Thanksgiving 2013

This year we had an absolutely wonderful Thanksgiving!

Shannon once again outdid herself (how does she do that year after year?) with a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner.  Tender and moist turkey, delicious mashed potatoes, tasty cranberry sauce, wonderful stuffing, soft hot rolls that

Playing Apples to Apples after Thanksgiving dinner with the Shingletons
Playing Apples to Apples after Thanksgiving dinner with the Shingletons

just melt in your mouth. . .all the favorites added up to an incredibly delicious dinner.

And this year we had some friends from the Gallatin Ward over. Todd and Toni Shingleton and their family joined us, and brought with them 11 homemade pies! It was amazing. Chocolate cream pie, banana cream pie, apple, berry–just to name a few–delighted our taste buds well into the evening. When we weren’t eating, we were visiting and playing games, including Apples to Apples.

Overall, we had a great day!


My Trip to the Big Apple

United Nations Building in November 2013
United Nations Building in November 2013

On the Friday before Thanksgiving, I boarded a plane and flew to JFK Airport in New York City. I was there to interview some client’s employees and scout out some locations for a video shoot in January. It was the first time I had been to New York since about 1998 or so, and I was looking forward to being in the big city.

I arrived at almost the exact same time as my client from Salt Lake City arrived. and the two of us caught a taxi and headed to the Marriott Courtyard Times Square. Pete–my client–had grown up in the metro NYC area and knew the area well. He had been back many times over the years and was looking forward to getting New York pizza, soft pretzels, and other foods found only in New York. Me? I was looking forward to it too, but my dang diet has been taking a major hit since early October. . .so I was hoping I could restrain myself when it came to eating at the great restaurants.

On Friday night, we found an authentic Chinese restaurant with the most delicious food. On Saturday morning, we had a couple of hours before we had to meet at the client’s office, so Pete suggested we go to breakfast and then perhaps walk around and go to the Empire State Building. Since we were in Pete’s old backyard, I pretty much just let him decide where we would go and when, and all I did was follow.

Fox News!
Fox News!

Before I knew it, we were walking right in front of the Fox News building.–a sight I had seen thousands of times on TV. I just had to stop and take some pictures. I think Pete was a bit amused that while he was taking pictures of the Radio City Music Hall, I was taking pictures of Fox News.

After what seemed like another good 30 to 45 minutes of walking, we emerged from the skyscraper-lined streets of New York City into a vast open area.

“Oh–there’s the United Nations Building,” I said, pointing straight ahead.

“Is that the U.N.?” Pete asked. “I guess we went the wrong way!”

After taking a couple pictures, we walked and walked and walked some more. . .at this point, however, I have to give Pete credit. He asked if I was doing okay, and when I asked if we could slow down a bit, he graciously modified his pace. Significantly. And I was grateful.

We eventually made it to the Empire State Building, where we were happy to see that the line up to the 86th floor was moving right along. No real waiting. . .just standing and walking in line. But the wait was well worth it. What amazing views! The day was cold and windy, but clear–with the exception of only a bit of morning smog. It was really awesome. Pete asked if I wanted to pay another $17 to go up to the 102nd floor observation deck, but I declined. What would we see from another 16 stories up that we couldn’t see from here?

On the way back to the hotel, we walked by the world-famous Macy’s department store, and I just had to go inside so I could say I did so. It was all decorated for Christmas and it was also pretty crowded. The outdoor window displays were mostly completed, and I took a few pictures and some video to share with the family.

That afternoon we met with some clients, did some interviews, and better understood the approach we needed to take to make the video successful. We were joined at this point by a safety and security officer, Tinel, who was able to help me understand even more completely the issues that the client faces. We walked to Madison Square Garden to check out possible locations for the video shoot, and afterward Tinel took us on the subway and to another part of town for an out-of-this-world dinner. It was a Spanish restaurant (note: it was NOT Mexican, but Spanish). The food was amazing. Pete and I both had a delicious combo plate of all sorts of shellfish–shrimp, muscles, clams, lobster, and more. It was wonderful.

We made it back to the client’s office and observed their interactions with customers for another couple of hours before calling it quits for the night.

Pete had suggested early in our trip that perhaps we could attend the Manhattan 1st Ward on Sunday morning. However, our schedule changed and we weren’t able to do that. Instead, we met for breakfast–I had a delicious salmon and scrambled eggs dish–before heading to the client’s setup in the Meadowlands. We again talked with clients and observed customer interactions, this time for about four or five hours. We then helped the client clean up their stuff and made it back to our hotel at about 6 p.m.

The next morning, I made it back to Kansas City, flying out of LaGuardia  airport. It was a fun and fruitful trip!