Wednesday, July 31, 2019


Ever been happier?
There are times when the world stands still.
Moments when for all sorts of reasons we
suddenly realize just how blessed we are.
Inevitably what inspires such reflection is
the simplest of phenomena. The way the sun
filters through a window onto the floor. The
sound of a breeze in the tree branches. Or
watching the one you love from afar. Such
capricious indulgences are fleeting at best.
And hence should be treasured, savored, and
appreciated. Life's good and bad times occur
beyond our realm of influence. Thus our only
option is to go with the flow. Here and now.
Could it get any worse?
In hindsight some of the hardest times in life
are ultimately the best. In part because most
of us do amazing things when backed into a
corner. Facing challenges head on pushes us
to explore alternatives. And to change for the
better. And often embrace our reality rather
than live in a fantasy. Hence while beyond
frustrating, demoralizing, and overwhelming,
we are best at our worst. Which is why I am
cautiously optimistic about the future of our
United States of America. It may seem that
we've hit rock bottom, but such a low point
can be our launching pad to greatness.
Why is it so hard?
I don't care which side of the political fence
you're on. Ideology aside, the majority of we
the people are decent. While some will do
anything to win, most of us simply want to
live as we choose. Which is what being an
American is all about. Whatever race, creed,
or economic strata you fall within. Somehow
we allow forces beyond our control to define
our destiny. To yank our collective chains.
When in truth few if any of us have an axe
to grind. Sure we'd like to earn more and pay
less. However that isn't reality. Even if some
claim they will make it happen. Yet never do.
Could it be any easier?
Ultimately we all have the answer. Deep down
we know what makes us happy. And what defers
us from reaching our personal nirvana. Life is
all about choices, good and bad. Rarely are the
demons that haunt us not purposefully invited
into our sphere of influence. Thus each us is
personally responsible for whatever comes our
way. Or in how we choose to react to just that.
The fact is we are in control. Hence each of us
has a choice between good and evil. A decision
that will never be more important than in the
fall of 2020. We have the answer. It's time that
we made a choice that's best for ALL of us.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019


Recycling program
Change happens everywhere. Challenging
everyone. Every community goes through
good and bad.  Boom and bust. Success or
failure. Ultimately no city, town, or burg
can defer the tsunami of populace caprice.
Much like everything else, places come in
and out of fashion. Or are established for
a purpose that ultimately ends or moves
somewhere else. All who survived in major
cities in the sixties or seventies know what
I'm talking about. Blight is the byproduct of
ever changing wants and needs. And when
we're finished with a place, most move on.

Caught in the translation
Sadly only those with the wherewithal can
transition to what we consider a better place.
Leaving behind their friends and neighbors
who are either poor or diehard loyalists. All
of whom have different reasons for staying
put. Those sans the resources to move on
are in essence stranded. Feeling they have
no control over their city's circumstances.
Whereas those who stay by choice are ready
to fight for where they choose to call home.
Then there are the "pioneers" who rediscover
a city or neighborhood. Finding opportunity
where others only see failure to drive rebirth.
Been there, done that
Anybody in real estate understands what it
takes to build a place only to tear it down.
Which is why I find Mr. Trump's attacks on
Congressman Elijah Cummings and the city
of Baltimore confusing. If he is the ultimate
capitalist success story as he claims, then he
knows better that many neighborhoods go
from good to bad to worse. And sometimes
back to great. Equally important there are
no easy answers when it comes to driving
change. Rather it requires a combination of
passion, partnership, collaboration, bravery,
and entrepreneurship. Plus patience and time.

Evolutionary theory
Elements of racism aside, one wonders what
Mr. Trump's rants and raves are really about.
If nothing else they are proof of why his real
estate empire isn't as successful as he might
have us believe. The fact is location, location,
location is a constantly evolving spot on the
map. What was just a few years ago a sound
investment can suddenly become a liability.
Which is why many beautiful buildings lie
in wastelands. Waiting for somebody brave
enough to revive, restore, and renew them
and the surrounding environment. Which is
happening in communities across America.

Before AND after
Detroit was once deemed a city close to death.
Fortunately an influx of new ideas and people
inspired a renaissance in said city. Baltimore
is much the same as Detroit. A city rich with
history, heritage, and all that comes with that.
Elijah Cummings is the kind of leader such a
place needs. A lifelong resident of Baltimore
he's seen it all come and go. As a black man,
he has had to fight for equality all of his life.
Who is better equipped to turn the tide? To
move Baltimore forward to a new phase in its
redevelopment? Could a fat, white, arrogant,
and at times failing developer do any better?!

Monday, July 29, 2019


Grand finale
Last night Frank's one hundred and one year
old father joined us for dinner al fresco. Our
repast planned to be soft and easily digestible.
Fortunately Sole Meuniere, potatoes mashed
with a ton of butter and heavy cream, plus
Swiss chard satisfied all of our hungry hearts.
The meal aside what was most wonderful was
our time together. So precious given the clock
is ticking. Thus every time with him could be
our last. And what better way to spend such
precious times than a summer night. Enjoying
each other's company in those moments when
the sun is gently fading away in the west.

The pause that refreshes
I may have shared this before. One of my
favorite movie scenes is in Howard's End.
Said Merchant & Ivory vignette presents
Vanessa Redgrave wandering her estate at
dusk. In that magical time when the sun is
just about to dip below the horizon. During
moments like that the world seems all the
more special. A calming silence falls just
before the day ends. Causing one to pause
and savor the little daylight left. It's that
time of a summer day that I treasure most.
One of those few that causes me to stop.
And appreciate all I'm blessed to enjoy.

Youth lost
All of us remember some long summer evening
of our youth. Chasing lightning bugs. Playing
hide and seek in the ever growing shadows. Or
watching TV on the screened porch. Somehow
those times were different from all others. And
while fleeting, more precious than all others.
As kids we don't realize how temporary youth
is. Nor how soon winter will fall upon us. And
yet in those interludes the world stands still.
And for a brief time all is more than good in
the world. If only we knew then what we know
now. Maybe we might have appreciated it even
more. Savoring every summer for all it gives.

Music in the air
I often recall an early summer's eve all so long
ago. Our family had spent the day at the beach.
We dined together post returning to our second
home in rural Michigan. Then after their bath I
lulled my younger kids to sleep as a cassette
played Pavorotti's "Che Gelida Manina"  from
Puccini's La Boheme. Aa a gentle breeze blew
through the windows. Causing the curtains to
gently flutter like some grand dame's petticoats.
That was a moment in time so precious that to
this day it remains vibrant. One that while my
world and all involved have changed, remains
perfectly preserved in my memory and heart.

Until we meet again...
This evening as we bid Frank's dad goodbye,
we wondered if it might be our last. As the
sun gently set, I reflected on the kindness, joy,
and love he has given me. Even as he falters
Dad's caring tenderness inspires me. Could
it be that much like a summer's eve, our end
is often the best of times? Is it possible that
we're better than ever when everything will
be over soon? The thought of which causes
us to treasure every moment of every day.
At some point we will all slip away like the
setting sun. Leaving those we love to savor
the moment. Now that's what I call... magic.

Sunday, July 28, 2019