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

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.