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Kindness Matters

The Great Fires of 2017

The Great Fires Of 2017The best portion of a good man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love.

—William Wordsworth

The month of October and natural disasters are synonymous, at least in the Bay Area. Historically, many have occurred during this month, from the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 to the East Bay fires of 1991, and now, the worst wildfire in recorded history. At the time of this writing, at least 42 people are dead; 330 square miles have been burned as a result of 17 fires; and 11,000 firefighters are still battling. Tubbs, Adobe, Atlas: fire names and locations that I will long remember. Before last week, terms such as controlled lines, defensible space, and containment were heard only in the movies. Now, seeing hazy red sunsets and smelling smoke in the air seems almost normal.

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When Your Candidate Loses

The inglorious TV election drama has finally ended. In Left Coast San Francisco, a post-election pall of fog hangs over our city, much like the hanging chads of 2000.

We finally have a president-elect, but he might not be the one you wanted. Now what? A basic rule of etiquette is to never discuss politics or religion at social events, and this election proved why: polls showed that 48 percent of the voters felt disenfranchised by both candidates. It’s no wonder that post-election rhetoric remains strong.

On November 8, it was the people’s choice, and the people chose Donald Trump. It was the biggest political upset in history, and it’s has been hard for many to come to grips with the outcome. But many voters clearly wanted a change, and Trump was the change candidate.

As one proud immigrant recently shared with me: “America is so prosperous. Through every election cycle we go through a mini cleansing. 2016 is no different, but we must unite for the good of the country.”

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Put a Fork in It

Dinner parties are nervous-making events for many people—so many questions, so many rules! Here’s a short Q&A to help make your next dinner party fun for both you and your guests.

Should dinner guests be assigned seats?
When I’m the hostess, I always assign seats, for one very important reason: it’s human nature for us to gravitate to our comfort level, which means sitting next to people we already know, such as our spouse or good friends. A dinner party is an opportunity to mix things up a bit and make the evening more interesting.

What is the biggest faux pas people make when planning a dinner party?

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Make Peace, Not War, and Other Holiday Tips

The holidays are the most festive time of year, but they can also be the most tension-filled. Here are some tips on how to have a low-stress season.

• At the holidays, think merry and bright vs. serious and somber. Like eggnog, the conversation should be light.

• Agree that it’s okay to disagree with family, friends and party acquaintances, and then avoid the subjects you disagree on. Don’t discuss finances, health problems, politics, religion, marital secrets or office gossip.

• Be sure and RSVP to a party invitation. Your host will need a head count for food and beverages.

• Dress for success. Holiday time is a time to wear something special, and it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed. If you’re unsure what to wear, ask your host.

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Let’s Give Thanks

If you’re nervous about hosting Thanksgiving dinner, follow my friends-and-family holiday guide. It’s failproof. Dress code: Thanksgiving is a casual, fun-filled day, so “smart casual” is the way to go: slacks, sweaters, comfortable clothes to allow for extra helpings...

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