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Friday, December 6, 2013

New York! New York!


I distinctly remember a Sunday evening in January when Chris and I sat down at Panera to discuss and pray through our new year’s goals, dreams, budget and areas of much-needed-improvement. One thing we agreed about was the plan to travel in 2013. Chris had just graduated from grad school and we needed to celebrate. Alexa wasn’t in school yet, and we had been stashing money away for such adventures. As we dreamed about where we wanted to go, we tossed around the idea of NYC in early spring. I have been to NYC three times and instantly fell in love with the megalopolis. In fact, I pursued living there after college graduation. (I had an impressive black wardrobe to prove it.) Chris had never been but he was open to the idea, albeit mountains and fresh air are much more his style.

We eventually decided on two other “for sure” destinations and left NYC up in the air. As spring drew closer, we were yet undecided on what to do about NYC. My parents were going in March for my mom’s work. My sis’ family agreed to watch Alexa, and it just seemed like the perfect time for a rendezvous to the Big Apple. However, as we began searching for flights (and this after already booking two other vacations), we decided to nix the trip due to exorbitant flight costs along with the additional costs that come with the expensive bustling city. It just didn’t seem to make sense with our budget.

I have to admit, I was heartbroken. I had been itching to get back. I could smell the street side vendors selling hot dogs and pretzels. I could hear obsessive honking and could envision sitting on a faded red upholstered chair in a narrow Broadway theater. Even the somewhat repulsive smell of the subway enticed me. It was like not getting the puppy you really wanted for Christmas, but I truly felt it was the right thing to do. However, all of that changed when Chris surprised me with a message in my inbox saying, “Happy anniversary!” The message included our flight itinerary to NYC!! I was elated. I couldn’t believe he would do something so crazy (and spendy), but then again, I totally could. His decision for us to “bite the bullet” and go was an insightful decision.

You see, it was the last vacation we’d have as a couple before facing life-altering news. Just three days after we landed, doctors started investigating a mass in my forearm, and it didn’t look good. We eventually cancelled the two “already planned” vacations and substituted them for numerous trips to OKC and Houston for surgeries, doctor’s appointments and cancer treatments.

Indeed 2013 has proven to be the year we “traveled” but never in the way we imagined (and most definitely not as fun but ironically far more expensive). Instead of flights, we purchased a new mini van. Instead of wearing sunscreen, my body has been covered with markings for radiation. Instead of a swimsuit, I wore a surgical gown. Instead of natural sun-kissed highlights, I shaved my head. And, I never leave home without a bag of prescriptions. This is our life now.

Therefore, I’m so thankful for this very special, spur-of-the-moment trip. Honey, I love you and thank you for looking beyond mere dollar signs (quite often actually) to the value of making memories. For obvious reasons, the memories made in NYC were particularly sweet.


It’s hard to tell in this underexposed image but the restaurant in our hotel overlooked Times Square. It was a delight to eat breakfast each morning and watch the hustle & bustle of the city unfold.



Although we didn’t have time to visit all of my favorite museums. We enjoyed a day at the Met. (It’s the one I thought Chris would enjoy most.) I’m with one of my favorite artists – Chuck Close. This painting is composed of hundreds of individual squares – ah-mazing.


Cuddling at the top of Belvedere Castle in Central Park.

Where they place, in my estimation, the most famous Christmas tree in the world. If you know me at all, you know I LOVE Christmas. We’ll have to return for a visit in December next time.

The Flatiron Building from the Empire State Building.

I took a shot of the city from the same perspective with B&W film when I was a senior in college. I wanted to compare the two images and see what had changed.

If you look closely between the white and green buildings, you can see Times Square. Our hotel was across the street from the Hershey’s store. You can see the sign if you zoom in.

Seriously pigeon! How’d you get up here!? First of all, it’s freezing and we didn’t bring any bread.

Having fun with our reflection atop the ESB.

The four-faced clock at Grand Central.

Freedom Tower – almost finished.

The 9/11 Memorial

Ain’t no bull. We’re getting close to Wall Street. By the way, don’t sit on this bull, you’ll get kicked out of the park. We saw it happen.


Chris and the New York Stock Exchange.

No NYC trip is complete without evenings at the theater. We enjoyed seeing Cinderella (in its Broadway debut), Wicked & Newsies. Chris knows when Les Miserables returns to Broadway this spring, we are going back. It’s my all-time favorite.






We asked a local the best place to get pizza and she mentioned Rubirosa, a little hole in the wall just outside of Little Italy. We are so glad we made the trek. It was hands-down the best pizza I’ve ever had. The sweet local below ended up sharing his pizza with me because I made a comment about paying him for a few slices. He was a precious New Yorker who talked with us for over an hour. It was one of the highlights from our trip. We took my parents back to Rubirosa’s one evening for dinner. They weren’t disappointed either. And, there was a delightful local children’s boutique just across the street. If you’re in the neighborhood, it’s definitely worth a visit as well.


Chris getting his sushi fix at Ruby Foo’s.

We can’t believe we didn’t get more pics with my parents. This is proof we were here at the same time they were. We snapped a few photos before catching a taxi to the airport. Thanks for the memories, Mom & Dad! Let’s plan on a return celebration when this cancer is gone F-O-R-E-V-E-R!



  1. New York New York! I LOVE NYC. I went in high school and have wanted to take Alex ever since we've been married..One of these days I we'll make it work! Les Mis is my favorite too! :) I'm glad Chris bit the bullet and that you guys got to make these fun memories before embarking on your hellish cancer ride…praying for you this Christmas season as you said it's your favorite.

    I saw this video yesterday and I thought you might be encouraged by it if you have a sec (15 minutes) to watch it :)

    Love you sister!

  2. Thanks for sharing about your NYC trip. Me, my daughter-in-law, and our middle granddaughter (her name is Kelsey) are going to NYC in May. Our granddaughter's choir group will be singing at Carnegie Hall. We continue to pray for you, your family, and your doctors.
    Love you,
    Mrs. Oliver