Monthly Archives: February 2016

The Fishers Island Prophecy

Fishers Island Debacle

She started to have her doubts about whether or not he was “the one” several weeks before the wedding day.

But the invitations had already gone out and the down payments for the reception, photographer, band, and florist had long been paid.

She confided her trepidation to her best friend who said it was “normal to get cold feet.” She didn’t feel like this was normal at all. And her feet? They were colder than ice.

At her bridal shower, she feigned enthusiasm for among many things, the crockpot, copper cookware, Waterford crystal, and the state-of-the-art Cuisinart she received.

A few days later, she reviewed the photographs of her overly beaming smiley self, head adorned with a fuchsia paper plate, overflowing with colorful ribbons and bows from the myriad wedding gifts. “I’m happy, right?” she kept asking herself as she analyzed each snapshot.

But as she stared into her lifeless eyes in photo after photo, the answer was painfully clear.  There was no happiness to be found. And she was about to make a life-altering mistake.

She decided to sit her soon-to-be husband down for the “talk,” when he picked her up for dinner that night. But when he walked through her apartment door, he excitedly announced that he had a wedding gift for her.

When he put a blindfold over her eyes, she was ecstatic. She was driving around in a hunk of junk, so she was convinced his present was a new car.

At that moment, she felt terribly guilt-ridden over the discordant noise she was hearing in her head and pushed it completely out of her mind. He loved her enough to buy her a car! How insensitive and overly neurotic she was being.

He took her outside and when he removed her blindfold, she was flabbergasted as she stared at him in wonderment.

He was euphoric and happily chirped, “She’s a 28 foot Columbia sailboat built back in 1970! She’s a real beauty and a perfect weekend cruiser. And she’s built like a tank!”


He gushed on, completely oblivious to her disappointment and dismay. “She’s not the fastest boat, but her weather-handling capabilities make up for her heavy build,” he droned on.

She stared incredulously at her soulmate. “He bought me a sailboat, because?” she asked herself as she tried to put all the pieces of the love puzzle together.

He mistook her wordlessness for something positive. “And the top-secret romantic getaway I planned for you is to sail Joanie in and around Long Island Sound!”

She mustered enough strength to ask, “Joanie?”

This was a double whammy. As a wedding gift, he had promised to “book” a mystery trip for her. Who knew he was going to buy himself a boat disguised as a honeymoon?

“Joanie is the name of the original owner’s wife. I didn’t have time to change it,” he responded, completely unaware of his selfish narcissism.

The next day she sat her mother down to give her the devastating news. She was calling off the wedding. “Absolutely not,” her mother replied definitively. “He adores you, his family adores you, and it’s simply too late.”

“He bought himself a boat instead of booking us a honeymoon,” she whined to her mother, who made some lame excuse for him and refused to listen to another nonsensical word.

So they got married in a waterfront setting, under a tent, during a furious storm of lightning, thunder, pounding rain, and crazy wind. Everyone kept coming up to them and saying how lucky they were—that the rain was a sure sign of good luck on the day of.

She was despondent and positive that the storm on her wedding day was a sure sign that her marriage was doomed.

She reluctantly made her way toward the tent,  on a soggy red carpet, as the wind howled around her.

The wedding and the reception were an abysmal failure. The tent was swaying and leaking, her designer shoes and dress were a muddy mess, and they couldn’t go on their honeymoon because the boat was useless in a storm. So they lounged around in her apartment for two days, waiting for the bad weather to lift. She was depressed and beyond miserable. He was in complete denial.

As soon as the weather cooperated they set sail. His first surprise stop was Fishers Island where he booked one night at the Pequot Inn. He excitedly gave her the Island rundown: At nine miles long and one mile wide, it was an idyllic setting off the Connecticut coast. As he chattered non-stop about Fishers Island, and how she was going to fall in love with it, she was pipe dreaming of Hawaii or Barbados.

They arrived at the Island mid-afternoon. He dropped anchor, threw their collapsible bikes and an overnight bag into the motor dinghy that came with Joanie, and they boated to shore.

She was still furious about Joanie but admittedly loved everything about Fishers Island. Their bike ride to the Pequot Inn was magical. The smell of lilacs permeated the air, the creeping juniper blanketed the landscape, and the pristine deserted beaches adorned the ocean. The hotel was New-England-style quaint, and she actually started to relax and unwind a bit.

After they awkwardly watched a beautiful sunset together, she tried to drum up some romantic connection during dinner. But it was discomfiting and forced, and she found him to be self-absorbed and wondered what she had seen in him in the first place.

She had voiced her unhappiness about his extremely expensive-and-unwanted-boat purchase during the stormy waiting period before the trip, so he knew that the silent treatment she was pouring on him stemmed from little Miss Joanie.

After dinner, he suggested they go for a walk. As they meandered quietly through the darkness, she thought she heard a mewling sound. She grabbed his arm and was apprehensive when she spotted something in the middle of the dark road.

As they approached the inanimate object, she turned her head away from the gruesomely flattened cat. But where was the crying coming from? They followed the whimpering, to the side of the road, where they discovered a tiny kitten, visibly suffering from malnutrition, and near death.

Her motherly instinct kicked in, and she refused to leave the kitten there to die. She told him to run back to the Pequot Inn and bring back a box while she bent down and tried to comfort the scared and withering kitten. She noticed that one leg was bent out at a contorted angle.

When he came back with a shoebox and hand towel, she picked up the withering feline and wrapped it carefully in the box. She insisted on taking the kitten directly to the dinghy, and then onto Joanie, where she safely rested the box in a corner of the deck.

She went below, grabbed some milk and a teaspoon, and was relieved as the kitten furiously lapped it up. She rationalized in her head that if the kitten was still alive when they came back to the boat to set sail the next morning, it was a marriage sign.

Whether the sign would mean her marriage was on or her marriage was off, she hadn’t quite figured out yet. But she was sure that it would all be clear to her in due time.

She worried about that kitten all night, and any unhappy thoughts of her marriage, and Joanie went out the window. She woke up as the sun was rising, and rode her bike to a deserted beach, and fervently prayed that she would find the kitten alive and well.

When they boarded the boat, later that morning, it was a dreary, dismal day. The kitten was still alive, although weak and severely maimed. She went to the refrigerator, grabbed more milk, and gave the kitten some much-needed nourishment.

She securely covered the shoebox with a mesh shirt, and carefully placed it and the kitten in a bolted corner drawer in the galley below. She partially closed the drawer and tried to ignore the weak meowing coming from the box.

They pulled anchor and set sail.

An hour or so into the trip, a storm brewed. “Secure loose items and equipment on the deck and in the cabin,” he ordered her. “And make sure all the drawers and windows below are closed.” She fearfully scrutinized the turbulent surroundings and could see nothing of Fishers Island or any other mass of land.

The wind was wild and the water was churning violently, tossing the boat around like a wine cork. The drumming rain and sea spray slapped against her face making it near impossible to see. She frantically suggested that they go back to Fishers Island, but he yelled to her that the best thing they could do was to go windward into the deepest water they could find.

She went below and secured and closed everything possible, and checked on the frail but watchful kitten. As she caressed its tiny head, it searched her eyes and purred weakly. She reluctantly left it in the drawer, and hastily climbed back up to the deck where they thrashed around while donning life jackets. Then they tethered themselves to a rail.

The seas were rough and the dark and menacing waves crashed onto the deck and into the cockpit, swirling around her ankles.  Joanie tilted at a 45-degree angle and the pitching caused her to vomit.

She silently begged God to protect her—and the kitten. She played over and over in her head all the things she would do with her life if she were saved.

They eventually weathered the storm, but it was a frightening, out-of-body experience. She wanted off the boat. She wanted off her life. She was so fed up with him—and his precious Joanie. When they finally docked in Old Lyme, Connecticut, her mind was a tangle of turmoil.

The first thing she did was to check on the kitten who was elated to see her, licking her finger with its tiny sandpapery tongue. It tried to sit up but was unable to move due to its injured leg.

“We’re going to be okay,” she whispered softly to the kitten. She carefully took the box, the kitten, and her suitcase off the boat. She was overjoyed to feel land beneath her feet. When he asked her where she was going, she told him the truth. She had absolutely no idea.

He reminded her that they hadn’t even been married one week. He asked her if she was out of her mind. “No,” she quietly answered, “just out of love.”

Girl and her cat

We Are All Flint Michigan

Laundry Room Sink A 2-19-16
The water in my laundry room sink on 2/19/16

This blog post is going to be more like a slog post, but please bear with it, because you will not believe our nation’s water situation.

Here is the million dollar question: Do you know what’s in your tap water?

As you can see from the picture of my water last week, I certainly had no clue as to what was in my tap water. And after umpteen hours and days of research, I still don’t.

First things first, though. I would like to state a disclaimer right up front:

All data and information provided in this blog post are for informational purposes only. And since pouring through the various information on many governmental and water supplier websites, was like trying to cure cancer, I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information in this blog post and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

Okay, now I’m ready to start at the very beginning.

Every year, the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the legal basis for regulating public drinking water, requires all water suppliers to submit an annual report to every customer on contaminants in their drinking water (EPA 2006c).

But from my research, it doesn’t seem that these reports show us what’s really in our tap water. They don’t contain information on unregulated chemicals for which testing is not required by states or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and they provide only average levels of most contaminants.

So the water companies are able to tell their customers that they are delivering clean, high-quality drinking water, an incredible accomplishment considering the subpar quality of the water in many cases, including mine.

Yellow Bathroom Tub Cold Water 2-19-16

How is this possible?

Because the federal standards that the SDWA has set, doesn’t necessarily guarantee your water is perfectly safe to drink.

According to what I was able to find on the website, over seven hundred substances have been cataloged as potential contaminants, yet under the 1974 SDWA, there are only 90 contaminants public water systems need to worry about, report or test.

Additionally, since 2004, more than half of the chemicals detected through testing can legally be present in any amount because they are not subject to health or safety regulations.

More disturbing than the slim picking and choosing of contaminants—the Safe Drinking Water Act has a Contaminant Candidate List (CCL) of 100 chemicals and 12 microbial contaminants that are currently not subject to any drinking water regulations whatsoever, but are known or anticipated to occur in public water systems. This list includes pesticides, disinfection byproducts, chemicals used in commerce, pharmaceuticals, and waterborne pathogens.

And get this one-liner pulled directly from the website:

“Once the CCL is published, the SDWA requires the EPA to determine whether or not to regulate at least five candidate contaminants from the list within five years after the completion of the previous round of regulatory determinations.”

Say that again? At least five in five years?

According to the advocacy organization, Environmental Working Group’s website, “The majority of current drinking water standards were set in 1991 and 1992 and our government hasn’t set a single new drinking water standard since 2001.”

Over the years, I have taken many photos of my discolored water and even called New York American Water to complain about and report the problem. Each and every time I called I was reassured that my water was safe and the discolored and sometimes foul-smelling water was temporary, and due to the flushing out of their pipes.

Except that my water would be brown or smell funky much more often than just when New York American Water flushed their system. And it wasn’t just the water. I have on many occasions been forced to throw out my ice because it looked completely fine, but the smell was so rancid that it stunk up my freezer.

And the water has wreaked havoc on my toilet bowls, discoloring them with stripes of dark brown leaving me paranoid that my guests think that I don’t clean well.

For those of you who know me personally, it’s no secret that I am a manic germaphobe and a neat freak. So how did this horrendous water situation sneak past me?

When buying a refrigerator a few years ago, I made a point of staying away from any models with a water dispenser. After ditching my smelly refrigerator ice, I certainly wasn’t rushing to drink water from any fridge. Thanks but no thanks.

And I long ago stopped drinking the tap water. But let’s be real here. I shower and brush my teeth with it, bathe in it, use it for cooking and coffee, and wash my raw fruits and vegetables in it.

This water is in every pore of my body without ever having to drink a drop of it.

A month or so ago, the flow of my hot water seemed compromised and I noticed that when taking a shower it was running cold very quickly. I also noticed a weird metal-like taste combined with a strong chlorine smell to the water and started to see dirt-like sediment sitting on the bottom of all of my toilet bowls.

Last week, my hot water became so brown and foul smelling that I made an emergency call to a plumber who recommended that I empty out my water heater and flush my pipes—immediately.

“This is what you’ve been drinking,” the plumber repeated over and over again as he emptied the filthy, sludgy water out of my cold and hot water pipes.

Master Bathroom cold water 2-19-16

And he was adamant that everyone should flush out their systems once a year.

Who knew? When was the last time you emptied your hot water heater and flushed your pipes?

Once the plumber left, I went to the New York American Water website  and eventually found two sentences buried in the Water Quality & Stewardship heading and then Iron in Your Drinking Water on a drop down menu. “Flush your water heater on a regular basis. It is important to flush the heater on a regular basis according to the manufacturer’s recommendation.”

I then jumped right on my hot water heater company’s website to see if they had any manufacturer’s recommendations and found absolutely nothing.

Getting back to New York American’s website. There was also a section on what they are doing to improve the water. Except that, it’s dated 2013.

So does that mean they haven’t updated this section for 2+ years? As we saw from Flint, a lot can happen in two years.

Now I consider myself to be an intelligent and healthy minded woman. I am, however, appalled and embarrassed that I had absolutely no clue that I was supposed to flush anything but my toilets. But after witnessing the muck and gunk that oozed out of my faucets and water heater, I’m on official 12-month flushing notice. Make that a 6-month notice.

Plumber recommendation or not, I am honestly afraid to wait 12 months, despite the fact that according to New York American Water’s own claims on their website: “We hold ourselves to the highest standards in delivering clean, high-quality drinking water to the people we serve.”

American Water ad

Just as a reminder, take another look at my water.

Yellow Bathrrom A Cold Water 2-19-16

Additionally, New York American Water had this to say about their regulation compliance: “When it comes to complying with strict federal regulations, we’ve consistently scored among the highest of all water companies. Last year, New York American Water’s compliance record for meeting primary state and federal drinking water standards was 100 percent.”

New York American Water scores among the highest of all water companies? The sludge and filth in my photos surely tell an entirely different story.

After carefully scrutinizing the New York American Water website, I kept going back to my photos and videos and couldn’t help but wonder what score the federal regulators would give the dregs that spewed out of my pipes and hot water heater.

BathroomHot Water Faucet 2-19-16

I doubt they would give it a 100.

I also kept going back to Flint Michigan. For nearly two years, the residents there have been slowly poisoned by lead in their drinking water. If our federal regulators dropped the water ball there, maybe they missed something in my little hamlet.

And if my photos are any indication of what my neighbors may have lurking in their pipes and hot water heaters, (according to the plumber who flushed out my system they all have what I have), I sincerely hope they are reading this blog.

I continued to do my due diligence and spent days researching various sites hoping for some shred of good news. But that wasn’t in the water cards. All I found were more and more alarming tidbits.

The bottom line is that sewer overflows and aging infrastructure are significant contributors to drinking water quality problems in our country. And our nation has failed to invest the funds needed to renew and replace our essential drinking water infrastructure. The result is an antiquated system that not only poses serious health and safety risks but is also prone to dangerous leaks and failures.

Ten long years ago, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave American drinking water infrastructure an overall grade of D-minus. According to the study, our declining water system, including aging wastewater facilities and leaking drinking-water pipes are a threat to the nation’s prosperity. The study went on to say that time was working against our country’s infrastructure and that it would cost untold billions of dollars to replace aging facilities that are near the end of their useful lives and to comply with existing and future federal water regulations.

And speaking of federal water regulations: From what I read, legal limits are established by the Safe Drinking Water Act, although a stricter health guideline for drinking water quality has been created by the World Health Organization. A least, I think it’s the WHO. It was near impossible to get a precise fix on who does what.

So in many cases, your water may contain contaminants below legal limits, but above health guidelines. This part of my research was very clear.

Does my water look legal and/or healthy to you?

Glass of water 2-19-16

According to the Environment Working Group website, the water in my county from test data available from 2004-2008 was not as high-quality and clean as New York American Water would have me believe.

There were 16 contaminants in our water. The National contaminants average is 4.

And get this one:  All 16 contaminants exceeded the health limit.

And the dreaded Lead was one of those contaminants.

Of the 16 contaminants, 2 exceeded the legal limit:

Manganese (Industrial contaminant)

Aluminum (A metal released from metal refineries and mining operations)

Now if these contaminants exceeded the legal limit, they must be unhealthy, correct?

So, of course, I looked up Manganese and Aluminum in water and found this information on the website about Manganese:

Manganese: Exposure to high concentrations of manganese over the course of years has been associated with toxicity to the nervous system, producing a syndrome that resembles Parkinsonism. In addition, young children appear to absorb more manganese than older age groups but excrete less. This adds up to a greater potential for exposure in the very young. Since manganese’s effects on the developing nervous system have not been adequately studied, it is especially prudent for pregnant women and young children to have drinking water that is below the manganese AL. You may suspect that manganese is in your water if the water is discolored (brownish-red), causes staining of plumbing fixtures (faucets, sinks) or clothing, or has an off-taste or odor. If this is the case, you should have your water tested by a state-certified laboratory for manganese. When you get the results, you should contact your local health department to help you interpret the results. There are no enforceable federal drinking water standards for manganese. The CT Department of Public Health recently set a drinking water Action Level (AL) for manganese of 0.5 mg/l to ensure protection against manganese toxicity. This AL is consistent with the World Health Organization guidance level for manganese in drinking water.

And I found this information about Aluminum on the Pure Water Products website:

Aluminum: At high concentrations there is evidence linking aluminum to effects on the nervous system, with possible connections to several diseases, such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Lou Gehrig’s disease. The American Water Works Association recommends that concentrations of aluminum in drinking water should not exceed 0.05 parts per million (0.05 ppm or mg/L). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends that the level not exceed 0.2 ppm.

Okay, so I’m no scientist, but according to the test data from 2004-2008, Manganese exceeded the legal limit by 50 ppb, whatever that means. And Aluminum exceeded the legal limit by 200 ppb. Can someone who knows the difference between ppm, ppb, and mg/l help me out here?

Oh, and let’s not forget about the additional 14 contaminants that exceeded the health limit:

Dibromochloromethane (A disinfection byproduct)

Bromoform (A disinfection byproduct)

Lead (A metal that enters water by corrosion of household plumbing systems, discharge of industrial pollution and erosion of natural deposits)

Bromodichloromethane (A disinfection byproduct)

Alpha particle activity (A form of radiation released from mining waste pollutants and natural sources)

Radium-228 (A radioactive element usually found around uranium deposits)

Tetrachloroethylene (A common soil and groundwater contaminant used in dry cleaning and as a solvent in automotive and metalworking factories and other industries.)

Trichloroethylene (Used to remove grease from fabricated metal parts and in the production of some textiles, and comes from metal degreasing sites, metal finishing, and rubber processing industries.)

Arsenic (Contaminates water due to mining runoff, erosion of natural deposits, emissions from glass and electronics processing and the use of arsenical compounds such as wood preservatives and pesticides.)

Chloroform (A disinfection byproduct)

Total halo acetic acids (Refers to the sum of five related disinfection byproducts)

Total trihalomethanes (Constitutes the sum of four disinfection byproducts)

Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (A pollutant from rubber and industrial chemical factories and a leachate from PVC pipes; it is classified by EPA as a probable human carcinogen.)

Radium-226 (A radioactive element usually found around uranium deposits)

There were also 13 additional contaminants found in the water, but none of them exceeded the legal or health limits. I won’t bore you with the gory details.

So as far as I can tell, the above information is what’s lurking about in our Nassau County, tap water.

As if this news wasn’t bad enough, I received a 2016 Spring Flushing pamphlet in the mail from New York American Water this week.

It seems they will be flushing North Woodmere (my hamlet) Monday-Friday, 8am-4pm from April 11 through April 21.

According to the New York American Water pamphlet, flushing their system helps to clean out any buildup of mineral deposits and sediment inside their pipes. They went on to say that discolored water may occur because the sediment in the water mains gets stirred up. They assured in the pamphlet that the discolored water is not harmful and we should simply let our water run until it is clear.

After writing this blog post, I am beyond pessimistic about anything I am told about my water.

And when New York American Water flushes their pipes for TEN days I have to wonder what corrosion and other dangerous materials are being dislodged from their systems and flowing into mine.

Sorry New York American Water, but I am not reassured.

And lastly, here is what they said I need to do to prepare for the ten days of flushing in my area:

    • Draw water for cooking ahead of time. (For ten days?!)
    • Store a large bottle of water in the refrigerator for drinking. (Just one?)
    • Check for discolored water before using the washing machine or dishwasher. (Seriously?)
  • Note: If your laundry becomes stained, rewash clothes immediately using a heavy duty detergent and add a rust remover. (I should wash my clothes with rust remover?)

So after all of my encyclopedic writing and research, I have hundreds of questions, but I’ll only ask two for now:

1) Please tell me how New York American Water scores 100?

2) Where can I get water testing data for 2009-2015? (BTW I exhausted all efforts to try to find anything whatsoever on the EPA site for New York American Water)

And last but not least, here is what the Environment Working Group’s website had to say about the SDWA and the EPA:

Compiling national tap water information and providing full access to the public should be a requirement for the EPA. More than a decade ago, the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996 included such a requirement, but it still has not done so.

The federal government has a responsibility to do a national assessment of drinking water quality. It should establish new safety standards, set priorities for pollution prevention projects, and tell consumers about the full range of pollutants in our water.

The policy gaps that hamper source water protection and enforcement of drinking water quality need to be remedied with innovative legislation and regulatory leadership by the EPA in order to protect public health, especially the health of the developing fetus and child.

All Americans deserve access to clean and wholesome drinking water. It is essential to dedicate more funding for water infrastructure and source water protection programs and to make it a national priority to safeguard public health. So long as unregulated contaminants remain unregulated and unmonitored the safety and reliability of tap water will remain at risk.

You only need to look at my photos to know that Flint may be the first crisis of its kind in recent memory, but it definitely won’t be the last.  For more information on the local Nassau County water go to:


New York American Water 2-19-16

A Woman on the $10 Bill! But Who, and Why Not the $20?

                      $10 Bill Cropped
Possible honorees include, clockwise from top left, abolitionist Harriet Tubman; suffragist Susan B. Anthony; reformist First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt; and civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks.

In June of 2015, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew asked the public the following question:

If you could pick any deceased woman from American history to adorn the $10 bill, who would be your choice?

The riled up response he received took him by surprise. He fully expected an outpouring of opinions about which woman it should be. Particularly given that the only woman who ever appeared on the face of a United States bank note was Martha Washington in the late 19th century, and only for an extremely brief period of time.

But what he wasn’t expecting, were the pointed questions, stinging opinions, adamant suggestions, and angry complaints surrounding not women, but the two men whose portraits are on the $10 and $20 bills.

On the $10 is Alexander Hamilton, a revered and well respected founding father, and on the $20 is President Andrew Jackson, as reviled and vilified as Hamilton is revered.

And who could have ever anticipated that the timing of the $10 bill redesign would coincide with the Broadway smash hit “Hamilton?”

The popular opinion from the public?

Eject Andrew Jackson from the $20 and put whomever you want on it, but leave the $10 bill—and Hamilton, alone.

The unexpected number of responses from the public at large were adamant that Hamilton, the architect of the American financial system, and the first Treasury Secretary should under no circumstances be removed from the $10 note. And the majority of the public was outraged and unnerved as to how the current Secretary of Treasury could forever displace the first Secretary of Treasury.

The public response was also clear about their opinion that Jackson doesn’t belong on the $20 bill at all, if not based on his opposition to national banking, then surely his abhorrent record of violence against Native Americans.

In response to the public outcry about Hamilton, the Treasury gave their assurances that Hamilton would somehow still remain on the $10 bill, more than likely as a secondary figure.

I think it will end up the other way around as usual. Hamilton will be the primary, and “some woman” will be the secondary.

The rollout of the redesigned $10 bill is expected to take place in 2020, which is also the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment that extended the right to vote to American women.



Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.

I grew up like a neglected weed – ignorant of liberty, having no experience of it.

I would fight for my liberty so long as my strength lasted, and if the time came for me to go, the Lord would let them take me.

’Twant me, ’twas the Lord. I always told him, “I trust to you. I don’t know where to go or what to do, but I expect you to lead me,” and he always did.

I had crossed the line. I was free; but there was no one to welcome me to the land of freedom. I was a stranger in a strange land.

Quakers almost as good as colored. They call themselves friends and you can trust them every time.

I had reasoned this out in my mind, there was one of two things I had a right to, liberty or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other.


I declare to you that woman must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself, and there I take my stand.

Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less.

I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.

There never will be complete equality until women themselves help to make laws and elect lawmakers.

Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputations… can never effect a reform.

I always distrust people who know so much about what God wants them to do to their fellows.

The older I get the greater power I seem to have to help the world; I am like a snowball – the further I am rolled the more I gain.

I do not consider divorce an evil by any means. It is just as much a refuge for women married to brutal men as Canada was to the slaves of brutal masters.

Join the union, girls, and together say Equal Pay for Equal Work.

Oh, if I could but live another century and see the fruition of all the work for women! There is so much yet to be done.


I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.

Each person must live their life as a model for others.

Have you ever been hurt and the place tries to heal a bit, and you just pull the scar off of it over and over again.

The only tired I was, was tired of giving in.

I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free… so other people would be also free.

Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.

Racism is still with us. But it is up to us to prepare our children for what they have to meet, and, hopefully, we shall overcome.

I would like to be known as a person who is concerned about freedom and equality and justice and prosperity for all people.

My only concern was to get home after a hard day’s work.

Whatever my individual desires were to be free, I was not alone. There were many others who felt the same way.


Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

Women are like teabags. You don’t know how strong they are until you put them in hot water.

You must do the things you think you cannot do.

It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.

With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.

In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.

It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.

Life was meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.


Fish and Dishing—Girls’ Night In

Girls night in AWine A
One of my favorite occasions is when my girlfriends join me for a girls-only night in.

Sure, it’s fun going out with the girls, but nothing beats a laid-back night with my dearest girlfriends, dishing and bantering in the comfort of my home.

I recently hosted a girls-only dinner party, and at the request of my BFF, I served her fave—fried fish on the barbie.

Fish C

When hosting any kind of home cooked dinner, I like to keep it super simple. That way, I get to enjoy my party and my friends. Who wants to run around serving people all night? Not me. I much prefer to throw a few simple things together, grill something up, and then kick back and enjoy.

So here is my go-to girls’ night in carte de jour: Chips and dip, my crunch salad, fish on the barbie with a side of wild rice, and a happy ending of cheese and chocolate for dessert.

Fish E

And a plethora of wine.

When it’s just us girls, chips and dip are all we really need to get us prepped for the main event. A little dark russet potato chip scooped up with some onion dip.

Chips & Dip 1

Oh, and did I mention lots of red and white wine?

Then I follow up with “The Crunch,” my chopped concoction of celery, red, yellow and orange peppers, edamame, and cherry tomatoes, topped with crumbled blue cheese and bacon.

Crunch 1

While my friends are chowing down on The Crunch, I grill up some whole fish slathered on the inside with my homemade basil herb paste, throw together a side of wild rice, some more wine, and voila! Girls’ night in.

Fish D

And now for the happy ending.  An impressive looking cheese display.

Cheese A

On this particular night, I chose a wheel of brie, smoked gouda, a goat cheese with garlic and herbs, and havarti. Then I piled the cheese onto a pedestal plate adorned with thyme, assorted nuts, and sea salt caramels, wedding-cake style.

And of course, some more wine.

The Crunch
1 red, 1 orange, 1 yellow pepper, cut into small chunks
10 stalks of celery cut into small chunks
1 cup edamame
1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in half (I like to use organic red, yellow and orange)
Mix the veggies together and add some salt, pepper and garlic powder
Serve with your favorite dressing, or top each serving with crispy bacon and fresh blue cheese.

Have leftovers? Mix them in with some tuna fish for a delicious and healthy lunch the next day!

Basil Herb Paste
4 garlic cloves crushed
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Juice of 1 small lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
Add garlic, basil, salt, pepper, oregano and lemon juice in a food processor or blender. Pulse until well blended. Gradually add oil, pulsing as you blend. Taste the paste as you go along. You may need more of something depending upon your personal taste. Freeze the paste in small plastic containers.

Definition of Marketing


The definition of marketing is the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.

I like to describe marketing as a process by which users can learn about and obtain information regarding the end product or service.

Brand management, product pitching, and content messaging are also essential marketing tools.

But when I was recently asked to write an article clarifying the difference between marketing, advertising, public relations, branding, telemarketing, and strategic planning, I had a difficult time cogently explaining the distinction between all of them.

So below is my example of the marketing process, using a hypothesis many of you parents out there can relate to:

End Product
Single daughter

Target Marketing
You’re the mother of the single daughter and on the lookout for an eligible bachelor for her.

You’re introduced to the mother of a single son at a party and you say, “My daughter is a successful lawyer.”

The next day you call the mother of the bachelor and say “Let’s set up my daughter, who is a successful lawyer, with your son.”

Marketing Research
The son goes on the internet to see what he can find out about the daughter.

Brand Awareness
The daughter and the son go on a date set up by their mothers, and the son says “I hear you’re a successful lawyer.”

Direct Marketing
The daughter replies to the son, “Yes, I am a successful lawyer.”

Public Relations
The daughter gives the son corporate material about her law firm for him to take home.

Word of Mouth Prospecting
The son confides to the daughter that he is having tax issues, and she says “We have a successful lawyer at my firm who specializes in tax law.”

Sales Representative
The date between the daughter and son goes well, but she gets the impression that he isn’t interested in her on a romantic level, so she says, “I have a friend who might be perfect for you.”

Loyalty Program
The daughter’s friend and the son are now in a relationship, so the son sends flowers to the daughter to thank her for the setup.

Technical Support
The son has decided that he wants to break up with the daughter’s friend, so he calls the daughter for advice.

Product Recognition
The son levels with the daughter that he has stronger feelings for her than he realized.

Inbound Marketing
The son asks the daughter out for a romantic dinner.

Message Strategy
The daughter buys a new dress and has her hair and makeup done for the date.

Content Messaging
The daughter goes out of her way to impress and engage the son, making sure she makes it clear to him that she’s interested.

Call to Action
The son and daughter have a phantasmagorical date and the son offers to make dinner for her at his apartment the next night.

Guerrilla Tactic
The daughter goes to the son’s apartment for dinner wearing a little black dress and Louboutin heels.

Lead Nurturing
The daughter and the son begin an exclusive relationship.

Brand Loyalty
The son falls madly in love with the daughter.

Viral Marketing
The couple gets engaged and the daughter posts it on Instagram.

End User
The son marries the daughter.