Thursday, November 20, 2014

HOMES & LIVES transformed

President's Preface to 25th annual report 
of the Housing Industry Foundation (HIF)
San Mateo (Silicon Valley) CA 94402

September 4, 2014

In stark contrast to the growing wealth and real-estate
prices in Silicon Valley is the growing homelessness
crisis in our community.

The five areas of the United States with the
highest rates of unsheltered homeless people
are all in California. Silicon Valley is third.

Our state is one of six in which over half of all
homeless people were living in locations without
any form of shelter. Nonprofit and public services
are seeing dramatic increases in first-time seekers
of emergency support - such as emergency rental

The disparity between the rich and the poor
is getting bigger. Families are one paycheck away
from losing housing. Households are deciding
between repairing a car and paying their rent.

Those who are struggling need a compassionate,
competent solution and the Housing Industry
Foundation is here to provide one. We collaborate
with industry partners and emergency service
agencies to provide a viable solution to critical
housing situations in our community.

It is an honor to lead this organization and to
provide a beacon of hope in our community.

~ Heather Wallace
President, HIF board of directors
Housing Industry Foundation (HIF)
1730 S. El Camino Real, Suite 480
San Mateo CA 94402

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Advent poem by my B.C. '63 classmate Geo. M. Perreault

"Our writers' group puts together an Advent calendar; we're supposed to contribute little things -- recipes or poems & such. This is my scribble per this morning's scribbles."  

~George M. Perreault (D.Ed), Univ. of NV Reno, 
(a B.C. '63 classmate of mine.)

 Rain in the Desert, Year Zero

It was the star, of course, which first drew us west,
away from our studies, a brilliant wondering in the night:
curiosity or hope, the little sisters of despair.

Yet, when stars are now beyond the reach of my eyes,
the mountains vague and even the near trees mere rumors,
another memory intrudes, sustains me on this shore:

Clouds swelling into the evening, the path lost in mist,
we found shelter under a rocky overhang; no need for tents
that night, even the camels edging in among us

while down it came, steady, pebbling the sand then working
deep to where the roots of everything sang with relief,
and the air was filled with the sweetness of each blessed plant.

It was, we learned, the same night the Child was born,
outside a little town nearly a fortnight off in the distance,
and we’ve heard it said that the sky filled with angels,

but what are angels except light and water, brushing over
the skin of this earth, easing ever downward, filling reservoirs
deep within us, blessings we too often forget we share?

And the story is told that we brought gifts as if for a king,
but in truth they were baubles, and we were given everything,
for the eyes of the Child were the color of desert rain.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

My son Dr. Alex William, Ph.D  
(Medical Anthropology, Columbia University) 
got tenure today in the Health & Physical Ed/Gs Studies dept. of York College div. of CUNY (City University of New York) in Jamaica, Queens.  

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


To Patricia

“I've had a wonderful life!”
you say 3 times; “I've had
a very (wonderful) life”

you say as you stand & smile
at 3 framed prints of playing
khmer children they gave you.

I've never seen you so contented;
you will turn 74 tomorrow.

(29 OCT 14, V V Santa Clara CA)v5

Saturday, October 18, 2014


Rev. Tim Cho, (Korea) who lives on the 3rd-floor of Bldg. 5 (I live on the 4th floor of Bldg. 4) has accused me of orchid theft, because I once helped Joan Silva (Sri Lanka) choose a plant from his 3rd floor balcony after being told all the plants there were being abandoned. Once I was told they weren't, I quickly brought her choice – an orchid belonging to Tim - back to where it was growing...anonymously - to me, but not to the Koreans in Bldg. 5 My previous error is proof, Tim thinks, of my being the current flower thief here in Valley Village, a retirement community (of 251 people) in Santa Clara, bordering San Jose - California.

This retirement community that dates back to 1966, is currently growing increasingly Asian, & recently began to celebrate the Chinese (lunar) New Year in its Social Center. At a recent communal monthly birthday celebration I won a drawing for a California Lottery scratch card which won me USD5$ when redeemed at the nearby 7-11.

In our tiff, remembering the details of my previous flower theft so enraged Tim that he spat out “I forgive you!” But for which theft? The previous one or the current one - as yet unproven. Not wanting to accept forgiveness for something I haven't done, I insisted that I didn't do it! “You are so frustrating!” he spit out, “You did it before!” I restated my claim of present innocence “But I didn't do it this time!” “I forbid you to come to the 3rd floor!” raged Tim. I agreed, I never will again. We disputed whether my pressing the 2nd floor elevator button could be overidden by someone pressing the 3rd floor button above. Tim- No; me – Yes. It's happened to me a few times. Others concurr. Suddenly we've found the door opening onto the 3rd floor to our surprise. A demonstration can be restaged.

But where is Tim's orchid? Who stole it? I stand accused by Tim as the most likely suspect. Ironically, I've been growing jade plants from cuttings for the past 7 years here, giving them away to anyone interested in them, saying “Please, take any plant you want,” So far, only Asian women have taken any. Now a young female gynecologist (Tadjik) has expressed an interest, saying “When I have my own house, I want one!” I assured her she's always welcome to them.

(18 OCT 14, V V, Santa Clara CA)v.7

Thursday, September 25, 2014

rain, finally!


Rain finally falls
on the South Bay overnight

drips off the Jacaranda trees
into the gutters, running fast

drops hit my window 
a few
& are gone by 10 am
 (25 SEP 14, V.V.,Santa Clara CA)v6

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

From Scotland Still Brave

Frae folksinger Christine Miles in Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland:
To: billcostleybill
Sent: Wed, Sep 24, 2014 6:10 pm
Subject: From Scotland Still Brave

As for the Referendum, the wake of it all looks pretty much like I thought it would.  The burst balloons & torn flags have been swept up off the streets. People in general are getting on with their business.   If there is simmering anger & resentment waiting to burst out,  people making bombs in their kitchens, then I don't see it.  It may have reached some news agencies across the world that on the Friday there were clashes in Glasgow's George Square between a small group of Yes voters, probably a bit too depressed to leave each other's company & go home, who were set upon by a slightly larger group of Union Jack wavers.  6 people were charged (arrested) from that group, so you can see it was no more of a riot in the streets that a drunken clash on the streets of any big city, largely The Glasgow Disease of Orange/ Unionist/ Rangers supporters whose weekly excitement is a reprise of The Battle of the Boyne, who were too stupid (as you know, that's the entrance qualification) to know the difference between Catholics & Yes, voters.

I would have been sorry for the rest of the world to see that, I hope it left before that began, but what has happened in the wake of it is that some guy who runs a Food Bank leapt up & made pleas & a rousing speech for peace; in the wake of that thousands of people brought bags of food to George Square for his Food Bank, which was in his house,  he has had to take on an empty shop, the food just keeps on coming.  It's their way of saying "we don't want that kind of crap"  that moves me to tears yet again. I think this is a country that has more than its fair share of kindness.  I would be sorry to be found to be naive. Those who think that there will be deep divides now may see something I don't see, one tends to think of one's society as being reflected by the circles one moves in, so I don't seek out the company of unreasonable people as a rule.

I sent the previous email to all my friends outside Scotland, (most sent very emotional responses, but hey, I'm used to making people cry) so do now share this news so that people can read about the aftermath of some silly boys with no brains & too much testosterone (the most toxic substance on the planet) the response of ordinary people in Scotland who don't necessarily have that much themselves.  I will let you know when the news features a few billionaires chipping in some bags of groceries.   But don't hold your breath!