Monthly Archives: February 2011

A New Business…

Some of the tools being used on the road to entrepreneurship...again

I should be pretty content with my life right now.  I have enough to cover my bills and needs, and I give myself a little allowance for fun…but no, sometimes I feel I should be doing something more than just the things that I am doing at this moment in my life.  I am this kind of restless person that is not satisfied with the status quo.  I need to improve, fix, invent, always in search for something new and meaningful to do.  I guess I’ll be like that until that day when I convert to faster energy.  In the meantime, I looking to create a new business.  Some of the cards you see above, all of them have my name or personal data covered because popularity and fame have knocked on my door already and it gives me a sense of feeling uncomfortable.  Reality show?  Don’t need one.  I have my own.  Thank you very much.  Going back to the cards, one day my lovely daughter put together a bundle of business cards of businesses I had been involved with at that time.  It was quite a good number.  So I figure, I was born a natural entrepreneur. 

I am searching for what else to do, but it has to be meaningful and with a purpose greater than me.  Besides making money to cover expenses, I am going to adopt a cause (I have always done this before, because you don’t need a lot of money to share your blessings), and I am thinking about the cause against domestic abuse.  I remember when I used to volunteer with a social services agency in Virginia, I had to take a young woman who was being abused by her ignorant, and alcoholic husband to a shelter in the middle of the night.  Taking her there left an impression in me that I will never forget as long as I live.  That’s why I am considering victims of domestic violence.

You see, there’s more to me than the empty-headed with many happy birthdays person I might seem to be to you sometimes.  I can be pretty, pretty serious when the occasion arises.  Most of the time I take things very lightly because as I told recently a friend of mine, angels can fly because they take themselves very lightly.

Going back to my search for a new idea for a business.  I love books, and a friend suggested selling them on the internet.  Hi Lindsay.  But, and this is a big but…if the big B is going out of business, I am getting the message in neon lights that there is too much competition in that field already.  That was one of the reasons why I sold my bookstore.  I could see the signs on the sky and the dwindling sales.  So my love of books will be forever, but selling books is not it, at least at this stage in my journey.

I have something in mind, but have to refine it.  It has to be something that goes along with my way of being;  tiny investment necessary, has to make money, and must have meaning.  Otherwise, I don’t like to entertain the idea of becoming a statistic.  I have been there already. 

As you can tell, the wheels are in motion in my household.  So much to do, and so much time to do it all.  Surprised at the phrase?  You expected something else, like so little time.  Nope, God has given us all the time we need to do the things we need to do.  That we choose to do other things, well…that is our problem.

Age is in our imagination.  Sometimes the body likes us to think another way, but mind over matter.  Remember.

Hasta manana,

Your Happy Contessa

Libraries Book Sales…You have to love them…

Some of the treasures to be found...

For the past two days I have been volunteering at our local public library.  When we moved to this town, as soon as we got our driver’s licenses, the first place that we went immediately after was to our library to get our library cards.  I love books and forever will.  Now that I have that established, you must imagine how my heart goes out of whack when there is a library book sale.  Ours is going to take place within the next two weeks. 

I volunteer at our library because I realized that they were letting some very valuable books go out of the door for literally pennies.  That is good for all of us, but the library needs every cent they can raise, due to budget cuts and increasing expenses.  In the past two years, the Collector’s Corner has raised way over $2,000.00 extra for the benefit of the library and in turn, the community.

What I like about library sales is that it is like a treasure hunt.  You never know what you are going to find.  You may even find a new interest.  Some of the books have  incredible illustrations, some of them are first editions, and some of them are rare books.  We have a set for sale for over $750.00, but no takers yet.  It dates back to early 1800’s with hand painted illustrations.

One of the reasons I love libraries and book sales is that the concept of a public library was new to me when I moved to the United States.  You mean that I can take books to my house, for up to three weeks, then bring them back and take out some others, all at no expense to me?  Wow!  That was unbelievable to me.  For me a public library is the most important institution in any community. 

My treasures...

Would you believe that all these books only cost me $10.00, or I could have a supermarket paper bag full of books for $12.00.  I just didn’t want to be greedy.  The paperback on the foreground costs $9.++ at the big discount store.  So it was like buying one paperback and getting all the other books for free.  Noticed I got a video on writing?  Hopefully it will help me to improve the way of expressing myself.  There is always room for improvement on any area in life.

Well, if you have any used book sales sponsored by your local public library, please get in line the day of the sale, and get yourself some great treasures for a song.  I used to be in line in Florida around 12 midnight the day of the sale, that started at 9:00 am that morning.  I was like number fifteen.  Some people used to get in line a day and a half in advanced to get the best books.  That was a heck of a sale twice a year in Gainesville, Florida, one of the best ones in the United States.

May your love for books increases as time goes by…

Until next Monday…make it a happy weekend.

Your Happy Contessa

Two years already…Ronald Franklin

March 5, 1938 – February 25, 2009

I hope this finds you well and happy.  This is the way Ron used to start all his writings.  He told me that’s the way Thomas Jefferson used to do it.  I thought I would do the same thing here today.

He looked so much like himself in this picture.  We were entertaining friends.  He always got a bit nervous before guests arrive, but once we were all together, he was Mr. Entertainer himself.

Ron was always trying to please everybody.  He was an ambulant encyclopedia, knew a bit of everything.  He liked to play dumb, because he told me that that’s when you find out how people really are,  and how much they know about you.  But then when you least expected it, Bam! he would deliver a piece of information that you were searching for and it would leave you perplexed because you thought he wouldn’t know a thing.  That was Ron alright.       

He loved gardening, painting, fixing things up, unfixing things up (like that yellow bathroom he painted while I was away;  he painted even the sink cabinet, doors, all a bright bright yellow.)  But that was Ron.  He wanted to give me a nice surprise in my favorite color.

He had a big following when we used to have the bookstore.  I remember on a Monday, this woman all spiffed up and smelling real good comes to the counter where I was.  She asked me where was the owner, the nice looking with gray hair man who was there yesterday.  I played dumb, to follow Ron’s instructions.  I asked her to give me details about this good-looking guy and what could I do to help her.  She said to me that he was so knowledgeable and an interesting kind of man, and she would like to get to know him more.  At that moment I said to her that if she was referring to the ravishing looking man who was there yesterday, that he would happen to be my husband.  I said it in a nice way so she wouldn’t feel that bad.  That was a funny moment.  She and her diamonds, good smelling stuff and a lot of hair spray and teased hair left as soon as I said that.  I made sure she left with her ego intact.  No bruised ego.   

Ron loved to sell books.  It would kill him to come home without making a sale.  Yes, we had those days too.  I could tell as soon as he came home, his face would be all sad.  He was very competitive and always wanted to have a bang up day.  He was my stellar seller.  Only had him on the staff.

I fired him on a Christmas Eve, because he sold a whole set of books for the price of one volume alone.  He was so shocked and told me he had never been fired before in his life, leave it alone on Christmas Eve.  He promised me he never will make a mistake ever again.  I told him that just because it was Christmas Eve, he could have his job back.  We really had a good time with each other.  We compromised a lot with each other.  It was easy to do so with Ron.

I miss him a whole bunch, but I like to focus on being grateful that I had the opportunity to have him in my life instead of focussing on not having him around.  I know his beautiful energy surrounds me always.

Now Ron is taking care and baby sitting for the newest littlest angel in Heaven, Alice Riley, his baby granddaughter.  Watch it now Ron with your teasing her.  Take good care of her.  We know you are doing your best.

We miss you both but are glad you have each other to keep company along with Margie, and Rolla.

Until that day when we will meet again...

 

My love to all of you,

Your Happy Contessa

The day I met the world famous Tour Eiffel…

You know when you have a dream of realizing something.  Today I am going to share with you how was it when I saw for the first time the world-famous icon, and the image of the visualisation of my dream, the Tour Eiffel.  She was the symbolism of my dream of being in Paris.

This is how she looked for the first time ever to Milagros and to me when we were walking from our hotel to finally meet Eiffel.  It was a moment when time stood still.  We were walking and talking and all of a sudden I looked to the left, and there she was peeking at us.  I became speechless.  Wow…finally…I felt very emotional and I think I shed a tear  because it meant that dreams do come true.

At last!  Here I was staring at one of the most famous icons in the world.  It took me 46 years to finally see it and touch it.  What an undescribable feeling.

Me standing with Eiffel on the background...

After Milagros snapped a few pictures, and the moments of awe, we decided to go on a boat ride that takes you all along the River Seine and brings you back where you board it.

We were all the time in admiration when looking at buildings and bridges that you only see in books, movies or magazines and there they are, within reach.  It was such an incredible experience being among so many people of different cultures and you just feel as one of them.  There are so many house-boats along the Seine and other floating restaurants.  Just takes your breath away!

Down the river side...on a beautiful Fall day in Paris

After being soaked with unbelievable moments all in awe, we docked back at Eiffel and decided to get in line to make it all the way to the top.

When we finally made it to the top, it was just like the icing on some dreamy cake that was in storage for us.  What a beautiful feast for your eyes of such a splendorous old city!  The buildings are so classic with the kind of architecture you don’t see anymore in our newer cities.  Before we made it to Eiffel, we admired the tall doors, all wood,  and the arches, and the iron gates that led to the entry ways with side gardens before you get to the door.  I felt as if I used to live in Paris in my previous life, if there is such a thing.  I felt as if I belong there.

Milagros at the top...

One of the views from the top of Eiffel...

Now, I know you were expecting to see a picture of me at the top also.  It just happened that fate will have it that I forgot to put on my sunglasses, and guess what…the bags under my eyes became a distraction to the view, so I decided no picture of me to show you at the top.  It is what it is.

After such an incredible experience, we went to the souvenir shop at the Eiffel and bought just a few mementos for us to last an eternity.  I am speaking for myself.  Hopefully Milagros will feel the same way also.  Then we started walking back to the Le Mon Hotel, had dinner at a nice cafe along the way, bought some pastries and baguette to take back with us, and c’est fini, for now. Another day in Paris to follow some other time. 

Au revoir,

Your Happy Contessa

P.S.  My french lessons are going very well, merci beaucoup!

The difficult we do immediately, the impossible takes a little longer…

 

I am trying to assign a task for myself to do every day,  from my list of things to accomplish for the different months of the year.  This month, one of them is to…cough, cough, finish the crooked fabulous piece of heirloom quilt.  I have assigned Tuesdays to work on it.  No particular reason.  I guess last Tuesday I ran out of things to clean and then looked at the bag with all the stuff for the now very famous crooked quilt, and decided, Tuesdays will be good to attack this task.

So today I plunged into it even before lunch.   I took things out of the bag, and noticed that I have to put together the two sheets that are supposed to be the back of the CQ (you know, crooked quilt).  I played with the idea of hand sewing the two of them together, but then I thought that a hundred years from now, my humble hand sewing attempt was going to look embarrassing,  all undone and probably Milagros will never unfold the CQ.  To remedy that I went upstairs and took out my one and only… sewing machine!!

This is the background story of my sewing machine.  When Ron and I moved into this house in 2006 we were looking for some curtains for our tall windows.  Couldn’t find any we liked.  So we went to a fabric store and had a quote for them to make the curtains for two windows, and the price was pretty high.  Me, being the thrifty person that I have always been, quickly calculated with my ever awaken neurons that we could purchase a sewing machine,  I could do the curtains, and then still have the mechanical apparatus forever.  I will not go into the stories that developed while I was trying to make the curtains, thanks God the fabric had stripes, so all I had to do was follow the lines, but I will think it twice before opening my mouth so promptly again.  Anyways, the curtains shown above are the ones I made.  We really liked them and I really feel very proud now when my realtor tells everybody I made them.  Come to think of it, do you think that’s why the house hasn’t sold.  Hummmmm…

So today, I took out the machine, proceeded to set it up and forgot how to turn it on.  Then I remembered there was a little light bulb involved so I thought that maybe a switch would do the trick.  Right on the side, bingo!  Then after sewing for a while, the thing that I was praying not to happen, happened.  Bobbin ran out of thread!!!!

First, I tried the lazy way.  To see if I could fake it and just do it taking a chance.  No dice.  Had to search for the Manual.  Grateful I found it.  After a few moments and trying a few times, finally it happened.  The beautiful sound of a bobbin being fed.  Life was good at that moment.  I finished my task, put everything away, and proceeded to have my lunch.  After doing the dishes, worked on the CQ for around 30 more minutes, folded it and put it back in the bag.  No, as you can tell, this will not get done in February.  Not too many days.  Good excuse.

I try to keep busy every day, have this crazy demanding and hard to get along boss.  Myself.  I have tried for 62+ years to quit, but as of now, still working hard is the best way to keep her happy.  Probably you are thinking I am losing my screws up there.  No, I am ok.  Always been a type A.  I find that as long as I am busy, I don’t have time to be negative or have “la depre.”  It works for me.

The title of today’s posting is the motto of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineering, adopted during WWII.  Ron used to use it most of the time whenever he was approaching any task.  Another lesson in the book of Ronisms.

Hope you’ll adopt it as needed.

Au revoir!

Your Happy Contessa

Change of plans…

Remember when I posted about going to do my good-for-me walk at my Community Center?  Well, that was not working for me.  I felt like the little rodent that goes around a circular cage and just goes nowhere.  It is always running in place.  That’s exactly how I felt.  So due to that excuse, I wasn’t walking too much.  But last week on Wednesday, I felt my legs getting kind of lazy, so I thought, OMG, the blood is not circulating the way it is supposed to do.  I need to do something for my many-happy-birthdays body.  Otherwise, if I don’t take the bull by the horns, my time to convert back to energy may be closer than I imagine.  I try not to imagine too much in that department.

So there I went for a walkabout in the outer spaces.  Beautiful weather today and twice last week.  Immediately felt my blood circulating at a faster pace than it had been doing, and I could feel the oxygen full of whatever stuff is in the air we breathe, going around my neurons, because I felt full of energy and vibrant.  I felt good that I was doing something for myself.  If I don’t do it, who is going to do it for my 62+ years body.  We need to be kind to ourselves and that include le garbage we send down our throats and our pipes.  Think twice before we put, trying to find a nice word to describe what I feel like saying without being crude.  We have to think twice before we put into our mouths any manure.  Bad manure.  Get the point?

These are some of the pleasant to look at things I found today during  my walkabout.  I stopped to talk to Charlie, the builder of my house, then stopped to take some pictures and pick up my mail, and had in general a good time on my wild outdoors.

Then, after having lunch, I proceeded to go upstairs to my intellectual corner, where this blog gives birth everyday to a wonder posting;  talking about getting off track.  After seating at my desk, I started the process to continue to re-learn the french I studied in high school.  I studied for months before I went to Paris, but after the trip I just stopped. 

I read in the newspaper yesterday, I think, that learning another language, researchers have found out,  slows down Alzheimer.  I manage in English, Spanish, and dabble in French.  So French it is right now.  My daughter gave me a very expensive software package for French before we went to Paris, and it is very good, but I found this one for $2.99 at a store together with one for Italian, so I am giving it a try today.  It is not too bad, kind of pushy when you need to pronounce back the words, but nothing I cannot manage.  So I am going to go back and forth between these two packages to keep from becoming forgetful.  Don’t need any help in that department.

I am doing what I think is best for me at this time in my life, and by sharing with all of you my mundane experiences, I hope that somehow you find something to ponder on, disagree about, or some enlightenment.  That is the whole purpose of my postings.  But most of all, I am doing this for myself.  It gives me something to look forward to during my day, and sharing good things makes me happy.  Leave it alone, it gives me the opportunity to practice my English.  Webster has become my best buddy.

Until the next experience,

Your Happy Contessa

“If we keep waiting for just the right time to begin something, we may never begin anything.  Let’s begin where we are right now, with what we have and what we are.”  Me,  from some books I have read along my journey.

Me and my ignorant Universe…

 

Contessita at one year old - 1949

I kind of live in a very special bubble.  I like it that way.  I didn’t used to be that way.  I used to have a need to be informed, know whatever was going on in the world.  This need to know.  Didn’t like to be in the dark. 

The picture above is moi on my first and most precious happy birthday, because I thrived on just giggling, smiling and plain being happy.  I was oblivious of what was going on in the world and it seems that I was very content being that way.  Look at my happy smile. 

But as I said before, change is good, remember?  After millions of changes in my thinking, physical arrangements, and lots of happy birthdays, I was caught by  surprise when today while talking to one of my friends in Florida, she asked me if I knew the latest.  I said, what about.  She went on to tell me.  I said, no I very seldom watch the news anymore, I just flip through the main networks and listen to the headlines, and if the world seems to be just as I left it the last time I checked, I move on to watch my recorded favorite soaps.  I have created this universe where my soaps are more fascinating, interesting and informative (full of eastern wisdom).  Also, they make me laugh.  I feel so much better when I laugh so much that tears cloud my sight.  That’s a good laugh.  It is the only exercise my internal organs get to do, because when I laugh, my insides move along.  Neat.

I told my friend about me and my ignorant universe, and then thought to self, hey, that’s not a bad title for a posting.   Here I am developing a whole essay about ignorance.  On the other hand, later on while having a conversation with one of my sisters, I told her that knowledge and information are empowering.  Have I been talking through both sides of my mouth?  Ignorance vs knowledge.  Serious matter.  But being the smart cookie that I am, I decided after these two very challenging  conversations that I was going to select the best of both.  I am going to play ignorant when it is to my advantage (sounds like something Ron would do) and play mighty knowledgeable when I needed that card.  Do they call that poker face?  What is a poker’s face anyways?  I think you need dark sunglasses for that, right.  I already have quite a supply in my house.  They protect you from showing the very big bags under your eyes.  Have quite a good number of them.

As far as I am not hurting anyone, and I don’t think I am, I am going to try to go back and analyze what kind of dynamic was going on in my mind when I was a little girl, and try to go back being that way.  I am reversing the aging process.  No professionals involved.  I am going to pretend I am just starting to dream big dreams, and to think I can conquer my oyster.  Sounds to me pretty exciting and gives me lots of hope to continue making my dreams come true.

How about you?  I’ll call it the “Pretend Game.”  Let me pretend I can accomplish anything I set out to do.  And do it.

I need to get going.

Your Happy Contessa

“I’ll think of it all tomorrow, at Tara.  After all , tomorrow is another day.”  Scarlett O’Hara – Gone with the Wind.