Category: Personal

Deja View

Posted by – February 18, 2013

(The Preface)
Last time I was in New York I had the opportunity to play tourist in the city twice. Both times only for a few hours and both times very quickly. It was bitter cold and my energy level was very low but I had no idea how many of these opportunities I would get so I tried to see as much as I could.

The first day I took the Staten Island Ferry over and walked around lower Manhattan. I checked out Wall Street, Battery Park, the 911 Memorial, and took a cruise up the Hudson River that included a look at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Those two sights were (and still are) closed due to damage caused by Superstorm Sandy.

The second day I met up with a good friend of mine at a train station in New Jersey. There we hopped a train to Penn Station and walked around Midtown Manhattan. Our goal for the day was to go up in the Empire State Building so that was one of our first stops. We went up to both the 96th floor observation deck and the 102nd floor lookout. There’s not much you can’t see from that height. After a quick lunch we checked out Rockefeller Center, Macy’s Christmas windows, Bryant Park, and numerous other sites in Time Square.

This sort of “drive by” sightseeing was good enough for me at the time because I thought it was my only opportunity. But now I’m back! I’m feeling good and I’m hoping to make the best of my days off. That includes revisiting those places I sped through on the last visit. And hopefully an up close and personal look at the lady.

Return to the Big Apple

Posted by – February 2, 2013

Birthdays are always a reminder that I am getter older and that another year of my life has passed me by. It is for that reason I don’t usually pay much attention to or care to celebrate my birthdays. A casual dinner with a family member or two and a few beers with friends and/or family suits me just fine.

This year however I looked forward to celebrating in a big way with whoever wanted to celebrate with me. I would make it a “Happy to be alive” birthday celebration. Instead, duty called and I ended up on a 6am flight back to New York that day. What is the saying? “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry”? So true. And yes, initially I was unhappy that my Big Birthday plans had gone awry but this IS the job I signed up for. So I decided instead to think of it this way….

My employer gave me an all-expenses paid trip to the Big Apple for my birthday. And, while I’m here I get to help out the folks trying to recover from SuperStorm Sandy. Sweet!

Back in the Saddle

Posted by – November 20, 2012

Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans…  I had my last chemo treatment on the 30th of July.  My plan was to work on getting back my strength, energy, and brain cells so I could get back to work.  I was going crazy and getting depressed staring at the same four walls month after month.  I managed to leave the house a few times but I was still recovering so my energy level was minimal (especially after that last treatment).  When I finally felt close to being ready I took a short (but beneficial) trip to the Florida panhandle and afterward let my employer know I was ready to get to work.

By this time some of the chemo fog had lifted and I wanted to try writing posts again.  I had been asked by several people to write about my journey with cancer.  While I realize that everyone’s experience (type of cancer and treatment) is different, there are some things I learned, or figured out, that I would have liked to know beforehand.  I wanted to share those things with anyone interested.  Unfortunately, you will have to look for that page link in the future because… Life Happened.

As if Life hadn’t “happened” enough this past year, Hurricane Sandy came on the scene, became SuperStorm Sandy, and devastated the northeast.  The destruction was massive as was the call to help.   I finally got a flight out to New York City that Friday morning and have been working 12 to 14 hours a day, 7 days a weeks.  I’m not sure I was physically (or mentally) ready for this, but so far I’m still standing.  Back in the saddle again!


Hello Again

Posted by – March 7, 2012

Well, hello again lil blog and Happy New Year!  It’s been a long time and for that I apologize.  In my defense, I’ve had other things on my plate these last months and those few times I did sit down to spend time with you, my mind went blank.  Yep, nothing but an echo.  I miss you though so I’ve decided to give you more time and attention and make a conscious effort to write something.  Anything.  My hope is that maybe this will help to fire up the old brain cells.

Also, I’ve been thinking alot about making some major changes to you and the rest of my site.  Unfortunately, those ideas also elude me so while I’m working on adding more posts, I welcome any constructive ideas on changing or restructuring you or the site. See you in the not-too-distant future lil blog…..


Posted by – October 24, 2011

I haven’t seen these since I left Maryland.  You know I had to get me some!


Posted by – October 23, 2011

Back in early September I flew to Connecticut to help folks who had been affected by Tropical Storm Irene.   Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Lee formed in the Gulf and was slowly making its way North.  Most folks seemed concerned about the impacts of Irene but didn’t seem to give a second thought to Lee’s impending presence.  But Lee proved to be as much, if not more, of a menace dumping heavy rainfall on the (already saturated) northeast and causing historic flooding.

I worked in Connecticut 3 weeks and two days before I was scheduled to leave; I got my first day off.  The locals had been giving me ideas about where I should go.  The two most suggested places were Mystic Seaport and the casinos.  So, in the days leading up to that day I mapped out my journey, printed some info, and charged up my camera.

That morning I woke up at 4am determined to be in Mystic for the sunrise.  Unfortunately, it was completely overcast and the sun did not make an appearance.  (Truth be told, I wouldn’t have made it anyway.)  Mystic is a nice coastal town in southeast Connecticut.  It’s home to Mystic Pizza, the place that inspired the movie of the same name, and sits on the Mystic River, not the one from the movie of the same name.  Mystic Seaport didn’t open til 9am so I walked around town for a few hours taking in the scenery and snapping some pictures.  Suddenly, I felt like I was in one of those old TV shows from back in the day.  Every person I passed greeted me with a smile and a “Good Morning”.  Even folks biking or driving by would wave and yell out a “Good Morning”.  Most times you don’t get so much as a grunt out of someone so this was completely foreign to me.

When the Seaport finally opened I spoke to the customer service lady.  She gave me pricing and information for what the Seaport had to offer and told me set aside two days to see and do everything.  Since my time was limited I opted to take the info and hope I can use it another time.  In case you’re wondering what there is to do at the Seaport…  tour old ships, take a boat ride up the Mystic River, rent boats, see exhibits, walk through the museum and a re-created 19th-century village, check out the last wooden whaling ship in the world (currently being restored at the Seaport), and browse the shops.

Next, I took a quick drive into Rhode Island for some lunch and then headed to Uncasville to the Mohegan Sun Casino.  The Foxwoods Resort and MGM Grand at Foxwoods are located a few miles away in Mashantucket.  (FYI, Connecticut has the 3 largest casinos in the world.)  I opted for the Mohegan at someone else’s suggestion.  The casino is impressive.  There were 3 separate casinos inside along with bars, restaurants, shops, and the Mohegan Sun Arena.  Beautiful place!   I spent most of my time checking out the architecture and the décor.  I threw a few bucks in the slots, played some blackjack, and then called it a day.

I took the long route back to my hotel so I could pass through a few other areas I wanted to see.  It was a relaxing, leisure drive and I did enjoy myself.  The following day I would be back to work to wrap things up.  Then a quick stop at home to check things out and on to Pennsylvania.

For more Mystic info check here.  My Mystic pics are here.

Swim with the Fishes

Posted by – August 9, 2011

Other than a trip to the beach, my nephew wanted to swim with dolphins while on his visit to my mom’s.  A quick search and mom found he could do that at the Miami Seaquarium.  She called to get more information and made reservations for him to “swim”.

There are actually two different “swims”:  Shallow water (where you’re able to touch, hug, and interact with the dolphin) and Deep water (where you’re able to do the same but can also hitch a ride on the dolphin’s dorsal fin).  I was glad my mother chose the shallow water experience for my nephew.  After all, regardless of their happy appearance, dolphins are still wild animals and are unpredictable.  Better the safer choice.

We got to the Seaquarium about 11am and had some time to kill so we watched a few dolphin and whale shows, checked out the manatee viewing tank, and grabbed a bite to eat.  Afterward, we checked in at Dolphin Harbor and moms filled out the necessary paperwork while we waited for the previous group of swimmers to finish up.  Finally, one of the trainers came in and directed the swimmers outside where they picked up their wetsuits, changed, and watched a short video before hitting the water.

They spent 30 minutes in the water with the dolphin during which time the trainer told them about the dolphins, their behaviors, and the hand signals they can use to get the dolphins do things.  While they do this, they have the dolphins swim back and forth so everyone can touch them and see the things the trainers are talking about.  Also during the half hour each participant is given the opportunity to hug and kiss the dolphin (photo op), play catch, and get into a splash fight.  (The dolphin wins that one.)  Quite an experience for my nephew and even I learned a few things.  Did you know that dolphins can be individually identified by their dorsal fins?  Like human fingerprints no two dorsal fins are the same.

After the swim we visited a few other areas in the park and then hit the gift shop just as the park closed at 5:30pm.  We were wiped out but it was a good day and I think my nephew really enjoyed his experience.   I did too.

(Miami Seaquarium photos)

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