If you’ve met me, you’d know that I prefer small towns over cities or suburbs.
I like living out in the country, and that’s what attracted me to the tiny, rural town that I now call home. What I also love, however, is New York City. No, I don’t want to live there permanently, but I’ve always been attracted to the city’s energy. I’m keen on people-watching, and really, there is no better place on earth to sit back and watch the lives of strangers who pass by. It is totally thrilling for me to rest on a New York City park bench with a book in hand and just watch it all happen (the book is mainly there, so people think I’m reading and not watching their lives unfold). Bucket list item number 72: To stay in New York City for at least 7 days.
The night before last, I ended up at LaGuardia for work. My work overnights me right there in Queens, and since I had a more extended stay, I set plans to head into the city. Not only is New York City wonderful, but December is an excellent month to visit (just dress warmly)! My plan was to include my two crew members, but one had a sore, scratchy throat she was treating, and the other just didn’t feel like waking up. Still- I was determined to venture out on my own, as I often do.
My first stop was Bryant Park. The Christmas tree was beautiful! The holiday tunes played, and I stood by the rink, watching the ice skaters turn their circles. It was so relaxing! It reminded me of a traditional Christmas. Not my tradition, but something you’d see in a Charlie Brown Christmas special.
The last time I ice skated, I was so young. I visited Aunt Pam, Uncle Gary, and my cousins Megan and Bethany in Montgomery, Alabama. The rink was in the middle of a big mall, and I remember Bette Midler music being played… it’s funny which memories stick. I was tempted to join the skaters here, but I really think that this needs to be shared- whether that be with a fun coworker or a sweetheart. I really just need a witness to watch me fall on my posterior.
Winter in New York City is cold (as I’ve already mentioned)! The last time I was here, I’d bought a jacket at a downtown H&M, and even though I love this fashion choice (like I even follow fashion), the coat doesn’t cover my neck- so when I saw another H&M, I went in and bought another scarf (the last one I bought is at home in my closet). They were on sale for $12.99 or something like that.
I walked a few blocks north to the Rockefeller Center, and the scene was pretty much the same. Another ice rink, this one slightly smaller, and another Christmas tree, quite a bit larger. Again, I watched the skaters for a few more minutes.
If you have never visited New York City, and are planning a trip, make sure you go to the top of the Empire State Building. This is just something you do… once. You pay a bunch of money and ride the elevator up, and you get some breathtaking views of the city. It’s just what you do- like death, taxes, and reading my blog- it’s unavoidable. I talked to a coworker about this subject a few years ago, and they told me that I really needed to add going to the Top Of The Rock to my bucket list. I hadn’t heard about this- but, just like going up the Empire State Building, you pay them a whole bunch of money (like $35), and you ride up 68 floors (I think it was 68), and the view is incredible… I have to say, I prefer this view because the Empire State Building is part of the backdrop. Bucket list item number 79 can now be checked off my list!
The night before, I sent a message to my friend Katie, who has been living in New York City for the last 10+ years. I met her years ago when I was living in Logan, Utah, attending Utah State University. She was touring with Michael McLean, playing the part of ‘Connie Lou’ in The Forgotten Carols. This girl can sing! I convinced myself we needed to be friends. Years of quietly stalking her have born fruit! As I have told many people in the past- I figure everybody is my friend until they prove they don’t want to be.
I told her I was going to be in town and asked if she’d like to get some lunch. As busy as she is, I was thrilled when she said she was available. I caught her in between some auditions and it worked out perfectly. I have enjoyed Japanese cuisine many times, but am thrilled to now say I’ve eaten from a bento box! It really feels like a right-of-passage. Today I am a man.
After lunch, I would head downtown with her to her next audition, but alas, my subway pass had expired. There wasn’t a kiosk available, so we hugged through bars, took an us-ie (that’s a selfie with more than one person in the picture- a word that may have been invented by my sister Melanie, but I’m not sure. I would add it to UrbanDictionary.com, but if I did that, someone would take this pure word and morph it into something sexual- that’s what they do on UrbanDictionary.com) and said goodbye.
It’s probably best that my subway pass didn’t work because it was getting later in the afternoon, and I needed to get back to my hotel to shower and get ready for work. My Uber ride back to the hotel was terrific. The man driving was originally from Western Africa. Such a nice man! We had a lengthy talk about his home, his ex-wife, who happens to be a Muslim, attending a university in France, and the parts of Africa that I should avoid once I plan a visit.
It was a great day in the city! The chaos made me hungry for more! It’s so great to learn about the little, hidden gems of New York City, and there are millions of them! I can’t wait to be back and discover some more! Here’s Katie’s cover of Heaven Is A Place On Earth– this gives you an example of how awesome she is! Enjoy!
I have talented friends.
I’m sitting at the crashpad, chatting with Victor, one of our newly hired flight attendants. The boy talks a lot, but he passes the test since he seems to be very kind. This is his second month at the airline, and he was just telling me about his hellish commute from Oakland to Denver last night. The poor boy almost got stranded at LAX. Even though he didn’t land until the wee hours of the morning, he still made it.
His stories brought back many memories from just over 10 years ago when I too was new to this world of traveling for a living. I am the first one in my family to travel for a living and it’s been a great ride. It was new, fun and exciting, but nothing compares to what it is now. Like any job, after awhile the longer you’re a flight attendant, the better things can be. That is the case if you love what you’re doing. As great as it was, I wouldn’t go back to those first days for anything.
Australia 2014: PreTrip 2
I called up my cousin Megan to find out what her schedule is like this week. I don’t want to park my truck in a public parking lot for an entire month so I was hoping to park at her house in Kaysville and get a ride to the airport. She told me that she probably didn’t have the room to park my big truck, but said that she was off of work for spring break and she’d come out to the house to pick me up. This is so helpful! I was going to have to get an expensive taxi. Megan will be my driving service.
Washington Camping Adventure: Day 10
Here are the pictures from day 10. I will come back and post the story as soon as I find it in my notes.
Washington Camping Adventure: Day 9
Here are the pictures from day 9. I will come back and post the story as soon as I find it in my notes.
Washington Camping Adventure: Day 8
Here are the pictures (and video) from day 8. I will come back and post the story as soon as I find it in my notes.
Washington Camping Adventure: Day 7
Here are the pictures from day 7. I will come back and post the story as soon as I find it in my notes.
Washington Camping Adventure: Day 6
I woke up early this morning and after walking to use the “facilities”, I came back to camp and guess who was waiting for me? L.B.! I chased him around the table a couple of times and he shot off of a tree. I’m not sure what he’s after because we cleaned all the food up before we went to bed last night. Perhaps he was just checking to make sure. I want to kill him and have him stuffed and mounted on my wall at home.
We declared today “shower day”. Swimming in the lake does a pretty good job of keeping the stink down, but we really felt the need to start fresh. The nearby Lake Quinault Lodge provides a shower for a small fee. This gives us a key card that will last for one day. It was so nice to feel the hot water! I no longer smell like a campfire! I’m sure I will by tomorrow, but I still feel great at the moment.
We had to spend some time at the lodge to use their Wi-Fi signal. Megan is having a situation with her dog, Hobbit. Her dad is taking care of him, but he needs to be out of town soon. She finally found a place for Hobbit and had to make all kinds of arrangements. We were getting hungry for lunch and so we ate at the lodge restaurant. I had my first Monte Christo sandwich (not sure if that’s how it’s spelled though). What a funky combination of flavors! Megan had a salad.
We were getting hungry for lunch and so we ate at the lodge restaurant. I had my first Monte Christo sandwich (not sure if that’s how it’s spelled). What a funky combination of flavors! Megan had a salad.
It was laundry day! About a mile down the road we found a laundromat and spent about an hour washing and drying our clothes. While we waited for our clothes, we sat in some grass on the edge of the lake, chatted and listen to some music.
It was time to check out Forks! This happens to be one of the items on my bucket list! Now before you judge me: I wanted to see forks since I serve a mission here. This is because one of the missionaries who served here told me that to live in Forks, you have to have either a lazy eye or finger missing. This was back in 1994 and if you do the math, that was way before the Twilight Saga came out. But on the subject of Twilight, GO TEAM EDWARD!
We got to the town, we could see that EVERYBODY was trying to capitalize off of the Twilight frenzy. Megan even pointed out a sign that read “Twilight Firewood”. It made us both laugh!
Next we went to visit the first beach that La Push (Remember the scene where the friends all went surfing and Jacob hinted to Bella about the vampires?). Such a beautiful beach!
We found some clam chowder at a restaurant called The River’s Edge where we both had the clam chowder. I ordered a delicious seafood Alfredo, and Megan not only fell off the HCG wagon, but she seems to have lit the damn thing on fire!
On our ride back to camp, Megan came up with a brilliant plan! It was about an hour before sunset and so she suggested that we go find a beach nearby and watch the sunset. I took way too many pictures, but I feel like they turned out really great! Here are some of my favorites.
Today’s quote: “It was like a movie, only we had our clothes on.”
Washington Camping Adventure: Day 5
Back when I was a Boy Scout, we would go to Camp Geronimo every summer, somewhere in northern Arizona. Each year I was there, I would join the polar bear club. This is when you would wake up way before the dawn and head down to the pool. Before you realize how incredibly stupid this is, you jump into the water. For doing this, you get a patch with the polar bear on it. The reason this is doable is because the water is actually warmer than the pool and the breeze hits you.
When I first woke up this morning, the sun wasn’t quite out yet. I thought I’d recreate the whole polar bear club experience. I put on my swimming trunks and climbed down the steep hill to the lake below. I slowly put in one foot, then the other. It really wasn’t that bad. Well, now worse than it had been when we had jumped in the lake yesterday. I ease my way into the water, ever so slowly, like some kind of cruel self-torture. I got in as deep as my upper chest and then decided that was enough. I turned around and made my way back to the shore. As cold as it was, it was extremely peaceful. None of the other campers were awake and I felt as if the entire lake was mine at that moment.
When I’d climbed back up to the camp, Megan was finally up and stirring. I started a fire and put the kettle near the coals to give us some hot water. I had 2 cups of hot chocolate and she had some tea. We felt that today would be a great day for hiking!
We found the trail that led us up to Gaton Creek Falls. All in all, we think we hike somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 miles. The trails here seem to be very well-made and maintained.
We finished our hike and even though we had eaten plenty of wild raspberries and huckleberries along the way, We both felt like it was a perfect time to find some lunch. Up to this point, we hadn’t run across Edward, Bella or any of the other Cullen family on our adventures. This is the real reason we are up here if I’m honest. I have a crush on Alice and would like to be available for her rebound if she ever breaks up with Jasper.
I built another fire to roast some hotdogs and Megan had some shrimp salad. We then decided that it was time to take a nap. I’m not sure how long we slept, but I felt like it was at least a good hour. When I woke, I noticed that there was a hole in the bottom of my hotdog buns bag. Some critter had climbed up onto our picnic table while we snoozed and had chewed a hole in the bottom of the bag. I noticed that it had also eaten about a quarter of our hot dog buns. I sat near the fire, waiting to see if this thief would show up again.
Sure enough! From out of the forest came a little squirrel. Megan wanted to name him Felix (because nobody would expect that) but I chose to call him the little bastard, or “L.B.” for short. That is what I call the person/animal/creature that eats my food while I’m napping. After we scared him off, L.B. returned a third, fourth, and even fifth time. I decided to throw rocks at him and even though I did hit him once, I thought I could hear him laughing at me as he turned his hind quarters in my direction and scampered off. I’m going to kill him.
This afternoon, we went swimming again. This time I ease myself into the water up to my stomach and decided to “cowboy up” and just make the plunge. So cold, but so refreshing! I turned around to talk to Megan who hadn’t yet plunged in. “Cowgirl up!” I called to her. She did. Like me, she squealed as she came up from a slow, chilled death.
Our second attempt at TFDs was an even greater success. This time, instead of putting in onion soup mix, all I put in was salt. I hollowed out the middle of the meat pack and put in some sharp cheddar cheese. The onion soup mix was good the previous night but masked the taste of the buffalo. This time I cooked it less. Instead of 15 minutes on either side, I did about 11 minutes on either side. I could really taste the gamey buffalo.
- “Don’t fall! I haven’t seen your pictures yet!”
- “Nature is beautiful, unless you’re a cephalopod.”