Friday, March 31, 2006

Life, Dreams, Realities, Choice, Happiness and Sailing

"Let us think of Life as a process of choices, one after another... at each point there is a progression choice, and a regression choice. There may be a movement toward defense, toward safety, toward being afraid; but over on the other side, there is the growth choice.
"To make the growth choice, instead of the fear choice, a dozen times a day, is to move a dozen times a day toward self-actualization."

"To have dreams is the first step toward making them realities. Once you have squared yourself with your past, approved of yourself, and committed to seeking self-fulfillment, next allow yourself to dream. Chart your course. Envision yourself achieving those dreams. Once you have dared to dream, I believe you MUST pursue that dream. If you do not pursue your dreams they will consume you; the knowledge that you had a dream but did not pursue it is killing knowledge. Consider it absolutely necessary to go after your dreams." - Les Brown, Best Selling Author, Life Your Dreams

"If you step back for a moment and witness the choices you are making as you make those choices, then in just this act of witnessing, you take the whole process from the unconscious realm into the conscious realm. This procedure of conscious choice making and witnessing is very empowering. When you make any choice - any choice at all - you can ask yourself two things: First of all, 'What are the consequences of this choice that I'm making?' In your heart you will immediately know what these are. Secondly, 'Will this choice that I'm making now bring happiness to me and to those around me?' If the answer is yes, then go ahead with that choice. If the answer is no, if that choice brings distress either to you or to those around you, then don't make that choice. It's as simple as that." - Deepak Chopra, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Best Selling Author

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
-Mark Twain

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Women In Black

Yesterday while in Bellport doing an interview, I heard that the Women In Black were going to leave their corner. The one they've been standing on since the war in Iraq began. I first met them last summer when I stumbled upon them after covering a regatta for The Long Island Advance and wrote a story about them for the paper. I have no idea if the story I wrote about them yesterday will make the Advance, but my editor has been very good about letting me find my own stories.... so, I'm hopeful. I took some great pictures of them too, but as stated many times previously, my lack of ability to do things like post pictures can be a hindrance at times. Below is the story that I'm hoping will make this weeks issue:

Women In Black, Standing for Three Years

For three years, the Women In Black have been standing each Saturday morning on the corner of South Country Road and Station Road in the Village of Bellport, silently protesting the war in Iraq. This past Saturday marked the third anniversary of the beginning of the war and on this day, as all the other Saturday’s, the Women In Black stood. They have stood in spring rains, in the heat of the summer sun as it baked the concrete sidewalk, in the windswept fall as leaves blew all around them, and continued on into the winter months bundled up to ward off the cold. For three years they have stood on this corner with their signs asking for peace.

On this particular Saturday, the Women In Black were joined by members of the South Country Peace Group and Pax Christi as they left their corner and silently walked single file across the street and down the sidewalk to the Bellport Fire House. Crossing the street again, they made their way back to Station and South Country Roads where they again took up their vigil.

Eve Sokol, a founding member of this particular Woman in Black group said about leaving the corner, “We are so stressed that this illegal war has gone on for three years that we wanted to raise the consciousness of as many people as possible.” She said, “It’s our constitutional right to be here,” and added “We didn’t disrupt traffic and crossed at all the corners,” when talking about the short protest walk that the group took. It was clear that they made sure to follow all the rules when venturing off of the spot they have stood on for the past three years.

Women In Black is not a formal organization, but an international peace network that was started in Israel in 1988 by women protesting the war against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Since 1993 Women In Black New York have been standing in silent vigil in protest of war and in support of other peace groups throughout the world.

For more information on the Women In Black you can visit or

Saturday, March 11, 2006

It's All About the Wine....

OMG…it was such a crap week! Especially toward the end. Not wanting to go into the details here, let me just say that as I write this, two bottles of wine are sitting on my computer desk next to me, while I listen to the hot bath water as it runs into the tub that is now filling with lavender scented bubbles.

Yes, it was an awful week. One in which I could almost not breathe from the anxiety of it all. Possibly the wine will cure that though. Not being much of a wine drinker, I have difficulty choosing what to buy. I’ve decided to stay away from the box kind of wine, ever since the date I went on early last spring with the guy who was a wine connoisseur. Sitting across a table from a man who had his napkin tucked into his collar, and was interrogating the waiter as to exactly what time that day that particular bottle of wine was opened, then asking to have a new bottle opened, I found sort of humorous. I had to control my impulse to laugh when thinking “hmmm…at my house you’d probably get wine from a box,” and imagined the look of complete and utter horror on his face at the thought of that. It was at that time I decided to maybe avoid buying the box kind of wine though …just in case a wine connoisseur that I actually liked appeared at some future point in time.

So, there I was in the liquor store, a place that I am almost completely unfamiliar with. As I walked up and down the aisles becoming more and more confused, I decided I needed to narrow my search. Since becoming much more health conscious, I thought if I was going to drink, it should at least be healthy wine…therefore red could be the only choice. Since life is about compromise, I would compromise taste, preferring white, but choosing red.

There is actually one red wine that I have bought from time to time, Pindar Sweet Scarlet. Originally I bought it because the word “sweet” was on the label and I love anything sweet. As it turned out, it wasn’t a bad choice, and I wondered what the wine connoisseurs would think of it. The description on the label read as follows: “A kinder and gentler red – semi-dry (good thing, because I hate “dry”), with rich fruit flavors. Probably too simple a wine for his tastes I imagine.

The second bottle I bought was Yellow Tail, Shiraz-Cabernet. Now, this wine came with quite a description. “This classic Australian blend of Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon leaps (my italics, not theirs) from the glass displaying rich plum, cassis and raspberry aromas. Subtle mint and chocolate notes are complemented by vanillin oak. The pallet is bursting (my italics again) with red berry flavors and soft rounded tannins. This wonderful wine is perfect for bacon wrapped lamb fillets with pesto.” Yes…but is it the perfect compliment for the NestlĂ©’s foil wrapped, Butterfinger Chocolate Easter Eggs I will be unwrapping to have with it? The only logical choice to accompany the wine for me, especially at a non-dinner hour, would be the chocolate Easter eggs. (We all know the reason I bought this wine was because the word “chocolate” was on the label, right?) And besides, vegetarians do not eat bacon wrapped lamb fillets (although if I were not a vegetarian, just the sound of “bacon wrapped lamb fillets,” might make my mouth water.)

The next thing to do in my quest to relax was to actually open the bottle of wine and have something other than a coffee mug to pour it in. Since I already knew what the Sweet Scarlet tasted like, I opted for the Shiraz. I located a cork screw in one of the kitchen drawers that also had a hammer, a box of electrical staples, some duct tape, a few rubber bands and an aquarium fish net in it. In this “guy house” that I live in, it’s not always easy to find things in the places you might logically expect to find them. I did however manage to find a wine glass, so as not to have to pour the wine into a Christmas coffee mug.

As I soaked in the lavender scented bath tub, I looked at the deep burgundy color of the wine in the wine glass as it sat on the edge of the tub, and was reflected against the white tile of the bathroom floor. Beads of water from my wet hand had collected on the glass, forming little tiny pools at its base. Lifting the glass to my lips and taking a sip, I held the warm liquid in my mouth, trying to taste all the subtle flavors as described on the label. Did I taste mint? Maybe. Did I taste “red berry flavors and soft rounded tannins?” Nope. I’m not really sure exactly what a “tannin” is, let alone be able to recognize what one tastes like.

Wine is obviously not my forte’. If you wanted me to tell you the difference between Diet Coke, and Diet Pepsi, I could. Or how about the difference between the three major brands of artificial sweeteners…the pink, the blue and the yellow? I’ll bet I could do that too, but wine, I don’t think so. I don’t like it enough to really care. I’ll probably never own a wine rack (besides, if I end up in an apartment the size of a closet, there won’t be room for one), nor have more than two bottles on hand at any given time. But that’s OK; I can live without being a wine connoisseur.

For now, I can breathe again. My trip to the gym earlier this evening, the glass of wine, the chocolate Easter eggs, the lavender scented bath and powder afterward….. all did the trick. I am relaxed and feeling very mellow. Possibly it’s time to lay in bed and practice Zen Meditation, trying to clear my mind of every thought….I think the wine might actually help me perfect this technique. That in itself might be a valid reason to actually become a wine drinker, even though I’m still not crazy about the taste. Just how bad is white wine for you anyway? Maybe I should consider that flavor next.

Who wrote that very lovely description on the Shiraz label I wonder? Reading those words was better for me, than actually drinking the wine. It always amazes me the power that “words” have, and I so easily get sucked in by them, on book jackets, in personal ads…….. or on wine bottles.