Archive for January, 2014

A New Experience-Ice Fishing!

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Mark has been telling me how much fun ice fishing is for the past couple of years.  In the winter months he and his buddies get their fishing poles ready, bundle up in cold weather duds, grab the ice hut and beer and head to a local lake or farm pond on a pretty regular basis.   He always comes home in a good mood (maybe it’s partly the beer) bragging about how many fish he caught compared to the other guys.  They tell the story differently, of course.

It’s always sounded like fun and I wanted to try it sometime, but I truly don’t like be to cold and thought that sitting on a frozen lake getting wet fish off a hook would be miserable.  But this past Sunday I decided to give it a try.  The temperature was a balmy 46 degrees, which after the sub-zero temps we’ve had lately felt like a heatwave.  Yes, it was really windy, but the ice hut would block the wind.  So we went.  We went to a local farm pond, parked the truck and put our gear (fishing poles, bucket for the fish, auger, wax worm bait and beer) into the ice hut bottom and pulled it all out onto the ice.  Mark used the auger to drill three holes in the ice.  It was about 15 inches deep.  We set up the ice hut, climbed in, zipped it shut and got the poles out.  I got a lesson in ice fishing…letting out the line, watching for the bobber to pull, setting the hook and reeling one in.  I caught my first fish fairly quickly, within about 5 minutes of putting my first line in the hole.  Pretty exciting!  I caught my second fish shortly after that, then about 10 more within an hour or so.  Mark was catching them too and we had quite a haul when we left 2 hours later.  It was fun!   My feet were the only part of me that got a bit cold at the end of the outing, but otherwise I was comfortable and warm the entire time.  Who knew that I could actually enjoy ice fishing!?  We packed up and came home.

Mark set out to clean the fish and I offered to help.  So he filleted them and I ribbed them.  I think he was surprised that I would actually handle a fish.  Please…I was a girl scout!    We had about 25 fish total, mostly bluegill and a couple of crappie.  Last night we fried some up and had them for dinner.  Delicious!

Just another fun Iowa adventure!  Oh yeah…and I think I caught more than Mark.  🙂

Joining a Book Club

Friday, January 24th, 2014

I have always loved to read and when someone I recently met found out that I was a reader, she asked me to visit her book club.  So I went!

We read “The Shoemaker’s Wife” by Adriana Trigiani.  I tried to read the entire book in the two weeks prior to the first meeting, but didn’t quite finish it.  No matter, I went to the meeting anyway.  We had delicious appetizers, candies, and wine while we visited and discussed the book’s characters, plot and ending.  I loved it!  I enjoyed the connection of fellow book lovers, coupled with the lively conversation and diverse points of view.

I asked if I could become a full-time book club member, and after they sent me out of the room for a vote (not really), they all said I was in.   🙂  Our next book is “Flight Behavior” by Barbara Kingsolver.  I’ve read a few of her books in the past and have enjoyed them all so I’m looking forward to this one.

Are there any other readers out there?


New Updated Website and Blog

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

I’m excited that my website has now been updated to showcase my new home town of Atlantic, Iowa and the community and surrounding areas.   I moved here last September and have made this area my home.  I’ve met so many incredible people and really like the friendly atmosphere here.  Please browse my site and let me know what you think!

If you’ve been following my blog at, I invite you to please add this new site to your favorites to stay up with my blogs.  Just look to the bottom left of this page, type in your email address and click ‘subscribe’.  You’ll get an email notification each time I post a new blog.   I will be posting here from now on.

I’m very excited about starting a real estate career here and have been enjoying developing new connections and friendships.  If you know of anyone who is considering a move, either buying or selling, I would be happy to help them.

Thanks for visiting my site!


What Do the Letters After Your Name Mean?

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Over the years you’ve probably received a few business cards from real estate agents, or have seen their ads in newspapers or online. Most agents who have been in the business for awhile have several letters or acronyms after their names. Have you ever wondered what they mean?

In addition to belonging to organizations such as the National Association of Realtors (NAR), and local organizations like the Iowa Associate of Realtors (IAR) and the West Central Iowa Board of Realtors (WCIBR), real estate agents in Iowa are required to take 36 hours of continuing education classes every 3 years. As part of this education, most agents will acquire certificates or designations relating to the industry.

Some of the most common designations include:

GRI- Graduate Realtor Institute — Developed for members of the National Association of REALTORS® and offered through State REALTOR® Associations, the GRI program includes 90 hours of coursework on topics from marketing and servicing listed properties to real estate law.

CRS- Certified Residential Specialist – Offered by the Council of Residential Specialists, this course requires 60-90 hours of classroom instruction in a variety of real estate topics as well as field experience working with Buyers and Sellers.

ABR- Accredited Buyer’s Representative – Developed by the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Countil (REBAC), this designation involves a 2 day intensive course, as well as one elective class and actual experience with Buyers in the field.

e-PRO- Developed ten years ago by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) the e-PRO® certification program teaches members how to effectively use real estate technology to grow their business and help their clients.

CSP- Certified New Home Sales Professional – Offered by the National Association of Home Builders, this course is designed for specialists in new home sales to increase their knowledge and marketability.

There are others, but this gives you a general idea of the education most experienced agents have. We don’t just get our license and do nothing! We stay educated within our industry with required continuing education classes and designations. We strive to learn more, be a better resource and keep you, our clients, informed.

Julie May, ABR, GRI