Friday, August 23, 2013

Thanking the people who make you smile

This has been an "interesting" year. In business I have always been blessed with the most wonderful clients. People who are a joy to work with, who have become friends, who I have come to cherish. This year we have had our share of "difficult" people. If I focused on these few people, I would have a hard time seeing the special people we have also worked with.. I have worked with all kinds of agents. Agents who make your day and transaction easier, agents who are arrogant and some who are even incompetent. In my life I have had 'friends' who make you feel better about yourself, who look for how they can help you - lift you up - who make you laugh. I have had 'friends' who are takers, negative balls of discontent that are difficult to be around.
This week a very sweet man suddenly died. He was one of those 'good' ones. One of my earliest transactions was with him and as a Real Estate agent he was professional, but he was more than that. He was a problem solver, he was a gentleman. Whenever I saw his name this would be in my mind "I like Randy Redding". So when he joined our company a short while back, I said to myself... I like "Randy Redding" and I smiled. I didn't go out of my way to connect with him. I said hello probably about a month after he joined us. (Shame on me) I would wave hello in coming and going but I never really said much to him.
When our company decided to put the Pink on for the SF 3 day, Jean Spaulding a Realtor in our office sought out a "good sport" male Realtor who would be brave enough to wear a Pink jump suit and beehive hairdo. Several guys said no thanks... Randy said sure. So there he was welcoming our walkers to Mill Valley in full drag. I was so touched that he agreed to do this, and I did tell him so. But I did not tell him much more. And I regret that.
Randy, thank you for making me smile. Thank you for making my day better whenever I was around you. Thank you for helping me to like other Realtors, just a little bit more. I am sorry you left us before I could sit down and talk with you more.
Today I walked 16 miles and on that walk I made a promise to make a few people smile. I took a couple of photos for people, I complimented a girl on her cute skirt and another on her cute baby. I explained the America's Cup to a couple on the bridge. I saw a couple of smiles that hadn't been there before I made an effort. I even called and emailed buyer and agents about our listings and I did it with a smile.
We all have a limited time on this planet. I hope we all remember to not only thank those who have helped us laugh, but just how good it can feel to be the one who puts on smile on someone else's face. This life is too short to be angry. It is too short to be mean.
But it is long enough to make a difference. Randy you made a difference in my life.

Monday, August 19, 2013

A visit from my little Alex

I am 60 years old. My mother was 49 when she passed away. She only got to meet one of her grandchildren. But I still remember her joy and excitement when Laura was born. When I was expecting our daughters I looked over my shoulder to see if I could see her hiding in the shadows. I listened for her voice telling me what to do. But she wasn't there. Somehow though, I had her in my hands when I lifted them up, and in my voice when I made up silly songs. She was in my heart as I would spin them around. I hoped that they could see her in my eyes and feel her in my cuddles. Somehow, I think they did.

This week, I had the chance to try and introduce Alex, not only to me, but to my Mother. Alex came to visit, bringing her Mom and Dad. I can only guess that Glenn had some of the same thoughts I did about his own Mom, as he brought our granddaughter to a smile and then a giggle. I think he thought, she would have loved meeting Alex.

What I also felt was extreme gratitude that I was given the chance to meet her at all. Diagnosed with Cancer at the age of 42, I might have missed the opportunity, so I was determined to take it all in and squeeze with extra meaning, every hug, I could get from this big eyed, bright eyed, sometimes serious little girl.

Alex will be living even further away than she has already been in her 4 months. She and her Mom and Dad will be living in La Paz Bolivia. All the more reason then to try and subconsciously imprint on her the importance of coming back to San Francisco. Here is a little of what she, and we, saw on her all too short trip.

Glenn and his granddaughter..... JOY

 Grammy and Alex silly

Four months old

A kid after my own heart..... that is a "mobile face"

First Ferry ride - first time on water

Grumpa watching the AC boats

America's Cup Park

Bar hopping

Not impressed

 Banged up New Zealand

Up and at em

Cruising in the park

A party

Old time yacht

The family


Days past

 Today's boat
Lounging in the park

Glenn goes shopping

Opa meets Alex

Stephanie too

Myrna and Opa

Glenn flips sausages

Hanging at Opas

Great Grandpa (opa) and Alex


Is it grand or great aunt Georgette

On the way to the airport......
Miss them already.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Walks, fires and teamwork

In the past week + I have worked pretty darn hard and long, and also doggedly fought to have a little time to train. (A Little). My partner Myriam is celebrating her birthday with a much needed vacation back east. We have several listings coming up and a couple we still are managing that are either closing or waiting for an offer.  It would be next to impossible to walk in the 3 day without the support of my partner... and I think and hope she feels she is able to relax knowing I am on the case when she is away. Team work... it is important.
I could see it at work on my walk on Tuesday.

America's Cup....

The sights and sounds of big money on water 
Kiwi's on vacation 

Artemis and Luna Rosa

An old AC boat....
Teamwork at Corte Madera Creek

I took a walk to San Anselmo after an office meeting in Greenbrae. Along the way I saw an otter. Their very presence is a kind of team work. Cleaning up the water in and around the Bay has brought back many animals and fish that I had not seen. Otters in the creeks, dolphins on the bay, steelhead in the creeks.
Another kind of team work when I can call Glenn and ask him to meet me for lunch and give me a drive back to my car! At Bubba's Diner I saw how one person can make another person's life better. The waiter here showed great sensitivity and patience when tow blind people came in to dine. He helped them to their seats (up a stair, with their dog). he read the entire menu to them (and it was long). They weren't insisting on that he just did it. He was a good person. And even though he brought me fries instead of my salad..... I was impressed.
Fire alert and Teamwork in Tam Valley
The other day I got back from work. I got out of the car and smelled smoke. Like a campfire or something along those lines. I could see any smoke. I got a text just about at that exact moment and it was my neighbor telling me there had been a fire upwind from us. It brought out not one firetruck, but the federal firefighters, state, county and local. 5 air drops later within an hour it was extinguished. Now that is teamwork.
This weekend Glenn and I went to find out where it was exactly. It took some doing but we found the orange flame retardant at the base of our neighborhood.. It could have gone so wrong. This hot spot was far from the original fire. Our afternoon breezes although moist are strong. 
When we found the original fire site we also found the ground to be smoking in this dry creek bed. We called our fire department and suggested they come take a look.

Sunday's walk.
The schedule for our Atlanta training says to walk... 12 miles. I decided to walk 17. Starting off from Mill Valley I headed first to the Sausalito Ferry and then off to SF to walk back. 

It is between the semi finals and the finals for the Louis Vuitton Cup (the race series that selects the challenger for the America's Cup). This time I looked more at the events and facilities the city have made possible by teamed up with the Cup organizers.
 At the America's Cup Village there is entertainment, shopping, several lounges, big screen TVs, docking for yachts and it is all free attendance.

 Some buildings will morph into cruise terminals after the event is over.

Some things like Larry Ellison's yachts may seem like a solo venture.... Or at least somewhat of an ego venture...But from the yacht designer, to the builder, to the person who figures out the electronics to the crew, to the interior designer, it takes a village to build and use these yachts.
Walking while working is an exercise in multi tasking. I call clients they call me, I call our service providers, they call me. I walk and I talk. I take pictures and I walk.

 Even on a non race day there are races being shown on the big screen TVs. There are lounging sail bags to just hang out and enjoy the village.
 What does an AC boat look like... it isn't your father's boat.
 Walking on I saw an Iguana on a leash
 Tourists on bikes and foot.

Outrigger canoes displaying their team work (all a part of the America's Cup events).

 The Marina Green venue with a Nescafe Cafe
 And of course the Bay. The three sailed ship in the distance is the a replica of the original America's Cup winning boat "America".
 Along Crissy field people look at The New Zealand boat out practicing. There is a kite boarder in the background. The schedule  had them racing later in the day.
 The old and the new. New Zealand and America.
 A tri - Raced in the 02 America's cup off Spain.

Heading back to Sausalito, I saw a sign from the Southern Marin Fire Department saying "Prepare  for Wildfire." Guess they know what they are talking about.

We can all each of us as individuals do a whole heck of a lot. But the most important thing we can do is be a part of something bigger than ourselves. The 3 day walk has taught me how much difference a group of people can make. Each and every walk I participate in is a confirmation of the power of a team of people with a common goal. Our goal is ending Breast Cancer. We don't do this for any self serving reason (besides keeping the ones we love save). We don't do it for a shiny trophy to put in our yacht club. We don't do it to prove we are faster or richer. We do it because we must. We walk 60 miles in 3 days because EVERYONE deserves a lifetime. Until we find ourselves in a world where Breast Cancer cannot steal another life we walk. We will ever give up. This team... will not be beaten.