Road Trip to Delaware


Tied up as many loose ends as I could this morning, then packed Patti, Maddex and Liam in the car and pointed the car south for Delaware.  Reheboth Beach to be more specific.

Why Delaware?  1.  It’s on the way to our final destination in Virginia.  2. It’s awesome. 3.  I have fond memories of this area. (always a catch isn’t there?)

It was the last vacation I ever took with my immediate family.   It was the summer of 06 and I was in a very isolated point in my life.  I had just withdrew from College and lost my finance in the same day that past February.

I entered a state of seclusion where I hid from the outside world.  Only emerging  work in restaurants, which was about 80 hours a week.  I had a couple of close friends that refused to let me become a total hermit.

However, my mom besieged me to take a week off to drive her, my grandmother, and younger brother down to see my Aunt in Delaware.

The trip was very therapeutic.  I spent the week thinking about how there was so much more out there.  That I was barely living a “half life”.  When I returned I enrolled in the Culinary Arts Program and began piecing my life together.

Surviving the car ride is the hard part.  Getting down route 81 and then horrifying  476 when you get to Philadelphia and traffic turns into a slow crawl for a good hour.  You’re in the homestretch once your cross into Delaware’s RT 1S.

We made it to our destination about 430PM.  Let the vacation begin.




I know I’m Lame…but I miss Quiznos. 



846eae2ed0503e9e95e8baf1cd4fe7e0Dec. 30st

Like so many other people, I found 2016 to be a not very good year.  But my year was bad because of politics, the economy, or the vast string of celebrity deaths.  As 2016 drew to a close I found myself to probably me the most unhappy that I have ever been.  Unhappy with my work, my marriage, and with life in general.  The problem was that the reason for my unhappiness was unclear.  I had a have job, a recently purchased house, and a beautiful family, but I found myself constantly trying to escape to a new life.

I knew I had to find a way to fix these feelings of discontent.  It wasn’t until I found an audio book named THE HAPPINESS PROJECT, by Gretchen Rubin that I hoped would point me in the right direction.  The Happiness Project Chronicles a year in the life of a NYC wife and mother of two as she makes 12 months of resolutions all centered about making her happier.  Was it easy for her? Of course not.  But after a year of blogging about her experience she found herself the happiest she had ever been and it didn’t require a major life change.  It inspired me to start my own Happiness Project.  January 1st is just around the corner and I can’t wait to get started



December 31st

A little bit about myself before I dive into why I am starting a Happiness project.

I’m 30 years old living in a small suburb near to Syracuse, New York.  I am married with 3 boys.  Maddex (11) technically my step son but I love and care for him like my own, Lucas (5) lives with his Mother in Buffalo when he is not with us. Liam (2) we had shortly after we got married.  My wife Patti and I have been together almost 5 years now.

I work as a General manager in a local restaurant and my wife works a server at a different restaurant.  We don’t rely on babysitters so we have to work opposite shifts which can prove very difficult.

So Why am I starting a happiness project?  As I said about there was no major, defining reason for my unhappiness.  Just a lot of small ones.

– not on the top of my game a work : after three straight years of being in the upper tier of performance in my company, my performance seems to have peaked Now i have slipped into the mediocre at least in my own mind

lack of close relationships: Throughout my life I have only have a couple close friends at a time. My two best friends in my adult life  have both more off intro their own adult lives

lack of relationship with,  my wife Patti : Patti leaving her job and going back to Zebbs (restaurant) added new stress on our relationship. Sure she was making more money which was a huge source of stress when she wasn’t. But now she was working 5 nights a week and going in at 5. Which gave us a few minutes together each of those days. And Monday nights. sometimes we would get luck with a Friday night or Tuesday morning but that was occasional.

amount of time seeing  Luke: my first son Lucas, I have had trouble coping with only seeing him every other weekend. his mother has recently gotten engaged with has been this anxiety escalate.

struggles with work – loosing my right hand and assistant in the middle of the year has proved a challenge. My current management team is good but we still have a lot of growing to do

It’s NYE obviously,

Check out my post explaining exactly what a happiness project consists off.

Then check back  for January’s resolutions

Jamesville Balloon Fest

Every year we come here and every year the weather doesn’t cooperate to where the hot air balloons can’t take off.  

Tonight it was beautiful.  Just a tad bit too windy.  Any wind above 10 mph is deemed unsafe.  

But at least they blew up the balloons for everyone patiently waiting.  

Balloon Fest has all the usually workings of a carnival as well.  

Rides, games, food and bands. 

I did run into my dad and stepmom there.   So it wasn’t a total loss. 

Kind of a short one. Maybe next year they will fly 😂.  

Syracuse Polish Fest

An official resolution this year was to attend more of the local food festivals.  

The Polish Festival has taking over Clinton Square, Downtown this weekend.  

I heard my dad call my mom a “Pollock” in anger once…besides that I don’t think I have any Polish in me so I have not been exposed to much of this foreign country’s cuisine or culture.  So technically I’m going off the path.  

One of the smaller events in Syracuse, we had a few food vendors serving up Polish signature dishes, 2 beer tents, and some merchants.  

I had a kielbasa sandwich and my wife had ruskie pierogies (cheese and potatoes), chocolate mint cake from Eva’s Polish Restaurant.  They even had polish lollipops for the boys. 

I thought it was fun.  I wouldn’t mind going without the kids.  Have a few beers and listen to the bands.  Maybe next time.  

Walking Tour Downtown Syracuse

I fell in love with Downtown Syracuse around the time of was going through management training.

It was a sleepy Sunday afternoon, much like at the time of taking these pictures,   I was living out of my car and I felt like doing some exploring with my night off.

There isn’t much going on and not too many people on the roads on Sundays so I was free to roam around as I wished.

I enjoy all the local art and parks.  All the history in all the distinct sub-neighborhoods and what makes them stand out from each other.

I already covered part of downtown in my Creek Walk Tour.  Now let’s take a look at some of the other parts.

Remember, that this is a walking tour.  I may go back to explore certain places in greater detail like I did when I visited the MOST Museum.


Statue in Clinton Square.  This is the site of a lot of food festivals, The huge Christmas Tree Lighting, and where you can ice skate in the winter


Syracuse – Fayette Firefighters’ Memorial Park, one of downtown’s most beautiful parks

On a rainy day, check out the Onondaga Historical Museum

Metal Sphere Sculpture.


Historical Hotel Syracuse.  Recently restored by the Marriott Group.  I want to stay there so bad.  I hear it’s haunted

Statue of Columbus with the Court House in the back ground

Syracuse’s signature Ice Cream Shop.  Gannon’s


Looking to catch a show?  Check out the Landmark Theater

The side of this building is covered with QR Codes.

Authentic Mexican Restaurant constructed out of an old church.  The Mission

Do these murals creep anyone else out?


War Memorial Auditorium 

Miss Syracuse Diner

Daisy Duke’s Mural

Erie Canal Museum

Red hot  right now .  Empire Brewing Company and restaurant


One of the top 100 places to have a beer.   The Blue Tusk

Down on Frankin, you most stop in an try the Spicy Tomato Oil and Pastabilities


Waffles any which way?  Check out Funk ‘ N Waffles

I have no idea what I’m doing but I know I’m doing it really well

If they was one quote that sums up my early years as a DM of Dunkin and as a GM of my current full service restaurant.  “I have no idea what I’m doing but I know I’m doing it really well”   Andy Dwyer

I will admit here and now.  I was not qualified nor prepared for either of those positions at the time I got them.

Luckily, I had the right attitude, work ethic, and a great team that recognized those things who would go one to help me accomplish my goals.

And that’s my advice kids that I meet when they’re  first coming up in the industry or going to college.  Have the right attitude and be willing to learn on the job.   You will never start a new job or career knowing everything.    It takes a least 7 years to master a job.  And where do you learn all you need to know in 7 years?  From the people around you.  From the tools provided to you.


Finger Lake Circuit : Otisco Lake

Time to take a mini-adventure south of the city to the first of the Finger Lakes that I am going to visit this summer; Otisco Lake

If you aren’t from the New York, the Finger Lakes are a series of long, thin lakes ,that on a map, look like the fingers of a hand.    The area is known for its vineyards and scenic beauty.  

I have actually never been to this lake so it was exciting to head somewhere new.  

It’s a spectacularly calm and relaxing place.  The picture here is of the “causeway”. Where you can fish and swim, if you don’t get caught.  😂. 

Liam was pooped from the ride so I just let him sleep in my arms while I took it all in.  I had forgotten how wonderful and majestic these places can be.  

 He woke up eventually

Not much here in terms of hiking.  Baltimore Woods is nearby, hope to check that out another day. 

Such a isolated little lake.  And that’s a good thing.  I counted one pizza place, one gas station/ convenience store, one Restaurant.  Everything else was lake houses and farms.  Some old and abandoned.  Reminded me of Jeepers Creepers or Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  

Find an area of refuge

I feel that’s important for everyone to have their own place.  

A place to be alone.  A place to reflect and clear the mind.  

For me.  I actually have a few places I go to write, to think, to be happy

The home office : George Carlin once said “I just need a little place for my stuff.” And that’s what my former pantry, hide away is.  The family can have the rest of the house.  It can’t be more that 6ft by 6 ft.   But it contains 30 years of memories.

The back deck: Not many things more relaxing than sitting out on the back deck while the sun sets after a long day.  

Empty Road or Trail at 5AM: inner peace and an endorphin rush.   Jogging as the sun comes up before the rest of the world rushes around you and sweeps you away.

The Restaurant Roof: when things get stressful in work or life there is one place I can go where no one will find me.  Up the utility ladder of my restaurant.   Whether is early in the morning or after a punishing rush.  15 ft in the air feels like miles away from all troubles.  

What If You Could Control Your Dreams?

Here is where I might lose some of you.  

Long before marriage, children, career, and home ownership.  I used to have hobbies and interests.  I know right?

And one interest can be considered a little weird.  

I was fascinated in the subconscious mind;  Lucid Dreaming,  Astral Projection, and O.B.E.  (out of body experience)


Lucid dreaming is the ability to become aware that you are in a dream while dreaming.  If you are good enough at is you can manipulate your dreams.  

Astral Projection and O.B.E.  was essentially the same thing.  The act of separating ones mind/consciousness from your body to explore other realms.   We will take that down the road 

Still with me?   OK.

This month I start working on my goal of achieving Lucid Dreaming.   It can take some time so I wanted to work on making the process a habit.  I know that result can take longer to accomplish.

So one resolution is wear my sleep mask.  I purchased a sleep mask last year called the “Remee – REM enhancing eye-mask”  (REM stands for rapid eye movement.  Which is the part of sleep cycle where dreaming occurs)]

The Remee is basically a blindfold with a few circuits inside.  Under the blindfold it “emits light patterns that can appear as visual amonalities in your dreams to trigger lucidity”.    That means that if you see these patterns in your dreams it should help you realize that your dreaming.  


Imagine if you could control your own dreams.  What would you do?  Where would you go.  

It kind of like being the “One” of your own “Matrix”  When Morpheus says to Neo, ” When the Matrix was first built, there was a man born inside who had the ability to change whatever he wanted, to remake the Matrix as he saw fit”  

Would you fly away?  Would you swim under water?  Would you practice tennis ?  As one lucid dreamer reported doing.


So  far his month I have practiced wearing the mask over night.  It takes a little getting used to.  Now that I am used to wearing it.  I will work on my ‘Dream Recall”.  Step one is to keep a dream journal as soon as I wake up  

I will keep you posted on my progress