Family is where it is!!!!!

Family is where it is!!!!!
Christmas in Disney
Thanks for stopping by. Let me know if there are topics I should be spouting                                   off on.  

Remember that "Life is short. Break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly,                love fully and laugh uncontrollably....."


Friday, May 29, 2009

Twitter is spiritual--it really is :-)

After six weeks of writing tweets, Frederic Brussat says it is for him. To see how he is practicing his spirituality through Twitter, read his feed here or Here are 25 reasons why Twitter is a spiritual.

1.) Twitter challenges us to pay attention to what we are doing, to stay awake and totally alert.

2.) Twitter prompts us to focus on the present moment and in doing so we realize all we need is right here, right now.

3.) Twitter provides opportunities to connect with others around the world so we can sense how self and world are linked in ever-expanding circles.

4.) Twitter inspires us to practice hospitality in a time when too often strangers are feared and the "other" is shunned.

5.) Twitter enables us to share our deepest dreams and to encourage others not to lose hope.

6.) Twitter prods us to find the divine energy of joy in our daily lives and to share it with others.

7.) Twitter invites us to be receptive and to hold an open house in our hearts for new people, ideas, and organizations.

8.) Twitter draws out our playfulness and celebrates, in a variety of ways, the holiness of savoring pleasure and the lightness of being.

9.) Twitter promotes the art of listening in which we lean toward others in love, realizing that everyone wants to be heard.

10.) Twitter allows us to probe on a daily basis the significance of what we are feeling and thinking: it makes meaning makers of us all.

11.) Twitter encourages us to see spiritual teachers all around us, however unlikely or unlike us they may be.

12.) Twitter facilitates our exploration of the wider world of other cultures and wisdom traditions.

13.) Twitter reminds us to share the stories of our lives with other companions on the journey.

14.) Twitter illustrates how often when we are looking for one thing we come upon another in a moment of grace.

15.) Twitter proves that although we think we are living in a universe, it's really a pluriverse of voices.

16.) Twitter shows us why we need to cherish all parts of creation from ants to wolves to the Grand Canyon.

17.) Twitter encourages us to spell out all our days with a grammar of gratitude.

18.) Twitter elicits our wonder as we see the world moving toward us with a deluge of epiphanies.

19.) Twitter taps into the enthusiasm that lights up our lives and spreads it around.

20.) Twitter helps us banish boredom when we realize that there is always something new to be seen, felt, or made known.

21.) Twitter gives us opportunities to bless others through our affirmations of who they are and what they do.

22.) Twitter challenges us to be mindful of every word we write and to honor others as best we can.

23.) Twitter provides another space where we can be deeply moved by reverence or a radical respect for all life.

24.) Twitter, like koans, mantras, and flash prayers, teaches us that brevity can be a path of rich communication.

25.) Twitter helps us to relearn the arts of generosity wherein we give to others that which means the most to us.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

10 trends we might see in restaurants in the near future

By Kate Leahy, Senior Associate Editor -- in Restaurants and Institutions, 5/21/2009 9:18:00 AM

Green technology. Equipment with smaller footprints. More than one seminar dedicated to environmental concerns. This was one side of this year's NRA Show. The other side was, simply, survival.

But the economic slump may be a good thing for the show, as exhibitors stripped back their wares to showcase innovations. This hasn't always been the case. In 2007, Peter Backman, owner of London-based foodservice consultancy Horizons, found the show's exhibits to be less about what was new and more about what was comfortable:

"I sense that the new ideas, the real innovation, have gone out of the U.S. market and there has been a flight to the center," he told R&I. Click here for the video.

Old habits die hard. But unprecedented challenges in the marketplace make today the ultimate time to shake things up. Even Backman acknowledges that this year's show demonstrated the many ways in which U.S restaurateurs are approaching their businesses with a fresh pair of eyes. Here, 10 comments and ideas collected from the show’s exhibits, seminars and keynote speakers:

On Food

Kimchi quesadillas 1. Korean/Mexican fusion, the next big thing.
Already popular among street-food savvy eaters in Southern California, the kimchi quesadillas served by the team from Kogi, a mobile Korean barbecue concept in Los Angeles, demonstrated how well Korean and Mexican flavors meld together.

2. Fresh Iberico pork, now available.
It wasn’t until last year that USDA allowed Spain's prized Jamon Iberico into the country. Now chefs in Chicago are experimenting with a few fresh cuts from the acorn-fed pata negra pigs. At Latin-focused Carnivale, Chef Mark Mendez is braising the pork collar in duck fat for a rich confit. Because it's a pricy product (the collar wholesales for about $12 per pound, the loin even more) he is planning on running the meat as part of an appetizer special.

3. Made-to-order ice cream.
It might be the next incarnation of cold-surface blending scoop shops such as Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Cold Stone Creamery: ice cream frozen to order on a icy metal slab. The advantage of this style of preparation is more about customization than flavor and texture. For example, because each serving frozen to order, customers can opt for their ice cream to be made with low-fat or lactose-free milk.

On Green

4. A restaurant that runs on French fries.
Well, not exactly, but close. Instead of paying for a service to haul away used fryer oil, a generator on display at the Green Restaurant Pavilion converts used fryer oil into electricity that can keep the lights and the water hot.

5. Telling customers "no."

Chef Charlie Ayers Chefs acknowledge that one necessary evil of year-round food purchasing is buying out of season produce, such as tomatoes, in order to meet customer expectations.Chef Charlie Ayers of Calafia in Palo Alto, Calif., doesn’t think it has to be this way. He tells customers "no" whenever they request out-of-season produce. But in order to do so gently, he trains staff to explain why he avoids serving the items. (Ayers sources food within a 150-mile radius of his restaurant.)

6. Power in numbers.
Nearly 500 NRA attendees, from operators to suppliers, pledged to reduce waste, energy use and water use as part of the NRA’s Conserve initiative. For a place to start, here’s the initiative’s Top 10 restaurant greening tips.

On Business

7. Discounting dangers.
In an aggressive effort to retain customers counts, upscale eateries are offering low-priced, prix fixe menus. But the revenue generated from the promotions isn’t aways enough to cover operating expenses, reminds Joe Bastianich, partner in New York City-based B&B Hospitality Group. “That kind of slash-and-burn discounting is overall a negative trend,” he says, because it puts the pressure on nearby restaurants to lower prices to unsustainable levels.

8. The importance of being specific.

CEO Sally Smith CEO Sally Smith of Minneapolis-based Buffalo Wild Wings recommended that operators look beyond check averages when encouraging servers to boost sales. “We break it down by sales per hour. To help your servers understand what you need from them, get specific. Don’t tell them: ‘We need to increase sales by $300 this hour.’ Tell them: ‘We have to sell 30 more hamburgers this hour.’”

On Service

9. Store-level leadership.
With customers acutely sensitive to how much they spend on food, bad service can hurt opportunities for repeat business. To encourage strong leadership at the store level, Denver-based Chipotle recognizes general managers who have a track record of training staff and grooming future managers through its “restaurateur” program, which includes a bonus for participants.

10. Embracing social media.
According to Damian Mogavero, CEO of New York City-based restaurant consultancy Avero, everyone will be using social media in the future. The differentiation factor will be found in how well-integrated it is into the company’s culture. The time to start experimenting with the technology? Now.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ellen DeGeneres -- Graduation Speech at Tulane

This was a wonderful graduation speech full of humor, wisdom, self analysis and of course dance. Check it out.

Friday, May 22, 2009

For Twitter users--Seven Habits of Highly Effective Twitterers by Wayne Sutton

“Think of me as the social media lead car on the Autobahn of the Internet.”
Wayne Sutton (@waynesutton) is a Social Media Strategist, Consultant, and a prolific twitterer who’s passionate about using new media and technology to connect businesses and consumers. You can catch his tech reviews and insights on

1. Filters and searches

Using Twitter Search and filters for your searches save you a ton of time when you’re looking for information via Twitter. Mashable has previously compared 6 great Twitter search services and Mr. Tweet’s Blog Editor, Corvida Raven, has recently posted about great ways to use filters combined with Twitter’s saved search feature to help you harness some of the benefits of Twitter Search.

The value in utilizing the filters is they help you to fine tune the results of your searches. For example if your looking for content on Twitter that fall within the niches like SEO or Social Media, you could do a simple search. But this opens up to a bunch of noise. What if you only want tweets with links? “social media filter:links” would return better results because all of these twitter messages contain a link in them along with the keywords “social media”. Louis Gray has done a nice summary of the importance of filters.

2. There are no rules, but establish your “twitter goals”

What do you want to get out of Twitter?
What topics would you like to continuously discuss?
What do you want to give to your followers?
Would you rather keep your conversations private or open to the public?
Are you going to have them between small groups of friends, or are you open to networking?
Do you want to broadcast? To how many people?

3. Understand prime tweet hours for conversations and traffic

Recommended Prime Tweet Hours: Twitter has replaced the morning email time for some. Between 7:30 A.M. to 10:00 A.M. EST Mon. - Fri. most twitter users are at work, reading tweets, tweeting, checking rss feeds and sharing information. However, this can vary when it comes to your followers and followings.

4. Setup your workflow and apps

I’m a big fan of Tweetgrid but for some, Seesmic Desktop or Tweetdeck works. I also recommend using, use Twitter web apps like Hootsuit, Cotweet and Tweetbeep. Dig into these apps and understand how they can better help you. Read the tips about how to better utlize their features. Why are you doing all of this? You want to make them work for you.

5. “Always a tweet away”

Meaning, be it your iPhone or Blackberry, you can send a tweet from anywhere, anytime. You want to appear to be always thinking about your followers or the entire twitter community. You might see something important such as breaking news, or it could be a thought; be able to tweet on the spot.

6. Sharing information and being helpful

This probably is the #1 reason I have as many followers as I have now. Before the celebrities, nba players, and music artist, I was finding and sharing a lot of helpful information or information I thought others could benefit from. Be consistent with your sharing habits and try not to make too much noise.

7. Understand what Twitter really is

For me, Twitter is a means of communication. It generates and enhances relationships through social networking. I find value in not only my connections, but also by giving back to the community (see Habit 6 for more). What is Twitter for you?

Bonus: Attend tweetups or understand how to use twitter offline as much online for your personal life or busines
[ Authors Note] We recommend checking out Wayne Sutton’s excellent post on great Twitter Conferences to attend.

Share your Twitter habits in the comments!

*Note: This is the second part of our Highly Effective Twitterers (#het) series to highlight Twitterers who have achieved significant professional and personal success via Twitter. They share their unique approach towards building great networks here!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Being the "smart, intelligent and bright" student that I was...

We should be able to laugh at ourselves. Here goes my chuckle for the day as I think back to my past.
While attending Evanston Township High School (ETHS) a number of us were working on the summer ground crew. It was raining so a few of us were assigned to clean up an old attic some where in the ETHS building. While cleaning, we ran across what looked to be a grenade. Being the "smart, intelligent and bright" student that I was, I pulled the pin just knowing that it couldn't be a real grenade.

Several hours later, after the entire school had been vacated and closed down for the day due to smoky class rooms and terrible odors by the fire department, we realized that it was a live smoke grenade used by the ROTC program and obviously misplaced.

Needless to say, all of us were a bit embarrassed. The Evanston Review featured us on the cover of the next weeks magazine in all of our sheepish glory. Then there is my golf story that happened recently but that is another story for another time

Sunday, May 10, 2009

About Moms and for all Moms on Mothers Day By Reginald Holmes

There is a sweet angelic look
on every mother's eyes
That makes us stop and wonder
If they're angels in disguise:

For they are always standing by
When someone needs a friend.
No one has as much compassion,
None are quicker to defend.

There is a little bit of God
In every mother's heart.
He molded them of finer clay
That sets them well apart.

They are an earthly blessing
That heaven itself supplies:
And so we can't help believing
They are angels in disguise.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Concordia Commencement Speech by Margo Melnicove

Roxana Saberi was scheduled to give the commencement speech this year at her undergraduate alma mater, Concordia College. Her former mentor, Margo Melnicove, a lecturer in the journalism program at Brandeis University, delivered the speech in her stead. In it she addresses Roxana directly and imparts lessons drawn from Roxana’s own personal and professional experiences

“Lessons Learned from a Concordia Grad”

Thank you, President Jolicoeur, Chairman Offutt, and Dean Krejci. And to the graduates, congratulations!

Dear Roxana.

I’m looking out at the bright, beaming faces of the class of 2009. They’re surrounded by their proud families and friends, and Concordia’s faculty and staff.

How we wish that our prayers and love reach you in your cell in Tehran, and that they give you hope and strength.

How we wish you were here.

I’ve been thinking about how we met.

It was 2001. I had selected you to participate in National Public Radio’s Diversity Initiative. I was so impressed by your application. In fact, it was an editor’s dream-come-true. There was not a single typo, misspelled word, or grammatical error.

Now Roxana, I’m trying to channel you so I can figure out what you’d say to the graduates if you were here. And I think I’ve already hit upon your first piece of advice: Don’t count on Spell Checker to catch all errors! Proofread whatever you write very, very carefully. (This may sound trivial, but these really are words to live by.)

But, Roxana, it wasn’t just the style of your application that got me. I was also impressed by the substance. At the time, you were working as a cub reporter at KVLY-TV in Fargo, and enjoying your first real job in broadcast journalism. But you were itching to see the world, and cover international news. You were also eager to learn the public radio way of storytelling, because you wanted to dig deeper into the issues of the day.

The Diversity Initiative kicked off with a week-long seminar at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C. It started on September 10, 2001. We all know what happened on September 11th. You were pressed into duty by your station back home, and spent much of the rest of the week filing breaking news stories. You did live shots from the Pentagon and the halls of Congress. You interviewed senators and generals and ordinary, grief-stricken Americans. I remember you were nervous, and afraid you weren’t up to the task. But you forged ahead and did it anyway, and very well, I might add.

I can hear you now, giving the graduates this advice: Don’t be afraid to try something you’ve never done before. You can do it. You have what it takes!

As part of the Diversity Initiative, I had the pleasure of serving as your mentor for several months after the seminar ended. Remember those long talks we had about what you wanted to do with the rest of your life? I hope you don’t mind if I share this with everyone…it’s from something you wrote back then, which I happened to save. I had asked you to spell out your goals as a broadcast journalist, and you wrote:

“Think less about my image, and more about the value of my story. Read more, especially with different perspectives. Discuss issues with a variety of people. Try to empathize. Tell myself to be less self-involved!”

No wonder you were determined to become a foreign correspondent. What you have been all about…since well before I met you…is this drive to deepen your knowledge of other people, other countries, other cultures. Not just for your own benefit. No, you want to share this knowledge with a broad audience. Because your ultimate goal is to enable cross-cultural understanding and mutual respect among all kinds of people.

Now, I have a confession. I never told you this, but before we met, I felt a little intimidated. I mean, I had never known a beauty queen before, and my head was full of stereotypes about such people. I expected you to be stuck up, full of yourself, terribly vain…and a bit-of-a-bimbo.

Boy, was I wrong. Not only are you smart, I mean really smart, but you are unpretentious, modest about your considerable gifts and accomplishments, and so grounded.

There you were, a former Miss North Dakota, a top-ten finalist in the Miss America pageant, and I believe well on your way to becoming a network news star. Fame and fortune were well within your reach.

But neither was important to you. You craved something more meaningful. You had your sights set on broad horizons. You were also looking deep within. You wanted to understand and experience your heritage…the Japanese part from your mom, and the Iranian part from your dad. Eventually Iran won out, because of its prominence in the news. You started to learn Farsi, and applied for an Iranian passport, though you had no idea how you’d support yourself if you went there.

I introduced you to Simon Marks, the head of Feature Story News. That same day, he offered you a job. In February 2003, at the ripe old age of 25, you arrived in the Iranian capital and quickly established a one-woman news bureau there. This is not easy to do. The logistics alone are a nightmare. And doing this in a country where women don’t usually do such things….

But there you were, fully accredited by the Iranian government, and equipped with a small video camera and laptop computer. You started sending a stream of broadcast news reports that were supplied to networks in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Africa.

Talk about being resourceful! Talk about following your dream!

The thing is, Roxana, I know if you were here, you’d tell the graduates that yes, it was scary and difficult and very lonely at times, but with determination and hard, hard work, they can overcome obstacles and do great things, just as you have done.

We’re colleagues now, Roxana, and friends thanks to you and your genuine interest in people. Even when I was your mentor, you were as interested in me as I was in you.

A few years ago when your press card was revoked without explanation, I asked if you would be coming home. You said no, you loved Iran, and you wanted to finish your book and your studies at the university.

“I’m going to stay,” you said. “I still have so much to learn.”

I could go on and on about what I’ve learned from you, Roxana, and how you continue to inspire me. But like any good journalist…and I know you’ll appreciate this…I interviewed several people to get their take on you.

Let’s begin right here, at Concordia. I’m sure you remember Kristi Rendahl, like you a piano scholar and a member of the class of 1997.

Kristi reminded me that Roxana, when you were a student at Concordia, you played soccer, reported on the campus radio station, and excelled academically. I’ll say. You had a GPA of 3.97, majored in communication studies and French, completed your degree in three years, and graduated summa cum laude and with Credo Honors.

Kristi says that you embody what a liberal arts education is all about, and you embody the mission of the college.

(OK, let’s have it…”The purpose of Concordia College is to influence the affairs of the world by sending into society thoughtful and informed men and women dedicated to the Christian life.”)

Roxana, did you hear that? I’d been told that a surprisingly high number of students know the mission by heart, and they really do.

Here’s something else. Your piano professor, Jay Hershberger (Jay, where are you?) sums up what he has learned from you in one word… “tenacity.”

He says if he gave you something really challenging, you would see it through to the end.

Rachmaninoff’s G-Minor Prelude is a case in point. Word on the street is that when you got to the really tough spots, you tended to stiffen up. But you worked and worked and sweated through it until you mastered the piece. And by all accounts, you played it beautifully when you competed for Miss North Dakota and then for Miss America.

(Speaking of over-achievers and Miss North Dakotas, communications professor Stephanie Ahlfeldt was Miss North Dakota the year before Roxana. In fact, she put the crown on Roxana’s head in 1997. Stephanie, where are you?)

Now Roxana, Stephanie, your friend and Miss North Dakota predecessor, says you’ll probably laugh at this one. But when she thinks of you, she thinks of poise and grace…even though it took her hours to teach you how to walk right in high heels.

I also interviewed Jack Doppelt, a professor at Northwestern’s Medill Graduate School of Journalism where you got your first of two master’s degrees. He says that by example, you teach the importance of giving back. Like how you jump at the chance to share your experiences with journalism students and others who are just starting out. Jack says now it’s time to give back to you.

He urges everyone to go to freeroxana-dot-net. I bet you don’t know this, Roxana, but at freeroxana-dot-net, anyone can sign up to fast for a day, so you can quit your fast and regain your strength. The Free Roxana Hunger Strike begins today, World Press Freedom Day, and will continue for 12 days.

This brings me to lessons that professor Catherine McMullen has been teaching to her journalism students here at Concordia. (Catherine, where are you?)

Catherine taught you well, Roxana, when you took her news reporting class back in ‘96. And now you’re teaching her current students an invaluable lesson: Do not take our free speech, free press and other First Amendment freedoms for granted.

Catherine helped organize yesterday’s vigil on the bridge between Fargo and Moorhead. About 200 of your supporters were there, Roxana, plus the governor, your congressman, and Fargo’s mayor-who-fought-the-river…all saying, “Let Roxana and her parents come home to Fargo.”

One of Catherine’s students, Marissa Paulson, has posted photos of the vigil on her Facebook page. (I think Marissa helped marshal in the faculty today, which someone said is a bit like herding cats. Marissa, where are you?) Marissa was among many journalism students who staffed a Free Roxana information booth in the atrium of the Student Center the other day. And members of the Student Government Association have been busy tying yellow ribbons around trees and lamp-posts all over campus. I heard that your parents’ neighbors started the yellow ribbon tribute, and now they’re cropping up everywhere.

How about if everyone who has done something to support Roxana gives a wave, so she can see you.

Roxana, there’s one more person who wants to thank you for the lessons you’ve taught him…your big brother, Jasper.

(Don’t panic, he didn’t say anything bad about you…well, he did mention that you’re stubborn, but I don’t think he meant it in a bad way.)

Jasper says he’s grateful for your ability to listen well, and to be able to speak soul to soul. (I love that.) He also says you had faith in him when he lost faith in himself, that when he was weak you were strong and kind. Here’s how he put it: “Sister…you helped me to believe in myself.”

I think I’m over my time limit, Roxana, so I better wrap this up. But before I go, I want to do a quick review, because there will be a quiz at the end. (Just kidding.)

Here you go…lessons learned from a Concordia grad by the name of Roxana Saberi:

Live fully. Make the most of your gifts and talents.

Pursue excellence. Practice may never make you perfect, but if you work hard at something, you can come close.

Listen to others with an open mind, heart and soul.

Honor your teachers and seek out their friendship.

Be true to yourself.

Be generous.

Keep learning.

Have courage.

Do it all with poise and grace, but don’t take yourself too seriously. You can be confident, yet humble. You can learn to walk in high heels, though you’re still a klutz.

Roxana, I know you join me in wishing the class of 2009 good luck, good health, and a great future.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

So relevant --even today!

The Scout Law was something I memorized and tried to live by as a scout. It dawned on me yesterday as the words began to come back that those words are guide posts for all of us in business, family relationships, sporting events, neighborhood activities and relationships in general. As I look at those words, I realize how far I have strayed from many of those mandates.

A scout is "Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, friendly, Courtious, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful,Kind, Obedient,Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent.

Thanks scouts for the mandate.