Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Wisdom from Rumi - Raise Your Words, Not Your Voice

I saw this saying posted by a friend, and had to share it.  I'm so tired of all the anger and hate that I'm seeing, not only in our world, but on all forms of social media. Just when I think the level of dialogue can't possibly get any lower, the bottom falls out.  We can't even seem to talk to one another anymore--it's all insults and memes and sound bites shared without regard to the impact it will have on others. I feel like we've all been dragged down into the gutter, and instead of trying to lift each other up--and out--we're just digging in and taking up residence there. The path to stopping this nonsense and moving forward starts with each one of us. Let's put aside the pettiness and start actually communicating with one another again.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Leafblowers Should Not Run for More than 30 Minutes at a time

Most days, I work out of a home office.  I know how lucky I am to have that opportunity, especially after so many years spent commuting every single day. 

Nevertheless, the sirens and car horns and other noises of NYC would be a welcome respite to what I endure now: the constant drone of lawnmowers, particularly at this time of year.  I understand that the landscaper that maintains the properties around me is only doing his job, but I swear, he goes into some sort of a trance when he's got that leaf blower going.  He just shuffles along, swaying the blower from side to side slowly, for HOURS.  The noise is deafening--but, unlike myself, he's wearing huge headphones to drown out the sound.  Not exactly an option when I'm on conference calls or trying to go about my daily tasks.  

Dear Universe: someone needs to invent a leaf blowing machine that automatically shuts off after 1 hour of continuous use, and cannot be turned on again for at least 30 minutes after that.  My ears would be immensely grateful.  Thanks in advance.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Solar Eclipse 2017

My daughter Christina took this great photo of today's Solar Eclipse, which was only partially visible in our area:

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Food Review: Apple Pie Oreos

The latest offering in the Oreo Limited Edition flavor line: Apple Pie Oreos.

This one sounded really promising to me: after all, it's pretty hard to mess up apple pie, right?

Once again, the sandwich cookie portion is Graham flavored, to mimic a typical pie crust.  Understandable.  The thing is, the graham flavor doesn't tend to add anything to the cookie itself--the traditional chocolate cookies have a decadence factor that is completely lost when they switch to the more sedate graham version. 

So, that being the case, the pressure is on to make sure you totally nail the flavor of the filling. Alas, these miss the mark, in a big way.   The apple flavoring is off.  It reminds me of Green Apple Jolly Ranchers--which, while quite tasty, do not actually resemble the crisp, clean, refreshing flavor of a real apple. 

Same with these cookies.  The creme filling has a weird, almost sour bite to it, yet is also very sweet.  It's just an odd combo, and doesn't make for an overall pleasant experience. Disappointing.

The final verdict for Apple Pie Oreo cookies?  I give them a C. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Lays Potato Chips' Do Us A Flavor 2017: Review of Everything Bagel, Fried Green Tomato, and Crispy Taco

My favorite competition of year: the Lay's Do Us  Flavor contest to choose the next Limited Edition flavor of Lay's Potato Chips.  It's an eclectic group this time:  Everything Bagel, Crispy Taco, and Fried Green Tomato

Quick takes:

Everything Bagel, B
Crispy Taco,
Fried Green Tomato, C


Everything Bagel was the best of the 3 flavors this year.  It had a distinct-and-not-unpleasant poppy-seed flavor, a very subtle sour cream & onion aftertaste, but not much else. The crunch from the Kettle Cooked preparation worked well with this flavor, so bonus points for that.

Crispy Taco should be avoided at all costs.  I know you're curious, but run, don't walk, away from this abomination.  The minute I opened the bag, I knew I was not in for a good experience. The aroma was akin to lettuce that has started turn, and the overall flavor profile was wilted lettuce and tomato with taco seasoning.  The combination smells slightly worse than dry dog food, and (assuming here) taste about the same.  (I encourage any dogs who read this blog to reach out to me if my comparison is off-base, since I have never actually tasted kibble, so there is a chance these chips are worse.)  Seriously, take a hard pass on this one.

Fried Green Tomato was the one I was most curious about.  They were disappointing...not bad, just sort of "meh"....a hard to describe flavor that didn't really leave much of an impression on me. It smelled vaguely like pickles, with a fried oil taste and somewhat sour, tangy finish  I did add bonus points for being of the Wavy variety, which holds the flavoring better and, in my opinion, provides a more consistent taste experience chip for chip. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Mushrooms, Mushrooms EVERYWHERE

Wow...the biggest tell-tale sign that we've had some damp, humid weather: mushrooms cropping up everywhere on my lawn in our backyard mulch.

No, we are NOT eating any of these--I would never take the chance.  I'm just amazed at how many different ones are cropping up at once.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Sharknado 5: wait, when did Sharknado 4 happen?

Yes, I tuned in tonight to watch the latest installment of the Sharknado series: Sharknado 5.  I wasn't even aware that a 4th installment had been released--setting the DVR to capture that campy ridiculousness to watch on a rainy day when I have absolutely NOTHING better to do.

My take: it was about as stupid and inane as the others, but exactly what I expected, so I wasn't disappointed.  Trying to spot the celebrity cameos is always the best part (you have to be quick--they tend to get eaten by sharks rather quickly).  My favorite was Fabio as The Pope.  Killing off Dance Moms' Abby Lee Miller just as she uttered her infamous line, "Everyone is replaceable!" was also a nice touch.  

Multi-Level Marketing : Stay Far Away!

If you've ever been invited by a "friend" to host a party at your home and "earn free products" just for having a few people over to view a complimentary demonstration--ditch that so-called friend immediately.  They're not looking to do you any favors--they're trying to leverage their relationship with you to get access to your social network of friends and acquaintances, in order to increase sales for what is likely a multi-level marketing company (MLMs).

There are many such "opportunities" out there, including essential oils, makeup products, and yoga wear. had an excellent article recently (READ IT HERE) about how MLMs use a pyramid-like structure to sucker in consultants with promises of big earnings, only to drain them financially.

I've encountered several of these over the past 25 years, and I have yet to come across one that wasn't ultimately a money-drain.  The worst part is that the person approaching you seems so genuine (and, in some cases, they are--they just don't realize yet what they've gotten themselves into).  They are taught specific tactics to entice friends into joining the pyramid, such as calling their group of customers a "tribe" or "sisterhood" so that you feel empowered, like you're part of something larger than yourself.

Don't fall for it--it's just another sales strategy aimed at convincing you to hand over your list of friends, co-workers, and family members so that your "friendly neighborhood consultant" can bring them into the pyramid and make more commissions.

No thanks, I'll pass.