Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Deja vu right into the future

So, my grown son came home to a quiet house and says it totally freaked him out. Said for a minute he thought he had just walked into his grandmother's house. "I almost expected to see her knitting or something," he laughed. Instead, I walk in here and it's you sitting there, instead of knit one purl two, it's blog one Tweet two.

The more things change the more they stay the same.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Leaving on a slow train, don't know when I'll be back again

We are leaving tomorrow with kids and grandbaby to join us in NY at great-grandma's house. Long dreamed-of trip by train culminating with 6 hour layover in DC on Memorial Day. Have laptop, will blog. CU on the flip-side. (boy does that saying date me!)

eBay blog-o-sphere has evaporated

You will notice some of my posts have old dates at the top of the body. That is because eBay has announced the end of the eBay blog will happen this month, October 2009. I had written a few posts and wanted to keep them for future reference, so I parked them here. Since I am not monetizing this blog at this time, I doubt if anyone cares that they are out of date. If someone objects, too bad. That's the way it is!

As to eBay eliminating the blogs from their site. I am sorry to say, it needed to be done. The original purpose it served has been far too polluted by those who prefer to complain about their problems with eBay and PayPal (whether or not it was their own fault) and the negativity and drama weren't doing anyone any good.

Yes, there is freedom of speech. That means, if you want to post negative comments about eBay and PayPal, do it on your own blog. Don't expect the business you are complaining about provide you the space and platform for you to complain against them. That is just dumb! Would you expect JC Penney to allow you to put up a negative poster on the bulletin board inside their store? Of course not!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

What's with PayPal

I have to brag that I was able to reach my sales goal for the first time ever at the close of July. Just in time for my 2nd anniversary selling on eBay. Or at least I will when USPS sends the check for an insurance claim where they lost the GOLD WATCH I sold. Can you believe it?  I don't know whether the small box slipped through the cracks legitimately or someone saw the insurance notice and the confirmation signature required and figured, "hmmm, this will fit under my raincoat won't it!" but it never reached its S. Park Ave. NY, destination. The best part of this is my buyer was a real trooper throughout the search and didn't even contact me that it was missing for 2 WEEKS. I had been checking the status for over a week when he finally emailed me and calmly asked for a status report. Fortunately I was covered by PayPal Seller Protection because I had done everything they require of a seller so my PayPal fees were refunded.

Then there was the CHARGEBACK! Oh, yeah! Again, it was a PalPal transaction all the way and I had sent the package Priority and Insured as the buyer requested - within 24 hours of payment receipt, actually. And they must have decided they really didn't want it. I called PayPal and explained the situation and how I had checked the buyers history and saw that they primarily bought items of this type and price. PayPal assured me that I had done everything just right. Within the week my "held" payment reverted to cleared and the case was closed in my favor. Then the strangest thing happened. The very next day after the case was closed, the package arrived at my door, unopened, marked "return to sender." Guess the seller thought if they returned the package that would solve everything and I would refund their money. ummmm, NO! This buyer did not ever contact me even though I sent at least 3 emails reporting status of the item and thanking them for paying instantly by PayPal.

Thanks PayPal!

Gold Fever - 2008 Style - Cha Ching!

The old prospectors with their pick axes have been replaced by a modern version. These prospectors come equiped with internet savvy and an eye for the real thing.
I knew the price of gold had skyrocketed, but when my husband's dentist remarked that his worn gold crown could net us a tank full of gasoline, I was impressed!
I didn't realize that dental gold is usally pure 18K and fetches a nice price until I researched completed listings on eBay. Once I had determined the average price per gram and weighed out the valuable little chunk of gold, I determined the price at about $50 and designed a listing I hoped would attract a buyer.
I listed it at $49.99 (fixed price) and even went the extra 35 cents for an enlarged view of the gallery shot and kept the shipping low (actually I charged about 32 cents less than cost).
The last thing before signing off at 9:30 pm, I hit the POST button and my item went live. I never even got to admire my handiwork. Imagine my surprise this morning when I discovered it had sold overnight... and been PAID FOR instantly by PayPal (I now require electronic payment on all items).
Two HOURS! That is a new record. I am almost as impressed as when we sold a house in less than 24 hours.
Okay, so it is in the box, with the shipping label affixed, I have left glowing positive feedback and now off to the Post Office! I am going to try and beat the delivery record.
I will not think that I should have used auction format and might have gotten more. No, NO, NOOOOO! That would spoil my thrills right now.

Palin Stumps through Cabbage Patch to WIN the Race

It's almost 7am and I am watching the race closely.
The lady in red is ahead of all the guys by 2 laps with 57 bids and a top price of $3,550 and there are 4 days yet to go!  Obama has a slight lead ($1,075) over McCain (at $1,025) and Biden pulls up the rear at a meager $610.
I'm wondering what this says in political terms. Not a close race here on eBay for sure. The popular vote would have a woman in the White House if this is any indication. But who would expect different results in a FREE MARKET world like eBay?
What it says in terms of social media is this: eBay can (and does) draw a lot of attention to a cause in a way that is FUN.
Whoever makes the final bid on these dolls can feel good about winning one of the most collectible dolls of the decade and Marine Toys for Tots will happily accept the proceeds from Auction Cause (who is listing the auction) to give a lot of kids a reason to smile this holiday season.
 Bid ON!

No fear shipping & handling

If you have ever sold something big enough to wheel into the Post Office you may appreciate this.
Now that my ankle is mostly healed, I had no use for the portable wheelchair. Not that I used it anyway. I had dreamed of getting my dog to pull me down to the park for our twice daily strolls, but he just zig-zagged me out into the street. Say goodbye dream.
Anyway, after a very short time as a fixed price item, it sold for my asking price of $150 with $65 shipping charges. I had determined these rates by researching previously sold portable wheelchairs of the same brand and model as well as current offerings.
For once I thought I had figured it about right and told the UPS franchise store operator, yes, I had charged the buyer $65 for shipping. She shook her head and asked for 20 minutes to figure out how they could box and send it for me. She was still shaking her head as we walked out the door and my stomach began to churn.
After nearly 30 minutes, my cell phone rang and I was told the bad news. It would cost at least $250 to ship, IF they could find the right boxes.
We beat a hasty retreat pushing the chair back to the car and spent the rest of the day searching for boxes, cutting boxes, disassembling the chair and fitting it into boxes until I thought we could ship it within budget or close to cost at least.
Next day, we trooped down to the Post Office with 3 very different boxes in graduated sizes. (I believe in shipping GREEN). We weighed and measured the biggest box first. The verdict did not make me happy $85 for just this box and it would not arrive for 8-9 days. I had failed to take dimensional measurement as Length + Width + Girth. 
On to the UPS Customer Center (not a franchise this time) and another fresh experience. 5-6 people were already in the tiny room pecking away at terminals as they stood at counters. This was a new experience to me, but with a little help from other customers, I managed to get my shipping label printed for each of the 3 boxes. When my turn came, I held my breath. The clerk weighed and measured each box and confidently slapped labels on them and dispatched them before she gave me the price. Panic was setting in!
Just before my face turned blue she took my PayPal debit card and said that will be $82.60 and your packages should be delivered December 1st.
HooRAY! I could stand to eat the $16.50 but I was still left with one nagging worry. What if the recipient was disabled and living alone with no one to help her assemble the chair?
I sent her an email with the tracking numbers and instructions given to me in an email from UPS and my usual "hope you like it... please give me 5 stars..." message. At the beginning of the email I told her my concern that I had hoped to get it to her by Thanksgiving so there would be a good chance of having visitors that might be able to help her assemble it. I also gave assembly instructions.
The angels were with me and touched her heart! I opened my email early this morning and got a very nice reassuring email from this wonderful buyer telling me putting the chair together should be no problem and wishing me a Happy Thanksgiving too.
This will be one more thing on my list of things to be thankful for!

Tales from Gram-eBay


I listed 29 ceramic pieces over the last two days and with every item I thought of my former mother-in-law and her ceramics shop. I still have most of the pieces she and I made in that little shop where she taught and sold her craft. At Christmas the Holy Family is first on display and last to be put away after the holidays. Next most precious is the Santa with sleigh and 3 reindeer. Those poor deer have had all their legs broken and mended over the years.

These are mostly  bisque ceramic pieces, ready to stain or glaze and fire. They came to me from an estate sale. The lady who poured them was a very talented craftsman and these were packed away very carefully in the 1980s when she became ill and unable to finish them. There are no duplicates. A few of the pieces are finished with glaze.

The only thing left now is a large set of dinnerware that is also ceramic bisque. Only one piece of the dinnerware is completed, probably as an example. These pieces are retro-modern, square shaped and smooth simplicity.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Clutter busting eases stress in your life

If your closet and bookshelves and even the space under your bed has no more room to put things, it can be stressful. Clutter leads to chaos and chaos leads to screaming for mercy. Bust that clutter and you will find yourself breathing a sigh of relief.

You could find a great home for all this overabundance of stuff by giving someone else a chance to own it. It may be just what they are looking for. And you are recycling not clogging the landfills.

There are many ways to do this:

  • Give it to someone you know
  • Donate it to a thrift shop
  • Post an ad at your local Freecycle website
  • Put a notice up on a bulletin board
  • Advertise in the newspaper
  • Have a garage sale
  • Sell at an ecommerce site like eBay.

If you find eBay intimidating or the fees too expensive, give Kijiji a try. Kijiji offers free classified ads from people who live in and around Orlando to buy and sell goods, find jobs, housing, pets and more. Kijiji was launched in March of 2005 as a subsidary of eBay. The site is user friendly and very easy to navigate. All you need is a picture, description, and to set a price. The rest is easy. Definition of Kijiji on the Web:

Kijiji (Swahili for village) is a centralized network of online urban communities for posting local online classified

Categories on Kijiji include:

* For Sale (all kinds of items)
* Jobs
* Pets
* Resumes
* Services
* Cars and Vehicles
* Events
* Community

The community area includes:

* Activity partners
* Announcements
* Artists, musicians
* Carpool, rideshare
* Classes, lessons
* Garage sales
* Lost & found
* Volunteer
* Other

There is even a wanted section where you can list things you have been looking for, and a free section where you can exchange your stuff for someone else's! Business owners can also promote their business and services offered in the classified ads.

But beware! You will also enjoy shopping here for great deals on items for the kids and yourself and you could be right back where you started from if you aren't careful.

If you want to be found at the most popular selling site on the web you need to get on eBay of course!

Sell that oversupply of stuff, its the "green" thing to do. Your stuff doesn't end up in a landfill somewhere, at least
not today!

For more info: For more Info: Orlando Kijiji
Follow Kijiji on twitter

Need help with eBay? Contact: Visit her website:

Shake and bake with grandkids this summer

Remember the old TV commercial where the little southern girl beams broadly as she says “It’s Shake n’ Bake and I helped”? If you want to see that kind of pride and satisfaction on your grandchild’s face, bring them into the kitchen and allow them to help prepare a meal. Better yet, let them in on planning the meal and guide them through shopping for the ingredients.
There are quite a few kid-friendly kitchen gadgets that children seem to find fascinating and yet are fairly safe to use. Some good ones to start with are:
  • Measuring cups and spoons cups
  • Whisks
  • Apple slicers
  • Egg slicers
  • Cookie cutters
  • Kitchen timer
Measuring ingredients also lets you sneak in a practical math lesson or two
Even the smallest child can help make egg salad. And it’s a quick nutritious meal they can fall back on later in life too. Once the eggs are boiled and cooled, show the child how to tap the narrowest end (where air has pocketed) to make it easier to peel. If everything is done right, the shell should come away easily.
If you have an egg slicer, let the child can easily learn to julienne the egg in one direction, then turn the egg carefully to cross-cut it into tiny pieces. Add a bit of vinegar (½ teaspoon for 3 eggs), mayonnaise and perhaps mustard or pickle relish to taste, sprinkle a bit of salt and your egg salad is done. Some kids like sliced black olives instead of pickle relish. Once the filling is put between two slices of bread, let the child cut out shapes with a big cookie cutter. (You can eat the healthy trimmings)
Apple slices make a nice accompaniment for an egg-salad sandwich. If the kids go along with you to the produce stand, you can let them choose a variety to try: Granny Smith apples tart and green, Fuji’s sweet yellow with a blush of red, Braeburn’s a bit tart and with a juicy satisfying crunch, Rome apples for the reddest skin and whitest flesh ever. Each variety has its own distinctive texture and flavor.
The bigger kids will enjoy the satisfying “schlock” noise made by the apple slicer as it neatly cores the apples and slices out eight perfectly even slices. Younger kids can dip the slices in orange or lemon juice (to keep them from turning brown.
You could chop the apples a bit finer and make a wonderful Waldorf salad by adding celery, walnuts, and some like to add raisins or grapes to the mixture.That was a favorite summer-time treat on the hottest Orlando days.
All that is left to do is stir chocolate syrup into the milk (Hershey’s makes a great sugar-free version now) and lunch is ready. For adults, (or true southern children) make a big pitcher of sweet iced tea to go along with your feast.
Enjoy your meal!

For more info: Cooking with kids on AOL
cooking supplies for young chefs can be found at Growing Cooks

Love your Mother Earth Day

Picture this: grandmother and granddaughter off to Ben White Raceway, not to visit the beautiful horses, although they would get a carrot or two, but to shovel up a box of manure. Could you tempt your grandchild with such “fun?” Would it be fun for you? You could certainly use the free fertilizer to grow the most beautiful roses in the neighborhood.

Now, you don’t have to go that far to impress the young ones, but sometimes an outlandish project such as that is a good way to make a point. Most grandparents today were not raised on farms like our grandparents were. There may not even be a farm nearby, but here in Orlando, there are still plenty of places where you can see Mother Earth’s beautiful face.Take a kid fishing, make a pole from a tree branch, find leftover fishing line along the shore and in the weeds of most any lake (unfortunately) tie on a tiny pine cone for a float, and make a hook from a safety pin. Then dig some worms from the rich vetatation in nearby woods and you are set for quite an adventure.
Traditionally, Arbor Day kicked off Spring and citizens all over the country were urged to plant a tree each year. Earth Day was first celebrated on April 22, 1970, when Arbor Day celebrations were changed to emphasize the critical importance of the environment and make the American public aware of the destruction of the earth's natural preserves. Still not a recognized federal holiday, Earth Day has helped Americans realize how they can and should do all they can to protect the environment. Here are a few things you can do: .
Even better than recycling is re-using and if you throw in an added bonus of growing fresh organic herbs, you are truly an earth lover. Make an herb garden with your grandchildren and just for fun make a Ladybug Rock while talking about the beneficial role insects play.
Tin can herb garden
  • Use hammer and nail to punch holes in bottom of clean, dry can (one with smooth opening at top)
  • Cover outside of can with leftover wallpaper or gift wrap held in place with liquid school glue
  • -or- Paint can with 1 layer of leftover house paint and decorate with paint or stickers
  • Seal with acrylic sealer spray
  • Place pebbles in can – enough to cover bottom
  • Add potting soil to 2/3rd level of can
  • Plant herb seeds (see package directions)
  • Place cans in baking pan or tray
  • Staple (or glue) seed packet to wooden popcycle stick and poke into soil near edge
  • Set container in sunny location and water daily
Lady Bug Rocks
  • Wash and dry small oval rocks that are smooth and even
  • Paint the rocks with acrylic craft paints
  • Use black sharpie to draw line down the center
  • Put dots on lady bugs’ backs using eraser end of pencil
  • Spray the finished bugs with acrylic sealer spray
  • Attach google eyes to dry lady bug
  • Sign and date the bottom
(These make great gifts for Mother or Father’s Day)
Another way to let your grandchildren feel really involved in Earth Day, is to take on a project that will improve your corner of the world. Find an area that is subject to litter bugs (but safe enough to walk), arm yourselves with trash bags, spray on a bit of earth friendly bug repellent, put on sun-block and hats, and do your part to plant a tree, clean a beach, park or roadside. End the adventure with a special treat of ice cream or cool fresh fruit and you have made a memory.

Do your grandchildren think you are cool?

One very special grandfather is about to wow the newest generation with his music and set a very good example of self-expression and renewal to other grandparents. His grandchildren already know how cool he is; in fact, two of them joined him on his newest musical endeavor.
Neil Sedaka is well-known to baby-boomers as the amazing voice behind hits from the late 1950s including chart toppers "The Diary," "Oh! Carol," " Stairway to Heaven," "Calendar Girl," "Little Devil," "Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen," "Next Door To An Angel," and "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do," until the “British Invasion” pushed him through another doorway.
Sedaka continued to reinvent himself and the public always responded with praise and love. His fifty-plus year career success is shared with his wife of over 45 years, children and grandchildren and his talent seems to have been inherited by his son and daughter who are both involved in musical careers as well as his grandchildren. In fact, his six-year-old twin granddaughters Amanda and Charlotte are his backup singers in his newly released “Waking Up Is Hard To Do”. This collection of his hit songs re-invented for children includes:
1) Waking Up Is Hard To Do (Breaking Up is Hard to Do)
2) Dinosaur Pet (My Calendar Girl)
3) Where The Toys Are (Where the Boys are)
4) Lunch Will Keep Us Together (Love Will Keep Us Together)
5) Happy Birthday Number Three (Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen)
6) Laughter In The Rain
7) Rubber Duckie
8) Is This The Way To Cross The Street
9) Little Devil
10) I Go Ape
11) Baby’s First Christmas Lullabye
During his interview with NY1 Parenting Correspondent Shelly Goldberg, Sedaka attributed his musical awakening to the Brooklyn, NY public grade school he attended. This early interest in music was nurtured by parents who believed in him. Upon hearing from his second grade teacher that Neil had musical talent; his mother began working at a department store in order to afford a piano for him. Having that piano, in addition to his teacher’s and parents’ encouragement, led to Neil attending Julliard and his ultimate success in the musical world.

That is one reason Sedaka is a very strong proponent of music education in public schools.
If you want to check out Sedaka’s new tunes and perhaps buy the “Waking Up Is Hard To Do,” CD click here.
For more info: Neil Sedaka's website

Butterfly park welcomes you and grandchilden

Is there anything more likely to bring a feeling of hope than a beautiful butterfly flitting from flower to flower?
Orange County Parks Department has done an outstanding job with Orlando’s Capehart Neighborhood Park, where the theme is butterflies.
Drawn to the park on a hot day by the splash pad, we found many other attractions. The park is situated off Lake Underhill Drive and east of S. Goldenrod Road. Set deep amid housing areas, it is a quiet, safe place for children to run and play.
The splash pad is a large area surrounded by plastic coated chain-link fence where children can experience the freedom of running through sprinklers and fountains of water without parents having to be constantly hands-on. A few tree shaded picnic tables and benches ring the area.
We were also impressed that there were two playgrounds, one for toddlers, another for older children. Both were shaded by a huge umbrella-like canopy allowing warm breezes to flow freely through the area. The padded surface around the swings and the play equipment itself are in good condition.
A fitness path circles behind the play areas in the 11 acre facility. Large butterfly shaped benches enjoy the shaded area outside the building and big colorful butterflies flank the main doorway. A flower-filled entrance is where you will find the live butterfly garden.
The game room inside the center is equipped with board and table games, and Karate, ballet, Hip Hop, and special events are held across the hall in a huge all-purpose room.
Also available are:
  • Movie in the Park
  • R.E.C. Squad
  • Home School P.E.
  • Mommy and Me
  • Teens against Crime
  • CampScooter (during school breaks)
R.E.C. Squad is an after-school program with free pick-up from Jackson Middle School and Chickasaw Elementary. Mom’s afternoon off (with pre-registration) is offered every other Saturday.
The friendly, knowledgeable staff were happy to show us around on a recent visit and explain the programs and activities that are offered there.
On a personal note: I swell with pride that my hometown has stepped up to the plate for its young people. I raised 3 children in Orlando and remember well the transitory time between most mothers staying home with their children and very few being able to afford life without two incomes. There was very little affordable recreation available for children caught in the middle of this societal shift.
For more info: If you really love butterflies check out

Friday, February 20, 2009

Converting an eFriend to an RW Friend

After more than 10 years and hundreds of eMails, cards, phone calls and musical tapes, I met Jody in the Real World. I drove the cross-state route in anticipation.

She is exactly as I had perceived and it was as if we have known each other forever. She invited a friend to join us for a sumptuous meal that evening. In addition to the delicious crab meat and baby spinach dinner salad, we enjoyed a side of broccoli covered in melted provolone accompanied by a wonderful warm loaf of foccacia bread. There was vanilla ice cream with fresh strawberries for dessert. Then the 3 of us solved all the domestic economic problems at hand, laughed and talked. Wonderful!

The condo she has rented for winter is in a tropical paradise! There is a wonderful view of the pool just beyond a lush lawn shaded by huge oak trees. I woke early enough to witness the grace of an early morning swimmer gliding the length of the big pool, a rhythmical slap of hand against water for music. The scene was made perfect by a brilliant orange sunrise.

Later in the morning, Jody took me to Venice where we explored the quaint shops there and lunched on ratatouille crepes and French onion soup alfresco. I consider food especially elegant when not even the spell checker can manage the food names!

We bought each other little surprise gifts, given at the last minute, just before I reluctantly started my journey home. I wished to stay longer and enjoy her company and explore the surrounding area but still, it was a wonderful adventure!


I spent the day dealing with my ankle injury and got a call that my elbow seems to be fractured too. Anyway I got a walking boot and set appointment for tomorrow to see the orthopedic doc on both sore points. Also got a used wheelchair. Thought it would help with walking the dog, but that was pretty much of a bust. Lot of fun trying though. Maybe I should try it with my 3 wheel bike.