A-Z Challenge – GANGSTA

Another day in the A-Z Challenge. I’ve got a G that deserves his own post.

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Remember John Gotti? You know…the Teflon and/or Dapper Don. Click on his name for more info. I’m giving you the condensed version.

Born October 27, 1940 in the Bronx to Italian parents, the family moved to Ozone Park, Queens soon after. Tired of living in poverty, his life of crime began at an early age.

He worked his way up the ranks of the Gambino crime family, did prison time and eventually took over as leader or ‘Boss’ of the family after the murder of Paul Castellano.

Law enforcement dubbed him ‘Teflon Don’ because they couldn’t get charges to stick. It was later revealed his minions were using tactics like jury tampering and intimidation to keep them quiet.

The FBI finally recorded conversations held at the Ravenite Social Club. When Gotti’s underboss Sammy ‘The Bull’ Gravano heard them and Gotti’s plans to have him framed, he agreed to turn states evidence. He testified at Gotti’s 1992 trial.

Gotti was convicted on April 2, 1992 of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, loansharking, racketeering, obstruction of justice, illegal gambling, and tax evasion. The jur to life without parole. He died on June 10, 2002 of throat cancer in prison Springfield, MO.

I had a crush on actor Armand Assante thanks to his aunt, Mrs. Assante who happened to be my eighth grade teacher. He played the Don in the 1996 HBO movie, Gotti. You bet I watched it; he did a great job, made me like mobsters.

Mom always cracked on me because I couldn’t decide if I wanted to marry a gangster or an Englishman. 😀 I grew out of the gangster phase, but I still have time to race across  the pond. I’ve always had a thing for accents…

Thanks to MC BoBo on YouTube for use of the following original movie trailer:

Did  you  know these people were born in the Bronx?

  1. Gooding, Jr. Cuba – Actor
  2. Gaudio, Bob – Singer, Songwriter, Record Producer, Keyboardist/Backup Vocals-Four Seasons
  3. Giraldo, Greg – Comedian
  4. Gormé, Eydie – Singer (1928-2013)

Do you remember the Gotti days? Tell me he wasn’t a smooth operator! Do any of you have a thing for accents like I do? How’s your Tuesday?

Impromptu Jam Session Brings Unity…It Can Happen! Watch

Hey bloggers! It’s another hot day in Connecticut, but I’ve managed to get writing done yesterday and today, between all the appointments I had to make. While checking my Facebook, I came across a Jimmy Kimmel video that a friend of mine posted and it inspired me so much that I wrote over five thousand words between yesterday and today. 🙂 Anyone that knows me understands what a challenge that is.

I’m posting the video here so you can hear for yourselves how one person playing guitar outside a dollar store incited two other men to join him in an impromptu jam session as a bystander was taping it. The young man who taped the session on his phone posted it on his Facebook and it went viral. After viewing it, you will understand why. Enjoy.

Not only does music bring back memories of good times past, music unites everyone regardless of creed, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, gender, financial situation, color, and race. I’m far from perfect, but I like to think I’ve raised my daughter to live judgement free of others based on the above. I believe I did good. 🙂

The differences in our cultures, musical and written inspiration, and lifestyles make for interesting conversation, amazing music and storytelling. ~ Eva E. Solar

I wouldn’t have it any other way. My wish is that we as a world could be as united as everyone is this video was.  Thinking about it, it really isn’t that difficult.

I’m just sayin’…

This is my little contribution for today. Now I think I’m going to write a couple thousand words more. Until next time, Hugs to you all!!!

Writing 101 Day 3: Committing to a Writing Practice

Ok, so I’m a few days behind. I’m gonna have to be winging it and making it up on weekends it seems. I’m doing Day 3 of Writing 101 and the assignment is:

Today, celebrate three songs that are significant to you. For your twist, write for fifteen minutes without stopping — and build a writing habit.

This is a difficult assignment because there are many songs hold special places in my heart. Since the assignment calls for three only, I had a hard time trying to figure out the three MOST important songs.

  1. Knights in White Satin — The Moody Blues: This song is so significant and not for the reasons you might think. It doesn’t take me back to my childhood, although I do vaguely remember it from way back. My daughter Mandy took me to see Dark Shadows with Johnny Depp for my first Mother’s Day after my bleed. That was in May, 2012. I was just graduating from using the cane. I still get emotional every time I hear it.
  2. Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) — Eurythmics: Fond memories always come back to me when I hear this song because it was my mother’s favorite when she was alive. She loved her Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, but back when I was kickin’ it 80’s style, she fell in love with this song and would try so hard to sing along with her heavy Hungarian accent. What a hoot that was!
  3. Paradise by the Dashboard Lights — Meatloaf: There are dozens of songs that can easily fill this spot, so this was more of an eeny-meenie-miney-mo choice. I’ve loved Meatloaf since forever and this is my absolute favorite song of his. If I’m ever courageous enough (or tipsy enough) to do karaoke, this would be the song I’d be belting out. 🙂 It takes me back to a time when I hung out with close friends, bar-hopping, camping, canoeing, and just enjoying the young, single, and responsibility-free life (well, except for rent, food and utilities)…

There we have it. Three songs that have significant meaning in my life. I’m curious what songs inspired everyone else throughout their lives. Until tomorrow…or the next day.

Scrapbooking Anyone?

Below is an interview done by Briana Vedsted of scrapbooking maven Tracy Carrig. I’ve included some photos of her work at the very bottom of this post and links to her sites including Twitter, Facebook, Etsy and her blog. Although I don’t have time to scrapbook myself, I may just find myself ordering items from Ms. Carrig directly. Yes, she does special orders too! 🙂

BV: So, what is “scrapbooking”?

TC: Simply put, scrapbooking is putting beautiful, fun paper, photos, and memorabilia together to tell a story.Think of it as enhancing your photos. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. What if you don’t know what those words are. Scrapbooking allows you to remember all the stories, jokes, heartfelt moments, and everyday life, and share the memories with family and friends. Imagine looking at a photo from someone else’s life. The photo by itself may give you some hints. Now if the photo were scrapbooked, the story behind the photo would also become clear. Scrapbooking is a fun way to share and remember your story for years to come.

BV: And what in the world is Memory Works?

TC: I like to call Memory Works the Mary Kay of the scrapbooking world. Memory Works carries scrapbooking products from all the big names (Fancy Pants, Pink Paislee and BoBunny, to name a few), as well as their own line called Simple Stories. Memory Works also offers a monthly kit subscription for $29.95 (plus shipping, handling, and sales tax). Each themed kit is packed with coördinated papers and embellishments from different brand name companies.

In addition, Memory Works offers a Hostess Incentive. This is a free gift to the party hostess can earn if the party results in an order of $150.00 (before tax). I like to offer this as well if there is either a single order from a customer of $150, or if there is a group of customers, though not necessarily at a party, that order enough supplies to meet to required minimum. The incentive changes every month and can be anything scrapbooking related, from a collection of patterned papers to a stamp set to a few specific items from a brand name collection.

BV: Is scrapbooking hard to do?

TC: Scrapbooking should be fun, so no, it’s not hard to do. If you find you’re having difficulty, take a step back. See where you’re getting stuck. Are you trying to re-create a technique or layout and it’s not coming together? Do you not understand the terminology? Take me for example. I know this much about knitting and crocheting. Now I know the terms knit and perl. Did I spell them right? No idea. Can I tell you what they mean? Nope, sorry. I learned a lot of the terms from magazines and websites. And for me, it clicked. I kept wanting more and more. So it shouldn’t be hard. Again, if you’re running into trouble, try to pinpoint what exactly is giving you pause. Sometimes you need clarification, or to just tell yourself there are no mistakes. I really enjoy it and I’m always learning something new, so there’s no limit to what you can create. I’ve found if you love it, you stick with it and your style evolves from there.

BV: Do you have some examples of what scrapbooking is?

TC: Absolutely. These are some recent layouts (a layout is 1-2 scrapbook pages). I have lots more on my blog with close up detail photos and info on supplies and techniques I used.

100_8376 - Edited 100_7631 100_6944 100_6585

BV: Can someone teach me how to scrapbook?

TC: Absolutely, there are lots of options. Now, I must confess, I learned by doing. I never took a class, nor did I know anyone else who scrapbooked. Heck, I had just learned about it myself. So I went to my nearest bookstore and bought some scrapbooking magazines. Then after reading them and devouring them (figuratively speaking, of course), I went to my local craft store and bought some supplies (careful, this hobby is addicting! in a good way :D). And I started scrapping!.

However, if my journey sounds scary, you can take a class. These can be offered anywhere from a religious/spiritual center, your local craft store (big box and small business), library, school, historical society. If you know someone who is a scrapbooker (the majority of which are women, but there are some VERY talented men out there), you can ask them to teach a class, or just teach you! There are also numerous blogs online whose author post videos for certain techniques, etc. And, being in the age of YouTube, there are blogs, magazines, and individual people who have a channel which you can view and/or subscribe to. One benefit to individual scrapbookers is that they teach techniques that you may not otherwise comes across. And they give you lots of inspiration and ideas.

BV: Where can I get scrapbooking supplies?

TC: In a sense, anywhere. However, just because you CAN get it anywhere doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Office supplies, arts and crafts stores, big chain stores, and local scrapbooking/stamping stores; all of them carry supplies. I’ve actually found that the big box crafts stores by me do carry some of what I need, but not most of what I’m looking for. You can also go the online route, which opens up the possibilities tremendously.

Big box general retailers are limited in what they carry because they’re general retailers. So, see what they carry, check the prices, and think if you’ll actually use it. Don’t get lured by the clearance sticker of half off and pay $5 for a border punch that you’ll never use. This is why if you can, purchase your supplies from a crafts store, a scrapbooking store if possible. If you live out in the middle of nowhere, so to speak, your best options are probably online shopping or a consultant for a scrapbooking supplies company (yes, shameless self-promotion, I had to do a little :P)

BV: I live in the United States, do you know anyone who I could send my pictures to for them to design a scrapbook for me, because I’m just to busy to do it myself right now.

TC: Why, yes I do *wink, wink.* I am happy to design a scrapbook, mini album, etc. for you. My prices are simple and really reasonable. I do not want any screaming wallets, thank you 😛 You can look at my blog, myscrapmuseis.wordpress.com, to check out my prices, and e-mail me at tracy . carrig @ gmail . com to get the whole party started (just delete the spaces before hitting send)!

BV: What is your favorite thing to make?

TC: So far, layouts, either one of two pages. I just finished a two-page layout for my little person’s first birthday. I’ve start making cards, which I sell on my Etsy shop, called ScrapMusings. And I’m starting to get into altered art, mixed media, and mini albums. I’m loving getting messy, and I love layers.

BV: I want to find out more about this art called scrapbooking! Show me more! Are you online? Twitter? Facebook? Pinterest? Got a blog?

TC: Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes. Here’s my stuff:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ScrapMuse (ScrapMuse)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Scrap-Musings/141917992518574 (or search for Tracy Carrig (you should see a pic of me and my munchkin))

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/ScrapbookMuse/boards/ (or look up Tracy Carrig / ScrapbookMuse, or you can just find me from Briana’s page ;P)

Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/ScrapMusings (shop name: ScrapMusings)

Blog: myscrapmuseis.wordpress.com

I hope to see and talk to you all soon! Happy scrapping!


Need To, Got To Vent…

Hey there fellow bloggers. It’s after three AM in PA now and I can’t sleep a wink; not that it’s unusual for me. But today (yesterday, actually) started out a really bad day.  First off, I told my roommate that I would set up a few things for her around the house because she was having a realtor come with a possible buyer to look at the property, since she is planning to sell. Fine, no biggie. So, about 15-20 minutes before the expected arrival time, I start opening curtains, lighting the tea-lights, opening the sliding doors, etc.

One of the last things I do is turn off the alarm system, which is always on ‘stay’, and unlock the door. No sooner do I unlock the door and start heading up the stairs, when all of a sudden the alarm starts blaring. Because I am still recovering, I get easily overwhelmed and proceed to freak out at the noise. I frantically try to make my way back down, put the code back in to silence the alarm. After that’s done, I have to make my way back upstairs to the bedrooms so I can wait for the alarm company to call so I can tell them it’s a false alarm. Meanwhile, this whole time, I’m shaking and tears are streaming down my face. Let’s all remember that I’ve also got that slight gait issue going on also. 😦

About three minutes later a call comes in. It’s not the alarm company; it’s the State Police. Apparently, they got the call in from the alarm company as a panic alarm, so there must have been some sort of malfunction with the system or keypad. Either way, the operator advised me that I needed to call the alarm company directly and cancel them since they’ve already been dispatched. Now, I start to freak out even more. As I’m getting off the phone with the operator, my roommate is calling my cell. When I answer, I try to blurt out that she needs to call the alarm company and cancel the State Police before they get to the house because I don’t have their number. She tells me to calm down and she will take care of it. End of call.

Maybe two minutes later, she calls me back. I’m still hysterical, trying to calm myself down. First question out of her mouth is, “What did you do?”  I was still so shaken and upset that it didn’t hit me immediately what she asked me. Finally, in a rush of stuttering words I told her that I didn’t do anything wrong and tried to explain what happened. She tells me “I can’t talk to you when you’re like this,” and proceeds to hang up on me. What boggles my mind is that she works as an EMS dispatcher for a living. This is how you speak to distressed callers? I know I’m just a friend, but give me a break. After what seemed an eternity, (which was about 20 minutes) I calmed down enough that I was able to freshen myself up and make myself look halfway presentable. After all that, she then decides to text me and speak to me like I’m three. “In case the Police do by chance show up at the house, just remember, they’re  your friend.” Really? I’ve worked with them my entire EMS career. Really? Thanks for the words of wisdom there, Sherlock. Don’t need them now. I’m sorry if I’m sounding just a wee bit angry, but those 20 minutes were probably the worst 20 minutes I can recall in a very, very long time.

I’ve never suffered from panic or anxiety attacks of that nature or magnitude before. My heart breaks thinking about how people live life every single day feeling that way. Thank goodness these people looking at the house didn’t show up until nearly noon.

On the bright side, and there was a beautiful bright side to this day; my close friend and former co-worker came up from New Jersey today to spend the day with me. She called me right after my little fiasco with the alarm and said she was already on her way. We call each other PIC (partners in crime) because every time we used to work together, we would always get ourselves into some sort of shenanigans… so we did a bit a shopping and some lunch and caught up on some goings on. I love this young lady too. She is yet another one of my adopted daughters. Briana! You’ve got another sister! 🙂

Anyway, speaking of New Jersey,  while I was debating about whether I wanted to vent on the blog or not; I went through some YouTube videos and came across this one with Gov. Chris Christie and Jimmy Fallon slow jamming. Made me laugh. Goodness knows I needed a few. Until tomorrow; I hope you enjoy.