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.