Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tidal thoughts

The view this morning

I left home this morning after catching up with some assorted email, knowing the blue skies outside may not last very long. Not wanting to tempt fate by waiting, I was out the door by 8:45. I had taken a look at the projected tides, because, especially in winter these can hamper all your resolve to get from here to there.

Our house - with BLUE sky

Tam Valley - fog or mist?

The trail to the office

Duck in coyote creek

The new office being on the water is wonderful in 98% of the way, except on weeks like these where the road has been blocked to avoid submerged cars.

Dipsea and coyote creek

Hwy 1 and 101 - this morning

As someone who works in the office building smack dab in the middle of the road block, you can occasionally talk the Cal Trans fellow into letting you slip through. I had no idea what I would face on foot.

In past posts you have seen this route before, down from Marinview, down along the creek, under the Hiway and then to the Bike path to the office. That worked until the under the hiway part. The passageway was flooded and only an egret would be able to make their way from that point to the office...unless.... you walk along the hiway.
Almost to the office

I have a slight fear of some driver talking on the phone while they plow into me. But I had on my pink gloves which I used to my advantage, waving in warning as I walked the 20 inch wide side of the road.... "Woman walking here! Watch out!" Luckily.... no one hit me and I made it to the office.

The view out my office window at high tide

Seaplane at my office

It was deserted for sure. Only two cars in the entire parking lot (which is huge). After making a short stop to email a friend about a dog.... I headed back out on the bike trail.

A wet bike path...

Birds who love water

Canoes on Richardson Bay

The Redwoods retirement home

The trail was barely above water, in fact there was one spot where there was no conceivable way to go through without getting the shoes wet... which I did. I made my turn for town at Mill Creek Meadows (which by the way my associate Myriam and I will be having a new listing in...)

Tam High

As I made my way up Miller Avenue I heard a familiar voice. Beth Brody had just pulled into her Chiropractors office. Beth is a fellow Realtor at Alain Pinel with me, previously with us in Pacific Union. Beth has something else in common, she is a Cancer survivor. I love how positive Beth is. She literally glows with optimism. I had her pose for you....

Walking on, I took in the familiar Mill Valley sights as the skies darkened.
Whole Foods

A sign at Mama's Cafe


Dogs Outside Mill Valley Cafe

Almost to the square

Sweetwater was going to move here, but changed their minds....

Kids riding bikes in the square

Dog outside Mill Valley market

Sequoia Theater

El Paseo, soon to be Tyler Florence's new restaurant

Beth had asked if I had my phone with me in case it poured on my walk. I did, but the reason was to check email... not bail out! After all I was prepared with four layers of clothing. But when I did get downtown it did start to sprinkle. I took that as a sign that I needed a lunch break. Toast is a small cafe that has quite a following. They have opened up another location on Novato, but this is their original. It is int he location of the old Dipsea Cafe (which moved long ago). I enjoyed a nice chicken hash before heading back out to start for home.


My great plan of waiting until the sprinkles subsided was blown entirely as the drops kept coming.
This used to be a mortuary.... now....

Honestly it wasn't too bad though except for the near miss of slipping on a manhole cover... water, and those, added to walking shoes don't quite work. It was a light rain by the time reached Whole Foods and I popped in only long enough to call myself a sissy.
As I marched on a passed a few brave souls, including one tourist with that tell tale map mounted on his bike. He wanted to know where Old Mill Park was, luckily for him he was going the right way. If I had to explain more than keep going, I think he and I would have been lost.
When I reached the bike path it seemed the ride was retreating. It was still pretty high, but wasn't covering the path. Reed and grasses were re-appearing and the birds were delighted with the respite they had gotten from all this rain. I had high hopes that maybe I could make it all the way home, but once I reached my cut off, it was obviously the path there was still underwater. I headed back to the office instead, called Glenn and asked for a ride home.
"What about the road block?" he asked.
"Heck they don't mean that for you! just go through it!"
As I waited for my ride I took a look out my window. The Great Blue Herons were holding court. How in the world could I be so lucky as to look at this while I work? I ask you.

So much of life is about choices. Choosing to go around the road blocks we find in life. Can you imagine the boring sad day I would have had, if I let the threat of high tides keep me inside.

Before I started this journey, with the 3 day, I was completely stuck. My ideas of what I could do, were limited by one big thing... me. I wake up every morning and feel so grateful to know that I have rediscovered not only the possibilities in my life, but the reality that I can accomplish almost anything. So, I ask you, what is limiting you. Can you this year live your dreams. Can you give yourself the gift of believing in yourself?

It can start as simply as one tiny step out the door. Open the door and see what awaits you.

(Shameless plea here for donations to this effort...3 days, 60 miles to end Breast Cancer. Please click here or on the icon on the side of this page and make a generous donation. There has never been a time when it was more important. THANKS)

PS - Feel free to comment on this blog. It helps to know when people are reading it.

Don't worry if I don't like what you say... I can block it!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


My daughter Allison, who is interning in Peru with the State Department just sent me a link to her new blog. I am so excited to know she is writing. She is my favorite writer bar none. I have been amazed over the years at her style, which can actually take her readers to a point where they can feel what she is feeling. I remember one line she wrote about the Himalayas... "Time bends and blends here like no where else..." When I read that line I felt myself move through the language until I could feel the very nature of the mountains, the people and the moment. I swear I could almost feel the cold breeze on my face.

So needless to say I was so glad to know she has taken out her keyboard and is chronicling her time in Peru. Take a moment to read her blog. You will be, as I know I was inspirado...(inspired).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Finding home

The Canadian Goose stands with his eyes alert
surveying the reedy grasses of the marsh
while his true love scourers for substance.
They have found their home in Marin

The rain has abated and
the skies fill again with gulls
circling in search of a treat .
The ducks swim, heads in the water,
tails in the air, quickly grabbing
minnows as they pass.

The goose thinks back
into the recesses of his genetic memory
to a time when he would have flown further south
Marin was a stopping point only, not a destination,
not home .

But having found bounty and beauty
on the shores of Richardson Bay
He and his family have put down roots.
Their entire migration once thousands of miles
Is now within sight .

Why move when you have found sanctuary?

Come visit me at 100 Shoreline Hwy. #115B - Mill Valley
I may end up like that goose and stay awhile.
Or if you are looking for YOUR Marin sanctuary, I have one for you at 463 Live Oak.
Visit the website and you will see...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

1:56, Hot cocoa, my dog and rain showers

It's 1:56 am and the house is silent except for the sound of an occasional rain shower passing by, but I lay in bed wide awake. I can feel my pulse in every bit of my body from the tips of my fingers, to the small of my back, to the end of my nose. Every bit of me would like to have a nice dream, picturing myself on a boat in a harbor, with the breeze gently stirring the air. But all I can focus on is the beating of my heart and the dull ache in my head. So I get up.

Our sweet boy dog Tucker looks at me and dutifully gets up too, following me upstairs while I make a cup of cocoa. Maybe the cocoa will sooth this restlessness.

Tonight they had the big fundraiser for Haiti on the television. I thought to myself how well the medium is suited for these tragedies and how well they have perfected the delivery. I remember the 911 telethon. It's the same format. Images of the devastation and the human toll are flashed across the screen, while faces of those people the world has idolized sing or speak in appeal for help. At the end, I may donate a little more money than I already have given. At the end I am always left with a sad feeling that I haven't given enough of myself to help.

Perhaps it is because it is January. Perhaps its because thousands of people have died. Perhaps it is because people I have known and loved have died, or that people I know and care for are fighting disease that could one day kill them, but I am left with the feeling I am not doing enough. Am I living this life I have been given well enough. Am I making enough of a difference.

Each of us are given gifts. Some of those gifts are showy and impressive like Jennifer Hudson belting out a song with spiritual zeal, or George Clooney with dreamy eyes and a charming dimple. Most of us are given smaller less noticeable gifts. But each of us have these gifts. What are your gifts and how are you using them.

Life is a circle, I think you have heard that before. There is a symmetry to it that makes sense. A friend said to me that she remembers someone signing off of her radio show by saying, "In a hundred years there will new a whole new set of people." In that idea there is a lot to think about. In a hundred years, what difference will any of this make. A pessimist would say none at all, but I would say it makes a hell of a lot of difference. How we live our lives not only defines us, but it imprints the next generation. How we live our lives now, affects those around us, not just our children, but our friends and their children and their children's children. What we do could even be significant enough to imprint a generation in Haiti, Hallifax, Afghanistan, Chicago, Hirschfeld or China. It matters a lot.

When the air is still and I feel the beating of my heart, I remember I am alive. With that comes a keen sense of responsibility, especially to those who have gone before, especially to those who lived lives of consequence. What am I doing about it. Am I living my life like it mattered, because it does.

What will I do tomorrow to make this world better. Even if that is just in my little corner of it.

Ok now you can see why I couldn't sleep. That's a lot to be thinking to be engaged in at 2:17 in the morning. So now that I hear my husband awake and both dogs are now sitting at my feet, it may be time for me to try again to go to sleep. After all, tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How's your chi?

All is right with the world.
My fine friend, client and feng shui consultant Amy Lee came to review the year ahead and my new office and guess what? I was right, it's going to be a GREAT year. It will be a year to build relationships and teach and inspire. The office (with the exception of the placement of the desk) is just about as perfect as it gets for me. Now that I have moved the desk it is absolutely perfect in every way.

A lot of feng shui makes logical sense. It is amazing to me that almost always the suggestions go right along with my instincts.

To understand feng shui you should really visit Amy's website. But basically it is the study of the flow of energy in nature and its effect on us human beings. The study includes the placement of natural elements like mountains and water, and how we fit into that picture.

So sitting at my desk now I know, what I felt, there is a good balance of water, and hills. The energy can flow in and out and not be stagnant like the bay itself, changing with the tides. This should keep me in the same state, balanced.

Hey I know some people, maybe even you, don't believe in such things, but often I have seen how consulting with someone who is familiar with feng shui can change the energy of a home to make it sell when it was lingering on the market. I can't say I understand why it seems to work, but I have seen it work more than once. When Amy bought her home, she looked at dozens of places and brought her compass. She studied them for the energy balance in relation to her, and then when she found it.... it was a marriage made in Feng Shui heaven.

I will take every advantage I can! After talking with Amy, I now know which days this year should be more beneficial than others. (I'll schedule Wine Wars on one of them!) I know when not to go on vacation... too bad that is when we planned on taking our vacation... I know my family will be happy and I don't need to worry about my daughters or husband this year. And I know whatever my chart says, ultimately I do control my own destiny. So I will go on vacation and enjoy it, and I will walk but I will remember to stretch, because on the topic of walking... Amy warns me I need to be careful of my joints.

Now on that note, I will pack it up and head on home before the skies open up and swallow me whole. It's been wild out there. There is, after all, such a thing as too much water!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Rain, rain to walk or not....

It's 7am and the alarm has sounded. The dogs look up at me with half masted eyes wondering if I really meant to jump out of bed in the semi dark. I wobble my way to my cellphone and type a message to Patti, "so...walk? its a little wet". Patti responded "Let's do it before I chicken out." So I up on my warmest walking clothes with a jacket over and met up with her at 8am.

The plan had been to walk to Cavallo for our Sunday breakfast early enough for me to get back for a 1pm open house. The walk to Cavallo and back is 10 miles so it requires a good block of time, especially if you don't want to rush through your latte.
As we headed down the street the mist began to leave my glasses like a frosted glass of beer. As we tend to do on our walks we talk. We talk about work, we talk about our dreams, we talk about life. And yes, chances are if you are not there... we may talk about you! It a wonderful time that helps to minimize any tight muscles or inclement weather. Before you know it there you are...sitting down in a world class restaurant, sampling some wonderful breakfast muffin while the frothy latte warms you from the inside out.

I love these walks.

When I envision what I want in life it is more of this. More time. More time to enjoy the beautiful place we live and the wonderful people I call friends. I smile when I think about the new year as I smiled when I got back, dressed for my open house and headed off. They say you can't have it all... but it you make it important enough, you an get awfully darn close. I can have mornings like this with my dear friend and still hold an open house on a fine Greenbrae home ...all on a rainy day. Now to make to make it perfect... let's find a buyer to buy that great house.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Into the storm

Making the most of the temperate weather of the moment, in advance of a storm, birds will fly inland, stopping along the way to feed. They are preparing themselves for the lack of ideal dining conditions in the days ahead. From my office I noticed more shorebirds than usual busily working the marshland. They moved in a group so as to be sure not to miss any tasty morsel. It's a sign....

When the wind arrives they will hunker down placing their heads into the wind. Their tightly streamlined bodies rippling over their feathers conserving their body heat in the falling temperatures. We should take a lesson from the birds, it is wise to prepare for the storms that may face you...

So it is supposed to rain for a week solid....

The weather reports are all full of dire warning about wave after wave of wet windy weather headed straight to the Bay Area. Flooding is to expected, with nary a minutes reprieve. What's a poor walker to do?

Well, seize the day of course and go out and take a good long walk. And that is just what I did yesterday. I had a couple of meetings (appropriately enough, planning meetings) in the morning, and then I donned my shoes, grabbed a coat along with a couple of extra layers and headed out from the Sausalito Yacht club for the bridge.
The end goal was the Ferry building in SF, hopefully in time to grab a bite and the 4:00 Ferry back to Sausalito. As I walked the cool air pelted my face and I decided to stop at a small touristy shop to buy the little pink knit hat I saw "on sale" for $5.99. The hat is not one I normally would wear. Emblazoned with "San Francisco USA" it does everything buy scream "I'm not from around here." Which of course we know is not the truth since I am after all the "REAL MARIN GAL!" But as I walked I was glad to have it on, warming my ears and keeping my hair from wildly flying about.

This particular walk I have done a number of time now, and if you look back at the blog archives you will see a variety of photos of those walks. This time, alone and a little cold, and certainly a little rusty for a walk of this length, I was determined to take my time and look closely as I walked for new angles, new details I may have missed before.
So take a look at my Cathy heads into the wind, ahead of a storm.

Fireboat off Sausalito waterfront..Maybe they are preparing too?
Breakwater off Bridgeway

No matter what the weather there always seems to be a gull on this statue...

My tourist special

On the bridge, bundled up people

In the background these Aussie's were prepared with their flag

The view is always so much better on the shoulders of your Dad

Walking down the path from the bridge
The bricks were paid for by people who donated in the names of family for posterity

The work has begun for the demolition of Doyle drive. These trees are on the side of the staircase that takes you down to Crissy Field.
Fort Point at the base of the bridge

Me along the Crissy Field beach
The work in progress for the big re-routing of Doyle Drive. Since they are doing so much work over here and the road way will be temporarily taken through this area, word has it the 3-day camp will need to be relocated. This is sad because the venue was breathtaking and the grass very soft.
But I guess there is no stopping it now.
No sir...
Good news for duck and such, they don't have to be relocated.

Nor the egrets.

Nor the Sr. Francis

Nearing the Marina Green...

Looking up Divisadero. Now that's a hill....I remember driving a clutch on it... FUN!
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Another angle of the marina behind the harbormaster

Along the seawall there are benches where people have dedicated the bench to their loved ones. I particularly liked the sentiment on this one... "A man should so live that at the close of every day he can repeat "I have not wasted my day' mZohar

The gate at Fort Mason

The Festival Pavilion.

A reminder about earthquakes. We do live in earthquake country. My prayers to the people of Haiti. Have you donated yet? Maybe this could be the beginning of a long overdo rebuilding of that poor nation. One organization I have always sponsored is Mercy Corps. Hard at work there now, they were there prior to this devastating event. To donate go to MERCY CORPS
Looking over the side of a barrier on the way to Aquatic Park

There is an old building I think it is a fire building that they are set to renovate and earthquake retro fit. The fret work on the eaves of this roof are beautiful.
This is where Van Ness Avenue ends.
Boats hauled out
This artist soul was making sand sculpture. He made one of a turtle that reminded me of one that Katie had made in Tonga. That, like this one will, has long since washed away.
Another man was making sculptures with wood and very hard packed sandballs.
I took the turn to walk down Hyde Street Pier
Fisherman's Wharf

Bodins Bakery

Street performer. It seemed that there were more than usual this trip. Maybe with fewer tourists out, I just could see more. This fellow moved to Michael Jackson music.

There are manypiece of street art along the embarcadero. This one at Pier 39. You can't easily see the colored glass in the same colors as the primroses below.

Here are the water works for the Aquarium. They are very clean... and neat!

Not like this old boat. It looks like it is ready for Captain Ron.

There is a dinner theater along the embarcadero, and I have always loved their huge painted billboard display.

Is it a he or a she????
Ta Da! At the Ferry Building

Reward - Melon AquaFresca

The Ferry "Marin" home...
Then of course once you are home you find other ways to prepare for the storm, like cuddling up with the one you love.
It's a new year and it is time we all prepare to make it a great one. I have done some looking ahead to my personal goal in 2010 and I can thank 2009 as being the year that taught me the importance of balance in my life. I am excited about the future. I am even more excited because I truly believe I can change it for the better. The days ahead will not be without their challenges, nor will they be without their reward. The open we are to this the more likely we are to learn from the challenges and savor our successes.
How about you? What's your future look like? When the weather is rough, will you have your head into the wind so when the conditions are right, you can take flight? Or will you be battered about, with no direction or purpose, a victim of your circumstances?
I have to tell you.... this walking is quite enlighting.... you have to come along.