A Strool Through the Park

Here we are at Tuesday’s Unwrapped again, it’s uncanny how fast time flies!  Our home has been on the market for ten days and we’ve averaged one showing per day which is pretty good in this market.  I feel quite a bit of stress since this whole house hunting and selling has breached it’s way into our humble, yet busy days of living.  It seems that anytime stress pokes it’s head out, us humans tend to lose sight of what we stand for and what our original goals were.

I for one get my mind wrapped around something, get all worked up, cranky and my type A personality takes over.  I left the house all balled up, cranky and ready to lash out on anyone who merely looked at me the wrong way.  It wasn’t until I left the office early (for a showing) changed into my shorts, t-shirt and flip flops, packed a cooler of water, thin mint cookies and a frosty paw for Scottie and made our way to the park for some much needed tranquility that I was able to calm down.  It was breezy and a warm 90 degrees while walking with Scottie in the park overlooking the river and we heard the church bells chime.  I listened to the chiming while we continued to mosey our way through the flower gardens and cherry trees and felt an immediate sense of comfort and tranquility.

This was well deserved down time today with my biggest fan at my heels (well okay he’s always in front making sure he’s sniffed the path that I’m about the walk on).  Thank God for all things beautiful, simple and tranquil!

Aggregators vs Email?

Without further ado this post is dedicated to Mike who has been poking at me for months to explain to our readers how to easily subscribe to our blog posts.  You have two choices of subscription:  RSS feed or email, either is a time saver for all of you.  For those who crave thorough tutorials and even those who like to learn new things this is worth reading.


Though quite well-known amongst bloggers, it shouldn’t go without lauding:  Aggregators.  There are bound to be a few dozen of you who don’t know what you’re missing out on.  This post is for you.

If you find yourself tediously entering and re-entering the URLs of your favorite blogs throughout the day, just hoping that someone has posted a new entry, read on.  You need an aggregator.  I currently use Google Reader.

Google Reader is a free, online service that allows you to organize and monitor your favorite blogs.  When you are logged into your account, you are able to see when new entries have been posted on each of the blogs you ‘subscribe’ to.  Subscribing to blogs is free and many blogs have a “Subscribe in Google Reader” or “Subscribe to this Feed” button in their sidebar to make the process even easier.  Rsssymbol Otherwise, you can click on a blog’s RSS feed icon in your browser’s address bar (usually looks like a little square with three curved ‘sound’ bars radiating outward – example to the right).  The RSS icon will take you to the blog’s RSS feed, where there are usually some subscription options, including Google Reader.  Here is what my RSS feed page looks like.

There are many similar services to Google Reader, such as Bloglines, My Yahoo, NewsFire, and many others.  I’ve only ever used Google Reader, so I’m not too familiar with the alternatives.  All such blog-subscribing services are called aggregators (or feed-readers, rss readers, news readers, etc.).  Using an aggregator is an absolute life-saver if you’re following a long list of blogs on a regular basis.  An aggregator enables you to compose a virtual daily ‘personal newspaper’ of all of your favorite blog ‘articles’ (aka rss feeds or posts) which you can read one after the other right there under your account — or you can click on a link to each post if you prefer to read new posts in their original setting within a blog (my preference).

A lot of info?  Let me just say it is totally worth looking into.  The time you spend learning your way around Google Reader or another aggregator will easily pay off in spades.  One hour learning how to use an aggregator could easily gain you three hours more free time in the next week or two alone.

Visit this awesome video for a visual on this topic.

I must give credit for most of the RSS Feed content to one of my bloggy friends, Heather Bailey.  Why reinvent the wheel right?


For those of you who don’t read a lot of blogs or just purely have no interest in aggregators you have the option of subscribing via email.  This means you’ll receive an email from our blog anytime we post something new.  All you need to do is enter your email address into the “GET OUR STORIES” field which looks like this and is located on the right column of our blog page.

Once you enter your email address and click on the subscribe button you’ll see a window like this:

See the word in green?  You must enter the text exactly as you see it into the field provided.  Once you’ve entered the text you will see a window like this:

Read the message inside the window above and follow the directions and shortly thereafter you’ll receive an email that looks like this:

Once you click on the link inside your email you’ll see a window like this:

This means your mission is complete and you’ll be receiving all of our new blog posts all nice and dandy right into your very own email box.

Love isn’t just for the smart of talented

but for all the amimals God created. (Sarah Wonders)

I sit here tonight after having taken our beloved cat Pele to the vet for treatment of persistent diarrhea even after two different antibiotics and a food change.  With great reluctance we were back for re-evaluation and I knew in my heart it was a bigger problem than first thought.  Pele has been diagnosed with diabetes and will be admitted next week to make sure his organs have not been damaged and to then regulate him with insulin to keep him living healthfully.

The last couple of months has been full of vet visits so with this post I felt it was time to share with all our readers the loss of our other cat Wilbur.  It’s taken quite some time for me to post about it but felt it was time to share.  Wilbur was taken to heaven on Friday, March 20th due to several complications.  Any of you who own pets know the pain we went through to make this decision and that we still feel with her absence.  Wilbur has been with me since she was a wee little kitten (16 years), I loved her immensely and likewise she especially loved me.  I’ll leave this post with the last words I ever wrote about Wilbur on one of my scrapbook pages of her.

“She loves attention and pretty much mine only and cries when she wants the attention.  She loves to sleep in the direct sunlight. She gallops like a little pony when she runs.  She’s got the biggest and prettiest green eyes I’ve ever seen.  Love you Wilbur”

Rest in peace my little pony, mommy misses you more than you’ll ever know.

Tuesdays Unwrapped

Emily over at Chatting at the Sky invited fellow bloggers to join her in recognizing and documenting the small, ordinary things in life that truly are abundant in our daily lives but most of us are too busy to recognize and appreciate them.  So we’ve vowed to stop for a second {or okay we should take a few minutes to enjoy the journey of it all} notice something meaningful and precious in our day and blog about it on Tuesdays.

The minute I read the challenge {while at work mind you} I looked down on the floor and saw one of the most precious living things in my life.  It was Scottie {our dog} who came to work with me today as we had an abundance of showings of our home that we’re selling.  I therefore thought it best to just bring him to work with me to avoid taking a day off and/or running back and forth between all the showings.  The piece that is meaningful about this long winded story is that I have an amazingly flexible employer.  Not many employers are understanding and/or even flexible enough to allow a pet in the office.  Thank you Orthopaedic Surgeons, you certainly do make life much easier and in turn I want to work that much more for your office.  Amen!

P.S.  I LOVE it when Scottie lays like this, like he’s superdog or something.  Well HE IS OUR superdog!

Puppy Love & Forgotten Birthday

Last Wednesday was my 37th birthday and I was lucky enough to have Mike take some pictures of me and my fluffy bundle of puppy love.  I adore this picture out of all the ones he took.  It’s a true depiction of how much he loves me and I love him.  He’s the best dog and friend anyone could ask for with his chocolate brown puppy dog eyes.  They and his big curly haired ears melt my heart . . . most of the time anyways :).

I figured I’d mark my birthday this year as it was the first year ever that most of the vital people in my life forgot about me.  And when I say “vital people” I’m talking my husband, my sister, my best friend . . . so ya’ll see what I’m talking about right?  I’m thinking I have a free pass with all of them.  What are the chances they’d all forget the same exact year?  LOL . . . listen I can laugh now but I was feeling pretty cruddy the day of my birthday though.  Oh well . . . I’ve earned free passes.

Exciting Day of Accomplishments!

I feel a sense of accomplishment toward my top 10 things list today.  I worked on photography and our next home, oh and as you can tell from the overlay on Mike’s pic that I also used Photoshop Elements today.  Loving the overlays of which I’m sure I’ll end up overusing and make you guys vomit.

Do you guys see the tear on Mike’s cheek there?  Yes, it was me that made him cry . . . I’m such a meanie huh?  I finished another week of my photography class and learned all about lighting today.  Therefore I took Mike out this morning as my ginny pig for my hands on assignment.  I made him take his sunglasses off as I ultimately needed to see his eyes to grade myself on proper lighting.  Well the sun in his eyes makes him tear so in a roundabout way it was me that made him cry.  I like the indirect natural sunlight in this picture . . . I also like that I caught a picture with him and a tear (not a common thing).

We burned quite a bit of gas looking at houses today.  We put a bid in on Grace Lane yesterday and am waiting for a response so in the meantime we’re continuing to look.  Can’t put all your eggs in one basket right?  Well we found another home that we are extremely anxious to look at (hoping tomorrow).  Here are the top two contenders so far:

11 GRACE LANE, SHELTON (this is the one we have a bid in on)

11 FAWN MEADOW LANE, SHELTON (didn’t find this one till today)

Birdseye view (end of cul de sac people!)

So what’s your vote without knowing prices?  What are the chances that our top two contenders have the same street number?  Wow!

10 Things I Must Do Soon or I’m Quitting Life!

1.    Scrapbook for fun

2.    Finish my photography class

3.    Paint my living room

4.    Get a new hair clip (a pretty one)

5.    Pick out & purchase a camera bag

6.    Finalize the offer on our perspective new home (ugh how agonizing . . . I have hives from the process)

7.    Get a pedicure

8.    Learn more about Photoshop Elements and use it!

9.    Hang my Ikea organizational unit (Help me Mikey pweese)

10.  Make a new Scottie Buddy Boy Dog Collar

Another rainy day today therefore I changed back into my PJ’s after we had lunch out.  Took a nap and now hanging out in my studio further educating myself on white balance.  This is where the pic above comes into play and I think I nailed the white balance on it . . . YES/NO?

Unwrapped & Long Necks Polished Off

Yesterday was the official start of Spring for the Talmadge Family.  We started our day off with a brisk 3 mile walk of which Mike has me surprised this year.  It goes like this . . . during the winter we work out separately, he walks a few miles everyday with his friend at work while I typically go to the gym.  Come nice weather he and I walk together on the weekend.  Well this is the first year I’m not saying “come on pick up the pace”!  He’s actually outpacing me, well it does take me two steps to keep up with his one.  I’m completely impressed Mike!  Now lets  see who wins the push-ups competition.

Mike in his walking sneaks, Adidas jacket and iPhone . . .

And just because I have a fetish with taking pics of shoes . . . Mike’s sneaks LOL

The unofficial start to boating season started this weekend as we removed the shrink wrapping from the boat.  Wahooooo!!!!!  Well the shrink wrap is on it’s way to being off in this picture. . .

OK . . . there goes more of it.  Love & Luck is breathing fresh air again!

Well yeah now this is an interesting picture!  A few of us had some beers after the boat was uncovered and this is the rear view of the men.  From left to right . . . Mike, John, Cowboy Roy and Jeff.  Thanks for the pose and thanks for not mooning me guys!

And the cutest of the pack . . . Scottie Buddy Boy getting his lick on some icey cold ice.  This bucket housed the beers, yes they are burried in there, nice and cold!

And lastly the American Flag is up so you know what this means?  Albeit chilly boating season has started!  Cheers!

Time With Our Niece

I had the pleasure of having Isabella this past weekend.  It was an awakening experience, tiring, inspiring, exhausting, loving and everything else in between.  Isabella’s mom and dad took their first vacation away and spent a week in Italy (they so deserved this time)!  The following are snippets of this and that while she stayed with Uncle Mike and I.

Friday I picked her up from Daycare and off we went for our 1-hour drive to Auntie Brandi’s house and the little voice waffled through my car the ENTIRE way!  Was enlightening to hear the stories and the life of a five year old.  One of her stories went like this:

Bella:  Aunt Brandi, what if a ghost comes into my tent when I’m sleeping at your house and tries to get me?

Me:  I will wrap the ghost up in a blanket, tie him up and throw him in the trash.

Bella:  Aunt Brandi, if you feel something tickling your feet when your sleeping what do you think it will be?

Me:  I think it will be Scottie licking my toes.

Bella:  Naut Ah, it will be the ghost . . . teeeehehehehehehehehe

Me:  Silly girl

Saturday we went to see a cabaret show.  The picture above was taken before going inside the Downtown Cabaret Theatre to see the 1 1/2 hour show, The Three Little Pigs.  She was elated while Uncle Mike and I were umm amazed by the number of children they squished into this place and certain we’d come down with some sort of illness.  By the way the show was very good and I’d recommend it if you live nearby.

Sunday morning she asked for eggs with soft yolks and toast, this is the same breakfast she asked for Saturday morning as well.  She likes to put the egg on the toast (like poached eggs).  Upon placing her breakfast in front of her she proceeds to eat then the conversation went like this:

Bella:  Aunt Brandi can you cut the crust edges off my toast.  (mind you I had already put the egg on top of the toast and cut the toast into bite size pieces)

Me:  Why didn’t you tell me you didn’t like the crust edges before I cut everything up.  And by the way you ate the edges yesterday why don’t you want them today?  (I’m starting to realize that reasoning with a child is challenging)

Bella:  I ate the crust edges yesterday because I wanted to eat your food and not complain.

Oh WOW . . . a five year old with manners even if it was for one meal.

I notice she has two phrases she uses a lot right now

1.  “Are you kidding me?”

2.  “Wait just a minute”

We built a make shift tent/fort (she called it her room) in the middle of our living room.  She wouldn’t allow any of the animals in with exception of her stuffed animals.  She did make an exception for our cat Wilbur.  I think it was Isabella’s compassion after learning she had been in the hospital and wasn’t feeling well.  She petted her and displayed a great amount of empathy for Wilbur.  We played Candy Land, put puzzles together, watched Narnia and Hoodwinked, colored tons of pictures, watched Noggin cartoons in all the in between times, and made cards for all the actors in the upcoming Arial show at the Cabaret Theatre (by the way Bridget & Jeremy she says she wants to go with Dylan to see that show LOL).

Upon taking her back to her other home away from home Mike & I returned to an eerily quite home that oddly felt empty to me.  I was shocked with how much I missed this bouncy full of life little niece of mine and I had only had her for two nights.  It was a great time and I thoroughly enjoyed having her for the weekend.

March is in like a lion!

Seriously guys there wasn’t a lick of snow to be found on the ground yesterday and mother nature wasn’t happy about that so she plastered the Northeast with 14 inches of snow.  The winds have been whipping and the temps are plunging to single digits tonight.  Ahh yeah I did just use a lot of adjectives . . . must sound like the weather man.  All I have to say is that the saying better hold true which means March will go out like a lamb.  We’ve certainly had our fair share of snow, cold temps and bitter wind chills this winter.  Brrrrr

I enjoyed a cup of black tea and a snack this afternoon.  The cookie is a maple cream cookie direct from Vermont.  So bad but so good!

What the???  You with the blond fur . . . get the . . . move your slimy nose away from . . . Hey you furry thing get away from my maple cookie boy!  A bit of subject blur there as I didn’t expect to be taking a picture of a “moving” subject.  I swear this little devil can smell food from anywhere in this house.

Well I’m off to prepare our dinner for this evening . . . the weather has called for something warm and yummy so it’s wine braised chicken with wild rice and green beans.  Oh can’t wait to eat!  Good night