The Ransom-McKenzie Team

Riverside’s Levitated Mass Connection

As we mentioned in our post last week discussing Riverside’s quality of life, we have a rich connection to the arts in Riverside.  This connection extends out to our surrounding cities as well.  Southern California in general is a mecca for artists, and we’re withing driving distance to the hub of arts in both Los Angeles and Orange County.

This past weekend Charlotte’s family took their exchange student into LA to view the sights.  This is something we don’t often do, even though we’re so close to the “City of Angels”.  One of the destinations on the trip was to see the recently installed exhibit Levitated Mass at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. (LACMA)  This piece had a particular interest to us since the core of the installation, a giant boulder, came from the Riverside area.  Connie and Roger also journeyed into LA to see the exhibit after seeing Charlotte’s postings on Face Book so it became a virtual Team experience!

Levitated Mass from the “top”

The story of the boulder’s journey from The Quarry in Jurupa Valley to it’s new home on exhibit at LACMA is an amazing one.  You may have seen the news last spring when the Boulder was moved under the cover of darkness from Riverside to Los Angeles.  However, the real vision for the installation and the search for the perfectly shaped boulder began years before.  Artist Michael Heizer first conceived of the idea in 1969.  Heizer, who is known for oversize, site specific sculptures, tried his first version of this piece to no avail.  The boulder chosen at that time broke the crane being used to move it and the vision was left incomplete.  Since that time and after years of searching and study the perfect rock, a 340 ton piece of granite, was located here in Riverside!

Back to March 2012 and the boulder’s 11 night journey from the Quarry in Riverside to LACMA.  Connie went out to see the giant rock as it rested during the day on one of the legs of it’s journey.  The logistics of getting it to LA were quite extensive.  People came out in droves just to see the spectacle of a 340 ton boulder being moved through the city streets and freeways.  Just to give you an idea as to the size of this piece, here is a picture of the truck it took to get the boulder from point A to point B.

Moving the Monolith

While the boulder, or monolith as LACMA has been calling it,  is one component of the artwork, the 456-foot-long slot beneath it and the surrounding environment complete the entire Levitated Mass installation.  According to the artist and LACMA the installation ” speaks to the expanse of art history, from ancient traditions of creating artworks from megalithic stone, to modern forms of abstract geometries and cutting-edge feats of engineering.”

Looking up from the underside of the monolith.

One of the most remarkable things about this piece is being able to walk under the boulder as you walk along the trench.  It is a very awe inspiring perspective.

Overall, a visit to Los Angeles and LACMA is a great adventure.  If you have children, there is a great program at the museum where children under 18 get in free, and they can bring an adult “guest” in with them for free!  The Levitated Mass is not the only exhibit there that children will enjoy, there are plenty of activities to keep everyone in the family occupied.

The entire installation encompasses much more than just Riverside’s boulder.

For those of you looking for more information regarding the Levitated Mass installation, check out this time elapsed video of the installation site construction. Time Lapse Video Of Levitated Mass Construction


Bountiful Gardens

Here in Riverside, we live in a gardening mecca.  Year round vegetable gardens are one of the joys avid gardeners appreciate here in our temperate climate. This time of year especially, many gardens are overflowing with produce.  So much so that we often struggle with what to do with the fruits of our labor.  Tomatoes, strawberries, peppers and squash varietals are abundant in every garden right now.

When chatting with one of our neighbors this past weekend, after she brought over a full grocery bag of patty pan squash, she commented that she had so much she was having a hard time keeping up and did not know what to do with it all.  She was tired of sliced, sauteed patty pan.  Well, we have a great recipe for that or any type of squash.  The great thing about this recipe is that it can be changed up to suit whatever taste you’re craving at the moment.

Starting with fresh, homegrown ingredients is always a joy!

Zucchini Cakes

These Zucchini (or any other squash) cakes are just like crab cakes, only we’re using grated squash instead of crab meat.  Here are the basic ingredients:

Grated Zucchini (or other summer squash)                 Fresh Chopped Herbs
Fresh Eggs                                                                                   Cayenne Pepper (to taste)
Panko Bread Crumbs                                                              Parmesan Cheese

The amounts of these ingredients in your recipe will vary depending on how much squash you have.  You can choose whatever herbs you have growing in your garden.  Basil, Sage, Dill, Tarragon….whatever you’re in the mood for.  The same goes for the cheese.  We’ve used Mexican Cheese, Feta, Romano….whatever sounds good.

Zucchini is a very watery vegetable, so you will need to salt the grated squash and put it in a colander to drain for about 30 minutes to an hour.  After the squash has rested, rise it out in the colander and squeeze the grated zucchini out in  a kitchen towel.

Mix the ingredients together in a large bowl. A glass of wine helps too!

Once the ingredients are mixed together, you should have a slightly mushy consistency.  They should have enough bread crumbs and egg to hold them together on the grill.

Browning up the zucchini cakes on a cast iron grill.

We hope you enjoy this summer treat!  The zucchini cakes can be served as the main entree with a side salad, or can be dished up along with your favorite grilled meat.  One of our favorite options is fresh sockeye salmon!


Great News Riverside!

As we mentioned in our posts on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, the real estate market in Riverside is looking up.  We’ve seen increases in confidence, pricing, and lending over the past few months.

As if to validate our assertions, the NAR reports came out at the end of the week stating that we were right.  Well, OK, they did not name the Ransom-McKenzie Team directly, but they did confirm what we have been seeing in the market place.  As artists, we are very visual people and we know that some of our readers must be too, so here is a great visual to wrap up this week’s good news.

We’re looking forward to more good news in the coming months!

International Connections

The city of Riverside has had International Connections ever since we established our first sister city relationship with Sendai, Japan over 60 years ago.  Riverside has been a leader in Sister City programs ever since.

The Sister City Sign was placed in front of White Park during the Sister Cities International Conference which Riverside hosted in October of 2011.

We have a total of eight sister cities currently.  They are:

  • Sendai, Japan (1957)
  • Cuautla, Mexico (1968)
  • Ensenada, Mexico (1976)
  • Jiangmen, People’s Republic of China (1997)
  • Gangnam, Republic of Korea (1998)
  • Hyderabad, India (2000)
  • Obuasi, Ghana (2008)
  • Erlangen, Germany (2011)

The International Relations Council of Riverside coordinates and works with our sister cities to plan exchanges of people, technology, information and talent.  In 2010 the committee created a brochure to let cities know of all the features our City has to offer which is also a great resource for new residents and visitors to the city.

This year Charlotte’s son participated in a sister city exchange program with our sister city, Erlangen.  Currently her family is also hosting a student from Erlangen.  This is the third year we have had students travel from Erlangen for an exchange program, and this year is by far the largest.  We have 15 German students who all arrived to our fair city last night. They are looking forward to exploring Riverside and Southern California, as well as attending school at North, Poly and King High Schools once school starts at the end of the month.

For more information on Riverside’s International Relations Council, visit the City’s Webpage here.   If you’re interested in hosting a foreign student, be sure to let us know!  We’re excited about this wonderful opportunity for all of our students on both sides of the exchange.

Riverside’s Quality of Life

We have lived in Riverside for over 40 years.  Over this time span, the City has gone through multiple metamorphoses, both good and bad.  We’ve all seen the most recent one happening over the past decade.  With venues such as the newly renovated Fox Performing Arts Center and the Culver Center of the Arts which have both contributed greatly to the revival of performing and visual arts in town, Riverside is beginning to get noticed.  We have thousands of performers and hundreds of arts organizations in our region that could benefit from a stronger local participation in the arts.

The Culver Center of the Arts is an amazing venue right in the heart of Downtown

The City of Arts & Innovation

The City’s tagline has been in use for 3 years now and we’re beginning to see the benefits of living in the City of Arts & Innovation. In the past, Riverside has been a mecca for home buyers who came here solely for the affordable homes.  When compared to LA or Orange County, we were always the more affordable option. But there is a new force driving the economic development of Riverside and the Inland Empire as a whole these days.  The region seems poised for a lot of exciting changes and developments, all of which are sure to enhance our quality of life.

It is not just a question of supporting the arts, it boils down to a question of supporting the quality of life here in the Inland Empire.  Mayor Loveridge credits the City’s strong support for the arts as a key boost and energy driver for our City’s Renaissance efforts as we create a city that is the place to be not just because of affordable housing, but because we have a quality of life which makes it enjoyable to be here.

We couldn’t agree more. Arts & culture, education, and entertainment are key reasons to love Riverside.  We currently have a sustainable network of art, music, entertainment and education.  With the positive things going on in Riverside, it is a wonderful place to call home.  The California Arts Council is taking notice, The Culver Center of the Arts is continuing to produce innovative arts projects, The Fox Performing Arts Center is bringing a variety of performers to town, and the Universities are growing and expanding, including plans for UCR’s Medical School.  All of these efforts will continue to enhance our quality of life here in the City of Arts and Innovation.

How is your quality of life in Riverside?  We’re curious to hear what your favorite things to do in town are.  Leave us a comment and tell us what you enjoy. Whether it is the fabulous parks, great outdoor spaces and places, or the art scene, we would love to hear from you about your choice Riverside activity. Keep the conversations going!  Join our Blog Riverside! and encourage others to as well.

Finding Your New Home

The image below was created by the California Association of Realtors (CAR) based on data they collect from buyers, sellers and agents.  Even though it is a Statewide picture of the real estate market, we thought it was a very pertinent visual about what the Real Estate market is looking like in Riverside and the Inland Empire these days.  The number we like the best is the one which states that 80% of buyers today have found their new home using a Real Estate Agent!

The internet is a fabulous tool for home buyers who want to know what is out there in the market place.  However,  in today’s market, the home you find on the internet has a likely chance of being sold by the time you see it online and try to get an appointment to see the property.  It is not that sites such as Redfin,, and Zillow are slow to get the information.  The fact is, those sites are directly linked to our MLS sites making them quite accurate.  But the reality is that our inventory of homes to sell is very low right now.  This means that  homes that are priced right, and are ready to sell often have multiple offers only hours after being listed.  (Sometimes even before they are showing up online.)  As a home buyer, you’re going to be better off having an agent help you with the process of finding your new home.  Not only will their knowledge and expertise be invaluable in negotiating you into a contract, but they will also be able to give you a heads up when potential homes come on the market.

We also found the fact that buyers are looking at fewer homes before they find their “dream house” these days to be an interesting statistic.  Part of that is because it is easier to narrow down the prospects through internet searches which provide details and pictures of the listings available.  But a greater factor is that there are not very many homes on the market right now.  The good news in this scenario is that, thanks to the laws of supply and demand, home prices are going up.  Market data from CAR shows that in June of 2012 our median sales price for existing homes was $219,850.  This figure is 8.3% higher than June 2011’s median price of $202,910.  Great news for sellers!

When we’re out and about in Riverside talking to friends, clients, and neighbors we’re finding that people are surprised to hear this information.  That’s why we’re putting it out there.  The real estate market in Riverside is busy right now!  Give us a call if you would like more information, or send us a comment to keep the discussion going.

Real Estate in Riverside

Homes ARE Selling!

We’re excited about where the real estate market is headed in Riverside.  Over the past 6 months or so, we have seen activity in the marketplace soar.   There is a sense of optimism that we are seeing from both our buyers and sellers.
With interest rates at an all time low, it is a fabulous time to buy.  However, on the flip side, with inventory so low, it is also a great time to sell your home quickly. Check out this Wall Street Journal article which points out that “if you can buy a home today, you can save the difference it would cost you to rent even if you stay in the home just five years.”

Homes, such as this listing we had on Hawarden,  are selling before being public on the MLS.

Here in Riverside, well priced homes are experiencing multiple offers, and the sellers are feeling confident that their home will bring in a fair market value.  Prices have been creeping up in many neighborhoods in town which is very exciting.  Most of the business is in the mid 200 to high 300 thousand dollar range, but we’re also starting to see things move in the higher price ranges as well.  Even jumbo loans have historically low interest rates! We’ve also had sales recently from homes that we listed which sold before ever being entered into the MLS!

If you have friends, family or work associates who are looking to make a change or need real estate advice, be sure to have them call the Ransom-McKenzie Team.  We encourage you to post your questions right here on our blog for a fun, interactive conversation about our business.  Let’s get the conversations started!