Well, I made it back from our trip to New York City and Florida and all I can say is, wow, what an adventure! I think everyone in their lifetime should experience New York City - it's true, it's that busy and it never sleeps. It's vibrant, rich in history and makes you feel alive and exhilarated.
Both places were friendly; I felt inspired and embraced.
Every turn of a corner in New York felt familiar. I think it's because here in Canada, we are so inundated with US content for TV shows and movies that all of the places in New York are ingrained. Since I've been home, I can't believe how many spots I see on both TV and in the movies where I have now actually stood!
The highlights of my trip were:
The Chrysler Building
One of my favorite buildings of New York was, without a doubt, the Chrysler Building. Every morning, I ate breakfast in the rooftop bar of our boutique hotel as this icon stared back at me. What a fantastic building. It was a true privilege to have its beauty as my backdrop each morning - thanks again hubby for making New York my birthday celebration grounds! The picture below was my breakfast view :)
A cross off on the bucket list was to visit Broadway Avenue and then to see a Broadway play. I was not disappointed. We saw "Finding Neverland". I was elated afterwards and loved each and every breathtaking moment :)
My shining moment was when Tink sprinkled fairy dust all over the stage and I watched my son's eyes dance with joy - he has a crush on Tink ;) It was the best birthday present ever. His smiles were a capsule of wondrous delight. This shared experience with my baby boy made my heart burst!
The pictures below are: standing across from building we just saw the play in, Kelsey Grammar (aka Frasier) and Matthew Morrison (aka William Schuester of Glee).
Ahhh Central Park, it's like Beacon Hill Park, the largest park on southern Vancouver Island where I live, but on steroids. It's a huge, peaceful, wondrous treat of expansive greenery nestled amongst the concrete jungle of New York City. I felt my body let out a H-U-G-E exhale as I entered inside. It was welcomed. If I were honest, it felt like I was in another city!
New York City's Central Park is a geologist's haven! The park's topography made for an awesome free climbing gym for my son and myself. On the plethora of rocks, other children and adults also played, or sat still; lost in their own silence. We all had the city's backdrop breathing onto us. It was like being featured in a magnificent painting.
Our family had so much fun as we darted around the park (even hubby sprinted with us, which was AWESOME), going under bridges, even taking a break just so our son could made huge bubbles with a busker. We absorbed ourselves in the park's birds that swam at the Boathouse and in the ponds and ate lunch at Tavern on the Green. We saw the "Imagine" plaque where John Lennon used to sit and the Great Lawn where music still echoes. We took in the Bethesda Fountain and went to the zoo (our 7-year-old still doesn't quite register animals don't belong behind glass) and did a short carriage ride (again our seven-year-old doesn't understand the potential animal cruelty). The driver of the carriage had a unique perspective of the park. Among many other things, he pointed out the apartment where Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio once lived as well as the penthouse where Lady Gaga resides today!
We absorbed our full Central Park day into our souls and created some more awesome travel memories. I feel very charmed to have been able to experience such a delight.
My favorite part of Central Park was watching a cello player and violinist (as well as the faces of my hubby and son) in a tunnel bridge. In my humble opinion, music marries the mind to experience. It reminded me of Brugge, in Belgium, after we walked up the Belfry Tower and upon coming down being greeted to the sound of a didgeridoos filling the square; both peaceful and magical. We again felt this honor.
When I am around music and people they smile, appear centered and absorbed in each note they hear. I love the energy that surrounds these intimate occasions, where religion, race, color of skin, gender - all your stereotypical forms of hatred - just seem to disappear. I think it is a true expression of the human form, an unbiased world we all yearn for - one that has peace. Reaching a global settlement on this idea, of course is another conversation. Back to my trip!
The pictures below are some of our experiences: the tunnel where the violinist and cellist entertained, the lake where remote controlled boats sail, John Lennon's "Imagine" plaque, the Bethesda Fountain, the benches featured in so many TV shows and movies and the large granite rocks with the city rising up behind it.
Statue of Liberty
I couldn't go to New York City without going to see the Statue of Liberty up close. I felt privileged to see her. To know that she has witnessed so many immigrants passing through New York City's harbor to Ellis Island is awe-inspiring. To understand the relief the sight of her would have brought to so many wayward travelers, especially at the end of the 19th century into the middle of the 20th century, made me want to cry. I can now concretely visualize what it meant to reach the "land of the free". I wish there was a type of crystal ball that I could gaze into and not only witness but be a part of the celebrations and elation. That would be so incredible!
We went to Ellis Island too, but I would not get off. I am in the midst of working on my family tree using Ancestry, so I want a reason to return to New York to walk the path of one of my ancestors. I just have to find their name, lol!
Below are pictures: Lady Liberty, as well as Ellis Island.
Walking the Brooklyn Bridge
To some people, a walk over a bridge might be deemed as boring. To me though, I felt alive and fulfilled! Rich in history, this bridge, to me, is an admirable feat of architecture. It's over a mile long!
The day that we walked across it was a glorious and sunny day. Yes, the water sparkled like diamonds and I LOVED that!
To the left of us was the Manhattan Bridge, which is what we drove across when we first got to Manhattan. To the north, the Williamsburg Bridge and then in the distance, to the right, the Bayonne Bridge - which sits just past the Statue of Liberty and connects Staten Island with New Jersey.
The Brooklyn Bridge walk had rewards everywhere I looked. The beauty and architecture abounded. Helicopters grazed the waters and the bridge, while boats galore explored the shoreline. With the beautiful backdrops that surrounded, it was awesome!
Below are my views both to the left and to the right and looking towards Manhattan with Brooklyn at my back.
We took the Night Bus Tour of New York - we bused through Manhattan as the light faded. It was cool to see the Manhattan skyline just like in the movies.
My favorite part of the ride was when we passed George Washington High School as we left Brooklyn (where JZ attended) and the bus speaker blasted the JZ and Alicia Key's song, "Empire State of Mind". I instantly felt wrapped in a hug. As we traveled across the George Washington Bridge, Frank Sinatra's song, "New York, New York" next began to cry out, "Start spreading the news ..."! I felt grateful to be allowed this moment with my boys - man life is great, it really is!
Below are pictures of lower Manhattan and upper Manhattan. If you look close you can see the glint of that fabulous metal of the Chrysler Building along with the Empire State Building lit up in colors to support Police Week (they change lights' colors to celebrate different events). The colors did change while we were there - it was awesome!
Goodbye New York, Hello Amtrack
My writings above was only a minute taste of what we did while in New York City. There was so much more, but that would be the whole newsletter, so on to the next destination!
Once we left New York City, we hopped on an Amtrack to ride across country to Florida. It was a horrible ride: bumpy and spastic. I am also not good at being trapped in one place for 22 hours. Having train traveled across France and Italy, as well as into Spain, with my boys I can make an honest assessment. This Amtrack ride was by far the worst! I'd fly next time.
We were thankful though as it did allow the incessant ring that had overtaken our ears from the sounds of New York City to stop. Like I said earlier, New York City is noisy!
The upside for the train travel though, without a doubt, was the spectacular view. I loved it. I was invigorated - especially when from the train we could see the famous Washington State monument obelisk, the Capitol Building, the mall where the Smithsonian is housed and the Treasury Building while we trained through Washington - Hubby said the fact we saw these buildings would make Pops proud :) There you go Pops, your son and grandson have made you proud ;)
It was so cool too that the train tracks they show on the House of Cards are the same tracks we traveled down, along with the Delaware River and the Potomac River, which stretched out around us.
I'm busy learning about US politics. Boring before, more interesting now as I've seen some of the buildings from afar, so I feel I have a connection :)
The homes, countryside and trailer parks all along my train travel also inspired me from a songwriting level. I took tons of pics and video to use later. They will motivate me to write when I review them! I never wrote a word on my trip other than what we'd seen that day, just a one liner. So, I have a lot trapped inside of me, look out! LOL!
Below are a few pictures, just a feature of our train travel. Remember they are through a train window and the train is moving fast. I think it gives them a cool perspective.
We arrived in Disney World safely. Man my son was pumped! It was so cute to see his face as we approached! It was WAY bigger than I imagined!! The boys and I went to Paris Disney World a few years ago and hubby and I also honeymooned in Disneyland, but this place, it's huge! It ended up we could only do pieces of parks because we had to travel around so much. On the contrary, when we went to Paris Disney, we had a blast. We bought their VIP passes, so we went to front of the lines for the "Fast Pass". The boys rode some rides five or more times. We were sick of rides after Paris Disney ;) Disney World's Fast Pass did not live up to our expectations though. We only got to ride maybe three rides a day with a few smaller rides in between. We thought Fast Pass meant front of line not just another line to stand in. I can't imagine the place in summer months!
I have to say in Disney World the best part was that they have wristbands which track kids and allow them to feel a bit more grownup. That part was genius. My little boy grew a bit more emotionally on this trip, so this momma is a little nostalgic over that.
We stayed at Animal Kingdom and I have to say waking up to zebras, giraffes and the likes was kind of awesome. I still don't like that animals do not run free, but I was assured the animals were well treated. I can only hope this is true. For a seven-year-old though it was pure magic. We are planning an African themed main bathroom as we loved the decor so much.
Below are a few shots of Disney World with Mickey and Minnie and of the lobby of our hotel, Animal Kingdom.
Clearwater Aquarium And NASA
Well my trip to Florida was not so much about Disney World, but about meeting Winter the Dolphin. If you don't know Winter's story, I encourage you to check out Clearwater Aquarium's website. Not only will you find out Winter's tale, you'll also read about her best friend, Hope, the other residents at the aquarium, as well as their Rescue, Rehab and Release program. Winter, herself is an inspiration, a gift. The experience of locking eyes with her in person is something I won't soon forget. There are also two movies about Winter and Hope, Dolphin Tale 1 and 2. The first one is Winter's story, the second is hers and Hope's. I enjoyed them both :)
My over all impression of the day spent at the aquarium was that the aquarium itself seemed a little tired. I'm optimistic that with all the attention Winter and Hope are getting from people wanting to meet them this will change. The actual experience though was well worth it. I am so glad I went. Winter humbles me, she proves physical limitations do not define you.
I personally went there to meet Winter, but left with Hope also deeply embedded in my heart. Hope is a young, dynamic, love filled soul - she's a dolphin too. Hope and I shared a special moment together when I was in the underground viewing area at the end of the day. While I was telling her how beautiful she was, she talked back to me. It was so precious, I felt so privileged. We had quite the little conversation. Like my Leave it On the Mountain Challenge last hear with my fitness group, Wholly Fit, visiting the aquarium gave me hope for the path that I am currently walking down. Yes, just like walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, I felt alive, happy and content.
The next day, we went to NASA and hubby got to see a space launch a few days later. He was "over the moon" ;) He went to the special launching pad to see the launch. Every space enthusiasts dreams this moment. Hubby loved it.
Below are pictures of my dolphin adventure with Winter and Hope. The last one is Hope and our special moment. NASA is not included because hey this my newsletter not hubby's! Let me know if you want to know more about NASA! I'll share no problem :)
Pinterest and Twitter
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If you're new to my website and newsletters, greetings! I'm honored that you're reading my writings :) Check out all of my previous newsletters and other writings on my website, Kim Friesen - Mogillow Arts.
POEM OF THE MONTH
The stand of trees protect me now
Shafts of white light
Reach down from above
To surround and
Illuminate me from within, brilliant
As I sit in this moment, absorbed
The silent cry of goodbyes
Which once used to torment me
Who I thought I mattered to
Only to find out later
I meant nothing, robbed
Yet another path
A new fork in the road
Calls my name
Walk towards it
I reach up to the sun rays
Reminded how warm they are
Another adventure awaits me
As a door shuts in my mind
And I leave behind those fractures of people
Whose fissures once tried, in haste, to dissuade me
A smile filled with courage
Spreads across my face
As I take the step to move forward
Down this new path
Stretched out before me
Of the future
I am ready
I walk upright, tall
Let my nostrils fill with belief
Heart opened wide
Surrounded in the knowledge
Will make me thankful
That the stand of trees will protect me, always
"Nobody is too busy, it's just a matter of priorities."
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
Have you ever sat back and wondered if you matter to others. It's a hard pill to swallow those times when you find out that those you thought embraced you, really only want to use you for their own benefit. I have fallen victim to this and it sucks.
I now constantly strive though to stand up to, or stand away from people who only want to use me. Sure, I've been labeled a b*tch - a stubborn person whom others don't want to piss off - by doing this. Realistically though it's only a projection by those cruel individuals of how they actually feel about themselves. I know I am reliable, thoughtful, caring and kind and that it's another persons loss not to have me in their life. My motto is "Take me for who I am just as I take you for who you are." Sure, I often stand alone, but I have a few who validate with me that the path I am on is right for me. I hope you all have someone in your life who tells you that you matter. If not, make it a mission to find that person. A loved one who'll climb in the trenches with you, unabashed. To all my fur loving friends, it doesn't even have to be a person. In all honesty, my dog, Sandy, got me through many of the trials and tribulations of my childhood! Is it a wonder I always have had an animal in my life since I left home . . .
Learning to love yourself can be hard, but realize that you are all you've got - 100% - in this big, wide world.
If you haven't taken a look in a mirror today and thanked yourself for being wonderfully you, then it's time to make it a practice.
Good health and wishes sent out to all of my readers, if you need a shoulder, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to go through the journey of imperfection together.
Above all take care of you - there is no one else like you!
MY FITNESS CORNER
The Oops Moment of the Year
Well since I wrote last, I've been faced with a bit of a challenge for my fitness. After returning home from Florida, I completed an obstacle course race (10 km plus obstacle mudder) and a 5 km run with Victoria Goddess Run. Then on June 11th, I broke my ankle while training for an upcoming mudder at a local boulder climbing gym.
The diagnoses was a dislocation and a clean fracture of both my tibia and fibula. I had to have surgery to have screws, pins, and a plate put in. I had a no-weight bearing splint cast put on after surgery and then an air cast. I had an allergic reaction to the air cast sock and spent a week wanting to scratch my leg's skin off! That sucked! I was casted for almost two months.
Exercise wise, my trainer, Jenn, gave me a program to work with. I have done upper body exercise almost every day since surgery to keep the blood flowing. It's a bit disheartening to see my leg with no muscle and just hanging from the bone though. I know it will come back and I have had to take a lot of deep breaths to stay focused. It's a fine line between depression and making it through a work out. These past few weeks have been particularly hard.
Both the surgeon and my gp have said I am out of the mudder season and runs for 6 months from surgery :( My physiotherapist has advised that because my ankles are small, I should get surgery in a few months to remove the screw(s) in my ankle (I can definitely feel one and my leg is still a bit swollen). I have returned to bootcamp as a modified exerciser. My body feels very disproportionate. I'm doing physio and ride a bike there for 10 minutes along with doing some other exercises. My bootcamp is a group training session, so I have borrowed an apparatus to attach to a regular road bike (thanks MG!), so I can do the bike exercise my physiotherapist wants done along with my modified bootcamp work outs. Right now giving up feels easy. I feel tired a lot as I'm healing. The fight of working out to get healthy is hard. I find I am taking deep breaths a lot at this time. I'm sure that those who have been injured before can relate to how I am feeling. I wear my heart on my sleeve, so that is why I am sharing.
No Recipe This Month
I have been quite long winded about other things, I'm not going to share a recipe. If you enjoy getting them, no worries, I'll have one in my next newsletter. I promise :)
What About You?
How are you doing? I'd love to hear your thoughts. How are your work outs going? Have you been inspired lately to start doing them if you haven't started yet? Drop me an email at email@example.com, anytime!
Are you looking for a boot camp to "be the best version of yourself" and live in Victoria, BC? If so, check out Wholly Fit'swebsite at http://whollyfitvictoria.com/ and sign up to join us.
SOMETHING I'VE DISCOVERED
Last newsletter, in celebration of Facebook's National Siblings Day, I pointed to a few YouTube videos to make you laugh. I am watching it again because after breaking my ankle I know laughter is the best medicine!
What I've chosen to highlight this newsletter is a friend of mine's website,Angela Mirando Photography. Ang has changed her company's name fromArm'n'Arm Photography to Angela Mirando Photography. If you have any problems with my links, just search her name and I am sure you will be directed to her. Or feel free to drop me an email and I can point you in the right direction. She can be found at:
Give her a call so she can give you an estimate for making memories that last a lifetime. She's made many people happy with her keen ability to capture moments. I've never had an actual sitting with her, but she caught a picture of one of my dogs when we were out on a pack walk with our mutual dog training company, Beast Canine Services, and I have to say that just using a phone camera she captured my pup in all his natural glory - smiling at the camera!
I am in a bit of a crux right now with a big decision looming. I'm trying to decide if I will continue on with my newsletters or instead turn my writings into a blog. I wanted to get this newsletter out to you (it's been a while) and then research this idea. I love to write, as you know, but a blog may be the niche I need. So, subscribers, next time you will either get a newsletter or an email advising that I have changed my format. I hope regardless you will still continue to read my writing.
Please know too that whether or not you're a subscriber, I'm always humbled that any of you take the time to read what I write. I don't have any editors or spell checkers reading my work. It's just me, so my sincere thanks for continuing to read :)
As always, please feel free to share my website, newsletters and writings with all of your friends and family. Encourage them to subscribe too. I promise I won't bug them with junk mail or anything of the sort!