Showing posts from 2017

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
ps. follow me on my Al…

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...

follow me on my Alameda Real Estate Blog, The Second Story or

...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!…

I'm so grateful I don't.....

....commute anywhere, regularly.

I left my home at 6:15am on Thursday...and I did get to Sacramento by 8:30am for an annual inspirational meeting/bash/get together with 400 of my associates with Fusion Growth Partners (the company that I hang my real estate Broker's license with).

All was well until there was a vehicle incident on the Carquinez Bridge. Well, that slowed the traffic to a stop. My heart though, was with the people involved in the accident. Made me want to drive a bit more deliberately. Well, I actually don't weave in and out of the traffic. It's just a waste of time, gas, and gets me all riled up.

I know how hard the company works to give us excellent speakers. And each one knocked it out of the park today. But why do people act like their own conversations are better than the speaker's?

I introduced myself to my table-mates. When the gig got going, I was very frustrated because they were having their own conversation DURING a speaker's presentation…

Impluses, listening, doing.

God speaks to me in...impulses, not words. One definition of 'impulsion' is 'the force or motive behind an action or process.'

One time I was quite sure that it was God who told me to say NO to a flying job. And several weeks later one of the DC4's I was co-piloting the summer before in Kenai, Alaska, crashed on takeoff and killed all three SOBs (Souls On Board). No if's, ands, or buts. Just the single word NO.

When I listen in 'this' way, I just naturally shift course, take another tack (as in sailing: have the wind blow over the port side vs the starboard side). And when I'm obedient to the impulse, I know it's the right thing to do, and I usually do it now, instead of later.

As I get wiser (not older), I don't question this impulse. I just obey. I let these impulses tell me what, when, and how to say what I want to say. I let the impulses tell me to 'shut up and listen' (not ignore). I listen while I'm driving or riding my b…

School Daze v. 2 You go, girls!

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...from the last post...this came to me, for this post.

Back in the high school days, when I was a cheerleader (Senior year), I had the distinct non-pleasure of being in an art class.

Before that event, my first art teacher was a neat guy, Mr. Don Tredway. I think I was a freshman or sophomore. Over the years he was part of the Laguna Beach Sawdust Art Festival...which always is/has been amazing. His specialty was making jewelry (casting silver/gold rings) into his hand-made designs.

He was super likeable. He always told us 'There's a right way, a wrong way, and a Tredway." Said it like it was.

I needed extra units so I took another art class in my senior year. Mr. Cliff Hooper was the art teacher. He was also a very succesful water polo coach at Corona del Mar High. But he seemed to hate me especially, and the other gals on the Pep Squad.

Turns out that he did hate me, because the Pep Squad never went to any of …

School daze....

When I was a sophomore in high school, I was involved with student government. We actually had a class devoted to Student Goverment. It had everybody who was an elected officer for 9th -12th grades. I ran for and was elected to the Sophomore Vice President position. It was taught by a teacher with the first name of Ken and I don't remember his last name. It was a fascinating class.

What I learned as a sophomore VP was what REAL goverment was, is, and remains today. It was and is all about checks and balances. No one person can control everything in our goverment.

Fast forward to Sutter's, our daughter's, eighth grade class. She ended up going to private school from that year through high school. She finally told us that another student had threatened her with scissors, in her 7th grade public school class. Smaller is better, as it turned out for her. She thrived in the 8-student, eighth grade class.

I met her teacher. He was new to the school as well. I introduced myself a…

Life is like a clothes dryer...

...going round and round and round, yet keeping its contents dry, fluffy, and contained. 

I was without a dryer for a few days over the last weeks, and it was very frustrating. But I got rid of the frustration because I had more important issues to deal with.  And as my husband used to say, 'It is what it is.' And that pretty much sums up most problems. 

But this time I didn't want to live with that saying...'it is what it is.'  IF I really thought life was 'it is what it is,' nothing would ever get done. I would just be satisfied with 'it is what it was.'

Once I hit the start button on the dryer, the rumble started and I flew out of the laundry room, not willing to admit there was an issue. And of course it was all fine once the clothes were dried. But then... my clothes were still wet.

I heaved a very big sigh. I called the appliance shop where I bought the washer & dryer and those guys told me who I should call.

The first time Tim came over…

Just shut up.

Listen more and say less. 
This was a phrase that I used recently while typing an email to my clients. I told them this was my motto these days.
Today, everybody today wants to be heard. Thus, with all of our devices and apps everybody is screaming to anybody who will listen. But nobody is really listening, because they are too busy talking, yelling, tweeting, etc. 
"Marilyn, you've been rather quiet during this. It doesn't seem like you at all. I've know you for years and you've always had an opinion, and have let people know it. I'd like to hear what you are thinking about this situation."
This was a very serious meeting. But it had been a while since this gentleman and I had been to a meeting together -maybe even years. I respect his opinons, as well. In rather short order, I made my position clear.
It drives me crazy, when I'm attending a meeting and everybody is talking over every other perso…

Raining, snowing, hotting, bbbrring.

I can often tell what the weather is doing outside, by the sounds I hear inside.


For the last few weeks we've had more rain days than sun days. Many of us say the drought is over...but I'm not so sure. It will take years to know if that is true or not. And I suppose the drought is the new normal..until it isn't. After all, CA is an arid climate. And I know I've changed my own personal water habits.

A few years ago, I started adding locations to my phone to know what the weather was 'doing' at whatever time it was.

Tonight is a wonderful example:

A-town (Alameda) 50 degrees and wet

Christchurch (NZ) 62 degrees and cloudy (they are ahead of us 1 day, minus 3 hrs. at this time of year and oh, it's also summer there.)

Kaanapali, Maui 70 degrees and half-moony (they are behind us 2 hours)

Princeville, Kauai 63 degrees and half-moony (they are behind us 2 hours...but it's really rainy there)

Newport Beach CA

Have space...stuff it, store it, ignore it.

When I had some recent water intrusion, everything in those areas was pulled out from where the 'stuff' was hidden, and placed into living space.  But reality checked in. And I'm checking out. Why do I have this, or that, or what was I thinking? I'm giving all the stuff to a local museum to sell. They make $$ and I am over it.   
Here's an example: About three weeks ago. I was parking my bike in the carriage house (a type of garage, but a car can't get into it...due to the yard. And the carriage house probably housed a car once those were invented. Before that, it probably was home to ...a carriage!) It was a far cry from the single car garage that we used to have.

The carriage house was used as Carl's shop. He built beautiful boat/yachts half models in there, and he had his dad's big tools in there: a drill press, a table sander, table saw, and things I don't even remember. I gave his large tools, and some of the smaller ones, away shorly after he …