FALL

True confessions: I never really got fall, the season.  I love the weather.  I love football, hiking, mountain biking, and playing anything in the cool crisp weather.  I am not big at picking favorites, but fall might would win, for seasons.  The thing I never got, was the whole death and rebirth theme.  Sure, the days are getting shorter, technically they’re getting shorter since the first day of summer.  It’s more obvious in the fall, especially the further north you live, and we get our first days of cooler weather.  I guess I’m just not much of a doom and gloom person and always ignored a central point to the season, the shedding away of the old for the new.

Dragon flies are totems of change.  Spirit animals of transitions, they are born in water but mature into a graceful insect that flies.  They shed the old and transition into a beautiful existence of helicopter like mobility.   Well, we are into a beautiful dragon fly fall, and I challenge you to transition like a dragon fly.  What in your life is transitory, perhaps an illusion that you can let go of and move into a more free existence?

We are always balancing between competing values and loyalty may come at the price of emotional freedom and new opportunities.  Let’s all makes sure that we are confident in the our commitments and not drudging through darkness that is avoidable.

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Photo by J.N. Stuart.

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Get A Second Opinion

In one of my earlier blogs I wrote about time as a resource and the ultimate value of time and how we each cherish it as the integral “counter” in our own human experience.  I believe we make a ton of decisions every day and often we factor “time” into these decisions.  We are prioritizing things that bring us the greatest pleasure and in contrast we prize efficiency in tasks that we see as menial or necessary yet less than enjoyable.

Selling or buying a home is often filled with just such tasks.  Anyone who has recently completed the process can make a huge list, such as compiling financials for the lender, preparing your home, possibly staging it, and obviously moving our belongings is fraught with small tasks, each of which is tedious, in order to achieve the higher good of living in a different home that’s more comfortable, a better location, maybe more affordable, or often times less maintenance.

I understand, like most professional Realtors, that clients perform these tasks reluctantly and prize efficiency in the performance of all of the small pieces that add up to a huge life change.  As professionals we perhaps see a bigger importance in the curb appeal, contractors you use to freshen up paint or that long neglected roof, and ultimately we see a lot of importance in how you choose your Realtor.  In a pure commission field of sales, like Real Estate, belief in ourselves as a valuable resource is paramount to success and we constantly are searching for ways to express our competitive advantage to our client base; i.e. marketing.

Recently I have had several conversations with both acquaintances and friends that chose a different Realtor to buy or sell their home.  In each case, the damage was done, I had lost the deal and transitioned into being congenial and supportive in order to show that I value the relationship, but I fear I might have done a disservice.  Sometimes it’s easier to agree with someone who has just made a difficult decision rather than invoke language that might inspire them to question their decision.  I am results driven, and for the people I care about, that’s what’s ultimately important.  Sometimes believing in your process and the decision you’ve made is of greater value than the actual decision.  Perhaps X, Y, or Z Realtor wold have all given excellent service, comprehensive pricing information, and ultimately a reasonably good net result.  But, in the future I think I will have a different conversation because I pride myself in stepping up to challenges and effectively communicating even when the pill is difficult to swallow.

So, what’s the medicine you may ask?  Why is it difficult to swallow?

Because choosing a Realtor and preparing your home for the market, or pre-qualifying for a note as a buyer, does not give us that short-term pleasure I see friends prizing the efficiency of using the first person that comes to mind, or hiring a contractor because they recently completed work on the neighbor’s house, and making that decision “feels” good.  It’s similar to an omen that they’re making the right decision.  And, that very well may be true.  Sometimes the contractor that just painted the neighbor’s bathroom is affordable, insured and bonded, does excellent work, and is timely and professional.  But, how do you know?  The answer is simple, but sometimes difficult to swallow… you use some of your most precious resource, your time, and you call two more painters.

Often I close a communication with a potential client by emphasizing that I would like to interview for their business.  I am sincere in seeing each client relationship as a professional interview and you should expect as much.  In a world that seemingly detaches us from the intuitive “gut instinct” that we all should trust, it can be difficult to gather more information when something “feels right.”  Why get two more bids?  This guy or gal was in the right place at the right time and their price is great.  The answer is also intuitive.  We gather information through working a process.  Sometimes that information is not exactly what we set out to find.  The yard maintenance company owner recommends a great plumber or we find the perfect dining room table from the second staging company who bid our home.  Three bids whether it’s a plumber, Realtor, or new car is about the process, not the bid, and it should be a starting place, a minimum of three.  It’s about finding out what you really want and who can deliver it.  It’s about learning.  Don’t make the mistake of going with whomever is in front of you and regret denying yourself the process.  Making a huge life-changing decision does not happen every day.  Slow down.  Enjoy the flow of power and energy and feel confident you are making the right decision.  The process is life, and more often than not we can save some of that very valuable commodity we call time by doing it right the first time.

Deacon Rootbeer Johnson

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Today’s picture and topic is my beloved friend, Deacon Rootbeer Johnson.

Deacon turned 10 on April 1st, 2017, so I want to commemorate that special day with an ode to my dear friend.  We never thought we would see 10 years.  When I decided I wanted a Rottweiler I poured through hundreds of photos and articles concerning the breed.  I decided to find one to adopt, but I cautioned myself and warned Kristin, “some of them are quite ugly and many of them don’t live to be 8 years old.”  Deacon, luckily, was neither.

Deacon has been a wonderful dog and still behaves as if he’s a 2 year old puppy, but unfortunately he doesn’t have the bladder of his two year old self.  So, I go home everyday at lunch to let him out and often try and make it back in the early afternoon.  Sometimes when he can’t hold it long enough and I come home to an accident I can feel anger well up inside of me.  I don’t want to have to stand over the smell nor soil my hands or clothes cleaning up after him.  Usually that feeling is closely followed by shame as I know he would do anything within his power to hold back his pee pee.  And then often I feel sadness as I know he’s probably in the sunset of his life.

This is the embodiment of the sacrifice we all make to love those around us.  Dogs are different than most humans in that they are “perfect.”  They have no will to misbehave.  They only feel anxiety and act out due to their discomfort.  Deacon lives every moment of every day to feel the love of the people that are around.  All he wants is to be touched, to be loved, and to be congratulated for simply being alive.  I know in my heart, with 100% certainty that my agitation and anger comes from within me.  I also know that I control it.  With the power to be unattached to the things that bother me, or to activate my free will and change the circumstances, I am empowered to be a better person.  Dealing with an aging pet reminds me of my own mortality.  May I be as healthy and wonderful when I face my sunset.  Mr. Rootbeer is a crucial component of my life and I will pledge to be grateful for everyday I have the pleasure of spending time with him.  Happy birthday, little man!

Real Estate content:  Be careful if you buy a breed that is labeled “attack.”  When you switch insurance companies to make sure you have homeowner’s insurance (some companies won’t insure a house with a Rottweiler or Pit Bull), take your car insurance and every other policy you have with you to discourage bias against breeds.  Dog’s aren’t bad.  People are bad.  Bad people raise bad dogs.

Hooga

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Kristin loves to watch CBS Sunday morning on yes, you guessed it, Sunday mornings.  I often drink coffee and listen along while surfing the internet, typically playing around on the golf forum I frequent, GolfWRX.

This week they presented a great piece on happiness and the study of happiness.  Denmark often ranks quite high in these studies, so of course, the CBS crew visited Copenhagen.  I’ll spare you the play-by-play as I’m sure it would be easy enough to find a link to the full episode, but the part I found fascinating was concerning a uniquely Danish concept embodied by the word “hygge.”

It’s pronounced hooga almost like the french Hugo with an “a” instead of an “o” at the end.  Huga.  Evidently there’s no direct translation into English, but it was explained as taking pleasure in the little things in life, while the Danish tourism bureau thinks, “cozy” is a synonym.

http://www.visitdenmark.com/hygge

Things that are quintessential and nice.  Hygge.  Bicycles can be hygge.  Watch the video in the above link.

So, this week’s photo is one of the things that are very hygge for me, the latte.  Many of my close friends know that I can get borderline obsessive about coffee.  I’ve roasted coffee, I’ve brewed it every way imaginable, I drink it every single day of my life.  I don’t want it to be a routine way of administering caffeine; I want it to be special.  Every.  Single.  Day.

I will readily admit I’ve failed recently.  I’ve gone to making a french press as it affords two cups and little fuss, but it has failed me.  I need my latte.  My espresso machine has been a little under the weather and needing maintenance, but unfortunately that can only be done by your’s truly and I’ve been short on time and motivation to fix it.  Time to correct not protect.

So, what’s particularly hygge about this photo.  And this is my favorite part for those of you that have made it this far….

I have spent years of my life waking up every day and pulling two shots of espresso, steaming a carafe of milk, and blending my own special latte.  You would think after hundreds and hundreds of lattes made that I could pour some latte art.  For those of you that aren’t big coffee drinkers, that’s the decoration between  the brown “crema” oil in the espresso and the white microfoam milk bubbles on top of the coffee.  This is the single example of anything neat that I’ve ever poured.  Truly one in a hundred at least, probably really one in a thousand.  Hygge.  Have a great week everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring!

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It is easy to ascertain the fact that spring starts on the spring equinox, but is spring just a season or a “feeling,” mentality, combination of sights and scents?

Since I was a child growing up outside of Atlanta, I felt that spring often started before the first day of spring.  In my opinion it feels like summer long before the solstice, too.  In fact I’ve always thought that the change of seasons come about 3 weeks late throughout the year.  If timing is everything perhaps we have to ignore the meteorological definition of “seasons” and simply celebrate spring when the grass starts to grow, the trees begin to bud, bulbs push their first leaves from the dirt, and ambient air temps rise enough to strip off our sweaters and bare our arms and legs.

For my wife, Kristin, a more important day in the grind to leave winter behind is the “spring forward” and the beginning of daylight savings.  Perhaps, the first day of daylight savings would be a better time to start spring in our minds.

After the longest and wettest winter since we moved to Oregon, we’re certainly not going to argue semantics, but rather simply enjoy the sunshine, the awakening of the plants and critters from underneath what has been a blanket of snow for some weeks at elevation.  With the lengthening of daylight and more opportunity to get outside and enjoy some of the greatest weather we get in this part of the world, I’m really asking myself if I’m efficient in the use of my time.  A new winter routine of waking earlier and also retiring earlier has rendered more quiet time in the morning and will hopefully make my afternoons more productive for both work and leisure.  I wish all my friends and family the same.  More time.  Perhaps more aptly stated, more appreciation of our own time.  In my last post I stated how important it is to me to value my clients’ time, but ultimately this starts with valuing my own.  May spring sprung in each of your back yard’s soon and may you each have a wonderful season!

 

 

 

 

 

Musings

A new career, a new year, a new lease on life, and a new commitment – weekly blog posts.

I’m going to dredge up a photo, either recent or old, that has meaning to me and attempt to elucidate why the photo has meaning to me.  So, what’s in it for you?  Maybe nothing.

At the very least I bet you’ll learn one new word a week.  When was the last time you used “elucidate?”

e * lu *ci *date – to make (something) clear; explain.

So, here’s my photo of the week….

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The significance of this photo to me is twofold.  It reminds me of my first experience stepping out on the range at the Bandon Dunes Resort.  Something about a huge clock marked “Rolex” makes you feel like you’re about to tee off at the U.S. Open.  The clock is a fixture; it creates atmosphere.  Would a big digital display with bright red numbers hanging inside the window of the warming hut serve the same purpose?  Absolutely.  So, why the clock?

I recently learned that I am very much a kinesthetic learner.  If you’re not sure if you’re visual, auditory, or kinesthetic, click here:

https://lonerwolf.com/visual-auditory-or-kinesthetic-test/

So, for a kinesthetic learner, something about that big clock just “feels” official.  It has nothing to do with what time it is and everything to do with the fact that “time” is important.  Important enough to be featured on a massive very expensive looking clock with the world’s most famous watchmaker’s logo on top.  My mind instantly triggers to “what time is it?”  “Where should I be?”  When do I need to leave to be there on time?”

Ironically, I glance down at my wrist watch rather than squint at the big clock (made by another watchmaker nonetheless).

So, if this huge icon of “time” wraps up all of these “feelings” in me, then what is the ramification on my blog, my life, and you the reader?  For me, it’s a great illustration for how the use of our time and our personal “timing” reflects our priorities and effects those around us.  Now that time is kept mostly by our telephones and other devices many of us are estranged from the wrist watch, the essential reminder for “time.”  I’m a bit old fashioned and my watch was a graduation present from my father, so I wear it every day.  I hope somewhere deep in my “kinesthetic learning center” a few brain cells are firing to subconsciously tell me, “value your time and most importantly value others’ time.”  The exact time it slips over my hand also has a lot to do with how I feel my morning is going to go as it’s the last part of my ritual before leaving the house each morning.

Until next week…