Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Youth PROMISE Act Subcommittee Markup Tomorrow! Watch it Live!
By Direction of the Chairman, the U.S. House subcommittee on the Crime,Terrorism, and Homeland Security
 will be holding a Subcommittee Markup of: H.R. 1064, the "Youth PROMISE Act" at 10:30 A.M. eastern time on Thursday, October 29th.

This will be the first step to moving the Youth PROMISE Act to passage in the U.S. House (already 231 co-sponsors)! After the Subcommittee Markup, the bill will go to the full U.S. House Judiciary Committee for consideration, and then to the House floor or suspension calendar for final passage.

You can watch the Markup live by and looking for the correct hearing date and title. Congressman Scott, the bills lead sponsor, expects a quick hearing at this stage, so be sure to log-in on-time.

Follow us on Twitter and we will keep you up to date:
New Yorkers for a Dept of Peace
5th Anniversary Celebration
NYDoP 5th Anniversary Gathering

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Thursday, October 1st, I attended the enjoyable TGTSNBN meetup at Cafe Metro. This month the topic was members talking about their experiences in “coming out to Muggles” regarding their love for the Harry Potter stories. It was such an entertaining evening and lovely chatting with other members, plus meeting new members to the group.

On Saturday afternoon, October 3rd, my friend Linda G came for a visit, plus had “two guys with a van” deliver a 27-inch television, entertainment unit and a chest of drawers. Linda’s sister and niece moved in with her, and they brought their newer furnishing, so Linda didn’t have need for certain items. She’d asked me back during Labor Day weekend if I’d like the items, and I said absolutely. After the movers removed my old items and then left, Linda and I arranged the items in my apartment, cleaned things up and then I whipped up some lunch. We spent the rest of the afternoon catching up on news. The first DVD I watched that evening on the 27-inch TV was LOTRs RotK.

Next day, October 4th, I volunteered at the 25th Annual Medieval Festival at Fort Tryon Park in NYC. I’ve been volunteering at this event for my friend Eileen Merle-Rao [performance director] since 2005, and it’s always interesting, plus alot of fun. Arrived shortly after 9am and made straight for the hospitality area near Tournament Field. The weather was great and a huge crowded made the festival a success. Throughout the day I mostly assisted and hung out with Becca, John, Kevin, Margaret and Veronica.

The Cloisters
[The Cloisters at Fort Tryon Park in NYC]

Fort Tryon Park Joust
[Viewing the joust at the Medieval Festival at Fort Tryon Park]

Throughout the course of the day I also ran into, and briefly chat with, members of TGTSNBN and they were all wearing wonderful medieval garb. Some members of NETS were also there, and try as I may, I just couldn’t locate them within that huge crowd. Can’t imagine how I could have missed Tim in his Gandalf the Grey costume. Overall I had a most enjoyable day and my foot held up nicely.

Tuesday, October 6th, I had a foot doctor appointment for therapy, which is now once every two weeks instead of every week. I am definitely feeling a vast improvement on foot that had surgery. It has been a little over two months since the surgery.

Wednesday evening, October 7th, I participated in the 2-hour NVC Academy “To Be Peace” telecourse.

Friday evening, October 9th, I joined my friend Cielito at a two-hour meditation with a few other members of Share International. This was held at a Share International member’s home on West 104th Street, and then afterwards Cielito and I headed down to West 33rd Street for a lite dinner at a Korean restaurant. Food was reasonably priced and very tasty. During our leisurely dining experience we were able to catch up on news and gossip.

Saturday afternoon, October 10th, I joined some members of The NYC Tolkien Society [ie: Dennis, Jo and Frodan] for abit of sightseeing along 5th Avenue, and then strolled over to 9th Avenue around 50th Street. They were attending a special dinner in which the honored guests were Howard Shore and Doug Adams. Other members of NETS and TORn were also in attendance for this event, which I later heard about from Dennis and saw pix on his digital camera. The Bilbo and Frodo birthday cake was very impressive and had been especially ordered by Timdalf. I ended up having a late lunch/early dinner at a nice Mexican place called Blockheads. Afterwards I raced home to change and freshen up for the special event ahead. Met up with members of NYC Tolkien Society [ie: Timdalf, Dennis, Kathy, Andi, Mary, Jo, Frodan, and Carole] at RCMH for the LotR FotR event. Even though my birthday was a week away, this was my own precious pressie to me. Outside RCMH people were taking photos of our group. Why? Ummm, maybe it was due to the fact that several members were in LotRs costume. Tim was dressed as Gandalf the Grey, Frodan as Frodo and Jo as Eowyn the shield maiden. Many attendees went in before 6:30pm, so as to hear Howard Shore and Doug Adams speak about the music and creating this type of event. Tim, Dan and Jo attended the event on Friday evening, and related that Elijah Wood and Billy Boyd [ie: Frodo & Pippin] were in the audience. Frodan even got to chat with Elijah’s and obtain his autograph! Very cool! Great hearing Howard and Doug speak about the music, but the main event was yet to come, and that started promptly at 7:30pm. What an experience! [Dennis, Tim and I sat in the second mezzanine, and the others were scattered around the first mezzanine and orchestra.] Seeing FotR on the big screen while listening [and viewing] to the orchestra, soloists and assorted chorales bring the music to glorious life was so thrilling. At times I had chills running up and down my spine and/or tears in my eyes for the beauty of it all. During the intermission, which is halfway through the film, tried to utilize the rest room but the lines were soooo long. Dennis and I chatted briefly with Tim, and I also read through the special program for the event. We learned that “The Two Towers” will be shown at RCMH around October 9, 2010. Awesome! We in the audience applauded certain segments, laughed in others and the biggest applause came at the end. I would gladly pay to see this type of event over and over again. It was that amazing. Afterwards I briefly chatted with my friends [NETS] before roaming the streets in search of a subway that was working to get my buttocks home. I eventually got home around 12:30am and in bed by 1am. Difficulty in getting to sleep with visions of a glorious evening bopping around my noggin, but blessed sleep did come. Amen!

Next day, October 11th, I caught the 11:07am train to Stamford; were my dear friend Katherine picked me up, along with her 3 year old grandson Shane. We hadn’t seen each other for quite some time, and had much to catch up on. We drove to Pound Ridge for the annual Art & Craft Show in Scotts Corners. Even though the weather was overcast and windy at least it didn’t rain, and therefore not spoil our day. With Shane in his little red wagon, we traversed the show and admired the artisans work, and I purchased a few items. Afterwards we drove to our ole elementary school to stroll about the grounds, peek in the windows, and reminisce about the ole days back in the 1960s. Shane spent some time at the playground and checking out the slides. Then we stopped by the Pound Ridge cemetery, so that I could pay my respects at Danny B’s grave site. From there we headed back to Stamford and dealt with Shane’s temper tantrum while driving. Not an easy experience, but somehow Katherine and I weathered the storm. Shane eventually calmed down, drank some water in his sippy cup and ate some chips. Poor dear didn’t have much of a nap and was feeling abit cranky. Caught the train back to NYC and another weekend is at an end.

On Monday evening, October 12th, I joined other TGTSNBN members at Tutuma Social Club to hear Travis Prinzi talk about the Harry Potter books. He’s also author of two books of essays on the HP series, plus webmaster of site. Travis’ Halloween themed discussion was about Harry Potter, Dracula, and Frankenstein: Supernatural fear and the gothic in J.K.Rowling’s bestselling novels.

Wednesday, October 14th, I participated in the NYDoP CCR Committee conference call about taking Resolution 627 further and re-introducing it in 2010.

Friday evening, October 16th, I joined others at the weekly Friday Nite Knits, which is always held at “The Oak & the Iris” near Fort Hamilton Pkwy.

On Saturday evening, October 17th, I joined my friend Jackie for dinner at “Big Daddy’s Diner” near Union Square. We caught up on news and gossip while enjoying some tasty comfort food. Jackie treated me to the meal, as it was my birthday. We’re both going to switch gears and become Vegans in early 2010. Afterwards we headed to the southern part of Union Square and did some shopping at WholeFoods. The latter is okay, though abit pricey, and in future I’ll do more of my specialty shopping at Westerly’s on 8th Avenue. Earlier in the day Dana came by to clean my apartment, plus I did some veggie shopping at the local farmers market and got a much needed manicure. For my birthday I received “happy wishes” via Facebook and also cards in the mail.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Sunday through Thursday, Sept 13-17, I was on vacation down at my beloved Cape May, NJ, and stayed at the Macomber hotel right on Beach Avenue. Sweet! Unfortunately, my favorite room wasn’t available, so I had to utilize a smaller room on the top floor with no view of the beach. The next day the hotel staff moved me to my favorite room after it became free. Hurray! It’s a charming room on the second floor with a lovely view of the beach, and a nicely landscaped miniature golf course. Next to the hotel is a bicycle rental place and I was so surprised to see Joe sitting there. [We’ve been friends since 1998.] He’d been working elsewhere since 2006, recently gotten divorced, and now “owns” Cape Island Bicycle. I rented a bike for the duration of my stay in Cape May and Joe gave me a discount. Great guy! Several of my favorite places to dine in central Cape May are Zoe’s, Depot Mkt Cafe and George’s Place. [Good food, service and their prices are quite reasonable.] Was unsettled to see my beloved “Seaside Sweets” had gone out of business. They made the best chocolate covered potato chips in all of Cape May. While on vacation I brought my laptop with me, as the hotel has free WiFi access. Used it mostly in the evenings from 8-10pm to surf the Net and work on transcribing interview with my father. The latter I eventually sent to Bonni Brodnick for her “Talk of the Town” column in the Record-Review. Also had my cell phone with me, plus I utilized it as an alarm clock to wake me up in the mornings.

Toes in the Sand
[My toes are content in feeling the warm beach sand underneath]

Cape May Sunset Sept 13
[The sunsets are so lovely in Cape May]

While visiting Cape May, I make a point of hanging out at the southern end of Beach Avenue around 7pm to view the lovely, soothing sunsets. I’m not the only one enjoying this leisurely pastime. Over the course of my stay I pedaled around lovely Cape May, shopping at Washington Street mall, taking pix, hotel veranda, and sit on the beach with toes in the ocean. I also visited the Cape May lighthouse, Bird Observation & Sanctuary, nature walks, Sunset Beach, WW2 tower/museum, Queen Victoria garden tour, Angel of the Sea Inn tour, Emlen Physick house museum/gallery, Rug Hook exhibit at Chalfonte hotel, and the Cherry House tour. The latter was so enjoyable and fascinating. I highly recommend taking this tour when visiting Cape May.

Angel of the Sea Inn
[Views of the “Angel of the Sea” Inn – Cape May]

Seaside Plants
[Seaside plants in Cape May]

I also visited Regina, and her beloved dog [ie: Golden Retriever] Brandy, at Twin Gables on Columbia Avenue. [I’ve stayed there several times between 1998 and 2006. Regina’s cooking and baking is wonderful.] Was upset to learn that her husband, Harry, passed away in early 2008, and last time I visited them was September 2007. Overall I had such a nice, relaxing time during my vacation and it always saddens me when I have to head back to NYC. [NOTE: Stay tuned for photos.......]

Friday evening, Sept 18th, I volunteered with City Harvest at Union Square farmers market.

Tuesday morning, Sept 22nd, I assisted another EY BSC EA at a VPs apartment near Lincoln Center. We had to wait for furniture delivery and then tip the chaps from Macy’s. It’s a really nice apartment with lovely views of Central Park, Central Park South, Broadway and Eastside of Manhattan. After work I had a foot doctor appt, which included therapy for my foot. Afterwards I jumped on the #3 subway to Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn to pick up new Pearl Jam CD at Target.

Wednesday evening, Sept 23rd, I am participating in a new telecourse by NVC Academy called “To be Peace” and it is hosted by Miki Kashtan. [Thank you so much, Joe A, as he assisted me with credit card.] Unfortunately I missed the Sept 9th call, which was the first of the series and this telecourse goes through to early December.

Thursday evening, Sept 24th, I attended the Park Slope Knit meetup held at Hanco’s. Great socializing with others who are into knitting and crocheting, plus eat some good food.

Friday evening, Sept 25th, I had dinner with a fellow PJ fan and friend [Andrea]. We’ve stayed in touch, via email / Facebook, over the years and last time we’d hung out together was to see PJ at Letterman in 2005. Andrea stopped by my office [EY] and I gave her a brief tour before we headed out to dinner. We enjoyed a tasty dinner at “Simply Pasta” on 41st Street near 6th Avenue, and while leisurely noshing on salads we caught up on news, PJ and gossip. We both adore PJs bass player, Jeff Ament, who we think is such a hottie.

Saturday & Sunday, Sept 26/27, visit Nadine and Peter’s weekend home up near New Paltz and Kerhonkson, which is on the border of the Catskills. The week before they had adopted a 4-year old dog from a rescue shelter and it was Sparky’s first time in visiting the New Paltz / Catskills region, as well as getting better acquainted with his new owners. Sparky looks to be part Beagle and Pointer, plus he’s a well behaved doggie. Met up with Peter and Nadine at 9am in Manhattan and from there we drove up in their car. We drove leisurely along the lovely Palisades interstate parkway, and then on to route 87N before getting off at New Paltz. We did some shopping at “Health Nutrition Center” and then lunch at “Karma Road Organic Cafe”. I highly recommend this cafe and the food was delicious. You can check out their website at It was also health conscious weekend for me, as both Nadine/Peter are active Vegans. Got me to thinking about becoming a total vegetarian or vegan starting in January 2010. After settling into their charming weekend home, and taking a tour of the 7 acres, we headed over near Ellenville to do some hiking at Sam’s Point.

Nadine Peter and Sparky
[Nadine, Peter and Sparky getting ready to descend into Sam’s Point Ice Caves]

Autumn Harvest
[The rich, colorful beauty of an Autumn harvest]

My foot held up well, but my lungs and asthma was another matter, plus I also realized I am abit out of shape. Need to do more cardio, stretching, yoga, meditating and healthier eating. [It’s been a few years since I’d done all that 24/7; time to get back into the groove.] The vegan lifestyle is sounding more appealing to me every day. The hike around parts of Sam’s Point and the Ice Caves was really cool, plus the views are quite lovely. We spent the evening indoors eating a delicious healthy meal by Nadine, relaxing by the warmth of the fireplace, and watching movies on PBS until midnight. Next day woke up to overcast, foggy, wet weather. After a lite tasty breakfast Nadine and I enjoyed listening to Peter play the piano, plus we walked down to the creek at one end of their property. In the 2 ½ years they’ve seen deer and bear around their property, plus other smaller wildlife. Before heading back to Manhattan, we noshed on a late lite lunch of multi grain toast and soup by Nadine. Back in the city they dropped me off at the subway and I arrived home around 7pmish. Overall a very enjoyable weekend. [NOTE: Stay tuned for photos.]

Monday, October 12, 2009


[Duchess Note: Condensed version of "personal news”, as I’ve been abit busy lately and therefore lagging behind on my edits.]

Saturday-Tuesday, Sept 5th through 8th, I visited my parents in upstate NY for the long Labor Day weekend. I had a nice, relaxing time and even brought my office laptop with me. It was so nice to sit in a comfy recliner on their screened in porch in the evening and surf the Net.

Inside Corn Field2
[Exploring a corn field………..]

[A peaceful wooded area near my parent’s home]

Also, over the course of an hour or so, I interviewed my father in regards to his youth, which was spent growing up in Pound Ridge [NY]. This town of my own youth is situated north of NYC in Westchester County, about an hour via MetroNorth. Overall I had a lovely time visiting my family in upstate NY.

Wednesday, Sept 9th, I had a foot doctor appt, which included therapy for my foot. Afterwards I head up to West 26th Street to Revolution Book store to hear Chris Hedges talk about his new book called “Empire of Illusion”. The place filled up quickly and they used a PA system for about 20+ people outside to hear Mr. Hedges speak on a variety of topics, plus take questions at the end. It was an interesting evening and I definitely want to come back to check out the books in this store.

Thursday, Sept 10th, was another insane work day at the office and I didn’t get out of there until 8:30pm. Was suppose to do “phone banking” for Josh Skaller’s city council campaign, which was from 6-9pm, and then go home to jump on a conference call hosted by Congressman Kucinich on healthcare. I was too tired when I got home and simply crashed.

Friday, Sept 11th, is the 8th anniversary of the horrific events at WTC and Pentagon.

Saturday, Sept 12th, I attended an 11am press conference and walkabout at Doug Biviano’s City Council campaign headquarters in Brooklyn Heights. Congressman Dennis Kucinich [Ohio Democrat] endorsed Doug’s campaign and attended the press conference with his lovely wife Elizabeth. It was great seeing Dennis again and he greeted me with a hug, plus a warm smile, then introduced me to his wife. Press from several newspapers, including one from ole Greenpoint, was there to cover the event and also interview Kucinich and Biviano.

[Duchess Note: More "personal news" and photos to follow, along with a report on my vacation to my beloved Cape May, NJ.]