Lisa's Lazy Person's Guide to Home Management

Lisa's Lazy Person's Guide to Home Management

by Lisa Saunders (her hound Bailey is pictured above)

Are mundane chores preventing you from reaching your true potential--like becoming thin and famous? Over the years, I have found several ways to make routine tasks easier—especially for a lazy, always-on-a-diet person like me. If you're lazy too (or busy saving the world or raising children) and need some advice, or have a tip to share, please read on:

1. Gardening

Laziest way: Buy fake potted plants and put them outside. That's usually what I do--I’m not kidding! It mortifies my mother who is a true gardener, but for drive-by's, I doubt they can tell the difference (one winter, however, I was too lazy to put my red begonias inside so they me gave away as they sat there getting faded yet still blooming in the snow).

Lazies who want to make an effort: Buy plants from a friend’s plant sale fundraiser and hire your friend’s kid to plant them (at least you're maintaining friendships when you do that). Warning: you’ll have to pray for rain all summer long or you’ll be out there watering them every few days.

2. Maintaining/cultivating friendships

Laziest way: Just give up. I saw a movie recently where the leading lady said, “I can’t have girlfriends, because then I'll have to remember their birthdays.” (By the way, if your friend is a true friend, she would just self-address a card and give it to you a week before her birthday.)

Lazies who want to make an effort: If you’re too lazy to enter your friends’ birthdays on a google calendar that can be set to remind you, then you’ll have to be thoughtful other times of year. For example, if your friend produces a CD, buy it, or if they approach you with a catalog from their child’s school fundraiser, buy something. If you don’t need it, give it away as a gift. If you can’t afford to buy anything, promise them that when you have to do a fundraiser, you won’t bother them!

3. Cleaning

Laziest way: Hire a housekeeper who doesn't speak your language (so they can't blab to all your friends about what a slob you are).

Lazies who want to make an effort: Get rid of all knickknacks—be honest, you never dust them and they cover your table surfaces that you need for piling papers on. When people ask you what you want for birthdays, Mother’s Day, etc., ask them to clean your house for a couple of hours or to hire someone to clean it. That way you get what you really want and you are making it known to everyone that you just can’t handle doodads in your house.

4. Meals

Laziest way: dine at a drive-thru.

Lazies who want to make an effort: it’s all about the crockpot and pre-washed salad, canned/frozen vegetables and prepackaged soup mixes. Never fall for those crockpot recipes that make you sauté or brown something first—we’re trying to save steps here. I am getting my “weight loss” crockpot recipes from a free weight loss site I joined (they give you a diet and track your weight—if you’re honest when plugging it in) at: http://www.sparkpeople.com/

Sorry, there’s no getting out of going to the grocery store. But if you’re buying a lot of frozen and pre-packaged, chemical laden foods like I suggested, you probably only have to do major grocery shopping once a month since that kind of food lasts forever!

5. Christmas/Hanukkah Cards

Laziest way: Just say “No!” (But you better be in mourning or sick or something--otherwise, your friends WILL be offended unless you all agree beforehand not to exchange greetings.)

Lazies who want to make an effort: If you’re bad about remembering birthdays, then you really have no choice—you must send holiday greetings. Other than sending a form letter or a family/pet picture postcard, the easiest thing to do is to send an e-mail with the excuse that you are saving trees or on the cost of postage in order to donate to some noble cause. Right after 9/11, I used the anthrax scare as my excuse!


Captain Bill Palmer: Indiana Jones of the Sea

Shipwreck explorer, Captain Bill Palmer

Captain Bill Palmer: Indiana Jones of the Sea
Lisa Saunders

Need adventure in your life? Shipwreck explorer Captain Bill Palmer of Wallingford, Conn., not only offers sport fishing and shark cage diving from his charter vessel, but he’ll take you down to the tangled wrecks off Watch Hill and Block Island, R.I.

An Army paratrooper during the time of the Vietnam War, Palmer is now one of New England's leading authorities on underwater wrecks and has videotaped dozens of submarines, U-boats, and sunken vessels lost in East Coast waters. His expertise (and dramatic eccentricity) is highlighted in the best-selling book Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson because it was his advice the divers sought to identify a particular submarine. (Palmer told them to look in the electric motor room for a box of spare parts normally carried to make repairs. Those boxes have identifying tags on them specific to that particular boat.)

As owner operator of the charter vessel Thunderfish out of R.I. and Mystic, Conn., Captain Palmer has been diving since the late 1960s and knows the exact location of wrecks, including those where there was a large loss of life, such as the Metis and the Larchmont.*

Of the Metis, sunk in 1872 off Watch Hill, Captain Palmer said, “There’s not much left of her except for the machinery because worms in the water eat the wood. But beneath the sand, lies her cargo. I’ve found china, and friends of mine have found luggage tags with brass numbers on leather. One friend found a safe with steamship tickets inside.”

Even more souls were lost on the Larchmont one bitterly cold night in February 1907 when the steamer, bound for New York from Providence with 200 passengers, collided with a coal-laden schooner four miles southwest of Watch Hill Light. The vast majority of its panic stricken passengers were doomed when thrown from their beds as the bow of the schooner plowed deep into its hull. The few able to make to it to a lifeboat were largely underdressed and unable to survive the freezing temperatures to the shores of Block Island where many were found encased in ice. Palmer said you can still see the Larchmont’s paddlewheel sticking upright, looking very much like a Ferris wheel. He has found dishes and various ship fittings at the wreck site.

Palmer mentioned that in addition to the artifacts he’s found on shipwrecks, he has also discovered the skeletal remains of German sailors on the WWII submarine sunk seven miles off Block Island moments before the end of World War II in Europe. Highlighted in his new book, The Last Battle of the Atlantic, The Sinking of the U-853, which is packed with underwater images, he hopes the German remains will one day be returned to their families. 

Captain Palmer introduces his book, The Last Battle of the Atlantic, on his website: Out in the cold Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Rhode Island, lies the remains of what was once a feared and mighty hunter. …It's what men feared the most when they went to sea aboard their vessel back in the World War II years. It's a German Submarine called a U-Boat. The U-853 was the last German submarine sunk in World War II. She was sunk with all hands just minutes before World War II ended. The once mighty hunter feared by all who put to sea, now lies in 130 feet of water off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island, her grave marked only by a circle on the nautical charts, DANGER Unexploded Depth Charges, May 1945.” His book is available in area shops.

If you’re not a diver, you can still negotiate around a wreck’s numerous hazards and squeeze through a submarine’s deck hatches with Captain Palmer through his diving documentaries made by his production company, Thunderfish Video.

A noted story teller, Palmer enjoys giving the history of the people behind the maritime disasters and is a regular lecturer at venues such as the Beneath the Sea conference in N.J. Palmer also shares his advice willingly to would-be shipwreck discoverers looking for clues on where to find wrecks. For example, one place to start is to ask fishermen where their nets have been snagged or lost.

Captain Palmer is a licensed Coast Guard Captain and a dive instructor specializing in advanced wreck diving. He is an associate member of the Boston Sea Rovers and a member of the American Society of Oceanographers. His award-winning films have aired on the Discovery Channel, A&E, and Connecticut Public Television.

For more information about Captain Bill Palmer, his films, book, or to reserve your adventure aboard the Thunderfish, visit: www.thunderfishcharters.com or call (203) 269-0619.

*Author’s Note: The Metis and Larchmont shipwrecks are discussed in my book Mystic Seafarer's Trail and in my TV interview with Captain Bill Palmer, which includes clips of his dives  (you can locate the interview on YouTube by searching "Lisa Saunders and Captain Bill Palmer" or click on:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iE97K3xeFA4&feature=youtu.be).



More shipwrecks, famous dead people and ghosts in Mystic Seafarer’s Trail

Travel Memoir Mystic Seafarer’s Trail Revised

Includes More Shipwrecks, Famous Dead People and Ernie the Ledge Light Ghost


Mystic author Lisa Saunders has revised her travel memoir, Mystic Seafarer’s Trail, to include more shipwrecks off Watch Hill, famous dead people such as the missing headless major at Fort Griswold, and area ghosts including Ernie the Ledge Light Ghost.


Although her memoir ends differently, it still begins: Shortly after stepping out of my new home with my hound for our first stroll through the historic seacoast village of Mystic, a woman pulled over in her van and yelled, ‘Excuse me.’ Assuming she was a tourist wanting directions to Mystic Pizza or some other attraction, I wasn't prepared for what she really wanted to know: ‘Do you realize the back of your skirt is tucked into your underwear?’”

Saunders has since sprinkled new information throughout such as the mysterious tomb and calendar chambers hidden in Groton’s Gungywamp site. New chapters include how a beer shortage affected New England’s history, scary ghost stories from the Daniel Packer Inne and Denison Homestead, plus Lisa’s quest to turn her Mystic Stein Hoist win into a national one at the Samuel Adams Brewery in Boston.

The basic story line remains: While searching for the “7 Wonders of Mystic” with her beagle/basset hound, author Lisa Saunders uncovers the secrets behind the Titanic's shoes and Amelia Earhart's Noank wedding. But will she ever find an adventure of her own--one that will make her thin and famous? When walking the Mystic Seafarer's Trail (which Lisa designed for those who don't like to go uphill), she meets a blind sailor who invites her on a long, winter voyage. Can this plump writer defy squalls, scurvy, and her fear of scraping barnacles to survive this epic journey?

Lisa will present Mystic Seafarer’s Trail on:

Thursday, Feb 6, 2014, Noon

Books Sandwiched In, Stonington Free Library

20 High Street P.O. Box 232   |   Stonington, CT 06378   |   P. 860.535.0658

Upon conclusion of her presentation and question and answer time, Lisa Saunders will be on hand to autograph books. More info:   susanpdcm@gmail.com

Bank Square Books also carries autographed copies of Mystic Seafarer’s Trail and it is available as an e-book. Visit Lisa at www.authorlisasaunders.com.



About the Author: Lisa Saunders is an award-winning writer and local TV host living in Mystic, Connecticut, with her husband and hound. She works as a part-time history interpreter at Mystic Seaport, is the parent representative of the Congenital CMV Foundation and is a member of the Daughters of American Revolution (Anna Warner Bailey Chapter). A graduate of Cornell University, she is an instructor at New London Adult & Continuing Education and holds writing/publishing workshops for children and adults. A consulting publicist, she received the National Council for Marketing & Public Relations Gold Medallion. Lisa can be reached directly at saundersbooks@aol.com or visit her at: www.authorlisasaunders.com.



Reviews (critics and “fans”)



“You will laugh out loud at Lisa’s adventures in this part travel guide, part historical reference and completely hilarious tale.” Bree Shirvell, Editor, Stonington-Mystic Patch


“Author Lisa Saunders has mastered the art/science/gift of writer-reader communication. She’s not writing at you; she’s talking to you…no holds barred. Her frequently disarming candor evokes reader reactions ranging from chuckle to head-shaking laughter.“ George Nammack, Long Island Boating World


“With a keen, self-deprecating wit, Saunders tells the tale of each of the 7 Wonders [of Mystic], beginning with Wonder #1, the whaleship Charles W. Morgan.” Windcheck magazine


“Lisa Saunders has written an engaging and solidly researched narrative which should capture the attention of all who are interested in early New England history and the traditions of the sea that were one of its foundations.” David S. Martin, Ph.D., Professor/Dean Emeritus, Gallaudet University, Washington, DC


“Mystic Seafarer's Trail is full of local history, adventure, misadventure, and laughs.  Lisa Saunders has thought long and hard about the historic homes, landmarks, graveyards, and dead people of Mystic, Connecticut.  As a newbie in an old seaside town, Lisa sets out to explore what life was, is, and will be (for her) in Mystic.  She brings with her basset/beagle hound, Bailey, and a unique, thoughtful, and - often - quite humorous perspective. As you walk the streets of this small seaside town with Lisa and you get to know her, you find yourself interested, engaged, and (seriously) laughing out loud. This book is perfect for Mystic area locals, history buffs (she's done her research), sightseers, and those who could use a good laugh.  And, if they ever make the "Mystic Seafarer's Trail - The Movie," Lisa should definitely be in it. (If you've read the book, you know what I mean ;-). If you live in, or are traveling to the Mystic, Connecticut area, this book is for you.” TripAdvisor (Suzanne Doukas Niermeyer)


"Hi Lisa - your book was a big hit at our son's wedding!  I sent the book out early so guests could read it while traveling to Mystic and everyone said it made their trip much more interesting." K.S.


“I found Lisa’s anticipation of her sailing adventure just plain entertaining and could relate to her internal dialogue, misgivings, and somewhat grandiose fantasies. She is a person worth spending time with.” Ann Kuehner, LCSW


“I laughed out loud on a number of occasions. It’s interesting, humorous and touching.” Glenn Gordinier, author of Surfing Cold Water: A New Englander's Off-Season Obsession


“This book is a splendid way to tie Mystic's history to life today—a bridge from the past to the present—for any age.” Lou Allyn, Masons Island


“An historical—and sometimes hysterical—look at Mystic. I can’t wait to visit!” Marianne Greiner, Illustrator, New York


“Entertaining, witty, informative—and cute! It covers a range of topics from personal loss to finding life, history and new friends.” Kristin Hartnett, Executive Director, Laughworks, Mystic, Connecticut


“What a read—fascinating!” Kathleen Poole, former Chesapeake Bay waterwoman





“If you're a native of coastal CT or even just love to go there on vacation (or want to), the Mystic Seafarer's Trail is a humorous and informational guide to the area through the eyes of local author Lisa Saunders and her dog Bailey. Through mishaps like a skirt being tucked into underwear and a sailing trip gone awry, you get a taste of the area and will laugh along the way. I would highly recommend for fans of Bill Bryson and Jenny Lawson, or people looking for a good read.” Jackie T.


“Mystic Seafarer's Trail is an adventure that takes you through a journey in a wonderful and humorous way. The author does an amazing job in making this book a very addicting book to read that truly I did not want to put down. It was a great journey of which I laughed, cried, and captured new meaning into my own life.” Kendra M.


“This author has a way of making even the most routine activities of life, like walking her dog, into a search for adventure. With her slightly self-deprecatory sense of humor, the author, a newcomer to Mystic, learns the local etiquette as well as the lore and legends of this seaside town. Readers will learn about a wide variety of topics ranging from shipwrecks to genealogy to how to become an extra in a movie. You will enjoy the author's friendly tone as she explores the history of the region and tries to create a little history of her own. Enjoyable and informative read.” ThatzRight


“So enjoyed reading this book--Lisa has a great way of storytelling--can hardly wait to visit Mystic and see where all of these adventures took place :)”  Marti Perhach


“It is really amazing to be reading a book that is written about the area in which I live. Gained a lot of knowledge about the history of the locations.” Lorraine M Sanborn


“Mystic Seafarer's Trail is funny, fun and informative. Funny because Lisa Saunders' adventures (real and imagined) made me smile and yes laugh! Fun because the author captured the spirit that historians experience as they undertake their adventures of discovery. Fun because the serendipity of finding "cousins" in a cemetery is not lost on any researcher. Informative? Well that is obvious. I learned a lot about Mystic and Lisa - and it was all interesting. I can't wait to visit Mystic again - and walk the Seafarer's Trail!” Marjory


“Settling into a new town is never easy but for Lisa Saunders and her hound Bailey the process is more adventure than nesting. From the very first page to the last you'll laugh out loud. And anyone with a fondness of Mystic, Conn, will appreciate the tour of the tiny village and the history Saunders was able to uncover. Saunders has created a hilarious story that is part travel guide, part memoir and part historical reference.” Bridget Shirvell


“Interesting read makes you think and wonder. drift into the past and travel with the sea folk who take their chances to better their future, no knowing what is ahead.” A. White "world traveler" (kerrville, Texas)


“Well written and very interesting stories. I enjoyed how she tied all the stories together and yet each one was different.” Judy H.


“This book was a wonderful read. I felt as if I was on some of the adventures that Lisa wrote about. Her chapters pertaining to her "voyage at sea" was very entertaining and funny. As I read this book, it really sparked an interest to visit Mystic, CT, and surrounding area someday and venture to all of the places mentioned within the book. Lisa has a great sense of humor and I found myself laughing out loud many times. I have enjoyed Lisa's previous books and look forward to her next literary adventure. Another great book from Lisa Saunders!” Daniel Elser (Dallas TX USA) -


“I found out through reading this that the author & I are related! This was a fun, fact-filled book. Love the history of this area.”  Michele Rolfe "Wolfpug" (Bridgeport, NY USA):





1/23/14, Waterford Women’s Club Presents Civil War Love Letters

Civil War Love Letters Presented

by Waterford Women's Club

Free and open to the public

Author Lisa Saunders will present Civil War love letters from her book, Ever True: A Union Private and His Wife published by Heritage Books, to the Waterford Women's Club. The public is invited to attend.

Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, 11 a.m.

Presentation: “Ever True: A Union Private and His Wife”

Waterford Library, lower level

Admission: Free and open to the public

The Waterford Women's Club is hosting Lisa Saunders of Mystic, author of Ever True: A Union Private and His Wife, which features the love letters between Lisa’s great-great grandparents, Charles and Nancy McDowell.  Charles married Nancy when she was 15 years old. Enlisting as a private in the New York 9th Heavy Artillery two years later, he asked Nancy to save his letters. Despite his grueling battles and marches, he was able to save hers as well. Together, their letters tell of bullets, hangings, prostitutes, venereal disease, typhoid fever, lying injured on the battlefield for days, “clever women,” and the court marshalling of a cow. Ever True is also a one-act play. (Charles fought in several battles with the 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery in the Sixth Corps.)

About the Presenter: Lisa Saunders of Mystic is an award-winning writer, TV host, part-time history interpreter at Mystic Seaport and member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. A graduate of Cornell University, she is the author of several books, including the humorous and historical travel memoir, Mystic Seafarer's Trail. Visit Lisa at: www.authorlisasaunders.com

For more information about the event, contact Gay Clarkson, Co-President, Waterford Woman’s Club, at gaywil@cox.net, or Waterford Public Library at 49 Rope Ferry Road Waterford, Connecticut 06385, Tel. 860-444-5805.



Photo caption:
Author Lisa Saunders of Mystic presents the Civil War love letters featured in the book, Ever True: A Union Private and His Wife, published by Heritage Books. Photo by Collette Fournier.