Sunday, March 30, 2008

Racial Controversy and Barack Obama

I've been reading about the racial controversy that seems to be surfacing around Barack Obama lately. I would like to point out that though my support is for Hillary, I think very highly of Barack. I see past his race. I have even had my clients who are African American tell me that I'm color blind.

But lately, because of the issues that are surfacing, his race is being thrown in my face. And interestingly enough, it isn't being thrown in my face by white people.

What most people don't realize is that African Americans make up roughly 13% of this nation's popularity. So it is quite evident that Barack's support goes well beyond that of his own race.

His campaign will be ruined if the racial card is played. I'll be damned if I'm accused of being racist just because I don't support him. And that's where I see this heading. If Obama doesn't win the primaries, will there be rioting in the streets? Will this mean that we have to hear Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton go on and on about how unfair this country is to the black man?

And if he does win, will African Americans suddenly believe that they are entitled to something more?

I heard Michelle Obama's speech where she stated that America was ignorant. I had a roommate in college that was African American. She and I had absolutely nothing in common with one another. I tried on numerous occasions to get to know her but that effort was not reciprocated. She would have her friends come over and I would be completely isolated; most of the time I could not understand what they were saying to one another. Segregation in this case was not forced; it was just natural. She hung out with her friends, I hung out with mine.

I have often discovered, even in my field, that there is oftentimes a racial connection between the real estate agent and his/her client. Is this forced or is it natural?

It is very unfortunate that the Democrats are stuck in this stagnant situation but I don't think that either of them should have to "blink first". Why? Hillary has donated 5 million of her own money in her campaign. What should be her reason to surrender first? And why should Obama surrender first?

I think this stagnation in their running is why this is surfacing in the first place. Had Obama won the primaries outright he would be moving onto the next thing.

I think that that which occurs whenever anything becomes stagnant will occur here. Slime and ick and all that stuff begins to surface and grow. So the question becomes, who's going to become the ickiest first?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Update on stuff

Well, I have received several e-mails from Lifelock telling me that they have indeed placed fraud alerts on my accounts with the credit bureaus and they also alerted me that I have been removed from the mailouts for credit card solicitation. Today, I received a note from Experian and another bureau that indeed fraud alerts have been placed on my behalf. I should be receiving my free credit reports any day. It is such a huge relief to have this taken care of.

I have made a new friend this last month and she came over today. I made us some pizza and salad and we watched War of the Worlds. You know, I don't care how many times I watch that movie, it disturbs me. I wish I could just watch it and remove myself from it but I can't. I can't believe that when it came out initially, I went to see it by myself.

I miss tv. But, I'm a trooper and I haven't watched it for a week a now. I went on to YouTube and watched all the performances from this week. Dave Cook's rocked. Kristy Lee Cook did superbly as well. She made the right song choice. Dave has to be careful. I remember how much I loved Bo Bice and then when it was down to him and Carrie, she sang "Angels Brought Me Here" and it made me feel emotional. It wiped out Bo. KLC was very very smart to sing "God Bless the USA". But Dave's version of "Billie Jean" was absolutely brilliant. I'm sort of disappointed to see how Jason Castro is turning out. I would like to see more out of him but I'm not sure he has it in him. Brook is really talented too, I liked her version of "Every Breath You Take".

I have nothing more to report. I'm going to bed.

Peace out.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Logo - Done

I am so excited. I finally have my logo!

(Sis, it's 1c and I asked them to incorporate the little design in 2 into my other stuff to help enforce the branding. They said, "Great idea", so I get the best of both)

I agonized over this step and it took a month to do. The company I'm working with is phenomenal! I love them. They gave me such an array of logos to select from; and they were so different. Each one gave off a different set of emotions and could go just about anywhere.

I must have carried the lot around for 4 days showing them to different people and getting different opinions. I walked away saying there was no commonality but I was wrong. I just didn't want it to be the most commonly selected one. Then I asked myself why and when I solved it, I approached them asked them to fix it. And they did and it's the one.

I'm changing the name of my company. It's not a major change it's a small one but it entails having to get another DBA. Augh! I probably should have done it myself but I'm hiring a company to do it and it takes about 4 weeks to do. It's not as simple as going to courthouse locally and setting up a dba. Since it's my LLC that's the dba, stuff has to be filed with the State of Texas. It's complicated. To me it is.

My website is supposed to up and ready to rock and roll by April 7 but I think I'm going to have to wait until the end of April before I can run as my new company name. This makes me very sad. :(

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


So, I'm watching my Netflix movie this evening.... just kickin' back and chilling. And the movie is going along and there is this scene where Bill Murray is standing on one side of the street and then accross the street a cab pulls up and drops of the character Max Fischer. The cab pulls away and Max is just standing there and the backdrop of this scene is the 11th Street Cleaners.

I'm thinking, wait, I know them. They're just down the street from me. So, I pause the movie and get on my laptop and google search the film.

Sure 'nough, it was filmed here in Houston. I never knew.

OMG, I found the exact scene on YouTube.


I am trying to negotiate a contract on a house and my buyer has a strong personality. The sellers of the house are very nice people and not as strong but they feel steamrolled. Part of that is me, I have a tendency to be harsh (I got that lovely trait from my Mother), and part of that is my buyer; once he's made his mind up that's it, he doesn't waver.

So, everyone in this negotiation has ruffled feathers. Me, the listing agent, the buyers and the sellers. We are inches away from a signed contract. But there's one more glich that has to be worked out. Hopefully it's workable.

So, at 11:45 this morning, I opened a beer. Warsteiner, a really nice German beer. I never ever do this. "This" being drink this early on a work day. I opened my fridge and there it was. I have to calm my nerves, this is a pretty big chunk of change on the table and I don't want to blow it.

I look at successful people, the entrepreneurs of society. These people are risk takers and when one is a risk taker one has to have the stones to move forward. One also has to have drive and that drive in me is what is scaring me. On the one hand, I'm moving a process along, that's my point of view. But the recipient of this is seeing this process as a steam roller process. Where is the line? How do I back off and move forward at the same time?

What is being a good negotiator? Is it getting the deal done? Is it a happy ending for all parties? Would I want me as my agent? I think so. I'm honest, I'm not going to lead my client down a path that I think is going to end up badly. Could I handle this process better? Absolutely, I just don't know where the disconnect is.

Where can I find a really good meaty class on negotiation skills?

Post Script: My client just called; we have a successfully negotiated contract.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Day 1 - no tv

Ok, so yesterday was my first day without tv. Last night, I napped and then started a book. It's titled "The Tin Roof Blowdown" by James Lee Burke. I stayed up very late reading it and am half-way through. I hope to finish it by tonight.

My friend John, the foodwriter, has books sent to him all the time. I think way back when during his days with API he reviewed books. So publishing companies keep sending them to him. He has this basket in his home filled with books. So, whenever I need a good read, I go to him. He is the one who turned me onto Patricia Cornwell.

I really think I like the idea of breaking myself altogether of tv. I do see how I could benefit from cable, especially with HGTV where I could learn and understand how to re-do houses. Since my market is in the older section of Houston, being able to help my clients see how they can redo a small closet or open up a kitchen might very well be worth it. I think first, I break the habit, then I acquire cable.

I'm so excited about my sister's new dog, Kira. I hope she posts pics soon. It won't be until Christmas that I actually get to meet Kira but I have to say, I'm looking forward to it.

Ok, that' s all I have to report on the home front.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

T.V. Dilemma

As many of my lurkers may already know, I have this love/hate relationship with my television. I never really had one until 2001 and I've compromised by not getting cable. I figure the less interesting stuff there is, the less I'll watch.

I got hooked on a couple of shows and now that plan is blown out of the water. Though I do have to admit, I watch less than I did a year or so ago. Just not nearly less enough.

I have made a new friend who has downsized considerably. Lucky me, I bacame the owner of a couple of beautiful wooden rustic pieces of furniture for my living room. One of which is an armoir that I have decided to use as an entertainment center.

Initially, my television fit at the top of my armoir with quite a bit of top room to spare. So, I thought, if I add one of the shelves, I could raise the t.v. higher. The tv is to heavy for me, so I had to wait till my friend could come over and help me.

My friend came by and we proceeded to put the tv in and discovered that even with both of us, raising it up to our heads was still very very difficult and we began to lose control of the tv. In order to regain control, we pressed the tv pretty hard against the shelf and I heard a SNAP sound. I said that I thought we broke something and she was pretty adamant that we hadn't.

Well, yesterday afternoon I began connecting my DVD player and antaennas to the tv and discovered we snapped the cable connector off the back of the tv. Now, I cannot pick up any stations but can use the tv with the DVD player. I have been told I can still get some sort of cable hook up for my tv even without that particular piece.

So, do I upgrade to cable or do I consider this a blessing in disguise and free myself from tv alltogether?

Friday, March 21, 2008


You know, my sister's "dog blog" is inspiring me to think about my pets. I've posted about Seamus Heiney MacCool, Little Bear, Metisse and Musetta. But I realized, I haven't posted anything about Mimi. Shame on me! Here is her photo. Yes she has a tail, but it's blurred out, 'cause I didn't use a flash. Mimi should have been named "poopy pants" because that's her attitude. Here you see her with what's called a lion shave. At the end of tail is a little tuft of fur but you can't see it here. I believe she has some artheritis and that is why she is the way she is. So, I don't bother her too much. I give her kisses on the head and she seems to like that, but she'll get mad if I overdo it. She's a kitty only a mommy could love. I believe she'll be 12 this December.

And here is my little boy, Seamus, looking out the window.

Dreams and stuff

I had a dream last night that included my little brother.

I was at a game. I can't remember if it was a baseball or basketball game but I was in the stadium with someone I knew and it was during a break in play. While there, I receive a video on my cell phone and I proceed to play it. My brother sent me a video of him playing basketball and it looked professional. Meaning, it looked like a video feed done by a sports station and my brother was on a team.

He was wearing a white uniform, with blue seams and a red number and the point of view of the camera was from behind the basket as he was dribbling towards it and he did a slam dunk. Then I was in the video giving him a high five and I kept wondering how he got me in the video when I wasn't there. Then I looked up at the screen in the stadium and the same video was playing on the screen. I was embarassed so I stopped the video on my phone and it stopped it on the screen in the stadium.

I called him this morning after I woke up to tell him about the dream. When he answers the phone he says, let me guess, you had a dream about me. We are so in sync with one another, it scares me sometimes. You never want to play against us in pictionary. I'll draw just a few lines that no one can recognize and he'll call it out.

I know I refer to him as my little brother but he is really only 1 1/2 years younger than me. When we were young we were Pete and Repete...wherever you saw one, you saw the other. And most people were convinced we were twins. He's deep deep deep in my heart and we are closing the gap that developed between us over the past years.

He's looking at moving back to Houston, which thrills me. Now, if I can get him to work with me....that would be awesome.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

More on Lifelock and Experian

I've been giving a lot of consideration to the lawsuit that has been submitted against Lifelock by Experian. The basis of the suit is that Experian is claiming that Lifelock doesn't have the legal right to place these "fraud alerts" on behalf of their consumers. They claim the individual has to do it themselves. What if I write a letter authorizing Lifelock to do this on my behalf?

But the basis of this lawsuit goes much deeper. It's about the cost to Experian and other credit bureaus that is driving the lawsuit. Once the fraud alerts are in place, they are required to generate free credit reports, I believe credit bureaus have to call the individual to confirm each time credit is applied for, etc.

But there is something that isn't being pointed out that I think should be pointed out. The people who suffer the most from identity theft are the individuals whos identity is being stolen. And the loss in measures of impact is much greater than they are to the creditors. The credit bureaus never had to feel this loss.

Now, the credit bureaus are feeling it. And they seem to believe their only recourse is to sue Lifelock instead of joining Lifelock's crusade to change the industry to make it more difficult for identity theft to occur. Maybe the credit bureaus need to call the credit card companies and tell them to stop mailing out so much crap. You know, if I need a credit card, I think I can figure out how to apply for one. I'm sick of shredding that stuff. Perhaps the credit bureaus should set up internal policies and procedures that require more inquiries whenever someone tries to set up credit to be sure that the person applying is who they say they are.

The credit bureaus up to this point could hold a neutral ground because they didn't have to feel anything. Well, now they feel it and they don't like it and it's putting them in the middle between the credit companies and the inidividual consumers. And they have decided to sell the consumer down the river by suing Lifelock than voice our concerns to the crediters.

Logos 2

I went to meet my Marketing/Design company yesterday. I brought all the logos with me that they had given me to select from. I narrowed my choices down to three. It wasn't easy. Though the logo boards are mine and I can keep them, I decided to leave them with them for the time being. I need a break from them.

I had been carrying them around with me for days showing them to one friend after another. I thought perhaps the choice would be so simple but each person had a different set of favorites with different reasons. I started to become anxious about my decision. It's important to me that I set the right image. Classy, elegant, yet approachable. I want high-end clientèle but I don't want to alienate some good lower end ones, either. It's a delicate balance.

So, now the next step is that they are going to play with my favorite logos and tweak them. I actually have 2 that I like one needs some "pop" to it and the other needs to be toned down a bit so that the name can be more legible. The third one looks very feminine but I liked where they were going with the design. I need them to tone the femininity down and make it a little bolder.

My next appointment is next week and I'll get to choose the one I like the most.

This is pretty exciting. I just hope I can have my web site up by April. I hope I hope.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Recently, I attended a seminar on Identity Theft. It is amazing how easy it seems to be for people to steal one's identity. Maybe the more appropriate word would be scary.

I decided that until I am ready to purchase a house, I don't really need any more personal credit. Any credit I apply for now, will be for my business. My business was recently approved for a loan so it is on it's way in developing good credit and I probably won't have to continue to use my own personal credit for it to get qualified for loans. I don't anticipate having to apply for more for at least another year. I don't mind having to go through extra, perhaps cumbersome, steps to apply for more personal credit if necessary.

So, I heard about this company called Lifelock. The CEO of the company openly gives out his social security number to demonstrate his confidence in his system. So, I signed on.

I've been doing some google research and it looks like Experian doesn't like them. Apparently Lifelock's method of protecting it's member's credit creates a lot of work for Experian. They feel that unless one has actual reason to believe they are a victim of fraud that the measures Lifelock takes shouldn't be implemented.

After further research, I understand that once one credit bureau is notified, then the other big 2 are notified. Those being Transwestern and Equifax. The process to apply for a fraud alert with the latter two is very cumbersome so my guess is that it is all falling onto Experian to process the alert and then notify the other two bureaus. This might also be why Experian is screaming about Lifelock.

I got a letter from my credit union telling me one of my accounts had been compromised but that they had everything under control. What was compromised, my social security number? I receive mail everyday. One day, I noticed I didn't get any mail. Was it stolen from my box? What constitutes a reason to believe I'm a victim of fraud?

Based on all the Credit Card crap I get in the mail and how easy it seems for anyone to access my information, and how fast identity theft is growing, I am increasingly concerned about my information falling in the wrong hands.

Everything Lifelock does for it's members, members can do for themselves. It's the hassle of doing it, sort of like changing the oil in my car, that deters me. I don't know how to do these things. If you go onto Experian's website, it takes a while to find the information to create a fraud alert. You have to dig for it.

Lifelock will also stop the credit card mail I receive. And they keep doing it. Not just once but every 90 days until I stop being a member.

I read somewhere, I don't know where it was, but I have a tendency to agree with this point: The credit bureaus make a lot of money doing what they do and having access to our information that protecting our credit is not really a priority. It is also my understanding that the measures used by Lifelock make it difficult for our information to be sold. One article went on to state that they really don't care. I believe that.

Monday, March 17, 2008


I am now over a year in my new business and it's time to begin a major make-over. The first thing to do is the logo design. The company I've hired has produced some outstanding logos for my business and I love them all. I'm very confused, though. It is so important to me to get this right. So, I've set an appointment with them for Wednesday to go over the logos and review my choices.

After I pick the logo, they'll design the signs and stationery. And then the last thing will be the website. My timeline is April, but I have a feeling we won't be done 'till end April. I want to have it ready in time for moving season but I think May will be ok.

I'm so excited to be doing this.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sleep Deprivation

There was a really great report on 60 Minutes this evening discussing the effects of sleep deprivation. They showed that when people didn't get enough sleep they ate more and they also developed conditions that could lead towards diabetes. And, obviously, I feel better during the day.

I have two cats and at night, they want to play. It usually only lasts a little while but it wakes me up; and, most often when that happens I have been unable to go back to sleep. It isn't uncommon for them to wake me up at 4 and 5 in the morning. When that happens, I'm wide awake for about an hour or two and then I have to go back to bed and then don't get up until after 10.

Lately, I've been chasing them out of my room at night when I go to bed and not letting them back in until I get up. I have noticed a significant change in my sleeping as a result of this. I find I can get up at 9:00 a.m. every day. Sometimes, I wake up at 8:00 and can get up and get on with my day. I still wake up in the middle of the night but not as frequently. And my cats do get impatient and by about 8:30 a.m. are at my door meowing for me to get up and be among them. But for the most part, it's good. I get enough sleep and I feel better.

A tribute to Ziggy

I'm giddy right now. I know it's silly but I am. My sister has set up a blog, finally. Sunwolf Lightfoot

As I posted earlier, she lost her sweet dog, Ziggy. And now my sister is grieving. I learned when my father passed that everyone had their way of dealing with grief and then moving on. My sister is dealing with her grief by blogging about it. When my father passed, I sent out Christmas cards to every single person I knew and noted my father's passing in each one. I needed the universe to know of my loss, so I can understand my sister's need to do the same.

I admit, the circumstances inspiring the blog are not happy ones and I know how painful it is to lose a pet. And the pain and angst, in my opinion, is probably multiplied when the loss is as a result of having to put the animal down. I remember putting Metisse down and I couldn't stop crying for days. She was so cute and playful and suddenly, out of the blue, the vet said she had 24 hours to live. I was so sure the vet was wrong, I sought out a second opinion.

If I know my sister, the blog is to be a celebration of Ziggy's life and his legacy. After all, he was the first. And how ironic is that? My sister acquired him from her in-laws when Ziggy's owner could no longer care for him. Ziggy was named such because her in-laws decided that this would be their last German Shepherd. Get it? Z is the last letter of the alphabet. So, the Omega turned out to be the Alpha and Ziggy is to be the first German Shepherd in my sister's life.

Today she drives to meet Kira, a beautiful German Shepherd at a local rescue. I cannot wait to hear how it goes. I wonder if the original owners named her Kira after the heroine in the book We The Living by Ayn Rand.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Another video from The Other Guys

My nephew's band "The Other Guys" had a competition in London. On their way home back to St. Andrews, on a whim, while waiting for their train at Leucher's Train Station in Scotland, they made the following video. My nephew is the one in the very middle up front, with the scarf. That scarf is a Dr. Who scarf and goes on and on and on. My sister made it for him. The accoustics aren't that great but the moves are cute; the girl you see dancing with them choreographed the moves. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

A moment for Ziggy

My sister's beautiful German shepherd had to be put down this morning. She had called me yesterday and told me he was sick and had some sort of aggressive cancer that had attached itself to his spleen. This afternoon she texted me "he's gone".

I thought perhaps he had passed away during the night and was relieved that she didn't have to make the decision to put him down. But when I called her, she told me that she had made the decision herself. Her husband is out of town and her son is in school in Europe so she pretty much had to do this alone. She's really broken up over it, he was a really sweet dog. He would wipe his feet before coming into the house from a walk or play in the back yard.

So, goodbye Zigfried Von Wolfhausen, you were a very good dog and I hope that you find lots of fire hydrants to pee on, cats, cars and postmen to chase, and a good man to be a best friend to up there in doggy heaven.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Obama Advantage

I have been giving great consideration to why Obama is doing as well as he is in the primaries and why I believe he will have a very strong chance at winning the Presidency if he successfully wins the Democratic nomination.

Let's start with a commonly known statistic. When a Governor goes up against a Senator, the Governor always wins. Recent examples would be Carter, Reagan, Clinton and G.W. who were all Governors. So why do Governors win against the more seasoned and experienced Senators? In my opinion there are two reasons.

First, the Governor is perceived as not being "corrupted" by D.C. politics. They are untouched and represent a pure break from what the rest of us hate about Washington D.C. We naive voters hope this new "innocent" will be able to resist the corrupt D. C. machine.

Secondly, they don't have a record that sticks to them. Once one becomes a Senator, the deals and negotiations begin and votes are traded for favors, etc. The Senator develops a track record of voting which later becomes public record and then is used by the "enemy" to begin defining who the person is. The objective is to put the person on defense.

Ok, so here we have a gaggle of Senators running for the White House. Both Clinton and Obama are minorities and there is no way that either of them would have had a shot at the White House if they were to try to run as Governors. They had to prove to America that they were Presidential material by first proving themselves as Senators.

So, how does one get the Governor advantage? By doing as little as possible while being Senator so that nothing sticks. And that, my friends, is what Obama has been doing. We can argue until we are blue in the face that Obama has no experience but then neither did all the Governors who became President of the U.S. Even though Clinton hasn't been Senator for long, we know her too well and she has some baggage she may not be able to rid herself of. Notice how Obama doesn't defend his lack of experience and instead promotes himself as a "new page".

Obama has cleverly demonstrated his D.C. "innocence" by not accepting specific types of donations for his campaign. This is his way of giving the image that he is "untouched" by Washington politics.

So, Obama's advantage, in my so ever humble opinion, is that he has studied all the reasons a Governor wins these elections and has effectively found a way to wrap himself to be a Governor in Senator's clothing.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Very addictive game

Hey guys. I found this game. Beware, it's addictive. I don't know how to quell the music though. It's nice music but I'd like to be able to turn it off.


The objective of the game is to explode ONE dot that causes a chain reaction that explodes other dots. Each level challenges you to explode more dots. Levels 9, 10 and 11 are where they really have you pulled into the game; and it's really easy to reach those levels.

Have fun.

I'm not kidding, it's addictive. Oh and I found out how to turn off the music (the little speaker icon) but you still get zen sounds when you play.

OK, you've been warned... this game is very very addictive.....

Saturday, March 01, 2008

And So it Begins

Augh, moving season is beginning to trickle in. I've been busy. But really most of the things I've been busy with this month has been very exciting. I have hired a marketing design company to do a make over on my company image. They are going to design my logo, stationery and website. I'm so very pumped. January and February are good months to focus on this type of stuff because it's slow.

But this last week I've picked up two customers.

So this means that I might be a bit scarce. During the day I have lots of things I want to blog about but at the end of the day, I'm dead. I become a vegetable. I pick up the remote control and start mindlessly flipping through all three channels. I don't have cable... I'm too frugal. Every dime is going into the building of my business. But next year..... next year, I'll have cable AND maid service. And hopefully blog just a wee bit more.