Monday, October 31, 2011

Dinner with Dyan Cannon

Last night I had a chance to catch up with Dyan Cannon, the talented actress, director and screenwriter known for a range of wonderful films, including the 1969 sexual revolution film "Bob, Carol Ted & Alice" with Natalie Wood. You may know her for some other great films like "Heaven Can Wait", or the hilarious "Revenge of the Pink Panther", "Honeysuckle Rose, "Deathtrap", "Out to Sea" and "Caddyshack II" were just a handful of really fun films in which she starred. Of course, Dyan has a wonderful connection to Palm Springs when she was married to the legendary Cary Grant, who was a fixture here in our fair desert city. (Oddly enough one of my favorite restaurants here in Palm Springs is Copley's on Palm Canyon, which is in Cary Grant's former home. They have a great black and white photo of Cary Grant in the restaurant that catches my attention whenever I walk past it). 
At 72, Dyan still looks wonderful, with a perky personality that shines just as bright as it did when I first met her over 20 years ago. Dyan is very excited about her new memoir, "Dear Cary: My Life With Cary Grant". Her marriage to a true member of Hollywood Royalty produced a daughter, Jennifer who also recently wrote a book about her dad. Dyan has been making a series of public appearances on a book tour, and definitely has her followers. I believe she said her book is at #2 on the LA Times best sellers lists. Dyan smiles easily, laughs heartily and enjoys life. Perhaps most impressive is her deep spirituality and how passionately she speaks about finding love within. Dyan is a pure delight. I only just picked up a copy of her book, so I've not read it yet, but knowing Dyan, she has quite a story to tell. I'll let you know how it reads.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Classic Cars...The Great American Love Affair


I don't claim to be a car enthusiast or even be knowledgeable about cars. However I can appreciate the beauty of these timeless classic American cars that kicked off the Great American Love Affair with our cars. These cars helped define an era here in America that is gone but not forgotten. I had the opportunity to attend a classic car show recently and really enjoyed it, so I snapped a few photos to share here for your viewing pleasure. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. The only question I have for you, Gentle Reader, is what song or artist of this era popped into your mind as you look at these cars? Personally I had a combination of Elvis and The Four Seasons...although I admit my timing on those might be a bit off for a few of these cars but you get the gist.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Living in the Moment

As most people do when they reach a certain age, I’ve become more introspective and self-aware. Evaluating personal goals, re-affirming what matters most in one’s life and ensuring priorities are correct become paramount.  I’ve always had a touch of melancholy even as a kid—people have long told me I’m an “old soul” but for years I never knew what that meant. My background as a Christian has not prevented me from being a student of world religions. I enjoy learning about how other faiths and cultures view one's purpose in Today I like to think of myself as somewhat of a Buddhist apprentice. The Dalai Lama has written that Buddhists believe the main purpose in life is to be happy. Seems reasonable, doesn't it?
I will always remain Christian, it is part of who I am. Yet I opened my mind to accept other points of view on the matter of life. I firmly believe that we go around a few times on our journey…our path to enlightenment. I have no problem with the possibility that one can be on the same journey to Heaven by practicing faiths across a few lifetimes. That being said, I’d like to go back to where I started.  I have no idea whether this is my first life or I’ve been here before, but one thing I do know: I want to  make the most of this life.  That’s where the priorities part comes in. I’m thoroughly blessed and grateful for everything the Universe has provided.  I am grateful to feel as though life has taught me many important lessons early on, so now I reap benefits of those life lessons.

So what does matter most? Well, to me, it comes down to living in the moment. Enjoy this very moment. Being content, appreciative for what one has- regardless of how much-- or how little. Even when one is going through a difficult situation (you name it), there is always something to appreciate, if you know where to look.

So where does one look? It’s easy. No travel required. No money is necessary. No other person get it for you. It is within each one of us. Learning to look inward for satisfaction, fulfillment and happiness is one of the greatest lessons in life.

During one of my radio shows recently I was talking about this when a listener called in with a question. ‘Suzie’ explained she understood my point about looking inward, but as much as she did, she saw nothing.  I asked ‘Suzie’ what she felt she was good at (hobbies, etc). She replied that she was good at gardening. “And do you enjoy gardening?” I asked. “Yes”, she said, “very much”. I pointed out that part of living in the moment is appreciating the gifts you have. For some people, having a green thumb is very satisfying. Finding as many of those things about yourself is what it is all about.  Interestingly, the next caller was a blind woman who called in to say that although she was blind, she was grateful for mobility. Being blind wasn’t an obstacle for, especially since she has a guide dog. Having legs that work, she told me were a true gift because with her guide dog she was able to get out of the house and explore the world whenever she wanted.

It was the perfect way to wrap up my show that day. It also served as a reminder to me, yet again about how easy it is to find happiness within.  Regardless of your age or personal situations going on, try your best to get your priorities in line. Live in the moment, take time every day to appreciate what you have and do what matters most. It’s amazing how unimportant everything else suddenly becomes.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Adventures of Sheldon & Duncan: Before & After The Groomer

Before the Groomer Visit
The Adventures of Sheldon and Duncan continue once again with a fresh installment. It was a perfect Autumn morning in Palm Springs, bright sunshine, yet cool enough to run around in the yard like total maniacs. Duncan raced out the door to go potty, Sheldon just inches behind. Their usual spot for morning relief was waiting as always. Duncan's favorite lamp post received its daily does of yellow rain. Sheldon was still searching for just the right spot. There was no time to dawdle. I had things to do and places to go, but I know better than to rush Sheldon Gryffindor. All in his own sweet time. Something in the pencil tree caught my eye, so my attention was diverted from the poodles for a few moments. Suddenly both of them came charging around the corner smiling broadly.

I asked them both, in my best pitch if they wanted to go the grooming salon today. Their ears perked up as they cocked their heads in unison. Tails began to wag hurriedly, as they made their way back into the house. Just the jingling of my keys was all that was necessary to rally them to the front door- they were ready to head out. They climbed into the car and waiting impatiently- stomping their front feet in expectation of a day of fun and frolicking at the groomer's with all the other dogs. Take a look at the photo of them above, neither were too shaggy, but both needed a good brush and fluff. When we arrived at the salon, they quickly disappeared behind the counter and quickly forgot all about me, opting instead for their canine buddies.

riding home after the groomer's
After work that day I returned home to pick them up from the salon. I waited to hear a report card from Pat, the salon owner. Pat loves both Duncan and Sheldon, she's a poodle person anyway. She proceeded to inform me that Duncan spent most of the day sitting on her lap or table platform as she groomed other dogs. He likes to be the center of attention, so that was a good place to be I suppose. She told me Duncan even knew to stand up when smaller dogs needed to walk past him, the really tiny dogs were able to walk underneath him as he stood up, then returning to a seated position once he saw the small dogs in place. 

After the Groomers, all clean & fluffy!
They were both thrilled to see me when I walked in, which always makes me feel better than the abandonment when I drop them off. They were supercharged--feeling clean, fresh and fluffed, and they knew it. Sheldon in particular paused to admire himself when he passed by the mirror. That dog has quite a personality. Maybe that's why he has his own Twitter account @SheldonGryffin . 

Back home, they charged into the house, where Owen scattered as he heard his brothers galloping in the foyer. Everything was back to normal at home, once again.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I've Been Writing and Writing and Writing

For the past few years I've been working on writing a book. Well make that a few books. Writing has always come easily to me. As a kid I enjoyed writing so much I maintained a journal. Through school, I loved my typewriter. Then in college I made the switch to a computer-thingy. These days of course I'm a Mac Book guy and still enjoy writing. 

The book(s) I've been writing (I use that term 'book' loosely) are still very much rough draft concepts, yet I know that among the hundreds of pages are a subset text that will one day rise from the file and become a reality. One of my life goals is to publish a few books pertaining to self-motivation, and turning dreams into reality. Yesterday I wrote a post about the power of positive thinking. Those concepts have guided me through life since I was "knee-high to a grasshopper", so it is hardly a surprise to me that I am still drawn to these basic truths. 

I expect that I will continue to write around this subject matter until the moment is right; when the time comes I'll know it. Just the other night I awakened from a deep sleep with an idea of someone with whom I could partner on a book concept. Not sure exactly why that person's name came to me while asleep, but I'll never question it. I sent her an e-mail the next day to see where it may lead. Until then, I'll continue writing and writing and writing...

Monday, October 10, 2011

With Our Thoughts We Make Our World

About ten years ago, when I first moved to Palm Springs I had been living in San Diego for a few years. I can't truly say I was unhappy, because San Diego is a fantastic place on many levels. However I knew it was not where I wanted to hang my hat and settle in. Back then, the reality I knew was that my employer was in San Diego; my career going very well, and life- as I knew it- revolved around work. It wasn't all that bad actually. Yet I recognized there was something missing. Not so much material things, it was really about how I was spending my free time and LIVING.

I'll spare all the details- those belong more in the pages of a book than a blog post. But suffice to say I had an epiphany one weekend that the center of my universe was about to shift away from San Diego to a pleasant desert community about two hours away. It seemed crazy. Work was in San Diego, "I CAN'T" go there, I thought. But quickly those negative thoughts were replaced by an understanding that "I CAN". Yes, certain sacrifices would be made, with an eye toward the future. Yes, a few mistakes might have been made along the way, but none that interfered with the vision of the world I wanted.

When the relocation to Palm Springs happened, it didn't take long for the Universe to respond--in spades. Within a short time, my life was filled with the very things that were missing just a few weeks prior. That change initiated a series of actions that have affected me (positively) ever since. I remember a time when I thought I was "stuck" in San Diego, yet once I shifted my mind I found a reality of how to move my world.

Back then, I didn't understand the power of positive thinking, or how our thoughts can affect us. I like to describe it as a combination of prayer and positive thinking. Prayer is a very powerful force. The act of acknowledging a Higher Power and directing one's thoughts and mind toward that can be incredibly effective.

Today I am blessed with a life that is just what I envisioned. To achieve that is very fortunate indeed. The road of life is filled with many twists and turns, some painful and full of sadness. Yet how we handle those twists in the road, how we think about them, makes all the difference. The energy we expend with our thoughts is like a "cause and effect". So regardless of your current situation, your current reality, or the current "world in which you live", always remember that with our thoughts we make our world.

If you are reading this, chances are you, or someone else you know may need this message. Feel free to share it as needed. If it sparks a thought to just one person, it was worth the time it took to type this post. But in truth, I already know it is.
You are welcome to hear more on this topic from my radio radio show clicking here.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Sunday Funny....

Happy Sunday all! Can you believe it is October 9th already? Where does the time go? I've done so much traveling this year that it seems to have flown past even more quickly than usual. Or is it true that time passes more quickly as one ages? At any rate I stumbled across this image recently and thought it to be rather funny. For those of us living in today's 'social media' world of Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and yes, even Blogger, we need to remember to live in the moment which sometimes means forgetting about telling everyone else we know about the experience and just living it! So remember, in case of fire, exit the building BEFORE Tweeting about it!
Happy Sunday!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Importance of Good Grammar & Punctuation

For as long as I can recall, proper use of the English language- both spoken and written has come easily to me. I don't profess to be the best writer by any means; doubtless there are numerous posts within this blog over the years that have grammatical errors. I would attribute those to a hastily written post more than a lack of technical knowledge. Some people struggle with using proper English on a daily basis, using poor grammar, incorrect use of words, and bad punctuation. I have been blessed with a good upbringing and excellent education so that I merely hear or see something to recognize it as incorrect. Being a voracious reader of books, I may have subliminally enhanced my knowledge of the English language further still.

This post is not written as a rant toward anyone in particular, but more from a point of view that I miss the days when using proper English mattered within our society. Our fast paced world of e-mail and texting has brought a host of abbreviations, acronyms and seemingly a loss for attention to detail. While these may be appropriate in a text, it frustrates me to see these trends creeping into formal written communications. I'm not sure what is worse, the fact people communicate poorly, or that they are not aware their grammar is so poor. Perhaps some people just do not care.

Case in point: I've been assisting a friend with recruiting and hiring for an open position for her company. I offered to sift through a few cover-letters and resumes, and be part of the interview panel. Throughout the process, I have been mortified by the quality of cover letters and resumes submitted for this position. Resumes with spelling errors, poor punctuation, and wrong use of words were common among the candidates. One person's cover letter read as follows:

"...During the first year I, killed my bosses and also her bosses number to. Everyone told me, how much better I was at it then my co-worker's before me did it".

Can you imagine? The errors within that are not only laughable but made me think about calling the police to report a murder confession. For a brief moment afterward I slipped into a gloomy state of mind, feeling as if our world was "going to hell in a hand-basket" as they say. Why is it that learning and using proper grammar is not valued anymore? 

Without a doubt I am a bit of an "old school" person; I still enjoy sending postcards, hand-written thank you notes and holiday cards. I realize that the world is changing and technology is moving very fast. I believe it is important for people to hold one another accountable to communicate properly. Parents need to teach and correct their children. Grandparents should set the example in their spoken word at home. Within the workplace, companies should train their employees to use professional business grammar, and not accept substandard communications.

All I ask is that people slow down a bit, try to use proper English to mean what you say and say what you mean. With that, Gentle Reader this post draws to a close. Thank you for reading this rant.
P.S. all corrections to grammar within this post are welcome!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Steve Job's Perspectives on Dying

The world truly lost a genius today whose brief time on this planet made a real difference to a generation...

I ran across a few passages attributed to former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, commenting about his own battle with pancreatic cancer...some of you may find these words of interest.
“The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is   incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six   months,” he told his shocked audience.

Although a biopsy later showed the cancer was treatable, Jobs said it had made him think seriously about dying for the first time.
“No one wants to die,” he said. “Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it.
“And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
“Our time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”…
And then these comments too...

 “When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."
- Steve Jobs

Interesting, huh?

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Amazing Music of Concert!

Sunday I went to see Basia perform in concert at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, CA. Basia has an amazing vocal range and has recorded some really excellent music that remains a staple in smooth jazz stations and home music collections. Her unique style of "cocktail style background jazz music" is great because it is pleasant enough to listen to alone, sing along or as background music that won't overtake a cocktail conversation. 

Her 'Time and Tide' album went Platinum and made her a true International recording star. I was living in Chicago when she first got "big" in the US. There was a great smooth Jazz station in Chicago at the time called WNUA 98.5 FM who played Basia constantly. Some of you might even recall her being a member of the band 'Matt Bianco'.

Born in Poland, she was raised in England and also lived in Chicago for awhile, her speaking voice has an interesting accent for sure. There is no mistaking her Polish roots; Basia's last name is nearly impossible for we Americans to pronounce: 'Trzetrzelewska' so it comes as no surprise why she only goes by her first name.
I recently stumbled on her new album, a live concert recording called “From Newport To London: Greatest Hits Live…And More.” It was co-produced by the Basia and her longtime collaborator and keyboardist Danny White (also a member of 'Matt Bianco'). "From Newport to London" includes her white-hot smooth jazz standards like 'Time And Tide,' Promises' and 'Cruising For Bruising.'

I was in Atlanta last week for work when I saw a Twitter feed about tickets being available for Basia's concert in the Palm Springs area, so I snapped up two tickets on the spot. I was so happy to have the opportunity to see her in concert, despite being a big fan I don't know why I never found a way to see her over all these years.

True fans of Basia will love her in concert, because her voice sounds exactly the same as her studio album voice. I really enjoyed her concert on Sunday, she was personable, friendly and so down to earth. She smiles easily and appears to genuinely love singing and her music. Basia is a master at the jazz samba rhythm sound. Beware of involuntary toe-tapping or swaying while attending her show. I even jumped up at one point and found myself swaying and clapping along to her singing. It was wonderful to be washed over by the wave of song, it made me smile both inside and out.

Basia sang virtually every one of her major hits and then some. She maintained great energy all night, particularly during some of her more difficult songs like "I Must" which features complex chords, very fast versus and broad vocal range. She handled it well, and then moved right into a ballad effortlessly. I can't say enough about Basia and how terrific she is to hear sing live. If you love smooth jazz music, check her out, and better still see her in concert. Find more information from her website

2011 From Newport to London
2009 It’s That Girl Again
1997 Clear Horizon
1995 Basia on Broadway
1994 Sweetest Illusion
1990 London, Warsaw, New York
1986 Time and Tide

Matt Bianco (featuring Basia)
2004 Matt's Mood
1984 Whose Side Are You On?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Barkworld Social Media, day two

Who knew that a social media conference could be so fun. Anytime pets are involved or the ultimate focus, it is going to be fun. That's part of what made the Barkworld Expo so enjoyable this past weekend. As I mentioned in yesterday's post, the conference brought together some of the leading 'social petworkers' for a confab and learning sessions galore. One element in particular that emerged was that of QR Codes (QR stands for 'Quick Response', our friends at Wikipedia have more info on QR Codes here). These QR Codes are slowly emerging as a communication tool for marketers, events, merchants and others to give consumers and the general public a way to learn more. For example I was at the Atlanta Airport flying home and saw a sign in the terminal about airport shopping and restaurant offers with a giant QR code. So I took out my iPhone, opened the scanning app and scanned the sign. It brought me to a website that had a bunch of offers and coupons for the various restaurants and shops in the airport. I decided where to eat based on what I found from that site. Interesting huh?
Well one exhibitor, called Pet QR Tag had a nifty item for pet ID tags that had the QR Code technology, which is very clever. That way if you move, change your number or even post a special message on the website, it is easy to update, but the QR code on the pet's tag allows you lots of options. In all honesty, QR Codes are still not in heavy use by the general public but it is a fascinating way to communicate. I suspect lots of people, like myself just don't know how to get their phone to be able to scan QR Codes. (all you need to do is go to the App Store and search for 'QR Code Scan' or 'barcode scan' and a bunch will come up. I like 'Red Laser' which was free, and is easy to use. Start looking around, you'll see these QR Codes more and more, so explore them and have fun.
It was great to run into my friend and fellow paw-pal Diane with her flat Cosmo, better known in the Twitterverse as @CosoHavanese. This is one cool dog who can do amazing things! Diane is really sweet and does a lot to help raise money for pet charities and all sorts of groups. If you don't follow @CosmoHavanese on Twitter you should do so!

In addition to the learning sessions throughout the Expo, there was a nifty room for blogger networking, where attendees could sit, relax, catch up on e-mail, chat with other folks, or just relax and watch the giant screen in the room with the live Twitter feed from people using the #Barkworld hash tag. It was a nice quiet, cozy space that is rare to find at conferences today.
Barkworld founder Denise Quashie (center photo) is one of the nicest people I've ever met. She plans and hosts this entire social conference, providing a wide range of interesting and valuable sessions for attendees. This year was an impressive event even over the prior year, which I thought was pretty darn good too. One of the sessions I attended was presented by Cheryl Lawson, CEO of 'Party Aficionado' an event planner and Social Marketing Specialist. She is a very sharp person with a heck of a lot to offer, should you ever need a consultant or assistance within your organization. Anyway, Cheryl's session encouraged me to engage with Google+ so I filled out my profile and have that up and running. I prefer Google+ to facebook, as I don't really want to share every facet of my life with everyone, so Google+ is closer to what I want out of an online social presence.
As I mentioned earlier, it's always a big plus to have pets at an event. They add an element of warmth to the activities and for those of us who missed having our pet with us it was great to have a fluffy friend to pet. Some of the pets were the "voices" behind some of the top Twitter handles on the Internet, others were just along for the ride.
One of the exhibitors, petco had a preview of their holiday pet fashions, toys and other cool things. They had a drawing for a free petco gift card and digital camera, which seemed to generate strong interest from everyone passing by their booth. As one a 'diamond sponsor' of this year''s Barkworld Expo, petco was engaging with pet bloggers and social media experts to enhance relationships and build more opportunities for the future.
I love this photo, it is of 'Precious' known to many online as the personality behind @ImaJackRussell on Twitter. Precious is wearing the red shirt, and next to her was a super cute friend in a pink satin dress, with a pearl necklace, sniffing around in her mom's Juicy Couture bag.
I'd like to give a shout out to Denise Quashie from Barkworld who did a great job this year. 

I give Barkworld "two paws up" for the entire event, and recommend attending next year; I know that I plan to do so. By that time, I hope my Sheldon has a bigger following on Twitter (he is @SheldonGryffin) and maybe I'll bring him to Atlanta for meet and greet!


This blog is about life experiences & observations and stuff I am interested in. It is simply a side hobby and creative outlet; generally, with a tongue-in-cheek tone. I don't take it too seriously, nor should you. I do not profess to represent every point of view. Nothing on this site is a paid post.

It is for entertainment purposes only it, so just lighten up and just enjoy it. Life is short, live in the moment.

As the author, thoughts/views have no affiliation to my clients, business colleagues or my company.

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