Super Bowl 2014: DInner with Dione

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Day 2 opened with us looking out our window, with a gorgeous view of St Patricks Cathedral. Sadly, it is currently under restoration and so only parts are visible under the scaffolding, but what was uncovered is stunningly beautiful. After a lovely breakfast with our group, hubby took off for a couple hours of meetings while I took a tour through the infamous Sak’s on 5th Avenue. It really is worth the trip to see. It is a shoe lovers paradise, with an entire floor dedicated to womens shoes. Oh my! While I love shoes, my favorite room is the main floor where all the fragrances, makeup and handbags are located. I love all the wood, soft lighting, high ceilings and marble floors. It’s a beautifully maintained, old building in one of the older cities of the country, and its worth the peek inside.

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Meetings done and rejoined with my spouse, we decided to check out SuperBowl Boulevard. Oh, holy mother of jelly beans, it was a ZOO! The walk over was a delight. Being a saturday, the streets were walkable, and the weather was, for me, nearly 100 degrees warmer than in Minnesota, so extremely pleasant!. The exception, however, was the Boulevard! I am not exaggerating when I say it was a shoulder to shoulder, sea of tourist madness, that would wither even the stoutest diehard fans endurance. Dear, sweet Big Man bravely tolerated about two blocks, for the sake of his adventurous woman, then breathed a sigh of gratitude when I had my fill of mass humanity and veered off on a side street.

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Together, we then, toured the inside of the cathedral we overlooked from our room. However, the amount of scaffolding on the inside exceeded that which was outdoors and made it impossible to see its’ beauty! A few areas were restored and viewable, and if those little peeks are any indication, when the project is finally finished, it will truly be a priority #1 New York City destination.

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As evening approached, it was time to get ready for our scheduled dinner. We were whisked off in buses to the New York City Public Library. This is another beautifully restored building.

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While we enjoyed delightfully delicious appetizers, the New York Young Peoples Chorus sang a compliment of songs that absolutely charmed us.

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At the conclusion, it was off to the ballroom where we sat for dinner, served to us on beautiful china, with gold rimmed stemware. The beautifully restored, domed room was wrapped in tea lights, and I was charmed by my football table host, Dione Sanders. What a wonderfully charming and humble man. He truly could be a modern day ‘Cheaper by the Dozen’ as he ticked off the gaggle and menagerie of people living in his home! Ray Lewis, another table host, came up and gave him a huge bear hug. These men may be competitors on the field, but as I have come to understand, many are dear friends off the field.

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(Chris Meyers, Steve Young, Ray Lewis, Dione Sanders)

After dessert, Chris Meyers moderated an intimate interview and Q & A, including the two of them, who was also joined by Steve Young. Once again, being the wallflower I am, I put my hand up and asked the first question. Dione, having already gotten to know me, addressed me as ‘Miss Minnesota’. (I can only dream!) My question to the three of them was: ‘You all are very successful in your lives and careers, who or what in your life keeps you grounded and your heads on straight?’

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(Ray Lewis and Dione Sanders)

It was refreshing and uplifting to hear accomplished, successful grown men talk with respect, reverence and gratitude about the influence and accountability their mothers roles had, and continue to have, in their lives. Answering last, Steve Young added faith in Christ, something I found particularly uplifting and brave in this current climate of religion phobia we have.

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(Steve Young)

After another wonderful event meeting pro-ball players, I have had my preconceptions of the NFL completely shattered. You must understand, being in Minnesota, the Vikings have not been the best of role models as ambassadors for their sport. Running over meter maids is not what most parents have aspirations for their children to role model and take after. But these intelligent, articulate, experienced, and surprisingly humble men are responsible for changing this old lady’s perception.

And that, was a the wonderful conclusion to day two. Tomorrow: Game Day.


Super Bowl 2014 – Dinner with QuarterBacks

We flew in to New York as the sun set. It was a beautiful sight, with a gorgeous pink sky as a backdrop to the lights of a big city beginning to twinkle. Upon arrival at our hotel, The Palace, we were whisked up to the second floor where there was a reception desk set up, given all our credentials and shown to our room. After a brief freshening up, we headed back down to cocktails and dinner.

Following dinner, we were entertained by Ron ‘Jaws’ Jaworski, and two well known quarterbacks: Eagles Nick Foles and San Francisco’s Collin Kaepernick. Jaws gave us his analysis of the upcoming game, and asked the young QB’s various questions about their own careers and their opinions of this years game match up. Then it was opened up to our small group to ask questions.

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Being the shy mabel I am, of course I stood up and asked the only NON-football oriented question: “Who, in your life, was the most pivotal, inspiring and motivating person in your life? Who was it that helped you to get where you are today?”

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I was extremely pleased to hear both young men answer that they were inspired by their hard working, self-sacrificing parents who instilled self-discipline, drive, and a work ethic that has helped them to succeed. As a parent of two young adults, it was rewarding and affirming to know that we are instrumental in the creation and development of a successful person!

These young men were just charming. After the Q & A, we had the opportunity to chat personally, and grab a photo with them. I found both to be honest, humble and a true delight. With the over-hyped characatures the media puts on display for public consumption (our Vikings escapades are a horrifying example), it’s easy to stereotype all football players in a less than flattering light. It was a pleasant experience to have those preconceptions shattered. These are athelets I would be honored to have my child look up to and role model!

That about wraps up day one. Tomorrow: Dinner with Dione

*I currently have no photos to attach, as I’m trying to figure out how to get the photos off my phone and on to my ipad (apples streaming isn’t working for some reason), and so I will have to add the pictures later. (One of these days I WILL master technology!)


SuperBowl Bound-Day One

I didn’t expect my first post back from hiatus to be a trip to the Super Bowl, but, well, my life is unconventional at times, and I’ve learned to roll with it! So, instead of sharing my travel advice from sunny Puerto Rico, (to break my writers block) I am going to give a day by day, blow by blow, of our fun filled time headed to New Jersey for the All American event called ‘The Super Bowl’. (I will be sharing my Puerto Rico traveling tips, and gluten free experiences when I get back, be patient!)

Currently as I type, (I intend to keep it current daily, yeah, nothing like good intentions!) I am winging it from snowy frigid Minnesota to snowy but less frigid New York City. Yes, I know, the Super Bowl is in New Jersey, but we are staying at the Palace Hotel in NYC. It’s ironic really, as my husband and I are not football fans. In fact, we really are not sports fans in any traditional sense of the word. Our girls were equestrians. Yep, we lived the horse world, from which we are recently, (and too be honest quite happily) divested. Not only are horses a budget buster, (the things we sacrifice for our children!) but it is a sport which can be rather singularly individualistic. Me, being well, me, I made it a party. Loving to love on our group, it was not unusual that a typical ‘show’ would consist of a chicken cesear salad ‘luncheon’ to be eaten in lawn chairs in the scorching sun surrounded by a lot of hot dirt and dust. Equestrian is not a ‘team’ sport in the normal sense of the word. The girls did have ‘teammates’ who rode with the same trainer but when it came down to the wire, it was my girls and their horses who did the competing. It most certainly is not an environment where a bunch of fans all congregate, have a huge party and get noisy wild! No, it is a slow paced, patience testing, mentally challenging, endurance sport. Lots of hurry up and wait. The sport is stamina testing, learning how to keep calm and relaxed under duress for extended periods of time, (so as to keep the horse and rider calm and yet focused) which can be a grueling marathon for both horse and rider. So, when I say that the game of football is lost on me, I mean it sincerely. It is a world which, having horse-loving girls, we did not experience.

So, you might be wondering, why am I excited?

IT’S A PARTY! And that, my friends, is right up my wheel house! Parties? I know those! I know how to host a party and I know how to appreciate being a guest, and we are lucky enough to be guests of a group that knows how to not only have fun, but knows how to make their guest feel special! That, is a party I cannot refuse.

When we arrive in NYC there will be a reception and if past experience holds true, we will be meeting with the new up and coming rock stars of the NFL. More to come….