Trees Lost in Snellville due to Tropical Storm Irma

IMG_2487.JPG

A tree in my neighborhood lost to Tropical Storm Irma, Snellville, Georgia, September 12, 2017

After the Carribean, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Florida were hard-hit by Hurricane Irma, its effects were felt here in Snellville, Georgia after it traveled up the west coast of Florida early last week.

We lost power for almost 1.5 days in Tropical Storm Irma that came through this area.  Traditional schools were closed for three days, and online schools closed for one day.  If what we experienced was a tropical storm, I’ve definitely never seen a rain and wind storm whip around the trees as it did.  Its amazing that more trees did not fall than actually did.

IMG_2485.JPG

Another tree down in my neighborhood. Snellville, Georgia, September 12, 2017

In my neighborhood, alone, I counted six trees that fell after driving through my area, including a huge oak. With the heavy winds and the ground being saturated, trees with surface roots or those that were rotten fell easily.

IMG_2496.JPG

A fallen tree in my neighborhood. Snellville, Georgia, September 12, 2017

Just yesterday, in a nearby area, I observed power lines that were laying on the ground. Now, six days after the storm passed through, there are still people in my area who do not have electrical power.

IMG_2491.JPG

A couple of limbs that were ripped off of a tree in my neighborhood. Snellville, Georgia, September 12, 2017

Seeing the news on TV and the Internet of the damage that Irma did, my heart and prayers go out to everyone who weathered it.  May those who lost their lives rest in peace.  May those who are cleaning up and rebuilding get the help and support they need, quickly.

Mother Nature has shown that a category five hurricane is definitely something to take extremely seriously.

Gladiators v. Komets, January 2015 (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Gwinnett Gladiators v. Fort Wayne Komets, January 11, 2015, Duluth, Georgia

Gwinnett Gladiators v. Fort Wayne Komets, January 11, 2015, Duluth, Georgia

On January 11, 2015, my son and I took in a Gwinnett Gladiators hockey game at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.  The Gladiators played the Fort Wayne, Indiana Komets.  We watched a suspenseful game, including a goal being scored by the Gladiators seconds before the end of first period, the Gladiators getting down by the Komets by two or three goals in the second period, and the Komets ultimately walking away with the win by one goal in the end, 4-3.

We try to attend at least one hockey game per year, played by the Gwinnett Gladiators.  In two past years, my son has earned free tickets to attend two games accompanied by an adult, due to his excellent grades in school.  The dentists that care for the hockey players’ teeth have sponsored those tickets, and the games have always been enjoyable to attend.

Gwinnett Gladiators v. Fort Wayne Komets, January 11, 2015, Duluth, Georgia

Gwinnett Gladiators v. Fort Wayne Komets, January 11, 2015, Duluth, Georgia

Attending a Gwinnett Gladiators game is affordable, even without getting free tickets.  Though ticket prices have risen by a couple of dollars per ticket since last year, I do my best to make time to take my son to at least one game per year.  Having spent most of my life in Buffalo, the Buffalo Sabres are one of my all-time favorite sports teams.  Having lived in Georgia for the past 15 years, it is nice to be able to take my son to sports games of any type (especially hockey) in my local area that are fun to watch and affordable!

“The Beauty of a Spider’s Web” (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Dewey Spider Web, July 2013, Snellville, Georgia

Dewey Spider Web, July 2013, Snellville, Georgia

About one and a half weeks ago, I went outside early in the morning to take the trash to the curb for the week’s trash pick-up.  The first thing I noticed upon going outside was a lovely spider’s web in the grass near the driveway.  I was so moved at seeing this beautiful work of nature that I went back inside to get my camera and snap a few photos.  I am glad that I did. 

Spiders’ webs – especially those that are in great condition and still wonderfully intact – have been something that I have rarely observed this summer.  I believe that all of the wonderful, but heavily wet weather we have had during this unusually rainy summer has potentially decreased the number of spiders’ webs that have remained actually functional. 

Dewey Spider Web Close-up, July 2013, Snellville, Georgia

Dewey Spider Web Close-up, July 2013, Snellville, Georgia

So, while there may be few people who take notice of the beauty that can be found in a spider’s web, I would like to take this time to take notice of one of nature’s beautiful creations.  Don’t take the little things for granted.  Someday, they might not be there to notice and enjoy.

“Visiting the Georgia Aquarium” (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Dolphin, Playfully Blowing Bubbles, at the Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, July 9, 2013

Dolphin, Playfully Blowing Bubbles, at the Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, July 9, 2013

On July 9, 2013, my son and I visited the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta.  The visit was my third and my son’s fourth.  We had a lovely time viewing the aquatic animals and amphibians that are residents of this amazing water sanctuary.  On this visit, my son and I viewed every area, looking at and/or experiencing each display.  On past visits, there was so much to see that we did not have the opportunity to see everything.  This time, however, the soreness of our feet and ankles told us that we had walked far and had seen much.

Dolphin, Playfully Blowing Bubbles, at the Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, July 9, 2013

Dolphins Playing with each Other, Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, July 9, 2013

Something new that my son and I experienced on our most recent visit to the Georgia Aquarium was the Dolphin Tales Live Show, sponsored by AT&T.  This show can be described as an aquatic musical that includes actors, dolphins, and dolphin trainers/acrobats.  The jumps and tricks performed by the dolphins are beautiful and breath-taking, while the stunts accomplished by the dolphin trainers/acrobats are impressive, as well.  I would definitely suggest seeing the show; and I, myself, would see it again!

Beluga Whale, Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, July 9, 2013

Beluga Whale, Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, July 9, 2013

Because we live about one hour outside of Atlanta, we do not often have the opportunity to get to the Georgia Aquarium.  For someone of low income, the expense of visiting the Aquarium is something I can do about once every one or two years.  For an additional $50 added to our $70 in total tickets, I could have purchased annual memberships, though it would still be a drive for us.  Without any student or senior citizen discounts, paying the adult and child ticket prices, along with buying food, purchasing a couple of souvenirs, getting pictures developed, spending money for gas, and paying for parking, our visit amounted to about $150 for the two of us.

Whale Shark, Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, July 9, 2013

Whale Shark, Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, July 9, 2013

While the visit was an expense for us, we had a great time!  We love the Georgia Aquarium, and wish we could visit it more often.  Some of my son’s favorite animals at the Aquarium were the Beluga whales, rays, dolphins, jellyfish, and otters.  I have to agree that I enjoyed seeing those animals, as well as the frogs and toads, the many fishes, penguins, and the albino alligators.  We look forward to seeing these beautiful animals again on our next visit!

Manta Ray, Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, July 9, 2013

Manta Ray, Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, July 9, 2013

Following is more of my selected photo collection of pictures from our visit to the Georgia Aquarium:

Albino Alligator, Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, July 9, 2013

Albino Alligator, Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, July 9, 2013

My Son Touching a Ray in the "Petting" Pool, Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, July 9, 2013

My Son Touching a Ray in the “Petting” Pool, Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, July 9, 2013

Tropical Green Tree Frogs, Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, July 9, 2013

Tropical Green Tree Frogs, Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, July 9, 2013

Blue Angelfish, Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, July 9, 2013

Blue Angelfish, Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, July 9, 2013

Pacific Sea Nettle, Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, July 9, 2013

Pacific Sea Nettle, Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, July 9, 2013

Lionfish, Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, July 9, 2013

Lionfish, Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, July 9, 2013

I hope you enjoyed my post, and I hope you can visit the beautiful Georgia Aquarium soon!

“A Golden Fifty Years of Marriage” (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary, Dad and Mom, July 2013 (Photo by Emmett Clower, July 2002, Snellville, Georgia)

Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary, Dad and Mom, July 2013 (Photo by Emmett Clower, July 2002, Snellville, Georgia)

What does it mean to be married for 50 years?  My parents can tell you!  This month, July 2013, my parents are celebrating their golden wedding anniversary!  All I can say is, “Wow!” 

My parents are a living and true example of what it means to be married to each other for fifty years.  My parents were married in July 1963, very shortly after they both graduated from high school in Western New York State.  They have lived and grown together in married life during these past 50 years.  They have experienced many ups and downs in their lives, and have weathered and survived them. 

My parents are a true example of people who are meant to be together.  They seem to balance each other in personality; what one may lack, the other makes up for, and vice versa.  It has always been interesting to me that they both share the same astrological sign, though they seem to get along with and understand each other very well. 

My Parents on Their Wedding Day, July 1963, Gowanda, New York

My Parents on Their Wedding Day, July 1963, Gowanda, New York

I can say that, throughout the years, I have witnessed much love and forgiveness of my parents toward each other.  This, I believe, is the glue that has held their marriage together.  They have forgiven each other for the wrongs that they have done to each other – whether realized or not – and this outlook has helped them to reach such a monumental achievement.

In this age when most marriages likely don’t make it to a silver anniversary of 25 years, my parents have doubled that!  My marriage lasted 7.5 years, and the relationship, itself, endured for 9 years.  I have said to my former spouse that my parents experienced alot worse things in their lives than he and I ever did in our marriage, and my parents have remained loving, committed, and bonded to each other.  I asked my ex why we couldn’t achieve that, however it was just not possible.  People have to be willing to be open, loving, understanding, and forgiving of each other; some people simply are unable to be that way, and so, their marriages do not last. 

My parents celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary, July 2013, Snellville, Georgia

My Parents Celebrating Their 50th Wedding Anniversary, July 2013, Snellville, Georgia

In good, strong marriages, those who benefit the most from the stable and loving union are the children and grandchildren.  My parents have been wonderful role models for my brother and I, and also for my son – my parents’ only grandchild.  My parents’ strong, loving union has served as a beacon of hope for our family, in good times and in bad.  It is a great comfort to know that whatever happens in our lives, our parents (and grandparents in the experience of my son) are always there for us. 

Thanks, Dad and Mom, for remaining loving, committed, and loyal to each other through these many years.  You have achieved an amazing accomplishment, one that I never will and can only imagine and experience as an observer.  Congratulations and best wishes on celebrating your Golden Wedding Anniversary; and may God bless you!

“Christmas Lights Strung with Love” (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

A Home in my Area that has an Outstanding Christmas Lights Display, Synchronized to Music, December 2012

A Home in my Area that has an Outstanding Christmas Lights Display, Synchronized to Music, December 2012

There are a few homes in my immediate residential area in and around Snellville and Lilburn, Georgia, of which the owners have decked out their residences with amazing and breath-taking displays of Christmas lights.  In past years, there have been two homes, in particular, at which the Christmas lights have been extremely impressive and enjoyable.  Just this year, I located another home that has an outstanding display of Christmas lights, and it tops my list for my immediate residential area. 

Part of a Christmas Lights Display at a Home in my Area, December 2012

Part of a Christmas Lights Display at a Home in my Area, December 2012

I have taken opportunities this year – as in past years – to tour parts of my area to scout out, view, and enjoy homes with Christmas light displays.  Before Christmas, I was able to take my son and family on an outing to enjoy one such Christmas Light Tour.  It was great to view the displays, express our “Ooh” and “Ahhs,” and identify the parts of the displays that we liked the best. 

Another Part of a Christmas Lights Display at a Home in my Area, December 2012

Another Part of a Christmas Lights Display at a Home in my Area, December 2012

That was also an opportunity for my dad to tell my son about the Christmas light displays he fashioned, painted, and made in his younger years when I was just a baby or toddler.  It was good for my dad – and for me and my mom – to tell my son of what we remembered about my dad’s own festive and creative Christmas lights displays.  My dad recalled that for three consecutive years in our small town in Western New York State that he earned the winning cash award for his displays.  He also remembered that the competition was discontinued when it was realized that no one could defeat his artistic craftsmanship.  For that, he is very proud, and he was able to share that pride with my son.

An Impressive Display of Christmas Lights in my Area, December 2012

An Impressive Display of Christmas Lights in my Area, December 2012

Similarly, I can imagine the pride and joy that is felt by those home-owners who adorn their own houses and yards with 100s of Christmas lights.  There are so many lights that fill the darkness that one can see their glow before even arriving in view of the homes.  I have been able to personally express my gratitude and appreciation to two of the three home-owners at which my favorite three Christmas lights displays can be viewed.  The third home-owner is a professional contractor whom I have not yet met, though a number of photos of his displays are included within this article.

Another Festive Display of Christmas Lights in my Local Area, December 2012

Another Festive Display of Christmas Lights in my Local Area, December 2012

While my family has our own small display of Christmas lights that we can view in our back yard from our dining room picture window, we very much appreciate and enjoy everyone’s festive and decorative Christmas lights for the holiday season.  Most especially, we appreciate all of the time, effort, creativity, expense, and love that is invested into the most impressive of all of the Christmas lights displays.  I take the opportunity whenever I can during the holidays to view and enjoy these displays with my son and family.

“Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All!” (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Nativity Scene at Maranatha Baptist Church, Lilburn, Georgia, December 2012

Nativity Scene at Maranatha Baptist Church, Lilburn, Georgia, December 2012

Christmas and our celebration of Jesus’ birth is upon us once more as we close out yet another great year!  There is always so much for which to be thankful, particularly the coming of Jesus, and his love for us that is so great and boundless that he suffered and died for us to save us from our own sinfulness.  Though we will always be human – and have all of the mistakes, unworthiness, and errors that come with it – we must always do our best to be more like Jesus.  We must act in ways that are forgiving, understanding, sensitive, compassionate, and giving to others and each other.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from us.  St. John Neumann Church Nativity Scene, Christmas 2012, Lilburn, Georgia

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from us. St. John Neumann Church Nativity Scene, Christmas 2012, Lilburn, Georgia

While most people throughout the world are Christians, celebrating Christmas and recognizing Jesus as our wonderful savior, there are many who celebrate other religious events and holidays.  For them, I also wish a wonderful religious celebration and/or holiday. 

My Son Standing Next to the Nativity Scene at St. Oliver Plunkett Church, Feast of the Epiphany, Snellville, Georgia, January 2013

My Son Standing Next to the Nativity Scene at St. Oliver Plunkett Church, Feast of the Epiphany, Snellville, Georgia, January 2013

So, as I have been blogging on WordPress, now, for the past one year, I would like to take this opportunity to say, “Happy Birthday, Jesus!”, and reflect with this posting that I am a thankful lover of Jesus.  Though my words and actions as a Roman Catholic and Christian will always pale miserably and indescribably in comparison to our Savior, I always try to do my best to have my words and actions reflect His love.

Nativity Scene at St. John Neumann School, Lilburn, Georgia, December 2012

Nativity Scene at St. John Neumann School, Lilburn, Georgia, December 2012

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!  May love, blessings, peace, prosperity, good health, and happiness be enjoyed by everyone!

“Enjoy a Performance of ‘The Nutcracker!'” (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

 

Decorative Wooden Nutcracker

Decorative Wooden Nutcracker

Yesterday afternoon, I treated my family to a wonderful holiday performance of The Nutcracker!  The performance was given by the Gwinnett Ballet Theatre at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center in Duluth, Georgia.  My son, ex-husband, and me enjoyed a beautiful, lively, creative, colorful, and musical ballet experience!  It is also our second time viewing any performance at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center, the first being a dance recital in which my son performed with his dance school about three years ago.

Two years ago, I also took my son and my parents to enjoy a performance of The Nutcracker at the Fox Theater in Atlanta.  I must say that, although the Fox Theater is more historic and majestic, and the dancers in the Atlanta Ballet are more experienced, the performance that we saw yesterday of the Gwinnett Ballet Theatre performers was heart-warming and beautiful!  

Nutcracker Patch from the Gwinnett Ballet Theatre Performance of The Nutcracker, December 9, 2012

Nutcracker Patch from the Gwinnett Ballet Theatre Performance of The Nutcracker, December 9, 2012

There was so much in the performance that was outstanding!  I absolutely loved the performances of the Little Baby Mouse and Baby Mice – the adorable children dancers; Clara; Fritz; Herr Drosselmeyer; the Nutcracker; the Soldiers; the Ice Princesses and Snow Queen; Angels; Dew Drop Fairy; Sugar Plum Fairy; Spanish Dancers; Chinese Dancers; Russian Dancers; Arabian Dancers; and Polichinelles along with Mother Ginger.  Of course, all of the dancers were amazing; and the costumes and sets were stunning and breath-takingly beautiful, as well!

Music played by the Gwinnett Ballet Theatre Orchestra was exceptional and inspiring.  It was a wonderful teaching moment for me to reinforce the importance and appreciation of music and musical instruments to my son, in addition to the beauty of the ballet.  We especially liked the violinists, harpist, clarinetists, and keyboardist,  just to identify a few.

Tickets for a December 6, 2012 Gwinnett Ballet Theatre Performance of The Nutcracker

Tickets for a December 6, 2012 Gwinnett Ballet Theatre Performance of The Nutcracker

Tickets to see the performance given by the Gwinnett Ballet Theatre were also more affordable, there was no additional cost for parking, and there was less concern about crowds, traffic, and highway driving conditions.  With the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center located closer to my home, it was much more convenient and economical to view a more local ballet performance.

How wonderful it is to have such a wonderful ballet company and associated orchestra so close to home that offers such excellent performances at affordable prices and that is conveniently-located!  If you are able, I encourage the viewing of the performance of The Nutcracker.  There will be yet more performances of this heart-warming holiday ballet this coming weekend by the Gwinnett Ballet Theatre at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center.  Come and enjoy an oustanding ballet!

Mighty and Majestic Niagara Falls (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Niagara Falls, Canada “Horseshoe Falls” View with Maid of the Mist, June 2012

Growing up near Niagara Falls, my family visited this wondrous natural miracle during my childhood.  As a college student at the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB), friends and I would also take trips to the Falls to view it’s amazing might and majesty, particularly at night when it was illuminated with spotlights of every color. 

Into adulthood, I continued to visit the Falls for an afternoon here and there, being both exhilarated by the thunderous roar of the water crashing down at it’s base, as well as by the peaceful serenity of the beautiful, rushing waters.  Visiting the Falls in an afternoon to enjoy this natural beauty, it was typically peaceful and not busy, so I could enjoy a picnic lunch or snack there.

Niagara Falls, Canada – View of the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls, June 2012

It had long been a desire to take my young son to visit and enjoy the might and majesty of the amazing and miraculous Niagara Falls.  Taking that opportunity in June 2012, we spent an afternoon in Canada and viewed the Falls – the American Falls, the Bridal Veil Falls, and the Horseshoe Falls – both from the ground as well as from atop the Skylon Tower.  Both the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls are located in Niagara Falls, New York, while the Horseshoe Falls are in Niagara Falls, Canada.

Niagara Falls, Canada – Partial View of Water Falling over the Horseshoe Falls, June 2012

Waiting until I was an adult in order to sail on a Maid of the Mist boat, the experience of sailing as close to the Horseshoe Falls as possible was invigorating and thrilling.  Only once in my life have I sailed on the Maid of the Mist.  I would have done so again on this trip, though my son did not feel comfortable with the thought of being so close to the thunderous Falls.  And, I don’t blame him – after all, I was an adult in my mid-20’s before I did so.

My Son and the Horseshoe Falls of Niagara Falls, Canada, June 2012

Rather than sailing on the Maid of the Mist, my son and I viewed the Falls from the enormous height of the observation deck on the Skylon Tower, feeling the strong winds into which we had to force our weight in order to walk.  The view from such a height caused the Falls to appear much smaller and somewhat less significant than they actually are.

Niagara Falls, Canada – Zoomed-in View of the Horseshoe Falls with Maid of the Mist from atop the Skylon Tower, June 2012

Still, the view of the Falls from atop the Skylon Tower was breath-taking as my son and I enjoyed looking at them – as well as the surrounding area that we could see for miles (I mean ‘kilometers’) around.  That was just fine for us.  

We had a lovely visit, and my son can now say that he is an international traveler, having used his passport for the first time on this trip to Niagara Falls, Canada!

The direct link for this blog post is at http://wp.me/p25c1A-aJ.