I might be crazy…
- you decide!

 Posted by at 7:49 am
Aug 222016

comic-1583655_1280Every so often I find myself in a position where I ask myself, “Why did I do that, am I crazy?” While you may not be interested in my mental health, if you’re on the site looking for something, you might find things a bit out of whack. Let me explain. (The good news is, I can explain–so I’m not irrational. At least at the moment.

My two primary sites are currently undergoing significant changes. My Brain Leaks and Musings site is in the process of being migrated to a different server. I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that migration means lots of updating and changes are required. Some of those changes are impacting my real estate site (this one) and, in general, I’m discovering lots of opportunities (not using the word “problems”) for change. Some are to improve the visitor’s experience, some will make my job easier. So, in short, if you can’t find something on the site or find something broken, please let me know.

The reason I might be crazy is that I selected absolutely the worst month of the year to undertake this. This is the month when fall courses must be scheduled and planned. It’s also historically the month I do much of my course development and improvement work. Taking on an additional project of this magnitude might be crazy, right?

In an interesting way, the decision to do this at such a “crazy” time is linked to mental health. As most will know, I teach a number of subjects in addition to real estate and, in my spare time work with kids. Several years ago I became a NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) certified mental health specialist for youth and adults. Since I am also gatekeeper trained, I began offering a suicide awareness and prevention course. Suicide is a serious public health concern. Maine is not an exception. Our state averages 196 deaths by suicide each year; in 2009 alone, 2,800 high school students and 4,000 adults attempted suicide while 6,700 high school students and 27,000 adults considered suicide.

In part because of this, a law was passed several years ago that request anyone receiving a paycheck from a Maine Public School system to complete this research-based course. Since I also teach a substitute teacher’s course, it made sense for me to offer the required Suicide Awareness Course through several adult education programs where I teach the Substitute Teacher’s Course.

This year one of those adult education programs opted not to offer the program and I needed to find a different venue. In that I have succeeded– and I’m really excited about the possibilities it will create. However, since the courses I’ll be offering at that venue will be sponsored by my company, Abbot Village Press. That means I will be handling the course administration responsibilities usually handled by the course “provider.”

So I need to develop an “online” system that will allow students to register for those courses. (Real Estate Courses will still be sponsored by the Arthur Gary School of Real Estate.) I’m working on it. But in the interim things might look a little messy and confusing. One of my many goals is to avoid creating confusion. So bear with me… and if you have any questions or suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

2016 Fall Suicide Awareness Classes — A complete listing of available classes on this important subject.

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Greetings of the Season!

 Posted by at 7:46 am
Dec 212013

XMOOSEThe holidays are a great time to say “thank you!” I’ve enjoyed your confidence and friendship this past year and it is satisfying to know that a lot of people—buyers, sellers, colleagues, affiliates and students—have achieved success as a result of our work together. As we near the start of a new year, this is also a great time to look back and ahead.

You’ll recall last year I announced my intention to increase the emphasis on the training and education aspects of my work. I also announced that I would be substitute teaching kindergarten through grade six at Piscataquis Community Elementary School.

A few weeks ago a fourth grader came to “my” classroom to visit after a day of subbing. In the course of chatting he informed me that “pre-k and kindergarten” were the best years of his life. When I asked why he replied “Because there wasn’t really that much I had to do…” I managed not to chuckle.

I suppose it could be considered cool that at nine or ten years old (going on forty) he’s figured out what’s important to him, but I really want to tell him “the best is yet to come.” At least that’s been true for me—while my life has been good, I can’t recall a period of time that was more fun and more satisfying than these years I am living.

A big achievement this past year was the release of my book, Small People—Big Brains: stories about simplicity, exploration and wonder. In the obligatory about the author section, I noted, “I’ve effectively started a new career as a substitute elementary school teacher. The kids haven’t run out of things to teach me. They may be small people, but they really do have big brains.”

In support of the book and my future direction, this year I created “Abbot Village Press,” with the idea that we’ll be “Maine’s number one publisher in Maine’s number one town” by publishing books and blogs with purpose. Several publishing projects come to mind and I suspect there will be a volume two of Small People—Big Brains. Perhaps I should issue a warning: “I’m a writer. Anything you do or say may be used in a future article or book.”

I have, of course, continued to offer real estate courses in association with the Arthur Gary School of Real Estate. Class enrollments continue to climb. This may well reflect a growing confidence in the future of real estate. While it’s not a focus, I also continue my affiliation with Mallett Real Estate and work with select clients on a somewhat limited basis. Do not hesitate to contact me if you are going to be involved in a real estate transaction as a buyer or seller.

This fall, the Piscataquis Valley Adult Education Cooperative invited me to develop and teach one day classes for others who want to substitute teach! The class was offered in Milo and Guilford and we will be repeating it in January in Dover Foxcroft and Dexter. RSU 19 Adult Education (Nokomis) has asked me to offer several courses. I’m also having a lot of fun helping out with the Piscataquis Secondary School Pirate Specials Program designed to connect middle and high school kids with community resources and individuals who will help them explore career options.

One of the stories that didn’t make it into the book happened a few years ago when a second grader became exasperated with me and told me, “Mr. Boomsma, you need to focus.” It helps if you picture her with hands on the sides of her face mimicking the blinders horses wear. At the time, I thought I was very busy. She rightly recognized I wasn’t busy. I just wasn’t doing such a good job of handling multiple priorities. (You can read the entire story on my brain leaks and musings site.)

Unfortunately, I’ve lost a cartoon I had that showed a fish climbing out of a lake and saying to an animal standing on the shore, “Outta my way, pal. I’m evolving.” I’d like to think that while these are some very good years, the best is yet to come. I’m evolving!

Thanks for your confidence and support. Do let me hear from you… and have a meaningful holiday and a new year filled with health, happiness, and prosperity — make these the best years of your life! Evolve!

Merry Christmas,

(aka “Mr. Boomsma”)


Changes That Might Go Unnoticed?!

 Posted by at 12:48 pm
Aug 152013
carrying_house_pc_400_clr_4461A frequently asked question is “Are you still selling real estate?”

I occasionally joke in reply, “Not much!”

Let’s start with the observation that I remain licensed and “active” with the Mallett Real Estate agency. I am not, however, actively seeking clients or pursuing that business. (One reason I remain actively licensed is that I continue to teach licensing courses and believe that keeping some degree of involvement is necessary to remain an effective instructor.) I will continue to work with select clients.

I’ll admit I’ve also been a bit scattered with my interests–or at least it might appear so to the casual observer. Two significant changes in the past year are signing up as a substitute elementary school teacher and releasing my book. There is a pattern in this. I love to work with kids. Unfortunately, they don’t buy and sell much real estate.

Given this focus, one of the questions I am currently facing is “What to do with this site?” My other site (Brain Leaks and Musings) has been where I’ve historically featured my classes, courses, and writing. This site has focused on real estate from the consumer’s perspective.

My current thinking is to keep this site fundamentally the same, but tweak it a bit so that it also serves as a resource for students and alumni of real estate courses. I have always believed that well-informed consumers make the best clients, so if anything, the site may increase in value for those who are considering buying or selling real estate.

I’ll also probably distract folks with off-topic stuff occasionally!

Ironically, enrollments in real estate courses seem to be on the increase-some would say an indication of the business turning positive. One thing that would help the market is better informed licensees and consumers, so I will do my best to help!

As always, if you have questions or suggestions, please let me know.


Merry Christmas!

 Posted by at 7:06 am
Dec 222011

Greetings of the Season!

While it has become traditional, it is not habitual! The holidays are a great time to say “thank you” and to recap the past year.

About this time last year I announced that I was “moving to Mallett” and I’m pleased to say that decision has proven even wiser and better than I thought. The move has allowed me to focus my brokerage business and become more localized while working with some great folks. I certainly do not miss the commutes to Newport!

This no doubt contributed to the fact that I’m having a fairly busy year in spite of the market situation. But I still believe that my fundamental focus drives my success. Diagnosing problems and understanding clients’ needs has always been important; given the increasing complexity surrounding the buying and selling of real estate, now it is vital. More than ever you need a partner who knows how to learn and who knows how to teach.

And speaking of teaching, I am now teaching at least six real estate pre-licensing courses every year. Those of you who know me well know that teaching is my first love. This year also saw growth in enrollments in the courses I’ve offered through the Piscataquis Valley Adult Education Cooperative. Next year will include a “solopreneur” series for folks who want to start a business on a very individual and fundamental basis. A collaboration between the Cooperative and Piscataquis County Extension will create a “You Can” series of classes for folks interested in traditional skills (agricultural, homesteading, domestic). I’m working on a course called “Cash as a Crop” that will look at ways to raise and save money in this difficult economy. (It probably won’t include investing in real estate!)

Because of this increased emphasis on training and education, I’ve redesigned a second website that includes “brain leaks and musings” as well as information about courses I’m teaching. You can even sign up for email announcements of future courses.

My “work” with the kids continues… every so often someone will decide that being around the kids is keeping me young. I’m not so sure about that, but I do know that being with them is rewarding and I learn a lot from them. And they are definitely good for an occasional laugh. I enjoy their problem solving abilities and their view of the world.

I still believe that the real estate market shouldn’t control us; we should look ahead and consider what we need and want to accomplish. If you follow this blog you know that I firmly believe the statistics do not control us; we create the statistics by the actions we take and the skills we apply. That is also true of life. These are times when it’s easy to feel discouraged and uncertain. But just a slight shift of focus and we can look ahead and find opportunities all around us.

Thanks for your confidence and the opportunity to work with you. Do let me hear from you… and have a meaningful holiday and a new year filled with health, happiness and prosperity. The video below just might help with some Christmas Spirit.


Goodbye, Facebook “Like”

 Posted by at 7:04 am
Nov 262010

For a brief period of time after redesigning this site, you may have noticed a “Like” button on posts and pages. You may now notice that it’s gone. I haven’t had any complaints over it’s absence, but would still like to offer an explanation.

We can certainly debate the value of social media to the real estate business… and discuss at length the entire phenomena. My decision not to provide the “like” link was not terribly grandiose; it was practical and based on these factors.

  1. My sense is that most people do not realize how much information they have given Facebook and what happens to it. The value of Facebook is also the negative–sharing information can become intrusive. In order to “like” a page on this site you are required to allow Facebook to access and use your personal information. Personally, I don’t think you should have to do that just to “like” a website page or blog post.
  2. While I’m willing to be “friends” with clients and colleagues on Facebook I’m not a big user. For one thing it’s time consuming. For another thing, there are some lines I draw. I’ve seen other agents “discuss” clients and other business activity on Facebook and, while they’ve probably not violated the letter of the law, it’s just not the way I choose to do business.
  3. I also make some choices regarding how I choose to live. One of those choices is to admit that most people aren’t THAT interested in what I’m doing every day. I confess to finding some entertainment at reading some of the things folks announce to the world… they’ve overslept… broke a nail (I’m serious)… You don’t have to know me very long to know that’s not my style.
  4. While I like being liked, I’ll be just as happy if you try the share botton–the best form of liking this site or an individual post is telling others about it. My original intent hasn’t changed: this site is meant to be a resource. I’m not entering popularity contests.

Just for the record, I’m not “anti-Facebook.” I am in favor of making decisions deliberately. The fact that you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

Jul 212010

An expression we don’t use so much any more in the computer world is “Garbage in = Garbage Out.” Nonetheless, over the past week or so we’ve taken a fair amount of “garbage” out of this blog–it’s installation and content–as a result of a recent upgrade. Doing so required some help and I have to give three cheers to the WPDude (WP=WordPress, the software the site is based on). The first cheer is for his response time. The second cheer is for his technical ability. The third cheer is for being extremely easy to do business with. (I’m still amazed at the fact that he’s “over there” (England) and we had a seamless experience and transaction.)

There are still a few bumps to work out… one of the “victims”  of the upgrade was my categories and it’s going to take a while for me to go back and recategorize all posts. In the interim you might try the “search” routine to find information regarding specific topics. I’m also still exploring some of the new capabilities I’ve gained… so you can expect ongoing improvements and enhancements.

Thanks for your patience during the transition…  and don’t be bashful with your comments and sugggestions.

Jul 122010

If you’re a regular visitor you may have noticed some weird stuff going on with the site… including the loss of categories and the site being down on occasion over the weekend.  If I could tell you why, I’d fix it! (It appears to be the result of a recent attempt to upgrade WordPress, the blogging program used.) Be assured I’m attempting to get things back in order… and if you are WordPress user, I’d love to pick your brain!

Thanks for your patience…

And since my contact and legally required information has disappeared… please note that I am licensed with Maine Choice Realty, 118 Moosehead Trail, Newport ME 04953.

Update, July 19th… As we say in Maine, we’re gainin’! Fundamentally, everything seems to be working… there’s still lots of tweaking and some minor fixing due to an upgrade (more about that later)… stay tuned, check back!


It’s in the mail!

 Posted by at 7:30 am
Sep 172009

Allegedly one of the oldest lies… but if we’re talking about the print edition of my newsletter it it’s the truth! Yesterday’s issue was mailed at the Newport Post Office and is now speeding on it’s way… hopefully to everyone! Since this is the first issue since my computer meltdown, it seemed appropriate to let everyone know here… if you don’t get your copy soon let me know… I’ll send you a copy and make sure you’re added to the list!

Aug 172009

Computer RepairThere’s an email about teknawlogie in Maine that makes its way around the email circle regularly explaining such mysteries as how “log on” means making the stove hotter… an upgrade is a steep hill… a server is a waitress… oh, and that waitress… Dot Matrix? She’s Dan Matrix’s wife.

Unfortunately, technology isn’t always funny.  This week it’s taken some extra effort to find the humor as a series of “weird things” have taken place and given me fits. I’m pretty sure you aren’t interested in the details.  (If anyone is intimately familiar with Outlook and Business Contact Manager, I’ll be happy to share.)

The net result is some “lost data” that I’m still trying to recover.  I’m a little concerned that I may have lost some Mooseprint subscribers. (Mooseprint is the print edition of this blog).  I’m quite sure nothing was affected here or with the subscription feature to this blog itself.

The plan is to reconstruct as much as possible and send out a Mooseprint in September.  In the meantime, it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if you sent me your contact information just in case!

 This is one of those situations I could have a lot of fun with… but I’ve found sometimes I confuse people. When a new class is formed, I typically collect email addresses so we can stay in touch during the course. I used to send out a first email that said, “Let me know if you don’t get this…” I did find it confused some people.  (I actually did get an email once… “but if I don’t get it how will I know you sent it?” I hope that was an attempt to be funny as well!)

Conversely, I can’t exactly contact you for your information if I don’t have your information to contact you!

Are we confused yet? While I work through this please be a little patient… and if you want to send an email or give me a call with your address and phone number(s) that will help a lot.

Oh, one more tecknawlogie term…  I’ve been a cursor lately. A cursor is somebody who swears a lot.