Being With The Boys

Having an overnight with my two grandsons, Isaac and Ari, is a major treat.  Oops, I just typed “threat” instead of “treat” initially.  I need to reflect on that.

It is a threat because it means making a plan.  I always play out the list of possible activities for us to do while they are in Alameda.  A movie, the zoo, miniature golf, pinball arcade, are always options.  Eat at home or out.  I want it to be a treat for them.  And then what movie to watch before bedtime with their popcorn.  Before streaming, they would tell me what they wanted and I would arrange to have it here.  Now, they pick one or we have something recorded that may be of interest to them.

Once the decisions are made, the treat begins.  I love hearing updates on their activities, which are many.  And I love hearing them describe things and giving their opinions.  They do pay attention to events and to people.

And, they care.  There is a warmth and connection that reaches my core.

Thanks for another great time.


Four couples got together last night.  This group evolved in an interesting and meaningful way.

I went to high school in Detroit with one of the men.  We ended up being neighbors in Michigan after we were married and had children.  They moved to San Diego in the mid 1980’s.  I heard from them when we moved to Alameda in 2011 because they were moving to Fairfield and looked forward to getting together.  We began to do so on a regular basis.

One night, my husband and I were at Rockwall Winery drinking wine.  A couple came over and asked if the adjacent sofa was available to sit at.  We encouraged them to sit and a conversation began.  That was the beginning of a friendship.  We get together regularly.

At a business group, I met a man who moved to Alameda from Maryland two years earlier.  We became friends and got together with our partners.  We get together regularly.

My husband and I brought all of the couples together for dinner at our house.  A strong group of friends formed. We decided to get together once a month and rotate homes with each bringing a course for the meal.

This is evidence to me that, challenging as it is, we can make new friends even when we are older.  It is a gift.


It was intriguing to hear how people were responding to the awareness that the hurricane Irma was going to hit Florida.  Most knew someone who lives there.  It took so long for the storm to hit because it was slow moving, that the anticipation was overwhelming for many.  There were predictions of the path; those changed once Irma arrived.

People watched the news and checked their phones.  Calls were made to friends and relatives.

Those not in Florida felt helpless.  And everyone was reminded of our vulnerability.  We have no control over acts of nature.  And we, as well as our material goods, are fragile.

It is difficult to be incapable of doing much except to provide support.  We try to avoid thinking what it would be like if we were in the hurricane.

How prepared can one be?

Weather Concern

Yesterday was when hurricane Irma was landing on top of Florida.  Knowing people living there, I have been a bit preoccupied with the prognostication of how and where it would impact.  Being a slow-moving hurricane, the subject was occupying news and thoughts for days.

I went to the theater yesterday. While getting my tickets, the woman at the desk said they had opened early to allow people into the air conditioning since it was so hot outside.  “Where did this heat come from?  I have lived in the Bay area forever, and we are not supposed to get this hot.  I am very upset.”

Indeed, the projection of her voice verified that.

I chose to say nothing.  I wanted to tell her that it angered me that she was so self-centered when the people in Florida were struggling to survive.

She is entitled to her priorities.  So am I, ergo, silence.

Meaningful Interaction

I went to a birthday party for my daughter.  It was held at a friend’s home and there were about 25 people there.  Two of the guests have been friends of Julie’s since they were very young.  Others have been in her life for quite a few years and there were a couple of newer ones.

I do not favor parties.  I am a one-to-one person and prefer more engaging conversations.  At this event, I was able to do that.  I spent the evening talking to one person at a time.  I learned about the ones I did not know before, and I had rather profound interaction with the ones I have known longer.

I enjoyed everyone and walked away with a warm reminder that Julie has wonderful connections in her life.

I hope others are able to form relationships the way she is.  It is so rewarding.


I was at a social event and met a woman I had not seen in years.  She now has a two- year-old son who was not with her at the party.  She knows I am a parent as well as a life coach.  She expressed her frustration with her child when he asserts himself and refuses to comply with her directions.  She indicated she has read innumerable books on the subject and has tried various interventions.

She asked me what I recommend to help her be a better parent.  She said she is very concerned she is doing everything wrong and assured me she loves him.

Many people have shared similar concerns with me.  Parenting is role that requires ongoing learning and reflection.  There is not a simple answer to any problem.  We each have to discover what works for us and our child.

I understand the frustration.  Parenting is an ongoing challenge with endless rewards.

Supporting Others

Alameda is a very diverse community.  Temple Israel is where many of the Jewish families have joined for religious, educational and cultural purposes.  A few days after the demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia where many anti-semitic groups participated, two windows were broken at the Temple.  A camera showed it was a tall person wearing a hoodie.

Two days later, notification was made through social media that there was going to be a vigil at the Temple on Friday night before the Sabbath service at 7:30.  I went, as did about 500 other people.  It was far larger than anticipated.  The Mayor and City Council were present and, along with other officials, spoke.  Members of other clergy were there and one began the speeches.  The head of the Alameda Police said it was being treated as a hate crime.

The President of the Temple Israel invited everyone to attend the service.  250 people took her up on the offer.

It is so meaningful to provide support.  I hope we do this as an active part of our lives.


My daughter Carrie Rice works as a consultant to non-profits.  She was doing a presentation in San Francisco focusing on using empathy in working with clients.  The response to the word empathy was significant.  People were drawn to it and wanted to attend her presentation.  She suggested to me the idea of working together where I would talk about the experience of empathy from a psychological framework and she would then talk about its professional advantage in seeking business.

I mentioned this to a friend who is a psychologist in Michigan.  She said she was aware that empathy had become a word people were attracted to there also.

I reflected on the enhanced attraction to the concept of empathy and thought that there may be an explanation based on what is happening in the United States and the world in regard to terrorism, racism, and fear of the use of nuclear weapons.

My thought is that people are subliminally seeking relief; to connect to people in a caring way feels much better than being afraid and helpless.

If this speaks to you, there may be accuracy in the thought.

Regretful Choice

I agreed to bake for a social event.  There will be about 40 people there, though the amount is not predictable.  I thought about what to prepare and decided that cookies would be a good choice.  Other desserts were not finger foods, and with other food being available at this event, I did not want people to have to take a plate and fork.

I looked through my recipe box for a recipe.  Favoring chocolate myself (in fact, being close to requiring it in a dessert), I looked for a cookie with chocolate.  I decided on a recipe that yields many cookies and they tend to hold well, not easily breakable.

As I participated in this process, I found myself moving to the refrigerator, opening the freezer, and taking out a container of cookies I have baked that I keep for guests.  Note that last word.

I took out a frozen cookie and ate one.

Doesn’t everyone do that?

Handling Technology

I have written before about my concerns about the massive presence of technology in our lives.  I have had a computer since the 1970’s.  I had a cell phone in the early 1990’s.  Having them does not mean I am well educated about them or that I know all of the ways I could use them in my life.  But, I am not new to the world of technology.  I am severely undereducated about it, for the most part, by choice.

My primary concern is about the diminishment of human interaction and vocal communication.  We talk less.  We spend less time with people.  That concerns me and I am curious to know the impact it is having on people.

A conversation about this occurred at one of my business groups.  One man said that when his children were at home, the parents asked that no phones or I-pads be brought to the table when they ate dinner.  He said that at times, one of the kids would begin to use their phone or I-pad and the parents would ask them to put it away.  Eventually, they found a way to address the issue.

When it was taken out, the child was told they would be washing dishes. That became the consequence.  The instruments disappeared.

I applaud this intervention.  Creative parenting.