Thursday, September 16, 2010

Changing Shoes

Today is the official release of Tina Sloan’s new book “Changing Shoes”. Lucky for me my copy arrived yesterday. Curled up in bed I began reading Tina’s journey of growing older in the spotlight of celebrity.  I barely started chapter 2 and already I’ve been inspired to get out of bed and moisturize my face. Ok, I know that sounds nuts. I have been really lax lately in my personal grooming. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ve had a crappy stressful year – but that’s not a good enough excuse to wallow in self pity, ignoring my personal appearance and living inside myself. It’s time that I pull myself out of my funk and re-engage life. My short term goal is to look glamorous for Tina’s one woman show on Monday. Alright, that might be a tall stretch since I’ve probably only been glamorous about twice in my life. I’m going to have to work up to that and 4 days just isn’t going to be enough time – instead my aim for Monday will be to look pretty.

Now for the To Do List:
            Hair – color & deep condition
            Manicure – I’ve got zero talent for doing my own nails, so off to the salon I go.
            Skin – Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! It really stinks to have gone through 40 years with one kind of skin & hair and suddenly have completely different textures. What do I know of dry skin & hair? I’ve always had to worry about too much oil, detangling rinses and adult acne. Now I’m trying to figure out face creams and what to do about straw hair. Oh, and I still have adult acne. Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor?
Clothes – What fits and what looks good rarely are the same thing for me lately. I see myself burrowing into my closet in a quest to find something appropriate. I also see a large pile of clothes that will be donated to charity come Monday morning.
            Shoes – The easy part is there won’t be any heals, sorry Tina. I’d like to enjoy the evening, not worry about my ankle collapsing.  I did get a cute pair of silver sandals; maybe I can make an outfit around them.
            Inspiration – Finish Tina’s “Changing Shoes”
I’d love to lose a 5 to 10 pound before the party, but since that’s not realistic; everyone will just have to take me as I am.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Writing Skills

I have not done any consistent writing since college. In today’s world it is becoming more imperative that I hone my writing skills. Social Media such as, Facebook, Twitter and blogs are becoming critical venues for any marketing plan.  The ability to communicate in a concise, informative and engaging way will be determining factors in how well a marketing plan succeeds.

So the question is – can I write for the new media world we now live in?  I have been working on a number of events for the Friends of the Roxbury Library. I will be tweeting and blogging about these events in the next few months. How well I succeed has yet to be seen.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Recycle Books at the Roxbury Library

Hooray - today has arrived. In my quest to de-clutter my home and life I have been tossing, selling and giving away un-needed items from around my house the past few months. I even took a pass at my book collection, amassing 5+ bags of books to be donated. And there they've sat in bags & boxes cluttering up a corner of my guest room rather than gathering dust on my shelves. 

Professional organizers recommend removing boxed items ASAP, so why have these books been around for months? Well, the Roxbury Twp Friends of the Library (where I serve as VP) only has book sales twice a year. This year do to the Jewish Holiday schedule are well known book sale has been pushed back from the usual 1st weekend after Labor Day to the end of September. Consequently we didn't open the doors for collection until today.

So today, the car gets packed and my books will be looking for a new home. Stop by the Roxbury Library Sept 23-26 and take home a few of my books.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It’s August so we must be celebrating catfish

Did you know catfish can be found on every continent except Antarctica? Yup, they aren’t just a southern staple. Catfish are fresh water bottom feeders. This has led to many people comparing them to garbage collectors. Despite a somewhat disparaging reputation in the States, in Central Europe they are considered a delicacy. I have to go with the Europeans on this one. Catfish is one of my favorite fish.

Since the 70’s, catfish have also been raised on farms.  A pond can cover 10-20 acres. The catfish in these ponds are harvested after 18 months. That’s a lot of space and time, guess this I won’t be starting a catfish farm in my backyard.

The farming industry produces over 10 million pounds per week. The high production of farm raised fish along with wild caught fish keeps the price of catfish affordable.  Yeah, I’ve been looking for low cost, high tasting dishes to make. Tonight, dinner is spicy catfish, corn on the cob and green beans. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cleopatra - the Search for the Last Queen of Egypt

While I was in Philadelphia I went to the Franklin Institute’s Cleopatra Exhibit.  Archeologists have been digging in the Mediterranean Sea for the old city of Alexandria, home of Cleopatra.  The exhibit contains the finds from the bottom of the sea.  Among them are a couple of huge statues of pharaohs. Watch while the archeologists pull the pieces up from the sea floor then reassemble the statues for the first time in several centuries. It was fascinating watching the film then turning around to see the statues up close. Somehow they survived not only centuries under water, but a Tsunami and earthquakes, it’s amazing.

Another intriguing artifact was a papyrus document signed by Cleopatra. In the note to an official of the government, Cleopatra forgave all taxes for a friend of Marc Antony. Even in ancient Egypt political favors were the normal course of business.

Archeologists are currently on a quest to find Cleopatra’s final resting place which they now believe is 30 miles away from Alexandria. In a few years, we may be able to see the final resting place of Cleopatra and Marc Antony. I look forward to seeing what the archeologists find. In the mean time, if you’re in Philly, stop by the Franklin Institute. The Cleopatra Exhibit is worth the price of admission.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Today's Successes

In my continuing quest to de-clutter my life, today I managed to sort my purses, added clothes to the donation pile, emptied 2 drawers and found a home for my parents’ photo albums. The purging netted 1 bag for donation and another for trash. Phew, I’m tired just reading through the list. I am beginning to feel the feng shui of de-cluttering beginning to take hold. A few weeks ago we brought my parents photo albums to my house to scan pictures for my Aunt’s party. Since then, they have been sitting on my coffee table, waiting for a home. Today while clearing out drawers in my guest room, the perfect place for the albums struck me. They now have a new home on a recently emptied shelf in my bookcase.

I really wish the video shop in Mendham was still in business. They had a great side business selling on Ebay.  You could drop off knick knacks and such; they’d handle all the details of transacting with Ebay. If the item sold, they mail the item to the new owner and a check to me. If it didn’t then they’d donate the item to charity. Either way, it was out of my house and hair. God bless them. Unfortunately they are no longer in business. So now I’ve got a bunch of collectables as well as other knick knacks that I’m sure would net a few $$ however, the thought of hassling with Ebay has the stash sitting in my house. If you know of anyone who loves to sell things on Ebay let me know.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Citizens' Campaign = political activism

I attended an inspiring meeting where Harry Pozycki of the Citizens’ Campaign spoke on citizen activism. The Citizens’ Campaign cultivates a culture of service to develop a new generation of leaders – “leaders who put service over personal gains”. To accomplish this they hold live events and online classes to educate New Jersey residents how to “navigate the power structure of government and to exercise leadership beginning with their own hometowns.” After the speech I went to their website and took their online appointed office course. The course highlighted some of the boards towns typically create such as the planning or zoning boards. The Citizens’ Campaign developed the Citizen Service Act, opening appointments to government policy boards and commissions. In November 2009, Governor Corzine signed the Citizen Service Act into law. Now interested citizens can obtain a list of boards and commissions as well as vacancies from the Municipal Clerk or from the town’s website. Now that’s a step in the right direction. Next I think I’ll take the Citizen Legislator class so I can learn how to present local cost cutting proposals. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

De-cluttering my way

I made this vision board a few months back when the clutter in my life really began to irritate me.  It was very specific as to what I wanted and what needed to be done. I wanted to reclaim the organized person I was; to do that I needed to do A LOT of pruning. Monday morning I woke up bright & early itching to get rid of things. I spent an hour going through my book collection bagging books for an upcoming book sale. After that hour I had 4 bags of books for the sale.  On the way to work I dumped 4 boxes from my garage in the dumpster. Later that afternoon, I was able to collect 2 garbage bags full of junk.  This morning I dropped those off at the dumpster. God I love dumpsters, it’s so liberating to throw boxes & garbage bags into a non-judgmental receptacle. I spent another hour this afternoon clearing out notebooks and other useless stuff I’ve accumulated in other lives. Here’s a picture of this afternoons hall. I can’t wait until the garbage men get here tomorrow morning! Maybe I’ll even throw the bags in the garbage truck for good measure.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Acid-Reflux is back

Thrilled am I not; my acid reflux is back. Drugs are good to a point, they can help stem the pain and minimize acid production, but I don’t like taking them on a long term basis. My gastro doc recommended Ginger tablets to relax the esophagus. Ginger is a wonder spice. Besides calming the digestive track, it helps with morning sickness and stimulating your metabolism. Trying to pinpoint trigger events can help aide in preventing a miserable night. For me it’s a “that time of the month” trigger. The food I eat around my period can help determine how painful and long the attacks will last. After visiting several sites, I’ve compiled a list of foods to avoid and foods to favor until my digestive track is back on track. Grilled Trout, brown rice and carrots with ginger sounds about right tonight.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Get up, get out, get moving

I’ve gotten behind in my blog reading, so I just read a post from My happy blog by Diane Lang which she wrote in May! Diane has begun a self-help challenge, “the goal: next time, you go looking for a self help book, you won't have to worry which ones really work because I have done the research for you.  Her 1st choice was a self help DVD to encourage her to add physical activity into her schedule in order to lose weight.  Hello, did Diane did you write this with me in mind?

My translation of her review is eat a good breakfast and get outside for a walk. I’ve got Shredded Wheat in the cabinet. My sneakers & MP-3 are next to my bed. There is no excuse not to get out in walk around my neighborhood before I shower & dress for the day.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

We're having a heatwave

Martha & the Vandellas had it right we’re having a heat wave.  This summer has been unbelievably hot & humid in the NYC area. The sun setting at the end of the day which usually brings cooler temps has had minimal impact on the stifling heat. Thunderstorms that usually bring relief to the heavy humidity have no effect. A friend & I went to a jazz concert last night in a church - no a/c. We thought we’d get a little exercise so we walked from her house. I think I sweated off 10lbs. If I wanted this kind of sweltering summer heat, I’d live in the south. I’m headed to the pool to cool off. Since it’s still Ice cream month, I’ll top it off with some of the cold stuff. 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sandwich Day

I had been meaning to schedule my mammography since the beginning of the year. Life happens and here it is July and still no mammogram.  Then while scheduling appointments for my dad – an early morning doctor appointment followed up with an early afternoon CAT scan, both nearby the hospital, I suddenly had a block of free time on my hands. Now being the multi-tasker I am, I searched for something to fill those hours between dad’s appointments.

Oh, what about taking care of me and finally scheduling that mammogram? I called the Ripple Breast Center at Morristown Memorial Hospital and explained that I was trying to sandwich my abnormal mammo and ultrasound in between dad’s appointment in 2 days time. Any chance they could squeeze me in?  After a bit of deliberation on their part and me shamelessly playing the pity card, they came through. Hooray, they could squeeze me in to get squeezed, swished, and mushed!

Like many of the sandwich generation, I tend to forget to take care of me, and when I do it’s sandwiched in between taking care of others in my life.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ice Cream!

Today is National Ice Cream Day this month is also National Ice Cream Month. I’m just going to ignore for the moment that our elected representatives can’t even decide if ice cream ranks a day or a month, nor the time & $ wasted in the endeavor and just enjoy celebrating ice cream. I’ve been a fan of ice cream since I was a little girl sharing a cone with my dog. I remember the road trip where our family took a break at a rest stop and got cones to break up the journey. I got a scoop of hard vanilla ice cream. Unfortunately when I took my 1st bite, the ice cream fell off the cone. There I stood staring at the cone in my hand and my ice cream on the road. I must have looked pathetic enough, because my mom, whose usual attitude is you drop it you lose it, sent my dad back to the window for another cone. The employee, who saw the splat, gave dad a new cone for free. 

All’s well that ends well. Time for a cone!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy 4th of July

Sunday is the 4th of July, a time to celebrate with family & friends the start of this great nation. I’ll be celebrating by watching one of my favorite movies 1776. 234 years ago, the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence. 1776 is a musical comedy that recreates the days leading up to the signing. It reminds me that We the People can unite to create an amazingly special country.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Visioning the Future

The entertainment business is awash in cancellations that are hitting the NY Area TV & Film community hard. Guiding Light, Mercy, Law & Order, and as of September, As the World Turns, to name a few shows cancelled in the past year. New Jersey is about to drop tax breaks for production in the state, which can only further curtail production in the area. Given the dearth of available work in the area, I began the process of figuring out what I want to do next. One thing I know is I wanted to leave the door open for production work. However, those pesky bills are clamoring to be paid, so I’ve got to create additional streams of income. One of the avenues I chose was to become a Certified Vision Board Counselor.  As a Vision Board Counselor, I can help you create your own vision board by guiding you in life visioning, designing your vision collage whether by hand or computer.

Beginning Monday, my mentor, author Joyce Schwarz, is hosting a once in a lifetime event to Make Your Dreams Come True in 6 weeks or less with the Vision Board Bootcamp. I will be joining with like-minded-people seeking to start living our dreams now. Check out this virtual bootcamp:  Vision Board Bootcamp

Are you ready to live your dreams?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Surname Saturday: Krise

The Krise family actively participated in the Civil War. Brothers Stephen, Daniel and Henry, along with brothers-in-law, Joshua Cretin and Daniel Brand; and nephews William Ryan and John Albert Nagle all served with Union forces. Joshua fell at Antietam, William in 1863 and Daniel is buried in Alexandria National Cemetery having died in August 1864.
Daniel & Henry serving with the Pennsylvania 11th Company A fought and were captured during the Battle of Gaines’ Mill June 27, 1862. They were held at Belle Island until the Regiment was exchanged August 5, 1862.

My great-great-grandfather Steven Krise served as a Private in the 3rd Maryland, PHB. This is his discharge paper from the Union Army.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I'm Trying Something New Today

I’m trying something new today, its Jin Shin Jyutsu. Jin Shin Jyutsu is an ancient art of harmonizing the life energy in the body. Jin Shin Jyutsu brings balance to your body's energy, which promotes optimal health and well being. It complements conventional healing methods, reducing the effects of stress and promoting relaxation.  Typically a Jin Shin Jyutsu treatment is supposed to leave you feeling relaxed, balanced and serene. Yay, I can definitely use more balance and serenity in my life. For my treatment, which I get to stay dressed for, the practitioner will with a light touch clear blockages to harmonize and restore my energy flow. I can’t wait to feel the results. I’ll keep you posted.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Understanding Everyday Stress

Stress is an abnormal condition that disrupts the normal functions of the body or mind. No two people are affected in exactly the same way, or to the same degree, but most people living in our society suffer from its effects at one or more times during their lives. Symptoms range from mind headaches, occasional bouts of insomnia, overall restlessness, digestive problems, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation and diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

  •       Death of a close family member or friend.
  •       Major personal injury, illness or pregnancy.
  •       Major change in the health of a family member.
  •       Marriage, marital reconciliation, divorce.
  •       Arguments with spouse, family members, friends, co-workers.
  •       Financing major purchases.
  •       Major change in eating habits, living conditions, moving.
  •       Changing to a different line of work.
  •       Major change in responsibilities at work.
  •       Changes in working hours or conditions.
  •       Being fired at work.
  •       Starting a new job or career.
  •       Retirement from work.
  •       Business readjustment, changes in financial condition.

How many of items on this list are effecting your life right now? Know you are not alone and there is help. There are a mirade of healthy things you can do to relieve stress; walking  outside, talking with close friends, hugging a pet, taking a bubble bath are on my list. Life coaches, therapists and support groups are available to help you help yourself.  

Monday, April 26, 2010

Growing Old Gracefully

Today, according to the World Bank, our life expectance is 78.4 years. Conservative experts believe that man is really build to last about 100 years; and that medical advances and more healthful living habits could bring this about within a generation or two. Gulp, panic is setting in as I try to figure out how I’m going to finance that many years, let alone what to do with all that time. The truth is what good is it to add years to life if we do not also add life to years?  In fact, unless people learn to enjoy life and to grow old gracefully, the extra years may be an additional burden. I don’t know about you but I intend my golden years to be joyful as I gracefully age into Centurion status.

The traditional view of aging is generally accompanied by a loss in physical and mental flexibility.  This is noticed in a tendency to become stiff in the joints; a slower comeback after a strenuous trip, or excessive "night life;" in slower healing of wounds, sore muscles, and sprains; in slower recovery of pep after an illness; and in greater difficulty to adjust to new people, new places, and new ideas. Well wasn’t that just a cheery future to look forward to.

Gratefully new studies have brought about new thinking. The conclusion now is that the performance and ability of the elderly has long been underestimated and can be greatly improved by a proper diet, sleep and exercise along with rest and relaxation. Many elderly people tend to lose their joy and will to live and chronic worriers may mope around and withdraw.  Medical authorities now say that laughter is one of the best medicines for the elderly.  You can always keep your sense of humor tuned up by surrounding yourself with pleasant and interesting people.  So don't be afraid to laugh at yourself even when no else is around.

Now that we all know the role that physical activity plays in our lives, remember to do something physical every day.  The joints must be used or quite simply they will tighten with age creating that stooped worn out appearance we so often associate with getting old.  Keep yourself flexible and fit on an exercise program consistent with your ability and don’t forget to laugh. As for me, I’ll be hitting Planet Fitness later today and texting Diana to find out the when & where of her next Laughter yoga session.           

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New look Option 1

Blogger has come out with some new templates. My old template felt to green too me, after all I'm not Kermit. What do you think of option 565?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Civic Duty: Pull the Lever

Today NJ is holding their School Board elections. When I dropped my dad off to vote at his polling place, I was presently surprised by the large turnout. As a poll worker for the primary and general elections, I am very aware of the low voter turnout for most elections. Historically Presidential elections get the largest turnout of elections held. Yet the 2008 Presidential election only tallied a 64% turnout. I’m sorry but for a country whose existence was created as a response to taxation without representation, I find it appalling that every eligible citizen over the age of 18 does not avail themselves of the right to vote.

Voter turnout began to decline in 1964 hitting its lowest point during the 1996 Presidential election when only 49% of the electorate voted. Midterm elections for Congress and State government elections have an even more dismal attendance. Sadder still, the Daily Record is reporting that the usual turnout for a School Board election in Morris County is a paltry 18%.

The November election for Governor garnered a 47% of possible ballots cast. Today’s School Board election 36% of my fellow Roxbury residents showed up to cast their vote doubling the usual county turnout. I am hopeful that even more citizens across the nation will stand up and be counted at this year’s Midterm primary and election.

Reminder New Jersey residents, Primary elections will be held on June 8th. See you around the polling place.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The New Meadowlands Stadium

Yesterday was the opening of the New Meadowlands Stadium. The Jets & Giants readily admitted that the stadium is not yet complete. Giants Stadium still looms on the northern front. The parking lots and roadways need finishing. The Presidential suites as well as a variety of eating, drinking and merchandising areas are not ready for business. Giants Stadium is not departing without a fight and is taking longer than expected to be dismantled. Expectations are by football season most of these will be ready & waiting the season ticket holders.

Even so, there were enough amenities available to the lacrosse fans attending the 2nd Big City Classic to make the day a pleasant experience. Having worked the Red Bull Arena opening it was not unexpected to experience a rocky start at the gate. Nor was it surprising that the staff were a little tentative on directions. Those things are easy fixes that come with familiarity with the facility filled with fans. Overall, the staff was energized and helpful, while the fans were curious and patient. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Of course what fans really want to know is what the inside is like. Well, there is a huge concourse on the first level with far more food choices than at Giants Stadium. Our seats were on the lower mezzanine in the club section. The club chairs are plush & comfy with cup holders attached to the seat in front. The club lounge runs along the back of the lower mezz section on the opponent’s side of the field.  Although seating is plentiful, it is next to impossible to see the field from inside the club. The club had a slew of food choices along with flat screen TVs galore. The entire stadium is out fitted with flat screen TV’s. The only place I didn’t see TV’s were the bathrooms.

Note: The old stadium was known for its crazy wind patterns. The new stadium seems destined to carry on that tradition if not surpass it. Whereas in Giants Stadium the wind came from the East or West Tunnel or from above; the new stadium allows the wind in from all directions. For reasons past my understanding those interesting slats on the outside of the building do not close.

My verdict, yeah the new stadium is nice but still unnecessary. I will miss the atmosphere of the old Giants Stadium.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

PSL Rant

Today as I sat in the New Giants Stadium, oops I mean the New Meadowlands Stadium, I reflected on the absurdity of the Personal Seat License (PSL). Team owners around the country to maximize their revenues, created a scam called PSL. A season ticket holder is given the privilege of forking over thousands of dollars for the right to occupy a seat in their new stadium.

The brochure sent by the Giants last year extolled the virtues of the new stadium. It told us of the wonderfulness awaiting us as soon as we coughed up 10k for our seats; then came the best part probably from the legal department. The 10k is non-refundable. It is transferable (sellable) but only according to our guidelines and whoops, we haven’t written those yet. Oh and there are seat holder responsibilities to uphold or you will lose your season ticket rights and of course the PSL money. Once again we can’t tell you what all those responsibilities will include because we haven’t made them up yet. Lastly, in due time when the Giants once again decree they must have a new stadium; the PSL will not be transferable to that new stadium. A new and more than likely even more over-priced PSL will be needed to retain your seat in that stadium.


While I am a longtime fan of the Giants, I am admittedly a fair weather fan. I will attend games when the weather is fair, otherwise I am quite happy to watch the game ensconced in my home in front of the fire and the flat screen. Ticket prices nearing $100 had my family reconsidering our season ticket holder status. The new stadium with its PSL sealed the deal. I am now a former season ticket holder.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tai Chi is it for Me?

Tai Chi is an ancient martial art that marries mind and body to create awareness and clarity of the inner you.  It is proclaimed to have health benefits ranging from strengthening the body to alleviating a variety of ailments such as Arthritis and gastric problems.

I’ve seen groups in the park acting as one going through beautiful routines. It looks like karate in slow motion. Considering how uncoordinated I am, slow is better. Tai Chi has always peeked my interest, but I had never tried a class; until the other night that is. The instructor gave us a brief background on Tai Chi and another meditative practice, Qi Gong. Then he led us through a few movements of each discipline. While looking in the mirror as the class moved through the Tai Chi movements I realized it would take years of working with the same group of people to ever look like those people in the park. The movements themselves were doable, but the precise nature of the discipline left me dispirited due to my aforementioned un-coordination.

Qi Gong on the other hand had a more of a give it your best shot vibe, a much better fit for my klutzy abilities. Qi Gong translates to life force work. It incorporates breathing and slow movement to enhance overall health without the martial arts theme. Qi Gong can even be done lying down. Now this is my kind of exercise. I’m definitely going forward to taking some Qi Gong classes.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Wildwater Walking Club

I love to listen to books while driving in the car and running errands. The current book playing on my MP-3 is The Wildwater Walking Club by Claire Cook. So far, this is a fabulous read.

I’ve got a lot in common with the lead character, Noreen Kelly. I’m single, live by myself, out of a job I had for a number of years, and trying to discover what to do next. After wallowing in the depression of job loss she wakes up to find she’s packed on the pounds. To combat the weight gain, she straps on her pedometer and heads outside for a walk. This galvanized to pick up a pedometer of my own. After leaving the store I strapped on the pedometer to start counting my steps.

Guidelines suggest we should be aiming to walk 10,000 steps every day for weight management. A sedentary person (me), tend to average 1000-3000 steps a day. That’s a long way from 10,000 steps. So I grabbed friend and went walking around Horseshoe Lake. Not only was it energizing exercise, it was enjoyable to spend time catching up with a friend. Best yet, it has inspired me to do it again.

Steps on Day 1 8604

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Happy Birthday Twinkie

Today Twinkies turn 80 years old today April 6th.  How surprised was I to visit the official Twinkie website to find nothing about this big milestone. Come on Hostess you can do better than an out of date web page featuring the “upcoming” Twinkie recipe book for the birthday child.  I was given a copy of that book last year!  

The book was a gift from the church for giving them a Twinkie cake. Guiding Light fans will remember the Twinkie cake. Bill & Lizzie made it for their wedding after their original cake fell out of the car Bill was driving.

Here’s another bit of trivia for you: the brainchild of James Dewar, Twinkies were originally filled with Banana cream; then came rationing of bananas during World War II forcing Hostess to switch to vanilla cream.  The Twinkies you and I love are still made with vanilla cream.

Celebrate with a Twinkie today.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Pets are Wonderful Month

April is Pets are Wonderful Month. Well I have to agree, they are wonderful. At the top of my list is my dog Kris. Kris was the first dog I ever had. Actually he was a member of the family before I was. Dad never particularly liked dogs, unlike my mom who had very fond memories of her grandparents Sheppard. Eventually, mom was able to wear dad down and they got Kris, a German Sheppard. The day I came home from the hospital my mom laid me on the couch, unwrapped my blanket then introduced me to Kris. As mom it, he sniffed me from my toes up to my face, then gave me a big face lick. From then on Kris was my dog. He slept by my bedside nightly with a brief break when my brother arrived.  He simply was my protector, playmate and friend.  

My favorite memory was the day dad brought home a lobster for dinner. This was the first time we’d ever attempted lobster at home. Come to think of it, it was the last time as well, but that’s another story. Dad got a lobster so huge it wouldn’t fit in the pot. While my parents pondered what to do, they put the lobster on the porch. Kris also on the porch was not pleased with the new arrival. He and the lobster glared at one another neither knowing what the other was but instantly disliking the other. To protect both parties, Kris was tied to the porch while the lobster’s pinchers were pinched. So Kris barked while the lobster snapped its pinchers to the amusement of the kids in the neighborhood. To the delight of my dog, not so much the lobster; my parents quickly came up with a solution and the lobster took his expected place on the kitchen table.  

Kris has been gone over 30 years but I will never be forgot my wonderful dog. How are you honoring your favorite pet this month?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

50 Book Challenge

Back in 2008 Steve Jobs created a stir when he said “the fact is that people don’t read anymore.... Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore." That comment irritated readers throughout the world. The gauntlet was thrown down and in response libraries, bookstores, teachers, and book clubs created 50 Book Challenges around the globe. I’ve been a fan of for a number of years and quickly joined the 50 Book Challenge group. So did my dad and a number of friends.  As soon as I achieved reading 50 books in a year, I joined the 100 Book Challenge too. So far this year, I have read 28 books so I am on track to reach the 50 book mark by June.  

As I was posting my latest reads on the Shelfari board, news stories about the release of Steve Job’s iPad wafted through the air. How amusing that the guy who said there aren’t any readers out there has introduced a new product aimed to compete with the Kindle Reader. What’s more the long lines for the iPad were reported throughout the day. Amazon’s phenomenal successful Kindle, Sony’s E-Reader and B&N’s nook prove that not only are people reading, they are anxious for new toys on which to read. Personally I’m looking forward to passing my Sony E-Reader onto dad and reveling in the nook.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Another Potential Loss for Libraries & Students

Yikes the EBSCO database is on the chopping block due to the state’s financial crisis. What is EBSCO besides an unpronounceable bunch of letters? It’s a collection of databases mainly geared towards students. Do you need age appropriate reading material, or grade appropriate research for a history project, or a magazine article for tomorrow’s class? These databases are the answer. I began tutoring my nephew at the beginning of this year.  Now it’s been a long time since I had to write papers or study for exams, so it’s been a challenge getting back into the mindset to be able to effectively help him. What a great resource these databases are. Funk & Wagnallis Encyclopedia is a terrific starting point for research reports. I’ve used the NoveList to draw up a reading list for my nephew. But, far and away the most popular features are the magazine & newspaper archive searches. EBSCO provides free access to thousands of magazines/newspapers including the LA & New York Times. Alas, unless there is a change of heart during the budget debates this fabulous resource will cease to be accessible to NJ libraries after June 30th. 

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Double Whammy for NJ Libraries

As if the Governor’s proposed budget cuts to libraries weren’t enough; Assemblyman John Dimaio has introduced an elimination of the required appropriation for the funding of free municipal libraries. Instead library appropriations would be the amount deemed necessary for the proper maintenance of the library by the municipal governing body. I fear the lawmakers in Trenton do not value libraries. Libraries are the cornerstones of our towns. They house the past, present and future of our communities. They provide the resources for all of the community to grow and achieve their potential. In these economic hard times Libraries and their resources are needed even more. While the budget crisis requires cutbacks in all areas, the proposed cuts along with A2555 will cripple municipal libraries across the state.

Please click on the link and send an e-mail to your state representatives in the 25th district in support of your library. 

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Help Save NJ Libraries

Libraries across the country are busier than ever before.  170,000 people use NJ libraries every day.  Libraries are community anchors. The unemployed are increasingly turning to libraries are currently to file online unemployment claims, apply for jobs, and taking classes to expand job skills. Children develop a critical reading skills beginning with Books for Babies programs progressing on to Summer Reading Programs and homework help. In this fiscally challenged times, adults are using libraries to provided low cost entertainment options, interact with government, and participate in life-long learning opportunities.
Governor Christie’s proposed budget calls for a 74% cut in library budgets. All statewide programs and services would be eliminated. These budget cuts will also cause an additional $4.5 million loss in federal funding, further decreasing in library’s ability to provided needed services. Eliminating all of the Network Aid ($4.299 mil) is incredibly destructive to library operations. Network Aid includes all region and statewide services such as; delivery, databases, and inter-library loans.

Intra-library loans and delivery systems have become a mainstay of library circulation. These systems allow a library to have a smaller collection of information physically on hand while providing the public a wider array of available information. Last year 82,000 items were circulated through the intra-library loan system to the benefit of Roxbury Township residents. I use the MAIN online ordering system. MAIN determines which library has an available copy of the book I’ve requested, and then arranges delivery. An e-mail is sent to me notifying the book has arrived at the Roxbury Library where I pick it up. Once I’ve returned the book, MAIN returns it to the home library or to the branch of the next recipient. This is an efficient use of the materials available to all the residents of towns using the MAIN system. Systems like this would cease to exist throughout the state if the budget cut eliminating Network Aid is allowed to stand.

Please click on the link and send an e-mail to your state representatives in the 25th district in support of your library. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Organize Your Home Office Day

Today is Organize Your Home Office Day and to celebrate, I’m cleaning off my desk. That is my goal, whether I finish today or tomorrow, I will have a desktop that contains my laptop, printer, pens/pencils, current project folders and a notepad. From the before picture I’m sure it is obvious I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me. The mess I have now is paralyzing me. The pile represents my past, present and future. There are the last vestiges of a business and contacts from the TV show now off the air. Then there are the tax receipts that need to go to my accountant and bills to be paid. Lastly there is my future lost in all that clutter, pieces of inspiration needing to be unearthed. So that is my task, dispose of the past, organize the present and find the dreams of the future. Wish me luck.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Not So Typical Inspirational Reading defines Inspiration as a person or work that “moves the intellect or emotions or prompts action or invention.”  Bookstores have whole sections dedicated to Inspirational books. I’ve taken the Passion Test to find my passion and read Suze Orman’s Courage to be Rich and was moved to de-clutter my home from one end to the other to make way for “more”.  But I’m not necessarily talking about “Inspirational” books. I can find inspiration in magazines, biographies, history, chic lit or mysteries.

Recently while listening to Obsession, Deceit and Really Dark Chocolate by Kyra Davis I was inspired to watch an old movie favorite. Sophia Katz meets up with her friend Maryann at the video store. Mary Ann is looking for a film with Errol Flynn. They decide on one of Flynn’s best Robin Hood. I rarely watch movies. My movie library totals under a dozen movies. When I got home I curled up on the couch with the remote and enjoyed the classic Robin. Next to me and the remote is the March copy of O Magazine. I’m hoping for some inspiration from Oprah on de-cluttering my life, which just happens to be this month’s O theme. Keep your fingers crossed.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Yesterday was the Grand Opening Celebration for Health-e-Motion.  There was the typical meet & greet, food, drink and tour. Unique to Health-e-Motion were the Nia classes you could jump into for a song, intuitive readings in a private room or the Drumming Ceremony which was the finale for the day. Now I have never seen a Drumming Ceremony much less participated in one, but that didn’t stop me from picking up a drum and banging along. What a hoot. Everyone started out trying to follow the rhythm but as the ceremony progressed, we all just did our own thing. Some people were drumming or using other percussion instruments, some danced and some enjoyed the performance. Usually I’m in the latter group. Just spending a few minutes in this new space and I was already enjoying being out of my comfort zone.

Health-e-motion is the brainchild of Christine Clifton. She describes herself as a Personal Growth Trainer and has worked as a life coach and Nia instructor. Christine wants to bring healthy living modalities under one roof. Whether you are searching for spiritual, intellectual, emotional or physical enlightenment Health-e-motion is the place to be.

I first met Christine a few months back at a Rock Your Chakras class she was leading. It was fantastic! It was a mix of movement, meditation and soul searching. Just weeks before my mom’s death, I came into the class hopeless and dark and left feeling hopeful and light. It was an awesome internal transformation. Excitingly, this is one of the classes being offered during the free Monday evening classes in March. I can’t wait to take it again. To me the real excitement about Health-e-Motion is the opportunity to try new things in a safe environment. There’s this Dance Your Chakras (March 31) billed as all about chakras and balancing these energy centers through dance meditation. Sounds like something not to miss to me.