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2011 » April

It Rose Above the Sea

April 30, 2011 by  

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austin texas barton creek greenbelt It was only when I departed Shanghai for the last time that I realized how truly otherworldly a manifestation of human life the city is. What follows is the story of my departure. Her smile was at once tentative and wild. “Lina,” she said. “I am Lina.” “Robert.” “This way.” She pointed northward. “Were you waiting long?” I looked back at the sea of cycle rickshaw drivers that had swarmed around me in the fifteen minutes prior, each one gesturing at the one next to him as I turned away–an analytical curiosity, as clinical as it was intrusive. The sky was blue, clear and open, although the extra light served primarily to highlight how little of Shanghai’s uniform dinginess comes from the contaminant layer that blocks out the sun even on days the weather man says should be cloud-free. “No,” I replied, the two of us having turned a corner in the time it took me to think through my response. “Just a few minutes.” austin texas barton creek greenbelt zilker park exit Another pit stop. “I need to get some water.”…

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Reality Bit Me & Then Some…..

April 30, 2011 by  

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Papers to file Today’s post is on the realities of life. I did not write what I wanted to because I couldn’t get to it. Oh yes, I had ideas and notes and plans. But I had NO TIME. I love my life and the people and things in it, but there is never enough time to do everything we are “supposed” to do:
  • Work (for many of us that means full-time outside the home with a commute, plus sometimes freelance work too)
  • Play all the roles: be a great employee, coworker, mother, lover, parent, friend, daughter, granddaughter, etc., etc., etc.
  • Prepare healthy meals for family EVERY DAY — can’t take a day off on this one
  • Run errands (groceries, bank, buy toilet paper, etc.)
  • Clean house, do dishes, wash mountains of laundry, organize paperwork & basically just stay ahead of roach/ant infestations
  • Keep up with the yard work (yep, once a neighbor called and said, “You may not be aware, but leaf pick-up is tomorrow, so you might want to rake…)
  • Volunteer or engage in community activities from homeless shelter to PTA
  • Exercise 3x a week or more (yeah, right –- try once a month AT BEST


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Engagement is a SOCIAL Skill

April 30, 2011 by  

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Text-messaging Social media. Social networking. Social currency. All of those concepts rely on the ability to be “social”. Social is something human beings are hardwired to be. Women, especially. Let’s put the social networking tools aside for a moment. Let’s look at the idea of being social and how it applies to being in business today. Social requires engagement. It requires more than one person connecting to or talking with another person. Social begins with you and continues with me and extends to every other person we interact with, for whatever reason. There is an element of communication involved that mucks up the waters, a bit. Too often communication doesn’t happen. Too often we’re so busy thinking about how to reply to a conversation, we forget to actually listen. I do this often and I’m not proud of it! Luckily, I catch mayself these days and make a concerted effort to pay attention to the speaker, and let my thoughts simmer under the surface. I have yet to quiet my thoughts completely, but I’m working on it. Miscommunication is rampant on the net. Twitter, Facebook, email and other means of sharing information can cause more trouble than


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Grounding the Way We Think About Food

April 30, 2011 by  

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Check out this video interview with Michael Pollan from the blog Nourish. Pollan discusses how the way we produce and eat food has a direct impact on the health of the environment. And how agriculture can be a tool not only for alleviating poverty and hunger, but also for protecting and repairing the soil our crops depend upon.


Golden Week: A Bit Like Spring Break For All of Japan

April 30, 2011 by  

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It’s Golden Week here in Japan. This means it’s a week full of public holidays which are dated next to each other. Think of it as a Spring Break for all of Japan. Most Japanese have taken a few days off in order to have the entire week free. Many go on vacation and many go abroad. What I’ve read is that there is going to be a mass of people going north to do volunteer work. The government has noted that traffic may be heavy on the Tohoku expressway. Good news as it seems that a lot of people are going to be helping out with distribution and clean up efforts. It’s a turning point as things are gaining momentum. This surge will make a difference since cleaning up enables the rebuilding of the infrastructure. One step at a time as the difficult journey back is a long one. This photo which I shot speaks more than my words can regarding this topic tonight. It captures the current spirit of things here as we are all rising above this situation together.


Making a Difference in Northern Japan – What Are You Doing?

April 30, 2011 by  

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In a few hours I’m leaving with 2 friends and the 3 of us are going up north to northern Japan to help with the destruction from the Tsunami. We’ll start off by making deliveries. As I’ve written before, I feel that I owe it to this place and to the good people in Japan to do something positive. It’ll be 2 months in a few weeks and things have steadily improved but there’s a long way to go is ahead. What struck me was that a few foreigners that I know had asked me the same question. “Do you think you make a difference by going up there…?” It’s an honest question and a perhaps the right one to ask. What gets me however is that I’m confident in saying the ones asking me have done nothing. Other than leaving Japan and returning, talking about it from afar, or telling me how it’s good that I did what I did; they’ve done very little. In the life of each of us when the time to do the right thing comes, the voice you hear does not come from people. As for that question,…

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How to Write Articles to ENGAGE Readers and DRIVE Traffic

April 30, 2011 by  

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Whenever you write an article and post it to your blog or to an ezine site, you want people to come and read it, right? Of course you do. Why else would you write it? 21_59_21---The-road-ahead_webDo you wonder if there’s some secret formula to crafting an article that will draw the readers in and keep them coming back? While there’s no one magic bullet, I do have some tips to help you write an article that will engage your readers and drive traffic to your site: First things first: What will you write about? Start by focusing on either your area of expertise or interest. Say for example you love dogs, crochet, drag racing or stained glass window making. Once you have the broad topic chosen it’s time to narrow in on a particular topic under that umbrella.
  • Write what you know, research what you don’t: After you’ve chosen your topic, the research starts. Is there a hot topic of discussion taking place within or around the topic you’ve chosen? Is there some late breaking news? Has a new trend opened? Do a keyword search to see what people are looking for and what comes up on the


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    I LOVE YOU MORE THAN MY DOG! by Jeanne Bliss

    April 30, 2011 by  

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    This is the third post about the book, I Love You More Than My Dog, as part of my favorite book posts.
    Jeanne Bliss tweeted me to thank me for writing about her book. And as we got to talking, she provided me with a link to the first chapter of her book, just for you: Chapter 1: Your Decisions Reveal:  Who You Are and What You Value! It’s very generous of Jeanne to provide me a link. The chapter starts with a quote from Walt Disney:“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.”
    Walt Disney Walt Disney, The Master of the Customer Experience
    Companies that are loved by their customers make decisions differently than other companies. The common denominator, according to Jeanne, is that these companies bring consciousness and humanity to the decisions they make.  When you make decisions that respect and honor your customers, your customers will grow your business by word of mouth. They will tell their friends, who will they their friends, who will tell their friends… Remember that Breck Shampoo commercial back in the ’60s that used this as their tagline? The…

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