Sandy Relief

Posted by – November 25, 2012

The outpouring of generosity here has been phenomenal!  There are always people and organizations that come out to help in a disaster and, in major disasters, corporations and celebrities get added to the mix.  This is the first time I’ve seen SO MANY individuals come to lend a hand.  People have come from all over to donate items and volunteer their time to help out.  They’ve helped to handout meals, pack & distribute needed items, and help survivors with cleaning out their property.  Volunteer distribution sites popped up all over so survivors didn’t have to look far for needed supplies.

I decided to visit a few local places working for the cause.  This is only two of the many out here but I wanted to share what they’re doing:  The Mount Loretto Hurricane Relief Center at 6581 Hylan Boulevard (building #7) in Staten Island is a volunteer-run distribution center that has collected truckloads of items from corporations, celebrities, and individuals  and will not only distribute to folks that come to the warehouse but also pack up needed items and deliver them to other locations.  I got the grand tour of the place from the guy who’s taken the lead on this project.  He gave me the 411 on how it got started, how they process requests, and the record-keeping they put in place to inventory and track everything.  It is quite an impressive operation.

Possibili Tees , also at Mount Loretto (in building #20), is a little custom t-shirt shop that provides employment and job skills training to young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental disorders.  They have designed two disaster related t-shirts (see pics above) and are selling those at $10 a piece with the proceeds going to the disaster relief fund.  (You know I had to get me one!)

Kudos to all of the individuals, businesses, and organizations assisting the Sandy survivors including:  the Red Cross, United Way, Catholic Charities, Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, Samaritan’s Purse, Team Rubicon, FEMA Reservists, Google, Verizon, Anheuser-Bush, Jet Blue, Tide, Walgreens, Labella’s Restaurant, Arena Restaurant, Drunken Monkey Bar, Shoprite, Tunnel to Towers Foundation, Project Hospitality, Kiwanis Club, Rick’s Café, Ariana’s Grand & The Loft at Ariana’s Grand, and Rebuild Staten Island Foundation.

Many Thanks to Give

Posted by – November 22, 2012

I’m normally very appreciative of all things big and small in my life but this year I’m especially thankful.  As you know, I spent much of this year battling cancer.  Although, I had been advised by my doctors and nurses to join a support group, I was never compelled to do so.  From the time I was diagnosed to the end of treatment I was surrounded by an incredible amount of love and support.  Family, friends, and even folks I didn’t know were ever present and always encouraging.  I was overwhelmed.  I also had great doctors.  I credit them as well with making my journey and my prognosis positive.  For all of you, I am thankful and I feel very fortunate to have you in my life.

While my loved ones are a thousand miles away having turkey and fixins, I will be spending Thanksgiving again on the road in service to the survivors of SuperStorm Sandy.  After work I’ll make my way back to the hotel, enjoy a can of soup, and catch up on my rest.  It might not seem like much but I’m grateful for the opportunity and energy to do this kind of work, and things could be worse.  There are many displaced people here who will be eating their Thanksgiving dinner in soup kitchens and some whose family members won’t be present this year.

Today, while you’re enjoying the company of your loved ones and the delicious food on your table, remember those who are less fortunate and really appreciate what you have. I do.  I really do.  Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!


SuperStorm Sandy

Posted by – November 21, 2012

On October 22nd, Tropical Storm Sandy formed in the Caribbean and meteorologists began warning that Sandy would combine with a strong nor’easter and produce a storm of the century.  The Weather Channel initially dubbed it “Frankenstorm” but it later became “SuperStorm” Sandy.  On the night of October 29th, it slammed into the northeast coast near Atlantic City, New Jersey leaving catastrophic damage in its wake.  As one survivor put it “Sandy kicked our asses”.

In the days leading up to the storm authorities warned millions to expect power outages at some point during Sandy and many would likely not have power restored for days, if not weeks.  High winds, heavy rains, storm surge, flash flooding, and heavy snow were expected with this monster that caused impact states from Florida to Maine to prepare for the worst.    Utility trucks were staged, evacuation orders were issued, power was shut off in anticipation of the surge, and the President issued emergency declarations to provide direct federal assistance to the states of CT, MA, MD, NJ, NY, PA, RI, DE, and the District of Columbia.

There was a lot of talk before this storm about media hype but everything happened exactly the way forecasters and authorities warned.  Sandy was a multiple day event and, in the aftermath, 8.2 million people were without power, thousands were in shelters, hundreds of homes were destroyed, thousands more damaged, and near 100 people lost their lives in the US  alone.  The road to recovery will be long but hopefully the folks here, with the thousands that came to help, will stay strong and come back better than before.

Back in the Saddle

Posted by – November 20, 2012

Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans…  I had my last chemo treatment on the 30th of July.  My plan was to work on getting back my strength, energy, and brain cells so I could get back to work.  I was going crazy and getting depressed staring at the same four walls month after month.  I managed to leave the house a few times but I was still recovering so my energy level was minimal (especially after that last treatment).  When I finally felt close to being ready I took a short (but beneficial) trip to the Florida panhandle and afterward let my employer know I was ready to get to work.

By this time some of the chemo fog had lifted and I wanted to try writing posts again.  I had been asked by several people to write about my journey with cancer.  While I realize that everyone’s experience (type of cancer and treatment) is different, there are some things I learned, or figured out, that I would have liked to know beforehand.  I wanted to share those things with anyone interested.  Unfortunately, you will have to look for that page link in the future because… Life Happened.

As if Life hadn’t “happened” enough this past year, Hurricane Sandy came on the scene, became SuperStorm Sandy, and devastated the northeast.  The destruction was massive as was the call to help.   I finally got a flight out to New York City that Friday morning and have been working 12 to 14 hours a day, 7 days a weeks.  I’m not sure I was physically (or mentally) ready for this, but so far I’m still standing.  Back in the saddle again!


Stroke Awareness

Posted by – May 25, 2012

May is National Stroke Awareness Month.  Yes, I know May is nearly over but I thought this was some very good information to get out there.  Knowing what to look for can save your life or the life of someone else.  The graphic below gives you a great way to remember the warning signs.  You can also click on it to download a flyer showing symptoms to look for and the FAST warning signs.

According to the National Stroke Association about 795,000 people in the U.S. will have a stroke this year. Yet most people cannot identify stroke warning signs or risk factors and most of those strokes are preventable–some studies indicate that up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.  High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking are a few contributors to stroke.  Visit the National Stroke Association‘s web page for more information, survivor stories, and resources.

York Connection

Posted by – May 3, 2012

I know I’ve already moved beyond the York, Pennsylvania stories but I have to share one more tidbit with you.  Why did I wait until now?  Well, actually this would have never occurred to me if it weren’t for the fact that I’ve recently had to spend much of my time staring at the television.  Seems like all I see day after day, hour after hour, is the same York Peppermint Pattie commercial over and over and over….

I’ve never cared for the Pattie but I remember seeing the commercials as far back as I can remember.  Since I was there recently, I wondered if the York Peppermint Pattie had any connection to York, Pennsylvania.  I started googling and found the answer:  Yes it does.  (For a little more info, keep going.)

The York Peppermint Pattie was first created and developed by Henry Kessler at the York Cone Company in the 1920’s.  It was first distributed all over the northeast and Florida only.  But in 1972 Peter Paul acquired the company and distributed it nationally beginning in 1975.  In 1978 Peter Paul merged with Cadbury Schweppes.  Then in 1988, Hershey acquired Cadbury Schweppes’ US confectionary license (and York Peppermint Pattie) and moved production to Reading, Pa.  In 2009 the Reading plant closed and production of the candies was moved to Monterrey, Mexico.

Really Hershey?  (Just shaking my head)


60 Year Old Tater

Posted by – May 1, 2012

I read somewhere it was on this day back in 1952 that Mr. Potato Head was officially born.  It was manufactured and distributed by the Hasbro Company and it was the first toy advertised directly to children on tv.  I remember having one of those when I was very young.  Seemed like everyone I knew had one.  Generations of kids have since enjoyed the Potato Head toys and now there is a much bigger selection of spuds to choose from.

Today, as an adult, I think back and can’t help but wonder… who came up with the idea of playing with food as a toy?

The Potato Head was invented and developed by a man named George Lerner in 1949.  According to the information I read, Mr. Lerner would often take potatoes from his mother’s garden and, using various other fruits and vegetables as facial features, he would make dolls with which his younger sisters could play.  (Apparently Mr. Lerner never got the “Don’t play with your food” scolding from his mother that many of the rest of us did.)  When the toy first came out the kit only contained various plastic parts (for the eyes, ears, nose, etc…) that children would stick into a real potato.  It wasn’t until 1964 that Hasbro started including a plastic potato in the kit because folks were complaining about wasted and rotten food.  Really?  It took 12 years to figure that out?  Can you guess what other controversial issue was changed?

Oh, well… Happy Birthday Mr. Potato Head!


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