Sunday, June 28, 2009


Reflections on what lies ahead… Yesterday I took my teenage son to the airport. This was the meeting place for the Heroic Journey he was about to embark on; a week-long program that blends the grief support of Judi’s House with an Outward Bound experience in the Rocky Mountains. Sounds like a great way to close a painful year for a grieving teen, doesn’t it? He was not so certain. During our last minute preparations, the child towering over me was wracked with fear. Was it the high ropes course or the rocks he would be “forced” to climb? Which would be worse, summiting a 14,000 ft. mountain, or the feelings he knew would rise within with every step? I know he would rather have stayed in the comfort of his home, his basement cave, with his brother and his Xbox than face a wilderness week outside of his comfort zone. And I knew that as a single mother, I would have to find the way to help this boy cross the bridge to his manhood that this week would initiate. I asked myself, “Is this a well? Or is it a moat?”

So much relies on our perspective. Fears can paralyze or propel. As we gaze into that seemingly endless void, there can be a shift in our vision, like those optical illusions we stared at during art class; where once we saw and ocean, now we only see a puddle. It is an internal shift of focus and never will this be more critical than in time of fear or crisis. Is that vast body of water something we draw from to sustain us, or do we use it to create a barrier? Does what we believe protects us also keep us from possession of our castle?
What would it take for you to shift focus?

I am certain the young man I left at the airport has had a change of perspective in the past 24 hours, will go through many more as the week goes on, and so will I.
The moat will become a well…

Friday, June 19, 2009

GREAT testimonial from a client~ always nice when this happens.

Going from "For Sale" to "SOLD" is at BEST a difficult experience made worse if you feel emotionally connected to that property, and let's face it, most of us do.
In the midst of all of that, Tracy Shaffer brings a confident, professional and calm approach to your real estate transaction. She is well informed about the current market, realistic, and a good listener when it comes to the seller's needs. Best of all, Tracy Shaffer knows how to market the property "FOR SALE" and get that message out to a huge buyer pool. (Even in this market, we had multiple offers!) So be smart. I think Tracy Shaffer is a GREAT choice for a Realtor to sell your property and given the opportunity, she can take you from "For Sale" to "SOLD".

West Washington Park
Denver, CO

Thanks Thomas!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I am a writer. I’ve been told for years that I should write and I have. Now as a Realtor, I’m told I should blog. Okay, so I’ll blog, but I don’t want to blog about real estate. Well, that’s not completely true, I don’t want to blog only about real estate, I want to blog about life. Life is more interesting than interest rates and market trends; real estate shares a lot with life.
We’re put here on this earth and we make of it what we will, learning to love and be loved, to take care of ourselves and of others, to share our experiences. Creativity, life’s work, spiritual beliefs, all of these is the soul’s expression of the human experience. So is a house.
The value of a home is not measured by your neighbor’s foreclosure or the appreciation gained by the new Whole Foods down the block. When you buy a home, you’re claiming your place on the planet. It is your shelter, but it’s also where it’s safe to be yourself. It’s where you put your stuff. You’ll cook your meals here, share them with friends. Or you’ll eat in solitude, a whole pint of Hagen Daz, knowing your very own private slice of earth. Your home holds your dreams and it holds your tears.
I wonder about those who live in boxes and under bridges, where do they put their dreams? Perhaps they’re left with just a box of sorrows.
The time to sell is not dictated by the media, it’s driven by needs, by desires that push you further down the river. When the day comes, something’s happened: you’ve outgrown what the bricks can hold.

Sellers transfer the deed, hoping the buyer will take care of their place on earth. Sometimes when we move to “something better”, we take the time to see how good where we are has been.

I have a friend who sees his home as a liability rather than an asset; thinks his money would be better spent on stocks. I think it’s because there is no dream within those walls and he knows it. Like a nomad, whose happiness is always on the horizon, a box without a dream is just a box.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

from the play SAINTS & HYSTERICS ©

This is from my play "Saints & Hysterics" and posted for my mother, Leni, who died 17 years ago today.


It was the night of the summer solstice, a total eclipse of the full moon the night my mother died. As they wheeled her calmly to intensive care, she was scribbling notes on a yellow pad, things to be said that the ventilator would not allow.

“I found a picture for you Mama in an antique store.” I said, trying to cheer her in her naked state. “It’s a picture of Jesus and Mary.”
Grabbing her pad she writes, "Is it autographed?”

“No, but it will be.” I think to myself and I know reads my thought.
That was the last I heard from her, her final missive.

A shadow creeps over the moon as her trinity gathers around her.
We are laughing and telling funny stories while she floats in her semi-coma, saying good by to a world she’d grown so fond of. My brother asks if she can hear us and she squeezes his hand. Three times this query; three times this response.
Then her systems start to shut down, one by one. She doesn’t smell of lilies but of honeysuckle, the sweet and sickly fragrance of summer nights and death.

One celestial body now completely obscures the other.

I walk out into the darkness to gaze at the mystical moon and smoke.
I light chains of cigarettes and Hail Mary’s, watch my prayers and smoke rise up, as soon my mother will. Tears fall like heavy water from my eyes, I understand her TV tears from many years ago and what she meant about her moment for this was mine. I wait for the slow-motion sword of sorrow to pierce my heart and make it bleed. I think of Mary, the Mother of God, and ask for a moment of her time to thank her for the life of my mother, Mother of my life. I pray that she will guide her journey home and ask for her grace to guide me. I give her back.

A sliver of light creeps out from the moon.
Crushing out the embers of my final cigarette--- it is time.

The staff is hesitant to let us all in, "Only two at a time, those are the rules.”
But we are the children of Leni and there are no rules. Three souls came through her into this life, three will see her safely out.
Soft sound of heart monitor.
My brother takes her right hand; my sister takes the left.
I cradle the halo of her head and I whisper in her ear---
Deep into her soul as she has done so many times to mine.
Our Lady speaks along with her, quietly audible.
"It's okay, Pinky, all will be well.
Flatline. Silence. Beat. Lights shift.

I see my mother’s hands in the veins of my own; hear her blood, coursing through them.
I know she is my backbone with her ever-present echo.

Shoulders back, stomach in, head up straight.

I slip off the jacket from an old 33. It starts with a rumba, and we dance.
And all is well. All is very well.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


How real estate and transition braid in life.

Everyone talks about the real estate market and how it’s changed. Well of course it’s changed, that is the constant, just like in life. In fact, for most home buyers and sellers the decision is driven by change: the first home changes us from a state of renting life to owning one. We “move up” as we create partnerships or to welcome the baby, reduce, downsize, divorce, change jobs. Very few people in the real estate market are purely looking for more closet space; they are enacting change in their lives. I see the real estate transaction as a moment of human transition, with all the emotions, excitement and nerves that go with the territory.
My clients who buy and sell as a business are more financially engaged than emotionally, but they are active in creating financial gain, putting more change in their pockets.
Today’s market is in a state of accelerated transition and much like politics, it works better for some than for others. There will never be a better time to buy a home in our lifetime with prices reduced, interest rates historically low and so many homes to choose from. Change is never easy, but it always brings growth and usually a multitude of blessings. The question is, are you ready to make these circumstances work for you?