Friday, January 28, 2011

Freedom....To Visit Antelope Island

Over MLK weekend we wanted to "make memories" as McKenzie says. Luckily, it seems that a lot of things fell in place for us to have a good and memorable holiday weekend. First off, on Friday we met my Mom for lunch as she was down for the day doing work in Salt Lake. We all enjoyed good sandwiches at Kneaders. Afterward, my dad gave me my uncle's tickets to the Utah Jazz game versus the Cleveland Cavaliers. I was a fun game to watch and the Jazz held 3 of the 5 top plays on Sportscenter that night. That is usually how I gauge if it was a good game or not. After the game, we grabbed a late night beto's burrito and made it just in time for our dollar movie at 10:30. Quite the eventful and fun evening.

Saturday was my 6th Grade Jr. Jazz team's second game. The first game they won 43-24 and the second game they won again but this time only by 17 points. They are a fun team to coach! After the game, we worked out (we have consistently been working out 4 times a week since New long will it last?) and got ready for a fun evening with our friends the Kelleys and Enyons. We went to the FastKart Raceway and used up our AWESOME Christmas gift from Hilary. We raced Courtney and Mike and it was fun. McKenzie and I both found it interesting how our emotions played out in a circumstance where we were having a lot of fun in a different way than usual but how tired and ready to be done we were in the end. By about the 17th lap of jerking a go-cart around sharp corners at 30 mph, we both felt our arms wearing out and the adrenaline rush settling and were ready for the checkered flag to fly.

After racing we placed our name on the waiting list at red iguana in SLC. We had an hour to kill and spent some time at the Gateway mall. McKenzie and Courtney were able to shop around and Mike and I found a television to watch the Packers beat the Falcons. While we watched at dick's sports, we played a fun game of putt putt and tried to create difficult shots for each other. It was a good way to kill time.

Later when we met up with our other friends Jeff and Natalie Eynon, we got back to Red Iguana at exactly an hour after they told us and they had given our table away so we waited another hour to be seated. I was surprised how frustrated I was but again surprised how quickly that frustration settled once our food came. That place is daggum good!

On Monday (MLK Day) we decided to go for an adventure and took a drive out to Antelope Island. Because this drive is over 1.5 hours, it required two things, sunflower seeds and sweats. If you are going to be in a car for a while you need to feel comfortable (sweats) and having something to chew on (sunflower seeds)! On our way to the island we stopped at Quiznos to grab sandwiches to take for a picnic. I really like Quiznos food but I have always thought their service was the worst. This visit changed my mind. As we walked in and as usual, we started debating whether to try something new or to get the usual that we were always happy with. McKenzie mentioned that we should try the Italian because we liked Subway's Italian so much. We decided against it and got two chicken sandwiches. As we were checking out we saw a third sandwich that had been put in our bag; the manager wanted us to try the Italian in order to show us how much better Quiznos is the Subway. Although the sub wasn't better, the manager's act changed my mind about Quiznos customer service.

We got out to the island and it was a perfect day to be there; 45 degrees, sunny, and a slight breeze. We journeyed down the west side of the island (as a year earlier we toured the east coast with the Hursts over Thanksgiving). We found a great picnic spot that had a table overlooking one of the beaches and not many people were in sight.

After eating lunch, we went for a hike that turned into a photo-shoot/buffalo chasing expedition. McKenzie and I tried to be respectful of the animals and keep our distance but when we saw people just a few yards away from them, it was hard not to want to run and touch them. Stupid yea, but something about getting closer and closer was very appealing. We resisted.

When we returned home we realized that we had homework and other obligations that we had put off all weekend. Oh if every weekend could be MLK weekend.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Chicago and Hilary

August 2, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,
In the Hyde family, when someone slips up with the words they use or says something ridiculously clumsy, we call it a “Maloha” (Ask Michelle Hyde for more details). One day, before my mission, I was sniffing peanut butter and then I said, “Why does peanut butter smell like peanuts?” I obviously knew that peanut butter would smell like peanuts, but I wondered why it doesn't smell like something more desirable, like cotton candy. McKenzie said something yesterday that reminded me of this "Maloha." "You know what would be good in Applesauce? Apples!" She obviously knows that applesauce has apples, but the crunch of a slice of apple would be a good addition to the sauce.
Because McKenzie and I were apart for a good amount of time, you will get two perspectives of the last half of the week so she can describe her adventures she had with Hilary.
My Perspective
Our week went by very quickly. In my mind, it was the quickest week of the summer. I had a lot of work to do on Monday and Tuesday and McKenzie was busy getting ahead with school so that she could have a good time while Hilary was here. Wednesday morning, we woke up early to a buzz at our door. Hilary had arrived and was ready to party. I got ready, finished packing, and headed for the airport on my way to Chicago for the end of summer intern wrap-up. As I made my way out the front door of our building, I noticed a large crowd gathered around a group of police officers and an ambulance behind our building. Our building doesn’t have anything to stop people from getting on the roof or from falling off; my initial though was that someone had fallen off our building. After asking someone watching, I found out that it was a filming of Law & Order. I didn’t have time to stop and watch, so I called McKenzie and recommend she head up to the roof for a better view (However, I was nervous that she and Hilary, as they were in their pajamas and hadn’t even put contacts in, might stumble off the roof…I was nervous the whole subway ride to the airport). She got some great pictures of our favorite actors from the best Law & Order, Special Victim’s Unit (SVU).
When I landed in Chicago, I took the train straight to the office. This summer I devoted a few hours every week to projects that I had to complete for my internship. These projects ranged from interviewing professionals at Huron to preparing a case study and presentation with a few other interns. When I got into the office, the other interns were waiting for me and I ended up in the office until 9 CST working with my group. When I finally reached the Hard Rock Hotel, I practiced my presentation several times until I felt comfortable enough to give my part in front of anyone. It felt very good to be so prepared the night before our presentation as most of the interns hadn’t even put together their PowerPoint slides. We were definitely in a great position to win the intern case competition. (A side note, even though it was great to be doing so well at work and enjoying the travel, I really missed McKenzie. That was the longest time I had been away from her since last Christmas.)
I was very nervous for our group’s presentation, but our preparation paid off. Even though there were a lot of big-guns that asked us very hard questions after our presentation and put us on the spot, our team did great. We each won a gift certificate to Cheesecake Factory.
Huron treats their interns well. They took us out to some great restaurants and the highlight of my trip was a bus tour around Chicago during a perfect day. The weather was amazing; low 70s with a great breeze. We didn’t just tour downtown; we went outside the city and did what they used to call the “ethnic tour,” now called the west side tour for obvious reasons. After all was said and done, I had a fun few days in Chicago and I am a little more confident that I will get an offer when they call me on August 23rd and tell me their decision.
Coming back to New York was good. I am glad Hilary and McKenzie had some sister time but I missed McKenzie a lot and was excited to be with Hilary. Friday evening they had a H&H bagel sandwich prepared when I got home and they were both ready to watch a Rocky movie. Hilary got us to watch three Rocky movies and Ratatouille over the weekend, and I loved every minute of it. I think we all needed a relaxing weekend after an adventurous and stressful week. Saturday morning we saw inception, maybe one of my top five favorite movies. It is amazing how influential a good movie can be on our thinking. I was glad to have to bright women with me to help explain what was going on.
After the movie, we took Hilary to the falafel restaurant that she recommended to us earlier this summer. We all enjoyed it and grabbed a strawberry, raspberry, and Thai basil smoothie to go with it. Interesting combination I know, but it was surprisingly refreshing.
Later that night we met up with some one of her friends from Notre Dame for a Shack Shake dinner. Shack Shake burgers are good, the fries are okay, and the shakes are pretty good. Overall, it was really fun having Hilary with us in New York.
Well I can’t believe we only have 9 days left in NY. We are glad we had a great summer, but we are excited to get home and spend some time with all of you. Love you all so much,

McKenzie’s Perspective
I am lucky that Austin did such a great job summing up last week. It makes my job pretty easy. I got some major giggles when he made me a sidenote in parenthesis from his awesome trip to Chicago!
My week with Hilary was great. After Hilary crashed for a few hours after an all-night trip to get out here, we hit the streets. We started off with Bravo Pizza and googled second-hand stores in the area. We spent the afternoon making our way from 38th st and 8th ave to 21st street and 2nd avenue. We saw a lot of fun stores. Our favorite was a thrift shop to benefit the New York City Opera. We spent an hour winding through the two floors of unique clothes and ended up buying the same dresses and hats as each other. We finished the night with Spicy Orange chicken at our favorite Chinese restaurant, a walk through Times Square, and then we just crashed.
At the start of our adventure I heard “McKenzie!” shouted from behind me. I turned and stared at a kid who I barely knew freshman year. It took me about 10 seconds to be able to form a reaction. I knew who he was and even his name, but it was so weird to see someone from two years ago that I knew better on facebook than in person. He is from Connecticut and was up with a friend for the day. He and all the other kids from my freshman year are just like time capsules, it will be fun to see them on campus in the fall. This whole summer I have been telling Austin how much I felt like I needed to randomly run into someone I know. What are the chances?!?
On Thursday we slept in, and tried White Castle as we headed out for the day. It was our first time for both of us. What is there to say about a bad, greasy mini cheeseburger in a small box? We spent the afternoon in SoHo, which I learned stands for “South of Houston” street. It is a fun cobble-stoned neighborhood with fun shops and art galleries. We had a goal to eat at Pauly Gee’s, a pizza place that Hilary and Taylor learned about from a blog and Hilary wanted to hit up. We got snacks and found a small water park with tables and benches in Lower East side. We sat and chatted and watched little neighborhood kids chase each other with squirt guns. It was fun to be in a completely non-tourist area in an older, off-the-beaten-path neighborhood and feel completely comfortable and enjoy being the only white people we could see! We walked across the Williamsburg Bridge, then another two miles after the bridge to get to the restaurant right when it opened. The restaurant was fun, the people really nice, the food was good, and it was so fun to just sit and relax and chat with Hilary. She visited with Pauly himself who prides himself in his Italian-made brick oven and making the pizzas himself. It was a long day with a ton of walking and I think wiped us both out for the rest of the weekend! On Friday, we headed up to up-town. We bought H&H bagels and ate them in central park while people watching, which never gets old. We went to the Met and walked through the European paintings gallery. I am impressed with how much stuff Hilary knows and remembers from classes she has taken. She gave me a lot better appreciation for what we were looking at. It was exciting for me when we got to the Italian paintings because there were a lot by artists that I studied in my Italian Renaissance art history class. I watched two teenagers looking miserable as they walked along with their Dad. I thought about how much I enjoyed the paintings because of what I remember from my class, and what Hilary was able to explain to me. It makes me wonder how much stuff I do not appreciate as I walk by, because I don’t know much about it.
We bought a dozen bagels on our way home. We think H&H bagels are the best bagels around. They are really chewy and dense and are amazing if you get them still warm. Austin didn’t like them. He thought they tasted like plastic. He grew up on Einstein bagels. I wondered how in the world he could think that, because OBVIOUSLY H&H are the best. But…if I grew up on House of Bagels, which are similar to H&H, and he knows Einstein, who is to say which are right if we are both just prone to like what we know? (I still stand with H&H).
It was awesome to have Hilary here. I am so glad she came to visit us. She is so fun and generous and I love being with her! We laughed and talked and ate McDonalds at 12:30 am in Times Square and watched Rocky movies and spooned in the same bed. It was so great to have her be with me, especially when Austin was gone.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The New York Minute

July 24, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

We write you all from the laundromat around the corner from our apartment. The people who run it are extremely nice; we come here about every week and a half to wash all of our dirty clothes. We haul it all in our awesome Costco bags that Philip and Elizabeth gave me for my birthday a few years ago. We use them to do carry our laundry and groceries, so they have definitely come in handy! This morning, Austin got up early to play Basketball with the Elder’s quorum at 8, in a park close to Battery Park City, in the financial district. I got up with him and ran down to meet him at the courts, and we walked most of the way back home. Right along the Hudson River on the west side of Manhattan, the city has obviously put a ton of money into making the Hudson River Park. They have made a path for pedestrians, with bathrooms and water fountains, playgrounds for kids, dog play areas, grass and trees for lounging, tennis and basketball courts and so on. There are a few bums that take advantage of the shade, but overall the park is clean and well kept and definitely well used by every sort of person. It’s fun to take advantage of those sorts of things. On our walk back, we talked about how we have been wanting for a long time to send an update on our lives to all of our loved-ones. We are lucky to be close to and surrounded by so many people while we are at school in Utah. It’s weird to feel so far away. We appreciate everyone’s efforts to stay connected with us, and so we want to send a little update of our lives up to this point in the city.

It is hard to know where to start, so I think I will work backwards! Yesterday was Austin and my three-month anniversary. A month ago, he came home with a bunch of gorgeous flowers and two tickets to Toy Story 3. The movie was the best ever! But even better is how thoughtful he was. After we saw the new Robin Hood with Russell Crowe in San Jose, Austin had been talking about the original with Kevin Costner. I had never seen it, so I bought him the DVD from Best Buy and shipped it to his office. We made dinner together and watched the movie. At chapter 17, the screen went blank! We couldn’t figure out what was wrong with the DVD, and there was no second disk. We were disappointed and figure it was something wrong with the DVD. After our run and a nice nap, we walked to Best Buy and exchanged the faulty disk, then tested the new one on one of their DVD problems. Same problem. We had the manager wondering if it was a problem with the factory, until a grunt worker popped the DVD in and the movie started playing where it had left off. We didn’t even think that the rest of the movie would be on the other side of the disk, and didn’t even both to read the small writing on the center of the disk that told us what we needed to know. How many Hydes does it take to work a DVD?? How embarrassing. After over an hour of our time, we came back and finally finished the movie.

Rick Harper texted Austin again this week to tell us he had another layover scheduled in New York on Thursday. He is a pilot for Delta whose trips frequently bring him out to the city. A month ago he treated us to lunch at Bravo Pizza with his daughter Bonnie. He is an intense guy; there is never a dull moment! We decided to catch a Yankees vs. Kansas City Royals game with him and his pilot buddy at the Yankee stadium. A few weeks ago we were treated to a Mets game by Austin’s work. They paid for everything, even the infamous Shake Shack burgers and shakes. In comparing the two, Austin says, “We are definitely more Mets’ fans”. We had a good time at both games.

Our weekday lives are pretty predictable. Austin works from about 9-5:30. I meet him every day for lunch in Bryant Park. It is a beautiful park just a block from his work at a ten minute walk from our apartment. We’ll eat leftovers or sandwiches or grab something local. Some of our favorites have been Bravo pizza, a pizza place my family and I ate at 3 times in one weekend last summer! Their margarita pizza and Riccotta pizzas are our favorites. We’ve also discovered a garlic mixture you sprinkle on top that makes it good. They sell buttery, garlic knots, which are our favorites! We have gone to a place called Main Noodle House several times. Probably the best Chinese food I have ever eaten! I am staying busy with my three classes. I usually go to the library after lunch and stay until Austin is done. I am enjoying the classes but even more I like staying busy.

Our apartment is quirky and comfortable. It is a lot bigger than a couple others in our ward. It has brick and yellow and green and orange walls. There are Buddha heads and statues and porelain jars and crazy masks on the walls. There is a lot of personality for sure. We are on the fourth floor. The owner of the building also owns the Italian restaurant called Carbone on the first floor. Alessandro is in his late-fifties. He’s been here for three years and speaks with a really thick accent. If we come home around 7 he will be talking to a little bird he claims comes to see him everyday.

It seems like we have done a lot sine we have been here. We went to the New York Aquarium and Coney island, where we witnessed the Mermaid Day Parade. We watched We watched Goldfinger at Bryant park as part of their summer movie nights. We went to Rockaway beach. They actually have beaches here! We went to the Met and Central Park, the UN, two baseball games. We walked the Highline, which is an old railroad track that winds its way through the buildings on 10th street. They raised a lot of money to tear it down, but then decided to use the money to make it usable. It’s lined with greenery and art and offers a cool view of the buildings.

We have had a great time and are sad that we only have a few weeks left in New York. However, we are excited to see you all and finish up our last year of school. Love you guys lots!