Love Story

A good love story can fill one’s heart, and such was the experience of Saturday’s performance of Marguerite and Armand, a San Francisco Ballet premiere. First created by choreographer Sir Frederick Ashton for the Royal Ballet, Marguerite and Armand is a classic piece first danced by Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev. The iconic pair danced this love story for the San Francisco Ballet in 1964, one year after it was created.  What a performance that must have been!  This year’s performance by the SF Ballet, however, did not disappoint, performed by Missa Kuranaga and Joseph Walsh,…

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It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

In homage to the late Fred Rogers, it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.  The sun is shining, the air is crisp, and there is not a rain cloud in sight.  The temperature reads in the high 50s, but thanks to the lack of wind, it feels more like 70. Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood was an extraordinary television program for children that aired on public television 1968 -2001.  He spoke not only to children in his ever-calming voice, but to parents and people of all ages as well.  Without being preachy, he shared lessons about how to…

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The Etiquette of a Condolence Letter

Recently, the need arose for me to write a condolence letter.  Over the years, I have sent many cards and notes to friends who had suffered a loss, but this time was different.  It was a friend who died, a friend with whom I had been out of touch for several years.  I did not know her family or how to contact them, yet it felt important to reach out to them. Handwritten notes As a first step, I contacted the senior living community where she had been living, in an upscale city located to the…

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Backyard Creatures: Urban Wildlife

While living in the heart of a city, backyard creatures are a part of urban life.  The creatures that once inhabited our backyard included feral and domestic cats, gophers, and other illusive pests that ate up the tender stalks of any newly planted vegetables. Years ago, our next-door neighbor’s yard was an overgrown jungle, providing shelter and hiding places for the urban wildlife.  Outdoor cats could be counted on to keep rodents at bay.  Wild visitors included raccoons, skunks, and squirrels.  A family of raccoons once invaded our house by entering through a now defunct cat…

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A Visit to St. Ives
Rowers from St. Ives Rowing Club cross under Chapel Bridge

A Visit to St. Ives

For a brief four days, I have been visiting the lovely village of St. Ives, in Cambridgeshire, UK (not to be confused with that other St. Ives in Cornwall).  While the main purpose of the visit is to spend a bit of time with my daughter, I also am very much taken by this picturesque old English town, which originates in the 9th century. St. Ives is located on the Great River Ouse, just thirty minutes away from the university town of Cambridge.   Flocks of snowy white swans gather in the water on the quay, near…

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Spring Time
Nesting heron chicks. Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. Photo by Tibby Storey

Spring Time

It is hard not to feel uplifted by the arrival of spring.  Perhaps “near arrival” might be a better way of putting it, because the weather is still a bit iffy here in the San Francisco Bay Area, with sunny days interspersed with showers. The trees and shrubs are budding and beginning to flower. Following five years of severe drought, rainfall in California this year has exceeded all expectations. Thanks to the wettest year on record, wildflowers are blooming in such profusion that the phenomenon is called a super bloom. The nearby hills have turned emerald…

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Be the Change

In his farewell speech on Jan. 10, President Barack Obama spoke about the “power of ordinary Americans to bring about change.” For many of us, especially in California where our votes in essence did not count in the outcome of the November election, this is a dark time. Each day we hear troubling statements that run counter to our values. We fear the change that is ahead. We despair that our health care will vanish, that women will lose their hard-fought rights, that injustices toward minorities will continue and grow even worse, that our voices will…

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Call Me Grammy

As a child of the ‘50s and ‘60s, I grew up knowing three of my grandparents, my maternal grandmother and grandfather and my paternal grandmother.  While my paternal grandfather passed away when my father was still a toddler, I also was fortunate to grow up having a living great grandmother and three great aunts on that side of the family. But here’s the rub. None of them lived near me.  My parents, who met in San Francisco during World War II, chose to live in the Bay Area, with only one paternal family member in proximity,…

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Postcards from Manhattan
Postcards. Washington Square, Union Square and The Strand bookstore, New York, New York.

Postcards from Manhattan

Rarely do I travel 3,000 + miles for a weekend, but I did so recently, and the experience and rewards were great. While staying in New York, it seemed appropriate to visit some sites and share some postcards with Social Correspondence. Postcard # 1 Dear Francine, It seems that we have developed a fine new tradition, catching up with one another while taking walks, and how fortunate it is for me to benefit from your knowledge of the many treasures tucked away or hidden in plain sight in Central Park. What an amazing place for your…

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Addenda

Addenda is an occasional Social Correspondence post that features updates to previous posts, adds brief comments, and makes note of related items. Addenda: Stamps A ceremony was held in Cleveland, Ohio, Paul Newman’s hometown, on September 18 to celebrate the first day of issue of the new Paul Newman stamp.  Those in attendance included Clea Newman Soderlund, senior director of special initiatives, SeriousFun Children’s Network and Paul Newman’s daughter; Robert Forrester, president and CEO, Newman’s Own Foundation; and other charities supported by the late actor and philanthropist. Paul Newman founded both SeriousFun Network and Newman’s Own…

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