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Remembering Memorial Day – History, Honor, and Humor


Saturday May 26, 2012

Reading Time: 9 minutes

This post was originally published in 2009, but we thought it still a good way to learn about Memorial Day and share some personal stories. Happy Memorial Day Weekend 2012!
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This weekend, more particularly this coming Monday, May 25, 2009, Americans will “celebrate” Memorial Day. I thought today I would spend a few minutes remembering Memorial Day, with some history, honor and humor.

As a youngster I came to know Memorial Day as May 30th, celebrated really as a day to remember those who had given their life in service to our country. It didn’t really matter what day of the week May 30th occurred, it was a Federal holiday, a day off from school and it meant we would proudly display the American Flag on our home and we would attend a parade. After all I grew up in a military town, just outside San Diego, CA, and my father was a retired Naval officer. These parades weren’t always grand, but they were a nice tradition.

If you would like to learn more about the history of Memorial Day there is a very interesting Library of Congress web page with wonderful information. Two historical items of interest:

1. “In 1971, federal law changed the observance of the holiday to the last Monday in May and extended the honor to all soldiers who died in American wars.”
2. “Protocol for flying the American flag on Memorial Day includes raising it quickly to the top of the pole at sunrise, immediately lowering it to half-staff until noon, and displaying it at full staff from noon until sunset.”
Additionally, I came across a History Channel presentation of the history of Taps and the playing of Taps for our fallen military. Here is the YouTube video.

 

memorial day

Memorial Day is to be a day to honor those of our armed services who died during an American War or as a result of an American war. But since my father’s passing in 1979, I always like to honor him on days like Memorial Day and Veterans Day. I have talked about my father, Joseph Eagen, in other blog posts. He led a very interesting life, but what defined his adult life was his commitment to the US Navy. On December 30, 1935, at the age of 17 years 11 months, he completed his Navy enlistment application. He needed his mother’s permission to enlist! Ten months later, on October 13, 1936, his enlistment was approved. For the next 17 years he served and was retired due to a service connected disability on June 30, 1953. The photo shown here is one that I have always loved. My father is the tall one on the right. I believe it was taken in China between July 9, 1937 and November 3, 1938, when he served aboard the U.S.S. Augusta. What I love about this photo is the sheer expression of joy in my father’s sparkling eyes and smile. (By the way, the dark mark on his cheek is just a defect in a very old photo.)

Now you are probably wondering how I could ever remember Memorial Day with humor. Well, this story will take you to a day in my life at Cranmore Mountain Lodge, located in Carroll County, Town of Conway, Village of Kearsarge, New Hampshire. The year is 1987. Our country inn was situated on plus or minus seven acres and our property line went up a hill to abut the property line of the Kearsarge Cemetery. This cemetery is very, very old and it is the type of cemetery that people will often visit to do headstone rubbings.

 

family photo

On this Memorial Day 1987 a lady came to the inn. She introduced herself as a member of the Kearsarge Cemetery Association and she wanted to know if we were aware that our two young sons had been visiting the cemetery with her grandson, Eric. I told her I didn’t know they had climbed the hill to the Cemetery and then she asked me if I noticed that my children were running around outside with many little American Flags in their hands. I told her I had noticed that and that is when she told me that Aaron (6.5 years), Dan (3 years)and Eric (4 years) had “raided” the cemetery and removed all of the Memorial Day flags that had been placed to honor the war dead!

As you celebrate Memorial Day take time out of your weekend to remember those who gave their lives for our country. And let me know how you remember Memorial Day.
P.S. I do not know the names of the other two young men in the photo with my father. Should anyone out there in the world wide web recognize them, please let me know.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Time flies, good times or not. I realized the other day that we have not posted here since November 15, 2011. That’s 90+ days, one quarter of a year or three months! Like many bloggers who take a hiatus, we have plenty of good reasons why we haven’t written lately. Let’s see:

  • Holidays are always a good excuse. In the last 90 days we have celebrated some or all of these holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, New Years, Martin Luther King Day, Presidents’ Day, Valentines…
  • Closing out the year-end books for any business can and does take time.
  • Vacations or business trips impact all of our schedules
  • Working with new clients, designing new web sites is always a good way to spend time

I think it is obvious that the above list could go on ad nauseum.  I am also pretty sure you get the point, time is precious and we need to manage our time to accomplish all that we would like to with our blog, personal or business. Isn’t this what we tell our clients? Engage!!!

Let me tell you what really brought this point home to me. Last week one of my favorite bloggers, Julien Smith, posted “A Short Contest”.  He was asking his regular and new readers to tweet a quote from one of his posts.  I was game and here is the quote that I tweeted:

If you aren’t current, you may as well not exist. http://inoveryourhead.net/protip-your-inactive-blog-makes-you-irrelevant/ @julien

Julien’s quote “If you aren’t current, you may as well not exist” isn’t just about social media in general or blogging in particular; it really has to do with all aspects of our lives and the success of our businesses. Be inquisitive, learn about new software, read about new business concepts, dust off the shelves, do an inventory, wash the windows, and don’t cheat yourself or your clients.  And as another blogging friend says: “Don’t cheat on your blog!”

Today I am pushing the reset button on Webconsuls’ blog. I hope you will subscribe and if you want to share some stories about how you “reset” your blog, please leave a comment.

tucson sunset
A Tucson sunset can inspire you to push the reset button!

 

Reading Time: 8 minutes
reviewing 2010Image via Wikipedia
Webconsuls’ 2010/2011 Winter Newsletter
If 2010 was nothing else, it was a fast year. It seems only yesterday Dick Fay and I were working on our 2009 Winter Newsletter and now here we are writing our 2010/2011 Winter Newsletter. We want to take a few minutes to: Thank our Webconsuls’ clients, introduce our newest clients, highlight some marketing and software ideas, suggest two resolutions for you and support our not-for-profit clients who assist children in need.
Thanking our clients…
Webconsuls and our team appreciates our clients. We learn from each and every client by optimizing their sites, designing new sites, building blogs, coaching our clients on new software and responding to their marketing needs. As you may know, we have clients across the United States (actually in 11 states) and in two foreign countries, representing industries from hospitality to law, health care to home maintenance, real estate to retail, sports and recreation to performing arts. There is never a dull day.
Introducing our clients who joined us in 2010…
We invite you to meet our new clients and visit their websites.
Highlighting some marketing and software suggestions…

 

We know the internet is fluid. It changes daily. We try to keep our clients abreast of these changes by writing this blog, researching our clients’ requests, providing news’ feeds on our website, and publishing our newsletter. Over the past few years we have blogged a lot about social media/Google/Twitter. We have built blogs for our clients, we have worked with our clients to establish their Facebook business page.  Additionally, over the past year…
  • Dick has been particularly active assisting our clients by adding shopping carts with either PayPal or Authorize.net functionality.
  • Dennis worked with clients to add a LIVEPerson feature for online customer engagement.
  • Malik, our lead designer and web developer, is also proficient in designing clients’ e-newsletters using Constant Contact and Vertical Response.
  • Keith, our PPC specialist, works closely with several of our PPC clients to utilize phone conversion optimization software.  
  • Alycia, our branding expert, has been focused on improving Client Web 2.0 and specific SEO-related enhancements.
Suggesting two resolutions for you…

 

The first is to start reading our Webconsuls’ blog on a regular basis.  As we said above, with our blog we communicate new information that we think is important to on-line marketing and social media.


The second is to start and maintain your own blog.  Our clients with blogs generally receive more traffic than clients in similar fields without them.  Blogger now allows you to easily monitor your blog stats.  A blog is easy and relatively inexpensive to create.  Routinely writing posts can be a challenge, but it can  be rewarding with more virtual exposure, traffic, and new business.  You might start by also reading some of our clients’ blogs like –  Delytes – A ‘green’ fine foods company  or Attorney Carilyn Ibsen’s blog  or Attorney Will Bruzzo’s blog.

Finally supporting our not-for-profit clients…

 

This year, as in years past, Webconsuls made a donation in honor of our clients to those not-for- profit clients who work to support children and families in need.

Olive Crest Homes and Services for Abused Children
Since 1973, Olive Crest has transformed the lives of over 50,000 abused, neglected, and at-risk children and their families.

The Promises Foundation Miriam’s House
The Promises Foundation is committed to restoring hope for families by creating a safe environment for mothers and their children to grow and develop the tools they require to live meaningful and self-sufficient lives.

The Forrest General Healthcare Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Forrest General Hospital. The foundation helps ensure that the hospital’s vision of C.A.R.E. becomes a reality for the 17 county region that the hospital serves. Initiatives include the Inpatient Hospice Home Project, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Renovation Project and the Spiritual Grounds at Pine Grove.

We wish you a healthy and prosperous New Year. Let us know if 2011 is the year you want to add some new features to your on-line marketing. We will be happy to discuss these opportunities and plan a strategy with you.

Sincerely,
Dennis, Dick and Judy

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the bystander effect (syndrome) and how it can be applied to the Internet. I am not referring to the darker side of the Internet, I am talking about a typical website/blog that is designed for commercial e-commerce or business to business (B2B), personal/informational blog, news, government or a non-profit organization promotional site. Our society has been talking about the bystander effect for almost 50 years, and yes I know it is usually applied to life and death emergency situations, not unlike the Good Samaritan that died in New York City on April 18th.

But back to the Internet and the bystander effect. I started down this path about six weeks ago when I saw a tweet from Chris Brogan which said basically: “People of earth, I know my site has been hacked.” I think this was Chris’ urgent way of telling his 135,000+ Twitter followers to stop sending him messages. I am almost positive that Chris really appreciated the first few tweets or emails from his followers, because one might be a fluke but multiple messages validate the condition, and besides I think Chris would do the same if he came across something that was broken (my assumption, but his stated principle to “be helpful”). I think Chris is lucky that so many people want to help him. More often than not, a site viewer will see or come across something that is broken or obviously incorrect and yet they won’t take the time to tell the site owner, whose very livelihood might depend on this “head’s up.”

Let me give you two current examples, both involve $1,000,000:

  1. On May 21, Zappos.com announced that their sister site 6pm.com’s pricing engine capped all prices at $49.95 for six hours. It cost them a loss of $1.6 million dollars. Is it possible that over the course of six hours not one regular returning customer of 6pm.com took the time to send a message to say “Hey, something looks screwy on your site!”? I hope you will read the whole article, because you will see that it was a programming error that resulted from bad code. Read all the comments about pricing engines, 6pm.com took the high road, but I would love to know if they received that one email that alerted them. (I learned about this story from Jodi Henderson’s blog )
  2. On May 29th, I read a tweet from Jorja at Beyond the Pale that said: “RT the lonely world of blogging, comment anyone, anyone, buehler? comment, anyone?” and it linked to Savor the Ride (be sure to read all the eventual comments on this post, it will allow you to see how the story unfolded). I decided to see what this blog was all about. Guess what? The blogger, Ridgely Johnson, was offering $1,000,000 to the first commenter, as her last 20 blogs had received not one comment. A few tweets went back and forth between Jorja and me, finally I sent an email to Ridgely which said: “I happened over to your blog because @beyondpalegal (Jorja) tweeted about you. Not that I expected to win $1,000,000, but I cannot figure out how to leave a comment on any of your posts. I tried in IE8 and FF…no place to comment. Am I missing something, maybe this is why no one is commenting?”Today is Memorial Day. It is a solemn day, but I thought that maybe I could leave you with a scene from the wonderful 1986-1993 television series “Designing Women.” This YouTube video is dedicated to Dixie Carter (Julia) who passed away April 10, 2010. Julia asks the proverbial question: “Why didn’t somebody tell me?” Watch the whole episode, you won’t be disappointed.


Designing women season 3 episode 15 by Mixedseries12
If you are having trouble viewing Season 3, Episode 15 “Full Moon,” you can view it here.

Over this Memorial Day weekend, Chris Brogan and Julien Smith have been writing about “frames and assumptions.” The stand out message is this from Julien: “Always be testing. Never stop questioning things you think are true, no matter how solid they may seem.” This, of course, applies to all aspects of our lives, but particularly to our websites/blogs. Things happen, hacking occurs, links break, you hit a wrong button and you disable comments, no one tests your site in varied browsers (can look great on an Apple in Safari, and scream “Help” in IE8). Many bloggers are not technical and they cannot afford on-going technical assistance, so don’t assume they know about a problem with their site. Don’t be a bystander, speak up! Remember this is social media. Be social. Help a “friend.”

I would love to hear your thoughts about all of this.

Reading Time: 7 minutes
story in life
A great photo to highlight the importance of story! Joann Eagen, Agnes Eagen, Pat Kimball, and Judy Eagen, Winter 1951

I am writing this blog today because Chris Brogan has challenged his readers to write about the “importance of story in your life.” Chris was talking about Don Miller’s latest book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life and from this came the challenge. Apparently if I am timely enough with this post I might receive a free copy of A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life. In an earlier post, February 21, 2010, Chris Brogan encouraged his readers to use social media to “Turn your lens on your family. Tell family stories for future generations.”

For those of you who know me (i.e., my immediate family, team members, relatives, friends, previous co-workers, blog readers), I am most generally known as the storyteller. If you give me a subject I can probably tell you a story from my life that relates to that subject. While many may roll their eyes, get the “hook” or give me the old wind-up signal when I start to tell a story, these are the same people who will ask if the yearly holiday letter is ready to mail or have I posted to the Webconsuls’ blog lately.

When I was assigned to be the Saturday morning blogger for Webconsuls I allowed myself the freedom to write about any topic, it did not have to be technical in any fashion. So you can imagine my blog topics have been all over the map.

My father liked to share stories about his life and I liked listening to him tell a good story. Today I am thinking back to couple of years ago when I shared with my two sons a letter that had been written by my father in 1950.

The day I shared this was Father’s Day 2008 and since my father had passed away in 1979 neither of my sons had the opportunity to know my dad. I decided that I would send a copy of this letter to Aaron and Daniel, so that they might have some insight into their maternal grandfather, Joseph Raymond Eagen. The letter was written to my mother on December 16, 1950, addressed from Hungnam, Korea. My father was aboard the USS Kaskaskia. According to Wikipedia “During December she arrived off Hungnam to service ships engaged in evacuation operations in that area. Throughout the harsh winter months, Kaskaskia continued vital fueling missions between Japan and Korea.” If you choose to read the letter it is here. Just click on each jpg and they will enlarge.

Page 1 Daddy's Letter December 16, 1950
Daddy’s letter, page 2

 

Page 2 Daddy's letter December 16, 1950
Daddy’s letter, page 1

Happily both Aaron and Daniel enjoyed reading my dad’s letter. Aaron referred to it as “fascinating” and Daniel called it “amazing, like nothing I ever read before.” A story well received, all brought about because my brother, Michael Eagen, found the letter, created jpgs, emailed me the letter and I was able to email it to my children. Fabulous.

I must tell you that if you read the letter you will know that my dad talks about buying and mailing some special jackets. Daniel wanted to know if I still had the jacket! Well, I don’t, but I do have a great photo of me with my sisters and Pat Kimball. Now you know the story behind the photo at the top of today’s post.We are all wearing our “jackets”. It is Winter 1951.

So this is today’s important story. Enjoy! And, by all means, let me know what you think of it.

Reading Time: 13 minutes

Webconsuls Newsletter, Winter 2009, 4th Quarter

With the holidays upon us, we wanted to take a few minutes to wish all of our clients a happy and healthy New Year. This newsletter will take you down memory lane as Webconsuls turns 10 years old, spotlighting those clients who have been with us for those 10 years, welcoming new clients and sharing some milestones.

Webconsuls turns 10!

Dick and Dennis actually met at an ARCO Business Seminar in June 1981; however, their careers took them on different paths. It was not until October 1999 when Dick and Dennis met again and decided to form Webconsuls.

Dennis likes to recall how Webconsuls came to be…he was recently interviewed by http://www.arcoalumni.com/ and here is their article:

ARCO Alumni Dennis Helfand and Dick Fay built entirely new careers post ARCO. Their focus is to help commercial clients “generate new and/or additional revenues through web presence marketing.” Says Helfand, “We transitioned from a ‘hobby’ to a serious business enterprise very quickly. Webconsuls currently has about 90 clients across the US and a few based in Asia and Europe”.

Having been Director of Public Affairs and Field Operations, at ARCO, Helfand took the 1985 Early Retirement Package at ARCO Alaska, “my wife and I bought a 120-bed country inn resort in New Hampshire’s White Mountains National Forest area, which we operated from 1986 until 1997. In the mid 1990’s, while at the inn, I became interested in learning about marketing the property via the Internet and pursued this activity with great interest. When we sold the inn, we were already realizing quite a bit of revenue from internet-generated leads.”

After relocating to Newport Beach, CA, a number of my former NH-based competitors (friends nonetheless) contacted me to market their facilities over the internet. This became a sort of hobby, earning a few dollars here and there in the process. Then two serendipitous events occurred.

  1. An inn owner and close friend had been trying to sell his property through Realtors. There were very few prospects and not a single serious buyer. I suggested selling his property over the Internet for a “marketing fee.” This was in 1998 and I believe it may have been one of the first commercial property sales via the Internet. Best of all, my web marketing fee amounted to just about one percent of the total sales price!

2.  The second fortuitous event was meeting my former Crude Supply Manager for lunch in 1998. I asked him about Dick Fay (W. Richard Fay) from ARCO Transportation Company. He said Dick recently retired and was looking to do something new and interesting.

The rest is history. Webconsuls.com was established in 1999. We formed an LLC and got serious very quickly. On-Line courses and technical publications gave us new skill sets and we gradually acquired outside specialists to assist us as our business grew. My wife Judy, a business analyst in the information technology field joined Webconsuls in November 2006.

We have seen our business thrive and look forward to continued growth and new experiences.

Clients come and go…
Over the past 10 years Webconsuls’ team has had the privilege to work with over 300 clients in a variety of industries. Each client is unique and that is what makes web design, SEO and SMO so interesting and vital. Judy recently looked back to see which clients started with Webconsuls in the Fall of 1999 and of those which ones are still our clients. Interestingly enough, there are four! They are New Hampshire Campground Association, Motorcars East, Newport Channel Inn and Edna Deeb Law.

Here are some interesting facts from Webconsuls first business quarter: 22 clients, nine California clients, nine New Hampshire clients, four Connecticut clients, 31 invoices!

New Clients round out our base…
We are happy to introduce you to our newest clients and we invite you to check out their websites.

Celebrate a New Life **

Creative Care

Green Clean OC **

Hardline 830 **

Law Office of Carilyn Ibsen **

Promises Foundation

Rockport Inn & Suites

Snap Out of It Now

Surfing Heritage Foundation **

We are also working on either new sites or redesigns for

Savoir Faire Language Institute

Forrest General Healthcare Foundation

Executive Maintenance

Wallace Physical Therapy

Law Office of Salvatore Ciulla

The Internet Grows and Evolves

Dick Fay remembers how when they first started in 2000 Webconsuls could make some small changes to a site and viola! the site would be on the first page of Alta Vista. The number of competitors to most sites was measured in the hundreds, pay per click was in its infancy with something called Overture, Google was an upstart, and no one had heard of Social Marketing. Potential clients were trying to decide if they “needed” a web site. Websites themselves were usually static and straightforward.

Now some clients face thousands or millions of competitors for key terms, Google has about 70% of the search engine marketplace, pay per click is huge and requires expert management to be successful. Clients are deciding when to redesign their web site to keep it up to date with the available technology. Facebook, Twitter, blogs and video are staples of many successful businesses whose owners work hand in hand with Webconsuls to grow their business.

Webconsuls Grows and Evolves

Webconsuls has also grown and evolved over the last 10 years. We have added a third partner, Judy Helfand. The entire team keeps up with the latest in Search Engine Optimization. We have added specialists in web design, pay per click, social media, and link building. We have redesigned our web site several times to reflect our growing business. We have added a blog and links to news feeds on Search Engine Marketing and Social Media. Check them out:

Search Engine Optimization

Social Media Optimization

You can also follow us on Twitter

Let us know if you have a twitter account and would like us to follow you.

Webconsuls’ Team News…

As most of you know Malik Moosa-Soomar, our web development specialist and designer, was married to Zaheen Allibhoy on April 11, 2009. Dennis, Judy, Dick and Fran were happy to attend their wedding celebration in Austin, TX. Speaking of weddings, Dick and Fran were married February 20, 2009. Keith Hansen, our pay-per-click specialist, and his wife, Diana, welcomed a baby boy, Layne, on April 26, 2009.

We are happy to welcome Alycia Kaczuwka as our new Social Media expert. Alycia is working with our clients focusing on brand-building using tools like blogs/RSS, Facebook, Twitter and social bookmarking. She brings her extensive background in audience development and website design to social tools to keep the SMO process in focus as an integrated part of a web-based marketing plan. In addition, Alycia has a comprehensive background in web analytics using Google Analytics and Omniture to measure campaign performance and return on investment.

Happy Holidays

This year rather than send a small gift to our clients we are making donations to the following:

Olive Crest Homes and Services for Abused Children
Since 1973, Olive Crest has transformed the lives of over 50,000 abused, neglected, and at-risk children and their families.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Midcoast Maine
The vision of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Midcoast Maine is successful mentoring relationships for youth in Knox, Lincoln and Waldo Counties, contributing to better schools, stronger communities and brighter future.

The Promises Foundation Miriam’s House
The Promises Foundation is committed to restoring hope for families by creating a safe environment for mothers and their children to grow and develop the tools they require to live meaningful and self-sufficient lives.

Sincerely,

Dick, Dennis and Judy

Reading Time: 9 minutes
google wave(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, November 28, 2009, I finally received eight Google WAVE invitations to distribute! But before I distribute them I thought I would share some of my observations about Google WAVE and some links to interesting articles about it as well.

Thanksgiving has come and gone this year. I hope you had a peaceful holiday. It seems Thanksgiving Day is always a day filled with various conversations that take place as dinner is being prepared and while one is waiting for the next football game to start. This Thanksgiving was no exception at our home, but now I am wondering how many families stopped long enough to engage in a conversation about Google Wave. That’s right. You read correctly. We actually had a brief conversation about Google WAVE. I think it was Aaron who asked the question: “Ok, I waved, is anybody going to wave back?” To this Daniel grinned and said that he, too, had noticed that it doesn’t seem to do a lot of good if you wave and no one waves back. What is with that? We collectively wondered aloud!

I received my invitation to Google WAVE on November 12, 2009, but I have been reading about it since May 28, 2009, when Google announced the WAVE to the world at its I/O developer conference. A follow up post on May 31, 2009, was even more interesting, particularly the comments by Yefim Natis. I was encouraged to sign-up to be a Google WAVE beta tester on July 22, 2009. But I believe I didn’t follow up on that suggestion, as I was busy working on a number of Webconsuls’ projects at the time. So when the big day came, September 30, 2009, I did not get one of the 100,000 original invitations. But that does not mean that I didn’t follow the WAVE’s progress along the way. On October 19, 2009, I enjoyed reading a TIME Magazine piece by Lev Grossman, Google Wave: What’s All the Fuss About?

I think it was shortly thereafter that I began to really think about the WAVE. Some press was good and some press was negative, was the WAVE alternately and literally at its crest and ebb with each passing day? A friend questioned why I was not in a rush to be part of the WAVE. My immediate answer was really twofold and it continues to take shape, even now that I have my invitation and can send invitations to my friends.
Here are my thoughts:

1) I spent about eight years in an IT department where part of my job description included Quality Assurance, either directly or in a supervisory position. Quality Assurance or QA, as it is known in the business, is a very fancy name for being a TESTER. Test the system until you can break it! I believe the average pay for a QA with a few years experience is somewhere between $45,000 and $60,000. Now, let’s multiply $50,000 X 100,000 beta testers for Google WAVE. What you must understand about QA and what Google figured out a long time ago is this: Testing has a way of sucking you in…not unlike a rip current! It is hard to stop, once you start. And many people want to be able to say they were in on the ground floor of this WAVE. Be assured Google is good about listening to your comments (“test defects”), as they are anxious to have a good product. They will make you feel “valuable”, albeit you are an unpaid volunteer.

2) While I love the beauty of the ocean, as a youngster I had many bad experiences with rip currents. Growing up in Southern California the beach becomes part of your life, but it can mean certain death. Therefore, the word WAVE has not always had a pleasant connotation. Let’s think about it: tidal wave (OMG), permanent wave (ugly hairdos), microwave (makes you sterile if you are not careful), brain wave (you hope you have them, but it is bad news if people are looking for them), rogue wave (think The Perfect Storm), wave of nausea (TMI), heat wave, cold wave, seismic wave, good-bye wave (almost always sad).

As I close today, I invite you to read a few more articles:

Why Google Wave Sucks and Why You Will Use It Anyway

Google’s Infinite Strip

And…I want to share with you a YouTube video about the Laguna Beach Greeter (notice it is not the Laguna Beach waver). There was a time when the only road to travel between San Diego and Los Angeles was the Pacific Coast Highway. One of my most vivid childhood memories was riding along PCH with my family and seeing Eiler Larsen, the greeter who welcomed all who traveled through Laguna Beach until 1975. He waved his hand…it was a good WAVE.

As always, let me know what you think and leave a comment if you want an invitation.

Reading Time: 6 minutes

 

old family photo
Marie Lynch, Joseph Eagen, Sister Eagen, Margaret Ryan (Nee), Bill Eagen

Did you ever come across an old photograph and wonder where and when it was taken? I actually inherited a number of photographs from my parents and my husband’s parents. Pretty soon I will hand them down to my children. But today, I thought about this particular photograph and it occurred to me that sharing it with you would be part of my marking Veterans’ Day 2009.

This photo pictures L-R Marie Julia Lynch (my mother), Joseph Raymond Eagen (my father), one of my father’s sisters, my father’s maternal Aunt Margaret Ryan (Mag), my father’s younger brother Bill (kneeling). This photo was probably taken in Great Falls, Montana, definitely taken prior to my parent’s marriage (1942) and later than October 1936 (the month of my father’s enlistment in the U S Navy). Based on the rather sad looks on everyone’s face, I am guessing this might have been taken around the time of my father’s mother’s death in early 1939. I do know my father was allowed to come back to Montana from China to see his mother before she died, as a special request to the US Navy.

veterans day 2009During my childhood my father would often take us aboard some of the US Navy ships that were stationed in our hometown of San Diego. I have these vivid memories of him boarding these ships and the young sailors saluting him. He felt at home on these ships and he was proud of his naval career.

In Winter 1979 my younger brother, Michael, was commissioned as a Naval Officer, a young ensign.
(See photo on right) While my father lived to see this event, he died shortly after on March 27, 1979. Some 25 years later I was honored to be invited to my brother’s Naval Retirement Ceremony. He retired as a Captain. At this ceremony a beautiful poem was read. It brought tears to my eyes that day, as it does today thinking how proud my veteran father would have been of his retiring son, Michael.

Today I am sharing this poem with you in appreciation to my father and all veterans.

The Watch

For twenty years,
This sailor has stood the watch

While some of us were in our bunks at night,
This sailor stood the watch

While some of us were in school learning our trade,
This shipmate stood the watch

Yes…even before some of us were born into this world,
This shipmate stood the watch

In those years when the storm clouds of war were seen
brewing on the horizon of history,
This shipmate stood the watch

Many times he would cast an eye ashore and see his family standing there,
Needing his guidance and help,
Needing that hand to hold during those hard times,
But he still stood the watch

He stood the watch for twenty years,
He stood the watch so that we, our families,
And our fellow countrymen could sleep soundly in safety,
Each and every night,
Knowing that a sailor stood the watch

Today we are here to say:”Shipmate…the watch stands relieved.
Relieved by those YOU have trained, guided, and lead
Shipmate you stand relieved…we have the watch!”

“Boatswain…Standby to pipe the side…Shipmate’s going Ashore!”

– William Whiting, 1860

Reading Time: 2 minutes

PriorityClient.com enables businesses to enhance their relationships with their clients at a more personal level. Imagine having a service that would mail greeting cards to your preferred clients  birthdays, important occasions, and holidays.

Your client will never know it didn’t come directly from you. They even personalize it by having your digital signature printed on the cards for that personal touch. You can choose from a variety of cards and gifts to send. They have created five different categories which allow you to organize your clients and send gift card certificates as well.

Quite simple how it works: once you sign up, add your clients, select what you want to send during birthdays or holidays and they will do the rest. You will also receive an email notification on the day of their birthday to remind you of it.

We’ve all seen card services for consumers but rarely do you hear of a Business – Client relationship service.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Today is July 4th, our federal holiday celebrating 233 years of Independence. While I wish all of you a Happy Fourth of July, I would like to highlight Lady Liberty. Happy 4th of July Lady Liberty!

This July 4th is special for Lady Liberty. For the first time since shortly after September 11, 2001, a limited number of visitors will be allowed to climb the spiral staircase to the crown. Have you ever been to the Statue of Liberty? I will tell you that of all of the majestic places I have visited in our United States, Liberty Island is by far the most awe inspiring, more so than Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite, the Golden Gate Bridge, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, St. Louis Arch, Hoover Dam, Denali, Everglades, Washington, D.C., Arlington National Cemetery. But enough about my travel guide.

I invite any of you who have the opportunity to visit New York City, even those of you who live in New York City, to make time to visit Liberty Island and Ellis Island. If you are unfamiliar with Ellis Island, it served as a federal immigration station for steamship passengers from 1892 until 1954. But I digress…as you approach Lady Liberty on the ferry you might recall great movie scenes from Titanic, Funny Girl, to name a few…it is amazing.

Beginning this July 4th, 30 people per hour will be allowed to climb up and down the 346-354 (but whose counting) steps to the crown, that is about 250 guests per day. I have never been to the Crown, but my sons have. I believe it was the spring of 1990.

Today I cannot begin to impart all that you can see and learn when you visit both Liberty and Ellis Islands. But you can stay in touch with The Lady, as she does Twitter…and Flickr. She is a social lady!

P.S. If you really want to have some fun, then visit the Ellis Island Foundation and search for your relatives who may have immigrated to the United States through this station.

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Happy Father’s Day from Waterville, Maine. As luck would have it, the internet is down today here in Waterville. Who knows why, maybe the non-stop rain. Anyway I asked Judy to send this greeting. Here is a photo of my dad holding me when I was a few hours old. That is my brother Aaron looking on.

dan helfand birth

 

 

This next photo is of me with my dad, Dennis, on the day of my Bar Mitzvah.
bar mitzvah

Over the years I have listened to Cat Steven’s song “Father and Son.” The words are remarkable and sooner or later I think all fathers and sons can relate. Enjoy this youtube video and Happy Father’s Day.

Dan

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

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This is Mother’s Day weekend…my mom, Marie Julia Lynch Eagen, passed away three years ago next month. But today I thought I would share with you how I remember Mom. Below is the eulogy I wrote for my mother’s funeral on June 23, 2006.

“It is not easy to capture the essence of our mother. She came into this world with her twin sister on March 23, 1918. Born to Irish immigrants Humphrey and Margaret McCarthy Lynch in Butte, Montana, they were named Julia Marie and Josephine Agnes Lynch. They were, we are told, born at home and premature, so small that they were each placed gently in a shoe box and set near the oven to keep warm. They were not expected to survive. But today we gather to honor her 88 years as a woman, a faithful sister, a loving wife, a nurturing mother, a caring grandmother and great-grandmother, a kind aunt, a good citizen, and to all of us a loyal friend.

If I had to use one word to describe our mother it would be “principled”. She selected certain principles to live by and believed strongly in passing those principles to each of us. If you knew her for just a short time or for most of her adult life, you know the principles that I am referring to…faith, education, discipline, music, work ethic, and dedication to husband, family, friends, community, volunteerism, and her church. From the time she was very young she was legally blind in one eye. She wore glasses at a very young age and suffered from scarlet fever. When she was 18 she moved to Great Falls, MT and enrolled in nursing college. She was determined to be educated and self-sufficient. In 1938 she graduated as a registered nurse and proudly practiced and kept her license in force until past the age of 80.

She married daddy in 1942, they were 24 and she was the consummate naval officer’s wife, never complaining, living in less than perfect conditions during the remainder of World War II and caring for three small daughters alone throughout the Korean War, making a home in National City. Around 1952 daddy was transferred to Fort Campbell, KY, and we all traveled by train to live on an Army base. Sadly, daddy’s military career ended when he suffered a series of heart attacks and was forced to retire. In 1954 we returned to National City, back to our little two bedroom home on east 17th street. Daddy retired and mom returned to full time nursing, supporting a family of five. In 1955, at the age of 37 she became pregnant with Michael and we all giggled with joy. Daddy bought a Gulf Service Station and we moved to new neighborhood to await the birth of Michael. On a rainy December 8, 1960, we moved to our last family home on “N” Avenue. The move had to be stopped so that daddy could make sure we all went to mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day of obligation, and our mother would not accept us not being in attendance. It was the principle! For 42 years that was our home.

I have never understood how she and daddy afforded to educate all of us in parochial schools, each with eight years at St. Mary’s, their three daughters at Cathedral Girl’s High School and Michael at St. Augustine’s, but they did and we learned the value of a good education and with their help we all went to college. To complement this education she insisted, sometimes against daddy’s resistance, that we all learn to play a musical instrument and be able to perform in public. For hours upon hours the girls would take turns at the piano and when Michael was old enough, he learned to play the trumpet. I believe it was more about the experience and the desire that we be well rounded that drove this principle or could it have been those recitals every year that would result from the early hours of diligent practice?

She taught us to sew our own clothes, she taught us the importance of buying good shoes, she taxied us to the orthodontist for more than twelve years to insure that we each had perfect “occlusion” and to guarantee those Irish smiles. At her insistence we all learned to type and homework was an evening ritual that she made sure we completed on our own. If we didn’t know how to spell a word, she would very simply say, “Look it up!” and hand us the dictionary. Maybe this is why we all play scrabble and dabble at crossword puzzles.

Over the years, she celebrated our accomplishments, she danced at our weddings, cradled our babies, and found a way to regularly visit each of us, no matter how far away our careers or marriages took us. She proved to be the best mother-in-law one could ask for, always supportive but never intruding or offering advice(or almost never), perhaps truly living her principle “if you don’t have something good to say, don’t say anything at all!”

Daddy died March 27, 1979. Mom was alone, but she found interesting ways to fill her life. She continued her membership in the EAGLES’ Women’s Auxiliary, became active as a RED CROSS volunteer, worked a part time job as a school nurse, served as a precinct worker for San Diego County, dedicated herself to her friends, always willing to offer an hand to one in need of her services, and remained involved with the St. Mary’s Parish.

Today, we are here in St. Mary’s where two of her children were baptized, all celebrated their first communion, all were confirmed, three were married and daddy’s funeral mass was celebrated. Mom came into this parish as a young married woman with two small children and for more than 50 years she came back to this chapel at least once a week and practiced her principle of faith. She leaves us today, with her extended family now numbering 28.

We will not say good-bye today, but simply good-night to Marie, mommy, mom, mother, grandma, ommy, auntie, and friend. Forever a part of each of us, we will remember her winning smile, her blue eyes, and her innate ability to size up a situation and stand on her principles. She will join our daddy, her brothers, and her parents. Today, June 23rd, is the 89th anniversary of her parents’ wedding. She will be home in time to celebrate with them and to once again be held in the loving arms of her Joe.”

The photo above is of my mother and my oldest sister, Joann. It was taken in Butte, MT, in 1944,the year my mom became a Mom. 65 years ago!!

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Presidents’ Day History from Wikipedia,

Originally titled Washington’s Birthday, the federal holiday was implemented by the United States of America federal government in 1880 for government offices in the District of Columbia and expanded in 1885 to include all federal offices. As the first federal holiday to honor an American citizen, the holiday was celebrated on Washington’s actual birthday, February 22. On January 1, 1971 the federal holiday was shifted to the third Monday in February by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. A draft of the Uniform Holidays Bill of 1968 would have renamed the holiday to Presidents’ Day to honor both Washington and Lincoln, but this proposal failed in committee and the bill as voted on and signed into law on June 28, 1968 kept the name Washington’s Birthday.

By the mid-1980s, with a push from advertisers, the term “Presidents’ Day” began its public appearance. The theme has expanded the focus of the holiday to honor another President born in February, Abraham Lincoln, and often other Presidents of the United States. Although Lincoln’s birthday, February 12, was never a federal holiday, approximately a dozen state governments have officially renamed their Washington’s Birthday observances as “Presidents Day”, “Washington and Lincoln Day”, or other such designations. However, “Presidents Day” is not always an all-inclusive term. In Massachusetts, while the state officially celebrates “Washington’s Birthday,” state law also prescribes that the governor issue an annual Presidents Day proclamation honoring the presidents that have come from Massachusetts: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Calvin Coolidge, and John F. Kennedy. (Coolidge, the only one born outside of Massachusetts, spent his entire political career before the vice presidency there. George H. W. Bush, on the other hand, was born in Massachusetts, but has spent most of his life elsewhere.) Alabama uniquely observes the day as “Washington and Jefferson Day”, even though Jefferson’s birthday was in April. In New Jersey, Connecticut and Illinois, while Washington’s Birthday is a federal holiday, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday is still a state holiday, falling on February 12 regardless of the day of the week. In California, Lincoln’s Birthday is also a legal state holiday, however, observance is frequently moved to the Monday or Friday occurring closest to February 12. When Lincoln’s Birthday is observed on the Friday preceding Washington’s Birthday, the resultant four-day weekend is commonly called “Presidents’ Day Weekend”, particularly by retailers in their sale advertisements.

In Washington’s home state of Virginia the holiday is legally known as “George Washington Day.”

We at Webconsuls hope you have a great Presidents’ Day, and don’t need to get into a bank!

Reading Time: 6 minutes

 

judy

25 years ago today my funny valentine, our perpetual valentine, was born. It was February 14, 1984, when our youngest son, Daniel, came into this world at about 8:00PM in the Providence Hospital, Anchorage, Alaska. It is hard to believe that 25 years have passed since that cold, freezing cold (about 6 degrees), winter night. Dennis arrived home from the office around five and found me resting in the bedroom. He inquired if I felt OK to which I responded: “Well, I am OK, just uncomfortable.” By 6:00PM we were driving on icy roads hurrying to get to the hospital. Dan arrived so quickly that it was really Dennis and the charge nurse, Char Peters, who delivered Daniel. No anesthetic and that is why I said Dan arrived about 8:00PM, the truth is everyone in the delivery room was so busy that we forgot to look at the clock!

Dennis helfand

That evening Dennis and I knew that Valentine’s Day would always be special to us. We would really never need to buy another card or Valentine’s gift as we had our perpetual Valentine. To remember this night, Dennis wrote a song for Daniel. You can enjoy “Daniel’s Valentine” here.

daniels valentine sheet music

This sweet little boy, is now a man that loves books, music, history, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, harmonica playing, photography, Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Twain, Emerson, Thoreau, philosophy, dogs, and good food. He was named for my uncle Daniel and my father’s mother’s maiden name Ryan. Daniel is a Hebrew name meaning “God is my judge” and Ryan, of Gaelic origin, means “king” or “little prince”. I need not say more.

The video I am sharing with you today is Pete Seeger singing Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” at a celebration for Pete Seeger’s 90th Birthday on May 3, 2009.

So today, as I wish Daniel a happy 25th birthday, I want to wish all of you a Happy Valentine’s Day. If you attempt to learn about the history of this day, you will find that everyone seems to have their own version of how and why we have come to celebrate Valentine’s Day. I will let you do this research on your own. What I have come to realize in the past week is that I have many friends and relatives that have a February birthday. It is an extraordinary number. Let me see: our son Daniel(14th), Dennis’ sister Vivian(19th) and brother Harvey(19th), Dennis’ cousin Bob Stuckelman(19th), Dennis’ cousin Joe Stuckelman(16th), Dennis’ nephew Joshua Yates(14th), Dennis’ nephew Jared Rubin(27th), our friend Arnold Glassman(16th), our friend Father Rick Degagne(11th), our friend Sheryl Thompson(14th), our friend Bart von Gal(21st), my cousin Harry Egan(14th), my sister Agnes Laband(13th), my nephew Steve Laband(5th) and the list goes on. Just this week as we celebrated Father Rick’s birthday we both commented about all the February birthdays, so Father Rick counted back and we concluded that it must be the lusty month of May that produces all of these wonderful February babies. Come to think about it, May is the month we celebrate Mother’s Day…so now we may conclude what really goes on in many homes on Mother’s Day.
Happy Birthday Dan!

dan blog world

 

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I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “For Whites Only”. We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” – Martin Luther King, Jr

Reading Time: 7 minutes

 

pig statue

Every year I take on the “joyous” task of composing a holiday letter and creating a photo greeting card. Why I send holiday greeting cards other than to say I have completed a project, is that it gives me a sense of continuity. I have been responsible for this family missive for at least 30 years; however, due to circumstances beyond my control there have been at least two years that I missed, namely 1999 and 2003.

In 1985 I started the tradition of including a holiday photo of our family. We stood in front of the Eastern Slope Inn in North Conway, NH, Aaron was not quite five and Dan was just a few months shy of two. And so over the years, we have tried to gather for one quick moment to capture the memory of our years together. As time went by, I created funny little messages, as opposed to just saying “Holiday Greetings”. For example…the photo card you see here from 1989 ~ since we were gathered with the menagerie, my greeting said “Hogs and kisses two ewe!”

Our friends and relatives grew accustomed to this tradition and in the two years that I missed sending cards, we received phone calls, letters, and emails inquiring as to whether or not we were “OK”. Even yesterday, when we received a card from some very dear friends, she wrote on the bottom of her card: “We’re looking forward to your holiday news.”

Can you feel the pressure put on me? I hope so.

Steve Hendrix of the Washington Post said it best this week: “To the average mother, the entire social construct hangs on a once-a-year exchange of cardboard with best friends from third grade, long-ago piano teachers and cousins so far out on the family tree that they might be another branch of primates all together. And all the better if the missive includes a recent photo of the offspring (bonus points for one taken at a ski resort) and a whitewashed summary of the year’s family news.”

I received a lot of bonus points over the years as we owned a Country Inn in a ski resort town, so capturing a snowy scene was usually easy, and I have been known for not “whitewashing” the family news.

This yearly event has gotten more expensive, I don’t even want to discuss what it cost this year, with the cost of postage ($.15 per item in 1978 when Dennis and I married, and now $.42, which represents an increase of 180% over 30 years) and photo production rising as well. And I won’t mention the physical hours it takes for this production, I figure at least 15-20 hours for the whole process. It will take me a while to give up on this tradition.

I know we have blogs, email, telephones, text messaging, YouTube videos and Google videos, but there is nothing like waiting for the postman to arrive during the month of December. I look forward to hearing from friends and families. I read their letters, become slightly insulted if the card only contains a signature. I love the photos and, yes, I save the photos. It is fun to look at them and see how everyone has grown up, out, old, gray, etc. Just this week a card came from our dear neighbors from North Conway. And in the beautiful photograph appeared Eric and Matt Phillips all grown up, this year’s photo taken at Matt’s wedding to Molly. We first met Eric and Matt in 1986…and we enjoyed the photo and their mom’s letter.

Here you can enjoy my 2008 Holiday Greeting Photo…a few minutes in time.

 

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This holiday season the ‘recession’ we are all hearing about and probably feeling too made this year’s retail sales fall as expected- except for Amazon who recorded a record year in sales. How could this be? The Washington Times is reporting that holiday sales was the worst this year in 40 years. This is major!

Amazon’s shares went up about 4% due to record traffic and sales. The online retailer rose 17% from a year ago. But how could this be during a recession when just about everyone else is dropping prices and making deals to lure in customers and still are having a tough time.
The online avenue of reaching customers is as efficient as ever not only in online sales, but in reaching who and what you are looking for effectively. The ability to search and buy online is not affected by weather and ‘deals’ are made and changed instantly. Service-based businesses similarly have the same controls and lack of limitations. Searching who provides a service well, closest to my house can be done without making phone calls or burning gas.
In this tough time, businesses need an extra push to get themselves that extra exposure. Webconsuls has customized solutions for every business model. We pride ourselves in adapting our methods to your goals. Contact us and start up a relationship that will build your business online, where clearly Amazon has proved is the place to succeed even in this tough market.
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With my in my PJ’s and she in her robe, we watched Santa circle the globe!

Happy Holidays Everyone!

The Webconsuls Family

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Polyvore is an example of social shopping. Think paperdolls for your computer. It is free and easy to sign up. Software loads easily and quickly and enables you to begin to gather images to create collages (mashups to the uninitiated). Here is a brief tour.

Polyvore’s social community focuses on fashion and interior design. Active Polyvore members range from design students, small boutique owners, professional stylists and the general shopping public.

Sets (or mashups or styleboards) can then be shared by embedding them into your blog with an embed code, shared via Facebook application or email.

Some holiday “out of the box” sharing from Webconsuls, LLC.

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It is the holiday season and that begs the question, Can happiness be bought? Does fine wine bring happiness? A pair of bluejeans? How about a truffle or coffee that has been thru a small jungle creature?

For me happiness comes from creation, and seeing things used in new and exciting ways.

Watch this short TED talk and be thankful you are not a Kopi Luwak rustler.

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