By Rudi Raab and Julie Freestone

A few weeks before the Loma Prieta earthquake (6.9) on the San Andreas? fault in California in 1989, Julie wrote an article for the local newspaper. “Ready or Not” was part of the headline and it addressed the need to make plans for the inevitable and potentially devastating earthquake in the future.

We prepared

Wildfires caused us to revise our emergency plan

That was the year we met and we took the advice of experts: We created earthquake kits for our cars and for our home. Every year in November, we wrote scenarios to practice what we’d do when the shaking stopped…

By Julie Freestone and Rudi Raab

Julie says she thinks she’s always known that if there was one period in her parents’ lives that may have hung darkly over their heads, it wasn’t the Holocaust, but rather the Depression. Her parents married (secretly) in 1929. They both worked for the same law firm and fraternization was apparently forbidden between the lawyers (her father) and the clerical staff (her mother). They were immigrants who came to America in the early 1900s as children. …

By Rudi Raab and Julie Freestone (and some of you)

After we published the blog about dreaming in the era of CoVid, and we said that Rudi, who usually dreams a lot and remembers his dreams, wasn’t remembering anything, he announced (in the middle of the night), “I dreamed about Unorthodox.” He didn’t remember this in the morning. We watched all four disturbing episodes of the TV series last week about a young woman living in an ultra-orthodox Jewish community in New York.

Dreams: royal road to the unconscious

You might remember we invited everyone to give us feedback about…

By Julie Freestone and Rudi Raab

Kristen schlepped this platter around Italy as a gift for us

Naturally, people usually bring home souvenirs from trips they take. One of our favorite stories is about our friends Janet and Kristen, Scotty and Lizzy, who went to Italy two years ago. They asked if we wanted anything and Julie said flippantly, “oh sure, some Italian pottery. A platter or something.” Indeed, they did bring us a platter, which they thought would fit into one of their carry-on suitcases but didn’t. …

By Julie Freestone and Rudi Raab

The term “new normal” has been tossed around a lot since the World Health Organization announced that we were experiencing a pandemic and sheltering-in-place became the law of the land in most places. We’re not sure exactly what that means but we have had some thoughts about what is normal.

Julie’s childhood normal

Wallkill, New York (left to right: Julie, Paul and Alice — Peter is not shown)

When Julie was growing up for part of her life in Wallkill, N.Y. (she’s beginning to feel a little like Garrison Keillor who always talks about Lake Wobegon), the three oldest kids occasionally snuck a peek at some books that were…

By Rudi Raab and Julie Freestone

It’s a chaotic time — at least out there in the world and in our email, where we get comments of all sorts about our blogs, but not necessarily in any kind of sequence. So today we’re sharing some random thoughts about a range of topics.

The women from the car wash

The car wash is closed and Rudi is worried about the women who worked there

About four times a year, Rudi takes each of our cars to a nearby car wash. A few days ago he began thinking about the Latina women who worked there. Since lockdown, the place is chained and empty. In the good old…

By Julie Freestone and Rudi Raab

Our blog about what we’re watching on TV took some folks down memory lane — and resulted in a lot of recommendations for things we could be watching.

How about the old TV shows?

Julie’s Cousin Alice on Bainbridge Island, WA, responded with her own memories of what it was like to have a television and a lot of rules about what could be viewed. “Don’t forget that there was no watching Roy Rogers or Gene Autry because of the violence. …

By Julie Freestone and Rudi Raab

The National Geographic — along with dozens of other publications — recently took a look at dreaming during the pandemic. “With hundreds of millions of people sheltering at home during the corona virus pandemic, some dream experts believe that withdrawal from our usual environments and daily stimuli has left dreamers with a dearth of ‘inspiration,’ forcing our subconscious minds to draw more heavily on themes from our past.”

The magazine reports that at least five research teams at institutions across multiple countries are collecting examples (of pandemic dreams), and one of their findings so…

By Rudi Raab and Julie Freestone

We are finding that some things we might not even have appreciated a few months ago are working out surprisingly well — and others are not. On the plus side, for example, our friend Jane, who has been in quarantine and hasn’t left her house in several weeks, said she got an automatic message warning her to drive her car before the battery died. And the blog we wrote that was sort of complaining seemed to give a number of people permission to give vent to frustrations they were encountering. …

By Rudi Raab and Julie Freestone

Let’s start off by saying that we didn’t exactly sign a pledge, but somehow we silently evolved to an agreement that we would not enter a store of any kind during the pandemic shelter-in-place. We weren’t marching around with signs saying “flatten the curve,” but we knew this was right for us. This plan turned out to include even going into restaurants to pick up take-out; they would bring it to the curb.

Time for a Trader Joe’s run

The Trader Joe’s at El Cerrito Plaza — pre-pandemic

Fortunately we had gone grocery shopping the very day the edict was announced, checking first…

Julie Freestone

Julie Freestone is a retired reporter and communications expert and the co-author of Stumbling Stone.

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