Hurricane memories 1961 - 08/28/12 03:52 PM
With all eyes on the Storm Issac, my memories of another storm have surfaced.
As I young child/teen we were visited by Hurricane Carla. I believe it was in 1961. School was out for days as the storm sat out in the Gulf and gained in intensity.
Once ashore, she caused a lot of damage in the area of southeast Houston where we lived. It was located close to the ship channel and was generally low land.
She was responsible for street flooding, wind damage and all the usual delights brought by hurricanes.
She uprooted a large
Memorable neighbor and more memorable lesson. - 08/26/12 05:13 PM
Everyone has one neighbor who stands out as memorable. Memories good and bad make impacts upon us .
When my now grown children were small, we had a new neighbor.
As was my custom in those days, I prepared dinner to take to them as soon as I saw the moving truck.
Imagine my surprise when I found that they spoke little English!
Pierre was the French Commercial Counsel for the Southeastern U.S. Monique was a well known French actress and artist!
We spent time together as she did not drive and needed to take
Comfort is where you find it... - 08/26/12 04:58 PM
We frequently learn lessons from the wildlife in and around our home. Case in point well illustrated!
Bathroom rugs have to be removed when cleaning the floors.
Yesterday after I achieved the completion of the task, I became distracted before putting things back in order.
When I returned to that area I found that the cat in the photo, had taken up residence under the middle of the pile of rugs.
She usually does nap on the rug by the shower.
Obviously when she found it moved, she simply adapted and had a little
Practical uses for "down" time.... - 08/26/12 04:04 PM
Into every Real Estate practice a little "down " time will come.
How you utilize it will effect how long it stays!
Look carefully at the good times. What made them more productive. Make changes accordingly.
Go through the closed files and remove unnecessary papers. Also check your mailing lists to be sure the contact info is current for all previous clients.
Design a new contact mailing or emailer to send to past clients. Do not assume that the clients will remember your stellar performance or even your name for that matter. It just cannot be
How do you stand out? - 08/23/12 04:25 PM
The photo is of a very common weed in our area. It is found throughout the forests and vacant land.
This one is new to our back yard. In all the years we have been here, it has not!
When I sighted it a few days ago it seemed to be a welcome sight. Not that it is particularly pretty, but it does have bright purple berries.
I can only guess where it came from. It really does not matter. What does matter is that it stands out from the other plants in that part of the
Be careful what you put on..... - 08/21/12 02:30 PM
Inspired by a post on August 18th, by Myrl Jeffcoat, where she described what the stress of loss had done to her ability to multitask, I did some self searching.
That was when I got finished laughing a comment she made in her well done blog.
The post made me think about the importance of what we put on every day. On and in our minds. We are after all, multi faceted creatures.
As Meryl artfully pointed out, it is vital that we put on all the basic articles of apparel.
But it is worthy to take
Mobile Homes AND Mansions! - 08/21/12 02:04 PM
What do those have in common? More than you might think!
Both of them have current owners and potential buyers. Both of them are loved by someone, and both function as a roof over someone's head.
They represent a substantial investment to their owners respectively and both provide a prude of ownership.
One brings significantly more in price than the other, but in reality is not more important.
When I started in Real Estate I had a serious snob problem. I was showing listing and selling in the most upscale markets in the city of Houston. I
Habits! The good, the bad, the ugly! - 08/21/12 01:54 PM
Habits are one thing everyone has.
How we acquire them is a varied process, but no one can get immunity!
One of my worst is frequent departures into the land of "what if."
Worst even than the land of Oz, this place is abounding with doubts fears and indecision. Yuchi!
Over the years I have developed other habits that are productive such as extensive note taking on the file progress , or lack thereof on each of our transactions and a strong work ethic.
Being forever in need of control is ugly; as is persistent jumping
REAL ESTATE TERMINOLOGY - WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW - 08/21/12 07:19 AM
Our friend Gloria has produced a nice list of Terminology that everyone considering a real estate purchase should at least familiarize themself with. Take some time and read over it so that you can be more informed since some things aren't completely intuitive.
Via Gloria Valvasori, ASA, Streetsville Real Estate - 100% Client Service Rating (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Signature Service):
Most seasoned buyers and sellers are probably already familiar with the terminology involved in a real estate transaction... but some buyers, who are first time buyers or novices are not familiar with this terminology, so I've compiled a list for
Just Peachy - 08/20/12 09:55 AM
In the waining days of summer, there are an abundance of fragrant sweet peaches to be found in a variety of places.
This succulent fruit can be utilized in numerous ways, but I recently devised one that is healthier than most.
Having to eliminate white flour and sugar from our diet, has resulted in lots of experiments. This one works well. It is not really a cobbler, but it tastes as good.... Has similar texture and I am claiming poetic license.
As you can see it doesn't last long!!
Newest Whizz Bang Grocery in the Woodlands - 08/19/12 07:54 PM
HEB has long been one of our favorite shopping places. After all, keeping a pantry and fridge properly stocked is one of life's best activities.
The HEB at Vintage Park is close to home and on the way to and from almost every destination. We seldom stray too far from the home market except for specialty items from the Indian, Health food and Asian markets.
But, Fairly recently a new HEB was added to the already deluxe shopping ops in The Woodlands.
This store is state of the art! From the exquisite selection of produce to the gourmet
Old Fashioned Lifestyle - 08/19/12 07:47 PM
Before our time there was a generation that combined several generations on a single property in order to take care of each other.
This lifestyle offered numerous benefits. The elderly took care of the young children allowing Mom and Dad to work on the family business. They were also able to grow their food in part.
This system worked well on rural properties where there was also a family garden tended by the whole group.
Animals were raised to help teach values like responsibility. Chickens do qualify in this sense as animals.
That also provided food
Wishes - 08/19/12 07:38 PM
If you could have one wish granted by whatever means bring about wishes coming true, what would yours be?
I am painfully aware that wishes are make believe.
Somedays a little make believe could make reality a little less boring!
Wishes could be converted to goal setting.... And setting goals is a time proven method to motivate oneself toward successful transactions.
Whatever you call your motivation, it is important to have it. Having a plan and working your plan gives you reasons to keep trying!
What is your ultimate goal? We add our best wishes
The Right Product.... - 08/19/12 07:31 PM
When we bought our current home, one of the things I found charming was the fact that the baths had terrazzo floors.
The hall bath was covered with carpet. It kept us from knowing the entry tiles were damaged, but overall the floor was better than the carpet.
Since we repaired the entry the floor is really pretty but lacked the shine I remembered seeing on similar floors.
We tried several flooring products but still did not score the shine desired.
After reading the bottles of almost every floor care product available, last week we found one
Pocket Parks are cool.. - 08/19/12 07:10 PM
A genuine amenity for a neighborhood is a park!
Everyone should have at least one! The Woodlands has so many you might spend a month of Sundays finding and seeing them all.
Deep in the Wonderful Woodlands is this secluded enhanced point of interest. It looks as if essential human habitations were artfully carved into a perfectly placed piece of forest.
It is officially a part of the Village of Alden Bridge.
Within an easy walk withing the Village of Alden Bridge via lovely concrete paths, this park offers a pavilion for parties and other gatherings,
Is life a contest? - 08/19/12 06:51 PM
With the recent emphasis upon the Olympics, I could not help but compare the continuous events with life as we know it.
Every day we get up and prepare to go forward and do our best.
Our daily events are geared toward helping others. The better we do it, the more rewards we gain.
Although there are not gold or silver medals to be awarded, we do certainly obtain the thrill of success. We are also allowed to make a living doing what we enjoy.
The more we practice, the better we do. The more skills we
Who do you admire? - 08/19/12 06:40 PM
Last Sunday we were challenged by our Priest to think about who we admire. Who has greatly affected the who you have become?
Since I am quickly approaching my 35th year in Real estate, I look back gratefully to my very first sponsoring Broker.
She ran a small office in River Oaks (very upscale Houston). It was on the fringe of the most affluent area in the greater Houston area.
There were only ten agents. No one had a desk. We each had a drawer in one of the desks in the main office.
We were encouraged
Building Trust... - 08/19/12 06:26 PM
Through no apparent fault of our own, we find that many potential customers do not trust Realtors. Not at all.
We all are lumped into a large box. All of us!
Not fair! Definitely not. True though.
So the question is, how do we disprove the myth? And, the answer is One customer at a time.
We had an experience a few years ago where a man we knew through church choir approached us.
He said he had a "friend" who needed some Real Estate advise. The "friend" wanted to sell a mobile home and move up.
Pressure Points... - 08/18/12 04:26 PM
It has long been said that stress is not good for us. (and who in our business hasn't been stressed?) It is hard on hearts and raises blood pressure.
We are frequently admonished to stop worry and to cut back on stressful activities.
Right! Of course that is good advise.
The question is who puts us under stress? What causes it?
Watching a do it yourself program on television a while ago, I observed the host putting himself , the owners of the yard they were working on, and all the crew under pressure.
It's Chili Season..... HATCH!! - 08/14/12 04:15 PM
Tis the season to find Hatch Chilis at your local market. If ever there was a seasonal treat, this is it!
Wo learned about the Chilis when we lived in southwest Colorado. They became almost an addiction . Once you get used to having them you miss them when they are not readily available. Now, you have been warned!
Grown in Hatch, New Mexico, these Chili's have a flavor like no other .
The uses are varied and the Chili's freeze well so any you don't have to use them quickly and they can easily be
Running To and Fro..... - 08/12/12 07:36 PM
Once again we gained inspiration from watching the Olympics.
The athletes who participated in the latest races garnered the admiration of many.
The skills and sportsmanship displayed have been absolutely awesome.
There were take away lessons for us as spectators.
The first one was if the race is too long share it with a few well trained friends.
Second was the lesson that sticking with the task results in tangible rewards. Many of the runners have run for years without the wins they desired.
By staying with the programs and utilizing the mental and physical
The power of a flower - 08/12/12 07:31 PM
When ever the burdens of this life seem to weigh us down, there are ways to dispel the dark feelings.
For me one of the best is to get out of the house and office.
Just being exposed to nature gives a different perspective and real beauty that cannot be ignored.
When things refuse to be manageable and people produce constant problems, it is time to retreat for a short time and clean up our thoughts.
While running the necessary household errands we found ourselves drawn to a floral display.
Have you ever noticed
Comfort Food.... - 08/12/12 04:22 PM
Since our diet has clearly eliminated all gluten after my mini stroke a few years ago we don't usually eat these things. But, there are some things that just have to be indulged in occasionally.
Our favorite grocery emporium offers an array of pizzas with healthy ingredients. Not only are these made fresh and available in the cooler, the store will cook your choice in their pizza oven and you can consume it right in the adjoining seating area!
Eating the gourmet delight in the store dining area means no clean up either! At a price if $7.99
Vintage Park - 08/12/12 03:53 PM
A couple of miles North of our house a new shopping Mecca has arisen out of what had been a forest and farm land (back in the '50s and '60s, Ralph had an aunt and uncle who farmed right about where all this now sits.) But it all got sold off before it was valuable.
Right across the freeway from what was the world headquarters for Compaq computers (now owned by HP), this incredible growing complex began growing with retail and has added office space, hotels and even hospitals.
Today as we drove around the creeping concrete structures
Healthy choices matter - 08/12/12 01:50 PM
Whether we want to or not we find that a great deal of time is spent in grocery stores.
In 2007 we had a noisy wake up call in the form of my having a very slight stroke. Then came the diagnosis of high cholesterol, high blood pressure and the fact that i had supposedly become a type 2 diabetic.
Those will disrupt the heck out of any business.
As we rebuilt my life we were forced to take a serious look at diet and exercise.
Neither were my favorite subjects at the time. Amazing
Petty theft..... - 08/09/12 03:24 PM
One of our favorite listings was a 5500 sq ft log mansion on a mountaintop in Colorado.
It had huge living area, gourmet kitchen, basement apartment, five bedrooms and five baths.
When we took the listing , it had been on the market for a long time. It was vacant and felt downright lonely.
We had all of the enormous rooms cleaned well and then we hired a staging artist to creatively stage the spaces.
The seller spent about four grand for the artist to use in purchasing furnishings and art work .
During the listing
Postive Reinforcement - 08/09/12 03:05 PM
When past clients call it always brings new delights!
Such was the case a few days ago when one of our previous favorite clients checked in for the first time in almost a year.
She was a transfer from Missouri a couple of years ago and she found us on one of our websites.
We were ready to adopt her after just a couple of showing sessions! I could not have asked for a better "daughter."
After a few minutes of catching up she asked if we were available to go to lunch this week.
Raising the bar - 08/07/12 06:47 PM
Groceries can be taken for granted.
Most grocery stores of the past are ordinary, just one more shopping chore to provide meals.
Today there are many alternatives springing up.
One of the latest in the Woodlands is "Trader Joes.". It is clearly raising the bar on super markets!
Top notch gourmet items including condiments, meats, beverages, produce and chips of all kinds are found aisle after aisle.
The sales staff are all around to assist with friendly attitude. They are all definately part of a team effort to make the experience pleasant.
Why press on? - 08/07/12 06:20 PM
Watching the Olympics for the past couple of weeks has given us a glimpse into the thought processes of athletes.
One of those was the most decorated swimmer ever, Michael Phelps.
His early performances this year were not what we had become used to seeing.
He seemed to be less interested in achieving. What had changed?
As the events progressed it became obvious that he just did not want the wins as much as he had in the past.
He already had achieved great wealth and fame. He had experienced the thrill of being the best.
Keys to the future - 08/07/12 05:59 PM
Into every life sooner or later mistakes will happen.
Last night we ran out for a quick grocery run.
Usually as we close the back door to our house I ask Ralph "do you have your keys?. He checks and responds "yes!"
I have not carried a purse for years so it is an Important question. There is not an easily accessible spare key.
Last night we did not have our house leaving conversation.
In the middle of the grocery store Ralph realized he was keyless... This essentially made us homeless too!
Producing good produce! - 08/05/12 03:51 PM
After serious health challenges a few years ago we intensively modified our diet.
Fresh produce has become a favorite part of our daily fare.
Finding fresh locally grown tomatoes, okra, onions, squash and an array of other yummies is a treat.
One of our favorite places (Mittelsteadts) is owned and operated by the family of one of Ralph's classmates.
The produce here is top notch. Imagine tomatoes that taste like tomatoes! These large flavorful offerings are one of the reasons we like to stop here for our produce needs.
It also feels good to
Where is your next client right now??? - 08/04/12 07:26 PM
You never know where your next opportunity may come from.
We were having lunch at our latest favorite Indian restaurant when the owner came over to chat.
This happened to be one of those times when neither of us had name tags on. We were operating as "secret agents."
During the course of the conversation the owner mentioned that she was opening her fourth store in Los Angeles. She also mentioned that the road in front of the building we were having lunch in was being widened soon.
The widening will cost her at least half of
Sweet business building... - 08/04/12 06:56 PM
There has been a good bit of talk about the business spirit of late. America was basically built on that sort of thought.
There are many ways to build businesses. Most business owners will tell you that they in fact did build theirs. Ideas, investment and work all enter into the picture.
One of the proven ways to build a business is to experience the process.
What better way than to give our children and grandchildren practical hands on tools!
Take something simple that they can relate to like the pictured candy machine. We plan to gift
All is well.... - 08/04/12 06:37 PM
Has your vehicle begun to resemble a trash receptacle?
In our business it is imperative that we maintain our cars in pristine condition.
Not only does it make us feel better about ourselves and what we do to be riding in a clean and fragrant transport, but people tend to judge us by the way we keep our cars.
In the days when we did lease management, I frequently invented reasons to sneak a look at the cars driven by potential renters.
My theory was that gave us a preview of how they kept their stuff. It
Forward progress - 08/04/12 06:31 PM
The title company had not moved forward since they found a "first right of refusal" on the deed. It had been placed there by the original seller to the developer in the late 1950s
Our seller had done a lot of research too. He had found that the deceased original selller had sold the "rights" to a closely held corporation. Said corporation has now been out of business for about 15 years.
The title company was insisting upon releases signed by the origianal seller heirs. To dream the impossible dream!
We could not find any. We had also
Role Models?? Watch your language!!! - 08/04/12 03:27 PM
Have you ever considered how much impact your language has on those around you?
While we were at the Woodlands Mall today, we passed a pet store. Parakeets in the window brought back a buried memory.
Birds are compact creatures , and considering all things make little mess.
They also have an advantage over cats and dogs because they talk! Really! They will repeat things they hear if they hear them often.
The last bird I had was named "Oscar.". He looked a lot like the bird in the photo.
He ruled the roost
Function or Style!! - 08/02/12 06:44 PM
What do you think is the major function of a shoe?
Is it to protect your feet?
If so, this specimen as seen in a window in the Woodlands mall, would not qualify. Wearing a pair of shoes such as this would threaten your balance as well as the bones!
Would you consider it a fashion accessory?
No doubt to makes a loud statement in that regard. It also could catch fabric all around your costume. The flame has potential to rip and tear fashions adjacent with great precision.
Shoes usually give support to
Tomball Night!! Annually for 40 years!! - 08/02/12 08:15 AM
Make your Friday night special! Plan to participate in the Fortieth Annual Celebration of Tomball night. It will take place tomorrow, August 3rd.
Just in time for back to school shopping, this event combines the fun and fellowship enjoyed by residents of small town America.
Not only do the merchants showcase their products and offer sales and discounts, there are mystery shoppers stationed throughout shopping areas. These folks are armed with $100. Bills to give to shoppers who approach them with vociferous ness.
Add to all this a Parade of lights at 9pm followed by an exciting