Showing posts from 2019

Who, who let the dogs in?

It was Thanksgiving, 2019. I went to Napa for the day, to see son Evan, his wife Erin, their two kids, and Erin's huge extended family, most of them born and raised in Napa. They are terrific people!

Based on my memories, my mom's parents were a bit weird. They liked the desert, liked dried fruit, didn't like the beach. My mom was a far cry from that description.

My dad's mom was wonderful! He and his brothers (total of 4 brothers and 1 sister), supported Grandma Willson financially, and she lived in an apartment in Santa Monica, where those kids grew up.

We got together at the beach, either at the San Onofre Surfing Club in San Clemente or at the beach house in Newport, that Uncle Ted and his family owned.  Once at the beach all the kids had either beach rafts/mats or surfboards. Usually, there were 9 of us kids, more if it was a reunion. (The Ted Willsons called 'home" a mansion in Piedmont, in the middle of Oakland.) 

But I digress.

Back to Thanksgiving, 20…

Backpack on the rack.

I couldn't find my backpack anywhere, last night, and I looked everywhere; in drawers, behind furniture, in the laundry room, in my closet, blah blah blah.

I wanted to get to our Wednesday evening church meeting by 7:30pm. And at 6pm it was pretty dark.

I needed to decide if riding my bike or driving there would be best (or worst).

I have a lighted helmet with a turn indicator built into it, a bike light that flashes quickly or slowly, is bright or a bit dimmer to light up the dark night, my reflective gloves, and my orange Patagonia jacket. I look more like a Christmas tree than a bike rider. But still no personal ID.

If I drove, I'd still have no I.D. but I'd have my most current driver's registration, which showed up in the mail this week. I drove....very cautiously.

I know exactly where I went during the a meeting at City Hall, 3rd floor, room 360. It was a very informative meeting and our Building Official let our lead Planner take over the meeting.


Get me outta this....


This week, 4 of us attended The Oakland Speaker Series. Some of us have attended this for decades? Daughter, Sutter, started this, and Carl and I decided to buy season tickets and I've been attending ever since (unless I give my ticket to one of the group because I'm not able to attend or choose not to listen to the speaker).

Last year I had the small car window (aka vent window) smashed in while we were listening to the speaker at the Paramount Theatre. And the next month I parked in a lot, and it happened again. Good news, my insurance covered the window...both times, with no deductible.

Blue tape is part of my 'Realtor' tool kit, and I drove to Santa Cruz with a friend, with that window being blue-taped together, in order to attend a Leadership Training for the next two days.

Back to yesterday....three of our group of four, (I was not consulted), came up with an idea. We'd drive to the loft-space of one of the others. We would park the car, and call fo…

Something under the ivy....

I was clearing out my carriage house/shop/garage where you can't get a car into....last week.

About a week before I found a bunch of flies circling around and landing on, something. I thought it was pooh. Uh, no it was not.

It was a dead cat. I thought. Oh no...I hadn't seen the kitty who lived somewhere next door for a while. ugh. I know that animals sometimes find a place to die...and just....die.

That cat didn't like to get close to me... that was for sure...but it was always hanging around our yard. But it was a bit skittish.

I let the 'cat' stay there for at least 3 days....and this past weekend, I decided to face my fears.. and also the flies that were buzzing and hovering around. Those were even grosser.

Now, what if it's really dead? Who do I call? And I don't want to dump it into any of the gray, blue, or green bins.

I found a smallish shovel in the carriage house. I also found a small plastic garbage pail (from the garbage company), that I was sup…

Backyard events...

Part 1

I know it sounds like a commercial. Oh, it is.  'Will State Farm cover my 'She Shed?'

Will State Farm cover my bar-be-que? Hell, no!

We used to use State Farm...but I changed companies many years ago. Choosing an insurance company is like....choosing your just get what you get.

After three years of drought, we had a very wet rainy season last year. My Weber bar-be-que literally rusted itself to death. But I never used it during those years. It wasn't worth the hassle.

Then my son and his family, and his friends and their family came over earlier this year and they fired up the Weber. I hadn't even looked inside of it! But they scraped it clean and grilled some burgers and veggies on it.

Then came the painters in the last 2 months. They moved the immovable - the bar-be-que. And it started to fall apart. OMG. They left it as they found it. Not their was mine.

As I started to move it back into its position in the yard/patio, rusted pie…

Random thoughts....

...that I've had regarding my blog posts.

-demographics/demongraphics - know your demographics - (JCPenney, Sears, ToysRUs)
-good and bad...instant news (fake or not)...good? better think twice before opening your mouth, writing it down. bad? lack of damage unknown others, to family, friends etc.

-Life isn't easy, but I'd rather leave this earth having done something of value to and for people, than bask in riches and in ease, that, in the long run, doesn't matter to me or anybody else. No DO-OVERS! Take me up the next flight of stairs...

-at my desk and suddenly my printer starts warming itself up...noises, the full works. wha' up w/ dat? not the first time, and always irregular. 

-really, a robocall polling about football?

 Mean-ness - get over it. Why not take a big step and ask 'an enemy' (or so it seems), out for a beverage or breakfast or brunch. Put the phones down and shut them off....and look face to face. In my dreams....


Building bridges...

The last leg of my working vaca found me driving from San Diego to Lodi. That's a long drive. But it was well worth it.

Our (real estate) leadership group meets every year (this is my second time) in the autumn.

We learn lots of things...primarily to listen, then respond. Yes, it actually works.

The second day we had to work as small groups. I've never taken this training but it's how to work with various personalities. It's a way to find out who you are, and what/who others are, and then hopefully we can use these techniques in various ways: verbal, non-verbal, knowing how others may act/react.  And no...we didn't get to choose who we worked with...our team was assigned to us.

 This particular exercise involved all of us, in smaller groups, figuring out how to build bridges from scratch. At the end of the allotted time, we should be able to have two toy cars (the type that are powered by swiping them backwards so they will roll forwards) and cross our bridges.


Been thinkin'....

Maybe I could have been a tugboat captain. Probably not. Back in the day, even when Carl was around...I never saw a woman tugboat captain.

Back in the day, people were astounded when I hopped out of an airplane or sailplane.

This week I was fortunate enough to watch several tugboats pull, turn, and push around 2 huge container ships, in Alameda's estuary turning basin.

I was totally fascinated.

What's the horsepower of those engines?

What if? Where would I be now? Where would I live?

Evan, our son, had a friend whose dad was a ship's captain. I didn't want to ask the man about his job. But I knew that he was gone a lot.

One of these days, I'll get out our (ship to shore) marine radio, and listen in on those conversations between the tugs and the ships. I think that radio is on the workshop bench in our carriage house.

Live richly, marilyn

Ex-husbands and painting.....

Nothing like getting to meet your neighbors when you start painting your house. Well, I'm not painting, but I have some excellent painters doing it for me!

As I was taking photos late this afternoon, a couple about my age, walked by with their dog. They asked about the colors...and I said it's going to be the same colors when I had the expert Colorist/Artist work with me 15 years ago.

Then I realized that I'd met the woman before, maybe at a Neighborhood Watch party. She has this guy who goes up a ladder and paints the house by hand and I've seen him doing it every year! Turns out that he's her ex-husband and he loves what he's doing! Wow...what a job! And what a lucky woman!

My white house no longer looks like the White House. It now has some colors on it...and the Project Manager wanted to know if the colors are accurate, even with a different brand of paint. They put on some of the colors in their assigned places so I could see them on the house.

I do think …

Rain rain go away...

...come back when the painting is done!

Two separate people drove by my house...two times, because they didn't recognize it.

The priming and prep is almost done. The most of the dryrot has been filled in by some gray/brown/mastic/epoxy, and then sanded into the wood, where it will harden into the correct shape (curves, straight lines, patches). This also works for nail holes in the woodwork, and where boards have some gaps in them.

The last photo is from the inside of the main entry. It's still light inside, but I feel like I'm living in a cave...with the plastic on all of the windows.

Maybe, I'm told, next week the painters might be able to put on the colors, to see if those colors meet my expectations.

And I've told those that have driven by this white house, looking for the colors that have been sanded off...I'm may still be living in the white house, but please don't even think that our President resides there, at all.

Live richly, marilyn

Rerun: A splice of life...or two.

I was attending a class today, but I was the only student that showed up. I knew the (woman) instructor and so we started talking about the real estate program that she would teach. I wanted to be sure I was taking advantage of most of the program's functions. She asked me how I got into real estate. And I told her. 
That discussion lead me to this...a re-run of my initial introduction to flying. 

Splice: to join two ropes by intertwining the strands.

"Marilyn, I have something for you.  My dad wanted you to have it.  See you back at the house." This was from Bud Murphy's son, Rich.

Hmmm.  Wonder what that could be.

There are two men who have framed my life.  The first was my late husband, Carl.  The second was Bud Murphy.  The first inadvertently introduced me to the second.  And now they are both gone.  Carl, in 2002, and Bud in 2011.

Within a year of getting married, Carl decided that we must be extravagant with the $40 per month he got from a five and a half year st…

If you don't have one, you need one. Or three.

I received a 2-page list that came from Alameda County and it was sent to most everybody who has an address. And whether you live here or not, you need to prepare for it (whatever 'it' is....)

Emergency Preparedness Kits
It outlines what you need to have in case of an emergency.
If you'd like a copy, let me know and I'll send you a copy of it via email or snail mail. It would be a pleasure for me to get you a copy of this list.

I have 2 emergency kits that I bought from KQED (a local  Public Radio Station) over the last years. One is in my car and the other is in  a bin in the backyard. 

And let's get rid of plastic (and even paper straws)...I have 2 straws in my backpack that I can wash, dry, and reuse again. And again. And again.
This is important!
Live richly and be smart!
best, marilyn

First sand...

...then more sanding...not sure when the paint will go on this old lady (not me).

The front porch will get scraped and sanded tomorrow.

Note the car cover that the painters put on my car, again! (far right of photo)

 Westside of house, and under the curtain that's covering the scaffolding.

And here's what's in front of the house - The Honey Bucket!


I've taken the leap...getting the exterior of this old lady (not me), it's my house which was erected in 1898, painted.

With the rains this past winter, the house had peeling paint, had paint bubbles, and some dry rot (not sure yet how much yet).

The painters started on Tuesday.

They are super-organized: ladders stacked, drop cloths folded, paint cans organized, and they brought a microwave so they can heat up their lunch...which is homemade. They leave their tools exactly the same each day. The project manager has come by to be sure all is well.

They've spent 2 full days sanding the east side of the building and they're not done yet. This old gal (not me) is getting a facelift. They'll be working their way around the building... the last phase is the front.

While I don't speak Spanish, the music is good, but with the sanders sanding, the tunes are off.

So far, they said the house has really good wood (I'm assuming it's redwood).

I'm keeping the col…

Company is coming....

My son, his wife,  and their 2 kids were here to camp inside for 2 nights. We had some other friends over as well, with their 2 kids, and we fired up the Weber barbeque. It had been at least 3 years since I used it. It's been outside and I still haven't removed the cover from the pavement. GROSS.

When I woke up that morning my kitchen lights wouldn't turn on. Then I realized that the noises that my icemaker would make at night.... weren't happening. I opened up the refrig door, and the lights weren't on. argh.

I went to the circuit box that morning, then called my electrician, and he walked me through what I needed to do to be sure everything was set just right.

But during this 'entertaining' event, my refrigerator stopped working, again. I called my electrician and he said maybe the GFIC (ground fault circuit interrupter) had popped out. Most modern kitchens must have them...and it's part of keeping everything and everybody safe. You push in the red bu…


My son, his wife, and their 2 kids, took a road trip from San Diego up to Napa (to see her huge extended family), down to Alameda, and then back to San Diego. They arrived home early this afternoon. I think they were gone for a just over a week.

It's always fun to watch what all of them have to do for such a trip to be successful and remembered.

The parents: because they have to bring all of the 'stuff'.

The kids: because they bring a bunch of special toys... in particular, stuffed animals to make them feel at home. I have a bunch of Discovery Toys, Legos, etc. in my dining room cabinets and once the kids show up...they know exactly where to go, and what to do.

Now I've been introduced to Pokeman. I still don't know what the goal is, and I don't know how it's played, but my grandson knows most everything about Pokeman. He goes on and on about each character. It appears to be a huge card game...with names I can't pronounce.

All of their devices are on my…

Roses and some lessons from them....

I've had some time to spend looking around my yard, both front and back, and realized that I've been completely ignoring....everything.

Yes, I do have gardeners and they do a great job...but I'd rather work on my roses and trim and prune them, and then I can only blame myself if they don't do what I'd like them to do.

One late afternoon this week I went out and cut off the dead roses and there were a lot of them. Then I cut off the suckers (they take up space and don't actually grow any roses).

Next, I cleared out the center of each rose bush and rose tree. This gives them sunlight to keep producing roses.

And the way I'm supposed to prune them is to find an outward-facing bud, so the rose bush/tree rather looks like a bowl. And I'm supposed cut below  "the first 5-leaflet stem". It takes some time...and I'm no expert.

The good news is they keep blooming.

I am blessed...and these roses remind me of that fact.

Live richly, marilyn

This is the view from my reclining outdoor chair, under a tree.   And the chimes sound heavenly, soft and deep. 

-I was talking on the phone with a friend yesterday. She said she 'got a cold'. My response was to 'Give it back, give it back!' She laughed. 
-I've been clearing out my home office. Files, gone. Papers, gone. Old devices that were once high tech, are no longer.  Buh-bye. 
--I asked for 12 more 3-sided legal files from a local title company. I've filled them up. I now need to go through those files another time, and see if I can get rid of more stuff. 
-My shredder has been grinding away. 
-Have space...will fill. That's my motto. That's my life. Not any more. 
-I found a ruler in one my desk drawers (and I found several rulers). It was old and beat up. I looked at the backside. It was a friend of my son's from middle school (and that was 22 years ago). Somehow I got the ruler. And I took a photo of it. I emailed it to my son. 
I said, "Dani…
I rode my bike to the most recent City Council meeting, last Tuesday evening. I met a couple of friends there and they were saving a seat for me.

I was there to speak about rent control. And I took less than my 2 minutes to say what I wanted. I usually take some notes to the podium with me. That way I don't mess up too badly.

But what I learned was how to be grateful for each person that spoke: that meant young people in high school, it meant older (than me) people. All kinds. All colors. All points of view.

It meant the city council members, (even if 2 of them have recently been investigated by a Grand Jury), for some no-no's. In fact, one of them said 'Hello, Marilyn' to me before the meeting. I didn't even know he knew my name, much less what I looked like.

On my way home, about 8:30pm, I made eye contact with many of those who were at the meeting...and I said 'hello' and smiled. Even those who didn't know anything about the meeting: they were riding…


Have you ever been in a meeting...and one person is constantly texting/emailing to who knows who?

I have...and it's more than annoying. I don't care how many things you can do at one time...but you can't! And this is an adult!

One of these days, I'll interrupt the meeting and ask this person...what did we just say? I bet he won't know.

And what good is the meeting to him? Nada, zip, zero, nothing.


I heard the above on KQED in the past week. Check it out....PLEASE!

And please, live richly! marilyn

Boom in the night....

I live in an old house. Most of the houses around me are old. Lot's of them are getting work done on them after the heavy winter rains. However, finding a good contractor that has the time, is nearly impossible.

Last night, while I was in bed, it was silent, until it wasn't. I heard a lot of firecrackers, explosions, or whatever, very close to me. I don't know if it was behind me, up the street, down the street, or even out of the area. It sounded if it was in my back yard.

Having fun is one thing. Being obedient to the law (no fireworks) is another. I believe I wrote about this a few years ago.

When we lived in half a duplex, on the east end, July 4th evening came around again. I believe that Carl was racing to Hawaii. I don't remember if we had 1 or 2 kids. But during the next couple of days...I breathed in some whiffs of smoke. Not enough to call the fire department, but I definitely smelled smoke.

Looking back it may have helped if I had called the fire department.…

Happy 4th of July!

We're coming up on Independence Day and in Alameda, it starts with our annual parade! I was invited to 2 parties, one along the parade route on Park St., and one after-the-parade.

We've watched the Rose Parade (in person) because Carl's mom had a second marriage to a guy named Joe, who was very jolly except when he wasn't. But he wanted a motorhome and so he got it. And that's how we got to watch the Rose Parade: in a motorhome. That marriage broke up. Yay.

You can watch our Alameda local parade on the curb of a sidewalk, or park yourself and your bike somewhere along the parade route, well before it comes around. There are helicopters flying overhead taking videos for the 6pm news.

We've got folks coming into town from all over. Barbeques are going full blast in homeowners front yards as the parade marches, drives ancient cars, dances, sings, and does gymnastics along the route. It's very diverse as well.

I've been in our 4th of July parades...represe…
The company that does all my marketing for me is called Fusion. Their tagline is 'Meet People, Make Friends'!

I don't go into Bed, Bath, and Beyond thinking this. However, I have a stack of coupons in my kitchen and in my car.

This past week I took my BB&B coupons out of my car. I found what I wanted and while I was in the short line, the service person at the counter asked if one of the two customers ahead of me had any coupons? She said "no."

I said "yes!" The woman said "no no no!"

I held up my stack. The service person said "Use it!" After a few seconds, the woman acquiesced. Thumbs Up!

The next person in line stepped up. The service person asked if he had any coupons. Obviously, he hadn't paid any attention to the person before him. He said "no." I said "yes!" He didn't want them.

The service person said "It's like free money!" That woke the guy up.

No expiration date. The best of t…

"Have a good day."

There's a 1950's (?) apartment building next door (not pretty)...but it's attached to a gorgeous Victorian, next door. We're separated by a 20+-foot wall of ivy.

There's a regular turnover there, within those units, but..I don't know how often.

One of the neighbors is a woman and her son. For decades I've watched him pull out aluminum cans from the blue bin, on our driveway.

I used to discourage him from doing this. Several years ago, I just gave up.

Not sure how much English the son speaks, and I don't know if I'd recognize the mother.

What caused the change in my mind? Why did it even matter to me?

But every time I see him he says hello in this way "Have a good day." And every time I see him leave he says "Have a good day." Same tone...every time.

There are items that take more importance. But for this man....he's doing his part making a living with his mother.

Live richly, marilyn

Women over 50

Here is a piece written by Andy Rooney - CBS 60 Minutes:

As I grow in age, I value women who are over 50 most of all. Here are just a few reasons why:

* A woman over 50 will not lay next to you in bed and ask, "What are you thinking?" She doesn't care what you think.

* If a woman over 50 doesn't want to watch the game, she doesn't sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do. And, it's usually something more interesting.

* A woman over 50 knows herself well enough to be assured in who she is, what she is, what she wants and from whom. Few women past the age of 50 give a damn what you might think about her or what she's doing.

* Women over 50 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won't hesitate to shoot you, if they think they can get away with it.

* Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. The…