Taking a Bite of the Big Apple

Tim and I celebrated a milestone anniversary this year:  20 years!  I have officially lived with my husband longer than I lived with my parents.  Well, I think if you want to get technical and mark that from the moment I left for college, I've already reached that a couple of years ago, but I suppose when you add up days, we're just getting there.

Gone are the days of celebrating milestones with things like big gifts, expensive dinners, sparkly jewelry and extravagant trips--no wait--we've never done that anyway.  :)  We've always been a bit more of the "recognize" the occasion rather than celebrating them in remarkable ways.  We've TALKED about things, but when it comes right down to it, a night in, or a quick night out is our typical go-to.  Not because we're super boring, (right??), but because we're super busy and our idea of celebrating is often embracing an evening of no plans or family dinner.  The lavish gifts give way to the practical "stuff"...a new garage door opener or garbage disposal--perhaps a new roof or rerouting some plumbing--or of course a beautiful new bathroom exhaust fan!  I mean, who wouldn't swoon over such romantic things??

In 20 years, we have lots to swoon over, even if there is no extra bling on my fingers or ears, or stamps in my passport.  (Hey, I'm just tickled that I HAVE a passport with a stamp in it!)  We have 8 amazing packages that range from little to big, a beautiful home, extensive DIY experiences, volumes of life's encyclopedias and "how-to's", and "________ for Dummies", and "What to Expect When You're ______", and stories, photos and memories to fill storage cards!  I've said lots of times that my life is full and it truly is.

Milestone anniversaries may not seem like much until the numbers get significantly higher than say 50, but I don't think it is the norm anymore that people expect that.  Twenty years seems to have gone pretty fast, but in all honesty, I know it takes a special person to put up with me for that long.  Tim is a pretty amazing man--not without his faults of course, but I'm positive that God had him reserved for me for most of my 40 plus years of life.  I'm sure it goes both ways...we balance each other out pretty darn well.  If I would have married someone like me, we'd have probably uptighted each other right out of existence.  Yes...today "uptighted" is a word.  :)

While we don't have a standard of celebration, we HAVE on occasion done something that is significant.  One year we went to KC together on a business trip for Tim around the time of our anniversary.  Must have been around our 13th, and the only reason I can figure that out is because Amelia is six.  *wink*  This year, we took advantage of a trip that Tim had scheduled for NYC and tacked on an extra day and called it our anniversary trip.  I'd never been to NY before.  Tim is there regularly for business, but he loves to experience things through my excitement.  I love travel and maybe someday will have more opportunities.  I wouldn't trade those opportunities though for the worldly experiences I have daily right here in my home.  All in due time.

I am not a touristy person, but rather enjoy exploring things on my own.  I'm not afraid of getting out there and finding stuff.  This city may be a little larger than my abilities though.  There is way too much to do and see.  I had a bit of guidance from a friend that lives "uptown"--I don't really know the difference between the Upper East Side vs West Side or Lower or why/when you refer to part of the city as Manhattan vs NYC... J.E. provided me with maps, points of interest, descriptions, transportation options and instructions in addition to a personal tour of Central Park and tutorials on how to use the subway!

 This was a fun mural!  We watched the US win while having dinner in the city.  The next week NYC hosted a ticker tape parade to honor the Women's team.  Timing...!

Experiencing NYC food truck food.  

Central Park.  

 Lovely place to visit, but I reaffirmed that I am a midwest, small-town girl and I really like where I live and how I live.  In retrospect, my first visit to this city would have had a different feel had we actually STAYED in the city.  For some fluky reason, we were in a "small" town in NJ that is designed for corporate business, not tourism.  To get into the city required a car service, a train 2 hours and about $100.  At one point it looked like this:  car service with an inflated price from the previous day--never mind that it was the same driver and same destination.  The only difference was that Tim wasn't with me.  Upon arrival at the train station, I purchased my tickets and then proceeded to help someone that requested assistance--you know, because I'm an expert after one day.  :)  My assistance was successful, but at the cost of missing the train by less than 3 seconds which resulted in having to wait another hour and a half.  At this point I had not had breakfast, or even a cup of coffee. Fortunately there was a sandwich place across the street.  No fluffy lattes or scones here!  Three hours later, I finally arrived for my day in the city.  In a nutshell, I missed just about anything that ran on a schedule, but the day was enjoyable.  I did manage to get from the lower tip of Manhattan (Statue of Liberty) to the middle of the city at Central Park.  That's a lot of distance.  I'm pretty sure that I didn't turn the right direction to begin at any point, so I added a few extra blocks with each journey.  My phone was at 1% battery by 3pm, so I didn't even have the assistance of Siri or Google maps or Safari.   I didn't get back to the hotel until 10 pm for dinner in the hotel restaurant with Tim.  The most stressful part of the entire day was walking down the wrong escalator to the wrong train platform--dark, abandoned, no escalator going up, and during the period of time that the train was boarding--and I didn't want to miss another train!!

 My scenery for 90 minutes...next time, renting a car would be a good idea!

 I rocked the subway system.  I mostly walked, but took advantage of the subway to make up some time on a few occasions after making a few wrong turns on my pedestrian routes!
 This is as close as I got to the Statue of Liberty--because I missed that ferry to the island!
 This could be why I kept turning the wrong direction!  Kind of hard to know which way is which when all you can see is the sky above you!
One of the best choices I made was to visit the 911 Memorial.  The site where there are now pools with the names of those lost that day all around the edges and the actual museum itself.  This is where my phone died, so I didn't get pictures in the museum, but it is a must see.  I was overwhelmed with emotion and memories of that day/month.

See that plane in the reflection of the building.  That is an eerie sight.

 There is still much construction happening in this area.

Chelsea Market

Even McDonald's gets glitz!

This is more people than I see in a regular month I think!

Times Square

 The NY Public Library...on my "must visit" list and wouldn't you know it...the ONE day that I was there, is the one day that it closes early!  :)
 After my encounters with public transportation, reaching destinations in an untimely manner, spending 3 hours at the 911 museum, walking miles and miles, dealing with the challenge of limited communication with Tim and the hungry growl in my stomach despite a food truck at every corner, I was tired, ready to head back to the hotel, defeated in a way because I still had much to see.  For Tim to come into the city would have been a couple of more hours and then to do what?  Eat?  In all honesty, I was still waiting to be impressed by food.  I was beginning to feel stingy and cynical about all of the hype of this city.  I had one final destination before working on catching a train back to NJ.
St. Patrick's Catholic Church

This flag was such a welcome sight.  In one deep breath and proceeding sigh, I found relief and comfort in the familiarity of home.

 In no way could I begin to capture the beauty of this magnificent church with a simple camera (or even a complex one!) It is a tourist attraction and under construction.  There are so many different side altars.  I did find the main altar and tabernacle that was roped off to instruct tourists of no photography and slid into a small pew to kneel and pray for a while.

St. Therese of Liseaux 

 The next day was spent at the hotel.  I just wasn't up for spending the time and money to go back into the city.  Maybe next time.

It was a pretty hotel with nice amenities...no place to go within walking distance except around a little pond behind it.  There were no sidewalks to get to the nearest Duncan Donuts and no destinations that didn't require a car service. So...I stayed on the grounds or in my room.  It was a good vacation.  When else do I get to sleep until 10, watch TV and eat dessert for lunch?
 Happy anniversary.  Anyplace I am is a better place when you're with me.