Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Freedom took a ten day trip with the Black family to New York City.
She traveled by car and stopped for one night in Virginia, then saw some cousins in Maryland before staying with family in the city. The first city day included the Museum of Natural History, where Night at the Museum was filmed, and the Planetarium. She also took a hike in Central Park and saw some rowers.
The next day was in the Bronx, where the New York Yankees played the Tampa Bay Rays at the new Yankee stadium. Go Yanks!!
Tuesday, we went to the borough of Brooklyn and to the 9-1-1- call center. The building walls are made of the same material that's in bullet proof vests and security was very high. Freedom passed all background checks and was allowed on the floor to visit with the brass.
Tuesday night we went back into Manhattan for Shrek the Broadway musical. Great performance!
Wednesday was a ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The Statue is made of thin sheets of copper. It is only 3/32 of an inch or the thickness of two coins! She is an amazing site and Freedom was in awe. To the left is a photo of a life-sized replica of Liberty's face. On the right we are with a park ranger in front of the original torch from the Statue of Liberty. It was replaced with a new one in 1986.
Other sites Freedom visited included Saint Patrick's Cathedral, FAO Schwartz toy store, and Rockefeller Center where she took an elevator up 70 stories to the top to see the entire NYC skyline. Good thing Freedom isn't afraid of heights! What a great trip for Freedom, Lauren, and Gregory Black along with the rest of the Black family. Can't wait to go back!
Monday, September 21, 2009
My summer vacation this year was in
As we headed north and into unpopulated areas, we saw lots of saguaro cacti growing in flat areas as well as up the sides of hills and mountains. The saguaro grow naturally only in southern
The saguaro (pronounced "sah-wah-roh") is a very slow growing cactus. A ten year old plant might only be one and a half inches tall. It might take fifteen years for the plant to reach one foot in height! The average life span, however, is usually 150 to 200 years. They start off growing straight up and may take up to 75 years before they grow their first side arm. The arms allow the cacti to have more areas onto which to grow flowers as the flowers only grow on the top of the plant. This cactus flowers from April to May and the sweet, ruby-colored fruit matures by late June. The flowers are creamy white with yellow centers and its major pollinators are bats because it is a night blooming plant. It is the state flower for
Mrs. Rizzo was disappointed when the saguaro disappeared from view as they continued to drive to Sedona, but she didn’t have to wait long to see more of nature’s beauty. As we were driving into higher elevations, there were mountains around us and then it seemed like we turned a corner and the red rocks of Sedona suddenly appeared. We were speechless! Their beauty is beyond description and these photos cannot begin to show their magnificence. These red rock formations are unique to this area of
The first pioneers in this area settled in
Though visiting the art gallery was lots of fun, Mrs. Rizzo’s main desire was to get up close to the red rocks so we decided to take a hike up to Cathedral Rock. We walked about three quarters of a mile and then it began to get really steep and we realized we couldn’t go any further. We rested for a while, admired the scenery and took a few pictures.
That is the top of part of Cathedral Rock behind me. If you look at the photo or Cathedral Rock above, you can see this same area. Click on the picture to make it larger and see if you can see two people. They will give you an idea of how tall the rocks are. It took us about 30 minutes to get where I am in the photo to the left. We climbed a little higher after this but not much since we are not rock climbers!
On the way back to the car, we stopped to take a good look at this Century Plant which was blooming. Though called a Century Plant, it is not 100 years old. It blooms only once, after anywhere from eighteen to thirty years. The flower stalk grows five to six inches a day to a total height many times taller than a man. The yellowish flowers bloom June through August. It takes all of the plant’s energy to grow this fast and this tall so when it is done blooming the whole plant dies, but new plants begin to grow from the roots. Native American used this plant as a source of soap, food, fiber, medicine, needle, and weapons.
Native Americans have lived in this area for thousands of years. We visited
One day we took a trip on the
There was one other thing about Sedona that was unusual.... the McDonalds! Look at the arches. They aren't 'golden'; they're turquoise. This McDonalds is supposedly the only McDonalds that doesn't have golden arches.
I will never forget my trip to Sedona. Even without these photos, I can close my eyes and remember how beautiful it was. Mrs. Rizzo says she hopes to go back there in a couple years. Maybe I'll get lucky and get to go with her again!