Saturday, May 28, 2011

Clean Start a Cookbook for Healthy Eating

A couple of weeks ago my friend Di invited me to join her for a discussion and lunch by Terry Walters at the Enlightened Way Wellness Center in Tariffville, CT.  Her message is to eat clean and live well. 

I found her talk reinforced my own views on healthy eating.  Her message focused on the nutritional benefits and an improved well being from eating organic foods with no or minimal processing.  Her two favorite foods were quinoa and kale

The lunch highlighted a few recipes in her latest cookbook, Clean Start.  They were:  Raw Kale Confetti Salad with Roasted Sunflower Seeds, Asparagus with Miso Lemon Dressing and Marcona Almonds, Festive Quinoa with Apricots and Orange Zest, and Energy Squares.  All them were very tasty, and the recipes look simple to prepare. 

I did buy the cookbook, but as a present for my sister Jean.  Her birthday is in June.  She has been into natural foods for the past 30+ years.  If Terry hadn't signed a message to her in the book, I think I would keep it for myself.  In fact, I think I will buy myself a copy.  Jean if you are reading this please ignore this last paragraph.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sunshine Muse

Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you. (Walt Whitman via FirstQuote.com)

After almost 2 weeks of rainy gloomy weather, it was so nice to have the sun shining down on me today.  My gloomy mood lifted and the joy to my spirit returned.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Meetup: River and Shore Kayak-r's of CT

I have been in the shadows of a few Meetup Groups for the past two years.  Monitoring their events, but never attending.  Yesterday I attended my first Meetup group, the River and Shore Kayak-r's of CT.

Meetup.com is a website that lists interest and activity groups.  Most groups are open to the general public, a few a closed and by invitation only.  You can find/start/sponsor a group by interest and/or zip code. 

What finally motivated me to join and attend this group?  I bought a new kayak last week.  The Heritage 9.5 Featherlite.  I wanted to take it out on its maiden voyage, and I didn't want to take it out alone. 

Low and behold the day I bought the kayak, there was an email from AL-R inviting me to a kayak Meetup on Sunday to Willie River put in at Plains Rd, (Eagleville Dam + Upstream) and PotLuck BBQ.  The desire to kayak motivated me to check out this group.  


photo via Laura Z

I had a great afternoon, glad I finally came out the shadows to attend this Meetup.  My fellow kayakers were a fun supportive group of people.  Always there to lend a hand.  We had 3 people who kayaks tipped, and someone was there within seconds to help get them out of the water and right their kayak.

Afterward we gathered for a potluck picnic and BBQ. We shared stories, laughs and music. What a wonderful day to end a perfect afternoon.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

National Bike to Work Day

May is National Bike Month, and yesterday was National Bike to Work Day.  I gathered with other Connecticut Cyclist at Blue Back Square in West Hartford at 7 AM to ride to the Capitol in support of a bike friendly Connecticut.  The event was sponsored by Bike/Walk Connecticut.


After a light breakfast provided by local businesses and a couple of motivating speeches, we departed at 7:30 am for our 3.4 mile ride to the capitol. It only took 10 minutes. It takes me longer to drive there and find parking. Pretty cool.



It was inspiring to be on the steps of the capitol with a couple hundred cyclists, to petition for our cause.  At the rally, I found out Connecticut is ranked 40th nationally for bike friendly states.  Our goal was to encourage the state and local governments to make Connecticut more bike friendly.  Just think of the benefits if more people used their bikes for routine commuting; decrease use gas and oil, save money, less pollution, healthier citizens, and better community.


Daniel C. Esty, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection road his bike from Chester CT to join us at Blue Back Square, then continued with us to the Capitol.  In his speech at the Capitol,  He gave the quote to some up the day;  "Any day that begins with a bike ride is a good day."


Added 6/14/11 courtesy of Bike/Walk CT's Facebook page
National Strategies for Advancing Bicycle Safety  Proposed by the League of American Bicyclists:

Goal #1 Motorists Will Share the Road
Goal #2 Bicyclists Will Ride Safely
Goal #3 Bicyclists Will Wear Helmets
Goal #4 The Legal System Will Support Safe Bicycling
Goal #5 Roads and Paths Will Safely Accommodate Bicycling

Monday, May 16, 2011

Muse: Rainy Days on Monday

It looks like it is going to be one of those rainy weeks.  It might be good for the flowers, but it isn't good for playing outdoors.  Rainy days on Mondays always get me down.  How about you?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Connecticut Wanders: The Heublein Tower

Heublein Tower

Friday morning was one of those perfect mornings.  The sun shining, a blue sky with a few clouds, and the temperature in the mid-60s.  Just right for a leisurely hike with a friend. 

We started from the route 185 entrance of Talcott Mountain State Park in Simsbury for our hike up to the top of mountain.  The views of the  Farmington Valley from the top were breath taking.  We continued along the ridge until we came upon the Heublein Tower.

The 165 foot high Heublein Tower was built by Gilbert F. Heublein in 1914, as a summer home for his family and guests.  Heublein was a wealthy German-born innovator in the American gourmet food and liquor industry.  (http://www.friendsofheubleintower.org/).  He founded Heublein Inc., the manufactor of A1 Steak Sauce and Smirnoff Vodka.  He also owned and operated hotels and restaurants in Hartford, CT (Wikipedia).

Tours of the Tower are available Thursday - Sunday 10am - 5pm, Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day.  From Labor Day - October daily from 10am - 5pm.  The fall veiws are New England at its best.  Well worth the hike 1.25 mile hike (CT Gov).

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Bicycling: Traffic Safety 101

Last night I took my first in a series of four classes on Bicycle Traffic Safety.  Now that I am now riding longer and further on the road, I thought the course would be a good idea.  In fact, two of my best riding buddies are taking the class with me.

The course is designed to teach us to operate our bike safely, confidently and legally.  It teaches to "drive' our bikes on the road, bike lanes and on multi-use trails (like the Rail/Trails).  An added benefit is learning routine bike checks/maintenance and emergency bike repairs like changing a flat (BikeWalkConnecticut.org).

Last night's class began in an empty parking lot.  We began by doing an ABC (air, brakes, crank/chain) check on our bikes, to make sure they were in proper working condition before we started.  Helmets are mandatory safety gear. 

We practiced some basic skills like the most efficient way to start, stop, and turn.  We then progressed to emergency stopping, emergency avoidance of a rock in the road, going over pot holes, emergency avoidance turn in case a car unexpectedly turns in front of us. 

We then moved inside to the class room to view a 20 minute video of 2 cyclists demonstrating the skills we just practiced.  The video also demonstrated proper signalling and lane usage while riding on the road.  It was very well done.

After the first class, I am excited to take the rest of the course.  The next classes build our cycling skills until we are comfortable "driving" in heavy traffic and various road/trail conditions.  Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists on the road.   I believe if we want motorists to respect cyclists, we have to be responsible, law abiding, safe "drivers" as well.

Just thought I would throw in the following Monty Python Bicycle Repairman video (via CentralWheel.com) for a little fun.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Laughter Really is the Best Medicine

I just received an email about a new Meetup Group; Laughter Yoga.  It made me curious, so I checked it out.  They claim that medical research backs their claims that it improves medical, physical, emotional health and possibly pave the way to world peace.  What the heck, sounds good to me!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Muse

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts. ~Washington Irving (via quotegarden.com)







Friday, May 6, 2011

Connecticut Wonder: Camp Woodstock

Last night I spent a wonderful evening at the Pond House in West Hartford, at a wine and beer tasting event to support the Strong Kid's Campaign for the Hartford YMCA's Camp Woodstock.  The Strong Kid's Campaign provides scholarships to campers with financial needs and to provides urban youth leadership retreats throughout the year.


Tony Gronski Executive Director, Me, Mike Sherman Retired Executive Director

Camp Woodstock is in Woodstock CT. A rural area in the northwest corner of the state. It is a step back in time to an idealized summer camp in a beautiful wooded setting by a pristine lake.  It is a unique place where children from all backgrounds can come to learn and share the core values of life: caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility.  The staff is dedicated and live by the camps core values.



Camp Woodstock played an important role in my daughter's development.  She started as a camper in the summer of 7th grade.  She continued as a counselor, then as a program directer her last summer of college.  At 23, she still goes back to camp for reunions or to volunteer.  Camp Woodstock's core values are now her core values.  I am grateful to staff at Camp Woodstock for there part in helping my daughter grow into the incredible person she is today.

Visiting Lauren at Camp summer 2009

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

NYC 5 Boro Bike Tour

I had an awesome weekend.  I rode my bike through all 5 Boroughs of NYC on Sunday with 32,000 of new friends in the 5 Boro Bike Tour.  No cars just bikes, perfect weather, and pretty incredible.

I shared this adventure with my friends Kathy, Mary, and Eddie. We met in the lobby of the Marriott Downtown a little before 6 AM.  The Marriott was close to the start/finish line, and they could accommodate our bikes. We walked across the street to the garage, picked up our bikes and rode to the starting point at 6th Avenue and lower Manhattan.


We arrived at our starting point around 6:30 AM.  The hard core riders started lining up by 5 AM to be at the front of the pack.  We were about 3 blocks from the official start line.  The people around us were all friendly and all with a story to tell.  So the time went quickly.  A couple of people we met were father and daughter from Raleigh, NC on a bicycle built for two, celebrating her 9th birthday.  Also, a newlywed couple on their honeymoon holding hands and kissing, as they waited for the tour to begin.


The tour officially started at 8 AM.  They let the riders start half block groups. As each group took off from the start line, a large flame shot off into the sky on either side of the street.  We made our way forward, and officially started at 8:15 AM.

It was pretty slow from downtown until Central Park.  We would ride a few blocks, and then stop for cross traffic or pedestrians pass.  As the ride progressed, there were fewer stops and/or slow downs.  The bridges provided a few hills on the ride, and the pace would slow and/or occasionally stop as some of the riders struggled with the incline or stopped to take photos. 

I have to say the ride was a thrill.  I loved riding down the FDR at 16 MPH while the cars on the other side of the highway were barely moving. The views of the city and rivers were spectacular.  My favorite views were from the bridges.  Near the end we made the wide gradual mile climb up the Verranzano Narrows Bridge.  The reward was spectacular view of New York Harbor as we crested, then a long decent (I think I broke 29 MPH) and festival as we arrived in Staten Island.

Kathy, Mary and Eddie relaxing at the Festival

We finished the last 3 miles of the Tour riding to the Staten Island Ferry that took us back to Manhattan.  It was great way to end the tour.  We just had to sit back enjoy the view, friends and cold beer. 

View from the Staten Island Ferry

Monday, May 2, 2011

Ground Zero

I awoke this morning in NYC to the news that while I slept, there were celebrations just a block away at Ground Zero.  Osama bin Laden had been killed in an intense firefight in a daring raid, by US Navy Seals at his fortified hideout in Pakistan.  He was the world's most wanted man, and the mastermind behind the horrific 9/11 attacks (via yahoo news).

His death will not bring back the lives of those who died as a result of those attacks, but maybe it will allow a little closure and healing for those left behind.  In memory of that day, I walked to Ground Zero and paid my respect to those that died in the attacks, and the brave heroes that died trying to rescue victims.


Ed, Mary, and Kathy at WTC Visitor Center


Ground Zero View from the World Financial Center

Reporters Broadcasting at the Former Entrance of the World Trade Centers

Ed, Sue, and Mary in Ground Zero in Background

View of the NYC Skyline from the Staten Island Ferry