Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lazy Lake Powell

My parents have a houseboat on beautiful Lake Powell.  I was able to tear myself away from work (and other trips) this summer to visit this lovely place a few times.  The best thing about Lake Powell is there is nothing to do.  That is the only time I don't feel guilty about just laying around in the sun reading books.  Other great things about Lake Powell is the scenery, wildlife, and serenity.  I don't have a lot of pictures from the fun and excitement, but I do have a few (thanks to Mom's camera).

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Idaho Temple Road Trip

In July, Mom and I loaded up the car and hit the road on our Idaho Temple Road Trip.  We listened to showtunes most of our journey which included off-tune sing alongs.  Our first stop was the Lofthouse Cookies Outlet in Ogden, Utah.  Then we drove to Twin Falls, Idaho.  We went to the Costco to fill up the tank with gas and part of the road was blocked off.  We just figured there had been a car accident.  After we returned home, we realized that a crazy person had been chased by the police, shot and killed a person at a Hampton Inn, and was holding someone else hostage at the hotel.  Good thing we didn’t know all that because I’m sure we would have rethought our decision to fill up at Costco.
Our first major (and planned) stop was the Twin Falls, Idaho Temple.  It was a beautiful temple and reminded me a lot of the Oquirrh Mountain Temple in South Jordan, Utah.  We encountered some interesting people (and experiences) in each temple.  Unfortunately for you, I won't be writing about them, but enjoy the beautiful pictures.
Twin Falls, Idaho Temple
Mom and I drove to the Shoshone Falls.  They were beautiful!  We got out of the car, took some pictures, and read about the falls.   
Shoshone Falls
Then we got in the car and drove to Idaho Falls, Idaho where we stayed the night.
The next morning Mom and I slept in for a little while and then drove to the Rexburg Idaho Temple.  The temple was staffed mostly by college-aged volunteers.  It was great to see so many young people in the temple.  (I sound like a grandma saying that, but it was!)  The Rexburg Temple was beautiful. 
Rexburg, Idaho Temple
Mom and I drove back to Idaho Falls and ate lunch at Olive Garden.  I admit that I was ornery by this time.  I had a much better disposition once I got some food in me.  It's amazing what low blood sugar and lack of sleep can cause me to become.
Mom and I then went to the Idaho Falls Temple.  This temple was built in the 1950s so it had some very interesting artwork inside.
Idaho Falls, Idaho Temple
That evening, I drove to my friend, Mark Hill’s, house in a suburb of Idaho Falls.  (Who knew that Idaho Falls was big enough to have suburbs?!)  Mark had invited me to dinner with his family when he found out I was going to be in town.  I met Mark’s four children and was reacquainted with his wife.  (I had met her a few times on previous occasions.)  I had a great dinner with Mark’s family.  I always find it entertaining watching my friends be parents.  They say things I remember their parents telling us.  Mark’s wife was kind enough to put the kids to bed while Mark and I reminisced for hours about the glory days of high school.  Then she endured our reminiscing until about 1:00 in the morning!  We couldn’t believe it was that late!  Time truly flew by while I was with the Hill's.  I was disappointed that I forgot to get a picture with Mark and his family.  I guess I will just have to go back and pay them another visit.
The next morning, Mom and I slept in a little bit (not nearly long enough for me!).  We hurried to get ready for the day and made it to church near the Idaho Falls Temple.  After church, we drove all the way home.  I had a great time on our road trip.  Overall, I enjoyed visiting the temples.  The landscape is beautiful in its own special way.  I hadn't seen that much open farmland ever!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Grandma's 85th Birthday

My Grandma (on my mom's side of the family) had her 85th birthday in July.  Most of her posterity (namely the ones still in her good graces and who truly love her) got together to celebrate her life.  My brother and Allen even flew in for the festivities.

The celebration began with a picnic at a park in Cache Valley (northern Utah).  I spent the time talking with aunts, uncles, cousins, and being grateful that none of the crazy children running around were mine.  Grandma told us some stories from her life.  She has done it all!  She is an amazing woman!  If I could do half of the things she has done, I will have considered my life immensely blessed.  The picnic culminated with the singing of "Happy Birthday", candles being blown out, and chocolate cake being devoured.

Grandma with her friend Arnie, who happens to have the same birthday as her!

Here are the birthday kids with some great-grandkids to help out.

This is my mom with her siblings and her mother.
While we waited for Phase 2 of the celebration to begin, my family drove around Cache Valley and saw some of the different houses Grandma had lived in throughout her life.

The old folks table. :)
The kids table.

Phase 2 commenced with meeting up with the family at Sizzler for dinner.  Many family members pooped out and didn't make it to the Big Siz for dinner.  Grandma who was 85 years old made it to dinner so I don't know what their problems were!  I had a great time catching up with my cousins and laughing with them.  I think Grandma had a wonderful birthday!  She loves spending time with her family so that is the best gift we could have given her.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Home in NYC for a Week

This past summer, my mom and I headed home to New York City for a week.  We had a great time in the City and across the Hudson in New Jersey.  Here's the travelogue and pictures for those who care:
Wednesday:  Mom and I flew to Newark, New Jersey.  As the plane was accelerating to take off, it all of a sudden hit the brakes and turned off of the runway.  It was so weird.  That had never happened to me on a flight before.  A few minutes later, the captain got on the overhead speaker and told us there was confusion of communication from the Tower so the captain decided to not take off.  He said as soon as they worked out the miscommunication, we would be taking off.  Less than fifteen minutes later, we had taken off and actually left the ground.  My Aunt Caren picked me and Mom up at the airport in New Jersey and drove us to the Crowne Plaza in Times Square where we checked in.  All of their Times Square view rooms were full so we ended up with a north side view room.  Dang!
We walked to Times Square.  While I saved a small table at Duffy Square, Mom went around the corner and got us each a slice of pizza from Patzeria’s Pizza.  (The best pizza in NYC!)  We ate the pizza at our little table in Duffy Square while we watched all of the people.  It was fun!  It was beautiful weather!  This was the second time I had been to NYC in the summer.
Among all the billboards in Times Square, there was a billboard for  It was awesome to see that right next to all of the other billboards.

Mom and I walked to the Gershwin Theatre and saw Wicked.  A friend I had worked with in Radio City was listed in the playbill, but I found out he wasn’t performing that evening as he was recovering from a back injury.  I was sad I wasn’t going to see him perform.  The Wicked cast was amazing!  Truly, one of the best casts I’ve seen.  Wicked also had new costumes and lighting.
We didn’t go to the stage door afterwards because we raced over to Times Square instead to meet up with our neighbors. They were visiting NYC the same time as us.  We decided to grab some dessert at TGI Fridays in Times Square and talk.  We left TGI Fridays around 1 AM.  We had a great time visiting with them!  Times Square was still a flurry of activity as we made our way to our hotel in the wee hours of the night! 
Thursday:  We walked to the Times Square Visitor’s Center.  We asked about the free walking tour they held on Fridays.  We got our picture taken in front of the ball that drops at midnight on New Year's Eve.  The picture doesn't do it justice!

We walked to Central Park where I met up with a friend from high school on his lunch break.  It was so great to talk with him!  I hadn’t seen him for probably five years or so!  He loved living and working in New York City.  It was great to catch up with him.

Mom and I walked to the Manhattan Temple.  I ran into a girl at the temple that goes to the Singles Branch I attended in Utah.  How funny!
After we were done at the temple, we walked to Serendipity 3 for lunch/dinner and dessert!  We shared the basil seafood pasta.  It was delicious!  Mom shared her peanut butter frozen hot chocolate with me.  I shared my cinnamon ice cream with caramel sauce sundae with her.  There was so much caramel on my sundae that it was like eating homemade caramels.  Oh the food was divine!  I was so full afterwards!  

We walked back to our hotel and rested our big tummies.

We felt much better when it was time to go to the theatre.  We walked to the theatre where Anything Goes was performing.  I LOVED Anything Goes!  It was one of my favorite shows I saw this trip!  Sutton Foster (who won a Tony Award for her performance) was AMAZING!!  All of the singing and dancing she does is incredible!  The choreography was superb!  Joel Gray also gave a wonderful performance.  It was so much fun to attend the performance!  I smiled the rest of the night!  Mom and I went to the stage door to wait for the actors to come out.  While we waited, we talked with other audience members.  One of the guys had gone to BYU and two other people asked us if we had been at the temple that day because they had seen us there.  Who says you aren’t being watched??  Unfortunately, Sutton Foster and Joel Gray had another way to escape the theatre because neither of them came out the stage door afterwards.  Bummer!

Friday:  Mom and I walked to the Times Square Visitor’s Center.  We took a free Times Square walking tour.  The tour took two and a half hours and could have easily been consolidated to an hour and a half.  The tour guide talked A LOT and found a way to express herself in as many words as possible.  We did see a lot of things we had never noticed before and learned some things as well.  We learned about the Times Square building, how Times Square got its name, the shoe sculptor of famous women in the 1920s, LUTS-Light Unit Times Square, all billboards in Times Square must have lights and movement, the musical sound of the subway in front of the Marriott Marquis.  We went to the Renaissance Hotel, TKTS, St. Malachy’s Church (the actor’s church), the MTV Building, and the Lyceum Theatre.  It was a good way to spend a beautiful Friday afternoon.
Mom and I went to Shake Shack for lunch/dinner.  It was teeming with Asian people!  Before they ate their food, they would hold it up and take a picture of it.  Interesting!  Seating was at a premium in the Shake Shack.  After a few non-aggressive moves on Mom’s part, we finally found a seat.  We even found some seats for other people.  We paid it forward!  Mom and I shared a cheeseburger, fries, and a concrete shake.  They all tasted good but not worth the millions of people you had to fight for your food.
Mom and I walked to Herald’s Square to get some Garrett’s popcorn.  We got the caramel and cheese popcorn mix.  It doesn’t sound that good, but it tastes very good! 
Mom and I walked to the theatre and saw the musical Sister Act.  The row in front of us was empty until a few minutes after the performance started.  Then this group of four or five girls with one guy came in to their seats in the row in front of us.  They were so loud!  They couldn’t figure out which seats they had and the order in which they wanted to sit.  They talked to one another and then kept apologizing to us.  If you’re really sorry, then shut up!  Mom and I figured they were drunk.  Then one of the girls left quickly holding her hand over her mouth while another girl followed her out.  That confirmed our suspicions of the state of their sobriety (or lack thereof).  Then a few more girls trickled out.  Finally the boy left too.  Thank goodness!  At intermission, we noticed they were sitting in a row at the back of the orchestra level.  If we hadn’t seen them, we would have still known they were there because they were talking loudly after the second act begun.  What a bunch of idiots!  Sister Act was a good musical.  The choreography and costumes were great.  I was expecting to hear more songs like from the movie where they took popular songs and made them church-y.  That didn’t happen so I was a little disappointed.  The score was all original music.  The musical did have heart and I liked it for that.

Saturday:  Mom and I went to a street fair on the Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue).  I spent a lot of money there.  I bought three purses, a wallet, two eyebrow pencils, and an eyeglass case.  I so did not need any of those things!  I ate a bite of Mom’s fried Oreos and some of the donuts that came with it.  You can't go to a street fair and not eat fried foods!  (Fair=Fried Food)
Mom and I saw the musical Memphis.  It was so good!  The dancers were amazing!
Mom and I walked to Virgil’s for lunch.  We ate our usual fare of train wreck fries and banana pudding. Lunch of champions!
Mom and I walked to the theatre and saw the musical Catch Me If You Can.  I LOVED IT!!  It was my other favorite musical we saw on this trip.  The show was so much fun to watch!  The music was very catchy.  The actors (Norbert Leo Butz, Aaron Tveit, Tom Wopat, Kerry Butler, and the ensemble) were AMAZING!  After the show, we went to the stage door.  Once again, we got out of the show after a lot of the other people had so the people at the stage door were about two people deep.  The security guard saw me and let me go in front of the barrier so I could get autographs and talk with the actors.  When Norbert came out, he announced to the crowd that he didn’t have time to pose for pictures but they could take as many pictures as they wanted while he signed because he wanted to get home to his six month old baby.  I got autographs while Mom took pictures.

Just as Norbert was crossing from the barricades to his car that was waiting for him, some guy walked up to him and told him that he admired him.  Then the random guy asked for a hug from Norbert.  Norbert gave the guy an “Are you crazy?” look for a second and then said how about a handshake.  Uh yeah, crazy guy!  You just don’t ask for hugs from actors.  First of all, they smell bad because some don’t shower after the show and you KNOW they were sweating.  (I should know because that was me!)  Second of all, people just don’t hug random people.  After Norbert, Tom Wopat came out and signed our playbills.  When he was done signing he unchained his bike from a street sign, got on his bike, and rode away.  Mom and I both thought it was odd that management wouldn’t let him keep his bike in the theatre.

Sunday:  Mom and I were awakened by lightening and thunder.  It was so weird to be in a high rise building in Manhattan and experience lightening and thunder.  Nature seemed so out of place in the urban jungle.  It rained most of the day.  Sometimes the rain was heavy and other times it was a mist.  We had planned to walk to church at the temple but since it was raining we took the subway instead.  Just before we got to the elevators in the church, I knew I was in an LDS church because the removable coat rack was out.  This coat rack was filled with rain coats, goulashes, and umbrellas.  The bishop had all the visitors stand and there were more people standing than sitting.
Forever 21 had a fun billboard in Times Square.  It took a picture of the street in front of the Marriott Marquis and then put it up on the billboard.  Here's your chance to play where's Melodie and her mom?  Hint: Mom is wearing a red shirt and I look like I'm wearing white pants.

We walked to an off-Broadway theatre that was under an Italian Restaurant across from the Marriott Marquis.  We saw the play Miss Abigail’s Guide to Dating, Mating, and Marriage.  It was cute!  Joyce DeWitt (from the TV show Three’s Company) was the main character.
Mom and I ate dinner at Junior’s.  While we waited for our meals, we went to the bathroom.  When we came back from the bathroom, they had cleared our table of our drinks.  I guess the busboy thought we had left.
Mom and I walked to the Palace Theatre and saw Priscilla Queen of the Desert.  I liked the costumes.  They were very creative.
Caren picked us up and drove us to her house in New Jersey.  Mom and I stayed at her place for the last two days of our vacation.

Monday:  It was Independence Day!  Mom and I bummed around Caren’s house most of the day.  We helped her get ready for her Independence Day party.  Mom and I took a walk around Caren’s neighborhood.  We saw a few muskrats on our journey.  Caren invited some friends and neighbors over to her place.  We watched from her balcony as the barges with the fireworks for the Macy’s Fireworks Spectacular came down the Hudson River towards Caren’s place.  Then after the sun went down we watched some of the New Jersey’s towns’ fireworks.  Then we watched the Macy’s Fireworks Spectacular from her balcony.  There were fireworks shooting off from six barges synchronized to music.  It was AWESOME!!  I loved seeing it in person!  The best part was after the fireworks and watching the traffic jam of cars trying to get to their homes.  I was home!  People were reported to be in their cars for two hours trying to get home.  Not me!  I watched the Macy’s Fireworks Spectacular on TV after I watched it from the balcony.  It was so much better in person!
Tuesday:  I was a sleepy-head.  Mom and I finally ate breakfast around noon.  We went to Caren's pool.  Mom went swimming.  I read in a book while I laid out.  Caren dropped us off at the Newark Airport and we flew home.

Another wonderful trip to NYC.  I love that city!  One of these times, I will be purchasing a one-way ticket.