Handling Consequences

This is not the first time this has happened.  In fact, it may be the hundredth time I have heard a story like this.

An 11-year-old client told me that she was very distressed that her mother yelled at her a lot for having failed to turn in a homework assignment at school.  I asked her what the consequence was at school.  She said that she turned in the assignment the next day, which she had left in a folder in another classroom.  She was given a 0 the first day, but after turning it in, she was given a grade.  Having done this three times, she had a detention which is the result of three 0s.  She is not allowed to go to the other classroom the day the work is due.  As a result of the detention, she was delayed in going to her after-school choir group.  This has gotten her attention.  Finally.

Her mother prepares meals this girl does not like.  She avoids eating them, and the mother gets angry.  I asked her if her mother calls the school and asks that there be a consequence.  She laughed and said she had not.

I advocate schools provide consequences for less than ideal behavior.  I advocate that parents provide consequences at home for less than ideal behavior.  To have consequences in both locations is too much.

Hopefully, the mother will discuss her daughter’s failure to take assignments with her to the appropriate class.  Screaming achieves nothing of value.

Sexual Harassment

The topic began recently with events in the entertainment world. Then it extended to the political realms.

In the former environment, the men who were accused acknowledged to a degree what they had done and most offered comments of regret.  It was apparent they did not need to be educated on what sexual harassment is.

In the political world, there was denial, and the women were accused of waiting years to tell their tales just to manipulate the election.  Yep, once again, the other party made them do it.

I wanted to ask the senatorial candidate what had motivated the people who made accusations again the actors and producers to wait for years?.  And why had none of those accused blamed the accusers of manipulation?

Just a curiosity.

Crossing The Line

I recently had a table at the Community Health Fair at Alameda Hospital.  I advocate teaching children the words that describe a feeling.  In my office, I am aware that many adults do not know this vocabulary.  I decided to create a game for those who chose to stop at my table.

On a board, I had the words for 30 feelings.  In a bowl, I had the definitions for these words.  A person took a slip out of the bowl, and tried to identify the feeling.  I also had a bowl of candy so that those who played the game were rewarded.  Notice, one did not have to guess successful to take a piece of candy.  Trying was rewarded.

A man came up and took a piece of candy.  I told him he needed to play the game before taking the candy.  He said, “I will not play the game.”  I told him to put the candy back in the bowl.  He gave me a look, but did so.

As he walked away, I turned to the vendor at the next table and said, “People need to not cross the line.”  She laughed.


I have a client on Medi Cal.  He is poor.  He is close to homeless.  He desperately needed to see a dentist.  He went to one who accepted his insurance.  It is not easy to find one who will. It does not pay enough.  He needed four root canals.

The dentist completed three of them, and when he began the fourth, the Novocaine did not cause numbness.  As they were working on this, the dentist began fumbling in my client’s mouth and suddenly said, “Call 911.”  It turned out a file had gone down my client’s throat.

He was raced to the hospital.  They could not retrieve the file.  He was inpatient for two days until the file passed.  When released, he tried to find another dentist to complete the work.  The nerve was exposed as the procedure had begun, and he was very uncomfortable.  I will not elaborate, but he ended up going to many facilities that encouraged him to come in, and then, once there (driving distances), found reasons they could not do the work. Within a short time, the incomplete root canal was infected and he needed an antibiotic before anyone would see him.

To listen to the specificity of his story was upsetting.  It is fortunate he is bright, competent, and unrelenting, because most likely would have not pursued this with Medi Cal to find a solution.

Discrimination against the poor.


We moved to Alameda six years ago on Halloween.  We dropped out air mattress and a few other things we brought with us at the home we were renting.  Our furniture was coming the next day.  We then went over to San Francisco to go trick-or-treating with Isaac and Ari, then six and three years old.  It was so much fun, we continued this ritual.

This year they are nine and twelve.  I sensed this would happen.  They were going off with their friends in different neighborhoods.  We decided to stay home.  I had candy I had frozen six years ago which I bought in order to take to Ari and Isaac a few pieces.  I defrosted the candy to pass out.

I admit, I did not put the front porch light on because I had clients.

No children came.  Perhaps they presumed that once again we would not be here.

Am I over participating in Halloween?

A Touching Experience

I had the good fortune to be invited to a wedding that occurred on a boat in Alameda.  The reception was there also.  Once the service was over, we went out to sea and it happened to be the day the Blue Angels were flying over the Bay.

I have seen them in part before and they, for a couple of days prior to the show, fly over my home.  But I had never seen the full event.

There were actually three groups that performed.  I watched with friends and found it very exciting.  When the Blue Angels began to perform, the ship started to pay music that was very American.  It was soft and it was a nice background.  God Bless America and America the Beautiful were a couple of them.  And then The Star Spangled Banner began.  I was standing at the railing and all six planes came by.  I found myself tearful.

It was a very warm experience.  My sense of national pride surfaced in a felt way.  At this time, it was nice to be able to feel that way.

Speaking Engagements

Periodically, I do a free speaking engagement.  I am fortunate to be able to use the Alameda Chamber of Commerce office.  I decide topics that may be of current interest to people in the community and I balance them between adult topics and family concerns.

I am intrigued how the attendees often are there because the topic is interesting, but not often correlate to their current life.  Adults who have grown children will sometimes attend a topic relating to children.  During the discussion, they recall their own parenting times or may talk about grandchildren.

I always encourage discussion and questions as I speak, and I continue to find the participation intriguing and educational.

I favor interaction with people.  We often do not do this anymore.  As I have said before, we tend to communicate through messages, over the phone or on the computer.  The opportunity to discuss and hear diversified opinions is a true learning gift.

I hope people continue to get together, talk, and listen.

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?