Saturday, July 31, 2010

Two dolphins

As she sits on the water of the bay, the heavy fog lies like a blanket on the hills beyond her.
In waves it filters down encasing her with its chilling touch.
She sits adrift on the water like a boat without a rudder - with no winds in her sails.
Helplessly she seeks direction but everywhere she looks all she sees is grey.
Because she has nowhere to go, no way to get there, she thinks back on places she's been and people she's known.
She remembers Harry and Freda and when they were a compass in her life,
a time when they were her true North. She has missed them beyond measure.
She remembers how much he loved the water and how much Freda has been frightened by it.
She remembers how they both loved the fog and the coolness of the Bay a welcome reprieve from the climate of Philly.
She can picture their faces not in black in white but with such vividness it startles her.
She opens her eyes wide and sees on the water the dorsal fins of two dolphins.
There is no doubting these two are a pair.
They swim and dance on the water's surface with grace and a gentle freedom
As their movements mirror each other.
In this huge expanse of water they swim alongside the boat with a mission and a message.
As she watches them she suddenly understands that Harry and Freda are fine, there is no fear, they are happy, they are free.
As the sun breaks through the clouds a gentle breeze fills her sails.
She is carried over the water to even bluer skies and a safe harbor.
She sees the dolphins as they disappear in the distance.
She calls out to the horizon seeking the right words and all she can say is thank you.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Walking , talking, working

Life can come tumbling in with one responsibility after another, all piled high like a huge weight on your chest. Business, friends troubles, family illness, and everything else competes with taking time for you. What has been great about the 3 day is the time I walk to train... is also time for me. And I have tried to keep this a priority even in the midst of these other responsibilities. It hasn't been easy.
But here we are only a couple of months from the 3 day itself, and 2 weeks from Wine Wars and I find myself walking less not more. The past two days, I made a point of changing that.
I had an office meeting in Greenbrae, followed by some paperwork in Mill Valley and a scheduled inspection in San Rafael at 2 pm. I decided in the morning I would walk from Corte Madera to the inspection. I figured it out on the computer to be a walk of around 6 miles. That assumed I would be leaving at no later than 12 noon. I left at 12:20.
When I walk I play music in my head. Different cadences for different speeds. The quickest I the can-can... For this walk I put the can-can on in 78 speed. I took off remembering day 2 of the walk last year and how I tried to speed walk 90% of that day. (I ended up with enormous blisters as a result.) But I knew the shoes were right, and I am a smarter walker now.... By the time I got to San Rafael, I would guess I was walking 3.5 miles per hour. I got to the house early and used the time to clean up.
I carry a pink bandanna with me when I walk, specifically for days like this. I was covered with sweat from the speedy walk, so I dunk the bandanna in the cool water and refreshed myself before the clients and the inspector showed up.

The house we inspected.....

After the inspection I walked to Glenn's office, making a stop at Whole Foods to get dinner stuff.
All in all around 8.5-9 miles. Less than what I had hoped to do (12 miles) but still a good day.
I could walk, challenge myself with the speed and still be a Realtor...

THE next day... Friday

Knowing there was a memorial service later that day, I felt it was imperative that I get in a walk before. So after going into the office early, and getting some work done there, I headed out the door texting Patti on the way to see if she would let me sneak in to say hello.

Patti is a Producer who freelances and does a great job of it. But she, like me as a Realtor, doesn't always have a predictable schedule. She said she would love to join me on the walk, so we headed to Cavallo Point.

As 2nd time walkers we have taken this walk to Cavallo Point many times. But because we haven't been as diligent as we were last year, those walks have been less frequent. Both of us were tired when we arrived at our favorite bridge side stop. We had a great Dungeness Crab BLT and took in the view, before heading back to Sausalito. Along the way we both were on our smart phones working. It takes a little away from the experience of being out there.... but at least you can go! What did we do with those phones?

Total miles 11 for me from my office. 10 for Patti from her house. Ta-da.... I'm getting back in the groove. The day put my head on right for the memorial that followed.

Glenn remarks about how much happier I am when I walk. I can feel that. I get quite grumpy when I don't get out there.

Firetruck on Bridgeway

Steps down to the beach

Lunch at Cavallo
I ma looking for your RSVP to Wine Wars. If you haven't already clicked in a bought your entry ticket, please do so today!

Monday, July 26, 2010

When escaping is the answer...

It's sign of how my life is right now, that these pictures from my weekend are only now making it to the blog. I looked at my schedule, my responsibilities, my "shoulds" and almost didn't go away this weekend. Jill had invited me to join her and a couple of other gals at her family cabin it the Carmel Mountains. I told Glenn I should really go and he informed me... "You have to go."
I don't know if the veins popping out on my forehead or the nail marks on my desk gave him that idea, but of course he was right. The zillion million gazillion things I had piled up were not going to be taken care of even if I stayed. Myriam (my co-worker) was set to leave on Tuesday for two weeks and I would be flying solo, with more work than ever once she left. Glenn knows Cachugua is a "heart" place for me. The kind of a place that takes you back to simpler times, and God knows we all could use that in these stressful days.
So off I went. I threw my sleeping bag, my swimming suit, my walking clothes and a couple of bottles of wine in my car... all the essentials and took off early Saturday, by 7am I hit the road. The sky was full of the grey and misty kind of fog that you need to use your wipers to make it through. It didn't lift until I was climbing the Mountain to Carmel Valley.
I arrived at Syndicate Camp around 9:30am and was in time for breakfast.
Susie Hopper, Jill Lamont and Patti Bott were all there sitting sipping coffee and snacking on pastries form Gayle's in Aptos...
The weekend blew by with a great walk to the dam, and the store. We cruised through the Princess Camp garage sales and were invited by a Reverend to come to services at the store 4pm on Sunday, followed by a Spaghetti dinner.
We sat in the river and watched from crawdads, and fish in the crystal clear water. We talked about life. We talked about Cancer. We played Things. We slept late and ate and drank too much. I felt re-newed at the end of the trip until I drove down into cell range. Immediately there was a pile of business and some of it serious.
My Father had gone into the hospital with clots in his lungs and legs. I struggled to try and get more information, finally talking with him in his hospital room. A part of me felt guilty for having been away. A part of me knew it wouldn't have changed anything if I was around. I felt at once far away and then again closer than ever to my sisters and brother. All of us spread to the wind and too far away to go by to actually see in person how he was doing. They talked about when they would fly out there. I groaned and full of guilt thought of how impossible it seemed for me to get away.
Since then he has improved and hopefully will continue to do so. My calendar will need to make room for a trip perhaps after the 3 day walk. There never seems to be enough time and distance only adds to the problem. I think about what it will be like when Glenn and I are older. I feel certain neither of our daughters will live anywhere near. It makes me feel lonely (even though it will be a long time off when it is of consequence.).
Now I am half way through the week. I have resurrected an escrow, and it will close tomorrow after a one month+ delay. I have put a short sale into escrow. I presented a listing presentation, took Myriam's client out today and showed them all of Marin... then came back to do a walk through (when all I really want to do is WALK).
Now I am off for my mammogram that my busy schedule made me forget last month. As I am hurrying to write this blog entry I remind myself that stress can contribute to Cancer and other illness and I need to find a way to slow down, even if it is to the detriment of business. Two days left of the business week, can I find a time that I can walk? Perhaps tomorrow I will walk to the inspections I have to attend in San Rafael - Or Friday before the Memorial Service I will be attending. Surely at least sometime on Sunday... Saturday we are taking people out to scatter ashes. Yup it is that kind of a week. And so now you know why Glenn said "You have to go to Cachauga...."

Jill in a hammock

Walking down the road....

One the road

In the shade


From the dam

Patti, me and Jill

Cachagua John


Patti and Hopper

Reflection in the river


Things...Patti and Hopper

Thank you Jill for the moments of insanity that will eventually save my sanity.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

No other option?

Suicide. It's so hard for me to understand.

The motto of the 3 day is "Everyone deserves a lifetime." And still there are people because of the overwhelming unhappiness of the moment, decide that don't want a lifetime. They want an end.

This past two weeks two women I know of here in Marin decided to end their lives. They each had children. One had a loving husband. Both had financial troubles and both lost all hope. I suppose one day they looked in the mirror and said "The world will be better without me. My children don't deserve a Mother like me. I have to stop this pain."

I am not going to sermonize that Suicide is selfish. Of course it is. I don't need to mention that the pain of this choice will scar everyone left behind for years. I want to try and see if I can understand that feeling that there is no more options. Because suicide leaves me angry and helpless myself. In my mind there are always other solutions.

I can remember days when I was younger and I felt everything around me was dark. For the life of me I couldn't imagine anything beyond the darkness that held me captive. I felt paralyzed and hopeless. After about 6 months following my Mother's death, I woke up from my self imposed coma and could not see the daylight. I stayed in bed, and slept all day. I couldn't sleep at night. I felt unloved. I thought I was a failure. I couldn't see anything but where I stood at that moment, and it was as if the lights had been turned off in my own life.

I went to a therapist and delved into my childhood. How this should have happened or that shouldn't have happened. He led me around my mind to suggest I should be angry at my Mother, despise my Father until after about 2 months, I was tired of him. I was watching a talk show one day and there was Orson Bean. (You young people dont know who I am talking about, but the older people do). Orson had suffered from depression. He said something I have always remembered.

In depression you are standing in the corner, and all you can see is the corner. You have no idea of where to go because as you face that way there are no options, there is just the corner. But if you turn around there are limitless possibilities. Then all it takes is one step to get out of that dark place that held you.

These days I get down once in a while, just like everyone. I don't know if surviving Cancer plays a part or not, but I haven't ever felt in the corner since. I know that life is a gift. I also know it doesn't stay the same, it changes. There are challenges. There are disappointments. There will be tears. But there also will be days when you are soaring without effort, when you are surprised and delighted, when the only tears are there from laughing too much. You can't have one without the other. You never know the sweetness of sugar if you haven't sucked a lemon or two.

Glenn and I talked about these recent deaths and he said it was hard for him to imagine. "Haven't you ever felt that if the worse ever came you still had the option of getting in a car a driving away and starting over?" I told him there have been times when I have thought what would I do if we lost the house, if I lost my heart and I picture Tonga. I picture running to a place that made me feel like cold is cold and hot is hot and people love with all their hearts. A place where I would love to find a way to be of service. If I lost everything I would go to a place that values life not things, because when all is said and done, I am rich in these.

Glenn decided we could live on a boat. I would go with him anywhere.

So.... today I am off to live life. I am going to Cachagua to spend a couple of days. The Camel Mountains where I have spent so many weekends over the years. I will be floating in the river, sipping wine and enjoying my friends. Life is what you make it. I am going to continue to make it great.

Everyone deserves a lifetime. Don't waste yours.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A walk before a BUSY week.....

The bridge stands at the entrance to a bay, that brings cooling air to the BIG Valley of California. The temperatures may be in the high 90s in Sacramento and that heat causes the cold sea air to be drawn in, via fog and wind. Summer as you may guess, is the windiest and foggiest time in the SF Bay Area. Those of us in Southern Marin feel this free air conditioning more than most.

When choosing a day to cross the bridge, factoring the wind and fog is a part of the decision. As you have seen in past posts, there are days when you could walk across the GG Bridge and never bother holding your hat, the sun so bright the winds so light, it defies the stereotype. But, in summer, it is even more difficult. Those days are fewer and often will not coincide with your own schedule. So it was in full knowledge that the crossing would be breezy Patti and I took off from Sausalito dressed in layers and ready for anything!

I wore my pink windbreaker and Patti her pink puffy. Both of us had long sleeve shirts on over tank tops and hands ready to grab our hats in case of a stiff breeze.

We had our NEW shoes on. Bright white and ready for miles of training.

Some critters are not well enough prepared to cross the bridge.... Ode to the dead seagull....

The bridge was crowded with tourists and walkers and thank goodness, the bikes were on the opposite side. BUSY... which leads to dodging, and weaving and "Excuse me-s."

Wind blown....

Hands on hats.....

At Crissy Field the crowds were there.... in force. Bundled up...But we were ready to get down to the long sleeves and...

A stop at the warming hut. The girl in white was French and she and her hairless legged boyfriend had matching hats.

Down to the St Francis and the skies were clearing....

On this walk we saw two different wedding parties.

At Aquatic Park this group of seniors were watching the action.

I took Patti up to meet Sonia who made a necklace I bought on another walk. Patti bought her own and I got a couple of bracelets. I like this woman. She is set up below Ghiradelli Square. Go by and see her. She is very appreciative of the business.

The cable car turn around....

This walk is fun because you can play like a tourist. You can dance down the Embarcadero and have people yell at you "Shake it baby!"

The one think Patti said was off limits was Segways. "We are never doing that!" she said.

But trying on silly pink hats... well that is fair game...

This picture is plain scary!
I look like a rat in a pig hat.

We walked around the older part of Fisherman's wharf...

Where Scoma's "fish drop" is.

I introduced Patti to the Fisherman and Mariners Chapel.

The door was looked but I took a picture through the window of the stained glass window, donated by the Woman's Propeller league.

I also showed her where I would like to take a boat trip. To Le Mar the Peruvian restaurant that has a boat dock.

Then there we are in the Ferry Building.

Patti was ty- ty.....

And here is why we are walking....
Are we there yet?

It's the name of our team. It's a question that has an answer. The answer is no.

We are not where, woman can live their lives without the fear of Cancer. We are not in a world where a child will not lose a mother or grandmother to this thief. We do not live in a world where you can wake up and know we have done enough to find a cure.

We do live in a world where people can and do make a difference.
Patti and I are walking examples of that.

We are both survivors. We are both warriors. We both will never never never give up until we reach a place where we can say.... Are we there yet? You're damned straight we are!

Thank you so much Sandy for the beautiful necklaces. This is Patti's charm. I proudly worn my necklace on this walk as I will on the rest of my training and as I will during the walk.

Your gift touched us both and helped us walk a little stronger today.

Another creation by Sandy will be for auction at Wine Wars...
Come and out bid me , I dare you.

Reunion Meeting in Portola Valley

The Alpine Inn sit along Alpine Road in Portola Valley. It seems as if it is a favorite meeting spot for groups. Our 1971 LAHS reunion committee had a meeting there yesterday to keep our party plans on track.

It does the heart good to see familiar faces, (albeit morphed by time). There is a commonality of where you have come from , the people you know in common, the experiences we each have had, that adds a richness to these relationships that brand new acquaintances need years to match.

I ran off to this meeting without my camera and like Blanche DuBois, I am going to have to rely on the kindness of "others", to get some to post. The only photo I took yesterday was one of the Inn. You know... I supposed that was a good thing in a way, because I was able to talk more and be surprised by seeing some people who were not supposed to even be there.

While we were meeting a cute girl came up bubbling over with enthusiasm. "I know you" she said "you went to Los Altos High School. You guys were my heroes." She went on to say her name was Stacey Houston and she was there with Greg Lyons. Now, you have to understand, Greg is one of the Lyons brothers. The Lyons lived in our neighborhood around Cypress Drive. There was Ladd and Greg and Richie. Their parents were Dick and Ida. In our neighborhood we all were close. Richie was my brother Ken's age. Ladd was my age and Greg was in between. I found out they all (except Ladd) were there to celebrate Ida' s 83rd Birthday. It was great too see them. I never asked Greg what he does for a living, but someone told me Richie is now the Dean of the Haas Business School at UC Berkeley. I said that is so hard to believe when my strongest memories were of him causing trouble with his brothers and his perpetually runny snotty nose. He was the epitome of the snotty nosed kid. He also played baseball with my brother. He remembered the pitching mound my father built for Ken in our back yard. I bought them a pitcher of beer, and when Roxie send me her picture of us... I will post it back here.

Back at the reunion table we caught up on what everyone was doing. We ran down the list of "lost" knights to see who might still be findable. I presented my findings about the catering for the event. We shared so stories of "back when." We drank some beer, while sitting at picnic tables next to a creek under California Oaks. It was a warm and productive day.

We all are looking forward to our next meeting in November. What a fun day! The reunion will end up to be the best yet!