Thursday, October 27, 2011

9/11 Memorial

I didn’t expect to get to see the 9/11 memorial. Apparently, you have to reserve a ticket online. Thankfully, the bus tour I was on stopped at the site of the World Trade Center and the bus driver had a few tickets reserved and he gave one to me at no charge. I’m not so sure about this rude New Yorker stuff - Charlie and I have been impressed by most of the people we meet! 
There was LOTS of security at the 9/11 memorial, more than any other site I’d been to. There was so much security that I snapped a picture of all of them. One of them turned to me and said, “Excuse me. Did you just take a picture of us!?!” I said yes and he told me to show it to him and delete it immediately. They were serious about the security there, but I have nothing to show you to prove it. ;-)
The memorial was basically hidden by tall walls, you really had to have a ticket to see it at all. And you had to show your ticket to about 50 people before you got in! It was worth the hassle. There aren’t really words to describe that big, empty space in the middle of Manhattan. The buildings are so tall and so packed in the city. This enormous, empty spot just leaves you speechless. I walked into the memorial choking back the tears. My mind immediately flashed back to those desperate people leaping from the burning towers. I held it together until I began to read the names. All names I did not know, but in some way I felt the pain of those families. Every name is a whole life. Every name has a daughter, a son, a mother, a father, an aunt, an uncle, a niece, a nephew, a husband, a cousin, a best friend, a boss, a coworker, a pastor or even an unborn baby. Every name in that memorial had a morning routine, a pharmacy, a church, a grocery store, a mailman, a babysitter or a favorite restaurant. A whole life. 

1,609 lives
I imagined what if that were my dad’s name or my mom’s name or my brother’s name or my name. How monumental that would be to the rest of my life. Then I thought of the hundreds of thousands whose lives changed when those innocent people were killed.
What those horrible, evil men did to our country changed us. Whether we like it or want to admit it or not, things changed that day. A feeling of absolute security was lost. A war began. An economy started to crumble. Avery will grow up in a different America.
But what I know is that no matter what this life brings or what our country’s future holds, He has not changed. He is not less secure. We are just as secure in Him the day before 9/11 as we were the day after. When we put our faith in Jesus we hold something much greater than a feeling of physical safety or economic stability. We don’t have to fear the future and we certainly don’t have to fear death. That is also an unspeakable feeling...of peace. No extreme Islamist, no evil dictator, not even Satan himself can change what I know. I know who holds my future. That is all the security I’ll ever need. Thank you, Jesus!

Where each of the towers stood, there is a water fountain. The water flows into a deeper part in the middle off the memorial

It's really gorgeous and the sound of the water is so peaceful, these pictures do not do it justice!

Lining the waterfall is the name of every person who lost their life that day, I even saw one of a woman's name and it listed her unborn child as well. ***Tears....***

Loved ones leave flowers on some of the names, there is even a kiosk to help you locate the name you're looking for

St. Paul's Church

When the buildings came down, trees nearby fell. One tree fell in the cemetery behind the church, but didn't damage any of the grave stones or the church. An artist made this sculpture to represent the roots of that tree. 

There was a lady singing inside with an orchestra, a man also read poetry

This church served immediately after 9/11, taking in workers to house them and give others medical care. These are the pictures that people brought of loved ones that were missing on 9/11.

A cross made from parts of the buildings...

The Flag of Honor lists the name of every person that lost their life on 9/11

This was one of the pews decorated by the children that dropped off cards and drawings to encourage those that visited St. Paul

I just can't imagine the feeling of not knowing what happened to someone I loved...

This was at the 9/11 Memorial Preview store. The skyline sculpture on the left was sculpted out of metal from the buildings...

I took this picture because it was the tallest building near the WTC site. A man selling 9/11 memorial books showed me this building next to the WTC buildings in a picture in the magazine I bought. This building was so tall, but the WTC buildings were over twice the size of this building. I can't even imagine what they would've looked like. Nothing else in that area compares to the size of those buildings.

There is still lots of construction going on at the WTC site...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Day at The View

When I woke up this morning, I just didn't feel like myself. I've got a case of the sniffles, sneezes and sore throat. I began to feel a teeny bit sorry for myself. WHY did I have to get sick this week, of all weeks? The forecast called for rain and I almost decided to take a day off and relax. I laid around trying to decide what to do. I really wanted to go down to the View studios, but I knew it was a lost cause, trying to get in with no tickets. Either way, I decided I was in NYC and I could not waste a day in a hotel room. I threw on some makeup and halfway straightened my hair. I got on the wrong subway at one point (again) and when I finally found 66th Street I saw an ABC building. So, I started walking in that direction - who knew ABC buildings line the entire street! I was walking in the wrong direction. I walked for a while before I realized it and turned around. By the time I found the studio, it was 9:45. The website said anyone coming for standby tickets should arrive between 8 and 9. It also said that ticket holders should arrive by 9:30 SHARP and there was a 12-24 month wait on tickets. A sweet young production assistant named Joshua was the only one waiting outside the studio. I smiled, thinking I should've stayed in bed. As I walked towards him he asked for my white ticket. "Ummm...I don't have a white ticket". "Ok, but you reserved one online, right?" "Ummm....actually....let me just be honest. I didn't reserve one online. This was a spur of the moment trip and online it said there was a long wait. I don't have...anything." "Ok...." he said. Before he could begin I told him I'm sure I wouldn't be able to get in, so I understood. He told me to hold on and talked into his headset. And then, like magic, he handed me a lime green paper and said "You're in!". "SHUTUP!" I yelled, and I slapped him on the arm. I think I almost knocked that lil boy over! "Omg OMG OMG!!!! I get to watch the show, are you serious!?!" He assured me it wasn't a joke and giggled a little bit. That's when I remembered that Charlie said I'm supposed to act like I've been here before. So I told Joshua, "I'm sorry. Let me calm down for a second. I might cry! My husband told me to act like I've been here before, so I promise I will act like I've been here before and chill out a little bit!" The security guys were the nicest I've encountered in the city and very talkative. So were the sweet ladies from New Jersey in line ahead of me. As I was texting everyone I know, a man pulled me out of line. I just knew he was about to tell me there wasn't enough room. Instead, he asked if I was camera shy. "No, sir!" He asked if I watched the show and knew about the audience member that would introduce a guest between commercial breaks. I said yes and he asked again if I was from Louisiana, which either I told Joshua in my rambles, or he could detect just from my accent! He said they liked to have guests who've traveled from far away. I ran to the bathroom, thank God I put some of my makeup in my purse! Still, no brush and my hair was a (excuse this, but...) HOT MESS! 

We got seated in the studio and there was an empty spot in the front where they needed me to sit since I would be doing the camera thing. We got Keebler cookies and a bottle of juice. They have a comedian come on before the show to loosen everyone up and get them excited. He was hilarious and that part was even a lot of fun! Bill Geddy, the executive producer, came out too. Before long, it was time to start and we got to see Whoopi, Joy, Sherry and Elisabeth for the first time! Barbara wasn't there but that's ok...I'm not a big fan. ;) It was so cool to be right there watching them chat. During commercial breaks we could take pictures and ask questions. I am usually not speechless, but I couldn't think of a single question to ask any of them! 

Then, it was time! A producer came to my seat and handed me my 'lines'. I read over it a few times and he brought me to the platform. I read it from the teleprompter without flubbing it- yay! I am officially qualified to be the next Democratic candidate for President! ;) It was over in the blink of an eye. Joy looked great although I am NOT a fan of her politics. Sherry was hilarious and Whoopi seemed very laid back. But Elisabeth, my dear, sweet Elisabeth! (LOL) Seriously, I am such a big fan. I love that she is conservative and not afraid to speak her mind. I think it's safe to say there are 3 conservatives in NYC: me, Charlie and Elisabeth! She came to the platform right next to my seat to do a shoot for something later in the week. I couldn't resist! I asked her who she liked for 2012. She said she would love for Gen. Petraus and Colin Powell to run, but they probably wouldn't. I told her I was a huge fan and she was my favorite. I told her when the other ladies made me want to scream, I loved listening to her tell them exactly what I was thinking. I said that I was cheering her on - TEAM ELISABETH! She was very gracious and everything I imagined she would be! She chatted with other audience members for a few minutes and then it was time to start the show again. We got to see Kelly Clarkson perform and another actress that I didn't know, she plays in a new sitcom called "Suburbatory". We also got to take home a dancing Mickey Mouse - that Avery will love and a Kelly Clarkson CD - that I already love! 

The whole experience was amazing and surreal (although you're about to see TONS of pictures to prove it - ha!) and it taught me a good lesson. On the days you want to lay in bed and throw a pity party - get up, get dressed, straighten the crap outta your hair and get GOING!

Needless to say, I have a jam-packed agenda tomorrow. So me, my DayQuil and my Kleenex will be on the subway bright and early headed to the Today Show, Fox News, Live with Regis and Kelly, Grand Central Station, a cruise around the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, the MET and the Museum of Natural History. Maybe even a stop by the Museum of Modern Art. Then, back to Brooklyn to meet Charlie and on to the Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center) and maybe even a tour of NBC Studios and another visit to Fox News - we just can't stay away from that spot! ;) I hope I can pack it all in. I THINK I finally have the subway all figured out!

I'm not sure how I got so lucky today, the lady beside me requested tickets 2 years ago and today was the first available date she could choose! Maybe, if my string of luck continues I'll be able to get into Regis and Kelly and reserve an iPhone 4S tonight online for pickup tomorrow on 5th Avenue, but I seriously doubt it! Either way, I am loving New York City! Missing my sweet Avery Grace though, I wonder if she saw her mom on TV today!

One of the buildings I ran into when I was lost - Juilliard

One of those sweet ladies from NJ said "Go stand by that, I'll take a picture of you!"
Oh, how I'm regretting that spur of the moment haircut!

 First glance at the studio....

Setting out their empty coffee cups!

Another nice New Yorker offered to take a picture of me - I really think they are nicer than we give them credit for!

The comedian before the show

The one and only - BILL GEDDY!

The ladies of The View

Changing the set in 4 minutes for Kelly to perform...this is LIVE, y'all!

 The moment I thought, OMG IS SHE WALKING TOWARDS ME!?!

The ladies chatting w/ Kelly Clarkson

 Joy walking to the same spot Elisabeth shot from. I forgot to take an up close picture of her, just not the same as Elisabeth I guess!