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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving

Today we committed with both money and mind to a new adventure. Next May we will be flying to Rome, taking a train to Valle, and riding 8 days. An Italian bike tour!  I've wanted to ride my bike in Europe since I bought my first 10-speed orange K-Mart special for $99 in 1972. That bike gave me freedom I had forgotten; as a young adult in the world it was my transportation and transformation and translation as I commuted from home to high school, one town to another, state to state, road to road, new digs to home.

Fast-forward to 2005, when I was challenged to help train a friend to ride further on a bike than I had ever imagined. I plunged into that challenge like I plunged into the Colorado River in Sweetwater in May -- never gave it a second thought and figured I'd know what to do once I got there. My friend achieved her goal and helped me achieve a goal I didn't even know I wanted -- finishing a century. And then dozens more, just because I could. I owe her a debt of gratitude. Via my bike and my friend I've made many more solid friends, seen more than I thought my eyes could see, and grown more than I had thought possible. Thanks, Kameo! (And others; you know who you are.)

And from there Chris got into cycling, first on a tandem, then on a road bike, and then we started racing, holy cow how much adrenaline can we stand coursing through our bodies!  A tandem time trial is off the charts! Good thing I mastered Lamaze breathing; it comes in handy when you're screaming downwind, downhill at 50+ mph. That first place podium is so worth it! (Said with tongue firmly planted in cheek; it paid $20 and a t-shirt; whoop-dee-doo.)

Kameo continued racing seriously; Chris and I started touring on the tandem. San Francisco to Santa Barbara (epic!), Austin, TX, to Shiner, TX; Shiner to Victoria, TX; Victoria to Cuero.

After a couple years off due to our career obligations (for which we both signed on voluntarily) we're going to do this Apennines to Adriatic in 2014. I still can't believe it's going to happen -- and I'm over the moon that we're going to do it, with a couple with whom we've forged a sold bond over the last few years.  I can hardly wait!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Fifty Years Later

I distinctly remember the Catholic School kids in their plaid uniforms heading east as I walked walked home from Florence L. Walther Elementary School on an Indian-summer warm November afternoon. I scuffed through the fallen dry leaves every chance I got; especially by the cemetery on Ridgeway St., to avert my attention away from the graves. That's when the first uniform shouted to me that President Kennedy was dead. I called her  a liar; my mostly-Catholic background wondered if there was any credence to her assertion. As several more parochial school kids told me the same thing I began to panic.  I remember running from Bobby Goldstrom's house on Ridgeway to my house on Buttonwood; I was freaked out by what I heard and wanted to talk to my mom.

The TV was on and Walter Cronkite was talking; my mom was in the kitchen crying and I knew it was the worst: JFK was dead.

I recall watching the ensuing ceremonies with a grief I haven't words for -- I was very sad, cried when John-John saluted his father's flag-covered coffin -- yet I couldn't relate. I hadn't experienced a loss close to me.

I recall chanting in the schoolyard, waiting to be let inside, with at least a dozen classmates, "We want Kennedy! We want Kennedy!" with our fists pounding on the the concrete window  frame. I was a Kindergartner, mostly a year behind my classmates because NJ law decided that if you were born after Octboer 1st, you had to wait a  year to enter school. I was ready in 1959. I resented having to wait, Most of my neighborhood friends started without me, and that's not set well with me.

Meanwhile, we have so many JFK 50 Yr. Anni. shows airing. They can do only so much with the facts. And perhaps to engage and exploit  the +50 crowd, those of us who know where we were when we heard the news.

Questions? Email me. I'll get right back to you.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The End of an Era

In the late 80's and early '90's  we raised fancy rats. They're smart, clean, extremely human-oriented, entertaining. Unfortunately most are born with a virus that infects/affects their lungs, and they die at a young age -- 2-3 yrs. We have many tiny graves in Lompoc due to our rats dying before their time.

My sister got a couple chinchillas -- Bud and Vern -- and declared that they lived 15-20 yrs. in captivity. Sadly, the Great Dane she fostered had a killer gene, and killed one chn, injured the other to its demise, and attacked several dogs, killing at least one.

We found a breeder in Morro Bay and agreed to buy an  wk old baby. When we arrived we saw that her breeding pairs had cool names, like George and Gracie, Fred and Wilma, Barney and Bettty, George and Jane, etc. George and Gracie gave birth to twins, a rarity in the chinchilla world, and since they're social animals, we bought both babies. I named on Tika (Tee-ka), and Meave named the other Pooh-Bear.

And so the chinchillas thrived, we played with them, delighted in how they dust and carom around a room, and generally enjoyed them for many, many years.  We took them to the Montessori School, among other places, for show & tell. They were great reps for their breed.

In 2009, July, I think, I was gearing up to attend the Putah Creek Smack Down, the local time trial practice. I walked past the cage and noticed a chin laying on her side -- something they do when they're overheated.  I knew right  away that she was gone. So instead of that TT practice, we buried a beloved pet, and made her a headstone.

I noticed earlier this year that the surviving chin, whom we dubbed Tika-Pooh (because they looked identical but their personalities were so different; yet the remaining chin took on the strong personality). was sleeping more and eating less. They were born in 1994 so I thought as she was so long-lived I'd indulge her. I fed her extra raisins and apple and fresh peas, and less timothy hay.

FAIL. I should have continued her regular diet. Her molars didn't have enough coarse food to grind them down, and they overgrew enough to make her eyes weep.

But after a visit with the vet on 10/21 (yeah, I wanted to spend my birthday focusing on my pet)), we thought all was well. He gave us suggestions for her diet, and we stocked up.

So when I saw our little furry love-muffin on Halloween morning, laying on her side, I knew. I picked her up.  She was still warm and rigor hadn't set in.  I immediately regretted hitting the snooze button, then stopped.  So I cried, a lot, put her in a lunch bag, and buried her as the sun came up, weeping uncontrollably because I get so attached to animals, and she was so quirky and fun and we had a bond with her that outlasts many marriages (also sad).

Today we talked to my MIL, who is in the hospital, freshly out of ICU, and spunky.  When I told her about Tika-Pooh's passing I got weepy. I hope to get past that soon. OTOH, she was with us over 19 years, and there's no way to minimize that.

The animals we include in our lives teach us so many things, give us so much joy, are often key in our sanity. Losing one is really hard. Having support, people who get it, make the loss easier.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

So I siubmitted to the annual mammogram a couple weeks ago. Evidently that squishogram wasn't enough as they want me to come back for another one. I scheduled it but don't really understand why, unless this is the new health care provider trying to prove to the old health care provider that newer is better.

I'm peeved that the people who can provide me with answers want this  new picture.  I'll give them the new view but resentfully, as no one has fully explained why I need to be inconvenienced again.

Color me annoyed and inquisitive .  And I'll be asking lots of questions.\

Really, I  just want to ride my bike. That will make everything OK. It always have and it always will. I can do anything as long as  can ride my bike.

To be continued...

Monday, September 23, 2013

My Twitter feed was on fire tonight about Cher's new tour (yay!) while I was trying to learn something about my new MacBook Air. Lesson learned: Choose learning over pop culture. Darn. But still, I need to learn this new machine, despite my experience with my iPad2, my iPhone5, Droid and numerous Windows-based devices.

I have no issue with Windows -- I've managed to figure out enough about the newest iterations to hang in and function -- yet my frustration is that only 2 of my3 toys sync. I hate that I have to manually upload new info onto my Acer --- my favorite laptop. So far. Yet it's manually-intensive as far as updates go, and really, I don't have the time.

So...after asking my on-line friends for their take, and spending nearly an hour with my favorite computer nerd, I realized that moving to MBA was a natural, especially since my formerly Mac-shy MLS websites were now Mac-friendly.

I researched the hell out of it. I talked to people who didn't  even know what an app is.

So 4 days ago I committed so a 13" MacBook Air, and despite  initial fears, I'm getting there...to owning this.

Here I go, plunging into a very seductive and reasoned and different OS.  Wheeee!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Volunteering, and Seeing the Results

Back in the spring, when I was still with Coldwell Banker, they finally invited us to work on a Habitat for Humanity build in Fairfield. Since I joined CB in '06 I worked tirelessly to raise funds for H4H. There were builds in Sacramento and other counties to which I was invited, but I prefer to put my energy in my backyard, in a city/county in which I work. Finally, Fairfield was chosen for 2 builds.

I showed up on work day with 3 fellow CB agents. We were offered electrical, exterior painting, and post-hole digging. I chose the latter -- I'm the stronger of the 4 of us women who volunteered, and I don't mind physical labor. Also, I dislike electrical, have painted enough, and have experience digging post holes.

There are experienced contractors who are also volunteers who provide teaching/guidance on whatever level is needed. The recipients of the homes have to put in a minimum of 500 hrs. of sweat equity, and Jean (a Gallagher descendant; I believe we have a relative or two in common), checked us in, made sure we had hard hats and gloves, and distributed lunch at the appropriate time. Her unwavering dedication and loyalty is inspiring.

I ended up digging 3 post holes, mixing concrete for them, and planting the posts that day. Legs were fine, upper body hurt the following couple of days.

A couple months later I read that the houses were vandalized by thieves stealing copper. So wrong!

Saturday, Aug.24, I attended the dedication of the houses to their recipients. I was the only former CB agent there -- none of my colleagues attended, and I know they received the invitation. When I signed in it was as the NSCAR President, to match the name tag I wore.

It was a big  deal. Our local state senator was present, as was our local state house assemblymember. I'd just seen them recently, so I didn't take up much of their time. Local officials were present as well, and there was a fair amount of speechmaking.

Finally we got to the part where the homeowners spoke -- and that was amazing. Hearing their stories, their history, their gratitude -- humbling and inspiring.

I'm grateful to have seen the results, to hug the new homeowners, and to have given my time and talent to help the hardworking, deserving women their homes.

By far, this is the best part of my real estate career.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Shoot Me Now!

Chris signed up for 2 triathlons, as he's been looking for a new challenge for a while. I run and bike with him, but haven't been swimming since '05 or so. My colorist advised against it, and I agreed with her.

Yesterday Chris rode his TT bike 15 miles, ran 3, swam 1/2 mi. with some time between the workouts. I rode a casual ride with a girlfriend who's doing a Ride Around the Rockies kind of ride next month. She doesn't ride much, or fast, but she's good for long tours, and I was happy to pace her on what is for her a distance ride (35.2 mi.). It was fun; we saw turkeys, pheasant, deer, and many other cyclists. We chatted and overall enjoyed the ride.

Chris mentioned as we drove to SF to have dinner with my best friend from 5th grade that he wanted to swim and ride today. I don't know what inspired me to say that I'd do it with him -- maybe just wanting to support him in his new venture? Once the words were spoken I knew that I was committed.

So this morning I got up to let out the dogs/make the coffee&espresso/feed the dogs. I really didn't want to do all that at the butt-crack of dawn so after the dogs were fed I got horizontal on the couch. As usual, once I'm awake, I'm up, so I did the coffee thing; Chris made oatmeal. We packed our bags and headed to Gold's.

I haven't been in Gold's pool, just the Jacuzzi, and without my glasses had to squint to read the protocol signs. I have a pair of Speedo goggles that I don't remember buying but have never been used; I put them on, showered, got in the pool and pushed off.

The years of practice came back in the first half-lap: how to swim, the hand entry, the head-tilt, the kick, the breathing-timing, all of it -- including the boredom, the sense of sensory deprivation, the memory of same-old, same-old. I stopped a few times due to breathing issues but cranked out 300 meters until my brain called boredom.

I sat in the Jacuzzi for maybe 3 minutes, watching Chris swim away, when I realized I could help him improve his stroke. Doh! I swam and taught swimming & water safety instruction for nearly 30 years. He used to splash around in pools. Maybe he'd listen

And he did. And I finished off enough laps to make 500-ish meters (I lost count once I got back into the lap pool). He completed 1/2 mile. I was happy to have overcome my Gremlin that didn't want me to enjoy swimming.

After about 45 min. of driving home, eating, gathering equipment and changing clothes we headed out on the tandem. We had some rollers and a category 4 hill  to climb -- all very familiar -- and a NNW wind to buck. Often I found myself privately kvetching about the conditions, the gear, when to stand -- my body and mind didn't want to be part of a team, and yet if we weren't on the tandem, I know I would have bailed. And then I was on board and it was great.

So I'm pretty fatugued yet pretty stoked about new challenges. I may or may not do a tri, and ultimately I will remain curious about my abilities and stay open to new challenges. That mindset got me this far, and I trust that it will open new pathways in the future.

Be open -- be curious. Because you never know what might be in your future.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Little Bit of Overwhelm

Last week, from May 1 through May 5, I spent in meetings or walking to meetings in Sacramento, as part of the California Association of REALTORS (R) midyear meeting. We celebrated Legislative Day on the 1st, with 40 members of our Association attending, and 2800 REALTORS(s) attending overall. The energy was amazing! Alex Creel hammered home what we needed to address with our elected officials, and how we should address those issues.  Governor Jerry Brown addressed us live ( Arnold always video'ed it in; boo!) for the 3rd time (once as state AG; twice as Governor), and although he didn't share anything new, he did share what he accomplished since he was elected. The results aren't pretty but they are what the electorate wanted.

We walked to the Capitol for a huge group picture, went back to the Convention Center for our Region luncheon, then went back to the Capital to meet with our Assemblypersons and Senator. The 1st Assemblyperson was definitely warm to us, and the meeting was quite fruitful. The second assemblyperson has always, until May 1st, sent a staffer or even stood us up. I give her 2 thumbs down. That's just poor form.

Our state senator has met with us on many occasions; this time she sent a staffer who indicated that she backed our causes. That's fine with me.

This politicking is disconcerting; I'm in my  2nd year fully involved, following my instincts, and not sure where I'm positioned. I know where I stand with my local association, the state association...after that, what's next?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Little Catching Up is Due

In November, on a rainy Friday, I held my Installation as Northern Solano County Association of REALTORS (R) President. Colin and Meave and Chris were there; I was so proud that my kids made the effort to attend. Evidently this is as big a deal to them as to me.

Chris and Meave's birthdays were the day before Thanksgiving, and we celebrated low-key, and busted it out on T-day at Colin's place. So many of his high school friends and their S.O.'s, and cats and dogs and new friends, and great food, stimulating conversation, etc. etc. -- what a fun day that was!  I applaud Colin and his roomies for being flexible enough to share their space with others who need it.

And there's more to come...when I make time to update and post pics. My bad for being involved in my business & my Presidency & other "stuff." Thanks for reading, and enjoy your day, even when it blows -- you're still alive, and there's always tomorrow.