Rewards for walking to Creighton University

By Lee Lohman  

2509946461_52393df707_b (1)This photograph, titled “La Bicicleta Solitària” by Spanish photographer Bernat Casero, is licensed under (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).  

Imagine getting rewarded for walking, biking or carpooling to Creighton University.  

Creighton’s Office of Sustainability Programs is exploring new opportunities for active commuting programs designed to reduce greenhouse emissions.   

This is because one of the top five contributors to Creighton’s greenhouse gas emissions is the combined faculty and student commuting to and from campus, according to the 2017 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Summary. 

The active commuting idea is part of the Office of Sustainability Programs’ climate action plan. The overall goal of that plan is to achieve climate neutrality by Creighton’s 150th anniversary in 2028.  

What is active commuting? 

Active commuting can be using one’s student ID for a free Metro Transit bus pass. Creighton is exploring this option to reduce its carbon footprint in the environment. For example, the University of Nebraska Omaha and Metropolitan Community College both have programs where students can use their university IDs as free Metro Transit bus passes. According to MCC’s website, ”this program is helping reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips and decrease emissions into the environment.”   

In regard to more active commuting ideas, Creighton is considering incentivizing walking to campus, carpooling incentives and expanding the Zipcar program.   

Why should we care about how we commute to campus? 

“I think owning a car is a big hassle,” said Belyna Bentlage, the sustainability coordinator at the Office of Sustainability Programs. “As a former car owner, no one wants to pay money for continuous repairs and gas. It is convenient, but over time I think we can save money by not having a car. You can reduce your greenhouse gas carbon footprint.”   

In terms of social components, Bentlage likes active commuting because students get to meet new people. “I did my undergraduate in Chicago. I took the train and the bus all the time, and you meet so many wonderful people that would never come into your life, and you would never come into theirs if you didn’t do that.”  

Also, she likes immersing herself in nature as she commutes to work. 

“I like walking to work, and I can see the moon rise in the morning,” Bentlage said. “It’s so nice. Whereas if I am driving, I wouldn’t see that.”  

What can active commuting do for a Creighton student? 

The Office of Sustainability Programs wants to hear students’ thoughts about active commuting to campus. In mid-February, they will launch a survey to all students, faculty and staff. Everyone who takes the survey will be entered into a drawing to win prizes valued up to $25. 

The survey will ask students how they currently get to campus. It will also ask what the barriers are to increasing the frequency that one walks, bikes or carpools to school.  

Whether it’s reducing the daily parking pass rate or financial incentives, what would make this an attractive program for students?  

Undergraduate and graduate alumnus Ryan Borchers suggests that the incentives should be financial.  

“It just seems like it should be a monetary reward like money or gift certificates,” he said.  

At the end of the survey, there will be an information spot to discuss ideas or concerns about active commuting.  

Bentlage believes it’s important to take into account environmentally friendly forms of public transportation because it puts the Creighton mission into action.  

“If I drive a single-occupancy vehicle, as a lot of people do in the whole country, but also in cities like Omaha where it is a little spread out, how am I not engaging with the world?” Bentlage said.  

“How am I not in solidarity with my local neighbors who have to take the bus? How does that play into Creighton’s mission? How does that play into an immersive experience in a city while attending a Jesuit institution?”  


The time I helped KITTEN lead singer Chloe Chaidez with her Chemistry homework, and she even invited me to her mansion in LA

“Kitten Edgefest FC Dallas Stadium 4/27/13” by Alexa Stickler is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

I was a sophomore in high school, and someone in my art class told me about this band called KITTEN.

I looked up the band and played their songs. I noticed that the lead singer, Chloe Chaidez, was mutual friends with that person in my art class on Facebook.

So, I decided to add her as a friend on Facebook too.

One time, Chaidez posted that she needed help with her Chemistry homework.

I thought, “I’m taking Chemistry, maybe I can help her?”

So, I private messaged her and said that I was taking Chemistry and offered to help her out with her homework.

To my astonishment, she replied back to me, and I helped her via Facebook message with her homework.

She said that she did online high school because she was on tour a lot.

After I finished helping  her, she even invited me to her mansion to help tutor her one-on-one.

I told her, “Thank you so much! But, I live in Omaha, Nebraska, so I don’t even live by you.”

The next day, I told the person in my art class, who first told me about KITTEN, that I helped Chloe Chaidez with her chemistry homework and she invited me to her house.

“Are you making this up? Is this a joke?” this person responded.

“No! I’m serious,” I said.

I still don’t think this student believes me.


Telling It Like It Is: What I Thought About Journalism 327 Social Media Class at Creighton University


My favorite part of the semester was when we came up with our “sentence.” I thought it was such an excellent idea. I learned so much about myself through introspection about what makes me tick and what career fields I might like to pursue in the future.

The sentence I came up for myself was, “Helper, event planner and Israel advocate who strives to make the world a better place.”

I think it would be cool to explore the career field of being an event planner. Interestingly, there is an event planning internship in Israel through Masa Israel Journey. In the future, I am considering partaking on this internship to see if this is an avenue I would like to pursue.

“Event Planning Internships Abroad with Masa Israel Journey,” YouTube. uploaded by Masa Israel, 15 Mar., 2012,


I liked hearing about the real world applications of this class. For example, we got to hear Amanda Brandt speak about Chartbeat, In addition, I liked that our class got to go on a field trip to the Nebraska Humane Society and hear what it is like to run social media for this organization from Elizabeth Hilpipre.


Additionally, I really liked developing a personal brand. I thought that this was the most valuable part of the class. If I hadn’t taken JRM 327, would I have ever set up a LinkedIn account on my own? Would I have ever developed my Twitter account and increased my followers? Because I took this class, I got to develop my personal brand on both of these social media platforms.


I wish that we could have watched an excellent journalism themed movie. I know that we watched the “BMW Film 1: Ambush ft. BMW 740i” YouTube video, but I think that video was really short.

“BMW Film 1: Ambush ft. BMW 740i,” YouTube. uploaded by BVP1982, 17 Mar., 2008,

I think that we should have watched longer movies. In Jeff and Rich’s journalism classes, we always watched a movie that taught our class lessons about journalism. Perhaps there could be movie extra credit? I know that in Rich’s class, he gives extra credit for watching and writing a reflection on the movie “All the President’s Men.”

Even if it was just a laid back discussion in class after the movie without extra credit, I think that this idea is something that students would be genuinely interested in. Perhaps the students could vote on which movie that they would like to watch that pertains to journalism or social media.

Pie day was really cool. I feel like it would be cool to have desserts or baked goods during a movie day in class. Perhaps there could be a potluck where everyone brings something?


I was looking at the NEST and I noticed that this social media class was being offered in the summer.

Screen Shot 2017-04-26 at 1.14.04 PM
Creighton NEST Class Listing of JRM 327 Social Media for the Online Distance Format of this Course

One question I have is, “Are the students going to be required to give a presentation?” How can you give a presentation in an online class? Is there going to be a Skype video chat of the presentation?

I understand why there would not be a presentation. An online class is designed to work around distance student’s schedules. Furthermore, most Creighton students live outside of Nebraska. It’s not like they can just drive to campus to fulfill the in-person presentation part of this class.

Nevertheless, if there will not be a presentation component to this class in the summer, I feel like the students will have it much easier than we did during the in-person class. At the same time, the professor who will be teaching this class in the summer might have a substitute assignment such as a discussion post or a paper instead of a presentation. I suppose this might make up for not having the students do an in-person presentation.


Overall, this class was #jmcawesome!




PUBLIC SHAMING BLOG: #IStandWithMonica #Compassion #Empathy #Youwillsurvivepublicshaming

“Monica Lewinsky speaks at TED2015 – Truth and Dare, Session 9, March 19, 2015, Vancouver Convention Center, Vancouver, Canada” by James Duncan Davidson and the TED Conference flickr account is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0


I think that somebody’s comments become cyberbullying when they start adversely affecting another individual.

For instance, Michelle Ferrier, a writer, received many hateful comments from her readers because she discussed her African-American background in the “Daytona Beach News-Journal.”

One person wrote this to Ferrier, “All you people do is cry, bitch, wine [sic], bitch.”

Ferrier was worried for her safety so she “started carrying a gun to protect herself and her family until eventually she left her job at the paper in 2009,” according to the “Columbia Journalism Review.”  

I think that when people start throwing racial abuse and slurs on social media, then this online harassment crosses the line. Threatening speech is never okay.

Additionally, there was the article we read about the case of the referee named John Higgins who had to delete his Facebook account because of online harassment. Moreover, he felt harassed to the point where he was afraid for his own safety.

“People on the other end of the [telephone] line have been calling in with death threats towards Higgins, causing him to be panicked over the whole ordeal.” Also, “Higgins felt so disturbed by the messages that he met with law enforcement for over two hours Tuesday.”

Another example of the case of cyberbullying is the case of Monica Lewinsky.  According to her TED talk, “[Lewinsky] was branded as a tramp, tart, slut, whore, bimbo, and, of course, that woman.” In a New York Times article, Jessica Bennett , the author, writes that, “When I was 16, one dominating image of Monica Lewinsky seemed to overshadow all others: slut.

I think cyberbullying goes too far when it causes people to commit suicide. Lewinsky discussed the case of Tyler Clementi.

“Tyler was secretly webcammed by his roommate while being intimate with another man. When the online world learned of this incident, the ridicule and cyberbullying ignited. A few days later, Tyler jumped from the George Washington Bridge to his death. He was 18.”

According to Lewinsky’s TED talk, “Every day online, people, especially young people who are not developmentally equipped to handle this, are so abused and humiliated that they can’t imagine living to the next day, and some, tragically, don’t, and there’s nothing virtual about that.”

Speaking of suicide and cyberbullying, Lewinsky’s parents were afraid that she was going to kill herself because of the harassment she faced. Her mother “sat by [her] bed every night,” and her mother “made [her] shower with the bathroom door open” to make sure that she did not commit suicide.


According to The New York Times article by Jon Ronson, he writes that, “As time passed, though, I watched these shame campaigns multiply, to the point that they targeted not just powerful institutions and public figures but really anyone perceived to have done something offensive.”

I think it is interesting that public shaming has turned to private figures and individuals. Typically, one might think that celebrities are the target of public shaming because they are always in the spotlight. Nevertheless, it might be surprising to some people that private figures such as Justine Sacco can be the target of public shaming.

Her tweet — which was under 140 characters — literally transformed her life. She lost her job, and this notorious tweet will forever be plastered on the internet for everyone to see. As one Twitter use put it, “Sorry @JustineSacco, your tweet lives on forever.” That must be so awful and damaging for Justine Sacco’s reputation to be known all her life as the woman with the racist tweet.

I do not think it is fair to judge Sacco by one mere tweet. She is more than that. She is a human person. She has changed for the better. I don’t think that it is right to judge people by their past actions if they have committed themselves to being a better person. For instance, it is not like Sacco is still tweeting incredibly racist and controversial tweets. She has changed and learned from her mistake.

I can see why she thought it was an accident. She only intended the tweet to be for her friends. She wanted the tweet to be interpreted sarcastically. She was surprised that the tweet went viral because she did not realize that her Twitter account is public for the whole world to see. I think everyone can learn from Justine Sacco’s mistake and try to not publish irresponsible messages on social media.


Ronson interviewed the people who were adversely affected by public shaming. According to The New York Times, “The people I met were mostly unemployed, fired for their transgressions, and they seemed broken somehow — deeply confused and traumatized.”

I feel so sorry for all these people that made mistakes on social media. I do not think that a person’s mistakes on social media should define who they are a person. I do not think you should lose your job for a stupid tweet.  As Ronson writes, Justine Sacco’s “punishment simply didn’t fit the crime.” Additionally, she has trouble finding someone to date. According to the New York Times article, “I’m single; so it’s not like I can date, because we Google everyone we might date.” In the same way, Monica Lewinsky has not fully recovered from the scandal that she was involved in. According to a New York Times article by Jessica Bennett, “At 41, she doesn’t have many of the things that a person her age may want: a permanent residence, an obvious source of income (she won’t comment on her finances), a clear career path.”

I think that the consequences of both Justine Sacco’s and Monica Lewinsky’s actions are severe because both women have not fully recovered from their experiences with public shaming.


When we see something that makes us upset on social media, I do not think it is a good idea for all of the social media users to chime in and attack and victimize others on social media. Would you want somebody to do that to you if you were in that situation? How would you like to be Monica Lewinsky? Would you like to be the subject of public ridicule? Would you want to make the situation worse for another individual? Another example of public shaming is the case of the dentist named Walter Palmer that shot a lion in Zimbabwe. He had to close his practice because of public shaming, according to The New York Times. I think losing your dentist practice is such a harsh consequence for killing a lion. Online social media users should just get over whatever is making them upset and move on.


Some people might not want to use social media because they do not like being the victim of public shaming.

For instance, Leslie Jones, an actor, was being attacked on Twitter because people were really upset that there were women in “Ghostbusters” and also she was attacked with racial slurs, according to “The Guardian.”  

Because she was threatened racially and as a women, she got off of Twitter. After taking a break from Twitter, she reactivated her Twitter account, according to CNN.

Jones is just one example of celebrities taking breaks from social media. I think that getting off social media is one alternative if one cannot handle the hate on social media.

Others might not like the public atmosphere of Twitter, so they may opt out of using it altogether. In the case of Justine Sacco, the tweet “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” was such a dumb thing to write and broadcast on Twitter. Some people might be afraid to mistakenly publish something controversial just like Justine Sacco did, and these people might choose to not use social media. Yet, I do not think that one should be afraid to use social media because of Sacco’s experience.  At the same time, I think that Sacco should have been more savvy about what she tweeted because she was in PR. I think that there are some topics that one might just talk about to their friends and not to everyone on social media such as Sacco’s racist tweet.


According to Monica Lewinsky’s TED talk, she discusses that social media rewards cyberbullying. She says that, “This invasion of others is a raw material, efficiently and ruthlessly mined, packaged and sold at a profit. A marketplace has emerged where public humiliation is a commodity and shame is an industry.”

Oh, what a shame. That is so depressing that social media is being used to make money off of other people’s embarrassing mistakes.


Can social media be a more compassionate place? In Lewinsky’s TED talk, she discusses that, ” … it was the compassion and empathy from my family, friends, professionals, and sometimes even strangers that saved me.”

One of the reasons she gave the TED talk was to “help others who had been similarly humiliated,” according to The New York Times. I agree with Lewinsky’s strategy to combat cyberbullying. She says that it is important to refute online cyberbullying with positive comments. According to Lewinsky, “we can post a positive comment for someone or report a bullying situation.” She thinks that, “compassionate comments help abate the negativity.”

Likewise, Lewinsky discussed the Tyler Clementi Foundation,  Anti-Bullying Pro, and Project Rockit that try to combat the issue of cyberbullying.

Additionally, TrollBusters is an organization that fights the harassment on “Twitter with positive, supportive messages, which … provide a counter narrative to drown out hateful trolling,” according to the “Columbia Journalism Review.” 

TrollBusters is at least something to combat cyberbullying. This organization is trying to make sure that people do not feel like they are under attack, isolated and that there are people who support the victims of cyberbullying.


While free speech advocates argue that one should protect speech that one does not like and hates, I think that people should responsibly use social media and not use it to the detriment of others. I think that more communication is better than less. I do not think it is right to censor views that one does not like. At the same time, I think that cyberbullies can take online harassment too far. As aforementioned, some people KILL themselves because they cannot stand the online harassment. Many people do not think that there is a PERSON behind the screen. Maybe they should “THINK” about their actions on social media.

In conclusion, I think the acronym THINK is a good sentiment to end on. Is what you are posting thoughtful, helpful, inspiring, necessary and kind?  Every social media message does not have to encompass all of the THINK acronym, but it should try to incorporate one aspect of this acronym.

In regard to social media, if one is ever the target of cyberbullying, I think that it is important to remember the advice from Monica Lewinsky. She survived some of the worst cyberbullying imaginable. If she can survive, then anyone can too. It is so important to have hope that one’s situation will get better.

“You can survive it,” Lewinsky said. “I know it’s hard. It may not be painless, quick or easy, but you can insist on a different ending to your story. Have compassion for yourself. We all deserve compassion, and to live both online and off in a more compassionate world.”


“I CANNOT LOOK AT THAT MASSIVE BUG THAT IS ABOUT TO BE PULLED OUT OF THAT KITTEN’S NOSE!!!” I thought as she was about to show us the video that went viral from the Nebraska Humane Society

Last week our journalism social media class went to the Nebraska Humane Society. We heard Elizabeth Hilpipre give a lecture about social media. She is an alumni from Creighton University, and her current job is the development and communications specialist at Nebraska Humane Society.


I think the most interesting part of her lecture were the fun success stories that she posted on Facebook and Twitter that went viral. For example, there was the story about the sheep wearing a sweater. One day, a guy called 911 because he said that he found a sheep inside of his yard. Then, animal patrol came and retrieved the sheep from his yard. Then, the next day Elizabeth decided to put the sheep on Facebook with the sole purpose of finding his owner because he was lost. After he was posted on social media, the story went viral. They used the hashtag “#christmassheep” and many news outlets picked the story up including the “Associated Press,” “BuzzFeed,” “Good Morning America,” “The Today Show,” Russian newspapers and British newspapers. The only reason that she posted this story was because the Nebraska Humane Society wanted to find the sheep’s home. Subsequently, the owner called and picked up the sheep after the story went viral.

Another viral story was a video of the Nebraska Humane Society’s vets removing a massive fly larva from a little kitten’s nose. Elizabeth published a video online about a little kitten who had a fly larva stuck up his nose. Elizabeth took the video of them pulling out the bug, and she posted that video on the Nebraska Humane Society’s Facebook page. The video reached about 5.7 million people, it was viewed over 3 million times on their Facebook page alone and it was viewed by over a million people on their YouTube channel. In sum, the video has been viewed by a ton of people. Although this video was not popular in the United States, it went viral in South Korea, Japan and China.


Elizabeth said that people who work in the social media social media industry probably only get one viral news story in their life or career. Currently, she said that she has had about three viral news stories. I think that students can especially learn from Elizabeth’s experience. I think that social media readers especially enjoy these types of sensational and viral news stories and journalists should seek to find these types of fun success stories.

The cool thing about all of these stories whenever they are going viral across the internet is that they are always mentioning the name of the Nebraska Humane Society. So, these stories get the name of the Nebraska Humane Society all over the country. In addition, because of social networks, the Nebraska Humane Society gets a lot of donations from people in Omaha as a result of this advertising of their name.


She uses data to figure out what to post. She utilizes Facebook insights, Twitter activity analytics, YouTube analytics and Instagram analytics to her advantage to determine what to post for the Nebraska Humane Society.

How does she successfully gauge posts? She utilizes data. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram all give her a lot of data to work with. Twitter gives her a lot of data such as household income, people’s favorite things, what people follow and what they like.


Additionally, the Twitter analytics tell her that the Nebraska Humane Society followers like pop culture references. As a result, she likes to do a lot of pop culture references on the Nebraska Humane Society Twitter account page because of what the analytics tell her about their followers. For instance, she made a reference to the movie “Star Wars” recently for a dog on the Nebraska Humane Society Twitter page. She thinks that it is great that people interact with posts that reference pop culture.

Credit: Nebraska Humane Society Twitter account. This is an example of a pop culture reference to “Star Wars.”

Regarding their Facebook analytics, the Nebraska Humane Society Facebook page has an average video reach of about 70 thousand people. So, that data tells her that if she wants to reach the most amount of people, then she should probably use this detail. Also, Facebook analytics give her even more details such as the average length that viewers watch videos and when they stop watching videos. She can usually shoot a video in about 30 seconds, but she figured out that people are probably only watching ten seconds of it. She learned from the Facebook analytics, and now she usually only does ten second videos.

Additionally, the Nebraska Humane Society posts a lot of photos on social media. Elizabeth told us that Facebook is now ranking their content higher based on people who use the Facebook reactions button (e.g. a smiley face, heart, et cetera) more than the thumbs up icon. Moreover, many news stations might ask their viewers what they think of their story that they post on Facebook because they want to get rewarded by Facebook and get their content ranked higher from Facebook followers who utilize the reactions button to give their opinion about a story.

She uses the data to work in the Nebraska Humane Society’s favor. She mentioned that they were having trouble promoting a huge fundraiser on their general Facebook page. It was very frustrating for her that there was not very much interaction on their Facebook page for this event. So last year, in 2016, she reinvented how they post on Facebook. Instead of doing just general posts on their Facebook page, she created an event just for the Nebraska Humane Society walk event so that she could target the audience of people who are just interested in that event. She updated that event regularly so that way people who were interested in that event would be able to sign up for it. She also saved posts for the event on their main Facebook page such as general information about the event. For example, she crossposted general information about when the deadline was to register for the event on their main Facebook page.  This separation of the event from the main Facebook page really helped the Nebraska Humane Society’s Facebook page. She noticed that the Nebraska Humane Society had more engagement on their event page than their posts from the previous year.  For instance, one post that she put on their main Facebook page reached about 20 thousand people, but the post on the event page reached about 27 thousand people.

This is an example of the difference between posting on an event page on Facebook and the main Facebook page for the Nebraska Humane Society. On the left, there is a post on the main Facebook page that reached about 20 thousand people. On the right, there is a post on their event page that reached about 27 thousand people.  In sum, the event page was more successful because it reached 7 thousand more people. Credit: Elizabeth Hilpipre’s Social Media PowerPoint

Also, she uses the data to enhance the Nebraska Humane Society’s social media strategy. She mentioned that the Nebraska Humane Society has started using boosted posts on their main Facebook page for really important things. For example, when the Nebraska Humane Society is full of cats, then she will pay to boost their Facebook posts about cats. Additionally, she boosted the walk event. For instance, a preview of the walk event would show up on somebody’s news feed because the Nebraska Humane Society boosted and targeted the market of people who have pets, people who like to run and people who like to walk. She said that the Nebraska Humane Society is able to target their audience by using the data to their advantage.

Additionally, the Nebraska Humane Society pays to advertise and boost posts on Instagram. One of the benefits about advertising on Instagram is that the Nebraska Humane Society can put up multiple photos. For instance, if the Nebraska Humane Society puts up a cat advertisement on Instagram, then Instagrammers can scroll through and see multiple photos of cats.

Even though their intake for cats was higher last year, boosting posts on Instagram helped the Nebraska Humane Society lower the number of free cat sales that they had to do.

They do not like to giving cats away for free; however, when they have too many cats, then they do give cats away for free.

The Nebraska Humane Society reached a lot of people with paid advertising. Their paid advertising reached 2.6 million people.

She also said that their Facebook page last year had 63 million impressions and reached 26.3 million people. Their main Facebook page has about 130 thousand likes. Their main Twitter account last year had over 9 million impressions.

Despite the fact that a lot of people boost general posts on Facebook, Elizabeth thinks that it is waste of money for the Nebraska Humane Society to pay to reach people who may not interact with their social media posts. She mentioned that it is more valuable for the Nebraska Humane Society to pay to get people to like their main Facebook page. Also, the Nebraska Humane Society boosts their “Donate” now button on their Facebook page. By boosting their “Donate” now button, this helped the Nebraska Humane Society raise over $5,000 in December of 2016. This strategy works better and is more valuable than boosting just a general post.


One of the significant pieces of advice that she mentioned was to be friends with your professors. She said that students should just be friends with your professors because they are going to be the ones who find you jobs, get you jobs, and recommend you for jobs. For example, when Creighton alums are applying for a position at the Nebraska Humane Society, she said that the Nebraska Humane Society will ask Carol what she thinks of the job applicant.

She said that forming genuine relationships with your professors and being kind to them is an excellent thing to do because it is important to make connections — especially if you want to stay in Omaha. If somebody plans to work in Omaha, then it is definitely about who you know, who knows you and who can give you a good recommendation. So, she recommends utilizing those connections from your professors. She also recommends to participate in your classes because she thinks that professors remember you. For instance, if one was a difficult student to deal with in class, then professors are probably not going to give you a recommendation letter.

In sum, her presentation on social media at the Nebraska Humane Society was fantastic, and it was such a great and informative lecture to listen to.

Sympathy Letter About Grandma

Pictured: My brother, Grandma Mira Lee and me

Dear Mom,

I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your mother, Grandma Mira Lee Goldstein. She truly loved you. In 2014, I remember when you were planning to leave Denver in order to go back to Omaha to prepare for your class. However, at the last minute you decided to postpone your ticket and come back to 1000 Detriot Street. When you arrived and walked inside, grandma gave you a big hug, and she was SO HAPPY when she saw. Her day brightened up at your sight and presence. I think this hug happened every time she saw you when you initially arrived at her house. I remember every time I would arrive at her house, she would give me a big hug too.

I remember calling her when I was 3 or 4 years old. I cannot remember why I memorized her number. I remember when I was 3 or 4, I called 303-377-5492, and talked to her. I didn’t know why I called her, and I didn’t know who I was talking to; but, after I finished calling her, I remember that I really liked whoever I was talking to because I felt like we had a bond and connection. I don’t remember when I figured out that that was grandma and grandpa’s number, but I guess I did when I was smarter and a little bit older than that age.

When I was a kid, my grandma used to come into the back bedroom and say, “Good night, sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite” before bedtime. Sometimes, I would check for them. She would also kiss me goodnight.

After I would finish talking to her on the phone, she would always ask, “Is your mother there?” I would say, “I don’t know, let me go check.” Then, most days, I would find you in the library, and you would ask me, “Who is it?” I would say, “It’s grandma.”  She always wanted to talk to you because she loved you very much.

I remember when Charles, the caregiver, said that after you left Denver one time, Grandma Mira Lee stood at the window and watched you leave and she started crying because she truly missed that you were leaving her.

I remember one time when we were looking at old family photographs in the living room couch at grandma and grandpa’s house together, we found a picture of you with Ed and Bonnie, and you were posing and grandma said, “She was good at being dramatic.”

I always remember going to Glenwood Springs with grandma. Every summer, I remember visiting her and grandpa, and I really enjoyed being with them. They were such good grandparents to me. I remember grandma and grandpa always would give me birthday money in the mail when I was growing up. I also remember that grandma and grandpa would visit me for my birthday every year. I remember when I was in second or third grade, grandma called and asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I told her that I wanted a “Harry Potter Polyjuice Potion Maker.” She said, “I don’t really know what that is, but I will see if I can find it at the store.” I cannot believe that she actually found it at the store and mailed it to me!

I remember coming to her house and eating the cinnamon sugar coated mandelbrot (Jewish biscotti) that she made. They were always sitting on the kitchen table with the toaster on it.

I remember when I would always visit her house, she would always ask, “Did you get some dinner?” I would say, “I’m not that hungry” or “I had something to eat earlier today.” Even if I wasn’t that hungry or if I had already had something to eat, she would say, “Go get something to eat in the kitchen!” Or, she would say, “Miss [to the caregiver], go prepare  him something to eat” even though I wasn’t hungry. She would always ask if I wanted some dessert after the meal. I guess it’s a Jewish grandmother’s instinct to make sure her children and grandchildren have enough and more than enough to eat. 🙂 She reminds me of the Greek mother from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” In one scene, the mother says, “Toula eat something!” In another scene, she says to her daughter’s fiance, “Are you hungry?” He says, “Uh … no I already ate.” She smiles and replies, “I’ll make you something.” Fast forward to 53 seconds of this YouTube video to see what I’m talking about.

Credit: “Our Jewish ‘Greek’ Mama” via Forward magazine online

I remember during the Chanukah holiday, I would tell her on the phone that we are having a Chanukah party at our house. She would tell me that she also used to have parties for Chanukah and invite over a lot of people. I can tell where you got that tradition from and also your photo taking hobby (she has many photo albums at her house). I am so grateful that you took pictures of her with our family so that we can remember her.

I remember one time she told me on the phone that she was in South Dakota once and she was with her friends. They were smoking in the car and driving down the road. She said that she had a really fun time, but she didn’t smoke after that day. She asked me if I smoke, and I said no. She said, “That’s good.”

I remember one time I was in Denver in May of 2016. I told the caregiver that I was walking to the Cherry Creek mall. I was gone for 8 hours or something crazy like that. I don’t know why, but I kind of got sidetracked looking at everything for sale at the mall. The Apple store was really interesting. Anyways, when I walked back, to my astonishment, the caregiver and grandma were gone! My grandpa was there, and he asked me, “Did they find the lost boy?” I asked him, “What lost boy are you talking about?” Then, the phone started ringing, and it was Aunt Bonnie. I told her, “I don’t know where everyone is? NOBODY is watching grandpa, and grandma and the caregiver are gone!” I went outside with the cordless phone, and on the street corner I saw the caregiver and grandma pulling up to the house. “Oh there they are!” I told Aunt Bonnie. Eldi, the caregiver from Gabon, recognized me and said “There he is.” When Eldi and grandma got out of the car, she walked grandma up to the porch so that she could sit down. Eldi told me that grandma was so worried about me because I was gone so long. She persistently kept asking where I was and wanted to go find me. So, Eldi took grandma with her to go looking for me in Denver. I was the “lost boy.” While grandma was sitting down on the porch, after her exhaustive search, she had a worried, but relieved expression on her face. I told grandma “thank you so much for caring about me and looking for me.”  She loved me so much to go looking for me.

I remember she would always sing songs on the porch. One of the ones I recall is the “Ragtime Cowboy Joe” song. I remember these lyrics that she would sing: “He’s a high-falutin’, rootin’, shootin’, Son of a gun from Arizona, Ragtime Cowboy, talk about your cowboy, Ragtime Cowboy Joe.”

I don’t think one obituary letter can summarize her life. She was one of the greatest people in my life. I am going to miss her very much. I’m also going to miss talking to her on the phone almost everyday. Sometimes, on the phone, she would tell me to, “Send my love to everybody in our family.” She was truly a wonderful person and everything you could ask for in a Jewish grandmother. I am so lucky that I got to grow up and know both of my Jewish grandparents. Some people don’t even get that opportunity. I hope she is looking down on our family from Heaven.

May her memory forever be a blessing.



Pictured: Mira Lee Goldstein and 3-year-old me at the Henry Doorly Zoo

Would anybody “like” a fluffy buttercream frosted gingerbread house, freshly baked apple pie or peach cookies with a cup of foggy and dirty drinking water?


I think that the King Arthur Flour brand is very effective. A goal of businesses on Instagram is to generate sales. By posting photographs of food with their products, it makes their products appear more attractive to the viewer. I think that everyone loves looking at food, and King Arthur Flour enhances the way followers perceive their business by using freshly baked and perfectly made desserts in their photos. I think that it is interesting that the photographs change with the seasons. King Arthur Flour features photos of perfectly crafted gingerbread houses during Christmastime. King Arthur Flour posted a photograph of an apple pie dusted with white cane sugar next to a pile of apples.

In this apple photograph, the brand King Arthur Flour utilizes the rule of thirds. There are apples by most of the cross points and intersections. The brand utilizes the whole space in the photograph. The viewer’s eye follows the apples which are purposefully arranged in an arc formation, and this arrangement draws the viewer to the final picture of the apple pie in the upper right corner.

For this photograph, maybe they were advertising pie pans and suggesting desserts for people to make during apple season. Or, they could be showing ways for Instagram followers to utilize the flour that they sell.

This is the apple picture. I put quadrants on it, and I divided it to show the rule of thirds. Credit: King Arthur Flour

In addition, the reader can tell that the other photographs are purposefully arranged and designed creatively .

In the summertime, peaches are featured for this Instagram post from King Arthur Flour.

In this photograph, for instance, my eye follows the peach cookies that are aligned in a diagonal formation. There is a cookie on each cross section — places where the eye tends to look at first.  Then, after looking at the cookies, my eye is immediately drawn to the peach at the cross section in the upper right. Finally, the bowl of sugar is placed in the bottom right hand side of the photograph. The sugar is the item I look at last.

For this photograph, maybe they were trying to advertise baking sheets and suggest recipes that one could make with their products.


In contrast to King Arthur Flour’s perfectly made desserts, Neverthirst posted a photograph of two glasses of water.

In this photograph, the Instagram follower immediately understands the role and purpose of Neverthirst. The glass with dirty water on the left is juxtaposed beside the glass of clear water on the right with the phrase “1,000 FILTERS FUNDED!” superimposed over the glasses. I think that this Instagram post is effective because it shows the social justice work that Neverthirst is doing in the world. It was a very good idea to literally show the viewer what Neverthirst does for its clients with the glasses of water. The Bio Sand Filters are helping “over 5,000 people” obtain clean and safe drinking water in the country of Cambodia.

By showing their social justice work in an Instagram post, Neverthirst builds brand awareness. Instagram followers who see this Instagram post might become inspired to donate money to Neverthirst so that this nonprofit can fund more filters to further its cause and mission in the world.


I learned that posting an excellent photograph on Instagram is very important. The photograph should be eye-catching, but not nondescript and mediocre. There are so many filters to use on Instagram to enhance one’s photograph, so businesses should use these filters to their advantage.

I really liked that the King Arthur Flour photos were carefully planned. You could tell that the photographer put a lot of work into each photograph. It was not something that they did on the spur of the moment. For instance, you could tell that each food dish was made to perfection. Also, I liked that the lighting of the King Arthur Flour photographs were very bright and vibrant. This bright lighting of the photos creates a positive mood in the photograph. The King Arthur Flour photographs almost look like something you would see in a food recipe magazine.

I also learned that posting the product that your business produces on Instagram is very important. For instance, because of the effective photograph that Neverthirst posted, the Instagram user instantly knows that Neverthirst’s goal is to help provide clean drinking water to people in underdeveloped countries. I also learned that it is important to share examples of your work. Otherwise, why should I, as an Instagram user, care about Neverthirst? By showing Instagram users the work that Neverthirst engages in, this nonprofit effectively gets its message across to its followers. With the fantastic photograph of the two glasses of water, Neverthirst’s followers get to see that the donations of money are allocated towards providing filters for clean drinking water to people in underdeveloped countries. Hopefully, this photograph of the two glasses of water will encourage Neverthirst’s 1,440 followers to donate money to this nonprofit’s cause. I’ll drink to that! But I wouldn’t want to drink foggy and dirty water to that. 🙂