Saturday, September 15, 2018

FREE MUSEUM PASSES

National Museum Day, sponsored by the the Smithsonian, is, as far as I can find, a day that occurs in September each year. So I recommend you enter into your calendar on September 1 as a recurring event to look this up. You can get a free pass for two by entering "Museum Day" in your browser - follow directions, and print your ticket for a museum near you. Enjoy! And please let me know how this experience worked for you!

Monday, August 13, 2018

CONFIRM ITS TRUE BEFORE YOU REPEAT IT! SNOPES.COM

Not much has crossed my desk that I thought might be of general interest in the past few weeks, and since this Blog is aimed at providing important information I've been waiting for something to come up. Yesterday I received an email which alarmed me, and thought I'd better get the word out, but just before I sent it out I remembered to check out the info at "Snopes.com" - a web site that confirms whether web-published info is true, semi-true or just downright false. A quick check at Snopes proved to be an important step, since the email was just plain false information. I let the sender know, and the response I got was that Snopes.com is a false site and to be ignored. I'm not sure what to make of that!

Nevertheless, I've been using Snopes for nearly 20 years, and so far it has proved to be a very reliable resource. So my recommendation is that you check Snopes.com first, and then forward if it proves to be a reliable piece of info and you feel it worth sharing.

Hope this helps you make your way through what ends up in your email and on Facebook, etc.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

CLEANING SECRETS #1

Ugh! Today was the day to tackle window cleaning. A chore that I have not enjoyed since I was a kid. Seems like they never come completely clean, and getting the streaks out - again, ugh!

But today I was using a magic mixture that I learned from my childhood and had completely forgotten about. I use a cup of white vinegar in my dishwasher 4 times a year to help keep it clean smelling, and while I was running the cycle I remembered using white vinegar and distilled water in equal parts to get windows clean and shiny and without streaks. By the time I was in my 30s I also started using a couple of drops of Dawn dishwashing liquid into the mix, which somehow made the process even easier.

So, to get your windows clean without the expense of a window cleaner use a spray bottle with 1/2 part distilled water and 1//2 part white vinegar and a couple of drops of Dawn (I don't know if other dishwashing liquids also work or not) and spray and clean and get it done fast.

Hope this makes for a pleasant chore for you.

Friday, July 6, 2018

SHAKESPEARE QUOTES - AMAZING THAT WE STILL USE THEM TODAY

I was recently having lunch with a friend, who ordered a salad and said that currently her lunches were "salad days" until she lost a few pounds. I pointed out to her that the quote  was from Shakespeare, at which she scoffed. 
A quick look-up on Google settled the discussion in my favor, and got me thinking about the many quotes currently in daily use that come, more or less, from Shakespeare. To view the quotes and more info about them go to: https://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/article/1931758/every-day-shakespeare-phrases-coined-bard-still-use-today
"Salad days" Antony and Cleopatra
"Send him packing" Henry IV, Part I
"As good luck would have it" The Merry Wives of Windsor
"More fool you" The Taming of the Shrew
"Short shrift" Richard III
"Neither here nor there" Othello and The Merry Wives of Windsor
"Mum's the word" Henry VI, Part II
"That way madness lies" King Lear
"More in sorrow than in anger" Hamlet
"With bated breath" The Merchant of Venice
"The green-eyed monster" Othello
"Vanish into thin air" Othello and The Tempest
"All of a sudden" The Taming of the Shrew
"Wild-goose chase" - Romeo and Juliet
"The be-all and end-all" Macbeth
"Up in arms" Henry VI, Part II and Richard III
"Eaten out of house and home" Henry IV, Part II
"Devil incarnate" Henry V and Titus Andronicus
"Heart of gold" Henry V
"Foregone conclusion" Othello
"All that glitters is not gold" The Merchant of Venice
Fun, right? I'm sure there are probably more; please let me know if you find any! My thanks to SCMP.com.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

FACTS ABOUT SARASOTA STREET NAMES

In the 1880s, the "Florida Mortgage and Investment Company" was looking for people to colonize Sarasota. Scotland seemed a good place to approach as there was economic difficulty there at the time. Articles were place in newspapers encouraging immigration to Sarasota. The attempt was successful and the first true settlers in Sarasota came from Scotland, although many left soon after arrival because the town was not yet built. Those who stayed behind helped build the town on Sarasota Bay.
The Scottish connection to Sarasota is seen in Browning Avenue, named for the John Browning family, one of the few of the Scot Colony to stay on. There is also Gillespie Avenue named for John Hamilton Gillespie, the Scot who was sent by the Florida Mortgage Company to revive the effort to build Sarasota, today considered the "Father of Sarasota".

A look at the original plat of Sarasota from 1885 reveals that most of the streets were named for fruits: pineapple, orange, mango, banana, lemon and lime. The idea was to encourage people to move here from other places to start farms, because the land was fertile, and the street names showed the fruits that could be grown here. At the time grapefruit was unknown.
On Siesta Key, Ocean Boulevard is not named because of its proximity to the water, but rather, it takes the name of Ocean Deep Hansen, who was born on the Atlantic Ocean on July 12, 1860. She married Captain Louis Roberts, who operated the Siesta Hotel and later teamed up with E.M. Argbogast and Harry Higel to form the Siesta Land Company to plat the north end of Sarasota Key as Siesta Key.
Also on Siesta Key, Stickney Point Road is named for “Uncle” Ben Stickney, an early settler there who opened his hand, heart and house to anyone who needed assistance. 
Higel Avenue is named after Harry Higel, “Sarasota’s indefatigable booster,” who was involved in many facets of Sarasota’s early growth and development. 
Midnight Pass Road is named for the pass opened by the hurricane of 1921. The pass was closed in 1984, with calls of “Let it Flow” becoming the perennial battle cry of those who would like it reopened.
On Lido Key, the streets are named after Presidents. During that “can do” era, President Harding was slated to use the Worcester Mansion on Bird key as his Winter White House. St. Armands Circle was known as Harding Circle in those days. Unfortunately, Harding died before the plan was implemented.
The earliest trails were paths cut through the woods by pioneers. Probably the first overland connection to Bradenton was the unintended consequence of Sarasota’s first settler, William Whitaker, trudging to the village of Manatee for two years courting Mary Wyatt, who would become his wife.
Swift Road was named for Clifton Swift, who built the Bee Ridge Hotel and Tuttle Avenue was named after William Tuttle, who came to town for Bertha Palmer to survey the area and build roads.
Ringling Boulevard was named for the brother of Circus Magnate John Ringling. Charles Ringling devoted his life to building the Court House and the Sarasota Terrace Hotel (now a part of the County Administration Offices). John Ringling developed the keys, including St. Armand's Circle (originally named St. Amands, but somewhere along the way an "r" made its way into the name, and it stuck!).
The Tamiami Trail was so named because it connected Tampa with Miami. In 1928, for the formal dedication of the highway, a long caravan of around 500 cars made their way from Tampa to Miami.
Higel Avenue is named after Harry Higel, who was involved in many facets of Sarasota's early growth.
Midnight Pass Road is named for the pass opened by the hurricane of 1921. The pass was closed in 1984.
On Lido Key, many of the streets are named after Presidents. Just take a ride down the Boulevard of Presidents to see which ones are included.

I hope you found this article interesting. For more about Sarasota History go to sarasotahistoryalive.com - and for even more information about the Sarasota Bradenton area try liveinsarasotamanatee.com - I suspect you'll find out about a lot of things you were unaware of.

(The items in this article are taken in part from sarasotahistoryalive.com)

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

OBITUARY SCAMS

I've spent the last few days investigating Obituary Scams, and have come away horrified by what I've learned. This article is aimed mostly at people who are 65 and older, but feel free to utilize the ideas herein for any family member who dies. Here are a few of the possible types of abuse/scam that are prevalent. This list comes from AARP Bulletin - March 2008 and I've researched to make sure the info is correct and as complete as possible. First the list, then some solutions.


  • Identity Theft - Contact credit card companies to cancel cards and send requests to the three major credit bureaus to flag the person's accounts as deceased.
  • Deceptive Debt Collection - Crooks often call family and try to get survivors to pay unsubstantiated claims - the debts left behind should be handled by the estate, not the family!
  • Fictitious Life Insurance - Claims that the deceased took out a large loan from their life insurance can encourage family to pay the loan off. Let the estate handle these claims.
  • Burglary - If the time of the memorial is published, it is possible that burglars may attempt to break in while the family and neighbors are away at the services. Best to ask one neighbor to stay at home and watch the property.
Details included in an obituary can help scammers reach out to family members and, while they are grieving expose them to falling prey to scams. The best approach is to not publish an obituary, but as most of us find that unacceptable, try these things to lower the chances of being targeted.
  • Include the name of the individual, don't include any nicknames, a maiden name or former names.
  • Do not include birth place or any other information that could help crooks scam the family. (The first five digits of a Social Security number are linked to a time and place of birth.)
  • Do not include names of spouse, children or other family members. Instead say things like "survived my loving spouse, children, grandchildren, etc." A list of accomplishments, organizations they belonged to and other personal information can help scammers, so be careful.
  • Write an obituary while you are still alive, go over the fine points of your life and make sure your family is protected after you're gone. This is a great way to remove the problem of family trying to write an obituary after you're gone and make sure that what is published fits everyone's needs. Make sure you revisit it once a year to be sure it is still relevant. And I suggest you keep it on top of your refrigerator with your living will. If you don't yet have a living will - I'll be discussing that at a later time.

Monday, June 18, 2018

SHOWER FALL PREVENTION

Slipping and falling while taking a shower is something that occurs much too often. And as we get older the more likely it could happen to any of us. Here is what I do to prevent slips in the shower. I wear a simple, inexpensive pair of rubber flip-flops. I had slipped in the shower a few years ago and dislocated my shoulder. My doctor recommended the flip flops as a measure to prevent slipping and falling. Although not a 100% effective means to avoid a mishap, it is certainly better than bare feet on slippery surfaces!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

THE ONE-RING RIP-OFF SCAM


Sorry to harp on the subject of scams, but there are so many to be aware of to stay safe. Here's one that just blows my mind! I asked a few friends how they respond to one ring calls that continue every few minutes. One out of eight people said they just ignore them. A couple of people block the number and the rest called the number to see what was going on. That last one can be expensive. Especially if the area codes are 268, 664 and 876. These, and others, are for Caribbean countries and other places that have high per-minute phone charges. For your protection don't, out of curiosity, call phone numbers you don't recognize as safe.

See the previous post for information about the article this information came from.

PHONE SCAMS ARE GETTING BETTER AT IT

If you suspect a text is a an attempt to steal your information DON'T push a designated key to opt out of future messages. Instead, forward the questionable test to short code 7726 so cell phone carriers can block that sender. Suspicious texts are ones that offer contests, special offers or promote apps.


From an article by Sid Kirchheimer in AARP Bulletin, January 2018
Go to aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork to learn more about identity theft and avoiding scams.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

INFORMED DELIVERY BY THE USPS

If you were not aware you can get a free service from the Post Office to email scans of the 1st class items you will be receiving in your next delivery. Simply go to USPS.com, Track and Manage and select Informed Delivery. Every delivery morning you will get a short email from USPS letting you know what to expect in 1st class mail as well as how many packages are heading your way. A big thank you to my brother for this helpful information. I love the service. One day an important piece of mail did not show up in my mail box, but about 5 minutes later my neighbor brought it over to me. I was about to head out and knock on doors. Give it a try!

Have a terrific day!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

NEXTDOOR.COM - A COMMUNITY EVENT

One of the cool tools available on the internet is Nextdoor.com. This nifty, nationwide, website, is neighborhood oriented, so when you sign up it focuses on your neighborhood. Thus, when I started my neighborhood website it became "DeSoto Lakes" website. I still log into Nextdoor.com, but it knows to take me to Desoto Lakes. 

If you live in an area that does not have access to Nextdoor.com, it may not be yet included in the website. Hopefully that will change.

The website offers an opportunity to meet your neighbors online. DeSoto Lakes has about 650 homes, so it is hard to get to know everyone. Once your site is set up (you get instructions when you start) you can share information about local businesses, setting up a community yard sale, sharing wants and needs and letting people know if you have a need. I just found a local plumber who was recommended by neighbors for his good work and fair prices. We also discovered several break-ins in the area, and since we could find out that it was a local group. Increased law-enforcement caught the group of teens pretty quickly and things calmed down and have stayed that way. Lost pets, requests for help, etc. all are entered into the feed. You can also recommend a company to neighbors when you have someone work around the house, and do a good job. There is also a section where you can advertise your business or the place where you work. All in all a pretty great idea, and its FREE!

If you sign up, you may find that your neighborhood already belongs. Just dive right in. If you are the first to sign up and your neighborhood is included, you'll need to recruit several households to join. Don't worry. Nextdoor makes it easy to do.

It also is available on all of your computers, phones and tablets. Now go join up. And enjoy your new-found neighbors!

PROTECTING YOUR HOME

Whether you are a new home owner or you already have a home but are worried about security, I think this will help you with some ideas. It is from the Florida Realtors Magazine. Good luck! 

18 TIPS TO PROTECT YOUR NEW HOME

FIRE PROTECTION
1. Install smoke/carbon monoxide alarms on every level. Test
    monthly and replace batteries each year.
2. Buy an ABC multi=purpose fire extinguisher for the kitchen 
    where half of all fire occur. Check pressure annually.
3. Plug major appliances into wall outlets, not extension cords, 
    which can overheat.
4. Create escape plans for all rooms and place escape ladders in 
    upstairs bedrooms.

BURGLARY PROTECTION
5. Change locks on exterior doors and confirm that all doors and   
    windows lock securely.
6. Add security bars to sliding glass doors.
7. Trim shrubs near home to reduce spots where burglars might 
     hide.
8. Install motion-detector lighting to illuminate dark areas.
9. Consider adding a home alarm system.

FLOOD PROTECTION
10. Place wireless water alarms under washing machine and sinks.
11. Install flood-safe hoses on the washing machine.
12. When leaving on trips, turn off water at main valve to prevent
      floods.
13. Confirm that homeowners' insurance covers water and mold 
      damage due to leaks and sewer backups. Some policies don't.
14. Trim trees and shrubs so weakened branches won't fall on
      home or be propelled into windows by high winds.
15 Install downspout extensions to carry heavy rains away from 
     the foundation.
16. If you evacuate when a dangerous storm hits, turn off utilities
      to deter flooding and fires. (ready.gov/utility-shut-safety)

WEAR AND TEAR PROTECTION
17. Inspect inside and outside of home monthly for signs of
      damage.
18. Repair/replace broken items before small problems become
      serious ones.

A final note. I have installed motion sensor lights at strategic places around my home. Shortly after I installed them neighbors on my street had their cars vandalized and items stolen out of them. My car was in my carport, and was totally untouched - I attribute that to  those lights. Keep safe!

Monday, May 28, 2018

SELFIES!

I just got a chuckle out of a short comment in the AARP Bulletin:

Selfie Do's and Don'ts
Do: Take pic of yourself in your garden.
Don't: Take pictures of yourself in your pot garden, like England's Richard Edmunds. He snapped a shot of himself in a room full of marijuana plants - and when cops found a copy during a raid, Edmunds ended up in jail.

Friday, May 25, 2018

REASONS TO WORK WITH A REALTOR

Well, I had a potential customer ask me why they should hire a Realtor instead of the sale themselves. There are countless reasons, the most important one, to me, is personal safety. But I found a good list to help you, my readers, understand. This is courtesy of Florida Realtors Magazine.

WHAT TO KNOW
7 Reasons to Work With a REALTOR®
REALTORS® aren’t just agents. They’re professional members of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribe to its strict code of ethics. This is the REALTOR® difference for home buyers:

  1. An expert guide.
    Selling a home usually requires dozens of forms, reports, disclosures, and other technical documents. A knowledgeable expert will help you prepare the best deal, and avoid delays or costly mistakes.
    Also, there’s a lot of jargon involved, so you want to work with a professional who can speak the language. 
  2. Objective information and opinions.
    REALTORS
    ® can provide local information on utilities, zoning, schools, and more. They also have objective information about each property. REALTORs® can use that data to help you determine if the property has what you need. 
  3. Property marketing power.
    Property doesn’t sell due to advertising alone. A large share of real estate sales comes as the result of a practitioner’s contacts with previous clients, friends, and family. When a property is marketed by a REALTOR
    ®, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Your REALTOR® will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.
  4. Negotiation knowledge.
    There are many factors up for discussion in a deal. A REALTOR
    ® will look at every angle from your perspective, including crafting a purchase agreement that allows you the flexibility you need to take that next step. 
  5. Up-to-date experience.
    Most people sell only a few homes in a lifetime, usually with quite a few years in between each sale. Even if you’ve done it before, laws and regulations change. REALTORS
    ® handle hundreds of transactions over the course of their career. 
  6. Your rock during emotional moments.
    A home is so much more than four walls and a roof. And for most people, property represents the biggest purchase they’ll ever make. Having a concerned, but objective, third party helps you stay focused on the issues most important to you.
  7. Ethical treatment.
    Every REALTOR
    ® must adhere to a strict code of ethics, which is based on professionalism and protection of the public. As a REALTOR®’s client, you can expect honest and ethical treatment in all transaction-related matters. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

FOODS THAT DOGS SHOULD AVOID

Almost everyone knows that dogs should not eat chocolate. But there's a relatively long list of foods that our canine friends shouldn't eat - but will! These include:

Macadamia Nuts
Grapes
Onion
Garlic
Raisins
Avocados

There are probably more, but these are the ones I was able to find as universally unhealthy. So, help your dog eat healthy and avoid the above foods and any other foods your Vet recommends to avoid.

INTRODUCING "MESSAGES . . ."

I learn something new every day. The idea here is to share these ideas with the Universe. Some are things I remember learning, some are new information that feels like its important enough to share, the rest will be things that I have written down for future reference - the future is now!