Friday, November 9, 2018

Ode to our Troops, Thank you to Our Vets and Theater for All Ages

Before I begin this post,  I want to say thank you to our Veteran's.  This coming Monday we will be celebrating Veteran's Day across the country.  Last night I had the great privilege of attending the Heatherwood Follies which was produced to coincide with this celebration, as a musical revue performed by members of the an independent senior living residence on Cape Cod.  Invited by a cousin who was making her theatrical debut at around age 70,  it was an invitation I found hard to refuse.  I fortunately arrived early as there was not an empty seat in the house.  

Although I did not know what to expect,  I found this to be quite an enjoyable event.  The musical revue was put together by fellow resident Dorothy Strauss, who began her career as a dancer at age 5 and performed professionally throughout her life.  She ran the Cape Cod Conservatory Dance Program from 1994-retirement in 2009. She has put together a "follies' show for this community for the past 4 years and had a wide range of participants ranging from singers, dancers, musicians and even a bit of stand-up comedy in a program piece called "Laughter is the Best Medicine.".  (See video below for the laughter part)


Dorothy spent many years performing for the USO Troops and tied this into the closing number of the show when she had the ensemble sing songs from each branch of the armed services including the Air Force, Army, Marine Corp, and Navy.  She invited members of each group in the audience to stand up and be recognized.  All audience members were gleefully singing and shared a sense of pride and Patriotism in a very positive light.  

The show was quite impressive.  As someone who has been involved with community theater much of my adult life it was such a heartwarming opportunity to experience the level of comrade that was built by this production.  It was great to give each stage member a moment to shine in front of an audience.  This age group often has a lot to say but aren't always recognized.  They proudly shared their talents and had a unique opportunity to be a part of a venue amongst peers.   A few, in particular had great voices and sang well known Broadway show tunes from South Pacific and The Music Man.  One gentlemen sang an old tune from the days of Al Jolson.   

Perhaps the biggest thing I got out of the show was the importance of community theater for all age groups.   The show was close to two hours long but moved constantly.  My cousin had been rehearsing since August.  I spoke to a few other participants after the show and they all said this was one of the best things they had done since moving to this residence.   They looked forward with pride to their weekly rehearsals and were so excited to be a part of the "Follies".  My cousin had a huge grin throughout the show and it made my drive down to see it SO worthwhile.  

Please listen to the video below and remember to thank those who served before us to bring us the freedoms we cherish today. Happy Veteran's Day.  


Wendy is a realtor with Coldwell Banker Needham and also works on the lower Cape.  She has her SRES and enjoys working with this age group to help them with downsizing and finding property for the next phase of their search.  For more info click here

Thursday, November 8, 2018

How to find your "hygge" space

Let's face it, we all need a place where we can chill out.  Do you have a space where you can where your pj's or old sweatpants to be comfortable and not care how you look?   It is recommended to have a separate area outside of your sleeping space, where you can relax, read and just get peace after a busy day.  The loft area in my home is my favorite room.  Just located outside my bedroom there is a comfortable sofa and soft lighting.  I often spend my wake time reading there before I retire to sleep.   There is no tv or social media and I can get away from all the hype for a wind down.

Spaces like this are becoming a popular trend for today's homeowners.  A recent article in Realtor Magazine cites the benefits of this feature.  It is a good idea to have a space where you can be cozy and comfortable with your family members or closest friends and not have to worry about entertaining outside guests.  In Danish terms this concept can be defined as hygge which may explain why Danes are considered the happiest people in the world.

To create your own "hygge" space Spruce gives readers some decorating ideas for your existing home.  If you need further suggestions on how to stage a space or are considering a new place to call home,  please check out my website.

Wendy is a Realtor based in Needham and she also works on the Lower Cape Cod.  If you would like more information on Cape properties click here.


Thursday, November 1, 2018

There's no day but today for the ACA

As I walk my dog and reflect on life's issues I think of songs and lyrics that I can tie to my blog post.  Today is the first day of enrollment for 2019 for those needing to enroll or reenroll in the ACA.  The enrollment period is November 1 - December 15, 2018.  Click here for more information or to enroll. This is for health insurance for those who otherwise would be unable to afford health care.  Since the implementation of the ACA in 2010, the Federal government has imposed a tax penalty if one did not enroll in health care.  This mandate has been eliminated by the current administration and this will be the first year that it is not mandatory to enroll in a health plan.   This administration is against the ACA mandate and does not support guaranteed health care as a right to all citizens.  As of today, I have not seen any government sponsored advertisements encouraging open enrollment.  The current administration speculates enrollment will fade away but if demand remains this can't happen.

Thus it is now optional to enroll in a healthcare plan.  Short term it may seem like a benefit to young millennial's who do not want to be burdened by the expense of medical insurance.  If however one does need insurance down the road it will be more difficult and expensive to enroll if a pre-existing condition develops.  According to Cigna  if you are currently enrolled in health insurance (effective since 2010) you cannot be denied coverage when applying for new or changed healthcare benefits.  Under newer plans for new enrollees, since the mandate was eliminated this may no longer be true.  

The song that came to my mind during my walk today is "There's No Day But Today" from the Broadway musical Rent.  In the musical as the character Mimi was inflicted with illness there was no day like this to live life to its fullest. If you are young and healthy there is no day like today to enroll and continue your health care benefits.  I encourage all readers to do their homework and enroll in a plan that will give you adequate coverage for now and into the future. There is no tomorrow without good health.  


Wendy is a realtor with Coldwell Banker Needham.  She works with buyers, sellers and some renters.  She enjoys blogging about things near and dear to her such as health and happiness.  Some of her favorite pastimes include walking her dog and attending Broadway musicals.  




Lyrics:
There's only us, there's only this
Forget regret, or life is your's to miss
No other path, no other way
No day but today
There's only us, only tonight
We must let go to know what's right
No other road, No other way
No day but today
I can't control my destiny
I trust my soul, my only goal
Is just to be
There's only now, there's only here
Give in to love or live in fear
No other path, No other way
No day but today
There's only us, There's only this
Forget regret, or life is your's to miss
No other road, no other way 
No day but today
No day but today
(No day but today)
No day but today
(No day but today)
No day but today
(No day but today)
No day but today

Songwriters: Jonathan D. Larson
No Day But Today lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group



Time to Speak Up-This is no longer Mr. Roger's Neighborhood



I began this post last week and have updated it several times. I guess I have been reluctant to post it after watching the events against more liberal voices unfold over the past few weeks . Although I haven't been a victim directly we are all victims of hate. If we are afraid to speak up though we are in effect being complicit to that which we are afraid to speak out against.

I am scared to live in this country right now and it is not because of foreign terrorists or caravans of immigrants crossing our borders, it is because the president said he was a "Nationalist" at a recent campaign rally.  It is due to the rise of racism, hate and anti-semitism in the past few years. As a new update I am adding an article in today's NYT (Sat 11/3 about the rise of the white nationalist movement.

By Merriam Webster's definition a nationalist historically was someone who defended the national interest of one's country and wanted to maintain its independence, However since WWI and WWII it has taken on new meaning for dangerous ideologies. A "Nationalist" today is someone who supports the behavior of the far right extremists who are violent to anyone who they are xenophobic about.  

The president raises this fear every time he speaks or tweets. His base is reflected by the above image on the left that riled up the vitriolic hate in Charlottesville last year. The image on the right symbolizes freedom. I choose the right torch.


My fear elevated last week when Cesar Say, an avid Trump supporter, the pipe bomber  terrorized 14 more outspoken liberals, who have, in free speech disagreed with the views of this president by mailing each a package that fortunately never exploded. It reached an all time high when the Jewish community experienced the worst assault in US history as Robert Bowers elevated whistleblowing of antisemitism when he shot and killed eleven innocent people at at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.  The shooter chose this target as he blamed HIAS for bringing in immigrants to "kill his people".


We are living in dangerous times. The threats that seem to be causing the most damage are not global terrorism or those entering our country legally or illegally from other countries. Our biggest threat is divisiveness and in-grown hate caused by leadership who enjoy capitalizing on promoting xenophobia.  The people I am most afraid of look just like me. They can be my neighbors, co-workers or anyone sitting next to me on a bus. I wouldn't know by physical inspection.  I now live in constant unidentifiable fear.

In a prior blog, I wrote about the positive culture promoted by Fred Rogers and encourage you to read it. Ironically, the recent shooting incident took place in his neighborhood of Squirrel Hill. He was a conservative forward thinker who encouraged positive collaboration. If we can not work together we cannot survive as a country.

The election next Tuesday is extremely important. Without flipping the house there will be no system of checks and balances. There is no conversation period. The vitriolic and far right xenophobic policies of this president are able to spread and further divide us. Now is the time to speak up. I want to live in a place where I feel safe to write a blog and be able to pray at Shabbat services at my synagogue. I do not want to walk down my street in fear of being a victim to a neighbor who has a different perspective from me. Don't we all want the same? If you really do care about your country say and do something about it. Please make your voice heard and demand change. The election in November 6.

Wendy is a realtor in the Metrowest Boston area. The above post reflects her personal viewpoints only. If you would like to learn more about Wendy as a realtor please check out her website www.wendybcb.com.


Friday, October 19, 2018

A tribute to my parents, voting and a hope for the future

  

Last week I went to visit my parents grave and thought about how they would both roll over if they were witness to our country today.  Although Carol King wrote the song "I Feel The Earth Move" to reconcile her failing marriage,  the song came to mind during this time.  It seems that much of the societal norms we grew up with are crumbling around us.   Since our Dad passed 5 years ago this week and Mom a little over three years ago, my brother and I have been trying to reconcile their legacies.   

As my brother shared in his recent blog, our Dad built a museum quality collection to preserve ancient and more recent US history.  His mo was to visually share the threads of history and educate the next generations on the values of a Judeo-Christian culture and its foundation for a democratic society.  Metaphorically this can be represented by another well known Carol King song, Tapestry.  

I recently saw the movie "Life Itself" and am an avid fan of "This Is Us" both created by Dan Fogelman.   Each show features multigenerational family stories that go back and forth to allow watchers an understanding of what lies beneath the main characters.    As implied by these productions,  we all have certain milestones and events that help formulate our belief systems.  These are the building blocks that lay the foundations of who we are.  

As I come to terms with the passing of my parents, it has become increasingly important for me to reflect on life's little lessons instilled in my upbringing.  Pillars to these lessons were respect, honesty and the equal rights of free speech and voting.  I continue to admire the values embedded in me and will do all I can to to keep their beliefs alive.  Perhaps as I see the world crumbling under my feet,  I am optimistic that if enough of us vote and become more engaged with our communities we can begin to weave new tapestries.  

Wendy is a realtor with Coldwell Banker Needham.  She works with buyers and sellers on the lower Cape as well.  For more information please visit her website at www.wendybcb.com.  

Monday, September 17, 2018

May You Be Inscribed In "The Book of Life"

This is a blessing one gives to their family, friends and community members during the Jewish High Holiday period for 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and the Day of Atonement, better known as Yom Kippur.  As a child, I used to imagine a "higher being" with a very large book who would literally scribe each righteous human's name on the "keep alive list".  

During YK those of Jewish faith have a day to reflect on past behaviors and on ways to do better.  The belief is that the righteous will be rewarded with another year of a good life.  As part of the observation it is traditional to fast and cleanse soul and mind.  Tied into this ideology it is suggested to turn inward and focus on one's self in relationship to the world.  This a great time to reflect and reset your agenda.  If inscribed you will be granted a new year of opportunity.  

Even if you are a different faith in these troubling times it is important to take a break from the world around us.  Ask yourself what role you can play to make the world a better place?  Maybe you need to redefine your life priorities or improve your family time.  Maybe you need to advocate for change to things you don't like around you or volunteer to help in areas of need.  Whatever your thoughts,  I hope you are able to find your inner voice and feel inspired to push a reset button for the new year 5779.   May you be inscribed in the Book of Life.  

Wendy is a realtor with Coldwell Banker Needham.  She enjoys helping people and aspires to a better life for all around her.  If you would like to learn more visit her website at www.wendybcb.com.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Importance of Insurance







insurance







NOUN

  • 1A practice or arrangement by which a company or government agency provides a guarantee of compensation for specified loss, damage, illness, or death in return for payment of a premium.
    ‘many new borrowers take out insurance against unemployment or sickness’
As with the removal of the Affordable Care Act requirement-  Americans in many areas are no longer required to have flood insurance.  With the removal of the ACA mandate individual have the option of purchasing health insurance. Because the newer risk pool is smaller due to it being optional the premiums vary as do the coverage available for new policies.  Since the changes in the ACA , Insurance Providers may limit the product coverage one can purchase based on a history of preexisting conditions.   Therefore in the future,  if you have a preexisting condition you may find that you are unable to get an insurance policy, may have that condition excluded from coverage or may pay an extremely high premium.   

From my own experience in purchasing a new life insurance policy the proposed rates are somewhat higher than in the past, due to a blip on a medical record that has since been updated but had been reflected in my history. I am in process of contesting this but it is just one example of the increased vigilance on the insurance company end of pricing my policy.  (I am in good health).  For someone with a preexisting condition and with limited available options the costs can be very high if one does not have continuous coverage.  Some new policies can refuse coverage if you have a lapse in your health care insurance.  Keep this in mind, particularly millennials who think they are saving a few dollars.   

Likewise many American's are no longer required to have flood insurance.  Although the short term savings and that paying premiums may be a waste if there is a flood these people will have no protection and can be literally wiped out financially.  Since 2013 there has been a decline in the number of households choosing to have flood insurance.  In general we have been experiencing an increase in the number of major storms over the past few years and it looks like this will extend way in to the future.  

At the time one may feel like they are saving money by not purchasing insurance but in the long run, insurance may be the only way to help mitigate the risk associated with your financial needs.  This goes for Property & Casualty Insurance as well as Long Term Care options.  (as a reminder Flood insurance is separate from Home Owners Insurance and flood damage may not be coverage under a standard HO policy)

The unexpected happen in a second.  At that point if you don't have protection the loss is 100% yours to handle.  I do not claim to be an expert in the actuarial or insurance field but have always believed in protecting my risks.  One needs to look long term when making these decisions.  While you are healthy and don't need the insurance is the time to invest in it.  This is when the premiums are lowest for health, life and flood insurance.  

Wendy is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Needham.  She is always looking out for the best interests of her clients and loves sharing her ideas to help improve the daily life of those she cares about.  For more information check out her website or like her on FB by clicking here.  

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Full disclosure and the Kavanough hearings

As a realtor it is my obligation to disclose everything I know about a listing I  represent to potential buyers. If I do not know something, I am obligated to direct my buyers to the appropriate resources to do their own due diligence.  Under Massachusetts law this means that a Realtor is required to disclose any information they are aware of that may influence the sale of a home.  Under certain circumstances the buyer may have the right to recourse or legal action if something that should have been disclosed is withheld that could have hurt their interest in the purchase decision.

I bring this up as I do find it rather troubling that this country is in the process of appointing a new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanough to represent the legal interests of all Americans without the same due diligence.  The hearings begin today.  Documents that may be critical to making an informed decision by the committee are being withheld under this adminstrations assertion of Executive Privilege.

Shouldn't all major decisions that represent American rights be transparent.  Since when can a White House invoke executive privilege on voting on a legal body that is supposed to be a check and balance of our government to protect the rights of all it serves.  Something does not seem right here.

Comments are welcome.

Wendy is a realtor with Coldwell Banker Needham.  She takes her fiduciary responsibilities of the clients she serves very seriously and works hard for her money.  If you know of anyone looking for a property in the greater Metrowest or Lower Cape Cod area she always welcomes referrals.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

A farewell remembrance to John McCain with a Shout Out to my Dad

As I listened to Meaghan McCain, daughter of the Honorable Senator John McCain deliver her eulogy this morning I was struck mostly by her love of this great American hero as a loving father and principled patriot.  If you didn't have a chance to hear it please click here as it is worth listening to.  He lived by an honor code to defend the US Democracy and the Constititution.  He grew up in a family that served our country and although he suffered much he put his ability to serve the country above all else.

He was a proud American and believed in the strong ethical framework he grew up in and valued his entire life.  Meaghan moved me and brought me back to thinking about a similar role I shared delivering my own Dad's eulogy 5 years ago.  Both of our Dads grew up during the dark shadows of WWII and lived first hand as the country rebuilt itself to a place of strength and nobility.  The America of their lifetimes was a country of greatness.   My Dad was not a politician but he became a self taught historian and teacher of American and Jewish History and Ethics.  Both embraced their given opportunities to share the values of ethics and civil rights. The will to fight hard for these beliefs reflect the pillar and strength of both men.

Perhaps President Obama said it best when he described John McCain as a man who was very devoted, stubborn but with a great zest for life.  In another comparison both wanted to live life to its fullest and fought hard until the end.  I honor and have great respect for the Honorable Senator John McCain.  I miss my Dad greatly as well and find myself fueled daily by his passion for protecting our rights and living life to its fullest.  He too was a true Patriot and loved this country.   Sometimes my family and friends think I listen, post and pay too much attention to today's politics. I do this to honor the values these great men dedicated their lives to and to be able to pass their legacy of American values to their future.

Wendy is a realtor with Coldwell Banker in Needham.  She enjoys writing and sharing ideas near and dear to her heart. As an advocate for a better tomorrow she is a volunteer in many community organizations and an avid reader.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Tools of the Trade



When my husband and I first got married we went up to Kennebunkport Maine for a weekend vacation.   I was excited to be able to shop at the outlet stores on our way home.  My husband insisted we visit Black & Decker where he bought a set of multi-sized screwdrivers.  I was less than excited than he was.   I preferred the clothing outlets but he insisted we would need these in our newly established home.  

My father-in-law collected all types of nails and screws.  His motto was you never know when you may need to find one.   They were both always prepared for household fixes.  Through the years (married 34 ) we have accumulated many more "necessary" tools and this has benefitted "do it yourself" repairs.   

I know this has been a time and money saver and the screwdrivers have outlasted any outfits I bought that day.  Although I still prefer clothes shopping I have learned, over the years, that there are times when you DO need the "right tools".    I have put together a list of essential tools for today's homeowner below.  In addition,  yesterday's Slate had a list of "must have" DIY tools  if you are planning your next shopping venture. 

Wendy is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Needham.  She raised 3 kids who did scouting and as a volunteer leader learned the motto "Always be prepared."   She now appreciates this saying and as such is always prepared with the best tools to help her clients when buying and selling real estate.  She welcomes referrals and invites you to visit her website at www.wendybcb.com or contact her directly if you would like to learn more about local real estate in the Metrowest Boston or Mashpee/New Seabury area.  

Homeowner toolkit essentials:
Allen wrench 
Ball-end Allen wrenches
Box wrench 
Brads, bolts, screws, nails, and spikes, various sizes
Channel-lock pliers (water pump pliers)
Cordless drill/screwdriver
Curved claw hammer 
Digging spade
Duct tape 
Extendable-handle rake
Glue gun 
Hoe 
Level (2-inch with aluminum housing) Locking long-nose pliers 
Lopper
Magnetic tack hammer
Needle-nose pliers 
Open-end wrench
Pipe wrenches 
Portable tool box
Pruning shears 
Pry bar
Pump water vacuum (wet/dry vac)
Saw 
Screwdrivers, Phillips and flathead
Socket wrench with a ratchet handle
Shears with stainless steel blades
Sheet metal screws 
Sledge hammer
Spray lubricant 
Staple gun
Strap wrench 
Tape measure
Torx screwdrivers 
Trowel
Utility knife with a retractable blade
Wire cutters 
Work flashlight