June, exploring and expanding my view

You see with your eyes, and hear with your ears, but how much do you extrapolate?

I have come to realize that with each glimpse you bring into the picture your past memories of that subject, and the corresponding feelings, positive or negative into today’s new moment.

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What inspires you?

Do you ever wonder how it is that you choose to do something? What inspires you? Why does that particular thing spark your interest?

Are you a ” go with the flow” type of person or are you rigid in your thoughts of what you’ve already decided is right for you?

I am finding that I have changed my likes over the years, just as some people change friends.  I am open to new things. I am interested.  From the perspective of children, some cannot wait to finish school, yet you can spend your lifetime learning. Your brain, thinking and your mind ready to absorb different information.  I feel you become a better person with each new thing that you introduce. It is social, in the process, you meet new people. You don’t have to like every aspect of a person, but you learn to appreciate that part of them that participates in a certain activity, whether it yoga, painting, rock climbing, singing, teaching, jewelry-making, bakery owner, gardener.

I am amazed at my local library and all the venues it has to offer. It truly has become a multi-faceted place in which during the learning process,  I have met several new friends.

There is the ” Digital Cafe”, The Smart Lab” to take various computer seminars, and to make appointments for one on one questions. Also there you can learn ” Garage Band”, video-Editing, there is a Library consortium of shared services, one of these being sewing. I sewed  both a zipped pouch and a pretty library tote of toile fabric which I like.

During both months of  January and March were ” Makers month ” at local libraries in my area.

Who would have thought that all you need is a black felt tip sharpie and a white ” tile” cardboard and you can create artistic doodles called Zentangle.  The premise is that while playing New Age music, music that is played during yoga classes, and drawing patterns, that it releases endorphins that create a form of relaxation.  That day in January, I also learned knitting, and ball room dancing. In March, I was enthused to attend and watch documentaries.

One of my favorites was the movie entitled ” Angel Azul”,  about the long process of creating an Angel statue by plaster casting on a model, this took hours to do and I appreciated the patience of the lady model. This statue was lowered into the ocean with a giant crane.  Many more statues were created by sculptures in the same method , all to be used on the ocean floor, to create a new barrier reef ,  a place for plankton, and sea life to adhere to.  I learned that professional scuba divers travel from all areas of the world to scuba  dive in Mexico to view this place.

Thank- you for visiting my blog and finding this post.

Comments: I welcome your comments, thoughts on the subject.

Flag Day is celebrated on June 14., and Philadelphia’s Constitution Center

Today is Flag Day. What does that mean? To me, as an American, everyday is the day to celebrate and display our American flag.

And I do. In my own way. My garden has American flags waving proudly among my summer flowers. When I plant my flower garden, The colors I choose are red, white and blue. Red geraniums, white , and blue ageratums.

My front door welcomes you with a homemade hanging sign in the shape of an American flag; it is old, In fact my family made it at a craft project at my hometown library several years ago, and I still display it. It has ribbons, and during the year I drape it on the edge of my plant stand in the kitchen. Whenever I’m cooking, reading one of my cookbook collection or gazing out the sliding door’s window, I am reminded of our Freedom, I jotted notes about it a couple of weeks ago while at the Princeton Public Library.

Freedom to read almost anything out there that is published.  It was a real eye-opening moment when I came across a book last month,

Flag Day at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, PA

Flag Day at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, PA

that a writer attempt to describe what it is like in out her countries.  Found the book in the Princeton Public library, was so interesting, that I jotted down.

History of Flag Day:

A celebration of the adoption of the Continental Congress to adopt the flag June 14, 1777.

Resolved that the flag be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white, thirteen stars.

Although for 200 years, the American flag was flown on public buildings, and in several small cities, Flag day wasn’t  officially recognized until President Harry Truman signed it into law in 1949.

Nearby Philadelphia’s Constitution center is having Flag Day celebration, opening early at 0930 am with reduced admission price of $5.00 sponsored by Macy’s ( Department store. )  At 10:30 am on the front lawn is a 50 star grand flag raising and a parade to Independence Mall.

Betsy Ross, the birthplace of the American Flag is open today, the 13 star flag raising.

There is a ” Stars and Stripes” Community fair 09:00 to 3:00 pm at a Independence Mall.

Celebrate Flag Day!!

My Day

May 15, 2013. My Day off goes like this.

I wake up to kiss Pat as he leaves for work. I lie in bed, hoping for another half hour of rest. The sun is shining very brightly this morning through the closed blinds and sheer floral curtains.
I think, I need to start my shower, however the Master bath needs removal and repair/re-grout of the floor and tiles; the contractor had suggested to refrain from using this bathroom. 
In the second (guest) bathroom inside the tub is Bulk toilet paper, a bag of Nina’s books,and Reader’s Digest.  Then, I decide that I need to start a load of laundry but first I’ll have a quick bowl of cereal. Another day, another time, there will be a chance to sit outside at the Patio table with my breakfast and enjoy the outdoor sounds. 
Once downstairs, as I approach the sink/counter, I see that the floor below still needs sweeping.  Monday started off with a busy work-week,including both an early morning Team Leader meeting and staff meeting followed by an eight-hour shift. 
Instead of reaching up in the cabinet for my bowl for cereal, I reach down to move the kitchen slice rug, and see spots on the floor. First I sweep, then get the Swiffer that needs refill sponges,so I dampen a paper towel add dish soap and gently stoop down and give it a scrub. There, that will do. I don’t want to overdo it and strain any muscles, I have a 12 hr shift tomorrow at both Parsippany and Muhlenberg. 
I look over to the rest of the kitchen. The cute card table has things on it, it was intended to sit and eat there, currently there’s a stack of cookbooks jam from Sussex County fair with pretty fabric covers,a bag of pistachios, orange cranberry chutney , a bag of jasmine rice (should be moved to the upper cabinet and place in a plastic bag.), a Betty Crocker’s
” new” Boys and Girls Club book from the late 1960s , a bag of dried blueberries trail mix with cashews cranberries and almonds, and a cookbook called healthy meals. It was 915 a.m.as I sat down to write this,  I did prepare my bowl of  half rice Chex cereal ,half Raisin Bran with vanilla Eating my cereal one spoonful at a time and sip my tea from one of my favorite mugs a Hawaiian theme that I got in the big Island in the 1998 trip with the CAC. I like to stir in A tsp of wildflower honey from the local Griggstown market. As I pause, I hear the ticking of the kitchen clock outside the home and rumble of the lawnmowers and the Weedwhacker’s of the landscape company. It’s a sunny day I ask myself if there’ time for a ten minute walk. Th e house after picking up/fish flounder and package of chicken drumsticks, Perdue , 5 La yogurts,  oatmeal, an organic plastic wrapped Zucchini. Yesterday morning before working evening shift at old Bridge I went to target store for Lysol spray bathroom cleaner with hydrogen peroxide three bottles were on sale plus Efferdent mint dentures tablets .  The  family were practically all out with two tabs left and they were breaking them in half and did not tell me nor did Mom buy any when she went shopping on her senior bus. When mom shops she thinks of meat and cake and pasta sauce and only allowed two grocery bags anyway.

It’s 9:45 AM I have to take a quick shower and at the same time start the lingerie on Coldwater wash. I’m still in my PJs. I have to quit right my bill for the car payment due the 19th and pack the car with the blue flowered tote bag  with file folders , bring the small red cooler with the chicken and fish and your perishables and look around and see what else. Alas, I want to cook something at least some pasta salad or an entrée for this evening for Pat and I. While busy at my mothers’ house, I must remember to be home before 7 PM there’s a webinar , Nurse.com,  I’d like to listen in. 
Well, it’s 9:46 PM exactly 12 hours later and I did not make it home in time for the 7 PM webinar. what I did accomplish at my mother’s house was to take her to her bank to deposit the monthly checks that came in on May 1 and today is May 15 and to take her down to the borough Hall  to write a check for her taxes that were due May 1 , late also.
Joan, the Visiting Angel was there from 11:15am to 3 :15 pm.  After I gathered the laundry and sheets off one bed, Joan started the laundry. Once I sorted through my sister’s books and magazines, and placed them in two new plastic containers, Joan did the vacuuming.   There was excess green salad from my mothers lunch, so while Joan suggested I take it home, I sat down to eat it. After all it was already 1:30 pm; I eat and talk with Joan. By this time, mom is in the spare room napping. 
Sister is laying down on her bed,since I had things on her rocker when she got home; then she had a big headache. Once Joan finished cooking dinner,neither was ready to eat.  Mom did not feel well this afternoon, mentioning diarrhea; I bring the soiled laundry downstairs and start a load, around 6pm. Three hours and neither has touched their plates of food on the kitchen counter.  Now, I package both meals up in plastic left-overs containers. Mom, is sipping Chamomile tea in her tea mug, When I first prepared it in the microwave since Joan was cooking at the stove, mom said it was too hot and added cold water to the mug. Later,after return from the bank and Boro Hall, she asked me to warm up the tea. 

Hurricane Sandy, my story

Hurricane Sandy: Monday October 29, 2012

Well, here’s my story,

It’s 7:00pm and our electric power is out.  I’ll backtrack from here to the start of the day.

Despite Governor’s Christy’s persistent warnings to all New Jersey residents to stay home Monday morning, I went into work because I am a  Registered Nurse with the Blood Center of New Jersey.

I had set the alarm for 4:44am in order to leave my house at 0:630 am. I looked out the window thinking it’s not raining yet but I can hear the rustle of the wind in the trees.  ( last evening, on weather.com, the forecast said rain both in my town and Parsippany from 6 am to 9 am, a Squalls from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m, heavy rains from 4:00 p.m).  I knew I had to go to work nevertheless this scared me. ” How was I going to drive home I asked myself”, and prayed.

Breakfast was as usual for the early shift, my sweet husband makes oatmeal with cinnamon and banana slices and a cup of English breakfast tea. to go.

Once in my car,  for once the roads on a Monday morning were without rush-hour traffic.

Once at work, I busied myself in the Quality Control preparations and forms to be completed before the first Platelet donors arrive at 0:730 am.  Donna S. was my Apheresis technician. One of the two appointments came in at 0:730 am, a triple platelet donor.  Once checking the Parsippany donor center voice mail, I learned that a frequent donor, Claude D. was available: I called him at 0:820 a.m. and he was here it seemed within minutes.  Donna put him on the Amicus machine, knowing that two 09:45 am donors were due in.  Our Boss, Jerry was calling on the phone and I relayed the same about adding donors in this morning slots. (appointments).  Just as my boss informed me that East Orange was trying to move the 7:15 and 7:30 donors , from the large glass windows I see an Apheresis donor Nadine K. It was 09:50 a.m.

I said, ” Look what the wind blew in ,” I added, ” I get to say that today”, I giggle to Nadine. She said, “yes. That’s right”, as she filled out her forms.

My boss called again to say that My team member , Dawn H. is coming  in to work because they’re asking as many donors as they can to come in earlier. Dawn arrived at 10:30am . Dawn with her pleasant demeanor said that she was just eating breakfast when Jerry asked her to come down to Parsippany to help with the Apheresis donors. ” I know that you came quick “, I said , “You didn’t have time to tie your hair back like you had it yesterday”. She looked at me and smiled, and left the room returning in a few minutes.

We finished all of the donors at 2:00pm, and was told that the pick-up was at 2:30pm.  After 2:30pm, still not here, so I called, and Asked if I was to be here “all by my lonesome?”.  Jack, Traffic Manager called me back and said that Mike B. was on his way in a couple of minutes.  I called Mike on his cellphone  and he said, ” 20 minutes more, then he said, ” I’m closer than that, I was joking’.  He’s been working with me a long time, we’re both at the Blood center over fifteen years.

Once I set out on the road, I took the following route on the advise of one of our apheresis donors that Route 287 would have too many “cross-winds blowing, Sandy will blow your car all over the road.” I took Route  287 to Rt 24 to Rt 78 to  the Parkway entering at  exit 141.  The roads were empty, I was not surprised and the wind was blowing my car.  It’s a good thing that the rain was not heavy just yet.  I called my husband on my cell phone.  He said that he was on his way home from work as well  and  by our house it was raining heavier.

4:18pm

Once I got home and parked the car, before getting out , I snapped a few photos; I wanted to capture the essence of the hurricane at home. Then I was warmly greeted by my husband. “Here”, handing him the camera, Please video me with my work schedule in hand, Ocober 29, 2012 for RDC/Parsippany with a note taped onto the page for the directions of a different route home.”. He then video the trees surrounding our court.

As i got out I spoke to my neighbor.

Using my ingrained Girl Scout skills with the motto ingrained in my head , “Be Prepared”, I thought< ” there’s things i want done before the power goes out. Will likely lose power by8:00PM.

My priorities , Boil some water for a cup of tea, hot coca and cookies, cut up some fresh carrots and cook them up to eat for the next few days. Wash laundry (pj’s ,socks, and necessities) at the very least.

I got changed into comfy clothes.

While I write this , I have my Dollar store mini Booklight in hand.  The power has been out since 6:30pm. I hear the closed front door shift ever so slightly from the strong winds. Then eerily I hear the same from the Patio door over and over.

To Be Continued>*****

 

 

I was upstairs on the computer, when the electric power went out at 06:30 p.m.  Coincidentally ,I had just read on “Facebook.com” that Mary J. Bianchi ‘s power was out in Pennsylvania.   I should have known that we were going to be next.  In the dark, I got up from the computer and walked into the hallway and stood by the Guest bathroom doorway which has white moulding that I could just barely see in the darkness.  Pat was downstairs ,got the flashlight and came upstairs to get me.

Luckily, just moments before, Pat had put our dinner plates into the microwave.  While I was sitting on the couch with a flashlight in hand, I said to Pat, ” why are you opening the microwave oven ‘s door?”. He said, ” Our dinner is in there.”  For dinner that evening, we had warmed up ” stuffed cabbage and mashed sweet potatoes  from the Pa. Dutch market and some of my fresh boiled carrots, tender, yum.

I next went to the clothes dryer to check on the clothes that I had put in the dryer.  Thank God most everything was dry except for a few socks which I hung on the clothes rod to air dry.

At 7:00 p.m. with my cell phone I had called my mom’s house to tell mom and Nina that our power was out.  I gently explained to get ready for a power failure, ” Line up your sweaters and warm clothes and get a hat to wear to bed”.  My sister, Nina, said, ” why now?, I can see my winter hats.” I said, ” Because if the power goes out, you won’t be able to see in the dark.” ” Oh’, she said. She put the phone down and quickly returned with her P.J.’s on and long clouds robe and winter hat.  Mom, got on the phone to talk to me, and I advised to get the flashlight by the desk in the living room. ( we had made sure that their flashlight had batteries and extra batteries on the desk mas well.)  She went to the desk, and said, ” It doesn’t work”. Pat spoke to my mom and said “It works, try the switch.” . I hung up.I continued to write this story by the bright light of my mini booklight while siting on the couch.   At 7:20P.M. I decided to call mom back.  Mom answered the phone and said ,” the power is out”.  My sister came to the phone, she said, ” It’s dark, I can’t see to take my medicine”.  “Go to the desk and try the flashlight again.” I said.  She got the flashlight to work.  Nina said, ” There’s not T.V.” Yes, with the power out, there’s no t.v. , ” I’ll go to bed”. From my end of the receiver, I hear them talking as they walk by the phone. After shouting into my phone several times, I hung up, trying their cell phone, but it went to voice mail because it was not turned on.

It’s 8:40 p.m.

I just finished reading out loud the first part of my story to Pat.   While I was reading, I’ll describe the sounds I heard from Hurricane Sandy.

Pat, ” It’s the wind”.  “Sing , “The answer my friend is  Blowing like the wind”.  What song is that?” I said.  Pat, ” A church song”. I thought of the Bob Dylan song.  Pat sang, ” Love is flowing like a river.” Pat yawns loudly.  Then pat said, ” Whispering Woods is doing more than whispering tonight, It’s Roaring.”  Ha ha, I laugh.

The wind outside sounds like this. Seemingly endless rolling in waves like the oceans.  There was one huge, swift rustling sound after another, and another. Alternatively, the inside of the house, the front door creaks as it gently is pushed by the breeze.   No’ “I’m not scared”. ” Although , this could be recorded for a great scary movie.”  Sitting on the floral couch in the living room, the only light now is the jar candle with ocean blue scent.and this small mini book light. in which I’m using to both write and read this aloud.

Stay Tuned.  ****

9:20pm H. Sandy sounds. Standing in our Master bathroom, the wind storm just made the sound as if a train rushed by loudly heard despite my husbands’ battery operated electric toothbrush in use.  ‘Oh” , I say, ” Wow” hear that.  Pat said, ” Roaring and whistling through the trees, rushing like waves”, gently softly spoken by Pat.

09:30 p.m  “It’s time to say goodnight.  I hope mom and Nina stay safe through the night.”

In search of a recipe with beans , and how not to burn the kitchen.

Good Morning, I woke up this morning listening to the sounds of the birds out my window.  Knowing I have the whole day to myself, I immediately start thinking of ideas of what to cook from scratch.

The first cookbook that came to mind to read was ” The Whole Food Catalogue” by Nava Atlas.    Fetching a piece of notebook paper, I start to jot down page numbers of interesting recipes.  I settle on Navy Beans, I happen to have a bag of the dried beans.  In my kitchen, I keep a  list of calcium rich foods, navy beans included.   My Whole Food Cookbook, reports that Navy Beans are very nutritious, high in potassium, phosphorus,iron, zinc, and the B-vitamin complex compared with other legumes.

First , I measure 1 cup of the dried beans and add it to my stainless steel pot  filled 2/3 full of water and I add 2 Tsp of baking soda.  I had just read on-line about  precooking  the beans with a little baking soda eliminates the gas.

My entry for Facebook reads : ”  now cooking Navy Beans on the stove to make a soup I found on-line; and my Next new recipe is : Mangu- boiling Plantains and mashing a D.R. recipe one of my co-workers told me about.”

Well this is funny.  After setting my kitchen timer for 25 minutes, I walk back upstairs to my desktop computer and start browsing on-line for another recipe.  But before I left the kitchen, I cast a glance at the two green plantains sitting on top of the counter  next to the stove and I add to my notebook paper list ( we are a frugal family and  have not submitted to I-pad3 frenzy or I-phone).  ” Need – to cook the green Plantains , Mangu recipe.  I type in my Google reader, “Mangu recipe”, and   jot down the basic recipe.  I hear the kitchen timer go OFF.  I have a few minutes, I think to myself.  I switch back to look at another Navy bean.  As I’m about to  recipe copy and paste onto a word document, the home telephone rings. As I get up from the desktop computer to go get the phone, I now smell the boiling navy beans.  It is my mother calling, as I rush down the stairs to the kitchen to see my stainless steel pot boiling up to the top with foam, I turn off the heat.  Whew, I say to my mother, “It’s a good thing you called, I would have burned the beans. Saved!!!

Here is the Navy Bean Recipe: ( Which I’m modifying )

http://food.lainehardy.com/tag/soups-stews/

1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Onion [about 1 cup, chopped]
2 Carrots [about 2 1/2 cups, sliced]
3 Garlic Cloves [minced]
1 Yukon Gold Potato [skin on, chopped]
2 TBSPTomato Paste
4 cups Vegetable Broth [or water with good quality veggie bullion]
Sea Salt [to taste]
1 TBSP Smoked Olive Oil
2 1/2 cups Navy Beans [cooked till very tender*]
6 Collard Green Leaves [about 3 cups, sliced thinly]

Heat extra virgin olive oil in a large pot. Sauté onion for about 5 minutes, add carrot + garlic and sauté a few minutes more. Add remaining ingredients + bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 25 minutes. Season with sea salt to taste.

What to do with 2 green Plantains:   make a Mangu

Making Mangu is the same process as making mashed potatoes. You will need green plantains, salt, butter (or ghee), and an onion (you can also add cilantro when you saute the onion). You can buy green (make sure they are green with no yellow coloring) plantains.  These, I found at my local big Vegetable/Fruit market but you can also find at an Asian Supermarket.

  • 4-6 green plantains (not ripe)
  • a little more than 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil or butter
  • sea salt to taste

Cut plantains into chunks, place in large pot, cover with water and bring to boil.  Once water starts to boil, plantains should be done within 10 minutes.  Another recipe source  says boil for 25 minutes.  Plantains take longer to cook than potatoes. (You’ll know when they change a deeper yellow color and you can easily insert a fork into a piece.)

Once plantains are done. Remove cooked plantains from water (save 2 cups of the water to add while mashing).

Mash cooked plantains.

[This is where I get out my trusty Hand -held “potato masher”, he he. I like simple kitchen tools.  There’s not much fancy about me in the kitchen.  I still have my Grandma’s apron hanging on a hook on the Pantry door, just dreaming,  no,  my soft, faded, blue and  pink pattern   ” Grandma’s ” apron is hung on  a  tall baker’s shelf/ with a single wine rack.]

Gradually add  water, 1/3 cup olive oil and salt.  Continue mashing and mixing until smooth (some lumps are okay- the plantains will stiffen as they cool).  Top with  sauteed onions and serve immediately.

Everything came out delicious. I sample both the soup and the mashed planntains with a little butter and Lite salt.

We’re headed out to a Bruce Springsteen concert.  I made a quick menu for a tailgate party I’ll share in another post.  It is quesedillas with pulled pork and Shredded cheddar and mexican cheese,  sliced cukes on the side, Marble cake for dessert, and bunches of green grapes.

Rainy days of summer, in the forecast for the next few days

Ahhh, for all the joys of summer, there’s the rainy days and thunderstorms as well.   Wish I had bought that pair of polka-dot rain boots at Target last fall!  The boots were brown with multi-colored polka-dots.  I took a pic with my cell phone camera, but alas,  do not have a cable to download the numerous photos.  There’ a ton of fun photos

stock photo : Polka dot red rain boots

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