Monday, December 18, 2006

November 3rd through 5th I visited my friends Nancie and Tim down in VA. I took November 3rd off from work so I could extend the weekend and utilize a less expensive Amtrak to DC. Met up with Nancie at Union Station in DC and we drove back to her home in VA. Tim was still at the house and finishing up his packing for a weekend retreat with his church. After a nice, chatty lunch Tim took off for retreat; Nancie and I headed back into DC for an event at NPR radio station. Nancie is a graduate of University of MA and they had an event for alumni at NPR. Neither of us had ever visited NPR and along with others, was given a tour of the DC radio station. This, I might add, was really fascinating. There was socializing, refreshments, speeches and the event wrapped up with a one hour entertainment by folk singer Catie Curtis. She did songs from her new CD called “Long Night Moon” and it was pretty good. Afterwards Nancie and I had dinner at a nice restaurant back in VA, and then back at the house we utilized the Jacuzzi hot tub. Felt good, as the weather had turned abit chilly. Next day we did errands in the morning. After a lite lunch we went to get one hour body massages that turned into 1 ½ hours for same fee. Nancie knew the establishment, so we got a good deal. More shopping afterwards at places like Cosco and Target, then a delicious meal of pumpkin pancakes at IHOP. Headed back to Nancie’s home to change into comfy fun clothes and went to a dance social nearby. Was introduced to Nancie’s dance class friends [ie: Meg, Ann & Adam] from the Arthur Murray studios. Adam is their dance instructor and I enjoyed dancing the Rumba with him after the one hour dance class. Such a nice, charming, good looking young man and very popular with the ladies. [I like dancing and wouldn’t mind taking classes one day as a monthly thing. Good exercise, music & nice people.] During the course of the evening I danced with several other gents, one of which was Larry, a congenial dance instructor. Nancie and I utilized the hot tub again then off to bed by 12:30am. On Sunday we slept late before heading to our lunch/afternoon tea reservation at the British Pantry Café. This was my second visit to this charming establishment and their food/service is terrific. Next to the café they have a gift shop with all sorts of British goodies. I love this place. Afterwards we drove west to Middleburg and looked around the many shops. Such a charming town, though the shops are abit overpriced. We had lunch here 2 years ago at the Red Fox Inn, which I just loved. Then it was back in the car and driving east towards DC. Where I caught the 5:20pm Amtrak back to NYC.

[DUCHESS NOTE - Just an FYI, every few weeks or so I update the links in column to the left. These reflect old and new interests online and in real time. Check them out today. . . .]

November 7th was Election Day in the US and I placed my votes in the morning before going to the office. That evening I participated in the monthly National DoP conference call. Lynn McMullen hosted again and the topics of discussion were on … city councils, Barack Obama, student peace alliance groups, recent Peace Summit in Georgetown, media and election. Guest speaker that evening was Marshall Thompson, who is a military journalist and lives in Utah. These conference calls are always fascinating and inspiring.

Friday, November 10th, participated in a NYDoP conference call regarding the upcoming press conference with City Councilmember Mendez for DoP resolution. The call was informative and productive. My assignment was to fax the “save the date announcement” to a large media list.

Find me on MySpace and be my friend!

On Sunday, November 12th, attended Reflection Day with other NYDoP core team members. It was held at the Hope Martin studios in Manhattan. I brought my usual homemade goodies of brownies and chocolate chip cookies. Others brought so many different types of yummy goodies to nosh on over the four hour span. Upon entering the studio Kevin’s adorable daughter Evie came over to give me a hug. She is a delightful child with many smiles and enthusiasm. Lots of meeting, greetings, hugs and setting up before the “reflection” segment started, which was beautifully moderated by Dian Killian. [I spoke with Dian briefly about my need for anger management, nonviolent communicating skills and some counseling. I want to work on making me a better person and over last 3 years been striving in that direction. It’s not easy. Dian totally understood and suggested options etc.] New person to the team is a friend of Carol’s who’s name is Howard. Very nice man who sat next to me and Priscilla was on the other side. Several others and I originally misunderstood the concept of “Reflection Day”, but basically it was to discuss our September Gandhi event and how we feel about DoP, plus peace movement in general. Marni showed up with her 3 month old son Brandon and he is so adorable, plus behaved very well. Marni looked great and one wouldn’t know she’d been preggers. The last hour or so of the “Reflection Day” was abit tense with some issues brought up by a few core team members. I totally understood were Norma was coming from and had many similar concerns. Dian handled the situation beautifully and we all agreed to work on this situation with concerns at a later date. Possibly some time in January, as it’s an important hurdle to clear before we move on with our NYDoP organization. Overall it was a most interesting afternoon.

Wednesday, November 15th, I went out to lunch with Lisa Watkeys from our E&Y office in Baltimore, MD. She was up in NYC for the week working on training, meetings, etc. Lisa and I had worked together since my days at the E&Y office down on Broad Street. We’d never met; but kept up conversations [ie: work & other] via phone, email and the office Sametime system. It was great to finally meet and engage in news/gossip over a tasty lunch at Appleby’s on 42nd Street. She’s doing pretty good and sounds like she has a wonderful relationship with her boyfriend. I’m very happy for her, though a wee bit envious.

Thursday, November 16th, I participated in the monthly NYDoP core team meeting. Those in attendance for this meeting were … Joe, Charlene, Dawn, Kevin, Liz, Carol, Marianne and Eileen. [Karen joined us after the meeting to discuss the recent “situation” from Reflection Day and Priscilla was down the hall at Dian’s NVC training.] After greetings, hugs, and noshing on some goodies, we observed a few minutes of meditative silence. Kevin introducing Linda Ruocco as a visiting guest from Brooklyn Peace circles and everyone welcomed her warmly. Before heading into our monthly meeting; we took time to quickly assemble the year-end, holiday fundraiser cards. On the outside of the card is a replica of a beautiful angelic oil painting done by Carol and inside is full of all the wonderful works accomplished by DoP/NYDoP. The meeting itself was productive and interesting. Afterwards, only the board members stayed and spent an hour discussing the “reflection day” situation. We made some progress, but knew it would overall take time to resolve. Another “reflection day” would be needed in January, with Dian’s help and all core team members, to give voice to the issues and fully resolve concerns.

On November 17th I participated in another NYDoP conference call regarding the upcoming press conference [Nov 29th] with City Councilmember Mendez for DoP resolution. The call was informative and productive. My assignment was to fax the “press release” to a large media list.

BUMPER STICKER QUOTE … Lets Fix Democracy in This Country First

Saturday, November 18th, I headed up to Yonkers to do volunteer work at the ferret shelter. It had been a few months since my last visit to Yonkers and it was great seeing Joanne again. She had quite a few ferrets this time around and I groomed at least 20 furry wee ones. I had brought up an old, smelly pair of sneakers [without the laces] for the furkids to play. Not all of the ferrets found the sneakers of interest, but those that did tried to tunnel into them. It was quite amusing to observe with their furry tails and butts poking out. Joanne had purchased some new treats for the wee ones, so I made the rounds of all the cages with nibblers. Most of the ferrets just loved them. The happy, expectant look on their cute little faces was so sweet. They get so excited and bounce around the floor or cages when they hear me shake the treat box. It is so adorable.

Letter of the day: Forget Obama -- Kucinich is the man
The day after Dennis Kucinich, the foremost peace politician in this country, announced his candidacy for the presidency, the Star Tribune gave a half page spread to Barack Obama ("Is America Ready for Barack Obama?" Dec. 13). Obama, who has little experience, voted to continue funding for George W. Bush's chaos in Iraq and to allow the president to ignore international law and torture human beings. Didn't the last election turn on Iraq and on disenchantment with Bush? I'd rather the Star Tribune do serious journalism and ask: "Is America Ready for Dennis Kucinich?" Kucinich, above all others, has stood up to President Bush and his mad policies every time, even when he was standing nearly alone. I believe America finally is ready for this prophetic leader who has been proven to be right on every issue America and the world face.
©2006 Star Tribune. All rights reserved

Press Release: Kucinich Warns Against Escalation
December 16, 2006

Kucinich Tries Again
John Nichols, The Nation

[DUCHESS NOTE - Many thanks to Linda Z and Ellen J in sharing all these terrific articles on DJK and his 2008 presidential campaign. Rock the house DJK!]

Graham Walker, Sheffield Today

Vermont Woman Is An Unlikely Peace Activist


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