Blog :: 03-2009

Confessions of a Cable News Adict

Ok, I admit it, I watch too much tv---especially cable news.I have to turn it on first thing in the morning to make sure that the world is still ok before I can do anything else. (This is post 911 syndrome). I have to check in sporadically throughout the day. And I love the analyst shows in the evening when I'm making dinner. I also have satellite radio and I only listen to music when my kids are in the car. Otherwise I'm switching between CNBC, Fox News, and CNN (to make sure I have all my bases covered.)I get pissed when people are fanatic or irrational on either side. I hate politicians fromboth sides equally and passionately, yet still I have to know what mockery Barney Frank is up to, or what ridiculous conspiracy the Republicans are trying to stir up. My liberal friends think I'm too conservative and my conservative friends think I'm too liberal. Which tells me that they are all nuts and I'm clearly the center rational realist. Sometimes, I talk back to the tv or the care radio, in an effort to set them straight. As if that makes a difference. As I'm about in the middle politically (and I'm a Libra) I always have to find the balanced argument in the middle somewhere.I literally am obsessed with knowing everything that is going on at all times, and then I analyze it all in my head and have debates with myself about how I would work it all out, if only anyone would listen to me!

I find that I am actually astonished when I'm talking to someone at a dinner party or waiting in line at Martys, or in PA meeting at school and a topic of the day comes up and Irealize this person eyes are glazing over, theydon't know whats going on. I know the topic has been a top news item for days, I think to myself, what planet do they live on? How do they not know this crucial bit of information? Then it occurs to me that some people have a life withoutmy painful addiction. They are the lucky ones, content to check in once a week with the NYTimes, and leave it at that. Its a happier life, I'm quite sure.

We recently went away to Mexico for Spring Break. While there I made a commitment to only check my blackberry and phone messages 3 times a day.I watched no news shows.I went through complete withdrawl, and with the amount of Margaritas Iwas drinking, I barelynoticed the body shakes. Its been so depressing lately to be addicted to news that I really needed a break. In fact, one day my husband said "the market is rallying huge, up 400 points!" I covered my ears and said "shhh, I don't want to hear any of it!" I didn't even want the good news, just total news blackout. So of course like any addict after withdrawl, I promised that I was going to watch less cable news when I got back.I don't really need to have all the information to be able to debate any political argument at any second do I? Do I really need to know that the marketopened down 100 then down 149 then down 179 before the rally at the close to end up down 63? I mean wouldn't then end number just be enough? (This part stems from my former Wall St career as an equity trader with CNBC on all day and 5 computers on my desk with access to every possible news feed available). Oh, here is another confession, I still would say that my best dreams are when I a reliving incredible moments on the trading desk where everything is going my way and I'm making a fortune, and my worst nightmares are when the opposite is occurring (I'm long AIG and its blowing up, can't get out, aghhh!) Old habits die hard...

Anyway, I tried to stay off the juice for a few days after I returned from Mexico. The constant stress on knowing everything going on is reeking havoc on my shoulders and my back, constant pain, lots of Aleve (that is becoming a secondary addiction). However, I am now coming forward to tell you that my kids are in bed, that I watched Kudlow while I did the dishes and that CNBC is on in my office while I write. Spring Break seems so far away....I'm off the wagon.


  1. Veronica on

    Cable news is a good thing, bad news scenario. While knowing what is going on minute-by-minute keeps you “nimble;” it also can increase your anxiety. Ah, I long for the lazy, hazy days of summer when smelling that early morning dew, seeing the flowers opening to the sun, and having nothing planned but breathing deeply is all I needed to start my day!

    Notable Price Reductions

    Ihave had several recent and notable price reductions:


    This incredible house on 36 acres in Roxbury has been reduced again, from an initial offering price of $3.5mil down to $2,295,000. Now that's a deal! See more info on my website.

    Fast Ext

    This unique stone house has been reduced from $1mil down to $825,000! Bring an offer!

    Winstonhunter 001

    This Winston/Hunter masterpiece has been reduced from $2.75mil to $2,195,000. Pristine, move right in condition and furniture avail separately.

    Stuff the Truck Success

    Last weekend the top producing agents at Raveis got together and did a county wide campaign to fill the coffers at our local food banks. During these trying times, there are many in the area who are struggling to put a hot meal on the table each night. We organized at 5 area super markets and not only did we stuff our big truck, but had many car loads on top of that! I was stationed at theWashington Market and I was overwhelmed by people's kindness. We were only ignored by a handful of people during our 4 hour stint! It was nice to catch up with many of my neighbors as well. We brought the donations to the Litchfield and New Milford food Banks. They were truly overwhelmed by YOUR generosity! We will be doing another one in the Fall and I will blog about it before hand next time.

    Group Shot B

    Public Open Houses

    To date, public open houses have not been common practice in this area. However, Raveis has such good luck with them in Fairfield County thatweare making a big push to make them more popular in Litchfield County. I will be doing public open housesonce or twice a month for the foreseeable future. They will be held on Saturday or Sundays (depending on my schedule) and will go from 1-4pm. I did one at my listing at Tophet Rd a few weeks ago and had many nice neighbors stop by for a look. One said he had a friend who might be interested and asked me to e-mail him info. We must continue to think creatively and outside of the box in this tough market. On Sunday April 5th I will do an open house 267 Baldwin Hill Rd, in Washington.On April 19th I will be at 2 Atchison Cove Rd in Sherman from 1-4 and on April 26th at 123 Painter Ridge Rd in Washington. Please check my website for updated info about open houses.We look forward to seeing you!

    267 Baldwin Hill Rd Washington $825,000April 5th 1-4pm

    Fast Ext

    2 Atchison Cove Rd Sherman $1,590,000 Sunday April 19th 1-4pm


    Views from 123 Painter Hill Rd, Washington Sunday April 26th 1-4pm $795,000








    My Favorite Local Blogs

    Since I have started my Blog, I have new found respect for bloggers. Its a lot of work! Here are some of my favorite local blogs. Scroll through their posts as I find they often write great stories our towns which really give a local's perspective and summarize the character of our area perfectly. All these women are noted authors and I am proud and lucky to call them friends.I love the ones about Ann taking her horse out for a ride in our beautiful countryside, or Susanna going for her daily ritual of walking through the land trust trails near herr house. Their blogs are fascinating, check them out.

    Greyledge Farm Beef

    Everyone must give the beef at Greyledge Farm a try. Its all natural grain fed pure black angus beef, grown right here in Bridgewater CT by the fantastic Fitzgerald family! Just go one their website at and support our local farms! They will ship your order right to you.

    Easy Green Ideas for Your Home

    If you are building or planning any renovations to your home consider these ideas:

    If you are building new, consider geo thermal heat. Contact: Nicole Murphy Connecticut Wells (203) 266-5272

    Low VOC paint is an easy and convenient thing to do and you will avoidd all the horrible chemical smells of a new paint job!

    Use no formaldehyde insulation.

    Look into installing a Nature 2system on your pool It reduces the amount of chlorine you have to put in. I have one and love it. It was installed by my pool guy Phil Dobson 860-355-8547. Chlorine is really horrible for you!

    I would not change your light bulbs to those florescent ones. I have read articles about them causing cancer???!!!

    USA Today Excerpts

    USA Today March 2009:

    Connecticut's Litchfield County is nothing like New York City and that is why it has become a popular second-home destination.

    Full of New England charm, Litchfield County has small towns and very little large-scale development. The main attraction is natural beauty; National Geographic Traveler magazine named it one of the nation's best places for a scenic drive. "Litchfield Hills has 16 vineyards, 29 state parks and forests, 17 nature centers and two rivers for canoeing and fly fishing,"

    Long home to writers and artists, Litchfield is teeming with cultural offerings. Two nationally known dance companies, Pilobolus and MOMIX, are based here, plus a chamber music center, summer stock theater, music festivals, several museums and numerous antique and art galleries. There are even a number of cooking schools.

    Litchfield borders Massachusetts and New York. The most popular second-home region is the county's mountainous northwest, where the Berkshire hills include the famous Appalachian Trail hiking route. There are also waterfront homes on 10 large lakes there. Lakefront property is the priciest, and the other premium is on privacy: Homes on less-traveled and dead-end roads are more desirable.

    Conde Nast Traveler Article Excerpts

    Conde Nast Traveler March 2009:

    The northwestern corner of Connecticut has, over recent years, developed country living into a high art. My visit chez Minx showed off the area's qualities at their best: simple beauty, sophisticated creature comforts, lack of pretension, fertile land. This is not to say that, should you be willing to let yourself go, you couldn't go broke exploring the possibilities for conspicuous indulgence, from ballooning to grass-fed beef. But the initial and ultimate seduction is in the landscape itselfviews over the high hills into New York State, and across the gentle rolling green meadows dotted with sturdy black steer.

    Litchfield County is both rural and bourgeois, and its attendant pleasures are a mix of high and low: Millionaires' Row just north of Sharon and manure on your boots; mosquitoes, poison ivy, and blackberries in the backyard as well as handmade Belgian chocolates; working-class Torrington and twee Litchfield; well-chosen antiques and the junk shops just outside town; over-the-top inns and everyday farms. By car, this corner of the world seems relatively compact; it takes no longer than a half hour to get from one town to the next and frequently less. The roads, even the main highways that make a triangle through the arearoutes 7, 202, and 44generally have only two lanes, and they follow the contours of the land rather than the convenience of commuters. Town clusters notwithstanding, the area affords lots of privacy and quiet moments.

    And so northwest Connecticut, lavishly bucolic with hill and dale, farm and mansion, is like some fairy tale of European history, with squires and horses, fields of corn and perhaps wheat, cream and fresh eggsa tactile connection to the land experienced by gentleman and farmer. It's a barely remembered world that suggests safety, peace, and quiet, a place and time of nursery rhymes where you wouldn't be surprised to see kings picking cabbages and where drama is on the order of A. A. Milne's Alderney suggesting that His Majesty might like marmalade instead. Even if you've never been here, you can arrive and feel as though you've seen it all your life.

    In summer, the river accommodates canoeing, an activity that seemed both dignified and diverting. The Minx, who loves nothing more than a party, suggested making a day of it: We'd invite another friend along and her teens, and we'd all go have a lovely lunch afterward. What could be nicer!

    The folks at nearby Clarke Outdoors were happy to set us up. We met there a couple of days later, early in the morninga party of eight anchored by three moms. Not really knowing what to expect, we had all prepared for our own idea of what the day would bring. Some of the children wore swimsuits under warmer clothing; the Minx looked sporting in white jeans and flats.

    The Clarke people carted our group, plus three canoes, a fair distance up the Housatonic and helped us slide in. The banks of the river were thick with bushes and trees and wildflowers, with the odd grassy lawn thrown in here and there. The water was placid, the children were all terrifically competent at paddling, and their behaviorexcept for a willingness to explore the techniques and strategy of water battlewas above reproach.

    Over a few fall and winter weekends, we explored the extravagant local lowland inns instead. We took ourselves to the Mayflower Inn, a paean to upholstered luxury Connecticut style. Adrianna Mnuchin, who rebuilt the hundred-year-old property fifteen years ago, has a nose for what rich ladies like; today, the inn also has an excellent spa, where I was patted and washed and moisturized into an overheated swoon, only to be swaddled in infant-soft chenille blankets on a white chaise longue to recuperate. Through an enormous picture window, I could see the lawn, dusted with ice crystals, sloping down to the pond. Everything was muted grays and brownsthe water, the bracken, the frozen ashy brown limbs of the treesthe view hypnotic. I could hear the loons hooting in the distance.

    On another very cold weekendthe ground covered with a confectioner's dusting of sugary snow, the air sharp and brittle enough to sting, the atmosphere clear for miles, sunny and bright bluewe stayed at Winvian, in Morris, a haute if strange fantasy of playtime for grown-ups. Each cabin is an architectural folly on a Connecticut themefrom Skull and Bones to Camping to Treehouse. When we stepped into our cottage, a five-star version of a trapper's cabin called Beaver Lodge, the Minx shrieked, "A real fireplace!" and other such cries that showed her appreciation. As we indulged in the homemade petits fours, lay in bed oohing and aahing over the magnificent actual beaver's den embedded in the ceiling and the flat-screen TV (which at the push of a button rose up out of a sideboard), and admired the feel on our feet of the heated floor of river stones in the bath, the image of eighteenth-century French aristocracy playacting the virtues of the simple life flitted through my head.

    Preparing your House for a Sale: 5 Unbreakable Rules

    Brokers will often give you a list of things that you should do to get your house ready for a sale. Many will have suggestions printed up in glossy brochures. However, these lists are usually way too general and quite frankely, kind. Even I won't saymany of thethings belowdirectly to my clients, everyone is sooooo sensitive. I'm going to tell you all the stuff that we brokers discuss behind your backs. So here is the real list thatRealtors really wish you would listen too:

    1) Pets. Remove all animals for showings. Some buyers are allergic, and despite your love for Fido (I know he is the cutest)having him jumping all over people and barking on entering freaks a lot of people out. Its not welcoming. I actually had a showing last week where the dog followed us around the entire time and had such bad gas that it was absolutely humiliating and the buyer could not wait to get out of there. I had another time where the client had their dog in the back of their car and the owners dog came running our barking agressively and jumped on my client's car and scratched the heck out of it! Last month a dog howled for the first 15 minutes of the showing and the buyers couldn't hear a thing I was saying. Needless to say, none of these buyers were interested in these houses.I have had numerous experiences trying to corall cats that aren't supposed to get out, but are sneaky! I love cats, but many do not, and some are phobic about cats and/or dogs. Oneowner of a multy million dollar house left a pet white rat out on the kitchen counter. My clients ran out of there! And by all means, don't leave a litter box anywhere it can be seenandit has to have a cover on it. Don't give a buyer any reason to feel uneasy at your house, when you are trying to get them to fall in love!

    2)LIght. Remove all frilly curtains, espcially those containing any lace or any floral patterns from the 1980s. All curtains, shades, blinds, shutters, etc should be opened all the way for showings, and ALL lights should be on. Thats right, there is nothing worse than walking into a dark house. Some people don't like a lot of lights on, or claim the house is bright enough and its a sunny day. But when you are selling your house, its not about you anymore. Trust me, ALL lights need to be on, any time, any house. Of course you also need to replace all the burnt out lightbulbs too!The brokercan turn off lights as we leave, but its difficilt to run around and turn them on before your clients get to a room and it distracts from discussing the positive qualities of the house.

    3) Clutter. Remove personal collections, tabletops should be mostly clear with just a few acent items. The point is to de-clutter so buyers are not focusing on your items and on the house. This is very important, and some of the chicest hosues are guilty of having WAY too much stuff out. Simplifiy, so that you don't offend any age group. Younger buyers ( by that I mean under 45, which is a big audience in most areas) like a more stream lined modern look and will be offended by over accessorized properties. I get this comment ALL the time! The last thing you want when leaving a house is someone commenting negitively on the accessories. I'm not selling the chotkees but sometimes there are so many, that is all people can focus on. You don't need to take out all your family photos, but if you have more than 15 in your house, that is probably too many.

    4) Plants. Remove ALLdried flowers, bowls of potpourii, silk flowers, faux plants.Sorry, but these all went out in the 80s. They will make the best of houses look dated. Well cared for, heathly looking plants look great, but you would be surprised how many people still have their dead pointseetias out in June! Raged, spiny plants that have been barely hanging on for years (or sometimes decades) should be aremoved and allowed to pass away with dignity (or given to your mother in law).

    5) Fragrence. By all means,do not light scented candles!Remove all plug in air fresheners. Do not spray air fresheners. The best smell is the smell of nothing, a clean house. If need be, open doors for a while before showings to air the house out. I can not tell you how many buyers have rushed through houses just trying desperatelyto get away from some horrible smelling candle.

    So do yourself a favor and do these things now, don't make excuses to your broker about the reasons why you are the exception to this rule (your dog is the best, your candles are high end, your silk flowers are not really that dusty, etc). There are NO exceptions to these rules. Its hard enough to sell your house right now, make your broker's job as easy as possible.

    Good luck.