the day!

Stop # 2 was just about 15 minutes from the theater – still in Erie, PA – Frank’s Farm Market and Bakery! The place was GREAT!!! It was packed full of crafts, holiday gifts, fruits and vegetables, and baked goods to die for!

We spent about 45 minutes shopping there before we got back on the road

Stop # 3 was closer to home. We made one quick “bio break” at the Angola rest stop on the thruway after we got back into NY. Then, we drove through the Stony Brook Legendary Lights in Lancaster, NY — a residential community that totally lights up their entire neighborhood at Christmas for charity – this year, all of the money that is raised will benefit the Evan Wood Fund and will go towards the comfort and care of local chronically ill children and their families. If you’re local and you haven’t seen this incredible neighborhood and you don’t mind the drive to Lancaster, NY, DO IT!!! And, don’t forget to drop a donation in any one of the collection spots throughout the neighborhood — you can drive or walk to enjoy the lights!!!! For more information about the Stony Brook Legendary Lights, click here.

None of the photos I took were any good – we were driving along on a bus and it was dark, so they were a total blur! But – I did get a nice short video clip to share:

All three stops were incredible! I got home about 9:15 pm……roughly 13 hours from when I pulled out of my driveway that morning and I had exciting mysteries across two states! It was a long, but very fun day and $125 well spent! And, I made some new friends that I hope to cross paths with again, someday!

This will not be my last Mystery Adventure, for sure!!!

Daily Photo Challenge – December 1-7

WOW – December is here, already!!! Only 18 days till Christmas and 24 till the end of 2022! Not possible….is it??? With that said, let’s just get on with the first set of Daily Photos for December before I slip into panic mode about how totally unprepared I am for Christmas and the start of 2023!

I LOVE THIS….

I BOUGHT THIS….

STARTS WITH T

I HELD THIS…

SOMETHING RED

PEACE

TREE

That’s all for now…..