Welcome to Oswego, NY

Welcome to my hometown- Oswego, NY.
We may get winter snow, but it is beautiful otherwise.


#Enjoy

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Hail Caesar (salad) !

For a little over three years now I have been working on changing my diet and lifestyle, one day at a time. At my age I figured it was about time. It’s not easy, but the potential outcome is so very worth it. I started my “Journey to Better Health” in December of 2006 when I began working with the people at the now-defunct LA Weight Loss Center in Oswego, NY. They looked at my weight, age, and lifestyle and set up a realistic dietary plan for the next 365 days. They changed my eating habits and schedules, and I added exercise periods into my weekly schedule. Over the course of the next year I introduced myself to new foods such as turkey burger, fruits & vegetables, and salads (not the macaroni or potato variety either) as just some of my new daily foods. And over that same one-year period, through this diet plan and moderate exercise, I lost 65 pounds! My primary care physician saw all of my medical numbers improve tremendously, and I felt great, not only health-wise but psychologically too. 

Over the past few years my weight has fluctuated, maybe gaining a little of those 65 pounds back, but then stabilizing at my current weight. Weight maintenance is not easy. There are so many temptations that can throw you off, and I honestly have fallen off the ‘skinny wagon’ many times. Portion size, exercise, and the recognition that you don’t have to cut out any food completely are three mainstays that help me in my “journey”. 

I don’t consider what I’m doing as a “diet”. I look at it as more of a “lifestyle change”, or without meaning to sound too deep, an “awakening”. Gone are my days of four Diet Cokes a day. No more Friday nights of getting pizza and wings. And perhaps the biggest change of all is no more snacking after dinner until bedtime. The deletion of those things and many more bad habits, balanced with a healthier meal plan and exercise, are now the way I ‘choose’ to live my life. Without making these changes I was running the risk of shortening my life dramatically; and that was something I wasn’t ready to accept. (Heck, I’ve got to write for you people.) 

Many times people think of diets as a penalty or sentence. With the plan I was working with, and the way I look at food today, I now never think of food as a negative. In fact, I now enjoy cooking more than ever at home. I also have found that grocery shopping is a lot easier. Did you know that you can save time and a bundle on money if you shop around the perimeter of most grocery stores? That’s where you find the fruits and vegetables, meats, breads, and dairy products. In the middle aisles are the Fritos, Apple Jacks, brownie mixes, and sodas. 

Eating out is not something that is impossible either when on a diet plan. Once a week I try to treat myself to eating out; whether it’s at a sit-down style restaurant, or fast-food. That’s right, I said “fast-food”. Eating healthy can be done anywhere. Over the past couple years I have jotted down the restaurants I’ve visited, up and down the Atlantic seaboard. And from local restaurants in Central NY to eateries found in between Boston and Key West, I’d like to tell you of some of my favorites. During this time one entrée has become my favorite to order when dining out – Chicken Caesar salad. I never was a huge salad eater and didn’t realize that something as simple as a Caesar salad could be prepared so many different ways, and have several different tastes. So, strap yourself in, and let me take you on a Chicken Caesar salad roadtrip. 

Starting first in our local area of Central NY, you can find a great Chicken Caesar salad at Oswego’s Press Box, Canale’s Restaurant, Ruby Tuesday, and the Port City Bakery. When it comes to fast-food restaurants, I’ve found that Quizno’s maybe makes the best fast-food Chicken Caesar salad around. With regards to some of the larger chain restaurants, I have found spectacular Chicken Caesar salads at Panera Bread, Cheesecake Factory, and the Olive Garden. There are only two places that I have visited that I wouldn’t place high on this list for Chicken Caesar salad, and that’s Applebee’s and Chicago Uno. Now that’s not to say that the restaurants general menus weren’t good. It’s just that I didn’t think much of the presentation and taste of their Chicken Caesar salads. 

Heading into New England I have found several great Chicken Caesar salads at some Boston establishments. Topping the list was Dolce Vita Ristorante in Boston’s North End and sitting 52-floors above Boston’s Back Bay is the Top of the Hub Restaurant in the Prudential Building. Not only their Chicken Caesar salad very good, but the view is breathtaking. I also have found several good Chicken Caesar salads in the Quincy Market district, including Ames Plow and Cheers. 

Into Florida Chicken Caesar salads continue to impress at several restaurants that I’ve visited. I found one of the most unique presentations at Disney World’s Saratoga Springs Resort. Their Turf Club restaurant makes a very tasty Chicken Caesar salad by giving you whole stalks of romaine lettuce and the other ingredients on the side. In the culinary world I think they would call this a “de-constructed” Chicken Caesar salad. Cool, very cool. But perhaps the best Chicken Caesar salad I have had at any restaurant is the one served at the ESPN Club at Disney World’s Boardwalk. One word- Perfect! Perfect size, perfect taste, perfect amount of dressing….you get the idea. And oh by the way, whenever possible be sure to order the Caesar dressing on the side. 

Finally as we finish this leafy roadtrip we come to the end of the line, literally. Key West. In the country’s southernmost city I have enjoyed many Chicken Caesar salads. (And I don’t think those were the margaritas talking either.) On the famous Duval and Front Streets of Key West sit some fantastic restaurants. Fogarty’s, Island Dogs, The Rooftop Café, Caroline’s, Red Fish Blue Fish, and The Grand Café all rest high on my list for great tasting Chicken Caesar salads and one-of-a-kind atmospheres. After all it’s Key West. What’s not to enjoy? 

Now I know that you may be thinking, ‘Is this poor guy a slave to Chicken Caesar salad the rest of his life?’ But that’s really not the case. When I go out I often will mix it up with wraps and light sandwiches for lunch, and fish or poultry for dinner. Having a Chicken Caesar salad is something I choose, and enjoy. 

So whether you’re in the midst of making some changes for yourself or know someone that is, the bottom line is- don’t punish yourself. Rather, relish the idea of getting the opportunity of trying new things. You’ll be amazed at the results. I know that if my dad were alive today he wouldn’t believe what my daily diets looks like. I was always the picky eater of the family. You know, pizza, burgers, steaks, and potatoes, …lots of potatoes! 

Please don’t think of what I’ve done over the past few years as being easy, it’s not. But also don’t think of it as being impossible either. As the old motto goes- “Heck, if I can do it…..”  It simply comes down to a matter of what you want for a quality of life. And for me, that made all the difference.

Sherlock Holmes- “The Hound of Baskerville”

On Tuesday night I had the pleasure to view the Oswego Players’ latest presentation, Sherlock Holmes- “The Hound of Baskerville”. At the quaint and comfortable theatre in the Oswego Players’ building located at Fort Ontario Park, their latest effort, directed by Troy Pepper, was impressive.

Set in 19th century England, the play opens with investigator Sherlock Holmes (Peter Mahon) and Dr. John Watson (David J. Russell) being called on by Lady Agatha Mortimer (Kelly Mahon) to investigate the death of Sir Charles. While there, the duo stumbles upon the long running mystery of Baskerville Hall. The storyline twists and turns as often as the hound howls. Adding to the mystery and intrigue are several characters. Barrymore (Steve Standish) and Mrs. Barrymore (Beverly Murtha), who have worked at the home of the late Sir Charles over the years, may have reason to be suspect in the death. Jack Stapleton (Norman Berlin III), Kathy Stapleton (Tammy Wilkinson), and Laura Lyons (Quinn Etchie) are also characters that will leave you wondering what their motives are to be hanging around Baskerville Hall.

Holmes and Watson quickly realize that they must protect Sir Henry (Bobby Fontana) from whatever is threatening anyone associated with Baskerville Hall. And as the play unfolds and the mystery thickens, even the housemaid, Perkins (Erin Chetney) is not immune to being questioned on the murderous happenings.

I was quite impressed with the acting from David J. Russell, Beverly Murtha, and Tammy Wilkinson. All three played their roles well with command and confidence. Norman Berlin III and Bobby Fontana fell into their roles quite well with excitement and passion. I look forward to Erin Chetney, Quinn Etchie, and Kelly Mahon to take on stronger roles in future productions. Their presence on stage was enjoyable, but not long enough.

Troy Pepper’s “The Hound of Baskerville” is a one set play with the scenery and decore very ncely done. During my preview the sound and lighting were still being fine tuned. I would have liked it if the thunder and lightning would have faded a bit in the last scene. Keeping the sound effects loud took a little away from the pivotal scene. Starting the stormy night strong and then fading it would have still given the same effect with more attention paid to the acting.

All in all The Oswego Players have produced another successful effort. Sherlock Holmes “The Hound of Baskerville” is an enjoyable 90 minutes with good acting in a warm and cozy theatre. You can see “The Hound of Baskerville” this Friday and Saturday, October 8-9th, and again on October 15-16th at 8pm; and then for its finale on Sunday, October 17th at 2pm. To reserve your tickets call 315-343-5138, or purchase them the night of the show.

For more AS I SEE IT reviews visit https://edfayette.wordpress.com

Charice- the next great musical talent

From 1980 to about 2004 I was a radio DJ, show producer, and concert co-promoter. During my nearly 25 years, which started at WSBU radio at St. Bonaventure University, and ended at WZZZ in Oswego County, with a recording studio in my home, I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing many musical superstars from Kenny Loggins, Joan Jett, and Mariah Carey, to Boyz II Men, Lonestar, Madonna, and Beyonce. And through those years I was witness to rising stars in the recording industry. Some of the artists had to pay their dues and take years to establish themselves, while others burst into instant stardom like a meteor through the August sky.

I recall during my college days being handed a new album (yes, made of vinyl back in those days) from a new artist named Madonna. I played her first release entitled  ‘Borderline’, and remember seeing the phone lines explode with instant fans. The rest is, as they say, History. Then while producing and hosting my Monday Night Dancetrack show on Star 105.5, I received a new single from Gloria Estefan’s record company, and remembering that I instantly knew that her ‘1, 2, 3’ single was bound for #1. Today it still serves as one of her best songs in her catalog.

So there’s a brief background of how I come to think that I may know just a little about the music industry and what makes an artist successful. And having said that, I just came across an 18-year old sensation whose voice can quite honestly be compared to the likes of Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Celine Dion. This new artist goes by just one name; her name- Charice.

Charice was born in the Philippines and sang in the streets and local taverns to literally feed herself and her mom. At age 13 she began to appear on TV talent shows in her country, and  YouTube videos began to appear that blew viewers away. She was then invited to appear on the Oprah Winfrey Show three years ago as part of Oprah’s annual Kids with Talent episode. Following that performance she began to be recognized as a true child prodigy. When Charice began to be mentored by the likes of Celine Dion her destiny was formed and her future was created.

Just a week ago Charice appeared on Oprah for a third time. However this time it was not to tell her story or become noticed. It was a time to celebrate the release of her debut, self-titled album (and nowadays that means on CD and digitally downloadable). On the show she sang her debut single entitled ‘Pyramid’ featuring Iyaz, and at that moment my ears tingled and my heart raced the way it did when I heard the incredible sound of Vanessa Williams or a 16-year old Beyonce of Destiny’s Child for the very first time. Some people can sing, some can play musical instruments, and how they play and sing is a gift. For me, my singing and instrument playing are somewhat limited (unless you think the jingle to the Nestle Crunch bar on the clarinet is the next great thing on commercial radio). For me, my gift is my ears, and these ears of mine know talent when they hear it and recognize a star before they bloom. And my ears had a celebration when they heard Charice for the first time. She is truly the next great thing! At only 18, it is exciting to think that we will be lucky enough to hear Charice sing for decades to come. With world-famous songwriter David Foster now working with and mentoring Charice, her future  is in good hands. In fact Charice recently announced that she has chosen David Foster as her god-father. With leadership and mentoring from the likes of Oprah, Celine Dion, and David Foster, not to mention having your god-father as one of the best songwriters of all-time, Charice is bound to be one of those one-name stars that we will celebrate for years to come.

To find out  more  on Charice and view her latest ‘Pyramid’ music video visit her website at www.charicemusic.com.