Rediscovering my flowers and Jack

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While I was away from home for about two weeks I missed our son, Jack and my garden. I was away from my husband for only a week, so I missed him as well, but two weeks was a long enough time to be away from Jack and our son. As I was walking outside to see how much work there was to catch up with, I decided to focus on the blooming roses, the recurring purple flowers, I still can’t remember their name, and the upright phlox instead. There is so much work to do such as weeding and more weeding and pruning and more pruning that it got to be depressing because I still feel exhausted from my week of tour guiding. The photography club and I covered miles of New York City together on foot and my bottom half still remembers every single footstep and believe me, I am used to walking, but this was walking on steroids. Anyway, taking pictures of my flowers helped distract me from any guilt of not jumping immediately into gardening chores. I need to rest my weary bones.

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Daily prompt: Moved to tears

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Do movies, songs, or other forms of artistic expression easily make you cry? Tell us about a recent tear-jerking experience!

I have shed many a tear during movies, t.v shows and songs. The latest movie that squeezed a few tears from my eyes was Spider Man when Emma Stone’s character didn’t make it. I so did not want to cry during a Spider Man movie, but it was so sad, snif,snif, so sad.

I remember watching an old soap opera when I was 13 and staying at my grandmother’s house with my little sister; we were watching One Life to Live and Brad had just found out that the “daughter” that he shared with the love of his life, Jenny wasn’t his daughter after all, Jenny had lied to him for the little girl’s entire life of 5 years. Brad took the little girl’s picture and hugged it to his chest and broke down sobbing, falling to his knees, while the song by Joe Cocker “You are so beautiful to me” played in the background. I got up from the sofa and went behind the bookcase to sob my eyes out in private, it was so sad, poor Brad, poor little girl, it was heartbreaking. I have been a crybaby ever since.

Farewell to the best photography club in the world :(

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I am sad; I had to say goodbye to my cousin Francoise and my new friends and it was hard. Francoise is my family and I feel as if she is my older sister so of course I’m sad having her leave, but I was sad saying goodbye to my new friends. They are such wonderful, funny and warm people, I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to meet and get to know them. I look forward to the next time that I get to go to France because not only will I stay with Francoise, but also get to see my new friends again, especially since I am an honorary member of the photography club.

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Today I met them at the Empire State Building at 9:30; they had already taken their morning pictures from the observation deck and we were all ready to start walking downtown. What a difference a day makes; yesterday was as if we were in the Everglades of Florida whereas today was bright, breezy and warm, not outrageously hot. It made walking down to the Flatiron building such an easy thing to do, as opposed to melting along the sidewalks as we did yesterday each second that we were outside. Today walking down the streets of New York felt invigorating and exciting as we looked for interesting and different images to capture with our cameras, even though mine is only a cellphone, I can still capture images.

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We walked from the Flatiron building down to Union Square and I was delighted to see the Farmer’s Market still open, I had completely forgotten that it was going to be there for them to see and that it would be a possible thing for taking great pictures, which I then took advantage of, while certain persons weren’t looking.

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At this point I was getting excited to show them my old neighborhood, my alma mater, N.Y.U and Washington Square Park. It is such a lovely area in New York City, plenty of trees and a huge fountain with plenty of small playgrounds for children to play while N.Y.U students are sitting around everywhere reading or writing. It made for some nice pictures.

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We kept walking downtown, making our way towards Soho with the final destination being Orchard Street. Why Orchard Street? We still don’t know, but it was described as a magnificent street, we didn’t quite agree, though we did spot signs indicating that it was on its way towards fulfilling that future promise of magnificence. We saw the early birds planning to cash in on the proverbial worm because the monied people are moving their way further East towards Alphabet City and Orchard Street is seeing the first steps of that push. However, we did manage to stumble on a great place for lunch; The Meatball Shop. It was an adorable little restaurant and the concept couldn’t be simpler; four meatballs are served, if on their own with a sauce of your choice for eight dollars and if you get a side dish, add another five dollars, thirteen dollars for meatballs, sauce and a side, not bad at all for New York City and the meatballs that we had were tender and moist and very flavorful as were the sauces. The sides that we chose were delicious as well, the salads were fresh, filled with great produce and the vinaigrette was bright and underscored the salad really well. It is located on Stanton Street right off Orchard Street, if ever you are in the neighborhood, be sure to pop in, it really is a great find.

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Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel to rest; during our time resting, Claudine and Marc had a generous and wonderful idea; invite the rest of us to a rooftop bar for drinks as a way to say thank you and also as a special last night of New York outing. Claudine picked the Gansevoort Hotel on 29th and Park Ave South that we walked to from Times Square. The rooftop bar at the Gansevoort was beautifully appointed with lounge chairs, low back less sofas and small tables designed for tete a tete encounters. We ordered interesting drinks and enjoyed the atmosphere and each other’s company, meaning that we spent the whole time making jokes and laughing a lot.

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Lastly after that, I walked my group back to the Empire State Building so that they can get in one more night time photography opportunity and before they went up, I said my goodbyes. I was sad, but I got all of their email addresses and phone numbers so that we can stay in touch. That will have to do for now.

Jungle hot in New York City

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Oh my goodness gracious, it was an inferno in the city today. This entire summer was splendidly warm and even cool at times and just this week, Mother Nature decided to cook us in the hot oven that Manhattan can sometimes feel like, for the entire first week of September. Today definitely was a tough day for the photography club, it was brutal, but we got a lot accomplished despite the Jungle hot weather.

First on the itinerary was to take a half cruise on the Circle Line around the tip of Manhattan. I should have done my homework and googled where to take the Circle Line, but I went along with what my cousin Francoise said and we mistakenly went quite a bit downtown towards Battery Park, when we realized that we should have been heading to Pier 83 on 12th Ave and 42nd Street. It wasn’t a big deal because when we finally got to the Pier we learned that the cruise wasn’t until 11:30 which gave us enough time to visit the HighLine which my new friends really liked as a photography point of inspiration.

We embarked on the cruise and once the ship was moving, it was very pleasant. The views of downtown, midtown and the Statue of Liberty were incredible and the stiff breeze felt great on everyone. It took an hour and half and we enjoyed every minute. We were cool at least.

We had very good pizza afterwards, Marc was a little disappointed because he didn’t realize that pizzerias don’t serve beer or offer dessert, but after a while, I found us a diner and Marc, his wife Claudine and I had coffee and dessert so he was happy.

The huge thing for today was finding B& H photography and video store on 9th avenue. Seeing my friends eyes widen and glisten while looking at every and any piece of photography equipment known to man, made me think of children seeing Santa’s workshop for the first time.

The heat got so intense that I had us take buses crosstown and even up and downtown; I never took buses in the city because I walked everywhere, but today it was just not possible. We were melting in that heat, we needed air-conditioned metro transport.

Finally after dinner we walked from 50th Street and Fifth Avenue all the way to the Park and across Central Park West and then down 7th Avenue bringing us back to the hotel. Another incredible day.

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And the travels continue

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Today there weren’t any pictures taken by me, instead my mother and I accompanied my cousin and just one of her photographers to an amazing retail outlet mall in the neighboring state of New Jersey. Actually beyond the the additional views of the gorgeous New York CIty skyline, this little excursion to an American mall was a great opportunity for them to see another part of what America is; our shopping preferences, our food courts, what an outlet mall is all about, getting great deals on Brand names that otherwise be beyond our means, things of that nature that often get missed during a tourist’s visit.

I had to bring them to IHOP, International House of Pancakes, because as I said to them; you haven’t lived until you have had pancakes at a IHOP. They were very excited for lunch; so after a few hours of hardcore shopping, we drove to the IHOP and all four of us each ordered the 2x2x2: two eggs, two links of sausage or bacon and two buttermilk pancakes. I can honestly say that each plate was sparkly clean; we were famished form shopping and it was really delicious.

Tomorrow there will be pictures, just not sure of what and how many, but there will be visuals.

What a day

Today was another adventure; this time taken outside of New York City. My mother had proposed that we bring the photographers out to Hampton Bays to show them one of our favorite places to eat by the beach. We wanted to give them an idea of where New Yorkers went on the weekends and how wonderfully natural and wild the beaches looked with pine trees and beach grass growing where it can amidst the sands, it truly is beautiful to behold.

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My mother had another wonderful idea; treat our guests to rotisserie duck and our favorite Briermeir fresh peach pie; both of which were on the way back home after our walk along the beach and our lunch at the Outlook Restaurant right on Shinecook Bay. Before that however we wanted to show our friends, Dune Road. Dune Road is the Road in the Hampton’s: house after house, each bigger than the other. At one point when I looked over to my left as I was driving, I couldn’t help but say “Look at those houses, they are so close to each other! I wouldn’t be happy if that were mine” As soon as the last word left my lips, Marc, one of the photographers quipped something to the effect ” funny how it’s always the poor ones who criticize things as if they were about to move in tomorrow” I burst out laughing, his sense of humour is so dry, so witty. Marc’s quip was said in French so I lost a bit in the translation, but were we laughing and laughing. We arrived at Westhampton village shortly afterwards, walked for a bit and then off to the pie and duck shop we went. There isn’t a picture of a duck because it’s duck, but I had to show you the magnificent pie, which impressed everyone at the table. They loved the duck too, but not in the same way or as dramatically.

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Our final pictures for the evening were at 7:30, the blue light hour, and these were taken at Astoria Park facing the New York skyline and the Triboro Bridge right next to Hell’s Gate bridge.

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Today was another tremendous day, we laughed, we walked, took pictures and best of all, ate extremely well with the best company. It was fantastic.

Walking, walking, take pictures

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Today was a full day spent with my cousin Francoise and her three fellow photographers and good friends. As the title tells you; we walked and walked, took pictures and walked some more. We were so lucky with the weather today, they had warned us of rain and potential thunderstorms later on and they never materialized, it was breezy, a little warm but the breeze too care of that and made our walking much easier to do.

I actually fit in very easily as a tourist, this morning bright and early we took the subway down to South Ferry in order to hop on the Staten Island Ferry to take advantage of the morning light to take pictures of the Statue of Liberty and the downtown skyline. I had never taken the Staten Island Ferry before, I wasn’t even too sure how to get there, but since I am never shy in asking for directions, I didn’t hesitate to ask whoever was in front of me for help. One of the nice men who helped us out, told me that I spoke pretty good English and asked me where I was from. I told him that I grew up in New York City and he said that my accent was hard to place. That sent my cousin who can understand English into a fit of laughter, I followed because I thought it was hilarious.

Everyone got some amazing pictures during the ferry ride and I learned a lot more about photography, which if ever I decide to take it up as a serious passion, I know who to call for any questions.

Later on we walked over the Brooklyn Bridge to get to the waterfront to replicate the setting for an iconic nighttime picture taken of the Manhattan skyline and that was another first for me; I had never even thought to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, but now that I have, I see why, the views of Manhattan are spectacular. As we were chasing the setting sun, we even climbed over huge rocks to get into the best position to be able to capture that elusive setting sun and the blue light. I think that my cousin and her friends were successful in that regard.

I know that everyone agreed that today was a day perfectly spent finding and capturing many great shots of New York.

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The beginning of adventures in New York City

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I am so excited! My cousin Francoise is arriving tonight in New York and I am going to get to spend a week with her as she travels around New York City with her photography club snapping pictures of this wonderful city, the city that never sleeps.

I am majorly excited because I haven’t seen her since 2012 and we get along like gangbusters. I have written about her before when I wrote a post involving the Daily prompt’s question of “who is your mentor, idol, model?” She is so talented and is a great person, wife, mother, grandmother and does everything so well. She is amazing.

I am also excited because this is a great opportunity for me to learn even more about New York City because I’ll be seeing it through tourists/photographers eyes.

I’ll be keeping you abreast of our adventures as it happens.

Daily prompt: Head turners

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We often hear strange snippets of conversation as we walk through public spaces. When was the last time you overheard something so interesting, ridiculous, or disturbing you really wanted to know what it was all about?

I would have titled the daily prompt head scratchers instead. I am trying to remember a weird conversation that I might have overheard, but this is so sad to say, that my ear has become so accustomed to hearing snippets of unwanted conversations that they have all faded into being background noises like the cars honking, the subway arriving and the engine noises that surround me whenever I walk down the street of any city.

If I would have seen this prompt years ago, when people speaking into cell phones or ear buds was more of a novelty, my ear would have discerned countless one ended conversations which by nature being one sided must have made for some doozies, I could have written one funny post. But I am too saturated in our tech savvy world. One sided conversations no longer seem strange, which is bizarre in a way, sadly I must walk by hundreds of funny possibilities, my ear no longer can pluck them out from the other white noise surrounding me.

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