Thursday, March 5, 2015

random thoughts in NYC

another direction
New York remains what it has always been: a city of ebb and flow, a city of constant shifts of population and economics, a city of virtually no rest. It is harsh, dirty, and dangerous, it is whimsical and fanciful, it is beautiful and soaring – it is not one or another of these things but all of them, all at once, and to fail to accept this paradox is to deny the reality of city existence.
~Paul Goldberger~
The Tree with Merry Christmas Tuba
In December, I was given a gift from my wonderful husband that allowed me to put a checkmark beside another one of my bucket list items: Experience New York City at Christmastime.
home of the RockettesI kept telling myself to keep my expectations low. I did not want to go in with over exaggerated whims and notions...just in case.
Not even being seated in the last row of the airplane, without a window, mind you, could bring my spirits down. I was so excited. Writing about it now makes me excited about it all over again.
About that window comment...
Just to clarify, our row was windowless. I was in the "window seat", but there was no window. And, the view out of the one in front of me? All engine. So random, it was comical.
crazy huge Christmas lights in NYCNot so comical was the drama taking place across the row from us in the other windowless last row. A lady and man were first at odds over who would sit by the nonexistent window. Then, she said she could not even sit by him at all because he had a cold. She wanted the flight attendants to find someone for her to sit by that did not have a cold. (I cannot make this stuff up.) Someone from the gate came in to talk with her after the on-board attendants were getting nowhere fast. Not for sure she remained on our flight. It was hard to see very far up the aisle as she was escorted went in search for the perfect seat and neighbor.
As we landed, entered what seemed to be a futuristic terminal at LGA because of it's modern flair, and moved on to find our car that would take us to our hotel, I realized this was going to be an absolute dream-come-true kind of trip. Way better than Disney. I already wanted to return and I hadn't even left the airport grounds on my first trip.
swingingOh, but it became even better as the hours and days went on. The walks through the city, the first meandering through Central Park, and the food...oh, my, the availability and abundance of food of any and all kinds.  Let's just say I am thankful and grateful for stairs and long city blocks. I had my Shakeology and workouts along, though, too. They are my must have travel companions these days.
As time allowed, the City became one grand adventure after another.
Ever stop and think about the random things that go through your mind as you experience something for the first time?  I do.
Then, some time later, I get around to sharing them here.
As I was swinging in Central Park, looking over the playground to the landscape that so beautifully and majestically surrounds it, the things I had seen and experienced thus far on my adventure in NYC came to mind and I smiled a very content smile.

ice skating in Central ParkWow!  My word to sum up anything new, surprising, beautiful, or unbelievable.  Not new to my vocabulary when visiting a new place.  Heard over and over and over again. Funny thing, I do not ever realize how often I am repeating it.  Some times exclaimed, others whispered; it always means the same thing.  I lost count at the number of times I said this while in NYC, but I know it was often.
Just like on TV, but so. much. better.  All the traffic, people, yellow taxis, skyscrapers, sounds, Christmas lights...it was just like you see in the movies or on TV.  Add in the element of surprise, simple gestures, a feeling of excitement, and the swirling, sometimes competing, aromas that tease your sense of smell, and one has a much better understanding and, perhaps, appreciation of the city and the people who call it home.
fellow XerStrangers are just friends you haven't met yet.  Took the opportunity to meet up with a Beachbody coach who works in NYC, with whom I became friends via an accountability group.  So glad it worked out to meet up and put a voice with a face.  He is a fellow Xer, if you can't tell from the photo. Thanks for the hat and coffee, Bob! #bringit
breakfast spotIf it works...  Really, why fix something that works?  We may have eaten breakfast at the same cafe on more than one occasion.  Why?  Because it was a great place to eat, relatively a short walk away from our hotel, and it made sense.  Sometimes the best things are the most simple of things.
Working out pays off in real life.  My least favorite workouts are cardio ones. I do them. I even celebrate finishing them completely. But, I do not like them.  Their influence on my overall health, however, is worth every second of agony that I may or may not experience when pushing play.  This was proven by how well I held up after walking and making my way through crowds all day, every day in the city.  Miles of city blocks logged in a matter of a few days makes one appreciate the benefits of steady exercise.
Getting lost is just finding a new way to get somewhere.  I will be honest.  I was so busy taking in the sights around me, I paid little attention to how we were actually getting anywhere.  Aside from heading the wrong direction on the subway once, we were never really lost.  We weren't lost then, either, really.  We were just heading in the wrong direction.  All of the streets and intersections and landmarks to take note of just reminded me that there are more ways than one to get somewhere.
taxi ride"They" are often wrong.  Those people who comprise the "They" in the infamous "They say" statements are wrong about the people in NYC.  We found everyone we encountered to be so very nice and helpful.  Especially so, were two ladies we met at dinner at Bobby Van's on our first night in the city and a business man in the subway tunnel upon our exit from the wrong one in search of the correct one.  The two women took the seats to our left at the bar since the restaurant was slammed.  We began chatting with them. They are best friends who always come to the City for a day during Christmastime to see the lights, window displays, the tree, and eat at Bobby Van's.  A yearly tradition together.  They gave us all kinds of recommendations and chatted away with us about what they though was a "must see" while in town.  The gentleman in the subway did not even hesitate when he saw us headed for the map.  He simply asked "Where you headed?", joined us at the map, and kindly told us how to get where we needed to be.       
Do scary things.  Take a NYC taxi.  Enough said.

view from the 86th floorA new perspective does one good.  Go to new heights; get a look at the world around you from a different view.  Feel on top of the world.  Stand beside a tall building and look straight up; realize there will always be bigger and more powerful things than you.  Feel comfortable in your own shoes.
M&M's World
Temptations are everywhere.  Large cities used to intimidate me. For more than one reason, but there's no need to list them all separately.  Walking under the M&M's World sign reminded me that even so called "innocent" things are temptations that need to be avoided just like the lesser good things.  The things that make us uncomfortable or that we believe to be or could be wrong are no more or less a temptation than that of lesser evils.  We can fall under the influence of socially acceptable temptations that lead to poor choices and unhealthy consequences perhaps even more quickly than those that we take great effort to avoid.   
Grand Central StationBalance matters.  The person who designed this archway is not OCD in any way, shape, or form.  This caught my eye as soon as I glanced its way.  It would drive me crazy to have to see this everyday.  I feel left so unbalanced when there is a lack of symmetry.  It applies to life as well.  A balance is necessary to feel whole in your relationships, your spiritual life, and your health.  Finding the place where there is allotted time for each and all work well together, for your optimum benefit, will lead to a better you so that you can serve others more effectively and efficiently. 
The RockettesKeep it classy.  Who doesn't love the Rockettes?  I sat there, enjoying the Christmas Spectacular, wondering why little girls' dance performances cannot have more classy wardrobes.  These beautifully dressed women should be the role models for little girls, not some scantily clad rockstars.  Probably another good reason God gave me boys...just being honest.
found hopeIce Ladder #16Help and Hope are never far away.  A lesson that reminds me of where I was on this journey through life at this time last year.  Help and hope are available to us in many shapes and forms.  We only have to look for them and be willing to accept them.  It is not a matter of our weakness or failure, it is simply a fact that there are times when we are in over our heads and need a hand to find our footing again.
mesmerized at Macy'sa playground in Central ParkPlay on the rocks.  Get outside.  Away from our comfort zone.  Outside the fences, into the wild, wonderful world that challenges us, makes us think about our next step, and helps us gain a new insight into what it means to live.  Color outside the lines for a few minutes each day.  Our lives are not meant to be spent on soft, safe, padded surfaces.  There are hard spots we find ourselves in throughout life.  If we never adventure outside of the protected walls we surround ourselves with from little up, we miss out on opportunities to grow and stretch ourselves.  Falling down hurts, but we can learn from it.
Stand in awe.  Slow down. Take a second to look at something.  Wonder about it.  Watch it with anticipation.  Be amazed.  Life is full of wonderfully awesome moments; we simply need to stop and take notice of them.
Remember.  
911 Memorial911 Memorial 911 Memorial
One World Trade Center FDNY Memorial Wall

Monday, January 26, 2015

I'd rather be fishing.

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"The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope."
John Buchan
2014-10-09 001 0242014-10-09 001 022 Continuing on in my pursuit of catching up to the present day on this blog of mine, I am taken back in time to when it was warm and sunny. There was sand between my toes and a fishing pole with my name on it. It was October and all was right with the temperature in Florida.
Every once in awhile there are opportunities too good to allow to pass by in life. I consider a chance to be on a boat, in the Gulf of Mexico, with a reel in my hand to be one of those opportunities.
We were blessed to go on a trip with a trip with friends to Destin. There are no for certains of getting anything in the boat. There may be several full-bellied fish in the water by the end of your trip without ever seeing their beady little eyes staring at you as you remove the hook from their mouths. But it sure is fun making an attempt for the biggest catch.
Part of the enjoyment for me is being out on the water. Blue sky, deep water, no concrete; all is well. I have an appreciation of salty water, it seems. One of my favorite quotes is by Isak Dinesen...
“The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea.”
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This past year all three have served me well.  Each has a purpose.  Times call for one or two at the same time, perhaps.  The two men who taught me to love this sport the most are no longer here on this earth.  My dad lived long enough to hear about my first fishing adventure in Alaska.  The ultimate "one that got away" story of a 40ish lb salmon that snapped my line when fishing in a remote village West of Anchorage.  He told me he had always wondered what fishing up there would be like and seemed glad for me that I was able to experience it.
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Grandpa Miller passed away just this past year.  No little girl was happier than I when Grandpa said I could keep the worms we found when working in the garden for fishing later in the afternoon/evening.  He lived long enough to also hear about our family's (my second) fishing adventure in Alaska.  The one where the only thing we fished out of the Russian River was Tim.  Poor guy...
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So, it seems, marrying a man who loves fishing has served me well.  And vice versa.  When all else has been considered, "Let's go fishing!" is always at the top of our list of things to do.  While not along on this particular trip, our boys both love to go fishing as well.  It's always fun to see who brings in the first, longest, largest, most strange, tastiest, etc. fish.  All are fun tales to tell once back on land.

Alex turns 12...

049 We have arrived at the preteen year.
The year of 12.
The year where he begins to step up and out of childhood and into the world of teen-dom.
I am not really sure either, he nor I, are ready for this, but here we go.
My first born.  The one who gave me the name of "Mom" for real. (There's a story behind that "for real" part from my college days for another day.)
My Alexander Henry, named after his great-grandfathers on both sides of the family.  The one who has always been task oriented, self motivated, and energized like a pink bunny we all know and love.
He's growing up.
When I first held him in my arms I did not believe I could love him any more than in that moment.
But, I do.
In spite of our similarities and differences, agreements and disagreements, highs and lows, this boy has my heart.
Always and forever.
No matter what.
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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Our Nation's Capital

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Quickest trip in history to and through Washington D.C., but we made the most of the time we had there. The day was amazing.

Maryland

We took a detour off the main road to go find a lighthouse.  Finally, one was on the map not too far out of the way and was not "closed" for the winter.  It was a beautiful spot for a lighthouse and the history behind it was such a great treasure.

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