Visit to CNN Atlanta

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During a holiday trip to Atlanta, I had the chance to visit my sister in law Stacia Deshishku at CNN. Stacia’s is CNN’s Director of Coverage – basically she’s a pretty big deal. ­čÖé Stacia and I met years ago when I was an intern for CNN and got to know her much better when I started dating her brother who later turned into my husband. I left the news business over 10 years ago but Stacia’s career has continued to flourish… and it’s been extremely interesting to me now to watch her face amazing opportunities as CNN tries to harness the power of new media to share stories and engage with their audience.

The biggest highlight of the visit besides seeing Stacia in action was – surprisingly – not meeting the on-air talent. Instead, I was most excited about the conversation I had about social media with one of Stacia’s colleagues, Victor Hernandez (small world, Victor once worked at the local NBC affiliate in San Diego, where I now live). Victor is doing a lot of innovative things with regard to technology/new media and is a big “idea guy”… if you don’t follow him on Twitter already – DO. He’ll be one to watch as this social/new media space evolves and the lines of traditional media and new media blur.

Donor gives my mom the gift of LIFE for 9 years and counting…

A few weeks ago I posted about a friend’s relative who is fighting for her life and in need of a bone marrow match. One of the reasons Krissy’s story touched me so significantly is because I know firsthand what kind of difference a donor can make – not in just for the recipient, but for every single person in that person’s life.

Nine years ago today, we got the call that would change our family’s life forever. My mom had been suffering from kidney failure for several years (a result of diabetes) and her life revolved around her 3x/week 3-hour appointments at the dialysis center. It’s hard for me remembering how painful that time was… each visit back home, I’d find myself gazing at a sicker, weaker, slower version of my once-active and vivacious mom. The color in her face was gray; there was no light in her eyes… and not a lot of hope. Until that call.

The call was from UCLA letting her know there was an organ available – and within hours they were checked in at the medical center awaiting the best gift we could have imagined. While we were elated at our good fortune, we also knew our happiness was at the expense of someone’s else… the family of a 47-year old who had lost his life but, in a selfless act, had allowed my mother to regain hers.

On the nine-year anniversary of that day, I’m remembering this anonymous donor and wishing I had the words to convey how grateful our family has been for this gift. Mom continues to struggle with health issues no doubt, but the fact she is HERE and has regained some of her life is a miracle. Nine years after the transplant, she’s realized the joy of welcoming six grandkids and one granddog into her family.  How can you put a value on what that means to someone?

Happy anniversay. Today is a day worth celebrating!

Family

 

Interesting custom posterous themes?

I’m a huge fan of posterous as a blogging platform. As such, I think I want to do more with the design of my own. I’ve heard the Posterous┬ácreators designed this to be very flexible and I *think* I’ve found someone who can design me a skin. However — want to check out some different custom designs to get ideas.

I’ve noticed these blogs are spiffed up and re-skinned while maintaining all the great features of posterous… anyone know of any others?

http://microsoftstore.posterous.com

http://blog.tweetdeck.com

http://jbruin.posterous.com

http://corywatilo.com

http://sachinhd.posterous.com

 

Added 1.18.10: http://ncaa.cocacolazero.com and TechCrunch story about how Posterous looks to make revenue from corporate branded sites.

Added 3.8.10: http://katebuckjr.com and — is this posterous?? -> http://holykaw.alltop.com

Added 4.29.10: http://www.steverubel.com/

 

An hour wait for Santa… for this?

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Mind you, the entire time in the ridiculously long line the kid was smiling, waving at Santa, etc. But as we stepped forward within arm's reach of the big dude, the kid locked on with a death grip and went into hysterics. The millisecond he was removed from Santa's lap, he turned back into a smiling, giggly toddler. So much for that *perfect* Santa photo.

San Diego’s Secret: Santa lives in Poway

Each year I send a Christmas card to some very special neighbors we have up in Poway — Mr. and Mrs. Claus (true confession; this year it’s been the ONLY card that I’ve sent out in 2009.) Santa and Mrs. Claus are two pretty special people who LOVE spreading joy during Christmas.

The Clauses make Christmas special for HUNDREDS of San Diegans by opening their personal home every evening and delighting folks with decorations as far as the eye can see… from a clock tower with airplanes buzzing around it, to mini houses each themed in a different way, to fake snow! They also have cookies and hot cocoa to share with their visitors. And of course the best part – getting to meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus themselves. It’s icing on the cake that they also provide a toy to every child who visits. Oh, and did I mention this whole experience is FREE? The joy these people bring to the strangers that flock to their house each year is just unbelievable.

I’ve yet to get the full scoop of the real story behind the Claus family and prefer to simply believe that such generosity and love is really brought to life by Santa himself. In any case, the annual visit to their home in December has become a very special tradition that to me, totally embodies the true spirit of this magical time of year.

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My new Twitter background art: soft, pretty, and “Tord-like”

As 2009 wraps to a close… it’s out with the old and in with the new. I’m starting 2010 with a brand new custom Twitter background.

The other day, fellow San Diegan and friend @nrek (Enrique) was feeling generous… he’d recently redesigned the Twitter background of @krystyl as the oohs and aahs poured in, he offered to design 5 more – and I was lucky enough to get a chance to have him design a custom background to replace the free one I had downloaded when I first joined Twitter.

Before he got to work, Enrique asked us to tell him our vision for the background. My instructions: textured but soft and pretty maybe purple. (to which the people listening on Twitter chimed in to inform me that purple is ugly… haters!:)) Further, I told him I was recently inspired by the new, fancy HP netbooks designed by Tord Boontje. I referred him to the Tord Boontje netbook web site and I think he said he’d actually seen the netbooks in person at the store.

Did he hit the mark? Judge for youself! I think he totally nailed it: it’s textured while soft, very pretty, has those purple/lavender undertones, and a is a little like Tord (with the nrek-spin on it). The end result, in my opinion, is ever so lovely and even better than I ever expected!

Enrique and his partner @imagium run @digithrive, a firm that helps small businesses with CMS, custom web design, web development, and gaphic design. Here are some other amazing Twitter backgrounds the designer has recently completed: @techzulu @krystyl @chopperheadmag @cyantist @reesuh @zivity – oh, and his own @nrek.

See my “after” and “before”pics (or just visit me on Twitter to see it live):

NewbackgroundOldbackground

Disclosure: As stated above, I did not pay for the custom background. The company did NOT ask me to post my thoughts about this experience but I’m so happy with the work, I wanted to share. The opinions expressed in this post and on this blog are my own and my disclosure policy is here