Friday, August 29, 2014

Power to the People

Here's an update for those of you who read my post about the employee and customer revolt that took place when Arthur T. Demoulas was fired as CEO of Market Basket, by a Board of Directors controlled by his cousin Arthur S. Demoulas. Yup, both named Arthur. Read the ending to the story via this link:

STORY LINK

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Back to School Book Sale

The Christmas Village on Kindle is currently just 99 cents and the print version only $8.99!

Get the kids, grand kids, nieces and nephews off to a good reading start this school year, with this exciting (and not just for Christmas) book about 12-year-old Jamie, who longs to escape his troubles by disappearing into his grandma's miniature Christmas village. It's a roller coaster adventure that includes a little time travel, lots of suspense and surprises right to the very end.

Follow it up with the sequel, Return to Canterbury, which re-unites Jamie with his friends Kelly and Christopher, as they try to thwart a greedy villain's plans to destroy their beloved town of Canterbury, Vermont. 

Read the reviews from kids, teachers and readers of all ages HERE.

HAPPY BACK TO SCHOOL AND HAPPY READING!

                               


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

ETSY SALE on PAINTINGS BY JR SECOR

Dick has his ETSY paintings on sale for the end of summer - inventory clearance! Most prices are under $75.

DICK'S ETSY SHOP

Lots of seascapes, like this...



And this ....

And this....


They are going fast so check it out and see if there's one you or someone else will love! I mean, we're talking original paintings for under $75 people!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Why What's Happening at Market Basket Should Matter to Us All

If you aren't from New England, you may never have heard of the Market Basket supermarket chain. When I was growing up in Andover, MA, it was called DeMoulas, which is the name of the family that started it. Somewhere along the line the name changed to Market Basket, but the Demoulas family still owns it.

Problem is, the Demoulases are a family divided. The current players are two fellows named Arthur Demoulas - Arthur S. and Arthur T. The two Arthurs have been warring for many years. Until recently, Arthur T. controlled the majority vote and was the CEO. But this year, Arthur S. gained control of the majority and immediately got the Board to vote to fire Arthur T.

And that's when it gets interesting. Turns out that Arthur T. is a man beloved by the employees (more than 25,000 of them) for his fairness and humane management style. Employees feel he cares about them, knows their names and treats them well by offering fair pay and benefits. Customers are loyal too, because Market Basket offers good product selection, fair prices and convenient locations.

There is no union at Market Basket. Yet the employees have refused to stand idly by and simply allow what they believe to be a wrongful action - the firing of Arthur T.

A handful of top level managers got the ball rolling with their refusal to support the Board's decision. They were promptly fired. Then the truck drivers refused to deliver goods from the warehouses to the stores. It snowballed fast, as employees began protesting peacefully during breaks. Not just a few employees - thousands of them. Customers quickly joined in supporting the employees by boycotting the stores - easy enough to do because most of the shelves are bare. But customers have also gone so far as to join the protests and speak at rallies.

Arthur T. Demoulas - Artie - was in my graduating class at Andover High School. I didn't know him then and I don't know him now. A number of my high school friends think he was and is a great guy. A few people on our Andover Townie Facebook page didn't like him so much. So I'm not here to nominate Arthur T. for sainthood. He's just a person like the rest of us, who's life has probably got check marks in both the plus and minus columns like we all do.

BUT! He has done something pretty amazing, and that is that he has run a profitable modern corporation in a way that makes his employees feel like they matter. So much so that they have now put their jobs - their livelihoods - on the line to support him.

Yes, the employees and customers of Market Basket are standing up for a person - Artie T. But they are really standing up for something deeper; something that Artie T's management style and philosophy fostered; something that matters to everyone. They are standing up for their right to work for a company that sees them as partners in its success - not as pawns or possessions. Artie T. created a work environment that gave his employees a sense of dignity.

I think that many leaders of modern corporations think employees don't care about their employers beyond their paychecks and benefits. But it's kind of a chicken and egg thing - who stopped caring first? The employees or the employers?

The Market Basket case should show companies -large or small - something very important:

People at the top of companies are not the only people who matter. A company's success depends on ALL the people who work there and all the people who buy its products or services. People want to care about where they work. People want to be treated humanely and fairly. People want to feel like they are part of something that matters. People want to contribute to something that succeeds. People want to be proud of what they do and where they work.

And if you create a work environment that fosters that, people WILL stand up for you. And if you don't, they WILL fight against you - overtly or covertly - and they CAN take you down. People are not disposable. People are not dispensable. And, as Market Basket is quickly finding out, in today's environment, people are not instantly replaceable. Surprise, surprise, surprise.

Market Basket employees and customers believe that they are trying to save this company. They have reminded us that we all do matter and we all can make a difference. They have shown us that they will not be treated like cattle. They will not be treated like possessions. They will not be treated like interchangeable parts. They have shown that people will stand up and fight for what they think is right, even at great cost to themselves. Leaders of companies everywhere should sit up and take notice.

Click  HERE to go to the Save Market Basket Facebook Page

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

NEW HOME

We settled here in Punta Gorda about a year and a half ago. It seems like yesterday, doesn't it? Yet it also seems like we've been here a long time. We've been happily renting a very nice condo and enjoying the freedom that renting allows.

Relaxing on our lanai
 I've been teaching yoga at a beautiful local studio. Here I am practicing on the lanai.



And of course, I wrote and published Return to Canterbury during our first year here. Was that really just last year???? Now that seems long ago....



This year I've been teaching a lot and I've been working on our "How-to" RV book. It's almost done - hope to have it out this fall!

We didn't know anything about Punta Gorda when we landed here - it was really pure chance that this is where we stopped RVing and settled down. But it turned out to be a great stop.

Our friends Al and Elaine have a home not far from here, my niece attends college a few hours away, and we have other family within driving distance. Friends and family have come to visit - it's the kind of place where people like to come and visit you! Sunshine! Palm trees! Beaches! What's not to like?

That's Al and Elaine
Marylou and Jim

Family gathering in Naples


Boca Grande, our favorite beach

As nice as renting has been, we've gotten the itch to have our own home again. Renting is carefree, but carefree can be a little ... boring! We miss decorating a place and making it our own.

And home prices are so affordable here and interest rates so low that we can pay less for a mortgage than we pay for rent! It makes sense to buy.

We started looking around April, but weren't finding anything we liked. So we've decided to have a new home built here in PG! It will be ready around March of next year.

Here is the land on which our house will be built!

Our house lot

Next year we plan to go to Santa Fe to arrange for our STUFF IN STORAGE to be moved here. Remember this? 

Our stuff in storage

We closed the door, locked it up and haven't seen our STUFF in over two years. Some of it we'll be glad to see again, but I'm sure we'll look at some of it and ask, "WHY THE HECK DID WE KEEP THIS??"