Sewing Machine Day

It’s National Sewing Machine Day!Measure 1

One summer when I was maybe 11 or 12 years old I took sewing lessons, a summer course for young girls. My summer days had been pleasantly spent sailing, swimming, exploring tidal pools, picking blueberries, climbing trees and reading in Jamestown, Rhode Island. I wasn’t interested in sewing and did not anticipate its correlation to life’s other skills.

Needle threadMy mother signed me up for nearby sewing lessons, perhaps as a way to broaden my feminine and future home-making skills. But I had already set my sights on other (less girly-girl) horizons. When the ferry doors finally opened the auction was getting ready and there was mayhem on the stage.


Nevertheless, I made a couple of summer dresses that were actually (well, barely) wearable! Sewing did not expand my feminine ways Needle thread greenbut rather taught me construction, planning, the mechanics of sewing, the importance of creativity, structure, individuality, attention to detail, accuracy, improvisation and discipline to make my creations with perfect stitches and dimensions, to match fabric patterns, to understand color palates and the importance of measuring twice and cutting once Owas it measuring once and cutting twice?



Realtors continue to educate themselves long after receiving their license, which by itself requires a lot of education and testing. When I saw there was a course on hoarding to receive continuing education credits I signed up. Learning about hoarding as it relates to real estate transactions sounded more interesting than a 3 hour class on real estate financing to meet the mandatory continuing education requirements.

This class did not disappoint. I was on the edge of my seat from the moment the instructor said 1 in 6 Americans are hoarders. In a room of 24 people I looked around to identify the 4 hoarders in the room.

Hoarding 1To sum it up hoarding is a complicated mental illness with a wide spectrum of hoarder types, but there is some commonality. It is usually triggered by an event such as the loss of a family member, especially the death of a child or spouse, divorce and other major life changes. Hoarders are young millennials and oldsters, well-educated, with advanced degrees, employed, have resources and loving families and relationships. They are our neighbors and co-workers, and you would never know they hoard.

The more she talked about hoarding the more I reflected on my own “collecting” tendencies and developed a deeper understanding of hoarding and mental illness. Some items in my home have significant emotional value to me; they provoke memories of family members who have died and whom I miss tremendously, memories of great times with friends and family, professional accomplishments, activities, milestones, hobbies, travels. They bring me joy, even the items that remind me of those who have passed because I remember the good times, the wonderful relationships and am not overly saddened although I do think about what could have been. The grief, when it appears is usually brief and is replaced with understanding and acceptance of what I cannot change and appreciation for what was.


This is NOT my home. I got this image from the internet.

But still, I see evidence of how it could develop into full blown hoarding based on grief: I have kept my brother’s baseball mitt. He died at age 17, 40  years ago. There is no reason to keep the smooth, worn leather mitt but I cannot throw it out.

A long time ago my mother told me to never throw out any jewelry, even the cheap stuff. Decades later my costume jewelry collection is vintage, valuable and voluminous. Maybe my mother was an enabler, who showed me the comfort and joy of collecting. She encouraged my rock, shell, coin, book, stamp and postcard collecting. I also collected pen knives, dead bees, cigar bands, watches and pens.

I am aware of my emotional connection to a book, photograph, music, pieces of furniture and shoes. The memories are strong and pleasant. But, alas I still have too much stuff. I discarded a baby grand piano (I tried to give it away for two years), gave away dishes, glassware and decorative items, art, furniture, rugs and gadgets. I donated clothing and household items to Goodwill, books to libraries, other items to thrift shops and church fundraisers. I sold cars and boats, recycled plastics and electronics, sold CDs and jewelry. I’ve been trying to minimize my possessions by finding a new home for these treasures. This has appeased my feelings of loss and has comforted me knowing someone else is enjoying or using them.

According to the instructor I am not a hoarder, but I realize how easy it is to become one and how this behavior can escalate and destroy a life and a home.

Now, I have to get back to cleaning, sorting, donating, filing, discarding, letting go, 86-ing, pruning, arranging, culling, fixing, purging, chucking, deliberating, dumping, up-cycling, selecting, eliminating, reducing, re-purposing, recycling, disposing, organizing and more reorganizing.





Let’s Talk About The Zestimate®

There are two truths* about the The Zestimate®:

1     It is always higher than market value – always.

2     Sellers believe The Zestimate® is an accurate measure of home value – always.

 Zillow’s Definition: “The Zestimate® home valuation is Zillow’s estimated market value, computed using a proprietary formula.”

Few read the rest of the definition:

Zillow says, “It is not an appraisal. It is a starting point in determining a home’s value. The Zestimate® is calculated from public and user-submitted data, taking into account special features, location, and market conditions. We encourage buyers, sellers, and homeowners to supplement Zillow’s information by doing other research such as:

  • Getting a comparative market analysis (CMA) from a real estate agent

  • Getting an appraisal from a professional appraiser

  • Visiting the house (whenever possible)”,

It’s a starting point and not the end point

of a conversation on market value


* a non-factual and unscientific observation loosely based on conversations with home owners and agents



GREIGE – The New Neutral

It’s the new neutral of interior and exterior paints. It’s a combination of two words; gray and beige. It’s pronounced like beige without the B and with the GR, like GReige. Kind of like “GR age”. Another pronounciation is like “Gr-eee-je”.

“While gray creates the soft neutral tones homeowners have come to fall in love with, the beige undertones help infuse some warmth into what would be an otherwise boring & cold color. The resulting color works great for most homes. Whether you want to create a subtle welcome at the entryway area, accent a single wall or contrast the bright light coming in – greige works to perfection.”

You can’t just buy Greige paint color. Greige has an endless list of grey/beige names, each slightly different in color, with blue, pink, brown, green, red and yellow undertones. A partial list:

Collonade, Granite Boulder, Amazing, Repose,  Silver Drop, Stonehenge, Silver Point, Worldly, Asford, Perfect, French, Ashley, Windsor, Broxburn, Analytical, French Linen, Goose Down, Egyptian Cotton, Pebble, Barren Plains, Wheat Bread, Hazy Sky, Mindful, Stamped Concrete, Perfect, Stylish, Ellie, Mega, Pavillion, Rockpoint, Gracious, Gettysburg, Mineral, Owl, Edgecomb. Pale Oak, Mortar, Pewter, Balboa Mist – all with the word “Gray” in the name.

What’s your favorite?

Bathroom Trends 2019

The biggest trend in bathroom renovation? images (1)

  1. urinals
  2. bidets
  3. Japanese toilets
  4. self-cleaning toilets
  5. vivid color schemes
  6. tiny bathrooms
  7. massage stations
  8. composting toilets
  9. out houses

Nope. It’s bathing accommodations for pets, especially dogs. If you bathe your dog you know how difficult this can be.images

The options are to shower with the dog, fill the family bath tub, fill an outdoor tub, use a hose outside or take the dog to the groomer. Except for going to the groomer all of the options are messy and wet – for the pet and human. 

Outstanding-Dog-Shower-Ideas-Pet-Washing-Stations-6_Sebring-Design-BuildBathrooms, laundry rooms and mud rooms

now are pet bathing stations.


Osprey – They’re Back

OSPREY – Right on time again this year (and every year)

Yesterday a single male osprey arrived. More will arrive over the next week. It’s a thrill every year to see their arrival. Every spring, in late March the osprey return to Rhode Island. They fly from their South American winter habitat back home to summer Rhode Island. Come October they make the return trip to South America.

And so, every March and October marks the arrival and departure of this magnificent bird.

The male always arrives first and the female arrives a couple of days later.

They return to the same nest year after year.

I snapped this photo last year when I unexpectedly saw this osprey land on the dead branch. Lucky shot.

10 Rules of Open Houses You Did Not Know

Open houses are a great way to see what’s on the market, to fine tune what you are looking for, to imagine the possibilities and to get ideas. Here are the rules:

The Golden Rule is to be considerate.

1. Be on time. Don’t show up at the end of the open house and stay past the time. This inconveniences the homeowner, who wants to get back into their home and it inconveniences the agent who has other appointments. Similarly, don’t be early.
2. When you arrive come inside first, introduce yourself to the agent and sign in. Yes, the agent will want all of your information and the seller may demand it. Don’t scribble a partial email or phone number. This is a matter of security. Wouldn’t you want to know who’s roaming your home?
3. Do not bring your own refreshments.
4. Don’t snoop around. Open closet doors but do not open bureau drawers or medicine cabinets and don’t touch anything like books or knick knacks.  Don’t sit on the bed or furniture, do not turn on the television and do not use the toilet EVER.
5. If you bring children with you do not let them leave your side. Don’t allow them to roam around, pick out their bedroom, sit on the furniture or touch anything. And don’t bring the family pet, even if you think leaving him outside is ok. It’s not.
6. Keep your comments to yourself. No one wants to hear what you think of the decorating choices or what you would do if you bought the house.
7. Do look around outside. Do not play on the swing set, don’t smoke. Don’t pick the flowers.
8. Do not take photographs. It’s creepy. Take notes and look at the photos on MLS to remember details that interest you. And schedule a showing at a later date to get another look at the property.
9. Let the agent know if you are working with another agent and let them know which agent. Don’t monopolize the agent’s time. The agent has to keep track of who’s in the house and be available for others buyers. Contact the agent later if you have questions.
10. If the agent offers refreshments remember it’s not lunch so don’t chow down. Don’t roam the house with the snack or beverage.

This list is a compilation of things potential buyers actually do and think it’s ok. Remember it’s someone’s private home you’ve been invited to.

Life Changes – a Short Story

Actually it’s a long story, but I’ll condense it.  Life 1

I got a job, as an employee after 20 years of being the employer

My beloved husband and best friend died. Unexpectedly. Quickly. After ten days in the ICU.

My daughter’s complications from Lyme disease amped up. Her life changed too.

My symptoms from chronic Lyme disease also amped up.

I became a Realtor®. A profession I never expected I would choose.

It’s just the way life is, twists and turns, ups and downs, the expected and unexpected, the good, the bad and the fugly. Yup. It was all of that.


5 Bad Habits in Business and in Life

Don’t let that Don Draper – Mad Men image influence you. These five habits are simply courteous, whether for a  job interview or a sales call. 


Arrive on time, not early and not late. Be respectful and find out what they want and need; not what you want and need. Be yourself, but use some discretion. No one wants to know the details of your personal life. Be appreciative by saying a heartfelt thank you. 

Seriously, this should come naturally. If it does not, practice, practice and practice some more and then think about why this does not come naturally to you.

5 habits that can turn interviewers against you.


Job hunting is a tough job. Even for someone thick skinned, seasoned, positive, rational, realistic, open-minded and understanding that not every job is perfect for them.

Rejection 1

I have never received a rejection like I did today – just 21 minutes after submitting my resume on the major online job search website I received this message.  “DOES NOT MEET ZIP Code Proximity CRITERIA”  for a job just 22 miles away from my home – via interstate highway.

I am wondering if this digital communications company is not savvy enough to post a job and select the appropriate geography or if they really want employees who live around the corner from their office.

Either way. Do I want to work here?