Fridays With Manny


Rules for the Dance

The title of this week’s essay is misleading, since it is also the title of the book written by well-known writer-poet, Mary Oliver. The subtitle is “A Handbook for Writing and Reading Metrical Verse”. As someone who writes poems, I read writings of other poets as well. This time, the title prompted me to share with you one of the poems from my new photo-poetry book, “42 Encounters with Love” (order it here).

Keep Dancing

Since my teenage years,

I have always loved to dance.

I still remember my first steps.

She was twelve; I was thirteen.

We danced cheek to cheek.

I asked her for the next dance, too,

but she had chosen another boy.

Years passed, and then, when I was nineteen,

I met a new dance partner with whom I fell in love.

And now fifty-five years later,

Elfa and I are still dancing cheek to cheek.

Dancing can be manifested in various ways. Even while encountering flowers from a fried egg bush (matilija poppy) that looked like it was dancing.

Enjoy and Share Love!

Fridays with Manny


Live In The Moment

During our stay in Desert Hot Springsthat I wrote about last week, I met Mark. He makes a living by collecting metal scraps, taking them apart and reselling the components. He got lost and asked for directions, or perhaps “smelled” the opportunity, since there was plenty of junk in the back yard – an old refrigerator, a broken door, a bench press that hasn’t been used for the last twenty years. I was amazed to see how Mark was able to lift a heavy metal structure and load it on to his already filled truck by himself. While working, he would stop from time to time to tell some of his life stories. In one of them, he got stuck in the desert when his truck ran of gas. He managed to call 911 to inform about his situation, when his phone lost power. In these cases, he said, when there is no GPS connection, police send a rescue search. However, it was evening and getting dark, so Mark slept in the truck.

In the morning, he saw the police car. After finding Mark, the police officer complained that since it was Sunday morning, he would rather be at church with his family in. Mark, who in the past served as a Pastor at various churches in Texas and Arkansas, offered to conduct a Sunday service for two of them in the middle of the desert. An hour later, when the service was over, Mark kicked the ground with his boot to discover a brass plaque with the engraving: “Live in the Moment”. He gave it to the police officer, while both men had tears running down their cheeks. Mark finished his story by saying, “I am the richest man in the world, since I have myself and my God.”

To live in the moment allows us to change ourselves and our surroundings, like transforming the desert into an oasis.

Enjoy and share with a friend!

Fridays with Manny


Spring in Palm Springs

In the past, pre-pandemic, we used to come to Palm Springs every Spring,  to participate in the Palm Springs Photo Festival, where I took workshops with many great photographers. Since it was postponed again this year, we had a different excuse for a visit. 

Our older daughter’s significant other owns a house in Bubbling Wells Oasis, in Desert Hot Springs, a fifteen-minute drive from Palm Springs airport. Jeff bought his house there 30 years ago, when it was in the middle of a deserted area with underground hot springs. Now there are quite a few homes, a golf course and a hot springs spa. We stayed there for three relaxing days, dined in very good restaurants in Palm Springs, where we saw quite a few tourists. 

To avoid almost one-hundred-degree heat, we stayed indoors during the day, where I started to write my next book, Retirement Solutions for Smart People, which I will finish by the Fall. And of course, I came home with over 800 photos. Since cacti are abundant here, I chose three for your enjoyment.

Enjoy and share with a friend.

Fridays with Manny


Mother’s Day

I have a special reason why I’m writing in advance about Mother’s Day, which is celebrated on Sunday, May 8th. I was blessed to have two mothers. Mama Liza gave me birth, and I lived at home with her until the age of 20. When I got married, I moved in with my wife and Mama Masha, my wife’s mother. For the next 20 years, until her passing in San Francisco, we lived together and traveled from Latvia via Israel to the United States. Both of my mothers died a long time ago, but I still think about both of them. Their love and care helped me to become who I am today – a person who loves and cares about others.

Online, I read about the history of Mother’s Day. In America, Anna Jarvis, started Mother’s Day in 1908, and then later denounced the holiday because of its commercialization of presenting moms with flowers, cards and other gifts. 

I think that my photo-book “42 Encounters with Love” can be the best gift you can give to your mother. It can not only can be an expression of your love; but also, unlike flowers, it will not ever fade, nor will my beautiful roses, which I offer to you with love.

Enjoy and Share Love!

Fridays with Manny


What Is Your Message?

We are constantly bombarded and influenced by messages from the world around us. Therefore, we need to be very selective which messages reach our brain. Over 35 years ago, one of my coaches, Tom Hopkin, recommended a morning ritual: to stand in front of the mirror and to repeat, “I love myself, I love myself.” Since only by loving ourselves, we can learn how to love others in our lives. This message of Love, many years ago, led to the production of my photo-poems book, “42 Encounters with Love”. Please order for yourself and loved ones.

Besides common sources of information like social media, television and newspapers, some leave their messages on the trees.

During our recent visit to Golden Gate Park, my wife noticed small white tags attached to the trees. Someone wanted to send messages to the park’s visitors.

“God loves each of us as if there was only one of us.”

“Be patient, God is not done with you yet.”

“Truth is the enemy of a rebellious heart.”

What is your message to yourself, which can benefit others?

Enjoy and Share Love!