Archive for December, 2010


Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Since this is almost the end of 2010, do you have any New Year’s Resolutions?  Will you vow to learn something new—a new recipe, a different language.  Or will you get organized and reduce the clutter in your life.  Or perhaps, volunteer at your local library, check with nonprofit volunteer organizations that could really use some help.  Or donate items you no longer need or use.  Whatever you choose to do, make it count.

 Have you noticed lately that gasoline prices are on the rise?  Is this a possible result of speculators in the market place?  Will the value of your home rise or fall next year—there are definitely two sides to that coin.  The Bulls say “buy real estate”; the Bears say “where is the bottom”. 

 I’d like to end the year with some truths I’ve learned: raising teenagers is like nailing jelly to a tree; families are like fudge . . . mostly sweet, with a few nuts; laughing is good exercise—it’s like jogging on the inside; growing old is mandatory—growing up is optional; it’s frustrating when you know the answers but nobody bothers to ask you any questions; wisdom comes with age but sometimes age comes alone; you can’t trust dogs to watch your food; and, middle age is when you choose your cereal for the fiber not the toy.

To everyone – have a safe and Happy New Year!

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

According to, home sales slowed in October but rose 5.6% in November.  While this doesn’t necessarily mean the housing market is getting better, it is a step forward on the long road to recovery.

The Holiday season is almost past and the New Year of 2011 is approaching fast.  It brings new challenges and new resolutions for us to think about, both personally and in business; a new tax-cut deal, medicare changes (yes, I am going to have to think about this in 2011) and the repeal of “don’t ask-don’t tell”.

On a lighter note – some new Thoughts to Ponder: Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die; give a person a fish and you feed them for a day, teach a person to use the Internet and they won’t bother you for weeks; all of us could take a lesson from the weather – it pays no attention to criticism.

To all – Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays – enjoy family, friends and be safe.

Are You Ready for 2011?

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Even during the Holiday Season, borrowers are still requesting loans, even private money loans.  It is always challenging to complete the transactions timely due to the County Recorder’s Office working a limited schedule for recording documents.

For those folks fortunate enough to reach an age where you can or must withdraw from your retirement accounts (if you still have them), please check the rules requiring minimum withdrawals/distributions.  They’re baaack!  A recent poll by Fidelity Investments found that one in five people 70 or older who are required to take a required distribution this year hadn’t done so as of November.  Don’t get caught off guard.

Americans are certainly strapped but there is very convincing evidence that consumers are rebounding faster than most economists give them credit for.  Currently, consumer spending is constrained by tight credit conditions and limited availability of mortgage loans.  Yet, banks have improved their balance sheets and loan losses are trending lower.  It is only a matter of time before the credit pendulum swings back from overly tight to more normal standards.

I think most of us are ready for 2011 and the challenges it might bring.  What will the new tax plan look like?  Will Congress finally get realistic and confront the nation’s fiscal challenges?  Stay tuned . . . .

For entertainment ideas – Relish Culinary, Healdsburg, is having a Family Gingerbread House Decorating event on December 22nd, call 707-431-9999; Paul Anka is appearing at the Wells Fargo Center also on December 22nd, call 707-546-3600.

Less Talk and More Walk

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

It appears the economy is making steady gains, despite weak hiring.  Factories are busier, incomes are rising, autos are selling, stock prices are surging and the holiday shopping season is shaping up as the best in several years.  Despite weeks of brighter economic news, employers still aren’t hiring freely.  Unemployment is expected to stay above 9% through next year, in part due to the still-depressed real estate industry.  Until builders, architects, appraisers, lenders, and furniture sellers find work, the unemployment rate isn’t likely to change much.  Unfortunately, job creation drives the economy and it is still a weak link.

Congress is saying they want to listen to the American people.  OK – here it goes.  We want less talk and more walk – back-up what you’re saying with physical change that we can see.  The public generally doesn’t care about what we don’t see – we care about the stuff we deal with on a day-to-day basis; i.e. buying groceries, having enough money to put gas in the car, the price of gas going up (which it is doing).  We want less debt, lower taxes, cheaper health care, decent roads to drive on.  America is not just a tea party—it is a coffee shop in Texas, a union hall in New York and it’s Silicon Valley in California.  Perhaps with the Holiday Season almost here, we should think about what we can do to in the coming year to have a positive impact on our daily lives – small but steady steps can make a difference.

On the Fun-side of the Holidays – December 12th is the Healdsburg Rotary Club’s-Annual Crab Feed, call 707-433-9123;  December 18th is The Nutcracker at the Wells Fargo Center, call 707-546-3600; also on December 18th is the Sing-along Messiah in Santa Rosa, call 707-546-8742.