Sunday, April 10, 2022

May the Peace and Generosity of Palm Sunday be with You!

Wow!... It has been a minute, has it not?
For those (the one person) that still follow my blog, I apologize; however, shortly after Ranger left the Army in '14, I discovered Instagram and have been posting our adventures there. If you still wish to follow along, you can find me on Instagram via BarefootFarmGirlNC

As always, there is a story... this time it involves leaving my job with Hanes after 17 years due to the pandemic, believing being laid off was a sign from God to move close to Ranger in Texas and closer to my parents in Monterey... Then, actually selling our beloved gardens and the house that came with them and moving to Texas! Oh, but the adventure did not stop there... Texas hated us and let us know and we did not care much for its lack of trees and seasons, so we moved back to North Carolina at the end of 2020 to embark on a year-long effort to recreate the gardens (and bathrooms) of Wessex and somehow turn this new house into one we could love enough to stay for a while. I am pleased to say we are making terrific progress... As you can see from the  photo above, which is of the new garden fountain installed just last week. 

So... For more on that and other stuff, if we are not already in touch via my Instagram page, I would be delighted for you to make contact again real soon.

Today is Palm Sunday and I am feeling particularly grateful... I set up my Oma's Easter tree in this house for the first time last night so I am feeling the spirit of renewal and possibility...
I wish you the Peace of Palm Sunday and Easter too!
So what has brought me to this lonely Blog of mine? (and, may I just say, SUPER confusing new editing dashboard!) Well, it is to let you know about something that happened to my dearest friend David, someone featured quite regularly here on my blog during my cookie-creating days... You know and remember David as the inspiring and gentle soul who writes and publishes the amazing blog: GoodThingsByDavid - However, before I go any further, David and his husband remain happy and well; however, David's beloved mother and father lost everything in a terrible fire the other day, including their darling feline companion, Trixie. By God's mercy and love, David's mother was rescued and his father was out of the house; therefore, they are safe, albeit forever scared and impacted by the loss of their beautiful Los Angeles home and personal belongings, including a 1973 truck in the garage, which David's father drove to bring David home from the hospital when he was born. The inventory of things lost forever is too long to list but I am asking for help by referring you to the GoFundMe page established to assist David and his parents recover (at least monetarily) from this terrible tragedy. Any amount is appreciated and everything given from the heart grows exponentially when we come together. 

I pray you and those that love you are well and, that you will consider helping David by donating or sharing the news of his GoFundMe with others you know.


Friday, January 4, 2019

It's Days like This...

It's days like today, when I open e-mail to find a note from
an Etsy customer that tells me the products I offer helped inspire
them to begin a new family holiday tradition of creating decorated
sugar cookies and, to create edible masterpieces as wonderful as these!
The sweet note that accompanied these photos perfectly describes
the wonder and joy I felt when I first discovered this craft...

Thank you!

Hi Janet. Happy Friday!

I hope you had a Merry Christmas and your new year is off to a great start.  Attached is a letter from my daughter Lexi. As you can tell, the girls had a blast!

Many Thanks!


January 3, 2019

Dear Miss Janet,

My name is Lexi. I'm thirteen and live in Pennsylvania with my parents and my GSP (German Shorthaired Painter), Tucker. My Mom and I decorate a lot of cakes and cookies for friends and family. We call ouselves the Brown Eyed Bakers! However, this year was the first time I hosted a Christmas cookie decorating party with friends that never heard of royal icing! Lol! Mom thought your bottles would be easier for them to work with and she right. The bottles worked great! Our decorated cookies got rave reviews from everyone who saw them. We had so much fun decorating (and eating) them that it's going to be a yearly holiday tradition! The bottles kept everything neat and after soaking they were easy to clean and didn't stain. The only thing Mom said was that the next time we'll replace the plastic tips with good quality stainless tips. We had fun experimenting with the bottles and I LOVED reading your recipe book! Thanks for helping make my party a success and for adding to my recipe collection!


PS... Mom's going to send you some pics.

My response to this darling girl...
Message: Oh, my goodness, Jen - Thank you!

I hope you will share the following note with your daughter.

Dearest Lexi -

I cannot tell you how grateful I am for your message - You've literally made my day/week/month and probably my new year; thank you! Your cookies look AH-MAZING and, while I'm delighted to hear that you believe my decorating squeeze bottles and recipes and decorating tips guide helped you achieve these results, I'm going to tell you that, looking at your cookies, YOU already possess a natural talent and spectacular creativity that makes this art form so fun!

Nevertheless, you and your mom are VERY kind to let me know how much you enjoyed my products. As stated in my note to you with your shipment, I appreciate your support of my etsy shop MORE than you know. One of the most satisfying aspects of the effort I go to, to provide these tools to my fellow cookie enthusiasts is hearing from you about what worked and could have worked bette... So please know how much your feedback and the photos mean to me!

If it's okay, I'd like to recommend a couple of dear friends of mine... First, I'd love for you to visit Dani Fiori of Sweet Dani B cookies on-line where Dani has a blog, Instagram and Facebook pages (and a cookie shop and decorating studio in New Jersey!) where you'll find loads of inspired cookie designs that I'm sure will take your cookie decorating from being a holiday tradition to something you'll want to enjoy all year long and for every holiday and special occasion! That's what happened to me, after I saw Dani's Snowglobe cookies in a 2010 issue of Martha Stewart Living (Dani was the resident cookier for the Martha Stewart show) I was hooked! I started sending decorated sugar cookies to my son during his five deployments with the 3rd Ranger Battalion to Afghanistan, which ballooned into creating cookies for friends and the people I work for and their teams at work as well!

The second resource I'd like to share with you is - They are a USA, Kansas-based cookie cutter company that has partnered with Dani to offer Dani's exclusive cookie cutter designs. All of the cookies you see on the cover of my recipe and tips booklet are cookies I created using and Sweet Dani B cutters! At, you'll find beautiful, heirloom quality cutters and all the other supplies needed to continue your exploration of this sweet craft.

If there is ever anything I can do to further assist you, I hope you will let me know. In the meantime, I thank you again for your lovely note, your enthusiasm and, I wish you and your family a wonderful, happy, safe and healthy new year - Tucker too!

Keep it Sweet!


Thursday, December 13, 2018

Annual Update...

It's that time of year... When I begin to hear from so many of you
that continue to create cookies like the ones I shared with you here!
It's also that wonderful time of the year when my Etsy shop explodes with
orders for my cookie cutters and decorating squeeze bottles. Why, just this
morning I shipped dozens of bottles and a set of cookie cutters to bakers
in York Springs, PA and Los Angeles, CA. I cannot tell you how delighted I
am that this hobby of mine continues to inspire others from coast to coast!
This morning I received the above photo from one of my follower-friends
in Oregon to let me know that she and her cousins recently gathered for
what has now become an annual cookie decorating tradition at her house!
When I reached the part of her e-mail where she thanked me for the post
cards I've sent her throughout the year and mentioned again how much she
misses my updates, I decided it was high time I post one. And, Leo agrees!
Although I've never felt the need to write one of those year-in-review letters some
folks include with their Christmas cards... For all of you that still check in to see if I
have updated and on the off chance that something I experienced this year might
inspire you, I will share the reply I wrote to my follower-friend this morning...
You're most welcome for the postcards... I love sending them and love
knowing that you enjoy them too. Yes, I do miss my blogging; however,
you can follow me via my personal Instagram and Facebook pages
where you'll see Leo and more of our day-to-day shenanigans than you
probably ever care to see! So what has kept us busy this year? Let's see...
First... Although I never got around to posting about it on the blog, the
vendor booths I established in 2013 at two of our local antique malls was the
hobby most responsible for my exit from blogging. The name of my business,
Barefoot Farm Girl was inspired by this photo of my mother, taken in 1947
when she was just six years old. It was just a few years after my Opa was killed
at Stalingrad and my Oma was forced to flee their home with her six tiny children
to escape certain death at the hands of the Russians. Of all her worldly possessions,
my mother counts this photo among her most prized. Here she stands, next to her
older sister and my patentante, (God mother); the original Barefoot Farm Girl!
You are welcome to follow the Barefoot Farm Girl Instagram Page...
If you have followed along for any time at all, you know that Army dad and I
have always loved shopping estate sales and auctions. He always leaves with
piles of books and occasionally, a new bookcase... While I always come away
looking like I have robbed the Butler's pantry because of my love of English
silverplate, sterling serving pieces and fine crystal, such as Lalique, Baccarat,
Val Saint Lambert and others. You may even remember a post I wrote several
years ago about the vintage (1935) Lalique perfume bottle I picked up at one
of our auction haunts for $22 and sold via e-Bay for $1,500.00+. Which...
Along with the fact that I had outgrown our storage space and had way
too much stuff, inspired me to consider opening up my own vendor booth!
After sharing my wish with my friend Kirby, I learned that she was already a
vendor at Shoppes on Patterson, an antique mall not too far away from us; also,
that she was willing to allow me to add a few pieces to her booth to see if I liked
it. Well, it was like lightening struck me because I instantly loved it! This business
fed my soul and became an outlet for my creative side, which never sees the light
of day at my corporate job... Staging my wares and decorating my little booth for
the seasons and holidays was right up my ally! And, with a house full of old finds
that needed new homes to make room for all my new finds, I was suddenly...
Into the business of being an antique mall booth vendor!
Partnering with Kirby allowed me to get my feet wet without assuming
the full responsibility of having a booth of my own, which could not have
been a better way for me to begin. However, when Kirby was offered a
booth at Antique Marketplace, the largest antique mall in our area...
I applied to be a vendor there too and pretty soon, found myself with two booths!
But hold on to your hats, because as much as I enjoyed being a booth vendor...
There is nothing like taking your show on the road!
But not to just any antique show... Trust me, I learned the hard way that just as
not all antique malls are a good fit, not all vendor shows are a good fit either!
Fortunately for me, I've been shopping Tiffany Ruffin's charming little farm
shop, Ruffin's Roost since before I even thought of getting involved in this
business - So when I expressed an interest in trying another vendor show,
she invited me to be a vendor at her Ruffin's Spring on the Farm show!
Of everything I have tried and experienced as a booth vendor,
I have to say that being a show vendor at Ruffin's Roost is by far
the most lucrative, rewarding and fun I have had in this business!
After earning more in one day at the Spring show than I did the three
previous months as a booth vendor in my  mall, I quickly decided that being
a show vendor at Ruffin's Roost for their Spring and Fall shows is where my...
Energy and enthusiasm for this business is best spent. And, that's why I decided
to close my booth at Antique Marketplace in just a few weeks, on December 31st.
But there is another reason as well... You see, the spring show taught me a lot
about working smarter and not harder at this business but it also highlighted
something I had been avoiding and had been unwilling to face for a while; and,
that was declining health. After Ranger left the Army, I felt like my life had been
given back to me. But with this new life of diminished worry about losing him in
combat came new worries when he decided to remain in Texas and to become
a LEO. A LEO in Texas... Less than a year after five LEOs lost their lives during
that summer massacre in Dallas. Proud of this man that cannot seem to stop
raising his right hand to protect and defend his fellow Americans? You bet. But...
In the process of all this change I got lazy. I over-ate and under-exercised my
body/mind to a place it had never been before; a very unhealthy and dark
place. My body was beginning to break down and it was never so clear as it
was while working that spring show. Although I bounced around and carried
and lifted share of the work to set up, after 9 hours on my feet, I was completely
and utterly broken. My legs and ankles swelled up so badly, they were nearly
unrecognizable and more painful than I can describe. It was then that I knew
something had to change. I had to make the moves necessary to reclaim my
health before something truly awful happened to me. I woke up the day after
the show knowing I was no good to the people I love dead and, that I needed
to find way to change everything about my life as it related to my health! So I
decided this next hobby of mine, after cookies and after my vendor booth is me!
But where to begin? I didn't really know... All I knew is that it had to be
something drastic. Something that took me out of my comfort zone and
allowed me to focus on nothing else but myself for a while. For as long as it
took... So I began researching wellness seminars and retreats. And, because
I had already been following Geneen Roth for years and have read all of her
books, my first thought was to attend one of her retreats. After all, there was
one coming up at Asilomar in Pacific Grove, where we used to live and only
minutes from where my parents still live. But then I thought... I have read
all her books and I have even sat in on one of her virtual retreats, so how will
sitting in a room for five days listening to Geneen talk help me? It would not
and I knew it. No! I needed a more drastic and tactical approach to saving my
life. So my mind wandered back to those Biggest Loser shows I used to watch;
you know, the ones where you say to yourself, If I had nothing to do all day
but exercise and had someone to cook healthy for me, I could lose weight too...
So I looked into the Biggest Loser camps. There are two; one in New York and
another in Florida. But aside from my fear of flying, there was something else
besides driving distance these camps lack... And, that is the ability to address the
why we eat the way we do that causes us to be overweight and unhealthy. For those
of us that struggle with our weight, we already know what to do to lose weight. What
we are missing is the emotional awareness to identify why we eat the way we do and
how to give ourselves the time and space required to feel the feelings that drive us
to food so that we can make different choices. So, if the 4-6 hour daily workouts they
promote at Biggest Loser is something you can go home and sustain in your daily
life, then BL may work. However, if it is not and you want to learn how to cope,
celebrate and work through anger and disappointments without abusing yourself
with food, then you will do what I did and choose Hilton Head Health, aka H3!
To tell you what I learned about myself, why I ate the way I did (and sometimes
still do) and how I learned to listen to my body and trust it again would take me
far too long and make this post longer than it already is. So I will tell you this...
H3 taught me how to eat REAL food and lose weight...
Not diet food. Not frozen, packaged or processed food and no shakes. There
were no pills, cleanses or gimmicks. I ate real, whole, natural food prepared
by their phenomenal chef in ways that were easy to duplicate at home. There
was no diet plan and not one person at H3 made any suggestions about what
or how much I could or should eat. If I wanted to order two of everything, I
could. If I wanted to take a bite of something and decided to order something
else instead, I could. There were no limits and no pressure around food at H3,
which, looking back, is why I never (not once) felt the urge to binge. I arrived
at H3 so very broken but also so very committed to allowing whatever was
going to happen, to just happen naturally... I arrived to this beautiful, warm and
welcoming space ready to do whatever I was told to do. After all, I had nothing
left to lose, because like so many other overweight people, I had already tried
everything else. Spending a week away from my life is something I have never
even considered. Truthfully, I was always afraid to tell anyone what I needed;
but when I did... When I told my husband I was spending nearly $4,500 to go
spend a week at a wellness retreat to concentrate on myself, (I left out the spa
part and did not mention any of the fun excursions I knew I would be taking)
he said to me, Sounds like a great idea! So without anything to lose, I packed
my bags and headed off to Hilton Head Island. However, in the end, what I
lost in just seven days at that magical place, was eight pounds by eating real
food. I also lost my fear of food as well as my constant thoughts about food. By
bringing the focus to what I need, versus what I want, I have been able to form
an entirely new relationship with food that does not include deprivation, guilt,
shame or any of the other hang ups I had about food. It is just food. It is fuel
to keep my brain and body functioning. It cannot do anything else for me... 
H3 also taught me how to move my body to gain strength. No
more dreaded, forced marches to the gym to perform exercises I don't
enjoy. At H3 I learned that weightloss is 90% what we eat and 10% how
we move. I also learned that you cannot outrun a cheeseburger and to
believe you can work off a bad meal in the gym is just wishful thinking!
At H3 I had my choice of workouts, which allowed me to explore what I
really liked to do. I took my first Pilates class and learned toe exercises!
I also took my first TRX class and learned from my fabulous H3 trainer
how to break up fascia adhesions, knots and scar tissue using lacrosse ball
wall and seat massage so that muscle tightness and soreness do not become
excuses to skip or shorten my workouts. I also took a treadmill tabata class
and ran for the first time since the tenth grade. I ran. Then I cried because I
realized telling myself that I could not run was a lie. Now, I admit that my
treadmill running was not gazelle-like or in any way beautiful. But I ran!
Although the equipment and facility at H3 is Best-in-Class, nothing
beat being on the beach for a stroll, bike ride or to take in an H3 yoga class!
There were heavenly spa treatments and a fabulous sunset boat
excursion. During my free time when I was not scheduled to be in class, I
got to explore Hilton Head Island and ride my bike throughout the resort.
When I returned home, the lessons I learned about exercise and how to move
my body for strength and because I want to took hold. I got back on my bike
(because I love it) and now, every day I am moving in ways that make me happy!
Before I tell you the last thing H3 taught me, I want to tell you about
a couple of things recommended during the H3 lectures I attended as
part of my program... Things that had an immediate impact on me and
really have helped me continue everything I learned at H3 here at home...
First, I want you to find, follow and listen to Elizabeth Benton. She has a
Primal Potential podcast series (with over 500 episodes) and any one you
pick to listen to will grab you! Second, watch this video. After I watched it, I
decided that since my sedentary job will eventually kill me, I must get up at
least three times a day to walk for ten minutes. Incorporating these ten minute
walks into my day have made all the difference. Not only am I more fit and have
lost a lot of weight, I feel mentally and physically better at work. Third, read the
book titled, The Joy of Half a Cookie by Jean Kristeller, PhD. Prior to H3, I
had been seeing a medical nutritionist/therapist, who I believe did her very best
to teach me mindfulness and how to listen to my body. I also paid almost $500 to
attend an adaptation of Jean's MB-Eat (mindfulness based eating) program at
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and not my therapist and no one giving the
MB-Eat class at Wake ever explained mindfulness in a way that this book pulls it
together. I feel so strongly about this book that I bought two copies. One to keep at
my office and one to keep at home. The last thing I want to share with you in terms of
resources that keep H3 alive for me every day is The Appetite Awareness Workbook,
which is something I found after H3 but helps reinforce The Joy of Half a Cookie
So... Now for the last and probably the most important thing H3 taught
me. It's the reason I believe Hilton Head Health should be the only choice
for anyone searching for a way out of the prison of binge eating, all-or-nothing
and black and white thinking, dieting and the grind that is food obsession...
You see that girl up there? That photo is a selfie I took on
Thanksgiving morning just as I was leaving the house to run
my first 5k! How did I go from feeling barely alive to running
a 5k on Thanksgiving morning, just six months after H3?
Well, it is all about that last lesson. H3 taught me how to be nice to myself...
At H3, I learned how to tune out my shitty-committee... That negative
narrative that told me I was too far gone to even try. That voice that told
me I had a long, hard day so I deserved junk (crap) food. That voice that
said if I cannot look like I did at 19 (pick the age you last remember feeling
good, confident, beautiful...) that it wasn't worth trying any more. The voice
that said only food understands me and is the only thing I can count on. H3
taught me how to be nice to myself. How to speak to myself as I would to
anyone else I loved that was going through a difficult moment. H3 taught
me that I am worthy of forgiveness, especially from myself. At H3, I learned
feelings will not kill me so there is no need to stuff them down with food. At
H3 I learned that saying no to things and people that do nothing to help me
move myself forward, to achieve what I want for my life is okay. At H3, I
learned the answers are within me. All I have to do is listen and trust myself...
Today I reward myself with things other than food. For each time I lost 25
pounds this summer, I purchased something special from Tiffany's...
There is no doubt that the week I spent at Hilton Head Health not
only changed my life, it saved my life and I will forever be grateful to
them. If you would like to learn more about H3, do not hesitate to ask
me, call them or visit their website. H3 does not know about my blog
and I certainly was not compensated for sharing them with you today...
I hope it will not take me another year to check in with you... In fact, I am
going to make a promise to check in with you after my New Year's 5k; how
does that sound? In the meantime, Leo and I send you our best wishes for
a very Happy Christmas and may 2019 deliver your every wish come true!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Three Days in New York - Day Two...

Hi there! So nice to have you check back for day two of our
get-away to New York to celebrate the completion of our
master bathroom remodel. By the way, after being so proud
of ourselves for traveling so light that we didn't have to check any
bags, the TSA turned me around at security, insisting that I had
to check my Wicked snow globe. Not due to size; but because...
It's considered a liquid! I am sure you can imagine all the eye-rolling I
did with the TSA agent. But I did not argue. And, therefore, didn't get
myself arrested. Instead, we did the only thing we could; we stuffed my
snowglobe into the bag filled with dirty laundry and then went back to
the American Airlines counter to check the bag. Which means my $75
Wicked snow globe is now a $100 snow globe! Nevertheless, the fact
that it made it home intact is reason enough not to be upset about the
extra expense. And, the fact that it was packed in our stinky laundry
seems like suitable pay-back for the TSA agent that rifled through it!
I collect snow globes wherever I find them during our travels so
now I know not to try to carry them onto the plane anymore!So about day two in New York! It was our plan all along to take the subway
to Yankees Stadium for the game so I arranged for us to take audio tour of
Grand Central Station. I tried to get us into a "behind the scenes" tour of
GCS that takes you to areas restricted to the public use, such as the hidden
tennis courts, but since those tours sell out months in advance, we had to
settle for the audio tour. Which was actually great! Especially since if you
really want to see the hidden tennis courts at GCS, you can just Google it!
The first thing we did when we arrived at Grand Central Station was to
find a place to have breakfast. New York bagels have been on our list...
So what could be more authentic New York than bagels
at Grand Central Station? Let me tell you, they're everything!
We ate our bagels camped out on the grand staircase made from pink
marble from a quarry in Tennessee. The railing are cream-colored Brescia
marble from Italy's northern Brescia region. As we ate, we people-watched...
As hundreds of people stopped for information at the circular information
kiosk under the famous Grand Central Terminal clock! As we sat and then
stood staring at it, we noticed people coming and going from the stations
inside the kiosk; however, we never saw anyone come out of any doors on
the kiosk. Turns out, there are no doors. Instead, there is a central spiral
staircase leading to a central information station below. That's why you
never see anyone ever go into or come out of the kiosk. The clock is truly
a masterpiece. It has four convex faces, each made of the highest quality
precious opal. While the small point on top of the clock may appear purely
decorative, it's actually a compass, correlated with the true north direction
100% accurately. When we agreed to separate to find the restrooms, we both
said, meet me back here under the clock at the same time. It was very sweet!
Through our audio tour, we learned Grand Central is grand by design as well as a
triumph of engineering and ingenuity. Grand Central didn't just do things better,
it did things differently. It pioneered new approaches to organizing and utilizing
space. For instance... What look like arched windows on these walls are actually
catwalk passageways. They provide illumination, transportation and ventilation...
Making them the perfect marriage of form and function. And, I think they are
beautiful and pretty cool too! A couple of other fun facts: Not all passengers
through this terminal were people. A lot of mail was processed and transported
to places all over the country too and today, much of the city's mail is still being
processed here. Another fact, which surprised us is this... In 1938, the 20th
Century Limited sped from New York to Chicago in sixteen hours. Today, an
express trip from New York to Chicago takes nineteen hours, three hours longer!
It's incredible to think that the same family and money that built our
beloved Biltmore House at home also built Grand Central Station!
But it's true and there are plenty of places to notice the similarities in
architecture and finishes between the two... Take these tiles on the ceiling
here in the Whispering Gallery at GCS for instance... They are identical
to those used in the swimming pool room at Biltmore! If you want to know
why this is called the Whispering Gallery, you can visit this page to find out!
Perhaps the most well know treasure within Grand Central Station is its
celestial ceiling. Even before GCS opened in 1913, New Yorkers were teased
with descriptions of the mural painted on its vaulted ceiling. The New York
Times told of its, "effect of illimitable space" and how lucky it was that there
weren't any chairs on the concourse or some passengers may have become so
mesmerized, they might miss their trains while daydreaming into the stars!
After the terminal opened, one astute commuter noticed that the painting
of the constellations is actually backwards. When asked how this could
have happened, the answer given was that it is from God's viewpoint...
However you view Grand Central Station, I think it's just beautiful!
Especially from outside!
Can't you just imagine arriving to Grand Central Terminal in the 1900's... A
time when a red carpet was rolled out every afternoon to greet travelers
boarding the magnificent 20th Century Limited to Chicago? A time when
travel wasn't just about getting somewhere, but an event! Here at Grand
Terminal, Red Caps inside carried your luggage; dining cars aboard the
trains served sumptuous meals; and the long-distance trains departing
from Grand Central's upper level took passengers across the country in
comfort and style. Nothing like travel today... Packed into tiny airplane
seats, tossed a bag of pretzels and charged out the wazoo for the privilege!
Looking around New York these days, you're barely able to find a view
that doesn't include a crane or some modern monstrosity, like this crane
facing the front of Grand Central Terminal and the God-awful Met Life
building that now towers over her. While I'm all for modern luxury, I
pray they don't build the European style and grace out of New York!
Look, I love Apple's new Cupertino mother-ship complex built by Norman
Foster, but here in the Big Apple, I say less Foster and more of the kind
of modernism the great architect, Willian Van Alen brought to New York...
When he delivered New York his masterpiece of Art Deco design, the
Chrysler building! Of all the skyscrapers in New York, this one,
with its tiered crown, clad in brilliant stainless steel is my favorite!
On Tuesday, September 19th, as we celebrate the Captain's seventy-fifth
birthday, the Chrysler building will be celebrating its 89th birthday! We
could have spent the whole day exploring and learned more about GCS;
but here in what was once known as the Kissing Room is where our tour
ended. Grand Central Station (or Terminal or Depot, all are correct) can
be a very romantic place... So it's not at all surprising there was once a
designated "kissing room" where people could meet up with loved ones
and passengers could travel up to the luxurious Biltmore Hotel, which JD
Salinger included in his Catcher in the Rye. Following the closure of the
Biltmore Hotel and reduction of some train lines, the Biltmore Room as
it is known, is no longer a meeting spot. Today there's just a newsstand,
flower stall and a shoeshine kiosk. All that being said, there are currently
plans in motion to renovate the area to restore it to its former romantic glory!
We could have explored Grand Central Station all day! There are so many
shops (including an Apple store!) and restaurants and other cool and
interesting spots to see. If we ever have the chance, we will come back for
the Secrets of Grand Central Station tour... One of the most fascinating
things is FDR's secret train. Known as Roosevelt's Station, the abandoned
railway line and armored train car used to transport the President to New
York and directly into the garage of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, now lie
wasting away underneath the terminal. The train used to stop directly
under the Waldorf near Grand Central, where the President, already in
his car, would be driven onto a lift that would take him directly inside to
the garage of the prestigious hotel. It's just one of the many secrets of GCS!
After we returned our headsets, we purchased tickets
for the train that would take us to Yankees Stadium!
Because Mr. Wonderful, the man that stepped in to build the
bathroom of my dreams, (that would fit into the space we have) had
tickets to see his beloved Yankees play the Boston Red Socks!
He sat through Wicked for me... So I was going to sit through baseball for him!
But before we could go inside, he had to have a t-shirt and cap. Let
let me tell you... There's no love for Boston here at Yankees Stadium!
Athough I'm more of a football fan, (Go Cowboys!) this was a thrill for me too!
As we walked up to the stadium, I found a dollar coin on the ground!
Which I immediately put towards the visor I needed when the sun came
out. I love having a Yankees visor from Yankees Stadium but this girl works
for the President of Champion sportswear at Hanes... Do you know how many
cool Champion tennis visors I have at home and could have brought with me?!
Of course, you can't go to New York or Yankees Stadium and not have hot dogs!
Especially Nathan's hot dogs! A little tip... Unless you're super-hungry, order
two hot dogs and only one order of fries. Because the portions are huge!
Plain with lots of American yellow mustard... Just the way I like it!
I originally wanted to arrange for a guided tour of Yankees Stadium;
however, after reading so many reviews recommending that you just
arrive early to explore the ballpark on your own, that's what we did!
We walked off our hot dogs and fries by exploring Yankees Stadium!
For weeks before our trip, the forecast was calling for rain on this Saturday...
Fortunately, that didn't happen!
It was all blue skies and sunshine!
A perfect day for baseball!
Speaking of perfect...
How about these seats!
The atmosphere was terrific!
Always lots going on to keep the crowd engaged...
Oh! And, the Yankees won, which was especially fun!
We made the most of this experience...
And, decided that we'd do it again...
In a New York minute!
I did make one mistake though...
I ordered the $8 bag of (stale) popcorn instead of choosing cotton candy!
Fortunately though, I was able to find a few friends to share it with!
After the game, we... along with 46,000
other people, made our way back to the train!
The entire afternoon was a home run!
On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at Trinity Church...
To check in with Mr. Hamilton, whose grave site has become
quite the tourist attraction since Hamilton came to Broadway!
It was such an incredibly beautiful evening in New York. If you
follow me on Instagram, you can see video of this amazing church
and hear its bells chiming five o'clock. Which meant we had to get a
move on; because we had tickets for a sunset view in that tower there!
When we arrived back to our hotel we learned that instead of fixing the
air conditioner and broken television, we were moved to a new room!
While we appreciated the new water view, we didn't care for being stuck next
to the ice machine or the fact that this room didn't have a refrigerator!
Nevertheless, we didn't come to New York to stay in our room!
I have to tell you... This thing foreigners have with the Bull on Wall
Street amuses me. Italian artist Arturo De Modica first conceived of
the Charging Bull as a way to celebrate the can-do spirit of America
and especially New York, where people from all over the world come
regardless of their circumstances and, through determination and hard
work, overcome every obstacle to become successful. De Modica believed
this symbol of virility and courage was the perfect antidote to the Wall
Street crash of 1986. He worked on the now world-famous bull for more
than two years in his studio located in the Soho district of Manhattan...
Weighing over three and a half tons and being almost eighteen feet long,
the bronze sculpture was cast in separate pieces, welded together and then
finished by hand. Of course, Arturo always knew only one place would do
for his gift of encouragement to New York and the world... Wall Street!
Arturo thought he had how he would deliver his surprise gift to New York
all figured out... The night before the operation, he went to the front of the
Stock Exchange to time traffic and passes made by the NYPD. Arturo had it
timed out to know that he had only four and a half minutes to pull off the
big delivery. However, in the early morning hours of December 15, 1989,
Arturo and his friends discovered that the city of New York had put up
a Christmas tree in the very spot they planned to place the sculpture!
So Arturo did what any good Santa leaving a gift would
do... He placed the Charging Bull under the tree!
Unfortunately, the Exchange wasn't amused and had the bull removed!
But thanks to the New York Parks Commission and then Mayor Ed
Koch, a permanent location near the exchange was found where the
bull stands today; to be snuggled and petted by people from all over
the world... Especially those who are quick to say they're not at all
fond of President Trump, Wall Street and what they call problems
of American Greed, Arrogance and Self promotion. Say, Cheese!
Next on our agenda was the World Trade Center memorials and
observatory tour at One World Trade Center. Our visit to Reunion
Tower in Dallas reminded me of how much I hate long elevator
rides and heights; so I paid extra for Priority access, which allows
you to skip the line. And, I'm very glad I did because the line was
around the building. If I had time to think about it, I probably would
have chickened out. Anyway, although the rain that was forcast for
earlier was about to find us, it was a nice evening for a stroll, so we
skipped taking the train and walked to One World Trade Center...
There truly are no words for how desperately sad these memorials are...
So I'm not even going to try to describe them. We all know.
We have all felt.
The sadness...
The anger...
The disgust...
The bottomless grief...
And, the hatred for the evil that would do this to their fellow man...
But as it began to rain, it was clear this is also a place to look forward
and up. Up to this beautiful 1776-foot tall symbol of American Liberty!
As we made our way around the corner to One World Trade...
Sirens rushed past and toward the tower
just as we imagined they did that fateful day...
As we entered the tower, they were coming out of One World Trade...
The way we know too few did on that fateful day...
They didn't say why they were there and we didn't ask...
All I can say is that it took a while to summon back my courage to go up...
But for all those lost that can't...
We did...
We stepped up and took in the views...
Of this incredible landscape and surrounding cities...
From all angles...
And, from all sides... It's just spectacular!
As afraid as I was about taking that 47 second elevator ride to the top...
I didn't even feel it!
So I recommend taking the tour!
Because only from the tallest building in the western hemisphere and
the sixth tallest building in the world, will you ever see New York this way!
Day two of our trip ended back at the hotel around midnight with a pretty
crappy room service dinner. But that's okay, because Sunday we planned...
A date with Russ and Daughters for breakfast!

I hope you enjoyed day two of our three days in New York and that
you'll check back for the final hours of our trip... To be posted soon!