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Out the door they come! Looks like they're headed down the porch...

Dear Kids,  I broke the news to the Santas and the Snowmen today.  Told them–ever so gently–that you would not be coming home for Christmas this year.

You would never believe what happened next!  They jumped off their tic-tac-toe red and white Christmas board and marched toward the front door.  Every last one of them.  We stood shocked in disbelief!  What were the Santas and the Snowmen going to do? 

And they're trudging through the snow!

We know, don’t we, that these particular Santas and Snowmen have a history of unpredictability.  They are always doing something wild and crazy.  Ever since I won them in that Christmas raffle at Aura a few years back, they have been keeping us on our toes!  Odd things happen all the time, don’t they?

Remember the time when they all looked like they were going to commit suicide jumping off the table in the living room.  A few of them lay helter-skelter on the carpeted floor beneath their kamikaze jumping place.  Remember how we laughed?  How we laughed until we almost cried?  (Silly Santas and Snowmen!  What kind of holiday spirit was that?)

Then remember how every year the darn fellows appeared somewhere else?  One year they climbed near the ceiling and sat way up high near the plants.  Haven’t they been discovered in the bathtub, in the refrigerator, and a half-dozen other crazy places?  Maybe they’ve even been outside before.

But I wasn’t expecting their behavior this afternoon.  They simply all stood up and silently marched outside.

The reindeer are missing you guys already.

Down the porch steps they marched in single file.  Out into the snow.  Toward the cars!  Were they deserting us forever?  Just because you both aren’t coming home for Christmas?  The very first Christmas when BOTH of you won’t be with us?

Stocking hanging outside in spruce tree

I tried to get the leader to talk.  He was a Santa.  “Where are you going?” I begged, “Please come back!”  But on they marched.  “Next year maybe they’ll be home for Christmas!”  I hollered after them.  They refused to look back.

Off they go!

Perhaps they are walking to Manhattan and San Diego.  Perhaps they have booked airline tickets.  It’s hard to say what these Santas and Snowmen will do.  I just wanted you to be the first to know that you’re obviously going to be very much missed this year, you kids.

Even the Santas and Snowmen think so.

Don’t worry, my mom isn’t on another trip. She expresses regret that she can’t regale you with tales from the Upper Peninsula this evening. Unfortunately, her computer–both of her computers–are rebelling against her blog. She kindly asked me to pass along a message to her dear readers. She promises she’s been outside today–cross her heart. She’s been outside on a wild mushroom hunt and will hopefully be able to share all the photos and exciting stories with you tomorrow.

That’s it. That’s all she wanted to tell you. But I can’t post a blog with less than 100 words can I? (By the way, this is Kiah, Kathy’s daughter.)  I didn’t have much of an outdoor adventure today myself (although it’s plausible to say that every day you leave your apartment in Manhattan is an adventure) but I did have an amazing outdoor adventure last week that I’d love to share.

Offshore Sailing School

I participated in a three day sailing course with Offshore Sailing School. I took the course with two men in their 30s and our instructor. We sailed off Chelsea Piers (midtown Manhattan) in the Hudson on a 26′ sloop-rigged keelboat. The weather was gorgeous each day; 70s to 80s and sunny. Each morning we met at 9 AM, participated in 2 hours of classroom sailing theory filled with powerpoints, boat models, charts, lectures, discussion and pop quizzes. Around 11 we hurried down to the boats to get a few hours in before lunch. Normally the wind was light in the morning and we tested the limits of crew weight distribution in order to heel the boat.

After lunch break, we were back on the water until 530 or 6. The wind generally picked up in the afternoon and we had a few good hours of sailing. We tacked and jibed, we reached and ran, the main was reefed, the jib eased. We learned the practical application of airflow and the rules of the waterway (only once the hard way, when we tacked into the course of an NYPD powerboat on official business).

The Hudson is a fascinating river with tugboats, ferries, cruise liners, tourist boats, NYPD, fireboats, private boats, kayaks, and windsurfers doing their best to avoid and (I’m optimistic) respect each other. We sailed by the crumbling pier that was to have hosted the Titanic once upon a time. We sailed by a volunteer-run boat building school. We sailed by Times Square and down to the Financial District. We sailed by a mooring that charges $75 per minute to dock.

Downtown Manhattan

On the last day we took an 80-question test by the U.S. Sailing Association for our Basic Keelboat Certification. We all passed and are certified to captain a daysailing boat up to 28′. I’m hoping to gain some more practical experience for the rest of the season by joining a sailing club in Jersey.

On the Hudson

It’s been lovely spending the evening with you. Let me know if anyone needs crew for a grand sailing adventure. See you on the seas!

Peace & love, Kiah

P.S. Happy birthday Grandpa!

 

Shakespeare's garden (Central Park)

Nature in the city

 

Fern growing up wall

Fern growing up wall

 

Beautiful blooms

Beautiful blooms

 

Typical NYC lantern/street light

Typical NYC lantern/street light

 

Scarves fluttering in the breeze

Scarves fluttering in the breeze

 

Fence & garden (Central Park)

Fence & garden (Central Park)

 

Goodbye New York City.  Fare thee well.

Goodbye New York City. Fare thee well.

 

The Phantom plays on Broadway

The Phantom plays on Broadway

My feet think it’s been a long day.  A blister threatens to form in the middle of the left footsie.  But what a wonderful day it’s been!  We’ve had some high excitement.

First we walked ten minutes to the subway and zoomed beneath the earth to emerge on Times Square.  I have never seen anything like Times Square.  It’s crazy!  It’s nuts!  There are thousands of tourists and workers, flashing signs, Broadway plays, skyscrapers and everything else you might imagine.  We toured around before attempting a search for the “Today Show” building.  My mom and dad watch this every morning (and sometimes so do we) so Kiah and I scouted for the tell-tale building.  Finally, a success!  We found it!  Kiah suggested I have my picture taken with Meredith and Matt.

IMG_0297

 

We enjoyed lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant with a woman named Jody, whom I’ve met on-line through the Gaia.com Diving Deeper writing workshop.  The food and company proved exceptional!  Kiah absolutely loved her Pad Thai.

We returned back to the apartment for a mid-afternoon siesta before starting out again.  This time we walked blocks and blocks to the Green Market in Union Square.  We wandered through the booths selling vegetables, flowers, honey, and other delicacies.  I think photographing food is amazingly interesting.  I couldn’t decide whether to show you the asparagus, the radishes or the apples.  How about the radishes?

 

Radishes

Radishes

You just never know who you’ll meet on the streets of New York City.  There are so many different kinds of people! Everywhere you look there are folks in all sorts of attire speaking all sorts of languages.  So many of them look so interesting, as if you’d like to get in a nice long conversation and discuss all sorts of deep things with them.  Instead, you just pass on by, sometimes with a friendly smile, or sometimes just staring exhausted straight ahead, tired from all the walking.

 

Sad panda

Sad panda

 

Statues in the park

Statues in the park

Tonight we ate at a Greek restaurant with the windows wide open, half inside and half outside.  Afterward we hiked over to the Hudson River and almost caught the sunset.  The sun was just disappearing beneath the horizon as we crossed the busy road and reached the riverfront.  Kiah pointed out where the plane had crashed earlier this winter as she hiked along the Hudson, a few miles south of where the plane went down.

 

Kiah looking out over the pilings on the Hudson

Kiah looking out over the pilings on the Hudson

We hailed a taxi for home and now I’m bleary-eyed typing this blog while drinking peppermint tea.  Almost time for bed soon!  Another fun day in Manhattan…

 

I'm HERE!  That means MANHATTAN!!

I'm HERE! That means MANHATTAN!!

Guess what?  I opened the door and walked outside today in the big and beautiful and crazy and magnificent New York City!!  Our daughter has been living here since January and it was time for a visit.  The planes flew from Marquette to La Guardia airport in record time yesterday and I was sipping coffee at a local Starbucks around the corner from her apartment when Kiah returned home from work.

Shah, from Pakistan, was my taxi driver.  He taught me all about New York City between La Guardia and Gramercy. I’ve been quoting Shah ever since.  Kiah says I need to make more friends in New York.

 

Yoga photo shoot at Madison Square Park

Yoga photo shoot at Madison Square Park

Last night we walked to Angelica’s Kitchen and dined on exquisite vegetarian food.  Today we have been hoofing all across Manhattan and, boy, do my feet feel it!  I think we walked at least six miles.  Kiah says we walked three.  We left the apartment at 10:30 a.m. and didn’t return until 4:30 p.m. when we fell exhausted into bed for a nap.

Here’s where we went today: the Flatiron Building,  Madison Square Park,  Soho for lunch, the Pickle Shop on the Lower East Side, Canal Street, down Broadway to the Financial District (Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange, the bull), the construction area where the World Trade Center once existed, and Battery Park where we allowed our gaze to linger on the Statue of Liberty.

 

Flatiron Building

Flatiron Building

The Flatiron Building is considered to be one of the first skyscrapers ever built.  Such a fascinating design!  Like a classical Greek column, so they say.  “I found myself agape, admiring a skyscraper — the prow of the Flatiron Building, to be particular, ploughing up through the traffic of Broadway and Fifth Avenue in the late-afternoon light.” – H.G. Wells (1906)

 

 

The bull and...me

The bull and...me

It is really a lot of work to step outside in the city.  One can walk many more miles along avenues and streets than in the woods.  In the woods the pace is slower.  You linger.  You meander.  You don’t necessary hoof it for mile upon mile.  I am always humbled by these visits to the city.

It is so exciting!  There is so much energy here in NYC.  Here are some statistics:  one to two million people in Manhattan, eight million in New York City and 22 million in the surrounding areas.  It’s hard not to gawk at everything and everyone.  

In the woods you look in a quieter way and look deeper.  Here there’s so much to see the eye doesn’t know what to follow first.  My camera took almost one hundred photos.  It’s hard to decide which ones to post.  And I suppose each day we’ll find one hundred new sights to photograph.  What’s a photographer to do?

 

Hey look at the Statue of Liberty through that star!

Hey look at the Statue of Liberty through that star!

Another thing which impresses me about this city is how QUICK it takes to upload these pictures.  At home you start to upload a photo and there’s time to go wash half the dishes.  (ok, a slight exaggeration, but you get the idea.)  Here it takes less than a minute.  It’s such a cinch to write this blog!  Guess that’s one of the disadvantages to living in the middle of the woods…

 

My beautiful daughter

My beautiful daughter

We have two more busy days planned before I fly home on Friday.  Isn’t it exciting to be experiencing an outdoor adventure in another wonderful place on our planet?  Hope you guys enjoy this as much as I am!

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