Last weekend Dani, Karen and I went to NYC to celebrate Karen's 40th birthday.
We flew direct from Des Moines very early Thursday morning and landed at LGA around lunchtime. Our welcome to the city was as expected, with the taxi driver repeatedly coughing up and spitting out phlegm and then getting into an accident on the way to the hotel. We had a one-room suite here, which is in Midtown. As I understand, it was a large room for Manhattan. I was pleased with it's location near the Empire State Building, but not too touristy.
On Thursday we met Dani's brother, Heath, for lunch at Salvation Taco. We went back to the hotel and stopped at the corner market for provisions, then went back to the hotel to unpack. That night, we had front row seats for Romeo And Juliet on Broadway. Orlando Bloom played Romeo and Justin Guarini of American Idol Season 1 played Paris. We were close enough that we could touch the stage, and on an aisle, so the wedding scene went on right next to us. Orlando delivered one of his monologues basically sitting next to Karen. It was great. Sitting back in my seat, this is me touching the stage...
On Friday, we had tickets for a Statue of Liberty cruise and pedestal tour. But this...
Boo. But we still got to do the harbor cruise and get some good photos of the Freedom Tower...
and the statue, of course.
Here's the birthday girl with the statue in the background
After that we went down to Wall Street so I could get a picture with the bull (Karen hasn't sent it to me yet). We had a slice of pizza and walked by the 9/11 memorial. Then we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.
After that, Dani went to have dinner with her brother and his family and Karen and I walked through Tribeca and Chelsea to The High Line.
After so much walking, Karen and I went back to the hotel to rest our feet before spending the evening at The Met. It was huge and awesome, but we didn't have time to see it all.
On Saturday, we started with a big breakfast and went to The Guggenheim...
and to the MoMA which was beyond amazing. I tweeted about the fifth floor blowing my mind. I walked through the first couple of rooms and was pleased to see a Picasso or two and a couple of Seurat pieces. But the rooms seemed to never end. I just walked around like a crazy person smiling like an idiot and mumbling about my excitement. (I still need to figure out how to understand the more contemporary pieces though. I can't understand a situation in which hairballs are art.)
After that we still had time to go to the top of the Empire State Building. The line took forever and it was pretty cold and windy at the top. Oh, and super crowded - not at all like the ending of Sleepless In Seattle. Anyway, the view was worth it.
On Sunday, Dani left at the crack of dawn to spend the day with Heath et famille. Karen and I slept in, took our time checking out and took a cab to Murray's Bagels in Chelsea. (Yes, I totally embraced gluten this trip.) The line was huge, as were the bagels. When we first got in line though, I told Karen I was going to eat two, but once I realized they were the size of my head, decided on an everything with scallion cream cheese. OMFG yum!
We then went to take pictures at the New York Public Library. It wasn't open but we took pictures outside and sat in Bryant Park (super nice public restroom), which is behind the building.
Finally, we walked through Times Square, took some pictures in Grand Central Station, had lunch and went to the airport.
I was really expecting to not like NYC, and I certainly could never live there or visit regularly, but I enjoyed what we saw and did. Mostly it was a good getaway, great time with friends and good way to celebrate a birthday. The complete set of my pictures is on flickr.
I missed last week as I was in NYC for Karen's 40th birthday trip. Considering that and the over-indulging that happened there (and fine, since I got home) I'm up .6 since my last weigh-in. It could've been much, much worse.
This week I:
did not work out at all
but averaged 13,942 steps per day
averaged 6 hours and 49 minutes of sleep per night
I missed a couple of these as I was down with whatever Back-To-School crud was going around. So here's where I'm at.
2 weeks ago - down 1.2
1 week ago - down 1.4
this week - up 2.2
Grr. But being sick I didn't work out much and didn't sleep much and didn't track what I ate much, so, you know, these results aren't unexpected. I'd like to be feeling like I was doing a bit better ahead of my NYC trip next week, especially since I plan on eating some bagels and pizza while there. Alas, it is what it is.
This #TBT is me and Candace in Las Vegas in 2006. We went there a couple of times before she finally moved out there. This was taken on our first visit, before a night out. We stayed at Mandalay Bay, but ths was taken at the Luxor, obviously.
As mentioned in yesterday's 40 before 40 list, girls' only getaways are super important!
I know. These things are mostly dumb. But I can be a compulsive rule follower and list checker-offer. And it's just my nature to constantly scrutinize myself. And I'm extremely self-involved.
So, I'll probably post a few of these before I make my own list but the list below belongs to this blog and is probably the best list I've seen so far, and a few of these I can cross off so I already feel accomplished. Click the link above for the full article.
1. Go skinny dipping
Yes, once, in The Bahamas. No boys were there though and I was really, really tipsy. I was with my sisters and some friends and it was after the resort bar shut down and the pool was closed. So we got kicked out. Of the pool, not the resort.
2. Learn to change a tire
I know how to do this since I worked at a service station but the one time I tried to do it I couldn't get the lug nuts off. I do know how to call AAA. DIY is great, but one thing I've learned before 40 is that sometimes it's just better to throw money at the problem.
Never enough for my tastes, but I have and have used a passport. I regret wasting the early part of my 20s not doing more of this and not thinking outside the box. Perhaps working and living abroad. I was pretty dumb about that until I met Dani, and by then I had a grown-up job. Still, if my parents are any example, there are still many travel adventures to be had.
4. Fall in love
You've read about Casey, right?
5. Learn to cook a gourmet meal
I can follow a Julia Child recipe as well as anyone. I've never come up with a recipe from scratch though. My palate is way too terrible for this; my favorite cheese will always be Kraft Singles. Still, I'm great at ordering and coming up with meal plans.
6. Have a savings account that’s only yours
Of course. Also checking and probably too many credit cards that are mine, all mine.
7. Follow the 20 seconds of courage rule
The greatest line from the movie We Bought a Zoo is, “All
you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of
just embarrassing bravery, and I promise you, something great will come of it.”
I suppose the bonus to feeling like an idiot most of the time is that I'm not really worried about looking more idiot-y. I'm pretty much game to try anything once.
8. Live alone
Probably for too long; it's made me very set in my ways.
9. Find a career you love
I never aspired to be what I am but I really love what I do and the people I work with. Working in technology works well with my ADD as it's new all the time and working in QA allows me to critique things, which is one of my favorite pastimes.
10. Learn to negotiate Studies show
that 57 percent of men will negotiate for their salary, while only 7 percent of
women will, and that is only the salary aspect.
I finally did that with my current job and it was scary! And it totally paid off!
11. Have a best friend
I have three! And they're better friends than I deserve.
12. Have a mentor
I've never had just one, but I've been really fortunate to have some great people to model. It's like a Board of Mentors.
13. Be a mentor
Not officially. But I like sharing things I learn. I recently gave a presentation on XP and today I led a discussion on ATDD, even though I really don't know much about either.
14. Get your adrenaline pumping
Skydiving, swimming with sharks, traveling in countries that I don't speak the language count. But I think there are more common things that get adrenaline going. Online dating! Becoming a stepmom! Gah!
15. Wear fun clothes
Seriously, had I known at 18 how I'd feel about my body today, I'd have worn thongs and pasties everywhere. And videotaped it. Although, I suppose now that I'm older I can start wearing purple. Or red hats or something. I'm fully in the "I've given up" phase now or I'd probably be more upset about this one.
16. Preserve your skin
You bet. Also: save for cosmetic/medical enhancements.
17. Know how to kiss
Casey's pretty much stuck, so it doesn't really matter now.
18. Have a fun hairstyle
Red hair is fun, right?
19. Wear sexy underwear
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! No. I mean, I used to try, but no lacy thong is ever going to win against enormous granny panties that I can pull over my head.
20. Splurge on yourself
Check. I just spent over $400 on a picture frame.
21. Learn a new language
Timely, I just got something from Rosetta Stone last week!
22. Practice meditation
I tried it for about 2 minutes once. Not for me.
23. Have a sex buddy
24. Keep a journal
Yes, but I threw them all away except for one I used in Europe.
25. Flirt with random men for no reason
There was a time when I did this.
26. Get rid of bad habits
Quit smoking, yay!
27. Pose for a boudoir photo
I've actually thought about it but in the end...see answer 23.
28. Learn to put on your makeup
This is contrary to #s 15 and 19 but I am totally addicted to watching makeup tutorials on YouTube (Michelle Phan is THE BEST.). And I subscribe to two beauty boxes and am a product whore. But it turns out I just like having the stuff, not actually using it, so...
29. Take care of your body
I'm trying. Sometimes.
30. Appreciate the arts
I had season tickets to the Civic Center for a couple of years. I actually own some fine art (see above for reference to $400 picture frame) and if I ever had extra time and money I'd get a degree in art history.
31. Kiss a stranger
Many years ago I tried making a list of all the guys I kissed and ended up with a few "dude in brown jacket" and Jason/Mason/it-was-really-loud-in-the-bar's, so yeah.
32. Write your mom a letter
This is a great idea. I did make her a scrapbook though.
33. Create a family of your own
34. Learn true forgiveness
Here's one to work on.
35. Push your limits
Half marathon. Marathon. Warrior Dash. Great Urban Race. Done.
36. Have more pictures of yourself
Have you seen the episode of Friends where Chandler and Monica try to get their engagement pictures taken? I'm Chandler. I wasn't always, but I am now.
37. Be in the moment
Another "needs improvement".
38. Try something new
I'm great at this really because I love learning. I especially love learning things on my own. Piano. Knitting. Crocheting.
39. Go on a girls-only vacation
Wouldn't miss these for the world. Europe, Reno, KC, Minneapolis, Chicago, Vegas, Denver. NYC in October for Karen's 40th. I love my family, but I need my girl time.
40. Have fun and enjoy yourself
Sometimes. Sometimes I do.