Not Afraid to Ask: What Are You Doing to Find Joy Now?

By NHG Staff

These are dark days for performing arts in San Francisco. But I’m a born optimist, focused on gratitude and seeking silver linings. Having spent much of my life as a touring artist traveling the globe, I’m now thriving on slowing down, daily walks in our still vibrant North Beach ’hood and photographing the City’s natural beauty. Being home allows luxurious time for creativity to emerge. I’m energized by activism and fundraising for our community of musicians. And I’m lucky to be married to Alfonso Montuori, a fellow musician and my best friend!— Kitty Margolis, jazz singer

My love for the sea inspired me to buy a condo on an estuary with a dock in Marin County in the middle of the pandemic! I pinch myself because working from home when you feel like you are perpetually on vacation is a surreal experience. I feel grateful and blessed to have found and made this inspired space my home, which is bringing me greater joy than I ever imagined possible! —Michael Pappas, SF Interfaith Council

An unplanned move has given me the opportunity to “nest.” Working with my interior designer, Tim Ballengee, we have created a new look and feel for my new home. As someone who travels over 40 weeks a year, being home is a rare treat for me. I cannot wait for the time when we can all travel again, so I can head out and come home. It’s the best of both worlds. —Alden Corrigan, Owner, Alden Corrigan Media

What brings me joy especially in 2020 is my husband, equality, hope and a glass of A. Rafanelli Merlot. —Brandon Liberati, Celebrity Hairstylist

Right now, nothing brings me more joy than supporting young opera singers through the Manetti Shrem San Francisco Opera Emerging Stars Fund, and watching virtual concerts hosted by the San Francisco Opera, the San Francisco Symphony, Festival Napa Valley and the Met Opera in New York. These young artists dedicate their lives year-round to practicing their art so they can bring us joy, and it truly warms my heart. — Maria Manetti Shrem

Quite a question as we go into purple coronavirus! I am finding joy in four things as of now. First, my granddaughter doing so well at at-home schooling … and she likes it. Secondly, I am trying to call friends more and more. Thirdly, I am trying to clean up all my to-do piles in my house … this is a necessity! And lastly, the preparation and the magic of the Christmas season. Christmas is the time for joy, caring and love. Remember, too, that Mayor London Breed got us off to a good start in March. Let’s work on that again … wear your mask, social distance, wash hands and smile with your eyes. — Ann Caen

My mother always said, “A flower is a smile,” and since I can’t see smiles behind the mask, I’m delivering smiles! Every time I feel someone I know needs a boost, I make a surprise delivery of flowers. I have two rules: 1. I make the small arrangements and 2. I deliver them as a surprise. Doing this has brought me as much joy as I hope to bring to each person. During Thanksgiving I dropped off small bouquets of flowers to my friends that I knew would be alone and started a social media message of #alonenotlonely in hopes of encouraging others to surprise their friends and family with a smile. — Yvonne Tally, Mindfulness Consultant, Speaker, Author

I find joy in my son, Jack. He’s just 15 months old, and completely unaware of all the problems facing our world today. Imagine living in a world without politics, pandemics and the No. 1 form of currency is Cheerios. He brings infinite joy into my life, and he’s done more to make my wife and I smile than anyone else since the day he was born. — Damon Bruce, afternoon host, 95.7 The Game

I’m 78, stuck at home, and am finding joy by launching a website,, where I share the stories of my life, including becoming Herb Caen’s most frequent contributor, along with vignettes featuring Charlotte Shultz, Armistead Maupin, Gordon Getty, Dede Wilsey and others. — Strange de Jim

When everything is upside down, I find joy in keeping life as normal as I can. I enjoy clothes, so I dress every day and put together different outfits, which make me feel happy. Because so much of our contact is now virtual, meeting friends for lunch and dinner, frequent phone chats and patronizing local stores for purchases are critical for me to maintain person-to-person contact. Turning off the news and focusing on beauty has brought tremendous joy to my life. I’ve really enjoyed learning new things through YouTube videos on art, music [and] history and catching up on reading all the books on my bedside table. — Darcy Brown, San Francisco Beautiful

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