Category Archives: Activities

A Successful Teaching Event

I spent some time with Isaac at his house.  Ari was at a birthday party and Erik and Ellen were working in the garden.  Isaac and I were trying to decide what to do.  We looked at the board games he had and I noticed a deck of cards.  I asked him if he knew how to play Gin Rummy.  He said he thought he might have learned in the past, but asked me if I was willing to teach him.  I said I was.

I quickly reviewed the game; he understood easily.  We started to play and I won the first game.  I explained how points were totaled.  I got 28 points on that game.  He won the next game and got 10 points.

We played for 15 more minutes and I made the choice not to add up all of the points on the last game because he was way ahead already and my last hand had no matches.

Need I say more?

We Marched Again

I went with the same group to the women’s march in Oakland.  This time there were more men and children than I remember seeing last year.  The number was said to be 50,000 participants.

It is often hard to know how to express one’s feelings.  So many people are troubled by what is going on in this country and the world.  There is a sense of powerlessness.  Studies show it is definitely affecting people’s moods.

The hope is to do something to be heard and contribute to change.  Behavior is a way of asserting ourselves.  Marching, working to get voters out for the next election, and listening to what people’s issues are who are different than us can be valuable.

It felt wonderful to participate with so many like-minded people.

Martin Luther King Day

When we moved to California six years ago, we had Isaac and Ari on Martin Luther King Day.  They were eight and five at the time.  We decided to go to Martin Luther King park.  We took trash bags with us and picked up trash.  We took about an hour.  The act of contributing to the care of our community felt like a meaningful public service.

Last year we did it again.  For reasons we did not understand, the primary trash we found were shoes.  We filled our bags. Since the boys were older, they went closer to the Estuary to retrieve trash.  We found the appropriate trash containers and filled them before we left.

Public service is something the boys are learning at home too.  I wish more of us participated in it.

I missed you today, Ari and Isaac.

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.

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.

Taking Care Of Someone

I recently took a weekend trip down to LA to visit Julie, my daughter.  Lately my knees have been uncomfortable and I will be beginning physical therapy in a couple of weeks.  I have mentioned this to her and am aware that I rarely talk about how I am doing physically.  I told her that walking up and down stairs tends to put the most stress on my knees.

There is an elevator in her apartment and over the weekend it failed to work on a few occasions.  She took immediate action calling the building manager and I discovered that she was very assertive, mentioning that I was visiting and she did not want me walking the stairs.  There were a few interventions that she took as the elevator was not reliable.

We went to a play downtown which meant parking underground.  As we walked to a restaurant and the theater, there were steps.  In each situation, she kept directing me to the elevator even though it was a longer walk, but did not require stairs.

Her care was very touching to me, though not surprising.  As a person who prefers not being taken care of, even when ill, she saved me from discomfort.

I hope I am attentive to others in the same way.

Thanks, TF.

Change Of Lifestyle

I went to my grandson Isaac’s soccer game yesterday.  It was in San Francisco so I tried to gauge the weather since it is often different than Alameda where I live.  It was supposed to top out at 68 degrees.  I wore jeans and a light long sleeve top.  I took a sweater just in case.  We went to breakfast first and the sweater was necessary.

At the game, I sat on the faux grass for 1 ½ hours in the sun.  I have always been a sun person and I do not wear a hat or sunscreen, to the chagrin of a couple of people.

When we went to leave, I got up and felt a couple of steps away from faint.  I walked slowly and then knew I needed to sit for a second.  Everyone asked why and then offered water, something I had not consumed during the game.  I walked again and was very light headed.  I felt relief once I was in the car.

It had gotten hotter than anticipated and it has been a long time since I have sat in the sun.  In fact, it has been years.  I am not a water drinker except at meals.

My body has changed since my lifestyle has changed.

I am still learning.

Feeling Overwhelmed

Working full time.  Raising children.  Running errands.  Taking care of pets.  Taking care of the home.  Preparing meals. Doing laundry.  Taking phone calls.  Making phone calls.  Taking care of bills and business.  Shopping.

There is much to do on most days.  Often there is little down time in the evening.  We look forward to the weekend, hoping for less of a schedule.

Add one more unexpected phenomenon, like illness, and the overwhelmed feeling goes over the edge.

For the most part, this is how we choose to live our lives.  I encourage making a commitment to having a break.  Schedule it so that it is a part of our ritual.

Go to a restaurant.  Go to a movie.  Go to the library.

I advocate this strongly to couples with children so that they can maintain a private, intimate relationship where they can truly catch up with each other.  Do this once a week.  It makes a difference.