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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Thankful Thursday 7/2/2015

With only two more days until my birthday, I have a lot to be thankful for. On Tuesday, the Senior Center had a little birthday party for me and they gave me a nice card. Today one of the members gave me a card and that totally made my day. The card is so beautiful and just the gesture itself made me so happy. I gave her a big hug and thanked her. I will be sending her a thank you card. When I left the Senior Center (we're closed tomorrow) to head to work at the library, the director gave me a big hug, said Happy Birthday and enjoy my New York City trip tomorrow. I'm really thankful.

When I arrived at the library, Terry left me a birthday card. Terry never forgets my birthday and last year she brought me cake. The card she left for me this year was adorable. It made me smile as well. When I left work at the library, my two bosses gave me a hug and wished me a very happy birthday and have a great trip.

I also received some beautiful birthday cards from a few friends of the Snail Mail group. I'm thankful for that group. And of course, the card from my former boss from West Chester. I'm still thankful about that.

Although I've been stressing about turning 26, I still have a lot to be thankful for. I still have my health for the most part and I have wonderful people in my life. I'm also super psyched for New York City tomorrow. I'm so excited to go to Balade and Central Park and other museums I have planned. I hope I have time! I'm getting up at 4:24 tomorrow morning and I should be in NYC by 8:45 AM. I'll be spending a 11.5 hour day there tomorrow. Also, the film for dad's camera arrived! I'll be taking both film and digital pictures. Y'all will see the digital pictures right away, but the film pictures usually take a week and a half or two. Just so excited.

Birthday cake from the birthday party on Tuesday.

An early birthday gift from my parents: Fitbit and a new battery charger. Thankful! :)

Everything I've received as of last night.

Card from the Center.

The beautiful bird card is from Ernestine, one of my favorite members, and the cat card is from Terry. Both made my day today. :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


There are only three more days until I turn 26, but there are only two more days until my New York City Trip! I have it pretty much finalized.

Since I am a morning person, I'll be getting up at 4 AM (I have to set my alarm) and plan to leave here by 5 AM. I should be in New York City by 8 AM. Yesterday when I was at work (Senior Center), the director and I were talking. One of the members goes to NYC frequently and says he takes the Bolt bus from Philadelphia for $1, but he plans ahead of time. I'm not too sure about taking buses early in the morning. I feel safer on trains early in the morning and when the sun goes down later in the evening. However, if I plan a trip next time and plan it way in advanced, I might look into Bolt. I'm going to take Septa to Trenton, then NJ Transit into New York City.

The member at the Center that uses Bolt said I can purchase subway fare online through MTA. I have to look into that, but I will most likely buy a MTA card when I arrive. According to Frommer's Easy Guide  to New York City (2014), I can buy a MTA card at Hudson News when I arrive in Penn Station. My guess is there card is like Washington D.C.'s metro card (I'm only assuming this one - one of my professors gave me a metro card three years ago; I've always wanted to go to D.C. and I was thinking about it. Her son used to live in D.C., but moved to Germany, and had no use for that metro card and she gave it to me) where you can refill it online to continue using it. It sounds like that is the case for the pay-per-ride metro cards in NYC, but monthly cards are done at each month. I'd get a pay-per-ride card.

I'm going to spend my morning in Central Park. The director said there is a Whole Foods right by Central Park and I could go there to get breakfast, then eat breakfast in the park. That's what I am going to do. I'm going to spend my morning in Central Park. I'm amazed by how much there is to do in Central Park! There is a lot to see and looking at the map, it's a huge park. I'm going to see the Strawberry Fields, Shakespeare Garden, and the Sheep Meadow. I see Central Park has pools as well. I might end my day by taking a swim at Lasker Pool, which according to Walking New York, is in the Northeast Corner at 106th Street. It's totally free and apparently I could see a breathtaking view of Manhattan from the pool. It suggests if one wants to swim without children, the best time for adults would be 7 - 8:30 AM or 7 - 8:30 PM. I don't want to walk around the city dripping wet, so thinking the night swim. But, I might swim with the kids for a bit - maybe hop in from 6:30PM - 7:45 PM. How cool is that, though?

I mapped out the day, I just have to print the maps. If time allows, I'm going to go to the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn. I made reservations to Balade, a Lebanese restaurant. Through the Open Table app, I wrote that it was my birthday and asked if they could do anything for my birthday. I know it probably sounds selfish, but I figured why not? It'll be interesting to see if they do in fact do anything for my birthday.

For the past few years, I did birthday flash backs. I never went to NYC on my birthday before, but four years ago when I went for a 2nd time, I went two weeks before my 22nd birthday. I've written about the first time I went with my Arabic class, but the second time I went was with my parents on a day bus trip through the township. We just stayed in Time Square. We took a bus tour, though. However, my favorite place was Madame Tussaud's. I loved that wax museum. I even took a picture with Yassir Arafat, Fidel Castro, Johnny Depp, and Lady Gaga! We went to lunch at a very expensive deli, Katz's I believe. Good food,but for the three of us, it was $150. (Balade is affordable, when I was looking at restaurants, I wanted affordable. The Middle Eastern ones are for the most part.) We decided we would not go back if we all went again. The food was good, but not for $150 and not for the crowds either. They sat us with strangers because it was so crowded. New York, New York! The pictures from my 2011 trip (the last time I was in NYC):

Very excited! :)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Tall Ships Festival 2015

Yesterday mom and I went to the Tall Ships Festival in Philadelphia and on the waterfront in Camden, NJ. When mom and I arrived in Philadelphia, we ate at a place called the Continental. I ordered a dish called the Healthy Elvis, which was a whole wheat bread sandwich with bananas, peanut butter, and nutella. We also ordered a potato casserole. Both were REALLY good! It was also relatively inexpensive: for the two of us, it was $20.

We then walked the 10 minutes to Penn's Landing for the Tall Ships. We heard Mama Duck didn't inflate and would not sail again. However, Baby Duck was inflated and we took pictures of Baby Duck and mom took one of me with Baby Duck. He was cute.

We didn't get a chance to ride the Tall Ships. Saturday was a washout and the ticketholders from Saturday were being honored yesterday. The lines were very long and mobbed. I did love hearing the bands and seeing the puppeteers, though. The pirate puppeteer was the best!

Since the lines were so long, the water taxi line to go over to Camden was a three hour wait. Mom and I took the el to 8th Street and took Patco to Camden. Patco was really neat and I liked using it. Once we were in Camden, we saw a sock monkey puppeteer, more ships, and had some cheese curds. The Philadelphia side had more going on.

Selfie in front of the RCA Victor sign! I didn't realize RCA had operations in Camden back in the day.

Leaving Camden to go back to Philadelphia.

It was a nice day out, though my face did indeed get sunburned.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Article: In Saudi Arabia, An Uphill Fight To Out-Shout The Extremists

I will admit that I also like listening to NPR. I try to read multiple news sources. Yesterday when I was on NPR, I saw this article: In Saudi Arabia, An Uphill Fight To Out-Shout The Extremists. Although I'm not familiar with al-Maeena, he sounds like someone I would support. I agree with his positions:

"I am talking about liberal in accepting other people's religion," Maeena says. "To each his own."
"Unfortunately, our religion has been hijacked by these self-appointed guardians of religion," he says. "And they also think they can hold sway over people, and I think that is wrong."

I think these positions are needed to help fight groups like ISIS. I don't think it's wrong for any faith to accept other religions, especially in the case of Islam. Christians and Jews are "People of the Book" as well and I think terror groups ignore this. I hope people listen to al-Maeena and use these tactics to stop terrorism.

I guess this will be an entry that I'll follow up on once an answer becomes clearer.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Rush R40 Tour 6/25/2015

On Thursday after work at the Senior Center, I took the P & W (or Norristown High Speed Line) to the city. I stopped off at 30th Street Station first because I needed to go to the Post Office. I sent 50 letters from the Senior Center and then sent a birthday card to my pen pal in China. I then went to 15th Street to go to the bank and get my free drink at Starbucks. While I was there, I asked these two women about a hair salon that is local and can get into with an appointment. I had an hour and a half to kill before I had to meet mom, Jason, and Josh (my two cousins). The women suggested Ulta.

So, I went to Ulta on 16th and Chestnut. They were a bit pricey ($45), but Kim did a really nice job with my hair. I also connected with her and really liked her. I will be going back again on August 29 for my next trim. I was just happy with the job she did. As I was walking to the 15th Street Station to catch the Broad Street Line, I saw a violinist play. I put a $1 in his bucket and asked for a photograph. He let me take his picture.

My hair cut.

After fifteen minutes on the Broad Street Line, I was at the AT & T Station. Rush was playing at the Wells Fargo Center, which was a two minute walk. I arrived at the Wells Fargo Center before mom, Jason, and Josh. I saved them seats at a table in the Cure Club. They came 15 minutes later. We ate dinner, then went into the arena for the concert.

The concert was amazing. We were all deaf by the time we left at 10:30. But, the show was amazing. Even the light shows!

Jason, Josh (center), and I waiting.

Mom and I waiting.

I'm waiting.

South Park as Lil Rush began the 2nd Half of the Show. I didn't get a video of South Park (sadly), but I found it on YouTube. Then I'll cut into my taping of Tom Sawyer.

South Park just makes me smile.