Did you know?…(4)

 

 

Did you know that actor Tae Diggs grew up in Upstate Rochester New York a-k-a “Roc City”? That’s right! It’s true. He attended Allendale Columbia School and later, School of the Arts in Rochester.

  •  After high school, he attended college at Syracuse University where he studied ‘theater’. After receiving his Bachelors in Fine Arts degree in musical theater, he moved to New York City where he debuted in his first leading role in the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning sensation “Rent” in 1996.
  • He went on from the broadway stage to television where he landed a role in a soap opera called, The Guiding Light in 1998.
  • He starred in a popular medical television series called Private Practice and also the movies The Best Man (1999) and the follow-up movie The Best Man Holiday(2013)

These are just a few of the accomplishments this very talented actor has made. Just goes to show; good things and great people can and do come from this ‘neck of the woods’. Can you “digg” it?

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

 

Image: Free google images: redbookmag.com

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Did you know?…(3)

Did you know….The “Amazing Spiderman” movie was shot on E. Main St. in Upstate New York a-k-a Rochester, New York during May 2013? That’s right!! Roc City was the backdrop for some of the more high-powered scenes in this movie. Please click on the video below to view some of the action on the last day of filming!!

It’s kind of surreal to watch these scenes with an unusual number of NYPD police vehicles flying through the middle of downtown Rochester, New York; a place I grew up in. I can see the actual bus stop I used to wait at daily, en route home from work many years ago. It’s such a proud feeling that my hometown was chosen for this epic film.

I recall watching various news broadcasts during the filming of these scenes. Several Rochesterians were interviewed and asked for their thoughts on all the hoopla. Some people felt a bit inconvenienced being that many of the bus routes were detoured to accommodate the filming needs of this action-packed adventure. It appeared that one man didn’t even know about the filming and detours until he set out to go to work on the very first morning.  Boy did he get a big surprise! He seemed to handle it though and was very good-natured about it all. So, You can imagine what an event it must have been for some to people to commute to and from work on the first day of shooting. I guess if you’re going to be inconvenienced, it might as well be like this! Roc City is once again…positively on the map!

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Some Inspiration for the “Writer” in You

 

   

Images: Free Google images

 

As I surfed the channels for something interesting to watch on Thursday evening, I stumbled across a program called “Bookmark” which showcases phenomenal writers, both well known and the up and coming. One of the writers featured in this episode was Nora Roberts. If you are familiar with her, then you already know that she is quite the accomplished writer, and that’s putting it mildly.

I really enjoyed the segment on Nora Roberts. I only wish the interview would have been longer but the advice she gave was priceless. She said that she works every single day on her writing, at least 6-7 hours and was very honest in saying that it’s not always a pleasant process for her. However, she never allows these intermittent unpleasantries to take away from her passion and love for writing. An important point to remember when you run into that lull or block that keeps you from moving forward on your writing project(s). She insists that you must write every day!

Even though some of Nora Roberts words in this interview were humble, her accomplishments scream to the masses just how huge her talent really is. Ms. Roberts has written 204 books (and counting) and has sold more than 289 million copies. At one point, she was producing 5 books per year! She even has eight books that have been made into Lifetime Movies:

 

Tribute – premiered on 4/11/09

Highnoon – premiered on 4/0/09

Midnight Bayou – premiered on 3/28/09

Northern Lights – premiered on 3/21/09

Carolina Moon – premiered on 2/19/09

Blue Smoke – premiered on 2/12/07

Montana Sky – premiered on 2/05/07

Angels Fall – premiered on 1/29/07

 

You might wonder how a literary agent keeps up with the pace of a writer such as Nora Roberts who seems to produce novels with as much ease as some people hold a conversation. In spite of her agent’s failed attempts to inspire her interest in other activities, Ms. Roberts simply cannot abandon her writing, not even for a minute. According to her, she is addicted and has to write! What a lovely addiction! I can think of far worse things. Couldn’t you? It is to our advantage that she has such a love for writing and creating these fabulous stories with the most interesting and oftentimes sarcastic characters.

Fans of Ms. Roberts that were briefly interviewed for this segment, all agreed that each and every book that she produces, is completely different from the last. You don’t see a repetitive style in her writing because the stories are all fresh; like each new day that she sets about the business of creating the exciting worlds that we, the readers, are going to no doubt become completely enveloped in, as she weaves us into her tangled web(s). I would just like to know how she keeps it all straight?!

So, are you impressed, overwhelmed, or both? Well, there’s still more. Nora Roberts also writes under a pen name: J.D. Robb. She started using this pen name in the 1990’s when she developed a mystery genre series called In Death! I don’t know about you, but I am completely taken aback, and in a good way! I am so glad I accidentally came across this program. I haven’t read anything of Ms. Roberts in some years, but I now know I need to revisit her very entertaining world. So, if you take nothing from this post, please use it as a spring board to inspire you to write, each and every day, as if your life depends on it. I definitely plan on doing just that.  Maybe if we all practice this, we too can ignite the literary flame that is waiting to explode within us.

 

 

 

 

A Corporate Challenge….

 

 

       

Images: businessinsider.com and free google images

The annual J.P. Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge takes place today in Roc City, a-k-a Rochester New York (Upstate) on the RIT Campus(Rochester Institute of Technology). Amazingly, this crowd-drawing occasion is in its 24th year! The event donates a large portion of the proceeds raised to the Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection. There are 460 companies participating this year; a new record for this event. There’s also an astounding 10,600 runners who are on their marks, waiting to begin the race for this very worthy cause. Runners are expected be out of the starting blocks at 7:00pm.

I used to participate in this well-known community affair. As a former employee with J.P. Morgan Chase, I proudly participated along with friends and co-workers. There was nothing like the feeling of pride I felt in participating in such a high-profile event; one that donned the name of the very company I worked for. I wore my Corporate Challenge t-shirt and assigned race # with elation and satisfaction. It was such an awesome sight to see so many companies taking part with their employees representing them and also sporting their company’s respective  t-shirt(s).

There were numerous tents set up throughout the grounds with all kinds of delicious food and beverages. Seeing fellow employees outside their usual work zone was refreshing and provided an opportunity to see another side of people. There’s a certain type of buzz  that was present when I attended the ‘challenge’. Excitement, anticipation and comradery, all filled the air amidst the laughter and chatter of people who came together for a common cause. Solidarity is a powerful thing and it made and continues to make this cause a highly successful one!

Now, I need to be perfectly honest with you, the reader. I was no runner, but I did speed walk the 3 1/2 miles that this race consists of. I felt just as accomplished when I walked across that finish line as those who had run the race! I felt exhilarated – I had done it! In my opinion, it doesn’t matter how you get there, just as long as you do!

Failure to Launch

 

Failure to launch…..an interesting phrase. But more than interesting, it is a serious real life occurrence that is happening more often than some may realize. First of all, you may be wondering what this phrase means? Maybe you’ve never heard of it before now. You can glean from the words that something has failed to take off. Yes, failure to launch is when our 20 something young adults still live at home with seemingly no plans to leave. This incidence seems to happen predominantly with males. Now, this could be for any number of reasons. Do you think that maybe young females are more independent and yearn to be on their own more than their male counterparts? Maybe so, maybe not. Could it be that in the instances where a young male has failed to move on and go out and find out what life is all about, is because he often comes from a single-parent female head of household? Would you agree that the lack of male influence and guidance has left him with little or nothing to go on in terms of what he should be seeking in life for himself as a young man? This may sound like a cop-out and in some ways it may be. But couldn’t these young males look at their single parent mother(s) as an example of all that she has accomplished by herself? Wouldn’t that seemingly be enough inspiration for them to take the bull by the horns and seize life? Evidently not in some instances. This scenario is very much alive and well. But why?

It would be easy to just say that some young males today are lacking in ambition and are not motivated by much of anything. The main form of stimuli for many of these males comes in the form of a video game system where they can be found any time of day glued to the screen as if they were hypnotized. You might be wondering how I know all this? Well, I happen to have a failure to launch situation of my very own! Yes….I live this every day. I have one son, age 23 and as the years go by(more and more quickly), he seems to dig his heels in deeper. It seems there is really no plan to explore life on his own any time soon. Without going into a whole lot of detail, I will say that the reason for this is the result of a combination of things.

I too am a single mother. You mothers out there know as well as I do that as women, we can only teach our ‘sons’ so much. We can teach them how to be respectful men, but we can’t teach them how to be men. A thin line to walk.  Almost so thin, it’s non-existent! Aside from all the wonderful technology that has been bestowed on society, I will admit that I have unintentionally contributed to the failure to launch issue in my home. I have often stepped in and solved a problem simply because I would not only make sure it got done, but timely. It seemed so much easier to just do whatever it was myself rather than go through the hassle of getting my son to produce results. I found myself to be very lenient when a stricter adherence to rules would have made all the difference in the world. I guess you could say, I more or less created a bit of a monster. Would you move out if everything was at your beck and call? Would you be anxious to go out into the world if it meant suddenly becoming responsible for everything? I may have raised a somewhat spoiled and entitled child, but I didn’t raise a fool. Why would anyone rock the boat who had it so good? Would you blame him?

I remember the times when my parents would encourage me and my siblings to go outside and play. We naturally triggered our imaginations as a result of always being outside in nature. My parents’ main request was that we had to be back in the house before the streetlights came on. As kids, we had a certain desire and curiosity about the good old outdoors, and bugs and the like. Television was limited and we couldn’t stay up until all hours of the night. We lived in a much more structured way of life than what many children experience today, including that which my son experienced in earlier years.We didn’t seem to have outrageous expectations and for the most part, were very satisfied with what we had.  It’s a different animal today that parents have to contend with. Technology has firmly planted the young minds of our children right where they stand; constantly enticing them to remain focused on some technological advance as opposed to some good old fashioned thinking.

So, how do parents solve this problem of failing to launch? A good starting point might be to begin reinforcing confidence and providing the proper tools to our young people in hopes of inspiring them to handle problematic situations on their own instead of waiting to be bailed out. The  cycle has to be broken at some point. The constant feelings of accomplishment will no doubt build and before you know it, you’ll be witnessing a successful launch instead of a failed attempt.  If you have a 20 something young adult still living at home, there’s a 50/50 chance you may experience this. What will you do?

Multiple Choice(s)

 

All of us have had to make choices at some point in our lives. Some have been easy and required little to no thought, while others have been difficult and required much consideration. You might be someone who finds it stressful deciding what you’re going to where to work every day. Or you might be the person that undergoes much stress in deciding which shoes go better with an outfit for an upcoming fancy gala. No matter how superficial or crucial the decision(s) may be, a choice has to be made; a stand has to be taken. Now, you can always opt to simply do nothing. But how far will that get you?

According to the Associated Press, a New York teenager by the name of Kwasi Enin has recently been the talk of the  national news media. You might question why? This student found himself in a most unique situation;one that I’m sure was the envy of many. Incredibly, Kwasi had been accepted to all 8 Ivy League Colleges. As if this wasn’t extraordinary enough, he was also accepted to several New York colleges. Is there no end to this teenager’s potential? And just think….he’s just getting started!

Kwasi’s parents, Ebenezer and Doreen Enin, who both emigrated from Ghana in the 80s, have always encouraged both Kwasi and his sister Adwoa to excel academically according the Associated Press reports. Evidently, the message was heard loud and clear! A.P. also states that Yale has always been a top contender for Kwasi in terms of his choice of colleges. A recent visit to this prestigious university’s campus tipped the scale as Kwasi made his decision. He liked the fact that everyone was welcoming and that he had met many geniuses during his visit. Kwasi also noted that Yale’s residential college system is good to all of the students as reported by AP.

The Associated Press reports that Kwasi wrote a passionate essay for his Yale college application where he expresses his love of music. Yes. He is also an outstanding musician! Surprised? Hardly. Even though Kwasi has a great love for music, it is not the direction he is headed. He aspires to become a physician and will be attending medical school.  Wow! Quite a lot to absorb for a student who is only 17 years old. But something tells me that he will do just fine. Kwasi Enin was faced with a huge decision and he had 8+ selections to choose from. After careful consideration, he weighed all his options and made his choice.  How would you handle it if you ever find yourself  faced with multiple choices?

Two Wings and a Prayer

Ever since I was a little girl, airplanes have fascinated me. I remember my grandmother taking a flight occasionally and how she seemed to do it with ease. Every time I saw one of those gigantic objects in the sky, I simply could not understand how it could possibly stay in the air, not to mention fly from place to place. I had secretly sworn to myself that I would never fly.

Little did I know at the time, that those feelings of fear and apprehension would manifest securely into my adult life. I knew that I was not alone in my fear of flying, better known as aerophobia.  I of course came to understand with much more clarity what was happening in adulthood than when I was a kid. I realized that there were maybe 2 little men flying this large piece of equipment.How could these planes possibly stay in the air? Couple that with dozens of passengers with baggage adding to the weight of this already over-sized aircraft. Being aware of these facts only made my fear of flying stronger, if that were possible.

I wondered for years about this, but was not so curious to find out for myself. However, deep inside I knew that I wanted to conquer this fear but how? I wasn’t even able to accept the fact these planes could stay in the air, even though I had seen it a hundred times with my own eyes. But, I couldn’t help but be curious about how cool it must be to fly from one place to the next and arrive fresh and collected. Would this ever be a possibility for me? Or would I just resolve myself to driving everywhere? There went my dreams of seeing California and Rodeo Drive, considering my east coast residency.

An opportunity came up in August 2008 giving me the chance to conquer my fear of flying once and for all. My sister was planning a mini-vacation to Baltimore, MD and D.C. and asked if I wanted to come along with her and my niece. I jumped at the chance. I knew that once I purchased tickets for my son and I, there would be no turning back! I was extremely excited about it, nervous, but excited.  I was finally going to go on a real vacation and fly some place to do it! It was a first flight for myself, my son and my niece.

The flight went well and I handled it with much more ease than I ever thought I would. The take off was totally exhilarating! Once we landed, thoughts rushed into my head promptly reminding me that I still had to make a return flight back. Thankfully, the flight back went smoothly as well. I had prayed, I had flown, I had done it! I had finally accomplished something that has been haunting me for years! But would I do it again?

I caught a late night episode of Nightline recently and what do you think was the featured subject? People with a fear of flying! Evidently, there’s a retired USAF pilot turned therapist called the Plane Whisperer! Who knew? Where was this man when I needed him? He offers these classes where people with this fear, take lengthy flights to try and conquer their fears of flying. A  good portion of these classes center around teaching people to learn to control their breathing when feeling anxious. The Plane Whisperer also supports that there is a 1 in 60 million chance of dying as a result of flying, no matter how often a person flies. Amazing! Somehow, I think that even had I been armed with this information prior to my own flight, I don’t know that it would have made much difference.

During a flight with the Plane Whisperer and other passengers, one woman was practically hyperventilating and became very nervous and agitated and wanted to stop and open the windows. It’s like she didn’t have any air.  Her feelings of anxiety were very evident and I felt like I could relate to what she must have been experiencing. The fact that she wasn’t in control of the plane was the biggest thing for her to get over. By the end of the segment, she was calm and was making her way to putting her fear(s) behind her. It had taken her 4 classes to make the flight to Las Vegas, but she did it. Another man, changed his mind about the flight after his fear overtook him. This very fear had prevented him from attending his own parents’ funeral. But he still couldn’t bring himself to get on that plane. He just wasn’t ready.

It would be safe to conclude that the only way to conquer this fear or any other for that matter is to just do it! But you have to resolve it in your mind that you will not let your fear(s) keep you from living and doing the things you love. So say a prayer, then take to the skies by way of 2 wings and a prayer that are only going to help get you there! Happy flying!!

Pink Dogs – A Hot Item!

 

 

Pink’s was started by Paul & Betty Pink with a $50.00 loan. They originally sold 10 cent hot dogs from a cart on a neighborhood street corner at La Brea and Melrose in 1939. Pink’s was known as the proverbial ‘mom and pop’ hot dog stand. The city of Los Angeles fell in love with this hot dog haven and after 73 years, Pink’s has become an internationally famous landmark under the operation of Paul and Betty’s family – Richard,Gloria, and Beverly. Today, Pink’s Hot Dogs is one of the top 10 Hot Dog Stands in the U.S. as named by Fox News. Is it any wonder that Pink’s has expanded while spreading their ‘hot dog’ love to ten other locations that include Southern California, Las Vegas, and Ohio?

A huge variety of hot dogs,burgers,generous portions and reasonable prices have added to Pink’s notoriety. This establishment is highly recommended to visitors as a “must do” to achieve the “Hollywood” experience that is historically associated with it. Just like anything else, celebrities enjoy a great hot dog too and have found their way to Pink’s consistently over the years! Back in the day, anyone from Orson Welles to Michael Jackson and in between, were known to frequent Pink’s. Today, Pink’s carries on its tradition of delicious food, great customer service, and nostalgically fun atmosphere to celebrities such as Jay Leno, Steve Martin, Bill Cosby, Betty White, Martha Stewart; just to name a few! And let’s not forget the famous celebrity chefs:  Bobby Flay, Giada de Laurentiis, and Emeril Lagasse. Incidentally, Bill Cosby has been said to have on one occasion ordered 10,000 hot dogs to go! Imagine that! It has also been reported that Bruce Willis proposed to Demi Moore at this famous ‘hot spot’. If the walls of this place could talk, the stories they could tell!

The walls of Pink’s have been adorned with photos of Hollywood actors prior to their big breaks, in hopes of being discovered. Even when these up and coming actors became successful, they still found themselves back at Pink’s. What a great way to pay homage to a place that was a haven during humble beginnings! This is more proof that the magic of Pink’s not only exists, but endures!

Customers have been traveling to Pink’s in every kind of moving vehicle, from pickup trucks to limousines. All in the name of satisfying their ‘hot dog’ hunger. It has been said that, “variety is the spice of life”. Pink’s seems to have this down cold, offering 30 choices of hot dogs to satisfy the hungry palettes of their loyal following. There’s even a relaxing dining room and a patio to enjoy your authentically customized ‘dog’. What more could you ask for? I don’t know about you, but Pink’s just became one of the top 10 contenders on my travel to-do list! Won’t you join me?!

What would my grandma say?

 

I often wonder what my grandma would say about so many things if she were alive today. She had such high hopes for me and my siblings. My grandma had a unique way of making each one of us feel like we had a special and individual relationship with her. It takes a special person that can make so many feel uniquely special, all at the same time.

I can’t help but feel that my grandma and I shared the most unique bond of all. I was the firstborn and my mother has often told me that my grandma fell in love with me instantly as a baby. So much so that she actually kept me for the first nine months of my life!  This still amazes me when I think about it now in my adult life. It started off that grandma was only going to keep me for a couple of weeks to give my mother a little break. A couple of weeks became a  month, two months, so on and so on until nine months quickly rolled around. My mother actually had to insist that my grandma give me back which my grandma of course did, but reluctantly.

Sometimes, I think my own bonding time with my mother suffered some as a result of the first crucial months being spent away from her. It’s almost as if there’s some kind of unspoken disconnect that exists between my mother and I, even to this day. Now, let me be very clear. My mother and I love each other to pieces, but I often feel that intangible missing link that casually floats between us.

My parents used to take my siblings and me to stay with grandma for the summers. We would cry when our parents dropped us off and we would cry when they came to pick us up. Oh the fickleness of children! My grandma would always promise that one of those old days she was going to come back home with us and stay for a couple of days! But until that time came, we just cried like babies when we had to leave grandma at the end of our summer visits.

This one particular summer visit had quickly come to an end. I knew there was a chance that grandma might come back with us this time, but I also knew that she probably wouldn’t. To our surprise,  grandma announced at the very last minute that she would indeed be traveling back home with us for a visit! We were beside ourselves with joy! We didn’t have to be sad about leaving grandma behind  because she was coming with us this time! We couldn’t have been happier!

I had recently learned to “french braid” my hair and had been promptly given the job of braiding all three of my sisters hair as well. Can’t say that I was happy about that but practice makes perfect, right?  Even though my grandma preferred wearing a wig, she was so excited about my new braiding skill, that she wanted me to try it on her as well. I happily braided her hair that weekend. I don’t know who was happier – me or grandma. Grandma only stayed for a few days as she was preparing to move the next weekend into a new house closer to town. She was so excited about us visiting her there in the future summers. That next weekend, my dad went to pick her up for the move. He could see my grandma sitting in her chair by the window as she had often done while watching and waiting for us to arrive in the summers. My dad knocked and knocked but she did not come to the door. My dad went and got someone to help break open the door. Sadly my grandmother had  passed away in her chair with her coat on waiting to go to her new surroundings, but she never made it. I still remember the day my father came home and broke the news to the rest of the family! I learned later that she had passed away with the french braids that I had done still in her hair! My grandma was indeed a special woman and I still feel a bond with her, all these years later. I hear her quiet encouragement when I am hesitant about a new project or adventure. I wonder what she would think of what I’ve accomplished thus far. Would she be pleased with the adult woman I’ve become? I would love to know what she would make of the world and all of the changes that have taken place since she passed away all those years ago. What would she think about all the things I’ve gone through in my life so far? I may never know the answers to these questions but I do know that grandma is somewhere smiling and marveling at everything. She may not be here in the flesh but she is always here in spirit! I will always love you grandma!

If you quit, I will support you…..

 

When you read the title of this article, what comes to mind? When it was said to me, it blew my mind! I learned some very sobering truths during what turned out to be an enlightening conversation with a friend. Now, I was already aware that she is a very hardworking person and is very driven in her career and is very successful as a result. She shared with me that her mom has always been against her decision to become a doctor; hence the title of this post. Have you ever heard of such a thing? This would be some parents’ dream; their son or daughter aspiring to become a doctor and working diligently to make that happen.

Nonetheless, my friend’s mom has consistently, even to this day, encouraged her daughter to try other professions; anything other than the medical field. I could only look my friend with pure amazement and curiosity. As I continued to listen, her mother’s thinking began to have a very sensible rationale behind it; one that never occurred to me. It turns out her mom was only trying to spare her daughter the harsh realities of the vicious grind and obscene trespassing that would overtake her personal life; both non-negotiable and unavoidable factors of aspiring to this profession. This truly was an “aha” moment for me! I totally get where my friend’s mom is coming from. But, I still want to know what you think! Would you ever say this to your children, spouse, friend, etc.? Or, would you just let them be?

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