Tag Archives: New York

Forget Next Time

Clearly, I wrote this before everything was cancelled, but still think it’s worth sharing in its original state. So here it is.

This past weekend felt decadent. I flew to NYC to spend the weekend with two of my favorite people – Marcie and Vanesa – without kids! It’s one of my very favorite places. I can never spend enough time there – I start smiling when I see the skyline and don’t stop until it is past me, waiting until I return. And I never leave without promising myself there will be a next time because the magic I feel while I’m there cannot be duplicated.

I witnessed one of the most beautiful art exhibits, Vida Americana, at the Whitney and although I was stunned by the level of artistry I was angered by the fact that the more things change in this world, the more things stay the same. The wealthy get richer off of the poorest among us. Workers can’t get a living wage. Racism remains an oppressive barrier in this country because we refuse to acknowledge it within us and commit to true change.

Calla Lilly Vendor
Alfredo Ramos Martínez, Calla Lily Vendor (Vendedora de Alcatraces), 1929
Proletarian Mother
David Alfaro Siqueiros, Proletarian Mother, 1929


On a lighter note, I channeled my inner Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone 2 by wearing a robe in the chicest hotel room of my life and using my friend’s per diem for fancy drinks and breakfast.

I walked with a purpose through Midtown to the main New York Public Library building where I could feel the presence of those who had loved the space before and with me.

I noticed the first signs of spring (crocuses) on the High Line.

Even being in the city during winter was wonderful (and that’s saying a lot knowing I hate the cold). The wind blew so chillingly it chapped my face as we walked but I could ignore it because I was in New York! I left my glove at the Kerr Theatre but that’s okay because I got to see Hadestown and experience its tragic beauty. I want to be like Orpheus and “make you see how the world could be, in spite of the way that it is.”

CD6E5214-424D-479F-99A3-74C928407CDD

I’m reminded of a poem by Robert Frost where he says that all wonderful things in life are fleeting at worst or ever-changing at best:

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

That’s true, nothing lasts forever. Even life. Maybe even especially life. So why do I make choices like I have infinite time? Why do I agonize over what I said to who and whether people like me when they aren’t the people in my life who matter most to me?

I’m giving up on this “next time” way of thinking by attempting to switch my mindset to the now. I gave a mighty effort last year following my surgery to remove my melanoma, but have reverted back to my own circular reasoning of next time it will be better, I’ll have more time later, just wait. My time is now, not tomorrow. Yoda says, “Do or do not. There is no try.” That seems like a solid way to live.

I know this doesn’t mean that my life will be all joy and no sorrow. But it means I can take steps to work through the pain and eventually rise. In case you couldn’t tell, I’m working my way through Glennon Doyle’s new book, Untamed. She writes that returning to our dreams is the path we take to remember our reality, to discern God’s plan for our lives, family, and world. This plan will disrupt the world’s order because our being alive is something wholly new and never before seen. I’m starting the work to reimagine my soul’s dreams to live my “truest, most beautiful li[fe]” right now. “May [my] dreams become [my] plans.” I should get to writing…

And now to return to this shitty week where everything is cancelled indefinitely and routines are out of whack, I’m still singing the lyrics from Hadestown – “…here’s the thing. To know how it ends. And still begin to sing it again. As if it might turn out this time.”

It’s going to work out this time, just not as we expect. The world will be changed once this pandemic has worked its way around the planet. And I hope it brings about a new way of thinking, especially with our jobs as planet protectors. We don’t get an again. Just a now. So let’s live it up on top!

 

 

Day 8 – Spencerport NY to Bristol VT

Worship Thoughts

I don’t normally take photos during church services, but apparently I do when I’m on vacation and with family friends.

More worship services should have blankets laid out picnic-style for families to sit together.

The kids took turns playing quietly and less than quietly with each other.

Sometimes a kid accidentally tosses a shoe and it hits a drum at a particularly important moment in time. Then, it becomes more impactful.

So. Many. Hugs.

Steve gave a baller sermon. Too bad my brain couldn’t focus up on all of it.

The anointed blessing made the service for me. Henry became part of the family unit of Cora and Belle, and Sarah joined Keith, Elliot, and Me. I felt at peace.

Having Keith sit with us made the service go so much more smoothly than when it’s just me.

Henry is great at unobtrusively getting a dessert sampler during coffee time.

Leaving much-loved friends may be he hardest thing a person can do, even knowing we will see them again in 6 months.

The Lord’s Prayer

On the Road Thoughts

A pot of coffee does not equal a coffee bar.

E-“The trees are really still.” He wanted to hike longer, but for the bugs.

K is giddy driving though the Old Growth Forest. He keeps talking about the trees and the possibility of seeing animals like bears and moose. Being outside is where he’s most at home.

The plague of flies that attacked us in the woods ruined the view. And made me feel itchy for the rest of the car ride.

Kids fart noises (not real farts) are disgusting and distracting and must be stopped when confined in tight spaces.

I’m kinda in a complaining mood today. I think it stems from leaving the Meyers and being stuck in traffic and having the ride last over an hour longer than it should.

Maybe we should buy a lake house. In upstate New York. For vacations. The lakes are just that beautiful with the giant rocks cut by glaciers.

Entering Vermont, I can’t help but hum “America the Beautiful.” “Purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain” as far as the eye can see. Vermont is gorgeous, and I wish I had better pictures than ones from my car. Can’t wait to spend some time here.

Total miles driven = 300 Miles

Our actual route went further south in the Adirondacks, but this is pretty close.

Day 7 – Spencerport NY

Due to the heat advisory, we stayed at the Meyer’s house for the day. We spent our time either in the pool, playing video games, and enjoying each other’s company.

We love these people, and it’s totally worth the 20+ hour drive to their house to see them. If I write more about it right now, I’m going to cry. So just know our day was perfect, just the way it was.

Day 6 – Rochester and Spencerport NY

Steve took responsibility for all 5 kids plus others for VBS at his church, Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Rochester. Such a nice surprise to find ourselves with 4 hours of free time downtown. We meandered to a cool coffee shop near Eastman School of Music. Our only goal in exploring the city was to visit the library, because we’d heard it was cool. And it totally was. We read about Stonewall in a clear and well-written exhibit, wandered around admiring the details, perused the bookstore, and read silently above the Genesee River. It was pretty perfect. Without knowing anything about it beforehand, we discovered we really liked downtown Rochester! We ate lunch with Carina and then picked up the wild ones for nap time/reading time.

Playtime and pool time finished up our day. I didn’t swim because I have Floridian standards (the water was just too dang cold for me!) The water should warm up tomorrow because the heat wave puts the temperature here as the same high as Seminole FL (93 degrees!). Where is the cooler weather we deserve for leaving Florida in July? Arriving soon, I hope, with summer rainstorms in the forecast.

Day 5 – Niagara Falls NY & Canada and Spencerport NY

When visiting upstate New York, one simply must view Niagara Falls, America’s First State Park. Since we were in the area, we made the trek there today and it mesmerized us all.

Everyone loved the Maid of the Mist! Donning our hot and sticky blue ponchos, we felt part of the waterfall as the mist (and outright splashes) tumbled over us, from a safe distance away. El knew when he had felt enough of the mist and was ready for a break. Henry kept laughing with gleeful delight every time the water splashed over us. We were on the fence about it prior to our trip, but I’m so glad we decided to ride.

Both the Horseshoe Falls and American Falls were bigger than I expected since my encounters with waterfalls primarily stem from trips to North Carolina and Colorado. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to go over them in a barrel. We walked to the Canadian side for a better view and a quick stroll along the Niagara River and Rainbow Gardens across the street. Henry was the first of us to cross the border! By mid-afternoon we were all done with touring the falls and tried to squeeze in one last family picture – it turned out exactly as it should.

After getting sandwiches for dinner from the local Amish store, we headed to simultaneous youth soccer games where kids ran amok in the best way in the sidelines while kids played soccer on the field. I assume they did anyway, because I practiced outdoor Body Flow under the trees. We finished our long, fun day with ice cream from Lugia’s. With sizes ridiculous, the flavors innumerable, and laughter constant, we joyfully wrapped up our night.

Total Miles Driven = 150 Miles

Day 4 – Alexandria VA to Spencerport NY

Four years ago, the Hen and I were flying together to see his Tía Nesa in DC for his first visit to the Capitol. So it’s fitting that we said goodbye to the Brownes this morning as we head north on our adventure. El was inconsolable at Vanesa leaving for work; he may have thought he was going to work with her to be a Boss Baby and that we were staying longer. Next time, little one.

Boss Baby!

Continuing the day of seeing Godparents and Godchildren, we briefly stopped by the Costa’s house on our way out of DC, even though we’ll be seeing them again in a week and a half. Totally worth it for the hugs and the kids to see/play with each other.

We got back on the road and drove until lunchtime where we stopped at Kidsgrove Park (247 W Sassafras St) in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. A wooden fortress of a playground, it had ladder tires, a wooden train, tunnels, turrets, and swings! Sadly, we didn’t have all day to play or else I think the boys would have tried. We ate lunch at the adjacent Major Anthony Selins Park (241 W Sassafras St), which had a small colorful playground and a shaded pavilion. Keith took a walk in it’s tree museum, kidnapping the Doritos and having a peaceful time up in a tree.

Several hours later, we made it to the Meyer’s house and it’s just so wonderful! Too fantastic to remember to take pictures. I’ll be sure to take plenty in the next few days while we’re here.

Miles driven today = 397 Miles

Epic Walbolt Road-Trip Vacation

Tomorrow we leave for a 17-day great American road trip as a family. That’s right, we’re taking our 3 and 6 year olds with us in our Toyota Corolla up the East Coast from Florida to Maine and back. You’re probably thinking we may be crazy, and as I pack, clean, and do last minute preparations, I’m thinking you may be right.

Just kidding, we’ve got this.

I’m mostly sure.

Our idea for this trip was planted when we realized how many people we loved lived from the mid-Atlantic to New England and we missed them so much we knew we needed to schedule a visit. Flying four people anywhere costs a fortune, and then we’d have to rent a car anyway once we arrived. So we drive!

Each kid has a tote bag of car distractions that include a whole lot of Melissa and Doug, coloring books, games, and building toys like Legos and Tegu magnetic blocks. I also have another tote with school-type stuff for Henry – reading and math workbooks as well as books to read aloud so he can get to Home Base for Reading with the Rays (and fill my only official summer learning requirement of reading 30 minutes a day). He’s going to try to read “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” which will be incredibly challenging so wish him luck and persistence. Finally, we have iPads for each kid to watch movies and play games when the time on the road becomes too intense.

H’s Car Distractions
E’s Car Gear (don’t worry, I have more things for him for later in the trip)

The kids expectations regarding our trip are mixed at best.

Henry thinks it will take 3 hours to get there, and that time frame is entirely too long. “Why aren’t we flying?” is the main question he’s been asking. Such a privileged kid, mostly flying everywhere since he’s been alive. He’s most excited to visit Vermont, for reasons involving a horse and ice cream.

Elliot thinks we are visiting Spain and chose it as his top state on this trip because it’s like church. I wish we could drive to Spain, buddy. He has also asked when and how we are seeing Marlon Bundo while we are in DC…Tia Nesa is somehow making that difficult request happen.

I’m excited to see friends and family who we don’t get to see as often as we’d like. So is Keith. Overnight stops include:

• Walterboro, South Carolina

• Alexandria, Virginia

• Spencerport, New York

• Bristol, Vermont

• Wolfeboro, New Hampshire

• Jamestown, Rhode Island

• Rockville, Maryland

• Yemassee, South Carolina

We’ll be stopping at least every three hours so the kids can run around at parks and playgrounds along the way. Hopefully, that will break up the monotony of interstate travel and let them get their energy out. And nap. So no one goes crazy.