Dancing between the raindrops


dancing_between_the_raindropsDecember 18, 2014

Hello world:

I haven’t posted anything recently as I continue my “year of the family” and personal introspection.
For someone who has been involved in community and volunteerism for over 14 years I have found the change in my daily routine challenging, interesting, at times boring, often peaceful.  It is a pace and a place I am not used to.
In the last 20 months I have cared for my daughter, husband, two sisters, and my mom. I don’t really feel qualified to be a care giver, but maybe that’s why I was challenged with that role.

In this current state of reflection and retirement I see working folks rushing off daily and am content in the knowledge that I am not sitting on the freeway at 6 am. Not needing an alarm clock anymore is a really liberating perk of retirement. No early meetings for me, oh no, sorry, can’t do it.
I usually open my eyes and think, “what day is it”?

I once had a boss, a big powerful man, with a personality and ego the size of his native New Joisey. He told me that he spent an entire year, as a college student, without speaking.
It was what he wrote his thesis on, and if you knew him you would realize that keeping him quiet for any length of time was harder than dancing between rain drops. But it gave him perspective, clarity and taught him to listen.
In some ways I have spent the last 20 months dancing between rain drops, or at least trying to.

My life experiences are no different for others. We all have challenges, tragedies, happiness and successes.
But at some point we should stop and assess our life.
When do we reflect, when do we say I’m sorry, I miss you, I love you, when do we say that people mean more than material things?
Do we wait until it’s too late? Too often and sadly that is the reality.

I am not a religious person, my life is lived according the Golden Rule, do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
I don’t need to hear that from a pulpit or read it in scripture. It is about living my life as the best person I can be, not hurting others, not betraying family, it’s about helping others and doing as much good as I can do in the years I am given. But family is first.
I reject those who say the right things yet do the wrong things.

As we head into a New Year I will set aside time to reconnect with my readers/followers on a more regular basis and keep you informed on our community.
But for now, I am slowly dancing between the rain drops.

Ivette Ricco


The Pear Street Bistro – Thanks You


The Pear Street Bistro, a popular restaurant and bar in Old Town Pinole, experienced a kitchen fire on October 28. The good news is that no one was hurt, but there have been questions raised about its future and status.
The best way to get the answers to these questions is to go straight to the source, which is what I did.

Gary and Francisco, owners of the Bistro want to let everyone know that they are working hard to reopen the Bistro and they will keep their loyal patrons informed by use of this blog, FaceBook and email.

Follow the Pear Street Bistro on FaceBook

Email the Bistro:

Giving Thanks from Pear Street Bistro

The Pear Street Bistro Family has much to be thankful for this holiday season.  We give thanks to the brave members of the Pinole Police and Fire Departments whose quick and able response saved Pear Street Bistro during our recent small fire.  We give thanks to the loyal customers and residents of Pinole for their continued support as we prepare for the grand reopening of Pear Street Bistro.  We give thanks to our committed staff who are working tirelessly to reopen Pear Street Bistro for our friends and family.  We give thanks to the City of Pinole for their assistance with the expedited reopening of the Pear Street Bistro.  We are diligently working with our insurance representatives and contractors to prepare for a reopening in the tradition of Pear Street Bistro.  We will continue to keep all our friends and family posted on our progress.  Have a Happy Thanksgiving and we will see you soon to create new memories at Pear Street Bistro.

Gary, Francisco and staff.

I know I am looking forward to the Bistro’s Grand Re-Opening with great anticipation.




Summer Musings


Hello everyone:

Summer time and the living is easy….Image

It has been a little over three weeks since my last post.
Those three weeks have been a whirlwind of activity.
My husband, Mike, and I celebrated our Golden Wedding Anniversary, yes I am that old.
My grandson, Kyle, graduated from High School.
My granddaughter, Rachel, qualified for a Weight Lifting Competition in Daytona Florida.
We started a small vegetable garden, Mike has the green thumb, me, well, not so much.
The small but very powerful gifts of life.

Community news:

The Pinole Swim Center on Simas Avenue is open. Time to jump in and cool off in our beautiful neighborhood pool.

The SK8 Park has gotten one significant step closer to becoming a reality.

The Tower Topplers are monitoring the City’s actions. The City and Verizon have entered into a tolling agreement which will effectively put any legal action on hold until after the November election.

The City is moving ahead with a ballot measure for an increase to the sales tax.
This measure will appear on the November ballot raising Pinole’s sales tax to 9.5%.
Critics claim this is simply a way to increase the city’s coffers for needs that are not related Public Safety needs. However, the City has negotiated a new contract with the Police and we expect that they are also in negotiations with the Fire Department. Given the not so friendly tone of recent negotiations it is hard to gauge just how this is going.

The City lost its appeal to retrieve over $13 million dollars in Redevelopment funds.
At the June 3 Council meeting, by a vote of 5-0, in closed session, the Council voted to not appeal the decision and to settle for the 19% the State does not dispute.
The 19% represents roughly $2.3 million dollars. It’s not the whole enchilada but it surely isn’t a poke in the eye.
A portion of those funds will go to the schools, parks and other entities.
The balance will go towards the City General Fund.

And then there’s the politics in Pinole.
The election grows near, run for the hills.
This year the City Council will have three seats available.
The incumbents are Tim Banuelos, Debbie Long and Phil Green.
There has been some political grandstanding already. None more obvious than the dialogue the council entered into during the SK8 Park discussion.
It all started when Council member Green stated that the funds for the SK8 Park had been available but had been siphoned off for other things.
The SK8 Park proponents were subjected to a not so fine example of political gamesmanship while council members Murray and Swearingen traded barbs with Green for 20 minutes.
Council member Long finally put an end to the shenanigans much to the relief of those in attendance.
This is simply the start of what is shaping up to be a nasty campaign to unseat Green and retain Banuelos and Long.
The burning question is, who will Jeff Rubin and the CCOP run against Green?
The early odds are on Mrs. Rubin and a dark horse entry being mentioned is Mary Horton.
I’m sure we will all be thoroughly entertained by what has become a running joke in parts of West County, Pinole politics.

See you around town.





relayfor_lifeFriday, April 25, 2014

Hello friends.
In February my sister was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.
I wanted to be with her to support and care for her as she began her chemotherapy, thus, I have been away for a month doing what many others have done for family and friends in similar situations.
This is a deeply personal experience, but one that is repeated many times over in the world. My sister’s prognosis is very good and for that I am sincerely grateful.

I will begin to catch up with “Life as I Know It” over the next week, and from what I hear there is much to share with you.



Goodbye 2013


Goodbye 2013
You have made me cry; you have tested my resolve; you have made me reflective. You have offered me perspective and clarity.
Goodbye 2013
You have given me the comfort of my family and my friends in moments of grief and sorrow as well as in moments of happiness, joy and pride.
Goodbye 2013
You have had an impact on my life I never expected when I rung you in a year ago.
Goodbye 2013
You have been filled with worry, anxiety and sadness but you have made me grow.
Goodbye 2013
You have taught me many lessons; you have given me strength; you have reinforced my belief in the power and compassion of good people.
Goodbye 2013
You have been tough on me. Now it’s time for me to set new paths, new goals and to move forward with passion, grace, dignity, forgiveness and hope.

Sand_2013Ivette Ricco

A time for family


Hello dear friends:
2013 has been a year that has tested me in ways I never had expected. I began the year by stating to those who know me from my volunteer activities and community activism, that this was, for me, the year of the family. It has been that, and it has been painful and difficult. My family has been my number one focus this year. I am not a religious person. I believe in the power and compassion of the human spirit. I believe in being the best person possible and doing unto others as you would have others do unto you. 

Sadly, too often public forums are used for negative dialogue and to launch personal and painful attacks even when you are down, it has happened. I will just consider the source and move forward.

I prefer to use this forum today, to honor and pay tribute to my mother, Haydee Fuentes Lopez who passed on Saturday November 16, 2013 at the age of 92.
It takes maturity to achieve clarity and appreciate what others have done for us and the part they played in our lives. This is the time for family, for rejoicing, for sharing and for caring. The following was my eulogy to my mom.

This one’s for you mom.
My mother:
She was beautiful. Her eyes were dazzling.
She was strong and feisty. Yes we were afraid of her. Even as grown women.
She was eccentric and baffling. She was frugal, or just plain cheap.
She was fiercely independent. She was incredibly stubborn.
She loved music and laughter.
She loved little children and animals.
She loved her home, her flowers and trees.
She loved Puerto Rico and the ocean.
She loved us but it was hard for her to express that love until recently.
She lived a good life with a loving husband, loving family, caring friends and neighbors.
She was never boring.
She was a protective mother who never let anyone take advantage of her daughters as we were growing up in the Bronx.
When those green eyes flashed with anger, it was time to run and hide.
She would never turn away family members. It seems we always had someone sleeping on the couch when we were living in a two bedroom walk up tenement in the Bronx.
She made the best Puerto Rican beans, Grandma Beans!
Over the last few years we tried, unsuccessfully,  to convince her that she could no longer live alone in Puerto Rico. So we took turns going to see her and taking care of her. We may not have been perfect daughters, but we were perfect when it came to caring for her.
As she grew older her eccentric habits and rules made us all crazy.
But those habits are now fond and funny memories.
I call them Mom’s Rules.
I want to leave you with some of them so that you can smile when you think about my mother, Haydee.
Mom’s Rules
Unplug every electrical appliance after use.
Turn off the lights and TV even if you are just running to the bathroom.
Lock every door, padlock, chain and window by 6 PM.
If it looks like it might rain, shut every louvre pane, there are about fifty of them you must crank, and it always looks like it might rain in Puerto Rico.
Then open them all a half hour later.
Don’t turn on any lights even it it’s pitch black.
Lift the toilet seat, yes, we are all female, but she wants the air to circulate in the bowl.
Do not throw anything away, ever!
That includes containers from take out food, plastic utensils, old papers, rubber bands, paper clips, diaper pins, invitations and announcements, bills, knick knacks, seat cushions, pillows, stuffed animals, broken cups or dishes that date back to 1970.
Do not throw away any leftovers, there is always a dog somewhere waiting for scraps or pigeons looking for bread or corn.
Her flock of pigeons had grown to about 50 and she fed them three times a day. They were like her children.
It is hard saying goodbye, but we had mom for 92 and a half years. And we have a lifetime of memories. Let’s celebrate her spirit, it will live forever.
Happy Holidays.