From our house at sunset

From our house at sunset
Mountain of God - from vZ's mountain house

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My Renewed Vows - 30 Years Later!

30 years ago
If you looked at the odds
A challenging romance
Was noted by parental nods

Differences, we had quite a few
Sharp contrasts in personality
Most everyone knew.

You’re rational
I’m emotional

You’re frugal
I’m a spender

You’re a planner
I’m spontaneous

You’re focused
I’m fickle

You’re diplomatic
I’m outspoken

You crave value
I adore ambiance

You love classical
I rock to Middle Eastern

You are order
I am chaos

To this day they remain
And by magic it seems
We’re still together
Along with our dreams.

Your wisdom and kindness
Keep me in awe
Your love and integrity
Honors eternal law.

Your gentleness and patience
Saved my life
Not just once
Maybe more than twice.

As we continue our journey
From this moment on
Let’s treasure each other
As every day dawns.

We’ll be happy and proud
When we reach the end
Of our footsteps together
Lovers, lifesavers, parents

And forever best friends.

I love and respect you
And can’t wait
For the rest of our adventure together

Thursday, September 6, 2012

What's Your Elevator Speech on Sustainability?

What’s Your Elevator Speech?
By Jeanne von Zastrow
Senior Director, Sustainability and Industry Relations

It’s always a good idea to have a few key “elevator speeches” in your mind just in case you run into that perfect person with whom you’ve been hoping to share your latest idea, strategy or cause. 

FMI’s Sustainability Executive Committee, consisting of sustainability experts from 22 companies, are creating a new toolkit for the industry on “Making the Business Case for the C-Suite” – and one element of that toolkit will be concise, customizable strategic language to help executives effectively articulate the business case in less than 60 seconds.   

Why are we doing this?  Because sustainability is complex and complicated, our industry – including C-Suite - often struggle to understand the scope of sustainability impacts and the bottom-line results for their activities in this area.  Sustainability is interwoven into every job and decision we make.  Yet, in many companies, executives are not precisely aware of how sustainability initiatives are effectively transforming the business, creating competitive advantages, spurring innovation, attracting new talent and opening up new revenue streams.
Many leaders are already seeing returns on investment related to store enhancements, from greener buildings to energy efficiency and waste. Innovative retailers are now moving to transform every activity – from the farm to the landfill – including sourcing, transportation, packaging, recycling, fair labor and empowering a new shopper generation.  An integrated sustainability strategy is a competitive advantage, critical to a brand’s image, and ultimately reduces risk within the supply chain.  

If you search the Internet, you will find a myriad of studies and resources that document the business case for sustainability.  There is no lack of hard evidence proving the value of a good sustainability program, but much of that great information goes untapped because it is either too generic or too lengthy and difficult to decode.  FMI’s members see a great value in translating existing information into our own language, and combining new, industry specific guidelines and case studies into one strategic tool that is customized to the retail food industry. As an association, we want to present information in a practical, hard-hitting format that is easy to navigate and customize.  

As a prelude to the development of the new toolkit, we will be featuring Bob Willard as a keynote speaker at the Sustainability Summit in October in Washington, DC, to speak about “Competitive Advantage and a Triple Bottom Line – Marking the Business Case to the C-Suite.”  Bob is a leading authority on quantifying and selling the business value of corporate sustainability strategies to the C-Suite, and he has created this presentation specifically for our industry.  He’ll present us with new ideas, customizable tools and personal examples to help attendees increase effectiveness as change agents in their companies.  His book, The New Sustainability Advantage, was released this year and his website is full of free tools and resources to get people started. 

The FMI Sustainability Executive Committee will present its new toolkit as a free gift to our industry – with the goal of helping the food industry move forward faster, together toward success.   The toolkit will be a concise and relevant way for you to develop and customize your menu of “elevator speeches” for that strategic moment when you can make a major difference in the direction of your company’s path to sustainability.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

My Closet Rebellion

Got home late as usual,
Slipped into an exhausted semi-coma.

The racket and screaming shocked me
Into a bleary panic.
What IS that noise coming from the basement?
Even the dogs are howling, and they're outside.

Annoyed and too tired to be scared,
I held the rail and careened down the stairs,
And slammed open the triple sliding door
On the left side of the closet.
Was this where all the ruckus was coming from?

What the hell?

My closet had transformed into
A fashionista's "Alice in Wonderland"
Pandemonium reigned
And I was suddenly only 5 inches tall.
Spinning through a a whirlwind that rivaled Dorothy's.

Pants and shirts, dresses, skirts flying everywhere!
Luckily, I ducked a heavy leather blazer
As it crashed into a hostile gang of size 6 jeans
Screaming something about elasticity.

Sailing sideways, eyes wide shut
I was not at all surprised to see
That my entire wardrobe - each individual piece
Had suddenly become uniquely personalized
With faces, hair, hands and feet!
And cleverly,
The "make, model and size" were stamped boldly
On each item's expressive forehead.

Everything was swirling toward the extreme left side
Of the closet
Where the outcasts lived.
I could hear chanting.
It did not sound friendly.
The whirlwind zipped me along toward the sound
Through fuzzy, sticky cobwebs
Till I landed on the floor
In "no mans zone".

The size 2's were rioting
Attacking the size 4's and 6's
With moth ball grenades
And broken hangers
Some were carrying picket signs with slogans...

"Cruel and Unusual Punishment"
"No Fresh Air for 900 days"
"Jailed Without Light"
"Chocolate Stole Our Jobs"

The boots were trying to set up a barircade
While the gloves were working together
To grab the roudiest of the 2's and 4's from behind
(Especially those tie dyed Calvin Kleins
and skinny legged Ralph Laurens)
The leather gloves deftly blindfolded them with scarves
And stuffed them into the hanging Kate Spade purses.
You could see the pathetic prisoners kicking
And hear them screaming
Right through that expensive leather.
What a wild, ungrateful and unruly bunch.

To the center, the bigger 4's
Were in hand-to-hand combat
With the 6's
There was slapping, spitting, cussing
And a full-on cat fight that
Puts the Budwiser cat fight girls to shame.
You would not have believed what the
Diane von Fursterberg wrap-around dress
Said to the Max Mara suit.
All just because the latter had been worn
Once -- a "lean" 6 months ago.

Oddly enough,
All the Prada's were fanning themselves
Chatting cozily and laughing.
They were the only size 4's unengaged
Sitting on the sidelines
Reveling in their exotic glory
And enjoying the show.
They'd been out and about a lot lately,
We all know they are actually
Two sizes bigger than they say -- liars!
Expensive, happy liars.

Then I looked to the right
The 8's and 10's were enjoying a Grand Fiesta
What a spread....frozen margaritas everywhere.
The Dana Buchman capris were draped
Over a plate of fried cheese
Chatting with a stretchy velour Zhara sweatsuit
(a little saggy in the butt if you ask me).

They all looked a little tipsy, tired,
Certainly well-worn,
And quite content in their girth.
The Anne Taylor palazzo pants
Weren't even holding in their stomachs!

I overheard the Queen of the Closet -
A vintage 1973 Halston Ultrasuede shirtdress
Cattily whispering
To the black Cache jacquard silk slacks,
"Daaaahhhling....Never mind this little skirmish
It happens every season
Those 2's and 4's just don't get out much"

I woke up at dawn, laying on the floor of my closet
With a melted Snickers bar in each hand.

When the World Hugs You

So often in our lives it seems
The world hits, spits and trips you
For being too much or too little.
Nasty little grenades explode
In the most surprising places.
Making you slip, trip and stumble
Shoulders sagging,
Spinning on the familiar downward spiral.

But sometimes with no warning
The stars sing your name,
The sunlight melts your heart,
And you catch yourself 
Humming, skipping, smiling 
With no justification
Other than angels sitting on your shoulders
And mother earth singing to your soul.

When the world hugs you,
Take note and hug her back.
Return the Magic

I awakened refreshed...
Atop the softest cloud.

I ate sunshine for breakfast
Wove a dress of fragrant primrose
And wrapped myself in a cloak
Of warm Maui wind.

I slid down my rainbow
To bring the magic back.

To hear your smile
And feel your laugh
And smell your touch
And return your wand.

It works, Thanks!

Friday, July 27, 2012

On A Mission to Create A Better World

My son, Max, is leaving six weeks from now on an L.D.S. (Mormon mission). I have great respect for his willingness to serve his church and his fellow man for two years -- this is a notable and willing sacrifice in many ways -- no dating, no time for sports, working 6 days a week 12 hours a day for no pay, and coming home two years behind in school. But I have confidence that he will come home wiser, stronger, full of knowledge that he could not have gained any other way, and with a bigger understanding of the world and it's people. How do I know this? I know because of the many, many return missionaries that I have met and listened to. It is the common outcome of uncommon faith and sacrifice.

As Max goes forth on his mission, I am re-energized on my mission which I've been on for the past six years. Saving the planet, no joke. One of the most exciting parts of my work life, is to be leading the sustainability efforts for FMI, which means helping our industry develop new practices and policies that will protect the planet and work to improve life on earth for all living things.

My work is a pleasure because I enjoy the camaraderie of people throughout the world that have a similar passion -- from such great places as World Wildlife Fund to Wal-Mart, Wegman's and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and many others. We are working together in unusual collaboration and trust to be the change that the world needs to see.

Our work spans the entire realm of all choices and business decisions made by people from the CEO to the store level cashier -- for example, how to source more sustainable products that use less natural resources; how to build "greener buildings" that reduce the use of hazardous materials and use less energy; how to help customers with questions on purchasing more sustainable seafood species; how to manage, control and reduce/eliminate waste -- and for waste that we can't avoid -- how to redirect that waste to beneficial uses. This is the tip of the iceberg.
We have a rapidly growing population which is challenging our supply and natural resources in dramatic ways that our world has never experienced. Time is of the essence and hard choices and complexity are the name of the game.

But the world -- whether it be companies, governments NGO's or individuals are responding in amazing ways in every aspect of the supply chain from global companies to mom and pop operations. One of the things that FMI and our Sustainability Executive Committee are doing is to help focus our industry on the most urgent priorities, and develop the tools and resources that our members most need to move forward faster with sustainability initiatives in their companies. Part of that includes helping to identify and share those stories, strategies and systems with each other -- and we are talking about companies that are usually competitors, sitting down at the table and working hard to develop and accomplish common goals that will benefit all.

Max and I have common goals. We recognize that our work is urgent, imperative, difficult, complicated, and that there will be many roadblocks, naysayers and unintended consequences. We're ok with that, because this mission is not about money, power, prestige or control. It's about doing what our hearts tell us is the most important thing we can do to give back to a world and a God that have given us everything.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Too long away from writing, so much has happened in my life since I started this blog when Max was near death in the hospital. Many changes, challenges and new opportunities have presented themselves! One of the best was my trip with Mom, Joni and Donna to the British Isles for three weeks last month. A never to forget trip with so much educational content my head is still swimming. I fell in love with each and every country we visited -- and gained a new appreciation for the rich and confusing history and great and noble people who created, nurtured and protected great literature of the world, and saved Christianity! I have become a lunatic for learning and it is a thrilling quest because after the 5th time of reading a book or watching my historical/cultural education videos I am starting to put the puzzle together. I am glad to be finally addicted to something I can take with me when I die. More later!!