Week in Review, July 25-31

This week we released new episodes for “The Alameda Park series and “The Golden Age of Self Expression.” On Tuesday, Adrienne Chaix Alexander, Cyndi LaCroix, Denise Ratto, and Keri Spaulding talked about the experiences they had, leadership lessons they learned, and the life long friendships they made while serving the Alameda Parks as young adults. On Thursday, Bett and Steve Bollhoefer spoke about how they express themselves, particularly through music and dance. Bett also shared with us how movement, mindfullness, and music help her manage life’s pressures and handle them with grace.

Since both of these series have been so well received, we’re going to re-release Episode #1 on Alameda Park League Baseball, with Danny Pereira, Kevin Kearney, and Steve Sorensen and Episode #1 of “The Golden Age of Self Expression” with Ashley Orlando. We’ll be back next week with new episodes of both series.

As always, please like, share, comment, and subscribe so this message can go far and wide. We’ll find that shining needle of common ground in that haystack of fear.

Week in Review, July 18-24

We had a fun week in the in the Productive Discourse world. On Tuesday we released the Episode #4 of our series on Alameda Park League Baseball. Our special guest was the legendary Sam Spear who is best known for training the youth umpires. In our discussion, we learned that Sam also produced the Play Ball section that appeared weekly in the Alameda Times Star. The Play Ball section documented all the games that took place during the week. The Player of the Week award was bestowed on an outstanding player who excelled on the field. Sam has gone on to become a well known member of the SF Bay Area media, still doing the weekly “At the Races” show on KNBR Radio. He’s become the face of the Golden Gate Fields Race Track.

Episode #5, “Women Leaders in the Parks” will be released tomorrow. Guests are Adrienne Chaix-Alexander, Cindi LaCroix, Denise Ratto, and Keri Spaulding. All were directors at local parks and were outstanding role models for the kids of our community.

On Thursday we’ll be releasing Episode #4 of “The Golden Age of Self Expression,” featuring Bett & Steve Bollhoefer. Bet is a blogger, speaker, software leader and Immediate Past District Director of our Northern California Toastmasters District. Steve is a violinist and Alexander Technique Teacher. Bett and Steve detail the variety of ways they express themselves as we talk about their feelings, perspectives, and experiences.

Please enjoy the episodes and as always, please like, share, comment, and subscribe, so this message will go far and wide. We’ll find that shining needle of common ground in that haystack of fear.

Week in Review, July 11-17

Our Park League and Golden Age of Self-Expression shows, continued last with Kin Robles talking about his experiences as a Franklin Eagle,  and encounters that he had with former SF Giant Chris Speier.  Chris had a great Major League career, that was nurtured by Park League Baseball at Franklin Park. Kin not only told baseball stories, he talked about the games that he and his friends invented and how they all learned how to settle disputes in ways where they could move on and continue games and form life long friendships.

In The Golden Age of Self-Expression, Elly Stornebrink talked about how she expresses herself in ways that help her physically, mentally, and spiritually. After dealing with shyness for most of her life, Elly took some steps to leave her comfort zone and confront the shyness.  Elly encourages people to find a creative outlet. “If you’re uncomfortable speaking, find a different modality.” She also suggests, “pushing ourselves, getting out of our comfort zones, extend our boundaries, learn and grow.”

Next week, we’ll be releasing Episode #4 of our series on Park League Baseball.  Our featured guest will be Sam Spear, a Lincoln Lion who went on to develop the training program for youth umpires and write the articles for the Play Ball section of the Alameda Time Star.  Sam made a career out of sports working for the Oakland A’s, hosting a radio show on Horse Racing, and becoming the “Face of Horse Racing” in Northern California

Please enjoy the episodes and as always, please like, share, comment, and subscribe, so this message will go far and wide.  We’ll find that shining needle of common ground in that haystack of fear.

Week in Review, July 4-10

Last week we continued our series on the legendary Alameda Park League Baseball with special guest, James McGee. James who authored the Alameda Legends series of books, shared stores about his experiences at Edison, Lincoln, & Krusi Parks. He told great stores about lessons learned and life-long friendships that were built. This Park League series is very rewarding. After both episodes, I’ve heard from former Park Directors, players, and other members of the community, sharing stories, experiences, and memories.

Thursday, was Episode #2 of “The Golden Age of Self Expression,” with special guest, Mr. Weirdo, aka Rasheed Hooda. Mr. Weirdo showed his unique view on the term, weirdo as he described the freedom that comes once we embrace our inner weirdo. He has an entertaining way of describing his experiences.

This Tuesday, Kin Robles, founder of Play Ball Alameda will share the positive Park League experiences that he had and how it motivated him to produce a documentary. On Thursday, Elly Stornebrink describes what it means to be a lover of hearts and an intuitionist.

Please enjoy the episodes, all are on this website. Please also, like, share, comment, and subscribe, so this message can go far and wide. We’ll find that shining needle of common ground in that haystack of fear.

Week in Review, June 27-July 3

Last week we began two new programs On Tuesday we celebrated the summer by releasing the first episode of our series on the legendary Alameda Park League Baseball. Park League Baseball, sponsored by the Alameda Elks and run by the bigger than life, Lil Arnerich and the Alameda Recreation and Park Department In the first episode, we interviewed Dan Pereira, Kevin Kearney, and Steve Sorensen who played for the 1968 Little Coast Champion, Krusi Colts. Fifty three years later, all three still love baseball and are playing in a 65+ baseball league.

On Thursday, we released Episode #1 of “The Golden Age of Self Expression.” The idea behind “The Golden Age of Self Expression” is, whether we speak, sing, or scribble our ideas on a piece of paper. Whether we dance, draw, or doodle, there’s a platform out there for us to express our ideas. The best part is, we don’t need to get anyone’s permission. Our first guest, Jazz Musician Ashley Orlando shared her experiences and suggested that we can rejuvenate our energy by nurturing our creative side.

This Tuesday, author James McGee will talk about growing up around sports in Alameda and on Thursday Rasheed Hooda will talk about embracing his inner weirdo.

Please enjoy the episodes, all are on this website. Please also, like, share, comment, and subscribe, so this message can go far and wide. We’ll find that shining needle of common ground in that haystack of fear.

Gratitude Challenge, Day 43 of 100 “The Big Send”

Today I’m grateful for the little things that we can do to make a difference. Yesterday, 145,000 of my best friends, including my Toastmaster friend Lisa Fairchild, and I participated in the Vote Forward “BIG SEND.” https://votefwd.org/ Together, we mailed a over 15 million hand written notes encouraging potential voters to vote. Why did we do this? Speaking for myself, while I’m obviously happier when the candidate that I vote for wins, I handle losses better if I know there was a big turnout. With a big turnout, there’s usually a mandate. On the other hand, when I come out on the short end of an election that has a low turnout, I have an empty feeling. With all of the rhetoric surrounding the November 3 election, my desire is to have as many people as humanly possible vote.

Who did I sent the letters to? I sent 40 to potential voters in Georgia and 20 each to potential voters in Florida, Texas, and Ohio. The message was non-partisan:

“I vote because I want to have a say in what happens in our country, our state, and our communities. Whether I’m happy with the results or not, I’m comforted knowing that I exercised my right to vote for my beliefs.”

Will this help my candidate win? I don’t know. What I do know is that there’s a role for all of us to play in our democracy, many of them can be done from the comfort of our homes. For that I’m grateful.

What are you passionate about? What little thing can you do to make a difference? Please write your ideas in the comment section and help us find that shining needle of common ground in that scary haystack of fear.

Gratitude Challenge, Day 42 of 100. “Another Night of Baseball Tension”

I keep saying, the greatness of baseball is not excitement it’s in tension. It was tension, that made the American League Championship Series great. With the Tampa Bay Rays winning the first three games, there wasn’t a lot to talk about. When the Astros won Game 5, and then made a series out of it by winning Games 5 and 6, forcing tonight’s Game 7, the tension kept building.

When the Rays built an early lead that became 4-0, tonight’s game became a microcosm of the series. It was the tension in tonight’s winner take all game that more than made up for the lack of excitement.

  • Nick Anderson induced a double play ground ball from Yuli Gurriel, who was up with two men on in the 7th.
  • Carlos Correa knocked in two runs in the 8th to make the game 4-2. Pete Fairbanks struck Alex Bergman with the tying run at first to get out of the inning.
  • With Gurreil on base in the 9th, Josh Redick and Adelmys Diaz represented the possible tying runs.

There’s something about the Houston Astros that made me think that Redick or Diaz would get the big hits that would turn the game around. Sort of like the way the Astros always got the big hit against the A’s. It didn’t happen because the tension left the building for good when Diaz’s fly ball landed in Manuel Margot’s glove for the final out.

Now that the tension is gone from the Astro-Rays series, it will present itself tomorrow in Texas when the Braves and Dodgers play their own game 7. While we’re watching, let’s embrace the tension and come to terms with the fact that it’s not baseballs job to overwhelm us with excitement.

As always please leave comments about what you’re grateful for and help us find that shining needle of common ground in that scary haystack of fear.

Gratitude Challenge, Day 41 of 100. “The Blessing of Being a Work in Progress”

Wow! My last gratitude challenge post was September 18! The intention was to post one every single day for 100 days. While that didn’t happen, today I’m grateful that we’re all works in progress. What a blessing! No matter the journey, if we trip up, we can pick ourselves up and get back into it. This happened when I completed my degree from the University of San Francisco at age 34 after dropping out of community college at age 20. At least five times, I’ve motivated myself to lose weight. Things would go well until I gained the weight back. The bottom line is we can always forgive ourselves and re-enter the journey. I bet you’ve also stepped away from something and then come back to complete it.

The month that’s passed since my last post has been eventful. There have been some frightening events, incredible support from family and friends, along with some well timed miracles that my family and I will always be grateful for.

Please share with us what you’re grateful for. Is there a journey that you’re on that’s progressing well? Is there anything you’ve stepped away from that you need to get back into? Please leave your comments below and let’s honor the fact that we’re all works in progress.

As always, let’s keep looking for that shining needle of common ground in that scary haystack of fear.

Gratitude Challenge, Day 40 of 100 “A Bright Sunshiny Day”

To paraphrase Johnny Nash, “I can see clearly now, the smoke is gone.” While I hear the air might be smokey again tomorrow, today was a great day to walk. I did the one hour loop that took me through the Safeway Shopping Center, down Island Drive, past the Harbor Bay Club and then on to the trail by the Bay to the Ferry Terminal and back to our house.

I passed the time listening to Jon Miller and Steve Young on KNBR podcasts, struck by the fact that as tough as times are right now, the technology at our fingertips make our lives so much more convenient and interesting.

For over 40 years, I’ve spent my days driving from client to client enjoying the entertainment of the radio. I’ve gone from listening Gene Nelson or Frank Dill, to The Razor & Mr. T, and beyond, wishing that I had a nickel for everytime I pulled up to a client’s office, forced to miss the best part. It could be a Willie Mays interview or Ralph Barbieri going off on a rant. Now days, unless it’s a sporting event, I don’t think I listen to anything live. If the phone rings when Murph and Mac are talking to Marcus Thompson, no problem. I can take the call and pick up the interview where I left off. If I’m motivated, I can practice my Duolingo Italian or listen to a book on tape.

What do you have at our fingertips there is so much to be grateful for. Today it’s blue skies and entertaining podcasts. Maybe tomorrow I’ll find Ella Fitzgearald on my iPhone singing, “Blue skies, smiling at me. Nothing but blue skies do I see.”

What’s making your life better? What are you grateful for today? Please write your comments below and let’s keep looking for that shining needle of common ground in that haystack of fear.

Gratitude Challenge, Day 39 of 100, “Vote Forward”

I’m grateful today because I found another productive activity that keeps during the pandemic. Vote Forward is an organiztion of volunteers who write handwritten notes to potential voters in swing states, encouraging them to get out and vote. We’re asked to write a handwritten non partisan message describing why we choose to vote. My message is, “I vote because it allows me to have a say in what happens in our Country, our State, and Community. Sometimes, I’m happy with the results, sometimes I’m not. I’m always comforted by the fact that I exercised my right to vote my beliefs.” The volunteers are asked to mail the letters on October 27th, one week before the election. We provide the stamps and paper, those of us who would like to, are invited to donate Vote Forward.

Why am I doing this? I’m doing this for my mental health. With all the anxiety that’s dominating our day to day lives, the best way to relieve the anxiety is to do something productive. I orginally signed up to mail 20 handwritten notes. Since I found that I’m comfortable doing five per day and get great satisfaction writing them, I’ll re-up and sign up for 20 more next week. Here’s a video with that gives more details. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7Vkzb_Dm2M. Give it a try. I think you’ll get the same satisfaction that I did.

What productive things are you doing during the pandemic? Maybe you’re doing something that others would find interesting and want to join in. Please write them in the comment section so that we can find that shining needle of common ground in that scary haystack of fear.