Wednesday, August 31, 2011

There are days when I just don't know in which direction to look.  As I age, it seems, the less I know for sure.

Somehow my time seems to be ticking by so quickly and I'm nervous about this because I feel my real potential, has not been reached. Don't get me wrong, I have had my moments of true gel where everything lined up perfectly and complete joy swept across my being, but mostly I allowed myself to become so absorbed with reaching my goals that I forgot how to just enjoy life. 

Now, at nearly 45, my life is half over and I feel a sense of urgency like never before.  Each day when I awake, the first thing I say to myself is, "YES! You get another day!" ~ another chance to coming closer to perfection.  Isn't that funny? so? 

My face is not getting more perfect as it droops and wrinkles, my body is not getting more perfect as it shrinks and shifts, my bank account isn't more perfect as I struggle to pay tuitions for three kids and for a family of 5. 

What then exactly am I doing each and every day trying to race towards perfection? Why the self imposed pressure to have the house immaculate, to have white teeth, hair styled and a well put together outfit?  No that's not what I mean by perfection.  Perfection consists of a day following a schedule and having the freedom to be in control of my time so that when I wish to go off the beaten path I can.

Then there is the other part of me that is so happy and grateful to have accomplished the things I already have. An education, a stable relationship of nearly 25 years, three beautiful healthy children, travel and experiences that most others will never have. Throughout my day I look for things to be thankful for.  Today I was thankful that I was in my car and not sitting on the corner boulevard with a card board sign asking for work like the guy I drove by...and when I noticed two young men playing catch football in a grassy yard, I  thought, isn't it a wonderful life?

That day however, instead of being fun or having fun, I was at work on a Friday at 8pm and on my way to defend my commission to my client.  This is the 2nd time this week I had the commission discussion. I have to bottle up my anger, they simply have no idea how hard I work for this tiny income. Lately I have wanted to go drill Sargent on their clients that is. If I could perfect the art of controlling my schedule I wouldn't have to work nights and weekends and I could pencil in more fun.

Why is it that lately (more than ever) my inner Tiger Mom is crying like a caged zoo animal?  I want to scold people when I seem them smoke, I want to scream from the top of the HOT N NOW sign to the parents below, "Stop feeding your kids this crap!" 

As I realize my life is half over I also feel a pressure that others might enjoy the moment too.  I want others to care more, try harder and make personal sacrifices for themselves, because I know this life IS NO DRESS REHEARSAL and that there is the only way to build true self love, inner peace and joy.  You have to do the hard work of self examination.

One of the downsides to this urgency comes in the form of a complete zero tolerance for small children in what I deem adult space. What has happened to me? I used to be so relaxed about this stuff.  Not anymore, I tell myself, "Don't waste my time with your screaming brat."  I deserve quiet when I choose what should be an adult function. For all you guilt ridden parents, please leave your kids home with a sitter or just don't go out.

To relax, I find myself reading the same book over and over every night because the author is incredibly wise and wrote it while in a run down beach house by the sea. As I strive for perfection every day I never let go of my vision of a beach house with mismatched cotton quilts.  In my beach house fantasy, I read books and write, I cook and bake.  I nap and then swim in the ocean and then nap again.  This is the real perfection I'm dreaming of.

As I approach 45, I realize I really like being alone and I don't really see myself with many friends, but I have a crazy desire to meet someone who gets me.  Just once in my life I would like to meet my match.  Who is it?  Is she my age?  Is he already approaching 90? Are you out there? Because I am nervous around most people, I find myself talking fast, trying to explain myself to my coach as she looks at me bewildered most of the time.  What is it about me that I can't relate to most people?  For example I don't know anything about organized sports and I don't find sitting around eating and drinking entertaining. 

I'm really tired of the sexist roles we have ourselves firmly defined by too.  The guys at work tell the classic cave man jokes and the gals just cringe.  Sometimes they belt out a loud laugh (like a man is expected to) to show that they are cool. So I guess perfection lies in the perception of any given moment.  Today I ate popcorn for dinner. 

Right now, I lie in bed hungry because of this choice. I end the day the same way it starts...I lie still and try to concentrate on my beating heart.  I think to myself, "Wow!  This is an amazing miracle, my life ~ I cant wait for tomorrow to begin so I can attempt this thing all over again."

Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

This is Holger's Baby;-)

High-tech auto workers in short supply

Despite MCC push to retrain, not enough completing program

By Chad Selweski

Macomb Daily Staff Writer

Just two years after General Motors and Chrysler Corp. emerged from bankruptcy, the job retraining programs at Macomb Community College have experienced a sudden surge in auto suppliers hoping to hire unemployed workers trained by MCC in high-tech manufacturing processes.

At a local jobs fair two weeks ago, more than a dozen auto industry companies seeking employees complained that MCC had produced just 25 students to hire.

“This field is hot right now. It … seems like ‘auto’ has come back out of nowhere,” said Gary Walters, MCC professor of applied technology.

At a Wednesday forum on MCC’s south campus in Warren, college officials told President Obama’s new auto recovery czar, Jay Williams, that they are successfully training displaced workers for new careers, particularly in the defense industry. But they’re concerned that too many adults and college students have given up on a career with the Big Three or their suppliers.

“So many families have told their kids to make a commitment not to go into this industry because it’s cyclical,” said MCC President Jim Jacobs.

In addition, parents are also dodging another ride on the Big Three roller coaster.

One of Walters’ new students, Craig Fowlds, said he has worked in the past as a designer for General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler, as well as General Dynamics and other manufacturers. Now that he finds himself once again in the unemployed category, he hopes his MCC training will lead him to a new career.

“I want to get away from auto. As we just heard, auto is coming back but it’s very unpredictable. I’ve been through many ups and downs over the last 15 years, in drafting and design and stuff,” said Fowlds during his third day in Walters’ class.

“I want to get into the more advanced manufacturing — there’s defense, the music industry, medical markets, aerospace, aeronautics. I want to get away from the automotive markets … I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket like I did with design.”

The industrial classroom that officials visited teaches an advanced version of Computer Numeric Control, or CNC, which requires a machinist to work on computers to calculate the programming necessary to produce a precision part or product.

The days of rote button-pushing for machinists is over, Jacobs said, as low-wage overseas competitors have forced the 21st Century American manufacturing worker to learn “skill sets that are much, much more intense, more difficult.”

CNC students, even those who have backgrounds in machining or computer design, must pass a 7-week, 140-hour crash course that requires learning basic trigonometry and mastering sophisticated software. Williams said his hands-on experience at the college was instructive, especially when compared to the bureaucratic language of Washington.

“These are individuals with real lives, with real experiences — the woman who is, in mid-life, saying that she is, if necessary, willing to go back and study trigonometry … the individual who served in our Armed Forces who is understanding the need to transfer those skills to real-life-worker mode opportunities,” he said.

“We … have to make sure that when there is a lot of debate in Washington about whether to invest in the future, to invest in these programs, that (MCC) story is compellingly told through these individuals who are seeking success.”

Williams, who took over two weeks ago as Obama’s Executive Director of Recovery for Automotive Communities, said the MCC approach could become a “model” for job training programs across the nation in areas that were heavily dependent on the Big Three.

The former mayor of Youngstown, Ohio, a steel town near the Pennsylvania border, Williams said he feels “at home” in the blue-collar environs of Macomb County.

The retraining students he met talked of their past lives in manufacturing as machinists, quality engineers, electrical engineers and designers. According to college faculty, most seeking skills in CNC or other industrial processes fall into one of three categories: blue-collar workers, mostly those with auto industry experience; military veterans; and white collar professionals, particularly those with engineering or information technology backgrounds.

MCC officials told the new czar that their average student is a displaced worker in their late 40s or early 50s who is seeking a “next phase in life.” Some trainees, they said, have been drifting for up to 10 years after losing a longtime position in their chosen profession, in the meantime accepting odd jobs or bouncing from company to company while seeking a new direction.

The main MCC job retraining program is funded by a $5 million grant received in 2010 from the U.S Department of Labor to transition displaced auto workers to the defense industry. So far, the program has graduated 768 people, of which 272 have landed jobs at a wide array of companies. The ratio of job placement, according to MCC Provost Jim Sawyer, will pick up as the southeast Michigan economy continues to revive.

Macomb County officials at all levels, including Assistant County Executive Melissa Roy, believe that Macomb’s burgeoning defense corridor along Van Dyke and Mound roads will lead the way in an economic resurgence. Roy said the county’s path out of economic hard times will be led by the auto and defense industries “feeding off of each other.”

U.S. Rep. Sander Levin agrees, saying that the local synergy between those engaged in the design and production of military combat vehicles and those working on commercial cars and trucks will pay off, with help from MCC’s retraining programs.

“This is exciting,” the congressman said. “We’re well on our way back.”

Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Single women are the second largest group of home buyers in the US ...

Single Women Buy Houses Too!

Single women are the second largest group of home buyers in the US and account for 23% of real estate transactions! (Single men were placed at 11% according to the National Association of Realtors). We are investment conscious. We like the financial security buying a home gives us.

Many single women opt for condominiums to avoid many of the maintenance issues that come with single-family residence ownership. But a growing number of women realize that doing do-it-yourself projects are not so hard. Plus, when you buy a condo the monthly maintenance fee charged by the condo association is counted as part of the house payment, because it's reoccuring debt as long as you live there. What this means is you can qualify for higher priced single family home - For example, if the condo association fee is $100 a month, and let's say the price is $100,000, this could mean that you can actually qualify for a $110,000 single residential home since you don't have the extra $100 a month debt.

Because of new government loan criteria,
many lenders will now help single women in several ways.
They will:

• Allow women to count child support from an ex-husband as income to help qualify for loans.

• Consider divorced women as first-time buyers,even if they bought homes with their former husbands, so the women can qualify for further help. First-time home buyers can often receive down payment assistance or low-down payment loans.

• Allow women use some alternative forms of credit history, such as their phone bill record, in case they never had credit in their own names, says Lowrie of the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Single female home buyers often need help because their median income is $47,315 a year — 20% less than for single male buyers.

Purchasing a home can be a scary thing to do....the first time. Once a woman buys her first place, it's easier the second time around. But be it your first, second or fifth home, it is really a great way to build financial wealth for women!

If you are a single woman looking to buy or invest in real estate, I can help you! I understand your needs and concerns, and will assist you in making the right real estate choices.

Contact Me Lisa 586-421-1642
and let's discuss your situation further.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

I’m not going to lie.  This note was created for the sole purpose of raising money for a beautiful little girl who is fighting for her life while she waits for a donor heart transplant.

Who is this little girl?  Her name is Nevaeh (Heaven spelled backwards) she is my co-workers granddaughter and she is just three years old.  This plea is directed to my family, to my friends, to those who wish they were my friends, to those who admire me, to those who do not, to those who wish they could stop being my friend and finally to those who are reading this and don’t really know who the hell I am.

I am Lisa Ekanger, and yes, I have the audacity to ask you for money.

Money, what is it anyway?  It is the currency of energy; it is the currency of our lives.  We use it, we abuse it ~ sometimes we have more of it and other times less.  One thing we know for sure is that hopes, wishes and even prayers will not pay the bills for a blue collar family when a crisis erupts.

For those lucky enough to reach adulthood, we recall moments from our own childhood when we shake our heads and say to ourselves, “Wow, it’s a miracle I made it to adulthood.” Childhood is a vulnerable time for everyone and each of us knows this, so when a child is born with medical problems the path is much harder to traverse.

We have a responsibility to be role models to the children in our lives (and when I am in close contact with the people affected by this heartbreak) I am compelled to do my part to make a difference for them.  I have never met Neveah and I don’t know if I ever will.  The thing is it doesn’t matter.  Her tiny damaged beating heart is all that matters in her world right now.  As she slumbers in a medically induced coma, she is completely unaware of what is happening to her.

This plea for money is for the people who are aware of what is happening, her family.  Their worlds have been turned upside down by this situation and the expenses of trying to pay bills, pay for gas, pay for a hotel, pay for food and other miscellaneous expenses that are huge additional stressors on them right now.  Please give what you can; this gesture will help alleviate some of the stress that my co-worker Rhonda and her family are going through right now.

Thank you in advance for your generosity! You can send cash or write a check to: Rhonda Duff send it to 916 Clinton Avenue St Clair MI 48079 If you live in St. Clair (or nearby) you can swing by my house and drop it off personally on Saturday or Sunday, just give me a call at 586-421-1642 so that I can make sure that I am home.

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of leave the world a better know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Lisa :-)
Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How to avoid an endless house hunt

How to avoid an endless house hunt

Excited, but exhausted, trying to tour all the home listings? Remember that it's quality that counts, not quantity. Learn how to streamline the process for a satisfying — and short — house hunt.

By Karen Aho of MSN Real Estate
How to avoid an endless house hunt (© John Lund/Drew Kelly/Blend Images/Corbis)
As decisions go, it's a biggie.
When you buy a home, you're choosing a lifestyle for the next five, maybe 10, years at the very least: the neighborhood, neighbors, schools, parks, commute, yard, living quarters. It's a lot to take on. Not to mention the massive financial risk involved.
It's important to choose wisely. Oh, and please don't take too long.
It's enough to make a first-time buyer's head spin. So much is at stake, but who really wants to traipse through homes month after stressful month?
Even worse is when house hunters become so beaten down that, bleary-eyed and frustrated, they end up buying in haste. Better to put a system in place upfront. Here's how:
Take a minute to talk amongst yourselves
One couple who toured Ilona Bray's home had been looking for a year, but hadn't made a single offer. They couldn't agree on what they wanted.
Read:  5 big mistakes to avoid when choosing a neighborhood
What's your home worth?
Real-estate agents — also known as part-time marriage counselors — see this all the time.
"If you're part of a couple, make sure that you're both straight on what you want," says Bray, author of "Nolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home." Discuss first, "so you won't even consider a house that doesn't have certain key features."
Same goes for parents, kindly uncles or anyone else who may be helping you with your purchase.
Tennessee real-estate agent Suzanne Karr had a client who brought her mother. Then her father showed. Then her sister-in-law.
"When we got to the last house, which she was really interested in, everyone was giving her opinions about the house and what she should do," Karr says.
The client, overwhelmed and frustrated, went alone with her agent from then on, Karr says, and bought a house she is now happy with.
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4 beautiful homes for less than $300K
Date:6/17/2011Duration: 003:0019Video By: TODAY
June 17: TODAY’s real estate expert Barbara Corcoran shows Savannah Guthrie four properties that you can make your own, all with great features and costing less than $300,000.
Make a list and write it down
You've surfed the real-estate websites and have some ideas. Now sit down and write out a three-part list:
1.  Must-haves
These are features in the new home that you consider non-negotiable. A good school district, for example. Or three bedrooms. A backyard. You get the idea. The stuff you're not willing to live without, and feel confident you can afford.
2. These would be nice
This is the wish list. An updated kitchen, say, or hardwood floors. Maybe a move-in-ready house. Items that you can acknowledge are wants, not needs. These may be things that can easily be added after you move in. Carpets can be ripped out, after all. It's harder to add a garage.
3. Deal-breakers
These are the things you absolutely, positively don't want. Agents should not waste your time if these are present. Maybe it's a busy road nearby, a long commute or no sidewalks or nearby parks. These are often things that can't be changed.
Write these things down and give a copy to your agent. Add to your list as you view homes.
"Those can change over time, but unless you're actually working off this document, you're invariably going to be seeing things that don't make sense to you," says Doug Perlson, CEO of RealDirect, a technology-driven real-estate brokerage.
Find the right neighborhood first
Leslie Mann, an agent with Hallmark Sotheby’s International Realty in Massachusetts, tells clients to focus on the community first, then talk houses.
"What we find, over the years, is those clients end up happier," she says.
Give yourself a deadline
Margot MacKay and her husband were striving to meet a deadline and were motivated to vacate their rental. Even though they wanted their "forever home," they became consumed and expeditious.
"It forced us to really be honest with ourselves in terms of what we wanted," MacKay says. They were able to make their first offer within weeks, and say they are now happy with their new home outside Philadelphia.
Try the eye-doctor approach
Some agents, after showing two homes, ask their clients, "If you had to choose between those two?" After the next viewing, the agent repeats the question, using the last pick and the new home.
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Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!