Archives

Home Away From Home

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ireland was so welcoming, that it felt like our home away from home. When we checked into Flannary’s and saw that the room that the staff thought was ready for us wasn’t quite ready, we went back to tell the receptionist. We ended up getting a larger room with an extra bed. Now we had one double bed and two twin beds. Dad said, “One for each of us:  Mama Bear, Papa Bear and Baby Bear!”

Since Papa Bear and I had traveled for hours and were awake most of that time, Papa Bear stayed in the room while Baby Bear and I went to the hotel restaurant. The restaurant was crowded for that time of day. Everyone seemed bubbly as their conversations seemed to bounce off the walls. As we looked at the menu, even though we longed to try an Irish coffee just because of its name, we decided to get a Bailey’s coffee instead.  We knew it would taste better to us.

The waiter looked our way every once in a while in between waiting on tables. When he checked in with us, I admired his lilting voice. Most times I could understand the Irishmen, but when the men talked very fast, it was difficult for me to understand. I was glad to have Katie there to translate for me, even though they were speaking English!

Because Katie and I hadn’t had a good sit down chat for quite a while, we talked for a couple of hours! Lately our only means of communicating had been through Skype or sending in-box messages every once in a while. Not knowing what was new in her life was quite a change for me since I was used to hearing from Baby Bear almost every day.

When Papa Bear joined us, we decided to stay at the hotel restaurant for dinner since the food appeared to be quite good. When Sean delivered our entrees, it was like the comforts of home to sit down and eat a warm meal of roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and veggies. Papa Bear liked his fish and chips, and Baby Bear enjoyed a plate of pasta.

As we munched away, a gentleman who was sitting at the bar, suddenly busted out in song. We had no idea what he was singing, but the Gaelic words and melody were a hit amongst the crowd.  His act of bursting out in song didn’t seem like it was anything out of the ordinary to the staff or customers.  His serenade only lasted a short while, and then he was gone.

As we finished up our meal, it felt like a blessing to have the car safely parked in the lot having survived the travels of our first day.  We were glad to get ready to settle in and get a good night’s sleep on a bed!

Mama Bear’s bed was “just right!”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Advertisements

I Belong to You

100 birthday.jpg

I felt a little awkward wearing a bright red t-shirt that day even though everyone else in the family was wearing one.  When we walked up to the front to greet the rest of the family, we sort of made a ruckus.  A lady in a pew behind us reminded us that people were trying to pray.  We simmered down and were good even though we were excited.  We waited for this day for a long time and were happy that it finally arrived.

Towards the end of Mass, the priest approached the front pew where we were sitting and announced to the congregation that someone was celebrating their 100th birthday.  Grandma stood, turned slightly and waved, as Father introduced her.  Father asked us to sing Happy Birthday.  Grandma smiled, and the rest of us couldn’t help but smile right along with her as we were very proud of her accomplishment.

After Mass was over, we went to the family reunion.  Groups of people trickled in.  Some brought Polish food.  The first presentation was poppy-seed bread.  A cousin made six loaves the day before.  Then the polka kielbasa made an appearance followed by Aunt Mary’s homemade sausage.  I had no idea what the ingredients were, but it tasted fabulous.  The beet and horseradish condiment tasted great with the different sausages.  Then the cabbage rolls were ready to eat!  I got a lot of exercise going back and forth, but it wasn’t enough to keep me from getting full.  As if that wasn’t enough, a caterer set very large rolls, pasta dishes, salad and more desserts on the tables.

As people visited with each other and made a point to see Grandma, I thought about how Grandma had been such a great companion to me and the kids when I was a stay-at-home mom with three small children.  We tried to visit with her at least once a week.  She went to the park with us to help me push the kids in the swings.  Other times we visited the library to get books for the kids and Grandma got some too.  Visiting the mall was fun especially when Grandma announced that the kids could pick out one special toy.  Just as a grandma should, she always made sure that we had cookies or some kind of treat to bring home with us when we parted ways.

The day I married my husband, I was blessed with two Grandmas.  They both treated me like I belonged to them.  That made me happy because I never got to meet my biological Grandmas because they passed away before I was born.  I didn’t know what I was missing until those two wonderful ladies warmly welcomed me into the family.

As the party started to wind down, I sat down next to Grandma.  I like the way she always holds my hand when we first talk to each other.

“Hi, Grandma,” I said.

“Hi Mary Ann.”

“Are you having a good time?” I asked her.

“I’m overwhelmed by all the people.  It’s so nice how they all came to talk to me.  I just wish that my husband could have been here to see everyone.  He would have really liked this.  Sometimes it was a little hard to figure out who belongs to who.”

“Well, I belong to you!” I said.

“That’s right,” she agreed.

A while ago, I asked Grandma what her secret was and how she got to live to be the age she was then.  She said, “Don’t eat the same foods every day.  Be sure to eat something different.”  But I know it’s more than food.  It’s her attitude.  Once she told me, “When I feel down, I ask myself, why?  I don’t have a reason to be.”  Last Christmas, Grandma remembered it was my first Christmas without my Mom, and she said, “I know it’s hard, but you just have to look forward to all the fun things that are coming your way.”

One of my favorite things that Grandma said when someone told her that she spoiled her grandkids was, “If I don’t spoil them, who will?”

If a person can get spoiled by their Grandma’s love, then that makes me rotten!!!

postage stamp

A Splendid Time!

1009914_10201539903926297_351803285_n[1]Laura & Michael

As I tried to balance my plate in one hand while eating morsels of tasty treats, I wondered if it was starting to rain. I thought I was doing a good job of keeping eye contact with the person who was talking, when it seemed like a little raindrop passed by and missed my plate. I politely nodded and listened as the conversation went on. I waited for another drop to fall. When I didn’t hear, feel or see one, I thought it must have been my imagination. Plus, I could not picture rain falling on such a decent day in August. The sky had been beautifully bright and blue with hardly a wisp of a cloud the entire day.

My husband popped in on our conversation, and asked, “Was that a squirrel?” He got hit on the head with something. The four of us looked up, but since it was getting dark, we couldn’t see any animal hiding in the very tall oak tree. When we looked down, we saw evidence of acorn shells scattered about.

“Oh, that’s not a good sign,” we heard a lady say. “If the squirrels are acting so crazy about acorns already that means it’s going to be a cold winter.” Somehow the talk of winter made us scatter and mingle. I wandered over to the table and tried to decide if I wanted more shrimp cocktail, veggies & dip, meatballs, cheese & crackers, a wrap, or my favorite:  a delicious bit of roast beef piled on toast and topped with a tad of horseradish. I took my favorite, and while I chewed, I stared at the cupcake tree stand. Since the cupcakes were chocolate, I knew I had to have one. The frosting looked like it was some sort of marshmallow that had been whipped into a bouffant.  It reminded me of a hairstyle from the 60s. I plopped one on my plate and it didn’t last long there!

There were high tables neatly arranged about the yard with smatterings of other conversational areas. Each table was decorated with colorful bouquets of flowers that the hostess arranged in a most attractive fashion. I headed toward the table with the comfy chairs and umbrella just in case the squirrels decided to bomb us again.

Laura was holding Michael’s little nephew. I got up close, looked at his little nose, peaked under the blanket and saw his tiny feet. His left hand was bunched up into a fist and rested on the bottom of his chin as if he was in some sort of deep thinking process. I wondered what little babies dream about.

“Do you want to hold him?” Laura asked me. I hadn’t held a baby for years. When people ask me if I want to hold a baby, I almost always say no because sometimes it makes me nervous.  But that day was different. I said yes mostly because that little baby and I are going to be connected with and be a part of the same family.  Plus, he is one cute baby who didn’t make me feel fidgety!

As I sat with the little one and patiently waited for him to open his eyes, I looked around the yard.  Even though a lot of us were meeting each other for the first time, the conversations felt like we had known each other for years.

When Michael asked for our blessing to marry our daughter, I knew it would be the start of new  beginnings for us. For me it means getting to be the Mother-of-the-Bride, plus I am looking forward to being a Mother-in-Law!  Even though Michael has seemed like a member of our family for quite some time now, it will be great when we get to officially welcome him to our family next year when Michael and Laura tie the knot.

Before this event, I didn’t even know that engagement parties existed.  An engagement party is a nice way to start off all the events that come with planning a wedding and a good way to meet each others immediate families.  I’m so glad I had such a splendid time at my first engagement party!

What a great favor God does to those He places in the company of good people! ~ St. Teresa of Avila

Interesting Place to Visit Sometime

On the last day of our trip, we thought it would be best to get to the tour boat as soon as possible.  When we were planning our trip, we were disappointed to learn that we would not be able to go on Liberty Island or Ellis Island.  Both places were under repair due to damage from Hurricane Sandy.  Thankfully, we could do the next best thing which was to see the islands from a boat.

We took the subway and a bus to get to the pier.  It was nice to see other tourists travelling especially since they asked all the important questions.  When we heard the answers, we knew we were going in the right direction!

We picked up our tickets which were a part of our New York City Passes.  When we got on board, we grabbed one of the first seats inside the air-conditioned cabin.  A family from Iowa sat next to us.  As the cabin filled up, the rest of the observers went to sit on the upper deck.

Our tour guide, Max, was blessed with the gift of gab.

Aircraft Carrier Intrepid

Aircraft Carrier Intrepid

As we pulled away from the pier, Max told us about the Intrepid Museum on Pier 86.  I thought it would be an interesting place to visit sometime.  The Concorde Jet was right next door!  Max told us when we were passing over the exact spot where Captain Sullivan landed the airplane on the Hudson River which was quite an eerie feeling.

While we traveled to the Statue of Liberty, Max told us about how expensive the apartments are on Manhattan Island and that if a person wanted to dock their boat on the Hudson River it would cost $6,000 a day!  Yikes!

Max recommended taking in a show during our visit.  He suggested checking out www.tkts.com which sells tickets 20-50% off regular price.  The ticket booth is located in Times Square.  Check it out in the morning to see a show that night.  Max warned that there would probably be a line.

Statue of Liberty

Finally getting to meet the Lady!

????????????

Ellis Island

After our tour and a short subway ride, we headed to Macy’s.  We walked a short distance and moved out-of-the-way all of the passersby.  While Susan looked at a map, I asked a lady standing next to us if she knew where Macy’s was.  She nodded at me with her big brown eyes, and her eyebrows seemed to go crooked all at once.  She slightly made a pointing gesture behind her.  We were standing right in front of the building!  One large section of Macy’s was being remodeled and was closed off.  That may be why it seemed really crowded or perhaps it was just that way because we were in NYC!  We shopped a little.  I bought a cute blue scarf for myself, and every time I wear it I will be reminded of the fun time I had!

??????

Macy’s

We ate lunch at a little spot where the lady behind the counter said that they had the best Reuben sandwiches in NYC.  It was good, but I doubted that it was the best.

Harold's Square

We walked by Harold’s Square

After another short subway ride, we were back at the hotel.  Since the day was so warm and we were so thirsty, we went to McAleer’s Pub on Amsterdam, just a short walk away.  We bought cold beers and t-shirts from the bar.  Susan asked if they had any other shirts with less decoration.  The waitress said that A Perfect Pint in Times Square would have just what we were looking for.  That was perfect because later that night we would be going to the show Nice Work if You Can Get It.

Before we knew it, we were at A Perfect Pint.  We were glad to get the recommendation because we never would have found it on our own since it seemed to be tucked in a bunch of buildings and hidden by scaffolding.  The crowd seemed to be a place where locals hung out.  We ate appetizers and Susan bought a t-shirt.

Parking Cars

While walking to the theater, I noticed an amazing way to park cars!

We picked up the tickets that we ordered way in advance at will call and decided to check out a new place called Jekyll and Hyde Restaurant & Bar.  We walked by the place a couple of days ago, and it looked quite scary to me because I wasn’t in a Halloween sort of mind.

At first we were greeted by a wax waiter and a knight in shining armor.  Then we found the live hostess who lead us to the bar.  The waiters and waitresses were dressed in costumes.  After we ordered our drinks, we were fascinated by the little gimmicks that took place.  The faces on the portraits changed, and the stuffed bear that loomed over us told us a story, just to name a couple of things.  Susan said it was like a Chucky Cheese for adults!  Finding the bathrooms reminded me of a treasure hunt.  The entrance is a long hallway lined with books and you need to figure out where the doorknob is.  Luckily another woman walked ahead of me and helped me find the way!

I was so excited when we got to the Imperial Theater because our seats were in the third row.  I sort of felt like we were sitting on top of the orchestra!  Matthew Broderick played an obtuse sort of fellow who couldn’t tell what love was until it bit him in the face.  The show was quite funny, and I enjoyed the Gershwin music, the dancing and the how lighthearted it was.

The next day we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast at the Nice Matin Bistro which was located in our hotel.  After we checked out, the doorman found us a cab.  We met our cab driver who was from Cashmere.  He talked about how his family still lives there, but how much he loves New York.

As we were leaving the upper west side, Susan pointed to the direction of the restaurant where the gang from Seinfeld hung out.  I couldn’t believe that we were that close to the place.  Even though Susan often asked me if I wanted to see anything else in the area, she didn’t know that I was a huge fan of Seinfeld and that I’ve seen every episode multiple times.  If only I had been a little more familiar with the place!

Oh well.  I just thought to myself that exploring that part of town would be another interesting place to visit sometime!

Miserable Outburst

The fourth day of our trip started out as another protein bar and Starbucks coffee morning.  After we repeatedly chewed on bits of the cardboard-like bars and tried to swallow them down with gulps of coffee, we headed to the subway.  Even though we had been on the subway many times, I never recognized any of the faces like I do at home, and I missed that.  I was surprised that I was feeling a bit homesick already!  I pushed the feeling aside and reminded myself to call home later that night.  I had been sending many pictures to the kids via text, but I missed having talking conversations with their Dad.

Susan thought it would be fun to find The World’s Most Famous Subway Grate.  We walked around the midtown area searching for the grate where Marilyn Monroe stood while a subway passed underneath.  The swishing air made the white skirt of Marilyn’s dress fly up which caught a lot of attention back in 1954.  Since it was a Wednesday, many professionals hurriedly walked by us.  When we found the grate, there wasn’t even a sign to confirm our discovery.  That made us unsure if we were in the right place.  After I read about The World’s Most Famous Subway Grate, I think we were in the right place, but now it doesn’t seem very exciting because we didn’t know for sure.  Anyway, if you’re interested, click here for a movie location guide, which would be fun to have on a trip to NYC.

Next we visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  The Cathedral is currently going through some renovations which will take a couple more years to complete.  A lot of unlit candles greeted us, and Susan and I each lit one.  Here are some of my favorite pictures, even though you can see the scaffolding in the first one.

The protein bar was starting to wear off.  We spotted another Le Pain Quotidien which are all over the place in Manhattan!  This is the scrumptious salad I had:

1369844266039

Our next stop was the Museum of Modern Art.  The Campbell Soup Cans by Andy Warhol were quite the attraction as was The Starry Night.  Susan asked me to take a picture:

????????????????????????????????????????????????????

While we stood in front of the painting, the man behind me started singing Starry, Starry Night, by Don McLean, and it helped me remember some sad things about Vincent Van Gogh.  😦

Thankfully, this piece of artwork had me laughing out loud:

???????????????????????????????????????????????

It’s so fun to be cultural!

After leaving MoMA, we found the Metropolitan Museum of Art Gift Shop by Rockefeller Plaza, and I bought a beautiful umbrella with a Tiffany “stained glass” fabric and some Monet coasters.  Plus, I remembered to use the coupon from my New York City Pass booklet.

Not only did we see Rockefeller Plaza, and

?????????????????

Atlas,

????????????????????????????????

we found Gilly at the NBC Store.

???????????????????????????????????

Our next adventure was to go to the Top of the Rock(efeller Plaza). We waited about 20 minutes before we could get on the elevator.  I liked seeing Central Park from the Top of the Rock.  I couldn’t believe how many buildings were below us.  It’s incredible how Manhattan stretches out further and further.

When we got back to the Upper West Side, we decided to have dinner at a Chinese restaurant.  I thought I would try the scallops, and our waitress, Heather, said that was a great choice.  We told Heather that we were going to go see the Statue of Liberty on Friday, and she told us about a lot of fun spots down by the pier.  The scallops and the fresh vegetables were very tasty.  By the time we were finished with dinner, it really was a starry night.

After only being asleep for a couple of hours, my stomach woke me up because it felt a little sour, and that’s when I decided that scallops didn’t like me.  Thankfully Susan slept through the whole miserable outburst.  That miserable outburst made me feel even more homesick.

The next day turned out to be the most relaxing of our trip.  We hoped that I would be feeling good so we could go see The Jersey Boys the next night.

To be continued…

A Lucky Gal

When I first woke up on the third day of our trip to NYC, I couldn’t believe that later that night I would see Tom Hanks in The Lucky Guy.  I felt like a Lucky Gal!  Some of my favorite movies are Big and all of the Toy Stories.  There seems to be a sort of humbleness that shines through in Mr. Hanks’ performances.  I was happy that still held true after I saw him in the show.  But the day was young, and there were a lot of things we wanted to do before being in the same room (even if it was a theatre) with Tom Hanks.

Since rain was in the forecast, we planned to visit some museums right after a leisurely breakfast.  We grabbed our umbrellas and walked to Sarabeth’s, a bakery and restaurant, across the street and up a block on Amsterdam.  We sat in a booth in the back, and I ordered the garden omelet.  Susan ordered the lemon ricotta pancakes.  We both sipped our very delicious coffees with cream until our food came.  We decided our food was delightful and would keep us full for a long while.

Little sprinkles began to fall as we walked back to our hotel.  We packed up some necessities, left the hotel and walked over to the American Museum of Natural History where the movie Night at the Museum was basedMany other people thought it was a good day to visit the museum too.  The lines seemed long, yet moved fast.  We picked up our New York City Passes, which Susan ordered ahead of time on-line.  The pass that we chose was a booklet that contained six admission tickets to various attractions and was valid for nine consecutive days.  It cost a little over $100, which we thought was well worth it.  One of the advantages of having the pass is that you don’t have to wait in line to purchase your tickets.

Journey to the Stars was at the planetarium.  The film was narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, and there were many well-behaved school groups in attendance.  I learned about those little balls of light and imagined them being born.  I was glad to learn that scientists believe that the sun will last many more millions of years.  Whew!

After that we walked around and saw a lot of stuffed animals, creepy crawlers and such.

After seeing the dinosaurs and being glad that we were never alive the same time they were, we decided to go across Central Park and visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Now that the raindrops were really falling, we hailed a cab that took us over to Fifth Avenue.  We walked about half a block as the drops made noises on our umbrellas, and I suddenly felt like a New Yorker!

Since we had our passes, we went right in.  Susan studied the map and tried to figure out how to navigate to her favorite paintings.  When we were admiring the Rodin statues, we came across a beautiful painting of Joan of Arc, by Jules Bastien-Lepage (French, 1848-1884).  Susan and I admired the artwork for many, many minutes.  We were fascinated by how Joan of Arc seemed so lifelike.  It was if she could pop off the canvas.  Her eyes seemed to tell a story.  Seeing the painting reminded me of the stories I heard as a child and how I admired her bravery.  You can see a photograph of the painting if you click here.

I didn’t take a lot of pictures at the Met until we got to the stained glass artwork and the angels:

We also saw the painting of George Washington Crossing the Delaware and the Egyptian Temple.  When we came to the gift shop, we realized that there was a coupon in our New York City Pass booklet.  We tried to decide if we wanted to buy anything and realized that it was almost 5:00.  I felt a little stressed and worried if we would make it to the show on time.

I was sad to leave the museum because I enjoyed it so much.  The traffic was heavy, big raindrops still fell, and we knew that at that time of day we wouldn’t be able to catch a cab.  We looked over at the commuters filing on the bus across the street and decided to ask some questions.  The people were so friendly and told us that the bus would drop us off right by our hotel.  We were thrilled that we learned another way to travel about NYC.  We used the same $30 pass that we used on the subway.

It was nice to have the doormen greet us.  Our hotel room looked so tidy, but we didn’t have time to stay.  We headed out the doors again, but this time we walked in the other direction to the subway.  When we got to our stop, and went up the steps, the crowds were much heavier in Times Square.  We passed by many shops.  We picked up our tickets at will call, and Susan led me over to Sardi’s.  We went to the upper floor, sat at the bar and ordered watermelon cosmopolitans and crackers and cheese.  People were standing in line in front of the Broadhurst Theatre.  A gentleman at the corner of the bar said, “I can’t believe the line.  I always wait up here until just before the show starts, and then go into the theatre.”  It sounded like a great idea to me as I munched on crackers and sipped my cosmo.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be sitting at Sardi’s doing just what I was doing at that moment.  A picture of Lucille Ball smiled at me from across the room.

The man told us about his grandson who was in a play at the adjoining theatre and how his family members took turns being the actor’s biggest fan and making sure he got home safely.  We chatted for quite some time and noticed that the line was getting shorter.  We got up to leave around the same time.

I thought theater goers would dress up, but I didn’t feel uncomfortable wearing my jeans since the majority of the audience did too.  Some dressed like one would expect going to a Broadway show.  We read our playbill and waited for the show to start.  The play was written by Nora Ephron who also wrote When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, just to name a couple of things she did during her very successful career

Tom Hanks played a newspaper columnist, Mike McAlary.  McAlary’s career blossoms when he becomes the reporter who the criminals tell their stories to about the police.  It was difficult for me to watch Mr. Hanks puff on cigarettes and say the F-word because I always think of him as Woody or Josh.  It was a different role, and he played the part well.  I admire how he likes to be different characters.  The audience saw his humbleness shine through when he graciously bowed at the end.  It seemed like he truly appreciated the audience being there.

We went to Juniors Restaurant after being in the same room with Tom Hanks.  I had a ham sandwich which looked like it could feed my entire family.  I didn’t think I was very hungry, but I ate it all!  We talked about what a great job the cast did, and how much we enjoyed the performance.

Junior's Restaurant

When we walked through Times Square on the way to the subway, it was 10 times more crowded than the most crowded Minnesota State Fair that I ever attended.  I couldn’t believe that it was around 11:00 at night because the lights were brighter than a lot of Minnesota days!  I could have worn my sunglasses and been fine.  The subways were less crowded than the streets, and I felt comforted by the music of the man playing the steel drum.  He did an awesome job every time I saw him that week!

We made it back to our hotel, and planned the next day.  Even though I felt like a very lucky gal to have seen The Lucky Guy, little did I know that it would not turn out to be my favorite show of the trip.

To be continued…

Starbucks Helped us Make it Through!

The streets were very quiet Memorial Day morning.  The neighborhood wasn’t busy like it was the day before.  As I left the hotel, I asked the doorman if he knew where Starbucks was, and he pointed the way.  It felt a little strange to be walking all by myself.  Sometimes I felt like I should be afraid because I was in the Big City.  Then I realized that I didn’t have a reason to be.  I took a right turn by the DSW Shoe Store and walked a couple blocks down Broadway.  When I entered Starbucks, I was the only customer, and it was nice to have the individual attention!  On my walk back, I saw a few moms pushing their little ones in strollers.  People were busy working and moving boxes from trucks to buildings.  Only a few cabs and cars traveled along the road.

When I got back to our room, Susan and I ate protein bars and washed it down with some coffee.  We didn’t have time to stop for a leisurely breakfast because we were heading down to the 9/11 Memorial.

The subway was only a block away.  By the time we got to the bench to finish our coffees, the traffic had picked up, and more people wandered about. The bench was by a big grate and we heard the trains pass underneath.  After we finished, we walked down the steps.  As we went down each step it got darker and colder.

?????????????????Artwork at a Different Subway Station

I followed Susan’s lead.  I watched her slide her subway pass through the slot and push the turnstile to get through the gate.  Just a few people were waiting.  I stood back, and when I heard the loud rumbling coming closer, I stood back a little farther just to be sure.  The train stopped, and the doors opened wide.  We found a spot to sit right away.  After the doors closed, we sped up faster and faster.  The train swayed from side to side.  Passengers unknowingly bobbed to the rhythm.  The rumblings from the inside of the train were not as loud as they sounded when it first started to approach.  When we made it to our destination, we only had to walk a few blocks to the Memorial.  The taller buildings cast longer shadows here.  Susan, who I referred to as “My Tour Guide,” had taken care of the required reservations, which had no charge.  We pulled out our passes and entered the gate.  We joined the zigzag line of people.  There was quite a wait because we were told a film was being produced for military personnel.

No buildings shaded us.  We soaked up the warm sun because we knew at home everyone was suffering through more rainstorms.  Susan struck up a conversation with the couple standing in line in front of us.  The lady was originally from Reykjavik, Iceland.  She and her husband were on vacation, but were ready to go back home to Sweden to their two children.  She commented how nice it was to see so many people at the 9/11 Memorial on Memorial Day.

When the line began to move, we were told that we would have to go through an airport-type security.  Thankfully we didn’t have to take off our shoes.  We passed through the security check, and went back outside.  The first thing I noticed was the sound of water running.  The very large pools stand where the Twin Towers used to be.  The names of the people who died there are carved into the beautiful stone.  I watched the water fall.  Where the sun shined, the water sparkled.  The water fell down the upper walls, fell down another level and disappeared.

We were not able to visit the museum because it is scheduled to open next spring.  You can see the museum in some of these pictures.  It’s a short, lopsided building.

Being there reminded me of the scenes we saw on TV and the stories that we read in the newspapers.  It reminded me how we felt about the lives of the people who were lost, and how we grieved for them and their families.  I thought about how frightened they must have been and how heroic the firefighters and policemen were.

We also saw St. Paul’s Chapel.  Even though the church is very close to where the Twin Towers stood, it didn’t get damaged.  This is where the fence was, where people left mementos of their lost loved ones and where the recovery workers slept on pews and received round the clock care.

The old tombstones in the back of the church have been there so long that the names and dates have worn away.  Inside the church a choir sang.

We walked around that area and saw more sights:  The New York Stock Exchange Building, the Wall Street Bull, and Battery Park.  We also walked halfway across the Brooklyn Bridge, even though parts of it were under repair.

We ate Panini’s and found our way back to the subway.  We stopped to see Grand Central Station, visited Annie Moore’s for a cold beverage and then went back to our hotel.

That night we went to Chinatown.  We briefly tried to find Wo Hop, a very good Chinese restaurant.  We didn’t stay in Chinatown very long because we felt claustrophobic.  Many people surrounded us and asked if we wanted to buy a Rolex and other such things.  Thankfully, Little Italy was only a few steps away.  We found Di Nico, one of Susan’s favorite restaurants, and relaxed while we ate dinner outside.

When our orders came, we realized that one of the ladies next to us ordered the same pasta as I did, which led us to start a conversation.  Kate and Maddy, a mother and daughter, were visiting from London.  Maddy shared how her parents told her that they were going to send her on a trip to Ireland with her Mom, but then surprised her with a trip to New York City instead.  They had plans to spend a lot of time shopping.  It was great to meet them, and I loved listening to their wonderful English accents.

Kate and Maddy told us how they waited in line for 90 minutes just the other day to eat at Wo Hop.  They said that it was very good, but it was a very small restaurant.  If Susan and I would have found it, we never would have met Kate and Maddy.

A Band Marching Down the Street in Little Italy!

The eventful day had us feeling quite tired, and we were glad that Starbucks helped us make it through!  The next day we had tickets to see Tom Hanks in The Lucky Guy, and we were really looking forward to that!

To be continued…