Do You Care?
Sep 7 2014

bowl of flowersDo you care? It seems like a simple question, and the answer obviously differs based on what you are talking about.  For instance, do you care about your customers? Do you care about your kids? Do you care about the random person walking down the street? Do you care about lizards?

There are many case studies of companies who have done well because they truly care about their customers and their employees.  There are writers who write about the critical importance of caring about customers and their readers.  They go so far as to say they “love” their customers.

So why is it that so many companies don’t understand how important  love, care, & empathy are to the creation of meaningful success and often goes hand in hand with financial success? Maybe caring is hard to scale?  Apple cares in one way.  Does Microsoft care in another?

The photo in this blog post is from our recent trip to Sri Lanka.  It is picture of flowers floating in a bowl of water in the area outside of a jewelry store we visited.  Many hotels and other places had similar bowls with flowers in them in the entrance area.  One hotel where we stayed had each arriving guest place a flower in the bowl to show how many people had checked in that day.  It seemed a simple gesture to demonstrate that the people in that hotel cared about each of us (unique, beautiful flowers) and wanted our experience to be the best it could be, and it was!

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A Trip of a Lifetime – Sri Lanka
Aug 18 2014

elephants - SLYes, the elephants did strike back!  The trip was amazing and despite me thinking I might have time to type up some blog posts on the plane, sleep, kids, and other distractions (free movies) got in the way.

I think we took close to 900 photos in the many cities and tourist sites that we went to on the island.  The kid’s impressed me with their ability to tolerate the long travel and long days with different eating schedules.  I guess that means it was the perfect age for them to go!

Last Friday I hosted a slideshow for the folks where I work (Querium).  Lots of people showed up in person and virtually (via http://join.me).  They said they enjoyed it and didn’t confess to being bored. :-)  My boss was able to “mirror” my iPhone on his Mac and hook it to a projector so I could flip through the photos for everyone to see.  It was pretty cool!

Now I have tons of new photos to use in my TBD future blog posts and for my kids to use in finally finishing up the YouTube videos of my two songs!

 

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Elephants Strike Back
Jul 27 2014

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Phone booths in Dubai

The title of this post comes from my son with affirmation from my daughter.  We are on a journey back to my homeland and plan to see and ride an elephant or two.  As usual, life has been busy and all the blog post ideas that fleet across my mind, never end up making it into a proper post.  I’m hoping that while we are on  numerous airplanes and airports that I will have a few moments to write up some posts to share after we return.

I’m writing this post from the Dubai airport in a lounge that has WiFi included.  Thank goodness for WiFi and modern technology!

We are on our way to my birthplace: Sri Lanka.  I’m such an American now (and I never knew the language) that they will view us as tourists.  It’s been 19 years since I’ve been there and that was when my grandfather passed away.  I still miss him to this day!  He was such a brilliant, unique, and funny individual whose humanity I only came to know about and understand as I got older and after he was gone so I never had the opportunity to talk with him about so many things I wanted to.

This is the first time my kids have traveled this far away from their home and so far they have been amazing travelers!

One of my next posts should include a photo of an elephant.  The photo in this post is of a high tech phone booth in the very modern looking airport in Dubai.

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Life Is Like a Box of Chocolates
Aug 7 2011

Hot Chocolate

OK, so we’ve all (well most of us) have watched Forest Gump and can appreciate the title of this post: Life Is Like A Box of Chocolates.  Although we know we will often bite into a chocolate with something we don’t like inside, we still seem to be taken by surprise if we don’t get what we expected.  Thank goodness for chocolate maps/legends in real boxes of chocolates!  I got some Lindt dark chocolate with orange flavor yesterday and was disappointed to discover it had almond slivers in it when I bit into it after dinner.  My kids didn’t care for it either.  I like nuts and I like chocolate but just not together.  I recall Cadbury used to make a chocolate with orange flavor without nuts (or maybe I blocked the nuts from my memory) that I used to enjoy but I could only find it in England or Sri Lanka.  I’ll tolerate a Snickers bar occasionally and I do like Reesus peanut butter cups, but I don’t like peanuts mixed with my chocolate.

I’ve lived an interesting life and sometimes I’ve had to tolerate the nuts in the chocolate of life.  In the past, the flavor of those “nuts” has annoyed me so much that I had a hard time enjoying the chocolate.  I’ve been known to spit out actual chocolate or brownies with nuts.  I think with age and possibly loss of brain cells and taste buds, I’ve come to better appreciate the chocolate flavor in between the nuts and have done a better job of picking chocolates with fewer nuts inside.  In real life, it’s virtually impossible to avoid nuts all together.  However, in the grocery store it’s easier to find chocolate without nuts if you are paying attention and don’t have young kids demanding your attention such that you don’t have the time to read the fine print!

I have recently made a choice to pick a new chocolate from the box of life and it looks pretty and oh so delicious.  I’m a realist so I know that when I bite into that gorgeous looking chocolate that I might happen upon some nuts.  I’m anticipating a lot of gooey, yummy caramel inside and when I bite on the inevitable nuts, hopefully they will be tolerable, I can spit them out without anyone noticing, or simply avoid them… :-)

Biting into this chocolate can quite possibly allow me to help change the world….

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Slumdog Millionaire
Oct 19 2010

I was originally going to do a post about all the various issues I’ve had lately with my car, my garage door, and other stuff, but then I rented and watched Slumdog Millionaire last night.  My car stopped working last Friday but they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with it.  Fortunately I happened to be near the dealer and was able to drive it into the lot before it died again.  They give free rental cars so I just had to pay about $50 for the diagnostic even though I had a nice new rental car for 4 days.  My garage door stopped working Monday night even though I had just replaced the motor just a month ago and spent more money than I’d like to say to get it fixed.  I was about to lose it when they told me they would charge me for the service trip, but when he came out he discovered it was a warranty issue so I didn’t get charged.   So compared to the life of many street kids in India, I have a pretty sweet set of periodic challenges (knock on wood).

Slumdog Millionaire was a great movie and apparently the Academy thought the same because it won 8 awards in 2009.  It’s about the life of orphan street kids in India.  I’ve been to India and Sri Lanka and the poverty and abysmal living conditions of many kids is real.  Maybe I’m a little cynical these days but the happy ending seemed a bit surreal given the horrible hardships they endured.  Spoiler Alert: The main character wins 20 million rupees, he is finally reunited with the girl he fell in love with as a boy, his brother who betrayed him shoots the bad guy and gets killed in the process, etc.  However, I’m sure the visuals were even more dramatic on the big screen.  If those poor street kids in India can have a positive, entrepreneurial attitude when everything and everyone around them can’t be trusted, then who am I to complain.

One day I hope to take my kids to a true 3rd world country so they will fully appreciate the United States of America and what a nice life we have here.  I feel so blessed to be living in America.  And hopefully they will finally appreciate it when I tell them “there are poor kids in India who would love to have your food” when they say don’t like something on their plates!

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Duran Duran – Red Carpet Massacre Concert
Dec 12 2007

Erin, my husband, and I went to the Duran Duran concert at the Austin Music Hall last night.  It was fabulous!  They played just a few songs off of their new CD but spent most of the time on their classics like Rio, Save A Prayer, Girls on Film, Wild Boys (one of our son’s favorite songs), etc., etc.   They didn’t play Hungry Like the Wolf (which is our son’s other favorite DD song).

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Picture from michaelbrown’s flickr account

We didn’t have MTV growing up so I didn’t get to see their videos very often.   I’ve seen more of them now because Erin bought their video collection a while back.  I always thought it was cool that a few of Duran Duran’s videos were filmed in Sri Lanka, which is where I’m from.

Erin said one of his entire room wall’s was filled with Duran Duran posters back in the day.  He was a huge fan.  I think he said he even had some jacket that looked like the one Simon LeBon used to wear.  After seeing the videos again, I finally understood why Erin dances the way he does…which is almost exactly like Simon.  My sister had posters of them on her wall too.  I am embarrassed to admit now that I had a poster of Michael Jackson on my wall.  I know.  I know.  Don’t tell anyone.

Sara Bareillis was the opening act and she has a great voice!  The Austin Music Hall is still under construction and we were fortunate to get there early enough that parking was not a problem and since it’s first come first serve seating we got front row balcony seats!  The only drawback about being in the front row section of the balcony was that we were not supposed to stand.  There were a few times we just had to stand and clap because Duran Duran entered the stage or began playing one of their songs and the security guys didn’t seem to mind.  Overall I don’t think they were worried about this crowd because my guess is that over 90% of the people there were over the age of 25…maybe even 30.  And of course us old folks don’t get too rowdy!

There were several nearby bars so we had easy access to reasonably priced mixed drinks.  Plus the bathrooms didn’t get too crowded which is a bonus.  We got stuck in the parking trying to get out so we got home a bit later than we thought, and fortunately our babysitter for the night didn’t have any curfew restrictions so she didn’t turn into a pumpkin after 11:00 p.m. :-)

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