Chipotle's Medium Salsa Recipe!

Chipotle's Medium Salsa Recipe!

O.k. so here it is. This is the closest recipe to Chipotle's Medium Salsa that I have found.

Chipotle’s Medium Salsa 


Serves: 10-12 

2 medium tomatoes, quartered

6 medium tomatillos (use 12 if they are very tiny) (look like small green tomatoes)

1 small-medium red onion quartered

2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced

2 jalapeno peppers (seeded, roasted (or broiled)

2 limes, juice of

1/4-1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

2 tablespoons ground cumin

1 pinch red pepper flakes (add more if more heat is desired)

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon Tabasco chipotle pepper sauce (more for a hotter salsa)

sea salt (to personal taste)

fresh ground black pepper (to personal taste)  


Combine the above ingredients into a food processor. I use the Ninja Master Prep Professional. Pulse until desired consistency is reached. Pulse less for chunky salsa, more for smoother consistency. This makes a lot of salsa so you may want to reduce the recipe. I’ve heard mixed reviews on freezing the leftovers.

California trip day 3: Hollywood Sign Hike

California trip day 3: Hollywood Sign Hike

Day three was departure day from Hollywood to start our trip up the coast. Jessica and I had planned a hike up to the famous Hollywood sign but weren't sure how far we'd get judging by comments made by other people who tried it. The mountain is just a few miles from downtown, so it was a short drive. At first, we got lost because the roads are winding with many intersections, and the GPS would go in and out. Finally, we reached our destination as far as the road would go. There was very limited parking, because the sign is not an "attraction", although it should be. The area where you park is in a residential neighborhood. We walked up the street to the end and entered the paved path beyond a gate marked do not enter. We could see many people beyond the gate and going through the gate, so we decided it was okay to go that far. Just through the gate, you have a great view of the sign, but we wanted to see it up close. We continued down the paved path up the mountain.

California trip day 2: Hollywood

California trip day 2: Hollywood

Day two in Hollywood was very exciting for us. It started out with a bang! Our first priority was to visit the Hollywood Walk of Fame where they have the stars' names on the sidewalk. I didn't realize how many there were until we started walking Hollywood Boulevard.
 I thought they were mainly grouped around the Chinese Theatre where they do the red carpets, but no, they seemingly go on forever. Sandy and Jessica wanted to find Jennifer Aniston's star, so we went on a journey and found ourselves walking blocks to find it.   Fortunately, we were going in the right direction!
Around that time, we saw a film crew setting up on the sidewalk.

California trip day 1: Hollywood

California trip day 1: Hollywood, Pacific Coast Highway, Yosemite and San Francisco.

Taking our niece to California has been a real treat. We're in the middle of the trip, and it has already provided a lifetime of memories for everyone. We flew out of Orlando, Florida early Tuesday morning and arrived in Los Angeles around 11am. Since L.A. is three hours behind east coast time, we still had plenty of time on Tuesday to accomplish a lot.
It was a short wait for a shuttle from the airport to Enterprise for our rental car. I booked months in advance to get the best rate. I checked a few times after I booked just to make sure the rates hadn't gone down. Boy, were we lucky to get the rate we did! It was almost double by the time our trip arrived. We always book our car from the car company's website. Other travel sites usually tack on a few bucks because they are the middle man.
Next we headed to Burbank to eat lunch at Studio Cafe Magazinno,  a small place near Warner Brothers Studio with fresh sandwiches, soup, and desserts. After lunch, we headed around the block to take the Warner Brothers Studio Tour. This was actually our third VIP tour at Warner Brothers and the first time for our niece. The good news is that this tour was very different from the prior two tours. Each guide puts their own spin on the different sections of the lot and takes you to different areas. This time, we not only drove around to the other sets and buildings, but also got to tour the prop house where people can rent props by the day.
No cameras were allowed on the set where Two and A Half Men is recorded. It's amazing how small and dull the sets look without all of the lights and "Hollywood effects". Visiting the Friends set never gets old for us! We got to sit on the orange couch in Central Perk for a few pictures. 
Being on the Warner Brothers studio lot is like being in Denali National Park for us ... Trying to spot a celebrity among the people and buildings is like trying to see a moose or a bear in the brush. We were excited when we spotted "Raj" from Big Bang Theory hanging outside with some other guys. He was very friendly as he waved and said "Hey guys".
It was an excellent tour and highly recommended anytime you are visiting the LA area. You'll be surprised at how many movies and TV shows were filmed there.
After the tour we were ready to get dinner before our next big adventure. We went to The Counter. It was a nice, clean restaurant in Studio City. We happened to hit it at happy hour when appetizers were half off and mini burgers were $2.00 each. We had the chili cheese fries, sweet potato fries, and the mini burgers. Everything was delicious.

From dinner we proceeded to CBS Studios to see the taping of Last Man Standing with Tim Allen. You can get tickets at for free. The catch is to get there early, because it is first come first seated, and there are no guarantees that you will get in. It's worth taking the chance if you are visiting the Hollywood area for any length of time. After we got seated, they brought out a very funny comedian to get us warmed up for the show and keep us energized during breaks. Just before the taping started, the cast came out for their introductions. The actors did a great job and we were able to witness some great live bloopers. One time, Tim Allen opened the door into his forehead. Another time, "Mandy" had a drink spilled on her. The whole process took about three to four hours to complete. In the middle of the show, pizza was served with water to keep everyone happy and energized. No cameras are allowed on set, otherwise I would have posted one here. It's a great thing to put on your bucket list if you like sitcoms.
That concluded day one, and we were exhausted! Have you seen stars in Hollywood? Do you have an L.A. experience to share?

Bypass the phone prompts and get me a human!

Bypass the phone prompts and get me a human!

Ever try to get through to a company on the phone only to get lost in phone prompt madness??!! It's the touch tone game, and if you press the right combination of numbers or letters you might just get a real person on the line. Then, just when you think you're getting somewhere and you've been on hold for thirty minutes, all of the sudden the hold music stops. You think, this is going one of two ways. I'm either getting transferred to someone human (excited!) or I just got disconnected (furious!). Usually it's the latter of the two.

You can save yourself a bunch of time by going straight to the website that will tell you how to get a real person on the line in the shortest amount of time. It's called They give you the buttons to push to get a human as soon as humanly possible. There is even a customer feedback area where people leave comments about their experience and tips for improved service. Also the hold times are published so you know approximately how much of your day will be tied up with these corporate giants. I kept this article short and sweet so you can get on with your life and make that call! Please leave comments below. Comments make the world go round!

Day 8 & 9: Tips for Visiting The Big Apple, New York City for the first time

Day 8 & 9: Tips for Visiting The Big Apple, New York City for the first time.

The last couple of days on our trip were less planned and less hectic. We were able to visit all of the sights on our list with some time left over on the last days to relax somewhat. After we relocated to the downtown Crowne Plaza Hotel, we decided to hit Good Morning America live. It was just a block or so from our hotel. We decided to make signs advertising our business and were lucky enough to get substantial air time!
After that, a spur of the moment decision led us to a Yankees home game! The subway has a station right at the stadium, so it was very convenient. There is also a Hard Rock Cafe in the stadium, so I made sure to get a souvenir pin! It was a great game complete with a grand slam. The Yankees won.
All in all I think after our nine day adventure, we can say we conquered New York City. After returning home to Florida we found out that we are having our first baby thanks to our NYC vacation!! A souvenir to last a lifetime!
 If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post below. Comments make the world go round!


Installing Windows 7 System Builder vs. Regular Retail Version

Installing Windows 7 System Builder vs. Regular Retail Version:

So you want to upgrade your PC operating system and you're wondering what the heck is the "system builder" version. I recently built a mid tower desktop computer system and was wondering the same thing when it came to installing my new operating system. I had XP Pro on the previous system, and I wanted to keep the old hard drive, but have a new OS installed on a new SSD boot drive. After reading all of the horror stories about wiping your drive to install Windows 7, I opted to just add the SSD, and keep all of my old files on the old hard drive. I did my research about the system builder version of Windows 7 and was still hesitant about my abilities to install it without having issues that I couldn't resolve on my own. It turns out that the system builder version is made for system builders that install operating systems on the computers that they build for resale. You can find Windows 7 System Builder on Amazon at a greatly reduced price from the regular retail version. The catch is two fold. First is that you do not have any technical assistance available with this product like you would if you installed the retail version. Secondly, once installed, it is permanently linked to the motherboard on that computer. So you will not be able to reinstall the software on another system if it crashes...etc without a whole lot of aggravation.
My thinking was...I've installed full operating systems and upgraded OSs before so how hard could it be. It had been a while, but I didn't remember having any major issues when I did. Plus for the cost savings on the SB version I could buy two for the price of one retail version. If I ever had to replace the motherboard or move the hardware to a new system I would come out even anyway so it's worth a shot! I ordered the OS and it arrived in the mail a few days later for the install. It was a straight forward install just like I thought it would be. It was exactly the same steps as installing the retail version. Registration was smooth and I was up and running in an hour or two. Make sure you buy the correct OS version (32 or 64 bit) depending on your hardware setup. I don't consider myself a pro builder by any means. I'm more of a do it yourself-er. So if you have a decent amount of computer knowledge, you shouldn't have any issues installing the system builder version. Good luck and if you have any questions, feel free to ask here.

Day 7: Tips for Visiting The Big Apple, New York City for the first time

Day 7: Tips for Visiting The Big Apple, New York City for the first time

On day seven, we moved from the upper west side to downtown near Times Square. We used priceline to get an exceptional deal on The Crowne Plaza hotel. The staff was friendly, and the hotel was upscale. We would spend the last couple of nights here before returning home. After checking in, we went to TKTS to see if we could get tickets for the Rock of Ages show that afternoon. They sold out quickly, so we walked down to the theatre and got a better deal! I would advise to always check the theatre in person if possible first, so you know what price you have to beat to get a deal. We got tickets for the evening show, and it was very entertaining.
After the show, we spent some time in Times Square taking pictures at night and getting ourselves up on the big screen. Every once in a while, they show a crowd shot on the jumbotron. If you're lucky and find the right spot, you can be on a very large screen in Times Square!

We also visited the Guitar Center nearby for some window shopping.

Day 5 & 6: Tips for Visiting The Big Apple, New York City for the first time

Tips for Visiting The Big Apple, New York City for the first time: Day 5 & 6

Day five consisted of a lot of walking in Central Park along with a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It started out raining, so we decided to have lunch at Kefi before heading out. Sandy had the Macaronia Spestofai and I had the Pork Souvlaki. If you want great Greek food, this is the place. By the time we were done eating, the rain had stopped, and we continued on to Central Park. You don't realize how big the park is until you're on foot walking down one of the long and winding paths. We did not take the pedicab or carriage tour. One of those would probably give you an overview of a portion of the park, but they are not allowed on the walking paths. We used the iPhone map to navigate our way around. We saw Bethesda Fountain, open fields with families having fun, the resident hawk, a lone waterfall, beautiful bridges, a large reservoir, a playground for kids, Strawberry Fields (a tribute to John Lennon), an outdoor concert, people in row boats, rolling hills and large boulders to sit and relax on. After a half day in the park, we never came across the Central Park Zoo!
Visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art was somewhat boring for us. It is all the buzz and talk about one of the must-see sights in the city. I enjoy art, but I can't say that I'm an art lover. I didn't realize how underwhelmed I would feel after visiting there. Oh well, I guess some things just don't keep my attention, and that was one of them for sure. One tip I can give you if you're visiting the museum is that the $25 admission fee is the "recommended" admission price. They will accept anything you are willing to pay for admission to the museum. If you look at the sign above the ticket desk the word "recommended" is really small next to the word admission. We offered $10 each, and they gladly accepted it. I considered it a donation. Be sure to grab a map, because you WILL get lost in the museum without one.
Short and sweet for day five.

I decided to add day 6 to this post as well. Since both days covered just a couple of places. Day six consisted of another day in Central Park. This time we kicked back and did some reading under the large shade trees. I think we needed a little break from all of the running around at this point in the trip. We found some entertainment in the subway station. You never know what you're going to come across at the stations or on the subway for that matter. This band called The Meetles was pretty good. I was impressed as they played the David Bowie song Major Tom spot on.

While on one of our walks in the park we came across a couple who had just married, but didn't have a photographer. We volunteered to take a picture for them, and they were very happy and thankful.

After the park we went back to the room to regroup for dinner in Little Italy. We met some long time friends there, and had a great time catching up while eating at Pellegrino's. The food was excellent, and the atmosphere inside and outside was relaxed and festive.
We felt safe being out after dark there. Just be sure to check your train schedule and stations. Some stations close at a certain hour and train schedules change too.

Day 4: Tips for Visiting The Big Apple, New York City for the first time

Tips for Visiting The Big Apple, New York City for the first time: Day 4

Day four was up, up, and away on a helicopter tour of Manhattan! After reading the reviews on trip advisor, we knew we couldn't pass up this once in a lifetime experience. We highly recommend Helicopter Flight Services for the ride. We purchased in advance to reserve a spot. All of the helicopter tours fly out of the same heliport, Downtown Manhattan Heliport, near Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan. When you get there, you'll notice all of the helicopters coming and going nonstop. They don't even shut off the engines. They land, unload, and take the next group up. Our helicopter was like a limo on the inside, very comfortable, with plenty of room for everyone to fit. They strap on an inflatable life vest just in case. It was my first helicopter ride, so I didn't quite know what to expect. They line you up and walk you out on the platform in single file, so nobody gets too close to the rotating blades of all the helicopters. Once at the helicopter, they take your picture that you may purchase after the ride. Then they load you up and take off! It was wobbly when we first left the ground, but once we got going in one direction it was like being in an airplane. They took us up a little past central park and then turned it around to go back down to the Statue of Liberty. It doesn't matter which side you sit on, because you'll get the view you want either coming or going.

The pilot narrated as we flew by the sights. The flight doesn't last long, but you feel like you got to see the whole city by the time you're done. We got some great pictures. One of my favorites was the aerial view of where the twin towers once stood. I would recommend taking the flight when the sun is directly overhead. Depending on what time of year it is, somewhere between noon and one o'clock should get you the least amount of shadows in your pictures. The flight is something we'll always remember and cherish. If you're taking the subway, the one train drops you off within walking distance of the heliport.

After the helicopter ride, we revisited St. Paul's Chapel from our walking tour. It is located directly across from ground zero. They have turned the chapel into a memorial of 9/11, and it is a must see. Inside they have a video playing of those who sought refuge in the chapel after the attacks, very moving. You'll also find notes and encouraging letters written to the rescue workers, pictures, banners, and other artifacts. I found this to be more touching than the memorial preview center or the memorial pools themselves. Granted the museum is not open yet, and the Freedom Tower is not complete. St. Paul's Chapel was the only building nearby left unscathed by the collapse of the towers. Not even a broken window. Meanwhile the other five buildings that made up the world trade center complex had to be torn down. It is a miracle that this 246 year old building remains standing after the attacks. As we were sitting in the chapel, the floor shook from a passing subway train. I can't imagine what it must have felt like to be in there when those buildings came down.

The 9/11 preview center was our next stop which is about a block from the chapel. It was very crowded with not much to see, but they did have alot of souvenirs to buy.  There is a piece of steel from one of the buildings in the shape of the New York skyline. They also distribute tickets to the memorial there. I recommend getting your free tickets online for the memorial. You can pick your time to visit, and print your tickets in the comfort of your own home. I wouldn't say skip it, just don't plan on being there more than thirty minutes. Admission is free to the preview center.

From there we went on a journey trying to find the entrance to the 9/11 memorial. The whole area is under construction. If you don't know exactly how to get to the entrance, you could find yourself walking blocks in the wrong direction. We almost made a complete circle around the area not knowing we were very close to begin with. The fences are high around the construction, so it is hard to see down the block. The line moved fairly quickly, and when we got to the entrance there was a standard airport security type checkpoint to go through. There are NYPD and security cameras everywhere. Once inside the memorial area, you'll find yourself almost directly in front of one of the memorial pools. Unless you are looking for a particular name on the memorial, you should go to the adjacent pool that is closer to the Freedom Tower and less crowded. Other than the two pools at the memorial, there is nothing else to see right now. They say that the museum as well as the Freedom Tower will be completed sometime in 2013.

Visiting the Financial District was not very eventful for us. We saw the classic wall street bull, had a nice lunch at a local deli, and then we were on to the next thing. You're not allowed to see the stock exchange in action anymore since the attacks. The NYSE is heavily guarded as well as all of the financial institutions in the surrounding area. There was a large presence of NYPD in general. I would say it is definitely a safe area!

The highlight at the end of our day was the New York Water Taxi sunset tour. They take you out into the Hudson River for a nice evening cruise. You'll go under the Brooklyn Bridge, see the Manhattan skyline, and get up close and personal with Lady Liberty. Again, we bought our tickets in advance, so we knew we had a seat on the boat. I would suggest arriving at least thirty minutes early to get in line to board. You want to make sure you get a seat on the upper deck. It has unobstructed views. They will narrate the tour and even take your picture for you. Beverages and snacks are available for purchase. I believe there was complimentary champagne. The sunset cruise was definitely a highlight of our trip.

That concludes day 4 of our trip. Feel free to post comments or ask questions.

Day 3: Tips for Visiting The Big Apple, New York City for the first time

Tips for Visiting The Big Apple, New York City for the first time: Day 3

Here we are at day three. Well, Sandy and I have covered alot of ground up to this point. We've tackled many of the tourist destinations. Day three was reserved for a Broadway show and a couple other attractions.

We took the subway into Grand Central Station. It is a major hub of traffic into and out of New York City by rail. It can be confusing trying to find your train when you depart, but there are plenty of people there that can help you find it. The floor below the main concourse is a food court. We were surprised to find it because all of the pictures you ever see are in the main lobby of the terminal. The food court is made up of what you would typically find in a mall. I had Chinese and Sandy had a chicken kabob pita. Average food. We then headed up to the top level to find an Apple store that covered almost the entire floor complete with genius' to help you with any Apple issues. We forgot to go outside to take pictures of the front of the building.

Grand Central Station
Boarding another train, we continued our journey to Broadway and 53rd street to see Sister Act at the Broadway Theatre. I surprised Sandy with second row tickets, and she was elated. Originally we planned to stand in line to get the discounted tickets from TKTS, but after seeing the long line, I was relieved to have already purchased our tickets. I would say that most of the seats in the theatre had a good view except the ones in the way back. Being in the second row puts you just below the stage and very near the band that is below/under the stage. It was like we were part of the show. I highly recommend Sister Act as a clean, family friendly, funny show. At $14 for a medium sized coke and small bag of pretzels, I recommend that you arrive hydrated and full from a prior meal. Ha!

After the show let out, around 4:30pm, we walked down to the B&H photography superstore. Since we are professional photographers, we order equipment from them now and again. It was indeed a huge store, and they had plenty of staff on hand to handle any questions. They even have a used equipment section if your looking for something older or at a discounted price. It was like a candy store for photographers. They also carry video equipment and accessories.

From B&H, we walked down to 34th street where the Empire State Building is located. We had already got our pictures from 30 Rock, so we didn't feel the need to pay through the nose and stand in a long line to go to the top. This was a really busy section of town. You have to pay attention or you'll be in someone's way that's trying to make the next crosswalk. Anyway, we went into the lobby so I can officially say "Been there. Done that!" Go to 30 Rock, it's a great view and less crowded!

For dinner we stopped by the Potbelly Sandwich Shop for a quick bite to eat. We've eaten at this franchise before and knew we couldn't go wrong. The Wreck in our opinion is their best sandwich. They toast it, and it is yummy!

Continuing on to 5th Avenue, we stopped at the New York Public Library for a quick picture outside. Then it was on to St. Patrick's Cathedral for some more pictures. Just being inside the building is a highlight!

For dessert, we stopped at the Magnolia Bakery made famous by Sex and the City. I had a yummy piece of yellow cake with chocolate frosting, and Sandy had one of their cupcakes which was very good. We sat across from Radio City Music Hall to eat and take more pictures.

One note about bathrooms in the city. Some eating establishments don't have them! You may find yourself sneaking into another store to use the bathroom, and merchants have signs on the doors saying they are for customers only...for good reason. And for that reason, you'll usually find them in the basement or the top level of the restaurant all the way in the back.

That completed day three. Another long day on our feet, and they are tired. Time to regroup and recoup.

Day 2: Tips for Visiting The Big Apple, New York City for the first time

Tips for Visiting The Big Apple, New York City for the first time: Day 2

Day two in New York City consisted of a tour by foot with Real New York Tours. I found them on Trip Advisor is a great resource, and I use it often when we travel. There's nothing more accurate than customer reviews in their own words.
Let me start out by saying that a tour on foot in NYC is not for the weary. It is a full on tour to see as much as you can in 6-7 hours while walking and hopping the subway to get from place to place. Our tour guide was Trey, and he was a wealth of information. There are several different tours to choose from, so you can custom tailor your experience with this company. Check out their website at RealNewYorkTours. We started out at Paramount Plaza around 10am and proceeded to cover most of Manhattan in a day. We did this tour early in our trip, so we could familiarize ourselves with the city layout and make notes of places we wanted to return to later in the week. One of the sites was Ground Zero. You could still feel the somber aura in the air as Trey explained that seven of the buildings at Ground Zero were destroyed and ALL other buildings in the immediate vicinity sustained damage except for one that was directly across the street from the twin towers. It was St. Paul's Chapel. It would be the place to feed three thousand rescue workers every day immediately following the disaster. The chapel did not sustain any damage, not even a broken window. A miracle for sure. We plan on returning to the chapel in the coming days for pictures and more of it's stories. We walked through Chinatown and Little Italy where you can see how Chinatown is taking over the area.
There aren't many Italian immigrants coming to the U.S. anymore, but there are still plenty of Chinese coming. After walking though Chinatown, I didn't want to eat Chinese food for a long time. They had markets lining the streets and the smell of dead fish and other things was gagging. We even saw a bucket of live frogs for sale. Rumor has it that they don't just eat the legs! A walk through the financial district showed us where they closed off Wall Street to traffic after 9/11. The protesters of recent weeks had disbanded. They are no longer allowed to camp out in the park near Wall Street. Central Park was a brief break from the crowds, even though there were alot of people in the park, it didn't feel as congested as the streets. Strawberry Fields is an area of the park dedicated to the late John Lennon. His apartment building is adjacent to the park where Yoko still lives. Soho is a happening place where there are many well known stores for shopping. The artists are dwindling in that area, because the rent keeps going up as the area increases in popularity. We had lunch on Bleeker Street in Greenwich Village where I ate the best Italian sub I ever had.

Get the Italian Special at Faicco's, you can't go wrong! Across the street is a little Italian bakery called Rocco's. They have the best cannolis! Get the chocolate covered shell. They make the cannolis on the spot for you. It's a real treat.

 There were other areas that we explored off the beaten path. We walked about ten miles, and yes you will be exhausted, and yes your feet will hurt, but it IS worth it!

Day 1: Tips for Visiting The Big Apple, New York City for the first time

Tips for Visiting The Big Apple, New York City for the first time: Day 1

Well, friends, it's my first time visiting the Big City, and it sure is different than little old Port St. Lucie, Florida. I've been to Chicago and Miami before, but NYC dwarfs those towns.

We arrived this morning around 11am via LaGuardia airport. We had hired a driver to take us to our humble abode that would be home base for the next eight days. It is our nephew's room in an apartment on the upper west side just outside of Harlem. He was nice enough to let us stay here while he is gone on a family vacation. You heard right, I said a "room". It's about 12x14 with no A/C. Not to mention we share a kitchen, bathroom and living room. I have a new found appreciation for living in a single family home all to ourselves with A/C, especially in the middle of summer. The benefits of staying here are that it is much cheaper than staying at a hotel @ $200-$400 a night, and everything is close by including the subway. The bonus is that the family that owns the place, also living here, is very nice and helpful.

After we arrived, we made a quick trip to the grocery store, subway station and a pizza place. The prices on the groceries were not much higher than at home. There are several other corner stores that have food and snacks, too. At the subway, we purchased our unlimited ride metro cards at $29 each for the week. Now to figure out how the subway works! We then went to a local pizza place and got a couple slices. They tasted o.k. but not award winning. I'm sure we'll be having more pizza in the coming days.

The advice I received from friends before we left was don't get mugged, come back alive, and see a show while you're there. I have to say we feel pretty safe here so far, and we plan on seeing a show on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, after stocking the fridge we headed to midtown Manhattan for a tour of Rockefeller Center and the Top of the Rock observation deck. Figuring out the subway wasn't hard, and we felt safe riding it. Just pay attention when the train stops to make sure you know where you are and how far you have to go to get to your station. It took us about thirty minutes to get to midtown. We had some time to kill upon arrival, so we went to the Hard Rock Cafe and got a guitar pin. I collect them from all the HRC's we visit. From there we went to Trump Tower to get some pictures. We watch the show The Apprentice with Donald Trump, so we were excited to be there where they film some of the scenes. Although we did not see the Trumpster, it was cool. Next stop was St. Patricks Cathedral. The architecture there was jaw dropping and a photographer's dream to photograph. We'll be going back to that place to take more pictures. Finally, it was time for our tour. The guide was a little lackluster, but we learned alot about the history and architecture of the plaza. I think the tour guide needed a vacation. You could tell he had repeated himself for the umpteenth time to just another tour group. After that, it was up to the 70th floor of 30 Rock for an unprecedented view of the city at sunset. It was a beautiful clear day with a calm breeze that kept it at just the right temperature for a nice visit. We got our pictures and proceeded to find the subway station for our return trip.
On a side note...It's hard not to think of 9/11 while in NYC. The sirens, fire trucks, and the highly visible NYPD are all reminders of what it must have been like to be in the city when the towers came down.

Anyway, finding the station was fairly easy and at 9pm there were still alot of passengers on the trains, so we felt safe once again. It was quick ride back to our temporary home, and we are exhausted. Tomorrow is our tour of the city on foot and let me tell you my dogs are already barking from today's excursion. Well, that concludes day one. I'll post some pics when I get them uploaded.

Endoscopic Sinus Surgery Using Laser Part 3:

Endoscopic Sinus Surgery Using Laser Part 3:

Well, almost two months since my surgery and I'm feeling much better. The dead animal smell in my nose is becoming a distant memory. I can breathe much easier. Sandy says I'm sleeping much quieter now too. They still have me on the saline spray several times daily and they recently added the Nasonex back into the mix for every other day. When I wear my glasses my nose still gets irritated after a couple hours. It feels like an uncomfortable pressure on my nose that the doc said should go away. My check up a couple days ago showed that I am healing well and the doctor says I'm at about 60% back to normal now. He set an appointment in another four weeks, but said if I don't have any issues then I don't need to come in.

On a separate note: Make sure you double check what your insurance is paying. We have found several discrepancies with Blue Cross & Blue Shield where they weren't applying some of the charges to the deductible and totally not paying other providers for no reason. So we had to contact them to resubmit claims.

Installing a solid state hard drive

Installing a solid state hard drive:

This past week I installed a SSD on our aging Windows XP computer. We had to upgrade our Photoshop software to CS6 so I decided to load it onto a new SSD to increase its performance. I read all the reviews on Amazon and finally decided on a SanDisk Extreme SSD 240 GB SATA 6.0 Gb-s 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SDSSDX-240G-G25. I found a window on our schedule of about 3-4 hours that I could install the drive and the software without interruption. I proceeded to remove the computer case and unpackage the SSD only to find out that it did not come with any cables. Fortunately from my last hard drive install I had a left over. Crisis averted. I connected the hard drive to the motherboard, reattached the case and plugged the computer back in. Once booted up I realized that the new drive was not showing on my drive list. I remembered that I had to flick the switch in the bios before moving forward. So I rebooted and hit the F2 key at startup on my Dell computer to get me into the bios. I checked the box next to the new drive so it would locate it at start up. I exited the bios and let the system boot. Once booted I went into the Administrative tools from the control panel. There I found the new drive and it automatically came up to initiallize it and make it a dynamic drive. I just followed the pop-up window instructions. Now the drive was showing as part of the system but was still unallocated. I right clicked on it to format it. I left the partition size as recommended in the steps from Windows. Once formatted I could pull up the drive uner "My Computer". I was now ready to load Photoshop. Photoshop cannot be loaded onto a new drive in the root directory so I made a folder called program files to house it. Once that was done the software install went flawlessly. Now we're running CS6 on the new SSD and it is faster by about 20-30% which makes a big difference when you're waiting for files to open and save. This will prolong getting a new PC or building one myself in the near future. Hope this helps someone out there in cyberspace.

Endoscopic Sinus Surgery Using Laser Part 2

This is an update to part one. It has now been a little over three weeks since my surgery. I have resumed normal activity. I have experienced the dead animal smell in my head for the past week. It is a horrible smell from the old junk that is left in my head from the surgery. The bleeding has stopped and so has the tar like snot coming out of my nose. After last weeks clean out I can breathe much better and the doc says that should be my last clean out. I'm still using the saline serveral times a day as instructed to keep everything moist and flowing. The doctor says I'm about 40% right now, but I feel just as good as before surgery. I'm not really feeling any pain at this point. Can't wait until I'm fully healed. I hope this article helps anyone considering the surgery.

Endoscopic Sinus Surgery Using Laser

Endoscopic Sinus Surgery Using Laser

Warning: This article is not for the faint of heart.
After suffering with chronic sinus infections and a deviated septum for as long as I can remember, I elected to have Endoscopic Sinus Surgery. A CAT scan had indicated that I had also developed a cyst in my left Maxillary sinus that was causing my top teeth to go numb, and causing an indescribable pain on the left side of my head. The only temporary relief I had from the pain was spraying Nasonex into that sinus daily. The Nasonex would reduce the swelling and give the cyst just enough room not to press on my nerves. Without the Nasonex it was three Hydocodones that would bring the pain down to a level 7 from a level 10.
The day of the surgery they put me out and a couple hours later I was waking up getting ready to come home. I was groggy and sleepy. Shortly after being home, my sinus began to drain almost continuously with blood. It was very difficult to rest and sleep because my nose was completely blocked. I had to stay sitting up to reduce the swelling, but at the same time it would drain down my throat making me cough. For the next week I proceeded to spray with Affrin and Saline. The Affrin was to help control bleeding and the Saline would reduce swelling and keep everything moist. I have to say that I was very concerned with the bleeding because all of the literature I read said that the bleeding slows after a few days. Mine did not. On day three, I saw the doctor on a follow up visit. He removed the stints and stitches in my nose and suctioned it out. He said I was recovering normally and it will be another week or two before feeling better. I noticed that I seemed to heal better at night and then bled more during the day, probably from being active and spraying the sprays. I would work for a couple hours and rest and hour to keep the bleeding under control. Today marks day 10. I saw the doctor for another follow up and he said that the swelling has come way down and I'm right on schedule in the healing process. He suctioned more mucus out. I am beginning to get air through my nose at this point. The bleeding is slowing down and there is more mucus coming out instead of blood. I'm also starting to taste my food again. One great side effect from the surgery was that I lost about 7 pounds. Unable to taste food and having nausea made me eat less. At this point I am able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and it is not an oncoming train. Feel free to ask me any questions or leave comments.

Jesus' Mission on Earth: Part 2

"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10 (NIV)

"I came to give life - life in all its fullness." John 10:10 (NCV)

"I came to the world to be a Light. Anyone who puts his trust in Me will not be in darkness." John 12:46 (NLV)

“I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God in other towns, too, because that is why I was sent.” Luke 4:43 (NIV)

Jesus' Mission on Earth: Part 1

The Problem: Our sin has broken our relationship with God.

"But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear." Isa. 59:2 NIV

God's Solution: He took the initiative to bring us back to Himself.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 NIV
... "God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation." 2 Cor. 5:19 NIV 

God's Purpose For Creating Us: Part 3

We were made to serve God's purpose.

"God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing." Eph. 2:10

What good works are you doing? Are you using your gifts for God's purpose in your life?

God's Purpose For Creating Us: Part 2

We were made to become like Christ.

"For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters." Rom 8:29

"Just as we are like the one who was made out of earth, we will be like the one who came from heaven."
1 Cor. 15:49

"My dear friends, we are already God's children, though what we will be hasn't yet been seen. But we do know that when Christ returns, we will be like him, because we will see him as he truly is." 1 John 3:2

God's Purpose For Creating Us: Part 1

We were made to have a relationship with God.
"Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness..." Gen. 1:26
We were given a spirit to communicate with God.
"Long ago, even before he made the world, God chose us to be his very own through what Christ would do for us...His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us." Eph. 1:4-5
Do you have a relationship with God?

Free texting App for your smart phone!

Are you asking yourself how can I text for free? Are you still paying your monopoly phone company for your texting plan? Try out this app from Text Now. It's a free app that comes with a special phone number to send and receive texts. Just let your friends know about your new number to text to. After getting this app I cancelled my At&t plan and blocked texts to my cell number so I won't get billed a dime. I believe the app uses your data network to send and receive texts with the phone number that they give you. For an extra charge you can use the phone number to make calls, but I just use it for texts. I've been using this app on my iphone for sometime now without any issues. Who doesn't like texting for free! Here is the link:
Let me know what you think. I love to get comments on the blog. Please post a blog comment below. Thanks!

Tim Tebow...A Christian in the Spotlight.

This post will be short and sweet. If you haven't heard the name Tim Tebow, then you're probably living under a rock. Tim Tebow has become a media sensation because he is a good football player, fresh out of college, and now in the spotlight as a Christian pro football playing phenomenon. I know that some in the media and some non-Christians are waiting for him to fail at being a "Christian". Here's the news flash...Christians are not perfect people contrary to popular belief. He will inevitably be criticized for something he does that's not "Christian like". Unfortunately, Christians seem to be held to a higher standard than normal human beings in this day and age, expected to act or be a certain way. Christians strive to do good in a challenging world. Trying to be like Jesus who died for us is difficult because of sinful human nature. We do our best to show you that God has a plan for your life, and you can have a better, eternal life by knowing the Lord. It's not about being perfect. The only perfect, sin-free person I know died on the cross for you and me. Please respect that Tim Tebow is trying to set a good example for people to follow and make the world a better place. Criticism has no place for someone trying to do good even if they do fail from time to time. After all, you're not perfect are you? Thanks for taking the time to read my two cents and please post your thoughts below.