THE SECOND STORY | September 24th, 2009

What’s on your wall..(and I don’t mean Facebook).

( These are three of the four bulletin boards in my office, mounted on one of the closet slider doors that hide behind them my lateral file cabinet, baskets full of stuff to be filed, and shelves full of supplies. All have since been re-staged.

As I looked at the jumbled stuff, I realized what was on it was a bit telling about me. I’ve got some motivational/inspirational sentences on the white board. A couple of pieces I’ve put together: one as a marketing postcard featuring an amazing Alameda sunset, another is a group of spiritual thoughts with that same sunset photo. I’ve got a check list of required disclosures for probate and trustee sales. There are two maps of New Zealand, keeping the presence of my daughter and her husband close by. I’ve got a couple of stickers I love: “DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU THINK” and “What if the HOKEY POKEY IS what it’s all about?” There’s the Rethink ad from some company that reminds me to question everything – almost always there are alternatives, even if not necessarily the ones perfect for solving the problem…it gets me out of the box. There’s a flying article about planes falling out of the sky – stupid and costly mistakes-(I decided I didn’t need to keep that around anymore but it did drive home a point for me for a few months). There’s a card that I can spin a wheel on to figure out lead times for booking the places I may want to use for vacations. There’s a button that says “Blessed are the flexible for they shall not get bent out of shape.” There’s a 5 step process for successful golf shots. And there’s my list of FreeCell games I haven’t won.)

Randomizing – Last night I woke up to see lights on in my office, and that’s fine as long as they are from the computer as it changes photos from my collection. But that wasn’t happening so I went in to turn it off, concerned that too many hours of one picture would burn into my two monitors. That may be a myth these days but why risk it?

I have a google homepage that I’ve customized for my own amusement. One of the gadgets I have on there is ‘3 quotes per day.’ Somehow that homepage was up and I read what was there. This took my breath away:

“Coming home from very lonely places, all of us go a little mad: whether from great personal success, or just an all-night drive, we are the sole survivors of a world no one else has ever seen.” John le Carre

“The Chancellor Who Agreed To Play Spy”, The New York Times, May 8, 1974
English suspense novelist (1931 – )

Almost every word hit me. “Coming home”…arriving to what is familiar. “Very lonely places”… even with others it can be lonely, even with others I can be alone, and may prefer it. ” A little mad”…I tend to overthink. “Great personal success”….what is success and does it matter if any body knows about it? It’s personal, that is enough. “An all-night drive”…sometimes just me and my thoughts, sometimes me and the radio, sometimes me and my music, sometimes me and family, sometimes me and a team. “Sole survivors”…only each of us knows that moment we’ve come through. “A world no one else has ever seen”…moments to be cherished as life-changing gifts, never-forgotten.

Here are some of mine that have come to mind:

All my flying activities were personal successes. I never could have dared to dream that they could exist in a life such as mine.

Sailing at midnight, screaming with the wind on a flat ocean through the Molokai Channel, heading toward the finish of a Transpac Race on one of Carl’s designs. The crew of 6 was almost motionless as the boat took off with us in perfect harmony and balance. We soundlessly watched as competitors filtered into this narrow slot, after 11.5 days and 2500 miles of open-ocean, non-stop racing.

An ‘aha’ moment when I decided at the age of 19 I would never work a ‘regular’ job. And I never have.

Not fully understanding why, but feeling impelled to walk away from aviation and pursue a try at real estate. Only a few years later it was perfectly clear why that happened. The industry was beginning to go through huge structural/business changes resulting in layoffs, furloughs, union shifts, salary reductions, ownership changes, mergers, closings, and most recently pension desecration.

Driving through the Sierra under a pitch dark moonless sky lit with gems, sun-roof open, no other signs of life around. Just me. And Vincent Van Gogh. And my golf bag.

The four of us driving through Utah at Christmas-time, heading toward a family snow camp in Colorado, listening to some guy on a hokey radio station, talking to no-one but us, of that I was sure. We were alone, but that guy sounded lonely, asking anybody, anybody to call in. We had our own family success because the previous night I had hit black ice and we glided into a guard rail, gently hitting another car, and joining several others at rest. That had literally put a dent in our plans, but we re-grouped, got a rental van, and moved on.

Another family success this time in Tonga. We were cruising with friends on a 50′ boat, and thought we had found a place described in a book. It was an underwater cave accessed by swimming underwater and under a ceiling of rocks about 20′ to get into it. It was at the base of steep cliffs and very intimidating. Carl was first to go. He came back at least three times to encourage us. Sutter stayed on the boat refusing. I went down to check it out but didn’t go all the way in. I came back to tell Evan what to do. “Don’t look up because you’ll swim up and hit your head on the underwater rocks above. Air is at the end of the line. You’re close when you see blue light ahead. Look only ahead or down. Don’t look up.” I think it took him a couple of tries and he was in with Carl. I went in. We knew victory. And then to our joy and surprise, Sutter showed up. That was a victory for all, and each individually.

The moments when I find the blend of toughness and giving up/releasing that results in a rush of resolve to do what needs to be done. Sometimes that means doing nothing. Each time this happens the circumstances are different. But the first step, often alone, sometimes with the encouragement of dear ones, assures that quiet victory is within reach.

I’ve wept and smiled as I’ve recalled these times. Wept with gratitude and wonder. A couple of them are more recent than others. Life-changers they have each been.

Alameda real estate this week….

Check out the housing stats generated by the Bay East Association of Realtors MLS. It’s fascinating and you’ll see that Alameda has been lots more stable than surrounding communities. Keep in mind that the stats reflect the areas the members of Bay East Association of Realtors typically work. I am a member of this group because of the services they offer their members and how they enforce the rules of the organization.

The Alameda Legacy Home Tour is this Sunday. Check it out.

My friend (and client) Jackie is having a yard sale on Sat 9-2 538 Haight. Might be worth dropping by!

Here are some articles I thought were interesting:

Strategic defaults a new twist on defaults

Next wave of loan defaults
coming to Bay Area in 2010

Frustrating facts of short sales

The duplex at 1305 Regent went pending this week, as did the condo on Otis. Links are to the right under pending sales.

Active listings 135, 149 last report
Pending listings 126, 117 last report (huge list of pending sales this week)

Highest priced new listing
Lowest priced new listing

Tuesday Tour
7 with 3 repeats

New 8

Back on Market (BOM) 3

Price changes 7

Pending 28


Expired 2

Withdrawn 3

Alameda real estate awards this week…remember this is only my perspective!

Winner, Cute/Charming (kind of a funky description for a large classic bungalow) It was on the tour 1 week ago and I thought I’d see it the next day w/ the office. Went through last Wed.

Bang for the Buck, Got me a Makeover

Get me a Facelift

That’s a wrap! Carry on! Have a nice weekend! marilyn

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I arrived in Alameda in 1973, as a new bride...with husband Carl Schumacher, both of us from Newport Beach. He was embarking on his career as a Naval Architect (i.e. yacht designer) under Gary Mull. Please see the 'ABOUT ME' page in this website! to see how it has all turned out! I'm so blessed!