Category Archives: Nota bene

Waxing Philosophical

zen

Last week our house was burglarized. I believe it was a random event, and it’s been a learning process. This week we’re taking steps to minimize the risk of this happening again. We live in a very nice neighborhood, and perhaps that was part of what made our home a target.

I’m surprised that I never felt angry. After the shock wore off – and relief that my dog was safe – I wondered what was the thief’s motivation. Drug money? Economic desperation? Just a thug? In the end it doesn’t matter because we’re safe. Then I chuckled to myself – “well, non-attachment is an important zen principle that’s hard to learn. Is there such a thing as forced non-attachment?”

I’ll return to regular posts once things are back to normal and I get mildly re-attached to some new stuff – like a replacement computer!

Non-Attachment
by Ven. Thich Thien An

One of the most important teachings of Zen Buddhism is non-attachment. The teaching of non-attachment may be easy to understand, but it is not easy to practice. Nevertheless, it is very essential to cultivate non-attachment if we are to live a serene and happy life in a world of constant change ; for this reason it is introduced here.
Our world is a world of desire. Every living being comes forth from desire and endures as a combination of desires. We are born from the desire between of our father and mother. Then, when we emerge into this world, we become infatuated with many things, and become ourselves well-springs of desire. Through desire we give rise to attachments. For every desire there is a corresponding attachment, namely, to the object of desire. For example, we are most conspicuously attached to our bodies. When someone threatens the body, we grow anxious and try to protect it. We relish physical comforts and the enjoyment of the senses. Thus, we are strongly attached to the body. But if we consider this attachment, we will see that it is a potential source of suffering. For the body is constantly changing. We wish we could remain alive forever, but moment after moment the body is passing from youth to old age, from life to death. We may be happy when we are young and strong, but we contemplate sickness, old age and the ever present threat of death, anxiety overwhelms us. Thus, we seek to elude the inevitable by evading the thought of it. The lust for life and fear of death are forms of attachment.
We are attached not only to our bodies but also to our possessions. We continually weave a net of clinging around our clothes, or car, our house and our wealth. We loath to part with these things and always try to accumulate more of them. We are also attached to memories concerning the past or anticipations of the future. Many people write diaries because they cannot part with their experiences, but wish to preserve them in such a form that they can always recollect them. When explorer climb a high mountain peak, what do they do ? They leave their name on a rock trees. When the astronauts landed on the moon, they left their footprints ant the American flag. These attachments are based on the egocentric point of view, with its offspring, the notions of ‘me’ and ‘mine’.
Even spiritual experiences may become objects of attachment. Through meditation we may gain some unusual experience or even satori ; then we become attached to these attainments. This is another form of attachment. Zen Buddhism teaches us to extinguish attachment in order that we may discover the state of absolute freedom which is rightfully ours. The path to freedom is difficult to follow, but if we have sufficient determination, we can do it.

Monday | Transportation | Random & Mindless

photo(3)

My everyday bike is a Maruishi road bike I bought in Madison, WI, about five years ago from a client who ran a bike shop.  I planned to buy something new, but as I was looking around the store I found this 20+ year old rebuilt,  with a name I never heard of.  I test rode it  and it was like putting on a pair of comfortable shoes. No new bike for me!  The only change I’ve made as a Portlander is adding the Pacific Northwest-requisite fenders.

Today, I finally got around to researching the company a little. I can’t find much except a site primarily in Japanese. Fortunately for me, there is enough English that I can check out their new product line:  http://www.maruishi-cycle.com/

Tuesday Broker Tour

The weather was perfect today – nearly 60 and blue skies – and I saw some equally nice listings. The two I’d like to feature have great walkscores, and represent nice mid-priced and move-up priced homes.

IMG_0285

The first is an Alberta Arts townhouse, classic on the outside and a modernist’s delight on the inside. Great details include reclaimed wood floors and recycled concrete floors, exposed beam ceilings, and modern kitchen & baths. These are Earth Advantage certified to boot!

Three units | 3 – 4 BR | $364,900 – $384,900 | 1304 – 1310 NE Roselawn, Portland | Walkscore 83 | Listed by Destination Realty.

These are easy to show so please call me to arrange a tour.

_________________________

IMG_0283

This Colonial Heights restored home is Buyers’ Market priced. Built in 1924 and beautifully restored, it has details for the modern buyer – first floor owner’s suite, updated gourmet kitchen, and all the finishes you expect in this era home. Originally priced at $1.19MM. This one really leaves a nice lasting impression.

5 BR | 3+ Baths | $849,900 | 1735 SE 23rd, Portland | Walkscore 86 | Listed by C21 Peninsula. Broker owned.

Please contact me if you’re contemplating to take advantage of fine home opportunities such as this.

phone +1.503.490.4116 | steve@sagepacificliving.com

The Slippery Slope of Cup Holders?

cell phone-2

When I was growing up cars did not have cup holders. Sure, you could buy the type that hung inside the car door, but they were flimsy and really didn’t work once the car was moving!

Fast forward thirty years. The number of holders are cited by your car salesperson along with cylinders and horsepower. Today – drinking, eating, texting, talking on the phone, make up application, shaving, reading, and even watching DVDs are common.  Did the introduction of the initial distraction make the rest easier?

That there is national conversation about what to ban while driving should be the most alarming.  Do we ban texting? Talking on hand-helds but allow hands-free? Ban all cell phone use? Make exceptions for officials conducting vital business?

In Oregon, laws were recently enacted that ignored the data but enable us to feel like we took action. Hand-held devices were outlawed (with some exceptions), while hands-free devices remain legal – despite the body of evidence that it’s the phone call itself that is most dangerous.

So, now we can expect legislation to be tweaked and enhanced when we all know the answer.

Only driving while driving should be legal.

State-by-State International Business Reports

globe3t

Please contact me if you would like either or both of the following reports. I can email them to you in .pdf format at no charge/no obligation:

“The 2009 NAR Profile of International Home Buying Activity” and “Business Data for Engaging in International Real Estate Transactions in Oregon.” I can obtain the second report for any state plus District of Columbia.

________________

International transactions are of increasing importance. In calendar year 2008, the U.S. exported $1.15 Trillion of goods and $0.5 Trillion of services; and the U.S. imported $1.97 Trillion of goods and $0.378 Trillion of services. With the expansion of international trade, the flow of people across borders has also increased rapidly, and, therefore, the demand for real estate in both residential and commercial sectors in conjunction with international transactions has been on the rise. NAR has recently issued state-by-state reports on international transactions.

The purpose of the current state-by-state reports is to present recent economic and demographic data related to international business activity directly associated with each of the states. There are 51 reports—one per state and for the District of Columbia. State specific demographic and economic data are available in each state report on a variety of topics:

  • Population demographics: U.S. born, foreign born, naturalized, and non-U.S. citizen residents
  • Main languages spoken in households
  • Immigration and naturalization trends
  • Non-immigrant visitors to the state
  • Foreign direct investment in the U.S. and the specific state
  • Value of state exports by type of product
  • State exports to specific trading partner counties

The current report is one of a number of recently released NAR reports on international subjects. The previously released 2009 NAR Profile of International Home Buying Activity presented an overview of U.S. home purchases by people whose primary residence is outside of the U.S.

Reprinted from REALTOR.org, January, 2010, permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

Price Over Time: A Return to Normal?

dyk1124

  • One approach to examining home prices is the measurement of median home prices relative to median household incomes: along with interest rates, income is a major determinant of how much house one can afford.
  • We used NAR data for median home prices in a yearly quarter, based on the median of all NAR existing home sales in the given quarter. We used annual HUD data for median income, interpolating data in converting from an annual to quarterly basis. We computed the ratio of median price to median income on a quarterly basis from 1990 through the third quarter of 2009.
  • During the 1991-99 time frame, the price to income ratio was 2.88; for the first three quarters of 2009 the ratio was 2.90. All real estate is local, so the national figure is just a summary.
  • Where data were available, we computed similar ratios for over 100 MSA’s: some had ratios above their 1990’s ratios, and some had ratios below–showing that some markets have had significantly more price adjustment than others.
  • Overall, the data seem to indicate that relative to historical performance we are in the range of price behavior prior to the 2006 run-up, indicating that the housing price bubble is largely gone at the national level.

By Jed Smith, Managing Director, Quantitative Research, and Keunwon Chung, Statistical Economist
Copyright National Association of REALTORS®, Reprinted with permission.

My top 10 for the week

Picture 015

What I learned or reminded myself of this week:

  1. Meeting face to face is always better than online.
  2. When someone doesn’t get back to you timely, don’t assume they’re ignoring you.
  3. Shouldn’t a “public option” for healthcare be exactly what us free market types want? Competition!
  4. The weather is irrelevant to me.
  5. I need to get back to Nicaragua, then start exploring Costa Rica. Opportunity knocks.
  6. I miss my dog Moxy, but now it’s out of fondness and not painful.
  7. I just tried to look at her photo; I was wrong.
  8. This has been the hardest year in my real estate career and it’s still the career I enjoy most.
  9. I’m seeing many cars from MN and WI in my ‘hood. Is anyone left back there?
  10. If more nights per week are spent networking than exercising, networking is bad for your health.

Have a great weekend everyone!

BEST Awards

stumptownMy colleague David, & I – plus David’s fellow-WI-native-mom!, attended the 17th annual BEST Awards this morning. Since 1993, awards are given to Portland area companies which demonstrate business practices that promote both economic growth and environmental benefits. Remarks were given by Mayor Sam Adams, who outlined both 1) why Portland is so ahead of the curve in the US,  and in rarefied company internationally with cities like Copenhagen and Oslo, and 2) momentum must continue to build from a community-based approach (not top-down from the Feds.).   That these awards have been presented here for 17  years underscores the leading role our city plays.  I chuckled when I read this week that one visiting official from Wisconsin said last week, to paraphrase, “Milwaukie, Oregon will probably get light rail before Milwaukee, Wisconsin.” I don’t doubt it. Milwaukee just spent approximately $810,000,000 reworking the state’s largest “freeway” interchange – yet provided no new alternatives for commuters heading downtown.

The keynote speaker was New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof, a native Oregonian, who discussed climate change and its affect on human rights. His topic was,  “How ordinary people and small businesses in Portland can set an example for the country by pioneering sustainable technologies, promoting green jobs and developing equitable economic models.”

Our federal stubbornness and heads-in-the sand approach of the past decade is yielding to a science and evidence-based review of our actions on this Globe.  At a time when local employment news is dismal and housing stats are still disappointing, events like these are excellent perspective – and remind us that we’re on the right track locally.   The world is moving progressively in a new direction to avert climate change disasters – and our fair city is consistently looked to as a role model to be part of that change.

Congrats to the 2009 BEST Awards Winners!

BEST Practices for Sustainability for Very Small Companies
Portland Hawthorne Hostel

BEST Practices for Sustainability for Small Companies
One Green World / Northwoods Nursery

BEST Practices for Sustainability for Medium Companies
Elite Care at Fanno Creek

BEST Practices for Sustainability for Large Companies
Epson Portland Inc.

Sustainable Products or Services
Refind Furniture (Our United Villages)
Timber Pro UV Natural Wood Finishes

Green Building
Tenant Improvement LEED Platinum Studio of Boora Architects
New Construction / Major Renovation Humboldt Gardens

Sustainable Food Systems
Ladybug Organic Coffee Company
Organically Grown Company