Scores of greetings for my husband’s birthday today have been quite heartwarming. Poignant is the word that describes the appreciation, respect and love that many hold for Stanley, deceased in December 2015.  We who love him find great delight in the realization that he is not forgotten.  A treasure of memories reminds us of how much of a caring, thoughtful and fun guy he was, smart, witty and rich in humor.  His earthly birthday brings him to 80 today, but his heavenly birthday (December 4) is two weeks before my birthday, and three weeks from Christmas. Lots to commemorate in December.

Not strange at all to me that I should dream of him early in the morning, a vision so real that it woke me up right before my alarm clock rang.  I didn’t need that alarm clock.  My day began sweetly and beautifully.  I think I was mysteriously energized.

While we do not fully comprehend the thread that runs through the spiritual realm and existential reality, this I’m convinced – love does not end with death.  And in the palm of God’s hands, our connections endure.

So, happy blessed birthday, Stanley – and as I said in my Facebook post – enjoy the celebration with the saints, angels and loved ones in the beyond – and especially sing your best tenor before the Lord! 


A most enjoyable sushi-making spree with work colleagues at my home last Sunday.  Before I tell you why, I’d like to share the photo of stunning flowers I received from retired colleagues who drove all the way from Davis, CA to partake of the fun in our sushi-making gourmet adventure.  Purely delightful!

My bonus from last Sunday’s sushi-making spree — flowers given by guests from Davis, CA

Cañada poolside getting ready for the big July 4th festivity with fireworks from nearby Pasadena Rose Bowl down the hill (LA area)

It is no flattery when I claim, I’ve eaten the best sushi I ever had – amateurishly created with my own hands, under the tutelage of a seasoned sushi maker, Ningguo.  Because our potlucks had often been graced with his popular sushis, we appointed him our master chef, and we had no regrets.  He was very astute in choosing the sushi ingredients (fish and crab strips, puffed scrambled eggs, crunchy cucumbers, salmon eggs, etc.), sliced expertly, and very professionally demonstrated how to work the mats for robust rolls.  For the perfect slice, he brought his own sharp knife about which he warned – careful when you touch it.  I didn’t touch the imposing gadget. The shiny thin blade of the “gourmet knife” scared me.  I dared not wash it.

One glitch was of my doing – didn’t get the right rice for the sushi.  I volunteered to provide the boiled rice, but it came out too sticky.  Regardless and despite of it, the sushis were superb, everyone heartily proclaimed.

Most enjoyable, too, was having some retired co-workers and their spouses in the party, a couple we hadn’t seen in over a year since before the start of the pandemic.  As you can expect, the conversations were lively, the stories interesting, and the teasing and jokes, funny.  I was giggly while rolling my mat.  Cai, a retiree who was seated beside me laughed at my sushi because it much looked like a burrito.  So happy was I that I shaped a fat burrito out of my roll — my most delicious lunch and dinner the next day.

It was a jubilant Sunday, even glorious for me with the thick bouquet of flowers given me by Xiaosong and his wife Cui who drove all the way from Davis, to be part of our gourmet soiree.


My niece Nikki sent me a picture of their home being built in Laguna, Philippines.  She and her husband Gab took my suggestion for a split-level structure.  The picture is of the loft (which I call mezzanine) designed to overlook the living room.  This young couple with a close to two-year-old son, and with no building experience behind them, has ventured into directly managing the building of their home, seeing to the nitty-gritty details of construction, down to the choice and purchase of materials.  Of course, working on a tight budget requires their direct involvement and daily monitoring of the project.  I am definitely proud of this couple.

And prouder still of their toddler Zi, whose cute round face, vibrant smiles and twinkly, mischievous eyes graced a few commercial advertisements in Manila.  Whenever I see Zi’s video or pictures, I recall my latest vacation in the Philippines when he was a little infant, and I would sing to him my favorite song line, “Torete ako sa iyo” (meaniong, I’m crazy about you). Such a lovable kid! Very smart, too.


I never tire of watching my grandson Eliott practice piano.  Most afternoons of the week, a routine I look forward to is getting a call from Eliott on Facetime, right before his fingers start running the exercise on the octaves prior to practicing the assigned pieces.  It is so interesting to watch my son John mentor Eliott on the dynamics of the composition, most effectively leading his son to tap into his imaginative creativity in interpreting the music’s nuances and flow.  I would say, a clever use of “emotional intelligence” in enlivening the adaptation of the melody. John would pose questions like – what do you think of when you play that movement?  Even I am urged to share the picture conjured in my mind by the musical innuendo, and often, I am tempted to do just that, blurt my response over Facetime.  At times, Eliott’s Mom Natasha, prods my grandson when he takes too long of a break in between pieces, and often, that’s when he and I engage in casual chats.  Right now, Eliott is working on refining his rendition of Hayden’s Sonata.  Sweetly delightful!


Many gear up for the upcoming July 4th celebration, including my daughter Joy and son-in-law Matt. Yesterday, Joy got the news they’ve been anxious for all week. They dropped off the wait list and received   tickets to the July 4th celebration during the much sought-for festival and fireworks viewing at the Cañada poolside in the LA area. A frequent user of the expansive pool facilities, they at first were not guaranteed access to the heavily attended festival.  I’m happy that they can celebrate in such lovely setting on the hill overlooking the Pasadena Rose Bowl where the fireworks will originate.

No reason why I cannot vicariously enjoy the celebration from Palo Alto.  Hopefully, my daughter can Facetime with me during the fireworks display.  That would be awesomely delightful!

Happy July 4th everyone!

Linda P. Jacob

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