When Was the Last Time You Visited Kalispell?

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When Was the Last Time
You Visited Kalispell?

If you have no idea where it is, neither did I.

We landed at Denver airport, and I asked my wife Elfa, what is our next destination?

That is when I learned the way to Glacier National Park in Montana, goes through the city of Kalispell that has a population of about 23,000 people.

We stayed at timeshare exchange called the Mountain Lake Resort, which is a 15 minute drive from the airport. When I told a friend that we are going to Montana for a week long spring vacation, he asked why. After all, with a relatively short time for vacations, the choices for many people are often places like Hawaii or resorts in Mexico.

We have visited these places many times. However, we love to visit the new places in our great country.  One of the ways to accomplish this is to visit National Parks.

In 2012, we spent a week in Yellowstone Park, which is also located in Montana. To get there, we drove through Utah and on the way back through Wyoming. The main reasons for us to come to Montana are for our encounters with beautiful nature, and the very nice people.

On the first day here we visited small local picturesque towns called Big Fork and Whitefish, where we had some very delicious dinners. On the way back, the GPS took us through a back country road with a driving speed of 35mph. It was around 8pm, and the sun was setting down behind the mountains covered with snow. The open fields were bordered by the birch trees on both sides of the road, sprouting with young green leaves and clusters of hanging catkin flowers.

Suddenly, I noticed two horses in a pasture who were involved in some kind of a dance. They were getting down on their knees in front of each other and then getting up on their back feet. While I photographing them, another car stopped as well, and women who were watching them with me said, “I have been working with horses for five years and have never seen something like that”. Just to see that was worth the trip to Montana.

P.S: Looking at the playing horses reminded me the of the way dogs play with each other, whom I observed at Stern Grove Park, where I photographed dog lovers with their companions. Some of those images appear in my book, “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers”. The book is going to be available in June. Please pre-order through www.encounterspublishing.com. Money back guaranteed.

 

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It’s Good To Be At Home

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It’s Good To Be At Home

Each time we return home from a trip and lay down in our bed, almost as a mantra we say, “It’s good to be home and sleep in our own bed.” This time, it was after a week-long trip to visit the Glacier National Park in Montana. While there, I wrote four stories which will be posted in the next coming weeks, meanwhile I want to share with you some of my encounters since our return. It was our first experience to leave Max at his doggy care for eight days, and we all passed the test. The day after our arrival, before we picked him up, we had to go to a funeral for our co-worker’s wife. She was sixty and we have known her for almost thirty years and been on their wedding. After the funeral, we went to a party to celebrate friend’s seventy fifth birthday.  The theme of the party was “the 70’s”, and guests were dressed up for the period. We had a good time, and after the party we went to pick up Max who was very happy to see us and he rewarded us many kisses.

Most people like to travel to change their daily routines, to rest, to visit new places, to meet new people or relatives, to try different foods, to have new experience, to photograph and perhaps for many other reasons. In many countries in Europe taking holidays (as they call them in England) can be as long as six weeks, which gives more opportunities for leisure travel. In the United States, our vacations are relatively short, week here and there. Of course as owners of our business, we can afford to take more time off, and we used to do it in the past. But now with our new puppy Max, even a week seemed long. I missed him, and a few times I dreamed that he is coming to my bed to wake me up. Fortunately it was only a dream, and I could really sleep longer, rested and gained my energy back. But I also had an opportunity to send my “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers” book to the printing company. They promised to have 25 books in two weeks; the rest will follow in about another two to three weeks. Thus, you will be able to get your own copy very soon. And of course, we drove around and visited beautiful places and photographed.

As a result, from over one thousand images, there are few which I even printed. Eventually I will post some them on my website. In the meantime, our vacation is over. Our next one is planned for the fall. As always, I will keep you posted. The purpose of this trip was to visit the National Park, however we do not have to travel far to see the natural beauty. On Sunday, May 13th2018, the San Francisco Chronicle Travel section, in the article, “Maintaining the majesty” I found a long list of the state parks we can visit within driving distance. It is good to be at home.

P.S: You will see more images from our trip in the coming weeks, meanwhile enjoy those four. The first one was taken at the airport on the way home, the Rodeo Princes, I encountered on the plane and the last two were at the birthday party. As you can see, regardless of where we go, we are surrounded by the dogs and their lovers. But you do not have to travel far to see them, just pre-order “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers” at Encounterspublishing.com. Money back guaranteed.

 

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Who Are You?

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Who Are You?

There were two events which led to this story. The first one was a visit to the De Young Museum to see the exhibit titled, “Revelations: Art from the African American South.” My friend, Dr. Gwendolyn Evans, who is the Docent at the Museum, invited me to see it, and she who guided us through the exhibit. Being African-American gave her a special sensitivity to the subject and her incredible knowledge of history and art created a fascinating story. Though she has dark skin and grew up in Harlem, New York, when it was a strictly black neighborhood, she is the product of a mixed marriage. Her ancestors came from Ghana, Nigeria, Ireland and the Apache Indians. She told us that during the time of slavery in the US, white slave owners kept young girls for their and their friends’ sexual pleasures. Children, who were born from these relationships had lighter skin, and when they grew up, worked inside the house, while their dark skinned brothers worked out in the fields. Dr. Evans also shared that in today’s society African-Americans distinguish among themselves by the lightness or darkness of their skin. Many, like Michael Jackson, use skin-whitening techniques to be more acceptable in a predominantly white American society.

A second reminder about the product of mixed races is a story that was in the National Geographic Magazine in April 2018, titled “Black and White. The twin sisters on the cover make us rethink everything we know about race”. On the cover is a photograph of two girls. One looks white, and the other, black (by the way, Dr. Evans told us that those who came from the African countries do not call themselves African-Americans, just rather identify themselves with the countries of their birth). The article asks the question, “What is race, exactly? Science tells us there is no genetic or scientific basis for it. Instead it’s largely a made-up label, used to define and separate us”. In essence, “We all have African ancestors”. The article continues, “Some of the first humans to leave Africa met and had sex with Neanderthal DNA.” Turns out that “All Non-Africans today, the genetics tell us, are descended from a few thousand humans who left Africa maybe 60,000 years ago. These migrants were most closely related that groups that live in East Africa, including the Hanza of Tanzania.”

All of those interesting facts bring us to today’s reality. I received a call from my godson’s mother. Being Jewish, she was concerned that his college girlfriend is from the Philippines. Then I asked her if her boyfriend is Jewish. “No”, she said, but I am not planning to have more children with him.” The world was always a mixture of races. Online I found out an article titled, “Steep Rise in Interracial Marriages Among Newlyweds 50 Years After They Became Legal.” Turns out, that it increased from 3 percent in 1967 to 17 percent in 2015. There are many other interesting statistics in the article. This combined with that 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce is a good assurance that the Neanderthal DNA will keep spreading on.

P.S. There is another factor that unites people – their love of the dogs, regardless of their race, religion, ethnic background, or political affiliation. These four images attest to that. You will be to see more interesting photos of people and their four-legged companions in my forthcoming book “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers.” The book is going to be available at the end of May, please pre-order it on encounterspublishing.com.

 

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How To Be Happy

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How To Be Happy

On Thursday, March 15, 2018 the San Francisco Chronicle published an article by Jari Tanner titled, “Nation tops 2018 global happiness index; U.S. 18th“. Turns out that the happiest people in the world live in Finland. And not only Finns. “Relatively homogenous Finland has about 300,000 foreigners and residents with foreign roots, out of its 5.5 million people.” The article points out – “The Report ranked 156 countries by happiness levels, based on factors such as life expectancy, social support and corruption.” It “also evaluated 117 countries by the happiness and well-being of their immigrants. Europe’s Nordic nations, none particularly diverse, have dominated the index since it first was produced in 2012. In reaching No. 1, Finland nudged neighboring Norway into second place. Rounding out the Top 10 are Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden and Australia. The United States fell to 18th place from 14th last year.” When I started writing this story, I noticed in a pile of unread magazines on my table, the cover of a National Geographic from November 2017 – “The Search for HAPPINESS. What we can learn from Costa Rica, Denmark and Singapore – the most joyful places on the planet.” As you might notice the title identified “happiness” with “joy”, i.e. a place full of joy.

For me, those two similar feelings are not the same. When we visited Cuba in 2013, someone in our group asked, “Are Cubans happy?” The answer was “No, but they are content”. At the same time, judging by the images I captured, many express joy on their faces. In spite of the economic scarcity created by the Castro regime, it seems that Cubans are joyful people. When I was selecting the title for my next book I decided on “Retirement Solutions for Smart People. 5 Easy Ways to Enjoy Your Golden Age.” I purposely did not call it “How to be Happy at Your Retirement.” You might know someone who is not happy with their life circumstances, but believe me, if they would be introduced to a well-behaved puppy, their lives would be filled with joy. One does not have to be happy all the time, but even a smile from a stranger can bring a lot of joy. Or even better, a lick on the face from a puppy. I guarantee you will not stop laughing from joy.

P.S. I am sure that owning my photo-story book “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers” will bring you and your friends a lot of happiness. It is going to be available at the end of May. Meanwhile, you can make me very happy by pre-ordering the book through encounterspublishing.com. I hope that the four images of these dog lovers will make you happy as well.

P.P.S. One of my readers sent his dog story:

In my freshman year at Cal (1951), I took care of a then famous, campus dog. It was very, very huge and would not leave my side at any time. At classes, at meals, etc etc. Dogs were not allowed to the movies. I would put on dark glasses, tell them this was my seeing dog and they would let me in. True story.

Ron Kaufman

 

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Life Keeps On Going On

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Life Keeps On Going On

Last week we went to Calistoga. We drove there on a Thursday afternoon, and returned on Friday. The excuse for this short trip was to test how Max can stay overnight in his doggy care (he was fine) before our weeklong trip to Montana to visit the Glacier National Park in May. Instead of our usual route via Road 29, which we took on the way back, the GPS guided us to Santa Rosa, and from there, a relatively short drive on a winding road directly to Calistoga. This area was devastated during the horrific fire six months ago. Many burned trees were cut and littered the sides of the hills along the road. The traffic was delayed by the work on the power lines. Along the road we saw sites where there used to be houses, that are now vacant lots with only foundations left, with “for sale” signs. But when we arrived to our destination, it was like the war zone was over. In spite of the proximity, Calistoga was spared. There is some improvement construction work happening on the road by the entrance, which is expected to be finished in 2020; otherwise it seemed that the town has been frozen in time. We have not been here for at least ten years. But everything looked familiar, if not the same. Some establishments and some restaurants have changed owners, but for us it was like we were here yesterday.

The restaurant where we dined had an enlarged photo on the wall that was photographed in 1928, in front of the Mount View Hotel. It depicted two black cars from the era (I suspect Fords). The men in the photo wore hats, even the boys. Women and children posed on the balcony of the second floor from where an American flag was hung. It looked like a different world, but was it? When I stepped out from the restaurant and looked up, I saw the same name on the building. The new owners changed the railings and I am sure that the fixtures in the bathrooms were replaced as well; otherwise, it seems that not much changed (besides the hats). We stayed at the Roman Spa Resort, where the main attractions are three mineral pools, each having a different temperature. After soaking in them for awhile, we drove back to San Francisco, crossing picturesque small towns and hills covered with young vines. After having lunch at a fully booked (on a Friday!) restaurant in Saint Helena, we ended up in Napa to enjoy some Three Twins ice cream. There we did not see any signs of the fire damage either, and discovered a delightful marketplace filled with different eating establishments and stores, and lots of shoppers. I strongly recommend (if you can) to take one day off during the week and visit the area before it gets crowded on the weekend. Life Keeps Going On!

P.S. From the many photos I took, I’ve chosen four images, with one that I took at a red light, of a man with two delightful dogs. I used this image to replace another one in my forthcoming book “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers”. Please pre-order to be one of the first to get it.

P.P.S. I received a number of interesting stories in response to the post last week, “Why to Have (or Not to Have) Dogs. I will add them to my Encounters in the weeks to come. Please share yours. Meanwhile, the first one is from Vivian Holley:

Hi Manny,

As usual, another great story.

I think as a result of your getting Max (and other reasons) I finally pressed Bryan harder about getting a dog and he finally said yes, but it would have to be an older dog.  Then he immediately found Gracie on our neighborhood watch.  She was being rescued from an animal shelter in LA.  It took 3 weeks to get her up here to Northern CA.  She’s over 10 years old, had big time vet bills, but is so sweet even if she can’t hear a thing!

We’ve put up with lots of peeing, lots of expenses, and in return we have lots of love and someone new in our lives we are always talking to and taking care of.  I’ve never seen Bryan so happy.  He rolls around on the floor with her playing games. She won’t let him out of her sight.  We have to trick her to get her to let me walk her if she knows Bryan is around and all she wants to do is run back home to him.

We love her.

Thank you Max and Manny.

Love,

Vivian

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Why to Have (Or Not Have) a Dog

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Why to Have (Or Not Have) a Dog

On Sunday, March 4th, there was an article in the San Francisco Chronicle in the Insight Section written by Joan Lownds, “Trump’s pet-less presidency breaks compassionate custom”. Turns out that “Trump is the first president in 130 years not to have a pet in the White House, while Kennedy brought a historic menagerie that included nine dogs at one point, a cat named Tom Kitten, seven horses, a rabbit named Zsa Zsa, parakeets, hamsters and canaries.” Does owning a dog make a person more compassionate? Was President Nixon, who owned a dog and who sent American boys to die in Vietnam more compassionate than President Trump? But one thing is for sure – if you own a dog, you better love your four-legged companion, because he will love you back unconditionally. When our Labradoodle puppy Max joined our family on September 4th – in the fall – we thankfully did not have to wait for the spring, because the love is present in our house every day. Nevertheless, every day while writing “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers”, and dealing with the challenges that came into our lives with having a puppy, I would ask myself, why to have a dog?

Online I learned that every year, approximately 3.9 million dogs enter animal shelters nationwide. Do you know what happens to dogs in shelters if they are not adopted? But it also turns out that it is not so easy to adopt a dog. The reasons for being rejected to adopt vary – it can be an “unfenced yard, or having long working hours, as well as having children or other pets”. A Milwaukie-area NBC affiliate recently reported on a 70 year-old woman whose adoption application was denied because she was deemed too old.” I can relate to those reasons. Our high-spirited Irish Setter was hit and killed by a car when she jumped over the fence some years ago. Being 71 and walking with Max three times a day, I realize that this might be challenging for some people, especially as we age.

While working on “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers”, I read 21 “How-to Books” about dogs. Talking with some of my friends who have dogs, I realized that other dog owners do not have time to learn how to become their dog’s best friend (neither did we, with our three previous dogs). Is there a solution? Well, in my book I offer some. Or you can explore other books and videos on YouTube. But I want to take this task further. My goal is to sell one million books. After I will recover the expenses, costs, and have reserves to produce more books in the “42 Encounters”, the balance will go to help animal shelters and other facilities to care for their animals, and even more important, to help dog owners learn how to be their dog’s best friend.

As I mentioned last week, you can pre-order “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers“ at encounterspublishing.com. The first 1,000 purchases will not have to pay sales tax, plus there is a 100% money back guarantee. If you’ll feel that the book did not fulfill your expectations, please let me know. You can give the book to another dog lover, and I will reimburse you $24.00. But you need to act now, just click here. I thank you in advance.

P.S. While working on the images for the book, it took me awhile to make the selection. All the images covered the dining room table. From time to time after my weekend outings, I would bring new ones to see if they will be more interesting to replace those which were chosen before. These four images did not make the cut into the book.

Enjoy and Share.

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