Monday, August 31, 2009

Tales of a Pack Rat and a Collector of Shoes

Another rerun, after all, it is summer.


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!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Adventures in Portugal---Albufeira

When I heard the news last week about a rockslide at Maria Luisa beach in Albufeira which is in the Algarve region of Portugal, I took out my photos to see if I had any of that spot. Our hotel was right on the beach. No shots of that area but I think we walked through it and past the site of the landslide. Scary to think that we were in that same spot only 16 months ago.

Here are some of our photos. The beach was spectacular as was the view from our hotel.

This was actually taken from an overlook in town.

This was taken from our hotel balcony I believe looking west.

And this is looking east and I believe towards where the landslide occured.

From the overlook looking back at our hotel.

It was a beautiful little town.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

B.P.O.E.---Best People on Earth

Here's a rerun of an early post about a group of people I am particularly fond of.

Well, that's not the official meaning of BPOE but if you ask me, it fits. I am a card-carrying member of the The Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks Lodge #850 and proud of it! Until two years ago I didn't know much about the Elks. I knew they were a fraternal organization with a very nice building in the City of Woonsocket where I needed to find new rental space to operate Adopt-A-Family, Inc., from.

Until then we called a local church home but it was closing and the building was being sold. We were desperate to find another safe, large location in the city we could afford and there weren't many options. Not expecting that the Elks would be able to rent us their hall for a whole week in December which is prime party time, I made an appointment to meet with them early in 2007 to ask.

They didn't know much more about us than I did about them but they were very nice and when they found out that our mission is to provide Christmas gifts to children of needy families, they were anxious to help. And that was the beginning of what I know will be a long and happy association with the Elks for both myself and AAF.

We rented their hall that week in December 2007, and we really got to know each other. The Lodge is open 7 days a week but most of the time only to members. So they watched us work over that week and they were impressed. I'll tell you more about Adopt-A-Family in another post. This is about the Elks. That week they couldn't do enough to help us and make us feel welcome. We knew we had found a new home.

The mission of the BPOE is all about patriotism and community service. Two things that are dear to me, as well. When I started to learn more about what they do for the community, I was hooked. And before that first week in December was over, I had decided I wanted to become a member. I'm proud to say that the Exalter Ruler that year, Butch Desjarlais, approached Paul and me and offered to sponsor us. In case you hadn't guessed, to be sponsored by the Exalter Ruler is an honor in itself. So before the end of 2008, Paul and I had both become members of Woonsocket Elks #850.

Established in 1868, the Elks nationally are involved in a wide variety of programs, from scholarships to drug education to Veterans Services. The BPOE is second only to the federal government in the amount of scholarship money they award! Scholarships are available to children and grandchildren of Elks. Paul and I have five grandchildren soon to be heading off to college so we'll soon start applying for them.

Our Lodge #850 is located Woonsocket, a city that is home to a large population of struggling families. Some of the events that we sponsor annually include a Fishing Derby, Youth Appreciation Dinner, Soccer Shoot, Basketball Hoop Shoot, Kids Christmas Party, Milk Fund, blood drives plus we have a resident Boy Scout Troop.

Since joining, Paul and I have become involved as much as our busy schedules allow. We enjoy dropping in on a Friday night when the lodge is open to the public for Fish & Chips. The food is good and reasonable. There's no pressure to do anything, just paying your annual dues and buying occasional raffle tickets helps fund the Elks National Foundation. But as I said, this is the beginning of a long association with a group I am pleased to be part of. As our motto states.....Elks Care, Elks Share!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Just Makes Me Want to Hold Them

Knowing how certain emails fly around cyberspace, you all may have already seen these photos and read this story and will rush to tell me it's a fairy tale. But when I saw these two photos in an email that a friend passed on, I wanted to post them no matter what their origin. The photos don't appear to be 'photo-shopped' or created, and I was so touched by them and the story that accompanied them, I was in tears.

Earlier this summer these two reportedly were rescued somewhere in the mountains above Santa Barbara, as the Jesusita Fire wildfires raged through. Reportedly the fawn was 3 days old and the bobcat about 3 weeks. It said that when the kitten was found it was dehydrated and near death. During the mayhem of the fire, rescuers were forced to put animals anywhere they could. They had run out of crates large enough for the fawn. When brought in the kitten ran to the fawn, and it was instant bonding as they snuggled together under a desk in the Santa Barbara County Dispatch Office.

If the story is false, I don't really care, I could just sit and look at these babies for hours. If it is true, I don't have the ending but I sure hope they survived and will be released somewhere safe.

Monday, August 24, 2009

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

About 15 years ago Ruth, Gisele, Kathy (my Dinner Club friends) and I went to Bermuda and rented a two-bedroom condo over Memorial Day weekend. Ruth and I shared a room, and the first morning we were there she laughingly asked, "do you realize you have put on six different lotions and potions since you got out of the shower?" Ever since then I refer to my toiletries as my Lotions & Potions.

This morning as I was performing my toilette I was thinking back to when I was a teenager and we didn't have all this stuff. As I methodically reached for each product in its turn I started to count.

Of course in the shower it was the body soap and exfoliant for my face and body. When I got out of the shower it began with the cotton swab.

Then the lotions, not all after a shower but there's deodorant, eye cream, lip balm, morning face moisturizer, night-time face moisturizer, sunblock, hand lotion, body lotion, foot lotion. Then the teeth: mouth wash, floss, plaque rinse, tooth whiteners, toothpaste. Then there's the hair products: shampoo, conditioner, detangler, thickener, root lifter, curl booster, hairspray.

Is it any wonder my luggage is always over the weight limit when I fly?! I try to cut back on all this stuff when I travel but I NEED it; I really do! And I haven't even gotten to the makeup yet which I won't list because honestly I don't use a lot of makeup but there's still a handful of those products, too.

And quite honestly when I look in the mirror, I'm not sure I'm getting my money's worth.

Men don't have a clue how easy they've got it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday Short---He's Got It, He's Finally Got It!

I've said before that Paul really doesn't complain much about anything I do. But he has been known to grouse a bit over these last four months about the time I've been spending at the computer. He assumes it's all about my "stupid blog" although I do work here, too.

He reads my blog but not usually unless I've left it open and he sits down to check his own email. And I know he has enjoyed several of my posts. Last evening we went to a Porketta at the rod & gun club he belongs to. It was not a pig roast where they actually roast a pig on a spit over an open fire, it was just a fund-raising dinner where they happened to be serving pork.

As we sat at the picnic table with friends he asked if I had my camera. I didn't. It's always in my car, and we had taken his truck. Honestly, I didn't expect there would be anything to photograph or I would have brought it.

Then he said...."I thought you would write a post about the porketta."

He's got it, he's finally got it!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Dear So and So---Friday Edition

Dear Truck Parked Beside Me,

I don't know who you are or when you decided to drive your door across the TOP of my fender but thanks for the 4" dent. Don't you people have eyes or ears? I've never accidentally tapped another car without knowing I did it and I've never left a mark on another's vehicle even close to what you left on mine WITHOUT OWNING UP TO IT!

Feeling like there's a giant HIT ME sign on my car,

Dear Toyota,

Finding out that the power window switch for my passenger side window doesn't work anymore on my 2006 Avalon has me pretty pissed off. That's 3 issues with my car in two weeks. It only has 50K miles and this is a TOYOTA! Aren't they the ones they show in the magazines with something like an average of 225,000 miles? You're getting on my last nerve. I bought this car new and paid a bucket of money for it not expecting to do anything but change the oil for a long time.

Near to being a former Toyota owner,


Dear New Next-Door Neighbors,

Can you ever speak to your grandchildren without YELLING????! We each live on nearly 2 acres and I realize the lots are narrow so you aren't that far (or far enough) away from us but can't you talk to them? Why do I have to hear everything you say? You make more noise with your mouth than my dogs do when they're barking.

Quiet & Peace-Loving Neighbor,


Dear Richard Hatch,

Please shut up and go away. You've already had your 15-minutes of fame several times. You got caught, now finish your sentence and get on with your life. As for your recent yapping in the media that you didn't know you had to pay income taxes on the $1M you won on Survivor because the government didn't tell you. The government doesn't tell me I owe taxes annually either but I know I do and I pay them. What gave you the idea that the prize was tax-free? Just stop it.

An embarrassed Rhode Islander,


Dear Readers,

This is fun! If you want to give it a go, grab the button from my side bar (courtesy of Kat at 3 Bedroom Bungalow) and go!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Move It, Mom!

I stopped by to visit Mom today. I picked up a bouquet of flowers on the way because I was feeling a little guilty. I have been working a lot of hours and hadn't seen or spoken to her in a couple days. I just popped in. She immediately put the flowers in a vase, and we chatted about nothing.

She showed me a new collage of family photos she just put together, and I hung it for her. Then as I sat and watched her walk back and forth across her little studio apartment I thought....hmmmm, she's getting around better. But I didn't say anything. Last week she was very unsteady on her feet; so much so that I really was concerned about falls, which she does often and well.

Today she seemed much better. She mentioned she has gone to a couple exercise classes and yesterday even got into the pool. These are things I have been trying for six months to get her to do. The classes went well; treadmill, light weights, etc. The pool.....not so much. She nearly drowned herself!

Let me say that Mom is the #1 most uncoordinated person on earth. Seriously. Just take my word for it. Apparently yesterday in the pool she lost her footing and just kept goin' under. Funny now 'cause she's okay. Apparently a man at the other end of the pool saw what was going on and grabbed her and got her out. "Couldn't you just stand up, Mom? The pool is only 3 feet deep." I suggested maybe she not go in when it's Free Swim and only when there's some class or other people nearby.

As we talked, with a glass of water in her hand, she just STOOD UP off her couch. She wasn't holding onto the arm or anything, just stood up. I noticed immediately; it took her a couple seconds to register what she'd done. Then she sat down! And got back up. Then sat down and got back up with a big smile on her face.

Lately it takes three men and a boy to haul her out of a chair or the car. Then she has to stand for a bit before she starts to walk. It's scary to watch. I said "That's what I've been trying to tell you. If you'd do that ten times twice a day, you'd get stronger." The way she's been going, I'm afraid she's going to be in a wheelchair in six months. I figure it's downhill from there.

She agreed she'd keep going to exercise and maybe get back in the pool again. She mentioned the spa at the pool that Vito was trying to get her to go into. (Vito? Who's Vito?) I just said, Don't do it, Mom, it's like a warm toilet. She promised she wouldn't.

Today, I felt such a sense of relief thinking that maybe she's not in a downward spiral. Scary thought.....I'm only 22 years behind her. You know what I always say....Rest is rust.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk

I guess the real phrase is "You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?" I told you about my friends Chet & Nellie and the beautiful new home they just purchased. Chet owns a local hardware store. The business actually employs three generations of his family; sadly something almost unheard of today. I don't think you'll be surprised to hear that their business is struggling. The mom-and-pop-type of business is being hardest hit in this economy and thousands are going under every week.

A few months back I wrote about a buy local organization in our area called the Blackstone Valley Independent Business Alliance. Chet and Nellie have been instrumental in organizing and promoting that effort because the idea of 'buying local' could mean the continued success or failure of their business.

What else does buy local mean to Chet? It means rather than going to one of those big box home improvement stores, we go to Chet's store. What does buy local mean to us? It means we get quick and personal service when we shop. I admit when I've got all the time in the world, wandering around the aisles of one of the ginormous stores can be slightly entertaining but when I need something and can't find it or someone to help me, it drives me crazy!

One thing I'll tell you it doesn't always mean is a better price. And honestly even if it does occasionally, the few cents I'd save isn't worth it to me.

Think of it this way....the money you spend in a local hardware, paint, appliance, lighting, camera or computer store stays in your community. It goes to pay a family's mortgage, tuition, grocery bill and even stays in the community when these people shop in other local businesses.

The money you spend in those big box stores certainly does pay some salaries and some local taxes but the biggest part of it goes to Georgia or Arkansas and pays the bonuses of high-paid executives who don't give a rat's butt about you or your community! Do you ever see one of those company's names on the uniform of one of your kid's teams? They seldom reinvest in the community they are located in.

I got an email from Nellie this week telling me they have purchased new furniture, appliances and central vacuum. I asked where she bought everything, and she gave me a list of local companies. Here is what Nellie wrote...."I take the service of buying local for granted because I see the service provided by Vose, but when we were actually buying and listening to the expertise of the salesmen and getting priority treatment and instant service, I appreciate it so much more. Imagine free delivery in this day with the price of gas."

Nellie and Chet are Walking the Walk not just talking the talk. We all should.

Image from Google Images

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Funny Sunny Sunday Photo

Rosey and Lucy playing in the yard. Not exactly an even match. If Rosey could catch her, Lucy would be in trouble!

More of the same silliness.....

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wordless one

"You're not going anywhere without me!" Rosey

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Step Into My Orchard

Ocasionally when I refer to my husband's orchard, people tend to look at me a little oddly. You have an orchard? We do, it's small and mostly dwarf trees but it's an orchard. It's a lovely little spot at the back of our property with a bench that I love sitting on in the sun.

We have varieties of pears, plums and apples. Usually the deer get the fruit before we do. This year the plums and pears are doing well. Take a look.

Aren't they pretty?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Home, Sweet, Home

Buying a house is a very emotional experience. And no matter whether I represent the buyer or seller, as a realtor I often become involved with my clients and those emotions. Of course, as the professional on the team, I'm the one who is supposed to stay unemotional and level-headed during the transaction. And I do, to a point. Last Friday I represented some buyers in their purchase of a horse farm, and I got more emotionally involved than usual, and it was wonderful.

Chet & Nellie are friends as well as clients. They were acquaintances first and fellow members of a local grassroots organization we have all been involved with for a few years. I have known Chet's sister and his parents for years but he's a few years younger and I had never met him until recently.

A year or so after I first met them, Nellie lost her mother. Because Nellie and I are both only children, this especially touched my heart and endeared Nellie to me even more. She and Chet live in the house she was born and raised in. After they married they stayed there to be close to her elderly mother. After the loss of Nellie's mother, they started seriously talking about buying a horse farm.

Well, another horse farm. They already had one, sort of, in her property. They have a nice little ranch house on nearly an acre of land with a 5-stall barn and small paddock for her two horses and one pony. By horse standards, a small property, but with good maintenance and attention to all, they manage to keep three happy horses there.

But Nellie wanted more for Skip, Pumpkin & Blondie, and she wanted what she calls a 'husband horse' for Chet. She is the original horse person in the family but in their years together Chet has gotten very involved with the horses, too. It's not like he had a choice. Owning a horse is a huge responsibility and involves a lot of work. I have learned a lot about horses, too, since getting to know Nellie and during our search for a horse property.

So within a year of the loss of her mother, we started looking. With the number of horses they hope to eventually have and the garden Chet wants, Nellie thought they needed at least 9 acres. We looked and looked and looked.

Finally last week, after a search of nearly three years, we closed on their horse farm. A totally horse-ready property that had two horses living on it right up to their purchase. It has a very nice 7-room house, 7.5 acres with several fenced pastures and a 7-stall barn! Plus gardens, fruit trees & outbuildings; this property was just about perfect.

This was such a long road for them with so many ups and downs, as Nellie and I hugged after the closing we were both in tears. I am so happy for them! And I asked Nellie if I could be there when she brought the horses home. I knew that would be a very special moment, and I wanted to see it. So last Sunday she called me and asked "Can you be here about 4 p.m.?" Paul and I were there about 30 minutes early. I wouldn't take a chance of missing it.

So here are some photos of their arrival and introduction to their new home and pastures. It was a great success and a beautiful thing to watch.

Here's Skip getting his first view of his new home.

Pumpkin on his way in to check out his new stall.

In one door and right out the other!

They couldn't get enough of that sweet grass

Here's Blondie.

Skip going to check out his new 'digs.'

Not bad!

Blondie dug right into her fresh hay.

What a beautiful sight! They kicked up their heels and ran from pasture to pasture.

They kept checking back in with each other.

Finally! Everybody is home.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Takin' Care of Business

My real estate business has experienced a major up-tick in the last couple months. Pending home sales rose in June for the 5th straight month in the U.S. The last time there were five consecutive monthly gains was in 2003. The housing market is getting better. Let's hope that's an indication that the economy in general is moving up.

These last two weeks have been incredibly hectic for me. I actually put two properties under contract with the first people who looked at them! I don't usually even speak about such things as I am a bit superstitious. There are so many points in a real estate transaction where a deal can fall apart that I'm afraid to jinx myself by mentioning them.

Then add in my little adventure on Tuesday two weeks ago. I have been trying to take it a tiny bit slower since then. Mostly we've just been eating out more so I don't have to think about household responsibilities so much. I'll milk that as long as I can. I still have some medical tests scheduled, and the doctors haven't been able to give me a definitive answer as to what happened that day. My gut feeling is they never will.

My posts of the last couple weeks were mostly done in advance which was a good thing. What I've really been missing is the time to read all you good people and leave my usually witty comments. So imagine my surprise when I logged onto Google Reader last evening and found a message telling me I had over 1,000 posts to read!!! Okay, time to scale back some on who I'm following.

And among those many unread posts were two awards for me!

Award #1

This first award was from Shauna at They Call Me Lucy.

I imagine the first time I stopped by to visit Shauna I was drawn there because she named her blog after my Lucy. What? She didn't name it after my Lucy? Well, never mind, I love her blog anyway.....she's a wonderful shopper and finds all sorts of cool decorative items for cheap and I wish she lived near me so I could hire her to decorate my house.

So now I'm supposed to pass along this award to some of my favorite bloggers.

  1. Stacy at Boomerang Chick One of the few bloggers I'm following whom I actually know. This girl has a shoe collection to die for! And she drives a Mini-Cooper, so how cool is she?
  2. Diary of a Not So Glamorous Housewife She always gives me a chuckle.
  3. Brittany at Food for Thought Great recipes, great photos and just a sweet lady.

Award #2

And then as I was going through the 1,000 posts I found this award from Mama-Face at Blog Ignoramus.

I read the post where she sent me this award at the same time as I read her post about the loss of her lovely friend, Susan. It seems more than a little foolish to be going on about such frivolous things as blog awards after reading about such a lady but hopefully she would understand. So thanks Mama-Face, your blog is always such an eclectic mix of ideas and subjects, I never know what I'm going to find.

So now I'll send this award and all of you nice people over to:

  1. Just Breathe mostly 'cause she's got this great little dog named Skye and you know how nutty I am about dogs......she's really sweet, too.
  2. Midlife Jobhunter because I love her quotes and her photos.
  3. Angie at Step-Fabulous for lots of reasons....she's a dog lover, a step-mom and just a really nice person.

So please go and visit all these nice people and spread some love!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sunday Game of Tag

Since I'm posting this on a Sunday there's a good chance not a lot of you will see it. Depending on what comes out, I may be thankful for that.

You see, my friend and fellow New Englander at New England Girl tagged me in a game of Blogger Tag. I'm supposed to:

  1. Link this post to blogger who tagged me.
  2. Include these rules in the post.
  3. Write six random or revealing things about myself.
  4. Tag 6 people at the end of the post and link to them.
  5. Let each person know I've tagged them with a comment on their blog.
  6. Let the tagger know my post is up.

So, here goes:

  1. I am an only child and have no children of my own, so this gene pool ends with me. Might not be a bad thing.
  2. I have been an amateur genealogist since the age of 20. In my research I have learned that I am a direct descendant of Rev. John Robinson who was the Pastor to the Pilgrims.
  3. Although I had a steady boyfriend all through high school, I never attended a dance or a prom.
  4. I hate eating with my hands....even sandwiches and pizza are a challenge. I need about six napkins going at the same time. This makes enjoying a clambake especially difficult!
  5. I am totally non-athletic.
  6. I was born under the sun sign of Aquarius. My husband says as a result I am a cross between Albert Schweitzer and Mickey Mouse.

And the six lucky bloggers I'm going to tag are:

A woman, a wife, a mom
Sparkle's Soup of the Day
Donna Gotlib
A Hesitant Housewife

So there you have it! I am curious to see what, if anything, you will reveal about yourselves!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Adventures in Sorrento & Capri

In my opinion, I have saved the best of our Italy trip for last. When I was in Italy in 2005 we stayed a couple nights in a little hotel in Sorrento on the southwest coast of Italy in an area called Amalfi. From there we visited Pompeii and the Isle of Capri. I thought it was a lovely area that made me think of Southern California. Certainly not a bad comparison but it didn't really impress me. When I planned our trip in 2007 I knew I wanted to visit the area again to show Paul and my cousins both Pompeii and Capri but we only planned to spend two nights there because I didn't think we'd need more than a couple days to see what there was to see.

Sorrento's sea cliffs are impressive and lined with luxury hotels. I arranged for our hotel through our travel agent so I didn't know it was in this area. When we arrived in Sorrento we found our hotel to be the most beautiful place we had ever stayed anywhere.

It was set high on a cliff overlooking the Bay of Naples. From the two balconies of our room we could see across to the city of Naples and Mount Vesuvius. And we had views of both the sunrise and sunset. It was spectacular. When you see tourists coming to the courtyard of your hotel to take their photos of the locale you know you have found The Spot.

Here are some photos from our hotel, Bellevue Syrene.

Through the gates to the hotel.

The rooms were all decorated differently and in fabulous colors. This was our incredible room.

Here is Paul calling home to extend our stay in Sorrento an additional two days. This was at the end of our trip and it was the most fabulous way to finish our stay in Italy.

One of the sitting areas of our hotel.

From our balcony

Our hotel is the yellow building on the cliff straight ahead.

We were able to take an elevator down to the beach and walk along to the dock to take a boat ride over to the Isle of Capri. Here are some photos of Capri.


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