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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Finish the day and move on...

 “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I saw that saying by Emerson on the wall of someone’s cubical recently and it struck a chord with me. While it would be a mistake not to learn from yesterday’s blunders and absurdities; it would be a bigger mistake to waste one’s time dwelling on the past, rather than moving on in life with a fresh and positive outlook. So much of the pressure and worry and fear that we experience in life is self-inflicted, conjured up in our imaginations and not really based upon facts or what is really happening around us. Much of that negative energy comes from dwelling on the past.

So let us resolve to start each day at peace with ourselves and those around us; carrying no baggage from yesterday; but, rather, focused upon the wonder and hope that each new day brings. Start out happy. Start out positive. Start out open and friendly to new ideas and new people in your life. With a start like that, you’ll go far. And when you finish today, be done with it and look forward to another fresh start tomorrow.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Halloween fun in MIlford, MIchigan

I had diner at Hector & Jimmy’s last night and what a frightening experience it was. We were greeted at the hostess stand by local restaurateur Jimmy Eggl, replete in a wedding gown from Gina’s Bridal in Milford.  I forgot to ask Jimmy who did his hair and makeup, but his shoes appeared to have been supplied by Nike.

All of the wait and bar staff were in costume with most dressed in a theme for the evening of Alice in Wonderland characters.  I’ve seen worse than Jimmy in drag, although I have to go way back to days when I’d frequent bars until the wee hours, when almost everyone still there at closing looked a lot like Jimmy in drag.Jimmy in drag - 1

I have to say that Jimmy’s gown looked lovely and if Gina can make him look that good just think
what she can do for a real bride. Jim owns Hector & Jimmies, Gravity and The Bar in Milford and is an all-around good guy and a good sport when it comes to Halloween.

Tonight was the Milford Boo Bash. It rained for the first hour of the Bash, but the kids still turned kid in ghost costumeout in droves to walk Milford’s Main Street and get candy from the merchants. What a great local tradition!

Milford is  a great place to celebrate Halloween. Kids find the grid pattern streets to be easy to navigate  and houses are close enough together that they can hit quite a few homes in just a few blocks. We usually get between
80 – 100 kids at our house on a good Halloween night. I’m looking forward to it. I just hope it warms up a little, so I can sit out on the from stoop and pass out candy with out freezing.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Make a difference every day - LIKE someone in person

From the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this post -  “The happiest people are those who help others.”  (Scott Pelley)  The 4th Saturday in October is Make a Difference Day, a day for doing things to improve the world around you.  Here are some things that people have done…go to a park and pick up trash…rake the leaves in your neighbor’s yard…volunteer to work in a soup kitchen, or go to a thrift store and offer to sort clothes.  Making a difference can make you happy!    ;-)  Jack
helping old lady

It’s great to have a day set aside to celebrate the acts that people do to make a difference in the lives of others; but I think it would be more impactful if people would just resolve to make a difference every day. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to go do something physical for someone else, like raking their leaves or working in a soup kitchen every day; however, it does mean approaching each day and each person with the attitude that you can make their day better somehow. Sometimes that might just be holding a door open for someone or just wishing them a great day. Just the fact that you acknowledge them in some positive way can make people feel better.

helping handThe good news is that helping others or making others feel good about themselves also makes you feel good about yourself. Happiness is very contagious. You can’t help but be happy when you make someone else happy. Try it. If you make someone else smile or laugh or just be happy, you’ll find yourself smiling and feeling good, too. The easiest way to do that is to reach out to others. No one is gong to come up to you and ask you to open a door for them or to thanks them or to say something nice to them. You have to make that effort; but, once you do, you are sure to be rewarded with some of that contagious happiness.

helping othersAs a society we have become fairly insular, perhaps because of our focus upon technologies that tend to isolate us from real contact with people and make everything a screen-based experience. It’s hard to notice the people around you who might benefit from an act of kindness if you are absorbed by the latest Tweet or Facebook post. I sometimes think that the people posting requests that you” Like” them on Facebook are really crying out for help. Somehow getting a Like on Facebook is not as rewarding as getting a soft “Thank you” in person from someone that I just helped or acknowledged.

So, put away the smartphone for a while and see the world around you. There are people out there that you can actually LIKE in person. Maybe you can even help them with something. They’ll feel good about that and so will you.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Lots of history in places called MIlford

Did you ever wonder every now and then about other towns around the world that have the same name as the town that you live in? I do. So below is a collection of links, admittedly hastily compiled,  that will lead you to several other places named Milford. I live in Milford, Michigan; which is a relatively young iteration of Milford, given the oldest Milford on this list goes back to about 500AD in Wales. The newest one on this list is out in Utah. There are several in the New England area, as you might expect. Some of these are fairly dry accounts and some have very rich histories to relate.

The histories of other cities, towns, boroughs and villages called Milford. Arranged generally in chronological order of when the places were established. As one might expect there is a common thread through all of these histories, since all of the locations were on rivers or streams where water power could be used for transportation or harnessed for power.

Milford on the Sea , Wales, United Kingdom -
Southwest Wales, Milford Haven -
Milford, Delaware -
Milford, Massachusetts -
Milford, New Hampshire -
Town of Milford, New York -
Milford, Ohio -
Milford, Pennsylvania -
Milford, New Jersey –  -,_New_Jersey
Milford on the Delaware, New Jersey -
Milford, Maine -
Milford, Michigan -
Milford, Utah -

For much more on the history of Milford, Michigan, please visit our Historical Society web site -

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Have no regrets; you'll live longer...

“Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.” (Victoria Holt)

Regret is one of those human nature things that are hard for many to let go of, just like self-doubt. Some may mask the term in other words, like “Monday morning quarterbacking”; however, that Monday morning look back only has positive value if it is used as a way to glean experience and not as an opportunity to wallow in regret.

Although the quotes of athletes is often derided as being full of cliques; there is much truth in many of those cliques about looking ahead and not back or putting things behind them. Professional athletes know that they cannot dwell in regret over every loss. They try to learn from those setbacks. They spend time in the film rooms reviewing a blown play or a missed opportunity to see what they can learn from them.

Life is full points in time where decisions were made that might have been made differently. Some of those times turned out OK and we seldom think back on what might have been, had we taken the other choice that was in front of us at the time.  But, sometimes things didn’t turn out as we had planned or thought that they would and we tend to look back and see (or find) those decision points where we might have done it differently, especially if we knew the potential outcome. Well, we weren’t prescient and things turned out the way they did. Let it go. Move on. If you must replay the film in your mind, at least treat it as a learning opportunity and not an opportunity to beat yourself up.

In the Frank Sinatra song My Way, about aging he has a line – “Regrets, I’ve had a few; but
then again, too few to mention.” The song goes on to extoll the virtue of moving on and doing things in life your own way. At the end of the day, the main regret you will have if you let things get you down and you spend time in self-abusing remorse, is that you’ve wasted another day. Life’s too short to throw days away.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Getting ready for Halloween in small town America...

Halloween has become the second largest annual holiday, as far as sales of decorations and stuff to
celebrate the day, right after Christmas. It’s a fun holiday without a lot of patriotic, emotional or religious trappings. One could be tempted to say it’s a holiday for the kids; but, that would ignore all of the Halloween parties that adults seem to like to dress up in costume and attend. For me Halloween has somehow come to symbolize the passing of another year. I guess it’s feeling that we might be enjoying the last gasp of whatever decent weather we’ve had and that it’s then time to head into winter.

In the Huron Valley there are also some fun events in advance of Halloween night. On Saturday, October 26, the downtown merchants of Milford host the 7th annual BOO BASH! This wonderful event finds the streets of Milford filled with pint-sized superheroes, goblins and zombies as the children parade in costume by the front doors of the downtown stores. Merchants fill their goody bags with candy. The event runs from 5 until 6 PM in Downtown Milford.

After the BOO BASH in Milford you might want to load up the kids and take them over to the Carl’s Family YMCA for Halloween at the Y. Kids are encouraged to come in costume. There will be activities and refreshments from 6 until 8 PM.

Or you may wish to load the family up and head to historic Fisk Farm in White Like (off M-59 in
front of Walmart) for Fright Night at Fisk Farm. The North Oakland County Storytellers presents these chilling tales that are sure to bring goose bumps to your neck. Scary stories begin at 7 PM with even more frightening tales starting at 8:30 PM and lasting until 9:30 PM. Of course if you are the type who likes to do it all, you could hit all three of these events that evening. You would probably have one tired little goblin in tow by the time you finished.

Then on October 31st there is the annual  Fun on the Farm: Halloween Party at the Kensington Metropark Farm Center at 10 am – This program is especially for the little ones. It’s time for toddlers to trick or treat all around the farm. For more information of this event and all of the things going on in the Milford area for Halloween go to my web site

Milford is one of those little towns that are laid out perfectly for trick or treating. Milford’s trick or treating normally runs from about 6:00 PM (5:30 for the really little ones) until 8 PM; with the last hour primarily for the older children and local teens that still go out. We normally get between 100 and 150 children at our house on Halloween night. On warmer nights in the past,  many of the neighbors actually sit out front and pass out the candy. So stop by if you’re out with the kids trick or treating on Halloween and say hi! I’ll be on the front steps passing out candy.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

October Market Update

Each month our Broker, Dan Elsea, does a video update about the current real estate market in the southeastern Michigan area. This is his update for October. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Support Team Huron Valley during Special Needs Awareness Month

October is Special Needs Awareness Month and there is a local event coming that will help families with special needs members understand what programs might be available and what protections under the law they should be aware of.

The Family Aging & Law Center is hosting a special event at Baker’s of Milford on October 20th from 2 until 4 PM. This educational event will focus upon the laws as they pertain to those with special needs. If you are a caregiver for a special needs person, you already have your hands full and not knowing the rights and programs that might be available under the law just doesn’t make sense.
Local attorney Nicole Wipp of the Family & Aging Law Center will conduct a workshop – “Planning for the special needs of your family: Designing a legal strategy for a lifetime of protection, guidance and love.” – about  the various laws and programs that might be able to help provide needed services or support.  Click here to view the event poster.

All proceeds and donations from this event will be given to support the Team Huron Valley drive to send its Special Olympics team tot eh Special Olympics National Athletic tournament in New Jersey next June. The local team needs to collect $6,500 in order to be able to go and participate in this event, a first for the local team.

In addition to Nicole Wipp, there will be venders and government agency representatives with displays at the event who can answer your questions about various programs and services that are available to caregivers of special needs children. If you are a vender or government agency that wishes to participate, click here for the form to sign up for the event.

So plan on attending this event to learn more about caring for special needs family members  and to support a great cause – sending Team Huron Valley to the Special Olympics Nationals in New Jersey. For more on Team Huron Valley, visit their web site or visit their Facebook page.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Change the way you see things...

“Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.”  (Wayne Dyer)-  from my daily read at the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

What an easy saying to do a blog post about.  Taking a positive attitude about how you look at things will make things look positive. I suppose the opposite is true, too; which is why pessimists see so much to be unhappy about in life. This is the classic cup half-full or half-empty conundrum.

If one doesn’t look at a challenging situation and see negatives and problems; but, rather opportunities and solutions; then things don’t look so bad. I guess that also applies to looking at people. If one looks for faults or ugliness, you will probably find things that will drive you away. If
you look beyond a few faults and find the good and beautiful that is somewhere within everyone, you may just find a friend.

So, how do you look at things when you start each day? Does the day look long, dreary and unappealing to you as you start out or does it appear to hold opportunities to meet fascinating people and achieve great success? The fact that you woke up with another opportunity to live a day, should serve as a positive start to the day, if you think about it. Days are like blank slates and what ends up written on that slate at the end of the day is up to you.

If you should encounter someone who is angry or maybe down, you can look at that encounter as something to be avoided or as an opportunity to help. There is something behind the anger or depression that you are seeing and sometimes what the person is really trying to do is to find someone else to share that something with, so that they can start on the road to healing. You can be their emotional first-responder, a human aspirin (as the lady on the HAP commercial on TV says), so to speak. You may be amazed how much better that other person will feel (and look to you) after spending a few moments talking with them. You’ll also be amazed how much better you may feel for having taken the time to help.

So try to change the way you see things – see opportunities rather than roadblocks, see the beauty in people rather than just the faces that they initially present, see the wonder of the world around you and not the day-to-day ugliness; and, by doing so, you will change the things that you see.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Lots to do in the Huron Valley

There’s certainly lots to do in the Huron Valley area – Milford, Highland White Lake and Commerce – in the month of October, much of it to do with pumpkins and hayrides and  little ghosts and goblins. To check out the events in this area go to my Web site – I try to keep up with the posters that pop up around town and the events that various groups and organizations are running during the month.
If your group or organization has an upcoming event that you’d like to see posted in the calendar or a poster for the Poster Wall on my site, please send me an email – If you have a PDF file of your poster or flyer that would be great.
One of my favorite annual events is coming up near the end of the months – the Milford BOO Bash. There is nothing that epitomizes small town America more than this parade of costumed kids past the doors of the downtown stores and businesses. Merchants and restaurateurs hand out candy to the kids as they pass by. I’m sure that Mayberry probably had something like this, too; or they wish that they had.
Looking further forward there’s an interesting Survival Training weekend at Kensington Metropark on he first weekend in November. Participants will learn how to find their way out of being lost on Saturday and how to build as shelter (I guess if you can get out) on Sunday. Also on that Sunday is an event in Milford at the Hibbard Tavern commemorating the 120th birthday of Edsel Ford. See  more about all ofth is on the calendar at

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Put some fun back into your life...

From the daily blog Jack’s Winning Words comes this post - “When baseball’s no longer fun, it’s no longer a game.”  (Joe DiMaggio)  Joltin’ Joe was batting .350 and was a highly paid player when he retired, saying,” baseball is no longer fun.”  I suppose most of us would not classify our job as fun, or as a game, but I really did enjoy my work.  Maybe you can say the same about your occupation.  Have you heard the expression, “The game of life?”  What makes life fun for you?    ;-)  Jack  

If you can still do it, think back to your childhood, when life in general was still fun. Children view life as a daily fun adventure up until the time that adults start taking that fun away by putting life pressures on them – that generally starts sometime in grade school, I think. From then on we allow ourselves little snippets of fun from time to time – a hobby, a sport or a favorite pastime; but, in general life becomes something that we have to work at, both literally and figuratively. Jobs, family, obligations, responsibilities all demand time and attention, leaving little for just having fun. Some lose the fun in life altogether for a while.

As we get older there is a chance for some to recapture some of the fun of life. If one is not in a situation where day-to-day survival is still a struggle (which unfortunately is the case for far too many elderly people), then there is time to recapture some of the fun of life. Perhaps that is found in
spending time with grandchildren or perhaps just having the time to get back to an old hobby or pastime. Some things are considered by observers as “being silly”; but for those oldsters who’ve managed to get back there, it’s just having fun in life again.

You don’t really have to wait until you’re old to recapture some of the fun in life, you just have to try. In our goal obsessed world, perhaps you need to set a goal for yourself to take the time every day or every week to just have some fun; to do something “silly”, or to just let go for a few minutes and relax. You’ll know when you’ve made it back to that fun spot in life when a little smile creeps across your face. Life’s too short not to have any fun living it.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Stop and savor the world...

 “I arise in the morning torn between the desire to save the world and a desire to savor the world.  This makes it hard to plan the day.”  (E.B. White) from my favorite daily blog – Jack’s Winning Words.

I think I might exchange the word “conquer” for “save” in the saying above, but then it wouldn’t have the poetic flow of the original. However, as I get a bit older, I find myself wanting to slow down and savor things a bit more, rather than constantly striving for more and more. I suspect that is a fairly natural thing. When one is younger the appeal and even necessity of achieving more and getting more is strong. I suppose it is the eventual accumulation of what we call wisdom that kicks in and helps dawn the realization that having more things isn’t as important as enjoying the things that you have, with the people that you love.

So a couple of times this past weekend, my wife and I just did some porch sitting. We live in a big, old Victorian home with a screened in wrap-around front porch. It’s the perfect place (especially on the rainy days that we had this weekend) to sit and watch the world go by. I don’t do that often enough these days. The world slows down a bit and life gets a little less hectic when one just sits on the porch for a while. All too soon that respite from the pace of life comes to an end, but is does provide a refreshing break.

So, take a moment in your own life to find a porch or a quiet room to sit in and just relax. If you can, put away your smartphone, turn off your TV, and just sit back and let the world go by. Surprisingly the world does just fine, not knowing where you are or what you’re doing for a few moments and you’ll be able to get by not knowing those things about everyone else, too. Share a porch-sitting moment with me.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Help for the small businessman on ObamaCare

As a small business owner are you confused about what to do about The Affordable Care Act or what’s being called ObamaCare? There’s no need to be confused or fearful. There are lots of options available to you and your employees. What you need is some information and help from people who have been trained on what this all means and what the options are for you and your business.

There are lots of free Web sites with lots of very detailed information about the program and the options; however, you really can’t Google your way out of this one.  If you need to get back to running your business, you need consulting from pros, not lots of suggested articles and places to spend your time doing research. Locally that means you need to contact Debbie Stroup of HD4 and arrange for a free consultation appointment. Debbie is at 248-227-0347.

Debbie and others on her HD4 team will go over what plans and options may fit best for you and what options your employees might be given. While she’s there, ask her how she can also help you in other areas of your small business and with your small business payroll. HD4 is a woman-owned local business with a focus on the needs of the small business owner. Tell her Norm sent you.

For a flyer on their Health Care Reform Services, click here.  For more on HD4, click here.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Moving towards a ruder society...

angry on phoneI have thought lately about how often I have to be rude or bordering on rude to get through to some telemarketing lackey that I really don’t want to discuss whatever goods, services or cause they are calling about. More and more these intrusive callers just don’t take “no thank you” for an answer. All too often the only solution is just to hang up on them. Is that rude? Perhaps, but it seems to be the only thing that they understand. Just as often it is a robo-call anyway, so I’m really only hanging up on a machine.

I have one west coast company that calls me every week to try to sell my real estate leads. I listened once and said no thank you. They called again and again and again. For the first few of those calls I took the time to tell whoever had called that I wanted them to stop calling; that I wasn’t interested and that I wouldn’t be interested next week either. They called and called and called. So now I don’t even answer calls from their area or, if I do answer, I just hang up as some as they start their pitch. Unfortunately that happens a lot lately. There are just tons of telemarketing companies making millions of unwanted calls every day. Now that they also have our cellphone numbers I get those same calls on my cell phone, even though I signed up on the do not call list for my cell phone.

So, all that is left is to be rude… just hang up…no “no thanks”…just click. I suppose that the folks who do these calls for a living get used to being hung up on. Some have even called back and left a message that we somehow got cut off.  Some of the robo-calling machines even are programed to call back and pick up in the pitch right where they left off when I hung up. Now, that’s hutzpah!
I also read recently about the degraded civility in the nation’s capital between members of congress. The Senate in particular has always been a bastion of feigned civil behavior, with members calling each other “the gentleman from” or “the gentlewoman of”. Lately they have been calling each other something else, none of it gentle.

I’m not sure what has caused this decline in civility and increase in rudeness, although I have a theory that it is somehow connected to technology (especially the robo-calls), always being connected and the greatly increased pace of life. It does, after all, take a bit longer to be polite or civil that it does to just hang up. And the polarization of the political parties in Washington is just reflective of the extreme views out in the public these days. I suppose taking the time to call a congressional colleague “the gentleman from (insert a state here)” would lose its affect if the next phrase were “is a jackass”; though one might get credit for the accuracy of the statement.

So if you’re on the west coast and you have something to sell, please don’t call me. I’ll just hang up. I may feel bad about being rude for a nano-second or two, but I’ll get over that and it’s sad to have to say that.