My Listserve Experience

I signed up for The Listserve prior to its launch. I wanted to be apart of an experience where I could learn from many people living all over the globe. I find people fascinating. Sometimes it involves a chuckle or a head tilt, but fascinating nonetheless. You may be wondering, “WHAT IS THE LISTSERVE?” You can read in more detail about this project in my original post here.

I wanted to share with you some parts of the emails I have received so far. I will be copying their words precisely, so if there is any spelling errors or grammatical mistakes within the quoted text, this is why. I have also concluded that words are spelled and used slightly different in other parts of the world than how we may use them in America.

 This first piece is from Emily, living in Virginia. She chose to write an essay about a girl’s experience, maybe even hers, at college. Here is a snippet of it…

“…While most students would probably celebrate this cancelation, she felt empty, as empty as the room she was standing in. Instead of the interaction she longed for, even if it was forced, she was once again thrust into an abnormal solitude.”

Nicholas who is journeying from Germany to France wrote…

“…When I turned twenty I had reached a point where my earthly possessions could be summarized as the clothes I was wearing, an old bag containing some more clothes, a few science-fiction books, and my guitar. No money, no place to live, just a bunch of friends who helped me out of the streets and put me back on my feet.”

 An Anonymous Listserver from London, England shared some of their secrets.

“…I’m going to just share some secrets with you instead.

 1. When no one is watching, I like to dance as if I’m in a hip hop music video.

2. I haven’t washed my hair for four days. Dry shampoo is one of my favourite  inventions.

3.  I’ve always wanted to break my arm or leg. I don’t want to really go through the pain, just ever since I was younger I’ve been jealous of the slings and crutches involved.

4. I like Justin Bieber’s new song… I don’t want to and it pains me to say it, but I think I do….”

This person did not leave their name or country of origin but had this to share…

“…If we can all seek to find what is a large part of ourselves, perhaps we can use that knowledge to secure better lives for ourselves, each other, and our children.  If I can do so, I give all appreciation and thanks to those who have made my life full of wonder.  Only the mistakes have been mine.”

Wissam from England had this to share…

“…There is beauty in the world and guess what humans being are part of this beauty. So say Hello to it as much as you can.

Goodbyes are part of life. If they hurt it just means that the first Hello involved was a blessing.”

Sam from Providence, Rhode Island…

“…I can choose to force myself to consider the likelihood that everyone else in the supermarket’s checkout line is just as bored and frustrated as I am, and that some of these people probably have harder, more tedious and painful lives than I do.” But the point is not so much what you should think, rather that you get to choose what to think, and especially that you can choose to be happy. Strive to be happy.”

Anh from New York…

“…When I lost my job, I was poor, eating cliff bars for meals and collecting free samples of eye cream from Sephora. Today, I am still poor, eating cliff bars for meals and collecting free samples of eye cream from Sephora.  What’s different, however, is my preconceived notion of my career path and who I am.  Hitting rock bottom was the catalyst for me to reinvent myself and try things I never thought I could do.”

Megan from New York said this…

“…But today, I need a break, and I’m doing the things that make me feel healthy and happy.  Before I go out and conquer the world or something.

Before I go, a really fantastic high school student asked me to tell you this: “Everyday is a Restart Day.”

Sandra from San Francisco had to be one of my favorite emails. Her began like this…

“…You are a unique, badass, and multi-faceted human being. There is no one else even remotely like you. Who are you to withhold your greatness from the world?…”

Maura from Astoria, New York shared a childhood memory.

“…Memory is a funny thing, though. It turned out that the two girls had actually died when I was in kindergarden, on a May day in 1981. This fact came up by accident on Saturday, when I was sitting in my parents’ kitchen, the same one where I ate breakfast every day before trucking off to school and seeing that painting…”

 Shea from Austin, Texas not only shared his favorite pizza recipe but began his email with this to say…

“…Every single one of us is going to be worm food in a hundred years, so have fun while you’re here and try not to worry so much.

This used to scare the shit out of me, but we’ve been dead for the last 14 billion years and have had no objection to that.”

 Chris from Cedar Rapids, Iowa shared what he called… GOOD, LIFE CHANGING NEWS he received…

…There is forgiveness for my failings.

There is grace for my faults.

There is love I can’t understand.”

Kip from Portland, Oregon shared his experience from a 1987 civil rights march and how it affects his life today.

“…I tried to turn my body into a shield I directly faced these people screaming the most hateful and violent words I have ever heard uttered. I thought I had understood racism and prejudice. I understood nothing.”

Sam from New York shared his experience about his job…

“…It’s a place where we can build, where dreams are celebrated, but only if they are followed up by action. Where ideas are great, but not as great as the process of building, of showing others…”

Philipp from Passau, Germany shared this…

“…After all, we are forced to get along together. There is no way of escaping our home planet and, as yet, there is nowhere else to reach besides our pale blue dot.”

I have also learned about computer software, bees, and 5 tips to starting a business, as well as about Patrick of Ireland.

Chris from Juba, South Sudan shared his version of a recipe for a “Solid Bloody Maria” I think that’s a recipe for a drink called Bloody Mary from where I live.

Elsa shared her love of Albania and described this “hidden gem.”

Arthur taught me how to survive India

Jamie from Australia shared his regret about never thanking the man who saved his life when he and his family went on a vacation when he was a young boy. He is hoping that man is on The Listserve.

David from Lancaster, U.K. shared his experience traveling to Vietnam.

Trevor from San Mateo, California encouraged us to finish whatever project we begin.

Cathleen from New York shared her regret over wondering what could have been.

And most recently, an Anonymous Listserver from New Mexico had this to say…

“This listserve, like the real world, is a better portrayal of how much more kind, thoughtful, and accepting people actually are… May I humbly suggest that none of us know the inner workings of every human heart. Religious zealots may have been indoctrinated, the poor may be so because they support others, and the classically uneducated may be wiser than their lack of a degree may evince. If I could share something from my life experience that I think could help all of you, it would be to not only to treat people justly and rightly, but also with respect. I’ve had personal experiences with people who, in retrospect, have been astonishingly wiser than I, but who were easy to dismiss because they had learned that wisdom is its own qualifier…”

To date there are 20,554 people from 93 countries signed up for The Listserve. I am excited to be apart of a project that allows me into the life of 20,000+ strangers, who I would have never have learned about otherwise.

I have no idea when my email address will be picked and although I have jotted down some notes, I really don’t know what my message will consist of.  So for now I’ve decided to wait for that moment, and enjoy and learn from the many people living all over the globe!

Are you interested in being apart of this experience? If so, this is the link here.

Would you want to remain Anonymous (this is an option) or share your name with others?  


Made in Massachusetts… mostly.

I was inspired by fellow Global Voice author, Sarah from Pennsylvania, to seek out some well-known and maybe not so well-known companies that manufacture their products in Massachusetts. There were other companies on my original list, but I narrowed it down to the ones who kept their “roots” in America. The companies on this list still have manufacturing plants in Massachusetts, but through growth have sought other areas within the United States to broaden their operations.

Crane and Co.    This stationery company has been operating since 1770. Not only can you find beautiful stationery products, it has been manufacturing currency and security paper for the past 130 years. It is the only place in the United States where paper is manufactured for our currency.

Necco (New England Confectionery Candy Company)    This candy company was founded in 1847. It is the oldest multi lined candy company in the United States, manufactured in Revere, MA. Necco is best known for their Sweethearts® Conversation hearts, but also produce Thin Mints and Candy buttons.

Dexter Russell Cutlery   Dexter-Russell is the largest manufacturer of professional cutlery in the United States. In 1933 two men, Henry Harrington and John Russell converged their expertise, resources and individual businesses to form a new company. Its original name was the Russell Harrington Cutlery Company and is located in my neighboring town of Southbridge, MA. In 2004, the company changed its name to Dexter-Russell Inc., to reflect the company’s history. Each product is still manufactured with pride in Southbridge, MA.

Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc.    This company began in 1939 by three cranberry growers; it is still headquartered in Lakeville-Middleboro, MA. Since then, the Ocean Spray cooperative has grown to more than 600 grower families across North America. They have a vast selection of products including their popular Cranberry Juice Cocktail. Other juice products include grapefruits grown in Florida. You can find a variety of dried fruits, my favorite being Craisins®. They also sell fresh fruits and fruit flavored snacks.

The Boston Beer Company    Jim Koch, founder of The Boston Beer Company, carried on the brewing tradition from his great-great grandfather, and is still using the same recipe from the 1800’s. Known for their famous Sam Adams Boston Larger®, which Jim named after the Boston patriot and father of the American Revolution who was also a brewer that learned the craft from his own father. Over the years, big brewing companies have offered large amounts of money to buy his company, but Jim chooses independence so he would never have to compromise on his beers. Their main brewery can still be found in Boston, MA but they also have operations in Ohio and Pennsylvania. When in Boston you can “…quench your thirst for knowledge.” by participating in a Samuel Adams Boston Brewery Tour.

Cape Cod Potato Chips    Cape Cod Potato Chips are a crunchy, perfectly salted chip made on Cape Cod. On July 4, 1980 two business owners set up shop in a small storefront on Hyannis selling their salty snack. It soon became a favorite among locals and has expanded worldwide. The popularity of the chip made it difficult for the original owners to manage. They sold the chip company to a North Carolina snack manufacturer who provided them with the means of distributing this Cape Cod Chip to all corners of the globe. These tasty chips are still manufactured on Cape Cod, and they have opened the factory doors to the public since 1985. It is one of the Cape’s largest tourist attractions.

Preserve    Preserve makes high performance eco-friendly products for your home. Eric Hudson founded Preserve in 1996. He saw the need to preserve the earth by re-using material as well as reducing the impact manufacturing can have on the environment. These principles guided him to have his products Made in the USA.






Are any of the products on this list favorites of yours? 

Universal Declaration of Human Rights Infograph

I created my first INFOGRAPH.

After I watched the video on You Tube titled, The Story of Human Rights, I became very interested in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights document. I wondered how it came into being, as well as the process it took. Then I thought, “Hey, why not create my very first infograph from all the information I found out!”

Bear in mind, I am not a trained graphic artist… I dabble. I learned Adobe Illustrator on my own, by watching hours and hours of videos one summer.

Some of the more difficult graphics you see I purchased on a website called Vector Stock.

I did my best to simplify the process and present it in a clear concise manner. Let me know if I succeeded!  I checked and double-check my sources, finding most of my information directly from the United Nations website. This is the most important step when creating these informative works of art.

In the future, I hope to develop some more Infographics, possibly ones that have less information and more graphics. I would love your feedback moving forward!

Did it come out ok? Do you find it is easy or difficult to follow the process? Is it visually appealing? 



Our Patriot’s Day

Did you know the third Monday in April is a state holiday here in Massachusetts, and also in Maine? I never gave it much thought, I just assumed the whole country celebrated Patriot’s Day. When I was watching a vlog post, from my blogger friend Teralyn at Bit of Byrd, I was inspired to write a post about this holiday, because Patriot’s Day is not a public holiday in other parts of the United States.

Our holiday, Patriot’s Day, is the reason why the deadline to file taxes, some years, is extended. Schools, banks, state, county and municipal offices are closed here in Massachusetts. Patriot’s Day is the day that commemorates the April 19, 1775 Battle of Lexington and Concord. It was the first military engagement of the American Revolutionary War. During this time, the colonists living in the thirteen original colonies were growing angry with King George III. He had imposed numerous taxes on the colonies, to help pay for the debt he incurred from the French and Indian War. This had upset the colonists greatly because they had no representation in Parliament for the acts the king was imposing on them. The battle cry began, “No taxation without representation.”  In September, 1774, the First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia. Delegates from 12 of the colonies (Georgia did not send delegates) met privately discussing how they should respond to the Intolerable Acts. The King had heard these Patriots were stockpiling muskets, gunpowder, cannons and other provisions. He sent British regulars to Massachusetts, giving them orders to destroy the provisions and capture colonist leaders, John Hancock and Samuel Adams. The colonists had received word weeks before that the regulars were on their way, so they moved much of their supplies before they arrived.The Patriots in Boston, notified the Charlestown Patriots of the route the British regulars would take, by placing a lamp in the Old North Church steeple. “One if by land, two if by sea.” In the meantime, Paul Revere and William Dawes would also send the message themselves, riding on horseback declaring, “The regulars are coming, the regulars are coming.”

The, “…shot heard round the world,” was fired just as the sun was rising in Lexington. It’s not certain who fired first. There is speculation that it did not come from the British regulars or the Minutemen, but a colonist in a nearby tavern. This battle proceeded to Concord. The British regulars received information that the military provisions were hidden somewhere in this town. The Minutemen in Concord had heard of the fighting in Lexington and the shots that were fired. The British were known for fighting in formation, neat rows and columns straight toward their target in an open area. The Minutemen hid behind trees and stonewalls along the route. They shot at the British as they marched along the route. In the end the British suffered terribly, sustaining 73 killed, 174 wounded, and 26 missing. The Patriots listed 49 killed, 39 wounded and 5 missing. The Patriot colonists received a tremendous boost in morale by embarrassing the powerful British army.

This is why Patriot’s Day is celebrated here in Massachusetts. It is the first military engagement that moved us toward our independence from Great Britain. In time, forming these United States of America.

If you live in the United States of America, do you wish your state would commemorate this day as a state holiday?

If you do not live in the United States, is there a day you celebrate your nations history?





Image Citations: Date accessed 4/15/12; Photographer Unknown “Lexington Concord Battle Route” “Minuteman Statue Lexington Green”

Life is about Relationships

My first post I used to write about where I am from. For this post, I would like to write about who I am. I am a daughter, wife, mother, sister, niece, auntie, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, friend, co-worker, acquaintance, and with the grace of God, a point of light in the world.

I always felt fortunate to grow up in a home where my parents loved each other. Honestly, they really, really did. I only remember one time, when my parents had this huge argument that woke this girl from a sound sleep. I never found out what it was about, I don’t ever want too either! Despite this event, it was evident my parents were in this marriage forever. This everlasting love that they felt for one another, provided only one disservice to me. Well, not really, but when compared to what my friends got away with, it seemed like this was the likely culprit. This came about in my teen years, when I was seeking the answers to life’s biggest questions. They made it almost impossible to get away with anything. They always had “each others back.” In hindsight, that was a good thing! I got just enough of my questions answered in life, while always being reminded to, “…behave and act like a lady!” These were the words I could guarantee I would hear from my father, each and every time I left the house!

My parents raised seven children. I have four sisters and two brothers. I am child number five. I hope in future posts to share some of my father’s ‘sayings’… he always makes funny analogies when he tells a story. My dad worked hard, at a job that tried and tested his very being, but he was also blessed to retire at the age of 52! It was clear that my mother, was the most important person in his life, he loves her beyond measure. Through his example, he taught me how I should expect to be treated by a man. He always told me, “Stay clear Victoria, of any person that doesn’t treat their mother very well.”

My mother was a stay at home mom… thank goodness! Can you imagine carting seven kids to daycare?! She has the patience of a saint. I do remember, when I was a child, she used to mutter under her breath, “You guys are going to drive me to drink!” I never understood what she meant by that then, because my mother was not a “drinker,” so I thought, what’s wrong with drinking? I love drinking. Of course I’m thinking along the lines of milk, water etc., but now that I am raising my own children, and have the wisdom of an adult. I’m finally able to connect the dots to what my mothers muttered breath meant. My mother taught me how to nurture and be patient, she was always sacrificing, always giving of herself, for the love she had for my father and her family.

These days, my parents call Maine home. They moved there about the time I got engaged to my husband. So knowing, I was never going to make Maine my permanent residence, my sister Lynn took me in to live with her family, while we planned the wedding. We have great times at my parents home in Maine. We are fortunate that after raising all of us kids, they still love having us around! We vacation there, enjoying every part of the 120 acres that is available for us to create memories. Allowing a place for us to ride the ATV’s and “get away from it all,” even if for only a week at a time. The kids love it, especially when we plan on going the same week as my sister and her family. Those times create a house full of 6 adults, 8 children and 4 dogs! So many smiles, so much laughter, a week of organized chaos at its best!

This is a picture of my family, at my sister Sabrina’s wedding. She is the “baby” of the family. The last of the seven children to officially go off and make a life for herself… no longer the responsibility of my parents. Our family has known much joy and has been blessed on many levels, by the example we received from two people, who fell in love for life! But, as we know, with much joy can come much despair. We have also suffered together as well, by the loss of my brother, by his own hand. This was probably the single most difficult event we have had to endure as a family, most especially my parents. This experience has shown me more prominently than I had realized before, that life is about relationships! Never take for granted the power you have to change the world. It is for this reason, I approach each day with the intention to make someone smile, and to be a point of light in the world!

Meet Victoria from Massachusetts, USA

Hi, my name is Victoria, I would like to use my first blog post to introduce myself and tell you more about where I am from. I am a mother of three teenage children. I can also be found writing for a blog called it’s great to “BE”.  I blog much about encouraging others to BE their best in the world. I share discoveries and write to inspire others. I live in Massachusetts, USA. I love living in New England and would like to share some of the reasons why. First, I am within driving distance of the Atlantic Ocean. The sound of the waves and the sandy beaches are beautiful. I am grateful on any given day, I can bring my family for a day at the seashore. There are some quaint towns and fishing villages that are scattered along Cape Cod and the North Shore. I can’t imagine living my whole life and not experiencing the ocean and its vast beauty.

My second reason for loving New England is because I am so close to the mountains. We have great hiking trails and scenic views that are breath taking from high up on the mountains that make up much of Central and Western Massachusetts.  I also love that we get to experience a change of seasons. Admittedly, winter is not my favorite season, but I do like it for the cold air that seems to cleanse the environment. At least, that’s what it feels like to me.

I also love the historical significance Massachusetts has in relation to the forming of our country. Many children in grade school go on field trips to the historical sites in Massachusetts as apart of the curriculum they are learning in school. They don’t have to just read about it in textbooks, they have the gift of seeing it first hand. Many children don’t appreciate that fact until they are older, myself included.

I look forward to sharing with you some of the sights and traditions that are celebrated in Massachusetts. As well as my life and the activities I am exposed to because of my location in the world.

I hope you enjoy traveling with me through out the New England states as I share my stories, recipes and places to I visit.

Some interesting facts about the history of Massachusetts:

  • 1621 The first celebration of Thanksgiving Day was celebrated in Plymouth, MA.
  • 1634 The first public park in America.
  • 1639 The first free public schools were founded here.
  • 1653 The first American public library founded in Boston.
  • 1775 The first battle of the American Revolution was fought in Lexington and Concord.
  • 1796 The second president of the United States came from Massachusetts, John Adams.
  • 1806 The first church built by free blacks in America, the African Meeting House.
  • 1826 The first American railroad was built in Quincy.
  • 1831 The first abolitionist newspaper, The Liberator, was published in Boston.
  • 1875 The first American Christmas card printed by Louis Prang in Boston.
  • 1876 The first telephone demonstrated by Alexander Graham Bell in Boston.
  • 1826 The first liquid fuel rocket launched by Dr. Robert Goddard in Auburn.
  • 1960 John F. Kennedy was born in Brookline, elected 35th president.