Patriot Day 2019

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This was a very spiritual occurrence, we had in New Jersey looking over to Manhattan, New York. We’ve got rained out. But Mother Nature let us witness a beautiful moment.

In Memory of the Victims of 9/11. WE WILL NEVER FORGET!

Happy New Year, 2018!

Before I can start a new chapter, I have to review the old one for a moment. Wow, what a year!!! I think, I’ve never done so much in one year before, than what I’ve accomplished in 2017.

  • In January, I’ve got my US citizenship. Nine months after applying for it, I took the oath on the 12th. What an exciting moment in my life.
  • In February, a couple of ladies and I started a new community garden. Now, we can grow food for people in need. And we can enjoy it, because it is drama free.
  • In March, my maternal grandmother passed away. Unfortunately, it would have happened sooner or later. It’s a part of life, and it has to go on. ~ We also had a hail storm. I’ve never seen hail this big. Our cars got a few dents from that storm.
  • In April, Kevin had to go on a business trip in Long Beach, CA. He used the opportunity to go to Downtown Disney in Anaheim for an evening. ~ My friend Janet visited with her husband and son from Germany. We had such a fun day at the Fort Worth Zoo.
  • In May, Sara had her dance recital. She got a trophy for that. ~ Kevin and I saw U2 live in concert. They performed in the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. It was on my bucket list for the last 14 years.
  • In June, Kevin and I went to the musical “Rock of Ages” at the Casa Mañana in Fort Worth. The guy, who played “Stacee Jaxx” flipped a thong at me. I’m still laughing. That was hilarious. ~ We also went on a trip to New York. I saw my long-time school friend Katja in Ohio after 30 years, again; we visited Kevin’s highschool friends in Niagara Falls, he hasn’t seen for 24 years; we went to Canada, New York City, and saw the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.
  • In July, Finley passed away. I still feel sad of his passing. But I also believe, he’s in a good spot, hanging out with our dog Ranger. They both earned their wings for sure.
  • In August, Sara went back to RCJ Machado to practise Jiu Jitsu. Since Katelynn is very busy with her school band, we needed an activity for Sara. She started Jiu Jitsu in 2015, took a two year break, and then went back again.
  • In September, we got our floors done in our house. Those old nasty carpets and laminated floors went out. And a brand new tiled floor came in.
  • In October, Kevin and I saw the Bret Michaels Band live in concert at Lava Cantina in The Colony. Bret is sooo sexy. I’m still drooling. 😀 😉
  • In November, Kevin and I went to see Jeff Dunham’s show in Wichita Falls. He is a great comedian. Walter, Peanut, Achmed & friends are just awesome.
  • In December, we went to California. Santa brought tickets to go to Disneyland. We had a beautiful time with family; went to the beach in San Diego; checked out Hoover Dam; visited the Grand Canyon, again; and therefore avoided some of the cold weather in Texas. We just came back home, two days ago.

Yep, it was a busy and amazing year. I’ve knocked out three items on my bucket list in the first half of 2017.

After posting 400 blogs, I can close this book and start a new one. May 2018 be as awesome as the previous year. Kevin and I plan to see P!nk live in concert in May. P!nk is on Kevin’s bucket list. He always wanted to see her, since he listened to her music and watched her first video. Let’s see, how that show will be.

I wish all my followers a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

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In Memory of Finley, when he celebrated New Year’s Eve.

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Happy New Year!

Travel Journal, Day 5 (Part III): ♫ New York, New York ♫

June 19, 2017

Ferries entered and left the dock very quickly. Once our ferry entered, it was our turn to get in the boat. Another rainstorm hit the bay, and the waves on the Hudson River were high. Katelynn felt a knot in her tummy and wasn’t sure, if she’ll keep her shrimp soup down. Sara thought, that ride on the river was fun. She really enjoyed these high waves. Arriving at Liberty State Park Landing, we let other passengers pass by to get to their cars in the parking lot. Katelynn took a couple of deep breaths, and her face gained its normal color, again. In the meantime, I’ve noticed something: “That’s how it works!”, I said to Kevin. “People are parking here in New Jersey, and then take the ferry to go to work or have fun in Manhattan. … Cool!”

It was still raining. But the clouds seemed to clear in the west. We saw the “Liberty House” and wanted to see, if we can stand under something to stay out of the rain. At the Liberty House were some patio chairs covered by an awning. The restaurant seemed to be closed. If somebody had shown up, I doubt they minded us sitting there to wait out the rain. The sun peaked through some clouds, before it was setting. I enjoyed the warm rays touching my face, when it popped in my head: “OMGosh, the sun is shining in the west. And it still rains in the east. Do you know what that means???!!” I ran south past the Liberty House, because it blinded my view to Manhattan. Kevin, Katelynn and Sara followed me with quick steps through the puddles. And there it was: a double rainbow sat over the skyline. The rainbow started behind One World Trade Center and where once the Twin Towers used to be. And it stretched all the way to the bay. Oh my, it was breath-taking! How lucky we were to witness this event, Mother Nature provided for us at that evening. It’s something, not every tourist gets to see. And we will cherish this moment for a very long time.

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This was a very spiritual occurrence, we had in New Jersey looking over to Manhattan, New York. We’ve got rained out. But Mother Nature let us witness a beautiful moment.

And here are some photos of New York City and Jersey City. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. Enjoy! 🙂

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New York, New York

Start spreadin’ the news, I’m leavin’ today
I want to be a part of it, New York, New York
These vagabond shoes are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it, New York, New York

I want to wake up in a city that doesn’t sleep
And find I’m king of the hill, top of the heap

These little town blues are melting away
I’ll make a brand new start of it, in old New York
If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere
It’s up to you , New York, New York

New York, New York
I want to wake up in a city that never sleeps
And find I’m A-number-one, top of the list,
King of the hill, A-number-one

These little town blues are melting away
I’m gonna make a brand new start of it in old New York
A-a-a-nd if I can make it there, I’m gonna make it anywhere
It’s up to you, New York, New York

New York

Written by Adolph Green, Betty Comden, Leonard Bernstein • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

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… to be continued …

Travel Journal, Day 5 (Part II): At The Hudson River In New York City, New York

June 19, 2017

Despite the rain, Kevin, Katelynn, Sara and I did a little bit of sight-seeing in New York City. Personally, I prefer this weather over a hot and muggy day. And life still seemed to move on: We saw a lady walking a dog, a gentleman sprinting, and some people on bikes riding along the Battery Park City Esplanade. They didn’t seem to mind at all, that water came from the sky.

But before I can continue about river, I need to go back the PATH-Station first. Kevin looked at a map on his phone, before we decided to take a step outside. When Kevin had it mapped out, we past the memorial and walked down to West Street. I’ve noticed a lot of men in Gucci and Armani suits. And these people smelled so good. Making our way into Vesey Street, the clouds didn’t look very promising. We walked for shelter into the mall area of Three World Financial Center. Since the hot dog was holding us over only for so long, we used the time to make plans for dinner. “Let’s see what we can find along the river, once it stops raining again,” I suggested. Kevin agreed, while Sara looked up to the glass roof and said: “Look at this rain! So much rain!” She seemed annoyed a little bit. It was no fun for her to sit around and wait for it to stop. Katelynn replied: “Oh well!”

Finally we had a little break, we began to walk along the Battery Park City Esplanade. It didn’t take long, before we stumbled over this little seafood place named “Merchants River House”. We looked at the menu card posted outside, which sounded very good. Hmm, it made our mouth watery. “Let’s take a look!” Kevin suggested. We walked in, and I loved the view over the river. Seeing the Liberty Statue in the distance while having a good seafood dinner, made it very special. Katelynn considered “The Soup of the Day”. She asked the waitress, what was today’s special. The waitress replied, it was shrimp & clam soup. Katelynn was in heaven. She loves shrimps. And this would be a perfect meal for her. Kevin had a burger; Sara was excited, she had pizza for dinner; and I loved the “Vermicelli Pasta”, which is angel hair pasta, manila clams cooked in a garlic Chardonnay sauce. Sooo good! Since we enjoyed our dinner so much, we ordered some desserts as well. Kevin and the girls had chocolate and vanilla ice cream, and I went for the “Caramelized Banana Cheese Cake”. Sometimes we have to splurge, right? 😉

After we paid for our dinner, we decided to walk back to the mall of Three World Financial Center. It made no sense to walk all the way down the esplanade to get a closer look at Ms. Liberty. Kevin took the girls with him to look at some stores for a couple of souvenirs, and I just took that moment to sit for a little rest on the bench. When they came back, they had some fancy chocolate from a French place in tow. I suggested we could take the ferry across the Hudson River. It was getting darker. And this would be a good opportunity to get some great photos of Manhattan. Kevin said, he was thinking the same about the ferry. They seemed to be fast and would bring us directly to the landing, where we wanted to be. Said, done! We walked down to the World Financial Center dock to take the fairy to the Liberty State Park Landing. While waiting for the ferry, we’ve learned, lots of people park in New Jersey and take the fairy to go to work or take care of other businesses in the city. More about crossing the Hudson River will follow, tomorrow.

 … to be continued …

Travel Journal, Day 5 (Part I): From Niagara Falls To New York City, New York

I just went through some of my New York City photos and realized, that I have to split the travel diary of the “Big Apple” into several blogs. Here is the first part of it. And one or two more will follow in the next couple of days.

June 19, 2017

Monday was an odd day. On one side, I wanted to spent more time in Niagara Falls. But on the other side, I was excited to see the “City, that never sleeps”. To get there the fastest way, we had to drive through Pennsylvania and New Jersey. But first we’ve spent some time driving through New York state. And let me tell you: Despite being annoyed with the toll roads, New York has a beautiful landscape to offer. We stopped at a rest area, while it was drizzling a little bit. I loved the smell of the mosses, which grew on the tree trunks. And I got reminded by childhood memories, from back in Germany, when I saw those maple seeds. As kids we used to pick up the fresh green “helicopters” and opened them up a little bit to pull the seed out. The part where the seed was protected had a sticky residue. We split it and “glued” it to our noses. Now, we looked like rhinoceroses. Yeah, as kids we played some interesting safari games. Imagination was everything!

The weather became interesting in Pennsylvania. We drove through these sheets of rain. One moment it was try, then we saw the line of rain, and within the next few seconds, we were in it. It repeated about a couple more times, before we entered New Jersey (State #32). In New Jersey, it was a beautiful sunny day. We stopped at the Welcome Center to stretch for little bit, before we kept driving towards New York City.

Once we were close enough, we came over this hill and here it was, stretching from one point of the horizon to the other: Manhattan … WOOOW! NYC was right in front of our eyes. So close, but still so far away.

In North Bergen, we checked into our motel. After getting cleaned up, we called Uber. Surprisingly, it didn’t take long for the Uber driver to show up at the motel. Driving through the Lincoln Tunnel, the driver told us a bit about New York. He really enjoyed giving us some advise of certain sights. He also mentioned, he lives in New York for the last 28 years, and the city grew on him. He loves it so much, and he can not imagine to live anywhere else. I replied: “I totally understand. I feel that way about Dallas. Cities like them grow on you.” Our destination was the 9/11 Memorial. Carefully I asked the Uber driver, if New York has changed since the attack. He paused for a moment, then he answered: “Yes!” I felt, it was a very sensitive subject for him. But he continued: “About 70 percent of the population, who used to live in Lower Manhattan, moved further north towards Upper Manhattan. The attacks on that day scared a lot of people. They didn’t want to live close to Ground Zero.” I let him know, I appreciated his answer. Sara lightened up the conversation by pointing out every single hot dog stand, since Kevin mentioned he wanted to eat a New York Hot Dog. 😀 We also noticed, people are very busy and a little bit more impatient in New York, than we would see it in the south. But somehow, they figured it out. Not once have I seen a fender bender.

Arriving at the memorial, we said “Good-bye” to our Uber driver and parted ways. When we walked up to the fountain, which was once the place of the North Tower, a lot of people gathered around to show respect to the victims of 9/11. People talked quietly to each other. It was pleasant. Kevin picked up Sara, so she could see the fountain better. He explained to our girls what happened on that day in September 2001. Both girls listened very carefully to their Daddy. They had some questions, too. I was very proud of them at this moment. Because they were respectful, didn’t act out and kept their voices low. I was so impressed, I forgot to capture this moment in a photo. 😦 Then it was my turn. I laid my hands on some of the names stamped out of this beautiful metal plates. And I began to feel the pain. The pain wasn’t physically, but more mentally. Tears ran down my cheeks. It hurt so bad, but something told me to look up. And I gazed at the new tower. The mood began to change. I felt pride. This day took the wind out of us. But it couldn’t bring us down. One World Trade Center stands as a symbol for us Americans growing stronger and closer together. It reminded me, we should be kind to one another on a daily basis. It doesn’t really matter, if we have different opinions, believes, orientations, complexions etc. We should treat each other well.

Kevin found a hot dog stand behind the subway station. I found a bench, where the girls could sit together and enjoy their hot dogs. Next to them, two men had a conversation in German. I waved at them and asked them, where they came from in Germany. The older man seemed a little grumpy and answered: “Berlin!” I nodded and replied: “I’m from Würzburg.” The men looked slightly confused, and Kevin added: “We are also from Texas.” I guess, my accent mostly had confused them a little bit. Over the years, I gained a new accent in the US. Lots of Germans get a little bit irritated by it. They usually expect me to talk in my Franconian accent. But there is always some American slang mixed with it. I don’t hear it. But I think, it’s cute when people started pointing it out. 😉

Clouds began to roll into the city. The sky became darker. A thunderstorm was in the forecast. Kevin, the girls and I looked for shelter. The World Trade Center PATH-Station seemed to be the perfect place. A lot of people had the same idea, and therefore it became crowded very quickly. While we were waiting out the storm, we checked out the PATH-Station a little bit. Kevin and I looked for some places to check out along the Hudson River, once the storm would pass by. Katelynn and Sara were glad, they were in a try spot.

… to be continued …