Today I ended up in Newark, New Jersey.

Since we have a longer overnight, I thought it would be a fun idea to run into New York City for the afternoon. I got a ride using the Lyft app. Lyft is much like Uber but seems to cater to a different class of people. My driver, who drives for both Lyft and Uber, told me that this is the case. The services seemed comparable from my experience, but one thing I like about the Uber app is the fact that I can get a fair estimate in advance and send my location to a friend who can follow my journey in real-time on their own smartphone. I think that this makes Uber a little bit safer as well. Also, Uber has the option to split the far with another passenger that you may be riding with, right from the app itself. Lyft, on the other hand, lets the rider tip through the app itself (although I always tip in cash because I don’t think tips should be taxed).

I had an early dinner/ late lunch at Morandi, one of my favorite downtown restaurants. It was perfect. Since I’ve been losing weight, It had been a while since I’d had any pasta. Being back in the city was reason enough to “cheat.” It was an overcast day, but the threatening rain hadn’t started yet, so I thought I’d sit outside. I love to people-watch, especially in lower Manhattan.

tumblr_inline_nvgo39jbjv1qzup43_540

After a meal at Morandi, the server brings a postcard with your bill. This is an excellent idea!

I walked down to the SoHo Apple Store on Prince Street. This was an excellent way to try and work off some of that pasta and dessert. I needed to pick up a new external charger since I accidentally left mine on a plane a few weeks ago. This was the first time I’d been to this particular Apple Store, and there were so many employees and customers, it seemed as if it were some kind of grand opening or something. Nope, just another day at a New York City Apple Store.

I got back to the hotel just before 17:00, right as it started to rain. Perfect timing! I noticed that my room overlooks downtown Newark. One of these times, it may be fun to ride into Newark and explore. It seems to pale in comparison to the size and energy of New York City, but I’ll have to let you know for sure when I finally get there.

Tonight I want to give a shout out to Suzette. She is the sister of Selena Quintanilla Perez. Yes, THAT Selena! Do you remember the movie Selena starring Jennifer Lopez that came out in 1997? This film tells the true story of Selena as a young girl, her love of life and music, and her rise toward stardom that ended way too soon. It’s a beautiful but tragic look at a life well lived.

Suzette was on my flight from Las Vegas to San Antonio earlier this afternoon. I’m not sure how my coworker Ralph found out, but after I finished up my first beverage service, he pulled me aside in the back galley to tell me who she was. Suzette came to the back and we had a great chat for a few minutes. I was so honored and blessed to sing a few lines and the chorus of Selena’s song, I Could Fall In Love. I didn’t sound anywhere as good as Selena but tried my best. Suzette seemed to like the gesture.

Tonight I’m sitting in my hotel bed in San Antonio, Texas, listening to the Selena soundtrack. I’m pretty sure I’ll drift off very soon. I can definitely feel my body slipping into a deep sleep- I’ve been going nonstop since my alarm went off at 03:15 this morning.

Dreaming Of You Tonight (sung by Selena- chorus only)

‘Cause I’m dreaming of you tonight
‘Til tomorrow I’ll be holding you tight
And there’s nowhere in the world I’d rather be
Than here in my room, dreaming about you and me.

I’m a little bit country. So is she.

At a very young age, my friend LaDawn and I would stand in front of the fireplace gripping a curling iron or a hairbrush, and we would pretend to sing A Little Bit Country – A Little Bit Rock ‘n Roll by Donny and Marie Osmond. The plan was to learn it well enough to perform it in the lip sync competition at the Graham County Fair. For whatever reason, we never made it to the fair, nor were they ever discovered that we were the next great duet. Go figure.

Marie Osmond came through my tiny, insignificant town on one of her concert tours when I was still in high school. I remember attending the concert with my buddy Josh Jones. I thought Josh and I were the coolest people in the audience because we both wore our boots, wranglers, button-up shirts, and our 50-gallon cowboy hats. I was right- we were cool!

After Marie sang a few songs, she asked the audience, “Anybody want to hear some country music?” We all threw our hands together and shouted- what can I say, Thatcher, Arizona has many country music lovers! Then she turned toward Josh and me and winked. Be still, my heart! I knew she was winking at us because we were the only two guys in that section of the Eastern Arizona College Fine Arts Center who happened to be wearing cowboy hats.

Jump forward to 2010 when I was in the process of coming up with my very cool bucket list. I knew what I needed to do: Number 63 on that list is to meet Marie Osmond. Jump forward again to today when she happened to board the flight I was working from Philadelphia to Denver. I didn’t recognize her during boarding but did once we were in the air. I needed to say hello and actually meet her, but she went right to sleep! For most of the flight, and hoped that she was awake, but nope. I wanted to “accidentally” bump into her, apologize, and then casually explain that I’ve needed to meet her for years and years. This stalker wasn’t getting his break.

FINALLY-at the end of the flight, when she was about to grab her bags and leave, I approached her, smiled, and told her I needed to tell her a quick story. She smiled and said sure. I basically told her everything that you just read above- I even pulled up this very blog to show her that meeting her was literally one of the items on my bucket list. I asked her for a picture, and she was so sweet and polite and posed with the crew. Then… I kid you not… she said, “If I’m on your bucket list, then we need to make this worth it!” She grabbed my left hand and pulled it around her waist. She threw her own right hand up to my shoulder and gave me a hug. We took another picture.

IMG_4713.JPG

Last night I had a great time getting together with some of my dear friends from my Utah State University days. This was the group who I went with to the United Kingdom for the very first time, back in 2002. These are the people who I blame for this stupid obsession that I have with Scotland. We needed to get together, have some ice cream, and reminisce about the old days. We called this our London Reunion.

We met at the Leatherby’s on 5400 South. When I arrived, Colee was there with her husband Jonathan, and James had brought his son Luke (James’ wife Heather was feeling under-the-weather so she was at home with their youngest). We chatted for about 10 minutes until Dave and Dominoe arrived as well. Missing from the original London group was Makaylee and Julie. It’s sad when real life happens. We wished that everyone could have attended.

We didn’t really talk a whole lot about London. We did share a few memories, including James’ attempt to navigate causing us to end up on the wrong coast of Scotland. At first, he denied that it was his fault, but we pretty much ganged up on him. My memory of this experience is falling asleep in the van and waking up to David telling us that we had been headed in the wrong direction.

We talked for about 45 minutes to an hour and it dawned on me that I hadn’t actually seen Dave and Dominoe for over 7 years (apart from Facebook)! This is horrible! I need to be a better friend! To remedy this, it was suggested by myself that we try to get together once a month, but they all argued that once ever three months would work better- since many of them have kids and lives and schedules and stuff to do. So hopefully we can get something set up in December, and if we’re lucky, maybe we can get Makaylee and Julie in attendance!