Monday, August 31, 2009

"Where have YOU BEEN?"

That's the way my mom would say it when I'd been missing for a while and was (sort of) in trouble. And that's what my blog would say if it could talk. I've been so negligent in blogging lately, so it's time for a catch-up post.

Working backwards, I'll start with the houses my clients and I have been obsessing over.

We have an offer in on this one.

Great, easy floor plan, nice, remodeled kitchen, big wide back yard with an incredible garden.

I guess it's nice to give an idea of the cost of these places that I picture, especially for my far away friends, or those interested in real estate... so this one is $599,000. Will report back if (when!) the deal goes through.

Last week, this beautiful view home ($799,000) was the object of a sweet family's affection, and we wrote and the buyer accepted our contingent offer. After only two days, we got "bumped" and were given 72 hours to sell their house.


Luckily, it was an adorable dutch colonial right in the little village, and steps from everything a person could want. Well, everything a cool person could want. I couldn't believe how many people want "the village," but they don't want THE VILLAGE. Whatever.

We worked and strategized and fretted.... and boy, my "Village People" rallied. Their place was shining and gorgeous, and always ready for guests, even though they have two (beautiful) little ones and a great big dog. And very full-time jobs.

The last showing was at 9:30pm the night before our 9am deadline. We were about to lose the view house. But we knew these buyers were interested. I was around the corner with the dad and the dog. The mom was in the yard with the baby monitor and the kids were asleep. One and a half hours later, as we were rehashing and figuring out our plan, my phone range. The Realtor was across the street, wondering if she could present an offer.

So, this is one Real Estate story that I wished was on HGTV. It worked out beautifully, the buyers are perfect, the sellers are delighted, and so am I. Oh, the village house was $399,000. (only one bathroom, but otherwise, just adorable)

Hard to believe, but that represents about three week's work, with the showings, the offers, the listing, the photos, the tours, the open houses, the paperwork and so forth. Two normal weeks, and one awfully stressful one.

Coming up: A very neat house on a gorgeous lot in a good neighborhood, priced at $515,000. She's my very first client, back for her fifth transaction in nine years. (sold, bought, sold, bought, now selling again) I LOVE this woman, and am looking forward to spending time with her and her family. Photos being taken on Friday!

In other news...

Cam flew to Rome yesterday, anxious to meet Betsy and travel together for a while. She spent a summer studying Italian and translation, (she's a Romance Language major) and is winding up the experience with a little vacation time. They're in Cinque Terre at the moment, and headed to Capri next. We're taking care of Peter - we better get used to having three dogs - there's no telling where those two will take off for after they graduate in March. They're talking Italy....

There are lots of babies arriving this summer and I've attended a couple of showers lately. Two friends have just welcomed sets of boy/girl twins! (Want to know their names? Parker and Julia, and Jakob and Taylor! Aren't they cute?)

These photos are of two of my favorite sisters, at a baby shower for a future little boy... and look at the fabulous hiking carrier thingy (I'm such a hiker!) they got from her parents!

My movie group (The Film Flams) is going to The Time Traveler's Wife on Wednesday, with dinner at Laura's pool afterwards... always a wonderful night swimming under the stars and (only slightly) under the influence ;-)

The book group is reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and the discussion and party will be at my house this time. (I had German food last time when we read The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. Do I always choose books that go with bratwurst??)

I'm headed to Philadelphia on 9/11 for a big, swinging birthday bash for three of my "Philly Girls," Terri, Chrissy and Mary. All turning 50 three days in a row, with a party and live music on Terri's beautiful stone terrace. (Pray for sunshine) She lives in an early 20th century stone barn, converted to a wonderful house - just up the road from our old house in PA.

Following that, we're headed to the shore for a little stay at Sid's beach house, and then to NYC. We'll be seeing Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman in "A Steady Rain." (hate the moustache, Dan)

Then I'll connect with Laura and Betsy, my truly oldest and dearest friends since childhood, and we'll finish off the week in NYC. Betsy lives in Chelsea and Laura is flying in from Milwaukee. (with a late celebration for her 50th birthday as well) I am pretty sure my cheeks will be sore after this trip - all these friends and I laugh from start 'til finish. I can not wait to see them all!

When I get home, Whit will be temporarily living with us. His firm has transferred him to the Portland office - and he's excited to have a chance to get back to the big city - and get a house in NW Portland with a couple of his old friends. I'm just thrilled to have one of the kids back in town.

We have season tickets to the U of O football games with Whit, so we'll have lots of fun together this fall - tailgating with the boys and their friends. The season opener is on TV Thursday night, and Norris and I are already getting excited!

Last, but not least, here's a little photo or two of the pups in their favorite place. (and mine) The sun.

Happy end of summer!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Book Club Beach Weekend

We haven't held our book club anywhere but each others' homes in a long time. There was a memorable mountain trip, but we usually find it hard to organize everyone and all our various schedules, and often give up. But recently, we started a bucket list, and a beach weekend was one of the first items on the list. And so it began.

We're a competitive bunch, and I was arguably the worst golfer there, but I won! And it wasn't because I was keeping score! Really!

It all started with golf, moved on to grilled shrimp and many bottles of chilled white wine, then a competitive and hilarious game of cranium, and finally, dancing.

(You can't imagine how many of these photos didn't make the blog!)

The next morning, the weather was beautiful, though we didn't all feel quite so beautiful, so we dragged ourselves to a waterfront restaurant for chowder, burgers and fish.

Shopping, a trip to the beach, and then home for fajitas and our book discussion.

Our book club bylaws stipulate that there must be red wine and candy. We had sangria and bushels of candy! We like to follow the rules to a T.

Kathy's beach house is adorable, and look at the pretty view!

Sunday morning's bloody marys, glorious sunshine and hours of chit chat on the deck made for a perfect ending to a wonderful, memorable weekend.

It's already been 14 years since Kristin started our group, and we've weathered all kinds of storms. But here we are, still, bound by friendship, love of books, and together for the long haul. So what's next on the bucket list?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

How I spent my summer - Camp 2009

Bag o' omelettes

Freshly corn-rowed and zonked

Unbelievable cheese/corn dip. We didn't have room for dinner after inhaling this.

Stacy frying up some bread, Dave adding comic relief

Dave and Norris

Brady (Chip) Alex, Whit, Orrin

Glen and Deb

The center of our camping universe


Whit and Orrin diving off the boat for frisbees (and Deb)

Glen and Norris

Ryan and Kim

Captain Fun

The girls (Bailey, Alex and Alex)

Dave and Alex. Did we really have three Alexes on this trip?

Whit and Kyle, the reason this group even knows one another. Thank goodness for soccer tryouts in 1984! 15 years of family friendship.

Kyle being forced to drink out of a girlie Margarita glass

Dave and Kim cutting the rug/dirt


While Stacy wasn't busy making incredible food, or offering the utmost in hospitality at their base camp, she wove a simple wreath from sticks, leaves and ferns. She's so talented, and you should hear her whistle!

Our trip was amazing, in spite of rain, cold, delays, and a forecast that actually said SNOW! We took it in stride and had a wonderful time, just as we did last year!

Next year? Yes! Group Campsite for 70. Watch for your invitation!

Chase Update

He's awake, he can breathe on his own, his grip is firm and he can respond to questions. He's smashing our expectations and coming around like the champ that we knew he would be. Nowhere out of the woods yet, but he's going to live, and he's going to walk and talk. He threw a pillow at the nurse!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Team Chase

Cam's childhood buddy is in critical condition, after an accidental fall down the stairs on to a concrete floor. No one is sure how long he was there before they found him, but it is guessed that it is somewhere near one hour.

He has been in an induced coma for about 9 days, and they have been slowly bringing him out of it. Today he is expected to open his eyes.

It's going to be a super hard day for his family. Up until now it has been almost surreal. Today it is going to be very real.

I'm going to sit in the waiting room with them, along with about 50 kids who come every day for their vigil.

Chase's mom, Kristin, started my book club a long time ago - we're her ya-yas, and we've been doing all that we can for her throughout this ordeal. Sitting in the waiting room doesn't seem like much, but it's all we can do. That, and to continue to feed the nurses. I'm always good for some cookies.

Tomorrow we're supposed to go camping for five days. There is some rain in the forecast and the trip is hanging in the balance.

Watching and waiting. I'm doing a lot of that lately.

A nice column about Chase was in the Oregonian today...