Initially, I was going to title this story, “How to Survive 54 Years of Marriage”. However, a good relationship is not just about surviving; but also enjoying.
We got married in Riga, Latvia at the age of 20, had our first child at 21, and immigrated to Israel when we were 25, where our second daughter was born. At the age of 33, we moved to San Francisco. And for the last 35 years, we have built together a successful mortgage brokerage company. We have great relationships with our daughters and their significant others. And we enjoy our lives.
Our secret can be summarized in two words – “Love and Gratitude”. On August 8th, as years before, my wife will receive a special bouquet of flowers. These three bouquets are for you, with love and gratitude.
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The reason why I put the title in the form of a question, is because when we told our friends that our daughter Tamar and her family are moving from West Hollywood to Portland, some had a whimsical look on their face. Why are they doing that? Is it a job transfer? Which only means that many people do not know Portland.
We have been here a number of times, and have also shared mixed feelings about it. The city with the population of over 650,000 recently gained notoriety for the riots. Its slogan is “Keep Portland Weird”, and for some people it might look this way. The homeless population downtown might look similar to San Francisco’s. However, there is a different face for the city as well.
This time, we traveled there to help our children and granddaughter to settle down in their new place. In the residential area they are living in, we discovered the charm Portland offers, with beautiful old homes on narrow streets lined with mature trees and a lot of flowers in people’s front yards and on the sidewalk. Portland is called the “Rose City” and as you can see, it deserves the title.
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The title of this essay comes from the article titled “Latest buzz on nature in the neighborhood”, written by Carl Nolte in his column “Native Son”, which appeared in San Francisco Chronicle on June 27, 2021. The story is about wild life in San Francisco Bernal Heights. Recently neighbors encountered 2-year old mountain lion cougar, who had wandered to the city from the hills above Los Gatos. After he was captured by city authority neighbors named him “Mr. Handsome”.
Other visitors like coyotes do not get so much attention, since they have became common. In our neighborhood, Monterey Heights, I encounter and photograph them every year. Other unwelcome guests created more excitement, it was giant swarm of bees. Thousands of them occupied a gingko tree. Turned out that our city has a special bee phone line to remove bees. When specially trained beekeeper arrived, he successfully relocated them to new destination.
Though bees have coexisted with humans for thousands of years, they are wild creatures and “if you leave them alone, they will leave you alone”, was recommendation of one of the local beekeepers. Bees play an important role in humans’ life and it’s fun to photograph them while they collect their food from the flowers.
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I came across an article titled, “What Makes Dogs So Special and Successful? Love.” It was written by Karin Brulliard; it was an interview with the psychologist Clive Wynne, author of the book “Dog Is Love”, and first was published in The Washington Post on September 3, 2018.
Mr. Wynne writes, “Dogs have an exaggerated, ebullient, perhaps even excessive capacity to form affectionate relationships.” Since it was scientific research, instead of love dogs were measured for exceptional gregariousness and hyper sociability. Turns out that “Dogs fall in love much more easily than people do, and they also seem to be able to move on much more easily than people can”.
Both the article and the book have a lot of fascinating information. However, it takes two to tango. To experience a dog’s love, one needs to be a dog lover, which is why I published the book, “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers”. The three images are extras, which I photographed after the book was out.
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If you are interested in the history of San Francisco, Gary Kamiya, the author of the bestselling book “Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco” is your guide.
Twice a month, in the San Francisco Chronicle, you can read his column “Portals of the Past”. On June 26th in the story, “How an intercultural couple in early San Francisco gained acceptance”, he writes about the events which happened on October 29, 1850. On that day, 16-year-old Ann Frances Moses, a daughter of a Mormon immigrant, married 20-year old Eustaquio Valencia, a member of one of the growing town’s prominent Californio families.
The question might come to your mind, “Why would we care about a family who lived over 170 years ago?” Well, for a very simple reason. The couple was part of what San Francisco is all about, its people. They came here from all over the world and, as we are here now, blended in like sand on the beach. While we are living, we leave footsteps on the sand, and then the ocean washes it away, leaving just sand.
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