Gratitude Challenge, Day 16 of 100 The Plug-in Fan

One of the nice things about Alameda is that we’re spoiled.  We’re use to 70 degrees in July, when it gets into the 80s we complain about the heat, and when it gets into the 90s like today, we go out of our minds.

The eight to ten days a year we get into the 90s doesn’t justify getting an air conditioner so we get by by opening the screens and using the plug in fan that we got at Target.

So today, I’m grateful for that plug-in fan getting Kathryn & me through the day.  What are you grateful for? Are you grateful for something that gets you through heat waves? If so, what is it.  I also won’t be offended if you comment about us being wimps because we complain so much when whe hit 90.  After all,  we’re spoiled.  Be prepared for my post in January, when I’m whinning about the temperture getting down to the 40s.

Please leave your comments below and let’s find that shining needle of common ground in that scary haystack of fear.



Gratitude Challenge, Day 15 of 100, Living in Alameda

While I can give you at least 100 reasons as to why I’m grateful to live in Alameda, today’s high of 82 and low if 64 is reason enough.  All of us locals thought it was hot, some thought it was unbearable.  While we thought we were suffering,  San Ramon, about 30 miles away was a comfortable 63 at 6:00 AM and topped out at 101.

Kathryn and I love it here.  We kept our screens open, and were comfortable knowing that every Alameda “heat wave” lasts three days max.  After that, our beloved marine layer returns and we’re comfortable.

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

Gratitude Challenge, Day 14 of 100, The 1400

Tonight I’m grateful for The 1400 Bar, Grill, and Pizza.  Two Alameda High classmates of mine, Yanni and Mike opened it up 10 years ago this month.  I’m grateful that has bee a great Alameda establishment, a great place to get a meal, and great place for my son Phil to work.  Right now, with Covid19 restrictions, The 1400 does a great job serving outside dinning and take out.  Tonight Kathryn & I did take out, Kathryn enjoyed the chopped salad and I ordered the delicious Pablano Burger & Fries.  I ate half of it for dinner tonight and I’ll eat the other half tomorrow for lunch.

The 1400 is hanging in there and we’re praying for them to keep it going so we can go back in there and enjoy it when it’s crowed with happy customers.  Are you ready for a great meal?   Whether you do take out or outside dining, check out the The 1400

You’ll love the food and you’ll ove the people.  Let’s support our local restaurants and find that shining needle of common ground in that scary haystack of fear.

Gratitude Challenge Day 13 of 100, Alameda Tongue Twisters Meeting

Tonight I’m grateful for Alameda Tongue Twisters.  This is the club that Valerie, Tyree, Kevin, Eddie, and I, along with 16 other people chartered in August 2011.  We meet every Tuesday and tonight and talk about everything under the sun.  Bill practiced a eulogy that he beautifully wrote, that he will deliver at a service for his aunt, Ron talked about the humor that he finds in the various signs that he sees, and Alanna, a screen writer in her day job, talked about the challenges that women face in the movie industriy.  This all took place via Zoom where they spoke for about five minutes, gave excellent speeches, and got feedback from their evaluators.  My job was to ask all seven attendees Table Topic questions that allowed them to develop their impromptu speaking skills.

As always, it was a great way to spend an evening with a diverse group of people who meet every week.  Please write comments about what you’re grateful for today.  Let’s work together to find that shinning needle of common ground in that scary haystack of fear.

Gratitude Challenge Day 12 of 100 Staying Sane During the Pandemic

March 10, 2020, that was the day that I called on a customer in San Mateo and then met Gina and Ed to visit our San Quentin friends for our weekly Speechcraft session.  I remember seeing a hand sanitizing station when I walked into my customer’s office and felt it would be a good idea if I used it as I entered and left. That was the last day I actually left the house and went to work.  The following Friday, March 14, I went to the bank and met with another contact and that was it. No more in person meetings with anyone.  Who would have thought that we’d be five months into this and no end in site?

How do you stay sane when 160,000 Americans have died and countless people who were previously thriving with good jobs are now out of work?  First off, I’m grateful that I haven’t gotten sick or suffered from job loss.  I’m also grateful for the resourses available that would not have been availbale had this pandmic hit 20 years ago.

Yesterday, the members of our church attended our service on line.  We’ve been able to do this since late March.  My Toastmasters clubs are meeting on line and the Braver Angel organization that I belong to are also meeting online.  When I’m not doing church, Toastmasters or Braver Angels there are random Zoom and phone calls that keep me busy during the week.  During the week of August 24th I’ll be attending the virtual Toastmaster Convention from the comfort of my home office, at no charge.  While I know Zoom Fatigue is real, I can’t imagine what the state of my mental health would be if these virtual activities weren’t avaiable.

What is keeping you sane during the pandemic?  Have you adopted new activities, taken online courses, caught up with old friends?  Please leave your comments so that we can compare notes.

Let’s find that shinning needle of common ground in that scary haystack of fear.

Gratitude Challenge Day 11 of 100 Oakland 88 Toastmasters

Today I’m grateful for getting the final planning done for tomorrow’s Esteemed Oakland 88 Toastmasters.  As Vice President of Education for the club, my job is to work with the Toastmaster of the Day, who serves as MC of the meeting to set up the program. Since I’m the Toastmaster this week, it’s been my job to handle the details.

We have a good one tomorrow,  Randie, Dennis, and Tim are speaking and will get feedback from their evaluators.  We’ll have time for two members to participate in Table Topics, with everything fitting into a one hour meeting.  The fun part is that we take turns filling the roles.  I’ll be in a different role next week as someone else will serve as Tostmaster for the Day, there will be different speakers and different evaluators.  Through it all, we all build different skills at every meeting.

If you’ve been reading my daily gratitude posts, you may have seen the post that I made last week about Toastmasters Leadership Club which is my Wednesday Toastmasters club.  The way I see things, Toastmasters is like going to the gym.  While you get some benefit going once a week, real progress comes when you go about three times per week.

The Esteemed Oakand 88 Toastmaster Club is what I’m grateful for today.  What are you grateful for?  I’d love to hear from you, so please post what you’re grateful for in the comment section.  Also, leave me a comment if you’d like to visit one of my Toastmasters Clubs.  Toastmasters is a welcoming atmosphere for guests and a great place to find that shining needle of common ground in that scary haystack of fear.

Gratitude Challenge, Day 10 of 100 Golf on TV

Today I’m grateful that I could watch Round #3 of the PGA Championship which is being played at beautiful Harding Park in San Francisco.  Dustin Johnson who’s built like a tight end is so good it’s unbelievable.  While Johnson is leading the tournament, his one stroke lead is far from safe.  Brooks Koepka who won the last two PGA Championships and is built like a linebacker is two strokes off the lead.

While it’s understood that golf moves slowly, the excitement comes from the spectacular shots like the 95′ put that Bryson DeChambeau made.  Or the occasional bit of bad luck like Haotong Li’s ball getting stuck in the tree, causing him to make six on a hole where he should have made four.  Much like baseball, golf’s excitement comes from the tension that will build all day tomorrow as it’s played out.  The winner will probably come from one of the 11 golfers within three strokes of the lead.

While tomorrow’s coverage will be all day, I’ll be in and out until 3:00 when the leaders tee off.  That’s when I’ll set up shop in the living room and really start paying attention.

Golf on TV is what I’m grateful for today.  What you’re grateful for?  Please leave your comments  and as always, let’s keep looking for that shining needle of common ground in that scary haystak of fear.

Gratitude Challenge Day 9 of 100, Grocery Shopping

Lucky’s was crowded today, everyone masked up, all of us doing our best to social distance.  A little bit uncomfortable and kind of a hassle.  That’s what I’m grateful for today.   The mundane sometimes inconvenient act of grocery shopping.  The chore that’s sometimes just another task on the to-do-list that we want to check off.

I’m grateful that as mundane and inconvenient grocery shopping can be, it’s wonderful! Can we agree that walking int to a well-stocked supermarket pretty much anytime we want is an amazing privlidge?  Today’s visit to Lucky’s resulted in a filled refridgerator and cupbords, with with meats, fruits, vegies, and a little bit of junk food.  We got the paper products we needed and most important of all, wine.  Not only are we able to choose what we want, we can also choose where we shop.

The fact that Kathryn and I happen to prefer the store across town over the neighborhood supermarket is no big deal.  We just make the decision to drive the extra 15 minues each way and our needs, desires, and preferences are filled, in the way we’re most comfortable.  It should not be taken for granted.

I’m asking for two things tonight.  First, I’d like your comments.  What mundane task on your to-do-list makes you grateful?  Second, if  grocery shopping is one of those mundane chores for you, please consider sending a gift to a local food bank or another organization that helps those who are having trouble filling their refridgerators and cupbords.  Our donations can really make a difference in someone’s life.

Let’s embrace the mundane chores in our lives and offer a hand those who would look at these chores as blessings.

Let’s and find that shining needle of common ground in that scary haystack of fear.













Gratitude Challenge, Day 8 of 100, Maitland Market

Greetings All!  Today I’m grateful for Maitland Market, located at 109 Maitland Dr, Alameda.  Why do I love Maitland Market?  It’s just a convenient place to go when you need what you need.

I was out for my walk today on that part of Bay Farm Island and decided to just pick up a sandwich rather than making one when I got  home.  They also have a big jar filled with boscotti.  Today I picked up a grilled chicken sandwich, and a diet coke and made my way to a bench at Lydecker Park and enjoyed it while I was completely social distanced, at least 150 yards from anyone.  I decided to wait for another visit to treat myself to a biscotti.

I’m grateful for lot of simple things, shops, and people, that make my life better.  What simple thing are you grateful for that makes your life better.  Please add your comments and find that shining needle of common ground in that scary haystack of fear.

Gratitude Challenge Day 7 of 100, Toastmasters Leadership Club

Today I’m grateful for the excellent Toastmasters Leadership Club meeting that we had tonight.  TLC is a mix of past and current District officers and newer members who have been in Toastmasters for a short time.  Tonight we heard a speech from a member who joined about a year ago to improve her English, which is her second language.

When I first heard her speak, she was so nervous that she could only speak in a soft voice for a short time.  Tonight she spoke clearly and confidently for seven minutes and did herself proud. Everyone in the club is excited for her.

Today I’m grateful that the Toastmasters clubs that I belong to;  Alameda Tongue Twisters,  Oakland 88, and Toastmasters Leadership Club, allow all of us to practice whichever skills we’re working on to reach our communication and leadership goals.

Toastmasters, has helped me find many shining needles of common ground scary haystacks of fear.