Fridays with Manny



Usually when it rains, most of us hide. While rain can be very destructive, which could result in fallen trees, landslides and power outages, we cannot exist without this gift from the sky. Now just think about what else in your life has a similar duality. The reason this message might sound poetic is because I write poems. If after reading what comes next you suggest for me to keep my day job, I will remind you about duality. This poem was inspired by my 3.5 years young granddaughter, who lives in Portland, Oregon, and likes to splash in puddles during the rain (our daughter and son-in-law send us videos of her adventures).

The Rain

The rain drummed hard on my window.
I awoke and fell asleep again.
Was this the response to our prayers
To fill the thirsty earth with water
We all pray for the drought to end.
However, when the rain comes,
We do not like the weather,
And hide under our umbrellas
Instead of running barefoot
On the wet grass with shouts of joy.
Perhaps this is the domain of little children
For whom the rain is the new excitement.
Because for them every day is the opportunity
To have new experiences,
Since in their early age they know
That the rain will stop tomorrow.
The sun will come out again,
The time to get out to play.

If you are looking for a unique gift regardless of the reason, then my book “42 Encounters with Love” can be a perfect choice. It is a marriage between photography and poetry. The poem you’ve just read is from the new book I am currently working on – “42 Encounters with Light”. Meanwhile, enjoy my other books which you can find on Amazon. Rain might have another advantage – adding something special to the existing beauty of nature, as you can see in these three images of flowers I have posted for you above. There is always duality.

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Fridays with Manny


We Become What We Think About
Most of the Time

When I got into the mortgage business over forty years ago, I had to learn a lot. Not only did I have to learn about the mortgage programs (at that time there were not many choices); but I also needed to learn how to sell, as I had no previous experience doing that. The most important part of my education was to learn how to think. I had many coaches and attended many seminars, and I constantly listened to the audiotapes and various “gurus”. One of them was Brian Tracy (who still teaches today). His quote, “You become what you think about most of the time”, helped me become who I am today.

The question is how can one make a choice of what one thinks about? I had to learn it in photography. Regardless of which camera or lens you use, the result will always depend on what you focus on. Since my focus in life is on sharing love and beauty, my photo images reflect that. You can see that in all of my books and calendars. Even in my latest book, Retirement Solutions for Smart People™. How to Accomplish Financial Comfort, you will find images of beautiful people and nature.

Additionally, I’ve created “53 Reminders”, a weekly calendar of my photo-images of flowers, as well as my quotes. One of them is: Ask yourself who is the next person to whom you will say,I love you. To share love and beauty with yourself and others, please order this life changing beautiful book here. The three above images of Nature did not make it into the book.

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Fridays with Manny



Two weeks ago, we invited friends to our house for dinner. My wife Elfa was preparing a delicious meal. And then suddenly, before our guests arrived, there was a power outage. Fortunately, we had many decorative candles and lit our home with beautiful lights. The dinner was a success, and our friends decided that when they will invite us, they will also light many candles. Inspired by this experience, I wrote a poem. I started writing poems when I was working on my book “42 Encounters with Love”.

For Granted

There are certain things

In our lives we take for granted.

They become our habits,

Our way of living.

And suddenly things change.

You are driving home from work,

The rain is pouring.

And you are happy to get to your destination.

But what happened with the garage door?

It doesn’t open. Is it jammed?

And then the heavy thought crosses your mind.

It is probably a power outage.

You are trying to remember

Where did you hide the key.

There is no light, the home is cold,

So is the stove.

But the fridge is getting warmer.

You remember about the flashlight

In the kitchen drawer,

And some decorative candles

Left over from the last year’s Christmas.

But where are the matches?

You cannot charge your laptop,

Nor your Tesla.

The battery on your mobile phone is dying.

It is late.

Stores are closed.

In the dim light from the candles

You prepare some cold food.

But what is there else to do?

There is no TV to watch, nor browsing the internet,

Since your laptop died.

Too dark to read.

Perhaps to go to sleep?

What time is it now?

Oh, no, my phone battery just died as well.

Flash battery is also dying.

In the candlelight you brush your teeth,

And close your eyes in the cold room

With a heavy feeling.

And suddenly you awaken.

What happened?

The light on the alarm clock is blinking.

Hooray your life is back.

You turn on the light,

The plugged in cell phone shows the time.

The fridge is beeping, getting back to life,

And the electric car is charging.

You will be able to drive to work tomorrow,

And start taking your life again for granted.

Rain gives us great photo opportunities. You can see three of my encounters captured on my camera and posted above.

Please check Amazon for my books, which can be a good and lasting gift when you are visiting your friends.

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Fridays with Manny



On Saturday, February 10th, 1,425,671,352 Chinese people, including about 180,000 residing in San Francisco, will start the celebration of a new Chinese lunar year, named according to the Chinese Horoscope, The Wood Dragon. The holiday ends on February 24th, 2024. Online I learned that “The Wood element will bring evolution, improvement, and abundance, it is the perfect time for rejuvenated beginnings and setting the foundation for long-term success”.

The Chinese people have a very interesting history connected with our city. The first immigrant from China arrived in what will become San Francisco in 1840. They worked in railroad construction and agriculture. As San Francisco was evolving, Chinese immigrants concentrated in the area known as Chinatown, which has a fascinating history. Descendants of this first wave of immigrants played a significant role in creating the city’s wonderful and unique qualities.

The Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco will take place on Saturday, February 24th. Let’s pray it’s going to be a beautiful sunny day, since it’s worth attending. As far as the Chinese New Year prediction, it fits me perfectly. After writing my new book “Retirement Solutions for Smart People™. How to Accomplish Financial Comfort”, I decided to focus on helping people to retire with financial comfort. In addition to paper back copy and e-version selling on Amazon, this book is now available in audible format. You can get it for zero cost by subscribing to a limited time offer.

The three images which you can see above are of people I encountered in San Francisco’s distinctive Chinatown.

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Fridays with Manny


How Do You Know What You Think You Know?

When I walk with our dog Max or drive alone in my car, I listen to podcasts on YouTube (my wife Elfa prefers to listen to classical music). Though there are many subjects available, my preference is history. I like to listen to smart people talking about how the past affected today’s reality and about people who helped it happen. And I’ve learned that some people today might have different opinions based on their limited knowledge about the past.

It turns out that Christopher Columbus was not a bad guy, after all. Nor was Teddy Roosevelt, who in his time was considered progressive. Winston Churchill, who besides other accomplishments of saving Europe from Hitler, received a Nobel Prize in Literature. Progressives of our days removed all three of these people from the pedestals, which brings to mind recent events close to home. Exactly three years ago, The San Francisco Board of Education voted to remove George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Diane Feinstein and a number of others from the schools’ names. When the story broke out, it was revealed that to make their decision, the Board members consulted sources on Google. The irony is that the San Francisco International airport was named after Diane Feinstein, recently.

A year ago, I was working on my new book “Looking Forward Through Looking Back: 42 Encounters with Pioneers”. I used biographies of those people who came to San Francisco in its early days, going back to 1847. When I sent bios of the pioneers to my editor, she was surprised that there were no book references. When I told her that I had used Wikipedia, she said that this was not a good source of information for the book. Since I did not have time to do the research, I put the project on hold.

That is why while working on my new book Retirement Solutions for Smart People™. How to Accomplish Financial Comfort, I had read twenty-two books which I have listed in my publication. I’m writing about this because some people seem to have no time or desire to do the research and choose to rely on the information fed to them by social media without bothering to check sources or reliability of the information. This includes the subject of reverse mortgages that I cover in my book which is available on Amazon. It also includes images of retirees photographed in the entourage of nature. You can see three of them here.

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Fridays with Manny



How to save our world – one tree at a time

January 25th was a Jewish holiday called Tu BiShvat, which is known as the New Year of the Trees. The holiday appears in the Talmud and in contemporary Israel, it is celebrated as an ecological awareness day with planting of trees, also known as Jewish “Earth Day”, or Arbor Day, which is celebrated in many countries all over the world.

It seems that many of us take trees for granted. When I checked online, I found a long list of why trees are important. “They give us clean water to drink, air to breathe, shade and food to humans, animals and plants. They provide habitats for numerous species of fauna and flora, firewood for cooking and heat, materials for buildings and places of spiritual, cultural and recreation importance. Trees are important for the global environment and the health of the species that live there, and they need our unconditional care and protection.”

In our backyard we had three huge cypress trees. Unfortunately, because of their old age and the roots which were destroying a retaining wall, we had to remove them. Instead, our landscapers planted four new ones. Two magnolias and two Japanese cherry trees, also two butterfly bushes and other plants and flowers. We are blessed to have a beautiful garden and contributors to the betterment of our environment. In the spring and summer, new flowers will give me new images for next year’s calendar. Meanwhile, enjoy the three beautiful roses from my 2024 weekly calendar, which is called “53 Reminders”. You can still order it on Amazon.

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Fridays with Manny



Every birthday has significance as every number has the meaning. And then there are special numbers. On January 13th I reached double luck. When last year people asked about my age, my answer was 67 (at least this is how I feel). Then I was explaining that when I turned 70, I became dyslexic. The game is over (though I still feel 67). Turns out that 7 is the special lucky number. So, let’s take a pick in the online meanings for the numbers.

“People affiliated with the number seven are believed to be insightful, intuitive, truthful, introspective, intellectual and wise”, and then, to support the description, another website informed that the number 7 symbolizes “solitude, hidden knowledge, spiritual truth and introspective.” And all of these just for one number seven, and I have double — 77. There is another numbers combination related to this special date when we add numbers in my birthday. 01-13-2024 it adds up to 13, which is my birthdate. In spite of some negative superstition, I found out that “Angel Number 13 symbolizes leading with love and compassion, staying focused on the positive in the face of negativity, being passionate about your ambitions and finding success in the future.”

Now the question is – O.K. I got all of that, but how this can benefit you? Actually you have the answer. After all, everything I do is for your benefits. Mortgage consulting, writing, photography, books publishing and of course, my friendship.

If you feel deprived because you don’t have number 7 or 13 in your life, I decided to share with you some of my luck – my new desktop calendar with gorgeous flowers and my pearls of wisdom. I called it “53 Reminders”. Please order it here. The three images you can see above are flowers from the calendar.

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Fridays with Manny



It always gives me pleasure to receive emails from the appreciative readers like “Love your “Fridays with Manny” weekly columns and your photography in them is outstanding!”

But this time an email also came with the recommendation: “This is the time of year for big ocean waves due to a combination of storms and tides. These big waves provide beauty, excitement, evocative adventurous imagery, and potential danger. Have you thought of potentially devoting one of your early 2024 Fridays with Manny columns to ocean waves? One of my favorite places to view them is Rockaway Beach in Pacifica.”

When I decided to check the waves on January 1st, the storm was over. Nevertheless, we went to San Francisco Ocean Beach for a walk with Max. There were no dramatic waves, but there were a lot of people who came just to enjoy the ocean. For me this was a very good reminder that the big waves come and go, but people will continue having a good time. There are some “experts” who make negative predictions about 2024. For me these negative events are just temporary storms, which come and go away. My New Year resolution is to stay away from the negativity. I hope you will do the same.

One of the ways to stay positive, which is not easy, is to be exposed to the positive information. This is why I published the book “Retirement Solutions for Smart People™. How to accomplish Financial Comfort” as well as a gorgeous weekly calendar “53 Reminders”. Both are available at the provided links on Amazon.

Recently an article in the San Francisco Chronicle told a story about Big Waves filmed by Tim Bonython. You can watch his film Monster Mavericks by clicking this link. Ocean waves not only can be big, they can be beautiful, as you can see from the three images above.

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Fridays with Manny



Most people like flowers. They are an indication of the change of the seasons. We see them in nature in our gardens or in our homes. Flowers have at least three stages; when they just open, while in full bloom and when they fade away. This is a good reminder of our lives. Yet, there is another stage – when they are photographed and the images are shown to others. Flowers are my favorite subject to photograph. However, this is only the first step. The next one is to process the images on the computer and then to share the results with others.

I do this in various ways. Last year, with the help of a web designer, I put together a website, “ (”. I also make prints as gifts for my friends. And over the last four years, I’ve received a lot of compliments for my monthly wall calendars with flowers. This year, I decided to share with you more flowers. Therefore, instead of seeing twelve of them, each month, you are going to enjoy 53 images in a weekly calendar, that also comes with weekly words of my thoughts, which I call reminders.

Some people only use their mobile phones to record appointments and special weekly events. But I hope you see these weekly encounters and plannings as pieces of art, which could lighten your weeks. I suspect that after the year 2024 is over, the calendar will still adorn your coffee table or bookshelf; unless, of course, there will be a demand for me to produce the next one.


These three images are from the calendar, which is available on Amazon at this link. While on Amazon, please also check this link for my latest book “Retirement Solutions for Smart People™. How to accomplish Financial Comfort”, which besides valuable information presents quite a few images of beautiful nature.

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Fridays with Manny



I am writing this essay sitting in my “writing” chair, which I share with Max. He occupies it when I am not writing and jumps off when my turn comes. If you do not know him yet, he is our six years young labradoodle. After we adopted him at the age of ten months from his breeder in Monterey, I started recording my daily experiences of his behavior and read about twenty “How to” books to find the answer of how to become his best friend. This experience led to producing and publishing my book of stories and photos, “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers”, which you can order on Amazon. During the next six years, Max taught me a lot about life, joy and gratitude. I even summarized these lessons and included them in my business card.

What prompted me to write this story was an article in The Wall Street Journal titled, “How Dogs Help Us Lead Longer, Healthier Lives”. It was actually a review of a new book written by Jen Golbeck and Stacey Colino,“The Purest Bond: Understanding the Human-Canine Connection”. It is based on many studies and has a very simple conclusion – “Besides having specific effects on health, your relationship with your dog may alter your attitude toward health and life in general”.

While I am writing, Max wants to be sure that I am in good physical shape and for my exercises he constantly brings me his ball. My task is to bend down and to throw it back to him. In a few hours, since I need fresh air and serene scenery, he will take me for a walk in Golden Gate Park. And since he thinks this might not be enough, he will take me again for a short walk in the evening in our neighborhood, knowing that some fresh air will help me to sleep better. If you decide that someone like Max can benefit your life, please let me know, I will connect you with his breeder. Labradoodles are smart, easy to train and very loveable.

If you or someone you know is in retirement age, and is concerned about extra expenses connected with dog ownerships, please read my new book, “Retirement Solutions for Smart People™. How to Accomplish Financial Comfort”.


These three images are of our beloved best friend, Max, who tries to catch a squirrel during our walks in Golden Gate Park.





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