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.


Gratitude Challenge Day 23 of 100, “Watching Baseball”

Tonight I’m grateful for a relaxing night watching baseball.  The Giants just beat the Diamondbacks 6-2 to extend their winning streak to four games.  As we live in the world of Covid19, fires, and the search for racial justice, baseball is the one thing that I can watch with no fear or expectations.  Once Major League Baseball shut Spring Training down in March, we didn’t even know if there would be a 2020 baseball season.  We had a good hunch that if there was baseball, there would be no expectations for the Giants to contend for a championship. So what is there to care about if there are no expectations?

  1. Four game winning streaks are meant to be enjoyed.  Particularly when they follow a five game losing streak that included three heartbreaking ninth inning losses.  Let’s see if they can win their 5th in a row tomorrow.
  2. The Giants have gone 5-5 in the last 10 games.  Could be worse 🙂
  3. Last night Brandon Crawford hit his 100th Home Run
  4.  Yesterday, they called up the much anticipated rookie, Joey Bart.  He got a double last night in his first game and a double and an RBI tonight.
  5. My favorite Giant, Mike Yaztrzemski got two hits tonight and scored two runs.
  6. Tonight Evan Longoria hit his 300th Home Run

When the Giants won championships in 2010, 12, and 14, I was on the edge of my seat.  When they lost to the Cubs in the 2016 playoffs, I was dying.  Now Giants baseball is time to spend three hours taking my mind off the uncertainity of 2020.  That is something to be grateful for.

As we move through August, what are your expectations about things that you enjoy?  What activities are you doing that make you grateful.  Please write them in the comment section and help us find that shining needle of common ground in that scary haystack of fear.

Gratitude Challenge, Day 22 of 100 “The Brilliant Simplicity of an Omelette”

The Omelette is something that is never disapointing.  Omelettes can be healthy or not so health, depending on what you add.  The biggest most unhealthy omelette that I ever saw was at the Peppermill in Las Vegas.  I swear they must have made it with five egges, there was no way that I would have been able to finish it.  Which brings up the only down side to an omelette.  If you get one at a restaurant, I wouldn’t recomend taking what you don’t eat home to eat later.  Omelettes do not travel well.  Other than that, they’re wonderful whether it’s for breakfast or at any other part of the day, including dinner.

I usually make mine in a 5″ fry pan with egg whites and whatever is in the refridgerator.  Sometimes I’ll put it on a plate and eat it with a fork, other times I’ll splurge and  make it into a toasted bagel sandwich.  Last night Kathryn made a dinner with ground turkey diced with vegetables.  Not only did we enjoy the dinner, this morning there were enough leftovers to put into the omelette that I had for breakfast.  Other times I’ll cut up a mushroom, tomato, pepper, and sliced ham.  Just about anything I add is satisfying.

What do you put in your omelettes.  Please leave your comments below.  We’ll not only get new ideas for omelettes, we’ll help find that shining needle of common ground in that scary haystack of fear.




Gratitude Challenge Day 21 of 100, “California’s Firefighters”

I woke up at 3:00 to the strong smell of smoke. I actually went outside thinking there was a fire in the neighborhood.  It ends up that our neighborhood was fine but we were gettting smoke from wildfires caused by lightening in other parts of Northern California.

Tonight I’m grateful to the firefighters who every year risk their lives and health to protect the state and save other people’s lives.  Right now for a variety of reasons, they’re overburdoned and understaffed.

With the election, pandemic, and now the fires, we’re challenged like we’ve never been before.  This is all the more reason to make the commitment to find something everyday that you’re grateful for.  No mater how tough the times are, the attitude of gratitude is what sustains us.

What are you grateful for?  Let’s keep looking for that shinning needle of common ground in that scary haystack of fear.

Gratitude Challenge Day 20 of 100, “Oatmeal for Breakfast”

What’s better than some good oatmeal for breakfast?  I’m so happy to live in a world where I can put a cup of oatmeal in a bowl, add water, and heat it up.  And then, after taking it out of the microwave,  I’ll add a banana and some blueberries.  Oatmeal is one of those nice foods that not only tastes good it’s healthy.

In this crazy year when I’m staying home more and closer to the refridgerator and potato chips than safe,  it’s nice to know that the oatmeal is guilt free.

What’s your favorite healthy food?  Please leave a comment below and as always, let’s find that shining needle of common ground in that scary haystack of fear.

Gratitude Challenge Day 19 of 100, “The Three Day Heat Wave”

Today I’m grateful the heat wave started petering out in Alameda.  While it probably stayed hot around in 680 cooridor of the East Bay, it lasted it’s triditional three days in Alameda.  While it cooled down, it was still pretty humid today, but that didn’t keep me from masking up and going for a good walk.

I made my way down to Office Depot, then picked up a sandwich at 7-11, and made my way home.  Since it was too hot to go on a walk yesterday, the walk today was very welcome.  As I sit here tonight with the cool breeze coming through the screen, I’m grateful that Alameda’s 3-day heat wave is history.

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






Gratitude Journal, Day 18 of 100, “Living in an Area With Two Baseball Teams”

Every once in a while I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.  It’s a one mile walk to the Harbor Bay Ferry Terminal where I can see Oracle Park, home of the San Francisco Giants. When I go one mile in another direction, I can lay my eyes on the Oakland Coliseum, home of the Oakland A’s.

I’m one of those people who like both teams.  With the exception of this past weekend when the A’s and Giants met on the field and the 1989 World Series,  good things happening to one team does not mean that bad things are happening to the other.  The fact is, when both teams are doing well, the Bay Area does well.  When the Bay Area is doing well, I’m happy.

The three game sweep that the  A’s delt to the Giants delighted A’s fans and discouraged fans of the Giants. Going into the weekend, it was agreed that the A’s are the better team,  which didn’t ease the frustration that Giant fans experienced when they took big leads into the ninth inning on Friday and Saturday only to end up losing. The Giants were victims of bad pitching and bad defense on routine plays.

Where do we go from here?  The A’s, one of the best teams in baseball have championship talent, which they have displayed by winning 97 games last year and the year before, only to go down in flames both years in one game playoffs.  The Giants on the other hand, who were not expected to be good this year are teasing their fans with the good hitting from Donovan Solano and Mike Yaztrzemski only to lose games they should have won.

My instinct is not to be alarmed and to just ride it out.  While I don’t know what the future is for Solano, I think Yaztrzemski is a rising star.  With future big leaguers like Joey Bart in the minors, I think the future is bright.

I have patience that the comes from the three World Series Championships in the past 10 years. While some ask, “what have you done for me lately,” my response is, those championships are real and they’re still fresh in my mind.  I’m grateful for those three and also for the four championships that the A’s have won since coming to Oakland.

Bay Area Baseball, we’re living the dream as we search for that shining needle of common ground in that scary haystack of fear.


Gratitude Challenge, Day 17 of 100. A Great Toastmasters Day

Today I’m grateful for the rewarding day I had being part of District 57’s Virtual  Toastmasters Leadership Institute, an event where we trained the club officers who are serving during this Toastmaster year.  In an effort to get as many officers trained as possible, this event was held twice this summer, the first being on July 18, with over 400 people signed up for each one.  Big shout out goes to TLI Dean Lisa Fairchild for organizing both events.

During the two events, I had the honor, hosting via Zoom, a panel discussion where Trish, Jim, Lisa A. and Chalise, all club officers, talked about how their clubs rose to the unexpected challenges of Covid19.

Could you imagine taking on an officer in any orginzation during a time when members and potential guests are asked not to leave their homes?   The panelists all took the challenge on and their clubs thrived.  They thrived by doing the things that all successful organizations do. Fillow up on inquiries, make things fun, and quickly involve new members in the program.

As panel host, all  I had to do was introduce the panelists, get out of their way, and let them tell their stories.  Erik kept things organized as room monitor in today’s session,  Dennis N. had that role in July.  Tech Hosts, Mona and Tao made sure the technology worked today while Faheem had that role in July.

It was a rewarding experience for which I’m very grateful.  Thank you Lisa Fairchild and and Dennis Dawson for inviting me to be part of it.

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