Showing posts from 2021
 We've got rosemary, lavender, and the sign on the carriage house says 'Apples 5 cents.'  We used to have a very prolific apple tree, along the west side of the carriage house. They were more for baking than for just picking them off and eating them. But they were amazing!  And then we realized it was undermining the carriage house (built in the 1950's?) concrete floor. Out came the apple tree. Carl, my late husband, used the building as his shop. He was a very talented wood-worker. He developed that talent when he was younger, having been taught by his father.  Carl built many of his designs (as half-models) either for his office (at the now-defunct Alameda Marina) or for his gifts.  During the pandemic, I've spent a lot of time sitting, reading, watching birds, on the patio (which was made of bricks, from the foundation of our house).  We needed to have the foundation replaced right after we closed on the purchase. The contractors needed to remove tho

Spam...and I don't mean Spiced Ham in a can....

I don't know about you...but I get spam calls all the time on my cell phone. I even got one on my landline the other day.  Oh, you may be wondering why I have a landline? It's because if I break or lose or misplace my phone I'll have a way to reach somebody when I'm at home and can order a new phone. And my landline does not ring very often. When I'm at my desk, I can easily reach it, lift it up and slam it down. In my small mind, I'm wondering how the spammers make their money:  -Are they supposed earn their $$$ based how many calls they make? Do they get paid more if they have a 5-minute conversation with each person?  -Do they get paid based on how many folks pick up their phones?  -Do the spammers pay the company, if they don't reach the required 'pick-up-the phone' numbers? SPAM -Do they record us?  -Do they get extra $$$ (rewards) if the not-lucky recipient gets reeled in, hook, line and sinker? -Since many of the phone-owners get the spammer


Meyer lemons from our lemon bush/tree. They are prolific! I put the garbage bins out on Wednesday evenings (or nights): the blue one, the gray one, and the green one. Sometimes my residents/tenants will haul them out, thinking that I've forgotten my duties. They are so kind! I fill up a bio-bag (it's biodegradable) with food waste, in my kitchen sink. I stopped using the garbage disposal decades ago. In fact, I don't even have a garbage disposal, because it required a lot of water. That happened maybe 3-4 droughts ago.   I add that food waste stuff into a hand-held plastic bucket that I requested from the waste-pick-up folks. I keep that on my back porch. It's pretty much animal/critter-proof. Then I'll dump that bucket into the green bin.  Early on Thursday mornings, I'll hear those cherished folks come and pick up the bins. It's pretty much like clockwork. These workers are also essential. I was thinking the other day, way back... when our family lived in

Cooking with gas.....the O'Keefe and Merritt way.

My stove is over 100 years old.  Yep, you read that right.  About 3 weeks ago my oven wouldn't turn on. Thank goodness it wasn't leaking any gas.  I called one of my vendors.....Keith with Rx Appliance. He came over (and I love anyone who is honest with me), and said he wasn't the right one for the job...and referred me to Reliance Appliance (who is also on my list).  Keith called them right then and there in my kitchen and we made an appointment for Matt (the owner) from Reliance Appliance to come over.   (ALL of my vendors are swamped...and it took maybe 2-3 days before Matt showed up.)  Matt checked it out and said he'd send Sohl, his best repair person over within a couple of days. Sohl has worked on this stove before. He IS the best. Just watching him do what does is fascinating. He knows his craft like a baby knows his mother. I'm embarrassed to say that I don't recall who gave/sold it to me...but nobody makes these stoves/ranges like they used to!  The ne

I'm not a big fan of Hallmark Holidays.....

. .like Mother's Day and Father's Day, and even birthdays! We used to let our kids choose a "Special Day" (any day) that they would invite their friends over to the house...sometimes the "Special Day" would include going somewhere nearby.  We specifically did not call it a birthday. It was just few hours that the kids could get together.  Parents were totally confused by this....what's a "Special Day"? No, the kids did not need to bring presents. It just a time for them (a few of them) to get together.  (Of course, the kids brought presents.) If I remember correctly, son Evan did attend a birthday party at an ice skating rink.  We got a call from the parent(s), and went over there to pick him up because he had fallen on his arm. All was well with him within a few hours...and we took our kids to a movie. Sometime during that movie, he removed his arm from the sling. And that was that! Back to yesterday...the doorbell rang and there was a neighbo
 These Canada geese and their babies were walking by a listing that I'll soon be putting on the market. The geese were so kind to the goslings.  And humans were so kind to that family of geese; giving them space.  It rather seems to me, that most of us are a bit kinder today than we were over a year ago. I needed to go to the Toyota dealership in Oakland, this past week. Instead of waiting around for 3-4 hours while they performed the required routine maintenance on my car, the dealership was offering a free Lyft from the dealership to my home, and a free Lyft back to the dealership.  I think this is a great idea, especially with some Covid restrictions still in place. The person who drove me back home was terrific. And when I received the survey  on my phone...that's how I responded in writing.  However, the driver for Lyft (to take me back to the dealership) was really reckless. I let him know that the local cops in Alameda were very strict about enforcing the speed limit, as

Small town....Alameda

 A dashboard light came on in my car, last Tuesday. argh.  I pulled out my car manual from the glove compartment to see what that symbol was warning me about. (By the way, why is it called a glove compartment? I've never put gloves anywhere near that covered area directly in front of the passenger seat!) One of my tires was low. I immediately drove over to Big Discount Tires (corner of Oak St. and Eagle Ave).  I got my last set of tires at Big O Tires maybe 2-3 years ago. I'm not sure, but I think the owner of the business bought the building on Eagle and changed the name. The folks that work there are wonderful!  Sure enough, I ran over some yellow metal thing. The gentleman pumped up my tire, more than the instructions said, left the yellow thing in the tire, and he told me to come in early (8am) but they wouldn't make an appointment for me.  But the earlier I got there, the sooner that yellow thingy would be history. I got there @ 8am, the next day, to have it removed a

S...Sh...Shr...Shre...Shred... Shredd...Shreddi....Shredding....SHREDDING PARTY!

  Please come! Bring your friends!  Tell your friends and neighbors! It's free!  If you care to donate to Alameda (City) Meals on Wheels, I'll match every donation and the funds will go to AMOW! LAST YEAR WE DONATED A TOTAL OF $6080.00 TO ALAMEDA MEALS ON WHEELS! If you can't come over on the date/time, you can drop your stuff off at my house, ahead of time (they don't shred books and boxes) and I'll be sure it will be shredded!  Just give me a call and we can work out a time for you to drop your stuff off! Get ready, get set, SHRED! This is living richly! 

Sitting on my front porch stairs....

Image the early evening. I have a friend, who has a friend, and often I'll get a text from my friend..."are you at home?"   He's walking his dog. Sometimes I miss his texts. Other times I'll text him back...'yes', 'no', or 'what time'? Often he walks with another friend and his dog.  This casual event happens in the early evening, when it's nearly dark, or these days when it's still bright outside.   This afternoon/early evening was exceptional. The sun was bright: little or no breeze, and just sitting on the front steps was amazing. It was so nice that for a while all the world (my world) was just right.  Another neighbor walked by and struck up a conversation with my friend's friend. So we had 4 friends, and 1 dog, and 2 conversations.  I was quiet...and wondered why I felt so blessed?  Because I was sitting in front of my home.  Because I was soaking up the sun.  Because I have nothing to complain about.  Because there is a

Even these beautiful birds....

Thank you to Betty and Vicki!  are wearing masks! Live richly and laugh and wear a mask. BTW....I got a J&J shot last Friday, and thank you to my son, Evan, who arranged it for me. I drove to the Alameda County Fairgrounds and never got out of my car. And thankfully, I was able to show up on time: 3:15pm. After the shot, they wrote on my car windshield the time I needed to wait. 10 minutes came and went and I was outta there! No action, reactions. All is fine!  And I hope this process has gone well for all of you.  This was the first time I've driven on a freeway since the first lockdown. It's just as crazy out there, as it was before Covid. 


Image, I've never been there.  Here's an internet dictionary description: 'Patagonia, semiarid scrub plateau that covers nearly all of the southern portion of mainland  Argentina . With an area of about 260,000 square miles (673,000 square kilometres), it constitutes a vast area of steppe and  desert  that extends  south  from latitude 37° to 51° S.' Because I've purchased some of their stuff over the years , I receive a quarterly magazine from them. I read it...from front to back.  Yes, I use reading glasses, but the font size is so small I need more light and better glasses.  I have one of their orange (fake down) vests, an orange (fake down) jacket, a shirt, a t-shirt. Clearly, this is a magazine that features the 'outdoors': rock climbing, big wave surfing, fishing in lakes in the snow, and how and why they design, create, test-it-out-before-shipping-it-out to consumers.  This issue featured '30 BY 30....An ambitious goal could protect humans and wil

Yummy-ness and the Oakland Speaker Series.

So speaking of talking, I was talking with a friend and I quickly thought about what this pandemic has been teaching me:   It's not about me, me, me It's about we, we, we.   It's about the truth and trust. Not out of distrust,  We obey the rules  Because they work for all of us.  ----------------------------------- the open-faced sandwich pictured above. When I was in 5th and 6th grade in San Rafael,  I had a friend named Debbie. I don't remember her last name. I also don't know anything about how the pandemic has affected what you remember, but for some reason, I have these flashbacks to days going way back.  This 'culinary' event was one of those flashbacks.  Back then  I called the cheese, tomato, and sourdough bread a 'Debbie's Special.'  Today, the cheese I use is a blend of cheddar and mozzarella. And I buy it in a block. Next, I add some tomatoes on top of the cheese.  I broil it until it gets bubbly. Then I take it out of the bro

Some more covid's a breath of fresh air...with your mask on.....

  We're getting closer to normal...I mean the new normal. Thanks to Betty and Vickie for sharing these funnies with me! Live richly, marilyn

Getting out of the house....

 I needed to get out of the house last Friday.   I took this photo because of the clouds.  The smooth clouds are lenticular clouds.  Often they are stacked up like pancakes. It appears that the winds aloft were coming  from the west, northwest,  maybe shoving up against Mt. Tamalpais.  But in order to get into the areas of lift,  you need to fly into/around the rotor clouds.  (It appears that some of the smaller rotor clouds are  in the forefront of the photo.) Those rotor clouds are usually hell to deal with: more than bumpy,  you may think the wings may be ripped off. But when you get through the rotor, it's perfectly smooth, perfectly quiet,  and you are flying in the wave. The next to land at your destination  (whether it's where you took off from, or not)  and, hopefully, your crew will be waiting for you. If not, it may be a cold windy night spent in a sailplane. The highest altitude I reached was just over  21,000 feet.  That flight got me a Soaring Society of


 I've kept this video on my desktop for a few weeks. I cry whenever I watch it.  Thanks to one of my friends who sent it to me. What an example! Live richly, marilyn

I saw my logbooks in the bookcase...

...and I couldn't get to them, because the glass slider door wouldn't slide open. Thank goodness one of the folks that clean my house was able to open it. Thank you, Andre!   I have my collection of Nancy Drew books in that bookcase.  And there are some other treasures  to us there, as well:  -Carl's dad, Dick Schumacher's, flight logbook. I believe this was the year he died in a Western Airlines crash.  -A barograph that somebody gave I could track how high I flew, when wave-soaring out of Minden, Nv. I believe I got up to 21,000' and was awarded with some type of certificate. Yes, I used oxygen and the tank was locked in behind me. -A sextant that Carl used to:  'determine the angle between the horizon and a celestial body such as the Sun, the Moon, or a star, used in celestial navigation to determine latitude and longitude. The device consists of an arc of a circle, marked off in degrees, and a movable radial arm pivoted at the centre of the circle.&#

Flying and making the transition...

The largest plane that I flew was DC4's, a four-engine airplane, as a co-pilot.  Aero Union was the name of the company. The planes were based out of Chico. The Aero Union folks knew that some of the Sky Sailing pilots had some viable, reliable flying skills.  The salmon haul tool place in Kenai, Alaska  when the sun was up nearly 24 hours per day. The sun just dipped below the horizon and came right back up.  We flew the planes, based on the low-tides, onto the hard-packed sand beaches, then took off to wherever they wanted to have the fish be delivered. Sunset in Alameda, this week Each tote required a forklift to get the goods out of the plane.  And yes, we sometimes pried off the top off one of the totes (which were huge)  so we could have fresh salmon for a meal or three. I don't remember cooking....and I think we took the salmon to a restaurant and had the cook whip up a meal for us. One of the ways I (we) built up my (our) resumes was to deliver new Piper (single-engine


 Last week I wrote about flying...and this week I'm going to write a bit more about flying. Wire model of the Flybaby, constructed by Dick Schumacher. I'm continuing the story about how Carl trusted me to fly the Flybaby, a homebuilt plane built by Dick Schumacher (Carl's dad).  Les Arnold (who started Sky Sailing in Fremont) kept the Flybaby in a hanger, at the Paradise Airport. The Flybaby didn't need much space, because the wings would fold next to the fuselage (body) of the plane.  I was newly pregnant with our daughter, Sutter. Carl and I had come to an agreement that I could teach flying and fly the tow planes, as long as I was able to move the stick (which controls the ailerons and the horizontal stabilizer, i.e. the right/left and up/down/motions for the plane) and avoid my belly. We spent the night with the Arnolds. The next morning we drove to the airport. We checked out the plane. And Carl told me I was going to fly it to the north field at Oakland Airport, w

I was watching TV...last night...

 ...and came across Airplane Repo on the Discovery Channel.  So I watched a partial episode. This guy/guys/people were after the high-end (meaning mega $$$$) airplane/jet stuff.  I watch a partial episode of a pilot climbing over a 10' tall fence, in the dark, with a gun, trying not to get caught. Hey, I used to do that! A bunch of us pilots that worked at Sky Sailing Airport (in Fremont, CA) teaching glider flying and flying the tow planes, getting hours worth of flying in and being paid for it was worth it. It wasn't very much $$ in those days. But we did it because we needed to accumulate hours.  I also taught a ground school class, that's required for FAA certification prior to the flight test. The class would be held at a local Denny's restaurant, or in the cold hanger at the airfield.  Actually, I was a Designated Pilot Examiner (appointed by the local FAA office @ Oakland Airport) so I could also test the skills of the want-to-fly-gliders pilots. If they passed


 I was driving around the base one evening this week (aka the former Alameda Naval Air Station) and it was pretty still and quiet. Then I saw this boat/hardware-thingy with a bright orange sail/mast with a wind direction/pointer/balancer. What is this? I took some photos.  Then the next day I received my weekly Alameda Sun newspaper, and there was my answer.  From the Alameda Sun -  "Alameda-based Saildrone, launched its new vessel 'Surveyor' in Seaplane Lagoon, Jan. 11. The 72-foot unmanned vessel will map the ocean floor and complete other studies. Alameda Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft attended a small ceremony marking the Surveyor's first time in the water. It was very quiet and still. But shortly thereafter, there were some folks doing donuts and circles in their cars and that was my clue to get outta there.  However, I thought about Carl. He was a Naval Architect/ Yacht Designer and how much he would have loved to see this wonder.  IMHO...he already has. Live richly

America seems so much better, as of Wednesday...

  Sunset in front of my house, this past week. ..but there's a lot of work for me to do, and for all of us. I watched the inaugration and I was blown away by our National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman.  I have tears in my eyes right now, as I'm reading what she wrote. Her work is amazing and her reading and her gentle hands waving, reminds me of a ballerina. I know most of you watched her read it yesterday. But I wanted to remember it, so I got a copy of what she wrote.  When day comes we ask ourselves,  where can we find light in this never-ending shade? The loss we carry, a sea we must wade We've braved the belly of the beast We've learned that quiet isn't always peace And the norms and notions of what just is Isn’t always just-ice And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it Somehow we do it Somehow we've weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken but simply unfinished We the successors of a country and a time Where a skinny Black girl descended fr

Reuniting with the 50th reunion.

1971 ... T he greatest class to ever graduate from Corona del Mar High School. Or so we thought.  I went to the 40th reunion. I guess I just wanted to see folks that I knew back then...and who/what/where and how they are doing today. I was not overwhelmed with what I saw. argh. Good news for me....I drove there and had my bike on the back of my car. I did meet up with Eve, who is an artist, and we rode bikes along the beach on the peninsula and had lunch @ Ruby's on the pier.  Back to 2021 - I was sending out some 'Happy New Year' cards to some friends and I wanted to be sure I had their addresses right. So I emailed one of them. And we re-connected. She was one of my bridesmaids.   She asked me if I wanted to be on the planning committee for the reunion. And I politely said no. In fact, I said I wouldn't be attending that reunion.  She said why? Trying to be polite, I said I wouldn't be attending it because I have nothing in common with those folks. Plus I don'