Day 1 of New Website…

For those of you coming here expecting to see a post about my life and the craziness that it entails… please move over to my old site: LIVING ON AIR.

I now have 3 separate and individual sites. This one is now for my professional writing business. You might find it interesting to check into every once in a while as I will be posting articles/stories/writing projects I am working on every now and then. For example… I am currently writing an article about Pork Roll, Egg, and Cheese sandwiches. Over the next few days I will be eating one of the delicious sandwiches from every place in the area so I can compare. My son LOVES this type of research!!

First stop... FRANK'S DELI in Asbury Park. YUM!

           First stop… FRANK’S DELI in Asbury Park. YUM!

LIVING ON AIR will go back to being my site about ME. I doubt I will post the soul searching type of blogs I have been in the past. Those are the ones I need to keep private for now. On LIVING ON AIR I will post my current craft projects, trips, family celebrations and more.

Coming up… I will be going to Sedona, AZ for a week, taking a hot air balloon ride, a pink jeep tour, and meeting with an artist for a private watercolor lesson outside! Not to mention staying with my niece in Scottsdale and another friend in Phoenix. I am told that once I get to Sedona I might never come home; however, I have to because my daughter’s Bridal Shower is early April. Then of course the WEDDING in Disney isn’t far behind. So there will be plenty of pictures and stories to tell. You will find them there… LIVING ON AIR.

OK… last but certainly not least, I am resurrecting the UNIQUE AND NOVEL website. Currently under construction… this site is dedicated to books, reading, and movies. Not just ANY books… oh no! This site will be designed for the reader who is looking for something different to read. It will showcase mostly SELF PUBLISHED authors. I have done a lot of research on self publishing and have come across some fascinating books you simply will not find on traditional bookstore shelves.

Although I won’t be selling the books myself… I will supply a link taking you to the best place to purchase them. Sometimes it will be the author’s own site… and others will take you to Amazon. I hope if you decide to purchase the book I recommend, you use the link I provide so I can get credit for the lead.

I hope you aren’t confused by all of this. If you should end up on the wrong site just look in the margin and I will have a link to take you to the one you want.

See… and you all thought I was leaving you for good. Never!

Good Bye… It’s Been Real

You all know I’m writing a book… right? That’s the real reason I began this blog… as an ‘author platform’. Every article I read about writing, and every ‘expert’ I spoke to in the field agreed that chances of finding a publisher to print my finished manuscript increased if I had a built-in following. So this was purely a business decision.

A funny thing happened along the way… I found I enjoyed writing the posts. Writing these posts and setting them free into cyber space made my solitary life a little more interesting. The emails, comments, and Facebook messages I received kept me writing. Thank you all.

That all being said… you need to know I am writing this blog post this evening to say GOOD BYE. As is my usual gut reaction to adversity… I FLEE. There are times I want to move out of my house, and times I want no one to know anything about me. My thoughts being that no one would really care if I stopped writing any way.

For the past few weeks I have been concentrating on WHY I continue to blog. The original reason… an author platform no longer applies. Oh, don’t worry… I’m still writing the book… but I came to the realization I don’t care if any one reads it. Really. I don’t. I’m writing the book for me. I think my family would be interested in it… and perhaps a few friends… but that’s all. It’s coming along nicely and I think it will keep readers turning the pages to the very end… but that would just be a bonus.

I think I have also decided to self publish. Many hours of research have gone into this decision. Since I have made up my mind that I don’t care if any one reads it… then I don’t need to worry about finding a publisher.

So… I’m fleeing, for now. I’m laying low and keeping to myself. If you want to know how I’m doing, or what I’m up to then drop me a line via email, stop in for a cup of coffee, write a real letter, call, or send a carrier pigeon… however you know to contact me, use it.

I’ll write when I can, or want to.

Creative Lettering…

I am sooooooo excited!!! I broke down and purchased some new markers and am having a BLAST with them.

Copic markers came on the scene hot and heavy a few years ago… but the price was so astronomical I put them on my ‘when I win the lottery’ list. They are an alcohol based marker that all the comic book artists use. However, last Sunday, while perusing PINTEREST in my jammies (see Pajama Day) I landed on Martha Lever’s site. She uses a less expensive brush marker in tandem with micron pens (which I already own) to create eye popping lettering… AND she teaches an online course (Calligra-fun) to boot… AND she was discounting the classes! Yea me!

So… the next day I ran to my local, independently owned art store and purchased a few brush markers by Prismacolor, fully intending to come home and take one of Martha’s classes. Alas… I spent my discretional income on the markers and my budget wouldn’t allow me the luxury of  taking a class… even at a discount. But that didn’t stop me! Scrutinizing her style I began making stokes on the blank page with my colorful markers… an extra shadow line here, a little squiggle there and TA-DAH! Creative lettering!!! What do you think? Did I nail it???

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Here’s a few more…

Oops... I drew the leaves in the wrong direction for the flowers on the left. I need more practice!!

Oops… I drew the leaves in the wrong direction for the flowers on the left. I need more practice!!

 

Thank you in Tagalog!! Look... I'm multi-lingual!!

Thank you in Tagalog!! Look… I’m multi-lingual!!

Woven square and giraffe's neck spots are ZENTANGLES!

Woven square and giraffe’s neck spots are ZENTANGLES!

While on PINTEREST I also copied a few styles from ELVIE STUDIO (above)… just to keep the creative juices flowing. The flower and giraffe are copies of hers. You know what they say… copy from the best until you create a style all your own 🙂

Eventually I plan to take a few online courses… but for now I’m just dabbling. I enjoy sending handmade birthday cards and thank you notes, this new lettering adds a whole new dimension to my cards.

What have YOU learned new lately???

 

 

Pajama Day!!!

 

working-at-home-pajamas-1058896-170x259I officially declared today PAJAMA DAY… and stayed in my Pjs the entire day. I had no plans to go any where and as far as I knew no one was coming over… so why not? I wouldn’t be embarrassed if a friend or neighbor unexpectedly dropped by. For all intents and purposes I am dressed well enough wearing a white long sleeve Tee and flannel pants… although the pants are my Christmas jammies, printed with candy canes.

 

I brushed my teeth this morning and washed my face, but around 4PM it dawned on me I didn’t brush my hair. Oh well… it has that ‘fresh from bed’ tousled look… not that awful; no make up either… also not that awful. I haven’t done this in YEARS! What a relaxing day… ahhhh. Hey… I think I will declare every Sunday after ‘springing’ the clocks ahead one hour PJ DAY! Meet me here next year and tell me what you did in your Pjs

 

Today I frittered the day away on FaceBook and PINTEREST marveling at all the creative and clever people out there in cyber land. Sometimes I feel like such an underachiever… but then I realize these people aren’t this spectacular every day. I’m only catching a glimpse of their lives… a snippet really. I can be just as clever and creative a few times a year too… just not today.

 

As I look through many Pinterest ‘boards’ I have come to the conclusion that A. Too many people have a lot of spare time on their hands, and B. So many people have insecurities. On the other hand, I have found it a great resource for finding interesting recipes, hints on making my blog better, thought provoking sayings, fabulous fonts and type styles, and so many projects I want to do there just are not enough hours in the day. Basically, a huge time sucker.

I whipped up some Arepas for dinner… and am calling it a wonderful, relaxing, peaceful day.

Now I think I will head on over to Etsy.com and see all the new designs my daughter listed in her shop, Kreative Event Services. She is an awesome custom invitation designer… who just finished the Wedding Invites for my other daughter’s Disney Wedding this June. Check out the Save The Dates she designed for the big day. Hmmm… While on Etsy maybe I can hunt down a purse to go with my crazy dress for the wedding. Hmmm… Great idea! See ya later!

 

I hope you had as much today as I did!

Five Minute Friday – Home

It’s FRIDAY! Time for Five Minute Friday… a post written in five minutes using the word prompt given that week, with no thought given to grammar, context, spelling, or anything! Just write! Then post it on Lisa Jo Baker’s site for all to read. Then cheerlead for the person who posted before you. It’s that easy! Won’t you join us?

Here goes…. Home…

Where is home, really? In your heart? Where you sleep? Where you grew up? Where you raised your family?

Here at the jersey shore so many families have been displaced. Their ‘house’ no longer exists. Hurricane Sandy blew it apart. Their personal belongings were shredded and pulled out to sea. Family photos, heirlooms, furniture that has been passed down in the family through generations, perhaps brought to this country through Ellis Island… all gone. Total devastation. Yet… ‘home’ still survived… as these victims huddle together and find a new place to live, and start all over. A place to call ‘home’ again.

Years ago a dear friend of mine made the decision to move ‘back home’ to Arkansas when her breast cancer refused to stay silent. She wanted to ‘go home’ to die. To her ‘home’ meant being near family, her support group. I made every effort to visit her at her ‘home’ before she passed. Thankfully I was able to visit a few weeks before she passed… and the good Lord called her to his ‘home’.

After leaving the house I grew up in 38 years ago… I moved ‘back home’. The kids have all grown, my husband passed away… there was nothing keeping me in the town where I raised my family. So, now alone on my own I too wanted to move back ‘home’. To my beginning. I thought I would feel comfortable here… sadly I don’t.

I wonder… will my children ever feel the need to move back ‘home’ to central New Jersey?

What is HOME to you?

 

Double Stuffed or Regular?

Years ago while working in a warehouse, a regular customer, a cute married couple from Holland were stopping in on a buying trip. When they arrived I made a mental note to remember they kiss three times… right, left, then right again. I always forgot and the guy made sure to hold my shoulders firmly and direct me to the last kiss on the cheek.

Since they stay all day, I would be in charge of taking their lunch order. I learned quickly that we American’s eat way too much! This couple made a habit of sharing one dish… always! When the question of, “What would you like to drink?” came up I was in for an challenging task.

“Milk.” was their simple request.

“What type?” I countered.

“Pardon me?” they asked with a furrowed brow.

“You know… 1%, Fat Free, 2%, Chocolate, Strawberry…”

“Ummm… milk. Regular milk.”

I smiled and headed out the door secure in the knowledge they requested Whole Milk. Got it… no problem. I could handle this.

Do you know how hard it is to find an individual sized container of regular whole milk at the local WaWa? They didn’t carry it. I could purchase a half gallon, but not individual containers. So… of course I grabbed the half gallon… and plastic cups. See… that’s why I got paid the big bucks… I can think on my feet and make executive decisions 🙂 From then on, whenever I knew they were coming on a buying trip, I made sure the refrigerator in the warehouse had containers of whole milk. That’s called customer service.

Anyway… One afternoon I was standing in the food store’s refrigerated section staring at the confusing selection of orange juice choices. No pulp, Some pulp, Grovestand, Homestyle, Extra Pulp, Calcium added, Vitamin C enhanced, Low Acid… and more. Really? Do we really need THAT many choices of orange juice? I simply want juice… from an orange. That’s it. In my home I have two kinds of OJ drinkers… With and Without. Once, just to stay within budget, I purchased ‘with’ and strained it. Poured the remaining juice into two separate containers and scraped all of the pulp into one. Ta-da! One ‘with’ and one ‘without’. Problem solved.

Back at the food store, contemplating my choices, a decent looking guy excused himself, pulled the door open in front of me and easily grabbed his preferred OJ. Noticing me in deep thought… he commented, “This should be a compatibility question on Match.com.” Too funny.

You know… he wasn’t too far off. Small details like that come up all the time when you are just starting to date someone. It can make or break a relationship. Little did I know a guy I was dating proclaimed that me liking Double Stuffed Oreos instead of the Original Oreos was a ‘deal breaker’. I thought he was kidding. He wasn’t.

So in honor of all of us who can’t get enough of the ‘white stuff’… here’s a recipe from one of my favorite blogs Cookiesandcups.com…

Oreo Cookie Filling Dip

Oreo Cookie Filling Dip

Click CookiesandCups

for the story and recipe.

Enjoy!

Love Letters…

We all have our stories to tell, don’t we?

On a whim, I stopped in Ocean Grove Pet Boutique to see if an old friend from my childhood was working that day. Happily she was! After the shock of me walking in unexpectedly sunk in, and hugging , it only took an hour to catch each other up on the past 40 years. Marriages, deaths, children, dogs, cats, siblings, schooling… you name it, we covered it all. We talked fast!

Cindy and I had been friends all throughout high school. Actually, I was on a double date with her, her soon-to-be first husband, and a friend of his who was enlisted in the Army… when it was the very first time I lied to my mom… and I got caught! I knew my mom wouldn’t care for the guy… as he was too old for me, so I led her to believe I was going out with my EX boyfriend Kevin. Mom didn’t know we had just broken up, so when I left the house she assumed that is who I was with, and I didn’t set her straight. So see? I didn’t actually lie… right?

Any way… I didn’t make it home by the time I said I would and mom got worried. Remember, there weren’t cell phones back then and to be honest I lost track of the time. When I arrived home… finally… my mother glared at me and announced I needed to call the Ocean Township Police Chief. ACK!!! She described Kevin’s car, an aqua Ford convertible with a white top (although it was really black) and had the police looking for him. YIKES!

My conversation with the Police Chief was brief, and humiliating. He made me promise if I were ever to be late again and couldn’t contact home, I was to contact the police and inform them of my whereabouts so they in turn could contact my mom. Yeah, right… like I was really going to do that. However, I yes’d him to death, died of mortification and hung up the phone; my mother still glaring at me. The lesson I learned that day? Never lie to my mom… pay back’s a bitch! I never went out with the guy again either… he was way too old for me… and he wore too much cologne… or was that booze?

In our conversation today Cindy mentioned she had been married 3 ½ times. Half? I wondered how she got the half… and wanted to ask, but didn’t want to interrupt. Eventually it all came out. She was in love, and engaged when he suddenly passed away of a heart attack. Tears sprang to my eyes and goosebumps ran like ants at a picnic up and down my arms as Cindy looked me square in the face and said, “He was the first guy I ever kissed where my knees buckled.”

I know that feeling. I’ve had that kind of kiss. Not only did my knees buckle, but the first time he innocently grabbed my hand (in a parking lot on the way to dinner… at 7:30PM on a Thursday night many years ago) electric shocks went flying through me like a fourth of July Grand Finale… gee, not that I remember the fine details or anything 🙂 Truth be told, a moment like that is never forgotten. They don’t come around that often.

Cindy’s comment stuck with me the rest of the day. It was still in the back of my head when I began to sort through some of my mom’s papers. While cleaning out her house to put it up for sale, I stumbled over a large, heavy suitcase filled with old letters. Many of which turned out to be ‘love letters’ from different suitors.

Men were ga-ga over my mom back in the day, but the only way to communicate was through the lost art of letter writing. As I read a few my heart pounded. I realized I knew most of these men. My dad passed away when I six years old and I remember some of the men my mom dated. One letter in particular caught my heart. It was from an old neighbor of hers,Tom. As a matter of fact mom told me the story of going to the doctor for fear she was pregnant because Tom kissed her on her front steps (Yeah… that was the extent of my sex education lesson from mom; You can’t get pregnant with just a kiss). I wonder if her knees buckled? Tom left for college, mom moved away, and each married other people. You would think that was the end of the story… but no.

Tom was in and out of our lives. He worked for an ice cream company and always arrived with a gigantic box filled with ice cream treats and dry ice! We were the cool kids (get it? Cool? Dry Ice?) on the block as we pulled our wagon around the neighborhood leaving a white, foggy trail of dry ice gas behind us. Oh yes… and don’t forget the freezer of ice cream! I’m sure we were the only kids EVER to be allowed to eat ice cream for breakfast.

Today I ever so carefully unfolded a brittle and torn sheet of legal size typing paper written in small cursive letters. It reads:

Dear Grace,

It’s been many a moon since I last wrote you a letter. The last serious letter writing spree between you and I was about 18 years ago. As you can see by the start of this letter my technique has not improved much in the love letter writing field. They just didn’t teach me to write love letters in college. I would like to write you a great masterpiece telling of my love for you. The urge is there and I know what I’d like to say, but the words never come out on paper the way I want them to. To sum up my great masterpiece, (that I know I won’t write) in a few words, I miss you, I love you with all my heart, and wish we could be together forever. I’m surprised I got that much out.

The letter continues on with sweet words of how he feels when he is around her… and how he wished he could ‘sweep down on my white charger and carry you off to a faraway castle and we’d live happy ever after.’

He ends with… ‘I’ve loved you since the first day I saw you getting on the bus, and I’ll continue loving you the rest of my life.’

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Sniff! Where did that damn tissue box go?

The top right corner of the page is torn off. I can read it was written in November… but the year is gone. I would love to know when he actually wrote it. The condition of the paper suggests mom read it many times.

Tom was married, not happily from what I remember and had children. It was not an ideal situation, but he stayed with his family and supported them as best he could. Many, many years later life became too much for him and he committed suicide. I knew my mom was upset, as any close friend would be… however I never really knew how much they meant to each other, until now. My heart aches.

So… have you all learned a lesson from this???? If you love someone… LET THEM KNOW!!

I, for one, don’t have the courage to write a letter like that. I take that back… I could write it, I just wouldn’t have the nerve to actually mail it. Funny, I have no problem writing about my life and plastering it on Facebook and my blog… and even my book. But to tell the guy who makes my knees buckle how I feel? Never! Besides… it’s too late.

Pay It Forward…

Psychologists suggest that purchasing a house is one of life’s most stressful events… topped only by the loss of a loved one, or getting a divorce. I don’t know if I agree 100% as I have been through a few more stressful situations I feel were worse than any of those. Besides, I don’t get attached to ‘things’, including houses. I looked at moving as an adventure! However, I understand why it would be on the top 10 stressful things in life list for most people.

Purchasing my home was not stressful at all… thanks to the help of a friend, my realtor ‘having my back’, a wonderful previous owner, and strong neighbors… I was able to purchase a house and move in within a two-week span. Amazing!!! I think I broke a speed record.

Without creative thinking about mortgages and taking a non-traditional route, I would never have been able to purchase this adorable 1921 bungalow on the lake. It was the childhood home of the seller. His parents had passed away and as an adult with a family and home of his own decided to sell this one. Once I proved I could afford the monthly payment, he graciously offered to hold the mortgage himself… allowing me to bypass all the regular mumbo-jumbo mortgage hunting game and move in without a fuss.

It’s my time to PAY IT FORWARD. My brothers and I are responsible for selling my mom’s vacant home. She had accumulated so much stuff in the 52 years she lived there. I promise you… the only things that left her home once they entered, were my brothers and me.

So far we have held 2 estate sales and allowed an estate auction to come in and take what they wanted. Craigslist has been invaluable in selling off many items also. Yet there is still so much left!!!

Taking a close look at the house, we realized we couldn’t sell it in the shape it currently stood. The kitchen and 2 baths were in desperate need of an overhaul if we thought we could even get a somewhat viable offer. So… acting as a general contractor I hired professionals to bomb the bathrooms… and began working on the kitchen myself. Demolition began a couple of weeks ago.

As I roamed through the house with a ‘buyers’ set of eyes I saw so much more that needed to be done. My mom had painted over wallpaper… in all three bedrooms. My sister-in-law fell through the ceiling and left a person sized hole in need of repair. A leak in the attic window has caused stains in two bedroom ceilings… and oh so much more.

Enter… stage left… a real estate agent who just HAPPENS to know a young couple looking for a specific home. One they can live in and fix up at the same time. There is a special program for this type of loan titled 203(k). This seems like the PERFECT buyer for mom’s home!!!

We no longer need to bring the house up to code and acquire a CO (Certificate of Occupancy) before selling. Nor do we need to continue the kitchen renovation. We just need to finish emptying the house… and hand over the keys.

In as much as I was looking forward to working on the house making it more sellable… I am thrilled that a nice young couple is interested in buying this fabulous house in a great neighborhood. A house they can lovingly fix and renovate for their young family. They see the potential, they have a dream. My brothers and I are happy to help make their dream a reality.

Could we have been greedy and held out for more money? Sure. However I remember the kindness shown me just two years ago and am thrilled to be able to PAY IT FORWARD.

When all the dust settles, and t’s are crossed we know we didn’t sell the house for near what we thought we could… but sometimes it just isn’t about the money. Sometimes you have to go with your gut feeling and help others out. Bottom line? It just feels right… and that feels good!