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Monthly Archives: December 2013

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Movie Buff

I've turned into a movie buff. Why not? Movies are a great escape and completely entertaining.

I’ve turned into a movie buff. Why not? Movies are a great escape and completely entertaining.

As 2013 comes to a close, I must admit, I have turned into a “movie buff”. Why not? Movies are entertaining and millions upon millions of dollars are spent creating them and we have the luxury to sit back and watch all those years of work for a mere 10 dollars and 2 hours of our time. I have not always been a movie buff. No way. Years, decades have gone by without me stepping into a theatre. The price of the movie ticket, the cost of a babysitter, other things going on – the reasons were endless. But now, I can find bargain 7 dollar nights and bonus cards and free passes and all sorts of temptations to get me there. It’s fun. It’s educational too. It’s fantastic entertainment. I love coming away from a movie and googling more information about the film. I am a sucker for the movies that are “based on a true story.” There is always something you want to see or haven’t had a chance to see.  Let me add, I usually go alone to the movies. Sure, I go with my husband a lot but most of the time he’s not interested. Don’t feel sorry for a woman sitting alone in the movies. She may be very content and happy. She may be Poodle Walker. She is no doubt happy as a clam. I try never to buy the popcorn and pop. I mean, it is so grossly over priced. But, if you absolutely have to have it – go for the Zap Pack at Regal. About 6 bucks for a drink, popcorn and gummy pack. Not bad. Here is a tip. Don’t panic if you are late for the movies. The previews are getting out of control and last 20 minutes. Here is a short review of the movies I have seen this year.

Monster University – Brillant but could be 15 minutes shorter.

Blue Jasmine – Living a life of deception can only last so long.

Gravity – After watching this movie, I became a better breather and realized why I never dreamed of being an astronaut.

Captain Phillips- I am still wondering how the pirates on the little fishing boat were able to get inside the massive cargo ship. We are all at the mercy of where we are born. What if our sons were born in Somami?

12 Years A Slave – Is this really our country’s history? Painful and difficult yet redemptive. You will be proud of the North.

Philomena – Sad and humorous at times. There is something in this movie that everyone can relate to even non Catholics. Don’t judge our faith from this movie.

Anchorman The Legend  Continues – Lame.

Hunger Games. Catching Fire – I could not see the original Hunger Games fast enough. Completely engrossed. The whole idea of government conspiracy and what is real and what is just media is on the button.

Delivery Man- We all need someone in our corner. Encourage one another. Be there especially for your kids.

Last Vegas- Your youth stays with you your whole life and so does your first love.

Frozen- Sisterly love. A great message for sibling love and sacrifice.

Saving Mr. Banks – Redemption and forgiveness. Make the best out of life. California takes hits but ends up on top.

Grudge Match- What could have been a great family movie turned raunchy with the over done references to a son named Bradley James (BJ). Crude. Rude. And why does Hollywood insist on using the Lord’s name in vain? Cringe. Bonus- Funny poke at the Buffalo Bills for their 4 Super Bowl loses and beautiful scenery of Pittsburgh.

Favorite movie of 2013?

Rush- Competition makes us all try a little harder in life. Our unique personalities give us all advantages and disadvantages.

 

The Joy of Christmas Cards

A funny thing happened in the evolution of Christmas cards. Cards became photos. Photos made the cards more interesting and personal. Children grow up right before our eyes year and year.  No doubt about it, I am a fan of the photo Christmas card. Thank you for sending them.

Photo Christmas cards are more interesting and more personal.

Photo Christmas cards are more interesting and more personal.

Yes, I am one of those who write a letter and include a picture. It's worth the time and effort.

Yes, I am one of those who write a letter and include a picture. It’s worth the time and effort. And they are written all in fun.

Who enjoys sitting around and reading cards and letter more than our family? I’m not sure. Even in this day and age of social media over load, my husband said to me “it’s more important than ever before to connect on a personal level and send them out with a stamp and good wishes”. So thank you for sending them. Thank you for connecting. Christmas cards are important not only in our personal life but also in our professional life. Who doesn’t find a card heartwarming in the office workplace from someone or company that appreciates your work? I enjoy going to the post office and selecting the Christmas stamps and seeing the new designs each year. Oh yes, I have a Christmas stamp collection too. Some may find that it is too difficult to gather the children together and take a picture, select one, get them made up, mail them out, etc. etc. “Forget it!” Oh, I have learned to take the picture in the late summer or Fall when everyone is home and you take the stress of the Christmas card right off your plate. And since I have been doing the photo card and letter since 1987, I have it down to a science. Don’t get discouraged. Don’t worry about the haters. Anyone can criticize. Simply send joy and Rejoice. Merry Christmas!

 

Ladies Brunch

Who does not love breakfast food? Host a ladies brunch.

Who does not love breakfast food? Host a ladies brunch.

 

Proud to say that is my plate.

Proud to say that is my plate.

Oh the joy of being invited to a ladies brunch. Quiche. Sausage. Fruit. Salad. Pastry Assortment. Sparkling Water. Champagne. Even little dishes of almonds and mints scattered around the table. Coffee and conversation. Brunch is a combination of breakfast and lunch usually served in the late morning and can last into the early afternoon. Brunch is a popular choice on Easter Sunday and Mother’s Day. This brunch was held the Saturday before Christmas. Instead of racing around and shopping we shared each other’s company and it was just what the doctor ordered. Oh, and no need to leave the gentlemen out. They love brunch too. This particular brunch just happened to be just ladies. Cheers to salad and champagne at 11 am. I mean, it’s almost 12noon.

 

Christmas Collections

My favorite discovery! Lori has made a display of all her photo Christmas cards beginning in 1992 the year their first daughter arrived. Santa and Kirby the dogs are frequently featured.

My favorite discovery! Lori Vossler has made a display of all her photo Christmas cards beginning in 1992 the year their first daughter arrived. 3 daughters later it is a cherished reminder how the years fly by. Santa and Kirby the dog are frequently featured. Kirby is a Great Pyrenees.

Oh, the nutcrackers! Oh, the stockings that are hung! Oh, the villages and trees! Oh, the Oreo cookie tins! Oh, the mantle places! Discovering all the traditions out there has been such a treat. It is so much fun to see what goes on inside the homes of Buff-A-Looooo. My goodness. Can anyone really move? The collections we accumulate out there in our homes!! Ok minimalists out there, we are making memories and cherished ones at that!  Let me share some of the pictures with you. See the collections of just a few friends and neighbors. Thank you for letting me inside your homes.

Lori has handmade needlepoint stockings that are hung with care.

Lori has handmade needlepoint stockings that are hung with care.

Pam Strickland carefully displays her Precious Moments nativity and angle collection on her mantle place. Pam remembers driving to Canada to complete the set back in the day when the US dollar gave you a great exchange rate. I mean, half the fun is the memory you create collecting your pieces.

Pam Strickland carefully displays her Precious Moments nativity and angle collection on her mantle place. Pam remembers driving to Canada to complete the set back in the day when the US dollar gave you a great exchange rate. I mean, half the fun is the memory you create collecting your pieces.

Notice in this picture that even the top of the tree is decorated with a Precious Moment tree topper angel. The Strickland family believes if you are going to go artificial in your tree -why fake it and go green? Be artificial all the way and go glistening white. Besides, the ornaments show up much better.

Julie Snyder started collecting Oreo cookie tins by accident in the 1990's. She collected an entire decade till Oreo decided not to make them anymore. The cookie tins are pulled out every year much to the delight of her friends that called her crazy for collecting them back then.

Julie Snyder started collecting Oreo cookie tins by accident in the 1990’s. She collected an entire decade till Oreo decided not to make them anymore. The cookie tins are pulled out every year much to the delight of her friends that called her crazy for collecting them back then. They really are so cute and classic looking.

 

Julie Snyder likes all the whimsey on her mantle place with a little bit of this and a little bit of that. It's a treat for the eyes.

Julie Snyder likes all the whimsey on her mantle place with a little bit of this and a little bit of that. It’s a treat for the eyes.

The nutcrackers. A classic.

The nutcrackers. A classic.

The Village!! The reason I went over to Lori's house in the first place. A wonderful collection yet I was more taken up with her Christmas photo card collection of her family.

The Village!! The reason I went over to Lori’s house in the first place. A wonderful collection yet I was more taken up with her Christmas photo card collection of her family.

Kirby. The 10 year old Great Pyrenees male dog who is slowing down a but but a big part of the Vossler home.

Meet Kirby. The 10 year old Great Pyrenees male dog who is slowing down a bit but a big part of the Vossler home.

Enjoy your mantle place, your fire place, your decorations, your traditions, your family, and memories you create each year.

Enjoy your mantle place, your fire place, your decorations, your traditions, your family, and memories you create each year.

Keep in mind, whatever you put up, you must take down. HO Ho. Sorry. Pass the eggnog and Cheers! Here’s to all the beautiful homes out there in Buffalo.

 

 

 

 

Time to Unwrap the Poodles

Some people collect nutcrackers, Byers Choice, or Spode China for Christmas. I prefer the poodle ornaments.

Some people collect nutcrackers, Byers Choice, or Spode China for Christmas. I prefer the poodle ornaments.

I’m having fun inviting myself over to different houses to see what the heck people collect at Christmas. Stay tuned! It will be my next blog. Traditions give our family some uniqueness and comfort. I mean, who doesn’t live for the continuation of craziness of figurine collections year after year? I’m sure my own family thinks I’m a little nuts to collect poodle ornaments. Forgive me; they may seem tacky to you but not for me. Every year at this time when I pull them out to hang on the tree, I am reminded how much these little glitzy fake poodles mean to me. You know, sometimes you forget how much something means to you until you experience it again. I’m not just thinking about Christmas items we drag out of our attic once a year. It can also be an organization or club you were part of, a past job and people that you got to know, or even a group of friends or old neighbors you have not gone out with in a while. Connect, reach out and continue the good things out there. Oh, and if you see any poodle ornaments hanging around; by all means, you know who to call.

Our Lady of Seneca Street

Our Lady of Seneca Street can be found at 847 Seneca Street.

Our Lady of Seneca Street can be found at 847 Seneca Street.

You can see how playwright Tom Dudzick let his imagination go wild over a simple shrine dedicated to the Blessed Mother on Seneca Street in Buffalo. He wrote and directed a play called “Miracle On South Division Street” that is showing now at the Kavinoky Theatre at D’Youville College. The play is clever and well acted but a bit of the “kick in the pants” to devote Catholics and traditional Polish Mothers out there. But I also certainly got the message that we are not always who we think we are, we are all more alike than we think, and mothers cannot control the lives of their children. It was done with humor and creativity. The true story is one of a barber named Joe Battaglia who in the 1950’s saw a vision of the Blessed Mother outside his window and was so moved he vowed to build her a shrine. The shrine was well maintained by Battaglia until his death. In the 1980’s the City of Buffalo purchased the shrine with the intention to tear it down. Fortunately a group of preservationists bought the shrine and is now maintained by those who are interested in continuing the shrine that Battaglia built. You can see how Dudzick made up a doozie story based on the statue not looking like a traditional Blessed mother with a modern day look to her in her clothes, hair and crown. I need to thank Dudzick for creating the play or I would not have been inspired to drive down Seneca Street and see for myself the actual shrine in which the play is based. RIP Mr. Battaglia and thank you for your devotion and conviction and for making Seneca Street a little more scenic.

How interesting that directly behind the shrine is the parking lot that the City of Buffalo owns. NOw you know where to go if you are looking for emergency parking in the snow.

How interesting that directly behind the shrine is the parking lot that the City of Buffalo owns. Now you know where to go if you are looking for emergency parking in the snow.

Pete Brings The Cup Home

Pete Hassen returns the Stanley Cup to his home in Buffalo. Thank you Pete!!

Pete Hassen returns the Stanley Cup to his home in Buffalo. Thank you Pete!! Here he is hugging his sister Pam. 

Pam shares the same enthusiastic spirit as her brother Pete.
Pam shares the same enthusiastic spirit as her brother Pete. Here we are together.

 

It must be a great feeling to come home and be able to share your joy and success with your hometown. We were all feeling the love when Pete Hassen, the Senior Executive Director of Marketing for the Chicago Black Hawks shared the excitement of the Stanley Cup with family, friends and neighbors. All of Buffalo knows that Patrick Kane is from Buffalo and scored the game winner in the 2010 Stanley Cup final and that he was the Conn Smythe MVP Player in the 2013 Stanley Cup finals. Buffalo is feeling a real connection with this Chicago Black Hawk Team. But let’s not forget Pete! Let’s hear it for the Senior Director of Marketing! Pete Hassen is the youngest of 5 children and grew up in Tonawanda, NY. One of 4 boys and 1 sister, (Fred, Paul, Kevin and Pam) Pete has always been into sports and played baseball and basketball as a kid. Of course he followed the Bills and Sabres. After attending St. Christophers, Sweet Home High School, Buffalo State and Central Michigan he started on his career in Public Relations. Pete worked for Empire Sports Network, The Buffalo Sabres, Delaware North and the Chicago Blackhawks. Now Pete is branding the Black Hawks. Watching Pete graciously receive family, friends and neighbors to the Electric Tower in Buffalo and serve up Spot Coffee and Paula’s Donuts (you gotta go local) you couldn’t help but feel his triumph. Pete stands 6’5″ tall, is strikingly handsome with a vibrant smile. His sister Pam has the same smile. Lucky for us Pete enjoys coming home and visiting his family who all still live in WNY. Oh wait, Paul and family moved to Virginia but his heart remains in Buffalo. Trying on the massive Stanley Cup ring and getting our picture taken with the Stanley Cup was a memorable moment for all of us. We are so thankful Pete chose to bring the Cup back to Buffalo for Thanksgiving. Oh, and Pete if you heard some heckler in the crowd shout your name when you ran past running the Turkey Trot who just happened to have a camera with her, aww, well, it was me. Go Pete Go!

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Pete Hassen, the Senior Executive Director of Marketing for the Chicago Black Hawks was spotted running the Turkey Trot 2013.

 

 

Little Things Mean A Lot

Let the streak continue. He is on week 4 of making a batch of chili to pass out to busy family members.

Let the streak continue. He is on week 4 of making a batch of chili to pass out to busy family members.

You may remember how Evan likes to make his own peanut butter. That’s not it.  A few weeks back, Evan decided to make chili for Sunday night gatherings. He chops and dices and opens cans and gets it all simmering in the crock pots and then races off to mass. He gets 3 crock pots going! Quite frankly, he is starting to make me feel like a slug. But, I’ll make it. I’ll give him credit.  He makes a triple batch with a mixture of ground round, ground turkey, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, celery, bell peppers, some spices and a little corn starch, honey and sugar. I was a little shocked too about the corn starch, honey and sugar. He claims just a tad to thicken and to take away the acid. Who cares? Little things matter. It warms us up on the inside and he gives out an extra batch for the next day. It’s not spicy. It’s not fancy. It’s not vegan. It’s not white bean and chicken. It’s not going to entered into a chili cook off. Please no. It’s delicious. But it’s not gonna be featured in Gourmet Magazine. It’s a act of love and one that we cherish. Keep it up Evan. Keep it up! We got December, January, February, March……Stay tuned.