NYC – Day 5

Agenda:
*9/11 Memorial
*Lady Liberty
*Broadway show – Hello Dolly

Even in this tall city, The Freedom Tower stands out from the crowd.

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Beautiful calming fountains dedicated to all those tragically lost encompass the land where the Twin Towers once stood. Ground Zero took my breath away.

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Inside gave you a look into the depth, literally, of this life changing event for our country.

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The survivor stairs that gave many a chance at life.

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After that, it was time to see what does make our county great, today. Not again. Today. Lady Liberty via the free Staten Island Ferry!

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Selfies with the Statue!

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Ferry hair. Don’t care.

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A beautiful free way to see the cityscape of NYC.

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Back on land, we cleaned up and headed across the street (again) to Shubert Theatre. Better Midler and David Hyde Pierce were awaiting our arrival to see the classic Hello Dolly! The only tickets we bought pre-arrival to NYC.

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The show was a classic Broadway production! And Bette was a doll to watch perform live and really enjoy her roll not too seriously. What an end to our trip! Are we ready to go home yet?! No!

NYC – Day 4

Agenda:
*Broadway show – Hamilton
*Shopping!
*Steak dinner

Our hotel, Marriott Marquis is in the heart of Broadway. Big question for us was what shows would we see? We all agreed Hamilton was at the top of the list, but all websites were quoting $600+ per seat! Too rich for our blood. We’ll pick other shows.

Monday as we are walking in to call it a night, we pass by the Richard Rodgers Theatre and box office where Hamilton is playing. There were people in there. Ummmmm…. K and I say “Moms! Let’s give it a try.” We get to the front of the line and just ask what’s available. They had tickets for the Wednesday matinee 10 rows back center stage $229 each. That we CAN afford! We couldn’t believe it! We were fumbling to get our credit cards out so fast like the tickets would disappear!

We slept in Wednesday morning because our first event of the day was Hamilton at 2pm!

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Mama, we made it happen!!!

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Brilliantly written show. The rapping was phenomenal. I feel very privileged to say I saw this show on Broadway.

We capped off our evening with some shopping at my all time favorite TJ Maxx! I couldn’t help myself even in NYC! I was having shopping withdrawals. Then Mom requested a steak dinner. Simple Google searches were our best way of finding really good restaurants, and it nailed it with the Gallagher’s recommendation. Mom and I split a filet because they were so big! Great way to have a night cap!

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NYC – Day 3

Agenda:
*Live with Kelly & Ryan
*Gray line Uptown bus tour
*MoMa
*Nap

K & I were eager beavers to find out what live shows we could see while in NYC – SNL, JF… Our Moms like the morning shows, so we quickly scored tix to Kelly & Ryan, Live! It broadcasts at 9am, so we had to get up early to get in line even though we had tickets. We were all dreading the 6 am alarm. Get these girls some breakfast then lets… wait.

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It was a exciting experience. My mother made me be on live TV as a child and I failed and so did she for not preparing me, and my bawling on the car floor ensued. This time we could relax behind the camera, mostly. Our guests were Demi Moore & David Muir!

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Kelly and Ryan were very courteous and friendly during the breaks, lots of the selfies and autographs. The audience was a little more aggressive then I expected trying to get the celebs attention. We sent messages back to the Midwest to make sure we were scheduled on the DVR!

As were were scoping out where to get lunch, we noticed a lot of police and barricades set up on the street. Trump was leaving his building. We got locked in. It could have been a decoy, but I saw the shadow of the hair in the middle SUV.

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I was more on the lookout for snipers. After a meal at Burger Heaven, we made our way to MoMA. Selfie with the Van Gogh Starry Night!

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Shout out to BD and his Piacsso piece!

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I was most excited to see a Pollack in real life!

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I was hoping we would see some outdoor art and bam! Hippo Ballerina sculpture was across the street from Lincoln Center.

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Everyone was starting to get slap happy. It was nap time. On our way back, I found my parcel of land in this big city!

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Hopped on the bus to get home and enjoyed views of The MET,

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and Central Park

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The Apollo

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Not joking, you see everything on these bus tours! After our nap, we were ready to fill our bellies. Bring on the Mexican cuisine for dinner!

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We ate like kings all week!

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NYC – Day 2

Agenda:
*Gray Line Downtown bus tour
*See hanging chickens in China Town (Carole request)
*Broadway show – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Since this was our first trip to NYC, K said the best way to see the whole city is on the bus tour. These guys were selling tickets right out our hotel door. One guy was willing to work with us and we scored the 2 day price for 5 days. This Downtown tour has 20+ stops on it! But before we got on we the bus, we had to check TKTS for a Broadway show. I love Willy Wonka, old or new version. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was playing next to the hotel. We were able to score tickets 50% off 10 rows back. I was giddy! More to come with that, on with the tour!

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The architecture in this city is amazing. Seeing from the roof top of the bus with a great tour guide adding his colorful stories about the history was absolutely the way to see this city.

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Flat Iron district!

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My motley crew!

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Best part about these tours is you can hop on and off as my times a day you want. So we hopped off in China Town. K wanted chicken on a stick. Carole wanted to see the chickens hanging in a store front. I wanted to get the hell out of there. It smelled terrible with the open baskets of seafood and meat. Barf.

After a few twists and turns, we found ourselves in the middle of the San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy. Yes, this food looks much better!!!

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Let’s eat lunch! Il Cortile provided a fabulous meal for our first outing.

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We hopped back on to finish the tour, but wait. We were rerouted because the President and the UN was in session. Streets were closed off. This fact would affect our route several times in the coming week.

We made it back, freshened up, and walked across the street to see Charlie @ the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre!

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Carole was a skeptic. How could they pull this off on a stage? But they did, it’s Broadway! They’ll figure it out! Everything from the Bucket bed, the Factory doors, and the magic inside with the glass elevator. Top 2 moments of the show was 1st, the Oompa-Loompas happened! The actors were on their knees using their hands as feet of the orange little bodies. It was fantastic!!! I can’t describe it,  you just have to see it! 2nd moment… a tiny squirrel came across the floor, then as they enter the shelling room, the actors were in full human size fluffy squirrel suits chasing Veruca Salt around! I was not expecting that and I was thrilled to see it! This show delivered and everyone in our party loved it!

Bucket List for Mama – NYC – Day 1

Mom started planting NYC-trip-seeds early this year. She slyly added the words “It’s a bucket list trip.” Who can say no to that even if she’s not at death’s door. As I started pondering how to make the trip happen, I knew my HLP had to come along. She’s well traveled to NYC and would be the perfect tour guide. When I approached her about the endeavor, she says “I can’t go without my Mom, she’ll kill me.” And, the Mother-Daughter trip was born. Off to NYC we go! Lots of emails and planning were exchanged. We were going to make this week count!

Agenda Day 1:
*Arrive safely to NYC
*Check in to the Marquis
*Experience Times Square

All the boys wanted to make sure we Midwest girls could handle the Big Apple. Lots of selfies allowed us to check in back at home. From JFK:

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Times Square is nuts! Oddly it was a smaller space than I expected. Camera angles make magic on TV. Yet it was busier than I could ever imagine!

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As we walked around, I noticed some plain dressed people with ear pieces like FBI. What’s up? Then I spied the movie trailer and didn’t recognize any stars, but we watched anyway. Who knows what this is/will be?

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We made our way over to Rockefeller Tower and Plaza. I still fail at the country flag game. Fun to see a daily TV space for real.

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Like a tourist, I was constantly checking the map to see what was around us. #1 spot I wanted to take Mom to was St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Just around the corner? Let’s go! We weren’t sure if they would even be open on a Sunday night. Unbeknownst to us, they were!!! They had an exhibit showcasing the Relics Of St. Padre Pio on display. It was quite an impressive turn out. We said a prayer for our family back at home.

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And I asked Mom to take a pic of me praying at the altar. She says quite frankly, “If this is a joke, I’m not taking a picture. I’m not going to hell for that.” I assured her that I was serious and was going to be thankful for lots of wonderful things I have in my life, including her. Now, TAKE MY PICTURE!

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After attending the Catholic Church, which should we attend this week? This was literally right outside our hotel door.

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Good night TS. I’ll see you tomorrow.

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But before our night ended, this perfectly describes this one…

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Lake Freeman

Captain Jack & his first mate have invited us to their lake house every year. This year, we finally made arrangements to spend some time on Lake Freeman. I was super excited until I got there to find this….

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WTF. Not again. Is this really why you invited me there?! Of course I had to dig in when my puzzle gene took over. We didn’t get it finished, but I did get it to a place where the Labor Day crew would get it done. Hell, L started this in January! After they would drag me away from it, we got some Rummikub in! Had to teach the college kid this old school game.

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We woke up to a beautiful blue sky and ready to take a boat ride! But not until my parents arrived! Always a blessing when they can join our festivities!

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Great low and high bridge architecture to check out!

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We had to make the tourist stop at the sand bar. Little different than I’m used to. People literally run their boats up into the sand bar. Anchors aren’t needed here!

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But is a grill needed? Yes please! I don’t even like hot dogs, but the thought of a grilled dog from the boat? Count me in.

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Come dinner time, we were ready for a hearty steak!

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Great friends, great memories. And I’ll have this memory to laugh at forever!

Zoo-Rangutan

When the sun is out in Indy, every body or every seal is out to soak it in! That’s how brown I want to be!

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I had not been to the Indy zoo since WAY before the Orangutan exhibit opened. I could see it every time I ran the canal. It was time! Can you see the one on his perch high in the sky?

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I loved it! I always feel so conflicted visiting zoos. While I love to see the beautiful creatures, I hate the trace-loop most caged animals end up doing. I remember a polar bear at a zoo when I was a kid. He had a pattern. Forward around, reverse. So sad.

Back to this extraordinary open enclosure! A real marvel to look at. Spears, ladders, glass. Swinging fire hoses to climb and metal rungs to explore. It did look like these guys and gals were having fun. But Mama, Sirih, kept following the baby, Mila, like she didn’t approve of her antics.

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Thousands of zoo fans voted to name this adorable baby with a name that translates to “dear one” in Indonesian. He was dear.

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Then this joker comes climbing down from the top and I thought, that could totally look like a sasquatch or a yeti depending on your terrain.

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After we were done with these characters, let’s see some more animals! This guy doesn’t need to climb anything.

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Our zoo puts on shows through out the day, so we took in a dog show. We always love them on AGT, so let’s see it live! These were all rescue dogs who were given a chance by their amazing trainer. See them jump!

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Next were the big cats. I’ve always loved tigers. Rewind 7 years ago when B & P & I actually got to play with them! Most amazing hands on experience that started my journey towards always having real contact with wild animals. Oh wait. P & I got to do it TWICE!

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Must have a tiger selfie since I can’t pet him.

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Add the lemurs were, first napping in a pile. Later, they were bums on a log. Booooooring. I’m so spoiled. At least these brother bears gave us some action!

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Then came the scary train ride.

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Thank goodness my parents were here to comfort me.

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On our way out, real life happened. Hello sssssssssnake!

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People were freaking out on the sidewalk. Come on, it’s a zoo! Last show of the day, the Macaws. This was awesome. There are 3 tribes of Macaws at the zoo right now. During specific times of the day, each tribe’s cage door opens and they are trained to fly from the cage to the Bicentennial stage near the zoo entrance. Very very cool.

And these birds were not shy about getting to the stage, so watch your head. It’s not the biggest zoo around, but I learned we have a lot to offer. I hope visitors of our city enjoy it too!

The Year of the Blood Clot

Doing some spring cleaning and stumbled upon my old medical paperwork from 2007, AKA the Year of the Blood Clot.

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In 2007, I was busy painting the entire interior of my condo. That coupled with my workout mania, led to a blood clot forming in my upper right 1st rib/clavicale. But being young and dumb, I didn’t know I had a blood clot. I just had an arm that would swell up as I worked out, then go back down. No big deal, I thought. Boy was I wrong. After a few weeks of my observation, my cousin said “GO TO THE HOSPITAL NOW”. I had no idea what I was in for. I was scared literally to death. Thought I was going to die. To add to this fear, it was the Friday before Memorial Day. The hospital was empty. The doctors saw me, then sent me home with a DVD to learn how to inject myself in the stomach with blood thinners. Seriously?! I think I cried for 2 days straight. Momma came to comfort me.

The doctors assured me I would be fine, but a battery of tests were coming my way. The overly organized person I am, I started a folder and a spreadsheet. It went to every appointment with me tracking my health. Once I was calm about the blood clot not ending my life, they say “We saw spots on your lungs we want to check out.” OH SHIT. I’m dying again. I am healthy. I don’t smoke. What the hell is this about? Cancer? Well, basically everyone in the Midwest has had Histoplasmosis at some point. It makes spots on your lungs. You’d think you had a cold but in real life, you have a type of lung infection caused by inhaling fungus spores found in soil and in the droppings of bats and birds. WTF. I was told it’s just in the Midwest air. Lovely. Bring on the CT scans.

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Clearly had my clothes on during that scan! But it proved I do have a heart! A soul? That’s still up for debate. So now I think I’m in the clear again. Until the day I realize it’s been 5 days since I pooped and I was getting uncomfortable. Tried pills from both ends. Nothing worked. Called the hospital and they said, come to the ER now. Son of a bitch!

Because I was off birth control, my ovaries started firing again. Firing so much a cyst formed blocking my intestine. Add that my hematologist was not properly monitoring my clotting factor levels. Normal level is 2.0-3.0, I was 7.5 INR! Signed up that day for a new hematologist.

My blood was so thin. After 2 IV bags and several restroom trips, I headed home exhausted. Many rounds of follow ups occurred that year. End result: No more birth control, get an IUD and you don’t have an genetic clotting issues. I just happened to win the fluke blood clot lottery one day in May 2007. 10 years ago.

At least I got all these cool scans of my innards. Check me out and enjoy the added music to lessen the creep factor!

If you need a

*Hematologist
*Vascular Surgeon
*Pulmonologist
*Gynecologist
*ER Doctor
*Allergist

I know people. Now, I need to go paint my bathroom. Not kidding.

4th of July Weather

Last 4th of July was soooo cold.

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This year, we had a bit of heavy rain for 10 minutes.

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But we all were prepared!

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After that rainstorm shit, we got to enjoy this!

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Ahh let’s relax tonight… or let’s box and I’ll taunt you with my low blow punch moves!

K sent me this AMAZING video because she knew of my love for this guy.

Whoever buys me my own Trex costume for Christmas is my new best friend. “Just sayin” Then I saw this… might have gone too far with the Trex costume on AGT.

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Clearly Trex arms are not meant for pole dancing.

14hr : 41hr

25% drive time for 75% memory making time… pack it up and let’s head to KC for some family time. Let’s go on a boat!

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The paddle boards even made the trek West. We had a new taker ready to try it out. The low center of gravity always helps.

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Weird thing about this lake, the trees are petrified into the soil so these barren wood sticks shoot out of the lake everywhere! Not just the coast line, literally in the middle of the lake too. Watch your props people.

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Ok, next activity, let’s take in a Royals Game!

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Felt like a wolf-pack moment. First game for this kid!

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I was intrigued by the vendor’s carrying methods.

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We didn’t get a Royals win, but it was a win to be together.

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Sunday, was down time day. Just hanging out, lots of pictures, and 2 important birthdays to celebrate. But the highlight of my trip, was this…. I scored myself a new best friend.

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I think it was our matching hair styles! Every one that entered the room, whether it was their first time or tenth time entering, they got with a finger point at me “Hey, that’s Natalee!” Every time he entered the room… “Where’s Natalee?” Cuteness achieved!