Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Still Purging!

What a chore!

Not enough boxes--having to raid the local liquor store almost on a daily basis to clean out their boxes...it's the only place we've found that has not compacted or torn up the boxes.

We packed up 22 boxes of books--children's books, fiction, non-fiction, travel, spiritual/religious, coffee table picture books, cookbooks--books, books, books! The plan is to try to sell as many as we can at the garage sale and then donate the rest to the local library.

Started on the garage this past weekend--it was cold outside..we were only able to complete 1/3. Too much stuff! The garbage can was overflowing!

The garage sale pile is starting to overtake the garage!

Just had to vent--back to packing!!

Where To Go During An Earthquake

I would like to share this article with you. I received it from a friend in an email.

"Remember that stuff about hiding under a table or standing in a doorway? Well, forget it! This is a real eye opener. It could save your life someday.


My name is Doug Copp. I am the Rescue Chief and Disaster Manager of the American Rescue Team International (ARTI ), the world's most experienced rescue team. The information in this article will save lives in an earthquake.

I have crawled inside 875 collapsed buildings, worked with rescue teams from 60 countries, founded rescue teams in several countries, and I am a member of many rescue teams from many countries. I was the United Nations expert in Disaster Mitigation for two years, and have worked at every major disaster in the world since 1985, except for simultaneous disasters.

The first building I ever crawled inside of was a school in Mexico City during the 1985 earthquake. Every child was under its desk. Every child was crushed to the thickness of their bones. They could have survived by lying down next to their desks in the aisles. It was obscene -- unnecessary.

Simply stated, when buildings collapse, the weight of the ceilings falling upon the objects or furniture inside crushes these objects, leaving a space or void next to them - NOT under them. This space is what I call the 'triangle of life'. The larger the object, the stronger, the less it will compact. The less the object compacts, the larger the void, the greater the probability that the person who is using this void for safety will not be injured. The next time you watch collapsed buildings, on television, count the 'triangles' you see formed. They are everywhere. It is the most common shape, you will see, in a collapsed building.


1) Most everyone who simply 'ducks and covers' when building collapse are crushed to death. People who get under objects, like desks or cars, are crushed.

2) Cats, dogs and babies often naturally curl up in the fetal position. You should too in an earthquake. It is a natural safety/survival instinct. You can survive in a smaller void. Get next to an object, next to a sofa, next to a bed, next to a large bulky object that will compress slightly but leave a void next to it.

3) Wooden buildings are the safest type of construction to be in during an earthquake. Wood is flexible and moves with the force of the earthquake. If the wooden building does collapse, large survival voids are created. Also, the wooden building has less concentrated, crushing weight. Brick buildings will break into individual bricks. Bricks will cause many injuries but less squashed bodies than concrete slabs.

4) If you are in bed during the night and an earthquake occurs, simply roll off the bed. A safe void will exist around the bed. Hotels can achieve a much greater survival rate in earthquakes, simply by posting a sign on the back of the door of every room telling occupants to lie down on the floor, next to the bottom of the bed during an earthquake.

5) If an earthquake happens and you cannot easily escape by getting out the door or window, then lie down and curl up in the fetal position next to a sofa, or large chair.

6) Most everyone who gets under a doorway when buildings collapse is killed. How? If you stand under a doorway and the doorjamb falls forward or backward you will be crushed by the ceiling above. If the door jam falls sideways you will be cut in half by the doorway. In either case, you will be killed!

7) Never go to the stairs. The stairs have a different 'moment of frequency' (they swing separately from the main part of the building). The stairs and remainder of the building continuously bump into each other until structural failure of the stairs takes place. The people who get on stairs before they fail are chopped up by the stair treads - horribly mutilated. Even if the building doesn't collapse, stay away from the stairs. The stairs are a likely part of the building to be damaged. Even if the stairs are not collapsed by the earthquake, they may collapse later when overloaded by fleeing people. They should always be checked for safety, even when the rest of the building is not damaged.

8) Get near the outer walls of buildings or outside of them if possible - It is much better to be near the outside of the building rather than the interior. The farther inside you are from the outside perimeter of the building the greater the probability that your escape route will be blocked.

9) People inside of their vehicles are crushed when the road above falls in an earthquake and crushes their vehicles; which is exactly what happened with the slabs between the decks of the Nimitz Freeway. The victims of the San Francisco earthquake all stayed inside of their vehicles. They were all killed. They could have easily survived by getting out and sitting or lying next to their vehicles. Everyone killed would have survived if they had been able to get out of their cars and sit or lie next to them. All the crushed cars had voids 3 feet high next to them, except for the cars that had columns fall directly across them.

10) I discovered, while crawling inside of collapsed newspaper offices and other offices with a lot of paper, that paper does not compact. Large voids are found surrounding stacks of paper.

Spread the word and save someone's life...
The entire world is experiencing natural calamities so be prepared!

'We are but angels with one wing, it takes two to fly'

In 1996 we made a film, which proved my survival methodology to be correct. The Turkish Federal Government, City of Istanbul, University of Istanbul Case Productions and ARTI cooperated to film this practical, scientific test. We collapsed a school and a home with 20 mannequins inside. Ten mannequins did 'duck and cover,' and ten mannequins I used in my 'triangle of life' survival method. After the simulated earthquake collapse we crawled through the rubble and entered the building to film and document the results. The film, in which I practiced my survival techniques under directly observable, scientific conditions , relevant to building collapse, showed there would have been zero percent survival for those doing duck and cover.

There would likely have been 100 percent survivability for people using my method of the 'triangle of life.' This film has been seen by millions of viewers on television in Turkey and the rest of Europe, and it was seen in the USA , Canada and Latin America on the TV program Real TV."

Monday, March 21, 2011

Staging the house for a quick sell

I've read some things online and watched HGTV--these seem to be topics that are common to staging a house prior to putting it on the market.

It's all about the buyer envisioning themselves in the space.
Neutralize the decor and color scheme.
Let the light in.
Paint neutral (earth tones), browns, greens, maybe blues...remember colors do affect people psychologically--stay away from reds! Yellow does subconsciously say "buy me"-- it might be better to put yellow outside in planted flowers...
Plan the furniture arrangement so there is ample space to walk around the pieces of furniture.
The curb appeal is key--cut the grass, plant someting that will bloom during the initial offering, new welcome mat, have the windows cleaned, powerwash and paint as needed.

Get rid of all personal items.
Make the house look like an upscale hotel room.
Family photos are a no-no.
Buyers don't want to know that you actually use your bathroom either. Place all bathing supplies in a shower caddy and keep them under the bathroom sink.
No garbage in the house!

You're selling space.
And buyers will look EVERYWHERE! Under sinks, in medicine cabinets, in closets, kitchen and bathroom drawers....Nothing is sacred!
Make sure it's well organized and clean!
A good hint for the closet is to purge enough clothing so that you can reach into the hung items and not touch the garments on either side of the one you choose.
What about that garage??

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ready? Set! Purge! (again!)

It's time.

We plan to liquidate our entire household. This will be my 21st move, 7th with my husband. With that many moves, we've tried to cut down on the "stuff" and not become emotionally attached to things, whether they be tchotchke's or a house.

Many of the organizational guru's say there is only one way to do this. Make 3 piles: keep, throw away and sell/give to charity. Only touch an item one time and place it in the appropriate pile. Be decisive!

So what do we keep, that will (or might) be useful?
Clothes, for sure. Summer and spring seasons seem to match the climate. Long sleeved shirts and long pants as well, it might get chilly--especially in the mountains. Sturdy shoes, hiking boots, sandals. Raingear. Bathing suits and snorkel gear.

Personal items: prescriptions--medical and glasses/contacts, passport, driver's license, credit/debit card.

A laptop.

That's pretty much all we plan to take with us.

Should we keep anything in storage?
Ideally no--but what about: photos, tax records, winter clothes (just in case we return in the cold weather).

The throw away pile will consist of just that--things we have not gotten around to throwing away until now.

And the sell/give to charity pile will be things that can recycled and used by others. We will have a garage sale a week prior to putting our house on the market. Anything that does not sell will be given to charity or sent to a consignment shop. I like the idea of a consignment for household furniture--many of the shops will come to the house, pick up the items and cut a check right away!

We have about 6 weeks until the house goes on the market, 5 weeks until the garage sale. We have rented a storage space to help us stage the house and hold the kid's keep piles.

Better get to work!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Can you know a country, its culture and people without a little history?

How did this tiny country wind up with a tossed salad mix of cultures?

With over 900 Mayan sites in ruin today, one can imagine the grandeur of the Maya civilization that flourished from 600BCE to the beginning of "the decline" in 900AD.

1000 - competition for dominance throughout Central America.
1250 - Mayapan, in the Yucatan, becomes the center of influence with trading between the Maya in Belize and those in the Yucatan.

The Spaniards arrived in the early 1500’s, brought with them smallpox, hookworm and malaria, and little tolerance for native culture.
The 1600’s ushered in Buccaneers and Pirates: "Admiral" Benbow, "Blackbeard" Teach, William Bannister and others. In their spare time, these villains were involved in logging (with the "Baymen") --for its black, red and gray dyes--but plundered galleons in the Caribbean as the notion took them.
Colonized by the British in the mid-1600’s.

The mahogany trade brought the first black slaves from Jamaica in the early 1700’s.
The territory was named British Honduras in 1765.
Early 1800’s found the Black Caribs, from Guatemala and Honduras, enter British Honduras, while the Kechki and Mopan Indians also found refuge as they left Guatemala's forced labor coffee plantations.
Mid-1800’s the Mestizo’s from southern Mexico fled into Belize as a race war raged in the Yucatan. Sepoys, deported from India after a rebellion showed up in 1857.
British Honduras was officially declared a British colony in 1862.
An influx of refugee Confederate supporters from the southern US settled in 1866.

The 1900’s ushered in a growth of the people’s politics, "Natives First" movement, Belizean Labour Party, and People’s United Party (PUP) and United Democratic Party (UDP) were all founded.
Riots in 1919 started by black Belizean soldiers over their bad treatment in WWI—Belize City looted.
Hurricane of 1931, killed 2,500.
Mennonites arrived from Mexico in 1958.
Hurricane Hattie destroyed most of the buildings in Belize City in 1961. Capital moved to Belmopan in 1970.
British Honduras was renamed Belize in 1973 and became independent in 1981.
1998 began a 10-year rule for the PUP.

2006 commercial oil drilling began.
In 2008 a landslide victory for the United Democratic Party (UDP) with Dean Barrow as the first black prime minister.

The above information was gathered through reading:
Insight Guides, "Belize", by the Discovery Channel
"Belize Guide", Paul Glassman

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


As soon as we tell anyone about our plans to move to Belize, invariably the question asked of us is, "Why Belize?" Because few folks have experienced this tiny Central American country, the follow-up question, "Where is Belize?" seems to never be too far behind.


Good things really do come in small packages.
From the westernmost border with Guatemala, the edge of the Caribbean is never more than 75 miles away and the country stretches 180 miles from Mexico, in the north, to Guatemala, in the south. With an area of 8,866 sq. miles, Belize is only slightly larger than Massachusetts.
Something for just about everyone:
Natural wonders abound: largest barrier reef in the Western hemisphere, coral atolls, idyllic cayes (islands), lush rain forests, rivers, mountains, exotic wildlife: jaguar, manatee, birds, tapir, howler monkey, fish.
Adventures await: swimming, snorkeling, diving, boating, hiking, biking, cave tubing, canoeing, fresh and salt water fishing, rough roads, horseback riding, Mayan ruins galore (over 900 documented sites).
Relax, refresh, renew as the sun bathes you in its warmth, the Caribbean gently laps at your feet and tropical breezes sway palm trees along footprint-less beaches.

And the people
The Belizeans describe themselves as "a Caribbean nation in Central America." Because of the British heritage, English is the official language. The entire country’s population is estimated between 300,000-400,000. Belize has one of the youngest populations in the world—more than 50% are under the age of 18.
The tossed salad of color and culture consists of: Creole - 25 %, Mestizo -50 %, Garifuna - 7 %, Maya -8%, East Indians – 3.5%, Syrians, Lebanese, Chinese, Taiwanese, North American and Mennonites – 6.5%. They all seem to just get along!
The best quote I’ve found to describe this mix of cultures is by Belizean artist Phillip Lewis: "A tink a si wan new Belize weh di creole man, di mestizo, di Garifuna, and di Maya, no separate…but instead all da Belizeans." "I think I see a new Belize where the creole, the mestizo, the Garifuna and the Maya are not separated…but united as Belizeans."
We feel welcome in Belize, by and large the Belizeans are a friendly and welcoming bunch of people. For the most part, Belizeanas genuinely like Americans, Canadians and Europeans!
Little known and little developed, Belize brims with hospitality and nature just waiting to be experienced.

The above information was gathered through reading:
Insight Guides, "Belize", by the Discovery Channel
"Belize Guide", Paul Glassman

Monday, March 7, 2011

Let us frame the reasons for the move to Belize:

    • Been there, and love it!
As tourists, we have traversed the country, from the rain forests and mountains, to the cayes. Enjoyed the lull of Howler monkeys as they claim their evening territories, stepped over tarantulas, stood with mouth agape as the toucans and parrots flew overhead. Climbed the Mayan temples and envisioned the ancient culture. Cave tubing, snorkeling with the nurse sharks and sting rays, horseback riding, hiking, and just kicking back and enjoying the locals.
What’s not to love about Belize?
Weather, eco-lots of stuff, Mayan ruins galore, "new" wildlife to get to know, warm Caribbean waters, the people!, rain forests, mountains, beaches, islands, rough roads, laid-back lifestyle, rivers, caves, cenotes. Lots of things to do—or not!

    • Empty nest!
Our children will no longer be at home with us. Our son has graduated from Belmont University and seeking gainful employment. Our daughter has signed with the US Navy.
    • Downsize!
Goes with the territory! Our house sold in March 2012. We are renting an apartment with our son. This will give us a stateside address until we settle completely in Belize.
    • Early retirement!
Woo Hoo!! Tired of the rat race, stress and wish to slow down—