Thursday, August 1, 2013

Summer in New York City

I am a girl of opposites. I love New York City but I want to live out in the country outside of my hometown in Texas. Well, I was blessed that I got to experience both this summer and, in the picture above, both came together. While in NYC in mid-July,  by coincidence my good friend, Greg, who I've known since junior high was there with his daughters on a business/vacation trip. We all met for drinks at his hotel. His daughter snapped this pic and we posted it on our facebook pages to the surprise of many of our friends. 
The next day Matt wanted to go to his favorite haunts, Flight Club, it's THE place to buy sneakers in NYC. While Matt was busy drooling over sneakers I was checking out the crowd. I've always had a nose for celebrities so I was checking out this tall guy who was with a guy who seemed more like a bodyguard type than just a friend. We were in the store for about 1 1/2 hours so I had plenty of time to get a feel for him. When we left the store it was about the same time as this guy but in the meantime we had watched him check out his SIX pairs of sneakers (they are expensive) and people on the street started to talk about him and get their photos taken with him. I asked someone who he was (Matt hadn't recognized him) and it turned out he was Travis McCoy, a rapper celeb and Katy Perry's ex. Matt did not want to have his photo taken with him (being the too cool teenager) so after I stepped beside him for Matt to take my pic with him, he relented and let me snap the one above (dropped the too cool in favor of a good story and photo to back it up). 
While Matt was still standing next to Travis the guy above walked right in front of Matt (yeah, just like in the photo he took of him above) and Matt's jaw dropped. He was speechless. The Matt started to point at him still with his mouth open speechless. This was not like Matt, this was not Cool Matt. I knew it had to be someone pretty darn big to make him react that way. So I reached out my hand, shook his, and told him what a big fan I was (what's a girl to say?). After the fuss was over and we walked away I asked Matt who he was and he told me Trinidad James. Another rapper. Google him if you have any interest. He's a deal, not a huge deal, but big enough to make it a really fun story for Matt and really fun to have the photos. Yep, I can sniff out a celeb anywhere.
For the next couple of days we did blah, blah, blah. JUST KIDDING. We did the city stuff. The weekends are so great there. Just go outside and things are happening everywhere. Above is a view from the High Line walking path that opened a couple of years ago. I found out about it on the facebook page of a childhood friend in Texas. It was beautiful and very cool.
One of the great things is that on the weekends you can just walk from park to park and there are basketball tournaments, like above, going on. So many parks have stationary chess tables, boccie ball, street shows...endless amounts of free entertainment and things to do. 
Very cool photo snapped at a park of a little pick-up baseball game with the cityscape in the background. Always something cool going on.

Family reunion

The gang, 2009.
So back in 2006 a family moved in next door to us. An army wife and husband with four boys between them. Of course they were from Texas. They brought our cul-de-sac together; they taught our neighborhood how a neighborhood is supposed to be-close. We became very, very close. I have posted about them several times before. But, in a nutshell, the couple divorced, the wife moved away and we became even closer to the husband and the boys.
Then the husband, Cedric, got sent to Iraq for the 6th time. Cedric's brother, Allen, came to stay with the boys but he needed support too. So I stepped in as mama to the boys, especially the oldest and youngest. The second photo is of the oldest, Andre', and me. 
They lived here for almost three years-a long stay for their lifestyle. Then Cedric got transferred to Georgia. The photo above is at a dinner we had as families right before they left for Georgia. They stayed with us for a few days before they left after their things had been picked up by the movers. Just when I thought I couldn't get more boys in my house they brought in Cousin Shaun too. It was crazy, wild, wonderful. A huge, wonderful family all hanging out together. I was in heaven. Remember, Cedric was also included to keep all these boys in line!
I know, the photos aren't lining up with the story, live with it. In April, Andre' (the oldest), who had joined the Air Force a few years ago was being transferred from Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska to Afghanistan with layover for training in Maryland-yay! That's the top photo; the first time I'd seen Andre' in about four years. We got to see him a few times before his mom and Alec (the youngest and like a brother to Matt) came from San Antonio to see Andre' before he left.
We met up with Alec and Andre' at the bowling alley first. There was about 10 minutes of awkward time-gone-by feeling between Alec and Matt then, boom, brothers reunited and inseparable for the rest of the stay.
Alana, on the right, has lived next door since she and Matt were very young and she was always part of the great group of kids that played constantly together while Cedric, Alec, and Andre', and the rest lived next door to us. The kids had a great time playing basketball one night; it was just like the great old times. They are so young to have these long periods of time not seeing each other. My heart was so full watching them step right back into the past.
The night before they left we went to ride go carts and had a pretty wild time. We got to have Alec all but one night that he was here including this last night. So many years had gone by without seeing them but through the fabulous medium of facebook, had been able to keep in touch and coordinate this visit. There was a time we weren't sure if we were going to have them in our lives forever but I think we've proven that wrong. I pray that we will always stay this close and I ask for prayers for Andre' as he is in harm's way in Afghanistan. Alec has gone to live with his dad in Saudi Arabia for the next couple of years. It'll be interesting to see when we will all be together again. How blessed we are to have them in our lives.