Connecting with History

In his 1998 best-selling book The Greatest Generation, journalist Tom Brokaw argues that men and women born between 1910 and 1925 were America’s greatest generation. As youngsters, they grew up having to endure the great depression, an economic time far worse than the recession we have just experienced.

Before these Americans had regained a reasonable level of employment and confidence in their society, World War II was thrust upon them. This global conflict was far worse than our low intensity actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Brokaw believed these men and women fought not for fame or recognition, but because it was the right thing to do. Their perseverance created the vibrant democracy and superpower that America is today.

This generation is now passing into the history books. Whether we learn from them about positive values such as respect for the rule of law, self-reliance tempered by good teamwork, and service to community and country is now up to us. The world has, of course, changed during the ensuing generations. Our most bitter enemies in World War II have now become some of our staunchest allies. While the geopolitical situation evolves over time, the noble sacrifices of this generation remain. They should be a beacon for us all. In 1961, one of those people said in his presidential inauguration speech, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” That’s what America is really all about.

One of the most famous “touchstone” groups from that generation was 80 U.S. Army Air Forces personnel involved in the legendary mission called the “Doolittle Raid.” This event occurred only 130 days after the calamitous attack on Pearl Harbor and our entry into World War II. The newspaper headlines catalyzed all Americans in one of their most desperate hours. The morale of the entire nation was lifted. An unconscious bond was forged among all citizens to support the war effort, in whatever capacity they could serve.

This group is now dwindling to a precise “handful” – only five members remain. This month, on April 18, they will commemorate the 69th anniversary of their flight into mythology with their annual reunion in Omaha, Nebraska. In February 1942, when they were first approached about volunteering for a “highly dangerous missions from which half would not return” these young men were in their early twenties. Many were married, some with kids. Few had planned to make a career in the military. The majority were “citizen soldiers.” But they all stepped forward, knowing their country needed them to “man up” at this moment and consider the greater good. The operational part of this mission began in San Francisco bay, so here is an insight into their story.

The Daring Tokyo Raid of 1942

On Thursday, April 2, 1942, San Franciscans awoke to a normal spring morning, with the night’s fog slowly dissipating over the bay. By 10 a.m., sunshine was breaking through in patches. As the visibility increased to 1,000 yards, strollers along the Embarcadero, dog walkers in the Marina, and drivers crossing the Golden Gate Bridge were treated to an unusual sight.

Eight U.S. Navy warships had weighed anchor that morning and were slowly working their way past Alcatraz Island, heading toward the Golden Gate. In the lead were four destroyers, followed by an aircraft carrier, which itself was trailed by two cruisers and a fleet oiler. The Pacific war effort was just getting ramped up so there was a general increase in military traffic of all sorts throughout the Bay Area. Most citizens would have watched this parade of ships with a mixture of general curiosity about where they were headed and apprehension for the safety of the crews. Those with a more discerning maritime eye would have been drawn to the strange sight of sixteen olive-drab U.S. Army Air Forces bombers scattered across the flight deck of the aircraft carrier. By 11:30 a.m., the ships had faded into the mist beyond the Golden Gate, on their way into the American lore.

One particular naval officer, Captain Donald Duncan, silently watched the procession from the Embarcadero. As he turned to enter a staff car for the ride to San Francisco airport, he smiled ruefully to himself and thought “well, if all goes as planned, we’ll have some great news for President Franklin Roosevelt in a few weeks.”

The war in the Pacific was not going well. Immediately following the enormous destruction wrought by the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the United States and its allies suffered additional setbacks. Both Guam and Wake Island had been seized and the Philippines had been invaded. The American public was both stunned and outraged at these defeats. They were frustrated at the apparent inability of the supposedly powerful U.S. military to stop a small island nation’s assault on our outposts in the Pacific. A common theme in newspaper editorials was “where is the Navy?”

Prior to the Pearl Harbor attack, President Roosevelt had secretly agreed with our European allies that the “arsenal of democracy” would commit the bulk of its initial military and industrial effort in fighting the Nazis to liberate Europe. FDR now faced a dilemma – without committing major resources in the Pacific, he had to respond to the Japanese attack, both to improve the morale of the American public and let the enemy know they would be sharply dealt with in due time. For many weeks after Pearl Harbor, FDR pressed his military leaders about organizing a bombing strike against Japan itself.

The Navy couldn’t do this alone – its small single engine bombers did not have the range to carry out a raid without the probable loss of the fleet that launched it. While the Army had bigger bombers with a longer range, they had no bases in the orient from which to launch them.

Finally, in early January of 1942, Navy Captain Francis Low had an inspiration – why not launch Army bombers from an aircraft carrier? He discussed this with his boss, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Ernest King. King asked his senior adviser for aviation operations, Captain Donald Duncan, to look into it further. He did several days of research, even asking Lieutenant Stephen Jurika, who had recently returned from duty with the American Embassy in Japan, to help identify high value targets.

After a finishing a 30-page feasibility study, Duncan presented his plan to the head of the Army Air Forces, General “Hap” Arnold. After approving the general concept, he selected Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle to head up “Special Aviation Project #1.”

Doolittle, who was born in Alameda, was a well known pioneer aviator of his era, often mentioned in the same context as Charles Lindbergh. Doolittle energetically threw himself into the project since the weather in mid-April provided the optimum timeframe. With full backing of “Hap” Arnold, Doolittle worked many miracles.

He agreed with Duncan’s assessment that the best medium range bomber for the job was the twin-engine B-25 Mitchell. The 17th Bombardment group selected twenty-four of these aircraft to be modified for this unique mission. Doolittle also handpicked the aircrews from this same outfit since they were familiar with the new bomber. All the men were volunteers and only knew that it was a very dangerous mission; they did not know what it entailed.

For the floating airbase, the Navy offered up its brand new aircraft carrier, the USS Hornet (CV-8), just finishing sea trials off the east coast and soon to relocate to the Pacific. Captain Marc Mitscher and his crew successfully test launched two B-25s from the Hornet off the coast of Virginia on February 2, proving the concept was valid.

The two project officers, Duncan and Doolittle, now set their respective operational wheels in motion. The bombers were modified with extra gas tanks to fly further than normal while the USAAF pilots and aircrew were trained in carrier-deck launches. They practiced these unusual take-off techniques at Eglin airfield in Florida, under the tutelage of Navy flight instructor Lieutenant Henry Miller. Most of the crews learned quickly and only two aircraft were damaged beyond field repair.

Meanwhile, the Hornet steamed through the Panama Canal into the Pacific Ocean. It stopped in San Diego to embark its own air group, since it would be assigned combat duty shortly after finishing the Tokyo raid mission. After the Hornet had arrived in San Diego, the Army aircraft and crews flew across the country to McClellan airfield. Final engine and other maintenance checks were performed at the Sacramento Air Depot. At the same time, Hornet was ordered to travel up the coast, entering San Francisco Bay on March 31 and tying up at one of the piers on Alameda Naval Air Station.

Just before flying to Alameda, several of the Army crews managed to get in some practice take-offs at the small airfield at Willows, in the central valley. It was the final chance to make sure their short-field technique was good – the next time would be the real deal.

Finally, all the puzzle pieces came together. On March 31 and April 1, the remaining twenty-two B-25s arrived at Alameda Naval Air Station. The 16 aircraft that were in the best operating condition were craned aboard the Hornet and tied down to the flight deck. That evening, the Hornet relocated to berthing area #9 in San Francisco Bay, just south of Yerba Buena Island.

At 10:18 a.m. on April 2, the Hornet raised her anchor, dropped in line behind the escort ships in the task group and headed out to sea. Their final contact with the Bay Area occurred later that afternoon. Just beyond the Farallon Islands, the Navy anti-submarine warfare blimp L-8 hovered over her deck, lowered down two boxes of navigator’s domes for the B-25s, and then picked up the last mail call for the Doolittle Raiders.

During the ensuing two week journey, Hornet’s Intelligence Officer LT Jurika helped the pilots select the most effective military and industrial targets to maximize the impact of the raid. The bombers were launched on April 18 while the Hornet was 650 nautical miles east of Tokyo. In spite of overwhelming odds, the 80 airmen completed their mission. Fifteen of the bombers crashed after getting into Chinese airspace due to a shortage of fuel and one landed in Russia. Most of the B-25 crews that came down in China eventually made it to safety with the help of Chinese civilians and soldiers.

Three of the airmen died as a result of their aircraft running out of fuel and eight more were captured by the enemy. Of these, three were executed and a fourth died in captivity. The remaining airmen continued to fight for the U.S., both in the Indo-China and European theaters. Twelve of them were killed in other combat actions. Jimmy Doolittle was promoted to Brigadier General and awarded the Medal of Honor by President Roosevelt.

In the final analysis, this “first joint action” by the Navy and the Army significantly affected the course of the war, just as Duncan and Doolittle had planned. These 80 members of the greatest generation can rest easy knowing the final epitaph will read – “Mission Accomplished.”

Notes: Bob Fish is a Trustee of the USS Hornet Museum and author of the book Hornet Plus Three. The USS Hornet Museum will be commemorating the 69th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid on Saturday, April 16.

Trooper Bobby E. Smith – Grand Marshal at Police and Fire: The Fallen Heroes Second Annual Celebrity Golf Tournament at Diablo Country Club

The organization Police and Fire: The Fallen Heroes proudly features a true hero Grand Marshal for their 2011 Second Annual Celebrity Golf Tournament on June 13th at the historic Diablo Country Club. Trooper Bobby E. Smith, Ph.D. will be the Grand Marshal and keynote speaker for the event, having made inspirational presentations to over one million people nationally. The Bobby Smith story is compelling; he was a Louisiana State Trooper twenty five years ago when a gunshot to the face took away his eyesight and his life changed forever.

It was a routine traffic stop on Highway LA15. Louisiana State Police Trooper Bobby Smith had pulled over many vehicles before, but this night would be different. This night his life would change forever. At the time of the pullover, Trooper Smith was unaware that the driver was a drug offender that would react with such violence. Then it happened. Very fast, from a distance of about twenty feet, a shotgun blast hit the Trooper in the face. It was on that dark night, the 14th day of March 1986, as Trooper Bobby Smith lay face down in the centre lane of the highway, not knowing if he would live or die, that Trooper Bobby Smith’s life changed forever. On that dark night that he met fate on the Louisiana highway—a fate of a life of darkness—his eyesight was lost.

There is no way that others can even imagine what happens to the mind, body and emotions of a young vital police officer when the medical diagnosis is pronounced; permanent blindness. Trooper Bobby Smith knew one thing for sure that day—that life as he knew it would be changed forever. How can one know the feelings, deep in the soul of a young trooper, upon hearing the shattering words about his loss of sight? The benchmark of one’s mental and physical core is how one reacts after a trauma is suffered.. The individual himself is captain of his proverbial ship—the one who commands his own destiny—when the initial crisis subsides and the healing starts.

Bobby E. Smith, well aware of post-traumatic stress disorder, decided that he would help others who have gone through immeasurable loss. His dedication to aiding those with PTSD imbued his life with determination and new meaning. He did not want his life to be defined by tragedy but by the driving force of his own vision of life.

His personal losses were enormous; losing his own mother at the age of ten, permanently blinded by a shotgun blast, his nine-year law enforcement career ending along with his self-confidence, independence and eventually his marriage. When it seemed like all that any human could endure had already been heaped upon Bobby Smith—the most heart-wrenching heartbreaks were yet to come—the death of his twenty-two year old daughter Kimberly in a car accident, and later the passing of his son Brad ten days after his twentieth birthday.

Against all odds to forge ahead and succeed in the mission Bobby Smith had set for himself, he wrote his second book in 2005 as a catharsis, “The Will to Survive.” It speaks of the driving force behind the man who has faced more tragedy in his life than most men, and who was strengthened by learning from the solid character of his late mother—to see the best in the worst of things.

Smith was determined to use his own experiences and education to counsel and train other men and women in law enforcement by helping them overcome difficulties, unseen stresses and adversities that face them on a daily basis. After the critical incident of the highway shooting, he returned to the University of Louisiana for a higher education. He realizing that he was to be blind for life. Bobby Smith acquired a cane to assist him as he maneuvered through his sightless world—not the white cane of a blind person, but a regal blue cane, the color blue symbolic of a policeman—imbued with pride of the Force. It was that blue cane that he carried when he entered the dean’s office at the university; it was that regal blue cane he held when the counselor advised him that returning to college would be very difficult for a blind person. But, Bobby Smith had heard many negative things about the blind not being up to the task; he drew upon his unyielding courage to prove his audacious determination to succeed.

Bobby E. Smith succeeded. He had already acquired a B.A. in Criminal Justice at University of Louisiana in Monroe in 1981, in 1991 earned a Master’s degree in Education, and in 2000 a Ph. D. in Counseling and Psychology from Pacific Western University in Los Angeles. Extensive education and dedication made it possible for the extraordinary man of courage to assist others in Law Enforcement with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. In 2001, he founded FORTE—Foundation for Officers Recovering from Traumatic Events, and he serves as the President and Chairman of the Board. Bobby Smith has written two books; “The Will to Survive” and “Visions of Courage” and is an inspirational keynote speaker at about 150 national events, having done presentations to over a million people.

To research this extraordinary hero, I listened to Bobby Smith’s inspirational talk at the National Sheriff Association on the recovery after traumatic events on YouTube, and I am not shy to admit, I cried. He speaks from the heart recalling personal accounts of what happened to him, and how his life changed to lead him on a journey to help others. He does not harp on his blindness, but speaks with savoir faire about how sightlessness has affected his life, working with what he had; everything but sight itself. The most poignant part of his presentation is the emotional pain he suffered when he removed his beloved badge and hung up his uniform for the last time.

Trooper Smith’s shiny badge represented with great significance, his law enforcement career, explaining the mnemonic meaning of B.A.D.G.E; B for Bravery, A for Attitude, D for Dedication, G for God, and E for Empathy—the daily attributes of a police professional.

FALLEN HEROES POLICE AND FIRE: The Fallen Heroes sponsors several fund raising events annually for their 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation providing guidance, tribute and outreach support to family members impacted by the loss of either Police or Fire personnel who die in the performance of their duties within California. The Second Annual Celebrity Golf Tournament, honoring all California Police Officers and Firefighters, is run entirely by dedicated volunteers and the event is their largest fund-raising venture. The 2010 Golf Tournament and Auction raised over $55,000 of which they donated $40,000 to be equally divided between the families of the four Oakland Police Officers slain in March 2009.
Reservations are open to golf participants in this year’s June 13th event at Diablo Country Club. Celebrities who have committed, schedule permitting, are; Oakland Athletics’ Vida Blue, a Cy Young awardee, rocker Eddie Money and Friends, Ron Masak (TV star), Gary Plummer, former 49er and San Diego Charger, presently the 49er’s radio broadcaster, and many others. Police and Fire: The Fallen Heroes is spearheaded by the Chairman of the Board, retired Battalion Chief Tom Gallinatti, a 30-year veteran of the Oakland Fire Department, a Board of Directors and dedicated volunteers who work throughout the year planning and brainstorming. There is a great need for volunteers to be involved with this exciting and rewarding non-profit organization in the areas of fund-raising, coordinating events, computer skills, PowerPoint and DVD presentations, assisting in marketing, community liaison, making phone calls. What they need most of all, is the donation of printers and computers.
One of the most outstanding donations to the organization is our new Walnut Creek office space generously contributed by RREEF through their CB Richard Ellis leasing principals. Police and Fire: The Fallen Heroes will operate the all-volunteer organization at their new Walnut Creek headquarters at Mount Diablo Plaza, 2175 N. California Blvd. Through the generosity and dedication to community involvement, corporations like RREEF and CBRE and its stellar charity-minded principals, can make a significant difference to those families who have lost their loved ones in the line of duty.
www.thefallenheroes.org email; info@thefallenheroes.org phone 925.831.2011

I Am A Dinosaur

Dinosaurs were a diverse group of animals and the dominant terrestrial vertebrates for over 160 million years, from the late Triassic period (about 230 million years ago) until the end of the Cretaceous (about 65 million years ago). Dinosaurs freely roamed every continent on earth and while generally known for the large size of some species, most were human-sized or even smaller. Most of the scientific community believed these ancestors of today’s lizards to be sluggish, complacent, relatively unintelligent, predominately carnivorous, cold blooded and methodical they actually had numerous adaptations for social interaction. Wait one darn second! Couldn’t those detailed adjectives easily be used when describing my buddies and me? I’m talking about guys I work with, play softball with, hang-out with at our kids sporting events and, dare I say, my bowling group? It used to be that a man with a receding hairline or some grey (salt and pepper) in his temples was seen as dashing or distinguished. Today, any guy over forty-five is considered a prehistoric dinosaur; impractically large, slow-moving, slow to adapt, obsolete and bound for extinction. Sadly, I’ll be forty-nine this year which makes me part of the dinosaur demographic.

Before he hosted the popular game show, Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader, Jeff Foxworthy (also a dinosaur) was a very successful stand -up comedian. His most popular bit was called, “You Might Be a Redneck.” For instance, “If you have more cars parked on your front lawn than people living in your house, you might be a redneck.” For the sake of this article, I would like to offer up a series of like minded ideas related to Dinosaurs.

  • If you don’t maintain an active Facebook account, You Might Be a Dinosaur
  • If you’ve never read a Tweet, You Might Be a Dinosaur
  • If you routinely fall asleep during an episode of “Law and Order,” You Might Be a Dinosaur
  • If you think spelling your name with a symbol (Ke$ha, Cope!and) is $illy, You Might Be a Dinosaur
  • If you think Bieber Fever is a new strain of the flu, You Might Be a Dinosaur
  • If you thought Aubrey Huff’s “Rally Thong” had more to do with cross dressing than team morale, You Might Be a Dinosaur
  • If you’re optimistic Martin Sheen will eventually talk some sense into his son Charlie, You Might be a Dinosaur
  • If the last adult website you visited was to read up on Obamacare, You Might Be a Dinosaur
  • If your idea of exercise is bowling or golf, You Might Be a Dinosaur
  • If you think Angry Birds is a reference to the nesting doves on your front porch, You Might Be a Dinosaur
  • If you have to ask your elementary school age kids to program your mobile phone, You Might Be a Dinosaur
  • If you think owning a hybrid vehicle is for hippies and employees of Greenpeace, You Might Be a Dinosaur
  • If you think the money professional athletes are paid is absurd (because you would’ve played for free given the chance), You Might Be a Dinosaur
  • If you still pay your bills with conventional checks instead of on on-line bill pay, You Might Be a Dinosaur
  • If you watch the popular television show “Glee” for the sensible dialogs of Sue Sylvester and the Journey tunes, You Might Be a Dinosaur
  • If you still wash your own car, mow your own lawn, have less than a 50” flat screen television and make your kids lunches, You Might Be a Dinosaur
  • If you shook your head in agreement at five or more of the above referenced If………….s, You are a Dinosaur!

Dinosaurs remember the good old days, when it was totally acceptable in society to see a suave and debonair older gentleman in the company of an attractive younger woman? My, how times have changed. Now that “Dinosaur” relationship is frowned upon. My favorite new recording artist, Ke$ha (what, you thought I would say Justin Bieber?), even has a song out detailing the “creepiness” of my peer group appreciating the cutting edge look or her and her songstress contemporaries, such as Katy Perry, Fergie and Rhianna. Appropriately the song is called D-I-N-O-S-A-U-R. On the other hand, an older woman/younger man soirée is now in vogue with women being assigned the cool moniker of “Cougar”. What’s wrong with the term Lady Dino? My, how times have changed.

Back in the Jurassic era of our youth, life was so different from today. We often rode in the back bed of a pick-up truck and never wore seat belts in the car. When traveling by planes, trains or automobiles, we read books and listened to whatever music was available. Portable DVD players, laptop computers and iPods were crazy space age ideas no one had the capacity to even imagine, except maybe Will Robinson or Scotty on Star Trek.

We had three national television networks to choose from (NBC, ABC and CBS) and an antenna strapped to the chimney for reception. Now there are 600 channels available through an underground cable. There was once only one type of gasoline and it cost under $1.00 per gallon. We sat in the car while friendly service station attendants pumped it and even checked under the hood. Now we pay $4.00 a gallon and have no communication with anyone.

We went to drive-in movie theaters, carnivals and picnics. No one ever wore a helmet while riding a bike or skating. We talked with our friends over the phone, used the Encyclopedia to do our homework and I had a Pterodactyl as a pet.

All of my dino –contemporaries are feeling a sense of gloom, knowing that we either adapt to the new environment (quickly) or face eventual extinction. Fossil records do indicate that birds evolved within theropod dinosaurs, which are the ancestors of all modern birds, so perhaps there is hope for us old guys.

If we ever so slightly modify our lifestyle and expand our comfort level, mainly by observing our children, we can hopefully preserve our existence. We’ll either adapt trying or spontaneously combust from environmental overload, not unlike the asteroid theory that wiped out the real dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Sadly, I feel very old right now.

Balancing Mind-Body-Emotions for Optimal Health


When I begin working with new clients, I often look for indications of whether they are more comfortable with their power or their vulnerability. I listen for areas in their lives where they describe themselves as powerful “givers” or rescuers and areas in their lives where they appear to feel helpless, overwhelmed, and vulnerable. When clients come to me with the goal of reducing their stress levels, I teach them tools that increase the balance in their lives. This balance includes offering each client a clearer understanding of how they relate to and express their power and their vulnerability.

Feelings: Important Messengers

When we are stressed by the demands of life, it is easy to look for ways to distract ourselves from the feelings that are stirring within us. As I share in my book, Stress Reduction Journal, instead of seeing our feelings as allies that have important messages for us, many of us see them as enemies that need to be avoided. That is when we go into a flight mode away from our feelings. For some people, the avoidance of feelings works for a while. However, for most of us, the feelings sooner or later begin to leak out—and it isn’t always pretty. The unconscious leakage of feelings can manifest through our behaviors, our bodily symptoms, and other people’s behaviors.

Our Behaviors
Imagine we are driving through our lives in psychological cars.* Let’s say that we don’t know how to deal directly with our angry feelings, so we hide them in the trunks of our cars. After a while, the intensity of those feelings begins to build. As a result of the pressure, our cars’ trunks pop open uncontrollably on a regular basis and we spew anger. In these times, we may find ourselves forgetting important commitments and arguing with others. We may explode over little things that aren’t at all related to what we’re really angry about. As a result, feelings that are not addressed may unconsciously be expressed through our behaviors.

Our Bodily Symptoms
After years of depositing angry feelings into our trunks, can you imagine how heavy the back ends of our cars would become? Eventually, the front wheels would be lifted up off the ground—we could call this motion an anger wheelie! And, think about how stressful that overloaded trunk’s weight would be on the back tires. If the pressure isn’t released, one or both tires could easily blow out at any time.

Other People’s Behaviors
In What You Feel, You Can Heal, best-selling author John Gray says that what we suppress, others may express. He explains that if we are suppressing strong emotions, then someone else in our household may end up expressing our buried feelings. As a result, our partner, kids, or pets may unconsciously act out our suppressed emotional material.

For example, Pamela came to me seeking tools for weight loss. Shortly into our work it became apparent that Pamela followed the unconscious conditioning from her family and from societal influences—not to express anger. In childhood, she remembered hearing her parents say, “Girls should be seen and not heard.”

From our work together, Pamela discovered that unaddressed hostility and sadness were weighing down the trunk of her psychological car. These painful feelings had been accumulating since she was a little girl. Thus, many people in Pamela’s life were unconsciously working overtime when it came to anger expression (they were expressing some of her suppressed anger in addition to their own anger). High drama in relationships was a common occurrence for Pamela. Fortunately, when Pamela learned healthy ways to deal with her own anger, her weight began to drop and her relationships began to stabilize. She also noticed that she was attracted to new friends who were less angry.

So keep in mind that what we suppress, others may express is reversible. It can become—what others suppress, we may express. The distortion of feelings can happen in either direction. The tools that I offer clients teach them ways to embrace their feelings and learn to see them as allies rather than nuisances or enemies. Consequently, people often become more conscious of their own behaviors, bodily symptoms, and other people’s behaviors. When they embrace the messages that their feelings offer, instead of avoiding them, they have an opportunity to become deeply acquainted with themselves—thereby, gaining the valuable wisdom that their emotions carry.

As a result, they become aware of honoring both their sense of power and sense of vulnerability—to better balance their minds, their bodies, and their emotions. Now that’s a gift of inner peace that nourishes from the inside out…one moment at a time.

*The “psychological car” concept comes from Embracing Our Selves, by Hal and Sidra Stone.
Name and client details changed to protect confidentiality

Trina Swerdlow, BFA, CCHT, is a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, an artist, and the author of the 2-CD Set, Weight Loss: Powerful & Easy-to-Use Tools for Releasing Excess Weight. Her artwork and personal profile are included in Outstanding American Illustrators Today 2. She is the author and illustrator of Stress Reduction Journal: Meditate and Journal Your Way to Better Health. Trina has a private practice in downtown Danville. She soulfully shares her creative approach to personal growth and passionately supports her clients in reaching their goals. You can reach her at: (925) 285.5759, or info@TrinaSwerdlow.com
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Certified Clinical Hypnotherapy services in California can be alternative or complementary to licensed healing arts, such as psychotherapy.

Stamps In My Passport – Tunisia & Egypt

Habib Bourguiba at sunset, Tunis, Tunisia

When a traveler picks up the morning paper these days or watches the late news on television, they are more likely than not to see some of the places they visited in past years – but now they may be in a state of turmoil. With the global political unrest that is occurring in Africa and the Middle East – a war in progress, and the natural disasters of earthquakes and floods, it is difficult to remember those tranquil days. A few years ago, Barb and I visited both Tunisia and Egypt. These stops were part of a larger trip, but we spent about a week in each of these interesting countries. They were enjoyable vacations. The past month, many of the places we visited have turned up on the news; they are now filled with riotous crowds, looting, and a strong police presence. Let me share with you a few of the contradictions we’ve recently seen.

First our visit to Tunisia. We flew into Tunis from Frankfurt. The flight was filled with remarkable vistas as we flew over the Swiss Alps, much of Italy, the Mediterranean Sea, and finally into Tunis itself.

I was particularly interested in this area because as a teen I learned that Tunisia was the final area in Africa held by the German Army in World War II. The country became the embarkation point of the Axis troops in their retreat to Europe, and thus was home to fierce battles on land, sea, and air. During a visit to Dougga, we discovered a British cemetery. It had been built as a tribute to the British military – to show the thanks of the citizens of Tunisia.

We had no specific goal in mind for our time in Tunisia – only to see the country and get the feel of a different culture. The hotel we chose, the International El Hana, was in the main part of Tunis, right on Habib Bourguiba Boulevard. (This is where everyone was demonstrating a few weeks ago.) This boulevard is a wide, open street. It is lined on both sides by a mix of stores, apartments, hotels, restaurants and office buildings. The large median area contains kiosks, benches, fountains, and flowers. My memory is of a vital, active city. The stores were filled with goods for both locals and tourists. Among these shops stood a street display of some of the most beautiful and exotic flowers that I have ever seen. Walking along this street gave us a feeling of peace and tranquility. The weather was warm, and the people seemed happy. We were ignored and accepted as we strolled along.

It was here in this setting that I took one of the most descriptive pictures in my digital photo album. On a bench under a large shady tree in the center of the boulevard sat four of the Tunisian populace – side by side. On one end was a woman covered completely by her black abaya, with a white headdress flowing to the ground – a reflection of her heritage. Next to her sat a young college student in black jeans, tennis shoes, and a loose blouse. She was totally engrossed in reading her book. The third lady was eating her lunch and smartly dressed in a tailored western business outfit. And finally a gentleman in a gray business suit. Here, I thought, sat the past, the present, and the future, the young and the old, the east and the west. It all seemed so natural to me then.

In retrospect it is hard to envision the violent uprising that we have seen lately on the television actually taking place at the same site where we were in Tunis. My brief visit, however, makes me optimistic about the country’s future.

Even more to the point is the turmoil we have been watching unfold in Egypt. For our time in Cairo we chose a western hotel, the Nile Hilton, located near the city center and overlooking the Nile River. Our room was located on the third floor and had a large balcony which overlooked the El Tahrir Bridge, the Nile and around to our left was Tahrir Square. We chose the hotel because the entrance to the Egyptian Museum was straight out the back door, and we could watch the Egyptian world move about under our window. One evening a wedding celebration took place at the hotel. The people were beautiful – their dark hair and the tan sheen of the bride contrasted with the white of her wedding dress. Barb tells me all the young men were handsome too. We were able to sneak a peek into the ballroom and watch them dance. In the nearby bar the older men gathered and smoked their “hubbly-bubbly” pipes and shared their stories. This scene could have occurred most anywhere, and everyone seemed happy. It is hard to imagine these young people crowding the streets with their demands for freedom and democracy.

We walked the streets, rested in Tahrir Square, paused for a minute in the center of the October Bridge – enjoying the general surroundings. The Nile, not the cleanest of all rivers, hosted a variety of different types of boats from rowboats to the ever-present feluccas.

Recently it was a shock to see television reporters standing on a balcony very similar to ours, shooting photos of masses of charging demonstrators, fires burning out of control, piles of stones being used as ammunition, and thousands of rioting crowds. It was the same hotel we had lived in, and it could have been the same balcony. But no wedding party those nights.

Life certainly has its strange twists and turns. What a difference a few years can make. One never knows what is really going on when one travels to a new land. Their faces do not always reflect what’s in their hearts.

Harry Hubinger is a retired engineer who operated his own company for twenty years. He first began traveling outside the United States on business, but these visits escalated upon his retirement. He has now traveled to 115 countries and continues to add several new ones each year. In 1998 he began writing his humorous and insightful articles for a supplement to a local newspaper. These stories, based on experiences most travelers could identify with, soon earned him a wide local following. In 2005 he published his first book, Stamps in My Passport—a collection of travel vignettes. Harry has lived in Danville for almost forty years and has volunteered with the Danville Police Department for the past seven. His wife, Barbara, is the detail chronicler of their trips. Her journals provide the background for Harry’s broader view. You can get his book at: www.travelbookspub.com.

Realtors Offer College Scholarship Opportunities

2010 Student Scholarship Award Winners

One of the best kept secrets in the Diablo Valley is the CCAR Scholarship Foundation. Formed in 1967 by the Contra Costa Association of Realtors, the Scholarship Foundation has awarded nearly a million dollars in college scholarship grants to eligible students attending colleges all over the world. In the last six years alone over $350,000 has been awarded to 125+ students attending universities from California to New York to London and everywhere in between.
The CCAR Scholarship Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3 charitable organization governed by eleven trustees all of whom have a passion for enabling higher education; many have been Foundation volunteers for ten years or more. Why such dedication? Plain and simple: it’s because of the students. Foundation President Tom Hart sums it up this way, “Realtors give back to their communities in many ways but this has got to be the most gratifying volunteer position within our association; having the opportunity to interview such talented young people and help them underwrite the cost of their college educations is worth every minute of the work behind the scenes to make it all happen.”

Front Row-left to right:Mary Chatton Brown, Bette Sue Schack, Paulina McGill, Julie Sullivan, Lynda Dimond (vice-president). Back Row-left to right:Tom Hart (president), Laura Hudelson, Diane Harrison, Long Nguyen (secretary), Katey Shinn, Paul Zuvella (treasurer)


The eligibility requirements for consideration are: 1) The student must be a resident of central Contra Costa County; 2) Already be enrolled full-time in college (not an incoming freshman); 3) Have a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average and an emphasis of study in business, accounting, finance, marketing and/or real estate.

Hart is quick to admit that the foundation trustees and their selection process are a bit of a throwback to the old days when more was expected of a student than just an on-line application. “After all transcripts and letters of recommendations are collected, we then personally interview the students so that we can get to know each individually,” Hart explains. The final step in the process is an invitation to the annual Scholarship Awards luncheon held at the Blackhawk Country Club where each student scholarship award winner takes a turn speaking to the audience of over 300 contributors, parents and dignitaries. By the end of the awards luncheon, each student’s personality, ambition and poise is self-evident to all. “The parents of the students are very grateful not only for the financial boost but also for the interview and speaking experience their child gets from the overall process,” Hart says.

The Contra Costa Association of Realtors, headquartered in Walnut Creek, initially funded the Foundation over 40 years ago. Since then, generous contributions from individual agents, their families and from affiliate service vendors to the real estate profession such as mortgage brokers, banks, title & escrow companies, house inspectors, stagers, painters and home warranty& insurance providers have allowed the Foundation to continue its mission of helping families in the Diablo Valley pay for the ever-increasing cost of a college education.

Hart concludes, “This worthy endeavor is an investment in everyone’s future; if anyone is interested in becoming a contributor or knows a student who may be eligible for scholarship consideration, I encourage you to contact any Foundation trustee or visit our website.”

The application deadline for 2011 is April 15th; all application and contributor information can be found on www.ccarscholarship.com .

Market Fresh – Peas Please

Spring is edging its way into our farmers’ market, with truckloads of tender cool-weather crops like asparagus, artichokes, fava beans, crunchy celery, peas-in-the-pod, and super-sweet sugar snap peas. Fragrant strawberries are coming into their own, followed closely by chubby little cherries. This is the time of year when you don’t want to risk sleeping in on a Saturday morning, for you never know which new crop may debut at the farmers’ market.

Peas are something we tend to take for granted year ‘round, for who among us doesn’t have a bag or two stashed away in the freezer for emergencies? One taste of farm-fresh peas, however, and you’ll know why this vegetable is considered such a staple: all year ‘round, we try to recreate the incomparable flavor now available right at our fingertips. Sure, there is a bit of labor involved when you buy peas-in-the pod, but shelling them is a great job for kids (dare I say “fun”?) and a not-so-unpleasant, mindless task for adults while doing things like watching television. Just be sure to buy many more than you think you’ll need—during the shelling process, raw peas tend to become a popular snack food.

Let’s celebrate Spring 2011 with a pasta salad! Not those ubiquitous wiggly noodles drowning in bottled dressing, but a sophisticated little number with farm-fresh veggies and herbs. Its main ingredient is Israeli couscous—sometimes called pearl couscous because of its color and shape. It may sound exotic, but these tiny balls of baked semolina pasta are widely available. (Do not confuse it with the North African/Moroccan-style couscous, which is different in just about every way.) Look for Israeli couscous in boxes or plastic bags, usually sold in the same aisle as rice and other grains .It holds its shape beautifully during cooking, which makes it popular with children.
This recipe makes a versatile side dish, and something unique to bring to a potluck. As the entree for a casual dinner, consider topping each portion with a piece of grilled wild salmon fillet.

Toasted Couscous Salad with Spring Veggies

  1. 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  2. juice of 1 lemon
  3. 1
  4. garlic clove, minced
  5. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  6. 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon California extra virgin olive oil
  7. 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives or flat-leaf parsley
  8. 2 tablespoons thinly sliced or chopped fresh mint leaves
  9. 12 ounces Israeli couscous (about 2 1/4 cups)
  10. 1 3/4cups homemade chicken or vegetable stock, or 1 (14-ounce) can of low-sodium broth
  11. 1 cup water
  12. 1 pound thin asparagus spears, tough ends trimmed away, cut diagonally into 3/4-inch pieces
  13. 1 pound farm-fresh English peas-in-the-pod, shelled (about 1 cup)
  14. 8 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces
  15. 2 or 3 green onions (scallions), white and light green parts only, thinly sliced diagonally
  16. 1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino Romano or other hard dry cheese
  1. To make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Whisk in 1/3 cup of the oil in a slow steady stream. Stir in the chives and mint; set aside.
  2. In large, heavy saucepan, heat the 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the couscous and toast, stirring frequently, until most of the couscous is golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the stock, water, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt; increase the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the couscous is tender yet still firm to the bite, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir the vinaigrette to mix in the herbs; then add 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette to the couscous, tossing gently to coat. Set aside, uncovered, to cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large, heavy nonstick skillet. Add the asparagus and shelled peas and season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until bright green and just crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar-snap peas and green onions. Transfer the vegetables to large bowl.
  5. Add the couscous to the bowl and drizzle in the remaining vinaigrette. Add the cheese and toss gently to coat. Taste, adding salt and pepper if needed. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled. Serves 6.

Minding Your Peas and Q’s

  • There are basically two kinds of peas: English peas (aka common garden peas) that must be shelled to eat the “seeds” inside; and snow peas and sugar snap peas, which have edible pods. Sugar snap peas are plump; while snow peas—a favorite in Chinese cuisine—are flat.
  • Like corn, the sugars contained in peas convert to starch shortly after harvesting, so it’s best to buy them fresh at the farmers’ market and cook them as soon as possible.
  • Regardless of which variety you buy, always check out the packaging: look for plump, glossy green pods, crisp and free of blemishes.
  • Some sugar snap peas have a tough string running along the length of the pod. To remove it, snap off the leaf end and pull down on the string.


5 Good Reasons to Shop at the Farmers’ Market

  1. Danville is a certified farmers’ market, which means it’s the real deal—a place where local growers sell products directly to the public.
  2. Farmers’ markets give you access to produce picked at the peak of ripeness. There is simply no comparison in nutritional value, flavor, and texture to produce grown thousands of miles away.
  3. Elimination of packing, shipping, and wholesale costs means both the grower and the consumer can save money.
  4. Walking, biking, or carpooling to your local farmers’ market can help reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Bringing your own shopping bags to the market helps reduce waste in landfills.
  5. When you buy locally, your dollars stay in your community.

The Danville Certified Farmers’ Market, located at Railroad and Prospect, is open every Saturday, rain or shine, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. For specific crop information call the Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association at 1-800-949-FARM or visit their web site at www.pcfma.com.

Inspired & Delicious: Katrina Rozelle


My customers are my inspiration. For instance, in mid-March an ebullient dad came into my Alamo shop to pick up a small cake. When I asked if he wanted a message on the cake, he grinned broadly and said, “How about: ‘Great report card!’” His enthusiasm was very endearing, and I was again reminded that life’s celebrations come in all shapes and sizes. The key to staying upbeat and positive is remembering to celebrate on whatever scale feels right.

As we anticipate the promise of spring at Katrina Rozelle Pastries, we are delighted to offer even more ways to celebrate. We are featuring our divine Gateau St. Honoré for Easter, a classic continental indulgence of puff pastry, profiteroles, and Bavarian cream. Our flourless Strawberry Dolce is packed with fresh strawberries and ethereal chocolate-covered meringues, but is flourless and gluten-free, so it’s perfect for Passover and for special diets. And our new Strawberry Lemon Chiffon is light as a feather and impossible to resist; we simply can’t keep up with the demand for this delightful new flavor.

Of course, we still have our regular line of delicious cakes and cookies, baked from scratch with only the best quality ingredients. We hope you will enjoy finding something in our shop to inspire your next celebration, big or small.

Katrina Topp, Owner
Katrina Rozelle Pastries and Desserts
215 B Alamo Plaza, Alamo
(925) 837-6337

Theresa’s Top Ten List Of Most Frequently Asked Questions

  1. CAN I USE MY REGULAR FACE MOISTURIZER AROUND MY EYES INSTEAD OF EYE CREAM?
    No. The delicate skin around the eyes cannot absorb thick creams therefore it will not nourish or hydrate. Beware of heavy eye creams they can cause tiny bumps to form underneath the surface of the skin in the eye area.
  2. WHY ARE MY LIPS STILL DRY AND CHAPPED AFTER USING CHAP STICK?
    Chap Stick is a protectant, iIt does not moisturize. Chap Stick is used to protect lips from wind, salt water and cold weather conditions. It’s like wearing Saran Wrap over the lips; the lips are sealed and protected. Prolonged use will not allow lips to breathe. They get dry, cracked and peel. Vitamin E lip treatments are good for repairing and moisturizing the lips.
  3. I HAVE ACNE SCARS ON MY FACE, IS THERE ANYTHING THAT HEALS THESE SCARS?
    Yes, Calendula cream with Vitamin E will help heal scaring. It is very important to use these products immediately after the scar forms. Scars over a year old are very difficult to heal.
  4. SHOULD I USE A LIQUID FOUNDATION OR A POWDER FOUNDATION?
    Liquid foundations will give you more coverage than a powder foundation. It really depends on how much coverage you need. For younger skin I recommend a pressed Mica powder foundation so the skin looks smooth and natural. For medium to maximum coverage I recommend a liquid foundation followed by a pressed powder.
  5. WHAT IS THE BEST MASCARA TO USE; WATERPROOF OR LENGTHENING?
    Lengthening mascara the best choice because it coats the lashes and dries fast so you can put more coats on for a beautiful thick lash look without looking clumpy. Using waterproof mascara everyday has proven to weaken lashes and plug lash pores causing lashes to fall out.
  6. WHAT IS THE SAFEST WAX FOR EYEBROW WAXING?
    Cream waxes are safe and gentle on the skin. It will not take off the skin, burn the skin or move on the skin. Gel (clear) waxes are extremely inexpensive and are notorious for getting too hot then burning the skin.
  7. WHAT IS A GOOD SELF-TANNER THAT DOES NOT RUB OFF ON MY CLOTHES?
    I highly recommend a clear cream self tanner. It works with your own natural melanin in your skin and it will naturally make you three shades darker in less than two hours. It looks the most natural and it fades like a tan. Ongrien self-tanner at The Rouge.
  8. AM I TOO OLD TO WEAR LIP-GLOSS?
    Wearing gloss is appropriate at any age from two to 102. You are never too young or too old to wear gloss. I like the glosses that have the peptides in it for super hydration and beautiful shine all day long.
  9. WILL SPARKLE EYE SHADOW MAKE MY EYES LOOK OLDER?
    Some shimmery eye shadows get caught in the creases of the eye causing the skin to look crepey and older than they look. When you apply a matte eye color on the eyelid then apply a sparkle over it, it will not get into the lines. It will look smooth and pretty.
  10. WHAT SUNSCREEN CREAM IS BEST FOR MY SKIN?
    Using a sunscreen with SPF 25 is plenty. I find it better to use a foundation with sunscreen in it. Then you can use a good anti-oxidant or anti-aging cream under the foundation to keep the skin hydrated and smooth and for maximum health skin benefits.
  11. Theresa Taylor Grutzeck is the owner of the Rouge, Kiss and Make-up Studio, 822 Hartz Way, Danvile, CA 94526. Phone: 925-736-3900 and email: info@therougecosmetics.com

Beyond the Fitting Room…Everyday Style


A breath of fresh air! Spring fashion drags me out from under layers of sweaters, coats and scarves to emerge like a butterfly—light, full of color and ready to fly!

My favorite pieces this season are not new on the scene, but for spring 2011 they have a fresh vibe and they’ve been reinvented with a new twist…

*ORANGE (and other bright colors): Bold and happy, orange can be paired with pink, yellow and turquoise for a high-volume and high-impact effect. However, worn with neutrals like khaki, navy and white, orange pieces and accessories will go a long way this season…even in the workplace. A little orange goes a long way.

*POLKA DOTS remind me of the Easter dress my mom wore in the 1960’s—complete with a hat and gloves. Fast forward 45+ years (WHAT!?), and 2011’s polka dots are whimsical (on a pair of ballet flats) or sophisticated (on a sheer silk blouse).

*The boho 70’s trend is nothing without HIGH-WAIST JEANS. Make it modern by pairing it with a funky peasant top or a relaxed silk blouse, and wood platform or wedge sandals to make your legs look extra long.

*A classic TRENCH is a staple that should be in every girl’s closet. Lightweight and easy to wear, it’s a great transitional piece that goes with everything—from jeans to a dress.

*NAUTICAL STRIPES are a spring essential, and this year they rocked the runways. If you’d like to jump on the boat with this trend, any color combination will do. Black and grey is an edgier combination than traditional navy and white, but both are equally stylish.

Try something new this season—there are so many great finds! The good news is spring clothing is generally less costly than fall/winter fashion. So, being a trendsetter doesn’t mean you have to break the bank.
Now, fly little butterfly!