Category: Daily Life

Change Is The Only Constant (but it still sucks)

I enjoy virtually all genres of music but Country is my go-to. When I moved here in 2002, I was still loyal to Country 99.5 WKLB out of Boston. If I held the radio the right way I could get a staticy signal. Alas, my arms got tired and eventually I started listening to WOKQ 97.5 out of Dover. I found Mark and Danielle and The Morning Waking Crew. They became my constant. I’m a creature of habit. I crave routine especially in the morning. With a routine, my internal operating system can boot slowly while I function on autopilot. OKQ and the Morning Waking Crew have become embedded in my morning routine. Looking at a clock means processing information and I’m not ready for that until I’ve eaten and had my tea, but, I can tell roughly what time it is by what’s happening on the radio. If Mike Geary is doing the weather live it is either 20 after or 10 of the hour. If discussion is about Birthdays is it 7:20 am and if breakfast better be on the table or we’re running late.

Mark Ericson is the brains behind the show. He’s the experienced radio guy who makes sure sponsors get their due and things stay relatively on track. I say relatively because Danielle had a way of derailing things. She rarely meant to, but she had strong opinions and an infectious laugh that could break me out of my stupor even on my worst mornings.

I speak of Danielle in the past because today Mark Ericson announced that Danielle would not be returning to the airwaves. It’s been change long in coming. The fact that I feel like I’ve lost a friend is a testament to how well Danielle did her job.

At the end of August Mark and Danielle went on their annual vacations. Mark returned Danielle did not. She was slated to return mid-September. The day came and went. Danielle did not return and no mention of her was made. The Morning Waking Crew’s Facebook page exploded with demands for information about Danielle. Eventually an announcement was made that Danielle had taken a leave of absence and that WOKQ was unsure when, or if, Danielle would be returning. This mollified most but conspiracy theories abounded. In the meantime former producer Megan “Bunch” Brady came back for a brief stint in the cohost chair. Eventually traffic reporter Karen Kiley (a.k.a. 2K) took over those duties.

Ericson’s announcement this morning was emotional and leads me to believe there is more to the story than they are able to share with the listening public. Situations like this put a radio station in an awkward position. In order to promote listener loyalty stations encourage personalities to connect with their audience. On-air talent promote products and appear at events and if they are good at what they do a bond is formed with the audience. The trick for the individual behind the on-air personality is to maintain whatever level of privacy he or she deems to be appropriate. When situations like Danielle’s arise where there is a medical issue, all sorts of legal protections are invoked on behalf of the employee limiting what the employer can say. Then what do they do? The radio station looks like the villain for not telling the audience about someone they view as a friend when in fact the station’s hands are tied. It’s a hard row to hoe and I think given the circumstances WOKQ did the best they could with the information they were able to share publicly. Something else that came through in this morning’s announcement was that Danielle’s absence has been hard on the staff too.

Mark and 2K will stay on the air through the holidays and although Kiley appears to be the heir apparent to the co-host throne Ericson clearly stated that was not a done deal by any stretch. They will be interviewing to fill the position.

This morning they played an example of one of Danielle’s more humorous rants. Hearing her laugh reminded me of how much I’ve missed her. Karen Kiley has made the best of a difficult circumstance and if she were to stay on I would not be disappointed but I will miss Danielle.

I hope the new cohost is a woman. Although Mark complains about living in a vat of estrogen I think the show needs a female touch. I also hope that when hiring, they seek out a vibrant personality who can handle Mark’s macho persona. Radio operation skills can be taught, but a personality is something you are born with and a successful morning show co-host requires a certain type of personality.

So to Danielle Carrier, Adios and vaya con Dios. I hope our paths cross again.

To Mark and 2K, I look forward to hearing your voices on Friday morning.

Grilled Pizza ala Concord Monitor

It’s old news that the newspaper industry is struggling but the big news this week was the State of New Hampshire backing a line of credit for the Eagle Times of Claremont. (Note: I would like to have used a link from an NH entity, but was unable to locate one).

I am a subscriber to the Concord Monitor.  I don’t read it every day, but I don’t recycle it without reading it either.  I can do this because I don’t subscribe to the Monitor for world or national news, that information I get online via Google and Boston.com.  I subscribe to The Monitor for the local news, for the list of community events and even local advertisers and local writers.

Case in point, Robin Broadbent and Suzanne Ellinwood contribute to the Concord Monitor Food section as the FruGals (you can read their blog at frugalfeasts.blogspot.com).  Over the summer they wrote a column in The Montior about grilled pizza.  When I first read it, I thought it was a little wacky, but sometimes the trick to getting kids to eat something is turning a regular menu item on it’s ear.  The kids LOVE pizza and by making it at home, I can limit unnecessary additives and get the kids involved in the cooking process. A win/win no?

The first time I made the recipe, I followed their instructions and purchased pre-made pizza dough (whole wheat for me, white for the kids).  The project was a moderate success.  They ate it, but I thought the crust didn’t have a whole lot of flavor.

More recently, I used this dough recipe I substituted 1 cup of whole-wheat pastry flour for 1 cup of the white flour and I added 4 teaspoons of Wheat Gluten.  My daughter and I rolled out the dough and I cooked in on the grill.  The crust is thin, but has a nice flavor without being over powering and the recipe made enough for 3 pizzas which fed 3 of us for 2 meals (my youngest pulled a Mr. Picky Pants and had a jelly sandwich for lunch, eh you can’t win ‘em all).

I know some folks have put away their grills for the season, but we grill year round.  Try it now or bookmark it for next summer. My next task is to identify some different pizza toppings.  What is your favorite pizza topping?

The New Hampshire Veterans Cemetery

One of my son’s homework assignments this week was to ask an adult about Veterans Day.  I  already tried to explain it once by saying that Veterans Day was a time when we honored those who fought for The granite sign that welcomes you to the New Hampshire State Veterans Cemeteryour freedom.  “Oh,” he said, “so we’re just going to go there and then come back?  I like that place, it is my favorite”. Whhhhaaa?  Oh wait; my Mother-In-Law has a camp in Freedom, New Hampshire. THAT’S what he thought I meant.  Concept FAIL.

Next, I turned to Grandpa.  His dad, brother and son were Marines.  His explanation was slightly more effective than mine but my son is 5, so these concepts are not going to be acquired instantly.  Add to that, that no one in our immediate circle has been deployed or worse died in combat. This is going to take a lot of repetition.

I thought that maybe a trip to the New Hampshire Veterans Cemetery in Boscowan would further reinforce the message.  My first thought was to take him to the annual Veterans Day ceremony, but something told me he wasn’t quite ready for that yet.

According to the web site the New Hampshire Veterans Cemetery was established by legislation in 1997.  The first internment took place in November of that year. The 104-acre site used to be a state forest and phase one of improvements was completed in August of 2003. Currently, there are 14 acres that have been improved and are available to inter veterans. As we entered the cemetery, there were flagpoles on both sides.  Sadly, the flags were already at half-staff due to the tragedy at Fort Hood.

Flagpoles that line the entrance
Flagpoles that line the entrance

After we parked, we headed for the memorial walkway that commemorates each branch of the military and the service organizations that support the veterans. Mim, enjoyed following the path and along the way he stopped to inspect some of the memorials and plaques.  He had to be discouraged from climbing the larger stone monuments.

He’s just learning to read, so he enjoyed finding some of his sight words and letters in some of the abbreviations (i.e. U.S.N.).  As we completed the path, Taps played to mark the top of the hour. I belatedly remembered to grab the ball cap from his head.  I guess we both have some learning to do with respect to being respectful.

Next we crossed the street, and explored the niche where cremated remains are interred.  There are rows assigned letters of the alphabet so that families can locate their loved ones.  He thought the big letters were pretty cool.

We crossed the street again to the flagpole flanked by plaques with the seals of each of the military branches and the state of New Hampshire.  Concrete paths emanated out from the base of the flagpole like spokes on a wheel, and Mim raced up each path.  When I next looked up he was barrel rolling down the grassy hill. *hand to forehead*

I have no doubt that some of the souls interred there were looking down and chuckling at the innocent antics of a 5 year old boy, but I didn’t want anyone to think he was being irreverent or I callous, so I was the party pooper and told him he had to stay on the concrete paths (and on his feet).

Next he wanted me to go see all the “rocks in the grass”.  I followed him up the path and explained that those were head stones marking the graves of soldiers who died. The first one we looked at was a woman who had served in World War II.  The marker listed her, among other things, as “beloved, wife and mother.”  After I read the marker to him, he nodded his head and said to himself “Moms can be Bet er ans too.”  This seemed to impress him.

Next we explored the section where full caskets are buried.  It is a sad, but awe-inspiring sight. “Wow, that’s a lot of statues Mom.” Indeed, it was.

I’m glad we made the trip.  I hope someday that our entire family can go for the annual Veterans Day ceremony, but for now, we’ve started planting the seeds of understanding.

I was not in favor of our leader’s decision to invade Iraq, but we live in a democracy and I was in the minority.  Our soldiers fight for my freedom to disagree.  I have a tremendous amount of respect for those who heed the call to serve.  I am grateful that they are willing to make the sacrifices that come with being a soldier.  I am also grateful to their families for their support and the sacrifices they have made.

God Bless.

Section 4 at the New Hampshire Veterans Cemetery
Section 4 at the New Hampshire Veterans Cemetery