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January 2016 (30 Day Blogging Challenge)
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January 20, 2016 at 8:03am
January 20, 2016 at 8:03am
Where to live?

There are so many places I would love to live, each with there own enticing landscapes and lifestyles. NYC for its life and energy - being on the cutting edge of everything. London for similar reasons. The Carribbean for weather and beach and sun.

However I probably would have to say that I would spend the rest of my days here in Buffalo. I have a network of friends, a social circle, career, home and LIFE.

Buffalo is home.
January 19, 2016 at 8:52am
January 19, 2016 at 8:52am
Inspirational Quote

I love inspirational quotes. Its not like I obsess over them or have them hanging allover my walls (although that's not a bad idea). When I read something motivational I actually do feel uplifted. There are so many to choose from but this quote popped into my mind so I will write to it.

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain.

Unfortunately I am not sure who wrote this but still I the words resonate. To me this is all about perspective and expectation. I believe people set expectations and that is what causes a great deal of stress and anxiety. We expect our lives to be a certain way and then are constantly hoping for them to change (waiting for the storm to pass). Instead we should change our perspective and look to the good in where we are now. Learning to dance in the rain is pretty much the same as making lemonade out of lemons.

Easier said though than done.
January 18, 2016 at 2:02am
January 18, 2016 at 2:02am
Time to go out to eat...chain restaurant, local establishment, or fast food? State your case.

EAT LOCAL! This not only helps your community by supporting your local restauranteurs but also your local farmers. You will get to know your community better and you have somewhat more control over what you are eating. I also believe in eating, when possible, food from within a 100 mile radius.

As someone who loves to travel, I have found that eating local give you a unique insight into the people of the place you are visiting, enhances your visit and allows you to experience food or eating in a completely new manner. Some of my best memories revolve around food experiences in other countries. For example, our trip to France was highlighted by the largest lobster I have even seen plunked in the center of a table overlooking the ocean in Nice. Our son wanted lobster after spending a week eating crepes from sidewalk vendors in Paris. In London, I recall laughing with locals who found my enthusiasm for the meat pie hysterical. Most recently we were in Morocco, where I delighted in the pastries, Tangine and mung bean soup, while my husband ate an entire sheeps' head delivered in paper and my son ate enough goat and lamb to bankrupt a farm. While in an ecolodge in the jungle, I ate food that was grown on the gronds because it was incredibly difficult to travel all the way to a "store". It was some of the best vegetables and fruit I had tasted. When my son was in Cordoba Argentina, his host family held a bbbq in his honor - they served the stomach, intestines and more animal innards that sound horrible to me. My son swears it was one of the best meals he has even had. The care people took in these places to prepare our food and the pleasure they had in our compliments was an experience I will not soon forget.

I consider myself a foodie in all aspects of the word. I love food..cooking it, eating it, reading about it, and even drooling over photos. We partake in a farm coop (CSA) and I am always up for a new recipe. Eating is a social event for us - with most of our friend interaction involving some sort of meal. I also love to host dinner parties and strive to delight my guests and make them feel completely comfortable. A dinner invite to my place is a comment on how much I enjoy you or your company.

Finally, I am against fast food and chains trying hard to avoid them. However.... I am addicted to Tim Hortons and Starbucks. In my mind coffee chains dont count *Smile*
January 17, 2016 at 11:49am
January 17, 2016 at 11:49am
News Review

My husband and I have always been interested in current affairs and in staying informed about our world. Not to mention we are both extremely opinionated. As a way to pass on this interest to our son, we used to play a "game" a dinner. Everyone was to read an article during the day and we would discuss, debate, critique over dinner. It made for some fascinating and lively dinner chat. I actually think it is the reason my son is relentless when trying to prove a point.

So this prompt brings back memories. I immediately when to Huffington Post to find a juicy article for review. Should I comment on the ridiculousness of our presidential race, or how about the newly release prisoners and why that happened, or maybe discuss the latest foodie trend (its climatarians http://grist.org/food/what-on-earth-is-a-climatarian/) in case you are interested, or see what trivial event is happening in the lives of the rich and famous, maybe discuss the new health scare in South America (Zika virus)...the options are endless. But I am in a bit of a silly mood today and just do not have the mental fortitude to debate a political or social issue so the article I choose to review is

"This Guy Wants Popcorn Banned Inside Movie Theaters" http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/popcorn-ban-movie-theaters_5698bbf3e4b0ce496...

At first this seems like a ridiculous waste of time and energy. Frankly who cares right? This guy finds the snack to be too loud and disruptive to his movie watching experience. He also notes that the snack is without value. Mike Shotton actually wants popcorn outlawed in all UK cinema and is imploring people to sign his petition.

On one hand, good for Mr. Shotton for putting the effort into changing something he feels is wrong. But that's the only think positive I can say about his movement.

First, I go tot the movies on a very regular basis and the sound is always loud and I have NEVER been distracted by the chewing of popcorn or any snack for that matter. Is this a problem that I am missing? Oh and if the kid next to you is out of control masticating like a screaming banshee maybe the human thing to do would be to gently tell the child that you are having difficulty hearing the movie and would appreciate his consideration....ok the kid would probably dose your complaining ass with his soda but... Maybe if a completely quick theatre is necessary, Mr. Shotton should change his seat or go on off hours or wait till the show comes to DVD.

However when I think about it, is this systemic of our current culture? I feel there is a selfishness that is promoting individual dictator like requests because common courtesy seems null and void. We have one side of individuals who insist that legislation mandate only their opinions - topics that have nothing to do with them are demonized ( ie marriage rights, pro-choice, etc). Then you have the other side that is too self centered to take responsibility for their actions. We have to have do not litter fines because people as so arrogant as to not pick up after themselves. I know that is so sophomoric but it is also true.

I am not so naive or such a polyanna that I think "why can't we all just get along" would solve the worlds problems. But I do think a little compassion, gratitude and humility may help.

Plus I really like popcorn at the movies *Smile*
January 16, 2016 at 5:58am
January 16, 2016 at 5:58am
Can you write an autobiography using just six words?

{{i}b}Authentic love and zest for living.{/b}{/i}

January 15, 2016 at 10:05am
January 15, 2016 at 10:05am
On this day in 1913, the first telephone line between Berlin and New York was inaugurated. Are phones a necessary evil? Could you get by without one for a month?

Today, immediate communication is essential and because the phone seems to be the best tool to easily, efficiently and relatively cheaply accomplish this communication, the phone is a necessary evil. If a new option (for example maybe a reliable wearable) is created that can improve upon this communication method, a believe the cell phone would be replaced.

Back in May, I was fortunate enough to spend time in Costa Rica evaluating luxury properties and activities for use in experiential travel. Most of the time I was in the jungle with limited, if any, access to the outside world. I recall one property could only be accessed via white water rafting. We were unable to get any electricity, internet, and of course no cellular service. I actually loved it and thought it would be wonderfully to have no phone. However, during that stay I did not really need to speak to anyone. My family and friends knew I was away and I did not need to present anything for work. What a difference!

January 13, 2016 at 10:04pm
January 13, 2016 at 10:04pm
Simplicity. How important is that to you when you write?

The technology consulting sector loves to promote K.I.S.S translated to keep it simple stupid. Intellectually I agree that simple is usually better but I also think it depends on what you are writing, your audience and what component you choose to keep simple.

I enjoy writing fiction and I have found that sticking to one single message keeps the item simple but utilizing subtlety and various avenues for exploring that single message adds depth and complexity.

I try to keep my professional writing very organized with clear examples and straightforward explanations which promote the simplistic guide. Strategic plans, reports, sales proposals and performance reviews always benefit from the simple direct approach.

I read once that your populous newspapers write to an 8th grade level because that is the common denominator of comprehension experienced by the average reader. With that in mind I create my marketing materials with a very simple take away (just covered in flowery text and manipulative prose).

I don't believe that simple needs to be boring. A good writer should be able to use descriptive vocabulary with well thought out themes to bring the simple message to the reader and gently drop it in his lap.

January 13, 2016 at 6:42am
January 13, 2016 at 6:42am
β€œToo many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.” ―Malcolm Forbes. Agree? Disagree? How do you feel?

How do I feel? I feel strongly that Forbes was accurate in his observation. Actually, this is something that I am personally working on - a major flaw I have deep within and a constant effort to improve. Warning I am going to get personal here and am not approaching this prompt as a definitive statement on our population but as my opinion.

Envy, low self- confidence, greed, entitlement, superficiality...all feelings that I believe stem from this observation. On the outside I appear very confident with this fantastic life, but here I am at 6am writing a blog for complete strangers to comment on... I guess searching for approval or validation or to be heard even though I rationalize these efforts as means to improve my writing/communication skills.

There are those times where I just feel that everyone else has more, does more, is more. Those times where it seems I have failed at everything attempted. I know this is not true and I know it sounds whinny and a bit pathetic but there are those times. When I started my career I was so motivated for success and on a non-stop trajectory to "make it". Although I worked ALL THE TIME and I was incredibly stressed, I really did love it. I knew what had to be done and I was doing it. Never thought twice about anything or anyone else. My husband's career was taking off as well so we had separate lives that intersected beautifully.

Somehow I gave all that up...now I am not sure why or how. Actually that's not true, I was weak and chose to sell out of my career and focus on my family. That was probably the best choice as I absolutely loved the time I spent with my husband and son. Now my son is in college, his own man and with limited interested in me - he has his own life as he should. My husband is doing extremely well and I am very proud of him, however I cannot be that "country club" wife - tried and want to poke my eyes out with needles. Funny I blame myself for all my son's flaws but take no credit for my any of my husband's strengths.

I am no longer motivated by financial and career success and have chosen to make changes. However I still see that LinkedIn announcement about a colleague hitting the C level and I tell myself how much I failed. I keep thinking why didn't I follow that path and why aren't I in that position. Temporarily I forget what that success comes with.

Why can't I value what I have? Gratitude, appreciation and mindfulness are what I want to feel and be. The yoga and meditation are tools to get me there but damn I am not even close.

" I have a healthy son in a great college....of course it is not an ivy league and he is not getting straight A's"
" I am fortunate enough to travel ...of course I don't go enough and I haven't been to Dubai yet"
" I have friends and a strong social life...of course I wasn't invited to THAT party"
" I have a lucrative job...of course I don't like it and am not nearly as successful as I should be"
" I have a loving husband.. of course he is angry with me after last night's fight"
" I look fine..of course I cant get into a size 4 anymore"

And on and on and on....

The scales are tipped. I preach about the value of health and happiness, about how important it is to be a good, productive person and how wrong it is to focus on materialistic things. Yet deep down I WANT all of it and then hate myself for wanting it. I am just not as good as someone else.

So yes I do believe, based on my own "crazy", that people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.

END of whinny rant.

January 12, 2016 at 8:23am
January 12, 2016 at 8:23am
I have never been a very good sleeper. As a child my parents said I would sleep walk and talk causing them first concern and then hours of entertainment. As an adult, I find myself waking up a several times a night. It never bothered me that much when I was younger because I was able to get out of bed and get things done but it seems the older I get the more I need those 7 - 8 hours a night.

There is so much information on how to help you fall asleep and stay asleep; limit caffeine intake, watch what you eat and when, develop a bedtime routine, meditate/pray, read, reduce screen time, get on a schedule....and on and on and on. I have tried most or these options with some degree of success but my lack of total commitment to these suggestions is probably the reason I have not seen real progress.

So back to the prompt....the way I like to fall asleep is gently, concentrating on my my breathe and releasing the days events. I like to lay on my side in my bed with my comforter and about 5 fluffy pillows and my husband next to me. It is best if the room is cooler but the sheets are warm. Unfortunately, I usually fall asleep with a crash of exhaustion as soon as I sit down.

It is probably a good idea for me to focus on improving my sleep schedule in 2016..hmm new resolution *Smile*.
January 11, 2016 at 8:33am
January 11, 2016 at 8:33am
Although I am a traditionalist in this matter and absolutely love butter on salt on mashed, french fried or baked potatoes, I must say it is probably not the most healthy option.

If we are going to be eating that much carbs, maybe a protein topper would be good? Or even some greens? Doesn't sound nearly as delicious.

My favorite (and somewhat healthy) topping is Truffle oil. I prefer black as it is strong but white truffle oil is a solid substitute. It doesn't take much to enhance the flavor of the base food and it is a healthy fat. Try baking your french fried and drizzling on the oil or stir in a tablespoon into your mashed. So Yummy.

I actually use black truffle oil as a substitute for salad dressing, as a sauce for vegetables and to add spark to chicken. Love love love it.

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