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Happy Holidays from everyone at TWDHF!

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas around here! Check out the new Budget Travel Blog entry about cheap holiday travel and saving money on your trips with Twitter!

And don’t forget to get into the holiday season this year by donating to some amazing causes. Spend a little time giving or working with some of these groups:

Ronald McDonald House
St. Jude Children’s Hospital

Goodwill
Feeding America
Operation Homefront
Make-a-Wish Foundation
Easter Seals
The Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind
Homeless Shelters/Soup Kitchens

You can also look up great things to do all year round at DoSomething.org

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Hey everyone, it's Chavez!

Hey everyone! My name is Chavez, and I am Beatrice’s new partner from Guide Dog Foundation. Unfortunately Obama had to retire for medical reasons, but I was introduced to Beatrice about 2 months ago to take his place.

It was such a change for her coming from a mature partner like Obama to a young guy of 18 months like me. But don’t worry; I’ve got just as much moxie as Obama, if not more! I know that Bea and I will grow together very well.

Obama left me some notes letting me know that he periodically submits articles about canines and other animals for Bea’s Blog. I look forward in submitting articles that hopefully you will find interesting.

My first big adventure with Beatrice will be our trip on the Costa Atlantica ship December 12, 2009. We will be showing people with working dogs that they can enjoy themselves on vacation if they bring their four legged partner with them!

Beatrice and I would enjoy meeting you on the cruise, so find us on the Atlantica this December. But until then, check out my new page “Chavez’s Friends” and send your photos with you and your favorite pet. We’ve got some stocking stuffers here for friends who send in their favorite photos!

So for now, have a terrific travel experience!

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I really do enjoy the flavor of fish. It’s really light and doesn’t take a long time to cook. Lately, I’ve been trying to expand my taste buds for the different types of fish. Now I really do enjoy snapper but it is definitely a fish that you have to be able to afford. At times you may have to substitute another fish if your budget isn’t prepared for this dish. So, if you can’t find snapper, try any of the following: Pacific Rockfish, Striped Bass, any Sea Bass [European, Black Sea, Chilean], Catfish, Walleye, Haddock or Yellowtail. Make sure you have fillets with the skin left on for this recipe.

Grilled Red Snapper

Grilled Red Snapper

Grilled Snapper

Prep Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb skin-on snapper fillets
  • Juice of a lime
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 1 T. black pepper
  • 1 dried cayenne pepper or 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1 T. coriander seed
  • 2 T. achiote seeds (available in Latin markets)
  • 1 T. dried oregano (Mexican oregano is best here)
  • 1 1/2 t. Kosher salt
  • 1 T. paprika
  • 1 T. garlic powder
  • 2 T. canola or other vegetable oil

Preparation:

  • There are two ways to do this spice mixture: With whole seeds, which you then grind, or with powdered spices.
  • If you have whole spices, toast the coriander, the cayenne pepper, black peppercorns, achiote seeds, and oregano in a dry pan over medium-high heat until you can smell them, shaking the pan often. This should take about 2-3 minutes.
  • Skip this step is you are using powders, because toasting them is tricky — they burn easily. Incidentally, toasting makes the spices smell better in the finished dish.
  • Achiote seeds, which look like little red nuggets, are a key to this dish. But if you cannot find them, you can substitute more paprika. It will not be the same, but is an OK alteration.
  • If you are toasting and using whole spices, grind them into a powder in a spice grinder.
  • Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. In a plastic container or plastic bag, add the oil and the lemon and lime juice. Put the fish fillets in the juice-filled container and move around to coat. Now sprinkle the spice mixture over the meat side of each fillet. Don’t bother to spice the skin side. Lay the fillets skin side down in the container or bag, then let this marinate in the fridge for 2-4 hours.
  • After the fish marinates, remove it and pat the skin side dry with a paper towel. Coat it with a bit more oil and lay the fillets down on a well-oiled, preheated grill. To cook this dish, you will need an “open” space on your grill with no heat – either one section of burners turned off, or a spot where there’s no charcoal underneath. This is where you lay your fish down. If you cannot do this for some reason, wait until the fire is subsiding or turn the burner to its lowest setting.
  • Grill the fish for 10-15 minutes, depending on thickness. Do not flip. If you do, the fillet will fall to pieces. That’s why you leave the skin on. Once the meat flakes near the head end of the fillet, carefully remove the fish and set it on a platter to cool for a minute or two. Serve with flavored rice, as a sandwich filling, or break it into pieces and use it for fish tacos.

“Fish, to taste right, must swim three times — in water, in butter and in wine.”
-Polish Proverb

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Now this is something that I really do love. I like them fried, boiled, broiled, steamed, grilled, etc you get the picture. When I first started writing this blog I told Budget Blogger Meg [@CallMeHoppe] about it. I got that she was kind of disturbed when she said, “This isn’t going to be some gross homage to the old adage, ‘Do you know what’s actually in there?!’ is it?” When I told her that there was nothing gross, she agreed to read it after some “it better not be’s” So, to ask the age old question, hold the gross:

Pink's Hot Dogs, the legendary LA hot dog joint. Courtesy of kaszeta on Flickr

Pink's Hot Dogs, the legendary LA hot dog joint. Courtesy of kaszeta on Flickr

What are hot dogs made from?

Are hot dogs made of pork, beef, or something else? What are hot dogs made of? Frankfurter content is regulated by law in the United States. Traditional hot dogs are made of beef, pork, veal, chicken or turkey. They are available with or without skins and may contain up to 30%  fat and 10% added water. For vegetarians, there are tofu hot dogs.

Hot dog sizes range from about 2 inches (cocktail wieners) up to the famous foot-long hot dogs popular at sporting events. The most popular hot dog size is the standard 6-inch length usually sold in packages of ten.

Hot Dog Terms Regulated by Law
–Beef or all-beef: Contains only beef with no soybean protein or dry milk solid fillers added.
–Kosher: All-beef, usually heavily seasoned with garlic.
–Meat: A mixture of pork and beef, usually 40% pork and 60% beef with no fillers.
–Frankfurter: May contain up to 3.5 percent fillers and made from a combination of meats.

Let’s share some hot dog recipes and their origins
–Chicago dogs: a steamed, boiled or grilled – but never broiled – all-beef

Chicago Style Hot Dog courtesy of kaszeta on Flickr

Chicago Style Hot Dog courtesy of kaszeta on Flickr

hot dog on a poppy seed bun, originating from the city of Chicago, Illinois. The hot dog is topped with mustard, onion, sweet pickle relish (usually a dyed neon green variety called “Nuclear Relish”), a dill pickle spear, tomato slices or wedges, pickled sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt; sometimes, but not always, cucumber slices. [Not to be biased as a Chicagoan, but these are the BEST hot dogs you could ever hope to eat!!!]
–Kansas City dogs: Sauerkraut and melted Swiss cheese on a sesame seed bun.
–New York City dogs: Steamed onions and pale yellow mustard sauce.
–Coney Island dogs: Topped with a spicy meat mixture.
–Southern slaw dogs: Served with coleslaw on top.
–Corn dogs: Placed on a stick, dipped in corn bread batter, and deep-fried.
–Tex-Mex dogs: Topped with salsa, Monterey Jack cheese, and chopped jalapenos.
–Pigs in a Blanket: Wrapped in pastry and baked.
–Baltimore Frizzled: Split and deep-fried.
–Lillies: Short for Lilliputians (from the Jonathan Swift novel Gulliver’s Travels), these are about half the size of a man’s thumb, also commonly called cocktail-size, and usually served as an appetizer in a sauce.

Hot Dogs Around the World
The popularity of the American hot dog has spread worldwide. In Russia, where they are known as Sosiska, Russians prefer their dogs spicier, so those exported to Russia generally contain a lot more garlic. Whereas, in China, where hot dogs are known as Rouchang, a fully cooked, cold hot dog wrapped in red plastic is eaten like a popsicle, slowly peeling the red plastic down as it is consumed or warmed on a stick with no condiment embellishment. However, no other country to date can keep up with Americans who consume over 20 billion hot dogs a year [we have to win at everything we do!]

Where did the term “hot dog” come from?
Although the history of sausage goes back a long way, hot dogs are as American as apple pie. There is no certain etiology of the term hot dog, but two theories are the most prominent.

The popularity of the term hot dog is generally attributed to sports cartoonist T. A. “Tad” Dorgan, who caricatured German figures as dachshund dogs just after the turn of the 19th century. His talking sausage cartoons generally denigrated the cheap wieners sold at Coney Island, crassly suggesting they contained dog meat. It was such bad publicity that in 1913, the Chamber of Commerce actually banned use of the term “hog dog” from signs on Coney Island.

The term actually first appeared in print in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1900. German Americans brought us wienerwurst, German for Vienna sausage, which eventually became shortened to wiener. Other German immigrants referred to smoked sausages as bundewurst, which is German for dog sausage. By the late 1920’s, weinie roasts became the rage, with guests bringing their own hot dogs to roast over an open fire.

Credit for putting the hot dog into a warm bun and topping it with various condiments goes to Harry Magely, catering director of New York City’s Polo Grounds, who reportedly instructed his vendors to cry out, “Red hots! Get your red hots!” Also credited for the idea of warm buns is Charles Feltman, of Feltman’s Gardens in Coney Island amusement park. Corn dogs were introduced in 1942 at the Texas State Fair, created by Texan Neil Fletcher.

Now that we know how wonderful my hot dogs are let’s stop reading here and go and have a wonderful hot dog experience with everything on it!!

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Courtesy of Patrick_Ng via Flickr

Courtesy of Patrick_Ng via Flickr

With the economy the way it is, the state of the world in disarray, and schedules getting busier and busier, sometimes we just need that extra push to live our lives to the fullest. I was on Twitter the other day and started thinking about the things that people take for granted. The stories that we miss because we’re too caught up with the daily grind. I have always been of the belief that you can find adventure in anything if you look for it. So I did some digging and I found a really great list of 101 Things to do Before You Die. The list is Australian, so it might need some help translating over, but reading it over I couldn’t stop laughing.

What if we all made a conscious effort to do something that we hadn’t done before? What if we made ourselves a “Bucket List” so to speak early on in life and worked hard to get through it? We could amass adventures that would rival the epic stories of the great adventure writers.

So everyone, make a list of your own, tell me which ones you like on here, or give me just a few things that you want to do before you kick the bucket. To get you in the mood for adventure, I found the 50 most inspirational travel quotes from a Twitter friend @travel_forum. Check them out

  1. “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” – Mark Twain
  2. “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine
  3. “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
  4. “The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.” – Samuel Johnson
  5. “All the pathos and irony of leaving one’s youth behind is thus implicit in every joyous moment of travel: one knows that the first joy can never be recovered, and the wise traveler learns not to repeat successes but tries new places all the time.” – Paul Fussell
  6. “Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” – Jack Kerouac
  7. “He who does not travel does not know the value of men.” – Moorish proverb
  8. “People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home.” – Dagobert D. Runes
  9. “A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.” – John Steinbeck
  10. “No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” – Lin Yutang
  11. “Your true traveler finds boredom rather agreeable than painful. It is the symbol of his liberty-his excessive freedom. He accepts his boredom, when it comes, not merely philosophically, but almost with pleasure.” – Aldous Huxley
  12. “All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.” – Samuel Johnson
  13. “For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
  14. “Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese
  15. “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller
  16. “A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.” – Moslih Eddin Saadi
  17. “When we get out of the glass bottle of our ego and when we escape like the squirrels in the cage of our personality and get into the forest again, we shall shiver with cold and fright. But things will happen to us so that we don’t know ourselves. Cool, unlying life will rush in.” – D. H. Lawrence
  18. “To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” – Freya Stark
  19. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
  20. “Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard
  21. “All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber
  22. “We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharial Nehru
  23. “Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.” – Paul Theroux
  24. “To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson
  25. “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  26. “Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by.” – Robert Frost
  27. “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Lao Tzu
  28. “There is no moment of delight in any pilgrimage like the beginning of it.” – Charles Dudley Warner
  29. “A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu
  30. “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James Michener
  31. “The journey not the arrival matters.” – T. S. Eliot
  32. “A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” – Tim Cahill
  33. “I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” – Mark Twain
  34. “Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” – Pat Conroy
  35. “Not all those who wander are lost.” – J. R. R. Tolkien
  36. “Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli
  37. “Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” – Maya Angelou
  38. “Too often travel, instead of broadening the mind, merely lengthens the conversation.” – Elizabeth Drew
  39. “Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe”……Anatole France
  40. “Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” – Seneca
  41. “What you’ve done becomes the judge of what you’re going to do – especially in other people’s minds. When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.” – William Least Heat Moon
  42. “I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within.” – Lillian Smith
  43. “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” – Aldous Huxley
  44. “Travel does what good novelists also do to the life of everyday, placing it like a picture in a frame or a gem in its setting, so that the intrinsic qualities are made more clear. Travel does this with the very stuff that everyday life is made of, giving to it the sharp contour and meaning of art.” – Freya Stark
  45. “The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.” – Rudyard Kipling
  46. “Travel is glamorous only in retrospect.” – Paul Theroux
  47. “The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G. K. Chesterton
  48. “When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” – Clifton Fadiman
  49. “A wise traveler never despises his own country.” – Carlo Goldoni
  50. “Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” – Mark Jenkins

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I was at a business luncheon last week and I overheard a conversation about some individuals’ co-workers. The individuals were going on and on about a few people in their office that had habits that just drove them nuts. I thought about it and it seems that despite job shortages and hours cut, there are still issues that really tick people off in their offices. To be honest, I work in a small office and we try very hard to respect each others’ property and feelings. Naturally, I’ve worked in larger offices, but for almost a decade I’ve had a small business of my own and haven’t had the problems that other people do at work.

Of course, I went straight to Google to see what some of the most common complaints about co-workers were. I found some really common ones and some that you might not expect. And I have to ask, are you guilty of any of these?

Taking someone else’s food from the office refrigerator makes your co-workers really mad. In fact, an informal online survey on TheLadders.com found that 97.8% of respondents on its site rated fridge raiders as the absolute worst breakers of office etiquette. Syd, my girl with the big kitchen, had an experience like this at her workplace. The notorious “Lunch Thief” had everyone livid, and hungry. The thievery stopped when someone was let go, we’re all guessing that he’s stealing lunches at another marketing firm now. Taking co-worker’s food riles people in their workplace — almost as much as dealing with the forgotten, reeking food left to spoil. It was reported that people have been known to take up a collection to pay someone to clean out a foul fridge. That’s how bad it can become.

Co-workers with bad personal hygiene were mentioned almost as often on the online list of shame. More than 95% of the survey respondents were bothered most by unkempt, and presumably smelly, co-workers. That could mean too much perfume as well as too little deodorant on the offensive list.

It was reported that a co-worker was driven crazy by a colleague’s incessant foot-tapping throughout the day. Another co-worker was driven to distraction by people who let their cell phone ring tones play in the office.

We all have them, the Annoying Co-Workers...

We all have them, the Annoying Co-Workers...

My own hall of shame is full of people who put on their head phones, lean back in the chairs and broadcast their conversations loudly throughout the room. It just absolutely, drives me crazy. I will get Obama and just walk away until the person finishes his/her conversation.

Drinking on the job is another co-worker problem I stumbled upon. I really had to think on this one. I guess there must be lots of different workplaces out there, given that 85.7% of the survey respondents chose that to mention. Where I work, bringing alcohol on site is grounds for dismissal, so we don’t get much opportunity to study drunk co-workers (at least at work!). Kind of a scary thought to realize the dangers and damages possible when workers drink on the job. I’d call that a safety issue more than an etiquette concern.

Wastefulness with paper was also a grievance people had in the workplace. At least we’re developing a green conscience because 82% mentioned it on the online survey. It’s food for recycling thought…and an indicator that the paperless society still is a ways off.

Some other pet peeves that emerged in the survey included cooking smelly food in the office microwave (Smelly might be in the nose of the sniffer; is popcorn smelly?) and messing with a Blackberry, etc., during a meeting (How about any cell phone texting?). Here’s a big complaint in our office: Co-workers who drain the coffee pot and fail to start another.

What’s on your list of offensive co-worker behavior? Please let me know. I am really curious to know.

Wishing all of us a positive co-worker experience!

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Try putting together a generic "Packing List" for all of your trips.

Try putting together a generic "Packing List" for all of your trips.

My faithful companion and I have been doing quite a bit of traveling lately. In doing so, I am determined not to let it become a problem in deciding the best things that I need to take with me on a trip. What are the must and the wants? I have been asking fellow travelers and other individuals in the blind disabled community what are their thoughts pertaining to helpful travel needs. There has been some interesting articles pertaining to this also.

Here are some of my suggestions:

For Disabled Travelers
–If you are a white cane traveler bringing an extra cane, in case your cane breaks
–A hand held talking scanner or portable reader; this as you know can be very helpful in reading menus, labels etc
–A talking GPS (global positioning system)
–Brailed labeled and or talking color identifier for clothes
–Digital recorder for taking notes

Clothing
You have to be really smart when you pack your clothes. Try picking out clothes that all fit a general color scheme. This way, you can match more than one item together and you can have a more diverse range of outfits. Additionally, pick clothes that can serve double duty. Meaning, look at items that you can dress up with the right jewelry or dress down; for example: swim trunks can also serve as men’s shorts.

Toiletry Kit
In a waterproof bag, make sure you check, bring travel sized [small] sizes of the essentials. If you’re going on a longer trip, still only buy small sizes of everything. You can always stock up once you get to your destination.

Wrinkle-Release Spray
Spray your clothes and let them hang the night before you need them for best results, and be sure to check the care instructions on your garments before use. These sprays work best for casual clothes–if you have a big meeting or need a crisp suit, you’ll still need to get out the steamer!

Back-Up Travel Documents
If you make copies of your important travel documents once, passport, green card, etc.) you can store a set permanently in a pocket of your carry-on. Having copies available will save you a world of pain if you lose your identification, particularly when overseas.

Customer Service Numbers
Keep a set of customer service and emergency contact numbers in your wallet (print them on a business card for easiest storage) in case you find yourself with a dead battery and a delayed or canceled flight

Back Up Charger
Sometimes, one charger just won’t cut it. If having power for your gadgets and necessities is essential, carry both a plug-in charger and one that operates solely on batteries.Suitcases

I hope that these suggestions will assist you with your business as well as leisure travels. Wishing you a stream line and efficient travel experience!!

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.”
– Jack Kerouac

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