WHAT AGE IS GOOD TO START SURFING?
If you’ve been to the beach in San Francisco, you have probably noticed surfers, walking to or from the ocean with surf boards. Sometimes we drive to “Soul Grind Café” in Pacifica for lunch, which is located close to the beach, which seems to be a favored spot by the surfers.
When I asked a surfer friend what is a good age to start surfing, he said, “At an early age”. This came to mind during our recent vacation to Kauai. When we arrived to the Poipu area where we stayed for a week, I noticed the construction of an elevated podium close to our timeshare. The next morning at 7am, I went to watch a surfing competition for children below the age of fourteen.
176 girls and boys were registered to compete. When I asked a woman on the shore about her son, who was a good surfer, at what age he started, and how old he was now, she said, “he is now eleven, and he started at seven”. Online I learned that the best age to start is between seven and nine. But there are certain surfing camps that teach children as young as five years of age. These three images are of the brave kids I have encountered.
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AUTUMN IS HERE!
Looking on the calendar, I noticed that the start of the autumn falls on September 23rd this year. We may notice the change in the season as leaves on the trees begin to change colors before falling down, in preparation for winter. There are other significant things that happen in the autumn as well. On Sunday, September 24th, starts Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement. Though it is a Jewish tradition to celebrate this important event by fasting and praying during the next day until the sunset, it relates not only to Jews, but to all of humanity, as we are all interconnected.
The service starts on Sunday night with a prayer called Kol Nidre, which means “all vows”. I had difficulty understanding how it is possible to annul any personal or religious oath or prohibitions made between ourselves and God for the next year; how to atone or to get rid of our bad actions from the previous year. And then it dawned on me; it is like the trees losing their leaves. Next spring, they will appear again, and the cycle will start all over. Similarly, as we cycle through the Yom Kippur holiday, we will atone, and the world can start a new cycle over again.
Before dealing with God, we need to ask forgiveness from people. I want to use this opportunity to ask for your forgiveness. If you have ever wondered why leaves turn from green to yellow and to red before falling down, you can read this explanation.
Meanwhile, please take a look at the beauty of these three images of leaves.
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HAPPY NEW YEAR 5784!
On the evening of Friday September 15, starts the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah), which translates to Head of the Year. In the Jewish tradition, there are actually four New Years! This holiday has many meanings. It is called the Day of Judgement or the Day of Remembrance. As the name alludes, it is the start of a new cycle of our lives. It is also the prelude to the next event that happens ten days later, called Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It gives the Jewish people plenty of time to reflect on their lives, to prepare themselves for the final decision, when the Superior Judge, King, God, whatever you want to call it, will decide what they will be entitled for in the coming year.
During a festive dinner on Rosh Hashanah, which is celebrated for two days, one of the traditions is to dip a slice of an apple into honey and to wish each other a “Good and sweet year” as well as “May you be inscribed in the book of life”. There are quite a few stories related to this holiday. One of them is about a man who before the start of Rosh Hashanah, sat down with two note-books in front of him and started his prayer, “Almighty God, during the last year I was not always good and had quite a few transgressions”, and with those words he started listing from his first notebook. When he finished reading, he opened the second book. “Dear God, but you also did not fulfill everything that I expected from you”, and he started to read from the second notebook all the things which were not good in his life during the previous year. “And now if you will forgive me, I will forgive you and we will be even.”
While Rosh Hashanah has a specific Jewish connection, Yom Kippur is universally applicable, since on this Day, God makes decision related to all of humanity. As in every holiday, we decorate our homes with flowers. These three very special images are from me to you. Wishing you a very good and sweet year!
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COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS
We recently went for a vacation to Kauai. When I mentioned it to some people in San Francisco, in phone conversations, their response was often, “Isn’t there a fire?” Actually, the fire was in Maui. Driving around, we noticed signs of support for the people in Maui outside of some buildings and in stores, we saw appeals to raise money for the victims of the fires.
On the beach, we met a young woman who escaped the fire in the town of Lahaina along with her eighteen months young son. We heard first-hand about the disaster from her. All her belongings burned down. She was emotionally shaken. Her other two children were still in Maui. She had a friend in Kauai, who lent her a car. People offered her money, and when she went to the store to buy groceries, the store owner did not want to take money from her.
However, for many of us life goes on. In the airport upon arrival, I met a man, who did not cancel his vacation because of the fire, but instead of going to Maui came to Kauai. We all go through misfortunes in our lives. As long as we are alive, let’s count our blessings. One of my blessings is to see beauty and to share it with others. One of nature’s beauties is the National flower of Hawaii – the Yellow Hibiscus.
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HOW TO FOCUS
A few weeks ago, I have shared my stories with you about two people who had a dream and how these dreams were realized. The first story is about our daughter Allona, whose book “The Weaver” became a bestseller on Amazon in a very short time. The second dreamer is Adar, whose dream to bring joy of good ice cream keeps growing. Both of them, and anyone else who accomplishes anything, used the most important ingredient — focus. Though I’m a focused person, I’ve learned the real meaning of what it really is from our labradoodle, Max.
For Max, life is in the ball. He probably thinks that it is me, who likes to play it. It doesn’t matter where we are, he brings me one of his balls, which he wants me to throw so that he can retrieve it until he gets tired. But Max has one incredible quality – the ability to focus on what he wants – the ball. When we go to the park these days, I no longer carry a ball. Max just looks at my left pocket, where I used to keep his ball, I show and tell him that I do not have it, and he immediately goes on the hunting expedition, sniffing every bush. Recently he went deep under a bush, and then pulled himself out with the ball in his mouth. After we play for a while, he usually leaves the ball in the park, perhaps for another dog to find it. While thinking about this essay, I came across a video on YouTube about Elon Musk’s ability to focus and work very hard to reach his dreams. I strongly recommend checking it out.
Last week I shared with you some images of Max and his ball. I am sure some owners can make the same statement about their dogs’ ability to focus.
Enjoy these three images above and share this story with your friends!
HOW SMART IS YOUR DOG?
Two dog owners bragged about their dogs. One said that his dog goes out, picks up the newspaper, tips the delivery boy and brings him the newspaper. “I know”, the other answered, “my dog told me about that”. This joke appeared in my book “42 Encounters with Laughter”. Most dog owners believe that their dogs are smart. When I googled “books about dogs smarts” the list was quite impressive.
When people interact with our labradoodle Max, most make a comment that he is smart. One of the books I saw online is “Your Dog is Your Mirror.” Am I really as smart as Max and as good looking? I have a book on my bookshelf titled “Inside Your Dog’s Mind. What They Really Think”, which has many articles where experts share their research and express their opinions. Last week I wrote about how Max teaches me to be focused. But I also had to learn his language, which is expressed with his paws, body movements and his big eyes. When I ask him where the ball is, he goes to the door and starts scratching it. Behind the door is the stick. Then with eyes he looks towards the cabinet. My job is to get on my knees and get it out with the stick.
When I am driving home, even before the garage door opens, he appears in the window with the ball in his mouth, and then waits on the top of the stairs to throw the ball down for me to pick it up and throw back to him. This was a game he invented. In the morning at about 6:15, he comes to my side of the bed, wakes me up and then goes back to sleep. Somehow he knows when I need to get up. The list goes on. And I am sure that you have your own stories about your pets. I decided to share images of dogs. I am not sure how smart they are, but they are definitely very cute.
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THE FUTURE IS HERE
On a walk with Max one recent evening, I noticed my neighbors boarding a driverless cab by Waymo. Online I learned that the day before, on Thursday, August 10th, after six hours of deliberations, California regulators gave approval to two robotaxi companies – Cruise and Waymo, to operate their driverless cars 24/7 across all of San Francisco. Of course there were some who disagreed with the decision. That brought to mind events which happened at the end of the nineteenth century, when the first American cars were built, with many non-believers that the new invention would replace horses and carriages.
During an interview on November 17, 1895, Thomas A. Edison said, “Talking of horseless carriage suggests to my mind that the horse is doomed. The bicycle, which, 10 years ago, was a curiosity, is now a necessity. It is found everywhere. Ten years from now you will be able to buy a horseless vehicle for what you would pay today for a wagon and a pair of horses. The money spent in the keep of the horse will be saved and the danger to life will be much reduced.” These words are as current today as almost 128 years ago.
You can read more about robotaxis in the article which appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday, August 13, 2023 titled, “Questions remain on robotaxis’ viability”. In spite of naysayers, we are privileged to live in the part of the future. However, horse and carriage transport did not disappear completely. When we visited New York in 2016, we encountered them near Central Park as part of the tourist attractions, as you can see from these three photos.
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WHAT IS THE NUMBER 56?
August 8th is a special date in our family. On that date fifty-six years ago, Elfa said “I do”. I was twenty, my wife twenty-one. Since then, I count our blessings every day. So, what is the meaning of the number 56? Online I learned that “the number 56 often brings good luck and positive energy into people’s domestic lives”. And also, that it is a sign “to be grateful for what you can do and the people you have in your life”. It is also “a symbol of new beginnings”.
At the age when many people retire, we decided not only to keep going, in spite of the current challenges in mortgage industry, but to begin a new direction by focusing on helping people who retire to have a better life with reverse mortgages. I have even written a book on the subject – “Retirement Solutions for Smart People”, which is going to be available shortly.
As you can see, all three definitions of the meaning of the number 56 are correct. To commemorate this important date, we asked our gardener to plant two young magnolia trees, which, as you probably know, produce beautiful flowers.
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WHAT IS YOUR DREAM?
I was recently helping my client, Adar, get financing to buy the property that he and his wife were renting. It seemed like an ordinary purchase transaction. What was special, was his source of income, which was coming from the ice cream store he owned and operated together with his brother. I knew this place very well, since it is located on the 9th Avenue, not far from Golden Gate Park. I have enjoyed their delicious flavors on several occasions. When I mentioned to Adar that I am trying to hold back on sugar because my pants are getting tighter, he responded that this is what he advised his clients, whom he was training at the gym across the street. “Do not check the scale, check your pants.” It turns out that he used to be a gym instructor while going to Law School. But at the same time, he was dreaming that one day he would have an ice cream shop on the 9th Avenue. Eight years ago, his dream of opening San Francisco Homemade Creamery, became a reality.
Adar continued to dream. He decided to convert a dilapidated VW minibus into a store on wheels. He was told that this was not possible. Now his red minivan, which on the weekends is parked on Scott and Marina Boulevard is attracting locals as well as tourists. When my wife and I came there last Sunday to take photos, I stood in a long line and we tried Madagascar Vanilla and Chocolate Sorbet. It was delicious. When I asked Kenneth, who works there, for an extra spoon for Max, he gave him a small scoop instead, which Max licked up in no time. On the way home, we went to the 9th Avenue shop to get two pints to take home for some guests we were having.
If you love ice cream, please read my poem which appeared in my book “42 Encounters with Love”.
Love Of Ice Cream
I love how ice cream tastes,
But I do not like how it affects my waist.
Can I indulge once a week?
And which of the flavors shall I seek?
Perhaps vanilla with cherry?
But I do not care about Ben & Jerry.
How about two flavors,
Covered with berries, in a bowl?
However, this will definitely mess with
My weight-losing goal.
What about dark chocolate on the cone?
By the time I decided, it was gone.
I scream for ice cream;
I love how it tastes.
But what about the size of my waist?
And what is your dream? Enjoy It and Share!
HOW TO WRITE A BESTSELLER?
How would you feel if someone you love wrote a book, which became a bestseller? Our daughter Allona has published her first novel, The Weaver. It is filled with suspense, love, mystery, surprises and self-discovery. The story is about a woman, who reaches the top of her career and seems to have it all in life. And then suddenly it is all gone. She finds herself in the forest in the company of a mysterious woman, the weaver. But she does not remember of who she is or what has happened to her. You will find out what happens next after you get the book.
Allona is not only a gifted writer, but also a deeply spiritual person. She has had an incredible life journey, from an art gallery owner in New York and an art adviser in Paris, France. Now she is an author and lives near us in Sausalito. Allona brings the richness of her life experiences into this book, and much more, her spiritual connection and inspiration. I am sure that like me you won’t be able to put The Weaver down.
If you’d like to find out more, you can check out the book’s website or just get your own copy of The Weaver on paperback or kindle on this link. Please help The Weaver stay an Amazon Bestseller by getting your book today, and make sure to write your review.
I decided to share with you three images of the forest, where we could get lost and find ourselves.
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