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Why is Escrow Asking Me for Personal Information and What Should I Do About It?

26 Jun

Transaction Tuesday

Image courtesy of smarnad/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Why is escrow asking me for personal information and what should I do about it?

These days we all know that we should never give out any of our personal information unless we know exactly who is getting it and exactly why they need it so this is a question that often comes up during the escrow process.  The reason for this is a little piece of paper that seller’s are given to fill out by the escrow officer called the Statement of  Information.

This form is actually used by your title company to distinguish the buyers and sellers of real property from other people with similar names when searching public records for judgments, liens, court decrees, bankruptcies or other matters.

If you fail to provide the Statement of information, your title company will have to add exclusions to the policy that list as exceptions from coverage judgments, liens or other matters which may affect the property to be insured.  These exclusions or exceptions are not allowed by lenders.  Lenders will require that the title is insured, so without this Statement of Information being submitted in a timely manner you might  find that your closing could be delayed.

Just another tip to help your transaction go smoothly to closing.  Remember, feel free to call me if you have a question about real estate.

 

See you in the neighborhood,

Karen Urata

Century 21 Award

uratakaren@yahoo.com

(760) 609-0952

DRE License # 01720025

Winner 5-Star Award San Diego Magazine  -2010, 2011, 2012

We’re All On a Mission, But What Is It?

20 Nov

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It seems that we are all on a mission in life, but many of us don’t really know what that mission really is.  That is not a critical statement, just an observation.  I know this because I sometimes find myself asking the question that we all ask at one time or another,  “What the heck am I doing here.”

If you are like me you have likely asked this question more than once while dancing through the fog of child rearing.  I have actually wondered what it would be like if parents made a mission statement much like businesses, organizations, and even bloggers do to help focus and measure their direction.

I thought I would look around on the blogosphere and see if their was anyone else thinking about this and I found a wonderful description of why a mission statement for this purpose can make sense.  This link will get you to the blog that the quote that follows is taken from.  (I haven’t discovered yet  how to create a clip that links back to the original blog.  If any of you techies out there feel like doing your random act of kindness for today you could drop me a note about how it is done.)  http://mirajyoga.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/3-steps-to-discovering-your-lifes-mission/

“Your mission statement is there to give your actions a certain intention–an intention that emerged from a state of awareness and consciousness.  We know that we often act out of conditioned and learned behaviors and patterns that aren’t necessarily aligned with what we’re really about.”

That sounds familiar.  You wake up one day and wonder which day it was that you turned into your mother. Your thoughts spinning with “What did I just do?  My mother used to do that to me and I hated it.”  But really, what else do you know to do?  As they say in the military, when you are in a crisis, you fall back on your training.  For some of us that may not be in line with the direction we want to take with our children.

Most mission statements contain a goal as well as statements the guiding principles you will follow to get there.  So it seems that identifying your goal is the first step.   So you might say your mission is to raise responsible, loving children (or whatever your goal is).  Then you might say, through establishing appropriate boundaries, engaging with my children throughout the day, and showing that I love them even when we disagree.

But here comes the hard part, how are we going to accomplish this?  Kids don’t come with manuals and parents don’t always come with full toolboxes.  The funny thing is that the act of writing this down often begins the process of opening the path to discovering tools that can be helpful to accomplish your goal.  Once you have written down the idea that you want to establish, for example, appropriate boundaries, it becomes easy to start out on a journey to find new ways to do this.  You can start right here on WordPress.  Two wonderful resources that I have found here are Help4YourFamily http://help4yourfamily.com/2012/11/19/parent-affirmation-monday-empathic-11172012/ and Let Life In Practices http://letlifeinpractices.com/2012/04/16/9-ways-to-tell-your-children-that-you-love-them/#more-568 .

What little jewel of a technique, practice, or attitude have you found (and where did you find them) that has made a difference for your children, or for that matter any of your relationships?  Do share because I still have plenty of room in my toolbox to fill.

Cheesecake, Gluten-Free, Woo-Hoo!

7 Aug

Gluten-Free Cheesecake

 

About a year ago I discovered that I have a sensitivity to gluten.  That day my world changed.  At first it seemed that it had changed for the worse.  I could not imagine not enjoying a crusty piece of french bread, buttery pasta, or even a simple peanut butter and honey sandwich.  These were among the things I counted as real pleasures in my life.

As I waded into this new gluten-free world I began to discover that gluten is hidden in the most unlikely places.  Just about any processed food can contain gluten and it is not as simple as finding what type of food is likely to contain gluten, you must also check each brand.  I found this out one night after we had just finished eating.  My husband had done the grocery shopping and fixed dinner, I really am lucky in that way.  Then came the headache and soon after the other discomforts that I have now learned to recognize as my body’s reaction to gluten.

I couldn’t figure it out.  We had eaten nothing that had caused a reaction before.  Later that night, I was taking out the trash and noticed that the empty can of green enchilada sauce used in our chicken dish was a different brand than what I usually buy.  I pulled it out to take a look at the list of ingredients and there it was, gluten.  Oops.

However, I must say that this story demonstrates just how much my world has actually improved even without my favorite breads, pastas, and my this and thats.  I feel so much better now, most days I don’t miss them, at least not too much.

Having said that, you can just imagine that having a baked dessert can present a challenge.  So a year later, I am so thrilled to discover a recipe for cheesecake that has a gluten-free crust and does not use flour as a thickener in the filling.  I share it here for all of you who have gluten-sensitivity or children who benefit from eliminating gluten from their diets.  This is so good that everyone in the family can enjoy it, even those who do not need to restrict gluten.
One word of caution.  When using oats, some people with gluten sensitivities can have a reaction if the oats are processed in a facility that also processes  wheat.  There are gluten-free oats (labeled) available or you may want to just use the almonds and some almond meal in place of the oats.

Just a heads up, there were two things that I did not have handy that you will need for this recipe, cheesecloth and the wider heavy weight sheet of foil wrap.

Also, flavor and texture is best if cheesecake is refrigerated overnight.

Crust:

1 1/2 cup    Oats (gluten-free oats)

1/2 cup       Chopped almonds

1/3 cup       Brown sugar

1/3 cup       Butter – melted (5 1/2 Tbls)

Heat oven to 350°.

Grease 9″ spring form pan.

Combine all ingredients, mix well.  press firmly on bottom and 1 1/2 inches on the sides.  Bake 18 minutes.  Cool in refrigerator.

While crust is cooling make the filling.

Filling:

20 ozs.    Whole milk ricotta cheese, drained (2 1/2 cup)

1 – 8 oz    Cream cheese (at room temperature)

1 cup       Sugar

1 Tbls     Cornstarch

4               Large eggs, at room temperature

Zest of 1 Lemon

1 1/2 tsp Pure vanilla extract

To drain ricotta cheese:

Place ricotta cheese in strainer lined with cheesecloth and suspend over a bowl.  Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

To make filling:

In large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth, add ricotta cheese and sugar, beat until smooth.  Beat in cornstarch, add eggs one at a time beating about 30 seconds after each egg is added. Beat in lemon zest and vanilla.
Pour filling into cooled crust.  Use large sheet of foil wrap to wrap the outside of the spring form pan to protect the cheesecake in the water bath.
Place spring form pan in large roasting pan and pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come about half way up the side of the spring form pan.

Bake for about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes or until the top of the cheesecake is nicely browned and the center of cake moves slightly when the pan is gently giggled.

Remove from water bath and cool on a wire rack.  After cooling about an hour remove from spring form pan.  Cool in refrigerator 6-8 hours or overnight.

Enjoy!

A Story Of Two Monks

5 Aug

Photo credit   http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Religion_g302-Thai_Monks_p37604.html

Recently I read a post through freshly pressed (I love freshly pressed) on 258 Days ’til 40: The Toll We Pay (For NOT Letting Go).   It is  about forgiveness and how it is really for the benefit of the one forgiving rather than the one forgiven.   She noted one of my favorite quotes “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” (not really sure who first said this ),  and talks about releasing your anger and hurt and moving on to create a beautiful, peaceful future for yourself. It was thought provoking and reminded me of a story about two monks.

The story goes something like this.   Two monks are walking near a river and happen upon a woman who needs cross the river to get to her family. The woman can’t swim and is terrified that she will drown if she tries to cross the river. The first monk listens to the woman’s fears and says, then I will carry you across.  The second monk looks at the first monk sternly and reminds him that they are forbidden to touch women.  But  the  first monk decides that he is willing to go against the prohibition in order to help the women cross the river safely so that she can be with her family.   The first monk picks the woman up and carries her across the river to safety.  The other monk looked on disapprovingly.

The monks resumed their journey and as the day went on the second monk continued his disapproving comments toward the first monk regarding his carrying the woman across the river.  Finally, at  the end of the day the first monk turns to the second monk and says, you know I put the woman down hours ago at the river’s edge, but you are still carrying her.

I know that this is a hard-won lesson as many people  are taught that holding on to hurt and pain is a form of protection from or power over others.  They do not see it for the poison that it is and choose to continue to drink it.  This brings to mind another quote to think about if If you absolutely must feel that you are getting “revenge” for a wrong done to you.   “Living well is the best revenge”.  George Herbert

Do you have a way that helps you to forgive others and/or yourself?  I would love to hear about it.

5 Things I Learned From the “Turtleman”

2 Aug

Photo credit http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Reptiles_And_Amphibi_g87-Aldabran_Tortoise_p11378.html

It was one of those days that I sat down in front of the TV for no other reason than to allow my brain to rest, veg out a little while.  When I am in this space it does not really matter what is on and I sometimes do not even make the effort to flip through the channels.  What I watch is less important than the fact that I am not doing a task, planning a task or worrying about the next six tasks on my never-ending to do list.

That is how I happened across the Turtleman.  If you do not know who the Turtleman is, the simplest explanation is to say that he is a critter wrangler.
The surprising thing about it was at the end of the day I found I learned a thing or two from watching him and none of them had anything to do with capturing a racoon, possum or a turtle.  I thought I would share them with you today.

1.  If you can name it you can tame it.

He always gives a name to the rascal he is attempting to capture and relocated.  He would give each creature a name based on the situation and what he could detect of its personality based on the reported behaviors and clues that it had left behind. It reminds me of something I ran across once while studying different cultural practices.  There was a recounting of a practice in a particular Native American tribe that a particular wise elder did the naming of all the children.  This was based on the belief that in order to properly name something you must have a real understanding of it.

When you think about any process of  self-improvement you see that you must first acknowledge and name the problem before you can begin the work of solving it.

2. You can decide to be happy.

The Turtleman seems very happy yet he has very little in the way of material possessions.  His home has no running water and he doesn’t even have a full set of teeth, yet he is happy.  Happiness really is a state of mind, not a destination.

3.  One path to happiness is through service to others.

It appears that the Turtleman’s standard fee for capturing and relocating a critter is $65.  That includes a house call, a crew of one or more helpers and no charge by the hour.  Often it seems that he is not paid in money but  in handmade goods from the hands of appreciative children or other non-monetary compensation such as the honor of waving the starting flag at the local speedway.

Much of  his payment is from his joy from alleviating  the suffering of others, both people and animals.

4.  If you follow your bliss you will be successful.

Success is relative so everyone’s success will look different but success is living a life doing what you love.

5.  Celebrate your victories.

The Turtleman loves to dance.  It is very difficult not to feel joy if you let yourself dance with abandon.  It is the body’s way of expressing joy.  Give yourself the gift of dancing  like no one is watching.

Intensely Blueberry, Blueberry Sorbet

28 Jul

This post is for my youngest kidlet, the granddaughter of  The Queen of Everything Money (my sister).  My sister just discovered that the baby LOVES blueberries.  She can not be trusted near a container of blueberries, so they must be hidden and doled out to her in less than lumberjack-sized portions.

(If anyone knows what that you call the granddaughter of your sister, great niece?, grand niece? Please let me know.)

This is a recipe for blueberry sorbet that has an intense blueberry flavor.  It does not take a lot of this to satisfy a craving for blueberries and it is, of course, naturally gluten-free with relatively low amount of added white sugar (more about that to come in a later post).

I found the recipe on Simply Recipes, here is the link to original recipe,  how I made it follows:

Ingredients:

5 cups fresh (or frozen) blueberries, rinsed, stems removed

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup honey

1 Tbsp (fluffy) lemon zest

2 teaspoons lemon juice (less than original recipe)

pinch of salt

Directions:

1.  Place the blueberries, sugar, honey, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt in a large bowl.  Stir to coat blueberries with the sugar.  Mash with a potato masher.

(I actually combine step 1 and 2 by using an immersion blender, much easier.)

2.  Put the mashed blueberries into a blender and blend for a couple of minutes until smooth.

(Be careful while processing the blueberries unless you just love the color purple.  They will stain your clothes, your countertop, your floor, or just about anything you allow them to stay in contact with for any length of time.)

3.   Place a sieve over a large bowl and working in batches, press the mixture through the sieve using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. This will catch the tougher and larger pieces fo lemon and blueberry peel.

Pour into sieve

$.  Chill the mixture for at least an hour in the fridge.  Then process following the directions of your ice cream maker.

(The colder the mixture is when putting it in the ice cream maker, the smoother the texture of the  sorbet.)

You can eat right away of put in freezer for a few hours to further firm the texture.

Makes a little less than a quart.

Another tip that came with this recipe was to add a tablespoon of two of corn syrup to the mix to prevent it from becoming too hard if stored in the freezer.  The longer its is in the freezer the harder it becomes.  Most others recommend the addition of a similar amount of alcohol maybe vodka or a complimentary liqueur, but because this is for family consumption, corn syrup, while not my favorite thing, sounds like a better choice.  I do not add either because it never hangs around long enough to need it.  (Here is where you will have to use your imagination because I was not fast enough to get a picture of the finished sorbet before it disappeared.)

For those of you who do not have an ice cream maker, good news, you can still make sorbet!  It involves freezing the mixture in a shallow baking dish in the freezer, then blending in a food processor or blender.  For the step- by-step process as well as more recipes and great tips click here to visit Busy in Brooklyn.

15 Jul

This post is about a dear friend’s son. I want to share it as I could not have expressed it better myself. I am asking for your prayers for Taron and his family and any other help (giraffe or otherwise) you may be able to share.
Thank you.

It's a Family Affair

I have occasionally been known to hijack Ebsco’s Blog for personal reasons.  Most of the time I end up tying things back to Ebsco at the end, but today I will not.  Today I want to talk about giraffes.

Giraffes are one of the most beautiful and graceful animals.  They are the tallest living animal and come from Africa.  Males are typically 16 to 20 feet tall when fully grown and weight 3,500 pounds.  In a gallop the giraffe can reach 37 mph while appearing to glide effortlessly. Humans have been captivated by these majestic animals for millennia.  The bushmen from Africa perform a medicine dance named the giraffe which is performed to treat head injuries.  Humans hold a fondness for the giraffe, even to the point of the national toy store, Toys R Us using the giraffe as their mascot.

So what is the significance of giraffes that prompted…

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