Showing posts from 2010

And so we come to the end... of 2010.

Amazing as it's been, 2010 is over. Oh, pinch me. 

I am not a big New Year's Eve person. Never really was. It requires you to stay up way past a reasonable bedtime. This applies whether you are young or old. When you are really young, and I mean, in your childhood, you should be in bed by 9pm. When you are simply young, and now we're talking college/early to mid-20's, you are typically too drunk to stay alert or remain functioning by 12 am on NYE. And then in your 30's, you are often either a parent, and simply exhausted, or you have worked your ass off all day and can't even think let alone get all dressed up to play sophisticated partier. And then by the time you are in your 50's...well hell. Who cares. 1990 or 2011 you are just plain getting older and need your sleep.

So enough about the big event. Let's talk little events. All those wonderful stories our friends and families love to share with us at this time of year. Some call it a Christmas Letter, …

Friends or Fools?

I have 121 Friends on Facebook. I know this because my limit was actually 100 and I have gone over. Why? Not because I have too many friends. Hell, half these people are related to me. It's the Facebook peeping friends. They innocently friend you and you accept, or vice versa,  thinking won't it be nice to catch up and say hi. And usually it is. It also expands your social network and subsequently, your job network.  Which in this economy is critical. Staying in touch with people,'s a social weave that has become a lifesaver for many. It's helped businesses start up, or keep from falling down. It's connected old friends and created new relationships. And while it has it's downside, it's a really fabulous thing.

But. (There's always a But.) Then it begins. You begin to notice them. The Few. The Quiet. The Nothings. They never post anything. They never share anything. They never comment on anything. Oh they log in though, because that…

Happy Cholidays

Warning: I am going to offend anyone without a sense of humor. Particularly my Born-Again friends. If I have any. Not sure I do. Anway.... I have always wondered about something. Nothing I can find, in any of the literature or song, says you better be christian or Santa won't come to your house. You have to be nice, not cry, not shout...but since when is Santa an anti-semite? We have a lovely holiday winter solstice tree in our house filled with angels. Yep. Angels. They all say "every time a bell rings an angel gets their wings". Because we are non-practicing unitarians in the desert, the tree isn't real, and the angels are promotional items from my all time favorite movie, It's a Wonderful Life (60th Anniversary Edition) and we fill the house with all holiday music all the time.

I love this time of year. I love singing Lennon's Happy Christmas at the top of my lungs with tears streaming down my face. I love hanging cookies with 5 pounds of frosting on the t…

Yeah. I support the budget.

Today I will piss off my friends, both right and left. But those on the right, feel free to argue with the left as long as you like. While your average American family suffers through the worst economic crisis in years, the right and left can argue till they're blue in the face. Each claiming they want what's best. Yeah. For them. Its crap and I am sick of it. It's political tug of war and innocent, hard working people are the rope. It's disgusting. I do not claim to have answers. I don't claim this is the best option. But right now Obama's compromise budget is the only one out there and not even debating it is just repulsive. So please. Enough.

I thank my lucky stars every day that my family doesn't rely on unemployment, that while it's paycheck to paycheck, we still have our home. Hubby was able to go from Unemployed to Self Employed. But so many don't. So this is about them. Not me. Not Congress.

And maybe our esteemed congressmen, congresswomen …

The Almighty GOP

The wonderful thing about The United States is the concept that an egalitarian society could exist. One without a rigid class system or glass ceilings. Oh sure there would still be the poor, the middle and the wealthy, but unlike classes you are born into and remain in, here you could dream and achieve more. A beautiful thing. But it's gone. And it's our fault. In this age of instant gratification and entitlement, more and more voters went to the polls with anger in their hearts and ignorance in their heads. And it is tragic. I'm including some new features this holiday season. Books, music and articles that I recommend. No, not doing it for the money. Though as you'll read on, money is good. I'm doing it to help spread a little holiday joy and spirit. Because there seems to be a little bit lacking this year.

Although...this season, the GOP side of the Senate is in a holiday mood. Yep. They've caught the Christmas Bug and want to bestow their favors not on the …

Groupon? Groupoff!

Does anyone else want to have a group rebellion against Groupon? I really don't know when it started. Daily offers for facials and hair removal and lava rock massages along with Yoga and weight loss plans. Sure they looked good on the surface, if not rather insulting at the same time. I thought, why are they peppering me with fabulous offers for beauty enhancement services? What are they trying to tell me?

Don't they know that I'm a 50 year old with all the bags and wrinkles and war wounds of motherhood?Seems they don't. But they'd like to.

In fact they want me to give them pages and pages of personal info so they can tailor the offers to suit me even better. Anyone who buys into this needs their head examined. THINK PEOPLE. Is giving away every personal detail of your life to a MARKETING COMPANY worth that extra 15 minutes under the tanning spray? 

Years ago, marketing companies would send surveys out with a dollar for your time. Or, better yet, great offers on magaz…

Call me scrooge, but...

Maybe I'm just a sap. Or a bitter old lady. But Christmas and Channukah, for me, are about joy and laughter, not getting your toes smashed by some bargain hunting crazed shopper on Black Friday.

Every year, my generous employer gives us the day off after Thanksgiving. And I love it. I sleep in. Leisurely have my coffee, get caught up on the news. And I'll go walking with my Mom, who THANKFULLY is still around to walk with. Then my husband and I will drag out all the holiday decor and get busy. It wasn't always so. For most of our married lives he worked on Black Friday. Up at the crack of dawn and out the door. We usually didn't get started on the holidays until Sunday night, if then.

So this year we make the most of our time. Together. It's no secret I hate shopping at malls. The only store I love this time of year is Macy's, simply for the nostalgia. But even that won't get me to a mall this weekend. There isn't one thing I need so badly that I would …

Chanukkah and Christmas...Made in the USA

It's definitely that time of year. Giving. We give gifts, we give our time, we give our money, if we can. We donate toys and food. We do all those wonderful things. And then, many (myself NOT included) will head to Walmart to do their big holiday spree. On Black Friday.

I think they call it Black Friday because it's the one day of year that we completely destroy the economy. Think all that holiday spending is helping? Not if the label says made in China it doesn't.

So here's some food for thought this holiday season. Buy American. Check the labels before you hit the checkout. You can have a fabulous holiday without scouring the internet for that impossible to find, must have on every kids list.

And don't get sucked in by a gimmicky name. American Girl Dolls? Made in China. Not really American.

I know some of you think that shopping till you drop is akin to being patriotic. And it is. If you patronize local stores and buy local goods. Or if you shop at Overstock, an…

Tonight we bake

So when they are little, our children that is, it all starts with Show and Tell. Fun times. Throw a stuffed monkey in their backback and they are good to go.

Then, it's current events. And you find your latest magazine in shreds on the living room floor, and your printer is out of ink, and out of paper. But at least they are showing some enthusiasm.

Then comes Science Fair. Now if you're a techno geek, it's probably a pretty good bonding experience. If you aren't, and I'm not, it's your worst nightmare. But we survive to move on to the next wonderful scholastic experience.

Book Fair. This is the event, in my house, which requires enormous patience and a big checkbook. My daughters could spend hours and hours selecting stacks of books. Expensive books. With sequels. Nuf said.

And then it's Culture Fair. Or this year, Culture project. It doesn't matter. Because my daughters both elected to study French. And no French projecet is complete without food. Wha…

Attention Tea Baggers! Your New Home Awaits!

Alert: The Tea Baggers are Coming! The Tea Baggers are Coming!

Are you a Tea Bagger? Then Welcome!

Don't miss this exceptional opportunity to own a fabulous 3 year young home in the heart of Tea country. Where Boston Harbour Tea is the beverage of choice. Just imagine getting rid of all those pesky problems you face everyday in the rest of the country.

Too much Water? Flooding? Mudslides? Chlorination? Flouridation? No problem, we don't have any water.

Energy? Well damn. We have no Oil or Gas around here to fight over or cause messy spills (going back to that water thing). We've got Solar, and wind, but don't panic, they make it far too expensive here to use alternative resources.

Jobs? No problem. We have no labor source, at least not an educated one. We've eliminated the migrant farm labor as well. And with Affirmative Action outlawed, WalMart is hiring at accelerated rates! So whether you love to pick cotton or would rather meet and greet those throngs of shopper…

Election update

For those who are so angry at the administration and the DC politicians you want to throw the whole bunch out, be careful. Remember not to throw the Baby out with the Bathwater.

Let me explain. The Markets have just seen their best October since 2006. The GDP is up for the 4th quarter in a row. Illegal border crossings are down, and our proactive approach has thwarted yet another terrorist plot. The donut hole crippling our seniors is disappearing and health insurance is becoming available to all. Our combat mission in Iraq has ended, and the exit strategy will soon be in place. Small steps to be sure, but certainly on the right path. And even with all the bickering, the accomplishments we are seeing are thanks to the small amount of bipartisanship that still exists. Our job at this election is to foster that bipartisanship, not put it asunder.

In Delaware, voters are contemplating electing a woman who only has a vague familiarity with our constitution. In Nevada, a candidate who thin…

Enough is enough

Each election year, at some point, I just throw my hands up in the air and cry Uncle! This year, in Arizona, and elsewhere, it's come very early on for me. I just don't give a flying fig who wins what and what propositions pass or fail. I truly don't.

Normally I can say that my anger is typically directed towards the GOP, and more recently the Tea Party GOP Puppets, and their "say anything" approach to politics. But this time it's not limited to the GOP. The Democrats are stooping just as low, and it's not something I am proud of. It distresses me.

Here's the thing. When the dust settles, win or lose, I can always hold my head up high and say yeah, but at least we took the high road. Not this year. Seems this year there's only one road. A dirt road at that. Muddy too. The candidates are all going to need a good bath when all is said and done. And we might have to throw them out with the bathwater.

A local Dem running for state office sent a postcar…

House For Sale...someday

So we finally had an offer on the house. Yay. It was a terrible, insulting offer. Boo. My dad always said never negotiate without knowing who is on the other side of the table, and what their weaknesses are. More importantly, what their strengths are. I have always followed his advice. My job provides me with opportunities to negotiate almost daily. With some pretty financially savvy people. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose, but I always do my homework. And I always negotiate in good faith.

Our buyers did not. There is much to be learned from a real estate offer, and the agent. A few key questions, a few bits of information, and a picture develops. History is important too.

On Monday, the phone rang and a familiar voice left a message, as I couldn't get to it. "We'll be there in 15 minutes" he said. "The same folks I've brought over 2 or 3 times before." Instantly I knew. It was our Labor Day house crashers. Invaded our home on a Holiday as we prepped …

No such thing as free lunch

Look. I know better. I am a rational adult, and have travelled fairly extensively. But somehow, after a long day, my brain cells sometimes just go a bit numb. Take a little time off. And my true New York insanity pops through.

It's a beautiful day in Orlando, FL. Happiest place on earth. Until they close the airport. Well, unless you're a kid.  But for grownups, nothing but disaster looms ahead. After being told several times that our flight to Chicago was delayed, and no, I still hadn't figured out why I'd been booked Orlando-Chicago-Tucson, they said that little Thunderstorm outside was getting worse...too much lightening...and no more flights could come or go. Until further notice. So I plopped down on the floor next to a convenient pole with an outlet, plugged Droid in and did a little work while I waited. Confident that my flight, 1529, which I was told was also my flight to Tucson, couldn't possibly leave Chicago without me. Same plane, thank goodness. And I …

House Hunters never saw one like this

As i've mentioned a time or two, I love HGTV. I love House Hunters. And House Hunters International. And My First Place. And I love the virtual house hunt online. Since I don't have the luxury of simply flying here and there to search for the perfect homestead, I rely on my Mac to guide me. I use every tool at my disposal online. 

It's fun and it's educational. I've been so many places without ever leaving my chair. A couch potato's dream come true.

So I cannot begin to say how excited I was the other day when I came across a house for sale with everything I needed. Fit all our criteria. I was so ready to take that virtual tour. 

On paper this place had everything. Square footage. Fireplace in the living room. Another one downstairs. Large screened porch. Gorgeous backyard. Finished Basement. And the all important oversized double garage. Of course my level of excitement began to wind down just a tad as I scrolled through the big bright beautiful color snapshots. …

Yeah, it was me

Did you ever notice how the merchandising war in the supermarket has gotten increasingly out of hand? It started years ago with that first cardboard cutout of Mr. Whipple and the dingbat squeezing the Charmin.

Then, before you knew it, there were bottle openers and chip clips hanging from the shelves just precariously enough that if you brushed by they would sway back and forth, while you held your breath to see if they'd fall.

Then the "Route Merchandisers" got even more brazen. They started stacking the boxes 13 deep instead of 12, so they would protrude just enough that you would grab their brand first. Same with cans. But that wasn't enough. So they developed the shelf organizer for soup cans with the pretty full color display. "Buy me!" they screamed silently. And you would gently reach forward and slowly lift the can from the neat stack and suddenly in a whoosh they'd all come tumbling down. And yes, everyone in the aisle turned and stared, you tu…

Timing is everything....which is why I don't own a watch

So we had a relatively successful open house last week. Showed people around. Got great feedback. But no offers, and no agents came to show the house this week. And I have to say the house did look fabulous. On Sunday. Even Monday. So Tuesday it looked a little lived in. Wednesday a little more. But since no one was banging the door down to see, who cared. We're tired of being the Cleavers. So yesterday I actually left the bed unmade. Ok I did that Wednesday too. And I left the mail on the counter. And glasses in the sink. Today I just didn't give a crap.

I did not make the bed. I didn't clear all my miracle age-defying lotions off the vanity. I left the 5 ton box of Cheerios on the counter. The blender from hubby's new miracle protein shakes soaking. I didn't straighten out the 50 tennis magazines on the side table. And I didn't wipe all those smudges off the fridge. I didn't do squat.

And I was having a pretty good day. My daughter was having a birthday and…

and so it tumbles

Went back to New York today. Not literally of course, but in my virtual relocation tour. Seems prices are tumbling there. Not taxes, but prices. Found some incredible bargains which I naturally can't take advantage of since no one wants to buy our own house here in the lovely desert paradise we like to call home. No wait. That's wrong. We DON'T like to call home. We don't want to be here at all.

It's really not that no one will buy our home. They just want to wait till we get so desperate we give it away. And that time will probably come sooner rather than later. But we're hanging on out of spite. Or stupidity. What difference does it really make. There are times when I actually relax long enough to look around and really enjoy a few moments in this house. Comfortably situated in the living room, the two-story ceiling with the high windows letting in tons of light. And the sparkle of the pool out back and the Palms blowing in the breeze. The way the white puffs…

Maybe a little to the south...

So my mother in her usual way has me second guessing my decision to retire to the wonderful Maine Coastline. Regaling me with stories of my Great Aunt and her neighbors and how the long cold winters created a not-so wholesome environment. OK. I get it.

So I mosied on further south with google at my side to Northeastern Massachusetts. I knew there was little I could afford, but the schools are good and with family and friends around, maybe it could work. Found an awesome townhome in Acton, where Tennis is abundant, both indoors and out. But there's always a catch. My cousin said the high school was phenomenal, tops in the country, but very competitive and I might not like the company in the area. Too many over-achieving high-brow noses-in-the-air types. So I shrugged my shoulders and figured, no way. Turns out they aren't on anyone's top high school list after all. must be an error. Or good publicity stunt by the community.

I made a few more stops on the coast, Swampscott,

And so the journey moves on...

Well, finally lowered the price of the house. Took away our cash at closing incentive though, so not losing any really money on the deal. Check it out all you frigid northerners and wayward vagabonds. Nice place to call home year round or perhaps just in those chilly winter months. Imagine a great house to share with friends and relatives over the holidays and school breaks. lounging in the pool, daiquiries flowing, aaaah. That's the life. Why leave you ask? I'm not cut out for the southwest life. I hate tex mex food. I don't bike. Or jog. Or Hike. But enough about the desert. Let's talk Eastern Seaboard.

See once this white elephant sells, we are off to the Blues of the Atlantic. Previously, in our last episode, we reviewed New York. Aaaah. New York. My home. Who says you can't go home? I do. After seeing the price tag. So throw another dart on the board and google zoom into the Eastern Shores of Delaware. Where low and behold, we found a whole community devoted …