What's running though my mind comes through in my walk / True feelings are shown by the way that I talk. ~MCA Adam Yauch 1964-2012

Monday, December 31, 2012

Dear Google....

I watched your 2012 in review and must say that I find it unacceptable that you found time to put Honey Boo Boo and that monstrosity of a fresco restoration in your review but couldn't spare 2 seconds for Adam Yauch.

But that’s ok.  Those of us that love Adam Yauch and the Beastie Boys know how important they are to music and the World.

EDIT-Ok..it was pointed out to me on Tumblr that the reason for the omission may in fact be due to the fact that Adam's will prohibits the use of his image in advertising.  I was looking at the Google retrospect as that, not as a commercial, but it make sense now.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Living on a Budget - Dinner for Under $11!

Since I unexpectedly found myself unemployed, I have been looking for ways to feed my family of four frugally, but what I didn't want is to feed them unhealthy foods.  I have come across quite a few sites that reference Depression Era recipes, which I tried out last week with pretty good success.  They fed my family with leftovers to spare, as well as being pretty healthy.

Today, I found Miserlymoms and got some ideas to try.  Going off their version of Hamburger Rice Casserole, I added a few things and substituted others to come up with a recipe that comes in at under $11. I have not done the calculations on calories and fat, but as I used healthy ingredients, I am sure it's healthy meal.

Kelly's Turkey, Bean, and Rice Casserole


20 ounce package Shady Brook Farms 85% Lean Ground Turkey $3.99
Half a chopped onion $0.30
Half a chopped pepper $0.40
1 15.5 oz can Goya Low Sodium Black Beans, drained and rinced $0.89
1 can Del Monte Petite Cut Tomatoes With Chipotle Chilies .99
1 24 oz jar Ragu Sauce $1.67
1 bag My Essentials Boil-in-bag Brown Rice $0.66
½  package Simply Organic Fajita Seasoning Mix $0.85
1/2 cup Shredded pepper jack cheese $0.59

Start boiling the boil in bag rice while browning ground turkey.  When turkey is almost done, add the chopped onion and pepper to cook all together.  Drain the turkey and add the fajita seasoning.  Once the turkey and rice is cooked, mix turkey, rice, beans, diced tomatoes, and ragu sauce(and any other spice and seasonings you like) together in a 9X13 Pyrex dish.  Place in 350 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes.  Really just to get it hot and combine all the flavors.   Take out of oven to sprinkle the cheese over top and place back in to melt.  

I served this with some avocado and sliced cucumbers and there was plenty of leftovers to freeze for later.

Pretty tasty!!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

My heart goes out to the town of Newtown, CT for the unimaginable tragedy that they have endured.  It hurts my heart to think the pain they are going through and for the loss of those 20 little souls and 6 of their teachers, including the principal and school counselor.  

The prayers of a Nation are with you, Newtown.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

When life throws you a curve ball...facing unemployment

Yesterday I went to work as an Administrative Assistant in the HR department of the organization I work for like I always did, with no indication of how it would end.

By the end of the day, I was unemployed.  I was told at 4pm that I was not coming back the next day...do not pass go, do not collect $200.  Eleven days before Christmas, my family's income was slashed in half.

The "official" reason seemed to be that I wouldn't work with my new supervisor.  I worked with my last supervisor with absolutely no problems or no complaints.  It could be that with that supervisor, I knew exactly what I was supposed to do, but she also trusted me to do my job.  My new supervisor wasn't familiar with our organization and since I wanted to keep our department running smoothly, I tried to take care of the every day stuff that needed to get done. Even last week, I thought we were good because I said to my supervisor that between the three of us, we could have a "kick ass" Human Resources Department, and she agreed.  What I thought was initiative and being proactive was apparently misconstrued as "wanting to do your own thing".

I had a half hour to clear my desk and was asked to unceremoniously take the side door out. I'm still not so sure that  I wasn't canned because they either didn't want a throwback from the last HR director getting in the way of the progress of the new one or they are trying to save themselves money by eliminating my position, but instead of being decent enough to just lay me off with notice, they found three relatively minor mistakes that I made, mistakes that maybe warrant a verbal warning, and used them as an excuse to fire me.

Now I am going to admit something....I will not lie and say I was the best employee.  Very frequently I felt like it wasn't a good fit for me and there were many days that I went to work with a sigh, not wanting to be there.  I am sure that no matter how hard I worked, or met deadlines, and tried to convince myself that I had it pretty good, that attitude showed through. I will not sit here and make it out that I was a super employee, because I wasn't.  I did what I had to do for the paycheck.

Nonetheless, I was still stunned...in shock.  I cried on and off for the most of the night...then I was mad...then I started to worry about the financial future of my family...then was mad again...then I was sad.  I told my man how sorry I was...that maybe if I was a better employee, that I would still have a job.  His response was that any agency that would let someone go two weeks before Christmas will always find a reason to let someone go.

I ended my day applying for unemployment for the first time in my life.  Now I can be the draw on society that the Republicans complain about.

Here's the weird part though.  As I woke up this morning, my first day as an out of work 40 year old, I didn't feel heavy-hearted and I didn't feel down. I felt relief and a bit of excitement.  No, not of the prospect of living on unemployment, but for the fact that almost every great epic story starts very similar to what I am experiencing now.  I think this is the Cosmos' way of telling me that my path is ahead and I need to head towards it.  Maybe I will find that job that fits me better or maybe I can finish school and help people like I always wanted to.  Maybe this will allow me to improve my relationships with my children, as I will be home more and not be weighed down by whatever happened at work.

Who knows, but I do know that I refuse to look at this as a disaster. Just a few weeks ago, when I turned 40, I stated, "I feel like I am at the cusp of an epic journey and I am anxious to get on with it." That has not wavered.  

This, my friends, is a journey to be taken!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Adam Yauch - Teacher, Bodhisattva

In the seven months since Adam Yauch has been gone, I have learned more about life and enlightenment than I ever had in my life before. I had been searching for the proverbial meaning of life. Went to different churches, read a variety of books, you name it, never finding the answers.

Then, on May 4, 2012, I heard that Adam Yauch died. I’m not going to pretend that I was a Beasties Super fan before that day. I had let life get in the way of my paying attention to all the magic that these boys had to offer, but I do remember that everytime they came out with something new or when Saboage came on the radio, I would lose my shit! I remember how they came out with “In a World Gone Mad” just when I wondered if anyone was going to speak out about the War. And I remember that out of the three, it was MCA’s voice that I loved to hear and watching him on film was like being hypnotized.

I was so far out of the loop that I didn’t even know he was sick, but when I found out that he died, I called my boyfriend from work to say, “I’m so sad….Adam Yauch died!” So even though I wasn’t paying attention before, I knew the loss was great.

In the seven months since Adam left us, I have caught up on what I missed and through that, I have learned so much in how a person can evolve, how to be more compassionate, how to make a vow to help others yet not lose myself, learn to be a sentient being, how to be a grownup, yet not be….and still be a badass in the process. I was taught lessons in how to live and die with grace and dignity and how you can start off one way and journey to a whole other level.

Today I started my day with mediatation, then the “Bodhisattva Vow” and “I Don’t Know”…it all seems to fit, doesn’t it? You have taught me so much, MCA….my teacher, my bodhisattva.

Monday, November 26, 2012

On turning 40...

If there are any other "Lord of the Rings" geeks out there, you will remember the scene at the end of the "Return of the King" film when Bilbo Baggins is getting on the boat to the Undying Lands, he smiles and says, "I think I'm quite ready for another adventure!"

 That's how I feel about turning 40 years old today. I feel excited about the potential that is ahead of me and of the lesson that I have learned in my 40 years that has helped me grow as a person. I feel like I am at the cusp of an epic journey and I am anxious to get on with it. I've spent the first part of my life growing, learning, making mistakes, and paying for some of those mistakes. I've learned to forgive and let go of the past. I've been raising two beautiful boys and although they are getting at the ages where they may not always want me in their business, I know and they know that I will always be there for them.

But I also have to to be there for me. I spent much of my life worrying about how others see me, about whether I looked right, talked right, was thin enough, if I was supermom and the price I paid was forgetting who my true authentic self was. I find it quite refreshing where I am now, not caring too much what other think of me. I care not if someone thinks me wearing a Beastie Boys shirt while shopping, or sees a flash of my pink polka dotted silly socks under my office casual at work and finds me ridiculous. It doesn't bother me when stylists try to talk me into dying my hair to cover my gray because somehow society has placed a higher value on looking young while pouring chemicals on your head then just rocking what you have.

I am not the same person I was when I was a child, or as a teenager, or in the twenties. Hell, I am not the same person I was 5 years, or even 2 years ago.  I know that I am a constant work in progress, an ever evolving being.

So instead of looking at 40 as the "beginning of then end" where my body falls apart and my life slows down, I choose to see it like Bilbo saw that boat...as an adventure.

And I'm quite ready for it!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

On weight loss and how people view themselves.

I notice a trend in many of the weight loss commercials and stories out there. It usually involves a person being delightfully happy that they have finally lost the weight that burdened them. They feel free, they feel light, and they feel empowered. It's a great place to be when one sets a goal and works hard to get it. Why, though, do so many of these stories add a part where they talk about what a loser they were when they were overweight? Yes, I get it...I have been slightly overweight my whole life and it wasn't until I made the lifestyle change to exercise more and eat more whole foods that I started to get it under control and yes, I did go through a phase of self-loathing because of my weight until I realized that overweight or thin, I was an on-going work in progress. I guess what I am saying is that I believe you set yourself up for failure if you think that all your life's ills will be magically fixed by weight loss. I also believe that if you see your overweight self as a loser, you missed the point of the journey. What one is and where one is at a particular point in their life's journey is precisely where one needs to be for lessons learned and experiences lived. I am not a different person because I lost 15 pound with 15 more to go. If I am a different person it's because I grew and evolved out of any bad habits I had. I will continue to be as different 10 years from now as I was 10 years ago. I will continue to evolve as a person long after the weight it gone. We are all an on-going work in progress.

Monday, November 05, 2012

My thoughts the day before Election Day

You can feel the excitement in the air!  Tomorrow is Election Day and I am quite ready for it to be done with. I'm tired of the negativity, of the finger pointing, and of politics as usual.

I am ready for President Obama to have a second term and be able to continue to bring about what he tried to do in his first term, but couldn't get any cooperation.  Who knows, maybe with this term he won't get any either.  I like to wish that the "we will make him a once term President" brigade will see their folly and actually do the job that they were elected to do.  

I'm not going to lie and say that I'm not concerned that President Obama could lose this.  I'm not going by the polls because I think polls are dubious as best.  I'm concerned because of the underlying racial tones that aren't so hidden anymore.  There's an anger that runs deeper, a hate that those against Obama can't hide.  As a woman, I am deeply concerned about how far back we will be set back with a man like Mitt Romney, who I perceive as a man who will never see a woman as his equal, running the Country 

I would like to see the return of the Moderates....both Republican and Democrat.  When we are polarized, we cannot compromise.  United we stand, divided we fall.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

I still miss Adam Yauch....

May 4th, 2012 started with me goofily telling people "May the Fourth Be with You" and ended with my heart breaking.  Halfway through that day I saw the first post on Tumblr regarding his death and I was shocked.  So many were.  Yes, he was fighting cancer, but I think there was so many people rooting for him and sending so much energy his way, we thought he'd pull through.

Adam Yauch was a legend, he was an icon, but he was also a man, a husband, a father, and a humanitarian. To be honest, I wasn't a big fan of the Beasties until they grew up a bit from their "Licensed to Ill" days.  Many people say they took a trip to "Serious Island", but what they did was grow up and it was good!

I still miss him like hell.

Friday, November 02, 2012

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

This was one of the topic prompts set on Blogher and since I have a dream place to live, I thought I would try to answer it.

My first response would be Ireland.  I suppose this comes from being part Irish and always wanting to see it.   When I see photos of Ireland, I always seem to get this feeling in my heart, like I am missing home.  I always thought it was a genetic imprint from my past ancestors that left the shores of Ireland praying to be able to see it again.

"And when I'm alone, Far away from home
I'll think of the good times once more
Until I can make it back
Some day
Here to Paddy's green shamrock shore"

There is something about being Irish that I am proud of.  I come from a people that came to this country to survive and to be able to come back, if only for a visit, would be a perfect way to honor those who braved a whole new world and, to some extent, helped build that new world.

But when I think about it all, I guess if I could live anywhere, I would live anywhere that I am with those that I love.  Home is where the heart is and home is what you make it.  In fact, I'm not living in the most exciting place, but I am surrounded by those I love....my sons and my man.

One day I would love to see Ireland, but home will always be with those I love.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Five More Days until Election Day and it's time to continue to move forward, not back!

I can't believe that it's only five more days until Election Day!!  It seems like the Election Seasons are getting longer and LONGER, kind of like how Christmas decorations are out before Halloween in the stores.  I have to admit that I have not been as into it as past election seasons. 

I suppose most of it is due to the fact that I have always been a supporter of our President and did not waver in that support.  I wasn't always happy with how things were going and was completely frustrated by the lack of "Change" in his first term, but I do not think that failure is on him. I believe it fell squarely in the shoulders of a broken system and a lack of compromise.  Regardless, I have maintained my support for him.

Now is not the time to go backwards and that's where I believe we would be headed if Mitt Romney becomes President.  Everything that President Obama had to fight tooth and nail for would be picked apart and left on the curb.  As a woman, I am especially concerned of what my place in this world could become, considering the lack of education and compassion that the far Right seem to have for women's issues.

All I am saying is that I don't believe that President Obama has been given a fair chance to show how much he can shine.  My hopes are that with a second term, those that opposed him so much by spending more energy trying to make him a one term President will work with him and build this country back.  Instead of fighting, we need to come together.

That is my hope. That is my wish.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

One of my favorite blogs - Marc and Angle Hack Life

I came across this blog quite by accident.  I was looking around on the Web for advice on how to find faith in things again.  Don't get me wrong, I am not depressed, I love my life and those in it, but I do find that I have lost my faith in certain things, like the political system, the fact that most people are inherently good, what God is or isn't, you know....the deep questions you start asking yourself when you are on the cusp of 40 years old.

I believe the first blog post that I read from this site was 30 Things to Start Doing for Yourself.  I pretty much love lists anyway and once I read that, I just went from one to another. 

Yesterday, I read this from the post 10 Ways To Live With No Regrets:

Dear Marc and Angel,
I am a 38-year old college drop-out whose childhood dream was to become a psychologist like my grandfather. Right now, I am a librarian at a city library who moonlights on the side as a life coach. I enjoy my day job, but my life coaching gig is the work that really moves me – it gives me a chance to indirectly dabble in psychological counseling. This side gig has started to gain traction, and
several of my recent clients have told me that I would have made a great medical psychologist.

But if I go back to college and get my degree, then go to graduate school, then complete my internship and dissertation, and finally begin my own legitimate psychologist/counseling practice, it will take me almost eight years from today. And, in eight years I will be 46 years old!

I’m trying to decide what I want to do. Do you have any thoughts or advice for me?
An Inspired Reader

Dear Inspired Reader,
Sometimes asking the right question is the answer. Therefore, we have one for you:

In eight years from today, how old will you be if you don’t do it?

Marc and Angel
That answer absolutely FLOORED me!  How often do we tell ourselves that we are not good enough, that we can't do it, or that we don't have enough time or too old to follow our dream?  If not now, then when?  Tomorrow isn't guaranteed. 

Anyway, if you want to be truly inspired and want a motivational kick in the ass, I highly recommend this website!

Marc and Angel Hack Life - Practical Tips for Productive Living

Friday, October 26, 2012

"Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail"

I just finished "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail" by Cheryl Strayed last night and I am so glad that I read this book.  I first heard about it on Super Soul Sunday and was compelled about Cheryl Strayed's account of when she hiked the Pacific Coast Trail by herself in 1995 at the age of 25.  She talks of how she came to be there, how the journey was to help her grow from the life she was living and how she tried to heal from the death of her mother.

Nothing I write here could do this book justice.  All I can do is highly recommend that you read it.  I was enthralled by her story, of the level of courage it took for her to not only make a 1,100 mile hike in the wild of the PCT by herself, but to be able to face her past, her pain, and her mistakes.  I rooted for her most of the time, rolled my eyes over some of her obvious mistakes when it came to hiking, but mostly I understood where she was coming from, having had great loss early in my life myself.  I also know the therapeutic nature of going out in the woods to clear your mind and center.

If you need a story to motivate and inspire you, this book is it!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Parents May Sue Over Yoga Practices

Parents May Sue Over Yoga Lessons

For the life of me I cannot fathom why people are so threatened by yoga.  These parents are afraid that teaching yoga to children is indoctoring them into the Hindu religion.

For one, what is wrong with children learning about other World religions?  In my opinion, the more they know, the more tolerant they become.

Secondly, being that it is a school event, I am sure that the people carrying out this program are more than aware of the separation of Church and State and are mainly focusing on the relaxation and fitness benefits of yoga.  Being that the program is being paid with funds from an outside source that is looking to promote yoga in the schools, I don't see the problem.  Simply enough, if you don't want your child to take yoga, don't let them, but to me, it's a shame to limit them.

Being that these parents seem to be uptight as hell, I think yoga in the schools may be a good thing if only to encourage a new generation to not be so closed minded and troubled.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Lance Armstrong Stripped of All Seven Tour De France Titles

Lance Armstrong Banned From Cycling - Huffington Post

I cannot begin to tell you all how sad I am at all of this. There is this part of me, the innocent child part of me, that wants to believe that this whole thing is just a witch hunt, that Lance Armstrong is, in fact, the same epic athlete that he always was.  The man who came back from cancer and not only perservered in the sport of cycling, but also brought so much attention to the fight against cancer that many who previously did not pay attention, did.  The man so many people looked up to, so many kids wanted to be, so many rooting for him....

But there is that other part of me, the skeptic, the jaded part of me that has seen too many of our heroes falter and fail, that I cannot help but lump him in with the many that have let us down.  You see, I don't expect athletes, actors, politicians, and musicians to be heroes, but I do want them to be honest.  I want them to be what they say they are, to be real. 

Lance still says that he's innocent.  That it's a witch hunt.  I always thought that those that testified again him were just jealous.  I tell myself that there has yet to be a positive test to his supposed doping, but then on the flip side, Lance will no longer fight and he is stepping down from his Livestrong organization.  It looks guilty, yet that part of me still wants to believe in him.

It's heartbreaking.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Something I whipped up today....very tasty

I was looking through my Sparkpeople cookbook and they has a recipe for Slow Cooker Turkey Sausage and Bean Stew and I was going to make it to the letter, but then veered of course a bit.  Most of this is from that recipe, but I think I ruined the "healthy portion" of it by using turkey kielbasa instead.

This is my version -

Two packages of Butterball Turkey Kielbasa
Chopped Onion
Baby Carrots sliced in half
A Can of Great Northern Beans (drained and rinsed)
A Can of Pink Beans (drained and rinsed)
A Can of Diced Tomatoes
Package of Taco Seasonings (I use Simply Organic Southwest Taco Seasonings - it's organic and MSG free)
I also added a half of a small can of leftover sauerkraut, but that wasn't part of the original recipe.

Layer all the ingredients in a slow cooker and add a cup of water. Cook on high for 4 hours.

I served this with Honey Hush Cornbread and it was YUMMY!!

Great for Sunday afternoon football or a potluck!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The 2nd Presidential Debate - The Morning After

I wanted to give my take of the 2nd Presidential Debate before I got too into all the opinion from both sides. I wanted to watch it, think about it, and sleep on it because I think that the media puts too much on the things that aren't important and, in the end, it clouds the issues.

There were many highlights during the debate which will be hashed out over and over and OVER again in the media, but here are a few that definitely caught my attention:

Romney not answering one young woman's question about women getting equal pay (which, by the way, I cannot even believe that we are still discussing) by stating that when he was getting his cabinet together in Massachusetts  he asked women's groups to bring him candidates and they brought him "binders full of women".  Before I even went to bed last night, it was starting to trend so I imagine that comment is going to become a part of our culture as well as haunt Romney for the rest of the campaign.  I don't believe for a moment that Romney was dismayed by the lack of women so much as covering his ass should he be asked why there were no women in his cabinet.  His comment about a women getting home in time to make dinner for her family set the feminist off in me, too.

Romney's comments about gun control and a two parent family left me shaking my head.  I suppose in Romney's perfect world, mom and dad would always be there, but that is not always the case and ALL types of families should be honored.  A single mom can teach her child tolerance and respect just as much as a mom and dad can.  It's the members of the family, not the make up of the family, that makes it strong.

One of the more important points in this debate was made by President Obama when he brought up women's health issues in relation to women in the work force.  With the Republican platform of cuts to Planned Parenthood and women's health care, it would leave many women uninsured and without health care.  Without health care, women will fall prey to preventable issues such as an unplanned pregnancy and cancers, such as ovarian, cervical, and breast cancer.  We can't be a force in the work place if we are knocked up and dropping of cancer, now can we?  I'm thrilled that President Obama brought it up.

Candy Crowley actually fact checked Romney during the debate....and the crowd claps.  I was a little concerned during the beginning of the debate that Candy was going to let it devolve into a shouting match, but she eventually got control and turned out to be a good moderator.  I do know, however, that she will be ripped apart for telling Romney that President Obama did IN FACT call the Libyan attack a terrorist attack in the Rose Garden.  Some will say that her job wasn't to correct facts, but I believe that if she didn't do what she did, Romney would have just gone on and on trying to prove that President Obama was a liar.  I believe that she was just trying to move the debate along. Romney was being a bully throughout the whole debate, so her shutting him down was a little treat.

All in all, I am happy with President Obama's performance at the debate last night.  After the 1st debate, he really needed to bring his A-game to Hempstead and I feel that he did.  He brought more of the Barack Obama that we know and respect.  He was confident and sometimes sassy, but he held his ground and his composure.  Let's hope that it helps him in the last days of this election season.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Adventures in NYC - Day 2 - NY Comic Con / Times Square

Continued from Part I - 

Day 2 of NYC Adventure was at Comic Con in the Javits Center and Times Square.

What can I say about Comic Con?!  It was crazy, it was madness, it was a whole lot of people dressed in costume.  My youngest went as Equius from Homestuck (don't ask, just look it up) and the my man, my oldest, and I went as the Beastie Boys from their Sabotage video (much love to them for indulging in my Beastie Boy love!)

My son had a great time looking out the back window of our car going down the Henry Hudson Parkway while people double taked him.  I have to say that I was quite impressed with the sheer level of people from the Homestuck fandom there. This was just one section of the Homestuck get together.  I wish I had that panorama feature on my camera as this crowd need 3 or 4 shots to get them all in!

Alas, it didn't seem like a whole lot of people knew who we were. We did get one photo request and another crowd knew who we were, but mostly we got a "huh?" look and Larry got asked repeatedly for directions. I had figured in NYC, a mere 5 months after the passing of MCA, that we would be recognized. Oh, well...I did it more for tribute and less for attention.

I have to admit as a newbie to all this, I was overwhelmed.  There was A LOT of people there and moving around had the very feel of cattle is a pen. I missed a lot of the panels most because of the lines and I didn't get a single autograph because I am cheap.  I mean, please...I don't care it if IS Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars! I'm not paying $125 for his signature.  I did get to see Jordan Hembrough from "Toy Hunter" and Stan Lee walked right by me, but I was too much in awe to take a photo.

After getting stuck in an elevator at the parking garage for no more than a minute but it felt like FOREVER, we were off to Times Square.  Us Beasties changed in the car, but my Equius kid decided to go to Times Square in his costume.  It was hilarious.  When people are looking at you on Time Square like you are strange, you've made the big time.  Even the NYC cops, who I am sure have seen their fair share of crazy, seemed at little amazed by my 15 year old Homestucker!

The rest of the photos of our trip can be found HERE!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Adventures in NYC - Day 1 - 9/11 Memorial / East Village / Brooklyn

Our trip to NYC / NY Comic Con - Photobucket

So I thought I would share my photo album from our family trip to NYC over the weekend.  It was quite the adventure so this will be a long post!

Now, I am not stranger to the City.  I lived approximately 70 miles from it for 15 years when I lived in Port Jervis, NY.  Heard all about it, my high school drama club got a lot of their costumes from there, the local television and radio channels were all from the City and I even once got to go to the Ringling Brothers Circus at Madison Square Garden when I was a kid. Unfortunately, that was the only time I got to go to the City as a child as my family wasn't really into the City.

Flash Forward 20 years and my man Larry is a National Guard soldier whose unit is based on Park Avenue, so I accompany him to a few drill weekends and completely fall in love with the City.  Every year we try to get down there, whether as a couple or as a family. Every time I go there I see something new.


The 9/11 Memorial was quite an experience.  It's impossible to walk along the names bordering the reflecting pools where the Towers once stood and not be moved.  When I first walked to the North Tower pool and looked over the edge, I was filled with emotion at all those that lost their lives there and all the events of that day.  I looked for a few names of those that are connected to Watertown - Shannon Adams, Ward Haynes, and Richard O'Connor, and looked around at the serene beauty of this Memorial.  Afterwards we went St. Paul's Chapel near the Site.  The following photo was taken from its front year and shows the rise of the Freedom Tower.

Next was "Obscura" in the East Village.  If anyone has ever seen "Oddities" on the Science Channel, you know how freaky this store is.
The other photos can be seen on the photobucket album, but it is just like it seems on the show.  An extra bonus is that Ryan was there and was nice enough to sign my sons' postcard.

We had lunch at Stomboli's on St. Mark's for some NYC Style Pizza. We found this place when I was on my Beastie Boys Pilgrimage back in May. Then we revisited the Adam Yauch mural up on 7th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues in the East Village because I wanted my boys to see it.


I really wanted to show my boys Chinatown, but on this Friday, there was absolutely no parking that didn't cost us an arm and a leg so we had to put it off until the next time.

We headed off to Brooklyn afterwards to just walk around the Brooklyn Bridge Park and see the sunset.

So ended Day 1. We headed back to the hotel because we knew we had a long day Saturday at Comic Con.

Part Two will follow.....

Friday, October 12, 2012

Who won the Vice-Presidential Debate?

Throughout most of the history, the Vice-Presidential Debate hasn't been what makes or breaks an election.  Yes, we all know that in the event of anything happening to our President, that the VP will take over, but during Election Season, we tend to pay more attention to our future POTUS than the Number 2.  VP debates have given us much to chuckle about, such as when Vice Admiral James Stockdale fell asleep during the debate and had to adjust his hearing aid.  Then, let's not forget Sarah Palin in the last one.  That was a sight to behold....but I digress.

Due to the fact that President Obama was, shall we say, lacking in his first debate, I believe that this particular Vice Presidential debate was a little more important.  These debates aren't so much about the Vice Presidential candidates themselves, but an opportunity to sell their candidate, which President Obama really needed.

I'm just going to cut to the chase.  I think Joe Biden slammed Paul Ryan.  He showed more experience, he showed that he wasn't going to take the falsehoods of the Romney campaign without a fight, and he showed that he was going to say what needed to be said.  Since the debate I have heard many, particularly Fox News and Republican strategists, saying that Vice President Biden was rude, arrogant, and unprofessional, which I disagree with.  Was he over the top with some of his facial expressions? Probably, but I believe that he was just expressing was many of us are feeling.  Quite honesly, Joe was just being Joe.  I would rather have the realness of Joe Biden than the phoniness of the Romney campaign.

"My religion defines who I am, and I’ve been a practicing Catholic my whole life, and it has particularly informed my social doctrine. Catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who can’t take care of themselves. People who need help.

With regard to abortion, I accept my Church’s position on abortion as a de fide doctrine. Life begins at conception. I accept that position in my personal life. But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians, and Muslims and and Jews…I just refuse to do that, unlike my friend here, the Congressman. I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people, women that they cannot control their body. It’s a decision between them and their doctor in my view, and the Supreme Court. And I’m not going to interfere with that."

All in all, great job, Vice President Biden!!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

There's a time when you have to say, "I give!"

How I feel when reading about what's healthy and what's not!!

I have been really trying to eat a healthy diet.  I have been researching different thoughts and diet philosophies, such as Forks Over Knives, Engine 2, Sparkpeople, and scores of different articles on how to keep healthy.  The problem I am having is there just doesn't seem to be a consensus with what is good and what is bad for you.  Some say plant-based, some say moderation, some say eggs are good, some say bad. Some say that eating lots of fruits and veggies is healthy, then another says to watch out for Genetically Modified foods.  Another says lean meat and dairy is a healthy part of the diet, then another will talk of anti-biotics, horrifying conditions for animals, and other nastiness.

One thing I have banned from my diet is partially hydrogenated oil because if the level of damage that it does to the heart.  Because of this, my choices of any kind of baked goods or candy bars is limited, but I allowed myself the occasional Kit Kat because 1) I love them and 2) they don't contain partially hydrogenated oil (one of the few candy bars that don't).  Today, I saw a post that Kit Kats contain genetically engineered ingredients.

I'm at a point where I say, "I GIVE!"  Now I am not saying I give up on eating well.  I want to be healthy and habit.  I want to take care of myself and my family, but all this is making the simple act of eating into a chore.  How can you enjoy your food when everyone has picked it apart on every level?

I think I am going to have to take a simpler approach.  I am going to enjoy my food again.  I know I don't like the vegan diet because I tried that, but I also tried South Beach once and didn't like that either.  I feel I need to moderate and stick to the simple, whole foods that I am used to and stay away from processed foods.  Baking and cooking from scratch will keep all that at bay.

It's just how I have to do this, otherwise I could drive myself crazy with all the information out there!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Who "won" last night's Presidential Debate?

I watched the first Presidential Debate last night.  I was hoping for a strong, intelligent debate as both President Obama and Mitt Romney are intelligent men.  I was also looking for a definite winner coming out of this debate.  Not that it will sway my vote in November because I am definitely voting for President Obama's second term, but I know there are some "undecideds" out there that needed a winner to help them make up their minds. (On a side note though, I never understood being undecided a mere month before an election.  It's not like they are similar in any way...but I digress..)

As I watched the debate, I found myself frustrated.  I felt like it was an hour and a half of Pete and Repeat.  The same thing was said over and over and OVER by both candidates.  One would say something, the other would say it was not true, then the other would repeat the first point again.  President Obama seems to have lost his luster and Romney reminded me of a kid who has to get the ABSOLUTE last word in.

I also love Jim Lehrer, but I don't think he had great control of the debate.  Both President Obama and Mitt Romney went so far over their time, that too much was said on some things and not enough on others.

I think the best thing to come out of the debates were the photo manipulations and tweets.  Here are a few of my favorites....

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Hannity Bombshell - Hannity Makes Something Out of Nothing

Sean Hannity's "Bomshell" Draws Yawns - Huffington Post

See what I did there?  I made it out like it was something big, when actually it was something that wasn't big nor a surprise.  Kind of like what Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Newt Gingrich, and the rest of Fox News, with some help from Drudge and the Daily Caller, did yesterday when they made out like they had some exlusove evidence of epic proportions that our President, Barack Obama, engaged in some racially devisive rhethoric.  "THIS COULD BE A GAME CHANGER!", they all alluded. 

Here's the truth, though....it's old news.  This is a video from 2007.  Not only is it old news, it isn't even exclusive news as it has already made it rounds throughout the news and social media.  Nice try, Hannity and Co., but this is a been there, done that.

One of the main issues that Hannity and Carlson made is that President Obama *GASP* spoken differently (in a different cadance and accent) when he was talking to a room full of African Americans than he gives speeches to a  more diverse group.  Wow! Is this the game changing news? That a person may use a different dialect when with certain people? 

Let me give you all a bit of a back story.  I loved in Port Jervis, NY, a little town 60 miles outside New York City, for the first 16 years of my life.  Now by no means did I have a "New Yawk" accent, but being that close and watching many of my news and afterschool shows from New York City based channels, I had the dialect in a toned down suburban way.  Then I moved to rural Tennessee when I was 16 and lived there for almost 10 years.  I picked up the Southern drawl in a matter of a few years.  I now live in Northern NY near Canada and have been for 18 years.  My accent is now a blend of almost everything, but here's the thing....when I talk to my New York friends, I tend to sound like a New Yorker, and when I talk to my Southern friends, I may slip into my Southern accent.  I am not the only person on the planet who does this, and it isn't a shock to mostly anyone that it happens....unless, of course, you are Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson.

So Barack Obama sounds like a black man when he is in a room with black people? Big Deal.

I am just going to throw this out there.  There are many people out there that have a problem with our President simply because he is a bi-racial man.  Have Hannity and Carlson, along with the others at Fox, Drudge, and the Daily Caller ever considered that the reason President Obama speaks differently when he is in his political and diplomatic capacity is because he understands this?  Stay with me, people.  What if President Obama gave his State of the Union Speech in the voice he used in his 2007 speech?  You guessed it, the closeted (or not so closeted racists) would lose their minds.  President Obama knows this, just as he know that when you address a room of African American Baptists, the "preacher" voice is more familiar and comforting to them.  It's called being a politician, and a damn good one.

So, Fox.  I'm a little interested in your next move.  It should be a hoot.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

My new favorite Football Watching Beverage (and it's gluten free)

I'm not much of a beer drinker but there is just something about enjoying a beverage while watching football that just screams Fall to me. I usually have a Mike's Hard Lemonade or a Smirnoff Ice, but the other day I saw Angry Orchard Crisp Apple Hard Cider sitting on the shelf at my grocery store. It may have been the packaging that caught my eye because really, isn't the artwork awesome? I have, however, been looking for something different and when I saw the gluten free, I knew I had to try it.

This has become my new favorite drink. It's got a light, refreshing taste, jjust the right bite of apples, both tart and sweet, and it doesn't feel like a heavy weight was placed in your belly after you drink it.

I highly recommend giving it a try, especially if you are fan of cider and apple in general.

Burrville Cider Mill and Falls

Yesterday I made a trip to one of my favorite places in Northern New York, the Burrville Cider Mill.  I have been coming here for quite a few years with my family for their cider and donuts, as well as the assortment of goodies, such as apple and pumpkin butter, maple syrup, and of course, apples of every kind.  When I homeschooled my boys, we took a trip there to see the cider made from beginning to end.

Besides all the yummy things at the Mill, another reason to visit is the Falls on the Mill property.  I frequently take my camera there to get a photo of the Falls and have quite a few photos of my boys growing up with the Falls as a backdrop.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Desensitized to Violence

Man Commits Suicide Live on Fox

I didn't see the clip and don't want to.  I happened to see the news report on HuffPo and when I read the reader comments, I was a little taken back.  There was little outrage that a major news source would "forget" their 10 second delay and follow the car chase to the point of the man getting out of the car, checking his weapon, putting the gun to his head, and pulling the trigger.  There were few questions asked of why Fox News even feels the need to cover car chases when so many things can go wrong.  I didn't see many posts of how horrified people were of seeing a man take his own life in real time. One poster even said something like it wasn't like you saw blood.

This is what I saw-

"I for one wasn't bothered by it.............probably the best thing that could have happened for everyone."

"Ugh, censorship makes me puke. Americans are so removed and sheltered from reality it isn't even funny. I am GLAD this was unable to be filtered and watered down by big brother."

"One less democrat....although he will still be able to vote...Acorn can take care of that."

Have we become so desensitized to violence on television and entertainment that we fair to be rattled by a suicide on their screen?  Have we become so hardened that we applaud a man taking his life, regardless of what path brought him there?

The story itself was bad enough.  The response to it, however, bothered me more.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Real World Experience in Saving Money at the Grocery Store - Bulk Spices

I am all about saving money on my grocery bill. As the only women in a house with three men between the ages of 15 and 47, you can imagine how horrifying a grocery bill can be.

I have been shopping at my local natural foods store, The Mustard Seed, for my bulk organic needs for a few years now, but never thought about hitting their bulk spice counter until today. As we all know, spices at the grocery store can get pretty expensive so I thought I would see if I could save some money as I was completely out of cumin. At my local grocery store, a 1.5 ounce bottle of McCormick ground cumin can cost $4.89. I brought my empty bottle (recycling) and they filled it up. I braced myself for the final cost, as I am used to spices being expensive, and was shocked at the price.


That's a savings of $3.64!

Looks like from now I will be getting my spices in bulk!!

Dirty Politics (hmm...didn't I say I was done with politics?)

Allen West Uses Opponents Mugshot in New Ad

I try to ignore it.  I really do.  I try not to read the articles on political attacks, but then I just can't help myself.  When I saw this doozy, I was like "are you KIDDING me?"

In a nutshell, Patrick Murphy, the Democratic candidate in Florida's 18th District, was arrested in 2003 when he was a 19 year old college student for "disorderly intoxication and possessing a fake driver's license".  Allen West, the Republican incumbant candidate, part of the Tea Party Caucus, and the very same Allen West that once told Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in an email that she was "the most vile, unprofessional ,and despicable member of the US House of Representatives", decided now was a good time to remind everyone of this in his latest campaign ad, along with Murphy's mugshot.

Ok, now this is when I gets funny.  Not funny ha-ha, but funny as in "something smells funny".  In his ad, West is alluding that on the night Murphy was arrested, West was getting orders to go to war as a member of the Armed Forces.  What West didn't point out as he was playing the Vet Card is that in the same year, in December to be more exact, West was charged by the UMCJ for threatening to kill an Iraqi policemen and firing a gun near his head while he interrogated him.  Interesting how one can try to rewrite one's history.

I am going to go back to a question that I ask myself quite frequently.  Do politicians, Democrat or Republican, that use techiniques such as this, or who try to flip flop on their issues, not realize that many of us read the news and remember what they said and what they did in the past?  I mean, we live in the age of the Internet where nothing just fades away and events haunt like ghosts lurking on the World Wide Web, coming out when you least expect it. 

Also is funny is when a Republican favorite like George W. Bush gets a drunk driving charge at the age of 30, it's called a "youthful indiscretion" but when you are a 19 year old college student getting in a bar fight and later run as a Democrat for Congress, you're a criminal not worthy of the office.

Case in point of why Election Season stinks

Remember a few days ago when I said I have lost my faith in the political system and just cannot stomach election season anymore?

Case in point...Princess Little Big Liar.  For one, it's quite apparent that there are not only misogynist tones to this campaign, but a racist one as well.  It's obvious by the staff's use of tomahawk chops and whoops that it may be acceptable policy to mock a person's race and/or gender.  Oh, yeah...I know they issued a statement that said they "regret" the staff's unacceptable actions, but when signs like this show up, it makes me believe the only regret Scott Brown's may have is that his staff got caught spreading this kind of sentiment.

Secondly, is this what politics has become?  The insult sounds like a 5 year old came up with it.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Why, Mike?

Mike Rowe talks at Romney Event

Mike Rowe Television personality Mike Rowe speaks during a roundtable discussion with Republican U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney and business leaders at American Spring Wire September 26, 2012 in Bedford Heights, Ohio. Romney continued his two-day "Romney Plan For A Stronger Middle Class" bus tour in the state of Ohio.

You can say all you like about being non-partisan, but when it's a little over a month til Election Day and you are standing on the stage with Mitt Romney at a campaign event, then yes, Mike, you are endorsing him...especially when you are willing to stand in front of something like this sign here.

Please don't assume that we are too stupid to see that.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fireball Run


I went down to the Fireball Run after work today and forgot my camera.  Hopefully there will be loads out there to link to, but it was fun and we saw a lot of the cars that are participating.  I saw two Deloreans!  What are the odds?

Monday, September 24, 2012

I think I have lost my taste for politics.

One of the things I used to blog about frequently was politics.  I LOVED politics as much as I liked football. I mean it was like sport to me and every election season filled me with as much glee as the Superbowl.  I worked on political campaigns, set up debates and events, and watched the updates at every opportunity.

But then something happened to me.  Sometime around 2011, I lost my faith in politics and the American Political System.  Don't get me wrong, I still support President Obama.  He has done some things I don't completely agree with, but I still believe that his heart is in the right place.  I believe that he is trying his best to run this Country in a climate of uncompromise and downright racism.  I don't think it's fair to call him "the worst President ever" when in fact, he can't get anything done when Congress won't cooperate. So as far as faith goes, I still believe in President Obama.

What I don't believe in is the political climate.  There is no room for compromise.  All I see is finger pointing, personal attacks, and condescension on both sides of the aisle.  Democrats are just as bad as Republicans.  There's a very "my way or the highway" mentality going on and it's the American people who suffer.

So, I am no longer a member of any party.  I am a true independent voter, no party affiliation on my voter card, whatsoever. What I want to see are politicians that actually care for their constituents, politicians that actually listen to what we have to say.  Politicians that care more for what their duties are to the American people they represent than the padding of their pockets and the next dig against their political "enemies".

Maybe I am living in a fantasy world.  I will still vote in November, but I just can't stomach all the fake nonsense of politics.

Hello, again!

From misstaylorcast.com

There was once a time when I was quite the prolific blogger, but then I got out of practice and was afraid that no one really needed to hear or cared even what was going on in my corner of the world.  Maybe that is still true, but it doesn't take away my love of writing and observing.  That is why, dear readers, I have decided to come back and blog about how I feel, what I see, and how I experience the world around me.

To update everyone, I live up in Northern New York near the Canadian border and Fort Drum.  It's a unique experience living here as it is small town, yet a military town wrapped into one.  I came here in 1994 as a military spouse and stayed here long after that marriage was over.  I love it up here, even when the winters get brutal.

My life is constantly under construction.  My little boys that you read about in the early days of this blog are now grown or almost grown (19 and 15) and I am on the cusp of 40 (come November).  You may have noticed a new man in this blog, my man, my soul.  There have been changes, new jobs, adjustments....I'm even planning on going back into the Air National Guard after being out of the military (12 years in the Army National Guard prior) for 10 years.

Yep, life is always under construction and it is that life that I will write about.

Feel free to join me!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I remember this piece back when it was first published in 2009 and I think it's one of the best "Irish Pride" pieces that I have ever seen.

SUNDAY, MARCH 15, 2009

You're already making plans.

Tuesday night will be a time for celebration. You'll get off work early. Depending upon your parish, you may or may not enjoy some corned beef and cabbage with a side of soda bread and without Lenten guilt.

Then it's on with your favorite green sweater and off to whichever is your favorite genuine Celtic watering hole for the evening. Maybe you'll wear the funny foam fedora or the plastic shamrock pin they hand out at the door. Maybe you'll even taste the green beer offered by the bartender who offers everyone a strained brogue. Maybe you're Irish just for the day. After all, it's St. Patrick's Day.

Well, it's all fine by me.

Heck, I might be the guy with the pint or the teacup standing next to you.

But if your connection to the Emerald Isle is deeper and more permanent than the dye in those drinks, add one thing to the revelry Tuesday night:

Remember who you are.

You are the product of thousands of years of Celtic determination. From the time when Ireland's legacy of poetry and law began — long before the Greek word "Christos" would be applied to a radical Jewish rabbi — through the time an ex-slave named Patrick brought home that rabbi's message, through Europe's Dark Ages when Irish scholars saved Western civilization from oblivion, through the invasions of the Vikings, and through the centuries-long murderous campaign of the English, men and women whose genes designed your body and spirit fought tirelessly against long odds to survive.

It was seldom easy. At its best, it was the ancient battle to scratch a life from the earth, to beat back hunger and disease and build a culture. At its worst, it was genocide, with nearly half of Ireland's 8 million natives killed or driven off in a single generation and much of that culture erased.But, if you are of Irish descent and you're reading this, some ancestor of yours conquered those odds. They somehow summoned the necessary will and courage to survive. They were determined not to be erased. You're the victory. You're the heir.

So I ask again, during this celebration of Patrick, remember who you are.

Then keep remembering.

When someone points out the poor or the homeless with disgust and waxes aloud about how they are the way they are because they lack the intellect or the character to improve themselves, remember you're the child of a people once made poor and homeless.

When someone tells you that some racial group is inherently inferior because of its alleged laziness and tendency toward violence, sexual obsession or drug addiction, remember you're the child of a people whose rights and rich culture were disregarded with these same claims.

When politicians talk about the problem of world hunger, about how the economics of the wealthy and well-fed cannot be threatened by the distribution of food to the desperate, remember you are the child of a people left to die when their one crop failed, while food was exported from their island for the profit of the wealthy and well-fed.

When political leadership or wealth come to you and circumstance and ego call you to indulge in the exercise of power for the sake of the powerful alone, remember you are the child of a people who long suffered under such tyrants.

My friend, you and I, the children of the Irish scattered around the globe, have a special honor and obligation each March 17. The honor is we get to watch the world celebrate — however misdirected and uninformed it may be for most — one of history's most brave and charismatic and democratic figures, our figure, the shepherd-slave Patricius who became St. Patrick. We eat the meals, watch the parades, and go to the pubs and know that, while the guests are happy, this party belongs to us.For me, that's always been a source of pride.

But with that pride comes the obligation, the debt we owe the men and women who faced swords, tyrants and hunger and determined to live, to somehow find a way to create us, and that obligation is simple:

Remember who you are.

John Carberry, the grandson of Jack O'Cairbre and Katie O'Brien of Cappamore, County Limerick, is the state editor of the Watertown Daily Times

Friday, March 16, 2012

Good Lord...such an epic journey for such a simple thing. Green Lights at the First Baptist Church Clock Tower.

I don't understand why big deals are made of little things.  This time it's the "should the lights at the First Baptist Church be green to commemorate St. Patrick's Day" battle here in Watertown, NY.  It started off innocent enough.  The North Country Goes Green Irish Festival requested of City Council that they be allowed to change the lights of the Clock Tower to green to represent Irish Pride.  Back at Christmastime the lights were changed to red and green for the holiday, so the people at NCGG thought "why not!"  Not a big deal, right?  Wrong!! This simple request became somewhat of a small battle with some members of the Council saying it was a great idea and some, including our Mayor, questioning if it was a good idea, whether it would open the flood gates for other organization requesting their color (like purple for Alzheimer's, pink for Breast Cancer), the cost and safety, and if people would be confused of the significance (whatever that means...pretty sure we can all figure out green = St. Paddy's Day). 

Anyway, the Irish prevailed and the lights are now a glorious green on Public Square.  Victory, right!?  WRONG!!  Now the pastor of the First Baptist says he wants the lights gone because even though they are not Anti-Irish or Anti-Festival, they are anti-drinking and they believe that the Irish Festival promotes drinking. 

Sorry, Pastor Smith, but I have to put my two cents in.  The lights are not green because of the festival and it's drinking.  They are green to represent the pride and sacrifice of the Irish in this community and this country.  I read an op-ed piece a few years back, which I will repost tomorrow if I can find it, that simply stated that if you are a person of Irish decent today, you are here because way back, an ancestor of yours survived.  If you can trace your blood line to an Irish person, you are decended from a people that survived genocide, famine, and prejudice.  They had to leave their homeland to survive and we, their decendants, are a testament to that tenacity and spirit. 

Éirinn go Brách

Flashback Friday

I was watching VH1 Classic this morning and they Gary Numan's "Cars" on.

I got a little chuckle over the pure 80's Euro Pop-ness of it and all I could think of as the video freeze framed him was Zoolander.

Gary N.


Wednesday, March 07, 2012

End of an Era at Indy

Colts release Peyton Manning

Well, after months of speculation, it was officially announced today that the Colts are dropping Peyton Manning, their star quarterback that pretty much took them as a blip on a screen to Superbowl glory.  I've been a Manning fan since his years at UT so I am not a "jump on a bandwagon" sort.  He's been my boy for over a decade.  If he is healthy enough to play, I wish him the very best, but I would be just as happy to see him commentating or coaching.

Peyton, I'll follow you anywhere.  Indy can suck it!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Gave up facebook for Lent...and not missing it a bit

Although I am not overly religious (in fact, I still consider myself a seeker), I decided to participate in the idea of Lent as I have never done it before.  What I decided to give up was Facebook and mindless internet surfing.  Here's why...I think that we've somehow disconnected in society though all the technological toys out there.  We get too caught up in our phones, computers, DS's, etc., to pay much attention to one another.  I believe this why there are so many issues now with rudeness, disrespect, and lack of compassion.

Don't get me wrong, I believe technology has done some great things.  It has made up global and many people, myself included, have been able to find loved ones through the internet, but I had noticed that my Facebook interactions were predominantly shallow.  I becomes more about "look at me" than anything else.

As I see it, I can't change how fast technology is moving, but I can improve my world by improving my interactions with my family and those around me.  I plan on making phone calls and writing letters to my friends and family that are not near.  I also plan on more face time with my coworkers and the acquaintances I have in town.  Instead of watching my days pass me by in front of a computer screen, I plan on spending time with my family.

I've already noticed that I have more time to do things like chores around the house, sitting and enjoying a cup of tea with a good book, writing in my journal, and conversations with my family that doesn't involve something messed up we saw on the Net.

So far, I don't miss it.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

New Year's Day...Beard Growing Shave Off's and No-Bake Cookies!

Beautiful New Year's Morning in Northern New York

It is the first day of a New Year! So many opportunities. So many things to start anew. I know that I am completely stoked about this coming year. I'm full of hope and gratitude for all the gifts I have in my life and am excited about the opportunities that will come my way. I wish everyone a Happy New Year!

This morning started off at the Sportman's Barbershop for the kickoff of the North Country Goes Green Donegal Beard Growing Contest. Larry has decided to rise to the challenge and had the beard that he has had for 4 years shaved off. He now has until March 16th to grow an impressive Donegal beard (think Abe Lincoln) to see if he will be "King of Beards" at the Irish Festival.

Full House at the Sportsman's Barbershop.



Later on, Larry decided to make some Cathedral Window Cookies and I attempted to "help" him by melting the chocolate and butter for his recipe. It called for 2 cups of chocolate with a 1/2 cup of butter. For some reason, I read it as a cup of butter, so I had to add two more cups of chocolate morsels to get it the right consistency. But what was I suppose to do with all that chocolate? Well, half of it went to Larry's cookies and the rest went to my imagination. I threw about a cup or so of Reese's Cereal, a few handfuls of peanuts, and about a half cup of coconut. I place the mixture by spoonfuls on a waxed papered cookie sheet and voila...No Bake Whatevers! So, we have A LOT of No Bake Cookies to start the New Year with.

My No Bake Whatevers!