An Affair with America….

im 15,

sitting in Mme Rikkart’s 2nd period French Class,

the Principal comes on the PA, and says that that something has happened in New York City, and that the news is not to be watched in classrooms

it was September 11th 2001

This was before iPads and smart phones and Twitter and Facebook. We knew what the teachers told us, and that was that something big had happened in New York and Washington and that we being  a Catholic High School we should pray.

I remember thinking that it couldn’t be as bad as they were making it out to be, it couldn’t. New York was a mecca for good, it was were movies were shot and tv shows I loved were set (this was the Will & Grace/ Friends era after all). Nothing could hurt New York

Then I came home, and turned on Much Music (the Canadian MTV before MTV Canada was a thing) and I will never forget George Strombolopolis’s face as he said something along the lines of: We know this is a big day, and we wont be hurt if you watch the news insead of us, so were going to play some music videos and try to keep you updated.

That day changed the world, it changed the lives of the family and friends of over almost 3,000 victims in a way that no-one can put into words. It changed how we travel, how we speak in airports, how people dress, how religious groups were treated, it changed the landscape of America; literally and emotionally.

It changed my life, that was the day that put my life on a track that I am still following today. I began a love affair with America.

As a Canadian I often get made fun of for my American love affair, but its as much a part of me as my love of lacrosse or music.

9/11 is the apex of why I studied US History and why I continue to read as much as I can about it and learn as much as I can.

I will watch any movie or TV show that is 9/11 centric because as tragic as that day was it also showed the good in people.  You saw people helping each other to ambulances, read stories about people like Lauren Manning who was engulfed by flames and suffered burns over 80% of her body and was saved by the kindness of a stranger. (Her book ‘Unmeasured Strength‘ is one of the best books I have ever read), saw movies like ‘World Trade Centre‘, hung on to every word of Denis Leary’s phenomenal show ‘Resuce Me’, sung along to Alan Jackson and Toby Keith’s patriotic anthems (Where Were You and The Angry American respectively),

I bought and read all the magazines I could get my hands on, I still have them tucked away in a box in my parents house.  God Bless them they save the paper from every September 11th  since for me.

9/11 changed the world, it changed me. It changed a lot of things we don’t even realize it changed and a lot of things that you cant avoid seeing as a change.  It opened up people and forced the world to see that there is evil yes, but there is good to.

So tonight I leave you with 2 things, the first is a quote from ‘World Trade Centre‘ and the second a clip from the first episode of ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart‘ since the attacks.

“9/11 showed us what human beings are capable of. The evil, yeah, sure. But it also brought out the goodness we forgot could exist. People taking care of each other for no other reason than it was the right thing to do. It’s important for us to talk about that good, to remember. ‘Cause I saw all of it that day.”

– John McLoughlin, Port Authority Police Department NYC 

and:

so take a minute today and tell the people you love that you love them, because alot of people didnt get that chance 12 years ago.

until next time

– be a river with me

The Kennedys.

I have a thing for the Kennedy family. I love them, I read whatever books I can get my hands on about them. Its the history nerd in me….

They are undeniably a fantastic family to follow, they came up from “poor” Irish roots, and became President, Senators, Congressmen, Activists, Ambassadors, Lawyers, Documentary Filmmakers, Writers, the list goes on and on.

In fact, a member of the Kennedy family held a seat in the House or the Senate from 1947-2011, and regained a seat in the November 2012 election (Joseph Kennedy the 3rd, Democrat-Mass), leaving them “seatless” from January 2011 until November 2012. THATS IT!! SINCE 1947 when JFK entered the House of Representatives.

Lately I’ve been thinking, what if the Kennedys had better luck? I’ve been re-reading some of the Kennedy books I have and the thought crossed my mind.

JFK wasn’t supposed to pass by the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas, they changed the route to make sure that as many people could see him as possible. – Would he have gone on to a second term and maybe changed the political landscape of the US?  Calmed Cuban relations finally, had more amazing ideas like the Peace Corps? Kept Teddy on a good path and maybe the road to the Presidency after Bobby? Quelled JFK Jr’s taste for adventure at a young age so he wouldn’t live to seek out the thrills that would eventually play a roll in his untimely death?

RFK wasn’t supposed to cut through the kitchen when he won the California primary, he was supposed to go through the main ball room.- Would he have brought “Green Initiatives” to the US doorstep years earlier? Would he have won against Nixon and made it so they were the 1st brothers to hold the office of President? Made even bigger strides in the fight against racism? If he’s hailed now as an icon of American Liberalism and a ‘noted Civil-Rights Activist’ what would we be saying about him if he got a few more years?

JFK Jr had a mess of things happen before his plane went down…-Would he have saved ‘George’ and develop it into a magazine that thrived  in a social media based society ? (we can all admit that the mag was a touch ahead of its time and would have made MILLIONS during the Kerry/Bush and Gore/Bush elections, not to mention the amazing effect it would have had on the 2 Obama campaigns) Maybe had some of the cutest kids ever with Carolyn and embraced reality tv so we would live in a Kardashian TV free world?  One could only dream. 

Who knows?

How different would the world be? Since JFK, there have been 8 presidents, 4 Dems (Johnson, Carter, Clinton and Obama), with Carter and Johnson not serving 2 terms, although Johnson did finish the remainder of Kennedy’s term, he was only elected President for one term.

Would the odds have shifted in favour of the Dems? Would the “Bush” dynasty even have happened? Just think of the ramifications of that train of thought, I mean seriously, take a minute and think of what the world would have been like in the past decade or so if the Bush’s hadn’t taken the helm at one point.

One things for sure, the SNL cast would have had way less fun during the GW time in office, and “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” would just seem like a crass statement rather then a comment that has since defined an otherwise fantastic Presidency.

What if….

At the same time, the US still ended up with an amazing President in charge right now and nothing but promising prospects for 2015,

until next time

– be a river with me

Recipe- Gluten Free Magic Sauce……

so that change i was talking about.

its not world rocking but it is to me. so here it is.

about a week ago i started cutting back eating meat and gluten, and i feel fantastic.

Its tough being surrounded by delicious pub food that has meat and gluten all over it. But the little victories in everyday make it worth it.  I had yesterday off and had time to make some g-free food from scratch, and couldn’t have been happier with the results.  Heres one of the recipes I invented yesterday:

Magic Sauce. 

1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk 

1 large Granny Smith Apple, cut into small chunks (about the size of a dime) skins on 

1 can E.D Smith Strawberry Pie filling 

1 tbsp Becel Vegan Margarine 

In a frying pan on medium heat, put 1/2 the can of milk, the apple, and the margarine. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Then add half the pie filling and the remaining milk. Let simmer for 5 minutes again, then add remaining pie filling. Turn to low and let it all hang out for 10 minutes. Then your  sauce is ready.

The sauce will be thick, almost like a pudding, but heating it will thin it out. And if you have a thing about chunks in your sauce, you can easily strain it in a colander or if your so inclined, a cheesecloth.

I put this on top of a low fat cottage cheese as a treat last night and it was awesome! Not gonna lie I also ate a bowl of just sauce.  Its a perfect topper for your favourite dessert, try it on cheesecake, ice cream,  or use it as a pie filling.

If apple/strawberry isn’t your favourite flavour combo, heres some suggestions:  Apple/Rhubarb, Pear/Cherry, Mango/Strawberry ….. no combo is wrong. But do be careful when you use a softer fruit (Mangos, Fresh Strawberries, Blueberries) in place of the apple, they will cook quicker.

Make it your own. Have some fun!! And DONT USE CIRTIS as the fresh fruit…bad things will happen to good people.

-until next time

be a river with me

heavy heart

yesterday 26 families lost someone precious and dear to them in Newtown, Conneticut

20 of them were children.

and this makes my heart heavy with sadness.

i dont want to pontificate about gun laws or anything really I just got to get some stuff out there.

i dont have any children, nor do i plan on it any time soon. but i do have many friends with children, some of whom  i have grown close, and i will say with absolute certainty that there is nothing on this earth that would stop me from protecting those kids (or any child in the way of danger really).

i cannot even begin to fathom how those parents are feeling, its not right, parents arent supposed to bury their children, thats not the way it goes. its not the way its supposed to be.

8 years ago I was asked to attended ‘Goals for Lily’ a charity event for a young girl who was fighting a very long and courageous battle with a malignant brain tumour. This little girl had touched the hearts of so many people by telling her story,  sadly,  she passed away before the event. She was 4 years old.

At the game her mother and father spoke, and her mom said something that gave me chills then and has been on the back of my mind ever since, “Go home, and hug your kids” . I realized that that Mom would never get to hug her daughter ever again, never. That broke my heart.

My family is not shy about love, I when I call my parents and brothers i NEVER hang up with out telling them I love them, even if I’m hanging up angry.  I text my brothers usually once a week to tell them I love them. They are the 4 people I love the most in the entire world and i would do anything for them.

Those parents in Newtown have had their children stolen from them, had a life time of ‘I love yous’ taken from them for no reason, no reason at all. And it makes me so sad, so very sad.  Yesterday at work i was complaining about my  mild concussion that I got curling (yeah I’m Canadian, I curl) earlier this week, after i saw the news i felt bad about complaining. I hit my head, and CNN was showing photos of families being shattered because of one persons deplorable actions, my concussion seemed so very petty and un important next to the families of the Newtown tragedy.

so i guess the point of this is not dissimilar to my post ‘The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get’, enjoy the moment your in, because it might be the last one you get here, and hug the people in your world that matter to you.

Newtownthis was posted on Twitter yesterday and sums up how I feel

until next time.

– be a river with me