Archive for the ‘Story’ Category

do birds fly?

Thursday, April 29, 2021
Debbi DiMaggio

Do Birds Fly?

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It’s 4PM on a sunny Friday afternoon having just finished up work, for the hour, returning from our fabulous listing in San Francisco to preview the staging and meeting with the landscapers; then back to the East Bay to meet our contractor and the homeowner who happens to be a past client, also a childhood friend and past neighbor, in order to ready his home for market. I rush home to meet Adam who gives me a ride to the eye doctor for a 4 o’clock appointment before dinner back in the City. From past experience if you are going to the eye specialist you will not leave with 20/20. If something is wrong, obviously, that’s why  I am there, so they dilate the new, bad eye. I was relieved it wasn’t the same eye they operated on during COVIID, because that would be a huge bummer. That would mean the surgery didn’t work. I told the technician, nurse, not sure of her title, but I told her, you can test my site, but I cannot see out of my left eye and I need surgery. (I am sure they just love when patients self diagnose.) I wasn’t being smart, just matter-of-fact, as 6 months prior it took at least 5 appointments and multiple tests to discover the issue until I finally was scheduled for surgery. (That was the easy eye!) Allow me to revel in how awesome doctors and technology are. The machines they have for testing our small eyes is nothing less than fantastic. I snapped a photo of the photo on the doctors machine of my yellow died eye — it looked like a planet in outer space, yellow and red with lots and lots of squiggly lines.

3 technicians later my amazing, awesome, magical doctor enters, the Wizard. Who else could operate on a tiny eye, while listening to rock and talking sports while performing surgery. I assume he was conversing with the anesthesiologist. I felt no pain but wasn’t totally under, just out of it, comfortably, very comfortably. I do recall thinking what if the stuff wore off and I could feel him working on my eye, could I even talk if I wanted to worn everyone? Maybe I should have tried? But if I did maybe I would have frightened my doctor and my right eye would not be so perfect. Yes, perfect. Not only did that first surgery go so well, bringing my blurry vision back into focus using laser technology but removed the floaters too. Did I say, amazing? Yes, he is no less than awesome, a wizard with a wand. Floaters, for those of you under 50, are little bubble like things that float around in your eye annoying the “s” out of you. In the beginning you use eye drops, (and I know is bad), rub your eyes and think it may be dust or allergies. Note to self: STOP! Don’t rub.

It’s 3:30 AM at present, the morning after my latest surgery. The time is not so unusual for me to wake, oftentimes I go back to sleep, at least until 5:30, but today like other early mornings when I have endured a unique experience like this, I have to unravel it all and put it on paper, like the time we had to plan and execute a Navy Seal extraction to remove Chase from India last March within 10 hours of lockdown; or a few years ago when I woke up early to write about the evening before when I was certain I was going to die in a plane crash on Spirit Airlines after having sent a last text message to my family saying, I love you.

Gratefully, this experience is not so bad. With the exception I type this out using Arial and font size 88 with my head facing down. I wasn’t told prior to surgery that I would have to keep my face in a downward position for 2 to 3 weeks!! Nor did I do any prior research until I was itemizing a huge list of things for my TC* to do in case I was out of it for more than a half day. —Meaning unable to give further direction, and doing a million little things, myself, while  making sure not to put any extra burden on Adam and his already huge pile of work. There is no better word in the English language than control freak, workaholic, words that describe me best. Last night after I returned from surgery I was barking orders, nicely, yet both orally and via text. A bit obsessive, maybe? Yep! You bet, I will be starting in a 8:30 (when most are available to me, including public offices by 9). That is a lifetime for someone who starts festering at 3:30AM!

Back to Friday. The Wizard reports this eye is a much bigger deal than my right eye. This time it’s a detached retina. He goes on to explain while asking when I first noticed it. I let him know it started on the far left side while skiing in Breckenridge and during the week it seemed to be getting worse. Like a snow storm that starts slow and begins to cover the mountain a little more and a bit more. (That description is for you, not the Wizard; he knew.)  When we returned from Colorado I still had some vision, then I flew east to help Bianca get re established in New York (after the COVID SIP) and settled into her new apartment. Within a day or two I noticed my eye was completely blurred out as if someone pushed their thumb into the middle of my eye just as you do when you are getting a document notarized, like when you buy or sell a home. All I could see was one big thumb print. (More real estate references. I suppose after 30 years of practicing, it just happens.)

I land Wednesday night (from NY) and by Friday at 4PM my appointment is booked. I hadn’t been that worried but looking back I am so grateful the doctor’s office scheduled me so quickly. After the eye testing, dilation and multiple images being taken I finally met with my doctor. As noted it was a much bigger deal. I think back now noticing he didn’t use the word serious, but I now think it was, compliments of Google.

My doctor inquired when I first noticed the blurred vision in order to gain insight and a timeline. I later learned on Google that a detached retina should be handled promptly. Thus the reason I am sharing this with you today. I wasn’t worried because he had fixed my eye perfectly the last time. I hadn’t been pushy to get in and I hadn’t called ahead from New York, although when I was up at 5:30AM in NY, I did try, but it was always too early on the West coast and then got too busy once we started in again running errands, shopping and getting Bianca’s apartment pulled together. (BTW, it’s SOOOOO CUTE!)

It had been about 10 days. Now close to 5PM on a lovely Friday afternoon, the doctor swung open his door started directing his staff to book appointments, he started filling out forms on his computer and barking more orders. He asked if I had any trips planned?  Do birds fly? I thought to myself?  Yes, 3, I shared. I could cancel or drive. He reported I could not fly for 2 months. He moved on to ask if I could get in on Monday to see my primary care doctor so they could release me for surgery — a COVID test, EKG & vitals.  I told him they were very slow and most likely not, so he said as last resort he could do it. He closed the door, took my blood pressure and pulse, checked my heart and replied to my previous comment, —I promise I am healthy, and my blood pressure, if anything, will be low. The words that finally stuck, his reply after reporting my blood pressure, “Even after this bad news your pressure is super low.” His words lingered for a moment. 

He then told me I was set, surgery would be on Tuesday, and I didn’t need to see my primary, and said he was going to go reserve the hospital now, himself. I have never seen a doctor so hands on. And like that he was off, I checked out and was told his office would follow up Monday with details of Tuesday’s surgery. Adam had been waiting in the car for an hour and a half working, then visiting with the HIGHLAND PARTNERS agents on Friday’s Happy Hour. I jumped in the car, having no idea I was announcing my upcoming surgery to the office on Zoom! Crazier occurrences have happened on Zoom. This, not such a big deal considering all the crazy stories we have heard over the past year during COVID.

Once I knew of my impending surgery I stopped moving around, and stopped driving. Tuesday came as fast as turtle   moves. 130PM Tuesday could not come fast enough. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and finally Tuesday. One of the positive outcomes of COVID is how waiting rooms have become a thing of the past. It really is  awesome. I zipped through check-in and headed straight down into the bowels of the hospital, to the frigid basement. I was told to sit and wait for a moment. A kind doctor watching TV asked if I was a Betta. When anyone asks if I’m a Betta I always think they must be a relative because most who know me, know me as a DiMaggio. I was most surprised to be recognized behind glasses and a mask. We had a nice chat. She was the mother of one of Chase’s childhood friends. It was nice to be sitting with a friendly face in the cold depths of the dull beige basement. I’ll never forget the day — the TV was tuned in to the news — the country, maybe even the world sat awaiting the George Floyd verdict. I was praying for a guilty verdict;  if the alternative occurred I’d be waking up to a city in chaos. After the last year, I just didn’t want to witness any further unhappiness and destruction. 

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The attendant brought me into a private room since I hadn’t had the opportunity to have a Covid test. An hour later they swabbed both nostrils. And sometime after that I was given the news of a negative result. I continued to nap. Fast forward to questions — Name. Birthdate. Allergies. What are you having done today. The dreaded IV. Finally the anesthesiologist came in. More questions. Followed by The Wizard. After being wheeled into the operating room looking at huge machines, and being parked right in between two. That’s where things go black. And if almost seconds later I was out. The best sleep ever. I don’t recall seeing the doctor. I do recall the nurse barking to keep my head down. They should give you post op instructions prior to surgery, not when you are half baked. The next thing I knew I was in a wheelchair, outside, then in Adam’s car.  Head down. Now 7 days and 2 follow up appointments later, all is healing. (If you looked at me you would not think so. I just looked at my eye and it is bloody red.) I’m still sitting and sleeping face down. Grandma hangs out with me during the day, makes lunch and cooks dinner for Adam, myself and my Dad every night. You can listen to TV and movies, but cannot watch. I’ve been listening to Sam the Cooking Guy because he’s so animated and talks so much you can almost see what he’s doing without looking. Documentaries are also entertaining. I can look down at my phone and laptop so I am able to keep up with work, emails and marketing our new listing. Not sure how I’ll make it another week and maybe another 2 weeks. It’s not a small surgery. At my last appointment I asked The Wizard if it was something I had caused by rubbing my eyes. The Wizard simply says, it’s just bad luck and age. I don’t believe there is anything one can do to prevent a detached retina. If there is, please do tell. I don’t wish this recovery time on anyone!

Ahh…. the agony of aging. 

Dinner on Sunset Blvd

Saturday, September 14, 2019
Debbi DiMaggio

le salon

A different journey, the same destination.

Viva la Vida!

Live, Love ❤️Embrace Life!

Living Life, that’s  what my new friend and I are doing.

I had just finished my sweat at Shape House and was driving through West Hollywood in search of a salad and a glass of Chardonnay.

At first I thought Sur, Pump or Cecconi’s or Tortilla Republic, all within walking distance of Shape House, but I was still reaping the benefits of my treatment… the sweating continued, sans make up, and crazy hair. As I drove up N Robertson and turned right onto the lively and beat pumping Santa Monica Blvd, Trader Joe’s sounded like a good idea but I turned prematurely, one block too soon.

Tender Greens was on the corner, I’ll park there, I thought. No parking to be found. Heading towards Sunset I figured I’d hit up Tender Greens next to the Hills Penthouse, my former Members Only Club, and SoulCycle. It was a busy LA summer night… still no parking ‍♀️.

Sunset Plaza! Voila! Free, available and easy, so I parked.

Chin Chin’s Chinese Chicken Salad and a glass of Chardonnay, perfect. I’ll sit outside and watch the people and cars go by. But something propelled me to continue on to another favorite little spot. Whether it’s the perfect location, the energy, or the cheerful yellow awning, my legs propelled me further.

I arrived at the hostess stand that sits on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. Briefly I waited and thought.

Experiencing the same elation just as I do when strolling the quaint cafes along Nice’s Promenade or the narrow cobblestone streets of Saint Tropez.

Le Petit Four has that ability. It transports me right back to the South of France each and every time. It’s no wonder I’m always drawn back.

But for a split second I almost change my mind. The restaurant was packed, bustling with people and lively conversation. Where will I be seated? I can’t sit under a heat lamp I’ll die! I thought to myself panicking, slightly. But before I could change my mind a beautiful girl with a big smile donning a white Afro invited me to follow her; still nervous about the table that would be mine for the evening.

There were 4 tables nestled close together, side by side. She didn’t just seat me at the easiest table in the corner or off to the side, alone. No. She sat me one in from the end with a perfect view of the entire outdoor patio. It was perfect. Even better, within 3 minutes of taking my seat, adjusting myself and locating a place for my handbag. Note: One must never place a handbag on the floor or the ground. It was at the Wynn Las Vegas when I learned of this superstition. I asked the waitress why the woman at the other table was given a foot stool and not I. She explained I was sitting at a booth and had a place to put my handbag. She did not. She went on to explain how it is an Asian belief that one must never place their handbag on the floor as it is bad luck. I’ve never placed my handbag on the floor since, and share this with everyone I dine out with. Who wants to be bestowed with bad luck?! Not I.

As I was saying, within 3 minutes this lovely lady was seated next to me by the owner and the hostess, everyone knew her, they all exchanged pleasantries in French. It was at that very moment I knew why my journey transpired the way it had that evening.

Coincidences don’t exist. Perhaps divine intervention or accidentally with purpose. Or just meant to be. I know one thing for sure, you’ve got to get out and see what life has in store for you, it’s not going to come to you.

We exchanged names and a hello and each went on to order a dry white wine, Sancerre. As it would happen we were on the same page. Open to conversation we told the owner to cancel our individual orders and that we would be sharing a bottle.

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In the end I wasn’t alone. I was graced with the most wonderful, kind, friendly, inspirational woman who embraced a similar outlook on life. Also a loving Mom who believe kids are everything as is Family.

Cathy came here 18 months ago from Paris with her 93 year old mother, her sister, her 9 year old nephew and 26 year old son. She always had this idea, a dream, and is now living it. Within 2 months she received a Visa and is now living and enjoying her American Dream.

Professionally trained in France at the Culinary Institute, and now in LA, together Cathy and her son opened a tea shop with delicious pastries and more, right here in the heart of West Hollywood on Sunset Blvd. She is living her next chapter as am I. Dreams do come true. And life is extraordinary when you go out and live it.

To visit Cathy and her son Anthony go to Le Salon de The

Photos: Le Salon de The

where are you from?

Sunday, March 3, 2019
Debbi DiMaggio

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We all come from somewhere. Only our stories are different. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Meet my newest friends, Walter & Wagner, Brazilian twins. We connected two years ago on Instagram and finally met last night, in person. (They live in Iowa, while I hover 🚁🚁🚁 between Oakland & LA in California.) It was as if we had known one another a very long time. What I didn’t know was that these talented, positive, energetic, happy and fun people were raised in the slums of Brazil. We laughed all evening. Read their amazing story. And if you want to book The Twins for an event, small or large just reach out to me. I produced a film a few years ago, so why not add music producer to my resume? Go to @b_2wins on Instagram Music 🎶

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Meet a few of my other insta connections @debbidimaggiostoryteller

Designing Our New Home “Pretty In Pink”

Tuesday, September 6, 2016
Debbi DiMaggio

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Downsizing.

Over the last four years my husband and I have been pondering the question what to do after the kids went off to college and beyond to live their adult lives. In the beginning we considered moving back to San Francisco and put in an application at a private woman’s club. After many trips back and forth and lots of visualizing we decided against it. Traffic to, from, in and around the city proved too much to bare, the thought of wasting our time in all that congestion wasn’t something we found appealing.

Visualizing how we pictured our future life we came up with a plan.

Work is a key factor in what we do and who we are and that wasn’t going to change. We knew we wanted to be close to work so we can meet with our clients and visit our properties with ease.

Proximity to the Oakland Airport a must. Travel is something I live for whether for pleasure or to visit our children.

Between the increasing traffic and congestion of getting in and out of San Francisco, the farther we got from our goals.

We knew we didn’t really need to continue to reside in Piedmont when the kids left and having grown up in Piedmont really wanted a change of pace. LA, Beverly Hills has always been on my bucket list of places to own a home.

After making our list and visualizing our day to day life in different neighborhoods after the children moved on we began to see ourselves in Hiller Highlands.

  1. Sits on Top of the Bay Area with an awesome three bridge view ( Golden Gate, Bay Bridge and San Rafael Bridge )
  2. Within Close Proximity To Our Offices in Piedmont and Montclair
  3. Nearby but still felt different with the change I was seeking
  4. Close to the Oakland Airport
  5. Although I wanted to ( and still do ) live in a doorman building, our townhouse in Hiller Highlands still allows low maintenance living.

 

empty nest – a year in review – adventures of the empty nest

Monday, June 6, 2016
Debbi DiMaggio

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My two beautiful children and off they went.

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