Back in Florida

June 11, 2007

Just a short post to let family and friends know that we are back in Ft. Lauderdale at our little camp cottage with no cable TV and no high speed access.  A huge stack of books and magazines will take the place of TV for the next few weeks (yea!) And blogging might be slower with dial up and with less photos… But we are here, back in the big city!

Within a mile from us here is some of the best shopping anywhere. Giants versions of big box books sellers complete with fancy coffee shops, a football field sized Target, Pier One and import stores from all over the world, the trendy and upscale Galleria Mall, no less than a dozen warehouse type furniture stores, luxury auto dealers, the BEST whole and health food markets, hundreds of unusual boutiques and MUCH MORE are nearby. 

If we are not in the mood for shopping (or window shopping), the restaurants are amazing and the beach is only two miles away. 

Mostly, I love it here because of the diversity of the people.  An international city really, with folks here from literally every part of the globe.  Yet our city neighborhood of mid-century ranchers and newer city townhomes is friendly and has it’s own small town feel.  Our good friends live across the street, a nice Mexican family has moved in the rental house next door, John (a sweet beer drinkin’ Irishman) lives in the hood as does the electrician native that just put the addition on his home down the street.

Anyway, sorry for shortage of recent posts. Hopefully the creative energy of the big city will inspire us with loads of blogging material. Stay tuned!

Warm wishes. Anita


Commenting on Comments

June 1, 2007

At the request of my non-commenting public (you know who you are), and at the risk of being a blogger blogging about my blog, I am going to break it down!

1. Where:

At the end of this little article (called a post) you will see “no comments”.  Click on “no comments” and you can be the first to comment on this post. And you say you have never been first at anything!

2.  How:

If you see “1 comment” or “2 comments”, or “347,521 comments” at the end of the post, you may click there to see all the comments already made about that particular post plus a space for you to add your comment, which will be number 2, 3, or 347,522 (Rarely get this many… hehe).

3.  Why:

Because my fellow bloggers and I want to know what you think… just that you are there, sharing the blogoshere with us. You can further our discussion, add your own wisdom, correct us when we are wrong, praise us when we are insightful or entertaining. Besides, every comment puts a gem in my bloggger crown.

4.  When:

Everytime you visit if you wish. I have fixed it up with WordPress (they make this VERY easy) that you do not have to register with wordpress in order to leave a comment. So GET BUSY!

5. Who:

YOU! And don’t worry about spam from WordPress. They hate the junk and go out of their way to eliminate it.  I have been working with them for 5 months now and I have suffer no ills (Bugs, viruses, bad manners, etc.).

Oh and one more thing, if your comments are naughty I can quietly eliminate them from public view on my site. Just another thoughtful feature on wordpress. So leave me a comment, but play nice!

Warm wishes until next time.


Down Town Rehabbing

May 29, 2007


We are rehabbers. My Dad taught us about real estate and helped me buy my first property… a triplex at auction purchased for $13,000. We rehabbed it, rented it, my mom help manage it and we later sold it for $30,000.

Liza’s favorite rehab was an old victorian in a somewhat questionable neighborhood that was our residence for 18 months. That turn-of-the-century, friendly spirit inhabited, cottage netted us enough profit to make our big relocation to Key West where even in the late 80’s it was difficult to find any kind of little cottage in the historic district for less than $100,000. But after 2 years of looking, we found one and purchased it for $95,000. Three thousand of our own money and a second of $17,000 held by the desparate sellers. Within two years we were able to refinance at better rates and pay off the seller. Fifteen years later we sold this property for over 6 times what we paid for it.  Dad, you were right. The harder you work the luckier you get!

Because property had gotten so expensive in Key West, we went on the week-ends to Ft. Lauderdale (where we have dear friends) and purchased another triplex, fixed it up, rented it, and sold it less than 2 years later for a significant profit. I love real estate. 

Now we are back to my hometown. For several years we have been watching our downtown area deteriorate as the mall, strip shopping centers and the suburbs developed. But as many small towns across America, our little town’s city center is enjoying somewhat of a renaissance. The wonderful old historic buildings are catching the eye of young investors, the train station is being renovated, local musicians play in open air gathering spots and new shops are opening.

When we decided to come back to East Tennessee (at least part-time), we decided we wanted to be a part of the refurbishing of our downtown. So we purchased the commercial building pictured above. It was built in 1905. Local historians report that it was first utilized as doctors offices.

In the fifties, a group of attorney’s occupied the upper floor while various retail businesses occupied the two small storefronts downstairs. When we first saw the upstairs with the huge skylights, and a room with 60 bookshelves built-in (law library) we knew we had found a new project and home. 

In the eighties, the upstairs was rented by a local radio station. Evidence of this still exists as one bedroom door is labled “studio A, Control room”. We purchased this building last year and have renovated the building with new heating/cooling systems, new wiring, new wood floors, new paint, and new plumbing. We made “studio B, Production” into a roomy and modern kitchen.

We like our downtown loft even with the 25 step walk-up and the parking challenges. We miss a yard and a garage, but are proud of our work and our contribution to preserving something historic and worthy. With the interior almost complete we are now working on the exterior… well, actually, Dave the painter guy is. In Liza’s photo above, Dave is pressure washing in preparation for paint.

Love the idea of taking something old or somewhat forgotten and giving it new life cycle. Our building will be starting over. Starting over as our new home in the city.

Warm wishes.


RV Dreaming

May 24, 2007



The good folks at GoRVing.com have some pretty compelling arguments for the road trip Liza and I are contemplating:

“What will you discover when you go RVing? That boredom can’t find you if it doesn’t know where to look. (That sounds GOOD!)

There’s taking a trip from Point A to Point B. And then there’s RVing. Recreation vehicles give you more control,convenience and comfort than other forms of travel. With an RV, you can hit the road more often for longer periods, for less money.

The reasons you go RVing are the same reasons you take any vacation. To get a break from the daily routine. To be with family and friends. To rest. To relax. To see new places. To try new things.

But the difference between RVing and other types of vacations is that RVing allows you to truly achieve all those goals – and more.

With RVing, there are no flights to catch. No security hassles. No long lines or lost luggage. No hauling heavy bags in or out of costly hotel rooms. No expensive, unhealthy food. No strange bedrooms, bathrooms or kitchens.” (This part is most interesting to Liza, since she tends to be a bit of a germaphobe.)

According to a study released by the University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center, the U.S. ownership of recreation vehicles (RVs) has reached record levels in the past couple of years. One in every 12 vehicle owning households in the U.S. owns an RV (amazing!), representing approximately 8 million RV households, a growth of a stunning 58% since 1980.

RV demographics include:
1. Typically RVers travel 4500 miles annually on excursions that total 28 to 35 days annually.
2. Americans in the age group of 35-to-54 year are keener on owning an RV of their own.
3. The typical RV owner is age 49, married, owns a home and has an annual household income of $68,000.”

So we are wondering if we will fit in with these adventure loving pavement travelers? Or if that matters.  We wonder if our summer should involve the purchase of an RV? Or with that number of RVs on the roads, maybe a used one? Wondering too about cost of fuel, security… how will I blog?

HOW WILL I BLOG!  Hmm. How do I get hi speed access in a mobile RV? I feel a new technology learning curve approaching.  This BBB (boomer baby blogger) might have to gear up  for starting over with an RV and a road trip.  Maybe.

Or maybe I’m just RV dreaming!

Best wishes.

(Photo thanks to Accent Alaska and The Voice of Eye.)


Hometown Graduation

May 22, 2007



The Stone Castle has played host to the Tennessee High Vikings for over 70 years. With some of my own dear granddad’s labor, the atheletes there still, today, have a terrific stadium, a one-of-a-kind historic sports palace known as the Stone Castle.

Constructed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the New Deal, the Stone Castle is currently still in use. This stadium is a reminder of the post-World War II era, another time when high school football received top billing around the state.

Situated on the campus of Tennessee High School in Bristol, the Stone Castle Stadium opened on October 8, 1936. First known as the Bristol Municipal Stadium, the Stone Castle is constructed of coarse rubble limestone from another WPA project at nearby Beaver Creek, the stadium seats approximately 6,000 and features most of the original Medieval Gothic details. Its unique corner towers, arched entries, and crenellated walls clearly make the Stone Castle the most architecturally significant stadium in Tennessee.

Seeing the Stone Castle again makes me remember my own years of high school and MY senior year. Our football team was state champ that year, I ironed my hair to make it straight and my favorite music was soul plus Neil and Eric, Bette and Elton. (Still is.) It was an exciting time. 

My grandad help build it, my brother was a starting football player within it’s stone walls, and now my keeper nephew just graduated. MVP. Soccer. Honor Society. Good Person.

Only nephew, class 2007, is product of his own hard work plus effective and loving parents, caring grandparents, hardworking great grands, and so far back that records are scarce being near the beginning of our very country.  So many generations choosing these very hills and valleys for their home.

So much of which to be proud. Like being hugged by your roots. And now only nephew will be starting over. Starting over as a graduate from a castle in Tennessee where the spirits of generations before him will forever be his support.







PS. Nephew’s graduation presents included (among others) the newest Blackberry and a hand made quilt from his grandmother (my mom). Appropriate mixture of the old and the new technology!

Warm wishes until next post!


Rebel Barn, Pride or Hate?

May 15, 2007


My Liza came home with this disturbing photo today.  What is this rebel flag suppose to be saying to us?  Is it “southern pride” or is it “state’s rights” or is it some kind of backward racial comment made by someone clearly still residing in another time?

As a white female boomer born in the south, I am very proud of most things southern. Love my Mama and my family and my southern musical heritage. Love Tennessee Pride sausage gravy and homemade biscuits almost as much as a nice thick authentic southern accent. I call everyone “Y’all”. I love the climate: the four seasons of the Applalachian mountains, the tropical flavor of South Florida, the historical architecture of Savannah and the diversity of New Orleans and Atlanta. And I like the weather too.

I decided a long time ago that I would travel everywhere, but would not reside west of the Mississippi River nor north of Virginia. I am a southern girl. This doesn’t mean I am proud of every page of my southern history book.

Having said that, I am also a product of the sixties. I beleived Mr. King. Racial bigotry is the same to me as any other hate based thinking involving discrimination. Whether against women, gays, minority races, or religious/secular groups, it is all the same. I have always beleived that a lack of mutal respect for other humans and/or a lack of education must be behind this kind of narrow (if you are not like me then you must be wrong) thinking.

I am a product of Key West’s ONE HUMAN FAMILY philosophy.

So what does this rebel flag emblem suppose to mean to me? Or should it exist at all?


10 Things To Do Without Technology

May 9, 2007


Know anyone that still uses one of these?

My Liza came home with this shot in her camera and we both giggled at this old technology.  What did we ever do before cell phones, ipods, computers, video games, and the like?  Here is a list of 10 things we could still do without any of our modern technological advances:

1. Visit a library for the aroma of knowledge and read a book.

2. Stroll through a park or garden. Or plant your own garden.

3. Take a bubble bath, complete with candles and music. (Transitor radio)

4. Visit that friend you know needs you. Just listen.

5. Study the stars on a cloudless night.

6. Kiss someone. Pass out hugs.

7. Play with your pet. Or your guitar. OK just sing!

8. Be still. Meditate. Nap.

9. Write a letter. (Remember, with pen and paper?)

10. Count your blessings.

Just a little reminder of simpler times. What else would you add to my list of technology exempt activities?

Warm wishes. anitamorrell.wordpress.com