Carving Pumpkins & Roasting Pumpkin Seeds

I had nothing to all day while waiting for THE PHONE CALL but drink champagne…and Carve Pumpkins! So, that’s what I did. In between glasses of mimosas (which really became more and more like orange colored champagne as time passed), I carved our pumpkins and separated the seeds out to roast.


pumpkin pumpkinseeds


Not too shabby for a tipsy carver, huh? I used the recipe below for my pumpkin seeds…and they are DELISH!!!


Sweet & Spicy Pumpkin Seeds


1 egg white
1/4 cup natural cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grained sea salt
1 cup fresh pumpkin seeds


Preheat oven to 375. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the egg white, sugar, cayenne and salt. Add the pumpkin seeds and toss well. Drain off any excess egg white (using a strainer) and place seeds in a single layer across a baking sheet. Bake for about 12 minutes or until seeds are golden. Sprinkle with a bit more sugar and cayenne pepper when they come out of the oven. Taste and season with more salt if needed.

Makes one cup.

Live Beyond It

motivate-self11Yesterday, around 5pm, I received a text from my manager that I needed to cancel all appointments with customers and stay home by the phone. More information would be forth coming. I’ve heard that before. Twice. And each time I was laid off from my job during that “wait at home for the phone to ring” period. This would be the third time in 6 years that I had to do this. All I could think about was that I needed to get the HELL out of this industry (pharmaceuticals) and move on to something else. I held on to the fact that I was moving on and I couldn’t wait for classes to start so I could get these pesky pre-requisites out of the way and MOVE ON!


I then got a message from a friend to check out the “Daily Message” and it was RIGHT ON TIME. I’m disappointed, I’m worried. I’m afraid…but I’m going to LIVE BEYOND IT!

Don’t live with the disappointment. Live beyond it.

You cannot stop what has already happened. However, you can let it make you stronger and more determined.

Instead of dwelling on the pain or injustice of what has happened, imagine the best possible outcome. Then get busy moving yourself steadily and passionately toward that outcome.

Life has the power to disappoint. Yet you have the power of life, and the power to move on to bigger and better things.

When you have been disappointed, it means you truly care, and that’s a very positive thing. Zero in on what you care about, and put your energy into advancing those things in your life.

Look ahead, and look at all the good and valuable things you can do. Look ahead, and step confidently forward with a renewed sense of purpose and determination.

— Ralph Marston

I sat home today with a friend and colleague, drinking mimosas and chatting it up, trying to laugh our way through till the phone call came. At 10am I to the call…"You have been retained.” Then I was told to hang around for the message about a webinar at 4pm that would give me more information on the transformation. Seriously? My friend, she had to wait till 3pm (she was part of the contract field force so things are done differently) to hear what was happening with her. At 3pm, in a less than 5 min call, she was told – along with around 300+ other contract reps- “thanks for your service, but your contract has been terminated effective December 31st. We expect you to give the same commitment previously until December.” Really?


LIVE BEYOND IT. We honestly have no choice. I have cried for my friend and then got on the phone and started working that rolodex on her behalf. While I was retained, today was just a further wake up call that I need to continue looking ahead; stepping confidently forward toward my new goals/purpose…


Physician Assistant License and Masters in Public Health


I’m putting my energy into advancing bigger & better thing in my life. LIVING BEYOND my disappointments. LOOKING AHEAD!


Army 10 Miler 2012


Another awesome race day with team Usual Suspects. If you didn’t know, this race sells out in a matter of hours the day it opens ups and for the past 3 years, I have suckered found a group to run as a team with me, collected the money up front and registered us all in one fell swoop, getting all of us registered within minutes of registration opening (or before the server crashes).


Well, the ladies outdid themselves this year with some awesome training and Team  Usual Suspects (6 women) came in #10 in our division (Open Women)

Usual Suspects - Open Women - 7:37:13 – 10


AWESOME! I had a pretty respectable time(IMHO) of 2:06:04. Knocking 4 min of last years time and able to walk away from the race. Last year, I was in some kinda pain. This year…I felt like speedy gonzalez. Reviewing my runkeeper stats, I was able to maintain a 11:45 min pace for 5 miles and then, well, I guess I sloooowed down to an avg 13 min pace for the next five. Lesson: Work on being consistent over the entire distance. Something to work on/toward.


I love this race with all the people (30,000 of your closest friends) and spectators! Makes for an awesome day. I’ve been slacking since Sunday. Back at it, mmmm, Saturday. I have to get myself and Princess Cara (she is doing .4) ready for the Turkey Chase next month. 6.1 miles. Let’s see if I can maintain that 11:45 for 6 miles. WOO HOO!

Finish Certificate 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Pumpkin Patch Edition


Perception IS Reality


…and the misconceptions, beliefs and opinions formed from a perception become so entrenched in that persons reality that NOTHING you say,NOTHING you do, no amount of proof will change that reality.


I had to learn it the hard way. AGAIN. A hard head = a soft ass.



I should have known that me saying anything – no matter how tongue in cheek – would be akin to me taking a stick to a hornets nest. Even The FireMarshall warned me “Lisa, leave it alone. Don’t say anything. You know what’s going to happen.”


I did it anyway…and down the rabbit hole I went.


Tuesday, one of my FB friends posted a plea to please refrain from posting any “obnoxious, pity, snide, partisan” comments on FB during the debates. I found that amusing. My thought was, well, if you don’t like all the posts, just don’t watch the newsfeed during the debates. By time they are over(or at least by the next morning), the newsfeed will have scrolled to the much more mundane. Shrugs. See, I have a lot of FB friends that wax eloquently about a lot of stuff that I find ridiculous, offensive, insane, funny, etc. etc. I also realize it’s a free country. Opinions are like assholes – everybody has one. I agree or I don’t. I seek to understand…and sometimes I can’t. Sometimes I make a point, enter into the discussion, banter – sometimes I don’t. I respect another person’s right to present their beliefs/opinions. We still have the 1st Amendment, right? AND the Book of the Face is free – where all your “friends” know your name and you are free to roam about the world and share and talk about whatever.


For others…I guess not. So, against better judgment; against the advice of the FM I chimed in with my tongue in cheek (at least I thought so) comment of “I do what I want.” All hell broke out. The response was basically –So, Can I expect that by 9:10 pm you will start commenting on how "awful", "despicable", "disgraceful", "unethical", "miserly", "disingenuous", "job shipping", "offshoring", Cayman hiding", "little people eating", "53% supporting", "racist", "homophobic", "misogynistic", "xenophobic", "dog whistling", "country club redneck" Romney is???? ;)


I missed that wink smile at the end and responded that I have not used any of the words above on any of my posts except maybe unethical and blatant liar and pointed out that he had, in fact, used some of those very words to describe people that he has disdain for. Then it got personal. Then it got twisted to be that I was talking about him – PERSONALLY. Say what? I was accused of refusing to have an honest debate. What were we debating about again. You asked me what would people say if you called the President a liar – I said probably nothing. I tried to agree to disagree and gracefully exit the room and then I’m I’m accused of passing some kind of judgment on  him. He asked me three times if I thought HIS discourse was dishonest. Three times I said NO! Not good enough. He just ignored it and went on with his dressing down. Despite the fact that I pointed out that I don’t name call & label people, went back over months of my time line to find where I did that and came up empty, he continued to accuse me of it saying “though some of your name-calling and labeling I find repugnant in its, at times, direct labeling and indirect insinuations that dissent with a politician you adore, is tantamount to some insidious undercurrent of "something" (racism).”


SAY WHAT??? Where/when have I ever said or implied that dissenting opinions with the President (I don’t adore any politician) is racist. I have had discussion with numerous people on my wall that have a different opinion than mine and NEVER have I resorted to calling or implying that they are racist. NEVER. During this whole political season, I have not slammed, insulted (well, maybe because I disagree – if that’s insulting), name called, labeled anybody. I haven’t called anyone a socialist, right wing nut job, racist, fat, ugly, communist, elitist…blah, blah, blah because they disagree. I have only unfriended one person without so much as a BOO because, when they posted a picture that I found very offensive along with a bunch of other VERY OFFENSIVE stuff – no need to try and argue them down – that’s what they believe and it was against everything I believed – nice knowing you but I don’t have to play with you everyday. CLICK, goodbye. What’s even more interesting, is that he has NEVER said one thing, NEVER commented with a “I disagree with your assertion because_______” on any of my posts – EVER. So, when were we supposed to have honest discourse? Silly me.


I made my case. I then asked “But calling someone a "ignoramus, complete idiot, racist, ignorant, pandering, self-serving, sycophant" is not name calling or labeling at all, right?” See he used those words to describe someone he has intense disdain for – whether it is justified  is another conversation – my point was to clarify. Is having a differing opinion and questioning what someone says/does name calling & labeling and what you do is not? I will admit that I do mock the Governor & the some of those in the GOP & Tea Party – especially when they say or do something mock worthy – say, like “binders of women”, legitimate rape, 47% of America are greedy victims…etc. But all the name calling you say I do – NOT.


IRRELEVANT. I was summarily dismissed with a long condescending diatribe closing with “I'll double check this post to ensure I didn't label you or call names. Sometimes I do it in my sleep and forget that's what I did.”


WOW. How was I supposed to take that? So you do call ME names – just not where anyone can see. In your sleep, huh? Just WOW.


I tried one last time to defend myself:


“What is the point in discussing anything with you when, if you are of a differing opinion you get slammed, insulted and labeled as some kind of ignorant road groupie- nothing more than a fool kneeling at the alter of the POTUS. As long as I disagree or find something wrong with the party you so adore and can do absolutely no wrong, you will continue to label me, cast me down as nothing more than that simpleton, incapable of rational thought but lucky enough to catch that classy guy...Lord, however, did she get in let alone graduate from WP? Who is doing the insulting? I’m so sorry that you believe everything I post is some kind of adoration statement. I don't mock, name call Republicans or people who don't believe in the President or his administration. How is calling out what some Republicans have said and done and questioning the veracity or sanity of it mocking? All I can do is shake my head knowing that I'm probably wasting my time writing this as you are entrenched in your belief that I am "something" only worthy of your disdain. I know for a fact I don't "adore" any politician. I know for a fact that I haven’t done the things you accuse me of or describe me as. I know who I am and it is not anything you imagine me to be. So, be it. I'm good……”

I closed by giving him the option of hiding my newsfeed or unfriending me since I offend him so and he has such disdain for me. Did he come back with a I don’t have disdain for you, I don’t think you are stupid, I’m just passionate about my position and let’s agree to disagree? NOPE!


He let the anvil drop and went in for the kill. He totally ignored everything I said, every point I made and brought up a disagreement we had back in 2009 where I had posted an article that asserted that the Rights animosity towards Obama was based in racism. I read the article and I felt that some of the points were quite valid based on my experience. I said “My sentiments exactly” as my comment regarding the article. I got a thrashing. The article title and tag line WAS incendiary. However, I felt that some of the authors points were true – I still do. I admitted that I should have been more verbose in my comments and explain what I thought was valid & not.


NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Basically, no matter what I said, no matter how many times I tried to clarify my position:

“I'm going to state my position once again - perhaps you will take the time to hear me now : While the article/author/tag line may have been very incendiary and offensive, some of his points about the the tone/attitude/disrespect/words towards the President & current administration being racist in nature I believe are true. I do. You don't. I see some of what is going on as blatantly disrespectful with some racial undertone. You see all of it as just normal discourse that has always gone on.
When you said that. Fine. I said "Okay". I don't want to fight you. You are entitled to your opinion as I am entitled to mine. Cool.

But you didn't let it be cool to disagree. Nope. You made it about YOU. You made it personal. I (emphasis) DID NOT call YOU, a racist. I DID NOT lump YOU in with anybody. I NEVER said ALL WHITE people were racists...that would be like me calling my own mother a racists...or worse, even myself. YOU made it personal and ABOUT YOU. Not I. And you didn't stop there. You then decided to ignore me, imply things about me and my character and to add insult to injury - you called me out by my name - disparaging my name & character in one fell swoop on your page. Why not just drive on down and slap me in the face. You were at least kind enough to use my maiden name and thereby not insulting the FM by association.”

FUTILE. Didn’t matter. I was told that several of my classmates thought I was a racist too and that I would “have to work harder to turn things around.”  I thought we had turned things around. I thought that after our phone conversation that the matter was behind us, the hatchet was buried, the misperception/misunderstanding was resolved.


UNTIL…(fast forward to Tuesday, 2012) – “I'm sorry, you forget that our FIRST disagreement on this medium was when you made the insane charges about the President's detractors after the 2009 SOTU Address. Yes, Lisa, you DID accuse the Tea Party and folks who disagreed with the POTUS of being racist. The classic case of isolating the FEW to smear the WHOLE.”


His PERCEPTION that I am “something” (racist, stupid, intellectually lazy, Obama idolater…insert what you will) when I’m in fact NOT is his REALITY. It never changed. He was just laying in the cut. Tolerating my presence only because he has the “utmost respect” for The FireMarshall and “our union”. When given the chance, POW! You’re still that ___________ (whatever he thinks I am). SO THERE. WOW.


I, on the other hand, did bury the hatchet and chalked it up to him being a very passionate man about politics and the “biased mainstream media”. I made no other assumptions – after all, he was supposed to be my classmate, our friend – the Long Grey Line and all that. We should be able to disagree and still be civil. Shouldn’t we?


Well, now my PERCEPTION HAS been formed of him – watch it, I’m about to “name call/label” - as an intolerant bully (maybe is just a woman thing, IDK) that will eviscerate you if you don’t use his pre-approved credible news outlets or talking heads, disagree or have a different opinion than his, present your thoughts/opinion in a manner that is not to his liking…etc. And that is MY REALITY.


He’s going to have to “work real hard to turn this around on me”…but MY PERCEPTION is that he probably doesn’t care and will come out swinging – or not.


Only One Way to Go….FASTER

I entered the AddIt to WinIt daily drawing on the Ironman FB page about a week ago and on the last day of the drawing (last Friday) I was looking at my newsfeed and saw “Friday night's winner of the myList Add it to Win it is Lisa S. from Elliot City, MD! Congratulation on winning a Vorttice Helment from Louis Garneau.”


HOLY COW! So now what? I now have a very expensive, elite aero helmet that “redefines speed”. Ummm…the helmet costs almost as much as my bike which now tells me something…time to get a new bike. This helmet and Diva Dawes combo is like me putting a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes with a K,Ma.rt house dress. Damn Shame.


I can’t wait to get my Vorttice Helmet.  I’ve laid these eyes on The Firemarshal…

…and guess who is shopping for a new bike. Yep. ‘Cause, seriously, there is only one way to go --- FASTER!


Back in the Saddle


The past 6 weeks have been a whirl wind. I have traveled, had events and/or long training sessions every week for over a month leading up to IM70.3 Cozumel.

- Splash & Dash

- NYC Birthday Bash

- King of Prussia, PA for 3 day work meeting

- Mexico

- West Point Reunion


Boss, I sure is tired.


But I was geared up to go to NY this weekend to run the Diva Half Marathon and the universe either conspired against me or was telling me to sit my ass down somewhere and stop for a min. I got a call the day I was supposed to get my bus tickets with the Diva Crew that the hiring manager for a potential promotion wanted to spend some time in the field with me Thursday & possibly Friday (the day we were to leave for the Diva adventure) rendering me having to drive up on Saturday (or catch the train) and The FireMarshall and my coach put the cabash on that idea. “NO! Sit your ass down.”


That was the end of that.


Friday, after work, I was supposed to return the bike box. That would actually require me to finally take my bike OUT of the box and put it back together. I had not looked at the bike since I put it the box in Mexico for the trip home. TEN (10) days prior.

I chalked it up being busy with the reunion and work, but that was a lie. Truth of the matter, I was suffering from a little post race PTSD regarding my bike. Was I really that sick? Could I have tried/worked harder? Did I punk out? I knew the truth of the matter – I was sick – the aid stations/porta potties knew, but the mind is an incredible machine…and the devil is a liar.


I knew what I had to do. I had to get back in the saddle. I had to take Diva Dawes out for a spin or else I’d never get back on her. I girded my soul with my new Army Black Knights cycling kit, put ole girl back together and took her our for a little spin. I wasn’t planning on going too far, but I got out on the road and…I just kept going. I decided to put in a hill or two just for some psychotherapy measure…I rounded the corner and decided to tackle Mt. Albert – the hill of ill repute for the Columbia Tri/Iron Girl – and CRUSHED IT! I rolled down the hill by Glenelg Country Day, turned around and made the climb back up – CRUSHED IT! and I took it home.


The bike monkey was off my back. The devil IS a MFn LIAR!!! The Diva is back in the saddle.


The season is winding down for me.I have a couple of runs (Army 10 Miler & the Columbia Turkey 10k Chase) coming up, so the focus will be running right now. I’ve already started planning next years races:

  • Feb 2013- Disney Princess Half Marathon & Princess Family 5K (Cara) – Princess Cara and I will be celebrating our Bdays with fitness & fun at Disney
  • April 2013 – Derby Festival Half Marathon (a return performance with MsPattey and I’ve conned the Pollhein’s into running too – BOTH of them)
  • June 2013 – IM70.3 Eagleman – REDEMPTION
  • June 2013 – Philly Tri (Annual event with my Soror’s and I’m bringing my BFF & Classmate MikeB for his triathlon debut)

After that, I don’t know. I want to do the West Point Triathlon in August. I always do the Army 10 in Oct. Maybe, I’ll go back and do the IM70.3 Cozumel. Maybe some place else. Maybe not at all.


All I know right now, is that I’M BAAAAACCCCKKKK!!! and life is grand.


Politics 4 Dummies–Here’s What I Know

politics4dummies     Seems like this election has got EVERYBODIES panties all up in a bunch. What I notice most of all is -


1. People are just down right rude & can’t have a civil conversation, resorting to name calling & trolling when they realize they are not converting you to their twisted way of thinking or buying their brand of bullshit.

2. People are so entrenched in their ideology that even when they are waist deep in bullshyt, even when they are faced with a bold faced lie/hypocrisy/the outrageous or egregious – fugg it, this is what I think and damn the truth.

3. People hate (yes, I said hate) the President SO DAMN MUCH that they don’t give a damn when their elected officials block/filibuster/vote against everything and anything that comes out of the Oval Office.


The screaming & gnashing of teeth is astounding. “The worst President in history.” Seriously people? POTUS certainly isn’t the second coming to anything, but for real? – Worst EVER? Like FOREVER?


Get a damn grip.


I certainly am no where close to any type of political wonk. I don’t know every freaking statistic, every piece of political history off the top of my head. I don’t spend my waking hours searching for pieces of data & (often) out of context facts to support my argument why the Republicans or the Democrats are the next best thing since sliced bread no matter how much their diapers are filled with runny diarrhea. I’m busy. LIVING LIFE. I’m busy with my family and home. I’m busy focused on clawing my way back out of the valley that we (temporarily, I might add) slipped into when we survived 3 layoffs while starting our own company. When I do respond or enter into a conversation with someone about the current candidates, I do make an effort to google, read and make a valid attempt at backing up what I say with some TRUTH/FACTS. However, a lot of times my discussions/positions/beliefs on a topic are based on my LIFE EXPERIENCES.




I’ve been to the mountain top and drank from the fountain of milk & honey - I’ve been that top % earner bracket (not hide my money in the Cayman’s rich – more like 40 acres & a mule, Hummer, 10day vacay’s 2x/year rich)…and I’ve been in the valley, laid off 3x collecting an unemployment check that wouldn’t even cover our electric bill, taking $50 and squeezing/twisting $300 out of it. HUMPH. So, I don’t need to be a tax attorney or know how many tax returns every candidate has released for the past 100 years to KNOW that the man who wants to be the LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD, but keeps most of his money in a foreign country is FULL OF SHYT. You want to tell us minions how much we gotta pay in taxes, what loop holes & deductions you gonna shut down – basically, with a straight smirk stick it to the middle class, working poor, and just plain poor (the 47% Victims). I don’t need to be a rocket scientist or break down who exactly you are talking about when you say “you are not concerned with those people…that’s not your job”.


I just throw a flag on the play and call BULLSHYT.


I have had some of the best health insurance possible, through an employer – cafeteria style, never had to pay a premium. We were “given” a certain amount per year and then picked everything from medical/dental/life/legal/disability and much more. If you went over the amount “given” then “your contribution” kicked in – never more than $20/month in my case. *cue the angles singing* I’ve also been part of that horrid group of people called the uninsured – you know them – the ones that just don’t want to PAY for insurance, too lazy to work to get insurance, or those working poor that can’t afford the high premium contribution to take their employers plan – CAUSE THEY WANT TO EAT – people. Laid off, kicked out of my Cadillac plan and can’t afford the $1800/month for a family of 4 COBRA premium – we went without health insurance. I tried to qualify us for medical assistance (at least for my kids) until we got back on the straight and narrow but my PAST 2 TAX RETURNS made us ineligible for assistance – even temporarily – even for just the kids. We hadn’t been poor long enough, you see. Then began a 6 month search for a job AND private insurance, getting rejected by 3 different companies for PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS. It took me finding us a broker to negotiate on our behalf and we were finally given the privilege of paying $800/month in premiums. Lucky us. So I don’t need to have read the entire AHC Act (although I’ve read most of it), be a doctor or an insurance company to know that neither Romney or Ryan give a rats ass about the health of anybody else but themselves.They can afford anything & everything that would ever come their way. Fugg the poor – “use the emergency room”, Fugg grandma/grandpa – figure out how to make that voucher work on a fixed/limited income.


I just throw a flag on the play and call BULLSHYT.


I am a woman, hear me roar. I have daughters. Women have had the right to vote for less than 100 years. Progress. Not so much. Why am I – in the 21st CENTURY – worried about my daughters ability to have easy access to birth control so they can make the choice of when to have children, while men have no problem getting Via,gr@, Ci@1is and the like (paid for) so they can get it on at will? Why does getting PSA’s & colonoscopy’s count toward preventative care, but Pap Smears & Mammograms are getting put on the back burner as not needed so much? Why, on God’s green earth, would I ever vote for a party that would allow the redefinition of “legitimate rape” (what the fugg is legitimate about rape- EVER) and at every turn deny a woman the right to determine what she can or can not do with her body. I don’t need to explain or prove anything to know that I don’t – I won’t support a party or a candidate that would be empowered to return women to the stone age.


I just throw a flag on the plan and call BULLSHYT.


I could go on regarding my EXPERIENCES. I am probably qualified to be Secretary of Transportation (at least) cause I can see I70, I95, I495 & I695 from my roof top. HUMPH. I’m qualified.


I may not know much about the political process or have all the data/stats. What I do know is what I have learned from my life experiences and I know I can spot BULLSHYT when I see & hear it. I’m not a label. I’m not a Republican or Democrat, Conservative or Liberal. Sticks & Stones. I am an INDEPENDENT thinker. Based on my experiences and thoughts on the rhetoric being spewed on all sides, I’ll take the devil I know over the skinnin & grinnin, say any damn thing with a smile or smirk cause you honestly believe we are too damn stupid to discern the truth or throw them up against rational thought or past experiences, Romney.


…and that is my right. And you have the right to do you. You may think that I am the poster child for Politics for Dummies. So be it. WHATEVER. What I know is that I won’t vote GOP because they DO NOT represent or support anything that is positive for me, my family or my experiences. NOT ONE DAMN THING. At this point, 5 weeks out from election day, all I can do is SMDH at people that simply don’t care that the GOP is lying in your face and will throw 98% of America under the bus to protect their own 1% as long as they get that **insert Socialist, Muslim, Kenyan, Boy, Un-American, Black, Other slur here** out of office.


I don’t know much. What I do know is who I’m going to vote for. …and for now, that is still my right.