Showing posts from 2017

Breathing space

Some memories from my vaca in Newport Beach....nearly 2 weeks ago.
Sunset, Fun Zone, Surf, Bike Racks, Balboa Island!

In these turbulent times, these photos bring me peace. How simple is that?  Very.

Lean in...

(This post is NOT a commentary about Sheryl Sandberg's book, Lean In. )
I was watching a hawk soar the other day, off my balcony.  It was morning and the sky was blue but calm. Well, it seemed calm to me but I wasn't soaring. The hawk was.

When I was learning to fly gliders, I thought we were towed up, and just glided to earth in 20 minutes after we released the line from a 3000 foot tow by the airplane in front of us. Mostly we were preparing for a landing at about 1000-1200 feet, hopefully touching down where we took off.

Don, my instructor, would show me what to do, and then I'd attempt it. But he was keeping us upwind of the field and was looking all around, while my focus was straight ahead.

As I was watching the hawk, its natural instincts were to lean in, to catch the rising air, sometimes with great effort, sometimes with minimal effort.

In life we have choices. We can either glide down or we can lean in...tilt/turn into the lifting wing, into the rising air. It…

Get in line....

You first heard that in pre-school. And it has been said to you throughout your life.

But my plane ticket said. "TSA - free." I didn't pay for it and I don't know anybody that would pay for it, for me. That was sometime ago...maybe a full year. It was amazing!

Thinking this through while I was still at home, I felt I was prepared for anything to do with boarding or deplaning. I bottled up my cleanser into a very small container (TSA approved). Had a very small tube of toothpaste. I was planning on carrying my luggage on board, along with my backpack. All seemed fine.

I didn't have any jewelry (except my earrings in my ears). Had my tablet out of the cover. Slid off my sandals. Had my boarding pass. Had my jacket.

OH NO! Argh, I forgot to remove my belt. Busted.

But for reasons unknown to me, I've had a full body search done to me, after each time I've gone through the body scanner. That's been the case for the last 4 flights I've made! Most recen…

And then I started thinking....

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Kind of like the eclipse (it seldom happens but it's astounding when it does), in the last 12 days I had my hair cut, a mani/pedi done, my teeth cleaned, and my face cleaned up. I don't even remember when these items last happened in such a short time period. I felt like a million bucks.

And then I started thinking about how often does the first of the month happen to be on a Sunday? Turns out google knows via the website (which is kinda fascinating). And it's more often than I thought. Oct 1st will be the next time a Sunday is the first of the month.

And then I started thinking about the autumnal equinox. I mean, who doesn't? Maybe the question should be 'What are you talking (thinking) about, Marilyn?'

This is my favorite time of year....autumn, fall, the space between summer and winter. The light outdoors is so sharp during the fall, even though there's less of it.

As a very rank amateur photographe…

Extended warranties and no do-overs.

I was emailing with a friend the other day...and we were talking about appliances. He told me what store he for his apartment appliances was easy there, and they were responsive to him, and they resolved issues.  Who could ask for more? He did mention that he never bought any extended warranties. Extended warranties aren't worth the extra $$$.

So I started thinking about extended warranties. Extended warranties cost a bunch of money and they may give you confidence for the 'what ifs' coming around the corner. But I'm not sure if I've ever heard of an extended warranty being used.

Those sales folks would rather make money on me buying it, because they have confidence that I won't use it until the day after the extended warranty expires. I think that's called 'useful life.'

So, I wondered if I was offered an extended warranty for my own life...would I buy into it? Hhmm, I think not.

When it's time to call it a day (or a life) I th…

Apples...buh bye. Hurricanes, please go away.

A few weeks ago, I had Sal, my landscaper, and his crew over for at least 3 full days.

To everything there is a season. Turn. Turn. Turn.

It was time for the apple tree to come down. Part of the trunk was dead/dying. The good news was that I couldn't see it. That was also the bad news, because I couldn't see it. After the severe rains this past winter, everything was beaten up on the outside... the paint on the exterior of the house, the carriage house, the apple tree, and me just getting in and out of the car in the wet weather.

To everything there is a season. Turn. Turn. Turn. 

I've made apple pies and applesauce. 
I've sliced up apples using my corer, peeler, and slicing device.

I've kept those sliced apples frozen, until I needed them for dinner or desserts.

I still have the remains of the crop from last year in my freezer.

To everything there is a season. Turn. Turn. Turn.

We've been here nearly 30 years. The apple tree was blooming when we bought the place…

Almost Christmas

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It was the end of June. I don't know why we were thinking about holiday letters, but my dear friend, Debbie, and I started doing exactly that. Maybe we just needed to laugh...and laugh we did.

If I'm not driving I write most of my thoughts on my phone. I've been known to stop my bike when something strikes me as funny or interesting or witty. After all, that's what phones are for: writing.

Here's our holiday letter (our year in review):

It's been a good year. The kids had their 'firsts":
-Johnny lost his first tooth while Tommie was practicing his golf shot with his father's new club. 
-Mary got her period. 
-Jane gave up her virginity. 
-We lost our house due to foreclosure.  
-And our health insurance got canceled because we couldn't afford the premiums.

Our car's in the shop for a bit after Leonard (hubby) mistakenly told the car to park itself and realized too late that…


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I don't always pay attention to current events. I don't do Twitter, don't feed my Facebook pages too often. I guess I'm rather anti-social. No, anti-social media. Who has the time? Well, I guess our President does. I think he takes his cell phone to bed with him.

I knew there was an eclipse. I knew our town would be in the path of it...only 75% of the sun obscured. Not the "Totality."

Sunday evening I decided I needed to get some eclipse glasses. Every store said "Really? NO!" Besides, I was quite sure we would be fogged-in, because that's what we do during the summers...get fogged in, and then we get un-fogged by about noon. Being an island in San Francisco Bay, we've learned to live with the fog. It beats the heat just a few miles inland!

The internet told me where I could go...but the internet couldn't guarantee 2 things:
1. That I could get the proper glasses.
2. That I…

Expectations and perfection.


-I buy a pineapple. I paid full price. But when I take it home, it's brown inside, not golden. I toss most of it away.

-I figured out how to use a new program on my computer. I turn the restart button on and nothing looks the same. What' up with dat?

-I've taken two live webinars (the second one today) to try and figure out how another program that's been 'updated' works with respect to my biz. It's a  monversation.  Get it? Not a conversation. I think I'm the only one confused.

-I hire a company to wash my windows inside and out, and power wash the house, annually. Four guys show up. Very nice, with matching shirts. One of them was here last year. Next thing I know, they're powering washing my outdoor wooden storage shed on my back porch...with everything still in it! Electrical cords. Plant food. My garden tools. My baskets. All soaked. I stopped them before they did more damage. I gave them homemade chocolate chip cookies (without nu…

Sign here....

I've been thinking about how I sign my name.

You need to sign when you use a debit or credit card. But what does that mean? 
Back in the day, it meant you signed with a pen, and you got a receipt with that signature, because you were signing in triplicate. Those days are long gone, duh.
Vendors still need to have you sign your name. Well, maybe not your name. You just need to sign....something that doesn't even look like your name. 
I was talking with a friend the other afternoon, and I wanted to know what 'makes' a good signature. I sign my name very different now, than I did 10, 20, 30, and certainly more than 40 years ago. How does an official know what you signature looks like now vs. then?
Then Joe told me, just that day, he signed using his nose, on that electronic ink pad. I said "You've got to be kidding me!"
His response was "My nose is cleaner than a finger that's been in a nose."
Live richly, marilyn
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DMV, the great equalizer.

Everybody is treated the same.
Everybody has a number.
Everybody gets in the same lines.
Everybody has a number that the 'fake lady' (computer) calls out, monotonously, but evenly.
Everybody speaks a different native tongue.

Except for people like me. "Un petit peu," that about does it for my French.

Nobody gets mad, and if they are frustrated it doesn't show too much. Nobody wants to get thrown under the (DMV) bus...because each of us has a purpose in being there. The primary goal is...get in and then just get outta there. Don't say too much. Yes, sir. No ma'am.

Once I passed the point of no return (after over an hour in line, outside, in the heat), I was inside for at least 30 minutes before I was assigned to the G group. When I started looking at the number 'she' was calling, it was number 88. I was 118. This could be a long day.

The DMV has a TV channel...maybe it's called DMV - TV. No movies, mostly ads. I can't even remember what …


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fəd/ noun noun: FUD; plural noun: FUDs
fear, uncertainty and doubt, usually evoked intentionally in order to put a competitor at a disadvantage. "the FUD factor"
Origin acronym.

I was reading an article online the other day. It was about real estate, but it could have been about anything. The writer, Brad Inman, a real estate writer/guru, said that the guy he was writing about "was the master of FUD.'

I'd never heard of FUD. So I looked it up on the internet. It means Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Disinformation.

Aha! I believe that our country is full of FUD at a most inopportune time. But I think that is what FUD is about...about our fears, our uncertainty, our doubts. Or better yet, somebody who wants us to be full of FUD, without knowing that we're being influenced by thoughts of others, that creep into our mind suptlely taking over our thoughts. Kind of like hypnotizing. No - really like hypnotizing.

So know…

Look up...

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...not down, look forward, not backward!

How often are we conscious about what we say to ourselves? I'm trying to be more aware of what/how I think and a bit more silent until I figure out if I even want to say anything at all these days!
When I'm riding my bike, I make a map in my head about where I want to go, which way would be good for the errands I want to accomplish, which streets are more bike friendly, which streets are shaded, which way will get me there soonest but with safety in mind. Put all of those together and you have a bike ride!
I used to do this when flying small planes across the country. One plane and one pilot. Sometimes we traveled in groups...sometimes not. 
We/I had maps, but every once in awhile, it would be worth going off course to see something from the sky that I hadn't seen before. Because of the minmal navigation equipment that these new planes had in them, o…

What can't be seen, can't be cleaned.

Back in the day when we had family cleaning time on Sunday evenings...things got done quickly, efficiently, and everybody knew what to do. Now it's just me. And I tend to clean when I don't want to do something else that seems worse.

UNTIL...I just get the urge to clean stuff that is maybe not disgusting but it's at least gross. (Maybe gross is worse than disgusting?)

When I choose to see the baseboards behind the beds, I tend to look away. They are so dusty and hard to get to! What can't be seen can't be cleaned. Same thing with the highest shelves in my closet. Can't see the dirt, it doesn't exist.

And so it was just yesterday, that it occurred to me that my toilet bowl brush holder had not been cleaned in ....years? ugh.  It came with a partner, known as the plumber's friend...a plunger. The plunger hadn't been used in a while.

How would I do this? I'm still on a 'save water' lifestyle, though the local water district has released us…

Best in parade...the whole thing!

Independence Day is always very special to me. When I get out of my head, I realize not only how blessed I am that I was born in America, but that all of us, whether born here or not have much to be grateful for.

Here are some photos (not necessarily good) of that event, on July 4. What made me tear up during the Alameda parade (which is the longest parade in the US, according to those who keep track of such things) is how the audience cheered for those of various religions, various ethnicities, and various sexual orientations. It was more than a parade. It was honoring everyone's right to be here!

 As my son said in an email to me on 7-4, God Bless America!Live richly! marilyn

Some of my favorite things....

Some of my favorite surf, sun, sand, and a big American flag.We certainly do live richly,  marilyn
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Talk trash, Toni

My dear friend Toni, who cuts my hair, told me this story recently.

She had her car parked in her driveway. An unattended van was blocking her driveway. She knew where the owner of the van lived, along with maybe another 10 folks.

She hollered across the street. No answer.  Then she went to the front door of the house. No answer. But the owner of the van suddenly showed up at the front door.

The guy came out and Toni went ballistic. Don't you know your van is parked illegally? I've already called the cops. they are now.

The cop was going to write a ticket for the van owners. That would be a $300 ticket. Toni said no. She sent the cop back to whatever he had been doing.

Then she told the (man) van boy...."You owe me. You really owe me. I need some new jeans. You can go to (she named a high-end store) ...and get them. Oh and I want this other stuff, too. She got into her car and drove off.

She heard nothing from the van boy, until the next day. He bought her some …

...and Trump is still in the White House....

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I emailed my accountant, Sam, the following:

Hi Sam,
Hope you and the family are doing well!
I've made xxxxxx this quarter.
Could you please send me the estimated tax form so I can pay it? 
thanks! m

From Sam, 

Here you go.   Leaving on vacation tomorrow until the 23rd. Daughter C graduated from college. Daughter C2 is going back, no end to tuition.  Bought the rental house in April.  Wife R got done with the rehab and rented it in June. Trying to rent the Castro Valley house out by the end of June. My old car broke down and costs $950 to fix. Trump still in the White House.
Life is interesting.  Hope all is well with you and yours. --Sam
I emailed my accountant back:

I may be able to turn your response into a blog post (names will be changed to protect the innocent and guilty.)

Life really is stranger than fiction. And Trump is still in the White House.

Live richly,


Lost in thoughts....

Typically, I usually ride my bike to meet clients at a property. That way I can go door to door, instead of searching for parking. Today we were looking at a fixer. After spending some time there we parted and I said I'd get some more details for her.

I was just across the street from the marina where my late husband had his office so I invited myself to bike around the place. Carl had two separate offices at the marina. He first rented a small concrete block-walled, double decker 'manager of the marina' office. It served as the controller for the marina. It was placed so the view was high, looking out to the shipways (marina) where the ships were docking, getting repaired, and departing.

His second office was on the ground floor, set on a deck, with gangplanks leading to the docks. It was a piece of heaven on earth. There was parking just outside the building and all kinds of boat workers/clients/wannabees stopped by with questions about various projects they were worki…

Uber what?

I have the best nail person EVER! And she makes me crack up. She is slim, is quite active, travels around the world with her husband, and paints small pictures on my toes!

Even though a small local restaurant, The Little House (I sold the lot that the little house was built on), is quite close, and quite good...she hates to take a little walk! It's less than 1/2 block away from the nail shop.

She tells me she would rather go through a drive-thru line or have somebody deliver food to her car. Then Nancy told me about UBER EATS. Uber what?

I had my first experience with Uber when I went down to San Diego. But UBER EATS? Now I'm not an early adapter for anything...and certainly not for newer apps.

But when my Uber driver showed up in the pickup lot for taxis, I was pretty impressed. The car was immaculate. The driver so nice..and it was a far cry from any cab service I had previously used over the years.

Not all restaurants offer this, but Nancy told me that the app works like an…

Hang your hat.

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I was laying in bed the other morning, not thinking too much about anything. Then I looked at my closet shelves and realized that there were several hats wrapped up in plastic bags. They've been there for years, and years, and yes, more years.

So tonight I took them down from the shelves and opened up the history, filled with dust and memories.

My favorites are the ones that Carl wore.

*One came from the wall downstairs, where it's been hanging because it was too big for the shelves.

The hand-woven 'pineapple' hat has a mini-bird that sways in the wind. We got this in Oahu after finishing the Transpac race...I think the boat (one of his designs, an Express 37) tied for 3rd place in our division.

Me and my five best boyfriends made up the crew. Took us 11.5 days from LA Harbor to Honolulu. These were experienced guys having lots of Transpac races between them. Me...I was the novice. But I never go…

Shake it up...

Have you ever thought about what goes into your keyboard?

I admit that I don't dwell on this subject and I occasionally turn my keyborad upside down and shake it.  But when I'm on hold with Comcast, I just don't shake the keyboard. This week I literally was banging the keyboard on my desk, all the while being on hold with Comcast..

And what came out was disgusting.  The pile of debris hidden in between the letters and numbers of the keys, was completely GROSS. The photo shows the second load of debris that I shook out: sand (where'd that come from?), food bits, crumbs, paper holes from a hole punch, my gray hairs, staples, and things that I don't even care to know about, much less even care to identify.

The smiley plastic person/brush who does the regular housekeeping chores for the keyboard, is always standing by...waiting for me to pick him up and put him to work.

I have but one word to say....GROSS.

BTW...I got things taken care of with Comcast. Two good, posi…

Calgon...take me away!

Most folks don't remember Calgon. It's a bath/bathing product. It was featured in a many decades long advertising campaign.

Calgon...where have you gone?

When various things don't work, are broken, don't function, and blah blah blah...the Calgon ad comes into my head.

On Monday my antique oven (vintage, they say) wouldn't stay lighted (or is it 'lit'?). Not a bad thing..but I couldn't cook. Also not a bad thing. Often I have salads for dinner so that was fine.

Now please realize that although I've had it repaired, I've not had it ripped apart and put back together as a 'new' vintage stove.

But I wanted to make a big dish...Chicken Marbella. It needs to marinate for at least 12 hours, and then you can cook up a storm, once it hits the oven. The scent goes all over the house...yum!

So I had a vintage guy come out and work his miracles on my vintage stove. A friend (and old house owner) referred him to me. And Greg made it work, once again…

Remove me from your mailing lists....please.

For the past several weeks I've been working to get off mailing lists (in between work, committee work, volunteer work, and bike rides to air out my mind).

When I started this, I hoped I wouldn't get too
too many people too mad. I'd not done this before and didn't know what I was getting into.

Well, guess what? The 'removal people' are very nice! They are kind, and mostly do not want to know 'why.'

To keep me company while I'm on hold, I put on my Sonos music or my Sonos NPR station. At least I could sing along with Billy Joel, or Bette Midler, or the British Invasion Radio, or the Eagles, while on hold.

While I've been on hold ('because we are working with other customers') I wonder if these are call centers. Maybe this is kind of like 'piece' work. Can these kind folks do their jobs anywhere? Does the phone ring everywhere? Do they have phone lines tied into the main phone line? Is somebody standing over them...making sure they …

Turning on the TV and the water-works.

I was a bit weepy in church, well, in Sunday School, last week. Not that my regulars weren't there, (which they weren't there), but because I was going over memories that I had with friends. 

After going to lunch with church-goers, (we go for the company not for the food, and by the way, Carl's Jr. has better tacos than The Bell), I came back home thinking (knowing) that I had three projects that needed to be done in my office. 

So I turned on the TV, and completely ignored my office chores. I saw the Golf Channel and was promptly bored. So I ran through the channels and came across the movie...Forrest Gump. 

Again it was a beautiful spring, breezy, and if I wasn't doing my office chores, I should have been outside. However, I had just cut some roses and swept the porch the day before, so that took care of the 'outside' stuff. 

I know you know that Forrest Gump was in the Vietnam war. And I realized that his era reflected our lives. We lived through the …

The tax man taketh....

Here's another winner (of the month) from the gal who does the signs for Central Baptist Church. I'd love to meet her! And she makes it all so timely!

I couldn't figure out what the Glock was, and as I riding by on my bike, I said the sentence out loud. Oh yeah. A Glock is a gun. Well, you can leave that outside of heaven's door.

Since taxes were due this past Tuesday, the IRS occupied a small space in my head. But I solved that by getting my tax professional to file for an extension. No H&R Block upstairs, just down here on earth!

Speaking of taxes, last year the IRS sent me a refund check for a (big to me) sum of money. I had it tacked up on my bulletin board...waiting to see what the next communication might be from the folks at that national entity. It would be a bummer to cash that check and then have them say that I owed it back to them.

But somehow it fell from the bulletin board...and I have yet to figure out where it ended up. But it wasn't anywhere i…

Trading. Bartering. Giving. Receiving.

I saw this window while I was previewing a house today.  There were two of the windows (twins), and both of them were simply gorgeous! 
I cringe when I think of giving up stuff. Not because I dislike it. Not because I think I will miss those items. It's just such a hassle. 
But in my business, as a real estate broker, I often watch and hear what clearing out the stuff out does to and for my friends and clients. One of my friends/clients surprised me when she recenttly wrote that she liked seeing the walls in her house! I've said it before...have space, will fill.
Somehow, early this week, I just felt I needed to sweep out the carriage house (yep, the carriage house...long before folks had cars). Carl used the place as a shop. 
It was kind of an unwritten rule for the Schumacher cars in the garage. Homemade planes and boats were just fine..but no cars. This worked for us, because we couldn't get a car into the backyard, much less inside the carriage house. Carl c…

Key to my.....

...heart? No. It's the key to my house.

I was at my front door. I put the key into the lock..and it was stuck. Not the key was stuck in the lock!

OMG! ok ok ok. Just calm down, I told myself. Next thought...what if each of the locks with the same key, don't work? Don't go there, I told myself.

I tried to force it out..not much though...because I didn't want to break the key inside the lock.

Dear Lord, please tell me what to do!

I've never even thought of this, so clearly it wasn't my thought. It came to me to just push in the small circle that surrounds the key. And when I did this the key came out!

Stupid, now that I think about it...but I put the key back into the lock, just to see if pushing the small circle did work! Okay..twice is too many times. But it did work, again.

Since it was after hours, I called the locksmith-ers right away the next day. I've used the shop forever and he had the time to come later that afternoon.

When he arrived I t…

Caring about cars.

I took my Toyota Corolla into the dealership where I bought it, today. The CADEAU (my license plate, in French, which means GIFT), recently celebrated it's 2nd birthday, the last week of 2016.

I haven't washed it for awhile. Heck, it's going to rain again, why bother? It still looks okay on the outside. Inside it's full of shoe and Ugg Boot dirt, pavement debris, used tissues (when I find them under the seat), empty Smints containers, dust on the dash, and bags that have my name on them so I can shop and not use plastic or paper.

I don't pay much attention to the miles I drive, because I don't drive that much, unless I go to Costco, maybe drive to San Franscisco, take a road trip to Newport Beach, or head up to Sacto which is only every 3 months or so.

It was time for a 5K checkup. I overran it by 2K. Gosh, I did see that warning sign on the instrument panel. Then it disappeared. I'm quite sure I would not have let that happen when I used to fly...hell, no!…