Monday, September 28, 2009

The Tick Key

This is the first time I have ever endorsed any product here, but I just have to share this with all you pet owners. Paul came back recently from a stop a Cabela's in Pennsylvania with this neat little gadget:

It's called The Tick Key, and it is without a doubt the quickest, easiest, most efficient way to remove a tick I have ever seen! We have deer ticks here in our area and Rosey, Lucy and Paul have all been bitten by them. Deer ticks carry Lyme disease which can be a devastating illness for man or beast if not caught and treated properly.

Deer ticks are so tiny that, despite our best efforts, often the head is left in the dog after removal, and then we end up with a wound that has to be treated because it becomes infected. That was until The Tick Key. This little doohickey works to remove the whole tick in one quick pull.

It costs about $5, is made out of aluminum and has a little hole it in to carry on a key chain or to hang right from your pet's collar. If you can't find one in a sporting goods store near you, visit their web site.

All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up

Remember that great line from Norma Desmond in "Sunset Boulevard?" Let me tell you, it's not something you're likely to ever hear me say. Not particularly photogenic, I really don't like to have my picture taken. I think I picked up photography as a hobby because I decided I'd prefer to be behind the camera rather than in front. Although that has backfired on me a bit. When I look at vacation photos now I sometimes ask myself "was I even there?"

So imagine my terror when an editor from Rhode Island Monthly magazine called to tell me they wanted Paul and me to come in for a photo shoot. Photo Shoot?! Me? Are you kidding me? I thought Paul's going to kill me when I tell him this!

A few months back while on the Rhode Island Monthly website I read they were putting together a piece on love in Rhode Island. If you are interested in participating, fill out the online form and someone will be touch with you. I must have been on my second glass of wine as I sat here that evening because I submitted my info and promptly forgot about it.

A few weeks later I got an email asking me to tell them a little about me/us or something to that effect. Paul's birthday had just passed and I had written this birthday post. I sent the editor a link to the post. She quickly wrote back...."Wow. I just teared up reading your blog post. That’s just lovely. And yes, we’d love to have you come in."

Surprisingly enough, Paul was fine with the whole thing. So on August 11 we went to have our pictures taken. While I can't say it was fun, it wasn't awful. They took photos of each of us alone and then together. The deal was that on one page they would have a bunch of individual photos asking you to match up the couples. Then on the next page they'd have the photos of the couples and a little info about each.

The article turned out to be a Survival Guide to Dating in Rhode Island. Not exactly something either Paul or I have done in a couple decades but I guess they liked our story 'cause it's sort of a happy ending. They only chose 7 couples out of hundreds of responses. So go here to the digital issue of the October 2009 issue of Rhode Island Monthly and check out pages 63-64. You just might see someone you know

Friday, September 25, 2009

Where oh Where Did the Doggie Bowls Go

Here's a real head-scratcher for you.....someone or something stole the dogs' dishes. From the deck.

I got home from work yesterday and Paul asked, "Do you know where the dogs' bowls are?" I remember picking them up, nesting Lucy's little bowl into Rosey's bigger bowl and moving them. Maybe that was this morning, maybe yesterday. I probably opened the kitchen slider and set them on the deck. Well, they aren't there.

We looked everywhere. Everywhere they might be (garage, mudroom, lawn) and a few places they shouldn't be (refrigerator, stove, broom closet, basement) and they are nowhere to be found. Why would someone come up onto my deck at the rear of the house and take dog dishes? One is turquoise plastic and the other is aluminum (in case you see them and need a description to identify them) certainly nothing special.

As of October 1 we have lived in this house for 23 years. Nothing like dog-bowl theft has ever happened. Our house is on a couple acres and is set about 150' off the road and backs up to woods beyond our property line. We do have neighbors on each side. The people on the south side were there when we moved in, the neighbors on the north are new last year. We're not thrilled with the new people; they're noisy and messy and a little weird but can't imagine them coming onto the property, up onto the deck to steal two old dog bowls.

A little weird, no?

Postscript: The dogs' dishes have not shown up. Several people have suggested that another dog or coyote might have made off with them. If it was just Lucy's litle plastic dish I might agree but Rosie's was aluminum and animals don't like to pick up metal so I'm going with the new neighbors as the likely culprits. I think they're just messing with us. Creepy.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Food for Thought--Roasted Red Pepper Puree

It's been weeks since I've done a food post. During the summer I don't cook much, just mostly grilling and salads.

Fall has arrived and that gets me thinking about harvesting my basil for pesto. I've been really concentrating on buying my produce from local farm stands but yesterday at the grocery store I found red peppers in the "slightly used" section, as my mother used to call it. I don't like to buy produce already wrapped (I want to pick the three peppers I WANT not the three they want to package together) but this was different.

The price was about $1 a pound for these beauties. I bought about 9# of red peppers with the idea of roasting them and making puree to freeze. When I got them home I was surprised that they weren't really in bad shape. Some would have still been salad quality.

I've always roasted peppers over the gas grill but I recently found a recipe for doing it in the oven. So here's the directions and how mine turned out.

1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Line a roasting pan with enough foil to later fold over the top. Place the peppers in the pan and the pan in the oven. Roast, turning the peppers about every 10 minutes, until the peppers collapse, about 40-50 minutes.

2. Fold the foil over the peppers and allow them to cool. Remove the core, skin, and seeds from each of the peppers, reserving some of the liquid. I just put the peppers into a colander with a bowl below it to catch the liquid.

3. Place the pepper slices in the container of a food processor with about 2 tablespoons of the reserved liquid. Add a large pinch of salt and turn on the machine; drizzle the oil in through the feed tube. Stop the machine, then taste and add more salt and/or olive oil if necessary.

After doing the batch in the pictures, I also roasted a few on the grill after cutting the tops off and coring them. I put them into a big paper bag to cool before peeling. I still like that way better but if you don't have a grill handy or just want to do it in the house, the oven worked fine. Next time I could core them first before putting them into the oven.

From my 9# of peppers I got about 2 1/2 quarts of puree.

Here are some ideas for how to use it:

  • Add a couple of tablespoons to the cooking liquid of any simmering grain - rice, couscous, or quinoa, for example.

  • Use in place of or with tomatoes in pasta sauce. For example, saute several vegetables and bind them with purée during the last minute of cooking.

  • Fold into omelets or scrambled eggs, with or without cooked vegetables.

  • Combine with basil, grated Parmesan, and garlic for a pesto-like pasta sauce.

  • Emulsify with lemon juice, salt, and pepper to make a beautiful salad dressing.

  • Spread on crostini, bruschetta, or pizza before baking.

  • Use as a finishing sauce for roasted eggplant, zucchini, or other vegetables.

  • Serve as a condiment with grilled or roasted fish, meat, or chicken.

  • Stir into soups or stews just before serving.

  • Mash a couple of tablespoons of purée with a little olive oil, minced garlic, and cracked black pepper, into fresh, salty cheese - such as feta or goat - to make a dip for bread or vegetables.

Here's what I ended up with.

You will see that I use all sorts of glass jars recycled from my kitchen. I know I could use canning jars and I have boxes of them but I like to freeze different portions and this just works well for me.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

This Is What I'm Talking About!

Nothing too amazing, just a lone honey bee gathering pollen in my yard. These are the types of photos I miss when using a point-and-shoot camera.

I'm actually quite fond of honey bees. Used to keep bees back in the day. I think I had as many as 8 hives at one time.

Paul and I talk about getting involved again. It's an incredibly interesting hobby.

Hope everyone is having a fabulous weekend. It's a beauty here in the Northeast.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Say Cheese

I got a new toy this week. I finally bought a digital SLR. I've had four point-and-shoot digital cameras since I stopped shooting film, all Nikon Coolpix models. I have been very happy with their portability and results.

My most recent is a Nikon Coolpix P1 which I've used for about 3 years now and which has taken most of the photos you've seen here. As a realtor I'm in and out of houses and need to take photos constantly. It's important to have something small and easy to use but with good results.

When I dug around my photography equpment after getting this new camera, I found the receipt for my last SLR bought in 1987. A Nikon 2000 with a couple lenses. A major investment at the time.

I'm no professional but I have been taking pictures since I was about 8 years old when my father had a makeshift darkroom in our basement, and I was developing black and white photos of my dog, Missey. I've taken a class here and there over the years but never really got too artsy with my photos.

Lately the point-and-shoot cameras just aren't cutting it for me. I miss having the flexibility of different lenses and mostly miss being able to take macro shots....close ups.

When I started doing some research into DSLR's I read good reviews of the Canon Rebel. My father always shot with a Canon so I thought I'd give this one a try. I bought a Canon EOS. I still need to purchase a macro lens.

In my perusing of so many blogs I see such fabulous photography, I'm inspired! I'm especially fascinated by the mosaics so many of you make with your photos. So now I've got some new stuff to learn and I'm looking forward to sharing some of the results with you.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cowgirls Don't Cry....Ride, Baby, Ride

Paul and I recently traveled to Forsyth County in North Georgia to visit his niece, Sherri and to attend the 2nd Annual James Soares Memorial Barrel Race. The race is held in honor of her father, Paul's brother Jim, who was killed last year and raises money for the transport division of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

Sherri's sister Dawn, her husband Jesse, and daughter Raychel were also there for the week. We visited with Dawn & Sherri's mom, Donna, Sherri's son Austin and her fiance Kevin. It was a great week of family fun and getting to know lots of good people who have been Sherri's support group over the last year.

Sherri is the owner of S & S Equestrian Stables in Cumming. A horse farm on 31 acres of beautiful Georgia countryside where she provides English & western riding instruction, specializing in barrel racing. Sherri & Dawn have been riding horses since before they could walk. Both have been champion barrel racers although Dawn hasn't ridden in several years. But you couldn't tell by the way she rode that week. Dawn competed in the adult and open classes of the race and took third place in one of the divisions.

The race was on a Saturday and the Friday night before we had a horseshoe tournament and barbecue. Here are some photos from the week.....there's a lot of them. I hope you enjoy.

NOTE: For those of you who are unfamiliar with barrel racing, and that included me, the average time the riders take to enter the arena, clear the three barrels and exit is about 15-17 seconds. The winning time for this race was 15.095 seconds. Not a sport for a new rider!

Here are Jim's daughters, Dawn and Sherri. Here's Sherri and Kevin. What a great team they make. Both hard workers and devoted to each other.

Getting the arena ready the morning of the race. We'd had a day of rain and it was a mess.

Paul grew up on a farm. He said being at Sherri's that week brought back memories of his childhood. He totally enjoyed it all.

Here are some of the guys throwing 'shoes as my grandfather used to say.

Spectators the day of the race.

Here's Donna and Austin.

Cupcake the Pony all dressed up for the prom.

Sherri and Dawn along with some of the other riders waiting for their exhibition rides.

There were many trailers there for the race with dozens of horses. This beauty caught my eye.

Paul and I were amazed at the work and organization that went into planning the show. Paul said Sherri put the Energizer Bunny to shame. Here she is on her cell no doubt coordinating something.
More riders waiting to race.

Looks like somebody's getting a new pair of shoes.

Dawn and Raychel.

Here's Sherri on Buddy. Her friends told me she and this horse are One.

Raychel kept busy shuttling people around with the Gator. Here she is with her dad, Jesse.

Dawn and Raychel.

Donna worked the food concession stand that raised lots of money.

I had to get involved with the money! Here I am with Sherri in the booth counting out the prize money. Nearly $4000 in prize money was awarded.

The arena has to be dragged after every fifth rider. Kevin must have had saddle sores from sitting on that tractor all day.

Here's Dawn on Heifer the horse not a cow. Doesn't look like she hasn't been on a horse in 5 years.

Another of Dawn's runs. I guess you don't forget.

Here's Sherri on Buddy.

Winner of the James Soares Memorial Barrel Race for the 2nd year in a row, Terri Alexander. More than 125 riders raced that day and $1500 was raised for the hospital.

Paul and I look forward to being there next year.

Monday, September 14, 2009

There's Always Another Answer

I got an email from C the other morning asking if she could give my contact info to her cousin A because she thinks she's going to be needing some real estate advice soon.

The email said that A's husband committed suicide two days earlier. They had relocated to another state a few years ago and from all outward appearances were happy and doing well. They had sold a house in their hometown before moving and taken the money there and invested in another home and some other real estate ventures. When the economy and real estate values tanked, they found themselves in serious financial straits.

The other night after dinner, A's husband took his gun, went into another part of the house and shot himself. She was in the house and when she heard the shot ran to his side but there was nothing she could do.

My heart breaks for her. And for his elderly mother, and for his children. Such a selfish thing to do. Now A is left with the aftermath of dealing with his death under these most horrible circumstances and facing the consequences of their financial troubles.

She will probably be coming back to the town they left. I'm sure had he made a different choice, they could have worked things out even if it meant starting over. She certainly will have to do that now. Alone.

What a selfish, cowardly thing to do. There's always another answer.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Who Put the Pink Flip Flops in My Car?

On my way home from work this afternoon I ran into the grocery store for a few things for dinner. I had just finished a nearly two-hour meeting with a new client and I was tired.

Only had one bag so no need for the trunk. I just opened the rear door on the driver's side to drop it in. Hey, where's my briefcase? I put it behind my seat when I left. I don't have pink flip flops. Oh gawd this isn't my car!

Quickly close the door and go to my car several parking spots further away. Look around hoping the real owner wasn't somewhere close by. It was a gray car but not even the same make or model as mine. I would NEVER have done something like that before. Getting old sucks!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Where Were You When......

As we approached the 8th anniversary of September 11, 2001 I started to remember certain events during my life that I recall and felt were significant. Going back to the earliest in my memory, they are:

November 22, 1963. I was in the 1st grade when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. I remember the day fairly well. I was home sick in bed and listening to my little turquoise Motorola AM radio. I heard a news report and remember saying to my mother when she came to check on me..."President Kennedy was shot." Of course, I didn't understand the ramifications of the event, and she scolded me for saying such a thing. "It's true, I just heard it on the radio." My next memory of that week was sitting in the living room watching JFK's funeral procession on our big black & white console television and seeing the tears slide down my mother's face.

July 20, 1969.
I remember sitting in our summer cabin in Connecticut with a friend watching the moon landing on TV. I'm assuming I was watching it live but that was 40 years ago so maybe it was taped? I know it was during the day on a bright, hot summer day. I thought the whole thing was very cool.

December 8, 1980. The day John Lennon was murdered. He was shot about 11 p.m. so I didn't hear of this until the next morning when my radio alarm clock went off. I remember they were playing some slow, sad Beatles' song when the radio came on at 6 a.m. When I heard the DJ say John Lennon was shot to death the night before, I sat right up straight in bed and said "I hope he didn't do it to himself." That probably sounds irreverent now but remember this was right after the decade that saw the deaths of Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Mama Cass and Janis Joplin. Rock stars being responsible for their own deaths was pretty common then and now, I suppose. No other rock star's death has ever affected me like John Lennon's did.

September 11, 2001. That beautiful Tuesday morning I was sitting at my desk with some news page open on my computer when I looked over to see the first report. This was before streaming news, at least on my computer, so I had to keep refreshing the page to keep up. I rushed out into the office to tell anyone who happened to be in what was happening. The manager of the office, Pat, had a tiny little battery-operated TV on and sat watching the report in shock. Her son Tom was living in NJ and was scheduled to fly from Newark that morning. Remember the plane that flew into the field in Pennsylvania left from Newark. Fairly soon after the first reports she got a call from her daughter-in-law saying Tom was not on that plane.

For most of the day, those of us in the office walked around very quietly. Immediately the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 came to my mind. I was working with an agent, Dan Hunter, who I knew had been in the service during World War II. Dan is one of my heroes. I've said it many times in the 10 years I've known him. On 9/11/2001 when Dan stopped at my office door to talk I asked him, "Where were you on December 7th, Dan?" Pearl Harbor was his answer. Literally my mouth fell open, "You were there?" I said. He was there. He was a young Navy pilot, less than 20 I think, and his job was to fly the officers around the area. He was lucky enough that day to be away from the base. To this day I am amazed that I know someone who was actually at Pearl Harbor on that day.

One of the flight attendants on United Airlines Flight 175 flying from Boston to LA on 9/11 was from my town. Her uncle was a real estate attorney I did a lot of business with back then. I remember having a closing in his office that Friday. No one knew what to say to him, it was so horrible.

Today I expect to be reminded many times of that day and the chaos and horror of the week that followed. Certainly a momentous day in our history.

There were other important events that have happened but I can't remember exactly where and how I heard about them. These are my memories. What do you remember?

Image from Google Images

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A House Divided

Mayonnaise vs. Miracle Whip

In case anyone doubts I have nothing to write about is a plate from dinner this evening. Gorgeous cukes and tomatoes from Goodwin Brothers Vegetable Stand in town. It's not really a contest. Paul likes mayo and I grew up on Miracle Whip.

Hope to be back up to speed real soon.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Yeah, There's An App For That

As you might guess from my title, I recently bought an iPhone. Paul and I just spent a week in Georgia visiting family. The trip was scheduled about two months ago. When it arrived it came during what was probably the worst week I could have picked to be away. I had two difficult closings scheduled plus I was negotiating a couple other deals. But how can you plan that two months in advance?

I have half-ruined a couple vacations since being in the real estate business. I just carried a basic cell phone and refuse to travel with a laptop. About the only way to really disconnect is to leave the country. I told Paul as we drove to the airport that it was probably going to be a 'working' vacation for me. He doesn't like it when I'm on the cell during vacations conducting business but he doesn't say much. At least this time he was warned.

As we got to Georgia I was already getting knots in my stomach telling me I needed to check email. I knew the hotel would have a business center, but as we drove into the plaza where our hotel was located I spied an A T & T store! I was anxious enough about the whole week that I thought, maybe I'll just do it and pay the extra $200 they want because I'm still too early in my contract for a full upgrade.

We checked into the hotel and drove to meet family. I begged off sitting in the broiling Georgia sun to watch my nephew's football game. I said I'd go back to the hotel to relax and catch up with everyone later. Forget the hotel, I drove right to the store and bought an iPhone. I didn't have too much time to spend with the tech there but he said it was pretty easy to use, very intuitive. Boy, was he right!

So now I am the proud owner of an iPhone. What an amazing thing! It's like having a computer right in your hand. I am able to check emails on all four of my accounts in seconds! I love music but had avoided buying an iPod, now I have one. I immediately opened an iTunes account and downloaded a ton of music. Love it! I could go on and on about the different apps I've downloaded. And I know I've just scratched the surface of what this thing can do for me.

One of the first emails I sent from it was to Tom, the IT guy for my company. He bought an iPhone about a year ago and highly recommended it to anyone who asked. My note to him simply said....Finally bought an iPhone and I love it! His reply was....My iPhone changed my life.

Kind of dramatic but I think I understand!

Image from Google Images

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Funny Foto Friday

Meet Lily, the cardboard box killer! Lily belongs to my niece Sherri and she's a mini-dachshund. We spent a week with them in Georgia recently, and I fell in love with this little dog. Made me miss Lucy and Rosey just a little less. Lily only weighs about 6# but she's a first-class mouse hunter.


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