Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Are we all sleep deprived?

Happy new year?
Never before has a year gathered such bad press before it even started.

Recession, falling houses prices, financial scandals and bailouts, rising food prices, wars and conflicts... 2009 is set to be a gloomy year with not much to celebrate. But, perhaps we do have something to look forward to - New resolutions, hopes and dreams?

Let's make positive New Year's resolutions.........

I have turned off my TV and my radio! When the media starts reporting positive news- I will reconsider. I have made a choice to stop listening to negative news and instead remember the power of positive thought. The problems will work themselves out and we have plenty of great minds working on solutions. We have to BELIEVE. What other choice is there?

Think seriously about the statements below:
Anxiety and fear
strips away courage and makes great accomplishments impossible.
Doubt makes even the best decisions feel difficult and causes procrastination.
Anger rips your focus away from your goals.
Frustration can only serve to make you give up!
Guilt makes it impossible to enjoy any successes you achieve.The negativity surrounding us is creating panic! This anxiety, fear, doubt, anger, frustration and guilt is a choice and we can collectively choose to change this thought process- beginning right now.

As we come to the end of the year, I have made a resolution to...........Spread cheer—and do it every single day! Smile at strangers, hand out compliments, ask how someone is doing and really mean it.

What are you expecting or looking forward to in 2009? Please share it.

I'd like to wish you, your families, friends, partners and loved ones a SAFE, happy and healthy New Year. Greetings all!

We all should be familiar with the Serenity really does speak to us now.
God grant me the serenity to accept
the things I cannot change, the courage
to change the things I can, and the
wisdom to know the difference.
Reinhold Niebuhr

Sunday, December 28, 2008

2008 The last night of Hanukkah and other holiday traditions .....

As I get ready to light the candles on my menorah for the last night of Hanukkah, I am sitting here thinking about past holiday seasons. This year I have given much thought to the past. I suppose because of many factors. It was a tough year personally for my family with the loss of my dad and illness of my mom. The economy has affected us all in different ways. And mostly for the first holiday season that I can recall, I have not had any plans to spend the special days with family and friends due to geographical and other issues. My one daughter and her family were with me for a couple of days and we did celebrate the lighting of the Hanukkah candles, eating a big meal together and the cooking of the traditional potato latkas....yummy.

727 Morton Avenue, Franklin Square, New York ( Nassau County on Long Island)

This is the house that I lived in from the time I was 4 years old until I moved out at age 18. My parents never did celebrate any of the holidays and no holiday traditions were ever established here. I think this is the reason that when I left home and had the opportunity to establish my own family traditions I happily did so. I always loved decorating, cooking, planning and having family and friends around me.

This season I did not put up my main /largest holiday tree, or several others that I typically get out. It gives me the opportunity to take out all my stuff that I have collected through the years and enjoy. I had my doubts as to how I would feel about this. I did however decorate my home in several areas, my chandelier, my mantle, lighted reindeer and wreaths outside at the entrance to my home and a small counter tree decorated with my kitchen theme. When I first found some little tea cup ornaments about 15 years ago, I found myself going back to purchase them after the holidays when they were on sale. And thus I created a kitchen tree to display them on in following years.

Here is my kitchen tree this year on the breakfast bar with my Santa music box.

This close up will show the types of ornaments that are displayed on this tree.

Look closely and you will even find the traditional Christmas fruit cake! I do not know anyone who actually likes to eat fruit cake however.


As I recall this is the second tree that I had. The first couple of years I had real trees, but could not find a clear photo of it. I remember in December of 1965 when Denise was just a couple of months old, closing on my first home in Holbrook, New York and pulling up to our new home with the real christmas tree on the roof of the car. This flocked tree was cool to me back then. Today I look at it and say uggh, what was I thinking. Those are some ugly window treatments, arn't they?

A couple of years later we still proudly displayed the flocked tree. I wonder if those are balloons in the back ground. They could be exercise balls but I don't know if they were around way back then. I made the outfits that myself and Denise were wearing.

Here we went to a larger tree, I think this again was a real one and Carrie is here with Denise. Back then I always saw that they got lots of things to open even if it was "under wear" and other necessary items. I was giving my girls what I never did have growing up. Several years I worked for a company that was a toy manufacturer. Those years there were lots of good surprises like the 2XL talking-walking robots.
This photo may be out of order because there is that hand-me-down yellow fake leather sofa that we had again.

Me and my girls, under one of my really tall and real trees. Some of them were so tall that it would take 2 pictures, one of the bottom and one of the top to get the whole thing. I can remember going to the tree lot as soon as the trees were delivered. All the trees were the same price, you picked one but since they were really cheap, and this was a "no-service tree lot", you never got them unwrapped or standing until you got them home. Some years, we did get some trees that were tall with fat trunks but not so nice when they were stood up. Sometimes we had the train set set up around them but always lots and lots of presents. Oh by the way we always lit the Hanukkah menorah and got stuff then also.

Looks like Carrie and Denise had some happy times, fond memories in the making and the start of their own family traditions.

One year I sewed and sold holiday stockings at arts & craft festivals to make some extra money. This huge stocking was custom made for someone. But before I turned it over to him we all took turns getting into it. That was a good time. This was in our home in Holbrook New York.

Some smiling faces.......this is what the holidays are all about.

Carrie, Samantha-our first standard poodle, my mom, Denise and Pogo. My girls were never deprived of pets. We always had a menagerie and I guess I still do as an adult.

Several years later when we moved to Atlanta, Georgia. This was our first apartment there.

Another holiday season in Atlanta, I can honestly say I don't know who the first girl is, maybe one of my girls will remember. Look at the hairdo on Denise. I think that was our phase when we had the "big & curly" look...yup me too.
Here I am with my curls. I did always love my rockers, I don't know what ever happened to that one.
My 2nd standard poodle, also named Samantha. This was in our first home in Central Florida. Boy that dog just loved the holidays. I still remember that when the stockings got hung up she would be right there. From year to year Samantha always looked forward to her holiday surprises. Samantha you were a girl after my own heart, I will never forget you.

If you stuck with me with my reminiscing, I hope you found some enjoyment. Perhaps this will help you remember some of your holiday moments from the past. I sure do.

Holly Hobby, where are you today?

Going through old photos over the last several days, reminded me of the Holly Hobby phase that my daughter Carrie went through. She loved everything Holly Hobby...........and everything was Holly Hobby. If you asked her today about her love for this popular rag doll as a young girl, she might remember it differently.

She had the entire family of dolls, a handmade quilt, a treasure box etc. She even liked to dress like Holly.

This made me curious as to what ever happened to Holly. As I explored this on Google, I found that Holly Hobby has made a come-back.

Holly Hobby Rag Dolls Return

Holly Hobbie is back, eager to make new friends and rekindle fond memories with old companions. Her charming gingham and calico patterns, and the timeless wisdom of her sentimental messages hearken back to simpler times and the enduring values of hearth, home, and friends.

Holly Hobbie is an American icon. Originally launched in 1967 by American Greetings, and by 1975 Holly Hobbie rag dolls outsold Raggedy Ann dolls five to one. In 2005, American Greetings and Nickelodeon partnered to re-launch the classic Holly Hobbie.

Holly Hobbie has recently been revived by American Greetings in association with Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products, in the form of Holly Hobbies great-granddaughter that shares the same name as the original. This new Holly Hobbie stars in Holly Hobbie and Friends - Surprise Party an animated DVD, the first of a planned series. The DVD was released in March and also had an airing on Nick Jr. in February. This new Holly Hobbie shares the same values as the original, but instead of a blue prairie bonnet, printed dress and gingham apron, the new Holly Hobbie has been updated to wear an oversized baseball cap and jeans.

For anyone craving the original Holly Hobbie, Marie Osmond Dolls has just released two dolls styled after the original. Her Holly Hobbie collector's doll had its debut on QVC on April 17th. This doll is 15" tall and made of porcelain. She is limited to 5,000 dolls and has a suggested retail of $49.99. She comes dressed in the traditional bonnet, print dress and apron, and granny boots.
Marie Osmond has also released a Holly Hobbie greeting card doll, in association with American Greetings. This doll comes in a book-opening window box with an ode to mothers on the inside lid. The doll is only 7 inches tall and wears a pink printed hat and dress with simple white apron. She is carrying flowers and has a porcelain head and hands. She has a suggested retail of $24.99 and will appear in both card and doll stores.

So this research proves my theory.....if you keep anything long enough, it will make a come back. Carrie, I wonder what ever became of your Holly Hobby things......and I also wish I had them today......even if only to satisfy the ebay market for those that are looking for the original real thing. P.S., I can't remember the name of the dude on the poster on the wall, in the photo but you had a crush on him big time.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Santa baby left me a Santa dollar.....

Imagine my surprise on Christmas morning finding a dollar bill neatly left under the remote control for my TV. I picked it up and wondered where it came from and then noticed the center photo....none other then Santa himself. I wondered about this and asked several friends that I spoke to if they had ever heard of or seen such a thing.

I like to "pretend" that I believe in Santa and all the magical happenings of the season.....just because I want to harm done. After all, if we don't have a dream can our dreams come true?

Late yesterday afternoon, I found out that the dollar bill was mistakenly left by David my 5 year old grandson who visited. Oh well, for a moment I had my dream, and now I know about the Santa Dollar.

Santa Claus' face on a real dollar bill. Genuine, legal, bankable, and spendable, the Santa Dollar Bill makes a great gift. Crisp new bill comes in an attractive and engraved gift envelope with holiday greeting in festive green and red. Great stocking stuffer. Available at various retail locations. My Santa dollar I found out came from Publix Supermarket.

"The Santa Dollars, which will be sold at Publix supermarkets until Christmas Eve, raised close to $40,000 last year. The dollar bills cost $2.50 each; a dollar goes to Abilities Foundation, a dollar to the purchaser and 50 cents to printing, promotion and other costs. Publix gets no money".

Santa Baby , one of my all time favorite holiday songs.
Eartha Kitt (1927-2008)
Eartha Kitt, singer of the Christmas song "Santa Baby," died on Thursday, Christmas day, at the age of 81.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Will You Merry Me?

Could have been titled: Will You Marry Me? or better yet Will You Marry My Family?

I just loved this movie, but I must premise it with the fact that I am a really big "sucker" for most of the holiday movies.

"Will You Merry Me?" premiered on Saturday, December 13, at 9PM (ET), featuring Wendie Malick ("Just Shoot Me") and Cynthia Stevenson ("Men in Trees") .

Rebecca and Hank/Henry are from very different backgrounds. Hank is mid-Western, Christian and corn-fed. Rebecca's a sophisticated Jewish city girl. As Christmas approaches, Hank pops the question. Rebecca says yes, and the two couldn't be happier. But the road to happiness will have some potholes. First they must meet each other's families. And, it's time to meet the parents during two important religious holidays, Christmas and Hanukkah. Not only must this couple go through the natural anxiety-filled process of meeting the in-laws, but they also go through the stress of immersing each other into two very different families, with very different holiday traditions.

Up to their eyeballs in conflicting family holiday traditions. This movie will be on again on USA network on Thursday, December 25th. at 7 PM. What a fun family movie, in the spirit of "Meet the Flockers", to watch on Christmas day evening, or make certain to set your recorders and Tivos if you can not watch it then.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Dramatic interest rate change for mortgage money.....

Mortgage Interest Rate Comment for 11/25/08:

Mortgage interest rates have improved as much as a half percent, overnight. The Fed has announced that it will spend $500 billion to buy mortgage-backed securities, $100 billion to purchase agency (Fannie and Freddie) debt and $200 billion for consumer and small business loans. This news has rocked the bond market and created tremendous movement. Currently, buyer/borrowers can obtain thirty-year fixed rate mortgages with no points or origination fees in a range from 5.5% to 6.25%. Earlier today, we saw rate quotes as low as 5.25% for 30 yr. fixed rate mortgages. Buyer/borrowers having strong creditworthiness and seeking larger loans (up to $417,000) can obtain the better rates.

CAUTION: Bonds are volatile, so these rates can change quickly.

Happy Thanksgiving. Be thankful for the lower rates. Let us hope they last!!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Atlanta Girls Do Orlando......

Loraine K. and Hani of Atlanta, Ga.

Loraine K. of Atlanta, Ga. & Maxine T. (me) formally of Atlanta, Ga.

This afternoon a friend of mine had a stop over in Orlando before going on a cruise out of Cape Canaveral tomorrow. Loraine and myself have been friends for a very long time. We met several + decades ago in what seems like another lifetime. I lived in Atlanta, Ga. at the time and we both worked in the Media Dept. of J. Walter Thompson, an advertising agency. We were called "spot broadcast negotiators", a fancy-schmancy name for media buyers.

Needless to say we discovered we were both from New York originally, were single parents etc. and developed a great friendship. As all things do change, I moved to Orlando. Although we stayed in contact with each other with phone calls, emails and such, the time between contacts got longer and longer. We do somehow get to see each other every several years and it is something, how we can sit and chat for hours like we did not miss a beat. Maybe that is the true mesure of friendship. Some things are always the same and we can go back. Thank you my girlfriends for being part of me!

The rest of my story....I met the girls at the hotel they stayed at on International Drive, right in the center of Orlando's Tourist spots. A part of Orlando that us residents avoid as much as possible. I live in the oppossite side of Orlando and am not familiar with that other end of the city. I remember that I ocaisionally went to a restaurant in that area, where there were always lines to get in at all times, any day of the week.....and it was worth the wait. I suggested we go there. Well I am sorry to say, Bill Wong's International Buffet has really changed. It was not at all what it used to be, too bad. Some things we should never try to go back to. Sorry Bill Wong, you are one of those things, no raving revue here. I will hang on to my memory of you back in your better days.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Who said vegtables have to be boring?

I love to cook, to me it is a creative outlet....also I love to eat healthy, good food. I recently hosted a dinner party for 16 at my home. My choice for my menu was a Greek meal and while searching recipes online and in cook books, I discovered that Greek cooking is for everyone. In selecting my menu, I discovered the wonderful aromas of many delicious foods that I surely will prepare again.

The following is my menu that I selected:

1. Shrimp, artichoke and spinach dip served with pita triangles

2. Hummus made from dried beans and very garlicky

3. Cheese-zucchini squares

4. Horiatike Salata/Greek Salad

5. Moussaka *

6. Baked Green Beans with Feta Cheese ....I will share recipe below

7. Assorted Greek Pastries **

8. Boston Creme Pie, I know this did not go with the theme, but everyone does
not care for the "extreme sweetness" of the Greek pastries.

* The Moussaka recipe was a huge hit and came from the cookbook, Greek Cooking for everyone, by Theoni Pappas & Elvira Monroe.

**I cheated here and purchased the Greek Pastry platter from my very good friend Costco. I am not really a baker, as I much prefer cooking the "meat & potatoes.

Don't let green beans get boring; serve this Greek-style side dish that's packed with flavour.

1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed
1 small white onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves
garlic, minced
2 tablespoons
olive oil
1/2 teaspoon
freshly ground
black pepper
2 medium
tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup crumbled
feta cheese
1 tablespoon chopped
fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped
fresh oregano
1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees.
2.. In a medium bowl, combine beans, onion, garlic, oil, salt and pepper.
3. Place mixture in an ungreased 13x9-inch baking pan and top with tomatoes, feta cheese, basil and oregano.
4. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until tender.

Do it now! Don't wait until January 1st...

Weight Gain season starts now and runs straight through New Year's.

Did I catch you saving the left over Hallowen candy? What will you do with this treasure? The smart answer is to dump it or give it to someone who doesn't care about their body.

The holidays are approaching... now's the time to get your strategy for maintaing your weight and fitness routine in place, not January 1st!!!

The holiday season is officially upon us. The Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations are all around us every where we go. Does this holiday season have to mean we we forget our health and fitness and indulge, thinking we will make up for our actions in January??????

I want to enjoy the coming festivities without dealing with added pounds. ....after all I know it is all in my hands. The key is my mindset. Most people approach the holidays with the mindset that says "I deserve to indulge and I shouldn't have to exercise since it's the holidays".

Nobody enjoys good food more then me, which may be the reason that I choose to exercise as I do. But I have commited that I will continue my work outs and eat healthy through all the temptations of the season, so that if I do choose to indulge I will not be entering 2009 a few pounds heavier, a little less healthy, and with lower energy than before.

The economy being as it is, so many of us are not in the holiday spirit. Why not focus on the gift of good health.......a gift we can all afford. There is nothing more valuable. Invite a friend or family member to exercise with you, share healthy recipes etc. I am determined to stay commited to my fitness program, and enter 2009 in better shape than I am today, healthier than I have been in a long time, and with more energy that I thought possible.

Who is willing to commit to join me??????

Saturday, October 4, 2008

We are number one now!

Look at me, thanks Small Paws Rescue

Rudy was rescued from death row at a Memphis shelter by Small Paws Rescue

Small Paws in first place.....hooray!

Won't you help them stay there. If you have already voted......thanks much. Please forward this information to friends and family and ask someone else to we need to stay in 1st place.
If you haven't cast your vote for Small Paws Rescue you still have until November 1st.
Look what we did for Rudy at Small Paws us do it over again, please vote. The $10,000 1st place prize can help us make more magic happen. Vote Here for Small Paws Rescue.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Take action for the animals, they need your help

Small Paws Rescue......we need your help

Any one who follows my blog or knows me knows that I have been a volunteer with Small Paws Rescue for several years, and this has become one of my passions. Though it is rare, thanks to our local volunteer, we have an actual picture of the Tenkiller kennel where our 26 Bichons await our rescue. One of our volunteer's lives near this kennel, near the Oklahoma/Arkansas line and took this picture of the actual Bichons we are talking about. Small Paws will be reimbursing her for the food she has taken over to these 26 Bichons, because the owner can no longer afford to feed them. This is located in an area near "Lake Tenkiller."(Tenkiller received its name from the Tenkiller family, who operated a ferry that crossed the Illinois River before the lake was constructed.) Due to the situation on Wall Street and the potential economic bail out, donations are very slow. I think folks are waiting to see what happens. These Bichons don't understand a thing about that. They only know they are in cramped cages and have sores on their skin and they need to be eating regularly.Right now, we have only enough funds to rescue and vet ONE of these 26. This is a serious situation involving the lives of 26 Bichons. The owner sounded desperate and mentioned having to "do away with them" if we can't come. We didn't ask how and we don't want to know.

I just cast my vote for America's Favorite Animal Shelter. If my favorite local animal shelter wins this contest, my shelter will win a much needed $10,000 donation! And every vote helps save a homeless animal's life. Please help my shelter win and save homeless pets by voting today.
Please help Small Paws Rescue and vote here.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Horses...graceful and beautiful

Can you imagine sitting out on the deck sipping on a cup of coffee or whatever you like and looking out to this glorius image? What could offer more beauty & peace? Yesterday, I actually took these photos with my cell phone with my grand daughter Ariana in mind. Ariana just loves horses, and everything about them. She collects them and plays with them as I played with my dolls when I was her age.

Horses have shaped human history

They gallop and trot, whinny and neigh, capturing our imagination -- and our hearts. Indeed, horses are said to have done more to change human history than any other domestic animal, once upon a time carrying explorers to new frontiers and mighty armies to great conquests. Now horses are still available to work, but also they offer beauty, and are available to sport ride, and in many instances even offering a therapeutic bond with humans.

My Sunday morning ritual is to ride my bike on the Seminole county, Fl. bike trails with friends. I am so fortunate to live about 1 mile away and only have to cross 2 major roads to access "the trail" which goes on for miles & miles. It was years in the making, but such a reward now that it is complete. ....thank you.

In Florida, we put up with the un-ending heat and high humidity for what seems like forever. We are now at the time of year where the weather is the reward for endurance and the reason we move here and stay here. For me the morning rides on the trail the icing on the cake!

A popular spot on the ride is Paneras in Lake Mary, which looks out to the photo posted above. There in the mornings rollar bladers, walkers and bike riders stop for a break, meet and just enjoy life. Many folks come with thier dogs who are always welcome on the open decks.

Without a doubt,the day will come when a developer will come in and construct homes, offices or townhomes here. I hope that day is a long way off, but one day it will come.....what a shame. If you have not enjoyed this experience and have it available get out and just do it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Something to reflect on.....

The Mayonnaise Jar & 2 Glasses of Wine...
A story to remember!

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle and 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 glasses of wine...A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two glasses of wine from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed."Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things: your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions; things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full."He paused, then added: "The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car."He looked around the room and then said, "The sand is everything else; the small stuff.""If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.

The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.""Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. Do one more run down the ski slope. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first; the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the wine represented.The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of glasses of wine with a friend." (source unknown)

This story really made me think. I hope it has special meaning to someone else, so enjoy.

These comments are taken from an email flyer that I received from WineStyles on 9/25/08 and delivered by Equilibrix, 1707 Whitehall Drive Suite 403, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33324 Powered By Equilibrix

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Superstitions or old wive tales...

Superstitions or old wive tales.......

How pathetic can this plant get? Is it time to put it out of it's misery?.....No good luck here!

It is customary in ancient Chinese culture that a gift of living bamboo brings Good Fortune. Whatever the occasion, these lucky green shoots should bring a smile to your face. Imported from Taiwan, Lucky Bamboo comes from original stock and is extremely hardy. They will grow indoors for years with virtually no care, requiring only an inch or two of water. I have had my "lucky Bamboo Plant" for about 6 years, since I moved into my home. It was knocked over several years ago and I glued the vase back together. Still it did well and survived.

Jokingly I said several times that I was waiting for the luck to "kick-in". I have been known to have a green thumb.....most of the time. I can't tell you what has happened to my good luck, this is my plant today. Nothing I can do or no talk to it can bring it back, what does my future hold now? Is the story behind this plant only an old wives tale?

Other superstitions & old wive tales to think about.......

I think that I will focus on these other messages of good luck and give my plant a fond fairwell.

Good Luck: Fingers Crossed - By making the sign of the Christian faith with our fingers, evil spirits would be prevented from destroying our chances of good fortune.
Good Luck: Knock on Wood - It was believed that good spirits lived in trees, and that by knocking on anything made from wood, we could call upon these spirits for protection against misfortune.
Good Luck: Saying God Bless You When Somebody Sneezes. When the great plague swept Europe., sufferers began sneezing violently which was a sign of death. The Pope therefore passed a law requiring people to bless the sneezer. At the same time, it was expected that anybody sneezing would cover their mouth with a cloth or their hand. This was obviously to stop the spreading of the disease, but many believed that it was to keep the soul intact. Sneezing 'into the air' would allow the soul to escape and death would be imminent. Up until this time, the opposite was true. Those who sneezed were congratulated, as it was believed that a violent sneeze would expel evil from their bodies.
Good Luck: A robin flying into the house
Good Luck: Sneezing 3 times before breakfast
Good Luck: Meeting 3 sheep
Good Luck: Looking at the new moon over your right shoulder
Good Luck: A 4-leaf clover
Good Luck: Spilling wine while proposing a toast
Good Luck: Putting a dress on inside out
Good Luck: 9 peas in a pea pod
Good Luck: Hearing crickets singing
Good Luck: Picking up a pin Dropping a glove
Good Luck: A horseshoe Peacock feathers
Good Luck: Cutting your hair during a storm
Good Luck: Sleeping facing south
Good Luck: White heather
Good Luck: Picking up a pencil in the street
Good Luck: Breaking clear and uncolored glass
Good Luck: Walking in the rain
Good Luck: Sleeping on un-ironed sheets
Good Luck: Avoiding cracks in the sidewalk
Good Luck: An itch on the top of your head
Good Luck: Scissors hanging an a hook
Good Luck: A ladybug on you
Good Luck: Carrying an acorn on your person will ensure good luck & longevity!
Good Luck: To find a four-leaf clover means immense good luck, so keep it safe, if you lose it
Good Luck: To pick up a piece of coal that has fallen in your path.
Good Luck : To have one's garments caught up by a bush or briar when out walking is a promise of good luck, involving monetary gain.
Good Luck: New enterprises will be fortunate if begun at the time of the new moon.
Good Luck: If by chance you meet the same person twice when you are out on business. It is even luckier if you encounter him once when you are setting out and again when you are returning.
Good Luck: Dolphins swimming nearby a ship
Good Luck: A naked woman on board a boat is said to calm the seas.
Good Luck: Golfers can have a successful day on the course if they start their round with odd numbered clubs and don't use balls with numbers higher than 4
Good Luck: To set out for golfing on a rainy day

and here is the superstition we are all familiar with:
See a penny, pick it up; all day long you will have good luck.

Maybe I should just stick to fortune cookies!

National stay at home week???

The week of September 21st has been officially designated as National stay at home week by ABC to coordinate with the Emmy awards show that evening followed by a week of the debut of the season's new programming. I always thought that holidays were controlled by Hallmark, am I incorrect (LOL)?

National stay at home week......what a concept. We can all catch up on missed sleep, clean closets, take care of errands etc., and at the same time conserve gasoline. Do we all call our employee and tell them we'll see you next week. Will NBC & CBS look for equal time when they offer their new programming?

Am I the only person confused on the declaration of this new holiday?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Mortgage news......

The Mortgage Meltdown……

Last Friday after reading an article on Freddie/Fannie on the front page of the Orlando Sentinel, I asked a local Mortgage Consultant to give me a simplified interpretation, if possible, on what that article was saying. Last week the government was bailing them out and it sounds like now they are taking them over. The following is the explanation I received. I hope it gives you a better understanding to the change and helps you to understand why the mortgage giant's turmoil affects the economy and borrowers.

Mickey Carlton
Your Mortgage Consultant for Life
Thomas Mortgage
“To understand what is happening, you have to understand the history. Fannie was created as a governmental agency back in the 30's. It was charged with making sure we could all get financing to buy houses. Lyndon Johnson effectively privatized it in the 60's. Freddie came along about that time. Since then, they have been referred to as "quasi-governmental" agencies. No one was ever really sure about the government’s willingness to “back” the two agencies. The assumption was that even though Fannie and Freddie were private companies, the government would not let them fail. The debate has been fierce as to whether the "government as last resort was true". Now, I guess we know.
Fannie and Freddie have private ownership and operate for a profit. However, this has irritated many politicians who have advocated reducing their size and power. They have had what some feel are unfair advantages such as being able to borrow at near-treasury department rates. This has put them in an advantageous position versus their banking competitors, thus creating even more irritation. They have also been incredibly strong lobbyist for measures that would further their best interests. As a result, many people in both the private and public sector have long been eager to see their size and influence reduced.
The reduction process has started. This year, both agencies are losing their reserves and seem in danger of running out of money. They have been unable to raise new capital. Foreign governments (China, Japan, Mexico, to name three) who have bought Fannie and Freddie bonds (packaged loans) have been complaining to US treasury officials because they fear massive defaults.
So, the treasury has said, enough is enough. They are stepping in and, in effect, nationalizing both companies. The CEO's are being forced to leave, thus joining the hundreds of thousands of processors, receptionists, coordinators and underwriters who have lost their jobs to this housing debacle. The Board of Directors of both companies are being dismissed. The stockholders are going to walk away with nothing, or next to nothing. The government is going to inject the money to maintain the organization's integrity. By doing so, the government is saying, "if we are putting up the money, then we are going to run it".
The supposition is that mortgage money will stay relatively cheap since the government can simply put more tax money into the till, if necessary. This will come at the expense of people like you and me who pay taxes. It is a rather dramatic bailout of the companies who financed the housing boom.
No one really knows what form the new entity will take. Will it be one big governmental agency? Will they maintain both firms? Professionally, I wonder about the underwriting software and loan guidelines. Currently, there are certain things we can do with one agency that the other does not allow. They both have areas of tolerance that the other does not favor. Lenders like me use these subtle differences when we decide whether to send a loan to a bank "that sells to Fannie" or one "that sells to Freddie". As a lender, there are certain technical issues that will have to be addressed. No one knows how it will play out.
Near term, interest rates are expected to go lower and that scenario did take place on the day the takeover was effective. This operation is an effort by the treasury to stall off the higher rates that would most certainly have ensued if big bond buyers (pension funds, college endowment funds, life insurance companies, foreign treasuries, huge corporations, etc.) had decided to pull their money. Perhaps the big investors will keep throwing money into the fray, knowing that they have the full taxing power of the US government at their back. This should, theoretically, bring mortgage rates down.
So, the initial call is for lower, or at least stable rates. We can also presume that certain procedural changes will occur. At this point, there is very little precedent in the residential mortgage business for what is happening. It will be interesting to observe how this plays out.

** The article posted above is expressly opinions of the Mortgage Consultant and the blog Author, Please enjoy reading and ask permission to use any information on this site. Thank you and have a great day !**

My Boys.......

Everybody's best friend the dog

Charlie, Andy, and Niko



My boys, Niko Andy and Charlie are without a doubt my best friends and companions. They offer loyalty, unconditional love and lots of doggie kisses anytime day or night.

Niko has been pretty sick for the last 2 weeks, in fact he was even tested for early kidney failure. It turned out to be a nasty bacterial infection and he is now improving daily, with the most recent change in medications, thank goodness. However this made me think about the important role these little guys play in my little world.

The Bichon Frise happens to be my breed of choice, however dogs come in every size, shape, temperament and color or even a mix of breeds. Always choose a breed that is right for you and your family.

Are you looking for a best friend? There are so many wonderful dogs out there just waiting for their own human and forever homes. Check your local animal shelter, rescue groups or Pet Finders for a list of available pets for adoption.

The Bichon Frise has an incredible temperament and offers humans a perpetual lifelong active, playful puppy-like behavior. They are truly the Peter Pan of breeds! To find a list of Bichons available for adoption visit: Small Paw Rescue.

I don't in any way mean to ignore the other great pet and companion the cat, also a wonderful addition to any home.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

My Bread Box....

A fresh loaf any time you want......

My bread box....the bread machine. My bread machine makes it easy for me to bake and create fresh, delicious and full flavored home made bread. You can see it behind my latest bread, a really yummy potato loaf.

I purchased the Bread Lover's Bread Machine cookbook, by Beth Hensperger, and am very slowly "eating up" and working through the 300 recipes it offers.

I must warn you, this type of baking is very addictive. There is nothing like hot out of the box bread. A loaf of bread made in the machine is easy to make, does not create a mess and is just like handmade bread, superior in nutrition, texture and taste to the commercially produced store-bought loaves. Homemade bread is free of additives, colorants, preservatives and chemicals.

Whether you go out and purchase a new machine, inherited one as I did, or pick one up at a garage sale you will be delighted with the results. Go ahead push the button, bake bread, enjoy the delectable results and get ready to collect the compliments.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Wearing white after labor day.....

I am originally from up north, New York State, now my home is in Florida. Growing up I always was told you cannot wear white after Labor day! I even believed it was a law. Well times have changed, fashion allows short skirts, long skirts, slim legged slacks, bell bottom slacks etc. But there still are some people that say no white after Labor Day. I say we can all wear what we darn well please to wear.

It’s 2008, you can wear white after Labor Day!

Does anyone really follow their moms (grandma's) rule about not wearing white after Labor Day? I know I don’t. I dress for the occasion, my mood and the weather, and am all about finding ways to bring my favorite summer whites into the fall.

But it is September, where did this year go? It's that time of year again, when clothes get heavier, hemlines (supposedly) get longer, and all of your white articles of clothing get packed away, never to be seen again until next year. Or is this really the case? There has been a definite increase in the number of people who continue to wear white after Labor Day, causing many to believe that the old fashion rule of not wearing white after September is as tired as a pair of last year's Jeans.

I will give in to the only place that the no wearing white after Labor Day rule should really be applied is in the case of handbags with matching shoes or lightweight white clothing. All of the obviously summer purses are sort of frowned upon after the semi-official end of the summer fashion season, Labor Day.

So, I will bid a fond farewell to my white purse that I have loved all summer! Goodbye to you my white bag, you have served me well and looked cute on my shoulder.