Thursday, August 30, 2007

Friday, July 13th, was the annual E&Y FSO Outing. It’s always nice to have a day off, enjoy good food, fun with co-workers and not have to pay for it. I arrived at the office at 8:30am. Those of us who didn’t have a car boarded buses at 8:45am. The ride up to Platz Brauhaus, near Suffern NY, was very pleasant and I chatted with Stephanie and Juan. Stephanie brought her two daughters and Juan brought his wife, plus their adorable one-year daughter. We arrived shortly after 10am to Platz Brauhaus, which looks like a small charming village in Germany or Austria. Strolled up to “area 7” were we had to sign in, collect our free E&Y beach towel and get raffle tickets for prizes. I had orange juice and a donut for breakfast before locating some of my dept co-workers.

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[A few of my Dept co-workers at the FSO Outing]

My co-worker, Dee, showed up with her daughter Challea, so we hung out and occasionally Stephanie joined us. Over next 3 to 4 hours we all enjoyed many fun activities, sit in the sun by the swimming pool, play with Spin Art, and even played a game of miniature golf. Darn, that was a tough course, and it didn’t help that some of us ladies were abit tipsy from several glasses of wine. WooHoo! Around 3:30pm I sat with a few co-workers eating some Baked Ziti while Kurt called out names of those who’d won the raffle prizes. I was scanning raffle tix for myself, Dee and Rhonda, as those two ladies had to leave early. The big prize was a “Wii” and one of Rhonda’s tix was the winning number. Everyone thought I was the winner and were surprised when I admitted I was holding the tix for a co-worker. I was being honest and others in FSO were baffled I didn’t keep the item. It wouldn’t have been the right thing to do. Around 4:15pm we headed to the parking lot to board our buses for NYC. The ride back took longer due to a major traffic jam at the Lincoln Tunnel.

Saturday evening, July 14th, I joined Linda and Max to see the Brooklyn Philharmonic perform at the band shell in Prospect Park. We met up at the park entrance and had some ice cream before strolling to the band shell. Originally thought these were free concerts, but we had to pay a $3 admission. Still, that’s not a bad price, plus one gets to hear a philharmonic for two hours. Linda works for BCAT and they were there filming event for cable TV. She chatted with several of her co-workers. Starbucks was the sponsor and handing out free coffee samples. I’m not a coffee drinker, so I passed, but Linda said it was okay. The place was filling up quickly and we found a grassy area near the sound board to spread out our folding chairs and towels. The weather held up nicely and wasn’t that humid. At 8pm the philharmonic started with Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man”. Then came the “Grand Canyon Suite” by Grofe, this was followed by a brief intermission. The rest of the program was music by Mark O’Connor who played violin. [Three part composition was titled “For the Heroes”.] He was accompanied by a cello soloist [Maya Beiser] and the Brooklyn Philharmonic. The evening closed out with the Sabra Dance by Bartok. Overall a lovely evening, pleasure to hangout with friends and hear good music.

On Thursday, July 19th, I attended the monthly NYDoP Core Team meeting. We had a good, productive, fun meeting and some guests from “All Stars Foundation” joined us. They brought some fresh, new ideas, which is always welcome. Main topics of discussion were on the upcoming CHOOSE PEACE benefit concert in September, plus fundraiser events, DoP State Coordinator conference and tabling near green markets in the NYC area.

Friday [July 20th] after work was a busy one for me. I did my usual volunteer work with City Harvest at Union Square farmers market. It was just Kristina and I this time around. Back in my neighborhood, I stopped by to visit with Gail and see development on her landlord’s courtyard garden. Like my courtyard, Gail is working on spiffing her place up and utilizes it during the day or evening. She’s really good with gardening and has some lovely plants in the courtyard, plus a small table with a few chairs. Gail mentioned that she and her hubby Rob are going to a Harry Potter “adult” midnight party at small bookstore in our neighborhood. The final book [Deathly Hallows] release date is July 21st. They invited me to join them. At home I took care of some chores before taking a 1 ½ hour nap, so I’d feel refreshed when I joined Gail and Rob at 11pm. We strolled several blocks to our neighborhood bookstore for the Harry Potter party. Earlier in the day I was reading how many bookstores around the US and England were holding parties and start selling the books at 12:01am. Weather was comfy with abit of a breeze that evening. At the store we went down to the lower level where the staff had decorated it with banners, posters, streamers, balloons and served goodies that one might find at the Leaky Cauldron. Plus there was alcohol, hence no kids allowed at this party. It was great chatting with others who are passionate about the Rowling books. After awhile the three of us headed up to the main level, as there was no air conditioning downstairs and it was filling up with alot of people. There were games and raffle prizes all Harry Potter related. The whole event was very enjoyable and as the clock crept closer to midnight, we all gathered on line to purchase our books. After about 20 minutes or so, I finally got my book and didn’t care how much it cost. With books in hand the three of us walked back home and speculating on who dies, plus general outcome. Back at home I washed up and got ready for bed. Did I go straight to sleep? Hell no! I stayed up until 2:30am reading the book and finally put it down halfway through chapter four.

Kucinich is Right on Healthcare
Derrick Jackson / The Boston Globe

Leaders Afraid to Lead: Empty Rhetoric in Congress
Walter Brasch / Counterbias

[Duchess Note: Many thanks to Linda Z in TX for contributing the above articles. Also, many thanks to Ken S for the following commentary and link … "Join the movement of our time and be the change you'd like to see in the world ... pass this on to those of U.S. in need of encouragement to act on our most deeply cherished values. Check out the link ... P.S. Please note the one politician in this movie who actually has proposed real legislation to actualize this vision and be sure to vote for him if he represents your value."]

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Message from Kucinich for President 2008 Campaign
Pass this link on to your friends who don't know much about him. This is an awesome list of webpages, links, videos, etc. All about the man, his take on the issues and all kinds of information. Nobody but Dennis in 2008!

CHOOSE PEACE Benefit Concert & House Parties in September
CHOOSE PEACE is a series of events sponsored by "New Yorkers for a Dept of Peace" that will be hosted around the world, honoring the 11 Days of Global Unity from September 11th through 21st. All CHOOSE PEACE events will raise awareness and funds for the Dept of Peace campaign and legislation HR808.

Starting off the month here in NYC is the CHOOSE PEACE Benefit Concert

Friday, September 7th, promptly at 8pm
Reidy Friendship Hall at All Souls Church
1157 Lexington Avenue at 80th Street in NYC
Featuring ... Emma's Revolution, Randi Driscoll, Free Radicalz, Peace Alliance Dot Maver, City Council member Robert Jackson and much more.

Tickets are on sale now ... go to ...

If you wish to host a house party and be part of the 2nd Annual Peace Film Fest, go to

What will HR808 do? Hint: It's a bill in Congress
* Open a US Peace Academy
* Appoint a Secretary of Peace
* Teach conflict resolution to K-18
* Establish a US Dept of Peace
* All of the above

Please take a moment and share this with family and friends. Be peace! :-)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Congressman Kucinich [Democrat Presidential Candidate] on Healthcare -- This is a MUST SEE!
Thursday evening, June 21st, was the monthly core team meeting for NYDoP at our usual location. The Core Team warmly welcomed a new member [ie: Charlene H] to our group, who learned about Dept of Peace via Marianne Williamson and Neal Donald Walsh. We had a lot on our agenda [ie: ListServe, Sept Peace Event, fundraisers, conferences] and we got cracking on being productive; as well as have a fun, sociable two hours. As I’ve said in the past, it’s an honor and joy working with such terrific individuals.

Friday, June 22nd, I did volunteer work for City Harvest at Union Square farmers market.

On Saturday, June 23rd, I invited Jackie over for movie night. We noshed chicken, salad, wine and ice cream while watching “The Pianist” and “Memoirs of a Geisha”. It was my first time seeing the latter film and I enjoyed it very much. I’d read the book about a year ago and found it fascinating. Recently Jackie started doing volunteer work at an animal shelter in Manhattan and is enjoying the work. She filled me in on what it’s like working in a shelter that specifically helps cats. She adores cats and has two at her apartment. Sounds like alot of work, but one which Jackie is enjoying very much and I'm happy for her.

On Monday evening, June 25th, I attended an event at the Iguana Bar & Grill. Democrat presidential candidate, Congressman Kucinich & his wife Elizabeth were to speak. The group DLC21 was hosting it and I learned about event the week before via Rob Jereski, plus I shared the info with my NYC friends and Kucinich meetup team. Ran into some familiar faces at the event … Jessica, Paul, Cielito, Grace, BC, Dan J and a few others whose names I don’t recall. Good turnout of people from DLC21. We were all socializing, drinking and eating nachos while waiting for the congressman to show up. He finally showed up [20+ minutes late] walking through the crowd shaking hands and making small talk. His wife Elizabeth followed behind and it was my first time seeing her in person. She is about 6 feet tall with lovely, long red hair and is an attractive English woman. Up on the small stage with a microphone the congressman spoke on several important issues for 10 minutes and then 10 minutes of a Q&A. Elizabeth also spoke briefly and with feeling about 9/11. Then they left to head off to another event. It was great to see the congressman and he looked energized. About 20 minutes later, after an interesting conversation with Jessica and Paul, I started to head out of the bar. I stopped briefly to converse with the DLC21 organizers and mentioned that I’m organizer with NYC Kucinich meetup. They were pleased to meet me and wondered if I take the left over campaign materials. Absolutely! We can definitely utilize at our meetups and for future tabling during DJKs campaign. To learn more about the Kucinich presidential campaign, go to:

Wednesday, June 27th, I had lunch with fellow Kucitizen [Stephanie] regarding meetup and campaign organizing for DJK. Her comments and advice were most helpful. Plus, she mentioned I get in touch with her husband about the 2004 NYC Kucinich volunteer listing. We definitely need help from volunteers this fall when we do petitioning to get the congressman on the ballot. The NY State primary is in early February 2008.

From June 30th through July 3rd I spent the long, relaxing holiday weekend with my parents in upstate NY. Some of the things Mom and I did were go to a few garage sales, visit Yaddo Gardens in Saratoga Springs, visit the gardens of Hildene estate in VT [photos below], have lunch in Manchester or just relax on the back porch. My parents also have cable TV and I viewed some of my fav channels/networks. I also purchased beads at Over the Moon and visited a hair salon.

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[Duchess at the Yaddo Gardens in Saratoga Springs, NY]

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[Lovely view of Hildene estate in Manchester, VT]

During evening of July 3rd and July 4th I had a “Gilmore Girls” season one DVD marathon. The weather was overcast, cool and abit wet on the 4th, so doing anything outdoors wasn’t appealing.

Thursday evening, July 5th, was the monthly NYC Kucinich presidential campaign meetup at Bonobo’s. This was my second meetup as organizer and the responsibility is weighty. The turnout was small, but all were very enthusiastic and ready to get working on the campaign. Main topics of discussion [after I handed out campaign materials] were NY primary, delegates, Democrat convention, Scooter Libby, impeach Cheney, media, Iraq and DJKs MySpace. Also, one of the team members [Ben] is working on wallet size postcards with DJK info to hand out to New Yorkers. Overall a good meeting and I hope going forward the momentum picks up.

On Wednesday, July 11th, I attended the DFNYC meetup in Greenwich Village with another Kucitizen [Lane], as we were working on spreading the word on Kucinich’s campaign. [We handed out buttons and flyers.] Usually I go to the DFNYC meetups in Park Slope, but felt it was important to branch out. This particular meetup is held at Kettle of Fish bar and it’s a really cool place. I liked the atmosphere immediately and “thank you Lane” for the glass of wine. This DFNYC meetup had a good turnout of 10+ people and it’s hosted by Abhishek. One of the main topics of discussion, and it was a heated one, revolved around whether Cheney should be impeached or not. Abhishek took a poll and half of us were for impeachment, while the others were for staying the course. I’m 100% for impeaching Darth Cheney, as he’s one of the main causes of all the insanity going on since January 2001. One of the attendees passed around a survey and asked us to fill out who we want as presidential candidate out of the Democrats. Put down our first and second choices. Most of us choose either Kucinich or Al Gore.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Message from True Majority Action - Gonzales is Gone!
It's about time. After multiple scandals and much scrutiny, Alberto Gonzales has finally thrown in the towel and resigned as Attorney General.1 But he's not leaving empty handed. He's got a resume filled with advocating torture and domestic spying with a flagrant disregard for the U.S. Constitution and Geneva Conventions. The Senate will now have to confirm a new Attorney General, and we have to make sure that it’s not another Gonzales. Tell your Senators to only confirm an Attorney General who truly believes in democracy and freedom not another Bush crony who fights to restrict civil liberties and ignores the Constitution.

Results of the DFNYC Impeachment Poll and in Related News, Alberto Gonzalez Resigned Today
In recent weeks, we took a poll on the issue of impeachment. Many recent news stories and activist efforts have pushed impeachment to the forefront in the progressive community, and we wanted to know your thoughts and opinions on the matter. The poll asked whether respondents felt that Congress should start impeachment proceedings. Here are the results:

* "Yes" votes: 84% (All of these votes were in favor of starting impeachment proceedings against Bush, Cheney, or both. Approx. 1/4 were in favor of impeaching Cheney first, then Bush)
* "No" votes: 9%
* "Not sure" votes: 4%
* Votes in favor of impeaching only Alberto Gonzalez: Less than 2%
* "Not yet" votes: Less than 2%
* Other: Less than 1%

The DFNYC poll clearly demonstrates overwhelming support for Congress to start impeachment proceedings. We plan to include events and opportunities to get involved in impeachment efforts in upcoming DFNYC newsletters and on our website at

QUOTE OF THE DAY"So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem
improbable, and then when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable."
Christopher Reeve

Important Message From The Peace Alliance - Actions from Capitol Hill - New Co-Sponsor!
Congratulations Connecticut District 1! Congressman John Larson (D) has officially signed on as a co-sponsor to HR 808. This brings our total to 68 Representatives to date who have signed on in support of HR 808. Congratulations to all who helped make it happen! Please contact Congressman Larson, regardless of where you live, and thank him for his commitment to the legislation to create a U.S. Department of Peace and Nonviolence, and for his courage to stand up for peace. His DC office number is 202-225-2265.

Friday, August 24, 2007

FLHS Class of 1977 30th Reunion - Experiences of the Day
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Holiday Inn in Mt Kisco, NY

My friend Nancie was waiting for me at the Mt Kisco train station at 12:50pm. It was good to see her. We drove to her parent’s home and immediately sat down to a nice luncheon. Also there was Nancie’s husband Tim, who is such a delightful person. During lunch we reminisced about past reunions while noshing on a light repast. Afterwards it was time to finalize reunion plans, wrap up the raffle prizes and discuss the layout of the Reunion Souvenir Booklet. I had contributed to the raffle prizes with purchase of two CDs of 1970s hit songs, plus assorted sizes of red bags for the prizes. Fox Lane’s school colors are red and white. Tim and I got into an artistic discussion regarding the layout of the booklet, which once it’s done will look very spiffy.

While this is going on I experienced a minor Asthma attack. Not sure if it was brought on by the weather, excitement or what I ate at lunch. All were concerned as I rested for abit and told them I really need to see my lung specialist again. Having some issues, need to make an appointment, plus probably need new meds. After that passed it was going on 3pm and we needed to tend to errands connected with reunion. Nancie, Tim and I jumped into their mini van and sped off to Party World for the 36 red/white balloons. While there we also purchased 8 plastic champagne flutes that would be utilized in displays on all 8 tables. Sadly, between the party store and the hotel we lost 2 balloons. Then it was off to the Holiday Inn for final consultation with Loretta Brooks [Catering Director], depositing the balloons in the small ballroom and in my case, checking into the hotel. Ran into Diane B, a classmate I haven’t seen since our 10th reunion in 1987. We chatted for abit before I went with Loretta to discuss particulars in the ballroom.

Then it was time for me to head up to my hotel room [#207] to settle in and relax before heading back to ballroom at 5:15pm. Very nice hotel room and I now wish I’d listened to my first instinct, which was to relax and do some reading by the window. Instead, I went into the bathroom to play around with my hair and maybe give it abit more curl. I’m no hairdresser and I envy those that can do a nice French braid or an elegant Chignon. Big sigh!

What happened next turned into a 2-hour emergency and gave me such a weepy anxiety attack. The round brush I’d been using got stuck in my hair while attempting to curl a portion of it. Yes, that’s right, stuck in my hair and I couldn’t uncoil it. OMG! OMG!! OMG!!! Heart pounding, my nerves started to twang and tears welled in my eyes as I tried to get the hair unraveled. In between cursing, wailing and asking the dear lord for help the situation became worse. At this point rational thought kinda sorta went out the window. I thought maybe if it got it wet it’ll come undone. Flung off the clothes and jumped into the shower. Nope, no such luck. At this point I’m in tears and trying to think of a plan of action. Not easy to do when in the middle of an anxiety attack. I really didn’t want my long hair sheared off. No way! Walked briskly to the hotel phone next to the bed and without my reading glasses on finally found the button for front desk. So glad the gal at the front desk understood my gibberish and she sent Loretta Brooks up to my room a few minutes later. Managed to get on my bathrobe and make some attempt to clean my face, as the makeup was messed up and I looked like Alice Cooper.

Loretta showed up and I pleaded for help. She admitted to never tackling something like this in the hotel business, but was ready to give it the ole college try. Loretta sat me in a chair and through my tears explained to her what happened, while she assessed the “brush” situation and started working on it. She left briefly and went to get some assistance. She brought back MaryAnn who is a bartender and had some experience in this type of situation. They worked on my hair for 10 minutes; all the while keeping up a flow of conversation with me and making sure I was comfy. At one point I said to them, “I really could use a drink to try and calm my nerves”. Courtesy of Holiday Inn, MaryAnn went and made up a Cosmopolitan for me.

[BTW … this whole story is much more interesting and amusing when I relate it in person. I usually have friends laughing after a minute or so. As Loretta said later on to me, it was definitely a “unique” situation. Yep, it sure was, and my Mom very much agreed when I told her the next day between giggles.]

While MaryAnn went to get me a drink, Loretta called up an employee who was on her day off. Loretta told me that Antoinette usually works the front desk and her “other” job is hairdresser. On advice from Antoinette; the necessary tools in dealing with the situation was olive oil, hair conditioner, combs and wooden or metal skewers. MaryAnn came back with the drink and Loretta went out to get the “necessary tools”. Through all this we’re talking about numerous topics, trying to think positively and not burst into tears. With many towels on me and the floor, MaryAnn and Loretta start pouring the olive oil on the tangled hair around the brush. Every so often I’d check the clock and realize I won’t make it to the Reunion Party room by 5:15pm. That’s when Nancie, Tim and I were to start decorating the tables. MaryAnn and Loretta were making slow progress with the situation and every so often I’d put my hand on my scalp, as the tugging on hair was causing soreness.

Then all of a sudden my vision gets abit blurry in left eye. I make whimpering sounds of “oh oh oh”, which caused the two ladies to stop and inquire. We realize that the olive oil is sliding to the front of my head and down my face into my eyes. Abit unsettling to say the least and I’m feeling like a tossed salad. I’m brought a damp cloth to rectify the situation and I can see again. Loretta tells me that Antoinette will be stopping by to further assist with the “unique situation”. At this point MaryAnn has to leave, as she’s the bartender for our reunion party and needs to “set up”. It’s now going on 5pm and the slow process of uncoiling my hair has been progressing for an hour. Antoinette shows up and takes over the situation, which leaves Loretta free to help out Nancie and Tim with decorating. I pull myself together and calmly tell her how the tables are to look with the balloons, glitter, candy, etc. As well as to briefly tell Nancie and Tim the situation, plus hope to join everyone at some point during the cocktail hour.

Throughout all this my nervous system is like a roller coaster ride. Sometimes up and sometimes down, plus the weeping is happening less and less. Did the drink help or not? Good question and not sure of the answer. Anyhow, later that evening and next day I realize I was suffering some mild trauma or shock. By Sunday afternoon I felt tired and drained … I felt fully recovered by Tuesday morning.

As the minutes pass, Antoinette assures me that all will work out. She’s handled this type of situation before at the hair salon. We talk about different topics, actually have a few laughs, while she works on my hair. At this point I’ve got my hands on my scalp to try to lessen the tugging and soreness. The olive oil and hair conditioner are working and Antoinette tells me my hair is getting one heck of a conditioning. The only drawback is I cannot “wash” it for 12 to 24 hours. Ugh! And finally the words I’ve been longing to hear ... “I’ve got the brush out of your hair”. Hurray! Yahoo! Yippee! We walk to the bathroom, dragging towels with us, where I promptly put head into sink for final phase. Antoinette uses more conditioner and a comb to workout the tangles. At this point my hair looks like an Exxon oil spill, which is upsetting, but at least the friggin brush is out of my hair. Amen!

[I am so very thankful to Loretta, MaryAnn and Antoinette for their kindness, compassion, professionalism, thoughtfulness and generosity during this situation. They are the heroines of the day and quite an asset to Holiday Inn. The lord heard my pleas and sent these ladies.]

Antoinette gave me “hair instructions”, plus said she’d give me a proper round brush tomorrow morning to utilize. A suitable round brush for women with long, thick hair. Then she left around 5:50pm to head off to a birthday party with her husband. I looked at the clock and gave myself less than an hour to get down to the reunion party, which officially starts at 6pm with cocktail hour. At this point my nervous system started to kick into overdrive. Jumped into the shower to bathe and try to get some of the oil slick out of my hair. One of the things I dislike about most hotel showers is that the water pressure isn’t strong. So annoying! After 7 minutes or so I gave up trying to rinse my hair. Put on fresh makeup, attempted to dry/style my hair and at least my bangles looked normal. When all that was complete I dressed in my new outfit, shoes and jewelry finished up the look. [see photo below] No amount of fussing will make the hair any better and realized I just had to deal with it.

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Before heading to the festivities, I stopped by the front desk to briefly chat with and thank the gal who answered my distress call. Got to the festivities at 6:50pm and ready to party with my classmates. Saw Nancie and Tim first and briefly explained what happened. [Throughout the evening it felt like I was telling the story (just to a select few) in the “third person” mindset, as well as in a humorous fashion. This kept me from tearing up again.] At entrance to small ballroom, Nancie’s parents were helping out with registration, name tags, etc. They are such wonderful folk and so helpful.

From 7pm to 11pm it was non-stop socializing with my classmates. Some I hadn’t seen since the 20th reunion and others since the late 1970s. Shortly after joining the party, MaryAnn [bartender] came over and handed me a Cosmopolitan. Inquired how I was feeling, said I looked great and wouldn’t take any payment for the drink. So very sweet and thoughtful of MaryAnn. [To show my gratitude to those three ladies; I made up 3 pairs each of my bead style earrings, plus a “thank you” card and sent by Fed Ex. I also emailed Loretta two days after the event to convey my gratitude.] I also took some time to personally thank a fellow classmate and reunion committee member [Ed C]. He came onboard with the committee back in April and was a big help with planning, as well as financial aid. Nancie and Tim shouldn’t have to foot the whole bill and sadly I had little funds to contribute. Ed is such a nice gent and so tall too. Gosh, he’s got to be at least 6’ 4”.

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[Reunion Committee – Ed, Nancie & I]

I spent that first hour chatting with many classmates and meeting their spouses. Around 7:30pm the buffet was open for all to partake. I continued chatting away with folk and wasn’t at all hungry. Most likely my nerves acting as a suppressant to any hunger pains. While chatting with Eric [whom I hadn’t seen since Scotts Corners Market in 1979] Nancie and then Diane B stopped by urging me to eat something. Smiling at them I said charmingly “yes Mom, I’ll eat soon”. Finally Eric persuaded me to get something, as it appears everyone else had partaken of the good food. Giving him my best smile, I said charmingly, “yes Dad, I’ll eat soon, just want to say hello to one more classmate”. I popped over to the next table and had a brief conversation with Julie and her hubby Keith. Julie showed me pix of her handsome children [age 25 down to 7], all six of them. Wow!

Then I went up to the buffet to grab some salmon and a few veggies. Took my plate and sat down with Nancie, Tim, Diane and her husband Bill. Salmon was very tasty, though with my nerves aflutter I didn’t feel like eating all that much. Then it was time for a bathroom break before Nancie and I did the raffle for fun 1970s style prizes. I headed up to my hotel room and inserted the card key. Door wouldn’t open, so I tried again. Nothing! I’m staying in room 207 and was puzzled why the darn card key wouldn’t work. So back downstairs to the front desk and they had to re-program the darn card key. As soon as I walked into the bathroom, I noticed that all the dirty towels were gone and lots of fresh, new towels were neatly in place. Amen! Freshened up abit and went to lie down for a five minutes with my eyes closed.

Back down at the party we got ready for the Reunion Raffle. I was to pick the names out of a medium size bag and call out to that individual on a microphone. Good thing I was abit tipsy, as I’m not keen on “speaking in front of people”. After getting everyone’s attention, Nancie made announcement about the raffle and also a special “thanks” to Tim for all his hard work. I picked the first name and had a wee bit of a tough time reading the name, as I left my reading glasses in my hotel room. Oops! Giggling! Over the microphone I asked if any ladies had reading glasses I could borrow. There was much chuckling around the room and especially from me. Robin L brought up her spectacles [black with a multi color design on them]. I thanked Robin and complimented her on style of specs. As I called out the names of the winners, Eric took pix of them posing with Nancie and holding the gift. The best raffle prizes were saved for last. They included two Fox Lane mugs and a $77 gift certificate to Borders bookstore. Then it was time to set up for the class reunion group photo. Which was a lot of fun and all of us [ie: classmates] got into the spirit of it all. I’m standing in the middle next to Arthur and Robin. Eric set up his camera on a tripod with a timer and then jumped into the shot. I gave Tim my cheapo camera to take the photo below.

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After that the rest of the evening was spent socializing with classmates [ie: many different topics of discussion], exchanging business cards, taking pictures and genuinely having a really good time.

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[Note – Fox Lane Ladies Rule!!]

Throughout the whole party the background music was organized by Nancie’s hubby Tim using his ipod and two large speakers. In the days leading up to the party Tim and I worked on a 4 to 5 hour setlist of songs from the 1970s. As 11pm approached, everyone started leaving and saying “goodbyes”. All that was left was the hotel staff, Nancie, Tim, Diane, her hubby Bill and I. As we started cleaning up and dividing the remaining candies, I started feeling hungry. I conveyed this to Nancie and Tim. We drove to a nearby A&P [open till midnight] were I purchased some cough drops and half a turkey hoagie sandwich. They dropped me off back at the hotel and I headed to my room. Ate my sandwich while I washed up and got ready for bed. Really wasn’t tired and my nervous system was still tingling. Read till 12:30am then tried to relax and sleep.

Last time I looked at the clock it was 2:30am and then next thing I know the hotel clock alarm goes off at 6:30am. Bloody hell! Geez! Found the OFF button and threw the darn clock against the wall. Attempted to snooze until 8:45am and then got up. Got everything organized and headed downstairs to meet with Nancie, Diane and Bill for brunch at 10am. We had a nice, tasty, but pricey meal in the hotel restaurant and chat for two hours. Afterwards, Nancie dropped me off at the train station around 12:30pm and I hauled my tired butt back to NYC.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

September 11th represents a choice point for us as human beings. We can continue to choose violence, or, like Gandhi on September 11, 1906, we can choose strategies of peaceful conflict transformation.

CHOOSE PEACE is a series of events sponsored by New Yorkers for a Department of Peace (NYDOP) honoring the 11 Days of Global Unity from Sept. 11-21. The CHOOSE PEACE campaign will raise awareness about the Dept. of Peace legislation and raise funds for the Peace Alliance.
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NYDOP hopes that activists across the country and the world will organize CHOOSE PEACE Film Festival House Parties, which entails hosting a house party; watching a film about peace, nonviolence, and/or social change; facilitating a discussion; disseminating information about the Department of Peace Campaign; asking guests to invest in peace; and writing postcards to the Republican and Democratic National Committees to ask them to make the Department of Peace part of their party platforms.

House party kits with everything you need to host a successful house party are available now … go to:

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Kucinich Draws Cheers from Veterans for Peace
Tim Townsend / St Louis Post-Dispatch


Dennis Kucinich Stole My Line! Straight from the Shoulder
Michael Shelby /

Dennis for President – Strength Through Peace [YouTube Videos]

Kucinich Speaks from Experience on Homelessness
Holly Ramer / Associated Press Writer

Recent Interview with Congressman Kucinich After Sunday’s Democrat Debate

Learning NOT To Fight
Marco Visscher / Ode

How to Stop the Depression

Dodd Says Clinton, Obama “Confusing” on Iraq
O.Kay Henderson / Radio Iowa

Clinch Captures Pearl Jam on Film
Mike Greenhaus / Relix

Iraq Veterans Against the War – Why They Are Against the War

[Duchess Note - Many thanks to Linda Z in TX for the recent articles on DJK.]

Monday, August 20, 2007


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[Statue of Rev John Witherspoon – Was the 6th President of Princeton University in the 18th Century & also one of the gents who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776]

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[Lovely view of Holder Hall Tower on the University grounds]

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[Duchess sitting amongst the archways and halls of the University]

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[Picturesque views of the main, older grounds at Princeton University]

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[More picturesque views of the University grounds]

Friday, August 17, 2007


Kucinich's Cleveland Office Vandalized
CLEVELAND -- Police are looking into a case of vandalism at Rep. Dennis Kucnich's Cleveland office. Officials said that someone busted the office's front window. Crews have already boarded up the window, with someone writing the words "Strength through peace." A representative for the presidential candidate said the office was vandalized after Kucinich appeared during a gay rights debate.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich talks about love, why he’s against the war in Iraq, and why he’s for gay marriage and legalizing medicinal marijuana … go to:

Giuliani Is No 9/11 Hero
Etan Thomas, Huffington Post

Kucinich Says He's The One
Dennis Kucinich likened himself to both FDR and Seabiscuit -- Franklin D. Roosevelt in proposing a 21st century New Deal and the legendary race horse in claiming that he'll come from way behind and win the Democratic nomination. In an appearance this morning before the Globe editorial board, the Ohio congressman said as president he would create a new version of the 1930s Works Progress Administration to put Americans to work to fix the nation's crumbling infrastructure and to build a more environmentally friendly energy system.

Kucinich also predicted that once voters realize that they agree with him on most issues, his candidacy -- languishing well behind Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards -- will jump to the front of the pack by the final turn. "My support's beginning to grow," he said. "This election is not over. There's time for people to understand they have a real choice....When people discover I'm their candidate, look out."

He also riffed on the staples of his campaign platform: that he is the only Democrat with a proposal for true universal health care, the only one who opposed the Iraq war from the beginning, and the only one with the independence to bring sweeping change to domestic and foreign policy. Kucinich called the war in Iraq "a monstrous crime" committed by the Bush administration, citing what he said were hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties and arguing that the decision to invade was based on lies. He called for an immediate end to the US "occupation" and for a multinational peacekeeping force to help stabilize the country.

But there was one subject Kucinich declined to address: A challenge for his congressional seat from Rosemary Palmer, an antiwar activist who lost a son in Iraq. A former Kucinich supporter, she criticizes him for running for president a second time instead of using his seat to end the war. "Let me be clear," he said tersely. "I'm here to talk about my candidacy for president."

[Duchess Note: Many thanks to Linda Z in TX for the above articles.]

Send the Kucinich (Koo-sin-ich) for President 2008 video link to your e-mail lists! Let your friends know that there IS a candidate that represents THEIR ISSUES!!! [Message from Thomas Gallagher from NYC]

As I'm sure you're aware, Kucinich is once again getting sidelined and maligned by the major media outlets. Well it's time to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! I've designed a Dennis Kucinch for President 2008 "viral video" campaign spot that draws attention to essential Kucinich 2008 campaign issues by playfully contrasting them with the sound byte versions commonly, and falsely, attributed to the other candidates. Now that the spot is ready to go, I need all your help to get it out there - EVERYWHERE.

Here are several ways you can help network the spot:

1. Copy and paste the link into an e-mail to your friends, especially your friends who don't know who Kucinich is, and they can then watch it on YouTube. Here's that link:

2. Download a copy of the video so you can e-mail it to your friends directly (careful here, the file is about 5mb - make sure they can receive it before you send it) or re-post it to your favorite blogs, web-sites, etc. Download it at my website here:

3. You can order yourself a custom (Koo-sin-ich) t-shirt* in any color / style you like, and spread the word one inspired conversation at a time - "What's that on your shirt?" "Why, it's the next president of the United States - Dennis Kucinich!"

Thank You All! You are Free - Thomas Gallagher founder of Forth Position Design & notobush; former Kucinich Delegate in Brooklyn; former volunteer Arts & Culture Coordinator for United for Peace & Justice, Stand Up New York, and New York Coalition for Peace & Justice

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

NYC's First Ever "Peace Draft Bar Party"

The draft is re-instated...The peace draft that is!! Come have fun and support peace - all at the same time! Join us for the first ever PEACE DRAFT BAR PARTY! There will be an open mic, karaoke, drink specials, including a PEACE DRAUGHT, a cash raffle and plenty of fun.

Date: THIS Saturday Aug. 18th
Time: 8 PM till closing time!
8 PM NYDOP open mic
9 PM on bar's regular karaoke
Place: Keats - 842 2nd Ave. (at 45th), NYC... just a few blocks away from Grand Central Suggested Donation: $10 (all proceeds will benefit NYDoP) Please RSVP using the link below and be sure to invite your friends and include them as guests in you RSVP tally:

Cheers to peace!! To learn more about New Yorkers for a Dept of Peace, go to:

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[Duchess Note - The above event took place on Saturday, August 11th, in Westchester County. Yours truly is standing in the middle. Was part of the Reunion Committee and the party was a success. More on the reunion and other Personal News coming soon. Stay tuned.............]

Monday, August 13, 2007


Kucinich Calls for Federal Oversight to Quell Market Volatility
Focusing on largely unregulated hedge funds and the scandalous practices of unscrupulous sub-prime lenders, Ohio Congressman and Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich told a San Francisco audience that the Securities and Exchange Commissions and the Federal Reserve must step up their oversight responsibilities. In a major economic policy address at the Commonwealth Club yesterday (Friday, August 10), Kucinich also warned that the "debt-financed capitalism" is reaching an economically dangerous level and could lead to a recession.

Kucinich’s Awesome Remarks in Two Debates – Check Out the Links via YouTube
Yearly Kos Debate … Reel of Dennis Kucinich’s remarks during the Presidential Forum at the Yearly Kos 2007 Convention in Chicago, IL on August 4th. View it at:

Democrat Debate in Chicago at Soldier’s Field … All of Congressman Kucinich’s Replies on August 7th. View it at:

Survey of Public Attitudes Makes Kucinich the Frontrunner
CLEVELAND, OH – In the political equivalent of a “blind taste test” taken by more than 67,000 participants, an independent website surveying public attitudes on various issues is reporting that Ohio Congressman and Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich is the first choice of a phenomenal 53% of respondents.No other candidate, Democrat or Republican, even reaches double digits.The website ( ) has been asking respondents to express and rank their opinions on 25 different issues – the war in Iraq, health care, the environment, Patriot Act, etc. -- that have been raised and debated among the Presidential candidates in both parties. Those taking the survey vote only on the issues, not for or against any individual candidate. The 67,000-plus responses were then correlated with the positions of all of the candidates as reported on The results are here:

As of this morning (August 5, 2007), more than 35,600 respondents were “in sync” with Kucinich on the issues. Democratic front-runner Senator Hillary Clinton was the first-place choice of only about 2,400 respondents (3.6%). Other leading candidates fared even worse: Senator Barack Obama (3%), and former Senator John Edwards (1.3%)

“When people vote exclusively on the issues that are important to them, without being influenced by name recognition, celebrity, or millions of dollars in advertising, Congressman Kucinich wins in a landslide,” his campaign said today.

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[Duchess Note: EY Insurance Tax team takes a break on August 9th to see a NY Mets game at Shea Stadium]

CHOOSE PEACE House Party Kits Available!
Join me and others in hosting a CHOOSE PEACE house party this September :-) Share this message with others and spread the word of peace. Many thanks!

September 11 represents a choice point for us as human beings. We can continue to choose violence, or, like Gandhi on Sept. 11, 1906, we can choose strategies of peaceful conflict transformation.

CHOOSE PEACE is a series of events sponsored by New Yorkers for a Department of Peace (NYDOP) honoring the 11 Days of Global Unity from Sept. 11-21. The CHOOSE PEACE campaign will raise awareness about the DOP legislation and raise funds for the Peace Alliance. NYDOP hopes that activists across the country and the world will organize CHOOSE PEACE house parties.

CHOOSE PEACE Film Festival House Parties entail:

* Hosting a house party
* Watching a film about peace, nonviolence and/or social change
* Facilitating a discussion
* Disseminating information about the Peace Alliance
* Asking guests to invest financially in the Peace Alliance
* Writing postcards to the Republican and Democratic National Committees asking them to make the DOP part of their party platforms.

House party kits with everything you need to host a successful house party are available at

Friday, August 10, 2007

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The New Environmentalists: How to Make the Green Movement Less White
Van Jones, ColorLines

"Terror War" Terrorizes Spineless Democrats
Bruce Dixon

I Was Tried (and Acquitted) for Protesting the Iraq War
Gordon Clark, AlterNet

Bush More "Disastrous" Than Nixon
John Nichols

[Duchess Note: Its not just Bushit, but his whole regime and that includes the two major masterminds behind it all ... Cheney & Rove. Remember, Nixon had Kissenger and that was a bad combo as well. Finally, Cheney got his "training" during the Nixon era.]

The Likelihood of a Republican President in 2009
David Swanson / Let’s Try Democracy OR

True Democracy Journal & Blog
[Duchess Note: Thanks Al in sharing this info. Rock on Dude!]


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Congressman Dennis Kucinich To Receive More Than 100,000 Petitions From Supporters Seeking Impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney

Kucinich Interview Regarding the Environment

Kucinich Helps the AFL-CIO Prove a Point
John Nichols, The Nation

Kucinich on 'This Week with George Stephanopoulos' Sunday, August 12th
Following his rousing and widely acclaimed performance at the AFL-CIO Presidential Forum in Chicago this week, Congressman and Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich will be in the national spotlight again Sunday morning (August 12) on ABC-TV's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." Kucinich drew rave reviews for his straightforward and "gutsy" answers at the Tuesday night event in Chicago from commentators and analysts as politically diverse as Willie Brown, former Mayor of San Francisco, and Pat Buchanan, conservative political icon. By most news accounts, Kucinich, the only card-carrying union member among Democratic Presidential hopefuls, drew the loudest and most enthusiastic responses from the 17,000 union members at Soldier Field. Based, in part, on Tuesday's nationally televised "debate," there are indications that Kucinich may be poised to move ahead of New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson into fourth place among Democratic contenders, behind front-runners John Edwards, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton.


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New Yorkers for a Department of Peace (NYDOP) announces the launch of CHOOSE PEACE, its second annual September peacebuilding event, and the companion website.


CHOOSE PEACE is a series of events coordinated by NYDOP and hosted around the world, honoring the 11 days of Global Unity from September 11-21, 2007. The CHOOSE PEACE campaign will raise awareness and funds for the Department of Peace campaign.

CHOOSE PEACE will consist of a musical event in New York City the weekend before September 11, 2007 that will launch 11 days of a Global Peace Film Fest. Building on last year’s Gandhi film festival, NYDOP asks participants around the world to organize house parties between September 11 and 21, the International Day of Peace, by watching a film of their choice, hosting discussions, raising awareness and funds for the Department of Peace campaign and engaging in postcard writing to key decision-makers in Washington, DC.

Visit to find out more about CHOOSE PEACE, to attend or organize events, to obtain postcards, to support the event and to get more involved. Check back often as the website will be updated with new information regularly. NYDOP appreciates the time and effort you spent organizing a Gandhi film screening last year and hopes you will consider participating this year in CHOOSE PEACE. House Party Kits will be available (for a requested $25 donation) to assist you in having a successful event.

For more information, visit the This September... CHOOSE PEACE website at

Monday, August 06, 2007

Wednesday, May 30th, I joined a few other NYDoP Core Team members [ie: Jade, Marni, Dorine, Karen & Carol] at a Marianne Williamson event at the Hilton. The Hilton is on 6th Avenue in midtown Manhattan. Before our group could even do any tabling, we had to deal with the hotel on exact location, plus other particulars. Once those minor things were taken care of we were able to set up. Marianne Williamson is part of the Peace Alliance and invited NYDoP to raise awareness for the Dept of Peace campaign. Her lecture events usually sell out and many individuals stopped by our table to inquire about the Dept of Peace legislation [HR808] and campaign. Jade and I manned the table while Marni, Dorine and Karen sat in on Marianne’s lecture. My only gripe is that the hotel had the air conditioning jacked way up. After two hours or so I felt like a popsicle. Overall a good evening and I enjoyed my conversation with Jade while manning the table.

On Saturday evening, June 2nd, my friend Cielito invited me to dinner at an upper Westside apartment she was tending to for several weeks. Also in attendance was her cousin Gloria, plus Engel and Maggie, good friends from Crown Heights area. Last time I saw Engel and Maggie was at a fascinating party two years before in Crown Heights. Cielito was also taking care of the apartment owner’s four cats. We spent the evening drinking wine, eating yummy Thai food, noshing on heavenly cake, listening to music, lots of laughs and talking about all sorts of topics. The apartment was a large, nicely situated place and views of other apartments in buildings nearby afforded us some “entertainment”. We all had a fun evening and I even got abit tipsy.

Wednesday, June 6th, was the monthly DFNYC meetup in Brooklyn and the usual crowd was in attendance, plus hosted by Josh. As always it was held at Ozzie’s in Park Slope. Some of the topics on the agenda were occupation of Iraq, working towards clean elections in NY and I shared info on the Kucinich Presidential campaign. Plus, I inquired with Josh about voter registration forms and how to obtain them for the Kucinich Meetup team. To learn more about DFNYC, go to:

The following evening, June 7th, was the monthly NYC Kucinich meetup in Manhattan at Bonobo’s. [A vegan cafĂ© near Madison Square Park.] This was also my first meetup as new organizer of the NYC Kucinich Meetup team. There were issues with the last organizer [ie: conflicts] and Kucinich campaign headquarters was brought in to help with the situation. Many thanks to John, Vin and Mike. About six of us attended the meetup and one of them being my friend Thomas. He’s more involved in activism than I, plus Thomas is far more articulate. I sometimes get abit shy, tongue-tied or lose my train of thought. The meetup turned out well; plus topics of discussion were on Iraq, impeachment, voter registration, petitioning, delegates, NY state primary, media and distributing flyers to NYC voters. My main concern is getting enough volunteers to help with ballot petitioning around NYC in the fall. We need to get the congressman on the ballot for the primary on February 5th. To learn more about meetups, go to

On Friday evening, June 8th, my friend Cielito joined me at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see a costume exhibit on early 20th Century French fashion designer. The fashions on display were lovely, intriguing and perfect for women with boyish figures. I enjoy hanging out at this museum on Friday evenings. It’s a great way to wind down after a work week. Afterwards we sat on the steps outside the museum and talked about several topics, including the Kucinich meetup and my concerns regarding it. The weather was warm with a strong breeze. After awhile we walked to Cielito’s car and drove over to the upper Westside. Once there it took over 30 minutes, but we finally found parking and then had dinner at a nice Thai restaurant.

Saturday, June 16th, I headed up to Yonkers to help out Joanne at the ferret shelter. I hadn’t been in awhile and it felt good to be there with the furkids. [What I term my “ferret fix” or mini therapy session.] I sure do miss the wee ones. It was a good volunteer visit and nothing major happened. Many of the ferrets were very active and inquisitive, which is a good sign of a happy healthy furkid. I sure hope many of them get adopted and go to loving homes. During tea break Joanne and I, as always, caught up on news and gossip. We’ve both been busy with our respective volunteering projects.

Friday, August 03, 2007

The Police Capture the Magic of the Past
Journal Inquirer
They're back, and they sound really good. It's been 24 years since The Police released its last studio album "Synchronicity," but Stewart Copeland, Andy Summers, and Sting showed Tuesday night that they haven't lost much in the way of playing good music.

Stars Vote Led Zeppelin Hit Best Guitar Track
LED ZEPPELIN's hit song BLACK DOG has been chosen by rock legends RONNIE WOOD, JIMMY PAGE and ANDY SUMMERS as the best guitar track in music history.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Police Fresh as Ever at MSG
Newsday Concert Review,0,250868.story?track=rss
Before guitarist Andy Summers became a sometime photographer, before drummer Stewart Copeland became a film-score composer and before singer-bassist Gordon "Sting" Sumner became a purveyor of pillowy jazz-pop, they were, collectively, The Police, an edgy, tough-minded rock band and one of the best around.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Dennis Kucinich Has NEVER Sold Out The American People! And He NEVER Will!
TV pioneer Tom Snyder interviews Mayor Dennis Kucincih at Tony’s Diner. [Video link below] Broadcasting pioneer and legend Tom Snyder, who passed away Sunday, July 29th, came to Cleveland in 1978 to interview then Mayor Dennis Kucinich. It was “classic” Tom Snyder, and the Kucinich campaign is offering this video to pay tribute to Snyder and to the style and approach that set him apart from other broadcasters.

“Tom Synder was an innovator and a very serious journalist who really mastered the in-depth analytical interview,” Congressman Kucinich said on hearing of Snyder’s passing. “He was very funny, he was bold … it was an honor to be on his show. He asked tough questions, and I will miss him,” said Kucinich. We all will. And here’s an example of why………… OR

Davis Fleetwood Interviews Cindy Sheehan [with mention of Congressman Kucinich] &