Thursday, October 16, 2014

Birth Day

My Very Happy Birth-Day started out rainy and slightly chilly. Lucky for me I like the rain! The world was sparkling and shiny covered with New York Rain. Inspired by the thought of my Starbucks challenge - 15 coffees in 15 days for 15 stars - I headed off in search of one while Terry got ready. I found one right across the street from the Hilton, complete with its own NY attitude, which means the employees had their own attitude and the customers came right after mopping the floor.  I was the only one in line to order and I must have stood there for 4 or 5 minutes watching the chaos on the other side of the counter. Evidently a lot of walk ins were carrying out warmed breakfasts and the staff couldn't keep up with demand. Whatever, it was fun watching.

I took a quick walk around the area and found MOMA - the Museum of Modern Art and Radio City Music Hall, both open for business. Tours at RCMH from 10 to 5, and similar hours on MOMA.  Of course I wandered around for a while, proving to myself that my coat was not rainproof, and I really was in New York City.  It had stormed during the night, but the morning rain was  a gentle shower.  Terry was ready by the time I returned. I presented the options I discovered, but Terry had been busy researching movies and had decided that we needed an indoor activity for a few hours.  He located an AMC 25 on 46th. I went by the concierge and got my own umbrella, since we don't share well, and we headed off for Times Square.

See how everything glitters in the rain, including my Milwaukee- born husband. We of course found the AMC and selected the first available movie- Automata staring Antonio Banderas, a Sci-Fi movie, not my favorite genre, but definitely not something you would sleep through. The movie house was right across the street from the Regal, both multi-story buildings of course.  Automata was screening on the 6th floor.

Large patio off the 6th floor of the AMC theater  with awesome views of NY City and my silly husband pretending he was attached to a giant  hand stretching out over the street.  Automata's hero Jacq Vaucan (Antonio Banderas) was an insurance agent who seemed more like a police detective in the new desolate depressing world which has evidently been the target of a nuclear blast.  Robots are the new workers and Jacq is targeted with paying their owners for their breakage and dysfunction.  Along the way he befriends a female robot designed strictly for pleasure but who has no limits on her intelligence and no limits on endurance. She and some robot friends head out across the vast wasteland outside the city borders - forbidden land for humans who get immediately shot if found out there -  to find a new better tomorrow for themselves. Dylan McDermott one of my favorite actors, played the menacing non-hero police detective who eventually gets blown away by Jacq.

After the movie, skies were blue and temperatures moderate - a gorgeous New York day with unseasonably warm temperatures.

This was another beautiful view from the AMC theater's patio.

You Can't Take it With You, a relatively new play staring James Earl Jones.  Although we weren't supposed to take pictures in the theater, I took this one before I really knew that.  No one saw me so I got to keep my iphone. This is the outside of the site of the play and turns around completely to reveal a exquisite two story house inside populated by a variety of amusing characters. 

New York by Night is Beautiful.  We enjoyed the walk back to the Hilton. Me more than Terry.

Times Square

Terry and the Ticker Tape

A rarity in NYC - No People in Sight

Deliriously Happy M&M's 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

New York New York

Our FREE rewards flight booked months ago on Southwest Airlines....Dallas to St. Louis, St. Louis to La Guardia, New York City. We booked when the Wright Amendment was still on the books.  Although it was recently recinded it was too late for us. We lucked out on the way to St. Louis with a vacant seat between us.  The ride to New York was PACKED....not one empty seat. But it did give me a chance to read 3/4 of the book GONE by James Peterson and Michael Ledwidge. Easy reading murder mystery, if a murder mystery can be easy reading.

1st glimpse of   Empire State Building from Queensboro Bridge
The ride was a little bumpy as we approached New York City.  A lot of clouds with a storm scheduled to arrive tonight. Awesome flyover New York City under the clouds.  Aerial view of Central Park and Manhatten. Shared ride to the Hilton New York, or Hilton Midtown, or Hilton  Grand Vacation Club or Hilton Avenue of the Americas....all referring to the SAME Hilton. Could not find an easier way to confuse me than give the same building 4 or 5 names.  The Shared Ride set up through Viator was packed, which provided an opportunity to talk to strangers. Turns out one met an author while waiting for her luggage.  He was on his way to a book signing ... John I have a new author to read. And of course there is always talk of cruises when two older couples get within range.

Our luggage sustained yet another injury.  Although they look sturdy, I suspect they are more prone to injuries than we suspect.  We already lost one due to wheels giving out.  Terry had to CARRY a rolling suitcase.  Despite the honking and screeching of tires and horrendous NY Traffic, we arrived at our hotel in one piece.

Room 3837 - 38th floor of the Hilton Grand Vacation Club.  Nice rooms with a living area, bedroom, great tub and shower, but not nearly as ostentatious as the Hilton Grand Vacation Club in Las Vegas.  It was at the end of that presentation we bought this trip to Hilton GV New York.  We did partake of the free happy hour (sans alcohol) where I had my first encounter with a wonderful espresso machine.  I want one, of course. I must have had 5 espressos in 30 minutes and I would have had more but I didn't want to be too piggish.  I'll have to take a picture of it so I can remember what kind it is. Munchy foods - vegetables, fruits, won tons, pita bread, hummus...happy hour on the 37th floor...then apple pie and cake bar for dessert from   Herb N Kitchen in the lobby.  Ran across it during the completion of my 10,000 steps, one floor at a time. 38 flights is a lot even if it is all downhill.

View from our front sitting room

Sitting Area Room 3837
Terry, Posting of Course in the Bedroom
More City Views from the Room

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Carrollton's Purple Trail

Well there are some parks in Carrollton!  Start of the day it was clear with scattered clouds. By the time I made it back to my neighborhood the skies were dark gray.  It would be hours before the rain really started, but we could see it coming. Starting out on Kelly a little south of Keller Springs, the purple trail meanders along the creek.  Except for the occasional biker trying to run me over it was an uneventful meandering.  

Shortly after this sign, around the bend, sits the Ward Stevenson Park, complete with gym set for the kids, picnic tables and a basketball court for the really ambitious.

The Purple Trail, cleverly named for the Purple Line that divides the trail into the slow and fast lanes,  has markers every 1/4 of a mile, inviting shade, benches for those inclined to spend a few moments enjoying the immediate surroundings, or maybe just taking a break, and offers the diversion of Frisbee golf for the athletes. Generally the nets are in a cluster of trees, making the sport at least look inviting.  You can tell I am not a Frisbee golfer because I didn't take one picture of either the golfers or their targets, although I did notice that most of the players were of the male species, the younger variety.

Almost home, just one or two more curves

                                                                                                      Then there was this ghost following me along the way, the Purple girl on the Purple Trail, a kindof shapeless blob but I liked her anyway, since it was me, and I tend to at least try to like myself. While I have been seeing monarchs on most of my walks they like to buzz me and keep on flying.  This one sat still for the requisite millisecond it took to take the picture. However it was still just luck.  A millisecond later it was flitting away with its friends, on its way to Mexico after a quick bite to eat. Between the monarch and the blob, I'd have to probably go with the monarch for artistic excellence.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

State Fair of Texas, Fair Park

Wow, there is no better park than Fair Park when the State Fair is on!  I spent a couple of hours there on Friday while Terry worked and found this awesome work of art in the Women's Museum where Mundo Latino is going on.  This is the Dallas/Fort Worth skyline combined into one work of art. It contains 37,700 LEGO bricks and took more than 80 hours to complete. It is awesome.
This exhibit also had a tribute to Texas Fallen Soldiers  - Defenders of Freedom - on the 2nd floor.  Pictures of sons and daughters who lost their lives in foreign lands as a result of the current conflicts were on display.  The top floor has a photo exhibit of Little Mexico, an area of Dallas that no longer exists, but is well documented with photos by St. Ann's Alumni Association. The bottom floor featured hispanic music and dancing, sale of traditional Mexican clothes, jewelry, accessories, and a small cafe with mexican treats, as well as this lego masterpiece.  One of my favorite areas of the fair in part because it was away from the crowds, a lovely oasis.
The Chevy Main Stage area received a new green floor.  There is no seating as in chairs, so in the past we've had to stand on concrete (or sit if we were really tired).  The green floor covering is an improvement. There were more people there but they were trying to stay in the sparse shade provided by the building which housed the sound technicians. 

Craig Parker the resident Elvis impersonator and his most passionate groupie. 

Shows on Hall of State Steps

Texas Sports Legend Exhibit, Hall of State

Terry Helping the OU Crowd.  Mostly they wanted to know where to find the Fried Food!

The rest of the Information Group: Debbie, Craig and Mary P. surrounded by record breaking crowds.  I just made that up. I don't know if this crowd broke records, but I know it was Very Difficult to try to move anywhere at a fast rate of speed. There were so many of us in the booth I thought there wouldn't be enough customers to keep us busy. Boy was I wrong. Terry and Craig worked in the bowl during the OU game, trying to direct customers to shorter lines. I hear they were on tv, but unfortunately not until it was too late to record them.

Butter Horses in the Creative Arts Building

Farmer Mike's Pumpkin Creation in the Greenhouse.  

New Creatures Daily.

CANStruction Exhibit...made entirely of cans of food.  The theme of this year's fair is Deep in the Heart of Texas, so we saw a lot of flags, hearts, the alamo and Willie Nelson.  The full cans of food will be donated to the Dallas and Ft. Worth food banks.

Willie wrapped in the Flag

The Lagoon.  

Those interesting little towers are actually tree roots, but they look like a little colony of creatures staring at the lagoon, the fairgoers and the new floating bridge spanning the lagoon enabling visitors to get quickly to CANstruction  from the Cotton Bowl Plaza.

Kids Boardwalk

The Capital in Cans 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Craddock Park

Lemmon and Dallas North Tollway

Earliest known Historic Site in Dallas County
Visited in 1840 as a possible path from the Red river to Austin
Cedar Springs community established 1843 by Dr. John Cole
Erected  1936

A 6.9 acre park established in 1922
Playgrounds for the Kids,  Grandkids and athletes - have seen them using the playground
for pushups and chin-ups.  Not me, of course

My Favorite House in the Neighborhood. 
I'd like to build one like this on our lot at Big Stone Lake in Minnesota.
If I could just win the lottery....

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Peter Pan Park

Day 2 of Park Hunt.  Peter Pan  Park ... sounded kindof cool.  I had just watched Robin Williams playing Peter in Hook.  My GPS found it and  took me here.  I saw a jungle and some pretty nice houses, quiet neighborhood but not exactly a park.  The foliage was so thick I wasn't about to go into it. Texas does have all FOUR of the poisonous snakes, even if I am in the middle of the City.  But I couldn't believe my GPS was lead me astray.
So I parked the car around the corner and walked back.  This was all I found. No hidden sign.  Nothing that looked like a trail I would embark on. It would be a good place to hide something, like God forbid, a body.  A neighbor finally took pity on me and asked if something was wrong. He told me this was definitely NOT Peter Pan Park and then gave me the directions, which were guaranteed to get me lost.   Fortunately I had my iPhone and google maps too. So a few turns away and I found it.  Peter Pan Park. Est 1969. 3802 Echo Brook Lane.  A much easier way to get there than the way I took - going south on Marsh, left on Royal, right on Peter Pan Lane, just past Princess. Piece of cake.

Back behind the jungle gym and swing sets was this awesome bridge across the creek to ????     to someone's driveway and an alley that runs behind expensive houses.  Really gives me the feeling that I'm intruding on someone else's private space. So I crossed back over to the park. Much of which was still unininhabitable with a few dirt trails.  If I were, say 10 or 12, I might venture into those 'wild' areas, but not at this advanced age. I KNOW I'm not immortal.  And I HATE snakes. So I'll stick to the paved areas.  But I could see the young boys in Peter Pan's world hanging out in those spaces.

Actually the park was not crooked, like this picture, but it's easier to get more in with a slightly angled picture and it is  more interesting - to me anyway.  The picture  of the playground was taken from the area to the right...down 3 or 4 or 5 steps.  Could see the bridge from there as well.

After the rather short walk around Peter Pan Park I left for the neighborhood. A few residents out strolling the streets, lots of Halloween decorations and well shaped trees. Actually walking the neighborhood streets was almost more fun than walking the park.

Eventually I got back to my car and noticed my husband is right. I can't park. My perception is totally off.  Look how far from the curb I am!  I'm surprised the neighbors didn't complain about that, but then in this neighborhood people are either well enough off to NOT work or conveniently office at home.  I seemed to be the only one on the way to work. The traffic was minimal.  In these neighborhoods Halloween is evidently a month long holiday.  I especially liked the blow up boat filled with Peanuts characters.