Ruthann Clemens took me to Fleming's Steakhouse in Peoria recently for a belated birthday gift, and I have to say each visit is better than the previous visit. And the previous visits were amazing. When we were being seated, she later told me, she took the server aside and mentioned that I have a hearing loss. So from the beginning the server, Dawn Priest, spoke directly to me, and it was wonderful. Dawn was our server in June, as well, and she made quite an impression on me. Splendid quiet competence that speaks to the spirit of Fleming's. What can I say about the food? I don't believe I've ever had a more tasty, moist, tender steak. And a birthday cake to (almost) die for. We were impressed with all the people who served us, and with the atmosphere. It is always so pleasant. Some customers were very dressed up, while others wore more casual attire, and we were all treated the same. Like royalty. That makes a difference. So, a big thanks to Ruthann, and to all the people at Fleming's in Peoria. Perfect West Valley hospitality. And by the way, because we made our reservations online, we each received a significant discount.
What a wonderful Christmas at the Ed and Michelle Dias home. Ruthann Clemens and I entered a home filled with fun, joy, family, food, and Lucy. Lucy is an itty bitty dachshund that we all love. We spent the afternoon and evening with Ed, Michelle, Brian Collins, and David and Janet Crook. Ed is remarkable at many levels, one of which is cooking. He and Michelle put on a fantastic Christmas dinner. Including barbecued sweet potatoes. And there's a delightful dish with broccoli and spinach with touches of sausage. Dribble on some freshly squeezed lemon juice, and...yum. Plus moist turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, croissants, dressing, fruit salad, and more! Janet's doing well with her upper arm fracture. She only forgot once while we were visiting in the living room, and reached out for something with her right hand. Unfortunately, the fracture is in her right arm. We had such fun time visiting and reminiscing and laughing. And one of the nicest parts of the day was the fact that Ed and David pretty much cleaned up the kitchen. David got a much-deserved back, neck, and head massage. Brian got a Kindle, which was fun, because I have one. And I was able to point him to Seth Godin's blog post with a link to all kinds of fantastic Kindle downloads, many of them free. David enjoyed his iPod Touch. Ruthann and I headed out into the warm, clear evening, both thankful that we'd been embraced and enchanted by some very special people. I dropped her off and went home to my two hungry but forgiving cats (they would have preferred my staying home).
Today was my birthday, and I couldn't think of anything more fun than to invite some very special people and have one of them cater the lunch. Anne Caldwell, who is a human resources guru, is also a terrific caterer, and she came into my home this morning and took over while I went back to the office and worked. She produced lunch, and I produced Web pages and did bookwork. Then it was time for my guests to arrive, including my brother and his camera, and we sat down to a delightful lunch. Anne is fairly new to our group, as is Julie Moran, but the rest of us, including Jen Muench and Elsbeth Oggert (who couldn't join us today), have been part of the group for over a year. In the picture above, from left, are Anne Caldwell, Lois Epps, Julie Moran, Janet Crook, Ruthann Clemens, Roseann Ritterby, and me. What do we do? Brainstorm. Help each other out with business ideas. Help with organizational ideas for small businesses and nonprofits. (One of our members is starting up a nonprofit, and another is a social worker.) Analyze projects brought in by one or another of us. Analyze and critique as needed. Learn how to use new technology. Learn how to navigate in the world of social networking. We're a group of authentic people who have a great deal of life experience, enthusiasm, and energy. While we certainly look back at what we've learned, we tend to look forward as we discover way to make our businesses work in this new age. Marketing and communication are two of our main focus points. A diverse group, which makes things very refreshing, we try to think outside the taco. Back to Anne Caldwell. Her catering business is called "In Good Taste," and she specializes in healthy, wholesome cuisine. The main dish and salad were delicious and colorful, and the Zero Sugar Dessert was to die for. She knows what she's doing, and I recommend her highly. Give her a call at (602) 228-9191 to discuss how she can enhance your holiday experience. Her rates are very competitive, and she's totally reliable.