Monday, September 18, 2017


ust leaving Turin by train and boy is my head tired!  My legs, not so much …although we walked and walked and walked.  Averaging 7.5 miles per day.  I spent 3 wonderful nights and days with the infamous novelist Louisa Klein, a woman who I have edited for, but had never met.

Louisa is the daughter of two academics, who speaks 4 languages fluently and is a font of information, which means that her answer to any question comes in the form of a chapters as opposed to a sentence, often with footnotes and graphics.  It has been great fun, although a wee bit intense for someone who appreciates her alone time very much.  Nevertheless, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.  Her flat in Turin is fantastic, on the second floor with very tall ceilings, a very old building, I’ve forgotten how old, but tall,  tall windows,  a gorgeous entry, with Art Deco Windows, marble steps and a teeny weeny elevator, that barely fits 2 slim people and a suitcase.  Yes, there is a bidet in the bathroom, which was quite intimidating, so I avoided eye contact with it as best I could.  And, a heated towel rack which, well, I still haven’t a clue how to turn those things on. Louisa had outfitted the place with brand new towels and sheets just for me.  The sheets featured darling orange foxes all across it.  Loved them, they were so soft.  The walls were beautiful prints from children’s books and historical pieces.

 I’ve learned that as a guest of someone in Italy, one is not allowed to pay for anything,  and it was quite disconcerting for an American who is perfectly well accustomed to paying her own way.  Louisa paid for everything!!!! From the delicious foods and wines and chocolates at her flat, to every single juice, coffee latte dopo, to vegetarian lunch. And, let’s not forget, my first ever Gelato.  Oh heaven. The poor thing must be positively broke now!

We talked of our lives, our educations, our family, friends and animals.  We spoke of philosophy, writing, story structure, books, films, and, of course, after a little wine, we spoke of love lives.  This has been an experience that I feel so fortunate to have had.  Thank you Louisa.  We saw museums, shopping both posh and common, and the River Po where, as gawd is my witness, as we were regarding a young couple feeding each other potato chips – crisps – from mouth to mouth, the Loch Ness  Monster rose up from the depths of the cool water,snatched the bag of chips from the loving couple before slipping back under and heading upstream to Scotland.  Would I lie?

Italy is a very dog-loving country, and I saw little sweet things everywhere including on the trains.  I was particularly amused to see a jack Russell perched on the escalator, front set of paws one step above the next, looking like a little man of the world.

Friday, September 15, 2017



The flight to London was very nice indeed, and the British Airways flight attendants were all so very solicitous and kind.  I enjoyed the film “Get Out” on the plane, a film that I’d been hoping to see.  Once it was over, I snuggled up in my British Airways pajamas, under my British Airways duvet and fell asleep. Sadly.  It was a bumpy flight. Much turbulence.  Nevertheless, my generous glasses of wine helped me to have a complete night of slumber.

September 11, 2017
We will not speak of my vomititious morning in my 1st class suite…brand new aircraft…two hurl-a-thon moments.  Shawl and bra soaking in my hotel sink now.

I love my darling room, but am sad that the hotel does not provide ice. I do so like my beverages icy cold. Interesting technical advance here: one must deposit one’s room card into the slot on the wall near the door for the lights to stay on.  Genius.  I was soon to learn that this is the thing in hotels now.  It’s quite energy efficient since when you take your key card to go out, the lights all go off.

September 12, 2017
Woke around 3:00 and was so excited  about the coming day that I had trouble getting back to sleep.
It was so dark out, and I couldn’t figure out what was making the sparkling light show across the street.  I got up to examine, it was raining ever so softly, and the enchanting light show was actually insects flitting beneath the street light.  So pretty. I finished watching a wonderful movie that you can stream on Netflix “Moonlight Sunrise”… 5 stars in my book, and soon dropped off for a little more sleep.

Wednesday, I think, Wednesday, September 13?
I awoke early, really early, so excited to get on trains today. It was dark, and there I was actually dressed and at the Zurich train station with other people.  And, those people were actually dressed, carrying baggage and moving about, grabbing coffee and pastries and behaving as if they knew what they were doing.  It was fascinating.

I inquired at the Information kiosk about which platform I could find my train.  He told me with great assurance that my train to Chur would be leaving from platform 8 at 7:28.  Well, not wanting to disagree with the perfunctory gentleman, but,  I replied, my train was to leave at something like 7:05. So that I could make my connection.  He glanced at my ticket, and announced that I was wrong, my train would be leaving at 7:07!  Platform5. The Swiss. So precise.

Since I had a few moments before the arrival of my train, I grabbed a Koffee latte and managed to drink it without spilling it all over my snowy white shirt.  I gave myself a medal for achieving this small feat.

I was not quite sure which car I was supposed to be in, there were no seat assignments, but there were two classes.  So, I did what any grandma with a big red suitcase and a desire to get going would do, I chose a  random seat and made myself at home.  Several people had warned me to keep my luggage with me, so I did, standing it upright before me, my colorful carry on bag strapped securely to it with a special bungee contraption shipped to me directly from China. It was a lovely seat.  The train started off oh so smoothly, and I was quite content.

Half an hour of pleasant forward motion a delightful Swiss gentleman checked my e-ticket and was sad to tell me that I’d paid for 2nd class passage.  Why be sad?  I had a credit card.  I happily handed it over to pay $30 more so that I could remain seated.Alas, trouble.   His little handheld credit card reader wouldn’t accept it.  Was it the battery?  He consulted with a colleague who assured me that he would take care of it.  Still, trouble, trouble, trouble.  We tried another  Still not working.  In my head, I naively thought that perhaps they’d just forget about that additional payment  and allow me to relax gratis.  No, not the Swiss.  There are rules to be followed, timetables to be consulted.  I admire and respect that. At last the machine went beep! And I signed my name to the receipt. Quite soon after we arrived in Chur which allowed me a maximum 10 minutes to disembark and find my scenic train through the Bernina pass, a UNESCO World Heritage moving site.

Another platform, more confusion.  I inquired of an attendant which train I should board.  I gave him the information as I understood it. He took a look at my ticket, looked down his nose at me and stated that  I was traveling 2nd class., car 4 , seat 36, and pointed to the door. I can follow direction, when I have a mind to, so I pulled myself and my suitcase up the stairs and regarded the illuminated board which said I was on car 2, so I dragged my bag from train to train, through car 3, toward car 4, but before I came to 4, I was abruptly halted by preparations being made in the refreshment car . I am told that, no, I may not go through. I will need to disembark, and get on  on again to the other side. You recall, time is of the essence. The Swiss keep to the timetable.  I try the door to exit.  It won’t let me out.  I go back to the 2 gentlemen, and using a combination of English words and hand and arm signals used to explain things to a small child, I try to convey that I am stuck.  Thankfully, the  Italian porter took pity on me.  He trundled behind me to the door, which was now open.  Did I forget to say ‘open sesame’?

I love to travel.  I really do. The kindness of strangers when you quite need it.

I found my seat next to a window, closed in tightly by a threesome of Swiss people, all about my age and striking me as being upper class.  They were on holiday too, and showed me the space between the seats where I could tuck my suitcase.  They were truly enjoying traveling together, a husband and wife, and a woman who may have been a sister, or just a dear friend.  They had so much to say to one another that they often talked at the same time, and soon forgot I was even there.

If you have the opportunity, you must take this glorious ride in a train with Windows from table to up and over your head.  Traveling up to the snowy mountains, past St. Moritz, through tunnels, over bridges 300 feet up over the Albula river.  Then. Traveling switchbacks down affording you views of an idyllic Swiss village surrounded by green meadows and  noble mountains.  Just right out of a picture book.  I wanted to move right in. We dropped down toward Italy via a circular viaduct. – imagine a very slow roller coaster.

At significant points throughout the ride, the melodic voice of a narrator came on the speaker and explained in German what we were seeing, following that, a voice gave  information in English.  Yet, my fellow passengers, the lovely threesome all spoke at once in their Swiss German over the information imparted to me in English.  In their very loud voices.  So, yes, I could hear none of the information spoken in English.  Sigh.  I had the Bernina Express guide, so I made use of that to assuage my own curiousity.

I was overjoyed to arrive at the Torino station.  My entrance into Italy demonstrated a different style than that of the Swiss.  Passengers asked the attendants if they wanted to see their passports, at which the attendants laughed and pointed toward the exit.

Walking into Italy and toward the Italian train station, I looked longingly at those enjoying a gelato.  I’d never had gelato, but I didn’t have time.  At the Italian tracks were no signs, no markings on the train, nothing.  I gave up.  It’s important to do that on vacation.  To let go.  I climbed aboard a waiting train and asked if it was the train to Milan.  No one spoke English.  But, they were quite friendly.  But, no speaks de inglais.  I found myself another seat, hoisted my bag to keep me company, and decided to throw caution to the wind…took a chance and took off for parts unknown, possibly Milan. On the ride I enjoyed stunning views of Lake Como through graffiti scratched, water stained Windows.  Beautiful still.  Views of the sparkling lake interspersed with total darkness inside tunnels, then being welcomed again by the sight of the Lake.  Beautiful.

When they  announced the Milan station as ‘Centrale’, I was surprised that I had possibly arrived in Milan. One kind non-English speaking person seeing my worried face let me know that this was ‘last stop. I grabbed my bag and said to myself. “Here I come Italy!...I think.”


Saturday, March 05, 2016

My New Listing

MLS# 17-666

999 Echoeylake Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90666

Tarzan & Jane Special!

For the mountaineering couple who want to live a carbon neutral existence – but not always under the same roof.  Mountainside views make you feel as though you’re living in a tree.  Rickety wooden decks add drama to your days, giving you the opportunity to grab onto sides of the building and swing freely when worn areas underfoot give way to the sheer drop below.  Two enticing living levels blocked off by a handy (though, most likely unlicensed) friend give buyers two separate living spaces.

One, on street level, is complete with bedroom, bathroom, minimalist kitchen, living room, laundry room with hookups for washer and dryer, but no actual washer and dryer, so there's room to install old-fashioned washtub and clothesline.  A pet door thoughtfully installed years ago provides small neighborhood critters, desirous of spur of the moment shelter, immediate access.  Cooking can be accomplished outdoors, where all cooking should be done -- on a sheet of aluminum foil with a pile of charcoal briquettes set out on the wooden deck by wandering inhabitants of nearby half-way house.

The separate below-level dwelling features bedroom, bath, laundry room and abundant fresh air, thanks to open windows that are free of anything that might block a nice breeze -- such as glass or intact screens. Verdant, indigenous plants freely crawl their way into this rustic space and up the walls negating any need for wallpaper or paint.  This second, below-street-level dwelling is accessible by a fun and often exciting stairway devoid of any obstructive impediments like handrails.  Careful of that last step! Front door landing features the infinity porch® which grandly drops off to the garage roof two stories below. You’ll never be alone here as helpful rats come and go as they please to ensure the property is free of edible vermin.

Keeping to the carbon neutral design of the property, garage can only be accessed by rappelling from the main property, then fighting through thick underbrush to access the garage door which has been sealed by years of neglect and is fronted by a beautiful living curtain of local plant life.  Alternatively, a quarter-mile walk around the block and up a private alley speckled with impressively deep pot-holes will bring you to the tile roofed 2-car garage. This well-thought-out arrangement ensures that owners will opt for modes of transportation that don’t use fossil fuels.

Don’t wait, this property won’t last long as this is a probate listing with court confirmation required.  It will soon be swooped up by some lucky buyer who will then get their day in court -- 35 to 45 days later -- where they will likely enjoy the thrill of fighting off competing buyers for the right to buy the keys to this jewel above Silver Lake.

Listed at $725,000, the price was logically and methodically determined by tallying up the debts and liens on the Estate of the deceased. No Zestimate needed here!

Willing to entertain any and all offers over $500,000. All cash please and 10% down.
When touring the property, please be sure to observe the many areas marked off by yellow caution tape.  The markings are there for your protection, as well as for our own, as per our fussy insurance company and attorneys.

Thursday, February 04, 2016


At age 57,
you will realize
you've passed through the midway point on the continuum
of youthful years spent yearning and reaching for what you desire,
and later years where one's focus
is on gracefully letting go of mounting losses.
Releasing ones grasp.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

I'm baaaaaaaaaackkkk

... and aching to write again.

Or, is that ache actually the arthritis.

Right hand arthritis.  Bad for mornings.  You expect that your right hand will be your right hand and behave like your right hand, and serve you like your right hand has tended to do all your life. Then, one morning, you watch as your right hand reaches for your mug of coffee for that delicious, delightful first morning sip, but it delays.  The open motion and the grasping motion, are troubled. One might even stay that Right Hand has stumbled.  Bother that!

Bother the spilled coffee.  Bother the ache.

Wait, what's that?  Left ankle?  Now left ankle demands attention?  What have I ever done to deserve this from left ankle? Fine.  I am not going to be thoughtless.  I shall wrap left ankle in warm, cozy sock so that we can saunter off into the misty morning for daily saunter.

Sauntering, sauntering...  Gloomy day, but there's beauty in it too. Singing birds, skittering squirrels. Pretty, promising day.  Oh, here's that curb, no handicapped slope here.  Lovely, I feel like jumping off it, like a child -- naturally looking both ways first. Or sprinting, skipping even, loving the day. Hey!  Right knee.  Please tell me what that was all about?  You bout near dropped me to the pavement.  Don't do that again, or I shall be keeping you indoors much more often.

Huh.  How old am I?

Monday, October 29, 2012

I am all real estate, all the time.

As if a personal life is such a great thing...  I have my Hamish.  I phone my children, sisters and parents between appointments, open houses and escrow closings.  I have my herbal tea and New Yorker subscription to help me wind down before sleep.  It's all good...

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

A delightful way to search for real property in Southern California, don't you think?

not your usual Catalina Island shot

not your usual Catalina Island shot

fun with spelling

fun with spelling
downtown l.a.