Kids Connection Visits Care Center

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“My kids love the experience,” said a student’s parent. “They get a lot from Kids Connection and they learn to not fear older adults.” Mrs. Hogerheide, from Twin Rivers school district, brings her 3rd graders to Eskaton Care Center Greenhaven every other month.

When the kids come into the room, you can see the energy change. The students shift the mood of the seniors who live here. The choreographed dance to the song “Stitches” by Shawn Mendes brought smiles residents and you could see them bobbing their heads to the music.

The students interviewed thesenior theywere partnered with and learned details from their younger years. “What did you want to do when you grew up?” asked one child. “I wanted to get married,” said a Tina, a resident at Greenhaven.

After reading together and doing an art and craft, the kids took their “buddies” for a ride around the gardens of the community. Ron showed off the Therapeutic garden before everyone headed in for lunch. The residents were happy with their visit and look forward to the next time they get to see their buddies.

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The Bangkok Effect: Part 1

There is something so exciting about taking a vacation. You dream about it for months. Time passes quickly. The day is almost here. It’s the night before the flight, you get jittery. You get in a fight with your boyfriend because you are traveling across the world alone.

The plan ride has its ups and downs. There you are standing in an airport, in a foreign town or foreign country. Let the fun begin!

The song plays in your head. All these years, you have sang the song: “One night in Bangkok and…” you don’t even know all the words. But there you are standing in Bangkok. A place you never really wanted to go. A place that you had wished lived on forever in that song, and in that movie. That funny movie with that really hot guy with the nice hair.

But you can’t go back now. All you can do is smile, and play that song on your phone over and over again hoping that it comes true. Just one night. Just one of the twelve nights you are there. Please Lord, just make one night worth the flight across the planet.

“One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster
The bars are temples but the pearls ain’t free
You’ll find a God in every golden cloister
And if you’re lucky then the God’s a she
I can feel an angel sliding up to me”
Listen to the song by Murray Head

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Lola traveled to Bangkok in November 2015 to see her 23 year old daughter Cherry and meet Hom, her daughter’s Thai boyfriend seen here in a Tooktook.

Ghost Writer: For Love and Chocolate

It was my pleasure for a year to be a ghost writer for one Eskaton’s leaders. My voice and his voice became one.

Love, no matter what age you are, is one of the strongest, most beneficial emotions you can have. Love comes in many forms. Love for your pet Yorkie. Love of playing bridge with your friends. Love for your new grand baby. Love of your new partner, or a spouse of 40 plus years. Love produces positive emotions, helps you fight disease and live longer.

With Valentine’s Day now in the rearview mirror, I reflect on the ways people around me tell each other “I love you.” The sweet little peck on the check. Holding hands in public. Hugs. Lots of hugs. In fact, hugging and touching produce a chemical in the brain called oxytocin. According to multiple studies, hugs are a natural stress reliever and can help lower blood pressure.

Last week, while opening the traditional red, heart shape box of chocolate from my mom, I couldn’t help but wonder why this sweet treat is synonymous with love. It’s filled with sugar and nougat. I don’t even know what nougat is made from so it can’t possibly be good for me. Plus, I never eat more than one or two pieces after breaking them all open just to find the ones filled with caramel and nuts. I was shocked recently to find out this box of chocolate is more than a token of love. It has history and health benefits. Read more>

Disruptive Bee Keeper Technology Makes Finalist in Venture Capital Contest

by Lola Rain

SACRAMENTO, CA – June 26, 2014– HiveLogger, selected as a finalist in the Velocity Venture Capitalist Entrepreneur competition, addresses the honey bee depletion crisis discussed by the USDA and President Obama. The USDA reports Colony Collapse Disorder is the cause for a dramatic decline in the bee population. President Obama recently directed government agencies to take steps to protect pollinators, including the honey bee. Bee depletion impacts our food supply due to agriculture’s dependence on healthy bees for pollinating crops. National Pollinators week, which just concluded, brought this crisis to the forefront of news and social media.

In California, the almond industry depends on bee pollination for its $500 Million in revenue. The bee keeping pollination services nationwide are valued over $16 Billion, $5.5 Billion in California alone making our state one of the largest users of bees.

The California State Assembly addressed the needs to tackle this depletion crisis as: Actionable reporting, pro-active communication, collaborative evaluation, and regulatory oversight. HiveLogger uses this methodology in its smart sensor solution for bee keepers to build and maintain healthy colonies. This disruptive technology uses a combination of data analytics software and smart sensors in the hive that captures quantitative, verifiable data that is easily shared for collaboration. The sensors let bee keepers know what is happening inside the hive to evaluate bee performance and health from anywhere at any time, saving hours of drive time to colonies that are hired out across the state.

The number of votes HiveLogger receives during this stage of the contest will determine if it moves forward in the Entrepreneurs Showcase at Velocity Venture Capital in Folsom. To view the HiveLogger video, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MniFOpO3jws.

For more information visit www.hivelogger.com or contact Stephen Engel at cybrk@hivelogger.com.

 

About Velocity VC Entrepreneurs Showcase

For over 15 years Velocity Venture Capital has been igniting, educating, and capitalizing technology entrepreneurs in the Sacramento region. Velocity VC helps turn ideas into successful businesses. The fifth annual Entrepreneurs Showcase identifies local start-ups with the most innovative technology in Security, Medical, Energy, and Education. Out of the 23 finalists only ten will be awarded entrance in the 2014 Fall Velocity Boot Camp. Winners will be announced in August. For more information, contact Gary Simon at gary.simon@entrepreneurscampus.org.

Healthcare Service Learning at Clinica de Salinas, Limon Dos, Nicaragua

by Lola Rain

“I’m going to show you something better than any medicine,” said Dr. Domingo to a patient in the little Nicaraguan town of Limon Dos. During most mornings over the last two years the doctor sees more than 20 patients at the free clinic of Salinas, which serves seven of the surrounding communities. Mostly woman and children arrive by bus, taxi or walk the distance on dirt roads to see this young doctor in residency.

In Nicaragua, to repay the free medical education provided by the government, young doctors must do at minimum of one year in a rural clinic. Domingo was at the end of his second year at Clinica de Salinas. He chose to stay the second year living and working at this small eight room clinic.

I could tell immediately he was well liked by the community. Several patients came offering gifts: Tamales, fresh laid eggs, even a plump chicken – dead or alive. Domingo will be missed by his patients and the clinic staff. Recently he earned a new residency in internal medicine. In a few days the doctor will be traveling back to his home in the capitol city of Managua to begin a specialty track which will prove to be much different from the general medicine he practiced in Limon Dos.

ImageOn the morning I spent with Domingo in four short hours we saw 22 patients, ages 2 months to 80 years. Cases included everything from the sniffles and ear infections to pregnancies to heart disease and diabetes. Out of the 22 visits that morning, only one male appeared. He was in his early 20s complaining of chest pains and shortness of breath. After probing the patient with questions, and taking a listen to his heart and lungs, the doctor determined the man was experiencing stress from recent life events including a new job. Dr. Domingo went over breathing exercises with this young man. All four of us in the room (doctor, patient, a medical student and myself) practiced together. Slow breath in. Slow breath out. Repeat three times. This prescription reminded me of the many years of yoga training it took before I could grasp the three breath concept. Three breaths can change a stressful mindset and calm the body. This doctor on the Pacific coast of southern Nicaragua, 3,500 miles from my home, just confirmed that breathing techniques are valuable to almost anyone on the planet.

“They need reassurance,” Dr. Domingo said of his patients.

The medicine practiced in this remote village is similar to the US, but the methods are somewhat antiquated, like that of an old American family doctor in the mid-1900s. Some of the tools are modern – urine strips, an ultra sound machine – but the techniques performed indicated the doctor was doing the best he could with the conditions he inherited. At this free clinic, like most in the country, there is a lack of supplies and medications. The doctor made a cotton swab out of gauze and used it on the child with the aching ear. Urine samples were provided in plastic bags, not sterile cups like we are accustomed to in the US. There were no plastic gloves to protect the hands of the doctor or medical student. And the urine dip stick test was performed on top of the patient chart sitting on the doctor’s desk, then set on the edge of the desk to wait for the results.

If you were to look at these methods through the lens of most US citizens, some might be appalled by the lack of sterilization and others heart stricken on the lack of money and supplies. The truth is, however, these patients were being very well cared for by a doctor with an outstanding bedside manner. It’s obvious Dr. Domingo’s priority is the quality of care he provides to patients. A different doctor may not be able to get past the lack of medical paraphernalia. In a different clinic, half the patients may go unseen if the methods varied, slowing down the process.

Since I have not been on aid missions to places such as Africa or Haiti, I can only imagine what conditions must be like in other poverty stricken, remote regions. The ideal conditions would be having the proper resources for medical professionals to do their jobs. But what this one clinic demonstrated is a doctor who excelled by embracing his rural assignment. The result is a community and clinical staff who respected this young man who once was an outsider but now is a highly regarded physician who truly cares. The world needs more Dr. Domingos and hopefully his replacement will be able to fill his shoes.

Thank you to Casa Verde, Executive Director Amie Riley, and my fellow travelers: OHSU students Joe, Ericka, Jessica, and Karen Shimada of Clackamas Free Clinic for giving me this priceless experience in rural medicine and cultural differences.

Photo by Ericka Acuna

Do you remember little Miss Cherry Rain?

Fairy Cherry, Spring 1994
photo by C. Hope

Many, many moons ago, a spirited child ran around the town of Ashland, Oregon, blessing everyone she met by sharing her talent. As a small child Cherry spent many hours with pen in hand. At two years old she had this intense frustration when the lines wouldn’t take shape the way she intended. I would soothe her and say: “Everything will be alright. Your art is beautiful.”

I was studying photo journalism and sociology and wanted to be a war correspondent, but as a single parent with a toddler I made other choices. I put my energy in to developing mine and my daughter’s creativity. Cherry and me spent time under the red lamp in the darkroom learning about B&W processing. By the time she was five we were learning Photoshop together. She helped me design her 5th birthday party invitation on an original Power Mac.

Cherry as Alice in Wonderland June 4, 1997
photo by T. Rain

In first grade Cherry joined an organization I founded called the Ashland Photographer’s Group. She participated in monthly projects and exhibited her first image at our 20/20 Visions gallery in 1999. She not only used my Nikon and studio lighting to take her photos, she printed them herself in the darkroom and framed it. At age seven she entitled her diptic: The Eye of Love and the Eye of Fearless. In retrospect, that dichotomy has been a theme in her life ever since.

Cherry became interested in fashion design when she was ten and took her drawing to the next level. By 12 years old she was scanning her drawings, coloring them in Photoshop, printing them on transfer paper, and ironing the images on skirts she made by hand. The drawings were funky little robots – something you’d see in an animated cartoon. These exposed stitching skirts were purchased by Buffalo Exchange. I tried to encourage her to start a clothing line, but a kid in middle school has other priorities – such as learning the bass guitar to be like her dad.

Cherry left Oregon in 2007 due to the overcrowded, suburban school that lacked creative stimulation because of budget cuts that eliminated art classes. So she moved to her dad’s house and enrolled in Tucson High Magnet School of Art and Science. While I became completely lost without her, I encouraged her spirit from afar. The most growth she has experienced to date happened during those two years at Tucson High. She excelled in photography. She won national awards. She exhibited at Yale and Carnegie Hall. She was awarded a full scholarship to Pima Community College and a partial one to California College of Arts.

Now with nearly two years of college behind her, it is time for Miss Cherry Rain to be further challenged by the University of London, College of the Arts. Cherry is fearless. She has been since she first learned to walk 20 years, 2 months and 7 days ago. Nothing can stop her. The only thing holding her back is the lack of loans available for her to attend school abroad. We can’t let the financial realities keep a dream from becoming a reality. I cannot and will not allow money to be the one thing to limit my child’s future opportunities.

Malcom Gladwell in Outliers wrote of the man with the highest recorded IQ who lost his college scholarship (apparently because his mom failed to sign a piece of paper) and went on to become a bouncer at a bar not able to reach his potential. The man became skeptical of life and the world around him. This happens every day to millions of people. People survive by saying: “It wasn’t meant to be.” But do you know what? It is meant to be. We can all achieve whatever we want. It takes endurance, willingness and tenacity.

I first challenge you to look inward at what you want to achieve in your life. Share that desire with someone. If you say it out loud, it is more likely to happen. Second, I ask that you support Miss Cherry Rain in her artistic and educational endeavors. You can do this in one of several ways:

  1. Write her a letter of encouragement: cherrywrain @ gmail.com
  2. Purchase a reproduction of her art work: $25 for a small print (under 5×7), $50 for a large print (8×10)
  3. Donate $100-$500 and receive an original signed drawing (size depends on donation)
  4. Travel to Tucson before September 15, 2013, to get an original Cherry Rain stick-n-poke tattoo (yes, she also uses skin as her canvas) Price varies
  5. Hire me to photograph your family, wedding, or next event – portrait sittings start at $100 (plus travel) and I ask that you pay in advance
  6. Co-sign a student loan for Cherry – rest assured that I assume complete responsibility for the re-payment of the loan

Become a Patron of the Arts and donate now

I believe that what I put into making the world a better place will pay generously in non-financial rewards. But I also know that when I support others, I feel a sense of community by helping people know they are not alone. None of us are alone in this world, and please know if you need someone now or in the future, you can count on me.

Sincerely with much love,
Tania “Lola” Rain
tanialolarain @ gmail.com
503 867 5244

Lola’s Bucket List

1. Be born (check)

2. Run away from home (check)

3. Have a baby girl (check)

4. Graduate college (check)

5. Go to Hawaii, the Mediterranean, Dominican Republic, Guanajuato Mexico (check)

6. Start a business (check)

7. Go to grad school (check)

8. Invent something significant such as a new mobility device for the disabled or an app for seniors

9. Give a speech to an important crowd (Ignite – check) – Ted.com

10. Become a teetotaler

11. Greet the president

12. Adopt two little girls ages 2 and 4 named Ruby and Scarlett

13.Write a book

14. Be the voice of an animated short

15. Travel to Prague, Budapest, Romania and Istanbul

16. Meet a Hobbit

18. Hold my grandchildren and tell them stories

19. Find my place in life where I feel comfortable and happy – preferably in a beautiful backyard with green grass, a garden, and birds

20. Go to Heaven

 

 

12 Ways for your company to show its professional side

By Lola Rain, for the HBA

Successful businesses continually evaluate strategies and customer service. Once you identify areas you want to improve, implementing a strategy can be a simple task. Here are 12 ways you can shine in the eyes of your current and future clients.

(1)Be the Expert
(2)Listen Carefully
(3)Follow Up
(4)Respect, Loyalty, and Trust
(5)Keep It Clean
(6)Shop Around to Save on Your Bottom Line
(7)Appreciate Your Clients
(8)Prospect, Prospect, Prospect
(9)Respond to Every Inquiry
(10)Differentiate Your Company
(11)Evaluate Your Online Image and Yelp It Up
(12)Ask for the Business

(1)Be the Expert
Positive attitude and enthusiasm can win potential customers and even build clients for life. People are looking for an expert they can trust. “Be the expert,” said Jeff Metke of Metke Remodeling & Woodworking Inc. “We believe after 23 years, we have enough gray hair, advice, and expertise. We are going to take a lot of time — baby steps toward cementing a relationship.” Stating your expertise can also be the first step toward building a long and lucrative relationship.

(2)Listen Carefully
Active listening can help you succeed as a communicator. It requires the listener to understand, interpret, and evaluate what they hear. The ability to listen actively can reduce conflict, strengthen cooperation, and foster understanding. When interacting, people often are not listening attentively. They may be distracted, thinking about other things, or thinking about what they are going to say next. “Listening is very important,” said Debbie Kitchin of InterWorks, LLC. “We want the process to be as comfortable as possible. We don’t want them to be concerned or upset.” Actively listening for clues that indicate the potential for concern or conflict can greatly improve your relationships with your clientele.

(3)Follow Up
In today’s world everyone is busy with family, work, and life. Communication has become difficult even though we have more ways to communicate. One successful sales person suggests asking your clients up front how they like to communicate: phone calls, voicemail, text messaging, or emails. Everyone has a preference. Check in with your clients often and communicate the process. Nancy Long at Sisu Painting said she touches base with her clients frequently after the initial free phone consultation. It’s just as important to follow up during the process as it is after the project is complete. Long does a final walk-through after painters walk away to look for issues and schedule touchups. She puts each client into a contact management system and sends them closing out papers, warranties, and thank you cards.

(4)Respect, Loyalty, and Trust
Professionals know who they can trust: other professionals. Recognizing and respecting the vendors who have been there for you is important in any economy, but trust and loyalty can be essential for survival in economic downturns. “It’s been very rough over the last few years,” said Thomas Liesy, owner of TA Liesy Homes NW, LLC, which is why he has remained loyal to his vendors. Liesy also understands the price sensitive market. “We provide more than our competition and we are extremely loyal to our vendors,” he said. Cutting corners and hiring sub-par labor is not an option for companies who are dedicated professionals. Knowing who you can trust shows your commitment to professionalism.

(5)Keep It Clean
Your professional image is important, but it’s not all about how you, your office, or your showroom looks. Kitchin said her crews always keep a clean work site, which cuts down on dust, improves safety, and is better for the environment. It’s also a common and professional courtesy to extend to your clients, some of whom may have concerns with chemical sensitivities, asthma, and allergies.

(6)Shop Around to Save on Your Bottom Line
In today’s economic climate any savings is good unless it erodes your professionalism and your company’s commitment to excellence. Loyalty to vendors you trust is extremely important. But when it comes to meeting your clients’ goals, sometimes you need to shop around and cut costs to help achieve a tighter budget. Thomas Payne from Craftsman Home Group, LLC, spends a lot of time with clients to make sure they are getting the best price for what they want. Payne said it’s important to help clients find products on sale early on in the process. “I am trying to avoid having to shop late in the project when the budgets are tighter,” he said.

(7)Appreciate Your Clients
Business is tough and your hard work deserves recognition. The best recognition often comes in the form of repeat business and referrals. Sisu Painting sends two cards a year, including a Happy New Year card with a photo and blurb about the Santa House at Bridgeport Village. “If you treat them as lifetime clients, they are more likely to refer,” said Nancy Long. This type of appreciation can come in the form of cards, emails, phone calls, or even annual events. Some members give Home and Garden or Street of Dreams show tickets to their top clients. Others have annual appreciation parties. Your clients will recognize your level of professionalism through these acts of kindness.

(8)Prospect, Prospect, Prospect
It’s a cycle! You just finished a job and now it’s time to start the next one. How do you ensure you always have business in the pipeline? Through prospecting. One of the best and easiest ways to prospect is through the HBA. Attend an event and talk to people. Build relationships and make friends. Prospecting can be fun if you enter it with a positive attitude. Besides events such as monthly luncheons and happy hours, consider attending the Reserve Trade Show or sponsoring an event. These simple techniques can actually change the way you look at prospecting in the future and help you to keep business in the pipeline.

(9)Respond to Every Inquiry
Each and every voicemail and email is important to your business. How many times have you left a message only to be frustrated by no response? Companies that respond quickly are more likely to earn the business and respect of clients. Not responding can also tarnish your business through word of mouth. People are just as likely to say, “Don’t use that company, they aren’t very responsive,” as they are to say, “They have great customer service, I highly recommend them.”

(10)Differentiate Your Company
Know what areas you excel at and talk about them with pride. Carl Paasche of Woodcrafters Lumber Sales says his company stresses high quality products and customer service. “Anyone can sell for a lower price,” he said.  “We try to maintain the highest quality and a high level of customer service.” Specializing in a niche product or service can be helpful in setting your company apart. Woodcrafters, for example, specializes in molding that are no longer made. “If you need a molding to match, we are your best source,” Paasche said.

(11)Evaluate Your Online Image and Yelp It Up
Metke uses Websites and Facebook to reach out to clients, but he doesn’t shamelessly promote his business. “Become an expert on what people are doing to maintain their house and work to engage with clients on Facebook,” he says. While Metke admits his company is not as diligent as it needs to be with its Website and social media, he is trying to be more regular by dedicating at least 5 hours a week.  Long developed a group of 12 professionals to help out with her social media. “It’s a group effort,” she said. Sisu Paiting trades services with the group and they review each other online. “If an electrician comes into the group, everyone agrees to use the electrician,” said Long. By having multiple reviews on Yelp.com, Sisu Painting has a strong SEO presence. Long received a total of 14 bids in January. “Most of it came from improving online presence,” she said. “Nine bids from Yelp, Angie’s List and Google, and five from PRO members.”

(12)Ask for the Business
However you market your company, whether it’s through advertising, social media, or a referral system, waiting for the phone to ring is a passive way to do business. Following up with leads takes time, but the sales cycle can be shortened by asking for the business. Simply add to the end of your sales pitch or elevator speech, “Can I count on your business?” or “When do you want to start the project? I know you will be happy with my service,” and watch what happens next. It takes practice to build the confidence for the “ask”, but the results will be worth the effort.

The Journey to Meditation Mountain

The hustle and bustle of a big city brings a level of excitement that people crave. Portland, Oregon, a metropolitan of over 1 million people, has a lot to offer. Festivals on the waterfront, Powell’s City of Books, dozens of music venues, and every kind of food you can imagine. But like with most things, when you spend a decade doing the same thing day in and day out in one city, you begin to long for more.

I found Ventura, California, purely by accident. I needed a a different pace of life and a friend invited me to live here. Only 15 days into my new life in the sunshine, I came across a place called Meditation Mountain. It’s been around since the late 1960s. It’s a special place with its gardens and views. It’s mission is international peace.

View from Meditation Mountain in Ojai, California

A place like Meditation Mountain sounds very new age and spiritual. I was curious if I would find yogis and monks sitting around meditating. But I found something completely different. Something I never found in Portland, Oregon. Complete stillness.

I was shocked how good silence really sounded. The air is so quiet and clean on this mountain. I felt like I was a million miles away, yet so connected to the rest of the world with my iPhone in my hand taking and texting pictures. As I wander through life, I am always surprised when I discover new places like this, places some people may never visit because the name sounds daunting or unconventional.

Meditation is a difficult concept to grasp and I have only recently starting thinking about how this practice can be adopted in Western culture. How can meditation help reduce the anxieties and fears built up from the stress our society is currently experiencing?

I recall as a child in elementary school, each morning we observed a moment of silence. No teacher ever explained what this moment of silence was for or what we should be thinking while the moment was passing us by. When and where was this ritual conceived and where has it gone today?

It is wonderment that keeps me going each day. Every day is new and there are more discoveries to be made.

Lessons on a Journey to Ventura, CA

Top Ten Reasons Ventura is the Place for Me

1. The sunshine has given me energy that I have not felt in years. My 39 year old bones did not thrive in the wet, cold environment of Portland, Oregon. (Even though Portland is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.)

2. My dog loves the sun on her 12 year old back. She literally smiles when she is outside in the yard. It makes me happy that she is happy.

3. I had conversations with strangers in the grocery store and they were smiling and laughing with me.

4. There are taco stands EVERY WHERE!

5. I get to cook for my roommates and I LOVE cooking!

6. There is a beach here and I am going to take my dog for a walk on it. I can’t wait!

7. Yoga in the park was the most amazing thing I have ever experienced — well, it was the most amazing yoga I ever experienced.

8. More people ride their bicycles here in the winter than they do in Portland.

9. I can garden every day and my plants will grow because of the sunshine and warm weather.

10. Did I mention the taco stands? Tacos make me happy!

This is where I am going to take my dog for a walk.