Monday, December 11, 2017

My First Snowfall in Texas

I have lived here since 1992 and NEVER seen a real snowfall here, until this past week.  The doorbell rings at about 7:30 and it's the 8 year old little girl from across the street announcing to me that it's "SNOWING"! Real honest to goodness big fluffy snowflakes! As I pull on my jacket and boots and run after her to have a snowball fight!  I felt like a kid and was so excited to see snow!!!

The last time I saw snowflakes like this was at the Chicago airport in 2007 on my way back from my mothers funeral in Greece.  I have always loved the cold, snowy weather that winter brings, and love being outside while it snows. 

This was my house the next morning, it really felt like it was December and Christmas is coming!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

It's winter time in the South

The heat kicked on sometime in the night. The day before the air conditioner was on.  I woke up to to the sound of rain and didn't want to get up.  Too bad we don't have paid "rain" days.  It does feel like winter in Texas today, I actually had to put on my jacket and threw on a scarf for good measure.  I am only really going to the car, and from the car to my office so I would be out in the elements less than two minutes.  The dogs yawned, stretched, looked out the back door and didn't want to be bothered with the cold and the rain this morning, and went back to bed. I gave them a dog biscuit and water, hopefully they won't make to big of a mess by the time I get back home. 

On my real estate ventures I have been meeting a lot of new people and I'm hopeful that we will have long lasting professional relationships.

On the art side, I finished a few glass abstracts and they are all mounted and ready to be hung on the wall.  Now I just need to find the right wall and price them correctly to sell.


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Overcome by Emotion

My youngest son was preparing to be part of a wedding this past weekend, shopping for shoes and gifts. On the day that he was suppose to leave to go and spend the weekend for the happy occasion, he calls me in tears devastated... Absolutely devastated.  As a Mom, until you can get past the tears they are crying to find out what happened I about lost it.  I truly lost it when he finally told me.  His best friend and college roommate of two years lost his life. 

No one had a clue what was going on in this young man's mind.   His outgoing personality, bright smile and laughter hid his emotions. He had a bright future ahead of him, he had friends and family that loved and cared for him. Amogh lifted everyone else's spirits, but he himself was overcome by his emotions.

He will be missed. 

Please donate if you can to the memory and legacy of Amogh Kulkarni


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Tranquil.... we all need it sometimes

This past weekend was a busy blur of activity.  Open houses, showings, fused glass, showings, emails, calls,  mishaps and rain...

I have always loved real estate. Helping people find their new homes or selling their old ones, getting them through the process of the contracts, inspections, sometimes repairs, and finally to closing.

The hard part is trying to find clients that are willing to work with a "new" real estate agent.  I am trying. So far I have met some wonderful people, and I hope they will use my services when the time comes.  My husband tells me to keep on keeping on. I am trying.  I know success doesn't happen overnight, and there are hurdles to overcome. I have only been active four months, but as of this moment I have no one to work with.  I am trying. Through emails, post cards, open houses, letters, and phone calls.  This is sales. I am trying. I work every weekend and every evening after my day job ends.  I am trying.  Through this process of trying... I hope something come through. I have been praying a lot too.

I put some art in the kiln over the weekend and when this piece came out, it reminded me to be calm.

   Tranquil... we all need it sometimes.

Monday, November 6, 2017

I was oblivious

Yesterday I was holding an open house that's for sale in a trendy neighborhood, so I had quite a few people come through to look.  The afternoon was a pleasant, sunny day, until one of the people looked down at there phone and asked me if I knew anything about the mass shooting at the church....  I didn't know anything.  I was totally oblivious to what had happened just a couple of hours before and less than an hour away from where I was.   My heart sank.  I couldn't believe that this person could just walk in and shoot everyone down like that. 

When the other shooting took place during a bible study class I was in disbelief that someone could carry out such a hateful act to a group of people that welcomed him in.    Now this gunman took it out on babies, young children, and anyone that was in the way of a bullet.  I grew up believing that a church was a sanctuary and a safe place to be. I was totally wrong all my life... 

I pray for all the families that have lost loved ones....

Friday, November 3, 2017

mish-mash of this week

It rained on Halloween.... I was dressed up and had just a few kids show up between the down pour and the sprinkle.... That's me in the middle in my Witches dress and stripped socks ( I went to a Halloween meeting with the glass guild in this picture, but I dressed up again to give candy out on Halloween night)  I still have an entire bowl of candy left even though I was giving two handfuls out to each child...

On Wednesday I went shopping on my lunch hour and I see this guy, named Adam, sitting on the ground writing out a "donation" instead of a usual "please help" sign so I stop and ask him what is he asking donations for? He shows me the most beautiful palms that he has transformed into crosses with roses and a double rose and heart. I purchased the double the double rose heart, and now I hope to run into him again so I can purchase some more for Christmas. I also gave him a set of pastels and a sketch book just in case he runs out of palms to work with.  He is so creative he can probably create some beautiful art in all different types of mediums. I hope whatever situation has put him on the streets he will recover. He has strawberry blonde hair and the brightest blue eyes, I think he is in his late 20's early 30's. I hope that if you are in the San Antonio area and run into Adam you realize his artistic talent and share a few of your dollars for a palm.  Adam is just trying to survive.

Last night my coffee pot broke......  So I went out to Walmart to buy a new one...I can't function without coffee in the morning.  So I decide to spend $100 on this Bunn coffee maker that is "made in America"  and was on sale without reading the details... I came home unpacked it, and it has one warmer switch and one main switch, no clock, no presetting's, nothing.  It does have a sticker across it that says READ INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE USE.  I wasn't sure at 10 pm if I should just take it back or not. I figured I would just read the instructions and try it.  "Turn the main switch on, pour a pot of cold water in, wait 15 minutes, pour another pot of cold water in, dump the water out that has brewed in pot and keep switch on at all times unless you go on vacation" So there is reservoir of hot water at all times and the coffee brews in 3 minutes.  I was leery of "Keep IT ON" but I read the reviews and it seems a lot of people have used this coffee pot for decades.  The coffee tasted good this morning...

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A new work of the works

This past week a friend of mine asked me to fire one of her glass art pieces in my kiln since it was to big for hers.  Well, it was a tad too big for my smaller kiln that has a 13" diameter (circle) shelf . If I try to put a 8"x 10" square the corners stick out over the shelf which doesn't work well when your melting glass..

So I needed to fire up my big kiln and I didn't just want to fire her piece by itself, so decided I had to quickly create a few pieces to go in with hers.   I decided to just make some templates and couldn't be happier with the out come. I used white glass with a variety of glass powders for the base. I will be adding shapes and lines to them, and if all comes out well, one of them will be donated to SaySi in the spring.  

Friday, October 6, 2017

Last night's full moon

After my day job yesterday, I went to my first Builder/Realtor function and had a great time! I spoke to some Realtors that I knew, and made connections with Realtors that I just met. It was so nice to just get out and have fun and mingle with people. It was a only a two hour event in a beautiful M/I Homes Model in the Ravello Subdivision, only about 20 minutes from my house, but in an area that I haven't visited in many years.  During the event I even won a drawing for a $50 gift card! I left as the sun was setting and on my way home on the highway, in the distance I thought I saw the BIGGEST lit up Ferris wheel I had even seen in my life, but I was wrong,.The big lit up sphere was the full moon hovering on the Highway. It was the largest moon I ever remember seeing.  It was big and orange and it was right in front of me, as if the moon moved 1000 times closer to earth.  As I traveled closer it moved up just a bit higher.  Since I was driving, there was no way I was going to get picture and even if I could have, it was going to look as magnificent as it did in realty, my phone camera is just not that good! 

Personally I have had good, like last night and some not so good days in the past couple of weeks.  Thus is life we take the good and the bad and make the best of it. 

On another note, I decorated for Halloween and brought out my baby doll that sits on an antique, milking chair from who knows where,  along with my other nic-nac Halloween  decorations.  I do enjoy this holiday. I love seeing the kids dressed up in their costumes and I love handing the candy out.  This year I also ordered a new Halloween dress.  I've been wearing the same one for more than a decade and saw a cute one online for less than $20.00, so why not.  I'll just put my Witches Hat on I'll be set.

So here is my baby doll with her cat, created by hand and signed by the artist.  By the way, my new dress will pretty much match hers.

Have a beautiful weekend!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Feeling pessimistic

Why? Good question. Maybe because most people that want to own guns have already bought them, have stashes of them, and if they "snap" will already have possesion of them to use them. I agree that most gun owners are responsible, law abiding citizens,  and I wouldn't want to infringe on their beliefs or rights, but really do you have to own a semi automatic, or the pieces that will equip it to become an automatic? Are you going to protect yourself, your family and neighbors from the war that is going to occur on our homeland? Is that why you own these weapons? Between the health care insurance crisis, and weapon crisis, I'm not sure what to think of politics, politicians, lobbyist and the crazies that live amongst us here in the United States.   This is where my pessimistic thoughts occur, there have been much bigger, more powerful govermnets that have collapsed in the history of human kind and right now the way we are going it feels train wreck about to happen. If politicians refused to do anything after Sandy Hook, why would anyone think they would do anything now? Actually I belive they passed more laws making it easier to aquire weapons, for anyone.  Oh yeah, when the politicians were targeted, wasn't that the day they were going to pass a law to make silencers legal to purchase?  

Friday, September 29, 2017

last two days in Athens

On our way back to Athens we spent eight hours on the ferry traveling from Santorini.  The ferry made two stops, one at Paros and then Naxos before finally arriving to Athens. It was a very long ride but it was pleasant.

When we got to port we took a cab to my nieces house which was a short ride away.  My niece and her husband were the first to greet us outside, and when we got upstairs, to the 4th floor walk-up my sister was waiting for us. It was the first time in a decade since we saw each other. The last time I was in Greece was for my mother's funeral in 2007.

My sister is about 20 years older than me, and I am only two years older than my niece.  My niece had an unexpected pregnancy last year that resulted a beautiful little boy that just turned 1  on September 22.  He is such a cutie pie!!!

Well, some people thrive on arguing and thus is the situation with my sister and her daughter.  They have ALWAYS been like this but it make one uncomfortable to be around, especially when you can't escape them! LOL! And my daughter couldn't understand a word!!  But between the arguing, we had a really nice time together.

my niece and my daughter

Me and my sister

he is such a happy baby!!!

After spending a couple of days together with my niece and sister, our vacation came to an end. We flew home and it took us two days with an overnight stay in Philly after missing our connecting flight. It was all good though, we spent the remainder of the week adjusting back to our everyday lives.

Not sure when I will ever make it back to Greece but this was the ultimate mother daughter trip I will always remember.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Part 2 of the day Excursuion from Santorini

After the hike on the volcano we headed back to the boat and went out to the tiny island of Tharissa. It was only a 5 minute boat ride and there we were, docked with a bunch of other little boats that looked like a parking lot of tiny little boats, it was a very pretty setting.

The shoreline was dotted with a few restaurants and a souvenir shop. Since this was a sunset tour we were told we were going to be there for about 2 hours before we headed back out to watch the sunset.

We had the option to climb the zigzag of almost 300 stairs to the top of the mountain where the people of this island all lived, or just sit at one of the restaurants, enjoy some dinner and relax. I'm sure you can guess what I chose after the 3 mile hike up the volcano. The population on this Island is about 150 people in the winter and about 300 residents in the summer.  They actually did not get electricity on the island until the mid 1980's, can you imagine that??  I can't believe they lived like that in my life time.

Mode of transportation to get on and off this island
(they must have muscular arms from rowing and strong legs walking up the stairs)

that zig-zag are the steps to go up and down the island

a closer, but not to close look of the stairs going up....

our view from the restaurant
Our meal consisted of Santorini tomato fritters and french fries 
followed by c ac cup of Greek coffee

The Mediterranean ocean is so clear no matter 
how deep the water is, it's just beautiful

Sunset on the way back to Santorini

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Day excursion from Santorini

So my daughter and I decided to take a six hour boat excursion to visit a 400 year old volcano named Nea Kameni Island which translates to New Burnt Island right across Santorini. The excursion also included a swim hot spring which will turn any color swimsuit to a rust color if your not wearing black (we passed). Then on the last stop visiting Thirassia Island before sunset.

Taking the grey hound bus down Santorini is probably scarier than going up.... needless to say we made it and got on the boat.  The tour guide was a very pleasant young man as was the capatain and his first mate.  Now, when they say "visit" the volcano, I honestly thought "look at" it. I was gravely mistaken as neither I nor my daughter were prepared to "hike" the volcano in flip-flops, no water and without any hat to protect us from the blazing sun.  So if the stairs in Glyfada weren't enough to get me over my fear of heights this shit certainly was.  I was tempted to wait at the bottom but I didn't want to disappoint my daughter so up we hiked...... it was hot rock and steep. my daughter had to hold my hand at some points just to help me up.  I really felt my age at this point.

There was an area that a small rope at calves height as there to "protect" people from falling down a steep area...  hmm.  As I took pictures of the black rocks going up and down, just to prove to my husband that I have truly over come my fear of heights, My daughter captures the perfect image, one that I didn't even notice....

on the boat to the volcano

made it to the top!

my flip flops about had it.....

I doubt that rope would do anything to prevent a fall.......

The two above pictures is what I my view was on this volcano.....

This is what my daughter saw!!!  I totally missed this view!
I did print this picture and have it in my home.

Sunday, September 17, 2017


Santorini is a hub for tourists from around the world.  Walking down the street you can hear all different languages spoken.  It was also the only Island that we went to that had cruise ships coming in and out of the port. The amount of people on that small Island was over whelming.  The streets were jam packed with scooters, four wheeler's and smart cars rented by tourists.  The bad thing was there are no street lights and most of the drivers were speeding, or just plain disrespectful by driving the four wheeler's through the narrow walking pathways. Trying to cross the street was crazy.

The only time it was a bit quiet was early in the morning, that's when we would venture off for water, coffee and spinach pie for breakfast. Walking uphill towards the bakery I would have to stop a few times to catch my breath as "older" residents would just pass me up at a much quicker pace. I felt very out of shape (which I am). I'll also tell you that I haven't eaten so much spinach pie in my life on daily basis and still managed to lose five pounds from all the walking!

The path next to Vina's place was one where the herd of donkeys would be ushered through twice a day.  I had no idea that they were so big!

There was also a playground next to us and a small church. It's amazing but this Island doesn't have much greenery. Only a few trees planted here and there, but overall the island was just a big mountainous rock.

this is the play ground

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Arriving in Santorini 7/18

Santorini is a small sliver of an island in a jagged uneven crescent shape.  Unlike the other islands my daughter and I traveled, the inhabitants of this island live on top of the mountain, not at the bottom. When we arrived with the BlueStar Ferry we had arranged for a ride to the place we were staying. The ride was a large bus, almost like a greyhound bus.... that was the local transportation system.  Since I wanted my daughter to experience what if feels like to be "real" tourist I booked a room in the heart of Fira.  Now, the bus must zigzag up the mountain to get to the city.(a bit scary!) The driver MUST know what he is doing because every so often he stops to let the bus/car from the opposite direction pass before he continues.

So we get to a busy street and the bus driver tell us to get off, walk up the narrow steep pathway, take a left, take a right, and keep walking to get to Vina's place, which is a small hotel I rented a room in. As we dragged our small suitcases up the cobblestone pathway's to Vina's Place, the lady was waiting for us out by the gate to greet us which was nice.  I think she questioned our relationship though, and asked if we were SURE wanted separate beds.... I assured her we did, and explained that she was ACTUALLY my daughter....

Our room reminded me of my grandmothers room when she was alive. The old antiquated chairs, beds and wardrobe cabinet.  Over all it was clean and nice enough.  Did I mention the further away from Athens the less and less internet connection we had even though it said connected????  I did not get any internet the entire time in that room.

on the zig zag road on the bus looking back at our Ferry

that really is as steep as it looks! 
I did not tilt my phone.
By the way this was the mode of transportation of the (older) lady that owned the hotel 

looking up at our balcony

our room

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Day tripping to the Island of Paros, Greece

Paros is an Island right next to Naxos, and only a short ferry ride away. Sitting on the coast line you can see the mountainous islands across from each other.

My great niece and her boyfriend happen live on a tiny island name Antiparos that sits on the opposite side of Paros from Naxos.  I contacted my niece who was vacationing at her daughter's home, and we all decided to meet up and have a day trip together in Paros.

This tiny island of Antiparos is where my great niece's boyfriend is originally from.  The Island is so tiny that he had to take a ferry every day to Paros to attend high school.

Upon arriving to the Island we all met up at the pier and the BF droves us to a beach straight out of a postcard. The water was aquamarine and shallow for a long time before you hit any depth. The Tiki bar was HUGE, the music was loud, and everyone was partying!

We rented lounge chairs under umbrellas, ordered some drinks and a light lunch.  We spent the entire day on the beach before heading out to a beautiful dinner served outdoors on the restaurant balcony and watched as the sun set over the ocean.

We had a great time together and it was long over due since it had been a decade since I had seen them last.  It was also the first time my daughter go to meet her cousins.

Just a little note: It is mandatory for all males to go into the military at the age of 18. I'm not sure the length of the entire term the must serve, however certain males that are exemplary and fit  into a certain criteria,  thin and very tall, can get chosen to become guards at the Parliament in Athens while serving. It is a very special honor to be chosen for this position.  That was the case for the BF.

He served for nine months as a Parliament Guard, they are not allowed to speak or move from there post until the change of the guards occurs. (My great niece would skip class just to sit and stare at him on his shift...  that's how they met more that 3 years ago!)

my great niece and her BF

my niece