Saturday, October 31, 2009

I am Skipping Halloween This Year

I like Halloween, to me it's like another Mardi Gras day!

I am not a fan of opening the door and giving out candy.

Trick-or-treating is totally different in California. Not many people let their children go door-to-door in the neighborhood.

One way of trick-or-treating in California is that Church Members will decorate their cars and then fill up the Church parking lot. The children in costumes will then go from car-to-car trick-or-treating.

Another way is to take your kids to the mall. The stores usually have someone at the front entrance giving out candy to the kiddies.

Unfortunately, Halloween is also a time when the crazies come out and rain terror on the happy-go-lucky. It is true that razors, pins and needles have been found in apples and other treats given to kids. It is said that 1987 was the craziest year with lots of reports in New York and New Jersey.

Interesting enough, the Humane Society for Animals, has a ban on black cats in most states during the month of October. You can not adopt a black cat for fear it will be tortured and/or used in a satanic ritual. After Halloween you can get all the black kiddies you like.

The picture is of a white pumpkin. I first discovered white pumpkins in California about 20 years ago. I was extremely excited when I found a little one here in Pennsylvania!


Friday, October 30, 2009

It's so Weird to See Ferrets Here

So here's the deal... it's illegal to own a ferret in the state of California. This law was enforced in 1933. Rumor is that you can get a permit, however that is only if the ferret is going to be used in a lab or exhibit and then you not only get a permit but the animal gets injected with a lo jack microchip. If your permitted ferret is found anywhere in California, notwithstanding the exhibit or research lab, it will be destroyed.

The Petco here sells them for $129 and they have a live span of about 5 years. They look cute and sweet, don't they?

Ferrets are best described as "cats without attitudes" or "kittens that never grow up". Humm... makes you wonder why such a creature would be considered contraband in California! The California Department of Fish and Game says that they are a wild menace. Apparently they are on the "wild animal" list. The concern is about them attacking people and about them having rabies. Most ferret fans think that they got on the "list" by mistake.

They are also illegal in Hawaii and New York City. I don't know... I am thinking someone should look at the data over the last 76 years and see how many ferret attacks and rabies reports have been filed in the states where ferrets are legal. In 1990 a rabies vaccine was invented for ferrets so that's one less thing these anti-ferret states have to worry about.

Just another thing that I noticed is different here.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sweeping Up the Leaves

This is all new to me, and what a learning experience it has been. The ground is covered with these beautiful leaves. Today lots of people where sweeping the leaves to the sides of the streets. Tonight a big truck will come by and suck them all up. I was wondering what happened to all the leaves.

Today the wind was blowing and it was lightly raining golden colored leaves. It is truly a beautiful sight to see. Amazingly, the same trees that had green leaves just a few months ago are now sporting colors of orange, red and golden yellow. I really feel like I am living in a vivid oil painting.

My neighbors who live across the street from me are a couple from up-state New York. They told me today that in a couple of weeks all of the trees will be leafless. They were in up-state New York last week and said that all of the trees are leafless up there right now. That will also be pretty new to me. The trees in California never loose ALL of their leaves.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Waking to the Sound of Fire Truck Sirens

It's Sunday morning and before the sun came up I woke up to the sound of fire truck sirens. Not just passing by, but sitting near my front door blaring away. I could hear some people yelling and then 2 car alarms began going off. I could tell they were trying to wake people up.

With all of that, I didn't smell smoke. It's about 4 hours since I woke up and upon going outside I saw that the red brick building in the picture, which is on the same side of the street as me, in the other block, is burning. I noticed people standing behind my house looking at something and I walked back there to see another house on fire.

I talked to my neighbor, Mary who seems to know everything, and she said that there were a total of 4 buildings on fire. The bottom floors of the buildings housed businesses, a children's art school, a laundry mat, a hair salon and an attorney's office. The top floors are residential. Mary informed me that no one was injured.

The wild thing... is that with all the fires that I have lived through in California.. never has one been so close to where I live. I think that is wild.

For some reason I didn't hear the siren that blares through the streets to wake up the volunteer fire department. I just heard the fire truck sirens.

I am really not 100% surprised by the fire. These old buildings have very old wiring. Something that people aren't required to get updated and replaced.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

The First Snow of this Season

October 15, 2009, was the first snow of this season. It only snowed for about an hour and hit the ground when it melted.

Last Sunday we decided to drive to Poe Valley State Park. As I drove to the top of the mountain I noticed snow on the sides of the road and the higher we got... the more snow. It was sooooo beautiful seeing the beautiful colored leave in the white snow.

In facts it was sooooo pretty that I had to get out of the car to touch it. The picture is of the snow I picked up.

It started raining yesterday afternoon. A few times during the night I woke up and heard it pouring down outside. It's so different here because you don't wake up to chaos.

In California if it rained, like it did here last night, I would look out of the window and see massive street flooding. People in California use the storm drains as trash cans all summer long, when it isn't raining. So when the rain begins in California it has no where to go except stay in the streets. It should go down the storm drains to the LA river, but it does not always make it there. And then there are the people who don't know how to drive in the rain and so there are tons of accidents.

About 12 years ago my mother came to visit me in Los Angeles. It had rained all night and the next morning she turned on the television and the news man said, "There were 425 car accidents related to the rain, in Los Angeles county, in the past 24 hours." My mother was shocked. I had to inform her that Los Angeles county was pretty big and there are 88 cities the news man was talking about.

I also won't hear of any mud slides here. The burned areas in Los Angeles get soaked with water and then slide down the hills.

Today we are suppose to go to a farm. We met a couple who have organic chickens and we purchase the chicken livers from them for the organic cat food that we make for our 5 cats.

When I woke up, my first thought upon hearing the rain, was that we probably wouldn't be going to the farm today. And then I realized I am in Pennsylvania.... not California.... and people continue on with their lives even in the rain or the snow.


Friday, October 23, 2009

I Took this Picture Yesterday

You just can't even imagine how beautiful it looks here. The leaves are colors I only saw in pictures. Yesterday we were driving down the street and I saw these bright red leaves on this white building and it looked like something you might see in an art gallery.

I always keep my camera on hand so I told my special guy to stop there on the way back so I could get a few pictures. I think this one came out especially nice with the blue sky and green grass.

Where did the week go? I can't believe it is Friday!

My legal work has been slow. It always is in the month of October. People who filed extensions for their tax returns in March/April are now getting it done this month. That is why I picked October to go to Greece.

And this is the 2nd year that it didn't happen. Which is okay by me because only 50% of me is disappointed that I didn't go. The other 50% is grateful that I didn't go because I want to learn some Greek language before going.

My friend, Momo, from Casablanca Morocco, told me that knowing the language of a country is more valuable than having a pursue full of money. He knows 5 languages fluently.

The weather is in the 50's here and cloudy. We are suppose to get rain tonight and then the weather will get a bit cooler. I love it!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Farmer's Market Done for This Year

The small farmers market that is one block from my house closes for the fall/winter months. I went today and there was only one vendor. She said that they were taking it day by day (seeing how the weather is) to determine how much longer they will be setting up shop this year.

I will miss them. It's not easy finding organic produce and vegetables here. You can find them... but you really have to hunt for them. Whole Foods, which I love, is a 2 1/2 hour drive from here. We like to go there when we have other places to go in the area which will be soon as I am going to have to have my 30,000 maintenance done on my car.

And the closest Volkswagen dealership is about 2 1/2 hours away. Since my car is leased I need to have the maintenance done by a dealership. Speaking of cars....

What's up with Volkswagen's? They make me think of the BMW's with the electrical problems. My car is a 2007 Jetta and there is a light that came on that says I have a light burned out. I checked and there are no lights burnt out, so what's with that light on the dashboard?

This is the 3rd Volkswagen that I have owned and it will be my last. I am seriously thinking of getting a Toyota Camry. I have owned 2 Toyota's in my life and they just don't die and are virtually maintenance free. The first one I had for like 10 years and sold it. The second one I had for 13 years and it had 164,000 miles on it when I sold it for $600.


Monday, October 19, 2009

I'm Done with Ebay

Like Wow has eBay changed over the years. I was one of the first group of people who did eBay in the beginning and it wasn't as easy as it is now, however, you did make money. Ebay started in September 1995.

In the beginning all of your ads were written in html code and if you didn't know how to write the code you could purchase various programs that would assist you with the conversion of the code. Now, you can just type your ad in and it will translate it to the html code or you can write the code in. I think that there are too many people on eBay now.

Now you pay eBay fees to list your items and eBay fees when you sell your items and their are restrictions on how much you can charge to ship an item. No wonder their revenue was approximately $8.4 billion last year.

I did some research on the internet and found that a lot of people are saying that in order to make it worth your while on eBay you have to be selling one niche item and that if you are selling random stuff your chances of making it worth your while or pretty much non-existent.

I know someone, in California, who claims to make a very good living selling reburbished cell phones. He has been doing it for years and is a power seller which means he gets lots of eBay perks that the average Joe, like me, doesn't get.

So how does one get rid of everything that you don't want or need? Well, you can give it to a charity. I do this several times a year.

I think that my friend, Judy in Texas, has the right idea. She started a Garage Sale Business. She has a home with a big yard to do it in. People give her their stuff and she sells it at her Garage Sales and keeps a commission. She has recently told me that business is great.

I would have a Garage Sale every weekend if I had the right place to do it. I live "in town" and don't have anyplace to do it now. So today I am boxing up everything that is on the floor in my office, labeling the boxes "Shit to Sell" and putting them up in the attic.

My next plan is to try my hand at the Garage Sale business next year when I move. Hopefully then it will be worth my while to do.

Bottom line... eBay is not worth my time ;-)


Friday, October 16, 2009

Winterizing Windows

This is my first time winterizing windows and I hope it will be my last. What a chore! You definitely don't do this kind of stuff in the south or the west coast.

This is only done to older homes. You wouldn't do it in the south because it doesn't get cold enough and you wouldn't do it on the west coast because it doesn't get cold enough and all of the homes are new. If someone purchases a home that is 50+ years old, in California, there is a 95% chance it will be torn down and rebuilt.

Here in Pennsylvania it's rare to find a newly built home. It's common to find homes 100 and even 200 years old. The home I am currently renting was built in the 1920's. So it is almost 90 years old. I don't think that they knew about insulating homes in the 1920's so most of them don't have any insulation. Like the one I am currently renting.

I am learning a ton about homes here in Pennsylvania and I am glad that I chose to rent for a year before purchasing. When next spring comes and I am ready to purchase I will know exactly what to look for.

The picture is exactly what my windows look like. You put a strip of this double sided tape along the top, side, middle and bottom of the window. Then you take this clear plastic and place it over the windows and press down on the double sided tape. Then you take the blow dryer and go over the plastic so that it shrinks tightly on the window. It was an extra chore for us because we had to remove the crap that the old tenants had put on the window. Which included some of this double sided tape, a caulking type of junk and some foam shit. My fingers are tried from picking and pealing and I even used a scraper at some point.

I now know that if I purchase an older home I am going to have to factor in the cost of new windows. The newer windows have a double pane so you don't have to worry about this plastic stuff.

Well, I can't type any more today.... as I mentioned my fingers are tried from picking and peeling.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's Snowing!

It's October 15th, 2009, and it is snowing!!!! Everyone here in PA has been telling me, "Just wait till November, that's when the weather changes". And what they meant was that the beautiful fall cool weather in the 50's and 60 degrees would go away.

Well, it seems like the weather has changed suddenly. However, I hear that after next week Tuesday, the weather will go back to the normal sweater weather.

Meanwhile, only 1/3 of our windows are "winterized". We were planning on getting it all done by November, when the weather changed. Tomorrow we will try to work on more of the windows. The weather report says it will snow all day tomorrow and we could get an inch.

Today was my first day of driving in the snow. Which I am not completely sure was the best of ideas as I really wanted to see the snow and everything around me.

It also was my first day about learning how to dress for the cold... by layering. The great thing is that now I get to wear the beautiful coat, jacket and sweater that I purchased on my visit to Iceland.

If you are in need of coats, jackets and/or sweaters, Iceland is the place to go shopping. There were hundreds of beautiful clothing to pick from. And just so you know... it's only a 6 hour air flight from JFK airport in New York.

It's currently 36 degrees and going as low as 32 degrees tonight. It is currently 87 degrees in Woodland Hills and going down to 61 degrees. Even though it is cold... I am still glad I am here.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Hickory Run State Park in PA

If you love nature and hiking, then Pennsylvania is your kind of place. There are so many beautiful state parks to go hiking and explore.

Sunday we went to Hickory Run State Park hiking. There are many trails with lots of beautiful water falls. The picture is of the Boulder Field, which is a 16-acre, 12-foot-deep phenomenon created during the last ice age. It is truly an amazing thing to see. You can walk across the rocks, which I didn't want to do because most of the rocks I put my foot on moved. Just the thought of walking across those rocks safely made my stress level begin to rise. So I decided not to. In stead I just took the picture!

The leaves are a changing here and it is soooo beautiful. There is about a 6 week window in the fall wherein you can see the beautiful colored landscape. Click here to see a video I made of the changing leaves.


Bike Riding

One of my favorite things to do is ride my bike.

When I was 14 years old I was given a purple bike. Every day after school I would jump on my bike and take off down the street. We lived in a neighborhood that had large streets and not much traffic. I could ride really fast and feel the wind going through my hair as I maneuvered my way through the neighborhood.

Bike riding in Los Angeles never felt like it did when I was 14 years old. I couldn't ride my bike anywhere other than the beach. Keep in mind, your chances of getting hit by a car just crossing the street are great in Los Angeles, never mind being on a bike.

There's an 8 foot bike path that runs along the Pacific Ocean from Malibu, through Santa Monica, Venice to Marina del Rey. This 8 foot bike path is divided in half. One half is for people going in one direction and the other half is for people going in the opposite direction. It is clearly written with words and pictures that the bike path is for people on bikes or skakes. Not people walking and not people with baby strollers. It's beautiful to ride along the oceans. In facts it is so beautiful that millions of people want to be there so riding your bike on the bike path, along the ocean, can be extrememly stressful. After all, you don't want to run anyone over. So you never get any kind of speed and you will never feel the wind blowing through your hair.

Saturday I took my bike out and rode down the street to the Susquehanna River and along it past the corn fields. I got great speed and could definitely feel the wind in my hair and I thought to myself, "OMG this is exactly what it felt like to ride my bike when I was 14 years old." A great experience which I plan to do more of.

The picture is of my Hello Kitty bike that I spent one year covering with swarovski crystals.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Time Zones & Rain

The majority of my clients for my legal business are in California, which is 3 hours earlier than the time here. Which also means that my work phone doesn't start ringing until noonish. I love it!

I can get up and casually go about my day doing what I feel is important to me before my work day begins.

Because of this time difference I am sometimes sitting at my desk at 7:00 or 8:00 at night, which is no big deal to me because I have done that a lot in the past. On most days I just stop around 6pm.

Los Angeles may or may not get rain on Monday. This will be the first rain of the season. They haven't gotten any rain since around April. Sometimes the rain doesn't get as far south, to Los Angeles, until November.

It's a real mess when the rain arrives in California. All of the oil from the highways comes to surface on the first day making driving dangerous. People don't know how to drive in the rain and there will be specials on television about hydroplaning. All of the mountains that burned will get soaked with water and begin sliding.

It began raining here the night before last. Intermittent showers with grey skies and a cool breeze. I love it! It feels like a creepy movie. It's like rain... without all the drama you have in California.

One thing I have to do is force myself to go outside. It's not that I don't want to go outside, it's just that from living in California for 23 years I am kind of conditioned that you don't go outside when it rains. It's just a California thing. You actually plan everything around rain. Some people won't even go to work when it rains. I can remember a zillion times when I would have plans to meet a friend for lunch and get the call in the morning, "Hey we need to reschedule, it's gonna rain." or "Hey it's raining, we have to reschedule lunch." In the south and the east people go about their life like normal in rain and snow. This is something I want to get right this fall/winter.

I have a friend who moved from California to Idaho and she wouldn't leave the house in the fall/winter because of the conditioning from living in California. She gained over 100 pounds! Ouch! So I definitely don't want that to happen to me.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I Learned About My Heating System

The most intimidating thing about moving here has been learning the different heating systems. In Louisiana and California you just flick a switch and electric heat comes out. Here it is quite different.

In Wilkes Barre we had a baseboard heating system. Baseboard hot water heating systems work on the principle that heat rises. The "radiators" that bring warmth into the room are therefore installed low to the floor, typically along the baseboard. Water is heated in a boiler tank in the basement just as water is heated by gas, oil or electricity in a system separate from the water heater that supplies the plumbing system. The water is then pumped through the pipes in the baseboard.

Here in Bloomsburg we have a steam heating system, which uses steam generated from a boiler to heat the house through pipes to radiators in each room. Yesterday my landlord came over with the heating guy to go over how this system works with me. The picture on the blog is what I have in my basement.

Some of the homes here have oil and coal heating systems. Those are super intimidating to me.

Across the street from me, my neighbors live in a giant 2 story purple house. Yep, a purple house. I was invited over the other night and they gave me the grand tour. The ceilings are 16 feet high. The house is huge to say the least. They are a retired couple from up-state New York who moved here 6 years ago. Neither has any children. They just have 3 cats. They showed me their "movie room". I was told that the "movie room" is the room that they live in during the winter months as it is the only room that they heat. I guess it makes sense not to heat an entire mega mansion when there are only 2 people. But then I wonder, How much sense is it for 2 people to live in such a big house when you can really only afford to live in one room during the winter months? I estimate that their home is at least, if not more, 4,000 sq. ft.

Today it was 55 degrees with a 10 mile an hour wind... a bit windy and cool. Everyone keeps staying that the weather here gets ugly in November. I am in a "wait and see"mode.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Hiking in PA

This is the month that the tourist come to Pennsylvania. The leaves are changing and it is really something to see.

The weather is fantastic! Around 60 degrees during the day and 40 degrees at night. Sweater weather!

A client told me it was 115 degrees in the San Fernando Valley last week. The San Fernando Valley is where Woodland Hills is located. Where I use to live.

And once again, California is burning. Big fires in the San Bernardino area.

This past weekend was a hiking weekend for me. My special guy and I went to the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. Bet you didn't even know that existed, well neither did I. The picture in this post of of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. It is situated in approximately 160,000 acres. Their are a couple of trails and bike path. It's really something to see.

I also went hiking in Ravensburg State Park. It is on 78 acres of beautiful wooded mountains.

Hiking is excellent exercise. During my lifetime I have spent too many hours in a gym. It's time for me to get my exercise in the outdoors where I can breath clean air and see real beauty.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

I Went to the Bloomsburg Fair

You would think by now I would be use to the big difference living in Pennsylvania is versus living in California. But I am still amazed.

Last night we walked to the Bloomsburg Fair and we paid our money and walked right in. I was shocked. I didn't have to walk through a metal detector, have my purse looked in or get scanned with a wand. I just walked right in.

Then I realized, Los Angeles is on the map for a terrorist attack, Bloomsburg isn't. No matter where you go in Los Angeles, the county fair, a Dodger baseball game, an amusement park, it doesn't matter. You will go through a metal detector, have your bags checked and get scanned with a wand.

A few years ago I attended Santa Monica Community College and they installed metal detectors going into each building. I had a metal ruler because I was taking a drafting class and I would have to arrive to class 15 minutes earlier just to go through the door. What a pain that was.

Every court house in California has the same thing. In March of this year I had to go to the court house and they wouldn't let me in because I had a metal pad lock (that I used for my locker at the gym) in my purse. I had to walk back to my car and leave the pad lock there before I could get in the court house. I have to tell you... this shit is not normal. However, the people in Los Angeles are so accustom to it... and so busy... that they just can't see the forest for the trees.

I feel free here. Free to come and go without having to be patted down.


Thursday, October 1, 2009


I usually get the Christmas holiday feeling around August. I know it sounds weird but there is a very good reason.

In my early 20's my best friend, Judy, and I would do our Christmas shopping around September. Both of us hate the idea of being in a retail store in the month of December. In New Orleans the weather can be cold and rainy during the holiday time. Combined with rude, anxious people to hoot. So she and I would get together year after year and do our holiday shopping.

Judy went to Texas and I went to California. However, hating the holiday season rush hasn't changed. Some years I get it done by September 1st. Some years I slip and don't get it done until October 1st. Since 90% of what I give needs to be mailed, I just wrap it, box it up and stick the boxes by the front door with a post-it on when it needs to be mailed.

Then the holiday season shows up and I can cozy up on the couch with a good book, bake cookies or whatever and I don't have to go out and fight the retail madness.

I am happy to report that this year's gift giving is all done, wrapped and sitting at the door ready to be mailed.