Small Things Matter

Back in my school days, a teacher once cautioned me to concentrate less on the small things, but rather, to look at the big picture. The details, however, often are essential to gain that fuller understanding, as they are building blocks that contribute to the development of critical thinking. Currently, we may be in danger of information overload. I spend more time per day reading, watching and absorbing news than ever before. My social media feeds, Twitter and Facebook, have become major aggregators of news and opinions. None of the events unfolding in our country and…

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Cherish Your Valentines
Window display Patrick and Company February 2017

Cherish Your Valentines

Love is in bloom again as we approach Valentine’s Day.  Paper hearts and romantic cards are flourishing in all manner of stores - card shops, stationery stores, office supply, grocery, art, and drug stores; wherever, in fact, greeting cards are sold. So, get out your valentines, heart stamps and red pens and be ready to write some notes and lick some envelopes. Many people consider Valentine’s Day a modern day plot by card-makers, card shops, and other retailers to make more money. The cynics rue yet another symbol of commercialization. But a store-bought card is not…

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Fake News

Although fake news was barely a blip on the screen prior to 2016, it already existed in abundance. Following the November election, many questions have been raised about the influence of fake news. Not only had an important election been at stake, but also the credibility of what we read and how we perceive it. Fake news has now become a major topic of discussion. Not a day goes by that mainstream media does not shine light on a questionable statement, including “alternative facts.” The President and his team refer to the mainstream media as “dishonest.”…

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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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Endings: Finding a New Future
Dandelion, 55 Potrero Ave. closed Fall 2016

Endings: Finding a New Future

2016 was a year of endings. Mostly, we think of beginnings as we approach a new year, but it is equally important to examine those things that now lie only in the past. Often, they reflect our values, contribute to our history, and reflect our sense of personal self. Some endings are self-evident. Farewell to the integrity and quiet dignity of President Obama and his beautiful family. Farewell to the talented, too numerous to name, musicians, actors, artists, journalists, intellectuals and loved ones lost in 2016, who, through their extraordinary contributions, made our lives richer and…

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A Post-Truth World

Actions throughout the world, as reported in the daily news, are disturbing. War, famine, violence, aggression and poverty are ongoing staples in the news cycle. Unfortunately, a significant new victim has emerged in recent times:  the truth. We now live in a post-truth world, at least in the political sense. Most of us grew up, I believe, with the admonition by our parents and teachers to always tell the truth. The truth would always win out, and things would go worse for us should we be caught in a lie. Perhaps the fear of being caught…

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Flying

Joy is not a word that comes readily to mind when one thinks of flying. An airplane flight often involves getting up at the crack of dawn, waiting in long lines, struggling with luggage, flight delays, missed connections, and even unscheduled landings. Arrival at the final destination might be hours behind schedule, leaving the traveler overcome with jet lag. Bumpy air, lost baggage, intrusive conversations by fellow travelers, and other indignities are also among the hazards of air travel. The thought of crashing is high on people’s lists of things most feared in life. But for…

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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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Magical Mailboxes

It’s here again already - National Letter Writing Day is Sunday, Oct. 9. And what a pleasure it is when a real letter arrives in the mailbox. A letter separate and distinct from the usual junk mail that flows through the mail stream, which is now exponentially increased by the proliferation of election-related ads and flyers. Decades past, if one had a mailbox at the post office, the front of the box might have been made of glass, especially if the post office was very old. These mailboxes often included a combination lock, though usually a…

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On Being a Grandparent

Just over a month ago, my life took a new turn. I became a grandparent, an event long hoped for, though it wasn’t something I readily admitted, even to myself. It certainly was not something to be taken for granted. In fact, my grandson’s eminent arrival caused me a bit of trepidation. He would live so far away, how would he even get to know me? What if he didn’t take to me? Would he cry if I held him? How would being a grandparent affect the activities that otherwise keep me busy and engaged in…

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