Tag Archives: Leucadia

A Walk On The Beach

It’s been so long since we walked on Moonlight Beach. Either of us. Today I convinced her to go to Encinitas and look at a couple of dream houses that we could afford if I sell a zillion books. Maybe a couple zillion. I do want to get back there. It’s where I’m from originally. My native land, so to speak. Spoiled? Maybe. But we can’t help where we’re from. I just happen to be from a beach community in beautiful Southern California. Now we live 1/2 an hour inland.

In a way I guess I feel like I have a right to live there. I know I felt really good walking with my wife along the ocean there. And sitting on a bench at the top of the hill just in front of Moonlight. We got some sun during our walk and our sitting. Not too much. I can feel the impact on my body as I used to feel when I was just a kid.

Back then we didn’t worry about sunburn too much. I don’t think we knew that it could lead to skin cancer. Just leathery skin. And we had a cute neighbor who was really, really tan. I saw her years later and I don’t think she had had cancer. She did have the leathery skin. She was still cute. We lived on a little street back then. L-shaped. Patty Lane in Leucadia, which is a community of Encinitas.

We looked at a couple houses just across Pacific Coast Highway right above the beach today. Upwards of $2 Million for a 2000 square foot house with not much yard. If you want a place across the street that’s truly right next to the ocean that will cost you $3 Million. And what a beautiful view of the ocean out your backdoor you’ll have.

I know lots of people think this kind of real estate is preposterous. Keep in mind that there is plenty of wealth in the world. I’m not talking about anything airy-fairy or new agey here. If you divide the amount of wealth that exists in the world by the number of people in the world you will find that there is a really big number available to each person. More than a billion dollars per person. I’d just like a few million.

What so many people have lost sight of is this: If you provide value, people will pay you for it.

Especially here in the United States I have seen it. People think in terms of a job or even a career and they don’t always think of what value they bring to the table. It’s not enough to be nice and helpful. How helpful are you? If you help 10 people that’s wonderful, but if you help 10,000 then it’s likely you’ll get paid more on average.

Steve Jobs said that you have to provide something that people want. I’m pretty sure I got that right and if I didn’t I’m sure it was just that you can add in something that people need. But Steve certainly did create something that people want. So many people want those products enough to pay good money for lots of them. I daresay that he also provided people with an experience. Some people call it a cult and if it is I think it’s a pretty harmless one.

Apple customers like quality. They also like that there are many other people who share their ideas about quality and the experience of using the quality products in their lives on a regular basis. They like that there is a community of sorts.

When I say quality I don’t mean what some people sometimes commoditize and then forget about. Lots and lots of people in the world don’t really seem to mind if they get lower quality stuff or just ok stuff. But those who do like a better experience using the product are willing to pay more and Steve Jobs figured that out early on.

He also noticed that people like innovation. That’s part of the experience. You get to have some capabilities earlier than other people or the functionality of the products is so much higher that it’s a more enjoyable experience to use it.

I’m amazed that some people just don’t get this.

If people enjoy something more, many of them will pay more for it. Seems pretty simple.

We got a weedeater the other day and I don’t enjoy the manual which has all these warnings. I can’t even store the battery in a metal shed because that could cause it to get too hot. I understand that we can only do so much with certain technologies, but that seems pretty basic. When you get a metal shed they should warn you that some of the stuff that you want to store in there is not safe to store in there. But why were you getting the metal shed in the first place? You simply wanted to store your rakes, brooms, shovels and the like?

People who think this stuff through create better products.

Sometime in the last year or so I bought a pair of toenail clipper at one of the chain pharmacies. Not too long after I bought it it started to rust. Really? The manufacturer didn’t think that I would like something in the bathroom drawer that remained rust-free? When I was growing up I don’t recall ever buying a replacement pair of clippers like that. I’m not saying that my parents never did that, but I never remember seeing rust on one? I doubt that they were replacing the clippers regularly and I never noticed.

My dad was not a big spender on most things, but he was generally wise about what he bought. It was going to be sturdy and it was generally going to last. Sure, in my family my mom did most of the household spending, but my dad’s philosophy certainly had a huge influence. My family lived on a budget and there’s no way my mom would have bought clippers that could rust so quickly. It’s just that back then I don’t think it would have been easy to find toenail clippers that would start to deteriorate so rapidly. They simply made things better.

Notwithstanding breakthroughs in technology, manufacturers did a better job of putting out a quality product in most cases. I’m sure I’ve mentioned in an earlier post that my mom had a foot-powered sewing machine in the early 1970’s. That was probably from the 1940’s or earlier and it lasted. It was well built.

When I buy a product that starts to fall apart so quickly I want to tell the place that I did business that I would rather not do business with them anymore and that I’ll encourage others to do the same. It astonishes me how many places of business don’t actually care. Even in this economy.

And then they wonder why they’re closing their doors. Amazing.



What Did Your Parents Do?

My parents grew flowers for many years. In 1968 we moved from Encinitas, just a couple blocks from the beach to a community within Encinitas a few miles away called Leucadia. My parents cut down the avocado trees in the backyard not too long after the move and I started taking the bus to kindergarten. My mom used to walk me the two blocks to the bus stop most days. I do seem to remember walking without her at least part of the way at some point. I guess maybe she went back to the house after she saw other kids at the stop. My memory is a little fuzzy, but I remember counting to a thousand while I was waiting. Even at that age I liked numbers.

We lived there until the summer of 1976. My mom, sister and I went on vacation to Chicago and Indiana to visit relatives and when we came back my dad and older brother had moved us to Valley Center, but that’s a different story.

Leucadia was pretty neat for a little kid back then. Even today they have bumper stickers that say, “Keep Leucadia Funky” and I wouldn’t mind moving back there. Maybe in about five years we’ll be able to afford it. Interesting that we can’t afford to live where I did when I was little. I guess that’s true for a lot of people these days, but that’s another story, too.

In kindergarten I met a couple friends who would be friends for years. Years later one of them, Terri, would be the first girl to give me a real kiss. My family was unusual for the area because my dad grew up a poor country boy in Illinois and many of his habits stayed with him.

After planting carnations where the avocado trees used to be, we also raised rabbits and chickens. Both for food. My friend, Terri, was horrified that we would butcher the rabbits. She only saw it once that I remember. Lots of people were surfers in our neighborhood and my older brother was no exception, but I don’t think anyone else had rabbit for dinner. No. It doesn’t taste like chicken. The year before we moved I raised a pig. Again, my father’s influence as he was in Future Farmers of America and that was a big deal. That and little league for us. Although he didn’t play baseball. He was a three-sport athlete. His favorite was basketball. He was a star of his little school in Toulon, Illinois. But the school was so small that if you wanted to play basketball you had to go out for football. THAT’S a small school. I got the idea that track or cross-country running was a close second to basketball.

My older brothers and I all played baseball and I liked bowling and swimming, too.

I don’t remember how long my parents grew carnations, but I do remember that by the time we left in 1976 we were growing vegetables in a huge garden in the backyard. We also had a really big hill (for a backyard) where we grew strawberries at least two summers in a row.

There were only three houses on Patty Lane where we lived. It was an L-shaped street and we lived at the end of it. Today there are four houses on that street as they subdivided my parent’s property after we sold it in 1976. My guess is that both residences there are worth around $2 Million combined. My parents sold it for something like $52,500 after buying it for $39,000 in 1968. They thought they did well at the time.

We had one of the first Subarus sold in the United States. It was REALLY small. Maybe about the size of one of those mini-coopers today, though taller I think. My dad was really scrunched up driving it, but I think it was just under $2,000 when he bought it in the late 1960s. My mom drove a big maroon station wagon and my little sister who was probably four when we bought the Subaru, asked if it would be as big as the station wagon when it grew up.

I had very little knowledge of the war going on at that age, but as I started watching more television I eventually saw something that people don’t believe happened on TV. I remember seeing it in the early 1970s. It changed everything and I saw it on the news which I’m pretty sure was live or delayed very little. A South Vietnamese general actually shot someone in the head right on camera and that really got people’s attention. I’ve told many people that I saw this and most think that I made it up or remembered someone telling me about it, but let me tell you that a kid remembers something like that.

Our neighborhood was peaceful except for a neighbor who was eventually taken away to a mental hospital. And, unlike today, you didn’t see much violence on TV except for news coverage of the Vietnam War. But seeing something so up close and personal is astounding in such a relatively peaceful atmosphere. I am a little tired and I guess I’m saying that it was different back then.

Now kids play video games with violence from a very young age in many cases and experts say that by the time they are 18, most kids have seen over 25,000 acts of serious violence on television, video games, the internet, etc…

Back then most of my “violence” came from Bugs Bunny and we didn’t see it as violence at the time. Except for the news. We watched Walter Cronkite as most people did. It’s interesting that my dad, who was pretty conservative in many ways, didn’t seem to have a problem with Cronkite, who was fairly liberal.

What many younger people don’t appreciate is that the news made a real, concerted effort to be as close to objective as possible. I think Walter Cronkite cried a little when John F. Kennedy was assassinated, but other than that I don’t remember him showing that much deep emotion. He read the news. But he did have the background as a newsman that so many today don’t have.

So many today are simply readers of the news.

I remember when the networks (and there were only three at the time) decided that the news needed to make a profit.

If there was ever an indictment of strict capitalism, the news attempting to make a profit seems to me to be a big one.

I don’t think I’m looking back with rose-colored glasses at the news. Honestly.

When you had more people honestly attempting to be so close to objective in their reporting, it seemed to be of a higher quality. Also, without the profit motive so directly involved, there were a lot more important stories covered. Not much fluff, certainly not in the national and international news.

More educated and thoughtful reporters and anchors and many of today’s “news” people wouldn’t even be able to get a job back then as they are/would be unqualified to do the job.

You also wouldn’t see something like Fox News where they clearly have a conservative axe to grind and when push comes to shove, they are very similar to being an arm of the Republican Party. You might like that. That I don’t doesn’t change the truth of it.

I agree with Keith Olbermann that it’s really Faux News.

And simply calling it “Fair & Balanced” doesn’t mean that it is. You might debate that with me, but one sad thing is that there are people so young that they don’t even realize that Fox can simply claim that without it being true. Many younger people think that IF they say that it must be true, right?

Amazing. I never thought I would look back so fondly on the 1970’s.

This Is Still An Exercise

Some of you know that I am involved in writing every day no matter what comes out. This exercise is from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. And here it is. Today I’m in the second day of a cleanse and I’m wondering how that may affect my output. I don’t know where this will lead. I just keep thinking and typing with very little time in between. You can do this, too. If you feel stuck creatively this is a great way to get unstuck. I think it helps you with patience, too. You need to do it every day for 30 days. Recently I started learning Tai Chi from YouTube and I like that. I can see how that will take patience as well.

Patience is something I’ve been thinking about for a while and it’s not easy to learn when you want to go at 100 miles an hour or even 50 or 30! Tai Chi is what may be required to finally get me on a more permanent road to consistent health. I don’t like routine, but I may have to have more of that in my life. So…where to go from here.

I took karate for a little less than a year in high school and the beginning moves of Tai Chi remind me of a kata. Though it looks like all the moves of Tai Chi could be quite long when strung together. I don’t know if the uncomfortableness in my back is from the Tai Chi or something else. Time will tell. Patience.

The idea of Tai Chi is interesting to me – that we can do these basic moves to strenghten our bodies a little at a time and become very, very healthy. I can’t help noticing how many times I’ve written Tai Chi here today and we haven’t even reached the 10 minute mark. If you are wondering if this will get better, I don’t know. I really don’t know what’s going to come out. That’s the way the exercise works. Keep going.

A little over 3 months ago I started reading the 23rd Psalm every day and then I got to the point where I have it memorized. So I now recite it mentally most days. Did you know it takes 45 seconds to read it? 45 seconds a day. By day 66 I had it memorized. I check back occasionally to see that I’ve still got it right. I decided on the NIV version. Don’t know what that is? Google It. Here it is:

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He restores my soul.

He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me.
Your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You annoint my head with oil.
My cup overflows.

Surely goodness and love with follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

45 seconds a day. You can check it. I expect it’s correct. I don’t have time right now as I’m still in the middle of this exercise. I could be talking about The Tubes next or bowling or cookies or just about anything. It is freeing to do this. The important thing is to not judge it and just keep going. I don’t do much editing, except in my head and I do correct most spelling errors if it doesn’t take me too long. No set rules.

The original method involved a paper and pencil and not much else. Blah Blah Blah is ok, too.

I wonder how much we miss because we judge ourselves and others too harshly. People can shut down their creativity because of the judgements they run into.
Let’s not do that.

Today the sermon at SBPC was about the Holy Spirit and how creative He is. I had forgotten some of the passages and perhaps not heard others.
Did you know the biblical account has the Holy Spirit involved in the second sentence of the bible? I guess I knew that, but it had never been pointed out so explicitly before.
Or I hadn’t been paying attention…

So it’s Sunday afternoon and I’ve got a little quiet time with my wife taking a nap and our son gone to a friend’s house. I guess we have to make time in the time we have
available to get done the things we want to get done. That goes for writing just like anything else. Boy, my fingers are really moving along this keyboard. Little did I know
in seventh grade how much these lessons would help. I know many people who have never had typing and do this two fingers at a time. My old supervisor & friends, Dave, is still
a two-finger typer. He goes pretty fast with those fingers. But, this is second nature to me. Did you know that they originally designed the keyboard around human capabilities?
They couldn’t have the expert typists go too fast so they designed the keyboard with that in mind. If you went too fast, those old mechanical hammers(?) would get tangled up with
each other.

When I was in seventh grade I was using an old typewriter at home that did just that. I remember using whiteout and ever before that – special tape you inserted to mostly erase
the letter you just typed and if it got too looking too “corrected”, you had to start the whole thing over. It was amazing when we got an electric typewriter and then an electronic
one. I guess that’s just the way my family was. My mom was using a sewing machine in the 1970s that was foot-powered! She pumped a – can’t think of the word right now – oh, pedal.
She pumped a pedal with her foot and that powered her sewing machine.

My dad loaded his own shotgun shells in the garage with a device you attached to a workbench. It attached with a vise-like apparatus that was part of the machine. You loaded the wadding and the shot into the shell and hand-cranked it shut. He taught my brothers and I to do this and it was fun once you got the hang of it. I didn’t realize until much later that my dad was a semi-survivalist. We didn’t even live out in the country when we did this. My cousin said when she told people about how we butchered a flock of chickens on a weekend, they would inevitably ask her where we grew up. Encinitas, California! (Technically, Leucadia, which is part of Encinitas.) Two miles from the ocean – maybe less.

My mom had sewed all kinds of things for me ever since I could remember. She even sewed me a Spiderman costume when I was about 4 yrs. old. I was not as appreciative as she would
have hoped as it didn’t look like what I saw on the cartoon on TV. I told her maybe I could be Tarzan instead. She was not happy about that and I did go to Halloween as Spiderman.

That was when we lived even closer to the ocean and had no idea how fortunate we were. We could walk to the beach in minutes when I was very small and it’s only in recent years that
I found out that when I was a baby and the years preceding my birth, people believed that living near the ocean was for poor people. I kid you not. Ask someone old enough to know.
Amazing what that judgement cost people. If you had bought a house on the beach in 1962 for say, $30,000 or maybe even less, it would be worth at least $2 million today. That’s in San Diego County, but I’ll bet there are similar stories around the United States.

I guess I’ve reached about the end of my time. Let’s not judge our creativity too harshly. It could cost us dearly. Besides, you can edit it later.
Don’t edit yourself out of your masterpiece!