The Botanical Gardens~ Buffalo, NY

Time to Stop and Smell the Flowers...
 It is FINALLY Spring here in Central New York! So over this spring break, I went on vacation with friend Talon, journeying west to Buffalo to see our new friends Sean, Charlie and Liz and to go sight seeing with them!  So off we went for three days of adventure!

So.....Sightseeing in Buffalo, NY? Really? Buffalo??
Well, YES. It's got a lot of history and amazing sights to see!

This blog will be about The Buffalo Botanical Gardens there.  A most beautiful set of Victorian Garden buildings, started in the late 1860's was developed. Can't you just envision ladies in long white lace gowns with Gibson Girl hairdo's wandering the grounds here?

 You just don't see buildings like this anymore...

 It may have been a grey day....but it was sure bright and cheery inside!
Flowers, flowers flowers!!

Easter flowers, lilies, orchids blooming everywhere!

 Amazing to see such colors!
Two Geminis, a Sagitarius and an Aries get along fantastic!

Such colors are a DELIGHT after a winter of white....

And lots and lots of strange cactuses!

This one looks more like coral under the sea than a cactus!
The Crown of Thorns cactus
 Ethereal Beauty!
 Majestic Desert Flowers!
 This one too, looks more like a Sea Urchin than a cactus!
 Live Bamboo is the weirdest thing.
It plastic almost.
Shiny and strange...not "plant like" at all... for a plant.
The Godzilla Topiary almost ate Sean!
But we kept it at bay with our growls....
Check out this tree's bark...
Prehistoric looking, isn't it?
I so enjoyed this day's adventures with my friends, Sean, Talon and Liz

which are about the hardest thing, I have grow..
 So beautiful!
 Just gorgeous and SO many varieties!!
Ooooh....a CHOCOLATE TREE :)

The garden sculptures within the gardens so lovely....
 Spring has SPRUNG!!!
 "Best"-ies" Sean & Liz....
 Beautiful Koi Zen...
 Tell me why the Ivy twines.... :)

It felt SO good to be in a warm and beautiful environment...
This winter was so cold, dreary and harsh...

 Yah, that's a big snake plant....
 The textures and varigated pretty..

Silly fun at Easter time :)
Hee Hee...
Here comes Peter Cottontail....hopping down the bunny trail...
 All in all...
A wondrous day's adventure with friends in a magical Victorian place!

If you get a chance to visit these Botanical Gardens in Buffalo, please do so!

Road Warrior Tales

Leaving friends and saying goodbyes is never easy, even if you know you love each other and want to be together again in the future. Harry & I said our goodbyes to Dre & Max, Aidan,  Donna, and Jay & Abby on Monday morning and we set out on Rt. 41 North to head home the long drive out of Florida.  I posted my Angels each holding to a side of the car, one riding on the roof and another hovering under the belly of our carriage. Their wings outstretched and their strong, protective hands holding us safely, their eyes on the lookout for us along the way.

By the way, if you’ve never driven Florida, it’s a freaking LONG state. It’s almost as tedious long as Virginia with its’ up and down hills. We decided to forgo the mountains the last few times and brave Washington D.C. traffic instead for a shorter and less hilly route. But at least we had blue skies and palm trees to enjoy for awhile longer as we headed north. 

I even found some Cheladas at a "Flying J" to bring back to my friend Russ Tarby. Cheladas are that weird drink that I wrote about blogs ago (clamato juice and beer. I know. It sounded horrendous. But Russ entreats me that it's "quite refreshing on a hot day" so I'm bringing back 3 tall boys and we'll try it. I'm brave like dat. :) 

All was well until we reached 295 past Jacksonville, almost out of the state. A traffic jam of EPIC proportions. We sat in the left lane of 4 lanes of traffic, wedged in between tractor trailers, and creeped along for 2 hours. At one point we had gone a mile in one hour. But we kept ourselves amused playing “Sing a jingle” for the entire time.  (Any famous sales jingle or slogan was fair game. :)

FINALLY, the line of cars to Kingdom Come was allowed to break free of the pack and we all enjoyed being able to MOVE at a normal speed. Well, some of us moved at a normal speed. Other drivers were just plain ASSHOLES. There is something akin to convicts being held in prison and just getting let out on a crime spree when aggressive drivers are pent up in a traffic snarl for too long get loose. Harry is a VERY good driver. He is defensive and is always on the lookout being on the offense. He drove above the speed limit, within reason (i.e. cop approved fast but not insane fast). After all, our wondrous Suburu has 236,000 miles on her. She’s had her SECOND head gasket job this last October and well, we don’t fuck with pushing her too hard. We want to get home in one piece. 

There were how’ere, some folks who didn’t care how THEY got home as they were driving now on the Highway to Hell (insert ear worm here).

One guy pulled up next to us, with his left arm held out the window with his bird finger stiff and strong, pointed at us, passed us on the right, cut over 2 lanes in front of us closely, and CONTINUED giving the high flying salute for about 5 minutes down the road in front of us.
I’m sure his mother was proud of him.

The worst one in my opinion though is “the mean truck driver.” Yah, an asshole truck driver with an attitude, barreling down the road, on your ass, squeezing you against the guardrails and flashing high beams at EVERYONE is a danger to society. But then again, I try to think about who these people are. Maybe that fuck finger guy missed his flight at the airport stuck in traffic or had a fight with his girlfriend on his phone while stressed and stuck in traffic. (Harry is sure that guy DOESN’T have a girlfriend, but desperately needs one. God Save her) . Maybe that tractor trailer driver is now horrendously late and is now on penalty or got weighed. We can only hope its’ something like that and not that they are that aggressive and mean spirited all the time.

Road Rage isn't a pretty thing. It makes even beautiful people ugly.

We’ve been around some really angry, hateful people on this trip…aggressive drivers who constantly shout at the road, hate the other drivers and seem to blame everyone but themselves. It’s their funeral. I’m only hoping that they don’t take the rest of us out with them on the way. So much for Southern Graciousness, eh?

We pressed on. We got a room for the night in a Microtel and then got gas and breakfast in the morning. We like Waffle Houses. Some folks call them “Awful Houses” but we truly like the food. The hash browns are awesome and can be done any way you like them. I love them with onions, peppers and mushrooms. The waitress this morning was a plain lady. We almost thought she was “slow” at first when we were ordering. But no, she was just deliberate. When Harry started chatting with her about the weather, she came alive and well…this lady was actually a walking encyclopedia of Southern knowledge! What did we learn?

Well, if you can just imagine all the following the way it was stated….read the following in a heavy Southern drawl:

“We here are the Palmetto State. I wondered why so I went and Googled it and I found out that in wars the Palm tree bounces cannonballs off! In the war, Fort Sumter actually sunk some ships when the palm trees there receieved the blows, they would bend and send the cannonballs right back where they came from.”

“The term “High-Falootin’ comes from Mississippi River Boats who would have 2 levels of decks. The rich folks would stand up on the top deck by the smokestacks (the FLUTE) and so the poor folks on the lower decks would look up at the elite up top and call them folks, “high flutein” which then became “High Falootin.”

“The term “Riff Raff” was also coined then because the poor folks would use rafts sometimes and a stick or paddle called a “riff”. Thus if you used this mode of transportation you would be called “Riff Raft.” Which then dropped the “t” over time.”

“The term “y’all” is actually not for one but for describing many people. It’s short for Irish “Ye All”.  They just dropped the “e” over time and it became “y’all.”
To this I made her laugh. I said, “I thought the term “All Y’all” was the plural form for many down here. J
She looked at me, blankly at first, then laughed her head off.

It’s been a good trip over all. I've crocheted a lot, I've even practiced my mandolin for hours (to the delight of drivers next to us :) while Harry drove and we sang together while I played. I've read some of a couple of books a couple of my friends have written, and we've played the jingle game a lot. We have had the radio off the entire time, no cds, but we have sang a lot of classic Rock and trad tunes while we drive.

We are safe here this morn, in a Microtel in Hagerstown, MD. There is a storm coming in and we made as many miles we could yesterday to get beyond Washington and its traffic before rush hour this morning. The last straw was another accident on the exit right after we got off here. Just in the nick of time.
We head for home this day, hopefully racing ahead of a snowstorm coming in this morning in PA.

We can’t wait to see our doggy boy, Monty Joe, and his best buddy and our house sitter,Nick and to actually be in our own beds this night.


Catching my breath~

Hey Ho Mischievites!

I wanted to have a minute to sit down and catch you all up about our trip so far, but really haven't had a chance till now. It's 7am and I will have my first cup of coffee soon. I'm sitting in the lovely living room of Dre & Max Rousseau on a huge wrap around couch filled with other morning people having their coffee. Dre, Max, their son Aidan, Abby Michaels  and Harry are next to me, Donna Davenport across from me. We are having conversations about our dreams and catching up on our weekend.

When I left you last we had played a gig at The Celtic Ray Irish Pub. It was great! The next night we played at The Fort Myers Unitarian Universalist Church and had dinner with them and we were able to play a lot of music of an eclectic spiritual bent and I enjoyed it very much!  They enjoyed us as well. One of the absolute best things about this particular church is the social element of it. The space they have there is beautiful, for sure. They have great spaces for sitting, meditating, and for worship and also for friendship. I gave myself a most wonderful moment last night. As Harry was setting up the sound system at the Fort Myers UU Church in anticipation of our music set, I took the time to go check out the church. I wandered around the outside veranda and quad where there were rooms all around the garden in the center. There was one room where a fiddle lesson was going on with a teacher and a couple of young students learning to play a jig. The next room contained a men's study group who were all older men gathered and chatting friendly and intently. The next room was full of folks commenting on a seeming board meeting. There also seemed to be a Pastor's meeting going on in another....a women's group in another. All was wonderful to see this active alive social place on a Tuesday night! Our UU is very small for a congregation, but this made me very happy to see this beautiful large space so alive and fun and connected. The last stop for me before I went to work to sing was to find the sanctuary. The door was open. I went in and just sat in one of the pews and check out the space and meditated. A man came in and smiled at me, got something he was looking for and left. He said hi and I said, "what a beautiful sanctuary." He said, "yes it is indeed" and he left me to my thoughts.
It's good to take a moment for yourself and to ground before you give to others. 

Here is one of the church's spaces here....with fans and an open air meeting place.
 I love this space for a program too! How awesome is THIS????
 A very comfy place under the sky for a service, methinks!
 They even have a fire pit for some circle work!
 There is a garden in the quad that is in the center of the property that is completely wild and wonderful...

 Abby and I watched this little gekko for awhile....see him on the rock?
Some of these daytime pics are of the following day when we went back with Jay and Abby and found the labyrinth that the church had made in the wild wood lot on the church's property. It was a lovely meditative time together.

Orb. :)
 Deep breath. RELAAAAAXXXX....

 Walking in the woods together...
 Exploring the grounds....
 Enjoying my best buddy on a beautiful day
 Loving this day enjoyable and a break from stress in the sunshine...
And let's have some pics of the buddy boys, Harry and Jay now....

 A little mischief.... :)
OK, maybe a LOT of Mischief :)

I made a major lasagna pan and also some Caramel Pretzel Bark (which I have named "crack"...and with good reason....) was so nice of Dre to let me take over her kitchen for awhile!

The weekend at the faire was wonderful! Harry and I played with lots of other musicians: Will the Fiddler, Jason of "Jig to the Milestone", Darien of Empty Hats, Jay and Abby of The Harper & The Minstrel, The Harpies. We also played extra for a Medieval Feast on Saturday night.

 It was such a lovely fair, faire day.....

Look at that BLUE SKY!
Palm trees!
So gorgeous!

 A nice candid shot of my handsome friends Braze and Jay,,,
 And I asked Harry to take a pic of my new necklace and earrings set.

But he didn't get my earrings in the pic for some reason. :)

 It was also a real treat to have our northern Mischievites Lorie & Chris Finger come down for the faire! It felt like home with a rendition of "Whiskey in the Jar" with her and Ravyn and also an impromptu Garbaholics meeting!

Purple ladies! :)
 Purple stripey socks!
 Whiskey in the Jar!
 Mischievite Wenches!
Some more faire pics

We played THE MOST AMAZING version of "Our Mother the Mountain" with Jay & Abby for our finale for the pubsing. It was the best one EVER.

Here is a LINK for one of the versions we played, (thank you Max for catching it!)
Would you like to hear us?

CLICK HERE to hear "Our Mother the Mountain" with Merry Mischief and The Harper & The Minstrel

Home back at our home away from home here in Cape Coral we ate, drank and were merry and enjoy the folks here on our last evening, snuggling, laughing and chatting.
Here's a pic that just makes me happy. It's Dre and Max's backyard.

I'm very proud of the work that Harry & I did these last few weeks here and I am very blessed to have such happy, fun, and kind, loving friends here!
We are so happy to work for this faire. They have done so well in the community here, and they have top shelf entertainment and are damn nice to work for!

The Florida area has been fabulous and a real treat and a tonic to me a sun craving Central New Yorker.
 This weather is like a TONIC to me!
What a relief to get away from the freezing cold and dreary skies of my homeland right now.

We will be packing up the jingles, garb and the Suburu to start heading back north today. I will be sad to leave the sunshine and all my dear friends but am very grateful for the work...

and I miss my doggy Wagons Ho!