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Forum on Banned Books

For the last few weeks, with have had an internal discussion at work (a blog really) on Banned Books and what we think. I love this interaction because everyone has a different opinion, however, we can speak honestly about what we think and how  & why there is a banned book list.

Our discussions are supportive for different perspectives, new questions and we don’t find the need to rant, but we all really enjoy the discussion. New perspectives and intelligent conversation on our outlook, are the result of our chats. Some members even offer history about banned books, one of them was The Color Purple! Another discussion was about books being banned but then they are made into movies!  I am grateful for a work group like this!

See what your group thinks.  note: This list is created annually.

The last week in September is Banned Books Week, sponsored by the American Library Association. As quoted on the website, “Censorship is a growing threat that infringes on our foundational rights. The year 2017 saw an increase in censorship attempts and a revitalized effort to remove books from communal shelves to avoid controversy.”

Here are the 2017 Top 10 Most Challenged Books. Have you read any of these? I have read To Kill A Mockingbird. But … I find it interesting that many of these books have been popularized through broadcast media (TV series/Film). I may not have read the book, but I have seen the show or film. Definitely a curious parallel.

  1. Thirteen Reasons Why written by Jay Asher
    Originally published in 2007, this New York Times bestseller has resurfaced as a controversial book after Netflix aired a TV series by the same name. This YA novel was challenged and banned in multiple school districts because it discusses suicide.
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian written by Sherman Alexie
    Consistently challenged since its publication in 2007 for acknowledging issues such as poverty, alcoholism, and sexuality, this National Book Award winner was challenged in school curriculums because of profanity and situations that were deemed sexually explicit.
  3. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
    This Stonewall Honor Award-winning, 2012 graphic novel from an acclaimed cartoonist was challenged and banned in school libraries because it includes LGBT characters and was considered “confusing.”
  4. The Kite Runner written by Khaled Hosseini
    This critically acclaimed, multigenerational novel was challenged and banned because it includes sexual violence and was thought to “lead to terrorism” and “promote Islam.”
  5. George written by Alex Gino
    Written for elementary-age children, this Lambda Literary Award winner was challenged and banned because it includes a transgender child.
  6. Sex is a Funny Word written by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth
    This 2015 informational children’s book written by a certified sex educator was challenged because it addresses sex education and is believed to lead children to “want to have sex or ask questions about sex.”
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee
    This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, considered an American classic, was challenged and banned because of violence and its use of the N-word.
  8. The Hate U Give written by Angie Thomas
    Despite winning multiple awards and being the most searched-for book on Goodreads during its debut year, this YA novel was challenged and banned in school libraries and curriculums because it was considered “pervasively vulgar” and because of drug use, profanity, and offensive language.
  9. And Tango Makes Three written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson and illustrated by Henry Cole
    Returning after a brief hiatus from the Top Ten Most Challenged list, this ALA Notable Children’s Book, published in 2005, was challenged and labeled because it features a same-sex relationship.
  10. I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
    This autobiographical picture book co-written by the 13-year-old protagonist was challenged because it addresses gender identity.

OCTOBER is PINK!!! Wear It!

Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM), also referred to in America as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM), is an annual international health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities every October to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure. The campaign also offers information and support to those affected by breast cancer.

breast cancer awareness ribbion

Tell the women you love, Yourself included, to get a Mammogram, support the many causes, go for a BCAM walk, donate!  Get your coworkers, friends, family and everyone involved.

CHECK OUT HERSCAN, Breast Ultrasound Screening, a no-radiation alternative to a regular mammogram! Insurance doesn’t pay for it – about $200, but the detection rate is much higher… 97%!


During Breast Cancer Awareness Month each October, people raise money by organizing activities such as theme parties or a “pink day” (when employees wear pink clothing or accessories) at work. The money raised is donated to the organizers’ choice of breast cancer care or research programs. This effort is international, an increasingly prominent “pink day” is Global Pink Hijab Day celebrated by many to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer.

National Football League

During the month of October, the National Football League promotes breast cancer awareness by incorporating pink on its websites, graphics, and advertisements. Players also show support by wearing pink gloves, cleats, captains patches, and other apparel during games. I love this … it is so very noticeable and helps with awareness.

October themes are here! Days to Remember!


Do you need some inspiration for an employee meeting or a theme for an event? Look no further, October is jammed with days, Special Events and celebrations!

Month Long Events:

  • Adopt a Dog Month
  • Computer Learning Month
  • Disability Awareness Month
  • Energy Awareness Month
  • Family History Month
  • Domestic Violence Awareness Month
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month
  • National Pretzel Month
  • Squirrel Awareness Month
Rosie is dressed for Halloween, in her festive orange and black "jester" collar.

Rosie is dressed for Halloween, in her festive orange and black “jester” collar.


Suggestion: Most people don’t dress up for Halloween in my office but they often dress up their pets! A fun idea for a Halloween themed event is: Pet Costumes! Have your group bring in wacky pictures of their pets and elect a panel of judges, award silly hats as  prizes. Voila!  You have a fun and inexpensive team event.


If your group dresses up… make a theme… or have a costume contest. It is amazing to see how creative people can be and you learn more about your team and their intrerests at the same time.

And there are also special days, here are some that are fun & interesting:

  • Oct 1  World Vegetarian Day & Creation of Yosemite National Park in 1890
  • Oct 2 Name your Car Day
  • Oct 3 Gwen Stefani, the singer from No Doubt was born, in 1969.
  • Oct 4 National Golf Day
  • Oct 5 The City of Anaheim (in California) is founded in 1857
  • Oct 6 In 2007,  Jason Lewis completes the first human powered circumnavigation of the world.
  • Oct 9 John Lennon is born, The Beatles, British musician and songwriter –   (d. 1980)
  • Oct 10 World Mental Health Day
  • Oct 12 In 1892, the Pledge of Allegiance is first recited by students in many US public schools, as part of a celebration marking the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s voyage.
  • Oct 13 In 1970 Fiji joins the United Nations
  • Oct 14 National Dessert Day
  • Oct 15  FORTRAN, the first modern computer language, is shared with the coding community for the first time
  • Oct 16 National Boss Day, Spirit Day
  • Oct 17  Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.
  • Oct 18 It’s Necktie Day in Croatia!
  • Oct 19 Evaluate your Life Day
  • Oct 20 Sweetest Day
  • Oct 21 International Day of the Nacho
  • Oct 22 National Nut Day
  • Oct 23 Mole Day (for Chemists, just so you don’t misunderstand!)
  • Oct 24 United Nations Day, the anniversary of the 1945 Charter of the United Nations
  • Oct 25 In 1912, Minnie Pearl, American comedian and singer, is born.
  • Oct 26 Pan American Airways makes the first commercial flight of the Boeing 707 from New York City to Paris, France in 1958.
  • Oct 28 In 1942, the Alaska Highway (Alcan Highway) is completed through Canada to Fairbanks, Alaska.
  • Oct 30 National Candy Corn Day
  • Oct 31 Halloween

My office celebrates National Candy Corn Day every year. Imagine that! And Sweetest Day is another favorite.  You may have special Company anniversaries and events  and historical markers… it is easy to find a theme.

Old Times, History and fun in October!

3rd Quarter has just ended. What do you want to celebrate?

It is snowing in the mountains. Or maybe, not yet.
Here are some interesting tidbits, fun facts and information about dates in October. You can plan a team event around these days, or have a meeting with a theme.
October 1:
Born 1671 – Guido Grandi, Italian mathematician (d. 1742)
Born 1914 – Daniel J. Boorstin, American historian, writer, and Librarian of Congress (d. 2004)
Born 1945 – Donny Hathaway, American soul musician and composer (d. 1979)
1890 – The Yosemite National Park is established by the U.S. Congress.
1908 – Ford introduces the Model T car.
1964 – The Free Speech Movement is launched on the campus of University of California, Berkeley.

October 15:
Born 1844 – Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher (d. 1900)
Born 1908 – John Kenneth Galbraith, Canadian economist (d. 2006)
1878 – The Edison Electric Light Company begins operation.
1940 – The Great Dictator, a satiric social commentary film by and starring Charlie Chaplin, is released.

October 31:
Born 1912 – Dale Evans, American singer and actress (d. 2001)
Born 1966 – Adam Horovitz, American rapper (Beastie Boys)
Born 1971 – Dan Rather, American news anchor
1864 – Nevada is admitted as the 36th U.S. state.
1938 – Great Depression: In an effort to try restore investor confidence, the New York Stock Exchange unveils a fifteen-point program aimed to upgrade protection for the investing public.

My group loves music, sports, and numbers. I made this list of notable October Dates for them.  They are hard working and have become a great team. They have gotten to know each other even though we are in separate offices. It is alot of work, but it becomes alot of fun when you celebrate along with all the hard work!

This is a great time to thank your employees for all their efforts all year long. Employees: get up and pat yourselves on the back!

October is the start of a great 4th quarter, and it is all of you, inspired employees and your hard work and attention to detail that have gotten to this point.  THANK-YOU.

October Themes are here! Special Days to Remember!

Practice Interviewing Answers using these Questions

Of course, you’ll work hard to build and interesting and accurate résumé. You don’t want to over-think your answers, but you must communicate quickly and clearly. A bit of practice helps your interview go smoothly.

Be ready for these 12 common questions during an interview.

  1. What Is Your Greatest Strength? Know yourself, and make a list – like “enjoy spreadsheets,” “able to multitask,” “good team builder,” “able to teach others”). Then tie each of these strengths to a professional accomplishment. Keep your answers to 60 seconds or less so that your interviewer stays interested – make it a conversation.
  2. What Is Your Greatest Weakness? Prepare a list of weaknesses. For each weakness be able to tie it to a way to resolve the problem. You could say: “I like to get things done. Sometimes I get impatient, but I’m also good at getting feedback on scheduling or constraints.”
  3. Can You Work Under Pressure? This is a moment to learn more. Indicate that, YES, you can and then ask the interviewer how much pressure is involved in the position.
  4. What Did You Think of Your Last Manager? Stay positive. Don’t emphasize your boss’s shortcomings or frustrating behaviors. Try responses like: “I learned a lot from her.” or “We to communicated well and things got done quickly.”
  5. What Motivates You? Focus! Tie your motivation to the work being performed at this specific company. Add: opportunity to learn and grow, working with smart / successful people who are passionate about their jobs, building an organization, etc.
  6. What Do You Not Like to Do? This is a loaded question. One time I answered this question, and ended up with exactly those tasks! A positive reply might be, “I’m the kind of person who does whatever is necessary to get the job done.” OR “I try to do complete the worst tasks (one example) first and get that behind me. I have no particular dislikes.”
  7. How Would Your Boss, Co-Workers, and Subordinates Describe You? Be able to give some examples of the kind of team work you do or leadership skills you have. Remember that the interviewer may ask your references the same question. Contacting your references before the interview and provide them with your resume, discuss your career goals and which activities are most related to the job offered.
  8. What Has Been Your Biggest Failure? Think about this in advance, and perhaps discuss this question with friends and mentors before the interview. If possible, add information which describes how you were able to correct the problem. Don’t end on a failure, but add information on a “learning experience”.
  9. How Do You Feel About the Progress You Made in Your Last Position? Show growth, learning, new skills and relate your example to the position you are applying for. Communicate examples about your value as an employee while still describing positive feelings about your progress.
  10. Did You Have Any Frustrations in Your Past Job? This is a normal part of any job! You shouldn’t claim you didn’t have any. Discuss problems with what you did to overcome them. Don’t be a whiner!
  11. Why Do You Want to Work for Our Company? Do some research! Be ready. There are many reasons. Know their products, policies, and potential for growth.
  12. Why Should We Hire You? How do you fit? What can you do to help this company? This question is actually not about YOU!

You may not get these exact questions, but relaxing about possible answers rather than being tongue tied really helps!

You want to be informative rather than give complicated answers in an already nerve-wracking situation.

Even though it may feel like an interrogation, try to think of it as meeting a new person; be clear and calm.

Take a deep breath! Even if it is a phone interview… make sure to SMILE!

Square Acquires Website Builder Weebly

Square Inc. agreed to acquire website-builder Weebly for $365 million as the payments company seeks to expand its customer base and become a one-stop-shop for small and medium-sized businesses.

This seems to help our virtual businesses  get monetized; that next step from website to build traffic to sell things that people will buy /want / trust is a huge leap for many websites. Make it easy – and Square knows how to do this.

The acquisition is Square’s biggest so far and gives the company access to Weebly’s millions of customers and more than 625,000 paid subscribers. The transaction will give Square a new recurring revenue stream; Weebly gets access to Square’s payments system. Almost 40 percent of Weebly’s paid subscribers are outside the U.S., which will help fuel Square’s global expansion.


Orchard Supply Hardware closing all stores

So Sad to read this article in the MV Voice. What a great store, easy to get to and get back home. It had a happy feel and everything I needed. I got free SJ Giants tickets there and brought dozens of baseball fans during the week, and shared them with out-of-towners; it was a fun low cost way to see bay area baseball. They helped me buy my son his work clothes. I bought so many plants and even home appliances there.  I bought my beloved artificial Christmas Tree there – it was a special thin model that fit in my dinky home. I will miss OSH, but way more than that, I’ll miss the many folks that got me just what I needed and helped me figure out how to fix things in my home.

Thanks for many years of service. You will be missed. 

Just three years after overhauling its new Mountain View store, Orchard Supply Hardware’s parent company announced Wednesday morning it will be closing down all of its locations.

The news signals the end for a home-improvement chain that originated in the South Bay nearly 90 years ago. But like many retail businesses, Orchard Supply has been on the ropes for years, facing intense competition from larger stores and online rivals. The company declared bankruptcy in 2014 and was later acquired by the hardware giant Lowe’s, based in North Carolina.

Following the purchase, Lowe’s announced a commitment to inject $200 million to prop up the struggling chain. As part of that investment, the Orchard Supply in Mountain View was remodeled, and the chain began expanding outside of California into Oregon and Florida. As recently as last year, a new Orchard Supply store had opened in East Hollywood, according to the Los Angeles Times.

All Orchard Supply locations are expected to close by October, according to a Lowe’s earnings report released on Wednesday morning. As they work to shutter those stores, the company expects to hold closing sales to sell off their remaining inventory.

Under the current plan, all Orchard Supply employees are expected to be terminated. Lowe’s officials say they will provide job placement services for all workers, some of whom could be hired on by Lowe’s.


It’s that time of year again!!!! 

2018 23rd Annual Northern California International Dragon Boat Festival

WHEN: The Race is SEPTEMBER 15, 2018 at Oakland’s Lake Merritt. 

Last year, with loads of practice, team skills and great leaders the AQUA BEASTS Won gold and silver! Our Wells Fargo Team and Asian Connection never gave up!  There were many people on our team that had never been a boat race of any kind, some didn’t know how to paddle, a few didn’t know how to swim. But they overcame their doubts and trepidation and practiced so hard, working together that they came home with medals.

Race day is a thrill – there are so many groups, this is more than a race it is a cultural event. Come down and see the dragon boats zoom over the water, with dozens paddling, yelling and having the time of their lives. There are community groups, corporations, high schools, seniors, this is an AMAZING RACE.

Funky Day?

What can you do? Here are some practical solutions.

Excerpt from a great article by Angie Morgan, Lead Star Partner.

Small Things:

  • Clean your desk.  I know, I know – no one needs another mother.  But a cluttered workspace creates a cluttered mind. Sometimes all you need to be productive and positive is a clean, neat, and inspiring place to work from.
  • Fill your mind with inspiration.  I’ve got to admit, that when I listen to too much news, I walk away depressed about the state of the world, which impacts my energy level.  I certainly read up on current events, but I don’t dwell on them.  I’ve taken to listening to inspiring music and fun podcasts on my way to work, which significantly alters my state of mind. (I’ve been listening to a lot to TED Radio Hour– this is where some of the great minds share their thoughts.)
  • Keep a journal.  This sounds cheesy, but I just started keeping a gratitude journal. Each day I write down three things I’m grateful for and I find that this simple reflection exercise makes me smile. Research shows that if you focus on things that make you happy, you can positively impact the level of happiness you experience.
  • Rewrite your script.  We tend to view our routine as obligations; when we do, we start to resent the things we have to do.  I have to go to work.  I have to drop off the kids at practice.  Rewrite your script – start sentences with “I have the opportunity to … .”  Reframing your dialogue can shift your attitude in an instant.
  • Take a day off.  Sometimes all it takes is one day, focused on you, to get you back into the swing of things.  We work so hard – and we mistakenly believe that we’re computers and can bring the same level of intensity to whatever we’re doing whenever we’re doing it.  We just can’t.  Take a break – you probably need one!

Big Things:

  • Take a break.  And maybe you need more than a day.  Burnout is real and it happens to the best of us.  As you look into the near future, maybe you need to take some time off to rejuvenate so you can come back stronger.
  • Pay attention.  And maybe it’s more than a break you need.  Pay attention to your thoughts and ideas – maybe a bigger change is needed.  There are always career mentors you can connect with to have important dialogues.

There is so much we can do to shift our attitude so we see possibility (versus overload).  And sometimes the smallest things can produce the greatest impact.  So, start today – and with conscious effort, you can be leading yourself out of the workplace funk and towards a better future.

Would you like to learn about other ways to become a better leader?  To SPARK your beginning click here to learn how to receive your FREE copies of NY Times best-seller, SPARK: How to Lead Yourself and Others to Greatness.

Who uses credit cards?

Millennials Not So Keen About Credit Cards

Back to cash is king?  Limiting credit card use is a great way to STAY out of debt.

“People age 29 and younger are 93 percent more likely to have a negative opinion of credit cards than people age 59 and older, according to new research from Wallet Hub. One completely unsurprising reason for these contrasting points of view is that “younger people are having more trouble managing their credit card debt,” Lucia Dunn, Ohio State University economics professor, said in press release. “That would give a person a negative opinion of cards” Another reason is that millennials fear having too much debt. “Millennials witnessed their parents’ struggles during the Great Recession and are already overburdened by student loans,” said WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou. “So it’s no surprise they dislike credit cards.””