Friday, November 21, 2014

Top 10 Upcoming Weekend Events November 21

(In case you missed it)

November 21 last day to see Gingerbread Houses at Liberty Place in downtown Philadelphia. 

November 21 Helen Kate Furness Library Well Read6 Wine and Cheese Evening with a Silent Auction 7 - 10 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $35.

November 21 - 23 Gore Tex Philadelphia Marathon Race Weekend

November 21-23 Cape May Holiday Season Preview Weekend.

November 21st Community Arts Center of Wallingford in the Ballroom Musical Artists: Caleb and Carolyn and Twin Ghosts Visual Artist: Sally Paynter.

November 21-23 Mind Body Spirit Expo at the Valley Forge Convention Center.

November 21 - December 7 Holiday Gift and Craft Extravaganza at the Hilltop House 10 a.m. - 6 p.m located at 570 Beaumont Road, Devon, PA. Admission $4.00

November 22 Brookhaven Holiday Parade 2:00pm.  Parade participants are to report to Our Lady of Charity parking lot anytime after 12 noon.  If you are unsure of the parade route, please call the borough office. In an effort to help those less fortunate, our local cub scouts will be collecting canned goods. Please donate a few cans and give to the scouts during the parade (they will be in uniform).

November 22 and 23 Philadelphia City 6 Flag Football at Drexel U.

November 22 is International Survivors of Suicide Day. SOS, Inc. in conjunction with Philadelphia Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) hosts the Philadelphia Venue for the conference. This years event will be held November 22, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Lankanau Hospital's Annenberg Conference Center. Please click on the link for more information.

Correction:  November 22 Town of Brookhaven Polar Plunge for Special Olympics. My mistake posted on Monday this event will take place in Brookhaven, N.Y. it is still a noble cause if you will be in N.Y. : ). I humbly apologize to anyone considering attending. I will try and find another for you.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Top 10 Ways to Quit Smoking

 This is a partial repost from my 2011 blog on smoking with some updated content.  It has received many hits, I hope it helps one more person on their journey to quit smoking. It is not easy to quit but it can be done.

Today is the Great American Smokeout Day 2014

If you are not a smoker or have never smoked, this list is not for you unless you can find some sympathy for those that do struggle with addictions.

1. Smoking is a physical and psychological addiction that produces a "chain reaction" in the body. Nicotine is as addictive as heroin and cocaine according to Withdrawal symptoms can include any of the following: dizziness (which may only last 1 to 2 days after quitting) depression, feelings of frustration, impatience, and anger, anxiety, irritability, sleep disturbances, including having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, and having bad dreams or even nightmares, trouble concentrating, restlessness or boredom, headaches, tiredness, increased appetite, weight gain, constipation and gas, cough, dry mouth, sore throat, and nasal drip, chest tightness, slower heart rate. It doesn’t sound like a lot of fun or offer the comfort a cigarette does.

2. Quit Smoking Aids: There are many but it comes down to one key ingredient and that is "you". Whatever aid or help you enlist, you must be able and willing to follow through. The odds are stacked against you. Mark Twain said “Quitting smoking is easy; I have done it a thousand times”. According to The American Cancer Society, success rates in general, only about 4% to 7% of people are able to quit smoking on any given attempt without medicines or other help. Studies in medical journals have reported that between about 25% and 33% of smokers who use medicines can stay smoke-free for over 6 months. There is also early evidence that combining some medicines, may work better than using them alone. (See the section, "Help with the physical part of addiction: Prescription drugs.") Behavioral and supportive therapies may increase success rates even further, and help the person stay smoke-free. Check the package insert of any product you are using to see if the manufacturer provides free telephone-based counseling. I have read that the patches and gum can create a different addiction of their own. The American Heart Association, American Cancer Society want to help read their websites for suggestion and in some cases free assistance such as smoking cessation classes and other support.

3. Positive reinforcement: Place the exact amount of money you will save from NOT purchasing cigarettes in a glass jar so you can view your progress. The price in Pennsylvania is approximately $7 a pack and the rates vary from state to state. There's more than the monetary reward to consider. Smoking cessation has immediate health benefits. It lowers your blood pressure and reduces your pulse after only 20 minutes. Within a day, the carbon monoxide level in your blood returns to normal. Within two weeks to three months, your risk of a heart attack decreases and your lungs begin to function better. Long-term benefits include a reduced risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and other cancers. Smoking tobacco really isn’t friendly to any medical condition.

4. Weight Gain: Many worry about gaining weight if they stop smoking and it can happen especially if you replace cigarettes with food, average weight gain of 5 to 10 pounds in the first few months. The seminar I attended said 10-50lbs. That is a nightmare to me, so is getting cancer. I weigh the odds. I have witnessed a family member suffer. Cigarettes can be an appetite suppressant. It is recommended to up your calcium intake the first week, avoid carbs and drink 6-8 glasses of water you should also up your exercise routine and by all means do not become a slacker. Exercise can boost you mental and physical health. Cigarettes also mess with you blood sugar, metabolism, serotonin levels and dopamine.

5. Helpful diversions: Take a deep breath hold it for 5 seconds and release, do this 3 times. Don’t just sit there get up and do something. Drink a glass of water, lemon adds a little flavor, avoid triggers like alcohol and sweets and stressful, painful situations and they should avoid you too. ; - ) The American Cancer Society has a video game you can download and play.  it is a great diversion when you are having a craving. Find  Zombie Smokeout Download - iPhone, iPad & Android Game at this link.

6. A link to Helpful Hints for Friends and Family Do and Don't to Helping a Smoker Quit. I say Number !, "Don't Preach".

7. Behavior Modification: Change the way you deal with certain situations. Boredom, have a cigarette (old behavior), boredom, do something constructive, create and carry a list with you to fill in that idle time. Eat a meal, have a cigarette (old behavior), immediately brush your teeth after a meal or use mouth wash. Head in the opposite direction of where you used to go to smoke. Reward yourself for not being a smoker. Do not punish yourself by being a smoker. You will need to stock up on a whole new set of coping skills for stress. Look out stress knows you quit and comes looking for you. You will be vulnerable at first. You will absolutely sweat the small stuff until you learn to cope. Find that inner strength.

8. Smoking is known as a feel good. Who doesn’t want that instant gratification feel good. It is a challenge and a struggle to quit and most likely you will not get that much support from friends and family. Especially, if they were never a smoker, that do not realize how difficult this addiction is to break. If they are a born again non-smoker they know how difficult it is and rarely have any sympathy for you because they hate the addiction that once trapped them. Yet they can understand your struggle.

9. “They” say day 5 and 7 are the tough ones. I waited with baited breath for day 5 to arrive and it was pretty uneventful so I knew day 7 would be bad. I was constantly looking over my shoulder that day wondering, when it was going to come, yet I survived. Day 10 was the kicker. I woke up normally went into the kitchen a few dirty dishes in the sink so I went to load them up in the dish washer only to discover HE had loaded it incorrectly, the plates were not lining up and immediately I realized after almost 25 years, I had married the wrong man, my children never have and never will listen to me, they have minds of their own and maintaining the small home that I live in is just too overwhelming for me. I emailed my good friend who also quit smoking many years ago by the same method, hypnosis. I went on the postal, nicotine deprived rant and told her just about everything in my life was wrong. Luckily she had lived through the experience and was able to talk me down. Life was back to normal in about 15 minutes.

10. I quit smoking many years ago for over 20 years and I got smacked with a few of life’s unpleasant events, the culmination ranked pretty high on the stress scale and I made a huge mistake. You can find those stress level tests online. I picked up a cigarette again, but I have learned the hard way, I can never do that again. Smoking was something I knew was not comforting me at all. I had heard countless ads and friends remind me how unhealthy it was for me. Yet I was hooked. I  attended a "Quit Smoking" seminar using hypnosis and I have been a non-smoker again for many years.

Two commercials that appeared on national television that I always thought make a profound impact.

Like Father Like Son
Yul Brynner released  this video after his death from cancer.

Every one has stressors in their life. Make better choices on how you deal with yours.  Find the strength to support yourself and seek help when you know you can’t go it alone

Other helpful sources:Talk with Your Doctor,, and check local hospital websites for "free" smoking cessation classes.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Top 10 Fairmount Park Gingerbread House Samplings

 The Fourth Annual Gingerbread House Display
At The Shops At Liberty Place Rotunda
16th and Chestnut Streets
Philadelphia, PA

November 10 - 21

1. Mount Pleasant created by Chef Van Earl French Jr.of Van Earl's Cakes

2. Shofuso  Japanese Tea House created by Chef Samantha Ross of Garces Group


3. Laurel Hill Cemetery created by Tatum Kendall

4. Woodford Mansion created by Chef  Danielle Zahodski of Town Crier Bakery

5.  Historic Strawberry Mansion created by Drexel University's  Center for Hospitality

6. The  Smith Memorial Playhouse created by Chef Andrea Histand of Denise's Bakery

7. Lemon Hill Mansion created by Chef Peter Scarola of R2L

8. Cedar Grove created by James Rodebaugh of Brulee Catering

9. Ryers  Museum and Library created by Chef Diana Anello of Bredenbeck's Bakery

10.  The name card said Laurel Hill Mansion (that is on top) but it should also be called everything you can find in Center City created by Julie Quay of M.C.C.C. (Montgomery County Community College Culinary) Arts Institute.  It is amazing, you will say look there is the Ben Franklin Bridge, City Hall, Independence Hall, the Trolley, the Train , the Macy's Light Show, Dickens Village, Boyd's, the Mutter Museum, the Zoo Balloon, even the Moshulu.

Unfortunately the Gingerbread House Display will be over on Friday November 21 BUT the Holiday Tour of the Mansions begins December 3. Click on the Park Charms link, you don't want to miss out on this.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Top 10 Regrets Keeper or Giveaway

These are a few of my regrets and not the results of any kind of poll. We all have regrets.

1. The ugliest sweater I have ever owned was given to me by my best friend. It was an extra large and twice as big as me with yellow and purple stripes.  It fit me when I was nine months pregnant. I wanted to cozy up in that sweater the day I heard he was killed by a drunk driver. I should have kept it. I have a picture of me in it though as big as a house.  This will not be shared. I would regret that! He must have been psychic.

2. Christmas ornaments given to me by old boyfriends. I still have them all. It helps me to remember those tragic years with amusement. They are all dated. The boyfriends, keepers, not so much but the memento it decorates my tree.

3. I will never get over selling my ticket stub to the best concert I ever went to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young at Atlantic City Raceway. Santana was also on the bill. It poured rain and thundered, lightning graced the skies. It is the closest I ever got to what Woodstock may have felt like for a mere two hours. It was messy but it was awesome. I sold the stub for $5 that ticket was a priceless memory to me. It shows a big void in my scarp book. Sigh, a regret.

4. My baseball cards, I didn't get rid of them but my mother did. I had a huge box of them and had them in the attic for years. I had Carl Yastrzemski and Roberto Clemente,just to name a few of the really good ones. I still cringe at the thought they were just tossed in the trash! At least all the Barbie dolls were given to a neighbor. Ugh. Someday I will have to get over that loss. Perhaps it cuts so deeply is because it was not my decision.
5. I have just about every letter and card ever sent to me from old friends in my late teens and early twenties. Whenever I come across them, I can get lost in the past for hours. They are fond memories of naive thoughts of very young minds but what I like about them is the hope of things to come. I think we all dreamed big when we were young that is a good thing.

6. I rarely save any email correspondence but I don't worry so much if it is anything good the government has a copy. Working with historical artifacts, I do see the value in written correspondence. It is a pity much of that goes to the shredder and delete button.

7. I have far too many jackets and coats but I have a very difficult time parting with them. I go through the same ritual every season. The jackets go to the attic and all the potential winter coats come down to the first floor closet. I know these coats could warm someone else but I rationalize all the time with why I should keep these coats. I am embarrassed to say how many I have. Some I inherited from my mother and they are sentimental to me. I never regret finding a dollar or two in pocket. So far this year I have eight bucks I never knew I had.

8. I was not one of those crazy people that ran people over on Black Friday to get the newly released Cabbage Patch dolls but "my mother" did secure one a few years later that I have kept along with the dolls adoption papers. I am expecting to pay for my daughters wedding with that one. Maybe not. I should have saved the Furbies, Tamagotchi and TY Beanie babies they were hot property and we had a big tub of them. Had to have them. Those Furbies freaked me out. They were eventually moved to the shed and I swear even without batteries, if you opened the door their eyes would flash open and they would come alive spouting some gibberish and the Tamagotchi, those were 24/7. I couldn't wait to get rid of those. Ugh High Maintenance and it wasn't even mine!!

9. I did go through a period when I collected the valuable Bradford Exchange Plates. They were to last a lifetime. I displayed the Fairy Tale collection in the nursery. They lasted a few years then to the attic they went. It was sports motif and dinosaurs for my son and my daughter was everything pink including toy box and Barbie's condo and corvette. My daughter hates pink now I think we overdid.

10. Pictures, photographs and scrapbooks, I keep them all. Some of my photographs are in albums but many are in boxes but sorted.  I started the sorting project last winter. Since the digital age I hardly ever print a picture anymore.  They are all saved on an external hard drive, a good idea for anyone who stores pictures on their pc or mac.  If your hard drive crashes those pictures are gone. Your most valued pictures I would handle the old fashion way, print them but I have been eying those books you can make.  I have seen offers on Groupon. I am not a fan nor do I understand it but I suppose anything I post on Facebook (and this is rare) along with photos on my blog are out there in the cloud. Old family videos and slides are another issue.  You can't throw them out but the mechanisms to view them are becoming obsolete.  What do you keep?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Top 10 November Upcoming Week Things To Do

November 19 Wellness Wednesday at Lawrence Park Health Center in Broomall, How Cancer Treatment Can Affect Your Heart What You Should Know 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

November 21-23 Cape May Holiday Season Preview Weekend.

November 21st Community Arts Center of Wallingford in the Ballroom Musical Artists: Caleb and Carolyn and Twin Ghosts Visual Artist: Sally Paynter.

November 21-23 Mind Body Spirit Expo at the Valley Forge Convention Center.

November 21 - December 7 Holiday Gift and Craft Extravaganza at the Hilltop House 10 a.m. - 6 p.m located t 570 Beaumont Road, Devon, PA. Admission $4.00

November 22 Brookhaven Holiday Parade  

November 22 Town of Brookhaven Polar Plunge for Special Olympics

November 22 and 23 Philadelphia City 6 Flag Football at Drexel U.

November 22 2014 -January 2 2015 Yuletide at Winterthur.

November 23 Collingdale History Society is hosting a Victorian Tea and Open house at the historic Weir House from 2 to 4 p.m. Free admission $5 suggestion donation to go to the programs and services the society is planning to implement in the next year. Well behaved children are encouraged to come. Please RSVP by November