Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pan Asia A Step Above

Pan Asia Sometimes New is Good Tucked away between Applebee’s and Hudson City Bank is a little restaurant known as Pan Asia. Specializing in Chinese, Japanese cuisine, and Sushi this unique eatery offering guest a relaxed atmosphere with exceptional food. Located at  416 Lakeside Plaza on S. Main Street, Forked River, NJ 08731 they are open seven days a week, until 10:00pm every day except Friday and Saturday when they are open until 11:00pm.
Every Monday is all you can eat Sushi which is made to order by the same Chef  nightly.Please note this does not include Sashimi but the selection is really good.  The staff is friendly and helpful answering questions  about ingredients with courtesy. This isn’t your stream-lined Buffet where the sushi is premade and sitting out for you to take. Each order is  made as they come in, and presented in a simple and yet elegant manner.
Customers who do not like Sushi or Sashimi can opt of a variety of menu items that are all  made to order for each customer.So if your vegitarian, or a meat eater you will find something that appeals. You have the option of BYOB or you can quench your thirst with one of their special hot teas, bottled water, or soda.
At the end of each meal each guest is treated to a hot lavender towel to wipe their hands, and orange slices to clear your palate. We have been stopping in here for almost a year now, and the waitresses are all the same, so they get to know you and you get to know them. Their customer service is consistent and friendly.
The average meal will run approximately $25.00 each but is well worth it. This isn’t your average Chinese restaurant, but a step above and worth trying. In Lacy we have so many good options for Asian Cuisine that when something a little different comes along its worth trying. Customer flow is steady, and many are repeat customers. So if you're looking for a night out to enjoy a relaxing meal, or want to grab something to take home Pan Asia is worth the visit.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Political Mayhem Where Big Business Pulls the Strings

Democracy in America
Politics as usual seems to be the ongoing story both here and in Washington. Our president still continues to pursue his own agenda, and our politicians pursue the agenda of big business or special interest. How anyone can say that isn't a form of corruption is not thinking very clearly.
If a big corporation contributes to a political campaign you better believe there is a reason for it. There is some angle they are all too often trying to gain ground on. That we as a people have allowed our government to become so corrupt is just a sad reality of where we are today.
The days of the grassroots politician who won votes on his merits and not what party he represented are long gone. Even here in New Jersey, we have a long history of political corruption, where union bosses controlled our government. All to often grooming candidates for office who would ultimately be puppets for them to control.
Historically there have only been a few exceptions, and we are talking only a handful. As individuals we do have the power to create change in this country. We have the power to take back control from corrupt leaders who are in the pockets of big business. So why don't we? We are better educated than other countries, we have the intellect to understand hard concepts. Yes there are a few who are incapable of seeing beyond their own nose but we don't need to discuss them.
Its a known fact that today to run for president, senator, governor, or even assembly you have to have big money behind you or you will be smeared into oblivion. People are no longer willing to think for themselves and will buy into whatever mainstream media and politicians tell them. The Obama political machine was hard a work already long before anyone else was during our last presidential election. That does make a difference. As does the millions in campaign funds that change hands.
Think about it this way, a person earning $60 thousand a year for twenty-five years would only gross $1,500,000.00 that is over twenty five years. For a political campaign for a 4 year term  as president you're looking at $225 million. Thats 150x the average lifetime income when you consider there are usually two candidates throwing away that kind of money its 300x the average lifetime family income.Or what 300 families making 60 thousand a year would each make in 25 years.You do the math, it is a frightening prospect when you consider we are in debt for trillions of dollars.  
We all understand that our debt as a country is a problem, yet we allow our politicians to spend money like it was water going down a drain. Until we as a people say enough is enough there will never be change. It will not get better. Until we take Corporations out of the political process it will get worse. Our government is well aware there is a problem, and they understand that the average person is struggling and frustrated. The fact is they really do not care. As we keep ignoring the issue we keep allowing ourselves to be pushed further and further into poverty.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day

Fathers Day Time to Remember The Forgotten Hero in Your Life

Today is the day we remember dad, he seems to get taken for granted, overlooked, or in general ignored. Everyone remembers Mother’s Day but when its time to remember dad he generally gets the short stick.
So for today I want to acknowledge dads everywhere. I have a wonderful dad of my own, and have been lucky enough to marry a great father of our children as well. I also want to remember my buddy Markie D, each one of these men is different in their own way but sum up what it truly means to be a wonderful dad. 

When I look back and think of all of the times my dad was there for me. Practicing throwing a softball so I could get better, after a long day of working.Teaching me that I was capable of doing anything, from mowing the grass to fixing my car. He never held back or babied me, but taught me that life needs to be faced head on. I can remember many conversations in my life when he knew I was struggling with my own issues and would help me find what I needed to do. I know some dads come charging to the rescue but mine did something more. He allowed me to learn how to save myself. Always there when I needed his support, he taught me to look people in the eye and face them directly and expect the same in return. I know in my life I was blessed to have a wonderful, funny, and caring dad, and I am grateful for everything he has given me as a person.
Thomas, isn’t my dad but between us we have a total of seven children. Some are grown and living their own lives, some still at home, and some that come to visit. Tom is a protector by nature, so when someone is not doing what they should be, he will get it straightened out. He is the kind of dad who loves our kids both his and mine without distinction. What makes that so special is that he talks to them, listens to what they have to say and loves them no matter what. That doesn’t mean he is a pushover, because he will let them know when they mess up rather bluntly.

What I am constantly amazed by is his desire to look out for them all. When they are in trouble he is always willing to help, either financially or emotionally. His humor is also a big part of who he is both as a dad and a man. It is one of the things that lets people see his softer side. I know I am blessed to have a husband who loves our children so fiercely, and gives so freely of his time.As a soccer coach for our son, project helper, cook and ice cream advocate for the kids, he covers it all. Merging two families isn’t always easy but with him and his unselfish attitude he has brought us all together.
Last but not least is my friend, and ex brother-in-law Markie D. (yes we kept him) who I have known since I was a kid. He is both a father and father figure to many. Mark is one of those people who steps up to the plate. He is always caring and giving of his time to our kids. With a quite wisdom he lets the kids be themselves. Laughing along with them, playing endless hours of board games, helping with projects for school or just going to the movies. Mark is the dad who stepped in for my own kids growing up, being their for them when their own father wasn’t. Always there to listen and dry their tears, when they were disappointed or let down and showing by example what it means to be a father and a man.

Uncle Mark and Mara taking a ride in a bi-plane

Mark was blessed in that his daughter came back into his life as an adult, and he now has a wonderful son and grandson to spoil and love as well. He is the silly, serious man who is always there as both as a friend and mentor. I know for myself the ten years I was single, I would not have gotten through it without the men in my life. Each has given selflessly to myself and my children, and that is what it means to be a dad. Diving in to life with a childlike abandon, showing that life needs to be lived and enjoyed. Any man can create children and walk away.
A father stays, understands, and fights for you. They are always there, they don’t judge, or find you lacking. Through good and bad, they lead by example, and even though sometimes you may not understand what they are trying to teach you,take a breath and know that it is coming from the heart. Fathers, take care of their kids, whether they are with their mom’s or not. They are that man who gets all teary when you get your diploma or walk down the aisle to get married. They are the men who love you despite your mistakes.
So today remember Dad, he is always their for you, so be there for him as well. Make him breakfast, take him to dinner or even a movie. It is one day out of the year to acknowledge him and honor all that he does for you.

Happy Fathers Day!!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Counting Your Blessings

Sitting here night after night, listening to my dogs gently snoring at my feet I am thankful for what I have. For me those blessings include a husband who loves me, and gets who I am. His support in everything is what makes my dreams possible. My kids are healthy and independent, wanting to do for themselves, showing an  ability to make their own decisions.
Yes sometimes they do come back to mom and ask for advice but it isn’t as often as I would like. Life is by no means perfect, but it is far better than what some call living.  I may have people who challenge me to reach for my full potential but I know I have their love and support in all things. For me that is the greatest treasure. In the big scheme of life I see so many people who do not have support, or even someone to turn to. In many cases they do this to themselves, by allowing bitterness and hate to twist the reality of their lives.
I cannot even imagine what it must be like to live that way, filled with nothing. Allowing one's life to become so twisted it is just a series of lies that they tell themselves. One has to wonder just how people can allow themselves to get like that. Is it those little disappointments in life that we all must face? Or is it a self delusion that some choose to create to excuse bad decisions or bad behaviors. It is one area for me that on a gut level I find it very hard to understand.
In my own life I do know I am blessed. As this is round two for me in the marriage world, I can say with all honesty that it does make a difference to be with someone who loves and respects me and is looking out for all of us, as well.

Drinking Iced Tea with Poppop 
At twenty three I wasn’t able to see my  ex for the man that he was. I saw his potential as a human being with the star filled eyes of my youth. This time there is no mistaking the difference, between someone who is capable of being emotionally honest, verses being with someone who cannot. Side by side, the difference is glaring and it makes me almost embarrassed that I couldn’t see it when I was in that place in my life.  Personally I prefer a friend and partner who is truthful with me and in my corner.Someone who is able to open their heart to my children, and grandchildren as well as his own.
Each night when I crawl into bed beside my husband I am left in awe of the wonderful man I was fortunate enough to find. It isn’t everyday that you find someone who can make you laugh,cry and  loves you without reservation. Looking back I can only be thankful for taking the time to find myself as a person before Tom found me.
In some ways I think that as human beings so many are afraid of being lonely that they forget the importance of learning to be OK alone. One of the greatest experience for me was learning to go to the movies alone, or even out to dinner. No it isn’t quite the same as going on a date or with someone. Finding that comfort with yourself first is very important in becoming a whole person. It is kind of hard to give of yourself if you don’t even know who you are.
It wasn’t until I became that honest with myself that I learned what I needed as a person in a relationship. No one knows what is around the corner for tomorrow, but in my heart I know that I am with someone who will be there no matter what. I have the certainty in my heart to know he is the type of man who is genuine, and understands what it means to have honor.
Meeting as equals in love is so much more.I was lucky enough to marry my best friend and it doesn’t get much better than that. We still argue, but we laugh as well, and we talk to each other not at each other. I can only thank God because my cup still is overflowing with goodness.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Obamaville Still in Hot Water

It is not surprising that there are more and more people who believe that this country is still in trouble. What I mean by that is that there are more older individuals, over 70 who can see what is happening far better than the younger generations in this country. People are not even private about how they feel. They want to warn you and talk about it.
Individuals often come up to me and start up conversations in the grocery store about where we are headed. Telling me that they have lost faith in our government and its ability to deal with the issue’s in a real way. Why is it so hard for so many people to understand that our government is overspending itself and mismanaging our money? One of the reasons that comes to my mind is convenience, it is far easier to buy into a problem if someone is handing you free money. After all if your getting a hand out, (cell phones, food stamps, unemployment, or welfare) why would you want to question it. Human nature says keep it coming.
In the past I have talked about this issue, because it is real. I worry for the people who laugh and think that it is not getting worse. When a family of 4 making $60 thousand a year is considered poverty level and struggling that should be a wake up call for us all. Having been in that middle rung, with everyone else it is not hard to see that most people are living paycheck to paycheck just trying to get by.
Prepping is no longer underground but is in fact a reality for more people. They no longer believe that we can continue printing money we can't back up to pay our debts.  Anyone who has attempted to buy ammunition for the guns they may own knows that it is getting harder and harder for people to get their hands on. Food prices have skyrocketed to a point that they are almost out of control. Schools dictate everything from how we are to behave to what we can wear, and the same applies to our local governments. How far does it have to go before we smarten up and realize that WE are doing this to ourselves.
Mr. Obama seems to be hell driven to take us into a dependant socialist form of government. Not unlike blind sheep we just keep following this path without question. Anyone who has ever taken high school history knows that when government gets too big as ours is now it becomes a recipe for disaster. Look at France, look at the Roman empire, or even all of the small countries in Europe and the Middle East that have collapsed  or become battlegrounds for different factions. . As we overextend ourselves trying to help everyone else we are not taking care of what is going on here in our own backyard.  
This to me at least is rather sad. If we are strong enough to pull together when natural disasters hit like Sandy and the recent tornado’s that have hit in the midwest why can't we pull together and fix our own problems? We have an organized media that is so far in our governments pockets that the truth no longer matters. Journalistic honesty, is clouded with smoke screens and mirrors that distort the facts. Whether they support Republican or Democrat they are ultimately supporting big business, big unions or private interests. That isn't what journalism is supposed to be about.
What I fear most is what will happen when the money runs out. Like a gambler putting every quarter they have in a slot machine and spinning the wheel we are gambling away our future and our childrens future. This will go on until nothing is left, or we hit rock bottom. We've all seen that person sitting in front of the slot machine just pulling the lever again and again. That is where we are, so desensitized that we can't see the addiction (dependence) being created. I don’t know about you but for me that is an unacceptable outcome.
So here is the advice for the day be prepared, even if you never use it, be prepared to take care of yourself when the poo does hit the fan. Those who live with their heads in the clouds and cannot understand that the worst is not past us are dealing in fantasy. It's not about gloom and doom or waiting for the end of the world, its about being proactive for the rainy day when you may need it.
Anyone with a laptop or computer can find article after article from reputable sources that reiterate that we are in trouble. What the government and mainstream media may want to discredit is that people are still afraid of what is happening with our country. Here is the bottom line, if people weren't still afraid, the number of people prepping would not have increased to over 4 million. You do the math.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Young and Homeless

Darkness before the dawn. 
Sometimes in life there are brief moments that touch our hearts so profoundly it alters how we see things. This past weekend we journeyed to Ohio to pick up our daughter Paige for her annual visit. It was for the most part a very enjoyable family time, and originally I had intended to write about that.
Every once in awhile we see something or someone that touches us inside. I’m talking about one of those moments that make you stop and think. One of those brief moments that allows us to remember we are all member of the human race.
As we journeyed home, we stopped for dinner at a rest area along the Pennsylvania Turnpike. We all had our assorted meals, and as is my habit after I was finished I wandered outside to have my smoke and enjoy the early evening, people watching, until it was time to go.
Sitting there lost in thought my attention was caught by a young man in his early 20’s with a small brindle greyhound. I could see his cloths were in ill repair, his hair was in dreads, with dirt on his torn pants and hands. Was he a runaway, a throw away, or maybe just a young kid down on his luck.   
When he walked passed I caught a glimpse of his face and could see the hollowness of his cheeks. I watched to see what he would do as he wandered around with his  dog amidst the travelers from the road that day. It was hard to miss it as  they carefully averted their eyes or turned away when he walked by. As I watched, he looked around and walked over to the garbage can reaching in and pulling out part of a meal someone had just thrown away.
He quickly took it pulling it in close to his chest, looking this way ant that before  walking about 20 feet away to opening the bag and eat what he had found. I know some people may be thinking gross or how they would not eat from a trash can. I couldn't help but feel myself grow sad at a world that could make such a young man homeless, with no one other than one small dog to care about him.Finishing my smoke, I made it a point to leave my full drink on the table where he would see it. I didn't want to shame him or make him feel  self conscious as I walked back inside.
Returning to my family who had finished up their meals, I noticed my husband didn't eat a large part of his own chicken dinner, leaving  two pieces of chicken and a biscuit untouched. Taking his tray I quickly ditched it, and took the basket with the food outside hoping I would find the young man before he wandered off.
Walking quickly, out to the table where I had been sitting before, I noticed he hadn't come over and taken the drink, so I grabbed  that as well. He was in the same area where he had been before, just looking around waiting for someone to throw out some more food. With a determined step, I walked over to him, and apologized for  it not being more, handing him both my drink and the basket of chicken. This dirty unkempt young man looked me in the eye and  said, “thank you.” With an honest, sincerity I could hear in his voice.
As I turned and walked away joining my family now sitting at the table outside, watching me, I felt tears in my eyes. As a parent of adult children, I could only feel heartbreak for this young man's life and where it had lead him.
I didn't know his story or history, were he came from, or who he was. I could only think that if it were ever one of my kids in need I hope someone would show some kindness to them. I could only feel sad that with so many people around including a group of Amish eating at a picnic table,how sad it was that as a society no one seemed to care. Although in my heart I wanted to give him what money I had on  me, I have always believed that it was better to give something a person needed. Hopefully someday he will be able to pay it forward and help someone whose path he crosses. So the next time you see someone like my young man, please don't turn away in disgust it could be your son or daughter out there. I know one meal won't save the world, but for one night I knew at least he was not going to go to bed hungry.

Its More then Just a Dream

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