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My Role Model

And now a word about my role model...

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Mom, definitely mom! She did things in the 1960s that women just didn't. In fact, she was one of the first women stock brokers in the country when she was registered in 1964. She'd been a secretary for a brokerage firm up until then. She took one look at the men on the other side of her desk and said to herself, "that's what I want to do!"

Mom rose ithrough the ranks and was an Executive Vice President by the 1980s. She owes it to the sheer amount of work she put into it. She's always been a curious person, willing to try new things. Even at her current age, 87 I think, she's searching for new experiences.

She's been my role model without either of us knowing it, assuming that my tendency to push the envelope and work like a dog comes down from her!

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Saint Patrick's Day 2011

Do I celebrate St. Paddy's?

[Glenariff. County Antrim, Ireland] (LOC)

No, I'm a Polish girl. I remember green bread on St. Patrick's day when I was in grade school, though. I think that completely turned me off, and at a rather tender age.

I used to play Irish traditional folk music on the fiddle and flute. I got a lot of gigs around that time and enjoyed playing them. Since I drifted away from that I haven't really participated much.

I celebrate July 4, my birthday and Christmas. That's about it.

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Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner?

If I could choose just one? Here's what I'd do.

Cutting the pies and cakes at the barbeque dinner, Pie Town, New Mexico Fair (LOC)

I'd have to go with dinner. I'm a chronic insomniac, so breakfast usually doesn't happen or, when it does, it's quick and uninteresting. I'm not a fan of traditional sandwich fare that makes up most lunchtime menus. That leaves dinner. If it were only one, I'd choose dinner on the early side, and stick to beverages beforehand.

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Yo, Dinner!

I'm using up the last of the leftovers to put together something really, really nice.

The hubby bought a whole, cut up chicken last week. I only used half for a recipe, and stuck the other half in the freezer. That came out today. His husband-ness also loaded up on kale, which we love with lots of garlic. I cut up the rest of that, and also added some collard greens, for contrast. And don't forget the mushrooms. Still had half a pack, so out of the fridge they went. I dropped to my knees to examine the lower cabinet, in which we keep our canned good. Tomato sauce? Tomato sauce? Yes! One, lonely, jar left. From there I went to the pantry for pasta. Plenty of that. Cookin'!

I filled my glass with a modicum of white wine, also left over from previous gatherings and no less good for it, and went to work. I washed cut up the kale/collard mixture and set it aside. Took several hefty cloves of garlic and tossed them in the food processor, since I didn't feel like hand-cutting a pile of sticky garlic on top of the chores I had already assigned myself. I had thawed out the chicken, so I dried it and added some salt, pepper, garlic powder and dried oregano. Rubbed it in, sipping wine and humming a little tune to myself. Before starting, I washed and sliced the mushrooms.

Got out two large pans and filled each with olive oil - lovely! Started them both up, like a pilot about to take off for Honolulu (or Tuscany) and waited for them to heat up. In the went garlic - sizzzzzz! Other pan, in went the chicken - sizzzzzzz! Scooped the garlic around the first pan, then hefted the bowl of greens and started dumping them in, stirring, dumping, stirring, dumping.

Grabbed my tongs and separated the chicken pieces from the bottom of the other pan, turning them over as they browned and sizzled. Yum! Stuffed pan one with as many greens as I could fit. Covered my masterpiece and turned to the chicken. Removed it to a plate as soon as it was browned, then tossed in the mushrooms, scooped them around the pan.

Wine? Red wine? Of course we have red wine. Well, most of the time we do. I grabbed a bottle and dashed a little into the mushrooms, deglazing the pan and stirring. Then I took the tomato sauce and dumped it in with a little water to wash out the jar. When it started bubbling I lowered the heat and added the chicken to the sauce. Covered it and that was that.

Now, for the pasta. About halfway through the cooking I added another pot to the stove, filled with water. Put it to the boil and, when ready, dumped in thin spaghetti and stirred it around.

Just came back up to finish this post after draining the spaghetti. Dinner is going to be nice tonight. If not, well, there's plenty more red wine!
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On Being in the Spotlight

My night to shine!

Fiddling About

I've been on stage a few times a few times. I used to play in a folk music band. It was a Celtic and Traditional British band and I was one of two fiddle players. We were a great band!

We were hired to accompany Irish step dancers for an event at one point. We were playing to an auditorium of, perhaps, 1,000 people. I remember taking out my fiddle and playing a few notes. I played into the microphone and, suddenly, the room was full of my music! It was everywhere and I was absolutely awed. Up until then we'd played at coffee houses and other, smaller, venues. This was our first giant concert and it was really amazing. I still remember it, to this day.

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How I Stay Focused

How do I stay focused? Here's how!

To-do list book.

Actually, I have a helper: a check-boxed to-do list that I try to finish every day. I incorporate easy tasks with more challenging ones to keep me focused. Sometime, I find that relaxing and taking a break also helps the focus when I return to the task

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Niagara Falls. No, It Does, Really!

A friend of mine sent some amazing pictures of a place I know pretty well: Niagara Falls, New York and Niagara Falls, Ontario. I grew up in Buffalo, New York, a stone's throw from the Falls and can place it in some of my earliest memories.

I remember a long drive, taking either a "scenic route" through a parkway in Ontario or a "stinky" route through industrial scenes on the US side. I remember the "rotten egg" smell on one side as opposed to the pristine greenery of the Ontario route. We always wanted the "scenic route," for obvious reasons. The route through the US was faster, though, so sometimes we got our way and some times we didn't.

Niagara Falls, Ontario, is a tourist trap - but a nice one. There's also a school of horticulture in the area. That accounts for the pristine nature of the greenways, et al on that side of the border. I spent a good chunk of my childhood staring in awe and terror at the cascade of water going over the falls. No little trickle, but a roaring, bubbling torrent that would take anyone to their death before they could even think about it.

We used to drive around and around looking for a parking space. Sometimes we brought a picnic for lunch. We wandered in and out of gift shops, playing with the little trinkets and staring hungrily at the maple sugar candies in the shape of the Canadian flag.

The Falls were the center of attraction, though. They were beautiful and terrifying. We never went on The Maid of the Mist, a tourist boat that puttered its way to the foot of the falls. We also didn't go through the Cave of the Winds, which had a path directly underneath the falls. We weren't really tourists in the strictest sense of the word. We were locals who went there a lot because we enjoyed it.

We visited the Skylon tower. We indulged in Belgian waffles with strawberry syrup and whipped cream. We checked out the little shops that sprinkled the area. We looked at Niagara Falls mugs, "Indian" moccasins and tomahawks, postcards and key chains. Occasionally, we did some "real" shopping. I remember my mother buying my sister and I a pair of brightly colored wool coats. They were white, with gorgeous patterns that ran down the front. We occasionally had lunch or dinner out there, too. That didn't happen as much, since my parents had three kids and money was tight.

We never stayed until the evening. As a result, I never saw the colored spot lights that the city ran over the water. I saw plenty of pictures, but that was a close as I got. That's one think I still regret - that we never saw the Falls at night. Maybe, this year, my husband and I will go there when we visit my family in the warmer weather.

Anyway, in the early 'teens of the last century Niagara Falls froze solid. I had no idea until this friend of mine sent me the old photos. People were walking on the frozen water, staring up at falls literally frozen in place.

That absolutely blew my mind. These tourists could practically touch the Falls! I couldn't imagine doing that, from my perch at the edge of the cascade. I couldn't imagine something as powerful as Niagara Falls freezing. But, evidently, it did.

I wonder how cold it must have gotten?

Very cold, I must think. But, this is my favorite picture of all. A group of tourists are standing at the very edge of the fall. I'm not sure, but I believe the area to their left (with the house) is Goat Island.

Holy cow. Here's a contemporary picture of what I believe is the same area, but from the other side.

I guess the 1911 tourists would have been standing somewhere out in the middle of the water, near the edge. Yow!

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Three Countries I'd Like to Visit

Here are three countries I wouldn't mind visiting.

Osa and airplane

England - liked it when I visited there before

Australia - I know a bunch of people there, believe it or not

Egypt - I'm a nut for pyramids and other examples of ancient architecture

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Driving Me Nuts And I'm Not Talking

Today's writing prompt - what's driving me nuts today? My answer is below.

STOP & SHOP Deluxe Mixed Nuts

Oh my. We don't want to go there. Really, we don't. Just read the last 10 posts of my blog and you'll have all the information we need. If you want to dig any deeper, take a Valium first. Or at least give one to me.

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