Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Project 30: "What CAN you do Delgado?!"

Task 16/30: See a game at the soon to be destroyed Shea Stadium in Queens, New York
Complete: April 17, 2008

DC Nationals vs. NY Mets

DC Nationals vs. NY Mets

DC Nationals vs. NY Mets

DC Nationals vs. NY Mets

Going to Shea was another thing I knew I had to do because I would never be able to do it again if I didn't go. Just like being a trooper to the Yankees game because I will always regret missing a game at Fenway when I was in Boston, I was going to see the Mets no matter what. Strange that both New York teams are getting new stadiums, but definitely a statement, and I can now say I've seen both of the old ones. After the Yankees game, it was pretty nice to have a buddy to go with me this time, and much better seats for seeing the Mets take on the Nationals than I had for my last game in the Bronx. Even if the matchup sucked equally, this time I enjoyed myself much more being able to cheer for at least one of the teams. Even the fans in that section were much more entertaining than the upper deck for the Yankees, and it was a packed in crowd as we cheered and groaned at the plays of the game. I really liked the stadium, and it was neat to see a bit different part of New York on the way there. It was again cold and we had a full trade show to work, but I felt lucky to get to go to this game on my second trip to New York in a month, so after 8 innings and a predicted DC victory, we caught the train back. When I got back, I kept refreshing mlb.com, and 2 hours later the game ended in the 14th with a Mets victory by Delgado, the same guy our whole section clowned earlier in the game. While I was sad to have missed the exciting ending, I was also happy to have been warm in my hotel bed, and calling it MISSION COMPLETE.

See all my Shea Stadium pictures here.

Project 30: FREE Museums

Task 15/30: Get Cultured and Stuff in the District of Columbia...
Complete: April 11, 2008

After 3 days pounding the pavement in New York and Philly, I had seen quite a few museums before I even got to DC. The Guggenheim, the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Sex and Madame Tussand's Wax Museum were all quite spectacular to take in. I saw so many famous things, and felt so excited when I would see something in person I had seen on a test or in a book. Even once in the MOMA, I saw a big mixed media piece I had seen at the University of Texas museum in Austin last May, so I was feeling pretty well traveled and learned. In Philly, I missed the art museum with the fabulous Frida Kahlo exhibit and Rocky steps, but I did make it to the National Constitution Center and saw samples from the baseball museum in Cooperstown, and was feeling anxious to get to the "big time" in DC to see what treasures awaited me.

Smithsonian Sculpture Garden

My first day in DC I took the tourmobile around Arlington and then sat for the whole mall tour to get my bearings. I ended up asking the tour guide how much the museums in DC cost, and was shocked to learn that they were free, after having plucked down $20 average for each hour I spent speed walking past exhibits in NYC. I'm quite the impatient museum goer, and I hate when people pack in, ignore personal space and other's around them, and generally don't spend much time contemplating things, I'm more about seeing volumes of things, so admission prices can quickly add up when hitting many in one day. The whole taxpayer dollars thing was handy in a city that had dozens of museums now at my easy access, and a whole day to see as many of them as I could on Friday. The museums close at 5:30, so by the end of Thursday with the tour and my hotel issues, I was only able to swing into the sculpture gardens, which were pretty interesting and surprisingly entertaining after viewing hundreds of paintings in days. I was becoming able to start to name the sculptors before even looking at the name plate, so was feeling pretty proud about my art education and went to bed in DC excited with how much learning I was doing. I knew Friday would be great.

US Constitution

I got up early Friday to get my ticket to go inside the Washington Monument for the afternoon, having been told if you get up early to get a ticket to anything, that was it. I got mine for the end of the day and then booked it over to start off in the National Archives line. After waiting an hour and a half for it to open and once again making friends with everyone around me, again, as usual on my trip, I was the fast one through the queue and security, and made my way to the front of the pack to see the documents I had been marveling over my entire trip. I saw the pages of the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution & Bill of Rights as well as many other "Charters of Freedom". It was pretty moving after all my contemplating of the writing of these pieces and how we got to where we were, but it was a quick trip, having only the small rotunda to view in the midst of so many children I wanted to scream, so I quickly made my way out.

Contemporary American Art

Next was on to the National Portrait Gallery & American Museum of Contemporary Art. In general, the portraits were less photographs and more oil paintings of generals, which was fairly boring, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the contemporary art. Usually I just laugh, but I saw some geniunely inventive things, and was fairly inspired to create Burning Man art after the exhbit. One of the neater things shown was a giant neon map with TV's behind it showing representative movies from each state. Kansas had Wizard of Oz playing, Alaska had a reel of whales, and Oklahoma had what else but Oklahoma the musical. Just very clever and well executed.

Grand Opening - Newseum DC

In retrospect, I think the Newseum was one of my favorite experiences of the trip. If we are checking off "I've never's" this was one to celebrate, joining the first people to ever view the exhibits in the Grand Opening of the museum dedicated to the history of journalism. This being a private museum, the normal $20 admission was waved for the first day to entice people to enter, and the front of the museum had a line down the block. Me, being aware of short cuts anywhere I could save steps, heard the guy send people to the door in the back without a line and made my way easily and carefree inside, joining the hoards packing in like sardines. It was definitely full inside, but also full of some of the most amazing things I've ever seen and I was so glad I gave up my crowd issues to join in the viewing. A self-declared "News Junkie", and now with a magnet that says the same, I marveled at the collections of the world's press. A wall showing every world newspaper the day after 9/11, another showing every news paper front page from the current day blew me away. It was so spectacular to see how the world shared their news, to celebrate how free we are here. I saw a giant piece of the Berlin Wall, pages of the newspaper that spoke of Prohibition, a car riddled with bullets showing the dangers of the job. It was beautiful, and I don't think I enjoyed it as fully as I should have with all the people and a full list of things to do, but looking back, I feel so lucky to have been there and seen so many of the things there. I will definitely make it a stop on my next visit.

Hope Diamond

While I have become much more of an outdoorsy girl over the years, the earth and it's happenings really aren't my thing. This is the girl that failed astronomy twice and oceanography once. How things work isn't really my care, I just want them to, and appreciate the people who study it so I don't have to. I likely would have completely skipped a place filled with dead butterflies and stuffed cheetahs had the tourmobile guy not noted that this delicate beauty was housed at the Natural History Museum. The Hope Diamond is so precious, that once, the Louvre traded the Mona Lisa to us for a short amount of time so that they could exhibit it. It is just as gorgeous in person as you would think, and it glistened and gleamed perfectly. But I spent less than 15 minutes of other time looking at Petrified Wood and the giant dead elephant, happy that the hundreds of people buzzing around me gave a reason for the place, and booked my way back into the heat.

0804 2096

The Smithsonian Castle is the original Smithsonian museum, and home to the Smithson crypt. I enjoyed it, being able to see samples from every Smithsonian Museum in one swoop, but marveling in the pretty cartoonness of the castle itself most. The gardens in the back were divine, and I could have sat all day in the shadows appreciating all the flowers popping up in brilliant colors. You just don't see gardens like that on the west coast and I soaked in the rainbow shades like a sponge, but wasn't about standing in the heat very long and had to move on.

Treasures of American History

What do Seinfeld's Puffy Shirt and Lincoln's Hat have in common? They are both treasuires of American History, joining Archie Bunker's chair, a cheesehead, R2D2 and carrie bradshaw's computer in the part time exhibit in the Air & Space Museum while it's own home gets remodelled. I'm not really sure how these things are chosen, but I did appreciate seeing the things they had chosen and thinking they were important to someone. The ruby red slippers and kermit have their place, but I have to admit Jackie O's ball gown looked a little more fitted to Liberace. I also got to catch some of the Air and Space museum, but didn't spend much time since I had to get on to my tour of the Washington Monument and didn't want to be late. I'm not so much of a plane and space person, but I did enjoy seeing the missles we kill people with and the hatches that spacemen live in. I'm not sure how much more time I would have spent in there given the chance, but it was neat enough and I was glad to have gone in.

I didn't visit the National Art Gallery, I just didn't have time. I missed the American Indian Museum and next time I'll probably go to the Bureau of Engraving to see where money is made. I want to try and visit a Mint as well, since I had my camera in Philly and no where to stash it, so couldn't get in, but now really want to go. There is also the Spy Museum, which got mixed reviews and had a fee, so since I was rushed, figured I would fit it in another time. Since I saw so many other things in DC that I'll have to write about as well, seeing as much as I saw for museums was really pretty fulfilling, and I'm not disappointed with how much I fit in one short day.

National Cherry Blossom Parade, DC

I had thought I would maybe fit in more the next day, but after it rained on the National Cherry Blossom Parade, and coming down with a cold, I spent the rest of my DC time in bed. The parade was pretty neat though, and thanks to the kindness of strangers got to share in an umbrella as we giggled about how great our seats were. Miss America's mom was only a row down, and every performance was pointed straight at us, even the other side would have sucked. While we were at the end of the parade route, I managed to get the best bleacher seats possible in the grandstand, it was cool luck. I was so happy I spent the $15 to do that, and it made getting rained on at the beginning and end worth it. So even though it rained on my parade, it closed out a fun trip to DC, and so I didn't feel the need to pack in more and called it MISSION COMPLETE.

See all my DC Museum Pictures here.

Project 30: The House That Ruth Built

Task 14/30: Visit the soon to be destroyed Yankee Stadium, the Bronx, NY
Complete: April 7, 2008

I've been very exhausted travel girl, but it's time to catch up with updates on the Project and traveling. Now where were we...

Oh yes, Baseball...

Yankees Vs. Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Yankees Vs. Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Yankees Vs. Tampa Bay Devil Rays

I got myself a solo ticket to the upper deck at Yankee Stadium, for their "oh so challenging" bout against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. It wasn't the smoothest arrival. I had the subways pretty well down, but some rushing had me not paying so much attention to the fork in my line, and I was initially headed to Queens instead of the Bronx. After about 45 minutes of trying to get back the right direction, I was on the right train and getting off in the Bronx for a little bit of a late start to the game. I was in the boonies, and it was damn cold, but I was trying to force myself to enjoy it. Baseball isn't the highest on my favorite sports list, but I can appreciate history and this was a place that wasn't going to be there much longer.

Yankees Vs. Tampa Bay Devil Rays

I was not thrilled with being there alone either, it didn't make it much better to feel like a loser in the cheap seats. I had been having a pretty solo-rific time of playing in NYC, but I just don't think I'll do sports alone again. I was so cold, and I wasn't really into it, so I didn't stay in my seat long, but I did stay to see A-Rod bat.

Yankees Vs. Tampa Bay Devil Rays

On my way out, I squatted a seat under the home plate overhang until the people came back with their ice cream. It was nice to see a different view of the field, but I wasn't about to go freeze again back in the upper decks. I was pleased with having visited this place, but was ready to be warm and prepare for the next leg of my trip to Philly, so we called this MISSION COMPLETE.

See All My Pictures Here.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Project 30: I'm a pretty girl Momma...

Task 13/30: See a show on Broadway in New York City.
Complete: April 5, 2008

Gyspy on Broadway

Gyspy on Broadway

Gypsy. I can name this musical in 2 notes. If I could be reborn a Broadway star, my dream role would be this and it's title is a word I use to describe myself and my upbringing. Every strong female in the history of Broadway has played her, and I have just seen the best. Patti Lapone, Broadway's angel, has been cast in the role that was made for her. (I did not know who she was previous, but I assure you, I know her now.) Starring as Mama Rose in Broadway's millionth revival of my personal all time favorite musical, she brought down the house, and that is no exaggeration. This project is about "I've never's" and in all of my theater attendance, a show has not been delayed simply by the applause from the star's entrance on stage, or for a standing ovation after the highlight number. She was the first catalyst for these moments in my life, and didn't miss a beat or break character for a second to acknowledge our praise. She was the star of the show, and of a project night so worthy, I can't be thankful enough.

Highlighting the end of a very full first day touristing in New York City, I took my seat in the Mezzanine at the modest St. James Theater next to an amazing theater couple who had driven in from Pennsylvania and seen every musical since 1966. I was assured before the show, I was in for a treat. Only one week after opening, this was the hot ticket to score, with rave reviews saying that this woman has outdone even her own best performances and the legacies of those previous to her in this role. (I actually lucked out, because I got my discount tickets before opening, before reviews, so already a score ahead.) She was amazing. Just amazing. The whole show was amazing. In fact, I don't think it could have been better. I was wow'd beyond what I could have even expected. I knew every note of that damn show, I've danced it a trillion times in front my mirror listening to the soundtrack growing up, training myself to chew out all the words of the most passionate anthems all in one breath, so I knew how she had to strain, how perfect she hit those notes. I've seen a dozen recordings of every actress from Tyne Daly to Bette Midler on screen, so I knew how the characters could be played, how it could vary the story. She nailed it. They nailed it. I loved it and stood and clapped and bravo'd and called for more. I wanted to see it again and again.

Mary Poppins on Broadway

Mary Poppins on Broadway Times Square

The next night I had a ticket to Mary Poppins. Unfortunately, I was less excited about it, since I hadn't read the reviews prior to buying my tickets, and it wasn't shining off the pages, but I at least had orchestra seats for this show. Even the theater guy from the night before said that "he" was good, and that the staging was cool, but it wasn't a blockbuster. I was really going since I wanted to see a Disney show and a) couldn't get discount tickets to Lion King or Beauty and the Beast and b) wasn't going to see the Little Mermaid. Also, as a bonus, the night before I had asked the gentleman what his favorite THEATER on Broadway was, and he said the New Amsterdam, where Mary Poppins was being held. The old Ford Theater, it was richly decorated and much more intense than the tiny St. James so it was a bonus. I'm a sucker for venues.

I definitely see why people wouldn't have liked this show, it doesn't follow the same exact plot as the Disney version, and is more based of the stories that the Disney version was based on. Mary Poppins in this show is much more of a conceited little bitch. She actually humorously mocks the "Practically Perfect" nature of herself amazingly. I personally enjoyed this version of the story and the characters maybe a bit more. And if I was going for staging, I still saw something pretty spectacular. The way they set up the house, lifting and raising the attic, having him dancing upside down and flying her completely over the audience up to the catwalk. Even the costumes and the songs that weren't anything like what you would expect kept you entertained. I mean, theater has to be really bad for me to not like it, and while it wasn't my most favorite show, they did a really good job of keeping me entertained, as well as the massive audience of children with me, which is no easy adventure for 2 hours.

With not just one, but two Broadway shows in one weekend under my belt, I'd say this is very much MISSION COMPLETE!

I am now an addict, and I can't wait to go back. Plane ticket, plus theater ticket, plus hostel for 2 nights is easily a $500 turnaround weekend I see myself doing as a spoiling thing at some point and would definitely stay in a hostel again to get another chance to see Broadway on Broadway...CryBaby is there now after all...

Friday, April 11, 2008


I haven't written since I've been here because I have been mourning the post I lost that I spent 2 hours on the train typing on the way here about Philly, freedom and my own personal revolution. Then I had a horrible hotel disaster that would have been less tragic had I slept, eaten and not been sick as hell and overheated from walking around in the heat with a jacket on for 5 hours before finding out I didn't have a room. But those factors all were present and I had a panic attack in the middle of a lobby and all I could think is that they must think this poor little white girl is nuts. The one thing I can say for that place was the staff and the beautiful women with their amazing Carribean accents did a great job in trying to calm me down. I ended up finding another room and spending twice as much money, but in a much better situation and just saying I will have to deal with it when I get home. I'm here now, and I'm not having this week ruined for anything. Priceline, I bow to you like the god you are.

I'm so sick of being sick, and heat and jeans and yeah...It's just not been the most comfortable leg of the trip. I'm congested and snotty now, which is at least dealable. I've managed to go just as hard in DC as I did in NYC, and now tomorrow have a "cleanup" day after the parade, which means there is a much shorter list of things to fit within 8 hours. (I have a ticket for the Stephen Schwartz Project in Alexandria tomorrow night, but getting there is a huge PIA and not exactly a safe area, so even though he is a musical genius, and I hate to waste money, I may have to shine it.) I've just spent the past hour sorting out my souvenirs and my folding all my dirty clothes and bagging away my smelly socks. I've done a really good job of having a moderate trip where I've gotten to do most of the things I've wanted to do, and haven't felt too restricted on most things. I've bought what I've wanted, and not really said no to myself too many times. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and so I'm going to live it. I've had one spoiling meal in each city, where I sat and relaxed and enjoyed myself with a indulging meal, in NYC and here with a yummy speciality cocktail. (I was too sick in Philly and Nyquil was my relaxation inducer of choice.) I'm very pleased with myself and how I've pushed forward, alone, on this trip. I feel accomplished and independent, save for my little breakdown where I really should have been stronger and pulled it together. I ended up doing it all by myself anyway, I didn't need to make that scene and it serves as the only weak point on this trip. I feel like a postman. The show must go on. Despite fever and blisters and rain, I've powered forward to see a list of places that seems unimaginable in just a short time. I've been having serious knee issues, have a side ache that won't quit, and I've lost weight that I couldn't afford from lack of making food a true priority this week, but I'm certain a bit more of a regular schedule coming after my work trip to NY next week, I will be okay. (This trip has made me feel old in so many ways, I'm really not liking certain thoughts in my head, but I am trying to push them out.) Wait, oh my god, I have to come back to this coast in 5 days and I haven't even left yet. It seemed novel at the time, but knowing I now have 2 days to get all my work done from the week I was gone and the week I am leaving, laundry, pack, and do my taxes, and not upset my cat, I'm starting to think it was a bad idea.

I've been laying down since 5pm almost straight and my feet STILL throb and my knee is aching. The saving grace moment of the day came when I got to the fountain that I could shed my shoes and stick my feet in the freezing water. I would have never made it down the Mall to the Washington Monument. Today, I went to the grand opening of the Newseum (very cool to be a part of history), went to the top of the Washington Monument (cause I got up and stood in line at 7am this morning to get my ticket), stood in line for another hour and saw the Constitution and other documents of freedom, saw the Hope Diamond at the Natural History Museum, Mister Roger's sweater, Dorothy's Ruby Red Slippers, and other "American Treasures", went to the National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum, the Air and Space Museum for a few minutes, the Smithson Crypt and Smithsonian Castle, and had the best tortilla soup I have ever had in my life. (In fact, I may go back to that same place tomorrow and see if I can sneak in again, it was serious yum. They had things like duck tacos and some of the craziest Mexican food I have ever seen.)

I deserved this week, and I will never forget it. I'm so glad I have one more day, I think it will be the perfect wrap up to a set of lifetime memories. No matter what happens when I get home, I had these 9 days, learning, living and breathing free. Good job girl.

For those Project 30 curious, I've just not had the energy to give them the proper attention, but yes, we now have Mission Accomplished on Broadway, Yankees and DC Museums. Woohoo! Official posts to come, but I am now HALF WAY DONE!!!!! And for that alone, I will find a nice place to have a drink tomorrow night at the end of my day to toast this trip and my accomplishment. I'm proud of me.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Storming the East - Part 2

Alas, New York my dear friend, we will meet again next week, even if it is for work, I know it is easing the pain of leaving you today. I could have gotten lost in your neighborhoods forever. Our time together was amazing and forever unforgettable.

Philadelphia, you welcome me with open arms. The vibe of your town already showing me the way to your heart. This town is beautiful and I've only just arrived. My room...nothing short of beautiful and classic and perfect for this leg of the trip. Now to shower and explore...

Monday, April 7, 2008

Leg One Almost Done

I feel very pleased with my New York trip. I could do so much more, but I feel that I've hit about 90% of my high priority targets, and saw many things I hadn't expected to. I think the only things I really wanted to see that I didn't are Lincoln Center and Tavern on the Green. On the second level list are Chinatown, Little Italy and the American History Museum. I mean, you have to leave a reason to come back right? (Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and Crybaby are another few...I want more, more, more theater.) I desperately want to go to the Met Museum, but knew that there was no way it could fit on this trip, even for a girl who can do any museum in under an hour, that's at least a whole afternoon.

There will be lots of postings and lots of pictures and details, but I am so very sore, and have a very long trip ahead still. I sleepy.


Oh My

Just for the record, I prefer the hostel and the location over the hotel room and this location, but alas, I can sprawl and set pictures uploading and go...8 million blocks back to the subway. Dammit.

I can barely walk I am so sore and my feet are just one big blister.

I've had a taking it easy morning...now I'm off to get bandaids, the Museum of Sex, the MOMA, NBC and the Yankees

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Just a few of the things I saw today...

Mary Poppins on Broadway
Madaam Tussand's Wax Museum
Central Park
The Guggenheim Museum
The Whitney Museum of American Art
Madison Square Garden
Times Square during the day
Radio City Music Hall (outside)
Rockefeller Center and Top of the Rock for New York during the Day
Empire State Building and New York at Night
Bryant Park at Night
Washington Arch at Night
Greenwich Village and an amazing spoiling steak dinner and cocktail

And also walked from 59th St and Lexington to 4th Street. That's a minimum of 55 blocks, almost 3 miles if I hadn't of gotten lost like a million times and wandered back and forth and stuff. Yay me!

Saturday, April 5, 2008


While I will write my official Mission Accomplished post tomorrow I have a few short points to make...

1 - Patti Lapone is a Broaway Goddess with the voice of an angel, and those in the know from my eavesdropping say that she has outdone herself with this, the show that was seemingly made for her, the best Mama Rose ever.

2- I have never seen a standing ovation in the middle of the show, and she got one, me with my hands over my head, the man next to me yelling Brava! I can't tell you how many times I sang "Rose's Turn" in the mirror as a teenager, practicing until I could get the whole song out without falling breathless...she stunned me with her power.

3- I call it now, she WILL win the Tony. I am a lucky girl I got this ticket before it opened and at a discount, she's catching on fire.

4- Be prepared for me to gush about all of that again tomorrow.

I am not sure how my feet will survive 8 more days of touristing.

So I am here. I got here. It was an okay set of travel, just a really long day. The shuttle driver from the airport to LIRR was HILARIOUS and I met this nice guy Chad that was on his way to Brooklyn from Atlanta. It was really cool for me to have these very first experiences of friendliness. Can I just tell you how friendly everyone in New York is? I mean, yeah, there are some scary crazy people in this city...everywhere. But none more than SF, LA, etc. Just different. I think this city is the most diverse city I have ever been in, and I am eating it up. Unfortunately, I am not so digging the hostel thing, but keep reminding myself of how much money I saved. Last night, everyone in my room was asleep when I got in, and it was very awkward even trying to find my bed and clean out my locker from someone else's crap. I was no quiet, let's just say that. I ended up being thankful I brought ear plugs and sleeping pills, it's just a noisy building and my room is right next to the front desk. Unfortunately, those two plus hostel plus alarm clock I think means I am the most hated girl in the room right now. I tried to stay away as much as possible today until my feet swelled and I am about to collapse from lack of energy, and STILL someone is asleep in the room, so it's all dark still and I can't even get into my stuff. I grabbed my laptop since I had to clear pictures from my card (439 since I left SC) and headed up the lounge where I am trying not to collapse and sleep on the couch. I also am still sure I am sick and just pushing through, but I have to. I can't believe how much left there is to see.

Today, I fit in all of Lower Manhattan, which I am sure I will write about at length later, but since this trip is about me and my growing as a person, I think I want to jump straight to the biggest awakening of this trip. I'm a morning person. No really...I am. I like sleep too, it's amazing hobby, I think it's awesome. But, I love watching a city come alive. From home to the playa to SF to wherever, there is something about being out before anyone and seeing it come to life. Today, I left Union Square to a little north of the Bowling Green and wandered around in the damp air, meandering down to the Castle Clinton Monument and the Statue of Liberty. First piece of advice - If you ever plan on coming to New York and seeing the Statue of Liberty, get your ferry and monument tickets ahead of time, get there at 8 o'clock and in line to pick them up and go on the very first ferry out. If you miss Ellis Island, you're still pushing noon. Between 2 security checkpoints, lines, etc, it's a big ordeal, and when I turned around to see the line behind me, I was shocked. Anyway, even though the ferry was insanely crowded, and the line to the monument still seemed long in front of me, I managed to work my way through security faster than everyone but one couple. What that meant is that for a brief moment, I was in the statue of liberty alone. When I walked in the door at the base, I wept. I walked all 156 steps to the pedestal, and came out in full tears. I called my grandmother and told her where I was, I needed to share it with someone at least a little closer to my time zone. I am very thankful I had her to call, I needed to share that desperately. It was seriously life changing.

She is beautiful. As you take the ferry there, you start to think she is so much smaller than you thought, but when you are standing under her, looking at every fold so carefully carved, you realize the undertaking. She is majestic, and amazing. I was so glad that I was there as the sun broke through the sky, gleaming her torch in the sun. As far as moments in my life go, I am certain that this was one of the most amazing. I walked to the lowest level of the pedestal, still free from any other people who seemed to be crawling like ants below. I laid on the ground and stared up at her. I am sure that anyone up at the top at this time may have thought I was nuts. I walked up and I touched the rock that held her up and thanked her for guiding us. I have hundreds of pictures, but this I just had to share for now.

0804 225

0804 147

0804 142

0804 209

0804 218

0804 210

More to come...

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Day Of

I don't think I have taken off for a trip in the past 3 years that I haven't had a panic attack the morning of. While better than Japan, this morning was bad, bitter and angry I was doing this alone, certain I had overpacked and would look silly pulling my new suitcase through the East Village. It felt like a dream, like all my planning hadn't happened, that I could just go back to sleep. I'm still feeling in a daze, running on no sleep and massive adrenaline, unsure how I drove the hill in my groggy state. I am sitting the Chicago Midway airport, which is actually a kind of neat airport. I went looking to find out who was the first to have rocking chairs, they seem to be multiplying across the country and are here as well. (Charlotte was the first in case you were curious.) This airport is getting ready to install fancy leather chairs with power supplies in them to replace the random stools and benches that exist everywhere. I go in waves with the panic, starting to wonder if I can do this, why I am alone. I feel like crap, I should have slept more last night, I'm having my usual stressed out bladder situation where I think I have to pee but I don't, and my throat is getting more sore not less. That's really not helping my mood and confidence.

I'm watching a movie on Netflix Watch Now about the scrabble tournaments called Word Wars to distract me, and it is a good follow up to the movie I watched last week called Word Play about the New York Times Crossword Puzzle. In studying people, it's incredible informative to study the pop culture phenomenons that they are drawn to. While I would not expect these movies to be beyond enlightening, I feel a greater understanding of a breed of people I may have overlooked in the past. I love people. I think that is what has me most excited about this trip. It is a unique opportunity to not just observe, but do so at my own pace and leisure. I think it will amuse some to find one of the things I am most excited to see are the chess players in Battery Park. While I have let my game lapse, for more than 2 decades now, I have sat in awe at their speed and skill, and just like Broadway, it is an attraction for me to not be missed. Apparently, they are sided by Scrabble players with the same intensity. I need to keep reminding myself this is an adventure, and to not be scared. Dammit, I have to pee again. I think it's an aisle seat for me the next leg. Dammit.

The Night Before

This has been a crazy day, but it's here, it's like Christmas eve.

First, uhm, I'm sick have allergies and it's not cool. I'm pumping vitamins, and hoping to pretend my way through, but frankly, have the energy of a slug and want to sleep the next 5 days. That not happening, we're going to fake it until we make it.

Second, I've come to the miraculous breakthrough conclusion that the reason I procrastinate on things the night before a trip is that it helps me push off the panic attacks. When things get done, there is only time to worry. I have mostly just work to do before I can call myself free to go on vacation and I'm saving that for last after my shower as I enjoy my cleaned up house and packed self and anxious kitty.

We had a 3 hour diversion earlier when, me in all my procrastinating glory, discovered my camera charger missing and my batteries uncharged since Missouri 3 weeks ago. Not cool. So we searched, cleaed, searched some more...I even found my umbrella and found the floor in parts of my car. Finally, trying to convince myself that there are solutions, I was about to give up, trying to get focused enough to do chores, when I found it. It was amazing how much relief I felt, my heart raced. Able to focus again, I've got most things packed and cleaned and am feeling less stress than normal before a trip. I think I should be fine, I just am going to miss my cat.

I really don't think I can be any more prepared...let's just break down some of the modes of transportation I will be taking over the next week...

A car to a shuttle to a plane to a shuttle to a train to a subway to a hostel.
A ferry, maybe another boat, another train, probably a taxi or two, and yet another train.
Another type of subway, a bus or maybe another train back to a plane back to a shuttle to my car.
And probably some more things I'm forgetting.

That's cool.

Oh, and Jesus is here, with me...Mike was kind enough to allow Jesus to miss HIS 30th birthday so that he could escort me! I'm actually not going to New York alone. Yay. We'll have to do something very special for him when we get back!

Wish me luck folks, I have to get to stuff...but watch for pictures and updates and fun! Can you believe the project is almost 1/2 done?! Broadway, Yankees and DC here I come. I challenge myself to do 30 "little" other things that I have never done before, since technically I keep saying this is the big birthday present to myself in the project and I want to push myself to not be afraid. (Staying in a hostel, Ride the subway or walk the brooklyn bridge counts, seeing stuff doesn't.) Let's see how many things I can see and how many new experiences I can have in the next 9 days. I'm off!