Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I just read that Bernard Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison for the fraud that he perpetrated against thousands of people going back to the early 1990's. The massive Ponzi scheme, estimated between $13.2 billion and $50 billion depending on who you believe, destroyed the lives of thousands when it took their life savings and ruined charities all over the world.

When asked at sentencing if he had anything to say, Madoff called his crime a "problem" and "an error in judgement." Ya think? His wife, Ruth Madoff, has been the target of some of the victims' anger since her husband's arrest while she continued to live her lavish lifestyle and kept quiet. She now says she was duped by her husband and was misled, too.

I saw a TV news report earlier this week saying she also has been financially ruined, and has been reduced to riding the subway to get around New York City. If that wasn't a staged photo op, I don't know what is. There she sat on the subway looking all sad and small. I imagine once the cameras were gone she just about jumped into a vat of Purell.

Today's report, however, says that even though the Madoffs were forced to give up personal property, real estate, investments and $80 million in assets Ruth claimed were hers, they left her with $2.5 million that they couldn't tie to the fraud. Oh, boo-hoo, only $2.5 million?? Poor dear.

Who needs $80 million and what does one do with such wealth? And I guess we should start thinking about a fund for poor Ruth because $2.5 million just isn't going to go far on her budget.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Adventures in Rome

In April 2005 I traveled to Italy for the first time. I love Italian food and my half-Italian husband (his mother was first-generation American) but I never had any overwhelming desire to travel to Italy. When my friend Gisele asked if I was interested in a trip, my first reaction was.......hmmm, maybe, maybe not. Obviously I said yes, and my stepdaughter Pam of Pam's Perspectives, Gisele and Gisele's stepmother Muriel and I traveled together. We had a great time.

It was also my first time on one of those Six-Countries-in-Four-Days kinds of trips where they keep you moving from 6:30 a.m. to midnight. Not the most restful way to travel but you see a lot. We actually only visited Italy but in one week we traveled from Venice all the way down to Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast. From nearly missing the plane in Boston after getting to Logan 7 hours early (don't ask) to Pam and me getting lost in the streets of Venice, it was a wonderful trip!

Here are a few photos of our stay in Rome.

This is a Lamborghini. It probably took 5 minutes to get this shot as Gisele kept saying......'okay, wait a minute, no, oops, I missed it, go back.' I was smiling but was thinking about killing her as I stood making a spectacle of myself in the middle of the street.

Probably my favorite photo from the trip. That's Muriel, Gisele, Pam and me on the Spanish Steps. Don't know who those people in front were.

Another of my favorites. To me this was the ultimate new meets old. Or at least newer meets ancient as the yellow building was probably mid-1800's.

We were there the week after the funeral of Pope John Paul II. This is the door to the Sistine Chapel which was as far as we got because the College of Cardinals was meeting. In fact we were in Italy when they elected Pope Benedict XVI.

These photos are taken on the grounds at the Coliseum. It was a drizzly day which made the site a little eerie especially when you looked into the pits where the animals and slaves were kept but it also made the trees and grass so green, it was a beautiful contrast.

Stick around and I'll post more photos from our visit to other cities.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Funny Foto Friday

Our littlest grandson, Alex, loves All Things Wheels. This first photo was taken when Paul rode up to their house with his buddies on the way to a ride somewhere. I'm not sure Alex, who seems a little beside himself as he stands there, even knew it was his grandfather in the leathers.

In this next photo, Travis is trying to be very cool, Julia is her usual smily self and Alex is still in heaven.

Here's Alex a couple years earlier in his very serious mood getting ready to cut some grass. What do you think he's got in the sippy cup?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Close Encounters of the Unpleasant Kind

They say cats have nine lives but I hope dogs do, too, 'cause I think Lucy has used up a couple of hers. There was that day when she crossed 6 lanes of morning traffic twice on Rt. 195 without a scratch. Don't ask, the story makes me a little sick to my stomach despite the happy ending. But her most recent adventure was last October when she got 'up close and personal' with what we are pretty sure was a coyote.

We have a couple acres of our property enclosed by an invisible fence; a fabulous invention that I highly recommend over tying a dog if you don't have a regular fence. Of course, the flaw in that is that it keeps our dogs IN but it does nothing to keep other animals OUT.

That evening, just at dark Lucy was in the yard barking at something in the woods.....barking barking barking. I called to her to come in but she kept barking so I finally just went inside. Within 3 minutes of going inside I heard her start to scream like a little girl. I ran out screaming her name into the dark yard, I can't see anything and now she's not making any noise and I can't see her! A couple minutes later she's on the deck, bleeding from both sides and she's pretty shaken up. And so am I.

She's short haired but we couldn't really tell what the cuts looked like. I was thinking maybe a fight with a cat. It was late, she was fine so we just stopped the bleeding and left her alone for the night....well, not alone, she had to be right beside one of us, she was so frightened.

The next day when the vet shaved the area around the two cuts, they were clearly puncture wounds from canine teeth!! Lucy had been in the mouth of a coyote and lived to tell.

Paul says I saved her when I ran out shrieking like a banshee. He figures the coyote decided it didn't want to deal with whatever was making THAT noise! Of course, we're lucky it didn't grab her throat or her head or the outcome might have been very different. So that night Lucy was Lucky and we learned a lesson.....no going out after dark alone. In this photo I think she's a little embarrassed.

The Bloggity Blog Blog Tag

Anita over at A woman, a wife, a mom was tagged in this game, and she tagged anyone willing to play............so, that's what I'm doing, too. It seems a simple enough meme and since I'm my favorite subject, why not?

1. Where are you blogging right now? I'm at the computer desk in the corner of the living room directly above where the wireless router is. I recently moved here from my spot in the kitchen to improve the reception. It's quiet and working out better than expected.

2. How many unpublished posts do you have in your 'draft' box? 2-3

3. Whose blog inspired you to start your own? Pam of Pam's Perspective. In case anyone doesn't already know, Pam is my stepdaughter. Pam started her blog back a few months ago and has been very inspirational and helpful to me.

4. When do you usually publish your posts? At 7 a.m. I usually write my posts a day or two in advance and save them for later. Occasionally I publish them right when they're written, depends upon my inspiration.

5. In your guesstimation, how many blogs do you read? About 10 and I try to visit the SITS Featured Blogger daily to say hi.

6. How long have you been blogging for? Since April this year.

7. Why did you start blogging? I like to write and enjoy writing wordy emails about things that are going on. I kept a diary in my teens and a journal in my early 20's when my marriage was falling apart. I started out writing one blog with the intentions of making it a little personal (about happy things this time) and a little bit about my real estate business but soon decided that I wanted to separate them and started a second blog about real estate alone.

8. Why do you keep blogging? I'm enjoying writing my personal blog especially since I've gotten some encouraging feedback from family and friends who are reading it. Of course, there was that person I thought was a friend that I sent a link to early on whose comment was...."get an editor." But I've gotten over that and hope to keep it going. The real estate blog has been slow going but I'm going to keep plugging at that, too.

9. If you could only recommend one blog to a friend, which one would it be? I couldn't begin to know how to answer that. They are all so different. The ones I'm really enjoying appeal for different reasons and I'm discovering new ones every week.

10. If the Internet was "turned off" for one month, what would you do with all the time you used to spend blogging? Well I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be watching television. TV just puts me to sleep. Even movies and shows I enjoy sometimes don't keep me awake. I suppose it would be reading. I have to admit that blogging has cut into my time spent reading. I might try to get Paul to play a game of Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit. We don't do that as often as we used to.

So now YOU are invited to use this tag too. And let me know in the comments that you did so I'll be sure to come and read your list.

Image from Google Images

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Food for Thought-Peanut Butter Cake

Thought it was time for a dessert. This is my mother's recipe and it probably dates back to the 1950's. I used to have a copy in her handwriting but somewhere along the way I typed it and discarded the original. Wish I still had it; she used to have beautiful handwriting.

This was also my father's favorite dessert so it seems appropriate since Father's Day just passed. Happy Father's Day a little late, Dad. Miss you!


This makes a very moist, dense cake. This is the original frosting recipe but you might use a chocolate frosting for something different.

Preheat oven to 350.

Sift together:
2 1/8 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

1/3 cup soft shortening
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 cup milk

Beat 2 minutes

2 eggs

Beat 2 minutes

Pour into greased pan. Bake layers 25-30 minutes. Square, oblong or Bundt pan 35-40 minutes. And you MUST test its doneness the old-fashioned way.....use a toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean, you're done!


Peanut butter
Canned evaporated milk

Because it's an old recipe there were never exact measurements for the frosting ingredients. Just start out with a small can of milk and gradually add the peanut butter and suger to taste. Mix ingredients together until very smooth and thin. Drip over cake as thick as desired. Enjoy!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Come on, Dish!!

Last week's Food For Thought was a recipe for Chicken Francaise from my friend, Rich Epstein, Residential Properties' Coach Extraordinaire. When I sent Rich a link to my post I got this message back:

When I was a young, single man, I had one dish I used to cook for potential girlfriends. Having spent from 16 through most of college working in restaurants in various positions I picked up a few pointers. Only if I thought the girl had “girlfriend potential” did I make the meal my sister lovingly refers to as the “Classic Meal for Babes” which consisted of:

Stuffed mushroom appetizer.
Caesar salad.
Veal Francaise with a creamy dill sauce.
My mother’s recipe for garlic bread sticks.
Something store bought for dessert – not a baker.

I thought that was a pretty nice menu. It would have impressed me! Rich's email got me thinking back to the first meal Paul ever cooked for me. It was a freshwater salmon that he caught at Big Lake in Grand Lake Stream, Maine. He had spent Memorial Day weekend fishing at a buddy's cabin and brought the salmon home. I don't remember the recipe other than that it was done in foil in the oven. But I do remember thinking "this one's a keeper" the guy, not the fish!

So now I want to know who remembers that very first meal that your significant other prepared for you? Or how about the most romantic dinner ever prepared for you? Everyone must have a story. Come on, share! Leave me a comment with the details.

Image from Google Images

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Here Comes the Sun

I'm starting to feel like a mushroom.....this rainy, cloudy weather is really starting to get on my nerves!

I'm not a sun-worshiper like Tammy from Keep In Touch With Mommakin 'cause I'm a redhead and therefore a burner & a peeler. I've already had one experience with a basal cell and don't need to go through that again, thank you very much. But I do believe I have solar batteries. I just don't feel right when the sun doesn't shine. So I'm bringing some of my own along here to the right.

I definitely wake up with the sun which is kind of cool because morning is the best time of my day. I haven't used an alarm clock for 15 years. Well, the only time I DO set an alarm is when we have an early plane to catch. Then I set TWO because I'm sure I'll sleep through one (I've never slept through an alarm in my life. I'm such a light sleeper I wake up when a mouse farts in the attic) and then I wake up once an hour all night looking at the clock thinking I've slept through both or the power went out. I really should just stay up the night before a flight; I don't sleep anyway.

I remember when we flew to Alaska a few years ago in July. We arrived in Fairbanks at 10:30 at night and the sun was as high in the sky as it would be here at 2 in the afternoon. There we were sitting in an outdoor restaurant along a river at 11 p.m. wearing sunglasses. Weird! The hotels there all post sunrise and sunset times in the lobbies. Sunset 2:30 a.m. and Sunrise at 4:00 a.m. That was pretty neat. They all had these heavy drapes that you had to close at night to block out the sun or you'd never go to sleep. Apparently some people in Alaska get a little manic in the summer; they forget to go to bed.

Right now I could use 22 hours of sunshine. I think I'm beginning to mold.

Image from Google Images

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Say It Ain't So

Over coffee this morning Paul asked,"Did you hear that your favorite store is going out of business?" My favorite store? I don't have a favorite store, I hate to shop. Yes, I am a woman but I apparently didn't get the shopping gene. I can do it and occasionally I do but it's not something I really enjoy. My lack of enthusiasm for shopping probably comes from not being able to buy much clothing 'off the rack.' I am tall, 6 feet tall, with a 36" inseam and an arm and foot to match. I'd look a little odd otherwise, wouldn't I? So shopping for clothes my whole life has been a struggle.

Years ago I discovered catalog shopping which, of course, led to online shopping. Between the specialty stores available that way and my preference to shop for clothes sitting here in my sweats, online/catalog shopping was a dream come true. And THAT I do very well.

Paul used to joke that I had my own UPS truck. He thought a UPS truck couldn't drive past our house without stopping. "Not so, there goes one now!" I said one day as we were standing in the front yard and a big brown truck drove past without stopping. BUT (you guessed it) about two houses down, it stopped, backed up, drove in and put a package into my hands. Okay so I'm on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. That's not a bad thing.

So anyway this morning he told me that Eddie Bauer is filing Chapter 11. EDDIE BAUER! Now that's a different story!! I refer to myself as Mrs. Eddie Bauer. It's not unusual to have everything on me, with the exception of underwear, to have an EB label. This could be a crisis!

Wait a minute; Chapter 11, isn't that reorganization? Doesn't mean they are going under, does it? Apparently they are being bought by someone. Well, there goes whatever quality is left in their stuff, which honestly, has gone down over the last few years, but their clothes still FIT me! And a pair of pants doesn't cost $225.

Okay, I have to wrap this up. I have some shopping to do.

Image from Google Images

Friday, June 19, 2009

I Know Right Where To Put It

I had a very nice surprise waiting for me this morning; an award from the very talented and entertaining Linda of Crone and Bear It.

I consider Linda a new friend and I guess she returns the sentiment. We have been reading and commenting on each other's blogs recently and seem to have more than just two lovely Golden Retrievers in common. New to this blog world, I have been trying to spread my blog hopping around and have found several I have enjoyed and look forward to checking in on regularly but none more than Crone and Bear It. So to have this honor from the Lovely Linda is very special. So thank you, Linda, for the honor and I send everyone over to see her at Crone and Bear It and the ever-popular Crap on a Crutch to see why she was given this award herself. Linda says these awards are our version of the Oscars – and we should call them....Bloscars.

Now as with all awards I understand there are some rules I need to follow:

1) Grab the Award and link the person whom you got the award from.

2) Pass the award to different bloggers whom you think are deserving of this award.

3) Write a post about the award and there you’ll link the person who gave the award to you and those people who you’d like to pass the award.

4) Continue your passion in writing because your hard work will always be appreciated.

This is only my second award in my very short blogging career, and I'm not sure I really deserve it. But I will find a very special spot to place it and now pass on the honor to these bloggers whom I have greatly enjoyed following and encourage anyone who hasn't found them to do so now:

Lady Grey of Miss Lady Grey

Stereos and Souffles some of the greatest music I've run into...always has me bopping in my chair

K of The World Goes Ever Ever On and

Anita of A Woman, A Wife, A Mom more good music

I know you will enjoy reading these blogs as much as I do – and they all richly deserve this award!

Funny Foto Friday---Tail of a Rat Terrier

Here's something I'll call Funny Foto Friday for all you Alliteration Aficionados!

Lucy's pedigree says she's a Jack Russell Terrier. Several times I've been told she looks more like a Rat Terrier. I think they are both from the same breed or line or whatever! They are both called Earth Dogs. One look at these photos will tell you why.

Lucy looking UP!

Lucy looking DOWN!

"I'm gonna get that chipmunk if it's the last thing I do!"

Here she is as Super Dog!

Going ice fishing with Dad

I've got dinner!

Does this dog have a great life or what!?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Nurture vs. Nature

Have you been following the story about John Barnes of Michigan who thinks he's actually Steven Damman the little boy who was abducted in 1955 at the age of 2? A real-life Cold Case, it's a fascinating story about a toddler who was taken from outside a store in Long Island and never found. More than 50 years later John Barnes, who says he never felt like he belonged to his family, tracked down the sister of the little Damman boy and had a DNA test done. The results of that test say they 'could' be siblings. The police file has now been reopened and the FBI is involved and doing their own DNA testing. The results, which supposedly will have the definitive answer of who's who, won't be done for a couple months. I can't wait to hear the end of this story.

I have always been fascinated by genetics. Not the actual science but just what I can observe in people. Maybe this comes from the fact that I have no siblings or biological children of my own. I have 6 first cousins but only one (our mothers were full sisters) that I think I look like. I love it when I have the chance to see children of people I knew as children and have the opportunity to watch their kids to see not just physical resemblances but mannerisms that remind me of their parents.

I recently had the chance to spend the afternoon with the half-sister of a long-time friend of mine. I had not seen D since she was about 17 and she's now 37. I've known her half-brother since we were in 6th grade but they did not grow up together. They never spent much time together, and I don't believe they've even seen each other in over 25 years.

I found D on Facebook and was thrilled when she accepted my Friend request. I wasn't sure she would remember me. We exchanged a few emails and then got together for lunch. While we visited and chatted for a few hours I was stunned when I saw mannerisms and expressions that were just like her brother! A couple times it was so distinctive that I was a little distracted from the conversation, and I wonder whether she wondered what I was staring at! I never told her what I was thinking but maybe I will send her a link to this post and see what she has to say.

As I said, genetics is a fascinating subject for me, and it really makes me think about what is in that red stuff coursing through our veins.

Image from Google Images

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Food for Thought--Chicken Francaise

This week's Food for Thought is coming to us courtesy of my friend, Rich Epstein, Corporate Trainer and Coach Extraordinaire for Residential Properties Ltd.


1 lb. skinless-boneless chicken breast

1 egg
1 tbsp. lemon juice
Bread crumbs (plain)
Grated Parmesan cheese
1 stick butter
Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
3 cloves crushed garlic (or to taste)
2 tsp. parsley
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 c. chicken broth

Slice chicken as cutlets or strips. Beat together with fork, 1 egg and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Mix plain bread crumbs with grated Parmesan cheese (1 part cheese to 2 parts crumbs). Dip chicken pieces in egg mixture and then in bread crumbs mixture. Brown in oil. Set aside in baking dish.

For sauce: melt together 1 stick of butter and juice of 1 1/2 lemons. Add 3 cloves crushed garlic (or to taste), 2 teaspoons parsley, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and 1 cup chicken broth. Simmer 10 minutes; strain if desired. Pour over chicken in baking dish.

Bake covered 40 minutes and then uncovered 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Serve chicken over rice. Serves 4. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Adventures in The Canadian Rockies

I love riding on trains and had always dreamed of a Trans Canada Railway Tour. In July of 2004 I almost got my wish when we traveled on the Rocky Mountaineer through the Canadian Rockies from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Jasper, Alberta. What a way to travel! The picture at the right is lunch aboard with white linen service. We didn't stay on the train overnight but travelled two full days getting off in Jasper and traveling by car through Lake Louise, Banff and to Calgary.

Train travel has always fascinated me because you see places you can't see from a road whether it's across a prairie, through a mountain pass or just the backside of a town. Here are a few highlights of that trip aboard the Rocky Mountaineer.

Paul overlooking Jasper and the Canadian Rockies. At the bottom of that valley is the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge where we stayed. This is not an illusion, he really is out that far on the ledge.

On the Athabasca Glacier in the Columbia Icefield in Alberta.

We saw some amazing wildlife including bears, elk, moose, Rocky Mountain goats and this big horn sheep. Isn't he incredible? I took this from inside our car! I thought he was going to butt the hood.
This is my favorite photo taken at Lake Louise where we stayed at the The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise one of the most gorgeous hotels I have ever seen. This was our view from the hotel room. The scenery doesn't get any better than this!

Monday, June 15, 2009

It's a Small World After All

While reading Pam's post yesterday in Pam's Perspectives, I started thinking about the funny coincidences I've had running into people in places I didn't expect to. Being a real estate agent you count on what we call our sphere of influence to build business, so I usually enjoy it when I meet people I know or people who know people I know but I've had some really strange occurrences.

I live in the smallest state, Rhode Island. You know, the state that news people use as a unit of measure for things like "an iceberg the size of Rhode Island has broken off the coast of Alaska and is floating towards Hawaii" or "a forest fire three times the size of Rhode Island is raging in......" Those of us from the littlest state, with the biggest name I might add, get a little tired of that.

Yet many people don't even seem to know WHERE Rhode Island is! In our travels in the US we stopped answering Rhode Island when asked where we're from because we got sick of hearing "oh, isn't that the island off New York?" No, you dope, that's LONG ISLAND!

And then there's the guy you meet somewhere who says "My cousin's ex-husband is from Rhode Island, do you know him, his name is......?" While it's true there are only a million of us living here and I do know a lot of people, I don't know them all!!

But then there was the time in Italy about 5 years ago when Pam, of the aforementioned
Pam's Perspectives, my BFF Gisele (I can use that, can't I?) and I were in a restaurant in Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast. A guy with a guitar was strolling around asking people where they were from. He asked a young couple sitting right next to us. The guy didn't answer The States or Rhode Island or New England he just said Woonsocket. What'd he say!? Woonsocket is a small mill city in northern RI and happens to be Gisele's hometown. What are the odds?

And then the lady working in the gift shop in Prescott, Arizona, who was from Oakham, Massachusetts. Oakham is a town of about 300 people and Paul's cousin and his family just happen to live there. Weird!

And the time Gisele and I were on the commuter bus to Providence talking about someone we knew in this family of 14 kids. The guy opposite us looked out from behind his newspaper and said "I heard my name, are you talking about my family?" (Ooops! What did we just say about that family??) Oh well, that's not such a small world story, after all there are 14 kids in the family, that's half a town in Rhode Island!

It's a Small, Small World.......

Image from Google Image

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Testing-----One, Two, Three

A few weeks ago I wrote about not being afraid of many of the usual girly things......you can check it out if you care....here where I wrote about not really being afraid of spiders, bats and mice. As they say, talk is cheap, but I am proud to report that I have faced the enemy and he is GONE!

I just had an adventure in the basement. I’ve got laundry going down there so I opened the cellar door and started down and something came flying at me……thought at first it was a bird but quickly realized it was a bat!

Yeah, I screamed like a little girl. Slammed the door shut…...what do I do now? Paul’s gone until Tuesday, have to go down there for the laundry if nothing else. Screwed up my courage and headed back down to open the bulkhead…..did that and ran right out through it. Back through the house with dustpan in hand to swat it away if necessary…..headed back down, crouched like a SWAT team member ‘cause I can still see the damned thing flying back and forth. I was basically crouching on the floor of the laundry room which is where the bulkhead is and within 2 minutes it swooped back through and up and out the bulkhead!!! I am so proud of myself!

Image by Google Image

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Photo Roulette

Pam at Pam's Perspectives tagged me in this photo game. I enjoy games that have a completely random nature to them and love photography, so this is a win-win for me. You never know what you will get. Basically the game is like this:
  • Open your first photo folder on your computer drive
  • Scroll down to the 10th photo
  • Post that photo and its story on your blog
  • Tag five friends to do the same

If this photo looks familiar, it should. It's one of the three in my blog banner! And it also happens to be one of my favorites taken in South Africa a few years ago when Paul and I were there for two weeks on safari. This was actually the first in a short series of photos I shot of this giraffe. In this frame he sees me; and in the next, he bolts! As you might expect, they are amazingly beautiful and graceful animals. And big! There was a bull giraffe I saw a couple times when he came into a watering tank, and he stood 18' tall and was estimated to weigh 1500#. You can read a little about that trip in Adventures to South Africa. Now who to tag? As always if you don't want to participate - not to worry....just breathe deeply and let it go....

Miss of Miss Lady Grey
Kat of Three Bedroom Bungalow
Kelly of Housewife Savant
Michele of It's a Dog's Life
Cathy of The Stylish House

And Now a Word From Our Sponsor

Maybe not sponsor, but at least the person who pays the bills. That would be me. In case you didn't already know, I'm a real estate agent in my real life. And before you 'change channels' on me saying "I don't live near her" let me tell you that if you ever need a realtor ANYWHERE, I can help!

Sure, you can try to find a realtor by looking online and Googleing the area or have someone send you one of those glossy brochures that have listings that expired a month ago. But I'd rather talk to you, listen and find out what you are looking for and then personally connect you with an agent chosen just for you. What a concept! Personal, professional service.

I am part of an organization called Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, a global network of nearly 700 premier real estate firms with 5,500 offices and 170,000 sales associates in 38 countries around the world. This group is made up of trusted local experts selling more homes than any national brand.

As a member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, we can connect you with top professionals who know the neighborhood – anywhere in the world. You’ll enjoy:
  • Personalized assistance in finding the right home and neighborhood

  • Information on schools, business and recreation

  • Contacts with financing sources

  • Discounts on household moving services

  • A free relocation package for your new destination

So if you or any one you know is getting ready to relocate or purchase a second home and don't know who to call, call me at (401) 457-1745 or drop me a note. I will be happy to get you in touch with an agent in your new location who has the expertise to represent you!

Image from Google Images

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Food for Thought--Sweet & Sour Shrimp

This is a quick meal to prepare, about 15 minutes if the shrimp is thawed, but it seems like it took longer.


Total time: 15 minutes

1 8 oz. can pineapple chunks in juice
1 tsp cornstarch
3 tbls chili sauce
1 tbls soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced (or more to taste)
Cooking spray
2 tsp sesame or olive oil
1 medium red or green pepper, coarsely chopped
½ medium onion, sliced
¾ pound peeled & deveined medium-size uncooked shrimp

Drain pineapple, reserving juice; set pineapple chunks aside. Combine reserved pineapple juice, cornstarch, chili sauce, soy sauce & garlic; set aside.

Coat a large nonstick skillet or wok with cooking spray and add oil. Place over medium-high heat until hot. Add pepper and onion, stir-fry 3-4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add shrimp, stir-fry 3 minutes or until shrimp turn pink.

Stir cornstarch mixture and pineapple chunks into shrimp & vegetables. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until slightly thickened and bubbly. Serve immediately over rice. Great with steamed snow peas.

Serves 2-3. Enjoy!

Image from Google Images

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

It's All About the Attitude

You all know that I am rather new at this blogging stuff. I have been working rather hard at it and I guess it's starting to show! Yesterday I was really pleased to learn that Gwendolyn B. of A Sea of Books has nominated me for the Lemonade Award! This award is for showing great attitude and/or gratitude and has a pay it forward concept. Thank you so much Gwendolyn B!!

Here are the rules for accepting the award:

1) Put the Lemonade Award logo on your blog or post.
2) Nominate at least 10 blogs that show great attitude or gratitude.
3) Link to your nominees within your post.
4) Let the nominees know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5) Share the love and link to the person from whom you received your award.

I nominate the following blogs and invite everyone to vist them to check out their very interesting and different styles:

Gratuitous Violins
Housewife Savant
Interstitial Life
It's a Dog's Life
Please Try Again
3 Bedroom Bungalow
Stereos and Souffles
The Stylish House
The Real Estalker
Traveling at the Speed of Life

Congratulations everyone! You are all inspiring. Keep up the great work.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Congratulations Billy Elliot!

A few months ago I went to New York City and saw my very first show on Broadway, Billy Elliot, the Musical at the Imperial Theater and I know it won't be my last. I loved it! And in case you haven't heard, the show won TEN Tony Awards last evening including Best Musical. I sat through the 3-hour awards show and really enjoyed it. In addition to seeing all the awards that Billy Elliot won, it gave me some ideas of a couple other shows I'd like to see. If you want to read a terrific review of Billy Elliot, The Musical, take a look at Pam's review in her blog, Pam's Perspectives. We went to NYC and saw the show together in February.

The title role of Billy Elliot is danced by three different boys. That teenage trio - David Alvarez, Kiril Kulish and Trent Kowalik -won Best Actor in a Musical last night, the first time three actors were nominated for one musical role.They are also the youngest winners ever of a lead acting prize at the Tony Awards. Kiril Kulish was on the day I saw the show so I have to say I'm somewhat partial to him but I have seen pieces of the show several times where they have all performed and all are fantastic. My favorite moment in the show last evening was when they all came up to accept their Best Actor awards. Despite being the odds-on favorites for the award, they all seemed so sweet and generally surprised by the attention and truly a little speechless.

It was wonderful to see the musical on Broadway and it was great to see them all on the Tony Awards last night. If you have a chance to see the show, I highly recommend it.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Tales of a Pack Rat and a Collector of Shoes

It's not like I don't sit here at the computer enough between work (my site), blogging (two blogs at the moment) and general time-wasting......but this morning I decided to put a few items out on eBay for auction, too.

Let me say....I don't like to throw perfectly good things away. If it still fits or works, even if it hasn't been worn or used in years, it kills me to just pitch it. We used to have annual yard sales.....that got to be a huge pain in the butt as anyone who has ever done one knows and I quit. We donate to several organizations. Big Sisters picks up a couple times a year and Paul ships boxes to a Native American organization out west regularly. Those groups get clothing mostly.

When I retired from the 'corporate' world in 2000 I went through most of my business clothes and donated much to a local program that helps people getting back on their feet and into the job market prepare for job interviews, etc. But I couldn't part with my shoes! I know many of you ladies out there can relate.

My father used to call me Imelda, as in Imelda Marcos, the lady with the shoe collection. I wear a big shoe (I'll just keep the size to myself, thanks), and they are hard to buy and expensive! Even though I was pretty sure I'd never go back to suits & heels, I didn't dare get rid of my shoes. Every one of the nearly 100 pair was in its original box with a description on the end. I have since altered my system and now put a little digital photo on the box rather than a written description. Makes figuring out WHICH tan sandal is in there a little easier. I know, I'm weird about my shoes.

So when I retired I put dozens of boxes of heels into cartons and up into the attic, just in case. After a few years, I realized I wasn't going back to wearing heels on any regular basis and I pulled the cartons down and decided to try selling them.....on eBay!! Over the course of a few months I sold about 65 pairs of shoes, sandals & boots on eBay. My shoes went all over the country and Canada, some places I've never been. Hey, if I can't go, my shoes might as well! I didn't sell them for a lot of money but at least they weren't in the landfill and someone else was enjoying them. I got great feedback from all.

So this morning I put a pair of sandals that aren't comfortable up for Auction as well as an antique brass trivet and a wooden bowl. They're just sitting on a shelf in the basement getting dusty. As the saying goes.....One man's trash is another man's treasure!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Food for Thought----Pan-Roasted Salmon and Tomatoes

Married nearly 25 years, Paul and I have this agreement, I cook it, he eats it. Honestly, he's not a fussy eater and has always been a fairly easy person to cook for. He has a few things he doesn't like (such as green vegetables) but I pretty much just ignore that and cook what I want to and with few exceptions, he eats it. Never much of a fish eater, over the years he has come to appreciate fish a little more and not just what he's dragged out of a lake and thrown into a pan. Here's one of our favorites.

Pan-Roasted Salmon and Tomatoes


1 1/2 pounds salmon steaks, about 3/4 inch thick
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 14 1/2-ounce cans diced tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil


Dredge the fish in the flour. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the fish and brown about 3 minutes on each side. Carefully lift the fish out of the skillet and set it aside on a platter; sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and garlic to the skillet and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook 3 minutes

Reduce heat to low and return the fish to the pan. Cover and cook 5 minutes or until the fish flakes when tested with a fork or the tip of a knife. Remove the fish to a platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Increase heat to high, add the basil, and reduce the sauce, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 3 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings

Image from Google Images

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Highbush Cranberry---June

I have always been a photographer although nothing you've seen here would indicate that I'm anything other than a real amateur. The photos at the top of my blog are some I took in South Africa that I am quite proud of though.

My father and his father were both shutterbugs and had a dark room set up in the basement of the house that my father and I grew up in. At the age of 8 I was shooting and developing photos in black & white. We never developed anything in color as the processing required many more baths than the three needed to produce black & white. That's probably changed in the 40+ years since I was watching photos of my beloved dog Missey come to life in that 3rd bath, but I couldn't say.

Over the years I have seen a few framed collections of photos of country scenes shot from the same spot in different seasons and always thought I'd love to do something like that. Not particularly arty in my photography, I've never tried it until now.

In our yard is a Highbush Cranberry brought back from a visit to friends in Vermont about 16 years ago. Each season has a distinctly different look, and it is one of my favorite plants in our yard. The botanical name for the shrub is Viburnum trilobum and is a native shrub with supposedly edible fruit (haven't tried that yet) and year-round ornamental value. Although the common name for this plant describes it as a cranberry, it is actually more closely related to a honeysuckle than to the cranberries eaten with the traditional Thanksgiving turkey.

Starting today I am going to take monthly photos of the bush and post them. I hope you appreciate it as much as I do and that my photos will show why I love it.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Adventures on OBX

I'm baa-ack! I hope someone missed me. Went to see my new friends, the Wild Horses of Corolla, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. This little guy was sitting right along side the road, didn't seem to care that I was pointing a camera in his direction.

Supposedly these wild horses are descendants of mustangs brought by the Spaniards in the 16th century. The Corolla Wild Horse Fund was formed in 1989 by a group of concerned citizens to heighten awareness about the presence of wild horses in the area. They are protected and fines can be imposed for feeding, approaching or disturbing them in any way. The only way to visit them is across the beach via 4-wheel drive. They can be somewhat elusive but we had no trouble locating several groups including this little one.

After riding around looking for horses we spent the rest of the day just hanging out on the beach reading, fishing, picnicing and just plain relaxing! It was heavenly. We did that a few times during our stay on OBX. I'm not much of a beach person being a redhead and a burner rather than a tanner but I could get used to this!


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