Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Owners!

I no longer own this house :)

We've had potential buyers who have wanted this house for about 6 months.  They were denied for various reasons - they had to pay off debt or they had apply with various agencies and then when it all was ready to go and all their roadblocks were behind them we were denied again.  The house is in a commercial zone and the lenders said no way.  This was about 6 weeks ago.

I mean, how many months are these buyers going wait to get this house? 

There are hundreds of houses on the market and our house, was it really that special?

To say that Tom and I were beyond our wits end is an understatement.

Then last week Tom told me, that after what felt like a few hundred documents going back and forth, a mortgage company finally approved the house, the commercial/residential status and the buyers.  It looked like it was a go.

The closing was set for today at noon.

Then it was set today at 2pm.

All the documents were signed and we were just waiting for the check to be written.  With all of the new government rules and regulations the check isn't written ahead of time waiting for the documents to be signed.  Now you have to sign everything and then fax them to who knows where and wait. wait. wait.  over two hours for us.

By the time we got the check the banks were closed, but we got the check!

If you'd like to see the inside of the house that I no longer own, you can click here. This is the blog post I wrote when we officially put it on the market in February of 2009.  Yep, well over a year ago.

Thank you family, friends, and the universe for bringing this part of my life to a complete end.  I appreciate the experience :)

Sometime next week I get to pay off a lot of my credit card debt!  That's always good news.

Now I only own my condo and my three rental condos. 

Hope you have had a Fabulous Day!

POTD - Dagwood's

POTD - Dagwood's

Dagwood's Bar, Serving Beers for 50 years... or 63 years, but who's counting!  This bar is in Lansing, MI and I've driven by it so many times I can't even begin to count, but I have never once stepped through its doors.  I may have to do that sometime I'm in town - or not.  I still like the sign and am glad I have it in my portfolio of shots.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Favorite Things

Favorite Things - Pantry!

Half Past Kissing Time - Favorite Things - Pantry Edition is this weeks theme. You can join in any time and show off your favorite staples in the food category. Just head on over to Mrs. 4444's place to see who has joined in and what goodies they have in their pantry!

I honestly don't have a lot of food in my pantry.  The space available for my pantry is tiny so I've just gotten used to buying everything I need the day I need it.  I could obviously fill up my pantry a bit more, but then I lose things.  So this is pretty much what I keep on hand.  Flour and sugar and other assorted baking items are in the cupboard above this one.

One thing that I keep on hand, always, is Uncle Ben's Long Grain and Wild Rice - Original Recipe.  You never know when you need to make some Rice Salad.

Rice Salad contains some of my favorite foods -  rice, mayo, yogurt and cucumbers.  Oh goodness, yum!

I discovered the other day that I don't have a tutorial for my Rice Salad, so this is the perfect time.  My friend, Bob, calls this Corlett - Michigan Rice Salad, but you can just call this Rice Salad. 

Here are the main characters of this symphony.

Two boxes of Uncle Bens Long Grain & Wild Rice - Original Recipe.
Hellmans Mayo
Plain Yogurt
Grape tomatoes (in this case I've used an Ugly Ripe tomato in place of the grape tomatoes - I'll explain later)

That's it!

Cook as directed on the back of the box (using the Prepare Two Boxes instructions) but omit the butter or oil.  It just isn't necessary with the way it's being served.

Get out a nice big pot and for two boxes of rice you will need 4 cups plus 1/4 cup of water.  That extra 1/4 must be needed because I've never forgotten it and I've never had crunchy rice :)

Put the rice and the seasoning packets from both boxes into the water, stir, let it come to a boil (about 3-4 minutes) and then cover when it comes to a boil and turn down the heat to low-simmer.  Set your timer for 25 minutes.  After 25 minutes come back and take a peek (it nearly always still has water in it) I give it a quick stir, put the lid back on, turn off the heat and set the timer for another 20-30 minutes.  I've left it this way for several hours before, so there is no rush as long as the heat is off.

When all of the water has been absorbed, stir in...

1/4 cup of plain yogurt. 
(I had an 8 oz cup, so I just used the entire thing, after I took this photo!)

and one cup of Hellman's Real Mayonnaise.
(I took out about a 1/4 of a cup of mayo since I used more yogurt. Once again, after the photo.)

Then I taste test it several times at this point.  It's warm and creamy and so yummy.  It takes nearly all of my effort not to eat more than a few bites.

I add in the cucumbers, peeled and sliced.   You can also add in grape tomatoes at this point.  I slice them in half and stir them in.  I'm not a huge fan of tomatoes for the most part but they make the dish so colorful that I have to add them when I take this to events.

Stir everything up and put it into a container for the fridge or put it in the dish that you want to use to go to a picnic or potluck.  Sometimes I bring this salad warm - by making it just before the event or I bring it cold - by making it a day ahead.

The cucumbers will release a bit of water after a day, so the next day you may need to drain off a little bit of water, but other than that, it tastes great many days later if it lasts that long!

Here is the completed dish.

The Ugly Ripe heirloom tomato is looking on longingly - it obviously wants to be a part of the rice salad.  What it doesn't know at this point is that sometime next week, when it ripens up more, it will be a part of a BLT.  That's where I love a great tomato.

So my favorite pantry items are those that create Rice Salad.

I hope you have a delightful day.  Please visit Mrs. Fours for more Favorite Things!


Rice Sald
(The Corlett-Michigan rice salad)

2 boxes Uncle Ben’s Long Grain and Wild Rice - original recipe  (Fast cook is OK, but I prefer the 25 minute kind, it has a much better texture)
1/4c plain yogurt
1.c Hellman’s Real mayonnaise
1c. cucumber peeled and sliced (I like the English cucumber - just use the whole thing)
1c. tomatoes
**Optional*** a few sprigs of fresh parsley. (I don't ever put parsley in mine, but some do,this is true.)

Cook the rice as directed, omitting the butter. After the rice has cooked, mix in yogurt, mayo, cucumber, tomatoes, parsley and serve warm or cold.

***Mrs. 4444 asked if she could use Miracle Whip instead of Mayo.  Since I don't use MW I really don't know how it would affect the taste.  My initial feeling is shouting out NO! but that's just because I love Hellman's Real Mayonnaise.  I guess try it with Mayo and try it with MW and decide which is the one for your family.

Horoscope for July

From Astrostyle

General Astrology Overview for All 12 Signs:

Independence Day arrives in full force this year. Since the beginning of June, both Jupiter and Uranus have been stationed in Aries, one of the zodiac’s most sovereign signs.

Freethinking radicals should be in their element now, but there are also plenty of power struggles afoot. When does independence turn into anarchy? When does the sharing of ideas turn into imposing them upon others? This tricky balance could become troublesome this week, especially as we fire up the BBQ grills this weekend.

It’s tradition to gather with our relatives on July Fourth, a day when the Sun happens to be in family-oriented Cancer every year. Here’s the chipotle-spiced rub...Jupiter and Uranus will be forming a challenging square to the Sun, increasing the risk of family feuds. We might have an axe to grind with someone in our clan, but igniting the fireworks over the hamburger bun table is ill advised.

Shock value won’t go over well, and could cause rifts for days to come. What’s good for the goose is definitely NOT what’s good for the gander this week.

Unfortunately, we’re going to have to fight against our inner rebel forces in order to maintain the spirit of harmonious teamwork. We recommend devising a mantra before opening up the door to opinionated Aunt Mabel’s country house. For example, “rise above,” or “this will all be over in three hours.”
My husband will be leaving for Michigan this week and he will be with his friends and family over the Fourth.  Goodness, I hope he keeps his cool. Yikes!

My personal horoscope is a lot less volatile and EXACTLY what I wanted to hear.  I've been ramping up my photography business, so this section of the LIBRA horoscope makes me very very happy.

For the first three weeks of the month, you’re busy interviewing, making connections, even reinventing your whole professional path. The July 11th Cancer solar eclipse brings a powerful new start to your business life. You could be thrust into the spotlight unexpectedly, or invited to take on a high-profile gig.  Libra Horoscope
I just recently got a list of galleries in the Jacksonville area and I was planning on calling to find out how I can submit my work for a showing or for sale.  It's good to know that I'm on the right path - actually I knew I was on the right path, it's just good to have it confirmed :)  even in an online horoscope reading!

Have a great day!!

POTD - Simply

POTD - Simply

Just Simply.


Monday, June 28, 2010

A shopping trip in my future

If you have a fragile stomach I would suggest that you avert your eyes.


It's an ugly sight.

It nearly made me sick when it happened.

This was my salad bowl.

This is the bowl that I would prepare my "I'm having a large salad for dinner."

It has been around for a dozen years or more and used at least twice a week but probably more like five times a week.

This lovely purple bowl used to hold our veggies for dinner or was the bowl to make chicken salad.

It slipped out of my hands when I was rinsing it off and crashed into the sink.

We are now out of large salad bowls.

I broke the other one last fall.

I got a new bowl for Tom at the Riverside Arts Market a few weeks later.

OK, technically we aren't out of large salad bowls, because I clearly just stated that I replaced Tom's bowl that I broke.  However, that bowl is giant and it's too big for my salads.  I need a smaller, more functional one.  So in that respect, I'm out of large salad bowls.

Now I'm going to have to replace this one.

The thing is, I don't want a new bowl!

but I'll just have to make an effort to find a replacement. :)

Shopping for pottery is fun afterall.

I'm not the only one in my family that loves her pottery bowls.  My sisters and my mom have quite a large collection of them as well.

My sister is bringing her girls up right, as you can see from this photo.  (I took this when I was there)
Each kid has three pottery bowls in front of her with their lunch.  :)

Here's Stella with her bowl of green beans,  bowl of pasta, an empty bowl that had fruit in it and a few cucumbers on the placemat that didn't get a bowl.

All you have to do it teach them young that eating out of pottery bowls is great and they'll respect the dishes.

Alison says that they've lost a few bowls and she's bummed but it's worth it.  I know I've dropped enough glassware in my days.

Pottery is no different.

I'll be sure and blog about my new salad bowl when I get it!

I hope you enjoy your day!

POTD - Tower in the clouds

POTD - Tower in the clouds

I enjoy photographing towers but I always think the clouds surrounding the tower need to be really interesting in order to make the tower look cool.  I increased the contrast in this photo to make those clouds POP!


Sunday, June 27, 2010

San Marco

Unknown Mami

I drove out to a little area of Jacksonville, FL today to photograph the downtown area of San Marco.  I had gone to this area only once and it was for the art fair, so I have been wanting to go back when it was "regular."  I need to now go back when it's not a Sunday and all of the shops are open, but that's OK, I wanted exterior shots anyway :)

Here is San Marco!

Love the Art Deco Theater.

This store was called Olive.  I would have never guessed!

This pipe reminded me immediately of the Rene Magritte painting "This is not a pipe" (below)

Not all pipes make me think of this painting, but this store front really did!

The bright sunshiney flags seen throughout the area.

Great doorway decoration!

What a great sculpture!  I'm not a big fan of kite flying (it involves more running than I tend to want to do!) but I do like the action that this sculpture shows.

I joined up with Unknown Mami and Sundays in My City.  There are a lot of very interesting places in this big ol' world and over at Mami's place you can take a quick tour.  Go on over and take a peek :)

Thanks! and have a great day!

POTD - Arm


This photo was taken in Rome. We walked by this business nearly every day and I didn't notice this arm until the very last full day. It was kind of a scary sight because that arm is just hanging in amongst the other items in the window. It wasn't your typical window display that's for sure.

Enjoy (if you can!)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

100 quotes from The Secret - part IV

100 Quotes from "The Secret"

The final installment of the 100 quotes. Yay!!   It's been six weeks since I posted the third installment, so it's about time for me to wrap this up.  I really like reading through these quotes and I have to do it fairly often to keep me on track with my thinking and actions.   If you'd like to read the entire 100, the first set of quotes are located are HERE, the second HERE and the third HERE.

76. Healthy respect for yourself

77. For those you work with or interact with regularly .. get a notebook and write down positive aspects of each of those people.

78. Write down the things you like most about them (don't expect change from them). Law of attraction will not put you in the same space together if you frequencies don't match

79. When you realize your potential to feel good, you will ask no one to be different in order for you to feel good.

80. You will free yourself from the cumbersome impossibilities of needing to control the world, your friends, your mate, your children....

81. You are the only one that creates your reality

82. No one else can think or feel for you .. its YOU .. ONLY YOU.

83. Health: thank the universe for your own healing. Laugh, stress free happiness will keep you healthy.

84. Immune system will heal itself

85. Parts of our bodies are replace every day, every week..etc... Within a few years we have a brand new body

86. See yourself living in a new body. Hopeful = recovery. Happy = happier biochemistry. Stress degrades the bod.

87. Remove stress from the body and the body regenerates itself. You can heal yourself

88. Learn to become still .. and take your attention away from what you don't want, and place your attention on what you wish to experience

89. When the voice and vision on the inside become more profound and clear than the opinions on the outside, then you have mastered your life

90. You are not here to try to get the world to be just as you want it. You are here to create the world around you that you choose.

91. And allow the world as others choose to see it, exist as well

92. People think that if everyone knows the power of the LOA there won't be enough to go around .. This is a lie that's been ingrained in us and makes so many greedy.

93. The truth is there is more than enough love, creative ideas, power, joy, happiness to go around.

94. All of this abundance begins to shine through a mind that is aware of it's own infinite nature. There's enough for everyone. See it. Believe it. it will show up for you.

95. So let the variety of your reality thrill you as you choose all the things you want.. get behind the good feelings of all your wants.

96. Write your script. When you see things you don't want, don't think about them, write about them, talk about them, push against them, or join groups that focus on the don't wants... remove your attention from don't wants.. and place them on do wants

97. We are mass energy. Everything is energy. EVERYTHING.

98. Don't define yourself by your body .. it's the infinite being that's connected to everything in the universe.

99. One energy field. Our bodies have distracted us from our energy. We are the infinite field of unfolding possibilities. The creative force.

100. Are your thoughts worthy of you? If not - NOW is the time to change them. You can begin right were you are right now. Nothing matters but this moment and what you are focusing your attention on.

All of the effects to this picture were done through Photobucket.


POTD - Fountain

POTD - Fountain

Another cool fountain in Rome.  My guess is that it's the head of a wolf, the mythological one that saved Romulus and Remus from certain death.   I think I filled my water bottle from this fountain.  The water here is just so good.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Fragments

Welcome to Friday Fragments, the late evening edition! Mrs. 4444 hosts this event each week and has been doing so 100 times! It's a milestone that's for sure. If you think about it, there are only 52 weeks in a year so this event is probably 2 years old. Unless there were a few extra Fridays tucked in there :)

Congrats on a successful carnival Mrs. Fours!


A week or two ago I talked about going on camera (scary stuff!) to talk about one of my Aha Moments in my life. It was so far out of my comfort zone that I can't even begin to tell you. Well, the edited version is up on the website and ready to be viewed. It is so far beyond my comfort zone to even mention that it's there, but I did this all to talk about the beauty of organ donation, so here it is. Kristin's Aha Moment


We have been without internet half of the day today - well without wireless internet. Earlier I could get my computer to connect via the Ethernet and my husband couldn't get his and now I can't get mine to connect. So I'm on his computer.  Technology. It can be so difficult at times and so easy other times.


I spent and extended weekend in Lansing, MI and had a great time. I spent quite a bit of time with my sisters and nieces and we had two family reunions, too. They were a lot of fun. The first night was the cousins reunion where all of my Mom's first cousins came to her place for dinner and chatting. The second day was all of the families, plus the cousins.


We had macaroni and cheese for dinner at the cousins reunion. It was a fancy mac n cheese that used fontina cheese and parmesan cheese. When we went to pick up the Fontina cheese we realized that we needed 6 pounds of it and at $15 a pound that wasn't going to happen. So, a new recipe was created on the spot in the grocery store. We used 5 pounds of Mozzerella and a pound of Fontina. It was still very good mac and cheese.


On a sad note, one of my tenants passed away this morning. She had been in the hospital for the past 6 weeks and was strong enough for transplant but having a lot of other issues so they kept her in there to make sure she was transplant ready. She got the call for the liver transplant at 11pm last night and when they started the procedure her heart just couldn't take it. They worked on her for 40 minutes and couldn't keep her going. Thankfully her family had arrived and were able to spend about an hour with her before she passed.   The bright side is that the liver was able to go to someone else and an organ donation was not wasted. The incredibly sad side is that a family that I have come to really care about lost an incredible woman today. Prayers to you all.

I was able to tell you this story because the family told me I could as long as I mentioned that the gift of the liver was passed on to someone else.  That gives them a great amount of comfort.


The woman who passed away today was able to donate her eyes. I nearly forgot about that!  What a blessing they will be to someone.


I'll leave you with that today. Next week be sure and come back because I have some great printables that I want to share. Being on my husband's computer I just couldn't get to all of my links.

Have a great day!

POTD - Michigan Cherries

POTD - Michigan Cherries

My sister and her husband planted a cherry tree a few years ago.  She told me that it was literally a four foot tall stick when they planted it.  They had no idea if it was ever going to produce cherries but last year they did see a couple of them.  This year the tree is covered with cherries.  We picked a few of them to test and boy oh boy are they tart!!  They are most certainly pie cherries as those puppies need some sugar.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Favorite Things

Favorite Things

My Favorite Things is in the kitchen this week. Mrs. 4444 is hosting this new blog carnival and is keeping Mr. Linky open for several weeks so that you can join in, even if you haven't arrived on the day it started. I was in Michigan when she announced that we were in the kitchen this week, so I'm just getting to it now.

I have an unusual obsession with doing dishes, so my top favorites are all dish related.

My number one all time, hands down favorite in the kitchen is my basket of dishtowels. I use at least two a day. Fairly recently I had to retire several of them because after 20 years of wonderful service, they came out of the dryer with several large holes in them. Yep, they were literally worn out.

I am allergic to nearly everything that is scented, but these two items in my cupboards have never caused me a moment of trouble. Regular, original Ivory dishsoap and Method's Grapefuit liquid handsoap.

Which leads me to my next favorite thing - This little line up.

Left to right -

A recycled olive oil bottle with the pouring insert intact. I pour in my Ivory dishsoap and about 1/4 cup of water and I have an easy pouring soap dispenser.

My Umbra dispenser for the Method Grapefruit handsoap.

The faucet for my Culligan Reverse Osmosis Filtered Water. I've now had this in two homes. I love the faucet and the reverse osmosis water. This faucet sits close to the sink so you can fill up a water bottle in the sink or move the faucet to the side and keep your glass on the counter and fill it there. Love it!

My McCoy pottery planter that holds my scrubbies and sink stopper. It's pottery and it's McCoy and it's green. Three of my favorite things :)

My favorite Kitchen time saver is my antique, made from steel, won't bend even with the hardest Parmesan Cheese, grater. It is one of my best investments - $8.

I love using these little glass bowls when I'm making things that have a lot of little bits of ingredients and I want to prep everything first.

My Frenches Mustard glass jar that holds corn on the cob holders. It makes me smile each time we use this and I think it's just because of the bright yellow cap! Sometimes it truly is the little things.

Last but not least are my mosaic planters (I have three total) that hold all of my long handled and not easy to store in a drawer utensils. I have one planter for spatualas and scrapers (not shown), Shiny Silver in the form of whisks, spoons and a potato masher and finally the planter that holds all of the wooden items.

Just like in the post I did for My Favorite Things Bathroom Edition - I have a few dozen more items that I would love to feature but I don't want to bore you :)  Thanks again to Mrs. 4444 for hosting this carnival!

Have a great day!

POTD - Unused

POTD - Unused

I don't think this passageway is used any more, but it sure does look interesting all boarded up like this.  Taken in Rome.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Smooch Project

The last night at my Mom's house, these two Minnesotans arrived.  We'd never met.  In fact, they'd never even met my Mom.

I was never quite clear on how it happened, but these two women were needing a place to stay in the Lansing area and someone called my mom and asked her - she said yes, of course!

When they arrived we found out that Dawn (on the left) is a documentary filmmaker and Bonnie (on the right) is a photographer.    Dawn Mikkelson's current project The Red Tail Movie is out right now in select areas -- I'm going to talk more about Dawn  and her movie in an upcoming post.   Bonnie Fournier is the Project Photographer for The Smooch! Project. It was her original idea to create the smooch project after a photo of Bonnie's sister giving her a smooch on the cheek made her smile every time she saw it.

Bonnie's project is all about Love, Community and Healing and she's doing this in her effort to collect 10,000 images of people showing affection to someone they love.  The reason she came to Michigan was because she felt that Detroit needing some of that Love, Community and Healing.  I do believe she's correct.  I hope that this project gets to be so popular that Bonnie and The Smooch! Project are asked to come to every state in the nation.  

I've asked Bonnie to come to Florida, specifically Jacksonville.  I'd love for her to come stay with me, I didn't get enough chat time at the kitchen table, that's for sure.  I was unable to stay to be a part of The Smooch! Project because I had a flight home just hours before their project in Lansing even started.  I was quite bummed to say the least.

One really nice thing is that there are hundreds of photos on the website.  I asked Bonnie if I could use a few of them here and she graciously agreed.  Be sure to run on over to The Smooch! Project website though to see a lot of delightful photos.  They will make you just can't help it.

The State News even published an article on the happenings in Old Town Lansing.  The State News is the newspaper of Michigan State University.   Way to go MSU!  Thanks so much for sending a reporter down to the project.  I heard that several news reporters were there to see what was going on.   It's so good to hear that the "feel good" story got some coverage :)

Bonnie has photographed lots of people and their pets.  In her archives I've seen kitties, dogs, horses, snakes, rabbits guinea pigs and even turtles.  My Mocha-kitty wouldn't be as happy as the cat in the above photo.  She'd be so mad at me that we'd never get a smooch :)

My Mom did get to be a part of the project.  I actually have no idea who this man is that she's smooching, but I've heard his name and it's a friend of hers.  I think they both took a great smooching photo!  Great job Mom!

Thanks Bonnie for taking a chance and accepting the offer to stay at my Mom's house and to stay on the third floor in the attic, in a twin bed, in the grandkids playroom. You had no idea what you were getting into when you said yes :) 

Have a great day! and find someone to smooch!