Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Venus Williams Pulls Out of the U.S. Open

Former U.S. Open Women’s Champion Venus Williams announced Wednesday that she will withdraw from the tournament citing Sjogren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disease that causes joint pain and fatigue among other symptoms. Venus was scheduled to compete in her second-round match against 22nd-seeded Sabine Lisicki. On Monday Venus had defeated her first-round competitor Vesna Dolonts, 6-4, 6-3. The news was rather shocking when she bowed out of the tournament after warming up on Wednesday.







This news comes at a time when many had speculated about the thirty-one year old seven-time Grand Slam Singles Titles Champion’s future. Venus Williams’ Monday debut at the U.S. Open held at Flushing, NY, was her first time on the court in two months. She was unseeded at the U.S. Open due to the fact Venus had only played in eleven matches since last year’s U.S. Open.

According to the Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation website, the disease Venus Williams was diagnosed is a chronic autoimmune illness in which people's white blood cells attack their moisture-producing glands. Common symptoms include dry eyes and dry mouth. As many as 4 million Americans have the disease. Nine out of ten patients are actually women.

When asked by the press upon completion of her match on Monday about the illness that has kept Venus Williams sidelined recently she commented, “It was just energy-sucking, and I just couldn't play pro tennis. It was disappointing, because I had huge plans for this summer, of course, to improve my ranking. To miss out on all those points was definitely devastating. Just to miss so much time off tour was just disheartening. But I'm just really excited to be back." At the time of this announcement Venus had been newly diagnosed, but she didn’t share the information until Wednesday upon pulling out of the tournament.

At present Venus Williams is hoping for a complete recovery and return to the WTA. According to the Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation website, “currently, there is no cure for Sj√∂gren’s syndrome. However, treatments may improve various symptoms and prevent complications.” Tennis fans around the globe certainly hope Venus Williams gets the help she needs and does, indeed, walk proudly onto the courts again as a fierce competitor.



Beyonce and Jay-Z Expecting!

The earthquake and Hurricane Irene were not the only earth moving events last week; news that Beyonce was pregnant with Jay-Z’s baby trumped all! Married since the spring of 2008, the couple has endured years of speculation over their wedded bliss, impending divorce, and baby bumps that heretofore had never materialized into anything.




A stunning turn at the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs)on August 29th revealed a glorious accessory to Beyonce’s lovely tomato red gown – a predominant abdomen suggesting a baby groweth inside! When the announcement was made, Twitter was all atwitter! Backstage, Jay-Z was complimentary of his still super sexy wife, as well as protective and gallant. The two are obviously embracing their roles as parents-to-be and beyond joyful about their impending bundle of joy.



From Beyonce’s mother Tina Knowles to Kanye West (who is promoting his new album Watch the Throne made in conjunction with Jay-Z), all are overjoyed for the couple. In the light of all of the natural disasters befalling the country, the economic crisis, and international unrest, the coming of Beyonce and Jay-Z’s progeny is great news all can rally behind!

So now the big mystery is, what will Beyonce and Jay-Z name their overly blessed little bundle of joy? Leave your suggestions below!



Believe in Yourself

It has taken me nearly four decades to accrue a healthy dose of self-esteem. I would find some occasionally that would allow me to do great things, but usually it would disappear until another event would prompt its appearance. I was wary of this lack of consistency in feeling confident as I wanted to be relaxed, cool, and knowledgeable that I was an authority on my strong suits. I knew that the people who were successful were those who had a strong understanding of their self-worth and merits. It wasn’t until I read an article in a magazine that everything started to click for me.

The subject of the article discussed the way to own your greatness whatever it was. This concept appealed to me so I read voraciously for hints, helpers, and definitive processes to obtain this heretofore unobtainable prize. What the article revealed was so simple and obvious it surprised and cheered me at the same time.

To show confidence in your abilities you cannot undermine yourself through language of negativity. By only speaking of yourself and your accomplishments in glowing terms it will showcase your greatness and leave no wiggle room for people to doubt your word. The article used the television cooks as their prime example. It stated that no one ever heard television cooks criticize or project failure of a creation they had been cooking. Every word is a positive reinforcement of their talents and fantastic finished product. “Mmm, smell that roast! See how the meat simply falls off the bone it is so tender? I cannot wait to eat this marvelous and scrumptious dish!” the cook might gush. Not once did you hear, “Oh know, this doesn’t look right and it’s cutting terribly. I guess I messed this recipe up like all of the rest!” These examples are from the two extremes, but the person you would want to cook your meal and, at the very least, invite to stay on your television is the competent cook with a strong opinion of him or herself and his or her cooking skills. We need to learn from that lesson.

As a girl I had always written, but never for publication. I would criticize my work as not good enough, not developed, etc. A certain amount of constructive criticism makes people better, but by never believing in my talents and education I did not give myself a platform to excel and exceed. Once I started writing online and gained a readership, my opinions about myself and my work changed. When I launched Chief 187 Chatter nearly a year ago, I still hadn’t fully committed to my vocation/art. Not until I started filling out bios on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter as “writer” under the job description did I start truly owning what I do. By empowering myself to call myself a professional writer I allowed more great things to occur. Now I can confidently say, “I am a sought-after writer”. Conceited? No, because it is true. I never said I was the best at what I did, but I spoke the truth about my status. When I am on the phone plugging myself to prospective business partners, I tell them what I now believe; I am a damn good writer who is prolific, professional, and able to deliver a top-notch product.

Whatever your vocation, desire, or interest, believe in your strengths. Reinforce how you have worked hard, learned much, and can offer more. If you have a dream, visualize yourself in your dream. Paying dues is a necessary obstacle, but one that everyone faces. Not every opportunity will be the right one, but try everything! Don’t settle, just do what you know is right. The only person you need to believe in yourself initially and all along is YOU. Once you get that down, the rest is easier!

I can finally say with confidence and pride, “I believe in myself!” Do you believe in you?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Simple Joys

Welcome to Simple Joys on Chief 187 Chatter. As summer begins to wind down, the darkness starts to overtake sunlight for the majority of the day, and my mood begins to deteriorate because of these facts, I plan to up my awareness to be receptive to Simple Joys. I am one of those people who has self-diagnosed herself as having Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). Continuing to add weapons in my arsenal to combat the annoying effects of the condition are vital to my survival through the long months with little natural sunlight. Special light bulbs, exercise, social commitments, and eating right have all helped to make my disorder manageable. With the addition of blogging last year, I found winter couldn’t even dampen my spirits more than a few hours at a time here and there. Writing, it would seem, is a catharsis. And finally, when I added Simple Joys to the lineup of weekly blogs, my days were spent in a constant pleasing quest to find the Simple Joys that meet me each day. That has done more for me than anything! So I urge you to start reading this weekly feature, and, if you are so inclined, start making notes about your own Simple Joys, either written or mental, so you, two, can feel the benefits they bring. Now, without further ado, are this week’s Simple Joys.

Baseball. All summer my children and I rushed from one commitment to the next. From swim team practice to Karate to swim meets, we were in the car a lot and constantly on the move. It was a truly rewarding summer as much fun was had. But once swim team ended for the season and a couple more weeks of summer vacation stretched before us, the children and I found we had more time to just play outside in the backyard. Our favorite go to activity when we have a block of time stretched before us is playing a friendly and lopsided game of America’s favorite pastime, Baseball. Seeing my boys hit the ball I pitch, run whilst giggling all around the bases with me “trying” to tag them out, and their excitement upon “earning” a homerun against Mommy is a Simple Joy that makes me proud to be an American and these children’s mother once again.

Hand Eye Coordination. I’ve written many times about the struggles my oldest son has with everything from handwriting to focusing on homework when he’d rather do other things, and his weak hand muscles. He is a perfectly normal, happy, and healthy little boy who just hasn’t been very coordinated when it came to sports. But, two weeks after his ninth birthday, playing a friendly and relaxed game of baseball, something he was never good at all in our backyard games, he started hitting more pitched balls than not. Then he began getting more consistent. Strong hits that sent the ball well into the “field”. Granted, we’re not playing with regulation equipment, but the fact he is able to watch the ball and connect in that split timing makes me overwhelmed with joy. Now the boy is expressing interest in joining Little League. This baseball fan is thrilled. Simple Joys for all!

Breakfast. Recently I decided to up the ante on my efforts to lose weight healthfully. I know to eat in moderation and steer clear of white flour and sugar as a rule. Lean proteins keep me energized while complex carbohydrates not only keep me fuller longer, but satisfy my cravings for certain foods. I found one of my favorite things to eat for breakfast is the insanely delicious combination of a scrambled egg with salsa and 2 slices of turkey bacon. I eat this with a glass of low salt V8 juice and feel satiated and read to start my action-packed day. Finding a delicious and nutritious breakfast that I love is a Simple Joy I can revisit often!

Fast Friends. Professional photographs were requested of me by one of my websites so I made a cold call to a local photographer near my home. We discussed my needs and set up an appointment. Upon getting my hair and makeup professionally done, I met the photographer at her studio. The first forty pictures we took I hated. Nothing was right but we both agreed we had just started and things would get better. The photographer, Heidi of Images of Heidi, is a direct person with a dynamic personality. Our outlook on life, sense of humor, and personalities gelled instantly and we were simply having fun. The stress melted away for me, the shoot became a blast, and picture after picture revealed the real me in all of my varied forms. I was more than thrilled with the end results and am overjoyed that I made that faithful phone call. Not only am I going to score outrageously awesome pictures, but I became fast friends with a fantastic and talented woman. These Simple Joys are priceless!

Life is volatile. In the past week I’ve witnessed everything from an earthquake in the East Coast that affected my area to a strong and serious Hurricane, Irene, that tried to ravage my territory. My numbers at Chief 187 Chatter, for whatever reason, have declined recently, yet my career has picked up pace considerably with lucrative offers. But, no matter what the news, situation, or stress that seems all-consuming, taking time out to experience the Simple Joys that life has to offer at every turn makes everything tolerable and even enjoyable. The secret is knowing that Simple Joys always exist, even in devastating times, if you only seek them out and are receptive to them. I encourage you to find the Simple Joys all around you.

Please join me tomorrow as I wax poetic on yet another topic on my freestyle Wednesday.

Monday Movie Blog (on Tuesday)

Welcome to the Monday Movie Blog on Chief 187 Chatter. There are many times I plan to see a movie in the theaters and find, when I’m ready to commit to a sitter, the movie is long gone. Some movies just don’t have the staying powers to cut it commercially against a perceived stronger popular flick. Real estate on the big screen in a theater is highly sought so there just isn’t a lot of time for a movie to prove itself and stick around for one to make long-term plans to catch it. My suggestion is to keep a journal, piece of paper, or back of an envelope handy to write down the names of all the movies you wanted to see but were unable due to crazy schedules, dependent children, or the like. By having the list, whenever the opportunity presents itself, you’ll always know you have a movie to rent or get from Netflix that is one you really wanted to see! In addition, when the Monday Movie Blog comes out weekly, you can cross reference your list with the lists created by the Chief 187 Chatter readers.

This week’s focus is movies set in Chicago. List your favorite movies that have been set in the fantastic area known as Chicagoland. Be sure to include the stars of the film and a brief review or synopsis.

To access archived Monday Movie Blogs to view simply type “Monday Movie Blog” into the search feature located in the upper left hand corner of this page. All blogs at Chief 187 Chatter are truly interactive so feel free to leave comments, especially if it’s adding more selections to a Monday Movie Blog topic.

I invite you to join me tomorrow for Simple Joys, the most popular and well-read feature on Chief 187 Chatter.

Post Script:

Due to Hurricane Irene I have had no internet connection for days. I am posting both the Monday Movie Blog and Simple Joys today, Tuesday, August 30, 2011, in hopes that you will find time to read and perhaps comment on both. Thank you for your patience and support! ~Chief 187

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Music Blog

Welcome to the Friday Music Blog on Chief 187 Chatter. As my birthday week comes to a close, I’m delighted it is once again time to discuss music. I get a thrill each time my iPod spins one of my favorites; let’s face it, on MY iPod, they are ALL my favorites! But I am always looking to find new gems to add to the lot. This post provides infinite fodder for finding new favorites.

This week’s topic is songs with “Thursday” either in the title or the lyrics. Please list any and all songs with “Thursday” and be sure to include the artist.




I want to thank you all for spending my “birthday week” with me. I traditionally get a bit morose on or directly after my birthday, but with my darling children, wonderful husband, and brand new career, I have neither time nor the desire to fall into that mood. I sincerely appreciate all of you who come to this site, read my words, and leave yours.

Please join me over the weekend for any posts you may have missed and to follow this blog as the list expands. Then, I invite you to join me on Monday for another week of all new posts. Thank you and enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tantalizing Thursday

Welcome to Tantalizing Thursday on Chief 187 Chatter. Birthday cake is on my mind since yesterday was my birthday. Invariably we have leftover cake after any birthday celebration and, although eating it the same way the next day is always a viable use, I thought of a more creative way to utilize the leftovers. I stumbled upon this recipe and couldn’t wait to share it with you all.

Cakespy: Birthday Cake French Toast
Recipe from http://seriouseats.com

Ingredients:
serves 4

6 to 8 slices leftover birthday cake, chilled in the refrigerator overnight
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk or light cream
3 tablespoons sugar
Dash of cinnamon or other spices, to taste
2 to 4 tablespoons butter, for frying
Confectioners' sugar glaze or sprinkles, to garnish

Directions:

1
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk or cream, sugar, and any spices you'd like to add, until the mixture is fully combined and lightly frothy on the edges.
2
Remove your cake from the refrigerator. It will work if you haven't chilled your cake too, but chilling it overnight keeps the frosting from melting all over when you pan fry the cake. Slice the cake into thick slices.
3
Put 2 to 4 tablespoons of butter into your frying pan. Heat the burner to medium-high, and let the butter melt. Once it is lightly bubbling, you're ready to start frying your cake slices.
4
Dip each cake slice in your egg mixture, coating it fully on both sides (go ahead and submerge each slice). Place the dipped slice directly in the frying pan; depending on the size of your pan, add 2 or 3 slices at one time.

5
Let each slice fry for a minute or so, until it is lightly coming up on the sides (you can lift a side gently with a spatula to see if it is browning). Turn over and repeat on the opposite side, being sure to turn gently so that you don't let the frosting smear across the pan.

6
Remove from the pan and transfer to a serving platter or directly to plates. Repeat with the remaining slices until you've finished them all. If desired, top with a confectioners' sugar glaze and sprinkles. Serve immediately.

Totally decadent, completely sweet, and utterly unforgettable, this is a treat to the nth degree! Let me know if you tried this and how you liked it. Send along your most ingenious ideas for leftover birthday cake.

Please join me tomorrow on Chief 187 Chatter as we close the week with the Friday Music Blog.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

Thirty-nine years ago today I was born to two loving parents who already had two sons. Between birth and now a lot has transpired, some of it good, some of it horrifying, and a lot of it fantastic. The details are not important, what is important is embracing all of what makes me me. On my true thirty-ninth birthday I’m taking my freestyle Wednesday to write about me.

Unlike a lot of women I’ve come in contact I revel in birthdays. Sure it means I’m getting older, but for the last ten year I feel I am the age I am supposed to be. As a child I was often told I was wiser than my years. Many accused me of starting life as a “forty year old person”! Not until I left my teens and twenties did my life start to make sense to me. My thirties have been my absolute favorite decade to date, but I’m not anxious about the next twelve months, I’m terribly excited. If my thirties were this great, I can only picture my forties being even better! And what better way to be than embracing each day?

During my thirties I started a family. I left behind my career in formal public education and concentrated on starting, caring for, and expanding my family. From thirty to thirty-seven I had three babies, learned how to make a home, was challenged by parenting issues, and found a comforting balance in life. I learned that as tough as a “nine-to-five job” is, being a parent is a 24/7/365 for life job and one that I am blessed and proud to hold. Devastating sadness met me mid decade when I lost a pregnancy. But through time, the help of others, and an intrinsic desire to be the best parent and person I could be, I came through that. As I begin to leave my thirties I find my children are fascinating beings in their own right, I have created a career through my talents, and am truly starting to learn who I am, what turns me on in life, and how to fulfill my potential.

Before I project about what my forties will be like I want to enjoy today and the twelve months that will follow. I am so looking forward to spending my day celebrating my life. Mostly I am excited about reading all of my Facebook and Twitter birthday messages (social media is a beautiful thing), having fun with my family, and doing a great Main Event Show on Eventlevel.com with a favorite guest I lined up. For the first time in my life I am working on my birthday and I am happy about it!

When I started this career less than a year ago I had no clear goal in mind; I simply knew I had to write. Writing led to Internet Radio work and more writing gigs at different sites. I used to get stressed that I couldn’t focus on a clear-cut goal. Asking those I respected and admired how to grow my marketability several told me, “Find your unique niche and fill it; stop writing about everything and concentrate on being known for one thing.” That was advice I just couldn’t stomach. I get more inspired the more topics I allow myself to write. Now, in addition to NASCAR, I write about Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), musicians, entertainers, and, of course, all of my personal ramblings here at Chief 187 Chatter. By being “everywhere” I am coming in contact with so many that my marketability has grown by leaps and bounds! As a younger woman I would have acquiesced to the seemingly wiser mentors, but I am so much more confident and knowledgeable about my talents that I trusted myself in the face of “sage advice”. And now it is starting to pay off in spades!

I embrace my birthday because it brings with it a rich history of hard-earned peace, reflection, and optimism for the future. I continue to get better. Still fallible and learning (always learning) I have the ability to take setbacks, learn from them, and not get derailed. Of course it’s scary that my face and body are changing, but I have the ability to view myself with kind eyes; these lines are evidence of a well-lived life. Sure I’m not a hard-body twenty year old, but I have wisdom and the power to use a healthy diet and exercise to change my physicality for the better. Proud that my body carried and nursed three babies, proud that I have sustained a healthy, ever-changing yet always passionate relationship/marriage for a quarter century and I’m just now turning thirty-nine!

It may seem annoying or, at the very least, conceited on my part to write this way. What makes this piece so special to me is that for the first time in my life, I’m owning my self-worth. I’m seeing my best instead of picking at the flaws. Turning thirty-nine is wonderful not devastating. Staring forty down is terribly exciting not depressing. I am at my best and continue to get better; I’m still making mistakes and learning, but I get better!

Happy Birthday, Chief 187! And to all of you reading, thank you for making my journey to this day absolutely fulfilling. Sharing my birthday in this way honors me, flatters me, and humbles me. I use these words a lot, but I use them because they are true. Thank you All!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Simple Joys

Welcome to Simple Joys on Chief 187 Chatter. I find most days can be terribly complicated, riddled with too much to do, too many misinterpretations, and endless confusion. By slowing down, shaking off, and prioritizing life can become more simplified, calmer, and enhanced. Slowing the pace and remembering to enjoy the beautiful sky, a child’s innate laughter, or the meal in front of you can lead to better consciousness overall. Finding and recognizing the Simple Joys life holds is the key to happiness. Now, without further ado, is this week’s Simple Joys.

Hospital. My father was in the hospital this past week for a planned heart procedure. He had not suffered any pain or worse but a test showed some concern. We were very optimistic but my father, like many, detests hospitals, needles, and the like. No matter when he was released my father was going to need someone to drive him home; I volunteered. My mother stayed home with my three children and I took the day to care for my father. We had, despite the circumstances, a wonderful day chatting, sitting quietly together, and just being. I gave him pep talks; he listened to me, and a lot of the times he simply dozed while I worked. Thankfully, by the end of the night, he was released with a relatively clean bill of health. We were both relieved. He chattered all the way home about how nice everybody was at the hospital (Morristown Memorial in New Jersey) and how thrilled he was to be going home. Spending the day with my father and being there for him was a Simple Joy I will always relish.

Expanding my Horizons. Part of my “job” is promoting my work so it can find an ever-larger audience. This usually takes far more time than the actual writing does, but it is a necessary evil for what I am trying to accomplish. Knowing that some of my pieces from the first months were not seen but the vast majority who read me now, I put out one of my all-time favorites for resubmission; “The Art of the Kiss”. I started to blast the article on Twitter and actually direct it to specific individuals. One of these people took such an immediate and passionate reaction to it that he contacted me about putting it on his site. I agreed and now it can be seen at Diamond Cutters International’s website (http://DiamondCuttersIntl.com) under President/CEO Fred Cuellar’s personal blog. I couldn’t be more pleased and proud as every piece I write is a part of me and that piece specifically is like my star. Hopefully more work will show up on Diamond Cutter International’s website in the future. In the meantime, I’m delighting in “The Art of the Kiss” time in the limelight and filing this away as an incredible Simple Joy.

Out to Dinner. For those of you with children, multiple children especially, it is difficult to imagine dining out without stress and frustration. Our children are actually quite well behaved, but their young ages still make dining out more of a chore than a treat. The other night we found ourselves in need of eating out and chose our all-time favorite Sushi/Asian buffet. Five-star dining with a lofty price tag worth every penny, we make out on the deal when we bring our children because all three love and devour sushi. Our youngest at under 2 is free, our 4 year old is 1/5 the price and our 9 year old is half off. Those poor people who own the restaurant lose tons of money because our kids eat far more than we pay for them! Seeing our children use manners, thrilled with their food, and getting along is a Simple Joy worth every dollar spent!

I’m fully aware that life can be difficult, stressful, and simply hard. Rough times, touch situations, and overwhelming odds seem to meet us at every turn. But I believe by opening your heart and mind to the Simple Joys that exist in life, you’ll find more and more of them populating your days, weeks, and beyond. Reading mine I hope you are inspired to write yours or, at the very least, think about your own Simple Joys.

Please join me tomorrow as I wax poetic about my birthday!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday Movie Blog

Welcome to the Monday Movie Blog on Chief 187 Chatter. Rain has been hampering outside fun in my area so with little to do movies rise to the top of my recreation list. With so many titles to choose from it is difficult to narrow in on a choice. The Monday Music Blog, organized by topic, helps pinpoint the movies that interest you the most while providing a bit of information about the flick. Each week a new topic is presented to elicit a new batch of movies to choose.

This week’s focus is movies that have explosive opening scenes. A movie where an exciting, far out, adrenaline-pumping action sequence, bombshell or the like occurs and the audience is left breathless is what we’re after. Be sure to list the stars of the cast and a brief synopsis or review of the film.

To access archived Monday Movie Blogs simply type “Monday Movie Blog” into the search box in the upper left hand corner of this page. There are several topics and hundreds of movies to choose. As always, feel free to include more selections to the various topics.

Please join me tomorrow for the most uplifting post of the week, Simple Joys.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Music Blog

Welcome to the Friday Music Blog on Chief 187 Chatter. By the end of the week, I, like you who work hard, am flat out tired and ready to coast. The Friday Music Blog is a great way to end the week, as it is purely interactive and a personal favorite. I get to write a bit less in the hopes that the topic I choose sparks interest and you feel compelled to respond.

This week’s topic, as has been the theme over the last several weeks, is the next in the sequence of the days of the week. Today we are up to Wednesday. List any and all songs either with “Wednesday” in the title OR in the lyrics of the song. Be sure to include the artist who performs the song.

This week Chief 187 Chatter pushed through 23000 pageviews, created more buzz, and continues to manifest an ever-growing readership. With weeks to go until the first anniversary of this project, I am excited to see how far-reaching it is in that time span. Whether thousands or one reading, the fact that my personal ramblings resonate still bewilders and humbles me. Thank you for your generous donation of time to visit my site!

Please join me throughout the weekend to revisit this or any other archived blog. I invite you to join me on Monday for another week of all new and original postings. In addition to Simple Joys on Tuesday, I am writing something special for my free-style Wednesday, as that is my birthday! Hope to see you all back here!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tantalizing Thursday

Welcome to Tantalizing Thursday on Chief 187 Chatter. Summer is still in full swing and appetites, whereas still hearty with the amount of activity one tends to get done, are lighter than the fall/winter time. Fish is an excellent source of protein and offers lighter yet satisfying fare. People I run into tend to get scared off by fish thinking it is “impossible” to prepare well at home, it is “exceedingly” expensive, or timely to prepare. These are all myths that the recipe that follows will quickly disprove.

Tilapia with Escarole and Lemon-Pepper Oil
Recipe courtesy Food Network Magazine

Ingredients:

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
12 ounces baby fingerling potatoes, halved, or small red-skinned potatoes, quartered
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 head escarole (about 1 1/4 pounds), torn into pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 pounds tilapia fillets, patted dry
2 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves torn
Juice of 1 lemon

Directions:

Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a large deep skillet with a lid over medium heat. Place the potatoes in the pan cut-side down. Add the garlic and cook until the potatoes are slightly golden and crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the escarole, season with salt and pepper, then add about 1/3 cup water. Cover and steam until the escarole wilts, about 5 minutes.
Season the fish with salt and pepper; place on top of the greens in the pan and sprinkle with the oregano leaves. Cover and steam until the fish is just cooked through, about 5 more minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk the lemon juice in a bowl with the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil; season with 1 teaspoon salt and plenty of pepper.
Carefully lift the fish off the greens and transfer to rimmed plates or bowls. Distribute the greens, potatoes and pan juices around the fish. Drizzle with the lemon-pepper oil.

Yields 4 servings.

I loved the fact that potatoes were a part of this recipe. I am a huge fan of the tuber and am tired of the bad reputation it garnered a few years back. Potatoes are a comfort food that, when prepared healthfully, are extremely satisfying and nutritious. I also love the tilapia fish. White, flaky, and able to absorb flavors easily, it is the perfect fish for people who don’t think they like fish. The escarole is a dark leafy green, another healthy additive, and the lemon pepper oil brightens the whole meal.

If you try this recipe, please let me know. If you have a recipe you’d like to add, please post it. And, it you are looking for other recipes featured on Tantalizing Thursday on Chief 187 Chatter, simply type “Tantalizing Thursday” on the search feature located in the upper left hand corner of this page and see what appears. I believe in spending little time in the kitchen with easily accessible ingredients and a powerfully tasty impact at the end.

Please join me tomorrow as we end the week with my personal longtime favorite, the Friday Music Blog.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Guilt

Guilt. A useless emotion, a devastating feeling, and a mixed bag of dread and propulsion that guides many through life, guilt exists and is universally felt by most I come in contact. Although I don’t feel guilt for much outside of the home, having three children I struggle daily with the feeling that I am never with the right child at the right time. But guilt is an emotion I must learn to incorporate and keep in check or it will simply overwhelm me.

As women we are taught to be in tune to our nurturing instincts. We, naturally, are the caregivers since our bodies produce life. From the time we are born we are sent verbal and taciturn cues about how to behave, act, and live. In the society in which I live, guilt is a huge part of the genetic makeup of being female. From wanting a family to wanting a career, to advocating for oneself to compromising to oblivion, the choices for women are so monumentally huge there is rarely a decision made that doesn’t have a string attached that tugs at our consciousness and hearts that is labeled “guilt”. Some women are more immune than others, but I would hazard to guess that somewhere, somehow women feel guilt during many parts of their life.

I never felt guilty about things others did. When I broke a date to go to prom with one boy to attend with my heart’s desire, I felt no guilt. I certainly felt compassionately toward the boy, but I knew I was following my heart. Before you scoff, I married the boy who was my heart’s desire. I didn’t feel the need for guilt because I knew I was doing what was best for me. When I run into other social situations that render my peers filled with guilt-ridden angst, I simply exercise my right to say “no”. I learned that I am entitled to live a life that is free from certain stresses, “have-to”s, and obligations from those outside of my family.

But, once I started having children, my world got off kilter. One child was certainly not the problem, at first. I was fortunate to choose to stay home to raise my child. Consequently I fell into a situation that many like me do, I built my self-worth and value into his failures and successes. While it is great to be supportive and guide the child, his foray into the world is just that, his. But if he failed, I blamed myself. I didn’t spend enough time, teach him well, or provide the ample opportunities needed for success. By adding a second and eventually a third child into the mix, I was unable to distinguish for myself the difference between doing the best I can at any given moment for my growing family, prioritizing the best way I knew how, and simply always choosing wrong. I was so wrapped up in my children’s lives, comparing the infancy/toddlerhood of my second and third child against the idyllic time of my oldest at the same ages. I was guilty about everything from not spending enough quality time playing and reading to not investing enough patience during the feeding times. My role as a mother had changed but my unrealistic expectations of how I needed to mother had not. Guilt was my go to emotion and I was drowning in the mire.

My husband, my hero, champion, and partner was incensed by his wife beating herself in this way. Loving me as he does, he could hardly stand by and allow me to focus on the negatives of my life and my mothering skills. He fought me for years and I tried to let the words sink in, but guilt is a strong and strangling emotion. I’ve started to get my head out of the clouds and fully realize how my children are separate entities from me. That no matter how well (or not) I do my job as their mother, they will have strengths and weaknesses. They will fail and succeed. They are intrinsically independent creatures who have the right to do these things without it being my fault. This is a very hard lesson for me to learn. And, even though the intellectual side of me completely understands and agrees with this, when a bad grade on a report card comes home or a race is lost, I still feel that all-too familiar twinge of guilt. But I’m tempering that with all that I’m discovering on these pages. My children are freed by my absolving myself of the guilt that helps nobody. They are provided a saner more positive mother when I simply do my job to the best of my ability on any given day. And, when I truly remember that my children gain character and valuable lessons through failed attempts and disappointments, it, too, strengthens my resolve. Although I haven’t been able to evict guilt from my life totally, I certainly have learned to keep it in check better and for that we are a happier family.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Simple Joys

Welcome back to Simple Joys. Started as a one off on Chief 187 Chatter to express my gratitude, this feature quickly became the most popular and well-read post I offer weekly. With the world in the state it is in, the financial forecast icy, political climate lackluster, and nightly news depressing, the success of Simple Joys proves that people are aching for positivity, optimism, and hope. My Simple Joys may be uniquely mine, but the goal is for all who read to get in touch with their Simple Joys, recognize them, enjoy them, and be more aware of them each and every day. Now, without further ado, is this week’s Simple Joys.

Days Off. My husband was able to take two glorious days off of work to enjoy the visit of his family, his mom and dad and his maternal grandfather. They all descend this time of year to celebrate our oldest child’s birthday. Upon hearing the plans I made while his family was visiting, my husband realized he didn’t want to miss out on priceless memory making. All too often we put work ahead of all else. Of course my husband feels lucky to have a job, but his family is the most important thing to him. The time together was wonderful and ended much too quickly. Mostly, his children, parents, grandfather, and wife will remember these days all the more because he was around the whole time. Having my husband take a couple of days off in summer is a sublime Simple Joy.

Kindness of a Friend. While the extended family was in New Jersey my parents invited them all to their lake house for a swim and a boat ride to a local restaurant on the lake on which they live. We sat ready for a fun-filled, scenic, and relatively quick ride to the restaurant when the boat stopped running. My father made one phone call and within minutes his friend Dave appeared with help for the boat. He had us back and running in far less than a half hour and our fun day was able to continue. There is nothing better than knowing someone you can count on to help, fix the problem, and answer his phone when you call. Knowing Dave has been a Simple Joy for years!

Good job. I am fortunate to do my job from home. Whether writing, caring for my children, or doing my Internet radio programs, I do the majority of these jobs in my home. In the last week I have been experiencing great joy from how well things continue to go in my career. From lining up guests to creating new contacts and from getting greater exposure to a wider audience to meeting fascinating new people, I am finding that work is a glorious word that puts a smile on my face from the inside out!

Dressing up. Getting dressed up, looking sexy, donning my jewels, and flirting with my husband is one of my favorite past times. We had opportunity to go out on Saturday night and I couldn’t have been happier. Getting the time to spend together when we look our best is a Simple Joy I hold in the highest!

Family. For my son’s 9th birthday family from both sides surrounded us. Celebrating this milestone with multiple generations and reminiscing about life through the years is a nostalgic Simple Joy that I never want to relinquish!

Cake. What’s a birthday without cake? My son requested a cake I have made before and even featured as a recipe in Tantalizing Thursday a couple of months ago. The marble cake he wanted is so moist and rich that it requires no frosting. Being a Bundt cake it was so large it fed adequately sixteen people! Creating, baking, smelling, and eventually eating this divine cake, especially at the request of my son for his ninth birthday was a most scrumptious and rewarding Simple Joy.

Having part of the family leave makes me a bit sad, but remembering the Simple Joys of the previous week reminds me of all the fun we had together. And, knowing that I just need to keep my heart and mind open to finding more Simple Joys encourages me to keep on keeping on because at any moment my next Simple Joy is lurking, waiting to make my life all the more pleasant. My wish for all of you, whether you write them down or simply list them mentally, is to find the Simple Joys that enhance your life each week.

Please join me tomorrow for another original post in which I get to wax poetic!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Monday Movie Blog

Welcome to the Monday Movie Blog on Chief 187 Chatter. The summer is starting to wind down and the urgency to squeeze every last bit of fun out of it is peaking. The summer blockbusters are fading into the sunset and the next big time for major releases is the period between November and January. The armchair and couch are the places to watch movies so the Monday Movie Blog will assist in finding the right one to fit your mood.

This week’s focus is movies that are set during summer. List your favorite movies that are set during the summertime. Be sure to include a list of well-known actors, a brief synopsis or a review of the film.

To access former Monday Movie Blogs simply type “Monday Movie Blog” in the search feature located in the upper left hand side of this page. If you are compelled to add to archived lists, be sure to do so. This resource is for the entirety of the Chief 187 Chatter readership and exists for endless use and updating.

Please join me tomorrow for Simple Joys, Chief 187 Chatter’s most popular, widely read, and uplifting post of the week.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Music Blog

Welcome to the Friday Music Blog on Chief 187 Chatter. Music soothes, inspires, energizes, and calms me; not at the same time usually! There is little that pumps me up more than knowing my iPod is chock full of my favorite artists and songs. New editions add depth to my collection and the Friday Music Blog provides weekly opportunities to enhance my ever-expanding collection of music.

This week’s topic is songs that have the word “Tuesday” in the title or lyric. Be sure to include the artist as well as the song.

This week has proven to be another great one for Chief 187 Chatter. In two days, Tuesday through Thursday of this week, Chief 187 Chatter swelled from 21,000 pageviews (achieved early Tuesday morning) to rushing past 22,000 pageviews (Thursday afternoon)! One thousand pageviews was mindblowing for me when it took the site a week to earn because that was a record pace! With these numbers I am left dizzy, disoriented, and soaring! Fluke or not, foreshadowing for what is to come or not, I am a happy, excited, and humbled person by the interest for these articles.

Please continue to check this Friday Music Blog throughout the day and weekend for new responses. And I invite you to return on Monday for another all new week of original posts. Thank you for your continuing interest and support!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tantalizing Thursday

Welcome to Tantalizing Thursday on Chief 187 Chatter. We have entered the “Dog Days of August” so making huge dinners on the stovetop or oven is not warranted. Finding cool ways to feed people while still providing highly satisfying meals is the goal. Today’s recipe offers a great option for dinner. This recipe utilizes the bounty of summer, the ease of the grill, and the colors of healthy dining. Enjoy!

Grilled Steak and Summer Vegetable Salad
Recipe by Everyday Food July/August 2010

Ingredients:

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grill
2 sprigs rosemary
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 1/4 pounds hanger steak
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1/2 pound cherry tomatoes on the vine, or plum tomatoes, halved
1 bunch scallions
1 sweet bell pepper (any color), cut into sixths, seeds and stem removed
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons honey

Directions:

1. Heat a grill to medium-high. Clean and lightly oil hot grill. In a small ovenproof pot, combine oil, rosemary, and garlic and place on grill. Cook until oil begins to bubble, 2 minutes. Remove herb oil from heat and set aside 3 tablespoons in a small bowl.

2. Brush steak with herb oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes per side for medium-rare (move steak to a cooler part of grill if it begins to overbrown). Transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing thinly against the grain.

3. In batches, brush vegetables with herb oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill, turning occasionally, until tomato skins are split and vegetables are tender, 3 to 5 minutes total. Transfer to a serving platter, along with sliced steak. Add vinegar and honey to reserved oil and whisk together. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then drizzle dressing over steak and vegetables.


If you are like me, you use recipes for ideas, flavor combinations, or techniques. I rarely follow a recipe “to a tee” because I find I prefer shortcuts, substitutions to suit my family, and store bought help. For this recipe I would omit or at least lessen the amount of rosemary as I don’t enjoy its strong, woodsy aroma that permeates everything I eat. I would substitute a lesser herb that would still flavor the oil. If time was truly of the essence I would use a store bought salad dressing as the marinade/dressing. What’s important is making the assembly of a meal a part of the evening where everyone pitches in, spends quality time together, and employs a feeling of good will. Eating together in any time of the year is what makes dinner a Simple Joy.

Please join me tomorrow as we close the week with the always fun and interactive Friday Music Blog!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I Believe... Do You?

There is much in this world I do not know. As a parent, that is a difficult thing to admit or, at the very least, to explain to my ever-curious children. But, in my years on this planet, living, learning, studying, and, in case I didn't stress it enough, living, there are some things I can tell that I do believe. I am comfortable telling my children and anyone else willing to read/listen.

I Believe:

I believe in celebrating Birthdays. I do. I think that a birthday isn’t nearly enough time to celebrate the person of honor; a week or even a month is more fitting. What better way to honor the person you love (including yourself) than to do up the time surrounding the birthday. So many people get down of aging, worry about numbers, and fret attention. I say allow joy to permeate the people around you, blow up balloons, serve cake, and sing! Life is too serious without wonderful occasions like birthdays to celebrate. I believe in celebrating birthdays. Do you?

I believe in Santa Claus. I do. He exists as surely as love and charity. I believe because without Santa Claus the world is bleak, unloving, and cold. Magic, wonder and excitement exist and so does Santa Claus. I leave my stocking out every December 24 and every morning of December 25 it is filled with surprises from the Big Man. I believe in living my life like Santa Claus; I help those who need it, surprise people unexpectedly with kindnesses, and try to sprinkle a bit of magic in all I do throughout the year. I believe in Santa Claus and always will. Do you?

I believe in love. I do. There are millions of songs, books, movies, and magazine articles that discuss heartbreak, separation, lost love, and divorce, but I chose to revel in the ones that optimistically spout about love. I take my cues from romance novels where the heroine stays with the hero. I agree with “Midnight Train to Georgia” when Gladys Knight sings about, “I’d rather be in his world, than live without him in mine.” I believe in reinventing oneself and the relationship to keep it moving forward. I believe in sticking out the years together and having no regrets about what might have been. I believe that making love a priority is enough to keep a relationship going. That valuing one another is the key to sticking it out when the going gets tough. These ideas/ideals are not easy. They are indeed the paramount of hard and difficult. But, I do believe that anything worth having is worth working hard. Do you?

I believe in a Higher Power. I do. I cannot explain everything there is to know about the Higher Power, but I do believe in its existence, its omnipotence, and its import in my life. I can attest without a shadow of a doubt I have been witness to my Higher Power’s power. The details are private, personal, and not for a public forum, but I do believe. And, having come from a place and time when I didn’t believe, believing has made a world of difference. I believe that there is something much more powerful than “me”. Do you?

I believe in my children. Having children is rewarding, yes, but so dang difficult that it can crush you if you don’t find a way to handle all of the stresses. Having children forces one to be so much less selfish and so much more “someone else”-centered. By putting time, patience, education, love, energy, support, and faith into my children, I am investing in their future as well as mine. I believe that they are the best part of their father and me and yet are so vastly different because they are uniquely themselves. I believe that I would be friends with my children even if they weren’t my children. I believe that is a very important thing, to raise likable children. And I believe that putting the time and effort, discipline and indulgence, and a whole lot of love, hugs, and kisses is a small debt for a large payoff in the end. Do you?

These are some of the very important things I believe in my life. This list is not meant to be preachy, pushy, or directed at any one person or group. I believe in sharing my life and beliefs on these “pages”. I believe that I am leaving a very lovely legacy with my thoughts for my children to read one day. The fact that you all stop by to read simply adds to my belief that the world is full of good, kind, and wonderful people. Do you?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Simple Joys

Welcome to Simple Joys on Chief 187 Chatter. This post has gained a life and following of its own. It pleases me to no end how quickly and deeply Simple Joys has resonated with Chief 187 Chatter’s readership. Simple Joys is my way to accentuate the positive in life, to share the good that happens amidst the bad, scary, frustrating, and seemingly hopeless news that surrounds, both personally and universally. Simple Joys tries to offset that by keeping all the good we experience in the forefront of our day. I sincerely hope that reading my Simple Joys inspires you to get in touch with yours that are all around. Now, without further ado, is today’s Simple Joys.

In-laws. My in-laws arrive this week. I am very pleased to announce this as I truly adore them and am looking forward to their visit. Some people cannot stand their in-laws and I feel sorry for them. My case is rather unusual; not only do I have great people whom I call “Mom and Dad” as in-laws, but I’ve known them since I was fourteen so they truly are like a second set of parents. We have a long history, share a rich past, and are truly family. I have always been treated with courtesy and respect by them and hope they feel the same about the way I’ve treated them. We absolutely get along beautifully and I am thrilled to have them staying with me so we can embark on making new memories together!

Birthday. My oldest child turns nine this week. He has been planning his party since he turned eight. With a child’s innocence and excitement he plots the games, organizes the guest list, and figures out the ideal menu. He is in “birthday-mode” from the last day of school in June until the big day arrives in mid-August. He is filled with pent up angst and heightened glee because his big day is on the horizon. I, too, am in a heightened state, but more because my child, the one who made me a mother for the first time, is sprinting toward adulthood. At nine he is only twelve short months away from being a two-digit number. He is four short years from being a teenager and nine years away from graduating high school and going off to college. At his age those years seemed interminable to me, but I know otherwise now. In the blink of an eye he was crawling, walking, and talking. Preschool morphed into grade school before I could catch my breath. My family grew from one baby to three. Now this man-child is living under my roof and I am feeling the immediacy of the time we have left. Milestones that once felt like ages between one another crash into one another at record speeds. New school year, Cub Scout functions, birthday parties all occur like clockwork, and, boom, another year has slipped away. I am working hard to stay in the moments, breath in every day, stay present and be cognizant, but even I, with my best intentions, feel it is rushing by in a blur. As he blows his candles out on his number “9” candle, I will add a silent wish to his ~ that for the next nine years life will slow down a bit and I can stay in suspended animation being his mommy, wiping his tears, holding his hand, and baking his birthday cake.

Bubbles. My home is filled with nearly every toy imaginable for both boys and girls. We have action figures, cars, dolls, kitchen sets, play tools, and the like. But what really captures my children’s delight is a brand new container of bubbles. I quietly unearth them as they are playing outside and start blowing bubbles into the breeze. The iridescent bubbles float idyllically hither and fro, glinting in the sunlight, and captivating all who witness. Once spotted, my children run after the bubbles with reckless abandon. Some want to pop them, others want to “catch” them, and one always wants me to create “the biggest one ever”! My dime store purchase captures the imagination, enthralls young and old, and puts smiles on faces. It utilizes brain and body, “fits” perfectly for boys and girls, and holds endless hours of amusement. Bubbles are a forever Simple Joy.

The Guys. I have been so blessed with a loyal, supportive, and wonderful readership. Whereas I cherish each person who reads these pages, I want to place the spotlight on a special sector, the guys. Since day one I have had men as part of my readership. I figured they arrived because they knew of my NASCAR background in writing and wanted to read more car stuff. That was true with some who quickly drifted away when I tackled topics like “Anger” and “Forgiveness” as well as “The Healing Power of Touch” and “The Art of the Kiss”, but many more stayed, read, and commented. These early male readers stuck with me through the holiday period when for nearly six weeks I wrote about nothing except preparing for Christmas! These men honor and delight me and for each one of them I am sincerely grateful. Again, every person who reads my work here and returns again and again gets my deepest gratitude and awe, but today these men get a special shout out. With deep affection I want to thank the following: My husband and number one fan from the dawn of time, Racer 187. My father, who has always encouraged me, supported me both financially at first and emotionally throughout, and has believed in me as a professional writer since I mentioned it. The man who encouraged me to write daily when it seemed “too difficult” and still reads me faithfully, Art Tidesco. The man who followed me from Rowdy and consistently cheers me on from the sidelines, bares his soul and stories, and never lets me forget what I’m doing matters, Grumpa. The man who innocently used one of my blogs for his Daily and never got rid of me and now honors me with his beautiful graphics and kind words, The Soulful EMU. One of the nicest men I’ve ever had the privilege to meet, a damn fine son, father, husband and friend, Steve “Archidude” Arnaudin. A dad who writes and loves NASCAR like me and who followed me here from Skirts and Scuffs and stayed, Cruetten. A brave man who struggles daily with MS, always finds a kind word for me, is a loving husband, and a huge NASCAR fan, Richard Fazio. A super sweet, fun-loving, movie-appreciating, heck of a nice guy, Rob Bartow. A generous, gregarious, heart-of-gold father and husband who works tirelessly to make the world a better place, Dr. Rus Jeffrey. A music-loving man who knows that a bad day racing beats a good day at work any day of the week and twice on Friday, Vroom Vroom. Another super duper nice man who brings me joy on Twitter and graces these pages, Johnny. A schoolmate who became a dear friend, is a multi-talented man, and an all-around good egg, Stephen P. Brown. A wise-cracking, car-loving, recipe-tryin’ guy who flatters me with his presence on these pages, Jr. Cracker. To my friend and mentor who need not read me but finds his own Simple Joys in doing so, Mike Fiore. I am touched, surprised (they stayed even after they realized there wasn’t cars or porn mentioned here), honored, flattered, and so pleased by their readership. I present you all as a collective and enormous Simple Joy that I get week in and week out. Thank you!!

Much love and respect to you all who read Simple Joys on Chief 187 Chatter. My biggest hope is that this piece inspires you to find all of the Simple Joys in your life. Share them here, keep them private, but do find them!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Monday Movie Blog

Welcome to the Monday Movie Blog on Chief 187 Chatter. I’ve been using movies to entertain myself while exercising on my elliptical machine. Initially I had a television and VCR (yes, antiquated as it was, I had dozens of movies and they all viewed beautifully) but recently upgraded to a DVD player, a much-appreciated Mother’s Day gift from my family. Watching movies offers a pleasant escape and couples my “me time” with my exercise time, effectively killing two birds with one stone. I am quickly exhausting my supply of owned movies and am always interested in what movie choices people are most excited. The Monday Movie Blog is a wonderful resource for me to tap, and hopefully is the same for you!

This week’s focus is movies with incredible soundtracks. These are movies that may or may not have been stellar, but the music was off the charts! From movie musicals to awesome compilations and others that claim original songs, which movies boast the best soundtracks? Give the name of the movie, list the stars, and include a brief synopsis or review of the film. In addition, make sure to highlight the incredible soundtrack of the movie in question.

To utilize the entire collection of Monday Movie Blogs on Chief 187 Chatter, please type “Monday Movie Blog” into the Search feature located in the upper left hand corner of this page. Please feel free to add your selections to current or former topics. This resource is for all to use… for free!

I invite you all to join me tomorrow for Chief 187 Chatter’s most popular and uplifting post of the week, Simple Joys.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Music Blog

Welcome to the Friday Music Blog on Chief 187 Chatter. It’s enormously gratifying to see the steady growth of numbers in those reading and participating in this post from week to week. The more who add music the better this blog becomes, exposing us to new music, old music, and everything in between.

This week’s focus is songs with “Monday” in the title. Please list any and all songs with “Monday” in the title and be sure to include the artist who performs it. Again, this week is only songs with “Monday”.

We’ve been in a pattern of breaking records for the last several weeks. What used to take months to mark a milestone of another 1000 pageviews at Chief 187 Chatter now takes roughly a week. Since Tuesday’s Simple Joys this week, we have nearly reached the goal of another 1000… in DAYS! People are reading, sharing, tweeting and retweeting my work and for that I am most grateful. The goal has been to get my work exposed to the largest audience that is engaged. With your help the ceiling has been lifted and the possibilities are endless!

Please join me throughout the weekend to read the growing list of FMB comments as they do trickle in at all times. Then I invite you to join me on Monday to start another entirely new week of original postings.