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365 Challenge: Day 346 – Roda

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Roda: who came to NYC to visit me — you can check out her blog profile at GrowingSelf

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As many of you figured out from a few posts, Roda from GrowingSelf visited me in NYC this weekend. We’d been having a lovely week of 65 degree weather, a very comfortable temperature filled with sunny days and light breezes. The darkness and the rain descended upon us Friday morning and just finished as Roda left for the airport a few minutes ago. (Correction…this is Roda, by the way, and I am still here.  The rain ended yesterday afternoon.  Jay is sharing his “Untruth” now.) I’m not at all suggesting it’s a coincidence. Just setting the tone… as it’s been quite an interesting (Interesting…let’s consider a new word choice, my author friend!) trip! I’ve learned a few new words, such as woozy. I believe it’s a combination of what and boozy, but I am still trying to get a clear answer. (Definition: woozy is when your head feels floopy because your so called “friend” keeps adding boozy to your glass, while you are making him a birthday cake, without your knowledge!) It hasn’t been easy as she just opened a bottle of champagne before we left for the airport as her “see ya later” toast. (Oh my goodness…more untruth!)

 

Part of our trip included taking in a Broadway show. I wanted to go to a memorable show that would inspire us. Roda selected Book of Mormon… and let me tell you, I learned quite a few new four-letter words. It was a show full of sarcasm, just like her! (More untruth) She cried during the scenes from laughing so hard!!!

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(Truth…it’s Roda again…I knew NOTHING about this production.  When Jay said it would be inspiring and moving and to make sure I brought my tissues, I had no idea what he truly meant!  Naughty, I tell you!  My Little Bro is naughty!) I cannot repeat the words we learned as I’d have to wash my mouth out with soap.

I did introduce her to the taste of Jack Daniels and ginger ale. (Not by choice!) She baked a chocolate marble cake with my assistance (51% me, 49% her). (So not true…once again!  Jay was happy to sit, at the table, with a bottle of bubbly in each hand, trying to play cruise director.) There was flour everywhere! And I didn’t get any candles to blow out either. (Let’s just say, after three grocery store trips, I could not find enough candles for Jay’s age, so I decided to count by 5s instead.)

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(There was also flour everywhere, due to the fact that Jay was throwing it everywhere…maybe because of his “woozy” head!) We tried taking pictures, but she kept making funny duck faces (don’t even ask, but I did try to recreate it below!) and they might be too embarrassing. I’m sure we’ll post more pictures when we have time to format and fix them.

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A few other facts:

  • We spent 2+ hours in multiple grocery stores because someone couldn’t find the ingredients she needed to make part of dinner. We had fish, bruschetta and broccoli.
  • We played Uno. She LOST bigtime. W also beat her. (We decided from the beginning that the person with the highest score would lose.  Jay could not locate the directions and now that he has, he wants everyone to think that he actually won!  Jay has truly set a new record for the highest losing score, of all times!  I have already notified the Guinness Book of World Records!)

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  • We walked around NYC for several hours each day. She was super afraid of grates, yellow banana cars (cabs as you and I know them) and anything that moved on the sidewalk, but oddly enough, she was fascinated by pigeons. What??? She also brought farm animals and I had to keep pointing out which was her drink (see below) because she wasn’t always aware enough of her surroundings… and she slipped on the floor multiple times. (Jay sabotaged my glass numerous times!  Also, the slipping was due to the fact that Jay spent a week cleaning his floor before I arrived.)

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  • We saw Grand Central Station and she purchased us cupcakes… then I went to the bathroom and she ate them both!!!  (Again…so untrue) We did whisper in the corners across the vestibule and she was totally shocked at how you could hear each other over 100 feet apart.

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  • She brought me a gift… ‘NomNom’ wine glass holders – see above. She preferred the male drink holders below… and named them Cody and Chad. Then she and W decided to put them in ice cube trays for their drinks. I was not drinking, so I really don’t know what this is all about! (I have no words…)

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  • She had issues with shin splints from walking so much… then blamed it on the shoes! WAMbulance. (I admit…I chose fashion over practicality, on this day.  This is the first true statement Jay has made.) 
  • I have never eaten or drank this much in my life. Every day…. oh my she can be a pusher! She also gets very bright red cheeks when she drinks. Someone had 4 days of red cheeks!  (I must say, the food in NY is spectacular!)

The moral of our story here… to keep this short… is how fun it is to meet someone you’ve chatted with for nearly a year on the Internet… and I’ll happily say, she’s exactly the same in person as I’ve seen, heard or read about on her blog. And that’s a good thing! (It is Roda again… I so want to disagree, but I have to say that Jay is the same talented, kind and completely adorable man we all know and love.  I was honored to spend four days in NY, laughing and having fun with my Little Bro.)

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About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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365 Challenge: Day 196 – Country (Top 10)

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Country: (a) the third entry in the list series for Jay’s favorite pastimes, (b) a part of the US that is beautiful to visit

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Sunday posts, the end of each week, have become a theme on This-Is-My-Truth-Now, organized by groups of five (5) focused on interesting things about my life. I’m continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) that provides more in depth knowledge about me.

  • Weeks 1 – 5: Primary ethnicity groups and nationalities
  • Weeks 6 – 10: A to Z Favorites
  • Weeks 11 – 15: Colors with an important meaning
  • Weeks 16 – 20: Cities I’ve lived
  • Weeks 21 – 25: Jobs I’ve held

The current set of 5 Sundays covers the top 10 countries Jay has visited or researched extensively and would like to visit or live in; however, since I’m on a vacation and unable to post a lot, this is just a brief list and some pictures of the ‘country’ trip to Asheville, North Carolina. The ‘Top 10’ list for countries listed below, other than the USA, come from places I’ve either been and loved, or I know I want to I want to visit, as potential options for the future as a home or extended vacation. There are tons of other ones that I think would be cool, but these all have a special place in my heart, e.g. ancestry, things to do, culture or historical educational review:

  1. Canada
  2. Spain
  3. England
  4. Argentina
  5. France
  6. Scotland
  7. Ireland
  8. Australia
  9. Germany
  10. Italy

Below are all the pictures from today’s drive between Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and Asheville, North Carolina. It includes a few pictures from the Great Smoky Mountains, Cherokee Indian Nation properties and the views from the hotel where I am staying on the Biltmore property. More to come this week when I share all the pictures from the Biltmore House and grounds.

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About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 45 – Neighborly

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Neighborly: being good neighbor [person who lives close by to you], especially helpful, friendly, or kind

Being neighborly can be a good and a bad thing. As I begin writing this post, I’m smack in the middle of the barometer on the whole subject. Let’s see where I end up at the bottom of this post.

Seems like an easy one, right? You’re nice to the people who live next door to you. But how far do you actually take it? Do you become friends? Do you dog-sit? Do you lend items? Do you stalk? Oh, wait, that’s taking it too far.

I’m proud to say I’ve never had a combative relationship with any of my neighbors. I’ve had a few times where they bothered me a little bit with excess noise or a sour puss… but those things can be ignored or fixed with a minor conversation. Except for once. One neighbor always looked like she was miserable… and trying to be a nicer person, I said “hi, how was your day?” in the elevator. She looked at me, pulled her glasses down towards the end of her nose, smirked and said “There’s no need for us to talk.” I had never spoken to the woman before. Our apartments don’t share a common wall. And I’m extremely quiet, so I couldn’t have bothered her before.  A few days later, a friend stopped by, and we all got stuck in the elevator together riding down a few floors. I admit it was childish… but when the woman stepped out of the elevator before us, I mumbled just loud enough for her to hear… “Shh… talking will send you straight to hell around here.”  Ah, that’s on my board of “Moments I am Proud of.”

Historically speaking… your neighbors were people you were often very close to, related to, or at least knew enough about. Nearly 100 years ago, it was acceptable for your neighbor to complete the US Census for you when the census taker couldn’t get hold of you. And when the cops came around looking for you, your neighbor always knew where you’d be!

Today, people sometimes live in an apartment building for years, never once seeing or meeting their next door neighbor. When I lived in the suburbs, I thought that was completely nuts. How could you not see the person every day? Then I moved into the city and realized… it’s definitely possible.

As a child and teenager, I lived next door in the suburbs to my best friend. We were the same age, went to school together and played or hung out every day after school and on weekends. Everyone on the block knew one another… until slowly generations changed and people moved… then folks started talking about that new couple that moved in… and the nosy gossip started!

When I lived in the dorms in college, I knew my mates and the 2 or 3 dorm room inhabitants directly around me, but not everyone. And when I bought my first house, I made zero effort to get to know the people who lived nearby. So where do I fall on that neighborly scale?

Reasons Why I Am

  • I love small town charm and knowing everyone else’s business. But they can’t know mine.
  • I love being helpful in case (s)he needs to borrow a cup of sugar.
  • I kinda want to know if someone creepy is living that close to try not to get on his/her bad side.
  • It’s probably good someone knows what you look like in case someone else is trying to break into your place. At least there’s a chance (s)he will try to call the cops for you.

Reasons Why I Am NOT

  • I live in NYC where everything is a rush. Who has time for chit-chat?
  • I’m a shy and quiet person. I don’t like to be interrupted.
  • I tend to get a little “that’s mine, don’t touch it” attitude every so often. I was an only child. And I don’t like border disputes! 🙂

In all seriousness though… being neighborly seems like a good thing. It can run the gamut from friendly to just a nod of acceptance. We’re all in this world together, a little gesture now and again shouldn’t kill us. And you never know who or what may come out of getting to know them a little bit.

I also think it’s a different type of neighborly when you live in the same building versus separate land and property. It’s easy to chat in an elevator with someone who lives on your floor. (REALLY, it is…) You may need to make the effort when they live 100 feet away.

How about you? Do you want to know your neighbors or would you prefer to keep some distance?

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Trips: USA – Sedona, Arizona

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Where did I go?

When did I go?

  • 5 days, 4 nights in mid-March 2017
  • Weather was great
    • 70 degrees in the daytime, 50 degrees in the evening
    • 1 day of rain (very unusual), so we did a lot of site-seeing in the car

Who did I go with?

  • Significant Other

Why did I go?

  • We both turned 40 in March and wanted a little celebratory get away

  • I hate hot weather so it had to be somewhere cool to comfy
  • Relaxation
  • I’d only been briefly once, about ten years ago during a cross-country drive trip. He’d never been before and wanted to see the area.

What did I do?

  • Wednesday
    • Arrived at the hotel around 9:15pm
    • Had dinner and went to sleep
  • Thursday
    • Since it rained, we drove around and checked out various views and sites.
      • Cathedral Rock
      • Oak Creek Canyon
      • Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village
    • Spa Time! Facial and Massages. We went to the spa at the hotel. The services were good, and the facility was clean. But it wasn’t as relaxing as it should have been. With so much nature and sweeping views, they should have had it outdoors or at least somewhere that made you feel like you were out in the open.

  •  Friday
    • Historic Tour of Jerome, Arizona via http://www.toursofjerome.com/
      • Van with AC picked us up and drove around for 5 hours to Jerome, Clarkdale and Cottonwood towns. It was an old mining area that was very profitable until the 1950s when people just started abandoning it due to poor quality, conditions and lack of money.
      • Jerome was a famous ghost town where you can take a tour of all the ghost sightings. It also was a city of brothels! We visited one. Relax – it was no longer in operation. I’m not confessing to anything here. 😛
      • Clarkdale was founded by Senator William Andrews Clark, a transplant from Montana who helped build out the mining facilities and railroads. The family was also very prominent in Nevada (Clark County) where Las Vegas stands.
      • Cottonwood was a beautiful town full of great tourism and a lot of history.
      • Wine Tasting… had a few good wines. We tried to buy some but they won’t ship again until November when it’s cooler. What a shame!

  • Saturday
    • Chapel of the Holy Cross – a beautiful church built into the landscape

  • Saturday
    • Verde Canyon Train
      • 5 hour train trip with breath-taking views
      • On-board appetizers and drinks
      • Was an amazing experience as you have an outdoor car, tour guides, a few stop… felt like a little tour of history as the area is rich with famous explorers, founders and the birth of the West.

  •  Sunday
    • Head Home! 😦

What didn’t I do that I should have?

  • Jeep Tours of the area – drivers take you everywhere!
  • Helicopter Tours of the area – what a view!
  • Las Vegas: Two hours away, but would be an all-day trip
  • Flagstaff: An hour away, but couldn’t squeeze it in

Interesting Info

  • Sedona is a Dark Sky Community, meaning they have very little if any traffic lights so that the beauty of the night sky shines through without interruption. You see so many stars and across long distances.

  • It’s the land of the traffic circle! Every day, the trip from the hotel to the parts of Sedona we visited had at least 20 traffic circles. After the first day, we became experts at the proper merging positions.
  • Always make reservations! The first two nights, anywhere we went, the wait time was for 90 minutes for a table. I can get a table at a fancy NYC restaurant quicker than that without a reservation. Shocking!

Restaurants

  • Wednesday
    • At the hotel bar as it was so late
  • Thursday
    • Lunch – Nick’s in West Sedona. Basic American diner, but had a solid brunch!
    • Dinner – At the hotel restaurant as everything else was closed… but was still good food and we could have a lot of drinks without having to drive anywhere. Had tried to get into the Mexican restaurant but the wait was too long! Prickly Pear Margarita!!!!
  • Friday
    • Lunch – At Grapes in Jerome. Part of it was included in the bus tour. Was a really great restaurant.
    • Dinner – Mariposa, a Latin / Spanish restaurant on the top of a hill with valet car service only, where Chef Lisa Dahl dreams up savory cuisines. Beautiful building with so many glass windows and tall ceilings. And she followed me on Instagram after I posted about her restaurant!
  • Saturday
    • Lunch – On the Verde Canyon Train, we grabbed some appetizers. Nothing big or fancy. We knew we had a dinner we were looking forward to.
    • Dinner – Cress on Oak Creek at L’Auberge. It’s now one of my favorite restaurants. We ate outside along the banks of stream at 9pm with a few spotlights and candles, a heat lamp and rushing water about us. Excellent food. Expensive 3 or 4 course meal, but well worth it.

Hotel

  • Hilton Bell Rock just outside of Sedona. I didn’t realize it was about 15 minutes away from Sedona, which meant a little extra driving every day. But it was a great hotel.
  • Spa, Pool, Fire Place in room, Restaurant and Bar on property
  • Very friendly and informative staff
    • Not enough coffee in the room… and always decaf! 😦
  • Parking was a little tight, as we didn’t get back until after 10 each night and many of the spots were taken. So we parked in the furthest lot. Oh well! Walking is good for you.
  • http://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/arizona/hilton-sedona-resort-at-bell-rock-SDXSEHH/index.html

Transportation

  • Trip to Sedona
    • I took an American Airlines (AA) flight out of NYC’s JFK Airport and arrived in Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport at 6:30 pm. It was a direct flight, about 4 1/2 hours to fly.
    • Once you arrive at the airport, you take a shuttle bus to the car rental facility, which is at least 15 minutes away. That was a surprise!
    • Rented a mid-size car at Alamo for about $60 per day. They were super-friendly and sent us on our drive to Sedona.
    • In hindsight, it would have been better to arrive during the daytime in order to enjoy the view on the 2 hour drive, as it was dark and we were unable to see the beautiful red rock mountains. We did on the drive back tho!
  • Trip Home
    • Drove from Sedona early in the morning back to Phoenix. No traffic, about 2 hours. Dropped the car off at the car rental facility.
    • Shuttle Bus back to Sky Harbor Airport.
    • Delay….. about an hour, not too bad. Got on an AA flight by 3pm and arrived back in NY about 8:15. Home by 10 to check on Ryder… (our shiba inu dog… he missed us a lot!)

Favorite Part

  • Verde Canyon Train

Lease Favorite Part

  • Wasted time looking for places to eat the first two nights

 

About Me

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. Each week, I will post a summary of a trip I’ve taken somewhere in the world. I’ll cover the transportation, hotel, restaurants, activities, who, what, when, where and why… and let you decide for yourself if it’s a trip worth taking.

Once you hit my site “ThisIsMyTruthNow” at https://thisismytruthnow.com, you can join the fun and see my blog and various site content. You’ll find book reviews, published and in-progress fiction, TV/Film reviews, favorite vacation spots and my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge.” Since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life… see how you compare!

Feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Tell me what you think.