Fridays With Manny

  

Say “Yes” to Positivity


During our walks with Max in our neighborhood, we often pass a “Little Library” – a box on a pole, where neighbors exchange books. One book caught my attention by its controversial title, “Saying “No” to Negativity. How to Manage Negativity in Yourself. Your Boss and Your Co-Workers”, written by Zoie Kaye. The author probably did not realize that the title, in spite of its intention, contained a negative connotation. To demonstrate the difference between “No” and “Yes”, I want to share a joke with you.

“What is the difference between a diplomat and a virgin?”

“If a diplomat says “Yes”, he means “Maybe”; if a diplomat says “Maybe”, he means “No”, and if a diplomat says “No”, he is not a diplomat.” And at the same time if a virgin says “Maybe”, she means “Yes”, and if she says “Yes”, she is not a virgin.”

Jokes can teach us a lot about how to relate to life positively and not to take things seriously. This was one of the reasons why I put together a new photo-story book “42 Encounters with Laughter”. The book is going to be available on amazon.com in a few weeks. If you want to pre-order, please send me an email to mannykagan@comcast.net.

Meanwhile, to practice being positive, say “Yes” to these images of roses. 

Enjoy and Share with A Friend!

Fridays with Manny

  

Let’s Make 2020
A Year of Laughter


Happy New Year, Dear Friend!

I decided to start the New Year not only with a new look for my essays; but also, with a new spirit, which I would like to share with you. Together we will make 2021 the Year of Laughter.

To help us, I published my next photo-story book “42 Encounters with Laughter”. It is going to be available in about two weeks. The book has 42 + jokes and images of laughing people. I guarantee you will laugh as well. In the book you are going to be reminded, first of all, to laugh at ourselves, laugh when life presents you challenges, to laugh with a friend. Like the guy who laughed at the joke three times. First when he heard it in the bar, the second time when he told the joke to his wife, and the third time the next morning when he finally got the punchline. Speaking of punchlines, jokes sound better when they are told to a friend. If you do not have one, just tell a joke to a stranger, and will have an instant friend. As you can see, I do it all the time.

You can preorder “42 Encounters with Laughter” on amazon.com.

Enjoy and Share with A Friend!

Fridays With Manny

  

Fridays With Manny

It is a common practice to start the New Year with something new; new expectations, new resolutions. In our family, one of the traditions is to wear new clothes on December 31st. It can be something as small as underwear, socks or a shirt.

And of course there can be more significant things, like changing the name of my Friday essays that I write for you. I started sending weekly emails to my clients eight years ago. A friend suggested that I should create a weekly question and answer email regarding the mortgage business. Thus, “Ask Dr. Manny” was born. As time progressed, my writing improved (to this day it is edited by our daughter, Tamar). In 2017, I created “Encounters Publishing” to enable me to publish my “42 Encounters” books, and the name was changed to “My Encounters”. Sometime later, “My” was dropped and for the last two years, you are receiving “Encounters” every Friday. Usually I write feel-good stories, accompanied by 4 images that I took, which many of my readers appreciate, and I receive positive comments.

For a while, I felt that I wanted to do more, to deflect the flow of negativity, which floods our lives. To do that, I was considering creating a website named “Good news 4U”, in which I thought to bring to my readers some positive information. However, I soon realized that it is going to be one too many projects to add to my already busy work day. A friend told me that she recently saw the film “Tuesdays with Morrie”. I read the book many years ago and when I decided to read the synopsis, it dawned on me that Morrie shared with the author, Mitch Albom, similar ideas (good news) which I have been wanting to bring to my readers. Stories about light, love and laughter. As a result, I decided to change my weekly essays to “Fridays with Manny”, which I hope my readers will share with their friends through social media. The new format will only have 3 images, which are going to be posted weekly on Instagram as well. After 2021 is over, I am considering to put 52 essays and 156 images in a separate book. Stay put.

P.S. The holiday season has brought a lot of light into our lives, as these four images of Xmas decorations in our neighborhood can attest.

Happy Holidays!

Enjoy and Share with a Friend.

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Why Do Birds Sing?

  

Why Do Birds Sing?

A few weeks ago I wrote that in my attempt to isolate myself from negativity, I stopped reading newspapers. However, my wife Elfa still does, and she recently showed me an article which appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on November 26, 2020 written by Nora Mishanec titled, “With less need to yell, birds’ singing is best in decades”. It describes the experience of ornithologist Jennifer Phillips, who “was astonished by hearing that the birds sang more softly in the relative quiet of the pandemic-stricken city. They began using a lower register — a more seductive trill — that hadn’t been recorded locally since the 1950s.” 

This might be exciting news, but I wanted to find out why birds sing. Online, I found ten articles that answers this question. In the website “The Conversation”, I learned that birds spend so much time and energy singing for “two main purposes, and they are connected. First, male birds sing to mark territories. The second purpose of singing is to attract a mate for nesting. Female birds often choose their mates based on some blend of visual and vocal cues. Even male birds with beautiful breeding-season plumage can have trouble finding mates if their songs don’t measure up.” We recently watched a documentary on Netflix titled, “Dancing with Birds”. To attract mates, not only do birds sing, but they also dance.

Birds’ singing sounds are as natural in the natural world; however, why do humans sing? I googled the two questions. Surprisingly, there were ten websites (the same number as for birds) that listed the reasons. I liked one titled, “5 Reasons Why People Who Sing Are Happier, Healthier And Live Longer (Regardless Of How Well They Sing)”. The most appealing reason for me was, “They will live longer” and “They have better posture and look younger”. So if I am planning to live a long and happy life, I should consider learning how to sing. Unfortunately, I do not have a good ear. Oh well, one cannot be good at everything.

P.S. We are surrounded by birds, but when was the last time that you really saw or heard them sing? I hope that my four artistically rendered birds will get your attention.

Enjoy and Share with A Friend!

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Count Your Blessings

  

Count Your Blessings

You might have heard the saying, “I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet”. Online I learned that this quote is attributed to both Hellen Keller and Mahatma Gandhi.

It came to mind after we received a phone call from our friend Tatyana, who together with her husband Solomon, moved from San Francisco back to their home town Kishinev, the capital of the Eastern European country Moldova, a few years ago. Tatyana called to let us know that Solomon had died, he was 64. She went to a store and when she came back home, he had passed. It was not the coronavirus, but heart failure. He was at among the 655,000 Americans who die from heart disease each year – that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. We live in times when the subject of possibly getting sick and dying is constantly mentioned by the media. After Solomon retired, the couple sold their home in San Francisco, and securely invested the proceeds, which allowed them to live comfortably for years to come. They traveled a lot. Last summer, they rented a house in Spain for two months. Recently they bought land to build a new house in Kishinev. And then in a blink of a second, everything changed. 

The coronavirus has created an environment, where most of us cannot enjoy our lives to their full extent. Everyone is waiting for the “miraculous” vaccine to return our lives to “normal”. Unfortunately, we cannot meet our new granddaughter for that reason. But why should we stop feeling that we are alive? We still can enjoy many things we were accustomed to. We cannot travel to Europe, but we can go to Hawaii and Mexico after testing negative for the coronavirus. Some of our friends have rented homes in Oregon and resort areas in California. Next week we are going to our favorite place for four days – The Sea Ranch (a story will follow). After we received the phone call from Tatyana, I asked my wife Elfa to start making reservations for next year’s travels. One of the ways to feel alive, is to celebrate life. Today, Friday, December 11th, is the first day of the Jewish holiday, Hanukkah. It is called the Holiday of Lights and commemorates events which took place in 140 BCE. We are celebrating it together with our daughter Alona and her boyfriend Jeff, who specially came from Southern California. It is going to be the first celebration for our granddaughter, who together with her Mom, Tamar and Dad, David will join us through Zoom.

Let’s count our blessings and let light into our lives.

P.S. Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days. Each night, we light a candle in a special candle holder called a Chanukiah. The number of candles increases every night, for eight nights, plus one more which is used to light the others. In these four images I show how even light can be shown in a different light in the hands of the photo-artist.

Happy Hanukkah!

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