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Showing posts from 2011

My Perfect Thanksgiving, then and now.

We'd been married just over a year.  We'd moved from the furnished, dinky, dingy Victorian studio with the nosy landlady to a larger unfurnished one bedroom basement apartment, with low ceilings that, in hindsight, should have made Carl claustrophobic.  But oh well.  It was a step up.

When my folks came up for a visit shortly after we got married and looked around that first apartment, my dad said to me "If I knew what Carl was getting you into, I wouldn't have allowed this to happen."  Well Dad, you couldn't have stopped it.

When Carl's family came to visit that first place, his young niece needed to use the bathroom.  There was a curtain, not a door.  And it was close enough to the big Wedgwood stove that you could reach around and move a pot off the fire.  Their answer to her privacy concern was "Just sing while you pee!"

I decided I'd do the next Thanksgiving.  Enough of driving to Newport Beach for holidays.  We'd have everybody ove…

Evening wear. Business attire.

Attire: Suits for the men, evening wear for the women.
So the invitation said.  It was a special night for a special friend who had become involved with the good work of the members of the Scottish Rite, a Masonic organization.

Ut-oh.   I don't have evening wear.  And I wasn't going to start getting any.  I've been to a couple affairs of the Masons and their associated groups over the decades.  When they say evening wear...they mean evening wear.  Gowns.  Fluffy.  Frilly.  Chiffon-y.  Pastel colors.  What they didn't mean was Marilyn.

I called my friend's wife (our kids were best friends in grammar school).  I told Bobbi I couldn't go because I couldn't meet the attendee dress requirements.  The 'evening wear' phrase concerned her as well.  She said she'd found a skirt she thought might work.  I was prepared to tell Jim myself but she said she'd give him the message.

Two days later I got a note from Jim.  It was lovingly constructed and fitti…

Bad mammie in jammies.

Called my boss late last night.  Left a message that I wasn't going to be at the sales meeting the next morning.  I'd be more of a distraction than an asset.  Is it even possible to look human during the course of a nose blow?  And toting a box of tissues doesn't say  "Let's go out for coffee after the gig."

Stayed in bed for awhile.  Got my morning spiritual read in.  Started working on various projects: real estate, cleaned up some loose ends of my dad's estate, did some laundry, and filed the pile on the floor.  Actually, the pile didn't get filed.  It got moved to another pile I can't see when the closet door is closed, hiding the stacks of stuff waiting for action.

I was alone except for whoever I had on the other end of my landline or cellphone.  Couldn't be seen and I sure wasn't going to put the Skype video on looking like I did.

I stayed in my jammies until 4:30pm.  By the time I cleaned myself up and went out the door at 5pm I co…

Treats and Trick

Michael, I'm going to bring over all my candy. 

No, no!  Don't do that!  We've got 300 pounds of it! 

Yes, get a bag and I'm dumping it in.  Then I'm getting two of my small real estate signs and putting them at the base of the front stairs.  I'm pointing the arrows to your house.  You people have a grave yard, zombies coming out of the ground, and a fog machine.  Kids won't even notice this place.  And I won't have to make the house dark or answer the doorbell!  It's perfect!

This was my solution to avoiding the little and large darlings coming for their free, permitted, honorable, grabby, and massive sugar fix.  I had so much work to tend to and really (in my mind) couldn't be interrupted (bothered) to be a hostess (slave) to the doorbell.  PERFECT!

It was a quiet, peaceful night.

The next morning:
Hey Marilyn - how was your night?

It was great!  I got so much done!  Thanks!

No problem.  We waved the kids over and told them you were really dis…

Haunted in the 'hood.

People stretch them out over their plants and across their doors.  It's part of the annual Fall Festival of Freakiness.  I'm talking about cobwebs.

Our house grows and multiplies cobwebs without effort.  I've never quite figured out the witching hour(s) for cobwebs.  Is it at night?  During the day?  Non-stop?  Do the spiders work in shifts?  Do they get overtime during the Halloween season?  Do they have cobweb contests?  Do the spiders meet up on my back porch for an awards ceremony?  Best design?  Longest thread?  Best catch?  Catch o' the day?

As fast as the neighbors put up their decorative Halloween cobwebs, I'm just as quickly morphing into the wicked witch, swinging my broom to and fro, then slashing wildly trying to get rid of the things all around the house.  Inside.  Outside.  The webs rest in and dress up every nook and cranny:  corners of windows, along the window screens, in the decorative woodwork, up in the tall ceiling corners, column to column,  …

Questions I ask myself...

I must have too much time on my hands.  I just can't shake these observations.

When did restaurants, airports, and any place with public access toilets pass a law or make an agreement that hooks for hanging purses or jackets are no longer necessary?  Is there a concern we may try to hang ourselves using that hook?  Do I really want to put my stuff on those floors?  Not so much.  YUCK!

Is texting on a bicycle as dangerous or more dangerous than in a car?  I'm thinking more.  Not as much heavy metal surrounding the text-idiot.  Maybe not though.  Speed can kill.

Could it be that all the good men are all taken or all gone?  Bummer.

Maybe I need to define 'good men'?  That may be another blog post.  Maybe man and woman readers will assist with that.

Since when does an airline allow passengers to take over a flight for the promotion of a national charitable fundraiser?  How about those on the plane who didn't pay to play the relay games involving all the rows of the pl…

I hate shopping....

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I had to go to Tiffany's.  Not to visit Tiffany, the singer of the olden days.  Whatever happened to her?  Wait, I don't care.  I had to go to a Tiffany & Co. jewelry store.  

I didn't want to go to the store in San Francisco.  Too much hassle.  It would be easier to bring the small, non-working, brass Tiffany desk clock that I found in my dad's apartment while clearing it out, to a Tiffany store in southern CA.  It would be an errand on a road trip I had planned. 

Being both interested in and intimated by the shopping habits of a very small percentage of the population that is doing its part to put the us back into USA and pull us out of the economic mess we're in, I parked the car and took a deep breath before walking into South Coast Plaza.  It's the mega mall in The OC city of Costa Mesa.  It contains more high-end stores under one roof than I've ever seen.    

In the mall...where is that store?  Ah!  There's a security guard coming out of t…

There is a season...

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I was kind of dreading the end of summer.  But with the tomato plants looking so dowdy and just a few hanging on by a brown thread of a twig for that last bit of red ripe, or the deepening gold glow for the tomato version of candy, the message was clear.  It was over.

I'd bought new autumn veggies for the containers, re-charging the old soil, adding new soil with some type of growie steroids.   Growies.  That's what Carl called our plants when we first got married.  I haven't thought about that word for decades.  It's a perfect word for my non-perfect garden.

I think the urgency of planting and transplanting was a direct response to my dad's recent passing...life replacing death, order supplanting dis-order, awe replacing shock.

I scheduled three days for all the duties associated with completely clearing his apartment. I so wanted to return home to fresh color in pots, fresh lettuce and beets standing upright, and knowing the huge root-bound fern and ever-strugg…

Nancy Drew

(I wrote this in fall of 2006 for one of my snail mail real estate newsletters.  I found a hard copy while filing a pile stacked a mile high, stashed behind closet doors on a credenza. I'd wondered where I'd put it.  I've tweaked it a bit, taking advantage of hindsight since then.)

In August I was winding along highway 156 on my way to a real estate seminar in Monterey, CA.  I recalled when I was in 4th grade how intrigued I was with Nancy Drew books.  What would it be like to live like Nancy Drew!  You know, the girl detective in the books with the titles like "The Mystery of the clock on the Mantle" or "The Mystery of the Treasure in the Attic."  I tried reading Hardy Boys books but they just didn't cut it with me.  I still have some of my original Nancy Drew books on my shelves.

Nancy Drew drove some type of convertible and she always had a suitcase packed ready to toss into the car in case some adventure came along.  I think the car had a rumble…

CO in CA

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(I wrote this for my weekly real estate blog post tonight and decided it might be worth sharing it to the boomer group).

As I descended something didn't seem quite right.  I felt like I wanted to just drift.  But that's not the smart way to fly a plane.  I knew it - but it was hard to get a grip on my thinking.

I'd been flying one of the tow planes, hauling gliders into the wild blue yonder on a busy day at Sky Sailing Airport in Fremont, CA.  I was fortunate to be able to jump between motor-powered and non-powered aircraft throughout the day, depending on my teaching schedule.

Once the sailplane released the towline it was 'get the tow plane down and get the next glider up.' In order to avoid having the engine cool too quickly we made descents at high power settings (not to be confused with high speeds) so we wouldn't crack the hot cylinder heads due to quick cooling temperature changes.

As I circled in a spiral, first in one direction and then a…

A splice of life...

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Splice: to join two ropes by intertwining the strands.

Marilyn, I have something for you.  My dad wanted you to have it.  See you back at the house. Hmmm.  Wonder what that could be.

There are two men who have framed my life.  The first was my late husband, Carl.  The second was Bud Murphy.  The first inadvertently introduced me to the second.  And now they are both gone.  Carl in 2002, and Bud this year.

Within a year of getting married, Carl decided that we must be extravagant with the $40 per month he got from a five and a half year stint with the local Navy reserve unit.  He hated the reserves so much that to spend the money on something we needed seem sinful.  And we needed everything.  So what to do?  Take glider flying lessons.

His dad, an airline pilot, had taught Carl to fly when he was 15.  Carl asked for the keys to the plane instead of the keys to the car because he was licensed to fly before he was licensed to drive. Dick also introduced him to glider (sailplane) flying. …

Every now and then, it's about then and now.

Take-aways from my 40th high school reunion.

My logic said 'be nervous.'
My heart says 'be calm.' 

The head said 'what if?'
The heart says 'so what?'

The conversations on FaceBook said 'what to wear?'
The closet says 'who cares?'

The photos said 'young and dumb.'
The faces say 'experience and street smarts.'

The manicure, pedicure, hair cut, and facial said 'it's about the party.'
They really say is 'it's about me.'

The memorial moments said 'not here any more.'
Friends say 'take my hand, we're here now.'

Time passing said 'now you have perspective.'
Time present says 'meld it into the moment.'

The music said 'it really was the beginning of a revolution.'
The war said 'it's time for a revelation.'

Life's passions said 'follow me.'
Living passionately says 'if not now, when? if not here, where?'

Getting out said 'have …

You want (memory) foam with that?

I've been sleeping in the Grand Canyon for a long time.  That's what I named the valley running down the middle of my bed.  I figure the bed was between 15-20 years old.  It was time to do what I dreaded.  Go shopping.

I had to buy a bed for my dad earlier this year.  I couldn't find local 'bed' stores in S. CA  but folks told me to go to Sears or JC Penney.  I never thought of that.  Those are the trusted go-to stores for everybody who lives in senior master planned communities.  It's no accident they are located close to their clientele.  They speak to that generation perfectly.  Immaculate inside, super wide aisles for walkers and wheelchairs, and plenty of chairs for the pause that refreshes.  Amazing service.  My gray hair may have given me an edge.  In and out in an hour.  Delivery two days later.  And a much happier dad!

But when it's all about me....that's another thing.  Because visions of beds were dancing in my head, every TV and radio commer…

Buy 10 and get 1 free.

Our local car wash has had an overhaul. I hadn't been there for some time. For a while word was that the lease wasn't going to be renewed.  Things were looking grim and grime-y for the folks that relied on it.

But the shopping center, upon whose land it sits, bought it and changed things up.  Tables, chairs, wi-fi, benches, a shade awning, new shirts, many new faces (something about documents), some ethnic diversity with a lot of English being spoken, and best of all, better towels that don't leave lint on the dash or windows. 

What got me thinking was the use-it-10-times-and-get-one-free card I was offered.  I was assured it didn't expire so I took it even though I prefer to pull out my own shop-vac and bucket to clean the CADEAU myself.  Costs less, and I do a better job.  I added this most recent discount card to the rubber-banded card collection I carry in my leather tote, most of them offering enticements to keep me coming back.

Here's what I've got:

-Pet…

Gag me with a pain.

My home page on my computer is Google.  One of the gadgets I have on that page is the French Audio Word of the Day.  It's a little game I play, seeing if I know the word in English, and then trying to pronounce it before I hit the button that lets the lady in the computer say the word or phrase.  Four years of French in high school and some at college were not a total waste.  Mostly, but not totally.

Today's word was 'le gagne pain'.  Not only could I not say it, I had no idea what it meant. It's pronounced 'le gang pan', accent on gang.  It means job.  I almost chuckled.  When I saw what it meant and what it looked like, the French words morphed into English words as  'gag me, pain'.

Ever since I was a teenager, I've worked to define work.  My mom didn't work outside the home. Instead she slaved at home with 4 kids and a fairly demanding husband.  It turns out my dad hated his job, thus lived for the weekends, which for the most part invol…

So this is the dining room....

Do you remember that hook for an ad a few years ago, for some heat-it-at-home food (note I didn't say cook-it-at home), in which somebody says...."So this is the dining room!" 

Flash to my home office.  It's a disaster.  It looks like a high speed fan was put in the doorway with the sweep feature turned on, and the papers got tossed like a salad.   So I deconstruct the paper salad into piles once again, with the intention of putting them away.  Unfortunately that doesn't quite happen before I end up rolling over the papers.  I'm working the odds that people don't read stuff and thus won't notice the tire tracks. 

Taking on extra duties the last couple of years is what I'm blaming this on:  Dad stuff and treasurer stuff for a organization.  Note to self....next time I am told I'm perfect for a volunteer job ask how many boxes and binders it involves, triple the answer given, find out if they are providing a storage unit, as well a way to…

Nothing amazing....

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I wrote this on my real estate blog two weeks ago. I don't often get so personal when I post there but  it's stuck with me and I decided it could play on Boomer Chick Musings, too.  

Today was an amazing day simply for the fact that nothing amazing happened.  Have you ever felt that way?  When there are a few consecutive moments of calm breathing?

-My work obligations are mostly caught up and on schedule. There were no fires to put out.

-I hollered at an insurance agent because the group he has farmed out some workers comp insurance to can't seem to get the figures right for the second year in a row.

-I met with my finance guru and laid into him about what a lousy reputation his industry has but he says he's not like the rest.  And turn around fair play - he said we both have the same issues to deal with in our chosen fields.

-I followed up with a client who just wants to get a home equity line of credit to get her oldest daughter's  private college educat…

Top Ten Ways to Know Your Spice Rack Should be Purged

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Here are my top 10 ways to know when it's time to toss the thyme.

10.   The expiration date preceeds your oldest child's birthdate year.  Curry powder dated 7-1-1975.  Really. 

  9.   When you turn the half full containers upside down, nothing moves.

  8.    Follow #9 but give the item a chance to redeem itself.  Use the 12 Hour Rule.  If the contents still defy the law of gravity after being upside down for 12 hours - out it goes.

  7.   The market price today is 10 times the price on the bottom of the container.  Buh-bye pumpkin pie spice.  A steal at 58 cents back then.

  6.   The number 5 on the Chinese 5 Spice jar has become a 0.  Adios.

  5.   You have no idea what Vegetable Delight is/was.

  4.  At a gathering, one of your male friends comments on the ginornmous size of the cinnamon container.  Thank you Costco.  What was I thinking?

  3.  You've become a professional Spice Stager.  You trick guests into thinking you know what to do with the contents in those cont…

Prom bomb.

I heard a question on the radio a few weeks ago.  Has there ever been one person who has had complete satisfaction, in hindsight, with a prom?  Another prom season has passed us by and I started thinking about them.  I've never heard anybody rave that the prom exceeded their expectations.  I think it's a night of major let-downs, including breakups.

The prom is the last big "couple's" bash before Grad Night, which is mostly a dateless-free-for-all event.  Many of the kids know they'll never see those people they ended up making out with at Grad Night again...or at least for a long time.

Maybe the class king and queen of the prom have their expectations met.  Nothing beats a crown and tiara for making one feel special.  That means the rest of the court are losers?  That's rough, hardly fair.  I'm not sure it ends up as perfect as we humble high-school peons imagine it to be.  Being royalty is tough. 

I never went to my own high school proms.  I was …

Doing it myself.....using my head.

I decided I'd better assemble the RubberMaid tote I bought yesterday at Home Depot.  I saw one on an upper shelf all put together and decided yeah, that's perfect.  The purpose of this tote is to house the earthquake preparedness stuff outside the house...away from something falling on it.  With what daughter Sutter, and her husband, Sean, have learned about readiness in the continuing shakes in New Zealand (they live in Christchurch), I've tried to pay attention.

But before I did that I decided it was a better idea to pull out the recliner lounge from the carriage house (which carries nothing on wheels but my bike, two more bikes I'm going to donate for recycling, and one wheelbarrow with a leaky tire).  So with a paper about demographics in real estate for the 2010 decade and fresh sun tea, I took a snooze, cuddling up with my SF Giants mega fleece blanket, relishing the clear but breezy, cool, skies.  Heavenly.

Napping was great, the paper was excellent, the tea lov…

Father Knows Best....maybe not always.

One of the great things about generational differences is how parents over the last 30-40 years have outgrown  the Leave it to Beaver and Father Knows Best and The Donna Reed Show TV family models of the 1960's.  They may be modeling other things today, which may be another blog post, but those ridiculous TV shows put enormous pressure on the women of that genre to be the picture pretty wife, with picture pretty kids when the picture pretty (but dog-tired) dad walked in from a tough day at work.

Then you get to our family.  My mom was the picture pretty stay-at -home wife and worked at being that way when the big husband walked in the door.  That worked great until she would have an exceptionally bad day and then let her husband be the big bad dad.  She'd explain the disasters du jour, then hand him the hair brush or belt and he'd get to beat us.  I was always a bit puzzled about the warm welcome and then the bad news scenario.  Don't get me wrong, she was capable of u…

Company's coming.

I was talking to my step-sista, Debbie, the other day.  We don't get to talk enough but we pack a wallop when we do.  She is so quick-witted, smart, and calls a spade a spade!  She was saying how she 'did' Easter this year and it was perfect.  People, food, house, the works.  Always nice to hear.

Many of us have become masters at hiding the entertaining zits, blemishes, and pimples, that pop up at the last minute (not on our faces but on the stove, on the table, on the floor, on the food) when we've got folks coming over.  Their expectations aren't excessive.  I just want to exceed them.  If we get some some lively conversation and there is a decent meal.  I'm all good with it. 

I got thinking about a gathering I hosted recently. There were 17 of us.  This particular group has a name.  I call them "My Flyboys."  Suffice it to say, it's mostly guys and we all flew together in a most unique environment and in various circumstances.

Every few months…

Clean sweep...

I'm not sure where it comes from.  I like things tidy.  Quite tidy.  Or least the appearance of tidy.  Most of my stuff is tidy.  And if I have to result to stuffing stuff somewhere to create the 'state' of tidy, then I'll do that.  Behind closed doors, whether they be cabinet, closet, garage (or ancient carriage house in our case), works just fine for me.  Out of site means... it can wait.

There were four squirrely kids in our family.  Mom kept a very tidy house.  I don't know about my brothers, since they each had a kid-cave upstairs and I was on the first floor, but I had to clean my room and the bathroom weekly.

Flash forward.  After I'd been in the real estate biz for a year or so, my husband gently asked if "we" should get some help.  He wasn't talking marriage counseling.  He was talking about the house cleaning.  I thought he asked that very diplomatically.  "We."'    He did tons more around the house than my dad ever did.  C…