Friday, June 29, 2012

Niagara Falls!

We finally went on our long-awaited trip to Niagara Falls!  Our vacation in pictures:

We stayed at Bedham Hall Bed and Breakfast.  A fantastic place  with a lovely hostess named Heather.

Our room (which Heather upgraded for us free of charge) was huge, beautiful and very comfy.

Breakfast each morning was delicious and lasted us all day until dinnertime.

Of course, we took many, many  photos of the falls.

Tag made a friend

We went for a ride on the Whirlpool AeroCar, which went across the whirlpool at the end of the Niagara River.  The way the river curves, both sides of the AeroCar are in Canada.

Every single attraction ended in the gift shop.  We couldn't resist visiting Souvenir City.

We went on several of the attractions.  The White Water Walk is along the Niagara River Gorge, further down from the falls where the river narrows, creating some Class 5 Rapids.   I didn't see why we couldn't raft them!

You can't visit Niagara Falls without going on the Maid of the Mist.  Here we received the first of our large collection of rain ponchos.

Had to stop for a snack of Bear Claws.   It's like very flat fried dough, shaped like a bear claw, and covered in honey, chocolate sauce and nuts.  Do you see the reason for the smile?

Journey Behind the Falls was another attraction.  You walk down a tunnel to two openings directly under the falls.  All you could really see was a lot of water!  But there was also an observation deck very close to the bottom of the falls.

Each night, we saw rainbows as the sun hit the mist that was constantly emanating from the falls.

At night, they light up the falls in all different colors.

The Falls area also had its tacky side.  Clifton Hill advertises "The Street of Fun at the Falls".

We ate dinner at Rain Forest Cafe

One day, we went over to the American side of the Falls.  We walked across the Rainbow Bridge, where we were able to be in two countries at once.

The American Falls

The Cave of the Winds was an attraction that allowed you to walk on wooden walkways up the side of the American Falls.  The top deck was called the "Hurricane Deck" for a reason!

Despite the complimentary rain poncho, we were soaked!

We walked around to the Niagara River above the falls, and I snuck my feet in!

We went up to the top of the Skylon Tower, for the most spectacular view of the falls we saw.

The Butterfly Conservatory and Botanical Garden

Tag loved Bird Kingdom

And finally, we went to Niagara-on-the-Lake to see Lake Ontario.

It was another fun-filled, exciting adventure for Karen and Tag!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Neil Diamond!!

Hubby gave me tickets to a Neil Diamond concert for Christmas.  After 6 long months of waiting....we finally got to go!

I got some free tickets at work for the Phantom Gourmet BBQ Beach Party in Government Center in Boston.  Since we were going into Boston anyway, we decided to combine the two. 

Of course, before we left the house, it started thunderstorming.   (which, in a way, was a good thing.  Otherewise we wouldn't have brought jackets.)

We never like to park in the city, so we parked at Sullivan Square and took the T into North Station.  Naturally, when we got there, it wasn't really raining, so we decided to walk the 1/2 mile to Government Center instead of switching trains.......and then the skies opened up.

It was kind of funny to see all the people scurrying like rats to find cover.  Every doorway was filled with people trying not to get wet.  

While huddling in our doorway, we met a very nice family from the UK, who asked where we were from.  We told them New Hampshire, and they weren't quite sure where that was.   When we explained it was just north of us, next to Vermont, the Englishman said he had family that had emigrated to Vermont.  And then the wife asked if we were farmers.

When the rain let up, we went and checked out the Beach BBQ.  It was pretty cool with a bunch of tents set up and BBQ's cooking away.   But it was still raining, and there was no place to sit outside, so we decided to find someplace indoors to eat.

Hubby has always wanted to go to the Hard Rock Cafe, so we got completely soaked (as now it was downpouring again) making our way to the restaurant.    There was a 20 minute wait - which was making me nervous about getting to the concert on time.   Hubby and I walked around looking at all the guitars and memorabilia on the walls while we waited.  Then Hubby admitted he didn't care if we ate there, he just wanted to see all the stuff.

They hadn't called our table yet, so we decided to bail on the Hard Rock Cafe and go to Quincy Marketplace instead.   We each grabbed a quick meal.....Greek Food for Hubby, and Seafood for me. (Clam Chowdah and Scallops wrapped in bacon for me......mmmmmmm!)

Finally the rain had completely stopped so we walked over to the Garden for our concert.   I love the atmosphere, I love watching the people, I love watching the venue fill slowly with people while we wait for the concert to start.

 Finally, the big moment arrived, and Neil Diamond came out on the stage.  It was a great concert!  Neil has a wonderful stage presence, and worked hard to engage the crowd and make everyone feel comfortable.   He sang a lot of his old songs - not too many of  the new ones.    We sang along to some of them.   Our seats were up high, and we could look down on the stage and see all the musicians - which was a show in itself.     The crowd went wild when he started singing "Sweet Caroline".....a Boston Red Sox favorite.

Now we're finally off on our long-awaited trip to Niagara Falls.   See you all in a week!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

On this Father's Day, I'd like to pay tribute to my Dad.  

He's definitely a "Dad"....not a "Father".   Long before fathers were "hands-on" my Dad was an intregal part of my life.   He worked hard - sometimes at two jobs to keep us all fed and clothed, but I remember as a young child, I couldn't wait for Dad to get home from work so I could rough-house with him.  

I respected him immensely.  Not because he was an authoritarian, but because I loved him so much, there was never anything I wanted to do to disappointment him.  The few times that happened, and Dad had to scold me, I could still feel the love shining through.  I never, ever felt that Dad didn't love me or care for me.

There were lots of family times in our house.   I loved playing with dad in the pool, and I loved when he came outside to play kickball or basketball with me, my brothers and sister, and all the neighborhood kids.  He took us to drive-in movies, and offered up ice-cream after he'd already stuffed us with the  huge dinner which he helped my mother prepare.

As I got older, I realized my Dad gave me even more than great memories.  He gave me, through his example, a great work ethic.  He gave me a no-nonsense regard for people and life.  He gave me a sense of strength and well-being.  He gave me a sarcastic sense of humor and a positive outlook on life.  He gave me a shining example of what a husband should be, as he loved my mother so very much and was not afraid to show it.

I consider myself the luckiest girl in the world to have a father like mine.  He's still involved in my life.  I still look to him for advice.  I still see him as my example of how to live my life.  As each stage of my life evolves, I think back to how my Dad handled those stages, and I am grateful I can pattern my life after his.

Thank you so much to my wonderful Dad.  I love you so much!  Happy Father's Day!

My very favorite photo of my dad.  Love the the the sense of humor.


The only times my Dad ever relaxed was when he was camping with my Mom. 

My Dad just loves his family, including his great-grandbaby Emily.  Who can believe there's almost 70 years difference in their ages?

Dad loves being with his children....Steve, Me, Dad, Chris and John.

Dad and my Mom had a happy marriage for over 50 years. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

This n That

I haven't been posting as often lately.   Lots of little things going on, but not anything big enough to be "post-worthy".   So here's a few "little things".

*  The passports finally came in.  But of course, not before we had to re-arrange our whole vacation.   Luckily, things worked out with the Bed and Breakfast, and our jobs.

*  Some friends of friends had a very large kitchen table they wanted to give away.  Thankfully, they thought of us.   We bought a table on Craigslist about 6 months ago, and after spending $200 for it, I was disappointed at how small it really was. 

The new table is bigger even before you put the leaf in.

Plus, we re-sold the old table on Craigslist for the same price we bought it for.  The new table cost us 5 pounds of steak tips and a double six-pack of beer.

* I've been going crazy on the front yard garden.   New flowers, trellises, planters, etc.  It's very gratifying when we're sitting on our front porch and neighbors walk by and say, "the yard's looking really good"!   There's still more to be done.   Hubby will pull out another shrub and I'll be making an English Garden in that spot.

*  Hubby's vegetable garden is coming along nicely.  Most of the seeds have sprouted and plants are getting bigger.  No flowers to produce fruit yet, but that should be coming along.   Right now he needs to get a fence up, before the bunny rabbits decide to have some lunch on his plants.

*  We had our employee appreciation breakfast at work the other day.  I was surprised and pleased to find out I was the top-selling agent for car rentals and hotel reservations.   I won a gift bag from Best Western hotels with a gift card to the hotel, four days of free car rental and an Applebee's gift card.   Sweet!

*  Daughter Jamie plays her last football game today.  Sadly, her team didn't do very well, so they will not be in the play-offs.   Jamie was nominated for the fourth time (?) to the All-Star game in Texas.  She probably won't go this year, as she is short of funds.

As always, I will try to post more often.  You know how it is though, right??

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Niagara Falls? Nope!

Last year was our 5th wedding anniversary, so we decided to go "all out" and actually leave New England for our vacation and go to Niagara Falls.   That plan was thwarted (very happily) by the purchase of our new house.

The plan moved to this year, our less-than-exciting-but-still-wonderful 6th wedding anniversary.   And then we were struck by the Passport Disaster.  I was a-hoping and a-praying that our new passports would be in by today, so we could go on our planned trip to Niagara this weekend.

But, it's not going to happen.  I called the passport office, and all they could tell me was that the passports are still being processed.   Which means they haven't even been mailed yet. 

Thankfully, the Bed and Breakfast we're staying in was very flexible and let me change the dates to the end of the month.   Hubby's boss was okay with the change.    My job...not so much.   We'll now be leaving the day after we go to a Neil Diamond Concert, and when we return, instead of having another day off to recoup as I had planned, I will have to go work for one day on a Friday. 

I'm not real happy about that.  I realize the Passport Disaster is my fault.  I misplaced them.  And I supposed I'm grateful that I was able to make new arrangements.   But it would have been so nice if my job could have been a teeeeeensy bit more flexible so I could have a full week off.

Now we wait with baited breath to see if the passports come in during the next two weeks.   If not, the decision might be made to skip Niagara (again) and find someplace in the good ol' US of A, where a passport won't be needed.