Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Marshawn Lynch’s exclusive cake recipe

January 28, 2015

lemon cake photoOnce the Seattle Seahawks won the NFC championship game against Green Bay I immediately sent an e-mail to my clients titled “All Seahawks All The Time.” I knew the media would go crazy with Seahawks stories between then and the Super Bowl. Non-Seahawks news would get buried while anything – anything – related to the Seahawks would rise to the top.

We immediately started brainstorming Seahawks-related stories, including this one, which ran on  KING-TV in Seattle.

In this blog post, I’ve decided to take my own advice and write my own “All Seahawks All The Time” story.

It’s about Marshawn Lynch’s favorite cake, lovingly made for him by his grandfather “Papa” Leron Lynch and featured in this report by USA Today reporter Josh Peter. Like everyone else, I’m fascinated by the people stories coming out in the days before the Super Bowl. And of course, Lynch – and his “difficulties” talking to the media – offers one of the most interesting people stories around. Hence, I was drawn to the USA Today headline declaring “‘Papa’ knows way to Marshawn Lynch’s stomach and head.”

What’s “Papa’s” secret? Lemon cake! As I watched the video of Papa making the cake, I immediately recognized it as the cake my mother used to make when we were kids. It was probably developed by the JELL-O kitchen, using a very popular ingredient of the day. Just like my mother, Papa mixed the lemon juice with the sugar, poked holes in the cake, and lovingly spooned on the glaze. Like Marshawn, I too love this cake. In fact, I loved it so much as a kid that I now often make it for my own family.

So, in honor of “All Seahawks All The Time,” I’m going to take this opportunity to share Marshawn Lynch’s favorite cake from Papa! I’m going to make it for the Super Bowl party that I’ll be attending. I’ll now call it “Marshawn’s cake.” Feel free to do the same. Enjoy!

Marshawn Lynch’s Lemon Cake (AKA Mommy’s Lemon Cake Dessert, from Claire Barkey Flash, cir. mid-1960s)

1 small pkg lemon JELL-O     1 C boiling water     Mix and set aside to cool

1 pkg yellow cake mix. Put in large mixer bowl and add 3/4 C veg. oil. Mix. Then add 4 eggs – one at a time and beat after each. Add 1 1/2 tsp lemon extract and the cooled JELL-O mixture. Pour into greased and floured 13 1/2 x 8 1/2 x 2 pan. Bake at 325 for glass pan; 350 for other pan for 30 to 35 minutes. While cake is baking, mix 1/2 C granulated and 1/2 C powdered sugars together with juice of 1 1/2 lemons (I use fresh; Papa used bottled. I suggest you use fresh). As soon as cake is done, take from oven and prick top with fork all over cake. Then spoon sugar and lemon mixture over top. When cool, serve with whipped cream (or not).

 

 

 

 

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Inside Don James’ team room – former player reveals `The Thursday Speeches’ in new book

December 10, 2014

the Thursday Speeches book coverAnyone with Seattle roots remembers the glory days of the UW Husky football team – the winning seasons of the late 1970s and 1980s that led to the 1991 national championship. That era was synonymous with the name “Don James.”

Since James left the Huskies following the 1992 season, the team really hasn’t been the same. While James coached for 18 years, the Huskies have cycled through six coaches since he left. This year the Huskies are headed to the Cactus Bowl on Jan. 2, after finishing 8-5 – their second-best finish over the past 14 years.

As we head toward college football bowl season I can think of no better time to introduce you to a new book about James by three-year UW letterman linebacker Peter Tormey, who played for James from 1976 to 1979. He earned a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University in 2007. For his doctoral dissertation, Tormey examined how James used language – particularly in his weekly pregame “Thursday Speeches” – to transform the UW football program from mediocrity to national champion.

I’ve known Peter since we worked together for United Press International in Boise. He eventually left journalism to create and direct the Gonzaga University News Service and to teach.Pete Tormey photo

As a football player, Peter experienced many of James’ compelling pregame speeches firsthand. James trusted Peter with his treasure trove of speeches, granting him nearly exclusive access to the documents. Soon after James died of pancreatic cancer on Oct. 20, 2013, Peter made it his mission to share James’ wisdom with others by creating the book, “The Thursday Speeches: Lessons in Life, Leadership, and Football from Coach Don James.”

Peter published it Nov. 25 and it is rapidly receiving critical acclaim. It’s ranked atop the list of hot new football coaching books on Amazon.com. In a five-star review (on Amazon.com), legendary Seattle sportswriter Steve Rudman called “The Thursday Speeches” a “must read for anyone interested in the art of leadership, character building and the nature of success. Don James was a genius. Thanks to Mr. Tormey, here’s a chance to learn from a master.”

Peter described “The Thursday Speeches” as follows:

“This book puts readers in the room with the legendary 18-year Husky coach, revealing the exact words James used to inspire the Huskies to slay the football giants of his day. Packed with inspiring stories and invaluable life lessons, the book also contains new insights into James’ leadership.

“James wrote the speeches before practice each Wednesday, by longhand, on 11-by-14-inch yellow legal pads. After making final edits on Thursday, James recited them – typically with fierce intensity – to his teams before a light practice,” Tormey said.

James, who compiled a record of 153-57-2 at Washington, is the most successful football coach in the history of the University of Washington and the Pacific-12 Conference.

“As but one measure of his coaching excellence, Sports Illustrated once named the three best college football coaches in the country: No. 1, Don James; No. 2, Don James; No. 3, Don James,” Tormey said.

“This book is an appreciative tribute to a great man,” said Tormey, a member of James’ second UW recruiting class. “Coach James inspired so many of us with his toughness, his commitment to competitive greatness, his unmatched capacity for work, and his abiding belief in the importance of a positive attitude. I hope this book will allow many more people to benefit from his inspirational words and wisdom.”

The book is organized into four sections: 

Part I: Getting to the Rose Bowl – chronicles, through interviews and his Thursday speeches, James’ early struggles to change attitudes. This section reveals the details behind James’ decision to move into his office in his first UW season (for the remainder of the season) after a crushing loss to Alabama. This section also describes how James’ commitment helped the Huskies come within a hairsbreadth of going to the Rose Bowl in his first season, and set the stage for their Rose Bowl championship in his third season and Washington’s eventual national championship. This section also describes how James developed his “Pyramid of Objectives” goal construct after listening to a lecturer at a University of Washington engineering conference. A graphic depicting James’ “Pyramid of Objectives” was listed in the Huskies’ playbook and is included in this book as well. 

Part II: Themes of “The Thursday Speeches” – excerpts, listed chronologically, from James’ Thursday speeches about the subjects he addressed most frequently in these talks to his teams.

  • Attitude
  • Life Lessons
  • Competitive Greatness
  • Visualizing Victory

Part III: Glimmers – Short essays on a variety of topics derived from interviews with Coach James. These essays include “Learning from Legends,” the legendary coaches who influenced James the most; “The Leader as Role Model,” how James approached leadership differently when he became a head coach; “Coaches Are Teachers” in which James – who earned a master’s degree in education – understood the principles of effective teaching and worked to ensure his assistants were effective teachers; and “Leading from the Tower” in which James explains that he viewed Husky practices from atop a tower not because he was aloof but for purely practical reasons. Among other topics, this section also explores how James attributes his focus on the kicking game to success in his first seven years at Washington. 

Part IV: A Lasting Legacy – Comments about Coach James’ influence from Coach Gary Pinkel, University of Missouri; Coach Nick Saban, University of Alabama; Sam Wick, friend; Jeffrey James, grandson; James’ pastor, Rev. Jerry Mitchell; and Jill Woodruff, one of James’ three children.

James led his teams to 15 bowl games (10-5) including nine straight from 1979-87. He guided the Huskies to six Rose Bowls and is one of only four coaches to win four Rose Bowl games. His 1991 team finished the season 12-0, beat Michigan in the Rose Bowl, and was named National Champion by USA Today/CNN, UPI, the Football Writers, Sports Illustrated, and several computer rankings.

Exhibiting a voracious appetite for reading and an expansive intellect, James uses a wide range of stories to engage the Huskies, including topics such as his views on the disparate approaches to goal-setting by Freud and Frankl; how the Cheshire Cat in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” related to the Huskies’ goals; the benefits of suffering; the importance of attitude; the keys to problem-solving; the true meaning of fun, and many others. He fashions speeches around figures including George Washington Carver, Benjamin Franklin, Julius Caesar, Vince Lombardi, Helen Keller, Romano Banuelos, among others.

Communication scholar Klaus Krippendorff (1995) examined the ways that great leaders employ language to construct a new version of reality for their followers. The late French philosopher and scholar Michel Foucault (1979) suggested power is “exercised rather than possessed.” Krippendorff took this a step further to point out the indisputable relationship of language to power: “Power is exercised rather than possessed, by someone and in words.”

“James’ transformation of the UW program proves what Krippendorff theorized: Leaders who are skilled using language have the power to literally speak things into being,” said Tormey. “This book shows this is precisely what Coach James did.”

If you love the Huskies, are a coach, or are looking for inspiration, consider getting this book for yourself or as a gift for someone else. Peter is donating  a portion of the proceeds to the UW’s Don James Football Endowment Fund to provide scholarship assistance to student-athletes who participate in the Husky football program.

 

From mom to bag lady – One suburban mother’s entrepreneurial journey

November 28, 2014

Jayna Umeda photoWhen I first met Jayna Umeda she was doing the mommy thing – taking her two kids to school, watching them play sports, and helping them figure out what they needed to do to go to college.

But now that her kids are nearly launched (her son is in college; her daughter is a senior in high school), Jayna is in full fledged entrepreneur mode. Using her design talents, her interior design degree and many years of design experience, she has created “Jayna Bags,” a middle market bag with clean lines and an Asian aesthetic aimed at busy moms, professionals, mom athletes and crafters.

This is a story about how a suburban mom has used her creativity to develop an income stream by making something that never before existed. Clearly Jayna isn’t the only person to ever do this. But she’s a good example of how women can take time off to raise their kids, then use their professional background to create a job for themselves and re-enter the workforce. [For those wondering, Jayna is not a client I’m promoting through this blog; she’s a friend and neighbor.]

After graduating from the University of Washington with a fine arts degree in interior design in 1981, Jayna (maiden name Matsudaira), worked as an interior designer for 19 years, space planning corporate offices, lobbies and interiors.

When her son was born in 1994 she chose to stay home with him. Although she took on a few freelance projects, she never went back to work fulltime. She also realized she didn’t want to keep working as an interior designer.

Then she noticed a friend’s cute diaper bag. “She told me what the website was and I thought, `I’m not going to pay that much for a bag!'” Jayna recalls. “I went to the fabric store and got material to make my own. I still have it.”

She tried to make another one. Jayna is particularly good at color and materials. She kept buying fabric and making different bags. “One led to another to another. Pretty soon I had all these bags.”

She sold some at a neighborhood bazaar. Friends and neighbors suggested she make and sell more. Around the same time she started playing tennis and determined that selling bags could fund her tennis habit. She brought bags to book group, did a trunk show, held open houses, and applied for her business license. She also started selling bags on Etsy. Word spread. People called. “One person said she was looking for a tennis bag online, but hadn’t found anything she liked. Could I make something? I said I think so.”

This was the beginning of the current version of the Jayna Bag – a large tote with pockets for tennis racquets, balls and a water bottle. It could sit up. Jayna quickly learned that it wasn’t only attractive to tennis players. Others bought it for knitting, yoga and travel. The more she sold, the more input she got for improvements in design and material. Jayna bag 1

Jayna has made more than 1,400 bags! But like most business stories, Jayna’s hasn’t followed a straight, positive trajectory. “I had so many events last fall, I had no inventory. I was making bags until midnight, and took on a job for the holidays working 20-30 hours a week. I was worn out,” she says.

Then her father got sick and fell. He died in February. “After my dad passed away I said I think I’m done,” Jayna says.

But she couldn’t quit. A friend who had been encouraging her through the process suggested this spring that she start outsourcing production of the bags. She started calling sewing contractors and after many misses she landed with a local one she’s now using.

“They do products and they do good work,” says Jayna, who picked up the first 50 outsourced bags at the end of September. They’re selling quickly through direct sales and Jayna’s new website. She ordered another 175 and is signed up to sell through Amazon (a steep learning curve she’s still working to scale). Because she’s now outsourcing the sewing work instead of making the bags herself, she’s had to start over with her promotions and websites.

Now she’s focusing on marketing, settling on which channels to sell through, and promoting her bags through social media. And like many people who go into business because they’re good at something, Jayna is realizing that that alone is not enough. She has to become a good businesswoman. It’s a lesson I learned with my business as well – and one that I pass on to others who are excited to strike out on their own.

But Jayna is happy with this new direction. “It’s like what I did as an interior designer, the project management, the design. I feel like more of a designer v. a sewing contractor. It’s more fulfilling and it’s less work because I’m using my mind and creativity versus my labor.”

She’s meeting with as many people as she can to learn about promotions. She encouraging people to write reviews and she’s trying to spread her brand. In the future she plans to make a travel bag, letting a flight attendant friend try a prototype on the road.

And now that she’s committed, Jayna knows one thing. She’s no longer satisfied selling the bags to earn “fun money.” She’s ready to earn real money – enough to pay the mortgage!Jayna bag 2

 

 

 

[Do you have an entrepreneurial journey story to tell? If so, please tell your story in the comments section of this post.]

Saying goodbye to a home full of memories

October 28, 2014

He sat on his walker in the dining room where he and his wife entertained many guests in the 1960s and ’70s – when the beautiful Ralph Anderson house was new. He surveyed the sunken living room below and the view of Lake Washington and the Mercer Island floating bridge.

101_1058Strewn around him were the remnants of what had once decorated (filled to the brim, actually), this masterpiece he helped envision and build in the prime of his life, this personal museum and ode to the artwork and collections he pieced together with years of shopping and incredible love.

Downstairs, relatives searched through his stuff. So much stuff. Hundreds of paintings he created over his lifetime. Books that had sat on shelves, most unread. Tools. Art supplies. Clothes. Masks. China. Souvenirs from world travels. Hats. Fishing poles and reels. Old long wooden skis. Treasures.

The summary of his 93 years. Up for grabs. The relatives were respectful, asking if they could have this. Did he mind if they took this? “Is this one of your paintings? Would you mind signing it?” one asked, glad to have found it. “Is this Sun Valley? We used to live there. It’s meaningful to us,” another said upon finding three sketches of the Idaho ski town where he went with friends in the 1950s. “Yes, let me tell you about that trip,” he said.

This scene played out recently at my father’s Mercer Island home, which he had built with my mother in 1964; where he lived for 47 years until it became too much for him to care for with its many rooms and stairs and things. So many things. Although he had hoped to die there, he realized as his age started getting the best of him, that he needed additional help. He moved to a retirement community about a year ago, at age 92. By then mom had been gone 20 years.

But what about the stuff? Thousands of pieces of artwork and doodads collected over the years. African art. Mexican masks. Native American masks and artifacts. Hundred-year-old Native baskets. China and silver from his mother’s house. Dozens of wooden carvings. A room full of Middle Eastern crafts, tapestries, puppets and household items – in a red color scheme designed around a bright Oriental rug. Clothes (many that had never been worn). Magazines, saved from day one. Newspapers heralding important events. Paintings from Northwest artists. And papers. So many papers. Bank statements, check stubs, bills, Christmas cards, love letters, correspondence with far away relatives and friends, travel brochures, maps, art show announcements. Nothing was ever thrown away. Nothing. He prided himself on doing without garbage service. Mercer Island, after all, had a recycling center. But really – was anything ever taken there?101_1044

A historian late in life, he was the keeper of the family history. He was born in Victoria, B.C. His father immigrated from Alsace-Lorraine (between Germany and France). His mother grew up in San Francisco, but the family roots are in England. Mom fled the Island of Rhodes (then Italian; now Greek) during WWII. Nazis came five years later and shipped the remaining Jews to Auschwitz. All but 152 perished. He loved and respected this family history  – his and his wife’s – and kept all the records – photos, letters, documents.

He organized most into boxes and notebooks. But a few escaped his memory – or just got lost in the piles of other things. Amid the check stubs, old clothes and insignificant travel memorabilia – treasures waiting to be uncovered under four decades of dust.

By the time we invited the relatives to have at it my brother and I had already spent countless hours and weekend mornings going through every scrap in the year since he moved out. One day we were unpacking a coffin-sized art deco style cedar chest at the bottom of one downstairs closet. It contained mainly my mother’s clothes from the ’50s and ’60s – a cashmere sweater, some wool skirts, a couple of dresses (all well preserved because the moths had been successfully repelled). A tailed topcoat that likely belonged to a great-grandfather. And then, at the bottom – two documents, laid flat between tissue papers: Italian diplomas marking my mother’s graduation from elementary school and middle school in Rhodes – 1932 and 1935. Extremely rare. Who had time to take these things with them across the world when being exiled from the homeland? Upstairs in the linen closet – a thick bed cover, embroidered throws and two boxes of needlework – also from Rhodes. Big find no. 1.

Big find no. 2? Two weeks later, amid the Boeing memorabilia, drawings of the Ms. Thirftway hydroplane (a university class project my father did in 1955. They’ve since been donated to the hydroplane museum) and a box marked “hair and teeth” was a non-descript roll of paper with penciled handwriting on the outside tissue paper. A note from my father’s mother to her two children: “Silk portraits of your great-grandfather Lewis Lewis painted in 1889 in China.” My brother and I carefully unrolled them. They were in pristine condition – Lewis Lewis, his wife Rachel. Lewis Lewis wasn’t just some guy. He’s famous in Victoria, B.C. as a successful businessman who paid for the Jewish cemetery, served as president of his synagogue for eight years and founded the Victoria Masonic Lodge. My father had never seen the portraits. He said his mother would be happy that they’d been preserved. The Victoria synagogue is anticipating their arrival in time for the 150th anniversary celebration next year.

101_1030Then there were the other little surprises: One porn magazine and $230 in uncashed traveler’s checks.

Many treasures found amid some resentment. Who keeps all this stuff? Who has the time to shop for it all? If the money was instead put into the stock market would everyone be better off? Was there ever any consideration about what would happen to it all – and who would go through it? It wasn’t pure junk (though some of it was). Much of it was actually quite valuable – either monetarily or historically.

As my father sat there surveying his home for what likely will be one of the last times he goes there (it will go on the market soon after the estate sale) my aunt asked him how he felt. He’d spent decades amassing his collections, putting together his displays. How did he feel about it literally walking out the door?

“I’ve had my enjoyment out of it,” he said. “Now my family can enjoy it too.”

 

 


Bendichas Manos

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