Friday, October 28, 2016

It's a Beautiful Day in Our Neighborhood

View from my window.

The leaves are red, the sun is shining, the air is crisp, we bought a house.

I slept last night.

This morning as I wiped bacon grease from our microwave and encountered that ring of rust around its turn style, I thought, We had to buy a house to get a new microwave.

That’s not really the reason, but I am tickled to have our offer accepted. We haven’t really bought it yet, you know, the loan process and all that.

The house was on the market one day. We viewed it the next, began filling out acceptance forms that night, placed the offer the following day—that was after 40 pages of forms, plus a loan pre-acceptance letter, and numerous docu-signs.

The next day the listing broker said there was another offer on the house.

I sent an addendum upping the price to cover the closing costs we had asked for. They were showing the house twice that day.

I couldn’t sleep that night.

I tried various thought patterns, seeing the house as ours, trying to keep fear out of the equation, knowing the house was our’s, relaxing.  I really believed that house was for us. It doesn’t look like a Davis house, but it hugged me when I went inside, it's cute, upgraded, and immaculately kept.

The house is in a neighborhood, but as it turns out, it is right on the edge of the city—the city boundaries are wiggly, and this house landed in one of the outside wiggles.

 I can legally have chickens!

The owners have chickens, and their beautiful secure chicken coop  comes with the property, and it has a well.  I like well water. It has a separate building my husband can use for a shop. Perfect.

I’m thrilled.

I’d stop writing so much about me if you would tell me about you.

What would you like to see on this blog?

For me to shut up? (If you felt that way, you wouldn’t be here.)

For me to tell you something you didn’t know? (What do you want to know? I probably don’t know either, but I’ll give an opinion.)

Yes, I know blogs are supposed to give information or instructions, be funny, or entertaining. I don’t have expert advice on know how to be a master in any field, how to be an expert blogger, gardener, farmer, scientist, and regarding technology-- forget that.

No expert advice is coming from me.

But the value of a blog is that you can talk about anything you want. People can read you or not. We can connect, have a discussion, we can talk about life and its idiosyncrasies. 

#Life. That is the reason we came to this planet.

So, I think that’s what we ought to talk about.

To learn its mysteries.

To find value in the little things.

To encourage each other.

To find ways of #coping, of getting along, of overcoming traumas.

To see with new eyes the world outside our window.

I have used that analogy often, the view out the window. It depends on which window we are looking through as to what we see. I see the beautiful red tree in the yard. We could look out and see garbage cans.

Choose which.

Don’t you think that is true with life,that we have a choice as to where to look?We can let others choose for us, see pictures the media puts before us, of murder and mayhem, or look out our own window, and watch the kids throwing leaves, laughing, falling into great piles off red, yellow amber, rust, tan?

Leaves I raked.

You know how little we know another person. They have a right to their privacy, that’s a given, but I’m thinking of someone I met who said they didn’t care much for social media, that they would rather sit and talk. I thought, great, tell me about yourself. The trouble was, I didn’t get much.

I wonder why we are so separate from each other.

In The Life and Death of American Cities, Jane Jacob’s describes what happened when urban renewal built superb, monolithic brick and glass towers for the city’s poor.  There were burglaries, rapes, assaults, and hallway muggings. 

On the other hand, some of the tattiest neighborhoods remained stable. Their crime rate was low. What was the difference?


The shopkeepers worked at their windows watching the neighborhood, the butcher knew everyone on the block. Little could pass their watchful eyes, besides, people are less apt to harm those they know.

It appears now that people are so busy, so overworked that they go home, crawl into their houses and pull the sidewalk in behind them.

Do you want more historical facts? (Ha, ha, hee, hee…somebody said that history is a lie we have all agreed with. Another said, “History is HIS STORY.”

Who wrote the story? Do you want a conservative telling the story or a liberal? Whose story would you believe? Is anyone unbiased?

I love trying to unravel ancient history, myths, legends, ancient civilizations, those sorts of things, and we must glean from whatever information we can find. We must be discriminating; we must go where no man has gone before. What feels right? Now they say that dinosaurs had feathers, would you have believed that 20 years ago?

How did we get to be the peoples we are? Many savages or semi-savage peoples had tales of a Golden age where people had better weapons, better boats, better towns, and higher forms of religion.

What happened to those people? Did they succumb to wars, natural disasters, comets, aliens, internal decadence, or a lack of concern for the planet?

The dark ages did happen. And then came the Renaissance-- derived from the rediscovery of classical Greek philosophy, such as that of Protagoras.  Wow.

We are led to believe that it was a linear line from cavemen to now. What happened to the cave dwellers? Did little people of Hawaii called Menehunes exist? And did they one day walk into the jungle never to be seen again?  Who built the pyramids, and how?

Science is now talking about a holographic Universe, and that our brains, as well, have holographic qualities. #Quantum physics postulates that there are black holes that will not crush people but are portals to another place or dimension and that space travelers can use those black holes, and wormholes, as well, to travel and even create their own.

Some even suppose that space travel can be faster than light.

Scientists have found that atoms once together, then separated long distances, still communicate instantaneously with one another—like lovers feeling what the other feels.

Some may scoff at this, but remember, people scoffed at Copernicus for saying that the sun, not the earth was the center of our solar system and that neither earth nor sun, was the center of the Universe.

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”  -- Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

I turned around from raking leaves, and there she was:

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Contemplations of the Week

Well, it’s been an active week in Davis land.

Between searching for houses, researching manufactured homes, finding a Loft I like, (single-wide module) having the loan officer say he would not loan on a single-wide, placing an offer on a piece of property with an old loan pre-approval letter, thinking, of course, that if I got one loan preapproval it would show them I was capable of getting another.


It sent the listing broker into a tailspin. Hey, they don’t want someone to buy property--whoops get a loan on it--until those people know what they are going to do with it. However, for us, it was a catch 22. We wanted to know we had the property—and they are flying out of here faster than the ducks migrating—so we can decide what to do with it.

Guess I listen to a different drummer.

I have noticed that if we decide we want something, that decision spreads through the air like pollen tinkling someone else's nose, and they decide they want it too. So, I figure we ought to jump on a decision as soon as we make it. My scenario is I place an offer, secure the property, use a 60-day escrow period to obtain a loan, if something goes awry, and I drop out they have just made $1,000 from our earnest money.

Seemed simple to me.

Nope, not simple.

Guess they were afraid to risk taking something off the market for a flake like me. (It’s been on the market for months already, and the owner didn’t get a chance to decide.)

The Listing Broker wouldn’t present it.

We withdrew our offer.

The Universe has something better for us.

This experience sent me thinking…about how important it is for bureaucracy to cross the t's and dot the i's.

I read a quote recently that went something like this: “If we stop telling stories the culture will die.”

I began thinking about this comment, that metaphor is important, “He was the black sheep of the family.” He was not a sheep. He was not black, but he was different and stood apart from the group, as does a black sheep. It works. It is colorful.

Similies work. Hey “Cool as a cucumber,” tells us a lot.

Images stretch our mind. Jesus often taught in parable. He said he was using a parable. Bible scholars called one story, “The parable of the prodigal son.” It was a story to teach. Did people take it as fact?  Don't know. Probably some. Yes, it is reasonable given the story. But to forgive, wasn't that the bottom line?

Something God didn't get with the Adam and Eve story. And so we have had an excuse to put down women for millennia. Good old inquisitive Eve had guts. She had the courage to want to be as wise as God. 

The African's say they don't know what God is, but His highest attribute is Imagination.

I have noticed that people have trouble with analogies and allegories. Remember Plato and his, "The Allegory of the Cave?” In Plato's story, the shadows of statues are reflected on a wall from the fire behind them. The shadows, according to Plato, represent what we see of life. We see only shadows, not the real thing.

Lose stories and we lose something as old as time and as important as breathing.

People read non-fiction more than fiction. People like reality shows.

Jump into the cold water. Read some fiction. Let someone like Ray Bradbury fill you head with fancy. It’s like running away to the circus.

I guess my experience with the Real Estate Agent—not my daughter, but another, sent me into this mode.  She was a teacher sent to say, “Don’t lose vision no matter the results or what people say.”

Friday, October 14, 2016


It's wonderful to be here
It's certainly a thrill
You're such a lovely audience
We'd like to take you home with us
We'd love to take you home
--John Lennon and Paul McCartney
From Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band

At 8 o’clock on February 9th, 1964, 73 million people gathered in front their TV sets to watch The Ed Sullivan Show.

I was one.

That was the night the Beatles appeared on television in the U.S.

Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one
-- John Lennon

I watched the movie presently in the theater,  Eight Days a Week, a documentary by Robert Redford last week and watched and listened to the Beatles again. The mania that ran rampant was incredible, and then because of an off-handed remark by John Lennon, much of the world turned against them.  His remark was not meant to be insulting, nor was it in any way against religion. He was only stating facts. They were more popular than Jesus.

Jesus probably laughed. The people didn’t.

From Imagine to Help where John Lennon poured out his soul with his discouragement:

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round
Help me, get my feet back on the ground
Won't you please, please help me.
—John Lennon

When I heard them sing Help, however, the sound was so upbeat, that it didn’t seem like a cry for help until I looked up the lyrics.

I understand how a person doing their art, loving what they do, wanting to be successful, practicing their hearts out, and then not really understanding the hoopla if they do become successful, especially WILDLY successful as the Beatles were.  Crazed mobs could have crushed them. That’s plain stupid.

They considered not calling themselves The Beatles anymore, and that’s when Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was created.

This was an alter-ego group that would allow the group to experiment musically.
One astounding thing about the Beatles is that they really liked each other, and that releasing any work required the complete agreement of all four.

An effort where the players get along and are happy in their work shows in that work.

I’ll get By with a Little Help From my Friends.
“What would you think if I sang out of tune,
Would you stand up and walk out on me?”
 --John Lennon and Paul McCartney

Friday, October 7, 2016

Wishful Thinking?

I’m sitting off the highway on a gravel road beside a sweet piece of land.

The sun bathes the area that a half hour earlier was washed with rain. There is a humongous oak tree in the center of a cleared, grassy, mowed area of native wetland grass. Behind me, a small river, I didn't know existed, snakes through the farmland. Maybe it’s a drainage ditch, doesn't matter, it's beautiful.  I imagine my house sitting behind that Oak. 

I wonder if I sit here long enough I will imbue my energy into that property and the owner will feel compelled to sell it to me.  No for sale sign. Just wishful thinking.

The road is posted, “No trespassing.” I’m only a car’s length away from the highway.  An hour earlier I drove down the road on the other side of the river, also posted as “No trespassing” but I inched my way along so I could see across the river to this side.  I drove until I could see that a house was situated way back, down the long gravel road ran alongside the river. 

Amazing where Oregonians will plant themselves.

The Oak Tree, that's not mine, but I wish it was.

I know I tend to ignore signs and go where I do not belong. I am very respectful of property, though, and try not to disturb anyone. I suppose I am conditioned from early childhood to go where no child is meant to go. My friends and I rode their horses into areas fenced areas that cut off exquisite destinations children ought to discover.

My hometown of The Dalles Oregon is sitting almost entirely on solid basalt so digging post holes is an arduous task. Farmers would plant a fence post maybe 50 feet apart, and string barbed wire between the planted posts. Between those secure posts, small “floating” posts held the wire strands apart, but the posts dangled above the ground. We kids would find a post that was loose enough to lay on the ground, stand on the wire while someone led the horses over it. Then we would put it back up. Hopefully with none the wiser.

I was lucky to be mentored by a farm girl who let me ride her horse, and who taught me a few things about respecting property, but not fences. I guess it’s like coloring outside the lines.

Earlier in the day on route to another property, this one listed for sale, I drove past a sign that said
 OLD MEN”  with no commas, not telling if the driver ought to go slow, or that the children, pets, and old men were slow. 

I sat in a dry car while rain splattered the windshield and pondered the property. Did I want to live there? 

It was sloping, treed, overgrown with blackberry bushes, shaded, and then the morning sun called me to the valley beyond, and I followed it until I ended up here beside a road dreaming of a house behind a giant oak tree.

I wrote a note for the Oak Tree property’s owner and put it in his mailbox. “I adore your property by the road. Want to sell 1-5 acres—buildable of course?” Name, phone, email."

Wishful thinking?

That night I drove with my husband out to show him the property, and there was a rope across the entrance.

Guess that’s my answer.

P.S. To see my 92-year-old friend June’s exquisite paintings check out And the story of a painting I loved and lost.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

From Creating Your Own Reality to Creating Your Own House

Worse. Not this house.

It was in shambles. A wreak. Holes were punched in the drywall, exposing the studs, bare cement floor in the living room.  The kitchen was a disaster. All flooring needed to be replaced.

A dumpster, yep that’s what that house needs.

And a complete renovation.

I would be embarrassed to let anyone see that house right now.

But, if you are thinking about a fixer-upper, the before pictures ought to look bad, real bad. For then the renovations will look good, real good.

Someone had broken the lock to a door leading to a crawl space under the house. That “crawl space” was ceiling high and we could see that all pillars, beams, and flooring looked great. Overhead access to plumbing and wiring would help in any changes. needed or wanted. The house is situated on slanted ground. The portion sitting on level ground was built on a cement pad, the portion over the hill was built over wood floor joists.

 A few months ago my daughter found that house in foreclosure, and it was coming up for auction. She saw it as a flip house. I saw it as a money pit. Any possibility for profit seemed unlikely.

But, as our house...

The house did not sell at auction, so now it is back in the Bank’s hands.

I spent the last two weeks processing the idea of that house. I didn’t like it. It was dark, dreary and depressing. My husband liked it which didn’t help matters.

But, motivated by the Reality show Texas Fixer-Upper with Chip and Joanna Gains I began to see that sows ears can be made into silk purses.  

However, since the house was foreclosed, it gives the owner or heirs, a right of redemption. That means they can buy it back. And that first 6 months was reset at the auction. It goes until March.

It is unlikely that they would pay the fees associated, and satisfy the loan to boot. Since they let it foreclose and go through an auction,  it would appear they want out. Also, we believe the owner died, and if he has any heirs I can't find them.  However, to begin renovations, one wants a clear title.

There was a key under the house that opened the front door. We went in happy to see what it was all about, measured rooms, and drew a floor plan. We didn’t touch anything and locked it again. Was that illegal?

Whoops.  I didn’t think about that.

But hey, we have a Real Estate agent daughter, although she was not present at the break-in , so she’s home free.

To be continued…

P.S. Is this déjà vu for some readers?

About 16 years ago I was writing about building a log house.  

I am so jealous of homes in Waco Texas where you can buy a house situated on green lawns the size of a football field, complete with gorgeous mature trees for $50,000, put $150,00 into renovations and have a dream home that in Oregon would cost $500,000.

So, what do you want to talk about?