Gratitude Challenge, Day 33 of 100, “Mrs. Taddei’s Chicken Dinner.”

Today I’m grateful for the wonderful dinner that I had with Kathryn tonight.  The Zoom meetings started at 7:00 AM this morning, I bailed out at around 2:00.  Although there was still a couple of hours to go on that particular, after having a bad night of sleep last night, I couldn’t go on.  My brain needed a rest.  There was also another 90 minute call scheduled for 4:00 that I logged onto after my rest.

The quiet dinner that I had with Kathryn was soothing to the soul.  She made chicken recipe that Kathryn made for dinner with a tasty sauce and a nice salad with tomatoes, garbanzo beans, with some Mozzarella Cheeze mixed in.  A great relaxing dinner with a homemade brownie for dessert.  I love you Kathryn.

What are you greatful for?  Please leave your gratitued comments and let’s find that shinning needle of common ground in that scary haystack of fear.



Gratitude Challenge, Day 32 of 100 “My Toastmasters Friends”

Tonight we wrapped up the 2020 Toastmasters Virtual Convention with fun Region Gatherings.  I was fortunate enough to attend two;  Region 1 that was hosted by my friends Cindy and Sondra and Region 2 which was hosted by my friends Jessica and Vicktoria.  Both gatherings celebrated the hard work and the achievements of the members and leaders that make up the regions.

When last year’s leaders agreed to take on roles, they had no idea what they were getting into.  They had no idea how their roles were going to change once Covid hit.  I could only imagine waking up one morning realizing that they would be tasked with keeping their clubs healthy during a time when members and potential guest were asked not to leave the house.  They used their inguinity, creativityand learned new skills that kept the Toastmasters ship afloat and thriving. The new skills they learned will serve them for the rest of their lives.  Congratulations to all of the Toastmasters who contributed to the success.  I’m proud of you!

What are you grateful for today?  Who are you proud of?  Please write your comments below and let’s find that shining needle of common ground in that scary haystack of fear.









Gratitude Challenge, Day 31 of 100 “Quiet Night Watching the Giants”

Tonight I’m grateful for a quiet night watching baseball.  The Giants played the Arizona Dimondbacks with Trevor Cahill taking starting the game for the Giants.  The bad news is he had to come out of the game in the 4th inning with some discomfort after pitching three good innings.  The good news is, the good guys had a 4-0 lead at the time, and although Arizona scored two runs that inning, the Giants outlasted them, winning the game 5-2.

In this weird Covid season, the Giants are hanging in there.  While the Dodgers are running away with the West, with this year’s playoff system, there’s a chance that the Giants would play the Dodgers in the first round.   What could be funner than the Giants going into a series against the Dodgers,  playing with House money?   All of the pressure would be on the  Dodgers.  I know it’s far fetched but considering how we’re living now, what does far fetched even mean?

So that’s it for tonight.  I’m grateful for baseball and I’m calling a Giant-Dodger series in the first round of the playoffs.  What are you grateful for?  Please add your thoughts to the comment section and let’s find that shining needle of common ground in that scary haystack of fear.

Gratitude Challenge Day 30 of 100 Braver Angels

Today I’m grateful for Braver Angels.  As I’ve mentioned before, we bring reds (people who identify themselves as conservative) and blues, (people who identify themselves as liberal) together to have conversations that are facilitated by non-partisan moderators. We have Trump supporters, Biden supporters, Republican, “never Trumpers,” Bernie supporters and every other persuasion that you can think of. The goal is not to change people’s mind. We encourage people to stay true to their views with the goal of finding the humanity in those whose views are different.
The reason I’m grateful for Braver Angels is that with both national conventions in the books, as expected, the Democrats and Republicans are in complete agreement. The message from both parties is that if you vote for the other side, America is finished. Isn’t this fun? They’re telling us that we’re either going to live in fascism or anarchy. In the midst of all the anxiety, I’ve been listening and reading the ideas of Leadership Coach Simon Sinek and his ideas about infinite thinking vs finite thinking.
Sinek argues that finite thinking is what we see in modern business. “All will be OK if we just hit our end of quarter numbers.” With finite thinking we look no further than the end of the quarter. Once we see the numbers, those who don’t get fired, start another death sprint through the next quarter.
Both parties are experts at finite thinking. ON NOVEMBER 3, WE NEED TO WIN BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY. The dirty little secret is, no matter who wins on November 3rd, the death spring to 2024 will immediately start. The next four years will be spent with the losing side throwing crap at the winning side and the winning side throwing crap back at them with none of us being served.
I believe that Braver Angels is an example of infinite thinking.  Yes, we’re going to have an election on Novmber 3.  Some are going to be happy with the results and some will be unhappy.  It’s in our best interests to find the humanity in our fellow citizens who voted differently.
There are Braver Angel Alliances in all 50 states with a thriving alliance in Alameda that I co-chair with Emily Fathom.  We have a lot of activities between now, and the election, and beyond.  Please look at the website and message me if you’d like more information, and let’s find that shining needle of common ground in that scary haystack of fear.

Gratitude Challenge, Day 29 of 100 “A Reasonably Healthy Dessert”

Today I’m grateful for the sweet taste of a bowl of strawberries, blueberries, with a touch of granola.  A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the privlidge of being able to choose the grocery store where I shop and pretty much find whatever I want.

The produce section is always a site to behold!  Colors everywhere! Yes there are the strawberries and blueberries.  Bananas, apples, and oranges big as softballs.  Yellow peppers, green peppers, red peppers.  Mushrooms, tomatoes and much, much more!  All of this healthy food but I can still find a way to fit in the chips, salami, and red wine that keep my weight from being where I want it.

Since this post is about gratitude, I’m going to concentrate less on putting on weight and more on the satisfaction of fruit with a little bit but not too much granola.  What are you grateful for today?  Please leave your comments below and help us find that shining needle of common ground in that scary haystack of fear.

Gratitude Challenge Day 28 of 100, “I’m Safe at Home and Feel Guilty”

Tonight I’m grateful to feel safe at home.  I also feel guilty and pivileged to have that feeling.  Two of my friends, one, a former co-worker, the other a Toastmaster of  live in Houston and are bracing for Hurircane Laura.

I’m sad because our country is also torn apart again by another police shooting.  This one in Wisconson, where Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back. To make things worse there are vigilantes taking law into their own hands and have killed at least two people who were peacefully protesting.

I don’t know what to say or write.  Right now, I’m going to continue to read, become more educated, and listen to as many ideas as I can.  I was impressed by the interview below that was done by John Wood, a leader in Braver Angels.

What we Mean by White Supremancy

When you listen, you’ll hear Joy Donnell give the best discription of white supremacy that I’ve ever heard.

Friends, just because it’s hard to find things to be grateful for, doesn’t mean that we should stop the search.  The more we express our gratitude, the closer we’ll come to finding our shining needle of common ground in that scary haystack of fear.




Gratitude Challenge, Day 27 of 100, “The Virtual Toastmasters Convention”

Today was Day 2 of the Virtual Toastmasters Convention.  Today I’m grateful that this great organization has the inginuity  to put on this event.  Today I watched and listened to some great presentions:

  • A briefing from the Board of Directors
  •  Seven leaders participating in a panel discussion about Tostmastes leadership opportunities.  Toastmaster’s Chief Executive Officer, Danial Rex was inspiring when he said “as leaders, while we’ll be successful with some things and unsuccessful with other things, we’ll come out of the experience a better leader.”
  • I watched seven great speakers compete in the semi-finals of the International Speech Contest.
  • Dawn Frail a great education session on How to be an 8-carat Communicator.

There were a few technical glitches but with upwards toward 50,000 signing up for the convention, I think Toastmasters International has done a great job.

In this world where communication seems to be collapsing all around us, Toastmasters give me faith.  We’re male/female, young/old, every ethnic group, every religion you can think of, representing over 140 countries.  We attend weekly meetings with the sole purpose of helping each other improve our communication and leadership skills.

If you’re intrigued by this, please message me.  I’d love to talk with you more about Toastmasters and invite you to one of our meetings. I belong to three great clubs, Alameda Tongue Twisters, The Esteemed Oakland 88, and Toastmasters Leadership Club.  Since all of us meet on Zoom, it doesn’t matter where you live.

Today I’m grateful for the Virtual Toastmaster Convention.  What are you grateful for.  Please leave your comments below and help us find that shining needle of common ground in that scary haystack of fear.



Gratitude Challenge, Day 26 of 100, “Slight Improvement in Air Quality”

Today I’m grateful for the ever so slight improvement in the air quality.  I actually feel guilty talking about this because no matter how troubling it’s been to have bad air quality in my neighborhood, it doesn’t compare to the danger and hardship that people who are evacuating from or losing their homes are facing.

In Alameda, we were lucky to get a small amount of rain last night.  While that probably helped it was still hard to breath when I went outside this morning to get the newspaper. By the afternoon, it was actually pleasant outside.

So today I have a combination of gratitude and sadness.  I welcome the better air quality improving in Alameda and continue to pray for the safety of the people inwho aret are in danger and for they firefighters who are working so hard to keep them safe.

What are you grateful for today?  Please leave your commonts below and let’s find that shining needle of common ground in that scary haystack of fear.

Gratitude Challenge, Day 25 of 100, “Safety”

There have been so many people devistated with The Pandemic and now the Wild Fires, tonight, I’m just grateful for safety.  The biggest issue where I live is unhealthy air from the smoke.  While it’s not ideal, we’re able to deal with it by simply staying in doors.  Many of my friends and aquaintences are affected.  Last night I wrote about the take out dinner from the Fratellanza Club that I enjoyed,  we’re now learning that many of our members who live in the North Bay Area are in danger.  Many of our Northern California Toastmasters members are concerned for their lives and homes.  A family friend’s son is staying with him because he was evacuated from the Santa Cruz Mountains.  The only way that he’s busy keeping tabs on his home by checking his Ring Doorbell app on his phone.

As life is becoming more dificult for so many people, now is the time to count our blessings and pray for those who are suffering.  Grtitude, focusing on the positive, and empathy are what will get us through these times.  Please comment on what you’re grateful for and help us find that shining needle of common ground in that scary haystack of fear.



Gratitude Challenge, Day 24 of 100. “Fratellanza Club Take Out”

Tonight was take out night at the Fretallanza Club.  The club is navigating through Covid19 by doing take out dinners once a month.  Tonight’s meal, which included the famous Fratallanza Salad, ribs, pesto ravoli, and corn on the was delisious.  We also got a bottle of wine and a salami that will last for more than a week.  Mom bought dinner and I also delivered dinners to friends, Marlene, Bob, and Pat.

The Fratellanza Club is the place where my family has built life long friends.  Grandpa joind in the 1950s, Dad joined in 1957, I joined in 1979, and Phil joined in 2009.   Mom and Dad had the wedding reception at the Fratellanza, Grammie and Grandpa celebrated their 50th anniversary at the Fratellanza, and that’s where Kathryn and I had our wedding reception.

The last big pre-Covid19 event was the celebration of the 87th Anniversary of the Club that was held in January.  While we’re enjoying the take out dinners, we all look forward to the next great Fratellanza event when we can all get together.

What are you grateful for?  Please leave your comments and help us find that shining needle of common ground in that scary haystack of fear.