Monday, March 21, 2016

Spring Fever, um SNOW?, Let's Go to the Zoo...

Welcome, welcome first day of spring.  But it's SNOWING out!  Yes, a winter 'storm' was predicted for today and sure enough I woke up to snow, although not as bad as it could have been.  We've had a nice stretch of warm weather this winter so I guess Mother Nature feels like she should keep us on our toes.  But yesterday was a nice afternoon and my sons and I took a ride to Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence.  

I have to admit I was looking forward to getting outside, doing a little walking and taking pictures.  Recently a cheetah exhibit had been added and we were looking forward to checking it out.  They did not disappoint.  

While 3 of the 4 cheetahs were just chilling on the rocks, there was one that kept pacing against the wall of the enclosure that abutted the zebras.  Everyone got a kick out of it because this cheetah was determined to try and find a way to get to the zebras.

Most of the animals were outside in the 40 degree weather and I was pleased to see how cooperative they were in 'posing' for the camera.

Our favorites were the snow leopards.  They were pretty active yesterday and were playing with each other.  Both my sons and I agreed we could have watched them for hours.  

Happy Monday and Happy Spring!!  

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

It's Super Tuesday ~ Let's Talk Politics...

DISCLAIMER - So before you read any further, I am not endorsing nor condemning any particular Presidential candidate.  In this upcoming election, I don't like any of them.  The purpose of this post is basically to poke fun at them all.  I have also included some of the memes and videos I've found circulating on Facebook.  I think they are particularly amusing.    

I realize that politics is a heated and taboo subject, but the cast of characters particularly on the Republican side is just too bizarre and surrealistic to not poke a little fun at!  I am amused, horrified and flabbergasted at the tone of this Presidential election.  

My sons are avid history and political fans.  CNN, FOX News, MSNBC and virtually any and all news channels are constantly on in my house.  My sons watch every televised debate and town hall meeting, both Democratic and Republican.  On Sunday mornings, parts of any and all political shows are on.  To be quite honest, I have had enough of them all!

I do like to watch the debates.  While I like to think I have a pretty open mind, the Republican debates in particular have caught my attention.  In the very beginning of this process, I have to admit I was amused by Donald Trump. He is an entertainer, you have to give him that.  I find these candidates totally out of control and not portraying the image of whom I would envi
sion the leader of the free world to be!  On February 25, the Republican debate in Houston was totally over the top.  Wolf Blitzen, CNN's moderator could barely control Trump, Rubio and Cruz. They sounded like spoiled rotten little kindergarteners doing little more than bickering.  The Sunday political shows are calling the exchange 'playground rhetoric'.  I simply look at these men and think to myself, "How on earth can these name-calling, petty little men represent the United States of America as President?   Ben Carson and John Kasich did not really get too much time in and Carson actually made us laugh with some of his comments alluding to his lack of time compared to the others.  As we have gotten into the weekend, Rubio and Trump have been flooding the airwaves with jibes, referring to "Mr. Meltdown", choking, Trump's orange hair and fake tan, etc. etc.  I cannot wrap my head around the fact that one of these men could actually become the President of the United States.  

Lindsay Graham was hosting a political roast where he said "Our party is going bat shit crazy!"  My son was drinking a glass of water when this sound bit was played on CNN the other day and he literally spit out his water and almost choked because he laughed so hard.  It was hysterical in a very sad way.

At different points in my life, I have been registered as both a Democrat and Republican, but am seriously shaking my head at all of our choices for the 2016 election! 

I know some are polarized around their particular candidate.  So make sure if your state is participating in Super Tuesday, support your candidate and Get Out and Vote!

 Hope you get as much as a kick out of these as I did...

Monday, February 29, 2016


Life's been busy and at some points overwhelming.  Since last April's A - Z Blogging Challenge, I have only posted a handful of blog posts.  I have to admit there has been an extreme lack of inspiration compounded with the day to day chaos of life.  I have to plead guilty to a little bit of situational depression brought on by a number of things, most stemming from cancer diagnoses of several close friends.

There were also some highlights in the past year including a trip to Washington, DC so the boys could participate in the Close-Up Program.  

I was also an extra in the movie Bleed For This a little over a year ago, which is about local boxer Vinnie Pazienza who overcame severe injuries in a horrific car accident to win a boxing championship.  Originally slated to be released in late 2015, it has been pushed to sometime this year in light of the releases of Southpaw and Creed.

Summer peaked here in RI in August through September, with some beautiful, hot beach days in September once the kids were in school.  I was fortunate to be able to drop the boys at school and head down to the beach to meet friends, enjoying the late summer sun and surf.  One particular day, a couple of friends and I walked over to Champlins, one of the restaurants by the water where another friend was tending bar.  The travel channel was there filming a segment for Bizzare Foods with Andrew Zimmern and we wound up eating some of the featured dishes and giving our opinions for the camera!  The show is actually airing this week, so we'll have see if we made the cut!

As March approaches, I've been assembling some thoughts on a theme to again participate in the A-Z blogging, themes to be announced around the end of March.  

Happy Monday!!    

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Restaurant Week ~ Providence

Dirty Martini - Capital Grille, Providence

Providence, RI is well-known for it's wonderful restaurants.  Winter restaurant week took place in January and some of the restaurants actually offered their specials for several weeks, through the end of the month. 

I was able to visit Capital Grille and Circe for two amazing dinners.  A high school friend and I had dinner at the Capital Grille.  The prix fix restaurant menu offered an appetizer, entree and dessert.  I had a caesar salad, filet mignon with creme brûlée for dessert.  Pat had the wedge salad, the filet and creme brûlée.  We each chose a different side and split them, (Sam's mashed potatoes and french beans with heirloom tomatoes).  The meal was outstanding and the service was fantastic.  My new favorite drink is a dirty martini and Capital Grille did not disappoint.  It was the best dirty martini I had had so far, although I must admit a couple of other restaurants were very close.

The following week, my cousin Nancy and I visited Circe.  I had been dying to try this restaurant for a while.  Service was outstanding, our waiter was funny, flirty and was an absolute doll.  I had already known what I was going to order as a friend had gone the week before.  Nancy and I both ordered the short rib arancini with an au poivre sauce for our appetizer.  To be quite honest, I don't know why Circe does not offer this as a regular menu choice.  It was hands down one of the most delicious dishes we have ever had.  We both ordered the filet dinner.  The filet was fantastic, Nancy's was a little undercooked, but the kitchen promptly cooked it a little more and regarnished it.  We were thrilled with our dinner.  For dessert, I chose the chocolate lava cake. I thought I died and went to heaven!  Nancy got the bread pudding and was very pleased with her choice.  Kudos also to Circe for their dirty martini.  So smooth, perfection.  To this date, Circe served, hands down, the BEST dirty martini I have ever had.  I was so impressed I recommended Circe to another friend who went with her husband on the very last day of restaurant week.  They were totally blown away by the quality of the food and service, (ordering the same choices I ordered a few days prior).  

Short Rib Arancini - Circe Restaurant
Filet over Fried Polenta - Circe Restaurant
There are many, many great restaurants in Providence and you can't go wrong at either the Capital Grille or Circe.  Next time you're in Providence, be sure to check one out!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Back to School

Several months ago, after over-indulging in a bottle of wine and some tears with a friend, she gave me the extra push I needed to enroll in a couple of continuing education photography courses as R.I. School of Design (RISD).  I've completed a 6 week introductory pre-requisite course and am on my way to completing a photography certificate program.  I've also completed a couple of one day, 3 hour classes and have begun the pre-requisite computer based Digital Design for the Screen Course in preparation to get into the photoshop courses next fall.

One of our projects was Cityscape (B&W) and I shot my photos in downtown Providence.  These were some of my favorites.  What do you think?

RI State House

RI State House
RI Statehouse Dome with Independent Man Statue

Inside of Nordstroms Department Store
Heading into Downtown

Turkshead Building

Benches in Waterplace Park
Waterplace Park Walkway

Friday, December 11, 2015

Make Someone Smile...

In my daily travels, I've made friends at the local markets, bakery and pharmacy.  At one of my stops there is a lovely woman whose husband brings her into work every day she goes in. He even helps her set up before going home.  They are an old school Italian couple with grown children who do everything together.  I speak with her husband often and the exchanges are for the most part short and concise.  We discuss anything from the weather to families to holiday traditions and even politics and religion.   Nothing is off limits.  Most of the time we laugh, at ourselves and at each other.  I walked in one morning at 6am, with furry slippers, pajamas and disheveled hair, which was sticking up all over the place (the joy of curly hair).  He laughed so hard when I walked in and I was doubled over laughing by the time I went out the door.  

One morning a couple of months ago he told me he had cancer.  After extensive testing it was found to be stage 4, involving multiple organs.  Our conversations of late have been light and we both tread carefully on the illness talk, especially as it is particularly upsetting to his wife.  This morning I asked him how he was doing while she was not within hearing distance.  He said they told him he had 9 months.   He had a CAT scan last week and the doctors were very encouraged at his progress.  The two types of chemo he has been receiving are evidently working.  He looks great.  We talked a little about food and diet and as I got ready to leave, he kissed the back of my hand and said "I really enjoy our conversations."  I held my tears until I was in my car.

It is bittersweet, so happy to hear his treatment is going better than expected, but knowing there is a clock ticking.  What moved me was knowing that I am responsible for one of his smiles on the days I see him.   I think we all know there are people we make smile, but we rarely hear them actually express it.  We all should thank those that make us smile.  It is such a fantastically uplifting experience.  He was the reason I smiled all day today.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Oh Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree...

"We're kicking off our fun old fashion family Christmas by heading out into the country in the old front-wheel drive sleigh to embrace the frosty majesty of the winter landscape and select that most important of Christmas symbols."         - Clark Griswold, Christmas Vacation.

We normally put our tree up the day after Thanksgiving, but this year, due to extremely mild temps, we decided to get our outside decorating done first.  

This afternoon, we will make the venture out to a cute little tree stand, a mile and a half away, to choose our tree. We'll cram it indoors, plop it in the stand and hopefully secure enough that it doesn't fall over, as it has every year.  

A couple of years ago, I wrote this poem, with a little help from my son.  I'm quite  proud of it as I am no poet, and I thought I'd share it again!

Twas the Week Before Christmas... (2013)

Twas the week before Christmas and all through the house
My sons and I decorated, with no help from my spouse.

The stockings were hung on the rail by the stairs
The blankets and pillows decorated the chairs.

Unfortunately we tied the tree to the wall,
Because after a few days of tipping we feared it might fall.

Part of the village was set up under the tree,
And some even sat on the table near the TV.

The nutcrackers guarded the TV remotes.
To see the outside, we had to put on our coats.

Santa and Mrs. Claus looked out below.
At Rudolph's nose glowing right there in the snow.

A family of reindeer stood in the side yard.
Where at Halloween, there was a graveyard.

A moose and a wagon out front with a light.
The beautiful decorations lit up the night.

A snowman will welcome Santa, that jolly old elf.
When he comes here on Christmas all by himself.

But no, he won't be alone this year.
He'll have his sled and all the reindeer.

And after he leaves, and rides out of sight,
He'll say, 

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!

(this was composed with a little help from my 11 year old son)