Holiday Volunteering

HealthTrust 2017
HealthTrust 2017

Volunteering as a team during the holidays is a Referential tradition. As we did last year, we sorted food with the FOODBasket Food Sorting team of The Health Trust.  We sorted and helped with storage and display of fresh produce which is offered to their AIDS Services and Family Resource Center clients.  The photo shows just part of the food we helped process. We are in the heart of Silicon Valley, a place of great wealth, but also of great need, as this paragraph from The Health Trust website makes crystal clear:Silicon Valley is a place of innovation, opportunity and affluence. On average, it is one of the healthiest, wealthiest places in the world. But not all residents of Silicon Valley share in that wealth – or that health. More than 13 percent of children in Santa Clara County are living in poverty. More than half of the adults are overweight or obese. Nearly half of the county’s older adults are considered impoverished. More than 19,000 adults and youth are homeless.

Contributing our time as a team is one way we can make a modest contribute to their vision of a healthier Silicon Valley for everyone.

Thank you, thank you!


Thank you firefighters.  California is burning and we couldn't be more thankful for their bravery.  Hit close to home this week, our managing partners were evacuated in the middle of the night, spent a night in an emergency shelter, and then other nights with family.  Thanks to the hundreds and hundreds of firefighters who are addressing the Bear Fire they can now return to their home.  Luckier than some throughout the state.  We all need to be careful, to be vigilant, and thankful to those willing to risk all for our safety. Again, thank you firefighters and all who assist and support them.

Beat the Lock - Almost!

Well we almost did it. With the very last clues in our hand, solving the last puzzle, to open the last lock, time was up!  From their website, Beat the Lock is described as: an interactive adventure experience where you and your friends are locked in a themed room to piece together clues, decipher codes and solve puzzles to ultimately find the key to escape!   Beat the Lock 3

You have an hour to solve myriad types of puzzles, open all sorts of locks, which lead to more clues for more puzzles! In our theme we were looking for jewels hidden by Grandma Edna so we could have our rightful inheritance. We had an hour to find the jewels before pesky relatives would arrive to stake their claim. 

And we almost did it! It requires teamwork and communication and is bounded by time pressure. Just in case any of you do a similar experience we don’t want to share details but suffice to say it’s a great team building experience and even though we didn’t Beat the Lock we did have great fun!

Water, Water Everywhere!

rain-122691_1280Here in the Bay Area we’ve had six years of drought and Mother Nature has decided to wipe that away in short order.  We just had the wettest January in 20 years and have already had multiple storms in February.    San Francisco rainfall totals are 142% of normal for the year and San Jose is 126%. Nearby Anderson Dam is now at capacity for the first time since 2006.   A bit farther away, the snowpack water content is 174% of the historic average, good news as that is the source of the majority of our county’s water supply. 

Mudslides, road closures, enormous potholes in roadways, fallen trees, flooding, treacherous commutes – all this water has been very impactful. We are certainly hoping for a few sunny days to dry out before the next deluge!  Water restrictions have not yet been fully lifted. conservation is still called for, but it looks like we’re close to the end of the drought here in Northern California.  Finally!

Volunteering at The Health Trust

Health Trust 2016.png Another successful volunteer session at The Health Trust. Believe it or not we moved about 1000 pounds of fresh produce - each!  That's a lot of bok choy, carrots, spinach, potatoes, onions, and celery!

In a region of great wealth there is also surprising need. 13% of the children in this county are living in poverty.  More than 19,000 adult and youth are homeless.  The Health Trust's vision is for a healthier Silicon Valley for everyone.  Please consider supporting this worthy organization:

Will you be able to escape?

We just had a fun afternoon of team building and trying to escape from a spy’s room!  Friday we spent the afternoon with Beat The Lock. Referential went as a team and started with some team building activities. The good old game of Two Truths and a Lie (can you tell which is the lie?) is more difficult when some of the team members are related and others have known each other for many years – not the usual work group. We had great fun and learned quite a lot – from who has won dance competitions to who can barely swim. We learned we have jump rope champions and those with scuba certifications.   Several had been keeping their music talent from us! It’s a fun way to learn a bit more about each other. 

The next activity split us into two groups and we had to come up with 5 things true for everyone in the group. Easy for one team but the other struggled. Surprisingly every one of us has at least one sister and has traveled in Europe! 

But the main attraction was to participate in the room escape experience. We were in the spy room – we suspect our neighbor is a spy and enter his room to discover his identity and find we’re locked in! There is an hour to look for clues, solve puzzles, break codes, get various boxes unlocked, and finally diffuse a bomb and escape.   No worries, it’s all in fun and role play! When the phone range we answered and took the clues – each of the 3 times they were offered. We didn’t quite escape in the hour, but did within the additional 5 minute grace period.   It was tough! Not to give anything away but look carefully, consider everything, and enjoy the experience. If you are in the local area and looking for something fun to do with a work group or even family consider escaping! Give a look.  

Have a Super weekend!

The Super Bowl is right in our back yard. Santa Clara, site of Levi’s Stadium, is very nearby.   While the game may be in Santa Clara, official events are from San Francisco to Gilroy. It seems absolutely everything can be football themed. A special art exhibit at the Triton Museum, STEM expos at local libraries, golf tournaments, charity events, bowling tournaments, new structures in local parks – you name it and there is a football themed version of it nearby. We have entire buildings wrapped, now essentially very large billboards (thank you Oracle) and the logo for Super Bowl 50 is everywhere, on everything. The area is ready. Security is in place, transportation routes planned, certain streets already closed. The Bay Bridge lights are back, the potholes on 101 (at least between San Francisco and Santa Clara) are gone. Celebrities are here or will be shortly, logoed merchandise is everywhere.   Even El Nino is cooperating. There’s a break in the rain and the weekend should be sunny and 70s. Enjoy a super weekend. Let's all join with half time headliner Coldplay, in cheering for their favorite team, the Denver Panthers!