Monday, December 27, 2010

In NYC for Post Christmas Shopping

What a contrast from last Christmas.  In Iraq last year, Christmas was 90 degrees, sunny, dusty and an extravaganza of food.  Two days later I was on a flight to Al Kut, Baghdad and Balad.

This year Christmas was a calm day at my father-in-law's house near Washington DC.  Christmas night, four of my kids and I drove to Lancaster.  After Church we loaded the car and drove to New York City--actually Trenton, then the rest of the way by train.

The weather was clear for about 20 miles then more and more snow.  We passed six accidents and almost became one ourselves when some slowed to look at other accidents.  After two and a half hours of sliding, we made ti to Trenton station.  Another 90 minutes and we were in Penn Station and on the way to our hotel in Times Square.  The blizzard was howling when we left the subway.  We struggled two blocks to the hotel then checked in.  Even through the snow Times Square was pulsing bright with ads on two-story electronic billboards.  Jacari saw NYC for the first time stepping out of the subway staircase and said, "Awesome!  This is like Hollywood!"

The gym was closed by the time we arrived, but the Crown Plaza has 46 floors so we could run up the stairs and either walk back down (which Lisa did all three times) or take the elevator, which I did two of three times.

We changed and went three blocks to the Marriott Marquis so the kids could ride the glass elevators up to The View--the 60th floor restaurant.  We struggled another couple of blocks and had pizza for dinner.

Today, I am sitting in Starbucks while the kids shop the few vendors who opened on Canal Street.

Family Black Sheep Flies a MEDEVAC Blackhawk

Brooklyn-born Amira Talifi, (not her real name) is a helicopter pilot I served with in the Army National Guard. She is one of seven ch...