On the Edge of Something New.. Again.

It is May 24th, 2020 at the time of this writing. The world around us has literally been shut down in a quarantine since March. The state I live in, Tennessee, opened up April 27th, and the city of Nashville, where I live, just opened up with phase one on May 11th, and phase two should happen tomorrow on Memorial Day.

I thought when my husband, Robert had his stroke in November 2018, and we struggled for a month to get him home and back to a more normal route, that life would be different, it was. After his stroke, I revamped my real estate career to become a “concierge real estate agent”. For my clients and customers this means a more personal touch and totally hands on service.

I enrolled back at Trevecca Nazarene University in June of 2019. They let me transfer all my old credits when I had attended in 1977-1979. A year later I am still going strong, I made the Dean’s list already once, and will graduate with my B.A. next year in Management and Leadership. Last fall I did an internship at Metro Historical Commission, I learned so much and really loved my time there. This year, my extra credits have been in FEMA classes online. Such an eye opening experience, especially during this pandemic where FEMA has been playing an important role on testing and helping the states with their variety of needs.

I think all of us are experiencing the feeling of how is our life going to change now that we are trying to reenter our “new normal”. For me, it is a reboot of an already reinventing myself last year, to thinking about what needs to be done to adjust to this new world. We all will figure it out, most of us already have started just living our lives again. All of us will have to start over in some capacity, this pandemic ruined the world we knew, and for better or worst, it has forced a reboot for all of us. My hope is that the plans to restart our country, our state and our town works, and that we return to feeling human again. For some of us, the quarantine gave us time to bond with family, for others, it created a true sense of loneliness. We need to be sensitive to those around us, be kind to one another, realize that we had a great economy before the quarantine and we will get back to it again. We will rebound stronger than before. The new technological advantages we evolved to during the pandemic, teleconferencing for medical services, on line closings and classes, many things we had to do to keep functioning during the pandemic, will be modified and used for the future of our new work world. Look for more people working and studying from home. Look for more freedoms and adjustments to our schedules to blend work with life. I see a whole new 21st century world if we are ready for it. Let’s take the lessons we have learned while in quarantine, and build a better world from it. Use the innovations and the think time to create something new.

After thirty-seven years in real estate, I had thought I had seen it all, but this is a whole new way of showing real estate, keeping the safety and security of my clients and customers in the forefront. We will figure it out together.

You Have the Control if You Want it

I sat reading my emails, and I realized some fundamental truths that I doubt many of us think about.  When we become an adult, for most of us, that means we take control of our destiny; we shape who we are going to be by the decisions we make.  For good or bad, they are our decisions, and we need to take responsibility for their outcome.  We can not always control what happens around us or to us. That is not always possible to do. What we do have control over is how we respond to it, how we react to it, and how we treat others in the process. So what I am saying is, we have complete control over how we respond to a situation and how we will use it to help make our future decisions.  That doesn’t mean we can always control how people respond to us or situations we sometimes find ourselves involved in.  Remember that your ultimate destiny is calculated on all the decisions you make every moment of every day.  Napoleon Hill was credited to have said, “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.”  That is a true statement; think about what you want to say, how it will land on the ears of the people you are speaking to.  How you frame it to communicate what precisely you wanted to say to that person.  Our lives on this planet are short; we should try and be as helpful and kind as possible to one another.  As we approach the holidays next week, remember your family, friends, co-workers, remember they are people too, with emotions, feelings, thoughts, dreams, treat them like the human beings they are, give them some hope that life will be better.  As humans, we just want to believe that there are good people who will be there when they need them.  Be an example people will want to aspire to, give hope and support when you can, and don’t be intentionally cruel to another human being.  Happy Holidays everyone.

It is all about the Family

I look back at my thirty-six years of married life with my husband Robert, and I have zero regrets.  All the ups and downs in life, they mean nothing when you have your loved ones around you.  In this life, all we have is what we leave in the end.  Family and good friends, good memories to hold close, that is precious and should be a top priority. If you haven’t hugged your spouse or kids, what are you waiting for? Have you brought your grandchild over to see their grandparents?  What are you waiting for?  Share the memories, build the ties that bind for a lifetime.  Don’t build regrets you will have to live with the rest of your life. Don’t hold grudges that mean absolutely nothing in the end. Thanksgiving is next week and Christmas right around the corner.  I look back at all the Thanksgivings over the years.  When I was growing up, my family would have these great family dinners, my mother would cook for hours and would serve mounds of food. When I cook for Thanksgiving I think of my mother and all the memories of those family dinners come back to me. Why do I cook too much food? Because I am feeling all those emotions from years and years of big family get-togethers. So what if we eat leftovers for a couple weeks?  All those memories are priceless. I remember my nieces and nephews coming over, my parent’s grandchildren, we were playing, bonding, eating, laughing.  Some of them are gone now and all I have are the memories. Precious, memories of lost loved ones, you are not forgotten, I will always remember your smiles, your teases, your tears. You are hidden in my heart and I pull you out when I miss you and remember the good times.  Thank God I was raised in a close family.  I tried to instil these values in my family, I have had some success and some disappointments, but I know that is part of being a family.  You are going to have ups and downs, you are going to have challenges, just don’t wait until those family members are dead before you realize the value of those relationships.  My husband had a stroke last November, he has been slowly recovering over the last year, I thank God every day he is on this earth and still with me. He is my soulmate, the rock I have hugged when life tossed curve balls at me.  His mother moved in with us over two years ago.  Every day we make fond memories with her, moments in time are precious.  She turned 85 this year, which means she has lived longer than any of her relatives so far.  The woman is a  dynamo and pioneer in her own time. She was a computer programmer back when that meant a room full of computer hardware. When I met my husband, he told me he wanted a woman like his mother, strong, self-motivating and career-oriented.  I get to thank her every day for being that way, so I could win the man of my dreams.  Relationships and family; at the end that is what we leave behind, memories, legacies, hopes and dreams.  “Like tomorrow was a gift and you’ve got eternity To think about what you do with it”, Tim Mcgraw from the song “Live Like you were Dying” Live every day like it was your last, would you hug a little longer? Forgive a little faster? Go on more family vacations? Chat with a long lost relative?  Love your family because, in the end, they got your back, they are all you have.  They will be there for you when no one else will. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas, I love you all.family wilson

Spookier Side of the Blues

Today is Halloween, so I thought it would be appropriate to mix up a Halloween Blues Set for you to enjoy.

  1. Big Joe Williams – Haunted House Blues
  2. Clarence Gatemouth Brown – Mean and Evil
  3. Dirty Dave Osti- Voodoo Guitar
  4. Twelve Bar Blues Band – Graveyard Blues
  5. Jace Everette & CC Adcock  Evil (Is goin’ on)
  6. Bob Long – Hoodoo Lady
  7. Dean Haitani – Don’t let the Devil Ride
  8. J.B.Lenoir – Voodoo Music
  9. Johnny Winter – Black Cat Bone
  10. Bobby Rush – Voodoo Man
  11. Skip James – Devil Got My Woman
  12. Eric Johanson – Graveyard Queen
  13. Mike Bloomfield – I’ve Got My Mojo Working
  14. Lightnin’ Hopkins – Black Ghost
  15. Melvin Taylor – Voodoo Daddy
  16. Lightin’ Hopkins – Lonesome Graveyard
  17. John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers – The Witching Hour
  18. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Graveyard Train
  19. Loren Mazzacane Connors – Blue Ghost Blues
  20. Eilen Jewell – It’s Your Voodoo Working
  21. St Louis Bessie – Ghost Creepin’ Blues
  22. Johnny Winter – Mojo Hand (with Joe Perry)
  23. Kenny Wayne Shepherd – Deja Voodoo



Nashville Market Trends 2019

Nashville Housing Market is slowing down just a little, but still going up slightly over last year. First Quarter sales of Residential Homes 2018,  2,211 to first Quarter sales of Residential Homes for 2019 up slightly 2,236. (According to GNAR)  This is actually a slight slow down of the overall market.

Anaylists say a slight Downturn is a healthy correction after years of housing price increases that were outpacing wage gains. (Tennessean Feb 14th, 2019, Nashville’s Housing Market is cooling, by  Sandy Mazza)

In First Quarter of 2017, 31 percent of buyers paid more than the listing price for homes because competition was so high. Contrast that to January 2019, 13 percent of buyer’s paid more than the home’s list price. (According to Zillow)

What does this mean to you? Well, if you are a buyer, that means you might be able to get a few more concessions in your offers, closing cost paid, maybe a slightly lower price,  and/or extra repairs.  If you are a seller, make sure your house is priced in the medium of the value ranges, don’t run it to the top of the list on price.  This will guarantee you are more likely to get offers and sell your home in a timely fashion. Also, be flexible on helping with closing costs fees for the buyer or little repairs required by their inspectors.  The flexible, market sensitve sellers are the sellers who sell their homes in any market. Also, stage your house and freshen it up. Nicer, ready to move into homes, sell faster on the average to owner occupied buyers than homes that are sold as/is.  (Unless it is investment targeted fixer upper priced homes).

Be savvy, watch the market trends for your area. Chat with your agent monthly about what the market is doing.  Change doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing if you are watching it and intune with it.

Karen Hoff, Historic & Distinctive Homes  visit my website at KarenHoff.com.

Change and Why it is Important

When we start out to make our life better, smarter, healthier, deeper, we have to look inside to see what that truly is.  Life can take many turns over the years and sometimes while we are living our life we forget the things that keep us healthy like proper diet, exercise, mental stimulation and successful relationships.

Over the last two years I have been keeping my diet in check, and the reward is 103 pounds lighter so far.  Recently in the last four months I have also started working out at 50 Forward with their Silver Sneakers program.  A series of low impact exercising to get the blood pumping and the body moving.

We recently adopted a three month old kitten who was abandoned by her mother at a house I manage for rental.  She is a sweetie and a good stress reliever for me.

If you are interested in making positive changes in your life I recommend you make a list.  Do you want to eat better? Live smarter or lower stress? Decide what you want to achieve and put those goals down on paper or your virtual notepad. Then research how to make them happen.  Sometimes budget or just life will prevent you from starting or completing them on a timetable you would like. But remember my husband’s favorite saying, “There are no unrealistic goals, just unrealistic timetables”.

In my walk to make my life better and healthier I have started back to University as of last month.  I was halfway to my degree originally and I have decided this was the time. Tennessee offers all kinds of incentive programs for adults going back to University and I was able to qualify for several educational Grants to offset my cost.  It has been very exciting so far and I was able to go back to my original School, Trevecca Nazarene University. Trevecca offers a 100% on line adult education program for people like myself who want to finish what we started.   Wish me luck!

A work in progress Karen Wilson Hoff.. waves to family and friends..

Delta Piedmont Style Blues Mixes

I have a lovely set I do on Monday Nights in Second Life called the Delta Piedmont Style Blues Mixes… I sit down and sift thru the songs of Charley Patton, Robert Johnson, Skip James and more to put together an authentic mix of tunes that show us the foundation that all blues and rock started from.

What is Piedmont and Delta Blues you might ask?

From Wikipedia, Piedmont blues (also known as East Coast, or Southeastern blues) refers primarily to a guitar style, the Piedmont fingerstyle, which is characterized by a fingerpicking approach in which a regular, alternating thumb bass string rhythmic pattern[1] supports a syncopated melody using the treble strings generally picked with the fore-finger, occasionally others.[2] The result is comparable in sound to ragtime or stride piano styles.

Robert Johnson

From Wikipedia, Delta Blues is one of the earliest-known styles of blues music. It originated in the Mississippi Delta, a region of the United States stretching from Memphis, Tennessee, in the north to Vicksburg, Mississippi, in the south and from Helena, Arkansas, in the west to the Yazoo River in the east. The Mississippi Delta is famous for its fertile soil and for its poverty. Delta blues is regarded as a regional variant of country bluesGuitar and harmonica are its dominant instruments; slide guitar (usually played on a steel guitar) is a hallmark of the style. Vocal styles in Delta blues.

Here is my Mix of Delta and Piedmont Blues by Original and Cover Artist.. If you enjoy the mix please comment on my blog.. Thanks

  1. Mississippi Fred McDowell – Levee Camp Blues
  2. Eric Clapton – Malted Milk
  3. Peter Green – Drunken Hearted Man
  4. Bonnie Raitt – Love in Vain
  5. Skip James – Everybody’s Leaving Here
  6. Buddy Guy – Louise Mcghee
  7. Bob Long – Dead Shrimp Blues
  8. Son House – Death Letter Blues
  9. Rory Block – Downhearted Blues
  10. Muddy Waters – Kind Hearted Woman
  11. Guy Davis – Dust My Broom
  12. Mick Martin – Broke Down Engine
  13. Brownie Mcghee – Betty and Dupree
  14. Eilen Jewell – Nothing in Rambling
  15. Corey Harris and Keb Mo – Sweet Home Chicago
  16. John Mooney – Grinnin’ in your Face
  17. Robert Johnson – Phonograph Blues
  18. Son House – Preachin Blues
  19. Peter Green – I’m A Steady Rollin Man
  20. Eric Clapton – From Four until Late
  21. Bob Long – Little Queen of Spades
  22. Forrest City Joe – Stop Breaking Down
  23. Skip James – Catfish Blues
  24. Robert Johnson – Honeymoon Blues
  25. Ry Cooder – President Kennedy
  26. Muddy Waters – Walking Blues
  27. John Mooney – Pearline
  28. Bill Ellis, Eleanor Ellis – John The Revelator
  29. Forrest City Joe – Levee Camp Reminiscence
  30. Alvin Youngblood Hart – Motherless Child
  31. Sleepy John Estes – Government Money
  32. Rory Block – Shetland Pony Blues
  33. Moreland & Arbuckle – Shake it and Break it
  34. Dan Phelps – Pony Blues
  35. Muddy Waters – Mississippi Delta Blues
  36. Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee – Baby I knocked on your Door
  37. Tommy McClennan – You Can’t Ready my Mind
  38. Rory Block – Low Down Dirty Dog Blues
  39. Cephas & Wiggins – Special Rider
  40. Skip James – Look Down the Road
  41. Pink Anderson – I got a Woman ‘Cross Town
  42. Floyd ‘Dipper Boy’ Council – Working Man Blues

Pink anderson album

Weight Loss Progress

Well I have gone from 267 pounds to 164 as of today.  That is a total of 103 pound loss. I only have 14 more pounds to go to reach my goal weight of 150.  I am still primarily counting my calories.

I want to point out, if you spend two years counting calories and being successful, it really is about good food choices.  If I eat less fats, sugars and consume more lean meats and vegetables I feel better and I lose more weight.  But keeping it about calories lets me occasionally eat bad things in small amounts and stay on track.  That is important around the holiday season where I make a lot of fancy deserts and casseroles.

My weight loss tip of the day is this, write everything down that you put in your mouth or log it into an app.  If you do this faithfully, it won’t take long to know what you need to work on the most.  Do you binge late at night in front of the TV? Or mid day at work in front of your computer?  You will soon figure out your weaknesses and find things to fix them with.

Keep healthy snacks in the house; low calorie and satisfying foods that help battle the snack attach mode we all get into sometime.  I found I really liked celery sticks with  a teaspoon of peanut butter late night when I occasionally got hungry.  If I really had to have sugar, smarties rolls of candy are 20 calories each, so a couple of rolls made me think I was cheating, and gave me a little sugar rush.  Mandarin oranges are great at only 35-40 calories and taste great by themselves or on a salad.

Now that I am down to a more energy mode size, I started three months ago to work out with my husband and mother in law. (They started a program called Silver Sneakers for therapy with their health issues. I found it great for my toning up).  exercise2

The place we work out at is called Fifty Forward and it is primarily for people fifty years or older to work out and socialize.  I have really enjoyed it for my diet health and my husband and mother in laws rehab health wise has been most helpful too.

100 pounds lighter Karen HoffGood luck with your weight and health goals  I will keep you posted on my progress.

More Thoughts on Weight Loss

It is now November, and I have lost a total of 89 pounds. Only 29 more to go.

Another good tip of the day for everyone.  Leftovers are a great salad topping.  I love to put on supper veggies or main course with my lettuce with my favorite dressing.  Always keep dressings down to one or two teaspoons.  If you are at a Restaraunt, have the dressing on the side so you can control how much you eat.  Dressings are usually made with oil or mayonnaise.  (Lots of fat and calories).  I keep my meat size to 2-4 oz. depending on the meat.

V-8 Juice is a great filler if you get a little hungry and it is very healthy too.  4 oz. of V-8 is only 25 skinny calories.  I love the spicy kind.  Another tip use V-8 instead of regular tomato juice in your favorite soups and stews.  Gives an added smack of flavor.

Healthy does not mean bland.  Use lots of your favorite herbs, play around with fusion food. Mixing your favorite flavors.  I love Indian and Japanese food, so I often mix them together. Those flavors work together surprising well.

Fresh is great for a diet.  So many fresh vegetables cook up fast in the oven roasting or stir try on top of the stove.  20-30 minutes many times or less. Poof Food.



The Path to Healthier Living

Ok, who hasn’t started dozens of weight loss programs, goals that didn’t quite get there, and wish they had a plan that worked?  Probably a vast majority of us have.

I decided in February of 2017 that I was the biggest I ever wanted to  ever be and it was time to get control of my weight.

I had an account at  https://www.sparkpeople.com/ that I had just ignored for a while and decided to take control of my diet.  The program helped me find out what calories I needed to stay under and how long it would take to reach my goal.  I decided to set a goal of 150 pounds, slightly larger than I was when I got married.

The pictures above was put together July 2018, at that time I had lost 80 Pounds.  I am writing this Blog second week of September, I am now down to 181 pounds, so I have now lost a total of 86 pounds. only 31 more pounds to go to reach my goal weight.

I started this diet in a size 24 jeans, last weekend I bought three pairs of size 14 Skinny jeans.

  1. First thing that is very important is to write down everything you eat and the portion size.  Since I had a defined calorie count to stay under, I would go to the internet and define how many calories my meal was.  By keeping my portions down in size, I could eat pretty much anything I wanted, but the calories determined the size of the meal.  SparkPeople has an electronic food and calorie tracker but I am a little old fashion and write it all down on a legal pad.
  2. Second thing I do is weight myself every day.  That tells me a couple of things. First, did the meals I ate yesterday help or hinder my progress?  Should I eat normally today or maybe a little lighter? Second, when I did drop a pound I could track it and write it down.  I try to weigh myself first thing in the morning when I first wake up.
  3. Plate size is important, try and eat your meals on a pie or dessert plate. (Small).  The smaller the plate, the smaller the portion.  Psychologically a full plate makes you think you are getting a lot of food.  I always try and eat on the plate on the left.20180719_122951
  4. I try and keep my portions small for several reasons, the most important is  I am trying to shrink my stomach so I want less food to feel satisfied.  People spend thousands of dollars to have stomach surgery so a little food goes a long way. I figured I could do the same thing and save the money on surgery by fooling my stomach into shrinking.

In the beginning I would get really hungry at meal times (still do sometimes).. so I would eat my small portion and wait, drink two big glasses or more of water and wait some more.  If after 20 – 30 minutes I am still not feeling satisfied or like I have had enough to eat, I find a healthy snack.  Celery stick, carrot stick, grapes, are great low calorie snack foods and only cost a tiny bit of calories. Again, portion is the key, two sticks, five or six grapes at a time, then drink more water and wait.  One of the keys is waiting for the food to settle in your stomach.  You would be surprised how many times you are actually done, but habit makes you eat.

Most of the meals I cook now, I add calorie friendly vegetables with it. So if I need something extra, I can have a couple more ounces of carrots, green beans, brussel sprouts, etc. and not hurt the total calories for the day.  I recommend you write down your favorite foods first, and find out how many calories they have.  that will help you plan how much of your favorites you can eat.

I weigh or measure all of my food if I can. If I am out I try to determine the calories of a meal by googling it with my phone. Some Restaurants now have their calories right on the menu. That is so helpful, I can modify how much of something I eat  depending on the total calories of the dish. Example, an 8 oz. burger might be 800 calories.  100 calories per oz.  Cut off two or three oz. size  and package the rest for later.  Once you know how many calories a dish has, you can determine how much of it you are going to eat.

Don’t deny yourself a little desert, just make it “Little”.  I was baking up a storm on this diet. Pies, cakes, cookies. I let my family eat the bulk of it.  But if I wanted pie, I cut 1 oz. of pie.  Bite of cookie, 1 oz. of cake.. You get the idea. Candy?  Halloween snack size. Most of the bars are between 70 -85 calories each. Eat one a day, max.  Like nuts?  My husband buys me the 100 calorie snack pack of nuts and dried fruit. Eat only one a day max.  Oz of cheese runs from 70 to 150 calories depending on the type.

It has been a year and a half for me, the SparkPeople website told me it would take close to two years to lose the weight and get down to the size I want to be, so I am very close to my original goal and time tables.  I will post more later on my diet.