Romantic New York City

Where did I last leave you? I feel like I haven’t written in ages, and in that time, so much has happened! I’m back in New Jersey for just another week, but somehow it’s really not so bad—especially since I’ve spent most of my days (and nights 🙂 ) up in the Bronx (much to my parents’ chagrin). We went to the Guggenheim Museum, which was pretty funky, and then to the Central Park Zoo because I love zoos and it was so GORGEOUS outside and romantic. I love New York and can’t wait to have this park be my back yard! I’ll be in Spanish Harlem which seems like an awesome neighborhood—I’m moving into an apartment with two acquaintances—I was told maybe it wasn’t so smart to live with best friends, but it just so happens that 2 of my best friends live on my same street but cross town, so it’s an easy walk or bus ride. I’ve been studying maps and trying to learn more about the geography of NYC.

Matthew knows so much about NYC, what’s free, when and where, but also all of the newest bars and clubs and somehow he gets himself (and me) in. Seriously, I’m pulling clothes from my freshman and sophomore years of college when I used to dress up to party (I kinda chilled as parties got repetitive) –thank god I still fit in them. But I’m just having so much fun.

Yesterday we went to Zabars and then sat in Central Park for hours and hours with yummy food and blankets and books. I was wearing a silly looking floppy hat and huge sunglasses and ….am I boring you? I feel like I’m transmitting useful info about my whereabouts, but maybe it’s coming off as puppy love babble to you. I’ll write more later when I’ve organized my thoughts.


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Returning to Zion

Howdy, peeps! Hows it hangin? How are the bones?

I’m broadcasting to you from (a little too) sunny Bryce Canyon National Park. Known as one of the most beautiful places on earth (especially now that I’m a part of its scenery –I jest!), I am GLAD that I went out of my way to get here. because really, what does “out of one’s way” really mean? its not like I was actually going anywhere to begin with.

Seriously though, I spent another day in Salt Lake City and then went to Zion National Park and after a few days there, I didn’t think it’d be possible to be in awe again. I’ve been around, y’know? I’ve seen rock formations in my day. But, man, there are rock formations, and then there are ROCK FORMATIONS. (And Zion National Park had the latter, obviously.) I went on the most fantastic three day hike, probably of my life. I met some cool people along the way, which was good b/c after one stupid snapshot, the batteries in my camera died and I realized I had forgotten more, so these guys will (hopefully) be emailing me some shots of me in front of an arch, you know to prove that I was there. I think they also got me canyoneering (I met them as part of an organized climb).

So from there I went to Bryce Canyon National Park and I’ve actually barely been in yet. Went for a day hike as soon as I got here and then went to “town” to get batteries, Dr. Pepper, rations, and check my email. But tomorrow I’m heading back in to get a better look around. I don’t wantto put to much pressure on this experience, but I think this may end up being the highlight of my journey. I’ve been feeling a little zany lately, lack of sleep, lack of food, but thinking of what I saw today subdues me a little, grounds me a bit, puts me in place, and makes me realize how small I am in this magnificent world—yeah, it does all those things.

Though that does bring me to my next point: I’m getting tired, bro. When I headed out for this adventure, I had the strength of 10 lions and the persistence of 10 mules. now I’m at like 6 and 5, respectively. At what point do I go home? Ahh, home, such a sweet word, packed with memories and a thick mattress…

Well, I still want to get to…where? I don’t even remember! I had a list as long as my leg of places I wanted to visit. And by now I’ve probably only hit mid-calf (starting from my toes and working my way up). Well, my new goal is to hit my knee—see what I mean about being zany? I have no idea what I’m talking about anymore.
Before I go, I just thought I’d wiki Zion National Park – did you know that it’s been inhabited by humans for 8,000 years? Did you know that some of the rock formations date back 13 million years? Did you know that Zion is a Hebrew word referring to a place of safety and peace? wow there are fantastic pictures here—those guys better follow through and send some to me…


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Old Lady to visit Vegas…

I leave tomorrow for my solo-woman-on-the-road-roadtrip. I’m all packed, I’ve said my goodbyes at work, I’ve stocked up on maps that cover any route I may decide to take between here and Portland, Oregon. Slightly nervous about the long drives by myself, but I’ve got healthy snacks to munch on, lots of Beatles CDs to listen to, and eight audiobooks that’ll keep me entertained when I need some new voices around me. I’ve got an extra battery for my cell phone, a first aid kit, and a list of emergency contacts and doctors’ numbers.

I just have to take some deep breaths—I don’t believe that I’m going to do this! One month of driving, hiking, and seeing states I’ve never been to. Mostly I’ll be visiting national parks, gardens, and museums, but first…

First stop: Las Vegas! Do you believe that I’m going to do that? Is that not a place for a 60 year old newly divorced woman?—that’s my question. But I guess I’ll find out. It’s about a five hour drive from Phoenix and I’ve already booked a spot at the Venetian Resort, located on The Strip, and I’ve already got tickets to Cirque de Soliel and a spa treatment at The Spa at the Mirage Las Vegas which I think is where Siegfried and Roy have their Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. Do you know that I haven’t ever had a professional massage in my whole life? I think I deserve one by now, don’t you?

Basically, I plan on giving myself the real “Vegas Experience” as I’ve always imagined it (plus or minus a few things that I’m just too….too old for, really). I’m going to indulge and relax and spend money, go to shows, and see the lights. For me, indulgences like that are as sinful as I get, so that’ll be my version of Sin City.

A young man at work even taught me how to play Texas Holdem!

There are some beautiful scenic drives in the area through the Mojave Desert and Red Rock Canyon, so after a few days in Vegas, I’ll head that way for a drive and then continue going north.

Wish me luck! We’ll definitely be in touch!
Martha


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Ahhhhhhh… blissful travels

Greetings friends. I am at peace. I have been…injected it seems…with such soaring heights of tranquility that I’m afraid to operate heavy machinery. (which is why Ryan is driving…we just stopped at an internet café…somewhere. wow, I have no idea where we are.) I have this huge goofy smile ahhhhh

I feel like I just came back from a spa. The Lake Maria State Park spa, yeah.

Meanwhile, Ryan was supposed to go back to Boston for some training thingy, but they pushed it off till June 1st which is good b/c he soooo didn’t want to leave MN. And that works out perfectly b/c now we’ve got two more weeks to get to my sister’s. I definitely need to look at a map. I’m smart, I swear, but when it comes to geography I’m a complete airhead.

Ryan just told me we’re already on our way to Badlands National Park and then to Custer State Park…and yeah, that does sound familiar. I’m not even joking. when I say I’ve been in a daze, I meant it! I’ve been in a daze for days. ha.

He even already booked a hostel. So that’s cool, Badlands here we come!

I’m so rude, I didn’t even ask how all of you are doing. I hope you’re all well!


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I feel pretty! Oh, so pretty!

Matthew (I always thought that was a sexy, solid name) and I spent like every second of every day together for the last week while I was in Miami. He even drove with me to Fort Myers Beach for 2 days so I could spend some time with Julie. I actually hadn’t even realized my luck – the family that Julie was nannying for had gone away for the week (to Amelia Island which is near my grandmother’s Jacksonville home, so I’ve been there a bunch of times, but that’s unrelated) leaving Julie (and us and like 4 other really cool people) their awesome beach front house and a kitchen stocked with food. (I wouldn’t ever ever ever want to be a nanny, but putting the day job aside, Julie’s got in made.) So Fort Myers was fun, needless to say—I felt like it was spring break all over again.

So don’t laugh at me, but I’ve been walking around in a blissful daze all week. I introduced Matthew to my grandmother immediately which is not something I EVER do. I think the last time my family knew one of my boyfriends (!) I was in like 7th grade.

The best part about this is that when I sit down to write about this, it all comes gushing out like a babbling brook, but in reality, I’ve been pretty breezy about this.

The remaining days were spent shopping at Sawgrass Mills Outlet Mall (a monster of a mall that’s shaped like a crocodile) and hanging out on Hollywood Beach. I have such a gorgeous tan and I am so ready to head back up north (I leave tomorrow morning) and move to NYC. It’s really soon! Just one more month to kill…

Matthew and I already said goodbye so I can spend the evening with Granny, and he’s still down here for one more week. Apparently he had two conferences (in physical therapy) in Miami two weeks apart from each other so decided to make a vacation of it. But then he’ll be back in NYC and we’ve already made plans to go to the Guggenheim Museum (he was shocked that I’d never been there and said we had to fix that right away).


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What to do this summer?

My parents want to know what I want to do this summer. I used to go to day camp and then became a day camp counselor, but last summer I said that I was never going to do that again, but don’t really know what else there is to do.

We always spend a week in Philadelphia visiting my grandparents and I’m thinking maybe I can stay up there with them for more time. I wonder whether I could get a job at the African American Museum in Philadelphia…that would be really cool. And I know that the Eastern State Penitentiary sounds really morbid, but my grandfather used to work there and it’s a pretty cool museum too. It’s not like I’m sooo into museums, but…I hate to be such a teenage stereotype…but I need SOMETHING to put on my college apps. I’m like looking for some sort of experience that’ll set me apart. And since I want to apply to UPenn early decision, maybe it’ll look good if I start acting loyal to philly. Maybe I can even stay all summer with my grandparents. And if those jobs don’t work out (b/c I have no idea if they’re accepting) then Im just I can just volunteer. SOMEWHERE. Even in a hospital.

Meanwhile, I haven’t written in a while. First of all Ricky and I broke up. he ended up being such an ass. he’s graduating this year and doesn’t want to feel “tied down” with a highschool girlfriend when he starts college, but said that we should still definitely keep dating until graduation. Are you fucking kidding me??? I told him to go to hell and I was cool calm and collected and then cried my eyes out when I got back to my dorm room and I haven’t spoken to him since, but I know I’m not the only one who thinks he’s a jerk so that of course makes me feel better.

Also, not much to say here, but our family trip to Stone Mountain State Park ended up being pretty cool (considering the circumstances, y’know, being a family trip and all). We went rock climbing which I’m good at and camped out and it was…fine I’ll admit it…fun.
Flip-flop, flip-flop…seriously that’s how I feel lately. I feel like a yo-yo (that’s a better metaphor), every day I feel high as a kite and then down in the dumps. jesus lacee stop acting like a drama queen, right? argh.

So speaking of rock climbing, I just heard about the UNCW climbing wall. it’s in Wilmington right near school, so I need to find out my info and then get my butt back in shape.

At least my parents are happy that Ricky is out of the picture.


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Miami and Matthew

I’m in love. I know all my friends who are reading this are gagging and rolling their eyes, but seriously! Oh my god, I LOVE SOUTH BEACH! Let me start at the beginning.

So my grandmother is cool, I’m sure you’ve caught onto that. She’s pretty young for a grandmother and is hip and pretty with it, which is one reason why I love visiting her so much. But in one way she really is an old lady (sorry, granny) – she goes to sleep freakin’ early, like 8:00 and wakes up at like 2 in the morning, which just doesn’t make any sense to me. And since I came to Miami so that I wouldn’t sit around and waste the day and night away in front of the TV, I decided after a day of shopping at Aventura Mall and walking around the Miami Seaquarium, that I would not call it a night, but rather climb out of my little box and go a little wild.

I drove down to South Beach and sat myself down at a gorgeous art deco outdoor café (see how wild I can get?) on the promenade with a stack of magazines that I was going to pretend to read – you don’t want to pretend to read a book b/c then people might think you’re too engrossed in what you’re doing and don’t want to be interrupted. So, I was sitting, sipping my latte, scanning my literature, and looking, I might add, particularly hot. See and be seen, right?

I know I sound like a babbling fairy tale, but this seriously happened to me! A gorgeous man came up to me and asked if I was waiting for someone. I thought he just wanted to take the chair so I said, “no, go ahead,” motioning to the chair, and he said, “thanks, I’d love to,” and sat down.

And the rest is history, as they say—that applies to one day old history, too, right? We chatted all night, like really talked. We didn’t even move from that spot, except for a roundabout walk to my car, where he dropped me off and made me promise to answer my phone when he called me the next day, which he already has done.

Not to get too much into my personal life, but let’s just say that this is generally not the way I meet guys. Like in college (which was just like last week, so please don’t let me start talking as though it were thirty years ago) I’d go to a party, get drunk, and then end up making out with some random loser. This was so different, so…REAL. He seems like such a good guy.

And I haven’t even told you the best part yet. He actually lives in NYC, right around the corner from Wave Hill in the Bronx. That’s like 100 blocks from where I’ll be living in a month! Ahhh. So we’re going out tonight (after 8pm of course) to some place he knows on the Fort Lauderdale Beach.

I hope he doesn’t read this. Yikes.
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Putting the Me in Utah

I decided I would simply hitch a ride to wherever the next car out was going. There were a lot of families with kids at the ranch so i just had to find someone with room in their car and not too much food smushed into back seat cushions. Well… two out of three ain’t bad, right? It’s not like my pants were so clean to start with anyways. I honestly can’t even remember their last name, but this very nice family was going back home to Salt Lake City, which sounded to me like a nice enough spot—why the hell not?

So I turned in my spurs, said goodbye to Sandy (did I even tell you about the horse that saved my life?) and Mike and then voila—off I go, turning the last 3 weeks into a mirage, the only traces remaining is the stench that I just can’t seem to shake.

Utah, Utah – there must be a song about Utah, though I can’t think of any.

I’m at a youth hostel now in Salt Lake City, explored a bit this evening, and now I desperately need a map so I can figure out where I’m going tomorrow morning. I’ve barely used my tent and since the weather out here is so perfect right now, I want to go somewhere where I can sleep under the stars. Ok, google maps…

Okay, there is A LOT to do here. I’m thinking I’ll start at Capitol Reef National Park, and then go over to Arches National Park, then down to Canyonlands National Park — that makes the most sense I think, but then Zion National Park is totally in the opposite direction, as is Bryce Canyon National Park, so maybe that doesn’t make sense. Bear with me…

Okay, this is better: Zion National Park (long bus ride from Salt Lake City, I think) to Bryce Canyon to Canyonlands and then to Arches and I’ll skip Capitol Reef.

Okay cool, I’m going to Zion tomorrow!

Wow, was just browsing and see that you can ride a bobsled at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City. And I’m kinda interested in visiting the Historic Temple Square here in Salt Lake. Maybe I should stay in SLC for a few days?

Why am I starting to stress out over this? What happened to relaxed Tim who didn’t give a damn about planning. I need to sign off and go to bed. In the morning, wherever and whenever I’m in the mood to go to, I’ll go.


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Back on the road (or air, this time)!

OK, so I like New Jersey, but not THAT much. There’s only so much sitting around and watching TV and only so much Monmouth Mall I can take. Moving to NYC soonish so don’t really feel the need to hang out there now. So, I spoke to Granny a few days ago and she said I should come back down to Florida to hang out with her, but this time to her Miami condo (Granny did very well for herself as a young woman, as she likes to remind her grandchildren often). I found an amazing ticket on JetBlue and I’m off tomorrow! Knowing Granny, I’m sure it’ll be more malls and aquariums, but I’d say hands down that Palm Beach or South Beach beat the Great Egg Harbor River any day, sentiment included (ha, I won’t go into that…).

Meanwhile I have a friend nannying for a month at Fort Myers Beach, so I’ve already gotten permission to take Granny’s car and road trip across the peninsula to stay with her for a few days.

OK, just have to head to Monmouth Mall one more time for a new pair of flip-flops. Will update you on my travel whereabouts in a few days!

Getting in touch with my inner Cowboy

Yeehaw!
It was my goal to become head wrangler and I am proud to announce that I have achieved that title. After much persistence and insistence (begging, really), I came out on top!

Mike: Tim, you may not be head wrangler without years of experience.
Tim: Please, Mike, Please.
Mike: No. Stop bothering me.
Tim: Please, Mike, Please.
Mike: If I let you accompany the head wrangler for a day will you shut up and leave me alone?
Tim: Yes.
Mike: Fine. Shut up and leave me alone.

And THAT’S how I became head wrangler!

Meanwhile, I’ve spent most of the last 2 weeks feeding pigs, washing dishes, and pretending to be important, but I’ve also taken a few excursions from the ranch. Last week I went to Eagle Ranch where I went on a guided tour of how pistachio nuts are grown and processed—and anyone who knows me knows that I was totally in my element. Combine ranches and pistachios and you’ve got one happy guy.

There’s a genre of museums that I didn’t know about til now and because of my recent ranch escapades, I’ve got a newfound appreciation for: the ranch museum. I went to the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum as well as the Ghost Ranch Living Museum. There are a bunch more though, that either highlight the history of ranch life or are museums of local arts and crafts work that’s housed in a ranch. The Spring River Park and Zoo I hear is good too—there’s a ranch there with Texas longhorns (my new best friends) on display.

The culture out here is so rich and I feel so privileged to be a part of it. I seriously keep thinking of my cubicle…

It’s not like the east coast doesn’t have a rich history and culture of its own, but somehow, now, after being out here in the wild west, it just seems so bland. Almost European in nature compared to out here on rich American soil.

Dude, I was born to live on a dude ranch. Maybe I’ll stay here forever…