Friday, September 12, 2014

Art Makes Me Happy - NYC

While in NYC we had the opportunity to visit many museums. It does involve a lot of time and a lot of walking. But they do not disappoint.

We started with the Guggenheim. We took the Subway and caught our first glimpse of Central Park. From the web site: "An internationally renowned art museum and one of the most significant architectural icons of the 20th century, the Guggenheim Museum is at once a vital cultural center, an educational institution, and the heart of an international network of museums."

Not to mention the movie scenes that get filmed there, like Mr. Popper's Penguins. Director Mark Waters relates about going to the actual Guggenheim Museum, "We had to kind of shoot everything at night in between the time that the museum would close and reopen in the morning.  We'd have to bring in the entire carnival of people and light the whole place and shoot the sequence. And Angela Lansbury is 85 years old and it's 4:00 in the morning, and she's dancing around with Jim Carrey, getting spun around.  And I'm saying to myself, I can't believe this is real. They actually let us in here to shoot? Are they out of their minds?"

After viewing each floor, getting told not to take photos on the ramp and using the tiny rounded bathroom where you can hit your head on a column while getting up from the toilet, we then went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Met.

As like so much of the city there was construction going on so part of the front of the building was blocked.

The Museum mission statement: The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded on April 13, 1870, "to be located in the City of New York, for the purpose of establishing and maintaining in said city a Museum and library of art, of encouraging and developing the study of the fine arts, and the application of arts to manufacture and practical life, of advancing the general knowledge of kindred subjects, and, to that end, of furnishing popular instruction."

This place was huge. You had to actually use the Museum map to get around in all the various exhibit rooms. It was multiple floors packed with so much to see. It was quite amazing.

Photo taken from the rooftop garden at the Met.
Remember the movie The Thomas Crown Affair, where the painting was stolen from the Met? Well, a set was built to look like the museum.
From Wikipedia: Filming took place throughout New York City, including Central Park. The corporate headquarters of Lucent Technologies stood in for Crown's suite of offices. Due to its being nearly impossible to film interior scenes in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the producers' request was "respectfully declined"), the production crew made their own museum on a soundstage. Artisans were hired to create a realistic look to the set. Another scene was filmed in a different city landmark: the main research library of the New York Public Library.
After viewing these two museums we made our way across Central Park to Shake Shack for lunch.

The City That Never Sleeps

There is only one city I can think of where I can be in the M&M store at 11:30 p.m. and the store clerks are monitoring the number of people going up the escalator to the 2nd floor. It was that crowded. That would be New York City (maybe Vegas too).

On August 6th, my daughter Natalie and I flew to Newark, New Jersey. From there we spent three nights in midtown Manhattan and two nights at my friend's home in Middletown, New York.

For this post I'm going to keep it simple with some helpful tips and facts about the trip.

When: August 6 - August 11th. The weather was perfect that week. We were lucky.

How: Flew Alaska Airlines nonstop from Seattle to Newark, New Jersey. We used my companion fare. It's a good perk of having an Alaska Airlines credit card. From Newark we had a prearranged shuttle bus that took us into Manhattan from the airport. I would highly recommend it. There are other airports but we picked this one for convenience.

Hotel: Club Quarters Midtown Manhattan. We found the hotel through Alaska Airlines webpage. I believe it goes through Orbitz. It was a great location. We were literally on the back side of Radio City Music Hall. No matter where we went it was easy to find out hotel coming back.

Discount Tickets: New York Pass. We bought a 3 day pass online in advance, and discounted. And we had the booklet mailed to us. Great maps, great way to organize what you want to do.

Transportation: 1) my two feet - wear socks and good walking shoes, by day 2 I had blisters; 2) Subway - buy a metro card from the machine; 3) taxi - convenient; 4) train - Grand Central Station to go out of the city; 5) New York Water Taxi - very fun and discounted in New York Pass; 6) bus - we didn't do this option but it looks like a good idea around town. A coworker told me today that when he goes there they do they Subway for north and south and the bus for east and west travel. You can also rent bicycles, (maybe in Central Park but I would not ride them around the city). And there are Pedi cabs but they look to be quite expensive.

I observed a pecking order in traffic. Starting with who has the most power to the least power on the streets. This is my observation: tour bus, city bus, emergency vehicles, town cars, taxi's, personal vehicles, Pedi cabs, bicycles, and pedestrians.

Broadway: We bought our discounted tickets (courtesy of New York Pass) from the box office on Thursday for the Saturday matinee. We wanted a particular show. Otherwise (and next time I go) you can go to Times Square in the morning and get half price, same day tickets for many shows. The people sitting next to us on the 6th row had bought their tickets that morning. We saw a show called Once. It was very good, a really fun time.

Times Square

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Twas the Night Before NYC

Yes, that's right. Tomorrow I'm on an airplane to fly to New York City. It will be my first visit to the Big Apple. I'm going with my daughter. What an adventure we have planned. This is something we've talked about doing for about 3 years and now it's here.

We'll be posting photos on Instagram and I'll share a lot when we get back. We have our days packed with fun sight seeing, museum visits and lots of pizza, I mean lots of good food.

I'm in the middle of a two week vacation. I've been home for the first part of it playing tourist here in Seattle with my daughter and her husband.

Since Thursday we have toured the Theo Chocolate Factory, ate burgers at the famous Red Mill Burger joint, explored the Seattle Underground and the CenturyLink Stadium. We also did a whale watching cruise in the San Juans and visited the Seattle Aquarium.

Now we're heading to the East Coast. This is my magical birthday year, the year I turn 57 which matches the year I was born, 1957. This only happens once in a lifetime. This vacation is part of my magical birthday year.

I also get to take my daughter to visit my best friend Gail who I've known since we were in third grade.

Off we go.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

July 27, 2014

I must say a few things have happened in the last two months. The end of June was our annual family vacation to the cabin. Even though neither of my children attended this year I was able to enjoy a lot of family. We had a really fun week. And before heading to the cabin I was able to see more family at Sue's house.

It's quite the road trip for Wally and I. The first day we go 500 miles to Boise and spend the night. The next day is about 350 miles. We then stay six nights and repeat the process on the way home. It's a good thing I enjoy driving.

This year the weather was great. It wasn't quite as hot as it normally is when we are driving through Idaho.

A couple of weeks after returning home from the cabin I was able to fly to Utah to meet my newest little grand daughter, Amoura Emilene. It was so wonderful to spend time in my son's home with his sweet little family. She was born on July 6th.

July and August will continue to be very busy months. Summer is going by so quickly but I'm loving it all.

The Gaytan's

2014 Cabin Crew

Avea, Amoura, Grandma Trudy and Annelise (3 of my 4 grand daughters)

Three generations. Daddy Wayne, baby Amoura and grandma Trudy.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

On a Roll

I purchased a sweet little Nikon film camera from a Facebook friend in Ohio. It belonged to her husband who hadn't used it in years. She was cleaning and helped him get rid of it. I'm so hoping he was in on it. She included a flash attachment which I've never used before. I shot a roll of film the last few days and had it put on a CD. Yes, you can still buy film. This camera was one of the first plastic bodies Nikon made so it's really light weight. I do have some manual reading to do to fully understand how to use it. Here are a few of my first photos. Most shot on automatic, a couple on manual.

My attempt at something.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Sweet Smells of Springtime in Seattle

This morning on my way to the gym I rolled my window down just a bit (too see out better). And there was that beautiful scent of April in Seattle. It brought me back to 26 years ago this month when I moved with my new husband and my two kids from Utah to Kent, Washington.

We got married in January of that year, but Wally was working out of town. It was April before he could come get me and the kids and we road tripped it with my car fully loaded and Wally's small truck pulling a small U-Haul trailer. If it didn't fit it was left behind. There were really only a few items that I felt bad about leaving behind.

I even brought house plants with me. My children at the time were 7 1/2 and 5. Wayne wasn't even in school yet.

Here's the interesting thing. I had never been to Washington state before that day we moved here. On our trip from Utah we spent the night with my parents in Boise.

We drove through Oregon and Washington and as we were driving west on I-90 my first thoughts were that there was no big city here. We were moving into the woods, big trees everywhere! I was briefly panicked by that thought.
Then we arrived to our apartment in Kent. At the time Wally selected Kent because it's school district had high ratings in the nation.

When we got out of the car, the first thing that hit me was that wonderful fresh, rainy spring scent in the air. I vividly remember that to this day, 26 years later.

Six months in an apartment then we moved into our home, getting the keys on Wally's birthday in October. I was 31 years old and it was my very first house. And we're still here. What started out as a great little starter home, served us well with 2 kids and is now the perfect size for retirement.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Whole Lotta Floating Going On!

Today was my fourth float at U-Float. My first float was February 15th on a Saturday afternoon. It was full of all sorts of emotions.

My second float was on March 7th. It was on a Friday evening. I came home from work, fed Wally dinner, then went to U-Float.

When I finished my second float I told Phil it was 300 times better than my first float. There were lights, there were words, there was relaxation which extended beyond the float.

My third float was also a Friday night. It was two weeks later on March 21st. This time I drove straight from the office, which is a bit of a drive. I got there right at my appointment time so I felt rushed. But I still managed to enjoy the float. I had a very different experience then with my 2nd float.

When I began 3rd float I felt like I was rotating in a circle. I can't remember if it was clockwise or counterclockwise. This went on for a few minutes. Of course there is no time in the tank. Five minutes could be 30 minutes. I felt like I went into a very deep sleep. I don't have much recollection of thoughts while in the tank.

When the piano music softly came on to let me know my hour was up I felt a little disoriented. I had a hard time figuring out how to open the door to get out. But at the same time I wasn't panicked at all. I like the feel of the water. It feels like I belong there. After my first float the darkness no longer bothers me. Not just in the tank but other places too.
Between my 3rd and 4th float I traveled out of town to visit family. I slept really well on air mattresses for four nights. I even monitored my sleep with my FitBit so I know I had less disturbances than when I sleep at home. I found that unusual.

After I came home from vacation on a Sunday evening, during the week I just felt like I needed to be in water. Like I craved the feel of it. On one of my regular gym days before work I shortened my work out and spent some time in the pool at the gym. I swam, I floated, I walked in the water.

Today was my 4th float. It was the first time I was able to get on the schedule for a Saturday morning float. My appointment was for 9:00 am. I woke about 7:30 did some things around the house then went to Auburn.

Getting in and closing the door is getting very easy for me now. I try to keep my mind clear and I use relaxation techniques like counting backwards from 10 to go into a deeper relaxation. It was a very relaxing float. When the piano music came on I kept my eyes shut a little longer. Than I stretched, rolled onto my stomach for a couple of minutes then I got out.

There was a little heater in the room which probably didn't need to be turned on, but it was on, so it made it feel like my towel was heated after my shower.

When I got out of the tank I viewed an art book that a Portland float business put together. They gave artists two sessions in the tank then asked them to create some art. It was then put together into a book. It's very cool to look at, and there are photos which I can totally relate to.

I also mentioned to Phil, that I tried hard to not think of things while in the tank, his response to me was priceless. He said, "trying not to think of anything is thinking of something." Point taken.

I have done my initial session, I have used up my 3 pack of prepaid gift certificates. They have now raised their prices to the regular rates. I'm thinking I will continue this journey going once every 3 or 4 weeks.If you are reading this and are the least bit interested in trying it I highly recommend it. Some advice I would give for first time floaters: take flip flops for getting out of the tank and in the shower, before getting into the tank after showering be sure and dry off your face. Otherwise water runs down your face and you have salt water hands, not good. Prop the door open if the darkness and small area disturb you. Go into the darkness gradually, you'll get comfortable with it.

I highly recommend this book, I'm still reading through it. Phil commented that it was even better the second time he read it.

Here is the book with the art: