East Coast trip - Week 1 in the books!
What a whirlwind week of travel - visiting friends and family back East.
First stop; Princeton, NJ, to see one of my favorite peeps. Terri and I have been friends through our single life, married life, and raising boys life. We have walked bazillions of miles together since '98 when we first met in San Francisco. A few Avon Breast Cancer 60-mile walks together, evening strolls through the city, hikes over the Golden Gate, and into Marin. So, of course, in 2 days, we did a hike through the beautiful woods in Princeton, plus a city walk around the University + shops.
Shuffling off from Princeton, NJ to Buffalo, NY.
I grew up in East Amherst, NY and my mom currently lives across the street from our old house. It's always great to come back and see what has changed in the neighborhood and what has stayed the same!
I made plans with Terri Kasimov right away, as she can fill you up with a bucket of inspiration like no other. I was the lucky one who grew up next door to Terri during my pre-teen years; she became a big influence on me during that time. She is an incredible artist with a heart of gold, and she's full of generosity and love. Whenever I make a trip to Buffalo, I make sure I get to spend a day with her. We took a walk around the Museum Historical area where she lives, looked at the progress of the Albright Knox Art Gallery, and ran into the Art Director and head Architect on the massive rebuild. Of course, they knew Terri by name; she is quite an art celebrity. The new Albright Knox Gallery, now called AKG will become one of the finest in the country, if not the world when it's open in 2023.
Up next, I spent the next day with my mom at her Annual Harvest Happening, a big fundraiser for her Decorative Painters Society. Over 200 people attended. Each table was decorated by a head artist, and all the place settings had a wonderful piece of art for you to take home. Lots of auctions, basket bidding, and a great split club that went toward, Girls on the Run - a fabulous nonprofit to help girls with self-esteem through running.
I also got to meet in person a few amazing painters and community members of my FB creative group. Judy and Pat - who happened to be wearing my scarves too! So fun!
To make the most of the glorious weather, I took my mom to Ellicottville to see the beautiful fall foliage. This sweet town is the name of the game if you like to ski in Buffalo (side story - I went once and landed in the ER, skiing is still not my sport!). We took the Sky Lift up and back at one of the ski runs, went shopping, and ended up at Dinas for a late dinner/early lunch - delicious! Dina probably wouldn't remember me, but when we first moved to the States in the mid '70s, my sister and I went down over to her house and watched The Bay City Rollers on TV - we danced and laughed, and I fell in love with the band. Their posters lined my walls. I'll never forget how much fun that was!
The next day I met my Dad, and his partner Debbie at Mulberry. Another fabulous restaurant where I always order my favorite - fried mozzarella. Nothing beats that, and their sauce is sooooooo delicious. I'll be heading over to my Dads this weekend to watch the Bills football game!
To wrap up the first week Mom and I decided to go into Canada now that all the Covid restrictions are over with crossing. Going into any country always gives me some anxiety as I've had a few problems before with my passport and green card issues (stolen in Spain, wrong greencard in UK, expired green card in Barbados) - there's more, I will spare you the details!
So we head over to Niagara Falls, CAN. Get to the border, and Mom hands over her expired Green Card! Yikes. I look at the officer and ask - can I just do a U-turn? We will go home and get her the correct one (she lives only 20 minutes away). But nooooo.... not that easy.
An hour wait to get the paperwork to get back to the US, and then as we drive over the bridge we get in a lane for the border check. We, unfortunately, picked lane 13 (no numbers listed, but we later found out it was 13). The man in the booth was the MEANEST and RUDEST man I've ever dealt with at a crossing; he was so rude to my mom that I wanted to jump out of the car and punch his lights out (which of course, I did not, and smiled politely just so we could get back in the country). Another hour later, sitting inside the customs border building we were finally allowed to leave. So much for a quick U-turn.
We made the most of the day as it was beautiful out and walked around the American side of the falls, and had a fabulous lunch at the Red Coach Inn. We got home, my mom found her correct green card, and we will try again next week! Whew, that's a lot in a few days.