Language: dividing or uniting?

Language is a powerful tool. When people speak a common language they feel part of a shared experience.  Think about the way you order a soft drink. In the South it’s called a “Coke”, in New England you hear “Pop” or “Soda” . Out here, folks  just go for a “non fat espresso latte ” instead.  But when someone steps up to the counter to place an order you can generally tell where they are from. By having knowledge of the vernacular, you are united with others who use the same language. When you don’t have the right words, you feel …

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Promises, promises.

What makes promises so difficult to keep?   

The dictionary defines “promise” as “a declaration that something will or will not be done, given, etc. by one”.  It sounds simple enough. You agree to do something and then you do it.  So why is it that so many promises are not kept?

Even worse, those who make and then break their promises often don’t seem to feel the least bit of remorse or the need to offer an apology or explanation for having broken their word.  

Currently, the college age daughter of one of my friends …

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Dog park wisdom

Blue, my Standard Schnauzer, is young and energetic.  He needs lots of exercise or he finds alternate ways to entertain himself, most of which involve the destruction of my shoes, flower beds, and other property.  So, in addition to nightly walks around our neighborhood, at least once a week I take him to one of the local dog parks so that he can run off leash and use up some of his amazing store of energy.

Although I was concerned, …

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Clear communication.

 I was making plans for Father’s Day and decided a trip to the Napa Valley Museum for my history-loving husband might be fun (if combined with a wine tasting or two).  I stopped by there to see when they are open and found this stenciled on the door :  “Open Wednesday- Monday, 10:00-5:00”. 

It’s a simple enough statement. But it wasn’t clear.

At first, I was disappointed. It seemed they had a limited schedule.  But after a second, I realized they were open all week – every day but Tuesday. 

Who decided to list their open days in this fashion? And why was it hard for me to translate …

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“Picking” tomatoes

One my favorite things to do after tax season each year is to select tomato varieties for the coming gardening season. 

First tomato set- Paul Robeson )_1.JPG

Around seven years ago, before I expanded my lawn into what had been my vegetable garden area in the interest of making my house more “marketable”, I had the …

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John Wooden (October 14, 1910-June 04, 2010)

I was lucky enough to meet John Wooden twice in person.  When I was 21, I went to work for an LA sporting goods store at the corner of Westwood and LaConte, near the main entrance of UCLA.  The owner of the store was a 1940’s UCLA football star, Milt Smith.  The store had a Hermes  engraving machine and we engraved some of the trophies for UCLA.  Being the young guy I was, guess who did the engraving? Needless to say, it was a somewhat tedious task.

One time Milt had me engrave John Wooden’s  Pyramid of Success.  That was the first time …

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Pondering why

We had our firm retreat last month. As part of our team outing (you don’t want to hear about the results of the marshmallow challenge) we spent some time talking about the reasons behind the jobs we do and the meaning behind the work  we produce. 

We came up with 4 primary tenets: People Matter (hence our tagline), We support our community, We like what we do (even on April 14th), and We fulfill dreams. 

We were inspired by training we received from and a video on TED by Simon Sinek. Our firm has already been talking about our …

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May has quickly come to a close and the wildflowers are appreciating the rain and occasional bursts of warmth this past month.  Now what lies ahead for the Napa Valley?  I know the wildflowers will continue to paint the landscape with their beauty and the vineyards will soon begin to flower with fruit set following shortly. 

Will the buzz (not from bees) of tourists return to our hotels and inns?  2009 tourism was off only slightly from 2008 while overnight travel was down significantly.  This meant we had a lot of day trippers …

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About the Jump Start Class

See what Kathy Bourassa has to say about our Jump Start Training class, which was offered in conjunction with the Napa Valley Vintners and Silicon Valley Bank.

Watch the video : Jump Start

The next class begins June 25th.

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Dancing with ghosts

Recently my Danish ancestors have risen and, much like the ghost of Hamlet’s father, are dancing around the edges of my life. Modern social media moves to an entirely different plane when you are contacted by the descendant of a business associate of your great-great-grandfather. 

It started with an e-mail from a woman whose ancestors were also involved in the Arizona silver boom in the late 1800’s (think Tombstone in the bad old days).  She is doing research for an article on the early history of Arizona …

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