Monday, June 29, 2015

15 seconds of local fame!

Who’d a thought! I’m on the Jumbotron at a Seahawks game!

Well, not really, but kind of... (6/25/15) We're at Westfield Southcenter Mall in Tukwila, Washington. I’m teaching Mobile Communication Boot Camp, a.k.a. hashtag #mobilecomcamp for a group of local Realtors®.

I’m having a blast! We’re working our way through the mall and this segment of the class is about using images in the context of #location #lifestyle and #community as a web presence and personal brand strategy. So there’s a bunch of us wandering from store to store shooting lots of photos with our smartphones.

I'm on the Jumbotron!

Half the fun doing this 3 clock hour class is noticing some of the people around us and their reactions.

"Who are these people? Are they foreign tourists? They're taking photos of everything!"

As I catch up to my teammate, Jill Bell, she's taking a photo through the front window of the Made in Washington Store. There’s a really cool Lego Seahawks game displayed and it has its own (mini) Jumbotron displaying camera shots of the field and players like it's a live game.

Ha ha... I was caught in the reflection and ended up on the big screen. My 15 seconds of local fame! :O)

15 seconds of local fame was originally posted by the author on the Activerain Real Estate Network.
#mobilecomcamp #WestfieldSC #Tukwila #Seattle #MadeinWashington #Legos #Seahawks

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Club House, Earlington 1959.


With Dad’s Day coming right up this Sunday of course I’ve been thinking about him. I thought it would be fun to share this photo on Throwback Thursdays... It was taken back in 1959 not long after we moved to Earlington. I wish I had another picture that was a little more upfront and personal, but this one I am fond of and it conjures many memories.

Dad had a little help from Grandpa, but for the most part he built our clubhouse himself. In hindsight, Dad was always so busy working we didn’t sometimes know or appreciate he actually had “dad skills”... Along the way we learned he did a lot of carpentry work for my Grandpa, who built many homes in Renton and the area, when he was a kid until he left for the war right after high school, class of RHS 1940.

This photo cracks me up. Dad as always when he's doing anything, totally focused. Me however, the next to (plum that falls not far from tree) and I’m not sure if I’m just spacing out gazing into future or a little impatient. “Is it done yet?” And there's my brother Steve, looking on. Simply excited we got a clubhouse almost!

The Clubhouse, Earlington 1959


My brother Steve and I had so much fun in that little clubhouse. It was many things to us and a wonderful place under the willow tree, rain or shine. It was our hangout for playing army, cowboys, spies, and explorers. We ran a weekly neighborhood newspaper from here and played spaceships going to Mars. It was an outpost in the wilderness and a cabin in the mountains.

Our favorite times were in summer sleeping in it overnight then in the morning (Dad taught us how to get the BBQ going) cook our own bacon & eggs and whatever in a cast iron pan for breakfast. I'm sure Mom loved the messes we made...

Dad’s are whom they are and they all had (have) something wonderful and unique to give and share. At this time in my life I am so very grateful my Dad was my Dad. We understand them one way as kids growing up,  and now, in reflection, in quite a different way as adults.

Regardless if your Dad is alive or not, celebrate them. Dad’s aren’t and never were perfect, they're dad's. And we wouldn’t be here if that weren’t so. 


The Club House was originally posted by the author on the Activerain network.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Spokane, Children of the Sun...

The indigenous people of the area, the Spokanes, date back about 13,000 years. They lived near Spokane Falls in what is now downtown Spokane hunting the abundant wild game, fishing for salmon and gathered plants, roots and berries in the nearby western foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

The European explorers and fur traders started showing up in 1810 and the first settlers J.J. Downing and S.R. Scranton established a claim here in 1871. The area really started growing when the Northern Pacific Railway reached Spokane in 1891 and the population rose to almost 37,000 by 1900.

My maternal grandfather, Harvey Larson, 24 at the time, came to the area in 1901 from Michigan to follow his 18 year old bride to be, Edna Doyne. Her family moved here in 1898. I remember our adventures from Seattle to Spokane as a kid in the late 50’s and early 60’s, most memorably those by train.

In the late 70’s I’d come to Spokane to hangout at the Gonzaga music department. I worked restaurants by day (mainly because you could eat) and played the wonderful grand pianos and composed into the wee hours of the night.

Funny all these years later I’m back in town this trip (May 14, 15) to teach social media to local real estate professionals. It has been an amazing 12 years traveling the Pacific Northwest as a social mediast who has witnessed so many changes in the way we conduct real estate from community to community. In cities large and small we share a connectedness via the internet and the social platforms that never ever existed before now.

I used to joke it was like traveling back in time when I left Seattle. I’d throughout guesstimates based on the number of miles I traveled from home as to what decade I’d be in upon arrival. Not so much anymore. Now, especially for those of us whose livelihood depends a lot on how well we use the web, we have much more in common than different.


Spokane has a population of a little over 200,000 and is the second largest city in the State of Washington. This metropolitan area includes the 3 counties of Spokane, Stevens, and Pend Oreille with a population of about 535,000. It’s now included in a combined statistical area that includes Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho with a combined population nearing 700,000.

Like most metro areas in Washington, the housing inventory is very low, sales are fast (depending on price points) and the sales prices are rising. Most real estate brokers are super busy right now. Yet, there’s a similar disconnect wherever I go.

The median (national) age for a real estate broker is 56 and many here (as elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest) are older than that and in their 60s. Yet, the median age of a first time homebuyer is now 32 and represent about 38% of purchases in 2014 and this segment of the market is slated to grow in 2015. I also like to point out in class that the average age of an online gamer is 32 years old. It sheds light on whom they’re trying to reach.

Many show up to class in hopes of learning better ways to connect with millennials and much of what I talk about is, “Well... Where are they?” Market to the room that’s full, not empty. Most of them are predominantly mobile social now and their eyes and attention are on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Yelp, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine, YouTube, Google+, Twitter and they follow blogs when the topic interests them.

I am so happy to see Spokane on an upswing. I enjoyed a few hours on Friday afternoon in old downtown on West Main Avenue which is now part of a new and expanding University District. The old brick buildings and warehouses are being transformed into wonderful collaborative spaces for local small businesses.

I had several great conversations with owners and employees of these local shops, restaurants, brew pubs, and art galleries. You immediately pick up on the energy of this vibrant and repurposed area of town. I wish them all every success. It’s so encouraging to experience these small business entrepreneurs making it happen, doing what they love to do, and contributing to the community. Hopefully, more of them will soon be able to realize another dream, a home of their own.

It’s true, the sun does shine more here in the inland empire than it does in Seattle, over on the coast, as local Spokanites say. I like the scale of life here. More open spaces and less people per square mile. The buildings aren’t so many and tall and during rush hour traffic late Friday afternoon I drove 25 miles on Interstate 90 from Spokane to Post Falls, Idaho to see my daughter and son in law and the slow downs were about 45 to 50 miles per hour. I really did like that!

Have a great 2015 Spokaloo, as mom would affectionately refer. I look forward to seeing you again soon.

Spokane, Children of the Sun... was originally published by the author on the Activerain Real Estate Network on may 26, 2015.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Social Media is best served with doodles and coffee.

One of the things I really enjoy about my work is the people! And I love the fact I’m out and about and we’re always up to something creative and interesting. I love brainstorming about marketing in the here and now with my coworkers and clients.

Some of the best times ever have been meetings at coffee shops and cafes. A morning get together over a good cup of Joe is one of my favorites. I like the social setting. For me it’s the perfect place to talk about online marketing concepts and social media strategies.

Louisa's Cafe, on Eastlake, Seattle.

As much as I am a total nerd student about technology and the way of the life online, I have a longtime old school habit. I doodle... My brain simply works better when I make sketches of our conversation.

Real Estate in the Social Age.

So when I’m out the door in the morning I load up my Explorer including my briefcase, my laptop, my iPad, and of course, I always have my iPhone with me. My 6 Plus is my office!

And I always make sure I have 2 sheets of paper neatly folded separately in my shirt pocket and a favorite pen.

You know, when opportunity strikes, I’m ready to doodle.

Social Media is best served with doodles and coffee was originally published by the author on the Activerain Real Estate Network.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

A Chance Evening, with flat tire...

Wouldn’t you know it... Wednesday ... I started a refinance on my condo. Of course the question, “Do you have any credit card debt?” No I don't (smiles)  just a few hundred bucks from last week's COSTCO run and a few other recents...

Oh, did I mention I'm working from the waiting area at the Ford Dealership in Kent this Friday afternoon? I blew a tire last night on my way home. So let's see now, a flat tire turns into... 4 new tires+allignment+new battery+front brakes (bothsides) rotors and pads.

I knew all of it was coming so no fault to anyone, but dang it "THE PLAN" was cheering for next month, even better the one after.

$1,500 later on the card and yes I'm grateful, big scheme it's nothing (1st world problem) and as it turns out, a very interesting evening.

I manage to hobble along side the freeway a couple of miles to the next exit and make my way into Lowe's parking lot off A Street in Auburn. I'm stressed of course, but had a little laugh when I turned off the engine. I was thinking about a few AR posts I read last week sharing expressions like,

"It's truly the little things in life that are so very precious." 

Indeed! I believe that's absolutely true cuz I really had to pee after driving a 150 miles up Interstate 5 from Vancouver today and there ain't no place for that kind of business along this stretch of SR 167 without being in all your glory to traffic, both ways.

Text Message: Roadside assistance ETA 1 and a 1/2 hours. I call my friend Dave who lives nearby. My timing is good and a few minutes later we're hanging out waiting for the help. Then this guy walks up (wait for it, wait for it) asking for money.

He spun us a fabulous story and well worth the listen... About his car being stolen this morning along with his keys, phone, wallet, and a vintage 1960s Gretsch guitar that was in the back seat. Up until then I'm still thinking"that's possible, maybe true" .. but my internal radar flipped on at Gretsch and I keep silent about my life long passion for guitars. No gas on the fire tonight...

Then he fills the silence (as if everything else wasn't enough) and says, "And ... ... ... I got fired from my job this morning for not showing up." Go figure!, as he raises his hands like a surrender. "I called the cops, but you know..." 

Okay, now it's over the top. I know variation on a theme. I get this one all the time at the Renton Safeway parking lot.

Seriously, I'd pay for the stories but I don't have any money. I don’t carry cash, and he walks off...

Flat tire in Auburn WA...

Then a truck driver walks over and starts talking. He's friendly and also offers to help with the spare. Thanks, but no. I've already called for roadside assistance and they should be here any minute.
Bill is delivering a dozen small garden trailers to Lowe’s this evening from Montana. He arrived a few minutes late so the store manager refused delivery. That is so not cool in my book (at face value) and now he's spending the night in his truck so he can unload them in the morning.

He seems okay with it, even in good spirits, though his girlfriend just dumped him last week.
He’s gone too much and loves his dogs. She doesn’t.

As we're talking I'm in my head embracing a totally renewed appreciation for life. Turns out Bill's from Idaho, grew up in Lynnwood, then went on to share some great long haul truck driver adventures.

Text message: New ETA, we’re running late, 45 minutes, maybe more. So Dave and I walk across the lot to Applebee’s for a bite to eat and a beverage.

When William from roadside assistance pulls up truckdriver Bill and Dave and I are standing by my flat tire like it's round a campfire. Then that 1st guy shows up again. He gets it, there's no money. He just wants to hang out and joins in.

It only takes a few minutes to get the spare on and William is also friendly and chatty. So now we're 5 guys in a parking lot chance meeting that the unexplainable enigmatic universe thingy brought together. We're sharing stories and laughs about life and being guys. It's a beautiful spring evening as the sun sets in the Pacific Northwest.

Then as mysteriously as we had gathered, with handshakes and good cheer, we part ways into the night and I'm back to the road for home.

Thank you God, Goddess, Spirit of All there is... I'm grateful and well aware this day could have turned out different. Blessings to my friend Dave and please, if you will, look after those guys I met today.

As I pull out of the lot I turn on the CD player, it's qued up to an old favorite I brought along for the trip. As it starts I crank it to loud plus and smile.

"La lahhhhhh! ... La lah la lah Mystery Tour... La lahhhhhh! ... La lah la lah Mystery Tour ...
What a great album!

A Chance Evening, with flat tire was first published by the author on the Activerain Network at: One chance evening...

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Two teapots sitting on a shelf...

Two teapots sitting on a shelf. One say's to the other, "LOOK!, there they go!"
The other replies, "I wish I could follow."

#westfieldsc #Tukwila #PNW #lifestyle #Southcenter

Originally published on the Activerain network by the author at: http://actvra.in/4DCD

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Once upon a time there was this smiling goat.

Once upon a time there was this smiling goat...
So we're at the University Village in Seattle for #mobilecomcamp when I see these guys outside the Fireworks Store. I'm in a playful mood and well caffinated and the first thing that pops into my head (being the blogger I am and alway's on the lookout for material) is...

Once upon a time there was this smiling goat, a huge colorful rooster, and a cute little bulldog all gathered together on the village plaza... 

"I just know there's a story here!" :O) 
But I better put my focus back on the class. I'm the instructor!

Once upon a time there was this smiling goat, a huge colorful rooster, and a cute little bulldog.

#uvillage #Seattle #PNW #Fireworks #iPhoneography #mobilecomcamp

Mobile Communication Boot Camp, or #mobilecomcamp for short is a State of Washington certified 3 clock hour class presented by the First American Title Real Estate School of Washington. The class, written by Rene Fabre and Barbie Van Horn, is a cutting edge hands on and in the field in real time workout designed to develop your skills at mobile marketing. It embraces the way most people use their smartphones now and how to engage this mostly mobile 'on the go' sphere to build your brand awareness and web visibility in your local market area to create opportunity.


Once upon a time there was this smiling goat was originally published on the Activerain Network.