Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The First Earth Day 1970

Back in 1970 I was singing in the pit band of the Broadway show Hair on Saturdays. It wasn't a typical pit band, nothing about Hair was typical, but was in a sort of band wagon on the side of the stage. I had auditioned for Hair on the advice of some friends in the show and got called back for a part. I never took it because it took so long to be called back, that I had already booked a flight to spend the summer banging around Scandanavia and England. But I happened to be singing with them on Earth Day and the cast had been invited to sing at the ceremonies down in Union Square. It was a pretty big deal with lots of incredibly passionate speakers and performers which included  Dustin Hoffman, Pete Seeger, Leonard Bernstein and Paul Newman. It was the first time something like this had been planned and coordinated with so many other cities across the U.S. Fith Avenue was close to traffic from Union Square Park to Central Park and 14th Street between 3rd and 7th Avenue. It was basically an "ecological  carnival." There was bunting all over and posters made both by the city and "protestors". Back then, if you sat down at Battery Park on the lowest tip of Manhatten, you could see the raw sewage bobbing along and something clearly needed to be done. Union Square Park was the focus of the observances with about 100,000 people present over the course of the day and there were "teach-ins" all over the city. Cars were banned in Central Park, Prospect Park in Brooklyn, Forest Park in Queens and Silver Lake Park in Staten Island.


From the website 6ftsq.com
The day was marked by so much fanfare that there were three separate rallies in Union Square (at Noon, 3pm and 5pm), where speakers included Mayor Lindsay and Margaret Mead, while Leonard Bernstein, Paul Newman, Dustin Hoffman, Pete Seeger and the cast of “Hair” all provided entertainment. In summation, the New York Times surveyed the joyous scene and reflected, “If the environment had any enemies, they did not make themselves known.”
photo Getty Images Santi Visalli

 I found it incredibly interesting to find this photo from that day - how almost poignant it is to see this picture of people wearing face masks to keep out pollution as we wear them today to keep from spreading the Corona Virus.
getty images

Being a part of this was pretty amazing and really something I pretty much fell into because of singing with the band. I was able to meet and talk to Leonard Bernstein and Paul Newman (who was my crush of the moment after seeing him in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid). One of the girls in the cast went up to Paul and asked if she could have an autograph for her mother. Paul said he didn't do autographs, he would rather shake a person's hand. Leata looked at him, held out her hand and said "Shake my hand for my mother" He did and we all had a good laugh. When it was time to go back uptown to the theater Paul asked if he could hitch a ride. Of course we said yes and he ended up sitting in the seat in front of me and I had a lovely conversation with him. Also pretty amazing!

I look at our world today and feel like we have made an incredible amount of progress over the past 50 years. However, I find it interesting to see recent pictures of Los Angeles, India, Africa and Venice  - since the virus - to see the air unclouded by toxins and the canals clear as crystal. Perhaps it shows we haven't made as much progress and we think we have. What do you think?

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Happy, Sad ,Confused with Sam Heughan and Josh Horowitz



Thank you all for the positive responses to my blog yesterday. Today I have some short clips from Happy, Sad, Confused and more pictures of Sam. It was fun watching he and Josh come in, pat each other on the back and settle in. Sam wore a blue jacket over a t-shirt, a pair of jeans and his trademark Louboutin boots. 

I will admit these videos are not the greatest, a few times my arm got tired and it went black and there were times I was trying to get a good closeup shot and lost it, but found it again. That being said, all these videos are fun to watch








The first one is when Josh produced several funny photos from Sam's career and had Sam explain them to the fans. Much hilarity ensued. 




The second is when Josh has him read several things as Jamie, but the funny part was as Sam said at the end, he wasn't sure that was Jamie's voice as he hadn't used it in a while. Just goes to prove to people that Sam is an actor and not Jamie Fraser.  



This next clip is of an Outlander contest with Sam and a fan - guess who wins!






And this last one is Sam's answer to a fan's question about his being a producer on Season 5











Saturday, April 18, 2020

Meeting Sam Heughan


I had planned on writing this right after I met him, but just lost track of time. Two days ago, I  decided it was time to stop procrastinating and get it done. And then yesterday I read this on twitter:




 I have to tell you this just shocked me - how can people be so mean? I had seen some of the posts he referenced,  like the "shippers" (people who want the people they watch on tv shows - ie Sam and Caitriona playing Jamie and Claire in Outlander) to be in love in real life and stalk and follow them to incredible degrees to "prove" it's so even though Caitriona is happily married. They can get quite crazy about it, refusing to believe even the celebs when they say they are just good friends. The ones that are just sure he is a closet homosexual spend hours combing through pictures to prove their point. Their pictures are grainy and their proof is just sad. And of course we can't forget those who harrass whoever he is dating and offer death threats. This man has done nothing to deserve this and to say it comes along with celebrity, well, that's just ridiculous. No one should be treated that way. Can you imagine people following you and lurking in the bushes to try to catch you doing something unseemly or stalking you so much they find your home and try to hack your email and post the info online. Anyway, this is all incredibly sad and says something terrible about people today. Thankfully, most people are respectful of not only our own lives, but those of the celebrities they follow.

That being said. I AM a fan, a big fan of both Outlander and Sam.  So in February I finally ordered tickets to see him "live and in person" at a few events in New York City which is not far from where I live. I actually had tickets to Live With Kelly and Ryan, Good  Morning America and another early morning show. Then I scored a front row seat to seeing him at Happy Sad confused, a live podcast with Josh Horowitz at Symphony Hall, a small theater in NYC. I had a long think about it and knew in my heart I really didn't want to get up at 4 or 5am to go wait in the February cold to get into those early morning shows, so I gave up my tickets so other fans could have them. I felt seeing him one time in an hour long show was perfect, especially since I didn't have to go in so early.
The morning of the show it was snowing here and supposed to be rainy in the city, but I made sure I had a waterproof jacket  and set off. After I checked into my hotel, I went down to the theater to poke about to see if maybe he was there early. This is often the case, but not so for this show. So I found the stage door and figured it couldn't hurt to wait. I know some of you who know me are now shaking your heads, but this is not something new in my life, I have been meeting actors and singers this way since I was about 15. Why? I think because I did a lot of theater and singing myself when I was young, the people like me who love performing interest me.

It was about 4pm when I got there. Not long after, someone else who had been waiting in a car came out to join me. We enjoyed chatting about lots of things and it made time pass more quickly. It was drizzling and around 35 out and as time went on I was definitely cold. It was getting close to the time of the show when a few other ladies came to wait as well. I had literally just said, " I am giving it 5 more minutes and then I am going in," when a black car pulled up, people came out of the stage door and we realized it was Sam in the car. When he stepped out I will admit we looked at each other and said, "Oh my gosh, he's beautiful!" Yeah, I know, just don't even go there! But he was. I also thought, he's so young - younger than my oldest, and I knew it, but it was so much more evident in person. To me, he's just a kid!


He apparently knew the two other fans and called hi to them as he got out. The people from the theater were trying to get him into the theater and as he came walking by, my new friend said , "Sam, this lady has been waiting hours for you," and he stopped and came over to me. I asked if we could have a selfie and he said sure. Then he gave me a hug and started talking to me. I told him how I was grateful for his workout program My Peak Challenge (mypeakchallenge.com) and that it had helped me get up and moving and losing weight. He was genuinely happy to hear it. We said a few other things and then he said "It's so cold out, you need to go inside and get warrm," and then was escorted into the stage doorway. I have to say right now that this lovely lady I met gave up her chance to have a selfie or talk with Sam so I could. She recorded him coming out of the car, took the pix of me with him and even recorded a small part of our conversation. I though that was pretty incredible as she was as big a fan as I am. Just proves there are lots of good people around and we need to remember that. 


The show itself was great - lots of funny moments, laughs at things Josh did and Sam's take on them.  At the end Sam usually takes a selfie with the audience behind him, but this time Josh chimed in and he did the three photos as follows. I am in the lower right side in grey with the camera around my neck. These are pictures from Josh Horowitz. We were told to act...

HAPPY


SAD


CONFUSED



I am probably a bigger fan now - not only because of the enjoyable evening, and the new season of Outlander, but because I have been watching fan videos of others meeting him and seeing he is the same gentleman each time. It is a rarity for a celebrity to be as accomodating as Sam is. No matter how rushed he is, no matter the guards trying to get him inside or keep fans at arm's length, he still invariably stops for selfies or autographs. I heard one place mention that he was so concerned about the fans waiting in the cold, he asked if they could come inside. The answer was no, but who asks that? And of course when the interview was over, he went out into the cold with just a light jacket (he never wears a winter coat when going to interviews) and made sure he gave as many selfies or autographs as he could. I hope this awful thing that has finally reached the point of no return won't stop Sam from being who he is, a gentleman with a big heart.

Tomorrow I will have more pictures and some videos for  you. See you then!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

"Crack" Toffee

 I found this recipe wandering around the web and its so easy and uses items you probably keep in your cupboards. I initially made this to give away - but it didn't get into many of the gift packages because we pretty much ate them till there were so few left, I decided to keep them!

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
40 saltine crackers

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Line a 15"x10" jelly roll pan or 12"x17" cookie sheet with foil and spray with a non stick spray
2. Lay out crackers in a flat layer onto the foil
3. measure out your morsels and set them aside
4. Melt brown sugar and butter until a boil is reached. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 5-6 minutes or until mixture is thickened and sugar is completely dissolved. It should be pretty thick, but thin enough to pour and spread on its own. Pour this mix over the crackers making sure all are coated evenly

5. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until toffee becomes bubbly
6. After removing pan from oven, let it sit for 3-5 minutes and let it begin to set up.
7. Sprinkle on chips, let them spften and melt about 5 minutes and then spread them into an even layer. You can add nuts, cracker crumbs or whatever else you please at this point, but really, it is so good, it doesn't need anything extra.
Let cool or if needed quickly, refrigerate until it hardens.
Break into pieces and serve - it won't last long!!!!

Day 17 -Double Chocolate Nutella Cookie Truffles



 

 This recipe comes from Betty Crocker and its amazing!

Ingredients

1
pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker™ double chocolate chunk cookie mix
Vegetable oil, water and egg called for on cookie mix pouch
4
oz cream cheese, softened
1/2
cup Nutella™ hazelnut spread with cocoa
2
cups dark chocolate chips
2
tablespoons shortening
1
tablespoon Betty Crocker™ Decorating Decors chocolate candy sprinkles 



Directions

  • 1 Heat oven to 375°F. Make cookies as directed on pouch. Cool completely, at least 15 minutes.
  • 2 In food processor, process half of the cookies to fine crumbs. Remove and set aside; continue to process remaining cookies to fine crumbs. Mix all of cookie crumb mixture in food processor. Add cream cheese and Nutella™ spread. Process until well combined and mixture can be pressed into a ball, 1 to 2 minutes. Shape cookie mixture into 52 (1 1/4-inch) balls; place on cookie sheet lined with waxed paper. Refrigerate 15 minutes.
  • 3 In medium bowl, microwave chocolate chips and shortening uncovered on High 60 to 90 seconds or until mixture can be stirred smooth.
  • 4 Remove half of the cookie balls from refrigerator. Using 2 forks, dip and roll chilled cookie balls, one at a time, in melted chocolate. Return to lined cookie sheet; immediately decorate top with sprinkles. If chocolate has cooled too much, reheat. Refrigerate truffles about 10 minutes or until coating is set. Repeat with second half of cookie balls. Store covered in refrigerator.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Day 16 -Eggnog Biscotti




Ingredients
  • ½ cup Land O'Lakes Butter (1 stick, softened)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup eggnog
  • 2 teaspoons rum or 1 teaspoon rum extract
  • 3¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Glaze
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rum or ½ tsp rum extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons eggnog
Instructions
  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar, and eggs with a mixer for about 1 minute or until well blended. Mix in eggnog and rum or rum extract, just until blended.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. Working in small batches, mix the flour mixture into butter mixture until all of the flour mixture has been added to the butter mixture and is well blended.
  4. On a floured cutting board, divide dough in half. Shape each dough half into a long roll, approximately 14" long. Carefully place rolls on prepared baking sheet, about 3" apart from each other. With your hand, press down each roll so that they are approximately ½" high.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Carefully remove from pans and place on cooling racks. Set aside baking sheet, as it will be reused. When biscotti had cooled enough to handle, but is still warm, carefully move them to a cutting board and cut crosswise slices (approximately ½" in size).
  6. Place slices, cut side down, back on original baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn slices over and return to oven to bake for another 10 minutes or until somewhat firm and lightly browned. Transfer to wire racks to completely cool, with tops upwards.
  7.  To drizzle with glaze: with biscotti pieces no more than 1" apart from each other on either the wire rack or your baking sheet, tip tines of a fork into the glaze, allowing some of the excess to drip off. In a back and forth sweeping motion, about 6" above biscotti, allow the glaze to fall in lines on top of the biscotti. Continue until glazed as desired or until all glaze has been used.



Glaze
  1. In a small bowl, mix together powdered sugar, rum or rum extract and 2 tablespoons eggnog. If needed, add more eggnog to achieve desired consistency (I use 3 tablespoons total of eggnog).


recipe courtesy of gourmet magazine

Monday, December 16, 2019

Day 15 - White Chocolate Rocky Road Bark





This is a nice change from the typical chocolate barks we see at Christmas

Ingredients
14 oz. white chocolate chips
2 oz pistachios, lightly toasted
2 oz. macadamia nuts
6 oz. multi colored marshmallows
3 oz. fruit flavored multi colored jelly candies - similar to "chuckles", not the spice kind
3 oz dried cranberries

Directions
1. Line the base and sides of an 8x8 pan with wax paper and set aside
2. Roughly chop macadamia nuts and jellied candies and place in glass or stainless steel bowl
3. Add toasted pistachios and cranberries and mix gently
4. Place white chocolate chips into microwave safe bowl. Microwave for approx 30 seconds and stir, continue microwaving in 20 second increments, being careful not to burn the chocolate, stirring each time. When there are only a few chips remaining, remove from microwave and stir one last time till all is melted
5. Pour the melted chocolate over the fruit, nut and candy mixture and mix well to make sure all pieces are thoroughly covered in chocolate.
6. Pour into prepared pan and level with a spatula
7. Refrigerate for a few hours 9preferably overnight), then remove from fridge, place on a cutting board (the paper will come right off the candy) and cut into small squares.

These will keep very well for two weeks, then will soften slightly if kept at room temperature.