Archive for November, 2012

Earlier this morning I was listening to an interview with a United States Congress man. He was answering questions about immigration in the United States of America and ways to address all the men and women living and working in the United States that are not citizens and therefore breaking the law. In an attempt at political hyperbole that made me kind of chuckle the man said “I do not think we should award law breakers with the greatest gift we can offer which is United States citizenship.”  I laughed not because being a citizen isn’t a great gift, or because being an illegal immigrant is funny but because to hear him speak you would think the illegal immigrant was a heinous criminal.

However the statement the greatest gift got me to thinking about of course the holiday season. There is in the United States at least a lot of pressure to get all our family members the perfect Christmas gift. Kids pack the mall and sit on Santa’s lap, they let him know they have been good all year and as their reward they want their lists fulfilled. Parents put away and save all year to help Santa out. We dust off the charge cards and hit the stores, this year thanksgiving day even! But I ask you what would be the greatest gift of all for our family and friends and I am pretty sure it is not something you will find in the store.

So what then should we quit buying gifts for family and friends? No gift giving is  a great tradition. Everyone loves getting a gift, just do yourself a favor this holiday season and take it easy. If you don’t get everything on the list it will be fine. The greatest gift you can give someone is your time.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful stress free holiday







I did it!!!

Posted: November 29, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

Last year this time I was lamenting over the need for thirty thousand words. Confused? Let me explain. November is the second to last month of the calendar year, the month in which we celebrate thanksgiving, and National Novel Writing month.  A novel is an average of fifty thousand words in length so the goal for anyone who dares volunteer is to write a novel of at least fifty thousand words in length in the span of one month, that month being November.

Last year I volunteered and failed to accomplish this momentous task. I had the enthusiasm and desire to do the average 1667 words a day for the 31 day month, but that was not enough I fell short. 20,00 words short to be exact. I was a little dejected but I didn’t lose any of my enthusiasm. I continued to write daily in my blog and thought about different book ideas up until this November than when November came around again I hit the word processor like a man obsessed. I was disciplined and stuck to the 1667 word a day minimum some days crushing the minimum but every day making at least that much, and I did it.

I know it seems like a small accomplishment, but what is life if not a bunch of small accomplishments and failures? So am I writing this to brag a little? yes but more than bragging I hope I can be your inspiration, maybe there is something you have yet to do a bucket list item to check off? Trust me if I can hammer out 50000 words in 28 days you can cross that item off your list believe in yourself and never let the failure define you





That is the question isn’t it? What really matters? Or does this really matter? It is Wednesday, for many of this it is the middle of the work week, and for others who work unconventional schedules it could be the beginning or end of the work week and for the lucky retirees it is just another day off, but no matter your station in life, you can be assured that some “fires” will pop up. Disaster will strike and you may be expected to act as others do and lose your head in the nonsense. I implore you Don’t do it. Take some advice from a really great writer and the author of a poem I was made by the Cleveland public School system and my mom to memorize


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling
This post is by no means an analysis of the poem, I do not have the expertise to do that simply a request that on today, wether it be hump day, the beginning , end or just any old day that we try our best to keep in mind what matters most and not let the minutia ruin that.

I was on my way to work this morning and listening to a radio story detailing the fine cuisine in a restaurant. The interviewer spoke with customers and kitchen staff about the fine dining. I was in shock when I heard that the restaurant was in Mogadishu. The news story is on NPR, and it is really worth a read! The story goes on to point out that the country of Somalia has been brutalized through a 21-year-old civil war, and that even now the stability of the region is not well stable, but people must eat and the restaurant owner is aware of this.

The restaurant is successful so far and not without some unfortunate violence. The violence is squashed by the security in the restaurant and the one fatalities are the terrorist themselves. Hearing this success story simply reinforces my faith in good people.  Good people are not heroes but they do heroic acts that make the world go around, like feeding people.

I think salman Rushdie  put it best when he said “How do you defeat terrorism? Don’t be terrorized.”




Survived by….

Posted: November 26, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

Before writing in this post I stopped and read my uncles obituary on the Star Beacon website.  The write-up mentions his love of his children grand children, travel and fishing and then it says “survived by” one son and three daughters. Those words survived by always, sense a kid, seemed strange to me, but then on the same site next to the obituary I see a touching letter written from my cousin to her dad (she is one of the survived by that the obituary speaks of) and I think I kind of understand what those words mean.

Uncle Keith was always smiling, and joking and laughing. You could tell he enjoyed the company of his family and I really believe he missed his wife, my  aunt Jackie. He will be missed of course, but  more than missed he will be survived by his children and grand children. The survivors will be in my thoughts and prayers and I ask they also be in yours.



So you may be asking yourself after reading this post’s title,  why can this guy not spell? Well to answer your question I think it is a combination from a short attention span throughout all my schooling coupled with a laziness while writing, or typing, which prevents me from looking up a words proper spelling. I am not sure what combination it is that makes me such a poor speler and I am working on becoming better at the spelling thing, but in this case whey is spelled that way because I am referring to a by-product that comes from making greek yogurt.

Coming into work I was listening to a radio program which was detailing the rise in popularity of  greek yogurt in the United States and because of the popularity peak many dairies have ramped up production of this delicacy. With any type of yogurt there is a certain amount of whey created. Conventional yogurts whey a process of reclamation is employed and the yogurt is used by some cheese manufacturing. The whole idea of wasting nothing immediately comes to mind for me. The problem with greek yogurt whey is that it is far too acidic to be used in any cheeses. This problem has become a chief concern for some of the greek yogurt manufactures one manufacture handles the problem by selling the whey to a local waste management facility which has a process by which they break down the way and produce a gas that can in turn support the facility with electric power, the problem with this solution is that it is cheaper for the facility to simply buy power from the local utility, so this process may be too expensive to be a sustainable option for the yogurt manufacturer. Another solution employed is using the whey in a manure mixture for local farmers who are paid to put this on their crops. The manure solution has limitations as well not so much financial more logistical and temporal. In other words there are not enough nearby farms to handle all the whey waste generated from the yogurt companies.

The yogurt companies bring in a lot of money to upstate New York so to help with the whey problem Cornell has put together a  task force which will provide some options for the yogurts acidic by-product. I may be letting my inner geek show but I am excited to see what the force comes up with. Could whey become a new clean energy providing free sustainable cheap power to the whole upstate New York area? Who knows. We will soon find out though.

Life is always messy. There will always be some whey in our way and finding an elegant and simple solution beneficial to everyone involved in our life to deal with this way is what makes you a grandmother, and a mother.


and happy thanks giving


Right on the heels of the President of the United States reelection comes his tour of southeast Asia and with his tour is the important stop in the small but important country of Myanmar or Burma depending on the anthropological camp you are set up in. Burma has a population of 68 million and at a time when many countries are experiencing a retreating GDP Burmas GDP, despite economic sanctions placed on the country due mostly impart to the blind eye their military ran government has turned to human rights violations and an all too large human trafficking problem, has grown and is expected to continue to grow. 2011 GDP for Burma was 82.68 billion. Burma is a nation which a rich culture and a resource rich land. The human rights violations and genocide have made Burma the subject for UN scrutiny as well as the earlier mentioned economic sanctions.

The United States have taken an approach to help Burma that has been so far successfull. Their approach was to put sanctions on the country and send diplomats to the country and open a dialogue. The success of this approach has spurred the realize of political prisoners and some free elections which hopefully will relive some of the oppressive forces from the military government.

During the United States president visit one of the political prisoners spoke to the media and the people of Burma from the house she was held prisoner at. Her name is Aung San Suu Kyi she spoke to the people about being careful not to fall for “a mirage of success” and that real success was going to be a long road for all of them.

The statement about “the mirage of success” got me to thinking about how sometimes it can be easy to measure success by a bank account or position title and how this measurement of success should be happiness. As if right on time Sir Richard Bransson of Virgin fame, made a similar statement about the measurement of success.  I am going to try hard to avoid falling for the mirage of Success and work towards true success what about you?