And then today…

as I begin my 30th year in real estate sales, I realize I am one of the luckiest realtors in the world!  And, of course, there are stories I could tell…but I won’t!

I began my real estate career quite by accident.  I was renting studio space in Clarendon Hills to continue my artwork while we renovated our home.  The realtor, Lid Baird, who owned the building twisted my arm (as realtors do) and talked me into getting my license.

For a while I had a nice balance of doing both art and real estate sales.  The above photo shows how I incorporated one of my soft sculpture butlers to help at an open house.

However, the housing market boom caused me to devote more and more of my time to real estate.  A friend said to me that I “would probably make more money selling real estate but it wouldn’t be as much fun” and she was right.  Legal contracts and big money and moving issues can combine for top level stress and sleepless nights!

Reflections and records show I am closing in on about 300 transactions.  Just looking at an address I can remember the story for each and every property!  Over half of my business has come from my immediate neighborhood and I’m also grateful for many referrals.

I use to travel far and wide (north to Grayslake and Cary for relatives, south to Tinley Park and Mokeena, and west to Naperville and Aurora), but most of my work has been in the Hinsdale area.

A few real estate observations along the way:

  1.  Selling?   Clean, clean, clean and unclutter, unclutter, unclutter.  Stagers provide a valuable service.
  2. Buying?   Do your homework.  The internet provides valuable information of a location’s amenities, schools, and government.  Also, if you are serious about a particular property, I encourage buyers to talk to potential neighbors out walking their dog or washing a car.  It can make a big difference in the comfort level.
  3. The public in general is skeptical of realtors–again the big money issue.  I enjoyed a level of trust with my artwork that I constantly had to prove with real estate sales.
  4. Sorry, fellas, but I usually find that women are more honest and open about change of location situations and financial issues.  Truth and trust can often cut to the chase and result in a quicker, more efficient transaction.
  5. I’ve been impressed with and am appreciative of all the positive professionals I’ve worked with along the way–realtors, lenders, attorneys, inspectors, stagers.  I’m proud to have been associated with two fine offices–Prudential with Tina Porterfield and RE/MAX with Linda Feinstein.
  6. Patience is a virtue!  A background in psychology is a plus!  Hang in there as things have a way of working out and everyone can win!

In a nutshell, as I look back I am very grateful and as I look forward I am also very grateful.  Being a realtor has been very, very good to me!  (Now I think I’ll take a nap.)

Thanks to all, martha




Hillary & Leonard Cohen–Tough News Week!


And then today….

I’m sad.  I’m scared.

Hillary’s loss was unexpected, yet always feared.

Leonard’s death was not unexpected, yet always feared.

Thank you Saturday Night Live for the pitch perfect combo of Hillary (Kate McKinnon) thoughtfully singing Leonard’s masterpiece, Hallelujah.  It has helped me put things in perspective.

Other ways I’ve been trying to stay positive and regain some sort of sense of humor include:


  • Covering an old guitar with photos of concerts I’ve seen including Leonard on the front side
  • Offering an extra Ben & Jerry’s “Schweddy Balls” empty carton on eBay
  • Having my hair dresser spray a purple streak in my hair after today’s cut
  • Taking photos of the super moon (and laughing at Kimmel’s joke about California’s continual frequency of super moons with the Kardashians around).
  • Eating a warmed gooey cinnamon pecan roll (it’s been years)
  • Starting my Christmas letter early (never before)
  • Receiving the 5 Cubs World Series locker room caps I ordered
  • Buying glitzy sequin leggings for our youngest granddaughter
  • Hand writing a letter of thanks to Hillary

I’m not giving up and neither should you!


Definition of a Successful Life

To laugh often and much;

to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; 

to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;  

to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;

to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or redeemed social condition;

to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived!

                    Ralph Waldo Emerson


Again, a new year’s resolution….

Last year it was to get this website off and running which happened, but then a lull.  This year I’m hoping to be more diligent in posting.

When you turn 70, time becomes very precious, because we realize that time is running out!  This became quite obvious to me this holiday season as three of our neighbors died within a few weeks of each other.  I’ve often read that there are more deaths at Christmas time.

At funerals, we learn new and interesting details about the deceased and, of course, we wish we could sit down one more time with them and talk.

I’ve known all three of these neighbors over 40 years–4 decades!!


Bert became my Union Church buddy several years ago when her husband Bill died and she could no longer renew her driver’s license.  Going back to church was on my bucket list, and Bert’s situation provided the push.  I often felt we were like a couple of high school girls giggling together on the drive to and from the church.  I knew her memory was slipping away, but it didn’t matter.  We simply enjoyed the here and now!

Pyle 2

Tim was an all around good guy, helping wherever needed, and serving our neighborhood for years as a Park District Trustee.  Tim enjoyed driving his spotless vintage convertible to lead our Golfview float in the 4th of July parade.  He loved his Schnauzer dogs over the years and I’m sure “Ernie” grieves for him today.

MVC-032S 3

Ann, as it turned out, worked as a window dresser for Carson Pirie Scott years ago.  How I’d love to talk with her more about that!  I have autographed copies of her children’s books, “Randal, the Flannel Camel” and “Mike’s Monarchs”.

I celebrate this snapshot of three kind, gentle souls who made this world a better place.  We will miss them, but we will remember them!


And then today….

I’ve been thinking about the Pope appearing on network television’s 20/20 program last night as he prepares for his visit to the United States.  He took questions and gave heartfelt and comforting responses.

He seems to be an answer to our prayers as he is so perfect for these times in history.  We need him.

I was raised Methodist and now continue to search and study all religions.  My background taught me that God is love, not fear.  I reach out to other religions including Buddism and Islam.  I read Thich Nhat Hanh and embrace mindfulness.

In 2001 when we visited Italy, I particularly was drawn to Assisi and the works of  St. Francis’.  Pope Francis has chosen his name from St. Francis, I believe, and I am comforted by his inclusive, kind, courageous, caring and loving words.  He is so like my Jesus Christ whom I met in childhood Sunday School and who has been a guiding light in my life.



Above is photo of the front of a shirt my children gave me for my birthday.  I love it.  I think it is another way of saying the Golden Rule.

At the end of last night’s program, the Pope asked for something from us.  He asked that we pray for him.

I pray and wish him well, now and always.

Yesterday I was thinking of how religion has caused so much desperation and strife in the world.  Today I celebrate a man of peace.








MTV. VMA, Vinyl Records–If aging isn’t for sissies, then neither is today’s music!

I’m crazy about music–always have been!

I try to act my age, but I remember when the country was upset about Elvis and his simple gyrations on the Ed Sullivan Show.  That makes me 72. I watched the Video Music Awards Sunday night as I always do.  I know most of the music.

I’d love to have purple hair like Jim Peterik above, whom I ran into at the Brian Wilson show at Ravinia last month.  Jim is the EYE OF THE TIGER guy (Survivor, Ides of March) and he’s always gracious to his fans!

I’ve been picking up vinyl records at garage sales for years and now I’ve even been buying new vinyl–Hosier, Father John Misty, Jack White.  I have thousands of albums, hundreds of books, and all kinds of memorabilia–Grateful Dead Cookie Jar, Jerry Garcia doll, Beatles bootlegs–again from garage sales.

Sometimes I wonder if there’s something wrong with me.  When will I grow up?  Or should I work at growing up?

Or should I just keep enjoying today’s scene.  Outrageous is in.  Every year it seems like a “can you top this?” event.

The music I listen to covers every genre and every decade.  I play a record almost every day and now this week they sound better than ever with my new Kef speakers–again a garage sale.

One of my Artist’s Way projects is making a handmade journal from an old book.  I took an old library copy of “Life, Death, Legend” (Jim Morrison) and I am transforming it into my Dead Rock Star Album.  It’s so sad to recount the tragedies of so many young musicians–and the quirky way many have died!  I do this out of respect for all, but especially some favorites–Elvis, Ricky, George, John, Whitney, Marvin, Sam Cooke, Freddie Mercury, John Denver, Jackie Wilson, to name just a few.  Just think of the story of how each of them died.  I also treasure the journal I found by Kurt Cobain.

I sometimes wonder why music grabs such a hold of me, but I have been aware of music always.  I listened to it on the farm while helping to milk cows, I watched Dick Clark’s American Bandstand religiously, and I’ve toted my growing record collection to college to marriage to now!

Music helps make good days better and it helps make dark days tolerable.  I thank Elvis gospel for helping me deal with a family suicide.