Showing posts from 2012

Tending goals....

There's this saying attributed to Albert Einstein: Insanity. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Goals - in hindsight.  That makes some sense. Wonder what I've been doing.  Or not. One thing I didn't do.  I didn't have a Shredding Party last February.  Over six years ago I was at a conference in Las Vegas when I thought of it.  I'd noticed so many people were so buried in paper and they paid about $8 for every box or bag to get rid of it...and had to deliver their stuff to the place off this lovely island.  What better way to have my clients, friends, church folks, neighbors, friends of friends, come to me in a three hour period, rain or shine, from 9am to noon on a Saturday, get rid of their stuff, not pay one single dime, grab a donut and some juice, and be on their way! I didn't even know if there was a company that would come to my house!  Sure enough, I found one.  They are super professional.  Sal was the

Finding out about Santa....

We were playing softball in the vacant lot around the corner from our house.  I don't know the kid's name but suddenly he was telling us, as we played, that Santa Claus was a lie.  What?  How could that be?  I was told lying was a bad thing.  But, being careful to not show any concern about it I nodded my head 'yeah', and kept on playing. I was in 2nd grade.  My brother was two years younger than me, and another brother was just a baby.  The last brother yet to come was but a gleam in my dad's eye.    Not long after, I heard Mom and Dad speak to each other about "something.'  But I couldn't catch the whole conversation.   We had a couple of weeks before Christmas.  Then a few days later my dad yelled from the driveway...."get the dolly!"  Dolly?  Was this the gift?  A dolly for me! They rolled a huge box into the living room.  He kept talking about the 'dolly.' Okay, let's see what's in the box!  It was a huge.... cabin

Holiday help....

I hate items that are a mess in stores.  I would imagine that others do, too. Recently I was at Costco.  No extra buying for me there.  I can walk in for a roasted chicken and walk right out with only a roasted chicken.  When I went to look for a Vanity Fair magazine to bring to my daughter in New Zealand, she had said she'd found them previously at Costco for a good price.  Vanity Fair is not a good price in the US but it's about 50% more in NZ, so I guess it's a good deal in America. I found the magazine rack and spent over 30 minutes there.  Nothing was in order.  Everything was a mess.  I sorted but I couldn't figure out the pattern there.  Oh, that's right...there was no pattern there.  The customers and/or their kids decided to take every magazine and just toss it anywhere.   I completely organized the whole thing.  Nobody got close to me while I was working.  I was on a mission.  And after I completed my new freebie job at Costco, I could not find one

Dancing with Dyson

I couldn't believe my eyes!  I owned something in Architectural Digest! And it wasn't an ad...well, I couldn't afford any of the paper their ads are printed on, much less the product.  It was really there and I had it! I had just been reading the monthly regular feature about houses...and the ones with huge price tags on them.  I was telling all this to Nancy, my mani/pedi expert.  She was planning how to paint snow scenes on my other friend, Linda's, toes, when she got there after me.   We talked about how houses here in CA were worth more and were smaller than the Irish mansion with 46 bedrooms (or something like that) and 25 bathrooms (or something like that).  We decided that even though the mansion was only about $11,900,000US it would be way too expensive to rent rooms out there.  And the time to do the maintenance!  The place needed some (serious) work!  And how about that yard...I mean acreage, to keep trimmed!  I'd have to turn in my weed whacker and

Works end.

When a huge tree falls down somebody comes along and cuts it up and moves it away.  Except, somebody beat that person to this tree, and turned the tree into a high-back bench, exactly where it was, along side a river flowing through the city. This is one of thousands of examples I witnessed in Christchurch, New Zealand when I was there recently.  Doesn't this look like something out of the Hobbit (which just opened there today)?  Royalty deserves to sit in that chair, but it's there for all.  Perhaps the the wizard I met on the street will use it...he's a local icon and showed up on the news a few days later. The human spirit never ceases to amaze me.  A 7.1 earthquake in September 2010, followed by one of 6.1 magnitude in February 2011(weaker in strength but stronger because it was half the distance below the ground), plus thousands of shakes later, has both brought people together, and made them vocal about how to handle the damage throughout their city.

I'm over the election and the election hasn't happened.

Are you tired of the political ads?  Are you ready to have a lot less mail in your post box?  Would you like to watch TV without fast forwarding through the political lies, just going back to fast-forwarding through the dumb and/or the creative commercials?  I can't believe that every car commercial looks so good to me...and I don't even want a car! Well, they've done it again and I am tired and worn out by our politicians.  That's one reason I choose to vote by mail!  Yes, I supposed I'm taking a risk in not knowing the ballot is not stuffed into the ballot box by me, instead relying on the US Post Office to get the ballot out from the mailbox. On the other hand, there's no guarantee that the ballot box will be delivered to the counting people at the county.  But I'll take my chances.  I think it's worth it.  I mailed my ballot last Thursday.  What a relief! Are you sick of the lies?  How about those California ballot measures? Do you want pe

Drive by....move on.

On Facebook the other day, I looked at the photo of the house and thought it was one of the houses I grew up in!  And it was.  But it wasn't.  If we played the Match Game, it would be a perfect fit. Instead it was its twin or quadruple or maybe one hundred forty-ish of the same floor plan.  My folks always bought tract homes. Joe, a classmate in school, posted that he got to talking to a man seated next to him on an airplane.  Turns out that guy bought Joe's family's house, and they invited him over anytime to check it out.  And then a lot of people commented that they lived in Eastbluff, too! I made a suggestion on FaceBook that those of us who lived in the Eastbluff development of Newport Beach, back in the mid 60's, should have a reunion. Then I got thinking.  What if we did have a reunion?  Kind of spontaneously showed up as a group at each of our old houses, without telling the current owners?  If they were home, would they see us standing there...either

It's the little things....that make a big impression.

I'm amazed at how much I don't / I can't /I won't do on my own.  I don't do them because I don't know how.  I can't do them because they are too dangerous.  I won't do them because they are gross.  Ssooo... I've been amazed this week.  I'm amazed at Ethan the Plumber.  He comes to my door wearing a long rubber apron and with elbow-length gloves.   "Let me at that sump pump!" He is willing to get, well, disgusting.  He has some very funny plumber lines (as in laughs, not the pipes). I'm amazed at Rudy (Golden Gate Sheet Metal) the furnace man.  He got the ductwork attached which had fallen into the abyss of the sub-area.  There is nothing like a heating up a cold, dirt-ridden, empty space to a toasty 69 degrees, when it's freezing in the house.   I would have wrapped those big long, thick snakes in duct tape, but I learned from him that duct tape goes bad in a short time.   Hhmm...who knew? I'm amazed at Chris, the h

Toni - she just gets life.

I have a friend, Toni. We've known each other for about 14 years, maybe more, maybe less. We get to meet every seven weeks or so. It was probably every five weeks earlier on. The meeting is optional, but it usually happens. Sometimes she'll bring coffee. Since I don't drink coffee, I sometimes have water. It's very friendly meeting. Sometimes it's catty.  I remember it took some time to warm up to her. We have several people who know us but they don't see us together. But she is the salt of the earth, and heaven too. We've gone through so much together.  Her single-mother-ness, her marriage, her divorce, our kids, their sports, the money, deaths in our families, our cars, our jobs, our money (again), our dreams.   When my husband passed on, it was the quietest I had ever heard her. I mean, she hardly whispered, and she's usually quite vocal. She never asked about the circumstances...and I didn't volunteer much of anything.  I think

Driving me crazy - Interstate 5!

When you've got kids, a van, lots of stuff, and need to see the grandparents (both sets lived in Newport Beach), you pile in and drive to the hometown on Interstate 5.  At the time it was cheaper to take four wheels (gas) than to travel by two wings (airfare).  Plus, like George Carlin says, "You gotta have your stuff"   (scroll down on the link) and we for sure couldn't pay for the whole plane. Interstate 5....I have never heard anybody who has said how lovely that drive is through California.  In the summer it's freakin' hot.  In the winter there is tule fog and you slowly grind your way forward or sit still.  And all year long there is the cow stench, stink, and smell at Harris Ranch.  Besides, it's boring.  There are too many fast food joints but there are plenty of gas and rest stops. As I pondered the old days and ways, my mind went to three events I/we had on Interstate 5. One was the family trip during the 1984 Olympics in LA.  Everybody said s

Wanna come to a party?

Ut-oh.  It's going to be a loud Saturday afternoon.  And probably a louder Saturday night.  It's not even 2pm and the noise is on the rise.  Did they have a live band?  Maybe it was just fake...not the real stuff but already taped, recorded, cd'ed, perhaps a very beefed up iPad running through very, very beefed up speakers. Gads, I hope it's not like those other adult kids who take over their folks' house when they're gone.  They really are stupid, both the parents and the kids.  The cops show up and shut the kids down when they go waay into the morning. My curiosity got  the best of me and I got on my bike to follow the sound, around the corner and on the next block.  There was a group gathering.  As I rode by I tried to look like I wasn't looking.  Fast forward... A few hours later I was washing my car.  The party was a wedding reception.  It sounded like hundreds but it was only fifty 30-somethings, I later found out.   They played Frank Sinatra an

Mere mortals....

I like to think I can do the basics in life.  Like get dressed.  Have a job.  Have some hobbies.  Go to the movies.  I decided to book an airline flight. A long flight. And use my miles to get there. My daughter and her husband live in Christchurch, New Zealand. That's where I wanted to go. I've been twice before but it's been about five or six years. Aha! The internet awaits me! I got on United's website.  And this is what I came up with.  United could take me from San Francisco, to Seattle, to Vancouver, to Sydney, Australia. Then it would be a short hop (3-4 hours?) over to Christchurch. So let's see. That would take me about three days. It's long enough at about 17 hours. Really? Oh, and for business class it would cost me $12,000 US. Hhmmm, it didn't cost that much before. Oh, you can't use your miles for biz class. Really? But you can use 150,000 of your miles, all of them, to travel steerage. I got on Air New Zealand'

Come for an argument?

The Monty Python group has a gig about signing up for an argument.  The first client mistakenly goes through a door into a service called 'abuse' and gets knocked around a bit before both parties realize the problem.  Then the client finds the correct door for the 'argument' and the two people start in.  I went to hear an argument the other night, with friends.  It featured Howard Dean and Karl Rove at the Oakland Speakers Series.   The moderator positioned himself strategically between both men.  One of the things that surprised me was how much they had in common.  I'm not a fan of either of them but I lean towards Dean, if given the choice. I wanted to question something Howard Dean promoted.  He said, more than once, that if he had his way nobody over 50 would be a member of Congress.  That sounds 'young' thinking.   But it sounds dumb, no matter how you figure it .  And considering the age and the political bent of Dean's audience, that would not

Reality? hhhmm...maybe not.

Hello.  You've reached the Schumachers.  We're either in or we're out.  Leave a message!  Make it work!  Carry  on!  Auf wiedersehen!   (To me those last words sound like veedershen, in my world.) You have just read how my message machine answers my home phone line.  Those are lines from Project Runway.  I love that show!  I came across it by accident when I was channel surfing probably at least four years ago.  I'm not Heidi Klum, but I could 'make it work' on my machine! What's hysterical is that many friends call and they just crack up over it - each time.  And there are the first-timers who don't know what to say when they listen to it.  And of course the mystery calls, the ones that are machine-dialers only...and they miss the whole thing because they don't have a brain. I do have an affinity for reality TV shows.  That's not to say it's an addiction.  Just an affinity.  BUT I don't care for those shows that feature hollering o

The second happiest day of my life.

I had a serious talk with God a week ago Tuesday.  Most of my talks are usually telling God what I want him to do.   But Tuesday, I decided the talk was one way.  So I decided to listen. I wanted to sell my boat, the Hubba Hubba.  I kind of inherited the Hubba Hubba, after my husband passed on and his boat-partner decided it was too much hassle. That photo was about 8 years ago when I had it completely wooded (all the paint taken off on a full wooden boat).  It was a glorious day for the old gal, a 1966 Chris Craft, twin engine (305 HP V8's).   I figure in boat years the 1966 birthdate translates, in boat infinity!  Work never stops, unless I just choose to ignore it.  I figure it cost me $2000 per hour to run it last year.  Not so good. I had tried to do it my way.  Between Craig's List, e-Bay, trying to give it to charity (rules have changed and they have to keep it for two years), tried to give it to the Sea Scouts...they never returned my call

Federal Pacific Electrical boxes

Sometimes I just need to bring my business into this blog...but it's about life and well, here it is!    I have clients who called me a handful of years ago.  They had just had a fire.  What?  Are you okay?  Yes, we are and we were at home when it happened.  Oh my gosh! This doesn't get any more exciting than that!  But who wants that kind of excitement!  So I wanted to push it out to folks that these electrical boxes can be very dangerous!  It came to mind when I was talking to a listing agent in Oakland today, and she said the buyers had a concern about a Federal Pacific Electrical Box at a house she was selling to them.   I said she had better take that seriously because I had clients who had one catch on fire! Now, as a real estate broker (associate), I have had hundreds of inspections by a variety of inspectors, and not one of them has heard of one going up on flames but they do say they can be dangerous.  I tell them it happened to my friends at their townhom

Make the stuff stuff-less

"I've reclaimed my life.  I have eliminated the last 40 years of the waste in my life."  Note, she did not say she'd eliminated her life , or her memories , but the WASTE in her life.  Mary is a dear friend who I think of as The Second The Hallmark Store.  She was clearing things out a few years ago (it has been a long process).   She fully admits she has a mantra - she won't send anybody a card, although she buys cards.  So I happily, and freely, took collections of blank, gorgeous cards, and wonderful unopened notes from her own Hallmark Store. There were 100's of cards!  And I used them. This recent go-round, she actually tossed over 19 years of received, one-way correspondence, out the door and into recycling.  She's the neatest collector of all things once valuable: like college papers (her own for her undergraduate degree and for her Masters);  and college brochures and curriculum books, because she had a business as a college adviser (for

In the box....out of the box

Here's the deal.  I think kids have too many toys.  There, I said it. I've felt that since our kids were small.  Too much stuff and nothing to do with any of it!  Kids really do like a big empty box, and a bunch of wooden spoons and Tupperware (dating myself now) from the bottom kitchen drawer.  Metal pans are too noisy.  We had a small house.  It was duplex on a cul-de-sac.  Per usual, the kids kind of dropped stuff and we stepped on it or over it.  Something needed to be be done.  I looked around.  All I saw was me.  Nobody else seemed to care.  Alrighty.  I was elected by one vote.  Mine. I decided to not squawk about the toys anymore.   Instead, I gave two warnings to the kids to put the items back where they belong.  And then I went to work.  If they ignored it, no problem.  When they weren't looking I picked them up.  And I tossed them into a box, in the laundry room.  They surely weren't going in there!  And if I recall, I tossed some of Carl's toys in

What sport are you good at?

I admit it.  I'm not great at any thing.  To watch these people so dedicated to being Olympians - those are amazing lives.  And it is a life, the only life.  I can clean.  I like things neat and tidy.  Do they have an Olympic sport in cleaning?  How about cleaning up after the Olympians.  I could do that.  I like to ride my bike but I'm not into hills or racing.  I like cruising around town, or the perimeter of San Francisco.  Remember, I don't do hills but I can do a few to be close to the bay. I have been known to ski.  Not fast.  Is there an event for drinking hot chocolate up on the mountain? How about timed floating?  I swim in the ocean for about 45 minutes non-stop twice a day when I'm in Maui. But I can really turn it on when I see something weird in the water, like an octopus, or an eel. And that brings me to my golf game.  Carl and I started with Woody when our son was out of high school and our daughter was at college.   We decided we needed to do

Who ARE you?

Property tax challenges.  That's one of the things I do for clients and it's started right on time this year as we Califonians have had their assessed values mailed to us a week ago.  I've had a couple of people call me regarding their tax assessments on their property in the last week.  One is a friend who has a very unique property and deserves all the help he can get.  Not easy to do, but I tried and advised him to challenge the assessor, using what I gave him. Then I had the worst nightmare come along.  Ms. TC (Tax Challenger) called me.  She said, in her heavy French accent, she saw me the other day.  She reminded me of who she was at that time.  I couldn't recall that conversation. I know that when I see somebody, even a neighbor, I haven't seen for awhile, I try to beat them to the punch by saying my name.  Even when I'm riding my bike, I holler out their name, and then my own!  I figure it would be tough to place a bike rider, riding by, into a mem

Car bucks...boat bucks.

I say, That's a pretty expensive part, there. He says , Well not really.  It's under five hundred dollars.   I say, Oh, that's right.  I think , Who made that rule up? Ah, the way the auto mechanic thinks!  $499 here and $299 there.  That's cheap!  Each part is under $500 bucks.  Hardly counts as anything! I've taken my car into the Audi repair shop the last two Thursdays.  I knew I bought a high performance car in 2003.  Now I'm thinking it's high expensive! It started with new tires last month.  I had a flat.  But it was time to get a set of four.  Big O Tires only sells me tires.  They don't do alignments.  And there was no way I was going to the dealer.  I stopped that silliness years ago. So I called Audi Eddy.  He's my go-to guy.  Way back, my daughter suggested I look up Audi mechanics in the Berkeley Parents Network.  He was the guy to use.  He said they did alignments now so bring the car in!     He says, Everything else o

Who's calling?

How many times have you heard...'your call is important to us.' Then pick up the damn phone! Of course I don't know who 'US' is. 'US' is just a nom de plume, for Nobody Cares. I hate business voice mail systems. They are designed to confuse you so you won't leave a message. And if by some chance you do leave a message, it's safe to say you won't get a call back. So why bother? The miracle may happen. The lady on the other end, who sounds so full of hope (to me) may decide she can make my day, unless she wants to break my day. Oh that's right. She's not really there. The voice is never a man. Not on the airlines, not at the electric company, not at ATT or at Verizon. This lady is giving the rest of us ladies a bad name and a bad attitude.  I am known for my ability to identify a voice.  If I ever see that woman....I'm not sure what I'll do.  But I bet it may be the first time she's been identified in public.

4th of July....where there is smoke....FIRE!

I love fire works....when they are in a field, a big non-weedy field, like a professional baseball park.  And I love what they do to the clever with shapes and forms and types of sparkles.  I don't know the lingo.  I just know OOOs and AHHs! I was home with our daughter, Sutter, who was about 8 months old.  Carl was sailing across the Pacific on the Transpac Race to Hawaii.  I had a day off from teaching flying and we were at home.  That day a flying buddy had come over to say hi.  That was nice, because the next thing I told Mark was to hold the baby, and I was gone.  A rather large fire truck had turned into our very small cul-de-sac, complete with full siren blasting.  I ran to the action.  It turned out to be my action!  By the time I got to the other end of our duplex, the fire people had put out a small fire.  It was about three feet from our tenant's house! It was July 7th.  And for three days I had gotten whiffs of something burning.  It seemed outside th

My washer went kaput.

Last Saturday.  I was bummed.  It had dirty water that wouldn't drain. I decided I couldn't ignore it any more.  I found the manual.  It was me against the washer on a Sunday morning before church.  Ut oh.  I didn't read the part that I should drain the pump filter about every ten washes.  Let's see.  I had the set for about four years.  Times 3 per week.  That translates into 624 washes.  And I never even noticed the pump filter.  Oh well. Take a coin and open up the pump filter at the bottom of the front of the washer.  Hhmm.  Then pull out the small drain hose and unplug that so the water drains out.  The instructions say I'll need a 'vessel'.  It didn't say whether it was a boat-like vessel or some other container.  But the hose was only about five inches long.  Unless I wanted to lift up the whole washer I couldn't get even a small 'vessel' to catch the water. I know, I'll bail the water out of the drum.  Thank goodness the w

Mom, this is gross!

The post title was from my daughter, not when she was young.  It came when she came back home from her 'newer' home, New Zealand, last month. It is amazing to watch her make her rounds when she is here.  And it's frightening to watch her when she's under this roof.  I think I'm a clean person but I'm having my doubts now. As we were settling down watching TV (she was excited to see the current Modern Family   TV series because it runs almost three months later in NZ),  she picked up the remote and said it was gross.  Well, it's my grossness she's complaining about and I'm kind of used to it. The device has my finger prints on it, my food marks on it, and my hand prints all over it.  "Go get me the Simple Green."  Yes, ma'am.  I don't argue with her.  "Go get me a clean rag."  Yes, ma'am.  "This is disgusting."  She told me to work on the leather love seat that is made up of twin recliners.  "It'

Flush it out

    There's a guy I see all the time on TV.  He sits there and doesn't say anything.  He seems contented.   It's on channel 15, our local Alameda public service TV station.  It is not popular because it doesn't have Top Chef, or Alameda Okay Cookers, or the Amazing Race, or the Alameda Race Around the Island, or The Housewives of Alameda, or Alameda's Pretty Good Wife.  Those could be amusing, but there's no money in the budget for those frivolous shows. But the guy listens to every planing board meeting and every city council meeting.  He sits right in the front row.  We can all see him (maybe I'm the only one watching) on the telly. I like the city meetings.  I watch them if there is something exciting or controversial going on.  I can watch them in my PJs.  One time I got a call from a friend who said we needed to get over to City Hall to speak.  Out of jammies and into jeans.    Once I got to speak at a meeting and my last remark was that I h