Showing posts from 2017

A really tall tree....

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Sometimes I know exactly what I want to write. Other times, I haven't a clue. I write because it gives me a sense of discipline. It gives me something other than the daily 'stuff'' that flows in, around, and by me.

This past week I wrote to a friend, quite spontaneously, the following:

You have been a really tall tree, in a really dense forest, looking over all the details.
The friend responded immediately, that the family member...
"...has taken a keen interest in trees and has been drawing oak leaves.  So your tree analogy is perfect."

Heart Warmers and belly laughter

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I crack myself up. Nobody knows it. And nobody cares.

When I hear something on the radio or on TV and I start laughing or talking back to that absurd/funny person, it's a good thing that normal beings cannot hear me. They'd think I'd gone mad.

I've mentioned before that my mom gave me this spiral-bound booklet of various words of wisdom, maybe 40+ years ago. I keep it on my bathroom counter. And I turn the page every other day.

Here are some recent crack-up and thoughtful items:

July 7
Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.
Mark Twain

Oct 6 (my wedding anniversary)
You won't even get started if you wait for all the conditions to be 'just right.' So true...and I experience it every day.

Oct 31
If at first you don't succeed  ~ try to hide your astonishment. Yeah, like every day.

Nov 2
Most worries are reruns! Yes, they are, and when will I take it to my heart? Fahget about the worri…

Way, way, way, back in the day, day, day....

I was fortunate to be invited to breakfast, with two dear, local friends, and one dear friend from across the country. Our hostess was treating us to Brown Sugar Kitchen, in West Oakland. The two locals had been there before and loved it..enough to go again (more than twice, I think)!

This was last Friday...and the wait was over 30 minutes, maybe 40. But it was worth it!

While we were getting out of the car, we saw the two of the signs, above. I love this...because it puts the blame on the folks who leave their stuff in the car, in plain sight!

Way, way, way, back in the day, day, day....I used to work in West Oakland. It was at a place called Tolliver Center, part of the CYA (CA Youth Authority), as a part-time Clerk Typist II. Coming from Newport Beach, and being recently married...this was my eye-opener to the reality of livin' life.

The CYA employees were stealing vouchers from the kids. And because I kept my head down, who knows what else they were ripping off. I hope each o…

Home sweet home, for doggies.

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I was at a friend's house the other day. When his front door was open, his dog escaped. He calls him 'the escape artist.'

His pet, though small, is mighty. We tried to coax him back inside but he would have nothing to do with us. He was free! I asked if Seamus knew how to get home. He was on the loose! He said Seamus knows the way. Okay.

We were talking for over an hour, and still no Seamus. I was determined not to be worried and was confident that he would return.

Then the phone rang. No, it was not Seamus on the other end of the line. I wish! A woman had found him running along a busy street. She pulled over and had the magic touch. She happened to have dog treats and she happened to be a Professional Dog Walker!

She called the local animal hospital and because the dog had a microchip implanted under his skin, the scanner told them where Seamus lived. But the phone n…

Impulse and intuition.

I don't use words as they are intended to be used. Oh well.

Just before I leave on a road trip (like driving to S.CA for fun), these days I put some home-grown roses on my car dashboard.

First, the roses remind me to breathe deeply, no matter what comes along. Second, they smell good. And third, the roses put me into a better or into a good mood.

Last weekend I was speaking with a friend, who has created her niche here on earth as a Career Coach, a Business Coach, and a Life Coach.  I was the beneficiary of her wisdom. She asked me over to speak with her about her house and the options she may have with staying there for more years, moving on, renting it, or selling it.
I really encouraged her to keep it...because we both agreed that the location is great, but it does, like most things (and people), need some effort put into it! What should have lasted about 60-90 minutes, became most of the afternoon, effortlessly.

As I was leaving I mentioned that I do things impulsive…

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…